A big, unorganized roundup of news and items we didn’t feel deserved a full blog post.
Well, so much for October. Here comes November right on its heels as always, the month with bitter cold, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the beginning of the Christmas season. October wasn’t much of a month for film, unless you’re a horror fan, in which case you got yet another part of the seemingly endless Saw franchise. You mabe even participated in the Paranormal Activity phenomenon/marketing blitz.
We spent a good part of the month not trekking through the chilly rain to see whatever else was in the theatres, but instead stayed home and watched film noirs and some classic 70s cinema. What follows below is stuff from the outside world that caught our diminished attention, assembled in no particular order of importance.
1. If you’re one of the thousands of visitors this month who got here looking for our picture of Grace Park, welcome and please enjoy the rest of our articles. We hope you stuck around and didn’t just right click and run, but read our whole piece about casting the long-in-Development-Hell Flash movie. We’ll have a comparable article for the far-more-definite Green Lantern project published right here later in November. You should also check out our mission statement, located on the task before just this entry.
2. A few idle thoughts about how Mad Men might end its third season. Last season Don Draper’s (John Hamm) nemesis Duck Phillips (Mark Moses) left the company in a snit after learning Draper had no contract at Sterling Cooper. This season Phillips has joined an aggressive rival agency apparently eager to expand its work force. With Sterling Cooper up for sale by its British parents, Draper could find himself working for Phillips once again if Phillips’ new agency buys his old one out. The difference is that this time Draper would find himself hemmed in by the contract boss Bert Cooper (Robert Morse) blackmailed him into signing. The walls are closing in on Don from all sides, and we can’t wait to see how this freight train of a season reaches its conclusion.
3. Warner Brothers used to release their Film Noir Classic Collection box sets once a year, giving fans of America’s most hallowed film genre a fresh crop of famous and not-so-famous crime and detective movies to pore over. They stopped that last year, though, with Chapter4 in the series containing relatively obscure gems like Act of Violence and Crime Wave, and the long-awaited cult favorite Decoy. But there are lots of other noir favorites to bring to the DVD format, including works by some of the era’s biggest directors and actors. Who do we beg, nag, or offer to bribe for a fifth volume in the series? And on that subject, is Fox no longer releasing titles under its “Fox Film Noir” imprint?
4. Are you one of the hundreds of Americans watching NBC this season? The troubled network sees the ratings of its much-trumpeted The Jay Leno Show continue to erode, while once-mighty ratings earners Heroes and Law & Order circle the drain. Actually, the ratings attrition of Heroes has been going on for years, but it seems now the network may be ready to wrap things up with a finale to air next spring. Meanwhile the promising hour-long drama Trauma, which would’ve stood a fair chance in one of the 10 PM berths currently monopolized by the Leno show, won’t get its full season order.
5. While we’re on the subject, the network’s freshman comedy Community continues to get better and better as it finds its comic momentum, turning out one inspired episode after another even while its ratings remain wanting. The pilot was a bit stiff, admittedly hurting its first impressions, but subsequent episodes have focused on what works (the comic chemistry between stars Joel McHale and Chevy Chase; Yvette Nicole Brown’s irresistable charm) and downplayed what doesn’t. It’s TV you can’t wait to quote to your friends the next day, espcially just about anything that comes out of Spanish instructor Senor Chang’s (Ken Jeong) mouth.
6. Why is Hollywood only now making sequels to films that Gen X’ers loved in college? Both Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans have releases just around the corner, even though expectations for either one haven’t exactly set the world afire. Actually, director Warner Herzog swears his Bad Lieutenant isn’t a remake or sequel to Abel Ferrara’s notorious 1992 neo-noir, but the comparisons are inevitable and probably at least a little bit deserved. We want to get excited about the new Bad Lieutanant, though we’re skeptical about Nicolas Cage tackling the fine subtleties of New Orleans life and culture. (Remember his last attempt at filmmaking in the Crescent City? Most people don’t.)
7. Also something presumably for Generation X members, the first official cast photo from the upcoming A-Team movie was released earlier this week. That’s Bradley Cooper (The Hangover) as Face, UFC star Rampage Jackson as B.A. Baracus, Sharlto Copley (District 9) as Howling Mad Murdock, and the great Liam Neeson as Hannibal Smith. Jessica Biel and Omari Hardwick (Deep Blue) also star.
We’d be less enthused about this, yet another 80s show getting the movie treatment, if not for Joe Carnahan’s place in the director’s seat. The original series was impossible to take completely seriously, much like Carnahan’s own bullet fest Smokin’ Aces. So much like its inspiration, we can likely enjoy the A-Team movie best if we don’t expect too much from it.
8. Ridley Scott says he says he wants to make a prequel to Alien, setting its story a full thirty years before the events of the classic 1979 original, which he also directed. That’s fine and all, but we can’t help but think it’s going to push back his adaptation of Joe Haldeman’s brilliant science fiction novel The Forever War, which he announced about a year ago.
We’d bet anything that there’s more story potential in Haldeman’s tale of soldiers fighting the same space war over millenia than there is in going to the Alien well a seventh time. The novel is a long time coming to film – Scott himself said he waited 25 years to get the rights – and its many, many admirers deserve to see a director of Scott’s caliber handle the project. So here’s hoping.
9. Finally, the trailer below previews the new comedy Pirate Radio, based on the true story of the outlaw radio station that broadcast off the coast of England in the 1960s. Retitled from its earlier international release name The Boat That Rocked, the film’s had a troubled production history, including many edits to trim it down from an original three-hour runtime. Just the same, we remain optimistic if only for the presence of Bill Nighy, an actor so versatile and charming he could probably sell sand in the desert.
Pirate Radio opens nationwisde November 13.
- Michael Kabel