Screen Gems has released the first trailer for Chris Rock-produced re-imagining of Frank Oz‘s 2007 British comedy Death at a Funeral. Although Oz’s original was well-received by many critics, it didn’t get very much traction with theatergoers, drawing only a niche audience. The new film has a primarily African-American cast and focuses on a funeral that “devolves into a debacle of misplaced cadavers, indecent exposure and family secrets.” Basically, they have decided to remake an English-language film, dumbing down the jokes, in an effort to attract a more black audience (and to clarify: this comment is a statement on Hollywood chooses to treat ticket-buying African-Americans, and not a statement on the intelligence of that audience). It seems completely unnecessary. If you think that sounds horrible, watch the trailer — it’s much worse.
The remake was directed by Neil LaBute (In The Company of Men, The Wicker Man, Lakeview Terrace), was written by Dean Craig (Caffeine), and stars Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan, Danny Glover, Regina Hall, James Marsden, Zoe Saldana, and Columbus Short. Watch the trailer now embedded after the jump. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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Columbia Pictures has released the teaser trailer for the new Adam Sandler comedy Grown Ups. The film stars Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Steve Buscemi, Maria Bello, Gary Busey and David Spade, and is directed by Dennid Dugan, the filmmaker behind of some of Sandler’s earlier films like Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy, but who recently has been responsible for some comic clunkers like I Now Pronouce You Chuck & Larry, and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.
Five friends and former teammates reunite years later to honor the passing of their childhood basketball coach. With their wives and kids in tow, they spend the Fourth of July holiday weekend together at the lake house where they celebrated their championship years earlier. Picking up where they left off, they discover why growing older doesn’t mean growing up.
It looks like a fairly generic comedy, even more so than the recent Sander efforts. Almost makes you wish that Sandler was still making second rate romantic comedies with Drew Barrymore again. You know, when they at least featured a few good jokes. And what is that on Kevin James’ face? That can’t be a beard, is it? Watch the full teaser trailer after the jump, and leave your thoughts in the comments ago.
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In November 2008 GQ Magazine ran an article called Will You Be My Black Friend? about author Devin Friedman‘s lame attempts to make friends with an African-American gent or two via his few black friends and Craigslist. The concept is funny, but the underlying idea was interesting: after a certain point in our lives we’re less likely to make friends who are outside our own social and cultural circle. Now Lionsgate and Harpo Films (Oprah’s company) will develop the article into a comedy starring Chris Rock. Read More »
I’ve been surprised by the groundswell of support for the notion of freeing Roman Polanski since he was arrested on Sunday in Zurich. Ok, Debra Winger saying the arrest was part of a “philistine collusion”…whatever. But then a whole bunch of great filmmakers signed a silly petition demanding Polanski’s immediate release. Woody Allen, fine, no great surprise, but David Lynch and Martin Scorsese? Sigh. Now, thankfully, we’ve got Chris Rock weighing in on the case. Read More »
Back when Good Hair was first announced, I was elated to see that fellow-Aquarian Chris Rock was making a documentary that attempted to do for black women’s hair what Bill Maher did for religion. No more elusive secrets! Put it on the table in daylight and softly poke it with questions for all to see. So awesome. I mean, as the years go by and I casually encounter and work with fewer black people (that’s life!), as a white guy I am stricken with the fear that I might never know what is up. I have so many inquiries lingering unanswered and unfortunately Transformers 2 did nothing to curb my desire for first-hand knowledge. And when I type “first-hand,” I mean Salt and Pepa discussing “burn” stories. Bonus Prize: Raven from That’s So Raven offering an enligtening weave-shift.
“If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed. If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy” – Paul Mooney
What would Beyonce say? Sell-out. Sell-in: According to a guy in this trailer, the “black hair business” is a $9 billion industry, numbers that put it on par with the porn biz. “I am addicted to the Creamy Crack!” The trailer touches on the subject. “Creamy Crack!” is Urban Dictionary-speak for “relaxer,” which, sadly, most likely also needs a UB entry. Just watch the trailer after the jump.
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Movieline caught up with hack director Brett Ratner and was able to get “The Rat” to go on record about the many films listed on the director’s Internet Movie Database page. As suspected, most of them aren’t happening or are in early stages of development.
But the film Ratner claims is the “closest to getting made” is Trump Heist. The action crime comedy tells the story of a bunch of employees of the Trump Tower who conspire to rip off the building’s residents. Eddie Murphy is signed to play the leader of the crew of con artists and Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Chris Tucker are reportedly in consideration to join the cast. Ratner just hired Ocean’s Eleven scribe Ted Griffin to re-write the script.
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The Sundance Institute has announced the first half of the line-up for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Included in the first press release are the films in competition in the Drama and Documentary segments. 3,661 feature-length films were submitted this year, which is 37 more films than last year. For the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, 118 feature-length films were selected including 87 world premieres, 19 North American premieres, and 4 U.S. premieres representing 21 countries with 42 first-time filmmakers, including 28 in competition. Before we get into the full list, I would like to point out some of the films that particularly interest me. Also, now should be the time for me to admit that I focus more on English-language films, so my foreign picks will probably be lacking.
The Wrestler screenwriter Robert Siegel makes his directorial debut with Big Fan, which stars Patton Oswalt as a parking garage attendant and hardcore New York Giants football fan who struggles to deal with the consequences when he is beaten up by his favorite player. Michael Rapaport also stars. I loved the humor that Siegel brought to The Wrestler, and with Oswalt in the lead – this one is a no brainer.
The Office star John Krasinski makes his directorial debut with a big screen adaptation of David Foster Wallace‘s book Breif Interviews with Hideous Men. The story follows Julianne Nicholson as a doctoral candidate in anthropology who “tries to remedy the heartache” of being dumped with little explanation, by interviewing men about their behavior. Krasinski, Dominic Cooper and Timothy Hutton also star.
In Cold Souls, Paul Giamatti stars as a famous American actor who in the midst of an existential crisis, “explores soul extraction as a relief from the burdens of daily life.” Okay, doesn’t have the best plot description but Giamatti is involved, as well as David Strathairn, Emily Watson, and Lauren Ambrose.
Emmy Rossum stars in Adam Salky‘s feature directorial debut Dare, about “three very different teenagers discover that, even in the safe world of a suburban prep school, no one is who she or he appears to be.” IMDB also provides a different teaser synopsis: “The good girl, the outsider and the bad boy…like you’ve never seen them before.” This is a feature length adaptation of Salky’s 2005 short film which was met with acclaim at film festivals. I’m a sucker for coming of age films.
Everyone is talking about Paper Heart, the film that Michael Cera made under the raydar with his girlfriend Charlyne Yi. The film is apparently a meta-love story with the stars playing themselves (?). The pre-festival hype aside, I would see this film based on Cera’s involvement alone.
Teeth star Jess Weixler returns to Sundance opposite Jason Ritter in a big screen adaptation of Peter and Vandy, the Drama Desk Nominated Best Play that was lauded for its “almost embarrassing intimacy and killer comic timing.” The film tells the story of a contemporary Manhattan love story, told out of order, with no beginning and no end. Festival programer Geoffrey Gilmore says that “One of the themes” of this year’s festival is “the kind of new-generation love story,” … a new “way of telling love stories right now by a new, younger generation that’s different, that’s fresh, that’s original.” This and the Cera film Paper Heart seems to fit into this statement.
Jeff Daniels stars as the title character Arlen Faber, a reclusive author of a groundbreaking spiritual book awakens to new truths when two strangers enter his life. The film also stars Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah), Olivia Thirlby (Juno, Wackness), and Lauren Gram. The film was formerly titled “The Dream of the Romans“, which is a much better title if you ask me.
In Good Hair, Comedian Chris Rock turns documentary filmmaker when he sets out to examine the culture of African-American hair and hairstyles. I’m not sure if it will be good, like many of Chris Rock’s films, but I’ll always be there for anything the guy creates.
Documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler was given unprecedented access for a film titled “The September Issue“. Cutler and crew shot Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and her team over the corse of nine months as they prepared the 2007 VogueSeptember issue, widely accepted as the “fashion bible” for the year’s trends. I’ve always been interested in the world of journalism, even if the Fashion world might be a very different realm. And I must admit that The Devil Wears Prada has me very interested to catch this one.
You can read the full press release (which includes a listing of all the films announced today) after the jump.
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Posted on Thursday, November 13th, 2008 by David Chen
In this episode of /Filmcast, Dave, Adam, and Devindra lament the prevalence of American remakes, compare 28 Days Later with 28 Weeks Later, review Role Models, and remember one of their favorite authors of all time.
Have any questions, comments, concerns, feedback, or praise? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next next Monday night as we review the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.
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Posted on Friday, November 7th, 2008 by David Chen
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chris Rock will be teaming up with Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Screen Gems for a re-imagining of Frank Oz’s 2007 British comedy Death at a Funeral. Rock will produce and star in the film, in addition to co-writing the script with Ayesha Carr (an Everybody Hates Chris veteran). Although Oz’s original was well-received by many critics, it didn’t get very much traction with theatergoers, drawing only a niche audience. The new film will have a primarily African-American cast and focus on a funeral that “devolves into a debacle of misplaced cadavers, indecent exposure and family secrets.”
In general, I’m skeptical of remakes but there have been exceptions where the newer film has surprised with its inventiveness. Positive examples can be found in the category of remakes of foreign films (e.g. The Departed, The Ring) or even remakes of older American films (e.g. Ocean’s 11, Invasion of the Body Snatchers) However, this news has me torn because on the one hand, Chris Rock is a great funnyman who will undoubtedly be able to mine the basic funeral scenario for comedic gold. On the other hand, it promises to strip away all the elements that made the original film what it is (namely, its British-ness, for lack of a better term). It’s also just kind of bizarre that the remake is coming hot off the heals (just one year after) the original. What do you guys think?
Discuss: Are you eager to see “Death at a Funeral” remade for American/urban audiences?
Paramount/Dreamworks just sent us a new batch of photos from Jerry Seinfeld’s upcoming computer animated film Bee Movie. I caught a sneak preview of footage from the film last month, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed myself. I’m usually a very harsh critic of the DreamWorks computer animated films (If only everyone could be like Pixar), but this one actually has more than a few interesting aspects (you can read our previous report at this link). Check out all the new photos after the jump, followed by the film’s official synopsis. As always, click on the images to enlarge.
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