Thursday, April 29, 2010

Is Steve Carell really about to resign from "The Office"?

Quick, think of the two worst people you could possibly imagine to play John F. and Jackie Kennedy. OK, now banish those from your head, because the History Channel has booked what I can promise you are two worse choices than anyone could have possibly come up with.

I assumed it was a joke until I saw in a few places this morning that Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes are to play, respectively, JFK and Jackie O (this would certainly be much more watchable if the roles were reversed!) in the History Channel miniseries "The Kennedys," a scripted offering coming in 2011.

Now, it's not really that Greg Kinnear, aka the poor man's Joel McHale, is a bad actor. It's that he's just kind of there, never having made much of any impression at all in any movie I've seen him in. But Katie Holmes? Sheesh. I guess Vanessa Hudgens turned them down.

The rest of the cast, however, is in much better shape. Throw in Barry Pepper, a definite Reel Fanatic favorite, as Robert F. Kennedy, and Tom Wilkinson as family patriarch Joe, and you've certainly increased the odds that I'll tune in, and possibly for some reason other than to see just how much of a disaster this can be.

Even more ludicrous than all that, however, would have to be the most bizarre use of 3-D I've heard of yet (and there's plenty of competition for that title.) I first heard several years ago that someone was going to make a movie of Yann Martel's enchanting novel "Life of Pi," and was psyched when that someone was Jean Pierre Jeunet, who would certainly seem to have the sense of wonder needed to pull this off (and I'll certainly be driving to Atlanta if I ever get wind of a proper U.S. release for Jeunet's "Micmacs.")

Now, however, comes word that that good idea has died, and instead Ang Lee is eyeing the project. OK, fair enough. Though I never bothered to see Lee's Woodstock comedy, I've seen just about all of his other movies, and they're pretty much uniformly excellent. What he has in mind for this, however, is just insanely wrong.

Word comes from Indiewire that he's now scouting locations in Taiwan and Pondicherry for a "3-D magical fantasy adventure crammed with visual effects," with a price tag of more than $70 million. Say what? Did he even read the book? Martel's novel, while thoroughly charming, isn't the easiest read, with most of the "action" taking place on a stranded boat containing a child, a hyena, an injured zebra, an orangutan and a Bengal tiger. Add to that that Martel's main motif is a convincing defense of zoos, and you hardly have the makings of a gangbusters adventure flick.

The kicker to all this is that Fox hasn't exactly given the greenlight to this madness yet, and I have a strong feeling they never will, at least not in this intended form.

OK, before I got distracted by all that silliness, this was supposed to be about Steve Carell's apparent planned exit from "The Office" after next season. This could, of course, just be a ploy for big bucks after his contract expires after next season, and with the show being's NBC's top scripted offering, perhaps a good one, but here's what he had to say to BBC Radio:

Question: How long will you stay with The Office for? How many more series? How long does your contract run?
Steve: Contract through next season.
Question: And will you stay after that?
Steve: I don’t think so. I think that will probably be my last year.

So, let's take him at his word. Would it be the end of the show? Not necessarily. It has steadily built into a very solid ensemble comedy, and Carell, though he's a funny guy, is far from the funniest character on the show. I could easily see it continuing, and though he's currently booked for a FX show set to start in June, I don't think you could do much funnier for a potential replacement than Louis CK, who's already had a run in NBC's Thursday night lineup as a cop who was pitching woo to Leslie Knope on "Parks and Recreation."

But perhaps the better question is, since next year will mark the seventh season, is that really enough already? The show is still dependably funny from week to week, but no show should run forever, and frankly, "Parks," "30 Rock" and often "Community" too are better in any given week.

Stay tuned to find out how this all shakes out, but in the meantime, know that if you have Netflix, all incarnations of "The Office," Limey and U.S., are now available to stream on your computer. I've been watching some old U.S. shows lately, and it's been a fun trip through the past.

OK, enough of that. All I have left today is a trio of videos, so let's get to it. For some time now, the Farrelly brothers have been at work on an omnibus comedy a la "Kentucky Fried Movie" that will feature directing contributions from Elizabeth Banks (huzzah!), Bob Odenkirk, Griffin Dunne and others. Well, you can add to that mix an update on "Robin's Big Date," a short comedy flick that starred Sam Rockwell and Justin Long, respectively as Batman and Robin. The two will reprise their roles for director James Duffy, and will be joined by Leslie Bibb as Catwoman and John Hodgeman as the Penguin. Sounds funny to me, and you can judge for yourself in the original movie below. Enjoy.

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Next up comes new trailer for "Splice," which I think will be the surprise hit of this summer. And I noticed the Warner Bros. imprint at the beginning, meaning this will hopefully play wide enough to even reach my little corner of the world when it opens June 4. As you'll see below, Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody star as two scientists who mess with human DNA and, rather predictably I suppose, get some disastrous results. Enjoy.

Splice in HD

Trailer Park Movies | MySpace Video

And finally today comes the first trailer I've seen for a flick I had never heard of until this morning, a Disney biopic about "Secretariat." I can't say that sounds all that thrilling to me, but anything that can breathe new life into horse racing is only a good thing in my book. Actually, for a slight digression, my fellow cubicle slave Randy Waters had a great idea for the Kentucky Derby, coming Saturday: Move it to prime time and watch the ratings skyrocket, at least for the magical two minutes or so. In the meantime, enjoy Diane Lane and John Malkovich in this trailer for "Secretariat," apparently coming October 8, and have a perfectly pleasant Thursday. Peace out.

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