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The Sunday News Recap! 5.1.05

The Sunday News Recap: can you deny the snazzy of that? Are you denying the snazzy of that?
by Ryan Arthur

Well, hello folks, and welcome back to the Sunday News Recap. We've got the last seven days worth of reviews and features at HBS/eFC, as well as casting news, writer/director/producer attachments for a number of upcoming projects, box office numbers for the weekend, and a preview of films, DVDs and features for the week ahead. I’m Ryan, and I am the wild blue yonder. The front line in a never ending battle between good and not so good. Together with my stalwart sidekick, Arthur, and the magnanimus help of some other folks I know, we form the yin to villany's malevolent yang. Destiny has chosen us. Wicked men, you face the Sunday News Recap. Come; the night is young and we have umbrellas in our drinks. Spoon!

R.I.P. Greg Muskewitz: Film Critic, Writer, Friend
Greg’s Reviews
Greg’s Features
Donate to The American Cancer Society in Greg’s name

In The Platter: What I’m Watching
Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events
Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory

”Skull cracked...brains leaking out...Can't wait to see the new Chevy Chase movie...”

Reviews from our crew over the last week:

Chris Wilson
The Man Who Knew Too Little
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
The Spongebob Squarepants Movie
Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut

Abhishek Bandekar

Jay Seaver
(Screened at the 2005 Independent Film Festival Of Boston)
Childstar (Screened at the 2005 Independent Film Festival Of Boston)
White Skin (Screened at the 2005 Independent Film Festival Of Boston)
Casting About (Screened at the 2005 Independent Film Festival Of Boston)
After Innocence
Dead Birds
(Screened at the 2005 Independent Film Festival Of Boston)

Brian McKay
The Bunker (2004)
Broken (2005)

Tom Ciorciari
Kung Fu Hustle

Dust To Glory
King’s Ransom
Mail Order Wife
New York Doll
(Screened at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival)
The Protocols Of Zion
(Screened at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival)
XXX: State Of The Union
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

Robert Flaxman
The Game Of Their Lives

Video Store Guy
Alien Abduction

Charles Tatum
The Hijacking Of Studio 4

Jack Sommersby
The Goodbye Girl (2004)

Jason Whyte
Kung Fu Hustle

J.K. Radtke (Welcome back!)
White Noise

Peter Sobczynski
Heaven’s Gate
Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room
XXX: State Of The Union
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

Uri Lessing
XXX: State Of The Union
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

Erik Childress
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
XXX: State Of The Union

Scott Weinberg
XXX: State Of The Union
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

David Cornelius
The Fearless Freaks
Call It Democracy
Mana: Beyond Belief
Cat And Mouse

Sin City

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

Collin Souter
House Of D

Laura Kyle

Want more reviews from a particular author? Click on his or her name. Want more reviews, regardless of author? Check out the database. Don't know what you want? Try searching the database.

On the feature front this week:

David Cornelius
Dave’s Ebertfest Diary
The Deep Focus Film Festival: A Handy Preview

Laura Kyle
Sonic Death Monkey Soundtrack Reviews – Millions
(More Sonic Death Monkey Soundtrack Reviews)

Scott Weinberg
E.S. Posthumus – Music For The Movie Geek In All Of Us!
(More Sonic Death Monkey Soundtrack Reviews)

Natasha Theobald
E.S. Posthumus – Music For The Movie Geek In All Of Us!
(More Sonic Death Monkey Soundtrack Reviews)

Charles Tatum
Book Review: Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon II
(More Book Reviews)

Peter Sobczynski
DVD Reviews For 4/29: Stooges, Skanks And A Genuine (?) Work Of Art!
(More DVD Reviews)

Matthew Bartley
Book Review: Down And Dirty Pictures By Peter Biskind.
(More Book Reviews)

Erik Childress
The DVD Shopping Planner (May 2005)
(More DVD Reviews)

Ryan Arthur
The Sunday News Recap! 4.24.05
(More Sunday News Recaps)

Want more features from a particular writer? Click on his or her name. Want more features, coverage, interviews and the like? Click on the More option. Want more features, period? Check out the database. Don't know what you want? Try searching the database.

Shameless Self-Promotion: Radio Ga-Ga

Our staff of writers frequently makes appearances outside of our sites, including regular gigs on radio.

Erik Childress, Collin Souter and Scott Weinberg are regular guests on Nick Digilio's Bick At Night on WGN 720 AM in Chicago. The show airs every Sunday night, 11:00pm to 2:00am, Chicago (Central) time.

Scott Weinberg is also a regular guest on JD Balart's American Radio Journal on WMET 1160 AM in Washington, DC. Scott's segment airs every Friday afternoon from 1:30pm to 2:00pm, DC time (Eastern).

Chris Parry, Erik Childress and Scott Weinberg are guests on Gaalen Engen's Fellini Is King on CJSF 90.1 FM in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The show airs every Sunday from 11:00am to 1:00pm, Vancouver (Pacific) time.

Ryan Arthur does entertainment news on Gary O'Brien And Friends on WDWS 1400 AM in Champaign, Illinois. I'm on Monday through Friday from 2:40pm to 3:00pm, Central time.

Listen to us, if you get the chance!

Shameless Self-Promotion Part Deux: The Quickening

Our Criticwatch guru, Erik Childress, is one of the presenters (along with Maia Entertainment, and Image Union) of the second annual Chicago Really Short Film Festival, happening May 7. The one-night only film festival features two bands (TRS-80, Project .44) and a sketch comedy duo (The Patel Leads), and the majority of the films submitted for the event consist of low-budget, independent and underground films from both local and national talent.

Interested? The second annual Chicago Really Short Film Festival will take place on May 7, 2005 at the Abbey Pub (3420 W. Grace Chicago, Il 60618). For more information, visit Maia Entertainment.

”Let's never forget; We're the real story, not them.”

Problems on the set of My Friend Flicka. Two weeks ago, a horse broke its leg on the set of the film, with the break being so bad that the horse had to be euthanized, and this past Monday, a mustang broke its neck and died during filming. In the incident Monday, which was ruled an accident by the City of Los Angeles’ Animal Services, the horse was running when it stepped on its lead rope and broke its neck. Production wasn’t shut down, and filming resumed on Tuesday. The production was informed that it could no longer use the horses involved in the incident, which were domestic rodeo horses. Animal Services spokeswoman Karen Knipscheer said their owner was shipping them home to Montana. The American Humane Association had four monitors on the set of the film when the accident occurred Monday. AHA spokeswoman Sara Spaulding called the accident “a tragedy. As an organization, we feel terrible that this horse died.” The organization said it is investigating the incident, as well as taking other measures. My Friend Flicka stars Alison Lohman and Tim McGraw and is due for release on February 17, 2006.

(source: Hollywood Reporter)

Comics icon Stan Lee has settled with Marvel Comics. Lee began with Marvel in 1939, and served as writer, editor, art director, head writer and publisher for the company before effectively retiring from active duty and becoming chairman emeritus. Lee pointed out a clause in his contract that entitled him to 10 percent of TV, movie and merchandising deals, an amount he thought was significantly higher than the $1 million-per-year salary he currently receives. Marvel tried to find a loophole in the wording, which was the basis for the lawsuit, which Lee filed in November 2002. Lee will now get to share profits generated by the company's TV and movie productions, especially the lucrative Spider-Man franchise. The agreement was reached on April 22 and was announced April 28.

(source: Associated Press)

Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal has gotten into some hot water after making what some consider questionable statements about the September 11 attacks and American foreign policy. Gyllenhaal, who lives in Manhattan, was doing publicity for The Great New Wonderful, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and features stories about people living in New York in the aftermath of the terror attacks. In an interview last week, Gyllenhaal said that she felt that the United States “is responsible in some way” for the attacks. Following a backlash, Gyllenhaal’s publicist released a statement on Monday in which Gyllenhaal said Sept. 11 was “an occasion to be brave enough to ask some serious questions about America's role in the world. Because it is always useful as individuals or nations to ask how we may have knowingly or unknowingly contributed to this conflict. Not to have the courage to ask these questions of ourselves is to betray the victims of 9/11.” Gyllenhaal also expressed her grief for “everyone who suffered and everyone who died in the catastrophe.”

(source: Associated Press)

Tina Fey (Mean Girls) is expecting her first child with husband Jeff Richmond, due in September. Fey will remain as head writer and co-host of “Weekend Update” on Saturday Night Live, and is also waiting to hear back if her pilot has been picked up by NBC for the fall.

(source: People Magazine via Associated Press)

”They took the idols and smashed them, the Fairbankses, the Gilberts, the Valentinos! And who've we got now? Some nobodies!”

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”Who wants to go down the creepy tunnel inside the tomb first?”
Justin Bartha is joining Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker and Zooey Deschanel in Tom Dey’s Failure to Launch. McConaughey plays a thirtysomething guy still living at home, and Parker plays his new girlfriend. Bartha will play a friend of McConaughey's that ends up getting together with Deschanel, a friend of Parker's. Bartha’s in National Treasure, out on video and DVD this Tuesday. (source: Hollywood Reporter)
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”You've got to know where your towel is.”
Mos Def will be joining Bruce Willis in 16 Blocks, directed by Richard Donner. The film follows a troubled NYPD officer who's forced to take a happy, but down-on-his-luck witness 16 blocks from the police station to 100 Centre Street, although no one wants the duo to make it. The film is described as a tale of redemption for both characters. Mos Def is in theaters now with The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (source: Variety)
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”Dad, I'm sorry I shot you.”
Dominique Swain and snowboarder Marc Frank Montoya are set to star in White Air for director U. Wolfgang Wagenknecht. Montoya plays “a once-promising snowboarder who now finds himself barely able to make ends meet, and who is working at the local garage and snowboard shop while trying to help support his mother and ailing brother. Though able to fly sky high, his preoccupation with his family's problems have left him in a rut, unable to land his jumps. A fter losing several local Half Pipe competitions, the snowboarder loses faith in himself and totters on the verge of abandoning his dreams to seek financial stability.” Filming begins May 10. Swain can next be seen in Devour, which will be released on video and DVD May 31. (source: Production Weekly)
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”Planning is pointless. Staying alive is as good as it gets.”
Add another familiar face to the cast of Miami Vice: Naomie Harris , who had a memorable role in 28 Days Later, will play Gina Calabrese, girlfriend to detective Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx). Michael Mann is producing, directing and wrote the script. Harris will first finish reprising her role of Tia Dalma in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (as well as a second sequel, which is also filming). She’ll next be seen in Michael Winterbottom’s A Cock And Bull Story, opening in limited release October 14. (source: Variety)
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”Death. The eternal blink. The capricious dance of Now You Stop Moving Forever. Well, contrary to popular belief, death isn't just for dead people. It can happen to anyone. I know, it's news to me too. And it's not just people either, it's all kinds of stuff. Horses, fiddler crabs. Did you know that even a potato…can die?”
Check out the voice cast that will be joining Jerry Seinfeld in the computer-animated comedy Bee Movie: Seinfeld’s…uh, Seinfeld costar, Patrick Warburton, plus Renée Zellweger, Larry King, Alan Arkin, Eric Idle, Kathy Bates, William H. Macy, Robert Duvall, Tim Blake Nelson, Uma Thurman and Oprah Winfrey. Yes. Oprah and Uma in the same movie. David Letterman just had a coronary. Seinfeld, who co-wrote the script and is producing, voices the character of “Barry B. Benson, a graduate bee fresh out of college, who is disillusioned with the prospect of having only one career choice -- honey. On a chance opportunity to go outside the hive, Barry's life is saved by a woman, Vanessa, a florist in New York City. As their relationship blossoms, Barry's eyes are opened to the world of humans and he soon discovers that people partake in the mass consumption of honey. Armed with this information, Barry realizes his true calling in life and decides to sue the human race for stealing the bees' honey. As a result, the bee and human communities get involved in ways they never had before, each one of them pointing a finger at the other. Barry gets caught up in the middle and finds himself with some very unusual problems to solve.” Steve Hickner and Simon J. Smith are directing. The film is due to be released on November 2, 2007. (source: Associated Press)
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”I'm sorry, just give me a moment to redefine my girlish notions of romance.”
Jennifer Connelly is in talks to join Kate Winslet in Little Children, based on the Tom Perrotta novel. Winslet plays Sarah, a mom who has an affair with a stay-at-home dad , in a suburban town where perfect parents rear perfect children by day and surf Internet porn and have affairs by night. There’s also a stay-at-home dad who resists his wife's ambitious plans for him, an uptight supermom (Connelly, perhaps?) who schedules sex with her husband and a pedophile fresh out of prison. Two-time Tony Award nominee Patrick Wilson is also in talks to join the cast. He would play the sexy young father who is also a former college quarterback. Todd Field (In The Bedroom) directs. Connelly next appears in Dark Water, opening July 8. (source: Hollywood Reporter)
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”You wouldn't mind if I have some of your three thousand dollar-a-glass shit there, would you?”
Denzel Washington is in talks to reunite with director Tony Scott (Man On Fire) and producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Crimson Tide, also directed by Scott) for Déjà Vu, a romantic action thriller written by Terry Rossio and Bill Marsilli. The plot follows an FBI agent who goes back in time to save a woman from being murdered, and ends up falling in love with her. (source: Variety)
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”You never told me about your cat milking days in Motown.”
Meet The Fockers’ Teri Polo has joined the cast of Nothing But The Truth, directed by Christian Charles. Ryan Pinkston plays Sam, “a 17-year-old with average looks and a corny family who, desperately trying to fit in at his new school, begins to tell outrageous lies that suddenly become true. Polo will play Mrs. Moran, a teacher at the school who is the object of affection for all male students, including Sam. Things take an unexpected turn when he lies to his best friend that Mrs. Moran has the hots for him.” Polo was last seen in the pages of Playboy, and in Meet The Fockers, on video and DVD now. (source: Hollywood Reporter)
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”Give Gondor the weapon of the enemy. Let us use it against him!”
Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates and Tanya Allen have joined Radha Mitchell in Silent Hill, based on the Konami video game. Mitchell stars as Rose, a woman searching for her lost daughter, played by Jodelle Ferland. Bean plays her husband. Christophe Gans is directing, from a script written by Roger Avary. Filming began this past Monday. Bean’s in National Treasure, out on video and DVD this Tuesday. (source: Variety)
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”Well, I don't think it's very intelligent to keep an electrical gadget on the edge of the tub.”
Anjelica Huston, Brent Spiner and Lukas Haas have joined the Duff sisters in Material Girls, directed by Martha Coolidge. The Duffs play a pair of cosmetics heiress sisters who lose their fortune in a scandal. Huston will portray the owner of a rival cosmetics firm trying to gain control of the girls' company. Spiner’s been cast as the CEO of the girls’ company, while Haas will play the head of a free legal clinic to whom the girls go to for help. Spiner will also presumably give the Duff sisters pointers on how to be less like soulless robots. It’s liquid, it’s ice, it’s a psychotic episode. Filming is underway now for release next year. Huston’s in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, on video and DVD May 10. (source: Hollywood Reporter)
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”If I could only have one food for the rest of my life? That's easy. Pez. Cherry flavor Pez. There's no doubt about it.”
Jerry O'Connell has joined Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo in Yours, Mine And Ours. The film is a remake of the 1968 Lucille Ball/Henry Fonda comedy. Quaid plays a widower with 10 children who marries Russo’s character: a widow with eight children. O'Connell plays a sales agent working for Russo's character. Filming began this past week with Raja Gosnell directing. O’Connell voices Captain Marvel in an episode of Justice League that airs June 4. (source: Hollywood Reporter)
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”This is great. Got tons of homework tonight. It's always easier to concentrate after sex.”
Desperate Housewives’ Jesse Metcalfe will make his feature film debut with the title role in John Tucker (which – probably – is actually John Tucker Must Die). Metcalfe will play a ladies man whose chronic cheating leads three ex-girlfriends to seek payback by setting him up to fall for the new girl in town, just so that she can dump him and break his heart. Betty Thomas is directing, with a script by Jeff Lowell. Filming starts this summer, during Metcalfe’s break from Desperate Housewives. (source: Hollywood Reporter)
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”Zero hour, Michael. It's the end of the line. I'm the firstborn. I'm sick of playing second fiddle. I'm always third in line for everything. I'm tired of finishing fourth. Being the fifth wheel. There are six things I'm mad about, and I'm taking over.”
Man, all this talk of movies with cast and crew from Arrested Development does nothing to calm my fears about the show not coming back. Will Arnett’s been signed by Paramount to star in Dad Can’t Lose, a family comedy to be directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, who also direct Arrested Development and it’s the second project in a week that the Russos and Arnett have been attached to: as reported last week, the Russos will also direct Arnett in another comedy, You Are Going To Prison. The details of Dad are being kept under wraps, but the story involves a lifelong competition within a family. Jay Martel and Ian Roberts wrote the script. Arnett’s in The Great New Wonderful, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and also appears in Monster-In Law, opening May 13. (source: Variety)
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”Let's never come here again because it will never be as much fun.”
Scarlett Johansson better be careful, or Woody Allen might try to marry her. Or possibly her twin brother. At any rate, Johansson is going to be in her second Allen written-and-directed film, playing the lead role in a movie that starts filming June 28. The first film, Match Point, will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this month. Johansson next appears in Michael Bay’s The Island, opening July 22. (source: Variety)
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”I too was concocting this very same plan; already our minds are becoming one!”
It’s the Latin team-up that no one wanted! Antonio Banderas will join Jennifer Lopez in Bordertown, an independent thriller directed by Gregory Nava (Selena). Lopez plays a journalist who investigates a series of murders that take place in the vicinity of some U.S.-owned factories near the U.S.-Mexico border. Marc Anthony is already planning on building up his jealous rage. Banderas has Legend Of Zorro opening October 28. (source: Hollywood Reporter)
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”Look, Kenny, I know you're about fifty pounds overweight, but when I say hurry, please interpret that as MOVE YOUR FAT TUB OF LARD ASS NOW!”
Courtney Cox is joining Tim Allen in the superhero comedy Zoom, which starts filming in July. Allen plays Jack, formerly Captain Zoom, an out-of-shape former superhero who has lost his powers and is reluctantly called back into action to turn a ragtag group of kids into a new generation of superheroes in order to save the world from destruction. Cox will play a scientist with the secret agency that runs the superhero program. Peter Hewitt is directing from a script written by Allen, Adam Rifkin, David Berenbaum and Matt Carroll based on the Jason Lethcoe graphic novel Zoom's Academy For The Super Gifted. Cox is in The Longest Yard, opening May 27. (source: Variety)
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”What does your cunt taste like?”
Clive Owen’s keeping busy. He’s reportedly set to star in The Children Of Men for director Alfonso Cuarón and Universal Pictures. The story takes place in “a dystopic society, radically transformed by humans' inability to reproduce and sent into chaos by the news of the death of the earth's youngest person, age 18. When the first woman becomes pregnant in more than 20 years, and thus becomes the most sought-after person in the world, Owen's character is enlisted to protect her.” The film is based on P.D. James' novel of the same name. Owen also recently signed on to join Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster in Inside Man, directed by Spike Lee. Owen is still in some theaters with Sin City, and he’s got Derailed with Jennifer Aniston awaiting a release date. (source: Variety)
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”I was just thinking what an interesting concept it is to eliminate the writer from the artistic process. If we could just get rid of these actors and directors, maybe we've got something here.”

Some script, production and direction notes:

* Columbia Pictures is in discussions to purchase the action pitch Twitch from screenwriters Brendan Cowles and Shane Kuhn. The project is a high-concept action film set in the world of gaming, but details are being kept quiet. Neal Moritz’s Original films is producing with Brian Koppelman and David Levien. (source: Variety)

* Oliver Stone is in talks to direct Keanu Reeves in The Night Watchman. The film is based on the James Ellroy novel about a disgraced police officer who makes it his mission to rid the police force of corruption. Spike Lee was previously set direct, but has moved on. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* The mockumentary cult television series The Trailer Park Boys are coming to the big screen. Mike Clattenburg is writing and directing the project, with series stars Mike Smith, Robb Wells and John Paul Tremblay on board as well. Filming starts this summer for release next year. (source: Variety)

* Another potential remake for Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes: Universal is in talks with Bay (as well as Peter Guber’s Mandalay Pictures) about a new take on Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. The new version would be based on Daphne Du Maurier’s short story, which inspired Hitch, and to which Universal owns the rights. It wouldn’t be the first time that Universal has done a Hitchcock remake: they were also behind’s Gus Van Sant’s Psycho in 1998. Just last week it was confirmed that Platinum Dunes was moving forward on a remake of The Hitcher. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Wes Craven’s Craven/Maddalena Films will team with Gold Circle Films to produce The Waiting. Juliet Snowden and Stiles White wrote the independent horror film, which is described as being in the vein of Don’t Look Now and Rosemary’s Baby. The plot deals with a woman who believes she is being haunted by the ghost of her deceased child. Craven’s Red Eye opens August 19. (source: Variety)

* Universal Pictures has signed director Peter Berg (and his newly-formed production shingle Film 44, along with partners John Cameron and Sarah Aubrey) to a first-look production deal. The deal follows previously successful collaborations between Berg and the studio: he directed Very Bad Things, The Rundown and last year’s Friday Night Lights for Universal, and is attached to direct The Kingdom as well. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Lions Gate Films has picked up North American distribution rights to Andrew Niccol’s upcoming action thriller Lord Of War. Nicolas Cage plays an arms dealer who begins to reevaluate the morality of his occupation while on the run from an Interpol agent played by Ethan Hawke. Jared Leto and Bridget Moynahan also star. The film will be released later this year. (source: Coming Soon)

* Sahara screenwriters Joshua Oppenheimer and Tom Donnelly have been hired by Platinum Studios to write Dead Of Night, an adaptation of the Italian graphic novel series Dylan Dog: The Fourth Kingdom. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Platinum Studios has also hired Alan McElroy to adapt Rob Moran’s Platinum Studios graphic novel Bonesaw. The story follows a horror-fantasy writer who discovers that her hit novels are about to release the villain called Bonesaw and the other hellish creatures she's been writing about into the real world. McElroy has worked in the comics-to-film transition before: he also wrote Spawn, based on Todd McFarlane’s comic book. Platinum is teaming with The Shop Productions, a feature-film production company that specializes in computer-animation on the project, which will reportedly be the first all-CG theatrical horror feature. Production begins early next year for release in 2007. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Disney’s Touchstone Pictures has bought the movie rights to Cabin Pressure, a proposed nonfiction book from Entertainment Weekly reporter Josh Wolk. The story centers on a writer on the brink of getting married who decides to return to his beloved summer camp where he was a camper and a counselor in a desperate attempt to hold onto his youth for one more summer. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Lions Gate-based Sobini Films has purchased the spec script Prey from writer from Jerrold E. Brown. The story is a psychological thriller about a man who sets out on a solo hunting expedition in the middle of winter and severely injures his leg. He is rescued by a mysterious trapper whose intentions are more sinister than he leads the hunter to believe. And that trapper…is Annie Wilkes. Well, not really. (source: Variety)

* Serendipity director Peter Chelsom will step behind the camera for The Food Of Love, set up at Warner Bros. Based on the Tony Strong (pen name Anthony Capella) novel, the film is a romantic comedy set in Rome that follows an art-history student who is seduced by the supposed culinary skills of a waiter masquerading as a chef, who actually turns out to be a Cyrano de Bergerac-type who goes by the name of Bruno. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Marvel Enterprises, Inc. and Paramount Pictures have entered into a deal for Paramount to distribute films produced by Marvel Studios. The distribution agreement between the companies specifies that Marvel may deliver up to ten films to Paramount over an eight-year period. First up will be Captain America and Nick Fury (he’s an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., you know). The budgets for each film may range from $45 million to $180 million. The first film is expected to be released in 2007 or 2008. Paramount will not contribute to production costs, although it will provide advance funding of promotion and advertising for the films. Marvel has obtained a financing commitment from Merrill Lynch Commercial Finance Corp. for a $525 million non-recourse revolving credit facility over seven years to permit Marvel to fund the production of its film slate. The facility will be secured by the theatrical and motion picture production and distribution rights for ten Marvel characters. You know who should direct Captain America? Michael Moore. Perhaps not. I do know they should keep David Hasselhoff away from Nick Fury, though, if only because the last time he was involved, the result was one of the worst productions ever, also proving that not every comic property that David Goyer is associated with turns out well. (source: Associated Press)

* Focus Features’ specialty arm Rogue Pictures has picked up the rights to Altered, a horror film that will be directed by Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project). The film follows a group of men living a night of terror after their lives were changed 15 years earlier by a strange occurrence. Adam Kaufman, Catherine Mangan, Brad William Henke, Mike Williams, Paul McCarthy Boyington and James Gammon star, with filming starting this month. (source: Variety)

* Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher's Double Feature Films is developing another project for rapper-slash-actor Andre Benjamin of OutKast. Benjamin, who will co-produce and write some of the music for the film, will play a magical character who enters the lives of a family. Jeff Whitty is writing the script. Shamberg and Sher want the film to be hip and modern, but also want it to call back to old Hollywood musicals, where characters just spontaneously burst into song. They got...the mustard…out! (source: Variety)

* Is Robert Rodriguez the director for a long-in-development new Conan movie, replacing John Milius? If you believe the Arnold Fans, yes. “The news is sad but true, King Milius was given his walking papers by WB. TheArnoldFans put a call into the Milius Camp on Friday morning in hopes to lay all of these rumors to rest. Not only did we receive the confirmation that Robert Rodriguez has been given the opportunity to direct a NEW CONAN in few years - but we also learned Milius and company were clearing out there desks! They are leaving WB once and for all. John Milius had a 5 year contract to be on the WB lot, however, after WB gave Conan away to Rodriguez, they decided they did not need Milius and kicked him off the lot without renewing his contract. The director of the greatest Arnold film of all times is now heading over to the CBS lot to write for a new Western series called ‘Dodge City.’” (source: the Arnold Fans via Coming Soon)

* Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban's 2929 Entertainment has hired Steven Soderbergh to direct six high-definition films that – in a unique strategy – would be released simultaneously in theaters, on TV and on video and DVD. All of the films will receive theatrical distribution through Magnolia Pictures at Landmark Theaters venues, while TV distribution will go through 2929's high-definition cable channel HDNet Movies. DVD and international distribution have not yet been determined. The first of the six films is Bubble, and is a murder mystery set in a small Ohio town. (source: Variety)

”Great movie, huh? So refreshing to see something like this after all these...cop movies and, you know, things we do. Maybe we'll do a remake of this!”

Here's the preliminary top ten for the weekend. Estimates are taken from Box Office and are rounded up, where applicable. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy $21.7 million
2. The Interpreter $14.2 million ($43.6 million)
3. XXX: State Of The Union $13.7 million
4. The Amityville Horror (2005) $8.1 million ($55.1 million total)
5. Sahara $6.0 million ($57.2 million total)
6. A Lot Like Love $5.2 million ($14.7 million total)
7. Kung Fu Hustle $3.83 million ($13.2 million total)
8. Fever Pitch (2005) $3.75 million ($36.5 million total)
9. Robots $2.7 million ($123.7 million total)
10. Guess Who $2.2 million ($65.5 million total)

Opening May 4 (limited release):
Writer Of O

Opening May 6 (wide release):
House Of Wax (2005)
Kingdom Of Heaven

Opening May 6 (limited release):
Citizen Verdict
Crash (2005)
Fighting Tommy Riley
Le Grand Role
A Hole In One
Jiminy Glick In La La Wood
Mysterious Skin
Twin Sisters

”Can we agree that from now on, films have to be made by FILMMAKERS?!”

Previewing the week ahead...

On DVD This Tuesday (theatrical/DTV):
American Dreamer
Back Roads
Battle Of The Bulge
The Big Red One (The Reconstruction)
Blood Alley
The Chorus
Chupacabra Terror
Dogtown And Z-Boys
Enduring Love
License To Drive
National Treasure (widescreen and fullscreen)
The Phantom Of The Opera (2004)
Pocahontas (10th Anniversary Edition)
The Sandlot 2
The Sea Chase
Spaceballs (Collector’s Edition)
Table For Five
Tall In The Saddle
That Darn Cat! (1965)
The Train Robbers
Vampires: The Turning
Where Eagles Dare
With Six You Get Eggroll
The Work And The Glory

We’ve got additional DVD recommendations in our Upcoming DVD Release Schedule.

Natasha Theobald will take a look at some short films from the 2005 Beverly Hills Film Festival later this week.

Michael Collins has the latest edition of Sonic Death Monkey Soundtrack Reviews on Wednesday.

Peter Sobczynski will have some new DVD Reviews on Friday.

Erik Childress posts updates and additions to Criticwatch on Friday, as well.

Make sure you visit our Contest page for your chance to win cool stuff from HBS/eFC, but you missed your chance to get in on The 2005 eFilmcritic Summer Movie Madness Tournament. Your loss.

We’ll have some additional features and editorials throughout the week, and I’ll have your Recap on Sunday.

Well, once again we find that clowning and anarchy don't mix, and that should be it for another edition of the Sunday News Recap. We’re back next weekend, so while you’re waiting, please check out our previous Recaps for clues that could lead you to a buried treasure worth millions of dollars, and please visit our forums while you’re here. Thanks for reading, and as always, your feedback is appreciated.

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originally posted: 05/02/05 12:44:37
last updated: 05/09/05 11:45:32
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