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August 13, 2006 | Comments ()


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A Pajiba's a Pajiba, No Matter How Small


The Weekly Trade Round-Up / The Pajiba Staff

Trade News | August 13, 2006 | Comments ()


Item #1: What if I told you that — after two films (How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat) have already ruined all your fond childhood associations with Dr. Seuss — 20th Century Fox has decided to adapt Horton Hears a Who for the big screen? And what if I told you that Jim Carrey has been cast to voice Horton the Elephant and that Steve Carrell will provide the voice of the mayor of Whoville? And what if I told you that the big-screen version will, in all likelihood, strip Horton of all its wonder, its metaphorical underpinnings, and replace it with a beezlenut stew that will cause flatulence; that the animators will imbue Horton with all of Carrey’s obnoxious camera-mugging characteristics; and that pro-life groups will once again adopt the book’s recurring phrase, “a person’s a person, no matter how small,” to the displeasure of many, who’d rather keep their politics out of Dr. Seuss experiences? And what if I told you that, in the three months leading up to Horton’s release, you will be bombarded with trailers, television spots, and Horton action figures everywhere you go; that the sound of Carrey’s voice will lead to epileptic seizures; and that those of you with kids will spend hours struggling not to kick them as they beg and plead to see a film that you know will suck? Does that sound like something you might be interested in? — Dustin Rowles

Item #2: OK, let’s say you’re not interested in Horton. I can understand that. Well, crack open a Sanka and get ready for this one, because I have two words for you: Nazi vampire. That’s right, Nazi vampire. I know, it’s hard to believe we didn’t think of this a long time ago. It was announced this week that Joel Schumacher (uh oh) will direct Town Creek, a thriller set up at Gold Circle Films that will revolve around a pair of West Virginia brothers who team up to wipe out a local family who’ve been protecting the Nazi vampire for years and who actually kidnapped one of the brothers as a kind of live-in buffet for the Nazi vampire. Needless to say, the family guarding the Nazi vampire will probably not be too happy about this, and I imagine the Nazi vampire will be pissed as well. … Nazi vampire. — Daniel Carlson

Item #3: I’ll admit there’s not a lot of write-up potential for Paris, je’taime, a collection of romantic short films that each take place in one of Paris’ arrondissements. It’s got a great cast, including Elijah Wood, Steve Buscemi, Natalie Portman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Juliet Binoche. And the list of directors helming the short films is pretty spectacular, including Alexander Payne, Wes Craven, Gus Van Sant, and even the Coen brothers. And I’m sure it’ll be fantastic series of vignettes (14 in all) that few will bother to see, simply because many may confuse the French title for a peep show involving the hotel heiress’ nether regions. But there’s a tiny crustlet of romanticism beneath all of my sardonic cynicism and — having proposed to Mrs. Pajiba right around the corner from the Notre Dame (during an argument — thanks “Coupling”!) — I’m kind of intrigued by the possibilities of Paris, je’taime. And I suppose that’s all I have to write about it, except to mention that First Look has purchased the rights to the film and plans to release it in early 2007. — DR

Item #4: Who doesn’t like Oliver Platt? Sure, his C.V. has its share of bruises (Bicentennial Man comes to mind), but he’s a dependable actor who often turns in solid supporting work, especially his run a few years ago on “The West Wing” and the nimble slapstick of The Impostors. He’s even got me wondering if I should add “Huff” to the ol’ Netflix queue. Anyway, Platt is now attached to Who Is Killing the Great Chefs?, a remake of the 1978 film Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?, starring George Segal and Jacqueline Bisset. (I think the shortened title is clunky and lacks the rhythm of the original, but whatever.) Platt will play a food critic who travels to Las Vegas for the culinary attractions and becomes a suspect when a local chef is killed in a manner mirroring his signature dish. I’m willing to bet that makes more sense once it’s filmed, so I’ll give it a pass for now. The only sign of trouble so far: Warner Bros. has hired David A. Goodman, of the hacky and overrated “Family Guy,” to pen the script. — DC

Item #5: When I was a kid, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, and Billy Crystal were closely linked in my mind because of their annual duties hosting “Comic Relief” over on the HBO. They last hosted the event together in the mid-’90s, and the special has been kaput since 1998. But hold onto your pants, because “Comic Relief” now makes its grand return to raise money for those still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, and Williams, Goldberg, and Crystal will once again be taking the joint helm. The three-hour concert will be recorded in Las Vegas on Nov. 18, and one assumes HBO will be airing it live that night. No other performers have been announced yet but, considering its hosts, we’re already off to a pretty miserable start. I mean, we’re a decade-plus removed from when any of these folks were funny or relevant, right? Unless Williams re-cokes himself to his early ’80s form and spends the show spinning Whoopi around by her dreads and using his Whoopi-mace to beat Crystal off the stage before he can hit us with a rambling song montage. If we get that kind of show, I’m totally on board. — Seth Freilich

Item #6: The box-office round up gives us this news: Last weekend was the lowest total for a number-one film in three years, as Renny Harlin’s The Covenant scraped out a first place showing with a measly $8.8 million, all of which was wasted on lines like, “I’m gonna make you my WE-OTCH!” In at number two, Hollywoodland made a disappointing $6 million, suggesting that most people either didn’t believe that Affleck’s performance was phenomenal (it was) or that most people just didn’t give a shit about George Reeves (or Affleck). Ah well. Maybe Ben will find better luck next year when he stars alongside Alicia Keys in Smokin’ Aces. In at number three, Invincible insisted on continuing its run of box-office mediocrity, while The Protector eked out $5 million to land in fourth place.

This weekend is a pretty exciting one at the Pajiba offices, though one of our illustrious critics gets left out of that joy with The Gridiron Gang, featuring The Rock in a performance that will finally rid him of his soft, feminine image. Still, many of us are huge fans of the novel The Black Dahlia, and we’ll finally find out if Josh Hartnett will besmirch James Ellroy’s fine work. Zach Braff — who has suddenly and inexplicably become a target of shame on many of the gossip blogs — stars in The Last Kiss, and we’re hoping we won’t have to pile on. We’ll also finally get around to reviewing This Film Is Not Yet Rated, and possibly we’ll have another review or two coming down the pipeline over the weekend. — DR



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