Monday, February 18, 2008

Trio steps in to rescue Heath's last movie for Terry Gilliam

When I first heard the rumor that multiple actors would step in to fill the shoes of Heath Ledger and finish Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus," I just assumed it was either a joke or someone's wild fantasy.

Well, as it turns out, it's neither, but instead a fairly cool ending to this still very sad story. According to Variety, Johnny Depp (heard of him?), Jude Law and Colin Farrell have all signed on to play Ledger's character in assorted guises.

So, how is this possible? Well, let's look at the plot for this rather typically crazy Gilliam flick: 1,000-year-old Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) leads a traveling theater troupe that offers audience members a chance to go beyond reality through a magical mirror in his possession. Parnassus had been able to guide the imagination of others through a deal with the Devil (Tom Waits, natch), who now comes to collect on the arrangement, targeting the doctor's daughter (model Lily Cole). The troupe, who is joined by a mysterious outsider named Tony (Heath Ledger), embarks through parallel worlds to rescue the girl.

In a gambit that was apparently included in the script even before Mr. Ledger's death, his Tony takes on a different appearance each time the group crosses into another realm through a paranormal mirror. A convenient enough gimmick, I suppose, but if it's enough to rescue another Terry Gilliam flick from fading to black before it's finished, I'll take it.

How will "The Wire" end?

I'll be the first to admit that, though I still consider it without exaggeration to be the greatest TV show of all time, David Simon's "The Wire" has certainly been going out on an uneven keel in its fifth and final season.

Though I have yet to watch Sunday's episode (which I have safely Tivoed), some things that have bugged me more than a bit include the seemingly random return of characters from the past (specifically, so far, Avon Barskdale, Cutty and Randy), and the simply insane downward spiral of McNulty and how it has somehow also enveloped Lester (the great Clarke Peters.) There's also simply no way that Omar would have survived a shootout with that many bullets and managed to escape by making like Batman.

All that said, the journalism storyline still rings true, and I'm excited to find out how Simon is gonna wrap it all up in what is now only three more fresh episodes. Here are the plot summaries for the final three from HBO:

Episode #58: "Clarifications"
Baltimore's renewed police commitment brings fresh recruits to Daniels (Lance Reddick) and McNulty (Dominic West), starting with Carver (Seth Gilliam.) Facing a new political challenge, Mayor Carcetti (Aidan Giffen) is forced to make dangerous political deals. As the Pulitzer season winds down, Haynes (Clark Johnson) approaches Templeton (Thomas McCarthy) about his sources. Bunk (Wendell Pierce) returns a McNulty favor; little Kenard (Thuliso Dingwall) makes a big score; Dukie (Jermaine Crawford) finds work; Fletcher (Brandon Young) continues his interview with Bubbles (Andre Royo); Freamon presents his latest plan to a prosecutor; Sydnor (Corey Parker Robinson) uncovers the missing piece to a puzzle; McNulty comes clean.
Teleplay by Dennis Lehane; story by David Simon & Dennis Lehane; directed by Joe Chappelle.

Episode #59: "Late Editions"
With Steintorf (Neal Huff) ordering Rawls (John Doman) to initiate "creative" remedies for the rising crime rate, Freamon's vigilance pays off with a promising lead, sending Sydnor and the department into overdrive. Although Daniels is originally delighted, a further probe with Pearlman (Deirdre Lovejoy) reveals some troubling source information. McNulty, feeling betrayed, doesn't feel like sharing in Freamon's celebration; Michael (Tristan Wilds) is suspicious about his latest assignment; Haynes gets fresh eyes to help with fact-checking; Namond's (Julito McCullum) debating skills make Colvin (Robert Wisdom) proud; Davis (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) points a finger at Levy (Michael Kostroff) and the courts; and Bubbles recounts a recent temptation overcome.
Teleplay by George Pelecanos; story by David Simon & George Pelecanos; directed by Joe Chappelle.

Episode #60: " - 30 - "
Carcetti maps out a damage-control scenario with the police brass in the wake of a startling revelation from Pearlman and Daniels. Their choices: clean up the mess, or hide the dirt. With his leads predictably drying up, McNulty asks Landsman (Delaney Williams) to pull police off the homeless case - until a fresh homicide ramps up the investigation. A frustrated Haynes finds his concerns about Templeton falling on increasingly deaf ears. Convinced he has the upper hand, but caught in a legal quandary, Levy plays a cat-and-mouse game with Pearlman. Bubbles debates whether to greenlight a newspaper story about his life; Dukie seeks out an old mentor for a loan; and Marlo (Jamie Hector) oversees a new co-op order as he maps out his next move. As the officers stage an Irish wake for another dearly departed officer, the seeds of the future are sown throughout Baltimore.
Teleplay by David Simon; story by David Simon & Ed Burns; directed by Clark Johnson.

And there you have it. If you love this show as much as I do, enjoy it while you still can!

Two CW faves returning soon

Although their renewal fates are very much up in the air, especially for the latter show, the CW has at least extended the courtesty of airing the already-shot episodes of "Everybody Hates Chris" and "Aliens in America" beginning soon.

The 12 remaining original episodes of "Everybody Hates Chris" will begin airing March 3, while "Aliens in America" will return with 8 original episodes from March 2-March 23 and April 27-May 18.

Given the CW's rather abysmal track record of cancelling promising shows way too early, I strongly suspect this is the last we'll ever see of "Aliens in America," easily my favorite new sitcom of 2007. If you like to laugh (and who doesn't?), please give this little gem a boost in its probably final days.

"The Wild Things" ... are here!

I received this clip in the e-mail (easily the best missive I received all day) from late Friday night at work, but was negligent in not posting it until today, so please accept my apology.

And, given just how uber-cool it is, I certainly should have acted quicker. "Where the Wild Things Are," director Spike Jonze's and writer Dave Eggers' take on my favorite childhood tale by Maurice Sendak, is now not scheduled to come out until some time in 2009, but right now you can enjoy this rough clip featuring an encounter between Max and one of the creatures that spring from his imagination.

I won't say too much to spoil it except that I like the natural look of it. Rather than some kind of blue-screen magic, it just looks like what might spring from the mind of our hero. My guess is that this particular Wild Thing is voiced by Forest Whitaker, but please let me know if you think I'm offbase here. Enjoy the clip, and have a perfectly bearable Monday. Peace out.

Where The Wild Things Are


kat said...

Gah! I'm trying to catch up with The Wire. I just finished the first couple episodes of season two. I am liking it. I hadn't realized, though, before watching this that Robert Colesberry was the executive producer of this. At least initially. (He also plays the character "Cole.") I worked on a Colesberry film a few years before "The Wire" began and was sad to hear that he had died so unexpectedly after having surgery. Not that I want to be spoiled, per se, but do they write his character out well or does he just get dropped without explanation?

KevinBe said...

According to what I heard the clip of Where The Wild Things Are is test footage shot in LA. The actual child actor will be different and the voice will be James Gandolfini...

Then there was the absolute hell of trying to get blogger to recognize my google account, what a major screw up. let me log in no problem; blogger tells me that my e-mail does not exist, until I try to create an account which I can't because this e-mail ALREADY EXISTS. What a bunch of crap.

Reel Fanatic said...

I certainly know what you mean about Google/blogger, Kevinbe ... If there were another blogging platform that I thought was better than this one, I'd switch in an instant, because ever since Google got involved it certainly has been frustrating

And I don't want to spoil too much for you, kat, but I'd have to guess that the makers of "The Wire" were as surprised as anyone else by his death, because they don't really give him any kind of proper sendoff

Reel Fanatic said...

Actually, Kat, now that I think about it more, what I said was just plain wrong ... It's not much of a spoiler, but since you want to know, I remember now that they indeed do give him a proper policeman's wake, complete with a eulogy from Landsman and some great music from the Pogues

Stace said...

Great news about Heath's last film. Who is that Depp guy?? Hehe

jeremy said...

came across this site today and thought i'd pass it along

RC said...

that's really interesting in gilliam's film and how they'll solve that. good group of guys to jump in.

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks for that, Jeremy .. Even though I spend far too much time reading movie stuff already, I just can't get enough, so I'll definitely check it out

Anonymous said...