Friday, November 19, 2010

The return of Alan Partridge, to a big screen somewhere near you?

Actually, before I get into any of that, there's great news out there this morning about Daniel Clowes, easily one of my favorite funnybook authors.

Two of Clowes' works have hit the big screen so far already, and I'd say he's now one for two. "Ghost World" is simply sublime, and easily one of my favorite comic book flicks (what in the world happened to Thora Birch, anyway? ... I just might have to IMDB that.) Unfortunately, that was followed by the uneven at best "Art School Confidential," though not having read the original source material for that one, I suspect it may have been weak right from the start.

That, however, is certainly not the case with "Wilson," which is now being eyed as a directing vehicle for Alexander Payne and, on paper at least, is at least as funny as "Ghost World." Perhaps that just because I look at the world just about the same way as the hero of "Wilson," but I loved the book. Here's the Amazon synopsis.

Meet Wilson, an opinionated middle-aged loner who loves his dog and quite possibly no one else. In an ongoing quest to find human connection, he badgers friend and stranger alike into a series of onesided conversations, punctuating his own lofty discussions with a brutally honest, self-negating sense of humor. After his father dies, Wilson, now irrevocably alone, sets out to find his ex-wife with the hope of rekindling their long-dead relationship, and discovers he has a teenage daughter, born after the marriage ended and given up for adoption.Wilson eventually forces all three to reconnect as a family—a doomed mission that will surely, inevitably backfire.

Believe me, it's all as misanthropically hilarious as that sets it up to be, and assuming that Clowes has a hand in the screenplay for this, it should certainly be one to keep your eyes on.

OK, now on to the main event, which was brought to my attention by fellow Alan Partridge devotee bob Connally, who compiles his always insightful movie reviews here. Steve Coogan has reincarnated the character in a so far very funny set of webisodes as the host of the "Mid Morning Matters" radio shows. Foster's Funny, which puts this together, has put some kind of U.S. block on it, but some kind person always seems to Youtube them quickly again anyway.

But the real Steve Coogan/Alan Partridge news is that the character is apparently returning to the big screen (though it will probably be the little screen of DVD by the time it reaches me), and he's bringing the extremely funny Armando Iannucci (writer and director of the scathingly funny "In the Loop") along with him.

Here's what Iannucci himself had to say about the movie they're working on to Digital Spy:

“We don’t want to rush it - it’s got to be right and justify itself as a film,” Iannucci said. “On the other hand, we don’t want to be unfaithful to the character. So we’re not going mad and doing an Alan-goes-to-Hollywood thing. It’s very much Alan in Norwich. Putting Norwich on the map. Well, somebody’s map.”

Putting Norwich on the map indeed, and Iannucci went on to say that this is in the script stage and the storyline is "pretty much coming along." Iannucci has also sold a satirical series to HBO, to star Julia Louis Dreyfuss as "The Veep," that being the American vice president, so it's great to hear this extremely funny many is very busy.

And all I have after that today in this admittedly brief report (hey, I am on vacation, after all) is a bit of kudos and then just one video. First the kudos. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has just released the short list of 15 nominees for Best Documentary Feature, and I was thrilled to see that Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath's "Enemies of the People" is on it. The movie, which features Sambath tracking down former Khmer Rouge members to try and get to the truth of what really went down in Cambodia's killing fields, is just sensational filmmaking, so here's hoping they make it to the final cut of five and maybe even win the whole thing, because the movie is just that good.

And finally today, what Spike Jonze really needs to be doing is making a big-screen followup to "Where the Wind Things Are," but that doesn't seem to be on the books any time soon. In the meantime, at least he's using his talent for directing music videos, this time for the Arcade Fire song, "Suburbs." As for Arcade Fire, they'll never make another album as good as their first, "Funeral," which Zachary Levi correctly called an "aural aphrodisiac" in perhaps the worst attempt at seduction of Sarah on "Chuck," but this year's "The Suburbs" is still one of 2010's best albums in my book. Enjoy the video, and if you'll excuse me, I'm off to wander around the French Quarter all day and then go see the Cottonmouth Kings at the Spotted Cat. Yeah, I could get used to this. Peace out.