Hollywood Playbook: Tuesday's Top 5 News Items

Hollywood Playbook: Tuesday's Top 5 News Items

Sigourney Weaver Resurrected for ‘Avatar’ Sequels … Will Play Different Character

I don’t remember much about “Avatar” — I mean other than the numbing of the ass about halfway through. But I do remember the characters played by Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang were killed. Now both are coming back for the sequels.

I suppose director James Cameron can get away with resurrecting Lang’s Colonel Quirtch. Last we saw him he had two big spears (arrows?) in his heart.  Okay, it’s sci-fi. Someone had a tricorder handy and Quirtch survived.

Weaver’s character won’t be coming back, but the actress will in a new role.

Again, I hated “Avatar.” There is no way I can objectively judge Cameron’s decision to bring Weaver back.

What do y’all think? Will you buy it? Obviously, the execution will matter.

But why not just hire a different actress? Couldn’t a Noomi Rapace step in without a hitch?  Angela Bassett? Rachel Ticotin? Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio? (Yes, I’m naming my crushes.)

Report: Fox Might Yank Bryan Singer From ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Over Sex Abuse Lawsuit

You have to take Radar Online with a grain of salt but these are the kind of stories that gain traction quickly. Radar reports it. A Variety runs out to confirm or deny. The allegations are in the ether regardless, which, in this insane media world of ours, means that they become their own kind of reality.

Let’s assume Radar’s reporting is on target.

Fox’s concerns appear to be two-fold. The studio will pour $250 to $350 million into producing and promoting “X-Men: Apocalypse,” which has a hard release date of May 27, 2016. Fox is concerned about the publicity of a sexual abuse trial and that a trial could take Singer away from production long enough to risk that release date.

Those are legitimate concerns.

With some gas still left in the tank, “Days of Future Past” is already the biggest worldwide hit of the 7 film franchise. Domestically, it will probably end up being the second best grosser. Because Singer delivered a film that was much better than anyone expected, the buzz around “Apocalypse” is already tremendous. Fox has every right to be concerned about anything that might kill that buzz, and word of a “troubled production” or their director getting embroiled in an ugly trial could do that.

Then again, pulling Singer could create bad buzz. Even if he stays on as producer, after the success of “Days” (which survived the most high-profile days of the scandal so far), switching directors could also chill the momentum and forever alienate Fox’s best “X-Men” director. 

No one’s bigger on “innocent until proven guilty” than me. The injustice of mere allegations destroying or even hurting someone’s career or livelihood rubs in the wrongest of ways.  But Fox has to feel as though they are handing a third of a billion dollars to a potential grenade. They have every right to be concerned.

Yikes: Jennifer Lawrence Was In Such Bad Shape Miley Cyrus Told Her to ‘Get It Together’

Oh, man:

Jennifer Lawrence is 23 years old, has already won a Best Actress Oscar and is the star of two mega-franchises: “X-Men” and “The Hunger Games.” The last time Hollywood saw anything like her was 70 years ago when Lauren Bacall arrived in 1944’s “To Have and Have Not.”

At the tender age of 19, Bacall already had it all: Screen presence, womanly beauty (she didn’t look like a kid), and legitimate acting talent.

Lawrence also arrived at 19 in “Winter’s Bone” and has it even better than Bacall. She has more range as an actress (Bacall had a little more presence, though) and can look like a woman or a teen.

Lawrence’s real advantage over Bacall, though, is that she has no real competition. In 1944, women like Katherine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman, Joan Fontaine, Gene Tierney, Judy Garland, and Claudette Colbert ruled Hollywood.

Lawrence has no one to worry about — zero competition.

No one can touch her.

For as long as she wants, Lawrence can rule Hollywood. If…

…she doesn’t mess it up.

Sony Moves to Expand Reach with $99 PlayStation TV

What a brilliant move on Sony’s part: Make the console the loss leader to expand your market share:

Sony’s PS4 videogame console will get a new game-playing cousin in the U.S. and Canada this fall, the PlayStation TV, a $99 video device that can play older PlayStation and PS Vita games on a TV set with a standard Sony game controller. A bundle including the device, a controller, an HDMI cable, a memory card and a voucher for the Lego Movie game will cost $139. It will also be able to play the next installment of Disney’s massively successful Infinity hybrid game[.]

And yep, you’ll be able to stream television as well as hundreds of Sony’s older games…

Look at the size of this thing. The video is only 39 seconds long. Watch:

That video makes it sound as though the device isn’t a standalone; that it’s an addition to a PlayStation 4, but that’s just a feature. According to the Sony Website, PlayStation TV can be your primary device.

So you can buy a Roku for $69 or spend $30 more for PlayStation TV, which opens up a whole new world of video games. Amazing. Plus, if any one of the original television series produced for PlayStation take off, that will be an added incentive.

I’m not a gamer.  My personality is too addicting. When I bought my first Nintendo in the mid-eighties (I was working at Best Buy at the time) it took over my life in every clichéd way you can imagine. One day I just stopped. Had to. For whatever reason, unlike watching movies, gaming felt like a waste of life. It also murders your ability to sleep. It’s not relaxing, at least for me.

That doesn’t mean, though, I can’t see the market appeal in Sony’s move with PlayStation TV. Plus, it’s so compact, you can take it with you and use wherever there’s wifi – a hotel for example.

I’m telling ya’, cable’s days are numbered. This stuff is just too cool, too sleek, too convenient, and too affordable.  

You buy PlayStation TV and for $8 a month stream Netflix. What will the monthly subscription charge be for access to all those streaming Sony videogames? $20 max?

Ultimately, cable won’t be able to compete. No way. No way in hell.

NOOOoooooo!: Another Coen Bros. Comedy with George Clooney

I love the brothers Coen (Ethan and Joel) enough that I had no problem with them taking on a “True Grit” remake well before I saw it (great movie), but they can’t do comedy.

If you want to declare “Fargo” a comedy, fine. Let me rephrase: They haven’t been able to do comedy since 1996.

Sorry, I’m not a “Big Lebowski” (1998) fan. But due to the film’s popularity and iconic status (which only seems to be growing), I will rephrase again: The Coen brothers haven’t been able to do comedy since 1998.

The Coens can be funny. There are all kinds of hilarious moments and characters in their dramas and noir pictures (their best genre). The comedy films, though, stink: “O Brother, Where Art Thou” (2000) is unwatchable. “Intolerable Cruelty” (2003), “The Ladykillers” (2004), and “Burn After Reading” (2008) — Bad, bad, bad.

Hail Caesar!” will star Josh Brolin and George Clooney (both of whom stink at comedy) in a film about a Hollywood studio fixer sometime in the 1950s. Great concept but I’m already turned off at the thought of  Clooney and Brolin doing their “ridiculously handsome guys make funny faces” routine.

Quick Hits:

Meet My Cousin Daniel Arnold –Making a Name for Himself as a NYC Photographer

‘The Terrific ‘World War Z’ Arrives on Netflix Here’s my review.

‘Speed’ Is 20 Years Old

Danny Glover Out Begging for Corporate Welfare

Customers Beg for Originality But Then They Don’t Show Up

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Follow  John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC