killing-season-trailer-header

We’ve slept a bit on this one. Add up the “direct to video” impression that the promo art (and John Travolta‘s beard) give to this latest effort from Daredevil director Mark Steven Johnson, and you might have given it a pass, too. Even if Killing Season does also star Robert De Niro as a former soldier that Travolta is keen to kill, based on a grudge that goes back to the Bosnian War.

Then I actually watched the trailer, and holy crap, that accent Travolta uses. It’s like the fake Russian accent my friends and I used in high school. It is glorious. I’ll watch the entire movie — which looks like The Edge by way of a South Park recreation of First Blood– just for that accent. And the trailer suggests there might be some other good stuff in there, too,

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

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Mark Steven Johnson, the director of the first Ghost Rider film, as well as of Daredevil, Simon Birch and When in Rome, is now set to direct a movie called Killing Season. This will be the first film to team Robert De Niro and John Travolta, and the two actors will face off in a pretty classic adventure scenario. Read More »

I’m sure you sit around once or twice a week and muse on a very important question: where is Mark Steven Johnson? The Ghost Rider writer/director half disappeared in the past few years, surfacing only with the forgettable Kristen Bell romcom When in Rome in 2010.

But now he’s got a new project, and not one that brings him back to his Grumpy Old Men and Simon Birch roots. Autobahn is the name of this one, and the film, written by Greg Russo and formerly called I-95, sounds like some combination of Speed and Taken. More info awaits below. Read More »

When in Rome Movie Trailer

Kristen Bell When in Rome

I can track my reaction to this trailer for When in Rome in several distinct phases: Hurray, Kristen Bell! Lee Pace, don’t mind if I do! Josh Dushamel, uhh okay. Danny Devito, do you really belong here? An unending string of pratfall gags—never a good sign. Shitty music—I’m really going to hate this trailer when it’s repeated ad nausem in theaters. Precious seconds devoted to the bands from the trailer and sound track—I’d rather stick a knife in my ears, thanks. Directed by Mark Steven Johnson, fuck.

Read More »

First Look: Kristen Bell in When in Rome

Touchtone Pictures has just released the first two photos from the Kristen Bell / Josh Duhamel romantic comedy When in Rome.

The film tells the story of an ambitious young New Yorker (Kristen Bell), disillusioned with romance, who takes a whirlwind trip to Rome where she defiantly plucks magic coins from a “foolish” fountain of love, inexplicably igniting the passion of an odd group of suitors: a sausage magnate (Danny Devito), a street magician (Jon Heder), an adoring painter (Will Arnett) and a self-admiring model (Dax Shepard). But when a charming reporter (Josh Duhamel) pursues her with equal zest, how will she know if his love is the real thing? The film also stars Alexis Dziena, Kate Micucci, Bobby Moynihan (SNL) and Anjelica Huston.

I went to the theater to see the American remake of Pulse, so I think it’s pretty obvious that I’ll see anything Kristen Bell is in. Even if that something is directed by Ghost Rider/Daredevil helmer Mark Steven Johnson. When in Rome is cheduled to hit theaters in Summer 2009.

HBO Kills Preacher Television Series

HBO has killed the planned television adaptation of Garth Ennis‘ popular Vertigo comic series Preacher. Mark Steven Johnson broke the news to ComicsContinuum, claiming that the project got to the budgeting stage before it was axed.

“The new head of HBO felt it was just too dark and too violent and too controversial. Which, of course, is kind of the point,” said Johnson. “It was a very faithful adaptation of the first few books, nearly word for word. They offered me the chance to redevelop it but I refused. I’ve learned my lesson on that front and I won’t do it again. So I’m afraid it’s dead at HBO.”

While this is sad news, I’m kind of glad that Johnson is off the project. After all, this is the same guy who made Ghost Rider and Daredeveil. I’m not sure I would like Johnson’s “faithful” adaptation. Johnson has heard that someone else “is in the process of getting the rights to turn it into a feature film.”

A film adaptation was once being developed at Kevin Smith’s production company – View Askew Productions, with James Marsden attached to play the lead. When the one-hour series was first announced in November 2006, Pretty in Pink director Howard Deutch named to helm the pilot episode. Robert Rodriguez was said to be one of the “many top-shelf directors interested in” helming an episode of the series. So I’m confident that the project will eventually get a green light somewhere.

But a television series seemed like such a great idea. My hope is that following the success of Dexter, that Showtime would make a play for a television adaptation. They certainly aren’t afraid of dark material. The only question is, do they have the budget.

The official plot synopsis from the graphic novel follows: “Here’s a book guaranteed to offend a bunch of people, not only because of its profuse profanity and graphic violence, but because it’s the epitome of iconoclasm. Like a brutal accident, you can’t watch but you can’t turn away. The story follows an ex-preacher man, Jesse, who has become disgusted with God’s abandoning of His responsibilities. So Jesse starts off into the wilds of Texas with his hitman girlfriend and new best friend (a vampire) to find God so that he can give Him a piece of his mind. Despite its superficial perversity, this book contains what may be the most moral character in mainstream comics. A cult hit in the making. Fans of Quentin Tarantino take note.”

The 75 issue comic book series was created by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon, and published between 1995 to 2000.

Rumor: Robert Rodriguez to direct Preacher Pilot?

Robert Rodriguez

Preacher comic bookMany people have recommended the Preacher comic book series to me, but I’ve yet to pick it up. For several years, a film adaptation was in the works by Kevin Smith’s production company – View Askew Productions, with James Marsden attached to play the lead. In November 2006, it was announced that Mark Steven Johnson was producing the series as a one-hour HBO television series. Johnson is like the Uwe Boll of Comic Book movies (oka, may-be not THAT bad), having directed Daredevil and Ghost Rider. So when his name was mentioned, most fans were outraged. Pretty in Pink director Howard Deutch was named to helm the pilot episode, which didn’t make the fans any less doubtful. But according to Comics2Film there may be light at the end of the tunnel after all.

Rumor has it that Sin City director Robert Rodriguez is circling the project and “he’s just one of many top-shelf directors interested in the series.” But apparently HBO has still yet to commit to the project. Rodriguez could be enough to get the project on the fast track.

The storyline has always sounded very interesting to me:  Preacher tells the story of a down-and-out preacher in the small Texas town who was accidentally possessed by the supernatural creature named ‘Genesis’ in an incident which killed his entire congregation and flattened his church. Jesse Custer may have become the most powerful being in the whole of living existence. Driven by a strong sense of right and wrong, Custer goes on a journey across the United States attempting to (literally) find God, who abandoned Heaven the moment Genesis was born. He also begins to discover the truth about his new powers, which allow him to command the obedience of those who hear his words. He is joined by his old girlfriend Tulip O’Hare, as well as a hard-drinking Irish vampire named Cassidy. The 75 issue comic book series was created by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon, and published between 1995 to 2000.

Ghost Rider

Mark Steven Johnson explains why Ghost Rider sucks so bad: “It was a hard R and bleak in my opinion, Johnson says of David Goyer’s early script. “But then the studio says to you, ‘I’m going to let you make your movie, your vision, but you’ve got to make sure it’s a PG-13. We’ve got to make money.’ Which is fair.” So don’t expect the unrated directors cut on DVD: “There’s not an R-rated version, We didn’t shoot that.”

Possitive early reviews of Evan Almighty are streaming in. The Bruce Almighty sequel starring Steve Carell is “funny, heart warming and impactful film – it is a close encounters of the almighty kind,” according to one audience member.

DreamWorks has hired Carter B. Smith (Love Rome) to direct the big screen adaption of Scott Smith’s novel The Ruins. The horror thriller follows four American friends on vacation in Cancún who find themselves lost in the jungle. A Simple Plan author/screenwriter Scott Smith is writing the script.

Night at the Museum helmer Shawn Levy is getting handed everything now-a-days. Next up will be an adaptation of the canine bestseller Marley & Me. This sounds more Levy’s speed than Flash. I hope he has to drop out of The Hardy Men, because that film has potential. Shooting will start in late April in Los Angeles.

Pop Quiz: How much does it cost to buy an advertisement during the Academy Awards?
Answer: $1.6 million, up from $700,000 in 1995.

New Star Wars video game will hit stores in November. The game allows players to become Darth Vader’s “secret apprentice” and promises to reveal new secrets about the Star Wars galaxy. George Lucas has no shame.

Zooey Deschanel (Elf) has been cast as the Tin Man in SCI FI Channel’s miniseries retelling of The Wizard of Oz. Alan Cumming is playing the Scarecrow-like character of Glitch. Sounds interesting.

Forest Whitaker, Kate Beckinsale, Guy Pearce and Dakota Fanning will star in the ensemble drama Winged Creatures, about “survivors of a brutal restaurant murder who are left to divine their own individual paths to understanding their mortality and connection to society.”

Warner Bros. are moving back the remake of Takashi Miike’s One Missed Call from August 2007 to January 4, 2008. The movie follows a bunch of people who receive terrifying cell phone messages of their own final fatal moments. The film is directed by Eric Valette, and stars Ed Burns, Shannyn Sossamon, Ana Claudia Talancon, Ray Wise, Azura Skye, Johnny Lewis, Jason Beghe and Margaret Cho.

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