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News Around the Net!

February 27th, 2017

So, was that the craziest end to an Oscars broadcast ever???  Holy cow.  I have never seen anything like that before.  I feel terrible for all the La La Land folks, but I am also overjoyed that Moonlight won.  I loved that film.  Overall I thought the show was very solid.  Jimmy Kimmel was a terrific host.  His opening monologue was great and I liked that he was a consistent presence throughout the show, not disappearing after the first hour like some hosts do.  (His only big misfire was that terrible fake tour bit that went on painfully long.)  I was glad that the awards were fairly evenly distributed among a number of great films rather than one movie dominating everything.  I was particularly happy that Mahershala Ali (who I have been a huge fan of ever since The 4400) won.  But what people will remember forever about tonight was that ending.  My head is spinning.  Wow…

(The best response I have seen to the mix-up comes from Billy Eichner, who tweeted: “IF ANYONE FROM THE IN MEMORIUM IS STILL ALIVE PLEASE LET US KNOW.”)

Moving on…

I was saddened to read, yesterday, of the passing of Bill Paxton.  At only 61, this is a tragic loss.  Bill Paxton has been so great in so many films, from Apollo 13 to True Lies to A Simple Plan to, of course, his scene-stealing performance in Aliens, In which he has about twenty amazing, hugely iconic lines.  “Hey, maybe you haven’t been keeping up on current events, but we just got our asses kicked, pal!”

I was also very saddened to read of the passing of Richard Hatch, who played Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica and Tom Zarek in the reimagined version.  I wrote a very morose blog post a few weeks ago about the terrible way CBS/Paramount has been treating the fans of Star Trek with their heartless effort to crush all Trek fan films, in particular the Axanar project.  Trek fans now have another reason to be pissed at CBS/Paramount, as I feel like we have lost out on what would have been a spectacular Richard Hatch performance, as the villainous Klingon Kharn.  Had CBS/Paramount not sued Axanar, the Axanar movie would have been made last year, but with the lawsuit the project was delayed.  Now, with Mr. Hatch’s passing, we’ve lost the opportunity to ever see this performance.  This is a true shame. (UPDATE: I just realized that CBS/Paramount’s lawsuit may have cost us TWO Richard Hatch Trek performances, as he had also filmed a guest role in an episode of the Trek fan-made series Star Trek: New Voyages called “Torment of Destiny,” which would have been a sequel to the Original Series episode “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky.”  But with the lawsuit and CBS/Paramount’s draconian new restrictions on fan-films — specifically the instruction that they be no more than 15 minutes in length — Phase II has stopped releasing new episodes, and “Torment of Destiny” looks like it will never see the light of day.  Sigh.)

Here is the short film Prelude to Axanar.  Take a look at Mr. Hatch’s work and dream of what might have been in a feature-length version of this story, had Axanar been allowed to have been made:

In happier Star Trek news, Ira Steven Behr (one of the best writers ever associated with the modern Trek series) is working on a documentary on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, my very favorite of the Trek series!  Mr. Behr was the DS9 show-runner, and he has gotten almost all of the key DS9 actors involved in this project, which will be directed by Adam Nimoy (the son of Leonard Nimoy, who directed the wonderful documentary feature For the Love of Spock.)  Click here for the project’s indiegogo page.  I’ve already donated, and I encourage any Trek fans out there to join the effort!  I cannot wait to see the finished film.

Speaking of fan-funded projects, I backed the Bring Back Mystery Science 3000 kickstarter project, and I am super-excited that a whole season of new MST3K episodes are just around the corner!!  I can’t wait!

This is a pretty great video showing Benedict Cumberbatch and Chris Hemsworth fooling around together as they filmed the stinger for Doctor Strange.  These guys have great chemistry together.  I can’t wait to see how that pays off in Thor: Ragnarok and beyond.

Speaking of beyond, this teaser glimpse at the now-filming Avengers: Infinity War has me drooling:

In less exciting super-hero movie news… which superhero movie universe is floundering around more these days, Warner Brothers’ DCU or Fox’s X-Men series?  After the painful one-two punch of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (that title, oy) and Suicide Squad, the DC movie-verse seems to be floundering about for a direction.  Wonder Woman looks promising, but reports from Zack Snyder’s in-production Justice League hint that the film is being adjusted to have a more upbeat tone following the poor reception of Batman v. Superman.  Whether these attempts at course correction will succeed or fail remains to be seen.  Meanwhile, DC is working on an Aquaman movie and a Flash movie, but the latter seems to keep losing its director.  Meanwhile, they announced a solo Batman film that would star and be directed by Ben Affleck, which sounded exciting, but Mr. Affleck dropped from directing the project a few weeks ago.  Word is DC is also developing a Cyborg movie, a Gotham City Sirens movie (that would focus on Harley Quinn and possibly other villainous women) and a Nightwing movie.  None of this really feels like a coherent strategy to me, more of a “let’s throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” approach.  This also seems to be what Fox is doing with the X-Men franchise.  X-Men: Apocalypse was a bust on a lot of levels, most particularly it’s attempt to reboot the franchise with younger versions of the core characters (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Nightcrawler, etc.) but at the same time tying that film into the timeline of the previous prequel films (X-Men: First Class and Days of Future Past) by setting it needlessly in the nineteen-eighties, meaning all future films with this cast also have to be period piece films, which makes zero sense to me.  Since Apocalypse under-performed, it’s remained unknown whether Fox would continue to make more X-Men films with this new cast, or abandon them and start anew.  There are rumors are that this cast will be returning for another film, perhaps an attempt to get the Phoenix saga right (that story-line was bungled by Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006), but nothing official.  Meanwhile, Fox is also apparently making a New Mutants film and a Deadpool sequel and maybe also an X-Force film.  Personally, though I have great fondness for Chris Claremont’s New Mutants stories from the eighties, none of those are movies I really want to see — please, Fox, focus on getting the X-Men series right, OK?  We’ll see whether any of these DC or Fox X-Men films in development actually get made… and if so, if any of them are any good…

20th Century Fox has released a four and a half minute “prologue” to Alien: Covenant.  Is this something that will be in the finished film??  I’m not sure.  Ordinarily I avoid watching extended clips of films before they’re released (even though that’s becoming a common promotional strategy for the studios these days), but this piqued my interest.  It’s a fascinating introduction to the film’s huge cast of probably doomed suckers.  If you’re interested, take a look:

I just can’t seem to stop watching this video of every Oscar winner for Best Visual Effects ever:

(This was made last month, before The Jungle Book won this year’s Oscar…)

For years I have been hoping that some day the original, unaltered Star Wars version would be released to blu-ray.  George Lucas refused to ever do so, claiming the original versions no longer existed.  After Disney bought Lucasfilm, I’d hoped they would choose to release the original films, since surely this would represent a way to make a ton of easy money from Star Wars fans.  What’s the downside?  Rumors popped up last week that this might finally be coming to pass, but Bill Hunt of The Digital Bits seems to have debunked these rumors.  Sigh.  It’s a tragedy that these iconic, beloved films remain impossible to see in high definition.  Maybe someday…

Staying with Star Wars news for a moment… this first photo of the assembled Han Solo prequel film cast shows off a great ensemble but does not in any way convince me that a “Young Han Solo” film is not a terrible idea.

More bad news: after some teasing a month ago, Guillermo del Toro has confirmed that Hellboy 3 is for sure, no question, NOT happening.  Dammit, Jim!

Let’s turn to some positive news.  How about this: Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro are making another movie together, and it’ll be distributed by Netflix?  Sounds good to me!

Also: Tina Fey and Busy Philipps will be co-starring in a movie?  Sign me up!

I’ll leave you with this: Tom Cruise falling into other movies.  This made me laugh:

Hope to see you all back here soon!

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