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November 29, 2007 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | November 29, 2007 |

Well, I can’t believe it’s almost December, I can’t believe my roommate and I made a pumpkin pie last two days, and I can’t believe the strike is still ruining everything in sight. I will never cease to be amazed at my continual ability to be disappointed by Hollywood. I figure I’ve seen enough bad movies and heard enough bad news that not much can faze me; this ain’t exactly my first rodeo. But news came down this week about a project so insipid that my brain began to lose all molecular consistency, and it currently resembles a warm M&M that’s been in the car all day, nothing but gooey center held together by a candy shell whose tensilary strength is now dependent on luck and will. My friends, I bring you the appropriately simply titled Weapon. It will star Rich Franklin, the Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champ, as a genetically engineered super-soldier who somehow defies his creator — to be played by B-movie great Bruce Greenwood, who’s probably a nice guy and doesn’t deserve to make crap like this — and winds up on the run. But wait, there’s less: Franklin The Super Killer winds up on the run with a U.S. border patrol agent played by none other than Tiffani Thiessen. I can only imagine what kind of ordinance-bending uniform Thiessen will wind up wearing as she and Rich The Guy Who Blows Stuff Up Real Good make their way across the country. It’s being directed by stuntman and occasional actor John Stead. Honestly, I don’t know what to say any more.

Also this week, it was reported that Liev Schreiber has joined the cast of Universal’s Repossession Mambo, which also stars Jude Law and Forest Whitaker. Written by Eric Garcia and adapted from his own sci-fi novel, the story deals with a man (Law) who works at a credit union dealing in artificial organs. (I don’t know.) Schreiber will play his boss. I know that’s not really exciting at all, but that’s the way things are going right now. Talks have resumed this week in the writers strike, but both sides have instituted a press blackout and have been meeting at undisclosed locations. There aren’t a lot of deals being made.

However, the Sundance Film Festival announced its 2008 competition lineup this week, so that’s some good news. Among the drama entries are Rawson Marshall Thurber’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Clark Gregg’s adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s Choke, Jonathan Levine’s The Wackness, and Paul Schneider’s Pretty Bird. As a Michael Chabon fan, I’m honor-bound to check out The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, but I’m also plenty curious about Schneider’s and Gregg’s films. They’re both talented actors, and they’re working with some potentially great source material, Gregg with Palahniuk and Schneider with his own script. I’m sure more word about the films will develop as the festival draws closer; with any luck, you’ll be seeing them in theaters this time next year.

I leave you this morning with two clips. The first isn’t film-related at all, but rather something so astounding I felt I had to share it. It’s a public service announcement from Canada about workplace safety, and it’s riveting:

Did I say riveting? I forgot to also say it’s terrifying. Sorry about that. Anyway, the commercial — which is an actual ad from our suddenly frightening neighbors to the north — is so unsettling I’ve only watched it three or four times in a row. The way it takes a hard left turn into hell with just a few seconds left at the end is jaw-dropping.

That’s also the mood evoked by this morning’s actual film trailer, a clip for Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, a remake of his own 1997 film. This one stars Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, and Naomi Watts, who you can pretty much bet will have really emotionally crippling sex with someone before the film is over. Anyway, take a look:

OK, you know I can’t leave you with that. Here’s a chaser to wash the bad taste out of your brain:

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a low-level employee at a Hollywood industry magazine. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.

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