Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A cool Wednesday cache of clips

Before we get in to that, however, there are some bits of good news out there this morning, and it all starts with "Chuck."

With the still fairly great spy comedy premiering in the fall this year, I just assumed that a full fourth season had already been booked, but silly me. It apparently had to earn that right, and NBC has just announced that that will indeed happen (along with, unfortunately, a full season of "Outsourced" - who the hell watches this crap? And if this means something bad for the return of "Parks and Recreation," well, I of course won't be able to do anything about that, but I will be rather friggin pissed about it.)

As for "Chuck," this season had gotten off to a bit of a rough start in my book, with the show really unsure how to deal with Chuck and Sarah as a couple, but Monday's episode with Casey's "funeral" was a real winner, so here's hoping the show is back on track for its full 22-season run.

In movie news, if you didn't see Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer," I highly recommend a rental. It was a whipsmart political thriller until the ending is wrapped up way too neatly, and any movie that has that much Ms. Cross - a.k.a. Olivia Williams - definitely can't be all bad.

And now comes word that he's assembled a first-rate cast for his next directing project, "God of Carnage." John C. Reilly, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet will play the leads in the movie based on the Tony award-winning play by Yasmina Reza, about two sets of parents who meet after their kids brawl in the schoolyard, and they get along worse than the kids did.

Reilly will play Michael, the role originated onstage by James Gandolfini, and Foster plays his wife, so by force I would have to assume Waltz and Winslet (what a pair) play the other couple. Filming for this begins in January in Paris, so definitely keep your eyes on it.

And finally, before we dive into the clips today, it seems that Ben Affleck may be closing in on his directorial followup to "The Town."

Speaking of that flick, I know I'm in the minority, but the more time and space I get removed from it, the more it just leaves me cold. Sure, an expertly directed crime thriller with a great cast in top gear, but the story was just so familiar to the point of being tired.

But I digress a bit. Despite my unheard reservations about "The Town," Affleck found himself more than a bit of a hot property after its release, being courted for and turning down the next "Superman" flick (which went to Zack Snyder) and a movie called "Tales from the Gangster Squad," about the police force who cracked down on Jewish mobsters in 1940s Hollywood.

Now, however, he seems to be circling something that he's actually interested in, and thankfully it would pull him out of his Boston crime rut. Warner Bros. wants him to direct a movie based on the Ken Grimwood novel "Replay," about a 45-year-old man who has a fatal heart attack while trying to prevent the murder of a jogger in New York's Central Park. Instead of dying, however, he is stuck in a "replay" of his life beginning at age 18 in Brooklyn. With his knowledge of the future, he changes his life and builds a financial empire, only to die again at age 45. The "replay" continues, however, as he and the murdered jogger fall in love and struggle to break the cycle of their repeating lives.

Despite the rather "Groundhog Day" nature of its premise, that actually sounds pretty intriguing, and despite my reservations about "The Town," Affleck is a genuinely great director in the making, so stay tuned for more on this as soon as I find it.

OK, getting into the clips today, where in the world else would you start than with the teaser trailer for what could quite possibly be the funniest movie of 2011, Greg Mottola's "Paul." As you'll see from the trailer, it stars dynamic duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as two geeks on their way to Comic-Con in a Winnebago when they - naturally - encounter the titular extraterrestrial, voiced by Seth Rogen. With "The Daytrippers," "Superbad" and "Adventureland" under his belt, Mottola has yet to direct a movie I didn't like quite a bit, so enjoy the trailer, and definitely keep an eye out for this to come out March 18.

It seems like forever since Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu last directed a movie, and it has indeed been four years since "Babel," which I loved almost unconditionally, though I know many people who didn't. Soon to come out will be his new flick, "Biutiful," starring one Javier Bardem. Here's the synopsis, courtesy of The Playlist:

Biutiful is a love story between a father and his children. This is the journey of Uxbal, a conflicted man who struggles to reconcile fatherhood, love, spirituality, crime, guilt and mortality amidst the dangerous underworld of modern Barcelona. His livelihood is earned out of bounds, his sacrifices for his children know no bounds. Like life itself, this is a circular tale that ends where it begins. As fate encircles him and thresholds are crossed, a dim, redemptive road brightens, illuminating the inheritances bestowed from father to child, and the paternal guiding hand that navigates life's corridors, whether bright, bad - or biutiful.

Rather heady stuff that. Enjoy this, the first full trailer I know of, and keep an eye out for this in surely limited release starting Dec. 29.

Biutiful Trailer
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The first trailer for David O. Russell's "The Fighter" really didn't seem to promise much more than an average sports underdog flick starring Mark Wahlberg, but Sunday's fuller look that came with the finale of "Mad Men" (I miss it already!), had a lot more of Amy Adams and Christian Bale in it, and just made it look like a much more intriguing flick. Here's a look, and keep an eye out for the movie itself Dec. 10.

So, what can fill the Sunday void left by "Mad Men"? Well, nothing really, but "Sherlock," coming to PBS' Masterpiece Theatre (or whatever the heck its called now) for three installments beginning this Sunday, should at least be small solace, and I'll definitely be tuning in. As you'll see from the promo below, someone named Benedict Cumberbatch (yes, really) plays Sherlock himself, and the great Martin Freeman (of the UK "Office" fame and apparently the new Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit") plays Watson. Enjoy the clip, definitely tune in for this, and have a perfectly passable Wednesday. Peace out.

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