Disney’s The Lone Ranger set to ride back into action

It wasn’t so long ago that we were reporting that Disney had pulled the plug on the ambitious new movie version of The Lone Ranger.

Now, Deadline are reporting that the problems have been all but resolved at the studio, and an official announcement is expected next week.

The key players – Johnny Depp as Tonto, Armie Hammer as the masked hero and Ruth Wilson (Luther) as the female lead – are expected to be back, and we’re hoping Helena Bonham Carter will return, too.

While it seemed strange that a project from the Pirates Of The Caribbean power-combo of Depp, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski could ever be shelved, the primary concern was the budget, which was edging north of $250m.

Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski have apparently chipped that figure down to a mere $215m.

Deadline suggests the disappointing performance of this summer’s western-themed Cowboys & Aliens could have caused Disney’s hesitance.

The vintage property still sounds like a slightly risky proposition, but there’s always the underlying hope that Depp, Verbinski and Bruckheimer could recapture the spirit of the first Pirates, with plenty of laughs, adventure and old-fashioned swashbuckling.

It’s not yet clear if The Lone Ranger is still expected to hit its original December 2012 release date.


These Are Disney’s FINEST HOURS

A lot of Disney info going on today. Deadline reported that the studio has bought the screen rights to the best seller, THE FINEST HOURS by authors Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman.
Based on the true story of a coast guard rescue off Cape Cod in 1952, The Fighter scribes Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson will write the screenplay.
Below is the book‘s official synopsis.. (more…)


Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 Breaking Box Office Records!

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 has destroyed the box office making records which should come as no surprise to anyone considering the emotional response from fans to this last film in the world famous franchise. At its midnight release The Deathly Hallows brought in over $43million with thousands of theatres selling out according to Fandango. In generating this astounding amount of money it also answered the question as to whether wizards or vampires rule the teen verse. Previously Twilight Saga: Eclipse held the midnight box office record with $30million which has been soundly toppled by Harry Potter and his gang of wizardly friends.

The Deathly Hallows Part 2 also delivered box office magic on Friday bringing in the largest single day box office in history with $92.1million trumping previous record holder Twilight New Moon.

Both those records are impressive but it does not end there. Harry Potter not only handed it to the tween vampires in Twilight it also took down one of the greatest comic book movies of all time The Dark Knight. As of today according to Reuters the film has brought in $168million dollars its opening weekend making it the biggest opening weekend for Warner Brothers in North America and trumping The Dark Knights $158million opening box office weekend.

There is no question in my mind that Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 will continue to break box office records as both fans and critics are united in their passion and love for the final film in the franchise pegging it in many cases as the best in the franchise and a deserving final film.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 broke the midnight opening record (previously held by The Twilight Saga: Eclipse), the opening day record (previously held by The Twilight Saga: New Moon), the domestic opening weekend record (previously held by The Dark Knight), the best opening for any of the eight films in the franchise (previously held by Deathly Hallows: Part 1), a record IMAX opening and once international numbers come in it will have the highest global opening weekend record. Plus, I’m sure a few other records will come in once all is said and done. Wow!

There really isn’t much more to say other than to now wonder how much it will drop. Because at this moment it would have to drop 61% to match Thor’s opening weekend in its second week. Just how much do you think Captain America: The First Avenger will make in its opening weekend? Are you banking on it becoming the highest superhero opening of the summer? If so, that means higher than Thor’s $65.7 million. Will be interesting.


Winnie the Pooh (2011) – Review

Release Date: 07/15/2011
Rating: G
Runtime: Not Yet Available
Genre: Children’s/family
Director: Don Hall
Cast: Jim Cummings, Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson, Tom Kenny

I’m as big a fan of the modern computer-generated animation style as anyone, but there’s something simple, refreshing and heart-warming about Disney’s more traditional take on A. A. Milne’s children’s book series, “Winnie the Pooh”.  The hand-drawn animation style captures the art of the original books — there no hyper-realism to be found here.  In fact, the characters themselves interact with the print of these books in sometimes silly, sometimes clever ways, as when Pooh uses the letters that have fallen down a hole to build a staircase so that he and his pals can escape from the pit, and the letters are revealed to form a sentence that describes the on-screen action to a T.

The film is based on three of Milne’s short stories, but they are seamlessly integrated into a story arc that holds together better than most modern animated fare.  Christopher Robin’s collection of stuffed animals are off to find poor Eeyore’s lost tail (or “tael” as the characters here spell it, being limited by their young master’s own spelling ability).  Along the way, they come across a curious note that leads them to believe (mistakenly, of course) that Christopher has been captured and taken prisoner by a horrible monster, the “Backson”. Owl describes the nature of this creature in great detail and the troupe decides their only option is to set a trap for the beast and capture it in order to rescue young master Robin.

Along the way, the ever-hungry Pooh is also in search of a bit of “hunny” to satisfy his grumbly tummy.  All manner of antics ensue as Tigger enlists Eeyore as his reluctant apprentice — “Tigger 2″ — replacing the despondent donkey’s missing tail with a spring, and poor Piglet flees in terror from what he believes to be the Backson (actually Tigger in disguise).  Don’t worry about frightening the little ones as this is pure G-rated fare: Piglet’s escape from the “scary monster” was the scene that elicited the loudest and most heartfelt giggles (bordering on a bout of hysterical laughter) from my 6-year-old daughter who accompanied me to the screening.

In the end, Christopher returns to his friends, completely unharmed and the friends all laugh about the misunderstanding.  Meanwhile Pooh discovers something in his quest that presents him with a dilemma: should he help a friend in need or satiate his own cravings?  Needless to say he makes the right choice and is ultimately rewarded for it.  By the way, stick around through the credits for a bonus scene that all are sure to enjoy.

Although the animation style is decidedly retro, the film-makers have updated the story by adding a few modern songs to the mix. Several numbers are written by husband and wife song-writing team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, performed by the writers and the voice talent of the film.  Three numbers, including a version of the classic “Winnie the Pooh” theme, are performed by actress/singer Zooey Deschannel, one of which — “So Long” — she even penned herself.

If I could criticize anything about the film, it’s that it glorifies simple-mindedness. Pooh unabshedly admits his complete inability to understand the finer points of one of Owl’s more erudite elucidations, and even the wise Owl himself shows a distinct lack of common sense at times.  But perhaps this tact is to let even the smallest and youngest among us feel comfortable, perhaps even more advanced than the characters, thereby providing them with a sense of mastery. Or maybe it’s just funny to laugh at animated stuffed animals who say dumb stuff?

Whatever the case, “Winnie the Pooh” is a wonderful film for younger kids, and as for for the parents, the simple joy of seeing the sparkle in our children’s eyes is worth the price of admission.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011) – Review

Release Date: 07/15/2011
Rating: PG13
Runtime: Not Yet Available
Genre: Fantasy, Children’s/family
Director: David Yates
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter

By Matt Patches


Previously, on Harry Potter: Big bad Voldemort steals the Elder Wand from Dumbledore’s grave, while Harry mourns the loss of his wee elf friend Dobby and begins his search for the remaining Horcruxes.

If that recap leaves you with hazy memories of last year’s Deathly Hallows – Part 1, you may want to pop in the DVD before taking on the Harry Potter franchise’s grand finale, Deathly Hallows – Part 2. The eighth film in the series doesn’t pull any punches, demanding your knowledge of the saga’s previous events and crescendoing off a foundation of character and connection built over a decade of cinematic excursions. That’s not a fault — Deathly Hallows – Part 2 serves hardcore fans and dedicated patrons of the franchise alike, bouncing elegantly back and forth between explosive action and emotional conclusions. At this point, that’s what matters.

Whereas Deathly Hallows – Part 1 took Harry, Hermione and Ron on a gritty race through the real world, Part 2 brings the trio back to their home base, Hogwarts School of Magic and Child Death, where their colleagues and professors find themselves defending it against the empowered Voldemort and his band of Death Eaters. Similarly to Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Deathly Hallows – Part 2 spends most of its run time following various established characters as they navigate the epic battle. Unlike the clunky, erratic action of TF3, director David Yates manages to execute the sequences in Potter with bravado, making sure we give a damn every time Potter discovers a secret from the past, blows a Death Eater out a window or glances upon one of his closest friends lying dead on the floor.

For all its otherworldliness, Potter is and always has been a human story, one that puts its characters before spectacle. But when Yates and his team of FX wizards do unleash their bag of spells on the screen, they do it with a very BIG bang. Deathly Hallows – Part 2‘s scope is on par with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, bringing everything from trolls to spiders to animate statues into the wizards’ massive assault. The franchise hasn’t seen action on this scale before, but Yates never misses a beat or opportunity to dazzle with visual eye candy. Turning the crumbling of Hogwarts castle into a riveting, poignant experience — true magic.

Once again, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and a cast of veteran British thespians deliver the necessary gravitas to anchor Potter‘s fantastical elements in reality. With everything finally on the line in Deathly Hallows – Part 2, each performance is at its best and Radcliffe steps up to the plate to make his final showdown with Voldemort one to remember. He spends most of the movie covered in dirt, encrusted blood on his face and a harrowing sense of death behind his eyes. Heavy material, but Radcliffe pulls it off.

Few franchises have the chance that Harry Potter has been fortunate enough to receive, to follow the same familiar faces through years of ever-complicating story. Thankfully, Deathly Hallows – Part 2 doesn’t squander the opportunity. The saga swells with a triumphant final act, one that never forgets why people love the movies in the first place. The adventure, the awe, the comedy, the thrills, the people, the places, the things — those are the elements that make Harry Potter grand and they return in perfect form once more to say good-bye.


Finding Inspiration

Shia LaBeouf used to think Dustin Hoffman was a magician, Taylor Swift thinks Shania Twain rocks, and Kim Kardashian wants to know how Elizabeth Taylor collected six husbands and all those diamonds.


Body Watch: The Best Post-Pregnancy Bounce Backs

Gisele relied on kung fu and yoga, Kendra Wilkinson started chewing on gum to curve cravings, and Jennifer Lopez trained for a triathlon. Check out how these ladies defied the notion that it’s almost impossible to shed baby weight quickly.


Video of the Day: An Interview with 12 Year Old Daniel Radcliffe

Take a walk down memory lane as an oh-so-young Daniel Radcliffe talks auditioning for the role of Harry and trying not to get his hopes up. Watch inside!


Game: Who’s the hottest tall star?

These ladies got the tall gene, and they carry their height nicely. Which statuesque star do you think is considered the hottest? Careful, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you’re trying to guess the thoughts of everyone on the Internet.


Hot Spot of the Day: Raleigh Hotel, South Beach

Walking around in a bikini made of glass is probably not the safest idea in the world. But that didn’t stop Kristin Cavallari from looking sexy wearing one.

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