TMR: JJ Abrams loves Ricky Gervais’ ‘Lying,’ ‘Ponyo’ trailers, and ‘Avatar’ footage premieres

06.24.09 8 years ago

Walt Disney/Studio Ghibli

Welcome to The Morning Read.

Well, then.  Maybe next time I have surgery and the doctor tells me to take it easy, I’ll listen, because I screwed it up badly this time around.  I ran out of here Monday to see “Bruno,” and in spending two and a half hours in the car (including 45 minutes on the Mulholland Pass, which desperately needs someone to take care of about 10,000,000 potholes) and two hours in a theater, I managed to re-injure myself severely.  In fact, I think I’m worse off now than I was right after the surgery.  Stupid, I know.  But that became my whole Tuesday.

I did write a couple of reviews yesterday.  “Transformers:  Revenge of The Fallen.”  And “Public Enemies.”  If, y’know, you feel like checkin’ ’em out.

Before anything else, I want to share an e-mail with you that I got from Ricky Gervais.  Seems he showed his new film, “The Invention Of Lying,” to JJ Abrams, and Abrams sent him his reaction.  And now, if you’re curious, Ricky passed that reaction along so I can share it with you.

“Ricky Gervais proves, once again, that he is the master.  Not only of comedy, but social commentary.  ‘The Invention of Lying’ is as funny as it is biting, wholly original, and surprisingly moving.  Is there such thing as an important comedy?  Turns out there is, and this is it.  If you’re still reading this, you should stop immediately and go see ‘The Invention of Lying!'”

But we can’t! Not until later this year! Damn youse, JJ Abrams, getting me that revved up!

I will point out that Ricky’s co-writer and co-director, Matthew Robinson, cautioned me not to get two worked up when I mentioned this on Twitter:

@MrMattRobinson Take what JJ says with a grain of salt. Ricky has some VERY naughty pics of JJ he’s holding over his head.

@MrMattRobinson I’m just saying, don’t be surprised if there’s a Vulcan in Star Trek 2 with a Reading accent. :)

Seriously, though… the trailers appear to be cut… the film’s been testing… I’m so curious at this point.  I hope Gervais and Robinson have pulled off the film they were talking about on-set.  They were aiming pretty high.  I’m excited to see what form our first look at the movie finally takes, and when… and how soon… pleeeeease.  Hopefully, we will be able to offer you some great material from the time I spent onset for the film very soon, beginning with an interview with the great Louis CK.

[more after the jump]

For now, though, let’s see what else is going on out there.

RT @Jon_Favreau:  First night shoot.  Feels like I’m on an episode of Deadliest Catch.

Nice piece by Dave Eggars about some of his favorite films, broken down into groups according to theme or style or how they affected him.  Anyone who likes “Local Hero” that much is okay by me.

And if you want a really spectacular read today, you’re probably not going to do any better than Quint’s wonderful look at the Dick Smith tribute that took place here in LA last week.  I wish I’d been able to go with him, but thanks to the piece, it sort of feels like I did.  Nicely done.

Also at AICN, Harry seems to have a confirmation from Aronofsky that he is still developing the “Robocop” remake.

I’m sure it won’t really shock anyone to hear that Hayao Miyazaki’s new film “Ponyo” is every bit as magical and unique as the rest of his filmography.  The film comes out in the US later this year, and it plays as part of the LA Film Festival this coming Sunday night at a special event.  If you haven’t seen the trailer that was just released, it only hints at the huge, gentle, tender heart of the film:

One of the things I loved most about sharing that movie with my son is how it doesn’t rely on violence or gunplay or even what would typically be called “bad guys” for its drama.  Truly lovely stuff, and my full review will run on Saturday of this week.

You may have heard that James Cameron chose Amsterdam as the spot where he finally… FINALLY… unveiled a real chunk of actual footage from “Avatar,” nearly a half-hour’s worth.  Market Saw, unsurprisingly, has the best round-up of reactions, and all I can say is WHY IS IT NOT DECEMBER RIGHT NOW?!?!

Right now, “Ghostbusters” seems to be back in the pop consciousness in a big way, and for the first time in a while.  The BluRay release of the first film and the new video game are responsible, I’m sure, but I love that the film obviously still means so much to so many people.  I love the piece that ran about the risky business plan of the Ghostbusters.  And what starts out readling like a nitpick is actually a pretty sly tribute, I’d say, to the reality of the world that Dan and Harold created as screenwriters.  And props to ObsessedWithFilm for their piece about “50 Reasons Why ‘Ghostbusters’ May Be The Best Film Ever.”

I have fond memories of the summer that “Ghostbusters” hit the theater in the first place, and over at TheHouseNextDoor, they’ve been doing a series of articles about the summer of ’84 and the films that came out that year.  I particularly love the piece about the day that “Ghostbusters,” “Gremlins,” and “Top Secret!” all came out.

It’s easy to look backwards and talk about what was good or bad in a particular year, but what can be tricky is looking ahead and deciding what current film is worth preservation.  The BFI does exactly that, and there’s a really good article about the way the BFI works that you should take a look at.

And speaking of the British film industry, I’m fascinated by the new classifications that the BBFC is creating for rating films that deal with discrimination.  I’m all for clearly labeling a film for content instead of using vague ratings terms like the system we have here in the US, so I’m interested in why this new classification was created and how it’s going to be used.

This has nothing to do with movies, but I still find it fascinating.

Same thing with this.  That’s just one cool photo.

This, on the other hand, breaks my heart a bit.  I can’t imagine the uncertainty as a parent and the profound curiosity that can, evidently, never be satisfied.


The Farrelly Brothers have been working to get their “Three Stooges” film off the ground for about as long as I’ve known them, which is a long time now at this point.  The withdrawal by Sean Penn, who was set to play Larry before suddenly announcing he’s taking a year off from movies, may well stop the film cold, as Pete Farrelly discussed this weekend.  I hope it doesn’t, though.  I would imagine the boys are terribly frustrated right now, and I hope they find a new Larry fast.

Is the conventional movie poster on its way out?

Is the single-screen movie palace completely extinct?

Relax, everyone.  Vern finally reviewed “Tango & Cash.”  Our long national nightmare is over.

And while I’m linking to my favorite writers, I should point out Kim Morgan’s wrasslin’ with my favorite Haneke film right now.

Hey! Look! I’m actually linking to an article about motion capture! I point this out for that one dude who keeps e-mailing me to tell me that this is the worst blog about motion-capture technology EVAH!  This one’s for you, Captain Still Doesn’t Get It.

I like films that are worth arguing about, and this is a good list of ten recent ones, and sure enough, I think I’ve argued about every single one of them at some point.

A one-hour interview with George Lucas from 1971?  Yes, please.

And finally, let’s talk about M. Night Shyamalan for a moment.  I’ve had little patience with his last few movies, but I do dearly love “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”  So I have to say… I’m pleased with the first trailer for the first film in Night’s proposed “Airbender” trilogy:

Just for making me smile like that, I’m going to go explore Night’s brand-new website, which is all about his favorite subject:  M. Night Shyamalan.

And on that note, I’m outta here.  Lots more stuff for you all day long, including the return of the Motion/Captured Must-See Project (we’re up to “V” this time), so keep checking back.

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