Friday, August 03, 2007

The first video game movie I'll pay to see?

Well, that's not quite right, since I certainly loved "Tron," if that counts. Of the recent stream of movies based on video games, however, I can't think of a single one I've bother to see, at least until now.

It seems that producer Samuel Hadida has purchased the rights to "Return to Castle Wolfenstein" and handed the reins to ... Roger Avary? Yes, that Roger Avary. Adding the writer of "Pulp Fiction" as director might be enough to hook me, but on top of all that "Wolfenstein" is simply an insanely entertaining game.

To sum it up briefly, you play Army Ranger B.J. Blazkowicz (if there's a better name for a character in a first-person shooter game, I haven't found it), who, in the course of investigating Himmler's SS Paranormal Division, gets trapped in Castle Wolfenstein. Your mission? To blast your way out and, of course, stop Himmler from developing a massive army of Nazi undead and other creepy creatures.

It's even more fun than I make it sound here, and Avary, who also penned the script for the upcoming "Beowulf," clearly has the right spirit to take all this on.

“I’ve been playing the character of B.J. Blazkowicz since the epic ‘Wolfenstein 3D’ first bruised my brain and have ever since wanted to bring his adventures to life on the bigscreen,” Avary said. “It’s time to bust some dams, storm some bunkers and blow up some bridges.”

Amen, brother. And in the course of all that, you might just finally create a video-game movie I can fully endorse.

Jack Black, archeologist?

Though I'm aware Jack Black has a growing number of haters for his Nickelodeon attention-craving antics, I still stand behind the man for one reason: He's extremely funny. I'll take "School of Rock" and, yes, "Nacho Libre" as timekillers on any rainy Sunday afternoon.

And while I'm as excited as anyone for Indy 4, the rogue archaelogist concept is certainly ripe for spoofing, and now Mr. Black is taking it on.

According to Variety (and perhaps old news by now, but I did take yesterday off), Mr. Black will star in and produce "The Lost Adventures of Stone Perlmutter Jr.," which is described as "a faux documentary made from recently "discovered" footage from 1979 chronicling the disastrous journey of a self-styled Indiana Jones-type adventurer who traveled the world trying to find the Yeti, El Dorado, the lost tomb of Jesus and other great mysteries."

I was laughing already from reading that, and the script for this is definitely in good hands, with writers Peter Huyck and Alex Gregory having contributions to "The Larry Sanders Show" and "King of the Hill," among others, in their body of work.

Besides, who wouldn't want to be chasing the yeti instead of, say, going to whatever actual job you have to do today?

Michael Imperioli grabs star-making role

It seems odd to even write that, since he recently nabbed his fifth Emmy nomination, but I'd have to imagine Mr. Imperioli isn't exactly a household name yet, though he certainly should be.

Now, however, having finished his Mob days as Christopher Moltisanti (sp?) on "The Sopranos," he's crossed over to the side of law & order to take on the role of detective Len Fenerman in "The Lovely Bones," being directed by someone you just may have heard of, Peter Jackson.

And being Peter Jackson apparently gives you the power to hire just about whoever you want to star in your movies. Already, "Bones" has attracted Rachel Weisz as the mother of a young girl who is murdered but continues to observe her family on Earth after her death, Ryan Gosling as her husband, Stanley Tucci as the killer and newcomer Saoirse Ronan as the young girl at the center of it all. Add Mr. Imperioli into the mix, and you've got a solid contender for best cast ever.

And, in my conscious effort to read more books before they hit the big screen, I've added Alice Sebold's novel to my reading list, just after the two latest Harry Potter books (right now I'm close to page 400 of "Half-Blood Prince," so please don't tell me anything about what comes next!)

Duo sign on for 'Young Victoria'

This flick already had quite the royal pedigree, with Martin Scorsese involved, but one sure way to get my attention is to add two of my favorite people to the cast.

Jim Broadbent and Miranda Richardson (double huzzah!) have joined the cast of "The Young Victoria," which is being produced by Mr. Scorsese. Broadbent will play King William, Victoria’s uncle, while Richardson has been cast as the Duchess of Kent, Victoria’s mother. They join the simply radiant Emily Blunt, whose picture I've of course included as a public service to everyone, as Victoria and Rupert Friend as her husband, Prince Albert.

This should be a star-making turn for the lovely Ms. Blunt, especially with Julian Fellowes of "Gosford Park" writing the script for French-Canadian director Jean Marc Vallee. And with a cast like this, I can now only say bring it on.

Poster for Tyler Perry's latest

Sure, Tyler Perry's movies are often sappy tripe, but I like them, and to me at least, that's all that matters. Besides, there are few more therapeutic movie moments than watching the great Idris Elba beating the hell out of a drug dealer at the end of "Daddy's Little Girls" to the tune of Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come."

I doubt we'll get anything nearly that dramatic in Mr. Perry's next flick, "Why Did I Get Married?" The romantic comedy, set to star Mr. Perry, Janet Jackson and Jill Scott, is about a group of couples undergoing marriage counseling (not terribly promising, I know), and it's set to be released Nov. 16. Tyler Perry certainly doesn't need support from the likes of me, but I'll still be there to see it, even if this rather bland poster does little to inspire me.

Two doses of YouTube fun

Both of these come directly from the floor of Comic-Con, so please excuse the rather shaky camerawork. The first clip is of Kevin Smith responding to a heckler, and as should be expected, his response is hardly PG-rated, so please, please, please don't play this clip at work unless you have headphones on! It does, however, provide assurance that Mr. Smith isn't going to grow up anytime soon, and I can only say thanks for that.

Next comes something much, much better: The trailer for the upcoming straight-to-DVD "Futurama" movie. The show will eventually be returning to Comedy Central with new episodes (not sure when, but I'll definitely be keeping my eyes on that), but first we get this movie, for which the trailer, at least, is friggin hilarious. You have to put up with a lot of cheering from the audience, but who wouldn't riotously cheer the return of "Futurama"?

And now, unfortunately, I have to go to work. Peace out.


Bob said...

The return of "Futurama." As Dr. Zoidberg would say, "Hooray, robut."

And thank you for the picture of Emily Blunt. A public service indeed :)

Jonathan said...

The Jack Black movie does sound funny, but so did Nacho Libre and Tenacious D, and I found those to be fairly subpar. Hopefully, this will be more like "School of Rock."

Reel Fanatic said...

I have to confess, Jonathan, that I couldn't even bring myself to watch the Tenacious D flick, because it just looked so stupid .. Nacho Libre, however, is just my kind of silly

Anonymous said...

Those two videos made my day. The guy asked an honest question, but Kevin Smith owned him. I'm sure he went home and wrote another crapfest like Dogma but calling the guy out for his man titties and wearing an undershirt simply made me smile.

Homeland Colors said...

Maybe I just have strange tastes in movies, cause I thought the first Mortal Kombat movie was off the hook and you can't tell me you didn't like Resident Evil. But I can't wait to see Wolfenstien, its about 10 years overdue. Thanks for the post on my site.

Reel Fanatic said...

It certainly doesn't mean you have odd tastes, since plenty of people other than me liked those movies .. I think I'm just naturally predisposed to be suspicious of video-game movies, just as I was of amusement park-ride movies before "Pirates of the Caribbean" proved they could be more than just plain awful