Mad + Burn

Television is pretty slow this summer thanks to the lingering effects of the writer’s strike, but there are a few gems worth checking out on cable. In fact, I’d argue that two of the best returning shows are premiering this summer.

Tonight is the second season premiere of Burn Notice, which was one of the most fun shows that premiered last year. If you aren’t familiar with the premise, it’s about a spy who gets a “burn notice” – basically, he’s fired in spy terms – and is marooned in Miami. As he spends his time trying to figure out why he got burned, he solves mysteries and helps people. It’s a good combination of action, comedy and drama.

As I’m posting this, the premiere has just wrapped up, but they’ll replay it this week, and it’ll probably be available on hulu.com very soon. Here’s a trailer for the second season:

The other highly buzzed show premiering its second season this summer is Mad Men. I’ve been telling everyone I know how great this show is. It’s about advertising executives in the 1960s, and it’s pretty much the best thing since sliced bread. Here are two trailers that do a good job of getting across the style of the show:

Chaos Theory

It seems like Ryan Reynolds is slowly but surely working his way out of National Lampoon “comedies” and into actual adult roles in compelling films. The first definite sign was The Nines, which was just about the most meta movie I’ve ever seen that wasn’t written by Charlie Kaufman (and it was 2/3rds excellent and 1/3rd kind of lumpy).

It’s nice seeing him channel his charisma into something more “off the beaten path”, and I think he’s turning out to be a decent actor as part of the bargain. I even kind of want to see the most recent romcom he’s made.

In any case, I digress. I’ve just watched the trailer for Chaos Theory a few times, and I’m really looking forward to it. The trailer does try to tart it up as just another wacky comedy, but the horrible Comedy Font and arch narration can’t undermine the sheer off-kilter nature of the material at hand, and it looks like Reynolds is in rare form. Check it out:

I also recommend reading the Cinematical review, which makes it sound like a nice little film that hits a number of good notes.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2nd Teaser)

Long Time No Blog, Guess I Better Post a Movie Trailer

Hello there, gentle readers. I know I have been uninteresting lately. I’ve even gotten phonecalls from friends who need updates, new information and stories on what’s been going on in my life… My life is boring, really. I read books, watch DVDs and TV, and work work work like a good worker bee. I haven’t had the kind of low-level creative spark that produces blog entries recently.

I have, however, just watched a trailer for a new movie from the director of Thank You For Smoking. The movie is called Juno. Watch for yourself:

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This film has been much-buzzed-about on the various filmic blogs I follow. It was, I believe, a must-see must-acquire film at the Toronto Film Festival, which is always a good thing. The trailer projects memories of such films as Little Miss Sunshine, Junebug, and Thumbsucker, so to a certain degree it’ll surely be cinematic comfort food, simply because I like movies in that vein. Hopefully it’ll also have some of the unique bite of “Smoking” along with all of the quirkiness.

Now, I can’t promise I’ll blog more any time soon. That’s practically the digital equivalent of crying wolf. Just be assured that I’m here, and I’m reading constantly, always working towards my goal of reading 52 books in a year. Along those lines, I’ve discovered several new favorite authors recently… John Scalzi, for example, as well as fully confirming William Gibson’s place on the list.

Pushing Daisies

Check out the trailer for Pushing Daisies, one of ABC’s new fall shows:

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I can finally see why critics have been so excited about this show. The original teaser made it look pretty straightforward, but this trailer makes it look like it was directed by Tim Burton on Prozac, or, more appropriately, Barry Sonnenfeld at his zaniest. The cinematic look they’re selling is pretty breathtaking, and I hope they can keep it going.

I’m really pumped about this show now, although it looks quirky enough that it probably doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of sticking around long, although Matt Roush says it doesn’t have much competition on the night. That’s a good sign, for sure.

The Coen Brothers are Back!

Oh, how I’ve missed them… I’m still trying to wipe “The Ladykillers” from my memory…

No Country For Old Men premieres Nov. 21st in the US. I can barely wait, let me tell you.

UPDATE: Edited with a better-quality version of the trailer.

You’re prettier than I am!

I, like most Americans my age, was a big fan of The 40 Year-Old Virgin – it looked kind of stupid from the trailers, but turned out that you could actually pull off “raunchy sex comedy” and “heartwarming” in the same movie, mostly because of the combination of Steve Carrell and Judd Apatow. I actually have that movie to thank for convincing me that Steve Carrelll was talented enough that I should give the much-derided (in my mind) American remake of The Office a second chance.

As a movie-goer, I’m a bit of a brand loyalist. If the same writer/director/creative team is working again, and I thoroughly enjoyed their debut work, I’ll be back for the second round. So, after watching the following trailer, I’m definitely interested in seeing Judd Apatow’s new movie “Knocked Up”:

Jay Baruchel in “Knocked Up”

It’s especially nice to see almost the entire cast of “Undeclared” together again…