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Mae West was one of the original legends of Hollywood, but even so at this point the announcement of a biopic about the actress, with Bette Midler in the lead role, might not arouse huge attention at the outset. There are biopics for seemingly everyone, so one more is just a drop in the bucket.

But reveal that William Friedkin will direct Mae West — that’s a big deal. Friedkin practically defined the 1970s as a radical new decade in film with the one-two punch of The Exorcist and The French Connection, and has enjoyed a vibrant current stage in his long career through the films Bug and Killer Joe. So, Friedkin directing Midler in a film about the infamous Mae West? Let’s see it! Read More »

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Thanksgiving takes place in the States in a couple days, which means we’re at the time of year when some families will be convening for afternoons and evenings spent lazing around lethargically reconnecting in front of a ball game or a movie. There are already plenty of films that serve pretty well as background for family conversation, but Parental Guidance looks like a film that aims to be in DVD players for holidays starting in 2013.

The film features Billy Crystal and Bette Midler as grandparents who are enslisted to care for their family’s youngest generation when the kids’ parents (Marisa Tomei and Tom Everett Scott) have to spend a work weekend out of town. And so begins a whirlwind weekend of debauchery and deep introspection. Or, sorry, that’s a different movie — Parental Guidance seems to gently pit Crystal and Midler’s practical but old-fashioned ways against sensitive modern parenting. As gently as possible while also keeping a scene in which Crystal takes a baseball bat to the nuts, that is.

See a new trailer below. Read More »

On the surface, Parental Guidance seems pretty simple. Billy Crystal and Bette Midler star as grandparents who butt heads with their daughter (Marisa Tomei) on how to bring up her kids. The Christmas Day release is directed by Andy Fickman, who has made hit movies (The Game Plan, Race to Witch Mountain) but never good movies (consider She’s the Man, and You Again). Knowing all that, expectations are suitably curbed and the first trailer largely enforces the predictable, holiday cookie-cutter image you might have in your head.

But then the trailer says the film is about “New school vs. old school” ways of parenting and shows somes differences between tough love, Baby Boomer parenting and the softer coddling style of Generation X. Which got me thinking, maybe this movie has something to say? Maybe it’ll be good? Am I giving Parental Guidance way more credit than it deserves? Watch the trailer and decide for yourself. Read More »

Along with Fox’s reveal of the name and release date for the fifth, mostly unwanted Die Hard movie, the studio today added a bunch of other films to the calendar for 2012 and 2013. We begin with Olivier Megaton‘s sequel to Taken. The Liam Neeson action movie is currently called Taken 2, and it will open just under a year from now, on October 5, 2012.

The following month is busy for Fox: Curtis Hanson‘s surfing dram about real-life surfer Jay Moriarty, formerly called Mavericks, will co out on October 26 2012 as Of Men and Mavericks. And Parental Guidance, starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, and Marisa Tomei, will open on November 21, 2012.

Then a couple dates have hit for 2013: the second Percy Jackson film, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters will now hit on March 27 2013. And the BBC co-production Walking with Dinosaurs, which brings the popular show and traveling animatronic dinosaur exhibit to screens in 3D, moves up to October 11, 2013, from December 20, 2013. [BoxOfficeMojo]

Ellen Page is in final negotiations to star with Brit Marling and Alexander Skarsgard in The East, Zal Batmanglij‘s thriller about a mysterious eco-terrorism organization called The East. Marling, who co-wrote the script with Batmanglij, leads as an undercover agent who infiltrates the group but then finds herself developing feelings for the group’s leader (Skarsgard). Page will play Izzy, a member of The East and Skarsgard’s ex, who becomes jealous of relationship between Marling and Skarsgard. Page replaces Felicity Jones, who had to drop out of the project due to press commitments for Like Crazy.

The addition of the Oscar-nominated Page should add even more buzz to a film that’s already been getting plenty of it. Marling and Batmanglij broke out at this year’s Sundance with Sound of my Voice, and True Blood star Skarsgard has a handful of interesting projects in the works. Page’s next big-screen appearance will be in next year’s Woody Allen-directed Bop Decameron, alongside Jesse Eisenberg, Penelope Cruz, and Alec Baldwin.

The East is set to begin shooting in Nashville in October. [Variety]

After the jump, Anthony Mackie dreams up a new project for himself and Tom Everett Scott pairs up with Marisa Tomei.

Read More »

The latest to join One Shot, the adaptation of Lee Child‘s thriller novel about former military cop Jack Reacher and the investigation of a strange set of sniper murders in the midwest, is David Oyelowo. Fresh from The Help and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, he’ll play a veteran homicide detective who investigates the sniper deaths.

Tom Cruise plays hero Jack Reacher, and Christopher McQuarrie scripted and will direct. [Variety]

After the break, Marisa Tomei joins Us & Them, and Nathan Lane teaches alongside Julianne Moore in an indie comedy. Read More »

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