Thursday, September 08, 2011

"Community" wins an early Emmy ... and it's a great one



It's still a pretty major - though thoroughly unsurprising - bummer that "Community," easily one of the funniest shows on TV right now, wasn't even nominated in any of the major categories at this year's Emmys, but this early award is well-deserved and certainly honors a bright spot in the network TV landscape.

If you managed to miss last year's Christmas episode, "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas," you missed a real winner. It was, as usual, fun, funny and completely irreverent, but also, as you can see above, was rendered in rather glorious stop-motion animation.

And for that, character animator Drew Hodges has won one of the Emmys for Individual Achievement in Animation. Huzzah, kudos, bully and anything else you can think of to that!

In other news, and in keeping with animation, one of my favorite animation studios, Laika, is coming back with what should be an entirely fun project. The studio has just optioned "Wildwood," the children's novel written by Decembrists frontman Colin Meloy (a band that every smart person I know tells me I should listen to, but that I juat haven't gotten around to yet.)

According to Comingsoon.net, "the first book in an epic middle-grade fantasy series full of magic, wonder and danger set in an alternate version of modern-day Portland, tells the story of Prue McKeel, whose ordinary life is changed forever when her younger brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness, an enchanted and forbidding forest on the edge of the city."

Bring it on for sure. And though Laika may have lost stop-motion mastermind Henry Selick to the behemoth known as Pixar, what they can do with the medium is still very impressive, so stay tuned for more on this as soon as I can find it.

And in other movie news, if you managed to miss Jacques Audiard's "A Prophet," I'd recommend you correct that oversight ASAP with a rental. While it's not quite the French "Godfather," as many people have called it, it is an engaging tale about one man's encounter with the mafia as he searches for his own identity while in prison. A can't-miss pick.

And now comes word that Audiard is ready to get back to work, and he's bringing the thoroughly beguiling Marion Cotillard along with him. The French charmer will star in Audiard's next movie, "Rust and Bone," to be based on a short story collection by Craig Davidson.

In the book, also according to Comingsoon.net, Davidson "conjures a savage world populated by fighting dogs, prizefighters, sex addicts and gamblers. The 27 bones of the title story are the bones in a boxer's hands; once broken, they never heal properly, and the fighter's career descends to bouts that have less to do with sport than with survival: no referee, no rules, not even gloves. In "A Mean Utility" we enter an even more desperate arena: dogfights where Rottweilers, pit bulls and Dobermans fight each other to the death."

A savage realm indeed, and if you saw "A Prophet," you know Audiard will be up to the job.

And finally, I'll leave you today with a nifty featurette for probably the single movie I'm most looking forward to seeing this fall, Tomas Alfredson's take on "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy." The novel by John Le Carre is about George Smiley's (this time out, Gary Oldman) attempts to ferret out a Russian mole in the ranks of Britain's spooks. With the cast also featuring Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds and even Sherlock himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, I can't see anyway this will be anything but a sure winner when it comes out Dec. 9 in the USA (and early festival reviews have confirmed it as exactly that.) Enjoy the featurette, and have a perfectly pleasant Thursday. Peace out.