Saturday, August 01, 2009

Scab-free "Futurama" - plus two tantalizing trailers

Actually, there's at least a rumor out there today that's crazy enough I should really start out with it (and it's not the fact that Rob Marshall will be stepping in to direct "Pirates of the Caribbean 4," which I really couldn't care less about.)

It seems that, at least according to the Hollywood Reporter's Risky Biz blog, "500 Days of Summer" director Marc Webb may now be tapped to helm another big-screen take on "Jesus Christ Superstar." Take a second to digest that.

As for his first flick, which I saw a few weeks ago, I'd say like Summer herself I was in a state of "like" rather than "love" by the end. The two leads, Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt, have charm to spare, as does most of the movie, but I couldn't help but feel an evolving sense of stasis since going in you knew at least sort of how it was going to end.

I will say two things in its favor: It's easily the best "romantic" movie I've seen so far this year, and as far as break-up movies go, it's just miles and miles and miles better than that turd of a flick "The Break-Up," starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. Man, did that stink. As for "500 Days of Summer," I'd say if it's playing anywhere near you, take a chance on it for a fun summer diversion.

And as for Universal's apparent plans to remake Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, which was already made into a wacky little flick by Norman Jewison, I'd say it could certainly work and will make a ton of money, and Webb can certainly do it. Myself I'd call marginally interested at best. I am, however, always interested in "She & Him" by Deschanel and M. Ward, which I'm listening to right now. Priceless.

Now to what for fans of good, smart, funny sci-fi can only be great news. I had a sneaking feeling that the news Twentieth Century Fox was recasting for the upcoming new episodes of "Futurama" on Comedy Central was just a negotiating ploy.

The main thing "Futurama" has going for it, beyond the fact that it's just thoroughly entertaining, is that it has a devoted fan base of folks like me. Going to the trouble of making new episodes after you've alienated everyone by firing the entire cast would really defeat the entire purpose of bringing it back.

Thankfully, it's not to be. It seems all the main cast members - Billy West, Katey Segal, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche and Tress MacNeille - have all now signed for the new season of 26 episodes at a little less than they wanted but more than the studio was initially offering before breaking things off. So now I'm certainly in when this finally comes back in mid-2010 or so.

And in one other really good bit of TV news, it seems I will indeed be holding onto my HBO for a bit longer after this season of "True Blood," because the "Seinfeld" reunion of sorts on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is turning into more than a minor affair.

I assumed they - Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards - would only agree to it for one episode, but apparently I'm wrong (yes, I'm used to it by now.) When the show returns in September (I think), the "Seinfeld" angle will be a "major arc," with all the cast members appearing in at least five episodes, according to HBO. Rather than an actual "Seinfeld" reunion, Larry David says it will instead be more about why that would be such a bad idea in his mind and what everyone's been up to in the last 11 years (wow, really?) In the case of Richards, at least, that should be pretty fascinating.

OK, now on to the trailers. The first, which I think actually came out yesterday and was pointed out to me by Movie Mom Nell Minow, is the first trailer for Wes Anderson's "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," and I have to say it looks at least as good as I could have hoped. If you're gonna tell a classic children's tale, I'd much rather watch it in this appealing stop-motion style rather than with even-more-souped-up 3-D gadgetry. Enjoy, and stick around for one that gets me even more giddy.

Finally, as far as I know, this is the first trailer for Hayao Miyazaki's "Ponyo" that contains a lot of the Western voice-over, and though as usual the dubbing doesn't match up at all with the moving mouths, it still looks amazing. Seeing Ponyo turn from goldfish into little girl is just great, so here's hoping this really does open "NATIONWIDE" as Disney has promised on Aug. 14. And if you'll excuse me now, I'm off to see Judd Apatow's "Funny People" and hoping I'll like it a lot more than some of the critics have. Peace out.


Mercurie said...

I definitely think classic children's books lend themselves more to stop motion than computer animation (especially in 3-D). I am just hoping The Fantastic Mr. Fox is even half as good as Henry Selick's adaptation of James and the Giant Peach, which is a near classic in my mind.

Reel Fanatic said...

It is indeed, Mr. Mercurie ... I just love that movie ... I don't this will be quite as good, but if it's close I'll be really happy