March 29, 2010 | 4:58 p.m.
Rachel Abramowitz has been keeping us up to date on the 1980s-era revival with her report on the “Karate Kid” and another on “Red Dawn,” and today she’s got an update on “The Smurfs” movie. There are so many things to worry about in the world these days, but you can cross one off the list: Quentin Tarantino won’t be playing Brainy Smurf in the big-screen version of “The Smurfs” after all. “There were conversations about it, but it didn’t work out,” says Hannah Minghella, president of Sony Pictures Animation, which is making the movie with a blend of live-action and animation. “Quentin is such a fanboy that it was part of the appeal.” Tarantino won’t portray the little know-it-all Smurf, but other notable names are l ining up with intense interest about joining the tribe of miniature blue imps. “You have no […]
March 29, 2010 | 12:52 p.m.
Rachel Abramowitz goes back to the future to look at Hollywood’s big-time interest in the 1980s. Actor-writer-director Jorma Taccone remembers with loving fondness the gear montage from almost every ’80s action flick of his youth — Rambo movies and “Die Hard” and the “entire canon” of Arnold Schwarzenegger. “It’s people putting the big Bowie knife into the sheath, the shell belts over the chest, click-clacking the gun. It was a quintessential awesome moment. It has permeated the minds of people who grew up in that era. There are entire websites dedicated to the gear-up montage.” Of course, Taccone has included several choice gear-up moments in his new film “MacGruber,” based on the “Saturday Night Live” skits and starring Will Forte and Kristen Wiig. Opening May 21, “MacGruber” pays homage to the action films of the Reagan years. But Taccone is […]
March 26, 2010 | 8:00 p.m.
Over at 24 Frames, our sister blog, John Milius, the director and writer of the original “Red Dawn” (as well as the co-writer of “Apocalypse Now” “Jeremiah Johnson” and many other manly-man films) tells Rachel Abramowitz that the upcoming remake of the film is a few rounds short of a full clip. “I think it’s a stupid thing to do. The movie is not very old,” said Milius, who’s not involved in the new film but was given a chance to read the new script. “It was terrible. There was a strange feeling to the whole thing. They were fans of the movie, so they put in stuff they thought was neat. It’s all about neat action scenes and has nothing to do with story.” In the original film, the Soviet Union has invaded the continental United States, and a group of […]
March 26, 2010 | 5:56 p.m.
Rachel Abramowitz is back on the Hero Complex with a look at the past and the future of “The Karate Kid.” The writer of 1984’s “The Karate Kid” isn’t flipping for this summer’s remake starring young Jaden Smith, the son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. “It’s weird to have your films remade in your lifetime,” says screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen, who has watched an Internet backlash against trailers for the June movie. “Two-thirds of the comments out there are negative: ‘Why are you remaking this classic?’ ‘It was the movie of my childhood.’ ‘It was my inspirational movie.’ ‘Why are you remaking it? Just because Jaden is a little rich kid?’ I’m wondering if those people are going to go see it.” Kamen is best known these days as French writer-director-producer Luc Besson’s go-to collaborator on projects such as “Taken,” “The Transporter” films and […]
March 17, 2010 | 7:40 p.m.
Today, Rachel Abramowitz takes a look at the Hollywood appetite for “The Hunger Games.” Who shall play Katniss Everdeen? That’s the 16-year-old gray-eyed heroine of Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games,” the bestselling dystopian novel that is aimed at the “Twilight” set and is now in development at Lionsgate. Set in a grim future where the U.S. has collapsed in the face of war and climate-change calamity, the book presents a North American nation called Panem where the ruthless ruling government, The Capitol, randomly selects one boy and one girl from each of the 12 districts to fight in a televised competition that ends with one survivor. How savage is the contest? Well, there’s only one rule — no cannibalism is allowed on air. Born into the poorest of the divisions, Katniss helps feed her family through illegal hunting. When her younger sister, Prim, is chosen for […]
Feb. 19, 2010 | 3:54 p.m.
Rachel Abramowitz had a front-page story in the Los Angeles Times this week on the angst among Hollywood actors as they watch more major filmmakers embrace performance-capture techniques and animation approaches. Here’s a great follow-up as she talks to Steven Spielberg about the making of “Tintin.” Steven Spielberg says there was only one reason to make his new “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” with the cutting-edge performance-capture technology that James Cameron used on “Avatar.” “It was based on my respect for the art of Hergé and wanting to get as close to that art as I could,” says the director, referring to Tintin’s author-illustrator, who created the international blockbuster graphic novel series (200 million copies in print) starring intrepid cub reporter Tintin, and his irrepressible canine companion, Snowy, as they venture through the pre-WWII world. “Hergé wrote about […]
Feb. 18, 2010 | 3:26 p.m.
Last month, Morgan Freeman was part of an Oscars roundtable hosted by Newsweek and bristled a bit about the intensifying use of performance-capture work in filmmaking and the purest nature of acting. “I think it’s a bit faddish, because it’s really cartoons. … If I can look in your eyes and see a completely different person, that’s what I want.” Rachel Abramowitz of the Los Angeles Times picks up that thread with an insightful article on the acting community’s reaction to the alien allure of “Avatar.” This is a longer version of her story that appeared on the front page of Thursday’s paper. Director James Cameron had many reasons to be happy the morning that this year’s Oscar nominations were announced; his blockbuster film “Avatar” tied for the most with nine, including best picture and best director. But he was dismayed that his cast, including stars Zoe […]
Feb. 09, 2010 | 1:29 a.m.
Rachel Abramowitz stirred an avalanche of reader comments last week with her post on “The Last Airbender“ and she may do the same with this update on the Hollywood treatment of a certain half-god. It’s a question, in a way, for the ages: What happens when Hollywood makes a bookshelf boy hero into a young man? To the devoted fans of the “Percy Jackson” books, the bestselling series is largely defined by the fact that it is a 12-year-old peer at the center of the sword-swinging adventure — so how will they feel by the decision to “age up” the title character in the Hollywood adaptation that arrives in theaters on Friday? Logan Lerman, 18, is the star of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” and don’t think that a lot of a thought didn’t go into the decision to pick an actor in the shaving-cream consumer demographic. […]
Jan. 28, 2010 | 1:19 a.m.
Rachel Abramowitz memorably wrote about M. Night Shyamalan in 2008 when he revealed quite a lot about the liberating power of, well, failure. Now she spoke with him again for this Hero Complex update on the filmmaker’s upcoming film “The Last Airbender.” And now for that other “Avatar” movie… For M. Night Shyamalan, it was his then 7-year old daughter who hooked him on the Nickelodeon series “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” “She made us watch as a family and all four of us were hooked, “ Shyamalan said. “I was like, ‘This would make a killer movie. And my wife who really has been kind of in neutral about my career was insane about it. Insane about it: ‘You have to do it. This is it. This is the one.’ ” Ever since he shot to stardom with his film “The Sixth Sense” in 1999, […]