After making Norbit and Meet Dave, Eddie Murphy reunited in 2008 with the directorial mastermind behind those two films, Brian Robbins, to make a film called A Thousand Words. The film is about a guy, played by Eddie Murphy, who discovers he only has 1,000 words left to speak before he dies. Reportedly savaged in test screenings (the film has a 3.6 IMDB rating based on 32 votes) the film has been bounced around on Paramount’s schedule for a couple years. Now it has been given a January 13, 2012 release date by Paramount. Will that stick? Read More »

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Briefly: We just saw a behind the scenes photo from Brett Ratner’s Tower Heist in Page 2 this morning, but here’s a real still, scanned from Entertainment Weekly. You probably don’t need the rundown on the lineup here, but from l-r that’s Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Michael Pena, Casey Affleck and, yep, Eddie Murphy. They’re the crew that works in a high-rise building where the penthouse is occupied by an unscrupulous businessman under house arrest. (He’s played by Alan Alda.) The Wall St. crook has taken the crew’s pension, and they aim to steal it back.

Not pictured are Téa Leoni, Gabourey Sidibe, and Judd Hirsch. It’s a hell of a cast, and my generally dismissive views of Brett Ratner notwithstanding, I’m hoping for something good here. Would be so good to see Eddie Murphy in a film that was worth a damn. Dreamgirls was a recent positive blip in an otherwise dismal late career. [via The Playlist]

I wasn’t planning to write about Gallery1988′s first annual “Is This Thing On” art show as it really has little connection to movies or television (or so I thought… the above piece featuring Judd Apatow mashed-up with the infamous Star Trek Tribbles episode is a fine example of this). The show, co-sponsored by FunnyOrDie, features over 100 artists, each creating pieces that are portraits of their favorite funny people, both beloved comics of yesteryear and emerging superstars.

The line up of comedians depicted include: Chris Farley, Will Ferrel, Richard Pryor, Don Rickles, Paul Reubens,Tim & Eric, Nick Kroll, Demetri Martin, Chris Rock, Whitney Cummings, Jon Lovitz, Sam Kinison, Bill Murray, Woody Allen, Colin Quinn, Bill Hicks, Howard Stern, Judd Apatow, Chris Hardwick, Marc Maron, Scott Auckerman, David Spade, Andy Dick, Lenny Bruce, Adam Sandler, Amy Sedaris, Lisa Lampanelli, David Cross, Andy Kaufman, Christopher Guest, Mr. Show, Rob Corddry and Children’s Hospital, Gilbert Gottfried, Jeffrey Ross, Bill Cosby, Bobcat Goldthwait, Tracy Morgan, Roseanne, Patton Oswalt, Dave Attell, David Wain and Wet Hot American Summer, Will Forte, John Candy, Lilly Tomlin, Phil Hartman, John Belushi, Mel Brooks and Young Frankenstein, Chevy Chase, Louis CK, Norm MacDonald, Flight of the Conchords, Jim Carrey, Reggie Watts, Steve Martin, Larry David, Rodney Dangerfield, Mitch Hedberg, Ellen DeGenerous, Margaret Cho, Steven Wright, Conan O’Brien, David Letterman, Richard Lewis, George Carlin, UCB Theater LA, Upright Citizen Brigade (TV show), Human Giant, Sasha Baron Cohen, Gallagher, Dana Carvey, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, Danny McBride, Carrot Top, Greg Giraldo, Donald Glover, Zach Galifiankis, Charlene Yi, Andrew “Dice” Clay, Chris Elliot, Jon Lovitz, Artie Lange, Doug Benson, Redd Foxx, Ben Stiller, Ricky Gervais, Dave Chapelle, Chelsea Handler, Aziz Ansari, Eddie Murphy, SF Sketchfest, Cheech & Chong, Sarah Silverman, Stella, Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Brian Posehn, Charlie Murphy and Kids In The Hall.
The show is ongoing until January 29th 2011 in the Melrose Gallery 1988 location. Hirt the jump to see some of my favorite pieces of art from the exhibition.

Movie Purgatory

From time to time, we like to point out articles in other publications and websites which might be of interest to the /Film readers. This weekend the Los Angeles Times published an article titled “Hollywood’s little secret: movie purgatory” which uses the recently released Case 39 (the supernatural horror film starring Renée Zellweger and Bradley Cooper which was shot in 2006) to talk about the growing Hollywood practice of shelved movies.

“Case 39″ was stuck in a little discussed corner of the industry: movie purgatory, where films with marketable stars — not just Cooper but Matt Damon, John Cusack, Eddie Murphy and Mel Gibson — can linger for months, even years, trapped by marketing disagreements, creative clashes, executive shuffles, money shortfalls or the judgment that they are such surefire flops that it makes no sense to throw good money after bad and distribute them.

In a larger sense, experts say, the trend speaks to the financial house of cards that is the feature film these days. Although they seem to arrive by the bundle at the multiplex every weekend, studio-produced movies now take more time and money to make and market than ever before — and then go before an ever-smaller and more fickle theater-going audience. In the old days of movie distribution — say, the early 2000s — many orphaned movies might have been granted a pass out of purgatory with a direct-to-DVD release. But the cratering of the home video market makes that less economically attractive. A direct-to-DVD release also risks offending the sensitivities of stars and other creative people the studios want to work with again in the future. These shelved movies often have their champions, who might note that at least one modern classic, “Diner,” and one recent Oscar winner, “Slumdog Millionaire,” were temporarily orphaned. But often these champions find themselves speaking into a void.

You can read the full article on LATimes.com.

Brett Ratner‘s new movie, the thriller/action/comedy Tower Heist, is prepping to shoot in November in New York City. The cast is enough to earn at least an interested glance: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda, Gabourey Sidibe and Michael Pena. Now there are two new additions: Téa Leoni and Nina Arianda.

Jeff Nathanson is currently rewriting the Ted Griffin script that got this picture moving. It’s about a group of employees in a big NYC building who set out to rob the fat cat living in the penthouse when they learn he’s plundered their pension fund. I’ll refer back to our last casting note on the movie for my general thoughts: I like the cast and want to see Eddie Murphy do a movie that doesn’t suck, so I’m rooting for this one. Even if prevailing opinion has pre-decided that it’ll be a waste of time, thanks to Brett Ratner. But it’s a heist movie, after all, which is my key weakness. [Variety]

After the break, Glee‘s Lea Michele hits the big screen. Read More »

Is Tower Heist going to be the movie that helps turn around some of the prevailingly bad opinion on Brett Ratner? The guy was doing OK before taking over the X-Men franchise from Bryan Singer, at which point his approval rating went right in the toilet. But the cast for Tower Heist is pretty solid (Ben Stiller, Alan Alda and Eddie Murphy) and has just added Gabourey Sidibe and Michael Pena. I like the idea of an action-comedy heist — it fits right alongside Rush Hour in the lineup of ‘things Brett Ratner might be good at’ — and am actually harboring hopes it might be watchable. Read More »

murphy_stiller_ratner

Before becoming Tower Heist, Brett Ratner‘s latest film was conceived as an urban version of Ocean’s Eleven, with Eddie Murphy in the starring role. The title then was Trump Heist, and the original cast poised to join him included Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Chris Tucker. One title and casting change later, Murphy was out, Ben Stiller was in, and the studio’s aspirations of making the film a “black Ocean’s Eleven” were scrapped. This decision was affirmed by their hiring on Noah Baumbach—a filmmaker whose whiteness can be sensed in every frame and line of dialogue of The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding and Greenberg—to rewrite the screenplay.

And yet, here we are, right back where we started. Eddie Murphy is set to once again join the cast of Tower Heist. Learn more after the break. Read More »

nutty-professor-1

Do you want to see Eddie Murphy get back in his fat suit from The Nutty Professor? If so, he’s writing a movie just for you. Murphy says he’s working on the script for a third film in the series that was last seen on screens ten years ago. And what about Beverly Hills Cop IV, another sequel that we just don’t need? (Barring the very unlikely chance it would recapture the energy of the first film.) Murphy doesn’t seem very confident about that one. So we’re 1 for 2 with Murphy today. Read More »

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