Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sneaking in some ODD-BOB ( away)!

The Top 8 Favorite Movies of Famous People

8> Al Roker: "Rain Man"

7> Abe Vigoda: "Big Fish"

6> Naomi Campbell: "Diary of a Mad Black Woman"

5> Chloe Sevigny: "Blow"

4> Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks: "Sleepless in Seattle"

3> Winona Ryder: "Stealing Beauty"

2> George W. Bush: "Eraserhead"

and the Number 1 Favorite Movie of a Famous Person...

1> Katie Holmes: "I Was a Teenage Zombie"

The Top 10 Things We Learned From Science Fiction

10> There's no sound in space unless something explodes.

9> Sith Lords and Ferengi have more fun.

8> That whole history-continuity-keeping-the-universe-from-imploding
thing isn't the only reason why you shouldn't go back in time and sleep with your

7> Grammar and looks, not everything are.

6> Never, EVER wear red when going down to an unexplored planet.

5> The further your starship travels from known worlds and travel routes,
the more likely your propulsion and navigation system will have a single
point of failure.

4> In the 37th century, all humans will be white.

3> Immortals walk among us, and some fine day, the Highlander folk, the
Howard families, and the Amber family are going to get together in the
rumble of the millennium.

2> When intergalactic war is imminent, and the fate of mankind hangs in the
balance, this is the perfect time to nail the blue-skinned chick.

and the Number 1 Thing We Learned From Science Fiction...

1> Cute, little fuzzy creatures are more trouble than they're worth.

Wednesday STAR WARS stuff

2006 MTV Movie Awards
Voting is now open for the 2006 MTV Movie Awards!

Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith is up for three categories:
Best Villain - Hayden
Best Hero - Ewan
Best Fight - Ewan and Hayden

Time for all you Star Wars fans to vote!


Click here to vote now!

The 2006 MTV Movie Awards airs on Thursday, June 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT

Celebration 4 Rumors
There's a rumor floating around the internet right now in regards to Celebration 4.

The rumor has it that an agent for a well know actor let it slip at a recent appearance.

The rumor stands as such."Celebration 4 in the L.A. Convention Center, May 24th to 27th 2007"

Please take this with a grain of salt, as for now it is PURE RUMOR. Nothing is official until Lucasfilm makes the announcement. Speaking of the announcement, it's also rumored that the news above will be announced sometime next month. EDITOR'S NOTE: I HAVE PEOPLE I COULD STAY WITH IN LA.....HMMMM (NOT LIKE INDIANAPOLIS).

Inside The Complete Visual Dictionary

Over the years Star Wars readers have come to regard the incredible works of DK Books as the imaginative and authoritative guides inside the Star Wars saga. As announced in the latest Star Wars Insider, DK will publish Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, the ultimate guide to the entire Star Wars saga.

Here's a look inside the book, which combines all four Star Wars Visual Dictionaries into one volume, and expands the original works with new material.

Revenge of the Sith is explored in even more detail, with in-depth looks at Utapau, Mustafar, the Clone Wars and Order 66. EDITOR'S NOTE: SNIFFLE....The original Star Wars trilogy is also expanded, with overviews of the Rebel Alliance, Imperial personnel, and more. New artwork and props have been built specifically for this project, including a cutaway view of the enormous Sarlacc creature sculpted by Robert E. Barnes, and an exploded view of R2-D2's insides by model maker Don Bies.

The authors of the book, David West Reynolds, James Luceno and Ryder Windham, worked closely with Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic to research this unique reference book. The result: a fascinating visual gallery of the characters, creatures and hardware of the entire Star Wars saga as they appear nowhere else!

The Complete Visual Dictionary is scheduled for release in October 2006. EDITOR'S NOTE: I DO SO LOVE ME SOME ARCANA!


Art Galaxy: Darth Needles
The art of tattoo is a juxtaposition of what is at the same time overtly public and intensely personal. Comparably, the rich, powerful, attention-grabbing imagery of Star Wars, and the timeless, personal themes of the saga lend themselves to tattoo art.

Treasured by the fans who wear them, illustrative Star Wars tattoos are also favorites of the artists. Countless aliens, worlds, heroes, villains, creatures, and starships inspire original designs. Custom tattoos, created by the wearer and the artist, appeal to aficionados, and also tell a tale of dedicated fandom for all the world to see.

Needles, a tattoo artist at Last Rites Tattoo in New York City, created these original custom pieces of tattoo art in cooperation with his clients. Also referred to as "Darth Needles," the artist is a member of Hyperspace and a dedicated fan, and our featured artist in this issue's Art Galaxy.

"I am a huge Star Wars fan, and I enjoy replicating Star Wars on skin," says Needles. His enthusiasm for the saga, and his considerable tattooing talent, are apparent in this gallery of work.




Bantha Tracks Reader Profile: Terry "Bro" Browning
Star Wars inspires fans on a daily basis, many of whom choose to integrate the saga into their everyday lives and homes. Terry "Bro" Browning's love of Star Wars is evident, from the costumes he and his family have crafted, to the crates of toys he keeps in storage, to the very tattoos on his arms. Browning shared his pictures, and his thoughts on blending Star Wars with life.

In few ways is this blending of Star Wars more evident than in Browning's tattoos. Of Navajo heritage, Browning used Native American symbols and Star Wars imagery to create unique tattoos that express what's important to him. His crates of Star Wars collectibles may stay at home in storage, but the symbolism he treasures travels with him.

Browning blended Star Wars icons and Native American symbols in some of his more than 15 tattoos. The Rebel Alliance mark replaces the traditional diamond pattern in the Osage spider symbol in one of these tattoos. In the other, the Imperial symbol provides the core of the artwork.

"The Mandalorian skull is on my left inner calf, and is covered with ancient native American symbols," writes Browning, "all of which mean something dear to me: marriage, trust, harmony, friendship, hard work, etc."



Robert E. Barnes illustrates designs for the pottery that decorates the Geonosian arena bleachers in Episode II.

Plo Koon's Delta-7 Jedi starfighter, which gets blown out of the skies over Cato Neimoidia.

One of several probe droids dispatched to the sinkholes of Utapau to search for Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Iain McCaig mixes classic fantasy imagery with Star Wars in this painting of the Naboo horse creature seen during Senator Amidala's funeral. EDITOR'S NOTE: OOO..PURTY HORSIE!

In the early draft scripts of Star Wars, rather than end up in a garbage compactor aboard the Death Star, the heroes had to fend against monsters in the dungeons of Alderaan, the Imperial capital. This tiny thumbnail by Ralph McQuarrie provides an intriguing glimpse at what might have been. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND ODDBOB, IN ALL HIS WEEPY NOSTALGIA, WANTS US TO BELIEVE ALDERAAN WAS 100% SWEETNESS AND LIGHT. (OH, QUIT YOUR CATTERWALLIN, OB)!

A Wednesday Smorgesbord



Dynamite Explodes With XENA

Dynamite Entertainment has announced in July they will release their XENA comic book.

The launch issue will feature three different covers. Half of the comics will run with a cover by artist Billy Tan and colorist Peter Steigerwald. The other half will split equally between a cover by Fabiano Neves and a photo cover of Lucy Lawless.

In the comic book series written by John Layman, Xena and her well-loved cast of friends and villains get in between a feud that reaches all the way up to the heavens as they fight in the "Contest of Pantheons" featuring Xena, Gabriele, Joxer, Autolycus and the return of Callisto.


'Lost' actress chooses jail over community service
HONOLULU -- "Lost" actress Michelle Rodriguez pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a single count of driving under the influence, choosing to pay a $500 fine and spend five days in jail rather than do 240 hours of community service.

Rodriguez, who portrays police officer Ana Lucia, and cast member Cynthia Watros were both charged with drunken driving after they were pulled over Dec. 1 in separate cars within 15 minutes of each other.

On Tuesday, a judge gave Rodriguez the option of jail time or community service. She surrendered to authorities at Kaneohe District Court later in the day. Choosing jail over community service was a "personal choice," said her attorney, Steve Barta.

Sci Fi enters realm of 'Gods'
Sci Fi Channel is developing "Chariots of the Gods," a six-hour miniseries based on the best-selling book by Erich von Daniken that is being executive produced by Oscar winner Irwin Winkler and written by veteran sci-fi series scribe John Whelpley.

The enormously popular book introduced the theory that Earth was visited by extraterrestrials in ancient times.

Described as "Raiders of the Lost Ark" meets "The Da Vinci Code," the project centers on a soldier returning from his tour of duty who brings with him an artifact that holds the key to uncovering one of the greatest secrets in human existence -- that aliens have been interfering with human genetics since ancient times. EDITOR'S NOTE: DIDN'T "THE XFILES" KINDA PLAY WITH THIS.......... FOR 9 YEARS?

Rob Cowan and David Winkler also will executive produce. The project was brought to Winkler Films by executive producers Ken Hawryliw and Jim Gutteridge. Sci Fi is expected to announce the mini as part of its overall development slate today during the network's upfront presentation. EDITOR'S NOTE: I WONDER IF SCIFI REALIZES THAT THIS MINI-SERIES IS ALMOST...WELL....SCIFI'ISH? (MIGHT THROW THEM OFF THEIR GAME OF KIND OF IGNORING THE GENRE).


WHO's K9 to go on ADVENTURES


The BBC reported this week that children's TV channel Jetix Europe is joining forces with former Doctor Who designer Paul Tams and K9 co-creator Bob Baker to create a 26-installment series which will center on the robo-dog K9 from the long running DOCTOR WHO series.

K9 ADVENTURES will feature a mixture of live action and computer animation. The original K9 appeared on Doctor Who between 1977 and 1981.

Tony Maudsley confirmed as Grawp

Two months ago we reported that Tony Maudsley was signed on for Order of the Phoenix.

Now, Leaky has confirmed that Tony will be "playing" Grawp (Hagrid's half-brother) in the film.

Back in March, OOTP producer David Heyman said the following in an interview with Empire:

"We’ve done some stuff involving centaurs and Grawp, who is Hagrid’s 16ft brother. The kids have to act against a lot of blue screen for characters like Grawp."

From this we could assume that Tony will just be the voice of Grawp and not physically appear in the film, but this has not been confirmed yet.

Smith is Living LEGEND


Warner Bros. has signed Will Smith to a pay-or-play deal to star in I AM LEGEND.

Adapted from Richard Matheson's novel, the story set in post-apocalyptic New York, centers on the last healthy man following the release of a virus that decimates the population. To survive, he must battle mutants that wreak havoc during the night. EDITOR'S NOTE: YEAH. THAT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME AT MY HOUSE. (PITY NO ONE AS HANDSOME AS WILL SMITH IS AROUND TO HELP...AHEM....)

Akiva Goldsman rewrote a script by Mark Protosevich. Francis Lawrence will direct. Akiva Goldsman, Erwin Stoff, David Heyman and Neal Moritz will produce.

Lee Will Voice DOG

Spyglass Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures have set Jason Lee to voice the title character for the big screen adaptation of UNDERDOG.

The film is based on the classic 1960s cartoon. In the series, a humble dog named Shoeshine Boy became the superheroic Underdog, who spoke in rhyme.

Lee joins a cast that includes Peter Dinklage, who will portray Barsinister.

Parker Checks Into VACANCY


Sarah Jessica Parker has agreed to star in Screen Gems' VACANCY.

The suspense thriller centers on a couple who check into a motel and, unaware there's a hidden camera, become the subjects of a snuff film. Parker will play the wife, who is still reeling from the death of her infant son.

Hal Lieberman will produce. Mark L. Smith wrote the script

Ben Kingsley Takes A Hit/Starring in a mob comedy
Oh, the Mafia and their concrete-over coating, pistol-whipping, Bada-binging ways. They’re just so funny!

The Last Seduction’s John Dahl thinks so.

Which explains why he’s at the helm of You Kill Me, a new comedy written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.

Ben Kingsley, Tea Leoni and Luke Wilson have signed up to star in the tale of a hard-drinking hit man who is sent to rehab. He finds himself a sponsor and gets a job in a funeral home where he meets a woman who was related to one of his hits. Also cropping up are Dennis Farina, Philip Baker Hall and Bill Pullman and they all start shooting in a few days in Canada.

It’s not Kingsley’s first brush with gangsters- everyone remembers his turn in Sexy Beast and he’s also just turned up in a hilarious cameo as himself on The Sopranos.

Disney set to chronicle 'Feynman'
Walt Disney Pictures has pre-emptively picked up "The Feynman Chronicles," an action-adventure spec by Ashley E. Miller and Zack Stentz. Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray are producing via their Disney-based Mayhem Pictures banner.

The adventure is triggered after a mysterious object crashes into a remote mountain in 1940s Africa, and centers on brilliant young physicist Richard Feynman, who is recruited by the government to investigate it. He teams with a beautiful English spy and a cynical French aviator in a race against the Nazis to find the object and unlock its secrets. EDITOR'S NOTE: ISN'T RICHARD FEYNMAN A REAL PERSON? (OR AM I GETTING THAT NAME MIXED UP WITH SOMEONE ELSE?)

Jason Reed and Casey Wolfe oversee for Disney.

'Dog' days for 'Priscilla's' Elliott
After more than a decade away from the big screen, Australian director Stephan Elliott is shifting from gender bending in the Outback to a family comedy about a wealthy dog for Walt Disney Pictures.

Elliott -- best known as the writer and director of 1994's "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," the comedy about two drag queens and a transsexual who land a cabaret gig in the remote regions of Australia -- has sold an original comedy pitch to Disney.

Elliott, with writing partner Sheirdan Jobbins, will pen the comedy, which he would direct. It is tentatively titled "In the Name of the Dog," and it centers on a family pet who inherits $500 million.

'13 (Tzameti)' getting English adaptation
NEW YORK -- Director Gela Babluani will remake his Sundance grand jury prize-winning thriller "13 (Tzameti)" in English for the Morabito Picture Co.

The production outfit, formed recently by producer and financier Valerio Morabito, nabbed all English-language remake rights to the French film, which will receive a domestic platform release in the fall by Palm Pictures.

"13 (Tzameti)" won the world cinema grand jury prize for best dramatic feature at January's Sundance Film Festival and the De Laurentiis Award for best first film at September's Venice International Film Festival.

The psychological thriller follows a naive young man who stumbles across instructions meant to be used by a dead gangster. His curiosity leads him to a clandestine world where men gamble behind closed doors with the lives of other men.

Zimmer scores DA VINCI CODE

Hans Zimmer’s web site noted that the recording sessions for his score to Ron Howard’s eagerly-anticipated adaptation of THE DA VINCI CODE were completed last week at England’s Air Studios.

Of the recording sessions, Ron Howard stated: “They were powerful, fresh and wonderfully effective... Like every other facet of this movie, the score for THE DA VINCI CODE demanded a range of textures that recognized and reinforced the layers of ideas and emotion, which unfold as the basic story does.”

Zimmer once again captures the essence of suspense and tension that builds throughout the film:

“The inspired Hans Zimmer has given us extraordinarily memorable music to appreciate within the framework of a film or completely on its own, where you can let the sounds carry you on your own private journey,” summarized Ron Howard. EDITOR'S NOTE: HOW LIKELY IS IT THAT RON HOWARD WOULD SAY SOMETHING LIKE 'IT WAS DERIVATIVE AND BORING'?

The two previously collaborated on BACKDRAFT in 1991.

Decca Records will release the score on CD on May 9th.

Playing a Terrorist: An Actor's Dilemma
`United 93' and other films spotlight Middle Eastern actors. But playing a terrorist can put them in a bind.
By John Horn
Times Staff WriterApril 26, 2006
Like any unknown actor looking for his big break, Khalid Abdalla was eager to be cast in a movie, especially a studio production. Yet when the 25-year-old performer heard about a possible lead part in an upcoming Universal Studios film, Abdalla considered turning it down.

The hesitation was understandable: The acting job was playing Ziad Jarrah, the hijacker at the controls of the Sept. 11 jetliner that crashed into a Pennsylvania field, killing all 40 passengers and crew on board, in "United 93."

As filmmakers tell a number of stories about Sept. 11 and other attacks both real and fictionalized — a rapidly growing list that includes "Munich," "Syriana," "Paradise Now" and Friday's "United 93" — there's increased demand for young Middle Eastern actors. But directors and their casting agents must convince those actors that their cinematic cause is more noble than that of directors a generation ago, who routinely depicted Arabs as cartoonish, fanatical madmen.

The actors who play terrorists, suicide bombers and hijackers in this new crop of films are caught in a delicate predicament: The very things they find attractive in playing these parts — three-dimensional characters, understandable motivations, the occasional love interest — also open up their films to criticism for humanizing individuals that some consider monsters.

"My first reaction on even hearing about the part was that I have no interest in doing anything like that at all for a number of reasons," Abdalla said about acting in "United 93."

Abdalla wasn't the only actor who had reservations about playing that particular terrorist.

When 28-year-old French actor Karim Saleh learned of auditions for "The Hamburg Cell," a 2004 British television movie about the formation of the Sept. 11 hijacking team, he held similar misgivings about playing Jarrah. Only with his dad accompanying him for moral support on the trip to the London audition did Saleh drum up the resolve to read for the starring role.

"My father gave me the strength to believe that I would not be stuck playing terrorists," Saleh said. "He said, 'There's a lot more to you.' "

When writer-director Stephen Gaghan was casting "Syriana," his ensemble drama about the political and personal costs of America's dependence on foreign oil, he struggled to find a young actor of Pakistani descent to play a suicide bomber. He held casting sessions in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Damascus, Bahrain, Dubai and Karachi without success before he finally found Mazhar Munir in London.

"I had found a couple of terrific young actors who simply weren't allowed by their families to take the part," Gaghan said. "One young man's family said he would be cut out of the family" if he accepted the role.

When actors of Middle Eastern descent are cast in lead roles, something as seemingly benign as a movie premiere can turn into a diplomatic dilemma. Iraq-born actor Lewis Alsamari, who plays hijacker Saeed Al Ghamdi in "United 93," left Baghdad for the United Kingdom a decade ago, but the United States denied the actor's visa request to attend Tuesday's premiere of the film at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The producers of these films also risk bringing real-world politics onto their movie sets.

An actor who starred as a Palestinian suicide bomber in "Paradise Now" described the emotional complexity of playing a bomber inside a bus full of Israeli actors, while his costar told of filming an equally troubling scene in front of the residents of a West Bank city.

The atmosphere between Arabs and Jews during the filming of the Olympic hostage drama "Munich" was emotionally charged.

And one American performer who played a passenger on "United 93" said that for a period of time during production he could not treat the four terrorist actors "as human beings."EDITOR'S NOTE: HOW VERY 'METHOD'. BUT IN A REALLY CREEPY WAY.

All the same, the actors say they are thankful to be rid of the clichéd Middle Eastern villains of the late 1980s and early 1990s (in films such as "Delta Force," "Navy Seals," "Iron Eagle"), who were far more likely to be bearded, wear kaffiyehs and shout Arabic insults than resemble a real person.

It was precisely those clichéd depictions that made Abdalla so nervous about trying out for "United 93."

"The reputation of representing Arabs by Hollywood is a stereotype, and it's an incredibly hurtful stereotype," says Abdalla, who was born in Scotland to Egyptian parents.

His mind was changed after meeting Paul Greengrass ("Bloody Sunday," "The Bourne Supremacy"), who wrote and directed the film. Abdalla came away from the encounter convinced Greengrass wasn't interested in perpetuating caricatures or fomenting hatred.

"The idea was to put all of those people on the plane and try as best as we can to tell that story," Abdalla said of his meeting with the filmmaker. "It wasn't to be a film about stereotypes."

In some ways, "United 93's" four hijackers come across as fully developed as some of their doomed hostages; Jarrah, in particular, is depicted as hesitant but ultimately faithfully determined to do his job, at whatever cost.

After playing Jarrah in "The Hamburg Cell," Saleh starred as Issa, the Black September ringleader of "Munich's" Olympic attack (he also auditioned for, but was not cast in, "United 93"). In playing these characters, Kaleh believes he's helping rewrite Hollywood's spotty record in depicting people from the Middle East.

"What I didn't want to do is to play a terrorist. I figured no terrorist was ever interesting enough to be portrayed," said Saleh, who grew up in Beirut and describes himself as French and Lebanese.

But Saleh was swayed to star in "Hamburg Cell" because director Antonia Bird's film focused on how people become zealots; the Sept. 11 attacks are the film's prologue and epilogue, not its center. Similarly, "Munich" presented a chance to travel more than 30 years into the past, when terrorism and its causes were unfamiliar to most.

"It was an exploration," Saleh said. "It was an age where terrorism wasn't known — they were doing something for the first time, and it wasn't about Islam. There was a sense of discovery on the set."

There was a sense of tension, as well.

Because these movies are based on either actual events or, in the case of "Syriana" and "Paradise Now," loosely fictionalized incidents, historical and ethnic divisions inevitably affected the mood on a film's set.

During rehearsals and preproduction, Greengrass segregated the four actors playing the hijackers from the film's passengers and crew, so that the captors and hostages would not grow friendly.

"In the end, it's acting, it's not real," Greengrass said. "But every director will tell you that you have to create conditions that create tension, because tension is what makes drama feel real."

When "United 93's" hijacking begins, the four men must exert psychological and physical mastery over a plane full of smart and strong people, pretending that they have a bomb. In other words, Greengrass said, the actors were playing terrorists who were, in a way, acting.

In part, it was those scenes of domination that Abdalla, a University of Cambridge-educated literature student, found personally challenging. For his performance to work, he had to convince the passengers and, by extension, movie audiences, that he was capable of savagery. The lines between actor and character were blurry enough that visitors to the set felt uncomfortable shaking his hand.

Two scenes of art uneasily imitating life unfolded in "Paradise Now," the Oscar-nominated foreign language film from Palestine. The first involved actor Kais Nashef, 27, who plays a bomber who travels to Tel Aviv to complete his suicide mission. Director Hany Abu-Assad cast local Israelis as the doomed passengers on a bus.

"That was the toughest for me," said Nashef, a Palestinian, who makes his home in Tel Aviv.

The other involved Nashef's costar, Ali Suliman, 28, who plays a fellow bomber. At one point, Suliman's character must videotape his last statement before a planned attack. When the scene was filmed, the set was filled with spectators from West Bank city encircled by Israeli checkpoints.

"When I finished my speech," said Suliman, a Palestinian who lives in Nazareth, "it was so still, so quiet. And then all the people were crying. They saw themselves in the speech."

Although Suliman said he agonized over taking part in "Paradise Now," his costar Nashef said he was not hesitant to play such a politically provocative role:

"I saw a good script that was not provincial or small-minded. People want more than caricatures."

"Syriana's" Gaghan agreed:

"All of the people who made the film believed that if we can show people as they are — maybe you will relate to them, and maybe you will not — we would have done our job."

No matter the difficulty in playing the role, the actors cast as terrorists and bombers said the work changed them as performers for the better.

"There is something in doing this role that I would like in every role — something that is very challenging for an actor, and very challenging for an audience. I like to do tough stuff," "Paradise Now's" Nashef said.

Said Saleh: "I always think of 'Munich' as the film that made me an actor…. But now I want to play things where I am not killing people, but showing off qualities that are more normal and banal. I want to play Woody Allen characters, writers and musicians."EDITOR'S NOTE: IN OTHER WORDS, CHARACTERS PEOPLE, IN TURN, DESIRE TO KILL? (SNICKER....)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tuesday News (this-and-that)


The Scent of a Movie
Theaters in Japan are offeringa new sensory experience: aromas synched with film.
Two movie theaters in Japan began offering a novel sensory experience to audiences Saturday: smells synchronized to a Hollywood adventure film.

Seven different aromas wafted from beneath the back-row seats during showings of the ''The New World,'' synchronized with the on-screen action.

''This movie depicted nature a lot, so the aromas created the atmosphere of the forest and flowers shown in the movie. It was nice,'' said Asami Osato, who watched the film at Tokyo's Louvre Marunouchi theater. EDITOR'S NOTE: YA KNOW....BEARS POOP IN THE FOREST. (I'M JUST SAYIN.....)

A floral scent accompanies a love scene, while a mix of peppermint and rosemary is emitted from special machines during a sad portion of the film.

The service is available for only the back 33 of the 470 seats, according to theater official Kenjiro

''We sold out all of our 'Aroma Seats' for four showings'' on Saturday, he said, adding that the

Movie theaters will be able to download scent sequences for other films from the Internet from NTT Communications, which offers the service to theaters.

The company began a similar service for homes in Japan last year. Owners of the US$620 (euro500) home version can download different programs to emit smells to accompany a horoscope reading or for aromatherapy. EDITOR'S NOTE: WHAT'S WRONG WITH EAU DE WET DOG, LIKE I'VE GOT FREE OF CHARGE?

Owners must keep refilling the machine with fragrant liquids. NTT Communications would not disclose how many machines it has sold. EDITOR'S NOTE: THERE MIGHT BE A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE, BUT THEY ARE VERY TOUCHY ABOUT BEING MENTIONED BY NAME, I GUESS.

U.S. startups have developed similar technologies before, although at least one company was forced out of business during the dot-com bust.

ABC Announces LOST Game

Associated Press has repored ABC will launch a global interactive game based on their TV series LOST. The LOST EXPERIENCE will be Internet-based and will feature a parallel story line that is not part of the TV show.

The game will begin May 3rd in the U.S., May 2th in the United Kingdom, and May 6th in Australia. There is no winning prize, but the experience will offer clues that could unlock some of the island's many secrets. It will introduce new characters and the mysterious Hanso Foundation. The first clue requires finding a toll-free number that will be released during the show or commercial breaks. EDITOR'S NOTE: ARGGH....MORE THINKING! (I HATE THINKING).


Guilds, ABC reach mobisode deal
Disney-ABC Television Group has reached a deal with the guilds that will put the long-delayed mobisode spinoff of hit series "Lost" back on track, the company said Monday.

SAG, DGA and WGA all hailed the unprecedented agreement for establishing a template covering compensation for future programming on new digital platforms.

"This deal marks the first of many to come and illustrates how, by working together with producers, we will achieve agreements that are mutually beneficial," DGA president Michael Apted said.

But Bruce Gersh, senior vp business development at ABC, described the deal in more measured terms, characterizing it as a trial not unlike the network's recent decision to stream programming on

Atlantis to Adapt Graphic Novel from LIBRARIAN

To coincide with the December 2006 broadcast premiere of the much-anticipated sequel to TNT’s LIBRARIAN: QUEST OF THE SPEAR, Dean Devlin's Electric Entertainment has signed an exclusive worldwide agreement with Atlantis Studios to produce a graphic novel adaptation of the sequel and produce an original comic book series based on the characters from the two films.

The sequel, entitled THE LIBRARIAN: RETURN TO KING SOLOMON'S MINES, continues the action-packed adventures of Flynn Carson, a man charged with protecting a repository of humanity’s greatest secrets, all hidden beneath the monolithic Metropolitan Library from the forces of evil who, if given the chance, would use the priceless treasures for their nefarious plans.EDITOR'S NOTE: OH THOSE FORCES OF EVIL. ALWAYS WITH THE NEFARIOUS PLANS. (REPLACING THE GOOD STUFF IN THE LIBRARY WITH PORN?)

The LIBRARAIN comic book series will be produced by Atlanta-based Atlantis Studios, a company specializing in the production of comics and graphic novels based on science fiction, fantasy, and action-adventure licensed properties. The comic series will follow Flynn’s adventures across the globe, and introduce new characters and artifacts suggested by the first two films.

Comics are great opportunities to explore mythology, history, and each character in a way we could never do on film” said executive producer Dean Devlin, “There are thousands of artifacts in the Library – each one a new adventure. Based on the response we’ve had from the first film, fans of all ages loved the characters and want to see more. This series will give it to them.”

We look forward to working with Electric Entertainment”, commented Atlantis Studios President James Watson, “Dean instinctively recognizes the story potential of franchises like “The Librarian”. A series like this has something for everyone – including action that’s a great match to the fast-moving, visual medium of comics.”

THE LIBRARIAN graphic novel adaptation of RETURN TO SOLOMON'S MINES will be available to retailers in late November 2006.

Tuesday Movie News


Mortensen Keeps PROMISES for Cronenberg

Focus Features and BBC Films has set Viggo Mortensen to star in EASTERN PROMISES.

Mortensen will portray a man caught up in the Russian mob. David Cronenberg will direct.

The thriller, set in London, centers on a nurse investigating the identity of a Russian girl who dies in childbirth. The nurse stumbles into danger when she learns the woman was a prostitute involved in sex trafficking.

Steve Knight wrote the script. Paul Webster will produce.

Pacino Joins THIRTEEN
Director Steven Soderbergh and Warner Bros. has signed Al Pacino to star in OCEAN'S THIRTEEN. He joins a cast which already includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac and Ellen Barkin.

The plot is being kept under wraps. Pacino will be playing Willie Banks, the owner of a high-profile casino and hotel in Las Vegas. EDITOR'S NOTE: BE PREPARED FOR LARGE CHUNKS OF SCENERY TO HANG FROM HIS TEETH AT ALL TIMES.

Brian Koppelman and David Levien wrote the script. Jerry Weintraub will produce. Production begins July 21st with filming in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Beltran Has ALTER EGO
Rock Shaink Jr. has sold his script ALTER EGO to Beltran Productions.

The psychological thriller centers on a group of unique characters trapped inside an imaginary world (Manhattan) EDITOR'S NOTE: NOT THAT I HAVEN'T SUSPECTED THIS FOR SOME TIME, BUT MANHATTAN IS IMAGINARY? who must solve a murder inside the tourist filled city streets before the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve, killing everyone.

Fernando Beltran will produce.

Raimi's RISE Shoots for R
In an unconfirmed rumor, an anonymous inside source reports that RISE, starring Lucy Liu, Michael Chiklis and Carla Gugino, went back in front of the cameras in Los Angeles this week for a few days to beef up its R rating by adding more explicit gore and sex. EDITOR'S NOTE: BEATS MAKING THE SCRIPT BETTER, I GUESS.

Sam Raimi is producing.

Giovanna Mezzogiorno Has Cholera/Starring in the novel adaptation
Italian thesp Giovanna Mezzogiorno, last seen in the foreign language Oscar-nominated Don’t Tell, will stoke the sickly fires of love for Javier Bardem in Love In The Time Of Cholera.

Mike Newell is directing the movie adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ best-selling novel, which chronicles the story of an unrequited love spanning more than 50 years in South America.

Our heroic lovers (Bardem and Mezzogiorno) have to overcome jobs, marriages, affairs and deaths before they can finally be together.

With a script by The Pianist’s Ron Harwood and a $35 million budget, Newell and co start shooting in Brazil this August.

Leary Story/LSD icon gets biopic treatment
Ever quoted the phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out”? The man you have to thank is Timothy Leary. Thanking him in person would be rather hard, since he died in 1996, but now you’ll be able to find out about his life and work in handy motion picture format, compliments of Miramax.

The company has snapped up the rights to Robert Greenfield’s Timothy Leary: A Biography and hired The Hoax’s Bill Wheeler to adapt it.

The book – which, like so many tomes grabbed by the studios, doesn’t actually hit bookshops until June –chronicles Leary’s life from his days as a Harvard professor to 1960’s counterculture icon. A proponent of the research and use of drugs such as LSD, he became a hero to many and nuisance to the government, who considered him a rebel and a dangerous influence. His death was videotaped at his request and he was buried in space- with his remains sharing rocket-space with such luminaries as Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

Mary Stuart Masterson Eats Cake/Directing a family drama
Mary Stuart Masterson last dipped her toes in the waters of big studio filmmaking in 1997’s The Postman. And it appears to have scared her away into Indie territory for good.

The Cake Eaters is her latest job, but with a twist – she’s directing this one. The film, which has been written by and will star Jayce Bartok (who appeared in the Station Agent and cropped up in Spider-Man as the subway busker singing the superhero’s praises), follows two families brought together by the return of a son. Naturally, this prodigal child’s return stirs up a mess of emotions and the usual amount of skeletons come rattling from the wardrobe. The log line mentions a battle with “old ghosts”, but we’re guessing the subject matter, and more importantly the budget, mean you can’t take that literally.

Masterson starts shooting in New York next month.

Depp's got a New Sensation?
Paul from over at "The Hollywood News" informed us that producers of the upcoming biopic of INXS frontman Michael Hutchence are looking to the Deppster to star as the Australian rock star.

Producers are further looking to round out the cast with an ambitious list of names that include Eric Bana, Sienna Miller, Naomi Watts, Eva Green, Patsy Kensit, Hayden Christensen, Stephen Rea, Joss Ackland, Rachel Griffiths, and Julie Walters.

The film, which has a working title of SLIDE AWAY (references an INXS-U2 duet) is under director Nick Egan, who directed a lot of INXS's more popular videos, and contrary to the rumor that has recently surfaced, Hutchence's father is not upset about the film and is cooperating with the production through Hutchence's Trust.

Star Trek : The Wrath of Capote?
If J.J Abrams is anything, it’s loyal.

Not only can we pretty much expect a cameo from Greg Grunberg – I’m assuming - in Abrams’ just-announced “Star Trek 11”, but the “M:I 3” director is even considering casting Philip Seymour Hoffman, the villain of the former, in the new Enterprise jaunt.

According to IGN FilmForce, the Oscar Winner is being considered for a role as the ship’s doctor in the film – but no, he won’t be playing the younger Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy.

As announced on Friday, the new film – which Abrams will produce and direct – will be set after the events of TV’s “Enterprise”, but before the events of the original “Star Trek” series. It will fix on the very first adventure that Kirk and Spock share together, having met at the Starfleet Academy.

I’m still wondering how the heck they’re going to find a young Kirk or young Spock….I guess they’ll go the look-a-like route, but here’s hoping, their dupes can act. EDITOR'S NOTE: AMEN TO THAT. AND HAVE MORE SPARKLE THAN MOST YOUNG THESPS THESE DAYS. (YEAH...I SOUND LIKE AN OLD COOT. SUE ME). SAY WHAT YOU WILL ABOUT SHATNER, ET AL, THAT GANG HAD CHARISMA AND PRESENCE TO SPARE.


It Won't Be Kirk And SpockExclusive: The Truth About Star Trek XI
Fans around the world whooped for joy last week at news that the Star Trek franchise was being resuscitated with M:I:3 director JJ Abrams at the helm.

News that it would adopt the long-mooted concept of Kirk and Spock's youthful adventures at Starfleet Academy provoked a more mixed reaction.

Those who thought such a move sacrilege can rest easy though because, as Empire discovered in an interview today with Abrams himself, the story is nothing of the sort.

"The whole thing was reported entirely without our cooperation," says the director with a hint of regret. "People learned that I was producing a Star Trek film, that I had an option to direct it, they hear rumours of what the thing was going to be and ran with a story that is not entirely accurate."

But the million dollar question is, what will it be about?

Unsurprisingly, Abrams isn't saying ("We've made a pact not to discuss any specifics") but the Lost creator is a confirmed Original Series fan so don't be surprised if his take on the series does indeed take place around the era of Kirk and co, or if some of the established characters do make a reappearance.

"Those characters are so spectacular. I just think that… you know, they could live again." EDITOR'S NOTE: OK. SO. IT ISN'T ABOUT KIRK & SPOCK. UNLESS IT IS?

Star Blazers to keep you warm
It’s origin in ink? Then it’s ripe for a big-time contemporary movie!

“Star Blazers”, that vintage Japanese anime series from long ago, is getting the cinematic treatment, says The Hollywood Reporter.

Benderspink and producer Josh C. Kline are adapting the series, known for its epic imagery and themes of brave sacrifice and respect for heroes lost in the line of duty.

"Star Blazers," distributed in the U.S. by Voyager Entertainment, aired stateside in the early 1980s. The story is set in the 22nd century after an alien attack on Earth has forced survivors to live in underground cities. After a message arrives from a distant planet promising a cure for the proliferating surface radiation, Earth's last vestige of hope rests on the crew of a powerful yet untested spaceship, which must reach the purported new ally and return home before mankind ceases to exist.

Granted, “Blazers”, the series, was pretty tacky, so the film hasn’t got a lot to live-up to – so it could be OK. Having said that, they’ve tried once before to get a “Star Blazers” film up and going – Disney attempted in the 90s – and failed, which begs the question: ‘Why now? Not then?’ EDITOR'S NOTE: WHY NOT NOW?! A LITTLE OPTIMISM, FOR PETE'S SAKE!


Run For Your Lives! The Blockbusters Are Coming!
Coming soon to every theater near you: more of the freakin' same!

Summer means blockbusters, and that usually means sequels, prequels or remakes. Gone are the days when movies guaranteed the unforeseen: famous actors, yes, but in new roles; familiar genres, sure, but with different stories. Today the demand that Diaghilev made of Jean Cocteau—"Astonish me!"—has become "Remind me." Moviemakers and movie watchers, both groups in a historically cautious mind-set, want more of the same: tiny twists on proven franchises, like the pleasures of a living-room drama or sitcom. In this surprise-resistant summer, that's what you're getting: pay TV.

Once in a while, a new member has to join the club; otherwise, there would be no movies to make sequels of. Three years ago, that film was Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. It vaulted from prerelease shrug to summer smash, earning $305 million in North America and $652 million worldwide. So here comes the sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (opening July 7), which was shot at the same time as Pirates III, due out next summer.

For this double voyage, Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer re-enlisted the old crew: director Gore Verbinski, writer Terry Rossio and stars Johnny Depp (as scurvy Captain Jack), Orlando Bloom (the young hero, Will Turner) and Keira Knightley (Will's fiance Elizabeth Swann). They all seem pumped.

"There's a kid inside most of the people on this crew," Verbinski says, "that gets juiced to get up in the morning and say, 'Hey, we're doing this.' This is the type of movie that says it's fun to go to the theater again." EDITOR'S NOTE: AND NOW, RECITE IT WITH ME...THE MOVIE-FAN'S PRAYER ---- PLEASE MAKE THIS ONE AS GOOD AS THE FIRST ONE THAT I LOVED SO MUCH. PLEASE DON'T MESS IT UP AND WASTE SUCH A GREAT CAST AND SUCH BUILT-UP GOOD WILL. PLEASE DON'T BE LIKE "BOURNE 2".

The very notion of sequels might horrify Depp, Hollywood's best current example of dreamboat movie star and superserious character actor.

"It's a dangerous game," he acknowledges. "Rocky went into almost Warholian levels of absurdity. But if your intentions are good and pure, then you can sort of skate through, make an interesting, entertaining film."

His Captain Jack, the maniacally mannerist pirate, was plenty entertaining, to audiences and to Depp. "I truly love the character," he says, "and I didn't feel I'd had enough of him in the first one."

Or the second or third? Bruckheimer says he's going to save all the sets "in the hope that we can continue the series. If Disney will write us some checks, we'll do it." And if the star isn't bored by then, he jokes: "I'm teetering on the idea of a [Pirates] TV series."

That's not likely. But this is: out of the summer will emerge a from-nowhere smash on the order of The Blair Witch Project or My Big Fat Greek Wedding or Wedding Crashers. Or the first Pirates. After all, a surprise hit is the least surprising thing about summer.


Starring: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Release date: May 5.

What the first two made: $396 million

THE CHALLENGE The audience's mission, should it choose to accept it, is to escape into an action movie when its star's off-screen life requires a greater suspension of disbelief than his onscreen stunts do. Weeks before the U.S. opening of M:i:III, as it's curiously advertised, Cruise is in the headlines because of his ecstasy over his new baby and his devotion to Scientology—neither of which cries out "badass superspy." The spy-movie genre has changed too, taking itself far less seriously these days thanks to movies like Austin Powers and TV shows like Alias, created by new Mission director J.J. Abrams. But perhaps it was time to lighten things up. Says Abrams: "Any time you make a movie with a No. 3 in [its title], you have to have a sense of humor." EDITOR'S NOTE: WELL PUT! (JJ ROCKS)

WHAT'S NEW Cruise's character Ethan Hunt gets a life beyond dodging explosions—and a girl (Michelle Monaghan). "This guy happens to be really good at what he does, but it's a prison," says Abrams. "This woman is a light and gives him a sense of hope." Providing the darkness is Hoffman, who sheds his Capote lisp for a really scary sneer.

THE BUZZ It's a hard call. Does Cruise the tabloid fixture hurt Cruise the movie star? This is the kind of movie audiences like to see him in, so it's a safer bet than, say, Vanilla Sky II.


Starring: Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth. Release date: June 30.

What the first four made: $318 million

THE CHALLENGE The problem with Superman is that he doesn't have enough problems. He can pretty much do anything—dude has superbreath—and apart from the kryptonite thing, he's pretty much invulnerable. And oh, my stars, what a do-gooder. Where's the inner conflict? Or the outer conflict, for that matter? He's not dark and troubled like Batman or Wolverine, or cute and clueless like Spider-Man.

WHAT'S NEW You can't openly monkey with the Superman mythology--there are probably federal laws against it—so to reinvent him director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, the X-Men movies) went subtle, quietly tweaking canonical story lines to roil Supe's placid emotional waters. When the movie opens, Big Blue has been gone for five years, and he gets back to find that Lois Lane has a new guy (!) and a kid (!!). Now, wouldn't that ruffle your spit curl?

THE BUZZ The set radiated bad p.r.: there were rumors of reshoots and wild budget overruns (the reported cost is a mighty $185 million). And do comic-book fans really care if Superman is a lover as well as a fighter? New guy Routh fills out the blue tights, and Spacey looks like a deliciously loony Lex Luthor, but Clark Kent might need to find a new beat. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND A THIGH-MASTER.


Starring: Hugh Jackman, Kelsey Grammer. Release date: May 26.

What the first two made: $372 million

THE CHALLENGE The X-Men have a problem. Not the threat of Magneto or the fact that a pharmaceutical company has come up with a "cure" for mutancy (jeez, can't we all just get along?). The issue is the loss of Singer (to Superman), who directed the first two movies, and his replacement by Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, Red Dragon), who hasn't yet shown Singer's talent for the shadowy action sequences that are the franchise's specialty. Oh, and Frasier Crane is the Beast?

WHAT'S NEW In addition to a bigger part for the under-utilized weather witch Storm (Halle Berry), EDITOR'S NOTE: NOT NECESSARILY A GOOD THING. HALLE BERRY...OSCAR NOTWITHSTANDING....IS LOOKS WAY BETTER IN VERY SMALL DOSES. (IMHO....) X3 also has new or much-expanded roles for several mutants beloved from the comic book. White-winged Archangel appears, as does Kitty Pryde, the girl who walks through walls and who served as the imaginary girlfriend for a generation of fanboys.

Watch them closely: This is the last X-Men movie, and Fox is looking for mutants who can be spun off as stand-alone franchises.

THE BUZZ Actually, not bad. A strong trailer suggests that despite what Ratner says—"It's not just a bunch of superheroes saving the world and kicking ass. It deals with a lot of issues, prejudice and alienation and all that stuff"—he has grasped one of the basic truths of the series: the more mutants, the mo'better.


Starring: Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss. Release date: May 12.

What the first one made: $84 million

THE CHALLENGE Making a 34-year-old disaster movie, known principally for its theme song and Shelley Winters' underpants, interesting to young, gotta-see-it-opening-weekend types.

And inspiring awe in people who have seen Titanic and The Perfect Storm.

WHAT'S NEW There's still a boat, a wall of water and a group of survivors. But apart from that, the screenplay is brand new. There's no Winters character—all the women are more of the "don't know-their-names-but-they-sure-look-good-wet" variety, like Emmy Rossum (Phantom of the Opera). And the special effects on this one should make the first one look like a kiddie pool.

THE BUZZ The Poseidon Adventure does not generate much Internet alarm over its desecration. The folks at Warner Bros., seem to be quietly confident. Their ace in the hole is director Wolfgang Petersen, who, having directed The Perfect Storm and Das Boot, knows from terror and tension on top of and beneath the waves. Poseidon could just be the preposterous, grip-the-armrest thriller people love in summer. Or, like the ship, it could be a sinker.EDITOR'S NOTE: WELL THE TRAILER SURE LOOKED EXCITING. (AND I WAS NOT THINKING I WOULD WANT TO SEE IT, HAVING ONLY JUST GOTTEN THE THEME SONG FROM THE FIRST ONE OUT OF MY HEAD. (OOPS...THERE IT GOES AGAIN). GREAT CAST, TOO.


Starring: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou. Release date: May 19.

How many books sold: 40 million--plus

THE CHALLENGE Adapting the worldwide best-selling novel into a taut, suspenseful thriller. "Because the story is so well known," says director Ron Howard, "the last little bit of mystery I have to offer is how I interpreted it."

WHAT'S NEW Not the story line, which follows the book's uncovering of an alleged Christianity con job almost, um, religiously. EDITOR'S NOTE: THE REALLY COOL THING ABOUT CONSUMING A LOT OF NUTRASWEET, IS I DON'T FULLY REMEMBER THE BOOK'S PLOT DETAILS. EVERYTHING STAYS QUITE FRESH AND NEW THAT WAY! But Howard delivers something the novel doesn't: re-creations of supposed historical events central to the ancient conspiracy. "We try to transport the audience back in time so they can understand its context," he says.

THE BUZZ Security was tighter than the Mona Lisa's smile at the Musee du Louvre in Paris, where location filming was allowed only after closing hours. Ongoing complaints by the Vatican and Opus Dei have only stoked the publicity fires, while a (much) smaller group supporting albino rights blanched at the villain's complexion. EDITOR'S NOTE: I AM BEGINNING TO FEEL TRULY SLIGHTED. WE NEED A DWEEB-RIGHTS LOBBY, DON'T YOU THINK?! Sony has held no screenings for movie critics yet, which is not usually a good sign. But controversy sells, so maybe it won't need signs.


Starring: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx. Release date: July 28.

How long the show ran: 1984-89

THE CHALLENGE Updating the ultimate '80s cop show

WHAT'S NEW Miami, for starters. Style-conscious director Michael Mann, who executive-produced Vice for TV, took the original show's atmospherics from a provincial Miami that hid its grit under pink stucco. Now it's a boomtown, flush with international cash and bristling with glassy towers. The crime scene in '80s Miami, Mann says, "was just small-town cocaine cowboys. Now, everything seems to have a couple of zeroes added to the end of it." Gone too are the signature pastels. As for the substance, the director insisted on an R rating, allowing the movie to show the sex and violence the TV show had to imply.

THE BUZZ Production, on location in Florida and the Caribbean, was rougher than Don Johnson's stubble. Hurricanes closed the set three times, as did an incident in the Dominican Republic involving an off-duty cop who wanted to get on-set and a spot of gunfire; in December, Farrell had to be treated for exhaustion and dependency on prescription medication. Mann, a notoriously meticulous director, has pulled off tough, big-star productions before (Heat, Ali). But movie audiences have tended to like their TV remakes campy (Charlie's Angels, Mr. & Mrs. Smith), and Mann takes Vice, the movie, dead seriously. "I hope the movie will surprise people familiar with the show,"EDITOR'S NOTE: AREN'T THOSE PEOPLE MOSTLY MOUTH BREATHERS? Mann says. "I was never interested in doing something derivative."