Friday, March 12, 2010

For Friday, a bunch of fun movie news

Due to people and their relations being sick, it's just been a tough week for me and my co-workers, but when I saw this yesterday I immediately told everyone within talking distance, because whose day isn't at least a little bit better with news about Harold & Kumar?

It seems that, for which I occasionally contribute, had an interview with John Cho, and along with a lot of news I skipped over about his TV show "Flash Forward" (which I do watch), he revealed the blissfully silly news that filming on "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas" will indeed begin in June, with the movie set for release in time for Jesus' next big day.

Neil Patrick Harris will apparently be back, and even though he as far as I know might still work for Barack Obama, I'd have to assume Kal Penn will too (otherwise, why watch?) That's easily the news that just made my rather mundane Thursday.

And in easily the craziest news out there this morning, it seems that we can get used to seeing "Avatar" in some form in our movie theaters for a very, very long time to come. It seems the box office king of the world is now adding new scenes (to what was already a pretty freakin' long movie) for a theatrical re-release this fall. You know, I call it crazy, but then again, I just might spring for this, 'cause it was an awful lot of fun.

In other James Cameron news that doesn't interest me in the least but will surely intrigue other folks, he also let it spill that "Titanic" is getting its inevitable 3-D upgrade, and will probably be out in its shiny new form in 2012. I'll admit it: Not only did I just not think the movie was all that great, but the thought of all that water raging toward me in 3-D just gives this wimp the heebie-jeebies.

Noyce books more spy games

If I had to pick a single favorite director, it would probably be Alfonso Cuaron, but if I ever made a list of 10 (and may just do that soon), these next two guys would certainly make the cut.

Phillip Noyce nets this distinction largely on the strength of two fairly recent movies, his sublime remake of the Graham Greene novel "The Quiet American" and the even better South African movie "Catch a Fire."

His next movie will be the spy flick "Salt," starring Angelina Jolie as a CIA spook accused of working for the Russians. I predict that will be the at least slightly surprisingly monster hit of the summer when it comes out July 23, and it seems that Noyce himself is already booked for more spy games.

He's been tapped to helm the spy thriller "Wenceslas Square," based on the short story by Arthur Phillips. It's set in Prague in the late Cold War era and revolves around a young CIA officer and a beautiful Czech spy.

What I'd really like to see him direct is that adaptation of Philip Roth's "American Pastoral," but that seems to be on hold, perhaps forever. In the meantime, I love me some spy games, so bring all this on.

McCarthy rounds out cast for "Win Win"

Another definite directing favorite around here is Thomas McCarthy, who along with starring in the final season of "The Wire" has helmed the great little flicks "The Station Agent" and the even better "The Visitor." He's booked his next project as "Win Win," and it's taking shape very quickly.

With shooting set to start Monday in New York (not, apparently, in Atlanta, as I somehow was led to believe), Fox Searchlight has announced that Melanie Lynskey, Bobby Canavale and, yes, even "Arrested Development" vet and extremelyfunnyguy Jeffrey Tambor will join the already unveiled Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan in the flick.

So, what's it about? Well, written by McCarthy in an at least semi-autobiographical tale, it's about a struggling attorney (Giamatti) who moonlights as a high school coach. He becomes the legal guardian of an elderly client, and when the old man's teenage son runs away, Giamatti's character's family ends up taking him in. The lad goes on to join the wrestling team and, well, you can imagine it will get pretty uplifting from there.

But, in the hands of McCarthy, I'd imagine pretty darn entertaining and insightful too, so definitely keep your eyes on this one.

Franco brothers set their sights on Bukowski tale

Anyone who'd been here before knows that I have a more than slight hetero man-crush on James Franco, and admit it, who in the world doesn't? The dude's just cool, and even though I think he's still an NYU student of some kind, he doesn't seem to ever stop working.

Among his latest projects will be adapting the Charles Bukowski semi-autobiographical novel "Ham on Rye" as a feature film with the help of his brother, Dave. Word so far is only that they're writing this, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that James Franco will also play Bukowski's alter ego, Henry Chinaski, and maybe even direct the movie too.

He's most recently directed a documentary about "Saturday Night Live" that will debut at this year's SXSW festival.

OK, hopefully that lived up its billing, because it was indeed about as much news as I have time to cram in this morning. I'll leave you with the first trailer I know of for "Shrek Forever After," which will be the fourth installment in the franchise when it comes out, oddly enough, on my birthday, May 21. I didn't care much at all for the second and third movies, but the first was a hoot, so I'll take a chance on this. Enjoy, fear the turtle, and of course have a wonderful weekend. Peace out.


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