GOOD NEWS! Disney's megabuget update of "The Lone Ranger," which had sounded like an impending disaster of "Green Lantern" proportions pretty-much from the beginning (it was to be a "reworking" of the franchise from "Pirates" director Gore Verbinski which focused primarily on Tonto, to be played by - of course - Johnny Depp, with the Ranger himself as the supporting-character) has fallen apart. Deadline reports that the problem was primarily one of budget - Disney is nervous about how much "John Carter" and Sam Raimi's "Wizard of Oz" prequel are costing right now - but you can almost-certainly thank the lackluster performance of "Cowboys & Aliens" for nudging this one into the abyss.
BAD NEWS! Lemme blow your mind right now: It has been A DECADE since "Austin Powers: Goldmember;" and thus a decade since Austin Powers has appeared in movie theaters. Well, that's about to change: HitFix's Drew McWeeny has the big scoop that Mike Meyers has signed on to ressurect the character for a fourth film. I wonder... do people remember that the original "Austin Powers" actually dissapointed in theaters and didn't become a massive smash until it hit video-rental?
I'll be honest - the prospect of returning to "Austin Powers" is morbidly fascinating to me, because of the bizzare way the character has been served by the popular culture. In the first film, part of the "joke" was that Austin's mid-60s libertinism was as "lame" in 1997 as the mod fashion and Bond-era spy trappings he came bundled with... but only two years later the 60s were "chic" again and the 2nd and 3rd films went from bagging on Powers and his era to outright celebrating them. It's almost a precursor to "Mad Men" (and now "Pan Am" and "Playboy Club") in that regard.
Meanwhile, it's now been so long for the series itself that the Clinton-era "end of history" ironic-optimism that was treated as a kind of utopian ideal for Austin himself to evolve up to in the first film looks today every bit as dated and naive as Austin's "original" era. There's an opportunity for meta-humor there; though I don't imagine that's where this is going.