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March 22, 2007 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | March 22, 2007 |

This has been a bad week.

I won’t even try to sugar-coat things for all you readers out in Pajibaland: This has just been a bad week. I’ll admit I’m more resilient than most when it comes to letting the brain-eroding sludge that often flows through Hollywood like a river of Satan’s own vomit roll right on past me while I keep my eyes focused on the few bright spots on the horizon that guide us from day to day and film to film. For every 300, there’s a Waitress, dig? I live in L.A. and work in a facet of The Industry, so I’m used to the fact that most producers ran out of original ideas long, long ago, if they ever had one. But this week, it’s like the only news coming out of my sweet, screwed-up burg was remake after adaptation after remake after adaptation after somebody please kill me. Columbia Pictures bought the rights to The Green Hornet, but really, who cares? Who created enough buzz to make Columbia think there’s a film future in a franchise based on a radio serial? Did no one see The Shadow? What’s going on?

But even that pales in comparison with the ultimate sadness: New Line Cinema will be adapting the Xbox 360 shooter Gears of War into what will inevitably be a godawful soul-raping suckfest of a movie. The video game lets the player roam around the planet and kill giant bugs that periodically erupt from beneath the surface (which, on my friend’s 42-inch plasma, is a damn eerie thing to see), but a film will have to somehow staple a stupid plot onto a one-note story that’s designed just to get you playing. Has there ever been a good movie based on a video game? Ever? Stuart Beattie, the scribe who has helped birth the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and should really be made to pay for that, has been tapped to adapt the project for the screen, so expect Gears of War to have a lot of stunning set-pieces, clunky dialogue, and repressed homoeroticism. I can’t wait.

What else, what else … oh yeah: Who wants to see Elisha Cuthbert get raped? You do? And you, sir? Well, step right up, because it’s your (un)lucky day. Those of you not in L.A. or New York might not have seen the controversial ads for Captivity that have since been taken down, so let me catch you up: Following a public outcry over the depravity of the ads for the upcoming torture-porn flick Captivity, producers After Dark Films agreed to take the ads down by 2 p.m. the other day, March 20. The horrible ads in question show Cuthbert progressing through a series of four frames — Abduction, Confinement, Torture, Termination — that serve to degrade not just Cuthbert but everyone who actually sees the ad. After Dark CEO Courtney Solomon, shoveling more crap than George Bush on a good day, claimed 1) that the ads were accidentally put up and never meant to be greenlighted, and 2) that the torture-porn film about a woman being kidnapped by a killer is actually “about female empowerment.” Yeah. Because billboards just put themselves up all the time, and Saw is about the triumph of the human spirit.

So I’m holding out hope that things will get better. I saw the trailer recently for Mike White’s Year of the Dog, and while it feels in part like a Wes Anderson rip-off — the formal compositions, the Cat Stevens soundtrack — it still looks like a cute and somewhat intelligent diversion from, well, pretty much everything else. Take a look:

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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