Weekly film recap: Steve Martin with birds, Hugh Jackman with Kate Winslet

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The Independent Culture

The week's film announcements include an assortment of unexpected projects including Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson as a trio of bird-watchers, Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman switching lives, and a collection of actors and directors in collaboration.

The Big Year
Oscars' co-host Steve Martin, last seen in It's Complicated, is looking to join Jack Black and Owen Wilson in the The Big Year, a comedy about rival bird-watchers. Set to shoot in May in Canada with director David Frankel ( The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me). The story is based on the book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik, following a bird-watching competition for the rarest birds.

Wilson is currently in production on Hall Pass with the Farrelly brothers, will star in the next Woody Allen movie, and appears in the Meet the Fockers sequel for a reprise with the all-star cast including Dustin Hoffman, Robert DeNiro, and Ben Stiller. Black ( Year One, School of Rock) voices Po again in the Kung Fu Panda sequel.

The Change-up
Ryan Reynolds ( The Proposal) and Jason Bateman ( Up in the Air) will star in a body-switching comedy called The Change-Up, about a family man who exchanges lives with his lazy friend. The scriptwriters are Jon Lucas and Scott Moore ( The Hangover).

Bateman will also star in The Switch with Jennifer Aniston, due August 20, and later this year, he appears with Seth Rogen and Sigourney Weaver in Paul about two comic book fanboys who encounter an alien. And Reynolds who played Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, spins off the role into a movie, and also stars in The Green Lantern.

Untitled project
Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet star in a segment called "The Catch" in a multi-sketch film shot by Peter Farrelly (of the Farrelly brothers) and several other directors. Gerard Butler, Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber are other actors working on this project.

The other directors in this film include actors Elizabeth Banks and Griffin Dunne, Brett Ratner ( New York, je t'aime, X-Men: The Last Stand), and Charles Wessler ( Dumb and Dumber and the upcoming Three Stooges).

This collaborative idea from Farrelly and Wessler strings together a series of stories with a unifying theme, similar to films in the 1970s such as Kentucky Fried Movie. The two worked on There's Something about Mary. Based on the success of ensemble films like Valentine's Day, a star-studded film with a modest budget could well work again.

RC

 

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