Thursday, September 20, 2007

Does Chris Tucker have any other friends?

Since he only seems to make movies with Brett Ratner, I'd say it's a fair question. I mean, isn't that kind of like one day tasting a fried bologna sandwich and then declaring you're gonna eat nothing else for the rest of your life?

But I already digress a bit from the rather depressing point here. Not content to simply crank out more excremental but harmless "Rush Hour" movies, Brett Ratner has somehow now gotten his hands on the rights to "Mr. S: My Life With Frank Sinatra," and is of course looking no further than his best buddy Mr. Tucker for the lead role (not Sinatra, of course, but that would at least make this more interesting.)

The book was co-written by George Jacobs, who served as Sinatra's valet from 1953-1968 (and will be played by Tucker), and therefore surely got to see some pretty damn cool and seedy stuff along the way. Now that we're not getting about one a month, my taste for music biopics is starting to come back (and I would start lining up now if Spike Lee finally got around to telling the story of James Brown), and this has the potential to indeed be a grand story. I don't see, however, how it could possibly be in any worse hands.

Now, I realize that Brett Ratner is an easy target, but I assure you my hatred is genuine and seething after what he did with "X-3." If he takes the same approach to Sinatra's life, just grabbing about 50 possible story lines and exploring each one for 30 seconds or so, it will be even worse than I'm imagining it could be.

And I once used to have a lot of time for Chris Tucker. He was extremely funny as Beaumont in "Jackie Brown" and more than trippy enough to fit in "The Fifth Element," and there are few movies I enjoy more when my brain is depleted from a long day of work than the original "Friday." But it's been a long time since 1997 (10 years or so, I suppose), and since then his mouth has just seemed to move much faster than anyone can write him good jokes to put in it.

Of this duo I certainly have more love for him than I do Brett Ratner. I just wish he could find a better crowd to run with.

This just in: "Aliens in America" doesn't suck

One of the few remaining perqs of working at a newspaper is that I from time to time get to see previews of the fall TV shows. Or, to put it more accurately, Macon's TV Guy Phillip Ramati takes the time to request them and then is kind enough to share.

ABC has been stingy and therefore hasn't sent over any episodes of "Pushing Daisies" or anything else, but the CW has been much more forthcoming. Last night I watched the first two episodes of "Aliens In America," and on the menu soon will be the pilot episode of "Gossip Girl" (for which I concede I'm way too old to even consider myself anywhere near the target audience.)

As for "Aliens in America," it leans too much toward sweetness and away from genuine political incorrectness for my taste, but it still has promise. The premise: A Wisconsin family orders an exchange student so their friendless son will have one, but instead of the Londoner they're expecting they get a Pakistani dude named Raja.

Raja's introduction to his new high school is very funny, and he quickly develops a pack of geeks who could be developed into an entertaing brood. I genuinely like shows set in high school because when you trap that many kids in one place it always at least has the potential for great comedy. However, unlike the superior show that will precede it Monday nights starting in October, "Everybody Hates Chris," it too often in the first two episodes took its hands off the dagger when sticking it in would have struck comic gold. (And Scott Patterson, late of "Gilmore Girls," pretty much plays the father figure as penny-pinching miser, basically the white equivalent of the more funny Terry Crews on "Chris."

But, for all my complaints, this is a sitcom that mixes heart with some genuine laughs, and in this rather bleak season that's enough to make me tune in for at least a few more episodes.

Web banners for "No Country for Old Men"

Though I've bumped this Coen brothers' flick to No. 3 on my must-see list behind "Juno" and "American Gangster" for the rest of the year, there are at least 10 which are pretty much tied at the top (starting with Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises," which I'll be seeing before work tomorrow morning - what a way to start the day!)

I found these Web-only banners for "No Country for Old Men" on Anne Thompson's Variety magazine blog, and of course promptly swiped them to post here. As she correctly points out, they do indeed steal more than a bit of inspiration from the "3:10 to Yuma" poster, but they're still menacing enough for me. Enjoy, and have an entirely bearable Thursday.


jeremy said...

Hey Keith!
Came across this list today. Thought you might like it.

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks for the head's up, Jeremy .. that is indeed a great list ... I think I might swipe that idea in some form, and I never would have guessed what would turn up at No. 1!

Kimberly Nichols said...

The Husband and I were in Chicago in August and were constantly reminded of the opening of Rush Hour 3--billboards, bus stops, etc. We then had our "How on Earth does Brett Ratner stay employed?" conversation. Needless to say, we've had that conversation before.

Doesn't No Country for Old Men look fantastic? I read the book this summer in anticipation.

(Can't wait to hear what you thought of Eastern Promises. Looks like it opens in Ann Arbor on Friday.)

Divinity said...

I know that the US networks haven't picked it up YET but the first season of the CBC sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie was a heckuva lot funnier and well-done than anyone might've reasonably predicted. Season 2 starts October 3.
Any idea when Charlie Bartlett might get a release?

Splotchy said...

Here's hoping that the Ratner Sinatra pic will have the line, "I'm the Juggernaut, bitch!"

Bob said...

Hey! Leave Brett Ratner alone! He's just a human... Ya know, the old thing.
Anywho, yes, "X3" was crap. "Let's take away everyone's powers and/or kill them. And then in the last three minutes of the movie we'll just undo all of it."
I watched "Back to You" and "Gossip Girl" last night. "Back" had its moments but I don't think I'll be watching again unless they give Fred Willard a lot more to do. As for "GG" it's good enough that I'll give it a few more episodes but it's just not grabbing me out of the gate the way "The O.C." did. It doesn't have nearly the sense of humor or fun of Josh Schwartz's first show. Hopefully it will improve or I won't be watching it for long. Love Kristen Bell's narration though! It's the closest thing we have to having Veronica Mars back until "Heroes."

Neel Mehta said...

I mean, isn't that kind of like one day tasting a fried bologna sandwich and then declaring you're gonna eat nothing else for the rest of your life?


Reel Fanatic said...

I just watched the pilot of "Gossip Girl" too, Bob, and I'm more than a bit ashamed to admit how much I liked it ... Yes, it's all horribly familiar, and you could see everything coming well before it actually happened, but it was funnier than i expected, and brainless teen dramas like that - if they're not horribly written - are kind of comfort food to me

And, though I've heard of "Little Mosque on the Prairie," Divinity, I've never had the chance to see it ... I did, however, set me DVR to start recording the remaining episodes of season one of "Mad Men," which I'll start watching after I get the series so far in the mail from you!

James said...

Yeah I think that Tucker needs Chan more then Chan needs Tucker.

Mercurie said...

Wow. Those are some cool web banners, even if they do borrow a lot from 3:10 to Yuma.

Reel Fanatic said...

They definitely are, Mercurie ... What I like so much is that they're so simple and yet so tough, just as I expect the movie to be