A.J.'s Movie News Rewind!
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December 31, 2002:  Not So Fast, McKellen!: Sir Michael Gambon is the official choice for Headmaster Dumbledore in the next Harry Potter film.  Well, I'm certainly glad that's settled, aren't you? 
December 27, 2002:  Have Wand; Will Travel:  Though still officially unconfirmed, it looks like Ian McKellen, who plays the wizard Gandolf in the Lord of the Rings films, may be chosen to replace the late Richard Harris as Hogswart's head wizard Dumbledore in the third Harry Potter movie. 
If ever there ever a wiz there was, McKellen is one because because, etc...!
December 22, 2002:  Friends... The Motion Picture: It's true! Following their tenth and final season on NBC, television's Friends will head to a big screen near you.  The deal is set.  The cast is willing.  Each 'friend' will get  $9,000,000 to star in the film, plus a percentage of the movie profits.  Wow!  $56,000,000 of the budget is going just to pay the stars.  Guess what, guys... that makes it virtually impossible for this movie to turn a profit!
December 17, 2002:  Axis?  What Axis?:  The North Korean government has condemned the James Bond film, Die Another Day, calling it a "dirty and cursed burlesque aimed to slander (North Korea) and insult the Korean nation..." and urged the United States to stop showing the film.  Also, they stated that the MGM Studios film "clearly proves" the United States is "an empire of evil" and "the root cause of all disasters and misfortune of the Korean nation."  Funny, I always thought that was called 'Communism'!

December 14, 2002: The Baghdad Sean Show:  Actor Sean Penn visited an Iraqi children's hospital last friday.  Penn did not speak to the press concerning his trip to Iraq, but in a statement said that "as a father, an actor, a filmmaker and a patriot" (this) "is for me a natural extension of my obligation ... to find my own voice on matters of conscience." (and) "to pursue a deeper understanding of the conflict."  (He also hopes that) "all Americans will embrace information available to them outside conventional channels." Sean went on to plug his upcoming Iraqi Armed Forces radio program where, along with special guest Jane Fonda, he'll be taunting those foolish American G.I. Joes.  Check your wireless for it in 2003!*
*The preceeding blue text was brought to you courtesy of the U.S. Government's new Department of Homeland Propaganda. 
December 13, 2002:  Coming Soon... ROCKY 6: Sylvester Stallone is currently working on a script for MGM, a variation on Rocky 5 which will be produced not as a big budget spectacle, but more like an independent film.  Okay, is this a good idea or not?
December 6, 2002:  Moon Man Strikes Again:  Avid space buff Tom Hanks is working with IMAX to produce a new documentary entitled Magnificent Desolation, which will be about what astronauts thought while they were actually on the moon. Like, 'Whoa! I'm on the freakin' moon!'
November 18, 2002: Industry Awards Lucas: George Lucas will be
                           honored in January by the Producers Guild of America for
                           his technological advances.  Lucas will receive the group's
                           Vanguard Award, given for achievement in new media and
                           technology.  His movie, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the
                           Clones, was shot entirely using digital cameras.
                           Did you know...
                                   Over 200 visual effects artists worked 17 weeks to
                                   complete this portrait of George Lucas?  (just kidding!)

November 15, 2002:  Preacher Shreads Potter:  A preacher in Maine led a small group in cutting up copies of Harry Potter books on the eve of the release of the movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.   The Rev. Douglas Taylor had wanted to burn the books to protest witchcraft and wizardry, but the city refused to issue him a permit.  Hallelujah!  Finally, organized religion is confronting the really tough issues!  (Oh, boy... now that went well beyond sarcasm.  Looks like it's the Hades Express for ol' A.J.!)
November 13, 2002:  Jinx Brings Good Fortune: Halle Berry, the newest Bond girl in Die Another Day, is in talks to star in a spin off action feature about her character, the lovely and deadly Jinx.  Guess that pretty much ensures she'll die another day!

October, 2002:  A.J.'s Place Movies is on Vacation!  See ya in November!

September 23, 2002:  Now Here's a Bad Idea: I kid you not; Gladiator 2 is in the works.  Apparently, the story will take place 15 years later.  Hmm, let's see... who worth seeing didn't die in the first movie?  Oh, boy... Juba!
September 20, 2002:  Kidman Considers Bewitching Role:  Nicole Kidman is reportedly interested in playing the part of twitchy suburban witch Samantha Stevens in the long-planned feature based on the 1960's TV show, Bewitched.  Mike Myers tops the Columbia Studios wish-list for the part of her mortal ad-exec. husband, Darwood, er, Darrin.  Cool, and then they could replace him with Jim Carrey half way through the movie! 
August 20, 2002:  Star Wars: The IMAX Experience:  Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones will hit IMAX theatres on November 1, 2002.  Yes... a four-story-high, full digital Yoda.  Oh, yeah...
August 1, 2002: Clones to Attack Home Video:  Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones will be hitting store shelves, yes, including DVD, on November 12.  So... what do you want this holiday season?  The four disc DVD set of Lord of the Rings!!!  (also due out Nov. 12!  sorry George)
July 29, 2002:  Goldmember Makes One Jillion-Bazillion Dollars: Well, okay, not yet, but it did break the $73 million mark its first weekend of release.  Add thursday night preview audiences and Goldmember has raked in over $76.6 million, making it the fifth biggest premiere in movie history! 
Yeah, baby, yeah!  (Well, what would YOU say?) 

July 16, 2002:  Revolution Films to Win German Oscar: The studio is now working on a big screen version of the 1980's David Hasselhoff television show, Knight RiderWhat next? 'Baywatch: The Motion Picture'?
July 12, 2002: Jim Carrey Controls the Universe:  The next film outing for Carrey, about a man who complains so much about God that he's given the Almighty's powers, begins shooting this month for a scheduled 2003 release.  Gee, I hope it's a comedy!
June 20, 2002:  Scorpion King Goes Hawaiian:  Pro-wrestler / movie hero, The Rock, will star as King Kamehameha in a big budget telling of the island warrior's great reign.  Look for a mid-2004 release.
May 21, 2002:  Box-Office Blunder:  Oops!  Star Wars: Episode II's original single day box-office appears to have been overstated by about $6 million...  Noooooo!  That 30.1 million must have been in Republic Credits!!
May 17, 2002:  Clones Attack the Spider-Man: Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones opened to the tune of $30.1 million, the biggest mid-week premiere in movie history.  Spider-Man still holds the record for single day box-office with $39.3 million.  Huh, I guess Clones is a flop, then...
April 29, 2002:  The HULK Invades San Francisco: As the shooting of action sequences begins for Universal Studio's The Incredible Hulk in San Francisco, some homeowners on Telegraph Hill are less than pleased.  One angry resident has even challenged his neighbors to interrupt shooting any way possible, including sunbathing on their rooftops in the nude to ruin a planned helecopter scene!  You know, Universal wouldn't have had this trouble up in Vancouver... maybe THEY should have received the 3000 jobs and $5 million in city revenue that this big Hollywood movie shoot will generate, not to mention the much needed boost to tourism provided by the city's exposure in the first major film to shoot here in over a year!  But then, I'm not the type to get up on the civic soapbox and openly belittle poor, ignorant souls like the one mentioned above, so just forget you read this!  :)
April 28, 2002:  Creepy Crawlies Top Box Office: After two weeks at the top, The Scorpion King's reign is about to end.  Spider-Man will open nationwide on May 3rd. (...I'm just guessing here, but I think Spidey may go to #1... until May 16th, that is... heh, heh, heh...)
                           Today is Renee Zellweger's Birthday!!!
                           and the World rejoices!!!
                           Renee, the party's at my place...
                           (punch and pie!)
April 17, 2002:  The Revenge of Jar-Jar Binks: Yes, kids, everyone's favorite computer-generated annoyance returns next month in an all new adventure!  Jar-Jar's low-jinx in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones consist of a very brief appearance.  Jar-Jar plays the part of "Glorified Extra, Needed Only to Retain Continuity"

April 14, 2002:  DON'T PANIC!:  The BBC production of the Douglas Adams Sci-comedy opus The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will finally be released April 30th on DVD!  Details to follow:
                          Two Discs; Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
                          Includes Theatrical trailer(s), Making of The Hitchhiker's
                          Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams Omnibus (a tribute),
                          Recording of the radio series, Optional on-screen production
                          notes, Deleted scene from episode 2, Photo gallery, Peter
                          Jones introduction, Pebble Mill at One, Tomorrow's World
                          sequence, and other sure-to-be-hoopy features.
April 10, 2002:  Halle Berry OK After Bond Set Scare: Producers of the new Bond film, Die Another Day distributed the following press release concerning the recent Oscar winner's condition:  "Ms Berry experienced some discomfort when a gust of wind blew some dust into her eye during filming of an action sequence on Saturday. Contrary to media speculation it was not as a result of debris from a smoke grenade. As a precautionary measure the production sought medical attention for what was a slight inflammation. We are happy to report that Ms Berry suffered no lasting ill effects and returned to work immediately."
April 9, 2002:  That's Mister Member to You!: New Line Cinema and MGM have reportedly cut a deal:  In exchange for free Bond 20 - Die Another Day preview trailers to be shown before both New Line's Austin Powers 3 and The Lord of the Rings, MGM will allow the new Mike Myers Goldfinger parody to keep the title 'Austin Powers in GOLDMEMBER'Oops, there go all those 'recalled Goldmember promotional item' profits over at e-bay!
April 5, 2002:  Your Friendly Neighborhood Sequel:  Yes, even before the release of the first film, plans have already begun on Spider-Man 2.  Returning will be Toby Maguire, Kirstin Dunst, and director Sam Raimi.  Gee, then I suppose that means Spidey defeats the Green Goblin... huh, who would have guessed?  Now there's no reason to actually go see Spider-Man, is there?
April 1, 2002:  Lucas Greenlights Third Trilogy:  In a turnaround from earlier statements, George Lucas has decided to go ahead with pre-production on Star Wars Episodes VII, VIII, and IX!  Early word is that Episode VII will take place approximately 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, with a new and powerful evil endangering a peaceful galaxy.  Once again, a Skywalker must restore the balance.  Episode VII is scheduled for a May, 2007 release, to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the first Star Wars film. ( Oh, wait a second, look what day it is... never mind. )
March 27, 2002:  Lord of the DVD's:  Lord of the Rings - Fellowship of the Ring will be released on DVD August 6 as a two disc set, and will include over 2 hours of bonus material.  For those who can stand the wait (and the price tag), a four disc set will be released on November 12, to include over six hours of extra material and an extended version of the film.  This extended version is 30 minutes longer than the theatrical release, and will be rated R.  Also included will be a 10 minute sneak peek at the second Rings film, The Two Towers, set to premiere in U.S. theatres on December 18.
March 24, 2002:  The Door Has Been Opened!:  Yes, with an Oscar win tonight, Ron Howard has opened a door once thought forever closed to bald, middle-aged, former television stars who have dreamed of becoming award winning movie directors. Especially poignant was Howard's tearful cry of support for fellow director Rob Reiner, "This one's for you, Meathead!"
March 12, 2002: Bond 20: Okay, everyone can stop calling the next James Bond movie Beyond the Ice (horrible title!), for it now has an official name!  Bond 20 will be called Die Another Day. (cheesy theme song coming soon!) 
Die Another Day details: 

                                             James Bond:  Pierce Brosnan (4th outing)
                                             Bond Car: The Aston Martin Vanquish (see pic!)
                                             Bond Girl:  Oscar nominee Halle Berry as Jinx
                                             Bond Villain:  The Fast and the Furious co-star
                                             Rick Yune as Zao
                                             Bond 20 Official Site
February 20, 2002:  Oh, Behave!:  The new internet rumor that Austin Powers III is being retitled License to Shag is just that, a rumor, and not a very good one, either.  New Line Cinema reports that they never even considered that title.  Aw, come on people, we can do better than 'License to Shag'!  Let's start a rumor calling it 'Austin Powers III: The Man With the Golden Bum'!
February 18, 2002:  Quote of the Month:  Will Smith about his chances for winning the Oscar: "I've got my fingers crossed.  I only wish Russell Crowe hadn't made a damned movie this year." Will Smith is nominated for his portrayal of Muhammad Ali in 'Ali', and Russell Crowe is nominated for portraying John Forbes Nash Jr. in 'A Beautiful Mind'.
February 15, 2002:  Faster Than A Speeding Locomotive: That's how fast rumors surrounding Warner Brothers' proposed resurrection of Superman spread across Hollywood.  Now attached to the troubled project is director McG, of Charlie's Angels fame.  Still uncast is the Man of Steel himself, and pretty much everyone else who would be involved in the film.  McG plans to begin working on the tentatively titled Superman Lives after shooting Charlie's Angels 2: Halo.  In other words, don't look for 'old blue-tights' anytime soon.  And blame Nick Cage for the whole mess!
February 12, 2002:  Zellweger Nomination no Surprise to A.J.!: 
Renee Zellweger, star of Bridget Jones' Diary and heir apparent to Meg Ryan's 'Romantic Comedy Goddess' throne, has been nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Actress!!!  But of course!  Here's PROOF!
February 12, 2002:  Lord of the Oscars: Oscar nominees for the 74th Academy Awards were announced this morning, with Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring leading the pack.  LOTR picked up 13 nominations, including Best Picture.  Other Best Picture nominees are A Beautiful Mind, Gosford Park, In The Bedroom, and Moulin RougeClick highlighted movie titles to read A.J.'s reviews!  For more on the 74th Academy Awards, visit www.oscar.com!
February 11, 2002: Low Praise for Green's 'Freddy':   The Tom Green movie Freddy Got Fingered tops this year's Razzie list with 8 nominations, including Worst Picture, Worst Actor, Worst Director and Worst Screenplay.  Other Worst Picture nominees are Glitter, Driven, 3000 Miles to Graceland and Pearl HarborGee, and John Travolta isn't even in those movies!
February 1, 2002:  MPAA vs. Goldmember:  The Motion Picture Association of America has killed the title for Austin Powers 3, citing that it infringes on the rights of James Bond distributor MGM as being too similar to the title Goldfinger. Too similar?  But that's the joke!  They didn't seem to have a problem with 'The Spy Who Shagged Me'...  Personally, I think the MPAA and MGM are being a little hard on Goldmember, don't you? 
January  31, 2002: T3 Relies on Arnie: Contradicting earlier reports, T2 co-star Edward Furlong will not be appearing with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.  The part of 20-something year old John Connor remains uncast, with shooting scheduled to begin April 15.  Hmm, no Furlong, no Linda Hamilton, no James Cameron to direct... yeah, this'll be good! (sarcasm)

January 25, 2002: Return of the Ogre-Knight Success: Dreamworks SKG has announced that Shrek 2 is now in production, with both Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz having signed on for the sequel. Get ready for a bunch of baby Shreks!
January 21, 2002: A Beautiful Mind Tops Golden Globes:  A Beautiful Mind grabbed four Golden Globe Awards, including Best Drama and Best Dramatic Actor (Russell Crowe).  Moulin Rouge came up second with three awards, including Best Musical or Comedy and Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy (Nicole Kidman).  Aww, and David Spade went home empty handed... again... not that he was nominated for an award... just kind of, you know... hoping someone would drop one on their way out... um, anyone interested in making Joe Dirt 2: Mullet Mania?
January 14, 2002: OUT'SYNC:  Lucasfilm now reports that the cameo by pop group N'SYNC originally filmed for Star Wars: Episode II has officially hit the cutting room floor. (George Lucas just clicked his digital eraser!)
January 7, 2002: Whoopi! for the Academy Awards:  Yes, Whoopi Goldberg will be hosting the Academy Awards for her fourth time.  Ceremonies will be held on March 24.  Wha, wha, what about David Letterman?  Huh?
January 5, 2002:  I've Got an N'SYNC-ing Feeling About This!:  Word from Lucasfilm is that pop star group N'SYNC will make a cameo appearance as Jedis in Star Wars: Episode IIAnd you thought Jar-Jar was a bad idea!

Top 10 in
U.S. Theatres
Week ending December 28, 2002

1. LOTR: The Two Towers
2. Catch Me if You Can
3.  Two Weeks Notice
4.  Maid in Manhattan
5.  Gangs of New York
6.  Drumline
7.  Wild Thornberry's
8.  Harry Potter 2
9.  The Hot Chick
10.  Die Another Day

Source: U.S. Box Office
Aston Martin Vanquish
Think Bond will wreck it?
The lovely and talented Miss Renee Zellweger
Renee Zellweger
Top 10 U.S. Rentals
(Released Feature Film Titles)
Week ending December 28, 2002

1)   Men in Black II
2)   Ice Age
3)   Goldmember
4)   K-19
5)   Stuart Little 2
6)   Reign of Fire
7)   Like Mike
8)   Lilo & Stitch
9)   Spirit: Stallion of
       the Cimarron
10)  Star Wars Episode II:
       Attack of the Clones

Source: Reuters/Variety

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