At some point, you just have to let things go.
That's the decision I made after a scene in "Cars 2" where they're discussing the need for alternative fuels since they are starting to run low on fossil fuels. Someone is explaining about how there are only so many dead dinosaurs and now they're running out of oil and they have to find new ways to power cars, and Mater, listening to this, turns to someone and says, "The dinosaurs did what, now?"
They have dinosaurs in the world of "Cars"? Really? If I start thinking about the implications of that, my head will explode. Instead, I just surrendered myself to the notion that logic is not the strong suit of this particular franchise, and it helped me enjoy the film more. Pixar is one of the strongest studios in town when it comes to story and character, and I think they've been very good at worldbuilding in general. The bottom line with these movies is that John Lasseter, the grand poobah of all things Pixar, loves cars. And because of that, they make movies about a world of cars. And that's really all the logic that matters.
At some point, you just have to let things go.
Last week, we talked about Eddie Murphy's career and the way it has served to disappoint fans of his early work with almost surgical precision. In that piece, I didn't even include a story that depressed me more than almost anything else I've ever heard about Eddie.
Around the time "The Goods" was coming out, the lovely Tamar over at Paramount asked me and a few other writers if we wanted to have lunch with Neal Brennan, who directed the film. Brennan was the co-creator of "Chapelle's Show," and he's a guy who has been working in LA comedy for years. As we talked, the conversation touched on any number of topics, and at one point, Brennan told us about an evening where Eddie Murphy came to Chapelle's house. Over the course of that long night hanging out, Eddie, Dave Chapelle, and Brennan all started pitching ideas for sketches, eventually realizing that they had enough material to put together a sketch comedy movie. Eddie was energized by the material they were bouncing back and forth, according to Brennan, and by the time he left, they had all agreed that they were going to find a place to make the film together. That turned out to be the last contact Brennan had with him, which is terribly sad. Can you imagine a sketch comedy film with a fire-in-his-belly Murphy going head to head with Chapelle, determined to prove something? It could have been glorious.
It's been a while.
Matters were complicated because the last podcast I recorded got eaten by my computer, something I had to tell Scott after the fact. It's a shame, too. That was just before Cannes, and it was a really solid podcast overall. We had the director of "Trollhunter" on as a guest, and we played a great round of Movie God, and it was just a fun, spirited conversation that got totally vaporized somewhere on my hard drive.
It was my fault, no doubt. I am just competent enough with the software I use to edit the podcast to be dangerous. I don't really know what I'm doing, but I like to pretend that I do. This week, I was very careful, and I am pleased with the end result.
Part of that is because I finally got Scott Swan back over to the house to record, something that isn't always easy to do. His schedule and my schedule are increasingly hard to synch up. But more than that, I'm glad I was able to record this week because the interview I've got for you is one of my favorites since I joined HitFix.
The third and final trailer for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" hit the scene today, and given that Drew swore earlier not to watch it in a twitter post, It is left to me to bring it to you.
As the guy that puts up all the video on HitFix, I am not afforded the luxury of not viewing such things. I have to watch all the trailers and all the clips, and though it may somewhat lessen the surprises of watching a film for the first time, at least I know when I can go to the concession stand and not miss much.
If you, like Drew, do not want to know anything new about it, or the movie, stop reading now. There are lots of other great news items to read about, including an awesome "Cars 2" article about frighteningly violent Pixar movies have become, just a few posts down. If not, video and more after the jump.
One of the greatest characters in "The Hobbit" is the dragon who lies at the heart of the quest that takes Bilbo Baggins from the comfort of the Shire to the heart of the Misty Mountains, and since they decided to make "The Hobbit," I have been waiting to hear who they would announce to play Smaug.
When Guillermo Del Toro was attached, I think there was at least a 60% chance Ron Perlman was the man for the job, but with Peter Jackson casting as wide a net as he has for casting on the films, I figured it would be someone surprising and possibly out of left field. For those of us who are fans of "Sherlock," the BBC series that stars Martin Freeman, already cast as Bilbo, the announcement today is one of the coolest possible choices.
Yes, Benedict Cumberbatch will play Smaug, both as a voice and through performance capture for the face, and it strikes me as a tremendous choice.
Last night, when I introduced a special screening of "Attack The Block" at the Arclight in Hollywood, they ended up showing two trailers in front of the film. One was that crazy "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" trailer, which plays as a total assault on the senses in the theater.
The other was the just released trailer for "Moneyball," the first glimpse we've gotten at the new movie by Bennett Miller, and I'm surprised by just how much I liked the trailer in general.
I've had some real questions about how they're going to turn the book into a movie, and I'm not sure how this subject matter translates to something that will travel around the world. One of the most fundamental questions is how you make a movie like this out of a story that doesn't have a Hollywood-approved happy ending.
"John Carter" might technically qualify as the "longest-in-development" movie of all time. They've been trying to make a film version of the Edgar Rice Burroughs character since the very beginning of the film industry, and yet, for myriad reasons, the film that comes out next year represents the very first onscreen vision of the character and the world he lives in. Considering next year is also the 100th anniversary of the creation of John Carter, that seems astounding to me.
During the era where Harry Knowles was working to produce a version of the film with a round-robin of directors including Jon Favreau, Kerry Conran, and Robert Rodriguez, I watched a lot of the work they were doing, including production art and concept work, and the one thing that was obvious no matter who was in charge was that Barsoom and the world of John Carter is a rich feast for the right filmmaker, and it's all a matter of how you choose to embrace all the opportunities laid out by Burroughs in the first place.
James Mangold is, according to reports, in final negotiations to direct "The Wolverine" for 20th Century Fox from the screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie.
This is the same script that Darren Aronofsky was attached to for a while, and it will take Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman, to Japan. Fox has been looking at possible directors for a while now, since Aronofsky left the project, and with Mangold aboard, they can start to get serious about when they're going to make this.
There are some complications ahead, though. Tom Hooper is finally bringing the musical version of "Les Miserables" to the bigscreen, and it appears that Jackman may end up playing Jean Valjean for him. Great role, and Jackman's been itching to do a major movie musical for a while now.
More importantly, with "X-Men: First Class" in the loop and with the film getting better critical and fan response than either of the last two films in the "X-Men" franchise, Fox has a choice to make. Do they really want to make another Wolverine-only movie, starring the single most expensive cast member in the franchise, or do they want to move forward and build on something that people seem to be enjoying tremendously?
In just a few minutes, I'm on my way out the door to the Arclight Theater in Hollywood, where I'll be introducing a screening of "Attack The Block," then moderating a Q&A with a very special guest from the film right afterwards. This will make the third time I've seen the film, and I'm looking forward to it again.
It's exciting that they're going to be releasing the film in July in limited release, and I sincerely hope it does well enough to eventually go wide. I think it could happen, too. It's going to take a strong campaign on Sony's part, and they're putting out a new trailer that's red-banded and that is going live online right now.
They're also showing the film to people, as much as possible. It's a tactic that really worked for the original "The Hangover," which screened approximately 4,750 times before it was finally released. They've got the film booked at the LA Film Festival, they're going to end up with some sort of Comic-Con presence this summer, and then they're hitting theaters. They're being aggressive about this, and I hope it pays off for them.
I have to admit that I had always kind of avoided the original "Cars." It had seemed like the most nakedly "market tested" Pixar film to me. I saw it as a movie that popped up right at the height of the NASCAR craze replete with hundreds of cute toy-ready cars just begging to be merchandized. The design of the characters, with their extra big adorable eyes leant the whole thing a syrupy air that had kept me away.
Of course when I sat down and actually watched the movie I was taken in by heart of the thing. It has a solid story of cocky little red race car who is forced to slow down and appreciate small town values and the beauty of the countryside. Still not my favorite Pixar film, but a solid effort and I'd recommend it.
So my cynicism had melted a bit as I rode the bus across the Bay Bridge to visit the Pixar campus back in March to get a sneak peek at "Cars 2" and meet the folks behind the film. We had been bused out the night before to have a tour of their newly built office building, attend a Pixar 25th anniversary mixer and screen the "Toy Story" Short "Hawaiian Vacation," which will be released theatrically in front of "Cars 2." I don't have a lot to say about the night before, however, as I can't talk about the the short, and the mixer was pleasant but not much to write about.
More after the jump.