One of my favorite films of last year was director James Bobin‘s The Muppets. Not only was the film a huge commercial hit grossing almost $160 million worldwide, The Muppets averaged an amazing 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and also won the Academy Award for Best Original Song (Bret McKenzie‘s “Man or Muppet”). While it might have been a while before Disney decided to release a further Muppets movie, the new film’s success led the studio to greenlight the sequel quickly and it currently has a December 20, 2013 release date (via IMDb). As we’ve previously reported:
With the release date almost a year away, I figured filming must be starting soon. I was right. The other night I attended a Lionsgate/Summit holiday party where I ran into Muppet producer Todd Lieberman (he produced The Muppets with David Hoberman) and he gave me an update on the sequel. Hit the jump for more.
It seems as if pseudo-Conservative talk show pundit and comedian Stephen Colbert may be joining the cast of J.R.R.Tolkien’s beloved characters in Peter Jackson’s upcoming The Hobbit trilogy. This is completely unconfirmed and more for fun speculation at this point, but Colbert talked about his visit to The Hobbit set in a recent interview and neither confirmed nor denied a possible cameo. He did confess to being a Tolkien fan, however, and if that enthusiasm proved enough to sway Jackson, there’s already a precedent set for a Colbert cameo. Hit the jump to see what Colbert had to say.
[Update: THR confirms that Colbert will indeed be making a cameo in The Hobbit, but he won't appear in this fall's An Unexpected Journey so keep an eye out for Colbert in The Desolation of Smaug and/or There and Back Again.]
The nominations for the 84th Annual Academy Awards have finally been unveiled. Many of the categories have fallen in line just as most have predicted (I fared alright with my predictions, but not great), with Hugo scoring 11 nods, followed closely by The Artist with 10. The biggest surprises are War Horse and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close getting in for Best Picture, the exclusion of The Adventures of Tintin from Best Animated Feature, and The Tree of Life nabbing Best Picture and Best Director nods (hooray!). On the snub side of things, despite landing the most precursor critics awards of any other actor in the race thus far, Albert Brooks was denied a Best Supporting Actor nod for his stellar work in Drive (boo). Additionally, Tilda Swinton was overlooked for giving the best performance of the year in We Need to Talk About Kevin, and AMPAS has no love for Michael Fassbender‘s haunting work in Shame.
There’s still plenty to be happy about, as Gary Oldman has his first ever Oscar Nomination (yes, that’s right) and Melissa McCarthy is a Best Supporting Actress nominee. Hit the jump to check out the full list of nominees. The 84th Academy Awards will be presented by Billy Crystal on February 26th.
I was excited when I heard a new Muppets movie was in the works. I became more excited when I heard it would be a musical. And then I became ecstatic when I learned that Bret McKenzie would be the film’s music supervisor. My elation came from being a huge Flight of the Conchords fan. McKenzie is one-half of the folk-music-comedy duo (the other half being Jemaine Clement), and through their albums and HBO series, they’ve shown they can easily play with any music genre.
Earlier this week, I got to speak with McKenzie over the phone and we discussed his process on creating the songs for The Muppets, his musical and comic inspirations the possibility of a song from the movie being nominated for an Oscar, his work on The Hobbit, his future musical endeavors, a ukulele orchestra, and more. Hit the jump to check out the interview.
The Muppets returned to theaters this year in a big way with director James Bobin’s aptly named The Muppets. While the film could have easily become a heavy-handed and groan-worthy kids movie, Bobin and Co. delivered a sweet, funny, and ultimately touching flick that is just as effective for 7-year-olds as it is for cold, cynical cinephiles. When the Oscar hosting gig was once again up for grabs earlier this year, a campaign to have our lovely Muppets take up the duties gained some significant traction. While producers ultimately went with Billy Crystal, the whole idea got us thinking: what awards could the film actually win? Hit the jump for our take on The Muppets’ chances in this coming awards season.
Among the many highlights in The Muppets, the songs are amazing. We can thank Bret McKenzie, one of the premier comedic songwriters working today as one half of Flight of the Conchords, for much of that: he contributed several songs to the soundtrack, including certain Oscar nominee “Life’s a Happy Song.” McKenzie is on the promotional circuit to discuss his excellent work on the movie, where he talked about two other projects of interest. McKenzie has a small role as an elf in The Hobbit, and we’ll get to that. First, though, a Flight of the Conchords movie? Said McKenzie:
“We’re gonna try and do a movie. We just need a story.”
Yes, please. More after the jump.
Jerusha Hess, co-writer of Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre, is set to make her directorial debut with the indie romantic comedy Austenland. Starring Keri Russell, J.J. Field (Captain America: The First Avenger) and Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords), Heat Vision reports that the film will also mark the producing debut of Twilight author Stephanie Meyer.
Based on the book by Shannon Hale, Austenland centers on a woman in her 30’s who is so obsessed with the Pride and Prejudice character Mr. Darcy that no real-life man can compare, and her love life pays the toll. She decides to spend her life savings on a trip to a Jane Austen-themed resort in England. The supporting cast includes Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour, Rupert Vansittart and James Callis. Filming begins this week. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of the novel.
Fans of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and/or New Zealand folk comedy duo Flight of the Conchords know that Conchord Bret McKenzie made brief appearances as an extra in Fellowship of the Ring and Return of the King. The role was minor, but fans clinged to McKenzie and nicknamed his character “Figwit.” According to Variety, director Peter Jackson has set aside a role for his fellow Kiwi, and this time McKenzie’s character will have an official name and everything! McKenzie will play Lidir, and Elf of Rivendell.
Production commenced last month, and Jackson will shoot both Hobbit films over the next 14 months in Stone Street Studios in Wellington and various locations in New Zealand. The Hobbit: Part 1 is scheduled for release December 2012; Part 2 follows in December 2013. Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo Baggis; Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, and Cate Blanchett will reprise their roles from the initial trilogy. Hit the jump for the official production announcement, including synopsis and more cast/crew details.
Earlier this week, we brought you’re a low-resolution scan from Entertainment Weekly that provided the first look at Jason Segel and the Muppets in the tentatively-titled The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made. We now have an updated and high-resolution version of that image. The new image includes director James Bobin (Flight of the Conchords), co-writer Nick Stoller, and musician/actor Bret McKenzie.
Hit the jump to check out an image of Muppet mayhem. The film, which will also star Jack Black, Donald Glover, Jane Lynch, Danny Trejo, Eric Stonestreet, John Krasinski, Ed Helms, Lady Gaga, and Paul Rudd, is set to open on December 25, 2011.
Not only have Flight of the Conchords officially landed, they’ve made quite the imprint on recent pop culture. The musically comedic duo has brought their unique style of self-deprecating humor all the way from New Zealand over to the states. They’ve had a successful half-hour HBO comedy special, which ultimately led to two full seasons of their own television series on the same network. They’ve won a Grammy and are continuing to watch their careers skyrocket, including an appearance on the upcoming season of The Simpsons (which is a sure sign that you’ve made it). On top of all that, they have recently released Flight of the Conchords: The Complete Collection on DVD. Hit the jump to check out my full review of this mutli-disc DVD set:
Fox announced the guest voices for the 22nd season of The Simpsons this morning at the TCA’s in Los Angeles. Included in the record setting season is Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Amber Riley, Hugh Laurie, Halle Berry, Ricky Gervais, Daniel Radcliffe, Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie, Mark Zuckerberg, Mike Scioscia, Martha Stewart, Paul Rudd, Rachel Weisz, Cheech & Chong, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Alyson Hannigan, Danica Patrick, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Joe Mantegna.
They also sent out the synopses for a few of the episodes. If you’re one of the people that still cares about The Simpsons, hit the jump for a lot more info:
It’s a sad day for fans of peace, love, folk, and for the citizens of New Zealand as Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement along with co-creator James Bobin announced that there will not be a third season of Flight of the Conchords. While the group had remained silent if not unenthusiastic about the possibility of a third season, it looks like they’ve decided to move on. Here’s the official depressing news from their official website:
Bret, Jemaine and James (co-creator/director) said “we’ve noticed the less we say about the future of the show, the more people want to talk about it, so in an effort to reverse this trend we are today announcing that we won’t be returning for a 3rd season. We’re very proud of the two seasons we made and we like the way the show ended. We’d like to thank everyone who helped make the show and also everyone who watched it. While the characters Bret and Jemaine will no longer be around, the real Bret and Jemaine will continue to exist.
I imagine this will seriously hurt New Zealand tourism despite their great advertisements as seen on the wall of Murray Hewitt (Rhys Darby). It also hurts the many fans of the show. However, I suppose since the real Bret and Jemaine still exist we can at least hope for more albums from the duo.