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Filmism.net Dispatch December 6, 2009

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There was a very cool straight-to-video movie some years back called Arena, about an interstellar boxing tournament where different species duke it out for fame and glory. I can only hope the just announced Steven Spielberg movie starring Hugh Jackman about robot boxers is as much fun. Sounds like all it's missing is zombies, ninjas and penguins.

Spielberg might have signed on to it knowing he was going to pull out of the Harvey remake, which we talked about a few weeks back. Apparently his favoured Elwood P Dowd Tom Hanks had no interest in the project and second choice Robert Downey Jr wanted changes to the script before the whole thing fell in a heap.

Sequel and remake news continues to come at a rate of knots, and as usual only a couple of announcements have grabbed my interest. One is a remake of 1978 rape revenge exploitation shocker I Spit On Your Grave . After a brief stint with an R (18) rating in Australia in the late 80s, it was banned again before being released completely uncut in 2004. Such censor hang-wringing and flip-flopping could only be about a movie with some truly disturbing contents, something this film certainly has. How any Hollywood producer will remake something so narrowly targeted is beyond me - the whole m.o. of Hollywood movies is to go broad. Maybe this time the four thugs will just squirt the heroine/victim with water pistols.

Stephen King's apparently considering a sequel to The Shining to explore how young Danny Torrance has made it through life, but in the coolest remake news, Disney are retooling The Black Hole, a film that's got to be amongst the five best sci-fi experiences I had as a kid.

After the little seen and much-reviled Blair Witch sequel Book of Shadows, original creators Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez are lining up to do the second 'official' sequel themselves. As I've said before, they've either spent the ten years since the original counting their money or have had the worst luck of any filmmakers as they've been completely MIA apart from Myrick's ace thriller The Objective.

In business news, General Electric has upped its media holdings, sharing the bill with US internet provider Comcast to buy Vivendi's stake in NBC/Universal. Tread carefully guys and remember AOL TimeWarner.

Modern day book burning is alive and well as the Indonesian government have banned Robert Connolly's Balibo, and PT Anderson's next film's been announced. He'll be directing thesping titan Phillip Seymour Hoffman in a story about a guy who starts his own religion in the 1950s. They're promising it's not a satire on that other famous religion that was founded in the 1950s, but I'll bet Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley and John Travolta don't end up with roles. I also hope it's better than The Profit.

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