Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A Wednesday clip show, with "Curb," cancer as comedy and much more

Actually, before we get into any of that, there's some intriguing movie news out there today, so let's get right to it.

Though he hasn't made a traditional feature film since 2008's "Miracle at St. Anna," which was really just a well-intentioned mess, Spike Lee has nonetheless been doing some of the best work of his career lately, largely in the shadows. His two New Orleans documentaries, "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts" and "If God is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise," are both sensational, and his movie of the Broadway musical "Passing Strange" was easily one of my favorite movies of 2009.

And now it seems that Mr. Lee is finally ready to get back to big-time moviemaking, and with a project that couldn't be stopped even if we wanted to, so why not? Given that Hollywood remakes even thoroughly average foreign movies all the time, it's only inevitable that Park Chan Wook's excellent revenge flick "Oldboy" would get that treatment, and now Mr. Lee's name has been attached as the possible director for it.

This project has been gestating for a while now, but in some earlier form it was being eyed as a vehicle for Will Smith to star in, and since he turned down the lead role in Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" (HUGE mistake, that), he may still be interested.

No matter how this all turns out, here's hoping that the part about Spike at least turns out to be real, because he's been gone for far too long.

OK, to transition into the videos, let's start with news about one of my very favorite funnymen, J.B. Smoove of "Curb Your Enthusiasm." He'll return with the show this Sunday on HBO, and after that now comes word that he'll be starring in Sacha Baron Cohen's latest prank, "The Dictator." It's at least supposedly "inspired" by Saddam Hussein's novel "Zabibah and the King," and is about a despot who "risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come the country he so lovingly oppressed," according to Paramount.

I don't know anything else about what Smoove will have to do with this except that his character is called "Usher," but with this being directed by "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Borat" helmer Larry Charles, I'm expecting some truly inspired madness this time out.

And keeping with "Curb," which I'm thoroughly jazzed for, the eighth season finally comes to HBO this Sunday, and it will bring Larry David where he belongs, back to New York, along with guest stars Ricky Gervais and Michael J. Fox, among others. Enjoy this final preview clip, and tune in Sunday for the return of Larry "yelling for society," as we all should.

OK, continuing with the clips, the first trailer today is for a flick that I had forgotten all about, but looks like it could be a real sleeper hit this fall. Once known as "I'm With Cancer," I believe, the flick, now known as "50/50, stars Reel Fanatic faves Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anna Kendrick, plus Seth Rogen and many others too, in a movie based on Will Reiser's battle with cancer. The movie, due out Sept. 30, is at least kind of a comedy, and a thoroughly human one at that, so just my kind of thing. Enjoy.

"The Help" is going to be an extremely chicky movie, and probably one that will have people reaching for their hankies, but I'm still betting it will be a lot of fun, too. After all, it's based on Kathyrn Stockett's mostly great but not perfect novel "The Help" and features Emma Stone in the role that should finally make her a bona fide big star. Stone plays Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, a young woman who organizes the black maids of Jackson, Miss., of the '60s to tell their stories. Keep an eye out for this as counterprogramming to the standard slate of late summer comedies on Aug. 10, and enjoy this second trailer made for the UK.

I've already seen Kevin McDonald's "Life in a Day" when it premiered earlier this year on YouTube, but it was definitely good enough that I will again on the big screen if I get a chance when it hits at least a few theaters starting July 24. For the documentary, McDonald, director of "The Last King of Scotland" and other movies, gave people around the word cameras and asked them to describe what happened in their lives on July 24, 2010. The result is fascinating to watch, so definitely go see this if you can, and enjoy this trailer.

I'm about halfway through season two of "Torchwood" now on my Netflix streaming, and the "Doctor Who" spinoff about an alien hunting agency remains pretty spectacular summer TV viewing. What will happen when the show crosses the pond for season four and premieres on Starz on Friday night with many new cast members? It could very well be a disaster, but I'm hoping not, of course, and hoping that Netflix's deal with Starz will put the new season on streaming very soon. Enjoy this clip from the new season, "Miracle Day," featuring Bill Pullman.

And finally today, where better to leave off than with a free movie, especially when it's "Easy Rider," the perfect way to escape from thinking about your actual Wednesday morning. Enjoy the movie in its entirety, and have a perfectly passable Wednesday. Peace out.

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