Friday, December 17, 2010

Could this be the funniest movie of 2011?

Actually, a better question this morning is why in the world is it so hard for Alfonso Cuaron to make a potentially smart and winning sci-fi flick?

I'm not sure I have this all right, because the saga of his attempt to make the movie "Gravity" is a story with many twists before the camera even starts rolling.

First, if I have this right, Angelina Jolie signed on for and then bailed on this tale of a female astronaut trying to get home after an accident in orbit, and then Natalie Portman did pretty much the same thing.

Well, Cuaron eventually settled on Sandra Bullock (a step back in my book, and an odd fit for this, but oh well), but seemingly just as soon as that was settled, Robert Downey Jr. backed out of playing the main supporting role (I'd assume some kind of NASA dude in touch with our heroine from Earth, but who knows for sure). Sheesh.

That move put this solidly in development limbo, but now in the latest twist, George Clooney has apparently stepped in to that role, so it's game on again ... for now.

Follow all that? If you've seen Cuaron's "Children of Men," you know why I'd certainly like to see him make another sci-fi flick, so here's hoping this really all does come together this time.

And what my world, at least, always needs is more real Westerns ("True Grit" next Wednesday, and I can't wait!), so it's certainly good news that director James Mangold is getting into that game.

He tried once with his remake of "3:10 to Yuma" with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, but while that was a technically proficient flick, I really just couldn't get past the rather thorough unnecessaryness of it (I'm not sure that's even a word, but you get the point).

Now he's signed on to direct something called "The Gunslinger" for New Regency, which is being described as a "revenge thriller" about an ex-Texas Ranger who sets out to punish the men who killed his brother. Bully.

But the main course here today is the second - and much longer - trailer for "Paul," coming just in time for Valentine's Day, for some reason.

If I had to list my 10 or so favorite directors, Greg Mottola would make the list every time. "Superbad" is a comedy classic in my book, and though it goes down a lot drier, "Adventureland" is a heck of a lot of fun too.

Now, for "Paul," he's reunited the "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" comedy duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as two geeks on a road trip to Comic-Con who just happen to encounter the titular extraterrestrial along the way. You'll be able to tell from the trailer that Seth Rogen voices the alien, and the alwaysveryfunny Kristen Wiig and Jason Batemen appear in this too. It's rare that we get something potentially this good so early in the year, so enjoy this new trailer (which could disappear any minute now, since I swiped it from some kind of Russian video site), and have a perfectly great weekend, which for me will include both "Black Swan" and "The Fighter" on Saturday, so bring it on! Peace out.

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