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Daily Call Sheet: TV Goes Way Back, Kurt Russell News, Wiig-less 'Bridesmaids' Sequel?

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HEADLINE NOT FROM 40 YEARS AGO: NEW TV SEASON DELIVERS ‘MUNSTERS,’ ‘BEWITCHED,’ ‘FLINTSTONES’

Outside of the mainstream media, who can roast in hell, I never wish failure on anyone. So I wish all those involved in these reboots luck, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is pretty weak. And that’s not so much a comment on the individual programs as much as it makes clear how bereft of ideas the industry is.

Seth McFarlane of “Family Guy” fame is handling the “Flintstones” reboot and has a real affection for the original, so that could be interesting. And no, I don’t think he’ll go crude with it. Hopefully.

NEW SAMSUNG DVD PLAYER MAKES DIGITAL COPIES

There is no way on God’s green earth studios are going to allow this to happen. And the final point made here is a good one. If you can rent a flick for a buck and copy it, you have no incentive to purchase:


In the latest effort to marry the computer and the PC, Samsung plans to unveil several new home entertainment systems that will transfer DVDs and Blu-ray Discs to hard drives or other digital media. In a news release the company said that in order to use the conversion software, users will have to register ownership of their movies. How they are expected to do that is not clear. Samsung added that after the registration process is complete, the users will be able to access the digital copy from multiple devices in the home and mobile devices outside the home. Copyright owners have traditionally fought all schemes by software companies to get around Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection that prevents copying copyrighted material, arguing that such software would allow users to rent a movie for as little as a dollar and then make one or more hard copies of it.

Yes, we’re all a little peeved at Hollywood these days, and for good reason, but that doesn’t give us the right to Napster the film and television business.

I love the idea of being able to copy my embarrassingly large DVD collection. One fire or flood and 15 years of obsession is wiped out.

But this isn’t like copying a VHS tape or a vinyl 33 (Google it, kids). When you copied those, your copy was a degraded copy. It’s also not like copying a CD. Even if you copy a friend’s CD, someone had to buy it, and you can’t rent a CD for less than a tenth the purchase price.

One idea might be to hold off on releasing this technology for at least a year, until copyright holders can create a copyguard for DVD rental discs similar to the one created for VHS. Most of the studios already create a separate, cheaper, movie-only DVD for outlets such as Netflix and Blockbuster, so adding this wouldn’t be terribly difficult. This way only purchased DVDs could be copied digitally.

And by waiting a year to release the technology, that would ensure this new copyguard was firmly in place before the copying began.

KURT RUSSELL HEIST FLICK PICKED UP BY DIMENSION FILMS

A headline with two of my favorite things in it: “Kurt Russell” and “Heist Flick.”

‘HORRIBLE BOSSES 2’ DEVELOPING, ‘BRIDESMAIDS 2’ TALK EMERGES

If there’s a “Bridesmaids 2” it likely won’t star Kristen Wiig, so something more along the lines of that third “Smokey and the Bandit” starring Jerry Reed. Another problem is that many in the media, and probably the studio, credit the box office success of “Bridesmaids” to the fact that women want their own raunchy movies now, their own “Hangover.”

The raunch was the least of what made “Bridesmaids” so good. It was a warm, funny, relatable comedy with a disarming charm and just a hint of wish fulfillment. The romance and friendships are what made it a success, and I’ll bet it would’ve been a big hit without those few unnecessary gross-out moments.

As far as “Horrible Bosses,” it made money but no one liked it. Pieces were funny, but watching Jennifer Aniston debase herself (you’ve come a long way, baby!) drained whatever fun there was.

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LAST NIGHT’S SCREENING

Last Man Standing (1996) — A somewhat notorious flop upon release that, along with “Wild Bill” and “Supernova,” probably ended the great Walter Hill’s reign as an A-list action director. The irony is that while Hill is mostly seen as a director of if iconic eighties shoot-em-ups, “Last Man Standing” was likely a flop because it was a little ahead of — or before — its time.

Hill, who wrote the script, made the perfect decision to set his remake of Sergio Leone’s “A Fistful of Dollars” and Akira Kursowa’s “Yojimbo,” during the Prohibition era in a dusty, almost deserted town fifty miles north of the Mexican border. Hill captures his time and place perfectly and Bruce Willis is dynamite as the Man With No Name Other Than John Smith who places himself between two warring bootlegging gangs in the hopes of making a profit by playing them against one another.

In 1996, most action movies were still fun and breezy. This one is somber, more about the unsettling mood and tense moments between flashes of violence — most of it brought on by Willis and his matching .45s. What might’ve felt like an anachronism in the mid-nineties doesn’t at all today, though even in 1996 I was surprised at the critical and box office indifference. You could also argue “Last Man Standing” is a throwback to the more psychologically driven action films and Westerns of the sixties and seventies. Regardless, it sure felt out of place in the year of “Independence Day,” “Twister,” and “Mission: Impossible.”

Christopher Walken, Michel Imperioli, Bruce Dern, William Sanderson, David Patrick Kelly, and a very young Leslie Mann make for an outstanding supporting cast, and each is given a moment to make an impression.

This is an intelligently told action film with a strong Christian theme about redemption and a number of beautifully staged shoot-outs, and it deserves another look by critics and audiences alike.

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SCOTTDS’ EPIC LINKTACULAR

WATCH THE GE-LAMPOONING TV FUNHOUSE SEGMENT BANNED FROM ‘SNL

ROGER MOORE RECALLS HIS FIFTH OUTING AS JAMES BOND

AN UPDATE ON ALFONSO CUARON’S ‘GRAVITY’ STARRING GEORGE CLOONEY AND SANDRA BULLOCK

SIGH: HERE COMES THE ‘CARRIE’ REMAKE

AMANDA SEYFRIED AND TAYLOR SWIFT OFFERED ROLES IN NEW ADAPTATION OF ‘LES MISERABLES

THE 25 BEST HORROR MOVIES YOU’VE NEVER SEEN

COMMANDO’ AND 12 OTHER SATISFYING REVENGE MOVIES

DORIS DAY BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT

CELEBRATING HOLLYWOOD’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE COLD WAR

TWILIGHT: THE MUSICAL’ PARODY HITS THE NEW YORK STAGE

12 SMALL-TOWN DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVALS FOR 2012

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, JESSICA BIEL ARE REPORTEDLY ENGAGED

DAVID FINCHER EXPLAINS WHY HE MADE EACH OF HIS FILMS

NATALIE PORTMAN BEING COURTED BY THE WACHOWSKIS FOR ‘JUPITER ASCENDING’

WHY CAN’T HOLLYWOOD GET WASHINGTON D.C. RIGHT?

LILY COLLINS CAST AS DRUG ADDICT IN ‘EVIL DEAD’ REMAKE

SERENITY’ SHIP MODEL UNEARTHED AT THE UNIVERSAL ARCHIVES

THE 10 BEST MOVIES YOU DIDN’T SEE IN 2011

NOT ONE OF MY TOP TEN IS AMONG THE TOP 20 FILMS AT THE DOMESTIC BOX-OFFICE FOR 2011

CELEBRATING THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION

10 BOOKS THAT SHOULD BE MADE INTO FILMS

CENSORED CARTOONS: WHAT STEREOTYPES ARE POLITICALLY CORRECT?

FIRST LOOK: AN ADVENTUROUS NEW FILM SERIES AT THE MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE

A LOOK BACK AT PETER JACKSON’S ‘THE FRIGHTENERS

26 DESTRUCTIVE FICTIONAL THERAPISTS

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CLASSIC PICK FOR FRIDAY, JANUARY 5

TCM:

2:45 PM EST: Stranger, The (1946) — A small-town schoolteacher suspects her new husband may be an escaped Nazi war criminal. Dir: Orson Welles Cast: Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, Orson Welles. BW-95 mins, TV-PG.

One of director Orson Welles’ least known films but still well worth your while. Part melodrama, part suspense thriller, and loaded with a number of very good scenes, like the Hitchcock classic “Shadow of a Doubt” (1943), Welles uses the setting of a postcard-perfect American small town to full advantage. The contrast of all that idyllic Americana with the evil that moves in the form of Nazi Franz Kindler (Welles), is unnerving, to say the least.

Edward G. Robinson is, as always, spectacular as the wily agent from the War Crimes Commission hunting the human monster down.

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