Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Where do you go after you're "Superbad"?

I was gonna start today by discussing Todd McFarlane's plan to piss all over "The Wizard of Oz," but I just can't bring myself to do it. Some people would name "Casablanca" and "The Birds" as the most untouchable flicks of all time, and I certainly wouldn't stop them from making that argument, but to me there's just no movie that combined amazing storytelling with virtuoso filmmaking better than "The Wizard of Oz."

OK, maybe a few words about it, but then I promise I'll quickly move on. McFarlane and Josh Olson, writer of the "History of Violence" graphic novel, are promising a "revisionist" vision, but McFarlane's quote on the subject reveals this is all really happening because he can't be bothered to come up with any more original ideas himself.

"My pitch was ‘How do we get people who went to ‘Lord of the Rings’ to embrace this?’ " McFarlane said. "I want to create (an interpretation) that has a 2007 wow factor. You’ve still got Dorothy trapped in an odd place, but she’s much closer to the Ripley from ‘Alien’ than a helpless singing girl."

Bleah, bleah and more bleah. Enough of that. I'd much rather talk about what Greg Mottola will do now that he's crafted and unleashed the funniest movie of 2007 with "Superbad."

If you polled 100 people leaving the movie theater after a screening of "Superbad," more than half of them would guess it was directed by Judd Apatow, and the rest would probably just give you a blank stare. But, of course, it was Mr. Mottola who was responsible for this, and before it the underrated little "Daytrippers" flick and solid TV work with "Undeclared" and then "Arrested Development."

I'd love to see some of these very talented people in the Apatow camp return to TV and give us something even half as great as "Freaks and Geeks," but they're probably too recently burned by the experience to go back to it. Instead, Mottola is quickly getting back to work on movies, this time with a script he penned himself.

Giving credit where it's due, this report comes directly from the almost-always-reliable JoBlo site. According to those fine folks, Mottola's next flick will be called "Adventureland" and will be a semiautobiographical tale set in the '80s about a college grad who, as he's about to set off on a European adventure, finds himself stuck at home in Long Island because his father gets laid off. Forced to support himself, he gets a job at the local amusement park Adventureland, where comedic hijinx will surely follow.

The slightly sordid world of amusement parks should be ripe territory for fun, and Mottola also wrote the script for "Daytrippers," so I'm hoping he comes up with a winner here to keep us laughing again next summer.

Greenaway's grand vision of Rembrandt

My favorite Froggy film site,, has a slew of photos up from Peter Greenaway's upcoming "Nightwatching," which starts with the creation of Rembrandt's painting "The Night Watch" to tell the story of his often turbulent private life.

Even when they're deeply flawed, Greenaway's flicks are always a visual feast, and as these photos show, this one should be no different. Martin Freeman of the UK "The Office" fame plays Rembrandt, and even if this movie is far too wild to ever turn up in my little corner of the world on the big screen, the photos can take your mind off of Wednesday for a few minutes. Click here to peruse them all and enjoy.

Two doses of trailer fun

The first is just a tease of the movie I'd have to say I'm most excited about for the fall, Todd Haynes' Dylan flick "I'm Not There." Though it doesn't show much, I like the style of it and am definitely ready for more.

Next up comes the more substantial trailer for Woody Allen's "Cassandra's Dream." Though much of the world has dismissed him as the aging pervert he often seems to be, Mr. Allen has been on a real winning streak of late. "Match Point" was easily one of my favorite movies of 2005, and though it was lighter than air, "Scoop" was a lot of fun.

"Cassandra's Dream," starring Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor and Tom Wilkinson, is definitely on the darker side. It's set to come out in October, and I'm hoping it has enough star power to make out here to the hinterlands. Anyways, enjoy the trailer. Peace out.


jeremy said...

Just saw Superbad--oh man, I was pretty bored. First fifteen minutes were good, but it went downhill fast for me. I really didn't care for the B storyline w/ McLovin at all, and I think that's mainly because of the cops--especially by the end when they were blowing up the police car.
Jonah Hill was really one-note for me. I think Knocked Up had better laughs.
Anyway, The Ten is still the best comedy I've seen this summer--its uneven, but no moreso the two previously mentioned. It just had zanier comedy which I appreciate.
Have you rented Inland Empire yet? And if so, what did you think?

Reel Fanatic said...

I have it on the schedule for this weekend, Jeremy .. I've set aside Sunday afternoon to devour it, so I'll let you know soon ... I think you're the first person I've found to have that reaction to "Superbad" .. I agree that the B storyline was the weaker one, but it still left me laughing almost throughout .. I haven't seen "The Ten" yet, and will probably have to wait for DVD for that one

J. Marquis said...

I thought the cops were actually pretty funny...two guys who seem stuck halfway between high school and manhood. Over all, I thought it was a pretty decent flick.

By the way, thanks for showing those clips. The Dylan movie looks awesome.

Bob said...

I loved "Superbad." I've actually seen it three times now. Michael Cera is a comic genius (as anyone who watched "Arrested" already knows). Saw "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" which is amazing as well. (Going to "Death at a Funeral" tonight too!)
I thought "The Ten" was very hit and miss. The best ones were definitely the one with Liev Schrieber and "Thou shall not steal" with Winona Ryder.
"Cassandra's Dream" looks awesome and I'll watch Martin Freeman in anything. Good stuff coming out soon!

Reel Fanatic said...

I would love to see "King of Kong," Bob, but they just don't show movies that good in my little corner of the world ... I may have to go see "Superbad" again this weekend too ... Looking at the new slate, the only thing that really appeals to me is "Resurrecting the Champ," and that could be truly awful

Mercurie said...

Personally, I think Todd McFarlane gave up being original after he discovered he could make loads of money manufacturing action figure after action figure... Quite simply, any version of The Wizard of Oz he is involved in will, at least from McFarlane's standpoint, probably be just another opportunity for him to churn out more action figures...

Anyhow, speaking of McFarlane, I understand they are talking about another Spawn movie, this next one supposedly being a reboot. I just hope it's better than the first one...

Reel Fanatic said...

Almost anything they do would have to be better than the first, Mercurie (actually, that's a dangerous thought!)

Marina said...

I'm really looking forward to "Nightwatching". It's been a while since we've seen something from Greenaway.

As for "Cassandra's Dream", I'm impressed by what I see and am quite interested to see how this plays out.

Sir James Beiggelschwarz said...

Lot of talent left yet in the old Woody.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm happy to say I agree with you, Sir James ... During his dark period, both personally and professionally, I had my doubts, so it's so nice to see him back in top form

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