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4 items from 2007

Olive branches on Avenue of the Writers

10 November 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

It came seemingly out of nowhere after the rally was over.

"We want a deal", the few thousand writers gathered at Fox Plaza chanted spontaneously for several minutes, their words echoing off the skyscrapers in Century City.

It was a powerful message of what was on writers' minds five days into their strike. More than 4,000 of them -- joined by such actors as Jeff Garlin, Steven Weber and Sharon Lawrence as well as talent agents and managers -- gathered Friday in front of the Fox building on Avenue of the Stars, closing down the street between Pico and Santa Monica boulevards.

Several speakers at the rally -- the biggest in WGA history -- offered an olive branch to the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. The sides broke off their negotiations after a dramatic fallout on the eve of the strike last weekend and have not set up new talks since.

"There comes a time in every broken relationship for one side to step up and be the bigger man," WGA chief negotiator John Bowman said. "Let us be the bigger man. I love you, AMPTP. Come back to the table, baby." »

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MPI on edge with Dokument label

4 September 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

NEW YORK -- MPI Media Group is launching Dokument Films, an indie theatrical, DVD and digital-download distribution label dedicated to edgy fare from around the world.

The first acquisitions for its library are three fall DVD retail releases: Jeff Garlin's John Waters docu "This Filthy World", Volker Schlondorff's German historical drama "Strike" and Shane O'Sullivan's docu "RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy." "Strike" and "World" were released theatrically as well as released by Red Envelope Entertainment on Netflix. "RFK" will make its debut on DVD in November.

MPI president Malik Ali said his execs will attend this month's Toronto International Film Festival with an eye toward potential theatrical and home video distribution. Dokument vp acquisitions and development Greg Newman said the company will look to expand MPI's more than 30-year home video distribution business into the theatrical realm to fill a gap in the marketplace.

"Around the world, great filmmakers are making unique and thought-provoking films," Newman said. "Yet the independent film industry has changed so much these last few years that many of these original and important films are not being released. »

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Daddy Day Camp

6 August 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Aiming squarely for the potty and missing virtually every time, Daddy Day Camp, the Eddie Murphy-less sequel to 2003's Daddy Day Care, makes for an awfully long 85 minutes -- even by the diminished demands of its juvenile target audience.

Any scrap of charm or honest-to-goodness humor already possessed in limited quantities by the original has been relegated to the outhouse in this sorry follow-up.

Obviously, Sony is banking on its intended demographic not being overwhelmed by Buena Vista's Underdog, given "Daddy's" arrival less than a week later. But minus Murphy, it's got nowhere to go but down.

It turns out Murphy isn't the only one who's out of the picture -- so is the rest of the original cast, including Jeff Garlin, who played his best buddy-turned-business partner.

So this time around, the roles of Charlie and Phil are played by once-upon-a-time Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and Garlin look-alike Paul Rae, still operating their thriving Daddy Day Care business.

But when they discover that their old childhood day camp has been run into the ground, they agree to take it over, much to the chagrin of their kids, who would prefer to go to the tonier Camp Canola, which is now operated by Charlie's old nemesis and tormentor, Lance Warner (Lochlyn Munro).

With mere days away from being foreclosed upon, the guys have to work fast, even if it's at the expense of Charlie's relationships with his eager-to-please son (Spencir Bridges) and disapproving military dad (Richard Gant).

Taking the reins from Daddy Day Care director Steve Carr, feature newbie Fred Savage would have seemed to be the man for the job, given his extensive Disney Channel directing credits.

But he can't seem to make much out of the shoddy blueprints furnished by screenwriter Geoff Rodkey (who wrote the first one), along with J. David Stem and David N. Weiss.

Their combined efforts produce enough puking, farting and shots to the crotch to fill the next Jackass movie, while the entire childhood rival plot line could have been lifted wholesale from Cheaper by the Dozen 2.

As far as the performances go, let's just say if Savage's cast was encouraged to play it any broader, they would have needed CinemaScope.


TriStar Pictures

A TriStar Pictures and Revolution Studios presentation


Director: Fred Savage

Screenwriters: Geoff Rodkey, J. David Stem, David N. Weiss

Story by: Geoff Rodkey, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow

Producers: William Sherak, Jason Shuman

Executive producers: John Davis, Matt Berenson, Derek Dauchy, Richard Hull, Chris Emerson, Nancy Kirhoffer, Jefferson Richard

Director of photography: Geno Salvatori

Production designer: Eric Weiler

Music: Jim Dooley

Costume designer: Carolyn Leone-Smith

Editor: Michel Aller


Charlie Hinton: Cuba Gooding Jr.

Lance Warner: Lochlyn Munro

Buck: Richard Gant

Kim Hinton: Tamala Jones

Phil Ryerson: Paul Rae

Uncle Morty: Brian Doyle-Murray

Dale: Joshua McLerran: Ben Hinton: Spencir Bridges

Running time -- 85 minutes

MPAA rating: PG


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Applegate plays lead in 'Rocker'

12 June 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Christina Applegate has been cast as the female lead opposite Rainn Wilson in The Rocker, which Peter Cattaneo is directing for Fox Atomic. Shawn Levy and Tom McNulty are producing via their 21 Laps Entertainment banner.

Also joining the cast of the music-themed comedy are Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Emma Stone (Superbad), musician-actor Teddy Geiger, Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live), Jane Lynch (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and Demetri Martin (The Daily Show With Jon Stewart).

The film centers on a failed, over-the-hill drummer (Wilson) who, 20 years after getting booted out of his now uber-famous band, gets a second chance at fame with a new act, a high school garage band headed by his nephew (Josh Gad).

Applegate plays Wilson's love interest and the mother of the lead guitarist in the garage band.

Ryan Jaffe wrote the original screenplay, while Wallace Wolodarsky and Maya Forbes are penning the most recent draft.

Principal photography is set to begin June 18 in Toronto.

President of production Debbie Liebling is overseeing the project for Atomic. »

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