Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bryan Singer making return to the X-Men? Bring it on

After watching the purely craptastic "X-Men: The Last Stand" and the entirely mediocre "Wolverine," I wasn't sure there was anything that would be able to bring me back to the franchise at this point, but Bryan Singer - rather amazingly - is about to do it.

Stealing more than a bit of the thunder from the Los Angeles premiere of "Avatar" Wednesday night, Singer let slip to a MySpace television crew that he had indeed signed on the previous day to direct "X-Men: First Class," which should be nothing but cool.

Why? Well, Singer, of course, directed the first two X-Men movies, and while "X-Men" is a perfectly fine superhero movie, "X2: X-Men United" is one of the very best in the genre, right up there in my book with "Spider-Man 2."

Here's exactly what Singer had to say about the matter: "I'm ramping up to do a movie called 'Jack the Giant Killer' at Warner Bros, and I just yesterday signed a deal to do an 'X-Men: First Class Origins' picture, which is kind of cool. I'm very excited."

I have yet to see any actual confirmation of this from the trades, but since I'm at least willing to assume the man isn't flat-out lying, I have to take this as true and great news, made all the more unlikely given how Singer spurned Fox once already to direct "Superman Returns" instead of the third X-Men flick (which I don't think even he could have saved.

But what exactly is "X-Men: First Class"? Well, it comes from a script by "Chuck" co-creator Josh Schwartz, and will look at the early days of our mutant friends at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. Schwartz has yet to do anything wrong on TV in my book (yes, I even watch "Gossip Girl," and "Chuck" is simply fantastic), so this certainly now seems to be in all the right hands.

Is Disney killing achingly bad comedies?

Probably not, but John Travolta and Robin Williams certainly have to be wondering if that's the studio's new mission.

First this week (or maybe last, I really don't know) came news that new Disney boss Rich Ross (not to be confused with the Miami rapper Rick Ross, I suppose) had terminated a virus called "Wedding Banned" (get it?), which would have been a "comedy" starring Williams about a divorced couple who kidnap their daughter on her wedding day in order to prevent her from making the same mistakes they did. Even though the always very funny Anna Faris and Diane Keaton (as daughter and mother, I presume) were set to co-star in this, it's probably best that it never sees the light of day.

And now, Disney has also stepped in to stop the "Wild Hogs" plague too. "Wild Hogs 2: Bachelor Ride," would have brought back Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and even poor William H. Macy for a production that would have launched next summer, with Walt Becker coming back to direct again, but Disney has halted all that for good.

Like I said, I don't really believe this puts even a dent in the bad comedy factory, but it has to at least be some kind of progress, right?

"The Freshman," the tv show?

My fellow cubicle slave John Parnell likes to quote from "The Freshman" all the time. Remember that one? I do, and though it was a genuinely funny flick, most of its charm came from the truly oddball pairing of Marlon Brando and Matthew Broderick in the tale of a NYU freshman who gets involved with the mob (and fine dining and exotic lizards, of course.)

Now it seems that USA, which has unleashed a flurry of original shows in the past few years ("Burn Notice" is one I always tune in for, and it will soon return for a fourth season), has latched on to this idea for a series, with the movie's writer/director, Andrew Bergman, on board to at least write the series adaptation.

Can this work? I seriously doubt it, because like I said, most of the charm of the original came from the Brando/Broderick combo, and obviously that can never happen again. USA, however, has proven me wrong before, so certainly keep your eyes on this one.

OK, what else? Well, I suppose I could have led with this, but it's easily only the second-best superhero movie news of the day. Below is the first trailer for Jon Favreau's "Iron Man 2," set to start the movie summer May 7, with Robert Downey Jr. back as our hero and Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke and even Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson somehow coming along too. As you can see from the trailer, Tony Stark is certainly every bit as brash as we remember, so here's hoping he's just as funny too. Rourke as Whiplash, at least, should make a first-rate big bad. Enjoy.

Next up comes two clips for flicks that promise to bring the funny, but about the first oddity, at least, I have my doubts. "Hot Tub Time Machine," judging from the trailer below, will almost certainly be as goofy as it title promises when it drops in March, starring John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Michael Cera's bff and even Darryl from "The Office," aka Craig Robinson. It's directed by "Grosse Pointe Blank" writer Steve Pink and, as you'll see from the trailer, at least returns Cusack to the ski slopes like "Better off Dead," so I'll at least give it a chance. Enjoy.

And finally, courtesy of MTV comes a look at what should be a better comedy, "Dinner for Schmucks," a remake of the Froggy flick "Le Diner de Cons," which has sat near the top of my Netflix list for a while now but somehow hasn't yet made its way into my mailbox. The title is pretty self-explanatory, and as you'll find out from the clip, Steve Carell is the titular schmuck in this flick being directed by Jay Roach and coming out in July. Enjoy, and have a perfectly endurable Thursday. Peace out.


Nell Minow said...

I was thrilled to hear that Wild Hogs 2 and Wedding Banned had been canceled. I suffered through Old Dogs, and even that was not as bad as WH 1, which was not only slack and condescending to its audience but virulently homophobic.

My husband and I are big "Freshman" quoters. I have been known to call him affectionately Rudolpho Laspari and ask him if he's ever been to Palermo. Sometimes when things do not turn out as planned he says, "Carmine said one boy and here are two." Or when trying to emphasize a point: "An A student, that's what my father said." Great movie.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm sorry you have to sit through such drivel, Nell, but at least, unlike me, you don't have to pay to do so!