Thursday, October 26, 2006

Viva Mr. Fox

Variety was kind enough this morning to answer one of those little questions that had been slowly gnawing at my busy brain: "Whatever happened to Wes Anderson's 'Fantastic Mr. Fox'?"

Since I first started hearing about this two years ago but had heard almost nothing recently, I just assumed the project was dead and Anderson had moved on to his India road movie, "The Darjeeling Limited."

Well, sort of. Anderson is well into production on "Darjeeling," but now Fox Animation has also picked up the rights to the "Mr. Fox" script he penned with Noah Baumbach. As to the long break in action, the movie was apparently first acquired by Revolution, which has shut its doors.

Even after the debacle that was "The Life Aquatic," I have nothing but love for Anderson, so two movies in the works can only be a good thing.

"Darjeeling" will apparently come first. Though the IMDB has decided that its plot summary is now priviliged information, if I remember correctly, the flick will star Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman and Adrien Brody. I seem to remember that the three of them are brothers who set out on a trip across India after the death of their father, but I could be slightly off about that.

And "Fantastic Mr. Fox," of course, is Roald Dahl's story about a fox who uses its wits and cunning to outfox three dimwitted farmers to steal their chickens. Though Anderson toyed with animation in some of the odder stretches of "The Life Aquatic," this will be his first full-fledged foray into the game, and I can't wait to see what becomes of it.

Of course, that wait may still be quite long. Fox has a July 27 date on "The Simpsons" movie, followed by a March 14, 2008, release date on "Horton Hears a Who." The hope is for "Fantastic Mr. Fox" to be Fox Animation's next entry, ready for release prior to the next CG-animated film by "Ice Age" makers Blue Sky.

I'm just happy it's alive at all.

Clooney and the Coens, together again

This news is a couple of days old by now, but it's so good that I had to share it anyway.

It seems like George Clooney is determined to make us all forget that, when he wants to, he can be a very funny guy. Luckily, the Coen brothers haven't forgotten that, and want to bring it back again.

Joel and Ethan will once again serve as co-writers for "Burn After Reading," a spy caper about a CIA agent who loses the disc of the book he is writing. Clooney is obviously fairly obssessed with the CIA, starring already in one awful ("Syriana") and directing one fairly good ("Confessions of a Dangerous Mind") flick about spooks.

And of course Clooney and the Coens have already generated a movie that just gets funnier each time I watch it, and I confess it's probably been at least 15 times now, "O Brother Where Art Thou?". And the highly underrated comedy "Intolerable Cruelty" with Catherine Zeta Jones.

"Burn" is slated to start principal photography in August to mid-September, after Clooney completes directing his 1920s football film "Leatherheads," in which he is expected to star with Renee Zellweger.

As for the Coens, they've backburnered "Suburbicon" as well as the period comedy "Hail Caesar," about a '20s Shakespeare troupe, in which Clooney was planning to play a hammy actor with a pencil mustache. Their adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men," starring Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem, is slated for release next year by Paramount Vantage (I just hope they have better luck with McCarthy than Billy Bob did with the dreadful "All the Pretty Horses.")

In the meantime, though, I can only say welcome back, old friends.


sanchapanzo said...

in one awful ("Syriana")

hmm.. thought Syriana was too good..

Reel Fanatic said...

When I first saw Syriana, sanchapanzo, I thought it just took on way too much without even taking an ounce of time for character development .. I gave it a second chance, but that only confirmed my original conclusion

Anonymous said...

I loathed Syriana. Loathed, loathed, loathed.

marina said...

Happy to hear that Clooney and the Coens are doing another film together. I was suprised by how much I enjoyed Oh Brother. It was great fun.

As for Syriana, I rather enjoyed (the first's not condusive to multiple viewings. I fell asleep the second time).

5th Estate said...

RF...I can only assume you mispelled Apocalypto (as I did in my blog entry title--and still haven't fixed)during a search to arrive at my blog, but thanks for leaving your link.
I'm not the cineast I once was but your blog looks very appealing--especially as blogging really lends itself to discussion of movies rather than having to accept the hyperbole of the weather guy at KCTU "Best High School Frat House Movie Ever Made This Year!", or alternately "A Savage Indictment of Social Mores in 19th Century England That Resonates Even Today!" from the New Yorker or some such.

I'll tell you this much, I hate Nicholas Cage with a passion,yet I still managed to enjoy Lord Of War not just for the subject but because of his narration.

Anyway, I'll be back for more.

Oh yes, Spinal Tap? One of the best movies ever made!

I'm off to the UK for a week, but I'll be back to stop by to catch up and see what's going on here.

Do drop by World O'Crap for the distaff side of silver-screen--I recommend critiques of Red Dawn, Zardoz and The Island in the archives.

Later, and good work!

Charles said...

Hi and thanks for checking out my little blog page.

I returned the visit and bookmarked you. If you had not dropped by I would have missed your reviews and insights.

The Departed is a must own I think.

Reel Fanatic said...

Glad that I'm not the only one who didn't get Syriana, Emma .. I was beginning to think I was in the vast minority!

ryang said...

Dug Syriana, but I've only seen it once in the theater. I have a feeling I'll be like marina and not like it as much the second time.

By contrast, 'Oh, brother' does get funnier every time. Some of the lines are so dry and clever I didn't catch the humor until the third or fourth time. In fact, I remember feeling sort of bored the first time I watched it.

Clooney's funny, but I wouldn't mind seeing him turn out a couple more quality flicks like 'Good Night and Good Luck.'

The guy's got range, even if the movies aren't always on target.

Sadie Lou said...

Wait, you didn't like The Life Aquatic? You're no Anderson fan! Whatchyoo talkin' about?
Bill Murray was out of this world great and I can't say enough about the quirky-love I have this film. I'm disappointed in you.

Reel Fanatic said...

Sorry, Sadie ... I own every other of Anderson's movies, and watch them all the time .. I desperatedly wanted to like "The Life Aquatic," but it just misfired for me

sanchapanzo said...

Yeah, no time for character-development in 'Syriana', one would feel the same in other movies like 'crash' or 'traffic' etc., which had this multiple starcast.

Still, the build-up towards the grand climax was quite fantastic i.e how the pakistani kid took up to suicide-bombing or how america influences middle-east or oil-economy etc., I liked the way the director potrayed as to how ordinary Muslim children were pushed towards extremism.

Reel Fanatic said...

The storyline with the young Muslims was indeed the strongest part of the movie for me too, Sanchapanzo .. If they had just stuck to that instead of trying to cram in five more, it would have been a much more powerful movie, methinks

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