Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just how long can "Watchmen" really get?

You know, I think I'm almost alone here, but I almost unconditionally loved what Zack Snyder did with "Watchmen".

Now, of course, there are always going to be complaints from fans of the funny book by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons about what was left out, and it seem that Snyder has now taken just about all of those complaints to heart.

After a director's cut, which I bought, that clocks in at a you-would-think-long-enough 178 minutes or so, he's now about to release "Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut" on Nov. 3, which will run for what you would have to hope would be an exhaustive 3 hours and 35 minutes. Whew.

I'm not enough of a sucker to buy this again, especially since my company is offering us furloughs as the latest incentive to keep working there, but I do think I'll at least rent it, because it does seem to be just about as close to the graphic novel on screen in its entirety as we're gonna get (though I know I'm being naive here, and there will surely be an "Ultimate, Ultimate" edition coming sometime soon.)

In this new version, "Tales of the Black Freighter" will be interwoven into the movie, as it should be, but Hollis Mason's autobiography, "Under the Hood," will only be available as a standalone extra. Perhaps coolest of all in the extras will the entire motion comic, which I'd really like to see.

Anyways, call me a sucker if you want, but I think I can spare three-and-a-half-hours or so of my life for what has apparently turned into "Watchmen: The Miniseries".

Two doses of "News of the Weird"

With apologies to Chuck Shepherd, whose News of the Weird we publish most Fridays in the Telegraph, as far as movie news of sorts it doesn't get much weirder than these next two tidbits.

After, and I never would have guessed there were this many, FOUR direct-to-DVD sequels, it seems that "Bring It On" is about to get yet another life on stage as a musical. And no, I'm not making that up.

Now, I will admit that I'm a big fan of the original with Kirsten Dunst, Gabrielle Union and Eliza Dushku, and I've even sat through most of some kind of sequel with both Hayden Panettiere and Beyonce's sister in it on a Saturday afternoon, but I can't imagine any scenario in which I'd pay Broadway prices for another dose. However, if a touring company brings this to Macon's Opera House someday, I have to admit I'd at least be curious.

And in possibly even odder news, Werner Herzog, whose most recent flick was a new take on Abel Ferrera's "Bad Lieutenant" (because Lord knows the world needed that), is now offering classes in "guerilla filmmaking" for $1,450 a weekend.

If I somehow had $1,450 to blow through and was in Los Angeles from Jan. 8-10, I actually bet this would be a lot of fun, especially since he's describing it with typical bravado:

"The Rogue Film School is not for the faint-hearted; it is for those who have travelled on foot, who have worked as bouncers in sex clubs or as wardens in a lunatic asylum, for those who are willing to learn about lock-picking or forging shooting permits in countries not favoring their projects. In short: it is for those who have a sense for poetry. For those who are pilgrims. For those who can tell a story to four-year-old children and hold their attention. For those who have a fire burning within. For those who have a dream."

The beginning of the end for Jay Leno?

Actually, I'm well aware that he's probably indestructible at this point, but it's still interesting to see how he fared with the key 18-49 demographic on Monday night, one week after his big debut. Here are the numbers:

6.5 House
4.6 Big Bang Theory
4.4 Two and a Half Men
4.3 CSI Miami
4.1 Dancing With The Stars
3.5 How I Met Your Mother
3.2 Accidentally On Purpose
2.7 Heroes
2.3 Castle
1.8 The Jay Leno Show
1.2 One Tree Hill
1.1 Gossip Girl

Now, I will admit that I watch "Gossip Girl" as exactly the kind of mindless fluff I need on a Monday night, so I certainly think it's great that Jay not only finished dead last among the shows from the big four networks, but also just barely managed to beat the CW's two offerings. Predictably pathetic. Please keep tuning out!

Fincher's "Facebook" takes shape

Most of this was already pretty well known, I think, but Columbia Pictures has now confirmed the cast for David Fincher's flick "The Social Network," written by Aaron Sorkin and based on the rise of Facebook (which I'm on, somehow.)

In the principal cast, Jesse Eisenberg will play Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Timberlake will play Napster co-founder and Facebook founding president Sean Parker, and someone I've never heard of named Andrew Garfield will play Eduardo Saverin, the Facebook co-founder who fell out with Zuckerberg over money.

Why should anyone care about any of this? Well, I find the subject kind of fascinating, and I've been rewatching a lot of "Sports Night" lately, which is proof that Aaron Sorkin is an extremely witty guy when he gets things right (and, in its own little way, I think "Sports Night" just might be better than "The West Wing" - blasphemy, I know.)

Steve Coogan alert

I normally wouldn't care one lick about any early news about a Will Ferrell/Adam Mckay comedy, but when you cast Steve Coogan, who would certainly have to be in the discussion if you were actually to try and pick the funniest man on Earth, you've got my ear.

Actually, the whole premise of "The Other Guys" sounds pretty funny. The Rock and Samuel L. Jackson will play supercops who constantly show up a pair of bumbling co-workers to be played by Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. I wasn't sold, however, until I saw that the great Mr. Coogan has been cast as the arch villain of the piece.

For the best doses of Coogan I can recommend on DVD, try "24-Hour Party People" and "Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story."

Has Diablo Cody lost "it"?

Now, I'm really not someone to kick people when their down (except for maybe Jay Leno), and I admittedly haven't yet seen "Jennifer's Body" (and I'm not sure I will), but if this really is Diablo Cody's next writing project I think the "Juno" scribe has really hit a wall.

It seems she's not set her sights on "Sweet Valley High," the series of novels about (and I'm going on what the trades say here, not having actually read any of them) a set of identical twins "with dissimilar personalities - the sensitive and practical Elizabeth and the flighty and boy-crazy Jessica - in the fictional town of Sweet Valley."

My God does that sound awful, so if you made it this far you certainly deserve a reward. Ricky Gervais' new film, "The Invention of Lying," doesn't open until next week, unfortunately, but here's an odd bit of marketing that only he could come up with. This clip is seven minutes long (and this is only part one), but I guarantee that if you let it get started for a couple of minutes you'll laugh out loud as Gervais' comedy compadre and punching bag Karl Pilkington tries to first review the flick and then offers his rather unique ideas for marketing it. Enjoy, and have a perfectly passable Wednesday. Peace out.


Jess said...

Where do you get the numbers? I'd love to be able to check them out for the new shows coming out to see how they fare.

Reel Fanatic said...

I cribbed them from James Hibberd's Live Feed blog at the Hollywood Reporter site, Jess .. the address for his site is ... He does ratings reports fairly often, so you should be able to find out pretty easily how new shows are doing .. Tonight I'm tuning for the premiere of "Modern Family" on ABC, and hoping it will be very funny

Eric said...

OK gotta go along with you on the Watchmen. I really loved that movie. The long one that I got at Costco when it came out. Hving never seen it nor read the original GN I had no idea what to expect.
Jennifer's body is creating quite a buzz with the nerd Sci Fi horror set. But I will wait for the DVD. But I would not pass judgement on DC's next work. she does have chops

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reel Fanatic said...

The graphic novel is just way beyond amazing, Eric .. It's definitely dated by now, but in the way it weaves together a traditional comic book with novel aspects and just epicly good cold war storytelling hasn't been matched ever by anything I've read in funny book form