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.

Nick Fury’s role expanded in Iron Man 2

Popular actor Samuel L. Jackson (Lakeview Terrace) has recently stated that, as expected, his Nick Fury role that was no more than a cameo in this summer’s early hit Iron Man, and which almost nobody saw because it was after the credits, will be much larger in the sequel, which is expected to hit screens in May 2010. According to Jackson, this comes straight from director Jon Favreau’s mouth, and really it’s to be expected since Iron Man 2 will be the last present-day-set Marvel film leading into The Avengers as The First Avenger: Captain America will be set during World War 2 and Thor, well, is about a god in Asgard. In related Thor news, Daniel Craig (the current James Bond actor) has recently turned down the chance to play the lead.

Short Ones: The Spider’s House, Angel Heart, Bourne spoof and more

Peter Webber (Hannibal Rising) will direct The Spider’s House, a romantic drama following two ex-lovers who meet again in 1950s Morocco, on a backdrop of growing tensions between freedom fighters and French colonials. It is adapted by newcomer Laurie Cooke from a novel by Paul Bowles (The Sheltering Sky).

The 1987 classic supernatural thriller Angel Heart is getting the remake treatment. The original film was written and directed by Alan Parker (The Life Of David Gale), based on a book by William Hjortsberg (Legend), and stars Mickey Rourke (Stormbreaker), Robert De Niro (Righteous Kill) and Charlotte Rampling (The Duchess) among others. Watch the original’s trailer below.

Jack Black (Tropic Thunder) will star in an untitled spoof of the Bourne films, from the screenwriters of Kung Fu Panda, Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. Black will play an amnesiac who’s convinced he must be a spy…FYI, this movie was already made last year into the very unfunny Code Name: The Cleaner.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War) will voice Max in Mary And Max, a claymation film about two penpals, an 8 year old Australian girl and a 44 year old Jewish New Yorker dude. In the meantime you’ll be able to catch him in the incredible looking films Synecdoche, New York (see the trailer) and Doubt (see the trailer).

British actor Michael Sheen (Blood Diamond) just signed onto two films: the new Alice In Wonderland movie from director Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street) and the terrorism-themed thriller Unthinkable from Australian director Gregor Jordan (Ned Kelly), also starring Samuel L. Jackson (Lakeview Terrace) and Carrie-Anne Moss (Disturbia).

Director Martin Scorsese (The Departed) is set to reunite with regular star Robert De Niro more than 13 years after the mob flick Casino. The new film will be based on the non-fiction book I Heard You Paint Houses from author Charles Brandt, as adapted by multi-award winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian (American Gangster).

Source: /Film

New Trailer: The Spirit

Suffering from very bad buzz ever since its second trailer premiered, The Spirit finally redeems itself with this pretty cool-looking, supposedly final one. I still don’t think it’ll be amazing, but it’s a definite improvement from what we’ve seen before. Comic book author Frank Miller (300) makes his true directing debut here, as God knows what exactly his co-directing contribution to Sin City was, and he also wrote the screenplay, adapted from the seminal comic created by the legendary Will Eisner (Sheena: Queen Of The Jungle). Here is Wikipedia‘s description of the comic book series:

The Spirit chronicled the adventures of a masked vigilante who fought crime with the blessing of the city’s police commissioner Dolan, an old friend. Despite the Spirit’s origin as a detective named Denny Colt, his real identity was virtually unmentioned again and for all intents and purposes he was simply “The Spirit”. The stories ranged through a wide variety of styles, from straightforward crime drama and noir to lighthearted adventure, from mystery and horror to comedy and love stories, often with hybrid elements that twisted genre and expectations.

The Spirit stars Gabriel Macht (Because I Said So), Samuel L. Jackson (Lakeview Terrace), Eva Mendes (The Women), Jaime King (Cheaper By The Dozen 2), Sarah Paulson (Serenity), Paz Vega (Spanglish), Eric Balfour (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and (ugh) Scarlett Johansson (The Other Boleyn Girl) among others. The film will be released in several countriesincluding the US around Christmas, and in most others sometime in Jauary or February 2009. What do you think of this new trailer?

Samuel L. Jackson talks The Spirit, doesn’t help

While promoting his new movie Lakeview Terrace, which will be released in the US and Canada on September 19th, popular actor Samuel L. Jackson also had a few things to say about The Spirit, Frank Miller’s (Sin City) adaptation of the legendary Will Eisner’s signature comic book:

“We do Wile E. Coyote kind of stuff. I hit him in the head with toilets. We have wrenches that are as big as this room,” Jackson says. “I created him, so I know he’s indestructible, and I [then] made myself indestructible. We’re the only two people who are like that, so we do outrageous things to each other. Even when I get shot I kind of shake bullets out of my head.”

The Spirit, which will premiere in various countries around Christmas time, has been getting very bad buzz ever since its second trailer was released, and I’m pretty sure stuff like this only make it worse. From what I understand, people want The Spirit to be cool, not a Looney Tunes episode.

Source

Movie Of The Day: Shaft (1971)

From Bullitt to Dirty Harry, 60s and 70s Hollywood was full of “tough cops with an attitude”, and John Shaft, played by Richard Roundtree (Speed Racer), was the black version. While not exactly a cop, Shaft is nevertheless a New York private detective, who operates in Harlem and doesn’t take shit from anybody, be it the bad guys or the cops, be it his foes, friends or lovers.

In the film, made to capitalize on the “blaxploitation” trend of the time, which had just started, smooth-talking Shaft is hired by local black mob boss Bumpy Jonas to find and rescue his kidnapped daughter. Along the way, Shaft will do plenty of walking around, plenty of smooth-talking, plenty of not taking shit from anybody, plenty of lovin’, and a little bit of action too.

Co-starring with Roundtree are Moses Gunn (Firestarter) and Charles Cioffi (Shadow Conspiracy). Shaft was directed by Gordon Parks (Leadbelly) and is based on a novel by Ernest Tidyman (Air Force One), who adapted the book with John D.F. Black (Trouble Man). Trailer and review after the jump.

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Samuel L. Jackson may direct new Lucasfilm movie. But probably not.

George Lucas has been talking about his World War 2 project Red Tails for a long time. Now rumors are going around that Samuel L. Jackson, who worked with Lucas on the last two Star Wars movies, may star in, and/or possibly direct the film. Jackson, who can currently be heard as the voice of Mace Windu in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, told IGN.com:

“I just read it like two weeks ago. It’s a pretty good script,” Jackson began. “At one point (Lucas) was asking me if I’d ever want to direct anything. I said, ‘I don’t know, man. I’m trying to find things.’ He said, ‘Well, let me send you this thing. Maybe you might want to direct it.'”

Jackson continued, “Well, I guess if I was gonna direct something George would be a great guy to kind of mentor me through that, especially a big ass special effects flying picture. The script’s good. I like it.”

But when pressed if he would seriously consider helming Red Tails, Jackson replied, “I don’t know. I don’t have a year and a half of my life where I wanna stop acting.”

So there you have it, that seems pretty clear to me. It’s highly unlikely that Jackson will helm the picture, but I think we can expect him to be in there. Also, according to the IMDB, Anthony Hemingway, an assistant director (Freedomland) and sometime TV director (CSI: NY) is currently attached to the project, which is set for release in 2009. Of course these things change so we’ll just have to wait for official announcements.

Red Tails, which was written by John Ridley (Undercover Brother), will tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American pilots to fly in a combat squadron during World War II (expect Spike Lee to throw a fit).

Lucasfilm was emerging as a big name production company back in the eighties and early nineties, with films such as Willow and Radioland Murders but has recently only been invested in Star Wars and Indiana Jones projects. I’m personally glad that Lucas is once again diversifying the company and hope that the trend continues (how about a Monkey Island animated movie?). The Movie Planet will of course keep you informed of any further developments.

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