Bits of stray film news to while away the time.
- Darren Aronofsky, who had somewhat incongruously signed on to direct the sequel to the critically-reviled “X-Men: Wolverine” movie, has now dropped out of that project. In a statement, the director said that while he had been excited at the prospect of working again with his “Fountain” star Hugh Jackman, the length of the shoot would keep him away from his family for too long (one can’t help but wonder if Aronofsky’s split from long-time partner Rachel Weisz last fall had some influence on this decision; the couple still have a young son). Fox executives reportedly are aggressively pursuing their second-choice option, Brett Ratner (just kidding, X-fans, just kidding…I hope, anyway).
- This week marked the ever-growing SXSW Festival (that’s South by Southwest) in Austin, Texas, an increasingly popular venue, especially amongst the techno-savvy crowd. One of the biggest hits of the festival was “Attack the Block,” a slapdash comedy/alien action thriller produced by Edgar Wright (“Hot Fuzz,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”) and written/directed by Wright’s “Adventures of Tintin” co-writer Joe Cornish. Starring a host of unknown Brit hooligans (plus Nick Frost), this could be a surprise hit. No US distribution as of yet, though.
- Speaking of SXSW, Jodie Foster’s “The Beaver” had its debut there last night, to a generally warm reception, despite the giant hulking elephant in the room regarding the film’s star. Both Gibson’s performance and the film as a whole appear to be a sad, moving depiction of the ache of depression; will audiences be able to look past the actor’s troubled personal life and be able to appreciate as much? The movie seems like a bit of a tough sell all around, so we might not be able to make any kind of claim from the box office numbers no matter what.
- Amazon.com is offering pre-orders on the complete “Lord of the Rings” extended edition on Blu-ray, on sale June 28th. I seriously may have to cave in and splurge for a Blu-ray player soon.
- Finally, sad news that actor Michael Gough has passed away at the age of 94. Best known for playing Alfred in Tim Burton’s “Batman” and the ensuing 90’s sequels, Gough’s career spanned 6 decades, working opposite Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier and Christopher Lee. He also appeared in several guest stints on BBC’s “Doctor Who.” Gough’s last on-screen role came in 1999, in Burton’s “Sleepy Hollow,” although he also lent his voice to the director’s 2005 animated flick “Corpse Bride.” RIP Michael.