Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
Yes, that is the name of a real movie. And yes, let us all watch it together in our minds until it comes out for really-real-reality sometime next year. Coming to you from the heart of new writer/director Zach Helm, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (so fun to say/so fun to anticipate) tells the story 243-year-old Mr. Magorium (as acted by Dustin Hoffman) who hands his fantastical toy store over to a young manager (played by Natalie Portman). For reasons beyond our ken, the wonderfilled store takes a dark turn somewhere along the way, and absolute amazingness most likely ensues.
Helm also penned the script for Stranger than Fiction, the new Will Ferrell pic where the former Mr. "I Gotta Have More Cowbell" plays an IRS auditor whose life takes a turn for the weird when he suddenly hears a voice narrating over his life. The ever-charming Maggie Gyllenhaal and oft-amuzing Dustin Hoffman (who's interviewed by the Trib here) also star. The film made its international premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, and opens this week in the U.S. as part of the Chicago International Film Festival. Expect it to hit theatres everywhere else sooner rather than later.
As if that weren't enough movie magic to send you into a tizzy, Warner Brothers Pictures has just optioned the rights to Here, There Be Dragons, a new juvy-fantasy novel by James A. Owen. Dragons is set during World War I and tells the story of three young men who are entrusted with the "Imaginarium Geographica," a magical atlas of every mythical/fabled land and world. Book hasn't even hit shelves yet, and W.Bros. is already salivating over hopes of a $300,000,000 gross. But the most exciting part is this: Word on the street is that the three main characters, Jack, John and Charles, are based on young versions of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams (the George Harrison of the Inklings group). I'm looking forward to inter-dimensional travel, high adventure, elves, dragons, and maybe even an entmoot or two. Good times.
Simon & Schuster is saying that it's the first in a series of seven books (Potter, much?), so unless Jim Carrey is tapped to act in the film version, expect seven films as well. (Let's all take a moment to remember the film potential Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events had before Ace Ventura sunk his googley-eyed hooks into the series.)
Honestly, someone just needs to commission Pete Jackson, Terry Gilliam, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Alfonso Cuarón to handle all these fantasy-pics for the next few years. Is that really too much to ask?