Saturday, January 15, 2011

Buffy's back .. sort of .. and a lot of other fun Saturday morning stuff

Actually, there's no possible bigger news out there now than what Ridley Scott is cooking up with Damon Lindelof of "Lost" and "Star Trek" fame, and since this is nominally supposed to be a movie site, let's just start there.

Rumors have been flying for months that Scott would, for his first science fiction movie in 30 years, be making either a sequel or prequel or some kind of extension of "Alien," but instead it sounds like he's thankfully taking on something much more ambitious.

Details are scant so far, but instead Scott and Lindelof are at work on an original idea, and they've made at least one truly great decision so far by casting Lisbeth Salander, aka Noomi Rapace, in the lead. Anyone who's been here before knows that I have more than a slightly unhealthy obsession with her, so bully.

Little more beyond that is known except it will be titled "Prometheus," there are at least four other major roles to fill, and this is set to be released March 9, 2012. Here's a bit of what Scott had to say about it:

“While Alien was indeed the jumping off point for this project, out of the creative process evolved a new, grand mythology and universe in which this original story takes place. The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien’s DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative. I couldn't be more pleased to have found the singular tale I'd been searching for, and finally return to this genre that's so close to my heart.”

Nothing but awesome there, but frankly, Scott has been a really hit-and-miss director for me. He's certainly made great science fiction with "Blade Runner" and "Alien," but without exaggeration I really think there's a pretty strong argument that his "Robin Hood" was the single worst movie of 2010. Even so, this news is certainly worth keeping an eye on.

But getting to the main event here today, Sarah Michelle Gellar is finally coming back to TV, and it sounds like she just might have something worth watching this time.

Coincidentally enough, during this time of hardly any new TV (except for FX's fairly brilliant boxing drama "Lights Out" - watch it), I've been going back to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" via Netflix streaming, and it's at least as good as I remember. Season six, which I originally thought was a bit of a weak link, has been surprisingly strong, with crazy Willow at the end being even more fun than I remembered.

And here's what SMG (worst initials ever? perhaps) will have appearing on TVs next fall (I assume.) CBS has given a pilot greenlight to something called "Ringer," from "Supernatural" writers Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder, and it just sounds like a heck of a lot of fun.

On the show, Buffy will play a young woman who is on the run from the mob, and to hide herself, assumes the identity of her wealthy twin sister, only to find out sis has a bounty on her head too. If I have this right, SMG will be playing two parts. Bring it on!

I tried to remember the last time I've seen her in anything that wasn't "Buffy" or "Angel," but off the top of my head couldn't. After cheating with an IMDB check, it turns out to be "The Grudge" in 2004. While that was a fun little flick, she's pretty much disappeared since, so I can only say welcome back, Buffy!

And in other news, via Michael Ausiello's truly great TV Line site, it seems that Michael Scott, and therefore Steve Carell, will be leaving "The Office" well before this season ends. Here's what executive producer Steve Daniels told Ausiello:

“Steve is leaving earlier than the [season finale]. The big ‘Goodbye, Steve’ thing will be before [May] sweeps.”

While that's a bit of a surprise, the battle to replace him should then take over the end of this season, and it should be a blast (and frankly some much needed new life to what is becoming the weak link in NBC's Thursday night comedy lineup - excepting "Outsourced," which I simply refuse to acknowledge at all). My heart is with Dwight here, but I have to assume they're gonna bring in an outsider, and last I heard Danny McBride was in the running, which would be perfection. Here's more of what Daniels had to say about it:

“Our basic plan is to see the jockeying and interviewing [for Michael's job], and not have that happen off-camera and suddenly present America with the choice. We’d rather play out the stories of the various characters who want that seat, and show them fight for it.”

The new boss will be revealed in what I have to assume will be an hour-long season finale, so let the Dunder-Mifflin infighting begin!

OK, I know I'm all over the place today, but I want to wrap this up with a couple more cool things before I dash off the pool for a swim. Artist Sam Smith, with whom I agree on half of his choices for the best 10 (well, actually 11) movies of 2010, has come up with a simply stunning series of posters for his choices. He can't sell them, but he has posted them all here, and they're very well worth checking out. For a taste, here's his great poster for my single favorite movie of 2010 by a pretty wide margin, "Winter's Bone."

And finally today, perhaps some karmic rooting for Peter Weir's "The Way Back" to play wide enough to reach my little corner of the world when it opens in six days. Considering the only other offering is "No Strings Attached" with Natalie Portman and Demi Moore's beau, the odds are actually fairly good. The movie itself will be epic even by Weir's standards, telling as it does the story of a small group of multi-nationals who travel through five hostile countries after escaping from a Russian gulag in 1940. Here, courtesy of Collider, are seven clips from the film, which stars Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan and Ed Harris. Enjoy the clips, and have a fantastic weekend. Peace out.

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