THE LONERGAN RANGER

What a range Kenneth Lonergan has shown: writing Analyze This, writing and directing You Can Count on Me, co-writing Gangs of New York. For a long time, fans have been waiting for Margaret‘s arrival. (It’s been scheduled, finally, for an ’09 release.)

But now…

Scribe Kenneth Lonergan is celebrating Father’s Day with Ashton Kutcher and his Katalyst Films production shingle.

Lonergan (“Gangs of New York”) has signed on to pen the screenplay to the comedy “Father’s Day,” which Kutcher and his partner Jason Goldberg are producing for Columbia Pictures.

The film is a multigenerational look at fatherhood, centering around a father and son who have never gotten along but who coincidentally have baby sons at the same time. The births of their sons result in them being forced to go through the fatherhood experience together.

It was You Can Count On Me that made me a fan. I hope his upcoming projects deliver the kind of unusually thoughtful comedy we found there.

DON’T DO ANYTHING BUT LISTEN

And the praise for Sam Phillips’s fantastic new album Don’t Do Anything goes on and on.

I’m interviewing her tomorrow for Image journal. About the books that changed her life.

THIS WILL BE A DAY LONG LAMENTED.

Moriarty has had it. George Lucas has ruined Star Wars for good. (Caution: Harsh language. But it sounds strangely appropriate.)

And here’s Russ Breimeier at Christianity Today:

After the battle is over, the three are quickly assigned to another mission of vital importance: Jabba the Hutt’s son has been kidnapped. (Seriously?) If the Republic hopes to forge peace with the Hutt gangster clans in order to ensure safe trade passage, the Jedi must quickly recover Rotta the Huttlet (Seriously??). Yes, this is a plot with a gurgling, whimpering baby slug at the center‚Äîseriously. Little do our heroes suspect that evil Sith lord Count Dooku and his apprentice Asajj Ventress (from the first Clone Wars micro-series) are using this plot, under the orders of Darth Sidious, as means to discredit the Jedi with the Hutts.

The Clone Wars is not bad, and not without its moments. The sequence where Anakin and Ahsoka lead troops in a battle up the side of a cliff is often breathtaking and clever. There are nighttime lightsaber duels framed against the light of a full moon that are stunning. And there are plentiful nods to classic moments from the beloved sci-fi saga, from sound effects and creature design to a few recurring musical motifs. And though most of the voice acting is handled by unknowns imitating the original actors—and doing a decent job of it—Samuel Jackson, Christopher Lee, and Anthony Daniels are on hand to reprise their iconic roles (as Mace Windu, Count Dooku, and C-3PO, respectively).

Unfortunately, about the most that can be said for The Clone Wars is that it reminds you of the other movies that you either loved or loved to hate. Though fans may enjoy the movie, no one would be foolish enough to put it on par with the original films‚Äîthe special effects and design are all spot-on, but it’s still an animated copy of the real thing. And those who disliked the tone of the prequels will find this to be more of the same‚Äîmore political scheming by the Sith, endless explosions between robots and troopers, corny dialogue peppered with amateur one-liners, and lots of whining. Either way, it’s not a good thing.

I gotta say, I actually cringe when the ads for Clone Wars come on. That’s never happened before. I may start selling my collection of 1977 Star Wars memorabilia soon, because I just don’t get the buzz of nostalgia that I once did. All I feel when I look at them is sadness.

Thanks, George.

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