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Hey folks, Harry here... The big news on this one is RED DRAGON, in addition ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY has a 'making of RED DRAGON' feature on there website... click that link.... Personally I can't wait to see what Sony will show of SPIDER-MAN.... There was rumors once that they were going to show the whole thing (yeaaaah, riiiiight) Here's Adam...

Harry and crew,

Adam from here. I noticed that you've already posted some stuff from Sho West, so I thought I'd give you a look at a couple of other things going on here in Las Vegas. Sadly, I didn't get in until Wednesday, so I missed all the Episode II footage that readers seem to be a buzz about.

ShoWest is a lot of fun and this is my fifth year attending. If I have a gripe, it's the lack of movie buzz in the air. This convention doesn't set off the same kind of aura that surrounds a film festival. This is about the selling of product. That's not to say that there aren't movie lovers around. You just have to seek them out. This is an entirely different atmosphere. In the trade show, I felt like I was the only one there actually interested in seeing the trailers. At any rate, aside from tons of cool free stuff, and a look at all the latest in movie theater hardware, here are some notes of interest.


I got a big surprise when I went to the Universal Pictures booth. They've already cut a trailer for Red Dragon. Red Dragon, of course, is based on the book of the same name, and serves as a prequel to Silence of the Lambs. What's strange, is that Michael Mann already adapted this novel in the 80's, under the title Manhunter. A lot of people didn't care for the flick, but I thought it was fantastic. In that version, Brian Cox (who is superb by the way) played the evil Hannibal Lecter. Why they've decided to remake the movie is beyond me. I haven't read any of the novels and I'm told that this new Ted Tally (who wrote the screenplay for "Silence") adaptation will be closer to the book. This movie has a stellar cast to say the least, and the trailer showcases them all, but only offers enough to whet our appetites. Edward Norton steps into the shoes of the Will Graham character (played by the underrated William Peterson in Manhunter). When I had heard about the casting, I thought it a bit odd. Don't get me wrong, Norton is an incredible actor, but the idea of him in the role seemed a little strange to me. He looks more than capable in the trailer, although as I stated before, this is merely a glimpse. The film doesn't open until November and if I'm not mistaken, they still have quite a bit of shooting to do. At any rate, the trailer will be a crowd pleaser, particularly the tail end of it when good old Hannibal hits the screen. Strangely, Red Dragon takes place before the events that occurred in "Silence" and "Hannibal", yet Hopkins looks older (although I've heard rumors of a potential digital face lift). Stranger still, is the idea that this flick was directed by Brett Ratner (the Rush Hour movies and Family Man). How he bagged this gig, I'll never know. This trailer makes Red Dragon look dark in tone, much in keeping with "Silence" and "Hannibal". While Manhunter had dark moments, it had a much different feel. It almost played as an action film. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that Red Dragon is going to be a big hit when it opens at the end of the year.


As usual, Paramount had the coolest booth at the trade show. They always seem to give it their all. Naturally, they showed all the trailers for their upcoming movies (Sum of All Fears, Changing Lanes, Lucky Break etc.). Their major theme revolved around the new submarine thriller K19: The Widowmaker. They had the trailer playing continuously, and even treated Sho West attendees to a submarine simulator ride. They clearly had the most creative and memorable presentation in the dealer room. As for K19 itself? Based on the trailer, I don't really have an opinion yet. I want it to kick ass! Kathryn Bigelow is capable of really amazing stuff, and God knows that Harrison Ford really needs this, but the trailer lacks punch in my opinion. Still, I'm guessing the movie will be huge.


New Line and Pepsi threw a whopping party to promote the new Austin Powers movie opening in July. The party started off with the latest trailer. I'm sure everyone has seen it already. I think it aired during the Super Bowl. Anyway, following the trailer, a New Line spokesman confessed that they still haven't settled on a title, but their working on it. That was about it. They had a fun little cover band play, while they projected Austin Power scenes (new and old) on a couple of screens. It was a cool party. New Line and Pepsi really went all out. Free food, and more importantly, OPEN BAR!


I had the opportunity to see a Universal screening of About A Boy opening on May 17th. Yes, that's one day after Episode II, a strategy that could more than pay off if audiences embrace the movie. I didn't embrace the movie but I didn't hate it either.

Before the film, co-writers and directors Chris and Paul Weitz (the guys behind the American Pie films) got up to introduce the movie. They were charming and even made a couple of Star Wars references.

Universal unveiled a couple of trailers before the feature. We got a new look at The Scorpion King. I believe you can download it. I've got to tell you, I just can't get excited about this movie. Although this is the best footage I've seen from the flick, I'm still not looking forward to it. Universal announced that the film received better test audience responses than The Mummy Returns. Hmmmm, that's interesting. Following this, was a trailer for Undercover Brother with Eddie Griffin. No thanks. This movie doesn't look appealing to me at all, but then you never can tell. Finally, we got a look a The Bourne Identity which many of you have probably already seen the trailer to. It looks pretty good, despite obvious shades of Memento. Matt Damon looks convincing and I'm interested to see how Doug Liman (Swingers, Go) handles an action movie.

Finally, it was on to the feature.

About a Boy features Hugh Grant as Will Freeman, a sort of womanizing playboy with a lot of time on his hands. Tired of all the complications that come with dating, he discovers that getting involved with single mothers is a lot less troublesome. He begins meeting woman through SPAT, a single mothers focus group. This eventually leads him to distraught single mom Toni Collette and her bright yet strange son (played by effective new comer Nicholas Hault). Freeman begins to bond with the young lad, and soon becomes a better man because of it.

About a Boy is harmless, mindless fluff. The screenplay was a tad to sappy for my taste, but I did enjoy all the performances, particularly Grant's. While we've seen him play this role time and time again, he excels at it thanks to a swagger, a sharp wit, and an impeccable sense of comic timing.

Although About a Boy does manage to go in unexpected directions (an expected romance between Grant and Collette never occurs), I never found the relationships in this picture to be fully developed. Nor do we ever really see a transformation take place in Freeman. Sure, he becomes a better man, but can it be attributed from what he learned from Hault? I don't think so.

Everything becomes tied up with an all too obvious ending in which everyone lives happily ever after. And before anyone calls me a cynic, I'd like to say that I'm often moved by stories of this nature when there told more effectively. Hell, I think Return to Me is one of the best and most underrated romantic comedies to come out of Hollywood in a long time.

While About a Boy isn't a terrible movie, I wouldn't rush out to see it again. It is well acted and the Weitz's mean well, but the movie never really rises above standard fare. However, one thing is for certain. About a Boy does manage to offer more memorable moments than either of the American Pie movies.

On a sidenote, the Badly Drawn Boy soundtrack was fantastic!

That's about it for today. I did bump into Ebert and Roeper, but arrived too late to attend their seminar. Thursday, I'll be seeing a screening of the new Adam Sandler opus, Mr. Deeds. I'm also hoping to get into the Columbia/Sony party (hopefully, there will be some new Spider-Man and Men in Black 2 stuff). Finally, I'd love nothing more than to crash the Awards banquet. Steven Spielberg is getting the lifetime achievement award. I've never had a chance to meet him, and it would certainly be a dream come true. I came close last month at the E.T. screening during the Winter Games. Alas, he was shooting Catch Me if You Can and was unable to make it. I'm guessing he will be at Sho West. Anyway, I'll send you another report later.


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