Oz the Great and Powerful, Sam Raimi‘s first Disney film, is oddly two-faced. Here we have a director who made his name with low budget horror, who became a household name when he infused the superhero genre with his do-it-yourself, energetic visual style. And then there’s Oz, a massive film that gives Raimi the most toys he’s ever had to play with, but also the commitment to make a movie that’s fun for all ages. The result is a Sam Raimi movie wrapped up tightly in a Disney package. And the Raimi elements are willing themselves out.
There’s not a frame of Oz The Great and Powerful that doesn’t bear Raimi’s mark. The production design, the camera moves, the pulpy performances, everything screams his name. I mean, the movie is basically Army of Darkness, right? (Normal guy lands in magical land, is forced to go on quest to save that land.) But just when you see that kinetic, signature style starting to unleash, the story forces the film back into its Disney shell to play to the masses. We’re left with a film that’s entertaining, a little scarier than you’d expect, but extremely inconsistent. Read More »
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In October 2011, I got to visit the wonderful world of Oz and watch director Sam Raimi direct his preboot (prequel/reboot) of the classic L. Frank Baum book series. I learned much on the set of Oz: The Great and Powerful. Most fascinating to me was some of the things Disney had to do satisfy legal concerns over possibly violating copyrighted imagery from the classic 1939 film adaptation, owned by Warner Bros.
And while trailers for the film focus on wholly computer-generated worlds and characters, you might be shocked to learn the lengths that Sam Raimi went through to shoot a lot of the film practically. For example, it was interesting to see Raimi inventing new practical solutions to help the supporting actors create and react to live performances for characters who would eventually be created in CG — and I’m not talking about performance capture.
After the jump you can watch a video blog we recorded talking about the visit, followed by many more things I learned while on the set.
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Remakes live, die and get defended in this edition of Remake Bits. After the jump, read about the following:
- David Lindsay-Abaire gives an update of the Poltergiest remake.
- Sharlto Copley eases fan misconceptions about Spike Lee’s remake of Oldboy.
- Chris Tucker is in talks for the remake of the French smash The Intouchables.
- Larry Clarke said a remake of Mona Lisa is dead.
- Paul Verhoeven believes the failure of the Total Recall remake could have killed a Starship Troopers remake.
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Rise of the Guardians is an animated, family-themed version of The Avengers. In both films, a team of superhuman beings join forces to defeat an evil threat (one with a dashing British accent) before it can destroy the world. But rather than featuring superhero characters only some audiences are familiar with, in Guardians the team is made up of mythical beings such as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and the Sandman.
Directed by Peter Ramsey, written by David Lindsay-Abaire and co-produced by Guillermo Del Toro, Rise of the Guardians is full of wonder and excitement. The myths of these characters build off our preconceptions to create an imaginative world that’s both gorgeous to look at and teeming with possibilities. If anything, the film’s biggest downfall is that it is so dead-set on creating audience excitement through elaborate action set pieces that it ends up losing a little steam and resonance. Read more after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2012 by Angie Han
MGM’s been trying to remake Poltergeist for years now, but the project suddenly became much more interesting last summer when David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole) was tapped to pen the script. While the picture is still in the early stages, with no director or stars signed on as of yet, the writer reassured Collider that it is “definitely a priority” for the studio and that it’s continuing to move forward:
I will say that I handed in a second draft and people are incredibly excited about it. They’re not the director, but they’re in search of a director. I will also say that there are very few people who are as obsessed with the original movie as I am, so I would try to write a script that I would want to see as a fan. I will say that.
The big question with any remake is what will change, and what won’t. Despite the current popularity of hard-R horror films, Lindsay-Abaire says his version will retain the original’s more family-friendly feel. “It’s tonally similar to the first movie, and that’s sort of family-friendly-esque with some real, genuine scares in it,” he said. “It’s not Saw if that’s what you’re asking. I’m not trying to turn it into something else.”
After the jump, check out a new viral image from another horror remake, and read about HBO’s plans for an English-language version of a French drama set in a brothel.
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MGM, which is remaking movies left and right, wants to do a new version of Poltergeist. We’ve known that for some time, and over the past year the story got interesting with news of the involvement of playwright and Rabbit Hole writer David Lindsay-Abaire and then the addition of Sam Raimi. (The former of whom did work on Raimi’s later Spider-Man efforts, and also on his Oz: The Great and Powerful.)
Raimi’s role was quickly clarified as that of producer rather than director. But a new piece on Lindsay-Abaire suggests that Raimi is directing the film after all. Read More »
Looking back at the last info we had on MGM’s proposed remake of Poltergeist, this rumor isn’t very surprising. MGM CEO Roger Birnbaum gave a talk this week at his alma mater, the University of Denver, and dropped a few bits of info about two remakes the studio is working on. One was Carrie, which Birnbaum suggested may have a found-footage angle.
There was also reportedly mention of Poltergeist, a film MGM has been talking about remaking for several years. Of that project, the story goes that Birnbaum said that Sam Raimi is in talks to direct.
Update: THR reveals that Raimi is producing, rather than directing, which makes a lot more sense. As mentioned below, David Lindsay-Abaire is indeed writing the story that “focuses on a family whose house was built on a holy site and whosedaughter is taken by ghosts.” Original article follows.
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost are real and it’s their job to protect the children of the world. That’s the basic setup for DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming 3D film Rise of the Guardians. The film is directed by Peter Ramsey, and written by David Lindsay-Abaire and William Joyce, based on the Guardians of Childhood books from the latter.
Featuring the voices of Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Chris Pine, Isla Fisher and Jude Law, the first trailer for the film has just been released and you can check it out below. Read More »