29 Jun 2012


This is not the whole cast. Can you spot who is missing?
Ever since an ad executive figured out that the San Diego Comic-Con was basically a corral for the nerdily inclined, every year the studios fill the convention halls with the stars and creative minds behind the next year's 'biggest' movies. Movies like The Avengers get announced there, movies like Paul have huge chunks of their plot revolving around it, panels with entire casts draw in hundreds, if not thousands, who get to stand in line for hours only to find out that all the seats have been taken by fourteen year old girls who want to smell whatever fresh young thing has their pre-hormonal engines heated up. Because of the descent of the studios, many of the properties on display aren't remotely geek, or even genre related, which I gather is a source of much ire for those who just want to hear Billy West's opinion on the Transformers movies.

So, for the 2012 Con, 'big' movies like Iron Man 3, The Hobbit, and Pacific Rim will have a presence, as will shows like Community. Star Trek 2 is probably the biggest film coming out next year not to have a presence. But maybe it got bumped for something better. Something that can draw them in just as well as Spock, but is infinitely more enjoyable.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary, the entire cast of Firefly/Serenity will be appearing in a panel. This is not an announcement of anything, it's just a get-together for some old friends, in front of a house of charged nerds who desperately want to go back to the black, though the press release does tease "many buzz-worthy announcements." And, sitting there with them will be creators Tim Minear and Joss "Give Me All Your Money, All Your Hugs and Kisses Too' Whedon.

If you are thinking of attending, don't. I'll bet good money there is already someone camped out in line. Seriously, this will be so full, the fire marshal will have to moderate the panel. But the footage should be good to see.

Lets just hope it's in a different hall then the Twilight panel. Otherwise, there might be blood.

Via Collider.

Tyler Perry In Tyler Perry's Alex Cross, With Tyler Perry

I've actually got nothing against Tyler Perry. I've never seen any of the Medea movies, but her wasn't terrible in Star Trek (yeah, it's been one of those days), for the five lines of dialogue he had.

The Alex Cross series was the one of Patterson's books that I read, up to the eigth or ninth, then I lost the way. I really liked the film Kiss the Girls, and hated Along Came A Spider. Morgan Freeman was excellent, but he would be excellent spreading peanut butter on a saltine.

Perry is closer in age to Cross at the start of the series, but that doesn't mean he'll be better. John C. McGinley is in it though, so that's got to count for something. But the rest of the cast seems to be designed to be as inoffensive and bland that I doubt this will be much more then a buy the numbers, utterly forgetable who-dunnit-it, where you know who-dunnit-it. Just like the novels.

Via /Film.

And In Other Star Trek News, Characters You've Never Heard Of Won't Be In The Sequel

Courtesy of Paramount
Roberto Orci, one of the writers of Star Trek, and half of the mañata that is Kurtzman and Orci, has stated absolutely that the following characters will not be in the Star Trek sequel, thus quelling internet rumours run amoke. Putting an end of months and years of bickering, supposing and flat out guessing. Now we know...

  • Gary Mitchell
  • Charlie X
  • Ruk
  • Janice Rand
  • The Borg
What the hell?

Really, Orci? Really? That is just being a jerk. First off, three of those are so obscure that unless you decorate your dental practice like a transporter room, you have no idea who they are. And was The Borg ever really a serious option? Is anyone really clammering to see Spock take on 4 of 19, or something like that?

Seriously, this comment is about as helpful as the one about Van Helsing from Kurtzman was yesterday.

Via /Film.

[Opinion] - Rebooting Star Trek: The Next Generation

There was a time when to say I was a Star Trek fan would have been a hyperbolic understatement. I was obsessed, as is my tendency. I fell into it 100%, learned every detail, watched every episode, subscribed to the magazine, hated Voyager. I was a Trekker through and through (enough to know that I was a Trekker, who appreciated the show, as compared to a Trekkie, who are the sort of people who put transporters in their dental offices). And it was all because of The Next Generation. The Original Series was never really my bag. I loved the ever loving hell out of the films, which I still think are a better expression of the ideas of the original series then the series. But NextGen was my series.

And then, time wore on, and Enterprise was cancelled, and things waned, as they do. My obsession became a respectful interest, briefly reignited by J.J. Abrams in 2009, but it never returned to the way it was. But, it's all still in my noodle somewhere. I can still recite dates, plot descriptions, lines and character biographies at a moment's notice, and have been told that when I stand, I give my waistcoats the Picard Manoeuvre (the short tug Stewart would give on his uniform every time he stood, because they would ride up while he sat).

Jill Pantozzi, over at The Mary Sue, recently posted her suggestions for a recast of the Star Trek: The Next Generation, in the style of J.J. Abrams' 'reboot' (gods, how I loathe that word) of Star Trek. Her ideas are dead on, for the most part, especially for Riker and Picard. My only real disagreement is Bryce Dallas Howard as Dr. Crusher, if only because I have never seen Howard impress me with any of her roles. She seems like a living example of getting by on a name, and not on talent (she could form a club with Liv Tyler). So I would go with someone else. I would also make one addition: Stana Katic as Ro Laren.

Pantozzi was inspired by the image of Tom Hiddleston as Data, as seen above, and took it from there. I, in turn was inspired by her list, to wonder what an Abrams-style TNG reboot might look like, assuming that it takes place in the same timeline as the Chris Pine/Kirk universe.

And so, hit the jump to give it a read.

28 Jun 2012

Movie News: From The Rest

- Ryan Reynolds has been cast in the only eighties movie franchise not yet raped for nostagic gain, Highlander. I have nothing to say about this other then I expect it will be terrible, and that since the original had a Belgian playing a Scot, and a Scotsman playing a Spaniard, casting a Canadian to play a Scot isn't that dumb. I mean, it's still dumb. But not as dumb. Of course this means they'll have to hire an Australian to play a Canadian, a Swede to play a South African, and a Brit to play the bad guy. Probably a German.

- They are making a full on Lego animated movie. Not only that, but they have secured (probably through the same deal that lets them make all those video games) the rights to include licensed Lego characters in the movie. Every single thing about this movie sounds fantastic. It will star Parks and Rec star Chris Pratt as an everyLegoman who must travel to various Lego worlds in order to help save the universe from being glued together. Confirmed will be the inclusion of the Lego DC Universe, with Batman being played by Will Arnett.

My hope is that they don't concentrate too much on the licenced stuff, and delve into the history of Lego. Remember, they started off making Viking ships and cars. Basic, generic stuff. Cowboys, pirates, mailmen. It wasn't until they got the licence for Star Wars that they went crazy.

- During the post-press for The Avengers, Joss Whedon was asked if we wanted to do the sequel. He said it's hard investing so much of yourself into something that ultimately isn't yours. But he's got enough money to buy both California and the Terminator franchise now, so should you really get hung up on if it isn't 'yours'.

But then he said this: "If I could be anywhere, I’d be on board Serenity."

This means nothing. But at least he's still in love with her as much as the rest of us. At the Ottawa Comiccon in the spring, Adam Baldwin suggested the best future for Serenity might be as an animated series, since most of the rest of the cast are all employed elsewhere, and it would be cheaper to make. And I am for every single bit of that.

Via Topless Robot, Den of Geek, and MTV.

There's A Naked Lady In This Movie, And She's Nude

Do you have 14 minutes? You're reading this site, so you've obviousy got some time on your hands. I suggest you lean back and listen to one insult from every single episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

The constant drum beat is annoying, and drowns out some the dialogue, but remind yourself it's just a clip show, and that you should really just relax.

Via Topless Robot.

Movie News: From The Writers

This picture is almost completely unrelated.
- Van Helsing is getting a reboot. Except it isn't, because that isn't a real word, and it's being misused anyway. A new film is being made about a character who first appeared in Bram Stoker's Dracula 115 years ago. This could be considered a reboot if the story were retelling how Gabriel Van Helsing fought a collection of classic movie monsters. But it's clearly not. Explains writer Alex Kurtzman:
"I do feel like the Van Helsing that Anthony Hopkins plays in [Bram Stoker's] Dracula is sort of the parody version of it, and the Van Helsing that Hugh Jackman played was obviously in a different place as well".
To me, that sounds like Kurtzman and Orci, the team behind Fringe, Star Trek, and (lets not forget) Cowboys and Aliens, will be adapting Abraham Van Helsing, the aged professor from Stoker's book. Kurtzman says that the Dark Knight has influenced his vision for the project, though at this point I think the Dark Knight has influenced root vegetable. Kurtzman and Orci are also working on rebooting (dammit) The Mummy (dammit!). I think the lesson here is that Hollywood doesn't like Stephen Sommers. Though, if you get a chance, watch Deep Rising, starring Treat Williams and Famke Janssen. It's B-movie fun.

- Jurassic Park 4 has attached some writers, in the form Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who wrote Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Now, I didn't see Apes because the first trailer looked incredibly dumb, but I've heard nothing but good things about it since. Still, I have no over powering urge to see it. I will eventually, probably when it's on TBS in the middle of a Sunday afternoon some day.

My issue with this story is that Jurassic Park 4 is still happening. Every idea they've had (except for the one that produced Jack Horner's fantastic book How To Make a Dinosaur, about turning a chicken into dinosaur through genetic engineering. If you can find a copy, I highly recommend it) has been crap. And then Michael Crichton died, and everyone from Spielbergo down said it was best to leave things be. Listen, Jurassic Park is my favourite movie, hands down, no reservations. I worship that film. But The Lost World Jurassic Park wasn't actually a Jurassic Park movie (ask me about that some day. Not now, I'm busy), and Jurassic Park III was an abject failure which spit on the hallowed ground of it's predecessor. As an idea, Jurassic Park has been taped and emptied. If you want to make a kick ass dinosaur movie, do so. People will see it, trust me. Just forget about InGen, and Grant, and those huge, unfeathered raptors.

- And finally, and best (worst?) of all, Seth Grahame-Smith has produced this quote.
"But I think the magic ingredient is trying not to over do it. Not to make it some crazy, overblown big Beetlejuice Saves the World type of story. Frankly, Beetlejuice himself is only in the original movie for about a half hour. I think using him sparingly is key. And not trying to make it so modern, family friendly and broad but to cling to the things that made it a little dangerous.
"And obviously we’re not remaking the movie or rebooting it. It would be a sequel, and however much time has passed between the two movies, that’s the amount of time that will have passed in the story."
He was (obviously?) speaking of his role in writing Beetlejuice 2, a movie that does not, in any way, need to get made. I think though, he is missing the most important thing about writing a sequel. Learning how to write a movie first. Because let me tell you, after creative failure that was Dark Shadows, and the misery that was Abraham Hilton: Vampire Lecher, or whatever it was called, I think Mr. -Smith needs to take a step back and reevaluate his method. I certainly don't want him anywhere near a sequel to one of my favourite comedies.

Via Den of Geek, The Mary Sue, and again.

It Will Swallow Your Soul In 1:26

Ever wanted to watch all three Evil Dead movies in under two minutes? No, of course you haven't. But all the same, here they are. Enjoy.

Via Topless Robot.

27 Jun 2012

The BBC Intends To Get Things Started

You misunderstand, Mr. Baker...
Let's get one thing very clear: this is not the Muppets. The Muppets are owned, wholly and completely, by the Disney corporation, in both name and history. The Jim Henson company has nothing to do with the proper Muppets anymore, sadly.

A couple weeks ago on twitter, comedian Danny Baker announced that he would be the head writer for a show created for the BBC by the Henson company. Titled No Strings Attached, it will be reminiscent of the original Muppet Show, though based around the idea of a late night chat show. The host will be a new character created by the Henson company, and apparently, the first guest for the (unaired) pilot will be none other then Stephen Fry.

And, because I don't need much of an excuse to do so, here is a clip from QI featuring both of these men, but no Muppets, unless you include Alan.

Via Den of Geek.

Breaking Bad Rendered Using Danish Toys

A user on reddit posted these pictures of a complete Lego version of the meth lab from Breaking Bad. And they are awesome. What we need now is Lego Walter in his Lego underpants standing with a Lego pistol next to a Lego winnebago. If we had that, then all the world's ills would fade away. Or, at least, it's Lego related ills.

Hit the jump for the rest of the pics, including a terrified Lego Jesse, and some of the blue rock.

The Robot Uprising Begins In The Prostate

I got to tell you, this looks like fun. When I saw the title, I thought it might be more in line with last year's wonderful Cold Souls, that the movie would be about Frank Langella hanging out with a robot. Instead, his character's name happens to be Frank, and he hangs out with a robot.

It looks both quirky, and full of heart. It has a respectable supporting cast (Langella pairing with his Superman Returns co-star James Marsden, perhaps both trying desperately to forget their roles in making that film a reality). My only reservation is, the trailer seems to give any the entire film. really, it looks like all the plot points get touched on. I hate it when smaller films have to spoil themselves to drum up support. Shouldn't Frank Langella hanging out with a robot be enough?

Shouldn't it? Dammit!

[Review] - Eureka, Season 5 Episode 10, "The Honeymooners"

Courtesy of NBCUniversal
Who could have seen that coming: Carter takes Allison to a desolate cabin in the woods, only to be driven insane and murder her terribly. Such a dark turn for Eureka...

I kid, obviously, though as they pulled up at the start, it's all I could think of. And wouldn't that have been unexpected? It was quite obvious that, last year when Sy-Fy pulled the plug on Eureka, it took the cast and crew by surprise. That the network gave them an additional episode to wrap things up was in equal parts cruel and kind, kind that they got it at all, and cruel because what can you do in one episode to wrap up five seasons of plot lines that you haven't been prepared to wrap up.

The storyline I was most concerned about was the conspiracy angle, a story line the writers have never really been in love with. The first season focused on it, then it disappeared for years, returning intermittently after the time travel (one wonders if the conspiracy was strengthened by their mucking about in the timeline). And here, it resurfaces in a way that was pleasantly unexpected, even if it did include a reveal that you could see coming. But the way the episode handled the reveal (both of them) was so well done, it distracted from the episode's other, more obvious failures.

Hit the jump for the spoiler-inclined review.

26 Jun 2012

Bruce Campbell Continues To Be Spider-man's Greatest Enemy

Bruce Campbell's roles in the first three Spider-man films were initially down to his good friend Sam Raimi being behind the camera. The joke was in the first one, he created him, in the second he defeated him, in the third he embarrassed him, and if there had been a fourth, Campbell would have ended up actually killing Spider-man and taking his identity.

So that he is involved in the Amazing Spider-man game is a testament to how awesome Bruce Campbell is. Amazing has no connection to the original three films, and yet here Campbell is, continuing to be Spider-man's greatest, most annoying foe. In this case, it's someone called The Extreme Reporter, who forces Spidey to do a series of challenges.

And that is as much of an excuse as I need to post a story about Bruce Campbell.

Via ComicsAlliance.

Doctor Who Series 7 News

Courtesy of the BBC
Two bits of Doctor Who news to report. First, the title of the first episode has been announced, and it follows the trend of naming conventions dating back to the Third Doctor episode Death to the Daleks. As was previously established, the first episode will feature appearances from every single Dalek from across the history of the show, and we now know that it will be called Asylum of the Daleks. What do you think, someone is collecting Daleks from throughout time? Those early ones that run on static electricity will be a pinch to beat.

Second, and much more excitingly, last series' best new character might be returning for an episode in the new year. Neve McIntosh, who has played all the female Silurians since they returned to the series, may well be returning to the role of Madame Vastra, one half of the lesbian Victorian mystery team that screamed for a spin off (or at least a one off special) last year in A Good Man Goes To War. Lesbian Lizard Lady of Lower London is a show I would watch the hell out of.

My only hesitation is that Moffat's characters tend to do best in singular appearances. River, the Angels, Churchill, the Silence, the idea of the Silence. All fantastic in their first goes around, but suffering from (in some cases extreme) depreciation of value with each reappearance. The trick, you see, is not to go back to the well too many times.

Via Den of Geek, and again.

A Plea, in Song, To The "Great Bearded Glacier"

I'll freely admit to only discovering the Song of Ice and Fire when they announced the series back three years ago. Actually, I didn't even care then. It was when they announced Sean Bean and Peter Dinklage (who I've been a fan of since back when he was on Threshold) that I thought, "I should read this stuff." I spent a lot of time travelling last summer, and read books 2-5 on my Kindle while sitting in airports.

And I'm sure as hell glad I didn't discover this thing five, or ten years ago. I'd hate to be anyone who picked up GoT when it was first released. I'd be half mad by now, and the only reason I'm not going crazy over book six is because I've got the series to keep the tremors under control. For as long as that lasts.

I'm a writer, and it takes a long bloodied ass time to write anything. But Martin does put in a lot of extra time into a lot of extra detail that most simply wouldn't. And that is why is better then me, and you. All of the you.

Via Topless Robot.

[Review] - Roger Waters: The Wall Live

So ya thought ya might like to go to the show...
Some years back, I made a list. Live music isn't really my thing. I love music, always have something playing in the background, but I've always been uncomfortable at concerts. I think it's because I like consistency. On an album, the music has been rehearsed, recorded, mixed, and printed into an exact form. The same is true of film. Editors have taken multiple takes, and produced the best possible product. Live events, concerts, stage plays, they thrive on spontaneity. From the artists, from the audience, from the instruments. It is unpredictable, and I don't like that. I like to see things coming straight at me, not from the side (all of the same reasoning can also be applied to raptors).

But I made a list. Of all the bands, artists, groups, and performers I felt I needed to see, at least once. And, considering that my taste in music runs from 1965 to 1988, some of these performers are getting on, and not going on the road as much anymore, if at all. But, due to a resurgence in the so called 'classic rock', I've been fortunate of late to catch many acts that I let pass me by in the past.

And now, my list is complete. Not really, but close enough for jazz (figure of speech: I actually can't stand jazz, for much of the reasons above). Because Pink Floyd, one of my all time favourites, doesn't exist anymore, but seeing Roger Waters perform The Wall in it's entirety was good enough.

Seven hells, it was, without hyperbole, awesome. It inspired awe.

Hit the jump for my review.

25 Jun 2012

Fringe Ends In The Future

Courtesy of FOX
Official word from Walter Bishop himself, John Noble, the final season of Fringe will take place almost entirely in the horrible future ruled by Observers, as seen in the 20th episode of last season. Found footage will be the only link to the past, and help fill in the gaps of how these things came to pass.

I love that Fringe has been willing to shake up the status quo right from day one. Alternate universe, strand a character in said universe, completely rewrite the timeline, and now jump forward into a future where Desmond is trapped in amber. Though it burned me slightly that by the end of last season, basically all of the changes of the alternate, Peterless time line had been undone. So, I wonder if they'll stick with the Observer future, and drive them out there, or if time travel will ensue to make certain the future never comes to pass, which on this show, would feel like a cheat.

We'll have to wait a few months to find out, I guess.

Via Den of Geek.

He Wants Criminals To Share His Dredd

I am convinced that Karl Urban is simply the biggest geek working in film today. Most wouldn't admit it, or most would make other films that appeal to a broader audience in between the sci-fi and fantasy. Not Urban. Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Chronicles of Riddick. And now, Dredd.

Based on the long running UK comic, and not the horrible Stallone version from 1995. This version stars Urban as Dredd, and Game of Thrones' Lena Hedley as Ma-ma Madigel, drug lord of the future.

Boldly Going, In Economy Size

ll those little ships along the bottom: real. In either the past, the present, or the very close future, those ships are the ones that have carried cargo, monkeys, and even a few men into 'space'. I say 'space' because only the Apollo craft actually left near Earth orbit. I heard a scale reference once that if the earth were the size of a desktop globe, and the moon were a metre away, the space station would orbit at the width of a penny pressed against the globe's surface. That is not space. That is 'space'. It's an important place to be, but it isn't even a bite of that particular enchilada. It's not even a nibble.

Two things I love most about this image. That the Enterprise is listed as 'in development', and that one of the crafts is named 'Rus'.

Hermes, Orion, Dragon, and Rus. Guess who gets teased at the experimental space craft parties.
Click here to see an image with no Enterprise, more ships, organised by country of origin.

Via Geekologie.

[Review] - Brave

Courtesy of Pixar
The trend in Pixar films has been towards emotional journeys. Even in the early days, they resisted the sort of screw ball physical comedy that might populate a conventional Disney film. It has always been there, but it was used sparingly, and in their last batch of films, almost nonexistently. Since WALLe, and Up, Pixar's films felt less like the standard sort of animation you'd get from Sony or Dreamworks, and more like a film made by people who care.

Which is why I left Brave feeling let down. Excluding Cars, Pixar's movies have always been superior. But Brave felt run of the mill. It felt adequate. It felt... good enough. And that just isn't good enough for me.

Hit the jump for the review, which is filled with a chocolate, spoiler filling.

22 Jun 2012

[Graphic] - Fits and Starts #3

Hit the jump for some thoughts.

Caroline John, The First Companion In Colour, Has Died

Courtesy of the BBC

Caroline John, who is best remembered for having played Dr. Liz Shaw, the first companion to Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor, died earlier this month. John was also the first companion to appear on the program once it went to colour.

She only appeared in four stories, during the seventh season, but in that time she encounters the Nestene Consciousness, and the Silurians. She also set the blueprint for the majority of female companions that would come after her. No longer were they flaky damsels in distress. After John, they were intelligent, strong, independent woman (right up until Peri) who could hold there own against, and without, the Doctor. While she only lasted a year, she was clearly the biggest influence on the creation of the ultimate companion, Sarah Jane Smith, at the end of the Third's run.

Personally, I much preferred John over Kate Manning's Jo Grant. Shaw had a more dedicated, earnest sense to her that better fit her position in UNIT, and made her the perfect companion to the Brig as well. It is very sad that within the past year, we've lost Sladen, Courtney, and John.

Taking the slow path well and truly sucks.

Via The Mary Sue.

Liam Neeson Still Has A Particular Set Of Skills

Taken was a great film. Simple, well directed, fantastically acted, and strangely genuine for what is basically two hours of Liam Neeson punching people in the throat. So, when it was a hit, and they announced the inevitable sequel, Taken 2, I was hesitant. It was a great stand alone story, it didn't set up, or cry for, a followup. But this trailer looks pretty damned fun. It's basically the same stuff as the first, except it's the ex-wife that gets taken, as revenge against all the bloodshed Neeson caused the first time around. And, the daughter get in on the throat punching.

My only insistence. You have Famke Janssen playing the ex-wife (oddly Xander Berkley-less in the trailer). This is a woman who played not only Jean grey, but also a Bond villain who got off on squeezing people to death with her thighs. If she doesn't get a chance to punch at least one throat, that is a shameful waste.

You know that if this were the eighties, this movie would be called Taken: Again.
Via /Film.

Gary Oldman Knows Who Should Be In Movies, And Who Shouldn't

This basic principle should extend to the follow groups: swimsuit models, runway models, former porn stars, current porn stars, reality TV stars, children of actors, children of producers, children of former porn stars, people discovered in the grocery store, strippers (male), strippers (female), surfers, production assistants just trying to make the right connections, singers, pop stars, rock stars, talk show hosts, and anyone from SNL.

Really, if you weren't classically trained, get off my screen.
Via Warming Glow.

21 Jun 2012

Pixar Plans For the Future, In More Detail

I didn't start the day intending to write three pieces about Pixar, but here we are all the same.

John Lassiter, in preparation for the release of Brave, and the freshly released teaser for Monster University, has been going into greater detail about the company's future prospects. Right now, they have four films in various stages of production: Monsters University, due out next summer, followed by The Good Dinosaur, then the two untitled pictures by about the human mind, and the day of the dead. As well as two Toy Story TV specials being made for ABC to air in the fall of 2013 and the spring of 2014 (smells like Halloween and Easter specials to me), and several more Toy Story shorts to be tacked onto Disney films.

Lassiter has elaborated on what we already knew about The Good Dinosaur, saying:
"What if the meteor that killed off the dinosaurs missed Earth and dinosaurs kept living? It’s really a great story because they are very funny dinosaurs. They are kind of cartoony but they are dinosaurs, they are not walking around with clothes on or anything like that, they still are kind of dinosaurs. We focused on mostly the plant-eaters, not the carnivores… Their society becomes more of an agrarian society, meaning farmers. They become farmers.

"It’s a very funny story about a certain way of life that a young dinosaur has trouble fitting into and he ends up going on this quest. He kind of messes up and he has to put everything right by going on this quest and on that quest he meets this our character that is an outcast from his society too and so the two of them form this bond and it becomes this unique kind of story… kind of hard to describe. It’s a very special, very emotional story but it’s so quirky and nutty. That’s really the hallmark of Bob Peterson’s and Peter Sohn’s talent. Bob Peterson is truly one of the funniest people I’ve met and it’s coming through with this story. Pixar does dinosaurs, but like anything we touch… it’s unlike any other dinosaur picture you’ve seen ‘cause it doesn’t fit in your typical [idea of] what you think dinosaurs are. It’s absolutely beautiful too."
Setting aside that it sounds like A Bug's Life with dinosaurs, 65 million years on, dinosaurs wouldn't look like dinosaurs anymore. In fact, we know exactly what they'd look like, because chances are one of them just shat on your car. They'd look like birds. Of course, birds are descendants of small, agile theropods, not sauropods like what has been seen in early art work. But one can reasonably assume that sauropod descendants would also have changed dramatically. Smaller, to deal with changes in atmosphere content, and to need less food for fuel. Faster too, to deal with the rise of mammals like smilodon.

Not to mention apes, which wouldn't have survived long enough to evolve into humans, what with dinosaurs, be they herbivore or carnivore, around. There would have been too much competition in the ecosystem. Unless dinosaurs replaced later animals that human hunted for food in the early days. But Lassiter implies the dinosaurs are intelligent, which means their brains would have had to grown, which means they would have had to get really small, to devote more of their energy into thinking and less into maintaining huge bodies. But not smart enough to wear clothes...

So, unless it's a lost world thing in reverse, where dinosaurs rule the world, but a small, isolated clutch of apes evolved into humans somewhere in the world, this premise makes no sense. But it's Pixar, so it'll still be better then Ice Age 12: Age of Robots.

He also gave some details about Pete Docter's mind project, saying:
"You look at people oftentimes and they do something to make you go “What are they thinking?” or it’s like how a song gets stuck in your head and you just can’t get it out. Little quirky thing alike this that we all do. Certain emotions just seem to take us over, anger or happiness, where you start giggling and laughing and you can’t stop. He thought “I want to take a look at that, explain that.” His idea is that the emotions of this little girl are the characters and it takes place in the head of this little girl, and shows how they control things that go on. It’s very, very clever and it’s truly unlike anything you’ve ever seen, yet it explains things you’ve seen."
Sounds very Monsters Inc to me. And I'm alright with that. Despite my love of all things terrible lizard, based on these descriptions, I'm looking forward to the mind movie more.

Via /Film.

Craig Ferguson Is (In) Brave

I've spoken of my admiration for Craig Ferguson before. He's a fan of Doctor Who, he's the only late night chat show host that doesn't put on airs about what he's doing, and once he got Poppy Montgomery to admit to owning a Latex Batgirl suit (a horse I will continue to flog for as long as I can). He's also the only late night host I've seen that the guests seem genuinely at ease talking to, and the only one that genuinely seems to care about what they have to say. Of course, it usually just ends up being penis and boob jokes, but at least he owns it. And, he usually has on guests that are obscure, or at least less prone to be big A-List, PR types.

Point of fact, after doing an entire week of shows from Scotland in May, on Monday, Craig devoted the entire episode to both Scotland, and the promotion of the new Pixar film Brave, which is set in Scotland and stars Craig Ferguson. Guests included First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond (who bestows Craig with Scotland's highest honour), Kelly MacDonald (whom I'm a tiny bit in love with), and Kevin McKidd (who is ginger).

Now, full disclosure, I love the Scottish accent. I'll listen to anyone say even the most hurtful things to me if they do it is a brash Glaswegian. So, I was right in my glory during this. And I get to continue being happy that Pixar came to their senses and hired an actual Scot to play their Scottish princess instead of Reese Witherspoon.

Brave comes out tomorrow. Go see it.

Also, apparently there was a rumour on twitter that Arsenio Hall would be replacing Craig. This is not true, also apparently. Why? Because this isn't the 1980's, and Drew Carey is no longer fat.

But Will They Go On Double Secret Probation?

You know what I miss? Back in the early days of Pixar, when they had to plan and start making films so far ahead, that during the release of their newest picture, we'd get a plot-unrelated teaser for the next year's film. It was an annual thing. A new Pixar film, and the promise of another new Pixar film. The one I enjoyed the most was Mr. Incredible's pants not fitting. When did that stop? Around Cars, maybe? Cars is the last one I can remember.

So, it makes my heart happy to see the first teaser for Monster University coming out attached to Brave. Monsters Inc. was my favourite Pixar film for the longest time, and still ranks pretty close to the top. As much as I'm looking froward to Brave this weekend, I'm looking forward to this one more.

Exciting Doesn't Even Begin To Explain It

It is amazing to think that from the beginning of human history, to 1995, the total number of planets were were aware of, in the entire universe, was 8.5 (I'm giving Pluto half a credit for many years of dedicated, yet fraudulent, service). Since 1995, but really only in the last couple years, as our technologies have improved and our methods become more exact, that number has ballooned to 786, and more are being discovered daily. There were 65 years between the discovery of Uranus and Neptune, and on a galactic scale, they're sitting in our soup (in this galactic scale, the universe is a restaurant, apparently).

I love with when xkcd makes scale images. And this planets one really makes you sit back, and pause for a moment of pure wonder. People have asked me why I haven't tried taking mind altering drugs. I say, if I want my mind altered, I just look at stuff like this.

Via xkcd.

20 Jun 2012

Dark Knight Rises Might Not Suck? I'm So Confused...

This new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises is probably the best yet. A lot of the footage is stuff we've seen, but some, including two separate punch ups between Bane and Batman, we haven't. One thing that Nolan's films have been light on is Batman fist fighting, which is odd considering that a good chunk of the first movie was devoted to him training to fight in close combat.
A couple things I like about this trailer. One, I like that Batman's absence has led to his urban legend status. One aspect I like about Batman compared to other heroes is, or was in the beginning, the uncertainty of his existence. He's not Superman or Wonder Woman, he doesn't left people know he's physically there, it's his effect on the city that let you know he's there. So that they are playing up the "was he real" angle is very cool.

And second, I'm really starting to dig Bane. His "Mr. Wayne" line to a fully costumed Batman is awesome, and him catching the punch and kicking Batman away looks great. This trailer also has a shot of Catwoman actually Catwomaning, doing a back flip out a window, which is also very cool.

But the best thing about this trailer is the line that clearly states this is a conclusion to Nolan's films, which have been about confronting and overcoming fear. The line, "I'm not afraid. I'm angry." The only way that line could be better is if, in the film, it ends with "I'm Batman."

Via Topless Robot.

That, And Your Cheekbones

This is the first image of Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, the witch from Disney's version of Sleeping Beauty, and who is getting her own Disney produced movie, explaining her origins, which is apparently something people wanted. Or maybe it was just a property that Disney already owned.

I'm officially over, if I was ever in fact under, fairy tale adaptations. The Snow Whites from this year crashed and burned, and I honestly don't see the point. I know from a business perspective, they are a great deal because there are no film rights to be paid for, but the interest just isn't there.

Though I am surprised, considering that film versions of both fairy tales and successful stage musicals both seem to be cinematic themes this year, that somewhere there isn't a film version of Wicked being made.

Via Den of Geek.

Good News Everyone...

Courtesy of 30th Century Fox
Futurama starts with fresh episodes from season 7, or volume 9, or derivation 3.14159, or however the hell they're keeping track of them. The important thing is, new episodes, starting with one full hour tonight on Comedy Central, at 10 pm EST.

Via Comedy Central.

[Review] - Eureka, Season 5 Episode 9, "Smarter Carter"

Courtesy of NBCUniversal

There are only got four episodes left, apparently. We're officially in the home stretch. And I've decided to come to grips with some things.

First, that Holly Martin isn't going anywhere. She, and her story line, are apparently the arc for this season, as by the numbers as it is. In this episode they tried to make her a synthetic body, which I believe I called back when they first discovered her consciousness. She is also, rather suddenly, growing discontent with her ethereal self, which I also called. Her story line is so standard, it's almost embarrassing.

Second, that this season, as a whole, stands to be Eureka's weakest, weaker even then season one. Vastly more inconsistent then even season one, and at least back then they had an excuse. It was early days, they were still finding their footing. Here, now, there is no excuse. Every episode is wildy inconstant with it's predecessors, or even internally. Characters are all over the map, some have been thrown under the bus, some have been put on the bus, and some just aren't the characters we've loved over the past six years anymore. And not because of character growth, which would be acceptable.

And third, that Colin Ferguson was probably lying when he said that he was (and I'm paraphrasing here because I can't find the direct quote) "more proud of things we've done this season then we've ever done." Because really, how could you be, on a week to week basis?

Luckily, Smarter Carter was one of the better episodes this season. Not the best, that title still goes to the body swapping episode. It wasn't great, and was still wildly inconsistent (internally this time), but it was fun, and had some great performances from the supporting characters which made it really enjoyable.

Hit the jump for the spoiler-de-jour review.

19 Jun 2012

It's Just Like Madonna

The newest trailer for Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes has arrived, and it speaks!

Some people are really getting worked up about it, as they do. I have only this one comment: the villains all sound great, and the heroes all sound terrible (we only hear Batman, Superman, and Martian Manhunter speak, and they all sounds basically the same. I don't know what Green Lantern sounds like, and wouldn't it be hilariously sexist of them if Wonder Woman was silent through the entire thing?).

I get that that Batman is a much more marketable product, but why not just make this a Lego Justice League game? At least that title wouldn't have been as clumsy as LB2:DCSH. And, wouldn't it have been fun to see Lego versions of other DC villains, instead of just Batman's rogues, and Luthor. Does the Justice League really need to get called in when the Gotham City Rogues go nutty all at once. Wasn't that the plot to the first game. Batman seemed to do fine on his own then. Does the addition of Luthor really crank up the villain to hero ratio that much? I'd have rather wanted a Lego Brainiac, or a Lego Gorilla Grodd. Hell, even a Lego Sinestro.

Hell, I'll still probably play it.

Via Topless Robot.

I Could Build One Of Those... I Just Don't Want To

Courtesy of Wikipedia
Futalognkosaurus was a titanic Sauropod that lived 87 million years ago in what is now Argentina. The first remains were discovered in 2000, and today are the showcase fossil at the Royal Ontario Museum's exciting new exhibit, Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants form Gondwana, running from June 26th to Jan 4th.

And here, you can see a time-lapse video of Research Casting International (they built the lobby skeletons from the climax of Jurassic Park, and countless museum pieces) assembling the skeleton of this 34 metre, 40 ton beast. It took just over nine hours to complete.

I've been looking forward to this exhibit since last winter, when I was at the ROM to see their Dinosaur Eggs: Out of the Vault display. And, of course, their regular collection is a fantastic one, if somewhat cramped, featuring fossils of (among others) Quetzalcoatlus, Allosaurus, and my personal favourite, Parasaurolophus.

If you can this summer and fall, check out Ultimate Dinosaurs. And if you see a solitary, bearded man in a damned fine hat, do not panic. His visual acuity is based on movement.

Via The Toronto Star.

Proto-Roger Rabbit Animation Test

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is easily in my top ten favourite movies. As a (mega)fan of animation, both the style of film and the technical process, it never fails to stop me in my tracks. And it holds up, nearing on thirty years later.

So this early animation test, featuring a far less amorous Jessica, and a much more Pee-Wee Herman-ish Roger, gave me a minute of joy today.

Via The Mary Sue.

DC Comics Movies: What's Happening There?

That looks about right...

So, in the last couple weeks, it's been revealed that DC and Warner Bros. is getting serious into making some more movies based on their comics. I don't know why? Could it be that the New 52 has sparked such a resurgence of interest in these characters, that literally millions of new fans are clamouring at the walls for new films?

No, it was because the Avengers has made $1.4 billion dollars in six weeks, and they want a taste.

Apparently, at various stages of production (ranging from theoretical, to nearly started) are film versions of Wonder Woman (again), The Flash (again), Lobo (really?)and because team based films are clearly where the real money is at, Justice League (again).

Remember, they came this close to making the Justice League before. And it would have been terrible. Armie Hammer as Batman, some model as Wonder Woman, and the kid from the O.C. as the Flash. Barely any of the actors had their driver license, let along had enough physical or dramatic presence to carry a film about the greatest superheros of all time. They say the Writer's Strike killed the film, but I think the studio knew they had a dud on their hands, and had a convenient strike to blame it on when they smothered that baby in it's crib.

So, what's the issue. I honestly don't think that Warner Bros. has enough faith in these properties to give them the attention they deserve. Warner Bros. is the librarian who refuses to stock graphic novels because "real books don't have pictures." Warner's, even with the success of Nolan's Batman series, doesn't see superheroes as something they should invest in (and really, Batman is so much it's own thing, it doesn't count). The problem isn't DC, they have no say in the matter. They are owned, wholly and completely, by Warner's, have been for years. If they want to get a movie made based on their properties, they have to go hat in hand to the studio and beg just like everyone else. Which means they are completing on equal grounds with every other film pitch heading at Warner's. Movies that Warner's is much more interesting in making then superhero films, because they are expensive, and a 'niche product'.

This ended up going on longer then I expected, so hit the jump for the rest.

18 Jun 2012

The Muppets, in London

This promo, aside from being exactly what you'd expect from the Muppets (very funny) also highlights two of the things that puzzled me to no end when the film came out last year.

First, this promo is to advertise the British release of the film on DVD, nearly five months after the North American release. Which mirrors the theatrical release, which hit Britain in February, three months after the North American release. Why Disney decided to treat the country that was the original home of the Muppets, from which more then half the original puppeteers came from, as such secondary considerations (especially when a film like Avengers, which has no British connection, came out there a week before it did in North America) befuddles me to no end.

Second, Pepe is all over the marketing for the movie. He's in the trailers, he's in the promos, he's on the DVD cover. Seven hells, on my copy, Pepe the King Prawn is the lone spine image. He has a single scene, with two lines in the actual film. Which is more then Rizzo the Rat, a long established and well liked character got, which was a blink-and-you'll-miss-him cameo (on the back of a ladder).

Is Pepe really that much of a marketing goldmine, do the kids really just throw themselves at his feet? Seriously, can someone explain to me why Disney likes Pepe more then Rizzo? Why Segal and Stoller, who specifically didn't include 'modern' Muppets, from Muppets Tonight and after, in the film because they didn't have an emotional connection to them, opted to use Pepe instead of any other Muppet?

Via the Mary Sue.

Stephanie Brown Returns!

This past week, everyone interested in comics is talking about the big reveal going on in Batman #10, which I could actually care less about. The big news that caught my eye is the return of Stephanie Brown, former (and best, in my opinion) Batgirl. And it is unfortunate for two reasons. One, she is not returning to the main New 52 continuity, from which she was apparently erased with extreme prejudice. She will return in, and this is number two, Smallville Season 11.

For those not keeping up, despite the fact that the series was terrible and lasted five or six years longer then it should have, someone at DC decided that Smallville needed to continue in comic form. They, at least, had the good sense to hire Bryan Q. Miller to write it, since he wrote for the show, is talented, and wrote the Stephanie Brown-titled Batgirl series that ran right up to the relaunch.

So, when it was announced that Batman would be making his first appearance in the Smallville universe, who else would Miller make as his side-kick then Steph? But she's not Batgirl. Or Robin, even. She's Nightwing, which will apparently be explained.

Now, despite Poppy Montgomery cos-playing as Babs, I much prefer Steph in the cape and cowl. I prefer her as a paper doll, and I've ruminated on who should play her in a film. Mostly though, I thought she was a refreshing addition to the Bat family, who can very easily get bogged down in self doubt, depression, and emotional turmoil. Steph kept it light, and fun, and even when things were at their worst, she could crack a joke. She was like Buffy, or Spider-man; using the humour to relieve the stress.

That being said, I hated Smallville. I was glad that plans to introduce a young Bruce Wayne never came to anything (though I hate that, in their desperation, they then turned to another favourite character of mine, Green Arrow, to take up the space). Smallville was a waste of opportunity, characterised by horrible writing, sub-par acting and gross misunderstandings of iconic character motivations. I haven't read word one of Season 11, but I might just pick up issue 11 next month, the first part of "Detective", and see how Steph makes out.

Something is better then nothing, I guess.

Via ComicsAlliance.

How Much Are Stars Worth, Then?

Haven't you ever been sitting at home, playing through World 6 of Super Mario Bros 3, and thought to yourself, what if Mario and Luigi opened a bank? I know I have. And now, we have an answer. And it make surprisingly good use of comedy maths.

Via Topless Robot.

[Review] - Frankenstein, With Benedict Cumberbatch As The Doctor

[Authors note: My local cinetorium never passes up the opportunity to make a stupid mistake (they once played The Muppet Movie without sound. The entire thing, never stopped the film to fix their mistake. Theatre full of children, and silent Muppets). Every other theatre in the western world this week watched Cumberbatch as the Creature, but my theatre played the wrong version, with him as the Doctor. It doesn't effect my review much, I just wanted to vent.]
Courtesy of the National Theatre
Frankenstein has largely avoided the curse of many other early science fiction books, Dracula especially, in that it has never really become cliched. Perhaps because the creature and the doctor are so connected to the plot, it becomes difficult to divorce the two, unlike other monsters who can be freely removed from their literary backdrop and put into any situation. Frankenstein and the Creature must always walk the same path. And, because it is not as overtly sexual as Dracula, or as metaphorically bankrupt as 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, it tends to be under-adapted, one coming along every couple decades, but with no great frequency.

Perhaps this is why Danny Boyle's play seemed so refreshing, as it didn't feel to be treading over the same old ground. Or maybe it was because writer Nick Dear has found a new structure for the 189 year old story. Or maybe it was strength of the performances by Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, performances that elevate what could have been a very cheesy sort of PR stunt into part of the structure of the play itself.

Hit the jump for the review.

15 Jun 2012

Red Letter Media Picks On Prometheus

I started the day picking on Prometheus, and I'll end the day that way too. Only, with less words.

If you want to watch their full review, go here. I'd post it, but it's a standard review, pointing out all the same things wrong with the film as everyone else, though they do point out something I hadn't thought before. In many ways, Prometheus shares the same sort of excitement and anticipation as Phantom Menace, and much the same let down (less for Prometheus obviously, but it was still a director returning to a franchise/genre years after he'd left it).

And, with that, I think I'm over Prometheus. Time to get back to the real world...

Via /Film.

You Know You Would

This is a three and a half long video that should really only be one and a half, but aside form that it's probably a pretty accurate depiction of what would happen if everyday folks had access to a Portal gun. Just a couple of guys hanging out, showing off their power tools, then BAM, a wormhole version of getting kicked in the nuts.

I haven't played Portal, so I don't know, is there a range limit to where the portals can be opened? If not, then in real life, there would be a crap load of random stuff on moon.
Via Topless Robot.

Cavalcade Of Casting

- I haven't been giving Bryan Fuller's Mockingbird Lane or Hannibal a lot of attention, both soon to be shooting pilots for NBC. Mostly because a Munsters remake and a retread of a tired series don't interest me much. However, of the two, Mockingbird does have the potential to be as dark and funny, and inaccessible to a broad audience as Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, and Pushing Daisies were. And like those shows, I expect both of Fuller's recent efforts to be cancelled swiftly (I give Hannibal 13 episodes, Mockingbird 6, with 4 unaired for the DVD). So I've chosen not to invest in them up til now.

That might change now because Mads 'Le Chiffre' Mikkelsen has been cast as Hannibal Lector, meaning at the least it won't be Silence of the 90210. No word on who will be playing a role played by William Petersen and Edward Norton in the films. And Portia de Rossi has been cast as Lily Munster, joining Jerry O’Connell as Herman and Eddie Izzard as Grandpa. It won't last, but it will probably be enjoyable while it's around.

- I've been ignoring the Robocop remake because I take all remakes with a grain of salt. They tend to be a mixture of desperation and nostalgia, and rarely are any good. And while I am very aware that having the best cast in the world won't save you if they are making a terrible movie, Robocop is filling up with some serious talent. Joel Kinnamon, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, and ... Hugh Laurie as the primary villain who creates Robocop in the first place! Hot damn, that is as good a casting as Bryan Cranston in Total Recall. Another remake I could care less about.

- Dexter has a real Star Trek movie thing going on in terms of quality. The odd numbered seasons tend to suck, while the even numbered ones are pretty good, or at least better then their predecessor. Two is by far the best, but it's a picture finish over four. People bitched about six, but I thought at least it was superior to the snooze fest that was five. So, bad news, as season seven gets underway, drawing ever closer to the writers having to figure out exactly how this show will end. I figure at this point the writers are pretty much unwilling for Dexter to get caught and be executed, and letting him go isn't that unrealistic considering the number of serial killers that have just disappeared. Right now, I figure they'll pull a House: have Dexter get caught, have him fake his death, and drive off on his boat into the sunset.

Anyway, the point, if there is one, is that Chuck alum Yvonne Strahovsky has been casted as someone who has a secret, and might be the female version of Dexter the show has been hinting about. Which isn't exciting, because you know how this ends: no matter what happens during the season, Dexter always kills the season big bad in the final moments of the last episode. And that takes all the fun out of it.

Via Pajiba, and again. And again.

[Opinion] - Making Prometheus Work

Over the past week (or three, considering Europe’s release), Prometheus has been getting a lot of heat for being a bad film. When it’s not. As I said in my review, it is a well made film with serious flaws, that are all story born flaws. As a technical piece of film making, Ridley Scott’s career goes untarnished. But confused motivations, go-no where subplots, cliched storytelling and out of place references to Alien drag it down considerably.

I think it’s just a film that didn’t come together perfectly, and is still a mid-range film that I suggest people to see (though I feel that every movie should be seen at least once anyway). It’s better then Battleship, worse then Avengers, and that’s a column most movies this year will fit into. Of course, neither of those films pretended to be something they weren’t, which was part of Prometheus’ problem too.

Now, anyone can look at something and say “I could do better then that,” and if it’s a Jackson Pollack, you might be right (seriously, it’s just squiggles). I’m not saying that. I could never be a director. I don’t think I have it in me to be that visually expressive. But I do write, a lot. Narrative structure is something I understand, if am not always successful at. So, as a writer watching Prometheus, my mind naturally started rearranging things. And after giving it a week to cook, an idea cake has emerged from my brain oven, and it has barely collapsed in on itself.

So, what follows is my thoughts on how, using most of what we saw on screen, Prometheus could have been streamlined and improved, and more directly and organically (I do love that word, don’t I) connect it to Alien. I spoil nearly every detail of the film, so be warned. Also, it’s long.

14 Jun 2012

Colbert Calls Out deGrasse Tyson On Prometheus Quabble

As you may remember, a couple days ago I reported on astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson picking at a flaw in the math of Prometheus, which was pretty much the least offensive flaw of that film.

Well, Stephen Colbert noticed Tyson's comment too, and drew the only logical conclusion. things are being pissy and won't let me embed, so sf you are an American, you can watch it here, and if you are not, you can watch it here.

Because this is a pretty lean post, hit the jump to see an info graphic trying to make sense of the Prometheus evolution issue, and how it makes very little sense. It is very spoilery though.

Man Of Steel Costumes Revealed

Licensing Expo 2012 (really, do they have Expos for every damned things?) has properly revealed for the first time, the costumes we'll be seeing in the Superman Man of Steel film next summer, directed by Zack Snyder. They are, from left to right, Russell's Crowe's Jor-El, Henry Cavill's Superman, and Antje Trau's  Faora, a minion of Zod, who will be CG, because of course he will.

Some are saying that these costumes at least show a unified theme, and are recognisable as having similar Kyrptonian elements, but I don't see it. What I see are three wildly different designs with almost no connective elements. Jor-El's looks like exposed muscle, like something Pinhead might wear. Faora's looks like Queen of the Orks, and Superman's looks like... Superman, only more penisy.

Considering that DC is incapable of making a Superman film that isn't just a remake of Superman '78 (Really. Superman II, Superman: Quest for Peace, and Superman Returns are all just Superman '78 over and over, from plot, to characters, to whole chunks verbatim of dialogue), and that Zack Snyder is a visual director with a tenuous ability to get decent performances out of his actors, I have zero expectations for this film. Actually, that's not true. I expect it to be terrible. Therefore, if it is bad, I'm not let down, and if it's good (which it won't be) I'll be pleasantly surprised.

Someone reminded me the other day that Richard Schiff was cast as Emil Hamilton, which looks to me to be the one opal in this turd sandwich.

Hit the jump to see larger shots of each.

Dark Knight Rises Fan Posters Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

The recently released Rise/Rain posters featuring Batman, Catwoman and Bane are by far the best promotional material released for the upcoming Dark Knight Rises. But the internet, being what is it, recognised a flaw in Warner Bros. campaign: in three films, the focus has been on Batman almost exclusively.

Given no attention are the real heroes of the films: the support. Be it technical, moral, or logistical, the triumvirate of Gordon, Fox, and Pennyworth (which sounds like a kickass law firm) are the whole reason that Batman has succeeded, and indeed that Batman exists at all. And it is time to honour that service.

Hit the jump for Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and just 'cause, Matthew Modine and Liam Neeson.

X-Men Re-imagined

Erik, Charles and a Sentinel
Dresden Codak is actually Aaron Diaz, an artist of considerable talent, and apparently considerable re-imagination. I first heard of him when he re-imagined the Justice League last fall. His interpretation was both familiar enough to the original characters that they didn't feel like they were made from whole cloth, but different enough that they didn't seem like tired, unimaginative rehashes. So, pretty much the opposite of what happened with the New 52. I especially liked what he did with Superman and Wonder Woman.

So, when he turned his eyes recently to the X-Men, I got excited. Part of what I liked about his Justice League reboot was that he didn't just design the heroes costumes (hello Jim Lee and Geoff Johns), he re-invented the entire universe, building in a mythology that it made sense for the characters to exist in, rather then painting things with broad strokes and generalities. And he has done so again with the X-Men.

I love that Nightcrawler now looks like Inigo Montoya, and his Jean Grey interpretation might be the most original thing done to her character in 40 years. I highly recommend you jump over to his tumbler and give his reboot a read.

And just when I thought that would be the best redesign of the X-Men I'd see today, Ken Haesner went and did the Muppets as the so called M-Men.

Hit the jump to see both the Codak and the Muppet redesigns.

13 Jun 2012

Marvel Phase 2 News

MCU: Phase 2 is what Marvel is calling the post-Avengers environment, lasting between now and probably 2016. Kicking off with Iron Man 3 (filming now), it continues with Thor 2 (filming in the fall), Captain America 2 (filming in the spring). It will also include several unknown projects, rumoured to be Ant Man, which Edgar Wright has been saying he'll make since back when the first Iron Man was released, Black Panther, which was teased in Iron Man 2, and possible Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Universe, SHIELD, Runaways, and Hulk sequels. All of this will culminate with Avengers 2, which the smart money would say will also be the last appearance of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. I've put in my two cents on where I feel the MCU should go before.

This will then presumably lead to three possible futures: one, Phase 3 begins, forcing Marvel tries to come up with new excuses as to why none of the films are based on their equally popular female heroes, and are forced to make Moon Knight: the Movie. Two, audiences become tired of this, and move on to the next big thing: gritty adaptations of early nineties children's books, like Little Critter, or the Bungalo Boys. Third, audiences don't tire of this, and Phase 3 is forced to shut down because Marvel has made all of the money. And I, for one, will welcome our new House of Ideas Economic Overlords.

- Getting back to the immediate future, it was announced that Zachery Chuck Levi will be taking over the role of Fandral (the Errol Flynn knock off) in the Thor sequel. This was because Josh Dallas, who played the role in the first one, is now committed to the ABC show Once Upon A Time, where he plays Prince Charming (I guess. If I wanted fairy tale characters in the modern world, I'll just reread Fables). I think this qualifies as irony, since Levi was cast as Fendral in the first movie, but had to drop out because of Chuck's season 5 pick up (I'd have rather went with Thor, considering). Now, putting aside that Chuck and Chipmunks Two: The Sweekquel didn't exactly convince me that Levi is the best actor in the world, the role is small, and it shouldn't matter. I'm just happy that Sif and the Warriors Three are returning, and if there were justice in the world, would get their own Coulson style spinoff on the DVDs (I say DVD, but they don't put extras on the DVD anymore, the bastards).

I'm curious though, since Mads Mikkelsen has all but been cast as the villain in the flick, and was also just announced to be playing the young Hannibal Lector on NBC's new show. Is Mads betting that Hannibal will be cancelled in six episodes, and that he'll be free to make the film (it's a good bet, it is NBC)?

- Apparently that picture of Iron Patriot on set of Iron Man 3 wasn't Iron Patriot, just a repaint of War Machine. Except, where were all his guns? And why wasn't the suit as bulky as War Machine, you know, because of the guns? I smell bullshit.

- There is a rumour, and I have no sources to back this up, but still feel like I have to perpetuate it, that Marvel is looking into rereleasing the Avengers to theatres sometime in the fall (probably around or after the DVD release time at the end of September). The catch? It will add back in 20 minutes of footage that Whedon cut out of the original release. Now, Whedon isn't a fan of director's cuts, so I feel that this is entirely Marvel's doing, which is kind of a dick move because Whedon cut those scenes for a reason: they slowed or were detrimental to the narrative. But Marvel only cares about getting even more of the money, so I can see them doing this. And honestly, I will probably buy a ticket to that. Probably twice.

- Finally, Captain America 2 has found it's director, in The Russo Brothers, best known for directing episodes of TV comedies Arrested Development, Community, and Happy Endings. Which doesn't scream "able to direct action heavy movie", but Marvel hasn't made a bad hire yet. Yet. I'll admit to assuming the Cap sequel would be set during the War, the first of which montages over Cap's systematic dismantling of the Hydra bases, thus providing them with plenty of empty time to explore in a revisit, leaving Cap's modern adventures to Avengers films. But I was wrong, and I can live with that.

What I do like is that, after the Favreau incident, that Marvel is getting fresh creative teams behind the camera for each of these flicks. New eyes mean not bored eyes, and can open up the world in a way that the first guy might never have thought of. Which makes me nervous for Avengers 2. Not because I feel Joss Whedon is getting job offers left right and centre right now (you bet he is). But because I feel Whedon is the only current writer/director capable of pulling off a complex story with a dozen primary characters, and even then, only just.

Fresh blood is good, but knowing who the best man for the job is, is better.

Via The Mary Sue, and again.
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