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May 17, 2007 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | May 17, 2007 |

Back in the day, before great actors started appearing together for the simple cash-in value of it all, I found the two scenes in Heat between Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino just absolutely mind-fuckingly exhilarating. I was going through my Pacino phase at the time, immersing myself in his filmography, and there was something really palpable about that coffee-shop scene. In fact, it may have been the first time I truly appreciated the skill of acting — that goosepimply feeling you get watching two guys who knew that the hell they were doing creating art through the simple act of chatting. Of course, that was before The Devil’s Advocate, Two for the Money, S1mone, et. al, in which Pacino more or less became a huge caricature of his Hoo-ha-ing Scent-of-a-Woman self (not that his cameo in Gigli wasn’t Oscar worthy). Anyway, I mention this because DeNiro and Pacino are set to appear in the same film again, Righteous Kill, this time as two cops chasing a serial killer, which should afford them a lot more screen time together. I don’t know that either one of them can re-ignite the magic (Pacino still had a flicker of it in Angels in America, but De Niro’s may have been extinguished for good by the Fockers), but it at least warrant some optimism. Unfortunately, the details of the deal do offer many reasons for concern. First, it’s a $60 million indie film (?), put together by the production company, Nu Image, which doesn’t have a particularly good track record: Black Dahlia, Alien vs. Alien, Mercenary Justice, The Wicker Man, Mansquito, the upcoming John Rambo, etc. Additionally, the serial killer film will be directed by Jon Avnet, whose two most notable films were Up Close and Personal and Fried Green Tomatoes. And if that’s not alarming enough, the script comes from Russell Gewirtz, who penned the well-acted, well-directed, but poorly written and mostly underwhelming Inside Man.

In other news, a reader (thanks, Jim) stumbled across this tidbit on Pajiba favorite, Bruce Campbell: IMDB suggests that a prequel to Bubba Ho-Tep is in the works, entitled Bubba Nosferatu and the Curse of the She-Vampires. I did a little internet sleuthing, and it looks like Don Coscarelli is, indeed, trying to put the project together, though Campbell is holding out for a quality script. You gotta love The Chin — the best roles he’s had since Bubba Ho-Tep (a tearjerker of a mummy film) were his cameos in the Spiderman films, but he still has enough integrity to hold out for a decent script. Joe Landsale (who wrote the short story that Ho-Tep was based on) is not involved in the prequel, but there is a lot of speculation that Paul Giamatti will play Colonel Parker, who was Elvis Presley’s manager (for those of you unfamiliar with Bubba Ho-Tep, first of all: Shame on you. Second, Campbell plays Elvis in his golden years, alongside the late Ossie Davis, who played JFK — in the film, they live in a nursing home where mummies suck the souls out of elderly folks through their assholes. Trust me, it’s better than it sounds.) Anyway, here’s hoping that Bubba Nosferatu makes it to the big screen someday.

This is an interesting project: David Mamet, who wrote one of the most brilliant screenplays of all time, Glengarry Glen Ross, is writing and directing a film entitled, Redbelt. So far, so good. The premise is this:

Redbelt is the story of Mike Terry, a Jiu-jitsu master who has avoided the prize fighting circuit, choosing to instead pursue a life of honor and education by operating a self-defense studio in Los Angeles. Terry’s life is dramatically changed, however, when he is conned by a cabal of movie stars and promoters. In order to pay off his debts and regain his honor Terry must step into the ring for the first time in his life.

That description sounds semi-formulaic and not all that interesting, but for the fact that David Mamet is heavily involved and Mike Terry will be played by … Chiwetel Ejiofor. Awesome, right? But before you get excited, let me also note this: In addition to Mamet’s regulars (Joe Mantegna, Ricky Jay, Rebecca Pidgeon) the film also stars … Tim (motherfucking) Allen. Wha? I don’t … Guh … But … huh? Tim Allen? In a David Mamet film? There is only one way this works, and that is if Tim Allen actually plays himself — a shitty movie star who is constantly referred to as such by each and every cast member several times during the course of the film. Otherwise, it’s like freakin’ Elvis Costello writing songs for Britney Spears. It makes zero sense. I don’t like it. Not one bit. This is how it has to go down:

Rebecca Pidgeon: Damn! Is that that douchebag, Tim Allen? What the hell is he doing in this film? This isn’t going to work. Dave — in the divorce, I get the kids, you get Tim Allen.

Ricky Jay: My motherfucker is so cool, when he goes to bed, sheep count him. Oh, and Tim Allen, you’re a come stain on the hair shirt of humanity. Someone put a thief in your mouth to steal your brain. And you never even knew it.

I swear to God, if I were Hiro, I’d go back in time and force Tim Allen’s mother to get a tubal ligation in 1951. Screw the cheerleader — that’s really how to save the world.

Anyway, this weekend features only one wide release: Shrek the Third. Otherwise, two films we have given very favorable reviews to are expanding, somewhat, into mid-major markets: Waitress and Away from Her. Check your local listings. The weirdly mismatched acting duo of Alec Baldwin and Freddie Prinze, Jr. also hit a couple of screens with Brooklyn Rules, and we should also have a review of the Parker Posey thriller, Fay Grim., early next week.

A few months ago, we posted the amusing teaser trailer for Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie, featuring cameos from Steven Spielberg and Chris Rock, but no actual footage from the film. Now, there’s actually a trailer up that gives you an idea of what the film is about. It’s still hard to detect whether or not the film will actually be(e) funny, but the animation is pretty goddamn spectacular, though the YouTube video below doesn’t really do it justice. If you want that, do check out the trailer over on AOL. If anything, at least, the voice casting is phenomenal: In addition to Seinfeld, there is Rock, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and even Eddie Izzard. It hits theaters in November.

Scent of a Pajiba

The Daily Trade Round-Up / Dustin Rowles

Industry | May 17, 2007 |

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

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