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March 29, 2007 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | March 29, 2007 |

I was at church one time when the speaker lamented that he’d used up all his good material the week before, and would have to basically wing it this time around. “It seems I shot my wad,” he said. Aside from this being pretty much the most entertaining thing I’ve ever heard in church, I brought up that little anecdote because now I actually sympathize with the guy. My trade round-up last week wasn’t so much a news brief as a lamentation for Hollywood at large, which anyone could/should have told me was a stupid idea: Things aren’t really much better this week, to tell you the truth, but I still have to soldier on and dig up a few bits of film-related news worth sharing with all the loyal subjects of Pajibaland. (Pajibians? Pajibites? Pajies?) Which brings me to the first sad bit of news: Lionsgate and the Firm are partnering on a big-screen adaptation of Thomas “The Painter of Light” Kinkade’s painting “The Christmas Cottage.”

Yes. I do not mislead you: A film based on a painting.

If you’re familiar with Kinkade, then you’ve spent a lot of time in waiting rooms for the doctor or dentist, or you could be a seriously maladjusted Southern woman who thinks he’s an artist. Either way, Thomas “Seriously, I’m Painting With Light” Kinkade is world-renowned for producing cheap, bland hackery, the painting world’s equivalent of Jerry Bruckheimer, only instead of explosions, he uses wreaths and log cabins and what have you. He’s fairly well known (sadly) among Christian circles in the South, and his paintings often worm their way ubiquitously into the dorm rooms of all those girls from Post who aren’t quite comfortable with hanging up the Klimt print that everybody else gets freshman year. But beyond the fact that this guy creates these weird graphical representations of the emotional state you have to be in to read The Purpose-Driven Life is the sheer insanity of basing a film not on a novel, or a short story, or a pitch, but one random image. Is this what we’ve come to? “Hey, that’s pretty. Make it into a movie.” “Well, sir, it’s a painting, and not a story per se.” “I’ll fire you.” “I’ll see if we can get Nicolas Cage.”

I need some cheering up after that: This week it was announced that Greg Kinnear, who’s like the Greg Kinnear of actors, and Ricky Gervais will team up to star in DreamWorks’ romantic comedy Ghost Town, about a “dentist who dies briefly during routine dental surgery” (no idea, don’t ask) and subsequently gains a Flatliners-esque ability to see dead people who, selfishly enough, ask him to help them contact their living families. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that being contacted by the ghost of a dead relative would probably be a lot more terrifying than the good folks at DreamWorks would have us believe, I think that Gervais and Kinnear together could prove to be entertaining. Kinnear did wonders with what could have been a stereotypically quirky role in Little Miss Sunshine, and Gervais is reponsible for creating two phenomenal comedies — “The Office” and “Extras” —¬†and having the guts and brilliance to end the shows when they’re at their creative peak. It’s not clear yet which role each actor will play, but Kinnear exudes a dentisty vibe, so I’ll throw down and say that he’ll be the doctor and Gervais will either be his buddy, a ghost, or a mad bomber.

As for the trailer watch this week, I leave you with a look at 28 Weeks Later, the sequel to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later from a couple years ago. Boyle only exec produces this time around, as the directing reins get passed to Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, who’s making his major English-language debut with the film. The first film was enjoyably freaky, so as long as Fresnadillo keeps the tension high and the zombies running, the sequel shouldn’t be too bad:

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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