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For Reels Sunday Roundup — June 30th, 2013

June 30, 2013
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What a crazy, emotional week. Ups and downs, highs and lows and then highs again. DOMA, Wendy Davis, Bert & Ernie, the VRA, Richard Matheson, Aaron Hernandez, Snowden and Putin, George Zimmerman and Rachel Jenteal and Nelson Mandela. But, yeah, I’m not going to talk about any of that. Billy and Erin do the serious stuff better. Instead, I’m gonna go frivolous and talk about Jerry Seinfeld and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

When it was first released last year, there were some ups and downs. It was an odd premise that took a little while for the show to settle into a good stride, but aside from the mouthful of title, it actually turned out to be a great season. Jerry spent time talking with the likes of Larry David, Ricky Gervais, Chris Rock and Michael Richards. The best show, no doubt, was the episode he did with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks. To see the three of them sitting around talking about comedy, particularly in the 50s, was 20 minutes of pure joy.

It sort of surprisingly fell under the radar, but season two started earlier this month with Jerry visiting David Letterman in a souped up Volvo station wagon that was designed as a joke by Paul Newman, who was a noted gearhead. The product placement is a bit ridiculous, and Sarah Silverman makes fun of it in her episode, but the show has remained in its season 1 stride, particularly the Sarah Silverman episode. Though that episode doesn’t hit the pure joy of the Reiner/Brooks episode, the two turn out to be perfect foils for one another. While you got the feeling a lot of the guests were “on” last season (especially Michael Richards), you don’t feel it so much this season.

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I was happy when Bee Movie came out just to have Jerry back, finally, but it was a strange Jerry, almost a non-Jerry. It was Jerry methadone for the type of person who still glued their eyes to Seinfeld reruns three times a day, who would even sit through the awful episodes, like “The Blood”. (People like me.) But Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is different. This is casual, charming Jerry, back at the table at Monk’s shooting the shit. This is Jerry heroin, which is, obviously, the best Jerry.

Also, for what it’s worth, the annual summer Criterion Barnes & Noble sale begins July 9th. Price usually begin to cycle to the sale price starting at 3am if you want to get the jump on it. It’s going to be a light sale for me. Safety Last! and On the Waterfront are the only two titles I’m circling.

News, links, etc:

-RIP Richard Matheson. Maybe someone will get I Am Legend right posthumously. Otherwise, you can punch walls with Philip K. Dick the next time someone fucks up one of your books. (LA Times)

-RIP Lau Kar-leung, a legend of hong kong film, probably best known in America for his work with Jackie Chan. (Thompson on Hollywood)

Let’s break all of that sadness up with some wind:

-I’m so excited. No, not for the Almodovar film I’m So Excited (sorry, I’m just not), but because a second season of Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip is filming in Italy with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. (The Film Stage) 

-Pixar producers Darla Anderson (Monsters Inc, Toy Story 3) and Kori Rae (Monsters University) on DOMA, being out at Pixar and the importance of softball. (SF Chronicle)

-Europa Report writer Philip Gelatt on how actual science informed his screenplay, something of a rarity these days. The film is out now on various VOD outlets. (io9)

-Did Hollywood bow to Hitler’s demand for cuts to their films in the 1930s? Probably. “Collaboration” seems a bit strong since most of the studio heads were Jewish in the 30s, but the original studio heads were all about making cuts (Hays Code, etc). WB also made a love letter to Stalin at Roosevelt’s request. (Guardian)

-So, the Japanese studio Toho is remaking Love Actually. It can’t be as bad as the Sideways remake the did a few years ago. (Nippon Cinema)

-If you’ve ever worked at a video store, you’ve probably had an argument with some idiot who was pissed off about widescreen when DVDs first came out (or, if your really old like I am, an idiot customer who got a widescreen VHS and complained). So why not watch a short film about the history of the aspect ratio. (Vimeo)

-William Fichtner (who I love, but…) as Shredder in the Ninja Turtles movie. So now they’re aliens and have no ninja background? “TMNT” has no meaning anymore, like KFC or MTV. Can Kevin Clash play Splinter again? He’s not doing anything right now. (AV Club)

Trailers, posters, etc:

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-The full trailer for Greg Mattola’s HBO film Clear History, starring a bewigged Larry David, Jon Hamm and JB Smoove. After the build up, it’s a little disorienting seeing LD without the wig to be honest. (Vulture)

-Claire Denis’ The Bastards, starring Chiara Mastroianni and Lola Creton. No subs though. (The Playlist)

-Jeff Garlin’s Dealin’ With Idiots, about idiot baseball parents. Trailer looks really weird, but after I Just Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, I’m down for anything with him. (Yahoo)

-Willow Creek, Bobcat Goldthwait’s big foot film. Finally. (NSFW) (First Showing)

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