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Dan Owen reviews


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Wow, 10 issues already! Has it really been that many? Seems like the ideal time then for me to thank Dom for agreeing to host this sub-section of 'DVDfever' over the past two-and-a-half months. I haven't had a lot of feedback (well, none actually) so I really hope that's a good thing and people enjoy reading this stuff! There have been no complains, anyway...

'Dan's Movie Digest' does take a bit of effort to put together each week, but rest assured that you really are getting the BEST of the week's movie news right here every Friday - including a few scoops along the way, in case you hadn't noticed!

P.S. If you'd like to submit some news (ideally, insider scoops!) then please drop me an e-mail at and it will be used and credited accordingly.

Thanks for reading! Now I'll shut up and let you read the news!

Cover "BATMAN vs SUPERMAN" - Farrell Out, Movie Delayed?

Colin Farrell has indicated that there's no truth to rumours he's being courted to play Batman in a "Batman Vs Superman" movie. The Irishman said: "There's really a rumour going round that [Ben Affleck] wears a toupee? Guess what - I'm supposed to be Batman. Don't believe anything."

Director Brett Ratner, now up to direct "Superman" (see news below) has indicated the death of this movie project. He says: "I know you've heard about this 'Batman Vs Superman' movie, but that's getting scrapped because of my film. Anyway, I don't see how that film could have been done because Superman would have certainly killed Batman."

But is the movie actually dead, or just postponed? Ratner also said that: "['Batman Vs Superman' is] four years from now, really far down the line".

The plot of "Batman Vs Superman", written by "Seven" scribe Andrew Kevin Walker, has also been revealed. In the script Batman's fianc=E9e dies = and Superman, whom Batman blames for her death, saves Batman's soul.

"BILL & TED 3" - Excellent!

The script for a third "Bill & Ted" adventure is apparently nearing completion, and hopes are high that the project will be greenlit for a movie release. Alex Winter (Bill) is certain to reprise his role (he's not exactly snowed under with movie offers), and the latest speculation is that Keanu Reeves (Ted) will return - despite his meteoric rise in Hollywood.

The plot? Well "B&T3" should see our airhead heroes as ageing rockers in their late-40s persuaded to re-tour as the Wyld Stallyns. William Sadler's Grim Reaper character from "Bogus Journey" should feature - joining Wyld Stallyns on their tour bus from his 'Jerry Spring'-esque chat show. Others rumours suggest that Reeves has talked Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus in "The Matrix") into starring as God, and that Ozzy Osbourne will cameo in the movie as himself.

"BLADE III" - Goyer Gears Up...

Screenwriter David Goyer has done an outline of the plot for "Blade III", but he won't begin drafting the screenplay until his next project "The Descent" has been released.

"BOND 21" - Pierce Gone, Who's In?

It's increasingly likely that "Die Another Day" will be Pierce Brosnan's swansong as secret agent 007, so who will replace him?

The current favourite is British actor Clive Owen (who made a name for himself in the US with "Croupier"); although many people still hope Christian Bale ("Reign Of Fire") is handed the licence to kill.


US rapper Ja Rule has spoken about his involvement with writer/director David Twohy's trilogy of sci-fi movies based on the "Pitch Black" anti-hero Riddick (Vin Diesel).

Ja Rule said: "We haven't seen the scripts and stuff yet, but we should be getting 'em real soon. And me and Vin [have] been talking, so you know, it should be real hot."

But what about his involvement with "The Fast & The Furious 2"? Mr Rule added: "Me and Vin talked after he turned it down. He hollered at me 'cause they still wanted me to do the film and they bumped up my role as a starring role and everything. And you know, we talked about it. I just felt it wasn't the best move for me as far as what I want to do in Hollywood right now."

"CRASH & BURN" - The Rock Goes Back In The Ring!

WWE superstar The Rock may return to the ring in new movie "Crash And Burn", which aims to do for wrestling what "Raging Bull" did for boxing. If The Rock (a.k.a Dwayne Johnson, snigger) accepts the role, he will play a wrestler who has an intense rivalry with his brother in the squared circle...


So what is it called? "The Exorcist 4:1" or "The Exorcist: Dominion"?

Well, looks like the filmmakers have actually settled for old-chestnut "The Exorcist: The Beginning". Just so the silly Americans understand what it's all about, do doubt.

Personally, I preferred "Dominion"...

"THE FERMATA" - Gaiman Goes To The Movies!

Neil Gaiman, the writer of numerous books and comics such as "Sandman" and "Neverwhere", is penning a movie adaptation of "The Fermata" for director Robert Zemeckis ("Back To The Future").

"The Fermata" is a novel written by Nicholas Baker about a young man who discovers that - every so often - he has the ability to drop into 'the fold'; a dimension where the world freezes in time. What does he use this gift for? Money? Power? No... he uses it for sex!

This intriguing movie concept should be released by 'Dreamworks'.

"THE FOUNTAIN" - Draining Away...

'Warner Brothers' have issued an official statement about the current state of Darren Aronofsky's sci-fi movie "The Fountain" after star Brad Pitt left the film's ailing production.

Jeff Robinov, President of Production, commented on "The Fountain" saying: "Although we are disappointed not to be moving forward with 'The Fountain' right now, we remain committed to working with the film's director, Darren Aronofsky"

Brad Pitt himself also commented: "Given my friendship and respect for Darren [Aronofsky] and the year and a half we've dedicated to working on this project, I too am disappointed. Still, I remain encouraged that 'The Fountain' will yet have its day".

So, will "The Fountain" be resurrected...?


In the tragic wake of author Douglas Adams' death, is his masterpiece "The Hitch-hiker's Guide To The Galaxy" ever going to be remade as a movie?

Well, 'Variety' reports that screenwriter Karey Kirkpatrick ("Chicken Run") will co-adapt Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" novel. Adams will retain a producing credit on any eventual movie.

Jay Roach ("Austin Powers") is still attached to direct and will produce the movie through 'Spyglass Entertainment' partners Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber.

Don't panic.

Cover "THE HULK" - Who's Seen Mr Green?

Actor Josh Lucas has spoken about the CGI effects-work being done for Ang Lee's "The Hulk" - due out in 2003. He said: "'Hulk' was the greatest experience I've ever had making a movie, period. Because of Ang Lee. Nothing comes close... The thing about the movie is that it's a meditation on rage and repression; it's not just a comic-book summer movie. It's 'The Ice Storm' of comic books. He's making a movie that's totally different from anything you've ever seen. And I'm the bad guy (Talbot)."

"I've seen it [the CGI Hulk]. You will never see anything like it. Remember when you first saw 'Jurassic Park'? You were like 'Oh my God.' This technology is ten years beyond that now and it's something that's never been put on film... the stuff they did in 'Spider-Man'... this is an evolution of that by far".

A rejected design for Bruce Banner's alter-ego has been released on the net (above right).

"I, ROBOT" - Mecha-Proyas?

Director Alex Proyas ("The Crow", "Dark City") hasn't made a movie for quite a few years now. So what is the Aussie up to? Well, he's currently about to release a low-budget music film called "Garage Days", and then he may adapt the classic Isaac Asimov tale "I, Robot".

Proyas says of Asimov's story: "... the visual effects are really, really challenging and I just want to know if I go into it, that I can actually pull this stuff off with total belivability. We're trying to push the envelope a little bit technically... it looks very positive at this point"".

His production company have also got a draft of a script called "Drive", based on Harlan Ellison's "Along the Scenic Route" which Proyas says is: "basically about futuristic road rage".

Cover "KILL BILL" - Getting Better & Better...

Quentin Tarantino's latest movie - a martial arts action flick called "Kill Bill" - is rapidly gaining a mythical degree of expectation from online fans. The screenplay has been leaked onto the 'net, and devoured by QT fans (and very good it is, too!) but what's really exciting people is the incoming reports from the set of the movie - currently shooting in China.

Quite simply, QT is being given free reign to hone his vision of this brutal revenge story jam-packed with kung fu action and typical Tarantino pop-culture references and smart dialogue. Photos are gradually finding their way onto the 'net - such as this one (right) showing Uma Thurman (as 'The Bride') about the take on a restaurant full of ninja assassins - armed with the greatest sword in the world!

Trust me, outside of "The Matrix" sequels; this is the martial arts movie you'll be talking about next year!

"LITTLE GREY MEN" - Burton's Back!

Tim Burton may find time to film "Little Grey Men" between his work with his new "Batman" musical venture, or possibly this project will be put on hold until shooting can begin in 2004.

"Little Grey Men" is a racial abuse drama set in 1950's America - but where the victims of racism are alien settlers that successfully landed their spaceship in 1947 at Roswell, New Mexico. Their alien technology has been adapted by humans - meaning the 50's now have hovering cars and robotic butlers!


Terry Gilliam has been busy promoting "Lost In La Mancha" - the 'unmaking' documentary of his failed movie project "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote". One snoop recently saw Dustin Hoffman talking with Gilliam, after he surprised him at an autograph signing.

Could Hoffman be interested in helping to fund "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" and give the project added star power by playing Quixote himself? Hoffman certainly looks the part - as Quixote basically resembles an armour-clad Captain Hook!

"THE MATRIX SEQUELS" - Details Pouring In!

More details about the "Matrix" sequels due out in 2003 have been unearthed. Firstly, filmmakers built a 1.5 mile stretch of road on an abandoned naval base in Alameda, California, for a massive chase sequence involving hundreds of vehicles, car-to-car foot pursuits, automatic weapons and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) on a motorcycle!

The sequels will have three principle antagonists: a resurrected Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) and a duo of assassins known simply as 'The Twins.' The Twins dress in matching white frock coats with blonde dreadlocks, and have the ability to pass through walls!

The second movie will offer the first look at the human city of Zion. The underground habitation will feature cliffside dwellings stacked one atop another, like cells in a giant hive, with industrial fittings, red doors and tiny mushroom gardens out front.

We will also see the massive city of the machines, about which no one is talking. By the third film, much of the action will occur not in the computer-generated 21st-century city that is 'The Matrix', but also in the so-called Real World, 800 years from now.

In this Real World, the audience will again see the Nebuchadnezzar (the ship skippered by Morpheus), but they will also see at least four other ships - including the Mjolnir, named after the Norse God Thor's hammer.

'Rolling Stone' magazine have a new feature devoted to the "Matrix" sequels, offering some mini-spoilers based on the film's screenplays. Go here for more!

"MEN IN BLACK III" - Men In Space!

After the box-office success of "Men In Black II", another sequel is already being prepped by Hollywood. "MIIIB" should see Agents J and K leaving Earth and heading into Outer Space, where they find they're the ones considered the 'scum of the universe' by alien equivalents of themselves! The ultimate role-reversal, y'see?

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones both voiced their willingness to star in a further sequel during publicity for "MIB II". As did Frank The Pug. The studio hope "MIIIB" will jostle for box-office supremacy with "Star Wars Episode III" in summer 2004, meaning filming should start around autumn 2003.

"RAMBO 4" - Stallone Speaks!

In a French interview Sylvester Stallone again spoke about the possibility of him returning as Rambo in a fourth movie. He said: "We're talking about doing another 'Rambo' because I think it's time to combine action with politics."

"RED DRAGON" - 4th Outing For Hopkins?

In an interview with 'Cinescape', Anthony Hopkins has talked about playing Hannibal Lecter for the third time in "Red Dragon", saying: "I just want to play him differently. I don't want to play him like we did in 'Silence'. This is a man who is so enraged about being locked away by the Ed Norton character - if I could get out, I'd destroy him. I wanted to play him as a man who isn't to be messed about with. No charm, just lethal".

So would Hopkins return for another movie? "... the last one was a good experience, working with Brett Ratner and Ed Norton. And that's it. I won't do any more. Three is enough".

Cover "X-MEN 2" - The Beast Is Out!

Steve Bacic has been confirmed as the latest actor to join the "X-Men 2" production - playing fan-favourite 'The Beast'!

Bacic has appeared in numerous TV shows ("StarGate SG-1", "The X-Files", "Earth: Final Conflict", "Andromeda") as well as movies ("The Sixth Day", "Ecks Vs Sever"), but "X-Men 2" should be the highlight of his career.

Unfortunately, The Beast won't be featured in the new movie for very long - but should star in a possible third movie quite extensively. X-Man Gambit also has a cameo in "X-Men 2", which is released next year.

"THE SCORPION KING II" - Rock Solid Sequel?

In more Rock news, the wrestling megastar is likely to film a sequel to his box-office hit "The Scorpion King", entitled "The Scorpion King II: Lords Of The Light". No word yet on script specifics yet, or if The Rock is willing to star again.

"SPIDERMAN 2" - Title? has indicated that "Spider-Man 2" may actually be titled "The Amazing Spider-Man" for its 2004 release.

"SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL" - Up, Up & Away, Finally..?

Semi-official word has it that Brett Ratner ("Red Dragon") will direct the new "Superman" movie as his next project. There have been conflicting reports about directors attached to the project, especially after "Charlie's Angels 2" helmer McG said recently: "'Superman' is looking good. I have seen a draft of the script, which I could not possibly be more enthusiastic about. That is ideally the next picture right after 'Charlie's Angels 2' to go right into 'Superman'."

But it now appears McG's hopes have been shot down in flames. Ratner says the project is "definitely next for me". So what will Brett Ratner deliver for the fans? He said: "I see... I see a guy flying through the air in a blue and red suit. Again it's in the script. J.J. Abrams delivered a fucking amazing script and that's why I'm doing it".

Ratner was speaking to 'Latino Review' about the project - and also said he hopes to cast Anthony Hopkins as Jor-El (Superman's father). Later, Anthony Hopkins gave his support for a possible "Superman" role, saying: "I'd love to do it". Ratner has also denied new rumours that Keanu Reeves is being considered as Clark Kent.

So what about the plot? Will it be a continuation from the 80s sequel "Superman IV"? Apparently not, as J.J Abram's script, according to ousted director McG is: "... a genesis story, and it tells the story of Superman from day one - Krypton, Smallville - all the way through, the whole nine yards. J.J. Abrams is a fantastic talent and I'm delighted to be partnered with him on that. Right now, my energy is going into the one Superman genesis story, because no one has seen it since the [Richard] Donner pictures in the '70s, and that was sort of in a pre-ILM world. I want to have the opportunity to introduce a Superman that takes advantage of the visual effects that we have at our disposal at this time."

Well, McG's ideas have proven unfounded, but let's hope Brett Ratner has the enthusiasm McG has! The full interview with Ratner can be viewed here

"TERMINATOR 3" - Airport / Terminatrix, Arnie, Mostow Speak / New Photo

With filming finished on "T3", some late news has arrived that describes a sequence from the new movie at the San Bernardino International Airport. The scene apparently involved 10 foot high robots carrying 'Gatling-gun-like' weapons, helicopter wreckage, urban assault vehicles, primary jeeps, and lots of fake dead bodies.

What most impressed spectators was the first breed of Terminators - that resembled 'Transformers' that increase their height from 5 feet to 10 feet!

The new villainess for the movie (dubbed the 'Terminatrix' amongst fans) is Kristanna Loken, who gave a rare interview recently. She said: "I did about six weeks of training before we started with an Israeli form of fighting that they teach their military called Krav Maga. I worked with a mime coach, I did weapons training, and I did weights training."

"Because it's a female Terminator that we haven't seen before, I really had certain liberties to create my own. Some people say that it's a kind of a mixture between Arnold [Schwarzenegger] and Robert Patrick's character, but she really plays a lot with the feminine side to get what she wants to obtain her objectives... Just by using her feminine charms... She has a target and she'll do whatever it takes to get it."

"[The fights] are different [from other movie fights] in the fact that you haven't seen anything like it, because it's just the sheer force. With the weight of the Terminators and everything, it's a lot of really violent, large scale things."

Arnold Schwarzenneger himself has also commented on the fight sequences, saying: "It's very extraordinary to see the effect it has when two of those machines start letting loose in small quarters like the bathroom area, what happens to the walls, to the ceilings, to the pipes. There's one scene where I throw her against the toilet bowl and the whole thing just explodes and water shoots out everywhere. Whenever you cause some damage, you have to show also the effects of it. The water coming out, the gas from the gas pipes, water pipes, and all that stuff, sparks flying, and all this. It takes a lot of setup and work."

Director Jonathan Mostow also revealed his thoughts on the casting of John Connor - opting not to recast Edward Furlong from "T2". He said: "Just because somebody was right as a 12 year old doesn't necessarily mean they're the most perfect guy to play the 22-year-old. As we've seen in 'Silence of the Lambs', recasting somebody who's only a couple years older than the previous character didn't affect the story itself or look at the Bond movies. What have there been, like four Bonds?"

"The character is always going to be bigger than who the individual actor is on something like this. That's not true of the Terminator. You couldn't do a 'Terminator' movie with somebody else playing that role. But there are very few roles in movies where I think you can't ultimately recast. People will complain about it and write about it, speculate about it in advance, but once the lights go down and the movie starts, if the story is good, you're sucked into that story and you're going to forget about it in 10 seconds."

But will Arnie's say the immortal line 'I'll be back'? Mostow said: "I asked [Arnold], when he did the first movie, did he think 'I'll be back' was anything? He said, 'No, I was completely surprised how that caught on.' Then of course when they did the second one, now they're aware that there's going to be lines that are going to be catch phrases. But you can't force them. I have my suspicions which lines will become hopefully catch phrases and I think there are some terrific candidates of lines that will do that and there's some really clever stuff in the movie."

A new photo from the movie has also been released, showing Arnie's Terminator (in bad mode?) strangling John Connor!

Cover "TIMELINE" - Mr Author Returns To Hollywood!

Michael Crichton, author of "Jurassic Park", and countless other novels-turned-movies, has a time-travel orientated project due for release very soon - called "Timeline". You may have read the book?

Actor Marton Csokas ("xXx") was asked about his involvement with the film version. He said: "I glanced at the book, but I must say the film looks gorgeous - the look is reminiscent of Rembrandt, some parts of it anyway from what I saw. That was an interesting film to be working on."

"The embattlements that were built, and the horses and the armour - lots of fire. Flaming arrows going overhead, Dick Donner doesn't use a lot of computer generated technology which while your acting is really lots of fun as opposed to blue screen which can be daunting in imagination land, particularly when you've got seven people looking at one arrow. I enjoyed that, and I liked the concept. My character is a medieval military man whose in a precarious position - not bad per se but more motivated by survival".

"TOMB RAIDER II" - Nukem Cameo?

Rumour has it that WWE wrestler The Rock will cameo in "Tomb Raider II" as another video-game hero - Duke Nukem. The cameo appearance may be used to gage audience reaction before proceedings with a proper "Duke Nukem" movie.

"VALIANT" - War's For The Birds!

'Disney' has teamed up with animation studio 'Vanguard' to produce "Valiant" - a fully-CGI World War II movie... with pigeons!

Click here to see some character designs!

"VAN HELSING" - Jackman To Slay 'Em!

Director Stephen Sommers ("The Mummy") had his casting wish come true, with news that Aussie actor Hugh Jackman ("X-Men") will take the lead in Sommers' monster movie "Van Helsing" - about the literary vampire hunter facing off against his nemesis Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster and the Wolfman!

Jackman told 'ABS-CBN' news that: "Next year I am shooting 'Van Helsing' for 'Universal Pictures', which will be directed by Steven Summers."

Guess that's official! The movie is currently scheduled to arrive in US cinemas on 21 May 2004.

Cover "xXx:2" - Diesel Gets Scribbling!

Vin Diesel spoke with Australia's 'Herald-Sun' newspaper about a sequel to his latest espionage hit "xXx". He said: "When I watched it again in Sydney I thought 'Man, I can't wait to do the sequel'. I went back to my hotel and started jotting down ideas, different scenarios Xander could be in... If we're clear at the very beginning we're going to make a franchise out of it then I'm up for it."

"I'm a little more wary about waiting to see the success of a film and then deciding to make a franchise. 'xXx' was a case of 'Let's try to make the best film in the world' because we knew the objective was to make it a franchise.' When we do it, I don't know. But they've already got us to sign on. Early."



  • 1. Barbershop ($20.6m)
  • 2. My Big Fat Greek Wedding ($10.7m)
  • 3. One Hour Photo ($8.0m)
  • 4. Swimfan ($6.0m)
  • 5. Stealing Harvard ($6.0m)
  • 6. Signs ($5.4m)
  • 7. City By the Sea ($4.8m)
  • 8. xXx ($3.3m)
  • 9. Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams ($2.7m)
  • 10. Austin Powers in Goldmember ($1.8m)

    UK TOP 10 (CINEMA)

  • 1. Signs (3.7m)
  • 2. The Bourne Identity (1.1m)
  • 3. Insomnia (0.47m)
  • 4. The Importance of Being Earnest (0.42m)
  • 5. The Guru (0.3m)
  • 6. Men in Black 2 (0.25m)
  • 7. A Walk To Remember (0.24m)
  • 8. Spiderman (0.219m)
  • 9. Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams ($0.214m)
  • 10. The Sweetest Thing (0.19m)

    ** TRAILERS **

    Cover 28 Days Later: A virus is released from a British research lab, infecting the entire world in 28 days - turning the infected into raging psychopaths. A small group of survivors in London are all that are left of civilization - and begin a journey to seek help...

    Buzz Rating: 3/5 - the talent behind-the-scenes in unquestionably inspriring - "Trainpotting" director Danny Boyle, "The Beach" author Alex Garland. However, the subject-matter has been done to death and (with it being a British film) there's always the terrible suspicion it will resemble dreary ITV post-apocalyptic drama "The Last Train". Hopefully, the buzz will rise on this one...

    Adaptation: A new movie from director Spike Jonze ("Being John Malkovich) - again from a screenplay by "Malkovich" writer Charlie Kaufman.

    Buzz Rating: 3/5 - for fans of "Malkovich" this should be required viewing. For non-fans, this should prove to be another frustrating oddity. But there are no signs the movie won't please those who liked Jonze and Kaufman's previous collaboration...

    Cover Ecks vs Sever: Espionage martial arts thriller about two competing assassins (Anthony Banderas and Lucy Liu)...

    Buzz Rating: 3/5 - this one could grow in stature as the images and word-of-mouth creeps out into the mainstream. At best, "EvsS" could be a kung-fu thrill-ride that seemingly leaped into the public domain... at worst, a lazy "Matrix"-wannabe with James Bond pretensions...

    Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets: Chris Columbus again directs another Potter adventure, this time concerning the opening of a mysterious chamber inside Hogwarts School.

    Buzz Rating: 5/5 - the hunger for Potter movies is self-evident now, and "Chambers" benefits from many things - a far more confident cast/crew, better special effects (ILM have the project), a better plot than "Sorceror's Stone", and far more imagination. This can't lose.

    Cover Phone Booth: Joel Schumacher ("Batman & Robin") tries to further exorcise the memory of that atrocious movie by directing rising star Colin Farrell in high-concept thriller "Phone Booth". Most of the film takes place - get this - within the confines of a phone booth, where Farrell is contacted by a madman...

    Buzz Rating: 3/5 - early word is quite positive on this movie, although it could perhaps fail at the cinema due to its restrictive location. Is "Phone Booth" destined to become a classic only through its DVD release, or will it strike a nerve in the same way as "Memento" with a jaded movie-going public who want something different in their multiplexes...?

    Page Content copyright © Dan Owen, 2002.

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