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James Franco: From Oscars to Oz

Wizard of Oz - James Franco

According to rumors, James Franco is in talks to star in Disney’s Oz: The Great and Powerful, a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. Robert Downey, Jr. was originally in talks to star in the new Sam Raimi flick, but we think Franco would be a great fit, too.

The movie focuses on a circus wrangler who gets caught up in a tornado that transports him to the magical land of Oz, where the citizens mistake him for a powerful wizard.

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Sequel News: The Hobbit, Wimpy Kid and More

The Hobbit: Guillermo Del Toro’s exit from The Hobbit doesn’t necessarily mean an end for the prequels. Lord of the Rings’ Peter Jackson is now in talks to serve as both producer and director. It’s still hoped the two films can be released in 2012 and 2013.

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This Week on DVD and Blu-ray: March 16, 2010

New Moon DVDHere are some of the options today:

  • Armored: DVD, Blu-ray
  • Astro Boy: DVD, Blu-ray
  • Bandslam: DVD, Blu-ray
  • Brief Interviews with Hideous Men: DVD, Blu-ray
  • Broken Embraces: DVD, Blu-ray
  • Did You Hear About the Morgans?: DVD, Blu-ray
  • Dillinger is Dead: DVD
  • The Fourth Kind: DVD, Blu-ray
  • Ninja Assassin: DVD, Blu-ray
  • The Princess and the Frog: DVD, Blu-ray
  • The Twilight Saga: New Moon: DVD, Blu-ray
  • Under Great White Northern Lights: DVD, Blu-ray
  • The Wizard of Oz (70th Anniversary Edition): Blu-ray
  • Wonderful World: DVD, Blu-ray

Make sure to also check out the TV-on-DVD options for this week.

Read More | Amazon

This Week on DVD and Blu-ray: September 29, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens DVDHere are some of the options available this Tuesday:

  • Away We Go: DVD, Blu-ray
  • The Dark Crystal: Blu-ray
  • Filth and Wisdom: Blu-ray
  • Fireproof: Blu-ray
  • The Girlfriend Experience: DVD, Blu-ray
  • Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer: Blu-ray
  • Labyrinth: Blu-ray
  • Management: DVD, Blu-ray
  • Monsters vs. Aliens: DVD, Blu-ray
  • Shrink: DVD
  • Snakes on a Plane: Blu-ray
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003): Blu-ray
  • The Wizard of Oz (70th Anniversary Edition): DVD, Blu-ray

Make sure to also check out the TV-on-DVD options for this week.

Read More | Amazon

Film Academy Pays Tribute to 1939

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to pay homage to one of the greatest years for movies by honoring ten legendary films from 1939. The Goldwyn Theater will offer up one of these treats every single week.

The tribute starts with what I believe to be the greatest of all stories told in book or cinema, . This Oscar-sweeping hit won most all the big awards in ‘39 and features the amazing pairing up Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. Gable’s famous exit line remains the greatest in film history, as named by the American Film Institute. Scarlett O’Hara’s last spoken line - “tomorrow is another day” - is ranked twelfth by the AFI.

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Read More | LA Times

AFI’s 10 Top 10

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

If you were busy watching the Boston Celtic dominate the Los Angeles Lakers last night, you probably missed CBS’ latest AFI special. For this year’s countdown, a jury of “over 1,500 leaders from the creative community” helped select the ‘s Top 10 Films in 10 different genres.

You can find the titles announced in yesterday’s 3-hour special after the jump.

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‘Oz’ Remake: Exciting or Blasphemous?

Evil Cowardly Lion

I don’t know if anyone could’ve predicted this.

Yesterday, it was announced that a dark re-imagining of the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, resting ostensibly in the dark hands of Todd McFarlane, is in the early stages of production.  The new film will be decidedly more morose and epic than its predecessor, apparently attempting to attract die-hard fans and new-comers alike with grandiose effect and adult themes.

McFarlane, famous most notably for his dark take on the Spiderman character and creation of the Spawn franchise, has stated that he wants to give the story a 2007 wow factorCreepy action figures have already begun to appear on retail shelves depicting a deformed Scarecrow, an alien-like Wizard, and a scantily-clad Dorothy, though it is unclear whether these creatures will be indicative of those to appear on-screen.

But one wonders, while mulling over the concept, whether this remake isn’t ill-advised, especially considering similar attempts already made.  Setting aside 1978’s The Wiz as harmless fluff, the story went through a re-imagining in 1985 with Return to Oz, starring Fairuza Balk as a Dorothy called back to save Oz from a new threat.  While the dark sequel was unique and imaginative, it never emerged from its predecessor’s shadow.  And what about the Tim Burton remake of Willy Wonka?  Many movie-goers—myself included—reviled the film as unnecessary, even abhorrent—a classic case of style over substance.  So, will this new version adequately bring The Wizard of Oz into the 21st century, or will we all long for the giant floating bubble, flying monkeys, and the presence of a good song?  We won’t know until the credits roll.

Whatever the case, it’s clear that the classic fantasy about a girl and her dog, lost in a strange land and armed only with some hapless friends, naiveté, and a strong singing voice, will never be viewed in quite the same way.

Read More | Guardian Unlimited