Friday, May 31, 2013

Daily Spider-Man: Has this strip been about swimming the whole time? Feels like it.

M. Night Shyamalan made another horrible movie and the critics haven't been kind - why does this please me so much?

From usatoday, Though it's meant to be pulse-pounding, After Earth is a lethargic slog.
This is not particularly the fault of its stars, Will Smith and his son, Jaden, though the latter could benefit from some acting lessons.
Rather, director M. Night Shyamalan seemingly puts more effort into production design and overbearing music than into dialogue or interplanetary action scenes. What remains is a floundering, futuristic coming-of-age saga (** out of four; rated PG-13; opens Friday nationwide).
The film's look is striking. A ship that father and son ride resembles a manta ray zooming through space. But their dialogue is mostly repetitive psycho-babble, broken up by tedious silences.
The story is set 1,000 years from now. Kitai (Jaden), his aptly-named father Cypher (Will) and mother Faia (Sophie Okonedo) live on a planet called Nova Prime. Cypher brings Kitai along on a mission, but their spaceship is struck by asteroids and crash-lands on Earth. Everyone aboard perishes except for father and son. Cypher suffers two broken legs, so it's up to Kitai to retrieve a beacon that landed miles away, so they can signal for help. Catastrophic events on Earth rendered it uninhabitable for humans, though it looks homey, complete with roaming buffalo.
Shyamalan makes an inexplicable and distracting choice when he has future humans speaking with an awkward dialect. It sounds vaguely mid-Atlantic and also approximates how Elmer Fudd might have spoken as a toddler. When Jaden first speaks, it's hard to tell if he has a slight speech impediment or if the mangled pronunciation is intentional.

And what is spoken adds to the tedium. Cypher makes goofy guru-like pronouncements like: "Recognize your power. This will be your creation."
Given that the film was intended as an intergalactic adventure featuring vivid computer-generated animals, an immersive 3-D environment might have induced more thrills. It would have intensified the sense of peril when Kitai leaps off a cliff and is dive-bombed by a cross between a hawk and a Dodo bird.
Instead, we're left with an inert tale of a boy coming into his own. While Jaden was adorable at age 8 in The Pursuit of Happyness and was capable in the remake of The Karate Kid, the now-14-year-old doesn't have the skills to pull off this starring role.
His character spends a lot of time silent and alone, hiking through unfamiliar terrain. A more powerful screen presence is needed for such a passive part.
With the story credited to Will Smith, After Earth is a pricey vanity project. It features only three action sequences — Kitai being chased by baboons, dodging the oversized bird and fighting a snarling alien. That leaves more than an hour where the audience must endure Cypher's terse orders and wan platitudes and Kitai's vague reactions. For highly evolved beings, these two specimens are surprisingly insipid.

'Machete Kills' international trailer

I'm kind of over the whole grindhouse homage thing but 'Machete Kills' looks about right.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

She's A Sith: Bride Force-Choking All The Groomsmen

From geekology,
Note: Slightly larger version HERE.
Because cleverly staged wedding photos are all the rage right now, here's a shot of a bride force-choking all her husband's groomsmen taken by artist and photographer Ryan S Burkett. It serves as a grave reminder for how a wife metaphorically 'kills' all your best friends when you get married and takes their place as your one true Sith Lord.

Brad Pitt's 'World War Z': Biggest Flop Ever?

From huffingtonpost, Brad Pitt could soon hold the ignominy of presiding over the biggest flop in film history.
The film in question is zombie epic World War Z, which originally had a budget of $170million, but has now ballooned to a reported $400million.
For anybody not keeping score, that is a huge $100million more than Pirates of The Caribbean: At World's End (2007), which is currently the most expensive film ever made.
Pitt's film is an adaptation of a novel by Max Brooks, which he is producing through his company Plan B, and thus is not actually part of an existing film franchise, which further exposes it to market pressures.
While zombie movies have had an unbelievable resurgence in recent years, what makes Brooks's subject matter distinct is the sheer scale of the story. The author's epic tale of a world being turned upside down by a rampant infection was always going to be precarious to adapt to the screen.
Ironically, given the name of Pitt's company, the first alternate course of action, when the proverbial crap hit the fan, seemed to be to throw another $200million at the film. This desperate attempt to salvage the project is even more baffling given the fact that the film is not part of an existing franchise and thus has little or no fan base.
Indeed, the signs do not look good for World War Z. Even before reports of the ballooned budget, the production has been riddled with bad press.
Director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) and Pitt reportedly clashed so much on the set, that they resorted to communicating through third parties and the passing of notes. Of course, this type of petulance is not uncommon in Hollywood but it rarely filters into the financing.
The history of Hollywood is littered with financial disasters, some so profound, that many of the talent involved barely worked again. Although, it is worth noting that Pitt's star power is so enormous that his career will almost certainly survive this.
Unfortunately, Forster will be only too aware of what will happen to his career if World War Z does indeed flop. The fact is some of the greatest filmmakers in history have had their careers crushed after similar apocalyptic box-office disasters, the most infamous of which is Michael Cimino.
After winning winning two Academy Awards for The Deer Hunter (1978), Cimino then bankrupted studio United Artists with his follow-up Heaven's Gate (1980), which had a final budget of around $44million.
That gargantuan failure was so profound that it is credited with directly ending the second golden era of Hollywood, which had seen art house directors dominate cinema throughout the 1970s.
Cimino's recklessness had a ripple effect across the industry and helped disrupt the careers of, in particular, Francis Ford Coppola. The Godfather director's lack of financial acumen was exposed when studios started to tighten their belts around any script that dared to challenge its audience.
World War Z's potential box-office implosion could further perpetuate this watering down of the mainstream. Quite simply, studios will see this as another warning against the hazards of taking big risks. Why develop an original blockbuster when another Batman orSuperman movie can be regurgitated?
However, there are only two real certainties regarding the impact of World War Z's potential cataclysmic failure; first; the zombie movie genre will be thrust back into the art house and Marc Forster will never, under any circumstances, be trusted with a big budget in Hollywood again.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Daily Spider-Man: Jeez, it's Dr. Debbie Downer

Theater Owners Join Everyone Else in Wishing Trailers Would Be a Little Shorter

From iwatchstuff, Hoping to improve the moviegoing experience without altering their loose standards of value and cleanliness, the nation's theater owners are looking to push new studio marketing rules to shorten how long we sit there watching trailers.

As it currently stands, standards set by the MPAA limit trailers to two-and-a-half minutes, with a once-a-year exception policy allowing studios to go beyond that--which explains why the most epic of all the epic Man of Steel trailers had a full three minutes of dads and fishing. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the National Association of Theater Owners would like to knock that down to a slightly more reasonable two minutes, cumulatively cutting several minutes off preview time that could then be passed on to viewers or filled with a longer, more thrill-packed CGI roller coaster ride.

The studios are, naturally, not too pleased with the idea of losing thirty seconds they could fill with fades to black and Inception blares. "My trailers are 2.5 minutes because that's what we need to send the right message," said one unnamed studio source, referring to the scientifically-determined length of time it takes for the lady next to you to whisper whether a film looks like a cute one. "This could be a paradigm shift. Thirty seconds is a long time."

Ever-concerned with pleasing the Fast & Furious-watching hoi polloi, executives further expressed concern that even if they do agree to the changes, theaters may simply fill the space with even more trailers, netting themselves more money for the additional promotion. Our nation's more trivial "NATO" has declined to comment. It seems third party intervention may be required to reach a mutually-satisfying agreement of just showing the same five Coca-Cola trivia questions again.

JC Penney Still Exists?: JC Penney Teapot Hitler Billboard

From geekology, his is the JC Penney billboard for a teapot (because teapots are a great choice for billboard advertisements) that, when blurred, kinda sorta looks like a characture Hitler. Of course, if you squint your eyes and shake your head hard enough, you can get anything to look like Hitler, which is exactly why I just tied my roommate to a chair and kicked him down the stairs. I think he's still down there moaning too if any of you want to come over and take a whack at him.
Thanks to BrianR and Krista, who were more surprised to learn JC Penney was still in business after deciding to stop printing those giant catalogs with all the bra models.

Daily Spider-Man: Spidey gloats about his superior swimming ability

Riker sits down like a crazy person

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ Set Photos Reveal Rhino’s Pre-CG Getup

From slashfilm, any debate whether or not Paul Giamatti would be playing more than a man in Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 can be put to bed. Over the Memorial Day weekend, the Oscar-nominated actor, whose basic appearance as Aleksei Sytsevich is already powerful and intimating, was placed in what looks like a mech suit on stilts. The Rhino is facing off with Spider-Man on the mean streets of New York City and, after the jump, you can get a look at the suit as well as one of Spider-Man’s latest allies.

These images come from, via Comic Book Movie. Head to those links for more photos

Box office report: 'Fast & Furious 6' breaks $100 million, 'Hangover III' sobers up on record-breaking weekend

From ew, Here’s what the Memorial Day weekend taught us: America really likes the Fast & Furious franchise, but America loves movies. The four-day holiday racked up $314 million in receipts, the largest-ever Memorial Day weekend at the box office. As for Fast 6, it’s hard to talk about the successful opening without resorting to cliché. Despite hitting theaters in a crowded May marketplace, the Universal film earned an estimated $120,019,000, the fourth-highest Memorial Day opening in history, for a per-theater average of $33,400. That’s the second-biggest opening this year, behind Iron Man 3, and a sizable leap from the trajectory of the previous two Fasts (and most predictions).
The franchise’s appeal seems to be growing in reverse (we wrote a cover story on it!), getting bigger with each film. The newest installment earned an “A” CinemaScore (“A+” from audiences under 25) with an almost even split between men and women (51/49 percent). Conventionally, that would indicate that Fast 6 will hold up better than the typical tent pole — however, Fast Five also earned an “A” and good reviews while still dropping more than 60 percent in its second weekend. That said, it still wouldn’t affect the success of the latest film so far: Fast & Furious 6 has grossed $317 million globally against a $160 million budget. And in case you haven’t heard: Fast 7 is coming soon.
Speaking of big-budget, male-skewing films: The Hangover Part III earned an estimated $51,215,000 over the four-day weekend, for a per-theater average of $14,406, and $63 million since Thursday. That’s hardly nothing — especially for a hard-R comedy, which has a notoriously rocky record at the box office. But the $100 million film’s “B” CinemaScore and middling reviews indicate that word-of-mouth won’t help subsequent weekend grosses. From here, it’s hard to see Part III matching the $250+ million grosses of the first two films, though strong foreign sales should help Warner Bros. overcome the sting.
The weekend’s third wide release, Epic, topped expectations with an estimated $42,600,000 for the four-day and a per-theater average of $10,974. Tracking suggested an opening in the mid-30s, but the Blue Sky film had a plum release spot at the start of the tent pole season without any major family-friendly competition. Good reviews and an “A” CinemaScore suggest real legs, which means Epic could finish with more than $150 million domestically on a $93 million budget.
Last week’s Star Trek Into Darkness earned an estimated $44 million for the long weekend, which softens its second week drop to 33 percent and an overall domestic gross of $155.8 million. The well-reviewed but maligned sequel may not top the previous film’s gross of $257.7 million, but it should easily top $200 million. Iron Man 3 earned an estimated $24,351,000, lifting its total domestic gross to $372.4 million. With a new director and a surge of post-Avengers buzz, the third Iron Man has already beaten the previous two installments and is on track for a domestic finish above $400 million.
In limited release, Richard Linklater’s critically-acclaimed romantic drama Before Midnightopened with a per-theater average of $64,400 at five theaters.
1. Fast & Furious 6 — $120 million
2. The Hangover Part III — $51.2 million
3. Star Trek Into Darkness — $47 million
4. Epic — $42.6 million
5. Iron Man 3 — $24.4 million

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Siskel and Ebert defend Star Wars

Watch Siskel and Ebert school an old fart who hates Star Wars.

Giant Lego X-Wing

Have you guys seen this? 

From Time Newsfeed:

 Planning began roughly 18 months ago, at a LEGO facility in the Czech Republic. Execs knew they wanted something big and Star Wars-y to promote their new toy-inspired animated miniseries (The Yoda Chronicles, premiering May 29 on Cartoon Network), and recreating a fan-favorite flier like the X-Wing “just seemed like a great thing to do,” says Varszegi.

You can read the article here.  And here's another link that has a really cool photo gallery - a couple of which are posted below.

Daily Spider-Man: Let's fight this huge gushing hole in the wall with... another one!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Woohoo! 'Simpsons' fans rejoice! Universal Studios is building Springfield

This could be the greatest news for Simpsons obsessives since those 7-Elevens were converted into Kwik-E-Marts to celebrate the release of the Simpsons movie.
Springfield, home of the three-eyed fish and hometown of Jebediah Springfield, is becoming a reality at Universal Studios’ Orlando amusement park.
While rumors have been floating for a while, Universal Studios officially announced today that they are expanding the area around the Simpsons Ride in Orlando to include an entire area that mimics the streets of Springfield. “And yes – there will be Duff Beer,” a release said.
I’m thrilled. Also, can I just say it’s about time? I mean, Harry Potter fans have an entire Wizarding World of fun, and while I’m totally happy for them, it brings me great joy to saySimpsons fans will get to enjoy the Krustyest place on earth.

Daily Spider-Man: Since we're being all technical, Mr. Lawyer, buildings and ships are not the same thing

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Great Horror Campout

Any of you Cali Thonners participating in this?

Meet 'Quicksilver'

From ew, Bryan Singer is at it again! The director of the highly anticipated X-Men: Days of Future Past is quickly becoming a social media mastermind. After tweeting out numerous first looks at the cast, Singer’s latest tweet confirmed that Evan Peters will be joining the film as Quiksilver, the super-fast son of Magneto, whose twin sister, Scarlet Witch, can manipulate probability.

Death Star Destroys Enterprise (Special Edition)

In 2009 (could it be that long ago?) I posted the above video however recently the CGI was updated and it looks awesome.  I'm especially taken with how the Death Star looks hovering in the horizon.  Definitely check this out, it's worth a look.

Daily Spider-Man: Kingpin utters saddest line ever in the history of newspaper comics

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's official, 'Man of Steel' looks awesome!

This guy might be in Star Wars VII

From iwatchstuff, The Tudors star Jonathan Rhys Meyers is rumored to be the first newcomer to join Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford in seeing if people still enjoy space battles. Latino Review claims the actor "already has" a part in J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII, bringing him back to his Mission: Impossible III director and a universe where Obi-Wan forces you to search your feelings. There's not yet word on what that the role may be, so your guess is as good as mine. Or maybe better, because my guess is newly-svelte Wicket.

Daily Spider-Man: Because no lair is complete without dangerous self-destruct machinery

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bryan Singer Shows Off Blue Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique in ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’

From slashfilm, X-Men: Days of Future Past unites the cast of the first trilogy of X-Men films, along with the major players (such as Lawrence) from X-Men: First Class. The time-travel storyline sees the characters trying to prevent a possible future in which mutant-hunting sentinels are used to herd mutants into internment camps, and where some of the most powerful mutants have been murdered outright.
The film also stars Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Michael Fassbender, Ian McKellan, Anna Paquin, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Booboo Stewart, Fan Bingbing, and Peter Dinklage. It opens on July 18, 2014.

'Star Wars Rebels': Disney Channel to premiere Lucasfilm pilot

From ew, Star Wars Rebels, a one-hour animated pilot already in production at Lucasfilm, is scheduled to premiere in Fall 2014 on the Disney Channel before the new brand leaps to Disney XD for the ongoing series, according to Lucasfilm sources.
The series will mine material from the 19 years that follow Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and precede the Episode IV: A New Hope. In other words, using the life of the Skywalker twins as a measure, the series will be active in the story years that come after their separation as newborns and before their (unwitting) reunion on the prison level of the Death Star.
No word on whether the show will feature Darth Vader (who would be in the Empire’s power consolidation years and earning his reputation) or even pull in a character like Han Solo, the smuggler and cynic who becomes an unlikely freedom fighter when he opts to stand with his friends against cosmic odds. The title of the show is vaguely phrased in a way that any rebel — even a Boba Fett or Ahsoka Tano might qualify as a title character merely by walking an outsider’s path.
The series has three executive producers: Dave Filoni, the point man on The Clone Wars animated series that launched in 2008; screenwriter and producer Simon Kinberg, who has a flair for tonal rewiring and energizing familiar brands with new edge (e.g.: X-Men: First Class, Sherlock Holmes); and Greg Weisman, whose credits include well-regarded work on Young Justice and The Spectacular Spider-Man.
A press release that was being readied Monday morning included a quote from Kathy Kennedy, the hand-picked successor of George Lucas as Lucasfilm president as well as an elite producer (Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List) since the 1980s. “I couldn’t be more excited to explore new corners of the Star Wars universe,” Kennedy stated in the release. “I think Star Wars Rebels will capture the look, feel, and fun that both kids and their parents love about Star Wars.”
Kennedy, who has brought a new vigor and decisiveness to Lucasfilm in-house culture that (a bit like Obi Wan Kenobi out in the lonely desert) seemed to forget some its fiery rebel heritage as the dust of passing seasons gathered.
Kennedy shocked some observers when she jettisoned a well-underway Lucasfilm initiative to re-release the prequel trilogy in 3-D. The decision was not cheap but allowed her to turn all engines toward the shared horizon: new Star Wars stories that incorporate the characters most familiar to fans that sat down in the dark in those Jedi summers between 1977-1983. The centerpiece of the new focus is the third trilogy, with a first installment expected in 2015 or 2016 and directed by J.J. Abrams.
The new venture will put considerable pressure on the creative team. The animation process is not a fast one, although it it was not clear Monday how long Filoni and his colleagues have been working on the new show. For the fans who see Kennedy’s priorities as a new hope for the Jedi universe as entertainment, the news of Star Wars Rebels might bring to mind an exchange from 1977 space epic with a now-relevant pun: The Rebellion could really use a good pilot… 

Bored? Watch The Brady Bunch bowl!

Filmed while the final season of The Brady Bunch was wrapping up, this bizarre bowling video (for charity) is un-watchable (okay, I stayed with it for about 3 minutes in order to ogle Marcia).  Peter is especially bad at bowling (he always was my least favorite Brady).

Box Office

From ew, The USS Enterprise picked up steam throughout the weekend, despite a somewhat unimpressive start. Early estimates show that J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek IntoDarkness (CinemaScore: A) could bring in $70.6 million on the three-day weekend, and $84.1 million for the four and a half days that it has been open. Though nothing to scoff at, it’s still underperforming according to initial projections which hoped for a $100 million extended weekend and $80 million on the three-day.
The first Star Trek of the Abrams era opened in early May of 2009 and made an impressive $75.2 million on its first weekend out of the gates, without the benefit of 3-D surcharges. This newest film is showing in 336 IMAX 3-D theaters, whereas the first showed in 138 IMAX venues — accounting for $8.5 million in ticket sales on its first weekend. As we wrote about yesterday, the nature of Abrams’ four different directing projects makes him difficult to analyze in terms of pure box office numbers, so his Star Trek successes and potential will have to stand on its own. The first film stayed in theaters for 21 weeks, ultimately grossing $257.7 million for Paramount.
This is a franchise that seems separate from its stars. Chris Pine, who plays Captain Kirk, for example, has not proven to be a box office draw on his own. Again, this opening weekend isn’t bad, but it’s interesting to think about why it couldn’t live up to early estimates — especially considering the runaway success of Iron Man 3. Perhaps four years is too big of a gap between films. There was a 3 year gap between Iron Man 2 and 3, but releasing The Avengers during the hiatus was likely important for keeping the character present.
Iron Man 3 continues to do well at the box office in spite of the new competition from Star Trek Into Darkness, making an estimated $35.2 million in its third weekend in theaters. This brings its domestic total to $337.1 million.
The Great Gatsby took the No. 3 spot with a $23.4 million weekend, bringing its domestic total to an estimated $90.2 million. The $100 million mark is close for Baz Luhrmann, and it would be a first for the Australian director, even accounting for price inflation. This could be partially the Leonardo DiCaprio effect, the ubiquity and appeal of the novel, or an indication that there is room amidst sci-fi and comic book blockbusters for other types of films — even if this literary adaptation is also a 3-D release.
The No. 4 spot went to Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain, which made $3.1 million in 2,429 locations. It’s only down 38% from last week despite the fact that it lost 874 theaters. The relatively inexpensive ($26 million) Dwayne Johnson/Mark Wahlberg flick has made $46.7 million domestically so far.
Rounding out the top five is The Croods, the Nicolas Cage and Emma Stone voiced cave-family animated picture, which last appeared on the list two weeks ago. The $135 million movie has made an estimated $176.6 million domestically in its 9 weeks in theaters. As one of the only family friendly films available in theaters at the moment, it’s unsurprising that it continues to quietly do well.
1. Star Trek Into Darkness — $70.6 million (3-day)
2. Iron Man 3 — $35.2 million
3. The Great Gatsby –$23.4 million
4. Pain and Gain — $3.1 million
5. The Croods — $2.8 million
Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha also opened this weekend in 4 theaters, bringing in $134K, with an impressive $33.5K per theater average. Baumbach’s previous three films all played in under 200 theaters.

Bea Arthur topless painting fetches $1.9M in NYC

From WSJ, NEW YORK — A painting of actress Bea Arthur topless has sold for $1.9 million at a New York City auction.
The painting is by artist John Currin and is titled "Bea Arthur Naked." It sold at Christie's auction of postwar and contemporary art on Wednesday. It had been expected to bring in between $1.8 million and $2.5 million.
Christie's hasn't said who bought it.
The 1991 oil painting depicts the late television actress nude from the waist up. Christie's said Thursday the image was based on a photograph of her with her clothes on.
Arthur gained fame for her Emmy Award-winning roles in "Maude" and "The Golden Girls" in the 1970s and '80s. She died of cancer in 2009 at age 86.

Daily Spider-Man: Again with the Laser Cane

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Daily Spider-Man: Science Fact: Spiders have a natural (but limited) resistance to lasers


I stumbled across this today poking around the internet:

Strange Geographies: the Happy, Haunted Island of Poveglia

The story of an island in the Venice Lagoon that has an old abandoned insane asylum...for starters.  Very cool article and there are a series by the author that you can find on his web site.  And you can read about Poveglia here!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Marvel's Phase Three: 'Doctor Strange,' 'Iron Man 4,' 'Hulk,' 'Inhumans' or 'Runaways' on horizon?

From ew, Big things happen in threes.

With Iron Man 3 heading into its third weekend, now is the perfect time to look ahead to what Marvel Studios may be planning for its own third act — the evolving multi-movie slate 
known as Phase Three.

Phase One for the comic book studio was the series of films that culminated in last year’s The Avengers. Phase Two begins with Iron Man 3, and will build to Avengers 2 in 2015, withCaptain America: The Winter SoldierThor: The Dark World, and Guardians of the Galaxy in between.

The question that still hasn’t been resolved, even internally at the studio… What comes next?
Right now the only definite project being planned for Phase Three is Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, which has been in development since 2006 but will finally come to the screen in November 2015 — just a few months after Avengers 2.

“I’d say 99 percent of our time right now is purely spent on Phase Two,” Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told EW. “It’s five colossally giant motion pictures that we have to produce. So that’s taking up the time. But within the next year or so we’ll start the advanced planning for post-Avengers 2.”

Given that nothing has been settled yet, EW tried to pick Feige’s brain about which potential Phase Three movies are likely — and which are definitely not happening.

Here’s what we learned: