Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wish I was there: Docs that are rocking the TIFF

Actually, before we get into any of that, and trying to stick to some kind of theme after taking more than a week off (living without the Internet, no matter what you might be thinking, really isn't a return to some kind of low-tech paradise, believe me), let's start with news about three things that, at least in my mind, "rock."

First up, a pipe dream, but as with diehard fans of "Arrested Development," the small cult of people who thoroughly appreciated Starz's equally short-lived "Party Down" (of which I'm certainly a member) are new being teased occasionally with the promise of some kind of movie to wrap things up. And though I'm hesitant to get in on that cruel game, I love "Party Down" enough to pass on what the great Adam Scott had to say about the possibility while promoting "Friends with Kids" at the Toronto International Film Festival:

"We're like 90% there, we're hoping to do it maybe next summer, if everyone's schedules work out and the guys get time to write a script. They have kind of a skeleton of a story worked out so we know where it's going to go but we just have to kind of cross the t's and dot the i's, or something. But Starz are being super cool and they're going to let us do it, and we're all excited, we all want to do it."

Like I said, not holding my breath too hard, but I can't imagine Starz has much else to do, so let's just keep hope alive. And moving on to the next thing that caught my attention this morning, and about something much more likely to happen, there's news about Quentin Tarantino's next flick, "Django Unchained."

The latest is that Samuel L. Jackson and Gerald McRaney (Major Dad, yes really) have officially joined the cast, and in even better news, Jackson let slip that filming will begin in January in New Orleans. The movie itself is set to drop as a Christmas day gift in 2012.

And having read the script for this (it's the Internet, folks, you can easily find it), I can say that on paper it's easily Tarantino's most challenging movie, and possibly his best yet, too. The story is about a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) and a freed slave (Django, Jamie Foxx, odd) who join forces to take revenge on slave owners and liberate Django's wife, Broomhilda (again, yes really, and to be played by the truly great Kerry Washington, hopefully). Broomhilda is owned by mandingo fighting ranch owner Calvin Candie, to be played by one Leo DiCaprio.

Sound crazy? It surely is, and thoroughly incorrect in every way, but what else would you expect from QT? Due to the content, I still have some doubts that he can really pull all this off, but here's hoping for sure. Stay tuned ...

And finally, before we get to the TIFF trailers, there are few people I'd rather see return to TV than "Pushing Daisies" creator Bryan Fuller, and it seems he's hard at work on a comeback that should be just about perfect.

The hourlong show would examine the relationship between one Hannibal Lecter and FBI profiler Will Graham, with the action taking place before the story in the "Red Dragon" novel. No idea who would play the roles or what network wants this (I foresee a bidding war if it's not yet settled), and it would certainly be just about the polar opposite of the wonder-filled and wonderful "Pushing Daisies," but I can still only say bring it on!

OK, now on to the main attraction today, with a final clip of what should be the craziest movie at this year's TIFF, and possibly the best thing too for people like me.

Though I've yet to see any of them, given the quantity and potential quality of the rock docs coming out now, we certainly seem to have entered a golden age of sorts. Martin Scorsese, no stranger to the genre, has a new one on George Harrison, and Cameron Crowe is beginning his comeback with a look at the career of Pearl Jam (always much too earnest for my tastes, but I'd still love to see the movie as soon as I can.)

And at the TIFF, there are at least three others that look very promising. First up, from "An Inconvenient Truth" and "It Might Get Loud" director Davis Guggenheim comes "From the Sky Down," about a certain band known as U2. Heresy, I know, but those guys have never been among my favorites either. The movie, however, judging at least from this trailer, looks to be a lot more fun than the band itself often is. Enjoy.

Next up comes, I believe, Jonathan Demme's third movie about the truly great Neil Young. For this one, "Neil Young Journeys," Demme (coincidentally enough, the director of the Lecter movie "Silence of the Lambs"), followed Young as he returned to his hometown of Toronto for a concert. One I really want to see, so enjoy the trailer.

And last on the strictly rock menu, though Paul McCartney is clearly just a pop kind of guy, comes "The Love We Make," in which McCartney offers his own reflections on 9/11, a day on which he happened to be in NYC. Kinda heavy for a rock doc, but since this comes from the great Albert Maysles, I'm betting on something worth catching if you can. Enjoy the trailer.

And finally, clearly saving the oddest for last, the title of this next one, "Juan of the Dead," obviously gives away what it's about. A Cuban zombie movie that looks as funny and simply wild as that notion should be, this is one I want to see ASAP. And on a slightly different subject, mi hermano and I managed to catch "Attack the Block" while on vacation recently in Charm City, and I can't recommend any movies that have come out this summer higher than that gem produced by Edgar Wright. And with that, I say thanks to anyone who happened to stop by for this return to my vanity project, enjoy the "Juan of the Dead" trailer, and have a perfectly endurable Wednesday. Peace out.

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