Sorry, kiddies. Labor Day has come and gone and that means summer is over and school is back in session. However, on the bright side, that means Halloween horror movies and high quality awards season fair isn’t far off.

In the here and now we’ve got our fair share of ups and downs. On the sunnier side there’s a new contest offering Lego builders the chance to have an original vehicle design featured in the upcoming movie and news of Neil Burger potentially directing the big screen version of Veronica Roth’s “Divergent.”

On the other hand, tough times continue for the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reboot, the leaked script continuing to get battered all over the Internet while word got out that Jose Padilha isn’t having much fun remaking “RoboCop.” But both of those tidbits pale in comparison to a devastating industry loss. Academy Award nominee Michael Clark Duncan recently lost his life after failing to recover from a recent heart attack.

We appreciate the good, take the bad in stride and remember icons lost as we roll into your weekly Movie News Cheat Sheet.

1. Must Be Five Best Original Song Nominees: “Man or Muppet” and “Real in Rio” are great, but it was just no fun having only two songs up for Best Original Song at last year’s Academy Awards. Unlike the other categories, Best Original Song required that there be a minimum of two songs up for the honor, however, now, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will choose the five highest-ranking songs as category nominees.

2. “RoboCop” Villain Swap: It’s never a good thing when a lead actor drops out of a production, but it does happen. However, when Hugh Laurie exited the “RoboCop” remake the other week, there was talk that it could possibly be due to serious script issues that were recently brought to light publically. While I always like to look on the bright side and Michael Keaton stepping in to take Laurie’s spot is certainly a plus, the quotes tracked down by Screen Crush of a friend of director Jose Padilha relaying Padilha’s thoughts on his experience working on the project are incredibly alarming. Fernando Meirelles told Cinemacom Rapadura that Padilha told him the project was “the worst experience,” and, verbatim, “This is hell here.” Meirelles did add that Padilha said the film will still be good, but he is suffering through the process. (via Variety)

3. Fan-Made Cars for Lego Movie: Ready to unleash your inner Lego builder? The directors of the upcoming Lego movie, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, need your help. They’re asking you to build an original vehicle, specifically something that was originally something else. Take the duo’s own example for instance – a hot dog cart that turns into an airplane. Submit your creation in either the kids or teen/adult section of the competition and you might win $1,000 and the chance to see your vehicle on the big screen right alongside the voices of Elizabeth Banks and Morgan Freeman. Yes, it’s true; according to Deadline, Banks and Freeman will join Chris Pratt and Will Arnett in the film.

4. Ryan Gosling Goes Behind the Lens: With a slew of prominent titles to his name, Ryan Gosling has got to know a thing or two about directing. According to Deadline, the actor is giving the job a go, stepping behind the lens for his own screenplay, “How to Catch a Monster.” THR calls it a fantasy noir and “modern fairy tale set against the surreal dreamscape of a vanishing city.” Christina Hendricks is already set to star as Billy, a single mother who’s sucked into an underworld while her son finds a road that leads to an underwater town. Filming is due to begin in the spring with Gosling producing via Phantasma, Marc Platt and Adam Siegel via Marc Platt Productions, and Michel Litvak and David Lancaster via Bold Films.

5. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” Script Problems Revealed: Nothing good comes from a leaked script, but a leaked script for a high profile project that happens to be terrible is detrimental. TMNT, NOT TANT got a hold of a copy of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reboot script and their reaction is quite brutal. The review has since been taken down due to “legal reasons,” but reports are still floating around on the web like this one on Cinema Blend that points out the issue that, this time around, the turtles are of a special race of turtles that battle Colonel Schrader. Yup, that’s Colonel Schrader. In response to the TMNT, NOT TANT review, Michael Bay posted on his website, “The leaked script for Ninja Turtles that different sites continue to comment on was written well before I, or anyone at Platinum Dunes, was involved with the project.” Fingers crossed that’s truly the case.

6. Neil Burger for “Divergent:” Of all the YA to film adaptations out there, this is one I’ve got particularly high hopes for. The Veronica Roth book takes place in a world where society is divided up into five factions each of which puts prominence on a different virtue. The story focuses on 16-year-old Beatrice Prior and kicks off just as she’s about to pick which path to take. As reported by Variety, Summit Entertainment is in early talks with Neil Burger to direct with hopes of kicking off production in March for a first quarter 2014 release. (via Variety)

7. Putting the Breaks on “Motor City:” Just three weeks before rolling into production, the Albert Hughes revenge drama “Motor City” was shut down. According to Deadline, the crew of the Gerard Butler, Mickey Rourke and Adrien Brody starrer was simply told to go home. Apparently the film’s backers, Emmett/Furla Films, Envision Entertainment and Foresight Entertainment, just realized that the deadline set by Warner Bros wouldn’t give them enough time to complete post-production. “Motor City” was due to begin shooting on September 17th with a March 31st delivery date, which would only give the filmmakers 12 weeks for post. Considering a good portion of the movie’s foreign distribution deals were made with the Warner Bros release in mind, “Motor City” couldn’t get bonded and, therefore, couldn’t go into production.

8. RIP Michael Clarke Duncan: After never having fully recovered from a recent heart attack, 54-year-old actor Michael Clarke Duncan passed away. A ditch digger turned Academy Award nominee, Duncan won moviegoers over with an unforgettable performance in “The Green Mile.” As someone who grew up watching “Armageddon” on repeat, I’ve got a soft spot for his character Bear, but Duncan has dozens of credits to his name, many of which highlight his iconic hulking stature. sends thoughts and prayers to Duncan’s family and friends. (via The LA Times)

9. Trailers: “The To Do List,” “The Company You Keep,” “Love and Honor:” Valentine’s Day arrives early with the new red band trailer for “The To Do List.” As stated by the film’s star, Aubrey Plaza, this is no typical Valentine’s Day movie and the material that follows certainly proves it, the film coming across like a raunchier version of “Can’t Hardly Wait.” We switch gears with the new trailer for the Toronto International Film Festival entry “The Company You Keep.” Robert Redford stars as a civil rights lawyer at risk of having his true identity exposed in what looks to be a wildly suspenseful political thriller. We get our romance back on with the trailer for the Liam Hemsworth starrer “Love and Honor.” If the Nicholas Sparks-esque love story is your thing, this one will likely hit the spot, but for the rest, there doesn’t seem to be enough meat to the story to make it more than a mushy romance between Hollywood heartthrobs.

10. Box Office: Even with the extra long weekend, as expected, box office earnings were rather soft. Considering it took just $14 million to make, “The Possession’s” $21.3 million four-day weekend start isn’t all that bad. On the other hand, even with Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and more on the roster, “Lawless” only managed to earn $13 million over the holiday weekend with a mere $4,501 per theater average. “The Expendables 2” dropped just 16.6% courtesy of the additional day and took another $11.2 million to the bank while “The Bourne Legacy” held on strong for a $9.4 million fourth weekend out. “ParaNorman” enjoyed a particularly strong third weekend, losing just 38.7% of its weekend two profits when looking at the three-day weekend and gaining 2.5% when switching to its four-day earnings, a total of $8.9 million. (via Box Office Mojo)

By Perri Nemiroff

Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile
Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile

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,, Shockya, and MTV's Movies Blog.

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