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October 30, 2009

Things that caught my eye this week…

A new 'Avatar' trailer, remakes of 'Footloose' and 'Mad Max,' a 'Pi' director, and more

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After several wholly unimpressive weeks, the movie news has come roaring back these past few days (warning: the word of the week is “remake.” Can you say that with me boys and girls? "Remake!" Good, I knew you could).

The first full-length theatrical trailer for Avatar, the first film from James Cameron since Titanic, is finally out. (The film opens Dec. 18.) I've always said I love animation because it is hindered only by the filmmakers' own imagination. More than any film I can think of--even ones such as Lord of the Rings and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow--this feels like that very movie brought to life through a computer rather than ink. Please be good … please be good … (Meanwhile, the Avatar trailer will be broadcast on the world's largest video display on Sunday, Nov. 1, at the new Cowboys Stadium just before their game with the Seahawks -- while millions also watch it from their TV sets at home.)

And now for those remakes . . .

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They are remaking Footloose with Craig Brewer (Hustle and Flow, Black Snake Moan) in the director’s chair. The first film portrayed quite a tug of war between rebellious adolescence and stuffy religion. I wonder if Brewer will keep that element; it does seem to be central to the story and to the character of Ariel, the socially suffocating minister's daughter.
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The film adaptation of The Life of Pi may have finally settled on a director, none other than Ang Lee (the project previously attracted the interest of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, M. Night Shyamalan and Alfonso Cuarón). The story of a young boy adrift in a lifeboat along with several carnivorous and quite hungry zoo animals is a metaphor for, among other things, the nature of religious belief.
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They’re remaking Mad Max!
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It’s not another Bourne film, but it is the next best thing. Director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon team up for Greenzone. Check out the trailer here.
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Want more Damon? How about this trailer for Clint Eastwood’s new directorial effort, Invictus, about South African President Nelson Mandela (played by Morgan Freeman).
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What, more Damon? You’re insatiable! How ‘bout this: we told you a few weeks ago that the Coen brothers were going to remake the John Wayne classic True Grit with Jeff Bridges in the lead. Turns out they are adding Damon and Josh Bolin to the mix. This just gets better and better.
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Joe Wright, the director of the beautiful Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, will team up once again with the equally beautiful Keira Knightly for a remake of My Fair Lady, which Danny Boyle was, for a time, rumored to be eyeing.
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Speaking of classics, Sin Nombre director Cary Fukunaga is in negotiations to direct an adaptation of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte's story of love, madness and redemption.
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The new A-Team film doesn’t appear to be a tongue in cheek remake at all. Judging by this first cast photo, it’s slavish to the original television series.
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Finally someone is making a live action version of Ghost in the Shell, the Japanese anime classic that in many ways inspired The Matrix. I say finally because there is so much there to draw from (and I’m including the extraordinary television series in that assessment). But there is also so much to mess up. Dense with tangled debates over the nature of humanity, identity and the location of soul, GITS is either going to be phenomenal … or a phenomenal mess.

Comments

I am really excited about Ghost in the Shell, however I am a little bummed that's supposedly being directed by Steven Spielberg. I just feel he will Americanize it too much.


Anime seems to be the new thing for Hollywood. Astro Boy, Ghost in the Shell, and Cowboy Bebop are all being made.

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