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Article image for JIM’S MOVIE CHEAT SHEET – 24 March




The threat that Paramount intended to release yet another Terminator film this year has apparently disappeared, along with its enthusiasm to continue the series. The New York Daily News reports an unnamed source – yes, one of those – claiming the end has come  for the cyborg-vs-human saga that began with Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s starring role in James Cameron’s 1984 sci-fi thriller.

Hmm. Too good ot be true? Most likely. All such pronouncements should always be taken with a large grain of salt. As awful as 2015’s Terminator: Genisys was, it still managed a global take of $440 million, thanks largely to Hollywood’s newest best friend, the Chinese movie goer. So the brand still has big currency.

Also, Cameron gets back the Terminator rights in 2019 (which he sold in 1984 to secure his position on the film), and even though he’ll be busy with a slew of Avatar sequels (four are planned) he might well commission another director to take charge of a rebooted Terminator series.

Too many other franchises have been revived to say that the series is ‘terminated’. More accurate to say it’s been ‘retired’, with the possibility of renewal.  



In a lovely example of striking while the iron is hot, director Garth Davis is rewarding those fans of Lion who have helped make it a runaway hit – locally its $27.7m haul has made it one of the top five Aussie films of all time; globally its take is now nudghing $130m – by re-releasing it with another eight minutes of footage. A thoughtful treat for those heading back for a second serve.



Ben Stiller had joined hands with Amazon to produce a mini-series based on the Reagan-era Iran-Contra scandal of Oliver North, who brokered deals to sell arms to Iran in exchange for hostages between 1985 and 1987. As relayed by Variety, Ollie is set to be played by Colin Farrell, who does bear a resemblance to the former marine, with Yorgos Lanthimos, who worked with him on Lobster, to direct.

The event is largely unknown to Gen Y and Millennials who are likely to be shocked and enthralled by the tale of how one man faced down a televised hearing to clear his name. Given the ascent of Donald Trump, it’s bound to be even more controversial than it would otherwise have been given how North was seen as a criminal by some,  a patriot by others.



Straight from the Political Correctness Has Gone Too Far Again Department comes this nugget.

Appearing on the Jimmy Kimmel talk show, comedian Tim Allen proudly spoke of his attendance at Donald Trump’s inauguration. A well-known Republican, Allen took light-hearted umbridge to Kimmel’s apparently derisory tone. 

‘I’m not attacking you!’ Kimmel protested.

Explained Allen: ‘You’ve gotta be real careful around here, you get beat up if don’t believe what everybody believes. This is like ’30s Germany. I don’t know what happened. If you’re not part of ‘the group’…’You know what we believe is right’. I go, ‘Well, I might have a problem with that.’ I?m a comedian, I like going on both sides.’

Predictably, the reference to Nazi Germany got a shrill reaction, courtesy of the Anne Frank Centre for Mutual Respect. Its executive director, Steven Goldstein, who did not seem to appreciate – or, indeed, respect – Allen’s levity, his job as a comedian or the comedy convention of exaggeration, began a fiery statement with: ‘No one in Hollywood today is subjecting you or anyone else to what the Nazis imposed on Jews in the 1930s…’ before going on to demand that Allen apologize ‘to the Jewish people and, to be sure, the other peoples also targeted by the Nazis.’

Thus far Allen has not done so.



Although Julius Avery’s nifty 2014 action crime thriller Son of a Gun wasn’t seen by a lot of people, it was apparently seen by the right people. Ridley Scott loved the film so got Avery to direct The King of L.A. Now, Avery is to turn the cogs on Overlord, a supernatural film set on the eve of D-Day. It is being produced by JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot with Billy Ray (Captain Phillips, The Hunger Games, Shattered Glass) doing the script. Talk about landing on your feet.



After an apparently fierce bidding war, Universal has bagged The Voyage of Dr Dolittle, with Robert Downey Jr set to play the guy who could talk and sing to the animals. Stephen Gaghan (Gold) is set to direct a film that is aiming for the family film franchise goldmine. Though Fox enjoyed success with the Eddie Murphy film series, the 1967 film with Rex Harrison was a mega-turkey, and produced mountains of unsold movie merchandise. The studio was so burnt by the experience, they didn’t see any future in movie merchandise.  That’s why George Lucas was able to pick up the merchandise rights for Star Wars for a song.



The biggest new release of the week was the kid’s film Peppa Pig My First Cinema Experience: Peppa’s Australian Holiday (#4), which took a neat $626,563 on 251 screens across its first weekend, proving that it doesn’t matter if you have a clumsy title, it’s branding that counts. The thriller A Cure for Wellness (#6) didn’t thrill too many people, taking an anemic $270,792 on 153, its per-screen average of $1770 being about half the pass mark. The documentary The Eagle Huntress (#15) did well in limited release, taking $73,320 on 23.

The top three slots remained locked: Kong: Skull Island still rules, taking another $2.4m on 395 screens for a second weekend total of $7.3m; in its third weekend Logan (#2) earned $2.2m on 416 for a haul of just on $15m; and Hidden Figures continues to enjoy great word-of-mouth, taking another $817,189 on 314 screens for a fifth weekend total of $10.6m.