1. Other Than “Avatar” The Best Thing You’ll See This Week Is …
“Shorewood’s Lip Dub” video, brought to my attention by Movieline. Using the same Hall & Oates song “You Make My Dreams Come True” featured in “500 Days of Summer” Mr Ballew’s Video Production 1 Class came up with this four minutes of total joy. It had 12,500 hits when I saw it. Expect it to be in the millions by the end of the weekend.
2. Vale Dan O’Bannon
Sci-fi fans seeing “Avatar” this weekend: Take a moment to pause and give thanks for the life of Dan O’Bannon, who passed away Friday in Los Angeles, aged 63. The writer and director helped reshape the genre, first with his script for John Carpenter’s 1974 cult film “Dark Star” (in which he also starred) and then, of course, with his brilliant screenplay for “Alien," which made blue-collar workers in space facing a xenomorph creature seem like the most natural thing out of this world. O’Bannon’s other terrific contributions include “Total Recall” and “Screamers” and, as a writer and director, 1985’s horror parody “The Return of the Living Dead." He will be missed.
3. Larry vs. Predator
Laurence Fishburne sure must’ve had a good time with director Nimrod Antal’s “Armored” because he’s signed on to the director’s “Predators." Adding Morpheus to the cast — which kicked off with the oddball duo of Adrien Brody and Topher Grace — inches the Robert Rodriguez production closer to being one of 2010’s most anticipated genre flicks.
4. "Iron Man 2": Woo Hoo
Notice I said “most” because “Iron Man 2” is hands-down still what I’m most psyched for in 2010. And that was just reinforced by this week’s trailer. Downey Jr.’s punk in a suit (be it designer in the Congressional hearing or iron in the shoot-em-up scenes) makes me laugh, and Mickey Rourke (another second-chancer making bank thanks to comic book material) looks great fun as Whiplash.
5. "X-Men" Again
Bryan Singer — great director. "X-Men" — great property. So why is it so tough for me to get amped about the news that Singer’s returning to the franchise to make the origins film “First Class." Perhaps it’s because “X-Men: Last Stand," while not the dud most everyone said, certainly took the fizz out of the franchise. And then “Wolverine” failed to reach expectations, while “Valkyrie” similarly wasn’t up there with Singer’s best. Color me jaded but maybe this one’s best left alone?
6. How Much of a Star: "Avatar"?
It’s fun to see box-office pundits in a dither. Yes, it’s the most anticipated film of the year but … it’s on fewer screens … not all of them in 3D … and it’s long, long, long! Count me in on the prognostications! I’m saying it’s gonna bust “I Am Legend”’s December record of $77.2M by $12M for a sweet $85M. But here’s where I’ll get really specific — I think it’ll have the lowest drop-off ever. If I’m wrong, ship me to Pandora.
7. Globes’ Logic? Up in the Air.
I’m a huge Vera Farmiga fan — to the point of suffering the mockery of friends and family — so I might be a bit biased here. But can someone answer me this: How is it that “Up in the Air” has no lead female actress? Farmiga and Anna Kendrick scored Best Supporting. So George Clooney’s so big it takes two women to support him on screen? And for that matter, why is it that the film’s cast got the most SAG nominations and yet not an ensemble nod? Weirdness.
8. Aniston Packs Heat
Wowza, talk about your mix-and-match movies. Here’s Gerard Butler splitting the difference between “Law Abiding Citizen” and “The Ugly Truth” with Jennifer Aniston playing herself again but also wielding a gun for the first time (if memory serves) since her 1993 feature debut “Leprechaun." Corn is right, Rolling Stones on the trailer or not. It’s their Razzies to lose. Oh, no, wait — “The Tooth Fairy” has the ’11 Razzies sewn up, right?
9. A Thai "Hangover"?
To me “The Hangover” felt like a lightning in a bottle of whiskey. Drink it, have a blast, suffer the gut-busting consequences but beware before you reach for the hair of the dog that bit you. Party animals Warner Bros. however were already planning the second bender before the first one had kicked off and their decision to pre-emptively greenlight the sequel was vindicated by “The Hangover” clocking up $270m off a $35m budget. Now CHUD’s reporting that “The Hangover 2” will be set in Thailand.
While I’m glad they ain’t going back to Vegas, I hope that this isn’t just a slew of ping-pong balls gags. The smart move would be to get the hell out of Bangkok and get Cooper, Helms and Galifianankis down south, to the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan. Plenty of magic mushrooms, badly brewed booze and beach babes – plenty of options for comic regret.
10. The Continuing Adventures of Jake Sully
Don’t read until you’ve seen “Avatar," but this is pretty funny (at least, I thought so).