Saturday, March 05, 2011

TV news good and bad, and a Saturday clip show

There are indeed some fun trailers out there today, but before I get into any of that, there's also a bit of TV news both good and bad.

Being a glass half full kind of guy, at least on a Saturday morning the day after mi hermano and I just bought tickets to see the fabulous Baseball Project in concert twice next weekend in Atlanta and Athens, I'll start with the good.

As Charlie Sheen continues to implode in spectacularly entertaining form, CBS has wisely locked up "How I Met Your Mother" for two more years, meaning it will run for at least (wow) eight seasons. I can certainly dig that, because at this point, though I'm not really all that curious about who the "Mother" is, the primary cast of Josh Radnor, Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders and, of course, Neil Patrick Harris, are still very, very funny together. And besides, this season, with the death of Marshall's dad and other things, they've gone in interesting new directions.

And now for the bad ... well, actually insidious. It seems that these things come in waves, so now that NBC has decided it has the huevos to go ahead with a remake of "Prime Suspect" with Mario Bello somehow in Dame Helen Mirren's role (yes, she owns it) of detective Jane Tennison, David Fincher and Kevin Spacey are somehow teaming up to shat upon my second-favorite British TV product, the "House of Cards" trilogy of miniseries.

For anyone who's unfamiliar with that program, the late, great Ian Richardson played politician Francis Urquhart (and yes, they do get plenty of mileage out of the initials F.U.), whose diabolical rise in the Conservative party from chief whip to prime minister and back down again was just a treat to watch (and you can definitely find it on DVD.) What these shows had in common is that like Mirren's role in "Prime Suspect," Richardson's delightfully wicked performance in "House of Cards" was truly just one-of-a-kind. No network has apparently picked up this latest travesty yet, so here's hoping none does.

OK, as promised, on to the clips, and there really are some good ones. I shouldn't admit this, but here goes: I thought "Kung Fu Panda" was pretty easily the best animated movie of 2008, and therefore, yes, better than Pixar's "Wall-E." The latter was a better technological accomplishment, for sure, but "Kung Fu Panda" just a had a lot more humor and heart. And besides, the beauty of the movie world that Pixar hath wrought is that we now have far more interesting (and not-so-interesting) animated movies than we did, say, 10 years ago (and I'm definitely going to see one, "Rango," this afternoon.) So, enjoy this first trailer for "Kung Fu Panda 2," which of course contains a Chinese dragon poop joke, but still looks pretty great, and keep an eye out for the movie May 26.

And coming much before that will be James Gunn's "Super," and thankfully but not surprisingly, this first trailer looks just as crazy as the movie itself should be too. For anyone who doesn't know, Rainn Wilson plays a man who transforms himself into a super hero after his wife (Liv Tyler) is stolen away by her drug dealer (Kevin Bacon, naturally.) Among the many great things in this trailer is that Ellen Page, as his still-very-young-looking sidekick, should be genuinely psychotic, and I love the cheeky "from the lunatic who brought you 'Slither' " card. If, like me, you live outside one of America's major cities, keep a look out for this on IFC's on demand cable feed (I'm hoping, at least!) starting April 1.

Sara Gruen's "Water for Elephants" was one of my favorite novels of the past few years or so, and nothing I've seen so far says the movie made from it by director Francis Lawrence won't be pretty great, too. The only beef I have with this latest trailer is that it really tells pretty much the entire story, but I'm still betting the movie starring Reese Witherspoon, one Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz (and though he makes no appearance in this trailer, the great Hal Holbrook in a key role, too ... bully!), will still have some surprises when it unfolds April 22. Enjoy the clip.

And if you'll excuse me now, I'm off to do some swimming and then see "Rango," and tomorrow "The Adjustment Bureau." There haven't been two theater movies worth seeing in one weekend since ... well, it seems like last year, so I'm rather psyched. Peace out.

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