To coincide with the release of the book jackets (above) for the new Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Warner Bros has issued new pictures for the upcoming Potter movie called Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix due this July.
The Harry Potter franchise appears to have an edge over most, if not all, movie franchises in cinematic history. It will most likely be one of the biggest grossers since it will have 7 movies when the dust finally settles. Phoenix will be the 5th film in the series, and the 6th called Harry Porter and the Half Blood Prince, is set to go into production soon. We hear that Guillermo Del Toro (director of Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy) turned down an offer to direct. David Yates, who directed Phoenix, has taken the reins on Half Blood too.
We should expect the franchise to go out with a bang with perhaps a star director when it finally comes to the Order of the Phoenix. Our money’s on the following directors:
Start calling the bookies in Vegas.
Some stills from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:
Most people in Hollywood consider director David O. Russell a very talented man. After all, he made the charming road-trip seriocomedy Flirting with Disaster and the engaging Three Kings with the right combination of action and war commentary. When he set out to make I Heart Huckabees a few years ago, the stars were aligned to be in his picture and he collected a bevy of them - Dustin Hoffman, Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Mark Wahlberg and Lily Tomlin. The existensial comedy somehow missed the boat when it came to finding an audience. But the dark side to O. Russell was his difficult reputation. How difficult you may ask? Well, a video that circulated among insiders in the industry a year ago became public a few weeks ago and in it O. Russell berates and loses his temper with a frustrated Tomlin (Warning: this video is filled with profanity).
A rumor did begin to circulate in Hollywood that the fella that leaked this outtake was none other than George Clooney. However, Clooney's rep insists that the actor doesn't have anything to do with this, citing Clooney's inability to use e-mail and download a YouTube video. Not for nothing, Clooney was prime suspect since the actor punched out O. Russell during the making of Three Kings when Clooney came to the rescue of a crew member being browbeaten by O. Russell. The director's next project is The H-Man Cometh with Vince Vaughn.
With the blistering box-office success of 300 over the last few weeks, this is no doubt the first real blockbuster of the year. And with it comes even larger expectations for a blockbuster windfall in DVD sales. To gear up for its DVD unveiling, Warner Bros should be creating a sumptuous package for the home video market. Though the studio hasn't released any concrete details or plans for the disc, director Zach Snyder has hinted of a special feature that will compare Frank Miller's graphic novel panels to the film's images. 300 is exactly the type of epic stylized film that a studio will want to take advantage of over a few editions. I just hope that the first disc is actually a 2-disc edition. The history of the battle of Thermopylae should easily fill a whole disc and the making of it, from the stunts and weapons to the choreography should be the highlight of another disc. But that's just my two cents.
In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings predicts that DVDs will still be around as a viable business for a while, eventually usurped by the movie downloading business. Hastings think it's a matter of when DVDs will be come obsolete, not if. And right now, he thinks the time frame is more like 20 years away. I would like to think so since we haven't even begun the era of High Definition DVDs yet. That should easily last the next 10 years or so. Naysayers have been long been prognosticating the demise of Netflix if it doesn't evolve beyond DVD rentals. Now, Netflix does have plans to do that and is investing about $40 million by the end of this year to make available 5,000 titles out of 75,000 for movie downloads. No idea on when the download service will launch. But in the meantime, it's interesting to note that Hastings points out that their HD rentals from HD-DVD and Blu-Ray only account for 1 percent of their business. Not news there at all, since the common perception is that unless one of the formats win out, it's the consumers that will be losing out.
With the release of "Children of Men" on DVD, director Alfonso Cuaron is graciously doing the rounds of promotion for this futuristic thriller that has garnered tremendous reviews. Cuaron is in the camp of directors not inclined toward commentaries and special features but he took some time out to chat to Aint-It-Cool-News about the DVD. He also talked a little about any future projects. Perhaps another Harry Potter is in his future.
Secrets Within: Making-of Featurette Los Angeles Premiere
Available Now: Turistas
I first saw Richard Jeni perform in a huge student auditorim on the campus of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois during the mid 90s. He had the crowd in stitches and even managed to re-heckle a heckler who walked out in disgust. When I saw him again live, post 9-11, in Hermosa Beach, California, his material reflected the cautious climate of the time but he still ripped through the crowd like a tornado. His stand-up talent was undeniable and through many a HBO special his timing and delivery was unique. But nobody knew the extent of his severe clinical depression until his recent apparent suicide. The details are still sketchy but there will be many article exposes in magazines and TV news shows in months to come because it also highlights a psychological condition that many people suffer from. Personally, I would like to see an honest documentary made about him if there is some interesting behind the scenes footage collecting dust in some private locker. His film output however was limited. He appeared in "The Mask" and "Burn Hollywood Burn" and guest spotted in a few TV shows. RIP, Richard Jeni.
There comes a time when every filmmaker has to defend his or her film from the scathing criticisms of pundits and those just plain out to dog you. And filmmakers got a prime lesson this past week from none other than Mel Gibson. The tactful Gibson was giving a lecture to a film class about his film "Apocalypto" at Cal State University at Northridge when a professor of Central Amercian Studies called him out on his research of Mayan culture. Insisting that he had done his research, the lady professor pressed on, and that's when an irate Gibson exploded with "Lady, fuck off". Just the plain passion of a director or part of his anger management therapy? Nevertheless, I admire Gibson's directorial prowess and think that "Apocalypto" was just plain awesome despite it's brutality.
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