Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yes, it looks like there really will be a new Muppets movie

There will surely be more important movies in the next two years or so, and almost certainly better ones too, but I just can't help but getting excited beyond all reason at the idea of a new Muppets movie, and after a couple of years of it being an iffy idea, it finally looks like things are solidly moving forward.

In an interview with, for which I was briefly a contributor, "Get Him to the Greek" writer/director Nicholas Stoller talked about what's up with the Muppets movie he and professional partner Jason Segel have written (and some other things I really couldn't possibly care less about), and for the first time he offered some solid evidence that it's really gonna happen. Here's a taste.

The Muppets, Jason [Segel] and I have been working on for a while and James Bobin is attached to direct it and they actually had a table read on Saturday with all the puppets and that’s going to shoot in September. Just really excited about that. It’s kind of a dream-come-true for all three of us so that’s thrilling.

So, what will the movie be about? Well, all signs are the flick, called "The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made" will be a genuinely old-fashioned Muppets affair, with all our old friends getting together to perform a show to save a theater from a now-timely foe, an oil company. This will lead, Stoller promised, to all kinds of crazy cameos a la the old TV show and movies. Here's more from Collider:

It’s one of the original movies like The Muppet Movie, Muppets Take Manhattan, The Great Muppet Caper. Those kinds of movies. So that was really important that we hit that tone and those have a lot of cameos in them and so Jason and I started asking people and everyone we asked just wants to do it. Like everyone is either, “I grew up with it,” or “I loved it,” or loved them now.

OK, I'm sold. Stoller said the shoot should take no more than eight weeks, working around Segel's "How I Met Your Mother" schedule, since he gets to be the main human star of this thing. And as for "Get Him to the Greek," I've read a few geek reviews by now that describe it as so completely debauch that it will be exactly the kind of R-rated movie I enjoy in the middle of summer, and I thought (except for that puppet show at the end) Russell Brand's Aldous Snow was easily the funniest thing about "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," so bring it on.

OK, after that, all I have is a couple of nuggets about much more high-minded projects. With "Frozen River," writer/director Courtney Hunt delivered easily one of my favorite movies of 2008 and just an astonishing debut flick, so any news of her return is welcome around here.

This morning, via the Playlist, comes word that she's found her next project in a remake of the Froggy Laurent Cantet flick "Ressources Humaines," which I have not seen (but will soon, assuming I can find it.) And while I'd normally sneer at the need to remake European movies for American audiences, I think this could be a welcome exception to the norm (and by the way, if you haven't seen Cantet's "The Class," rent it immediately.)

Cantet's flick centers on a young man who returns to his hometown to manage a local factory, only to find out he's being brought in to be the hatchet man. Hunt's movie will keep the same structure but move the action to America, where this story will certainly resonate now.

Rent "Frozen River" right away if you haven't seen it both for a remarkable performance from Melissa Leo, who's currently starring on David Simon's sublime HBO ensemble New Orleans series "Treme," and just because it's just a thoroughly entertaining little flick about immigration in America.

I'll close today with a couple of videos. It's been quite a while (well, since 2006, to be exact) since Alejandro González Iñárritu directed a movie, and though I know plenty of people who hate on his "Babel," I really enjoyed it. And besides, it brought Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi to the world, and what in the world could be wrong with that?

Well, he's back this year at Cannes with "Biutiful," which stars Javier Bardem. Best as I can tell, the movie, which is still in need of a distributor, if you have some scratch burning a hole in your pocket, is about a policeman who runs into a childhood friend who is now involved in drug dealing. Bardem, I think, plays the policeman, and this will hopefully find its way at least kinda near my little corner of the world sometime this year, because you can bet I'll drive a little ways up the road to see it.

Here's a very short production video, again courtesy of the Playlist, to give you just a small taste of what Inarritu has cooking. Enjoy.

And finally, in bad TV news, tonight marks not only the season finales of NBC's Thursday night comedies, but also the last time we'll be able to see them all together (hey, don't kill the messenger.) The real bad news about next season is that "Parks and Recreation," which has developed this year into my favorite of the four, won't be returning until midseason, presumably to accommodate Amy Poehler's new baby. "30 Rock" will also be moving to Friday at 8:30 (I'll watch it at any time, but what the f#@$?) to make room for a hopefully funny new entry, "Outsourced."

Anyways, I'll leave you today with a promo for tonight's "Community" finale, in which Troy finally brings the truth about "jumping the shark." Enjoy, and have a perfectly pleasant Thursday. Peace out.

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