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Kevin Smith Hasn’t Seen JJ Abram’s “Star Trek”, But If He Did He Really Liked It

In one of those cases where you’re prevented from disclosing certain details about a certain thing you’ve only got so many options to leak info. Kevin Smith is in that situation after having definitely not just watched JJ Abram’s reboot for “Star Trek”. And by “definitely not” I mean “definitely did”.

TrekMovie landed the denial interview with Smith:

Smith: I saw a movie last night that I cannot talk about.

Host: Was it good?

Smith: It was phenomenal.

Host: Any stars, any break out stars, and do they trek?

Smith: The stars absolutely trek in this film. It is fantastic. Anybody who was worried doesn’t need to be worried–about this film I cannot talk about…It was in very capable hands. The director did a phenomenal job–the director and his crew. Top notch cast and the guy that plays the lead is an instant star. That dude is going to be so famous. He is so wonderful. He picked up a role that I would say is pretty challenging for someone to step into the shoes of, because it is a role that has been played before many times by the same guy.

Host: How do you out Shatner, Shatner?

Smith: I don’t what you are talking about.

That definitely makes me feel better about the franchise relaunch, especially with the new Kirk. After getting burned by Abrams’ last hype, “Cloverfield”, I’m still a bit cautious.

Source: TrekMovie via /film

Fox Doesn’t Want You To Watch The Watchmen

Watchmen“Some men aren’t looking for anything logical. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

Alfred was talking about The Joker in “The Dark Knight”, but he could have been talking about 20th Century Fox. Set to release in March 2009 is Warner Bros. long awaited adaptation of Alan Moore’s graphic novel “Watchmen”, but Fox is suing to keep that from happening.

Fox contends that they have long held the rights to an film based on the story written in 1986 and after 20 years of inactivity they’re none too happy to see another studio make the release. Warner Bros. has offered money, but Fox says, “no dice”:

Fox’s legal team says it isn’t looking for monetary compensation and instead wants to prevent the big-budget film from being released altogether.

With “Watchmen” in post-production and just seven months from release there needs to be some serious resolution to this issue. I have no idea if Fox wants to stamp their name on this and take it away from Warner or are they aiming to send it to the trash and make their own? Either way it’s making me nervous!

Source: THR & /film

Interview: Kevin Nealon on TBS’ Funniest Commercials

Kevin NealonWhen the Olympics are over the laughs begin. TBS is bringing back its annual special “World’s Funniest Commercials” on Tuesday, August 26th at 9pm hosted once again by funnyman Kevin Nealon.

Kevin Nealon is no stranger on what it takes to be funny with his background of nine seasons on Saturday Night Live, including the role of Weekend Update host, and countless appearances in Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison projects (Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Zohan, & more). Most recently Kevin can be found on Showtime’s comedy “Weeds”, now in its fourth season.

I was beyond lucky with the chance to speak with Kevin about what we could look forward to in this year’s TBS “World’s Funniest Commercials” special. Read on to find out what it takes to make Mr. Subliminal himself laugh when it comes to commercials.

Hollywood Hills: This will be your fifth season of hosting TBS’ Funniest Commercials Special, is that right?
Kevin Nealon: Yes, I believe it is.

HWH: Are you seeing the commercials out do themselves each year or are they having a hard time topping previous years’ commercials?
Nealon: Not really. I think that this year’s special is probably the best one to date.

HWH: With your background as SNL’s ad exec “Mr Subliminal” you are obviously well qualified for this hosting job. So are they letting you pick any commercials for the show?
Nealon: I haven’t really picked too many, but if I see one that’s really funny I will call them and let them know and see if they agree with me. Last time I found the Trunk Monkey.

HWH: Tivo & DVRs are obviously posing a challenge to commercials. What do you think makes for a great commercial that will get viewers to stop and watch?
Nealon: There are different schools of thought on that. A lot of commercials people stop to watch because they are funny, but they’re not really memorable for the product. I personally like the funny commercials. It doesn’t remember to me if I remember the name, just that it was a funny little story that was in 30 or 60 seconds. The world today has such a short attention span that you can just watch the show and a couple of commercials and be entertained.

HWH: Any favorite or least favorite commercials come to mind?
Nealon: There is one that I particularly like that’s called “Walk of Shame” for a beverage that shows all these people doing the walk of shame in the morning after a night of debauchery. They’re walking home dishelved and join up in the street singing. It’s pretty funny, you’ve gotta see it.

HWH: In past seasons a lot of the funniest commercials have been European born. Do you think they have an easier time making funny commercials because of what they can get away with without the FCC restrictions?
Nealon: Yeah, I think the parameters are a little more extended for them so they can get away with more. I think I’ve seen quite a revoluation in American commercials as far as being more risque in the last couple of years and the viewers will see that on this special too.

[In the TBS special] there are also some US commercials made by European companies. One commercial, maybe from Sweden, has a son ask his father where he comes from. So the father takes him for a car ride and tells him about the birds and the bees, then at the end the boy says, “Wow. My friend Frank just comes from Poland.” They’re pretty clever.

HWH: Any of your SNL commercials that you think would be contenders for the next TBS Funniest Commercials special?
Nealon: It’s funny because it’s like those commercials now are almost legitimate commercials. I remember when Chevy Chase wrote a commercial for a razor blade that had four or five blades in it. The first blade would pull it out, the second blade would cut it, the third would cut it more, and so on.

There’s another commercial that Al Franken wrote called “Colon Blow” for bran that really cleans you out. Commercials now are such proponents of bran in your diet that things are catching up.

HWH: Besides your history with SNL’s mock commercials, have you had much involvement in making commercials or do you prefer to be on the receiving side?
Nealon: I must have done about a half dozen commercials, mostly light beer commercials. Coors Silver Bullet, Budweiser, and I did a Nabisco commercial which was pulled off the air after about two weeks because they found copper dust particles in the product. It was my first commercial so I was very excited and then that happened.

HWH: If you were making a commercial selling Kevin Nealon action figures, how would you pitch it?
Nealon: Well it’d have to be in cereal boxes and maybe some different soy products.

HWH: Along with your TBS Funniest Commercials special coming up you’ve got your character on Showtime’s “Weeds”, now in its fourth season. I just heard it would be renewed for two more seasons. Can we expect to see you back for the rest of the series?
Nealon: I hope so, but you can’t really know until the season is about to begin.

HWH: Any Happy Madison projects in the future? I’d love to see you team back up with your SNL pals again.
Nealon: I just did “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” so I’m up to speed now. I think [Sandler] is off doing another one now. He kinda keeps me in that loop.

HWH: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me today about TBS’ World’s Funniest Commercials.
Nealon: It was great talking with you.

“World’s Funniest Commercials” on TBS airs Tuesday, August 26th at 9pm.

Tropic Thunder: Lightning Review

I’m not getting into doing movie reviews here on Hollywood Hills, but I wanted to put out a quick recommendation for this weekend’s new release “Tropic Thunder”. Set as a movie within a movie this action comedy is very entertaining as it powers through its 1hr 47mins. The leading cast does an awesome job as part of a much larger ensemble where there are more cameos than you could possibly count.

Standing out from his peers is Robert Downey Jr.’s role as “the dude disguised as another dude pretending to be another dude”. I think I got that right. RDJ is on fire this year and steals every scene he’s in. Ben Stiller plays pretty much the same guy he does in every movie, but that’s okay, he does it well again here. Jack Black is surprisingly in his most reserved character and entertains without being over the top annoying.

I mentioned the cameos are limitless and very entertaining, but out of all of them the prize goes to Tom Cruise. Watch for him to fill the screen with promises that his career isn’t over just yet. I have to imagine Cruise took great personal pleasure in lampooning the very executives that have made his past few years so difficult (not that he wasn’t greasing the rails on that train himself).

This R-rated comedy won’t be for everyone. It’s foul mouthed with more F-bombs dropped than I can remember in recent years. When they aren’t shouting expletives there’s plenty of violence and shooting to make up for it. But again, it’s R-rated.

Overall, this was a great film that delivers in all the ways it should. Ignore the boycott press. Stiller was right, they’re missing the point about “Simple Jack”. So if you don’t mind crude and are looking for some top performances with a fun story this weekend then “Tropic Thunder” is for you.

Angelina Jolie Steals Tom Cruise’s ‘Salt’

After being unwilling to pay Tom Cruise his fee of $20 million to star in “Edwin A. Salt”, Columbia Pictures dropped the Top Gun from its spy thriller. Now, after just three weeks of searching they believe they have found the perfect replacement. Turns out, Edwin must be a girl’s name:

Once expected to star Tom Cruise, the Columbia Pictures espionage thriller will be redrafted by screenwriter Kurt Wimmer as a star vehicle for Angelina Jolie. Philip Noyce remains attached as director and Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Sunil Perkash are producing.

Jolie is close to a deal to play the title character, a CIA officer who’s accused by a defector of being a Russian sleeper spy and must elude capture long enough to establish her innocence.

Jolie took a liking to it, prompting the studio’s decision to rewrite it. Sources said the project won’t require that much of an overhaul to suit her.

I didn’t care for Jolie as a spy in the least with “Mr & Mrs Smith”, so I’m rather hesitant in the idea of watching her with another espionage role. However, I do get quite the kick out of Cruise being replaced by a woman so easily.

Watch for a title change, Edna perhaps?, and an attempt to use this as a “return vehicle” for Jolie, says Variety. Uh, didn’t she just help “Wanted” earn $130 million? Doesn’t sound like she really “left” to warrant a “return”.

Source: Variety via Snark Food

Daniel Craig Replaced By Rick Astley As Bond

It was the tagline that made me laugh. Had to share. Poor Daniel Craig.

Source: reddit via /film

Bernie Mac Has Passed Away At Age 50

Bernie Mac

Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor and comedian Bernie Mac has passed away at age 50. His publicist released the information this morning.

Earlier in the week Mac had been submitted to a Chicago hospital for pneumonia, but with hopeful diagnosis on his condition.

Despite his recent tuffle with the Obama fundraiser, Bernie Mac was a great entertainer and will be missed. Snark Food has more details on the sad news.

Source: Associated Press

Update – Quentin Tarantino Allegedly Casting Britney Spears In “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!”

Britney Spears stripperUpdate: That didn’t last long. Britney’s reps have come out and announced that she’ll be focusing on her next album and not doing any movies. More details at Snark Food.

Let me say up front that I am cautiously reporting this under the “alleged” category because the whole thing sounds ludicrous. That said, the UK’s Telegraph is reporting that Britney Spears has been handpicked by Quentin Tarantino to star in his project “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!”

Problem is Tarantino’s still in pre-production of “Inglorious Bastards”, so I highly doubt he’s on the side doing some casting for a still far-off film. Another problem is the idea of Britney Spears being used as a stripper, or much of anything for that point, in a movie. She’s gone. She’s done. And there’s no way Tarantino would do a publicity stunt like that. Or would he?

A source said: “Quentin is convinced Britney will be brilliant. She’s delighted. She thinks it could turn her career around.

“It is perfect Tarantino material. He wanted to get Britney first. She’s playing the most important character.”

If it is true, which it’s not, Spears’ character, Varla, would be on of the three strippers who head off in search of thrill kills and encounter a couple alone in the desert. Hmm, perhaps this is an elaborate plan to draw Spears out into the desert and then leave her there. It’s so crazy, it just might work!

Robert De Niro and Mel Gibson On Edge Of Darkness

Robert De NiroRobert De Niro is great all on his own, but match him with another great actor and it’s like one of those taste explosions my gum keeps promising me. This time around De Niro will be facing off with Mel Gibson in the adaptation of the BBC mini-series “Edge of Darkness”, which is currently still in pre-production.

Martin Campbell will return to the director’s chair as he did for the original back in 1995. Gibson will star as Thomas Craven, a detective who returns home to find his daughter murdered. Presuming the attack was meant for him he follows the trail only to find a dark web of his daughter’s secret life, a corporate cover-up, and even government shenanigans.

If De Niro pairings are your kind of thing, check out “Righteous Kill” which co-stars Al Pacino and is set to hit theaters later this fall.

Source: Variety via JoBlo

Terminator 4 Confuses The Arnold

Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation footage was premiered at Comic-Con to an excellent reception by audiences. The original Terminator has been such a fan, not yet at least. Producers gave Schwarzenegger a private screening, which I would presume to be an attempt to secure his cameo because why else would they do it, but his take-away wasn’t glowing:

“They showed me some footage, but I don’t have a feel for the movie. I didn’t see enough. I wasn’t sure who the Terminator was. I don’t know if there is one or if he’s the star or the hero. These are the things that determine the success and how the strong the movie will be.”

Is Arnold already getting to that old person stage of “the world confuses me”? Seems like someone could point at Sam Worthington and say, “There. That guy is the Terminator.”

I’m not too concerned about Arnold’s reaction. Terminator is his franchise. It raised him up just as much as he helped it along. If I were him I don’t think I’d be too anxious to see someone else standing on my shoulders and garnering the credit, but such is the way of sequels. However, it sounds more like he just wants to make sure his baby is handled with care:

“With Batman and Terminator, those big movies, there’s a certain expectation and if you don’t live up to it, if the movie is not a 10, then the business will be soft,” the governor said. “If [‘Salvation’] is pushing it forward, it will be breaking records all the time. If [director McG] has the T4 and the kind of shots that has the audience thinking, ‘Now how did he do that?’ — then it is ‘Terminator’ and you can blow everyone away and every record at the box office.”

Don’t disappoint him, McG and crew.

Source: LA Times