Friday, February 13, 2009

Some dirty old rat has stolen my hat

A lot of people who care about this kind of stuff may already know just about everything I'm about to cram into this post, but you'll have to forgive me, since I just spent the past three days or so in Ohio so I could stand in a near-hurricane and sing benignly racist (is there really such a thing?) songs like "Somebody Stole My Sombrero" as the U.S.A. and mighty Michael Bradley beat the Mexicans in a World Cup qualifier 2-0.

And later today I'm gonna take a chance on the Clive Owen/Naomi Watts thriller "The International" even though I'm more than a little worried that everything we need to know was revealed in the trailer.

But first, here's a quick wrap up of what's happened in the past few days when it comes to directors I like.

Christopher Nolan's next, sans Batman

As much as I enjoyed "The Dark Knight" (and that was indeed quite a bit), I'm rather happy to hear that Mr. Nolan will be getting back to something that twists the mind more than a bit before he takes on the Batman saga again.

Next up will be something called "Inception," for which he also wrote the screenplay. It's described so far only vaguely as "a contemporary sci-fi actioner set within the architecture of the mind." I could probably spend most of my workday wondering about just what that might mean if I didn't already have the whole week off.

But what does that mean for Batman? Since this is all taking place at Warner Bros., which financed "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight," one can only assume that would be up next, but The Hollywood Reporter had another fairly intriguing possibility. They have him "attached" to a big-screen reboot of the '60s British TV show "The Prisoner," presumably following the six-episode remake the show is already getting this summer from AMC, to star Jim "Jesus" Caviezel and Sir Ian McKellen.

David Cronenberg hits the big time

This was, naturally, pitched as a story about Tom Cruise, but any word of David Cronenberg getting back to directing and with the budget this project should attract is much more exciting to me.

Following on the rather serious success of Robert Ludlum's Bourne saga on the big screen, MGM has picked up the spy scribe's "The Matarese Circle" for Cronenberg to direct and Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington to star in. Mr. Washington will play American intelligence operative Brandon Scofield, and Cruise will play his arch rival, Russian spy Vasili Taleniekov. The two are forced to team up to take on "a wide-ranging political conspiracy orchestrated by a mysterious organization called the Matarese."

There's apparently already a potential sequel penned by Ludlum back in 1977, "The Matarese Countdown," so hopefully this will keep Cronenberg back in the game for quite a while.

Woody Allen assembles his next team

I'm certain I've never worked as hard as Woody Allen still does at age 73, and I'm even more sure I'll still keep watching every flick of his I get a chance to until the man finally decides to slow down.

The real question in my mind is whether his next flick, "Whatever Works" starring fellow cranky old man Larry David, will open wide enough to reach my little corner of the world when it opens June 9 in the U.S.A. Before that even comes out, though, Mr. Allen will be back at work, this time in London with Josh Brolin and Anthony Hopkins in tow.

Those two certainly will be only the beginning of what should be a solid ensemble cast, and since there's sadly little else I like to do with my mornings, I'll be happy to share anything else I find out.

And I'll close today with a plug for the new HBO comedy "Eastbound & Down," since it comes from my current favorite comedy team, writer/director Jody Hill and star Danny McBride. Though I canceled my HBO a while ago, I'm hoping this will be available for free at HBO.com shortly it debuts Sunday night at 10:30 p.m.

So, what is it? Well, along with being the title of Jerry Reed's theme song for "Smokey and the Bandit," it's now also a rather rude-looking comedy about a washed-up former major league pitcher (McBride) who returns to his hometown and lands a gig teaching phys ed at the local middle school.

McBride, who stole every second he got as Red in "Pineapple Express" and also starred for Mr. Hill in the very funny "Foot Fist Way," is just a naturally gifted comedian, so catch this one if you can. In the meantime, just in case you actually have 12 minutes to kill at work today, here's HBO's making of special for the show. Enjoy, and have a perfectly pleasant weekend. Peace out.

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