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How great is this first trailer for Black Panther?

This looks like a fun new direction for a Marvel film to take.  I hope they really go crazy in exploring this new corner of the Marvel universe.  I loved Creed and I can’t wait to see what director Ryan Coogler has cooked up here.

Speaking of Black Panther, here is an interesting bit of speculation as to whether the same character will be appearing in Black Panther and the upcoming season 2 of Luke Cage, albeit played by different actresses.  I am sad that the Marvel films and TV shows are no longer coordinating the way they had planned to when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was first launched.

I am hoping that by the time you read this, I’ll have seen Spider-Man: Homecoming.  In the meanwhile, this is a pretty great video analyzing the reasons Sam Raimi’s first two Spider-Man movies worked, while Marc Webb’s two Amazing Spider-Man movies didn’t:

I don’t agree with every single point in that video, and I think the “Spider-Man as Jesus” bit in Spider-Man 2 is one of the film’s few off-notes, but for the most part this video hits the nail right on the head.

Oh man, it looks like What We Left Behind, the Kickstarter-funded Deep Space Nine documentary, is really coming together.  I can’t wait to see the finished product!

Sic Transit Vir (B5 fans get the reference): Sad news of the passing of actor Stephen Furst, who played Vir on Babylon 5 and Flounder in Animal House.  This article is a wonderful salute to Mr. Furst’s great work on B5, and here is B5 creator J. Michael Staczynski’s lament for the far-too-long list of B5 cast members who have passed away, all of whom are missed.

This oral history of Austin Powers is a great read and a fun look back at a film that I used to truly love.  (I haven’t seen any of the Austin Powers films in YEARS, but this article makes me want to revisit at least the first one…)

Is Robotech the greatest love story of the 20th century?  As a kid who first saw Robotech at exactly the right age to fall in love with it, I can get behind this idea!

I loved the first season of Vice Principals, and so I cannot wait for the show’s second (and apparently final) season to air:

James Cameron’s Terminator 2 is being released back to theatres?  I am in!!  I don’t need the 3D conversion, but any excuse to see this great film back on the big screen is very exciting.  Can’t wait:

I lost a decent amount of time exploring … [continued]

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We’ve been getting some fun teases lately for Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2.  (Great title, by the way.)  This is a solid poster and the tag-line, “obviously”, is genius.  And then there is this tantalizing new trailer:

That hits all the right notes for me.  Love it.

After the release of a series of photos, we also got our first real look at the upcoming Wolverine solo film, titled Logan, with this trailer:

While this trailer squashes any hope I might have had for a more faithful adaptation of Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s brilliant comic book story Old Man Logan (something I really never should have even dared hope for, since this X-Men series, even when it is great, has never shown any interest in faithful adaptations of classic X-Men stories), I am very happy by what I see here.  It looks like they’ve taken some of the general ideas of Old Man Logan to craft an entirely new story, and I am impressed that they’ve chosen to jump into the future and leave the rest of the X-Men franchise behind.  Hugh Jackman (sporting a crazy Mel Gibson-like beard) and Patrick Stewart both seem as awesome as usual.  I am excited for this.  (My one quibble — one of the coolest ideas of Old Man Logan was that Logan had vowed never to unsheathe his claws again, and so they make you wait a long, long, long time before you finally get a “snikt.”  From this trailer, in which we see plenty of Logan’s claws, I guess the film is taking a different approach…)

Holy cow, is there really a new Martin Scorsese movie coming out next month??  Here’s a look at Silence:

Whoo, that looks harrowing.  I am very intrigued by that trailer.

This new look at Kong: Skull Island is… well… take a look:

This trailer really shows us a lot of the shape of the movie.  Most significantly, we see the real monsters/villains of the film other than Kong.  I was surprisingly taken by the goofy tone of the trailer.  Is this movie going to balance a war-movie aesthetic with a lot of humor as well as this trailer does?  We’ll see…

Cars is my least favorite of all the Pixar movies.  As a result, Cars 2 is the only Pixar movie I’ve never seen!  So I’m not really interested in a Cars 3, though I admit that my eyebrows were raised by this weird, grim teaser:

I’m not sure I understand Disney studio’s desire to seemingly create a live-action remake of every single one of their animated films, but this trailer for Beauty and the Beast is impressive:

That’s a spectacular cast and the … [continued]

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Let’s begin today with this: the single best joke told by every president, from Obama to Washington.

Fox has greenlit 12 episodes of a 24 spin-off series, 24: Legacy.  It’s hard to imagine my watching that since I didn’t make it past the first two episodes of 2014’s 24 revival mini-series Live Another Day.  I watched 24 from episode 1 of season 1, and at first I was evangelical about this amazing, intense serialized show.  But truth be told the only seasons I really loved were those first two years (and even those seasons had plenty of problems).  I stuck around for years afterwards and while there were some high points, I tended to find myself continually disappointed.  I finally bailed before the final season.  I had high hopes that Live Another Day would be a return to the show’s original greatness, but those first two hours just felt like more of the same.  Oh well.

Far more exciting: Netflix has announced a Wet Hot American Summer sequel!  The so-obvious it’s genius Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later will be eight episodes and, you can be assured, high on my must-watch list.

Was this seriously going to originally be the opening shot of Star Wars: The Force Awakens???  Love it!

So this is awesome: the Language Creation Society has just submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in Paramount’s suit attempting to halt production of the Star Trek fan-film Axanar.  Seems this Language Creation Society objects to Paramount’s contention that they can copyright the Klingon language.  You’ve got to read this article, it is nerdy and hilarious and wonderful.  To restate my position, I strongly object to Paramount’s heavy-handed effort to squash this fan-made film.  (After creating the amazing fifteen-minute Prelude to Axanar, this group of Trek fans fund-raised on Kickstarter — full disclosure: I have donated — to create a full feature-length film telling the story of the Five Years’ War between the Federation and the Klingons.  This is an event that is part of the backstory of Star Trek: The Original Series.  The planned film would focus on telling the story of Starfleet Captain Garth of Izar in the years before he became a crazy villain, as seen in the Original Series episode “Whom Gods Destroy.”)  To be clear, it is probably true that the Axanar folks are in violation of Paramount’s copyright, but who really cares?  These fan films are not a competition with Paramount’s official Star Trek efforts.  These fan-made projects are done by Trek fans who love Trek.  I absolutely guarantee you that every single Trek fan who donated to Axanar is going to buy a ticket (perhaps many!) to see Star [continued]

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Prepare to lose the rest of your day.  Mad Men screencaps with Parks and Rec quotes.  You’re welcome.

Who said it: Donald Trump or Lucille Bluth?

I am intrigued by this trailer for Jon Favreau’s live-action The Jungle Book.  This trailer is gorgeous.  Will the film be good?  My curiosity is certainly piqued.

Here’s another very brief peek at Netflix’s upcoming Jessica Jones series.  I’m really itching for a more substantial look at this show, but this new very short spot is sweet.

I’ve spent some time lately catching up with Jerry Seinfeld’s amazing Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.  It’s pretty much perfect entertainment for anyone who loves Seinfeld, and anyone who loves comedy.

I’ve also been hugely enjoying catching up with some fantastic podcasts.  First up is the always great Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show.  These in-depth two-hour interviews with actors and comedians are extraordinary.  So funny and so fascinating.  I’ve been listening to years and I’ve still barely scratched the surface of the almost 250 shows that Mr. Pollak has done.

I’ve also been digging Kumail Nanjiani’s The X-Files Files Each show features Mr. Nanjiani and a rotating series of guests discussing two episodes of The X-Files.  They’re watching and reviewing the entire series in order, from start to finish.  This is a great reminder of when The X-Files was great and when nothing was more fun than deeply analyzing its mysteries.  This is a great way to build excitement for The X-Files’ much-anticipated return to television in January.

I was introduced to The X-Files Files when I read about it on Devin Faraci’s Birth.Movies.Death., and I’m also digging Mr. Faraci’s podcast The Canon, in which he and Amy Nicholson discuss one movie a week, debating its merits and legacy and deciding whether they think that film merits inclusion in “the canon,” their made-up repository of only the very best films.  Often they pit two films against one another (such as their great episode debating Alien versus Aliens, or Annie Hall versus Manhattan).  This is a great listen.

I enjoyed this article about Essential Star Trek novels.  I have read every one of these books and they’re all great, though titling the article “That Even Non-Trekkers Should Read” is a mistake, as other than Peter David’s Imzadi, I can’t see non-Trek fans being interested in any of these books.  But re-title this post “That Every Trek Fan Should Read” and then we’d be on to something.  Lots of love in this article to several old-school novels from several decades ago.  I still remember reading Vonda M. McIntyre’s The Entropy Effect (one of the very first Pocket Book Star Trek novels … [continued]

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It’s Comic-Con in San Diego, and so lots of cool stuff has been popping up all over the web lately.  Let’s take a look!

I am a little dubious about Batman v Superman, but damn if this lengthy trailer isn’t pretty cool:

I mean, come on, who ever thought we’d actually see a Batman vs. Superman movie??  I love that this trailer showcases the Man of Steel supporting cast — I’m glad they’re being included in this film.  And I do love the liberal usage of imagery from Frank Miller’s seminal The Dark Knight Returns.  I just hope this film tells a good solid story and doesn’t waste too much time building up a future DC film universe to compete with Marvel.  (I was surprised they included Wonder Woman in this trailer, and I wonder how large a role she plays in the film.)

I cannot wait for Netflix’s Jessica Jones series!!  Love this first look.  Glad to see Luke Cage is involved.

This is a great write-up of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens panel.  Sounds cool.  Hey, the entire panel is on-line!

I can’t quite believe this is real!  Here is (a very shaky recorded version of) the profane, violent Comic-Con trailer for Deadpool!  Fox is really releasing this??  Wowsers!

I’m also intrigued by this shaky leaked version of the trailer for DC’s Suicide Squad.  This movie is either going to be completely lame or unbelievably awesome.  I don’t think there’s much chance of a middle ground… I hope we get an official release of this trailer soon so we can get a better look at all of these characters.  UPDATE!  Here’s a high-rez version:

A trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse was shown but sadly hasn’t yet found its way on-line.  Too bad, the trailer sounds cool.  (Though I really feel like Days of Future Past was a wonderful conclusion to Bryan Singer’s X-Men films and I think it’s time to re-set these films and start telling new X-Men stories set in the present day (or, as the first-film was so wonderfully captioned, “in the not-too-distant future”…)  And Hugh Jackman, please stop teasing me with the possibility of an Old Man Logan film!  ‘Cuz that would be AMAZING!!!

The Game of Thrones panel sounds like it was fun.  Here’s even more info.  Aww, heck, just watch this!!

In other news…

This is a wonderful first article from Birth.Movie.Death’s Devin Faraci from The Jerusalem Film Festival.  He makes a fascinating point about the stories of Jerusalem connecting to the stories told in films.  It’s a really thoughtful article.  I can’t wait to read more about Devin’s experiences at the festival.

I … [continued]

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This is a great article revisiting Stephen King’s final three Dark Tower novels.  I absolutely adore these books, and I am not at all in the camp of Dark Tower fans unsatisfied with the ending of Mr. King’s magnum opus.  I spent quite a while reading and writing about the Dark Tower series a few years ago.  Feel free to follow these links to revisit the journey with me: Entering The Dark Tower — The Dark Tower Book I: The Gunslinger – The Dark Tower Book II: The Drawing of the Three – The Dark Tower Book III: The Waste Lands — The Dark Tower Book IV: Wizard and Glass — The Dark Tower Book V: Wolves of the Calla — The Dark Tower Book VI: Song of Susannah — The Dark Tower Book VII: The Dark Tower — Return to the Dark Tower — The Little Sisters of EluriaMarvel Comics’ Adaptation of The GunslingerThe Wind Through The Keyhole.

If you, like me, are starting to get very sad about the impending end of Parks and Recreation, then it’s time to fall down the rabbit hole of this epic Twitter exchange of great Parks & Recs clips between Alan Sepinwall & Linda Holmes.  Here’s just a tiny taste:

Oh my god I am going to miss that show.

Holy cow: a Wet Hot American Summer sequel is happening — with all of the original cast — as an eight-episode Netflix series???  That is bonkers!!

This is a terrific article about the central “text” of Star Trek, and the challenges that must be conquered in terms of making future good Star Trek stories, on the big-screen or (hope hope hope) back on TV.  I don’t agree with all of his points, but this piece was written by someone who gets and loves Trek, and I think he has the right idea.

Speaking of Trek, I sure wasted a lot of time watching these old trailers!

We just recently passed the tenth anniversary of the airing of the pilot episode of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, “33.”  Wow.  I remember watching that when it aired.  (I also watched the mini-series when that aired, about a year-and-a-half before the series kicked off in the States.)  I can’t believe it was that long ago!!  Here is a great, in-depth look back at the greatness of that pilot, and here is a nice Q & A from show-runner Ronald D. Moore.

This is a great list of twelve Simpsons characters who actually evolved.

This concept art for an Alien sequel, developed by Neill Blomkamp, is ludicrously tantalizing.  Ripley and Hicks together again??  … [continued]

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It’s interesting that the only two network half-hour comedies that I watch these days… happen to be run by the same individual, Mike Schur.  He made his bones on The Office (where he also played Mose), and he’s one of the show-runners of both Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.  Here’s are two wonderfully detailed interviews with Mr. Schur, the first of which looks back at the first season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and the second of which looks back at season seven of Parks and Rec, with a focus on the season finale.  These are great interviews and well-worth your time if you’re a fan of either show.

This is a terrific, in-depth interview with Mel Brooks, discussing Blazing Saddles.  Get comfy and enjoy.

R.I.P. H.R. Giger.

I was sad to read of the passing of Efrem Zimbalist Jr.  He had many great roles but for me he will always be the iconic voice of Alfred from Batman the Animated Series and many subsequent DC animated projects.  He was absolutely perfect as Alfred, and when I read the character’s dialogue in any comic book I always hear Mr. Zimbalist’s voice.  I am really heartbroken that we’ll never again get to hear him voice Alfred in any future DC animated film or show.

Speaking of Batman, I’ve gotta say, this first official glimpse of Ben Affleck as Batman (in Zack Snyder’s upcoming untitled Superman Vs. Batman film) is pretty great.  Love the costume.  Love the small bad ears.  Love Ben’s Batman chin.  Love that classic look of the Batmobile.

So, I bashed The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in my review.  I’ve been glad to see that I’m not alone in my disappointment with the film.  Click here to read Film Critic Hulk take the film apart.  Click here for io9’s very funny list of Amazing Spider-Man 2 FAQs.  (Their one-sentence answer to the question “What is The Amazing Spider-Man 2 about?” is hysterical and 100% spot-on.)  Finally, this article No One Cares About Peter Parker’s Parents is also 100% spot-on and echoes a point I made in my review.

This is cool: apparently back in the day, Criterion released the first three James Bond films on laserdisc, with commentary tracks featuring candid comments from many of the people involved in the making of the films.  When Bond producer Albert Broccoli objected, the discs were recalled from stores.  Here’s the full story.  Now the commentaries have re-surfaced and are available to download for free here!  I have downloaded them all and look forward to giving them a listen soon.  Should be fun!

This is a cute article, tracking the many appearances of … [continued]

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The great Dick Cavett has a phenomenal piece up at nytimes.com on all of the recent Tonight Show silliness.  This is definitely worth a read.

Also worth your time: the moving words of tribute posted at AICN in remembrance of the great Roger Ebert.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these Arrested Development posters!!  May 26th just cannot come soon enough!

And speaking of things I love love love — this trailer for Man of Steel:

That is just spectacular, action-packed and emotionally rich.  Kevin Costner’s delivery of the line “you are my son” just kills me.  If the film delivers on half of the promise of this trailer, we are in for a hell of a ride this summer.

And here is the final full Star Trek Into Dark Knight (I mean, Into Darkness) trailer:

That’s a very solid trailer, showing us more than we saw before though still keeping most of the film’s major plot points under wraps.  We still don’t know if Bennedict Cumberbatch is playing Khan or not, which frustrates me but I guess we’ll all know for sure pretty soon!  I am also interested to see how they undo all the damage we see poor old Enterprise taking in this trailer.  Are we already going to see a refit-Enterprise in this rebooted film series?  (That actually gives me hope that the next Trek film will see fit to bring the design of the Enterprise back a little closer to the classic original or, even better, to the refit-Enterprise of the first six Trek movies, which to me still stands as one of the most gorgeous space-ship designs ever, far superior to the bulky monstrosity of the Enterprise in J.J. Abrams’ films.  We’ll see…!)

I always get excited when an original sci-fi film (not an adaptation, not a sequel or prequel or re-imagining) is released, and Neil Blomkamp’s Elysium — his follow-up to the phenomenal District 9 — looks absolutely dynamite.  Take a peek:

Here’s a terrific Q & A with Ronald D. Moore, a long-time Star Trek writer (he was a key creative force on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and the creator/show-runner of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica.  (Part two of the Q & A is here.)  Mr. Moore has been absent from television for too long now, I hope the series he is working on for Sy-Fy comes together.

This is a great behind-the-scenes pic from Ridley Scott’s original Alien.  And these are also great, showing off the gorgeous model-work used to bring the refit U.S.S. Enterprise (still the greatest of all the Enterprise designs) to life in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.[continued]

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Arrested Development lives!!  This photo of Buster from the upcoming new episodes (I’m hearing Spring 2013?) really made me laugh.

Rumblings of a Dr. Horrible sequel continue to, well, rumble.  Could this actually become a reality next year?  Hoping hoping hoping.

Yeahbutwha?  The star of the new S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series will be the killed-off-in-The Avengers Agent Phil Coulson??  I love Clark Gregg and love the idea of him headlining a new Marvel Universe TV show, but how is this possible?  Does this mean the S.H.I.E.L.D. show is set in the past?  Very curious…

This is a fascinating article by screenwriter Jon Spaihts on his original ideas for Prometheus, back when the film was without-question an Alien prequel.  (Mr. Spaihts apparently wrote five drafts of the film, before handing it over to Damon Lindelof for further revisions into the film that was actually shot.)  Hindsight is of course twenty-twenty, but boy Mr. Spaiht’s ideas as he describes them sound far superior to the film we actually got.

I love the idea that Emily Blunt (originally in the running to play the Black Widow in Iron Man 2, and I must say I think she would have been FAR better casting that Scarlett Johansson) is rumored to now be up for a role in Avengers 2. I hope this happens.

I am fascinated by the massive HD remastering project necessary for the release of Star Trek: The Next Generation on blu-ray.  (I loved the sample disc, though I haven’t yet shelled out for the complete season one, released a few months ago.)  Because Next Gen was edited on videotape, each individual has had to be re-edited from the original film negatives — the scale of the endeavor just boggles my mind.  Trekcore has posted a fantastic interview with the re-mastering team.  Here also is an interview with the CBS producers overseeing the project.

Speaking of Star Trek: The Next Generation, last month marked the 25th anniversary of the premiere of Next Gen. Here is a fantastic interview with Ronald D. Moore (one of the key writers for Next Gen and then Deep Space Nine, and of course also the creator and show-runner of the re-launched Battlestar Galactica) on the occasion of Next Gen’s 25th anniversary.

Back in 1990, fans went crazy when they noticed an Alien skull hanging as a trophy in the Predator’s ship in Predator 2. Here is a much less-cool sort of inter-sci-fi-movie crossover.  (Well, the idea does have a crazy sort of inspiration, I guess, but the problem is it just doesn’t really make any sense…)

Edgar Wright, Nick Frost, and Simon Pegg’s third film together (after … [continued]

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Josh Reviews Prometheus

Sigh. I guess I’m just never going to see another good Alien movie, am I?

Who’d have thought it would be so hard? Ridley Scott’s 1979 original seemed ripe for further exploration, not one of those movies that would be impossible to ever sequelize.  And let’s not forget, A GREAT ALIEN SEQUEL HAS ALREADY BEEN MADE!  I’m speaking, of course, of the very first sequel to Alien: James Cameron’s magnificent Aliens. That film happens to be one of the very best sequels ever made, and it’s so good that to this day people debate which is better: Alien or Aliens.

But since then, it’s been strike-out after strike-out. (One of the very first posts I wrote for this site contained my lamentations at the way the Alien franchise had gone off the rails.)  I had high hopes for Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien universe, Prometheus. (And make no mistake, despite all the perplexing statements in the press by Ridley Scott, writer Damon Lindeloff, and other members of their team in which they claim that Prometheus is NOT an Alien prequel, from the film’s very first trailer it was obvious that it was.)  I mean, surely Ridley Scott, one of the finest filmmakers of our time, and the man who directed the original Alien back in 1979, could finally craft another worthy follow-up to that film?

Sorry, my friends, such is not the case.

Prometheus is jaw droppingly gorgeous. The film is a real work of art, the stunning product of a brilliant director who has the visual effects tools to create anything he can imagine, and the complete mastery of how to use those tools to greatest effect. Plenty of other directors with budgets far larger than that of Prometheus have used CGI effects in garish and ugly ways, but Prometheus is staggeringly beautiful.  The other space effects, the look of the Prometheus itself, the realization of the Engineer’s lair that Dr. Shaw and her teammates discover, image after gorgeous image unfold, each more mysterious and beautiful than the next.

Too bad, then, that the story of the film is so maddeningly incomprehensible.

OK, SPOILERS AHEAD so please beware.

I repeat: SPOILERS.

The original Alien has a simplicity that is impressive.  In the first half of the film, the crew of the Nostromo answer a beacon and investigate the extra-terrestrial space-ship they discover.  In the second half, they are mercilessly hunted by the Alien creature they unwittingly unleash, and try to survive.  That’s it, that’s the film.  And for all that the Alien is, let’s face it, made-up sci-fi hogwash, there’s still a simplicity to the life-cycle of the creature that is elegant and easily understood … [continued]

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Prometheus has Landed

March 18th, 2012
,

MUST.  SEE.  NOW.

If Hollywood must continue to insist on making prequels, this is the way to do it.

I absolutely LOVE the way that trailer mimics the trailer for the original Alien from 1979:

I have watched Alien countless times and still find myself dazzled and mystified by all of it’s weird and bizarre iconography.  Seeing that imagery brought to life in this trailer (The space jockey!  Hyper-sleep pods!  The derelict ship from LB-427! Alien eggs!) is making me more giddily happy than I can put into words.  It’s amazing to see Sir Ridley Scott returning, at long long last, to sci-fi.  That he’s ALSO returning to the Alien universe (despite all of the now-ridiculous denials of Prometheus’ being an Alien prequel) is just icing on the cake.

You all saw the xenomorph in there, right??

Oh my lord I cannot wait for June.… [continued]

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The Top 10 DVDs/Blu-Rays of 2010 — Part One!

Earlier this week I posted my list of my Top 10 Movies of 2010!  (Click here for part one and here for part two.)  Here now is my list of my Top 10 DVDs/Blu-Rays of 2010:

First, the DVDs that might have made this list had I had the time to watch them.  My to-watch DVD shelf has been getting a bit backed-up lately.  As a result, there are several DVDs and DVD sets that I am really excited about, but that I haven’t had a chance to watch.  These include: The Red Riding Trilogy, the new edition of The Bridge on the River Kwai, the Criterion Collection edition of Guillermo del Toro’s film Cronos, the Criterion Collection edition of The Thin Red Line, and Parks and Recreation Season 2 (which I watched when it aired but I’m eager to revisit!).  OK, now on to my list:

10. Scott Pilgrim vs the World (Blu-Ray) — This was my favorite film of 2010, and the Blu-Ray release rocked pretty hard as well.  First of all, it’s an absolutely GORGEOUS presentation of the film.  Second, the DVD is totally awash in incredible special features.  I’m a nut for DVD special features, but this disc tested even my endurance (in the best possible way).  There’s a phenomenal, in-depth making-of documentary, but there are also a ton of deleted and extended scenes, bloopers, featurettes spotlighting the film’s music, visual effects, casting, fight-training, pre-production, and so-much more.  It’s a magnificent presentation of a magnificent film.  (Click here for my original review of the film.)

9. Clerks (Blu-Ray) — This is a great film and it looks great on Blu-Ray, but the reason it’s on this list is because this disc includes the 2004 documentary film Oh, What a Lovely Tea Party.  I’ve been reading about this documentary for years, but it’s never been released on any home-video format, until now.  It’s a funny and fascinating fly-on-the-wall look at the making of Kevin Smith’s film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.  Now, you might be asking yourself, what is a documentary about Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back doing on the Blu-Ray of Clerks? Well, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, which is why this disc is in the bottom half of my top ten list, rather than the top half.

8. The Pacific (Blu-Ray) — This was a gift from my brother and his wife, and what a gift!  I consider Band of Brothers to be one of the finest television series ever created, so obviously I was eagerly anticipating Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg’s take on the war in the Pacific.  In many ways, … [continued]

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If you’re a member of facebook, check out this list (compiled by a key contributor to The Digital Bits, my favorite DVD/blu-ray-related web-site) of films that he’s still waiting to be released on DVD.  It’s a hoot.  While I’m discussing the Digital Bits, here’s something cool: In anticipation of the upcoming release of all four Alien films on blu-ray, they have posted an extensive look at the making of Fox’s amazing Alien Quadrilogy DVD box set from a few years back.  This was originally published in the book The Digital Bits: Insider’s Guide to DVD.  Since all of this material will appear on the blu-ray set, this is well-worth a read, if you’re a fan of these films.

The deleted scene from Return of the Jedi that was shown at Star Wars Celebration V has been taken down from youtube, but as of this writing it can still be seen here, so check it out.  It’s a cool moment showing Luke’s constructing his new lightsaber, and Vader trying to speak to his son through the force.

Speaking of Star Wars, I have waxed poetical many times on this site about the magnificence of Adywan’s e-edit/restoration of Star Wars: A New Hope.  (I am sick of referring to it as Episode IV.)  Here is a phenomenal visual guide to over 500 of the changes/fixes that Adywan has made.  If you have any way of getting your hands on this film (and fanedit.org is a good place to start), then do so immediately.

This is an interesting article about a new book about the Bond films: The Man With the Golden Touch: How the Bond Films Conquered the World. This is a book I need to read!  By the way, I don’t agree with the author of the article’s closing thought that the recent films have been entirely without artistic merit.  I was disappointed by Quantum of Solace, but didn’t think it was a complete catastrophe.  I also am not nearly so down as that writer on Pierce Brosnan.  I love Brosnan as Bond.  He was just in some bad Bond films.  (His first two were strong, but his last two — The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day — were TERRIBLE.)  But I don’t blame Brosnan for what went wrong in those films.  It’s a shame that MGM’s financial woes have put a halt to the series for now.  But James Bond Will Return.  Someday, I guess.

There’s a nice defense of Tom Cruise by Nick Nunziata over on CHUD, and I must say I agree wholeheartedly.  Speaking of CHUD, I was very sorry to read of Devin Faraci’s [continued]

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Have you heard that they’re making new Looney Tunes cartoons to show theatrically?  Check out this glimpse of the first new Road Runner cartoon in far too many years:

Battlestar Galactica lives on!  Rumors are that SyFy are working on an on-line BSG spin-off, tentatively titled “Blood and Chrome” that would depict a young Bill Adama during the first Cylon War.  I LOVED the glimpse at a young “Husker” Adama that we got in Razor, and would LOVE to see more.  I hope this comes to pass!

I’ve been reading for years about the Alamo Drafthouse’s Rolling Roadshow film series, in which famous films are screened in a location connected in some way with the film.  It’s always sounded like a cool idea, and these special posters for the upcoming tour are just phenomenal.  I love movie posters, and these are about the coolest posters I’ve seen in a long, long while.

If there’s one sliver of a silver lining from MGM’s financial woes forcing Guillermo del Toro to leave the in-development Hobbit films, its the announcement that he’ll next be directing an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s Mountains of Madness, a project that del Toro has been talking about for years.  Should be awesome.

As readers of the site are probably well aware, I am one of the few people on Earth who unabashedly loved Superman Returns.  So I wholeheartedly second this plea from CHUD that Brandon Routh be allowed to reprise his role as Clark Kent/Superman in the next Superman film.  I thought Routh was pretty much perfect, and I would be thrilled to see him continue.

Speaking of superheroes, I’m sure you’ve all heard about the official announcement of The Avengers‘ cast and line-up at Comic-Con last weekHere are some more details from the panel.  Pretty astounding cast, if you ask me, and I think Joss Whedon is a perfect choice as director.  Now please please please don’t screw this up, gang!!

Here are some fascinating reports from the Thor panel & footage from Comic-Con, as well as the Captain America panel.  I cannot wait to see some actual footage from these two films.  I really hope Marvel is able to pull these movies off.

Behold The Infinity Gauntlet!!  Awesome.

OK, enough Marvel, let’s talk DC!  I was very underwhelmed by our first look at Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern, but I love this peek at Sinestro.

Lost‘s Damon Lindeloff is re-writing the Alien prequel that Ridley Scott is directing? Pretty cool.

If they ever actually make another Judge Dredd movie, I love the idea of Karl Urban under the helmet.

Some interesting TV [continued]

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News Around the Net!

There’s a great article about Mel Brooks up at Boston.com, because his musical Young Frankenstein is coming to Boston for a two-week run.  I was disappointed by Young Frankenstein when I saw it on broadway, but this brief piece about one of our comedic legends is worth a read.

Here’s a fascinating article about the many different versions of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.  I’m a big fan of this groundbreaking film, and I’d love to see the newly-restored 147-minute version.

One of my very favorite web-sites, thedigitalbits.com, has posted a very informative interview with DVD Producer Michael Pellerin.  Mr. Pellerin has been involved with the DVD releases of The Lord of the Rings since the very beginning, and he has some fascinating comments on the recent blu-ray release of the trilogy as well as the material that Peter Jackson has been saving for the eventual ultimate blu-ray super-duper box set.  (Can’t wait for that!)

Speaking of Peter Jackson and The Lord of the RingsDecember 2012 needs to hurry up and get here already!!!

Artist Ron Miller has created a series of breathtaking images entitled the Eight Wonders of the Solar System.  Gorgeous.

I am starting to believe that Ridley Scott is actually going to make the Alien prequel that has been rumored for years.  Mr. Scott spills a lot of beans in this interview with MTV, although it was the folks at HitFix that revealed that he’s actually planning to create TWO prequels.  OK, color me cautiously intrigued.  I’m excited to see Ridley Scott return to the Alien universe for the first time since 1979, though as a rule I think prequels are stupid.

Here’s a great profile of comic book genius Jeff Smith.  Bone is one of the masterpieces of the medium (if you haven’t read it — you really must), and I’m really digging his new series Rasl.

Star Trek geeks: check out this incredible opening movie from the 2009 FedCon Science Fiction Convention.  This gorgeous 4-minute short film, created by Tobias Richter, features an action-packed sequence featuring the U.S.S. Kelvin & redesigned U.S.S. Enterprise from J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek film.  Pretty awesome stuff.  (Though I still hate the redesigned Enterprise…)

Speaking of Star Trek, I am giddy with excitement over the next batch of episodes in the phenomenal fan-film series Star Trek: Phase II.  (I’ve written before about Phase II here, and here is my review of one of their recent episodes, “Blood and Fire.”)  There’s a great series of teases for these upcoming episodes up at Trekmovie.com, including the revelation that these mad geniuses are planning on including Arex (the … [continued]

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When Good Series Go Bad

I watched Alien Vs Predator: Requiem this weekend on DVD.   Sigh.   Has there ever been a franchise that started off as incredible, and then became so abysmal, as the Alien and Predator series?

(A certain series about a family named Skywalker does come to mind, although I consider the prequels to be apocryphal thus allowing the Original Trilogy to maintain its luster in my mind…)

The first Alien was a ground-breaking work.   H.R. Giger’s creature design was a marvel of originality – truly unlike anything that had ever been seen before.   The script was smart, the cast was terrific, and director Ridley Scott created a compelling, fully-realized world for his characters to inhabit.   The “look” of Alien is imitated almost as much as Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner. The visual effects hold up and the film remains a white-knuckle suspense roller-coaster even today – a pretty stunning feat for a movie made in 1979.

The sequel, Aliens, was directed by another visionary – James Cameron. He wisely avoided creating a simple retread of the first movie.   Instead, he made a balls-to-the-wall action movie that is intense, exciting, and scary from the first scene to the last.   But what makes the action work is the great screenplay and attention to character development.   Cameron, aided by a terrific ensemble of actors (Sigourney Weaver, Paul Reiser, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, and a star-making performance from Bill Paxton – “maybe you haven’t been keeping up on current events but we just got our asses kicked, man!”) created a group of distinct, interesting characters that are enormous fun to watch.   These characters aren’t stereotypes – they all (at least, the ones who survive – and even many of the ones who don’t) grow and change as the film moves forward.   The relationship between Ripley and the little girl Newt is the heart of the movie.   When bad things start to happen (and they do), this makes all the action that much more gripping.   And the action and (pre-CGI) visual effects are spectacular.

Then there’s Predator. Gone With The Wind this ain’t, but it is a staggeringly entertaining action film.   As with Alien and Aliens, part of the magic of this film is the way the combination of script, director, and actors creates a group of characters that are extraordinarily watchable.   That’s the key to a good they’re-gonna-die-one-by-one sort of movie – the viewer really needs to invest in the ensemble of characters.   And what an ensemble we have here:   Arnold Schwarzenegger at his ripped-bicep monosyllabic best; Carl Weathers at HIS ripped-bicep monosyllabic best; Bill Duke and his intense eyes; and Jesse “The Body” Ventura chewing his cigar and all the scenery.   Fine actors they … [continued]