Tuesday, March 16, 2010

If I made a Muppet movie ...

I'd certainly put myself in the human starring role too, but more on that in a little bit, because the best possible news to start off this particular Tuesday would have to be the possibility of more "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

For my money, there isn't anything funnier on TV, and hasn't been for at least the past 10 years. Larry David's mix of eventually sweet but very bitter along with the way is just comic perfection, so any news of an eighth season would certainly be welcome.

And being an ornery showman, David offered only the slightest hint it might happen when he recently showed up at the TV confab PaleyFest.

After shooting down the possibility of a movie (thank God for that), he finally got around to saying "I think there's a pretty good chance" and "We're working on a couple of things."

Not much to work with there, but since baseball season is almost here, it's all about hope around here, so here's hoping he gets busy on this soon, and stay tuned until the end for the reason HBO is going to get me to re-up very soon.

And now back to the lead. If I were somehow the person writing a new Muppet movie, you can certainly bet I'd cast myself in it as the human lead, which is apparently just what "Freaks and Geeks" vet Jason Segel has done.

Though the plot of the new Muppet movie he wrote with buddy Nicholas Stoller is still under wraps, we do know it's called "The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made" and it's being directed by James Bobin of "Flight of the Conchords." Apart from that, it will of course be about the Muppets reuniting for a big show (what else, after all?), and Segel will apparently be the human who leads the effort to reunite them. That all sounds like nothing but fun to me, so get on with it already!

Scorsese's "Hugo Cabret" taking shape quickly

It can be maddeningly difficult at times to figure out what exactly Martin Scorsese will work on next, but with the cast taking shape seemingly instantly, we can now be certain it is "The Invention of Hugo Cabret." And having read and adored this "children's" book, that's definitely good news to me.

The book itself by Brian Selznick is about an orphaned boy who ends up living in the walls of a Paris train station with his uncle, and operating the station's clocks when his uncle is too drunk to do so. Along the way, he encounters filmmaker Georges Melies and his mechanical men and, well, it's just gets more and more fun from there.

Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen has signed on to play the station inspector, and Sir Ben Kingsley will reunite with Scorsese to play Melies (if you haven't seen "Shutter Island," by the way, you're about to miss your chance ... I thoroughly enjoyed it.) As far as the kids go, Asa Butterfield, who had the misfortune of starring in the simply dreadful "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas," will play our young hero, and that foul-mouthed hit girl Chloe Moretz will play the female lead, Isabelle.

There's certainly a lot of fun stuff for Scorsese to play with here, so definitely bring it on.

Inside the mind of Michel Gondry

It can be even harder to tell what's up with Michel Gondry, but since I almost always dig whatever finally springs from his overactive imagination, it's worth keeping track of.

He is, of course, now shooting "The Green Hornet," starring Seth Rogen (yes, really) from a script by the "Superbad" duo of Rogen and Evan Goldberg. You can count me as mildly intrigued by that, but it's with what might come next that things really start to get interesting.

He says that after that will come the indie drama "The We & The I," which is based on his own book, "You'll Like This Film Because You're In It: The Be Kind Rewind Protocol." I haven't read that, but probably will soon, and here's what Gondry had to say about the flick:

“It’s about the group effect, how people in groups transform when the group is dislocated, because everyone jumps out of the bus at different times, there is a smaller group and how the relationships evolve. .. it’s kids on a bus, it’s more like a social thing. It’s not [well-known] actors, it’s going to be kids from a school in the Bronx. I love kids and just [regular] people too because they are not polluted by the medium. They come as they are and they have beautiful stories to tell, so I want to show that.”

Not sure what in the world all that will produce, but his music videos (mi hermano gave me a collection of them for Christmas a few years ago, fantastic viewing) and "Dave Chappelle's Block Party" have shown he can have some real fun with crowd dynamics. After that, thankfully, things just keep getting odder and odder.

He's also working with funnybook writer and "Ghost World" scribe Daniel Clowes on some kind of time travel movie which would somehow star Ellen Page (remember her?) Called "Return of the Ice Kids," it's apparently about a group of teenagers who invent a kind of water that makes you hear music (believe me, I couldn't make this stuff up if I wanted to.) Here's a bit of what he had to say about Page's role in it:

“I’d like to do a movie of this size with my own story, which would be quite amazing. But we’ll see. I’m developing a screenplay with a writer right now about kids who travel [into] the future by mistake and a machine [that] keeps people younger… ehhh, it’s complicated to explain…Ellen Page is supposed to be the main character…She’d play Nancy, a young woman who participates in the discovery and changes the world.”

Also on Gondry's apparently indefatigable mind is an animated movie called "Megalomania," which he's been working on since 2007 with Clowes and his son, Paul. Here's what he had to say about that:

“It’s about three kids who discover how to create energy from hair. And they shave everyone on the planet. The rich people wear and rule the world. So the rich people wear wigs and the poor people are just bald. And they want to make a better world, but the maker — which is sort of based on my son — is a horrible dictator…"

And here's what he has to say about his son:

"I didn’t want him to be the son of me, I want him to be his own person. I always saw him as an individual from the first second he was born. I always appreciated from him from how different he was from me. He’s very well dressed and stylish and much more confident then me. He’s street smart.”

The film is currently set to star the voice talents of Steve Buscemi, Seth Rogen, and Juliette Lewis. And like I said, though it certainly be frustrating to keep track of all that, it's very often well worth it when you see what he finally comes up with. Stay tuned.

OK, after that, all I have today is a trio of videos, starting in honor of today's big release of the Drive-By Truckers' new album "The Big To-Do." It's the band's first album of all new material in a few years, and having listened to it streaming for the last week or so, I can tell you it's a grand rock record well worth a few bucks if you dig that kind of thing. The guys (and gal) are apparently releasing webisodes about the making of each track, which is more than a bit of overkill, but the first one at least, for the sensational Mike Cooley track "Birthday Boy," is very entertaining. Enjoy, and go buy the album too!

And finally today, two videos for David Simon's New Orleans series "Treme," which is finally coming to HBO (along with my money) on April 11. It stars "The Wire" vets Clarke Peters and Wendell Pierce, Melissa Leo of "Homicide" (and a lot of other things), and even somehow Steve Zahn and John Goodman too. It takes place three months after Katrina, and I think you'll agree that in at least these short glimpses, he and co-creater Eric Overmyer have really captured the city's rhythm. Enjoy, and have a perfectly passable Tuesday. Peace out.

1 comment:

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