And then there were two. With Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglorious Bastards now scheduled to begin filming in October in time for Cannes 2009 (!), the script is making the studio rounds this week and the first two reviews have just hit the Web. The consensus: Holy Shit. Our pal El Mayimbe at Latino Review describes the screenplay—-which is divided into five chapters—-as a masterpiece, adding, “Hands down, the script was the most enjoyable read of the year for me so far.” And this dude is privy to a lot of scripts people.

The sentiments at Vulture are equally \m/: “If anyone is crazy enough to fund it, this movie is gonna be awesome.” Moreover, the cover sheet to their copy was seemingly handwritten by Tarantino, with the title spelled Inglorious Basterds [sic]. It even looks like one of those trendy faux-Michael Bay scripts, but an inside source tells me their descriptions, which parallel LR’s, sound legit.

So, what’s it about? You mean, besides the graphic scalping of countless Nazis circa WWII? The lead character that Brad Pitt has reportedly been offered is named Lieutenant Aldo Raine (which reminds me of of the Alpa Chino character in Tropic Thunder, but let’s move on). Raine leads a blood thirsty squadron of soldiers (neither review specified about the rumored “war criminals” aspect) called the “Bastards” for a final mission that involves ruining Nazi party plans to premiere a propaganda film in Paris. The chapters are said to form a storyline double helix of sorts, switching from the Bastards to the other main character, which Vulture describes as “a French Jewish teenager named Shosanna who survives the massacre of her family.” She is curating the premiere and has something up her sleeve for the Third Reich as well.

QT seems to have crafted an epic bugged-out Jewsploitation film, one that takes history for a loose and wild ride to hell and back. Latino Review describes one the Bastards, nicknamed The Bear Jew, as a suspected golem who skull-crushes Germans using a trusty baseball bat. Right now I am picturing Larry David and Adam Goldberg kicking Hitler’s decapitated head around as they puff Red Apple cigarettes (but it’s just my imagination). The head villain goes by “The Jew Hunter.” He’s a Nazi colonel named Hans and not to be messed with; of course, the Bastards don’t listen.

So, Tarantino is definitely going the IYFF route as he previously boasted. But how does the dialogue measure up and how does the script compare to his other works? Thankfully, the comparisons lean toward Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill rather than the absorbed homage that was Death Proof. For example, similar to the classic anime segment in KB Vol. 1, one chapter in IB will be shot in “French New Wave Black and White.” Mayimbe says the entire script is masterfully written…

“If you took the bad guy swagger of RESOVOIR DOGS, the uber coolness and structure of PULP FICTION, throw in the revenge angle of KILL BILL, set it in World War II – you get INGLORIOUS BASTERDS.”

Also…

“…it combines his love of old movies (war movies, Westerns, and even prewar German cinema), his attraction to powerful female protagonists, his love of chatter, and his willingness to embrace the extreme — visually and in his storytelling.” – Vulture

Awesome. Though I haven’t been too stunned by various dialogue excerpts so far, these are veddy promising reactions. Once again, millions of geek eyes look on Tarantino, and this time he seems more fired up than ever. More on Inglorious Bastards as it develops…

Discuss: Are you ready? What do you make of the early reviews for Inglorious Bastards?

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He-ManEl Mayimbe has a gotten his hands on a copy of Justin Marks’ He-Man screenplay, currently titled Grayskull: The Masters of the Universe. Okay, may-be the title needs a little work, but Mayimbe insists that the screenplay a “fanboy masterpiece!” Here are five things from the script that has gotten us excited to see this movie on the big screen.

1. This is not He-Man for kiddies! It’s written as a hard and edgy PG-13 film tinkering on the edge of an R-Rating. And remember, PG-13 is the new R. You can get away with so much more now-a-days, especially when set in a fantasy environment like Eternia.

2. The story is described as “Lord of the Rings meets The Matrix meets Batman Begins.” An epic battle for Eternia which begins with the origins of He-Man, Skeletor, and the Power Sword. Prince Adam has to “overcome his selfish need for revenge and realize his destiny for the greater good of his people” and “find the Sword of Light” in the hidden Castle Grayskull and “unify his kingdom.”

3. Included are Fan favorite characters Zodack, Mekanek, Man-at-armsS, Teela, Evil-Lyn, Trap-Jaw, Tri-Klops, Beast Man, Battlecat and Panthor. And best yet, Orko is no where in sight!

4. All the corniness of the animated series is completely GONE. There isn’t even a “single beat of comedic relief” in the entire script. Treat the property with realism, what a concept!

5. Grayskull is a geek’s wet dream, “the perfect marriage of Sorcery and Science fiction where in Eternia both Fantasy and Technology co-exist.” The script mixes “high tech, swords, and otherworldly creatures.” Imagine the possibilities!

I never thought I’d say this but I’m excited to see a live-action He-Man movie. It sounds like Justin Marks has done fanboys proud and has crafted a film with franchise possibilities. There is a lot A LOT more, I’ve only given you five little tidbits. Read the full script review over on LatinoReview

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Earlier this month, we reported on the possibility of a new HBO show based on 2006’s engrossing hit documentary, Cocaine Cowboys, from uber players Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer. Today, Slashfilm gives you an exclusive review of the script for Cocaine Cowboys‘ pilot episode written by Billy Corben and David Cypkin of Rakontur, the Miami-based production company behind the doc and its sequel (set for release this July). For legal reasons, we’ve omitted specific plot details in the review.

Being familiar with Rakontur’s M.O. and work from my time on Miami Beach, I had previously tagged their HBO show pitch as “the antithesis of Miami Vice.” So, it was no surprise to see the opening credits in the script described as such. Verbatim. But while the show’s oddly subdued credits might fit this “antithesis” (old farts playing shuffleboard, an idyllic underdeveloped Miami Beach circa ’79) , the pilot is not as leery of Don Johnson’s white blazers and Michael Mann’s kooky multiculti derelicts and crabs as I surmised. Recall that the first season of Miami Vice didn’t drip with Art Deco camp under Mann’s watch: the action exuded unprecedented cinematic flash and all of Miami was game, not just Miami Beach beauty. New York City figured into Vice‘s early storyline, as it does here. Everything in Cocaine Cowboys is similarly bigger-than-life but far seedier.

Cowboys‘ opening scenes–a hasty drug deal at sea set aboard a 150-foot vessel that’s quietly sinking under the careless supervision of incredibly stoned, hard partying Rasta thugs–conjures the same crotch-grabbing gusto and hyper-imagery on display in Mr. Bay’s Bad Boys II. The similarity is blatant, even. We’re talking requisite Miami bimbos jumping off a nearby sailboat after its comically set ablaze by a flare fired by an addled rudeboy named Chicken. Think swooping Bay-mentored aerial views of hot-boobs-overboard. Will HBO execs desire this sort of acronym? After reading the script a few times, I’d bet that the sought-after demographics would get sucked in quickly…and cocaine use would probably get a nice boost nationwide. Note: nothing in the script came off like Billy Walsh’s Medellin– thankfully–but Billy Walsh would definitely set his DVR.

Continue reading the script review of the Cocaine Cowboys pilot for HBO after the jump…

Discuss: Would you like to see a new HBO show from Bay, Bruckheimer and Rakontur about the ’80s cocaine trade and culture in Miami, Florida?

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Get your most asinine soap joke ready in the comments, because it seems that Green Arrow will be joined behind bars by a vast and infamous stable of DC villains in David Goyer‘s Supermax. Latino Review took a look at the script by Goyer (Batman Begins, X-Men Origins: Magneto) and Justin Marks (that new Street Fighter) and reports that The Joker, Lex Luthor and The Riddler all make sweet cameos inside the script’s titular prison alongside a laundry list of other DC derelicts including: Blockbuster, Shock Trauma, Gemini, Cascade, Tattooed Man, Multiplex, Djinn, Merlyn, Pied Piper, Latarian Milton, Iron Cross & Heatmonger & Backlash (Aryan Nation), Calculator (yes!), Count Vertigo, Floronic Man, Split and Icicle. Okay, so Latarian Milton is not appearing, but give him a year.

Previously, Goyer stated that many of these villains will be revealed by human name only and sans costumes (obviously), which further exemplifies just how Geek City this project is. LR’s consensus is that the Supermax script is both ridiculously cool and highly accessible to the mainstream, comparative to Batman Begins even: “[Warner Bros.] would be on crack not to make this.” Goyer and Marks quickly touch upon the island cast-away/archery origins of Green Arrow né Oliver Queen, yet another billionaire playboy in our world’s comicverse, and by page 7 (approx. 10 years later), we see Queen in costume and encountering the arrow-laden set-up that lands him behind bars. And not just the bars you’d imagine in an old Elmore Leonard paperback…

“Want to know how cool SUPERMAX is? The prison changes shape, cells rearrange, and reconfigures every night to disorient the prisoners from breaking out. A transforming super prison!”

Applying extra heat to the situation, Queen becomes a, uh, marked man inside due to corporate backstabbing (shades of Iron Man). I’ve always thought that Green Arrow was a hard sell to a big summer audience, but some of my doubts are fading and I can’t wait to check this script out. Of course, as we reported last year, Matt Damon was once rumored for Green Arrow, and if the script’s this strong, I’m sure other A-listers will bite as well. Let’s hope it happens.

A thanks to Slashfilm canuck Jonny for the reminder. Moreover, Canada is still Canada.

Discuss: Do you think The Joker will still show up post-Ledger when (a smaller if) Supermax goes into production? For you, where does Supermax rank in terms of upcoming comic book flicks? I dig the title but who else thinks it won’t stick to the marquee?

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All of us wily fans of highly unlikely action premises can let out a logical sigh, as MovieHole has received the official casting breakdown for Clint Eastwood‘s Gran Torino: a dirty, septuagenarian Harry Callahan is no where to be found. Dirty Harry 6 is back to being a daydream, but I’m sure Eastwood had a good laugh and perhaps gave a hmmmm into his lemonade. So, what is Gran Torino?

As previously rumored, it’s a “coming of age buddy comedy” between an old fart (Eastwood, no offense) who cherishes his titular muscle car and a young, troubled Asian kid who tries to steal said car to impress a gang. MovieHole draws careful comparisons to the tone and age juxtaposition of Eastwood’s soporific, underrated A Perfect World. It being my favorite film directed by Eastwood, that’s cool to hear, but I’m also getting Dannon Activia vibes off this. We’ve pasted the lengthy character rundown/synopsis after the jump because it contains spoilers. This November brings Eastwood’s latest directorial effort, Changeling, with Angelina Jolie and it’s riding particularly nice buzz.

Discuss: Would you rather see DH6 or Gran Torino based on the info here? And speaking of minors committing grand theft auto did you see this?

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For those who thought my asinine TWBB rant was insanely lowbrow, here’s a bit of high brow genre fare to level out the horror. Toasted author Michael Chabon‘s unused screenplay for Spider-Man 2 is now online over at McSweeney’s as a PDF. Grab it here, and do so quick because the site says it will only be up for a short duration. You may recall that Chabon received a writing credit on the second and top Spider-Man film, but his screenplay has never been made public until now. Good deal.

Discuss: Peter and I haven’t had a chance to read it, but if you’re playing hookie, don’t feel like working or simply don’t “get” the job thing, write a mini-review of the script in the comments! Appreciated.

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Note: This is a not an April Fool’s Day joke. Screenwriter Stuart Beattie, whose script is behind the $170 million G.I. Joe that’s currently filming, has written a full spec-script for a potential Halo movie according to Latino Review. Moreover, his script is based on Eric Nylund‘s first book tie-in, the prequel Halo: The Fall of Reach, and carries the same name.

For those not in the know, a “spec script” means a script that’s written without the screenwriter being paid or contracted to do so. Apparently Beattie (Spy Hunter, Pirates of the Caribbean 1) is a fan of Bungie‘s ginormous video game franchise and wishes to get the first film off life support, where it’s been since last summer when producer Peter Jackson and hotshot director Neil Blomkampf once again threw in the towel after an eruption of distribution differences.

Not only does Beattie’s Halo: The Fall of Reach deliver a worthy action film according to LR’s inside source but it sets up a trilogy of films to coincide with the three Xbox installments. Here’s what the source said…

“The script is, first and foremost, a character-driven story about a soldier named John who was kidnapped or “conscripted” by the UNSC when he was just six years old, and then brutally trained to become an elite Spartan warrior known as Master Chief 117.

The script then takes us through the horrific first contact with the Covenant hordes on the doomed colony world of Harvest, and then climaxes with the spectacular fall of the UNSC forward base on Reach, during which every other Spartan is slaughtered.”

The source goes on to compare the script to Jaws, in that the Covenant (the series’ cunning alliance of aliens) isn’t seen until the half-way point, thereby making the first film financially attractive. In 2005, a script by Alex Garland (28 Days Later) that went through several rewrites was set to be used for Blomkampf’s film. Of note, Beattie also wrote the Gears of War video game adaptation that is now reportedly scheduled for 2010.

Discuss: Will Halo: The Movie ever happen? Furthermore, will the infamously uptight dudes at Microsoft give Beattie’s script the time of day?

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The following review contains spoilers and touches on topics and themes from the film, There Will Be Blood, which may prove unsettling for some readers. This review is long as hell because TWBB is long as hell, but it is also one of the best films ever made and the best film this decade.

The fact that Paul Thomas Anderson‘s American epic, There Will Be Blood, did not win an Oscar for Best Picture or Best Director says nothing about the film’s quality and inarguable stature as a masterpiece, but much about how we deal with an artist who swims out to the mark of greatness and madness, leaving the rest of us behind.

When an artist, rarely a director, does this it overwhelms and scares us. We practically expect the Jaws theme to begin its maniacal cue and watch the unknown devour him. Anderson, who previously directed the cool but slightly manipulative and hyperactive Boogie Nights and Magnolia, does nothing to alleviate our concern for the unhinged artist; his ever-focused stare dances more and more with an alarming expanse and he brandishes a smirk that sort of says “Oh really? Fuck off.” Luckily, from afar, these traits make him that much more interesting after viewing his first masterpiece.

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Will Ferrell‘s R-rated ABA romp, Semi-Pro, opens today and is expected to do boffo business. Buzz is good, but not spectacular. Nobody’s calling the film a comedy classic, and it arguably could have been. Great source material. The actor took a time-out from picking his ‘fro to chat with AICN twice about his upcoming mega-budget sci-fi comedy Land of the Lost, as well as eulogize a few other projects. Directed by Brad Siberling, who did Casper and Moonlight Mile, I’m still not sure what to expect from this 2009 film that pits Ferrell against CGI dinosaurs, especially when it comes to tone. Ferrell alludes to it being less like, I dunno, The Flintstones but doesn’t clarify much more…

“[Land of the Lost] will be PG-13, which I understand why that is and yet we still want [edge]. …It’s right up to an R and we are going to pull that line with the studio, because I already had an experience with Kicking and Screaming. Kicking and Screaming was supposed to be more of a Bad News Bears type comedy and they kind of [made it lame and made it PG].”

One film that I think Ferrell is perhaps born to star in (but apparently will not) is a film adaptation of A Confederacy of Dunces, widely cited as one of the best American novels ever written. While I’m of the belief that The Catcher in the Rye should never be put to film, after seeing Stranger Than Fiction, a dramedy that is still widely underrated, I remain convinced that Ferrell can do justice to Dunces‘ main character, the eccentric, 30-year-old ne’re-do-well Ignatius J. Reilly. A few years ago Ferrell was attached, along with Natasha Lyonne (a clever choice for the love interest Myrna Minkoff), with David Gordon Greene (The Pineapple Express, George Washington) to direct. Might it still happen…?

“As far as I know [an adaptation] is gone. …It’s a mystery. For some reason that’s a very scary project for people to take on and I don’t know why, but yeah I have no idea. The script…I loved it. …I think that’s such a big piece to tackle, that I think for a script, they didn’t have every single scene in the book, but it was a really nice effort, but I don’t know what to tell you.”

And from a literary classic to a beer pong/bong classic, wassup with Old School 2?

“I read [the script]. Some super funny set pieces, but I don’t know. I think Vince [Vaughn] had the same reaction. We’re just kind of doing the same thing again. It was like us going to Spring Break, but we’ve got to find this guy who’s the head of a fraternity. Once again, funny things but it’s just us once again back in a fraternity setting. It just felt like it was repeating. But watch, I’m over thinking it.”

And like a dingleberry stuck to a long and winding news item, Ferrell updates us about Elf 2: It’s dead.

Discuss: If you had to spend eternity watching and rewatching a Will Ferrell sports comedy that still hasn’t been made, would it be: The Untitled Will Ferrell Polo Movie or the Untitled Will Ferrell Sumo Wrestling Movie? I choose: UWF Polo.