Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Will the X-Men mutate into ... sassy brats?

I'm not sure this is the move that's gonna get the masses to tune in for genuine classics on Sunday nights, but adding Laura Linney (for my money the best actress working right now) is certainly a good one for PBS' Masterpiece Theatre (oops .. that's somehow "Masterpiece Classics" now, I believe.)

Linney will replace Gillian Anderson when the series returns Jan. 4. The 2009 installment, which runs through May, will include four works - "Little Dorrit," "The Old Curiousity Shop" (with Toby Jones), "Oliver Twist" (with Sophie Okonedo, huzzah!) and "David Copperfield" (with Harry Potter, Maggie Smith and Sir Ian McKellen) - as part of "The Incomplete Charles Dickens." Also coming this season will be "Tess of the D'Urbervilles (the premiere) and apparently yet another version of "Wuthering Heights."

I can't say I'll tune in for all of it, but I'm on record as saying I'll watch just about anything with Laura Linney in it, so (even though she's just the host) I'll probably have to at least check out some of the Dickens stuff.

But today's post is about something rather less haughty - Josh Schwartz's impending entry into the real of the X-Men. Sounds like a disaster in the making, I know, but bear with me.

I often fail to remember how old I'm supposed to be (don't you have to to watch TV nowadays?), but even I didn't bother to tune in for Schwartz's "The O.C." With his two current shows, however, you can count me a solid fan.

I know I have no business watching "Gossip Girl," but it remains just the most addictive brand of trash. Besides, thanks to Schwartz, the show has a surprising amount of heart, and lately it's had Wallace Shawn to boot too, so what's not to like?

His other current show, "Chuck," is one I've just recently come around to but am now hooked on enough to become a weekly viewer. It certainly does get more than a bit repetitive as seemingly every new character turns out to be an evil Fulcrum agent (Chuck's ex .. really?!?!), but it's still a very funny spy game.

But does any of this fluff qualify Mr. Schwartz to take on the "X-Men" franchise? From the outset it has to at least be said he certainly can't do any worse than Brett Rat did with the utter crapfest that was "X-3," and they're handing Schwartz a (one can only assume sassy) young wave of mutants for "X-Men: First Class."

Schwartz will pen the flick based on the comic book series (which I haven't read), and will probably step into the director's chair too, though he doesn't yet have any experience in that realm. Given his TV record, we should at least expect this to be fun - and hopefully not too stupid - as it introduces characters like Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Jean Grey and Professor X at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. And "Chuck," as sublimely silly as it is, features action sequences a cut above most of what you get on TV nowadays, so I'd say there's some hope on that front too.

Whether Schwartz manages to pull this off or not, it seems we're still gonna get a big dose of "X-Men" in the near future (not all that surprising given that, as bad as it was, Ratner's flick took in a rather impressive $456 MILLION worldwide.) Next summer will see Hugh Jackman in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (Origins? Really? Why the heck do we need that?) and probably in 2010 we'll get Sir McKellen as Magneto in another "Origins" flick.

Well, I've certainly said enough about all that, but I'll just close by saying I'm now thoroughly convinced that Baz Luhrman's epic "Australia," coming next week with Mr. Jackman and a certain Aussie you may have heard of named Nicole Kidman, will be a real winner (and at a reported cost of at least $120 million it certainly should be!)

A simply splendid glimpse of "Where the Wild Things Are"

Even though they put their stamp clearly on the pic, I just want to make clear that this was swiped directly from A.I.C.N. It was just so pretty that I couldn't resist.

In quite possibly the longest interview I've ever read, the site's Moriarty engages director Spike Jonze about all kinds of subjects, including (eventually) when - if ever - we'll get to see his take on "Where the Wild Things Are." I still have no idea if it will look anything like what Spike imagined when he first took on my favorite childhood tale by Maurice Sendak, but word from the director is it won't be until at least next October until we finally get to find out.

A true shame that, but enjoy this truly beautiful pic - which was enough to bring a broad smile to my face even at the very early hour that I rise - and have a perfectly passable Wednesday.


Carrie Lofty said...

X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (Origins? Really? Why the heck do we need that?)

'Coz of Gambit. And Liev Schreiber as a proper Sabretooth.

Reel Fanatic said...

Ah ... I can see what you mean by that, Carrie, but putting "Origins" in the title still makes it seem like they're treating us as idiots

RC said...

i can't wait for wild things...i think jonze will do a great job.

i agree, linney is an very impressive actress...agreeably one of the best.

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