Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Funnyman Paul Feig gets busy

Paul Feig may just be the funniest man that almost nobody's ever heard of.

You want proof? Well, he was Judd Apatow's partner in crime for the sublime "Freaks and Geeks," writing six episodes, including the finale, "Discos and Dragons." He then went on to direct seven episodes of "Arrested Development." And now he's getting into movies in a big way.

The first flick he directed and rewrote, "Unaccompanied Minors," has potential. It's about a group of kids who wreak havoc after getting snowed in at Chicago's O'Hare airport, and though I've never had an ounce of fun at an airport, I'll give this one a chance in December (especially since AD's Tony Hale is in it, at some point.)

Confident of its success, Warner Bros. has now signed up Feig to rewrite and direct "Smooth Operator," a comedy about a bumbling CIA agent being trained to pitch woo so he can seduce the ladies. As long as this doesn't star Jon Heder, it could be very funny.

"It's like a high-tech version of 'Cyrano,' " Feig told Variety, "or like a 'Hitch'-meets-'Rush Hour.' "

Well, that's a little scary. But after seeing the nearly flawless "Stranger than Fiction," I've got a hankering for smart comedy, and the world could certainly use more of Paul Feig.

Cohen officially in for "Sweeney Todd"

I've thoroughly enjoyed reading these stories about people suing "Borat." No matter how drunk you are, if you actually say into a camera that you would like to own slaves, there's a very large chance that you're just an asshole. Nuff said.

But on a different topic, it seems the very funny Sacha Baron Cohen is now definitely on board for Tim Burton's "Sweeney Todd," to play Signor Adolfo Pirelli, a barber who becomes the nemesis of Sweeney Todd. Todd (Johnny Depp is the barber who teams with the murderess Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) to kill people, grind them up and use them in her meat pies.

I'm beginning to believe there's no way this won't be fun. Cohen is also on course to shoot "Bruno," based on the Austrian fashion reporter character from "Ali G," next year, plus star in two more flicks. He'll be appearing in the Tina Fey-scripted "Curly Oxide and Vic Thrill" and the remake of the Francis Veber comedy "Dinner for Schmucks." Bring em all on.

Eva Green and Paul Auster

This one is in French from my new favorite movie site, Cinempire.com, so bear with me.

If I'm getting this right, Eva Green will be the main star of the upcoming "In the Country of Last Things," to be based on the book of the same name by Paul Auster.

Eva will star as Anna Blume, who goes on a journey in search of her missing brother. What she finds is an American city in the near future, populated almost wholly by street dwellers, squatters in ruined buildings, scavengers for subsistence. I get nervous when I see the word post-apocalyptic in any language, but this could be interesting. It will be directed by someone I had never heard of named Alejandro Chomski.

Eva, of course, will wow the world as the newest and possibly most enchanting Bond girl yet, Vesper Lynd. I found it hard to watch Bertolucci's "The Dreamers" for many reasons, but the main one was I simply couldn't take my eyes off her, no matter who else might be on the screen. And Paul Auster wrote "Smoke," which Wayne Wang managed to turn into one of my favorite movies. So, no matter how creepy this futuristic vista turns out to be, I'll follow these two at least that far.

"Friday Night Lights" stay on

It's one of the great crimes in TV scheduling that "Friday Night Lights" is on simultaneously with the "Gilmore Girls," meaning I never get to see the great gridiron drama.

Lorelai (big spoiler following, though it was pretty much revealed in a commercial last night; if you don't want to read it, stop now and skip to the next paragraph) and Chris are getting hitched tonight in Paris, so there's absolutely no chance I won't be tuning in for that too.

However, having seen the first two episodes of "Friday Night Lights" on DVD, I know it has the makings of a great series. The pilot revels in sports cliches yet manages to suck you right in, and the second episode is even better. It deserves a full season, which it has just been granted by NBC. This means that, next August or so, I'll be able to rent the full season on DVD, which is the way I really like to watch TV now anyway. Huzzah.


Anonymous said...

Wha? You don't have a DVR with 2 tuners? Friday Night Lights recording while watching (and recording) GG? I'm totally shocked.
In other news, I gave Studio 60 another shot last night, and yeah, I've arrived at the conclusion that it totally sucks. I believe the White House running that much damage control, but who, really, would give a crap about whether a studio exec wants kids. Its a shame b/c the writing and acting are good--I just don't care about their profession (or the seriousness the believe it entails).
But 30 Rock keeps getting funnier--are you on-board with it yet?

Michael said...

In the Country of Last Things is a great book and in the right hands could be a powerful film.

Reel Fanatic said...

I definitely like 30 Rock, Jeremy ... NBC will apparently decide by Friday if it gets a full-season order or not .. and I am such a rube that I don't have a cell phone, so unfortunately it's perfectly believable that I don't have a DVR either

Anonymous said...

Keith, Thanks for the comment- I wasn't aware that it was Paul Feig who was behind "Unaccompanied Minors." Unfortunately, based on the trailer, the movie looks like it has neither the intelligence nor humor of "Freaks and Geeks." IMO. Later, dude .

Reel Fanatic said...

After seeing the trailer, I'm definitely starting to agree with you, Rabbit

therapydoc said...

Am I crazy, or did Lorelai not seem a tad depressed about that move?

I was totally put out that Paris dissed Lexipro and lied about the drug's side effects, mainly loss of libido and weight gain. I had to devote the last half of Wed 11-15's post to that.

Bad enough that the branding never ends. Or are we supposed to believe that's a good thing?

Loved your list, btw on 11-15. am hyperlinking here.

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks, Doc ... The stuff with Paris was definitely a bit odd ... I think Lorelai's reaction there at the end might just set the show on a better course than it has been on thus far this year, and I just loved the Lane and Zack stuff

Anonymous said...

I remembered your bit on Paul Feig as I saw an advanced screening of Unaccompanied Minors. (Review here.) Tony Hale's barely in it, but the cast is so chock full of comedians that you won't notice. Very decent sleeper comedy.

Anonymous said...

If you like Freaks and Geeks, Paul Feig's books are hilarious; Kick Me and Superstud- you'll recognize a lot of his personal stories from his writing. Oddly, his real life experiences as a self proclaimed 'geek' are even more outrageous than his fictional characters.