Friday, March 31, 2006

Fat boy sees Oliver Stone's WORLD TRADE CENTER trailer

From Aintitcoolnews, "Hey folks, Harry here... Yesterday I got given an advance look at Oliver Stone's WORLD TRADE CENTER trailer. Now first of all, yes, I'm fully aware of how "inappropriate" most of you feel the marrying of OLIVER STONE to the subject matter of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center could be. However, from the trailer - and from the screenplay - I can say, with absolute certainty - that this isn't the film that conservative muckrakers would expect from Ollie.
This trailer is about 3-4 weeks away from appearing for the rest of the world to judge. In fact - most of the digital effects are yet to be included. Not that there are many to be added in. This trailer isn't about showing you the planes colliding with the towers - instead it's about the shadows those planes cast on to the streets below. It's about the tremor upon impact that those in the building felt and the "what was that" looks on the faces of those in the building. Moreso, the trailer is about setting up the Port Authority Police Sarge, played by Nicholas Cage. It's Cage in his rattled nervous best. However, the trailer is really cut to be as "sympathetic" as possible, to give it a "story of hope" feeling. Having said that - this is a true story, based on a pair of Port Authority officers that did get caught in the rubble and apparently did make it out. And those officers apparently were on set everyday giving their recollections of the events.
Nothing in the trailer screamed Oliver Stone. There was no film stock changes or over saturated or desaturated images. It's a very handsomely shot film - in terms of texture to the images - it kinda came across like WALL STREET in the lighting package, but obviously a very different story. Stone's going to draw a lot of fire from those that just believe he's an insane liberal loon, but from the look of the trailer, he's trying to make a film that takes the focus of that horrific day's memory, and place it firmly where it belongs... on those that dove in and tried to save as many people as possible, and somehow made it out alive. That wasn't a conservative or liberal act - it was a purely human and heroic act, and that's what this film seems to be about. At least from the trailer."

Alien Autopsy trailer!

From Iwatchstuff, "I normally don't approve of alien autopsies. It's my firm belief that we shouldn't concern ourselves with the cause of death of an alien, only that they are actually dead, and not just waiting to jump up and scare us. However, I'm willing to make an exception after seeing the trailer for Alien Autopsy, which takes a new spin on the idea, and honestly looks pretty funny. The film tells the comedic story of the two friends that invented and executed the fake alien autopsy footage that became a media sensation and a television special on Fox in 1995. You may remember it best by its host: one Mr. Jonathan Frakes. That's right, I'm talking Riker, mo-fo's.

After this, someone should make a movie about how they made the Paris Hilton sex tape, because I'd like to see how that all went down, too. Though I imagine it would probably just be a twenty-minute short where she's bought four shots and told she doesn't look that much like a bird."

See trailer here:

Scribe Avary game for "Hill" adaptation

Roger Avary, best known as the Oscar-winning co-writer of "Pulp Fiction," has been an avid video gamer all of his life. So he was more than ready when he received a call from "Brotherhood of the Wolf" director Christophe Gans asking if he'd help translate Konami's "Silent Hill" from game to film.

"Christophe and I knew how passionate the video game fans are for 'Silent Hill,"' Avary says. "At the minimum, we didn't want to piss them off. We wanted to make this movie for them. They're the canaries in the coal mine."

The project also is evidence of a demographic shift that means game creators are having a more direct impact on Hollywood scribes, he says.

"Hollywood writers are getting younger," Avary says. "The old-timers who don't play games are writing less and less of movies of this sort. There are more younger people who grew up with gaming getting opportunities in Hollywood today."

"Silent Hill" marks the first time that Avary has been able to immerse himself in a video game franchise that he fell in love with years ago. He remembers that when he and Gans first discussed "Silent Hill," they knew that they wanted to approach it as gamers who wanted to be as true to the spirit and detail in the adaptation as possible.

The two creators spent several months in France playing through all four games of the franchise. "I hadn't played 'Silent Hill' for years," Avary says. "Your first reaction is the graphics have really gotten better since then. But then once you give yourself to the game, you fall into it just as well. In some ways, less detail gives you greater empathy for the character that becomes your avatar while playing."

Avary says that all too often, Hollywood producers get the rights to a video game and then look to reach a larger audience by going beyond its universe.

"Hollywood executives are very quick to want to throw out the source material of a game," he says.

"'Doom' kills me. That was one of the movies I wanted to do so badly. I met with them early, on and I looked at the original script and asked, where's the 'Doom' in this?"

Avary recently was asked to work on the "Darkwatch" movie script, based on the Capcom vampire Western game of which he is a fan, but his schedule interfered.

His early interest in video games originally took him down a different path. Avary began playing games in the late 1970s and built his first computer from a kit -- a Rockwell KIM-1 -- and started his professional life as a programmer for the Atari 800.

Even though he left the programming path for Hollywood, he never gave up his roots. Avary collects and restores such Atari Vector coin-operated machines as "Asteroids," "Space Duel," "Tempest" and "Battle Zone." He also spends hours playing PlayStation 2 games like "Driver: Parallel Lines" from beginning to end.

"In many ways, gaming has not changed much since the Atari 2600," he says. "It's still just polygons and fields and things bouncing into each other."

In other ways, of course, the changes have been dramatic. The impressive experiences made possible by next-generation graphics and sound have increased the costs of making games with the larger teams and more expensive technology they require.

"The thing to watch out for, when costs get high, suddenly you see less and less innovation occurring and more repetition of tried and true ideas," Avary says. This is evident in movies, he says, with big-budget Hollywood films lowering the odds of original stories making it to the big screen. There already are those in the game-development industry who have complained about the lack of interest game publishers show to original game ideas for next-generation consoles.

Picard, er, Charles talks about more X-Men films

Star Trek The Next Generation star Patrick Stewart was a guest today on the british Richard & Judy show.

Before the interview, they showed the X-Men The Last Stand trailer and Stewart said that he hasnt seen the trailer before and this was the premiere of it on british Tv.

When asked about the title The Last Stand, Stewart said that it is just a tease. It is all about money at the end of the day and if this does well there is a possible X4.

He talked about his scene with Ian McKellan where they appear "significantly younger"

He also talked about the Wolverine and Magneto "prequels", the latter of which Ian and himself will probably not be in.

They talked about the first time Kelsey Grammer walked on set in full make up as Beast and even though they are so used to that kind of thing now, it was completely unnerving. He looks completely real, he is this big blue monster with the voice of Frasier.

They then laughed about his appeareance on Frasier where he was a gay theatre director who was lusting after frasier, he said "what's not to lust after Kelsey Grammer"

Star Trek XI continues to go nowhere

From Sci-fipulse, '"What are the chances of an 11th Star Trek movie? That is the question which has Star Trek fans world wide sitting on the edge of their seats with there ears wide open listening for any rumour that makes sense.

As we’re all aware the box office failure of ‘Star Trek Nemesis’ was a terrible blow to the Star Trek Universe and when you add to that the premature cancellation of ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’ the prospects for a new series or movie do not look great.

Yet as fans we will grasp at straws and hold our esteemed heroes up in the air and float on every word they say. Well some of us will anyway, the rest of us will probably bang our collective heads against the walls of a white padded cell.

The last news we heard about the proposed 11th Movie from Rick Berman was that the paramount suits were still looking at the Erik Jendresen Prequel script which was titled ‘Star Trek: Beginnings’. A matter of weeks went by and Patrick Stewart boldly announced that some Paramount executives had approached him about the possibility of him starring in the 11th Star Trek movie, which would probably feature cast members from all the different modern Star Trek shows. This in turn spawned fan speculation about the movie being based upon William Shatners failed Mirror Universe pitch, which was rejected in favour of the ‘In A Mirror Darkly’ episode of ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’.

So we have heard plenty of rumours but no actual news. Actors who have been involved with Star Trek are of mixed minds about the franchise. Jonathon Frakes is of the opinion that the market place for Star Trek is saturated, i.e. no more room in the Star Trek Inn, and feels that Enterprise’s cancellation was somewhat inevitable given the current trends in television.

“One of the problems with Enterprise was that there has been four Star Trek series' before it. Even the strength of the real hard-core Trekkers isn't strong enough to carry a show in this marketplace. I have a feeling that some time will allow everyone to have a little more hunger for a new Star Trek endeavour.”

It turns out that Doug Mirabello PA to Rick Berman claims that Paramount pretty much feels the same. In a statement made on line recently Mirabello revealed that the Jendresen script has been canned. Though as yet there hasn’t been any comment directly from Rick Berman to either confirm or deny this. Berman has however talked briefly about Patrick Stewarts claims about having been approached. In fact Berman in a brief statement to the official UK Star Trek Magazine said he was taking the rumours with a pinch of salt.

“If you notice, the stories say ‘names important people in Hollywood,’ but that’s not people at Paramount, I don’t think,” said Berman. As to Patrick Stewart reprising the role of Captain in the rumoured movie. “I have no idea what that’s all about. I’ve read that he says he’s open to doing another movie and then I’ve read he’s said ‘I’m too old to do another movie.’ So I have no idea what that is. And anything I’d say to speculate would be silly.”

It is of some note that Berman did not confirm or deny the report from his PA that the Jendresen Script had been canned. So my guess is as good as yours.

One person who does sum all the rumours up well is Star Trek Expert Larry Nemecek who explained that Star Trek would never die. The amount of rumour and speculation about new movie projects as well as TV projects is probably just the tip of the iceberg. As we all know many media outlets especially in the mainstream had wrote Star Trek off. However Nemecek in his regular column for Star Trek Magazine summed up with the following closing statement.

“Star Trek is far too valuable to hibernate forever, both commercially and, thankfully, culturally… as long as it stays true to Gene Roddenberry’s vision.”

“So stay tuned folks – Hollywood has a notoriously short memory, and profits are measured quarter by quarter. The push for Star Trek’s return will come sooner rather than later; our only concern is who will be in charge and how much clout they will wield on the project, for good or ill – based on how much background and fan concern they bring to it.”

So in closing I like all the other fans out there will still have to speculate on all the rumours until something official comes out via Paramount.'

D'Oh! But I don't want to watch Ice Age

From AICN, "We're getting multiple reports that teasers for THE SIMPSONS movie are attached to some prints of ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN.
From what we're told, the teasers appear to come in at least two flavors. One of the teasers is simply Homer asleep on a couch. Another appears to be a riff on SUPERMAN movies. Both teasers indicate a July 27, 2007 release date.
One, or both, of these teasers is/are featured in a combo trailer with GARFIELD'S A TALE OF TWO KITTIES. Whether further variants of the teaser are in circulation is unknown at this time.
Before diehard SIMPSONS fans run out to see the staggeringly uninspired ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN, please keep in mind that we don't know if these teasers were attached to every print of the film, select prints, etc. In other words, theoretically, you wouldn’t necessarily see the teasers even if you go to ICE AGE.
It's all a bit unclear, and boy do I need coffee. If you happen to lay eyes on these teasers, feel free to post a Talkback (below) telling us everything about it!"

It's a bird, it's a plane...get out of the way he's coming right at you!

From Hollywoodreporter, 'Director Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns" will leap onto Imax screens in 3-D in the summer.

The Warner Bros. Pictures release is the first live-action film to have sequences remastered in 3-D using the proprietary Imax DMR process developed by the large-format exhibition firm.

Although Imax executives declined to detail any of the scenes for fear of giving away the "Superman" story, they did confirm that much of the 3-D material is live-action footage enhanced by computer-generated 3-D visual effects shots that will be further amplified with stereographic dimension in Imax's DMR procedure.

"Superman" also is expected to go out on 85-90 Imax screens across the U.S., making it the widest Imax release to date, Imax Filmed Entertainment chairman and president Greg Foster said.

"The test scenes that have been converted into Imax 3D look, sound and feel absolutely amazing," Singer said in a statement. "The magic of Imax 3D will envelop audiences in this story, enabling them to feel the emotion, drama and suspense in a completely new and unique way."

Three or four sections of "Superman," totaling 20 minutes, will be projected in 3-D. During the movie, audiences will be given a visual cue to put on and take off their Imax 3D glasses for the stereographic sequences.

"I don't think anyone could have picked a better title than 'Superman' to open in Imax 3D on July Fourth weekend," Foster said.

Because "Superman" is playing exclusively in 3-D on Imax screens, the company anticipates that more theater owners will opt into the costly but unique exhibition experience that is eight stories tall, 125 feet wide and plays 12,000 watts of digital surround sound.

"I think we'll see more exhibitors turn to Imax theaters in advance of 'Superman's' release," Foster said. "You can't replicate our cinema experience anywhere -- not in the home, not in the standard multiplex. Not even the Man of Steel has an Imax theater in his home."

Five of the seven films in Imax's 2006 lineup will screen in 3-D.

"Superman" will be simultaneously released to Imax and conventional theaters June 30. The movie stars Brandon Routh as Clark Kent/Superman as well as Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth.

Sony Pictures Imageworks, Rhythm & Hues, The Orphanage and Pixel Liberation Front are among the visual effects firms involved in "Superman."'

For your weekend movie viewing pleasure

Here's a pair of USATODAY reviews for two of the films we've been following for a while on this blog. Jordan, I promise it's the last Basic Instinct news I'll post!


In Basic Instinct 2, Sharon Stone reprises the role of Catherine Tramell, a character that brought her stardom in 1992.
Sony Pictures

Well, maybe. But few people are into bad sequels that were made more than a decade too late.

No doubt Stone was banking on the double whammy her sultry blond murderess offers. But some things are so much a product of their time, they simply can't be resuscitated.

The 1992 phenomenon was creepy, tense and sexually charged in a bold yet tawdry way. This sequel lacks even a shred of those elements.

The plot has no credibility. The goings-on are not suspenseful, despite a series of gory slayings. A host of smart people (psychiatrists, journalists, detectives, eminent legal minds) falls under the spell of Stone's Catherine Tramell. Clearly middle-aged, she assumes an aggressively sexy stance that seems a tad ridiculous.

Despite her notorious reputation, these fine folks befriend her. We're supposed to believe it's because of her prodigious intellect and charms.

Yet that beautiful mind of hers just wrings chuckles from viewers. Stone's line readings are so brassily over-the-top and have such a forced seductive quality that they sound hilarious.

Her voice-over narration, read from one of her character's pulpy novels, is one example: "She dressed carefully. She liked to be well dressed when she killed." Another killer Stone line: "Don't take it so hard. Even Oedipus didn't see his mother coming."

Stone and the moody, atmospheric music are back from the first movie, but the score does a more effective job of conveying coiled, alluring menace than Stone does. Clearly, this was a vanity project for the actress, who is still in top shape — though she shows less than she did in her first go-round.

The setting this time around is London, but Stone's privileged American character seemed more at home in San Francisco, where the first movie was set. A top criminal psychiatrist (David Morrissey) is asked by a Scotland Yard detective (David Thewlis) to evaluate Tramell after a soccer star is found dead. Ignoring the advice of his mentor (Charlotte Rampling), the good doctor is drawn into Tramell's intricate web of lies, as well as into her expensively appointed boudoir.

The movie's most natural performance belongs to Thewlis. Most of the supporting characters, especially Morrissey and Rampling, seem stilted, as if embarrassed to be reciting the painfully bad dialogue by Leora Barish and Henry Bean. Director Paul Verhoeven directed the first film with more of a sense of erotic tension than Michael Caton-Jones musters here.

A Scotland Yard detective who tries to warn away the obsessed psychiatrist sums up this movie best: "She's not worth it."


Slither is old-school gooey, slimy, silly B-movie fun.

It doesn't aspire to be anything complex, high-tech or terribly clever, but it succeeds at gleefully grossing us out with its vision of hundreds of invading pulsating slugs and an ever-swelling giant mutant mollusk that begins to resemble Jabba the Hutt the more he grows. It celebrates the goofy creepiness of cheesy horror films while offering audiences plenty of tension-reducing laughs in the process.

A meteorite crashes to Earth, unseen by the police inside a squad car stationed nearby. It's a slow crime day in the small town of Wheelsy, where the big event of the year is the jamboree for the start of deer-hunting season. (There's a funny recurring gag about Lyme disease, in light of the woodsy environs and the infestation of extraterrestrial creepy crawlers.)

The meteorite houses a peculiarly disgusting alien life form, and not long after the rock hits the ground, the tentacled creature infests the blustery person of Grant Grant (Michael Rooker), the town's classless rich guy who married the town beauty, Starla (Elizabeth Banks). There is a hilarious bit featuring the couple's song — and one of the most annoying tunes ever recorded — Air Supply's Every Woman in the World.

Before tying the knot with Grant, Starla wanted to run away to Hollywood with her buddy, police chief Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion). Fillion's well-timed quips and deadpan asides are a highlight.

Once the slithery creature from outer space burrows into Grant's body, it's only a matter of time before most of the town is infected, turning into ravenous undead. That happens around the same time the undulating slugs worm their way into every conceivable nook and cranny.

The police try to combat the heinous creatures, to little effect. A team of bumbling officers faces off against the plague of slugs and the voracious flesh-eating zombies. Guess who wins?

The contest is more fun than you might expect. For those who enjoy entertaining gross-out horror flicks, Slither satisfies. The squeamish should probably keep their distance.

Tom Sawyer likes the way you paint

From Starwars, '"Asteroid Beltway pundits have been closely watching the heated race for the presidency of Hyperspace: The Official Star Wars Fan Club. Despite the fact that Corellian pollsters have been reluctant to quote the odds of the outcome, the Homing Beacon has pegged two clear front-runners in a race that is still up for grabs.

If the election were held tomorrow... well, there'd be a lot of confusion, because this presidency is not determined by election. Rather, it's part of a recruitment contest currently being held by Hyperspace. The fan who recruits the most members into the Fan Club will be awarded with the title for a year, an all-expense paid trip to Comic-Con International 2006 in San Diego, a guest editor position for an issue of Star Wars Insider, online VIP status and more. (Click here for details).

Running neck-and-neck for the high office are Tommy "uscwannabe" Costabile and Dustin "" Roberts, outspoken candidates who are reaching out to the fan community to make their dreams of presidency a reality.

"Well obviously, my track record speaks for itself. I stand head, shoulders, knees and toes above the other... wait a second. There's other people competing?!" said Roberts, who has announced stalwart astromech R2-D2 as his running mate.

Costabile, bedecked in a natty black robe, is running alone despite past proclamations that there should always be two, a master and apprentice. "I have the ability to run this presidency in this post Clone War-era, which is essential to the preservation of the peace the great Emperor Palpatine has created. I myself have overheard the Emperor discussing the Senate's dissolution. Too many people in power leads to horrific, horrific situations. I can assure this will not be the case while I'm around! I offer a future!" Costabile punctuated his statements with protracting cackling and impressive display of static electricity.

Though both candidates have varying views on the tough issues of Gungan-control, Jedi marriages, and the teaching of midi-chlorians in school, they are in agreement that the Fan Club President position should belong to a true Star Wars fan.

"When you say a 'real fan,' which do you mean?" asked Roberts, known to some as DLR. "Those ├╝ber-dorky, forum-trolling, Natalie-drooling, lightsaber-waving fans, or the film school elitist that can explain the hegemonic ethos of the Jedi? Cuz' I can relate to them all. They're my peeps!"

"Having a president that doesn't know much about Star Wars would be the equivalent of putting C-3PO in charge of the Jedi Order," said Costabile. "It must not happen!"

Roberts has been making waves by enlisting a number of fan sites to spread his message of presidency. "There's no one else that can be more DLR-er than I. You may have some Dustins running, or some Robertses. But when it comes right down to it, just remember you can't spell 'leader' without DLR."

Costabile is not fazed at all by Roberts' campaigning, and balks at any notion of campaign spending caps. "When Empreror Palpatine was just a Chancellor fighting the oppression of the Separatists, did anyone tell him we didn't have enough money? No way, Weequay!"

Though both stand at the top of the frequently updating leaderboard that is tracking current recruitment levels, the contest is still wide open. The presidency could go to you, newsletter reader, if you know of fans, friends and family that would be willing to enter your screen name as the person who prompted them to sign up or renew their Hyperspace membership. Besides, a year's worth of Hyperspace makes a great gift... and according to our crafty astromech's calculations, a run for the presidency may actually be cheaper than a flight and accommodations at this year's Comic-Con...

...But we'll leave that kind of calculation to the politically minded. The contest continues until May, and till then, it's anybody's guess as to who will step up to the enormous podium in the Hyperspace rotunda and address his dellow felegates.

"This is what we're fighting for," says Costabile. "To be the leader of the greatest Fan Club in the history of Fan Clubs!"'

Terry Gilliam finally makes a quirky movie

From Iwatchstuff, "If you didn't already want to see Terry Gilliam's Tideland, you're going to after you see these images. What is it that makes us always want to see any movie with a rotting corpse with amber eyes and its mouth stitched shut? Probably the same thing that makes us want to masturbate to department store mannequins instead of forming any meaningful relationships. It's just one of those quirks that makes us human.

See more here, compliments of Russia. They've won this battle, but we won the Cold War, and the blue jeans war."

Go to the creepy official site for the trailer.

I'm dreaming of a Black Christmas

From Moviesonline, "With remakes of classic movies on the rise, I personally have been waiting for one low budget, Canadian Horror classic to have its turn being remade into a new masterpiece. Finally, Black Christmas is in the spotlight. The 1974 Canadian Horror, shined light down on the bleak horror scene in the 70's and paved the way for future slasher films for the times to come.

Inspiring such gory film as The Friday the 13th series, as well as the Halloween series, Black Christmas is a classic of its own, and its about time someone stepped up to the plate. For those of you who haven't seen the original, Black Christmas is about a pyschotic maniac terrorizing a sorority house before the Christmas break. The killer makes himself at home, residing in the attic of the Sorority. Like a cat and mouse game, he terrorizes the helpless college students with eerie phone calls using mutiple voices that just sends chills up your spine and leaves you wide eyed, and clutching the person beside you.

The original, was directed by Bob Clark, also known for another Christmas Movie, titled, A Christmas Story. The original cast consisted of a young canadian cast; Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, and Margot Kidder. There's no official word on who will star in the cult classic, but it is known that Toronto-based Copperheart Enterainment have signed on filmmaking duo's Glen Morgan and James Wong to write the screenplay.

The two are best known for their work on the once hit series, The X-files, and the Final Destination series. Glen Morgan has accepted the offer to Direct the film, and it is said that they are well underway shooting. There's no official release date, but they are aiming for Christmas 2006. Looks like for this horror buff, Christmas can't come any faster."

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Davey Jones' bad-ass ship from Pirates of the Caribbean 2

From Iwatchstuff, "Check out these photos of Davey Jones' bad-ass ship from Pirates of the Caribbean 2. It's your classic pirate ghost ship. It's got this big mouth and it's covered in all these bodies. Kind of like your mom! That's right, I went there."

Netflix "Throttling" is annoying customers

SAN FRANCISCO Feb 10, 2006 (AP)— Manuel Villanueva realizes he has been getting a pretty good deal since he signed up for Netflix Inc.'s online DVD rental service 2 1/2 years ago, but he still feels shortchanged. That's because the $17.99 monthly fee that he pays to rent up to three DVDs at a time would amount to an even bigger bargain if the company didn't penalize him for returning his movies so quickly.

Netflix typically sends about 13 movies per month to Villanueva's home in Warren, Mich. down from the 18 to 22 DVDs he once received before the company's automated system identified him as a heavy renter and began delaying his shipments to protect its profits.

The same Netflix formula also shoves Villanueva to the back of the line for the most-wanted DVDs, so the service can send those popular flicks to new subscribers and infrequent renters.

The little-known practice, called "throttling" by critics, means Netflix customers who pay the same price for the same service are often treated differently, depending on their rental patterns.

"I wouldn't have a problem with it if they didn't advertise `unlimited rentals,'" Villanueva said. "The fact is that they go out of their way to make sure you don't go over whatever secret limit they have set up for your account."

Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix didn't publicly acknowledge it differentiates among customers until revising its "terms of use" in January 2005 four months after a San Francisco subscriber filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that the company had deceptively promised one-day delivery of most DVDs.

"In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service," Netflix's revised policy now reads. The statement specifically warns that heavy renters are more likely to encounter shipping delays and less likely to immediately be sent their top choices.

Few customers have complained about this "fairness algorithm," according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

"We have unbelievably high customer satisfaction ratings," Hastings said during a recent interview. "Most of our customers feel like Netflix is an incredible value."

The service's rapid growth supports his thesis. Netflix added nearly 1.6 million customers last year, giving it 4.2 million subscribers through December. During the final three months of 2005, just 4 percent of its customers canceled the service, the lowest rate in the company's six-year history.

After collecting consumer opinions about the Web's 40 largest retailers last year, Ann Arbor, Mich., research firm ForeSeeResults rated Netflix as "the cream of the crop in customer satisfaction."

Once considered a passing fancy, Netflix has changed the way many households rent movies and spawned several copycats, including a mail service from Blockbuster Inc.

Netflix's most popular rental plan lets subscribers check out up to three DVDs at a time for $17.99 per month. After watching a movie, customers return the DVD in a postage-paid envelope. Netflix then sends out the next available DVD on the customer's online wish list.

Because everyone pays a flat fee, Netflix makes more money from customers who only watch four or five DVDs per month. Customers who quickly return their movies in order to get more erode the company's profit margin because each DVD sent out and returned costs 78 cents in postage alone.

Although Netflix consistently promoted its service as the DVD equivalent of an all-you-can eat smorgasbord, some heavy renters began to suspect they were being treated differently two or three years ago.

To prove the point, one customer even set up a Web site to show that the service listed different wait times for DVDs requested by subscribers living in the same household.

Netflix's throttling techniques have also prompted incensed customers to share their outrage in online forums such as

"Netflix isn't well within its rights to throttle users," complained a customer identified as "annoyed" in a posting on the site. "They say unlimited rentals. They are liars."

Hastings said the company has no specified limit on rentals, but "`unlimited' doesn't mean you should expect to get 10,000 a month."

In its terms of use, Netflix says most subscribers check out two to 11 DVDs per month.

Management has previously acknowledged to analysts that it risks losing money on a relatively small percentage of frequent renters. The risk has increased since Netflix reduced the price of its most popular subscription plan by $4 per month in 2004 and the U.S. Postal Service recently raised first-class mailing costs by 2 cents.

Netflix's approach has paid off so far. The company has been profitable in each of the past three years, a trend its management expects to continue in 2006 with projected earnings of at least $29 million on revenue of $960 million. Netflix's stock price has more than tripled since its 2002 initial public offering.

A September 2004 lawsuit cast a spotlight on the throttling issue. The complaint, filed by Frank Chavez on behalf of all Netflix subscribers before Jan. 15, 2005, said the company had developed a sophisticated formula to slow down DVD deliveries to frequent renters and ensure quicker shipments of the most popular movies to its infrequent and most profitable renters to keep them happy.

Netflix denied the allegations, but eventually revised its terms of use to acknowledge its different treatment of frequent renters.

Without acknowledging wrongdoing, the company agreed to provide a one-month rental upgrade and pay Chavez's attorneys $2.5 million, but the settlement sparked protests that prompted the two sides to reconsider. A hearing on a revised settlement proposal is scheduled for Feb. 22 in San Francisco Superior Court.

Netflix subscribers such as Nathaniel Irons didn't believe the company was purposely delaying some DVD shipments until he read the revised terms of use.

Irons, 28, of Seattle, has no plans to cancel his service because he figures he is still getting a good value from the eight movies he typically receives each month.

My own personal experience has not been bad," he said, "but (the throttling) is certainly annoying when it happens."

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

But at least we have 8 seasons of Home Improvement on DVD

Darkhorizons reports, "Arrested Development," the critically praised but low-rated Fox show that won numerous Emmys will not be resurrected on Showtime as rumors circulating for months have suggested reports The San Francisco Chronicle.

A source close to the negotiations said that creator Mitch Hurwitz had decided after a lengthy period of debating an offer from Showtime that "Arrested Development reached its end, creatively, as a series." The Showtime offer was reportedly for two 12-episode seasons, with the entire cast coming back. Though the deal was on the table for some time, Hurwitz sounded out cast members about whether it made sense for the show to continue.

Hurwitz ended up putting an inordinate amount of time into the series, and no doubt that workload played a part in his decision to pass on the Showtime offer. Star Jason Bateman said he had mixed emotions about the news, saying he was sad for the series to end but happy that the beloved series will live on DVD for people to enjoy.

Any takers?

I received this email today,

"BenBella Books, a leading publisher of smart books on popular culture, has recently launched its "Psychology of" series with The Psychology of the Simpsons. In this series psychologists discuss movies, television shows and book series through the lens of psychology, with the goal of both educating the reader on psychological principals and providing insights into popular entertainment using psychological tools. The essays are written for a smart but lay audience at the level of an introduction to psychology course.

The Simpsons volume, which included essays by a wide variety of respected psychologists including Paul Bloom, Frank Keil, Nelson Cowan and Denis McCarthy, has been well-received, and we look forward to growing this series.

This e-mail is to inquire into your interest in participating in future volumes (assuming we choose a television series/film/book series you have an interest in). I’d also appreciate referrals to other psychologists who you feel might have an aptitude for and interest in this sort of project.

We are currently working on two upcoming books in this series, one on the book series Harry Potter and the other on the television series Survivor. If either of these interests you, or if you are interested in contributing to some future volume, I’d welcome hearing from you."

It's a bird, it's a plane, no wait, it's just Bryan Singer

From TVGUIDE, "Bryan Singer was given a simple task: resurrecting the film franchise of the most popular superhero ever. That moment of truth arrives when Superman Returns, easily the most anticipated movie of the summer, flies into theaters on June 30. However, the man-of-steel production didn't stop the director of The Usual Suspects and the first two X-Men films from working on other projects. No, he has juggled exec-producing duties for Fox's House as well as the Sci Fi Channel miniseries The Triangle, for which the DVD will be released today. spoke with Singer about the Bermuda mystery, his feelings about X-Men 3 and a little rumor we heard about Superman Returns. So were you interested in the Bermuda Triangle mystery before becoming involved with The Triangle?
Bryan Singer: Yeah, since I was a kid I've always found it fascinating. I think originally it was from the In Search Of series and later from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. How did you and Dean Devlin (Independence Day) come together on this project?
Singer: Well, Dean and I were looking for something to do together because we've been friends for years. And Dean kind of humorously suggested, "We could do a miniseries." He said, "For example, what if we did a miniseries about the Bermuda Triangle for the Sci Fi network." He had just used it as an example, but I said, "Fine. Why don't we do that?" It just sounded right and I was suddenly interested. Since The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil, you've been mostly involved in fantasy fare, House excluded. How has that become your focus?
Singer: When I was a kid, that was the stuff I gravitated to. I was a Trekkie. I'd wait around the block for the next Star Wars or Indiana Jones film. So those are films I imagined myself making when I dreamed of having the ability to make films. With all the preproduction and shooting for Superman Returns in Australia, how much time were you actually able to spend with projects like House or The Triangle?
Singer: A good amount. With House, I'd get all the scripts as they came in, as well as the rough cuts. On The Triangle I would get all the dailies from South Africa and do my Triangle business by phone between 3 and 4:30 in the morning. So when did you sleep?
Singer: I would sleep from 11 to 3 at night and then from 4:30 to 6:30 in the morning. But what I found more cumbersome than managing the other products was the industry around Superman. Global brand managing and approvals for tie-ins, all the peripherals around Superman were unbelievable. Being so far away made it even more frustrating. What's the current status of Superman Returns?
Singer: I have a cut of the film that I like. I'm now trimming it and completing the 1,500-plus visual effects. You did video journals throughout the production on Why is it important for you to keep the fans involved in the filmmaking process?
Singer: I think there's a kind of theater when you're making a film that's very exciting. To not afford fans access to that would be a crime. If I could have them come visit and observe the shooting in person, I would do it, but it's difficult... and so far away. You left the X-Men franchise for Superman. Frankly, would you like to see X3 fizzle?
Singer: No. Frankly, I've been friends with [X-Men 3 director] Brett Ratner for years, and the cast and I are still very close. I have tremendous fondness for the X-Men universe and I put six years of my life into it, so for it to go in a negative direction would make me feel pretty bad. I was just hoping you'd trash it so I'd have a juicier interview.
Singer: Sorry. Actually, I just talked to Brett last week about the movie. It makes things less weird that we have a good relationship. Also, I just saw the trailer and it looks great. The word is that you somehow brought back Marlon Brando to reprise his role as Jor-El. I was under the impression that he's dead.
Singer: He is. What we did is we went back to [footage from the original Superman] and re-created Jor-El using computer technology based on references to the Richard Donner film. So basically, you have a computer-animated Marlon Brando in the movie?
Singer: Yeah, I guess you could call it that. The challenge is that when you have an actor, you can scan them using a cyberscan and a lumispheric scan to re-create them all the way down to the pores on their tongue or the hair on their ears, but since we didn't have Brando, we didn't have the actor. All we had was reference photography and film footage, so we had to reconstruct him in a computer. It was very challenging. Well, Terrence Stamp is getting on in years. If you want to bring back General Zod, it might be best to get cracking ASAP. Getting the look of Zod's glittery getup right could be tricky.
Singer: Thanks. I'll keep that in mind."

Kong DVD has lots of stuff on it

From USATODAY, "Peter Jackson's remake of the 1933 classic cost $207 million and took in more than $217.9 million in North American theaters, but Kong did not scale the heights that box-office prognosticators had expected. It ended up the fifth-highest-grossing film of the year; No. 1 was Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, with $380 million. (Related story: Can't get enough Kong?)

Tuesday, Kong faces another test: How mighty it will be on DVD.

The power of blockbuster movies on DVD appears to be waning. In 2004, the 20 top-selling DVDs made 72% more than they did in theaters, according to Video Business Research. That dropped to 39% for the top 20 top sellers of 2005.

To compare individual titles, 2004's No. 1 title, Shrek 2, has sold more than 18 million copies vs. 15.5 million for 2005's top DVD, The Incredibles, says Video Business Research.

"The top titles today sell many fewer copies than they did five or six years ago," says Paul Sweeting, editor at large for Video Business trade magazine. "The days of selling 20 million copies of something is probably gone."

Sweeting says he expects Kong to sell 8 million to 10 million copies on DVD, matching and perhaps surpassing its U.S. ticket sales. Universal is putting the DVD out in two versions: a $30 single disc with just the film, and a $31 two-disc version with three hours of bonus features. (At retail, the two-disc edition is selling for $20-$23, the single-disc version for $14-$16.)

"Kong might very well do better on DVD," says Dan Vancini, DVD editor for, where both Kong DVDs have been among the top sellers for the past week. "Everyone in the industry will be watching it closely" to see if it's an indication of changing movie-viewing habits.

Says Michael Regina, editor in chief of "Like George Lucas said, there's not going to be anything like the blockbusters anymore because there are so many outlets to get entertainment. It's a lot more diverse and it's hard to get everybody in the seats. They say, 'I'll wait for the DVD or download it.' "

In fact, Kong will be among the first movies available for download purchase on Universal's new on-demand service launching next month in the United Kingdom.

Regardless of Kong's reception, Jackson says he is satisfied with his film. "The King Kong I made is the King Kong I wanted to see," he says. "You set out to make a film you want to see yourself and you hope people share your sensibility."

Secret stuff yet to come

Movie fans will have several opportunities to go bananas over King Kong this year.

The two-disc collector's edition out today (Universal, $31) has nearly three hours of video diaries, plus features on Kong's home, Skull Island, and New York in the '30s.

But you won't see any deleted scenes or added footage. Director Peter Jackson is saving that for an extended cut of the film to be released on DVD later this year and will include a new making-of documentary.

"In the production diaries we showed a certain amount, but the real secret stuff is for later on," he says. "There are sequences that we ended up taking out for pacing and length."

Jackson's next project takes him from Skull Island to bones. He'll direct the movie version of the best seller The Lovely Bones."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Full Spider-Man 3 Plot Revealed?

From Iwatchstuff, "With no explanation as to its origin, the website Dark Horizons has posted a fairly comprehensive plot outline for Spider-Man 3. While a lot of the information given was already known or assumed, many of the details I think have been unconfirmed or missing altogether until now, such as the presence and origins of certain villains, their roles, and the timeline of events. So if you don't mind hearing some possible spoilers, go ahead and read the summary here:

'Third film in the highly successful "Spider-Man" series sees several new villains and a new woman enter Peter Parker's life. With his secret now revealed to both Mary Jane and Harry, Peter must face the consequences of his actions and his new life together with Mary Jane as they finally form a relationship. Yet their newfound open display of love has yielded some unfortunate results, not the least of which is Peter's upset boss determined to make his life hell for causing his son emotional distress. Not helping is a young investigative reporter named Eddie Brock who Jameson has hired to find out why Mary Jane dumped his son for Peter - what's Parker's secrets?

At the same time an escaped prisoner hiding out on a remote beach is caught in a dreadful accident and finds himself turned into a shape-shifting sand creature. Peter's investigations into the past of this 'Sandman' brings him in contact with two very different things that will inevitably alter his life. The first a young woman named Gwen Stacy, daughter of the city's new police chief who is developing a soft spot for Peter. The other, a black substance from an accident scene which 'merges' with Peter's costume and gives him new found abilities.

Things come to a head however when Harry Osborn, determined to take revenge against Peter for his father's death and now equipped with what he needs to pull it off, teams with The Sandman in a new variation of his father's Green Goblin guise and causes mayhem. In the ensuing chaos lives are lost, including people very close to Peter, whilst the black substance covering his suit separates from him and merges with a distraught Brock to form something else entirely - a creature unlike anything he's ever faced. A 'Venom' that he may not be able to stop.'

It's not that I don't believe this is the plot, I'd just like a little more proof before I buy into it. It's like if a woman insists that you're her "baby's daddy," you'd want Maury Povich to show you a paternity test first, right? Fine, so maybe it turns out you are the father. So what? You just wanted a little proof. So you can stop calling me, alright, Debbie? I'll give you your fucking money."

Marilyn Manson continues to be creepy

Iwatchstuff posted these images from Marilyn Manson's Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll. I'd never heard of this, but imdb says it's four short films, the first of which "tries to explore the origin of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, played by two twin sisters." It's due out in 2007. I was hoping there would be some data as to how old this actress might be, so I know whether or not these pictures are inciting crimes in my brain, but no dice. Not a huge surprise; Mr. Manson isn't really about making folks comfortable.

Basic Instinct 2 review

From Aintitcoolnews,"Hola all. Massawyrm here. Where the fuck is Joe Eszterhas when you need him? No seriously. Where the fuck is he? I mean, clearly we live in a world where someone was willing to dump buckets of money into a remake - ahem, sorry - sequel to the 1992 Verhoeven sleazefest classic Basic Instinct – one might imagine that they might go back to the source and squeeze one last epically debaucherous ride out of him. But no. Eszterhas may have become synonymous with the worst of the worst when it comes to screenwriting, but you gotta give it to the guy: he was the king of sleaze. His movies weren’t just bad. They were fucking epics of jaw-dropping magnitude. Flashdance, Basic Instinct, Sliver, Jade. Hedonistic, misogynistic, seedy pieces of trash one and all. And every single one of them was a step closer to his opus, his masterstroke, his monument to female degradation – mother fucking Showgirls. Yeah, now you’re with me.

When MGM released their super slutty, heavily unrated psudo-trailer on the net a few months back, word on this project began to change. All of a sudden the jokes about how bad it could be was readily replaced by talk of excitement about just how over the top and, once again, sleazy this was going to be. Curiosity began to stir and many of us waited with baited breath, wondering aloud: was this going to be another Showgirls, another trip into a hypnotically unbelievable sex romp with a budget?

In a word - no. As it turns out, that trailer MGM dropped on us was complete, utter horseshit – a farce of such unrelenting chutzpah that I can’t even begin to explain. But I’ll try, by god I’ll try.

Whether we like it or not, Basic Instinct is a classic and easily somewhere in the top 10 of most influential films of the 90’s. It single handedly legitimized softcore, and along with The Hand that Rocks the Cradle and Single White Female became the standard by which every single femme fatale ‘erotic thriller’ of the era was either compared or plagiarized. While I won’t even begin to argue that these films are good, they opened up a whole market of ‘adult’ filmmaking that allowed men to watch nudie movies while systematically claiming to be watching real films. Hell, late night Skinimax is nothing BUT Basic Instinct whackfest knockoffs – and Blockbuster Video made a very lucrative industry out of forbidding NC-17 films in their stores, while producing through subsidiaries their own ‘thriller’ softcore that had the benefit of being ‘unrated’ not ‘NC-17’. Would we even know who Shannon Tweed is if not for her endless stream of Basic Instinct clones?

So if you’re going to make a sequel to something that defined an entire genre, you’ve gotta do it right. It’s gotta be sexier, filthier, bloodier and quite simply, downright unwholesome. And that’s certainly what they’re selling in the internet ‘trailer’ and the countless Sharon Stone interviews meant to drum up controversy (the woman who a decade and a half ago publicly threw a fit about the infamous bush scene is now advocating oral sex for minors on talk shows and discussing how much she loves sex.) But that ain’t actually what they’re selling. You see, if you’ve seen the internet ‘trailer’, then you’ve actually seen 75% more sex than is actually in the film. Virtually every frame of sex and nudity that appears in Basic Instinct 2, you’ve already seen. Let that sink in for a moment. I’ll wait.

Yes, there are exactly three sex scenes in this movie. One with a single nipple and some bobbing man ass. Another with a single nipple and some bobbing man ass. And a third, with two exposed nipples, and yes, dare I say it, more bobbing man ass. That semi hot looking threesome in the ‘trailer’? Never actually appears in the film - the third person in that three-way…never actually appears in the film. And outside of the sex, there is one, single, gratuitous nude scene. Of Sharon Stone. All told, there is perhaps 20-30 seconds of actual sexual content in this film. So it never actually achieves any level of ‘trashy’ that someone might be seeing this for. Oh, sure, it trrrrriiiiiiiieeeesss to be sexy, complete with a tracking down the legs shot that worked great 15 years ago, but now follows a trail of freckles and liver spots that feels more akin to walking in on your aunt Mildred getting out of the shower than it does watching Basic Instinct, causing your balls to slowly creep back into your abdomen. Okay, yes, 40+ women can be sexy. But there are magazines for that kind of thing, and there’s a reason porn shops keep them on the back shelves of the racks – because they are reserved for ‘special’ kinds of men. If liver spots speak ‘experience’ to you, then the gratuitous shots of a braless Sharon Stone wearing a nigh see-through blouse with her under-the knife perkiness peeking out might bring you to half mast. Otherwise, the film isn’t sexy at all, but rather just seems kind of sad.

What’s left is a miserable train wreck of a thriller groaning under the weight of dialog so bad it becomes epic in it’s own right. You see, while this film isn’t epic in the same fashion as an Eszterhas thriller, it easily, without hyperbole, becomes a top entry into the ‘worst sequel to a blockbuster film of all time’ list. It makes Godfather 3 and Episode I look like gargantuan successes, and manages to make Speed 2 and Jaws: The Revenge seem watchable by comparison. Seriously, this movie is just…that…bad.

Allow me to read from the book of BI2 for a moment, to illustrate more effectively the type of trite, overblown dialog that pervades this film. When asked what she writes about (Sharon Stone’s character Catherine Tramell, as you might recall, is quite possibly the worst successful novelist ever set to film – really, the passages she reads aloud in BI2 make us AICNers read like Nobel fucking laureates) Stone's answer is this (quoted verbatim from the film)

"The lurid, the violent, the sexual.
The basic instincts."

Oh yeah, baby. They go that far. The entire film is filled with the kind of lame, self-referential bullshit that will either make your asshole pucker tighter than a drum or cause you to laugh out loud uncontrollably. Laid atop one of the weakest, unnecessarily convoluted plots known to man, it achieves brand new levels of ‘WTF were they thinking?’ making this the surefire leader of the pack for the Razzies, easily sweeping in the categories of Worst film, Worst director, Worst Actress, and most notably and ironically, the Joe Eszterhas Dis-honorary award for Worst Screenplay. Normally, I scoff at the Razzies for picking only on mediocre to kind of bad big budget or big star failures – but this is exactly the type of film the Razzies love to roast, and is a failure of such a spectacular level – one that misses absolutely everything that it aims for - that this year they can’t help but be right on the money. Distributing a film that even manages to come close to how bad this is seems pretty much like a mathematical improbability.

But there’s something to be said for a movie this bad. And that is that it’s really, truly, amazingly funny. When it’s not being boring as all fucking hell, that is. It’s filled to the brim with beautiful nuggets of pure gold that any drunken film watcher will split their pants laughing at. But this is only recommended for the most astute and well trained of ‘bad movie watchers.’ This isn’t amateur level bad. This requires someone ready to deal with soul crushing banality for minutes at a time to enjoy the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I mean, it’s just plain gawd awful. I would say that the studio behind it should simply be ashamed of themselves for even thinking of letting it show on a single screen – but it’s an MGM film and those people practically wear masks to work out of embarrassment already. For them it’s nothing but another can of film atop a pile of buttfucked properties.

This is the single worst, most unbelievable film I’ve seen on the big screen since Torque. And if given the Sophie’s Choice of sitting in a chair with a gun to my head having to choose between watching one of the two, I’d suffer Torque again. Something about Bike-Fu makes me chuckle. That, and I hope to god to never have to see Aunt Sharon naked again.

Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. I know I will.


Robots in disguise

From Darkhorizons, "A rumour that 19 year-old actor Shia LaBeouf ("Constantine", "I, Robot") is in the running to play human protagonist 'Sam' in the big-screen version of The Transformers has now been confirmed by IGN Filmforce.

LaBeouf is indeed in negotiations for the role described as "a teenage male, somewhat nerdy, but ultimately heroic". Other characters in the michael Bay flick include:

Miguela Barns - teenage female, Sam's love interest.

Cpt William Lennicks - 30s male, leader of the military.

Maggie - female, really hot, really smart, works as a codebreaker for the government.

John Kellar - 50's/60's male, US Secretary of State.

Glen Whitman - 20's male, technogeek, comic relief.

David Cronenberg is busy

From Darkhorizons, 'For the benefit of David Cronenberg fans everywhere, here's the lowdown from the man himself about what he's up to next - as stated in an interview this week The Toronto Star for the DVD release of "A History of Violence:

Maps to the Stars: "That's probably going to be my next movie, and I'm doing it with Robert (Lantos) and Serendipity. It's a script that Bruce Wagner wrote that isn't exactly based on any of his novels, but is in the nature of his novels, which are mostly about Hollywood. He's a brilliant novelist. The only thing that could stop it from being my next movie is if we can't get casting or can't get financing. I mean, it is an independent film and those things can happen. But Robert is a very experienced producer, so I don't expect any of those things to happen. The earliest I could be working is probably September."

Eastern Promises: "This is a Focus Features film that they've approached me with and it's a very good script to begin with. It's being rewritten right now by Steve Knight, who wrote Dirty Pretty Things for Stephen Frears. That was a good movie and Knight is a good writer and the script is being rewritten with a view to, I hope, me doing that movie. But I don't know when. At the moment, Maps has priority." London Fields: "It's still a possibility. There is a script that Martin Amis wrote with Roberta Hanley of his novel, and it's a project I'm interested in. It's sort of on a back burner, I would say. It's about third in line."

Red Cars: "Have you gone to My script is now a book, a beautiful coffee table book for fans of Formula One or of my work or whatever. It's expensive, but it's really beautiful and the printing is exquisite. I would be happy if some producer said, `Yes, I want to make this movie,' but so far, no one has. So unless that happens, it's not going to be a movie. At least it's a book."

Painkillers: "Painkillers is dead. Who knows about the future, but it's a script I wrote around 2000 and I have just sort of disconnected from it somehow. I feel like it's not something I want to pursue. I know Robert announced it at Cannes, but he was being a good producer by trying to make it become a reality. He was trying to excite me about my own project again. So it was a strange kind of situation, but for some reason, it just feels like it's something that I've done already so I've decided not to do it. He and I agreed to let it die. It still exists as a script, but that's it.

I Kill: "It doesn't exist, and we've been trying to get the IMDb to take the damn thing off. What that was is something (producer) Aurelio De Laurentiis approached me about. It was a novel that was a big best seller in Italy. I read it and I wasn't crazy about it. He had a script written and showed that to me, and I wasn't crazy about that, either. I said I didn't want to do it, and that was the end of it. For some reason, I think the guy who wrote the book was talking to the Italian press and he said that I'm doing it. So suddenly that becomes my next project, but I was never doing it."'

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Giant Robots on sale!

Well, sort of. On the way to catch the bus to Sherm's house (see previous post), I passed the window of Pegasus Books and saw they had this book for only 15 bucks (cover price is 40, and I've been thinking about getting it). About 90 seconds later I was walking past the same spot with one in my hands. It's a little overproduced, but the art inside is fantastic. Just look at that ridiculous thing on the cover. It's got gothic windows! Ah, I love this stuff.

Octopunk catches up on Simpsons

Last night I went to Sherm's and had a great time watching the last 3 eps of Simpsons and South Park's "farewell to Chef" episode.

The Simpsons were freakin' HILARIOUS! I was so pleased. The episodes were Lisa's story within a story within a story within a story, Marge babysitting "Nimrod and Nimtodd," and last week's wife swapping reality show ep for which they used the live action opening. (They switched the image around so the cars looked American.)

There were a ton of jokes with great payoff, like when Moe tries to throw Barney out and he inexplicably returns. I knew Barney would come back at the end of the gag, but they decided to have him just standing there behind Moe instead of Moe going "Whuaaa?" and the result was perfect. Likewise the scene in which Edna says she'll stay in Springfield just to help Bart while Bart's in the background robbing the school and tagging it with "Munch my butt." High points of the others include Homer saying "I'll do it after my show" when he's just watching the "insert dvd" message move around the screen, and as a counterpoint, his explanation to Lisa about why they should be on a reality show. "We can be on TV, and earn money to buy a new TV...TV, honey, TV!"

Anyway, it was another of those times when I realize I can hear all the "they've lost it" talk that's out there and just smile.

The South Park was even more of a dis to Isaac Hayes than I would've thought. They make a joke out of the fact that Hayes wasn't around to record. There's a scene in which a lot of exposition is achieved by people saying things like "well, Chef, I bet that now you're back, you're ready to get back into your old life etc." and Chef goes "That's right!" Then, when they're pasting together his brainwashed dialogue, they give no care to whether the words' intonations sound rhythmically realistic while Hayes's voice says things like "I want to make love to your asshole, Kyle." In the end, while he's being mauled by a mountain lion and a bear, the animals finish their work by pulling the skin off of his face and then pulling him apart so that his intestines slop everywhere.

Not one of their best episodes, but considering the situation, it was pretty funny. Those guys are PISSED.

Who wants to be a superhero?

From Iwatchstuff, "Have you always wanted to be a superhero? Now you might have the chance, loser. SciFi is now accepting applications for Stan Lee's new reality show Who Wants to be a Superhero? (kudos to them for still trying to cash in on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?):

In nationwide open casting calls, potential heroes will arrive in costume to prove their mettle, revealing the true nature of their superhuman abilities and invoking the noble credos by which they live. Make no mistake, you don't have to love comic books to be the superhero we're looking for. If you have a great imagination, love adventure, and have a hero hiding inside of you, we want you on this show. Students, teachers, firemen, soccer moms -- you're all invited to try out to see if you've got what it takes. From thousands of hopefuls, Stan Lee will choose 11 lucky finalists to move into a secret lair and compete for the opportunity to become a real-life superhero.
I have no idea what they mean by competing for the chance to "become a real-life superhero," since I don't think the SciFi Channel actually has the capabilities to do that, but I'm guessing it will involve a lot of public ridicule. This theory is further supported by original name for the show, National Wedgie."

John Travolta's Nephew to Play Thor?

From Iwatchstuff, "In more superhero casting news, Rikki Lee Travolta, nephew of John Travolta, is rumored to have been cast in the title role of the Marvel Comics adaptation of Thor:

The Broadway, New York star, who was among those considered to play JAMES BOND after producers decided to dump PIERCE BROSNAN, has been a favorite to play the Nordic hero for some time - and now it appears he will star in the project.
I honestly thought we'd reached the point where wig technologies would allow us to base casting on something other than having the appropriate hair length. If this rumor is true, this man was clearly chosen entirely for his being a long-haired douche bag. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled to Rikki Lee's official site, Travoltanet, to find out of there's an official statement, as well as to boost my own self-confidence.

As bad as this casting might be, let's try to put aside our own feelings to recognize some who may be taking it even worse. Such as the little girl from Adventures in Babysitting."

Katie Holmes still an idiot

From Thesuperficial, "Katie Holmes is reportedly gearing up for the silent birth of her first child after Scientologists were spotted carrying signs into her home, reminding her to keep quiet during labor. On Monday, huge placards saying, "Be silent and make all physical movements slow and understandable," were carried into the couple's home to remind Holmes to deal with the extreme pain of childbirth quietly.

Like Tom Cruise, I'm all for making women suffer as much as humanly possible during childbirth. You know - strobe lights, false fire alarms, the doctor screaming "It's a monster!" every few minutes. Sure, it may not serve any "medical purpose", but I don't see what that has to do with anything."

Ocean's 13 to shoot soon

Clooney, Pitt, Damon gear up for 'Ocean's 13'
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Now that George Clooney's an Academy Award winner, he and his boys are returning to their thieving ways.

George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt will all reprise their roles when Ocean's 13 starts filming later this year.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon will star in Ocean's 13, the third flick in their franchise about a gang of lovable crooks, distributor Warner Bros. announced Monday.

A supporting-actor Oscar winner for the oil-industry thriller Syriana, Clooney will reprise his role as leader of the pack Danny Ocean, with the group pulling off a new heist in Las Vegas.

Clooney's producing partner Steven Soderbergh, who made the 2001 hit Ocean's Eleven and its 2004 sequel Ocean's Twelve, will direct again.

Julia Roberts, Clooney's love interest in the first two movies, and Ocean's Twelve co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones will not be back for the third movie, according to Warner Bros.

"It was a script issue. We didn't have a place to really use talent like theirs, two big stars like that," said Jerry Weintraub, the franchise's producer. "They're very good friends of ours, and neither Soderbergh nor I would prevail on them to come back and do nothing just to do it."

Weintraub said if the filmmakers hit on a good idea to include the actresses, there was a chance Roberts and Zeta-Jones could return.

The studio expects the rest of the cast, including Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner and Elliott Gould, will return. Joining the cast will be Ellen Barkin.

Production is scheduled to start in July, with Ocean's 13 due in theaters in summer 2007.

Monday, March 27, 2006


Aintitcoolnews interviewed Andy Serkis, who played Kong. Here's an interesting tidbit about a scene that never made it into the film. "QUINT: Is there any piece of your Kong performance that had to be cut from the feature version that you'd like to see on the Extended Edition in the future?
ANDY SERKIS: Yeah, there are some scenes. There's a scene where Kong and Ann... It's just after the T-Rex fight and he's going towards his lair. He comes across a stone statue of a gorilla where almost kind of becomes self-aware, for the first time, of his size and the improbability of him ever really being able to relate to her. He sees himself and almost has a moment of self-loathing as he sees himself compared to the size of Ann. And the fact that although these incredible emotions that he's never felt before, or that he's never grown up feeling before, you know... he sees himself and the improbability of them ever kind of amounting to anything, I guess.
QUINT: I was actually going to bring that scene up. I saw some artwork of it a while back of Kong looking royally pissed off at this giant stone statue of one of his forefathers.
ANDY SERKIS: Right, right! Exactly. He really does become aware of his ugliness, if you like."

People are people, I mean stupid

Not surprisingly, V For Vendetta experienced a sharp drop in box office revenue over the weekend, no doubt due to word of mouth noting that you must possess at least half-a-brain to enjoy it. USATODAY, "The Spike Lee heist film Inside Man made off with a cool $29 million this weekend, topping the box office and ending a five-week slump, studio estimates say.

"There's still room out there for smart, adult films," says a Universal exec, pointing to Inside Man's older audience.

The caper movie, starring Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster, snatched $10 million more than some analysts predicted for the second-highest debut of the year, behind only Madea's Family Reunion's $30 million debut last month. It also marked the biggest openings for Washington and Lee.

"There's still room out there for smart, adult films," says Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal Pictures, which released Inside. About 68% of the audience for the R-rated film was 30 or older, Rocco says.

V for Vendetta was second with $12.3 million, followed by the horror film Stay Alive, which did $11.2 million. The only other major newcomer, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, took in $7.1 million, for seventh place. Final figures are due Monday."

An American Haunting trailer

From Iwatchstuff, "The trailer for An American Haunting was released this weekend. It's looks like another shock-you-to-death horror, but this one's trying to set itself apart by bragging that it documents the true story of the only documented case of "death by spirit" in U.S. history. What takes away from the believability for me, though, is that it's set in the 1800's. They blamed almost everything on the supernatural back then. I'd imagine that attributing the death to a spirit was probably just as a substitute for witches, which had been overused to the point of suspicion. The scene in the police department probably went something like this:

Lieutenant: Detective Johnson, about this last murder...

Johnson: Yes, sir?

Lieutenant: I noticed you, again, called this one a "witching."

Johnson: Yes, sir. I'll try to get the wench drowned by sundown.

Lieutenant: Right, right. Don't get me wrong, you've been doing a great job catching witches. Your methods--the weighings, drownings, blind accusations--they're all top notch. It's just that you've been calling a lot of murders witching lately. The last 30, actually. People are beginning to talk that maybe--and I don't believe this--you're just not bothering to investigate anything. I mean, the last murder several people actually witnessed. And it appears you still blamed the death on witching, then drowned the witnesses as "accompwitches," which I acknowledge as being clever, but still. Do you see what I'm saying?"

Watch the trailer here.

Peter Jackson likes King Kong

From Darkhorizons, "Peter Jackson remains the most formidable director of his generation. An Oscar winner for his Lord of the Rings, his King Kong may not have been the triumph he had hoped for, but at least he can spend time relaxing now that Kong is headed FOR DVD. A relaxed and philosophical Jackson talked exclusively to our LA correspondent about the Kong DVD, rumours of a new DVD boxed set of Lord of the Rings and what is next up for Mr Jackson.

Question: When you make a film as big as King Kong and there are all these pressures riding for the film's success, do you get jaded by all of that? Do you feel disappointed when the film doesn't quite meet those sorts of expectations?

Jackson: No, you're never jaded; you just want the studio to make a profit. I mean, the most important thing is that the studio makes their money back. There can be all sorts of expectations and, the media have liked just about turned it into a reality TV show of sorts where they love to sort of try to second guess what the top film of the weekend is going to be. And, they have all sorts of expectations but the one thing that I've always had ever since the beginning of my career making very low-budget films was that, the people putting the money up for the film do get their money back because if you don't do that I think your career comes to an end pretty quickly.

Question: Do you think DVD has in some way then become a kind of saving grace for a filmmaker like yourself?

Jackson: Well... DVD I think has helped all studios because I think, it has given studios a secondary profit stream, that they've never had in the past. I mean you look at films that were made in the 1960s and '70s and, and, they had one or two ways of earning money which was the theatrical release and then obviously eventually to TV. But, there's been endless amounts of invention of income streams for films, not just DVD but I guess pay TV and airlines and hotels' TV and all that sort of thing, so I think everything helps because I think it allows - as the cost of films go up -the studios to sort of keep up with the rising cost of films. But I think it certainly feels it's getting to a limit now it's not going down but the rise of the DVD is obviously slowing down, which has got studios in a slight panic.

Question: When you were making the film, was DVD as much on your mind as getting a theatrical cut ready?

Jackson: No. No. I mean essentially the DVD that's being released now is the theatrical cut, so, no, you're always just making the film for the big screen.

Question: Can you talk about, some of the major add-ons in this DVD?

Jackson: Well the main thing that, that we've put into the DVD - which is something that the fans have wanted and asked for, is the postproduction diaries, which was never intended for the DVD at all. We did those obviously as a sort of online, event which picked up a momentum of its own. But there was this ongoing request to have them all on a DVD in the same place, and obviously at a much better quality. So we released half of them - because there were so many that they would have had to create an extra disc for them just to put them on this release. So we released the production diaries, concurrently with the theatrical film and then this release has the postproduction diaries so it completes the whole set. And then we did a couple of documentaries, because I guess so much of the making of the film has been covered by the production and postproduction diaries that rather than just sort of show an expansion of that - even though there's a lot of stuff that we have held back - we decided to create a couple of documentaries that are just a little different; the background to New York in the 1930s and then this documentary about Skull Island. So we thought it would just be kind of fun to do a couple of documentaries that were just a little different from the usual EPK type, stuff that you often see on DVDs.

Question: And no major deleted scenes or anything like that?

Jackson: No, that's all been saved for, ... it depends on Universal making a decision, but they seem to be pretty, keen on the idea of doing a 3 or 4 disc release, towards the end of the year which would include deleted scenes and bloopers and a whole new raft of docos that would go a lot deeper into the technical stuff of the making of the film that we couldn't show in the production diaries.

Question: I understand that you're also thinking of doing a box set for Lord of the Rings on DVD.

Jackson: Well that's been a plan for a long time. There hasn't been anything announced about it yet. I think they're waiting to do something with the high-definition release, because I always assessed that the natural time for that box set would be when, when you release the films in HD, and I don't know what their plans are with that. So we're not working on anything at the moment but I know that there is an idea is in the background, yeah.

Question: What's the status of The Lovely Bones at this point?

Jackson: Just beginning the script.

Question: This is a very different film from what we're used to seeing from you of late, as I understand it.

Jackson: It's a sort of very Heavenly Creatures I guess in terms of how it fits in with films I made in the past, but it's very enjoyable to work on as a puzzle because it's a difficult and very interesting book. It's one of those books that sort of has a profound effect on you when you read it and it has a different effect on each person that reads it. It's a very sort of personal experience, and so to sit down and to analyse that is like a wonderful puzzle solving exercise as to how you adapt the story and make it in to a piece of cinema, which is really one of the great fun parts of the process for me is that very beginning where you have an absolutely blank canvas and you sit there and solve the puzzles. And we're enjoying it doing it, just at our own speed. We have no pressure or deadline we're just taking a year off, which is really a quiet year... and Lovely Bones will be written during the year. And we've been working on it for a few weeks now and it's enjoyable.

Question: Do you miss the quiet that you must have enjoyed prior to Lord of the Rings?

Jackson: I don't miss it, although we're trying to sort of wind, the pace back a little, a pace generated by the movies that we've made over the last ten years. I mean three Lord of the Rings movies followed by Kong has been a relentless ten years in which we've had some huge movies to make and obviously very complex films - and we've had, an ongoing series of deadlines that we've moved from, having to finish the script of one to the script of another, to start shooting to finish the editing, to, start the photography of this, to the release of this film's coming out - look at the posters of this now, we've got to get on to editing this one. And it's been this sort of ongoing relentless ten-year sort of pressure which is what we didn't used to have. In the old days, you'd make one film, finish it, release it, start your next film and it would be a sort of a slightly more civilised pace. And so I guess if anything we're deliberately trying to go back to that sort of, that sort of pace and lifestyle now. It's really just... And it just was a factor of ending up making these four very complex, huge films almost virtually back to back.

Question: Halo is a film that you're executive producing, is that...

Jackson: Correct.

Question: It's still going on?

Jackson: Yep.

Question: So, just to conclude, when you look back at the last ten years and you see these movies, and you reflect on your growth as a filmmaker, from those very early days in New Zealand, what do you see in yourself that has changed so dramatically?

Jackson: That's a very interesting question actually. I sort of don't tend to reflect back too much. I mean I feel like, I've been through a very intensive film school, in that everyday that you step on to the set, you're effectively walking into a film school and you're not ever kind of absolutely in control of everything one hundred percent of the time, but you're thinking on your feet, learning, making mistakes and you're learning by those mistakes. And so I look back on not just the last ten years but everything that I've done as being sort of an ongoing growing continual film school. I mean I don't think I've got to a point where I've achieved anything that feels like, a particular milestone, but there's still a lot more to learn and hopefully a lot more films to make."

Fantastic Four 2 shooting soon, hooray!

In case you didn't realize it, I was being sarcastic. From Moviesonline, 'Michael Chiklis on Regis & Kelly let it be known that we wont be waiting to much longer for Fantastic Four 2 to begin shooting. Honestly, who cares? Fantastic Four was such a big let down I really dont care if we do get a second one. With that said I am sure many of you loved the movie, then again maybe not.

Accordin to Chiklis it is going to shoot primarily in Canada, namely in Vancouver and is slated to come out on July 4th again in 2007. There are alot of rumors on the silver surfer and other characters returning for Fantastic Four 2 but one thing we do know is that Dr. Doom will be in the sequel. Our buddie Kellvin from Latino Review had the chance to chat with director Tim Story about the upcoming "Fantastic Four" sequel.

I asked Story that towards the end of the first film, it left it wide open that Doom will be back, so will he? "Yes that I can tell you. He will be back in full DOOM, not like we had him in the first film."'

In even better news, here's the state of Punisher 2 (sarcastic again)

" haven't heard much about this project except that it was given the greenlight. It looks like realised that alot of people were wondering what was going to happen with the film so got in contact with the actor and asked several questions from fans on the messageboard. Here is what he had to say about the film.

Can you confirm (or even speculate) that Punisher 2 will start filming in the summer?

Not anymore! P2 is still looking for a good story at this point. We’re working on it, and hope to have a script by the fall.

So I wouldn't expect filming to begin until early next year. That is of course if the writers can churn out something that interests the studios. I'll be sure to follow this up with more info as it becomes available."

Quentin Tarantino's script for "Death Proof" gets a peek

From Aintitcoolnews, "I managed to get my hands on a little script called "Death Proof," which is Quentin Tarantino's half of the Grind House project. Figured you might be interested in hearing about it.

First, the bare bones- it clocks in at 127 pages, but is a fast read and does not fit the 1page=1minute formula. It'll fit the time constraint. Mickey Rourke's name was on the cover page, so he looks to be playing the antagonist "Stuntman Mike." Zoe Bell's name was also on it, she's a real life stunt woman who will be taking the protagonist roll of, get ready, "Zoe." She doubled for Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, Lucy Lawless in Xena, and appearantly worked for"NZ Stunts," whose website is not currently active.

The cover page is retro styled and features a muscle car with huge twin exhausts and a skull on the hood with some lightning bolts. It's billed as "A White-Hot Juggernaut at 200 mph!" It's also identified as a "Weinstein Company Production" if anyones counting.

Spoiler Free Synopsis: Stuntman Mike is, obviously, a Stuntman. He drives a wicked muscle car that he's made "Death Proof" by re-inforcing it. It's his stunt car. Mike is a stalker and a killer.

That was boring. Minor Spoilers: Mike uses his bad-ass car to track down and kill his victims. We get to see him successfully pull off a kick-ass sequence to show his method. He then sets his sights on a new set of girls who are actually stunt women (Zoe) and the game is on.

Review: I was not overly impressed. The dialogue seemed flat. It was not very clever. All of the major characters, save Stuntman Mike, are women, and Tarantino struggles to give them a voice. The plot is kind of dumb. A guy uses his car to kill people. Well, its definatly retro. Things take awhile to get going and I definatly didn't care about any of the female characters. I was hoping for most of them to die brutually. Some red is spilled, obviously, and it is pretty cool. Tarantino's visual style will save this piece though. There is one sequence that sounds so amazing on paper that it will be worth the price of admission alone. I will definatly see this movie. I'm sure the visuals will be awesome and things will come together, but as a script, if this was not written by Tarantino, most studios probably would have passed.

Major Spoilers: The majority of the script is Mike stalking down "Jungle Julia," a radio personality, and her group of friends. After he tracks them through a few bars, he offers a girl a ride home and she accepts. However, his "death proof" ride only has one seat, the drivers seat. She's stuck in a "camera box" next to him. He follows Jungle Julia's car with his passenger in tow, who has realized something is wrong. He passes Jungle Julia, spins his car around and kills the headlights. He then proceedes to ram their car head on at full speed. Tarantino's script says the whole thing plays out in slow-motion with Stuntman Mike laughing and enjoying himself, while the girls scream like mad. The crash is brutal and descriptive. Words and phrases such as "horrible," "pushed through," "squashed," "ripping her face off,"pulverizing," and "destroying" are thrown about. It will be a horribly bloody mess. I'm really excited.

Then with less than half the script to go, Mike is back on the prowl, tracking down the Stuntwomen. Its a "harrowing" chase that didn't really thrill me. Mike's character suddenly becomes frightened when the tables are turned on him and it felt very out of character. Zoe vs Mike in two badass cars. Again, the visuals will probably make this very interesting, but on paper I wasn't too excited. The cars smash into each other and one girl is stuck on the roof, slipping and slidding. I won't throw away the ending, but it's not really a surprise.

End Spoilers.

In short, the script is mediocre, but the main crash is hella-exciting and worth admission. Tarantino's visuals will save the day and I'm sure this film will be very enjoyable. Now if I only I could get my hands on R.R.'s half of the project."

The state of that Watchmen script

From Aintitcoolnews, "Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
Although I can’t publish my full detailed report until May, I had a very interesting visit this week to the editing room of the new Warner Bros. film 300, directed by Zack Snyder. I walked into the encounter thinking he was a talented guy who had made a pretty good first film. I left the encounter convinced that Snyder is one of the best-kept secrets in Hollywood right now, a visionary with a wicked eye and a real feel for how to bring fantastic material to the bigscreen.
While I was there, I noticed a copy of the WATCHMEN graphic novel sitting on the desk of his office, and in our conversations about Frank Miller and his newfound luck in film translations of his work, the subject of Alan Moore came up. Snyder mentioned that he was about to meet with the producers of WATCHMEN to discuss whether or not he would come aboard to direct the long-in-development film.
I’ve been able to confirm now that Snyder has entered negotiations with Warner Bros. to helm the project, which is fantastic news. I know that all you guys have seen so far is DAWN OF THE DEAD, so that’s all you can judge him on, but trust me... 300 is a whole different ball game. When you get a load of what this guy is capable of... when you see how far he pushes things with bringing Frank Miller’s world to life... you’ll be just as excited as I am. I’ve always said that WATCHMEN had the right producers and writer attached, and I think there have been some interesting directors (Aronofsky and Greengrass) attached to it in the last few years. But with Snyder, I think the WATCHMEN may have finally found the perfect guy for the job, and I am absolutely rabid to see what he’s going to do.
And speaking of that script... I’ve heard there are some revisions underway to really fine-tune the various Hayter drafts and make sure that what ends up onscreen is the most perfect realization of Moore’s book possible. I’m hoping I can work something out where I can track down the new writer and talk with him about the work he’s doing, because I know how important this book is to so many of you. Zack Snyder said the same thing about it to me, talking about the responsibility of bringing something like WATCHMEN to life. “If I screw up 300, that would be heartbreaking, but ultimately, it’s not as well known a property. If you get WATCHMEN wrong... well...”
He didn’t have to finish the sentence, and he doesn’t have to worry. I have utmost faith that he’s going to knock it out of the park. I’m as sure of that as I am of the fact that when the trades finally report Snyder has signed as director, they won’t mention that the story broke here first. Take that to the bank.
Okay... I wanted to add a few comments in light of the incredibly redundant talkback that has erupted below. If I could strike any one regurgitated bit of parrot speak from the collective vocabulary of fandom, it would be that numbingly predictable "WATCHMEN should be an HBO series" horseshit. I love Terry Gilliam. The man made my favorite film, BRAZIL. But when he said what he said fifteen years ago, he was responding to a script draft by Sam Hamm and a development process that involved producers that have been off the film for a long, long time. And at the time, maybe he really did think that was the only hope for the property.
But this steadfast insistence that the property can't be done justice in film form is just plain wrong. I disagree completely. And that's because I've read many drafts of the current project, including the one I reviewed here. It is possible. And not only that, it's a priority to Lloyd Levin and Larry Gordon, who have stayed with this property in its journey from Universal to Revolution to Paramount to Warner Bros. They've been with it through several different directors. And although I haven't heard from them on this, I assume they're the ones who are working with the young writer who is currently crafting what will hopefully be the final draft of this script. When you dismiss this project... when you dismiss the possibility of it out of hand, and when you say it could "only" work in television form... it's simply not true. More is possible if you're dealing with a script that genuinely respects the source material than you may even believe.
At its worst, fandom has a close-minded victim's mentality that must be incredibly frustrating for anyone actually trying to develop something like this, because you're faced with obstinance for the mere point of it. If you haven't seen what they're up to yet, and you don't know what they've done with the adaptation, and you haven't seen one image or design or indication of the look or feel, how can you make such a grand sweeping pronouncement? "It's not possible." All that says is that you can't do it. That doesn't mean it's beyond someone else.
I have spent years writing about this project and following its development not because I want it to suck, but because I believe that there's a chance it could be something great. And if there's any chance for that to happen at all, I know how incredibly tricky it's going to be. It's going to require a perfect mix of director and actors and script and production design and cinematography, and there are a million points along the way where something could go wrong. But if you take the attitude up front that it can "never" work, then it seems to me you really shouldn't even bother commenting any further. There was a time when you could have said that it would "never" work to make a film of SIN CITY, or that Warner would "never" make a serious Batman film, or that they would "never" get Spider-Man to move like Spider-Man, or that LORD OF THE RINGS would "never" work as a film, or even as a trilogy. And if you can look at all the times people have done exactly what they should "never" have been able to do, and you can still be so incredibly closed to this film sight unseen, then just give it up. You can just go off and imagine your pointless masturbatory 12 hour version of the thing, and be done with it. For some of us, the potential of film is part of the pleasure, and your pessimism seems like poison for the sake of poison."