Hollywood Playbook: Today's Top 5 News Items

Hollywood Playbook: Today's Top 5 News Items

1. Box Office: ‘Ride Along’ Trounces Jack Ryan

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new Jack Ryan film, “Shadow Recruit” will come in fourth its opening weekend, following Ice Cube’s “Ride Along,” the second week for “Lone Survivor,” and the new animated film “Nut Job.”

Variety disagrees. It still has “Ride Along” at number one, but predicts “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” will land in the second spot at somewhere around $25 million.

Either way, “Ride Along” and its new star Kevin Hart have arrived and “Lone Survivor” is a bona fide hit.

Until the final numbers are in, though, it is hard to do any kind of box office analysis about the success or failure of Paramount’s Jack Ryan reboot.


2. “Superman-Batman” Pushed to May 2016

Looks as though we are going to have to wait a couple of years to see how well Ben Affleck does as a burnt-out Batman. To make room for a Peter Pan origin story, the release date for “Superman-Batman” is being pushed to May of 2016. “Man of Steel” stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, and Diane Lane will all return. Apparently Joaquin Phoenix is still deciding about coming on board as the main villain.

Odd to be talking about 2016 as so close to a reality. When “Superman-Batman” opens, we’ll be deep in another presidential race and I’ll have already turned 50.

The good news is that Obama’s reign of fail will almost be over.


3. Most Influential Film of 2013: “The Great Gatsby”?

The Hollywood Reporter’s Carolyn Giardina has an interesting thesis that Baz Luhrmann’s 3D blockbuster retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” will be remembered as a game changer in the use of 3D for purposes of dramatic storytelling:

By filming his adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel in 3D, Luhrmann wasn’t opting for a visually arresting gimmick but rather was determined to use distance and space as part of his palette. He wanted to explore the depth in each scene in a manner that can’t be approached similarly in conventional 2D movies. However technology evolves — today’s big-screen 3D could give way to glasses-free 3D television, holograms or something not yet invented — depth will be part of that future. And filmmakers like Luhrmann — and Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron — are leading the way. …

“We haven’t even scratched the surface in terms of the use of depth,” says Luhrmann. “We are going to learn to use it in a vastly more complex way.” …

He then viewed the rarely seen 3D version of Dial M, in which Grace Kelly plays a woman whose husband is determined to see her murdered. Dial M didn’t earn a single Oscar nomination in its day, but recently it has drawn renewed interest from filmmakers such as Luhrmann and Scorsese who are seeking inspiration.

Recently I installed a home theatre in my basement using a high-definition projector and a 17′ by 7′ screen that I built myself. The whole set-up cost less than $2,000 (including the sound system) and the result is mind-blowing. I couldn’t be happier with the 7.1 sound or the 1080p picture.

Watching movies on a screen this size has allowed me to see things I never before have, especially when it comes to the black and white classics from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

One thing I’ve noticed is how directors from this era used focus to manipulate the moviegoers eye. On a smaller television screen, even a 60″ inch plasma, a subtle shift in focus between an actor in the foreground and someone or something in the background is barely noticeable, if at all. On this movie screen, I’m not only effected by the choice of what to focus on but can also tell when a shot is slightly (and accidentally) out of focus, or soft.

It does add another element to the experience of watching the picture, so Giardina’s prediction does make sense, as does Luhrmann’s excitement over what this technology allowed him to accomplish dramatically.


4. ‘Justified’ to Call It Quits After Season 6

This news is a few days old, but I’m just seeing it now. As hard as it will be to see the superb FX series “Justified” end next year after season 6 (season 5 just began its run), in the end you always prefer to see a great television series end on a high-note rather than linger a season or two too long. And “Justified” is a truly great series:

 It’s official: The sixth season of FX’s Justified will be its last.

The Western starring Timothy Olyphant will conclude its run with season six, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf told reporters Tuesday at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour. 

“It was [showrunner] Graham Yost and Timothy Olyphant’s decision,” he said. “I would have liked to have had more Justified. It’s one of my favorite shows.”

Landgraf noted that he reluctantly accepted the decision from the duo to wrap up the series. “We talked about it a year ago. They felt that the arc of the show and what they had to say would be best served by six seasons instead of seven,” he said. “Regretfully, I accepted their decision.”

After “Breaking Bad” ended its incredible run on AMC, supporting character Saul Goodman was given his own spin-off series, “Better Call Saul,” which premiers in November.

Why not give Nick Searcy a “Justified” spin-off with his Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Art Mullen character?


5. Jezebel Published Unretouched Lena Dunham Vogue Shots

This is brutal, but to be expected when you’re the phony Lena Dunham is. Her show “Girls” is a flop, but her public relations machine and the lapdog media it feeds spin it as a hit. Dunhman also poses as someone “real” and down to earth, but here she is posing for Vogue and getting the body she claims to be so proud of photo-shopped into something it isn’t.



Entourage” Movie Begins Filming…

Mary Steenburgen joins “Justified” cast….

Bill Murray agreed to do “Garfield” based on a misspelling…

Trailer for “Walking Dead” return on February 9th…

If you are old enough to remember the miracle of VHS, “Rewind This!” looks like a must-see…


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