Hazy Halcyon Days of Pot and Puberty

The film director Jonathan Levine never sold marijuana in high school, though he may have inhaled some. “Possible,” he said recently, fighting a smile. “It’s possible.”

Nor did he ever trade weed for sessions with a psychiatrist, as the protagonist of his new movie, “The Wackness,” does. But in other respects “The Wackness” — Mr. Levine’s second feature, which opens Thursday and stars Josh Peck as Luke, the teenage dealer; Ben Kingsley as the shrink; and Mary-Kate Olsen as a spaced-out hippie chick — is largely autobiographical. Set in New York in the summer of 1994, when the first Giuliani term was in full swing, and rap was pulsing from headphones everywhere, it’s a portrait of the artist as a young stoner who can see only the “wack,” or dismal, side of things, and never the “dope,” or bright and uplifting, stuff.

Mr. Levine, who just turned 32, is small, intense, a little nervous. He looks less like a movie director than the eager-to-please guy who fetches the director’s coffee.

(New York Times)

Is a ‘Battlestar Galactica’ TV movie deal nearly done?

Last month, Maureen Ryan was the first to report that as many as three "Battlestar Galactica" TV films were under discussion at the Sci Fi network. She noted that "it would make sense to make more 'Battlestar' TV movies while the show'Â?Â?s creative team and actors are still all in one place."

Well, too late for that now -- the cast is being flung far and wide.

(LA Times)

Sony announces Sony Playstation 3 movie download service

Sony announced Thursday that it will launch a movie download service for the PlayStation 3 this summer in the U.S. market.

The movie-themed announcement came from Kazuo Hirai, who is the head of Sony's video game unit. Hirai said the service will be offered in Japan and Europe at later dates. Further details on the service will be available until next month, he said. GamePro Hint: Think "E3."


Strike 2? Hollywood braces for actor walkout


Hollywood loves a good sequel, but here's one it could do without: Another union strike just months after the town got up and running again from a devastating walkout by writers.

The contract between the Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers expires Monday, and negotiations have dragged on for weeks with no apparent headway.

SAG leaders have said they are willing to continue talking beyond the contract deadline. Yet their hard-line rhetoric and a squabble with another actors union could put performers on the sidelines, taking electricians, set-builders, caterers and other Hollywood working stiffs along with them.

(Yahoo Movies)

How to write a movie

Read it aloud, make sure there's a favourite bit - and don't fall into the 'German funk trap'. Frank Cottrell Boyce who scripted 24 Hour Party People and A Cock and Bull Story, lays down his screenwriting golden rules.

(The Guardian UK)




Director: Andrew Stanton
Stars: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The Plot: A trash-compacting robot learns there's more to life than cleaning up the planet that humans polluted when he falls for a sleek, female droid, then sets out on an intergalactic journey to be with her




Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Stars: Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman
Studio: Universal Pictures

The Plot: Wesley Gibson (McAvoy) is rescued from his miserable existence by the gun-toting Fox (Jolie), a member of the Fraternity, a group of assassins to which Wesley's recently murdered father belonged. As their new recruit, Wesley learns he's truly a chip off the old block as he is trained by Fox and the Fraternity's leader, Sloan (Freeman) -- but what secrets are they hiding?




Director: Adam Yauch
Stars: Jarryd Bayless, Michael Beasley, Tyreke Evans
Studio: Oscilloscope Pictures

The Plot: A documentary that follows eight of the top high school basketball players as they compete in the first "Elite 24" tournament at Rucker Park in New York City.



Director: Peter Tolan
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Brittany Snow, Maura Tierney
Studio: HDNet Films

The Plot: A television producer (Broderick) with a penchant for drinking and gambling is sent to Las Vegas to convince his troubled niece (Snow) to enter rehab.



Pot: Now Starring in Your Favorite Movie

Judd Apatow had a problem. The test screenings for his movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin were killing. But the jokes that were really landing were the ones featuring pot. Sophomoric, Cheech-and-Chong-y cheap yuks about weed. But funny ones. He called his old friend Garry Shandling to ask whether he should leave them in. They went with the only responsible choice: comedy comes first.

The film opened, and nobody made a big deal about the pot. Nor did Apatow get called out when the lead character in his next big hit, Knocked Up, was an inveterate stoner. And on Aug. 8, Pineapple Express, which he produced, arrives; it's named after a particularly potent (and fictional) strain of Cannabis sativa.


David Hasselhoff says new Knight Rider series will be a flop

Actor David Hasselhoff says the revamped version of his hit TV show Knight Rider won't be a success without him.

Hasselhoff, 55, says he was disappointed with the pilot episode which aired in the USA in February and says the upcoming series this autumn is doomed to fail because he doesn't have a star role in it.

The TV pilot earlier this year starred Justin Bruening as Michael Traceur, the estranged son of Hasselhoff's original Knight Rider character Michael Knight. Hasselhoff made a cameo appearance as Michael Knight in the pilot.

(Coventry Telegraph)

‘BIG WEDNESDAY’: Cult surf movie turns 30, a talk with co-creator Denny Aaberg

With its Tijuana barroom brawls, house-party fights and beach punching scenes, "Big Wednesday," the cult surf film that turns 30 this year, did a 180 from its "Beach Blanket" predecessors. And it had some killer shortboard footage of the "Sultan of Spit" Gerry Lopez, too.

But the tale of three surf pals growing up around the Vietnam era hit the lip of critical acceptance hard -- its co-screenwriter, Denny Aaberg (below), says it killed his Hollywood prospects. (The director and other screenwriter, John Milius, went onto success directing "Conan the Barbarian" and writing screenplays for "Apocalypse Now" and "Dirty Harry.")

But the cult film, screening Thursday, June 26 as part of the UCSD Cancer Center Research Luau and Longboard Invitational, has a growing fanbase (Tarantino mentions "Big Wednesday" in his recent "Death Proof"). Street talks with Aaberg about the film's resurgence, surfers in war time and stars Gary Busey, William Katt and Jan-Michael Vincent.

(Sign on San Diego)

Movie stars clash in Hollywood union brawl

Movie stars accustomed to polite rivalry for coveted film roles and Oscar glory are taking sides in an increasingly bitter labour dispute between Hollywood's two actors unions.

The battle of duelling movie stars has heated up as the Screen Actors Guild enlisted 67 actors, including Jack Nicholson, Ben Stiller and Martin Sheen, to back its campaign against the ratification of a contract negotiated by its smaller sister union.

The move comes just days after Tom Hanks, Kevin Spacey and more than 100 other SAG members went on record in support of the lab or deal reached between by the studios and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and urged a "yes" vote on its ratification.

(ABC News)

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