Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A big Wednesday clip show, with the Muppets and Larry David

Actually, let's start out with a couple of nuggets of movie news first, starting with what just might be the first chink in the armor of 3-D (hey, one can dream right?).

I don't really think unnecessary 3-D is going to go away any time soon, but lost in the fairly low domestic numbers and critical lambasting of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" was a subset of numbers that was very intriguing.

Blockbuster movies made in (or more likely just converted to) 3-D are generally expected to take in 55 to 65 percent of their opening weekend take in 3-D ticket sales. Well, domestically at least, the latest "Pirates" took in only 47 percent of its $90 million from 3-D sales.

Just an outlier, perhaps, and international audiences apparently still went gaga for 3-D and the movie itself, but in this war, I'll take any small victory I can get. Keep hope alive!

And in other movie news, "Jane Eyre" and "Sin Nombre" director Cary Fukunaga has signed on to direct the Civil War movie "No Blood, No Guts, No Glory," based on the Great Locomotive Chase.

In case you're unfamiliar with that bit of U.S. history, it's about an escapade in which 20 Union soldiers in disguise took over a train and ran it ragged on the Western & Atlantic Railroad tracks, doing extensive damage and cutting Confederate communications lines along the way. It's an amazing story that's been the inspiration for one other movie already, Buster Keaton's "The General."

I liked "Jane Eyre" OK, but if you're looking for a great rental, "Sin Nombre" is fantastic, and Fukunaga should have nothing but fun with this ambitious project.

OK, now quickly on to the videos, starting with (where else?) the first trailer I know of for the Muppet movie coming out this Thanksgiving. Best as I can tell, the title has now been shortened to simply "The Muppets," and as you'll see from this clever teaser, it stars Jason Segel, Amy Adams and all your favorite Muppets. This teaser at least has the simple, old-fashioned feel I was expecting, so definitely bring it on. Enjoy.

"Game of Thrones" gets better each week on HBO, and with the HBO Go I've enjoyed catching up with all the episodes of Jonathan Ames' rather sublimely funny "Bored to Death," but what I'm really looking forward to is the return of Larry David and "Curb Your Enthusiasm." We'll have to wait until July 10 for the new season, but here's the first teaser trailer I know of for it, and as you'll see, Larry is just as socially awkward (blacks blush!) as ever.

And keeping with TV comedies, there really wasn't a better one this past season than NBC's "Parks and Recreation," and Emmy consideration would certainly be warranted. Well, Universal Studios has wisely picked up on this, and in its Emmy push, has put all 18 episodes online in their entirety for you to enjoy over again. The link to those is here, and in the meantime, also enjoy this clip of the best of Rob Lowe as Chris Traeger, "literally" one of the funniest characters on TV now.

And finally what better way to finish up a Wednesday report than with full movies? Though I'm more than a little psyched to see what Steven Spielberg will come up with for "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" this Christmas, I enjoy the old-fashioned look of Hergé's comics even more. Spielberg's flick will actually be based on three Tintin tales, and here's one of them, "The Crab with the Golden Claws," in its simply and gloriously animated entirety. Enjoy, and then stick around for a parting shot from the Beatles.

The truly fun rock 'n' roll movie is probably dead and gone by now, and sorely missed. To brighten up your Wednesday morning, I'll leave you with easily one of the funnest, the Beatles' "Help!", in its entirety. Enjoy, and have a perfectly endurable Wednesday. Peace out.

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