People Tell Me I Look Like Han Solo.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
  Fright Night remake, more Bourne and Tom Cruise's latest

Lots of little news items today about a few interesting projects today. First off, two more people have joined the cast of the remake of the 1985 vampire horror-comedy Fright Night, about a teenager convinced his next door neighbor is a vampire (and he’s right), but nobody believes him. Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Terminator Salvation) signed on some time ago as Charlie, the lead, Colin Farrell is on board to play the charming vampire and Toni Collette (United States of Tara) will play Yelchin’s disbelieving mom. Now on board are Christopher Mintz-Plasse of Kick-Ass and Superbad fame as Evil Ed, Charlie’s friend who becomes a vampire, and David Tennant, who recently wrapped a stint as the title character in the BBC’s revamped Doctor Who, will play a Criss Angel-like stage magician who claims to be a vampire expert, but it turns out he’s full of it. (It’s a reimagining of Roddy McDowell’s role in the original, where he played the host of a late-night horror show.) While I haven’t seen the original Fright Night since I was a kid, I have quite fond memories of it, and with the whole vampire craze going on right now, I guess now’s as good a time as any for a remake. And if they retain the comic tone of the original, the new Fright Night could stand out as more than a post-Twilight cash grab.

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Fresh from an in-character appearance at the MTV Movie Awards, the rumors appear to be true: Paramount says Tom Cruise will reprise his role as foul-mouthed movie mogul Les Grossman from Tropic Thunder for a spin-off movie. Now, I’m a huge fan of Tropic Thunder – I picked it as one of the best movies of 2008 – and I enjoyed Cruise’s comic turn more than a lot of people I know, but I really just don’t see Les Grossman carrying a movie. Characters like that work best in short bursts, as Cruise did in Tropic Thunder, but an entire movie about him sounds like it could be pushing it. Personally, I’d much rather see Robert Downey Jr.’s Kirk Lazarus character get his own movie.

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Universal seems hellbent on making more Bourne movies with or without the participation of star Matt Damon and director of the latter two movies, Paul Greengrass, hiring a screenwriter to start work on a fourth film, with the working title The Bourne Legacy. Damon’s said in the past that he doesn’t want to make a Bourne movie without Greengrass, who seems more interested in making non-Bourne films for the time being (though marketing his last collaboration with Damon, Green Zone, as a Bourne-style thriller clearly didn’t help its box office), but Universal wants The Bourne Legacy in theaters in 2012, which doesn’t sound like a timetable that would accommodate either Damon (one of the busiest actors in Hollywood) or Greengrass. The fourth script will reportedly have a new story, and will disregard the two other scripts for a new Bourne movie that Universal hired some writers to work on last summer. I think the Bourne franchise could survive without Greengrass, as brilliant as he is (his movies are the best in the series), but a Damon-less Bourne film seems like a dodgy idea. Audiences love these movies (they’ve made almost $1 billion in total), but they also clearly associate Damon with the role. I don’t think people will shell out their hard-earned money just because the word Bourne is on the poster. I’d rather Universal waited until both Damon and Greengrass were ready to make another Bourne film, but it’s pretty clear at this point that Hollywood doesn’t really listen to me.

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Finally, a little item just for me. I wrote a big rant not too long ago about how stupid I think video game movies are, and sure enough, a week or so later a weird little short turned up on the web that claimed to be from some sort of Mortal Kombat movie. As it turns out, it’s basically a demo reel from director Kevin Tancharoen (last year’s Fame remake) and fight choreographer Larnell Stovall (who worked on the recent Undisputed III: Redemption, an awesomely fun martial arts movie that I’ll find an excuse to write about in greater detail some day soon) to try to get Warner Bros. on board with their vision of the film. It also features Michael Jai White from Black Dynamite, one of my favorite movies of last year (read me gushing here).

Now, as dumb as game movies are, I think fighting games like Mortal Kombat have potential to make fun kung fu movies (martial arts movies and fighting games share thin plots, colorful characters and, if done well, exciting action), and it looks like Tancharoen and Stovall get that. Their vision of Mortal Kombat deviates from the stories of the games (which involve mystical creatures and ancient magic and stuff) and grounds it in a grittier, dare I say “realistic” context (I know, I know), and it looks like it could work as a fun, violent martial arts flick. If these guys make the next Mortal Kombat movie, I’ll eat my words and line up to see it. Have a look at the short below and judge for yourself.

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