31 May 2013

Reminder: Patrick Stewart Is Awesome

Patrick Stewart tweeted this image earlier this week, and something about it confuses me. Not that a 72 year old man-of-the-world like Patrick Stewart has never eaten a slice of pizza (turns out, it was only the first time he had ordered an individual slice, not the first time he had eaten pizza), that can be understandable. I mean, I'm sure there are many things that Patrick Stewart has eaten that have never crossed my lips. Nor is it that Patrick Stewart is 72 and only just appears to have entered his fifties (it helps that he looks like he's been in his fifties since the 1970's). The man will outlive us all, at this rate. No, what fluxes me about this image, taken in New York City, is the Montreal Canadiens hat the former starship captain is wearing.

Is he a fan of hockey? And if so, why the Canadiens? My Ottawa Senators dollythumped their hind quarters in the first round of the playoffs this year (before getting well and properly dollythumped themselves by Pittsburgh). But why, of all teams, is Professor X supporting the Habs?

What isn't up for dispute is that Stewart is awesome, as is evidenced by this off the top of his head speech he gave at the Dallas Comicpalooza 2013, about violence against women and the effects of PTSD on returning combat troops. The video of this speech is provided after the jump.

Nathan Fillion Is An Ass

I would not have expected that the movie I'm most looking forward to this year would be a black and white, shoestring modernised adaptation of a Shakespeare play, yet here we are. Either, it says something about how I've matured over the years as a cinephile, or it says something about the other movies set for release this year. Either I'm getting better, or they're getting worse. Both options frighten me.

The marketing push begins on Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing, set for release in the next few weeks, depending on the market. And smartly, they've begun by highlighting probably the most widely known of the cast members, and certainly the most accessible and affluent, Nathan Fillion. Being called an ass. And reacting as you might expect.

[Review] - Now You See Me

Courtesy of Summit Entertainment
If there is one plot device that hooks me every time, it's time travel. If there is a second, it's illusionists. I have endless respect for such dedicated people, and how they perform their art. Few things lull me deeper into a state of contentment then watching a skilled magician perform a card trick. So, when the topic makes it's way to film, I pay attention, to see how they approach the stories of the lives of the sort of people who lie, cheat and steal their way to fame, playing on the hopes of the public that somehow, magic exists.

Now You See Me wants, or thinks, it's Ocean's Eleven, or The Prestige. It thinks it is incredibly clever idea, wrapped in a very stylish package, misdirecting you from the big reveal by flashing talent and humour in our faces. "The closer you look," the movie thinks it endlessly repeats (but only actually says three or four times), "the less you see." Unfortunately, what the movie really is, is quite a lot of smug bluster and wasted ability on a script that has delusions of grandeur.

Hit the jump for the review, which has made all the spoilers disappear.

30 May 2013

Guardians Of The Galaxy Is Getting Pretty Interesting

I don't, as a habit, like reporting on casting news, because until the movie is actually being filmed (and occasionally not even then) a cast isn't certain. Sometime though, it's hard not to get excited. Like when it has been suggested over the last couple days that Marvel has cast Glenn Close and John C. Reilly in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy.

Reilly is apparently wanted for the role of Rhomman Dey, who would act as an intermediary between the Guardians and either Earth or the Nova Corps (described as a Coulson-like character). It's more likely the latter organisation, since Close has been cast as the head of the Nova Corps, essentially a Nick Fury role. What's exciting isn't so much the casting, which is exciting in it's own right, it's that Marvel might be establishing a ground work for a whole second tier of films, much more so then we previously thought. While Marvel has less space based characters and books then DC, there are still many aliens species, and many characters (first and foremost, Captain Marvel, be it the Danvers or Mar-Vell versions) that operate in space, and largely separate from Earth. The establishment of the Nova Corps might be an indication that, come Phase 3, Marvel is looking to expand deeper into the universe of the Marvel... um, universe. A connective thread through which several films can be drawn, much like SHIELD was used on Earth in Phase 1.

Marvel is also apparently looking at actors like Hugh Laurie, Alan Rickman and Ken Watanabe to fill out additional Nova Corp roles (not surprisingly, considering Gunn's history, much of the cast are known for their comedic abilities). Still no word on the casting of Rocket Raccoon and Gort the Space-Ent, though I find it hard to believe those roles haven't been cast. Marvel is obviously saving the announcement for greatest effect. Maybe at Comiccon this summer.

Via Collider, and again.

Pixar Prepares For The Future

Disney and it's subsidiaries aren't ones for sitting on their laurels. LucasFilm, or whatever it'll be known as under the Disney umbrella, have already announced they'll drive the Star Wars franchise into the ground with a new film every year. Marvel has secured it's releases up til the fall of 2016. And now Pixar has gotten in the game, by announcing all intended release dates for films up to 2018.

Mark the calendar folk, because past this year's Monsters University on June 21st, Pixar will release The Good Dinosaur on May 30, 2014, Inside Out on June 15, 2015, the Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory on November 25, 2015, and the untitled Día de los Muertos film from Lee Unkrich on June 17, 2016. Beyond that, films that the studio hasn't started making yet will be released on June 16, 2017, November 22, 2017 and June 15, 2018. At the beginning of the month, Disney CEO Bob Iger suggested that more sequels might be coming from the studio, and despite no announcements from Pixar, that double date in 2017 might be a good place to plant a potential uncertainty, especially if Monsters University and Finding Dory perform at the level of Cars 2 rather then Toy Story 3. Brad Bird has confirmed that, once he's finished with Tommorrowland, he might be willing to look at returning to the The Incredibles, the only Pixar film in my mind whose plot, rather then characters, is cohesive to sequelizing.

Disney themselves also locked up the dates March 4, 2016,  November 23, 2016, March 9, 2018 and November 21, 2018, note worthy for three reasons. One, Disney is stepping aside in favour of Pixar for the entirety of 2017. Second, unlike Pixar's five announced projects, Disney only has three confirmed films in the works, and two of them, Planes on August 9, and Frozen on November 27, come out this year. The third, Big Hero 6, a joint film made with Marvel, based on a Japanese based super hero group from the comics, will be released on November 7, 2014. Third, none of Disney's projects, announced or otherwise, for at least the next decade, will be done in traditional hand drawn animation, which is stupid.

Wouldn't it be great if, considering Pixar is directly responsible for the industry wide shift away from hand drawn stuff, if they announced an entirely hand drawn feature? I'd love and respect them all the more for that.

Via /Film.

PBS Thinks You're Dumb, And They Are Probably Right

Have I detailed my redefined terms for Reality television programs before? Probably, but I'll go over them again.

I hate Reality TV. I hate every example of it, and I especially hate the term. And despite signs that after a decade and a half of having a strangle hold over the American networks, Reality TV is finally in a decline, I think we're in need of narrower terms for this colossus of crap that has ravaged the television landscape. "Reality" gets gone, and is replaced by three separate terms. First, Game Shows. Lump any "reality" show with a competitive component into the same category as Price Is Right and Match Game. So, all those singing shows where there is a final winner, any of those racing shows, or design and reno shows, or anytime somebody has to eat something gross to move on to the next round, those are Game Shows.

The next two can run into each other, but I believe clear distinctions can be made. Documentary TV: any of the shows like Cops or Dirty Jobs or Deadliest Catch. The programs that follow people doing a job, where the job is more the focus then the people. They get lumped into the same category as David Attenborough and David Suzuki. Finally, and these ones are the problem ones, what I call Vanity TV. The Kardashians. The Real House Wives. Judge Judy. The vapid, desperate whoring of ones self and whatever dignity they've got left to pretend their lives are interesting for cameras, so that sad people with empty lives can live vicariously through a fiction dressed up as real life for 22 minutes at a time. Also included in this category would be Duck Dynasty, and any of those shows that are designed to make the stars famous rather then illuminate a function or fulfil a purpose.

New York's PBS Thirteen has taken out some brilliant subway billboards, effectively belittling the viewing public for watching and accepting such crap. It is an effective example of public shaming, not entirely original (since every internet comedy troupe has done down a fake Reality TV spoof since the invention of YouTube), but man are they effective. And a reminder of exactly what networks and the cable stations are actively putting on TV, that these examples don't seem outlandish in any way. I remember in 2003 when FOX announced Man vs Beast, wherein 50 little persons would compete in a pulling contest against an elephant, and everything though "this has gone too far, this is the bottom of the barrel." Ten years later, and all we've learned is how much barrel there was left.

See four other examples from Thirteen's campaign after the jump.

29 May 2013

Joss Whedon's Message To The Future: "You're All Going To Die"

Joss Whedon is a man of many hats. He directed the most successful film of last year, he actively routes for the zombie apocalypse, and occasionally teaches people how to poop. And on Saturday, at Wesleyan University, during his commencement address, he proved that he can make a more lasting impact on the minds of a group of kids who really want to take off their robes and drink, then Bill Cosby.

The speech is good. Not as good as Neil Gaiman's, but good. I preferred the start of the speech, when it was much more off the cuff and affable, as that is when Whedon tends to be at his best when speaking. But it's certainly the best geek idol giving a speech to youths we've had this year. 

My favourite thing about this speech: how much the guy sitting behind Whedon on his right is absolutely loving every word of it.

Via Uproxx.

Season 2 Of The Newsroom Promises Even More Sitting And Talking

The second season of Aaron Sorkin's the Newsroom premiers on July 14th, and we still haven't gotten a good look at it. HBO has released a behind the scenes look at the second season, describing what the format this year will be, but no clips from the actual episodes are included. And no sign of Patton Oswalt.

The deposition is one of Sorkin's favourite narrative devices, and they have resulted in some of the best episodes of his various series (West Wing's season two Noel comes to mind) but he has never used it on this scale before, structuring an entire season around the testimonies given by characters, and presumably flashing back within those episodes to the events being described. Certainly has a lot of potential for commentary from characters, in a self referential, breaking the fourth wall kind of way.

Via Collider.

Jon Stewart Adds A Cast To His Film

From Iran Human Rights

A couple months ago, it was announced that Jon Stewart would be taking a break form the Daily Show to direct a film he wrote, called Rosewater, based on the experiences of journalist Maziar Bahari at the hands of the Iranians, and through which the Daily Show was accidentally involved. Stewart hasn't mentioned the project much on the programme, save Bill O'Reilly's insistence that Stewart had been fired, and the revelation that J.J. Abrams gave Stewart advice while he was writing the script.

In fact, short of the announcement of the project, there hasn't been much additional information revealed. They have just now announced who will be playing Bahari, Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, perhaps best known for his lead role in The Motorcycle Diaries. No further cast has been announced, but it will be interesting to see if Stewart embraces or resists casting many of his talented (largely comedic) acting friends, such as Denis Leary, who have proven themselves readily capable of dramatic work. Certainly through his decade+ hosting the number one show on Comedy Central, he has cultivated a base of actors who no doubt would be willing to work with him. One assumes Jason Jones will at least be putting in an appearance as himself, to recreate the segments that were used against Bahari.

John Oliver will take over hosting duties starting June 10th, until September 3rd.

Via /Film.

28 May 2013

Well, That Explains Some Things

Anyone who has seen Star Trek Into Darkness by now knows that about half way through there is a reveal, which I personally don't consider a spoiler, but which I will put after the jump for those that might, and if you haven't seen the film, maybe you should stop reading this now. And that reveal, for many people is a major issue of complaint against the film (it certainly was for me). Kurtzman and Orci, two of the films three writers, did an interview for Yahoo, and said some things that I think help to explain why the film wasn't as good as it might have been.

Hit the jump for their comments, which contains spoilers for Into Darkness.

No No No! I Refuse To Accept This Will Suck

Walking With Dinosaurs: The Movie has the potential to be one of the better dinosaur movies ever made, by virtue of being a dinosaur movie, not a movie with dinosaurs in it. With the volume muted, it appears to have been filmed like a narrative-structured nature documentary. And in the international trailer, which was far better then this American one, that was the case. It had a terrible voice over, but compared to his one, it was Casablanca.

This trailer uses the narrator as the internal monologue of the dino (identified as Pachyrhinosaurus), and decreases my interest in this film significantly. I want the actions of the animals to speak for themselves, though I would begrudgingly accept a voice over narration, like Kenneth Branagh's from the original mini series. But I will not accept a Homeward Bound-style anthropomorphising of these animals for the sake of American comfort. This is a science film, dammit, not a Disney picture!

I can easily see the studio releasing two versions of the film: one where the world the filmmakers have created speaks for itself, to be released internationally. And another, with kid friendly "gods forbid the audience shouldn't have to be spoon fed anything, lets dilute any sense of scientific validity the film might have for the sake of the box office, dinosaurs are kids stuff and it's just a cartoon why shouldn't it have goofy voice overs" version for North America. And if you take offence to that, let me remind you that Pirates: In An Adventure With Scientists was changed to Band of Misfits in the US and Australia, and British voices were redubbed with American voices, expressly for those reasons.

And that makes me so sad and angry I think I need to lie down. Fox, you are officially on notice: don't ruin this movie trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

[Review] - Continuum, Season 2 Episode 5, "Second Opinion"

Courtesy of Reunion Pictures

The last couple episodes have been building towards a confrontation. Not between Liber8 and the police, those happen nearly every week. The confrontation was between Kiera and herself. The growing sense of dread, of inevitability, of hopelessness towards the failure of her primary mission to this point: getting home. And it should be made clear, that is all Kiera has really been working towards. Stopping Liber8 has been little more then a combination of duty and a means to an end, with Liber8 still representing her best chance at returning to her family. But as the second season has worn on, the evidence is falling more and more in favour of Kiera being stuck in the present. And her unwillingness to accept that truth has been making her unstable.

And in this episode, it came to a head.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that shoot lights when you squeeze their tummy.

27 May 2013

Doctor Who Prequel Short Arrives A Week Late

Shorts like this reassure me that Moffat hasn't lost it entirely as a writer. This prequel to The Name of the Doctor (really, isn't it just an exorcised scene that didn't have a place in the actual episode) is dark, moody, full of atmosphere, and a perfect demonstration of how the Whispermen could have been used, and a sore reminder of how useless they were in the episode. Of course, it gets bogged down with a touch of technobabble in the middle, but that's rather par for the course at this point, isn't it.

What the scene does do is explain how Clarence knew the coordinates of Trenzalore, the only question from the series finale that I wasn't that hung up on knowing.

Via Den of Geek.

I Did Not See This Coming

If you had told me, at any point before just now really, that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch would become a point of heated contention between studios, I would have laughed in your face. Save for the House of M story line a few years back, the sibling pair (incestuous in the Ultimate universe) have been reliable, steady characters for the House of Ideas, but never front line characters. Stable characters in the Avengers roaster, and favourites of cosplayers, and that is about it. As Kevin Feige explained before the release of the Avengers, the rights issues surrounding the two were murky, since as well as being Avengers, they were also the children of Magneto, the X-Men Big Bad. And at the time, FOX and Marvel were sharing rights to the characters, for use on screen. FOX wouldn't be allowed to reference their team membership, and Marvel wouldn't be able to mention their father, or the fact that they are mutants (that concept also being held by FOX).

Last week, Feige and Joss Whedon seemed to settle the question as to who would get to them first by announcing that the pair do appear in Whedon's first draft of the Avengers sequel. While Feige's original comments are unclear, there is a suggestion that which ever company got around to using the characters first got the rights wholly. So, Marvel seemed to win out. Meanwhile, in another universe...

Bryan Singer announced via Twitter that Evan Peters, late of American Horror Story, has been cast as Quicksilver in his already filming X-Men Days of Futures Past. And considering that FOX and Disney are not interested in sharing characters between franchises, there suddenly exists the potential for some brand confusion (I'd like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and understand that a character in one set of films isn't the same as one in another, but then again, people always manage to... what's the negative form of surprise?). What this means for Marvel's plans is not clear. Singer's film is obviously already written, and filming, meaning that they've got something of a leg up on the competition. Whedon is still in first draft mode, and has more then enough time to remove the characters if necessary, or replace them with others (Captain Britain perhaps?). Or, maybe they will go ahead with using the characters in Avengers 2, X-Men be damned. I have to admit, Singer's announcement, days after Marvel's confirmation, seems like a bit of a dick move.

That being said, I'd rather see the pair in an X-Men film then an Avengers film. Anything Whedon would do would have to avoid or ignore the fact that the characters are mutants, a fundamental aspect to the characters. In fact, the whole reason they are on the Avengers is because they so powerfully disagree with their father's point of view and tactics, they joined up with a team that fights against him. To include them would essentially force them to become entirely different characters, and if that's the case, what's the point? There are hundreds of characters to choose from that Marvel has the rights to, why bastardise a couple for the sake of (some pretty low) name recognition? By including them in the X-Men films, they preserve the fundamental aspects of the characters, and still afford them the ability to resist their father by joining up with Xavier's crew. Potentially, the X-Men versions will be truer forms of the characters, rather then just in-name-only copies with all the substance ripped out. Not that Whedon would want to do that, but he'd pretty much have to.

Beyond this new development, one can assume that in the next days or weeks, we'll see an announcement of who will be playing the Scarlet Witch for Singer's film. And possibly a comment for Feige as to how Marvel intends to react to this development.

Via Collider.

Serenity May Be Pretty, But She'll Take For Damned Ever

This is a static image. To play the game, head over to Slate.

This might be the best thing I've seen all day. No, all week. Yeah, considering in the past fortnight, I've seen Now You See Me (review to come on Friday), and no new episode of Game of Thrones, this is definitely the best thing I've seen all week. Chris Kirk has put together a fun interactive graphic over on Slate, where you can select the destination, and then science fiction's most prominent ships race to see how long it would take to get there. Go. Go now.


Fun, huh? I think the lesson here is, if you intend to travel any significant distance in a reasonable amount of time, either travel instantaneously through the time vortex, or pass through all possible locations in both time and space simultaneously. Otherwise, be patient.

Via Slate.

24 May 2013

Do You Know Where Your Towel Is?

Tomorrow is Towel Day, you frood.

Why not spend the day reading a good book. Donate some money to a rhinoceros. Puzzle over the interconnectedness of all things. And just generally, know where your towel is, in every sense of the phrase.

Masturbation, Swollen Testicles And Drinking Blood: Summer Movie Season 2013 Ladies And Gentlemen

Finally, here is the trailer for Joseph-Gordon Levitt's directorial debut (he also wrote it) Don Jon, which everyone completely lost their shit over at Sundance earlier this year. The comedy is about a man dealing with an obsession with internet porn, who meets the girl of his dreams (Scarlett Johansson), and she doesn't take it well. From the look of the trailer, she well be a cinephile herself. Of the none yada yada variety. Co-starring Tony Danze, Julianne Moore, and Glenne Headly. It looks hilarious, and I'm much more interested in Levitt's career then say, Ryan Gosling, who for some reason my mind has paired those two. I don't confuse them, but whenever I think of one, I tend to think of the other. 


Hit the jump for Byzantium, and the red band trailer for We're The Millers.

[Opinion] - Where Star Trek Needs To Boldly Go From Here

Courtesy of Paramount Studios
Into Darkness made only as much as it's predecessor did four years ago over the weekend and was not the box office Goliath that Paramount was hoping it would be. I suspect this is because, despite Abram's attempt to make it as accessible as possible, Trek has a nearly 50 year old cultural association with a certain kind of person that, say, Iron Man doesn't (also, less Robert Downey Jr.), and that trying to convince someone who associates Trek with that sort of person to see the film would be an up hill battle. It is also a seriously flawed film (see my opinion of it in detail first here, then here). Rather then use the rebooted timeline as an opportunity to create a fresh, original story that long time fans and the general public could equally enjoy, instead they went the fan-wank remake route, and alienated both groups (opening in the middle of the week only works when you generate good word of mouth. Otherwise, it's only the diehards that will be watching).

So where does it go from here? Well, the cast at least made out well from the second film, having largely established the roles of these iconic characters for themselves (Pine, Quinto and Pegg more so then the others, by benefit of having had more to do across the two films then the rest). So, there is a cast who can be relied on to play to their strengths no matter the script's weaknesses, something the original cast was more then capable of doing as well. But in terms of story, of connective narratives between features, and in terms of celebrating fifty years of Star Trek without using the Seth McFarlane method of referencing, what needs to happen to ensure the next film, the fiftieth anniversary film, will be better?

Hit the jump for my thoughts, which contains spoilers for Darkness.

23 May 2013

It's Not Hoth, But It's Close

There are, presumably, two hard science fiction films coming out this year that are competing for my affections. One, Gravity, we've seen some from already. The other, Europa Report, from Sebastian Cordero, we've only caught a glimpse of until now. 

Starring District 9 and A-Team star Sharlto Copley, the film is an examination of a current-level science mission to Europa, a moon of Jupiter which all real world research thus far pretty much concludes probably has a massive liquid ocean under a thick ice surface (better still, that pockets within the kilometres thick ice sheet might have isolated liquid lakes). The water, plus the heat from tectonic stress from the near by gas giant, and the moon's only internal core, make Europa the best possible candidate for the existence of life elsewhere within our own solar system. There are very real scientists for whom Europa is a primary concern, and NASA has begun planning future missions to study it more closely. Europa Report posits an eventual manned mission to the ice world, and of course, everything goes wrong, because doesn't it always.

Until the possible ET's appear, the film looks phenomenal  The line between the created images, and the real footage generated during the Apollo missions and modern space voyages is non existent. I hesitate slightly when the bugs or whatever appear, because I'd like to see a film tackle just a straight edge hard science fiction space story without the standard sci-fi tropes kicking in, and I'd like to see a alien film where first contact wasn't presented as a bad thing (even if the aliens don't mean malicious intent, I'd like to see them not kill humans for a change). I will however, be giving Europa Report one hell of a chance to impress me.

But really, don't wake up Cthulhu.

It No Longer Matters If He Lives Or Dies

I've had a love-hate relationship with Dexter since about season 4 (note that only these first seasons are recapped in this trailer for season 8). The regularity in which you can predict when in a season episodes will become pointless or go off arc is amazing, and more then a little disconcerting. The seasons tend to begin and end strong, but no arc since the Trinity killer has lived up to the potential they exhibit (this past season was a traffic accident of potential fantastic plots, none of which really developed into anything). So put me in the column that will be glad to see the show end this summer, long after it outlived it's own usefulness.

Plus Deb may well be the most annoying character currently on TV, and it doesn't look like she'll be getting any less so. But having watched this trailer, which also makes no reference to the return of Yvonne Strahovski, I know 100% that I feel no connection to these characters anymore. I'm not interested in them, or how the show will end. And I'll be watching it only out of deranged obligation, and to make certain it actually ends.

[Review] - Warehouse 13, Season 4 Episode 14, "The Sky's The Limit"

Courtesy of Universal Cable Productions.

For those that hadn't heard already, Warehouse 13 has officially been cancelled by Syfy. Sort of. Unlike the complete brush off they gave to Eureka, the network, which also renewed their new series Defiance for a second season, has given the series a final fifth season of six episodes (half their usual count) to rap up any plot threads left lingering from the current season, which was filmed late last year (James Marsters said he was on set in the fall, and Anthony Stewart Head was spotted in Toronto last October). Despite a proto-pilot being shot for a period H.G. Wells spin off, and claims from Marsters himself that producer Jack Kenny was interested in spinning off the Count of Saint Germain character, the departure of Warehouse 13 next year will all but kill the so called Syfy-verse, which had been the shared universe between itself, Eureka and Alphas.

And I figured as much. As I said in my review of the mid season premier, when Syfy starts breaking it's shows into #.5 seasons, it means it's saving money by ordering more episodes upfront and spreading them out over time. And that has historically been a precursor to the biggest money saving tactic there is: stop ordering episodes altogether. And despite what the tone of these reviews might suggest, I will miss it. Not the show so much as the characters. No matter the craptacular plots the writers might stick them in, this is a collection of characters that are good to know, and will be hard to leave behind. And this episode was a reminder of that.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that are under constant threat of floating away.

22 May 2013

The Knight Is Young

The news that the Batman: Arkham prequel, now known to be called Origins, would be appearing this year took many by surprise, as most weren't aware that it was already in production, let alone by Warner Games Montreal, rather then franchise originators Rocksteady. Also surprising was the rumour that Rocksteady didn't tackle this job in favour of producing a proper followup to City, presumed to be a launch title for the PS4 (and hopefully include more of the original voice cast, as not even Kevin Conroy is returning as the Bat in this game).

Let me just say, if the game play graphics of Origins match the level of quality on the cinematics featured in this first trailer for the game, it's no wonder the next game is being held for the next generation: this thing looks gorgeous. And the original two games didn't have that much of a difference between cut scene and game play, so I'm hoping that it'll be more of the same.

Which begs the question: until Batman Begins, the most critically successful Batman film was Mask of the Phantasm. Ask most Bat fans which is their favourite alternate medium version of the character, and most would say the Animated Series. Animation is cheaper to produce, isn't hampered by the inclusion of less then believable CG because it's all CG, and Kevin Conroy is the goddamn Batman. So why doesn't Warner Bros look at producing an animated series of Batman films, for theatrical release, done to the standard of Arkham level cinematics? This trailer had me gripped,a nd I would pay many monies to see a ninty minute version of that.

Seriously, Explain to me exactly how that isn't a win-win idea? Warners will make money, because anything with the Bat symbol on it does, it'll cost them a fraction of what a Nolan-level film would cost (in voice casting alone), meaning they could turn out a trilogy for the cost of a Dark Knight Rises ($300 million, if you were wondering), and we the fans would get the Bat films we deserve and need. Sure, rendering all that will take time, but as processing power and skill continue to develop, the animation process gets faster. And no one complains when it takes Pixar two to three years to turn out a new feature, up from five or six on Toy Story.

Until then, we're getting that much closer to a Batman game that is just Batman in a Saints Row-style, completely unrestricted sandbox Gotham, and the only task we're given is to "be the night."

Via The Mary Sue.

Well Played, Mr. Whedon. Well Played

Via Nerdacy

I have complex feelings about spoilers, but what is simple is that too much has been lumped under the heading of "spoilers." Mostly, spoilers are just an excuse to justify being coy and... well, dickish. Take J.J. Abrams, whose staunch refusal to reveal who Benedict Cumberbatch was playing in Into Darkness not only wasn't unnecessary in terms of protecting the plot, but it also keelhauled the actors from being able to discuss their characters in public beforehand. And it wasn't a spoiler, or rather, it wasn't a twist, which is what we actually mean when we say "spoiler." Not really. It was revealed half way through the film, and didn't fundamentally change the direction of the film (I'll redirect you here to find out his identity, because if I do it here, people will yell).

It wasn't a spoiler. Spock dying at the end of Wrath of Khan, that's a spoiler. Norman Bates being the killer at the end of Psycho, that's a spoiler. Generally speaking, I feel that acknowledgement that a character is being present in a film is not a spoiler, it's just a credit. There are exceptions: Ben Kingsley being credited as The Mandarin in Iron Man 3, not a spoiler. Anything else, yes absolutely. Because that reveal fundamentally changes the focus and course of the remainder of the film. Same would be true of Liam Neeson being credited as Ra's Al Ghul in Batman Begins. Of course, this speaks more deeply to the weird twist-obsessed nature of film nowadays (and for which, like so many things, I blame M. Night Shyamalan), where the inclusion of a twist is expected or perceived to be mandatory. And revealing such a twist is paramount to killing joy. I live by a simple rule, one not invented, but deeply held by Alfred Hitchcock: don't give away the ending. Everything else is fair game.

Hit the jump to find out what Joss Whedon said to demand an article long enough for me to bury the lead after a jump.

Two Doctors Walk Into A TARDIS...

Still reeling from the series finale on Saturday? Well, allow me to point out how very far away November 23rd is by posting this video of Matt Smith and David Tennent, in costume, getting along like old chums. And in no way clarifying what to me seems like an obvious twist at the end of the finale episode, and which many other people around the internet are over thinking.

And November? Still very far off. Sorry.

Via Den of Geek.

21 May 2013

ComicsAlliance Is Only Mostly Dead

No additional information available. No hints. No nudges. No idea what this means, and when it will mean whatever it does. Just this, and a wink.

Via ComicsAlliance.

"I Farted On You When You Put Banana Peppers In The Wheaties"

I'm an established fan of these Bad Lip Reading videos, and this one lampooning the Walking Dead is no exception. Well, one exception: it's over five minutes long. That is too long. Maybe not for someone who likes the Walking Dead, but I can't stand that show and their terrible plotting anymore, so I gave up on it, and I gave up on this the first time I watched it. They should have split the video into two. Or left out some of the lines that just don't work. But I guess there are some big Walking Dead fans over a BLR, who just couldn't stand to ledit any of these jokes out.

And thus is the biggest problem in comedy: knowing what to cut.

Via Uproxx.

[Review] - Game Of Thrones, Season 3 Episode 8, "Second Sons"

[Author's Note: There is no episode of Continuum this week, and no epiosde of Game of Thrones next. So, the schedule is going to be screwed up for the next little while.]

Courtesy of HBO
This episode didn't have any favours working for it. Stuck between last week's George R.R. Martin scripted episode and the next episode, Rains of Castamere (the ninth, and if this season follows the pattern of the others, the episode where shit will go down), all that was really expected of it was to hold the course.

Last week was all about getting the pieces in position. This week was about holding the line. Focusing mostly on the plot lines that weren't featured last week, with one exception there wasn't a sense of progression in this episode, only one of foreboding. So everyone got to drink and screw and think that the thing they are seeing on the horizon is cause for hope.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that pretend they are made of chicken. They aren't chicken.

20 May 2013

Pacific Rim May Contains Some Monsters, And A Couple Robots. That's Just A Guess

I'll say it again: how are they aliens if they come from the bottom of the ocean? All that makes them is damp. So long as Pacific Rim answers that question, I will gladly spend two hours watching robots beat the ever living snot out of monsters.

Of course, I was going to do that anyway, but this way I'll enjoy it more.

[Review] - Doctor Who, Series 7 Finale Episode 14, "The Name of the Doctor"

It's not usually a good sign when the finale of a show is accompanied by a sigh of relief. Ideally, the end of a series should cause anger and anxious craving for more. But the seventh series of Doctor Who, which because of the screwed up way the episodes are funded and were broken up, dates back all the way to The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe, has left me cold. It lacked a creative focus, which meant the writers weren't working towards any particular goal, leaving the characters to flounder in their stories, which by and large left me wanting.

So I had low expectations for this finale episode, buoyed by some vague comments from the creative team, and a personal belief that things like the Doctor's name and any specific information about him before he first appeared on screen in The Unearthly Child is irrelevant. So it was heartening when what we got was an impressively strong entry, probably the best of the current series, Moffat's best since series five, and one of the strongest finales the show has ever done. Not everything was perfect, mind. But a hell of a lot better then any episode we've had since The God Complex.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that once visited their own graves. It was nice.

[Review] - Star Trek Into Darkness, In IMAX (Spoiler Filled)

[Author's Note: This is a companion to my review of Into Darkness, which can be found here. I suggest you read it to get my impressions of the film in general, and come back here for my thoughts on the specific, spoilerific aspects of the film. You have been warned.]

Courtesy of Paramount Studios.
Is it wrong that one of my favourite things about Into Darkness was, because I went to one of the IMAX fan sneak peeks last Wednesday, I got this bloody lovely poster as a free gift? Does that make me shallow?

Into Darkness is a film that presents some interesting ideas, leaves them all behind in the second act in favour of fist fights and ray guns, and then reveals it's true nature in a "twist" that completely undermines the rest of the film.Not only undermines it, but flaunts the fact that it is stealing from a better film, and calling itself bold and original. Not only is that insulting, but it pretty much goes against the whole point of rebooting the franchise to begin with.

Hit the jump for the review, where the needs of the spoilers outweigh the needs of the few.

17 May 2013

The Only Thing Better Than Friends Is Killing The Guy Who Killed Your Friends

I think this trailer for Axe Cop speaks for itself.

Dredd 2 Might Still Be Possible

Courtesy of DNA Films
 I'm not one of these people who thinks every movie needs a sequel. Few movies should have sequels. And the lack of a sequel does not diminish the quality of the original. In fact, a crappy sequel can lower your opinion of an original. That being said, and despite the current environment of trying to turn every single property into a franchise, some sequels work.

I loved Dredd, this has been established. And while a sequel would have been nice, it wasn't required. Unfortunately, the box office take for the film wasn't high enough (thanks to bungled marketing and region releases) to warrant an immediate green light to a follow up. The DVD sales soared upon released, buoyed by good word of mouth, but still not into the regions that studios look to when thinking "profit." So, a sequel was dead, and the film can stand on it's own.

Or, maybe not. In an interview with Collider, Karl Urban (currently doing the rounds for Star trek Into Darkness) said,
"Interestingly enough, I did have breakfast with Alex Garland this morning.  It’s not off the agenda.  Clearly everyone has woken up to the fact that an audience has found this movie and loves it.  It’s entirely possible, and if people want to see another instalment then they should be vocal about that, because, it can happen.  The power of fandom can resurrect projects.  In fact, that’s what happened with Star Trek.  They weren’t going to do a third season until fans did a letter writing campaign and they continued that series."
Garland was the writer of the Dredd film, and had planned a three film arc for the character. Now, usually, when an actor says that a movie is happening before a director or a studio, I fall back on an inflated sense of hesitation. As Nathan Fillion said this past weekend at the Ottawa Comiccon, unless you are a producer too, all an actor can really say is they hope a project will happen, not that it actually will.

But I feel you can take Urban's word for it. It was his insistence that a respectful and accurate Dredd movie be made. It was his involvement from the beginning that got the first one filmed, and it will be his rising star that gets a sequel made, if nothing else.

Via Collider.

[Review] - Star Trek Into Darkness, In IMAX (Spoiler Free)

[Author's Note: This is the first part of my complete review of Into Darkness; the concluding part can be found here, though you should only read it after you've had a chance to see the film. This part is my impressions of the film in general, and the second are my thoughts on the specific, spoilerific aspects of the film.]

Courtesy of Paramount Studios

I've said before that the best way I can think to describe Star Trek is that it is a relentlessly watchable film. J.J. Abrams made an incredibly accessible film, which managed to capture the spark and spirit of the originals, and made the series fun again. Of course, the science in the movie was horrid, some of the worst I've seen in a while, but that suggests to me that J.J and the writers were more concerned with getting the characters and the emotion right, rather then getting hung up on technical details (arguably one of the things that brought the franchise to it's knees).

The followup, Into Darkness, is a relentless movie. There are no pauses, no breaks, and very few nestled pockets of calm. Those that there are don't last very long. Once the action starts, and to the film's credit it does take some time to actually start, it never relents. However, the price the film pays for that relentless pace is to sacrifice what makes Star Trek stand out from most other science fiction, and the reason it has lasted nearly fifty years: the film lacks any real message or substance. It is an exciting thrill ride, that is also an empty vessel.

Hit the jump for the review, which has been, and always shall be, spoiler free.

16 May 2013

Movies Are Like Subway Lines, They're All Filled With Hobos... Wait

Click to make substantially larger.

David Honnorat over at Vodkaster has put together a clever image, the best movies of all time (some of his choices are very arguable) laid out like a subway map. So, for instance, Star Wars is a transfer hub at the intersection of the Sci-fi, Fantasy and Universally Acclaimed Masterpieces lines. And oddly, the result doesn't look that dissimilar (if substantially simpler) to users of the London Underground.

How I wish I could get off at Rear Window rather then Aldgate.

Via First Showing.

This Is Nothing New

The first real trailer for Riddick, the third entry (fourth, if you count the superior video games, which you should) in the Chronicles of Riddick series has appeared, and for those that took a distinct dislike to Chronicles should appreciate how very much like Pitch Black this film looks. The resemblance is considerable. That's not to say it doesn't look like fun, because when is Vin Diesel kicking a half shadowed alien in the face not fun?

The trailer lacks the required amount of Karl Urban though, which is to say any at all. The next needs to fix this glaring oversight.

[Review] - Warehouse 13, Season 4 Episode 13, "The Big Snag"

Courtesy of Universal Cable Productions
A bit of house cleaning to begin: at the Ottawa Comiccon this past weekend, when questioned about his role in the Warehouse 13 season premiere by the enthusiastic crowd, James Marsters said that, as far as he could remember (he filmed his role some time ago) he won't be reappearing until the final two episodes of the season, which are also the episodes Anthony Stewart Head are set to appear in. Here's hoping for some snarking between them.

Until then, the show is left to fend for itself, and if they give us more episodes like the Big Snag, it won't feel like very long at all. The tongue-in-cheek noir homage was a blast, and a reminder of how much fun the show can be (something we've needed a strong reminder of for a while now), and how easy it can be to reclaim what made the series so good in the early days.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that also look stunning in black and white.

15 May 2013

Umm... nO.

Later tonight I'll be seeing Star Trek Into Darkness at one of those IMAX fan sneak peaks, and am really rather excited about that. The review will be up Friday morning, in a rare "it's almost like I'm doing this professionally" before-the-weekend review.

But last night I'm looking at the posters, seen above, and I noticed something. Something that I can't immediately not notice straight away now, and it's bothering me. Maybe I'm being a stickler, or maybe my brain wanted to punish me for some unknown slight against it, but now it's all I can see.

Can you see the problem? You will after the jump.

Movies Travel Through Space And Time

Late last week, we got our first look at Alfonso Cuarón's new sci-fi survival film, Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. To say it looks amazing, based on this brief first look, is underselling it to an astounding degree. The film looks meticulous, heavy on the realism, and gorgeous. And I don't know why, but I'm more ready to buy Bullock and Clooney as astronauts then I would have been Angelina Jolie and Robert Downey Jr. I'll be going into this film with high expectations and a close eye on the science. It's early days, but I'd say that Gravity will be Europa's only competition for the hard science fiction award this year.

After the jump, Richard Curtis quantum leaps.

TV Trailers Show Us What Not To Watch Next Year

Like every new season of TV, there will be the shows that are good, there will be the shows that will surprise us, and there will be the shows that suck beyond reckoning. Now that the fall and winter schedules have been announced by the big four networks in the US, they've begun releasing trailers, getting us excited about the fall. Yesterday, I posted the trailer for The Blacklist starring James Spader, who will carry the show because its just NBC trying to do the Following, and also hedging their bets with Hannibal by making a Silence of the Lambs series in every way that doesn't violate copyright.

Also yesterday we had the first sneek peak at SHIELD, and today we start off with the full trailer. It does little to quell my building excitment about this series, potentially the most exciting thing about Marvel's Phase 2. Everything about this trailer looks fantastic, blends the Whedonesque with the MCU, and instantly makes Tuesdays the most anticipated night of the week for me (8 pm surprised me. I was expecting 9 but I suppose they want the whole family to watch). Be sure to expect reviews Wednesday mornings come the fall.

Hit the jump to see the rest, which include Michael J. Fox, a Headless Horseman, and some robots(ish).

[Review] - Game Of Thrones, Season 3 Episode 7, "The Bear and the Maiden Fair"

[Author's note: the Continuum and Game of Thrones reviews will be swapping release days. Continuum reviews will appear on Tuesdays, and the Game of Thrones reviews will appear on Wednesday for the remainder of the respective seasons.]
Courtesy of HBO
You must be cautious, Mr. Martin. Your predilections are showing.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that have also spent their fair share of time around wet shit.

14 May 2013

She Said, He Said, I Say

Because this is the way things happen now, here is a prequel (it's not, it's an elaborate promo) for this coming weekend's Doctor Who series finale, called She Said, He Said. It's just Clara and the Doctor talking about how keen they are on each other while the other isn't there.

After the jump, I have some thoughts.

Some Shows Are Returning Next Season. Some Aren't

The Upfronts were last week, and by the end of Friday, we, the viewing public, pretty much knew which shows were picked up, which shows weren't, which shows would be getting another season, and which had seen their last. And then there is Hannibal, but more on that later.

First, and most importantly, ABC surprised no one by giving the green light to Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, henceforth known as SHIELD because the other one has too many words (and in the promos would conceivably be ABC's Marvel's Agents of SHIELD), and the only people who will refer to it by the whole title will be lawyers. The first look, a whole seven seconds (which includes a brief glimpse at J. August Richards in his secret role) is above.

Elsewhere, NBC renewed Parks and Rec, for which we can all be thankful. They also renewed Community for another 13 episode season, which having watched the recent fourth season i believe is entirely the wrong decision. the network has spent three seasons wanting to cancel the show, now they have the opportunity, and they bring it back/ Probably because now it is a lifeless husk of it's former self, without intelligence design or direction, filled with lifeless characters made of parodies of their once full and glorious selves. And they can't even bank on Chevy anymore, which NBC seemed to think was a selling point. Of this past season, I enjoyed exactly one episode, and doubt I'll watch it next season at all. Thanks, NBC, for sucking the joy out of something I loved. Now stay away from Parks.

Hit the jump for the rest of the "big deals."

[Review] - Continuum, Season 2 Episode 4, "Second Skin"

[Author's note: the Continuum and Game of Thrones reviews will be swapping publication days. Continuum reviews will appear on Tuesdays, and the Game of Thrones reviews will appear on Wednesday for the remainder of their respective seasons.]
Courtesy of Reunion Pictures
 I had apprehensions going into this episode. On the surface, this is the closest this series has come to doing a comedic episode. And the sci-fi plot of someone using a device to become a superhero is usually marred by the opportunity to create an unfair representation of geeks, something geeks don't need any more of (and which geek TV shows are just a guilty of as anyone else). However, I felt vindicated in my trust in this series when the episode came together in a emotionally gripping story, which is not a one off, but plays deeply into the greater mythology of the show.

I just have no idea where it leaves the (as of yet unestablished) rules of time travel.

Hit the jump for the review, which have never bought anything remotely cool at a yard sale.

13 May 2013

Stephen King's Recent Turtle Killer Comes To TV

Turtle Killer: (related to a Door Stopper) a book of such immense size that, not only could it stop a door, but if dropped from an average height onto a healthy, shelled turtle, it would kill it.

Under the Dome is, I sense, CBS' first big attempt post Jericho, to get into the arc based mystery TV series business. A business that, Bad Robot productions aside, has largely petered out since the finale of LOST. And there is a lot of LOST pedigree in UtD: Brian K. Vaughn wrote the pilot episode, Jeff Fahey appears in this trailer, the very general theme of people being trapped in an isolated area and having to deal with conflicting personalities, the general "holy shit what is happening"ness of the MacGuffin.

I hope it works out for them, and the keep the focus on the characters rather then the mystery, which was where LOST fell apart. If nothing else, it'll give us something to watch in the summer. And it stars Breaking Bad's Dean Norris as the primary antagonist, and that is worth something all on its own.

But I'm sorry, All Along The Watchtower, in sci-fi, belongs to Battlestar. Find yourself another incredibly appropriate song to cover.

[Review] - Doctor Who, Series 7 Episode 13, "Nightmare In Silver"

Neil Gaiman certainly didn't do himself any favours with The Doctor's Wife. Any writer, coming to realise they've just written something that cannot be outdone, cannot be improved upon, cannot be exceeded, would face the challenge that Gaiman faced with Nightmare in Silver: try to do better, and inevitably fail; or don't try, go entirely in the other direction, do something completely different and hope, like everything else a writer does, that it works out.

The results are... well, I wish I had better news. The upshot is, as you might expect form Neil Gaiman, the episode is better then most of the rest of the ones we've been given this series. The down side is, it doesn't entirely succeed in doing what it needs to be, namely and exclusively being an exciting episode of television.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that often play chess by themselves near unconscious children.

[Review] - Ottawa Comiccon 2013

All photos by the author...'s photographer
The second annual Ottawa Comicon has come and gone, and it's motto may well have been "learning from past mistakes, and making all new ones." Over all, there were improvements to last year's inaugural event, and the guest list certainly was an impressive collection of genre stars. However, there were several areas where the organisers faltered, which is good, as it gives them something to work towards next year. We wouldn't want everything to run smooth, would we?

Hit the jump for the review. Keep in mind, since I am not a regular con-goer, I am not reviewing this con in relation to other such events, but as a self contained entity in and of itself (and to last year).

10 May 2013

What In The Name Of Gods Is He Doing To Those Chairs?

Is there an explanation for this video of Commander Riker sitting other then Jonathan Frakes sits like a lunatic? It is that, in the future, chairs don't swivel? Or that there isn't enough time to swivel, dammit! Is the knowledge that proof that Riker sits in chairs like he's saddling up on a horse coming to light the reason Frakes dropped out of his appearance at the Ottawa Comiccon this weekend? Were all the chairs on set intentionally made with small backs because he kept mounting them like a dog in heat? Why aren't any of my questions being answered?

The first few times he tried it, did he whack his gentleman's area against the head rests? Did his cast mates realise he was sitting down this way? Did they snicker every time he did it? Did they talk about it at the craft service's table behind his back? Did no one every want to sit in those seats after he had done it to them, as if they had been violated? At wrap parties, did they ever get drunk and mock him, doing over blown imitations of him with folding chairs? Did he ever over extend himself, and maybe hit Brett Spiner in the shoulder with an overzealous leg sweep? Why do questions keep occurring to me?

Ever notice whenever he walked he lead with the shoulder? Do you think Frakes sits in chairs like this in real life, or was it something he developed for the character? Do you think he realised only the captain's chair has arms, and just went with it? Do you think anyone else would be able to pull this off flawlessly every time without missing the chair or harming themselves? Do you think out there somewhere is a gag reel of nothing but Frakes messing up sitting down? Did you ever notice when he was sitting beside the captain in his little seat, he always grasped the crotch of the chair for support? Do you think he described this method as "seducing the chair?" If anyone is talking to LeVar Burton or Wil Wheaton in Ottawa this weekend, can you please please bring this up and ask them about it? Or just ask them about it on Twitter? Can we find out as much about Jonathan Frakes and his weird Riker Manoeuvre* as we can?

Via Gamma Squad.

*And yes, I am aware the Riker Manoeuvre is actually filling the ramscoops with ionised gas and venting it into the path of an enemy ship, whose weapon's discharge would ignite the gas allowing the attacked ship to escape in the chaos. Obviously.

How Is It That No One Has Made A Movie Or Video Game About A Superpowered President Before Now?

Admission time: I've never played any of the Saints Row games. Gaming isn't a constant attention grabber in  my life, and I usually only do so when I'm already invested in the subject matter (Batman: Arkham Asylum, Tomb Raider) or a compelling argument can be made in a game's favour (Assassin's Creed, which I regret; Lollipop Chainsaw, which I don't). Saints Row IV might be the entry in the series that changes my apathy towards the franchise.

I've heard it said that IV will be little more then a mod of The Third, but excels over the former in one important respect: everyone has superpowers in this one. Also, you play as the President of the United States, who c*ntpunts baddies off the rooves of buildings like Eddie Valiant getting rid of weasels.

Yeah, I think I'm going to be playing this game.

Via Gammasquad.

[Analysis] - Star Trek: Countdown To Darkness, And What It Tells Us

Before the release of J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot, IDW published a fantastic four part series comic called Star Trek Countdown, which was marketed as introducing the film's villain, Nero. It turned out to be so much more then that, being the last canon(ish) story set in the Next Generation timeline, correcting several mistakes made by the nearly franchise killing Nemesis, and weaving the story of Spock's journey into the alternate timeline with the lives of Picard, Data, Geordi, Worf. It was a far superior send off from one spin-off to the other then they managed in the film Generations, and it provided closure to those characters, whom we'll probably never see again (on film).

So, when it was announced that the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness would be getting the countdown treatment, I was excited. Rather then focus on the film's villain, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, it would bridge the gap between the two films, and set up the events of the new movie. The results? Honestly, nothing special. Certainly not in the same league as the original Countdown book.

But it does provide some interesting bits of information that, while might not directly impact the coming film, certainly were of interest to this lapsed old Trekker. After the jump, and a short review of the book, we'll examine those little tidbits that this canon(ish) tale have added to the new Trek universe. Contains spoilers for all four issues of the Countdown to Darkness.

9 May 2013

You Never Had Control, That's The Illusion

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

We've had a lot of news about Jurassic Park 4 surface recently, including just this past week Trevorrow scouting locations in Hawaii. So the tweets (since deleted, but preserved by Ain't It Cool) from Digital Asset Manager Todd Smoyer and Concept Artist Dean Sherriff that read "Goodbye JP4" and "JP4 on hold" came as something of a surprise. Universal waited for about a day, then issued this statement:
"In coordination with filmmakers, Universal has decided to release Jurassic Park 4 at a later date giving the studio and filmmakers adequate time to bring audiences the best possible version of the fourth installment in Universal’s beloved franchise. We could not be more excited about the vision that Colin Trevorrow has created for this film, and we look forward to watching as he and the producers create another great chapter in this franchise's storied history."
From the day they announced Trevorrow as the director (a scant month ago) I've said that the June 2014 release date was completely unrealistic considering that the director had zero time to prepare. He had a script, which he didn't have input in, he didn't have a cast and much time to assemble one, I'm assuming any animatronics would have to be developed fresh based on the newest script (Jack Horner confirmed the film would focus on a new starring animal) and to shoot and do the significant amount of post and digital effects a Jurassic Park film would need, in just over a year seemed... ambitious, bordering on undoable.

Universal already missed having the fourth film ready for the 20th anniversary, so there isn't any significant reason to rush. Reportedly the studio wants to overhaul the project - again - so that the scope and feel of the film is more "epic," a reasonable ambition for a dinosaur film, though can be worrisome when it is a planned intention rather then a unexpected result. I say if you insist on making this film, then giving Trevorrow the time he needs to construct the best movie he can is the best possible move you can make. Put the time and effort into it that it deserves. And if that doens't happen until closer to the 25th in 2018, then so be it.

I guess my point is, if you insist on making the film, don't make it suck.

Via Den of Geek.

Of The Two Films About Former Friends Reliving Their Youths Being Released This Year, This One Will Be Good

Finally, the first trailer for Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's The World's End has arrived, ahead of it's release this fall. And not only does it look as funny and downright enjoyable as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, but it looks like they might be shaking up the formula a touch by making Frost the sensible, marginally successful one this time.

Time to start taking bets one which of the blokes dies first. My money is (sadly) on Bilbo.

[Review] - Warehouse 13, Season 4 Episode 12, "Parks and Rehabilitation"

Courtesy of Universal Cable Productions
When Warehouse 13 first premiered four seasons ago, it was an odd duck. That was it's claim to fame. It was quirky and didn't take itself too seriously, but knew how to balance the comedy with the drama, and perhaps most importantly, could be unexpected. It didn't do what you were expecting. It has never been the best show on TV, but it has never tried to be. It only ever tried to be fun.

Somewhere along the lines, they lost that. It's still funny, but is rarely properly dramatic (it borders more on self-referential kitch). It tries too hard to be fun, and is never unexpected anymore. You can see everything coming from a mile off, and it makes each episode less enjoyable to watch when you know what will happen pretty much from the get-go. Case in point, Parks and Rehabilitation, which offers no surprises and can best be described as "dependable." And considering some of the adjectives I've used to described WH13 over the past season, that's a compliment.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers which also installed an emotional Stargate in their home.

8 May 2013


There isn't a single thing about this Audi ad that isn't delightful. That it helps establish that current Spock Zachary Quinto has just as dry a sense of humour as former Spock Leonard Nimoy is good and bodes well for the future, but it is also a helpful reminder that Leonard Nimoy may well be the greatest human ever.

And Spock cussing is never not funny.

Via the Bad Astronomer.

[Review] - Continuum, Season 2 Episode 3, "Second Thoughts"

Courtesy of Reunion Pictures
Adding on to last week's discussion of loyalty, this week Continuum continues the trend of not pulling it's philosophical punches, and tackles the concept of reality. What is real? What can we trust to be real? Do we remember what happened, or what we wanted to have happened? When does reality break down, and when are we capable of recognising that moment, if we ever are? These are not small ideas, and kudos to the show not only for raising them, but not searching for easy answers. Nothing makes me more excited then a show willing to head into strange waters, with no expectation of what it will find. It shows bravery, and it shows intelligence.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that talk softly, and carry a big stick.

Ray Harryhausen Has Died

I remember seeing 20 Million Miles to Earth for the first time. I was mesmerised. Rather blasphemously, I saw it before I saw King Kong for the first time, and thus the marauding Ymir was my first exposure to that kind of special effects. That somehow, a Venusian beast was able to lay waste to Rome without ever actually being there. It wasn't a cartoon, it was real. It was there, with William Hopper, or seemed to be. Later on, I saw Kong, and eventually 7th Voyage of Sinbad, and the incomparable Jason and the Argonauts. To say I am a fan of Ray Harryhausen is an understatement. I am in awe of him.

Yesterday, at the age of 92, by as of yet unknown causes, Harryhausen died in London. If you have seen a film made in the last decade, you owe Harryhausen a debt of gratitude. It was Harryhausen's stop frame techniques through the fifties and sixties that set the standard for movie special effects. While he wasn't the first to use the process, his films were the best, showed the most care and dedication, and treated the effects as integral parts of the story telling process rather then just something to make the film look good. George Lucas, in response to the news of Harryhausen's passing, has said "Without Ray Harryhausen, there would likely have been no Star Wars."

It was Harryhausen's depiction and style of dinosaurs in films like One Million Years B.C. and The Valley of Gwangi, inspired by the animals he saw in King Kong when he was young, were what every cinematic dinosaur up to Jurassic Park was based upon, and even when Spielberg entered production on JP, the intention was to use the same techniques that Harryhausen had used thirty years before, because at that point, it was the only way to do it. The advent of digital effects was transformative in film, but didn't become common place until after Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films in the early years of the new millennium. Stop motion effects were still very common up until then. Many directors, like Guillermo del Toro, Tim Burton and Sam Raimi still prefer to use practical magic and stop motion effects in their films. 

The images Harryhausen put on film are seared into the minds and imaginations of the popular culture, and will never fade. A duelling skeleton, a multilimbed beast rising from the ocean, a dragon attacking Coney Island. And he did it all by himself, in his studio in England. It took four months to animate the scant few minutes of skeleton fights in Argonauts, but the precision and adherence to detail, the life Harryhausen's dedicated hands brought to those clay models remains leagues above the lifeless digital models that appear in practically every film today.

In any industry, but especially in films, where fictions are brought to life on screen, and audiences are exposed and absorbed into fantastic worlds, where the only limitations are the imaginations of the magicians working to create such marvels, Harryhausen stood above the rest. He was no magician, he was a wizard. And his spells will last forever.

7 May 2013

Famous Nerds Talk Star Wars

Kevin Smith once explained his Devil' Advocacy for the Star Wars prequels as being the result of the original films being such a monumental influence over him, that he was incapable of expressing anything but love for the new films. I'll admit, I thought I'd feel this same way about The Hobbit, the book occupying such a special place in my heart that the film would look better through my rose coloured glasses. It didn't. If a movie, or book, or TV show is bad, no matter how much you love it, it is still bad. And if you can't recognise that, then it's not your love getting in the way, making you an apologist, it's denial. It's your stubborn nostalgia unwilling to admit the truth to you. Or maybe you just don't know what "good" and "bad" are.

Someone who did not have this problem with the Star Wars prequels was Simon Pegg, who so hated them he wrote a television series essentially just to have the excuse to bad mouth them publicly. That series, and a certain amount of raw comedic talent, has allowed his reputation to rise, resulting in his being cast as Scotty in the the Star Trek reboot, directed by J.J. Abrams, who was recently chosen to direct the first in Disney's beating the dead horse business plan for the Star Wars films.

And here is a short video of the two of them talking about how they were influenced by Star Wars, and how Abrams wasn't by Star Trek, and how that turned out to be a good thing for Trek, and might not be such a good thing for Wars (look how badly it went for the last guy who loved those films too much; badly to the tune of $4 billion. OK, bad example).

Via /Film.
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