Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Remember Cameron Crowe? He's officially back

Actually, easily the best news out there this morning is that "In the Loop" director Armando Iannucci is coming back with a new film, and it couldn't be much more different at all from that extremely hard-hitting and satisfying satire.

His next flick, "Out the Window," is an adaptation of Claire Tomalin's biography "The Invisible Woman," which recounts Charles Dickens' affair with actress Nelly Ternan.

Like I said, couldn't be much further removed from "In the Loop," but that flick is so amazingly good that I'll follow Iannucci just about anywhere. And if you haven't seen "In the Loop," rent it immediately, and be prepared to marvel at the sheer wonder that is Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker.

But before I got briefly sidetracked by that, this was supposed to be all about Cameron Crowe, who has indeed now officially signed on to direct his first flick since 2005's "Elizabethtown," which really needs to be erased from my memory right away. Man, was it awful.

His luck will hopefully be a lot better with "We Bought a Zoo," which certainly at least gives him an intriguing story to work with. The memoir by Benjamin Mee is about how he and his family used their life savings to buy a dilapidated zoo in the English countryside, complete with 200 exotic animals.

Sounds great to me. Crowe is currently reworking the script, and it's already received a release date of Dec. 23, 2011, but of course all that could change.

Like I said, "Elizabethtown" is an almost complete abomination, but Crowe has delivered plenty of winners in his career, and I'm sure he has another one in him. If I had to list my 10 favorite movies of the last 10 (or maybe 11) years or so, "Almost Famous" would make the list every time, and "Say Anything" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" are just cinematic comfort food that I keep going back to again and again. Here's hoping this trip to the "Zoo" will help him regain some mojo.

And in other news about one of my favorite directors who's sorely in need of a winner, it seems that Terry Gilliam may have finally found someone foolhardy enough to step into the role once inhabited by Johnny Depp in his "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote."

Gilliam's first attempt to make this movie several years ago was an utter failure, even though it was turned into a bewilderingly entertaining one in the documentary "Lost in La Mancha." The odds that he'll be able to do any better this time have to be at least slightly improved by the news (from Gilliam himself, at least) that Ewan McGregor is now on board, and hopefully bringing some better luck with him.

Assuming the script hasn't changed too much, McGregor will play an advertising executive who travel back to 17th century Spain, where he meets Don Quixote and becomes involved in adventures with him. It has already been announced that Robert Duvall will play Quixote (take a few seconds to digest that), stepping in for the great Froggy actor Jean Rochefort (if I can digress for one second, for a fantastic film starring Rochefort, rent Patrice Leconte's "Man on the Train."

I hoodwinked mi hermano into going with me to watch Gilliam's last flick, "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus," in NYC, and while it wasn't awful, it did pretty much go completely off the rails after Heath Ledger died, but that unfortunately didn't stop Gilliam from letting it just go out of any control or reason to exist for the last 45 minutes or so. "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote," however, has clearly been a passion project for him for a long time now, so here's hoping it turns into something worth watching.

And all I have except for that today is the first full trailer I know of for something I'm clearly too old to be watching, but when you make Emma Stone the star of your movie, there's almost an ironclad guarantee I'm gonna watch it. She's just easily one of the best comediennes working in movies today, and even if "Easy A," a teeny update of "The Scarlet Letter" due out in September, is extremely silly, as you'll see below, it also at least has Patricia Clarkson saying "because I slept with a whole bunch of people ... mostly boys," so it's at least got to be mildly entertaining. Enjoy, be sure to watch the Joss Whedon-directed episode of "Glee" with Neil Patrick Harris tonight, and have a perfectly acceptable Tuesday. Peace out.


Bob said...

"Easy A" looks better than I'd have thought. And I also hope that Cameron Crowe has made something worthwhile again.
Have you heard about "Life's Too Short" yet? The new Gervais-Merchant show with Warwick Davis. Sounds awesome!

Reel Fanatic said...

It does indeed ... I'm sure it's gonna be full of horribly inappropriate little people jokes, but as long as Warwick finds them funny, I won't feel guilty at all laughing along with him

M. Carter @ the Movies said...

I'm going to stick out my neck here and say something really shocking:

I. Don't. Hate. "Elizabethtown."

Actually, while I'm being bold, I like it. It has a myriad of flaws and it's nowhere near as good as "Say Anything..." or "Almost Famous," but it's Crowe's most personal film and I like that about it. It also features a kickass Americana-esque soundtrack.

It's Kirsten Dunst's Southern accent that's the abomination, if you ask me.

Bob said...

Well I loved the episode of "Extras" he was on ("TV bully kicks dwarf in face") and one of my favorite bits from "The Office" was David and Gareth trying to understand the difference between dwarves and midgets.

Reel Fanatic said...

You're not alone there M. Carter, so I'd call it far from shocking .. I can certainly understand that "Elizabethtown" was his most personal film, and I'll give it props for that, but the acting, not just from Dunst but even more so from Bloom and Susan Sarandon was just so atrocious that I just couldn't help but cringe throughout ... That said, a friend of this site was nice enough to burn a copy of the soundtrack for me, and it does indeed have a perfectly pleasant vibe to it

And you're right, Bob, that is indeed one of the very best moments from either versions of "The Office" ... I guess I just like jokes about little folk!

J. Marquis said...

Elizabethtown: horrible movie, wonderful soundtrack.

Reel Fanatic said...

I think that sums it up just about perfectly Mr. Marquis .. It's a great Sunday afternoon kind of album

Chalupa said...

On the subject of Elizabethtown, what do you think of the part when we're introduced to Chuck? I laugh every time. Parts of the movie could use a little help, but it's the little pieces of it that keep me coming back for another viewing once in a while.

Reel Fanatic said...

That is indeed very funny, Chalupa, but out of fairness I went back a couple of years ago and watched the whole movie again, and I still bring myself to call the sum anything but a failure, albeit a very personal one for Crowe at that