Jack Nicholson

By Tony Rizzo
Three-time Oscar winner Jack Nicholson was so disappointed by his last film, “The Bucket List,” directed by Rob Reiner and co-starring Morgan Freeman, that he’s been reading dozens of scripts looking for the right film to return to your multiplex. Well, the wait is over. A full three years later, Jack’s good-luck charm, James L. Brooks, creator of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Rhoda” and many others, created a role for him in “How Do You Know?”, a romantic comedy with Paul Rudd, Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson. It was a supporting role in “Terms of Endearment” (1983), directed by Brooks, that won Jack a second Oscar (his first was best actor for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”). His third Oscar for “As Good As It Gets” (1997) also was directed by Brooks. “How Do You Know?” will be released Dec. 17.

Get ready for the next Michael Jackson invasion. Epic Records will release his first album of never-before-released recordings, “Michael,” on Dec. 14, just in time for last-minute Christmas shopping. In addition, Cirque Du Soleil is mounting its tribute to the late singer with “Michael Jackson the Immortal World Tour.” When Michael wasn’t touring, he was recording songs, and he recorded enough unpublished songs to easily fill 20 CDs.

I don’t know when Johnny Depp will find the time to film all the projects he’s announced, but in addition to the proposed “Thin Man” update and a “Wizard of Oz” reboot with Tim Burton, he now says he will remake the classic ABC soap “Dark Shadows” (my guess playing vampire Barnabus Collins), again with his buddy Tim Burton. Does Depp ever intend to do an original script, or will he just remake everything in our film library?

Steve Carell says he’s leaving “The Office” to make movies and spend more time with his family, and he’s keeping his word. He’ll star in “Imagine,” about the son of a rocker who changes his life after finding a letter to him from Beatle John Lennon. “Imagine” was the title of a big hit John Lennon song. Carell is one of the few TV stars to successfully transfer from the small screen to the big screen.

Ryan Kwantan, an Australian native who does a great American accent, is shooting the film “Zebras” in South Africa during his break from HBO’s “True Blood.” He plays a music producer who discovers talented young soccer players in the South African ghettos and forms a team of black and white players — thus the title “Zebras”!

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Trader,” the fifth book in the series and the third movie, is a film that almost didn’t get made. Producers had a hard time raising money in these tough economic times, but they did, and it will be released Dec. 10. Ben Barnes returns as Prince Caspian, and the gang take a voyage searching for seven lost warriors, encountering dragons, dwarves and merfolk (mermen and mermaids) along the way.

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© 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.