The Hush-Hush News Report: 02.13.13: The Hypocritical Hippo
Hello there 411mania readers. I’m Jeremy Wilson and this is the Hush-Hush News Report. It took about a week, but the Super Bowl hangover is finally lifting here in Baltimore. Back to reality, I suppose…although Pitcher and Catchers reported to Spring Training Tuesday for the Orioles, so at least we don’t have long until we can turn our attention to baseball. The last year for Baltimore sports has been something I haven’t gotten in my lifetime and I only hope it keeps going from here. You think I talk a lot about the Ravens? I was born with Orange & Black in my blood. Baseball is my favorite sport and I’ve loved the Orioles since I came into this world. Don’t get me wrong, I love all my sports teams. It’s just that the O’s were the only game in town until I was 12. It took some time before the Ravens really ingrained themselves in this community and fanbase, and baseball was what filled the void in this region until we got a team back. For me, Spring Training is a more important barometer for Spring coming than Punxsutawney Phil and Opening Day is the best day of the year. So between that and winning the Super Bowl…yeah, I’m in a pretty good mood.
Now, let’s do this thing.
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And if you don’t do the whole Twitter thing, or want something a little more tailored for movie lovers, check me out on Letterboxd, a very slick, very cool site for movie fans. I’ve been using it for over a year now and a number of other 411 Movies Zone writers are on there as well, so check it out. And no, I don’t get money for saying that…I genuinely like it. It’s beta is now complete and it is open to the public without an invitation needed. So have at it!
Now allow me to plug some of our 411 film reviews here including reviews of:
John Dies at the End
The Last Stand
Texas Chainsaw 3D
Zero Dark Thirty 
Zero Dark Thirty
We’d still write them if no one was reading, but to be honest it’s better and more worthwhile when people do. Something about a tree falling in a forest. Anyway, on with the news….
While talking with MTV News, Bryan Singer spoke about the status of Storm in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Only a producer on First Class, Singer was brought back to the director’s chair for the franchise when Matthew Vaughn decided against helming Days of Future Past.
On using full-CGI characters in X-Men: “A CG Nick Hoult or a CG Ewan McGregor, maybe 20 years from now might be perfect, but it’s a little tough on the eyes when it’s not real. But I definitely want to use this technology again, and I might even be using some of it in a different way in ‘X-Men.’ I don’t want to say how, yet, but I’m definitely using some of this technology on ‘X-Men,’ which I never used in any of the other ‘X-Men’ films.”
On the storyline including so many characters: “I don’t want to say [who the protagonists are] yet, or talk about that yet, but I will say that every character has a very important function in the story. The story is designed and catered to the combined cast. It’s not just throwing in people to occupy the screen, occupy the billboards. The story ‘Days of Future Past,’ and our version of ‘Days of Future Past’ is geared very much toward the mass cast and all their relationships and all their foibles and their achievements.”
On Halle Berry returning to play Storm: “I can’t say. I don’t know yet. And it’s not necessarily a deal making aspect at all. I want to make sure it’ll make sense. But I love working with her.”
Meanwhile, Singer also spoke with The Huffington Post, who questioned him about the status of Alan Cumming, who played Nightcrawler in X2: X-Men United. Cumming previously stated he’d like to play the character again.
Singer stated: “I don’t know. We’ll see. You know … we’ll see. I don’t want to … sometimes you don’t want to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to something that may not be a ‘yes’ or a ‘no,’ or anything. I haven’t decided yet, a few things. I’m still, you know — there are certain aspects of the script that I’m still toying with.”
Days of Future Past sees returning stars Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin and Ellen Page join their First Class counterparts Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence. The new film will be released on July 18, 2014.
So many words have already been written about a WB’s possible Justice League film, we’re starting to run out of stuff to say. Frankly, things aren’t good on the JL front. No director is in place. No casting decisions (other than Superman) have been annoucned or confirmed. And the script has reportedly been shelved. All signs point to DANGER WILL ROBINSON! DANGER! levels of panic. We all knew they were rushing and that a 2015 release was looking more and more unlikely with every passing week. Now, with a script that smells and a behind-the-scenes atmosphere that is damingly silent, it’s apparent that WB is grasping (or flailing) for what to do next. They’ve obviously waiting for Man of Steel box office numbers to come in, and if it’s not good news, we may see that whole MOS and JL project shelved…indefinitely.
But what exactly does that mean for Batman?
WB has been incredibly quiet on both the JL and Batman front, but a little birdie has told Batman on Film that it looks increasingly likely that any Batman reboot will get pushed back even later than most thought.
“Don’t worry about the Batman [film] franchise,” he/she said, “it’s [Warner Bros.'] most valuable [DC Comics-based] asset.” He She continued, “I believe that they are now looking at introducing [the rebooted] Batman in a solo film, though that will likely take place later than they initially planned. They are extreemly worried how [the Batman film franchise] would be affected if JUSTCE LEAGUE bombs…and rightfully so.”
“The fact that what should be the core fanbase of a Justice League film isn’t on board is making them sweat as well,” he/she adds.
If you recall, BOF reported that after being introduced in JUSTICE LEAGUE in 2015, the new Batman would then show up in his own solo film in 2017ish. Now, according to this [source], the time between solo Batman films is going to be longer than five years. “If Superman [this Summer's MAN OF STEEL] is huge, then they’ve bought themselves some time and will have a franchise to hang their hat on for seven, eight years. The need for Batman won’t be as great, and [the reboot] of that franchise can wait until the Superman trilogy is done.”
So I asked him/her the obvious question: If there is no JL film in 2015 and MAN OF STEEL is a big hit, when might we next see Batman on film?
“Under that scenario, I’d say around 2019 or so.”
Now, obviously this should be taken with a grain of salt, but it is obvious that WB is petrified of what to do with these properties next. If they had any confidence in what they had with Justice League, they’d be going full steam ahead (kind of like what Kathleen Kennedy and Disney are currently doing with a certain space opera franchise). The fact that they’re sending mixed messages by rushing JL with a release date and trying to get the wheels turning on that but holding back at the same time is unnerving, to say the least.
Honestly though, I think most fans wouldn’t mind a break from the Caped Crusader, if only to let the character cool for a bit and allow time for demand to increase again. We’ve had 3 Nolan Batman films in the past seven years and 7 major Batman features in the last 23 years. It would be exceedingly difficult for any new rushed reboot of Batman to approach what Nolan did with his trilogy and it would also allow the studio to take a deep breath and try to get some of their other DC properties off the ground. I’ve been critical of WB for awhile now over how they’ve handled their DC/JL properties, but if they did slow down and take a more Marvel approach – with individual films ultimately leading to a JL film down the line – it would probably be best for all involved.
Of course this is all dependent on how Man of Steel fares…and what WB takes from that success.
The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that DreamWorks has hired a writer to tackle its adaptation of Shadow and Bone.
Christopher Kyle (K-19: Widowmaker, The Weight of Water, Alexander) is in negotiations to adapt the young adult fantasy novel by Leigh Bardugo. David Heyman (The Harry Potter franchise) will produce along with Jeffrey Clifford (Up in the Air).
The book is the first of a planned trilogy that takes place in a land under attack by darkness filled with creatures that eat people. A woman discovers she has the power to save the day and is taken to be trained by the magical elite.
The book was published in June by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, with DreamWorks picking up the screen rights in September. It debuted on the New York Times best-seller list and is already in its third printing. Perhaps more interestingly, it was an Amazon “book of the month” pick for both the children’s and adult categories, perhaps showcasing why DreamWorks was eager to get the project going so quickly (since it has appeal for both younger and older demographics).
No word yet on a director or cast being attached or if DreamWorks has a tentative release date, although it is still very early in the process.
Well, the long, strange road to G.I. Joe: Retaliation is finally starting to wind down. After delays, test screenings and a 3D post-conversion, the film has ramped its marketing up big time. That includes newly released TV spots/teasers which feature some action/images from the trailers, but also have Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) explaining the concept of a fist and reminding the Joes to act like gentlemen, much to the enjoyment of Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki). Also starring Bruce Willis, Ray Park, Lee Byung-hun, Channing Tatum, RZA, Elodie Yung, Walton Goggins and Ray Stevenson, G.I. Joe: Retaliation opens everywhere March 29th in 3D.
Better 9 months later than never, I suppose. Yippee ki yay…oh wait, wrong movie. I think. The film’s synopsis is below.
A follow-up to the 2009 release of G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA, which grossed over $300M worldwide, Paramount Pictures, MGM and Skydance Productions, in association with HASBRO and di Bonaventura Pictures, commences production on G.I. JOE: RETALIATION. In this sequel, the G.I. Joes are not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra; they are forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence. The film stars D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Ray Park, Adrianne Palicki, Jonathan Pryce, RZA, Ray Stevenson, Channing Tatum with Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson. Directed by Jon M. Chu, and produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Brian Goldner, from a screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick based on Hasbro’s G.I. Joe(R) characters.
With Ellen DeGeneres already on board and Andrew Stanton returning to direct the sequel (back from his disastrous live-action directorial debut), Albert Brooks has signed on to reprise the voice of Marlin in the Pixar sequel. Apparently, it took longer to get Brooks back on board even thought DeGeneres and Stanton have been signed on for the project for close to a year now.
Brooks has been experiencing a career resurgence of late, first in the critically praised Nicholas Winding Refn masterpiece Drive, and more recently in Judd Apatow’s This Is 40.
2003’s Finding Nemo earned more than $867 million worldwide, making it Pixar’s highest-grossing film. It was re-released in 3D last year, but joined other animated re-releases that failed to match what The Lion King achieved when it got re-released in 3D in the latter half of 2011.
Meanwhile in reporting the deal for Brooks, Deadline’s Mike Fleming also reports that Disney will give director Stanton another crack a helming a live-action feature. Stanton’s John Carter was a monumnetal bomb for Disney, which had to write off around $200 million on the failed epic which it had hoped would launch a new tentpole franchise for the studio.
I can’t say I totally understand the appeal of fan fiction, but apparently Hollywood does. First, it was Fifty Shades of Grey. Now comes word that Constantin Film has acquired the cinematic rights to Beautiful Bastard, the steamy tale of an intern and her media-mogul boss, which began as Twilight-inspired fan-fiction hit The Office.
The newly-titled and reworked novel was published yesterday and while terms of the Constantin deal were not officially disclosed, sources tell THR that the company paid a six-figure deal to option the novel.
Beautiful Bastard revolves around Chloe Mills, an MBA student interning at a media conglomerate who begins a torrid love-hate relationship with her boss, Bennett Ryan. The young executive has just returned from France to take a more prominent role in his family’s company. Like Fifty Shades it is described as erotica and a more mature take on the relationship that is at the center of its Twilight inspiration. Fifty Shades of Grey originated as a fan-fiction story titled Master of the Universe.
The novel began life as the Twilight-inspired fan-fiction hit The Office, which first appeared online in 2009 and was downloaded more than 2 million times before being taken offline by its original author, Christina Hobbs. In 2011, Hobbs and her new writing partner, Lauren Billings, decided to rework The Office for print publication and Beautiful Bastard was born (released under the duo’s pen name, Christina Lauren).
The Fifty Shades movie continues to make progress at Universal and Focus Features with screenwriter Kelly Marcel currently working on the script. The quick and expensive option for Bastard shouldn’t come as much of a shock. After all, Hollywood is a copycat town. Erotica continues to be a strong seller for publishers and producers have been actively seeking out similar projects that could entice the more mature Twilight audience.
The book’s synopsis courtesy of Amazon is below. I trust you to roll your eyes at the appropriate moments. Starngely, Jeremy Bolt (Event Horizon, Resident Evil, Death Race) will be producing Beautiful Bastard. What a producer of macho, testosterone-filled action flicks sees in this material is anyone’s guess, but it might just show how big the erotica bandwagon is getting in Tinseltown.
An ambitious intern. A perfectionist executive. And a whole lot of name calling. Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.
Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.
As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other.
This week we have a slew of new releases both wide and limited. Most 411 readers will be looking forward to the fifth entry in Bruce Willis’ Die Hard franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard. This one takes place in Russia and stars Jai Courtney as John McClaine’s CIA-agent son. Joining that in wide release is Beautiful Creatures, a Southern Gothic supernatural romance, the animated film Escape From Planet Earth, and the newest Nicolas Sparks adaptation Safe Haven.
In limited release or VOD is the newest film from master Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami titled Like Someone in Love, as well as Oscar nominated Foreign film No starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Murder 3.
What are you planning on seeing this weekend
As I told friends and fellow 411 colleagues last week, I’m tired of Rex Reed. I’m tired of being angry that a despicable little man and waste of a “film critic” like Reed keeps working – and getting paid – at a semi-legitimate publication like the New York Observer (hey, I said “semi-legitimate”). I’m tired that every time Sexy Rexy decides to go off and do something intentionally provocative, the media falls for it and treats it as coming from a real film critic. He’s the poor man’s Armond White, in that he’s a curmudgeonly contraian but about 100% less intelligent…and frankly, we don’t need any of those running around anymore. Honestly, I’m just really tired of Rex getting so many things so very, very wrong. And unlike many critics and bloggers who spend their time writing about – and occasionally blasting – movies, Rex just isn’t funny. Pauline Kael could be get stuff wrong and be mean….but dammit she was funny and smart. Rex Reed is neither of those things.
So, in the spirit of catharsis, I’m going to give Rex a little of my attention. In my little corner of the Internet, I’ll honor Rex every week with his own words and deeds…and hopefully shed a little light on America’s biggest film critic troll and arguably its worst “mainstream” critic ever. We’ll start with this week’s story…
The Hypocritical Hippo
Rex Reed gained national attention the past few days when, in his review of Identity Thief, he labeled star Melissa McCarthy as “tractor-sized,” “humongous,” “female hippo,” and “a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.” And no that last statement wasn’t written by Rex with the least hint of irony (since that’s how most of us feel about Reed himself).
From all accounts, Identity Thief is a terrible movie. That doesn’t give Rex Reed the right to be a douche bag and personally insult Melissa McCarthy. No matter what he thinks his “Constitutional rights” are or whatever sad-sack defense he wants to hide behind, blind-siding McCarthy with despicably misogynistic insults isn’t what film criticism is about. If Rex really had a point or cared about physical comedy or large comedians using their physical stature in their performance in a day and age where health and taking care of oneself are more important, he would have made it. That’s not what happened…and by the way, has Rex Reed actually looked in a mirror? I don’t see Rex getting the call from GQ to appear on the cover anytime soon. Seriously, does Rex Reed have any leg to stand on here? The answer is no, but that isn’t going to stop someone like him.
In an interview with local New York radio broadcaster Mark Simone on WOR 710AM, Reed went about
contritely and genuinely apologizing for his pig-headed ramblings doing something that didn’t seem much like an apology:
“This is an organized group of people, believe me. And it’s all being fanned because of Universal’s desire to sell tickets to a bad movie.” He then went on a side rant about Facebook groups “telling kids obesity is good” and saying “only carefully-organized plots can turn into this kind of out-of-control mess.”
As if that bit of conspiracy theory and delusional self-importance wasn’t enough, Reed then defended bringing McCarthy’s weight into his review, arguing that she was already trying to capitalize on it herself. “I object to using health issues like obesity as comedy talking points, ” he said. “That’s what this girl does! This Melissa Manchester…”
Yep. Not only did he call her Melissa Manchester – either ignorant of her real name or dismissively and intentionally getting it wrong – but Rex wants you to know he would never approve of or use someone’s weight for comedic purposes. Basing an entire negative review around it and cruelly insulting said fat person, no problem. But watching large comediennes do their thing? THE HORROR. What else did Reed say in his defense?
“My point was that I object to using health issues like obesity as comic talking points… [McCarthy] is basing her career on being obnoxious and being overweight. And I don’t think that’s funny. I have too many friends that have died of obesity-related illnesses, heart problems and diabetes, and I have actually lost friends to this. I have helped people try to lose weight, and I don’t find this to be the subject of a lot of humor. I have a perfect right to say that. My review was really more about the movie and about the character she plays in the movie than it is about her. I don’t care how much she weighs. I don’t care how much Melissa McCarthy weighs. She wants to be fat? Mark, she’s crying all the way to the bank.”
“Don’t make me a villain.”
No Rex, your review was not really more about the movie. You went out of your way to target Melissa McCarthy. You obviously do care how much she weighs. And please, we don’t care that you’ve lost friends or whatever to obesity-related issues. We all know people. We all have friends and family that deal with these issues. Just because you know fat people and want them to be healthy doesn’t give you the right to degrade an innocent woman in a professional setting. Critics are allowed to have opinions and dislike movies. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a line which shouldn’t be crossed, both on a professional level and on a human decency level.
I write all this not even as a huge fan of Ms. McCarthy. I think she’s partly opened herself up to this kind of attack (not this personal or mean-spirited, mind you) by starring in a show that has largely been about making jokes and gags about its two stars’ size (for which she actually won an Emmy). Now, while I doubt if Reed has actually ever seen Mike & Molly, the point is he never brought that up. Nor have I heard or seen him say the same things about large male comedians. Show me the review Reed wrote in which he describes Kevin James as a “male hippo” and I’ll gladly eat my words. But I heaven’t come across it. As Scott Weinberg succintly puts it:
Rex Reed is a pig for trashing an actress’ weight, and he’s a terrible film critic for finding nothing else to write about on that movie.
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) February 11, 2013
What Reed wrote about McCarthy was disgusting on a number of levels and even though I’m not a huge fan of hers, I’m just so very tired of people – in this instance Reed – getting away with being Grade-A assholes. I mean sure Reed was always going to get support from his fellow trolls, bigoted Andrew Dice Clay-wannabe commenters that scour the Internet looking for any excuse to stoke the fires and say horrible things (mostly) under the cloak of Internet anonymity. At least Reed has to put his name to what he writes…which pisses me off more since The New York Observer actually pays him to be an incompetent, intolerant boob.
“Rex Reed is a national treasure. He has a right to his opinion and The New York Observer’s smart, passionate readers have a right to disagree with his opinion,” Observer Editor Ken Kurson told TheWrap.
Rex Reed…national treasure? I’ll take that bet.
Tune in next week for another installment in Rex Reed: Professional Critic, Amateur Human Being, Ever-Lasting Troll….
Trailer of the Week (You Might Have Missed) – Part Deux: The Numbers Station
Funny Video of the Week: “Between Two Ferns: Oscar Buzz Edition Part 1 & 2″
Funny Video of the Wee – Part Deux:: “Key & Peele On Die Hard“
That’s all for this week. As always, let me know what you think in the comments section. For now, this is Jeremy Wilson, off the record, on the QT…
…and definitely, “Hush Hush!”