#1 PREPARE TO BE MARVELED AND AVENGED
Last week, even before Iron Man opened to $100+ million, it was known that Marvel Studios was going to have a financial report this past Monday, in which they were likely to reveal their future plans, with the only real question mark being whether the movie would merit a sequel. And it did, with Iron Man 2 now scheduled for April 30th, 2010, although Jon Favreau is not yet locked to return as director (he probably will, though). A few weeks later, Thor, the Norse god of thunder will get his movie adaptation in full Asgardian fantasy glory, with The First Avenger: Captain America (tentative title) expected on May 6th, 2011, and all three likely to be featured in The Avengers in July, 2011 (along with other likely Avengers like Hawkeye). It’s all very exciting, and with the quality Marvel proved itself capable of deliving when it produces its own characters, we should all be in for a treat.
#2 WHAT A (BIO)SHOCK
Last year’s Bioshock videogame was a critical darling, hailed for its atmospheric setting and story about an underwater city called Rapture that is the remnants of a 1930s scientific/social experiment, and is now home to strange horrors. The game’s publisher, Take-Two, has set up a deal with Universal, with Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) to direct, that they hope has been structured to avoid the problems that have besieged Microsoft’s HALO movie plans. With a script being written by John Logan (The Aviator, Sweeney Todd), the director hopes to start pre-production on what should be a visual stunner as soon as the script is done.
#3 I LOVE LAMP 2: I LOVE CHAIR
It’s just an off-hand comment made in an interview, but hey, that’s good enough for the Internet movie press on most days, displaying a journalistic tradition that Ron Burgundy would be proud of. The subject, of course, is Anchorman 2, which director Adam McKay says he and Will Ferrell are expecting to work on sometime in the next few years, after some other projects get taken care of. What exactly such a movie would cover is unknown, as is whether or not all of the original cast members (like, say, Steve Carell) would be able to return.
#4 MISSION: RECONCILIATION
Remember all the news and hype a few years back when Viacom/Paramount’s studio boss, Sumner Redstone, showed the door to Tom Cruise, after the star did all that jumping about on Oprah’s couch, and stated his opinions on what sort of things Brooke Shields puts in her mouth? Well, apparently the sweet, sweet lure of box office gold is just too much of a monkey to get off your back, because Paramount is once again talking about maybe making more Mission: Impossible movies with Tom Cruise. There’s no director, no script, etc, but if Cruise and Paramount do actually get back together, I’m sure silly little details like those can be taken care of.
#5 YET ANOTHER MOVIE CONCEPT THAT SOUTH PARK DID FIRST
When Eric Cartman got himself frozen and woke up hundreds of years later in an extended spoof of the late ’70s sci-fi TV series, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, I think I snorted up whatever I was drinking in laughter, at the same time wondering if younger fans of South Park even knew what Buck Rogers was. Well, apparently, the family that controls the rights to the Buck Rogers licensing empire thinks the way for it to return is another spoof as well, because that’s what they reportedly have in mind. The thing about the original show, though, was that it wasn’t itself comedic inherently. Buck Rogers took its science fiction premise quite seriously, but it also happened to feature Erin Grey in awesome skin tight outfits and an annoying little robot pal. One name that has already been mentioned (but not official or signed on) for a possible director is Frank Miller, whose adaptation of Will Eisner’s The Spirit may prove to be more comic/spoofy than Sin City would have suggested, but it’s difficult to image what Miller’s noir style would do with the jumpsuits and bright sets of the Buck Rogers TV show. Then again, maybe that’s what would make him perfect.
#6 MAKING $100 MILLION OUT OF BUBBLE GUM, A BOBBY PIN AND POCKET LINT
Speaking at an event recently, Lee David Zlotoff, the creator of the classic adventure TV show, MacGyver, revealed that plans are in motion to bring the inventive secret agent to the big screen. No details other than that are known, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from speculating. As with Magnum, P.I., my own personal thoughts are that they should just stick with the original star (Richard Dean Anderson), but knowing how these things usually work out, I would guess that’s probably unlikely. Then again, I’m not quite as emotionally invested in MacGyver as in Magnum (of which I saw every episode twice, religiously, in that era when TV was pretty much the best thing going on a daily basis). MacGyver, I watched occasionally, but his gimmick seemed a lot more, you know, gimmicky. Put MacGyver in a life-threatening situation with a very bare set of materials, and he would figure out a way to overcome. It’s a cool ability, but it is very easy for the MacGyver concept to fall into either satire, or seem like one of those cable handycraft shows (“3 hours and a bucket of glue… can our expert fix the Hoover Dam in time?”).
#7 ANOTHER MOVIE THAT MIGHT INSPIRE A BROADWAY SHOW THAT MIGHT INSPIRE A MOVIE
Johnny Knoxville and Parker Posey have been cast as the leads in Fruitcake, the next directorial effort from Baltimore’s most successful weirdo, John Waters (his first since 2004’s A Dirty Shame). The movie gets its title from a boy named after his favorite dessert, who runs away after he and his parents are caught stealing meat, and while on the run, he meets a girl being raised by two gay men. The whole “meat stealing parents” thing has been done to death in countless other movies, OBVIOUSLY, but maybe somewhere in there, we might find some creativity from the director of Pink Flamingos.
#8 BOW BEFORE YOUR BIZARRE CGI QUADRAPED MASTERS
20th Century Fox has announced a release date of March 19th, 2010 for Alvin and the Chipmunks 2, which suggests that they are in fact making a sequel to the movie that CGI’ed the beloved 1960s singing chipmunks into hip hopping, rapping chipmunks. If you can’t handle the 20+ month wait until that cinematic gem hits, then at least you can spend your time today enjoying the trailer for Beverly Hills Chihuahua, which hit the web this week. I’ve never had a PCP trip, much less a bad one, but I’ve got to imagine this might be what one looks like. To repeat the point, when you see a psychiatric asylum in a TV show or a movie, and there’s poor guys slumped over with their eyes closed, that might be what they see when they open them.
#9 CUCKOO, CUCKOO FOR HORROR REMAKES
Maybe everyone in Hollywood should just abandon all other projects and just focus on horror remakes. All horror remakes, all the time. Who’s the the latest to devote his life to this apparently addictive trend? Breck Eisner, son of former Disney bigwig Michael Eisner, got his big screen directorial start on Sahara, and is now preparing for a remake of the early ’70s George A. Romero horror movie, The Crazies, with another remake, Universal’s The Creature from the Black Lagoon waiting in the wings afterwards. The thing is, The Crazies was sort of already remade; it was called 28 Days Later and its sequel 28 Weeks Later. As for The Creature from the Black Lagoon, the concept might work for a remake, but knowing how studios rework titles, will Universal be able to let it go out the gate intact. I smell an imminent change to Black Lagoon or maybe just The Creature. Just a hunch.
#10 DONNIE DARKO 2: BACK TO THE FUTURE
With the first film’s writer and director, Richard Kelly, having no involvement, production starts soon on S. Darko, the sequel to Donnie Darko, the bizarre little sci-fi comedy that introduced most of us to Jake Gyllenhaal. This time around, the focus will be on Donnie’s little sister, several years later, as she experiences strange dreams. This one has the mild touch of “direct to video” on it, but given the fervor with which Donnie Darko fans adore the movie, I still had to make sure I covered it.