5 items from 2000
Actor Tim Allen can't wait to start production on the next Dr. Seuss project, The Cat in the Hat - and he's decided the story will be horrific. With Jim Carrey's first Seuss success, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), making a massive $55.1 million on its opening weekend, it's all go for the follow up. Director Ron Howard insists he won't direct the second Seuss story, but Allen knows exactly what he's planning to do with the movie. He says, "My dream is to give it the edge that scared me as a child. Like Alien (1979), we'll see very little of the cat. He's a human being who turns into the cat - like a werewolf or vampire - as he gets more and more frustrated trying to deal with these children." »
A budding film maker who logged onto director Steven Spielberg's countingdown.com website, is to have his own film showcased on the site. Josh Meeter, who logged on to watch Spielberg's bagelcam - a camera he installed in a bagel in the canteen of his upcoming movie A.I. (2001), posted a message on the bulletin board asking Spielberg to check out a short film he made. Spielberg, who liked the film, titled Award Showdown, which features a claymation Spielberg fighting with a claymation George Lucas, is going to showcase it on the Internet site next month. But it'll have some competition - Spielberg and his site co- founder, Grinch director Ron Howard, are both making an animated short film, each starring a caricature of themselves, to be shown on the Internet. Howard and Spielberg will be posting the animated films in December and January. »
17 November 2000 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
While doing a big-screen live-action remake of a beloved animated TV chestnut can no doubt be a daunting task, Ron Howard will never have to worry about his take on "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" being mistaken for anything resembling an instant holiday classic.
It's not so much that the reported $120 million-plus production goes wrong somewhere along the way, but rather, it never goes right. The tone, which seemingly changes by the minute, is off from the start and leaves an utterly charmless trail of half-baked ideas and misguided attempts at subversive edginess in its wake.
Given Universal's determination to set some kind of marketing record for Grinch tie-ins, the PG-rated picture stands a good chance of stealing the weekend, but beyond that, it should soon be apparent that Seuss' pachyderm Horton wasn't the only one to hatch an egg.
Contrary to initial fears, the specter of Jim Carrey sweating it out under matted layers of dyed yak fur isn't as scary as it might first appear. Thanks to makeup whiz Rick Baker's surprisingly flexible latex work, Carrey's patented rubbery expressions are allowed to come through unimpeded.
A man known -- for better or worse -- for his extensive on-set improvising, Carrey definitely sounds like he's making it up as he goes along here, but he's not the only one. Director Howard, sort of using a script credited to Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman (both of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" fame) as his frequent jump-off point, gooses the material with odd asides. At one point, for example, the rear end of the Grinch's faithful dog, Max, has an unfortunate meeting with Jeffrey Tambor's tongue. Don't ask.
The fundamental problem is that a live-action "Grinch" requires a director with an artist's strong visual sense, particularly where fantasy is concerned, and Howard, despite demonstrating a proven affinity for genre-hopping, simply isn't up to the task that should have been trusted to the likes of a Tim Burton or a Terry Gilliam or a John Lasseter (the "Toy Story" movies). Heck, even a Pedro Almodovar would have had a better stylistic handle on the Theodor Geisel-Chuck Jones sensibility.
Even Whoville looks disappointingly nondescript. The vast seas of Styrofoam suggest the makings of a theme park attraction rather than a whimsically Seussian environment, while its inhabitants are effectively lost under their latex appliances.
Despite the presence of Tambor as the righteous Mayor May Who, Christine Baranski as the vamping Martha May Whovier and gifted mime Bill Irwin as the town's perplexed postmaster, it's made pretty clear they're merely background players in the "Jim Carrey Show". As sweet little Cindy Lou Who, newcomer Taylor Momsen is mainly called upon to be an appreciative audience for Carrey's occasionally inspired antics.
It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.
HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS
Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment present a Brian Grazer production
A Ron Howard film
Director: Ron Howard
Producers: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard
Screenwriters: Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman
Based on the book by: Dr. Seuss
Executive producer: Todd Hallowell
Director of photography: Don Peterman
Production designer: Michael Corenblith
Editors: Dan Hanley, Mike Hill
Costume designer: Rita Ryack
Special makeup effects: Rick Baker
Music supervisor: Bonnie Greenberg
Music: James Horner
Grinch: Jim Carrey
Cindy Lou Who: Taylor Momsen
Mayor May Who: Jeffrey Tambor
Martha May Whovier: Christine Baranski
Betty Lou Who: Molly Shannon
Lou Lou Who: Bill Irwin
Whobris: Clint Howard
Narrator: Anthony Hopkins
Running time - 92 minutes
MPAA rating: PG
Christine Baranski (photos) has director Ron Howard (photos) to thank for the perfect Christmas card - because he put her trailer on the same set as the Bates Motel from Psycho (1960). Christine had to walk past the infamous horror set on the Universal Studios backlot every morning on the way to the How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) set. She says, "I have a picture of me in a Santa outfit from the film leaning against the sign that says 'The Bates Motel.' It's a perverted Christmas card!" »
Russell Crowe has wrecked Jodie Foster's latest movie project after badly injuring his shoulder on the set. The actor was playing a circus freak in the film Flora Plum (2001) when he fell during a stunt and shattered his shoulder, and despite hopes that his recovery would be fast, it now looks as if Foster will have to scrap the project or find a replacement. And if Jodie opts to continue she'll have to find a replacement for her female lead, Claire Danes, too - the actress was shooting the movie during a break from her studies at Yale University, but she's now back in class. Crowe's injured shoulder is likely to take nine months to mend - prompting Ron Howard to stall his movie A Beautiful Mind, which was to be the New Zealand actor's next project. A spokesman for studio Universal says, "Everything depends on when Crowe's shoulder mends and that's unknown at this point." »
5 items from 2000
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