Here we are with the first edition of "The Good, The Bad and the WTF" in 2010. It looks like even though the holidays are over, Avatar is still going strong and showing no sign of ceasing. Naturally, weird stuff about the movie are coming out of the woodwork.
• Roman Polanski may still be under arrest, but his new film is close to being released. The Ghost Writer, a thriller starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan, will see a limited run on February 19 courtesy of Summit Entertainment, with further expansion in March. If it ends up being a hit with critics and audiences, Polanski may have to enjoy it indoors.
• I've been eager to get the chance to see the Red Riding crime drama trilogy (1974, 1980 and 1983), which was originally made as 3 feature-length television episodes, and it looks like I'm finally going to get the chance. After debuting on UK's Channel 4 in March of last year, the trilogy made appearances in film festivals throughout 2009, and will finally see a theatrical US release in February. The trailer is now up at Apple.
• Remember The Human Centipede, the ultra-gross and disturbing Dutch horror film by Tom Six, about a mad doctor who joins three people into a centipede by surgically tying their front and back orifices together? The film won top prizes at Fantastic Fest and Screamfest last year, and now IFC is bringing it to American shores. No date has been announced yet, but it'll be sometime in 2010.
• After developing oh-so-slowly for quite some time, Disney's John Carter of Mars is finally getting a move on. According to this interview with Willem Dafoe over at io9, the production apparently starts this week. I think I'm much more interested in this adaptation back when I thought Andrew Stanton was directing it as a Pixar project, but even though he's essentially on loan to Disney by the animation studio, it might prove to be something just as cool.
• This goes beyond a simple parody and becomes a dedicated piece of writing in itself. One Mr. Adam Betocci took it upon himself to write a Shakesperean play adaptation of The Big Lebowski titled Two Gentlemen of Lebowski, and the result is mighty impressive. He claims that "the first draft was written over one weekend while everyone else was seeing Avatar." You can read the entire play by clicking the link below.
• When it comes to avoiding an original idea, Hollywood is full of perseverance. When a remake idea falters, you try and try again. Just when Steven Spielberg and Will Smith have finally given up on remaking Oldboy (though Mandate Pictures still owns the rights), Warner Bros swoops in and pushes forward the remake of another Park Chan-wook film, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, the first in his Vengeance Trilogy. Brian Tucker, a writer with no currently released credits, is writing the script.
We would be remiss to not remind you that the remake rights for the third in that trilogy, Lady Vengeance, was acquired by Charlize Theron.
• Back in August, Warner Bros struck a deal with rental company Redbox to postpone rentals of their movies for 28 days, and dropped hints that they're looking to do the same with Netflix. Well, it happened. WB is obviously hoping that the four-week margin will urge consumers to buy instead of rent, but does that sound like a plan that would actually work? Or will it just drive people to competing outlets like Blockbuster?
• Bill Paxton wants to do a sequel to Twister... in 3D. But wait, there's more! He also thinks it should be a "darker version of the first one," going deeper and more about the history and lore (of... of the tornado?).
• Will Arnett says Arrested Development movie starts shooting this year. Normally, most people would consider this good news, but until that movie is actually in the can, I'm going to consider any claims about its supposed progress to be nothing more than wanton cruelty on the cast's part.
• If you think John Hillcoat's The Road is depressing, wait until you read his production diary that he's published on The Telegraph. In the epilogue, he goes on to say that his new project The Promised Land has "fallen apart." Terrible news, seeing how it's a cool Depression era movie written by his Proposition writer Nick Cave and starring a slamming cast consisting of Shia Labeouf, Ryan Gosling, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Dano, Amy Adams and Michael Shannon.
• Over at Avatar-Forums.com is a rather controversial and—tongue-in-cheek as some of the posts may be—very disturbing thread, where Avatar fans claim depression over the fact that Pandora is not real and they'll never be able to visit the fictional planet. Highlight, if you can call it that:
The past 7 nights in a row my wife has asked me to have sex with her, and I just havent been in the mood. Scratch that. I’m incredibly horny most of the time, but I dont feel attracted to her anymore. The sight of her naked literally does nothing for me, and I’m frightened by that. Instead I imagine Neytiri. Her majestic grace and boundless beauty as well as the alien mystery about her. I want to fly off to pandora and live with her, to be with her always. I would worship her as she deserves. I’d do anything to just to touch her, to smell her.
• In more Avatar wackiness, the director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education is criticizing Avatar for having Sigourney Weaver's character smoke a lot in the film. In deflecting that criticism, James Cameron makes the claim that her behavior it's meant to be a commentary on how gamers and internet addicts treat their bodies.
• Okay, one more Avatar news, and this is a funny one. It looks like the Vatican wasn't wowed by the movie. Both Vatican Radio and their official paper L'Osservatore Romano had harsh things to say about it, praising the tech but putting down the story and emotions.
• Here's how powerful of a franchise Twilight is: if you're one of the dudes that fangirls are ga-ga about, you can go from someone barely known (except as a shark boy) to the highest-paid teenage star in the business in the span of two movies. Taylor Lautner has signed on to John Moore's "extreme flying" flick Northern Lights, which will earn Lautner a $7.5 mil pay day. According to Deadline, not even Zac Efron or Miley Cyrus ever saw that kind of salary. Geez.
• China has blocked IMDB from the country's internet users. Can't get more WTF than that.