Monday, April 29, 2013

Daily Spider-Man: I'm doing my "Called It!" dance this morning. It involves moving my butt.

'Avengers 2' Probably Adding Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch

From iwatchstuff, The Marvel Cinematic Universe's Avengers team may soon be counting some new super-powered heroes among their ranks who are clearly more useful than Hawkeye. At the recentIron Man 3 premiere, Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon heavily suggested as much, tellingThe Hollywood Reporter that, among new characters, "There may be a brother-sister act from back in the days when I was reading [the comic]." As Donny and Marie have only ever shown affiliation with Superman, thoughts have naturally gone to Scarlet Witch and her brother, Quicksilver.
They're the daughter and son of Magneto, which you'd think would put them in the possession of Fox and their X-Men universe, but according to Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige, since they were also Avengers members, the rights are split and both studios can use the siblings. Lawyers have already been paid to work out the legal details of a super-fast guy in baby blue spandex and his witch sister, so don't you worry about that.
Oh, and if you didn't know, Quicksilver is a super-fast guy in baby blue (originally green, as you can see above) spandex, and Scarlet Witch is a witch and she wears reddish stuff. But Joss Whedon will explain all that to you in 2015.

Hilarious - Steven Spielberg's "Obama"

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Box Office

From ew, In the final weekend before Iron Man 3 kicks off the summer movie season in earnest, Michael Bay’s R-rated action comedy Pain & Gain topped a slow weekend at the box office with $20 million from 3,277 theaters, giving it an average of $6,103 per location. The Paramount film achieved only a fraction of the opening weekend grosses of Bay’s Transformers films, but it only cost a fraction — just $26 million — of those films as well. It’s well on its way to profitability.

Pain & Gain, which stars Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, redeemed both stars following unimpressive box office results for action films earlier this year. Wahlberg’sBroken City petered out with just $19.7 million, while Johnson’s Snitch fared only slightly better, grossing $42.1 million. While both those films had darker, more serious tones, Pain & Gain was marketed as a sunny, over-the-top black comedy. Unfortunately, audience reaction wasn’t particularly sunny. Polled moviegoers issued Pain & Gain a dreadful “C+” CinemaScore.

In second place, Tom Cruise’s sci-fi adventure Oblivion, which last week debuted with $37.1 million, dropped 53 percent to $17.4 million, giving it a 10-day total of $64.7 million. While the Universal film seems unlikely to reach Cruise’s one-time benchmark of $100 million domestically, its $134.1 million international total lifts prospects considerably. Still, a $198.8 million worldwide total versus a $120 million budget isn’t an incredible result after accounting for distribution and marketing costs.

Warner Bros.’ $40 million Jackie Robinson drama 42 scored another $10.7 million in its third weekend, representing a 40 percent decline. With a cumulative gross of $69.1 million so far,42 is a big winner for Warner Bros., which badly needed a hit following flops like Beautiful CreaturesBullet to the Head, and Jack the Giant Slayer. Yet most analysts expected the film, which earned an “A+” CinemaScore grade, to reach $100 million. That no longer seems plausible.

Star-studded romantic comedy The Big Wedding flopped in its opening weekend, with just $7.5 million from 2,633 theaters, giving it a sad $2,848 per theater average. The $35 million Lionsgate release got off to a weaker start than other recent wedding titles like The Five-Year EngagementLicense to Wed, and The Wedding Date — and all of those were considered misfires upon release. The Big Wedding, which features performances by Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Diane Keaton, Amanda Seyfried, Katherine Heigl, Topher Grace, and Ben Barnes, garnered wretched reviews from most critics, and audiences, which were 77 percent female and 66 percent above the age of 30, gave it an ugly “C+” CinemaScore.
The Croods spent its sixth weekend in the Top 5 with $6.6 million (a 29 percent drop), lifting the colorful Stone Age comedy to $163 million total. The Fox-distributed film, produced by DreamWorks Animation for $135 million, has carried even more cash into its cave internationally, and this weekend it passed the $300 million mark. Worldwide, The Croods has earned a terrific $471 million, and it will zoom right past the half-billion mark some time in the next two weeks. Unsurprisingly, a sequel is already in the works.

1. Pain & Gain – $20 million
2. Oblivion – $17.4 million
3. 42 – $10.7 million
4. The Big Wedding – $7.5 million
5. The Croods – $6.6 million

Despite the success of films like The CroodsIdentity Thief, and Oz The Great and Powerful, the first third of 2013 hasn’t been a particularly good one at the box office. For the year to date, both attendance and revenue at the U.S. box office are down 12 percent, and Hollywood is now turning its attention to potential blockbusters like Iron Man 3Fast & Furious 6, and Man of Steel to turn this year’s prospects around.

Iron Man 3, at least, seems like a safe bet. The superhero sequel debuted this weekend in 42 overseas territories (about 79 percent of the international market), where it earned an incredible $195.3 million — a higher figure than The Avengers‘ $185.1 million start. That figure is even more impressive when your realize that Iron Man 3 has yet to open in powerhouse territories like China, Russia, and Germany. Iron Man 3 achieved the best opening weekend ever in a number of Asian countries (Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore), which is a testament to the continent’s booming box offices, but perhaps also to Disney’s efforts to tailor the picture to better appeal to Asian filmgoers. The film opens in the U.S. on Friday and is expected to open above $150 million.

Daily Spider-Man: Ugh. Mary Jane at her Mary Janiest

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Star Wars in 1 minute = awesome!

Daily Spider-Man: FRONNK! ARRRG

Michael Bay Belatedly Apologizes for 'Armageddon'

From iwatchstuff, ow fifteen years since astronaut/oil-driller Bruce Willis's heroic death upon a Texas-sized asteroid bound for Earth, director Michael Bay has at last apologized for orchestrating the ludicrous, often illogical series of events that led to Ben Affleck never having a father-in-law.
Bay is currently atoning for his crimes in his own way--a self-imposed timeout from his toys, which currently has him making press rounds for his first non-toy film in six years, Pain & Gain. Speaking to the Miami Herald about that film, the conversation somehow shifted to apologizing for filmmaking mistakes he's made in the past. Like so many of us, he's forgotten entirely about The Island, but he does still, all these years later, apparently express regret over 1998's highest-grossing film.
"I will apologize for Armageddon," Bay said, echoing the statement of so many who asked their friends to go to with them to Armageddon, "because we had to do the whole movie in 16 weeks. It was a massive undertaking. That was not fair to the movie."
Clarifying that this is not Michael Bay showing humility so much as placing blame, the director went on to explain that "the studio literally took the movie away from us. It was terrible. My visual effects supervisor had a nervous breakdown, so I had to be in charge of that. I called James Cameron and asked 'What do you do when you're doing all the effects yourself?' But the movie did fine." And what else matters, really?
Bay didn't get into specifics about what he'd change given more time, but did say he'd just "redo the entire third act." So it's not like he's going to touch the part where Ben Affleck listens to Aerosmith and stuffs animal crackers in Liv Tyler's underwear. The guy knows when he's made art.

Halle Berry looks ridiculous as storm in the new 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' film

Thor 2 trailer looks like fun!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Box Office

From ew, If this weekend’s box office is any indication, the couch jumping stigma that has plagued Tom Cruise’s career for the better part of the last decade may finally be thing of the past.
Cruise’s latest, the $120 million sci-fi adventure Oblivion, opened to a solid $38.2 million this weekend. That’s a terrific start for the chiseled star, who has struggled recently at the box office with under-performers like Jack ReacherRock of AgesValkyrie, and Knight and Day. In fact, only four Cruise vehicles have ever opened higher — and three of them are Mission Impossible movies. (The other is War of the Worlds). Oblivion actually marks the first number one opening for Cruise in seven years, though it should be noted that Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol opened in limited release and climbed to number one upon its wide expansion.
Cruise isn’t the only star in Oblivion — it also features Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough, and Olga Kurlyenko — but it was marketed almost exclusively on his appeal. According to distributor Universal, audiences, which were 57 percent male and 74 percent 25 or older, listed Tom Cruise as their primary reason for seeing the film, followed by the sci-fi genre and Morgan Freeman. Those same audiences weren’t in love with what they saw, though, as Oblivion was issued a lackluster “B-” CinemaScore grade.
Domestically, Oblivion opened in 3,783 theaters and earned a fantastic $10,085 location average. IMAX screens accounted for $5.5 million of Oblivion‘s weekend gross. Internationally, the film had a successful weekend, as well. After its $61.1 million openingfrom 52 territories, Oblivion took in another $33.6 million from 60 territories this time around. The film has grossed $112 million so far (for a $150.2 million worldwide total), and it has high-profile openings in Japan and China still to come.
In second, the Jackie Robinson drama 42 fell only 34 percent to $18 million for a $54.1 million total after ten days. Warner Bros.’ $40 million baseball pic, which earned an “A+” CinemaScore grade, didn’t hold quite as well as The Help, another “A+” racially charged drama, which dipped 23 percent in its second weekend. Thus, while 42 still seems likely to hit the $100 million mark, it doesn’t seem destined for a gross in the same range as The Help‘s $169 million total. Still, 42 is a big winner for Warner Bros., which was in dire need of a box office hit.
The Croods spent the weekend in third place, dropping 28 percent to $9.5 million. After five weeks, the $135 million animation has grossed $154.9 million, a great start in the five-year distribution deal between DreamWorks Animation and Fox.
In fourth, Scary Movie 5 didn’t hold nearly as well. The $20 million spoof from Weinstein’s Dimension fell 56 percent to $6.3 million, giving it a weak $22.9 million total after ten days. At the same point in its run, Scary Movie 4 had earned $67.5 million.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation rounded out the Top 5 with $5.8 million, marking a 48 percent drop from its prior frame. Paramount’s $130 million film has now earned $111.2 million domestically, a substantially lower gross than its predecessor, but it’s been making up ground overseas, where the film has earned $211.7 million. Retaliation opened in China this week, where it took in $33 million during its first seven days. Worldwide, Retaliation has earned $322.9 million and should pass the $400 million mark with ease.
1. Oblivion – $38.2 million
2. 42 – $18 million
3. The Croods – $9.5 million
4. Scary Movie 5 – $6.3 million
5. G.I. Joe: Retaliation – $5.8 million
The Place Beyond the Pines just missed the Top 5 after expanding from 514 theaters into 1,542 theaters. Pines grossed $4.8 million, yielding a mediocre $3,078 per theater average, which doesn’t merit further expansion. The Focus Features release cost $15 million and has earned $11.4 million total.
Two other quick highlights: Sony’s $13 million Halle Berry thriller The Call passed the $50 million mark this weekend. It’s been a nice mid-level hit for distributor TriStar. Olympus Has Fallen has also been doing terrific business for its distributor, FilmDistrict. After five weekends, the White House thriller has quietly earned $88.8 million.

Daily Spider-Man: Kingpin positions his floating head screen to whisper in Spidey's ear

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Jon Brion Show - with guests Elliott Smith and Brad Mehldau

To follow up AC's post from earlier, Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau got together through a mutual connection to Jon Brion.

Any of you who have heard me talk about Jon Brion have heard me use the phrase "my favorite musician on the goddamned planet".

All of which is my way of shoehorning in the fact that Jon Brion came into the Varnish where I play twice a week and I got to play with him for a half hour.

Far and away the best thing that's ever happened to me, musically. For context, imagine Johnny Sweatpants as a guitar player, and he's playing a show and Paul Stanley's there having a beer, and JSP is like, "Hey Paul Stanley. Want to rock out with us?" and Paul Stanley's like, "Yeah, sure. Why not?"

Brad Mehldau and Chris Thile

Mr. AC and I and some Boston friends caught this duo at the Berklee Performing Arts Center last Sunday night.  Mehldau is a jazz pianist (50p introduced him to the blog a few years back) and Thile is a bluegrass mandolinist.  Their collaboration produces breathtaking, unique, and surprisingly accessible interpretations of songs spanning many different musical genres.  For me, this will be the concert to beat this year.  Here's a 12-minute sample, lengthy, yes, but gives a good taste of the kind of musical alchemy these two achieve.

Daily Spider-Man: Suddenly I wish I was hanging out with these two. I bet there's snacks.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Disney will release a new 'Star Wars' movie every year starting in 2015

From EW, Confirming a strategy of aggressive franchise expansion, Disney announced today at CinemaCon that they are planning to release a new Star Wars movie every year, starting with the J.J. Abrams-powered Episode VII in summer 2015. The plan is to release a standalone spinoff the following year — probably one of the projects focusing on Boba Fett or Young Han Solo — and alternate between numerals and spinoffs from there.
Assuming the films are successful, this means the total number of Star Wars films will nearly double by summer 2019. Presumably, Disney is hoping that each of the spinoffs will form their own franchises, much like X-Men and The Avengers.
There’s still no word on who might be working on the non-trilogy spinoffs, which means there’s still hope for the rumored Zack Snyder-Seven Space Samurai spinoff, not to mention the Terrence Malick spinoff about Hutts copulating in a rainforest, which is a rumor I just started.

'Star Wars' character actor LeParmentier dies at 66

From USATODAY, he infamously mocked Darth Vader's "sad devotion to that ancient Jedi religion," but it's Star Wars fans who will be forever devoted to character actor Richard LeParmentier.
LeParmentier, who died at the age of 66 on Tuesday while visiting his children in Austin, was famous in geek circles for one small yet key scene in the original 1977Star Wars movie. As Death Star commander Admiral Motti, LeParmentier became the first man to be forcibly Force-choked on screen by the fan-favorite Sith Lord who found Motti's "lack of faith disturbing."
According to Star Wars lore, LeParmentier read for the role of Han Solo (which, of course, ultimately went to Harrison Ford) but director George Lucas instead cast him as a bureaucrat in Mos Eisley on the planet Tattooine. The small part was cut just before production started, but a month later he was hired to do two scenes as the tortured Imperial officer. (LeParmentier finally received his own Star Wars action figure in 2000.)
In addition to Star Wars, the Pittsburgh-born actor, who spent much of his acting career in Great Britain, also had roles in the James Bond film OctopussyWho Framed Roger RabbitRollerball and Superman II, which also featured his wife from 1981-84, Sarah Douglas.
In a statement from his three children, they said he "is one with the Force" and thanked their father's fans and friends for their longtime support.
"Every time we find someone's lack of faith disturbing, we'll think of him."

Daily Spider-Man: Make your move, Spidey! For the sake of the chimneys!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cool new 'Star Trek Into Darkness' poster

Daily Spider-Man: Congratulations, Boss -- now make him drink some milk!

Bizarre ABC Commercial Promotes "Batman Begins" as a Silly Romantic Drama

From slashfilm, Over the weekend, ABC Family aired a commercial promoting the upcoming showing of Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins." But the dark and violent film was advertised more as a romantic drama or some TV series.

In the promo, Batman is labeled a "legendary hero [who] fights for family and lives for love." While there are ways to spin that to make it seem accurate, Bruce Wayne (ChristianBale) hardly fights for his dead family and hardly lives for love. In fact, he keeps the women in his life as far from himself as possible.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sweet Brown - Original Report and Autotune Remix.mp4

This woman is such a character and the "remix" is hysterical and catchy.

Check out the only remaining footage from 1926's 'Great Gatsby' movie -- VIDEO

From EW, This trailer for the first film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby promises a “marvelous picture.” Unfortunately, modern audiences will never get a chance to judge that for themselves. All copies of the original Gatsby movie, released four years after Fitzgerald’s seminal novel, have reportedly been lost to the sands of time — perhaps because they was recorded on extremely flammable nitrate film, perhaps because contemporary viewers just didn’t think the flick was very good. (The New York Times believed it “obvious that [the movie] would have benefited by more imaginative direction.”) Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald themselves allegedly walked out on the film, later calling it “ROTTEN and awful and terrible.”)
No matter: The trailer itself is definitely worth watching, if only for Daisy’s heavy breathing and its dramatic use of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg’s ever-watchful eyes. It’s just too bad we don’t get any shots of Gatsby’s leading lady downing absinthe — as the Times‘s reviewer noted, in the film, “She takes enough of this beverage to render the average person unconscious. Yet she appears only mildly intoxicated, and soon recovers.” That’s our girl.

Photoshop project #2: Postcard

The assignment was to make a postcard for any place we liked, preferably using photos we shot ourselves. So of course I did Hell.
Got a perfect grade on the last one, by the way. Thanks for the support!

Daily Spider-Man: Uh, nice little floaty viewscreen thing for you face there, Mr. Pin.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Infomercial Gifs, because real life is hard

Props to 50P for sending me this, and Imgur for hosting the rest of them. Check out the family whose stupid mom brings a whole pizza to the table, and the family further down whose card game is ruined by their stupid mom trying to pour soda. Same kitchen!

Annette Funicello dies at 70

From usatoday, long before Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera sported rodent ears, there was the original Disney girl — Annette — who won America's heart.
Annette Funicello, whose pubescent pulchritude made her a standout on TV's first Mickey Mouse Club in the '50s and an early crush for many a Baby Boomer boy, died Monday at age 70 in Bakersfield, Calif., from complications of multiple sclerosis. Her family confirmed she had been in a coma for years before being taken off life support.
Her daughter, Gina Gilardi, said in a statement: "She's on her toes dancing in heaven. ... No more MS. My brothers and I were there holding her sweet hands when she left us."
Funicello was born in Utica, N.Y., and moved to Southern California at age 4. Trained as a singer and dancer, she would get her break in show business after Walt Disney was among those who saw her as the ballerina in Swan Lake during a recital held at the Burbank Starlight Bowl in 1955.
Soon she was signed up as the 24th and final Mouseketeer on a popular variety show for kids, appearing in her own self-titled serial (where her signature tune, How Will I Know My Love, performed during a hayride scene, would lead to a singing career). With her innate wholesomeness and sweet disposition, the brunette beauty's pinup appeal was a major draw, generating more than 6,000 fan letters a week. She would go on to inspire one of her early beaus, Paul Anka, to write his 1960 hit Puppy Love about her.
The self-described "queen of teen" also became a recording sensation, releasing 15 albums for Disney that featured the top-10 hits Tall Paul and O Dio Mio. After the show ended in 1959, Funicello remained under contract with Disney, appearing in theZorro TV series in the late 1950s and such family films as 1959'sThe Shaggy Dogand 1961'sBabes in Toyland. Once out of her teens, she traded in her mouse ears for a curve-revealing bathing suit for 1963's Beach Party, the kickoff title in a series of six youth-oriented romps that paired her with Frankie Avalon.
"Mr. Disney," whom Funicello considered a second father, made one request of his demure discovery: that she not reveal her navel on-screen and besmirch her pure image. She complied in the first movie but would wear a two-piece fishnet suit in 1964's Muscle Beach Party and a blue-and-white bikini in 1964's Bikini Beach.
She left show business — save for her Skippy peanut butter commercials — to become a homemaker after marrying her first husband, Jack Gilardi, in 1965. They had three children before divorcing in 1981. She then married horse breeder Glen Holt in 1986.
When she and Avalon made a comeback as a team in the 1987 spoof Back to the Beach, she first noticed signs of multiple sclerosis. She kept the condition under wraps despite having obvious symptoms during a yearlong concert tour with her co-star. After news reports claimed her ailments were signs of alcohol abuse, she went public with news of her illness to USA TODAY reporter Tom Green in 1992. She would go on to raise awareness about MS and started a research fund in her name in 1993.
She said of her decision: "Sometimes I can't help but ask, 'Why me?' But I believe everything happens for a reason, and I know now that my mission is to help others raise funds for MS."
Funicello released an autobiography, A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: My Storyin 1994, and the book would be turned into a made-for-TV movie in 1995. She also created a line of collectible teddy bears in the '90s.

Daily Spider-Man: DD gets a do-over of his panels from yesterday

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Evil Dead (2013)

*** 1/2
[Joint review of Crystal Math and Johnny Sweatpants]

Crystal Math: “What would Roger Ebert give this? ‘Thumbs up’ for an honest effort?”

JSP: Playing the “what would Ebert think?” game is a new and thoroughly depressing exercise. In Siskel & Ebert’s review of the original Evil Dead, Ebert did admire the craftsmanship and the simplicity of the film. (Siskel was a wet blanket; no surprises there.) I think Ebert would acknowledge the noble effort to capture the essence of the original without tarnishing its legacy but he would likely dismiss it as all style and little substance.    

Crystal: And in the wake of the great movie critic’s unfortunate passing, it is crucial now more than ever to honor his memory by either praising -- or bashing -- a movie with the same amount of thought and impeccable phrasing the late Mr. Ebert would have granted. It’s been years since I’ve seen the original Evil Dead, and remember precious little of it, so sitting in a dark room for an hour and a half staring at a screen with blood and guts spurting everywhere had the elicited the right amount of squirming from me. I spent the last 15% of the movie hiding behind JSP going “Ewww -- eww -- eww make it stop!”

It is worthwhile to know that writer/director rookie Fede Alvarez had Raimi’s blessing and dinero to back up the film project -- a message to a true horror movie enthusiast of a promising bloodfest. The movie opens with a vulnerable young woman hobbling through the woods to evade some backwoods hillbillies bent on kidnapping her. When it is revealed that her own father was behind the hunt, this compelling prologue abruptly ends and you feel thrust into an alternate reality of pain and torture and demons who swear worse than your senile grandmother. A cinematic tone of unapologetic gore and violence has been established as an undisclosed amount of time passes and we see five young people arriving at this eerie and totally unwelcoming cabin in the woods. With the Necronomicon and possessed ones foretelling of everyone’s demise kept intact, we can now proceed with the idea of the original Evil Dead -- people must die to appease demons.

JSP: Even with the original director overseeing the project, remaking a beloved cult horror flick like Evil Dead in 2013 is tricky bidness. Is it possible to capture the brilliance of the trendsetting low budget shlock-fest that introduced Bruce Campbell to the world? There were a million ways in which they could have screwed this reboot up. On one side if it was unrecognizable from the original then we would cry blasphemy and if it was too faithful then we would dismiss it as an unnecessary exercise. Fans of the original who feared that it would skimp on the grossness have nothing to gripe about. There are several utterly revolting sequences to satiate even the most disturbed aficionado.

Crystal: The change of motive for the five individuals spending time in the cabin from a casual Spring Break vacation to a heavy intervention of character Mia’s heroin addiction created a heavier atmosphere which also served as a clever plot device to raise the stakes. When Mia starts seeing things in the woods and acting violently, who would believe she wasn’t just going mad?

JSP: Heroin detox as a metaphor to ‘exorcise the demons' was a daring decision that paid off. It set the perfect manic tone for a film that warrants urgent decisions. It's understandable why Mia's friends choose to ignore to her pleas to leave the woods. What does she know? She’s a junkie.
Silly junkie lost in the woods.
Crystal Math’s gripes:
1.) Ladies, brush your damn hair out of your face! Any ounce of moisture in the air seems to necessitate a messy hair-in-face look out of any chick in a horror flick. I understand that this is for effect, but you know -- it’s a bit overplayed??

2.) Stop piecing together sound bytes of fingernails on a chalkboard every time a girl screams. I feel like whenever I go to the movies I’m subjected to a variety of animals’ roaring and screeching and I’m supposed to buy that as a wolf growling, or a person screaming, or any singular being that *magically* has the voice of five or more beings? Puh-leease.

3.) Conclusion: for the same budget, effects, and creativity exercised in this remake, Alvarez could have made a smashing original that brings something new to the table other than spastic possessed girls and things jumping out at you.

JSP’s Gripes:

1.)  I don’t have too much to say other than I enjoyed it but I still feel it was wholly unnecessary and ultimately forgettable. Why not just watch the original again?

2.)  Little to no investment in the characters. True, the characters in the original weren’t very memorable aside from Ash but it was ok because we still had Ash. The character of David (played by Shiloh Fernandez from Deadgirl) was hardly a worthy successor.  

3.) I just spoke with JPX about it and he remarked that he found it gross but not scary. I agree!