Sunday, July 24, 2011

Comic-con clips, Charlie Kaufman news and much more

There will almost certainly be more popular and more epic movie offerings this holiday season, but among the ones I'm definitely looking forward to is "A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas," and the above photo courtesy of Entertainment Weekly should tell you exactly why. And actually, we won't have to wait until Christmas for this madness, since it's due out Nov. 4. Bring it on!

And in movie news, the world is certainly a little better place when Charlie Kaufman's making movies in it, especially when he's set to direct another one. I have to admit that his first directing effort, "Synecdoche, New York," lost me a bit in the third act, but it was still a wild trip that I thoroughly enjoyed taking.

This time out, of course directing a script he also wrote, "Frank and Francis" will be about a film director (Frank) who gets into a war of words with an online blogger (Francis) who trashed his cinematic sensibilities. Sounds thankfully like an "Adaptation"-style mindbender, and it's now set to star Nicolas Cage, Jack Black and Steve Carell, though who would play which role is yet to be determined (my bet is on Cage as Frank and Black as Francis, but stay tuned.)

Kaufman is also working again with Spike Jonze (who really needs to work a bit faster) for an as-yet-untitled political satire set to begin shooting in March or so with Joaquin Phoenix starring. Here's a brief plot description for that:

A satire about how world leaders gather to figure out all the seismic events that will take place in the worlds, from oil prices to wars that will be waged.

Nothing but cool there, and a very active Charlie Kaufman is just great news all around.

And now, as promised, though there were a ton of things going on at Comic-Con this week, there's no way I could log them all (especially since I wasn't there), but here a few things that have caught my eye.

First up, even though I was pretty thoroughly burned by "Your Highness" (even by stoner comedy "standards," just a wretched movie), I still can't help but get geeked up by the trailer for "Knights of Badassdom."

So, why should this one be any different? First off, the comedy cast is pretty first-rate, including the HBO trio of Steve Zahn ("Treme"), Ryan Kwanten ("True Blood") and the Emmy-nominated-and-should-be-winning Peter Dinklage ("Game of Thrones"), plus Summer Glau of "Firefly" among many other things , Danny Pudi of "Community" and Jimmy Simpson of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Not exactly A-list talent, but all people I like watching, and add to that that this is a flick about live action role playing gone way wrong (as in conjuring a rather evil demon bad), and I'm convinced that this Joe Lynch movie will deliver plenty of funny whenever it comes out. Enjoy this trailer from Comic-Con.

OK, after that today, it's all about TV, starting with word from Comic-Con about what's ahead for one show that - though I still love it - probably should have ended already: "Chuck." With the firm end now in sight after this next season, however, instead of hanging each year over the heads of creators Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz, it should at least allow the show to go out on a fun note.

As everyone who watches the show knows (BIG SPOILER HERE IF YOU SOMEHOW MISSED LAST SEASON'S FINALE), the Intersect has now moved from Morgan to Chuck (yes, really), and the gang has formed their own spying agency. Here's what Fedak had to say at Comic-Con about what else is ahead when the show returns - on Friday nights rather than Wednesdays - for its final, 13-episode arc:

Now that Chuck owns the Buy More and his own spy company, the big challenge will come in an opposing spy business and its owner may present a romantic connection for Adam Baldwin’s Casey.

Someone won’t survive Season 5 and it’s going to be a big loss!

We will see Jeffster break up and the two will wage major war against each other.

If I were still a betting man (and when I briefly was, I was never any good at it), I'd put my money on Morgan dying (not anything I know, just a hunch), and the implosion of Jeffster alone should make this go out with a big blast of fun this fall on NBC.

The show I'm probably most looking forward to this fall, however, is season two of AMC's "The Walking Dead." The first season was only six episodes, but the zombie series from Frank Darabont was as terrifying as it was just addictive. Now, it's getting 13 episodes for a second season, and returning two weeks earlier than expected, Oct. 16 rather than around Halloween. Enjoy this five-minute trailer from Comic-Con, and definitely tune in for the return of "The Walking Dead."

And finally today, I've been enjoying the return of Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" to HBO this summer. It's not his best work (for me still seasons three and four when, respectively, Larry tries to open a restaurant and then co-stars with David Schwimmer in "The Producers" on Broadway), but the show's enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and a summer with any Larry David is better than one without him. Tonight's episode will, thankfully, be very Marty Funkhauser-centric, because the character played by Bob Einstein/Super Dave Osborne has always been my favorite "Curb" creation.

Tonight, just as Funkhauser is embracing his Judaism, a popular Palestinian chicken restaurant opens next to his beloved kosher deli. Larry, of course, comes to the Palestinians' defense, and it should just be a hoot. Enjoy this short preview, and tune in for "Curb Your Enthusiasm" tonight if you get HBO. Peace out.

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