Shirley Manson joins Terminator TV series

The Hollywood Reporter says Garbage lead singer Shirley Manson has joined the cast of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles as “Catherine Weaver, the CEO of a cutting-edge high-tech company.” As one who counts ‘Only Happy When It Rains‘ among his favorite rain-themed songs of all time — and yes, I do have a list — I just had to post this news, along with this photo from Garbage’s music video for the theme song to The World Is Not Enough (1999).

The Road Warrior — worst DVD ever?

I actually kind of like it when DVDs go right into the movie; it beats sitting through ads and FBI warnings, and if you really want the menu screen, you can always get there by pressing the menu button. But apart from that minor disagreement, this is a fun little video.

Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly. (Hat tip to The Movie Blog.)

Sex and the City — a tale of two cultures.

I have never seen the TV show, and I wasn’t allowed into the press screening, so I doubt I will get around to seeing the Sex and the City movie — especially since I still haven’t gotten around to seeing P.S. I Love You, 27 Dresses, Made of Honor, What Happens in Vegas and various other romantic comedies that have come out in the last few months, either just before or after my son Nicholas was born and my life got even busier than usual.

But I have gotten a kick out of seeing some of the early reviews. First, this bit from Jeffrey Wells:

The soul of this movie is infected with gross materialism, the flaunting of me-me egos and the endless nurturing of the characters’ greed and/or sense of entitlement. It’s all about money to piss away and flashy things to wear and lush places where the the girls lunch and exchange dreary confessional chit-chat. And this, mind you, is where millions of middle-class women in every semi-developed country around the globe live in their dreams. They’re going to this movie right now in multitudes. Sad. Really sad. Because SATC is crap through and through.

A few items back I called Sex and the City a Taliban recruitment film. All I know is that I felt ashamed, sitting in a Paris movie theatre, that this film, right now, is portraying middle-class female American values, and that this somehow reflects upon the country that I love and care deeply about. It’s a kind of advertisement for the cultural shallowness that’s been spreading like the plague for years, and for what young American womanhood seems to be currently about — what it wants, cherishes, pines for. Not so much the realizing of intriguing ambitions or creative dreams as much as wallowing in consumption as the girls cackle and toss back Margaritas.

And then there is the Hollywood Reporter‘s Stephen Zeitchik, who also saw the movie in Paris:

Once inside, the movie’s opening sequence, as expected, played to a spirited reaction: loud cheering and excited chatter continuing even a few scenes into the film. What was less expected was what the crowd would react to. Sure, there were the laughs at the raunchy visual gags that travel well — humping dogs, phallic sushi and the like.

But the interesting thing was that the audience seemed to laugh at parts that we could swear were supposed to play straight, and in the U.S. no doubt will — a mid-bridge reunion between a reconciling couple, a soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend’s decision to let his soon-to-be-ex girlfriend keep a ring — and, most noticeably, a decision by a couple to enter therapy. Therapy? A couple? Now that’s comedy.

There were reports from early U.S. screenings of moviegoers weeping at some of these scenes. No sniffles here.

All this made us realize that for all of the HBO series’ popularity in Europe, it really played as frilly fun — with New York an idealized fairy-tale setting — not as the more earnest exploration of feelings that at least in part drew U.S. viewers.

I can only wonder how the film will play in Canada, where American and French sensibilities tend to overlap to some degree. (British sensibilities too, but I haven’t come across any reviews of the film from Americans who saw it in London, yet.)

The, um, revival of ’80s franchises continues.

In the last couple years, we have seen revivals of the Rocky (1976-1990), Indiana Jones (1981-1989), Rambo (1982-1988) and Die Hard (1988-1995) franchises … and we could even add original-series Star Trek (1979-1991) to the list, since the new film is bringing back Leonard Nimoy as Spock … so hey, why not revive Beverly Hills Cop (1984-1994), too?

They were talking about it two years ago, but now, says Variety, they have a director attached … and it’s Brett Ratner.

I have to ask: Does this mean that that Ratner-directed, Eddie Murphy-starring remake of The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) is now more likely to get made, or less likely to get made?

The Associated Press issues a clarification.

Because, of course, this sort of thing is so important:

In a May 13 review of “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” The Associated Press, relying on production notes from Walt Disney Pictures, reported that the film was an adaptation of the second book in C.S. Lewis’ series.

“Prince Caspian” was chronologically the second book to be released in the series. But after more of the series was written, it became sequentially the fourth book.

I especially love the way the AP blames the production notes for any possible misunderstanding. For a handy introduction to the underlying issue — the debate over whether the books ought to be read chronologically or sequentially — click here.

I suppose one day, when someone gets around to remaking Star Wars (1977), the AP will have to issue a “clarification” that they were relying on the production notes when they called it the first film in George Lucas’s series, rather than the fourth.

Yet another movie not screened for critics.

An American colleague tells me he was told by a publicist today that there will be no advance screenings of The Happening, the first R-rated film from M. Night Shyamalan. That’s interesting, since Shyamalan’s last film, Lady in the Water (2006), had advance screenings even though it was one of the worst major releases in recent memory — and this despite excellent acting from Paul Giamatti, excellent cinematography from Christopher Doyle, and excellent music from James Newton Howard. Then again, Lady in the Water was released by Warner, whereas The Happening is being released by Fox — and Fox has had a somewhat twitchy relationship with critics for at least the past year. The film opens in a couple weeks, on Friday the 13th.

MAY 30 UPDATE: The plot thickens. Two days after I was told — by two different sources — that there would be no press screenings, at least not in Chicago or Vancouver, I now hear from a colleague in Washington DC that he has been invited to a screening on the morning of June 10, three days before the film opens. Does that mean Fox has changed its mind, as they apparently did with last month’s Deception? Or does it mean they are being ultra-selective with the cities and critics for whom they screen the film, as they were with, e.g., Pathfinder (2007)?

JUN 2 UPDATE: New York-based critic Kyle Smith writes:

Fox still hasn’t announced when they are screening the film, opening next Friday, meaning a possible pre-birth burial of holding no critics’ screenings whatsoever, though the last time I reported that, on the Ewan McGregor-Hugh Jackman flop, “Deception,” they reversed course a day or two later.

They’ve announced a screening in Washington DC but not in New York? Curiouser and curiouser. What about, say, Los Angeles?

JUN 4 UPDATE: Lou Lumenick and SlashFilm report that there will be a screening in New York, now, and my colleagues tell me it will be showing in Los Angeles and Chicago, too. Still no word about Vancouver, though. Apparently Fox has added some extra conditions, including a ban on guests at the screening and a stern warning against blogging the film before its release date.

JUN 6 UPDATE: A Vancouver screening has been arranged, after all. The invitation arrived by e-mail this morning — four days before the screening takes place (or, if you prefer, two business days before the screening takes place, not counting the weekend). That’s cutting it kind of close, but it’s better than nothing.