"A man is recruited by a team of government agents to stop a terrorist from the future who is using time travel to reshape history." No, its not the latest Phillip K. Dick adaptation - it's the plot of the script Warner Bros. just bought, Colin Trevorrow's "World War X." That's not quite enough information to develop an opinion of this project at such an early stage of development - especially since relative newcomer Trevorrow has written little of note - but the plot and title sound intriguing enough! We'll keep an eye on this one.
The studio plans to develop Trevorrow's script with Silver Pictures (the same company that is producing the Sherlock Holmes sequel), a division of Warner Bros. Joel Silver (who has produced almost 100 films) and Andrew Rona have already signed on to produce, along with exec producers Chris Bender, JC Spink, Alex Heineman, and Jake Weiner.
Summer 2010 TV Preview: What to Watch
All right people, pull yourselves up by your bootstraps. “Lost” is over, and it’s never coming back. Ever. You’re all going to happy lives without “Lost.” The best part is – you’re never going to get as “Lost” as they did! Hooray for you! And even if you did, you have six seasons of knowledge under your belt on how to purify water and kill genetically engineered polar bears. You’re set.
You’re also set because there’s a bunch of other good shows you can start watching this summer. We've rounded up a few series we think are emblematic of the season, based on their addictive and dramatic qualities. Some are new shows that are fresher and cleaner than a poolside Mojito, while others are the oldies we know we'd gladly sacrifice a day on the beach to stay inside and catch up on what we've missed. Let's put it this way -- summer is cause for outdoor celebration. But when that inevitably rainy day (or twister) comes, you'll be good to go if you set your DVR to record any one of these bad boys.
The Bachelorette (ABC, May 24th, 9PM)
This year, “Bachelor” Jake Pavelka-reject and Facebook employee Ali Fedotowsky will fight her way through swarms of eligible suitors on horseback and in hot tubs to find her one true love in the show’s sixth season. If you’ve never seen the show, it’s often so blissfully entertaining because at home, you immediately recognize the concrete flaws in the personalities of these people, yet the Bachelor (or in this case Ali) seems reluctant to name the flaws and eliminate the person with them. It’s a lot of screaming, stupidly romantic phrases, and unnaturally pretty lighting. If you’re looking to make friends with your lady coworkers, watch this show and you’ll have loads to talk about. But if you don’t have a job, your mother’s right in telling you you have better things to do than wait to see which set of washboard abs Ali chooses.
Losing it with Jillian (NBC, June 1st, 10PM)
One of the hard-bodied trainers from “The Biggest Loser,” Jillian Michaels, will be traveling the country and shacking up with families in an attempt to get them to clean out their peanut butter-stocked pantries, improve their health and lose weight. If you’ve seen her on “The Biggest Loser,” you know she’s been branded as a firm believer in “tough love” by making contestants pull her across the floor of the gym or use her in place of a barbell. Usually the contestants lose the weight (because they’re afraid of her), but it’ll be interesting to see how well Jillian’s hard-bodied mantras will hold up when she becomes attached to the families she’ll be working with.
Hell’s Kitchen (FOX, June 1st)
Almost everyone loves a cooking show, for one of two reasons: they’re hungry, or because they’re amazed with how the chefs can withstand the pressure of a dining room consisting of 100+ hungry/angry/cheap people. Chefs teach us lessons in assessing demands and managing them, which is terribly exciting for those of us who aren’t day traders. But by the standards of food show aficionados, Gordon Ramsey is not a “chef.” He’s a killer on steroids who can wake up one random morning and realize he wants to run in a triathlon. He can also make grown, educated, and muscular men weep with embarrassment and insecurity, which makes him the most badass food professional on TV. And in his kitchen (aptly called “Hell’s Kitchen”), two teams compete in different cooking challenges in hopes of winning their own restaurant. It’s a battle of sliced fingers, undercooked pasta, a perpetually dissatisfied cook each week, and very few intact egos. Which, let’s face it, makes us feel better about ourselves.
True Blood (HBO, June 13th, 9PM)
Like vampires, but want to go without the teen angst and transforming werewolves of “Twilight”? You’re not alone. For two seasons now, many of us have been enjoying this vampire-crazed world we’re living in by watching this bloody, sexy, magnet of a show. Based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries novel series by Charlaine Harris, the show follows the relationships between vampires and humans in the fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. More specifically, the show explores the often push-and-pull, “Romeo and Juliet”-esque of a relationship between human Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). Since this will be the show’s third season, you should consider watching the first two seasons in the next month or so but even if you don’t get around to that, tune in on June 13th to see what’s with all the hype about fangs.
Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami (E!, June 13th, 10PM)
I know what you’re thinking: didn’t Kourtney and Khloe already "take" Miami? Indeed they did, but apparently they didn’t do it right because they’ve gone back to the home of the beaches and bodies to film a second season of the show. I don’t care who you are (a graduate student in physics, a tax lawyer, or Donald Trump’s personal architect), watching these two Kardashians eat a mundane meal on a Sunday night is addicting and joyfully entertaining. Last season, they covered so much ground (with Khloe bringing a vial of cocaine to her radio personality job and getting married to Lamar Odom, and Kourtney dabbling in lesbianism and having a baby boy with her unfortunate boyfriend, Scott) that it’s hard to imagine where their long dark tresses will go during this stint in Miami. But this season of "Kourtney and Khloe" will undoubtedly have even more family drama. It remains to be seen, however, if the new men in the girls’ lives will make them realize that Miami isn’t necessarily theirs for the taking.
The Real L Word (Showtime, June 20th, 10PM)
“The Real L Word” (based on the idea of Showtime’s scripted show, “The L Word”) follows six high-profile lesbians living on the west coast as they live playful, yet hardworking lives. The preview makes it seem a little “Discovery Channel” from the way it peeks into the world of women who date women with such caution, like a camera crew would observe a pack of lions in an African plain. But that doesn’t mean people won’t watch it. In fact, people will watch it because it takes two great things and mashes them together: reality shows and lesbianism. Though not entirely new to reality tv (“Work Out” followed fitness trainer Jackie Warner as she ran her own gym and struggled to make things work with her girlfriend), the idea of a show about lesbians being lesbians is intriguing, and viewers are sure to get hooked after just one episode of gay bar hopping, shopping, and getting tattoos. Of course there isn’t much difference between how lesbians and non-lesbians live their lives, and the producers will have done their job if they can recognize that while still keeping the show’s premise intact.
(HBO, June 27th, 9PM)
Entourage has been hitting the mark for years now (six, to be exact), and again, if you’re not watching it, you might as well be living in the Mesozoic era, without any of your most expensive and enjoyable possessions. The show is the brainchild of Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson, with the premise of a young A-list celeb making it in Hollywood and bringing his childhood friends from Queens along on the journey. Entourage is big with the guys of the universe because it nails that “male camaraderie” thing that women hear a lot about but don’t seem to understand. So grab your summer girlfriend, plop her down on the couch with some Mallomars and in combination with a Venn diagram, explain to her the art of living by the “bros before hoes” mantra.
(HBO, July 25th, 10PM)
If you’re not watching “Mad Men,” you’re spitting on your mother’s history, not to mention all the time and effort your 8th grade history teacher spent teaching you about the 60s. This is one of the best shows on television right now, and I command you to stop thinking you’re too good for it, because you’re not. Revolving around an advertising agency on Madison Avenue, the show’s packed with tension, extramarital affairs, 10 AM glasses of rum and so many suits with handkerchiefs that you’ll wake up one morning at your local AT&T, demanding someone help you trade in your iPhone for a pack of Lucky Strikes. Of course, the good people at AT&T won’t help you on your quest, but it just proves how life changing this Matthew Weiner-created gem is. So grow a backbone and give this show a shot. I promise you won’t regret it. (That’s right! I INTERNET promised! Those are the most serious kind!)
(MTV, July 29th, 10PM)
You can’t enjoy summer without fist-pumps to house music and artificial tans, y’all! This reality show/documentary, about eight “people” living in a house on the Jersey shore nestled its way into our hearts and altered our existences last year when it premiered, like a fungus or a mutant strain of TB – but it’s like a form of TB that makes you stronger by killing you. This year, “The Situation,” Snooki, J-Woww, Sammi, Vinny, Pauly D, Angelina and Ronnie start wreaking their havoc on the beaches of Miami, but then they triumphantly return to their old stomping grounds in Seaside Heights. So even if you haven’t got any great trips lined up this summer and you’ll spend most of your time trying to cope with your boss’ outrageous opera playlists, you can still have a great summer if you check out the situation down at the shore. It only takes one episode to feel like you’ve got sand in your cracks and tequila in your eyes -- and it’ll sting so much you won’t even feel the need to go to the Hamptons for a weekend.
The Big C
(Showtime, August 16th, 10:30PM)
“The Big C” captured our interest a few months ago when we saw the trailer starring Laura Linney, Oliver Platt, and Gabourey Sidibe, and we found ourselves convinced this would be the show that dared to make cancer seem a little bit funny. Linney plays a suburban mom whose diagnosis of cancer makes her start living a life of excitement, humor, and doing exactly what she feels like doing. It looks like a very “grab life by the horns” type of show, which is nice because up until now our TV guides have largely been absent of them. But our intrigue with this show rests on the fact it seems to perfectly balance life’s comedy with life’s tragedy…which is why we have high hopes this first season is well received, and leads to a second, third, fourth and fifth.
Weeds (Showtime, August 16th, 10PM)
Even if your life is complicated, it’s not an iota as complicated as that of suburban pot dealer Nancy Botwin (sorry, but anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you to get in your pants). In the past five seasons of the show, we’ve seen her get tangled up with gangsters, mobsters, drive-bys, wildfires and nudie pictures hidden in old books -- not to mention crossing the Mexican border numerous times. It’s hard to imagine what other trouble she can get herself into because it seems like everything’s been done before, but once we dive head-on into the sixth season, we’re sure to watch in awe -- but not surprise -- as Nancy fearlessly continues to break laws and let her children find work for themselves in what has become the “family business.”
The majesty of the Emerald Isle is on full display in Leap Year an opposites attract romantic comedy starring Amy Adams (Julie & Julia Enchanted) and Matthew Goode (A Single Man Watchmen). Director Anand Tucker (Shopgirl Hilary and Jackie) shooting entirely on location in Ireland takes us on a whirlwind tour of the country’s breathtaking landscape reveling in its fabled fairy-tale charm.
Pity then that such a magnificent setting is so mercilessly defaced by Leap Year’s unrelenting mediocrity. The film’s dubious premise testing the already loose limits of rom-com believability casts Adams as Anna a type-A career girl who flies to Ireland intending to pop the question to her feet-dragging boyfriend on February 29th aka Leap Day. Why Leap Day? Because according to some idiotic old Irish tradition that’s when women are allowed to do such things. (Click here to watch Adams herself try to explain the plot.)
Unfortunately for Anna weather problems force her plane to land far away from Dublin and her would-be fiance. Trapped in a tiny coastal town with no reliable transportation at her disposal she enlists the help of a scruffy abrasive barkeep named Declan (Goode) to drive her cross-country so she can reach her destination by the 29th. And thus begins the traditional rom-com mating ritual of sexually-charged bickering followed by moments of abrupt awkward intimacy.
While watching Leap Year I swear I could hear the Irish countryside quietly weeping as it witnessed Goode and Adams slog through the film's succession of trite misadventures the talented actors straining in vain to manufacture some semblance of romantic chemistry as an assortment of jolly Waking Ned Devine types futilely spurred them on. Oh if only Greenpeace could have intervened and put a halt to such wanton environmental desecration. It's the worst thing to come out of Ireland since The Cranberries.
Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) a smooth L.A. music exec used to be shy fat and the butt of jokes back in high school. The only bright spot was his close friendship with Jamie Palamino (Amy Smart) a super-popular cheerleader. He of course wanted to be more than just friends but she just didn’t feel the same way. Fast forward to the present Chris has turned into a calculating ladies man who finds himself back in his hometown. He runs into the lovely Jamie and the old feelings resurface. He tries to woo her as the new and improved Chris. But unbelievably Chris finds it even more difficult than ever to escape the clutches of the “friend zone”--or as Chris describes “the penalty box of dating in which a guy becomes a complete nonsexual entity in her eyes like her brother or a lamp.” Ah a zone many men have stepped into. Reynolds’ glib sense of humor has brightened some pretty bad films (Blade: Trinity) and even a horror film (The Amityville Horror). But unfortunately he isn’t nearly as effective as the romantic comedy lead. His consistent sardonic delivery soon starts to grate. And while Smart (The Butterfly Effect) is delightfully perky and down to earth as Jamie there isn’t much zing with Reynolds--another big red flag. However there are some bright spots. Anna Faris (the Scary Movie series) nearly steals the show as a whiny no-talent pop singer whose diva-esque behavior hits close to home. Also hilarious is Christopher Marquette (The Girl Next Door) as Chris’ girl-crazy younger brother. Watching the two brothers slap the spit out of each other is just plain good stuff. Just Friends actually has a pretty good set-up which makes it all the more disappointing the film can’t completely hold up. Roger Kumble (The Sweetest Thing) just paints by the numbers never really offering anything new or different. The best parts are the flashbacks to the early ’90s when the overweight Chris is lip-synching “I Swear” in the mirror or writing the 100 reasons why Jamie is such a great girl. It really will take some of us back a bit. But as you sit there mildly laughing at the film’s earnest attempts at pure hilarity you can’t help wonder what this film would have been like in the hands of say the Farrelly brothers. Just Friends could have definitely used some of There's Something About Mary’s mean-spiritedness and crude bathroom humor.
We meet the two very unlikely sisters while each are having sex. Rose Feller (Toni Collette) is a successful lawyer who is sleeping with her boss and thinking of ways it can improve her career. Maggie Feller (Cameron Diaz) is a party girl and at her 10-year high school reunion--after trying to have a fling in a bathroom stall--she ends up puking instead. Inevitably Maggie gets kicked out of her dad and stepmother's house and winds up on the doorstep of her sister. The Feller girls were close once when they were young girls especially after their mentally unstable mother died. But now their grown-up personalities clash rather dramatically. And when Maggie seriously crosses the line by seducing Rose's new boyfriend the straw is broken. Forced out Maggie stumbles upon some birthday cards from a long-lost grandmother and decides to go hit her up for cash. Turns out Grandma Ella (Shirley MacLaine) lives in a senior citizen's community in Florida that gets its humor from Golden Girls re-runs. Maggie may ingratiate herself within this new environment but isn't any more redeemed by reconnecting with Ella. She still acts like a petulant child. But rather than throwing her out Ella along with the gang of old folk forces Maggie to take some responsibility.
Collette (The Sixth Sense) is fantastic as the frumpy pudgy Philadelphia lawyer who gives up everything so she can walk dogs and lead a simpler life. But she's done this many times before--and honestly is so much better than Muriel's Wedding. Diaz (my personal favorite Charlie's Angel) doesn't need to stretch too far to play a conniving ditz with a heart. This is her There's Something About Mary role albeit a tad more screwed-up with a sister and lost grandma. So that leaves MacLaine as the saving grace for any worthwhile acting in this movie. Despite the obvious shuffleboard clichés--and the occasional leers at Diaz by the old guys around the pool--when the old folk are around the film gets lively and tolerable believe it or not. MacLaine leads the way with the quips and barbs but in a more subtle way than we are used to from this usually eccentric actress. The supporting cast of cranky cronies have some great moments especially veteran actor Norman Lloyd as the blind professor who teaches Maggie a thing or two about manners trust and family.
If this were Nora Ephron directing that would have been one thing but coming from Curtis Hanson the Oscar-winner who gave us L.A. Confidential it just doesn't mesh. Hanson can do quirky (Wonder Boys) he can do adventure (The River Wild) he can do hard-hittin' rap stories (8 Mile) and he can even do scary (Hand That Rocks the Cradle) but why in the world would he attempt a saccharine-soaked female family story that threatens to be a Crimes of the Heart tear-jerker? Screenwriter Susannah Grant who adapted In Her Shoes from Jennifer Weiner's popular bestseller of the same name also wrote Erin Brockovich and 28 Days. She understands strong female characters but there's still a major layer of sugar coating that Hanson can't scrape off. He doesn't tone anything down from Grant's script--not the overly cute dogs nor the embarrassing bridal shower nor the expected moments of guilt-tripping between the ladies. Instead he plods through the paint-by-number script and wraps it all up nicely into a crowd-pleasing film that is ultimately forgettable.