Director James Cameron is planning multiple follow-ups to his box-office blockbuster Avatar, perhaps the most overrated movie of recent decades. Cameron says he is not accepting scripts or proposals for any other film projects, as he intends to film at least two Avatar sequels- and possibly a third. Sigourney Weaver, whose character was killed off in the first film, will somehow figure into the sequels, with Cameron explaining that the stories may jump back and forth in time in a non-linear format. Personally speaking, I've always felt that much of the enthusiasm relating to the film revolved around the stunning and impressive special effects. Strip that away and you are left with a rather heavy handed social message movie in which the good guys are virtually flawless and the villains are from the Snidley Whiplash school of mustache twirlers. I also found Cameron's political statements in the film to be hypocritical: he uses the story to denounce big business, yet goes to major corporations to finance the most expensive movie ever made. It will be interesting to see if Cameron can craft enthusiasm for a series of these films that extends beyond the special effects, which may be considered old hat by the time he cranks out the first sequel at his usual glacial pace. On the other hand, Cameron may well have a plan for introducing the next generation of special effects, as he did the first time around. He is not to be underestimated. - Lee Pfeiffer
Here's an amusing clip showing Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver- as if it were filmed in today's Times Square. People who weren't in New York when the movie was filmed in 1976 probably find it hard to believe that Gotham was once so sleazy and dangerous- but indeed it was. That's why films like this one and Death Wish resonated with audiences at the time but now appear to be from a different universe. There are those who pine away for the old Times Square but they glamorize the past. In fact, New York still has plenty of sleaze- you just have walk through cleaner, safer streets to enjoy it. Click here to view
With Woody Allen's To Rome With Love topping even Battleship at the Italian boxoffice, it's time to contemplate the Wood Man's recent obsession with shooting his films in Europe. For decades, Allen confined himself to his beloved New York City, but lately, he's found a receptive audience in Europe, not to mention significant tax incentives for filming there. Click here for an on-line virtual tour of key Allen European film locations.
Writer Gary Susman of Movieone takes an objective and insightful look at the remarkable career of the most famous American film critic ever: Roger Ebert. At age 70, Ebert is as energetic as ever, despite battling health problems that have robbed him of his ability to speak. The article points out that while Ebert and the late Gene Siskel did much to elevate appreciation of the art of film, their act was quickly copied by numerous imitators with the result being a dumbing-down of film criticism, especially in the age of the internet. Nevertheless, Ebert remains one of the few iconic names in film criticism and the article provides a look back on his reviews of blockbuster movies. Click here to read
Here's the first view of Ben Stiller in the forthcoming remake of the Danny Kaye comedy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty about a man who is obsessed with fantasizing about himself in various professions. Stiller is seen here with Kristin Wiig of Saturday Night Live. The film is based on James Thurber's classic 1947 short story. For more click here
Sandler's Jack and Jill was a major bomb in relation to his other films.
He is a contemporary Jerry Lewis. Adam Sandler's low-brow comedies rarely win critical plaudits but have generally proven to extremely popular with a young, loyal fan base. However, the relatively poor performance of his latest films leads Huffington Post writer Christopher Rosen to speculate about whether Sandler has truly lost his boxoffice mojo. His conclusion: no. Rosen backs up his opinion by providing the impressive grosses of Sandler's films to date and theorizes that his films generally bomb only when he goes beyond a PG-13 rating into R territory, which prohibits many teens from gaining entry to his films. For more click here
The head of Hammer Films says that Daniel Radcliffe might appear in the sequel to the recent boxoffice hit The Woman in Black. The critically-acclaimed film marked the first major hit for the recently revived British film studio which had been dormant for decades. For more click here- but beware, it does contain spoilers if you have not yet seen the film.
Director J.J. Abrams has abandoned plans to shoot his Star Trek sequel in 2D, then blow the film up for IMAX format. Instead, Abrams has confirmed that he used IMAX cameras to shoot specific key sequences, a technique used for recent Batman and Mission: Impossible movies. For more click here
Vintage ad for drive-in showing of Lawrence of Arabia.
You might think that America's dwindling number of drive-in movie theaters are destined to go the way of the dodo bird in the age of digital projection. However, a report from CNBC indicates some enterprising drive-in owners who are adapting to digital projection and using the technology to make their theaters thrive. Click here for more
1984, George Orwell's classic cautionary tale about a totalitarian future society that quashes any hint of individuality, will be brought to the big screen for the third time by Imagine,with a script by Noah Oppenheim. No director or cast has been announced. The oft-filmed tale has been made for TV and was adapted for two feature film versions. The first was released in 1956 and starred Edmond O'Brien and Michael Redgrave. The most acclaimed version was actually released in 1984 and starred John Hurt and Richard Burton, who gave a brilliant and chilling performance in his last big screen appearance. For more click here
Here's a board game you can't refuse: Hasbro and Paramount have teamed up to produce an official Monopoly version of The Godfather. The locations reflect those found in the film trilogy.There's even a cool promotional video that shows you the contentS of the game. (We believe the limited edition version comes with an actual decapitated horse head!) Click here for more
Woody Allen is returning to San Francisco to film his next as yet untitled comedy. The last time the Woodman filmed in Frisco was way back in 1969 when he made his big screen directorial debut with Take the Money and Run. Allen's film will top line Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett and comedian Louis C.K. His latest film, To Rome With Love, hits U.S. theaters later this month. For more click here
It had all been so idyllic. George Lucas bought land in tony Marin County, California and fulfilled his dream of building Skywalker Ranch, which now houses world class film production facilities. He has expanded the property and buildings over the years, but earned praise from neighbors for always preserving the splendor of the rural landscapes. However, when Lucas filed plans to fulfill the final part of Skywalker's expansion, neighbors formed a committee to block him, citing harm to the fragile environment. The controversy has torn the neighborhood of wealthy people apart, some siding with Lucas, others rejecting his plans for expansion. Now Lucas has announced he is caving in and will relocate to an area where Lucasfilm is not considered to be "an Evil Empire." He's thrown fuel on the fire by filing plans to sell off the land on which the expansion was to be built and use it for "affordable housing." Predictably, this has sent residents into a frenzy, citing fears that impoverished people will be terrorizing the neighborhood. Lucas says there is no malicious intent- he just wants to help lower income people. (In Marin County, "lower income" can be $88,000 per family of four). Some neighbors are lobbying to get Lucas to reconsider and promise to support his plans for expansion, but the legendary director seems intent on moving his latest operations elsewhere. Maybe it can all be resolved by dueling light sabers at dawn. For more click here