April 18, 2014

Tag Archives: Paramount films

‘Salt’ Review: The Evolution of Girl Power

HollywoodNews.com:
By Anthony D’Alessandro
The 1970s Virginia Slims cigarette promos boasted the slogan “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” toward their femme demo and the same prideful adage can be applied to the female action hero who has broken ceilings at the cinema over the last 40 years.
In the wake of the body count left behind by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone in the ’80s and ‘90s, it’s often asked Who is the action hero of now?
As a fresh crop of actors make their mark in the genre, they become too pretentious about fully wearing the crown for fear of being pigeon-holed: Gerard Butler and Vin Diesel prefer to dabble in bullets.
If you’re holding out for a hero, “Salt” reminds us that our cinematic knight in shining armor wears a dress and her name is Angelina Jolie. Jolie doesn’t duck her head when labeled as an action lead: She knows that there are enough Oscar-worthy offers out there for her, even if she gets a little grease on her hands.
Sure, we’ve already seen Jolie’s finesse with fisticuffs in “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” but “Salt” showcases the actress’ physical prowess at its zenith with arm-breaking acrobatics and the overall philosophy that it’s better to send in a woman to do a man’s job — a shout out to Tom Cruise who was originally intended for the title role.
In the Phillip Noyce-directed film, Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent who comes to the realization that she’s a sleeper Russian spy after her childhood Soviet intelligence-mentor Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski) outs her before her U.S. associates. Salt’s ultimate mission is to assassinate the Russian president at a New York City funeral for the U.S. vice president. From this point on, “Salt” turns into a lean and mean chase as the title character defies any punishments that her Yankee counterparts, Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber) and Peabody (an intense Chiwetel Ejiofor) wish to rain on her.
Noyce is no stranger to spy actioners having hit his stride with the Tom Clancy adaptations “Patriot Games” and “Clear and Present Danger.” What makes “Salt” more enjoyable is that it doesn’t get bogged down in the politico-spy speak of those films, rather it takes the square root of them, distilling down to a heart-thumping orchestration of stunts, eloquently backed by James Newtown Howard’s string and [...]

Review: ‘Salt’ means to be dumb summer fun for grown-ups, but is really just dumb

By Todd Gilchrist
hollywoodnews.com: Phillip Noyce’s Salt is the kind of movie that adults point to as good entertainment when they’re more resentful of the choices available for younger audiences than they are discriminating enough to choose something genuinely intelligent for themselves. A thriller obviously designed to capitalize on the success of political-potboiler predecessors like the Bourne series, it wears the pedigree of “mature” filmmaking in much the same way a recent college graduate reinforces his unassailable worldliness with a framed diploma from a private university.
And yet it’s the “grown-up” equivalent of Transformers or some other kind of idiotic escapism, a knuckle-headed action movie that has less creativity or ambition than it does money and star power, and which will ultimately earn a pass from audiences and probably critics as well for no other discernible reason than it’s only mediocre, while most of its competition is just plain godawful.

Angelina Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, a CIA operative who gets hunted by her former colleagues when an interrogation subject announces that she is an undercover Russian spy. Fleeing Washington, D.C. to track down her husband Mike (August Diehl), whom she believes was kidnapped by the same people framing her, Salt soon finds herself unwittingly going through with a plot to kill a visiting Russian dignitary, if only to figure out where her husband is, who set her up, and how she can clear her name, and all before being locked in prison or getting killed by her pursuers.
The biggest problem with Salt is that you just don’t care what happens – at any point, and with one exception, to any character. (And the one, sadly, isn’t Salt herself.) The film’s self-congratulatory attitude towards its gender indifference – a continuation from the announcement that the title character was originally meant to be played a man – subjects Jolie to torture, beatings, gunfights, and showdowns of epic proportions, and yet none of them seem to be born of anything other than empty-headed screenwriting clichés.
We are informed repeatedly that Salt is a trained killer with talents and abilities beyond our comprehension, for example, but it seems like she could have just as easily learned about kicking ass from watching MMA or downloading a steady diet of politically-themed action films. That you never worry for her health or safety is less a reflection of the filmmakers’ liberal attitudes towards female empowerment than the inevitability that the main [...]

David Fincher’s “The Social Network” gets full trailer treatment

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: David Fincher’s “The Social Network” quickly is becoming one of our most anticipated movies of the fall.
Forget the fact that Fincher hasn’t made a bad film. And more often than not, his film’s are stunning, challenging works of high art. “Benjamin Button,” “Fight Club” and “The Game” all made my Top 10 lists in the year’s they came out. “Zodiac” actually topped my list in 2007.
But I am intrigued by the story behind “Social Network,” which recounts the controversial rise of Facebook through the eyes of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Aaron Sorkin gets credit for the screenplay, adapted from Ben Mezrich’s novel. And Jesse Eisenberg of “Zombieland” and “Adventureland” looks perfectly cast as the pioneering Zuckerberg.
A new, full trailer makes its way online this afternoon. It only raises my already high expectations. We already know Fincher is opening the New York Film Festival with “Social Network” in September. I imagien it will play Toronto, as well.
When will the general public see it? Sony plans to open it wide on Oct. 1.
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‘Mission: Impossible 4′ bound to happen, but will it star Tom Cruise?

HollywoodNews.com: Paramount is looking to make a fourth “Mission: Impossible,” the question is whether or not it stars Tom Cruise.
Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore told the Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, “We absolutely are excited about having Tom Cruise star in this movie.”
But insiders and observers claim that Paramount’s courtship with Cruise hinges on the foreign turnout of “Knight and Day.” Typically, Cruise excels abroad at the box office versus his domestic returns. Currently, “Knight and Day,” a $100 million-plus budgeted feature, has crashed at the domestic B.O. with $63 million.
The overseas release for “Knight” has been held up due to the World Cup with many European territories set to be released. “Knight” will unspool this weekend in Australia, Spain and Brazil. To date, “Knight” has made $38 million abroad. For an “M:I-4” greenlight with Tom Cruise to occur, “Knight” will need to make $200 million or more at the foreign B.O.
Many pundits have attributed the lackluster performance of “Knight” to Cruise’s zany public image. Crusie faults Fox for bumbling “Knight.” The Hollywood Reporter –which had the scoop on this story– writes:
Cruise’s reps said (Fox’s co-chairman Tom) Rothman engaged in micromanaging, leading to delays in responding to prerelease research indicating that the movie was not alluring to audiences. And they question a number of marketing decisions, including why the studio never updated a teaser poster that didn’t show the faces of Cruise and his co-star, Cameron Diaz.
Should “Knight” make less than $200 million, it’s plausible that the lead role of Ethan Hunt will be recasted. Such a move would re-boot the entire franchise.
No script has surfaced yet for “M:I-4,” though the studio hopes to release the film for the 2011 holiday season. Paramount wants a budget that’s around $140 million, definitely less than the third installment’s $165 million-plus cost.
Earlier this month, the British press was hot with news that Cruise and producer Jerry Bruckheimer would team up for a long-awaited sequel to “Top Gun.”
In the meantime, it has been widely reported that Cruise is working on a comedy with Ben Stiller about his Les Grossman studio executive character, which was a hit at the MTV Movie Awards.
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“Iron Man 2″ coming to DVD and Blu-ray on Sept. 28

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Need another example that the theatrical-to-DVD window is shrinking? Summer’s halfway over, and the film that kicked it off is already announcing its release date.
Paramount just let it be known that Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man 2″ will hit streets on Blu-ray and DVD on Sept. 28. The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack comes fully loaded with immersive and interactive bonus materials including an in-depth, feature-length documentary of the making of the film, revealing featurettes about Nick Fury, Black Widow and War Machine, a look inside the creation of Stark Expo, deleted scenes and an exclusive peek inside the Marvel Super Hero Universe through the S.H.I.E.L.D. Data Vault.
The disc breakdown is as follows:
Disc 1 (Blu-ray):
· Feature film with optional commentary by Jon Favreau (HD)
· S.H.I.E.L.D. Data Vault (HD)— Extend your knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with high-level clearance into S.H.I.E.L.D.’s digital data vault. Interact with select scenes from the movie that include new layers of graphics and insider information. View case files, dossiers, S.H.I.E.L.D. training films, tech details and more.
· Previsualization and Animatics (HD)
Disc 2 (Blu-ray):
· Ultimate Iron Man: The Making of Iron Man 2 (HD)
Rebuilding the Suit—An all-encompassing look at the beginning stages of this mammoth blockbuster.
A Return to Action—From Marvel Studios to the streets of Monaco, Jon Favreau takes viewers through the trials and triumphs of continuing Iron Man’s story.
Expanding the Universe—From the amazing sets of Stark Expo to Tony Stark’s home and beyond, the Marvel Universe continues to unfold into new and exciting places.
Building a Legacy—From filming to editing, scoring and visual effects, Favreau and his team face the challenges of bringing the sequel to the big screen.
· Featurettes (HD)
Creating Stark Expo—A look at how the sets and computer-generated elements combine to create the massive set piece.
Practical Meets Digital—How the “practical” props inform the “digital” work that ultimately brings our hero to life on screen.
Illustrated Origin: Nick Fury—A comprehensive journey into creating one of the most mysterious and influential heroes in the Marvel Universe.
Illustrated Origin: Black Widow—An exciting look at the new femme fatale introduced in Iron Man 2.
Illustrated Origin: War Machine—A look at the introduction of the character and how his friendship with Tony Stark [...]

“The Blue Dahlia” the next film in Academy’s ‘Oscar Noir’ series

HollywoodNews.com: “The Blue Dahlia” (1946), starring Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake as a veteran accused of murder and the woman who comes to his aid, will be screened as the next feature in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ series “Oscar Noir: 1940s Writing Nominees from Hollywood’s Dark Side.”
The film will be introduced by screenwriter Wesley Strick (“True Believer,” “Cape Fear”). Raymond Chandler penned the film’s original screenplay, which earned him his second Academy Award® nomination.
At 7 p.m. noir cartoon short “Donald’s Crime” (1945), starring Donald Duck, and the episode “Boomerang” from the 1941 serial “Adventures of Captain Marvel” will be screened as part of the evening’s pre-feature program.
The screening will take place on Monday, July 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Tickets to individual evenings are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. They may be purchased online at www.oscars.org, by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the screening when the doors open at 6:30 p.m. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.
“Oscar Noir” is a summer-long series featuring 15 film noir classics from the 1940s, all of which were nominated in writing categories. Including “The Blue Dahlia,” there are seven screenings remaining in the series.
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“Transformers” roll through Chicago as Bay blows up Windy City

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: The Windy City became The Demolished City as Michael Bay brought his production crew to Chicago to shoot scenes for “Transformers 3.”
Specific details about the plot are being kept under wraps. Screenwriter Ehren Kruger, who penned part of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” returns to the franchise, as does lead actor Shia LaBeouf. Of course, most of you know Megan Fox will not be returning as Shia’s love interest. She has been replaced by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. What I didn’t realize is that Huntington-Whiteley will be playing Fox’s character, Mikaela Banes. (At least, according to IMDB she is.) I just assumed Bay would cast her as a different girl for LaBeouf’s Sam character. Maybe he fears “Transformers” fans wouldn’t be able to follow just an elaborate switch?
None of the actors appear in photos posted to various Web sites this morning, however. Click on ChicagoNow for shots of Optimus Prime rolling down a devastated LaSalle Street in Chicago. And the always excellent Film Drunk ran photos sent by Drunk readers, which have a NASCAR theme. Sounds about right.
“Transformers 3″ will film in Chicago through August. It’s scheduled to hit theaters July 1, 2011.
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Chris Pine will star as Jack Ryan in winter or early spring

HollywoodNews.com: Notice any big franchise titles missing from the summer box office?
Remember novelist Tom Clancy’s character Jack Ryan?
Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura reveals that Jack Ryan will return before the cameras in “Moscow” in either late winter or early spring. Chris Pine of “Star Trek” fame is expected to fill the shoes of Ryan who has been played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck in the past.
“Moscow” isn’t based on any of the Clancy novels. Plot follows Ryan, just out of the Marines, before he joins the C.I.A., working as a financial advisor to a Russian billionaire.
Ryan gets framed and must clear his name while rescuing his wife. No director has been attached at this time.
The last Jack Ryan title starring Ben Affleck, “The Sum of All Fears,” made $118.9 million at the summer box office in 2002.
Check out Collider’s story here.
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James Cameron to re-release ‘Titanic’ in 3D in April 2012

HollywoodNews.com: James Cameron already has the number one movie of all time that dominated the box office for months, and has also set a record for the most Blu-ray sales of any movie.
However, Cameron wants to top it all. He is going to re-release his successful movie “Titanic” and has now shared that it is slated to hit the theaters in April 2012, according to the LA Times. This will be in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking.
Will you go see “Titanic 3D,” or have you had enough of the film?
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Kevin Williamson drops out of ‘Scream 4′ production

HollywoodNews.com: Creative conflicts and numerous rewrites on the set of “Scream 4″ have apparently resulted in writer/creator Kevin Williamson (“Vampire Diaries”, “Dawson’s Creek”) leaving the production and being replaced with Ehren Kruger, the man behind “Scream 3″, “The Ring”, and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”.
Several actors on the currently-in-production sequel have expressed dissatisfaction with the project in the days leading up to this announcement, with Hayden Panettiere being reportedly “beyond frustrated” with the script’s numerous creative changes and both Lake Bell and Lauren Graham quitting their roles in the film after major changes to their characters. The effect Williamson’s additional departure will have on this latest installment of the classic horror franchise remains to be seen in the following months leading up to the film’s release date in April.
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