Friday, June 30, 2006

Spidy 3 spoilers

From filmick, "Personally, I have little doubt that Spider-Man 3 is going to use me as an emotional ashtray - and I can't wait.

Want to know how many of these shots actually figure into the film overall? This is all real, genuine, big spoiler stuff.

"Read on if you dare..."

Where does Venom come from? Well, the symbiote clings to Peter after a date with MJ - like gum on his shoe to begin with, almost. As he sleeps, covers him - we see this in the trailer. When he wakes up, he's hanging upside down on the side of a building - much like the final shot in the teaser. It's the old werewolf thing - but used to dramatise Peter's internal conflict. Venom adopts an appearance like the red/blue Spidey suit because Peter is wearing it when it covers him - though he's not wearing the mask, so there's a little dramatic license at play. Tut tut - can do better, Mr. Raimi. See me after class.

Before getting on Peter, the symbiote has a rather 50's sci-fi origin, not unlike that of The Blob. It looks like Raimi has had a lot of fun with this element of the story.

Okay - back to the plot. How does Eddie Brock become Venom? Well, when Spidey is "caught" by the symbiote, Brock follows this Venom character to a church bell tower. He's both trying to upstage Peter's coverage in the Bugle, and also twist the knife into Spidey. Here, Peter manages to overcome the symbiote and rip himself free of the suit, but some of it falls onto Brock. That is, of course, all he needs to soon "become" Venom. We see plenty of shots from this sequence in the teaser, including Brock's discovery of who is inside the suit just before the symbiote gets onto him.

The Venom-Brock does not look exactly like the Venom-Spidey, but more organic, more like the comic book Venom. This is, apparently, due to the fact that Spidey had the red/blue suit on, Brock does not. Peter's split into two-halves in so many ways (Peter/Spidey, Spidey/Venom-Spidey, Peter/Dark Peter) that it would get confusing if the metaphorical values of each wasn't so clear.

For most of the film, Spider-Man is in pursuit of Flint Marko, The Sandman, but we begin with an early Green Goblin/Spider-Man show-down - some of which is seen in the trailer - shot at night-time, Harry's face is exposed clearly in most shots, you see him fly into the wall fist first. It is only at the end of the film that Spidey faces off against Venom. Thankfully, Harry herein comes to his aid in Green Goblin guise, showing that he too has won his own internal conflict much like Peter has. Hurrah for Harry.

Sadly, though, Harry is killed. Tears for Harry.

Aunt May also dies within he film's running time. Trust me, you don't want to know when and where.

Apparently, MJ does NOT die. I know I was expecting her to go, but if she does, it is somehow being kept an even bigger secret than the rest of these details.

All the business in the trailer with the ring? Well, apparently, there's much ado about that piece of jewellery - and at one point, it even ends up in a pawn shop. The romance storylines from 1 and 2 are every bit as much of 3 - maybe more so.

The Venom-Brock villain is conclusively dispatched, though the symbiote itself survives - so whatever hack is handed the series after Raimi leaves (taking Maguire and Dunst with him, no doubt) will be able to resurrect some kind of Venom villain.

Dark Spidey, as it were - Peter before he has overcome Venom - is the one who courts Gwen Stacey. Problems in the relationship with MJ, as well as professional issues - both as a photographer and crime-fighting webslinger, as it were - compound to bring him down. Real down. Even downer than last time. That's how Raimi, Sargent and co are using Venom - as a dramatic device to show Peter not just giving up on his great responsibility, but getting drunk on his great power.

Venom-Spidey fights some robbers, The Sandman and the Green Goblin before Peter dispels it in the bell-tower.

There are scenes inside Curt Connor's lab, where he studies the symbiote, and these scenes are also used to set up the research that will, in the character's story - though not in this movie - turn him into The Lizard. Take these teasing references more as tantalising morsels for the fanboy piranhas than concrete set-up for any subsequent film, however.

Spidey's fights with the Sandman not only take place in the Armoured Car chase so well covered on this blog (I was on set for much of the shooting) but also, I am told, in the subway. The final fight, the four-way rumble with Spidey, The Sandman, Venom and Harry as the Green Goblin, takes place in a construction site.

The extra villain that everybody has been speculating about makes only a fleeting appearance, and then only in a very off-hand but amusing way. Bruce Campbell's character this time around is Quentin Beck - known to fans of the comic as Mysterio. Again, don't take this as set-up for a subsequent film, but if anybody ever does put Mysterio in a film and NOT cast Bruce Campbell, they'll have hell to pay.

And of course, this also cleverly shines a new light on Campbell's two previous cameo appearances. Hilarious.

I can now confirm that the Black Cat does not make any significant appearance in the film, despite existing, on paper, in various earlier conceptions. She appears to have been removed for and replaced with Gwen Stacey. She was there for "Dark Peter" to romance, but Stacey was possibly considered a better choice as the franchise will need a new sweetheart now Dunst has made her intentions to depart clear."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Miami Vice trailer

I'm a huge Miami Vice fan and I can't wait to see this Mann film.

Saw 3 teaser poster is gross


I still haven't seen Saw 2 yet. The first Saw was mildy fun but it's the type of film that you never need to see twice once you know the big "twist" (e.g., The 6th Sense). This will be a good trilogy for Horrorthon 2006, though, and Octopunk has promised a thorough review of the series, right Octopunk, huh, huh?
The first appearance of Boba Fett

We all know that the Star Wars Holiday Special was a travesty, but believe it or not, some good did come out of it. Here's the 9 minute random cartoon that introduced the world to Boba Fett. This is a lot of fun and the animation isn't bad.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Just in time for Horrorthon 2006


From Bloodydisgusting, "Today Lionsgate Home Entertainment tells Fangoria that the special-edition disc of See No Evil has been bumped from September 26 to November 28. They also got the scoop on the rest of the Gate’s fall fright schedule, which features the announcement that Lionsgate will release FreeStyle Releasing's American Haunting, among many others. Read on for the list...

September 5: THE FEEDING
September 12: ARE YOU SCARED? and DARK FIELDS
October 3: HOUSE OF BLOOD
October 10: Takashi Shimizu’s JU-ON 2 and Ulli Lommel’s BLACK DAHLIA
October 17: BLACKWATER VALLEY EXORCISM
October 24: AN AMERICAN HAUNTING special edition and new SAW II special edition
November 7: JEKYLL AND HYDE and Lommel’s ZOMBIE NATION
November 14: Rob Zombie Boxed Set (HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES and DEVIL’S REJECTS packaged together)
November 21: DARK HARVEST 3: SCARECROW and MURDER IN MY HOUSE
November 28: RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD: RAVE TO THE GRAVE"
Spider-Man 3 teaser looking pretty damn good

I hated the first Spider-Man film but thought the second one rocked. This brief teaser for Spider-Man 3 looks like it's on the right track. I've always been a sucker for the classic Sandman character.

Superman Returns


Yaay! It was good. I'll give it four and a half stars.

It's too far past my bedtime for me to get into this too deep, and I don't want to spoil anything, so here's some points:

-- The opening credits are just like those for the original Superman, except you're not peeing in your pants waiting for them to end. They're faster and there's cool shit going on in the background.

-- In general, a really good job of invoking the original vibe.

-- Not too much Jimmy Olsen, and Lois's kid hardly ever talks. None of that cutesy stuff you can't stand, JPX.

-- I would have liked another action set piece, but the charactization, mood, theme, all that stuff was well handled.

-- I was glad to know as little as I did about it going in, and suggest you do the same.

-- I got to see a cool Spiderman 3 trailer, too.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A low point in Star Wars history

Any nerd worth their salt has glimpsed portions of the God-awful 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special. George doesn’t want you to see it and for good reason. I’ve never been able to get all the way through it without lots and lots of scene skipping. Here’s one of the best examples of how low this “special” sank. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Bea Arthur’s cantina song. Now I love Bea as much as the next guy, but she had no place in the coolest place in Star Wars, the creature cantina. The one good thing about this clip is that we get a better look at some of the cantina’s denizens. The bad thing is that the “video” quality highlights how fake it all is. Enjoy.

I love Superman

Superman The Movie trailer

The trailer for the original Superman movie still gives me chills.

Superman Returns soars


From Aintitcoolnews, "Assuming that the film takes place in the present day, Superman being gone from the earth for five years also implies (although it's never specifically said) that he wasn't here to stop the events of 9-11 from happening or the war that followed. (A similar device was used in the last James Bond movie.) Upon his return to earth, he spends some time with his mother Martha (Eva Marie Saint) on the farm, remembering more innocent peaceful times as a young boy when he was just discovering his powers. These are moments we never saw in the first Superman (the Clark Kent we see here in flashbacks is younger than the high schooler in Donner's film), and they are simply beautiful.

But the stuff most people care about begins with Clark's return to Metropolis and to his old job at the Daily Planet. It doesn't take long for him to see how much things have changed. Lois has a young son and a fiancé (X-Men's James Marsden), Richard White, nephew of Planet editor Perry White (Frank Langella). And on his first day back in town, Superman already has a catastrophic event to deal with: the crash landing of a plane full of reporters, including Lois. Holy living crap, I can't wait to see this sequence in 3D. With the full power of CGI and infinitely better blue screen technology, Singer cuts loose on showing us just how agile and powerful Superman truly is. His strength, speed, and heat vision are all on full display in this sequence, and it will melt your mind how cool it is.

The flip side of this equation is the story of Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) and his gang of henchmen. Spacey's Luthor is still playful like Gene Hackman, but he's far more menacing and dangerous, less of a jester. In other words, he's as evil as they come, and his King-of-the-World plan to essentially grow a continent in the Atlantic Ocean using crystals stolen from Superman's Fortress of Solitude is as ingenious as it is impractical. (If you drown billions of people by growing a new land mass, who would be left to actually purchase your real estate? And Al Gore thinks global warming is a problem!) And I found it fascinating that Luthor once again (as he did in the first two films) devices an evil scheme that involves creating valuable real estate where once there was none. Blessedly, Luthor's supporting cast is not all about broad humor and dumb jokes, although the casting of Parker Posey as his assistant Kitty Kowalski comes close sometimes. I did find it strange that Luthor's technical wizard is played by Kal Penn (Kumar of Harold and Kumar fame); not only is he not called upon to be funny, he also isn't given a single line in the film.

In one of the film's most talked about and fascinating scenes, Luthor and his crew must travel to the Fortress of Solitude to gather the crystals. Lex stands before the control panel where the younger Clark stood years earlier to learn all about who is really is. The face of Superman's real father Jor-El (a resurrected, god-like Marlon Brando) appears to provide whoever is watching with information on any subject. Luthor utters the spine-chilling line “Tell me everything, starting with the crystals.”

If you thought it was tedious that we don't even see Superman in costume until about an hour into the first Superman, don't be too freaked out that Superman and Luthor don't actually come face to face until the top of hour two in Superman Returns. But when they meet, their battle is sensational and brutal. And I enjoyed the way Singer incorporates most of his major characters into the final scenes. Richard's skills as a pilot come in handy; Lois never forgets that she's a journalist and uses her investigative skills to track down Luthor (albeit inadvertently); and her son...well, he helps out to. No one is left just standing around waiting to be a hapless victim waiting to get saved or taken down.

Today's world is a place in which nearly every news event is captured on amateur video tape or on someone's camera phone, and this fact isn't lost in this film. This is also a world desperate for someone to fly in and save it, and while that will never happen in the real world, it's nice to know there are places where a savior to all humankind exists. On more than one occasion, Singer shows us Superman hovering over the earth, listening to every single sound coming from it just so he can single out those voices in need of help. Superman floats in space, arms slightly extended, brow furrowed, cape billowing around him like a red aura. Never on film has he seemed more Christ-like (the tortured only son of a white-haired disembodied figure who apparently has infinite knowledge? Come on), and it suits him. On the flip side, Superman has never seemed more human. He relentlessly comes on to Lois, stalks her a little, and practically begs her to leave Richard and be with him. But a part of us (and him and her) knows this can probably never be, and you actually feel kind of sorry for the man who can do everything but not have what he truly wants.

As good as all of the actors are here, let's face it: the film lives or dies on Routh's performance. Some will say that he's the embodiment of Christopher Reeve's portrayal of Superman, but this isn't entirely true. He does resemble him, I'll give you that, and there are times while he's playing Clark Kent that it scared me how much he acting and sounded like the late actor. But when he reveals the blue costume and red accessories, he's his own man. This is not the same Superman of your youth, and I'm not completely sure I can explain why. He's more mature. The trip to find the remains of Krypton has changed him, hardened him significantly. He's still a genuinely good and kind person, but he gets lost in his own mind and shadowed thoughts more often, and Routh adds a subtle and necessary weight to the proceedings.

Superman Returns is the finest and most well-rounded film about superheroes ever made. This is a film that doesn't skimp on the action, but also bothers to take the time to develop and grow its characters. To those who say the film is flawed or that they were disappointed, I say that you need to remind yourself what made the original Superman so important. It wasn't just the behavior and actions of the super-powered beings, it was the way the rest of the world incorporated them into the culture. When Singer directed the first two X-Men movies, he put a great deal of emphasis on how the world's mutants are feared and hated by most. Here, Superman is revered and loved, something the lonely Clark Kent desperately needs, but he's still very much alone in the world. Superman Returns isn't simply good, it's damn near perfect, and it gets better with repeated viewings."

Monday, June 26, 2006

Save this one for me Octo!


“PIRATES 2 is one of the best summer entertainments I’ve seen in a while, and it manages to improve on the first film in every way. It’s smart, it’s funny, it plays out on an epic scale while still putting character first, and it builds to a conclusion that will have audiences twisting in agony as they have to wait for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3: AT WORLD’S END next summer. Basically, it’s everything fans of the first film hope it will be, but it’s also good enough to win over people who were unconvinced by that first movie.

I’m going to try to tread lightly about spoilers for this one, because I would have hated to have had some of the film’s surprises ruined for me.
Basically, this follows a bit of the EMPIRE STRIKES BACK formula, where our main characters are all sent in different directions to do different things that eventually bring them all back together, along with a hearty dose of illicit romance, backstabbing, and supernatural tomfoolery. If you’re using the EMPIRE model, then I guess Orlando Bloom is the closest thing to Luke Skywalker. He’s got the slightest of the roles this time, but he makes the most of the screen time he does have. Thanks to the dark magic of Davy Jones, Will Turner is reunited with his father, Bootstrap Bill Turner, who was only referred to in dialogue in the first film.

Stellan Skarsgaard plays Boostrap Bill with a sort of grim resignation, a man cursed who doesn’t want his son to make his same mistakes. Bootstrap was thrown overboard to drown by his crewmates, but he was suffering from the same curse as them, so he couldn’t die. He was bound, held in place, alive but alone at the bottom of the sea. And he couldn’t take it. He begged Davy Jones to take him, to make him part of the crew of the Flying Dutchman, and that’s exactly what happened.
That’s what happened to everyone aboard the Dutchman, and they’re all kept alive by the mercy of Davy Jones. The longer they live as part of his crew, the more they become one with the sea, so everyone of Davy’s crew is crazy and mutated and unique. One of the unsung heroes of this film appears to be Crash McCreery, a designer and production artist whose work has always blown me away. He’s got a wicked imagination, and if you keep your eyes open and look at all the pirates in all the Davy Jones scenes, you’re going to see some crazy stuff. Even if you hate the rest of the movie (and I can’t imagine you would), the Davy Jones sequences are masterfully staged sequences of imagination, great horror movie mood pieces. There’s a wager that takes place between Will, Davy Jones, and Bootstrap Bill that is all about character, and in that moment, I really wasn’t thinking about “Wow, that’s really great ILM special effects make-up work, with remarkable texture mapping and a pretty ballsy lighting set-up, and I’m impressed by the way the performance capture paid off, particularly in the way his eyes and his mouth work.” All of that is true, but what I was thinking was about the characters... about the stakes for Will... the chance for Bootstrap to do something good. It’s involving, and it transcends just being good special effects.

Bill Nighy plays Davy Jones, and as soon as you see the first sequence in which he appears, you’ll see how fully-realized and iconic a movie monster he is. I think he’ll terrify kids, but in the way they like to be terrified. They’ll scream at points, and they’ll want more of it. Nighy seems to have embraced the potential of performance capture fully, and he’s really helped create a showcase for what’s possible if an actor is in the hands of the right artists. It’s a perfect marriage of performance and effects, and it’s impossible to say where one ends and the other begins. It doesn’t matter if he’s in a violent rainstorm or harsh daylight... Davy Jones looks real to me. Absolutely real, and Nighy hits every note right in the same way that Depp does.

I’m not a big Kiera Knightley fan, but she’s got a good role here. Elizabeth, after all, was the first character we saw in the first film, and in many ways, she’s the lead of the entire trilogy. She was infatuated with pirates, with the romantic notion of them. In her heart, she sort of wanted to be a pirate. Her realization in the first film that real pirates are scary and dishonorable and to be feared was sort of the point of the film. In this movie, Elizabeth has to confront something ugly about herself, the realization that she might be a pirate at heart... that she might not be a good person when all is said and done. Ironic, since she spends most of the movie trying to convince Jack Sparrow that he is more than just a pirate... that he is, in fact, a good man underneath.
Oh, excuse me. That’s Captain Jack Sparrow. Let’s answer the big question: is Johnny Depp as much fun this time as he was in the original? Is it still fresh? The answer is an unreserved yes. Again, the EMPIRE model applies. Remember how cool Han Solo was in STAR WARS the first time you saw it? And then remember how much cooler he seemed when EMPIRE came out? This is that big a jump, and you can tell right away when they manage to come up with an introduction that is just as fun as the way Captain Jack was introduced in the first film. Depp’s marked in this film, cursed and on the run, doing anything he can to save his own skin. It’s a great dilemma to give him, and Depp really rises to the occasion.
I’d run, too, if someone was using The Kraken to track me. Davy Jones can command the beast using a summoning device onboard the Dutchman, and he does so on three separate and spectacular occasions. Again, though... as great as these sea monster attacks are, they each do something very different for the story and to the characters. That last Kraken attack ends up being the most emotion sequence in either this film or the first one. Everyone finally shows their hand, and for a moment, everyone gets a look at everyone else’s true face. It’s pretty great, and it changes the rules for part three next summer.
You’ve got to give it up for the supporting cast. Jack Davenport tears it up as former Commodore James Norrington, the guy who was destroyed emotionally when Elizabeth chose Will Turner over him, and when he was sent after Captain Jack Sparrow and failed to find him, his career was destroyed as well. He’s a wreck when he shows up in this film, and then he goes all Lando on everyone. It’s a nice role, and he makes the most of it. Lee Arenberg and MacKenzie Crook make a nice comedy team through most of this, the sort of R2D2/C3PO combo. Kevin McNally is Chewbacca to Captain Jack’s Han Solo, a big bear of a guy who always has his back and who helps keep the ship on the water. Jonathan Pryce is good, but barely in the film. Tom Hollander makes for a slimy villain as Lord Cutler Beckett, playing it just right, never overselling it. Naomie Harris is pretty great and strange as Tia Dalma, the fortune-teller who they go to visit early on. Everyone plays it just right, and the script gives them something to do, a rarity in blockbusters of this size.
I just plain like Gore Verbinski as a filmmaker, and I think every time out, he seems to be getting more confident, more daring. This reminds me of the crazy pre-PG-13 days of the MPAA, when stuff like POLTERGEIST or RAIDERS was getting a PG. He maintains a pretty rough and tumble dark adventure tone for the entire film, from the opening scenes at a nightmarish prison for pirates all the way to the final scene in the home of Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris). He’s managed to work in some more of the imagery from the classic “Pirates” ride in a few clever nods, and he keeps the film rolling forward in a way that feels a little like a Disney ride felt when you were a kid and you went on them. There’s definitely an episodic nature to much of this script, and in a few places, transitions are played down to the point of haiku. Still not quite sure how Johnny Depp ends up with the natives and how he knows their language, but that’s fine. The entire sequence works so well and is so funny and thrilling that you won’t care about one or two little gloss-overs. The second half of the film works better than the first half, and it feels like the difference is as simple as set-up and pay-off. PIRATES 2 expends a fair bit of shoe leather getting where it’s going, but once it gets up a head of steam, there’s no stopping it.
The film ends with two pretty big shocks to the system, and you should avoid reading anything about them or how they play out. Suffice it to say, it’s all about how well those two events pay off in next summer’s final chapter of the trilogy. The gauntlet’s been thrown down now, and it’s a pretty big cliffhanger on a couple of fronts. I loved the ending, and if you’ll stay all the way through the credits, you’ll get a surprise just like you did in the first film. It’s a great one, too.
Hans Zimmer’s score is pretty damn rousing, and Dariusz Wolski’s cinematography is candy in all the right ways. In many ways, this feels to me like a sort of summation of everything that Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott have written so far. As writers on ALADDIN, SMALL SOLDIERS, both of the ZORRO films, TREASURE PLANET, and THE ROAD TO EL DORADO, they’ve had plenty of experience warming up for these films. The first PIRATES was co-written with Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolpert, both writers who worked on the movie before Ted and Terry came aboard. This time, they were the only writers on the film, and the same thing’s true of the final one next year. This movie really does do everything they’ve done before, but with a grace that only comes from experience. They’ve given Verbinksi a hell of a blueprint, and he seems to have responded to what they wrote, almost like he’s answering a dare.
So, yeah... I think I sort of loved this movie. And considering how I was of mixed opinion on the first one, that’s a pretty nice feeling. I’m ready for next year already, and I’m willing to be you will be, too, as soon as you get a look on July 7th.”

Keith Richards is really weird looking


From Iwatchstuff, “After Johnny Depp cited Keith Richards as an influence on his character of Captain Jack Sparrow (both tie rags to themselves as decoration/are dead), rumor spread that the Rolling Stones rocker would play the pirate's father in one of the sequels. Speaking to director Gore Verbinski, IGN finally got the affirmative we've been waiting for:

"Keith is definitely going to be in the third movie...It's a small part, but it's a great part."

So is he playing the father of Jack Sparrow? "No comment. To be interpreted."
Even without specifying, it seems pretty clear that he's going to play Sparrow's father. I have to assume, with everything he did in the 60's, any time Keith Richards is questionably the father of someone, the answer is more often that not a "yes." And that goes for both actual people and fictional characters. Even cartoon charactes. I'm sorry you had to find out this way, but just by reading his name here, you're probably the illegitimate child of Keith Richards.”

Sandler's success eludes me


From Usatoday, “He may be getting older, but Adam Sandler's box-office clout is as healthy as ever.
His latest comedy, Click, coasted to the top spot at theaters this weekend by taking in $40 million, according to studio estimates from Nielsen EDI.

The debut met most analysts' expectations. Of course, most Sandler films do; the star logged his seventh film to debut at $35 million or more.
"He's one of the most consistent actors, in terms of box office, I've ever seen," says Gitesh Pandya of boxofficeguru.com. "Most of his comedies open in the high 30s or low 40s. I don't think many actors can claim that loyal a fan base."
But the fan base might be changing. Typically, Sandler's audiences have been young and male — the kind of moviegoers who turn comedies such as The Waterboy and Big Daddy into box-office smashes.
Click, however, marked a departure for the 39-year-old actor. According to distributor Sony Pictures, 51% of its audience was women, and 50% was 25 and older.
"He's almost 40 and has a child now," Pandya says. "He's growing up. And it appears his audiences are, too."
That doesn't mean critics are growing fond of him. So far, Click has generated positive reviews from fewer than one-third of the nation's film critics, according to the review survey site rottentomatoes.com.
But Rory Bruer, distribution chief for Sony, says critics underestimate Sandler's "everyday guy" appeal to audiences.
"I'm not sure why there's a disconnect between critics" and Sandler's movies, Bruer says. "But Adam is accessible to people in a way that's pretty unique. They relate to him. His life could be theirs."
Of course, Sandler's life is filled with millions in box-office receipts. According to Pandya, Sandler is the only actor to enjoy a debut of $30 million or more for each of the past five years.
"Adam Sandler is the most consistent actor working today," he says.
The animated film Cars recovered nicely from a steep drop last weekend, taking second place and $22.5 million.
The Jack Black comedy Nacho Libre, on the other hand, stumbled in its second weekend. It dropped 57% for third place and $12.1 million.
Waist Deep, the Tyrese Gibson crime thriller, did $3 million better than projections, taking in $9.5 million, for No. 4. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift dropped 62% from its debut for No. 5 and $9.2 million.
The Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth did a solid $1.9 million on 514 screens, bringing its total to $9.5 million and making it the seventh-biggest documentary.”

Friday, June 23, 2006

Well that was certainly quick


From bloody-disgusting, "Lionsgate's Saw III has officially wrapped shooting in Toronto, Canada and the Gate is prepping for its release on October 27th. Directed once again by Darren Lynn Bousman, the script was written by co-creator Leigh Whannell off of a story by his partner in crime, James Wan, director of the first Saw. Jigsaw has disappeared. With his new apprentice Amanda (Shawnee Smith), the puppet-master behind the cruel, intricate games that have terrified a community and baffled police has once again eluded capture and vanished. While city detectives scramble to locate him, Doctor Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh) is unaware that she is about to become the latest pawn on his vicious chessboard. One night, after finishing a shift at her hospital, Lynn is kidnapped and taken to an abandoned warehouse where she meets Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), bedridden and on the verge of death. She is told that she must keep the madman alive for as long as it takes Jeff (Angus Macfayden), another of his victims, to complete a game of his own. Racing against the ticking clock of Jigsaw’s own heartbeat, Lynn and Jeff struggle to make it through each of their vicious tests, unaware that he has a much bigger plan for both of them."

I'll believe it when I see it


From Darkhorizons, "Zach Snyder ("Dawn of the Dead", "300") has come aboard to develop and direct Warner Bros. long-gestating film adaptation of the 1986 twelve-issue comic series "Watchmen" by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons says The Hollywood Reporter.

"Watchmen", which tells the story of the last remaining superheroes and the events surrounding the mysterious murder of one of their own, was one of the first superhero comic books to present itself as serious literature and popularized the more adult-oriented "graphic novel" format. It is also the only graphic novel to have won a Hugo Award and to appear on Time magazine's list of 100 best novels from 1923 to present.

Alex Tse is writing the script adaptation of the film which has been in development for over a decade, gone through at least four studios and had such luminaries as Terry Gilliam, Darren Aronofsky and Paul Greengrass attached to direct. Snyder landed the job after impressing Warners with "300," an adaptation of a Frank Miller graphic novel that he directed and co-wrote that's due out next year."

Boring Spider-Man 3 poster


From Iwatchstuff, "After the promising black suit image from a few months back, this new poster for Spider-Man 3 blows. Yeah, I get it, he swings around and shoots web. Is this the best they can come up with when they've got four villains and a new costume? There's a reason Jenna Jameson can't do softcore anymore. They've shown us more and we won't tolerate less."

Good news everyone


From tvweek, "Three years after Fox canceled the show, Matt Groening's "Futurama" will resume production for a 13-episode run on Comedy Central. The new episodes will be added to the network's library of 72 "Futurama" episodes previously licensed from 20th Century Fox Television. Voice talent Billy West, Katey Sagal and John DiMaggio will return for the new episodes, which will debut in 2008.

"There is a deep and passionate fan base for this intelligent and very funny show that matches perfectly with our audience and it is great that we can offer them not just the existing library, but something they've never seen as well," said David Bernath, senior VP, programming, Comedy Central.

"Futurama" marks the third Fox project revived by basic cable in recent years. New episodes of "Greg the Bunny" are being ordered by IFC, and Fox resurrected "Family Guy" after the series found success on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Friday the 13th: In 7 Minutes

Only a little over 3 months until the Great Horrorthon 2006. This should wet everyone's appetite!

Licensing


Licensing Show by returning to the Javits Center for the first time in years. Lucasfilm hasn't been to the Javits Center in 10 years, while Fox, after an absence of many years, will have a small presence at the show as well as a larger presence at a photo studio across the street.

Fox will be focusing its licensing efforts on "Simpsons," "Alien vs. Predator 2" and "Die Hard 4," as well as "Family Guy," "24" and "My Name Is Earl" -- the NBC comedy produced by 20th Century Fox Television -- as it targets what Fox Licensing and Merchandising executive vp Elie Dekel calls "generation Fox," or 13- to 34-year-olds.

In addition to "Simpsons Movie," set for release in July 2007, there also will be a new "Simpsons" video game from Electronic Arts out late next year and major marketing campaigns surrounding the 400th episode of the hit TV show in May.

"There will be big tentpole initiatives supported across News Corp., Fox and their partners that will bring the world of 'The Simpsons' to a heightened awareness and a heightened relevance that I truly believe will be on an unprecedented scale for the property," Dekel said.

Lucas Licensing, which had its strongest year ever last year for "Star Wars" consumer products with about $3 billion in worldwide retail sales, said it will be discussing its upcoming entertainment and marketing initiatives for the franchise with some of its 500 worldwide licensees at the show.

Among those initiatives are the first CG-animated "Star Wars" TV series slated for 2008, a live-action "Star Wars" series in preproduction, a new video game from LucasArts tied to the 30th anniversary of "Star Wars" that will be released in fall 2007, the release of the original versions of the first three "Star Wars" films on DVD singles in the fall and a new Lego "Star Wars" video game based on the original trilogy, also scheduled for fall.

Howard Roffman, president of Lucas Licensing, said the Lucasfilm division also will be looking for licensing partners for the summer 2007 release of a new "Indiana Jones" video game from LucasArts and the summer 2008 release of a new "Indiana Jones" movie.

"We're looking at the game as the equivalent of a film launch," Roffman said. "It will be a major event."'

Why Friday the 13th IV kicks ass


I love this guy's take on things. From X-entertainment, "I know that Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter ranks pretty high on most Jason aficionados' top lists, but I think it may be my favorite of the entire lot. Swept in just before the franchise took a turn for the spoof, it was allegedly intended as the final sendoff for Mr. Voorhees and his treacherous ways. One 32 million dollar gross at U.S. theaters later, and we've had six more sequels and probably another seventeen forthcoming. I don't know if I'd classify The Final Chapter as a perfect finale for the series, but it's easily some of Jason's best work, encapsulating the true spirit of the franchise perhaps even better than the first installment.

I know I'm dealing with a good bad movie these days if I end up watching it over and over again with no real intention of throwing a review on the site. That's been the case with The Final Chapter, and while the current DVD release has awful sound, it's compensated with nice picture clarity and the requisite theatrical trailer. Added inspiration for my lust was the fact that the DVD only cost ten bucks. Since this is one of the rare occasions where I'm literally suggesting that you go out and buy something, I won't spoil the entire plot. I hereby swear, I'll only spoil the good parts."

Go here to read his hilarious review,it's really funny: http://www.x-entertainment.com/articles/0903/

A tiny bit more on that Zombie/Halloween thing


From Bloody-disgusting, "Now that the news is out (our reports here), every website on the planet is trying to squeeze Rob Zombie dry with information regarding his upcoming version of Halloween, which will hit theaters October, 2007. What we were told was that Zombie's vision of this film is an entirely new take on the legend and will satisfy fans of the classic "Halloween" legacy while beginning a new chapter in the Michael Myers saga.

Head over to Halloweenseries.com for the full interview and a fan made trailer:

Probably the only real new details to come from the interview is that Rob told the website that the film will be sort of a prequel and a remake combined, and that the film will take place in 1978 just like his last two films.

He also wrote the following interesting bit, "I just want to express that this is not meant to be in anyway some kind of shot for shot copy of Carpenter's original. We all know and love that film and creating something like that would be ****ing stupid.

I want this film to capture what is great about Carpenter's film, but be so different in style and execution that you won't feel the need to compare them. Even though I'm sure everybody will anyway."

Obviously there's not much to reveal just yet as the script hasn't even been written- and is sure to go under numerous revisions- but we'll keep you posted as more news comes in."

I don't like them apples one bit


Yahoo Insider reports that J.J. Abrams is very interested in casting the Oscar-winning Damon as a young Captain Kirk in the upcoming 'Star Trek' movie that he's directing and producing.

He's so interested that he's apparently already sought support from the original Kirk, William Shatner who "gave his blessing. J.J. got his approval" says a source.

Rumor has it that the new movie would center on Kirk and Spock's early days at a space academy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Avi Arad talks superhero stuff


From IFMagazine, "Avi Arad now an independent producer for Marvel still has his fingers in several pies for the comic book giant. Following the success of Marvel’s forays into filmmaking thus far, Arad is preparing to herald in a new era for Marvel, with the company producing it’s own movies. iF talked to Arad about the choices for Marvel “in-house” producing, and what other projects including TV and cartoons are in the works at the film side of The House of Ideas.

iF MAGAZINE: IRON MAN and THE INCREDIBLE HULK are the first Marvel produced films that Marvel is producing “in-house”, why these particular heroes?

AVI ARAD: We wanted to start this journey with absolutely top, top tier characters and IRON MAN is at the level of X-MEN and SPIDER-MAN and HULK. SPIDER-MAN is a league of its own, but after that you have X-MEN, IRON MAN, HULK. These are the big guns, and obviously we want to continue the train of success once we are making our own [films]. A lot of people are looking forward to IRON MAN and a lot of people are looking forward to the comic book version of the HULK. That’s the one we are making, and I think it will be incredibly satisfying. It will be big and awesome and a big ride.

iF: So will you be recasting HULK with completely new actors?

ARAD: It’s a “do-over”. I loved the HULK movie, it was just a different approach, and it wasn’t exactly the comic. We want to be much closer to the comic. It’s what we would rather do.

iF: There is a THOR film in the works as well?

ARAD: Yes, we're in [the] scripting [stage] right now.

iF: How about a LUKE CAGE movie?

ARAD: Nothing going right now, still trying to find the right take.

iF: What about the project Wesley Snipes has wanted to do, THE BLACK PANTHER?

ARAD: We are waiting for a very specific actor for that one.

iF: Beyond IRON MAN and HULK, what other films will be produced by Marvel itself?

ARAD: The NICK FURY movie and the ANT MAN movie for sure.

iF: The BLADE series is premiering this summer. How is that progressing?

ARAD: We’re very excited about that, and we’re slated for thirteen episodes.

iF: What cartoons do you have premiering on TV?

ARAD: We’ve got a new FANTASTIC FOUR cartoon. We’ve got a new WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN cartoon; it’s going to be based on the comics. We’re going to do another Sony SPIDER-MAN cartoon. We are probably going to do an IRON MAN cartoon after the movie.

iF: What directors would you like to work with that you haven’t worked with so far?

ARAD: I like them all. If I give you five names, then the sixth will be upset, so it’s a lose-lose situation.

iF: Switching to toys how do the new HASBRO toy lines look in comparison to the previous TOY BIZ lines?

ARAD: TOY BIZ is very involved in the design of the toys, but the distribution will be through HASBRO. The scale isn’t going to change."

Meesa not surprised


From sirstevesguide, "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace alien Jar Jar Binks has been voted the most annoying film character of all time. In a poll of 5,000 movie fans by UK website LoveFilm.com, the computer generated Binks beat out competition from Andie MacDowell's character, Carrie, in Four Weddings And A Funeral. Third most irritating is Rowan Atkinson's Bean, followed in fourth place by Jim Carrey's Ace Ventura: Pet Detective character. In fifth place is Ben Stiller's White Goodman in Dodgeball."

Indie zombie flick



I'm sure this film bites, and I'm not trying to be cute. The "official" description below is poorly written, which can't be a good sign. Heck, I just needed an excuse to post that sweet photo.

From Awakenthedeadthemovie, "Christopher is a man of God with a violent past. Mary is an Assassin’s daughter hiding from her father and herself. Both are dead to the world. Fate brings them together as a government experiment transforms the world around them into a nightmare of the living dead. Rejoining humanity and embracing the power of their pasts may be their only hope of salvation. It's a journey into terror and self-discovery that involves a Jehovah's Witness (who picked the wrong door to knock on!), a mysterious Watcher in black, an ex-marine and his timid wife, two Asian schoolgirls and a mastermind in the shadows. Christopher and Mary must awaken the dead within themselves if they are to have a chance at life.

Word of this exciting new film is spreading fast. With over 70 web sites across the world giving advance notice of AWAKEN THE DEAD, the buzz continues to grow. We have web sites in the US, the UK, Canada, France, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, Poland China and more. There will be a distributor/press screening in LA on July 11th. Any press and distributors that are interested in attending should contact us through our contact page.

AWAKEN THE DEAD is a redemption tale. A rock and roll fable powered by dynamic alternative bands. It is a subtle weaving of poetic justice and wicked humor. And so much more. Click on the page links to see behind the scenes photos, stills from the film or listen to some of the great bands providing the sound track. There's even a teaser trailer you can view.

So, lock your doors. Secure your windows. And, no matter what you see, don't leave the house. They're out there and they're multiplying..."

Well Boll me over


From Moviesonline, "I giggle just thinking about Uwe Boll doing another movie. Amazingly enough it is not based on a video game. So who knows maybe this one wont stink, and maybe this time critics wont tear it apart and he wont feel the need to challenge them to a brawl.

His new film SEED is about a killer who is put to death and comes back from the dead to unleash carnage on those who put him six feet under. I am terrified but for all the wrong reasons. Stay tuned for more!"

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"Diane, great news..."


Twin Peaks Season 2 DVD announced!
Posted by Clint Morris on June 14, 2006
Excited.

Gotta get fresh ones out of the laundry, excited.

What’s all the dampness about?

Give ya a clue : “Diane, 11:30 a.m., February Twenty-fourth. Entering the town of Twin Peaks, five miles south of the Canadian border, twelve miles west of the state line. I've never seen so many trees in my life. As W. C. Fields would say, I'd rather be here than Philadelphia. Fifty-four degrees on a slightly overcast day. Weatherman said rain”.

“Twin Peaks: Season Two” has finally been confirmed for DVD – years after it was originally scheduled for release. Yep, seems David Lynch has finished scrubbing the negative (Lynch wanted the print to look pristine before it got a DVD release, apparently), Paramount has rounded up some nice extras for it, and the plastic company has come through with some nifty packaging. So, it’s a go.

The DVD – ‘Twin Peaks: Season Two – Special Edition’ – will be released in Australia on Thursday 2nd November, from Paramount. (They’ll also be releasing ‘Twin Peaks: The Complete Collection’, which includes both Season 1 and Season 2, the same day).

No word yet on the extras, but since its called a ‘Special Edition’, we’re guessing Paramount has slapped some stuff together for it.

I assume the DVD will be out in most territories around the same time, if not a little earlier.

Thanks to 'Paramount Petal'

The trouble with Trek


From Moviesonline, "If your head has finally stopped spinning from the number of times the "Star Trek" rumor mill has turned up a dead end or wrong turn, then you are probably very relieved to hear the official details surfacing since the eleventh "Trek" film finally has a crew working on the plan for a new voyage. With J.J. Abrams producing and directing, his partners-in-television are jumping aboard the ship. Abrams has his "Lost" associates Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk producing with him, and his "Mission: Impossible III" screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who have both worked on "Alias," are penning the script for "Trek XI."

Kurtzman and Orci, like Abrams and others that have been signing on for this mission, are big fans of the "Star Trek" franchise and all that it embodies. They aren’t just thoroughly knowledgeable in the shows and movies; they are just as familiar with the countless novels that also comprise a significant portion of the mythos. Since they are so close to the material, there seems to be no qualms about making promises that fans will be very satisfied with the level of verisimilitude that will paid to this project. IGN quoted testimony that they intend to be faithful to Trek canon:

"We know the mythology well, and we are fans of the novels that happen between the movies and all that kind of stuff ... We're very mindful of being totally true to the mythology ... and this is not a case of trying to come in and be so clever that you're going to reinvent everything. It's a case of coming in and using the stuff you know is great and you know really works and not violating anything that's come before it."

It seems that "Trek XI" is finally getting a solid foundation, and it’s about time. Just as good to observe is that Paramount seems to be taking this production a lot more seriously now, meaning a lot less frustration and disappointment for the immeasurable masses that enjoy "Star Trek" worldwide. There is suddenly concrete cause to celebrate, because not only are the wheels beginning to turn, but it is a group of loyal fans that has taken the helm. That is not only encouraging, it’s exciting."

It Romero's world, you just live in it


From Moviesonline, "One of our readers wrote in to let us know that George Romero is gearing up to do yet another zombie movie. Land of the Dead was loved by many and also panned by many. Should be fun to see what he does with World of the Dead. Here is what he had to say.
This is the Bandit here, a prominant member of the MoviesOnline forum community. Word on the street has it that "World of the Dead" is the sequel to "Land of the Dead", by George Romero. Word also has it that Romero would like to go through with "World of the Dead" since he obviously left the door open for another sequel to "Land". Hope this hasn't already been reported to ya'll, but its big news no matter who reports it."

Monday, June 19, 2006

I wanna zooma zooma zooma zoom


From Iwatchstuff, "Pretending that The Incredibles and Sky High don't exist, Zoom explores the idea of common folks with super powers in an easy-to-watch, family-friendly form. From what I can decipher from the poster, what sets this one apart is that it's got Tim Allen, this fat kid with a big fist, and the rarely seen, partially-invisible Hanson brother. God made his lower half invisible to help him fight temptations of the flesh, while the other three were able to do so simply by never hitting puberty."

More Depp is always a good thing


From Darkhorizons, "With two sequels on the way involving the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow, you'd think actor Johnny Depp would tire of playing the character. Far from it.

In an interview with Newsweek, the actor is quoted as saying "He's a blast to play, I'll be in a deep, dark depression saying goodbye to him. I'll keep the costume and just prance around the house, entertain the kids. Maybe 'Pirates 4, 5 and 6'. If they had a good script, why not? I mean, at a certain point, the madness must stop, but for the moment, I can't say that he's done".

Word on the Pirates sequel has been kept very quiet though a very small handful of reaction has come out with extremely positive viewpoints. Experts are pretty much unanimous that this will be the highest grossing film of the Summer, but the real test takes place this week with the first screenings for media in the next few days."

Box Office


By Thomas K. Arnold, Special for USA TODAY
Disney's Cars took another box-office victory lap this weekend with an estimated $31.2 million its second weekend in theaters, according to Nielsen EDI.
BY THE NUMBERS: See the weekend's top 10 films

The Pixar film's total so far is $114.5 million, but it fell 48% from its $60.1 million opening. Pixar's The Incredibles fell only 28% its second weekend in 2004.

Paramount's Nacho Libre, a PG-rated comedy starring Jack Black and directed by Napoleon Dynamite's Jared Hess, was No. 2 with $27.5 million. The race-themed The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift finished a surprisingly strong third with $24.1 million.

The Sandra Bullock/Keanu Reeves romance The Lake House took in $13.7 million, about $1 million higher than expected, for fourth. The Break-Up was fifth ($9.5 million). Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties opened with a disappointing $7.2 million, about a third what the first Garfield did, for sixth place.

Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, a look at the perils of global warming, took in $1.75 million, but enthusiasm appears to be waning. Now in 404 theaters, up from 122 the week before, its box-office take rose just 16%. "It's not March of the Penguins," says Box Office Mojo's Brandon Gray, speaking of last summer's smash documentary that took in $77.4 million. Truth has taken in $6.4 million in four weeks and is the 11th-top-grossing documentary ever.

For whom the Bell tolls


From USATODAY, "MILWAUKEE (AP) — More than a bell is needed to save Dustin Diamond this time around. Diamond, best known as geeky Screech Powers on the 1989-1993 teen comedy series Saved by the Bell, is selling T-shirts with his photo on them to try to raise $250,000 so he doesn't lose his gray two-story house under a foreclosure order.
"If the public didn't care, I as an entertainer wouldn't have been a success," he said.

Diamond, 29, is trying to sell nearly 30,000 shirts — at $15 or $20 (autographed) each — to supplement the income he makes as a standup comic so he doesn't have to move from his Port Washington home, about 25 miles north of Milwaukee.

The T-shirt has a photo of Diamond holding a sign that says, "Save My House." The back of the shirt reads, "I paid $15.00 to save Screeech's house." The third "e" was added to get around copyright laws, he said.

He's selling the shirts on his website: http://www.getdshirts.com.

The foreclosure order was filed last month in Ozaukee County Circuit Court.

Diamond appeared on Howard Stern's satellite radio show Tuesday to plead his case. "I'm doing great with my comedy, but this is definitely a low point," he said. "Real life comes in and affects you."

Diamond doesn't have a listed phone number, and e-mails to the address on his website and at an alternative address were not immediately returned Thursday."

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Rest of the Story

I finally finished my tale of Lego adventure. I stuck it on I Love Monsters instead of this blog so my relatives and fellow Legoland finalists don't have to wade through me bitching about action figures or horror movies. So come on down!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

All Units Mustered For Simpsons Movie


From Thesimpsonschannel, "In the months before 20th Century Fox launches its big-screen version of "The Simpsons" next year, parent company News Corp. plans to muster every part of its entertainment empire to promote the film, president and chief operating officer Peter Chernin said Tuesday.

In so doing, News Corp. will maximize the marketing muscle of its various divisions while allowing them to benefit from the halo effect of the popular cartoon franchise, Chernin explained.

Chernin said News Corp. held a three-hour meeting last week with about 40 executives from across the company to discuss broader strategies related to the film's release. By looking for synergies within the company, Chernin told investors that News Corp. could win several hundred million dollars in incremental revenue from the "Simpsons" film during the next couple of years.

Fox unveiled the July 27, 2007, release date of "The Simpsons Movie" on March 31 via an animated 28-second teaser debuted before screenings of Fox's "Ice Age: The Meltdown."

It was Brooks' idea that a surprise teaser would be a better way of announcing the film than using a conventional news announcement."

The puppets return


From Aintitcoolnews, "This is a scan of a promotional flyer for POWER OF THE DARK CRYSTAL (is it just me, or does this title sound like the slogan for an energy drink?. Even though I'm not the biggest fan of THE DARK CRYSTAL (I thought it was extremely dull), I'm tremendously curious to see how this project turns out -- this is the type of filmmaking I wish there was more of these days.
IMDB says Trevor Jones will return to score; I'm hoping this is actual instead of presumption. To my ears, his work has improved tremendously since the original film. I'd love to hear what he might do this time around."

Little girls are creepy

I want to see this now


Steven Spielberg is attached to direct an untitled sci-fi film for Paramount Pictures that would follow a group of explorers who travel through a worm hole and into another dimension reports the trades.

The story will rely on Caltech physicist Kip Thorne's theories of gravity fields and black holes. There is no screenplay as yet so the project would likely be three to four years away from fruition.

Thorne wrote a treatment with the help of producer and science nut Lynda Obst ("How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days"), prompting Spielberg's involvement.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Noooooo!!! ILM dumps their physical effects unit!!


From Aintitcoolnews, "...probably the saddest news to appear before my bespectacled geeky eyes in a long, long time. In a way, this is an obituary for ILM's miniatures and model department.
Lucasfilm is selling off its physical production unit, which handles everything that is not CGI work at ILM. Now, I understand business isn't as booming for practical effects these days as it was in the '80s, but goddamnit. To me this represents the magic of ILM, not the digital world. I grew up with these guys, my imagination was fed a steady diet of ILM's work. STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES, GHOSTBUSTERS (2), POLTERGEIST, WRATH OF KHAN, DARK CRYSTAL, LABYRINTH, GOONIES, COCOON, BACK TO THE FUTURE, NEVERENDING STORY and so many more...
I love CGI. Some masterful work has been done on screen, including ILM's work on JURASSIC PARK and more recently WAR OF THE WORLDS and A.I. There were moments in A.I. that had my jaw hanging open. However, when I think of the magic of cinema I think of those tried and true magic tricks... Models, make-up, glass, mirrors, forced perspective, manipulation of light... To me that's the magic of cinema.
The news isn't all bad. The unit is being sold to a man by the name of Mark Anderson, a model maker at ILM for more than 15 years. The new name is Kerner Optical and it will get priority whenever ILM needs to farm out physical effects.
I had a chance to visit ILM a couple years ago when they were trying to pimp the VAN HELSING DVD. I hated the movie, but I couldn't pass up an invitation to ILM, no matter how many crappy she-vampires and werewolves I'd have to watch. When I was there I saw 3 matte paintings. The first one took my breath away. It was of the big shield generator dish sticking above the trees of Endor from RETURN OF THE JEDI. I'd seen that image a hundred times as a kid and there it was, up in the lobby where I was getting my vistor's sticker. The second of three was up in the same lobby and was of NeverNever Land from Spielberg's HOOK. Not as breathtaking, but a work of art in its own right.
I saw the last matte painting in one of the hallways of the building. It was of a snowy tarmac. DIE HARD 2. I was told that was the lasty matte painting ILM ever did. That really made me sad. That was then almost 15 years old.
I guess the physical effects house still lives on in Kerner Optical, but it's now not part of ILM. To me Industrial Light and Magic is now simply Industrial Light. The Magic leaves with its physical effects department."

Tim Burton you so crazy


From Iwatchstuff, "Prior to Bryan Singer taking on Superman, back around 1998, Tim Burton was taking a stab at the hero. It never got beyond development, but this site has what claims to be some early concept art for the film, showing what a drastically different film Burton's Superman Lives would have been. From this painting, it looks like he was doing it as H.R. Giger's Frankenstein. If it seems like a joke, I think I know why. Take a look at the John Hancock on this masterpiece. J. Carson! Johnny, you're still crackin' us up!"

Cat in the Hat?


Another prequel. Sigh. Apparently the buzz about this poster is that there's a picture of Mike Myers as the Cat in the Hat embedded in the clouds. I ain't seein' it.

He really is a super man


LOS ANGELES (AP) — First there were the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Now, for many Christian moviegoers comes another gospel.

As the hype machine shifts into high gear for the upcoming release of Superman Returns, some are reading deeply into the film whose hero returns from a deathlike absence to play savior to the world.

"It is so on the nose that anyone who has not caught on that Superman is a Christ figure, you think, 'Who else could it be referring to?'" said Steve Skelton, who wrote a book examining parallels between Superman and Christ.

As one of society's most enduring pop-culture icons, Superman has often been observed as more than just a man in tights.

In his early 1930's comic-book incarnation, he was a hero of the New Deal, aiding the destitute and cleaning up America's slums, said Tom De Haven, author of a book about Superman's status as an American icon and a novel about the hero's high-school days.

By the 1950's, fears of postwar urban lawlessness had turned him into a tireless crime fighter, while his early television persona envisioned him as an idealized father figure, De Haven said.

More recently, Quentin Tarantino had the villain of Kill Bill: Vol. 2 wax philosophical about the Man of Steel: "Clark Kent is how Superman views us... Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race."

Some have also seen the hero as a gay icon, forced to live a double life with his super-self in the closet. A recent edition of the gay magazine The Advocate even asked on its cover, "How gay is Superman?"

But the comparison to Jesus is one that's been made almost since the character's origin in 1938, said Skelton, author of The Gospel According to the World's Greatest Superhero.

Many simply see the story of a hero sent to Earth by his father to serve mankind as having clear enough New Testament overtones. Others have taken the comparison even further, reading the "El" in Superman's original name "Kal-El" and that of his father "Jor-El" as the Hebrew word for "God," among other theological interpretations.

Superman Returns, which premieres June 28, has been drawing its own comparisons to biblical accounts, especially after the appearance of its trailer earlier this year.

The preview shows the hero with his eyes closed as the voice of his father — Marlon Brando's, courtesy of 1978's Superman— tells him he was sent to Earth because humans "lack the light to show the way."

"For this reason," continues the voice, "I have sent them you, my only son."

Online message boards and Web logs quickly latched onto the biblical resonance of those lines.

"The allusion to Jesus Christ could hardly be accidental," wrote Christian blogger Tom Gilson.

"Is this a new Superman for the new Evangelist red state America? Superman as Jesus?" asked one contributor to the Portland-based blog site Urban Honking.

The premise of the new Superman movie alone has fueled speculation that it's wearing its biblical comparisons on its long, tight sleeve. Superman, in the film, returns to Earth after a long absence, a narrative that's been likened to Jesus' death and resurrection.

Meanwhile, news reports that Passion of the Christ star James Caviezel was originally in the running for the lead role in Superman Returns, which eventually went to Brandon Routh, convinced others that the film's makers were playing up the New Testament comparisons.

Moviegoers who enter the theater looking for Christian imagery are unlikely to be disappointed. At one point, Superman sustains a stab wound reminiscent of the spear jabbed in Christ's side by a Roman soldier. In another scene, Routh poses with his arms outstretched as though crucified.

Not everybody welcomes the Superman-Jesus comparisons.

"It's a misrecognition," said Amy Pedersen, who is writing her doctoral thesis in art history at the University of California, Los Angeles, on superhero comic books.

Pedersen said Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who introduced Superman in 1938 in a comic book, were Jews who were inspired by the Old Testament story of Moses and the supernatural golem character from Jewish folklore.

The Christian allusions are recent innovations that compromise the integrity of the Superman myth, she said.

"This does not need to be a consistent cultural form from its beginning to its present, but something has to be maintained," Pedersen said.

Superman Returns director Bryan Singer said the notion of Superman as a messianic figure is simply another case of contemporary storytelling borrowing from ancient motifs.

Singer, who is Jewish, said his neighbors' Christianity played a powerful role in the community where he grew up.

"These allegories are part of how you're raised. They find their way into your work," he said. "They become ingrained in your storytelling, in the same way that the origin story of Superman is very much the story of Moses."

It's unlikely that studio executives, conscious of the size of the Christian audiences that were coaxed into theaters by the biblical echoes in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, would discourage religious associations.

"The way in which the Christian population can get behind a movie that they can agree with is a huge push financially," said Skelton, who also distributes bible-study kits that draw scriptural lessons from classic television episodes. "It's a smart move in terms of attracting an audience."

At the same time, Superman is fixed firmly enough in popular secular culture so that the religious accents are unlikely to alienate a mainstream audience, said Craig Detweiler, who directs the film-studies program at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena.

"Just like Jesus, in some ways (Superman) transcends parities and politics and can not be co-opted to serve the narrow interests of others," he said. "That could be one reason why studios aren't afraid to let Superman go that way, toward the religious."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The science of Superman

From Iwatchstuff, "If you just can't get enough Superman bullshit, prepare for the National Geographic Channel to exploit that for their ratings. Immediately following the June 28 release, the cable station will air a special called The Science of Superman questioning how much science fact lies behind the Man of Steel's superpowers:

'The Man of Steel has enthralled audiences for decades with his incredible powers of flight, super strength, x- ray vision and super speed. But just how much science fact is there behind these superpowers? On Thursday, June 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, National Geographic Channel's (NGC) "The Science of Superman" puts the superpowers to the test, revealing what's plausible based on the earth-bound laws of physics, biology and astronomy, and what's pure science fiction.'

What the hell are they talking about? It's all science fiction. Superman isn't based on any fact. I understand that super speed and flight are actual scientific concepts, but they're obviously impossible for anyone to actually achieve. Is this for real? What are their tests going to be, a guy standing around trying to see through a wall? See if some guy can make the earth spin backwards to reverse time? "Well, it's still Tuesday. I guess that one might not hold up under scrutiny, huh?"

Paramount realizes that Carrey is no longer the draw he used to be

From Darkhorizons, "With the budget on the Jim Carrey/Tim Burton flick "Ripley's Believe It or Not" swelling beyond $150 million, Paramount Pictures has refused to give the project a green light.

As a result, the ambitious story of Ripley the explorer/columnist has gone back into development, finances and creative changes being demanded by its key players cited as the reason for its delay of at least twelve months.

It's not all bad news though, as Paramount and DreamWorks are instead putting "Sweeney Todd" on the fast track with Burton at the helm reports the trades. DreamWorks is now rushing to cast that movie, utilising a script by John Logan ("The Aviator") adapting the famous Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical.

Burton already is talking with Johnny Depp for the lead role as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. With Depp's "Shantaram" project falling apart the other day due to its director departing, the actor now has an early 2007 window freed up for the project.

Burton and Carrey remain very much committed to "Ripley" and are continuing to work on the script this week. Unlike the other recent stalled Jim Carrey vehicle "Used Guys", "Ripley" still looks likely to happen - just later than expected. The studio could have made the delay only half a year, but a decision was made to postpone longer so Burton could make the other film."

Danny Elfman Removes His Credit From NACHO LIBRE!?!?


From AICN, "Greetings!

ScoreKeeper here with some rather intriguing developments regarding the scoring of NACHO LIBRE.

According to Steve Bartek (Elfman’s orchestrator for the last 20 years), Danny has removed his name from the credits of the film.

Steve posted a note in the forum section of his web site regarding this recent development.

Here is the aforementioned quote:

Posted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:22 am
Post subject: Nacho Libre disclaimer
a warning to all - Danny has taken his name off of Nacho Libre - apparently a couple of the main cues we spent lots of time on we taken out and replaced with music Danny didn't want to be associated with (and I believe he was upset about the way the studio treated him in doing the replacement - not very above board- so most of the score is still Danny - but his name will not be there
Steve

Looks like another film scoring soap opera to weed through. We’ll keep a close eye on this and see where it ends up."

Uwe Boll is mad and he's not going to take it anymore!

From AICN, "Hey folks, Harry here... This is kinda hilarious. It reminds me of Scorpio in the original DIRTY HARRY - getting himself all torn up by some bastard, just to get more attention. Uwe Boll is fed up with people criticizing his films and writing reviews of his shi... cinema without at least seeing the excretable assclingers for themselves. And he's decided that he wants to give them a shot at beating the living shit out of him. Or - he's going to beat the living shit out of you.

Not since Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling - has there been so great a bout with a German. Think about it... this is your chance to be Christopher Walken to his Martin Sheen... "The ice... is gonna break!" I'd kill to have Quint battle Boll. I think it would have an amazing Pay-Per-View options. 10 rounds... Quint v Boll. Hell, that shit makes Drago v. Balboa seem like chicken feed.

'Towards the end of the filming of Postal, the five most outspoken critics will be flown into Vancouver and supplied with hotel rooms. As a guest of Uwe Boll they will be given the chance to be an extra/stand-in in Postal and have the opportunity to put on boxing gloves and enter a BOXING RING to fight Uwe Boll. Each critic will have the opportunity to bring down Uwe in a 10-bout match. There will be five matches planned over the last two days of the movie. Certain scenes from these boxing matches will become part of the Postal movie. All five fights will be televised on the Internet and will be covered by international press.

To be eligible you must be a critic who has posted on the Internet or have written in magazines/newspapers at least two extremely negative articles in the year 2005. Critics of 2006 will not be considered.

Folks between 140 and 190 pounds, send an email to info@boll.kg.de and help Uwe prove that he isn't a bad filmmaker through physical violence.'

Shit. We'll have to put Quint on jello and jump ropes. Seriously though folks... if you have boxing experience and can kick some serious ass... and you've posted negative shit on Uwe Boll over the last few years... well then, here's your chance to end the pain with bloody gloves."

Monday, June 12, 2006

I find Rosario Dawson somewhat attractive

Um, howcome JPX hips us to the same Clerks 2 trailer twice and yet completely misses this poster? You'd think he has a job or something.

Troops


I'm doing picture catch-up! Remember the post JPX put up for Star Wars Celebration IV? You don't? Well, heh heh, I didn't even read it! It's true, I didn't...it's my habit to post the pictures and do comments afterwards, but now MY picture posting ability is handicapped at work. No idea why. Anyway, I went all the way back to that post and found a good picture then I read it and all...so anyway these two pix didn't make the cut. Here's what I chose.

More Hostility

From Bloody-disgusting, "This week, Roth briefly emerged from a Howard Hughes-like exile to storm the MTV Movie Awards, an appearance so last-minute that someone else's credentials were hanging around his neck.

While sneaking a long-overdue peek at the light of day, Roth was all too eager to offer his fans some details.

"I shaved today for the first time in three weeks because I haven't left my house — I've been working on the script for 'Hostel 2,' " Roth reported. "I don't think 'Hostel' is gonna be winning any Oscars, so it's nice that we got a Best Frightened Performance nomination for Derek Richardson."

Those who've seen the movie will remember Richardson as the dude who gets his Achilles tendons sliced open. Because of that and the ensuing bloodiness, let's just say that Richardson wouldn't be the best person to ask about sequel possibilities. Roth, however, is looking forward to his second chapter.

"I'm writing 'Hostel 2' for girls — it's going to be three girls this time," he revealed. "They're studying in Italy for the summer, and they get lured, and they go back to ... well, we're going to go back to a lot of familiar places."

Through the existence of this Italian hostel, Roth plans to reveal that the Slovakian stopover from the first flick is actually part of a chain — kinda like a Motel 6, but with decapitations instead of a continental breakfast.

"It's all part of the organization; they've got the whole thing set up all over the place, and they have different scouts," Roth said. "We're going to learn a lot more about how it all works. In 'Hostel 2,' you're really going to see the ins and outs of the whole organization and how they get people and kill them."

"And there will be plenty of blood and torture," he added with a sadistic grin. "I can tell you that."

"Hostel" didn't leave a lot of actors' story lines open for sequel possibilities, but Jay Hernandez did survive — at least, most of him did. Roth happily reported that Hernandez's Paxton has been written into the film and will be encountering the three girls in Italy.

"Jay has a few less fingers, so it might be difficult for him to blend in," the director said. "But yeah, he's not out of the woods yet."

Roth's script begins the moment the original "Hostel" left off, a tribute to the similarly timed second chapters of his beloved "Halloween" and "Porky's."

" 'Hostel 2' is going to start literally with the next cut, and you're going to see [Paxton] at the same time. You'll see that he's totally messed-up from the experience. It's completely wrecked him, and his life is in ruins."

Hernandez will express his mental collapse in some of the tossing-and-turning scenes Roth is composing.

"You know, when they have a sequel, and you see the guy and he's having nightmares and can't sleep and is going crazy," the filmmaker said, sounding as if Hernandez might finally turn into the villain Roth wanted him to become in an early draft of the original flick.

Although he has spent most of the last few weeks alone, Roth has made time to once again solicit some advice from an equally twisted mind.

"Quentin [Tarantino] was really helpful when I told him the story idea. I was like, 'What do you think about this?' and he's like, 'Oh man, what if we did it with girls?,' " Roth said of the "Hostel" producer. "I saw Quentin last night, and we started to talk about some different death scenes, and anytime I'm like, 'Oh, what if we killed someone like this?,' he's got three other different ways to kill them. When he reads the script, it inspires a bunch of things."

Roth hopes to begin shooting in August and to release the film in January 2007."

The first sign that Indiana Jones IV is gonna stink

I thought Sean Connery's character in The Last Crusade was awful. Lucas' desire to have Connery reprise this unfunny Crusade role is further evidence that he's completely out of touch with contemporary humor. What's the opening scene going to be, Connery slipping on a banana peel?

From Moviesonline, "George Lucas is hoping that he can tempt actor Sean Connery into reprising his role of Henry Jones in the next Indiana Jones adventure. Sean Connery has recently announced his retirement from acting, so this confrontation might prove interesting. Apparently Lucas is writing Sean Connery into the script "whether he wants to do it or not".

Boy that sounds brilliant. And in the case he still won't take the role they can always cast Hayden Christensen to replace him. And that would be just the tip of the money-making ice-berg. Just imagine the possibilities of "Indiana Jones: Special Edition" where Sean Connery in "The Last Crusade" is digitally masked over by Christensen's visage.
Yeah. Sarcasm is fun.

Hopefully they will write Henry Jones back out of the script in the likelyhood that Connery still doesn't take them up on the offer. He is the only one who can play the role. Period. You can replace Superman, Batman, Inspector Clouseau, etc. But leave Henry Jones as he is.

I'm looking foward to the upcoming Indiana Jones, but a lot of the recent news surrounding it has bothered me to some degree. Right now I've seen Lucas throwing around a lot of generalized statements about the quality of the script but has yet to show us anything concrete."

Cars does okay


From Darkhorizons, '"Cars" revved into first place at the box-office this weekend, the Pixar flick taking in a superb $62.8 million estimated haul over its three-day launch, the fourth highest opening movie of 2006. Whilst the total was impressive, the shine is off a little as the amount was a significant drop from the $70+ million that both "Finding Nemo" and "The Incredibles" enjoyed in their debuts.

No word if reviews had any impact - like all Pixar films they were positive but generally a little less so than previous movies. Over at Rotten Tomatoes the film scored an average 7.1/10 score from reviewers - by far the worst mark a Pixar film has gotten. Past efforts of the company have scored much higher like "Toy Story" (8.9/10), "Finding Nemo" (8.6/10), "Toy Story 2" (8.6/10), "The Incredibles" (8.3/10), "A Bug's Life" (8/10) and "Monsters Inc." (7.9/10).

Romantic drama "The Break-Up" held alright against the competition with a 48% drop to $20.5 million, and looks on its way to cruising over the $100 million mark. "X-Men: The Last Stand" has now well overtaken "The Da Vinci Code" and crossed the $200 million mark, the first film in 2006 to do so. Rival CG comedy "Over the Hedge" still held well with around $10.3 million and now sits with a very comfy $130.2 million total.

Despite its big opening day haul on Tuesday, "The Omen" cooled a little but still made a nice $15.5 million for Fox. Robert Altman's "A Prairie Home Companion" did well on a large limited release front, managing to crack the top ten and earn a sweet $6,166 per theatre average. "Poseidon" continues to bomb badly and will probably dock at around $60 million by the end of its run, M:I-3 is cooling right off and looks to be ending with around $140 million - easily the series lowest.'

Supes successfully soars?

From Boston Herald, "Bryan Singer’s highly-anticipated “Superman Returns” was finally unveiled for the press Thursday night in L.A. (the print was finished at Technicolor at 2:30 that afternoon) and Warner Bros. must have given a sigh of relief when they heard the genuine applause at the finish. What Singer’s done is a dandy trick: He’s honored the tradition of Superman as a quintessentially 20th-century American myth and simultaneously given the Man of Steel a home (cinematically) in the 21st century.

This Superman returns from a five-year absence to find the love of his life, Kate Bosworth’s Lois Lane, settled into domesticity with a son Jason and a lover, Daily Planet editor Perry White’s nephew Jack (James Marsden), who also works at the paper. An unmarried heroine with a kid, a woman with two very different men in her life – and, oh yes, a Pulitzer Prize – what could be more contemporary?

Even better, Singer has transformed Superman, the alien from another planet with his extraordinary powers, into a majestic, awe-inspiring figure, not a kiddie comic book guy in tights. Like Apollo come to earth, like Atlas holding the world in the great Rockefeller Center sculpture, Brandon Routh’s Superman has a gravity that enobles this entire two-and-a-half hour picture. There is one dazzling sequence early on where Superman rescues a doomed airplane whose passenger list includes Lois Lane, his estranged true love. Singer of course couldn’t know that the sequence would echo the final moments of the horrifying 9/11 “United 93” but that it does – and that it has Superman for a happy ending – gives it perhaps a greater gravitas. Here is a fantasy that like Disney’s plaintive Oscar-winning wartime song, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” speaks directly to a need for healing from the brutal realities we face daily.

Singer has cast two of the surviving cast members from the Fifties “Superman” TV series. Noel Neill, Lois Lane, plays a dying widow under Lex Luthor’s thrall and Jack Larson, Jimmy Olson, appears as a bartender serving Jimmy (Sam Huntington) and Clark Kent drinks. He even wittily manages to get in the famous phrases, “It’s a bird! It’s a plane!” and “Faster than a speeding bullet.”

More importantly, Singer straddles Superman’s time zones and eras. The venerable Daily Planet, with its golden globe atop the Metropolis City landmark building, is a Thirties building with 21st century hardware, flat-screen monitors, computers and faxes. Parker Posey’s wry comic relief as Kitty, Lex Luthor’s moll, is, right down to her name, an evocation of Hollywood’s spunky, wise-cracking Forties heroine Paulette Goddard (with a bit of Jennifer Jones). There is luminous Eva Marie Saint as Ma Kent once again in a movie, if only through screen magic, with her “On the Waterfront” leading man Marlon Brando whose work as Jor-El, the father of Superman, is recycled to positive effect.

How the public responds to “Superman Returns” when it opens at 10 PM on June 27th is anyone’s guess but Singer & Co. can be content knowing they’ve managed not only to resurrect an American icon but done it with smarts, grace and even poetry. It’s going to be hard for any superhero movie to beat the magisterial bearing Singer so emphatically summons as in one memorable shot Superman is seen suspended in space, his dusty-colored cape twirling, an ancient god come from the heavens. Fittingly, the film is dedicated “respectfully” to Christopher Reeve and Dana Reeve."

Friday, June 09, 2006

Ang Lee, don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry

From AICN, "iF Magazine has an exclusive interview with Avi Arad about upcoming Marvel comic based films.
In the piece, Arad seems to imply that the long-gestating HULK sequel will be more of a remake than a continuation…

'ARAD: (edit) …a lot of people are looking forward to the comic book version of the HULK. That’s the one we are making, and I think it will be incredibly satisfying. It will be big and awesome and a big ride.

iF: So will you be recasting HULK with completely new actors?

ARAD: It’s a “do-over”. I loved the HULK movie, it was just a different approach, and it wasn’t exactly the comic. We want to be much closer to the comic. It’s what we would rather do.'

This could be taken two ways.
Perhaps they’re simply adjusting/re-considering Ang Lee’s approach to the first film – without necessarily negating its spin on Hulk's "origin story"? But, Arad appears to be saying that the follow-up is a remake – an odd choice that doesn’t seem entirely necessary in my mind. I’d rather see a HULK continuance that is “truer” in essence and vibe to its source material, than to watch yet another re-hashed origin story."

'Damien' gives devil movie remake its due


From USATODAY, 'In 1976's The Omen, English lad Harvey Stephens, 5, terrified audiences as Damien, spawn of Satan, earning himself a Golden Globe nomination. Thirty years later, he's the married father of 3-year-old Grace and owner of Benson's Chauffeurs Ltd., and he shares his memories on The OmenCollector's Edition DVD (Fox Home Entertainment, $26.98), in stores June 20. USA TODAY's William Keck talks to the Londoner, who went to a screening of the all-new Omen remake, now in theaters.

Q: How did you get a cameo in the new Omen?

A: They contacted me out of the blue to play a tabloid reporter at the embassy. I'm the fat gray guy who says, "Was she on drugs?"

Q: What about the new film reminds you of your version?

A: It's a direct remake, but it has its own identity. I love how they brought the deaths up to date.

Q: And what is most different?

A: Our film was more sinister, whereas they go with sudden jolts of sound (in the new version). I think they could have got a bit more dramatic mileage out of the dogs in the cemetery and the zoo scene. We had a big shot with giraffes and baboons, while they went with a caged gorilla. And they don't have the mother go out the hospital window. And Mia Farrow's a fine actress, but I think they really needed a scary English nanny.

Q: Did you notice similarities between yourself and the new Damien, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick?

A: He's got the dark hair and is scary-looking, but he didn't remind me of myself. But he did a very good job.

Q:What do you remember about the late Gregory Peck and Lee Remick, who played your unsuspecting adoptive parents?

A: He was a really nice man. I got Christmas cards from him. And I remember her playing with me on the swings in between takes.

Q: Any negative repercussions from playing the devil's son?

A: A few freaks have got in touch with me. One man knocked on my door with a set of six knives he claimed were from our film, asking me to sign the case. I was bathing my daughter at the time and told him to (shove) off.

Q: Have you been cursed?

A: Kids could be quite cruel when I was a boy. They wanted to know if I still had the 666 in my head. My daughter's due date was (originally) the 6th of June, but thankfully she was born on the 20th. And just this past Tuesday (6/6/06), I got quite a few text messages from people saying, "Happy Birthday."'

Octopunk, find picture here: http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2006-06-08-omen-flashback_x.htm