Monday, July 31, 2006

Anti-Semitic Max

From Iwatchstuff, "Mel Gibson was arrested for a DUI on Friday after going 87 mph in a 45 mph zone, and during his confrontation with the arresting officers started acting nuts and saying ridiculously offensive things:

Once inside the car, a source directly connected with the case says Gibson began banging himself against the seat. The report says Gibson told the deputy, "You mother f****r. I'm going to f*** you." The report also says "Gibson almost continually [sic] threatened me saying he 'owns Malibu' and will spend all of his money to 'get even' with me." The report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: "F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Gibson then asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?" The deputy became alarmed as Gibson's tirade escalated, and called ahead for a sergeant to meet them when they arrived at the station. When they arrived, a sergeant began videotaping Gibson, who noticed the camera and then said, "What the f*** do you think you're doing?" A law enforcement source says Gibson then noticed another female sergeant and yelled, "What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?"
And on Saturday he issued a statement apologizing for his behavior, saying:

"After drinking alcohol on Thursday night, I did a number of things that were very wrong and for which I am ashamed. I drove a car when I should not have, and was stopped by the LA County Sheriffs. The arresting officer was just doing his job and I feel fortunate that I was apprehended before I caused injury to any other person. I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said. Also, I take this opportunity to apologize to the deputies involved for my belligerent behavior. They have always been there for me in my community and indeed probably saved me from myself. I disgraced myself and my family with my behavior and for that I am truly sorry. I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse. I apologize for any behavior unbecoming of me in my inebriated state and have already taken necessary steps to ensure my return to health."

As is usually the case, I like drunk Mel Gibson a hell of a lot more than sober Mel Gibson. Sure, sober Mel Gibson directed Braveheart, but drunk Mel Gibson calls women "sugar tits" and insults entire groups of people. He could stop a bullet with his bare hands and he still wouldn't be as awesome in my eyes as he is this very moment."

My diagnosis, "bad parenting"

From Darkhorizons, 'Child actress Dakota Fanning is set to shock fans in new movie "Hounddog", because she has shot child rape scenes and appears semi-naked reports The IMDb.

The controversial film written and directed by Deborah Kampmeier is a dark and violent story set in American's rural south - and the 12-year-old's mother and agent are convinced her gritty performance is Oscar-worthy.

Agent Joy Osbrink tells the New York Daily News that "It's not just the rape scene - the whole story is challenging Dakota as an actress. And I've never been so proud of her in my life. I've seen the dailies, and in every scene she gets better and better."'

"Teens" ruin more movies

As I noted in the Pulse post below, there's this really annoying trend whereby studio heads are insisting on the inclusion of "young, hot, hip" actors in film franchises in order to bring in the coveted teen set (e.g., think AVP). Yes, I understand that it's just good for business but it's still annoying. Below are two additional examples. I can already predict that Die Hard 4 and Rambo 4 are going to suck. From Darkhorizons,

"Jeepers Creepers" and "Dodgeball" star Justin Long, hot off recent hits like "The Break-Up" and upcoming comedy "Accepted", is just days away from being officially announced to co-star in Die Hard 4.0 reports IESB.

The site can confirm that he is in the final stages of his negotiations, though whether he will play the son of John McClane (Bruce Willis) or a computer hacker that he teams up with is unsure.

Long also confirmed that Len Wiseman ("Underworld") rumored to be in talks, is in fact directing. Fox has been seen scouting Vancouver for the big action sequel which finds hero John McClane coming out of retirement to battle an Internet terrorist organization."

"Production on "Rambo IV" is finally expected to commence October 1st in Thailand and talking with Entertainment Weekly, Sylvester Stallone says a lot of the delays in the last two years which stalled the film revolved around the lack of a potential enemy.

After ruling out the Mideast, Africa, and Korea, the actor finally hit on a solution "I called Soldier of Fortune magazine and said, 'What is the most critical man-doing-inhumanity-to-man situation right now in the world? Where is it?" says Stallone. They came back with Burma (aka. Myanmar), the largest country geographically in mainland Southeast Asia.

Art Monterastelli ("The Hunted") co-wrote the script with Stallone which finds Rambo living a monastic lifestyle in Bangkok and salvaging old PT boats and tanks for scrap metal. When a group of volunteers bringing supplies into Burma disappears, a relative of one of the missing missionaries begs Rambo to find them. He heads off with a team of young guns to find them."

Box Office

by Bridget Byrne

Captain Jack Sparrow was no match for Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs.

Miami Vice, the big-screen update of the pastel-happy '80s tube classic, made the scalawags of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest walk the proverbial plank, booking an estimated $25.2 million from Friday to Sunday to lead movie ticket sales.

Michael Mann's gritty, R-rated redo of his iconic cop series, with Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx channeling Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, met expectations, according to Universal. The studio noted Vice performed about the same as Mann's last crime drama, Collateral, which costarred Foxx and Tom Cruse and debuted with $24.7 million in August 2002.

The audience was evenly split between male and female and ethnically mixed, with 62 percent 30 or older, Universal says. Moviegoers reported that foremost they came for the action, with Foxx fans outpolling Farrell fans at the box office. Vice averaged $8,342 per site at 3,021 theaters.

Although Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest dropped down to second place after three spectacular weeks at number one, the high-seas adventure was still clearly afloat. The PG-13 sequel only fell 42 percent, seizing another $20.4 million in loot for a total haul of $358.3 million, the highest gross for a live-action film in Disney history.

With Vice and Pirates hogging the bulk of the box-office booty, there was little left to go around for the other major newcomers, John Tucker Must Die and The Ant Bully.

The former, a teenage romantic revenge comedy starring Sophia Bush, Ashanti and Arielle Kebbel as a trio of dumpees who try to get the new girl in school (Brittany Snow) to break the heart of the resident love-'em-and-leave-'em hunk (Jesse Metcalfe, opened in third place with $14 million. Fox's modestly budgeted PG-13 flick averaged $5,498 at 2,560 locations.

Meantime, The Ant Bully was virtually squashed beneath Monster House. The new 'toon, featuring the insectified voices of Nicolas Cage, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep, only mustered $8.1 million to debut in fifth place. Warner Bros.' Jeff Goldstein admitted the tally was "disappointing" and suggested The Ant Bully was a victim of the "overcrowded" family-film market, led by Sony's animated hit Monster House, which finished in fourth place with $11.5 million and has grossed $43.8 million.

Warners didn't get any better news from its more adult fare, either, as M. Night Shyamalan's all-wet fantasy Lady in the Water which sank 61 percent from its weak opening, with just $7 million in sixth place. The film's two-week total is a soggy $32 million.

Also dropping 61 percent in its second week was Clerks II. MGM's slacker sequel stirred up $3.9 million for a total of $18.4 million. Out of the top 10 altogether in its second week was Fox's My Super Ex-Girlfriend, which managed just $3.7 million for a total of $16.4 million.

But Fox had other stuff to be cheerful about. Not only did the fashion satire The Devil Wears Prada surpass the $100 million mark this week, but Fox Searchlight's Little Miss Sunshine, which had earned a standing ovation at the Sundance Film Festival, had an ultra bright debut. The R-rated road trip comedy, starring Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin and Steve Carell, averaged a blinding $50,955 at just seven screens in New York and Los Angeles, for $356,683 from Friday to Sunday. Since opening Wednesday, the film has grossed $484,877; the studio will gradually roll out Little Miss Sunshine throughout August.

Also opening in limited release was Scoop, Woody Allen's latest showcase for muse Scarlett Johansson. At 538 sites, Focus' PG-rated comic caper, which also stars Hugh Jackman, scooped $5,582 for $3 million.

While overall business dropped 20 percent from last weekend, it was still another up weekend compared to this time last year. The top 12 films combined for an estimated $114.8 million, a gain of 3 percent.

Here's a rundown of the weekend's top-grossing films as compiled by Exhibitor Relations from studio estimates; final figures are due Monday:

1. Miami Vice, $25.2 million
2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, $20.4 million
3. John Tucker Must Die, $14 million
4. Monster House, $11.5 million
5. The Ant Bully, $8.1 million
6. Lady in the Water, $7.01 million
7. You, Me and Dupree, $7 million
8. Little Man, $5.1 million
9. The Devil Wears Prada, $4.7 million
10. Clerks II, $3.9 million

Pulse has potential

2nd Pulse Trailer

I'm not so enthusiastic about the "young, hip cast", which seems to be required by studio heads these days, but this new trailer contains enough creepiness to bring me on board.

Friday, July 28, 2006

You better watch out

I only post this because it fills me with such a crippling feeling of sorrow that I won't be able to move the rest of the day.

Spock sings about Lord of the Rings

Leonard Nimoy's ode to Bilbo

Octopunk's Shatner post reminded me of this gem. How wonderfully awful. It's like that TOS episode where Spock gets emotions and the TV audiance is embarrassed for him.

Why does this please me so much?

This is old news at this point, but I never get tired of reading about how Shyamalan's narcissism is becoming increasingly obvious.

"Even in a summer featuring a Garfield sequel and 'Little Man', M. Night Shyamalans 'Lady in the Water' is set to take the crown as the worst movie of the summer. The first reviews are in, and they're anything but good. Michael Atkinson of the Village Voice says:
"Shyamalan is mystically assuming that any idea or image that pops into his skull will make a shapely tale, no matter how much cock-and-bull logic he has to invent to Gorilla Glue it together."
The Hollywood trade paper Variety says:
"Shyamalan has followed 'The Village' with another disappointment -- a ponderous, self-indulgent bedtime tale. Awkwardly positioned, this gloomy gothic fantasy falls well short of horror..."
The Associated Press says:
"The premise is intriguing, yet the mythology Shyamalan builds around his main characters is forced, pretentious and outright silly at times."
The Hollywood Reporter isn't quite as harsh, but the review is summed up with:
"The film utterly fails."
One more:
"Ever sense 'the Sixth Sense', each of M. Nights movies have been about 10 percent worse than the one before, so if my math is right, Warner Brothers is gonna have to shoot me out of a cannon to get me into a theater showing this. I'd rather watch a sex change surgery than this dudes movies."

And apparently M. Night is just as despicable personally as he is bankrupt creatively. The blog 'Dues Ex Malcontent' tells the behind the scenes tale of an interview Night recently did in New York, and when Night decided he didn’t like the location where the interview was to be held, he quickly made sure that everyone knew about it:
"Somebody's gonna get railed when this is over. I just want you guys to know that. I just want to warn you that it's coming. You've never seen me on a movie set, but you're gonna."

Miike's One Missed Call to be made for American audiances

From AICN, "According to Variety, Ed Burns and RULES OF ATTRACTION's Shannyn Sossamon have signed on to star in the US remake of ONE MISSED CALL. For those who haven't seen the original, the really creepy premise is this: A person gets a call on their cell phone. A creepy-ass ring tone plays (I know it's silly, but the music used in the original was fuckin' killer) and the screen reads "One Missed Call." When they listen to their voicemail they'll hear their own voice saying something pretty out of context random and then they'll scream. The voicemail will be dated from a certain time and date in the future. And on that time and date you'll see where the audio came from.

Miike took this silly premise and made a film genuinely tense, atmospheric and creepy. The level of dread as the characters you're following get closer and closer to their deaths was real in Miike's version. I hope they can come close to recapturing that for the US remake, but I'm not going to hold my breath for it. What about you folks?"

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Captain Kirk at his goofiest since "I am Kurok!"

Bill Shatner

If you've seen the clip from Family Guy, then you must see this. The 1978 Science Fiction Movie Awards, ladies and gentlemen. This is a bit longish for what it is, but I recommend checking out the whole thing. It was the 70's, and it's impossible to divine the level of Shatner's self-parody -- and the level may actually be zero. From the applause at the end, it would seem there's no irony at work here.

Now watch Stewie do it!

Rocket Man Stewie

Michael Mann is awesome

Miami Vice

From aintitcoolnews, "Hola all. Massawyrm here.
Wow. Just wow. I didn’t see this one coming at all. Judging from the trailers and the early look presented last weekend on NBC (after a replay of the original Pilot Episode of Miami Vice), this thing looked like ass. Complete ass. Terrible one liners delivered by actors who looked like they wish they were anywhere but filming this movie, thumping music video editing and HD shot at night for that shot on video feel. But man is their promotion way off the mark. I don’t know if this has been spearheaded by someone who is too close to the film to see how bad this looks out of context or whether the Studio wanted it to look as slick and poppy as the TV series was – but either way, what they’re sellin’ ain’t what they’re deliverin’. Because Miami Vice is pretty fucking kick ass.
This is a dark, brooding, nihilistic action film that absolutely delivers on the promise of Michael Mann’s name in the credits. It’s rough, seedy and violent in all of the very best ways. This ain’t no pop-culture throwback, nor is it any kind of popcorn film – it’s a brutal ass kicker with pen in hand, ready to take names.
While this is by no means an absolutely perfect film (I’ll get to the flaws in a moment), everything in the trailer is so taken out of context that it hurts. Those one-liners that feel like cheesy dialog work 100% of the time in the film. This is the story of two guys trying to infiltrate a world in which every encounter is a pissing contest to prove who could fuck the other up the most and these lines perfectly nail the sense of bravado and nigh ridiculous machismo of that world. These guys are tired, they’re bitter, and what seems like a lack of performance in the trailer is actually Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell playing their roles to the hilt. These aren’t superheroes. They’re cops, doing a shitty and incredibly dangerous job, and it’s worn them down to the nub. And every bit of that shows in their expressions and delivery.
And man does the HD work in this film. Now I’m certainly not the worlds biggest fan of HD. I simply think it’s not there yet. It still isn’t delivering the depth of field and the grain of 35mm. But the almost documentary like feel of the cinematography in this makes it raw, seething, like it’s really happening. It feels incredibly authentic. From the very natural sound design to many of the handheld shots, Miami Vice gains its power from a sense of realism absent in films of this type.
Making this even more realistic and -oddly enough - even more exciting, is the way the film is constructed. Unlike both the original show and modern action films, Miami Vice defies the normal conventions of car chase/gun fight/car chase/buddy comedy scene/gunfight/car chase and instead builds tension through a sense of impending doom. The villains in this film don’t fuck around, not one bit. There’s no hitting heroes over the back of the head or explaining complex plots. If these guys so much as get a tingle in their extremities, they’ll cap you just to be sure you don’t fuck them over. Mann does an excellent job of establishing this right from the get go, so there’s never a doubt in your mind.
The result is a slow burn film that draws you in as these guys go deeper and deeper into their operation, every moment being a moment closer to the heavies catching on. And when violence does break out, it simply explodes. It’s quick, deadly and bloody, bloody, bloody. Arms being torn off by 50 Caliber bullets bloody. Puffs of blood popping out of the back of the skull bloody. Michael Mann seems to sucker punch you with every violent scene, squeezing out every last bit of possible impact from each death. Nothing here is wasted.
And the story is actually pretty damned good. It’s an operation. That’s it. It’s not some twisty, turny, paint by number plot. It begins with the introduction of the operation and proceeds to take you every step of the way from the set up of cover identities, to getting the introductions, to the crimes the cops have to commit to earn the trust of their new employers. And every last moment of it is fascinating.
But this comes with some love it or leave it concepts that’s really going to make or break your feelings on the film. First of all, it’s called Miami Vice. It explores the particularly dark themes the show attempted but was never able to truly attain on prime time television. It’s about a pair of vice cops named Crockett and Tubbs. And it is set in Miami. But if you’re hoping for an update that includes many of the old side characters and long running jokes (Like Elvis the Alligator on Sonny’s houseboat) than you are pretty much SOL. Now its handled in such a way that is doesn’t remove those elements from this universe, but it certainly ignores them. Sonny could have an Alligator on a houseboat, but we’ll never know because we never see Sonny at home. The film is entirely about them on the job.
Which of course doesn’t leave any room for real character development. The characters are developed enough, but people unfamiliar with the show will walk out of this without knowing one iota about who Crockett or Tubbs are. And personally, I loved that. I’ve seen a metric shit ton of cop films in my lifetime, and I’ve seen every tired, clichéd backstory they can fit in between the important plot elements. Here Mann simply cuts through all the bullshit and just tells us a cop story without any of the filler. But understandably, some people are gonna want that filler and will ultimately feel like they were gypped out of character development.
And as gritty and dark as this gets, it never has a sense of humor about itself. There’s one moment of comedy in the whole film and thus there are no breaks from the heavy nature of it, no shining rays of humanity to break the tension. Some, like myself, will love that – appreciating the grim, shadowy world these guys hate so much to be a part of. For others, it’s just going to be way too heavy. The show had a sense of humor. This doesn’t. Another thing some fans will miss.
My one complaint, which is going to sound odd, is that I didn’t like the sex scenes in the film. Not that I was offended by them in any way – just that they seemed to come out of nowhere at times when I’d much rather be immersed in the story. And I’d just like to point out that I shower every god damned day of my life. Every day. These guys, they shower like once every three weeks – and every time they do, some beautiful naked woman strolls in to interrupt. Seriously, Mann. As real as everything else is presented…that’s where you break from reality? Unless I just need to get one of those big fucking showers. So let me ask you Mike, does the Asian come standard, or is that an add on?
Regardless of your feelings on any of these issues, the one thing this film will get you with is its climax. Wait, should I really have gone to this part of the review after the shower bit? Fuck it, just keep on truckin’ Massa. Miami Vice builds to one hell of a third act with the last 20 minutes becoming a frenetic, chaotic chain of violence that will simply drop your jaw at times. It’s edge of your seat the whole way to the end. And it delivers above all else.
Highly recommended for Michael Mann fans, cop and action film buffs, and anyone looking for a dark alternative to all the mainstream fare that comes with Summertime at the Box Office. Not recommended for old school fans of the show who are really hoping for a stream of TV show references, in jokes or riffs about the clothing."

I'm pretty sure Spider-Man 3 looks cool

Spider-Man 3 Leaked Trailer

If you want to strain your eyes, here's the footage of Spider-Man 3 that was shown at Comic Con. At least, I think it's Spider-Man 3. Someone forgot to adjust the lense on his camera.

Rough, very rough, footage from the upcoming Simpsons movie shown at Comic Con

San Diego Comic Con Simpsons Movie preview 2
San Diego Comic Con Simpsons Movie preview 1

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Updates on Star Wars and Indiana Jones

From Darkhorizons, "Lucasfilm's Steve Sansweet appeared at the San Diego Comic-Con and confirmed that the "Star Wars" animated series is now scheduled to premiere in 2008 whilst the live action series will begin sometime before 2010.

"We've been spending the last couple of years building from scratch two new state-of-the-art digital animation companies, one at Skywalker Ranch and one in Singapore. The scripts for the first batch of shows have been completed, and Animation is hard at work on the first episodes" says Sansweet.

The animated series is set late during the Clone Wars after Anakin Skywalker has achieved the rank of Jedi Knight. Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Count Dooku, Palpatine and General Grievous are expected to appear in the animated show.

He finally added David Koepp's script for Indiana Jones 4 is a couple of months away from finishing with hopes pre-production can begin before early 2007."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Fanboys everywhere wet themselves as the first picture of Venom is released

People seem to be pretty excited about this picture of Venom, and by "people" I mean fat guys in their 30s who have never kissed a girl. To me this picture suffers from the same problem I had with the original Spider-Man film, it looks too CG. In fact, the entire picture looks like a cartoon. Perhaps it will play better live.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Teaser Poster For Abrams' STAR TREK Relaunch Revealed

From AICN, "The official STAR TREK website has revealed the first teaser poster for J.J. Abrams' forthcoming relaunch of the series' theatrical component.
The poster offers no specific deatils about the film, other than specifying the year "2008", and advancing a whoppingly retro feel.

This poster arrives fast on the heels of Abrams' recent interview with Variety, in which he said:

"'Star Trek' to me was always about infinite possibility and the incredible imagination that Gene Rodenberry brought to that core of characters," he says. "It was a show about purpose, about faith vs. logic, about science vs. emotion, about us vs. them. It was its own world, and yet it was our world."

More concretely, Abrams says that as a kid, "Trek" was "always my favorite when it was a little bit scary, when they would deal with beaming something on the ship that was an incredible mystery or there was a clear threat.

"All of these things I loved about the series is what we're working to incorporate into the story for the movie," he says.

In regards to how he's approaching the film (from the perspective of appealing to fans -VS- appealing to a newer/broader market), Abrams indicated:

"We absolutely feel beholden to the fans, but at the same time, we have to recognize that you can't only go out and make a movie or TV shows for a group of people that live and breathe a show," Abrams says.

His goal: to make a pic that "simultaneously speaks to the people who hold 'Star Trek' close to their heart and at the same time tell a story that resonates" with new fans.

Personally, I would argue that a significant part of appealing to new viewers can be managed by simply crafting a TREK movie that actually feels like a "real" motion picture.

The later films in the previous cycle took on a frustrating "point and shoot" approach that felt like they were mimicking bland, TV-based episodic storytelling instead of fully utilizing (and appreciating) the large-screen medium available to them. If this was alienating to established fans, it must have played hell with the newbs.

Abrams and his team handled such considerations quite nicely in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III; it'll be fun to see if they bring similar cinematic sensibilities to TREK. I'd love to actually see a STAR TREK movie again..."

Comic-con reveals lost Superman II Donner clip

From Aintitcoolnews, "This was the real surprise of the panel. Singer introduced Richard Donner, who sat with him on some questions and then segued into a nice long clip from SUPERMAN 2, that Donner cut everybody's been talking about. He said that the internet fans are what convinced Warner Bros to put the money into compiling and cleaning up all the footage and cutting it together. The scene he brought is what he called a pivotal scene in the second film where Lois figures out Clark's secret in the Daily Planet. He used this scene to audition and it was Christopher Reeve's reading of this scene that got him the role.
There was some talk of portions of this sequence not existing and that some of the footage in the edit is from the filmed screen test, which had a mousey-haired Christopher Reeve with black shoe polish in his hair and missing about 25 pounds of muscle. I think that's what he said, but I didn't see it in the cut, so maybe I got that mixed up somehow.
It starts with Perry White walking through the Daily Planet reading a story about the capture of Lex Luthor by Superman and how his bomb plan had been foiled by Supes... "story by Lois Lane, picture by Jimmy Olsen... Ah, Luthor. You never looked lovelier," referring to a mug shot of the bald Hackman in prison stripes. Jimmy and Lois are talking, she's sitting at her desk. Jimmy looks up and says, "Oh, there's Mr. Kent! Bet you he wishes he had been around when it all happened." Lois: "Clark's never around when Superman's here..." Realization hits her. Clark is standing across the room, shooting a few worried glances towards Lois and Jimmy. He's being cornered by some Chatty Kathy.
Lois looks down at her paper, a photo of Superman is in it. She takes out a marker and draws glasses on him, a business suit around his super suit and hat on his head. She looks up and smiles. The whole time Clark has been trying to get away from this conversation and is looking worried. Lois whistles, she's got it! At that moment, Perry White calls, "Lane! Kent! Get in here!"
Clark says (to the chatty kathy) "Oh, dear me. Now I'm in trouble. Next time don't do that to me!" Lois throws some "super" remark at Clark as they enter Perry's office. White says Clark was late. "Sorry, Mr. White. I, uh... got stuck in traffic." Lois smirks. "Oh, that's a new one." "Excuse me?" "I mean as opposed to 'I was stuck in a phone booth' or 'I was locked in a bathroom'" Clark, "What are you talking about?" Perry interrupts. "If you two want to bicker, that's great. I have just the assignment for you. You're going to pose as a honeymoon couple in Niagra Falls to get an expose on the newlywed racket. Some of those motels are bilking those poor kids for every cent they can get! Real human interest stuff. Makes your Aunt Hattie cry her eyes out. Clark, "Um..." Lois, "That is a great idea, Mr. White!"
Clark, "Um, I'm doing a series on the city counsil..." Lois, "Oh, it wouldn't take long. We could fly right up there... you know... Superman..." Perry, "Good! See if he can give you a ride, it'll save a couple of bucks. 6 good photographs and that kid's hitting me up for a raise already!" Perry leaves the two alone. Clark, to Lois, "My goodness, you look like the cat who has swallowed the canary this morning." Lois, "Canary? No, I was thinking of something bigger. Something that flies..." Clark fumbles some more and Lois shows him her artful rendition of Superman in Clark get-up.
Lois, "You know I didn't start putting this together until this morning, which is really strange because a good reporter isn't supposed to let anything slip by them." Clark tries to laugh it off. She describes Superman. "Let's see... Tall... broad shoulders," Clark slumps down. "I have to give you credit. You had me fooled and I am nobody's fool, Superman." "You mean... you think I'm Superman?" Again he tries to laugh it off. Lois, "I'm willing to bet my life on it," she says as she opens Perry's window. "Lois! What're you doing!?!"
"You wouldn't let me die, Superman!" and she jumps out of the window. Clark speed runs through the Planet's office, whooshing up papers and blowing past all the reporters, but he's moving so fast they don't see him. He's in front of the building in a second. Lois is still falling. He uses his super breath and slows her fall. At the same time he uses his heat vision to burn through a lock that's holding a nice cloth sidewalk cover in place. It pops out and he super blows again, slowing her fall one more time just before she hits the cover and bounces off, right onto a fruit stand. Like breaking through the wooden thing. He super runs back up and when Lois looks up, covered in watermelon, Clark's looking out the window worried.
That was the scene. Looked great, seeing an alternate reality from the one I know. It was good seeing new Christopher Reeve Clark/Superman scenes. Anyway, there you have it. One more super large day in the works. Be back early tomorrow!"

Science fiction gets real

By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY
SAN DIEGO — The future, at least for movies, has become clear at Comic-Con.
And the outlook is pretty dark.

That's because teen horror is on the way out and science fiction is on a mission to reclaim Hollywood, according to filmmakers and studio executives, many of whom descended on the nation's largest comic book convention to allow a peek at the not-too-distant future in theaters.

This isn't science-fiction-cum-fantasy, like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. This is the stuff of H.G. Wells and Ray Bradbury: a glimpse at what's to come if we don't tend to the planet, keep an eye on technology and treat beings from other worlds with a little respect.

"Science fiction needs to come from what we're experiencing in the present days," says John Davis, producer of 2004's I, Robot. "And we're living in some pretty scary times. That's going to make for pretty compelling stories."

Among the fare:

•Children of Men. Clive Owen stars in this film set in 2027, when humans can no longer procreate and are desperately searching for a way to avoid extinction. Sept. 29.

•The Fountain. The Darren Aronofsky-directed drama spans 1,000 years and stars Hugh Jackman as a man struggling to find immortality for himself and his wife, played by Oscar winner Rachel Weisz. Oct. 13.

•Mimzy. Two siblings discover a box of toys sent from the future and begin developing remarkable talents both terrifying and wonderful. April 4.

•Planet Terror. Rose McGowan, Josh Brolin and Lost's Naveen Andrews star in director Robert Rodriguez's retro-futuristic look at what happens when a flesh-eating virus becomes an epidemic. It's part of Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's new Grindhouse double-feature (the second is Tarantino's Death Proof, about a man who kills with his car). Both are due April 6.

•Logan's Run. This remake of the 1976 movie, co-written by Bryan Singer, revisits theaters with the story of humans who are killed on their 21st birthdays to reduce overpopulation. 2007.

•Star Trek XI.Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams tackles the franchise with an eye toward returning it to its roots, when the William Shatner TV show was Earth-centric and a parable for our own political times. 2008.

On TV, the Sci Fi Channel continues to add original programming, and this fall, CBS will air Jericho, which forgoes fantasy for a more realistic scenario as a small Kansas town reacts to nuclear attacks on two major cities.

The film industry appears to be rediscovering the subject matter, thanks in part to the dwindling returns on horror movies, executives say.

This year's horror films, including The Hills Have Eyes, When a Stranger Calls and Silent Hill, have underperformed, taking in less than $50 million apiece.

"The market is oversaturated with horror," says Russell Schwartz, president of domestic marketing for New Line Cinema, which is releasing Mimzy. "These are cyclical things, but science fiction is pretty tried and true. They tend to come from solid books, which gives it a pedigree you can depend on."

Unlike Westerns and war epics, science fiction isn't bound by the constraints of history.

"There's no limit to material when you're thinking about science fiction, because you're writing about what might happen, not what's already happened," says Marc Abraham, producer of Children of Men. "Predicting the future is one of our most dependable sources of storytelling."

And socially, Schwartz says, the timing was right for a resurgence.

"Historically, science fiction springs from tension," he says. "The big boon we had in the '40s and '50s came from war and Cold War tensions. When times are tense, it causes us to look forward and imagine what it's all going to mean."

Jon Turteltaub, executive producer of Jericho, says science fiction is most powerful when it focuses on the world of the possible.

"The more realistic the scenario and the characters are, the more connected the audience feels," says Turteltaub, who screened the Jericho pilot here Sunday. "Some of the greatest science fiction, like Ray Bradbury's, stays as close to human behavior as possible."

The genre, Abraham says, "is an extrapolated version of the present. If you're at war, or you find out the government is spying on you, or if you feel your civil rights are being abrogated, it can provoke you as a writer. Science fiction is never about paradise found. It stems from trouble in our own world. The best kind of storytelling is when writers turn a mirror on ourselves, and that mirror shows us a lot of conflict."

Abrams doesn't find the genre so bleak.

"It can be pretty hopeful, which was the magic of Star Trek," he says. Series creator Gene Roddenberry "had a very optimistic imagination. There was always some darkness, but the problems were approached with a lot of hope. Science fiction isn't about one allegory or tone."

Nor is it a guarantee of profits. The genre's traditionally dark and scientific themes make the movies tricky to market to mass audiences.

Last year's War of the Worlds, for example, became Tom Cruise's biggest hit, bringing in $234 million. But Michael Bay's The Island, about the danger of cloning, did a dismal $36 million.

"People think sci-fi is a gold mine for studios, but it's actually a hard sell," says Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo. "If you're not doing something with fantasy elements like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, it's very hit or miss."

The invasion, however, is inevitable, given the political climate and Hollywood's cyclical nature.

The genre "gives you the chance to comment on the times you're living in," says producer Kevin Misher, who has bought the big-screen rights to Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. "And we're living in difficult times."

Lost gets more complicated

By Bill Keveney, USA TODAY
SAN DIEGO — Get ready for Hurley the filmmaker in The Lost Diaries, a new series of mobile-phone episodes, or "mobisodes."
In a preview shown to more than 4,000 Lost fans Saturday at Comic-Con, Hurley (Jorge Garcia) finds a video camera, which he uses to record events on the island. Plans are for 13 two-minute mobisodes on Verizon this fall, but the early going has been slow. "It has been hard to get it off the ground, because we don't want them to be ... lame," executive producer Damon Lindelof told a filled ballroom.

The video clips, including previews of extras in the upcoming Lost Season 2 DVD, were accompanied by Season 3 tidbits from Garcia, Lindelof and three other Lost representatives: Daniel Dae Kim (Jin) and executive producers Carlton Cuse and Bryan Burk.

Here's a little of what to look for in the upcoming season (premiering Oct. 4), which will be split into two parts to eliminate breaks in continuity caused by reruns:

• The first six episodes, before a 13-week break, "will look a little like a miniseries," Cuse said. Lindelof added a tease: "Something happens midway through the year that will fry everybody's brain."

• J.J. Abrams, who created Lost with Lindelof, will be more hands-on this season, co-writing the premiere — titled "A Tale of Two Cities" — and "hopefully" directing the first episode after the break, Cuse said.

• Kate (Evangeline Lilly) will get romantically involved. "Within the first six episodes, she'll be officially making her selection," Lindelof said.

• Desmond (Emmy nominee Henry Ian Cusick), the man in the hatch, will be back.

• The show will reveal more about the identity and history of The Others.

• There will be more adventure elements, which should please Locke and the actor who plays him, Terry O'Quinn, after a season largely spent typing on the hatch computer. "Terry said, 'I want a knife in my hand again,' " said Lindelof, who replied: "You'll get your knife back."

• The writers will get back to the off-island world, introduced in May by Desmond's girlfriend. "We're laying the seeds for a whole new element," Cuse said.

• A staged questioner said she was "Rachel Blake," a character in The Lost Experience, the show's online companion. She alerted fans to website

Lady in the Water bombs

By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY
Lady in the Water arrived dead in it.
The M. Night Shyamalan fairy tale, which marked a departure in the director's filmmaking style and a very public split from the studio that propelled his career, opened to a meager $18.2 million and third place, according to estimates from Nielsen EDI.

The opening was easily the smallest for Shyamalan's big-studio suspense films and was considered a vindication of Disney executives, who parted ways with the director after a clash of egos and tastes. Disney had produced his hits The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs and The Village. Shortly after the split, Shyamalan signed with Warner Bros.

Executives throughout Hollywood were watching ticket sales over the weekend to see which studio had made the right choice over the $70 million movie, which earned recommendations from only one-fifth of the nation's critics, according to the movie review site

"This fell short of expectations," says Dan Fellman, distribution chief for Warner Bros. "We had difficulty with the press, and it may have been too sophisticated."

But Fellman added that the studio did not regret signing Shyamalan. "Everyone has a film that doesn't live up to expectations. I'm sure he'll bounce back, and we're glad to be in business with him."

Disney had no comment on the film, partly because it was busy celebrating the success of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which held No. 1 for the third consecutive weekend with $35 million.

The movie has taken in $321.7 million and crossed $300 million in 15 days, the fastest film to reach that mark. The previous fastest was last year's Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which crossed the mark in 17 days.

Pirates also became the first film of the year to hold the No. 1 spot for three consecutive weekends and the last since last November's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The animated film Monster House was a strong second, taking in $23 million in its debut. You, Me and Dupree was fourth with $12.8 million, followed by Little Man with $11 million.

As for the other newcomers, Clerks II did as projected, $9.6 million for sixth, and My Super Ex-Girlfriend did a disappointing $8.7 million for seventh.

Ticket sales for the top 10 movies were up 17% over the same weekend last year. Final figures are out Monday.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

South Korean's popular monster movie is getting the Hollywood treatment

The Host trailer

From Darkhorizons, "South Korean monster movie "Host", which made a big debut at Cannes, is being lined up for a Hollywood remake reports Variety.

The original, directed by Bong Joon-Ho, follows a huge amphibious mutant that emerges from Seoul's Han River and focuses its attention on attacking people. Along with splasy digital effects, the film contains assorted political barbs aimed at both the Korean and U.S. governments.

Multiple studios are said to be circling "The Host," which has a U.S. distribution deal with Magnolia Pictures. A deal on remake rights is expected to be set by early fall." Check out the trailer above, it looks really fun.

Even more Star Trek animated goodies

Some additional extras were announced for the new Star Trek animated DVD set. This is shaping up to be a beautiful collection. Check it out here.

Joel Siegel is officially an old fart

From Movies Online, "Recently, I attended a screening for Kevin Smith's "Clerks II," the sequel to his independent film phenomenon, "Clerks." About 40 minutes into the film, Joel Siegel rose out of his seat and announced "Time to go," loudly adding that it was the first time in 30 years that he had ever walked out on a movie. When that happened, I thought to myself that Siegel's bad reaction was probably the best review the film could get. And, I mean that, because it proves that older generations, and most likely younger generations, just don't get Smith's films, and this one certainly shouldn't be any different, particularly since it is the follow-up to the model Generation X flick.

E!Online quoted director and creator Kevin Smith on his thoughts about Siegel's walkout; "As Paul Thomas Anderson once said of the man, getting a bad review from Siegel is like a badge of honor." And, I couldn't agree more. Smith's films are notorious for their excessively lewd and utterly merciless humor, and it's this simultaneously offensive and realistic dialogue and outrageous situations that make the "Clerks" and other Smith movies so provocative, inciting some very vocal inflammatory response. If Smith isn't getting this kind of rise out of some of the population, then he's not doing his job.

These films are enjoyed and beloved by their fans because they are daring and don't hold back. Also, Smith's movies are very specific as to their audience, the target age range being approximately 20-40. Outside of that generation, it may be quite difficult to see the immense relevance of a film with a lot of shocking material molded into outlandishly hysterical comedy. My best advice is this; don't go in expecting anything or anyone to be safe. Some love that about the original "Clerks." and some feel it's overrated for that very same reason. Such is the controversial and double-edged genius of Kevin Smith. You will be able to read our review tomorrow."

You're all Doomed

From Variety, "Warner Bros. Pictures is giving new life to DC Comics cult favorite "Doom Patrol," about a band of superheroes with freakish powers, with Akiva Goldsman producing the bigscreen adaptation through his Warners-based Weed Road Pictures.
Studio has hired Adam Turner to pen the screenplay.

News is sure to set off buzz at Comic-Con. Debuting in 1963, "Doom Patrol" was often compared to Marvel's "X-Men." Both comics follow the exploits of a band of super-powered social misfits ostracized by the rest of the world.

As with X-Men, the Doom Patrol is guided by a wheelchair-boundmentor in fighting evil. Characters include Elasti-Girl, Negative Man and Robotman.

Series, created by Bob Haney, Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani, ceased in 1968 after failing to woo a big aud. DC revived the series several times over the years, however, with more recent incarnations turning "Doom Patrol" into a much darker, edgier comic than "X-Men."

Producers of the film version are Goldsman and Weed Road's Kerry Foster. Weed Road's Matt Smith brought in the project.

"These are some of the most original, offbeat comicbook characters we have ever come across, and Adam Turner's unique sensibility makes him a perfect fit for the material," Goldsman told Daily Variety.

Turner sold an untitled teen horror pitch to Lionsgate last year. Project is being produced by Lawrence Bender."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Frank Miller to helm The Spirit

From Superherohype, "Comic book artist Frank Miller will adapt and direct The Spirit, based on comic legend Will Eisner's classic strip, for Odd Lot Entertainment and Batfilm Productions, reports Variety.

Miller made his helming debut co-directing Sin City -- adapted from his graphic novel -- with Robert Rodriguez.

The Spirit, which debuted in 1940, tells the story of a masked detective who is believed to be dead. Using a mausoleum as his home base, Eisner's character fights crime in the dark shadows of Central City, using cunning and ingenious forms of punishment.

DC Comics has reprinted much of the comic series -- Eisner's best-known work -- in hardcover form.

Odd Lot bought rights to The Spirit from Eisner, who passed away last year, in 2004. The producers are Del Prete, Pritzker, and Batfilm's Michael Uslan (Batman Begins).

"I intend to be extremely faithful to the heart and soul of the material, but it won't be nostalgic. It will be much scarier than people expect," said Miller.

Miller said he's putting together a treatment that consists in large part of panels from the "Spirit" strip. Shooting is expected to start in late spring.

Batfilm co-founder Benjamin Melniker is executive producing. Odd Lot's Linda McDonough and Batfilm's F.J. DeSanto will co-produce."

Night at the Museum

From Iwatchstuff, "The new poster for the Ben Stiller museum-coming-to-life-at-night comedy has been released. The image's coloring, style of the text, and my general lack of education lead me to believe this is some sort of The Mummy sequel. Speaking of which, why aren't there any fucking mummies in this poster? If you bring a museum to life, one of the first things that's going to happen is mummy attack. They're at museums, they're naturally vengeful; it's common knowledge."

Harry sees World Trade Center

I hate Harry's reviews, but this is the first word on Oliver Stone's new film that I've seen anywehre. From Aintitcoolnews, "Watching WORLD TRADE CENTER, I didn’t come away with any metaphors about what’s happening in our world today. It isn’t a subversive film with hidden agendas. There are no digs at that fearless leader that was/is running this country. There really isn’t any anger or hatred in the film, and at no point did I feel anger or hatred. In fact, there’s no mention of Al Qaeda, no mention of Islamic Fundamentalists. No blame assigned, none of that.

WORLD TRADE CENTER is about one of the downright scariest, most terrifying moments in U.S. History. It’s about men that wanted to help, but before they could help one single person, they found themselves beneath tons of rubble, in excruciating agony and torment… with little to no hope of survival. It is also about the utter helplessness of their wives waiting for word, unable to go to the scene, to aid in the search.

I should warn you, this is an intensely emotional film. There are very few moments of levity. At its heart – it’s a story of wading through despair and putting your faith in people you can’t see or know are coming. About staying awake through pain, of facing and resolving that you’re going to die, to find yourself alive… again. Of how Viggo Mortensen quotes from G.I. JANE are the most useful phrases in the world, when buried beneath tons of rubble.

I really didn’t want to see this film. I really had no hope for the movie. The trailers looked like a bad time. Let’s face it, we know the story. This event, that day, that place… it fucked up the whole world. It’s the foundation for why everything is so goddamn fucked up. I’m sick and fucking tired of 9/11 being invoked, because the rotten sons-a-bitches that put it on shields to hide behind and justify horrors after horrors… make me want to puke. The baggage of this series of events… it’s more than any movie can really hold.

Like many of you, I was awake and watching the gut-wrenching thing live. I sat there… in horror as the towers fell. Tears rolling down my face as two buildings that I never liked fell, because just looking at it, you knew… tens of thousands were dying. I’d seen Las Vegas casinos implode, but not with the idea that anyone was inside. This. This was a horrible memory, and honestly – I didn’t want to relive it at GROUND ZERO.

All of that said, there’s something amazing that happens watching this film. Well, especially watching this film clutched to someone you love. I highly recommend, if you see this film. See it with someone you can hold on to. Then pray to God you never have to go through anything like this with them in reality.

This isn’t the worst thing you’d ever have to face. There’s grimmer subjects. SOPHIE’S CHOICE comes to mind. The Holocaust. Cancer. AIDS. Watching your loved one die painfully. Ultimately, for the characters in this film… while the events were traumatically indescribable… they survived. 2, 749 died, this is the story about 2 of 20 that survived.

So, is that reaffirming? Is the film cathartic?

Yes. It felt good to leave that theater, to look into the face of the person I loved. Hugging her felt so good after this film. It’s hard to describe.

When the world ends in this film… When the first tower comes down – it’s… I can not describe the fury of it. The madness. Yet in that, “SKY IS FALLING” blink – the man, John McLoughlin, that Nicolas Cage is playing. He directed his men to run into the Elevator shaft area. He knew to do that. In that… bit of madness, he thought to direct his fellow men into the one place where there was a possibility of survival. The first collapsing of the building… was shocking. A fury. A maelstrom.

We stay with Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena and Jay Hernandez. There’s survival. Then the second tower fell. Mind you, they’ve NO IDEA what is happening. To them – this was the concourse collapsing. It was impossible for their minds to grasp what they were actually surviving. It is just… well… the end of the world.

The second tower falling experience just produced an eruption of tears and horror. It. It just, you can’t imagine. Stone doesn’t spare us the horror. I can’t imagine McLoughlin and Jimeno advising on this film. Of sitting down with Oliver Stone and going back in their minds to the moment and describing for him the nightmare… no, the reality that they experienced. This is as close as once can imagine the experience of SURVIVING being buried alive beneath the World Trade Center could be.

It’s a horror that no amount of reading CASK OF AMONTILLADO or PREMATURE BURIAL could ever bring you.

Why see the film? I know I’m not describing a good time here.

Well, through it all… there’s the hope that some fucking crazy ass marine… motivated by God and his deep spiritual sense of duty… will travel hundreds of miles to stand 20 feet above you, look through the rubble and hear you. The moment of discovery. I really can’t… I don’t… As I’m revisiting the moment in my mind here, tears are coming to my eyes – cuz it’s a moment of such release in the film. When you hear what that crazy looking marine apparently said to these two through the rubble… it feels so unbelievably pat, that it is joyous. So fucking amazing. It’s like the fucking Death Star exploded, like the cavalry arrived, like inevitable death could be cheated. That the possibility of survival wasn’t some clingy hope, but a reality.

It’s amazing. Just amazing. Easily one of the most joyous moments I’ve had in a film came when that Marine said what he said, and the look on Michael Pena’s Jimeno’s face. It’s just euphoric beyond anything you could imagine.

This isn’t an easy film for an audience to get through, but would you want it to be? In a world where helplessness and hopelessness continues to grab a hold of us as the whole world seems to be going mad, a film about hope, prayers answered and faith in your fellow man… that’s really something special, you should remember it. You should experience it."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Spielberg Talks Upcoming Projects

From Darkhorizons, 'This past weekend, Spielberg Films attended the Chicago International Film Festival's (CIFF) Tribute to Steven Spielberg and got to speak with the man in question about all his upcoming projects. In the process they managed to shoot down a whole bunch of speculation. Here's the quotes from Spielberg himself:

Angels and Demons
"No one's ever approached me to do 'Angels and Demons,' and if they did, I would say no. Because it's not my genre, not my thing!"

Indiana Jones IV
"George and I have been promising it for a lot of years now, but I'm making every attempt to keep my promise. I just want to make sure that the fanbase is given the best 'Indiana Jones' anybody could possibly make, and until I can assure myself that at least I'm trying to make the best 'Indiana Jones' film of all time, the development will continue. The process of developing the script will continue, and it continues right now with David Koepp writing the script... I feel that if anybody can do it and pull this together, David can".

Jurassic Park IV
"Joe Johnston is standing by. First dibs on it, and Joe is my go-to 'Jurassic' guy now. I think the film is witty and clever, and I think Joe did an amazing job putting together those battles. And I think those battles Joe put together... I was jealous of the spinosaurus attack on the airplane! That scene where the spinosaurus attacks the airplane and the passengers inside the airplane was every bit as good as I thought the main road attack in 'Jurassic Park' was. So I'm a huge fan of Joe's, and he's the right guy to do the fourth one".

"It's viable. The script's being written, and hopefully sometime in September/October of '07 I'll have the chance to start that. I can't guarantee that, it's just, once again, like 'Indy 4,' that script is in process"

Untitled Sci-Fi Wormhole Project
"It's called 'Interstellar.' That's the name. It's a detailed treatment by Dr. Kip Thorne, and I'm working with Lynda Obst, who's the producer, and Kip Thorne on this project... I don't want to categorize it yet, 'cause I'm just at the beginning of the process. I don't see it as '2001'".'

Star Trek animated final specs

Hot on the heels of yesterday's Star Trek announcement comes more information on what to expect. TVondvd provides the details here, Can't wait!

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Final Frontier

A long-overlooked chapter of the “Star Trek” saga is finally making its way to DVD.

Paramount Home Entertainment will release all 22 episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series in a $35 four-disc set Nov. 21, making it the last “Star Trek” property to receive an official DVD release.

The series originally ran for two seasons on NBC from 1973 to 1974, and featured the stars of the 1966-69 series providing the voices for their well-known characters, including William Shatner and Capt. James T. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Spock.

“It was the first time the cast was together after the first show ended,” said producer Lou Scheimer. “The first reading was like a reunion.”

It almost didn’t happen. “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry’s relationship with Paramount had been strained following NBC’s cancellation of the live-action series.

Enter Scheimer, co-founder of Filmation Associates, who got in touch with Roddenberry through a mutual friend.

“I suggested we do a Saturday morning show. He said he’d love to do it,” Scheimer said. “He was involved in ‘ongoing negotiations’ with Paramount and they weren’t really talking much. The animated show brought them back together.”

As a result, renewed fan interest in “Star Trek” sparked the franchise’s revival with Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979, and subsequently four more television series and nine more films.

“It revitalized ‘Star Trek,’” Scheimer said. “It showed there was value in it.”

Ironically, the animated show is not considered part of the overall “Star Trek” storyline, at the behest of Roddenberry.

Many of the episodes were written by Roddenberry and the original series writers, and the show won a daytime Emmy in 1975 for Outstanding Children’s Series.

“Why we got the Emmy for a kids show, I don’t know,” Scheimer said. “It wasn’t really a kids show. It was designed to be the same kind of show as the nighttime show, with the same type of messages.”

I'm coming to get you, Barbara

The Wayans Brothers continue to make terrible movies

The only thing I find less funny than "talking" animal movies is this Wayans Brothers concept. There's just nothing funny about babies with adult brains making sarcastic concepts and every time an advertisement for this movie comes on TV I find myself swallowing my rage. Then again, these are the same people who brought us the equally unfunny movie, White Chicks. Come to think about it, someone sporting white-face is probably my third least funny concept. Perhaps as a follow up the Wayans Brothers can make a movie about an African American baby/adult in white-face with a talking dog that makes sarcastic comments.

From Iwatchstuff, "Before anyone spends any money seeing the Wayans Brothers latest venture, Little Man, this weekend, I just wanted to point out that besides looking terrible, the idea is stolen. It's a Looney Tune! You know, the one where Bugs takes in the pint-sized criminal after inadvertently stealing his loot, better known as "Baby Buggy Bunny." And I'll tell you, White Chicks isn't so far off from when Bugs dresses up like a woman, either. The Wayans Brothers may very well be swiping all their ideas from Bugs Bunny cartoons. And here I was, assuming the Devil provided them."

'Pirates' has a lock on box office

By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY
Goofball comedies were no match for a goofball swashbuckler this weekend as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest again took the top spot at theaters.
The Johnny Depp adventure dropped a respectably low 54% from its record-breaking debut, taking in $62.2 million, according to studio estimates from Nielsen EDI.

BY THE NUMBERS: See the weekend's top 10 films

More important, despite a small dip in overall revenue this weekend (ticket sales for the top 10 movies were down 4% from the same weekend last year), Pirates helped buoy the box office, which is up 5% over last summer.

"Pirates is the kind of movie that gets people excited about other movies," says Paul Dergarabedian of Exhibitor Relations. "A good experience in a theater can beget another."

Pirates sailed easily past the Wayans brothers comedy Little Man and the Owen Wilson movie You, Me and Dupree, which duked it out for second place. If estimates hold, Little Man claimed No. 2 with $21.7 million, and Dupree was third with $21.3 million.

Pirates has captured $258.2 million since its $135.6 million debut and becomes only the third film to surpass $200 million in eight days. It joins Spider-Man 2 and Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

The real battle, though, was for second place and between popular comedy stars: Shawn and Marlon Wayans vs. Wilson. Analysts were split over who would claim victory, and studio executives seemed pleased with a tie.

"We knew this weekend was going to be a horse race," says Rory Bruer, distribution chief for Sony, which released Little Man. "But every time the Wayans brothers make a movie, they deliver."

Nikki Rocco, distribution chief for Universal Pictures, which handled Dupree, says Wilson enjoys a similar appeal. "Watch him being interviewed on a talk show," she says. "He has an easygoing, accessible manner that people love."

Superman Returns was fourth with $11.6 million. The Devil Wears Prada continues strong, claiming fifth and $10.5 million. The Meryl Streep comedy has earned $83.6 million overall.

An Inconvenient Truth, at No. 11, dropped 5% for $1.1 million. The Al Gore film has done $17 million, making it the fourth biggest documentary ever.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Descent reviewed

From Bloodydisgusting, "Straight off his 2002 cult classic Dog Soldiers comes Neil Marshall’s first big movie The Descent, which Lionsgate will be releasing in the near future. Having just watched Sony Screen Gems’ The Cave on DVD and then Marshall’s movie in consecutive days only makes writing this review that much easier. Basically my review for The Descent is the complete opposite of my The Cave review.

In The Descent an all-female caving expedition goes horribly wrong. About one year prior to the day, one of these women lost her husband and daughter in a horrible car crash, today her friend Juno (Natalie Jackson Mendoza) tries to bring their friendship back together by leading them on an expedition. Back in the day the trio was courageous and daring, and Juno is determined to make a name for them (herself).

The hardest part about making a horror movie is coming up with a smart inventive way of causing the dilemma, and figuring out a solution. Neil Marshall slam dunks both to create a tightly meshed together film. The way these girls get trapped is brilliant, Juno is so concerned with doing something daring that she leads her friends into an uncharted cave she discovered- instead of the level 2 version they were signed up for. So when the rocks come crashing down on them, they are stuck in the middle of a pitch black cave with no idea if there’s another way out. I thought it was set up brilliantly, along with the conclusion, which I obviously cannot get into.

Marshall went out of his way to make sure this film wasn’t like anything else you’ve ever seen as he fills the cast with all strong women. The only male you see is the husband in the opening sequence before he dies. By having an all female cast you take two annoying clichés out of the movie; there’s no sexual tension between two of the characters (or lame sex scene), and you have no clue who will actually survive! Removing these two trite reoccurrences only solidifies the strong pacing of the film. But of course nothing’s perfect as one of the women breaks her leg after a fall and becomes a burden on them all (it seems to happen in every similar movie doesn’t it?).

The first 45 minutes of the movie are filled with tense personal moments between characters and some of the most claustrophobic sequences ever caught on film. I was so incredibly uncomfortable watching one scene as these six women worm their way through a small passage to the other side. Then Marshall spends time with a daring climb on the top of this cave over a seemingly bottomless pit. Where are the monsters you ask? In due time… in due time…

When these creatures finally appear on film, we get a little tease of them and an idea of what they look like- but when the big reveal hit the screen- holy shit! I am not exaggerating when I say I witnessed the loudest theater in the history of cinema. The prior record in my mind was when Samara crawled out of the TV in The Ring, this takes the cake ten fold. The final 45 minutes of film are filled with intense moments turning corners, waiting for monsters to drop out of the dark, and fight scenes that end with eyes being gouged out, heads smashed open and women’s rip cages cleaned out in a feast only these creatures could indulge in. The Descent is ridiculously bloody, violent and scary. I had seen the movie on VHS earlier this year, but viewing it in a theater is truly an experience on its own, so avoid Ebay if you will and see it in theaters first- then go run and buy your bootleg copy.

Neil Marshall has proven with The Descent that he knows horror films better than most of us as he has taken us for a ride that we’ll never forget. This film will go down as one of the best horror films in the past few years and I believe it will stand the test of time, which many horror films cannot do. When you walk outside the theater after The Descent, that first breathe of fresh air you suck in will never have been so sweet."

Will summer 2007 be "transformed"?

Transformers teaser

Summerisle is predicting that the Transformer movie is going to be "huge". Call me skeptical but I have my doubts that this is going to take off. Then again, there's this whole Goonies-generation that I sometimes fail to appreciate, and by appreciate I mean "forget they exist." From Usatoday, Interest in Transformers is about to be, well, transformed into full-fledged mania.

A new DVD, The Transformers: The Movie 20th Anniversary Special Edition (Sony, due Nov.7), not only celebrates the original 1986 animated film based on the Hasbro toy line, but also gives a sneak look at the Michael Bay-directed Transformers film due next summer (trailer at Executive producer Steven Spielberg also will appear on the DVD.

"They are doing something huge, and certainly we are here to help," says Jim Wilson of Sony BMG Home Entertainment.

The DVD will have remastered full-screen and widescreen editions of the film, which includes Orson Welles' final performance. Extras include commentary, deleted footage and interviews. And there's a viewing mode in which Transformer pop culture references pop up throughout. Plus: Hasbro has an action figure line due in November.

"The Joker"

From Iwatchstuff, "Speaking in an interview with Turner Classic Movies, Sir Michael Caine got on the subject of the work he was doing with director Christopher Nolan and mentioned offhand that he'd be making "The Joker" next year:

I wanted to work with him and then Christopher Nolan who directed Batman is doing a smaller film called The Prestige about magicians and it's very interesting. And we're going to make The Joker next year.
Now ordinarily this might mean something, but you have to keep in mind that Michael Caine is very old and probably doesn't know what he's saying anymore. Caine calling the movie "The Joker" doesn't make it its name any more than my Grandma calling me "Gary" makes that my name (it isn't even similar). Sometimes you just have to face that the elderly aren't making any sense. Sometimes they're going to do things like mix up movie titles or wander around your yard muttering about clovers. There's a fine line between hot movie scoops and the onset of senility."

Snakes on a Plane delivers?

Aintitcoolnews has a positive (and very long) review of Snakes on a Plane - sounds like a gem! Go here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Future rental

Night At The Museum - International Teaser

From Iwatchstuff, "The international teaser for Night at the Museum has been released, starring Ben Stiller as a museum security guard shocked to find one night that the displays are coming to life. The film also features Ricky Gervais, Dick Van Dyke, and Robin Williams hamming it up as an animated display of Theodore Roosevelt.

Scientists will be glad that the trailer finally answers an age-old question: if you re-animate a tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, does it grow skin and become a normal dinosaur or remain a skeleton dinosaur? I won't ruin it for you.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I think I'm addicted to Youtube. Seriously, I think I need help.

This movie has aged like a fine wine over the years and this scene brilliantly captures that feeling of being utterly fed up.

'Pirates' sets record for biggest opening

From Usatoday, "By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest surpassed virtually every box-office debut achievement on record this weekend, capturing the biggest opening in movie history.
The Johnny Depp adventure took in a staggering $132 million in its first three days, according to studio estimates from box-office trackers Nielsen EDI.

The debut easily shatters the record held by 2002's Spider-Man, which opened to $114.8 million.

The milestones didn't stop there. The sequel to the 2003 smash became the first film to rake in $100 million in two days. It did $55.5 million on Friday, the biggest single-day haul for any movie, eclipsing Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which did $50 million in one day last year.

"They're mind-blowing numbers," says Chuck Viane, distribution chief for Disney, which released Pirates. "We knew it would be a big movie, but I don't think anyone knew it was going to be part of a pirate-chic phenomenon. That's what really helped make it huge."

The film arrived riding a crest of pirate mania. Retailers are selling everything from T-shirts to dinner plates emblazoned with skulls and crossbones. Disneyland's theme park ride reopened Monday with 4,500 people waiting 31/2 hours in line to see the new animatronic versions of Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow and Geoffrey Rush's pirate Barbossa.

"It's still a relatively new film franchise, but Jack Sparrow is already an icon for a young generation," says Chad Hartigan, a box-office analyst for Reelsource. "He has an appeal we haven't seen in the movies for some time."

Depp initially mortified Disney executives with his decision to play Sparrow as a loopy, smirking and sometimes effeminate pirate.

But after the first film sailed to $305 million, those executives asked him to ham it up even more for this movie and the third installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, due May 25.

"You have to give all the credit in the world to Johnny," Viane says. "He's created a character people want to dress like, be like. They can't get enough of him."

Even competing studios had to tip their hats to the film, which helped drive ticket sales for the top 12 movies 50% over the same weekend last year.

"Kudos to Disney," says Rory Bruer, distribution chief for Sony Pictures, which released Spider-Man. "This is the kind of thing that gets people excited about going to the movies."

Superman Returns dropped a sizable 58% for second place and $21.9 million; The Devil Wears Prada was third with $15.6 million, down 43%. Click was fourth with $12 million, and Cars crossed the $200 million mark with $10.3 million. Final figures are due Monday."

Pirates of the Carribean 3 spoilers

I haven't read this post because I haven't seen Dead Man's Chest yet. Here's some details about the third film, World's End. From Dark Horizons, "Conducting interviews with all the cast of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest", Film Focus summarised everything from the interviews concerning the third film including some juicy stuff. Make sure to read this ONLY AFTER you've seen the second film:

- They shot around half of the film on location during the shoot for Dead Man's Chest and they've three months on soundstages from August. That suggests a good half of the film will be set indoors or on elaborate in-for-out sets.

- Mackenzie Crook's character, Ragetti, gets no closure. There's not a hint of romance to come. But his part becomes clearer and he has a couple of "important duties to carry out."

- Naomie Harris' character - who gets only two scenes in this film - is a key player next time around. *REAL SPOILERS* At this film's end she reintroduces Barbossa, brought back to life by her voodoo magic, and she confirmed our suspicions that she'll be bringing Jack back, too.

- Lord Cutler Beckett has some tricks up his sleeve for the gang in the third film.

- "Of course you'll see the Pearl again," says Mackenzie, confirming its demise in Dead Man's Chest isn't permanent.

- Nighy is unrelenting in feeling responsible for killing Jack Sparrow. But, he said, "there's always film three..." He promises Davy Jones will be much more evil next time around.

- Johnny and Keira will be involved in the scene with Keith Richards but poor Orlando Bloom won't be.

- Johnny Depp hopes that three won't be the end of it. He wants to keep Jack Sparrow going over more films, if he gets the chance."

Henry Jones Jr. has a daughter? Marion Ravenwood seems to think so...

What is it with Lucas and Spielberg and their need to inject their films with annoying children. Hopefully he'll take a cue from Superman and keep the kid mute (if the rumor is true).

From Aintitcoolnews, "another juicy rumor involving that forever in the works INDIANA JONES 4. As long as the film has been whispered about there have been rumors of Indy having a child. Karen Allen recently attended a screening of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in New York (how frickin' cool is that?) and during the Q&A she was asked about the Indiana Jones sequel. Here's a little report from a spy in the audience:

'Hey there, not sure if this is something you've already heard, but figured i'd send it your way anyhow. Saw Karen Allen tonight in NYC at a screening of Raiders. She did a Q&A after and was super cool. She's also still pretty hot. Someone asked about her involvement in INDY IV and she said she'd heard a lot of rumors but had not been approached directly yet. But she also said she just heard last night that Natalie Portman might be cast as INDY'S Daughter. Which lead her to speculate about a scene in Raiders when she awakens in the submarine and casually grabs her nightgown. Karen said that now she sees that scene and wonders if she and Indy had a "wild night" on the sub which might have resulted in a new member of the Jones family. Anyways hope you find this useful. If you use it please call me President George Bush.'

Thinking on it, Natalie Portman looks like she could be the spawn of Karen Allen and Harrison Ford. She has Allen's locks and a bit of her face shape. This is, of course, a rumor and will continue to be one until this project actually starts to for real go forward. I, for one, would love to see Indy end up with Marion. She was always his best partner, balancing his stubbornness with her quick wit and sharp tongue. If the movie does get made I'd want to see them together again. What about you folks?"

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Monster Mash

Well, I tried in vain to answer my question from last October's Horrorthon "What instrument did the mummy play in the Monster Mash?" but this clip is actually pretty funny. This song has enraged me for many, many years but I think I finally reached the point in my life where I can laugh at it.

Vincent Price: Master of Horror

And JPX had the nerve to say to that Vincent Price was incapable of scaring him...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Stop-Motion Christmas Coming to Life

From Iwatchstuff, "As if severe asthma and parental alcoholism hadn't stolen enough of my Christmas joy, NBC is going to take the few enjoyable moments I had by remaking the classic Rankin/Bass 1974 stop-motion classic The Year Without a Santa Claus as a live-action special:

Ron Underwood (City Slickers) is directing the two-hour film, which will star John Goodman as Santa. Also cast are Ethan Suplee (NBC's My Name Is Earl), Chris Kattan, Eddie Griffin and Carol Kane. Larry Wilson and Tom Martin wrote the script.

The movie will tell the story of a disgruntled St. Nick who decides to take the year off from delivering presents and ultimately rediscovers the meaning of the holiday through the help of a young boy.

I don't know why they're possibly remaking this. The charm in these specials was almost entirely their animation. It's not as if the plots were so impressive that they warrant a re-envisioning of the material. It's like remaking Joan Rivers as a natural beauty. Sure, I can see how it might look nicer, but really, it's only the weird fake parts making her tolerable."

Singer Interested in Batman vs. Superman?

From MTV, 'Now that Superman has returned, what menace will he battle next? That's the big question in Hollywood this week, and since Brandon Routh was discovered in casting sessions for a once-planned "Batman vs. Superman" flick, rumors of the blockbuster smackdown have been resurrected. "I was at a party recently; Hugh Jackman had a benefit at his house," "Superman Returns" director Bryan Singer said. "I went there, and Christian Bale was there, and I suddenly felt like Brandon should be there too. I had all these superheroes around me." Routh added that while he enjoyed sparring verbally with "Batman" star Bale recently at the MTV Movie Awards, he'd prefer to see the two heroes work together. "I don't think we should go toe-to-toe, unless one of us is deranged somehow by some mind-altering drug," he laughed. "We shouldn't be fighting each other; we should be combining forces." Singer said he'd consider directing a "Batman vs. Superman" flick, but only after the Man of Steel establishes his identity a bit more thoroughly. "I've thought about it for a long time — even a longer time ago, actually," the director revealed. "But I don't know who would be the villain. I guess Batman would be the villain, but then he can't be too bad, because he is Batman. So not quite yet. ... I think Superman needs to have his own movies for a little while before that happens." Either way, Singer insisted that "everybody's excited to do more ... and I'm sure we'll do another one." And Routh had this word of warning for Bale: "I don't think Batman really, really wants to go and mess with Superman." ...'

'Pirates' set sail with no compass

By Anthony Breznican, USA TODAY
Unlike Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean didn't start out as a trilogy.
When the 2003 movie became a hit, it took some hard thinking and a few lucky accidents to devise a pair of follow-up movies.

The first sequel, Dead Man's Chest, premieres nationwide today. The third film is due in theaters next summer.

"We had to construct a trilogy in reverse," director Gore Verbinski says. "So the loose ends (from the original) became our best assets."

Screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, whose credits include Shrek and Aladdin, scanned the first movie to search for "the unanswered questions, the little hints about what's around the corner," Rossio says. "There was a lot that we could draw from."

One such question mark: the compass carried by Johnny Depp's pirate Jack Sparrow. In the first movie, a character takes it from Sparrow when he is jailed and remarks that it "does not point north."

"It was scripted and shot that the compass points to Isla de Muerta (the home of the first movie's cursed treasure), but it's not in the movie. It was cut, so we were able to actually say, 'Ooh, we can redefine the compass. Excellent!' " Elliott says.

This time, the compass points to a new island, home of the title's "dead man's chest."

Other unexplored territory included Bootstrap Bill, the father of Orlando Bloom's character. This time, Bootstrap turns up as part of the undead crew of Davy Jones, a part-squid, part-man, part-crab slave driver of the ocean. The longer his crew lives underwater with him, the more they mutate into sea creatures.

In Pirates 2, Bootstrap (played by Stellan Skarsgard of Sweden), visits Sparrow to warn that an old blood debt the hero owes Davy Jones must soon be paid — and Sparrow is horrified to see the starfish, barnacles and shells sprouting on his former friend's face. "We see him (as) he becomes more and more consumed by this curse," concept artist Crash McCreery says.

Rossio says he worried there wouldn't be enough gags in the sequel linked to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, such as the bits from the first film when prisoners whistled to coax a dog that has the keys to their cell in his mouth, or the skeleton drinking wine that flows through his ribcage. "On the first movie, we used the ride as our source material," he says.

But footage shot for the first movie of the mayor of Tortuga being dunked in a well — as he is in the Disney theme park ride — was used for the second movie.

To set up the third movie, the filmmakers settled on a cliffhanger that will take the characters out of the Caribbean and into the port of Shanghai, where Chow Yun-Fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) plays a Chinese buccaneer.

Verbinski says the final movie, in addition to featuring the return of at least one major character from the original, will be a test of Sparrow's humanity.

"The character has an honest streak that he hates. He wants to be bad, but he's actually good. Just when they think he's too silly, we give him some heartache and tangible reality," Verbinski says.

Though Depp says he's game to reprise the character in endless sequels, Verbinski is focused on wrapping up the third one.

He also hopes to shoot a cameo role for Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards, part of the inspiration for Depp's woozy pirate. "It's a fantastic part," Verbinski says. Does Richards play Sparrow's father? "It's open to interpretation."

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Silver Surfer to be played by computers

From Iwatchstuff, "According to Moviehole, not only are the rumors about Vin Diesel playing the Silver Surfer in the second Fantastic Four movie untrue, but the Surfer won't even be played by a human, with director Tim Story opting for an all CGI design.

The film's director, Tim Story, told me this morning that although The Silver Surfer is indeed in the movie, it won't be Vin Diesel playing him.

"No truth to it", Story said, when asked about the Diesel rumours. "The Surfer will be a new CGI design being developed especially for the movie. It's going to be incredible."

The CGI system being developed to make a man appear to be made of silver is so sophisticated, it's being codenamed, "The same crap they did for T-1000 in Terminator 2." At least by me.

As a condolence to Vin, I'd like to point out that it's probably only going to help your career to not to play a silver alien that rides on a surfboard. Yes, it worked for Brando, but he's Brando."

I worry that LOST is lost

In previous posts I've expressed my concern that J.J. Abrams is making up LOST as he's going along without any overarching beginning, middle, and ending to the story (e.g., X-Files). News of a potential movie seems to support my fear that we're going to have an unsatisfying ending to the TV series with a big fat "To be the movies!"

From Darkhorizons, "The makers of "Lost" want to end the hit TV show after a maximum of five years and are planning a feature-length movie spin-off.

Co-creator Damon Lindelof is so worried producers and studio executives will drag the show out he is making his opinion on the matter clear now.

Speaking with entertainment news wire service PR Inside, he says "We'd love to end the show after four year, five years tops and do a movie".

At that rate it would put a film in cinemas in 2009 or 2010."

One Missed Call 2

I just added this to my Netflix. It looks like it borrows heavily from Ringu and JUON. Can't wait.

Depp rules

By Claudia Puig, USA TODAY
Were it not for the surefire allure of Johnny Depp in his quirky, swaggering repeat performance as Capt. Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest(* * * out of four) would be just another sequel: bigger, splashier, costlier, but not necessarily better.
In one hilarious turn of events, Sparrow finds himself on an island where the native cannibals take him for a god.

His escape may be the most unique action sequence of the summer, and Depp's skill in physical comedy and his facial expressions (those eyes have it) enhance the quirky fun. There also is a dazzling (though a bit too extended) scene of swordplay atop a large rolling wooden wheel that bests the duel between Bloom and Depp in the first film.

But the plot is more convoluted, with several loose ends left dangling. In general, the other pirates don't seem to be having as much fun, with the exception of the scraggly duo played by Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Crook, who shine brighter this time around. And the ever-reliable Bill Nighy does a fine job, obscured in special effects, as supernatural villain Davy Jones.

The story centers on Sparrow's unpaid debt to Jones, who reappears in ghostly form, along with a scary-looking crew of seafaring phantoms whose faces are fused with barnacles, coral, starfish and other sea creatures. A few scenes seem to replicate signature tableaux from the Disney theme park ride. A soothsayer (Naomie Harris) lives in a wooden shack like the one located at the beginning of the ride.

This sequel also is less inventive than the original. It gets off to a slow, talky start, then suddenly seems too conscious of jam-packing every scene with thrills and excitement.

But it does deliver a combustible combination of ingredients for a summer blockbuster: a cornucopia of action and dazzling effects, some raucous humor and a large dose of Depp's winning charm. (Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of adventure violence including frightening images. Running time: 2 hours, 29 minutes. Opens in some theaters tonight; nationwide Friday.)