Thursday, July 12, 2007


So the Wii Fit trailer was released at E3 this week:

My favorite part of the trailer is when the kid is playing the soccer mini-game... after the digital ball smacks his avatar in the head, he actually rubs his physical, real world head. Does this game smack you in the face if you fail? Cause that, my friends, would be a breakthrough in interactivity.

And seriously, there's an effing YOGA MINIGAME? I mean, for all the Joke Wii games that people have come up with, nobody could have dreamed of, let alone believe Nintendo themselves would put out, a YOGA MINIGAME!

Wii Fit is just the latest example of Nintendo's isanely popular line of video games that aren't actually, technically, in the strictest sense of the phrase, y'know... well, games. This new one fits right in with their very successful "Brain Age" games, which are designed to excercise your brain muscles... and which are so popular that Nicole Kidman is starring in tv spots advertising them:

As ridiculous as it looks, if Wii Fit is actually a fun way to lose some pounds, then I'm all for it. I do like the idea that the pad weighs you and tells you your fitness progress. Maybe they'll even have a Wii Channel where Mario is your personal trainer and berates you into losing more weight, (even though that pasta eating hypocrite doesn't have much room to talk.) As long as I don't have a bag of Doritos and a six pack of beer in front of me while I play it, it might actually be helpful.

Rudin Power!

I used to intern for uber-producer Scott Rudin, who is notorious around Hollywood for his temper and the way he abuses his assistants. Lucky for me, as an intern, I was never on the receiving end of any of one of his mythical tantrums, though I witnessed a loud blow up or two.

But despite the man’s very ill temper, he’s one of the few true genius producers in Hollywood. I just looked at the slate of movies he’s got his name on this year…and almost every film I’m dying to see in the next six months is produced by Rudin. He’s on fire right now, working with some of my absolute favorite working filmmakers…I mean, the guy has the new Wes Anderson, P.T. Anderson, and Coen Brothers movies coming out this year? Are you kidding me?

This is the list of Rudin’s offerings for the rest of 2007:

PT Anderson’s period piece, loosely based on Upton Sinclair’s novel “Oil!” The movie stars the mesmerizing Daniel Day Lewis, is scored by musical genius Jon Brion, tells a story that is near and dear to my liberal heart, has an amazing trailer, and is, oh yeah, a new PT Anderson movie. I can’t wait for this one.

There is not much known about Wes Anderson’s new comedy/ drama. The internet is buzzing with rumors that Owen Wilson, Adrian Brody, and Jason Schwartzman play siblings on a journey across India, searching for a magical tiger that their father has been resurrected in. But in a recent interview, Anderson denied that the tiger has anything to do with the plot, so I’m not really sure what to expect from this one. The guy made my favorite movie of all time, “Rushmore,” and he’s probably my favorite director. Also, he cast Natalie Portman, which is a plus. Anyone think I’ll be seeing this?

Based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name, the Coen’s new flick got raves at Cannes and looks like a return to form after their disappointing comedy “The Ladykillers.” The trailer makes the movie look tough and mean, and it seems like a throwback to the Coen’s earlier work, like their brilliant debut, “Blood Simple.” And Javier Bardem looks like he’s going to be amazing in this.

This is writer/ director Noah Baumbach’s follow-up to “The Squid and the Whale,” which was a very good comedic drama about divorce that featured a career best performance from the always underrated Jeff Daniels. A lot of people loved that movie, though I thought it had a few problems. That said, I really dig the trailer to “Margot.” It looks like he’s matured a bit as a director, and what a solid cast. Jack Black looks like he’s really growing as a performer. I’m really pulling for this one to be a home run for Baumbach.

Kimberly Pierce finally follows up her excellent “Boys Don’t Cry,” which came out in the previous millennium. This one tells the story of a soldier who deserts the war in Iraq. Sure to be controversial, in a good, very intelligent way. Also, it has “Deadwood’s” Timothy Olyphant, who is finally blowing up these days. Good for him.

Writer Alan Ball (“Six Feet Under,” “American Beauty”.) makes his big screen directorial debut about a young Arab-American teenager struggling with her sexuality and bigotry in what is sure to be a provocative, political, and sharp movie. I’ve read a few advanced reviews for this one that were singing the film’s praises. I’m not as huge a fan of “American Beauty” as I was in high school, but I love “Six Feet Under.” This could be great.

Like “Stop Loss,” this one is from a great filmmaker who hasn’t done anything in years. Kenneth Lonergan, who made the fantastic “You Can Count On Me” back in 2000, finally returns to the director’s chair in this story of a young woman who witnesses a bus accident and is swept up in the aftermath to the tragedy. I don’t know much about this one, but I’m excited to see what Lonergan has to offer with his second feature.

These two are chick flicks, and not strictly up my alley, but they both look like they could at least be intelligent and good. “The Other Boleyn Girl” is a period piece about two sisters (Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson) competing for the affections of King Henry VIII (“Munich’s” Eric Bana.) Even if this costume drama is boring, I can at least dream that Portman and Johansson, probably my two biggest actress crushes, are competing for my affections. Lucky you, Eric. “I Could Never Be Your Woman,” from “Clueless” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” director Amy Heckerling is about a mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) falling in love with a younger man, played by the hilarious Paul Rudd, who has been picking great roles for the last few years. I don’t know if I’ll see either of these flicks, but if they get great reviews, I’ll certainly check them out.

As a former employee at his company, it makes me kind of proud to see Rudin kicking ass and taking names. It’s amazing to see just how good Rudin’s taste is and how intelligent his choices are. None of his movies are guaranteed mainstream hits, but they’re from the best filmmakers in the business, almost all of whom seem to be taking big risks with controversial and ambitious subject matter. It’s also a testament to how well he works with filmmakers…he may give the people under him hell, but he treats the creative talent really well and gives them an amazing amount of creative control for high profile films. (The amount of rope he gives filmmakers probably explains why all those poor assistants put up with the abuse he dishes out...they figure "I'm willing to take a stapler, hot cup of coffee, or even a computer monitor to the head if I can eventually get a chance to make the kinds of movies that P.T. Anderson, Wes Anderson, and the Coen Brothers get to make.") It’s also very impressive that, in these sequel obsessed times, he can get smart, adult, and controversial movies made at the big studios. I just hope that these movies do well, and maybe Rudin takes home that best picture Oscar that’s alluded him his whole career... if only for the sake of his poor assistants.