Welcome to The Morning Read.
I told you I had some stuff left over yesterday, and since I'll be out of the house for most of Tuesday, I decided to get an early start on today's Morning Read, realizing I had enough for a double-length column to keep people busy until I can get back and post more on Tuesday night. I love weeks like this week and, specifically, days like today, but I also have gotten so used to the rhythms of blogging at home and being chained to the desk all day as I prepare material.
I just got word from Matthew Robinson, co-writer/co-director of the new Ricky Gervais comedy, "The Invention Of Lying," that the film has definitely had its title changed and that they're now set on a release date of September 25th. The film was called "This Side Of The Truth" when I visited the set last year, and in much of the publicity so far, but this new title is official now, and Matthew explains why on his fairly new blog, where you'll be able to follow the film through the last stages of post-production as it prepares for release.
And if that puts you in the mood for a little Ricky Gervais... and frankly, what doesn't?... then you absolutely have to read the interview he did with The Telegraph. It's great stuff.
The epic win for this year's 420 celebrations? Just watch the embedded clip, which might be considered NSFW if your employer has an issue with cartoon songs about weed:
[more after the jump]
I'm not the biggest "Family Guy" fan, but I'll give it up for a really well-staged musical number, and I can't believe that aired on any broadcast American network. That's really beyond my understanding of what I thought the networks would tolerate. We must be close to some real breakthroughs on a national level if that's something that standards and practices has no issue with, because I can't imagine seeing that joke on TV even five years ago. And if you don't believe things are changing, you might want to read what Norm Stamper had to say about legalization.
There's been a fair amount of talk online about the premiere image from Ridley Scott's upcoming take on "Robin Hood" starring Russell Crowe. Favorite ridiculous quote from USA Today's wee preview piece that's attached to the image? "'He doesn't have the old Robin Hood tights,' says producer Brian Grazer. 'He's got armor. He's very medieval. He looks, if anything, more like he did in Gladiator than anything we're used to seeing with Robin Hood.'" Riiiiiiight. See, I saw the Costner film. The one where he was dressed pretty much exactly like Crowe's dressed in that image. And I saw "Gladiator," where his hair's pretty much exactly like in that image. So add the Costner "Hood" and "Gladiator," and... yeah. That's pretty much what we're looking at. Got it. I don't know what they're going to do to make me care about seeing yet another take on this material, even from Ridley Scott, but I'm hoping that at the very least, we get a spirited and brutal action film out of the arrangement. I just wish they'd kept the whole Nottingham-is-Hood angle, which I sort of dug.
Hey, you know how annoying it is when American movie stars decide that they're political pundits so they make ridiculous political pronouncements and inevitably end up pissing off their audiences? Yeah, well, it's not just an American problem.
This probably shouldn't surprise anyone. People who still think that all of this is a game, though, should pay close attention to some of the material buried in that article about some of the arrests and sentences of people involved in leaking and distributing that material. The studios aren't playing, folks, and if you insist on pushing them, they're going to push back. But there are also calls for a sane approach to copyright that I think the studios also have to listen to and take into account, because all of this is still evolving, and only the limber will survive the next decade or so of transition. Everything's changing out there, and it's time to adapt. Although I disagree with this guy's approach to things, I think he makes a good point about how studios can learn from looking at what and how people download right now, and trying to react to that with whatever their next business model is.
Ron Howard doesn't have a problem with the Catholic Church, but he does have a problem with them having a problem with him, and I think he makes his points pretty well in his rant over at HuffPo. The same thing is true of "Angels and Demons" that's true pretty much every time some special interest group starts whining about being made the bad guys in a movie: it's just a movie, and every thriller's got to make someone the villain, so maybe you should just f'ing relax.
In the absence of anything new to write about regarding "Inglourious Basterds," journalists are reduced to editorializing about it as either the end of cinema (I think I linked to one of those pieces in a Morning Read about a month ago) or the salvation of movies, as Phil Hoad sees it. Either way, it's obvious people want to see the new Tarantino as soon as humanly possible, and I hate every single person who's going to see it at Cannes next month.
Speaking of things I'd love to see right now, have you seen the clip from Shane Acker's "9" that MTV premiered the other day? Holy cow, it's good...
I love the look and feel of that clip, and considering it's a post-apocalyptic adventure about rag dolls, it's surprisingly scary and thrilling. Loved the short. Can't wait for the feature.
MTV also ran the news that the "Greatest American Hero" feature has crashed and burned while still in development. Sounds like they got close, though, going so far as to cast Eric Christian Olsen as Ralph Hinkley, the hapless high-school teacher who finds an alien suit that gives him superpowers, albeit without an instruction book to tell him what he's doing. I'm shocked that it's this hard to get this particular property off the ground as a feature right now. Seems like a pretty easy film to greenlight, but for some reason, it stalled out at the last minute, and now it may not happen at all. Wild.
You want to see something completely lunatic? Something I can't believe actually exists? Again... this isn't totally SFW, so be warned:
That's a real movie. That's something you'll really be able to watch at some point. I hardly know what to say. I'd like to thank the filmmakers for giving me a brand-new phobia. It never occurred to me to be afraid that Ron Jeremy's penis might (A) get detached from his body (B) gain sentience and (C) go on a murder spree, but now I know to be afraid. Verrrrrrry afraid.
When something or someone becomes a viral phenomenon the way Susan Boyle has in the last week, there's bound to be some backlash, but if the best people can do is offer up crazy conspiracy theories about the very nature of media reality, I think it's safe to say nothing's knocking the Susan Boyle train off the track.
I love the concept art that /Film got hold of for John Hillcoat's upcoming adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," and it makes me think this is going to be a gorgeous film. And since the source material is as solid as can be, that gives me hope that this could be something really special when we finally see it in October of this year.
A friend Twittered a link to Harry and Quint and I yesterday, and I think it roasts both Michael Bay and fanboys with equal ferocity, which makes for some good sport, indeed.
Speaking of Harry and Quint, I dropped by Ain't It Cool yesterday for a "Land Of The Lost" set visit, which was fun, but more importantly, Quint's back to his column. Instead of A Movie A Day, though, he'll be reviewing A Movie A Week. He's gearing up for it with a week-long romp through the box set of all the "Thin Man" movies, one of my favorites series of films, with one review up already. I'm glad to see Quint pick up the vintage reviews again... it's some of the best stuff he ever did on AICN, and a valuable part of the site's output these days.
I know that most games based on a licensed property suck. I get that. But it doesn't change the desire to see some of our favorite characters get genuinely good games, and hope springs eternal as a few new titles get closer to release. I'm excited about the potential of "Batman: Arkham Asylum," which sounds like a perfect setting for a game, and all the videos released so far look like the execution is pretty spot-on as well. Here's a new video that features Harley Quinn as she'll appear in the game:
I really like the crazy art style for the game, which thankfully isn't trying to ape Nolan's movies, but has instead headed off in its own direction. Could be great.
And finally this morning, let me leave you with another video that's mainly for the photography nerds or anyone who just loves pretty pictures, a bit of time-lapse Tokyo that just plain dazzles:
It's going to be a long day out of the office, but when I get home tonight, I'll be updating with several new reviews, and the rest of this week is fairly busy, so I'll see you guys back here soon.
The Morning Read appears here every day, Monday through Friday. Except when it doesn't.
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