Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Where the wild sounds aren't: A soundtrack dud

Actually, the biggest - though I'm not sure the best - news in my book is that easily one of my favorite British TV shows is not only coming to America, but even to the burgh formerly know as Charm City, Baltimore itself.

On the surface, E4's "Skins" would look like the definition of a guilty pleasure for someone as old and often cranky as me, but I think it's so good it stands up as entertainment for all ages. I'm not sure exactly how I got hooked on it in the first place, but I think it was because someone who visits here once commented that Dev Patel of "Slumdog Millionaire" stars in the first two seasons, which is indeed the case. If so, I can't remember who it was, but thank you all the same.

The show, a primetime soap opera that fits squarely with Britain's best entries in that genre, follows the adventures of seven teens who have the misfortune of living in Bristol with at best very unfit parents. There's an awful lot of sex and drugs, but also just a lot of humanity and fantastic storytelling. And besides, Peter Capaldi of "In the Loop" makes a very memorable turn on a few episodes as one said parent, so you know they have to be doing something right.

The show has aired a third season with a new set of kids, which I'll pick up on DVD as soon as I'm able, but in the meantime comes the rather dubious news that MTV (attracted, I suppose, by all the sex and drugs) is not only doing an American version, but setting it in Baltimore with a cast of "unknowns."

Show creator Bryan Elsley will have a hand in at least the pilot, so perhaps this won't turn out as dreadful as I'm imagining it could be. And in the meantime, I really do recommend watching the first two seasons of "Skins" on DVD. It's not quite "Freaks and Geeks," but in it's own way, it's still a unique view of teenage life that I guarantee you'll find entertaining if you stick with it.

In other, much more geeky and less disturbing, news, John Landis and the great Simon Pegg are teaming up for a flick that - if I'm not mistaken - would be Landis' first big-screen feature directorial project since "Blues Brothers 2000" (which may well some kind of masterpiece, but since I'll never see it, I guess I'll never know.)

"Burke and Hare," which sounds like it's right up each of their alleys, will be about a pair of 19th Century grave robbers who dug up and sold cadavers to the Edinburgh Medical College for dissection. I'm laughing at that already, and if you pair Pegg and Nick Frost as the two grave robbers, even better.

And finally, before we get to the rather lame lead single from the upcoming "Where the Wild Thing Are" soundtrack and then a mind-bending teaser trailer from no less than Christopher Nolan, there's one more bit of news about what will most likely be Pixar's first live-action movie, "John Carter of Mars" (Brad Bird had been developing a live-action project titled "1906" about the great San Francisco earthquake, but it looks like that one might be in serious trouble.)

"John Carter of Mars" will be based on the series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs about a Civil War veteran who is somehow transported to the red planet. Already, "Friday Night Lights" (man, do I miss that show) vet Taylor Kitsch has been cast as the titular John Carter, and now two of my favorite actors have joined the mix.

Dominic West, who walked the beat in Baltimore (you really can't have too much Charm City in one post) as Jimmy McNutty on "The Wire," will play Sab Than, the Martian prince who (according to reports, since I haven't read these books yet) tries to force the Martian princess Dejah Thoris to marry him. Even better, and wilder, Samantha Morton will play Sola, the "10-foot-tall, four-armed green secret daughter of Martian warrior Tars Tarkas."

Like I said, not having read the books, none of that means much to me, but I still can't wait to see what Pixar will do in live action (though it won't be coming until 2012), and especially with a cast that good.

OK, as we near the finish, it's time for something just almost completely disappointing. Anyone who's been here before knows that I've been tracking all the slightest bits of minutiae about "Where the Wild Things Are," because it pairs one of my favorite directors, Spike Jonze, with my favorite tale from childhood by Maurice Sendak.

In, I think, both of the trailers, they've used the simply sensational Arcade Fire song "Wake Up," which in both spirit and sound just fits the movie perfectly.

Now, however, they've released the first single from the upcoming movie soundtrack, by "Karen O and the Kids," with Karen O being the frontwoman for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And I have to say, having listened to it twice now, that it's unfortunately just a big ball of meh.

Don't take my word for it, though. Click here and scroll down the right side to listen yourself, and please feel free to let me know if I'm somehow just all wet about this.

And, really finally, I'm probably a few days late with this, but who really cares when it's the teaser trailer for Christopher Nolan's next flick, "Inception"? The clip doesn't reveal much except that it stars Leonardo DiCaprio, but I can also tell you young Ellen Page is in it, it won't come out until July and it should just be a real friggin mind trip when it finally drops. Enjoy, and have a perfectly passable Tuesday. Peace out.


jeremy said...

The best book to movie news I've heard is that my favorite series of fantasy books (Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin) has been picked up by HBO and will be turned into a mini-series.
Peter Dinklage and Sean Bean! Woohoo!

This could be really good--or, epic, as the kids say.

Reel Fanatic said...

I've never heard of those books, but with a cast like that I'd imagine it's gotta be good .. My wallet tells me I should drop HBO, but with the return of David Simon and Larry David, I imagine i'll be keeping it for quite a while to come