An Idiot Abroad is a BBC travel series dedicated to the seven wonders of the world and the culture that surrounds them. It isn’t a new idea. Dozens of shows have tackled the exact same subject using a combination of stunning photography and a charismatic, informative host which can create a rich, in-depth look at some truly remarkable feats of architecture and ingenuity. But Idiot Abroad offers something that none of those other documentary series has: a host who has no curiosity or interest in the subjects he is sent to cover. Karl Pilkington is the host (or presenter) of Idiot Abroad and is either an Andy Kaufman-esque performance artist or, more likely, a man with unbelievably simple tastes. Either way, his interactions and observations make this travel series extremely entertaining. Hit the jump for our review of An Idiot Abroad on DVD.
In twenty-plus seasons The Simpsons has produced nearly 500 episodes, a motion picture and innumerable amounts of merchandise. The creative minds behind the series include names like Conan O’Brien, Brad Bird (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), and James L. Brooks among others. Through the years, the show has retained the original cast who have expanded beyond the primary characters to really flsesh out the Springfield community. Where would the show be without Ned Flanders or Milhouse or to a lesser extent, Duffman? Countless celebrities have made their way through Springfield while the titular family has become nearly as recognizable as Mickey Mouse. For a show that began as a handful of minute-long interstitials, The Simpsons has evolved into a pop culture institution. And for good reason. In its prime, The Simpsons was the best-written, best-performed, most subversive on television. Since the height of its popularity in the late 80s to mid-90s, other shows have caught on and caught up to the Simpson formula.
The show itself had covered so much ground by the 14th season that it began retreading on familiar territory. While there were still moments of brilliance in the show, the consistent quality of the first decade had started to wane. Hit the jump for my full review of season 14 of The Simpsons on Blu-ray.
Expensive suits. Quasi-incestuous relationships. Carl Weathers. Minor Treason. It’s been nearly six years since the Bluth family brought good wholesome entertainment into America’s living rooms. But finally, after years of fan demand and seemingly endless rumors, new episodes of Arrested Development are returning to television in 2013. Provided, of course, that television has Netflix.
Like Family Guy and Futurama before, Twentieth Century Fox is bringing back the critically-acclaimed sitcom (Time Magazine called it one of the best TV shows of ALL-TIME) for a brand new season in 2013. But unlike its animated counterparts, fresh episodes of Arrested Development will be broadcast exclusively on Netflix. We told you back in March that Netflix would host original content with Kevin Spacey’s House of Cards, and while Development isn’t technically a Netflix original, the new episodes are surely the rental service’s highest-profile project to date. Hit the jump for more on AD’s return.
Earlier this month we brought you the first official synopsis of Ben Affleck’s new political/period drama Argo. Then we saw a few set photos of Alan Arkin with Affleck who was looking fly in his wide-collared wardrobe complete with gold chain and chest hair a-poppin’. The supporting cast—which includes names like Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, and Michael Parks—combined with the Affleck’s directing talent make Argo look like a must-see. Now we know when we will see: According to Box Office Mojo, Warner Bros. has set the release date for September 14, 2012. This release date follows yesterday’s release date news about another potential WB awards contender, Gangster Squad.
Hit the jump for the synopsis and my thoughts on the release date.
At some point in his career, Tim Hill may win an Oscar and/or be considered one of the masters of the craft. But when people inspect Hill’s back catalogue, one title will stand out from the others: Walter the Farting Dog. Hill has agreed to direct the family movie about a flatulent pet for Paramount Pictures, on the heels of yesterday’s news that he’s attached to direct the Short Circuit remake.
Though the title may sound like a bad joke, the team behind Walter is actually pretty impressive. The current version of the story (originally based on a series of children’s books) is written by Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow whose credits include Toy Story and Garfield. Say what you will about the quality of Garfield, but the flick made a healthy amount at the box office. Hit the jump for more, including a synopsis of the intricately plotted book.
You know what Johnny Depp needs? More work. The constantly-busy actor, who is currently attached to four upcoming projects is now partnering with director Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) to adapt author Nick Tosche’s novel In the Hand of Dante into a film. But in an interview with The Playlist, Schnabel points out that there’s no time table for the project right now.
“It belongs to Johnny, but I’m not going to make it for a couple of years. We’re gonna work on writing it, developing it. We didn’t sign anything. It’s just something Johnny asked me to read and I think it’s a great book…”
Depp’s interest in adapting the novel is no surprise as his production company Infinitum Nihil, bought the rights to the book in 2008. So what is the book about? Well Schnabel sums the story up thusly, “It’s about everything.” To read more, including what the book is actually about, hit the jump.
Back in 2010, Mike Tyson appeared in a guest role on Entourage. Apparently, while on set, Tyson and series creator Doug Ellin had a conversation. Ellin said that during the conversation, “Mike asked me, why don’t do with my life what we did with Mark’s life?”
According to Deadline, instead of taking the suggestion as a joke, Ellin instead set about crafting a dramatic series around Mike Tyson’s experience growing up as a boxer in an urban environment. After developing the project with his production partner, Jim Lefkowitz, Ellin passed writing duties to John Ridley who then convinced Spike Lee to direct the project.
Hit the jump to read more about the series, titled Da Brick.
Miramax, the studio that the Weinsteins built, has been the home of some of the modern era’s best indie films including Pulp Fiction, Clerks, sex, lies and videotape, and many many more. Keeping true to their distribution roots, Miramax is teaming with Hulu Plus to offer hundreds of films from their back catalog to the online streaming service. The Wrap reports that Hulu Plus subscribers will be able to watch the films commercial-free, but if you’re the type that doesn’t like spending money (like me), then you should be happy to know that the old-fashioned ad-supported Hulu will be offering a rotating selection of Miramax films, with commercials included. It marks the first time that the films will be offered through an ad-supported streaming site.
We have three bits of casting news to bring you way this afternoon. First up, writer/director Sergio Castellitto (perhaps best-known to American audiences for his role as Miraz in Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian) added a pair of A-list names to his latest project. According to ScreenDaily, Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsch have agreed to star in Venuto al Mondo aka Twice Born for our English-speaking readers. The film, a drama based on a novel, tells the story of a single mother (probably played by Cruz) who brings her son to Saravejo, where his father died fighting in the Bosnian war years ago. There’s no word yet on what role Hirsch will play, but expect it to be a major one.
Next, and on a more comedic note, Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Mary Lynn Rajskub, whose probably best-known for her role as Chloe on 24 have joined the growing cast of Safety Not Guaranteed, along with lesser-known actors Lynn Shelton, Karan Soni, and Jenica Bergere. Safety not Guaranteed is based on a true story… well, a true classified ad and tells the story of three reporters investigating an ad seeking a partner for a time traveling mission. According to the press release, one of the investigators(Aubrey Plaza) develops feelings for the “paranoid but compelling loner.” Big Beach, the company behind Little Miss Sunshine is producing along with the Duplass Bros.
For our final piece of casting news, hit the jump to learn about Pam Grier, Michael Madsen, and Brigitte Nelson joining Skinny Dip.
Way back in January, Matt reviewed a little indie romance/comedy/time-bending/talking moon/cat-narrated feature at Sundance. The movie was The Future, the follow-up to the critically-lauded Me and You and Everyone We Know by actress-director Miranda July. Four months later, the poster for The Future has finally debuted online.
The poster doesn’t do much to explain the bizarre storyline but the simple, upside-down profile makes for an image that doesn’t look like any other summer movie poster. I have to say, I like it. The Future will hit theaters on July 29. Hit the jump to check out the poster.
While Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman hit a bit of a snag last week when Viggo Mortensen walked away from the project, Relativity Studio’s rival 3D film, The Brothers Grimm: Snow White locked in Lily Collins to play the fair-skinned main character.
Collins is probably best known for her turn as Sandra Bullock’s daughter in The Blind Side but according to Hollywood Reporter, Collins “blew away” the suits at Relativity with her audition and is currently in negotiations to star in Snow White after she finishes filming Mortal Instruments. Though The Brothers Grimm: Snow White appears to have scored their lead actress as Huntsman loses their lead actor, the race between the two fairy tale re-tellings is still tight. Hit the jump for more on the two projects. The Brothers Grimm: Snow White is currently set to open on June 29, 2012.
Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute and Europe’s AEG Entertainment group have teamed up to bring the Sundance Film Festival to London’s O2 district next year. The Sundance Film Festival, America’s largest and most successful indie film expo, will head across the pond from April 26-29, three months after the festival’s annual run in Park City, Utah.
Redford says of the move, “It is our mutual goal to bring to the U.K., the very best in current American independent cinema, to introduce the artists responsible for it, and in essence help build a picture of our country that is broadly reflective of the diversity of voices not always seen in our cultural exports.”
For more info on Sundance: London, hit the jump.
MGM, the home studio of James Bond, has been in financial limbo for what seems like forever. After dumping rights to The Hobbit to Warner Brothers, and continuing lengthy discussions on the fate of the Bond franchise, MGM looked to be on its last legs. But according to Variety, the long-standing studio is finally ready to get moving on no less than five different projects.
In addition to long-rumored reboots of Robocop and Poltergeist, the studio is reportedly financing or co-financing remakes of 1980s classics Mr. Mom and The Idolmaker. MGM is also looking to produce “A ‘Hercules’ project.” My fingers are crossed that Kevin Sorbo will be involved. The studio also just recently joined up with Paramount to co-produce the 3D-shot Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters which stars Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner and the very attractive Gemma Arterton as the witch killin’ siblings. The story takes place 15 years after the familiar fairy tale. Hit the jump for more on MGM and my thoughts on their post-resurrection projects.
News continues to leak from Looper, the futuristic, time-traveling assassin film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt. Following a deal with Chinese Production company, DMG, the sci-fi actioner has gone through some major changes, presumably to make the newest investors happy. For one, the film will be rewritten to take place in China instead of France, as originally intended.
Earlier this week, we told you about Primer’s Shane Carruth joining the production, but he’s not the only new name added to the film. Xu Qing, a relatively unknown actress to Hollywood was added to the cast as Bruce Willis’ wife. According to the story synopsis, Willis is Gordon-Levitt’s future self, so Qing’s casting could end up being for an important part of the movie.
Hit the jump to read more about what the DMG deal means to the movie and to see some futuristic prop designs.
Pixar’s most merchandiseable franchise, Cars, is set to return to theaters on June 24. A couple of weeks ago we showed you a pair of posters for Cars 2. Before that we showed you the first trailer and a plethora of images from the much-anticipated sequel. And today, Pixar has released two new images that hint at the international plot.
Cars 2 features the voices of Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, and Jason Isaacs. Hit the jump for the new images and more information.