Sunday, June 19, 2011

Potentially great things coming to TV with Sam Raimi and Darren Aronofsky

In case you need to know, the above photo of Tom Cruise comes from a 2012 movie called "Rock Of Ages," but it's really so funny that it speaks for itself with no further explanation from me.

And before we get into the TV stuff today, let's start with movie news about one of my very favorite directors, who has inactive for a while now. If you missed it, Anton Corbijn's thriller of sorts, "The American," starring one George Clooney, is easily one of my favorite movies of the past few years. The tale of a hitman (Clooney) on his final assignment in Italy admittedly moves a bit slow, but it's a good story well told and beautifully photographed, and there are few rentals I can recommend higher.

Before that, the former music video director Corbijn made the movie "Control" about Joy Division's Ian Curtis, which is also wickedly entertaining, so he's definitely a director to keep your eyes on. And now comes word that he's landed a follow-up to "The American" that sounds perfect for his style.

"Let the Right One In" director Tomas Alfredson will beat him to theaters with a John Le Carre adaptation, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," and Corbijn will follow that with a much more contemporary Le Carre thriller, "A Most Wanted Man."

The book, published in 2008, tells the story of a Chechian Muslim who illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where he gets caught up in the international war on terror. The tale is loosely based on the real-life story of Murat Kurnaz, a Turkish citizen and legal German resident who was seized by American authorities, with knowledge of the German government, and taken to Guantanamo Bay. He was kept there for several years before being released, without charge, in 2006.

For a better idea of what the book is and movie presumably will be about, here's a trailer that was made for the release of the book. Enjoy, and then stick around for the promised TV news, and then a couple of clips just for fun (with Muppets!).

On my own TV, with very little new on and at the urging of my fellow cubicle slave Renee Martinez, I've been catching up with a home run of a show that I'm embarrassed to admit I had simply skipped until now, "Torchwood." If you've never seen it, the BBC-produced spinoff of "Doctor Who" is tailor-made for fans of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," with much of the same wit and scarier creatures to boot.

The show will come to Starz for its fourth season beginning July 8, and now comes word that the network has bought into something potentially thoroughly fun from Sam Raimi and "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" creator Rob Tapert.

What they're cooking up is a live-action version of an anime show I've never seen titled "Noir," about a pair of rival female assassins who team to take on a secret society to learn more about their own mysterious origins. I'm hooked on that already, and for just a taste of what the anime original was about, here's its opening:

The big event in TV tonight, of course, is the season one finale of "Game of Thrones," and having read book one of George R.R. Martin's fantasy series, what's amazed me most about this perfectly entertaining series is how its managed to stick so strictly to its excellent source material and yet still deliver fun surprises each week. It's somehow gotten better week after week, and tonight's doozy of a finale should continue that trend.

After that, there will be "True Blood," returning next week, and then Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" later this summer, and after that, HBO, never one to rest on its laurels, has enlisted one Darren Aronofsky to direct at least the pilot for a series that sounds like nothing but big fun, "Hobgoblin."

The show, about con men and magicians who conspire to bring down Hitler, has a pilot script co-written by novelist Michael Chabon, and that's all I know so far, but definitely stay tuned ...

OK, to close, on to the videos. The Muppets have teased us pretty good for a few weeks with spoofs on first "The Hangover Part II" and then "The Green Lantern." While those were indeed pretty funny, and probably better than the movies they lampooned, they were really just small-bite appetizers for this first real trailer for "The Muppets," set to come out around Thanksgiving. It looks and sounds exactly like the silly fun I'd expect from a Muppets movie, so move this one starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams right up near the top of the list of movies I most want to see for the rest of this year. Enjoy.

And finally today, I wasn't much impressed at all with the first trailer for Ruben Fleischer's upcoming comedy "30 Minutes or Less," but this second, red-band clip definitely delivers the funny. His follow-up to the sublime "Zombieland," starring Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari and Danny McBride, is set to come out Aug. 12. Enjoy this rather foul trailer, and have a great rest of the weekend. Peace out.

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