Friday, November 21, 2008

An "Arrested Development" movie? Signed, sealed but not yet delivered

I suppose it's my duty to mention something about "Twilight," which I will bother to see Saturday afternoon, so here goes.

I was watching "Rocket Science" last night on the DVR, which is easily one of the most charming movies of 2007. My brother and I first saw it in Minneapolis, and if you haven't, just go ahead and rent this quirky teen anti-romance (I'm not really selling it very well, but trust me.)

I tell you all that to tell you this: Anna Kendrick, who starred in "Rocket Science" and apparently has the most microscopic of parts in "Twilight," has somehow managed to snag the female lead in Jason Reitman's next movie, "Up in the Air." It stars George Clooney as a "career transition counselor" - essentially one of the Bobs in "Office Space" - whose main goal in life seems to be to accumulate 1 million frequent flier miles. Not sure how Ms. Kendrick factors into all this, but congrats all the same.

But the real order of business here today is that murky realm where TV and film collide, and how Hollywood works so hard to tease the fans of dead shows with a cinematic afterlife. I had decided to swear off reporting on each slim ray of hope that there would ever be an "Arrested Development" movie, but after a few months or so going strong, today's news just makes me have to surrender to the urge.

In the latest development - and if I understand this the most solid one so far - series creator Mitch Hurwitz and backer Ron Howard have apparently signed some kind of deal for it with Imagine and Fox Searchlight. Hurwitz is apparently on board to write and direct the feature (again, if it ever happens), and Howard will be around to help out, and I assume narrate.

The actors (some of whom I'm sure could sorely use the work) have been teasing that this would happen ever since the show got canceled. I'd imagine even big movie star Michael Cera would come back to play George Michael Bluth again (and since I now mention "Chuck" every day, Tony Hale - whose parents reportedly live somewhere very near to or even in my town of Macon, Ga. - has been very funny as the new assistant manager of the Buy More.) Please, make this happen already!

Is "Pushing Daisies," well, pushing daisies?

It brings me no joy whatsoever to share this next bit of news.

The truly dismal facts are these: ABC has opted not to pick up three shows - "Dirty Sexy Money", "Eli Stone" and the only one of these I care about at all, "Pushing Daisies" - for a full season.

What does that mean for "Pushing Daisies" fans? Well, if I have this right, it means that after last Wednesday's "Oh, Oh, Oh, It's Magic," we have only seven more episodes left of TV's only primetime fairy tale for adults.

Given the rather poor ratings for season 2 so far I suppose you can't really blame ABC, but I'm gonna do it anyway. How in the world did they expect a show this odd - with an admittedly small but devoted following - to survive after only putting out nine episodes before the strike intervened and then none again until this October? Was there anything so compelling on ABC this summer that they couldn't have taken nine hours out of their primetime schedule to reintroduce viewers to this magical tale?

OK, that's enough from me on that, but here's what series creator Bryan Fuller had to say to the Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd:

"I can't help but feel immense pride when it comes to 'Pushing Daisies.' I'm grateful TO everyone and FOR everyone who brought the show to life and for the very loyal audience that embraced us. If we are indeed dead on ABC, we now have to convince DC Comics to let us tell the rest of the season's story lines out in comic book form and convince Warner Bros. features to let 'Pushing Daisies' live again as a movie."

I'd imagine that last bit is even more of a pipe dream than an "Arrested Development" flick, but I'll at least spring for the comic book. Just sad, sad news all around.

In the only bit of good news from ABC, however, "Scrubs" is about to come back to life, and I can only say welcome back. The hospital comedy returns beginning Tuesday, Jan. 6, at 9 p.m., in the time slot it started with way back before being moved all around (and pre-empted all the time) by NBC. We'll get two weeks of back-to-back episodes before it settles in for its regular half-hour run.

The full "Coraline" trailer

One of the more tedious of my weekly newspaper duties is to figure out what's playing at our three Middle Georgia movie theaters and compile capsule reviews from the wire. I say tedious, but I do enjoy seeing which movies manage to stick around way longer than what should be their shelf life.

The most recent example was the magical "The Nightmare Before Christmas," which was re-released in 3-D (which did very little to enhance it) just before Halloween and somehow managed to stick around in one of our theaters until this week. Very odd.

And I tell you all that to tell you this: Here's the full trailer for "Coraline," a coming collaboration between writer Neil Gaiman and animation director Henry Selick (the director of "Nightmare Before Christmas.") As you'll see, it's the story of a young girl who discovers a parallel universe in the crawlspace of her dingy apartment, and it's one of the movies I'm really looking forward to for 2009. Enjoy, and if you happen to see "Twilight" before I do, please feel free to share your thoughts.


Chalupa said...

If Clooney's character needs to make some money, he should start buying A LOT of pudding and save those UPC labels.

Reel Fanatic said...

Ha ha ha ... That made me laugh out loud, Chalupa, which is always sorely needed on a Friday morning

Bob said...

Whoa! A lot of news today. Some good ("AD" and "Scrubs) some not so good ("Pushing Daisies"), but all good to know. We got "Slumdog Millionaire" in Seattle this weekend. If I don't get to it I will be very disappointed in myself. I'm also hoping to finally catch "Synecdoche" and "Let the Right One In" (the only new vampire movie I care about).

Reel Fanatic said...

"Slumdog Millionaire" is the movie I'm most looking forward to for the entire rest of this year, Bob, but I probably won't get to see it until the end of the year when I hit NYC ... And I hope you see "Let the Right One In," because I just love that movie ... I'll be seeing "Twilight," but only because I love vampire movies and I want to give this one a chance

Lorraine said...

That is sad news indeed about "Daisies". And I coulda sworn "Scrubs" had ended. But I'm glad it hasn't because frankly, I'm not engaged with much on TV these days.

I'm off to see "Twilight" with 2 teenagers in a couple of hours. And I'm excited.

Reel Fanatic said...

I went to see "Twilight" with two non-teen friends who are big fans of the series, Lorraine, and though they clearly had more fun with the movie than I did, I certainly didn't hate it either .. The melodrama is clearly only gonna work for the teen/tween set, but Catherine Hardwicke definitely gave the movie some style I enjoyed

Mercurie said...

I have to say that I am mourning Pushing Daisies more than I have any other show in recent memory. Honestly, I don't think ABC gave it much of a chance. They kept it in the Wednesday 7:00 PM time slot, and haven't bothered testing it out in another timeslot. The past few weeks they've been pre-empting it. Quite frankly, I don't think they stood that much behind the show. If only a show just had to be good to stay on the air...

Reel Fanatic said...

I think you're right about all of that, Mercurie, but I'm still not sure the show would have lasted much longer anyway, as much as I clearly love it ... It's probably just too sweet to last in our cynical age

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