Thursday, February 19, 2009

Candy Land, GL, Nannerl, Nolan, and Dollhouse

Here it is, my not quite periodical post on the various entertainment news items that have caught my interest recently.

Universal Pictures is developing a live-action movie based on the Candy Land board game (Variety). I remember playing this game as a little kid, though I have played it as recently as last December (I was babysitting my boss's six-year-old son for some extra Christmas cash). I wonder what the movie will be like... I hope it'll have a dash of Tim Burton-esque weirdness to cut the sweet (as long as it doesn't turn out like Strawberry Shortcake...). Etan Cohen (Madagascar 2, Tropic Thunder) will write the script, and Kevin Lima (Enchanted) is set to direct. This is the latest confection to come out of last February's Universal-Hasbro deal to turn at least four of Hasbro's toy properties into movies (Variety). So far, I've heard that Monopoly, Battleship, and Ouija movies are also in the works, though luckily I've heard nothing about a Stretch Armstrong movie... yet.

Martin Campbell, who recently directed Casino Royale, is in negotiations to direct Warner Bros.' live-action Green Lantern movie (Variety). DC superhero movies have had trouble maintaining support in recent years (with one big exception), so we'll see if the current top DC movie projects--the other being Jonah Hex, which has Josh Brolin attached to star--can manage to get made. I'm not a particular GL fan, but I like the DC characters in general and would like to see more comic book movies.

A biopic about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's sister, Nannerl, will be made with Rene Feret set to direct (IMDb). This is mainly relevant to me because in my class's fourth grade play, I was Nannerl. This play was a kiddie musical called "Of Mice and Mozart", which tells the story of Mozart entirely in couplet rhymes (easy for kids to remember, annoying for parents to listen to), narrated by the mice who lived in the woodwork of Mozart's house. I took great pride in my role, mainly because I was one of two people in the whole fourth grade who did not have to wear either mouse ears or a goofy cotton ball wig for the play. I sang a handful of songs, but my only speaking lines were these:
Hello, everyone, Nannerl is my name.
Being Wolfgang's sister is my claim to fame.
I also love music and never get bored
For I spend hours playing my clavichord.
If you think it's odd that I remember that, ask me to recite my lines from my third-grade play. Anyway... yeah, it's about time Nannerl got a little respect with her own biopic.

After the astounding commercial and critical success of The Dark Knight, one might expect a sequel to be rushed to the head of Warner Bros.' slate. But Christopher Nolan has yet to commit--I would imagine he wants to make sure any sequel will be done right; Dark Knight is a tough act to follow. In the meantime, Warner Bros. has secured Nolan to direct his own script "Inception" (Variety). The studio describes it as contemporary sci-fi action. I'm certainly interested to learn more about Nolan's next project.

Joss Whedon's new show Dollhouse premiered last Friday with reasonable but not great audience numbers (Variety). The fact that it was the No. 1-downloaded TV show on iTunes on Monday doesn't mean much to the studios who make much more money from advertisers that want over-the-air viewers. I enjoyed last week's Dollhouse--I think it's smart, fun, and unique, and I hope that it will be able to continue its run. To do that, it needs the ratings. So watch Dollhouse tomorrow! On Fox Friday at 9/8c.


Sebastian said...

Shoehorning 'clavichord' into a rhyming couplet...

I think I've almost heard it all now.

That's as bad as Stephen Schwartz's lyrics in Wicked

I'll be tuning into my local torrent station to watch Dollhouse.

Eleni said...

I love some of the Wicked rhymes:

Don't be offended by my frank analysis
Think of it as personality dialysis
Now that I've chosen to become a pal, a sis-
ter and advisor, there's nobody wiser...

Though perhaps you are referring to the initially/officially/surreptitially rhyme.

Sebastian said...

The whole musical is full of fantastic, shoehorned lyrics! But yes, Popular is probably where they abound the most.

It's one of the few musicals where I sometimes end up focusing on the lyrics, rather than the music.

Eleni said...

Dreams the way we planned 'em
If we work in tandem...

Also, Wicked has the only song I know that uses the word "hoi polloi". Rhymes with "enjoy". Nice.

Sebastian said...

I am probably preaching to the choir here, but you probably know that Schwartz is a bit of a lyrical genius... bit of a modern-day Sondheim.

Both Jews too, of course!

Well, I assume Schwartz is a Jew...

'Prince of Egypt' and 'Hunchback of Notre Dame' have some of my favourite songs in!

Eleni said...

Ah, Sondheim. Into the Woods is one of my favorites.

I've never seen Prince of Egypt, and I don't really remember any of the Hunchback songs. Pocahontas was fine, but when it comes to Disney movies, I always preferred Howard Ashman's Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin songs. He was also a Jew.

You just won't succeed on Broadway
If you don't have any Jews!

Sebastian said...

No need to cite your lyrics... I've seen most of the shows, and most of them original Broadway or West End casts... :P

I was never sure if Tim Rice or Ashman were behind the majority of the lyrics in either of those musicals.

I think Alan Menken was the more important element, though!

The first 4-5 songs of Aladdin (the first 2 scenes) are my favourite 'sequence' of any musical!

Well, maybe only one-upped by Belle/No Matter What/Belle/Home/Reprise
from the Beauty & The Beast stage production.

Eleni said...

Well excuse me, I didn't mean to go about insulting one so cultured as yourself :P

Ashman did all the lyrics in Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, and if I remember correctly, he did "Arabian Nights", "Friend Like Me", and "Prince Ali" in Aladdin; Tim Rice did the others after Ashman passed away.

Alan Menken was certainly important, but as great as Tim Rice is, I wouldn't put "One Jump Ahead" (or anything in Pocahontas... sorry Schwartz) in the same place as "Friend Like Me", "Be Our Guest", "Belle", or "Under the Sea". That was the Menken-Ashman team.

Sebastian said...

It's OK, most people don't expect the 6'5" yeti to be a musical buff ...


I actually love Arabian Nights -> One Jump Ahead -> Reprise -> Friend Like Me.

But yes, I think the beginning of Beauty & the Beast is probably stronger.

The thing is, I am tainted heavily by the animation in both... and both have such AWESOME intros... I find it hard to pick a favourite musically, I guess :)

Actually, B&tB is very strong throughout... (and it is my favourite Disney musical).

Right, enough geekery, I need to go and... like... shave. I'm going outside tomorrow.