Friday, February 23, 2007

An "Arrested Development" reunion? Well, sort of ...

Whatever happened to good coming of age movies that appeal to adults? Perhaps I've completed my transition to old curmudgeon, but it seems to me like it's definitely a dying art.

But Jason Reitman, who directed last year's fantastic (and almost completely Oscar-snubbed) satire "Thank You For Smoking," has one in the works that just might bring the genre back to life. And it's rapidly acquiring a cast that just rocks.

Adorable Ellen Page stars in "Juno" as a high school student who manages to get herself knocked up, and George Michael Bluth (the extremely funny Michael Cera) plays the young man who did the knocking. Now comes word that Michael Bluth himself, Jason Batemen, and Allison Janney have joined the cast. Bateman and Jennifer Garner play a couple who want to adopt Page's baby, and Janney is her stepmother.

That all sounds perfect to me. To top it off, the script was penned by Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages scribe Diablo Cody, who writes the very funny Pussy Ranch blog, so this is definitely one to keep your eyes on. It's currently filming in Vancouver.

It would have been even cooler if Bateman and Cera were to be father and son again, but as a still-recovering "Arrested Development" addict, I'll take whatever crumbs I can get.

Frances McDormand getting busy

When I saw this news, my first thought was that I couldn't remember the last time I had seen the great Ms. McDormand in a movie. Then I realized that I had effectively blocked Nicole Holofcener's "Friends with Money" completely from my memory. (Trust me, it's just bad.)

Now, however, comes word that she's gonna get busy again, and hopefully find some better movies to appear in.

The first of two flicks for Focus Features will be "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day," which despite that rather silly title sounds like it could be pretty funny. It's based on a period comic novel by Winifred Watson about a governess (McDormand) in the 1800s who gets a taste of glamour when she goes to work in the home of a London nightclub songstress. One of her chores is to sort out the entertainer's unrespectable affairs.

In much better news, she'll then head to New York to work with hubby Joel Coen and his brother Ethan on "Burn After Reading." The dark comedy about the CIA will also star George Clooney (because, by law, I'm pretty sure 1 out of every 10 movies has to.)

It will be her fifth film with the bros. Coen, following "Fargo," "Raising Arizona," "Miller's Crossing" and "The Man Who Wasn't There" (the only Coen brothers movie I simply didn't care for.)

Welcome back, Frances.

"Fantastic Mr. Fox" still alive?

In case you need further proof that George Clooney is everywhere, his name came up again in news about a project that I just assumed had died on the vine, Wes Anderson's "Fantastic Mr. Fox."

Clooney and Cate Blanchett are in talks to voice the lead characters in Anderson's stop-motion film, his first foray into animation. The movie is, of course, based on the classic Roald Dahl tale about a clever fox who must outwit three mean, dimwitted farmers who try their hardest to hurt Mr. Fox and his family. Clooney would voice Mr. Fox, while Blanchett would voice his wife.

I still have doubts that any of this will ever come together. It seems like it's been rumored for five years now, but in the meantime we'll be getting another Anderson movie fairly soon in "The Darjeeling Ltd." The flick, penned by Anderson and Roman Coppola, stars Anderson regulars Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman, plus newcomer Adrien Brody, as three brothers who go on a voyage across India after the death of their father. Anderson is apparently now at work editing his footage in New York.

That sounds promising to me, and the possibility of two Wes Anderson movies in the near future sounds even better.

Talking Oscars

I'll close with a short plug for, well, me. By clicking under my profile, you can find a (no longer dead, I promise) link to a short podcast in which two of my co-workers, Phillip Ramati and Ryan Gilchrest, and I all argue (politely) about which movie will win Best Picture.

It's a fairly pleasant way to waste a couple of minutes at work. Mr. Ramati, by the way, writes a very good blog about all things TV, which you can read here.

I'll be going to see "The Astronaut Farmer" Saturday because I'm a fan of Billy Bob Thornton and all things goofy, so please feel free to check back Sunday morning for a review, and have a perfectly fine weekend.

18 comments:

jeremy said...

Don't forget Blood Simple from the McDormand/Coen pairings (still one of their best imho).
Plus, aren't they shooting some Cormac McCarthy novel right now?
Anyway, I think the Astronaut Farmer looks really good. I'm a huge Polish Bros. fan--their trilogy of NW towns is pretty amazing (Twin Falls, Jackpot, Northfork). But I'm heading to see Bridge to Teribithia this weekend. That book ripped my heart out as a child. As result, my senses became deadened. Hoping to resurrect them with the film.
Have fun w/ the Oscars (I know I will, Oscars means overtime for me)

Reel Fanatic said...

You're right, Jeremy, I did forget all about Blook Simple ... I remember Bridge to Terabithia with fondness from growing up too, Jeremy, but I just can't bring myself to watch the movie yet .. It just looks like they zapped all the soul out of it and just piled on the special effects

Talamasca said...

OMG! A filmphile! Funtastic! ;-p

Oscars... I'm rooting for The Departed or Little Miss Sunshine. Hope they bag lots and lots of awards.

Love, love, love your blog. I'll be coming back for sure. Ktnxbai!

Talamasca said...

Oh and thanks for blog crashing. :-)

jeremy said...

I was skeptical w/ Teribithia, as well. But apparently its just being marketed poorly and the CGI stuff in it is actually pretty minimal. We'll see, though!

Reel Fanatic said...

I'd be happy if either of those won, Talamasca ... My early favorite was Babel, but The Departed, of the final five, is now my pick to win

Mr. Middlebrow said...

Thanks for the heads-up on JUNO. It looks promising, though as a recovering AD junkie, I'm finding it's essential to manage one's expectations when it comes to post-AD film and TV forays. Case in point LET'S GO TO PRISON.

I'm genuinely psyched about the upcoming Wes Anderson outings. I'm convinced he could make an Army hygiene film into something quirky, offbeat and engaging--with a kick-ass soundtrack, to boot.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm with you there, Mr. Middlebrow ... It took me three times watching "The Life Aquatic," but I now think it's almost as good as his earlier movies, all of which I loved

james said...

Have you seen "Breach" yet? I thought it was fantastic. I love Chris Cooper. He always plays such believable, intense characters.

Marina said...

"Juno" sounds like it's going to be a good one. I'll have to keep it on my radar.

And you're completely right about "Friends with Money"...not very good. At all.

Reel Fanatic said...

I definitely should, James ... I liked "Shattered Glass" immensely .. I'm thinking I'll make this a two-movie weekend, "Astronaut Farmer" on Saturday and then "Breach" on Sunday

T. Azimuth Schwitters said...

looking forward to your take on 'farmer' - i couldn't sit through the trailer without laughing, but the reviews seem mostly positive so far - i'm definitely intrigued as to how these things co-exist.

also: thanks for the posting on 'atom smashing' - i look forward to your comments.

Moonbeam Baby said...

I'll be looking forward to "Juno". The loss of Arrested Development was tragic...

T. Azimuth Schwitters said...

also: i'd be interested to hear more of your thoughts on 'the man who wasn't there' - it's one of my favorite of the coens movies, if for no other reason than thornton's fantastic performance and that awe-inspiring cinematography. but in addition, i think it has to have one of the coen brothers' best endings, with the white-out execution scene...very nicely done. anyway, we can hash this out another day...

til then, great post, great blog, great conversation.

Reel Fanatic said...

I wouldn't say I hated it by any stretch, Mr Schwitters ... I agree with you about the ending and that Billy Bob was great as usual .. It has been a long time since I've seen it, but I just remember leaving the theater thinking that they tried to hard to achieve a noir vibe but never really got there ... Even a bad Coen brothers movie, however, is better than 90 percent of everything else out there

Chalupa said...

Did you see North Country? McDormand wasn't the main character, but I thought she did a good job in a supporting role.

Red7Eric said...

I loved Fantastic Mr. Fox as a kid; I hope it gets made.

By the way, since posting on my "Oscar Prep," I've seen Babel and Volver, and if it were up to me, the latter would be in the Best Picture category in the former's place.

But that's just me ...

Reel Fanatic said...

I liked Volver quite a bit Red7Eric, but I don't think I can quite put it in the best picture category .. It wasn't Almodovar's best movie by far to me, but Penelope and Carmen just elevated it to one of my favorites of the year anyway