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December 13, 2007 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | December 13, 2007 |

It’s something like 47 degrees outside right now, which I know doesn’t mean a whole lot to those of you from the portions of the country where cold is a way of life come winter, and I realize that by telling you that I feel so cold in my apartment right now that I’m reluctant to go to the bathroom out of dread for the shock of cold air that will surely slap me the moment I drop trou — well, I know I’m opening myself up for scorn. Those of you who by choice or design or sheer unluckiness find yourselves living in the gray wastelands of the Corn Belt or the frozen barren tundra that is Canada, where elk freely roam the streets and maul small children, can mock me all you want for wanting to sleep in sweatpants when the temperature is still more than 10 degrees above freezing. I don’t care. This is winter in L.A., and it may be mild, but it can still burn. There’s nothing going on in town right now but a cold front, a bitch of a head cold that’s making its way through my office, and a few measly deals meant to take everyone’s mind off the fact that the writers strike keeps dragging on, ensuring a jobless Christmas for many, sour economic repercussions, but perhaps most devastating, the last new “Pushing Daisies” episode until God knows when. This sucks.

Remember when Nicolas Cage used to be great? Yes you do. Don’t shake your head like that, you do, and you know you do. Leaving Las Vegas will always be a good movie; not even Next can take that away. And of course there’s Adaptation, a fantastic film that always earns (rightful) praise for Charlie Kaufman but never seems to generate goodwill for Cage. Raising Arizona, people. I bring all those up as incantations against the awful pile of crap his career has become, as a way to hold onto a small glimmer of hope that Cage’s next project might be good. It was announced this week that Cage will star in Knowing, a thriller for Summit Entertainment that will be directed by Alex Proyas. Proyas has helmed The Crow and the deeply underrated Dark City, among others, so there’s a chance he could coax something exciting out of Cage. Then again, here’s the logline: Cage will play a teacher who examines the contents of a time capsule dug up at his son’s elementary school, only to find out that many of the predictions therein (people put predictions in time capsules?) have already come true. This somehow leads Cage — who will probably be named something really pedestrian, like John, or really action-movieish, like Tryler — to believe both that the world is ending and that he and his son are involved. I would hope the film fills out the logic a little more thoroughly than that, since going from “What a strange coincidence” to “Me and my boy are engineering the downfall of man” seems like you’re leaping right off the Jump to Conclusions mat and squarely into crazyland. But then again, if you’re gonna go that way, Cage is your man. The production begins March 17 in Melbourne. Australian readers are encouraged to break onto the set and boost what they can, or at least photograph stuff.

In other casting news, Paul “Look At Me Now, Alicia” Rudd has signed on and Jason Segel is in talks to star in I Love You, Man, a DreamWorks comedy written and to be directed by John Hamburg, who signed a two-year overall pact with DreamWorks last spring. Hamburg also directed Along Came Polly, which had the profound effect of making me sad for Philip Seymour Hoffman. However, Hamburg also wrote and directed the criminally underseen Safe Men, as well as a few episodes of “Undeclared,” which leads me to believe Along Came Polly was perverted from the (slightly) better script it used to be by the studio and the presence of Ben Stiller, whose fall from comedic grace has been well documented. In the film, Rudd will play an engaged man who, per the again questionable logline, seeks out a male friend to be his best man, to be played by Segel. Admittedly, the concept sounds a little weak. Why doesn’t the groom have any friends? Has he never know anyone he could call in as a ringer to be his best man? Why the pressure to find a guy? Will Seth Rogen cameo? Despite all that, it’s possible that Rudd and Segel can compensate just by riffing together like we’ve seen them do separately in Knocked Up. Or anyway, I hope so.

This morning’s trailer brings a pair of clips, because I’m a generous guy. First up is the international trailer (hence the subtitles) for Taken, starring Liam Neeson as a guy who’s daughter gets kidnapped and who then decides to go on a bloodthirsty mission of revenge. I know what you’re thinking; Schwazrenegger already made this movie, and it was called Commando, and it was awesome. But Taken is French and gritty, and directed by Pierre Morel, who also did District B13, so you know the villains are gonna go parkour all over everybody’s ass. Take a look:

Next up is the clip for In Bruges, written and directed by Martin McDonagh in his feature debut. Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell star as hit men hiding out in Belgium from a murderous Ralph Fiennes; somehow, it’s a comedy, albeit a dark one. Here you go:

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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