Get Ready for Ronald Reagan the Movie! 

The life story of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan is getting a big screen treatment and it's getting a healthy $30 million budget to boot!

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will be called "Reagan" and will be released late next year. This one will be based on two best-selling Reagan biographies by Paul Kengor namely "The Crusader" and "God and Ronald Reagan."

Jonas McCord ("Malice," "The Body") wrote the script and Mark Joseph ("Ray," "Holes," "Because of Winn-Dixie," "The Passion of the Christ") is co-producing with Ralph Winter ("X-Men" and "Fantastic Four" films).

Joseph and company are adamant that this film version will be sharply different from the failed Reagan 2003 miniseries starring James Brolin as the 40th U.S. President. If that one was critical of Reagan's accomplishments, the film version will be more about his life -- from boyhood to Hollywood to leader of the free world.

Right now, there are no actors or director attached to the project. Who should play Ronald Reagan?

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Goodbye Angelina Jolie, Hello Natalie Portman? Actress Set For "Gravity"  

Natalie Portman's performance in the upcoming "Black Swan" (due out in theaters Dec. 1) from director Darren Aronofsky is being praised within the festival circuit. Now, Warner Bros. pretty much offered her the "Gravity" role that Angelina Jolie pulled out of recently according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Gravity" is being described as an epic survival story and will be directed by Alfonso Cuaron. The director co-wrote the script with his son Jonas. This $80 million 3D survival story has the "no man is an island" theme similar to "Cast Away" with Tom Hanks. So, majority of the screen time will showcase Portman, although Robert Downey Jr. signed up for a supporting role.

THR also reported that WB offered the part to Portman without requiring any screen test. The actress is expected to read the latest draft of the script and will make her decision very shortly. Portman beat out potential leads Scarlett Johannson and Blake Lively.

"Gravity" is expected to go on production in January 2011.

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George Clooney Slashes "Machete" at Labor Day Box-Office Weekend 

George Clooney proved that his star power was bigger and better than Danny Trejo, Justin Long, and Drew Barrymore. "The American" led the pack among new releases this Labor Day weekend.

Focus Features' "The American" debuted at No. 1 with nearly $13 million. Since it opened Wednesday, the assassin flick with European cinema flair has sold $16.1 million box-office tickets beating previous weekend's box-office champ, "Takers," which fell to No. 2 with $11.5 million. So far, the ensemble actioner starring Paul Walker, Chris Brown, and Matt Dillon has earned $37.9 million box-office coins.

Debuting at No. 3 was the much-hyped and much-talked about "Machete." Proving once again that hype does not equate with box-office dominance ("Snakes on a Plane," "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World," "Kick-Ass," "Piranha 3D" to name a few), "Machete," from co-director Robert Rodriguez and starring Trejo, sold $11.3 million worth of tickets.

"The Last Exorcism" suffered a 63% drop and fell to No. 4 with $7.55 million. So far, the "Blair Witch Project" wannabe has earned $32 million at the box-office. Not bad for a movie with a $2 million budget.

Rounding out the top five was "Going the Distance" starring Long and Barrymore. The Warner Bros. romantic comedy made just $6.88 million at the box-office.

We can now officially say goodbye to summer at the movies and look forward to the fall season, and yes, the Oscar season, yay! (Check out my Top 10 Best Movies of Summer 2010 right here, and my Fall 2010 Movie Preview right here)

Here's the estimated list of the Top 10 Box-Office films for Labor Day weekend:

1. The American -- $13.0 M

2. Takers -- $11.5 M

3. Machete -- $11.3 M

4. The Last Exorcism -- $7.6 M

5. Going the Distance -- $6.9 M

6. The Expendables -- $6.8 M

7. The Other Guys -- $5.4 M

8. Eat Pray Love -- $4.9 M

9. Inception -- $4.5 M

10. Nanny McPhee Returns -- $3.6 M

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And Now It's Time to Watch My Fall 2010 Movie Preview 

To read my detailed Fall 2010 Movie Preview, click here!

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Romance, Mayhem, Intrigue! My Thoughts on "Going the Distance," "Machete," and "The American" 

Three big films this Labor Day weekend. "Going the Distance" for romantic lovers, "Machete" for action buffs, and "The American" for the brooding, subdued Clooney fans.

"Going the Distance"

Real-life former lovers or are they still dating? It doesn't matter because for now Justin Long and Drew Barrymore can re-live their relationship right up there on the big screen in the new film "Going the Distance."

The pair looks soooo cute together as a couple who try to keep their love alive. Geography is their main problem -- she's on the west coast, he's on the east.

It's no wonder documentarian Nanette Burstein directed this film. She probably wanted to document the love affair between Long and Barrymore but this is her first feature film and it shows. The movie is sometimes clumsy, the pacing is a little off but "Going the Distance" is still better than most romantic comedies as of late.

I did enjoy some of its Judd Apatow inspired vulgarity, and in the end...Long and Barrymore saved this film for me. "Going the Distance" gets :25k


I thought this film would be a hack and slash work from co-director Robert Rodriguez (he worked with Ethan Maniquis). It was a great idea when it was shown as a faux trailer in "Grindhouse." But how could you sustain that one novelty theme? A guy slashing his way for vengeance? It could get old very soon, but Rodriguez and company managed to keep my interest all the way to the end.

Danny Trejo gets his first leading role as an ex-federale who's doing it all for vengeance. He's been double-crossed and now, he wants folks to pay in a big, bloody way.

Many well-known actors show up for the film. Robert De Niro plays a Texas state senator, heck even Steven Seagal is in the movie. He plays Torrez, Machete's arch nemesis and Mexico's leading crime boss. There's even an ode to TV's "Nash Bridges" with the presence of both Don Johnson and Cheech Marin. And Jessica Alba proved she's still got it by showing her most effective performance since "Sin City."

And Lindsay Lohan? Her cameo is both cringe-inducing and funny, and that's a compliment. She shows up dressed as a gun-toting nun, but mostly, she's undressed.

"Machete" is so cartoonishly silly, that it's fun. Exaggerated violence is meant for laughs, so the film knows what it is, and is not ashame of itself! It's Mexploitation at its finest, just don't look for thought-provoking social commentary! "Machete" gets :3k

"The American"

This film opened last Wednesday, and so far, has been making money at the box-office and it's no wonder because "The American" is an interesting spy thriller.

George Clooney stars as Jack, or Edward, he's an assassin instructed to cool it off in an Italian village while he waits for his last assignment. Well we all know what happens to those "last assignment" movies, things will almost always go awry.

I enjoyed the film's restrained pacing by director Anton Corbijn. The cinematography is breathtaking, and the film is blessed with Clooney's understated performance. "The American" is one of those movies where you have to totally give-in to the premise, to fully enjoy the show. "The American" gets :3k

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