Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Only you can right a serious wrong to Ricky Gervais

I suppose there have to be more important injustices to battle in the world than what happened to one movie, but the treatment of Ricky Gervais' "Cemetery Junction" has been particularly appalling.

Never heard of it? None too surprising, I suppose. If someone told you this was a tale about young insurance salesman in England in the 1970s written by Gervais and partner in comedy Stephen Merchant (co-creators of both "The Office" and "Extras"), you'd probably want to see it, right? Well, I certainly would, and you'd think that unless this were somehow just utterly awful (which I find really hard to believe, though I'll surely find out soon), it would at least get a limited U.S. release, right?

Nope. This somehow went straight to DVD in this country, and the only good news in all of this is that it has finally come out this week. I've added it to my Netflix at the top of the queue, but it's threatening me with a "short wait," so I may try to redbox it instead. However you get your DVD fix, surely give this one a try.

And speaking of Gervais and Merchant, they're developing a series for BBC2 with legendary littleman Warwick Davis called "Life's Too Short." It's apparently about Davis' daily life, but Gervais and Merchant star in it somehow too, so keep an eye out for it on this side of the pond (and if you see it, surely let me know when and where.)

OK, after that, all I have today is a cache of clips which, I promise, just get odder as you go along. First up comes the first trailer I know of for Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan," which surely would have made the fall preview I penned yesterday except, in my mind at least, in movie terms December is winter. Anyways, as you'll see, it's gonna be a really weird but hopefully also wonderful flick. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis star as rival ballerinas who, as best as I can tell, get consumed by their competition and one particular role. It looks more than a little too "Single White Female"-ish to me, but surely Aronofsky has a lot more going on than that. Enjoy. (P.S.: There is, unfortunately, an ad that runs before this, but I promise that a) I don't make any money off it and b) if you sit through that, this particular clip looks great full screen.)

Next up, and thanks to a heads up from Amy Frazier Maclean, a good friend of mine from my UGA days and still one of my favorite people in the world, here's the first trailer for Casey Affleck's documentary about buddy Joaquin Phoenix. As I'm sure everyone remembers, Phoenix had some kind of meltdown a few years ago and (for real? who knows?) became some kind of rapper who looks like a Hasidic Jew. It all smacked of little more than a stunt, but as far as filmmaking goes, stunts often work well as none-too-long (here's hoping, at least) docu- (or mocku-) mentaries. Enjoy the clip, and if you live in a big American city, keep an eye out for the flick Sept. 10.

OK, I did warn that things would just get weirder, right? One of my many tasks at work is picking out the movie reviews that run in our weekly entertainment tab, and it's becoming increasingly hard to find reviews written by Tuesday afternoon, when we really have to put the thing together. For example, this week, there are a rather amazing six movies opening in Macon this week (including, yes, really, some kind of Christian movie called "What If" starring Hercules himself, Kevin Sorbo), but I could only find a review for one, Christy LeMire of the AP's cruel dissection of "The Switch." I digress with all that to tell you this: Of all the movies opening this week, the one I was most certain we wouldn't get a review of was "Piranha 3D" (well, that and "Vampires Suck," too, actually.) And besides, why submit to critics when you can just make your own pitch for not only plaudits, but a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars? I'm certain I won't go see the movie, but this Funny or Die clip featuring stars Adam Scott, Jerry O'Connell and others is certainly made in the right spirit. Enjoy.

And finally, saving the oddest for last, Zhang Yimou really has made a Chinese remake of the Coen brothers' "Blood Simple" (just let that sink in for a second.) It's described as a broad comedy, and below is the first Western trailer. Called "A Woman, A Gun and a Noodle Shop" (I'm laughing at that already), it's set for a limited U.S. release in September, and yes, I think that, given the chance, I certainly would go see this. Enjoy the trailer and have a perfectly harmless Wednesday. Peace out.


M. Dean said...

I thought I would just respond to the "I'm still here" trailer because I have been looking forward to that since I first heard about it a year ago. It looks great, I hope that it's a mockumentary, but I also hope that it's taken very seriously and that he never breaks character. The Letterman interview was just so uncomfortable so I hope that's a small taste.

That "Black Swan" trailer took me by surprise though. I thought it would be center stage + some dark cat fights, but it looks wonderful. I was surprised to see Vincent Cassel in it. His performance in "Irreversible" has still stuck with me all these years later. I think, if nothing else, Aranofsky is good as producing paranoia (Pi and Requiem for a Dream) so I think placing that paranoia in a setting like this is brilliant. And, come on, the last few seconds just adds a new layer of awesome.

One of my earliest movie memories was watching the original Piranha at my grandfather's house so I'll probably go see it for nostalgia, but, let's face it, sometimes mindless entertainment is called for.

Reel Fanatic said...

It is indeed, M.Dean, and I just might break down and see "Piranha 3D" myself, but probably only on DVD ... And you're definitely right about that Black Swan trailer ... I have no idea what the final movie will be like, of course, but that's a large part of its appeal for me

Bob said...

Well I did my part. I went to Silver Platters yesterday shortly after it opened and bought "Cemetery Junction" on Blu-ray (of course sight unseen). Haven't watched it yet but I will as soon as I get to. Yesterday I did go see "The Extra Man" and "Get Low" back to back and I liked both of them a lot.

Reel Fanatic said...

I should just go ahead and buy it Bob, and just might so I don't have to wait ... The Extra Man is one I really want to see, even though I often can't stand Kevin Kline .. If I'm not mistaken, it's based on a book by the same guy who writes the HBO series "Bored to Death," and though his name escapes me, he's a wickedly funny dude

Bob said...

Oh man, I love Kevin Kline! Honestly, my single favorite performance in any movie was his in "A Fish Called Wanda." "I'm uh, Harvey. Manfren...jen...senden."

Amy said...

Awww, and I love me some Keith! I didn't know you could find odder clips, but you certainly did with the Chinese remake of "Blood Simple." Interesting. I don't think Phoenix will break character. I am thinking he probably won't do any "normal" promotional appearances, even after it releases. I am going to reserve judgment until it's out.

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks, Amy .. I really need to make it back to D.C., and if I ever do we'll certainly have to meet up again .. and You're certainly right about "Fish Called Wanda," Bob, but there's something about many of his other roles that bugs me ... I really can't put my finger on what is, however, so maybe it's just overblown in my mind