Newsworthy and Blogworthy: Superman, Glee, Beyonce and more

Batman/Superman

The premise of this blog post is simple. News happens, and I react to it. I think we can manage that, right? Let’s get to it.

Fox delayed the season premiere of Glee by a week to accommodate for the tragedy of Corey Monteith’s death. The first two episodes of the season will pay homage to the Beatles, and the third will pay homage to Monteith.

So far, so good. Glee has been placed in an impossible position with the death of one of its biggest and most likable stars. Finn is too important a character to simply be written off as if he had never existed, but the untimely nature of Monteith’s passing makes the issue all the more sensitive. No matter what the Glee writers do, someone is going to have a problem with it, but I think they’ve done as well as they can given the circumstances. Creator Ryan Murphy’s interviews last weekend implied that Lea Michele (Monteith’s girlfriend in real life, and Finn’s on the show) has encouraged the continuation of the series and wants to pay tribute to Monteith on the show. The challenge now is to find a way to pay tribute to Monteith without forcing the cast to tackle a difficult subject in a way that they don’t feel comfortable. I hope Monteith gets an appropriate send-off.

Glee

The sequel to Zack Snyder’s profitable if hardly beloved Man of Steel will feature a minor, little-known character from the depths of DC lore: Batman.

I never want to criticize a movie I haven’t seen, especially when it hasn’t even been produced yet. Something about this idea rubs me the wrong way, though. First of all, it’s only been a minute (OK, a year) since Christopher Nolan wrapped up his own film series starring the Caped Crusader. Do we really need Batman to return to our screens again so soon? And if Batman is going to return to the silver screen, I wish he had a shepherd with a better resume: Zack Snyder’s output thus far has been middling at best, and while some people liked his take on Man of Steel, I found it more grim and wearying than joyful and transcendent. Perhaps the presence of the two most famous superheroes of all time in the same movie will energize Snyder in a way that he hasn’t been before, but I’m skeptical.

Then again, I will be interested to read about the casting process for the new Batman. Christian Bale has repeatedly said that he is done with the character, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s ties to the previous franchise likely put him out of the running, though he’s a worthy option. Entertainment Weekly suggests Ryan Gosling, but I’m not sure if he has the antagonism that Batman will apparently need to face off against Superman in Snyder’s reimagining. Plus, Gosling has resisted big-budget franchise films in the past. My pick? Idris Elba. As his turn as Stacker Pentecost in Pacific Rim, the former star of The Wire exudes charisma and can work his way around a portentous monologue. And as he demonstrated in smaller roles in Thor and Prometheus, he’s also got a light touch that might serve as a nice balance to the increasingly heavy theatrics of the DC universe.

Elba

Beyoncé reportedly scrapped a boatload of new material for her new album, which might not be ready for release by the end of this year as originally planned.

Girls love Beyoncé, and I love Beyoncé, and we all love Beyoncé (right?), but I don’t love what Beyoncé’s been doing so far this year. Or rather, I don’t like how she’s done it. Several new songs have trickled out of unknown sources and charmed audiences – in particular, “Grown Woman” seems like a worthy introductory single for her new album, along the same thematic lines as “Single Ladies” and “Run the World (Girls).” But she hasn’t released any of these songs as official singles, or revealed any concrete details about her new album, or really done much of anything except tease her adoring fanbase with her all-around excellence. Even after the Super Bowl, the highest-rated television program of the year and arguably the most effective platform for an artist at the top of her game, Beyoncé didn’t capitalize. With this latest news, I’m beginning to wonder what’s happening on Planet Sasha Fierce. It’s high time she came back and gave pop music a burst of energy. On the other hand, I hope she puts the album out on her own time. But soon. Otherwise, her former duet partner Lady Gaga will steal the spotlight. (Looks like she’s already on her way: Gaga will debut her new single and return to the music world on August 25 at the MTV VMAs.)

(Don’t take this report too seriously, though: Beyoncé’s reps now claim she hasn’t scrapped the album. On the other, they do nothing to assuage claims that we won’t see the album until next year.)

A new trailer for Alfonso Cuaron’s upcoming space thriller Gravity surfaced yesterday. In the breathtaking two-minute clip, shot in one continuous take, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock maneuver around a space station until an unknown incident occurs, the space station splinters and Bullock goes tumbling off into space.

This movie looks amazing, and Alfonso Cuaron’s presence behind the camera only makes me more excited. He’s one of the few working filmmakers willing to make true innovations in the fields of cinematography and visual style. (He previously directed Y Tu Mama Tambien, Children of Men, and a microscopic indie film called Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.) And this trailer packs more unfettered suspense and excitement into its brief running time than some of this year’s biggest blockbusters. I’ll be first in line on October 4th.

Jason Sudeikis announced to David Letterman that he will not be returning to Saturday Night Live in the fall, even though last season’s finale implied that only Fred Armisen and Bill Hader were saying their last goodbyes.

It is a bit strange that Sudeikis will leave without an in-show celebration of his popular run, but it’s not the end times that some breathless reports have suggested. As Ryan McGee and Mike Ryan argued on their SNL podcast Not Ready for Primetime yesterday, Sudeikis’ departure leaves room for the remaining cast members, all of whom have delivered excellent work in the past, to step into the spotlight and define the next era of the legendary sketch show, which is as popular as it’s ever been. Plus, Sudeikis was hardly the star player in his final season, often stepping aside to let the newer members of the cast shine anyway. As for Sudeikis’ post-SNL path, I hope that his newfound freedom from the confines of weekly television will afford him the opportunity to forge a more creatively impressive movie career than he’s demonstrated so far with uninspired efforts like Hall Pass and The Campaign. For now, we’ll always have the Jogging Tracksuit Guy.

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