Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Star Wars" in 3D? I'll take half of that, if it ever gets that far

OK, I've never watched "Dancing With the Stars," and have no plans to, but I did see a tidbit about it that left me with a question: With Michael Bolton getting the boot after delivering what someone named Bruno Tonioli called "probably the worst" performance in the show's 11 (really? sheesh) years, does that now officially sanction him as a no-talent assclown? (sorry, there was no way I could resist that.)

After that, it's mostly all good movie news today, so let's get right to it, starting with the biggest of big dogs (in his own mind still, at least), George Lucas, and his plans to gussy up all six of his "Star Wars" movies in 3D (and before anyone who's been here reads on and wonders why, as usual, I'm not just railing against all 3D - for something like "Star Wars" I'll make a rare exception, because this should be thoroughly cool.)

To the "last" three of those, now unfortunately known as episodes IV-VI, I'll certainly say huzzah. They're great movies (yes, even episode VI), and time certainly doesn't change that. And if there's one good thing you can still say about Lucas, he certainly will spend whatever money he can throw at these to make them look spectacular.

There is, however, a real big problem with all of this, and that's that he plans to do these in order, starting with "The Phantom Menace" in 2012 and then releasing one each year after that. Now, I have no intention of seeing that, "Attack of the Clones" or "Revenge of the Sith" ever again, and especially not with any kind of 3D premium attached to the pain of actually sitting through them again.

And the 3D mountain of movie stench emanating from those three releases, if this gets that far, may actually prevent us from seeing the actually good "Star Wars" in 3D, because, at least according to the report I saw at the Hollywood Reporter, the subsequent 3D conversions would depend "on how well the first rerelease does."

My prediction? Jar Jar Binks is gonna kill this enterprise long before it gets to "A New Hope," where it should really start in the first place, which will be a genuine shame.

OK, enough of that, since there's plenty of other, better news out there today, starting with an unlikely but thoroughly deserved kudos for "Anvil! The Story of Anvil," easily the funniest documentary I've seen in the last five years or so and one of the best, too.

Katie Couric, Brian Williams, Bill Moyers and other actual news people may have been the big winners at the 31st annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards this week, but "Anvil!" snuck in too and took home a major award, an Emmy for Outstanding Arts & Culture Programming (it was eligible after airing on VH1).

If you've ever seen this great little film you'll know just how funny that is, but still well deserved, so a hearty huzzah to that. And if you've never seen the movie about Canada's hardest-working heavy metal band, I recommend it extremely highly as a rental.

In other news, Guy Ritchie's inevitable "Sherlock Holmes" sequel is shaping up to be much better than the first take, at least in terms of cast. Well, that's not really fair, because the real problem with the first flick wasn't its performers, who all clicked well, but the extremely weak story. Here's hoping that gets a whole lot better for "Sherlock Holmes 2."

We now know, however, that the cast will be first rate. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law will of course be returning as Sherlock and Watson, and now comes word that they'll be joined by Jared Harris as archnemesis Professor Moriarty.

This role was originally rumored to be going to Brad Pitt, who would have been just fine, but anyone who's watched Harris as Lane Pryce on "Mad Men" knows he'll be great in this. And if you watched the latest episode, you know his character now has the dubious distinction of both using the term "jungle bunny" and also getting a savage beating in the same episode.

And the good casting news continues beyond those lead roles. Stephen Fry has joined the cast as Sherlock's older brother, Mycroft Holmes, and even better, the original "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," Noomi Rapace, will play a French gypsy and, I'd have to assume, inevitable love interest for Sherlock. Now, if they could only come up with a much better story this time ...

And speaking of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," if you haven't seen the original Swedish version, it's out on DVD now, and it's pretty uniformly great. So great, in fact, that it enticed me to read the 700-plus pages of the late Stieg Larsson's second book in the series, "The Girl Who Played With Fire," and it's a pretty sensational work, too. I'm fairly certain David Fincher, who has a little movie coming out this week you may have heard of called "The Social Network," will do just fine with his American remake of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," but if you can handle it's often-brutal story, the original is excellent viewing.

Now comes word that Niels Arden Opley, director of the original "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," has signed Tobey Maguire for his next project, "Good People," based on a book I haven't read by Marcus Sakey. The story, about a Chicago couple who find nearly $400,000 and go to extraordinary lengths to try and keep it, seems to follow directly in the footsteps of Sam Raimi's "A Simple Plan" and Danny Boyle's "Shallow Grave" (still probably my favorite of his movies), so it should be right up my alley.

OK, all I have left for the big finish today is just a short video, but since it's our first look at the Dude as Rooster Cogburn, I'd say it's a good place to end up. The Coen brothers' take on "True Grit," starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross, is certainly one of the movies I'm most looking forward to for the rest of this year, so definitely keep an eye out for it on Christmas day, enjoy this teaser trailer, and have a perfectly bearable Wednesday. Peace out.


Bob said...

Even as a certified "Star Wars" fanatic (original trilogy in their original forms only) I can't get even a little bit excited about the 3D conversions. I think it comes down to Lucas has just never known when to leave well enough alone. I feel I've pumped more than enough money into the Lucas machine and I won't pump in any more until the original cuts of the good trilogy end up on Blu-ray, which will not be included in next year's release. Eventually I'm sure he'll "give in" and release them the way the fans actually want them. He figures he's gotten us to double dip on every other format so why should Blu-ray be any different? It definitely will be different for me. He has "failed me for the last time." :)
I don't know, I'm just so thoroughly done with the man's BS and I just don't care about any "improvements" he plans to make to "Star Wars," "Empire," or "Jedi."
As for the prequels, if you haven't watched the absolutely glorious Red Letter Media reviews of "Episode's I and II," I can't recommend them highly enough. Yes they're lengthy but I wanted more. Can't wait to see what Mr. Plinkett has to say about "Ep. III."

Reel Fanatic said...

I have indeed seen those, Bob, and even at the rather long length, they're priceless ... And I guess I should be more jaded about Lucas, since you're certainly that the man has pulled more than a few tricks over the years to suck money out of fans, but I guess I was just sucked in at the time I wrote this by the idea of just how cool these would look if they were done right ... Judging from the reaction I've seen, however, most fans have reacted much like you, so I can't really see him even getting to Episode II or III with this

Jake Mabe said...

I really think Lucas has lost his mind. He's milked "Star Wars" for all it's worth and then some.

I watched "American Graffiti" not too long ago for about the 100th time and it made me wonder whether Lucas could pull something that good off again. I tend to doubt it.

It's a shame he's taken what once was a proud franchise and turned it into the mess it has become. I still shudder at some of the dialogue in the newer films ("I hate sand. It's so rough and coarse. And it gets everywhere.")

I've had enough.

Emma said...

I enjoyed reading the article and the trailer of the movie was also impressive. I have not seen those movies but now I am excited about these movies. I will soon catch them on DVD.