Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Singer-McQuarrie reunion

Apparently Tom Cruise hasn't completely lost his mind.

Approached with an idea simply too good to pass up, he and production partner Paula Wagner have tapped a new thriller from Bryan Singer and Chris McQuarrie as their second United Artists film.

Remember them? Singer has made some great movies over the years, especially the X-Men flicks and "Apt Pupil," but he's never been better than he was with "The Usual Suspects," penned by McQuarrie.

Now the duo will collaborate again on what's described as a multi-character ensemble piece a la "Usual Suspects," but this time set in World War II. That's about all I know for now, but if anyone knows more, please share.

So, what does this mean for another "Superman" movie? Well, at least a delay, because this makes Singer a very busy man. Along with this new project, he's also developing a Harvey Milk biopic for Warner Bros. and for some reason directing "Football Wives," a rather wretched-sounding series pilot for ABC.

If out of all this, however, we at least get a Singer-McQuarrie reunion, I think I can live without the Man of Steel for a few years.

Thornton headed to "Tulia"

What in the world ever happened to Carl Franklin? After he made one of my favorite film noirs with "One False Move" and then directed the slick "Devil in a Blue Dress," based on the Walter Mosley novel, he seemed to disappear.

A quick IMDB search revealed he has actually been working rather steadily over the years, and in fact directed the pilot for the new FX series "The Riches," which I didn't bother to watch (if anyone has seen this and it is indeed worth my time, please let me know.)

Now, however, he's apparently got a solid project to sink his teeth into. The story of Tulia, Texas, is a true travesty of American justice. As well-chronicled by Bob Herbert of the New York Times, it's the story of a one-man vendetta against the black population of this small Texas town. By any means necessary, lawman Tom Coleman managed to target 10 percent of the town's black population in a drug sting operation that landed many innocent people in jail.

The mess is still being untangled, but now Franklin and Billy Bob Thornton will have their say with an adaptation of the Nate Blakeslee book "Tulia: Race, Cocaine and Corruption in a Small Texas Town." Franklin has done a rewrite on the script, and shooting begins in and around New Orleans April 30.

The book details an ACLU lawyer's efforts to expose the racially motivated rash of drug convictions in the town in 1999. Not sure yet if Billy Bob will be the lawyer or the lawman, but my money's on him playing the good guy. Halle Berry has also signed for this, so let's just hope it turns out much, much better than "Monster's Ball."

Either way, I'm just happy that Carl Franklin has such a great subject to work with. Welcome back, old friend.

Early good word on "Knocked Up"

According to Joe Leydon at Variety, Judd Apatow's upcoming movie "Knocked Up" is "line for line, minute to minute ... more explosively funny, more frequently, than nearly any other major studio release in recent memory."

Sounds great to me. This flick coming in June should make "Freaks and Geeks" Alum Seth Rogen a superstar. Read more of Leydon's review here, and have an entirely suckfree humpday.


bill said...

You should check out "The Riches." The pilot got off to a good start with a nice introduction of the characters and dramatic possibilities. Looks to be a dark, tragicomedy with digressions of violence and/or offbeat humor. If it pans out, could be one of the more interesting shows on TV.

Reel Fanatic said...

With that recommendation, I will definitely tune in for episode two, Bill .. I indeeed like my comedy dark .. The only reason I skipped the premiere is that I don't really care much for Minnie Driver or Eddie Izzard .. with strong enough material, however, I can put up with them

Anonymous said...

The closer we get to the release date of "Knocked Up" the more excited I get. I think it looks hysterical and the early SXSW reviews are saying it's all good and I can't wait!

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm definitely wit you there Marina ... "40-Year-Old Virgin" already let the secret out that Judd Apatow is one of the funniest dudes in the world, and this should only confirm it

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Reel Fanatic said...

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Lori said...

Hey Keith---I only caught the last half, but I gotta say I was less than impressed with The Riches. I wouldn't say that it's a bad seems to be fairly intelligent and competently written, things that are hard to find on the tube these days. But it just wasn't doing anything for me, and after three or four pretty blatant 'for your consideration' scenes, I was yawning. I give FX props for continuing to generate its own series, but frankly I'll just wait until The Shield returns in a few weeks.

As for Bryan Singer, Talk about a full plate. I know he's also doing the remake of Logan's Run, something my husband's dying to see.

Reel Fanatic said...

I had heard rumblings about a Logan's Run remake, Lori, but I didnt realize he was involved .. As for "The Riches," since you say it at least is "fairly intelligent and competently written," I'll at least tune in for one episode next week

Anonymous said...

"The Riches" was pretty good. It's very different than anything else on TV right now. Like many other show on F/X.

It's way better than "Dirt" but not quite as good as "The Shield". Of course this is all based on the pilot. I like you don't really like Minnie Driver but was impressed with her performance here. Though I love Eddie Izzard as a comedian and have normally liked him in films like "Shadow of the Vampire" or "The Cat's Meow".

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm not sure any FX show will ever live up to the level of "The Shield," Mr. Fry, but if it even comes close, I've decided to tune in

Chalupa said...

I caught the pilot for Riches and while I didn't think it was super stellar, my interest was definitely gotten. Sometimes a pilot just doesn't do justice though and I need to see 2 or 3 episodes to make a decent decision.

The Tulia film sounds pretty interesting. Made me think of Rosewood. That's another movie based on a true story. Has some good actors in it too like Don Cheadle and Jon Voight. You should check it out if you've never seen it.

Adina said...

I watched "The Riches" if for no other reason than Eddie Izzard. His "Definite Article" stand-up is a favorite of mine, and I've followed his work since. Perhaps I am biased, but I enjoyed him more than Minnie Driver - to me, she hasn't done as well since Circle of Friends. The actors that play their kids have some potential, especially the older girl. The storyline is less than believable, with the whole modern-day Southern-American gypsy thing, but when they dealt with the fatal car crash it was pretty moving.

Being a former comic book junkie I'm all ears about any new project Bryan Singer has going. I felt he handled the X-Men movies well, although there were a few too many characters thrown into the last one, and minus one of my favorites, but we won't go into that. Thanks for your comment - I really enjoyed 300.

Reel Fanatic said...

I did see Rosewood, Chalupa, and was surprised by just how much I liked it ... I have to count John Singleton's Higher Learning as one of my least favorite movies of all time, but Rosewood is definitely one he got right

bill said...

Adina said: The storyline is less than believable, with the whole modern-day Southern-American gypsy thing...

The Travellers are very real. What the show has portrayed matches what little I know about them. Here's a wiki link. A coworker went to high school in Augusta and has talked about the large community of Travellers there.

another page. Then there's Traveller, the Bill Paxton, Mark Wahlberg movie.

Reel Fanatic said...

I remember that movie with fondness, Bill .. I've never met a Traveller myself, but I did once also meet someone from Augusta who told of how they would go from house to house, trying to run scams about painting or construction work

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