Friday, May 18, 2007

Best cast ever, take three?

I've gotten the feeling lately that a pendulum is swinging back in the direction of the kind of movies I like, so let's hope I'm right.

Don't get me wrong. I love gigantic blockbusters that pile on the special effects, as long as they tell a compelling story or just deliver big laughs (as Shrek 3 had better this weekend.) But I have more time for flicks that put their money into hiring actors I want to see and pairing with them with a great script.

After recent news about Bryan Singer's "Valkyrie" and Ron Howard's "Frost/Nixon" both adding a slew of top-shelf Brits, now comes great news about what should be a really funny upcoming journalism flick.

Simon Pegg and Kirsten Dunst had already been confirmed for director Bob Weide's "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People." Now comes word that Jeff Bridges (huzzah!) is on board as Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, and even better, that Gillian Anderson will also be on hand in some capacity.

The flick is based on the memoir of Brit Toby Young, who went to great lengths to ingratiate himself to the rich and famous during his short tenure as an associate editor at Vanity Fair. Pegg will play him in the role that should prove to the entire world that he's simply one of the funniest dudes to live in it. MJ will play a journalist for a rival publication and, I can only assume, will probably find some woo pitched her way by Mr. Pegg.

Definitely keep your eyes on this one, which starts shooting June 4.

Three beauties as the Brontës

If I've translated this right from the Froggy site, Michelle Williams is the latest addition to a biopic about the Brontë sisters that already stars Bryce Dallas Howard and Evan Rachel Wood. Not much to say about this, except that it will be called "Brontë," and I thought some of you might find it at least mildly interesting.

De Niro and Pacino, together for real?

Sure, they appeared together in one scene in Michael Mann's "Heat," but this appears to a real pairing for the first time.

They will team up onscreen "Righteous Kill," a $60 million indie production put together by Nu Image's Millennium Films and Emmett/Furla Films. The two stars play cops chasing a serial killer. Jon Avnet will direct and produce; "Inside Man" scribe Russell Gewirtz penned the script. (Interestingly enough, a look at Mr. Avnet's IMDB directing record revealed only one feature film I had heard of, "Fried Green Tomatoes." Somehow I've managed to make it this far in life without seeing that one.)

"This is an event in world history," Nu Image chief Avi Lerner said. "They were in two scenes in 'Heat.' In this movie, they are in the whole thing together."

Well, I'm a firm believer in both showmanship and hyperbole, but somehow I can't even say I'm all that excited about this news. Why? Both of these actors have been coasting for years now. I can't remember the last time I saw a Pacino movie in which his modus operandi was anything more than to simply yell at the camera for two hours. Now, I'll definitely be there to see this when it comes out, but it will be with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Repeat after me .. I will never watch the CW again

Given how fast its slid into the toilet, that shouldn't be so hard a pledge to take, should it?

I'm a little late with the news that "Veronica Mars" is not on the fall schedule for this "network," which is just thoroughly depressing news. Only the Hollywood Reporter is holding out hope that Rob Thomas' pitch of a revamped series with our heroine at the FBI Academy will resurface at some point, but even if it does, it won't be in the fall, apparently.

As far as my viewing attention goes, the other loser here is "Everybody Hates Chris," the only other CW show I currently watch. Make that watched. This will have to be one I catch up with now on DVD because, as the headline stated, I will, from this day forward, never watch the CW again (or at least until they bring back "Veronica Mars" in some form.)

Come on, people. I know you have the strength to join me and just say no.

In other, mixed TV news, Fox has, at last, dropped the least funny "sitcom" of all time, "The War at Home." Here's hoping the once-promising Michael Rappaport soon returns to actual acting work. In worse news, however, the network also announced that we'll have to wait until midseason for "The Return of Jezebel James," the new Amy Sherman-Palladino comedy set to star Parker Posey and Scott Cohen.

Oh well. If the simply execrable "War at Home" is really dead, I'll just have to take that as a small victory. Peace out.