Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Spider-Man 3 publicity train gets on track

By Scott Bowles, Edna Gundersen and Gary Strauss, USA TODAY

MoviesNew York City welcomes world-famous web-slinger
New York has been bitten by the Spider-Man bug.
The city, which has played home to Peter Parker and his web-slinging alias, is commemorating the May 4 opening of Spider-Man 3 with a week-long tribute of exhibits and events starting April 30 — a rare city-sponsored campaign for a commercial film.
The city's American Museum of Natural History is installing a spider exhibit shortly before the film opens. New York's Botanical Garden will host workshops on baby spider plants. The Children's Museum of Manhattan will honor the villain Green Goblin with a display of the original Goblin outfit and a mask-making workshop. The Central Park Zoo will host a Spider-Man scavenger hunt and a "Bugmania" show.
Although movie studios and city officials have historically had a sputtering relationship — primarily over how the city is going to be portrayed in films — New York has increasingly embraced Hollywood. Following the release of last year's Ben Stiller hit Night at the Museum, the Natural History Museum improved attendance by hosting late-night flashlight tours of the building.

Wheaton to annoy Trek fans once again

From syfyportal, "Former "Star Trek: The Next Generation" actor Wil Wheaton revealed in his latest blog that he is writing a story for Tokyopop's second volume of "Star Trek: The Manga" comic book, featuring characters from the original series.

"Initially, I was terrified at the prospect of creating and writing this story, but this voice in my head kept saying, 'Dude, this would be so cool! Come on, man, let's do this!’" Wheaton wrote. "Ultimately, I decided that if I'm going to truly call myself a writer, and if I'm truly going to write that novel someday, I've got to tackle fiction sooner or later ... and what better way to test myself than with characters and a universe that I already know?"

Wheaton said he didn't realize how much pressure there would be to write such a story until he sat down and wrote "Captain's log ..." for the first time, saying that it was then that he realized that his safety net was made from barbed wire.

"And there are alligators crawling around on it, and monkeys with BB blowguns are constantly shooting at me while I walk across the high wire from 'I have an idea' to "OK, it's done!'" Wheaton said.

TokyoPop has not released an official announcement about Wheaton's involvement as of yet, but Wheaton said the manga could be in stores as early as September.

"I can't reveal anything about my story, though I wish I could tell you the title, which I love, and the artist, who I also love, and one of the other authors in the collection who may or may not out him or her or itself in the comments on this post ..." Wheaton said.
More from Wheaton can be found on the original blog by clicking here."

Wahlberg makes a poor decision

From bloodydisgusting, "Mark Wahlberg (pictured inside) has signed on to star in M. Night Shyamalan's thriller The Happening for 20th Century Fox. The studio has grabbed Friday the 13th in June 2008 as its worldwide release date, according to the Hollywood Reporter. "Happening" centers on a family on the run from an apocalyptic threat to humanity. Wahlberg will play Elliot Moore, the science teacher at the center of this event. Shyamalan wrote the original screenplay and will produce with Sam Mercer and Barry Mendel. Production is set to begin in August in Philadelphia."

Yep, that Iron Man flick is really happening

From AICN, "Quint here with a pair of snuck pics that have hit the net over at JustJared. They have a batch of Tony Stark and Pepper Potts having an intimate moment. Below are a couple pics taken from the site, but be sure to click on the link above for the rest. Thanks to "Can-D" for the heads up.

Still loving the idea of Robert Downey Jr. as Stark..."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

JPX takes Friday off, have a great weekend, boys!


Michael Jackson, still crazy

Michael Jackson is just like us.

[Jackson] may attempt to erect a 50-foot, robotic likeness of himself in the Las Vegas desert in full view of incoming planes. According to entertainment company consultant Mike Luckman, his business partner Andre Van Pier has already designed what we'll refer to as the massive Jackobot, complete with... laser beams shooting up into the sky. The plan will only go into motion if Jackson decides to launch a show in Sin City, for which Van Pier has also contributed sketches of a "stage set of a giant audience-interactive video game with human cyborgs controlled by the audience."
Jackson also drew up detailed plans for his show, in which he teleports onto the stage then uses his jetpack to fly over the crowd with his dancing team of pegasuses, except the pegasuses have unicorn horns because regular pegasuses don't really do it for him, you know? Like, why have two different kinds of magic horses when you can have one SUPER magic horse? At least I think that's what his plans depicted. It's hard to tell because he only had the 8-pack of Crayola to work with. And if I learned anything in the four years I spent studying art and experimenting sexually with nude models in Paris, it's that you can't convey the true meaning of an idiotic retard's futuristic space show without periwinkle and burnt sienna.

Jim needs a new agent

Hollywood conventional wisdom holds that it's been a rough last couple of years for Jim Carrey, which is pretty remarkable considering that he did star in a movie that made over $200 million worldwide. Unfortunately, that movie, Fun with Dick and Jane, was heavily re-shot to the tune of $100 million; studio accounting never ceases to amaze and depress me, but I think it's safe to say Sony might still be in the red on that one. Compounding Carrey's bad luck was Used Guys, a proposed teaming with fellow comedy titan Ben Stiller that got abruptly kiboshed by 20th Century Fox for specious budgetary reasons (I mean, when has Fox ever flinched at overspending on garbage?), and Ripley's Believe It or Not, another ignominiously delayed star vehicle which might still happen with Tim Burton directing (though no one still in possession of their frontal lobe is actually looking forward to Steve Oedekerk's rewrite of Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski's very respectable draft). And then there was The Number 23, a misconceived thriller that haunted my inbox with quite possibly the dumbest publicity stunt in the history of film marketing before justly bombing

So, yeah, for the first time since Once Bitten, it actually sucked to be Jim Carrey. And while I can only be so sympathetic to a man who has made $20 million per picture for most of the last decade, there's no pleasure to be derived from Carrey's struggles. He's a tremendously talented actor who seemed to be turning a corner with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - without question, his best work - before unexpectedly spinning out with two underperforming seasonal tentpoles (I'll save my earnest defense of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events for another time).

Thank god, then, for Ian Roberts and Jay Martel, two very funny gentlemen whose spec script, Me Time, has been snatched up by those spendthrifts at Fox as a potential vehicle for the down-and-out Mr. Carrey. To be honest, I'm not familiar with Martel's work, but anyone worthy enough to write with UCB Vet and Nick Fury action figure model Ian Roberts must be a mensch. Their script concerns an author plunged into a masculine crisis whilst writing a book based on the life of his frontier-hardened great-great-grandmother. The writer's spiritual turmoil is exacerbated when his wife becomes bed-ridden due to pregnancy, thus forcing him to take on more domestic responsibilities. This must've been a tough pitch.

Will it actually get made? I think so. Jim Carrey in the right comedy is still good for a $30 million opening. He's no Seth Rogen, but he'll make you some coin. You'll probably not give a shit to know that I'll be chasing down Me Time for a future "Crop Report".

Spider-Man 3 novel reviewed [non-spoiler]

From AICN, "Even allowing for the fact that this is a novelization - and so granted there's always going to be some expanding to get a 100 page screenplay into a 350 page book - but even allowing for that, Spider-Man 3 feels like a lot thrown in at once. Much like X3: The Last Stand, it feels like they took the two or three directions they liked the most and decided to go with all of them at the same time. Or maybe it's just that there's too many plot threads to wrap up, too many new characters introduced that don't get the development they deserve. Peter David seems to be Marvel's go-to guy for novelizations these days. With the Hulk, he made a dark and bewildering movie a little lighter and easier to understand, and with Fantastic Four he made a light and funny movie a little...lighter and funny. I don't know how much is David's work here and how much is the original screenplay, likewise I don't know how what's changed since the earlier draft that David most likely would have worked off of, so a bit of a warning before I get into the nitty. And this whole thing is going to be spoiler territory so let them avoid, that must."

Go here for minor spoilers: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/32082

Lick it up!

Really, it was only a matter of time before this happened: First-class postage rates are going up to 41 cents. Well, okay, that, and the fact that, to inaugurate the new price structure, the U.S. Postal Service will issue a set of 15 commemorative Star Wars stamps, just in time to celebrate the sci-fi series' 30th birthday this May. Yay! Because, you know, nothing says "I love you" more than a letter to your sweetheart with a Boba Fett stamp on it.

As Darth Vader (pictured) would say, "Impressive, most impressive."
It's also interesting, most interesting, for many reasons:
• The featured images — BF, DV, old Obi-Wan, Yoda, Han Solo and Chewie, Anakin fighting Obi-Wan, Queen Amidala, Luke, Leia and R2, Emperor Palpatine, the Stormtroopers, C-3PO, the Millennium Falcon, Darth Maul, and an X-Wing Fighter — do not include Jar-Jar Binks. Phew!

• In fact, just three folks on the stamps — Annie, Padmé, and Darth Maul — come largely from the prequels.

• No Lando.

• No Ewoks.
• The series includes the images of actors who are still alive, albeit in the guise of fictional characters. This skirts a general USPS rule that only dead people can be on stamps. So, hey, now you can send your rent check to your landlord in an envelope sporting Natalie Portman's purdy mug. Should ease the pain, I guess.

• No Jabba.

The USPS is encouraging everyone to vote for their favorite stamp, which they'll then issue in a special run later this year. I pick Han and Chewbacca. What about you, young Padawans?

Unwatchable kids film + Musical = JPX's second worst nightmare of the week (the first being the Robert Smith/Simpson collaboration)

The coolest kid adventure film of the 1980s — eat it, Flight of the Navigator! — has enjoyed a fervent cult following ever since its release in 1985. But what Goonies lovers really want to know is, Will we ever see Chunk, Data, and Mouth in another incarnation? Believe it or not, we very well might — as a musical. The film's director, Richard Donner (16 Blocks), says there is an active attempt to mount a musical adaptation of the original, which was written by Chris Columbus from Steven Spielberg's story. ''Steven and I have discussed it, and it's something that I'm fairly passionate about right now,'' Donner tells us.

A second movie seems unlikely, however. ''We never had a script,'' Donner explains. ''We tried a couple of times and every time we did, we realized, 'What are we doing?''' Which is disappointing, to be sure, but nothing seeing the ''Truffle Shuffle'' as a lavish production number can't make better.

THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM Trailer Online Now

From ifitsmovies, "Hey everyone, Ryan here with your first look at the new movie in the BOURNE trilogy. Here is the trailer for THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, which comes out in theaters August 17, 2007.

I love the BOURNE series, and so far this one looks like it will be just as good as the first two."


7-Eleven, one step closer to taking over the world

The Daily Progress reports that 7-Eleven is in talks with Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox to promote Spider-Man 3 and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer:

7-Eleven also is lining up deals with the "Spider-Man" franchise in advance of the third installment in May. The promotion will feature Black Cherry Lemonade Slurpees and collectible Slurpee cups with three-dimensional graphics on the side.Finally, the retailer plans to use the June sequel to "Fantastic Four" to promote the Slurpee energy drink it launched last year, called Full Throttle.Visit the link above for more on this.
[JPX] It's a slow news day, fellas.

Anderson still on Castlevania, Count Chocula delighted

The announcement of Paul W.S. Anderson's departure from Rogue Pictures' Castlevania video game adaptation came a little premature the other day, as apparently the writer/director hasn't officially left the project... yet (we can still cross our fingers). Inside you can read Anderson's official comments on the issue, not that we care either way. We just want him gone.

Paul W.S. Anderson tells IGN exclusively, "Both Death Race and Castlevania are set up at Universal," Anderson explains.

"The studio wants to make both films, but obviously there is a scheduling conflict which we are trying to resolve. I am very passionate about Castlevania and whatever happens I will remain actively involved in my role as writer and producer."

That was the shortest celebration EVER.

Anderson's script will focus on the origins of Dracula and the uprising of the Belmont Clan, a vampire-slaying family who supposedly become humanity's last hope.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Life imitating art imitating life

From Iwatchstuff, "Though the deal isn't yet sealed, 7-Eleven has plans to dress 11 of their stores to resemble Kwik-E-Marts in a joint promotion with The Simpsons Movie, including the addition of Simpsons-inspired products like KrustyO's cereal, Buzz Cola, and Squishees. Current 7-Eleven fans need not worry that they'll lose their favorite features of the chain; though the signs and cups will say Squishee, it will still be a classic Slurpee inside, and, thankfully, meth-addicted thieves will continue to burglarize the store on a nightly basis."

New Harry Potter book cover revealed, Harry Potter surprisingly on cover

NEW YORK (AP) - The cover of the seventh and final Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," features a dramatic gold-and-orange sky and a teenage boy in eyeglasses reaching upward.

As always, the cover was designed by illustrator Mary GrandPre, U.S. publisher Scholastic Inc. announced Wednesday.
"The structures around Harry show evident destruction and in the shadows behind him, we see outlines of other people," David Saylor, Scholastic's art director, said in a statement.
"For the first time, the cover is a wraparound. On the back cover, spidery hands are outstretched toward Harry. Only when the book is opened does one see a powerful image of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, his glowing red eyes peering out from his hood."
J.K. Rowling's fantasy series has sold more than 325 million copies worldwide. "Deathly Hallows," to be released July 21, has an announced first printing of 12 million in the United States.

OF COURSE they got nose jobs


I have to weigh in here (even though we're about as far afield from Horrorthon subject matter as possible) (Okay, not) because:

1) There is no question whatsoever that they got matching nose jobs a ways back (see photos); and

2) I think they're ridiculously hot and I don't care who disagrees (see photos).

I know it's fashionable to dis them because they're such idiots or because they turn the task of fashion icon into such a weird excuse to wear yards of gypsy fabric rather than actual clothes or because they dropped out of college since "writing papers is no fun," but when this translates into harshing on their looks, I say, "I do not agree."

Okay, we can change the subject.

Olsen twins to get even creepier

From iwatchstuff, 'Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are reportedly set to get matching nose jobs and have both reportedly consulted Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Raj Kanodia about the surgery. An insider says:

"Ashley has always thought her nose was a little too big, so she wanted to get it done. When she talked to her sister about it, she loved the idea." There has been speculation in the past that the mini-moguls have already had their features tweaked under the knife. "They both love changing their looks," a friend tells ITW. "They thought this would make them look more polished."

More polished? It's gonna take a hell of a lot more than a nose job to fix whatever's wrong with these two. Can they do face transplants yet? I saw in a movie once where they swapped John Travolta's face with Nicolas Cage's face and then they switched identities and had to shoot a bunch of people and blow stuff up. I think it was called Cinderella II: Dreams Come True.'

Myers to return with dumb-sounding idea

From CHUD, "Last spring, word went out about a Mike Myers project that would have the notorious ham playing an Indian self—help guru named Pitka who spouted all sorts of wackiness as advice. The character originated during the making of the second Austin Powers movie, and Myers has kept it on the backburner ever since, doing stage shows in character here and there to fine tune it. I can’t imagine there being that much to it, though. Do a “funny” accent, pepper your “advice” with toilet humor, and repeat if desired. There. Now I’m a top-shelf comic genius too.

The film’s kind of been in drydock as Myers and Paramount sought somebody with the cinematic vision to be able to tell camera operators to keep rolling as Myers improvised take after take. Tricky stuff, that. The search for that most rare of individuals is now over as Marco Schnabel has stepped in the director’s chair. While he's got a thin resume as of yet, he’s got a long running association with Myers as he crewed on the first two Austin Powers movies and stepped up as second unit director for the last one.

Paramount’s looking for this to be a major release for 2008, and there’s little reason to doubt that it will be. Myers is one of the safest comedy bets around these days, and he stays out of the public eye enough between films to make sure people don’t get sick of him. And as long as there are accents left for him to try, we’ll be seeing more of these types of flicks. Take it and like it. Or not."

Topher Grace sounds kind of stupid when he speaks

From SHH, 'Talking to MTV, Topher Grace says Eddie Brock/Venom will have his way with Spidey in Spider-Man 3:

"You like Spider-Man," Topher Grace grinned last week, "but isn't it about time that somebody kicked his ass?" Now, with only six weeks left until the release of "Spider-Man 3," the man who will soon be known as Venom is promising we'll finally see Peter Parker getting pummeled.

"He kicks Spider-Man's ass," Grace grinned, reflecting on his black-suited supervillain. "It was interesting, and it was hard. I had to do a lot of working out, which is very new to me. ... I play a bad guy, so that was a very different experience for me, acting-wise."

Cast alongside series stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and James Franco, the "That '70s Show" star insisted he'll be right there in line with the rest of us come May 4. "I'm the guy that's going to be driving around to theaters opening weekend to watch it," he smiled. "I used to collect the comic books, and I'm pretty geeked out about it."

Spider-Man 3 opens on May 4.'

Depp and Burton creating awful movie

From iwatchstuff, "Tim Burton's latest, Sweeney Todd, tells the story of a seriak-killing old-fashioney barber played by Johnny Depp. Even with his murderous side, I can already tell from this first picture that I'd let be my barber. Mainly because Mom won't let me have sideburns when she does it."

X-Files 2: Scully Smiles

From moviesonline, "Uh oh, the X Files 2 rumor mill is once again churning. According to IESB David says the deal will be signed in a few weeks and then will go straight into filming. I am a huge fan of the X Files series, and even the last film was alot of fun, however lets take a deep breath. The X files 2 movie has been supposedly in the works for a LONG time, as long as I have been blogging on this site. Which is years kids... years.

Chris Carter, creator of "The X-Files", told SFX magazine in 2005 that he's still trying to get a second movie based on his classic TV series made.


"We are in negotiations right now. And because it's a sequel, there are peculiar and specific kinds of negotiations that are holding us up. I think that there's an appetite for it, but I think that it's got to be good. People won't just go and see anything. Whatever happens, I'm going to do something good that people will want to go and see regardless."


He didn't say much about the story, just one thing:


"Not a mythology one, for sure!"


The first movie told about Mulder and Scully, who with the dubious assistance of a paranoid doctor, risk their careers and their lives to hunt down a deadly virus which may be extraterrestrial in origin - and could destroy all life on earth!"

My childhood lunch box


Picture it, North Attleboro, MA, Emerald Square Mall, Toy Vault 2 (yes there is a Toy Vault 1). I popped into my favorite collector's store and after extricating myself from the employee who was all too eager to tell me about his comic book idea (is there anything less interesting?), I spied my Holy Grail. For years I've wanted to acquire the Star Wars lunch box that I had in the 2nd grade but it's always been (a) difficult to find; and (b) too expensive. This baby is now nestled in my kitchen looking way cool. God I'm a nerd.

Tuesday!

I never forgot this image

Man, do you remember this hanging up in your grade school classroom? While talking to a patient about smoking today I was suddenly reminded of this image and I realized, "Damn, it worked!" Any time I was given the opportunity to smoke in life I would instantly recall this handsome fellow and any curiosity I had would quickly shrivel up. Damn you, Red cross!

He's probably dead, huh?

Meet the Turtles!

From x-entertainment, "Y'all should remember Brian — the guy who occasionally lends X-E its spirited holiday designs? I've mentioned him before. Anyway, a while back, Brian landed a job with MTV, which put him exactly ten floors below where I work. Yesterday morning, I get into the office, and the sugar was barely in the coffee when my phone rang. It was him. Did he want to get a jumpstart on X-E's next Halloween design as I've been endlessly suggesting? No. He had something much more important to tell me about. Something magical was set to happen that afternoon, just across the street at the Virgin Megastore. Half off DVD box sets? No. Something bigger. Something greener.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Live. In person. Within humping distance. Ours for the taking.

With the new movie set to debut, there's also a new soundtrack to go with it, and that's what this little event was for. Brian was ostensibly covering it for work, and I was ostensibly his photographer for the hour, ostensibly because motherfucking holy shit it is my BIRTHRIGHT to be as close to real live Ninja Turtles as humanly possible.

So, I'm standing in this little gated off section with all of the other photographers, and boy, they were vicious. Everyone wanted the right angle. People kept giving me devil eyes when they thought I was stealing their turf, but I was all like, "chill, I'm here to get a few grainy pictures for my blog, grab a complimentary TMNT button and go home." Only instead of actually saying that, I kinda just looked down timidly.

Soon, the line formed. I'd be lying if I said hundreds, but certainly, there were dozens of Ninja Turtle maniacs of all ages waiting to shake hands with the lean green fighting machines. It worked like this: If you bought the soundtrack, you got to meet with the Turtles. That catch paved way for me getting to eavesdrop on the greatest conversation ever, where a slimy, creepy store manager started complaining to one of the studio peeps about how he was gonna "go into a rage" if people just returned the CDs after getting their Ninja Turtle fix. If only Hamato was there to mediate.

Finally, the announcement blared over the store speakers. The Turtles…had arrived.

AND THEY CAME DOWN THE ESCALATOR! NINJA TURTLES DOWN AN ESCALATOR! MY LIFE IS COMPLETE!
I just expected them to saunter out onto the tiny platform from some hidden greenroom. Nope, they arrived by CAB! And since this was on the lowest level of an 80 floor store, they had to go down like sixty-seven escalator flights! TURTLES DOWN AN ESCALATOR AHHHHHHHHHAll four Ninja Turtles were present, because you can't have one without the other three. I held out some small hope that we'd get those funky latex costumes as seen in the old movies, but nah — these were more like really, really, really expensive Ninja Turtles Halloween costumes.

Adequate, but nothing that was going to get me to ask Raphael if he liked Critters enough to see Critters 2. In honor of the affable event climate, the Turtles sadly left their gear at home. No big sticks, and no swords. They also took a vow of silence, refusing to speak even when children asked them questions that couldn't be answered with a simple yes-or-no headshake.
After letting the press direct the Turtles through 450,000 action poses, the patient fans were finally allowed to mingle with their heroes. The kids and twenty-something goofballs went home happy, and because I was in the right place at the right time, I went home with a swank set of Ninja Turtles promo magnets.

Soon after, I returned to the office, pretending that I'd just gotten back from another grueling errand. "

Crappy movie remake alert

From iwatchstuff, "Dark Horizons reports that location scouting is currently underway for a remake of the '80s teen comedy Teen Wolf with a clever new spin on it: the wolf is a girl! How do they come up with this stuff?! Already set for the cast is Tom Welling of Smallville, proving Superman's greatest weakness is not kryptonite but a really shitty agent."

Letters sent far, far away

By Anthony Breznican, USA TODAY
Letter writers soon will be able to put pen to paper, slip it into an envelope — and seal it with a Sith.
A set of 15 commemorative stamps featuring characters from Star Wars is set to be unveiled today by the U.S. Postal Service in what may be the most popular philatelic event since Skinny Elvis beat out Fat Elvis in the early 1990s.
The stamps will be revealed this morning at the historic Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, one of a handful of theaters that showed the original Star Wars when it opened May 25, 1977.
To commemorate that 30th anniversary, the stamps will go on sale May 25, USPS marketing director Anita Bizzotto says, joking, "Two big Forces are uniting."
The Citizen Stamp Advisory Committee's decision to recognize Jedi, droids and evil Sith lord Darth Vader is part of the Postal Service's tradition of paying tribute to pop culture.
"We've done Disney characters, Jim Henson and the Muppets, Hershey's kisses and comic book characters," Bizzotto says. "Star Wars is part of our culture. It speaks to all generations."
Star Wars creator George Lucas was not involved in the process, but "he blessed the idea of it, and when the artwork was finished, he loved it," says Howard Roffman, president of Lucas Licensing.
Roffman compares the new stamps to the installation of Star Wars droids R2-D2 and C-3PO in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. "It's an acknowledgment of something that has become … more than a passing fad," he says.
The 15 stamps will span all six movies, prequels as well as the original trilogy, he adds.
In the era of e-mail, text-messaging and cellphones, there is also a hope that the high-tech fantasy world of Star Wars will inspire a new wave of low-tech correspondence.
"Anything we can do to make the notion of mailing exciting and fun, and maybe get children engaged in letter writing, is a great thing to do, and there's value for us in that," Bizzotto says.
Stamps such as this also can pump revenue into the Postal Service because many collectors will buy the stamps but never use them, she says.
About 500 million Elvis Presley stamps were sold when they made their debut in 1993, and Bizzotto says a similar number of Star Wars stamps will be produced.
The one previewed of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) sending R2-D2 with an urgent call for help to Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, is particularly appropriate, Bizzotto says: "We like to think of that as mail being sent through R2-D2."

More Indy 4 casting news

From the hollywood reporter, Ray Winstone is joining the expedition for the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones adventures.

The actor, who stars as the title character in Robert Zemeckis' upcoming "Beowulf," has signed on for a major role in the untitled film being referred to as "Indy 4."

Although the film's plot is being closely guarded, sources said Winstone will play star Harrison Ford's sidekick.

Cate Blanchett already has boarded the project -- to be produced by Lucasfilm and directed by Steven Spielberg -- in an undisclosed starring role (HR 3/16).

David Koepp penned the screenplay for "Indy 4," which is scheduled to begin filming in June in Los Angeles and at top-secret locations around the world.
Paramount Pictures will release the film day-and-date worldwide May 22, 2008, with a handful of territories opening the following day.

Frank Marshall is producing, with George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy executive producing.

London-born Winstone, who played Jack Nicholson's partner in crime in the best picture Oscar winner "The Departed," most recently appeared in Anthony Minghella's "Breaking and Entering." His credits also include "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," "Cold Mountain" and "Sexy Beast."

Good day, Sunshine

From AICN, "Just got back from an exclusive preview of Danny Boyle's 'Sunshine'. Special because it took place in his home city (Manchester) in the locally famous 'Cornerhouse' arts cinema, of which he is patron. There was a Q&A afterwards with Benedict Wong (Trey), also a Mancunian, and Dr.Hannibal Lecter. Er..... Colonel Stryker........er, no. Dr.Brian Cox. Actually and bizarrely, Dr.Cox looks 17 and is a ringer (sort of, but it was trumpeted) for Cillian Murphy! This proves that physicists can be good looking (but didn't Star Trek do that a long time ago?). We were also treated to a video intro by Boyle himself (explaining that his son was 'Home Alone' and turning into MacCauly Culkin so he had to babysit). Boyle reappeared (on vid) at the end in a short filmed Q&A also.
So... the movie. A telling moment from Dr.Cox in the aftershow discussion related how Danny always tries to "do things differently" in his movies. Specifically in this case how he wanted to alter the generic pacing of sci-fi which typically starts slow and measured but gains momentum inexorably. He apparently realised (via the spectre of Kubrick over his shoulder...hmmm) that this couldn't be done and that this particular 'rule' of the genre could not be successfully bent. Thus, the movie's pacing does indeed echo 'Alien', for example (one of a number of films screened for the cast during their 'boot camp', prior to filming.

In fact there are similarities to a number of genre movies in this one, though. Especially 'Event Horizon', although I was reminded a lot of the space jeopardy scene in de Palma's 'Mission to Mars'. Dr.Cox was at pains to point out that 'Sunshine', although necessarily straying from total credibility, was nonetheless completely "human". In other words.....no monsters/aliens/robots etc. I intend this to be spoiler-free but suffice to say that it's not entirely clear that this is the case.

On the plus side. Although a pretty small screen, the sound mix and quality was amazing. It will lose a lot on your average TV screen. Apparently the effects house they used were pretty cheap but "made the money go a long way". I would agree wholeheartedly. The movie is a treat to look at and you really get a sense of the power and heat of the sun. Boyle helps this by keeping the palette for the interiors to blues/greens and keeping the warms colours for exteriors.

The acting was above par, with some given more to do than others. A good mix, though. There was genuine suspense and creative camerawork. I particularly liked some subliminal shots of faces when a boarding party enters the derelict first ship, although this wasn't played out as effectively as it could have been.

The big problem for me (and your previous reviewer) was the appearance of the 'fifth crewmember'. This is not giving anything away, but it's far from clear who this character is (for a good while, anyway) and indeed 'what' he is. Crucially his motivation is muddled or obscured by the sound/action. This is important as it is apparently the crux of the piece and was what Alex Garland started with in his script, working backwards thereafter. The aftershow discussion straightened this out and informed us that this character and his actions constituted the "philosophical" dilemma that the movie was trying to portray. Fair enough, but the execution left a bit to be desired. A shame as what preceded this was of such high quality.

The music score (by John Murphy and Underworld) was ok and effective in parts but I would have preferred a more 'old school' approach such as a classic Goldsmith would have offered.

All in all a noble effort and a hit rather than a miss, but this is such well-worn territory that it would take something really really special to make the kind of mark that the hard work and good intentions of the cast and crew deserved.

Boyle told us that his next film would be 'Slum Dog Millionaire', scripted by 'The Full Monty's Simon Beaufoy, which concerns a guy who goes on an Indian version of 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' purely because he knows an estranged girlfriend watches it. Or something.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New Transformers posters hit


Fromiwatchstuff, "In the new one-sheets for Transformers, we're given intense close-ups of the lead robot characters, reminding us that there's really no reason to ever provide close-ups of expressionless robot heads.

Thora Birch's dad is creepy

From thesuperficial, Thora Birch (the girl with the big boobs from American Beauty and Ghost World) apparently has the creepiest dad ever. During the shooting of The Winter of Frozen Dreams, her dad, Jack Birch, insisted he be present on the closed set so he could watch them shoot his daughter's sex scene with Dean Winters. A source says:

"It was so wrong," said one insider. "The director is saying, 'Harder! Faster!' and the father is giving Winters the thumbs up." Jack Birch was on the set every day giving orders - even telling director Eric Mandelbaum where to place his camera so that Thora would look her best. Mandelbaum was about to shoot the first sex scene Monday when, "all of a sudden, the front door is being kicked in. Her father was threatening to kill the assistant directors. Then he threatens to pull her from the movie with three days of shooting left." Making matters worse, a problem with the focus on the camera necessitated 14 takes. "It was the most bizarre, perverse scene," said our witness. "One girl on the crew broke down crying."

Sounds like my kind of guy. I mean, who wouldn't want to see Thora Birch naked? Her boobs are huge. Plus she's got grea -- wait a second did you say her dad? *face slowly turns to horror and runs screaming into the distance*

Paul Anderson is attracted to dumb things

From dark horizons, "Love him or loathe him, there's no denying that "Resident Evil" and "Alien vs. Predator" director Paul W.S. Anderson has his fingers in many pies.

Well one of them has gone off it seems as according to Dread Central, Anderson has left the "Castlevania" project. The film, based on the long-running video game franchise, has been stuck in development hell since it was announced. Anderson has always been attached as director and writer - and now he's left the project completely.

Does this mean it's over? Hard to say. Anderson is presently at work on a potential "Death Race" remake/sequel."

Rodriguez to put world's coolest actor in Sin City 2?

MTV talked to Sin City 2 co-director Robert Rodriguez and star Rosario Dawson about the anticipated film, which will tell one story this time that may include Johnny Depp and Antonio Banderas. Here are several clips from the article:

"[Depp] was interested in doing the Jackie Boy character that Benicio [Del Toro] played [in the first one], but he was doing that movie 'Libertine' in Europe and it just kept getting pushed and delayed and went right through our shooting schedule," Rodriquez said of the actor he directed in "Once Upon a Time in Mexico."

"But there is a better role for him in ['Hell and Back']. I kept going, 'Gosh, Jackie Boy is a small part, he could be really good [as Wallace].' When he wasn't available, I thought maybe it was meant to be."

While no deal is in place for Depp at the moment, Rodriguez seemed coyly confident they would get the Oscar-nominated actor. The director was equally excited about potentially casting another of his old favorites, Antonio Banderas.

"When I showed him the first sample of the work, he went, 'Man I'll do anything in that. I'll be the hunchback. You have to bring me onboard, that looks amazing,' " Rodriguez recalled.

"So Frank met him that time too and he said, 'I have got to find something for that guy. I've never met him before. He's amazing.' [So we're] looking at the cast of characters and [looking] to see where he can fit."
Read more on the story and Dawson's character here!

Cameron and Biehn together again

From dark horizons, Michael Biehn has confirmed to Sci-Fi Wire that he has talked with director James Cameron about a role in his upcoming 3D epic "Avatar".

The move would mark a reteaming of Biehn with Cameron and Sigourney Weaver, who last starred together in 1986's "Aliens".

"I've had two very very good meetings with Jim, and they went very well... There have been a lot of other sources that have reported they have sources saying that I'm doing it, but so far I haven't heard anything from Jim. He hasn't cast the role yet" says Biehn.

"Avatar" is the story of a wounded ex-marine who is unwillingly sent to settle and exploit a faraway planet. He gets caught up in a battle for survival by the planet's inhabitants.

A few bad ideas for Fred

From IESB, "The studio is trying to get a new "Freddy" film up for a late 2007 start. It probably won't be the much-rumored "prequel" film, but either a new "Freddy Vs..." movie or another 'solo' adventure for Freddy - with one treatment in particular, floating around, getting quite a lot of buzz; its simply about the new young couple (hence, young CW-esque stars get to headline) who buy into their first home together... yep, you guessed it... THAT house.

The other option is a new "Freddy Vs. Michael" movie. There's a lot of red-tape to get through there. John Carpenter is trying to help sort it out. This film seems to be the most popular option on the table at the moment, so if they can get it up, they will. My money is on this one, too.

Anyway, thought you'd be interested. Next year, there will be a new Freddy film out.Call me... 'The Rewinder'
Recently at MTV.com, Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund said he had heard a few tidbits about Freddy's future.
"I've heard [the movie studio] is in talks with John Carpenter [director of the original 'Halloween']. So maybe Freddy and Jason are going to meet up with Michael Myers. I also hear they have a really good prequel script to 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' being passed around. And there was talk that John McNaughton, director of 'Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer,' was attached."

All you need to know is that he directed Hostel

Eli Roth says he plans to make some changes to the film adaptation of Stephen King's "Cell", but with good intention (not to mention the author's blessing).

Roth tells Sci-Fi Wire that "I love the opening [scene], but I also want to keep, ... not necessarily that same chaotic tone, but I want to keep the tension of the opening 40 pages of the book going throughout the whole film and introduce other elements. Because I think the book, for me, where it loses tension is where suddenly you don't feel like the phone crazies are trying to kill them."

His intention is to find a way "to make it so you still feel the tension... that any second you could get killed [and] carrying that throughout the whole film."

Roth hopes to shoot the movie in Boston, where it is set, and possibly persuade King to make a cameo - "If he'd like to, sure. There's always room. That's the good thing about Cell. Because it's like crazy people running around trying to [kill you] It's like everybody gets a cameo."

Super early review of The Simpsons movie!

From AICN, "Last week I was invited to see a special preview screening of The Simpsons Movie at a theatre in Portland in Oregon . I’ve been keeping a close eye on your site since then, and I can’t believe no one else who was there has popped up here with a review, so I thought I would be the first. We were assured that we were the first in the world to see it, so this should be the first feedback for the movie as a whole. Makes me so proud.

Firstly, why Portland of all places for a world’s first preview, you may ask ? Well, the reason is because of Mr. Groening himself. He went to the University of Oregon , and based the town the Simpsons live in on Portland itself, naming it after Springfield , Oregon which is a couple of hours south of the city. All this seemingly supported by the fact that the preview was held in Portland , but also that Mr. Groening (and I’m pretty damn sure James L. Brooks) attended the screening.
The film in its current form is massively unfinished; with I would guess around 30% of the film in the final hi-def, super sharp animation. The rest was divided between hand drawn storyboards, and low res, choppy colour animation. The voice soundtrack was complete, but the musical score wasn’t.

All this probably means that, even if unchanged, the final print will maintain it’s pacing, excitement and charm a little better than the version we saw, as 2 or 3 hand drawn storyboards don’t quite manage to convey all of the things which makes The Simpsons so special. We did get a pretty good idea of what to expect though, and where the film makers are going with this big screen version.

I’d like to say at this point that I am a pretty big Simpsons fan. I’ve been almost consistently watching since the first episode, and while I agree with the consensus opinion (that the show has dropped off in quality a little in recent years) there is not an episode of The Simpsons which isn’t worth half an hour of my life. I believe that The Simpsons is one of, if not the most significant comedy of my lifetime, spanning genres, comedy styles and age groups. So while I am not an obsessive fan boy, I do recognise and appreciate it’s greatness.

So what did I, a Simpsons appreciator of long standing, think of the movie ? It’s excellent. Is it mind blowingly awesome ? No, not quite. Almost, but not quite. At least not in it’s current form.
In deference to the multi-page non-disclosure agreement I was forced to sign before being let in (and also of course to keep this free of spoilers), I am going to avoid being too specific in this review, and instead give my overall impressions of the film, so you wont get quotes, descriptions of scenes or anything which I feel might compromise the completion of the filmmaking process. However, I’ll still try to make this write-up worthwhile.

The first thing to say is, it’s too short. I didn’t time it exactly, but the movie is something like an hour and a quarter in length. It’s over in a heartbeat. Because (I would guess) of this short running time we come up against the first of the films little problems… Not nearly enough screen time is given to any one of the multitude of surrounding characters. Not one of them. We have the main Simpsons family taking centre stage, and a couple of new characters to be introduced to, but aside from that any of the other people who populate Springfield are reduced to one line (or at least sub-5 second) cameos. I feel they have wasted their best resource by simply omitting them. The trailers assertion that ‘the gangs all here’ is pretty misleading, since with a couple of exceptions (who get a few short minutes each) we don’t get to spend any time with any of the surrounding cast. It’s a crying shame.

The easiest way to describe the film is by way of it’s three acts. They roughly split up into; the first half hour, the second half hour, and the final quarter hour-ish of climax.
The first half hour of the Simpsons movie is hysterical genius. It’s classic. It’s old school. It’s violent. It’s slapstick. It’s clever. It’s everything you could ever want it to be. There’s a gag every couple of seconds (sometimes several going on in the background), and pretty much all of them hit the mark with confidence and accuracy. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages (definitely not since Hot Fuzz). Seriously. My head almost fell off.

It’s here we see scenes like Homer fixing his roof with Bart from the most recent trailer. It’s day to day life stuff, and is The Simpsons at it’s best. The ‘plot’ of this first act reflects back to several classic episodes, and puts the family in situations that are familiar to all of us. Here we do of course meet all our favourite characters (albeit, as I said, too briefly), and get some marvellously funny set pieces.

You might even say that the first act of the Simpsons movie is the Best. Episode. Ever. (sorry).
The second half hour is a problem. Here we are attempting to further the plot, and add some conflict and exposition. It’s not that it’s bad, just that it isn’t really as good. The gag rate drops right off, and (shockingly for such a short movie) it feels a little slow. There’s some good moments in there of course, but it just seems to lose it’s zap and it’s zing. Here we could have done with branching off from the main story line and returning to perhaps some of the supporting characters for some laughs, some fun-poking, and some humour for humour’s sake. Padding if you will.

There is one stand out scene in this middle section which is utterly inspired, and where you get to see Bart at his comedy best, but even if I wanted to describe it I couldn’t do so and maintain the humour. You’ll just have to go see it wontcha?
The final short act, where the climax is played out, and everyone learns a valuable lesson, is exciting, clever and extremely satisfying. It definitely ends well, if a little abruptly. It all wraps up pretty neatly, and the animation here is superb, mixing high quality 2D and 3D to outstanding effect.

To ensure they get a brief mention, the voice acting is typically faultless, and the music was adequate – even though unfinished.

People keep asking me: “so is it any good, or is it just like a longer episode?”. I say, if you pick some of the truly classic episodes, then a longer version is exactly what we wanted. What we got feels like they weren’t quite sure how to create a 90 minute episode, so they did one episode for comedy, one for plot, and one for the ending. I say we got three episodes back to back, and they all feel slightly different.

Non of this of course means that the movie is bad. It isn’t. It’s The Simpsons. It’s funny, charming, exciting, familiar and is peppered with delightfully loving references to all our favourite events in the Simpsons family history (one in particular will have you whooping with joy in your seat if you’re a Simpsons fan).
I’d recommend the movie, yes - in its current state, to anyone who enjoys watching the show, and anyone who enjoys a laugh in general. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am looking forward to seeing it again.

I just hope, somewhere in the back of my mind, that they read and pay attention to my comment card, and fill out the middle section with some more snap, crackle and pop. If they do, they could have an all time classic on their hands, which sadly the version I saw falls ever so slightly short of."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Happy birthday Keira Knightley

Everyone's favorite extended underbite turns 22 today. Movie fans around the world can rejoice or whatever, if they feel like it.

Hat tip to octopunk for pointing this out. Ordinarily I pay no attention whatsoever to movie stars' birthdays. In fact, I kind of wonder how octo found out. Maybe he was obsessively lurking on her imdb page. Or maybe there's a parade going by with "HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEIRA" banners and a marching band. It is California, after all.

By then I'll have my own show

There will be no spoilers here whatsoever! I just want to exploit my membership in a geek blog to gripe for a second about Battlestar Galactica, which reached the end of its third season last night.

And what an end it was! Oh my God.

Then, once the stunning season finale was over, a somber message appeared on screen, with a regulation ominous-sounding narrator, who said, "Battlestar Galactica returns...in 2008."

2008?!

Well, look at it this way: it's enough time for all you bums who aren't up to date on "the best show on television" to get up to date. Those of you who are a full season behind have plenty of time to catch up. And, octopunk, this means you, assuming you haven't indulged in your appalling practice of tuning in every so often and spoiling yourself just because "somebody in the other room was watching" or whatever your lame excuses always are.

2008. I can't believe it. I don't think the cliffhanger-suspense-retention-mechanism in my brain can withstand the pressure. Probably, it will just burn out and fail sometime this Autumn and I'll be going, "Galactica? What? What's that? I've never heard of it."

Okay, I'm done bitching; we can go back to watching horror movies and not getting a prize.

UPDATE: Don't read jpx's comment unless you don't mind season three spoilers. In fact, jpx, if you could replace your comment with a link, it might be for the best, don't you think? (I'm worried about octo's "virgin ears" here.)

UPDATE II: I went ahead and deleted the comment. Don't get mad, jpx; it's just that Galactica season three is so sublime that I wouldn't even want my eyes grazing over that article and catching a stray phrase or two if I hadn't seen the season.

Cancerous franchise comes out of remission

The next move for the Stargate program is to go "universal," according to executive producer Robert C. Cooper.

The working title for the franchise's next television series is "Stargate: Universe," as Cooper told GateWorld.

Originally a concept for a standalone feature film, "Universal" is intended to be "a completely separate, third entity," Cooper said, "more than Atlantis was. Atlantis was much more of a spinoff series of '[Stargate] SG-1' and was sort of born out of 'SG-1.'

"When we originally were sitting around talking about this, we were trying to come up with ideas for a Stargate feature -- not an 'SG-1' feature or [a 'Stargate: Atlantis'] feature, but a feature that would fit into the Stargate franchise that we feel we have created," Cooper said. "We were thinking, 'How do we create a third arm to the franchise that is very connective and that fans will feel is born out of the material that has come before, but at the same time is very much something that stands alone?'

Those plans blossomed into a new show when producers realized that the door was open for another Stargate program.

"When it became clear that a third series was a more realistic possibility from the studio's standpoint, we figured out how to tweak that idea and give it a little more legs than it would have had as a one-off story," he said. "We always, in the back of our minds even in coming up with that concept, felt that it could launch a third series. But now that idea has become the core idea for the new show."

Will the show be like "Star Trek: Enterprise," set in the past before the other Stargate shows, or in the future?

"I'm not a big fan of prequels," Cooper said. "I don't think that really works, and I don't really understand people who do think that works. One of the things that we love about Stargate is that is us -- it's our military, it's our scientists, it's our people -- and we're going out into the galaxy and the universe to discover all the wonders that are out there, and dealing with our own limitations versus things that are far more advanced than us.

"That's identifiable. It's what we deal with every day, in terms of medicine and science and astrophysics. We're just babies in all that. And we would always want to maintain that in anything that is Stargate-related."

Cooper also noted that while "Universe" will have its own identity and definitely different from 'SG-1' and 'Atlantis,' it will still be clearly in the Stargate universe.

"It certainly plays into the mythology that has been pre-established," Cooper said. "But it doesn't directly relate to anything that has been in either series."

Once "Stargate: The Ark of Truth" and "Stargate: Continuum" have completed principal photography in June, Cooper and executive producer Brad Wright will be able to spend more time fleshing out the script for "Universe's" pilot.

Fans will feel it's their lucky day when new episodes of "Stargate SG-1" and "Stargate: Atlantis" return to the SciFi Channel on Friday, April 13.

I can't wait for Rambo IV, want to fight about it?

There are all kinds of reasons why John Rambo, the currently filming fourth installment of Sylvester Stallone's other shockingly-out-of-mothballs franchise, should be better than Cries and Whispers. First off, there's the fact that Cries and Whispers is staid even by Bergman's hyper-staid standards; secondly, there's the understanding that any movie carrying sixteen fucking producers can't help but be brilliant; thirdly, there's Sam Elliott.

And, of course, there's last year's Rocky Balboa, which surprised lots of snooty critic-types - i.e. people who wear ascots, eat brie and ride horses to work - by being a rousing return-to-form for an erstwhile movie star whose previous three efforts at career rehabilitation - D-Tox, Shade and the truly special Avenging Angelo - generally skipped theaters altogether (I left out Spy Kids 3-D because it didn't help prove my point). Though no masterpiece, Rocky Balboa had an emotional integrity that eluded most of the Rocky sequels by eschewing cartoonish he-man antics in favor of a rumination on going toe-to-toe with Father Time (and we know this is progress because, twenty years ago, that would've literally been the name of Rocky's opponent). Most excitingly, Stallone seemed engaged again as a writer; after embarrassing himself with such empty-headed doozies as Driven, Cobra and Over the Top, he rediscovered the voice that made the first Rocky a pop cultural sensation and a surprise Best Picture winner.
But when I run across pictures like those recently posted to FlynetOnline.com (FYI, "Your Number One Source for Celebrity Images", which is a little bewildering because I just love celebrity images and this is the first I've ever heard of it), and factor in the recent HGH scandal, I wonder if ol' Sly might be pressing his ego-stroking luck. Somehow, the combination of veiny forearms, stringy hair and melting face reminds me of Steven Seagal in a direct-to-oblivion vehicle like, say, Out for a Kill, though at least Rambo has an excuse for not showering.

But that's just me bein' snarky, and probably blowing my opportunity at an interview with a guy I honestly respect, eight or nine months removed from the eventual release of his movie, which, by the way, has the titular one-man-army going all Toshiro Mifune and training a bunch of persecuted villagers to defend themselves from their Burmese oppressors (again with the Burmese!). No one's more stoked to see this movie than me, even though I'm still not sure that excitement is completely unironic.

The Turtles shred the box office

From SHH, "This was another great weekend for geeks as the month's second comic book based property TMNT (aka Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) won at the box office with an estimated $25.4 million in 3,110 theatres, averaging over $8,000 per theatre. Budgeted at $34 million, the 3D animated action film directed by Kevin Munroe seems to have successfully revived the franchise that ground to a halt in the '90s by nearly matching the opening weekend of the original movie back in 1990.

Dropping down to second place in its third weekend, Warner Bros.' March record-setter 300, based on Frank Miller's graphic novel, held up well by adding another $20.5 million to its box office take, a mere 38% difference from last week, as the historic war epic crossed the $160 million mark. The top 2 placement by Warner Bros. was a great testament to the company's marketing department that had promoted both movies heavily at San Diego Comic-Con and on the web for the last few months. Check out the ComingSoon.net's Box Office Report for the complete listing of the Top 12 movies of the weekend."

Spider-Man called me this morning

From x-entertainment, "We didn't go see the new Ninja Turtles movie last night as planned. Wish I had a good reason for that, but it really just boiled down to becoming obsessed with reading about various Mortal Kombat characters on Wikipedia. For real. I'm also now faced with really, really wanting to see The Hills Have Eyes 2 whenever I step foot inside a movie theater, so I'm going to pretend that I'll actually go through with seeing two movies in succession on some nearby Saturday afternoon, when the reality is that I probably won't see either movie until they're packaged with exclusive mini-posters as Best Buy DVD exclusives seven months from now.

More importantly, Spider-Man called me this morning.
What an awesome promotion. Today marks the in-store debut of Spider-Man 3 toys, and Hasbro has just been totally godlike in their promotional brilliance. For one, each of the major chains has their own "exclusives." I think Wal-Mart bests TRU and Target — they've got some really cool black-costumed ultra-articulated Spider-Man figure that looks like the kind of thing that needs to be gracing the top of every geek's computer monitor by the end of the weekend. It's a safe bet that thousands of collectors zipped to all three stores this morning just to grab the exclusives, and I'm having trouble deciding if I'm happy or sad that I missed all of the hubbub. At the very least, I hope to own a "Spider Spud" Mr. Potato Head by the next time I shave.
Among the many clever ways that Hasbro has instilled a sense of urgency in the toy-buying public is something that I think people will remember for years and years and years. If you were smart enough to enter your phone number on a special promo site, you are one of the blessed souls who received a phone call from Spider-Man early this afternoon. I, of course, couldn't resist.
My phone rang at about 12:20, and I was subsequently treated to a 45 second prerecorded Spidey message reminding me that his new toys are now on sale! Yes! Sure, it's just blog fodder for me, but think about all the kids who got that call today. It's something they'll be writing about on their own nostalgia sites twenty years from now. Some would argue that we shouldn't dilute the heroism of Spider-Man by making him personally shill action figures and playsets, but who better to inspire people to buy Spider-Man dolls than Spider-Man himself? Aside from the obvious consumer awareness aspect, Spider-Man just has the perfect salesy voice. I'd pay a sawbuck for dog shit if he told me to."