Thursday, April 28, 2011

Harry Potter, X-Men and much more on a jam-packed Thursday

Before we get into some truly fun trailers for smashes coming this summer and fall, there's some other movie news out there, and for me it all starts with the news that "Rabbit Hole" playwright David Lindsay-Abaire is headed back to the big screen.

If you haven't seen "Rabbit Hole," it's out now on DVD, and there really are very few recent movies I can recommend higher. It features a sublime performance from Nicole Kidman and just tells a great story very well, with touches of wicked humor throughout.

And now, Lindsay-Abaire will have another great leading lady to work with as he adapts his current Broadway hit, "Good People," for the big screen. Frances McDormand, who plays the lead role on Broadway, will do the same for the movie.

So, what's it about? Well, it's set in Boston's working-class Southie neighborhood, and McDormand plays Margie Walsh, a high school dropout and single mother of a mentally disabled daughter struggling to make ends meet. On Broadway at least, Tate Donovan plays a successful former classmate of Margie's who enters into a relationship with her, but no word yet on whether he will reprise that role for the movie.

"Rabbit Hole" focused on similarly odd relationships, so this should be a real winner. And just in case you need any more convincing, here's a clip of McDormand in the play on Broadway. Definitely stay tuned for more on this.

In other news, you know, I can really take or leave Sacha Baron Cohen. Like most of the world, I loved "Borat," but I couldn't even bring myself to watch "Bruno" (and if I'm somehow missing on some kind of comic masterpiece with that one, please let me know.)

His next collaboration with co-conspirator and "Seinfeld" veteran Larry Charles, however, sounds like something I'll definitely be into, especially since he's whittled his candidates for the female lead to, for my money, probably the funniest two women in movies, plus one other solid choice from TV.

The duo are working on "The Dictator," "inspired" by "Zabibah and the King," a novel purportedly written by Saddam Hussein. Cohen would play dual roles of a goat herder and eventually the titular dictator, and now comes word that he's down to Anna Faris, Kristen Wiig and Gillian Jacobs to play the female lead.

Anyone who's been here before knows that I'm extremely partial to Faris and Wiig, but am a big fan of "Community," too, so any of these comediennes would make what already sounds like a very funny movie even better. But for my money, if I had to choose, I'll take Anna Faris every time.

OK, now on to some great clips for a Thursday morning, starting with a couple of trailers for sure-to-be summer smashes. In fact, if I were a betting man (and I no longer am), I'd put my money on "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" being the highest-grossing flick of this summer. My favorite among both the books and movies will always be "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," but part one of the finale was fantastic, too, and I can't wait to see the saga finally come to a close July 15 (though, for me at least, certainly not in 3D!) Enjoy the trailer.

Next up comes the first trailer I've seen that really has me thinking that Matthew Vaughn will deliver something fairly great when "X-Men: First Class" really launches Summer when it drops June 3. Enjoy what should be the final trailer for it.

Does the world really need another "300"? I really don't, but even if this trailer for Tarsem Singh's "Immortals" seems to promise just about exactly that, I still have enough faith in Singh to be looking forward to this. If you've never seen his "The Fall," there really are few better examples of truly imaginative filmmaking, and I recommend watching it as soon as you can. And with an eclectic cast that features Superman Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto and somehow Mickey Rourke, too, this should be nothing but fun when it finally drops Nov. 11. Enjoy the first trailer I know of for it.

And finally today, tonight will indeed bring the final appearance of Steve Carell's Michael Scott on "The Office," and NBC has stretched the episode out to 50 minutes to make room for it (though I'm looking forward to the also-extended episode of "Parks and Recreation" that will follow just as much.) The run-up to his departure has been some of the show's funniest stuff in years, and tonight should be no different. I probably won't watch it until next week, though, because today I'm off to the Atlanta Film Festival 365 for the first of two weekends, and really looking forward to it. Enjoy this short clip from tonight's episode of "The Office," and have a perfectly pleasant Thursday. Peace out.

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