Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A new Wizard of Oz? You've got to be f%$#ing kidding me! Plus, a new Drive-By Truckers album

I've been pretty much amazed by the reaction to Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," with critics pretty much split right down the middle. Well, you can certainly count me in the pro category, something you can rarely say about Burton's remakes.

Unlike "Planet of the Apes," which was just a lifeless mess, and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," which he just made into a perverted pile of trash, I found "Alice in Wonderland" to be nothing but charming, largely because Burton restrained all his worst impulses. I was a little worried when Alice first managed to walk out into Wonderland (or, as he calls it, Underland) and there were those two little flying creatures battling, but he mostly managed to resist cluttering the world with too many oddities and just let the story tell itself.

What comes next, however, just might be way beyond the pale. This is just at the beginning of rumor stage, but when it's this bad, I feel duty bound to spread it around (as if I would really have any power to stop it.)

There really does seem to be no limits to what will be engulfed by the 3-D beast, so someday I should probably manage to stop being surprised by this lunacy, but I just assumed no one would have the hubris to think they could remake "The Wizard of Oz," right? Apparently not.

According to the Los Angeles Times, with Harry Potter set to end soon and considering the rather amazing opening weekend for "Alice," Warner Bros. is seriously eyeing jumpstarting one of two updated "Wizard of Oz" scripts knocking about to make it a 3-D spectacle. Remember, I'm just the messenger here.

One project, called "Oz," is being pushed by Temple Hill, the folks behind a little series called "Twilight," and has a script by Darren Lemke, a writer on the upcoming "Shrek Forever After." OK, bad, but maybe not awful. But wait ...

The second potential project, which seems to be paralyzing my fingers so I have trouble even writing it, skews a lot more twisted, with "A History of Violence" scribe Josh Olson penning a version that focuses on - yes, really - a granddaughter of Dorothy who returns to Oz to somehow fight evil. Not surprisingly. "Spawn" creator Todd MacFarlane, who has had a twisted Dorothy fetish for years now, would be involved in this in some kind of producing capacity.

Now, I can certainly understand the temptation here. A potential tentpole with the perfect heroine, and all that nifty 3-D to boot, but really? Where to start ...

My main beef with all of this - and believe me, I could go on for quite a while - is that the original "The Wizard of Oz," in an admittedly antiquated way, is plenty twisted itself already. It certainly doesn't need to be any darker or odder or anything else than it already is.

If anyone has a lot more power than me, please stop this as soon as possible. And from here on out today, it's all good news, I promise, including two simply sensational musical offerings at the end.

De Niro to play Vince Lombardi

If you're gonna do a grand sports biopic, you probably can't find a better match in my book than Robert De Niro and Vince Lombardi, the Green Bay Packers coach who led his team to five NFL titles. De Niro has signed on to play the role on the big screen for ESPN Films, with a script to come from Eric Roth, who wrote the screenplay for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

Now, I've made clear my pretty intense dislike (not hate, note) of that David Fincher flick, but I seriously doubt Roth will be able to "Gump" this up the way he did Fincher's movie.

And as for ESPN Films, I've tuned in for their TV film series when the subject interests me. The Len Bias flick was pretty great until it veered off course at the end to proselytize about the legalization of drugs, and that little movie about the U. of Miami was nothing but fun. The flick about Jimmy the Greek was intriguing, but that ridiculous voice over that was supposed to represent the voice of the oddsmaker almost made it unwatchable.

What all the TV offerings have had in common, however, is that they're about as shallow as a half-filled kiddie pool, but I'd have to think Roth will get into a much more fleshed-out portrait of Lombardi here, and I'll certainly turn out to see it when this hits in that dead weekend before the Super Bowl in 2012 (great timing there.)

Two seriously funny ladies returning to TV

The only thing missing from the great news that Will Arnett was reteaming with "Arrested Development" co-creators Mitchell Hurwitz and Jim Vallely for a Fox sitcom to be called "Wilde Kingdom" was word of who would have the rather onerous task of being subjected to his obnoxious advances.

Well, it seems that Felicity herself, Keri Russell, is about to sign on to play the co-lead, which would be nothing but cool. In the show, Arnett would play a Beverly Hill jackass (natch) who falls in love with a charitable, tree-hugging woman (Russell) who can't stand his lifestyle or values.

Sounds like fun, and really, just the further adventures of Gob Bluth, and what could be wrong with that?

In other TV news at least tangentially related to "Arrested Development," Judy Greer has been tapped to star opposite David Krumholtz in another Fox comedy pilot, "Tax Man."

In the show, Greer is set to play a former Morgan Stanley secretary, nicknamed "the Terminator," who joins an IRS office in Fresno, Calif., staffed by enthusiastic eccentrics.

Greer is seriously funny in just about anything she does, and though Krumholtz has made a steady living for years now on "Numbers," which I've never seen, you may remember him from way back when as Neal Schweiber's big brother Barry on "Freaks and Geeks," so this is definitely one worth keeping an eye out for next fall.

New music video from She & Him

I know at least one semi-regular visitor to this site, Bob Connally, is jazzed about there being a second She & Him album out this week, and I am too.

For anyone who doesn't know, She & Him is a nifty little collaboration between Zooey Deschanel and plugged-in folkie M. Ward, and their first album, "Volume One," was just thoroughly charming, so I'm looking forward to more of the same with "Volume Two," which is due out March 23 (not yesterday, as I was hoping before an alert reader corrected me.) In the meantime, enjoy this first music video for the song "In the Sun," which with Deschanel and friends dancing their way through high school hallways is just a perfectly sweet diversion. Enjoy.

And, much better, next week will bring the release of a new Drive-By Truckers' album, "The Big To-Do." Even better than that is that it's currently streaming for free, and all you have to do to hear it is click on the player below. My first impressions? It's a solid rock record that falls somewhere between good and great. It could certainly use more Mike Cooley and less Shonna Tucker, but the Cooley song "Birthday Boy" and Patterson Hood tracks "Drag the Lake Charlie" and "The Wig He Made Her Wear" are first rate. Enjoy, and have a perfectly endurable Wednesday. Peace out.


jeremy said...

Adam Scott, co-exec producer and star of Party Down, is joining the cast of Parks & Rec. Starz is waiting to see how the 2nd season of Party Down fares before giving it a 3rd season.
2nd Season, April 23rd. . . be there!

Justin said...

I don't think She & Him's Volume Two is out until the 23rd. It's a fun video - Zooey is so darn cute!

Reel Fanatic said...

You're right about that, Justin .. I think I was just so excited for the album that I get ahead of myself .. And I don't know how Party Down can survive if it keeps losing its stars, Jeremy, but I certainly hope it will .. and with Scott and Rob Lowe both coming to Parks and Rec, that show should just keep getting better and better

Cullen said...

I'm optimistc about Oz. I really liked Sci-Fi's Tin Man, so I'm willing to see a re-imagining. Especially if it's full of steampunk goodness.

Reel Fanatic said...

You could be right there, Cullen, but I guess I'm just too much of a purist snob on this .. There are just certain things that have to remain hands off in my book!

J. Marquis said...

Thanks for the heads up on the Truckers. A new DBT cd is always a reason to celebrate!

Bob said...

Okay, so I was going to join in with your rant about the 3-D "Wizard of Oz" remake but it's impossible to be mad after watching that She and Him video. Is there anyone cuter on the planet than Zooey?
As for Adam Scott leaving "Party Down" for "Parks and Recreation"...damn. "Party Down" is like five times better than "Parks." Besides, he's the main guy on "Party Down" so I don't see the show working without him even with that wonderful supporting cast.

Reel Fanatic said...

I meant to send you a facebook message about the She & Him, Bob, but today at work was just deadly .. I'm glad you made it over here to find it, because you're right, her voice really will make just about any day better .. and though you're right that Scott leaving Party Down will probably be a death omen, I can't be too sad, because I really think Parks and Rec just keeps getting better and better each week

Cullen said...

Is there anyone cuter on the planet than Zooey?

Amy Adams. But barely.

because I really think Parks and Rec just keeps getting better and better each week

Which is good because The Office is doing the inverse.

Reel Fanatic said...

Ha ... Amy Adams is indeed just the definition of adorable, and I'd almost agree with you about "The Office" until last week's episode, Cullen ... the first half was hilarious, the second half just tender, and the best episode they've done in years

Bob said...

Mmm...Amy Adams. :)

Anonymous said...

I have to say this... If they want to do a Wizard of Oz remake, that's a horrible idea. However, making the musical Wicked into a film should serve their purpose nicely...

Generic Viagra said...

so cool,Alice in Wonderland is one of the best tales, I love it, I enjoyed a lot the movie!! I think that this is really good!

levitra cialis said...

Alice in Wonderland is a cool movie, great special effects and the performances were just incredible.

33drugs said...

TNX and Great

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