Movie announcements galore

Mike Nichols (Charlie Wilson’s War) will helm a remake of High And Low/The Ransom (trailer above), a detective film by legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai, the film that inspired The Magnificent Seven). David Mamet (Redbelt) wrote the adaptation, which is loosly based on the Evan Hunter novel King’s Ransom. Source.

Mike Sobel, a former criminal lawyer, is writing Skyscraper for Universal Pictures and producer Neal H. Moritz (Made Of Honor). It will be a disaster film in the vein of The Towering Inferno, where construction on a mile-high building in Chicago will take an unexpected and dangerous turn. Source.

Barry Sonnenfeld (RV) is in talks to helm Bronwyn And Clyde, a romantic comedy written by Tom Vaughan and Kristy Dobkin. Source.

Acclaimed filmmaker Gus Van Sant (Paranoid Park) will direct The Electric Kool-Aid Test, based on a non-fiction book by Tom Wolfe (The Right Stuff). The story recounts Wolfe’s experiences with fellow author Ken Kesey (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) and people called the Merry Pranksters driving around in a school bus and taking LSD. Dustin Lance Black (The Journey Of Jared Price) is writing the script. Source.

Author Neil Gaiman (Beowulf) has confirmed an adaptation of his bestselling The Graveyard Book is in the works. The story tells of a boy raised by ghosts. Source.

Prolific music video director Marc Webb will write and direct the sci-fi flick Age Of Rage, which is described as Children Of Men meets Lord Of The Flies. Source.

Randall Wallace (We Were Soldiers) is adapting the Outlander series of fantasy novels into a potential franchise.

[Diana] Gabaldon’s series of six novels center on an 18th century Scottish Highlander and his time-traveling wife.

From what I hear, the story is more romance than action, but then again, Randall Wallace is writing…Oh wait, he wrote Pearl Harbor, I take that back. Source.

Samuel L. Jackson (Lakeview Terrace) will portray the villain Sho’nuff in a remake of the 1985 martial art cult film The Last Dragon (trailer below).

The updated plot will be along the same lines of the original, centering on young martial arts student Leroy Green in his quest through the streets of New York to achieve the highest level of martial arts accomplishment, known as the Last Dragon. Those who achieve the high ranking possess the Glow, making them the greatest fighter alive.

Dallas Jackson (Uncle P) is writing the adaptation, and producing it. Source.

Comic Book Movies: Villains, Preacher & Agnes Quill

Sam Mendes (Jarhead) will direct the adaptation of Preacher, which has been gestating in what seems like forever.

Created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, “Preacher,” which ran from 1995-2000, told the story of a down-and-out Texas preacher possessed by Genesis, a supernatural entity conceived by the unnatural coupling of an angel and a demon.

Given immense powers, the preacher teamed with an old girlfriend and a hard-drinking Irish vampire and set out on a journey across America to find God — who apparently had abandoned his duties in heaven — and hold him accountable for his negligence.

James Marsden (Sex Drive) was once attached as the lead. Source.

Relative newcomer Thor Freudenthal will helm an adaptation of Agnes Quill: An Anthology Of Mystery, the story of a teenage detective, the haunted city she lives in, the strange cases she solves, and the ghosts who help, hinder, or just plain annoy her, according to book’s official plot synopsis. Evan Spiliotopoulos (The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning) is writing the script. Source.

  

Finally, Universal Pictures has hired newcomers Matt Jennison & Brent Strickland to adapt the comic book Villains. The story tells of a young guy who discovers that his old neighbor was once a notrious supervillain and decides to blackmail him into giving him crime lessons. Source.

Ninja Scroll goes live-action

The acclaimed 1993 Japanese animated film Ninja Scroll, original title 獣兵衛忍風帖 is getting an American live-action remake courtesy of Warner Bros.

“Scroll,” set in feudal Japan, revolves around ninja for hire is forced to fight an old enemy who will stop at nothing to overthrow the government.

Alex Tse (Sucker Free City) is adapting the script by original writer/director Yoshiaki Kawajiri (The Animatrix segment Program). Leonardo DiCaprio (Body Of Lies) will produce but not star in the film.

Fun Fact: A Japanese sequel is also in production.

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Dr. Strange movie coming after The Avengers

Mystic Update: Outspoken Doctor Strange fan Neil Gaiman (Beowulf) says he would love to write the movie.

Kevin Feige, president of production for Marvel Studios, has expressed his enthusiasm at the thought of a Dr. Strange movie.

“Very much so,” Feige said. “I’d say in the next year, year and a half, as we start putting together our film slate for 2012 and 2013, I would not be shocked if we saw Dr. Strange on those lists. I love the idea of tapping into the magical realm of the Marvel Universe, which is fairly significant and hasn’t yet seen life on screen.

I’ll admit to not knowing that much about the character, but Doctor Strange is the “Sorcerer Supreme” in the Marvel Universe and was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, who also co-created Spider-Man. Head over to his Wikipedia page to know more.

There has actually been a live-action adaptation of the comic book before, which was a TV-movie for CBS back in 1978 (trailer here) and was apparently relatively well received. Other than that the character has appeared on screen in a number of Marvel animated series and had his own straight-to-DVD animated film in 2007 (trailer here).

The mega-successes of Iron Man and The Dark Knight this year are a sure sign that comic book movies still attract moviegoers, and one can only appreciate the way Marvel is taking more control over its properties and making them share a same continuity, as they should. That being said, how do you feel about a Dr. Strange flick? Vote and tell me in the comments.

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More medieval fantasy for Kevin Lima

Director Kevin Lima (Enchanted), who is currently in pre-production of The Spook’s Apprentice, a medieval fantasy for Warner Bros, already has his next project lined up. Also for Warner, it will be a new interpretation of the medieval folk tale Tom Thumb. Interestingly written by Robert Rodat (The Patriot), the untitled film departs considerably from the classic tale.

An arrogant knight who’s shrunk to 6 inches while assigned to protect a princess and then discovers what it means to be a real hero.

No word on when production will start or as to who may star, but Warner believes this will be one of their big money earners whatever the year is when it’s released. Tom Thumb will apparently be a CGI creation while the rest of the film will be live-action…it sort of works with animals but will it be realistic enough for a human being, whether he’s tiny or not?

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Links of the Week

Last week’s /Filmcast and /Filmcast: After Dark.

The 500 greatest films of all time according to 10200 polled people here.

The 50 greatest animated films of all time according to a bunch of critics here.

The plot for The First Avenger: Captain America has been revealed here.

Director Guillermo Del Toro talks about The Hobbit and Frankenstein here.

Eagle Eye screenwriter Travis Wright explains his idea for a Blade Runner sequel here.

Awesome Lego diorama from the Zombie Apocafest 2008, whatever that is, here.

Watch the first five minutes of Blindness here.

Bonus: Awesomely hot Rachael Leigh Cook bikini pictures here.

The Hobbit movies in jeopardy!

The descendants of J.R.R. Tolkien, the man who wrote The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit, have given New Line Cinema a deadline: they have ten days to pay them 150 million dollars in unpaid LOTR royalties or the case will go to trial in October, thus indefintely delaying the two planned Hobbit movies from director Guillermo Del Toro (the Hellboy films).

As for New Line, they’re no stranger to lawsuits when it comes to Tolkien. Some of you may remember LOTR trilogy director Peter Jackson suing them over not being paid what he was owed, and a legal battle with MGM over who actually owns the movie rights to The Hobbit. New Line should just man up and pay up in my opinion.

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