With awards season in full swing, we’re still reveling in the past, celebrating all the best 2012 had to offer, but now that the Sundance Film Festival is under way, it’s time to look to the future and get a taste of what we could expect from the indie filmmaking front.

Meanwhile, after the success of “Mama,” Guillermo Del Toro is busy putting the pieces together for his next creeper, “Crimson Peak,” while Paramount took a cue from a certain Lance Armstrong interview and snatched up the rights to the yet-to-be-written “Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong.”

Ready for all the details on those stories, the possible “Gremlins” reboot, “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” and more? It’s all coming your way in the weekly Movie News Cheat Sheet.

1. Sundance So Far: We’re only four days into the Sundance Film Festival and reviews for some highly anticipated new features are already pouring in. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s writing-directing debut, “Don Jon’s Addiction,” got a little love from Collider, the outlet highlighting, “Joseph Gordon-Levitt knows his character inside and out, backwards and forwards, and finds the sweet, vulnerable heart of a guy who keeps Kleenex in business.” However, Cinema Blend let’s JGL have it, writing, “This first-time effort is simultaneously banal and offensive, and we should all do him the favor of letting him move on quickly to a story that’s actually worth telling.” We’ve also got the early word on Michael Cera’s latest, “Crystal Fairy,” The Guardian dubbing Cera’s work “one of his best performances” while HitFix notes that while the film may never go on to become a commercial success, it’s prime festival material – “Something small, something sincere, something that feels like a film only this filmmaker could have or would have made.” Geek Tyrant had the chance to catch James Ponsoldt’s “The Spectacular Now,” calling it “a heavy movie, but one that is enjoyable to watch,” suggesting it might be tough to market. Slash Film had a similar take, noting the R rating will cut off the natural teen audience, but also gushed over the material, writing, “It has heart, many laughs, story twists that will jolt you from your seat, and most importantly, the film speaks to a deep truth.” As for “Kill Your Darlings,” The Playlist branded it with a C+ and describes it as, “Fairly interesting and relatively compelling, but far from an enlightening or deep story into the hearts and minds of these artists who would define a generation” while Screen Daily warns, “The period piece probably won’t extend beyond art houses in the US, even with Daniel Radcliffe as a callow Ginsberg and a dream team supporting cast. This is not a film for most of the multiplex ‘Harry Potter’ public.”

2. “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” to Open SXSW: Even though we’ve still barely cracked the surface at Sundance, things are already heating up over at SXSW. The festival just announced that “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” will get the honor of opening the event while Joe Swanberg’s “Drinking Buddies,” Alex Winter’s Napster documentary, “Downloaded,” and the “Evil Dead” reboot will all celebrate world premieres, while “Spring Breakers” enjoys its US debut. SXSW 2013 will also feature a special event called “A Conversation with Matthew McConaughey” as well as “Bates Motel: Story to Screen with Carlton Cuse” during which the show’s executive producer will take part in a Q&A focusing on how he brought the “Psycho” prequel to life on A&E. (via SXSW)

3. Emma Stone and Charlie Hunnam for “Crimson Peak:” Guillermo Del Toro’s got another creepy one in the works and he’s circling some big talent to hurl into the middle of the madness. Not much in the way of plot details just yet, but “Crimson Peak” is being described as a haunted house thriller, something Del Toro once called “a Gothic romance with ghosts” and “dark and stormy and wind-swept.” Whatever it is, it’s got to be good because the project’s reeled in Emma Stone as well as Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” star Charlie Hunnam. According to Variety, both are currently in negotiations to lead the project and should their deals go through, they’ll be on set in February 2014.

4. Lance Armstrong Scandal – The Movie: Step one is admitting you have a problem. Step two is making a movie about it. As expected, Deadline is reporting that Paramount Pictures in conjunction with Bad Robot’s JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk locked the rights to “Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong.” The book hasn’t even been written yet; it’s only in the proposal stage, but it’s pretty obvious where sports reporter-turned-author Juliet Macur will take this one and I’d like to bet it veers quite a bit from the tone of that trashed Sony Pictures project that was going to feature Jake Gyllenhaal as the formerly famed and celebrated cyclist.

5. “Gremlins” Reboot: And so the reboot craze continues. Via Vulture, Warner Bros. is looking to bring back an 80s favorite, “Gremlins.” The studio is currently in negotiations with Amblin Entertainment for the go-ahead, but apparently such negotiations have taken place numerous times in the past, consistently breaking down due to Steven Spielberg’s hefty price tag. Vulture even goes as far to warn, “Don’t hold your breath.”

6. First Taste of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2:” Not necessarily newsworthy, but a ton of fun to look at – USA Today has our very first look at Sony Pictures Animation’s “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” and the image is packed with curiously adorable food creatures. The outlet’s got one big image and breaks it down by each animal including the Bananostrich, Flamango, Hippotatomus and my personal favorite, the Sasquash. Get a look at the whole gang for yourself right here.

7. Another Spin in the “Hot Tub Time Machine:” “Hot Tub Time Machine” may have been a forgettable entry at the box office, only going on to earn a total of $50.3 million at the domestic box office, but MGM is eager to give it another spin. According to THR, the studio is in the early stages of planning a sequel or, more specifically, “exploratory talks” with Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Clark Duke. The first film’s director, Steve Pink, is in the mix as well and might even pen the script with Corddry, but, so far, John Cusack isn’t involved at all. With the project in such a fragile state there’s a good chance things could come crashing down, but if “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” does end up with a green light, MGM will likely put it on the fast track.

8. Bye Bye “Django” Action Figures: After Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network called for a boycott, Weinstein Co. ceded and requested that NECA cease manufacturing the “Django Unchained” action figure line. The toymaker had 8-inch versions of Django, Dr. King Schultz, Calvin Candie, Stephen and Broomhilda ready for the market, but when organizations like the National Action Network and Project Islamic Hope deemed the toys inappropriate for children, the director of the latter, Najee Ali, calling them, “a slap in the face of our ancestors,” Weinstein got in touch with NECA to put the issue to rest and also released this statement: “In light of the reaction to the ‘Django Unchained’ action figures, we are removing them from distribution. We have tremendous respect for the audience and it was never our intent to offend anyone.” However, the company also highlighted that the dolls weren’t meant for young children, rather for those 17-years-old and up, which makes quite a bit of sense as the movie certainly earned its hard R rating. (the LA Times)

9. Trailers: “Red 2,” “Spring Breakers,” “Mud:” Our favorite old school action heroes are back! The “Red 2” trailer has arrived and while it’s mainly that same shtick, watching a heavily armed and destructive Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren take out the enemy is still highly enjoyable. We warp back to the college years with the new trailer for “Spring Breakers.” It shows what happens when four friends resort to desperate measures to fund their spring break trip. We’ve got booze, drugs, bikinis, guns and all the most outrageous behavior you can imagine set to the booming tune of prime party music. You want to roll your eyes because all of this looks pretty nuts, but what’s wrong with going off the rails every now and then? On the more serious side we’ve got the trailer for Jeff Nichols’ Sundance entry, the Matthew McConaughey-starrer, “Mud.” The trailer is an enthralling and gritty watch so it’s no wonder the film is hitting it off with festival audiences so far.

10. Box Office: It’s Jessica Chastain for the win – twice! Not only did “Mama” kick things off far stronger than expected with a stellar $28.1 million, but “Zero Dark Thirty” took the #2 spot, dropping just 28% to take another $17.6 million to the bank. As expected, “Silver Linings Playbook” enjoyed quite the boost thanks to an additional 2,523 theaters, but it also maintained surprisingly well as far as its per theater average goes, only dropping from $6,196 to $4,499 even with all those extra locations for an $11.4 million 10th weekend out. “Gangster Squad” managed to hold on to about 55% of its opening weekend profits, but considering that weekend one number wasn’t all that high, it barely held off newcomer “Broken City” for the 4th spot, “Gangster Squad” taking $9.1 million and “Broken City” $9 million. Then again, a film with a cast like “Broken City’s” shouldn’t even be opening in the 4th spot, let alone #5. However, it did fare much better than the weekend’s third new addition, “The Last Stand,” which suffered a dismal start, barely cracking the top ten with $6.3 million. (via Box Office Mojo)

By Perri Nemiroff

First Look at Cloud with a Chance of Meatballs 2
First Look at Cloud with a Chance of Meatballs 2

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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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