Thursday, January 15, 2009

Who are these "Crazies," and what the heck are they doing in Peach County?

Actually, the biggest movie news today that might concern anyone who doesn't live within 30 miles of me concerns two biopics in the works which could both turn out to be pretty friggin' cool.

First off, Jim Sheridan, who last made the rather instantly forgettable 50 Cent bio pic of sorts, "Get Rich or Die Tryin' " (man, do I hope "Notorious" - which is indeed playing here this weekend - is better than that!), is now returning to the Irish turf that he knows so well. Well, Irish-American anyway.

Sheridan will be directing and co-wrote the script for a pic about Boston mobster and FBI informant Whitey Bulger, based on the book "Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob" by Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill (which just went on my reading list.)

I love mob movies as much as the next guy, especially ones based on real mobsters, so this should just be a lot of fun (and I'm sure Ben Affleck would give his left nut to play this, but I really just can't see it.)

Even better in my book, Focus Features has acquired the rights to "Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon." Now, I do agree there are too many music biopics out there, but cats just don't get much more interesting than Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

I recently bought a compilation of two Fela albums on the ITunes, "Open & Close" with "Aphrodisiac," and I can confirm they are just stunningly entertaining. Along with the music, though, Fela was also a political animal, often imprisoned in his native Nigeria before he died in 1997. Although I recommend these two guys for just about everything, I'd love to see Derek Luke (P.Diddy, or whatever his name is, in this week's "Notorious") or the "The Wire" vet who will be making a six-episode run soon on "The Office" (more on that in just a bit) in this meaty role.

Right here in Middle Georgia, and soon, there's something much more and appropriately crazy going on. I've so far managed to steer clear of almost all horror remakes, but I just might have to make an exception for this one.

As reporter Jake Jacobs reported in Wednesday's Sun News (which I lay out), there's a remake of George Romero's "The Crazies" in the works, and amazingly enough it's about to start filming in Peach County. Specifically, the filmmakers will invade Peach County High School and other parts of the county for filming from April 1-20.

So, what in the world is "The Crazies"? I haven't seen it, but as best as I can tell it's about what happens when a toxin is released into a town's water supply that, of course, causes ordinary people to go insane. Sounds good to me as long as it's a lot of fun, and now we know who will be here when it's filming.

Timothy Oliphant (Sheriff Seth Bullock on "Deadwood" who has managed to star in a string of just awful flicks since) and Radha Mitchell (who I last saw in the mildly engaging "miracle" movie "Henry Poole is Here") will be the stars, and if you want to see them, just stop by the school in that window and you might get lucky. And on one day, you'll probably see me too.

TV odds and ends

For most "Friday Night Lights" fans (meaning almost anyone who doesn't have DirecTV), it's been a long, long wait for the new season to hit NBC, but it finally does tomorrow night at 8.

Luckily, and thanks to the largess of always-welcome reader Jeremy, I've seen most of the episodes already, but I'll watch them all again on my bigger screen because they're just as good as ever.

Coincidentally, what will most likely be the last "FNL" episode ever hits DirecTV on the same night that the new season starts on NBC. I won't spoil anything for those of who will be tuning in tomorrow night (except for the teaser that, yes, Tim and Lyla are thankfully an odd couple again), but I can say they're clearly wrapping all the loose ends and doing so with a welcome dose of wicked humor.

And of course, for those of you who - like me - are old enough that you often stay home on Friday nights or else have a DVR, don't forget that the final episode run of "Battlestar Galactica" begins Friday night at 10 on Sci Fi. Bring it on!

Finally, there's some cool casting news for "The Office," and its non-Office spinoff from the series creators, which will premier right after the Super Bowl.

The name Idris Elba (teased so shamelessly just a few paragraphs ago to get perhaps a few people to read to the end of this) will be very familiar to fans of "The Wire" for his turn as Stringer Bell, but you should also check him out in "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" - the last movie from the late Anthony Minghella - once it hits DVD.

Now, in what should be a very funny run, he'll soon be appearing on six episodes of "The Office" as a new corporate suit who - among other duties - will finally try to whip poor Michael Scott into shape. Very cool.

For the new show from "Office" producers Greg Daniels and Mike Schur, "Saturday Night Live" vet Amy Poehler will star and be surrounded by former "Office" employee Rashida Jones, funny man Aziz Ansari and - most recently - Aubrey Plaza (who can apparently be seen in Judd Apatow's next flick, "Funny People.")

So, what's it about? Well, I don't know much, but this one sentence is enough to get me to watch at least a few episodes:

[The sitcom] is set in the office of Amy (Poehler), deputy chairman of the department of parks and recreations in Pawnee, Ind.

Vice chairman? Sounds just right to me, and I'll finally wrap this up with a coming three-episode turn on a show I just recently managed to get on board with, "Chuck," from a dude I can really only stand in small doses.

Goofy man Chevy Chase will play a technology mogul on three upcoming episodes of the show, which returns with new stuff Feb. 2. Unfortunately, it will be in 3-D, so I hope I will be able to stubbornly watch and enjoy it with only the glasses I need to make it through each day.

And, really finally since this has clearly gone on long enough, I'll leave you with this video preview of tonight's "The Office" episode, titled "The Duel." As any "Office" fan knows, that means Dwight and Andy, so definitely tune in, and have a perfectly pleasant Thursday.


Chalupa said...

The Crazies poster/cover reminds me of Planet Terror, the Grindhouse flick from Rodriguez.

Susan said...

Keith, great scoop about "the office" spin-off. I love your style!

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks so much, Susan ... I could probably find better ways to spend my time, but I really like reading the trades when I wake up each morning and sharing whatever I find there

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