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October 10, 2006 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | October 10, 2006 |

Item #1: Rian Johnson deserves your love and respect. If you never took the time to see his debut film, Brick, you owe it to yourself to rent it. Today. Johnson’s film is a stunning mix of The Breakfast Club and The Maltese Falcon, an enjoyable and original neo-noir set in a high school that’s easily the best thing Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s ever done. The writer-director’s follow-up is going to be The Brothers Bloom, enticingly described as a “con artist adventure story” (and has there been a great con movie since The Grifters?). The script will follow a pair of brothers who grow up in a series of foster homes and learn to survive by becoming con men; I’ve got my fingers crossed that one of the foster fathers is abusive, leading to a heartfelt confrontation between the brothers where one comforts the other by repeating, “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.” The best part: Rachel Weisz has been cast as the inevitable femme fatale and mark for the brothers’ big job. This movie can’t get here fast enough. — Daniel Carlson

Item #2: In The Break-Up news, Jennifer Aniston is attempting to send a message to Hollywood that she’s more than just a pair of breasts attached to a spinal cord: She’s also an important actress, damnit. And what better way to demonstrate this than to produce and star in a film based on a study found in a Deepak Chopra book? The film, Counter Clockwise, will be about real-life Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer, who conducted a study in which she reversed the aging process by convincing her subjects they were younger. Aniston herself knows a little about tricks of the mind, having apparently persuaded herself that somebody might care about her acting talents. I, for one, am just waiting for her to reprise her brilliant role in 1993’s Leprechaun, the film for which my friends and our dates reserved a hotel room to watch on prom night. Yeah, I know: We were winners.

Elsewhere, the untalented hacks who cobbled together the script for The Break-Up have signed on to direct The Golden Tux, which will feature Dan Fogler in the lead role (I didn’t know who he was, either). Jeremy Garelick and Jeremy Lavender also wrote the script for The Golden Tux, which is about a man (Fogler) who whores himself to friendless grooms as their best man. Vince Vaughn was originally up for the part, but he passed on it and decided instead to do The Break-Up. I suspect it was a lose-lose proposition anyhow. — Dustin Rowles

Item #3: I love movies that revolve around online technology for a variety of reasons, chiefly (a) the technology looks dated after a month and (b) the technology bears no resemblance to the real world. The best example is The Net, a classic example of Hollywood fumbling after a burgeoning fad with a clumsy screen adaptation. And who could forget the revolutionary Virtuosity and Disclosure? Now another name can be added to the illustrious list: Untraceable , which will feature Diane Lane as a “cyber cop” (awesome) in pursuit of a “ruthless online predator.” A myriad of questions spring uncontrollably to mind: Since when is Lane a believable cop? Will she use some kind of virtual reality to catch the killer? And didn’t I see this already on “Dateline?” — DC

Item #4: In an update to a couple of films we ran earlier, John Goodman has signed onto James Wan’s Death Sentence, a film about a father (Kevin Bacon) seeking revenge for the death of his son in a gang-initiation rite. Goodman will play an arms dealer and drug kingpin. I mention this only because I like John Goodman. He seems like a nice guy, and it’s nice to see him doing something other than voice work for animation flicks. Otherwise, the leads have been cast for the Revenge of the Nerds remake (Goodman, coincidentally, was in the original). Ryan Pinkston, familiar to some as the snotty brat in 2003’s “Punk’d” run, will play “Felch,” a 15-year-old whiz kid. Jenna Dewan (she of Step Up and The Grudge 2) will play the woman the nerds will no doubt salivate over. Christopher Marquette, who I believe shot himself in the opening episode of “Huff” and is otherwise recognizable from guest spots on a series of television shows, will be playing the lead nerd, and Nick Zano (“What I Like about You”) is set to reprise the role made famous by Ted McGinley. And, if it weren’t already obvious to you that the Nerds update will be a painful unfunny facsimile of the original, then I need only tell you that Efren “Vote for Pedro” Ramirez will also star. Say goodbye to your fond associations with Revenge of the Nerds, folks. And thanks, Hollywood! — DR

Item #5: TV Guide’s gossip whore, Michael Ausiello (always pompous, often annoying, but sometimes the first with useful information), is reporting that NBC has decided to make a one-night “experiment” on Monday, October 30, by airing “Friday Night Lights” in the 10 p.m. time slot currently home to “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” In light of the continually hurting ratings of “Studio 60,” Ausiello is probably correct in positing that a strong showing by “Friday Night Lights” could mean it has a new home (NBC also just picked up an additional six scripts of the show) and that “Studio 60“‘s umbilical cord is that much closer to being wrapped around its little neck. Since I’m a huge fan of “Friday Night Lights,” I’m totally rooting for it. But I suspect it won’t do much better than “Studio 60,” although it may retain a tad more of the “Heroes” viewers. And as for “Studio 60,” while it still has its fans, many (myself included) have to come to accept its imminent demise (particularly in light of the very correct critique by other television critics, as well as our own Dan Carlson, that it’s hard to fully buy into the show’s premise when the internal comedy show is so bloody unfunny). But the true moral of the story is this — watch both these shows while you can, and try to put your full support behind them. Because every time a good show like either of these dies, the perpetrators of things like “The George Lopez Show” and “Two and a Half Men” get their wings. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?— Seth Freilich

Item #6: Personally, I’d love nothing more than to forget last weekend ever happened, but for those of you who give a damn: The Grudge 2 opened at number one, raking in a decent $20 million, and all but ensuring a third installment with 27 percent more shower scenes (I’ve not seen any of The Grudge films, so the only point of reference I have are those shower scenes; I’m sure there must be more to it.) The Departed had a very modest drop off, adding $19 million to its total, good for number two. Marty, having decided to do only low-budget indies for a while, has signed onto a sequel of The Departed, in which pairs of men stand in front of a blue screen, curse, and then exchange bullets to the brain. I, for one, can’t wait. Man of the Year eked out $12 million and rated a B+ from Cinemascore, suggesting it was these moviegoers, and not Robin Williams, who need the rehab. The Marine opened at number six with $7 million. The film’s star, John Cena, celebrated the next day by beating the shit out of Kevin Federline. Finally, Little Children made very little impact, dropping to number 45 in its second weekend, still only on five screens. Does anyone know if it will ever expand beyond LA/NY?

Honestly, I don’t know what to make of this weekend’s releases. The buzz is decent on Marie Antoinette, but with Kirsten Dunst, I’m semi-skeptical. The Prestige looks great in theory, but it’ll have to be pretty damn decent to one-up The Illusionist. Flags of Our Fathers is directed by one of the more sure-handed guys around, Clint Eastwood, but it’s yet another goddamn war film, and war-film fatigue set in around 1998. And then there is Flicka, featuring Alison Lohman. She’s 27. And yet anyone over the age of 25 ought to feel totally pervy if you find her attractive. She’s got a Matthew Broderick thing going on, which means that the second she hits 33, her entire body will transform into hideous manifestations of death, similar to the closing scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark. If you’re friends with Ms. Lohman, avoid her on that day. A final note: For those of you just dying for our review of Running with Scissors, which opens on eight screens this weekend, you’ll have to die a little slower. We’re covering it next weekend when it opens wide. And a few people have requested that we review The Last King of Scotland. I suspect we will eventually, but for the moment, where it’s showing and what our critics’ schedules are simply aren’t jibing. We apologize. — DR

Maybe I'll Just Sit Here and Bleed at You (Pajiba)

The Weekly Trade Round-Up / The Pajiba Staff

Industry | October 10, 2006 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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