Wednesday, February 24, 2010

For Wednesday, just a slew of movie news, good, bad and simply silly

There's just a ton of news out there today (or perhaps yesterday, but it's new enough to me), but let's just start with the worst of all and get it over with: George Lopez has signed on to star in a big-screen version of "Speedy Gonzalez." Just take that in for a second before moving on.

Now, I understand that Hispanics need to get all kind of roles and want that to happen all the time, but can you have a worse comedic role model than the very obnoxious Lopez or a more stereotypical role for him to jump into? Sheesh.

Just in case you're curious about the "plot" of this monstrosity, it will be a live-action/CGI animation hybrid from the director of "Garfield" (this just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?) about how Speedy becomes a race car driver.

OK, enough bile to start the day. It can only get better from here, I promise.

Freida Pinto to join forces with Tarsem

It really seems like every other movie coming out nowadays has something to do with Greek gods, and I'll probably skip just about all of them except for this one, because I'll see just about anything directed by Tarsem.

If you have seen "The Fall" (and if you haven't, why the heck not?), you know he's as capable of telling a great story as he is of delivering something visually stunning, and now he's got a great leading lady for his next project, "War of the Gods."

The story follows a young warrior Theseus as he leads his men into battle with the immortal Greek gods to - of course - save mankind. Freida Pinto is set to play Phaedra, an oracle priestess who joins Theseus on his quest.

Like I said, these movies quickly all run together for me, but Tarsem is without exaggerating a genius, and Freida Pinto is the kind of beauty I'd probably pay to watch eat a bag of chips, so I'll definitely be keeping my eyes on this one.

The Coens find their young leading lady

Remakes usually make me cringe as much as anyone, but these next two are just so crazy that I can get behind them unconditionally.

First up is the Coen brothers' take on "True Grit," set to come out in December and almost certainly net them another Best Picture nomination in the next field of ten.

Why a remake of "True Grit"? Well, the original movie is great in itself, but the novel by Charles Portis is even better, with a lot of humor to mine that the Coens should take full advantage of.

Already announced for the stellar cast are Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin, and now its just been announced that newcomer Hailee Steinfeld has been cast in the essential role of Mattie Ross, the 14-year-old who, along with an aging U.S. marshall and another lawman, tracks her father's killer in hostile Indian territory. I've included a picture of her since I really had no idea who she was, but the Coens' take will apparently focus much more on Mattie's view of the story, so this really is the key part. Count me as thoroughly jazzed for this.

Stephen Chow to channel Bruce Lee

I'd normally greet any news of a Bruce Lee movie remake with nothing but a sneer, but Stephen Chow is both certifiably insane and just as fun, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on this.

Chow has just signed on to make his Hollywood acting/directing debut with something called "Tai Chi," which is at least loosely to be a remake of sorts of Lee's "Way of the Dragon."

Like the original, it will tell the story of a Chinese immigrant (Chow, natch) working as a dishwasher in Chinatown who also just happens to be a Tai Chi master. He hides those skills until he's forced to stand up to gangsters who oppress his fellow immigrants.

This sounds like nothing but fun to me, and the kind of flicks Jackie Chan used to make before he joined ludicrous projects like the "Karate Kid" remake coming fast (and, don't say I didn't warn you, there's more coming on that later today.) Definitely keep an eye on this.

A pair of biopics in the pipeline

When I saw this this morning, I tried to think if there's been a Robert F. Kennedy biopic made yet, but couldn't think of one (if I'm wrong, let me know.) He's certainly a ripe subject, and by far the most fascinating of the Kennedy clan in my book, so word about a biopic is certainly welcome.

And Bostonian Matt Damon would certainly seem to be natural choice to play him, as he will for director Gary Ross from a Steven Knight script.

We all know the tragic story, but my favorite RFK moment of all would have to be the speech he gave in the streets of Indianapolis announcing the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Incredibly stirring stuff that should be great to see envisioned on the big screen.

And in even better biopic news, Forest Whitaker let slip in an interview with the indispensable that he is directing and starring in a biopic about Satchmo himself, Louis Armstrong. Whitaker certainly has the look for it, and he's becoming a first-rate director too, so this should be nothing but fun.

And there's some great casting news, too

Of all the comedy fronts out there, the best one in my book is what's coming from my adopted South from the mob of Jody Hill, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green. They just view the world with an extremely jaded eye, and deliver their stories, thankfully, without an ounce of sentiment (but often plenty of silliness.)

And now comes word today that Green is about to sign on to direct something that should be the epitome of said silliness, something called "The Sitter," to star Jonah Hill. You've at least got my attention when you describe your flick as a cross between "Superbad" and "Adventures in Babysitting," and this one will be about Hill being forced to babysit three wild kids.

Just about nothing makes me laugh more than children being unleashed as their truly wild and hopefully profane selves, so here's hoping this turns into something genuinely hilarious.

And in semi-related news, fellow Judd Apatow protege Jason Segel is joining something that sounds just raunchy enough to suit him perfectly. Along with the alwaysveryfunny John Michael Higgins (if you don't know who he is, watch "Best in Show" and then get back to me) he's joined something called "Bad Teacher" being directed by Jake Kasdan (as an aside, if you haven't seen Kasdan's "TV Set," do yourself a favor and rent it immediately.)

The flick follows a foul-mouthed, gold-digging seventh grade teacher (Cameron Diaz, somehow) who, after being dumped by her boyfriend, sets her sights on a colleague (Lucy Punch) who is dating the school's model teacher. Add into this mix Segel as a gym teacher and Higgins as the school's principal, and you've got the makings of something that should be nothing but very funny.

And in clearly much classier news, Angelica Huston and Philip Baker Hall are joining James McAvoy, Seth Rogen and Reel Fanatic crush Anna Kendrick in the now-untitled cancer comedy which used to be known as "I'm With Cancer."

The flick, which director Jonathan Levine starts shooting later this month in Vancouver, stars McAvoy as a 25-year-old who learns he has cancer. I have no idea what anyone else will do in this flick, but with a cast like that, it's certainly one to watch out for. Hall, in particular, is a favorite around here who should be a much bigger star by now.

And, finally, a trio of videos

You know, this has already gone a lot longer than I intended when I woke up this morning, but that's what happens when I start the day with a big bowl of coffee.

And for my money, there isn't a funnier (or, not coincidentally, crazier) dude out there today than Aziz Ansari. You can see him on "Parks and Recreation," but thankfully he's also taking his Raaaaandy character from Apatow's "Funny People" to ridiculous extremes. After making a mini-documentary about the Andrew Dice Clay-type comedian (which you can watch in installments on YouTube, highly recommended), Ansari has now teaamed up with TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek to make a Raaaaandy rap album. Yes, really.

And judging from the first single, "Aaaaaaaangry," which you can listen to here, the as-yet-unfinished "mix tape" should just be insanely fun. On this track, he disses everyone from Dr. Dre (first name slowest, last name ever) to the Clipse, and it's just a hoot. Below is a clip of Ansari in character annoucing that the mix tape will be delayed but coming soon, and will certainly be purchased by me whenever that actually happens. Enjoy.

OK, now remember, I did warn you earlier. Next up comes quite possibly the most intelligence-insulating trailer of all time. I'm really not sure where to start with this, but ripping off the "wax on, wax off" bit is probably the worst of all. "Enjoy" the first trailer I know of for the "Karate Kid" remake starring Will Smith's kid, if you dare.

And finally, if for nothing else than to watch out the taste of that monstrosity, here's a promo for "Chuck," which is thankfully finally set to return to NBC on March 1. Since you've got Superman of a sort, Brandon Routh, why not make a "Superman" style promo? Enjoy, and have a perfectly bearable Wednesday. Peace out.


Cullen said...

I saw Clash of the Percy Jackson two weekends ago and my first thought seeing the Karate Kid trailer was, "They don't do karate (traditionally) in China." I mean, it's a minor point, and arguable, I guess, but it really bothers me.

Reel Fanatic said...

You're not alone there, Cullen ... There are so many things in just that two-minutes-or-so trailer that make me want to claw my own eyes out to make it stop

Pillow Fighting Fanatic said...

There's not even a decent Billy Zabka doppelganger in the whole Karate Kid trailer! How dare they!!!!