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`TERMINATOR' SERIES WASN'T TERMINAL AFTER ALL

Fans of James Cameron keep asking when we'll see "Spider-Man," which is a pet project the filmmaker has been trying to get off the ground for years now.

But for some reason, which has never been reasonably explained in any Cameron interview I've come across, the controversial filmmaker hasn't been able to clear the rights for a feature film about Stan Lee's web-spinning superhero comic-book character, and the project is once again on the back burner.So what is the man who gave us "Aliens," the "Terminator" flicks and "True Lies" up to these days?

Well, he has a $60 million film in release right now . . . but it's only playing in one location - Universal Studios Florida.

That would be "Terminator 2 3-D: Battle Across Time," a 12-minute sequel, which reunites Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong and Robert Patrick for a thrill ride, complete with on-stage stunt doubles performing around the film itself.

Aside from the live-action theme-park elements, "T2 3-D" is a legitimate sequel, according to the industry trade-paper Variety. Reviewing it in the "film reviews" section, critic Joe Leydon called the 3-D cinematography and special effects "nothing short of astonishing," and singled out "a T-1,000,000, computer-animated, morphing mega-monster that resembles a surly termite" as a highlight.

Most interesting to movie fans, however, is that Cameron was able to get his quartet of stars back together, since each complained loudly after completing the 1991 feature "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" that working with perfectionist Cameron was too taxing - and that there would never be a "Terminator 3."

Apparently, they've had a change of heart.

According to a recent issue of People magazine, the reunion has prompted Cameron to begin writing a script for a "Terminator 3" feature, and cast-members say they are ready to be wooed back.

Schwarzenegger, who received $1 million for 14 days work on the 3-D short, is quoted in People as saying, "The scars have healed, and now they're all saying, `I love to work with Cameron.' "

But don't look for "T3" for a couple of years, as Cameron is currently in the throes of shooting his latest action epic, "Titanic," based on his own screenplay about the historical cruise ship disaster and a parallel modern-day story.

Apparently, "The Abyss" didn't sour Cameron on water-logged epics.

Of course, it may have helped that "Titanic," scheduled for release next summer, has no major stars in the cast. Instead, two applauded up-and-comers have the leads - Leonardo DiCaprio, who received a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," and Kate Winslet, nominated as best supporting actress for "Sense and Sensibility."

To understate, DiCaprio and Winslet were recruited for considerably less money than Cameron will have to promise Schwarz-enegger and company for "T3."

- HAVE YOU SEEN THAT trailer (theatrical preview) for Tom Arnold's latest comedy, "The Stupids"?

Directed by John Landis ("National Lampoon's Animal House," "The Blues Brothers," "Coming to America"), the film is based on a series of children's books about Mr. and Mrs. Stupid, their children Buster and Petunia and their dog, whose name is "Kitty."

Anyway, during the trailer, after dozens of quick-cut slapstick moments, there's a closeup of the former Mr. Roseanne, and the narrator announces in the usual bold, hyperbolic tone:

"Tom Arnold is Stupid!"

Well, duh.

- "DRAGONHEART" HAS A great dragon (and Sean Connery's vocal interpretation is terrific), but the rest of the film is lamentably lame.

Especially its sense of humor.

In an early scene one character says to another, "The peasants are revolting." The second character replies, "They've always been revolting - but now they're rebelling."

OK, be honest guys - did Mel Brooks have a hand in the screenplay?

- DID YOU KNOW THAT Oklahoma sells only Pepsi?

That's right, you can't get a Coke in Oklahoma!

At least that's the implication of a serious moment in "Twister."

Remember that scene where Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton determine that those little balls they want to send up into a tornado funnel need to be weighted down - so they tell their associates to gather up all the aluminum soda cans they can find, cut them up and tie the pieces to the balls?

And did you notice that the entire batch - all those dozens of soda containers - are Pepsi cans?

There are only two possible explanations: Either Coca-Cola has been banned from Oklahoma or Pepsi paid an enormous product-placement fee.

And only a cynic would suspect the latter.

- ALEC BALDWIN'S successful courtroom run, in defense of his clash with an aggressive, video-camera-wielding fan, has only raised the level of animosity between celebrities and tabloid photographers.

But the Cannes Film Festival, which wrapped last week, is hardly an invasive arena, and so it seems odd that it was there, of all places, that Liv Tyler (star of the upcoming "Stealing Beauty") coined a new nickname for the sleazoid paparazzi, one that will doubtless be adopted by celebs who are weary of being stalked.

She called them "papanazis."

- QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Paul Hogan, discussing his latest movie, "Flipper":

"Well, ya' know, mate, it's actually Lassie in the water, isn't it?"

- QUOTE OF THE WEEK II: Peter Graves, who played team-leader Jim Phelps as a stalwart patriot in the "Mission: Impossible" television series, discussing the fact that Phelps is the villain in the new big-screen version:

"That's Hollywood, nothing you can do about it; next case. (But) I'd rather they'd called him Joe Smith."

- QUOTE OF THE WEEK III: Teri Hatcher, star of TV's hit series "Lois & Clark," and a co-star in the new mystery-thriller "Heaven's Prisoners," in which she is first seen nude on a balcony:

"In this movie, I felt the nudity was important to this woman; I felt it said a lot about her psyche instantly that no dialogue would ever be able to do. It nailed her so specifically, and I hope audiences see it that way, rather than just seeing Teri Hatcher naked."