Sunday, June 13, 2010

Has "The Hobbit" found its new director? Perhaps so

I'm not afraid to admit when something is just too maddening to wrap my often way-too-occupied mind around, and the sad saga of Guillermo Del Toro and "The Hobbit" is a perfect example of that.

How a director that talented could give what seems like 10 years of his life to something and then just have to abandon it all still confounds me, but even if the MGM mess will continue to be beyond my pay grade (nothing), it seems "The Hobbit" is closing in on a replacement for Del Toro, and it's a natural choice.

David Yates has directed the last four (if you count the two-part "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" as two movies, which I suppose you have to) Harry Potter movies, and before that made the sublimely entertaining little flick "Girl in the Cafe" (rent that one immediately if you haven't seen it.) And now Production Weekly is reporting that an offer has been made to Yates to direct "The Hobbit" next.

"Deathly Hallows," the first installment of which is set to drop in November, finished shooting just this week, so the timing would certainly be ideal. And apparently in the actually only two years he spent on this, Del Toro wasn't just sitting idle; there are apparently sets and designs that have Del Toro's vision of Middle Earth pretty much ready to go whenever Yates, or whoever ends up taking this on, is ready to go.

Now an offer is only exactly that, and who knows if he'll actually accept it, but that would certainly be good news, because "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" was solid, and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," both directed by Yates, was the best in the movie franchise so far.

And "The Hobbit" has always been my favorite of Tolkein's tales, mostly because it is so naturally a story for children, and one that I adored when I was one. Heck, I even liked that Jules Bass/Arthur Rankin Jr. animated musical, as admittedly silly as it was, and learned to play the piano to its songs.

But what will happen to Guillermo Del Toro? He seems to have at least 10 options on his plate, but the picture is about to get a lot clearer, especially if you're going to Comic Con next week, where he will announce what he'll direct next. I have no idea what that might be, but will certainly be tuning in to find out. If I had my druthers, it would be an original tale set in Spain to complete the "Devil's Backbone"-"Pan's Labyrinth"-whatever might come next trilogy, because those are still easily his best movies.

OK, enough of that. All I have after that is a trio of videos and, be warned, yes there is some "Saved By the Bell" at the end. Yes, really, but first up is the first trailer for Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere," which could either be something really intriguing in the vein of "Lost in Translation" or just a sappy mess. I really had little time at all for "Marie Antoinette," which was just a ton of style signifying much less than nothing, but "Lost in Translation" and the even-better "Virgin Suicides" are winners in my book, so I'll certainly be there to see this as soon after it opens on Dec. 22 as I can. As you'll see from the trailer, "Somewhere" stars Stephen Dorff as a star leading a fairly empty existence until he's reunited with his young daughter, played by Elle Fanning. Like I said, plenty of room for schmaltz here, but I'm still holding out hope for something more. Enjoy.



Next up, and keeping it a family affair, here's the trailer for the second season of HBO's "Bored to Death," which stars Coppola's cousin (I think) Jason Schwartzman as a would-be private eye in NYC. If you missed the first season last fall, you missed out on some serious funny, especially in Ted Danson, who plays an out-of-control magazine editor. The show, which also stars Zach Galifianiakis and was created by Jonathan Ames, is set to return in September, so definitely give it a chance. Enjoy.



OK, how better can you wrap things up than with some "Saved By the Bell"? I'm not ashamed to admit that I love the extremely silly NBC Saturday morning show (which may still be on the air with some kind of "Saved By the Bell: Next Generation" or something, for all I know.) There's really nothing funny about the BP oil spill, but whoever put together this mashup of the show and "There Will Be Blood" clearly knows this simple fact: You really can learn just anything you need to know about life from "Saved By the Bell." Enjoy, and have a perfectly passable Tuesday. I'm off now to watch some World Cup. Peace - and futbol - out.

2 comments:

Claudia Lawrence said...

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Anonymous said...

I must say i stopped reading after a paragraph or 2 after who ever wrote this nonsense about yates doing the best directing job of the harry potter franchise...it sucked...although the story gets better, he left too many questions unanswered in the films compared to the other 2, it was rushed...if he has anything to do with The Hobbit movies i will be shocked that they hired someone with little detail emphases during each scene, it will blow balls