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 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:

Tony Jaa Will Punch You Into Next Week

I’m a big fan of ridiculous martial-arts movies, especially the kind filled with complicated set pieces and moves that make your jaw drop in disbelief. Early Jackie Chan films are great for this kind of stuff, and Tony Jaa has taken that style and ramped it up about a 100 notches.

I’ve seen two of his films, Ong Bak and The Protector, which were both amazing. They were thin on plot, but full of mind-blowing fight scenes, made all the more amazing because there’s no CGI and no trickery with wires. Here’s a trailer for his newest film, Ong Bak 2 (no relation to the first):

Wherein Woody Allen Makes a Movie About People Kissing

This trailer is pretty unique in that it doesn’t tell you anything about Vicky Cristina Barcelona other than it’s apparently pretty sexy… which is kinda weird for a Woody Allen movie. Thankfully, he stayed behind the camera. Someone must have finally convinced him he shouldn’t pair himself with girls 40 years younger than him.

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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.

The Fall

The Fall, starring Lee Pace from Pushing Daisies:

“In a hospital a little girl with a broken collar bone meets a bedridden man who starts telling her a fantastical story which reflects his state of mind. As time goes by fiction and reality start to intertwine in this uplifting epic fantasy.”

— Via Timo’s HD Movie Trailers in Miro

“The only thing more terrifying than blindness is being the only one who can see.”

This movie looks both fascinating and creepy, and it’s got a great pedigree – based on a book by a Nobel prize winning author, and directed by the same guy who made City of God and The Constant Gardener.

I’m definitely excited to see it. I might try picking up the book as well, since it’s been recommended to me before.

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:

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.

David Schwimmer Directed a Movie

Wait… what?


I didn’t know he had it in him… Run, Fat Boy, Run looks awesome. It helps that Dylan Moran and Simon Pegg are two of my most favorite actor/comedians ever. If you don’t understand why, watch Black Books, Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz.

P.S. If only they hadn’t used Trailer Voice Guy…

The Leet World, or “When Talking About Making Something Turns Into Actually Doing It”

I’m not sure why I didn’t post about this before, considering I spent almost the entire weekend working on the website, but some friends of mine that go way back – Eddy, Nick, and Daniel, to be exact – recently starting working on putting into motion an idea that had been percolating for years.

There has always been talk in our circle of friends about making movies, but one idea in particular stuck around for a long time. The premise was simple: make an ongoing series of short films/episodes about a bunch of characters from a video game (Counter-Strike) who are placed in a Real World-style house and see what happens.

The premise is possible because of a phenomenon called machinima, which means using the graphics/animation from video games to render animated short films. The most popular and well-known example of this phenomenon is a show called Red vs. Blue.

In any case, Smooth Few Films, as they are collectively known, actually got to the point where they could produce a trailer and then a full-fledged episode of the show. Check it out:

Trailer (kind of illicit because of the music… shhh! Hopefully they’ll have time to redo it at some point…):

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Episode #1 (all original music!):

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There is already a lively forum on the site, and plenty of random people from all over the world have left feedback. It’s pretty exciting to see my friends succeeding like this, although this is still only the initial level. They are planning on doing a new episode every 2-3 weeks, and I think this show’s popularity will only grow with more episodes and an ever-growing forum community.

Pushing Daisies

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


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 Ten

I loved The State back in the day, really enjoyed the oddness that was Stella, and was both baffled and amused by Wet Hot American Summer (best watched with the “fart” commentary turned on). Like many comedy groups nowadays, they’ve formed a sort of loose collective with a rotating cast of other actors brought in on the fun, and their new movie, The Ten, has a huge collection of famous folks in the mix. I’m pretty excited about it from watching the trailer:


Our Man Gervais

As you may know, I am a huge fan of Neil Gaiman, have been for years. Stardust is one of the first of his books that I read, and it has been adapted into a Feature Film, due to premiere this summer. I’m pretty excited, as should you be. Clicking on the picture of Our Man Gervais will take you to Yahoo’s lovely little trailer info page for the film, which seems to be pitched somewhere between The Princess Bride, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, and all of those modern-day fantasy flicks with amazing special effects.

Interestingly enough, the movie was directed by Matthew Vaughn, director of Layer Cake, and original director lined up for the third X-Men movie before he dropped out to be with his family. I can respect a man who values family over big-budget action movies, but I still wish, in my heart of hearts, that we had gotten a chance to see what he might have done with the X-Men. We’ll never know now, however, thanks to that jerkface, Brett Ratner.

The TV Set

The TV Set is the newest film from Jake Kasdan, son of Lawrence, director of Zero Effect (excellent) and Orange County (terrible). The trailer above (which doesn’t show a release date, dammit) makes me hopeful that he’s realized what a bad move that Colin Hanks movie was. From what we see here his third film is much more reminiscent of Zero Effect, which is a good thing in my book. Also, it’s interesting to see David Duchovny with a giant beard. Who can resist?

The basic premise is that Duchovny is a television producer trying to develop a very personal new show about (from what I can tell) a man whose brother commits suicide and the resulting aftermath. The network suits (one played by Sigourney Weaver) stymie him at every turn, first by insisting on casting an “actor” in the main role who demeans that very term, then by constantly asking whether or not the suicide part is really “necessary”. So… sort of The Big Picture for the television age.

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…

The Prestige and The Science of Sleep

I think it must just be good movie season coming up… I’ve seen several pretty exciting trailers, and I’m pretty pumped for some upcoming moviegoing, including:

“The Prestige”: directed by Christopher Nolan

and “The Science of Sleep”: directed by Michel Gondry.

Children of Men

Alright, I’m really excited about this movie, too:


“Children of Men”:, from Alfonso Cuaron (director of Y Tu Mama Tambien and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban)

“Shining” – A Story About One Father, One Son, and a Whole New Way of Looking at Things. Starring Jack Nicholson.


(Medium Trailer, Quicktime, 9.5mb)

Coming Summer 1980 from “P.S. 260”:

p{color: red}. EDIT: Apparently this little clip is an internet phenomenon. Good thing I downloaded it and put it on my own site, in case the other site inevitably goes down (although by the same token, I’ll have to take it down if people start finding it from my site through some ridiculous turn of events.) Anyways, “here’s an article”: about why this was created. And Teresa Nielsen Hayden has links to “two other trailers”: as well.