Mila Kunis to Play Natalie Portman's Nemesis in Supernatural Thriller 


As we reported back in June, Natalie Portman is set to star in director Darren Aronofsky's supernatural thriller called "Black Swan."

The film is set in the world of New York City ballet about a ballerina (Portman) who's competing with a rival dancer. But is the rival a ghost or is Portman's character just having a mental breakdown?

Now, Mila Kunis is in talks to star as Lilly, the mysterious rival dancer.

"Black Swan" is set to begin shooting in New York in the fall under Aronofsky's Protoza Pictures banner. The film is being financed independently, but Fox Searchlight, which distributed the director's "The Wrestler," could come on board.

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"King Kong" Prequel in the Works! 


Spirit Pictures wants King Kong to roar again! The company just picked up the rights to the book "Kong: King of Skull Island," written by Joe DeVito and Brad Strickland. It's a prequel revolving the giant ape. Spirit Pictures wants to align the prequel to the mood of the project developed by effects icon Ray Harryhausen.

This film will focus on Kong's back story before going to the big city, specifically, Skull Island, and will feature other giant gorillas and more dinosaurs.

I'm glad that Merian C. Cooper's family is behind this project. Cooper co-directed the original "Kong" released in 1933. His family helped facilitate the deal with Spirit Pictures.

The visual look of the film will use the same motion-capture technology seen in "The Polar Express" and "Beowulf."

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Guinea Pigs Triumph Over Teen Wizard at Box-Office!  


"G-Force" karate chopped "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" at box-office. The talking, butt-kicking guinea pigs from producer Jerry Bruckheimer debuted at No. 1 with $32.2 million.

The film features voiceover work from Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Tracy Morgan, Penelope Cruz, Steve Buscemi, and Jon Favreau. "The Hangover's" Zach Galifianakis co-stars as the squad's creator and father figure.

(Check out my full interviews with "G-Force" cast and crew and movie review right here)

Previous box-office champion "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" fell down to No. 2 with $30 million. It may be a whopping 61-percent drop from its huge opening last weekend, but the sixth installment already earned $222 million in just 12 days!

Coming in third place was another of the week's wide releases, the Katherine Heigl-Gerald Butler rom com "The Ugly Truth." The battle-of-the-sexes flick passed high expectations and debuted with $27 million box-office take.

"Orphan," another new wide release, came in fourth place with $12.8 million. Meanwhile, "The Proposal" has surpassed "Terminator Salvation" and "Angels and Demons" at the box-office and is shaping up to be star Sandra Bullock's highest-grossing movie.

Here's the Top 10 box-office list for weekend of July 24th:

1. "G-Force," $32.2 million.

2. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," $30 million.

3. "The Ugly Truth," $27 million.

4. "Orphan," $12.8 million.

5. "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," $8.2 million.

6. "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," $8 million.

7. "The Hangover," $6.5 million.

8. "The Proposal," $6.4 million.

9. "Public Enemies," $4.2 million.

10. "Bruno," $2.7 million.

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I Fell in Love with "The Hurt Locker" and You Should Too! The Best Movie of the Summer! 


I'm exploding with joy to tell you that "The Hurt Locker" is definitely the best movie of the summer, and is a contender to be one of the best of the year!



Written by Mark Boal (pictured on left) and directed by Katherine Bigelow (pictured on right), the film made its debut at the Venice Film Festival last year, and didn't make its way to the US until March 2009 at the South by Southwest Film Festival.


(From L to R: Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner, Brian Geraghty)

"The Hurt Locker" tells the story of an elite Army bomb squad in Iraq and the highly-combustible game they play against potential enemies. And those enemies can also be the war raging within each characters.



Anthony Mackie ("We Are Marshall," "Million Dollar Baby") stars as the by-the-books Sergeant JT Sanborn. All he wants is to get out of Iraq.



Brian Geraghty ("Bobby," "The Guardian") stars as Specialist Owen Eldridge who is also counting the days before their squadron leaves Iraq. But making their lives difficult is Jeremy Renner's Staff Sergeant William James, a newly assigned team leader with a gung-ho John Wayne attitude.



It is the intricacies between these characters that drive "The Hurt Locker" home to its jaw-dropping ending. The finale doesn't end with physical explosions, although there are many of those nerve-wracking sequences, but by internal character combustion that makes one wonder: what kind of soldiers do we breed?

Renner gives a pitch-perfect performance as the team leader who may, or may not lead his squad to danger. His eyes glimmer with excitement every time the crew gets a bomb call.

Boal, an embedded journalist in Iraq in 2004 and a Playboy contributor (he was credited with the story of "In the Valley of Elah") created rich characters facing incredible situations. The narrative flows, and grips you with alarming authenticity.

But this love letter is dedicated to director Bigelow, yes, the same lady who turned Jamie Lee Curtis into a tough-as-nails cop in 1989's "Blue Steel" and made Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze bond in 1991's "Point Break."

"The Hurt Locker's" intense, captivating mood and atmosphere is largely because of Bigelow. I've heard other critics shout with glee that a woman, yes a woman! can direct an action-packed Iraq war flick! I say phooey to that -- a movie talking about the effects of war knows no gender! So hurray that a woman can direct a film as thought-provoking, smart, and entertaining as "The Hurt Locker."

No, the film is not preachy in the war-is-bad category, but it does showcase the effects, some good, some bad, of the war in Iraq.

"The Hurt Locker" is the best Iraq war movie period, the best action film of 2009, and it's definitely high up there on my Best of Summer 2009 list!

"The Hurt Locker" gets my highest honor, 4 kisses! :4k

The film is in limited release right now, but check the official website to see if it's playing in theaters near you. Click here to find out!

Oh yeah, and I'm loving that Summit Entertainment, the home of "Twilight," released this film! After a so-so sci-fi actioner ("Push"), a so-so sci-fi drama ("Knowing"), I'm glad the studio is putting its efforts behind "The Hurt Locker."

And one final note, check the important cameos by Guy Pearce, David Morse, and Mister Voldemort himself, Ralph Fiennes.

And watch "The Hurt Locker's" trailer below.



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Robert Downey Jr. Joins Zach Galifianakis in "Due Date" 


Two weeks ago, we told you about "The Hangover" director Todd Phillips' plans to make a film titled "Due Date." (check the article right here)

The film will feature Zach Galifianakis as an unlikely companion of an expectant dad who races cross-country in hopes of making it home for the birth of his first child.

That expectant dad character is now going to be played by Robert Downey Jr.! Hurray!

I'm always open to see Downey in a straight-up comedy. His brilliant timing helped to add sparks when he's verbally sparring with Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts in "Iron Man" and of course, his Oscar-nominated turn as a method actor in "Tropic Thunder" is well-earned.

Although the "mismatched buddies on a road trip" plot has shades of John Hughes' "Planes, Trains, & Automobiles" or Martin Brest's "Midnight Run" with Robert De Niro, I have faith that Phillips will create a funny comedy and that Downey Jr. and Galifianakis will have vibrant chemistry!

The script is written by Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland.

Shooting for "Due Date" will begin in September in Atlanta, Arizona, and Los Angeles, and the film is set for release on the first weekend of June, 2010.

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