Hollywood's Great Purge of Originality continues as Lionsgate hires Kenny Ortega to direct
Family members of a 2003 bombing victim protest the new comedy
I saw an advanced screening of “30 Minutes or Less,” the new film by Ruben Fleisher (“Zombieland”) and I have to say I thought it was very funny. Jesse Eisenberg, whose fame skyrocketed last year after his Oscar-nominated performance in “The Social Network,” has an earnest, straight-man quality that works perfectly for this black comedy that also stars Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson, and Fred Ward. Oh, there are a few pizza-sized holes in the plot and the extreme violence may be off-putting to some Eisenberg fans, but the film has many twisted moments that are laugh-out-loud funny. And the violence is kind of cartoon-like. People are killed in gruesome ways throughout the film, but it’s often unclear whether they’re really dead or not.
But even before the much-hyped film opens this Friday, it is mired in controversy. In the story, Jesse Eisenberg plays a pizza delivery guy who is kidnapped by two wannabe thugs (McBride and Swardson). They strap a bomb to his chest and force him to rob a bank to get the money they need for the hit they’ve arranged on McBride’s creepy dad (Ward). How much did screenwriters Michael Diliberti and Matthew Sullivan base the film on the real-life case of Brian Wells, a pizza delivery guy in Erie, Pa., who died in 2003 following a bank robbery when a bomb that was strapped onto him went off?
Three recently released films have already reached this incredible milestone
What could you do with $13 billion dollars? Buy a few islands in the South Pacific? Salvage the economy of most third-world nations? Hire the Rolling Stones, the remaining Beatles, and Barbra Streisand to play at your son’s Bar Mitzvah?
According to Box Office Mojo, the newly adjusted totals of the Top Ten Highest-Grossing Films of All Time exceed the 13 billion dollar mark for the first time ever as of this week. Even more astonishingly, three of the films on the list were released this year. The final Harry Potter film has been snaking up the list at record speed and, as of yesterday, reached the number three spot at $1.132 billion since its release less than one month ago. Good God, where will it end? Could J.K. Rowling use her royalties for the series (five other Potter films are in the Top 20) to obliterate the international debt crisis?
Is it time for a grittier remake of the venerable musical?
How is it possible that more than three decades have passed since John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John found true love at Rydell High? Can you believe that Danny and Sandy are now 57 and 63? Gulp.
Last week, Annette Charles, who played Travolta’s hot-as-a-firecracker dance partner, Cha Cha DiGregorio, in the film’s famous “Hand Jive” dance-off, died of cancer at the age of 63. And just a few months ago, Jeff Conaway, who played Travolta’s best friend Kenickie in “Grease,” died after a long history of drug abuse. He was 60. One of the fun gimmicks of the 1978 film was using actual stars from the 1950s to play the “adults” in this nostalgic look at 50s life. The film featured such legends as Sid Caesar, Eve Arden, Edd “Kookie” Byrnes, Joan Blondell, Alice Ghostley, and Dody Goodman. While most of their original work has faded from memory, the phenomenally successful movie lives on. It has grossed an astounding $386 million worldwide and now has new life as a sing-along event at venues such as the Hollywood Bowl.
Crowe signs on to the Allan Hughes-directed film
Thereby tempts fate, agitates already anxious fans
Remembering the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
We visit the set of the sci-fi/action extravaganza and talk to director Peter Berg and actors Taylor Kitsch & Alexander Skarsgård about turning a board game into a blockbuster
Laugh all you want in regards to "Battleship" the movie. Yes, it's based on that Hasbro game Battleship, as in "Hey, you sank my battleship!" (if you are younger than 30 years-old, ask your parents). I was laughing too when Universal asked me to travel to Hawaii for a two-day set visit in September 2010. Really, I thought, they're making movies from board games now? I mean, I guess I understand "Clue" but "Battleship"? That was before I saw the set.