Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Coens as "Serious" men? Well, sort of, and here's a look

Actually, there's some great TV and other movie news too, but before I get into any of that, there's a quiet little thing going on in New York City on Monday morning that's certainly worth a mention.

Remember Adrienne Shelly? She's best known now as the writer/director/star of the thoroughly charming movie "Waitress," but she was also the star of several great Hal Hartley movies early in her career and other flicks. And she was also murdered in her New York apartment in 2006, before "Waitress" even came out.

Now she's about to get a small tribute, thanks to her husband, Andy Ostroy - a memorial garden in Manhattan's Abingdon Square Park, across from where she used to live. Perhaps not very important to many people in the world, but it's interesting to me, so there it is.

But enough of that depressing stuff, 'cause there's a lot more fun news out there. I know there are vampires everywhere, but I'm certainly not immune to them, so I can only call this great stuff.

It seems that joining the thoroughly campy but entertaining "True Blood" sometime soon will be a TV series based on the Guillermo Del Toro/Chuck Hogan novel "The Strain," to be masterminded by none other than Marti Noxon, one of the big brains behind "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

"Strain," which I've just started reading, is a much more serious (well, as serious as this stuff can really get) affair than "Buffy," however. It tells the story of an outbreak in the U.S. of a virus that either kills those who are exposed to it or turns them into vampires, and I can tell you that so far it's an engrossing read. The plan, apparently, is to shop the TV project, envisioned as an event series unfolding over three seasons, early next year after the second book in a planned trilogy is released.

Noxon has also signed on to create, along with professional partner Dawn Parouse Olmstead, a series for HBO revolving around a feminist icon who launches a sex magazine for women. Diane Keaton is slated to star in it, which could be really funny, but I don't think it's enough to keep me from dropping my HBO again once "True Blood" winds up season two.

And in one other bit of really good TV news, "Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas has re-upped to create a second show for Starz to go with his comedy series "Party Down."

If you missed "Party Down" during its bitter but extremely funny first season, I believe Netflix subscribers can watch the entire season on their computers, as I did. It's about a bunch of wannabe actors who work at a catering company, and it gets my good show guarantee.

And now, Thomas has signed to develop another hourlong show for Starz titled "Waterloo," which will follow a struggling rock band and be based on his own youthful experiences trying to launch a music career in Austin (and please keep any Matchbox 20 jokes to yourself.)

If we're never gonna get "Veronica Mars" back in any form, which looks increasingly likely to be the case, I'll certainly give a chance to anything else Mr. Thomas has to offer.

OK, we're almost to the main attraction, but one movie note about a flick that's quickly attracting what could be the best small cast of 2010 so far. I mentioned recently that Ben Affleck has set his second directorial effort as "The Town," based on the novel "Prince of Thieves" by the aforementioned Mr. Hogan, and that it had already attracted Jon Hamm of "Mad Men" and the simply stunning Rebecca Hall to join the cast.

Well, now Jeremy Renner, who is just outstanding in Kathyrn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" (if you have any chance at all, please see that right away!), has also joined the fray. In the flick, Affleck plays a bank robber who becomes infatuated with the manager (Hall) of a bank he's robbing. Renner will be a member of Affleck's gang, and Hamm will be the lawman on their trail.

And finally, as promised long ago, the first trailer I've seen for the Coen brothers' next flick, "A Serious Man," and just from this two-minute glimpse or so it looks like they have a real winner here. As best as I can tell, it's about, among other things, a Midwestern college professor who finds his life falling apart when his wife threatens to leave him because his annoying brother won't move out of the house. It doesn't feature any of the Coen regulars, but you'll get a glimpse of Richard Kind as said brother and, even in this short bit, the dark humor that marks the Coens' best work. Keep your eye out for this one on Oct. 9, and have a perfectly pleasant Thursday. Peace out.


jeremy said...

There was something I meant to tell you, but I don't remember what that is now.
Anyway, Veronica Mars stuff . . . because I'm obsessed.

Reel Fanatic said...

Please feel free to post anything and everything about Veronica Mars you find, Jeremy, because I'm just about as equally obsessed as you ... I signed up for the Kristen Bell newsletter, even though I'm by any decent standard far too old to do so

Chalupa said...

I was talking to someone last night who has read the script and talked to one of the actors. They think this might be the Coens' most brilliant work to date.

Reel Fanatic said...

Coming from someone who follows the Coens like I know you do, Chalupa, that certainly is good news ... Judging from the subject matter, though, I'm hoping it gets a wide enough opening even to reach my rather hickish little corner of the world