“We’re baaaack.”, also other site announcements

Obvious update: Well I obviosly spoke too soon concerning the return of the site. But we ARE back now.

Finally! After two weeks of inactivity, computer troubles are finally over and updates will resume (The problems apparently came from the motherboard). I will not cover the extensive back catalogue of film news that has accumulated since I went offline, but here are some of the most interesting tidbits (at least in my opinion):

  • Sylvester Stallone (Rambo), Jason Statham (Death Race) and Jet Li (The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor) will co-star in The Expendables, an action movie set in South America which will be written and directed by Stallone himself. Stallone has of course plenty of experience in the field having written or co-written most of his films and directed quite a few of them (including the last Rambo film and four of the Rocky movies).
  • Joe Johnston, director of such films as Hidalgo, Jurassic Park III and October Sky will direct The First Avenger: Captain America, another of the cross-over comic book films Marvel Studios is making in the lead up to The Avengers (others include Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Iron Man 2). You know what I’d love? That they manage to include a crossover with the X-Men franchise, seeing as both this and the forthcoming X-Men Origins: Magneto will be set during World War II.
  • Acclaimed British director Ridley Scott (Body Of Lies) will direct an adaptation of the popular board game Monopoly.
  • Will Smith’s son Jaden, already seen in The Pursuit Of Happyness with his father, will play the lead in a remake of The Karate Kid.
  • Speaking of Will Smith, he’ll star in a remake of the South Korean cult film Oldboy which will be directed by Steven Spielberg (you know, the Indiana Jones films)
  • Lethal Weapon 5 isn’t completely dead after all and may happen eventually, according to series producer Joel Silver.
  • And of course, there’s the very sad news that bestselling author Michael Crichton died of cancer at age 66 on November 4th. Crichton’s novels have inspired films such as Jurassic Park, The 13th Warrior, Sphere, Congo, The Andromeda Strain, Timeline and many others. In addition he created the long-running medical show ER, wrote a few original screenplays such as Twister and even did a bit of directing with films like Westworld, Coma, The First Great Train Robbery and a few others.

As for the site, I’m happy to report that the hiatus did nothing to slow viewership, in fact these past three days have been our busiest ever with slightly less than two thousand visits per day on average. However, The Movie Planet will have a slight change in focus. Seeing as how this is for now a one-man operation and that I do lead a rather busy life, I will only give proper news posts to items which particularly interest me and cover the rest of the daily film news in a round-up sort of way. Thus I hope I’ll be able to write more articles in the vein of the one I penned about Babylon A.D., and you can expect such writings on the subject of Quantum Of Solace, The Happening and the High School Musical franchise soon (I hope to have my Quantum Of Solace “review” later today, but you can already see my score of the film on the What We’ve Been Watching page).

Finally, you can now contact The Movie Planet at themovieplanetblog@gmail.com, how cool is that?

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Ben Stiller goes dramatic?

Funnyman Ben Stiller (Tropic Thunder) is apparently in consideration to direct The Trial Of The Chicago 7, a court movie based on real events which Steven Spielberg (the Indiana Jones films) has been dragging along for a couple of years. Paul Greengrass, director of the last two Bourne films, was attached to the pic in August.

The script was written by Aaron Sorkin (Charlie Wilson’s War) and a few actors are already attached, namely Sacha Baron Cohen (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street), Will Smith (Hancock) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War).

As far as I know, Stiller has never strayed, even slightly, from comedy, so if this confirms, will he pull it off? I find that comic actors are often of excellent dramatic performances, but what about comedy directors? On a side note, the events were also recently the subject of an animated documentary titled Chicago 10.

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DreamWorks/Reliance deal finalized

Indian businessman Anil Ambani, CEO of the huge Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, and the sixth richest man in the world, recently flew to Los Angeles to finalize the deal between his company and Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks, investing more than five hundred million dollars in the American company, thus enabling it to gain its independence and become a full-fledged movie studio.

JPMorgan Chase will provide up to $700 million in financing for the deal, with Reliance providing an additional $550 million, according to The Times of India.

Current DreamWorks CEO Stacey Snider will continue his duties for the new studio which will start operations in January and is expected to continue being called DreamWorks. The deal comes after Spielberg & co decided to end their unhappy partnership with Paramount Pictures at the end of their contracts.

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The Trouble With Tintin

Universal Pictures has pulled out of Steven Spielberg’s (the Indiana Jones films) and Peter Jackson’s (King Kong) forthcoming Tintin trilogy because they didn’t agree upon how much the directors should be paid (Spielberg and Jackson wanted 30% of the gross). Now correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t issues such as salary be discussed in the early stages rather than when the movie is supposed to start filming? In any case, Paramount Pictures has stepped in, despite the studio’s current sour relationship with Spielberg.

In related news, British actor Simon Pegg has revealed that he and his Hot Fuzz co-star Nick Frost have been offered the role of detectives Thompson and Thomson (aka Dupond and Dupont originally) in the films, but didn’t say if he’d accepted the part or not.

The Tintin films will be based on one of the most popular and timeless comic books of all time, from Belgian author/artist Hergé. Spielberg has been trying to adapt the books since the early eighties, and is clearly passionate about the project, so even though I’m not convinced about the motion-capture route they’re taking, I trust them.

My only problem with the films is that they seem to be casting only English actors in the roles, whereas Tintin is of course originally in French. Ever since this project was announced I’ve been hesitating about starting a petition demanding the film be made originally in French, with subtitled and dubbed versions released in the US and other countries, but I guess it’s too late now.

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Has the Poltergeist remake found its director?

It was recently reported that MGM is developing a remake of the 1982 horror classic Poltergeist, and now it appears the’ve found their director. Ukrainian-born filmmaker Vadim Perelman (House Of Sand And Fog) is currently in heavy negotations, and things are supposedly looking quite good. It’s not a lock, but this would be a very interesting choice. House Of Sand And Fog, which was Perelman’s first film, is a stunning masterpiece…watch it if you haven’t already. Superb visuals, stellar acting, entrancing music and engrossing script, that movie has it all.

The Poltergeist remake is currently being written by the Juliet Snowden and Stiles White duo (Boogeyman). Most people cowered in fear at the thought that these two were adapting the classic, as Boogeyman is generally regarded as a turd, but I will go on record as saying that Boogeyman is a seriously underrated movie. That film is sadly misunderstood by its watchers but actually has a very original, clever story that is shakespearian in a way. It is also a rare 21st century American mainstream horror movie that isn’t a remake or a sequel. So yes, I think that if this wirting/directing team is final, the new Poltergeist could end up pleasantly surprising many, many people.

The original Poltergeist, which I haven’t seen yet, was directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1 & 2) on an original story by the legendary Steven Spielberg (do you really need an intro?), who co-wrote the script with the Michael Grais and Mark Victor duo (Marked For Death). It is widely regarded as one of the scariest movies ever made and was followed by two sequels. There was also a spin-off TV show in the mid-to-late nineties, Poltergeist: The Legacy, but it apparently doesn’t have much (if anything) to do with the films.

Poltergeist is slated for 2009, but the real question is, will the infamous real-life “curse” carry on to the remake?

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