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The Sunday News Recap! 7.30.06

The Sunday News Recap: I think we deserve a spanking, right on the fanny.
by Ryan Arthur

What? Another Sunday News Recap? Here? Now? All right, then. This is the Sunday News Recap, and we've got the last seven days worth of reviews and features at HBS/eFC, as well as box office numbers for the weekend, and a preview of films, DVDs and features for the week ahead. I'm Ryan, and I think this uniform needs something; something that says 'I'm here to destroy you, but with a sense of fun.' Let's get started.

What I'm Watching
Animaniacs Volume 1, Discs 1 & 2

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

Reviews from our staff over the last week:

Peter Sobczynski
My Super Ex-Girlfriend
America: Freedom To Fascism
The Ant Bully
John Tucker Must Die
Miami Vice

Jay Seaver
Bad Blood
(Screened at the 2006 FantAsia Film Festival)
The Art Of Fighting (Screened at the 2006 FantAsia Film Festival)
Tokyo Zombie (Screened at the 2006 FantAsia Film Festival)
Sars Wars (Screened at the 2006 FantAsia Film Festival)
Blood Rain (Screened at the 2006 FantAsia Film Festival)
Them (Ils) (Screened at the 2006 FantAsia Film Festival)

Rob Gonsalves
Clerks II
Miami Vice

David Cornelius
Clerks II
Monster House
The Ant Bully

Matt Seaver
The Great Yokai War
Monster House

The Heart Of The Game
On A Clear Day
Brothers Of The Head
Miami Vice
John Tucker Must Die

Luke Pyzik (welcome back!)
Lady In The Water

Little Miss Sunshine

Erik Childress
The Ant Bully
Miami Vice

Brian Orndorf
The Ant Bully
Miami Vice
Brothers Of The Head
John Tucker Must Die
Little Miss Sunshine
The Descent

The Ultimate Dancing Machine
Miami Vice

Abhishek Bandekar (welcome back!)

Paul Bryant

William Goss
Little Miss Sunshine

Jack Sommersby
Warning Sign

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

We've got new features from our writers as well:

Peter Sobczynski
Interview: Gil Kenan - Landlord Of The 'Monster House'
Interview: "Edmond" Director Stuart Gordon
(More Celebrity Exclusive Interviews)
DVD Reviews For 7/28: Where The F#$% Is "Hudson Hawk"?
(More DVD Reviews)

Eric D. Snider
I Was A Junket Whore

Kim Voynar
Interview With "Little Miss Sunshine" Directors Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton
(More Celebrity Exclusive Interviews)

Erik Childress
The Box Office Buster (July 28-30)
(More Box Office Reports)

Natasha Theobald
The Sonic Death Monkey That Wasn't
(More Sonic Death Monkey Soundtrack Reviews)

Uri Lessing
How Mike Nelson Crashed The 'Road House' And Inadvertently Damned This Interviewer To Hell
(More Celebrity Exclusive Interviews)

Ryan Arthur
The Sunday News Recap! 7.23.06
(More Sunday News Recaps)

You can access more features from a particular writer by clicking on his or her name. Want more features, coverage, interviews and the like? Click on the More option, found directly below the article title. 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.

Hey! We've got our own radio station! Yes, it's true: you can now listen to Hollywood Bitchslap Radio online. We specialize in movie soundtracks, with specialty programming, movie news and opinion thrown in. It's fun, (and it's free!) but it's still a work in progress, so tell us what you like, what you don't like, and what you'd like to hear. All you need is an mp3 player and a healthy love of film, just like us.

As for traditional, terrestrial radio:

Erik Childress, Collin Souter and Scott Weinberg are regular guests on Nick Digilio's Nick 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).

Loey Lockerby is a regular guest on The Walt Bodine Show on KCUR 89.3 FM in Kansas City. Loey appears with The Movie Critics every other Friday during the show, which runs every weekday from 10:00am to 11:00am, Kansas City time (Central).

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!

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


* Tammy Blanchard is in talks to join Brittany Murphy in The Ramen Girl, a romantic comedy-drama directed by Robert Allan Ackerman. Murphy will play an American stranded in Tokyo after a breakup who tries to survive by training as a ramen noodle chef. Blanchard would play Gretchen, a drug-addicted American escort for Japanese businessmen who befriends Murphy's character. Filming starts in September. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Girl Next Door Elisha Cuthbert is in final negotiations to take the title role in My Sassy Girl. Yann Samuell is directing from a Vic Levin script, which was based on a South Korean film of the same name. Cuthbert would play a reckless, brazen girl who turns the life of a small-town guy from the Midwest upside down. Filming starts this October. (source: Variety)

* Jane Alexander, Alexa Davalos, Toby Hemingway, Selma Blair, Stana Katic, Billy Burke, Fred Ward and Erika Marozsan have joined Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear and Radha Mitchell in Robert Benton's Feast Of Love, which is based on the acclaimed Charles Baxter novel. Alexander, who starred in Benton's Kramer Vs. Kramer, will play Esther, the wife of Freeman's character. Davalos will play the lead role of Chloe, a sensual free spirit who comes into the lives of a group of friends in suburban Oregon and changes them in unexpected ways. Hemingway will play her boyfriend, Oscar. Filming begins next month. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Everwood's Emily VanCamp will join Chris Pine in an untitled thriller written by Alex and David Pastor. The story revolves around four friends trying to escape a viral pandemic in the American West who discover that they are more dangerous to one another than any virus. VanCamp stars as Kate, an uptight, goody-two-shoes. Pine, Lou Taylor Pucci and Piper Perabo-Sobczynski round out the group. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Eva Longoria, Lake Bell and Paul Rudd will star in screenwriter Jeff Lowell's directorial debut How I Met My Boyfriend's Dead Fiance. Bell plays a female psychic who falls in love with a skeptic (Rudd), while the ghost of his dead fiance, played by Longoria, tries to keep them apart. Filming starts August 24. (source: Variety)

* Chris Klein and Freddie Prinze, Jr. have signed on, and Jamie-Lynn Sigler is in final talks to star in New York City Serenade, written and directed by Frank Whaley. The comedy, loosely-inspired by a bittersweet period during the life of Whaley, is set in Manhattan in the mid-1990s and revolves around two close friends who realize that sometimes to keep a friend you have to grow up and grow apart. "Prinze plays Owen, an aspiring filmmaker suffering in a job at the neighborhood photomat. The one good thing he has going in his life is his relationship with his fiancee, Lynn (Sigler). Owen's childhood friend Ray (Klein) is a drummer, ex-husband and father who plays the dive bar circuit, often for drunken crowds prone to violence. The best friends' relationship is unexpectedly strained when Owen is accepted to a film festival, and the two meet actor Wallace Shawn -- who plays himself in the movie -- at the airport. Shawn invites the friends to join him at the Four Seasons, quite a step up from their reservations at the Motor Lodge, when Owen finds out that Ray has begun posing as Shawn's son. The two get into a fight and part ways indefinitely until an unexpected reunion 18 months later." (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Hilary Swank is going to star in a remake of the 2003 French thriller Labyrinth for Summit Entertainment. Russell Gewirtz is writing the script for the psychological thriller about a mental patient with multiple personalities who holds clues to the location of a serial killer. (source: Variety)

* Brad Pitt has officially signed on to take the title role in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, a project he's been attached to since last year (see the 5.8.05 Recap). Pitt would play a man who turns 50, and then starts to age backward, in a story Eric Roth adapted from the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Complications arise when the man falls in love with a woman who is 30. Cate Blanchett also stars, with David Fincher directing Pitt for the third time (following Se7en and Fight Club). (source: Variety)

* Ed Burns and Shannyn Sossamon are starring in One Missed Call, an English-language remake of Takashi Miike's 2003 Japanese film of the same name. Filming is underway now, with Sossamon playing a college student whose friends begin to receive cell phone messages from the future in which they hear themselves being murdered. When Sossamon's character receives her own death message, she uses her remaining days to try to change her fate. Burns will play a detective investigating the deaths. Eric Valette is directing. (source: Variety)

* What an incredible year for Amy Adams. She'll next join Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson's War, directed by Mike Nichols. The drama is about a rogue congressman (Hanks) and CIA operative who conspired to arm Afghan rebels against invading Soviet forces. Aaron Sorkin wrote the script, based on George Crile's book. Filming starts in October. Adams is in theaters this Friday with Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby. (source: Variety)

* Shaun Of The Dead's Simon Pegg is in talks to star in Run, Fat Boy, Run, written by The State's Michael Ian Black and directed by David Schwimmer. You read that right. The plot follows a charming but oblivious overweight guy who leaves his fiancée on their wedding day only to discover years later that he really loves her. To win her back, he must finish a marathon while making her realize that her handsome, wealthy fiance is the wrong guy for her. You also read that right. Filming starts in August. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Joining Burce Willis in Die Hard 4 will be...Justin Long? Apparently so. Long's in final negotiations to either play John McLane's son, or a computer hacker who teams up with him. Or possibly both. Len Wiseman is directing, with an official announcement expected in a few days. (source: IESB.net)

"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:

* What will Bryan Bertino do? Good question. Bertino, a screenwriter, will make his directorial debut with The Strangers, based on his own screenplay. The story centers on three mysterious strangers who terrorize a young couple in a remote house after they return from a wedding. Mandate Pictures and Vertigo Pictures are producing. (source: Variety)

* Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky's comedy pitch The Intern has been picked up by Dreamworks for Ivan Reitman to produce. The story centers on a middle-age, stay-at-home dad who decides to return to the work force and is forced to start as an intern. Eisenberg and Stupnitsky are writers on The Office. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Billy Ray (Shattered Glass) will write and direct Hurricane Season, based on the upcoming Franklin Martin documentary Walking On Dead Fish. The film will tell the true story of the football team at East St. John High School, near New Orleans. The team struggled with integrating displaced students from surrounding high school teams, trying to help rebuild their community after Katrina while fighting to become champions on the field. Ray's latest, Breach, opens March 2, 2007. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Guy Ritchie will stretch his abilities by rewriting and directing the crime drama Static for Columbia Pictures. Brad Gann wrote the original script, in which a wrongly imprisoned gangster who, with the help of his loyal posse, must make his way across town through crooked cops and rival gangs in order to testify against the dirty cops who put him away. Ritchie is rewriting the script with Martin Askew. Stephen Kay (Get Carter) and Chris Robinson (ATL) have both previously been attached to direct. Neal Moritz is producing. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Joe Gazzam's heist spec script Straight And Narrow has been acquired by New Regency Enterprises, with Ralph Winter and Circle Of Confusion producing. The film follows a parolee who is forced to pull off one last heist for his soon-to-be father-in-law. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Jason Reitman (Thank You for Smoking) is replacing Brad Silberling as the director of Juno. The project is a dark comedy about the choices facing a pregnant teenager. Silberling left due to creative differences regarding casting. Filming starts this fall. (source: Variety)

* Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence will write and direct the next two films in the Fletch series, with the first being Fletch Won, based on Gregory McDonald's book. That novel predates the first seven books in the series, and follows the early days of the title character's journalism career as a junior reporter in his 20's working at the News-Tribune. With Lawrence writing and directing, his Scrubs star Zach Braff, who is being considered for the role, now has the inside track to star as the title character. The project is set up at the Weinstein Company. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Paramount has hired Dito Montiel (A Guide To Recognizing Her Saints) to rewrite and direct Runnin'. Paramount-based Kevin Misher is producing. The film is set in New York in the underground world of sports betting. (source: Variety)

* Amazon.com is getting into the movie business. Amazon has optioned the film rights to Keith Donohue's bestselling novel The Stolen Child, marking the first time the company has moved into content creation that isn't limited to their website. The novel "combines literature and fantasy and covers issues of identity. A 7-year-old is kidnapped by forest-dwelling changelings, who replace him with a look-alike. The book tracks the changeling's attempt to meld into a family and the boy who roams the woods with a pack of feral children." Amazon will use its marketing clout of their site to market the theatrical and DVD release. The company is in the process of hiring a director and finding a studio partner to turn the property into a feature film. (source: Variety)

* Mr. Machine, a high-concept family comedy pitch from David Gordon Green and Danny McBride, has been picked up by Universal Pictures. Imagine Entertainment's Brian Grazer will produce, while Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) and his brothers Dan and Doug are in negotiations to executive produce. The project is described as "a throwback to the high-concept Amblin family comedies of the 1980s, revolves around three brainy slackers who build a robot that wants to take over the world." The film isn't considered a "star vehicle" for Heder. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

* Universal Pictures and director Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty) have purchased Magic 8 Ball, a high-concept comedy pitch from Barry Blaustein and Jason Hefter. Shadyac will produce and direct the film, which deals with the popular (they are still popular, right?) toy. (source: Variety)

* Traditional 2-D animation is alive and well at Disney after all. Walt Disney Feature Animation is developing The Frog Princess, and plans to produce it in the traditional 2-D style, should it get the greenlight. Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules and Treasure Planet) are developing the project after rejoining the studio following Disney's acquisition of Pixar and Ed Catmull and John Lasseter became WDFA president and chief creative officer, respectively. Home On The Range was the last Disney film to be done in the traditional 2-D style. (source: Variety)

* Seabiscuit director Gary Ross' production company Larger Than Life has teamed with Universal to pick up the pitch Sightings from writer/director Dean Deblois (Lilo & Stitch). Ross will produce and Deblois will executive produce the film, which follows "a group of kids who discover something never seen by man before while exploring coves and inlets in the Florida Keys." (source: Variety)

* Empire Pictures has signed a deal with Transcience Corporation to develop an animated film and possible franchise from the children's toy line The Amazing Live Sea-Monkeys. Yes. If you'll check the back of your dad's old Spider-Man comic book, you'll see that Sea-Monkeys hatch instantly and can live up to two years in special tanks. Empire founder and president Michael Birnbaum is currently meeting with writers to develop a storyline, but the film will be set in a microscopic ocean world. (source: Variety)

* Walt Disney Pictures has picked up a buddy comedy pitch from David Diamond and David Weissman (The Family Man) for Andrew Panay, Peter Abrams and Robert Levy (producers of Wedding Crashers) to produce via their Tapestry Films. The plot hasn't been revealed, but studio chief Oren Aviv says that, like Wedding Crashers, the film has a raucous premise for two male leads. (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 is the preliminary top ten for the weekend. Estimates are taken from Box Office Mojo.com and are rounded up, where applicable.

1. Miami Vice $25.19 million
2. Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest $20.49 million ($358.4 million total)
3. John Tucker Must Die $14.07 million
4. Monster House $11.5 million ($43.8 million total)
5. The Ant Bully $8.1 million
6. You, Me And Dupree $7.03 million ($54.0 million total)
7. Lady In The Water $7.0 million ($32.0 million total)
8. Little Man $5.1 million ($50.2 million total)
9. The Devil Wears Prada $4.77 million ($106.6 million total)
10. Clerks II $3.9 million ($18.5 million total)

Opening August 4 (wide release):
Barnyard: The Original Party Animals
The Descent
The Night Listener
Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby

Opening August 4 (limited release):
Boynton Beach Club
The Bridesmaid
Jailbait (2006)
The L.A. Riot Spectacular
My Country, My Country
The Science Of Sleep
Shock To The System

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

Previewing the week ahead...

On DVD This Tuesday (theatrical/DTV):
10.5 Apocalypse
The Black Hole (2006)
Mrs. Harris
My Summer Story
Richard Pryor: Live In Concert
Roving Mars
Severed: Forest Of The Dead
The Shaggy Dog (2006)
V For Vendetta (widescreen and fullscreen, widescreen 2-disc Special Edition)
What The Bleep Do We Know!? (Down The Rabbit Hole Quantum Edition)

We've got more DVD recommendations in our Upcoming DVD Release Schedule, updated regularly.

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

Peter Sobczynski gives you more DVD Reviews this Friday.

Erik Childress has his regular updates and additions to Criticwatch on Friday, too.

You can also visit our Contest page for your chance to win DVDs and other assorted movie-related swag from HBS/eFC.

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

Despite all of your protestations, this is the end of the Recap for another week. We're back next Sunday, so in the meantime, check out Hollywood Bitchslap Radio, take a look at our previous Recaps and join and visit our forums, too. Join the discussions. Thanks for reading, and as always, your feedback is appreciated.

link directly to this feature at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/feature.php?feature=1903
originally posted: 07/30/06 19:10:10
last updated: 08/06/06 16:29:02
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