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Film intelligence: Reboots and resurrections

Every week there are dozens of film news stories. Every week, we read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: a franchise won’t be returning to the screen but a controversial director will, plus a new tablet and a new MASTER.

1. Twilight of the TWILIGHT

This fall’s THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2 wraps up the immensely popular teen vampire-werewolf-inexplicably-sullen-young-woman soap opera. But another soap opera may be brewing behind the scenes. Rumors began swirling this week that Lionsgate, parent company of Summit Entertainment, who produce the TWILIGHT films, was already considering a reboot of the franchise less than six months before the series even ends. Moving quickly to shoot down the speculation while covertly testing the waters to see if people might actually want a reboot, Lionsgate/Summit went into action. “We are not remaking TWILIGHT,” said Summit co-chairman Rob Friedman. “We will happily support Stephanie Meyer if she decides to proceed in any way. But this will be the last one unless that should change.” Translation: “We are not making more TWILIGHT movies (but we really really want to, so please Stephanie Meyer, pretty pretty please with sugar on top, please write more books or even a short story, or hell just jot down some random words on a cocktail napkin and sell it to us).” That, my friends, is how you issue a non-denial denial. [ScreenCrush]

2. Surface Energy

Tablets are the hot item of the technology sector; people love to use them for travel, or reading, or watching movies (and for the Jewish grandmothers out there: no, people are not watching movies on an aspirin–it’s like a handheld computer). So far, the tablet market is completely dominated by Apple and their iPad, but this week Microsoft announced their first serious competing product: the Surface, which boasts a 10.6 inch display and a couple of clever features that the iPad doesn’t have, including a built-in kickstand, making it easy to prop it up for viewing on a table or desk, and two different kinds of magnetic covers that you can type on like a full external keyboard. That’s damn clever — Apple clever, if you ask me. But then again, I make old lady Tylenol jokes, so my definition of “clever” might not be the same as yours. Though Microsoft hasn’t announced Surface’s pricing or release date yet, experts expect the first model should be available in time for Christmas. [The Verge]

3. Prepare to Join the Alliance

Remember the Columbia House Record Club? The subscription music service where you’d get a whole bunch of CDs or tapes for like a penny and then they’d automatically send you a new album every month? The model has been used before for movies — the lovely folks at Oscilloscope Labs have their Circle of Trust — but now the Alamo Drafthouse, the Texas-based theater and distribution chain known for letting you booze and eat while you watch movies (and never, ever talk) is getting into the act with their Drafthouse Alliance program. 125 bones gets you either the DVD or Blu-ray of THE FP or BULLHEAD or an upcoming Drafthouse Films release, plus the next nine films they distribute, plus their soundtracks, plus digital downloads, plus exclusive goodies. A good deal and a good way for people to support eclectic indie film (and never, ever talking during movies). [/Film]

4. Oh Jeez…

From the director of BASIC INSTINCT and SHOWGIRLS comes… Jesus Christ? Jesus, can that be right? Yes, yes it can. After more than a decade of research (which culminated in the publication of a book on the subject), Paul Verhoeven is moving ahead with a film of the passion of the life of Christ. Based on Verhoeven’s book, and a screenplay by PULP FICTION co-writer Roger Avary, the film will put forward any number of controversial theories about Jesus, including the possibility that he was “a radical prophet who performed exorcisms” and that he was “the product of his mother being raped by a Roman soldier.” Oh yeah, that won’t upset Christian fundamentalists in the slightest! Something tells me Verhoeven is about to be crucified. [Deadline]

5. THE MASTER Does In Fact Approve

Anticipation continues to build for Paul Thomas Anderson’s new movie THE MASTER, the BOOGIE NIGHTS director’s first film since 2007′s THERE WILL BE BLOOD. The project, which was on, then off, then on again, is purportedly Anderson’s roman Ă  clef about science-fiction writer and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard — but the marketing materials so far have played intriguingly coy with the details. That includes the awesome new trailer released this week, which gives us our first glimpse of the title character played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, but doesn’t get anywhere near describing the plot. All we know is Hoffman is involved in some sort of relationship with a man played by Joaquin Phoenix (synopses online describe him as Hoffman’s right-hand man), and that everything is supported by an eerie ambient noise score by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood (who also scored THERE WILL BE BLOOD). Frankly, this trailer could be ninety seconds of the words “The New Film By P.T. Anderson” on a black screen and it would have done its job. The fact that it’s actually a masterful little mystery is a nice bonus. THE MASTER opens in limited release on October 12th. [Collider]