Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ron Howard to explore dark side of Mormon history, and more cheery stuff

I'm usually not one to get too excited for simple movie posters, but the movie fall is getting so close (at least in my sun-fried mind) that I can already envision it, and "Let the Right One In" director Tomas Alfredson's take on "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" is certainly one of the movies I'm most looking forward to for the rest of this year, so just wanted to share this. As you can see from the poster above, these will be some rather star-packed spy games when this opens hopefully wide enough to reach my little corner of the world Nov. 18.

And in the closest thing to fresh movie news in this post, Ron Howard, having lost his multi-layered production of "The Dark Tower," has now set his sights on Mormons, but not the cute, cuddly kind that won "South Park" masterminds Trey Parker and Matt Stone the top Tony.

Instead, Howard will team up with scribe Dustin Lance Black ("Milk" and Clint Eastwood's upcoming J. Edgar Hoover biopic) for a movie based on Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven." As many probably know, Krakauer is also the author of "Into the Wild," which Sean Penn turned into easily one of my favorite movies of the last five years or so.

"Under the Banner of Heaven" tells the story of a double murder committed by two Mormon Fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a revelation from God commanding them to kill their blameless victims. Beginning with this "divinely inspired" crime, Krakauer continues on for an investigation of the Mormon faith as a whole. Heady stuff that, and should it happen to drop just as we might have a Mormon running for president? Stay tuned ...

And speaking of unsavory characters (behold the power of the segue!), Kevin Costner has already made it easy to hate him through the years, but it seems he'll take this to a whole new level with Quentin Tarantino's next movie, "Django Unchained."

Having read the script for this (which is uniformly excellent), I can confirm that the character he'll play, Ace Woody, stands out as the most vile person in a cast packed with them. Woody trains the mandingos who fight for the pleasure of Candyland ranch owner Calvin Candie, to be played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Which makes the only missing piece in Tarantino's sprawling "Southern" finding an actress to play Broomhilda, and with the truly great Kerry Washington up for this, things are rounding into shape in very good, if truly odd form (by the way, I've said it here many a time before, but "Night Catches Us," a '70s period piece of sorts set in Philly and starring Washington and Anthony Mackie, is a can't-miss video rental.)

But getting back to "Django Unchained," if you can get past the racial language that permeated the script and I have to assume will make it on screen, it's as witty as anything Tarantino has written and truly epic in scope too. The movie will tell the story of a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) who teams up with a freed slave, Django (Jamie Foxx, bizarre), to take out slave owners and eventually work to free Django's wife, Broomhilda, who works at Candyland. Just picture how wild all that could be, and I think you'll agree that if he somehow pulls all this off, QT should deliver quite the movie present on Christmas day of 2012.

And all I have left after that today are a couple of videos that caught my eye this morning. Having just finished the U.K. run of "Torchwood" and watched the first Starz-produced installment of "Torchwood: Miracle Day," I just have a hankering for more witty and smart sci-fi. In recent memory, very few TV shows delivered that combo better than Joss Whedon's way-too-short-lived "Firefly," so here, courtesy of Sci Fi Wire, is a clip compiling their 25 best quotes from the series. Enjoy

And what better way to wrap things up on a Wednesday morning than with zombies being bludgeoned back to death? Like the zombies themselves, this wordless promo for the second season of "The Walking Dead" is probably a bit ripe by now, having premiered during Sunday's return of AMC's "Breaking Bad," but I like it, so enjoy, and keep an eye out for the show returning in October. Peace out.

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