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By Jason Apuzzo. • Several important industry sites (including Anne Thompson’s blog and The Wrap) are suddenly making the point today of how overlooked Angelina Jolie is as an action star, and how we should welcome having more female action stars, even explicitly comparing the box office performance of Salt to The Expendables. Glad to see people getting on board with this one.

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In the meantime, buzz is already starting to build about the possibility of a Salt 2′ (which would be the perfect Cold War title, btw).  Apparently everybody’s ready to go on that, including Jolie and director Phillip Noyce.  All Sony’s waiting for is to see Salt’s overseas performance, and to that end Jolie just premiered the film in London and in Paris.  I must say, I haven’t seen a star do this kind of world tour (Moscow, Tokyo, London, Paris, even Comic-Con) in quite a while … let’s hope it pays off.

To Libertas readers who haven’t seen Salt yet, go see it!  Everybody’s all but saying that if the box office on this film goes a little bit higher, there will be a sequel … which we can presume will feature Angelina Jolie hunting communist infiltrators here in the U.S.  And we want that, right? It’s likely to be better than whatever Stallone’s planning for his next Expendables.  [I was glad to see, by the way, that my colleague Kyle Smith didn't like The Expendables, either.]   In related Jolie news today, Jolie is urging people to continue donating aid relief to Pakistan, and denying rumors that she will soon be playing Marilyn Monroe.  She apparently has a full schedule.

David Fincher’s Girl With the Dragon Tattoo adaptation has been cast, and the lead’s going to be played by newcomer Rooney Mara (who’s in Fincher’s The Social Network). Daniel Craig co-stars. I haven’t commented on this project yet because I’m still figuring out what I think about it. Beyond that, I know little about Ms. Mara, other than that she’s part of the wonderful Mara family that owns football’s New York Giants. Stay tuned for more on this subject later.

Rose Byrne in talks for "X-Men: First Class."

• Obama apparently just alienated half of Los Angeles yesterday, including a healthy portion of his elite Hollywood donor base.  This was due to his motorcade bringing most of West Los Angeles’ traffic to a complete standstill, the ultimate no-no out here.  Heavy-hitter industry columnists like the LA Times’ Patrick Goldstein and The Wrap’s Hunter Walker felt compelled to chastise Obama on this whole mess, and there are even calls for an investigation.  Plus, we’re now learning that Barbra Streisand and Jeffrey Katzenberg were no-shows at the Obama fundraiser that was the pretext for The President’s visit, even though Streisand and Katzenberg were co-hosts for the fundraiser itself.  Unreal.  [If you want to read more about the fundraising dinner, see here and here.]

Here’s what’s happening: Obama is looking weak, unaccomplished and self-absorbed right now.  And it’s all catching up to him.  I also notice very few younger people among the guests listed for this event.  Obama’s even weaker out here than I thought.

Fox is apparently planning to recycle some of its excess film prints and trailers into polyester clothing – which seems just about right to me. I volunteer to be on the selection committee picking out the films on that one.  Tooth Fairy, anyone?

• I was very disappointed not to catch Gareth Edwards’ indie alien invasion flick Monsters when it showed at the recent LA Film Festival.  Part of the problem was that they didn’t even have a trailer for it at that time.  Well, some new trailers are now available for the film, including this one below:

This is looking pretty interesting, although I’m not seeing anything especially fresh or original here – just good execution of a simple idea.  We’ll keep an eye on this one – it’s already looking better than Skyline.  By the way, Monsters was made largely using only a 5-person crew. Fantastic.

• Examples of films with no heat around them right now: Oliver Stone’s Wall Street 2 (see here), and geek films like Scott Pilgrim (see here).  Glad to see this.  Another film that has no heat with me personally, although a lot of other people seem excited about it (including The Venice Film Festival, where it’s debuting) is the Darren Aronofsky/Natalie Portman ballet thriller, The Black Swan.  A new trailer came out today for that film and … how do I put this politely? … Ms. Portman still can’t act.  I’m sorry but Natalie Portman at this point is really looking like a pretty face who’s given chance after chance but still can’t quite put a compelling character over.

• There’s a ton of sci-fi news today.  First of all, James Cameron does a lengthy interview (see here) in which he discusses Avatar: Special Edition, the remastering of Aliens, and Battle Angel (a potential forthcoming project).  He also discusses working with Guillermo del Toro on adapting Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness (see here for that segment).  He also does another interview today in which he discusses what he learned from screening Avatar to native tribesmen in the Amazon.  So what did he learn?  Apparently down in the Amazon they favor non-violent resolutions to their problems, rather than Cameron’s preferred bloodbath approach (as when American soldiers get shot to pieces at the end of Avatar).  Isn’t that perfect?  The natives apparently aren’t all that restless.  The irony is so thick there you can cut it with a chainsaw.

Brooklyn Decker of "Battleship."

The weirdest sci-fi news of the day: because the guys behind the aliens-invade-LA thriller Skyline also did visual effects for Sony’s aliens-invade-LA thriller Battle: Los AngelesSony may sue them for conflict of interest.  Amazing.  I think this is a bad idea that Sony’s floating – they should retract this plan immediately, because it’s going to really alienate potential fans.  So to speak.  It’s a classic David vs. Goliath situation that Sony will inevitably lose, much like the alien invaders in their film.

Finally, some photos have leaked of some of the new vehicles in the forthcoming Mad Max: Fury Road, The Thing remake has a new poster, Rose Byrne is in talks to appear in X-Men: First Class, and the cast of Piranha 3D does a hilarious (if somewhat raw) video today explaining why their film should be in Oscar contention.  I must say: the marketing for this cheeky little fish thriller has been perfect.  Can’t wait to see it.

• Are you a fan of JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater?  I certainly am.  He’s being offered a reality TV series, apparently, and has already hired a publicist … and in his honor you’ve got to read this list from the College Crunch people of “The Top 10 Greatest Movie Meltdowns Ever.” My only quibbles with this list are that Howard Beale in Network isn’t #1 … and where’s Al Pacino in And Justice For All?  ”No, you’re out of order!!!”  Another favorite of mine is Michael Douglas’ Falling Down, and the Paddy Chayefsky/George C. Scott masterpiece The Hospital.

• AND IN TODAY’S MOST IMPORTANT NEWS … Victoria’s Secret model, actress and wife of Andy Roddick Brooklyn Decker has just been cast in Universal’s huge new adaptation of Battleship.  She’ll apparently be playing the film’s love interest, a character described as being able to “surf, fight, dance and crush the NY Times crossword puzzle.”  The character has also apparently “driven a motorcycle around the world twice.”  It’s amazing what gals need to have on their resumé nowadays just to be a love interest.  I would think her other attributes would’ve more or less closed the deal on this one.

And that’s what’s happening today in the wonderful world of Hollywood.

Posted on August 1tth, 2010 at 8:57pm.

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14 Responses to “Hollywood Round-up, 8/18”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mr. K, Libertas Film Mag. Libertas Film Mag said: Hollywood Round-up, 8/18 … See: http://bit.ly/dcyI7W [...]

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  3. K says:

    ” . . how we should welcome having more female action stars.”

    The “girly” action hero is already a crowded market, what with Dicaprio, Labeouf, Gyllenhaal and Damon working the genre.

    • Jason Apuzzo says:

      I’m still waiting for Damon to develop a second facial expression. I know he has it in him.

  4. Veeki says:

    I saw the Wall Street 2 trailer (or whatever it is) and thought it was completely obnoxious. If Oliver Stone thinks capitalism is so evil, why is he still living here and taking paychecks from Hollywood studios? Why doesn’t he just go live in the arctic tundra or something and leave the rest of us alone …

  5. johngaltjkt says:

    I watched the original version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo recently and beyond the Lisbeth Salander character this is a very pedestrian story that any half way decent mystery writer could come up with. The interesting thing was watching all these actresses vying for the role. (SPOILER ALERT!) It’s a hardcore character that has several frank sex scenes and is raped and in turn rapes someone. My favorite was Emma Watson cutting her hair like the character. I thought she was going Sean Young on us.

  6. jic says:

    “…crush the NY Times crossword puzzle.”

    She doesn’t solve it, she just crushes it.

  7. ScottDS says:

    I don’t get all the Scott Pilgrim hate. Is the film for everyone? Of course not. Should the studio have reigned in the budget a little bit, knowing it was just a niche/cult film at best? Yes. And Michael Cera (doing his usual schtick) isn’t much of a box-office draw.

    But I saw it and enjoyed the hell out of it. Director Edgar Wright is 3 for 3 IMHO and while I hope this film doesn’t spawn a bunch of clones (films styled like video games), I thought it was quite creative and well put-together. I can’t recall the last comedy that managed to elicit jokes from the way scenes were framed and cut together. And Cera’s schtick worked for me in this film (as opposed to Youth in Revolt in which it didn’t).

    And while I wasn’t looking for it, I did NOT get any kind of hipster “too cool for the room” vibe from this film. I get that vibe from HBO’s Bored to Death and it’s hard to explain why. :-)

    • Jason Apuzzo says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, Scott. I suppose what bugs me the most are the resources that get thrown at this stuff, while other things get neglected. But if you had a good time, don’t let me get in your way. :)

  8. Matt says:

    Take Stephen King’s “The Mist,” exchange super secret military weapon (or in the movie, military weapon which opens a door into another dimension) with aliens, and you have “Monsters.” But since The Mist was only an OK movie (and the ending sucked, they should have kept the book ending), and since it’s not an altogether terrible movie idea, it will be interesting to see if they can make this concept watchable this time, so I’m not altogether dissing the movie “Monsters,” even if it’s not original (what is, anymore?), so much as hoping that it’s not terrible.

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