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January 3, 2008 | Comments ()


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Diary of a Mad Black Pajiba

The Daily Trade Round-Up / Dustin Rowles

Trade News | January 3, 2008 | Comments ()


I bet you’re all beside yourself excited about all the trade news you missed while our film round-up was on hiatus, aren’t you? You’ve been achin’ for it like a Spears’ sister aches for a freeloader’s man juice, right? I wish I could curb that ache satisfactorily, but what I have for you today is tantamount to a white boy with a job, and no Spears’ sister wants that. But, the show must go on, so until John Travolta announces he’s gonna perform for the rest of his career in drag, starting with a feature-length film about the Chiquita Banana Lady, then we’ll just have to feed that meth fix with some Kool-Aid laced Ritalin.

Let’s start with some Star Trek casting news. You remember how excited you were when you heard that J.J. Abrams was going to write and direct the next installment, a prequel to the Star Trek series chronicling the early years of Captain Kirk and the U.S.S. Enterprise? And then the cast starting coming into place, and you were like: Eric Bana as Nero? OK. Not bad. Zachary Quinto as Spock? I can deal with that. Winona Ryder is in it? Well, that’s weird, but all right. Chris Pine as Captain Kirk? Wait. Who? Karl Urban as Bones? Seriously? Get the fuck outta here. Harold and Kumar’s John Cho as Sulu? Huh? What’s going on here, J.J.?

Oh, but wait: Simon Pegg as Scotty? Well, OK then. Now we’re getting somewhere.

But, folks, it looks like Abrams has found a way to offset the inclusion of Simon Pegg in the cast. How? Tyler Perry, y’all. Tyler motherfucking Perry. I don’t know who he plays, but God help us all: Please don’t let him appear in a Star Trek movie in drag, cause the last thing I want to see is Mable “Madea” Simmons cursing Kirk for missing Bible study and upsidin’ Spock for having a mistress.

Tyler Perry. Jesus Christ.

Moving on: At last year’s Sundance, cocky-but-talented douchebag director Brett Morgan released a pretty brilliant documentary of sorts, taking archival footage from the trial of the Chicago Seven and combining it with animation to create a stellar flick (it’s finally due for release in February). At any rate, Steven Spielberg has apparently also found the Chicago Seven trial worth the cinematic treatment, as he’s attached to direct The Trial of the Chicago Seven, which naturally will come from an Aaron Sorkin script. The film is about the eight folks (Bobby Seale was tried separately from the other seven) who purportedly conspired to incite a riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. And late word has it that the film has found its first cast member: Sacha Baron Cohen will play Abbie Hoffman, who provided a lot of the dramatics at the trial, wearing judge’s robes, telling the judge he was a bad Jew, swearing in while holding up his middle finger, and suggesting the judge try LSD (even offering to set him up with a dealer).

Meanwhile, The Kingdom and Friday Night Lights’ director, Peter Berg, is in talks to take over as director on Edwin A. Salt, a spy thriller about a CIA officer who is fingered as a sleeper spy for the Russians. He eludes capture, but his superiors suspect him of plotting to assassinate the President. Tom Cruise is already attached in the lead role. And I know, I know. Nobody cares. Peter Berg rocks, but he oughtn’t soil himself by associating with Cruise. And Cruise? Man, he’s not even worth mocking anymore. Apparently, he’s the only one who doesn’t realize that his career as an A-List actor is over.

And this is not exactly trade news, but it’s wicked cool all the same. “Arrested Development’s” David Cross, who has apparently taken quite a bit of heat for selling out and appearing in Alvin in the Chipmunks, and has been forced to defend himself on his blog, in part because even Patton Oswalt has taken him to task for accepting the role (Patton purportedly turned it down). Anyway, in defending himself, at one point, David Cross writes that he had been out of work for six months, which made it difficult to buy a place he wanted in upstate New York (why would you want to go to upstate New York, David? You like shoveling snow? Get used to it.). Anyway, he found a place that was more than he budgeted for, and he writes:

I asked the owner if he’d take some of my credibility as payment. He looked at me as if I was an alien with A.I.D.S. speaking some intergalactic gobbledy-goo. I had to patiently explain to this country bumpkin about my indie hipster cred, and I would now like to cash it in. This rural rube was so backwards and ignorant that he couldn’t even conceive of how financial markets work and simple free market capitalism. I tried again to explain the concept of the value of “credibility” and “artistic integrity” but he refused to take it in exchange for the house. This guy was a fucking idiot! But what could I do? He wouldn’t take no for an answer. If I wanted that cottage I would have to pay him money. Sigh. So I used my “Alvin and the Chipmunks” money to pay for the down payment. Seriously, I totally did.

But, my favorite part is when he writes, “They could have offered the part to Anthony Clark or Jim Breuer or Dat Phan, but then they wouldn’t be able to balance out the empty void that Jason Lee brings to the film.”

David Cross: You just bought yourself a lifetime pass for selling out. Do the sequel, man. You have my blessing.

There’s a few options if you’re in the DVD buying market this week: Resident Evil: Extinction, WAR, September Dawn, and the sadly, sadly overlooked Shoot ‘Em Up, which features the coolest action scene in all of 2007: Clive Owen fucking Monica Belluci while simultaneously engaged in a gun fight. It will rock your world. If I embed the scene (NSFW), you’ll still buy/rent the movie, right?

Finally, what can I torture you with in the trailer watch today? Oh, here we go: The trailer for George Clooney’s Leatherheads actually looks pretty goddamn fun, but for the presence of Renee Zellwegger.

And, because it’s been awhile, here’s another: I know how much you’ve all been hoping that they’d make a kickboxing version of Karate Kid, and it looks so much more splendiferousy crappy than I could ever hope. It’s called Never Back Down, but it used to have the much better title, Get Some. Enjoy.


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