Saturday, September 30, 2006

Let the games begin


Please go to our sister Blog (http://jjpandemonium.blogspot.com/) for non-Horrorthon related items during the month of October.

Catholic Priests pedophiles?


From Iwatchstuff, "We've known for years that Catholic priests are the world's largest population of homosexual pedophiles, but did you know that they're sometimes heterosexual pedophiles as well? Amy Berg hopes to prove just that with her documentary Deliver Us From Evil, featuring a genuine priest pedophile who was willing to give up some of his "MySpace huntin' time" for intimate interviews, wherein he explains how he molested girls both sexually and spiritually (cross rape). The trailer alone, now available on Apple, paints a graphic portrait of a disturbed priest and the corruption in his organization that will have audiences seriously questioning the church and its leaders.

Unless you're Catholic, in which case you'll continue to dismiss reason and blindly follow the beliefs and practices you were brought up with that still riddle you with guilt every time you pass the bra section at Kmart.

Cath-Fact: Masturbation kills angels."

Watch trailer here: http://www.apple.com/trailers/lions_gate/deliverusfromevil/

It's happening people

Megatron rules!

Depp rules!

LAST CHANCE TO POST NON-HORROR!!!



JPX, if you have any last minute Johnny Depp pinups or breaking Transformers news, you have less than 10 hours...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Sunday SUNDAY Sunday!!!

I am soooooo AMPED! As JPX said in one of the countless screaming mimi emails we've been trading, it's like we turn the whole month of October into a holiday. I've been eyeing my stack of Netflix movies like they're wrapped presents. Tonight I'm going to do laundry and clean the house because I KNOW I'm not doing any of that crap for a while.

Horrorthon!

Only a pair of brothers could come up with a challenge as silly as this. Props to JPX and Summerisle for being the mega-geeks that started this off! And prepare to be buried! All of you!

Man, I wish this was starting at midnight tonight.

Renaissance


2006 ***1/2

Have I mentioned that my new roommate works in the movie theater down the street? Last night I decided to stay up late when he invited me to an after-midnight screening of the slick-looking animated thriller I was gabbing about a few weeks ago.

Well, it looked GREAT. The multi-leveled, futuristic Paris provided ample fodder for a slew of amazing images. The black-and-white city was like the main character of the movie, each scene providing a striking new look at some utopian high-tech interior, or a recognizable old-school Parisian building with huge support struts coming out of its roof, supporting the new upper levels. A particular "wow" moment was a long hold on one of the nude, female holograms that hover on the sidewalks in the red light district (they hug you and sigh as you walk through them).

The character animation was better than I thought, and its shortcomings were largely masked by the starkness of the lighting -- I was even tricked into thinking I was seeing rotoscoping a few times. This is like film noir cranked up to 11, and if these images intrigue you at all I recommend checking it out on the big screen. I'll probably go back for a second look myself.

On the down side, neither the story nor the script are all that revolutionary. I was able to forecast the couple of surprises, and while there was action, it wasn't action-packed. I'm curious to check this out in the original French, to see if the story holds up any better.

The visuals are well worth the trip. See the trailer in Quicktime here, or if that doesn't work, go here and reminisce about when we could still post YouTube movies on our blog.

Octopunk preferred Math Fun


From X-Entertainment: There's been a number of fairly infamous attempts by companies to capitalize on a more "adult" market with their Atari game releases. Aside from several pornographic (at least in theory) titles, there were a few games said to contain graphic violence, with perhaps the most famous being this spinoff of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, by Wizard Games in 1983. Violent nature aside, it's a pretty plain and boring game that couldn't hold a candle to Atari's more family friendly champs. The marked lack of technology was going to be the nail in the coffin of any Atari titles sold only on the merits of their graphics, but this one had way more problems than that.


As the story goes, many retailers refused to stock TCM, believing that a game so inherently amoral would've done more to alienate their customers than spark sales. Video game violence is pretty much a given these days, but certainly, it was a more risque gimmick back then. Of the stores who would carry it, TCM was usually kept off the shelves and in the stockroom on a request-only basis, so even if you were the kinda guy who would've bought the game, you had to know about it long before you landed at the stores. Of course, anyone who griped was doing so in principle only: TCM might've featured a sadistic little story, but nobody was going to be offended by what they saw on the screen. Few copies were sold, and the lucky carts that've survived till now are decisive rarities costing as much as 300 bucks for boxed editions.

From the instruction manual: "Grab your joystick and become "Leatherface," the homicidal, chainsaw wielding maniac of your nightmares! A group of hapless tourists have trespassed on your property. One by one, they've been hunted down and eliminated. Now, only a handful remain! So, oil up your chainsaw and find as many victims as you can before your fuel runs out!"

Well, it sounds cool, doesn't it? While it's unfair to compare TCM to games of more advanced systems than the Atari 2600, it's safe to say that this was an incredible failure. It's frustrating as all Hell, with the very schematics that are supposed to make the thing "fun" so thoroughly flawed and untested that you're going to give up long before you get far. Don't worry about that, though -- from what I see, there really isn't anywhere to go, anyway. Since the game was going to be blacklisted no matter how good it was, I guess the boys at Wizard should be thankful that they only spent six minutes putting it together.


Emulation has made the title easily accessible, but if you don't feel like tracking down the rom just to get annoyed with the gameplay, here's the review. It's going to be pretty short, since there just isn't much to say about it...


I hope you like the screen shown above, because that's pretty much all there is to it. I'll give you a rundown of the characters and obstacles in just a second, but fans of the movie should recognize the cannibal clan's truck and farmhouse in the background -- those, along with the worst representation of "trees" in video game history, follow you around no matter how far you travel. The whole thing seems to be based on Texas Chainsaw's famous climax, where Leatherface chases Sally around with a chainsaw, chopping up his own leg in the process. Nope, sorry -- you don't get to see anyone get hooked or eaten, and unless there's some bonus screens I'm unaware of, Wizard didn't render a graphic for the wacky family's collection of furniture made from human remains. It's just what you see above -- doesn't seem all that despicable, right?


You play as Leatherface himself, wearing a pastel jumpsuit and carrying around a similarily colored chainsaw. The character looks nothing like the real deal, but they did what they could. To the right, one of the many teenage twins who litter the field, popping up out of nowhere and running like heck from the guy with the big saw. Your goal? Chop them up. In that respect, it's fun. Few games cast you as the villain, and even fewer from the early 80s. Still, that's all there is to TCM. You run around, avoiding obstacles, trying to hit the same teenagers over and over again with something that almost vaguely resembles a chainsaw. You're given nothing for this but bonus points -- there's no "upper levels," no reward scenes, nothing. That's common for old Atari games, but the controls and processes are way too grating to survive without a payoff. You either keep killing teenagers to get more chainsaw fuel, or you fail and lose the game. Oh yeah, forgot to talk about the fuel.

The chainsaw constantly eats it up, whether you're actually using it for something or not. The fuel depletes much faster when active, and unless you've really mastered those controls, you're going to be using it to slice through the trillions of obstacles that fly at you every few seconds. Amazingly, in a game where you're playing this iconic murdering monster, your goal is limited simply to survival. Killing the teens racks up points, and with enough of those, your gas tank is refueled. Leatherface loses one of his three lives anytime the tank hits "empty." That sucks -- you're not even killing these stupid kids out of malice or sheer pleasure, you're doing it so the misguided Atari gods don't equate your chainsaw's gas tank hitting "empty" as a reason to steal your spiritual essence. The teens, for their part, aren't very good at avoiding Leatherface's stalk. They'll sometimes teleport behind him if he uses the chainsaw prematurely, but once you've figured it out, they're easy pickins'. A much more difficult process is found in trying to keep Leatherface away from the legion of nasty and often off-topic obstacles...


Wheelchairs, cow skulls, fences and bushes halt your advances, and once Leatherface hits one of these things, he's stuck there until he chainsaws his way through it. You can't just "turn around," so you're forced to waste fuel too quick to hit a respectable consecutive kill count. Keep in mind, the obstacles are in no way "static." What was to your left a moment ago will be completely changed on the second go-around, so you've got to literally train yourself to use zero memory if you plan to last long. Plus, when chasing the victims at a fast speed, the obstacles will pop up by the scores and leave you a measly second to avert 'em or get stuck. It's about as fun as it sounds. Actually, it's even worse. Even if you just trail underneath the obstacles, you can still nail Leatherface to 'em if a mere single pixel of his hairline comes within their range. There's just no way to avoid them, and hence, no way to do particularly well in the game. And don't even bother trying to use keyboard controls for the emulator version -- it's almost impossible to get anywhere.


That's what happens when Leatherface successfully catches a victim -- they sort of just shake, mildly, before turning different colors and vanishing. That's what people complained about? I think store owners just told Wizard Games that so they wouldn't feel bad knowing the truth -- nobody wanted to play this thing. Still, the game is a reminder that there's definite room for improvement -- couldn't you see Texas Chainsaw released these days with a kind of "Resident Evil" scheme? With the revamp set to hit theaters this October, who knows? Maybe we'll get a second attempt after all. This time, hopefully, the teen victims will look sexier and less like poorly drawn dumbbells. That's the game, in its entirety.

How do you win? You don't. There's no way to win the game; you just keep plodding along trying to remained fueled until the inevitable finally happens. There are no happy endings for Leatherface, and in fact, unless you turn the power off prematurely, there's no way to avoid seeing the following screen upon the game's completion:


Yes, when you run out of fuel, one of the teens smell opportunity, sneaks up behind Leatherface, and wallops him with a kick to the ass. You can play the most brilliant, skilled game of TCM imaginable, and yet, you still can't avoid this dreaded ass-kick. Awful game, and that's coming from someone who really wanted to like it.

Wizard also released another horror title, this time based on "Halloween." It's just as scatterbrained as the game we just reviewed, and you don't even get to play as Michael Myers. However, of the two, Halloween was the more involved and probably the best pick. Poor Leatherface -- for a character who set the template for many a great slasher icon, the guy was handled all wrong. In the film's numerous sequels, he was typically treated with the same reverence as an old sock -- Texas Chainsaw 2, for example, virtually eradicated all of the character's mystique, and even his Atari counterpart couldn't chainsaw the mustard. Falling short of later luminaries like Jason and Freddy in the murderous pop icon department, let's try to remember Leatherface for the one truly creepy movie he brought to the table, and not the slew of soulless spinoffs and tie-ins that came later. It's the least we can do till someone makes us shell out ten bucks to see his new flick. He better do that dance again.

LOST!


By Bill Keveney, USA TODAY
BURBANK, Calif. — Lost's second-season finale — "Live Together, Die Alone" — might be a good motto for the men who wrote it.
Longtime friends and executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof are at the center of the success of the third-season ABC drama (which returns Wednesday at 9 ET/PT). Their spinning of the tale of plane-crash survivors in an isolated world, and their miserly parceling out of clues to the island's mysteries, enthrall millions.
The creative partnership — forged by a call to Cuse when Lost's co-creator J.J. Abrams had to ease away to direct Mission: Impossible III— works because of, rather than despite, their contrasts on many levels.
Cuse, 47, who gave Lindelof his first TV writing job on Nash Bridges, is the mentor — tall, wearing a crisp oxford shirt and jeans, with an authoritative voice made for voice-overs. Lindelof, in Cuse's office as they review a script, is younger (33) and shorter — the protégé in jeans, purple T-shirt and Yankees cap. He has what he calls a "hyperbolic" nature, tempered by Cuse's calm.
Cuse, father of three, is the early bird, ticking off his tasks as the sun rises. Night owl Lindelof, sleep-deprived as a new first-time father, works in the wee hours. Both write, frequently together.
Lindelof enjoys spending three hours breaking down scenes in the editing room. Cuse is the problem solver, working out details with producers in Hawaii, where Lost is shot.
"We have complementary talents," Cuse says. But "we see the show very similarly. There's very little we don't fundamentally agree on, whether it's the direction of the show, the aesthetics or the stories we want to tell people."
The prospect of bringing an island world to life once terrified Lindelof. Now, they both say, the show has become its own entity. Cuse says it guides them like The Force in Star Wars. Lost "is bigger than us," says Lindelof. "It's like, when one of us has an idea, we feel that's what the show wanted us to do."
The Force obviously is with them:
•Lost has achieved cult-worship status, marked by numerous books and fan websites, with broad enough appeal to draw an average 15.4 million viewers (down 4% vs. Season 1) while facing No. 1 American Idol part of last year. It won an Emmy and Golden Globe for best drama; Abrams won a directing Emmy.
• It's the most popular ABC show on iTunes, with more than 8.5 million downloads. Sales of Season 1's DVD have topped 1.6 million copies, trailing only 24's first season among drama series, and the Season 2 set was No. 1 in sales for the first full week of September. This summer, Lost experimented with a multimedia Web hunt called The Lost Experience.
• The series spawned a wave of serialized mysteries that feature large casts, unite strangers or touch on otherworldly elements: Invasion, Surface and Threshold last year; Jericho, Heroes, Vanished and The Nine this fall.
To remain a success, Lindelof and Cuse say they need to make sure the characters come first. So far they've succeeded, says author Stephen King, whose apocalyptic The Stand influenced Lost.
"They're great storytellers," says King, a fan. "Very few TV show creators seem as able to convey the sense of awe the unknown causes in us, and the hold it has on our imaginations."
From conception to sensation
The concept for Lost— an island drama with elements of Castaway and Survivor — was devised late in the 2004-05 development season. Alias' Abrams, skilled in action and suspense, was set to make it. With the time constraints, Lindelof, an up-and-coming writer with an interest in sci-fi and comic books, came on.
He was "completely in sync" with Abrams, says Bryan Burk, a longtime Abrams associate who heads Lost's extensive post-production from the Disney lot. At their first meeting, "he walked in wearing a Star Wars fan club T-shirt. We're like, 'Hey, how are we not best friends already?' "
"Damon has an incredible sense of story," Abrams says. "We immediately clicked in terms of the importance of character and emotion." Presuming Lost was the longest of long shots, the pair decided to make the pilot they wanted, breaking traditional casting and plot rules.
The critical and audience reception confirmed others wanted it, too. But Abrams was taking on his first feature film directing assignment, and overseeing Alias and more pilots. And Lindelof was spooked by the looming challenge. "I quit the show three times," he says.
Cuse talked him out of leaving and eventually joined the show.
Lindelof "was suddenly, in my absence, besieged by all this stuff. Carlton provided the bolstering he desperately needed," says Abrams, who wrote Wednesday's premiere with Lindelof, and hopes to direct an episode this season. "They've taken the show we created and continued it in a way that I really admire."
"Initially, I thought it would be Damon the pure writer-artist-auteur, and Carlton would bring skills from having run so many shows successfully," ABC entertainment chief Steve McPherson says. "But it's like they morphed into one person. They seem to do everything together."
Hammering out the plot kinks
In the writers' room, decorated with pictures of Hawaii and the show's cast — with one board featuring photos of departed characters, under the heading R.I.P. — Lindelof is chatty, giving his fellow writers an update about caring for his month-old son, Van, and the toll it takes on sleep: "I'm reacting like five minutes after things happen."
After a few minutes of chatter, Cuse tries to get the staff focused on the season's eighth episode.
"Yeah, kids are great, all right," says writer Adam Horowitz, drawing laughs by gently mocking Cuse's businesslike transition.
As writer Edward Kitsis lays out the episode, broken down into five acts on a dry-erase board, Lindelof and Cuse do much of the talking. Lindelof free-associates more, as Cuse crystallizes points of the discussion. The episode is part of a season the producers say will offer more romance and adventure, examine the dynamic of Us vs. Them and — in one of their many cryptic references — play with our conceptions of time.
During the hour-long meeting, pop culture and literary references are tossed about. The discussion caroms from Peggy Sue Got Married to An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Star Trek: The Next Generation, A Christmas Carol, Eyes Wide Shut and Wonka bars.
Lindelof is a fount of pop culture details; Cuse knows science facts. "Carlton is the guy you'd want to be on the island with," Lindelof says. "I would be entertaining at the campfire."
In one scene, a knotty problem is suddenly solved by a character switch that both stokes a new romance and stirs jealousy. Cuse says later, revisiting The Force metaphor: "As we were working toward a solution, the show told us what needed to happen."
As Lost's plentiful religious references might suggest, both men seek spiritual meaning. Lindelof approaches from a Jewish upbringing, with Cuse having been raised Catholic.
On this day, Lindelof and Cuse are dealing with elements of seven episodes, including revisions to a script they are writing together. As they head to an editing room to assess a scene from the second episode, a visual-effects coordinator walks up with a laptop to show a riveting season-opening sequence. Abrams comes out of a room where he's reviewing scenes from his new series, Six Degrees, and the three watch intently. "That's cool. That's crazy," Abrams says.
Later in Cuse's office — which features two old Dodger Stadium seats, numbered 15 and 16 (from the infamous sequence 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42) — they review their script, then discuss another one with fellow producer Jeff Pinkner.
On most days they're together only about half the time, splitting up duties. "He trusts me to do the things I do, and I trust him," says Lindelof, whose nearby office is a Lost mini-museum, with Mr. Eko's "Jesus stick," a concert poster for Charlie's band Driveshaft, and a model of Oceanic Flight 815 — angled downward.
The trust extends to their experienced colleagues. "In the same way that Damon and Carlton and Bryan trust me to be in the jungle supervising and executing the show, I trust them to do the final cut of the show," says Jack Bender, who oversees operations in Hawaii.
But organization only goes so far when plotting a series with no specific end date. Cuse and Lindelof, signed through the end of this season, say they can see the show concluding after five seasons, but they know it could go longer considering TV's economics.
Regardless, they have "a superstructure" set up that they think will keep the story on track, and a definite endgame. But that doesn't mean this TV entity will stop evolving. "We're putting this puzzle together, but there's no picture on the front of the box. And people keep adding new pieces, but they still have to fit together," Lindelof says.

And the role of Iron Man goes to...


From AICN, "Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

Just got off the phone with Harry. It seems that the spies are out in force this year at Fantastic Fest, and one guy in particular sidled up to Knowles to tell him that there’s a lead actor now for IRON MAN. THE FOUNTAIN was about to start. Harry was about to go up onstage to do the intro. Then the guy told Harry what he told him, and Harry decided to call me before he started the proceedings.

“Is your guy that sure, Harry?” I asked.

“I hear there will be a trade break tomorrow,” Harry said. He told me a few other things the spy said off-the-record, and it certainly sounds like this guy’s the real deal. “Now I have to go because 250 people are staring at me wondering what I’m talking on my phone about.”

Brace yourselves for what happens when someone makes the right choice for once.

Tony Stark will be played by Robert Downey, Jr.

I can’t even express how much I love that choice. First of all, congratulations to Paramount and Marvel for having the nerve to pin their franchise on Downey. He’s had some rough years, but if I’ve ever seen anyone aggressively work to rehab their career, it’s Downey. Even in his darkest days, he was doing good work, but lately he seems more in touch than ever with what makes him great as a performer. He’s excellent with comedy, and he can break an audience’s heart with ease. Rare combination.

And when the franchise finally gets into some of Tony Stark’s darkest hours, when he faces down his own demons in the second film or the third, can you imagine how much soul Downey can bring to it? If handled right, that’s some of the most potent dramatic material in any Marvel movie, and now they’ve got the right actor to make it all work.

Congratulation, Favreau and Paramount and Marvel. Can’t wait."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

In case you wondered what JPX's bedroom ceiling looks like...

JPX, or "Mrs. Optimus Prime" as we like to call him around here, was finally cowed by our taunting and more taunting and pretended to not notice these two Transformers-related items from IWatchStuff. But I thought I'd give him a little present before stomping him in the Horrorthon.


(Text from IWS) Emerging from the small, blurry, Bigfoot-style pictures of the Transformers comes a crisp detail of the design and face of the leader of the Autobots. Like grandma, he's now barely recognizeable compared to the pictures of him from your childhood, but you'll still probably end up wasting two hours on both of them next summer, out of guilt if nothing else.



The second IWS item, about the Transformer Jazz, goes like this:


From the utopian but dated land of Transformer World 2005 comes the first look at Jazz.* Clearly in just the design stage, this early drawing of Jazz** is perhaps analogous to the blues or ragtime music of early America that would lead to the formation of jazz.*** Or maybe it's closer to a shitty drawing of a robot**** with an absurdly small head that's meant to turn into a car but looks more likely to transform into the Sydney Opera House.

*Here referring to the Transformer, not the American musical style.

**Again, the robot.

***The music this time.

****Jazz.

Larry David should play Larry


From Iwatchstuff, "In response to the complete public disinterest in translating old television shows to the big screen, Hollywood is reminding us that they don't care with rumors of another adaptation. This one will see the mediocre late-'70s/early '80s sitcom Three's Company fully realize the potential of sexual double entrendres and complicated misunderstandings. Better yet, some cast is supposedly already picked out, with Jim Carrey taking the role of Jack Tripper and Pamela Anderson filling Suzanne Somers' bra as Chrissy.

I'll admit the casting confuses me a bit. I fully acknowledge that Pamela Anderson is a dumb blonde, but I seem to remember Chrissy still being attractive and under 50. And after Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Truman Show, I thought Jim Carrey was too much of a dramatic actor to do this kind of fluff. Unless he was just with a couple of dramas to cover up the fact that he was secretly doing a lot of crappy comedies on the side! I knew he was covering up something when I came upstairs to check that leaky faucet!

John Ritter must be pratfalling in his grave right now."

Definitely the worst thing so far about the coup in Thailand

I figured I'd throw in one non horror-related post before the fireworks. I thought this was funny. From the BBC: Thailand's coup leaders have banned go-go dancers from performing for troops on the streets of Bangkok, fearing soldiers may be distracted.

A troupe of scantily-clad women danced for soldiers near the Royal Plaza on Monday, as part of entertainments paid for by a local radio station. But the coup's leaders - who had earlier told soldiers to keep smiling - have now banned all dancing near tanks.

"We have to maintain the seriousness of the coup," a military spokesman said.

The bloodless coup, which ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has been broadly welcomed in Bangkok, where Mr Thaksin was increasingly unpopular. Once initial tensions subsided, residents and tourists gathered in front of troops to have their photos taken. Others took flowers and food to show their backing for the soldiers. But the coup's leaders said Monday's go-go dancers - who appeared in skimpy camouflaged tops and pants - were the final straw.

"I don't know what the organiser's intention was but this should be the first and last of this type of dance performance. It's totally inappropriate," said coup spokesman Lt Gen Palangoon Klaharn.

HORRORTHON 2006 BEGINS IN 3 DAYS!!!


Gentlemen, sharpen your knives...

Miike's Imprint finally available



From Horrorview, “Asking Takashi Miike to direct an episode of Showtime’s Masters of Horror series is akin to inviting your alcoholic brother-in-law to a cocktail party; you just know he’s going to make a scene, and, in the end, the only thing people will remember about your summer brouhaha is the guy who projectile vomited an undigested mini-bratwurst across the room and into your boss’s teenage daughter’s cleavage. The reality is, however, that your busted-up brother-in-law’s antics, however embarrassing to you, were the highpoint of your boring little party.

Miike’s Imprint, the episode of Masters that was deemed to intense for even cable television, would likely make just such an impression on the jaded viewers of the otherwise staid series. This is the episode everyone would have remembered; the hour of gruesome, cringe-inducing, genuine horror that would have shaken up the oh-so-stale status quo.

Imprint tells the story of Christopher, (Drago) an American who ventures into the wilds of Japan in search of Kimomo (Michie), the love of his life that he promised to come back for. His quest leads him to a whorehouse in a region populated by demons and monsters of a decidedly human sort, where he meets a disfigured young woman (Kudoh), who tells him of Kimomo’s demise at the hands of the brothel’s other workers. The mysterious young woman doesn’t seem to be telling him the whole truth, however, and the answers may lie in the stories of her past.

Easily the best and most cinematic of the Masters of Horror entries, Imprint also clearly pushes the envelope in terms of what can and cannot be shown on American television. There’s some very disturbing imagery, here, as well as a lengthy torture sequence that literally had me wincing and yelling out in disgust. It was one of those “No, no…they aren’t gonna show…oh, SHIT, they did show…oh…wait…no, no….AAAGH!! SHIT!!” moments that Miike seems so fond of delivering. When I first heard that this episode wasn’t going to be aired, I thought it was a clever marketing ploy to move DVDs. Having seen it, I no longer think so. This makes every other entry in the series look like an episode of Blue’s Clues by comparison.

On a personal note, I think this is one of Miike’s most intriguing works. The director sought out actors based on their appearances and not on whether or not they could speak English (being that this was, for all intents and purposes, an “American” project), settling on a group of performers who had to learn their lines phonetically (save for Drago and Kudoh). After seeing how the strange inflections and pronunciations fit in with the rest of the nightmare qualities of Imprint, it seems like a great fit for the hallucinatory nature of this episode, and one that lends Imprint something of a quirky, Fellini-esque quality. The film is also incredibly beautiful, with great use of color, surreal sets, and fantastic anime-inspired costumes and hairstyles that offer a stark contrast to the grungy and indistinct world in which these people inhabit.

All that being said, there are some problems with Imprint, especially Billy Drago’s ultra-over-the-top performance which is actually kind of distracting, but, thankfully, he spends more time looking on in shocked silence than actually delivering lines. I like Drago, usually, but here he seems to be in full-on improvisational method actor mode, pounding his head against posts, slapping at the floor, and speaking in a strangely off-tempo manner that borders on the unintelligible. While the non-English speaking cast’s strange sounding cadence and inflection lent Imprint an art house quality, Drago’s crazed turn is purely dinner theatre. Kudoh, however, turns in a marvelous performance, and, seeing as she is the focus for much of the film’s running time (as well as its narrator), it is she who carries Miike’s twisted fantasy through to its jarring conclusion.

Anchor Bay releases Imprint with the same bevy of extras it’s blessed the entire series with, including a commentary track, extensive featurettes, bios, stills, and much more.

Imprint certainly lives up to the hype, and even if, like me, you’ve been somewhat disappointed by Masters of Horror as a whole, this one episode offers a lot of hope as to what this series can accomplish when done right. This is one of those rare instances when the best truly is saved for last.“

Wow, watch a really gross teaser here.

Kirsten Dunst wears ugly glasses


From Thesuperficial, "I always suspected Kirsten Dunst was a 65-year-old blind grandma and now I've got the photographic evidence to prove it. Never again will I be caught empty handed when I get into random arguments with strangers as to the age and ocular health of Kirsten Dunst."

Superman Returns continues to make dough


IMAX Corporation and Warner Bros. Pictures today announced that Bryan Singer's Superman Returns, which has grossed more than $388 million worldwide to date, continues to show strong legs in IMAX® theatres through its 13th week. The IMAX® 3D release, which has set multiple IMAX box office records, has now earned $22.7 million on 92 IMAX screens domestically and more than $7.5 million on 36 IMAX screens internationally. The IMAX release has now earned a worldwide total of $30 million with an impressive per screen average of $229,000.

"We are very pleased with the longevity of the film's performance in IMAX theatres," said Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution at Warner Bros. Pictures. "The immersive IMAX Experience has helped this terrific film continue to draw crowds thirteen weeks into its run."

"'Superman Returns' has been a huge hit in IMAX theatres throughout the entire summer," said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "The strong legs provide a clear indication that audiences want to experience Hollywood event movies in the most powerful and unique way. We are encouraged by the ongoing positive reactions to the world's first live-action Hollywood feature with scenes converted into IMAX 3D."

IMAX theatres from New York to San Francisco are reporting strong results and high occupancy, with New York City's IMAX at AMC Loews Lincoln Square 12 and IMAX at AMC Loews Metreon 15 in San Francisco topping the North American list. The film is also performing very well in key international territories, with several IMAX theatres reporting record performances.

"'Superman Returns: An IMAX 3D Experience' is continuing to generate significant box office receipts throughout our international territories, demonstrating the universal staying power and appeal of The IMAX Experience®," said Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, President of International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. "We look forward to delivering more IMAX and IMAX 3D features to the IMAX theatre network as the global appetite for this type of release continues to grow."

Examples of recent international successes include:

- The London BFI IMAX Theatre reported grosses of more than $1.2 million with "Superman Returns: An IMAX 3D Experience." The theatre has been more than 85% full through the entire ten weeks of the film's run.

- Manila's recently opened San Miguel Coca-Cola IMAX theatre reported estimated grosses to be $500,000, with a ticket price of approximately $5.50 -- which is still a 100% premium over 35mm tickets in the market.

- The three commercially operated IMAX screens in India have reported combined grosses of over $600,000 with an average ticket price of under $4, also a significant premium for the market.

IMAX Corporation used its proprietary 2D to 3D conversion technology to successfully complete the conversion of approximately 20 minutes of Superman Returns into An IMAX 3D Experience®, the most immersive cinematic 3D in the world. During four select sequences of the film, a visual cue designed by Singer indicates when audiences should put on and remove their IMAX 3D glasses. The film has been transformed into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience with IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology.

Texas Chainsaw prequel might be good


From Bloodydisgusting, "What a perfect year for a film like TCM: THE BEGINNING (to follow TCMTB) to hit theaters. In the midst of controversy over David DeFalco’s CHAOS, the popularity of HOSTEL and Lionsgate’s SAW franchise, this new film from Platinum Dunes and New Line Cinema challenges any pic in the past decade as one of the most brutal films ever to grace the big screen. But what separates TCMTB from the rest is not only how emotionally effective it is, but how virtues it is in its terror.

Directed by Jonathan Liebesman, the film follows two brothers, Dean (Taylor Handley) and Eric (Matthew Bomer), who are on a road trip across Texas with their girlfriends, Chrissie (Jordana Brewster) and Diora Baird (Bailey), in preparation for their trip to Vietnam. On the way to their destination they hit a cow in the road and are taking into custody by the new sheriff in town, Sheriff Hoyt (R. Lee Ermey). You know what’s next… or at least I hope you do.

TCMTB is the most physically draining movie I have ever seen- I was an emotional wreck by the time it was all said and done. Call me a pussy or whatever you will, but I quivered like a little girl throughout the entire film… my heart was racing at an abnormal rate like I had just drank three Red Bulls. If you challenge me I’ll straight out call you a liar, if you claim the movie was just “funny” then I’d say you have a problem dealing with true terror. I’m a hardcore horror fanatic just like most of you and I think you need to be honest with yourselves when it’s all said and done- embrace the fact that you were actually physically beaten up by a film.

Bringing back the talk of “the most brutal film ever made,” CHAOS makes the claim but can’t stand on it’s own two legs because of one important factor… we can give two sh-ts about each and every character. Unlike in CHAOS, the relationships in this prequel are skillfully crafted in a way that we not only care about the two separate couple’s relationships, but we also care about the brothers’. The conflicts are extremely relevant to the time period and are intertwined beautifully with the “Hewitt’s” own personal struggle. The Hewitts are the last people in town and are broken down to the smallest of all human needs- survival. Their town is dead, abandoned, and everyone has moved on- except them. They choose to fight back against a world that turned their backs on them and have become the hunter. Unfortunately the teens become the hunted, but while being hunted they have their own personal demons to conquer. One brother is about to become a draft dodger while the other is on his way back to the war, and ironically they end up in a war on their own home turf. In the end it becomes a duel between two families and both of their own personal struggles to survive.

As I explained, these refined characters added to the intensity of TCMTB, which leads me to the pinnacle of the film. The true test of how effective a horror movie is as a whole is when one of the main characters dies. Spoiler: When Chrissie witnesses first hand the death of her boyfriend Eric, I nearly broke down. As Leatherface plunges the chainsaw into his stomach Eric screams in pain, the chainsaw roars… and even Chrissie shrieks. The potency of the moment was so extreme that I can see people having to leave the theater. End Spoiler

Once again I want to go back to the statement, “the most brutal film ever.” TCMTB is seriously hardcore and f-cking violent. A lot of people are not going to be able to handle this. In HOSTEL much of the terror was implied with cut away editing and great sound effects, Liebesman doesn’t shy away from anything. We see heads brutally bashed in, legs broken, arms broken, teeth knocked out, flesh peeled off, heads blown off- you name it, it’s all in there. Every scene appears to be shown in its entirety, which only makes me wonder what the hell is going on at the MPAA? TEAM AMERICA has an urination scene and gets an NC-17, a guy gets his face peeled off in TCMTB and it gets an “R”? I’ll never quite get it.

But before I end this rant-like review I want to spend a moment giving mad props to Director Jonathan Liebesman. With his career tainted by that studio-ruined piece of crap DARKNESS FALLS, he had a lot to prove in what I’d like to call his “redemption piece.” Brad Fuller and Andrew Form did what they thought was the best for the franchise and took a chance on a guy who has more heart than you can ever imagine. What Liebesman delivers is one of the most terrifying and effective horror films ever made and he deserves a standing ovation (you better give it to him). He directs not only one of the most believable cast performances in a horror film in a long time, but he also brings much creativity to the screen, which is much needed in a story that leaves not much to the surprise (come on, for the most part we all know who lives and dies).

If you thought the CHAINSAW remake was rattling and intense, get ready for these poker players to up the ante- I’m willing to bet you’re going to fold. And if you weren’t a fan of the first, I’m still pretty sure you’re going to enjoy this one- if not, I understand that some people don’t like leaving the theater feeling like total and complete crap. TCMTB honestly is that emotionally intense and whether you love it or hate it I guarantee you’re going to be talking about it for quite sometime."

Craven to remake his own bad movies



Craven has hired Marianne Maddalena, who's produced many of Craven's films, to run Midnight Pictures. Plans call for the duo to produce Midnight Pictures fare and to also make films separately, with Maddalena developing her own slate.

He made both deals after pitching the project to Rogue's Andrew Rona, who as Dimension co-president worked on many of Craven's films when the director had an overall Miramax pact.

"It is rooted in the supernatural with a 16-year old central character, but it's more 'Sixth Sense' than a slasher film," Craven said. "It's appalling to me that you have to go back to 1994 to find an original that I wrote and directed, so this is very important to me."

New project will be released by Rogue, but not under the Midnight Pictures banner. Craven hopes to shoot next spring.

The first film under the Midnight Pictures banner will be the remake of his 1972 debut "The Last House on the Left," which Rogue co-presidents Andrew Karpen and Rona bought last month (Daily Variety, Aug. 17).

Rogue, the genre division of Universal-based Focus Features, is also eyeing Craven-directed fright titles Shocker and People Under the Stairs for possible remakes Craven would oversee with the new company. Both films are U-owned library titles.

Craven's genre landmarks include the "Scream" trilogy and "Nightmare on Elm Street" series. "New Nightmare," his last Freddy Krueger pic, was the last original he wrote and directed. His last directing foray was on "Red Eye."

Remakes of Craven's films have become an increasingly big part of his operation. Craven teamed with son Jonathan to write "The Hills Have Eyes 2," the sequel to the hit remake of his 1977 original. That film, directed by Martin Weisz, is in production, and Fox Atomic is planning a March release. Craven produced with Maddalena and Peter Locke.

Craven said the mission of Midnight Pictures is to find new voices, and the banner is actively looking for one to direct "Last House on the Left," which will begin production early next year.

Shrek 3 poster looks generic


From Iwatchstuff, “Hey Shrekophiles (that's right, I've named you freaks), here's your poster for the last piece of the Shrek trilogy, Shrek the Third. Strangely, it leaves out the film's new tagline, "Still Big, Still Green, Still Buying/Trading Vintage Child Pornography." But this is just the teaser, and not even finalized. There's still time.”

Screech is into gross things


From Iwatchstuff, "I really hope this isn't true, but Dustin Diamond (Screech from Saved by the Bell) supposedly has a 40-minute sex tape in which he engages in a threesome with two women and even performs a Dirty Sanchez.

Phoenix-based agent David Hans Schmidt, who has brokered some of Hollywood's biggest celebrity-skin deals, confirms that he's acquired the rights to a tape featuring Diamond. "Just when you think you have seen everything in this business," he tells us, "mankind has raised the bar another notch. Or lowered it."
The working title for the sex tape is "Saved by the Smell," but they should consider changing it to "The Last Video You Will Ever Watch" and then package a gun with every copy of the tape, so that after you watch it you can blow out your own brains. Because after you see a naked Screech wiping a women's upper lip with her own feces I can't imagine your brain could be thinking anything other than self termination. Kill the body to save the mind."

From WWTDD, "Considering most sane people would rather watch their grandparents have sex than Dustin Diamond, and considering that "Dustin Diamond" is an even dumber name than "Screech", I wonder if the tape will show the part when the ether wears off and the girls wake up. Because I bet that part is pretty exciting."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Harry's hair


From Iwatchstuff, "I'll be the first to admit it. The little picture in that Scotsman rag was just a cocktease of a Harry Potter preview. Thank your god for ComingSoon.net, which has posted five high-resolution photos from the upcoming movie. If they're any indication of the tone, the new film is going to be more in the style of "gay haircut.''

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Nerd orgasm


By Maria Puente, USA TODAY
Christie's next week will sell a spaceship-load of Star Trek stuff in the first — and probably last — official auction of artifacts from the TV series turned pop-culture phenomenon.
CBS Paramount, which owns the Trek franchise, has decided to sell more than 1,000 of the tens of thousands of costumes, props, weapons and set dressings accumulated during the production of five live-action series and 10 theatrical films since 1966, when William Shatner's Captain Kirk first uttered his now-familiar "Space, the final frontier" on national television.
Trekkies, who are famous for their mania for collecting, are said to be over the moon at the chance to bid six-figure sums on Kirk's Starfleet uniform or that holy of holies, the Starship Enterprise-A model.
"Smaller collections have come on the market before, but this is the largest, the only one from studio archives and from all the films and series, and it's the 40th anniversary, so there's definitely a fervor about this," says Cathy Elkies, Christie's director of specialty auctions.
The entire hoard, grandly titled 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection, will open for public viewing Saturday at Christie's Rockefeller Plaza in New York with the auction Oct. 5-7. Buyers also will be able to bid live online at Christies.com. Throngs of people are expected; some might be in costume.
Christie's is betting the sale will be huge, and the $3-million-plus estimated take probably is conservative.
Why? Because contrary to reputation, Trekkies are not just geeks with too much time on their hands. After all, Paul Allen collects Star Trek. In 2002, he bought Kirk's captain's chair from the original series for $250,000 for his Science Fiction Museum in Seattle.
"There is not a stereotypical Star Trek fan; they represent a wide spectrum of the population — attorneys, doctors, engineers, teachers and astronauts," says Denise Okuda, who with husband Michael worked on the series and films as scenic artists and wrote The Star Trek Encyclopedia.
The Okudas were hired as auction consultants and for the past six months have combed through five vast studio warehouses to pick out "the most valuable, iconic and coveted" items for the sale.
The Okudas expect that the items most prized by Trekkies will be the spaceship models, costumes (Elkies says some surviving cast members are interested in buying theirs) and behind-the-scenes items such as costumer's continuity notes.
How high could bidding for the40 Years of Star Trek auction go?
Christie's auctioneers aren't sure. "We have nothing to compare it to," says specialty auction director Cathy Elkies. "Plus, you can't quantify the Star Trek factor — that's the magic in the room." USA TODAY looks at some of the items thought to be highly coveted:

The Enterprise
Enterprise-A, the 8-foot model originally made for visual effects in 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture and seen in six Trek movies, has a $15,000-$25,000 estimate.

The iconic flute
Certain props pluck emotional chords in fans, such as the brass Ressikan flute (pre-auction estimate: $800-$1,200 with case) that was played by Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) in 1992's "Inner Light" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. "That's the item people say they really have to have, because it's so iconic to a much-beloved episode," says Denise Okuda, who co-wrote the auction catalog.

The captain's chair
Kirk's chair, the highlight among the set dressing pieces, is a replica made for the 1996 Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations." It has an $8,000-$12,000 estimate.

The Romulan Warbird
A miniature visual effects model of the Romulan Warbird (pre-auction estimate: $8,000-$12,000), used in episodes of "The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine."

Picard’s Starfleet Uniform
Captain Picard's Starfleet jumpsuit, a style worn in the first season of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987), comes complete with a Starfleet communicator badge and four pips on the collar, indicating his rank. Accompanied by a pair of black leather boots inscribed "Patrick Stewart," the lot is expected to sell for $6,000-$8,000.

Peter Jackson discusses cool things


From EW, "Are your wheels turning about how you might approach adapting The Hobbit even though the prospect has only just come up?
Reading about it on the Net, what interested me is the fact that [MGM is] talking about doing two Hobbit movies, which I thought was a much smarter idea than one. Not just for obvious financial reasons for the studios, but from a storytelling point of view, because one of the drawbacks of The Hobbit is it's relatively lightweight compared to LOTR. I mean, LOTR has this epic, rather complex quality to it, and The Hobbit, which was written some 10 or 12 years earlier by Tolkien as a children's book, is much more juvenile and simplistic. If they're seriously thinking about doing two, it makes it more interesting, because it allows you to expand The Hobbit. There's a lot of sections in which a character like Gandalf disappears for a while. From memory — I mean, I haven't read it for a while now — but I think he references going off to meet with the White Council, who are actually characters like Galadriel and Saruman and people that we see in Lord of the Rings. He mysteriously vanishes for a while and then comes back, but we don't really know what goes on. There's clearly lots of interesting politics happening concurrently with [Bilbo's] story, and doing two movies would allow you to explore a lot of those dark areas. You could make it feel more epic and more politically complicated.
Given how many other projects you've got cooking, how realistic is it for MGM to say they'd love to have you on board — especially since they haven't even actually asked you yet?
Dunno. That's what's kind of weird. Nobody's ever spoken to us about The Hobbit, so we've gotten on with things. We've made Kong. We've been buying the rights to different books. And we've been buying the rights with our own money. We haven't had a studio buy them for us, so we've obviously got an investment in that. Plus the fact that, artistically, they're all projects that really interest us. I don't know, it's weird. I mean, the longer [MGM and New Line] leave talking to us, the harder it's going to get to figure out how to do it. We'd obviously try to figure out a way, I guess, but, y'know, there's not much you can do with the sound of silence. The thing with being a filmmaker is that you have to get excited and fall in love with the projects you're working on. Otherwise, you shouldn't be doing them. So we've spent the last three years becoming very invested in the projects that we have on our slate now. We're not invested in The Hobbit in that way because we haven't been given the opportunity. So I don't know, really.
You're in talks to have Weta, your effects company, work on James Cameron's Avatar, a sci-fi epic about an estranged veteran set on another planet. Is it a 3-D movie?
As I understand it, it'll be 3-D. Jim is a huge 3-D fan, as am I. I think the new digital 3-D is superb. The depth of field is really nice. And I'm a strong believer in the future of 3-D, in a way that goes way beyond what we've seen today.
And what's up with Temeraire? What's the appeal of that series of books to you?
Dragons are fun! I also think fantasy always works better if you can put a lot of reality into it. Even through LOTR, that's what we tried to do. We tried to make that world feel as historical as possible. This project is great, because it's set during the Napoleonic wars. So we can mine all the great possibilities, the politics and the characters and the visuals of that period. The fantasy is just the icing on the cake. I love doing something that's historical, but you kick it 10 degrees sideways and add a fanastical element. It's a sort of alternate-historical story: What would the Napoleonic wars have been like if there was an air force of dragons? Great stuff. There was an actual British army and navy, but here you've also got the Royal Flying Corps, who fly the dragons. The books are full of strong characters, and there's great conflict because the aviators, the guys that ride on the dragons and control them, are looked down upon. There's this whole class system that goes on. If you're the son of a gent, you go in the navy, but it's much lower-class people that end up being in aviation. The characters in Temeraire have much more to think about than just battles and dragons. All that dressing, that emotional stuff, is what I really like in these stories.
Plus it'd be a great warm-up to figuring out how to do Smaug, the dragon in The Hobbit. Do you think MGM or New Line will now actually call you with a concrete plan or offer?
I don't know. I'm not that concerned about it, because if they couldn't wait for us and somebody else was going to make The Hobbit, I'd still queue up and see it. Obviously, once a studio decides to make a movie, they're not necessarily going to wait around for a particular director to become free. So I guess I'm either going to get involved making it or I get to go and enjoy the film when it's released. We'll see.
What if you just signed on as an executive producer?
Well, that's a possibility. That actually hadn't occurred to me. See, you're thinking of things I haven't even thought of."

Reanimator is in the house!


SYNOPSIS
The sequel, which reunites the original team (director Stuart Gordon, producer Brian Yuzna, writer Dennis Paoli and lead actor Jeffrey Combs), focuses on a Bush-like president who dies in office. His staff covertly brings in Dr. Herbert West to reanimate the Commander in Chief, and the expected chaos ensues.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

From Darkhorizons, "In response to massive fan interest, Warner Bros. has released high resolution versions of the recent magazine and newspaper articles about the upcoming fifth Potter epic "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."




Amongst the photos are the shot revealed yesterday of Harry being attacked in an alley by the Dementors (see yesterday's post below). Also included are a first look at Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in her office at Hogwarts, a group shot of 'Dumbledore's Army' in the Room of Requirement, a shot of our heroic main trio, and a shot of Umbridge along with teachers McGonagall (Maggie Smith) and Professor Trelawney (Emma Thompson).

Monday, September 25, 2006

Blood Diamond is a stupid title

Blood Diamond movie trailer

From Iwatchstuff, "A fisherman, a mercenary, and a syndicate of businessmen fight for a precious stone while Leonardo DiCaprio speaks in an unidentifiable accent in Blood Diamond, the most controversial look at the diamond trade since Elizabeth's Taylor's White Diamonds commercials. From just the trailer I can tell how powerful this piece will be, forcing audiences to examine human ethics and greed pushed to its extreme, but set in Africa so we can more easily dismiss it as primitive savagery that doesn't apply to us.

The film also stars Jennifer Connelly as an American journalist and Djimon Hounsou, once again, reprising his role as thoughtful African guy.

NOTE: To play the Blood Diamond trailer drinking game, take a shot every time someone is shown screaming. You'll be drunk before it's over."

Scene from LOST season 3!

Lost Season 3 real scene

I'm completely hooked on LOST. Here's a scene from season 3 to wet your appetite. If you're not watching this show you're mentally ill.

No surprise here


By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY
Where are the serious fall filmgoers?
Studio executives are wondering, after yet another movie proclaimed to be an early Oscar contender fell by the wayside this weekend at the box office.
All the King's Men, the Sean Penn remake of the 1949 Oscar winner, did a dismal $3.8 million for No. 7, according to Nielsen EDI. Jackass: Number Two, the grossout-stunts sequel starring Johnny Knoxville, was an easy winner for the weekend with $28.1 million.
The King's Men haul is half what most analysts expected and confirms what they suspected about the 2006 Oscar race: that it lacks a heavyweight contender. "I can't think of one movie that people are considering a lock," Entertainment Weekly's Dave Karger says. "It's always anyone's race this time of year, but this is especially open."
King's Men follows the middling performance of Hollywoodland, the Superman drama that opened to $6 million two weeks ago but fell out of the top 10.
Though an Oscar contender doesn't have to be a commercial success, analysts say box-office momentum is a key component to an awards run. And already, executives behind smaller, popular movies released this summer such as Little Miss Sunshine and The Illusionist are revamping their awards campaign to fill the void. Sunshine has done $50.3 million, Illusionist $27.5 million.
"There are movies that on paper look like award-type films, but the marketplace will decide if that's true," says David Dinerstein, head of distribution for the Yari Film Group, which distributed The Illusionist. "We see an opportunity to be aggressive through the fall."
King's Men was supposed to be one of those movies, but it never recovered from its lukewarm reception at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month.
"We believe in this movie, and we're proud of it, so we're disappointed," says Rory Bruer, distribution chief for Sony, which released King's Men. "Obviously, it wasn't the type of movie that fits what people are going to see right now."
Instead, people are going to see movies in which men are attacked by animals and have things hurled at their groins. On its first night of release, Jackass recouped its $11 million budget.
"There must be something in the water for Jackass fans," says Don Harris, an executive vice president for distributor Paramount Pictures. "If they don't make a Jackass 3, I may do it myself."
Jet Li's Fearless opened at No. 2 with $10.6 million, followed by Gridiron Gang with $9.7 million. Flyboys was fourth with $6 million. Ticket sales for the top 10 movies dipped 9% from the same weekend last year.

Peter gets a prostate exam

family guy!

It's a slow news day so here's the opening of the Family Guy season premiere.

Harry's looking kinda old

From Darkhorizons, "The Scotsman has posted the first official photo of a scene from "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". The still comes from one of the earliest scenes in the book when several Dementors attack Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) in a grim alleyway."

From Iwatchstuff, "The Scotsman has graciously interrupted its 150 year run of bagpipe and tartan coverage to provide the first still I've seen from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. From the looks of it, the series is continuing the tradition of each episode getting darker and darker as the children get uglier and uglier, progressing with themes of ringer tees, dark alleyways, and Spanish graffiti. Aye."