Archive for October, 2009

Foreign Language Oscar Finalized

Posted: October 16, 2009 in Movies

Foreign Language Oscar List Finalized

For those who want to get an early start on seeing all the pictures eligible for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscars, here is the complete list:   

The 2009 submissions are:
Albania, “Alive!,” Artan Minarolli, director;
Argentina, “El Secreto de Sus Ojos,” Juan Jose Campanella, director;
Armenia, “Autumn of the Magician,” Rouben Kevorkov and Vaheh Kevorkov, directors;
Australia, “Samson & Delilah,” Warwick Thornton, director;
Austria, “For a Moment Freedom,” Arash T. Riahi, director;
Bangladesh, “Beyond the Circle,” Golam Rabbany Biplob, director;
Belgium, “The Misfortunates,” Felix van Groeningen, director;
Bolivia, “Zona Sur,” Juan Carlos Valdivia, director;
Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Nightguards,” Namik Kabil, director;
Brazil, “Time of Fear,” Sergio Rezende, director;
Bulgaria, “The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner,” Stephan Komandarev, director;
Canada, “I Killed My Mother,” Xavier Dolan, director;
Chile, “Dawson, Isla 10,” Miguel Littin, director;
China, “Forever Enthralled,” Chen Kaige, director;
Colombia, “The Wind Journeys,” Ciro Guerra, director;
Croatia, “Donkey,” Antonio Nuic, director;
Cuba, “Fallen Gods,” Ernesto Daranas, director;
Czech Republic, “Protektor,” Marek Najbrt, director;
Denmark, “Terribly Happy,” Henrik Ruben Genz, director;
Estonia, “December Heat,” Asko Kase, director;
Finland, “Letters to Father Jacob,” Klaus Haro, director;
France, “Un Prophete,” Jacques Audiard, director;
Georgia, “The Other Bank,” George Ovashvili, director;
Germany, “The White Ribbon,” Michael Haneke, director;
Greece, “Slaves in Their Bonds,” Tony Lykouressis, director;
Hong Kong, “Prince of Tears,” Yonfan, director;
Hungary, “Chameleon,” Krisztina Goda, director;
Iceland, “Reykjavik-Rotterdam,” Oskar Jonasson, director;
India, “Harishchandrachi Factory,” Paresh Mokashi, director;
Indonesia, “Jamila and the President,” Ratna Sarumpaet;
Iran, “About Elly,” Asghar Farhadi, director;
Israel, “Ajami,” Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, director;
Italy, “Baaria,” Giuseppe Tornatore, director;
Japan, “Nobody to Watch over Me,” Ryoichi Kimizuka, director;
Kazakhstan, “Kelin,” Ermek Tursunov, director;
Korea, “Mother,” Joon-ho Bong, director;
Lithuania, “Vortex,” Gytis Luksas, director;
Luxembourg, “Refractaire,” Nicolas Steil, director;
Macedonia, “Wingless,” Ivo Trajkov, director;
Mexico, “Backyard,” Carlos Carrera, director;
Morocco, “Casanegra,” Nour-Eddine Lakhmari, director;
The Netherlands, “Winter in Wartime,” Martin Koolhoven, director;
Norway, “Max Manus,” Espen Sandberg and Joachim Roenning, directors;
Peru, “The Milk of Sorrow,” Claudia Llosa, director;
Philippines, “Grandpa Is Dead,” Soxie H. Topacio, director;
Poland, “Reverse,” Borys Lankosz, director;
Portugal, “Doomed Love,” Mario Barroso, director;
Puerto Rico, “Kabo and Platon,” Edmundo H. Rodriguez, director;
Romania, “Police, Adjective,” Corneliu Porumboiu, director;
Russia, “Ward No. 6,” Karen Shakhnazarov, director;
Serbia, “St. George Shoots the Dragon,” Srdjan Dragojevic, director;
Slovakia, “Broken Promise,” Jiri Chlumsky, director;
Slovenia, “Landscape No. 2,” Vinko Moderndorfer, director;
South Africa, “White Wedding,” Jann Turner, director;
Spain, “The Dancer and the Thief,” Fernando Trueba, director;
Sri Lanka, “The Road from Elephant Pass,” Chandran Rutnam;
Sweden, “Involuntary,” Ruben Ostlund, director;
Switzerland, “Home,” Ursula Meier, director;
Taiwan, “No Puedo Vivir sin Ti,” Leon Dai, director;
Thailand, “Best of Times,” Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, director;
Turkey, “I Saw the Sun,” Mahsun Kirmizigul, director;
United Kingdom, “Afghan Star,” Havana Marking, director;
Uruguay, “Bad Day for Fishing,” Alvaro Brechner, director;
Venezuela, “Libertador Morales, El Justiciero,” Efterpi Charalambidis, director;
Vietnam, “Don’t Burn It,” Dang Nhat Minh.

Don’t feel bad, if you only heard of a few of the films on the list.   Most of the the films only get showings in their home country.   

The Production Ladder: Remakes of “Vacation”, “Predator”, “Showgirls” and Oren Peli Gets “Area 51”

As the recession continues onward, Hollywood marches forward with more branded entertainment properties.

The Hollywood Reporter is noting in its Heat Vision blog that Warner Brothers is developing a sequel to 1983’s “National Lampoon’s Vacation” with David Dobkin of “Wedding Crashers” attached as a producer and possibly director. The sequel will feature the now adult son of Clark Griswold, Rusty going on his own road trip vacation. Anthony Michael Hall played Rusty and Chevy Chase was the beleaguered dad in the original. Beverly D’Angelo played the mom. No casting announcements so far, but expect most of the original stars to return. “Vacation” also featured Randy Quaid, Brian Doyle Murray, Jane Krakowski, Eugene Levy and Christy Brinkley. Read more at

Robert Rodriquez will produce and Nimrod Antal (Kontrol, Vacancy) will direct a remake of the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi flick “Predator”. The less muscular but infinitely more talented Adrian Brody will be doing the acting honors this time around. The script written by Rodriquez, Alex Litvak and Michael Finch still follows the original’s formula – a group of elite soldiers hunted down by a race of alien predators. Shooting begins next month in Hawaii then moves to Rodriquez’s Troublemaker Studios in Austin, Texas. The film is set for a July 10, 2010 release date.  More at

Proof that the Apocalypse is already happening comes with the announcement that a “Showgirls” sequel is already in the works. The Joe Eszterhas scripted, Paul Verhoven directed abomination is a frequent starrer on almost every list of the 100 worst movies of all times. has it at 79 of its worst reviewed list. The German publication site notes that the writer/director Marc Vorlander has developed a parallel story Showgirls: Story of Hope that follows one of the movie’s minor characters Hope, played and replayed by German model and actress Rena Riffel. Vorlander’s script has reputedly attracted two Hollywood producers and a $25 million budget for the Frankfurt, Germany shoot.  More at

Oren Peli who is scaring up good grosses for his “Paranormal Activity” has signed to do another found footage film on a miniscule budget. Peli has a $5 million tab this time around, tiny by Hollywood standards. Still, that represents a more than 454 percent raise from “Paranormal Activity” $11,000 budget. “Area 51” is about three teens whose curiosity leads them to the notorious "Area 51" part of Nellis Air Force Base in the Nevada desert. It starts shooting next week.  See more at

Robert Pattinson Documentary “Robsessed” Coming to DVD in November


(John Shearer/Getty Images)

Robert Pattinson is getting a biography. The British distributor Revolver has acquired the rights to “Robsessed”, a documentary about the Twilight star. The DVD should be available in England and the US before the premiere of New Moon on November 20.

"Teenagers just can’t get enough of Robert Pattinson and this broadcast-quality biography is guaranteed to deliver, whether on TV or home entertainment," chief executive Justin Marciano said to E! Online reporter Breanne Heldman.


Is Hollywood Running Scared?

Posted: October 6, 2009 in Movies

Is Hollywood Running Scared?

Recent firings at Disney, Universal and Paramount Pictures are painting a portrait of Hollywood Studios in panic.

Dick Cook, the head of Walt Disney Studios, resigned under pressure a few weeks back when the Mouse House‘s underperforming production slate for the last two years pushed studio grosses to fifth and sixth place among the majors, its worst results this decade. Rich Ross, President of the Disney Channels worldwide, would be the new head of the studios. Ross’ tenure at the Disney channel spawned such franchise properties as Hannah Montana, High School Musical, Hanny Manny, The Wizards of Waverly Place and the Jonas Brothers.

Universal Studios gave pink slips on Monday to their co-chairmen Marc Shmuge and David Linde. Adam Fogelson, president for marketing and distribution at Universal, will replace them.

GE, the parent company of Universal, is so frustrated with its woefully performing entertainment unit (which also includes the fourth place NBC television network) that it is seriously considering a merger sale with Comcast, the giant cable provider.

In July, Paramount Pictures gave the boot to its most senior production executives, John Lesher and Brad Weston. In August, the MGM board fired its Chief Executive, Harry Sloan.

"There’s been more change in the last 18 months than in the preceding 18 years," Mark Gill, CEO of the Film Department, an independent film finance company, said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times.

"You’re not going to get away with the old business model," Hal Vogel, an entertainment industry analyst who runs Vogel Capital Management, also noted to The Los Angeles Times. "They still haven’t found a new business model to replace the old one."

The rise of deals from branded entertainment (sequels and movies based on old TV shows, toys and other familiar themes) like View Masters, Battleship, Transformers and G.I. Joe means that the more riskier adult dramas with big name stars, and other highbrow and genre fare that are the lifeblood of studio specialty divisions like Warner Independent Pictures, Paramount Vantage, New Line Cinema and Miramax Films will become less frequent. Studios are going to stick with the familiar but lower cost ways.

"You’re not going to get away with the old business model," noted Vogel. "They still haven’t found a new business model to replace the old one."

"The world we live in now is so bloody public," Bill Mechanic, the former chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment and now an independent producer, noted to a Los Angeles Times reporter. "Every decision is magnified. Every decision is blown up on a global basis almost as soon as it happens. People start becoming defensive about their jobs. When you’re always doing things on the defensive, it’s very hard to do that job."

The decline of DVD sales, which compensated for box office losers in recent years, has some studios cracking under the pressure to find adequate sources of funding for future productions.

"The money that came into the business from new markets and enhanced [ancillary] markets mostly went to increasing negative costs, marketing costs and overhead, and not improving profit margins," said former Paramount Chairman Jonathan Dolgen to a Los Angeles Times Reporter.

“It does something radical to an industry when $12 billion to $14 billion suddenly goes away," said Gill to the Los Angeles Times. "That places an enormous strain on the system. And nothing is replacing it. It used to be ‘let’s get the Germans’ and then the Germans went away, so it was ‘let’s get the Japanese’ or ‘let’s get the insurance companies.’ There was always going to be somebody else. Now it looks like it’s not going to be someone else."

Read more at,0,702751.story?page=1

“Paranormal Activity” that Spooked Spielberg Being “Demanded” Elsewhere

“Paranormal Activity”, a horror film about a couple terrorized by a nocturnal demonic presence, made on a budget of $11,000, with little special effects and almost no violence is scaring up some good reviews and box office for Paramount Pictures.

The movie’s trailer shows a full house preview audience at Mann’s Chinese Theater screaming, jumping and clutching their loved ones.

One tale associated with the film, which is either true or very clever marketing PR, has Steven Spielberg not only scared witless by a DVD screener that he viewed, but thinking the disc was haunted when the door to his bedroom suddenly slammed shut and locked from the inside, necessitating a call to a locksmith.  Spielberg refusing to have the “poltergeist” disc anywhere near his home tossed the “screamer” into a garbage bag and brought it to his Dreamworks offices.

The Dreamworks team was impressed enough to want to hire the director, the Israeli born Oren Peli to remake “Paranormal Activity” with a bigger budget and better special effects. Peli agreed, but only on the condition that the studio hold one test screening. That screening had audience members walking out because they were too scared to watch the rest of the movie. Dreamworks scrubbed the remake idea and decided to release “Paranormal Activity” theatrically.

Peli (whose first name means wonder or marvel in Hebrew) dropped out of high school at the age of 16 to finish a highly successful commercial painting program. He later designed computer animation and game software.

The 2006 six-day shoot at Peli’s California home used only one camera, a crew of three and a small cast featuring Micah Sloat and Katie Featherston in their first feature.

Paramount, which holds the distribution rights after the Dreamworks/Paramount divorce, has been releasing “Paranormal Activity” with a unique advertising campaign that “demands” moviegoers to vote for the film to come to their town. The film has 33 venues so far, that show “Paranormal Activity” at mainly Thursday, Friday and Saturday midnight screenings.

During the weekend “Paranormal Activity “generated $535,000 in box office, earning a per theater average of over $16,000- the second most for any new film. The midnight showings for the next two weeks are mostly sold-out. Additional showings at 9:30 pm are being booked to accommodate the demand for tickets.

Read more at,0,7435653.story

Trailer Park: “Up in the Air”

Posted: October 2, 2009 in Movies

Trailer Park: “Up in the Air”

Released today was the official trailer for the George Clooney starring Jason Reitman directed “Up in the Air”. The movie has been generating good Oscar buzz for its cast and crew. “Up in the Air” comes down to the ground in theaters everywhere on Christmas Day. 

Megan Fox to Work With Hitler Again

Posted: October 2, 2009 in Movies

Megan Fox to Work With Hitler Again

Megan Fox will be reteaming with Hitler again. In a grandiose announcement tinged with ironic barbs towards the world’s sexiest woman, Michael Bay announced that he is returning to direct Transformers 3. Fox in an interview a few months back compared Bay to Hitler because of his Führer control of the production.

Bay announced on his blog “Well its official: We have a great Transformers 3 story. The release date is now July 1st 2011. Not 2012.”

A few sentences later Bay has this to say about Megan Fox.

“P.S. Megan Fox, welcome back. I promise no alien robots will harm you in any way during the production of this motion picture. Please consult your Physician when working under my direction because some side effects can occur, such as mild dizziness, intense nausea, suicidal tendencies, depression, minor chest hair growth, random internal hemorrhaging and inability to sleep. As some directors may be hazardous to your health, please consult your Doctor to determine if this is right for you.”

There was no word from the beauty about working with this beastly boy again.