I guess this is really the first Movie News Cheat Sheet of the year. Sure, we ran one on January 1st, but considering that edition was packed with the top stories of 2011, this is your first taste of the best of the best in movie news for 2012.

There’s a couple big casting updates to report from Joel Edgerton signing on to lead Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden feature to Spike Lee losing another villain option for his remake of Oldboy. Then, of course, awards season nominations continue to come in and this time around, it’s the Writers Guild and Producers Guild pinpointing the finest films of last year.

We’ve got some particularly shocking tidbits on the menu, too, including the story of a man who thought Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked would make for the perfect complement to his striptease and the fact that, despite dismal reviews, The Devil Inside absolutely demolished the box office.

Now that the holidays are long gone, ready for your first hard working workweek of 2012? Here’s some of the best in movie news to take with you back to the office.

1. First Look at Lovelace: Even though directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman continue to fill the cast of Lovelace, filming is underway and the duo opted to share a little bit of what they’ve come up with. EW.com has the very first image of Peter Sarsgaard and Amanda Seyfried as Chuck Traynor and Linda Lovelace. Clearly the images come from a scene showing off the couple’s better days, but eventually, not only did Traynor insist Lovelace embark on a porn career, but he beat and threatened her, too. The cast is packed with top-notch talent including Sharon Stone, Juno Temple, Wes Bentley, Hank Azaria, Robert Patrick, Bobby Cannavale, and Chris Noth in addition to Demi Moore, Adam Brody and Eric Roberts all of whom recently signed on.

2. Another No for Spike Lee’s Oldboy: Will Spike Lee ever find his Oldboy villain? Or perhaps the better question is, is the new Oldboy script worth an in-demand villain? First it was all about Christian Bale, but then Colin Firth was offered the role and turned it down after which Lee went to Clive Owen who, according to Twitch, decided not to join the cast either. Sure, actors turn down parts all the time, but also suggesting that Oldboy is hitting some choppy seas is that Variety reports that shooting is being pushed backed, too. Jeff Sneider’s Tweet does blame the delay on Josh Brolin’s Men in Black 3 commitments, but all of the negative news certainly makes me wonder.

3. Writers Guild and Producers Guild Nominations: It’s that time of year again and the award season nominations continue to pour in. Over at the Writers Guild, members are all about The Descendants, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Help, Hugo and Moneyball for Best Adapted Screenplay while Bridesmaids, 50/50, Midnight in Paris, Win Win and Young Adult are vying for the Best Original Screenplay honor. Meanwhile, over at the Producers Guild, members nominated The Artist, Bridesmaids, The Descendants, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Help, Hugo, The Ides of March, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball and War Horse for Best Picture. Clearly, according to my top ten, if I had a say, I’d pick War Horse for Best Picture and then, over at the WGA side of things, Young Adult for Best Original Screenplay and The Help for Best Adapted Screenplay. Think they’ll let me join?

4. Man Strips During Chipwrecked: Chicago parents thought they were taking their children for a wholesome movie going experience, but they got a little something extra with their Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked – they got a striptease. Instead of sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the show, 34-year-old Edward Brown put on an X-rated show of his own, “stripping off his clothes and parading his naked body inside the movie theater.” As reported by THR, when police got to the scene, Brown was seated in the front row, completely naked, watching the movie. Brown was arrested and charged with sexual exploitation of a child and misdemeanor disorderly conduct while the other moviegoers got refund vouchers. Brown’s excuse? A woman said she’d have sex with him and give him drugs if he watched from the front row naked. For the sake of the professionalism of this article, I’ll keep my jokes to myself.

5. Kathryn Bigelow Gets Joel Edgerton and Maybe More: And here comes Kathryn Bigelow’s untitled Osama bin Laden film down the casting pipeline. Even though the project is facing some opposition in Washington, Bigelow locked Joel Edgerton to star in the piece alongside Chris Pratt and Jason Clarke, which focuses on the Navy SEAL team that tracked and killed bin Laden. According to Variety, there are still a handful of roles up for grabs including the female reporter who was embedded with the SEAL team. However, that might not be the case for long as Deadline’s reporting that Jessica Chastain is circling the project and while the article doesn’t name a specific role, I’d like to bet that that’s the one. But, there’s still a chance Chastain could pass on this to take on Universal’s Oblivion with Tom Cruise instead. Mark Strong and Edgar Ramirez are currently circling Bigelow’s film as well.

6. More Paranormal Activity on the Way: Oh, please. You knew this was coming. Paranormal Activity 4 was pretty much a sure thing after the third film in the series went on to accumulate $104 million domestically on a mere $5 million budget, but the official announcement just came in the other day, setting Paranormal Activity 4 for an October 19th, 2012 release and naming Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman the men behind the lens yet again. Halloween III is due to arrive on October 26th, but the Paranormal Activity films – the second and third at least – are known for their monstrous openings, and considering it’ll only go up against Gangster Squad and The Wedding on the 19th, it should reel that same audience right back in. (via Shock Till You Drop and Deadline)

7. Benedict Cumberbatch Gets Evil for Star Trek 2: All hail Benedict Cumberbatch! Sure, the guy’s been around for quite a while, but now he’s got two award contenders, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy and War Horse, as well as the highly anticipated The Hobbit and now Start Trek 2, too. As reported by Variety, Cumberbatch just signed on the dotted line to portray the villain in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek sequel. Of course that means Edgar Ramirez is out, but at least he might have Kathryn Bigelow’s movie instead. The thing is, now that Ramirez is long gone and Cumberbatch is in, many are speculating that Khan won’t be the lead villain. Sure Khan being the main baddie was never confirmed to begin with, but now, as per Cumberbatch’s casting, those rumors have gravitated away from what was starting to seem like a sure thing.

8. Kristen Wigg vs. Bridesmaids 2: With the critical and financial success of Bridesmaids, it’s no wonder everyone’s talking sequel. Well, not Kristen Wiig and her Bridesmaids co-writer Annie Mumolo. Wiig told THR, “Annie and I aren’t planning a sequel. We are writing something else.” The article suggests this might have something to do with the cast’s $100,000 bonus, which is on the low side considering the film grossed $288 million worldwide. Even after Universal chief Ron Meyer offered Wigg an eight-figure salary, Wiig still declined, leaving Universal to go on without her. A Universal rep explained, “We are talking to filmmakers now about concepts, and if the right one emerges, we’ll move forward.” But that begs the question; will the Bridesmaids fans move forward, too? Personally, even if the studio manages to recruit director Paul Feig and the rest of the ensemble, I might be hesitant to double dip with Wiig missing. According to “a source close to the situation,” producer Judd Apatow might not even move forward with a sequel sans Wigg and Mumolo.

9. Trailers: ATM, Silent House, The Academy Awards: Ever since the release of Buried, I’ve had my eye on Chris Sparling’s follow up and, sure enough, ATM looks to be another claustrophobic thrill ride from the writer. The piece stars Alice Eve, Josh Peck and Brian Geraghty as a trio of friends who head to an ATM before a night out only to find themselves trapped inside by a killer. Equally as creepy is the trailer for the Elizabeth Olsen-starrer Silent House. The film takes place in real time, chronicling what happens when a young woman and her father are tormented inside their lakeside retreat. On the lighter side, we’ve got the “Off the Grid” trailer for the upcoming Academy Awards. The bit features Josh Duhamel and Megan Fox on a search for the ceremony’s host and, sure enough, their mission lands them in the lair of none other than Billy Crystal.

10. Box Office: So far so good for Paramount in 2012. Even after The Devil Inside took a whipping from critics, the film went on to take in an incredible $34.5 million at the box office. And, making this an even better weekend for Paramount, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol dropped a mere 30% to take another $20.5 million to the bank. Even beyond Paramount, the box office faired pretty well, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows only losing 33% for another $14.1 million and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo dropping just 24% for a week three total of $11.3 million. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked is still holding on strong, getting another $9.5 million, bringing its domestic grand total to $111.6 million. (via BoxOffice.com)

By Perri Nemiroff

First Image from Lovelace
First Image from Lovelace

By Perri Nemiroff

Film producer and director best known for her work in movies such as FaceTime, Trevor, and The Professor. She has worked as an online movie blogger and reporter for sites such as CinemaBlend.com, ComingSoon.net, Shockya, and MTV's Movies Blog.

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