Don't even tell me you didn't catch SNL's immaculately detailed Wes Anderson tribute/homage, The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders. (It happened on Ed Norton's episode a couple Saturdays ago, and it's embedded again here for the uninitiated.) Despite an insane amount of work going into the short film, the final product barely made it to air. Director of photography Alex Buono shared a long, technical blog post explaining the entire production, and it's pretty remarkable. Choice quote: "The spot was literally still loading into the switcher as it was being broadcast out. Holy crap." [h/t A.V. Club]
There's a new trailer for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues loose in the world this morning, gracefully pirouetting through our minds like a deep fryer–equipped ’Bago freed from the bonds of gravity by an inattentive chimichanga cook and an improperly deployed cruise control. There are the obligatory nods to the plot, but did we just gulp down that scorpion for plot? Will the knowledge that Harrison Ford is Ron Burgundy's executive nemesis or that Veronica Corningstone has taken his job — the selfsame Corningstone who mounted the carnal unicorn with him and took a bareback gallop across the slippery rainbow bridge to Pleasure Town — put the proverbial fannies in the seats?
Only God Forgives, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
How nice it would be to report that the second teaming of Refn and Ryan Gosling has produced something as ecstatic and electrically nasty as their first. But the nastiness this time isn't nice. It's just ... nasty. This isn't Drive. It's a rib cage rolling on human heads for tires. Gosling is a dude who operates a muay thai gym in Bangkok and dreams of having his hands sliced off. He's not wrong to be scared. Vithaya Pansringarm plays an ex-cop who, starting with Gosling's rapist-murderer brother, hacks his way through anyone who exploits or kills anyone's daughters — or anyone related to Gosling.
Refn usually works on the border between classicism and formal chaos. His shotmaking and choreography are pristine, even when the images are splattered with blood. The film editing is precise. The sound design imaginative. The art direction museum-quality. This is more of the same — the Crayola color would be "viscera" — but all that craftsmanship is put to obvious, indulgent ends. It doesn't take long to deduce that the vengeful slicing and hacking of limbs and the like are Refn living out some kind of castration nightmare. (At 89 minutes, the movie lasts as long as a bad nap.) To put too fine a point upon that dread, along comes Kristin Scott Thomas as Gosling's slum queen with a dirty mouth and filthier intentions. Her participation is as much a stunt as any of the sword work. (The most loving, if grotesque, image happens not to be phallic but vaginal.)
Ever since last December, when the Anchorman team teased a 2013 Christmastime Ron Burgundy rebirth that will pull all the focus from the baby Jesus, fans have been impatiently waiting for their sumptuously coiffed hero to return and drench them in Sex Panther. The time for that drenching has finally arrived. And now we know what awaits us six months hence: Burgundy and his team will be dragged from the local desk and into the world of 24-hour cable news. In the '80s.
Are you a huge fan of sex panthers, and diapers full of Indian food, and tridents to the chest, and the breaking of the glass ceiling, and all the rest of the good stuff from Anchorman? Have you been waiting years for the sequel? Want to know everything you can about Anchorman: The Legend Continues? Well, you can't. You can't know everything. It's just started shooting and, frankly, they're not going to let all the details go just yet. It just doesn't make sense, for the movie, to do that. I'm sorry. You gotta maintain the mystery.
Obviously, you should not hitchhike unless you really have no other choice. It's also wise, in general, to avoid killing someone with a hatchet. But if you HAVE to hitchhike, and you HAVE to kill someone with a hatchet, you really should do it just like this. Homeless hitchhiker Kai Has-No-Last-Name ("No, bro, I don't have anything"), of indeterminate age ("I can't call it"), is maybe the only person who has ever been a hero in a story involving thumbing a ride and blunt force trauma.
Sometimes shows are canceled with a whimper. Usually shows are canceled with a harangue. This is not one of those times.
On a random summer Tuesday, executive producer Greg Daniels casually let slip that the upcoming, unasked-for ninth season of The Office would be the series’ last. Unlike with the premature passing of similarly influential sitcoms, there will be no kvetching in the streets, no mail-in campaigns, no strongly worded letters. This is an act of mercy, no different from the necessary euthanasia of a beloved pet.
Really! Will Ferrell showed up on Conan Wednesday night in full Ron Burgundy gear — complete with mustache, jazz flute, and insults — and made it very clear: "I want to announce this to everyone here in the Americas ... to our friends in Spain, Turkey, and the U.K., including England ... that as of 0900 Mountain Time, Paramount Pictures and myself, Ronald Joseph Aaron Burgundy, have come to terms on a sequel to Anchorman ... it is official: There will be a sequel to Anchorman." Burgundy also tweeted, "Hey America & Hawaii. Looks like Paramount & my lawyer Gene Tigerworthy have agreed to terms on a sequel to Anchorman. Whiskey sours on me!" Well, I don't know about you, but to me, this news smells exactly like the opposite of a used diaper filled with Indian food.
Dan Silver: Last week Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was a film I was looking forward to mocking, shunning, and then secretly renting on VOD one night after my wife and kid went to bed. But after seeing the brooding, visually vibrant, and downright bad-ass first trailer, I quickly became excited to fork over my $11 on June 22. So it pains me to say that the film’s international trailer diminishes my enthusiasm somewhat. With its orchestral score and all too typical hyperbolic, out of context, monologue/VO, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter now feels like the tonally askew, narratively disjointed, bland summer blockbuster I always thought it was going to be. More specifically it’s smelling a little like Jonah Hex. [Ed Note: OUCH.]
As previously rumored, Billy Crystal has indeed been hired to replace Eddie Murphy as Oscars host, for his ninth go-around on the hosting carousel. After the news was confirmed, Billy tweeted “Am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions. Looking forward to the show.” Your 84th Academy Awards host, everyone! Grade: B- [Deadline]
The Clash of the Titans sequel, Wrath of the Titans, opens March of next year, but Warner Bros. is already planning a third installment. Two of Wrath’s co-writers, Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson, have been hired to whip up a treatment that will again focus on Sam Worthington’s Perseus. A name for the movie is far from being confirmed, although producers are rumored to really be leaning toward Kitty Litter Tray of the Titans. Grade: C [HR]
Steve Carell will star in Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, the long-gestating movie about John du Pont, paranoid schizophrenic heir to the du Pont chemical fortune. In 1996, in the wrestling-training facility he built called Team Foxcatcher, du Pont shot and killed his friend David Schultz, an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler, then shut himself in his mansion negotiating with the police over the phone for two days. Wait — Steve Carell is going to murder someone? He better be practicing his serious face. Grade: A- [Showblitz]
Woody Harrelson is in talks for Now You See Me, a heist movie also starring Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Isla Fisher, and Melanie Laurent. Woody would play a magician who uses his Jedi-mind-tricks style in the services of the Four Horsemen, a crew of gentlemen-illusionist-bank-robbers who pull off their heists during their performances, then dole out the money to the crowds. Oh, you crazy-ass sounding movie, you had us at "Jedi mind tricks." Grade: A [Showblitz]