09 July 2014

Oh no, not 'Dumbo' too!

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(Walt Disney Productions)

That noise you may be hearing today might just be Walt Disney spinning in his cremation urn.

According to an article published on the Hollywood Reporter website, Disney has a live-action Dumbo reboot in the works.

I'm not sure how you feel about that, but from this aisle seat it's almost as bad as saying there's a remake of Casablanca in the works with Channing Tatum taking over the Humphrey Bogart role of Rick and Kim Kardashian as teary-eyed Ilsa, played by Ingrid Bergman.

"This is the latest classic animated title that Disney is turning into a live-action movie, and it’s a strategy that has paid off: Maleficent, the most recent example, is a re-imagining of the 1959 movie Sleeping Beauty and has grossed more than $630 million worldwide since its May 30 release. The granddaddy of them all is the Johnny Depp version of Alice in Wonderland, which has earned more than $1 billion," the Hollywood Reporter article states.

No word yet when the live-action Dumbo will debut.  I'm thinking the timing may have something to do with finding a lovable baby elephant with giant floppy ears that can fly and -- here's the tough part -- cry on demand.

'Tammy's' bad B.O.

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Melissa McCarthy's starring vehicle "Tammy" is hitting some box-office potholes. (Warner Bros.)

You think you've got problems?

Well, maybe you do, but you'll have to go some to beat the Hollywood pity party that some of the major movie studios have going on following the disappointing weekend B.O.; box-office that is.

According to an article posted on the Hollywood Reporter website, historic lows were reported over the long Fourth of July weekend.  Tammy, the R-rated lowbrow comedy teaming Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon, led the downer derby with a weekend gross of only $32.9 million, says the Hollywood Reporter article.

"Revenue for Fourth of July weekend hit only $130 million, down 44 percent from last year's $229.8 million haul and the lowest in 16 years. Granted, the holiday fell on a Friday this year — a disadvantage — but revenue managed to reach $160.2 million in 2008, the last time the Fourth was a Friday. One reason for the dramatic downturn is that no big tentpole rolled out, probably because no one wanted to open in the wake of Transformers: Age of Extinction, which debuted June 27," the article stated.

Oh boo hoo.  Here's an idea:  Make better movies.  Want more advice?  Come up with some fresh franchises and discontinue the embarrassing practice of extending and/or remaking worn out franchises like Spider-man, Batman, Transformers and the like.

The new Senior Voice is here!

SeniorV220lThere's good news for those of us who have already passed 50 without slowing down or collecting $200.

The Senior Voice newspaper is in news racks all over the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.  Editor/publisher Carol Butler has put together a great July-August issue, which includes a terrific article on Fort Worth screenwriter James V. Hart.  (Here's the link.)

If you're curious about the movies I'm looking forward to during the next couple of months, check out my Getting Reel movie column on Page 12, or click this link.

Oh, and if you get a little confused and concerned when you get to the part where I'm really looking forward to Tammy starring Melissa McCarthy, shoot me an email (MovieMemories@verizon.net) and I'll be glad to explain how long-distance deadlines work.

Pedal pushers -- Tour de film

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Dennis Christopher in "Breaking Away." (20th Century Fox)

Every year about this time the winding, hilly streets of France are filled with finely tuned bodies swooshing by in colorful spandex giving their all in an attempt to win the Tour de France.

I must admit that cycling is not my usual sport of choice.  What I really enjoy, though, is how the streets of U.S. towns and cities fill (especially early on Saturday mornings) with not so finely tuned bodies stretching their brightly colored spandex to the stitch-splitting max celebrating the Tour de France vicariously.

You may be asking.  What about us movie-lovers, though?  How are we supposed to glorify the thrill of pedal-to-pedal competition?

Hey, bike off.  I've got you covered.

Although Breaking Away (1979) isn't about the Tour de France as such.  It is about cycling ... and so much more.  Dennis Christopher heads the cast as a lonely recent high school grad living in the college town of Bloomington, Ind.  A college co-ed catches his eye and he poses as an Italian -- an Italian cyclist, that is -- to try to win her affections.

A very young Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern and San Antonian Jackie Earle Haley round out the cast, along with Barbara Barrie, Paul Dooley and Robyn Douglass as Katherine, the object of Dave's (Christopher) affection.

I saw five or six grizzled salesmen (who should have been working) stand up and cheer the exciting finish (a bicycle race, of course) when I first saw Breaking Away in a Dallas movie house in 1979.

Check it out in the spirit of the Tour de France.  If you don't stand up and cheer, I guarantee that at the very least it will cheer you up.