Bullet Points: Hot Rounds Of Information Goodness

The_Expendables_3_BTS_Dolph_LundgrenHey, look, Dolph Lundgren’s hanging out on the set of The Expendables 3! [via ComingSoon]

ziyi-zhang-crouching-tiger-hiddenZhang Ziyi is in talks to appear in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II – The Green Destiny alongside fellow returning castmate Michelle Yeoh and franchise newcomer Donnie Yen. Director and fight choreography Yuen Wo Ping (Iron Monkey) will fill in for director Ang Lee. [via ComingSoon]

Neill Blomkamp‘s next film Chappie, about a stolen robot with artificial intelligence now, has an official release date: March 27, 2015. [via Collider]

Focus, a racing-based heist film, brought on Rodrigo Santoro (300: Rise Of An Empire, The Last Stand) to play Will Smith’s boss in the film being directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy, Stupid Love). [via THR]

dead-snow-posterDirector Tommy Wirkola (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) hired a trio of actors for his horror/action flick Dead Snow: Red Vs. Dead which teams up the lone survivor of the first film with a group of zombie hunters called The Zombie Squad. Said actors are Martin Starr (Freaks & Geeks, Party Down), Ingrid Haas (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) and Jocelyn Deboer (College Humor). [via Variety]

watch dogsSony, New Regency and Ubisoft are teaming up to make a movie based on Sony’s November 19th-shipping Watch Dogs. [via Hero Complex]

act of valourThe Bandito Brothers utilized real life Navy SEALS when they filmed Act Of Valor. For the sequel, though, they’re focusing on the adventures of a S.W.A.T. team. Scott Wiper (The Condemned) is writing the script. [via Deadline]

Finally, we lost two icons in the world of films and crime fiction this week. Elmore Leonard, whose adapted novels include Rum Punch (transformed into Jackie Brown by Quentin Tarantino) and Get Shorty, passed on August 20th at the age of 87. Legendary director Ted Post (Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, Magnum Force, Good Guys Wear Black) passed away on the same day at the age of 95. Our thoughts are with the families of these two incredibly prolific individuals.

Ambitious Reading List III

 

Long before I finished Please Kill Me, I was working on creating my next Ambitious Reading List. As I said at the end of that review, I’m a big fan of this much-smaller version of my larger to-read pile. Helps me stay focused while also keeping my interest not only in reading, but in crossing one book off the list and moving on to the next. Most of the books in this pile are newer to that pile, but there are a few that have been sitting around for a while too.

From the top, I picked up Robert Ludlum’s Bourne Identity at a flea market out of sheer interest based on the Matt Damon movies. I can’t keep the straight, but I’m curious to see how this book compares to the movies as well as an audiobook version of The Bourne Legacy that we finished recently and will review soon. I’ve also got an Elmore Leonard book called Riding The Rap in there. I bought this for $2 at a used book store based solely on Leonard’s name. Love that dude’s books. After that is Hunger Games, which my wife read and liked. My last ARL got in the way of me reading this over the summer, so I included it this time. I hope to compare it to the movie somewhere down the line too.

I actually started reading Michael Chabon’s Manhood For Amateurs around the time our daughter was born, or maybe just before. It’s a great book of essays I’m looking forward to finishing. I’ve been living a lie with Wizard of Oz, keeping it on my shelf since high school without every reading the whole thing. I plan on remedying that and also telling a pretty great story about the signature I have in that book. After that it’s Patton Oswalt’s Zombie Spaceship Wasteland which I got from the library for a list I was working on before my pal Rob Bricken moved from Topless Robot to io9. I have no idea where that list will lie, but that’s the first book on the pile I’m reading because I’m lousy at getting books back on time.

From there I’ve got the illustrated version of the unfilmed Harlan Ellison script based on Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot,Marc Eliot’s book about Cary Grant which I got because George Hamilton made him sound really interesting in his book and Peter Ackroyd’s retelling of Geoffry Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. I read parts of the original in college, but could barely get through it, man.

I got Raiders! thanks to a PR email letting me know about this book about the guys that made the 80s Raiders of the Lost Ark fan film. Then I’ve got It Happened In Manhattan, an oral history about the Big Apple by Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer and finally Harvey Pekar’s graphic novel adaptation of Studs Terkel’s classic look at careers, jobs and Americans Working. As you can see, it’s another eclectic mix. I’m pretty jazzed to be adding a few different formats (screenplays, essays, graphic novels) and also think that this one might go a little bit quicker than the previous one, assuming I still have time to read. The next few months are going to be pretty busy/crazy.

Anthology Rotation

At some point while burning through Stephen King’s gigantic Under The Dome, I thought it would be fun to switch gears for my next reading endeavor. It won’t be a tonal shift, necessarily, but more of a format one. Instead of hopping hack into the world of novels, I think I’ll tackle some of the short story and anthology books I’ve had filling up my to-read piles for ages. I don’t know about you guys, but I have a tendency to jump in and out of short story books at my leisure because I don’t feel that compulsion to finish them (unless there’s a theme or recurring characters or something along those lines).

Anyway, I dug through some of my boxes and assembled a pretty good line-up, if I do say so myself. I’ve got Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things (I read his Smoke & Mirrors over YEARS, but American Gods in a relatively short period of time), Elmore Leonard’s western collection Moment of Vengeance & Other Stories (big Leonard fan, but I’ve never read any of his westerns or any westerns for that matter), Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew (which I’ve delved into a bit), F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button & Other Stories (also dipped into a little) and Joe Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts (which I just got from Amazon).

The basic idea is to read a short story from each book and then move on to the next (to the right, in reference to the picture). I arranged them so the genres wouldn’t be back to back and will offer up a good deal of variety, though I’m sure the Gaiman book will be varied in and of itself. I’m excited because this not only will help me get through some books that have been sitting in piles for years, but also hopefully help me explore the short story genre better, something I haven’t really done since college and that was all stuff I was told to read. Anyone else forced to buy an anthology with their professor’s published story in it? Yeah, I’ve got a couple of those back home.

Anyway, it should be fun. I know with Christmas and New Year’s coming up, I won’t have a ton of time to read, so this will probably work out pretty well for me. It’ll be nice to feel some reading accomplishment while also attending to all my other duties. I think I’ll do a post on Fridays about what stories I read that week. That’s the plan at least. Anyone want to join me?

Quick Movie Review: Out Of Sight (1998)

I had seen Out Of Sight once in high school. We were all hanging out at my friend Charlie’s house and goofing off, so no one was really paying attention. I do remember the part where the big guy trips while walking of the stairs and shoots himself through the head. I laughed pretty hard and got a few funny looks, but what are you gonna do? I also remember making jokes about the soundtrack. It sounded like there was a 70s porno soundtrack band following the main characters just off screen. If I remember correctly, those jokes killed. Watching this movie again after about 10 years (sheesh) and having read a good number of Elmore Leonard books, I really enjoyed it. One thing I’ve noticed about the last two movies I’ve seen based on his movies (this one and Jackie Brown) is that they’re very long, maybe a little meandering and very interesting. I actually got really bored with Jackie Brown and turned it off, but Out Of Sight really nailed Leonard’s tone in my opinion. Plus, it stars George Clooney who’s one of my favorite actors and reminded me that Jennifer Lopez was actually a pretty good actor once upon a time. I guess I should mention the plot. Clooney breaks out of jail, kidnaps and falls for J Lo, lets her go and then goes to rob a house in Detroit. The idea is that the forced intimacy of being locked in a trunk together is what sped up their attraction to each other and lead them both to making questionable decisions when it comes to their professions (she’s a law enforcement agent of some sort and he’s a thief) which also lead to some pretty steamy scenes, though no nudity on either account. You also get the added bonus of performances by Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn, Ving Rhames, Albert Brooks and Michael Keaton who plays the same character as he does in Jackie Brown. I can see how some folks would think it’s slow (it IS 123 minutes long), but if you’ve got the attention span for a slow burn this Steven Soderbergh-directed flick might be right up your alley.