"Move. Get out of the way. Worst goddamn Fix My Marriage Party ever."
Can you think of any other TV show that has ever gone the places that this one is going this season? At this point, describing "Eastbound & Down" as a comedy is doing a disservice to the show and to the work that Jody Hill, Danny McBride, and David Gordon Green are doing from week to week.
There are two episodes left this season, and I can't imagine how they're going to wrap it all up, and more importantly, I don't want to imagine it. I am not speculating. I'm not searching for spoilers. I just want to sit back and watch it play out and enjoy, because at this point, I know these guys have it. I know they've hit a groove and they're playing out some amazing material and they're pushing these characters to a very real breaking point. You can tell when a creative team is in a groove, when they're just crushing it from moment to moment, and the energy around this season is genuinely impressive.
"Move. Get out of the way. Worst goddamn Fix My Marriage Party ever."
Well, of course they are.
Entertainment Weekly broke the news that Jonathan Frakes will be directing an upcoming episode of "Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." that will directly connect to the events at the end of "Thor: The Dark World."
That's all you need to know if you don't want to be spoiled at all for the upcoming movie or for the TV series, or both. You can stop reading and just know that Marvel and Disney and ABC have made one of the most profoundly obvious decisions in the history of corporate synergy. They are going to use their TV show that exists because of their big hit movies to lay some expository pipe between one of those big hit movies and the rest of those big hit movies, and the show will promote the movie while the tie-in promotes the show and the new movie promotes not one but two or even three new movies and where does the commercial stop and where does the movie begin at this point can you even tell me?
If you didn't read my "About Time" review earlier this week, it serves as a sort of unintentional preamble to this review, since by one of those weird quirks of film development and release, they're both time travel movies.
Richard Curtis uses the idea of time travel to explore the idea of what the heart wants. It's that simple. If you could do it, how would you build yourself the perfect life? It is a device that allows him to write about everything, really. He explores a lot of ideas in his film, and in some very personal ways.
"Free Birds," on the other hand, asks a big silly question: what if turkeys could change the first Thanksgiving so turkey never makes it on the national menu?
But… wait… is that a silly question? The film opens in a turkey farm, and it makes explicit in the first few moments that these turkeys are being fattened up for eventual slaughter. Reggie (Owen Wilson) is the one turkey who can see through to the code of the Matrix. He knows what's coming. And as a result of his near-constant state of panic, he's ostracized, an outsider.
At some point soon, JJ Abrams may need to reach out to the world of "Star Wars" fandom just to calm them down, because the official silence is starting to get very, very noisy indeed.
Today's article in "The Hollywood Reporter" will no doubt whip "Star Wars" fans into a frenzy as they worry about what they will or won't see in theaters in 2015, and we decided to chat about it a bit as well.
Disney didn't buy the "Star Wars" franchise so they could tenderly soothe the nerves of worried fans. They bought it because they are a merchandise driven company, and "Star Wars" remains giant business even in the down periods between movies. Adding a new film to the mix sends the toy business into overdrive, and I suspect Disney is already building the vault where they plan to keep all the money that Bob Iger will swim in, Scrooge McDuck-style, after hours.
While I think fans have every right to worry, I also think we've reached a point where there is very little that any "Star Wars" fan has to say that hasn't already been said a thousand times, and all the hand-wringing ultimately doesn't help anything. People who are determined to hate JJ Abrams already have their minds made up, and I doubt anything's going to make them feel better. I get tired of all the conspiracy speak about Damon Lindelof and Kurtzman and Orci, though, and I wish fans had a way of stepping outside themselves to hear their own shrill arguments sometimes.
Greg Ellwood and I discussed what this could mean and what to take away from today's news in the video you'll see embedded here. I think Kennedy is a very strong producer overall, and I suspect she will continue to push for the best possible film, and perhaps the mix of her strengths and the things that Abrams does well will end up resulting in a movie that will restore faith rather than reconfirming the lack of it.
We'll see, and it sounds like we'll see in 2015, come hell or high water.
Which one is harder, issue number one or issue number two of a comic book?
In a first issue, you have to explain a premise. You have to set up a world. You have to convince people to come back for a second issue. There's a lot of things that have to work, or there's no reason for anyone to keep reading. WIth a second issue, it seems like some of that pressure would be off, but I feel like it might be the opposite. In many cases, it feels like the pressure of finding the right second story to tell is difficult because every option is open and there is no template for what a second issue has to be.
Marvel struggled with "Iron Man 2," easily the weakest of the Phase One films they released. I think there are plenty of things to enjoy in "Iron Man 2," but I also think it's a structural mess, and in many ways, it feels like little more than a bridge between other films. This time around, the script by Christopher Yost and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely aims to tell an epic story that introduces more of the Nine Realms than just Midgard (aka Earth) and Asgard, and there are many things that the film gets right. In particular, I like the way they mash up the science-fiction and fantasy elements in a way that would probably make Jack Kirby tap-dance if he'd lived to see it.
Do you want to win tickets to see "The Visitor" in Los Angeles this weekend at CineFamily?
Before you answer that question, let me tell you a little bit about "The Visitor," which you may not be familiar with yet. I wouldn't blame you. It's a 1979 film that is fairly hard to describe. Well, actually, I would say it looks like an Italian guy fell in love with both "Close Encounters" and "The Omen" and couldn't decide which one he wanted to rip off, so he ripped off both of them and then sprinkled in some genuine all-his-own low-budget insanity that is only enhanced by the idea that he got recognizable American movie stars for many of the key adult roles. What makes it hard to fully describe is the weird way all of those obvious influences come together. It's a deeply strange film, and that makes it a perfect fit for Drafthouse Films.
It feels like the campaign for "Nurse 3D" has been simmering for a while now, and Lionsgate has finally picked a date for the film. You'll be able to see the movie in select theaters and On Demand on February 7, 2014, and to mark the occasion, Lionsgate sent over a brand new poster for the film.
That's exciting because the posters so far have been fun. There was a limited release one-sheet for this film last year that was just straight-up explicit, a close-up of what I assume was Paz de la Huerta's boob. I assume that because Paz de la Huerta seems to be perpetually naked in pretty much everything, and that would seem to be one of the reasons to hire her for a movie.
Today we've got the newest poster for "Nurse 3D" as an exclusive debut for you, and once again, what this communicates is "Paz de la Huerta," "sexy," and "wild ride," which seems like a winning game plan overall for the studio.
I sincerely love it when studios steer into the lurid when they're selling something like this, and I'll be curious to see if the film is even half as fun as the campaign they've run so far. The film stars de la Huerta along with Corbin Bleu and Katrina Bowden, and here's the synopsis:
By day Abby Russell is a dedicated nurse, someone you wouldn’t hesitate to trust your life with. But by night, her real work begins…using her smoldering sexuality she lures cheating men to their brutal deaths and exposes them for who they really are. When a younger nurse starts to suspect Abby's actions and compromises her master plan, Abby must find a way to outsmart her long enough to bring the cheater you’d least expect to justice.
Have you ever had any variation on the stress dream where you're going to do something that you're not prepared for in any way? Like you show up for a test, and not only do you realize that you're not ready for the test, but you've never been in the classroom before, it's in a language you don't speak, and you're naked?
Well, now imagine you're sitting across from Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Michael Douglas when it happens.
That was my Saturday morning in Las Vegas recently. Thanks to a profound miscommunication, there was no screening of the film for me when I got to Vegas. I saw "Bad Grandpa," which was also doing interviews in town at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino across the street from Aria, where the "Last Vegas" interviews were taking place, but not "Last Vegas," so it became clear that I'd have to do the interviews without knowing what we were discussing.
In the entire time I've been here at HitFix, I've never walked into an interview unprepared. There was nothing I could do about it. I had not seen the film, and so there was no way for me to ask specific questions to the cast or the crew. All I could do was try to have a little fun and not embarrass myself.
Richard Curtis has made a career for himself by writing about love. Seems like a fairly simple topic at first glance, and one could argue that he created an entire subgenre of what could be broadly described as "the Working Title rom-com." His voice has been a major part of the comedy landscape for much longer than fans of just his films realize, and to some extent, you can divide his career into everything before "Four Weddings And A Funeral" and everything afterwards.
With his new film, "About Time," he seems to be wrapping things up, and it's a little disconcerting to see how final it feels. Many of the ideas he's tackled in his work over the years are present in "About Time," and it feels like he's grappling with his own legacy in the film. He's also doing it without the sort of star power that has driven some of his biggest successes, and I suspect the movie will surprise many audiences, and not always in the right way. Last night, as I was leaving my screening, a couple was walking through the Arclight behind me and the woman was complaining non-stop that this isn't some broad comedy about Rachel McAdams trying on hats and getting herself a man. She seemed almost offended that the film grapples with notions of family and mortality and the way we use time and how we prioritize the people and the events in our lives. It was a much heavier meal than she expected, and it obviously upset her.
By far, the most laid-back interview room I've walked into this year was Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson teamed up to talk about their new animated family comedy, "Free Birds."
Wilson plays Reggie, who is an oddball in the turkey world as the film opens. He lives on a turkey farm, and he is well aware of what the endgame is regarding their existence. He knows that they are served as food, and he knows that Thanksgiving is the great enemy. When he is picked to become the Presidentially Pardoned Turkey one year, he goes home with the President and his little girl and settles in for a life of comfort, learning to love delivery pizza and television.
That's when Jake (Harrelson) shows up, a big strong dumb turkey who has a plan and a crazy story to tell. His crazy story turns out to be right, though, and he and Reggie steal a time machine with one explicit purpose: go back in history and stop the Pilgrims from making turkey the centerpiece of the original Thanksgiving.