Friday, July 20, 2007

Simply crazy comic book news

Before you read too much into that title, please remember that in my rather twisted view of the world crazy is rarely not a compliment.

In the case of the "Wolverine" movie, what it apparently means is an instant injection of class. I have to say, of all the characters they could have spun off from the "X-Men" universe, Wolverine is the one I'm least excited about.

Now, don't get me wrong. On paper, Wolverine has a fascinating backstory which would make for a great summer action flick. But on screen, Hugh Jackman and those who write for him have turned him into simply a smirking one-liner machine, and certainly not the kind of character I'd like to see a movie built around.

With this good news, however, I'm gonna have to at least be cautiously optomistic. In an instant leap to the big leagues, "Tsotsi" director Gavin Hood has been tapped by Twentieth Century Fox to work with the script by David Benoiff.

If you haven't seen "Tsotsi," which managed to snag a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, I can't recommend it highly enough. It's a thoroughly touching tale of redemption set in South Africa and based on a novel by Athol Fugard. Before he gets to have fun with "Wolverine," Hood will be making the rounds with "Rendition," his new flick which is sure to catch a lot of buzz.

That flick, starring Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Alan Arkin and J.K. Simmons (huzzah!) is about the CIA's methods of interrogation of an Egyptian terrorism suspect, and his wife's mission to rescue him. I smell at least few Oscars cooking here.

And it's apparently his work on this movie, set to be released in the U.S. in October, that won Hood the right to play around with "Wolverine." To which I can now say bring it on.

Seth Rogen, super hero?

Just in case you can't tell in print, I'm more than a little skeptical about this one. Encouraged, mind you, being a rather portly gentleman myself, but skeptical nonetheless.

It seems that king freak Seth Rogen is finalizing a deal to write and most likely star in Columbia's big-screen adapatation of "Green Hornet." I'll pause to let you ingest that one for a sec. ...

Given Rogen's ability to make fun of himself, I could actually see this working pretty well, if it ever really happens. Rogen would play Brit Reid, the millionaire publisher-turned-masked crime fighter. "The Green Hornet" started as a radio serial before being turned into a comic book, film and TV series by the 1960s. The TV show was apparently notable for the presence of the late Bruce Lee as sidekick Kato, a kung fu expert with a killer car.

You can, of course, look for Mr. Rogen very soon in another movie he wrote, the upcoming "Superbad," which Variety says he originally intended to star in before it took a long time to get off the ground and he simply became too old to play a believable high school student (which hasn't stopped too many people from trying to do it anyway!)

Can he really make the leap to action hero? I have my doubts, but I'll definitely be cheering him on.

A "Bottle Shock" update

In my "fresh faces" plug for the great Freddy Rodriguez I noted that, as far as I can tell, he's set to star in the upcoming "Bottle Shock," a flick about the rise of the Napa Valley wine industry.

Well, not so fast, apparently. A report on the flick this morning listed pretty good cast additions: Chris Pine, Rachael Taylor, Eliza Dushku (today's gratuitous beautiful woman pic), Bill Pullman and Alan Rickman (huzzah!) Nowhere in the list, however, was Mr. Rodriguez.

Set in the 1970s, the film is based on the true story of the Montelena Winery, which won an international wine-tasting competition and put the California region on the vino map. Pine portrays the son of the vineyard owner who saves the winery and represents Napa in the French tasting, while Taylor plays a university student who interns at the winery.

Dushku acts as a local bartender, and Pullman is the owner of the run-down winery who clashes with his son. Rickman is an Englishman who runs L'Academie du Vin in Paris and is the chief architect of the blind-tasting challenge that results in an upset victory for the American vintages.

Whether Freddy's involved or not (and the IMDB still says he is), this is still shaping up to be an interesting flick worth keeping our eyes on.

Che flicks finally get rolling

The AP reported as news this morning that Benicio (not Guillermo, a mistake I somehow manage to make quite often) Del Toro is playing Che Guevara in director Steven Soderbergh's back-to-back flicks about the revolutionary leader. I thought that was pretty common knowledge, but maybe not.

The real news is that Soderbergh is gonna start serious filming on the flicks Wednesday across Spain. In honor of this good news, here's a pic of Benicio as Che cribbed directly from the actor's rather bizarre Web site. It's definitely worth a visit here.

"Darjeeling Limited" gets supercool poster

Until stumbling upon this rather nice poster for Wes Anderson's "The Darjeeling Limited," I was beginning to doubt the flick really existed. It's just been so long since Mr. Anderson has managed to complete a movie, but I can only say welcome back.

The flick stars Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman as three estranged brother who use a trip across India to reforge their bonds after the death of their father. It's set to be the opening night flick at the New York Film Festival Sept. 28 (and why not: There have been very few better valentines to the city of New York than Anderson's "Royal Tenenbaums.")

The poster has an odd, almost "Steve Zissou" kind of look to it, and only makes me want to see the flick right away, which I guess movie posters are meant to do. Anyways, I still have to work for a living, so I have to quit now and get ready. Peace out.


Chalupa said...

I'm pretty stoked about the new Anderson film. I can't wait to see it. I think it's interesting how Anderson's films always have something to do about father-son relationships. I've sometimes wondered if it's something he deals with personally and film is his medium for working that out. The Che film with Del Toro sounds pretty awesome. I'll have to keep my eye out for that too.

Marina said...

I'm really excited to hear about the Che films. Soderbergh has the potential to make a duo of great films.

As for the Green Hornet...I've never read the comics so I can't speak from any background and though I'm happy to hear he's keeping busy, I'm not sure if this is the right project for him.

Reel Fanatic said...

You could well be right, Marina ... It all hinges on whether the hero can be funny, because otherwise, Mr. Rogen is clearly the wrong man to don a superhero's guise

J. Marquis said...

Hopefully, the new Anderson movie will be more like the Tannenbaums and less like the really lazy, unfocused Steve Zissou.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm with you there, Mr. Marquis ... I went back and watched Zissou a second time to see if there was something i missed, but the only thing I could find to like about was those Portuguese David Bowie songs, which are simply fantastic

Bob said...

I tried just posting the link in my comment here but it wouldn't let me. BUT, if you go to my blog (I tried to avoid the shameless plug) I have the link to a short called "Always Crashing in the Same Car." It stars Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann, together again for the first time since my all-time favorite movie, "Withnail and I." Watch it!

Mercurie said...

It's good to hear that Seth Rogen has been cast as The Green Hornet. I think he's perfect for the role. Besides which, it's good to hear any news on The Green Hornet movie. It seems to have been a while!

Chris said...

Saw the trailer for Darjeeling on Sunshine this weekend. Looks like trademark Anderson, and since it deals with brothers and the like, should be right up his alley.

Eaglewing said...

I'm intrigued by the Gavin Hood announcement on Wolverine. Certainly gets my hopes up a bit. I haven't seen any of his work, but it appears they're going more for a Bryan Singer on X-Men 1 vibe instead of a Brett Ratner on X-Men 3, which is good news. Of course, the script is still unknown, but Benioff is a good sign as well. Maybe they won't mess this up after all.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm still rather pissed that we didn't get Sunshine this week, Chris, but I'm still holding out hope that will change in the slow days of August, after the Bourne Ultimatum

Gavin Hood's Tsotsi is a nearly flawless flim, eaglewing, so I can't recommend highly enough watching it as as soon as you can, and Hood should definitely have fun with Wolverine

* (asterisk) said...

I'm with you on Steve Zissou. How you managed a second viewing is beyond me!

Good news on Wolverine, too. I thought Tsotsi was very good and I gave it 70 out of 100 in my scanty review. Hood should be good; I just hope he doesn't get stuck in a superhero rut afterwards.