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November 24th, 2021

Here’s the latest (final?) trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home.  It’s an awesome trailer and it has me very excited for the film!  But there are some spoilers in here, so if you want to go into the movie totally clean, you might want to skip this:

I haven’t loved the Apple TV+ Foundation show nearly as much as I’d hoped, but one of the best aspects of the show are its gorgeous visual effects.  I really enjoyed this short video exploring the making of those effects.  Who knew the show was actually using some old-school miniatures??

There were some big announcements on Disney+ day earlier this month.  Probably the most surprising was the announcement of a continuation of the X-Men animated series from the nineties!!  Wow!!  (I enjoyed that show when it originally aired, but I haven’t ever gone back to rewatch it.  Does it hold up??)

This is a very funny introduction to the cast of the Willow TV show (which I am super-excited for!!):

Hang on a second… have we all been mispronouncing Warwick Davis’ name ever since Return of the Jedi...????

Here’s a first look at the upcoming Ms. Marvel series for Disney+:

I can’t believe there’s a Moon Knight show in our future!!  Here’s a first look:

Just like I can’t believe there’s a She-Hulk show in our future!!  Here’s a first look:

I’m pleased that Disney has confirmed the Agatha Harkness show, spinning out of WandaVision, to be called Agatha: House of Harkness.  Click here for the logo.  I’m also excited for the Echo show, focusing on the deaf Native American super-heroine.  Click here for the logo.

I laughed at this trailer for Baymax, the upcoming TV show spin-off of Big Hero 6:

I dream that someday there will be another great Predator film.  (Just as I dream that someday there will be another great Alien film.)  The bad taste of 2018’s The Predator has barely left my mouth, and apparently there’s already a new Predator film heading our way: it’s called Prey and it’s set 300 years in the past.  It’s hard for me to get excited about this.  Though I loved Director Dan Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane, so maybe there’s hope that he’s the one to finally make a good Predator sequel…?  We’ll see…!

It’s been a long wait for the fourth season of Stranger Things.  I hope we don’t have to wait too much longer.  Here’s a trailer:

Sad news of the recent passing of Dean Stockwell, who was of course so magnificent as Al on Quantum Leap, not to mention Brother Cavill on the reimagined Battlestar Galactica in the oughts.

This is an [continued]

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News Around the Net — UPDATED with Book of Boba Fett Trailer!

November 5th, 2021

Lots to discuss!  Let’s dig in!

This is a great trailer — at last! — for The Book of Boba Fett:

I am excited to see this expansion of the Star Wars TV universe!  I hope this is awesome.  I am excited by the idea that Boba Fett will finally get the cool, bad-ass storyline I’ve been waiting for since the eighties.

Macbeth is my favorite Shakespeare play, and I love Denzel Washington.  So I am very excited for this:

This is an interesting trailer for The Batman:

I love director Matt Reeves (his Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is my all-time favorite Apes film!) and I believe he can make a great Batman movie.  I’m not sure about Robert Pattinson in the lead role, though.  I will say that this film looks pretty bad ass.  It’s an interesting choice, after Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, to apparently try to go even more grounded (and also even more grim and gritty).  That’s not the approach I’d ideally have wanted DC/Warner Brothers to have taken… but I can’t wait to see what they’ve created here.

Here’s a first-look at the Flash feature film (which they apparently have actually gone and made after years and years in development):

That’s a solid teaser though I can’t imagine it means much to any non-comic book fans out there.  I can’t wait to see Michael Keaton reprise his role as Batman, but we don’t actually get to see any of that here yet.  It’s wild that both Marvel and DC are making multiverse movies in the next year or so!!!

I thought James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad film was terrific.  (I highly recommend it, if you missed it this summer.  Forget the terrible first Suicide Squad film, this reinvention by Mr. Gunn is tremendous!)  I can’t believe Mr. Gunn and John Cena have actually made a Peacemaker spin-off TV series!!  This looks amazing, and absolutely bonkers.  I can’t wait.

Circling back to Batman, here’s an interesting look at the in-production new animated Batman cartoon, called Batman: Caped Crusader, by Bruce Timm, one of the masterminds behind Batman: The Animated Series.  I have high hopes for this series!!  Can Mr. Timm recapture the glory of Batman: The Animated Series with this new project?  Here’s hoping:

For years I’ve enjoyed listening to The Bendis Tapes on Jon Siuntres’ Wordballoon podcast — Mr. Siuntres’ multi-hours-long Q&A sessions with comic book author Brian Michael Bendis.  I’m delighted a new Bendis Tapes was just released!  This is a must-listen for all comic book fans.

I have fond memories of Smallville, which I enjoyed watching when it originally aired (even though the show never lived up … [continued]

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News Around the Net

October 15th, 2021

This looks amazing: a trailer for Peter Jackson’s Beatles documentary (it was a film, now it’s a multi-part series for Disney+) called Get Back:

Here’s the first trailer for House of the Dragon, the upcoming Game of Thrones spin-off show:

I must admit I’m having some trouble getting too enthusiastic for a return to the world of Game of Thrones...  I didn’t hate the final season of the show as many other did, but I was disappointed by the end.  (Click here for my detailed thoughts on Game of Thrones’ series finale.)  Still, I’m sure I’ll watch this new show to see if it’s any good…

Here’s a trailer for Black Lotus, the upcoming animated Blade Runner spin-off show:

I love the idea of more stories set in the Blade Runner world, but this trailer doesn’t seem very interesting to me.

Here’s a trailer for The Center Seat, the multi-episode documentary for The History Channel exploring the vast history of Star Trek, narrated by Gates McFadden:

I’ve watched and read a LOT of Trek documentaries but I’m always up for one more.  The trailer is… interesting.  I love the idea of a doc that’s somewhat irreverent, that dives into the juicy behind-the-scenes stories as opposed to the familiar Trek legends.  The trailer definitely leans into that.  But one can also go too far in that direction, and this trailer makes me a little nervous about that.  (Also: I am fairly certain Kirstie Alley is not telling the truth when she claims that she was offered less money for Star Trek III than Star Trek II.)  From the trailer it looks like they interviewed a vast array of people from in front of and behind the camera from across the many decades of Trek, which gets me excited.  On the other hand, this show comes from Brian Volk-Weiss, who was behind The Movies That Made Us, a series about which I was lukewarm because of its too-goofy tone.  So… consider my fingers crossed on this one.

Speaking of behind-the-scenes Trek stories, I’m intrigued to learn that Nana Visitor — so magnificent in her portrayal of Kira Nerys on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — is writing a book called A Woman’s Trek, in which she interviews many of the women behind Star Trek from across the years.  Click here for a fascinating interview with Ms. Visitor.  I can’t wait to read this book.

I’m pleased to see that Foundation has been reviewed for a second season by Apple TV+.  So far the series hasn’t been everything that I’d hoped, but I’d like to see the show given more time to play out (and hopefully find itself).

After the … [continued]

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News Around the Net

This is a great trailer for Seinfeld’s move to Netflix:

I’m excited to see this first trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s new movie, Nightmare Alley:

That looks gorgeous — and what a cast! I can’t wait to see it.

Here’s a trailer for Stranger Things 4:

The tremendous amount of time between seasons has cooled my enthusiasm for this show somewhat… and wow, the kids look a LOT older, so I wonder how much time in the world of the show is supposed to have passed between seasons?  But I’m looking forward to the show’s return and curious to see what’s next…

Here’s the first trailer for Netflix’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s seminal comic book series, The Sandman:

I’m intrigued and very much hoping the series is good…

A new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm is coming in less than a month??  Yes, please!

Rocky IV is coning back to theaters in November — with 40 minutes of additional footage added in??  Here’s a preview:

WOW — apparently a reboot of Babylon 5 is in the works, with the script to be written by B5 creator J. Michael Straczynski!  I’m not sure what to think of that.  B5 feels like a property that is ripe for further exploration, and I’m thrilled this is happening with the involvement of Mr. Straczynski.  On the one hand, a reboot makes sense, as it could be cool to see the series revisited in a modern TV style and with modern visual effects.  On the other hand, abandoning everything and starting over from zero doesn’t fill me with joy.  Still, color me excited and curious.  (We’ll see if this comes to anything… several other B5 revival projects over the years have died aborning.)

Click here to read more info, directly from Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski on Twitter.

I was similarly surprised to read of a new attempt to relaunch TekWar, the nineties-era sci-fi series of novels (and subsequent TV show) written by William Shatner.  I don’t have nearly as fond memories of TekWar as I do of Babylon 5… but I’m certainly curious to see if this actually happens and if it’s any good…

Click here for a fascinating, in-depth interview with Jon Stewart, in which he discusses his new show for Apple TV+ The Problem with Jon Stewart and many other topics.

I quite enjoyed Kevin Smith’s 2019 film Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, which I only saw for the first time a few weeks ago.  So I’m eager for his next return to those characters in Clerks III, which recently wrapped production.

Click here to read a fascinating, nuanced piece by Howard Fishman for The [continued]

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News Around the Net!

September 22nd, 2021

For a huge sequel coming out in just a few months, we’ve seen surprisingly little promotion for The Matrix Resurrections… but here now at last is a trailer:

Color me intrigued!  I quite like the first Matrix film (though perhaps I didn’t love it as much as as most of the rest of the world seemed to, back when it was released), and I was disappointed by the two sequels (though I didn’t loathe them as much as much of the rest of the world seemed to, back when they were released).  It’s difficult to mount a successful sequel so many years later — many have tried and failed — but I’m certainly interested to see whether this sequel/reboot will be any good…

Here’s the first substantial trailer for Amazon Prime’s adaptation of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series:

I’ve never read the books, though I’ve long thought I should give them a try.  So I have no connection to the source material, but I’m intrigued by the trailer and I’ll probably give this series a watch…\

I love this first trailer for the next Disney+ Marvel TV show, Hawkeye:

That looks so fun!  I’m all in on these Marvel Disney+ shows.  I can’t wait for Hawkeye.

Speaking of Marvel, I somehow missed this new trailer for The Eternals that was released a couple of weeks ago:

I’m so intrigued that Marvel has chosen to adapt this very obscure title as their next big thing.  The cast is fantastic, and there are some gorgeous visuals in that trailer.  (And we finally get to see a true Jack Kirby style Celestial!!!  Amazing!!)  I can’t wait.

I didn’t know Robot Chicken was still in production, so I was delighted to see this trailer for their upcoming eleventh (!!) season:

I’m intrigued by this trailer for Among the Stars, a documentary series coming next month to Disney+…

I’m a nut for stuff regarding NASA and the space program, so I’m definitely interested in checking that out.

Last week was the 55th anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek.  Wowsers.  Paramount used that “Star Trek Day” to promote many of the currently in-production Star Trek shows.  Here’s a trailer for season two of Picard:

Here’s a look at the in-production first season of the Original Series era show, Strange New Worlds:

And here’s the first full trailer for the animated Star Trek: Prodigy:

Oh how I wish I could be excited about all of this new Star Trek product.  The wild thing is that Paramount is doing what I’ve for decades been wanting to see happen with the Trek franchise: instead of being locked into one single show in one single era, … [continued]

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News Around the Net (UPDATED)

August 31st, 2021

At long last, here’s the first trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home:

Looks like Disney & Marvel opted to skip a traditional teaser and jump right into a full trailer.  I can’t believe this movie is only a few months away!

Jon Stewart is returning to TV!  (Sort of.)  Here’s a teaser:

Here’s the first real trailer for FX’s upcoming adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra’s comic book series Y: The Last Man:

I loved the comic book series, so I’m interested to see if this show is any good.

This is a wild trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: Visions anthology series:

I’m very curious to see this…

Sad news that author Jonathan Rinzler has passed away at a too-young age.  Mr. Rinzler was the author of numerous incredible books exploring the making of the original Star Wars trilogy, the Indiana Jones films, Alien, Planet of the Apes and many more.  Allow me to recommend The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back as an awesome way to dive into his work.

This is exciting — the complete series of Superman: The Animated Series is finally being released on blu-ray!!  This follow up to Batman: The Animated Series is a terrific show, one of the very best non-comic book depictions of Superman ever made.

Here’s a first look at Kevin Smith’s upcoming Clerks III.  It’s been years (decades) since I loved a Kevin Smith film, but I still have a lot of love in my heart for his early films (Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back).  Can he recapture the magic with a new Clerks film?  I’m hoping for the best…

This is fun news: they’re making a documentary series based on the podcast Smartless, hosted by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett.  I love the podcast, so I’m eager to see this documentary series!  (Though, what the heck is Discovery+…?  I must admit I’ve never heard of that streaming service…)

Sign me up to read Mel Brooks’ newly-announced memoir, All About Me! (that’s a great title) when it’s published…!

I’ve loved the past several Mission: Impossible films, and this description of a massive new stunt they’ve cooked up for the seventh film sounds like fun!  I can’t wait to see it!

So, it’s really true, a new Fletch film is actually happening??  Apparently Greg Mottola’s Confess, Fletch has wrapped filming!  Jon Hamm is playing Fletch?  I can’t wait to see this — I really hope it’s good!

Is Francis Ford Coppola finally going to get to make his long-in-the-works film Megalopolis?  I certainly hope so.  I’d love to see it someday…

Click here [continued]

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News Around the Net!

August 2nd, 2021

I am really digging the most recent trailer for Dune:

Wow I really, really hope this is a great as I want it to be.  I’m loving what I’ve seen so far, including these great new character posters.

This is a solid trailer for the new Ghostbusters film:

Can this possibly be any good?  To quote Fox Mulder, I want to believe…

Here’s a teaser (though without any actual footage) of the long-in-development TV adaptation of the great comic book series Y: The Last Man.  I hope the show is good!

Click here for an interesting, in-depth interview with Daniel Craig discussing No Time to Die.  I can’t wait to finally see this film…!

There are quite a number of adaptations of Neil Gaiman’s books in the works these days… the latest being the announcement of an Anansi Boys TV series at Amazon.  Anansi Boys isn’t one of my favorite books by Mr. Gaiman, but I’m intrigued to see what a TV adaptation might look like.

This new poster gets me excited and sad for Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s final season…!

The last several years have been filled with announcements and rumors about new Star Trek movie projects, none of which have yet actually come to be.  Will this latest announcement, that WandaVision’s Matt Shakman will be directing a new Trek film, actually be real?  We’ll see…

Speaking of Trek, here’s the first actual look at footage from the new animated series, Star Trek: Prodigy:

The animation looks nice, and I’m tickled by the idea that xx is in a Star Trek show, but the premise of a Star Trek show for kids seems like the wrong approach to me.  (Though obviously this series is not aimed at me.)

On the other hand, here’s a nice tease for the second season of Star Trek: Lower Decks.  The first season was the only modern Trek show to give me joy, so I’m actually quite looking forward to season two!

This is cool news: J.K. Simmons might reprise his role as Commissioner Gordon (from Justice League) in the upcoming Batgirl film for HBO Max.  I’d love to see more of the great J.K. Simmons as Gordon!

This is a nice piece defending Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.  I’ve always had a soft spot for Star Trek III — I think it’s the exception to the even-odd rule of the classic Trek films.

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Please support MotionPicturesComics.com by clicking through one of our Amazon links the next time you need to shop!  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  That means I’ll receive a small percentage [continued]

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News Around the Net!

July 9th, 2021

Sad news that the brilliant director Richard Donner has passed away.  Mr. Donner directed some of my very favorite films, including Superman: The Movie and The Goonies.  He also directed the iconic “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” episode of The Twilight Zone, starring a young William Shatner, as well as all four Lethal Weapon movies, Scrooged, The Omen, and so many more wonderful movies.  He was an enormous talent.  Click here to read more about his life and career.  Click here for some reactions to his passing.  Click here for a very funny story Gene Hackman had to tell about filming Superman: The Movie.

This looks interesting: a documentary called Val, exploring the life of Val Kilmer:

I’m sad to learn that Mr. Kilmer has throat cancer and can no longer speak.  Mr. Kilmer was a magnificent actor and in a ton of terrific movies.  He also apparently behaved rather shabbily behind the scenes on several of those movies.  But I’m very curious to see this documentary…!

So far these early trailers for the Apple TV+ adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s beloved Foundation series don’t look much like the books… but they do look cool.  I’m very excited and really hope this is good:

I enjoyed this latest trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings:

This is fun: Nathan Lane wanders through the Criterion Collection’s closet of DVDs/blu-rays and waxes poetic about some movies he loves.  Gotta love his pitch for a musical based on Being There.

23 years after the show ended, a Seinfeld soundtrack collection is being released!  I am a huge Seinfeld fan, though I must confess I’ve never felt this was a show whose soundtrack I desperately needed to own.  But I must admit, I’m curious…

I have been a Conan O’Brien fan for decades, ever since I first noticed his name as a writer on some of my favorite episodes of The Simpsons.  I’m still a fan today; his podcast Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend is one of my favorites.  It’s a momentous event that he’s ended his talk show.  I can’t wait to see what else he does next.

This is cool: apparently, Professor Stefan Klein has invented a flying car.  Move over Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.!!!

Thanks for reading, and please support this site by clicking through one of these links to enjoy a great Richard Donner movie:

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June 17th, 2021

This is a great new trailer for the film adaptation of Tick, Tick…Boom!, directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda!

I loved the second season of For All Mankind.  If you’re not yet watching this Apple TV+ show, I encourage you to start immediately!!  Click here for an interview with co-creator Ronald D. Moore.  (Is it possible For All Mankind could run for seven seasons…?  That’d be amazing!!)

Speaking of Mr. Moore… he also co-created the reimagined Battlestar Galactica from the aughts.  Last week I posted this incredible video of a live performance of All Along the Watchtower by Battlestar Galactica composer Bear McCreary, accompanied by Starbuck herself, Katee Sackhoff:

I watched that quite a few times!  Then I fell down something of a rabbit hole online, and I found great stuff like this full Battlestar Galactica concert by Bear McCreary and company:

Then I found and enjoyed this 2016 concert of Star Trek music from across the Trek franchise, from the Film Music Prague Festival:

Back in 2016, I reviewed Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage, a magnificent two-CD set in which the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Justin Freer, performed music from across the fifty year history of Star Trek.  Then, in an extremely geeky move, I decided to create my own vision of a concert capturing the very best Star Trek music from across all the movies and TV series.  Click here to see what my ideal Trek concert would have been!

When I was a kid, I loved watching He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoons and playing with those toys.  Will this modern continuation of the show, overseen by producer Kevin Smith, be any good?  I must admit that I’m intrigued:

This is a weird story — a few weeks after it was announcing that Clarice was moving from CBS to Paramount+ for its second season, the show has now been cancelled.  I had zero interest in ever watching that show, but I’m interested in the behind-the-scenes showbiz machinations.  I must also admit to been a teensy bit pleased to see Alex Kurtzman stumble (even though I know I shouldn’t indulge in that schadenfreude).  I wish someone would take the reins of the modern Star Trek TV series away from him…

Speaking of Trek, here’s a trailer for the second season of Star Trek: Picard:

I have little hope this new season will be any good, but as always I will try to go in with an open mind and an open heart…

Sad news that actor Ned Beatty has passed away.  He was a great actor with a long career, though to me he will always and indelibly be Otis from 1979’s Superman: [continued]

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The COVID-caused drought in new MCU movies is going to end soon!  I can’t wait to see Black Widow, and I’m intrigued by this first look at The Eternals:

And in cause for additional rejoicing, a new Edgar Wright film is on its way to us.  I love this bizarre and beautiful trailer for Last Night in Soho:

Watch Emma Stone perform Steve Martin’s f-bomb-filled monologue from Planes, Trains and Automobiles?  Don’t mind if I do!

Watch Katee Sackhoff and Battlestar Galactica composer Bear McCreary perform All Along the Watchtower live?  DON’T MIND IF I DO!!!

Click here for a fantastic interview with Mr. McCreary, talking all about the music of Battlestar and the very cool sounding new release of So Say We All: Battlestar Galactica Live, an album of live performances of music from the show.

Speaking of cool new albums, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’s full soundtrack album is finally being released!  I love that underrated film.

This trailer for Who Are You, Charlie Brown? makes me very happy:

I can’t wait to watch that.

Here’s a nice little new featurette with Ben Burtt and John Roesch on the sound work they did for Raiders of the Lost Ark:

That featurette was released to promote the new 4K release of the four Indy films.

Readers of this site might be interested in this kickstarter to create a documentary film called 1982: Greatest Geek Year Ever, that will look back at all of the incredible movies released in 1982.  Sounds like fun!

Cool news that H.K. Jemesin’s Broken Earth trilogy of novels are being adapted for film.

Thank you for reading and supporting this site!!  Hope to see you back here soon!

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May 19th, 2021

Here’s a trailer for the Apple TV+ adaptation of Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story:

That looks creepy!  Stephen King adaptations can be hit or miss but I like the looks of this and it’s got a great cast.  (I need to find the time to read the original novel before watching this…)

I already own the Indiana Jones moves on DVD and in blu-ray… will I be able to resist a purchase of them in 4K?

That trailer really makes me smile.  (Though weirdly the trailer mentions “four unforgettable adventures”… I’m pretty certain there are only three canonical Indiana Jones movies, right?)

I like this tease for the upcoming Monsters, Inc. sequel series coming to Disney+, Monsters at Work:

I know at least one person for who HBO Max’s (delayed by pandemic) Friends reunion will be Must See TV!  Here’s the trailer:

When I was a kid the idea of a Snake Eyes movie would have blown my mind.  Now, sadly, I’m afraid I really couldn’t care less…

(Does anything better show a failure of imagination than the dumb “G.I. Joe Origins” subtitle?  Hey, it sure worked for X-Men Origins: Wolverine…!!)

Is this truly a real thing?  The band “Mouse Rat” (from Parks and Recreation) is actually releasing an album…?

Here’s the video for “5,000 Candles In The Wind (Bye Bye Li’l Sebastian)”:

This is exciting news: Bruce Timm (mastermind of Batman: The Animated Series, which in my opinion still stands as the best non comic book version of the Batman character ever made) (though Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight comes close…), Matt Reeves (director of the upcoming The Batman film) and J.J. Abrams are collaborating on a new animated Batman series for HBO Max called Batman: Caped Crusader.  Will this be anywhere near as good as Batman: The Animated Series…?  I dunno, but I can’t wait to find out…!

I was sad to read that Paul Mooney has passed away.  Mr. Mooney was a brilliant and trailblazing comedian, writer and performer.

I was also sad to read that Charles Grodin has passed away. I’ve loved Mr. Grodin in so many films, from Albert Brooks’ Real Life to Dave and so many more…

Joe Cornish and John Boyega are making a sequel to Attack the Block...??!!  Wowsers!!  I love Attack the Block — if you’ve never seen it, you should do so immediately!!  (Click here for my review.)  It’s a fantastic sci-fi comedy adventure.  (And it made John Boyega a star, pre-Star Wars.)  I hope this really happens…

Thanks for reading!

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Please support MotionPicturesComics.com by clicking through one of our Amazon links the next [continued]

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April 30th, 2021

Let’s start with this terrific first trailer for Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings:

That looks great!!  I can’t wait to see some new MCU films!!!

Speaking of Marvel, this is a very funny trailer for Marvel’s new animated M.O.D.O.K. show, starring Patton Oswalt:

Oh, man, am I going to have to start paying for Hulu now??  That looks right up my alley.

Billy Crystal and Tiffany Hadish in a buddy comedy?  OK, I’m interested…!  Here’s a trailer for Here Today:

Here’s another offbeat looking comedy — Nikole Beckwith’s film Together Together, starring Ed Helms and Patti Harrison:

This interesting-looking trailer for the second season of Netflix’s animated anthology series Love Death + Robots reminds me that I still need to watch season one…!!

I’m pleased to read that Richard Lewis will be appearing in an episode of the upcoming eleventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm!  Originally it had been announced that Mr. Lewis’ health was preventing him from being in the show.

Click here for a wonderfully in-depth oral history of the making of Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Movie.  I can’t believe that movie is 25 years old!!  I have a very warm spot in my heart for it.  It’s one of my favorite MST3K installments.

Speaking of MST3K, it’s not too late to back their kickstarter effort to make new episodes!  (I did!)

Here’s another interesting crowdfunding project: an indiegogo campaign for In Search of Tomorrow, which aims to be the definitive documentary about 1980s sci-fi films.  I backed this project, too!

I loved this small spotlight given to Peter Sanderson, who was the main writer for The official Handbook of the Marvel Universe as well as DC’s Who’s Who, two wonderful resource series from the eighties/nineties that I dearly loved.

Olivia Colman is in talks to join Marvel’s Secret Invasion Disney+ series with Samuel L. Jackson?  Right on!

Click here for a great Rolling Stone list of 25 essential jack Nicholson movies.  There are some great-sounding films on this list that I need to find time to see…!!

Thanks, as always, for reading!  Have a great weekend.

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News Around the Net

April 16th, 2021

Here’s a trailer for Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street, a new documentary exploring the creation of Sesame Street!  I can’t wait to see this:

This new mini-trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife is… well… it’s something…!

Watching mini Stay Pufts cooking one another is certainly… memorable!

Here’s a new trailer for Netflix’s adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic book series Jupiter’s Legacy:

That’s a decent trailer and it’s fun to see some memorable images from the comic brought to life.  But the trailer doesn’t do a great job, in my opinion, of selling the core concept of the comic, which is what happens when the spoiled children of world-saving super-heroes turn against their parents, thinking they can do better.  Is the series diverging from that set-up?  Or are they trying to keep that twist as a surprise?  I just wonder about this trailer which doesn’t seem so well-designed to interest people who don’t know the comic…

In other Mark Millar news, Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) has signed up to write and direct a film adapting Mr. Millar’s series Starlight, which was illustrated by Goran Parlov.  Cool!

Here’s a trailer for the upcoming animated direct-to-DVD/blu-ray Batman film, an adaptation of the classic story The Long Halloween:

Click here for a look back at the classic “steamed hams” bit from The Simpsons episode “22 Short Films About Springfield”.

This is an interesting interview with screenwriter Chris Terrio.  On the one hand, I’m not a big fan of his recent work (which includes the script for Batman v. Superman, Justice League, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker).  On the other hand, I have some sympathy for him; his work certainly wasn’t well-represented by the theatrically released versions of either Batman v. Superman or Justice League.  It’s interesting to read his perspective.

Click here for an interesting interview with John de Lancie, discussing his reprising the role of Q for the second season of Star Trek: Picard.

I think making a fifth Indiana Jones movie, at this point, is a terrible idea.  That being said, casting Phoebe Waller-Bridge in the film is a great way to get me interested!

It looks like the companies behind Robotech and Macross have finally worked out their differences!  I loved Robotech as a kid, and I’ve long wanted to see more of the original Japanese Macross shows and movies, which have been extremely difficult to watch legally here in the States.  I hope we’ll now see that start to change.

There’s a new Kickstarter campaign to make more episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000!!  I’ve backed it.  Can’t wait to see what they’re cooking up.

Thanks for reading!!

Click here to purchase [continued]

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News Around the Net!

April 9th, 2021

I’m delighted by this new trailer for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad:

I hope it’s good!!  I have faith in James Gunn, and the film has a hell of a cast.  (And I smiled seeing Starro at the very end!!)  I’d really like to truly love a DC movie again one of these days…

This is a fun new trailer for the newest Star Wars animated series, The Bad Batch:

It’s a great surprise to see Fennec Shand from The Mandalorian in there!!  I was also happy to see Tarkin, and to get a glimpse of Rex (back at what looks like the location of the crashed Republic ship from the finale of The Clone Wars series… which begs the question: will Ahsoka appear in this series??  I hope so!).

Here’s a trailer for the Space Jam sequel:

That made me smile, even though I don’t remember much liking the original Space Jam.  

I do, though, have a lot of nostalgic love for the original Nike Looney Tunes commercial from 1992 that was the inspiration for Space Jam.  In case you’re not familiar with it, here it is:

Apparently, Gary Whitta (Rogue One) and Jonathan Betuel are hoping to mount a sequel to The Last Starfighter.  Their concept reel has made its way online:

For more information on this project, you can click here.  I loved The Last Starfighter as a kid!!  Though it’s hard for me to imagine this sequel ever actually getting made…

William Shatner turned 90 recently!!  Amazing.  In honor of his birthday, two of the very best William Shatner impersonators — Kevin Pollak and Maurice LaMarche — got together to honor the man:

Quite a few new Star Trek-related trailers dropped this week.  My favorite is this short look at Lower Decks season two:

I enjoyed season one a lot more than I’d expected to, and I’m eager to see new episodes.  Lots of fun nerdy Trek jokes in that trailer.

Here’s a new trailer for season two of Star Trek: Picard:

I wish I could get more excited about the return of Q.  I love John de Lancie, but I think Q has been played out, and I just don’t have any faith that the creative team behind Picard can tell a good new story that will be a worthy use of this once-great character.  I’d love to be wrong.

We also got a trailer for the fourth season of Star Trek: Discovery (that is far more substantial than that Picard teaser):

That’s a pretty in-depth trailer for a season that I don’t expect we’ll actually see for some time (seeing as Discovery’s third season only finished airing a few months … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

March 25th, 2021

UPDATED: Unfortunately I have to open with the just awful news that Jessica Walter has passed away.  Her work as Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development stands among the very best comedic TV performances ever.  Click here for some sweet tributes from her friends and co-workers.

This is a beautifully put-together new trailer for In the Heights, coming out on June 18:

And, oh wait, they also released another trailer, that is also fantastic…!

I want to see that film RIGHT NOW!!

I’m excited that a new TV show from Mike Schur is coming soon!  It’s called Rutherford Falls, and here’s a trailer:

Mike Schur + small town was magic in Parks and Rec.  Will that be the case here, too?  I hope so.  (The only down side for me is that this will be on Peacock, and I’m not currently planning to add that to the list of the ten billion streaming services I already have…  sigh!!)

This is an interesting interview with Kevin Smith and Malcolm Ingram, discussing Mr. Ingram’s documentary, Clerk, about Mr. Smith and his career.  I used to be a huge fan of Mr. Smith’s films — I still think he’s a great storyteller, though it’s been years since I’ve really loved one of his films.  I am, though, for sure interested in seeing Clerk when it’s available…

This is exciting!  Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are working on a new World War II-set mini-series, following up on Band of Brothers (one of my all-time favorite things; I consider this required viewing every few years) and The Pacific.  It will be called Masters of the Air, and it’s being made for Apple TV+.  I have high hopes for this!

I’m surprised and delighted that Genndy Tartakovsky’s wonderful Clone Wars animated shorts will be coming to Disney+ in April!  These 2-D animated shorts were created between 2003-2005, and were set between Episode II and Episode III.  They were bumped out of continuity by the later CGI animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars series, but I’ve always loved Mr. Tartakovsky’s original shorts.  My DVDs of them are much-watched.  I’m hoping Disney+ will be streaming these in HD!

Wowsers: The Simpsons has reached 700 episodes.  That is just madness.

Click here to read a nice look back at the Wachowski’s film adaptation of V For Vendetta, on the occasion of its 15th anniversary.  The original comic book series, by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, is a masterpiece, and I’ve always had a fond place in my heart for the film.  Natalie Portman is fantastic.  It might be time of a rewatch of this, when I can find the time…!

I’m sad to read that … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

I’m intrigued by this trailer for Oxygen, a new sci-fi film starring Melanie Laurent (who was so great in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds):

I’m a huge Asterix fan — I grew up reading those amazing French comics, written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo — and so I’m excited that Netflix has announced a new Asterix animated series!  I can’t wait for this!  I hope it’s good.

This is exciting — HBO has given the go-ahead to a new limited series by The Wire mastermind David Simon and George Pelecanos (who most recently collaborated on the phenomenal, and criminally under-appreciated, series The Deuce).  It’s about Baltimore police corruption.  How perfect does that sound?  I am in!

I wouldn’t imagine I’d be at all interested in the prospect of a new Space Jam movie, but I have to admit the idea of Lebron James jumping into classic Warner Brothers movies has me intrigued.  Click here for lots more info on this long-in-the-works project.

With Zack Snyder’s 4-hour version of Justice League only days away, word has gotten out of his absolutely bonkers plans for a second and third Justice League film.  It’s quite a read.

Click here for a wonderful look back on Highlander, on the occasion of its 35th (wow!!!) anniversary.  I love that first Highlander film.  It’s one of the best bad movies ever made.

Good news, everybody!  The sixth and final season of Better Call Saul has finally begun production!  I am chomping at the bit to see this…

Rob Delaney (Catastrophe) is in Mission: Impossible 7??  Amazing!!  (Apparently so are Cary Elwes, Indira Varma, Chris Parnell, and Mark Gatiss…  Nice!)

Ryan Coogler recently shared some thoughts on the impossible task he’s facing: writing Black Panther 2 without Chadwick Boseman…

Click here for a gloriously nerdy, in-depth article exploring the tech challenges involved in bringing both versions of The Simpsons (the correct, original 4×3 framing as well as HD versions that are cropped) to Disney+.

For many years, John Byrne was my absolute favorite comic book artist and writer.  His long run illustrating X-Men, along with writer Chris Claremont, is one of the greatest comic-book runs ever, and a huge reason why the X-Men are still so popular today.  I discovered that, on his blog, Mr. Byrne has been writing and penciling new X-Men stories that pick up where his run on the book ended.  It’s a lot of fun to read!  It’s titled X-Men: Elsewhen and you can take a look here.

I’ve been enjoying the comic book continuation of Batman: The Animated Series.  It’s written by key members of the Batman: TAS creative team: Paul Dini … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

March 3rd, 2021

Well the Snyder Cut of Justice League is actually a real thing that is really coming later this month!  Crazy.  I don’t have much hope this will be a great movie, but I must say I cannot wait to see this thing!  Here’s the full trailer, in case you missed it:

And here is a fascinating, in-depth article about the behind the scenes story of the Snyder Cut.

Here’s a beautiful new trailer for the upcoming Pixar film, Luca:

This is huge news: Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the original creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, are returning to create a new animated film and additional TV projects set in the Avatar world!  Very exciting!  (Especially after the disappointing news from a few months back that the duo had parted ways with the Netlix live-action Avatar series.)

I love Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s bonkers, violent generational super-hero comic book series Jupiter’s Legacy, and I’m cautiously excited for the upcoming TV series adaptation, coming to Netflix in May!  Here are some interesting photos of the characters.

As readers of this site know, I love Star Trek and I love the continuing saga of connected Star Trek novels that has been running for the past two decades.  Sadly, the events depicted in Star Trek: Picard contradicted the events told in those novels.  As a result, it looked like the long-running novel series was cut off prematurely after David Mack’s novel Collateral Damage.  I’m excited that, after a lengthy delay, it looks like this novel series will actually be getting a proper conclusion with the three-part novel series Coda, coming next year.  I wish the books would just ignore Picard and keep their series running for many more years.  But if that’s not happening, I’m pleased that the books will get a wrap-up story.  I hope it’s good!

Sigh.  It’s hard for me to muster much enthusiasm for a Star Trek kids show.  But if you’re interested, here’s a look at the main characters of the animated Star Trek: Prodigy.  (This was originally intended to premiere on Nickelodeon, but now the show will launch on the new Paramount+ streaming service.)

Speaking of Paramount+, looks like they’re also hoping to build excitement around revivals of Inside Amy Schumer and also Beavis and Butt-head!  Click here for more info.  (The former interests me more than the latter.)

The second season of Ronald D. Moore’s For All Mankind recently launched on Apple TV+, and I can’t wait to watch it.  Here’s a terrific interview with Mr. Moore.  I love how he suggests that the alternate history presented in For All Mankind just might be the path … [continued]

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“To Be… Or Not… To Be” — Remembering Christopher Plummer and Other News Around the Net

Soon after I posted my previous “News Around the Net” round-up, the news broke that Christopher Plummer had passed away.  Mr. Plummer was a tremendous talent.  He’s appeared in so many films which I love, including (but by no means limited to) Murder by Decree, 12 Monkeys, Inside Man, Up, and Knives Out.  I loved him best from his portrayal of the villainous Klingon General Chang in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.  Mr. Plummer was magnificent as General Chang; he elevated the entire film with his magnetic and memorable performance.  (Ricardo Montalban’s Khan will always be Trek’s best villain, but Chang is easily the second best.  No one else comes close.)

Aaaargh — Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been cancelled.  (Again!)  I’m very disappointed by this news, as in the past few years the show has grown into one of my very favorite TV comedies.  I wonder how connected this cancellation is to the past year’s social justice movement and anti-police sentiment.  Following the death of George Floyd, I saw a lot of questioning online whether a comedy about police officers could continue to be made.  I’d hoped they would have found a way to continue the show.  I guess that’s not to be.  We will still be getting the planned eighth season, though it will only be 10 episodes long, which is another blow.  Wow, this bums me out.  Click here to read some comments by the show’s cast and crew.

I am absolutely loving WandaVision, and this new trailer for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has me super-pumped for that next Marvel Disney+ show!

After the longest break in years between new MCU stories, it’s exciting to see Marvel back in force with these great new TV series.

Netflix just announced a new animated TV show spin-off of Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim:

The idea of an animated Pacific Rim series excited me, but that trailer left me cold.  I’m not sure if I’ll be watching.  I thought the first Pacific Rim film was fun, but not as good as I’d hoped.  (Click here for my full review.)  The follow-up film was a big let-down.  I believe there is still great potential in this idea, but none of these projects so far have felt to me like they’ve captured that.

Looks like Gina Carano has talked her way out of involvement in future Star Wars shows, be they The Mandalorian or Rangers of the New Republic.  Wowsers.

Click here to read a fascinating, and somewhat sad, article on Shelley Duvall.  Ms. Duvall was a phenomenally talented actress who appeared in films that include The Shining, Nashville, Annie Hall, [continued]

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News Around the Net

February 5th, 2021

I’m excited that season two of Ron Moore’s Apple TV+ series, For All Mankind, is coming soon!  Here’s a trailer:

I quite enjoyed the first season, so I’m eager for more.

Here’s our first look at The Nevers, which was supposed to be Joss Whedon’s return to TV before he walked away from the series a few months ago, and also the pandemic cut the planned 10-episode first season down to six.  So… I’m not sure how excited to be about this show:

That trailer looks solid if not overly original.  I’m not sure yet if I’ll be watching this, but I certainly haven’t ruled it out.

This is a beautiful, new trailer for Disney’s upcoming Raya and the Last Dragon (though beware, they do spell out a lot of the film’s story in this lengthy trailer):

That looks solid (and thankfully feels less like a rip-off of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra than the first trailer did).

This is a fun new trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong:

That looks pretty epic!  Will the film be any good?  Hard to say.  I thought the 2014 Godzilla was OK, and I quite liked 2017’s Kong: Skull Island, though 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters was a huge mess.

I’m intrigued by this trailer for an upcoming indie film called Tango Shalom:

I’m a big fan of Roger Meyer Burnett, who was involved as an editor in that film.  (Mr. Burnett directed Free Enterprise, and he was a key player in the fantastic documentaries that accompanied the release of Star Trek: The Next Generation on blu-ray.)

This is pretty wild — a fan-made effort to replace all of the Data scenes from Star Trek: Picard with a “deep fake” recreation of Brent Spiner from the TNG era.  It’s remarkable how much better even this very rough fan-made effort looks than the de-aging visual effects used on the show, which never looked quite right to me:

Whaaat?  A sequel/continuation of Batman: The Animated Series might be in the works…???  That would be amazing!!  (But only if the key creative voices from the original show are still involved…)

This is exciting — Warner Brothers has released, for the first time, an HD version of Babylon 5!  The series has apparently been remastered and the original footage rescanned in 4k, while the special effects and all composite shots have been upscaled to HD from the original footage.  This is very exciting, because the show has, until now, only been available in SD, and the original DVDs are, sadly, a mess.  As of now the HD version of the series is only available … [continued]

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News Around the Net

Let’s start with a few minutes of pure joy — a look at Peter Jackson’s in-the-works Beatles documentary, The Beatles: Get Back:

More joy?  Sit back and take a gander at these two featurettes filled with incredible behind-the-scenes footage and deleted/alternate moments from the making of The Empire Strikes Back!!

Click here to watch a short documentary looking back at Planes, Traines and Automobiles (a comedy that I dearly love), with lots of fun glimpses of deleted scenes!

Click here for the Criterion Channel’s fantastic look back at the amazing films written & directed by Albert Brooks!  I love every one of these movies.

Click here for a great Q&A with Bloom County creator Berkeley Breathed, on the occasion of the FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY (wow!) of Bloom County!  Sadly, I feel like the days of the must-read daily comic strip are long in the past, but I continue to adore Bloom County, both the classic cartoons from the eighties and the new strips that Mr. Breathed periodically publishes on Facebook!

Click here for an interesting Q & A with Temuera Morrison, on his (and Boba Fett’s) return to the Star Wars universe in The Mandalorian!

In less happy Boba Fett-related news, Jeremy Bulloch, the original actor who played Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, has passed away.

Curb Your Enthusiasm season 11 is currently in production!  Click here for an interesting and funny article by Curb Executive Producer Jeff Schaffer in which he discusses the bizarre and complicated process of shooting a television show during a pandemic.

This lengthy, and somewhat depressing but endlessly fascinating article explores J.K. Rowling and how her recent anti-trans public statements have alienated many Harry Potter fans.

Here’s an op-ed piece from The AV Club that I completely agree with: “Hey big-budget directors, now’s not the time to grumble about no one seeing your movie in a theater.”

Ready to lose the next 24 hours of your life?  Click here for an insanely amazing twitter thread in which Josh Weinstein (a terrific comedy writer who was the show runner of The Simpsons along with Bill Oakley for seasons seven and eight) interacts with fans to dissect and analyze an array of jokes from over the years of The Simpsons.  I began this blog with pure joy; and with pure joy I shall end it.

Thanks for reading!  Please allow me to make my usual request for all the readers of this site to do your Amazon shopping by clicking through to Amazon through one of the many links on my website (like the ones in this sentence, or the ones found at the bottom of this — and almost every … [continued]

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Star Wars, Marvel, and Alien, Oh My!

December 11th, 2020
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Disney unleashed an avalanche of exciting news, today!  Holy guacamole!!  Let’s dig in, starting with all of the Star Wars news.

There’s a LOT of huge news, but what am I most excited about…?

It’s this: Ahsoka Tano is getting her own show!!  Rosario Dawson will be back, and the series will be “set within the timeline of The Mandalorian”, whatever that means exactly.  Is this before or after the end of Rebels?  Does this mean Ahsoka’s search for Grand Admiral Thrown might again cross over with future seasons of The Mandalorian?  I’m intrigued!  Also intriguing: another spin-off show “set within the timeline of The Mandalorian”: Rangers of the New Republic.  Will this be about the (sort-of hapless) X-Wing pilots we’ve glimpsed the season on The Mandalorian?  The concept of a show about X-Wing pilots sounds awesome, and I’d love to see a deeper exploration of what life was like in the Star Wars universe in the early years of the New Republic (after the events of Return of the Jedi and years before The Force Awakens).

I’m also super-pumped by this trailer for the newest animated series, Bad Batch, picking up on the unit of Clone troopers introduced at the end of The Clone Wars series:

To be honest I wasn’t super in love with the Bad Batch concept on Clone Wars.  But I AM extremely excited for a series exploring the time immediately after Episode III and the fall of the Republic.  There are still so many questions about what happened to the Clones and many of the other characters from Clone Wars.  I’m very eager to see what stories this series is going to tell.  And I LOVED seeing Tarkin in that trailer!!  I can’t ever get enough of Tarkin.

Also, there’s another animated show in the works called Star Wars: Visions, a series of Star Wars animated films created by Japanese anime creators.  OK, color me intrigued.

We finally got confirmation of the Obi-Wan Kenobi show, to be directed by Deborah Chow (who did an awesome job directing on The Mandalorian) and starring Ewan McGreggor and Hayden Christensen.  I am super-excited to see Mr. McGreggor back as Obi-Wan.  I am… less than enthused about Mr. Christensen back in the fold.  He’ll be playing Darth Vader… but will we also be seeing him out of the mask?  I’m a little concerned about how Vader and Obi-Wan could be in a story together during the years when Vader didn’t know Obi-Wan was hiding ion Tatooine.  But I’m excited and very curious to see what this show will be about!

Here’s a cool look behind the scenes at Andor, the Rogue One prequel show, focusing on Cassian Andor:… [continued]

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News Around the Net!

December 9th, 2020

So, WOW — Warner Brothers announced last week that their ENTIRE 2021 slate of films will be released to theaters and, simultaneously, to HBO-Max!  Click here for more details.  I am floored.  As a film fan, I love this.  I want to see these movies, and I love that fans will have the option of going to a theater or seeing these films in the comfort (and safety) of their own homes.  Take a gander at this trailer to see the exciting films awaiting us in 2021:

Here’s a fun short interview with Peter Jackson, as PR for the recent 4K releases of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies!

WOW: Alfred Molina is reportedly reprising his role as Doc Ock from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 for the upcoming third MCU Spider-Man film!  Building on reports that Jamie Foxx would be back as Electro, it looks like this next Spidey movie is embracing the multiverse concept (seen so beautifully in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) and uniting the MCU Spidey with the original Toby Maguire/Sam Raimi Spidey universe (from which Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock comes) and the Andrew Garfield Amazing Spider-Man universe (from which Jamie Foxx’s Electro comes).  Very cool!!

Rest In Peace Chuck Yeager, who died at the incredible age of 97!  Mr. Yeager is, of course, the test pilot who first broke the sound barrier.  I was literally just rewatching The Right Stuff (in which Mr. Yeager features significantly) two days ago!!

Sad news that author J.W. Rinzler, author of an array of incredible books describing the behind-the-scenes details of the creation of some of my very favorite movies (such as The Making of The Empire Strike Back, The Making of Alien, The Making of Planet of the Apes, and more) has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Mr. Rinzler’s latest project is a novel called All Up.  On Facebook, his wife Genevieve describes the book as “a book about the genesis of the space age. It’s written as fiction, but it’s largely based on true stories, delivered in an exciting read.  It’s the “making-of” book for the most outstanding scientific accomplishment of the last century.  All Up is the story of how an unlikely web of horrible wars, crazy research, epic failures, fabulous means, and the dreamers—always the dreamers—all came together, over half a century, to allow humanity to break the bondage of gravity and travel beyond our planet.”  She encourages fans of Mr. Rinzler to consider purchasing All Up!  You can click here to do so.

More sad news: Herbert F. Solow, the head of production at Desilu Studios who oversaw the development of the original Star Trek TV series, … [continued]

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News Around the Net

Wow — Wonder Woman 1984 will be released on HBO Max on Christmas Day!  AND the film will also be showing in theaters.  This is a very interesting strategy.  I’m sure that most struggling theatre chains are happy to have this film showing theatrically — and I am overjoyed that I’ll be able to watch it, safe at home, on HBO Max.  This is far preferable to having to wait another year.

Interesting news that Warner Brothers (and J.K. Rowling) have dropped Johnny Depp from the in-production third Fantastic Beasts film.  I wasn’t happy when Mr. Depp appeared at the end of the first Fantastic Beasts film (as I noted in my original review).  My objection at the time had nothing to do with Mr. Depp’s personal life; it’s just that the days of his being an actor whose choices interested me seemed long past.  In my opinion, they should have replaced him before they made the second film.  (These allegations in the dueling lawsuits with his ex-wife Amber Heard are not new.)  It’s wild that they’re re-casting this major role right smack in the middle of the series.  (In the original Harry Potter film series, they had to recast Dumbledore mid-series due to the passing of Richard Harris, and that series went on just fine.)  I am extremely curious to see who steps into this major villain role as Grindelwald!  (UPDATE: It might be Mads Mikkelsen!!  What a perfect choice!!  Oh, now I am excited…)

I’ve enjoyed several of the documentary series on Disney+, such as The Imagineering Story, Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, and Into the Unknown: The Making of Frozen II.  I’m excited for this new series, Inside Pixar:

This is amazing: a trailer for a (still in-process) documentary on the making of the legendary (and legendarily terrible) Star Wars Holiday Special:

That trailer is dynamite.  (I love all the clips from the pop culture references to the Holiday Special, especially that great Robot Chicken sketch.)  I can’t wait to see this, when it’s finished!

Here’s a new trailer for Zack Snyder’s “Snyder Cut” of Justice League:

That’s basically just a colorized version of the first teaser, but it’s fun to see.  As I’ve stated before, I doubt this new version is going to suddenly erase all the flaws in the theatrical version, but I’m definitely interested in seeing what Mr. Snyder has cooked up. It’s cool to see Darkseid (though I’m not impressed by the CGI version of the character in that trailer).  I’m more intrigued by all the other new footage and glimpses of stories and characters excised from the theatrical version.  I can’t wait for this … [continued]

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News Around the Net

October 23rd, 2020

Here’s an epic-looking new trailer for season two of His Dark Materials:

I enjoyed season one of the show, and I’m very interested to see how the series handles the very weird and crazy goings-on in The Subtle Knife, book two of Philip Pullman’s series.

Here’s a beautiful new trailer for Pixar’s upcoming film, Soul:

I’m obviously disappointed to be seeing a 2nd Pixar film in a row on Disney+ (Onward was the first) rather than on the big screen where these films belong, but I am so appreciative that Disney made the 100% correct decision not to release this film in theaters in November as planned… and I’m also very thankful to be able to watch this film in December on Disney+ rather than having to wait a year for a postponed theatrical release.  Nice job here, Disney!

Speaking of Disney+, I’m excited for season two of The Mandalorian!  Click here for Variety article with some interesting tidbits on season two and their hopes to begin production on season 3 soon.

This is exciting a surprising — they’re working on a Willow sequel series for Disney+!!  I recently rewatched Willow (for the first time in years) with my daughters.  We all loved it.  I hope this Willow series actually happens.

Sticking with Disney news for a moment longer, here’s our first substantive look at Raya and the Last Dragon:

That’s a terrific trailer!  Gorgeous animation.  I love the music.  My only concern is that there is a LOT in there that looks, ahem, borrowed from Avatar: The Last Airbender… (Raya’s outfit; the whole business about a world divided by four different tribes that must be brought together by a child with special skills…)

Devin Faraci of Cinema Sangha has written a fascinating article article entitled “Are You Still Watching? Netflix And The End Of Attention”.  It’s a fascinating read.  (I believe this is only accessible if you are a follower of his writings via Patreon.  It’s accessible for as little as $1 a month.  I’m a fan of his writing.)  Mr. Faraci is highly critical of what he sees as Netflix’s model of creating disposable shows, where the important thing is just to keep you watching.  Mr. Faraci writes: “Netflix took advantage of the rise of the binge and the rise of the live tweet to create a new version of the old soap opera format: TV shows that were not intended to be actually watched, but were intended to play in the background.”  He continues: “They’ve taken that old world and condensed it into hyper-weekends – they drop a show on Friday and assume you’ll blow through it, one eye on the TV or laptop screen, … [continued]

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“Mr. President.  Welcome back.”

I can’t wait to watch that later today!!

Wayne Knight has reprised his role as Newman from Seinfeld to give some advice on mail-in voting and the importance of making a plan to VOTE:

Moving on to less-serious news… here’s a trailer for the Amazon Prime animated series, adapting the comic book series Invincible:

It’s cool to see the comic’s designs so faithfully recreated on-screen!  And the voice cast looks to be amazing: J. K. Simmons, Steven Yeun, Sandra Oh, Mark Hamill, Seth Rogen, Gillian Anderson, Andrew Rannells, Zazie Beetz, Wakton Goggins, Jason Mantzoukas, Mae Whitman, Chris Diamantopoulos, Zachary Quinto, Mahershala Ali, Kevin Michael Richardson, Lauren Cohan, Michael Cudlitz, Sonequa Martin-Green, and more!!  The comic book series, created by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker and illustrated by artist Ryan Ottley, is actually a lot more interesting than the set-up originally appears.  I’ve been curious to see if this new show’s marketing would spoil any of those twists.  So far they haven’t.  I’m thankful they’re preserving the series’ fun secrets (at least, so far), though that also presents a challenge in how to convey to people that this show is different from all the other super-hero stories people have already seen on-screen…

Here’s our first full trailer for the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand, coming to CBS All Access:

I really hope this is good.  I love the novel so much.  The trailer is decent, though it looks sort of “TV” to me, without the breadth I hope this epic tale will receive.  I also don’t think the trailer does a good job of explaining anything about this story to anyone who’s not already familiar with it.  (I’m assuming the way the trailer glosses over the plague that mostly destroys humanity is because, in a world with COVID, they thought that’d be too on the nose.  But focusing on the weird supernatural stuff does a disservice to the story, in my opinion…)

Here’s a trailer for Mank, the new film from David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) about screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz (played by Gary Oldman) and the making of Citizen Kane:

A new film from David Fincher is always exciting, and I love Citizen Kane, so I can’t wait for this one.  I’m thankful it’ll be available to watch on Netflix in December.

I am very excited to learn that Benedict Cumberbatch will reportedly be appearing as Doctor Strange in the third MCU Spider-Man film!  I’m also slightly concerned, though cautiously optimistic, to read that Jamie Foxx will be reprising his role as Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  I [continued]

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Let’s start with the most important agenda item: VOTE.  If you don’t want to listen to me, please listen to these naked celebrities:

I mentioned a few weeks ago that news leaked out that Sacha Baron Cohen had secretly filmed a Borat sequel.  Well, now there’s a trailer, a title, and it’ll be streaming on Amazon Prime Video in just a few weeks: on October 23rd!  Buckle up:

Here’s a trailer for Marvel 616, a documentary series coming soon to Disney+.  The series will explore the Marvel comics, its history, its obscure characters, creators, cosplayers, and more.  I love the very geeky title (a deep dive reference to what is sometimes used as the official designation of the Marvel universe, number 616 among the multiverse of different alternate universes found in the comics — the designation was first found in Captain Britain comics in the UK written by Dave Thorpe and subsequently Alan Moore, and I believe it was brought into the mainstream Marvel universe by long-time X-Men writer Chris Claremont) and I’m curious to see what they’ve put together:

Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Contact, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?)’s new film, an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches (with a screenplay co-written by Guillermo del Toro!!) has just been announced as coming to HBO Max, bypassing a theatrical release.  And it’s coming out Oct. 22nd!  Wow!  Here’s a trailer:

It’s been a while since I’ve truly loved a new film by Mr. Zemeckis, but back in the day he directed some of my favorite movies of all time.  I’m curious to see what he’s done with The Witches.  I’d love for this to be great!

Here’s a trailer for The Show, a film whose script was written by comic book genius Alan Moore (Watchmen, V For Vendetta, From Hell, and too many other masterpieces to mention).  Who knows if this film will actually be any good, but I’m certainly intrigued by this super-bizarre trailer:

Aaron Sorkin has a terrific idea for a sequel to The Social Network.  I doubt this will ever actually happen… but wow, I would LOVE to see that film!

In a good news/bad news situation, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune has apparently been pushed back almost an entire year.  It was supposed to come out this December; now it’s reportedly being held until October 2022.  I hate having to wait another year for this film that I am desperate to see.  But I personally wasn’t planning to go see any movie in the theater this December, and I’d hate to see the film be released and tank at the box office because people aren’t ready to go back to the movies.  Oh … [continued]

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October 1st, 2020

An important message from your friends at Hamilton:

I’ll be back next week with more reviews and other fun stuff! Enjoy the weekend. And please VOTE.… [continued]

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News Around the Net!

I loved the first look at WandaVision that played during the Emmys.  I’m excited for the Marvel shows on Disney+ to start rolling out…!

Here’s a trailer for the sequel to Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, called Death on the Nile:

I liked the first film.  I’m interested to see what they’ve done with the sequel.  Once again they’ve assembled a stellar ensemble cast of suspects.  But, holy cow, this is supposed to be released to theaters in October??  I had no idea it was supposed to come out so soon.  That release date is going to get pushed, right??  I guess we’ll see…  (UPDATE: They just pushed it back until December…)

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have a new TV show, coming to Amazon!  It’s called Truth Seekers and here’s a trailer:

This is cool: the 45 minute documentary Going Mad: The Battle of Fury Road is now available to watch on YouTube.  This is a documentary on the making of Mad Max: Fury Road.  I just watched this and it is phenomenal:

This is wild: they made a thirty-minute Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish), written and directed by Nancy Meyers, with the original cast reunited — Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Kieran Culkin, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Martin Short and George Newbern — and joined by Ben Platt, Florence Pugh, Alexandra Shipp and Robert De Niro.  The project was made to raise money for World Central Kitchen.  You can watch it on YouTube right now (and if you do, please donate):

I was intrigued to read of the new book Made Men: The Story of Goodfellas by Glenn Kenny.  Click here to read several interesting anecdotes from the book!  And click here if you’re interested in purchasing the book.

This is sad news: Michael Hogan, who played Colonel Tigh on Battlestar Galactica, has suffered a traumatic head injury.  To raise money for his treatment, a GoFundMe page has been set up.  I just made a small donation, and I suspect other Battlestar fans reading this might want to do the same.

I also just made a small donation to this GoFundMe for Bob Wiacek.  Mr. Wiacek is a phenomenal comic book artist and inker.  I grew up reading comic books that he’d inked.  He worked with John Romita Jr. on The Uncanny X-Men, John Byrne on Sensational She-Hulk, Walter Simonson on X-Factor, and so much more.  He now has an eye condition that is preventing him from working.  If any readers out there enjoyed his work, as I did, then perhaps you’ll want to help.

In my last News Around the Net update, I posted the trailer for Aaron Sorkin’s … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

Let’s start with our first look at The Mandalorian season two!!

I am super-excited!!  We don’t have long to wait…

I am also over-the-moon excited by this magnificent first trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune adaptation:

That is a gorgeous trailer.  The visuals are every bit as epic and weird as I’d have hoped.  The cast they’ve assembled is extraordinary.  The sandworm looks amazing.  I am pumped!!  I deeply love Dune, and I am incredibly excited for what I hope will be a faithful adaptation of Brian Herbert’s novel.  I love Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, so Mr. Villeneuve has my trust.  It’s only the “only in theaters” tag at the end that makes me sad.  It’s unimaginable to me that a Dune movie might exist and I wouldn’t go see it in the theaters; but if the world keeps going in the direction it’s in, that might very likely be the case…

Here’s another spectacular trailer, for Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7:

Wow.  Could this film be more relevant??  I can’t wait for this one and I’m delighted that it’ll be on Netflix (rather than only in theaters) next month.

I wish I was as excited for the trailer for Star Trek: Discovery season three:

That’s a solid trailer.  It looks gorgeous, and I like this cast.  But I am so down on modern Star Trek I can’t muster up too much excitement for this.  I’d love to be proven wrong.  We’ll see.

Sacha Baron Cohen was great in the above trailer for The Trial of the Chicago 7, and now in related news, word has leaked out that Mr. Cohen has apparently secretly shot a sequel to Borat!  I cannot wait to see what he’s cooked up.  (I wonder if this is connected to Mr. Cohen’s recent prank of Rudy Giuliani??)

E.W. has a fascinating look at the first, failed pilot that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss made for Game of Thrones.  This is an excerpt from the upcoming book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon: Game of Thrones and the Untold Story of the Epic Series.  It’s an oral history of Game of Thrones by James Hibberd, and I bet it’ll be an interesting read.

WOW, this is a surprise — after previously renewing Stumptown for season two back in May, ABC has cancelled the show, citing concerns and delays related to COVID.  I enjoyed the first season of Stumptown and I was under the impression the show did well in the ratings, so this is a shock and a disappointment.

Click here to read an interesting interview with Noah Hawley, in which he shares fascinating tidbits on Fargo season 4, Lucy in [continued]

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It’s been a week but I still am having difficulty accepting that Chadwick Boseman is no longer on this earth.  There have, of course, been a wealth of tributes to him online.  Not to be missed is this beautiful remembrance penned by Black Panther director and co-writer Ryan Coogler.

King T’Challa has rejoined his ancestors, the great kings of old.  I hope he finds peace there.

Before I continue, please: allow me to ask all of you wonderful readers out there to help support this website by taking advantage of my being an Amazon affiliate.  This means that if you click through to Amazon from any of the links on this site, I’ll get a tiny percentage of the price of ANY purchase you make on Amazon for the next 24 hours.  You can use the Amazon banner ad at the top of the home page, or any specific Amazon link within one of my blogs (such as the links you’ll find at the bottom of this post).  You don’t have to purchase the specific item I linked to!  Just use one of my links to get to Amazon, and then purchase whatever you normally would.  So please, allow me to ask: when you’re thinking about doing some online shopping, please click through to Amazon through one of my links.  It’d be a huge help to allowing this website to continue!  Thank you!

Moving on… here’s the new trailer for No Time to Die:

That’s a very exciting trailer.  The film looks great.  My concerns?  Well, Spectre burned me so badly, I get nervous seeing the returning characters played by Christoph Weitz and Léa Seydoux.  Part of me wants to forget that terrible Spectre film ever existed.  On the other hand, I’d love for this new film to redeem Spectre by actually making Blofeld into the great scary villain he should be, and doing something interesting with Madeleine.  We’ll see.  (I also have to admit that closing card reading “IN THEATRES NOVEMBER” makes me wince.  Even if the film actually does get released to theaters, I find it hard to believe I will think it’s safe enough to go out and see it.  This just makes me sad.)

I’m intrigued by this trailer for the upcoming HBO Max sci-fi show Raised by Wolves, overseen by Ridley Scott.  (I only watched the first minute of this externes trailer, because I didn’t want to have too much spoiled.)

Color me intrigued; what I watched of that trailer certainly looked visually stunning.  Ridley Scott is the Executive Producer and he directed the first two episodes (of the 10-episode series).

This is pretty wild: Between 1985-1987 George Takei was involved in filming … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

August 24th, 2020

Lots of exciting news has come out of the recent DC/Warner Brothers FanDome event:

Let’s start with the trailer for Zack Snyder’s expanded four-hour (!) “Snyder Cut” of Justice League:

I am super-excited to see what Mr. Snyder has put together.  There’s lots of very intriguing new footage there (and I love that he scored the trailer to Hallelujah, which he also used in his Watchmen adaptation).  I don’t subscribe to the simplistic Joss Whedon=bad, Zack Snyder=good perspective that I see online.  But I’m excited to see this!

Next up: the first trailer for the new Batman solo film, The Batman:

That looks pretty great to me!  Reportedly, they only shot 25% of the film before having to shut down due to COVID, so who knows how this will ultimately all come together, but I like what I see here.  I like seeing what looks like a grounded story in which Batman gets to be a detective, rather than an action hero.  We haven’t really seen much of Batman as a detective in the Batman films.  I love seeing Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon.  I’m intrigued in what seems like a very scary take on the Riddler.  I like Zoë Kravitz but the look of her Catowman hasn’t quite sold me here… nor has the look of Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman.  I like the Batman costume — it’s in the scenes as Bruce Wayne that Mr. Pattinson looks off to me.  But I trust Matt Reeves (I consider his film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to be a genre masterpiece).

Here’s a new trailer for Wonder Woman 1984:

That looks solid.  In a world without COVID, we’d have been able to see this film already.  I hope we’re able to see it some time in the not-too-distant future!

Lastly, here’s a fun look at the in-production Suicide Squad sequel, directed by James Gunn:

The first Suicide Squad film was a disaster, but I trust James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy).  I can’t wait to see what he’s putting together.

This is a fun read: the A.V. Club’s look back at the enduring greatness of Paul Feig and Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks.  This is one of my very favorite TV series of all time.

Speaking of Paul Feig — he made a sci-fi comedy TV show in 2015 called Other Space???  How have I never heard of this???  (Because it was only shown on something called Yahoo! Screen, apparently.)  Anyways, apparently it’s now available to stream on (another) app I’ve never heard of called Dust.  I need to check this out.  More info is here.

I was sad to read of the [continued]

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News Around the Net

I miss The Good Place!!  The recently-released season four blooper reel only makes me miss it more.  Enjoy.  Everything is fine.

This is fun!  A Good Omens short film, in honor of the book’s 30th anniversary, written by Neil Gaiman with Michael Sheen and David Tennant reprising their roles from the mini-series adaptation:

This is even cooler: a Scott Pilgrim vs. The World reunion, in which the cast does a table read of the entire film!!  This is amazing.  I am a huge fan of the film; ever since it was released I have been shouting to the rooftops that it’s a masterpiece.

In more Neil Gaiman news, the in-production audio-book adaptation of the graphic novel series sounds amazing.  The adaptation will star James McAvoy, and it’s produced by Dirk Maggs, who oversaw a series of incredible audio adaptations of the later books in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.  It sounds incredibly cool.  You can listen to the opening chapters here!  (Note: this audible production is a separate project from the Sandman TV adaptation happening at Netflix!)

Ren and Stimpy blew my mind as a kid.  I’m eager to see this documentary on the show and its controversial creator:

Ryan Reynolds has created an, um, abbreviated new cut of Green Lantern.  It’s hilarious.  Take a look.

This is a nice look back on the making of “Yesterday’s Enterprise”, one of the best Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes that is great despite the very chaotic and last-minute way in which it came together.  The article quotes two of my favorite Trek writers, Ira Steven Behr (who went on to run Deep Space Nine for much of its run) and Ron Moore (who went on to be an important writer on DS9 and then created and ran the reimagined Battlestar Galactica).

I am now obsessed with this twitter thread: Turn your favorite movie into an #AmITheAsshole post.  There are so many brilliant entries to be found if you scroll through that thread.  Here’s my favorite: “I (M45) asked my estranged son (M22) (bad breakup with his mom, crazy inlaws kept him from me, long story) to join me in the family business.  Turns out he hates my work and only cares about his loser “friends”.  Things got pretty heated and I accidentally cut his hand off. AITA?”

(That would be The Empire Strikes Back, in case you’re wondering.)

OK, this one is also pretty great: “I [37] don’t meet with my students, ditch classes to break into graves to get some antiquities that I sell to museums to fund my pursuit of a daughter of one of my colleagues. AITA?”… [continued]

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News Around the Net!

In recent months we got new installments of Parks and Recreation and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt... and tonight there will be more 30 Rock???  I can’t wait!!

The first trailer for the new Star Trek animated series, Lower Decks, has dropped:

I’m cautiously optimistic.  I am all for the idea of a humorous Star Trek show.  This trailer is pretty funny.  (The holodeck waste removal joke is gold.)  But Discovery and Picard both had great trailers, and look how they turned out.  As always for a new Star Trek show, I want this to be good.  But I just don’t have much faith that the people behind Star Trek these days have any idea what makes a good Star Trek show.  (Also: why can’t any of the designers working for the Trek movies or series these days design a decent-looking new starship?  Ever since the horrible-looking J.J. Abrams Enterprise it’s been one mess after another.  This new ship is no better.  The TNG-looking saucer looks great.  But what’s with those awkward, ugly pylons connecting the nacelles to the primary hull?  They look terrible — and also don’t make any logical sense.  How could a crew-person get from the saucer section into the engineering section when the two aren’t connected??  Sigh…)

In Star Wars TV news, they’ve announced a new animated series: The Bad Batch.  This will be a spin-off from the animated Clone Wars series, focusing on the group of Clones introduced in the final run of episodes.  I am super-excited for a new Dave Filoni executive produced Star Wars animated series, and the prospect of picking up story and character threads left hanging from the Clone Wars series is very exciting.  On the other hand, I wasn’t so wild about the “Bad Batch” four-part episode of The Clone Wars, and those characters don’t seem to me like such an interesting focal point for a new series.  But I have faith, and I’m excited to see what this will be all about…

Wow!  The Far Side cartoonist Gary Larson has released his first new cartoons in 25 years!!  And they’re great!  Check them out here.

This is cool: a great deleted scene from Avengers: Endgame, in which Natasha gets to meet the Smart Hulk.  I’m not certain where exactly this scene would have fit into the movie (it looks like it takes place in Wakanda at the end of Infinity War, but Smart Hulk wasn’t around until after the time jump in Endgame) but it’s a great scene and worth watching.  (Why wasn’t this included on the blu-ray of the film?  The special features on the recent Marvel discs have been disappointing…)

Is there really … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

July 6th, 2020

Sad news of the passing of Carl Reiner at the incredible age of 98.  Here’s a great appreciation of Mr. Reiner, written by Rolling Stone TV critic Alan Sepinwall.  Mel Brooks tweeted a lovely tribute to his friend.  The long, incredible friendship between Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner was an incredible thing.  I loved their joint appearance on Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.  Mel Brooks’ son Max shares some moving insight into how his father is handling the loss of his long-time friend.  Lots and lots of additional reminiscences can be found here.

Like so many of you, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Hamilton on Disney+!  It was a delight getting to experience the play and to be able to feel like we were so close to all the performers.  I was going to write a review, but there have already been so many great articles written about it: take a look at “Why We Need Hamilton Now More Than Ever” by Alan Sepinwall at Rolling Stone; at this piece from the AV Club;  and this piece called “Hamilton and America’s Unfinished Symphony.”

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) crashes Hugh Jackman’s X-Men Zoom reunion in this very funny short video, made to support Global Goal: Unite For Our Future:

Speaking of reunions, I had so much fun watching the latest Reunited Apart show from Josh Gad, bringing together the cast of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

Mr. Gad says this will be the last show for now — I hope it’s only a temporary hiatus and that he keeps going with these fun reunions!  Also: if you’re watching and enjoying these reunions, please consider donating to the causes he specifies for each episode.

Two Seth Rogens in An American Pickle?  I can’t wait:

I loved Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez’s comic book series The Old Guard, and I’m hoping the new Netflix film (streaming this weekend!!) lives up to the source material:

This first look at Pixar’s upcoming film, Soul, looks terrific:

This is amazing (and a little creepy): actual footage of illegal fireworks displays in Los Angeles on July 4th, spliced into the famous opening sequence of Blade Runner and the music by Vangelis.

This is very cool: Bill Hunt of The Digital Bits writes about Kaleidescape, a high-end service for downloading and playing movie theater quality 4k versions of all your favorite movies.  Wow, someday I dream of having the money and space to create a home theater like this.  Check out the Kalediescape website and drool!

A Willow TV show is in development?  Count me in!  I recently rewatched Willow for the first time in almost twenty years, and I really enjoyed it!  … [continued]

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I am delighted by this first trailer for AppleTV’s upcoming adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation:

Mr. Asimov’s Foundation series is one of my very favorite works of sci-fi in any medium.  I love those books and have longed for years for a top-notch adaptation.  Will this be it?  Hard to say, but that trailer is great.

I’m also, like the rest of the world, very excited for the upcoming release of Hamilton on Disney+…!

Josh Gad has pulled together another fantastic Reunited Apart episode with this Ghostbusters reunion:

Star Trek: Voyager was, for quite some time, my least-favorite Trek series (though it looks amazing, now, compared to Discovery and Picard), but I nevertheless quite enjoyed this recent reunion of the Voyager cast on Stars in the House, raising money for The Actors Fund:

I enjoyed this podcast interview on “Off Panel” with comic book author Brian Michael Bendis, looking back on his incredible career.  Comic book fans might also be interested in this lengthy interview from “Comic Book News with Dan Shahin” with Dan DiDio, who was recently outside from his long-held position running DC Comics:

Click here for a lengthy interview with Dave Filoni, looking back on the conclusion of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

In other Clone Wars news, a terrific Star Trek podcast I listen to called Inglorious Treksperts recently did a rare non-Trek episode, interviewing Henry Gilroy, who was a key creative player on both Clone Wars and Rebels.  Dave Filoni tends gets most of the spotlight for those Star Wars animated shows, so it’s fun to hear from Mr. Gilroy.  Give it a listen here.

If you like that and want to listen to other episodes of Inglorious Treksperts, I recommend this fantastic remembrance of Leonard Nimoy with his long-time assistant Kirk Thatcher, who also played the “punk on the bus” in Star Trek IV!!  It’s a terrific conversation.  Click here to find it.

I was so sad to see the news of the passing of the great Ian Holm, who was so magnificent in so many films from Alien to The Lord of the Rings.  Bilbo Baggins now resides forever in the Grey Havens.  Click here to read Peter Jackson’s moving remembrance of this wonderful actor.

Click here to read about Mad Magazine’s Al Jaffee, who has apparently drawn his final “fold-in” at age 99!! Wow!

J.K. Simmons has already shot his next Marvel movie cameo as J. Jonah Jameson??  Fantastic!

I very intrigued and excited by this rumor that Michael Keaton will return as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the upcoming Flash movie!  Will this be a “Flashpoint” style reboot of the current DC cinematic universe?  I don’t know, … [continued]

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Last week I went down a rabbit hole of watching fan-edited “modern trailers” for classic films.  Check out this terrific trailer for The Empire Strikes Back:

I also absolutely love this trailer for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan:

I’m a huge fan of the Paley Center and everything they do.  They have lots of great content available online — I encourage readers of this site to take a look.  It’s a treasure trove!  Here are a few examples of recent material that I’ve enjoyed:

This Parks and Recreation reunion from 2019:

Alan Sepinwall interviews Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet, discussing the final season of Brockmire:

Here’s a great hour-long interview, from Collider, with Ronald D. Moore, in which he discusses his work on Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, For All Mankind (the recent Apple TV series that I loved), and Outlander:

And here’s another great Collider interview, this one with Paul Feig:

So, wow… after years of rumors, Zack Snyder will be completing and releasing his version of Justice League!  I never thought this would actually happen.  Mr. Snyder directed Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman, building towards a planned two-film Justice League epic.  But following the poor reviews of Batman v. Superman, his plans were curtailed… and then he would up leaving the post-production of Justice League following a family tragedy.  Justice League was completed by Joss Whedon.  There were aspects of the film I enjoyed, but not enough to say I thought it actually worked.  For several years we’ve heard rumors about Mr. Snyder’s original almost four-hour cut, and all of the storylines he’d filmed that were excised from the theatrically released version.  While I am unconvinced that Mr. Snyder’s original version will wind up being much better than the theatrical version (many/most of the problems in Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman can be laid squarely at his feet), I am certainly very interested in seeing what he’d planned.  It’s also cool that this release on HBO Max won’t necessarily be edited down to a two or three hour version.  The articles suggests a four-hour-long version, perhaps separated into chapters, might be what they release.  I’m intrigued!

(Interesting aside: not long after the news of Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League broke, Suicide Squad director David Ayer tweeted that a nearly-completed version of his original cut of that film also exists!  Suicide Squad went through a famously difficult post-production period, and the film was apparently dramatically re-edited late in the game in an attempt to strike a lighter, more humorous tone.  It’s hard to say who is ultimately responsible, but the finished film was terrible.  Would … [continued]

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I loved Josh Gad’s Goonies cast reunion, and his Back to the Future reunion was just as much fun!

I always enjoy sampling Robert Myer Burnett’s Robservations show.  Recently he had a terrific in-depth interview with Melinda Snodgrass, a terrific writer who, among other credits, wrote the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “the Measure of a Man”, which is one of the best TNG episodes of all time!

I also really loved Mr. Burnett’s recent lengthy interview with David A. Goodman.  Mr. Goodman is the current head of the Writer’s Guild of America, and as such he has been at the focal point of the WGA’s lengthy conflict with agents in Hollywood.  Mr. Goodman is also a terrific comedy writer.  I first fell in love with his work as the author of “Where No Fan Has Gone Before,” the magnificent Star Trek-focused episode of Futurama.  Mr. Goodman has worked with Seth McFarlane on many projects, including Family Guy and The Orville.  This is a terrific in-depth interview:

Sad news this week: the passing of Jerry Stiller.  Jason Alexander wrote a wonderful piece about his Seinfeld father that is a lovely read.  Meanwhile, enjoy this classic Seinfeld blooper:

Click here for a fascinating, in-depth interview with Chronicle director Josh Trank, exploring what happened after his life exploded following the release of his dismal Fantastic Four film in 2016 (which he claims was taken away from him and re-edited) and his subsequent quitting or being fired from a Star Wars film.

This is a lovely look back at the career of Linda Cardellini.  I first became a fan of hers with her fantastic work as Lindsay Weir on Freaks and Geeks!

Lots of exciting Star Wars news has come out recently!  Hot on the heels of word that Ahsoka Tano will likely appear for the first time in live action on season two of The Mandalorian, played by Rosario Dawson, comes two additional cool announcements.  First, we heard that Temuera Morrison, who played Jango Fett in Star Wars: Episode II (and whose voice was dubbed over as his cloned son Boba Fett in the currently-available versions of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), will play Boba Fest in The Mandalorian season two.  Even since Return of the Jedi, Star Wars fans have speculated that Boba might have found some way to escape from the Sarlacc.  It looks like that might finally be confirmed!  (Though Robot Chicken has already established the definitive version of Boba Fett’s final fate.)  Even more exciting to me as a huge fan of the Star Wars animated shows Clone Wars and Rebels comes news that Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff [continued]

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As we begin, please allow me to again ask all of my readers to please support this website by taking advantage of my being an Amazon affiliate.  This means that if you click through to Amazon from any of the links on this site, I’ll get a tiny percentage of the price of ANY purchase you make on Amazon for the next 24 hours.  You can use the Amazon banner ad at the top of the home page, or any specific Amazon link within one of my blog.  You don’t have to purchase the specific item I linked to!  Just use one of my links to get to Amazon, and then purchase whatever you normally would.  So please, allow me to ask: when you’re thinking about doing some online shopping, please click through to Amazon through one of my links.  It’d be a huge help to allowing this website to continue!  Thank you!  Now, onwards…!

Wait, whaaat?  Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is returning as a Netflix special — and it’s an INTERACTIVE special just like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch???

This makes me SO HAPPY!!  I cannot wait for this.  I am over the moon that this fantastic show is back for more on Netflix.

Here’s something else that made me so happy — this online Goonies cast (and more!) reunion!!  Watch this immediately.  Goonies never say die.

How did I miss this?  An El Camino short film featuring more of Jesse Plemons as Todd??

That is hilarious… and creepy.  (For more from the Breaking Bad universe, I just this week posted my review of Better Call Saul season five!)

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has posted his complete “Meredith Quill Awesome Mix” playlist on Spotify!  This is a cool list of great music, many of which wasn’t included in the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films.

For anyone out there who loves the original Predator, click here for a terrific short video looking back at the making of that film.  (I love the quick shots of the original terrible-looking alien design!!)  This is part of a film called In Search of Tomorrow, billed as “The Definitive ’80s Sci-Fi Documentary.”  The project has already been backed on Kickstarter — click here for more.

Click here to learn more about how Mike Schur & co. made the surprise new episode of Parks and Recreation that aired last night as part of an effort to raise money for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

Have a great weekend everyone, and stay safe!… [continued]

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April 16th, 2020

Welcome back — thanks for reading!  Before we begin, kindly allow me to ask all of my readers to please support this website by taking advantage of my being an Amazon affiliate.  This means that if you click through to Amazon from any of the links on this site, I’ll get a tiny percentage of the price of ANY purchase you make on Amazon for the next 24 hours.  You can use the Amazon banner ad at the top of the home page, or any specific Amazon link within one of my blog.  You don’t have to purchase the specific item I linked to!  Just use one of my links to get to Amazon, and then purchase whatever you normally would.

While some are avoiding all on-line ordering these days, I know many others have turned to places like Amazon more than ever.  So please, allow me to ask: when you’re thinking about doing some online shopping, please click through to Amazon through one of my links.  It’d be a huge help to allowing this website to continue!

This is a spectacular trailer for the final four episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars!  I can’t wait!!

I am super-excited by this first-look at Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune!!  I love Dune so much.  I really like the Sci-Fi channel mini-series from 2000, and I also have a sweet spot in my heart for David Lynch’s bizarre/mostly terrible film adaptation from 1984.  But I would be so, so happy for Dune to finally get the epic film adaptation it deserves.  These first photos from Mr. Villeneuve’s film look terrific.  I love the look of the stillsuits!  The cast is epic and they all look great.  I love the choice of making Liet-Kynes a woman.  I love that shot of Zendaya as Chani!  So far, so good…!

This is a great interview of Larry David by Maureen Dowd, discussing how the master of social distancing is handling life in isolation.

I was sad to read of the passing of Honor Blackman, who so memorably played Pussy Galore in Goldfinger back in 1964.

This is hilarious: someone seamlessly edited outtakes into actual scenes from Star Trek: The Next Generation, thus presenting us with a bizarre alternate-universe version of Next Gen where the crew are a bunch of lunatics.  Here’s one:

Click here for more!

I’m intrigued to see a rtrailer for a feature-length documentary exploring the making of Tim Burton’s classic film, Beetlejuice!  The doc is called Documentary for the Recently Deceased (which is a great title, based on a joke from the film), and the film also has an awesome poster.  Here’s the trailer.  I … [continued]

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April 3rd, 2020

Hi out there!  I hope you’re all doing OK and staying healthy.  As always, I appreciate your taking the time to read my site!

The best way for you to support this website is to take advantage of my being an Amazon affiliate.  This means that if you click through to Amazon from any of the links on this site, I’ll get a tiny percentage of the price of ANY purchase you make on Amazon for the next 24 hours.  You can use the Amazon banner ad at the top of the home page, or any specific Amazon link within one of my blog.  You don’t have to purchase the specific item I linked to!  Just use one of my links to get to Amazon, and then purchase whatever you normally would.

While some are avoiding all on-line ordering these days, I know many others have turned to places like Amazon more than ever.  So please, allow me to ask: when you’re thinking about doing some online shopping, please click through to Amazon through one of my links.  It’d be a huge help to allowing this website to continue!

OK, onwards.  There’s not a whole heck of a lot of news out there in movie and TV land these days.  Like the rest of the world, Hollywood is pretty much shut down.  However, there are a few fun tidbits that I can share today.

Let’s start with this: Nick Frost & Simon Pegg have given their classic “what’s the plan?” scene from Shaun of the Dead a Coronavirus update, and it’s hilarious.  Check out the new scene and the 2020 version here.

This is very cool: Rosario Dawson has apparently been cast as Ahsoka Tano for season two of The Mandalorian!  Ahsoka is a fantastic character from the animated Clone Wars series, as well as Star Wars: Rebels.  It’s super-exciting to think we might get to see the character in live-action for the first time!  Rosario Dawson is a terrific actress and a great choice to play her.  Though I do feel bit sad that Actress Ashley Eckstein, who has voiced Ahsoka for so many years, won’t get to play her in live-action.  (Click here for Ms. Eckstein’s comments on these latest developments for Ahsoka.)

Speaking of Ahsoka and Star Wars: Clone Wars, I’m super-excited that the show has returned from the dead for a new run of twelve final episodes.  Want to catch up on this great Star Wars animated series, but you don’t know where to begin?  Here’s a list of great episodes and story-arcs to help!

In other Star Wars news, the saga has been released on 4k, and Bill Hunt from The [continued]

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February 3rd, 2020

I was saddened to read of the recent passing of comedy legend Terry Jones.  There are some moving tributes to him up here.

This is cool — Uncut Gems was one of my favorite films of 2019, and Adam Sandler and directors Josh & Benny Safdie have already reunited for a short film, Goldman v Silverman.  You can watch it right now:

I don’t think that short is entirely successful (it didn’t come together into any sort of real ending or resolution, in my opinion), but I love the idea (and the revelation of what the title means), and I enjoyed how strange it was…!  (If you haven’t seen Uncut Gems, I highly recommend checking it out.  My full review will be coming soon.)

I am super-excited for the return of The Clone Wars!  This new trailer looks terrific:

This is interesting — after years of controversy, Hank Azaria has said that he will no longer voice Apu on The Simpsons.  I dearly love the character of Apu, but I can also understand why many found that character unfunny and offensive.  Three decades later, the character’s time has come and gone.  Good for Mr. Azaria for stepping away.  If you want Apu, there are THREE DECADES worth of Simpsons episodes to go back and enjoy…!!

I’m excited by this announcement that Oscar Isaac will star in a film adaptation of the terrific comic book series Ex Machina!  The series, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Tony Harris, tells the story of s superhero who becomes the mayor of New York City.  I hope film this actually happens…!  Oscar Issac would be PERFECT as the main character.

It looks like one of HBO’s Game of Thrones spin-off projects is really happening, though it apparently won’t arrive until 2022

On the other hand, Amazon is apparently not going forward with their planned Dark Tower series.  They actually went and shot a pilot!!  But apparently it has been shelved.  (I’d love to see that pilot!!)  This is another blow for Dark Tower fans like me…

I’ll leave you with this: two brothers apparently spent years recreating Toy Story 3 in its entirety, using stop-motion animation (and some live-action).  This is astonishing!!  You can read more about it here, and you can watch the entire film right now:

I’ve only had a chance to watch the first twenty minutes so far, but that is amazing.  It reminds me of the kids who remade Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Astonishing.… [continued]

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I am still saddened by the death, a few weeks ago, of Rene Auberjonois, who played Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  Mr. Auberjonois was an amazing actor.  Deep Space Nine is my favorite of all the Star Trek series, and Odo was one of the best characters.  Coming so soon after the death of Aron Eisenberg, who played Nog, this is such sad news.  Here’s Mr. Auberjonois’ obituary from The Washington Post.  And here’s a beautiful remembrance, written by his co-star (and on-screen soul-mate) Nana Visitor.

This first trailer for Wonder Woman: 1984 looks great!!

I dig the nineteen-eighties vibe! The action looks terrific.  Gal Gadot seems spectacular as always.  I can’t wait to see more of Kirsten Wiig’s character.  I’m intrigued by the hints as to how they brought Steve Trevor back.  (I’m assuming he’ll die again at the end, right?)  It’s going to be a long wait until summer for this one…!

And here’s a great new trailer for Jason Reitman’s new Ghostbusters film:

Wow, when that “call it fate…” line from the original 1984 film plays, I got chills.  OK, I must admit, I’m intrigued!  I wish we’d gotten another movie with the great all-female cast Paul Feig assembled for his version — if only to stick it to all the misogynistic haters.  But, failing that, this sounds like an interesting approach to take with a sequel.  Jason Reitman is a terrific director, and seeing as his father, Ivan Reitman, directed the first two Ghostbusters films, Mr. Reitman feels like the right person to help a new one!  I’m eager to see what he’s put together!  Here’s more interesting new info on Jason Reitman’s upcoming film.

Here’s our first look at Christopher Nolan’s next film, Tenet:

I don’t know what the heck the film is about, but a new Christopher Nolan film always has my interest.

Here’s an energetic first look at the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights:

That looks great!  I never saw the show, but I’m excited for this film version.

There is no world in which I will be seeing the Cats movie.  But I am fascinated by the studio’s decision to replace the version that was released to theaters with a new version of the film with updated/fixed visual effects.  Has that ever before happened?  Read the story here.

Buckle up and set aside some time to enjoy this amazing Party Down reunion.  I adore that little-seen show.  (Click here for my review of season one, and here for my review of season two.)  If you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and remedy that immediately.  You won’t be disappointed, … [continued]

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I was very sad to read that D.C. Fontana has passed away.  Ms. Fontana was one of the key creative voices on Star Trek the Original Series, and also in the early days of The Next Generation (she co-wrote “Encounter at Farpoint”).  She wrote 10 of the 79 Original Series episodes, and she was hugely important in shaping so much of what we know of as Star Trek, especially the character of Spock.  She also was a key player in running Star Trek: The Animated Series, and she wrote “Yesteryear,” which is generally agreed to be, by far, the best episode of that series.  You can read more about D.C. Fontana here, and also here are David Gerrold’s beautiful remembrances of her.

We have our first trailer for Bond 25: No Time to Die:

That’s a spectacular trailer.  A great trailer doesn’t mean a great film, but I really hope it can redeem Spectre.  I am excited to see the stories and characters that have been running through these Daniel Craig Bond films continuing here.  I’m very happy to see Christoph Waltz back as Blofeld.  I hope he has a major role in the film, and this isn’t just a cameo.  (I really really want Blofeld to be the dangerous threat to Bond that he failed to be in Spectre.)  I’m pleased to see Léa Seydoux back as Dr. Madeleine Swann, in what appears to be a significant role.  Her romance with Bond was unconvincing for me in Spectre, but I am glad this new film isn’t forgetting about her and that it looks like she’ll have a significant role here.  (I’d assumed she’d be dead by the time the opening song began.  I’m very pleased the film isn’t taking that predictable and lame route.)  I’d love for this film to develop the Bond-Madeleine story in a more satisfying way that Spectre did.  I’m pleased to see Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, and Ben Whishaw all back (as M, Monneypenny, and Q), and I was also happy to catch what I think was a glimpse of Rory Kinnear’s Bill Tanner.  I am THRILLED to see Jeffrey Wright back as Felix Leiter (for the first time since 2008’s Quantum of Solace a decade ago) and I’m also supper-excited for Captain Marvel’s Lashana Lynch as a new double-oh agent.  (Is she Bond’s replacement as 007??)  Ana de Armas was amazing in Blade Runner 2040 and in Knives Out, so I’m excited to see what she can do as a Bond woman.  This is all great stuff so far in this trailer.  I hope the film is good!!

Here’s a new trailer for Black Widow’s long-awaited solo film:

That looks … [continued]

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Well, obviously the biggest new trailer to drop recently is this look at The Rise of Skywalker:

That trailer is crazy huge.  There is a lot of extraordinary imagery in there.  Will the movie be any good?  Who knows!  A great trailer for a Star Wars film doesn’t necessarily mean the film itself will be good.  (See: the great trailers for all of the Prequel films.)  But boy am I excited.  (Best thing about this spectacular trailer?  Hearing the late great Carrie Fisher deliver the final line: “Always.”)

Is that not enough Star Wars awesomeness for you?  Here’s the latest trailer for The Mandalorian, which launches next week!!

I am really pumped for this show.

This is interesting: a documentary on Galaxy Quest called Never Surrender that will be released to theaters for one night later this month via Fathom Events:

I’m not sure I need to see this in a movie theatre, but I’m definitely interested in this documentary!  I love Galaxy Quest!  (I’m glad we get to hear from some Star Trek people in the doc, and I’m happy that the doc, and the above trailer, showcase Brent Spiner’s terrific Patrick Stewart impersonation…!)

I adore Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, and for years I’ve longed to see a high-quality adaptation.  And so I am thrilled that a 10-episode adaptation for Apple+ is moving forward!  I have hugely high hopes for this.

I was surprised to read that Game of Thrones show-runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are no longer working on their Star Wars trilogy project that was originally announced with such fanfare.  I am sure there is more to this story…!  (Meanwhile, I am eager to learn what Disney’s plans are for the next Star Wars film after The Rise of Skywalker.  I know they’re marketing this film as the end of the Star Wars saga, but there’s no way we won’t be getting lots more new Star Wars films on a regular base for the near future…)

Speaking of Game of Thrones, I was also surprised to read that the in-development prequel project, for which they’d shot a pilot written by Jane Goldman and starring Naomi Watts, has also been cancelled.  I’m surprised HBO isn’t moving forward full speed ahead on new Game of Thrones product!  I wonder what went wrong?  Will this pilot ever see the light of day?  Doubtful, but I’m sure curious to see what they made…  Meanwhile, another Game of Thrones prequel project, House of the Dragon, has been ordered straight to series!  Why did this prequel get a series order without having to make a pilot, while the other project actually made a project before getting shut down…?  I am … [continued]

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Two exciting new Star Trek trailers dropped this week!  First up is this look at Picard:

This is a very solid trailer.  Lots to get excited about here.  The production values of this show look spectacular, which makes me happy.  (On the other hand, Discovery also had terrific production values, but that show disappointed me again and again.)  I love the glimpses of Starfleet Headquarters, and the holographic projection of the Enterprise D!  I love the glimpse of Data — and he’s painting!  Nice nod to TNG continuity.  (And also, apparently a confirmation of my theory that Data in this show would only be appearing in Picard’s memories/dreams.  Note that Data is wearing the TNG-era uniform, and not the later uniform of the movies, or what we see of current Starfleet uniforms in the Picard era.)  It’s also exciting to see Riker and Troi, though actually that was the aspect of the trailer that I was least into.  I am not wild about the idea that Riker and Troi have retired to the woods.  Why is everyone from the TNG an old hermit now?  Jonathan Frakes is still vital and working despite his age here in the 21st century (he’s a fantastic director) — so wouldn’t Riker all the more so still be in the thick of things in the 24th century?  I want Riker to be (finally) in command of a starship!  But there is lots here that makes me happy.  I really hope the show is good.

Discovery also dropped a trailer for their third season:

This is also a great trailer.  I’m intrigued for to see this depiction of 1,000 years ahead in Star Trek’s future.  I’ve always wanted these Trek shows to go forward in time, not backwards… and I’ve also often thought that a cool premise for a future-set Trek show would be the depiction of the re-establishment of the Federation after some sort of catastrophe.  That sorts of seems to be what we’re getting here, and I am intrigued.  I love the glimpse of a version of the Federation emblem (albeit with what looks like far fewer stars on it).  I love Burnham’s various new looks.  I love seeing what looks like the return of Craft, from the terrific Short Treks short film “Calypso”, written by Michael Chabon.  I’m VERY intrigued by the appearance of Trills, as well as the symbiont pools — a deep-cut reference to Deep Space Nine!  I don’t have much expectation that I will ever love this show… but hope springs eternal.  (And I continually remind myself that neither Next Generation nor Deep Space Nine were much good for their first two seasons, either…)

I think this … [continued]

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For the past few months, I’ve been rewatching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, my favorite of all the Trek series.  It’s very sad to read the news, right smack in the middle of my rewatch, of the passing of Aron Eisenberg, who played Nog. Here’s one of my favorite scenes of Mr. Eisenberg’s, from season three’s “Heart of Stone”:

Such a loss.  The Divine Treasury has a new member.

This is interesting: more than a year in advance of the next Jurassic World film, they’ve released a new short film set after the last film but before the next one:

I strongly disliked the first two Jurassic World films, but that’s an enjoyable, well-put-together little action-adventure short!  The cast is solid — and in particular it’s great to see Moonlights Andre Holland.  And the short validates the point I’d made in my review of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom that I think the characters who were supposed to be the heroes in that film acted like villains.  This short (and the fun stuff in between the credits) shows the negative consequences of their actions at the end of that film!

This is a fun trailer Marvel Studios put together for “The Infinity Saga,” their first 22 films:

Bring on Phase Four!

Over in DC-land, I’d thought DC/Warner Brother’s attempt at an interconnected movie universe was mostly dead, but that Harley Quinn sequel film (in which Margot Robbie reprises her role from 2016’s Suicide Squad) is really coming!  This is a fun new poster.  Could this film possibly be any good?  Margot Robbie was one of the only good aspects of the dreadful Suicide Squad… and I’m excited to see Rene Montoya on the big screen… we’ll see in February…

I’ve never watched any of the DC “Arrowverse” TV shows, but I might have to sample their upcoming “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover.  I’d noted in a previous post that Brandon Routh, from the vastly underrated Superman Returns, would be reprising his role as Clark Kent/Superman for the crossover… now it seems that Smallville’s Tom Welling and Erica Durance will ALSO be reprising THEIR roles as Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane!  That is very cool.

The great Paul Feig might be involved with resurrecting Universal’s monster movie franchises?  Ok, that is a bizarre match, but I am intrigued…!

Looks like a SECOND Game of Thrones prequel project might be moving forward… I feel sort of done with this series following the so-so final season… but on the other hand, who am I kidding, I’ll be watching any and all of these spin-offs/prequels if they actually happen…

I’ll leave you for today with … [continued]

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News Around the Net — UPDATED with Bond 25 Title

UPDATE: The Title of Bond 25 has been revealed:

It’s an OK title.  A bit generic, but also sort of classic Bond sounding.  I just hope this movie is better than SPECTRE, which I found to be heartbreakingly disappointing.

Recently I shared the exciting news that Brandon Routh would be reprising his role as Superman from the underrated Superman Returns in the upcoming “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover that will be running through the DC “Arrowverse” TV shows in the fall.  Now there’s even more exciting news: Kevin Conway, who voiced Bruce Wayne/Batman on Batman: The Animated Series and who is, for me, the definitive actor to play Batman, will finally be playing the character in live action!  Mr. Conway will ALSO be appearing in this “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover, apparently playing the elderly Bruce Wayne from Batman Beyond!  I am so excited for this!!  I have never before watched any of these “Arrowverse” shows, but it sure looks like I’ll be needing to tune in for this one…

The Matrix is heading back to theaters 8/30-9/5 in celebration of its 20th anniversary!  Cool!  Speaking of The Matrix: Lana Wachowski, Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss are all apparently involved in making a new fourth Matrix film??  Wow, I did not expect that!!

This is interesting: apparently Stephen King himself has written a new “coda” for the ending of The Stand miniseries adaptation!  I am very curious to see what Mr. King has added to the end of his famous story.  (I’m actually in the middle of reading the novel for the first time, right now!)

Speaking of Stephen King, this is a great look back at The Green Mile, Frank Darabont’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s serialized novel.  I love The Green Mile and think it’s a hugely underrated film.

This trailer for Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Netflix film The Irishman looks spectacular:

Oh, man, that looks like classic Scorsese.  Great cast.  Intriguing story.  I’m excited.

I didn’t know anything about Eddie Murphy’s new film Dolemite is My Name before watching this trailer, but now I can’t wait to see this:

That looks great!  It’s fantastic to see Eddie Murphy back on the big screen in an interesting-looking movie, and the ensemble cast of the film looks amazing.  (By the way, I highly recommend Eddie Murphy’s appearance on the newest batch of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Netflix show!)

This is great news: Atlanta has already been renewed for a fourth season, even though season three is still months away from release!  I loved season one and season two, and I can’t wait for more.

CBS and Paramount are merging, which … [continued]

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News Around the Net

I really enjoyed this trailer for Picard, the new show in which Patrick Stewart will reprise his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard:

That’s a great trailer.  Will the show be any good?  Who knows.  I’m dubious, mostly because I’m just not sure that Alex Kurtzman is the best shepherd for the Trek franchise.  (I haven’t loved any of the J. J. Abrams movies that Mr. Kurtzman was involved with, and I’ve found Discovery to be mostly disappointing.)  But I want to believe.  (Oops, wrong franchise.)  Patrick Stewart looks great in this trailer; just seeing him as Picard again is a joy.  There are some great visuals.  I loved the callback to “Captain Picard Day.”  I LOVED seeing Data again at the end.  (My thinking is that Picard is playing cards with a holographic Data, just as Data often played cards with holographic figures from the past, back on TNG.)  I loved the revelation late in the trailer that this story has something to do with the Borg.  While the Borg were given a terrific finale and resolution in the Star Trek novels (in David Mack’s wonderful Destiny trilogy), they never got a great finale on-screen, so I’d love to see them revisited here.  (I’m also intrigued to hear that Hugh from “I, Borg” will be back in some manner!)

I don’t love the implications that Picard left Starfleet because of something to do with the destruction of Romulus (a rather silly plot point from the first J. J. Abrams Star Trek film).  And while I have nothing against Jeri Ryan and am quite happy to see her character of Annika/Seven again, I think her appearance as the “wow” surprise towards the end of this trailer demonstrates Alex Kurtzman’s misunderstanding of what TNG fans are looking for.  I want to see Doctor Crusher in this show far more than I want to see Seven of Nine from Voyager!!  Well, we’ll soon see what they’ve cooked up.  I am truly hoping for the best.

Marvel had a lot of exciting announcements at San Diego Comic Con.  Click here for a summary.

* Black Widow: The Black Widow prequel film which we all knew was in-the-works was officially announced.  I’m excited for Scarlet Johansson to finally be the lead of a Marvel film, and I’m very curious to know where/how this will fit into the overall timeline.

* The Eternals: This is a very curious choice.  This is a very obscure title from the Marvel archive.  Over the years, I’ve read some interesting stories featuring Eternals characters in the Fantastic Four and Avengers comic book series, but this wouldn’t jump out at me as something I’d long to see in … [continued]

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News Around the Net

I’m intrigued by this trailer for Ad Astra:

I love sci-fi, and I’m always up for an original sci-fi story.  This looks like it’s got a great cast, and visually the trailer is impressive.

Here’s another trailer that has me intrigued: an adaptation of Doctor Sleep, Stephen King’s sequel to The Shining!

That’s a terrific trailer.  I’m really interested in this one now.  So many of these Stephen King adaptations just don’t work, but I’m always hopeful…

Here’s a look at Disney’s Frozen II, a film which I expect to be HUGE:

There’s some gorgeous imagery there.  Will the film have a story that’s a worthy successor to the first film?  We’ll see…

So Marvel is re-releasing Avengers: Endgame back into theaters, with new footage?  I’m interested, though it doesn’t sound to me like the new footage is going to be very substantial.  (But I love this sort of thing.  I remember back in the day when they re-released The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring back into theaters with a lengthy sequence of first-look footage from The Two Towers at the end.  I loved that!!)

This is a spectacular, in-depth look back at Babylon 5.  I have a warm place in my heart for this show.  I love Star Trek: Deep Space Nine more (both sci-fi shows set on a space-station aired around the same time, originally, in the nineties), but I also love B5.  The show is flawed, for sure, but when it was great (which was often, particularly in the middle seasons), it was spectacular.  I’m due for a rewatch.

(Here’s a great interview with Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski on the show’s 25th anniversary a few months back.)

Speaking of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, I was sad to read of the death of Peter Allen Fields, one of the key writers for the show, who wrote such DS9 masterpieces as “Duet” and “In the Pale Moonlight.”  He also co-wrote “The Inner Light” for Star Trek: The Next Generation, one of Trek’s finest hours.

They’re really making a third Kingsman movie?  I was really excited for both of the first two films, but didn’t wind up enjoying either one as much as I’d hoped

Amazon’s adaptation of The Dark Tower is shooting!  This thing will actually exist someday!!  I am super-excited.  I adore the books and I was very disappointed by the recent film adaptation.  I hope the series gets it right.

I’ll leave you with this: a fascinating look back at the making of “The Rainbow Connection.”

Please support MotionPicturesComics.com by clicking through one of our Amazon links the next time you need [continued]

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News Around the Net!

A blu-ray of the amazing documentary What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which I reviewed on Wednesday, is now available for pre-order at Amazon!

Have you heard about the kids at North Bergen High School in New Jersey who adapted Alien for the stage?  The full recording is now available to watch, and it is so fun:

Wait, Avengers: Endgame ISN’T actually the end of the MCU?  Heh.  Here’s a new trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home:

That looks great.  I loved Spider-Man: Homecoming, and I’m eager for more of the MCU’s Spider-Man.  I’m intrigued by Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio, presented in the trailer as a good guy!  It’d be fun if the film does something different with Mysterio, but since I’m not seeing evidence of another villain in the film, I’m assuming he becomes evil by the end… we’ll see what surprises the film has in store.  (I’m intrigued by the references to the multiverse, which suggests the film is somewhat based on how Brian Michael Bendis used the character in his Ultimate Spider-Man comic-book series.  This also, of course, makes me think of the phenomenal Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.  Is it possible that Far from Home will connect to Spider-Verse somehow?  That’d be fun.)  The film, thankfully, seems like it won’t ignore the events of Endgame, though I remain worried, as I wrote in my Endgame review, as to how this and other future MCU films can possible deal satisfactorily with the fallout from the “five years later” jump.  Far From Home director Jon Watts has good things to say about being excited to explore the fallout from Endgame in his film… so we’ll see how this all plays out…!

Here’s our first trailer for It: Chapter Two:

That’s a great trailer!  I love the choice to present that long scene.  I loved It: Chapter One and this sequel has a fantastic cast, including Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, and James McAvoy.  I can’t wait.

I’m not sure the new Watchmen series for HBO, overseen by Damon Lindeloff, is anything close to a good idea.  But I must admit to being intrigued by the notion of carrying the story forward beyond the events of the graphic novel by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons.  This first trailer is interesting, even though I don’t have much of a clue what’s going on:

I’m disappointed that Angie Tribeca has been cancelled.  I’m not shocked, as this show seems to have been flying completely under most everyone’s radar.  Personally, I loved the first three seasons (click here for my review of season one) and I’ve been enjoying season 4 so … [continued]

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Let’s begin with the upcoming movie that I am most excited to see (OK, after Endgame, I guess):

I am so excited to finally see What We Left Behind, a documentary looking back at my favorite of all the Star Trek series: Deep Space Nine!  I backed the kickstarter that funded this project, so I’ll be able to stream this soon.  But I couldn’t conceive of missing the documentary’s one night in theaters, courtesy of Shout! Studios and Fathom Events.  My tickets are purchased!  Will you be joining me…?

Next up: our first glimpse at the next Quentin Tarantino film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood:

That’s a great tease.  I am excited that a brand new Tarantino movie is only a few months away!

I don’t know what exactly to make of this first trailer for the Joker movie, starring Joaquin Phoenix:

On the one hand, I am always open for a movie that takes superhero/supervillain characters dead seriously, and this certainly looks like a well-made, bonkers piece of work.  So I’m intrigued.  On the other hand, it looks so horrific and joyless that it’s hard to muster too much enthusiasm.  Also, please name one movie that tried to turn a comic book villain into the main character, without the hero, that wasn’t absolutely terrible.  You can’t.  This feels like DC/Warner Brothers having absolutely no idea what to do with their stable of DC characters.  So I’m not sure what to think.

On a lighter note, here’s the first full trailer for Toy Story 4:

I loved Toy Story 3 so much; I felt it was the perfect final chapter for this series.  (Did it really come out almost a decade ago??)  So far all three Toy Story films have been great, and I have faith in the talented men and women at Pixar, so while I don’t feel the need for any more Toy Story films, I have no reason to doubt the quality of this coming fourth film.  This trailer shows a bit too much of the movie, but it suggests that there’s lots of new existential ground for this new film to cover.  I can’t wait.

Stranger Things season 3 is coming on July 4, 2019.  Here’s our first detailed trailer:

That looks like fun!  Some great imagery in that trailer.

For all you Parks and Rec fans out there, here is a report from the Paley Center’s 10th anniversary celebration of the show.  This sounds like it would have been amazing to have been at!

It looks like Amazon’s Dark Tower series might actually happen!  I adore these books, and I’m still bummed that the long-awaited film adaptation was so lame.  … [continued]

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I have watched this most recent trailer for Avengers: Endgame a lot:

I love the nostalgia-focused first half of the trailer, with well-used clips and soundbites from previous films.  (They really tease fans with that Peggy Carter audio!!  That’s from a previous film, but my heart sang for a moment at the thought that maybe she’d appear somehow in Endgame?  Hope springs eternal.)  I love seeing Hawkeye’s daughter (a nice nod to the comics), and I’m intrigued at the glimpses of Hawkeye in the Ronin identity (another nice nod to a story-line from the comics).  (I am guessing that young-girl vanished in the snap, which I’m assuming prompted Hawkeye’s grimness in the trailer and his weird grief-haircut.)  That shot of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) looking at all the missing photos (having presumably escaped from the Quantum Realm where he was stranded at the end of Ant Man and the Wasp) is heartbreaking.  I’m intrigued by the new white Avengers uniforms glimpsed towards the end of the trailer.  (Are those their going-into-space uniforms?)  And, of course, that last shot with Captain Marvel was fantastic; now that we’ve seen the mid-credits scene in Captain Marvel, it’s fun to imagine what role she will play in Endgame.  I’m impressed at how little we actually know about this film’s story, this close to release.  Note that NONE of the film’s trailers have shown new footage of Thanos, who the Avengers will obviously be confronting, eventually, in Endgame.  But we don’t have any idea how this will all play out, which I find very exciting.  Once again, I am hoping and hoping that Marvel will be able to stick the landing.

In other Marvel news — James Gunn has been reinstated to direct Guardians of the Galaxy volume 3!!!  This is fantastic news, I am overjoyed.  What a relief.  I am excited to see how Mr. Gunn will finish this trilogy of films.  (I’m a bit bummed that we’ll have to wait until after he makes his planned Suicide Squad sequel/reboot, which he’s signed on to do after getting dumped by Disney, but if this is what it takes I am not complaining, and I’m happy these two companies, Marvel and Warners, were able to work this all out.)

Here’s our first true substantial look at Game of Thrones’ final season, now only a few weeks away!

I am excited.  I am hoping against hope that they can stick the landing.  (Here’s an interesting look at the lengthy runtime of the series’ final six episodes!)

Rifftrax is 10 years old!!  Here’s a funny short highlight reel they put together:

For those not in the know, Rifftrax is an offshoot of Mystery … [continued]

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Let’s start with this amazing creation:

Topher Grace and Jeff Yorkes wove together footage from every single Star Wars film so far to create a gorgeous, emotional five-minute tribute to the Star Wars saga.  I have watched this thing a LOT of times so far.  What an incredible expression of love for Star Wars, and what an impressive achievement of editing.  I love the way they juxtaposed moments from the different films in order to connect events and characters.  And I love that they even included snippets of deleted scenes from Episode III, A New Hope, and Return of the Jedi.  Most impressive!

The second trailer for Dark Phoenix recently appeared:

I’m not sure what to think.  X-Men: The Last Stand broke my heart because it bungled the Dark Phoenix storyline.  I’ve long hoped for a reboot.  But so far what we’ve seen of Dark Phoenix doesn’t look any more faithful to the original comics (by Chris Claremont and John Byrne) than The Last Stand was.  For example, the trailer’s opening moment in which a tearful Jean asks “why did you make me do that?” implies that she’s not in control of her actions, which in my opinion is a complete misunderstanding of the Dark Phoenix story, which is about how ultimate power can corrupt even the most noble of souls.  (True, the later comic book stories that returned Jean to the Marvel Universe retconned the Dark Phoenix Saga to suggest that the Phoenix power wasn’t from within Jean, but was an alien entity that had bonded with her.  But even so, I still think it’s incorrect to depict Jean as being controlled by that entity.)  Also, from what we can see on this recently-released poster, Jean’s Dark Phoenix attire doesn’t look anything like her iconic look from the comics, but instead looks almost exactly like the sort of silly dark red jacked that Famke Janssen wore as Dark Phoenix in The Last Stand.  What a weird choice!  With the X-Men characters returning to MCU control following the Disney-Fox merger, Dark Phoenix feels like a “lame duck” movie, as I expect these characters and stories to soon be rebooted and incorporated into the MCU.  I still want Dark Phoenix to be amazing… but as of now I’m not expecting too much…

(And, actually, there is one other remaining Fox X-Men film — the much-delayed New Mutants.  Apparently the planned reshoots for that film still haven’t happened… will they ever…?)

We also recently got our second trailer for the rebooted Hellboy film:

As with Dark Phoenix, I’m not blown away by what we’ve seen of this film so far.  I desperately want this film to be great.  This second … [continued]

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News Around the Net

February 22nd, 2019
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Right after my last News Around the Net post, about a month ago, this trailer dropped:

In this day and age I am rarely shocked by a movie trailer, but I was not at all expecting to discover that Jason Reitman will be making a Ghostbusters sequel!  Jason Reitman is, of course, the son of Ivan Reitman, who directed the first two Ghostbusters films, and he’s a fantastic writer/director in his own right.  Apparently he’s making a film that will serve as a sequel to the original two films, ignoring the female-led Ghostbusters reboot film directed by Paul Feig.  (Read more details here.)  I have mixed feelings about this!  On the pro side, I deeply love those first two Ghostbusters film and would love to see another great film made in this universe.  Mr. Reitman is a skilled writer/director in whom I have faith… AND his being the son of Ivan Reitman give shim a strong connection to this franchise that will, hopefully, serve in her favor.  On the con side, after all the negativity surrounding the all-female reboot film, I’d have loved to have seen that great cast allowed another turn at bat.  I’m disappointed that this sequel announcement likely means the all-female incarnation is dead.  I’m also not at all certain that ANY film could possibly live up to the original Ghostbusters at this point, and so a big part of me wishes they’d stop trying.  But, for now, I am cautiously optimistic and eager to learn more about what Mr. Reitman and his team (including co-writer Gil Kenan) are cooking up.

This is a great teaser for Frozen II:

My kids are excited!!

I’m a little less jazzed about this new trailer for Aladdin:

I’m sort of over all of these Disney live-action remakes of their animated films.  (Though I bet my kids will be excited for this one too!)

This is a big crazy (and NSFW) trailer for David Fincher and Tim Miller’s upcoming animated anthology show on Netflix:

I didn’t know anything about this before watching that trailer, and now I am excited to see this!

I’ve quite enjoyed Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s comic-book series Jupiter’s Legacy, and I’m excited that an adaptation is in the works as a TV show for Netflix.  Speaking of adaptations of Mark Millar properties, they’re really moving forward on a third Kingsman movie?  And it’s going to be a prequel?  I loved the original comic book series, The Secret Service, written by Mr. Millar and illustrated by the great Dave Gibbons, upon which the Kingsman films are based.  But the first film didn’t live up to my expectations, and I thought the sequel, [continued]

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Let’s start with the long-awaited look at the new Hellboy film:

There’s a lot to take in here.  I’m excited for this film, though not nearly as blown away by this first teaser as I’d hoped.  David Harbour’s Hellboy is quite different in look and personality from Ron Perlman’s near-perfect version and, well, it takes some getting used to.  There are moments in this trailer where Mr. Harbour inhabits HB to perfection — such as his delivery of “he’s an asshole” late in the trailer.  But other moments — like his first appearance in the trailer, gesticulating wildly and shouting “I’m on your side!” — that feel a little too over-the-top silly, and where the make-up and prosthetics didn’t look quite as convincing as I’d hoped.  The tone of the trailer isn’t gothic majesty, but hip, fast-paced humor.  That’s not necessarily a bad tone for a Hellboy story, just not quite what I’d expected.  I’m intrigued to see lots of glimpses of what look like story-points from the Darkness Calls saga from the comics (which I discussed at length here).  I caught shots of the “Wild Hunt,” and Nimue.  I grinned wildly when I saw Gruguach (the large pig-creature)!  The saga that stretched from Darkness Calls through The Fury in the comics was a high-point of the long-running Hellboy series, and this could make a cool movie.  I am hoping for a winner with this one…!

I’ve been a reader of Bill Hunt’s The Digital Bits website for about two decades, and I find Mr. Hunt to be one of if not the very best writers covering home entertainment, DVDs, blu-rays, etc.  Last week he published a pessimistic editorial declaring the beginning of the end for physical media.  It’s a great read, albeit a depressing one.  I wish I could disagree with any of Mr. Hunt’s points.  I am a collector, and I love physical media.  Many people ask me why I bother, in the age of streaming.  I love streaming, and I stream movies and TV shows all the time via Netflix, Amazon prime, Verizon Fios On Demand, etc.  But physical media has many advantages over streaming.  Here’s a great editorial by Mr. Hunt from a few months ago explaining why.  Here are the three reasons that are the most important to me:  1) Special features — I love in-depth special features, making-of documentaries, deleted scenes, bloopers, etc.  It’s no coincidence that in recent years as streaming (which comes without those bells and whistles) has risen in popularity, the quality of great DVD/blu-ray special features has dramatically declined.  2) Higher quality and fewer interruptions — My wife and I have streamed a number of movies … [continued]

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News Around the Net! UPDATED with Avengers 4 Trailer!

UPDATE: The first trailer for Avengers 4 has finally dropped!

First off: the title.  Endgame.  That’s… OK.  Not a bad title, but it’s a bit generic.  I think the phrase “endgame” is a bit overused in genre circles, and Dr. Strange’s line in Infinity War that “we’re in the endgame now” frankly wasn’t my favorite piece of dialogue in the film.  I’m not sure why Marvel felt the need to keep this title so top-secret for the last few years!  After such a build-up, this title is a bit disappointing.  But it’s fine.  The title underlines the importance of Dr. Strange’s line of dialogue in Infinity War that there was only one way in billions to defeat Thanos.  I’d commented in my original review that I suspected that Strange’s choice to give Thanos the Time Stone wasn’t a defeat but, in fact, the key to victory.  From this title, it looks like I was right, big time.

As for the rest of the trailer — excellent!  We don’t actually see very much, but it’s a great tease.  The first half with Tony Stark is fantastic and strikes the right “hopeless” tone.  I like seeing this more substantial clip rather than just fast-paced shots.  I love the way the Marvel logo dissolves just like everyone dying at the end of Infinity War.  I’m delighted to see Hawkeye (who appears to be dressed up as Ronin from the comics — that’s an interesting touch and a nice reference for comic book fans) and Ant Man in the trailer, since they were the two main characters left out of Infinity War.  (Looks like Scott escaped from his perilous situation in the post-credits sequence of Ant Man and the Wasp!)  I love what I am seeing so far.  I really hope Marvel can stick the landing on this one.  I am counting the days.

Ok, back to our regularly scheduled post…!

Stop what you’re doing and please watch Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie’s new short PSA about how the motion-smoothing setting on most HD-TVs ruins movies.  Their life-and-death, super-serious tone is sort of hilarious. But also, I agree!! I am evangelical about this, though most of my friends and family just shake their heads. Turn off this setting so that you can watch movies properly!!

Then, for follow-up reading, this is a great piece on Tom Cruise and Mr. McQuarrie (author of The Usual Suspects)’s many recent collaborations.

This is an inspiring interview with architect Frank Gehry on how he got started.

I’m impressed and awed that, after more than a half-century, Doonesbury continues.  Here’s a great interview by Rolling Stone with Garry Trudeau.

Red alert: Nicholas Meyer, one of the … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

WOW — Vince Gilligan is reportedly working on a Breaking Bad movie?!  And it will apparently be set after the events of the series, telling the story of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul)’s life after escaping from the Neo-Nazis in the series finale?!  That is huge news.  Will this ever actually happen?  Will this be a theatrical release or a TV-movie?  Stay tuned…

In other big news, Disney has announced that in addition to Jon Favreau’s upcoming Star Wars live-action TV show, The Mandalorian, they’re also working on a show featuring Cassian Andor, with Diego Luna reprising his role from Rogue One!  I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, I’m super-excited for these upcoming Star Wars shows and their potential to further expand the Star Wars universe.  Diego Luna was phenomenal in Rogue One, and I’m excited to see more of him.  And I love the idea of a show set in the time period between Episode III and Episode IV.  The reign of the Empire is a ripe period for lots of great stories.  On the other hand — AARGH, yet ANOTHER Star Wars prequel??  Look, as I just wrote, I am all for new stories set between Episode III and IV, and I’d love to see Diego Luna pop up as Cassian in those stories.  But I think it’s a big mistake to make Cassian the main character of a new long-running TV show, considering we already saw him make the most important decisions of his life, and meet his end, in Rogue One.  This feels like yet another example of Star Wars eating its own tail and retreading old ground rather than moving forward and telling new stories with new characters.  I hope I am wrong about this!!  I am rooting for this to be great.

Speaking of TV show spin-offs from beloved movie franchises, Disney has just confirmed the rumored Loki TV show, with Tom Hiddleston reprising his role.  Here too, I am rooting for this to be great, but I’m a bit doubtful.  Mr. Hiddleston is amazing as Loki, but can the character really carry his own show?  Also, I’ve been burned before.  The Marvel CBS shows, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and then Agent Carter, were billed as in-continuity expansions of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  But the quality was low (the two short seasons of Agent Carter were OK, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was terrible and quickly lost my interest), and the Marvel movie and TV folks quickly split due to internal disagreements, and the series’ didn’t wind up being connected to the movies in the ways fans had originally hoped.  The Netflix Marvel shows also began in continuity … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

October 31st, 2018

So, who loves Kit Kats as much as I do?  If you do, then you must read the New York Times Magazine’s deep dive into the story behind that candy, and how Kit Kats flourish in Japan.  (I was also happy to see that Kit Kats made it into the top five of fivethirtyeight.com’s Ultimate Halloween Candy Power Ranking!  Put aside what you’re doing and go read that fascinating analysis of what qualities make the most popular candies.  This is a great read!!)

Whoo-hoo!  Matt Groening’s new Netflix animated show Disenchantment has been renewed for a second season!  And, since the 10-episode first season currently on Netflix was just HALF of the first season, and this second season will also reportedly have two 10-episode halves, this sort of means the show will be around for THREE more seasons at least.  Great news.  My review of the first 10-episodes will be coming soon.

So, wow, only a week after Iron Fist was cancelled, Luke Cage was cancelled too.  This interesting assessment at io9 is a good read and a fairly accurate assessment of my feelings.  It’s a shame to see this African-American-focused show cancelled, but the series’ low quality is hard to dispute.  Can we get a Daughters of the Dragon spin-off show, with Misty Knight and Colleen Wing, please??  (Those two characters were the best aspects of Iron Fist and Luke Cage!!)

There were a lot of headlines last week that The Simpsons might be quietly writing Apu out of the show.  The original source appears to be from this article, which doesn’t seem to me like it contains any actual evidence that this is happening.  I guess we’ll see.  I found Hank Azaria’s depiction of Apu funny and endearing for a long time, but I can clearly see how this stereotype hasn’t aged well.  Personally, I’d prefer to see The Simpsons somehow salvage the character by finding a way to update how he is depicted.  I feel like this could be done.  But if the show feels that is not doable, I don’t object too strongly to Apu’s being sidelined.  Anyone who wants to see more of the character has THIRTY SEASONS of the show to go back and watch, at their convenience…!!  (Meanwhile, this reply from The Simpsons’ current show-runner seems to indicate that Apu isn’t going anywhere…)

So… there’s going to be a new Star Trek show that is animated, and a comedy?  Not exactly what I’m looking for in terms of new Trek, but I’ll keep my mind open for now…

This is a compelling spotlight on Hasan Minhaj, who is launching a new show, “Patriot Act,” on Netflix.… [continued]

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So, here’s our first real look at the new X-Men film, Dark Phoenix:

I really want this to be great, but I’m not yet feeling this one.  First of all, the continuity of these X-Men movies makes my head spin.  One of the things I loved about Days of Future Past was the way it adjusted the continuity of the previous films in order to undo some of the damage of The Last Stand and give these characters a happy ending.  Most relevant to this new Dark Phoenix movie was that, in the last moments of Days of Future Past, we saw that Jean Grey was still alive.  So I’m a bit flummoxed that they’ve continued making movies (X-Men: Apocalypse and now this one) set BEFORE the events of that Days of Future Past epilogue.  If Jean is alive in that epilogue, that sort of removes the suspense from this movie, no?  This is a actually a rare case where I wish they’d just do a reboot and start fresh.

Putting that aside and just considering this trailer, my next biggest concern is the degree to which what we see in the trailer seems totally different from the classic Dark Phoenix story from the comics (by Chris Claremont and John Byrne).  I’m not really seeing ANYTHING from the classic comic story here yet.  The Last Stand bungled the Dark Phoenix story, and so I am excited at the potential for a do-over.  But my hope for a do-over would be for the movie to hew much closer to the original comic story, which so far doesn’t seem to be what they’re doing here.  That really disappoints me.

What’s good?  I do really like this cast, and I am happy to see James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence back in these roles (after they all seemed like they were done after X-Men: Apocalypse).  And I’m happy that the new crew introduced in Apocalypse also seem to all be back as well: Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Tye Sheriden as Cyclops, Alexandra Shipp as Storm, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler.  I’m particularly jazzed to see Sophie Turner (who I thought was a little underused in Apocalypse) given a chance to shine.  I love the new-look costumes (which seem to be heavily influenced by Frank Quitely’s designs for Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men back in 2001).  I’d love for Dark Phoenix (why have they dropped X-Men from the title?) to be a big, awesome X-Men epic.  Here’s hoping…

Here’s a nice juicy look at Daredevil season three:

After the disappointment of The Defenders, I have fallen behind on the Marvel Netflix shows.  I skipped The Punisher, as I’m just … [continued]

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September 18th, 2018

At last!  The first trailer for Marvel’s upcoming Captain Marvel is here — and, no surprise, it looks great:

There’s a lot to enjoy and unpack there.  Brie Larson seems great for the role, and I’m glad that Samuel Jackson’s Nick Fury looks to be a major part of the film.  (I love the moment in which he takes off his glasses to reveal that he still has both eyes.)  I loved the quick glimpse of what looks like the same communications device that Nick used in the final seconds of Infinity War.  I think both versions of Carol Danvers’ super-hero suit (the blue/green Kree warrior version as well as the classic-looking red/blue/gold version) look fantastic.  I’m super-excited that we’re finally getting Skrulls — those classic shape-shifting villains from the comics — in a Marvel movie (I assume the old lady Carol punches in the trailer is a Skrull).  (Is it possible that a story-line in Marvel’s as-yet-unannounced Phase Four of movies will include an adaptation of the “Secret Invasion” story-line from the comics in which the shape-shifting Skrulls wreak havoc?)  My heart sang at the pan down, at the beginning, to reveal the Blockbuster sign — what a clever way to clarify this film’s nineties-era setting!  I can’t wait for this.

My Star Trek-loving self thoroughly enjoyed this tribute to 52 years of Trek at the 2018 Creative Arts Emmys.  The speeches are OK, but it’s the skillfully-made clip package from 1:50 to 4:50 that made my heart sing.  Click here to enjoy.

Jon Kasdan (co-writer of Solo, along with his father, Lawrence Kasdan), has posted to twitter an extensive series of 52 notes/comments on the film Solo on the eve of its release to DVD/blu-ray.  This is fascinating reading for all Star Wars fans.

Speaking of Solo, this is a great interview with Sam Witwer, who voiced… well, to avoid spoilers, let’s just say he voiced a certain character on the animated Clone Wars and Rebels series who also appeared in the live-action Solo.

Since the start of the DVD era, I’ve been a big fan and a constant reader of Bill Hunt’s The Digital Bits website.  His latest editorial, “HEY KIDS… BUYING MOVIES? BUY THEM ON DISC, NOT DIGITAL. HERE’S WHY…” is a great summation of something that seems so obvious to me as a collector, and yet I know many feel differently.  It’s a great read.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Conan O’Brien’s late-night show, many of his former writers reminisce about their favorite moments from the history of the show in this fun article.

This is funny — nerdy fans have found a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it continuity error [continued]

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August 2nd, 2018

There was a ton of exciting news out of Comic-Con recently, so let’s dig in!

Let’s start with the most exciting news: Star Wars: The Clone Wars is returning to give us the conclusion we were denied when the series was cancelled!  Wowsers!!  I never ever thought this would happen, and I am super excited.  The Clone Wars was planned as an eight-season show that would bridge the gap between Episode II and Episode III, but it was cancelled after five seasons when Lucasfilm was sold to Disney.  We got a partial sixth season when the in-production episodes were released to Netflix as The Lost Missions, and in the years since we’ve gotten bits and pieces of other planned storiesThe conclusion to Star Wars: Rebels salved a lot of the wounds from the Clone Wars’ cancellation, but I am so excited that we’re finally going to see how Dave Filoni and his team had originally planned to end the show and lead into the events of Episode III.  Here’s the terrific teaser trailer that I have already watched a number of times:

I’m also quite pleased by this first look at Star Trek: Discovery season two:

I felt mostly let-down by Discovery’s first season, but wow, that trailer looks pretty great to me and is actually sort of getting me excited for season two!  It’s certainly possible for Discovery to rebound — many Trek series have achieved greatness after a bad first season.  I love the tone of that trailer, fun without being too goofy or ridiculous.  I don’t love their decision to so dramatically rework the look of the original Enterprise, but I have to admit the Big E looks pretty good in the shots we see of her in the trailer.  And I am quite taken by Anson Mount’s take on Captain Christopher Pike.  He looks and sounds just about perfect (I like the updated version of his gold tunic — this is a far better modernization of a classic Star Trek uniform than the silly-looking regular Discovery uniforms), and I’d be pleased if Pike turned out to be a major part of the show this year.  (I’m a little concerned he’ll quickly be written out, the same way Michelle Yeoh’s fantastic Captain Georgiou was after the first two episodes of season one, but we’ll see.)  Are we actually going to see Spock in this season?  After this build-up, I certainly hope so.  Anyways, mission accomplished by this trailer, I am actually excited now for Discovery’s season two…

Here’s our first substantial look at M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass:

It’s been a long, long wait for a sequel to 2000’s Unbreakable, which was … [continued]

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Check out this gorgeous new trailer for Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land)’s new film about Neil Armstrong, First Man:

Wow that looks spectacular!  I love movies about the space program.  This looks like it has the potential to be something special.

Here’s our first look at Shane Black’s Predator reboot:

I dunno.  I desperately want this to be good, and I have enormous faith in the amazingly talented Shane Black (who appeared in the original Predator and wrote and directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Nice Guys, two films I adore), but this trailer isn’t giving me much reason to think this will be better than all the other bad Predator sequels we’ve gotten previously…

Here’s the latest trailer for Sony’s Venom:

Oy.  Look at all this talent and money put towards a movie that feels like a shameless attempt for Sony to make money on a character they have the rights to.  I don’t see any true creative reason to make a movie about one of Spider-Man’s greatest villains that doesn’t include Spider-Man.  I am intrigued to see Tom Hardy playing another weird-talking character, though…!

In better Spider-Man related movie news, I love this new trailer for the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse:

I love that Miles Morales is getting a movie focused on him, and the animation looks fantastic.  I am very curious about this, and hoping it will be good.

Not to be ignored: this past season, The Simpsons finally did what had long been considered to be impossible, and surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest-running primetime scripted series in U.S. history.  Wowsers.

Jon Favreau’s live-action Star Wars TV show will be set seven years after Return of the Jedi.  I can’t wait to learn more about this project!  A Star Wars TV show, if done right could be amazing.  (And if done wrong, it could be The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles…)

Speaking of TV shows tangentially connected to huge movie series: Amazon’s Lord of the Rings show will apparently begin by following the adventures of young Aragorn.  (The Young Aragorn Chronicles??)   I have been dubious about this idea since it was announced — I feel like Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies adapted Tolkein about as well as can possibly be done, so I’m not sure that going back to this well is of much interest to me.  Still, I will withhold judgment until we learn more…  I’m glad, at least, that the show won’t just be a retelling of the same events we already saw on screen in the LOTR and Hobbit films…

This is a fantastic round-table interview with a group of TV critics … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

Let’s begin today with an Arrested Development style two-minute summary of the original Star Wars THAT I CANNOT STOP WATCHING:

That is genius!  (My favorite part?  Has to be the callback to the Arrested Development Pete Rose joke!!)

Remember back when Netflix wasn’t really in the business of making their own programming, and a revival season of Arrested Development was one of their first steps in that direction?  That seems like forever ago.  I was so excited to get getting more Arrested Development… and then, like almost everyone, I was underwhelmed by what we got.  Still, I am very excited for the upcoming fifth season of the show on Netflix… and, wow, look at this: Netflix has just released a re-edited version of the fourth season!  Apparently, the fifteen original character-focused episodes have been completely remixed into twenty-two episodes that now feature all/most of the characters, more in the style of the show’s original run.  OK, color me intrigued!  I haven’t watched season four of the show since it was initially released five years ago… maybe this is a good way to five back in, in advance of season five…

And hey, look at this, on Monday Netflix released a trailer for the new Arrested Development season five, which is launching in just a few weeks!

I so want this to be good!!  I am starting to dare to hope…

By the way, since I’m thinking about Arrested Development, you all know about the Arrested Development Easter eggs that directors Joe and Anthony Russo (who directed many episodes of the show) snuck into Avengers: Infinity War and Captain America: Civil War, right?

And, since I just can’t seem too stop writing about Arrested Development today, take a look at this unified theory of TV/movie continuity that suggests that those Easter eggs demonstrate that Avengers: Infinity War is in the same universe as the classic Adam West Batman show!

OK, moving on…

After fourteen years, I am super-excited that The Incredibles 2 is almost here…!

Buuuut… boy, I’m really hoping that this is a case of a lousy trailer misrepresenting what the film is really about.  Because if the film is really about a dad having issues with his wife having to work while he raises the kids… I am going to be very disappointed.  Come on, it’s 2018 for goodness sake!!  This had better not be what The Incredibles 2 is really about!!!

I am very excited that, after Infinity War, the next Marvel Studios movie is only two months away!

The first Ant Man was a fun surprise and I’m hoping this sequel is able to give us more of that fun tone.  I … [continued]

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March 23rd, 2018

Let’s begin with this spectacular new trailer for Avengers: Infinity War:

That is just great on all counts.  I am in awe of the audaciousness of just how many main characters are being combined into this film.  Thanos looks and sounds great.  Seeing Chris Pratt and Robert Downey Jr. (as xx and Tony Stark) on screen together made me smile so wide.  I am pleased that Gamora looks like a major part of this, and intrigued by what look like flashbacks to when Thanos first met her as a young girl.  (Gamora’s snapping her fingers is, of course, a reference to a pivotal moment in The Infinity Gauntlet comic book series.  I love the nod, but I also dearly hope we do actually get to see that moment with Thanos in this movie.). I can’t believe this is coming out in just a little over a month!!  I can’t wait.  (Here is an interesting interview with the film’s co-director, Joe Russo, with several fascinating tid-bits.)

I was saddened to read of the recent passing of Stephen Hawking.  One things that made me smile, though, were the number of references I saw online to his appearance, as himself, on Star Trek: The Next Generation!  Here is a lovely look back at that scene by the episode’s author, Ronald D. Moore (who went on to create and run Battlestar Galactica).

Speaking of Trek, as readers of this blog likely know, my favorite of the Trek series is Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  I was pleased to see the show get some love recently at io9.  (Props to the author for mentioning Sisko’s “it’s easy to be a saint in paradise… but this isn’t paradise” speech, which was a perfect encapsulation of what DS9 was all about.)  Boy do I miss that show.  I miss the days when great Star Trek was happening weekly on TV.

I can’t wait for the final season of The Americans to start next week.  Here’s a great article about the show as it enters its home stretch.  And here’s a fun clip of the show’s stars (and real-life couple) Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys on Stephen Colbert’s show.

I haven’t gotten to see the movie adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time yet, but I hope to soon (even though I haven’t been wild about the trailers).  I loved that book as a kid, and just recently I thoroughly enjoyed reading it to my daughters (who were super-into it as well).  I quite enjoyed this author’s look back at how she felt Madeline L’Engle’s novel defined her own “beautiful girlhood.”

I’m looking forward to seeing Frank Oz’s upcoming Muppet Guys Talking documentary.  Here’s the trailer.… [continued]

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Movie Trailers and More News Around the Net!

February 9th, 2018

As usual, quite a few interesting new movie trailers debuted during the Super Bowl.

My favorite was this new look at Infinity War:

Holy cow am I excited for that movie.  Every shot in that short teaser is great, highlighting this crossover movie’s assemblage of heroes.  Thor is with the Guardians off the Galaxy!  Iron Man and Spider-Man and Doctor Strange!  Captain America and the Hulk and the Black Panther and the Black Widow together in Wakanda!  Very cool.  I love the triumphant presentation of the Avengers theme.  And that last shot of Thanos looks terrific.

We’ve finally gotten our first glimpse at Solo (coming out in just THREE MONTHS, which is crazy), with the Super Bowl trailer and then an extended version:

Any glimpse of footage from a new Star Wars film is a cause for excitement, and we see a lot of great stuff in those teaser trailers.  The cast looks great (I love the shots of Donald Glover as Lando — I am excited to see his interpretation of the character) and those shots of the Millennium Falcon in action are gorgeous.  (I love that look at the pristine white corridor of the Falcon.)  But I don’t see anything yet to convince me that a Young Han Solo movie is anything other than a dumb idea.  (I also continue to be worried about whether Alden Ehrenreich will work as Han.  He looks the part, but I wasn’t taken by his voice-over in the longer trailer.  His voice sounded too high-pitched to me.  He didn’t sound anything like Han Solo, to my ears.)  We’ll see…

I absolutely loved this first look at Mission: Impossible — Fallout:

That is a pretty bonkers trailer!  The last few Mission: Impossible movies have been pretty great, so I have high hopes this will continue.  The cast is once again great (I love how many returning characters we glimpse) and there is a lot of pretty terrific-looking action in that trailer.

On the other end of the spectrum is this trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom:

Blech.  I thought Jurassic World was terrible, and so far the trailers for the sequel look even worse and more nonsensical.  I’d love to be proven wrong, but I don’t expect to be.

I loved the first two Cloverfield films, and I am excited for the third:

And it’s available to watch RIGHT NOW on Netflix??  Fantastic.

Wow, following the success of DC/Warner Brothers’ Wonder Woman, Marvel has made a Black Widow movie?  Fantastic!

Oh, sorry, that’s Red Sparrow.  My mistake.  This one feels like it could go either way.  With Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton, this could be a great adult thriller… or it … [continued]

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So, how about this gorgeous new Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer??

Wowsers!  I’ve been waiting for months for another peek at this new film after the terrific first trailer, and this sure delivered.  There’s a lot to take in.  I cannot wait for this to come out in two short months.  My tickets are purchased!  (For a great analysis of the trailer, click here.)

So it seems that 2016’s six-episode X-Files mini-series was not the end, and an additional ten episodes are coming our way later this year.  Here’s the new trailer:

I have been a huge X-Files fan since the very beginning, so I have to admit that trailer gets me excited for new episodes.  (That “Mind is I smoke?” line is great.)  We’re getting ten episodes this time, which feels like a real season, so that feels like a good thing.  However, I thought the 2016 six-episode re-launch was mostly a disappointment (click here for my over-all review, and click here for my episode-by-episode analysis) and with basically the same creative team behind the scenes I am not that optimistic the quality will improve.  I’d love to be wrong.  This once-great series deserves to go out on a high note.

Speaking of things about which I am not hugely optimistic, here comes a new trailer for Justice League:

With all the behind-the-schenes meshugoss at DC/Warner Brothers, I am certainly curious to see what kind of movie this winds up being.  Just how much influence will Joss Whedon wind up exerting over the finished product?  We’ll see very soon…

Last month was the twenty-fifth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and I posted links to some wonderful articles looking back on that phenomenal show.  Here’s one more, a great oral history of the show.

So James Cameron is going to be involved with the next Terminator sequel, and it will star both Arnold Schwarzenegger AND, for the first time since 1991’s T2: Judgment Day, Linda Hamilton??  Is it still possible to make a good Terminator film after so many failed attempts??  I am dubious, but with James Cameron’s involvement I can dare to dream.

Here is a link to two video clips of Jerry Seinfeld on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, in which Mr. Kimmel asks Mr. Seinfeld whether he can still enjoy Bill Cosby’s comedy now, knowing all that we know now.  Mr. Seinfeld has long spoken of Cosby as one of his main comedic heroes (this came up a lot in the movie Comedian).  It’s interesting in these clips to see Mr. Seinfeld wrestle with this question, at first giving an automatic answer and then changing his mind as … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

Let’s begin with this awesome new trailer for season 4 of Black Mirror:

I cannot wait!!  The original British episodes of this series are works of near-genius, and I thought the recent Netflix-produced season was pretty great.  I am so glad that this show lives on via Netflix!  I can’t wait for these next six episodes.

So, wow, Colin Trevorrow is out as the director of Star Wars: Episode IX I loved Mr. Trevorrow’s first film, Safety Not Guaranteed, but his next film, and his first foray into the world of big-budget filmmaking, was the terrible Jurassic World.  So I am sort of breathing a sigh of relief at this news, though I feel bad for Mr. Trevorrow.  What is up with Lucasfilm firing all of their directors??  Josh Trank was fired from one of the stand-alone films.  Gareth Edwards apparently had the final cut of Rogue One taken away from him, and was replaced for the film’s reshoots by Tony Gilroy.  And just recently, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were fired from the solo Han Solo film in the middle of production, and replaced by Ron Howard.  I give Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm some credit, because whatever behind-the-scenes machinations went on in the making of Rogue One, the final film was a masterpiece.  We’ll see how these other films turn out.  But for now, I am hoping this news will turn out to be good news for Episode IX.  We’ll see…

This new trailer for Star Wars: Rebels season 4 looks great:

X-wings!  Thrawn!  The first animated appearance of Thrawn’s manservant/assassin Rukh (from Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire)!  Mon Mothma!  Forest Whittaker returns as Saw Gerrera (from Rogue One)!  Yavin IV!  Tarkin!  Project Stardust!  I’ve grown to quite like this show, and I am excited for the fourth and final season.

I am super-excited that The Wire’s David Simon and George Pelecanos have a new show on HBO, The Deuce!  I can’t wait to see it.  Any new work from this team deserves immediate attention.  In the meanwhile, here is a fascinating interview that TV critic Alan Sepinwall conducted recently with Mr. Simon.  It’s a great read.

This is a great interview with Lake Bell, discussing her new film I do… Until I Don’t.  I loved her debut film, In a World…, which she wrote, directed, and starred in, and so I am very excited to see her second film.

In honor of the release of the film adaptation of It, which I am dying to see, here is a list of all forty Stephen King movie adaptations, ranked from worst to best.  I haven’t seen most of … [continued]

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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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“There’s always money in the banana-stand!”  I am thrilled that, four long years after the release of season 4, Arrested Development season 5 is officially happening!!  Yes, season 4 was a bit of a disappointment, but I’m hoping Mitch Hurwitz and this amazing cast can turn things around with another time at the plate.  I can’t wait.

A brief follow-up to my recent analysis of the teaser trailer for the new Star Trek show, Discovery: I’d noted in my review that it looked like they had adjusted the look of the actual starship Discovery since the initial teaser a year ago, though it was hard to get a good look at the ship in that new trailer.  However, eagle-eyed on-line fans noticed what I didn’t, which is that Jason Isaacs had previously been announced as the captain of the Discovery.  This means that much of what we see in the trailer between the first-officer played by Sonequa Martin-Green and the captain played by Michelle Yeoh all probably happens in the first episode as a prologue to the events of the series itself.  Therefore, the starship seen in this trailer is not the Discovery at all.  So we don’t know yet whether the Discovery is really going to look like that blocky, angular design seen in that first trailer.  (As I commented a year ago, I like the idea of basing the starship’s design off of an unused-by-famous-to-Trek-fans Ralph McQuarrie design for the refit Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture more than I like the execution as seen in that teaser, which looked chunky and without any of the art of Matt Jefferies’ original Enterprise design.)  Also, this likely means that Michelle Yeoh, who I liked so much in the trailer, is probably going to have a very small role on the show itself, assuming that something bad is going to happen to get first-officer Burnham (played by Ms. Green) assigned as the first officer to another captain on another starship, rather than getting her own command.  That is a bummer, since I really liked the dynamic between Ms. Yeoh and Ms. Green in that trailer.

Ordinarily we’d be well into the new season of Game of Thrones at this point in the year, but we all need to wait two more months.  This substantive new trailer will ease the pain (or make it worse!!):

Let’s also join in lamenting that the shortened seven-episode seventh season will be followed by an even-shorter final season, which will reportedly only be six episodes long.

Jon Williams recently received an honorary doctorate from Harvard University, and one of the school’s a cappella groups, the Din and Tonics, … [continued]

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Updates to the Site and News Around the Net!

Do you like the new Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon on the homepage?  We’ve made a few updates to the site, most notably finally getting some social media buttons back on the individual pages, so feel free to share away on-line and spread the MotionPicturesComics.com goodness!  I’ve also added a “portfolio” section to the site, with samples of some of my illustration work.  Go ahead and take a peek and let me know what you think.

OK, what else is happening around the interwebs?

Let’s start things off with this extraordinary, in-depth interview with David Letterman.  Sit back and enjoy this great read.  You’re welcome.

Let it be known that I believe in the Oxford comma.  Here is a great reason why.

Oh man, a new film from Edgar Wright is coming out this summer?  I cannot wait.  Look at this cast.  This looks like a lot of fun:

Here’s a trailer for Becoming Bond, which tells the story of George Lazenby and his one Bond movie (the vastly underrated On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) through what looks like a combination of documentary footage and reenactments with a great cast.  I am intrigued:

Holy cow check out this new trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes:

I cannot wait for that!!

How great is this new Spider-Man: Homecoming poster??  I love it!  There’s also a new trailer, but I’m not going to post it here because unfortunately gives away far too much of the movie’s plot.  I hate trailers like that.  I wish I hadn’t watched this one.  So click on the above link at your peril.

Meanwhile, in DC-land, this new Wonder Woman trailer looks great.  Is this film going to break the DC movieverse’s losing streak?  Here’s hoping:

This new trailer for the Justice League (the DCU movie following Wonder Woman) is a little less encouraging.

There’s nothing bad in the trailer, but neither is there anything thrilling.  For the most part, this looks like more of what we got in Batman v. Superman — dark, loud, and messy — and if that’s truly the case, then we’re in trouble.  (Though I do love that snippet of J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon.  J.K. Simmons can do no wrong.  Is there any possibility that we can get him to reprise his role as J.J. Jameson in an upcoming Spider-Man movie??)

I didn’t know anything about this movie Atomic Blonde before watching this trailer, but now I am desperate to see it.  The trailer makes this look like a Matthew Vaughn type of mix of mayhem and fun; if the actual movie delivers on this promise, this one is going to be great:… [continued]

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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 … [continued]

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News Around the Net

Coming out of the spectacular Rogue One, my excitement for all things Star Wars is riding high.  Coming to fan the flames is this awesome new teaser for the remaining episodes of Season Three of Star Wars: Rebels:

Obviously the huge bombshell is the first animated appearance of Alec Guinness-era Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the tease of a long-awaited rematch with Darth Maul.  But there’s a lot more than just that to get excited by.  There’s Saw Gerrera from Rogue One, with Forest Whitaker returning to voice the character, a super-cool crossover.  We see hints of what looks like an enormous space battle between the Rebel Alliance and a group of Imperial Star Destroyers.  There’s Mon Mothma and Bail Organa and General Dodonna, and I think we get a glimpse of Wedge Antilles, too!  I’m excited by the idea that these upcoming episodes will start to show us the assembly of the Rebel Alliance that we know from the Original Trilogy, and now also from Rogue One.  It’s also cool to see more of Admiral Thrawn.  (Is the show going to allow Thrawn to be defeated to easily?  That’d be a letdown. But, on the other hand, I wonder… the opening crawl of the original Star Wars describes what we just saw in Rogue One as the Battle of Scariff as the Rebels’ “first victory” against the Empire.  Is it possible that Rebels is going to show the Rebels LOSING this fight, and Thrawn coming out on top?  That would be very interesting, and very cool…)

I am super-excited by this first full trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming:

Holy cow that is a spectacular trailer.  The reinvention of Spider-Man seen in Captain America: Civil War was phenomenal, and this strong trailer only makes me even more excited for Tom Holland to star in the role in his own film.  I love how gently this trailer reminds you that Spidey is now firmly in the Marvel cinematic universe — doesn’t it just feel so perfect?  I love the Avengers bank-robbers and WOW that show of Spidey and Iron Man together at the end was incredible.  I loved the way the Civil War writers crafted the relationship between Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark and Tom Holland’s young peter Parker, and I am so excited that this upcoming Spidey film will explore that dynamic further.  It is super-cool that they got Mr. Downey Jr. to appear in this film.  Also — is that Ganke as Peter’s best friend??  Ganke is a character created by Brian Michael Bendis as the best-friend of Mr. Bendis’ “ultimate” Spider-Man, Miles Morales.  Have they co-opted the Ganke character to be Peter Parker’s best friend for this movie?  I’m beyond excited … [continued]

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News Around the Net

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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News Around the Net

So, I assume by now you’ve all seen this:

Who knows whether the final film will be good, but that trailer is spectacular.  There is some truly gorgeous imagery (like everyone else, I went crazy for that overhead shot of the enormous toppled statue of a Jedi Knight), which “feels” like Star Wars while also being new and different than what has come before.  That is the balance this film needs to strike.  As with The Force Awakens, this film’s whole conception is steeped in nostalgia (it’s a prequel, thus allowing us to get more of what we all loved from the original Star Wars: Darth Vader, the Death Star, classic Storm troopers, Tie Fighters and X-Wings, etc.), but for the movie to work it can’t just feel like a retread of movies we’ve already seen and loved (this was the major weakness of the third act of The Force Awakens) but like a new story worth telling.  This trailer certainly strikes that balance, hopefully the actual film will as well.

By the way, this trailer’s suggestion that Mads Mikkelson’s character helps create the Death Star in order to protect his daughter (who will grown up to be the film’s main character, played by Felicity Jones), it got me thinking: was the fatal flaw of the original Death Star — that exhaust port that allowed the rebels to blow the whole thing up with just two proton torpedoes — not an accident?  Could that weakness have been built into the Death Star on purpose??  I wonder if that is going to be what Rogue One winds up suggesting!  That would be a wild recontextualization of the original Star Wars…!!

I’m enjoying Netflix’s latest Marvel show Luke Cage (full review coming soon… I still have five more episodes to go…) and while I wish Netflix would hurry up and get Jessica Jones season two in production (click here for my review of the terrific first season), I’m decently excited for their next Marvel show, Iron Fist.  Here is the latest teaser, which is the most substantial look we’ve yet gotten at this show which is coming in March:

We’re only a few days away from Netflix’s resurrection of Black Mirror (click here for my review of the first two short but mind-blowing British seasons), and this trailer suggests that the new episodes will be just as amazing and nightmare-inducing as I had hoped.  I cannot frigging wait for this:

Oh!  And!  Looks like there will also be a FOURTH season of Black Mirror from Netflix!  Praise Jebus!

Here is a very, very brief tease for the next Planet of the Apes film:

I absolutely loved … [continued]

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Star Trek Turns Fifty and Other News Around the Net!

September 12th, 2016

Last Thursday, Star Trek turned 50 years old!  Wow!  It was fifty years ago that NBC aired the first episode of Trek, “The Man Trap.”  It’s unbelievable that this franchise has lasted for fifty years.  I have loved Star Trek for as long as I can remember.  Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is the first movie that I remember ANTICIPATING before its release to theatres.  (After I saw the movie, I had to go back and re-watch the first three with my dad because I didn’t remember what had happened to the Enterprise or to Spock!!)  I was so excited when I heard that Trek was returning to TV with the release of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and for the next two decades Trek, in its various TV incarnations, was a weekly appointment for me.  In recent years, the production of new official Star Trek on-screen adventures has dwindled, but my love for the franchise has continued and I have deeply enjoyed Pocket Books’ continuing series of Trek novels and so many of the amazing Trek fan film projects.

In this wonderful article, Devin Faraci from BirthMoviesDeath.com passionately argues that, no pressure, he needs the in-production new Trek show Star Trek: Discovery to save the world.  I love this article, as Mr. Faraci is able to perfectly crystalize why Trek is so important, specifically its emphasis on the values of science and tolerance.  Star Trek “tells us that there’s a hopeful future where humans will stop being en masse assholes to one another, but it also tells us that it’s our responsibility to get there.”  In an equally great follow-up piece, Mr. Faraci suggests that a key reason why Trek has endured for fifty years is because it is so much FUN.  He writes: “I’m a Trekkie because I like watching the adventures of the Starship Enterprise and her crews. I like seeing ships go to warp and I like seeing phasers being shot. I like watching Captain Kirk down someone with his patented two-fisted punch. I like seeing cool aliens and I like the bright colors in the hallways in the first two seasons of The Original Series. I like the strange new worlds and I like the crazy scifi concepts that fuel the stories. I like seeing the crew bounce off one another and I like knowing that, in the end, they’re always there for each other. I like the moral conundrums and I like the hot women in miniskirts. I like watching the actors throw themselves across the bridge and I like watching the actors be called upon to deliver truly heartbreaking moments of emotional sincerity. I like the fucking and fighting and … [continued]

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More Great Stuff From Comic-Con and Other News Around the Net!

August 1st, 2016

Last week I wrote about a lot of stuff that had been released in and around Comic-Con that had gotten my nerd juices flowing.  Here’s lots more fun stuff that didn’t make it into that post!

Let’s begin with this spectacular trailer for the third season of Star Wars Rebels:

Holy cow that looks great.  I love the new shaved-head look for Ezra.  And Wedge!  Y-Wings!  And Admiral Thrawn (the villain from Timothy Zahn’s brilliant Heir to the Empire trilogy of novels from the nineties) is now officially in Star Wars continuity??  That is AMAZING!!

And here is our first look at the new Star Trek show, which we have learned will be called Star Trek: Discovery.

I must admit to being extremely underwhelmed by this.  This new ship is obviously based on a famous unused Ralph McQuarrie concept drawing for the refit Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  While there is something cool about seeing this famous image brought to life, I sort of hate the look of this as a Federation ship.  It is ugly and boxy.  I detest the look of the J J. Abrams nuEnterprise, and I was hoping this new show would get back to the great look of classic Starfleet ships, but this feels like a big swing and a miss to me.  I’m not a fan of the new series logo either.  Oh well.  Look, this is just an early tease and I still have great faith in Bryan Fuller, Nicholas Meyer, and the other terrific writers they’ve assembled to lead this new Trek series.  But this teaser does not make me all warm and fuzzy…

By the way, for a look at a much better-looking Enterprise, and also a look at the TMP-era idea of an asteroid-based starbase, check out this short film from a few years ago from the fan-made Star Trek: Phase II (Star Trek: New Voyages) series (skip to 6:55 to see the good stuff):

Getting back to that Star Trek: Discovery tease, does the low registry number on the ship give us an indication that this show takes place around the days of the original Kirk/Spock Enterprise?  And is the “31” in the registry number an indication that this show might feature an early iteration of the secret Section 31, first introduced in Deep Space Nine, or is that just a winking joke to the fans?  We’ll see…

For a tease that has me far more excited, here’s a trailer for season four of Sherlock!  I can’t wait for the next installments of this brilliant show!!

I wrote in my previous post that Netflix was killing it these days.  More proof?  Netflix has just been [continued]

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News Around the Net: Comic-Con Edition!

July 29th, 2016

There has been a TON of cool stuff hitting the web this past week during Comic-Con!  Here’s some of what has caught my eye:

OK, I strongly disliked Batman v Superman, but that doesn’t mean I’m not rooting for DC to release some strong films.  I have always been a Marvel Guy, but I’d still love to see some awesome DC movies in the future.  Giving me hope is this terrific trailer for Wonder Woman:

I love the look of that footage, love Wonder Woman’s costume, love the golden lasso, love the trench warfare stuff, and love “what I do is not up to you.”

I’m also feeling very positive about this very solid-looking trailer for Justice League:

Bruce Timm’s spectacular animated Justice League show was very clever in their use of Batman, and the ways they were able to use him as a source of humor without mocking the character.  The tone of this trailer reminds me of that very much, and I like that.  I also quite liked the looks of all the other Justice League characters so far, especially The Flash and Aquaman.  I am intrigued.

I have had pretty much zero interest in the new King Kong movie Skull Island for the past year that I’ve been reading about its development, but all that has changed after seeing this terrific trailer:

I don’t know if the movie will be any good, but that is one spectacular trailer.  I’m intrigued at how humongous they have made Kong here.  This is a very different approach than that seen in Peter Jackson’s version (which I feel is very underrated).

Marvel, meanwhile, released this new trailer for Dr. Strange, which I am very excited for:

And Marvel’s Netflix TV universe unleashed all sorts of exciting goodness, from this great sizzle reel:

To this great teaser for Luke Cage, a show I am super-pumped for:

And this teaser for Iron Fist:

That’s a very short tease but I like what I see so far, particularly that very faithful logo.

Now here is an also-brief but also-tantalizing tease for their team-up show, The Defenders:

That logo is clever, and I love that, judging from the voice-over, Stick will be in this!!  I hope Marvel’s Netflix group can pull off this super-hero crossover as well as the film division did.

As if all that wasn’t enough, we also got the great news that there will be a season three of Daredevil.  Cant wait for all of his.  So far, Marvel plus Netflix has been batting 1,000.

Now, I don’t have too much faith in Marvel TV outside of Netflix, and the idea of an X-Men spin-off show featuring a … [continued]

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Rogue One and News Around the Net! UPDATED with Doctor Strange Trailer!

I suspect by now you’ve all watched the first teaser trailer for Rogue One, perhaps (like me!) several times:

That’s a pretty terrific trailer.  Not as instantly iconic as any of the magnificent trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but still pretty great.  It’s a far more substantial look at the movie than I had expected for a first teaser trailer.

My main question is: why the heck isn’t this film called Star Wars: Rogue One?  Because Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a heck of a mouthful.  I guess we’re going to be saddled with this “A Star Wars Story” business for all of the non-official-“Episode” spin-off Star Wars films to come.  I think that’s a big mistake.  Just call all of these films Star Wars: Whatever You Want Your Title To Be.  Isn’t that much more simple and direct?

As for the peek at the content of the film itself: well, I am on-record as hating prequels, but while I am absolutely DREADING the in-the-works “young Han Solo” movie, I am sort of taken with the idea of telling the story of the secret mission to steal the Death Star plans that must have happened right before the events of the first Star Wars.  That’s a pretty big piece of Star Wars back-story about which we know nothing at all, and it seems like a cool idea for a movie.

And while we all know that you can’t judge a film by its trailer, this first trailer is pretty terrific.  I love that, like The Force Awakens, this Star Wars film seems to be anchored by a strong female character in the lead.  I really enjoyed Felicity Jones’ work in Like Crazy, and she looks terrific here in the lead as Jyn Erso (I had to look that up on-line).  I like the Seven Samurai type feel to the film, of a motley crew of criminals and scum gathered together for a mission.  (It’s interesting that Warner Brothers’ next big DC Universe movie, Suicide Squad, is also based on a similar premise.  I am curious to see how similar those two films wind up being.)

It’s pretty cool to see those shots of Star Destroyers and the Death Star being assembled.  I’ve heard rumors that Darth Vader will be appearing in this film (which would be awesome if done right), but so far they have kept him hidden in this trailer.  (There is a shot of a figure in black kneeling before a pillar of light which resembles how Vader would communicate with the Emperor but that figure doesn’t look like Vader to me.)

I’m eager to learn more about the many new characters … [continued]

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New Project in the Works and News Around the Net!

March 16th, 2016

So one of the reasons that there haven’t been any new comics up on the site for quite a while is that I’ve been working on a variety of other illustration projects that I hope will someday see the light of day.  One of them is a graphic novel proposal called Loved with the very talented Sherri and Anna.  Here’s a little peak:


Motion Pictures Comics fans on twitter, please retweet and help me share this!  Thank you!!

Just yesterday came the official announcement of a fifth Indiana Jones film, to be released on July 19, 2019.  Yes, 2019.  Sigh.  How can anyone think this is a good idea?  Harrison Ford will be MORE THAN A DECADE OLDER than 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and he was already way too old in that film to be at all convincing in the role.  (Though, to be fair, Harrison Ford was the least of that terrible film’s myriad problems.)  As much as I would love for the Indy films to be wrapped up with a great film, rather than the dud that was Crystal Skull, it’s just hard for me to fathom that this film could possibly be any good.

The biggest question that press release leaves me with, which I haven’t sen anyone writing about yet online, is what sort of involvement will George Lucas have in this new Indy film?  These films have always been a collaboration between Spielberg, Lucas, and Ford, and Steven Spielberg has always publicly deferred to George Lucas in terms of the direction that the films would take.  Has that changed for this third film?  I’m interested to learn more…

Speaking of bad ideas involving films based on characters played by Harrison Ford, this Young Han Solo film is still apparently actually happening.  Ugh.  I have zero interest in a Young Han Solo story.  Enough with the prequels!!

In happier news, has the glow faded yet from last week’s extraordinary trailer for Captain America: Civil War?

That trailer is astounding, and that’s before you even get to Spider-Man.  Seriously, how mind-bogglingly incredible is it that Spider-Man, whose film rights have long been owned by rival studio Sony, is actually appearing in a Marvel Studios film??  It’s extraordinary, on a level with Donald Duck and Daffy Duck sharing the screen together in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?  I love how many Marvel characters are appearing in this Cap sequel.  I love the “I could do this all day” call-back to the first Cap film (a line that, remember, I sorely wished had been reprised in The Winter Soldier).  I love that shot of the Scarlet Witch doing whatever the heck she’s … [continued]

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The Dark Tower, Ghostbusters, and News Around the Net!

So, it looks like the long-gestating film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series is finally, actually happening!  I am thrilled by the casting of Idris Elba as Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black.  (And extra points to Mr. Elba for his great Dark Tower joke on twitter, confirming his casting!)  Those two are both perfectly cast.  (And if Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul actually gets cast as Eddie Dean — a part he was BORN to play — this film will have absolute perfect casting.)  I am concerned, though, by the rumors that the Dark Tower film is not going to be a direct adaptation of Mr. King’s first Dark Tower novel, The Gunslinger, but rather some sort of mishmash of several later books in the series.  Dark Tower fan Quint at aintitcoolnews has posted an in-detail look at the direction in which it looks like this Dark Tower film’s script is going to go.  I can understand why the filmmakers might want to make these changes, but in a world in which we’ve gotten such faithful book-by-book adaptations of the Harry Potter and Hunger Games novels, I am disappointed that the Dark Tower films aren’t taking that same approach.  So, for now, consider me excited but nervous.  A bad Dark Tower film would be heartbreaking.

The first trailer for Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters film was released last week:

As many others on the internet have already commented, it’s not a great trailer.  I like the visual “look” of what we see here, but this trailer didn’t make me laugh once.  I’m also confused as to whether this film is a sequel to the previous two Ghostbusters films, or a reboot?  I’d assumed it was a reboot, but the text in the opening of the trailer seems to suggest otherwise.  Is that just the studio’s marketing department trying to remind audiences of this franchise’s legacy?  The rest of the trailer certainly looks like the story has been rebooted from scratch, but we don’t see enough to tell for sure.  So I am confused.  (Personally, I would LOVE for this film to be a sequel rather than a reboot.  But I suspect that’s not the case.)

Meanwhile, an enterprising fan re-cut a far snappier version of this trailer that is worth checking out:

In other news…

One of my friends sent me this great article that expresses an idea that has been a theme of my writing about movies: that a major criteria for evaluating the success or failure of a film should be its rewatchability.  This is a terrific article and I wholeheartedly agree with this notion.

Holy cow, SNL’s Jay Pharaoh … [continued]

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Can Nicholas Meyer Save Star Trek a Second Time? And News Around the Net!

February 29th, 2016
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I was of course excited several months back when news broke that a new Star Trek TV series was in development for CBS All Access.  I have loved many of the big-screen Star Trek adventures, of course, but Star Trek belongs on TV.  Star Trek began as a TV series, of course, and the vast majority on canon Star Trek adventures, hundreds and hundreds of hours, have been on TV.

We still know nothing about what the TV show will be about, what era it will be in, even what timeline in will be in (the “prime” timeline of all the previous TV shows and movies, or JJ Abrams “nuTrek” timeline from the past two movies).  But my excitement raised by many notches when we learned a few weeks ago that Bryan Fuller would be the show-runner of the new show.  This is an amazing choice, probably the best possible choice.  Mr. Fuller has a lot of actual Trek experience.  He was a writer on both Deep Space Nine and Voyager.  In the years since, he has become a phenomenal show-runner, helming a number of critically acclaimed shows such as Dead Like Me and Hannibal.  This makes Mr. Fuller a seemingly perfect combination of someone who has deep Trek love and Trek experience, while also very much being a new, fresh voice at the helm of a Trek show.  I couldn’t be happier.

Or so I thought.  Because then last week the news broke that Nicholas Meyer would be joining the writing team of the new show.  This is unbelievable, jaw-on-the-floor, earth-shattering news.  Mr. Meyer is, in my opinion, the very best writer to have ever worked on Trek in any of it’s many incarnations.  He is responsible for the very best Trek, the Trek that most feels to me like my most beloved incarnation of the series.  Let me explain.  Mr. Meyer wrote and directed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  He wrote most of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.  (He wrote everything that takes place in 1986.  Mr. Meyer takes over the story with Spock’s classic line: “judging by the pollution content in the atmosphere, we have arrived in the latter part of the twentieth century.”)  He wrote and directed Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.  Has Trek ever been better than those three films??

Mr. Meyer truly saved Star Trek back in 1982 with The Wrath of Khan.  Remember, Star Trek was cancelled after only three seasons on NBC in 1966-1969.  It was something of a miracle that the series was resurrected in 1979 with Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  But that film didn’t quite get the tone of Star Trek right.  … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

I’ll have a lot to say about the long-anticipated return of The X-Files very soon.  In the meanwhile, here is a fantastic 45 minute interview with X-Files creator Chris Carter and writers Glen and Darin Morgan, who were key writers on the show who returned to write episodes of the revived series.  Great stuff.

I love that J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot team stunned everyone last week with the release of a trailer for a movie no one knew anything about, 10 Cloverfield Lane, to be released in just two months, in March!  Check it out:

I well remember the fun when the original Cloverfield was announced and we all struggled to figure out what the heck the deal was with this movie no one seemed to know anything about.  I feel like the film is not well thought of these days, but I absolutely loved the experience of seeing Cloverfield in the theatre — I thought it was very intense and a lot of fun.  I’m excited that the Bad Robot team has once again produced a Cloverfield film under everyone’s noses.  It’s so hard to do anything in secret these days!  I think that J.J. Abrams’ well-known “mystery box” philosophy has often been misused (flat-out lying to everyone for months by saying that Khan would not be the villain of Star Trek Into Darkness comes to mind), but I do love the idea of being totally surprised by a film.  Will 10 Cloverfield Lane have any actual story connection to the first Cloverfield?  Or are they just using Cloverfield as a nickname for a film made in secret and designed to surprise audiences?  Frankly I’d be happy either way.  That first trailer looks great and I am jazzed to see this film.

Why do I love Judd Apatow?  Sit back and watch his hilarious and profane introduction of Amy Schumer at the Critics Choice Awards, in which he veers off-script to slam the Golden Globes for putting The Martian in the comedy category:

How funny is that??  Love that dude.

Here are some interesting teases at the planned fifth season of Arrested Development.

I’m digging Star Wars Rebels and this preview for the second half of season two is terrific.  I’m especially jazzed by the glimpses, in the final seconds of the trailer, of the much-looked-forward-to confrontation between Ahsoka and Darth Vader (her former master).  This has been a moment fans have anticipated ever since Ahsoka was first introduced as a young padawan of Anakin Skywalker in the very first episode of the Clone Wars cartoon, back in 2008.  I hope this does not disappoint!

This is cool: HBO On-Demand is now offering what they’re calling The Godfather Epic[continued]

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News Around the Net!

January 4th, 2016

Let’s kick things off today with this gloriously wonderful new trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2:

I loved every single second of that!!  Can’t wait for this movie.

This is a wonderfully in-depth profile of visual effects genius John Knoll, who also happens to be the guy who came up with the idea for Rogue One.

I’ve written a lot about CBS’ misguided, fan-disrespecting effort to squash the Star Trek fan film Axanar.  Here’s a wonderful opinion piece that does a great job of summing up the whole situation and my feelings on the matter.  I wish CBS would drop this lawsuit — as J.J. Abrams and Justin Lin had promised they would!! — but that doesn’t appear to be happening and I am abandoning hope that Axanar will ever be made.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here is their incredible short-film Prelude to Axanar:

xxx… [continued]

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New Around the Net!

So, holy shit, I am seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens a week from today!  That a new Star Wars film, featuring the cast of the Original Trilogy, is so close to being a real thing that I can see, is incredible.  I expected that someday there would be new Star Wars movies, but I never really thought we’d see any of the original main cast back onscreen in their roles.  Is the film actually going to be good, or will it be a Kingdom of the Crystal Skull level catastrophe that we’re all going to regret?  I’ll know soon!!  I’m very excited.  I’ve been saying for years that I would love to, in my lifetime, get to see another great new Star Wars movie on the big screen.  Let’s see what happens.

In the meanwhile, in Star Wars news, here is a phenomenal short interview with Oscar Isaac, who has become one of my very favorite actors (in killer roles in Inside Llweyn Davis, Ex Machina, A Most Violent Year, and Show Me a Hero) and who plays X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron in the new film.  (I have successfully avoided spoilers in learning anything other than that about the character!)

The first trailer for Captain America: Civil War came out a few weeks ago, but I don’t think I’ve written about it yet.  For a first teaser, it’s a hell of a thing:

I love that trailer, and I am really pumped for this movie which really seems like it could be called The Avengers 3.  But what I love about the trailer is the way that, despite all the huge number of Marvel characters who will be popping up in it, this film really does feel like a Captain America film, with Cap front and center and the Bucky story-line (begun in The Winter Soldier) moving forward.  I love how it looks like they’ve taken Bucky/The Winter Soldier and used him as the crux point for the Civil War storyline (from the terrific Marvel Comics mini-series written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Steve McNiven in which Cap and Iron Man split the Marvel universe heroes over their differing opinions on a law requiring that all superheroes give up their secret identities in order to be trained and regulated by the federal government).  The trailer looks amazing.  It’s yet another way in which we can see the enormous richness and complexity that has developed in the Marvel cinematic universe so many years and movies into it.  I continue to be thankful that this incredible cinematic undertaking — a sprawling universe of interconnected films — exists.  A film like Civil War can exist … [continued]

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#BringBackMST3k!!  Joel Hodgman has launched a kickstarter to bring back Mystery Science Theatre 3000!!  I’ve backed the project, I hope you all will too!

Prepare to lose your afternoon, comic-book fans.  Alan Moore (author of Watchmen, V For Vendetta, From Hell, and so many other great works) answers a TON of questions in this great Q & A thread.

As the release of The Force Awakens draws ever closer, this in-depth interview with J.J.Abrams will help tide you over.  (Nice to hear him admit to script problems on Super 8 and Star Trek Into Darkness.)

In other Star Wars news, you’ve gotta love this super-detailed fan theory laying out the case for Jar Jar being a trained force-user who was secretly behind all of the events of the prequels.

Sacha Baron Cohen & the great Mark Strong have fun with spy movie tropes in The Brothers Grimsby?  Sign me up:

I wish Pixar would stick with creating original films rather than sequels, but it’s hard to feel too unhappy about this new teaser trailer for Finding Dory:

I’m also quite happy with the latest, most substantial look at Netflix’s upcoming Jessica Jones show, the adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Gaydos’ phenomenal comic book series Alias.  I am really hoping this doesn’t disappoint.  We’ll know very soon!!  This trailer is great:

I don’t think I’ve written anything yet here about the news that a new Star Trek TV series is in the works!  (Albeit one that won’t actually air on TV — it’ll only be available on CBS’ All Access digital subscription service.)  I love the idea of a new Trek series, it is too-long in coming.  Star Trek belongs on TV.  But obviously my degree of excitement in this new venture will be determined by who is involved, and the subject matter of the show.  (The most pressing question is not just the era of the show — Kirk’s era?  Pre-Kirk?  Next Generation era?  Beyond Next Gen? — but rather the timeline.  Will this new show be set in the timeline of the original Trek shows and movies, or the rebooted J.J. Abrams universe?)  For the moment, the involvement of Alex Kurtzman (who co-wrote the terrible scripts for the two rebooted Trek films, as well as several of the abominable Transformers films) does not give me joy.  But hope springs eternal.  And as for the show’s only being available digitally, I am OK with that.  I’ve long felt that CBS/Paramount should play to Trek’s built-in fanbase by using digital platforms to deliver new Trek shows to the fans.  (Why not use a Netflix or Amazon model to help pay for the creation of … [continued]

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This substantive look at the upcoming X-Files revival has me giddy with anticipation.  Please don’t let me down, Chris Carter.

I’ve learned over the years not to trust trailers, but holy cow this trailer for the new Coen Brothers film looks AMAZING.  Check it out:

I’m loving this new trailer for Season Two of Star Wars: Rebels.  Season One was OK, but the episode with Darth Vader that aired over the summer made me a true believer.  Can’t wait for what’s next.

This is fun: seven things that you (probably) didn’t know about Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  (I love that movie!!)

This is an amazing, in-depth interview with the great Richard Kind, digging deeply into many of the best roles he has played throughout his career, up-to and including Bing Bong in Inside Out.  Once you’re done reading that, then may I suggest you clear your schedule and enjoy this two-hour conversation with Mr. Kind from Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show:

You’re welcome.

Marvel just added another film to Phase III (am I correct that this means that Phase III will consist of TEN films?  That is incredible.) — Ant Man and the Wasp!  Love that Ant Man (click here for my review) is getting a sequel, and I love that title.  (Marvel also has announced three un-named films for release in 2020.  Presumably those three films will be the start of Phase Four?  I love that Marvel is planning so far ahead.)  (And what is to be made of the rumors that Marvel is going to drop The Inhumans from their Phase III slate, as a middle-finger towards the Marvel TV folks, now separated from the film division of Marvel Studios?  That is being denied by Marvel, but I wonder.  I wrote recently about my concerns that all the recent behind-the-scenes changes at Marvel Studios have not all been for the better.  It will probably be several years before we see how this all plays out and we’re able to get a true sense of the repercussions of these moves.  I still have faith in Marvel Studios.  I don’t want that to change!!)

Brad Bird’s The Incredibles 2 also now has an official release date!!  Fifteen years is a long time to wait for a sequel, but I have faith in Brad Bird (despite the stumble that was Tomorrowland) and can’t wait to see what he is cooking up.

This is an interesting short piece on the monologue that Jonathan Nolan wrote for Christian Bale to deliver for use in the first trailer for Batman Begins.

So the 70mm version of Quentin Tarantino’s new movie The Hateful Eight will [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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This video is amazing.  It’s a nine minute mash-up of clips from lots of great movies to create the notion that there is one bar in which a lot of famous movie characters meet up. Check it out, it is great (despite the mis-spelling in the opening title):

How about that love for Carlito’s Way?? Fantastic.  (Click here for my recent review of Carlito’s Way.)

So, what the heck is going on over at Marvel Studios?  There’s a lot happening behind the scenes that is starting to get reported.  Some of it is exciting, some of it very worrying.  The major event is the move of Marvel Studios, run by Kevin Feige, out from under the control of CEO Ike Perlmutter and over to the direct control of Disney (who bought all of Marvel a while back).  There have been many reports over the years of Ike Perlmutter’s tight purse-strings — limiting budgets for the Marvel films and leading to tough negotiations over salaries with the films’ stars — and his vindictiveness — directing Marvel’s publishing and merchandising arms to de-emphasize the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, because the rights to those film series are owned by Fox.  Although that has been continually denied by Marvel, the last year has seen the FF comic book –which has been published since 1962 — cancelled, and the removal of FF and X-Men characters from t-shirts and other merchandise (posters, toys, etc.).  Kevin Feige has been praised by many as the key driving creative force behind the success of Marvel Studios’ films, and so the idea of his having more creative control on his own, away from the supervision of Mr. Perlmutter, and perhaps larger budgets for his films, is very exciting.  On the other hand, I think the characterization of Perlmutter as a crazy billionaire is overly simplistic and denies his large role in Marvel’s reinvigoration as a publisher this past decade, and the creation and successes of Marvel Studios in the first place.  I’m also mystified by the way the Marvel Creative Committee seems to be being blamed for various Marvel Studios problems, as described in this weird piece by Devin Faraci at Birth.Movies.Death.com.  I love Mr. Faraci’s work (and later in this post I will link to some wonderful articles on his site, one of my very favorite web-sites), but his article about the Creative Committee doesn’t make much sense to me.  The Creative Committee is a small group of people from Marvel’s publishing arm: Joe Quesada (an artist who rose to the position of Marvel Editor-in-Chief in the aughts and who is one of the major reasons why Marvel was … [continued]

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This trailer for SPECTRE is pretty great:

I am tremendously excited for the reintroduction of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and Blofeld to the Bond films — for the first time in four decades!! — and I really hope they don’t blow it.  This new trailer looks large-scale, and I am thrilled that this story looks to be combining threads from the first two Daniel Craig films, and the organization that was named as QUANTUM in the second film, with the mythology of SPECTRE.  Casting Christoph Waltz as Blofeld is genius.  The two things that worry me about the trailer is the re-appearance of the done-to-death idea of Bond going rogue from MI6, and all the hinting that Blofeld is somehow tied to Bond’s past.  I hate this oh-so-common trend in movies that the hero and the villain must be intimately connected.  The Joker didn’t shoot Bruce Wayne’s parents and I am not excited by the idea that Blofeld and Bond have some long shared history.  Well, I will hold my concern in check to see what the filmmakers have come up with.  Anyways, this trailer is slickly made and has me very excited to see this film.

(Click here for a wonderfully in-depth analysis of the SPECTRE trailer.)

The entire Back to the Future trilogy is being re-released back into theatres???  I am there!!  (Click here for my review of Back to the Future’s 25th anniversary screening on the big screen…)

As readers of this blog know I have been pretty disappointed by DC’s recent slate of direct-to-DVD animated films.  But I’m pleased that DC Animation mastermind Bruce Timm seems to be returning to the fold, and I am quite curious at the idea that he is overseeing an animated adaptation of Alan Moore & Brian Bolland’s violent and disturbing Batman: The Killing Joke.  How could that possibly work without having all of its controversial edges shaved completely off?  I dunno, but I’ll admit I am curious.  And the news that Mark Hamill will be playing the Joker has me delighted.  They’d damn well better be casting Kevin Conroy as Batman/Bruce Wayne!!

I can’t wait for Netflix’s Jessica Jones series!  Brian Michael Bendis’ Alias was brilliant.  I hope this adaptation lives up to the original.

I am impressed by the vibrant, colorful costumes seen in these peeks at Bryan Singer’s upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse film.  It’s fun to see these Marvel-movie colors in a Fox X-Men film, which has used mostly far more stripped-down, color-less looks.  I felt that X-Men: Days of Future Past was a great conclusion to Mr. Singer’s X-Men films (click here for my review) and I wish this new film was a … [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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Some momentum on two exciting Stephen King fronts!  There’s been a little bit of movement on the planned adaptation of The Dark Tower.  I’m not holding out too much hope, but I’d love to see it.  Meanwhile, looks like another Stephen King adaptation might take the idea that has been floated about The Dark Tower adaptation combining a TV show with a movie and beat it to the starting line: the latest announcement about The Stand is that it will be an eight-episode miniseries for Showtime, followed by a movie.  OK, that is an interesting and sort-of bizarre idea.  Curious to see where that goes.  In less-great Stephen King news, True Detective director Cary Fukunaga has left his planned two-film adaptation of It just weeks before the start of production.  That’s a huge disappointment.  I was excited to see what Mr. Fukunaga’s distinct voice would do with It.  Oh well.

Love this new trailer for Stephen Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies.  Spielberg and Hanks making another film together?  I am in!

I am very excited to see Inside Out, but that doesn’t mean it’s not too early to start anticipating Pixar’s NEXT original film!

Oh man, this new trailer for Macbeth, with Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard, is amazing!!

Macbeth has always been one of my very favorite Shakespeare plays.  I cannot wait to see that.

To my enormous surprise, Marvel Comics’ new Star Wars comic books have all been kind of awesome.  (I’ve been particularly interested in their depiction of just how Darth Vader discovered that the rebel who blew up the first Death Star was his son, and of Vader’s reaction to that important piece of information, thus proving that the Emperor lied to him about Padme’s death.  That’s a great story and something I’m frankly shocked hasn’t been tackled before now.)  Their latest issue of Star Wars had a pretty major twist that is, apparently, now completely part of Star Wars canon.  I’ll be interested in seeing where that story goes…!

It is really starting to look like a fifth season of Arrested Development is actually going to happen!  Huzzah!  Yes, Netflix’s fourth season was a far cry from the greatness of the show’s original three seasons on FOX, but still, further stories of the Bluth family is cause for rejoicing.

They’re making a Layer Cake sequel (click here for my review of the original film), starring Jason Statham???  That is such a weird idea, I’m not quite sure what to make of that!

I would love to someday see a really good Tron film, so for that reason I am bummed that Disney has pulled the plug on Tron 3.  But … [continued]

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“The date is set!” — The X-Files returns to TV on January 24, 2016!  Please don’t disappoint me, Chris Carter!!

This is a great article listing 10 Making-Of Documentaries That Are Better Than The Actual Movie.  In many of these cases I don’t actually agree with the “Better Than The Actual Movie” part, but these are certainly ten of the very greatest documentaries about the making of specific movies.  These are all essential viewing for movie fans.  (The only one of the ten listed that I haven’t seen is Cleopatra: The Epic That Changed Hollywood.)  Hearts of Darkness is endlessly fascinating, one of the best movies about movies ever made, period.  I wrote about The Sweat Box, the documentary that Disney doesn’t want you to see about the making of what became The Emperor’s New Groove, here.  It’s fascinating and heartbreaking.  The documentaries on the Alien Quadrilogy are magnificent, particularly the staggeringly no-punches-pulled version on the Alien 3 blu-ray.  (The doc on the original DVD release was edited by the studio who felt that some of the behind-the-scenes material was too honest and raw.)  I have written endlessly about the amazing Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Appendices (elaborate, hours-long making-of documentaries) on the Extended Edition DVD/blu-ray sets.  (Click here for my thoughts on the behind-the-scenes material from An Unexpected Journey and here for my thoughts on The Desolation of Smaug.)  And I am glad this list also included two of the many magnificent making-of documentaries on the DVDs and blu-rays of Ridley Scott’s films, all of which was masterminded by Charles de Lauzirika.  Dangerous Days is an exhaustive look at the making of Blade Runner, and though Prometheus was a bomb, the four-hour long look at the making of that train wreck, titled Furious Gods, from the Prometheus blu-ray set, is amazing.  (By the way, Charles de Lauzirika also masterminded all of the Alien documentaries on the Quadrilogy set, making him the king of this list of making-of documentaries.)  I highly recommend all interested film fans track down these documentaries, they are wonderful.

I recently read Jerry Weintraub’s terrific memoir: When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead.  Mr. Weintraub was a music producer who worked with Elvis and Sinatra, and in his later years he became a movie producer as well, most notably working with Steven Soderbergh on Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen.  The book is terrific — Mr. Weintraub is a wonderful raconteur and, man, does he have some great stories to tell. I highly recommend it.  Here’s a link.  In a related story, birthmoviesdeath.com recently posted this loving look back at Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy.  I never thought too highly … [continued]

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Wow, looks like the studios have all started selling their 2015 movies pretty hard lately!  This past week has seen a flood of new trailers for some big upcoming films.

It all started, of course, with that look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  What a great trailer.  As I wrote last week, I remain dubious that this film is going to be any good (though I am beginning to dare to hope), but wow, this is a pretty perfectly cut trailer.  It’s been very interesting to see how universally loved this trailer seems to have been, across the internet.  Let’s watch it again, shall we?

Oh man.

Moving on, soon after the Star Wars trailer dropped we also got our first peek at Batman v Superman:

Unlike the Star Wars trailer, this trailer has been pretty roundly criticized across the interwebs.  I think the hate is a little much, personally.  This is a not a home-run trailer, but I don’t mind that DC is giving us a more serious, grim version of their super-heroes, in contrast to the Marvel approach.  I am glad a main story-point for this film seems to be the public’s questioning perhaps rejection of Superman as a hero.  That’s certainly understandable after the carnage that Supes was involved with at the end of Man of Steel.  And while I think Batman’s line about making Superman bleed is pretty dumb (and I’m definitely not yet liking the highly-modulated new Bat-voice), I do have a lot of love for the Frank Miller The Dark Knight Returns inspired look of Batman’s anti-Superman armor.  I am very intrigued by this film.  I can see a lot of ways in which it can stumble, most primarily under the weight of all the announced cameos as Warners seems increasingly desperate to ape Marvel’s success with The Avengers.  But boy, wouldn’t it be cool if this Batman/Superman crossover film — something we’ve never seen before — was actually good??  We’ll see…

We also good our first good look at Fox’s upcoming Fantastic Four film:

I’m very uncertain what to make of this film.  I love the FF dearly.  This might prove to be a great film, and I am certainly hoping it will be.  But it feels like it’s a decade too late.  After the last few years of Marvel films, in which we’ve seen superhero films that were able to be both compelling and also incredibly faithful to the essence of the characters from the comics, what I want to see on screen is the FF I know from the comics, not this weird un-superhero version.  I am not very excited right now for this film.  Prove me wrong, … [continued]

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Late-breaking update to my last post — take a gander at this new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens!!

WOW that is a hell of a trailer.  I love hearing Mark Hamill’s voice-over, echoing his words to Leia in Return of the Jedi.  Love the shot of the crashed Star Destroyer… and I love even more seeing the Millenium Falcon fly into what looks like the guts of that ruined Star Destroyer!  And that last shot and that last line… wow.  It’s very weird seeing a very old Han Solo, but I sort of love it.  I still don’t know if this movie is going to be any good, but I have huge love for this trailer.  Pure bliss.

This is amazing.  Just trust me.

This is a great article on Dune from The New Yorker from a little while back.  It is indeed curious that Dune has not penetrated the pop culture the way The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars has.  But for those of us who know and love Dune, it is a treasure.  (And I do love all of Frank Herbert’s five sequels, even though they are imperfect.  Sadly the Dune novels written after Frank Herbert’s death by his son Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson have, for the most part, disappointed.)

Please lord let this be true.  Seventeen additional episodes of Arrested Development??  Let’s do this.

Hey, season two of True Detective is coming!  Can’t wait:

I’m also fairly eager for the third season of Orange is the New Black:

I was surprised by the glum tone of the first trailer for Marvel’s Ant Man.  This new trailer is far stronger, though I’m still a little surprised at how serious they’re making the film look.  Is that really the tone?  I do love that train gag at the end of the trailer, though.

In other Marvel news, this raised my eyebrows: Marvel can’t make a Hulk stand-alone film because Universal retains the rights to any Hulk solo film?  Wow, that is a crazy tangle of legal red-tape.  This doesn’t bug me too much because as awesome and perfect as Mark Ruffalo is as Bruce Banner, I think the Hulk functions best in a supporting role rather than carrying his own movie.  I do hope, though, to someday see a Guardians of the Galaxy/Planet Hulk crossover story-line movie.   I’ve tried to avoid too heavy spoilers for Age of Ultron and the upcoming slate of Marvel films, but various bits and pieces that I have heard and read lead me to suspect that might be coming a few years down the road, and that is awesome.

This new trailer for Terminator: Genisys[continued]

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Don’t tease me, universe!  I desperately want this news of a possible resurrection of The X-Files to be true!!

The X-Files

I am thrilled to have three cartoons from Motion Pictures included in JOMIX — Jewish Comics; Art & Derivation, an exhibition currently open in New York City.  Click here for more details!  I was also delighted to get such a nice mention in this review of The Jewish Comix Anthology The Anthology is still available for purchase at amazon!

This is an older article, but Rolling Stone’s The Last Days of 30 Rock is a magnificently in-depth look at the life and end of Tina Fey’s wonderful sitcom.

Keeping us on a similar topic, I loved this A.V. Club look back at Newsradio, listing their ten favorite episodes of that late great series.

I love listening to comic book author Brian Michael Bendis talk, usually on the wonderful wordballoon podcast.  His recent appearance on the Nerdist podcast is hugely entertaining.

After losing Leonard Nimoy last month, we also lost the great, woefully under-appreciated Harve Bennett.  Mr. Bennett was critically involved in the “trilogy” of Trek films: Star Trek II, III, and IV.  Most importantly, without Mr. Bennett’s involvement, Star Trek II might never have happened after Star Trek: The Motion Picture underwhelmed.  Mr. Bennett and writer/director Nicholas Meyer are the men who saved Star Trek.  Harve Bennett is responsible for what, to me, is the greatest iteration of Trek, those three films.  Star Trek would not be the franchise that it is today without Harve Bennett.  Rest in peace.  (You can learn a lot more about Harve Bennett by reading this wonderful eulogy on badassdigest.com.)

We also recently lost Sam Simon, who was one of the key creative voices in the early (and best) seasons of The Simpsons.

On a more upbeat note, watch this:

I am super-duper excited for Captain America: Civil War.  The idea of adapting that great comic book story-line for the Marvel cinematic universe is genius.  They should probably be calling it The Avengers 3 rather than Cap 3, but whatever.  Looking further down the road, I am thrilled that it looks like The Russo Brothers, after directing The Winter Soldier and then Civil War, will be directing the two-part Avengers: Infinity War films.  It’s been clear for a long while that Joss Whedon would be stepping aside after Avengers: Age of Ultron, and if it wasn’t going to be Mr. Whedon, I am delighted that the Russo Brothers are taking the lead in guiding Marvel’s Avengers franchise.  These next few years of Marvel movies are going to be amazing.

Kevin Smith is making Mallrats 2…?  Okay…  … [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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News Around the Net

Well, everything I have seen or read so far of the Terminator reboot Terminator: Genisys has looked abysmal (and good lord I hate that ridiculous title more each time I write it).  But I have to admit this trailer is intriguing:

I love how the first half looks like it’s the behind-the-scenes of what we already knew happened just prior to the start of the original Terminator film, and then when Sarah Connor crashes that truck through the department store window we see that we’re in some sort of alternate timeline.  I am curious how they’ll explain the cause of this alternate timeline, but I like much of what I see so far.  She looked ridiculous in the early photos that were released, but here in the trailer I can see why Emilia Clarke was cast — she’s fantastic as Sarah Connor in this glimpse.  And while I still think that including an aged Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film was silly, seeing old Arnie and CGI young Arnie and the new Terminator played by Byung-Hun Lee is exciting, they all look pretty great.  My biggest concern is how horrible Jai Courtney seems as Kyle Reese.  Absolutely none of Michael Biehn’s charm and presence.  I still think it’s pretty likely this film will suck, but at least this trailer makes me somewhat excited and curious to see the film, so that’s a big step-forward in terms of T-5’s marketing.

In more important sequel news, the new James Bond film will be called Spectre.  Excellent.  Ever since The World is Not Enough, I have been dreaming of the return of Blofeld to this series.  The first trailer for that film featured a glimpse of a bald Robert Carlyle, and at the time I dared to hope he was playing Blofeld.  Not so.  That character has been tied up in lawsuits for decades (all stemming from a conflict over who wrote what for Thunderball back in 1965).  But finally last year that lawsuit was resolved, and I am thrilled that SPECTRE is finally returning to the Bond series.  They’re playing coy, though, as to whether Blofeld will be in the film.  It’s hard to imagine that he wouldn’t be, unless Bond 24 is a long tease for the villain’s return in the next film, Bond 25.  I could see that happening.  But for now, I am really hoping that Christoph Waltz (who is starring in the film, reportedly as a character called Oberhauser) will be Blofeld.  That would be amazing.  I am thrilled the film is called Spectre, I love that return to the old Bond style of the villain’s name being the title.  (Ex.: Goldfinger.)  The only thing that would have … [continued]

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News Around the Net

Bill Watterson drew the poster for an international cartoonists’ festival, and it is awesome.

I’ve been really enjoying Kumail Nanjiani’s podcast The X-Files Files.  In each episode, Mr. Nanjiani and a guest host analyze two episodes of The X-Files, working their way through the series in order, starting from the very beginning of the show.  I’ve only listened to a few episodes, but they’ve all been great.  I started with this one, in which Mr. Nanjiani and Devin Faraci from badassdigest.com discuss the two-parter that began season 3, “The Blessing Way” and “Paper Clip.”  One of my favorite episodes is the very first podcast, also co-starring Mr. Faraci, in which the two discuss the first two episodes but also share their feelings on the whole series over-all.  My favorite part is their hilarious discussion of the dreadful second X-Files movie.  (Here are my thoughts after seeing that flick, if you’re interested.)  This is a great podcast, I am hooked!

I need to carve out some time to watch this: A recreation of The Empire Strikes Back made by over 500 individual fan-made versions of every shot from the film.  Sounds crazy!

This is awesome: what if famous album covers were just a small part of a much larger picture?  So funny and so clever.

So last month Marvel Comics killed off Wolverine.  Yeah, that’s gonna last.  But in the meanwhile, in honor of his “death,” enjoy this hilarious illustrated summary of Wolvie’s convoluted back-story.

Here’s a trailer for Jurassic World:

That’s a pretty solid trailer.  I love the use of the classic John Williams theme on piano at the end of the trailer.  The visuals are certainly gorgeous, and Chris Pratt is a great choice to anchor the adventure.  I don’t love what we glimpse here of the “hybrid dinosaur” angle.  One flaw of the original Jurassic Park sequels was the need to keep coming up with new and different dinosaurs.  The third film tried to use the Spinosaurus as their bad bad dinosaur and it didn’t work at all.  I hope this hybrid idea doesn’t come off as silly.

I like this nostalgia-based trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies:

This is a nice attempt to place this final film within the context of the epic story woven by the previous five.  It remains to see if the film delivers on that promise, but there are worse ways to market the new film than showing some of the best moments from the previous ones.

I’m not sure I believe that Blade Runner 2 will ever happen, nor do I think it’s a great idea.  Of course I’m … [continued]

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The Force Awakens and News Around the Net!

So the new Star Wars film is going to be called The Force Awakens?  Sigh.  Someday I would love to be really EXCITED by the announcement of a new Star Wars title.  While The Force Awakens is certainly a better title than The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, it seems very nondescript and bland.  It also seems to imply that somehow the Force has been asleep or not present during the events of the previous six films, which puzzles me.  What’s most interesting is that this new film is no longer being referred to as Episode VII.  I am all for dropping the numbers — I prefer subtitles over numbered sequels, and at a certain point the high sequel numbers just get silly.  But it means the new “main” trilogy won’t be distinguished from the spin-off films that are also being worked on.  That is likely Disney’s intent, as they wouldn’t want those spin-off films to be seen as any less important than the “main” films.  (Though I suppose it’s also very possible that the film will still be identified as Episode VII in its opening crawl.  We should remember that, for the Original Trilogy, the episode numbers weren’t really used in the advertising of the films, including their logo designs and posters.  They were only identified as Episode IV, Episode V, and Episode VI in their opening crawls.  It was only with the prequels that the episode number became so prominently incorporated into the titles and logo designs of the films.  Hmmm.  It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out with Episode VII.  I do very much like the idea that J.J. Abrams and his team are returning to the approach used by the Original Trilogy when it comes to the episode numbers.)

Speaking of Star Wars, this is fun: five minor actors from the original Star Wars trilogy who you didn’t realize were in everything you liked.

Who doesn’t love spending a little time reading about The Shawshank Redemption?

I wasn’t at all interested in NBC’s live telecasts of Peter Pan or The Sound of Music.  But A Few Good Men?  I’m in!!  Boy I hope this happens, and with a great cast.  You want me on that wall.  You NEED me on that wall!!

This is cool: as an alternative to the hideously ugly U.S.S. Enterprise re-design from J.J. Abrams’ films, here is a very cool looking, fan-designed, souped-up version of the Big-E that hews very closely to the ship’s original design from the Original Series.  Matt Jefferies’ design from the sixties ain’t broken, friends.

This is a great, fun interview clip with Benedict Cumberbatch.  Behold his perfect Jar Jar … [continued]

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Marvel’s Phase Three and The Infinity War!

November 3rd, 2014

Marvel Studios wowed fandom yet again last week with their announcement of a hugely ambitious slate of films leading up to a third and fourth Avengers film in 2018 and 2019.  My reaction?  Pretty much bliss!!

I still remember the excitement of seeing Iron Man for the first time (click here for my original review), and the glorious post-credits tease regarding “the Avengers initiative.”  Very quickly after the opening success of that film, Marvel Studios announced their ambitious, never-been-done-before plan of a series of additional stand-alone super-hero films (Captain America and Thor) that would then lead to a team-up of all the individual heroes in The Avengers.  It’s so easy to forget what an unbelievable idea that was at the time, just a few short years ago.  True, Iron Man was a success (creatively and financially) but could Captain America and Thor possibly be turned into successful, interesting films?  Neither felt like an easy character to adapt to the big-screen.  And could these very-different characters possibly be brought together into a crossover film that would feel remotely convincing?

Well, of course, it worked, and it worked like gangbusters.  Not only did all the individual films work very well (surprisingly, it was Iron Man 2 that wound up being the weakest of the bunch) and wind up being financially successful, but there were seeds of story-lines that wove through the films that provided lovely connecting tissue between the films.  The Avengers wound up feeling like a true culmination of the story-lines begun in each of the individual films, in addition to being a hugely entertaining work all its own.  The result is a model of an interconnected cinematic universe that had never been done before, and that now is being desperately imitated by every studio in town.

The films from Iron Man through The Avengers were nicknamed “Phase One.”  The post-Avengers films, leading up to this summer’s Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron, are Phase Two.  So far, the Phase Two films have been pretty terrific.  Iron Man Three, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy have all been pretty great.  The final two Phase Two films are this summer’s Age of Ultron, for which I have high hopes, and what feels like the Phase Two epilogue, Ant Man (for which I also have high hopes, though the very public parting-of-ways between Marvel and director Edgar Wright has really shaken my faith in that film, which was Mr. Wright’s baby for so many years).  If there’s any criticism to be wielded at the Phase Two films so far, it’s that other than Guardians of the Galaxy, they’ve all been sequels.  … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

Let’s begin today with these fantastic clips from The Simpsons Live, the recent Simpsons musical extravaganza at The Hollywood Bowl featuring Conan O’Brien, Jon Lovitz, Hank Azaria, and others.  These clips are amazing.

Prepare to lose several hours from your day perusing this ranking of the 114 greatest characters from The West Wing.  The ranking is ridiculous, but the character write-ups are great and the videos accompanying many of the write-ups are phenomenal, wonderful highlights of some of the best moments from that great show.

This is awesome: What Star Trek the original series would have looked like in widescreen.  Check out how gorgeous that 48-years-old television show looks!!  Unbelievable!!

Speaking of Star Trek, with the amazing HD remastering project of Star Trek: The Next Generation nearly completed (the seventh and final season comes out on blu-ray in December), I am desperate for CBS to do the same with Deep Space Nine, my favorite of the Trek TV series.  I really mean desperate.  Bill Hunt from the phenomenal web-site The Digital Bits has an excellent editorial on the topic, addressing this question of whether or not CBS will take the plunge and remaster DS9.  When I first started buying blu-rays, as astounded as I was by the picture and sound quality, I looked at my vast collection of DVDs and vowed to myself that I wouldn’t go out and re-buy blu-rays of films I already owned on DVD.  Many years later, and I am proud of myself for sticking with that vow, almost 100%.  With one huge glaring exception.  I have bought every single blu-ray set of a Star Trek TV show released so far.  The Original Series, The Next Generation, and Enterprise.  I am such a huge Trek fan that I just couldn’t resist.  The improved picture quality was irresistible.  Even more so were the INCREDIBLE special features on Next Gen and Enterprise, produced by Roger Lay, Jr. and Robert Meyer Burnett.  (Those special features really set the standard for what I wish EVERY great TV show or movie had on their DVDs/blu-rays: exhaustive documentaries made with love, along with lots of other fun stuff including deleted scenes and out-takes.)  CBS, I am ready to give you my money!!  PLEASE release a re-mastered version of DS9, and DOUBLE PLEASE let Mr. Lay & Mr. Burnett continue their efforts to finally produce substantial making-of special features for this, the greatest of the Trek TV shows!! #ds9onblurayplease

Hitfix’s Drew McWeeny has released another phenomenal installment of his series Film Nerd 2.0, in which he discussed his approach to guiding his two young sons through the world of media, when and how he introduces them to … [continued]

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Did you know that genius Calvin & Hobbes cartoonist Bill Watterson recently drew a few new comic strips?  I sure didn’t!!  Here’s the whole crazy story of how master artist Bill Watterson wound up collaborating with Stephan Pastis on his comic strip Pearls Before Swine.  And here are the cartoons.  Wow.  Holy cow am I jealous of Mr. Pastis!!  Well done, sir!

In last month’s News Around the Net post, I noted the 30th anniversary of both Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.  This summer also marks the 30th anniversary of Ghostbusters (holy hell, the summer of 1984 was AWESOME), and, to celebrate, the film is getting re-released to theaters on August 29th!!  Mark your calendars!  I’ll certainly be there.  (I love these sorts of revival screenings and wish the studios would do this far more often with their great films of yore.  As it happens, I’ve been able to see Ghostbusters a few times on the big screen in the last decade-or-so — click here for my thoughts on a screening of the film from 2011.)

And, sticking with Ghostbusters for just a moment longer, this is an awesome 30th anniversary infographic.

Gillian Flynn (author of Gone Girl) and Dave Gibbons (the artist of Watchmen) have collaborated on a short comic-book story.  Here it is, and it’s great.

This collection of Lucas Lee’s fake movie posters from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World really made me laugh.  I love that movie!!

This is a great, great list of the five best episodes of Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

I love this fantastic look back at two classic Newsradio episodes.  My lord that show was great.

Here’s another great stroll back down TV memory lane (as well as another reason to dearly miss the great, late Phil Hartman): a look at one of the very best episodes of The Simpsons, and one of the very best half-hours of television ever: “A Fish Called Selma.”

The Wachowskis are working on a ten-episode sci-fi show for Netflix, and the co-showrunner will be Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski?  OK, I am interested.

Speaking of Netflix, is Rosario Dawson going to be playing Karen Page on Netflix’s upcoming Daredevil show?  That would be awesome.

This is a fun article: Kramer, Meet Feldman: 19 TV Bizarros.

Joss Whedon has some fascinating thoughts on the state of super-hero movies today.  I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us with The Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Meanwhile, is Nathan Fillion going to be in Guardians of the Galaxy???  Holy cow that’s … [continued]

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Ok, I thought the first Guardians of the Galaxy trailer was awesome, but this new one is even better.  I cannot wait for this!!

The only good human…!!”  I can’t wait for July 11th!!

I’m also really loving this peek at Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar:

Oy vey, this is what they’ve decided to call the Batman vs. Superman movie?  Devin over at badassdigest has it exactly right.  (Devin also has some very smart things to say about the state of the Spider-Man film series here.)

For the longest time it seemed like Marvel Studios was doing everything right with their film series, while the Marvel properties at the other studios (like Spider-Man), not to mention Warner Brothers with all their DC Comics properties, were floundering.  But the last week has seen quite a lot of alarming news coming out of Marvel.  First was word that Drew Goddard was out as show-runner of the Netflix Daredevil show, which was a huge disappointment to me.  (I really loved Mr. Goddard’s collaboration with Joss Whedon: The Cabin in the Woods.)  Then came the collapse of Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man film.  There’s a behind-the-scenes story that none of us know yet, but whatever went down, Edgar Wright has left the film that he’s been planning for literally YEARS.  The only reason Marvel is making an Ant-Man movie is because of Mr. Wright’s passion for the character.  (Ant-Man isn’t exactly a big name character!)  With Edgar Wright (the talented director behind Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim Versus The World, a film that I absolutely adore) directing and Paul Rudd cast in the lead, Ant-Man was a film I was super-excited about.  But with Edgar Wright out and word that they have also thrown out the script he co-wrote with Joe Cornish, I don’t know why Marvel is continuing with the film.  With the movie’s announced release date just a year away, this looks like a huge train-wreck in the making.  Is the golden age of Marvel Studios already over?  I hope not, but I am definitely worried.

A new Elmore Leonard adaptation?  With an awesome cast?  Yes, please:

OK, one more trailer for you, an adaptation of Mark Millar & Dave Gibbons’ comic book series The Secret Service:

I’m not quite sure why the film has been re-titled Kingsman, but whatever.  The comic book was awesome and that trailer is promising.  I’m loving Colin Firth as the James Bond-esque character.  This could be a lot of fun.

This past June 1st marked the 30th anniversary of the release of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.  Wow.  Here’s a wonderful retrospective piece on the film[continued]

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This “Modern Seinfeld” twitter feed is pretty amusing.  I guess the premise is these guys are coming up with Seinfeld ideas, if the show was being made today.  This one really made me laugh: George gets dumped for being a “toilet texter.” GEORGE: “What else are you supposed to do in there?!” JERRY: “I can think of a couple things.”

This is awesome: A New Yorker’s Tour of Ghostbusters.

Did you catch the second Robot Chicken DC Special earlier this month?  So funny.  This DC All Access video contains some of the great bits, and a peek behind-the-scenes:

This article about Police Academy sort of makes me want to re-watch it!  I haven’t seen any of those films in YEARS, but Police Academy #1-4 were HUGE parts of my childhood!!

How Gravity should have ended:

A new animated Batman short by Bruce Timm (mastermind behind Batman: The Animated Series) in honor of Batman’s 75th anniversary?  And it’s a retro pulp adventure?  And Kevin Conroy voices Batman?  YES PLEASE!

The funniest thing about this new trailer for 24: Live Another Day is the “red-band” text that opens it:

I have absolutely zero interest in the film Sabotage, but this article’s description of star Josh Holloway as “America’s Sean Bean” made me laugh and laugh.  HAS Mr. Holloway actually lived to the end of a movie he’s been in…??

I learned about Operation: Paperclip as a kid from The X-Files.  It was real, and represents a fascinating (and morally ambiguous) era of American history.  I was pleased to see it referenced as part of the fictional S.H.I.E.L.D./Hydra back-story in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  More on Operation: Paperclip and the Marvel universe can be found here.… [continued]

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Is a TV-show adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Avon Oeming’s wonderful comic-book series Powers finally going to happen?  This project has been developed for YEARS, most recently at FX, but now it seems there’s a 10-episode order from Sony Pictures TV for Playstation, whatever the heck that means.  Powers is a phenomenal comic about cops in a world of super-heroes (click here for my detailed thoughts on the series) and, if done right, this could be a fantastic TV show.  I hope this actually comes together.

Is the new 24 twelve-episode mini-series going to be more like seasons 1-2 of 24 (good) or seasons 3-8 of 24 (not-so-good)?  Dunno.  Nice to see this first trailer, though there’s not much here to get me excited, just yet:

We also, at last, have our first glimpse at the long-in-the-works Sin City sequel.  The trailer is good but not great.  Here too, I need a little more to really get me excited.  I desperately want this movie to be good, but I think the time for a sequel may have passed.  Crossing my fingers on this one.

Each year, when I read about Paleyfest, I am insanely jealous and wish I could go to all of the panels.  Here’s a phenomenal rundown of the Parks and Recreation panel.  This is required reading for fans of Parks and Rec.  Lord I love that show. I can’t believe it’s survived cancellation as many times as it has, and it was just renewed for another season!

So, they’re really truly going ahead with Ghostbusters 3?  Without the participation of Bill Murray?  With Harold Ramis having just recently passed away?  With Ivan Reitman now saying he WON’T return to direct the film?  You know, for years and years I wanted this movie to happen, despite the huge risk that, so many years later, it’d be impossible to recapture the alchemy and make a film that was any good.  But now I’ve really soured on the whole idea.  Is it in any way conceivable that a Ghostbusters 3 could be any good?  Not to me.  This lengthy interview with Ivan Reitman is a fascinating look at the process behind this eons-in-development sequel, but I just think it’s a totally misguided notion.

Now, Brad Bird working to develop The Incredibles 2?  That is a sequel I can get behind!!!  I would love to see that come together.

I am absolutely tickled at the idea of Marvel Studios moving to a pattern in which they’d release one new movie each quarter.  That is an awesome dream!

Then there’s Fox, who still owns the rights to several Marvel series, including … [continued]

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First up, a big thank-you to everyone who has backed the kickstarter for the Jewish Comix Anthology!  This 250-page hardcover will feature the work of 47 Jewish artists, including Art Spiegelman, Harvey Pekar, Robert Crumb, Will Eisner, Joe Kubert… and me!  There’s only a week left to back the project, so please click here to get in on this!  There are some great backer rewards, including a just-added opportunity to own some original Motion Pictures cartoons by yours truly!  That’s right!  Would you like to own the original version of one of these three cartoons…?




Click here to view the kickstarter and purchase those cartoons!  Thanks everyone!

OK, moving on… I have watched this trailer a LOT.  I have an excited feeling that this movie is going to take the world by storm.  (I hope so!!)

Oh man I can’t wait for this:

And this!  (It’s always apey-est just before the dawn…)

As if that Guardians of the Galaxy trailer I posted above wasn’t cool enough, they’ve also just released a new poster with a phenomenal tag-line.

Speaking of super-hero film news, Fox made some headlines recently with the announcement of the cast of their new Fantastic Four film.  I for one am crossing my fingers.  I have always loved the FF and nothing would make me happier than an amazing Fantastic Four movie.  But the casting seems to be rather off the mark.  I don’t mind Johnny Storm being black.  Michael B. Jordan is an awesome actor, I am happy he is in the movie.  And he seems like the only one of these four actors who feels like the right “fit” for his character — in this case the young, brash, fun-loving Johnny.  I am more worked up by skinny Jamie Bell being cast as Ben Grimm!!  And I like Miles Teller, he was phenomenal in The Spectacular Now (click here for my review), but he is WAY too young for Reed Richards.  In fact, ALL of these actors are too young, the FF should all be 30-somethings not 20-somethings.  I hope they have something good up their sleeves, but this casting doesn’t seem to indicate they plan on being too faithful to the comic book characters.  (At least, not the original FF.  Marvel comics’ “Ultimate” universe, created a decade-or-so ago, featured a teenaged FF.  But while there have been some great Ultimate universe stories, I was never that taken by that interpretation of the FF.)  And in a world where Marvel Studios exists, where they have been making amazing Marvel movies that are VERY faithful to the comics, I have little patience for another bad Fox-made FF movie.  Well, hope … [continued]

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In one of my earliest posts on the site, I wrote my own follow-up to the famous Comics Journal article “Martin Wagner Owes Me Fifty Bucks,” in which I listed several comic book series that remained tragically never-completed by their authors.  At the top of the list was David Lapham’s magnificent series Stray Bullets.  This independently published, black-and-white comic book blew me away as a teenager.  I still think it stands as a magnificent achievement, which makes the fact that the series stopped publication in the middle of a story tragically painful.  Mr. Lapham is still working in the comic book industry, and for years and years I have been hoping that he would some-day return to this series and complete his story.  It looks like that day has finally arrived, as Image Comics has listed Stray Bullets on their publication schedule for March, 2014.  I hope this is real!!!

Devin Faraci at badassdigest.com has listed his Ten Most Disappointing Films of 2013, and at the top of his list is Star Trek Into Darkness.  What Mr. Faraci wrote about the film so perfectly sums up my feelings that I don’t think I ever need to write another word about that terribly disappointing film.  Here is Mr. Faraci:

This isn’t technically a ranked list, but I saved this for last on purpose. There were many months leading up to Star Trek Into Darkness that allowed me to roll with the movie’s punch, but even still this broiling heap of nonsense left me deeply despondant. JJ Abrams had totally proven me wrong with Star Trek 2009, a movie that while not great was filled with heart and adventure and managed to work despite extraordinary script flaws. Star Trek Into Darkness brought back both the cast who made the first film live and the script flaws that almost sank it, except this time the script flaws were not going to get upstaged. Into Darkness is dumb, it’s complicated for no reason, it features reveals that are meaningless to the plot and it pisses away Star Trek‘s most name-brand villain in a plotline that disrespects hardcore fans while being meaningless to the coveted new audience. Star Trek Into Darkness is a movie so bad that it fails on almost every conceivable level, including mewling fan service. This isn’t the worst film of the year… but it’s without a doubt the film that squanders the most talent, money and good will. 

Amen.  (If you’re interested, here’s my review of Star Trek Into Darkness.)

Love this trailer for Christopher Nolan’s new film, Interstellar.  I don’t have a clue what the film is about, and that’s just the way I want … [continued]

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This is fantastic: The Seinfeld reunion episode from Curb Your Enthusiasm season #7, edited together.  Enjoy!

This is a great site that lists the various actors and actresses who played multiple characters in different Bond films.  Great fun for the Bond fans out there!

Speaking of Bond, there was BIG NEWS last month that the James Bond movie producers and MGM have finally ended the nearly fifty-year-long legal battle with Kevin McClory, the co-writer of Thunderball.  I’ve known about this rights conflict before, of course (it’s what led to another studio being able to make the competing Bond film, Never Say Never Again, that was released the same year as Octopussy), but what I didn’t realize was that this rights situation was what was preventing MGMN’s bond films from using Bloefeld or SPECTRE.  My reviews of the Daniel Craig Bond films have been lamenting the absence of those two classic villains, and I am overjoyed at the idea that now the way is open for Bloefeld to be revealed as the head of Quantum, and/or for Quantum to be revealed as a branch of SPECTRE.  I desperately hope the next Bond film walks through this now-open door!!

Hey, comic book fans: I’ve recently discovered two comic-book-related tumblrs that I am now obsessed with.  First is John Byrne Draws, which is chock-full of absolutely gorgeous scans of Mr. Byrne’s original art from the decades that he has been working in the industry.  There was a long, long time during which John Byrne was my very favorite comic book artist (and writer!), so this was a real treat.  Then there is comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis’ tumblr, which is a showcase for two things: 1) amazing, extraordinary scans of classic comic book art from across the decades — work by many different artists from many different eras, being linked only by being some of the finest comic book art ever drawn, and 2) Bendis’ incredibly open, honest, funny and insightful Q & As with his fans.  Both aspects of the tumblr are equally valuable — together, they’re an irresistible time-suck for me.

This is a fun article on 10 parts of the Indiana Jones films that bother the writer.  I hugely agree with numbers 4 and 5.  (Don’t worry, the article only focuses on the original Indy trilogy, rightly ignoring The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.)

This Star Trek reference-laden conversation between a Netflix employee and a customer is apparently real, and it is amazing.

This is a great article on two of my very favorite novels: Isaac Asimov’s The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun.  Oh man do I love those two … [continued]

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This is fantastic: Tom Hiddleston (who played Loki in both Thor movies and The Avengers) doing a phneomenal impression of Owen Wilson, had Owen been cast as Loki.  Check this out.

West Wing fans!  Did you see this clip of Allison Janney performing The Jackal on The Arsenio Hall Show?  This is an obscure reference, but one that any die-hard West Wing fan will appreciate:

This blog from Kevin Smith gives an intriguing update on his fast-developed, absolutely bonkers weird-sounding new movie, Tusk.  Click here for even more info.  Despite being an enormous fan of Kevin Smith, I still haven’t seen Red State.  I want to see it, for sure, since I can’t imagine not having seen one of Mr. Smith’s films, but it just doesn’t interest me that much.  So far, I am bummed to say that Tusk is trending the same way, but it’s such a loony concept that I am intrigued.  It’ll be interesting to see how this develops.

This is a great short little retrospective of Jim Henson’s life and work.  I very much want to read Brian Jay Jones’ biography of Jim Henson, it sounds like a really fascinating book.

OK, this is a very geeky link, but I loved this.  An enterprising photoshopper has created images showing how awesome the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast would have looked in Original Series uniforms.  So great.

There are a lot of stories cropping up about behind-the-scenes issues on the pre-production of Star Wars: Episode VII.  Seems Disney is pushing for that 2015 release date, come hell or high water.  More info here.  I hope it’s all just talk.  I don’t have much hope that I will ever again in my lifetime see a great Star Wars film, but that little ember of hope does still exist, deep inside me.  Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe!

Chris Claremont is, I would argue, single-handedly responsible for the incredible popularity of the X-Men today.  Mr. Claremont wrote The Uncanny X-Men comic book, and a truck-load of spinoffs and mini-series and annuals and other special events, for a jaw-dropping seventeen years, from the ’70s into the ’90s.  (In one of the great injustices of the medium’s history, he was sort of pushed off of the series when his work began to be overshadowed by the popularity of the superstar artists working at Marvel in those days.)  A new documentary about his career — focusing on that incredible seventeen year run on the X-Men — has just been released, and I am dying to see it.  This is a fantastic article about a recent screening of the film, followed by a Q & A [continued]

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Want to loose an hour of your life?  Spend some time reading through the comments section of this article that poses the question: what is the single best episode of any genre TV show ever?  I don’t agree with all the responses, of course, but I agree with a LOT of ’em… and they all make me want to devote the next year of my life to go-ing back and re-watching all of my favorite sci-fi shows…!!

Can you believe The Simpsons is entering its 25th season???  That is just insane!  Here is a great interview with current Simpsons show-runner Al Jean.  I have about two years’ worth of Simpsons episodes sitting unwatched in my Tivo queue.  I still love The Simpsons but somewhere along the line I just lost my eagerness to see the new episodes as they aired each week… and now it’s been many, many months since I have watched one of the latest episodes.  It’s hard for me to believe this has happened!  Maybe this will get me excited for the show again: the news that Guillermo del Toro directed the opening couch gag segment of this year’s Treehouse of Horror episode, that aired last night.  Cool.  I haven’t watched the episode yet, but it just might be time to dip into my queue and check it out!  Click here to watch the entire opening segment, and to hear more from Guillermo del Toro about creating that elaborate sequence.

This is interesting: Pixar’s in-development film The Good Dinosaur has had its release date pushed back by A YEAR AND A HALF.  Wow.   That means that 2014 will be the first year without a new Pixar film since 2005.  On the one hand, I am pleased to see a major studio taking the time to get a movie done right, rather than rushing to meet a release date.  On the other hand, while I don’t know the full story, I feel badly for the original director, Bob Peterson, who was removed off the film he had helped to create and develop.

From J.W. Rinzler’s upcoming book The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, io9 has collected a fascinating (oops, wrong Star franchise) list of 10 things you probably didn’t know about Return of the Jedi.  This is a must-read for all Star Wars fans.  Speaking of Star Wars and i09, I also love their list of the 9 least-competent Jedi.  I don’t know anything about the expanded universe characters, but they’re certainly right on the money about Qui-Gon Jin.  (And Ben Kenobi.  And Yoda.  And Luke.)

I’ve been very critical of Star Trek Into Darkness on this site.  … [continued]

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This is an old clip (it’s from 2012), but I just saw it for the first time and loved it: a revival of “Who’s on First” with Jimmy Fallon, Billy Crystal, and Jerry Seinfeld!

This made me laugh a LOT.  Ladies and gentlemen:  Good Will Batman.

This is an interesting article on the production of season two of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, a show I find enjoyable though frustrating.  (I was fascinated to learn the reason that season two only ran nine episodes, rather than ten.)

Bill Hunt runs one of my very favorite web-sites out there, The Digital Bits.  He recently wrote a phenomenal editorial calling Paramount to task for their terrible treatment of the Star Trek films on DVD/blu-ray, specifically the disappointing blu-ray release of Into Darkness (in which Paramount created all sorts of special features for the movie but, instead of putting them all on the blu-ray, released individual featurettes to different vendors to be exclusive material just for them… making it impossible for Trek fans to get all of this material unless they wanted to go out and buy eight different copies of the blu-ray, each from a different vendor).  I agree 100% with everything Mr. Hunt wrote.  Well done.

Speaking of Star Trek Into Darkness, Devin Faraci at Badassdigest has written a brilliant evisceration of the film and a disturbing analysis of how co-screenwriter Bob Orci’s conspiracy “Truther” theories about 9/11 made it into the film’s story-line.  The idea that those sorts of nonsensical ideas about 9/11 made it into any big-budget blockbuster would be concerning, and the thought that these notions are a part of a Star Trek film — a series justly known for its progressive, liberal tackling of modern-day issues — is hugely upsetting to me.

This is a terrific interview with the show-runners of the new Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen.  This husband and wife pairing can be overshadowed by Jed’s more-famous brother Joss (who is executive-producing the show), but I have loved their work on Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (Maurissa KILLS on the musical commentary track!), and even some terrific Terminator comic books they wrote for Dark Horse comics a year or two ago.  I have a lot of faith in their talents.  I hope all the ingredients come together for this to be a great TV show.

Can this be true?  The blu-ray release of Paul Feig’s The Heat (click here for my review) features a commentary track by the original MST3K guys??  Well, I am definitely buying that blu-ray now!!

So… the new Robocop is a Cylon??

So…R.I.P. Futurama… again.  In honor of the show’s recent cancellation … [continued]

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Ben Affleck is Batman? And Other News Around the Net

So Ben Affleck will be playing Bruce Wayne/Batman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel (currently titled Superman vs Batman).  How about that?  I have very mixed feelings about this announcement, but this isn’t coming from a place of being an Affleck hater.  Quite the contrary, I have been a fan of Mr. Affleck since the beginning of his career (I’m talking School Ties days!).  I’ve always enjoyed his work.  I think he’s a terrific actor, equally adept at playing comedy or drama.  I’ve always thought so, but what really made me a fan of Mr. Affleck was listening to his candid and hysterical participation in the commentary tracks for Kevin Smith’s early films, specifically Mallrats and Chasing Amy.  Mr. Affleck is OK in Mallrats and superb in Chasing Amy, but he is so funny, so genuine and so likable on the commentary tracks that I was solidified as a huge fan of his.  When considering Mr. Affleck as a superhero, one must of course consider Daredevil.  I am in the minority here but I am a big fan of that film.  I think it’s great, a nice serious take on the Daredevil character, and I thought Mr. Affleck was terrific in the title role.  I have always been bummed we never got a sequel (particularly since the narrative was positioned, at the end of the film, for a sequel to take on the classic Frank Miller Daredevil story-line “Born Again,” which I would KILL to someday see on a movie screen).

So why am I having a hard time imagining Mr. Affleck playing Batman?  To be honest, I’m not sure.  It might be that he is just too big a name for the role.  He’s a great actor, but not necessarily the type who vanishes into his different roles.  I am wondering if he as Ben Affleck is too well known to portray this character — will be be able to see Batman when watching him, rather than Ben Affleck?  Or is the issue that I have always found him to be a very likable performer — might he be TOO likable to portray Batman, a very grim character?

I am dubious, but on the other hand I am pleased that Warner Brothers are shooting high and looking to assemble a high-profile cast for the Superman sequel.  We’ll all see how it turns out on July 17, 2015…

In other news:

This could be one of my favorite articles I’ve ever read on-line: Devin Faraci at badassdigest.com on How Lost and The X-Files Are Exactly Like All His Failed Relationships.  So funny, and his analysis of those two shows that both collapsed in the ninth inning is … [continued]

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Let’s begin the day with this phenomenal article from badassdigest.com about how Optimus Prime’s death defined a generation of kids.  Do you want to understand the depths of my geeky heart?  Then read that article.  My parents wouldn’t let me see Transformers: The Movie in theatres, but I was allowed to rent it on video.  I didn’t cry, but I was shocked by the brutal deaths of all my beloved characters in the film’s opening minutes.  When Optimus Prime bought the farm I was changed forever.  I had loved the Transformers before, but one viewing of Transformers: The Movie sealed that flick’s place in my heart forever.  “Megatron… must be stopped.  No matter the cost.”

Boy, those crazy guys and gals at badassdigest.com have a direct line into my psyche these days, because while the experience of seeing Transformers: The Movie was seminal, so too was my discovery of Voltron.  This magnificent article examines the mysterious origins of Voltron, a show that combined and repurposed several different Japanese cartoons.  Oh my lord I loved Voltron.  The continuity of that show — the way story-lines flowed from one episode to the next — was a staggering discovery to me as a kid, and I fell in love hard.  To this day, I have a love for long-running continuing stories in any media (Movies, TV, books, comic books, etc.), and I think that began as a kid when I discovered Voltron and Robotech…

I just discovered Jerry Seinfeld’s web-series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and it is magnificent.  I love stand-up comedy and I loved Seinfeld, so no surprise I think this series of shorts of Jerry hanging out with his very funny pals is phenomenal.  With this project, Seinfeld has inched even closer to truly having made a show about nothing.  Genius.  I have already watched them all.  If you haven’t seen this, click on the above link immediately.

Want to watch Ewan McGregor tell a hilarious story about filming the Star Wars prequels?  Jump to 7:50 below:

So far I am very, very excited for next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.  My only cause for worry?  The film’s very unimpressive redesign of the Sentinels.  I wish they had stuck a lot closer to the classic, iconic original design by John Byrne.  The Sentinels aren’t just any robots, they have a very specific look, and this isn’t it.

As for this summer’s X-Men movie, I have already written my review of the good-but-not-great new Wolverine solo film, The Wolverine.  Click here for a fascinating interview with Chris Claremont, who shares his thoughts on the film.  Chris Claremont didn’t create the X-Men or Wolverine, but in … [continued]

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News Around the Net: Comic-Con Edition!

Lots of cool news coming out of Comic-Con this week!

Let’s begin with the hilarious Game of Thrones “In Memoriam” video:

Look!  It’s Caesar and his Ape Council!  Awesome.

The Simpsons is going to do a crossover episode with Family Guy?  Awesome!  Even more exciting?  The Simpsons is also going to do a crossover with the cancelled-again Futurama!!!  Oh boy I can’t wait for that.

Speaking of crossovers, in news that I found VERY surprising, DC/Warner Brothers have announced that the follow-up to Man of Steel is going to be a Batman/Superman film.  As much as I love all the allusions, in the announcement, to the seminal Superman-Batman grudge match in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns (and I love the Frank Miller-inspired Batman/Superman logo that you’ll see if you scroll down this article) I must confess to not be so excited that they are rushing into a crossover film.  I felt that Man of Steel had a lot of flaws, but it was a terrific reintroduction of Superman.  I’d love to see them get a little deeper into exploring this new incarnation of the character, before throwing him into a Batman crossover film.  Plus, since it seems clear that Christian Bale will not be reprising the role, wouldn’t it be weird to introduce a new Batman in this crossover film, without a stand-alone film of his own under his belt?  The whole thing feels to me that they are rushing things in order to combat Marvel’s success with The Avengers.

Still, if done right, a Batman/Superman film could sure be awesome.  I must admit that despite my qualms, there is some geeky excitement there.

I feel similarly about Marvel’s announcement that The Avengers 2 will be called Age of Ultron The deadly, humanity-hating robot Ultron is a classic Avengers villain, and the thought of seeing him realized on film should be tremendously exciting.  And it is, for sure.  It’s just that I am really thrown for a loop since after seeing Thanos at the end of The Avengers, and with the cosmic Guardians of the Galaxy set as one of Marvel’s Phase 2 films coming before Avengers 2, it seemed like Marvel was setting the stage for a big cosmic story with Thanos as the main bad-guy.  I thought that was such an awesome plan.  I am very uncertain, now, as to how Ultron is going to play into all that.  Is Thanos going to be held until The Avengers 3?  That is a looong way away!

Adding to my uncertainty is the specificity of the subtitle of Age of Ultron.  That is actually the title of a Marvel Comics crossover series that … [continued]

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News Around the Net

New production video for The Hobbit!  Yay!

Do you have $275 burning a hole in your pocket?  Then why not consider buying yourself (or me!) a print of Drew Struzan’s gorgeous Dark Tower painting (originally featured in Frank Darabont’s vastly underrated adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist)?

Star Trek geek red alert!  This is an outstanding, in-depth article about the special effects of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, including a focus on the brilliant redesign of the USS Enterprise for that film (which still stands, in my mind, as the definitive version of the Enterprise).

Speaking of Star Trek, this is an interesting — albeit completely wrong-headed — defense of Star Trek: Voyager.  The writer is correct in lamenting the complete absence on TV these days of the type of optimistic, humanistic sci-fi that Star Trek embodied.  And he is also correct in praising the strong female characters of Voyager, and the way that, on the show, “female authority was assumed and unquestioned.”  That’s still a surprisingly forward-thinking and not-all-that-common point of view for a mainstream TV show.  Unfortunately, I wish Voyager was actually the groundbreaking show that writer remembers.  I’m afraid to say that Voyager was derivative and boring, a show that totally failed to follow through on any aspect of its strong premise, instead presenting us with rehashed, watered down versions of Trek stories we’d seen done before, and far better.  It’s the worst of the Trek series by quite a wide margin, in my opinion.

Boy, I loved Ender’s Game when I first read it a decade or two ago, but the more I learn of Orson Scott Card’s political views, the more disappointed I become.  Meredith Borders at badassdigest.com has written a concise and powerful evisceration of Mr. Card’s most recent anti-gay rights statement, and I think it’s worth a read.

As a weirdly connected follow-up piece, allow me to recommend this spotlight on the life of Conrad Veidt.  I didn’t think I knew who he was, until I ready the article and realized that I did (and I bet you do too, if you’ve ever seen Casablanca), but I didn’t know about his incredible life.  Very cool short article.

Nothing particularly revelatory in this first teaser poster for Captain America 2 I’m excited that they will be adapting Ed Brubaker’s fantastic Winter Soldier storyline — I hope they don’t stray too far from his original story.  We’ll see.

Oh, I love this possible premise for a sequel to This is the End!  I can’t imagine we’ll ever actually see that, but if they made that movie I’d be there.

Let’s end with the most awesome thing I have seen … [continued]

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OK, this is the greatest thing I have seen in a long time (BUT BEWARE SPOILERS IF YOU ARE NOT UP TO DATE WITH GAME OF THRONES!!!)

I love The Princess Bride!

I’ve completely lost faith in M. Night Shyalaman over the past decade, but that being said I still think Unbreakable is his best film, and I would so love for the long-rumored sequel to someday happen.  The one flaw with Unbreakable, in my mind, is that the story feels incomplete — it feels like the first act of a larger story.  So every time Mr. Shyamalan talks about a possible sequel, I am happy.

So this is interesting: in the months after the success of Skyfall, there was a lot of talk that Bond 24 and 25 (the next two Bond films) would be two connected films.  That was denied by the Bond producers.  But amidst the recent news that Skyfall Director will be returning for the next Bond film, the 24th, comes this rumor that Mr. Mendes is going to commit to helm the 25th Bond film as well!  I love the idea of a two-part Bond film, that would be super-cool if that happens.

Zack Snyder (director of Man of Steel) and Bruce Timm (mastermind behind Batman: The Animated Series) are collaborating on a Superman short film in honor of Superman’s 75th anniversary?  Awesome!

I have Superman because of my huge anticipation for The Man of Steel (which I hope to see this weekend!!), so now’s as good a time as any to read this terrific piece looking back at Superman II!  That film was a HUGE part of my childhood…!!

There’s been a lot of rumors flying in recent weeks about the inclusion of the character of Quicksilver in both Fox’s upcoming X-Men movie, Days of Future Past, as well as the Disney-owned Marvel Studios’ upcoming Avengers 2.  It will be fascinating to see how this all shakes out!

(Speaking of Days of Future PastNixon!  Love it!)

Anytime anyone is talking about Escape From the Planet of the Apes, I take notice!

And with that, my friends, I wish you all a great weekend.  I’ll be back next week with my thoughts on Man of Steel, season four of Arrested Development, and cartoons making fun of Star Trek Into Darkness.  Hope to see you all back here soon!… [continued]

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First of all: Arrested Development.  Sadly for me, life has intervened and, despite my years-long anticipation, I have not yet seen a single second of the new Netflix season.  But rest assured, friends, that very shortly I will be devouring these new episodes and I will be back here, of course, with my detailed thoughts.  Hopefully very soon!!

This will take some time to read, but boy is it worth it: the Onion A.V. Club’s in-depth, career-spanning interview with comedian Patton Oswalt.

I wasn’t nearly as in love with Skyfall as the rest of the world seemed to be (click here for my original review), but I am excited by the news that, contrary to reports from late last year, Sam Mendes just might return to direct the next Bond film.  I hope that happens.  No let’s bring back QUANTUM and make them a real, SPECTRE-like threat to Bond!

This is hilarious and I have never loved George Takei more.  Click here to see Mr. Takei’s written responses to various bigoted anti-gay marriage protesters.

Speaking of Star Trek, I love this piece about a non-Star Trek fan who discovered Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  I still feel strongly that the under-loved Deep Space Nine is the strongest of the Star Trek series.  Sigh.  I miss the days of great new Star Trek on TV every week…!

Still speaking of Star Trek, this is a fantastic piece that dissects crazy, ill-advised efforts that J.J. Abrams went to in order to mislead folks (OK, flat-out lie) about the identity of the character Benedict Cumberbatch was playing in Star Trek Into Darkness.  I was tremendously disappointed by the Trek sequel (click here for my review) and this article supports and further fleshes out many of the points I made in my review.

I posted the first teaser for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, but I don’t think I ever posted the longer, three-minute version.  Check it out.

Same goes for this deliriously huge trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s new film Pacific Rim.  This was released a few weeks ago already, but if you haven’t seen it yet, you should take a look:

I lamented the cancellation of Star Wars: The Clone Wars a few weeks ago, so I am happy to see that many of that show’s key creative players are involved in a new, in-the-works Star Wars animated project, set between Episodes III and IV.  I still feel terribly disappointed that the Clone Wars story was cut off unfinished.  Dare I hope that this new series will resurrect some unfinished story-threads and characters from the Clone Wars series…?

I’ll leave … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

I’ve enjoyed reading Howard Kurtz’s writing — about politics, and about media — over the years.  He screwed up big-time in his reporting about Jason Collins’ coming out as gay.  But hoo, boy, this video of him getting mercilessly grilled — on his own CNN show — about the incident is pretty brutal.  Click here to see a very uncomfortable fifteen minutes.  I was like a deer in the headlights — I couldn’t look away.

Another great season (thank goodness it’s not the last!!) of Parks and Recreation has recently wrapped up, and so once again Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall has another great post-season wrap-up interview with Parks & Rec’s show-runner (who also has been playing Dwight’s cousin Mose on The Office for the better part of a decade).  Click here to read the full interview.  (Fortunately, soon after that interview was conducted, the news broke that Parks and Rec has indeed been renewed for a sixth season.)

Is Star Wars the most over-rated franchise ever??  Click here for another fantastic opinion piece from Badass Digest’s Devin Faraci.  One fantastic film and one very good film out of six?  It’s sort of hard to argue with that…

Speaking of Mr. Faraci, here is a great interview with Iron Man 3 director/co-writer Shane Black, and Marvel Studios head-honcho Kevin Feige.  (If you missed it, my review of Iron Man 3 is here.)

If you’re a comic book fan and you don’t know who Len Wein is, it’s time to learn.  Click here for a wonderful interview with the man who had his hand in creating the All-New X-Men back in the ’70s.

I’ve been waiting for Alfonso Cuaron’s next film for a while (I think Children of Men is pretty much a masterpiece), and this first look at Gravity has me drooling:

Jack Bauer might return — but not in the long-talked-about movie, but rather in a new 24 TV series?  That is a wild idea!  I loved 24 when it began, but the series’ formulaic story-telling caused me to lose patience by the end, and I didn’t actually watch the last season.  But with better writing, I definitely think there is still life in the character and the franchise.  I am bummed the movie never happened, but I’d definitely check out a new 24 TV series.  It’ll be interesting to see if this goes anywhere…  UPDATE!  It’s happening!  24: Live Another Day will run 12 episodes and premiere next May.  Wow.  Could it be good?  (That spin on the Die Another Day Bond title doesn’t impress me.)  Chloe, open a socket!

So they’ve finally made a movie of Ender’s Game?  Feels like this … [continued]

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Holy cow, this sneak peek (first shown at Wondercon) of Guillermo del Toro’s new film Pacific Rim is spectacular:

AAAARGH — Futurama has been cancelled AGAIN??  Sad news.  I definitely consider myself blessed that Matt Groening’s show has risen from cancellation not once but twice already, but that’s not stopping me from hoping that the still-fantastic sci-fi comedy will somehow resurrect itself yet again.

I was also bummed by the news that Star Wars: The Clone Wars has been cancelled.  Not a shocker that the show was a casualty of Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, but still a disappointment.  I haven’t been a die-hard fan of the show, but I have watched quite a few episodes, particularly of the later seasons.  The show came a LONG way from the embarrassingly terrible animated film released a few years back.  The animation has become quite spectacular — the action scenes are out of this world amazing, and even the character animation has become really quite good.  I have enjoyed the show’s explorations of the sci-fi universe, and it’s been a pretty adult, action-packed show.  Not GREAT Star Wars, but very very good Star Wars.  I can understand Disney’s wanting to start fresh, but it seems like a huge wasted opportunity to not allow the show to finish its run and wrap up its stories.  After five seasons, it really felt to me that The Clone Wars was building to something — and that the series was cut off mid-stream, with story-lines and character arcs unresolved, means that the show won’t have much of a future life.  Who’d want to start watching the show’s hundred-some odd episodes, now, knowing that the show ends unfinished?  It seems crazy to me that Disney didn’t allow the show to have at least one more season to complete its story.  It’s a shame and a waste, both creatively (because the story is left incomplete) and financially (because wouldn’t Disney be able to make a lot more money off of the show in future years, through syndication, DVD/blu-ray sales, etc., if it had been completed??).

This is a fantastic, well-reasoned article comparing Marvel’s currently-running big crossover series, Age of Ultron, very favorably with what is happening these days with DC’s “New 52.”  I agree wholeheartedly.

I also agree wholeheartedly with this piece by Devin Faraci, arguing how wrong-headed the depiction of James T. Kirk’s taking of the Kobayashi Maru test was in 2009’s Star Trek.  That film showed Kirk brazenly cheating on the test, which Devin argues is a complete misunderstanding of what was suggested in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  I think Devin is 100% correct, and that Kobayashi Maru scene is one 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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News Around the Net (and a rant about Prometheus!)

So, OK, bloody disgusting ran an article that Fox doesn’t know what to do with a proposed sequel to Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, and that the source of the problem is that when Lost’s Damon Lindelof re-wrote Jon Spaihts’ original Alien prequel script into what became Prometheus, he turned a one-shot film into the start of a trilogy, except now he isn’t returning for film two and so Ridley Scott and Fox are left holding the bag with no idea where to take the story next.  The article is pretty fierce in attacking Mr. Lindelof, and no surprise he has responded to defend himself, saying that Ridley Scott and everyone at Fox all wanted Prometheus to be the start of a trilogy and explaining why he isn’t returning for the sequel.  I have no reason not to take Mr. Lindelof at his word, but the real story to me, here, is how clear Mr. Lindelof’s comments illustrate the brain-dead decision-making that went into the making of Prometheus.  Mr. Lindelof comments that the whole idea was that, if/when they made a sequel to Prometheus, they didn’t want that sequel to be the already-made original Alien.  They wanted room to explore the story further, to tell what he describes as a “parallel” story to the events of Alien and its sequels.  That’s why instead of making the planet that they find in Prometheus LV-427, the planet where Ripley finds the crashed ship and the alien eggs in Alien, they decided to set Prometheus on a different planet (despite the fact that they kept in the film the Engineer’s ship that looks exactly like the one Ripley found, crashing at the end so it looks exactly like what we saw in Alien.  Guess those Engineers just crashed their ships on LOTS of barren planets, huh?  So stupid!!).  Am I the only one who sees how easily the filmmakers could have had their cake and eaten it too?  Had they stuck with Jon Spaihts’ original plan, the events of Prometheus would have beautifully lined up with what we saw in Alien, explaining who the Engineers were and how their ship carrying Alien eggs wound up crashed on that planet… and meanwhile, had the movie ended exactly the way it did, with Dr. Shaw and David’s head surviving the Engineer’s rampage and setting off in search of the Engineer’s home-world, they could have  had their “parallel” story-line right there, continuing to explore Shaw’s adventures in future films without connecting any further to Ripley.  Am I right or am I crazy??  Once again I am struck by what an enormous, jaw-dropping missed opportunity Prometheus was.  (Click here for my original review [continued]

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This high school-set Game of Thrones parody, School of Thrones, is fantastic.  Worth it for the awesome opening credits alone.

I often wax poetic about my love for the great, much-missed The Larry Sanders Show.  My buddy Ethan e-mailed me this link to a terrific interview with Jeffrey Tambor (who played Hank “Hey Now!” Kingsley), filled with stories about his work on the show.  A great read.

Louis C.K. has a new stand-up special on HBO in April.  Love this trailer:

I must say I am shocked that, despite the BIG success of 2007’s The Simpsons Movie (I can’t believe it was that long ago, already!), they are not working on another one.  That’s a shame.

I have spent a long time looking at this awesome infographic that lays out the entire backwards-and-forwards structure of Christopher Nolan’s fantastic film Memento.  Wild.

I was VERY excited to read that an extended cut has recently been discovered of “The Wounded” and several other episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  I hope some of this footage eventually makes it onto the blu-rays!  I LOVED the extended cut of “The Measure of a Man” on the season 2 blu-ray, and I would kill to see some more extended cuts of episodes in the future…  And “The Wounded” is one of my favorite TNG episodes!  (I love O’Brien!)

Speaking of Trek, a new teaser trailer was released a few weeks ago:

Solid trailer.  God I hope this movie doesn’t let me down.

Speaking of trailers — I still can’t believe they really made a movie of the deliriously unhinged, profane comic book Kick Ass.  And now they’ve made a sequel?  This new red-band trailer is great.  The kids have grown up, but this could still work.  (Though holy cow, how huge is Aaron Taylor-Johnson — who plays the titular geek kid turned super-hero, Kick Ass — now??  It’s weird to see puny Dave Lizewski so pumped.)  I LOVE that they used Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s super-villain name from the comics!  And Jim Carrey is in this???  This movie is going to be crazy.  I can’t wait.

I’ve never seen Veronica Mars, but if this is true that a Kickstarter campaign has successfully lead to the show’s revival as a movie, that is super-cool.  I am all for the rescue of fan-favorite, cult properties.  Serenity 2, anyone??  (No, says Joss Whedon.  Sigh!!)

Christopher Guest (A Mighty Wind, Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman) is masterminding a new show for HBO?  Yes, please!

Hmmm… are there any other HBO shows coming up that I’m looking forward to?  Oh, yeah, there is one:


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Awesome new Iron Man 3 Trailer & News Around the Net!

I am absolutely loving this new Iron Man 3 trailer:

This movie looks fantastic from what we have seen so far.  I love seeing Tony really challenged.  I love the idea of connecting this film to the Avengers not by featuring other super-heroic characters, but by exploring the psychological ramifications of what Tony went through in that film.  I love what we have seen of Ben Kinglsey’s interpretation of the Mandarin as a media-savvy terrorist.  I love the teases of what looks to be some great action set-pieces.  It’s Shane Black working again with Robert Downey Jr.  I am in.

I am intrigued by this announcement of The X-Files Season 10 in comic-book form.  And I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Faraci’s statement that the time is ripe for an X-Files revival.  I posted a lament when the date for the alien invasion came and went a few months ago, with no sign of the massive X-Files third movie I had been hoping for.  I would love to see that remedied someday, before all the actors get too old.  A man can hope…

I am always too busy over the summer to watch The Daily Show, a fact which eased my initial dismay when reading this announcement that Jon Stewart is taking 12 weeks off from the show to direct a film.  What’s particularly fascinating is that Mr. Stewart isn’t planning on directing a comedy, but rather an adaptation (that he has written) of the book Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival.  The book was written by Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molloy, and tells the true story of the detention and torture of Mr. Bahari, a BBC journalist, for 118 days in Iran.  Viewers of The Daily Show might recall Mr. Bahari, as he appeared on the show both before and after his ordeal.  One of the pieces of evidence used against him by the Iranians, who accused him of being a spy, was a previous comic appearance he had made on The Daily Show.

The fact that Warner Brothers seems to have no idea what to do with all of the DC Universe super-hero franchises they own, exhibited by their inability to get a Justice League movie off the ground, would be hilarious if it wasn’t so disappointing to folks like me who would love to see a whole slew of kick-ass DC movies.  Here’s hoping Zack Snyder’s Superman film doesn’t disappoint.  Going back to Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale seems like a desperation move to me.  Though I would rather see Christian Bale back in the bat-suit than Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as had been rumored. Look, I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt … [continued]

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At last!  Our first glimpse at footage from Game of Thrones season three!

This is a very funny article: Six Horrible Aftermaths Implied by Movies with Happy Endings.

Here is a terrific, in-depth interview with the show-runner of the phenomenal Parks and Recreation, Mike Schur.  It’s no coincidence that the first half-hour of last week’s Parks and Rec double-episode felt like it could have been a series finale — that’s because it was designed to have served as such, had NBC not ordered nine additional episodes for this season.

Kristen Wiig will be appearing in the new episodes of Arrested Development??  And she is playing a young version of Lucille Bluth?  Brilliant!!

I just wrote about Layer Cake the other day, and I am excited that Matthew Vaughn — who also directed Kick Ass (click here for my review) and X-Men: First Class (click here for my review) — in addition to producing the next X-Men film (the adaptation of the seminal Days of Future Past that will be directed by Bryan Singer, returning at last to the franchise he began) has also signed on to produce Fox’s upcoming Fantastic Four film (which will thankfully be a total reboot, scrapping the two lame films directed by Tim Story).  I love that crazy comic book writer Mark Millar (who wrote the comic book Kick Ass, which Mr. Vaughn directed as a film) will be overseeing Fox’s upcoming super-hero films (X-Men, Fantastic Four, etc.) and I really love that his frequent collaborator Mr. Vaughn also seems to be stepping into a larger supervisory role.  It’s obvious that Fox is attempting to shamelessly imitate the success of Marvel Studio’s crossover Avengers film, but if it results in more great super-hero films for us, then I have no problem with that!

Speaking of Bryan Singer’s upcoming X-Men film, Days of Future Past, I really hope he’s serious about fixing what Brett Ratner did to the franchise in the catastrophically disappointing X3.  If they’re playing around with time-travel and alternate timelines, this is a golden opportunity to at long-last course-correct this franchise back to what worked in the first two X-Men films.  I home Mr. Singer can pull it off.

Sticking with super-hero movie news for a second, this is an interesting comparison of the Spidey-Suit in this past summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man and the far superior, re-designed look for the sequel.  (And I agree with the author of that post — MY cooler of haterade for Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man ALSO runs deep!  Here’s hoping the sequel is better.)

And here is an AWESOME look at Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3!  I … [continued]

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News Around the Net

Sad news that actor Robert F. Chew, who played Proposition Joe on The Wire, has passed away.  Close your eyes, Joe.

In another piece of sad news, writer Peter David recently suffered a stroke.  Mr. David is a prolific author of novels and comic books, and I have been loving his work for well over twenty years.  His run on DC Comics’ Star Trek series in the eighties is one of the things that got me into comics, and I still think those comics rank among the very best Star Trek stories ever told, in any format.  He’s written a number of Trek novels, as well, with Q-in-Law (with the inspired pairing of Q and Lwaxana Troi) and Vendetta (the best Borg story ever told, and what I so wanted First Contact to be) being my favorites.  For any fellow fans of Mr. David out there, here is how you can help.

In my review of Django Unchained, I compared Quentin Tarantino’s film to Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles.  A recent “behind the scenes pic of the day” at aintitcoolnews featured a wonderful shot from Blazing Saddles, and if you’re looking to waste some time, I encourage you to scroll down and read that article’s really fun talkback section, which is filled with quote after quote from that spectacular film.  (Puts me in the mood to pop Blazing Saddles into my DVD player right now…!)

Speaking of Django, apparently there is a teensy tiny connection between Django Unchained and Pulp Fiction.  OK then.

Trekcore has posted an extraordinarily in-depth seven-part interview with Roger Meyer Burnett, one-half of the duo responsible for the wonderful special features on the new Star Trek: The Next Generation blu-ray sets.  Here is part one.  Mr. Meyer is absolutely correct in that, until now, the Star Trek films and TV shows on DVD/blu-ray have NEVER had the type of quality special features that they deserve.  The feature-length documentaries on the TNG season 1 and 2 blu-ray sets are a big part of why they scored so high on my list of the Top 10 DVDs/Blu-Rays of 2012.  They are amazing, and interesting and informative even for a long-term, hard-core Trek fan like myself.  This interview with Mr. Burnett is phenomenal, and will be of interest to all Trek fans out there.  GREAT WORK, Trekcore guys!

With the return of Arrested Development inching ever closer, some great new info has been coming out about the new season.  I CAN’T WAIT!!!  “One giant 700-minute Arrested Debelopment”???   Bring it!

Speaking of the return of beloved TV shows… a Bored to Death movie???  PLEASE LET THIS HAPPEN!!!

Here are some nice [continued]

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Have you seen the fake Arrested Development shows that have been popping up around Netflix?  (Mock Trial with J. Reinhold, anyone?)  Brilliant!!

I have long ago lost all faith in M. Night Shyamalan, but my goodness this trailer for his new sci-fi film, After Earth, looks terrific:

“Fear is the mind-killer.”  Heh heh.

Here’s a trailer for the new end-of-the-world comedy, This is the End, featuring Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, and a heck of a lot of other very funny people (Paul Rudd, Michael Cera, Jason Segel, Martin Starr, Mindy Kaling, and more), apparently all playing themselves:

In a similar end-of-the-world vein, here’s the first photo from Simon Pegg’s The World’s End, re-teaming him with Nick Frost and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz).

Steve Carrell and Jim Carrey are dueling Las Vegas magicians?  And the film also stars Steve Buscemi and Alan Arkin?  OK, I’m in!  Here’s the trailer for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone:

Well, I wrote about the first one-minute “announcement” teaser for the new Star Trek film, Star Trek into Dark Knight (ahem, I mean, Into Darkness), and I wrote about the nine-minute IMAX preview that was shown before The Hobbit. But I didn’t write about the first full official teaser trailer that was released a week or so ago:

That’s because there’s not that much more to say.  There’s not much in here that’s too terribly different than what we saw in the announcement teaser.  It’ll be interesting to see the full context of Pike’s ominous declaration that “there’s not an ounce of humility” in Kirk.  Pike was Kirk’s biggest champion in the first film, and while I agree that the Kirk we saw in that film DIDN’T have an ounce of humility in him — he thought he was the smartest/toughest guy in the room at the beginning of the film and all the way through — it’ll be interesting to see how/why Pike changes his view.  I hope this results in some growth and mellowing for this version of Kirk.  The Captain Kirk I remember was definitely an alpha male, but that didn’t often tip over into outright arrogance.

Boy, for five seasons of Lost I thought Damon Lindeloff was the MAN.  Then came that last season of Lost. And Prometheus. And so I think it’s good news that he will not be returning to script the Prometheus sequel (if that ever actually gets made).

I’ve got lots and lots of new movie reviews coming soon, my friends!  See you back here soon!… [continued]

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News Around the Net!

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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Did you enjoy the new Hobbit trailer I posted last week?  If you haven’t seen them, here are all of the other alternate endings to that trailer.

Uh oh.  Looks like Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt has dropped out of work on the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, apparently because Fox is rushing the film to meet the release date the studio had chosen.  This is not a good sign.

This past weekend, on the eve of Treme’s season 3 premiere came the good news/bad news that HBO had renewed the show for a fourth and final season (four seasons was apparently David Simon’s ideal length for the run of the show), albeit a shortened season.  The exact length of this shortened fourth season, what Mr. Simon refers to as “season 3.5,” is TBD.  I’m bummed the show couldn’t swing a full final season, but I’m thrilled that HBO is at least giving Mr. Simon and his team some episodes to bring their television masterpiece to a conclusion of their choosing.

Well,  now I know why Robot Chicken did a DC Comics special this year, rather than a fourth Star Wars one.  It’s because Seth Green and many of the rest of the Robot Chicken gang are working on a whole new Star Wars parody show, Star Wars Detours. This first trailer is funny, though I’m not sure why this is a whole new show and not just more Robot Chicken…

Speaking of Star Wars, it looks like Episode II and Episode III will be getting a 3-D theatrical re-release in 2013.  I sat out the Episode I re-release (I must admit I was a little tempted, but that film is just so bad I couldn’t see spending the money, even though I was curious about the look of the 3-D), and I’m not that much more interested in seeing Episode II. But seeing Episode III back on the big screen, and in 3-D?  That just might have my ticket.  But I am really waiting to see if they re-release the Original Trilogy.  Any excuse to see those films on the big screen again is exciting for me, no matter how much new digital fiddling Mr. Lucas and his minions have done…

This is an interesting list of the Top 5 Best-Acted Moments in a Steven Spielberg Film.  I definitely agree with numbers 5, 4, and 1, not so sure about 3 and 2…

I was already interested in Judd Apatow’s new film, This is 40, and this interview with Robert Smigel and Albert Brooks, both of whom are appearing in the film, has … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

Raiders of the Lost Ark is being re-released to theaters!!  IN IMAX!!!  I am so there.  Here’s a trailer!

My mind is reeling with the possibilities of Days of Future Past, the newly-announced upcoming X-Men film.  I agree with every suggestion on this list of 10 cameos that would be great to see in the X-Men sequel.

They’re really making Kick Ass 2?? And they’re courting Jim Carrey to appear in the film??  I am so happy.

While I’m on a role with super hero movie sequel news, this is a great idea.

I loved the early seasons of The Office, but I’ve been dissatisfied with the last few years and I finally gave up on the show about halfway through the last season.  But with the recent news that this coming season will be the show’s last, I’m considering tuning back in to see how things wrap up.  We’ll see…  (Here’s some more info on the end of the show.)

Looks like Ron Howard’s proposed TV-and-film adaptation of The Dark Tower has hit another snag.  I have nervousness about the idea of Akiva Goldsman being involved in the scripting, but boy would I love to see this incredible property done right.  I agree 100% with Devin’s opinions in that piece (both about wishing fervently that Viggo Mortensen would take the title role, and feeling that a  cable TV series adaptation is the best way to go, rather than a film trilogy…).

Sad news that actor William Windom, who played Commodore Matt Decker on the Classic Star Trek episode “The Doomsday Machine,” has passed away at age 88.

“Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom…”

Wow, that is targeted exactly to my funny bone.  Can’t wait!… [continued]

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In response to this summer’s lousy Spider-Man reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man (click here for my review), comes this great article on 10 Remakes that Got it Right.  There are some really intriguing films on this list that I have never seen, but have been immediately placed on my “to-watch” list…

It’s old news by now, but I haven’t yet waxed poetic on this site about how excited I am that Peter Jackson has expanded his adaptation of The Hobbit from two films to a trilogy!  Very exciting.  The hints of obscure bits of story from the Lord of the Rings appendices that Mr. Jackson is going to be filming in order to flesh out the story are even more exciting still.  The battle of Dol Goldur??  Awesome!!

The new X-Men film is going to be Days of Future Past??? That’s hugely exciting, but also very worrisome.  Days of Future Past is one of the greatest X-Men stories (heck, one of the greatest comic book stories) of all time.  The idea of that being adapted into a film is extraordinary!!  Bravo to Bryan Singer and xx on taking on this iconic story.  But the thought of a BAD version of Days of Future Past would be horrifying.  I was burned by X3′s brutalization of the Dark Phoenix Saga (probably THE greatest X-Men story of all time), and that’s a pain not easily forgotten… I am crossing my fingers and toes about this one…

Speaking of Bryan Singer, why the heck is he still developing a Battlestar Galactica movie?  Do we really need another version of Galactica, after Ron Moore’s fabulous TV series…?  The only place to go is down…

I am excited to see DC’s upcoming animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s seminal “Last Batman Story” The Dark Knight Returns. (DKR was a strong source of material for Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, as I noted in my review.)  However, this first trailer leaves me underwhelmed in the extreme.  This trailer should have been slow, spooky, and reverent, selling us on a world that had moved on without Batman.  Instead, it seems to be selling a zippy animated adventure.  I hope this doesn’t reflect the tone of the finished product.

In happier news — Larry David, Dave Mandel, Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer (key players on Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland, Paul) are working together on a new movie for HBO?  Can’t wait!!… [continued]

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News Around the Net

Yes, this really is an enormous oil painting depicting The Death of Jennifer Sisko at Wolf 359.  Love it.

I’ve really been loving the first season of Lena Dunham’s HBO show Girls. For anyone out there who is similarly digging this weird, funny show, allow me to direct you to this fabulous in-depth interview with Ms. Dunham and her fellow show-runner Jenni Konner.

I agree with pretty much every selection on this list of 15 superheroes who deserve a great reboot.  I’d have the Fantastic Four as number one on  my personal list.

Speaking of super-heroes: this is old, but somehow I just recently stumbled across this wonderful depiction of Peter Dinklage as Wolverine.  Genius.

Parks and Recreation is my favorite comedy on TV right now.  The show just wrapped up a great fourth season, and I’m pleased it was renewed for a (short) season 5.  Here’s a great interview with show-runner Mike Schur on season 4.

I think it’s super-cool that, to promote the upcoming release of season 1 of Star Trek: The Next Generation on blu-ray, they’re screening two season 1 episodes in theaters around the country.  I love that idea, and I wish it was something studios did a lot more of.  But why oh why did they choose to show “Datalore” and “Where No One Has Gone Before”???  Urgh, those are two very weak episodes.  Ordinarily I would jump at this sort of thing, but I don’t think I’m that interested in seeing those two episodes.  Two bad.  (For the record, if we’re picking first season Next Gen episodes — which is tough, because that first season is VERY rough — I’d have gone with “Hide and Q” and “Conspiracy.”)

Here is a terrific post from Devin at badassdigest.com on how to Take Back  the Nerd: Five Ways to be a Good Fan.  It’s a great piece, and I agree 100%.… [continued]

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News Around the Net

I’ve gotta open with Alan Moore’s article about his feelings on the Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta (his brilliant comic book series, published in 1982) is now being used by protesters of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.  The piece is a fascinating read (and if any of you haven’t read the brilliant V for Vendetta, do so immediately!!  The film adaption is OK, but the original graphic novel is genius.).

Alan Sepinwall on Hitfix posted an article in honor of The Simpsons’ 500th episode (a ludicrously incredible milestone) asking fans to pick their favorite Simpsons episode.  The article currently has nine pages of comments and is still going strong.  You’ve got to read them — it’s a wonderful trip back down through memory lane, remembering classic Simpsons episodes.  By the way, my pick?  “Homer the Heretic” (in which Homer decides not to go to church and winds up having the best day of his life, then starts his own religion, then finds himself trapped in a fire from which he must be rescued by his friends of other faiths, “be they Christian, Jewish, or… miscellaneous.”  “Hindu!  There are seven hundred million of us!”).

And if you’re looking to kill any MORE time, check out Mr. Sepinwall’s follow-up post asking fans to pick their favorite Simpsons quote: “Pick Only One Favorite Simpsons Quote? That’s unpossible!” That article has NINETEEN pages of comments and they’re all so much fun to read through.  My favorite Simpsons quote?  “Man alive!  There are men alive in here!”

Capone at AICN has posted the start of a fascinating interview with David Wain.  I am very excited for his new film, Wanderlust, starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston.  Here’s the red-band trailer and here’s the green-band trailer.  They’re quite different and both are very, very funny.  (I especially love the green band trailer for including lots and lots of Party Down’s Ken Marino, who co-wrote the film with Mr. Wain.)

If you have eight minutes and forty-two seconds to spare, I encourage you to check out this video montage of Nic Cage’s 100 greatest quotes.

I’ve been watching this slightly-extended version of The Avengers’ Super Bowl spot a LOT lately.  I REALLY hope this movie is good!  In all of these trailers it still looks pretty small-scale to me, which has me worried… and I think the new versions of both Thor’s and Captain America’s costumes both seem a little more “costumey” and less real than the versions in their individual films.  Still, it’s nice to finally see a glimpse of the extra-terrestrial bad-guys (please let them be Skrulls please let them be Skrulls) and that circular pan of all the heroes … [continued]

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Let’s kick the day off with a wonderful analysis on AICN about Why Star Trek II Works So Well.  The piece is a wonderful love-letter to Star Trek II (which happens to be one of my very favorite films of all time), and it’s a very thoughtful analysis of why the film is so ridiculously awesome, even thirty years later.  (THIRTY years!  That’s crazy, right??)

Speaking of Star Trek, I’m starting to get excited about the high-def upgrade of Next Gen for blu-ray.  This before/after comparison video is pretty staggering.  (Follow the site’s advice and expand the video to full screen, so you can get the full effect.)  If Farpoint looks that good, I can’t wait for the later seasons.  (And Deep Space Nine!!!)

Did you know there was an alternative, rejected main song for Quantum of Solace? And it was sung by Shirley Bassey??  Give this a listen:

That is a fun case of cinematic might-have-been.  “Where is the solace that I crave?”  That makes me laugh and laugh.

I love movie posters.  I have quite a few hanging in my home!  So I really enjoyed this look at the top ten movie posters of 2011.

Speaking of cinematic might-have beens… I enjoyed the first six-episode season of The Walking Dead, but for some reason all of the season two episodes are still sitting unwatched in my DVR.  Maybe show-runner Frank Darabont’s outster the news of all the apparent behind-the-scenes turmoil has cooled my interest.  This detailed letter from Mr. Darabont to AICN reveals a major story that Mr. Darabont was planning that will now never come to be, and it’s a damn shame.

Is there a possibility that there might actually be a Party Down movie???  I highly doubt it, but man would that be great.  Click here for my reviews of season one and season two of this brilliant, tragically cancelled-before-its-time TV show.… [continued]

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Check out this sneak peek at Game of Thrones season two!  AARRGH, I can’t believe we have to wait until September!  (But I’m intrigued by the rumor that seasons 3 and 4 will shoot back-to-back and will comprise a two-season adaptation of the third book, A Storm of Swords.)

Speaking of waiting, looks like Star Trek 2 (or whatever they’re gonna call it) finally has a release date: May 17, 2013.  That’s a long four years after the 2009 release of the first (or eleventh, depending on how you’re counting) film (which was itself delayed from its originally scheduled release in December, 2008).  Here’s hoping the film is good after such a long wait, and that Paramount can get the third (or thirteenth!) film rolling with a little less down-time…

While we’re on the subject of Star Trek, check out these fascinating early-draft versions of the famous “space… the final frontier” opening monologue.

I love Devin Faraci’s recent piece on the increasingly crazy Frank Miller.  Click here to read The Devin’s Advocate: Frank Miler is an Asshole, but I Still Like His Work.  I wholeheartedly agree.

Interesting the hear that David Simon feels that four seasons is his ideal length for Treme.  God, I love that show.  Season three is definitely happening, so I really hope HBO give sMr. Simon and his team their desired fourth and final season.

There’s a new trailer out for John Carter (of Mars).  I wish I was more excited about this film.  The trailer looks absolutely gorgeous, but I am really not loving the glimpses we’ve seen of Taylor Kirsch so far in the lead role.  Maybe I am letting bad feelings from his appearing in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (as Gambit) get to me.  Or maybe it’s that Disney’s butchering of the title (it should be called John Carter OF MARS!!!) that has me uneasy.  We’ll see.  I’m crossing my fingers big-time on this one.

Speaking of movies coming out this spring, Joss Whedon’s film Cabin in the Woods looks like it’s finally, FINALLY getting released after sitting on the shelf for two years.  Love the new poster.  I don’t really know anything about this film other than the fact that Joss Whedon directed it, but that’s enough to get my butt in the theatre.  (UPDATE:  A trailer was just released and now that I’ve watched it I know MORE about this film than I wish I did!!  BEWARE SPOILERS, and watch at your own peril.)

And speaking of movie adaptations that I should be anticipating but aren’t (I’m referring back to John Carter (of Mars), now, not Cabin in the Woods!), comes word that the [continued]

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This is a fantastic article from the New York Times about how baseball dugout payphones are the last bastion of the landline.

The web-site io9 always has some great lists, and I particularly enjoyed their recent list of 10 stand-alone episodes that totally represent their respective shows.  Choosing “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” for The X-Files was a great choice.

Quint from AICN has begun posting reports from the set of The Hobbit. Check out Part 1 of his Unexpected Journey here.  Meanwhile, Peter Jackson has recently posted the fourth video diary from the set of The Hobbit, this one focusing on the film’s 3-D effects:

Did you catch that glimpse at The Hobbit’s official logo, there at the end?  Cool!!

This review of the Star Wars saga on blu-ray from Chud.com is interesting — especially the “fuck you” opening (early in “the lowdown” section)!  The reviewer has some interesting comments on all the films, particularly Empire. (Though his rating both The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones as better films than Return of the Jedi is lunacy.  Jedi is flawed, absolutely, but still way better than those two prequels.)  (By the way, so far I have held firm in my vow not to purchase the saga on blu-ray.  I’m itching to watch the series again, and I will admit to a morbid curiosity as to what has been changed in this latest version of the films, but I’m still avoiding paying almost a hundred bucks for something that I know will, in the end, just sadden and/or anger me.  Still, if anyone wants to give it to me as a GIFT…!)

But the articles that have really reminded me of my love for Star Wars, and that have got me thinking about re-watching the series, is Drew McWeeny from HitFix’s series of FilmNerd articles about showing the Star Wars films, one at a time, to his young kids for the very first time.  These articles represent some of the finest writing Mr. McWeeny has ever done, and if you’ve ever enjoyed a Star Wars film, these are well-worth your time.  It’s fascinating to re-experience these films through the eyes of someone who has never seen them before.  Consider, if you will, two boys who have seen the Clone Wars cartoons but not the films.  They think Anakin Skywalker is the hero of Star Wars.  Reading how they react to what the film series is REALLY about is poignant and mind-blowing.  Start with Drew’s article about showing his boys the original Star Wars (A New Hope) and go from there.  Here’s his piece on Empire, and then his pieces on Episode I, Episode [continued]

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Click here for a wonderful look at the films of the Coen Brothers.  This fellow re-watched all of the Coen Brothers’ films (which sounds like a wonderfully fun project, by the way), and writes about his impressions of their body of work.  It’s an impressive article, and I love his assessment of the Coens’ wonderful characters, who “verge on caricature yet have a vivid particularity that makes them hard to forget and easy to return to.”  That’s a good a description as I have ever seen!

I love this look at Six Comedians We Wish Would Return to Stand-Up!  I wholeheartedly agree.  (There are some wonderful video clips embedded in that article.)

Motivational posters inspired by The Wire?  Awesome.  (This piece on badassdigest.com selects some of the best.)

This fascinating oral history of the very short-lived Dana Carvey Show makes me want to track down those episodes and watch them immediately.

I am a big, big fan of Dave Sim’s sprawling comic book epic Cerebus, the unprecedented “300 issue limited series.”  It gets pretty crazy (and, at times, pretty unreadable) near the end (I am a subscriber to the theory that Dave Sim went insane while working on his magnum opus), but the vast swaths of the story that are good are REALLY REALLY GOOD, some of the finest comic books ever created.  It’s fun to see some writers giving Cerebus some much-deserved attention these days.  Click here for a lengthy excerpt from the Comics Journal’s recent look back at the series, and I also am really enjoying the series of pieces running at comicbookresources.com, written by a writer who is reading through the complete epic for the first time.  Click here for part one, and here for the even stronger part two.  Although I personally choose to believe that the Cerebus story ends on the final page of Rick’s Story, I appreciate this author’s debunking the commonly-held notion that the last hundred issues of Cerebus are entirely without merit.  He writes, and I agree, that it’s only in the series’ final stretch of issues — Dave Sim’s bizarre exegesis of the Torah — when the comic really becomes unreadable.

This is a great piece by A. O. Scott of the New York Times about three summer 2011 movies worth debating.  I’m sad to say I haven’t seem any of them yet, but this wonderful article reinforces the desire I already felt to try to track all three films down as soon as possible.  (The fact that I haven’t seen Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life but I have seen Cowboys and Aliens makes me feel a little sad inside.)

Can [continued]

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Lots of fun geeky goodness has been spilling out onto the nets recently, mostly because of the annual San Diego Comic-Con.

Did you miss the teaser trailer for The Avengers at the end of Captain America? Check it out here. Pretty sweet.

Speaking of teasers, here’s one for The Dark Knight Rises.  I’m intrigued as to how definitive an ending Christopher Nolan is planning on giving his Bat-films.

Here’s another teaser for one of next summer’s big films — though this isn’t just a teaser, it’s a full-length trailer for the Spider-Man reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man.  The trailer is well put together, but I still can’t muster up too much excitement for this film.  I hate that they’re rebooting the series, and that we have to sit through another version of Spidey’s origin.  Just re-cast the roles and tell a great new Spider-Man story.  Why start over from zero??  Frustrating.

Now this is more intriguing: it’s the much-discussed abandoned introduction sequence to Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, in which Superman explores the ruins of Krypton.  I can understand why it’s not in the movie (the whole scene is perfectly summed up in Superman’s one line to Ma Kent, that all he found at the end of his long journey into space was a graveyard), but it’s still a pretty cool sequence.  I love Supey’s crystalline Kryptonian ship, and I love the huge S.

It’s Peter Jackson’s third production diary from The Hobbit! Rejoice!

Oh, Lost, will you ever stop breaking my heart?  If you are (or WERE once, like me) a fan of Lost, this hilarious “lost” scene from season one, that was unveiled at Comic-Con, is a wonderful piece of genius.  (But Damon Lindeloff’s comments about why they didn’t answer one of the most annoying, to me, lingering questions from season 5 — just who was shooting at Sawyer and co. from the other boat — makes me CRAZY.  CRAZY!!!)

Sooo… is Prometheus an Alien prequel or not???  AAARRGH!!!  I’m desperate to know, but either way, a new sci-fi film from the great Ridley Scott has me excited.

We’ll see what people say about the set once it’s released, but for now I stand by my comments that I do not plan on purchasing the blu-ray set of the Star Wars films.  Still, I did begin salivating at the report that the set will include never-before-seen deleted scenes from the Original Trilogy, and this teaser trailer for those deleted scenes is pretty awesome:

Speaking of George Lucas, it seems that he and his collaborators have FINALLY finished Red Tails, the film about the Tuskegee Airmen from WWII, about which Mr. Lucas has been talking … [continued]

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My friend Rabbi Ethan Linden has written a wonderful article on his blog about HBO’s recently-concluded Game of Thrones mini-series (which I LOVED) and some broader thoughts about the fantasy and sci-fi genres.  Here’s an excerpt:

People love to make fun of the superhero comic book genre, the fantasy genre, and the science fiction genre, both in movies and in books.  This is unfortunate, because all three of these types of fiction provide some the most fertile ground for the creation of words that, though different from our own in important ways, nonetheless allow us to reflect on the realities of our customs, cultures and institutions.  For some reason, these three genres are often considered to be “nerdy” or “dorky” and the typical mainstream reviewed will often make a snide remark about the intended audience for these types of fictions before launching into a review of the actual material in front of them.  (Take a look at this New York Times review of the TV series for a prime example.)  That these genres are taken seriously is a shame, because great fantasy, science fiction and superhero stories can be among the best ways we have of thinking deeply about who we are.

You can read the rest of Rabbi Linden’s terrific post here.

This is a superlative article, over at Hitfix.com, listing 25 Movie Sequels That Hollywood Should Have Made.  The list is spot-on, with excellent choices both common (Serenity) and obscure (Devil With a Blue Dress).  Warning: reading this will make you a little sad that sequels to these films do not exist, while X-Men Origins: Wolverine does.

Check out this great new trailer for the adaptation of John Le Carre’s novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.  Looks phenomenal.

Speaking of trailers, Steven Spielberg has finally released a new film, his first since Munich in 2005!  (What’s that, you say?  He directed an Indiana Jones film in 2008?  No, no, you’re wrong, there’s no way Mr. Spielberg could have had anything to do with that train-wreck.)  Anyways, take a look at the trailer for War Horse.

Cars 2 didn’t really interest me, but I’m looking forward to the next Pixar film:  Brave.

Here’s a look at the latest Mission Impossible film: Ghost Protocol.  None of the first three Mission Impossible films have been as great as I’ve wanted them to be, but I’ve enjoyed them all, so I’d be excited for this fourth installment even if it wasn’t Brad Bird (The Incredibles, The Iron Giant)’s live-action directorial debut.

Here at last is our first teaser trailer for John Carter (Of Mars).  Is it possible this is going to be good?  … [continued]

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I have had to reevaluate my opinion of Adam Carolla after listening to his marvelous interview (well-over an hour long) with the great Albert Brooks.  This is a MUST-LISTEN, friends.

Attorney General Eric Holder has challenged David Simon to produce a sixth season of The Wire??  That is awesome.

This expose on the dramatically underlit images found at many big-chain Boston-area movie theaters is very frustrating to read.  Every time I read about an amazing theatre chain like the Alamo Drafthouse, I wish there were better movie theatres in my area.

I need to own this poster.

This is a great article about when to show Star Wars to one’s kids.  I’m going to face this dilemma in a few years!  The follow-up piece is great, too: when to show the Indiana Jones films to one’s kids!

Io9 has weighed in on the 10 Best Star Trek Episodes.  It’s an interesting list.  I’m thrilled by how well-represented Deep Space Nine is, but having an episode of Voyager on the list really nullifies any credence the writer might have.  And “The Void” of all episodes?  Decent, but I could name about a hundred Trek episodes from the other series that are superior.  For my own list of my favorite Star Trek episodes of all time, click here.

I am very excited by the report that the phenomenal comic book series 100 Bullets just might become a TV show on Showtime100 Bullets is one of the finest comic book series of recent memory.  Click here for my thoughts on the series.  Now, I’m not holding my breath for this proposed TV show to actually happen, but damn would it be cool…

In my review of Super 8 last week, I mentioned that I felt the monster in the film (directed by J.J. Abrams) was quite similar to the monster from Cloverfield (produced by J.J. Abrams).  Don’t agree with me?  Then check this out.  Case closed, I think!… [continued]

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Following up on my review of Source Code, which I posted yesterday, click here for a wonderfully spot-on assessment of all of the myriad problems with the film’s ending.  It’s a sweet ending that felt right when I walked out of the theatre, but like the rest of the film, if you think about it for more than five minutes, it totally falls apart.

Here’s a very funny trailer for 30 Minutes of Less.  I love the idea of Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari as buddies.  I’m looking forward to this one.

Here’s another trailer — this is for the very low-budget indie sci-fi movie Another Earth.  I don’t know anything about this film, but my curiosity is piqued.  It’s always interesting to see sci-fi elements mixed with drama (rather than action).

This is awesome.  Lucasfilm Animation’s new building is shaped like a Jawa Sandcrawler.

It’s really happening!  The Avengers has begun filming!!  Here’s what Joss Whedon had to say on the matter.  Funny as always.  Boy, The Avengers is happening, The Hobbit is happening… this is all very exciting!  Now if we could just get the next James Bond film into production, then I’d be over the moon.

I’ve written before about how I think the way some people defend bad movies by saying “oh, it’s not a movie you’re supposed to think about” is incredibly stupid.  Here’s a well-reasoned support of my opinion.

This is a beautiful article but it also made me kind of sad.  No matter how much we might try to read all the books we want to read, or watch all the films we want to see, or listen to all the music we want to listen to, the simple mathematical truth is that we’re all going to miss almost everything.

I’ve always thought that the next Star Trek TV show needs to move the story forward (the same way Next Gen did after the original Star Trek), not backwards.  Apparently I’m not alone in that thinking.  Trekmovie.com has put together a fascinating piece on the pitch for a new Star Trek TV show that Bryan Singer, Chris McQuarrie, and Robert Meyer Burnett put together in 2005-06 put never actually presented to Paramount.  I would have watched that show!

This is a great defense by Nordling of AICN on the experience of seeing movies theatrically.  I agree with him wholeheartedly, but I wish there were theatres like the Alamo Drafthouse here in Boston.  It kills me to go to a movie and have people talking on their cell phones or texting or doing other annoying things that distract from actually watching the movie.

Finally, … [continued]

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Though I think the quality of his films has dipped considerably in the last decade or two, I remain an enormous Woody Allen fan.  So I tip my hat to Juliet Lapidos from Slate Magazine who just watched every single Woody Allen film and summarized what she’s learned.  It’s a wonderful piece — well-worth your time.  (I’m also pleased that to learn that, after her massive re-watching project, she concurs with my long-held opinion that 1997’s Deconstructing Harry was Mr. Allen’s last truly great film.)

Here’s also a fascinating ranking of Mr. Allen’s films into categories (from the “masterworks” to the “bad”).  There’s not too much I can disagree with about this listing!  It’s pretty spot-on, I think.  A few quibbles: I think Hannah and her Sisters and What’s Up Tiger Lily should be bumped up to “great,” as should Play it Again Sam, Deconstructing Harry, and Zelig. Bananas deserves a spot in the “Masterworks” category, and I’d bump The Purple Rose of Cairo down one notch to the merely “great.”  And Scoop definitely needs to be shifted down into the “bad” category.  OK, I guess I did have some objections!  But still, over-all, a terrific list.

Speaking of obsessive-compulsive types, check this out: a complete guide to every single sneaker Jerry Seinfeld ever wore on Seinfeld.  Very cool (and just slightly frightening).

So, Rise of the Apes (which was originally called Caesar) is now Rise of the Planet of the Apes? Wow, the title just became simultaneously way more awesome and also way, way stupider.  I can’t wait!  (By the way, did you watch the new trailer???)

I’m not sure what makes me happier: that we’re actually getting a new Planet of the Apes movie this summer, or that in New Zealand right now they’re actually, finally, for-real, filming Peter Jackson’s two-film adaptation of The Hobbit. Have you seen the first new production diary? I have tingles.  I’m not kidding!  Peter Jackson was a true innovator with the video diaries that he posted back in the day, chronicling the making of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and then King Kong, and I have fond memories of devouring those whenever they were released during the pre-production and production of those films.  It makes me so happy that they’re finally back, and that The Hobbit is at long last under-way.  CAN’T WAIT FOR MORE.

Are we really just a few weeks away from Thor? I really want that movie to be good, but I’m a bit nervous.  This very positive early review has me optimistic, though!

I’ll be posting a piece soon with my thoughts on the last few DC animated projects … [continued]

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My friend Ethan e-mailed me this terrific article from Salon.com, entitled “Will Future Generations Understand The Simpsons?” It’s a great piece analyzing how pop-culture references might date once-great shows like The Simpsons, Seinfeld, etc., rendering them incomprehensible only a few years later.  I’m not sure I entirely agree, but it’s a really interesting read.

As regular readers of this site might recall, I read the first four books of Stephe King’s magnificent magnum opus the Dark Tower series earlier this year.  I’ve taken a little break to read some other things, but I’m eager to begin book five some-time soon.  I thought I only had three books left in the series but now, to my delight, it looks like I have four!  That’s because Stephen King has just announced that he’s written a new Dark Tower novel, to be published next year!  Very exciting news.

I have written before, many times, about Mike Mignola’s amazing comic book series Hellboy, and also about the phenomenal spin-off series B.P.R.D.  So I was shocked to learn that long-time B.P.R.D. artist Guy Davis is departing the series!!  Very sad news.  Mr. Davis is one of the greatest comic book artists working today, and his idiosyncratic style has defined the B.P.R.D. series for almost a decade.  To honor his departure, the fine folks at comicbookresources.com have assembled seven great moments from Mr. Davis’ B.P.R.D. run.  Take a look.

Have you, like me, been reading about the phenomenal events every year at the Paley Center for Media, jealously wishing that you could be there?  (Want an example?  How about the recent Undeclared reunion panel, followed by a Freaks and Geeks reunion panel??)  Well, huzza!  The Center has FINALLY begun to make DVDs available of some of their panels!  There are many great panels that remain unavailable, but 44 popular panels are now available on DVD.  I will definitely be ordering some of these!

There’s a HUGE interview up with Kevin Smith at The Examiner that is a terrific read, if you have a chunk of time.

Have you seen the glorious new trailer for J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Spielberg-homage film, Super 8? Check it out here.  That’s a terrific trailer.  I am VERY intrigued and excited for this film.  How fun is it to finally see that Amblin logo again??

Have you seen Conan O’Brien’s idea for a replacement for the color-coded National Alert system?  It would be the Nic Cage Terror Alert System.… [continued]

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This is a pretty funny assemblage of 1980’s movie references.  Don’t miss Topher Grace’s dynamite Marty McFly impersonation that comes at around 2:30.

I was sad to read of the passing of famed composer John Barry. He’s responsible for so many pieces of iconic James Bond related music, it’s staggering.  He wrote the scores for eleven Bond films, including Goldfinger and From Russia With Love.

In happier Bond news, is it possible that Javier Bardem will be the villain in the next Bond film?  James Bond vs. Anton Chigurh?  What an inspired idea!

In even-happier-than-that Bond news, comes this casting possibility.  I really hope these casting rumors pan out!  I’m very excited with the way Bond 23 looks to be shaping up so far…

Click here to read The New Yorker‘s fantastic profile of Guillermo del Toro.  It’s a lengthy piece, stuffed full of delicious tidbits of information on the many projects that he has in the hopper (and some — like The Hobbit with him as director — that sadly will never be).  I really hope that his adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness actually happens.

I’m a dreamer, and I dare to dream that someday we’ll get another awesome X-Men movie.  (I adored X-Men and X2, but was disappointed by X3 and thought X-Men Origins: Wolverine was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.)  I’m starting to think it just might be happening when I read articles like this about The Wolverine, the upcoming film directed by Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Black Swan), written by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects), and based upon Chris Claremont & Frank Miller’s famous, amazing Wolverine mini-series from 1982, set in Japan.  My hopes are VERY high for this one, gentlemen.  Please don’t let me down!

The moment I knew was coming has arrived: Brandon Routh is officially not playing Superman in Zack Snyder’s upcoming film.  Readers of this site know that I am a fierce defender of Superman Returns, and in particular I thought Mr. Routh was phenomenal as Clark Kent/Superman.  I totally understand that Mr. Snyder wants to set his film apart from Bryan Singer’s film, but I’m still really disappointed that we’re not going to get a whole series of films with Mr. Routh in the lead.  It’s a big disappointment.

And, I must add, this rumor that Jessica Biel is up for the role of Lois Lane has me VERY worried.  Urgh, that’s a terrible idea.  But then I read that that Jessica Biel rumor is just that — a rumor.  OK, whew, I thought, bullet dodged.  But then I read … [continued]

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One of my favorite web-sites these days is Badassdigest.com — you should definitely check it out if you’ve never seen it.  They’ve had some great pieces up recently, such as Devin Faraci’s simple, rational piece about why you should avoid purchasing the just-announced Star Wars saga on blu-ray, and this article decrying the ridiculous people who are putting together a version of Huckleberry Finn with then “offensive” language removed, and this scary story of a Lost fan who won the lotto using the cursed numbers (“the numbers are bad!!”).  They also linked to this illustrated history of the Batmobile, which is really fantastic (and extraordinarily thorough!!)  Seriously, the site is great.  Check it out.

Drew over at Hitfix has also had some killer articles up recently that are well worth your time, such as this epic interview with Edgar Wright (seriously, anyone out there reading this who hasn’t seen Scott Pilgrim vs. the World needs to remedy that RIGHT NOW) and this in-depth conversation with The Social Network director David Fincher.

Speaking of in-depth conversations, those fine folks at the Onion AV Club have posted a wonderful career-retrospective interview with the great Jon Lovitz.  This is a great read.  (Thanks to my buddy Ethan for sending this my way!)

Sir Ian McKellan starts filming next month on The Hobbit, reprising his role as Gandalf the Grey.  Say Hallaluyah!!

So, they’re actually making a fifth Jack Ryan movie, with Chris Pine cast as the lead?  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  I guess I hope that they can pull it off.  I have a lot of faith in director Jack Bender (a prominent director from Lost) and I do think the series still has legs.  I absolutely adore The Hunt for Red October, and while I like all three follow-ups I don’t think any of them quite succeeded on all cylinders.  I’d love to see another great Jack Ryan film.  Will this be it?  One can hope…

I’ve got LOTS more reviews of 2010 movies (and some TV shows) coming up in the coming days, and I’m hard at work on my Best of 2010 lists (which I expect to post at the end of the month), so keep checking back to MotionPicturesComics.com!… [continued]

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Apparently police officers in Pittsburgh spent eight hours investigating “the most grisly murder scene in 35 years” before discovering it was, in fact, a movie set.  Pretty funny.

The breaking news this week, of course, is that Jon Favreau won’t be returning to direct Iron Man 3.  I’m somewhat disappointed.  I like Mr. Favreau as a director, and I think he was a key component of the first film’s success.  And I like it when the creative teams for these super-hero sagas remain consistent from film to film.  (Look at what happened to the X-Men franchise once Bryan Singer departed after X2.)  On the other hand, as much as I adored the first Iron Man (click here for my original review), I think the second one was pretty mediocre (click here for my review of Iron Man 2).  So maybe some fresh blood is in order.  I’m a little nervous about just what Marvel has planned following their grand Avengers crossover film in 2012.  How does one go back to making Iron Man movies after The Avengers?  I hope they find a talented, steady hand to guide this franchise forward.  (And psst!  The Mandarin would be awesome!!)

Speaking of Marvel, last week they released the first full trailer for Thor, and it’s a much more substantial look at the film than I’d been expecting.  I really want this film to work, but I’m still a little dubious as to whether they’re going to be able to pull off all of the Asgardian stuff convincingly.  Fingers crossed….!

Speaking of trailers, have you seen the preview for the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, On Stranger Tides? Click here to check it out.  Is this going to be any good?  So far it certainly looks of a piece with the previous three films, despite Rob Marshall’s taking over from director Gore Verbinski.  On the other hand, I was never all that wild about any of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies, so it’s difficult to get too excited about the prospect of a fourth (and possibly a fifth and sixth) installment.

Since I’m posting links to trailers, I guess I should also note that, sigh, Paramount has released a trailer for the aren’t-they-missing-a-word-in-that-title third Transformers film, Dark of the Moon.  Click here to check it out.  It’s actually a pretty clever, well put-together trailer.  If I hadn’t seen the first two Transformers films, I’d probably be pretty excited.  But I did, so I’m not.  (Also, many on-line writers have already noted how the trailer is basically just a souped-up version of the original teaser trailer for [continued]

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News Around the Net!

The casting announcements have been coming fast and furious for the new Spider-Man film, but I just can’t muster up much excitement.  I simply think it’s a terrible idea to re-boot the Spider-Man franchise, which felt to me like it still had a ton of gas in the tank (despite my dislike of Spider-Man 3).  Take the recent news that Rhys Ifans will be playing The Lizard in the new film.  That should be exciting news — I think the Lizard is a great Spidey villain.  But I’m just bummed that they’re finally using The Lizard in a Spidey film and the great Dylan Baker — who appeared as Dr. Curt Connors in ALL THREE previous Spider-Man films — isn’t going to get to play the character.

Speaking of big announcements about which I just can’t muster up too much excitement is the news that George Lucas will be releasing the Star Wars movies back to theatres in 3D, as well as the follow-up announcement that they’re also working on 3-D conversions of the Indiana Jones films.  On the one hand, any excuse to see the Star Wars and Indy films back on the big screen is exciting.  (After having so much fun seeing Back to the Future back on the big screen, I’ve been hoping that other studios would follow suit and bring some of their best films back to theatres so we can enjoy them as they were meant to be seen.)  But I’m not so excited about the 3-D conversions.  That has the potential to be cool, but a big part of me would really just rather see a beautifully restored 2-D print of those films.  Also, Lucas has unfortunately decided to release the Star Wars films one per year, in order of episode number — which means he’s starting with Episode I, and we won’t get to see The Empire Strikes Back until something like 2016!!  That stinks!

I’ve been interested in the upcoming sci-fi film Skyline ever since seeing the trailer.  But I’m even more interested now, after reading Mr. Beaks’ great piece at AICN about how Colin & Greg Strause basically made the film independently, free from studio oversight or interference.  I can’t wait to see what they’ve put together.

Check out this amazing web-site that contains a treasure trove of footage of Andy Kaufman performing throughout his career, arranged chronologically.  Astounding.

I’d never heard of this movie before seeing the trailer, but now I’m intrigued:

The combination of Andy Serkis (who played Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films) and Simon Pegg is genius, and it’s exciting to see John Landis directing again!

Like most viewers, … [continued]

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News Around the Net

Quint over at AICN has posted an amazing, career-spanning interview with the extraordinarily talented Drew Struzan.  Mr. Struzan has illustrated many of the most iconic movie posters of the last several decades — posters I’m sure you’d recognize for all of the Indiana Jones films, the Star Wars films, the Back to the Future films, and so many more.  The man is an incredible talent.  I have already ordered my copy of The Art of Drew Struzan, and I can’t wait for it to arrive!

The AICN seaman has also been posting a really fun series called The Behind the Scenes Pic of the Day that is definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already been following it.  Maybe you’ll want to start with this one that has done far worse than kill you, he’s hurt you, and he wishes to go on hurting you.  Heh — fits right in with my current run of cartoons!!

A fun animation test for the abandoned Roger Rabbit 2 project, from 1998, has recently surfaced on-line.  Worth checking out.

This recent brief interview with Joss Whedon, discussing his work on the upcoming Avengers film, has been making the rounds of the net but it’s worth reading if you haven’t seen it yet.  I love Mr. Whedon’s comment that “I would like to put these actors in a room and just make Glengarry Glen Ross.”  Boy would I happily pay to see that!!

This is an interesting list of the 33 Greatest Movie Trilogies of all time, as voted for by readers of Empire magazine.  There are some weird choices (I think the terrible fourth entries in the Die Hard and Indiana Jones series would disqualify those as trilogies — and what the hell is the Star Wars prequel trilogy doing on that list???) but it’s a fun read.

So actor Robert Wuhl, who once played a sports agent on the TV show Arliss, is now hosting an actual sports radio show?  That’s pretty funny.

I love this:


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News Around the Net

I am speeding ahead with Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and loving every page.  (Click here if you missed yesterday’s review of Book II: The Drawing of the Three.)  Now comes word that Ron Howard and Brian Grazer have acquired the rights to the series, and are planning a trilogy of films AND A SIMULTANEOUS TV SERIES.  Here’s the juiciest quote from Deadline.com:

The plan is to start with the feature film, and then create a bridge to the second feature with a season of TV episodes. That means the feature cast—and the big star who’ll play Deschain—also has to appear in the TV series before returning to the second film. After that sequel is done, the TV series picks up again, this time focusing on Deschain as a young gunslinger. Those storylines will be informed by a prequel comic book series that King was heavily involved in plotting. The third film would pick up the mature Deshain as he completes his journey.

WOW.  That is an awesomely ambitious idea.  I hope this comes to pass, and that Ron Howard is up for tackling this dense, dark saga.

Here’s an intriguing rumor that Judd Apatow might be returning to television!  It’s hard to know, at this early stage, just how involved Mr. Apatow would be in this proposed show — surely nowhere near as centrally involved as he was in Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared.  But nevertheless, this is cool news.

Sooo… in celebration of the 75th anniversary of 20th Century Fox, the studio is sponsoring a series of one-night-only screenings, in different cities, of some of their most well-known films.  That’s neat.  Except take a look at which film is showing in Philadelphia.  What did those poor Philadelphians do to deserve that???  And what numbskull at Fox considers that one of the the studio’s best films??

OK, so I might need to make a trip to London.

Some cool pics have recently leaked from Captain America: The First Avenger.  I am really excited that Marvel has made the bold choice to set the film during WWII rather than the present day.  I hope we have some great Indiana Jones-style Nazi-stompin’ in our future.


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News Around the Net

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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News Around the Net!

Has the pain of the end of Lost faded yet?  (Click here for my thoughts on the finale.)  Wanna rub some salt in the wound?  Then be sure to check out this video compilation of all the questions Lost left unanswered.

Here’s another great video from collegehumor.com: a Star Wars google ad parody.  SO FUNNY!!  This is well worth two minutes of your time.

Movie adaptations of Philip K. Dick stories have a pretty terrible track record.  But I’m pretty excited about this one.  Click here for a trailer for The Adjustment Bureau, starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt (who really should have been the Black Widow in Iron Man 2).

Has Rob Reiner finally made another good movie?  Check out this trailer:

I’m intrigued by that sweet trailer.  Rob Reiner had one of the great winning streaks of all time when he directed This is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing, Stand By Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, and A Few Good Men.  But with the exception of The American President, it’s been a long, loooong dry spell since then.  Here’s hoping that Flipped represents the master’s return to form!

Whee, still more great trailers to see!  Here’s the second peek at Scott Pilgrim vs The World (about which I must admit I know very little, but these trailers have hooked me), as well as our first glimpse at Part One of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

CHUD is running a fantastic list of the Worst CGI in History that is sad, funny, and well-worth your time.

See you all back here tomorrow!… [continued]

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News Around the Net!

I have an extensive series of posts, that will be running over the course of the next month, in which I write about my revisitation of Arthur C. Clarke’s four-novel Odyssey series which began in 1968 with 2001: A Space Odyssey — as well as the two film adaptations (of 2001 and 2010).  On Wednesday of this past week, literally moments after I had typed the final words of my review of Mr. Clark’s fourth and final Odyssey novel, 3001: The Final Odyssey, I read the sad news that Mr. Clarke had passed away at the age of 90.  What sad news.  This detailed obituary from the New York Times is worth a look.  Mr. Clarke was a giant in the world of science fiction, and he will be sorely missed by all of his fans world-wide, including this one.

Some big trailers have hit the web recently.  Check out this terrific new trailer for Iron Man 2, as well as this intriguing glimpse at the I-can’t-believe-this-actually-got-made sequel to Tron.  How great is Bruce Boxleitner in that trailer?  How about that glimpse of (newly-minted Oscar winner) Jeff Bridges?  Both films look fantastic, and I fervently hope they both can deliver.

Speaking of Jeff Bridges, I wanted to direct your attention to this great recent piece from aintitcoolnews.com, in which Jeff Dowd, the inspiration for “the Dude” in The Big Lebowski, waxes poetic about Mr. Bridges.

And speaking of films I hope will deliver, here’s a sneak peek at Robert Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal’s upcoming movie Predators.  Is it possible that we might finally be getting a truly kick-ass Predator film that can hold its own with the Arnold Schwarzenegger original?  I am beginning to hope…  (At the very least, they have settled on a phenomenal title, one that echoes James Cameron’s Aliens, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s film Alien.)

Finally, all of the fans of Lost out there need to be sure to check out my favorite article of the month: The Real Problem with Midichlorians.  I COULDN’T AGREE MORE WITH THIS ARTICLE.… [continued]

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News Around the Net: Previews!

February 11th, 2010

OK, enough looking back on 2009.  Let’s look forward to 2010!

Quite a number of intriguing new previews for 2010 movies have recently appeared.  Let’s take a look…

Let’s start with one of the greatest things I have seen in a long time.  It’s the trailer for Ricky Gervais’ next film, Cemetary Junction.

Bring on the Schindler’s List jokes!  Oh my.

Hot on the heels of that, in terms of unbridled awesomeness, is the fantastic new trailer for Kick Ass. Click here to check it out.  Kick Ass is a terrific comic book (click here for my thoughts on the series), and I am overjoyed at the way that trailer indicates that directer Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust) and his team have brought the book to life.  Can’t wait.

Another film that I can’t wait for is Christopher Nolan’s Inception:

I don’t have any more of a clue of what the film is about, after watching that second trailer, than I had after watching the first.  But who cares.  I relish not having the entire film spoiled by the trailer.  And Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Dark Knight) can pretty much do no wrong in my book.

Next, in the “does this REALLY exist??” category — Disney has actually made a movie version of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice??  And it stars Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel (who I will follow pretty much anywhere after his terrific work in Judd Apatow’s short-lived TV series Undeclared)?  And it also stars Monica Belluccia and Alfred Molina???  Is there any hope that this could actually be any good?  Sigh, probably not.  Take a look and judge for yourself:

Speaking of Jay Baruchel, click here to check out the new red-band trailer for She’s Out of My League, a comedy in which he’s starring.  Don’t know much about this flick, but it looks like it might be amusing.

Red Riding is a trilogy of films based upon the true man-hunt for the “Yorkshire Killer” who terrorized England in the ’70s & ’80s.  I am fascinated by this project — a trilogy of interlocking films, all being released at once?  Wild!  I hope this plays here in Boston.  Check out the trailers for all three films, each named for the year in which they take place: 1974, 1980, and 1983.

Finally, you all know that Robert Rodriguez is actually making a full-length movie of Machete (one of the fake trailers from Grindhouse), right?  Check out that original Grindhouse trailer once again in all its NSFW glory, and ponder the potential wonder of the feature version.


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News Around the Net!

Lots of great Lost analysis out there.  Click here for EW‘s Jeff Jensen’s in-depth write-up of the season 6 premiere.  I’m a big fan of “Doc” Jensen’s weekly Lost write-ups — they’re always insightful and ridiculously detailed.  Click here for Mr. Jensen’s interview with Lost masterminds Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindeloff, and click here for collider.com‘s interview with Mr. Lindeloff.  Both contain some tasty morsels of hints about what awaits us in season 6.  (And here’s a great interview with Mr. Jensen himself in which he discusses Lost‘s final season.)  On a less serious note, check out this very funny (and also super-detailed) review of the season 6 premiere from bestweekever.tv.  (The graphic of Jacob’s note to the Temple-Others is phenomenal.)  Lastly, this review of the premiere from chud.com is worth your time.  This dude has a Lost re-watch blog that I often checked out while conducting my own Lost re-watch project.  I hope you all enjoyed my extraordinarily lengthy list of the burning questions left hanging after Lost‘s first five seasons.  Can’t wait for tonight’s episode!

Click here for a terrific interview with comedian Patton Oswalt.  Click here for the Onion A.V. Club‘s interview with Aziz Ansari.  Both are great conversations with two very smart and funny individuals.

Speaking of interviews, for anyone out there who loved A Serious Man as much as I did (read my review here), you MUST read this phenomenal interview with Fred Melamed.  Mr. Melamed is the actor who portrayed Sy Ableman, one of the my favorite new characters that I saw created on screen in 2009.  The interview is a hoot, particularly when Mr. Melamed declares his effort to “bring the pompous, Jewish, overweight, rabbinic figure back to the center of American sexuality.”

Bill Waterson, the amazingly talented creator of Calvin & Hobbes, is well-known for having pretty much disappeared from planet Earth following the end of his beloved comic strip.  He hasn’t granted interviews, he hasn’t appeared at conventions or other gatherings of comic strip artists, and he hasn’t allowed any licensing of his characters.  So die-hard Calvin & Hobbes fans like myself took notice when he agreed to an e-mail conversation with a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Click here for the question-and-answer exchange!

This is very disturbing. Back to the Future Part III is officially ruined for me forever.

That’s all for today!… [continued]

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News Around the Net!

News broke yesterday that Sam Raimi’s planned Spider-Man 4 has been scrapped, and the studio is going ahead with a total reboot of the series.  DeadlineHollywoodDaily broke the story.  Personally, I’m bummed by this news.  Though Raimi & co. broke my heart with the atrocious Spider-Man 3, the first two Spidey flicks were so great that I really wanted to see him come back and try to return to the greatness of those first two films.  I hate that his run on the character is ending on such a low note, and the idea of rebooting a series that is only eight years old and wildly successful just seems insane to me.  But hey, I’m the guy who also wants to see Bryan Singer make another Superman film.

I have not read any of the Twilight books, nor seen the movies, nor do I have any intention of doing so.  But this piece over at CHUD about why Breaking Bad (the fourth and final Twilight book) MUST be made into a movie is absolutely hysterical.

Behold the weirdest wedding video I have ever seen.  This dude had his friends in the wedding party act out scenes from Superman II.  I am at once awestruck and disturbed.

Speaking of slightly-insane Superman fans, a few weeks ago I stumbled upon photos of this guy who decorated his office cubicle as the Fortress of Solitude.  Check it out:


You can find the full story behind his crazy construction project here.

Then there’s this incredibly bizarre stop-motion animated interview with Fantastic Mr. Fox director Wes Anderson.  Except Wes Anderson is played by Jason Schwartzman.  You read that right.  Check it out.

In case you haven’t seen it yet, a super-cool new trailer for Iron Man 2 came out last month.  Take a look.  I was an enormous fan of Iron Man (read my review here), and have high hopes for the sequel.  Don’t break my heart, Mr. Favreau!  (By the way, in re-reading my review of Iron Man, I can see that I was sure that the Mandarin would be a key villain in the sequel.  It’s not looking that way… so I’m wondering whether that character factors into the story at all.  I certainly hope he does!)

Speaking of trailers, let me lay a few more on you.  Here’s a sort of weird new trailer for Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe’s latest collaboration: Robin Hood.  Take a look.  This seems like familiar ground for Scott and Crowe, and I can’t say that I have been lying awake at nights waiting for a new version of the Robin Hood story.  That being said, … [continued]

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Love that photograph.  (I first saw it here.)

My friend Andy recently pointed me in the direction of a terrific web-comic called XKCD.  It’s a self-described web-comic of “romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”  My buddies who work in the computer world picked this comic as their favorite.

Here’s an interesting article that compares various shows’ original pilot episodes with what actually made it to air.  I was particularly intrigued since I recently saw Joss Whedon’s original, unaired pilot for Dollhouse that was rejected by FOX (it was a special feature on the season one DVD set), which Steph and I agreed was FAR superior to the pilot that aired (and, frankly, superior to ANY episode that actually aired during the first season!!  The two episodes that FOX never aired, that pilot and the epilogue episode Epitah One, were far far better than any of the 12 episodes that were actually broadcast.  But that’s a blog for another time…)

Here‘s an interesting list of one fella’s thoughts on the 10 best series of the 21st century so far (2000-present).  Some interesting choices there.  Love his description of season 1 of Battlestar Galactica (though beware a spoiler for that season’s shocking finish if you’ve never seen it!).

Click here for an absolutely fascinating, lengthy look into Spike Jonze’s almost decade-long effort to bring Where The Wild Things Are to the big screen, from the New York Times.  I cannot wait to see what he has created.

There’s a really intriguing new trailer out there for Up in the Air, the new film from director Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You For Smoking) and starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman, Danny McBride, and Zach Galifianakis that looks spectacular.

Last year I wrote a piece that I called My Farewell to Heroes, in which I vowed to stop watching that incredibly disappointing show.  Luckily (judging by the consistently terrible reviews that the third season of the show got) I was able to stick to my vow.  Life is just to short to watch shitty TV.   Anyways, there’s an amusing review of the third season DVD set up at DVDactive.com (a terrific DVD/Blu-Ray site) by someone who shares my disdain for the show.  Worth a read.

I’ve breen pretty down on the movies of summer 2009.  My feeling has been that this was one of the more disappointing summers in recent memory.  But a recent article by Devin Farici over at Chud, listing his 10 best movies of summer 2009 just might cause me to change my tune.  I haven’t yet seen Moon, Away We Go, or World’s Greatest Dad (missed ’em in theatres, but … [continued]

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Welcome back to Motion Pictures!  We’ve got lots of great stuff coming your way in the next few weeks (including my LENGTHY dissertation on Inglourious Basterds, coming on Wednesday).  For now, let’s see what sorts of fun stuff has hit the web recently:

James Cameron has finally made another movie!  And after almost two years of teases, we have at last been graced with a trailer — check it out here.  I don’t hate Titanic — not at all.  I happen to think, though, that it’s one of Cameron’s weaker movies — because I absolutely adore the two Terminator Films, Aliens, The Abyss, and True Lies.  Those five films are all pretty much masterpieces, in my book, so I have been bummed that Mr. Cameron has gone a decade without making a new film.  But that drought is finally at an end!  Let’s hope Avatar is good…

Some other interesting trailers have hit recently:  Here’s a glimpse at the long-delayed The Wolfman.  It’s got a great cast (Benicio del Toro, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving, and Emily Blunt) but the year-long delay and lots of rumors of problems with the film have me skeptical.

Then there’s the latest Michael Moore joint, Capitalism: A Love Story.  Check out the trailer here.  That should be interesting…

Earlier this month, when I was looking for an image of the crows from Dumbo for my Transformers cartoon making fun of the ridiculously infantile (not to mention offensive!) Skids and Mudflap, I came across this fascinating list of the Nine Most Racist Disney Characters.

In a recent interview with Europe’s Sky TV channel, Quentin Tarantino listed his twenty favorite movies of the past twenty years.  It’s a pretty bizarre list, hence Chud‘s article titled Is Quentin Tarantino Totally Fucking With Us?  (Unlike the author of that piece, I for one was THRILLED to see Unbreakable on that list!!)

Finally, take a gander at this:

Been there, man.  TOTALLY been there.  I can’t wait for this!  Might have to bite the bullet and sign up for HBO for a few months so I can see the much-heralded Seinfeld reunion…… [continued]

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New Trailers!

Some great new trailers have hit the web in recent days, and they have quite a lot in common with one another in some fascinating ways.

First up, we’ve finally been given our first substantial glimpse into what Terry Gilliam has cooked up in his new film The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, and, as one might expect, it is spectacularly bizarre.  I cannot wait to see Heath Ledger’s final performance.  Click here for the trailer.

Is that not enough cinematic weirdness for you?  Then check out the trailer for Tim Burton’s version of Alice in Wonderland.  That man was born to make this movie.  I just hope it has a little more life to it than Burton’s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory did.

Are we on a roll yet?  Continuing the theme of visionary directors adapting famous books, take a peak at the newly-released second trailer for Spike Jonze’s adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are.  That looks absolutely marvelous, doesn’t it?

Finally, speaking of visionary directors adapting famous books, here‘s a long-anticipated (by me, at least) look at Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones that is absolutely haunting.  Can’t wait.… [continued]

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More Goodness From Comic-Con!

Battlestar Galactica vets Hamie Bamber (Lee Apollo) and Tahmoh Penikett (Helo) will be together again on the season 2 premiere of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse! Click here for more details.

Speaking of Dollhouse, any interview with Mr. Whedon is always worth a look, and this piece contains some tantalizing glimpses at the unaired Dollhouse episode “Epitah 1” (which screened at Comic-Con and sounds super-cool) as well as hints at a sequel to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (one of my favoritest things ever)!!

So wow, Capone over at AICN has a report from Peter Jackson covering about 10,000 upcoming projects, all of them enormously exciting!!  Click here to get an update on The Hobbit, District 9, The Lovely Bones, Tintin, and more!

The Sci-Fi channel (urg, I really don’t want to call it Sy-Fy) has posted video from all of its Comic-Con panels.  Perhaps, like me, you couldn’t care less to watch video of people talking about Stargate: Universe — but be sure to check out the full hour-long panel about Battlestar Galactica: The Plan and Caprica!

Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill will be lending their vocal talents to The Simpsons?  Awesome!  Here’s some additional info that came to light at Comic-Con on the season’s upcoming 20th (20 years!  Unbelievable!!) season.

I am disappointed, but not terribly surprised, to read that Kevin Smith might have to change the title of his upcoming buddy cop movie (starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan), A Couple of Dicks.

By all accounts, the Iron Man 2 panel was pretty awesome.  (Click here for a description.)  Why can’t some of this footage be found on-line??  Grrr.  But here’s another interesting tidbit of Marvel movie news: some hints about the line-up for the upcoming Avengers movie!  Some interesting choices.  I really hope that they use Millar/Hitch’s magnificent Ultimates series (which I reviewed here) as the basis for this film.

Since Comic-Con is also a place for news about, you know, comics, I’ll close with a piece of comic-book news that should get any true comic fan very excited:  Planetary #27 is finally being released in October!!!  Can it possibly live-up to the hype generated by the years-long delay?  We’ll see!… [continued]

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News Around the Net (Comic-Con Edition!)

So, wow!  After the recent Comic-Con the web has been flooded with all sorts of teases about upcoming movies, TV shows, and other geeky goodness.  Here’s some of the best stuff that I’ve found:

After so many years of speculation and false starts, the sequel to Tron is finally, actually happening!!  Check out the STUNNING trailer here.  It’s going to be in IMAX 3-D??  I’m THERE.

I cannot believe they’re actually making a Jonah Hex movie.  (And with Josh Brolin, no less!)  Check out the poster.

The ending of Lost revealed?  Um, not quite.  Check out this video from the Lost panel!  Quite a lot of additional footage from that panel can be found here.  For some reason, Michael Emmerson’s fake audition for the role of Hurley isn’t included, but you can find that here.  Funny stuff.

Here’s a pretty bad-ass trailer for Season 2 of The Clone Wars.  I actually found the first season to be fairly watchable, and this glimpse at the next season looks pretty promising.

You know what it takes to sell real estate?  The same thing it takes to re-make one of the most brilliant TV shows of all time.  Well, AMC’s version of The Prisoner, starring Ian McKellan and Jim Caviezel, is nearly upon us.  Check out this lengthy trailer.  I must say, that looks pretty damn intriguing!

Amongst all of this glorious fun is the extraordinarily troubling continuing story about the newly-resurrected Futurama‘s uncertain future.  This report from the Futurama panel at the con is grim indeed.  Can’t everybody just make nice already?!!

That’s all for now — have a great weekend everybody!!… [continued]

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News Around the Net

Here’s a fascinating/hilarious article assessing the Ghostbusters‘ Risky Business Plan.  Those of you in finance, take note!  And, speaking of Ghostbusters, here’s a link to 50 Reasons Why Ghostbusters Just Might Be The Greatest Film of All Time.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles show-runner Josh Friedman has a lengthy, funny, and sort-of-sad assessment of the cancellation of his show that is worth checking out.

Here’s an interesting piece about the Seven Director’s Cuts That You Didn’t Realize That You Wanted.   I DEFINITELY would love to see an alternate cut of The Fountain!

I loved this article about the 10 Most Polarizing Films of the Last Decade.  I strongly disagree with some of his opinions (I really enjoyed both Watchmen and Fahrenheit 9/11, while I had absolutely no patience for Eyes Wide Shut), but I was THRILLED to find someone other than me who loves the criminally underrated Vanilla Sky!!  Follow the link and join the debate.

Here’s another great list: The fine folks at DVDActive.com (one of my favorite DVD-related web-sites) have put together their list of the 10 Franchises That Deserve Better.  It’s a great read, and I am in full agreement with most of their choices.

Did you happen to catch William Shatner’s appearance on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien last month?  Check out the clip on Trekmovie.com.  It’s worth watching for the insanity of the last 30 seconds.

Have a great weekend, everyone!  See you back here on Monday!… [continued]

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News Around the Net

Good news, everybody!  Futurama lives!!

So Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck) is joining the cast of 24 next season?  Time for the Battlestar Galactica actors to learn what the members of the ensemble from The Wire have discovered: they’ll never again be in a TV show as good.

Did you see The Daily Show’s John Hodgman’s uproariously funny speech at the 2009 Radio and TV Correspondents’ Dinner?  Not to be missed.

A nice farewell to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles can be found on Composer Bear McCreary’s excellent blog, as he lists his 15 favorite moments from the show.  (They are all excellent choices.)  This show had its flaws, to be sure, but I am really disappointed that we won’t be getting a third season.  (By the way, Bear was also the composer for the reinvented Battlestar Galactica throughout its run.)

Speaking of The Terminator, the fine folks over at filmschoolrejects.com have posted an interesting list of 20 Things We Didn’t Like and 10 Things We Did about Terminator: Salvation.

I don’t play videogames, but I must admit that this trailer for Lucasarts’ new Star Wars: The Old Republic trailer is ridiculously cool.  I wish we’d seen half that much bad-assery in the prequels…

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog has made his first appearance on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien!  Watch him make fun of some hippies here.

Have a great weekend, everybody!  See you back here on Monday!… [continued]

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News Around the Net

Click here for a terrific three-essay series that delves into the first three Indiana Jones films.  These are all really well-written pieces, filled to the brim with love for the cinematic adventures of Dr. Jones.

Clever tourists wrecking the world one monument at a time.  Don’t think — just follow that link.  You won’t regret it.

Click here for a fascinating list of the twenty best non-fiction books for people who think they hate to read non-fiction.  I need to get on this, having only read two of the items on this list!

I’m not exactly recommending this lengthy essay, because I disagree with it wildly, but it’s sort of bizarrely fascinating two see two individuals who really don’t seem to like Star Trek at all go on an enormous length about it as they revisit the first six Trek films.  (Well, one of the two authors seems to be a fan, but he doesn’t seem to put up much of a fight whenever the other one bashes the series.)

Speaking of Trek, here is a link to a lengthy, fascinating Q & A that’s been going on over at Trekmovie.com between Star Trek screenwriters Bob Orci & Alex Kurtzman and a number of fans who, like me, had lots of questions about elements of the new movie’s plots.  I really respect Mr. Orci for engaging with the fans in this way — though I feel most of his responses are pretty flimsy.  Check it out and see what you think.  (UPDATE:  Still MORE Q & A with Mr. Orci & Mr. Kurtzman can be found here!)

It’s pretty obvious that the new Star Trek movie was pretty heavily influenced by the action and dynamism of Star Wars.  But have you considered just how deep those similarities run?  Shocking!  (And hysterical.)

Let’s close with three intriguing trailers: Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Junior, the bizarre-looking Nine and (can you believe it?) Toy Story 3.

That should keep you all good and busy until tomorrow!  See you back here then!… [continued]

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News Around the Net!

Big dumb summer movie trailer alert!  It’s the new trailer for Transformers 2, filled with lots of robot smashing action, and the new trailer for G.I. Joe, filled with Ninjas and, um, Eiffel Tower smashing action!  Sigh.  Hard to believe these two iconic and beloved cartoons of my youth are both now big-budget blockbuster movies coming out this summer.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if there were both really awesome?  Isn’t it sort of sad to know that they definitely won’t be?

For a peek at a movie that might actually be good, click here to check out District 9, the new sci-fi flick directed by Neill Blomkamp and executive produced by Peter Jackson (The Lord of The Rings).  Color me intrigued.

Keeping up with the trailers, here‘s a glimpse at the new film from Francis Ford Coppola, Tetro.  I never saw his last film, the critically-demolished Youth Without Youth, but this looks really interesting.  It’s a new film from Francis Ford Coppola!  Of course it looks interesting!

Did you know that Robert Rodriguez is working on a new Predator film??  If it happens, it’ll be called Predators (in a clever nod to James Cameron’s sequel to Alien, entitled Aliens).  Check out the tantalizing details here.  I need to see this movie RIGHT NOW.

So it’s been ten years since The Phantom Menace, huh?  Here’s an interesting look back.  I agree with this fellow’s thoughts about the two Phantom Menace trailers (among the finest trailers ever crafted), but I certainly don’t think anywhere nearly as highly of that dreadful turd of a movie as he does.  (You can read my memories of first seeing Episode I in theatres here, and my thoughts on the movie looking back almost a decade later here.)

Did you not have enough Star Trek content here on the site for the past two weeks?  Then check out this great piece from the Onion A.V. Club: “Space Racism is Bad and 17 Other Not-So-Subtle Lessons Learned From Star Trek.”  If you’ve never seen it before, you MUST scroll down to the clip of William Shatner’s Kirk reading the Preamble to U.S. Constitution in selection #12, from the absurd Trek episode The Omega Glory.  “WE… the… PEOPLE… not written for thekingsorthechiefsortherichorthepowerful but for ALLTHEPEOPLE!”  Classic Shatnerian magnificence. 

Since seeing J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek film, I’ve been enjoying reading all the different reactions on-line and in the press.  I always enjoy Alexandra DuPont’s film reviews when they appear (not often enough to suit me) on aintitcoolnews.com, and her take on the new film is well worth your time.  (I remember well … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

Let’s begin the day by my pointing your attention to two great pieces recently from The Onion A.V. Club: this article about 25 great albums that work best when listened to from start to finish, and a spirited defense of the recent seasons of The Simpsons that lists 10 episodes from the past 5 seasons that stand among the series’ best.

If you haven’t seen it yet, click here to watch the new trailer for Sacha Baron Cohen’s new movie Bruno.  For a little more detail on some of the sequences that you get glimpses of in the trailer, click here for a terrific write-up of the 25 minutes of footage that screened a few weeks ago at SXSW, the theatre-owners convention.  How is he able to still fool people with this stuff after all the publicity that surrounded Borat?

I am not a big fan of Broadway musicals.  That is putting it mildly.  So I’m not exactly doing cartwheels at the news that there is a Spider-Man musical in the works.  And I was completely befuddled to read that they’re working on a musical based on Groundhog Day!  What a bizarre notion.

By the way, speaking of Spider-Man, has director Sam Raimi admitted what was immediately apparent to discerning movie-goers about an hour into the film — that Spider-Man 3 was just terrible?  Well, sort-of.  Click here to read his interesting comments.  Since a Spider-Man 4 seems inevitable, this gives me a smidgen of hope that perhaps we will see a return to the high quality of the first two Spidey films.  What could possibly go wrong, right?

Harlan Ellison is a brilliant Sci-Fi author.  He’s also responsible for one of the finest hours of Star Trek ever committed to film: the Original Series episode “The City on the Edge of Forever.”  He is now suing Paramount and the WGA.  You have got to read his hilarious press release all the way to the end.

So there’s going to be a James Bond museum?  And I thought Christmas only came once a year.

Finally, did you know that some people are getting all bent out of shape about a Chuck Jones Looney Tunes print that parodies Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper?  Well, they are.  In these troubled times, aren’t there more important things that we should be worrying about?  Like the enormous size of the nacelles on the U.S.S. Enterprise in J.J. Abrams’ new Star Trek movie??… [continued]

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News Around the Net!

Have you seen this?  Jon Hamm (Mad Men) plays Lex Luthor in this short from Funnyordie.com, asking for bailout money for Luthorcorp.  Genius!

Out-there director Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) is making a film of Maurice Sendak’s beloved childrens’ book, Where The Wild Things Are?  What an insane, inspired notion.  Check out this wondrous trailer.  This is a movie I need to see.

Speaking of trailers I really want to see, I didn’t know anything whatsoever about Sam Mendes’ (American Beauty) new film, Away We Go, before I saw this new trailer (mentioned at the Motion Captured blog over on HitFix.com).  It stars John Krasinski (Jim from The Office) and Maya Rudolph (from SNL), and now that I’ve seen the trailer I am very excited for this film!  

I love this new poster for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie.  I need this in my home.

Speaking of Trek, there’s been some interesting pieces posted on-line lately about the use of Bryan Tyler’s magnificent score for Children of Dune in the trailers for the new Star Trek film.  This article summarizes the confusion nicely.  I am fascinated by this stuff.  Tyler’s score was also used extensively in the first trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  I loved both of the Sci-Fi channel’s Dune mini-series, and it tickles me to hear snippets of the score being used all over the place these days!

Come back here tomorrow to read my thoughts on a terrific older film from director Guillermo del Toro, The Devil’s Backbone!… [continued]

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News Around the Net

March 12th, 2009

So have you all seen Watchmen yet?  I am eager to hear people’s thoughts.  Roger Ebert has seen it twice, and after his first review he felt he needed to go back and write about it again.  Pretty interesting.  Speaking of Ebert, I really loved reading his recent tribute to his partner, Gene Siskel, on the tenth anniversary of Gene’s death.  Don’t leave that page without watching the video of the two of them on the Howard Stern show, which is posted at the bottom.  

George Lucas has apparently begun casting his Star Wars TV show.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

Have some money to burn?  Then have you considered adorning the wall of your home or office with this damn dirty ape?

In anticipation of the new Star Trek movie, Devin Faraci over at CHUD has been reviewing every single original Star Trek episode.  (Or, at least he was, before the pace of his articles slowed to a crawl.)  But he seems to be back with his review of episode 17, “The Squire of Gothos.”  This episode is, for some reason, considered a classic of the Original Series, but in the cold light of 30 years of hindsight, we must acknowledge that it’s pretty bad.  Anyways, Devin’s reviews are always HYSTERICAL, and this one is no different.  

Let’s end where we began, with Watchmen.  Was my lengthy pre-movie-release dissertation on some of the themes of the graphic novel not in-depth enough for you?  Well then have I got the web-sites for you.  Clear your afternoon’s schedule, and the click here and here.

Don’t forget that, since January, I have been on a new schedule in which I ALWAYS post a new blog on Friday (even though there is no new cartoon on that day).  So don’t forget to check back every Friday to see what’s cooking here!  Coming up tomorrow is a look at some of the great DVDs that I’ve been watching recently.  See you then!… [continued]

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News Around the Net

Haven’t done one of these in a while…

Here’s some of the fun stuff floating around the interwebs these days:

The Simpsons has moved to HD!  This has apparently necessitated a change in the show’s iconic opening credits sequence, which has remained constant for 19 years.  (Can you believe it’s been that long??)  Fear not, fans, the new credits sequence is quite spectacular.  It follows the general pattern of the old opening, bringing us through Springfield — from Bart writing on the blackboard to Homer working in the plant to Lisa in band class to Marge shopping with Maggie, etc etc.  But there are a LOT of great new gags, and new appearances by many of the popular characters who weren’t around when the show originally launched (Groundskeeper Willie, Otto, Ralph Wiggum, Pattie & Selma, Sideshow Bob, Apu and his Octuplets, and many more).  And the new animation is terrific.  If you missed yesterday’s episode, check out the new opening by clicking here.  Note that the couch gag is, of course, just this week’s version — that ending joke will continue to change every week.  By the way, after watching this clip, do you find yourself missing Bleeding Gums Murphy?  (He’s one of the characters Bart used to skateboard past, who has now been removed.)  Don’t worry, he’s still there!  Check out the pictures on the wall behind the kids in Lisa’s band class…

Just like the year when there were two asteroid-hitting-the-earth movies (Deep Impact and Armageddon) or the year when there were two volcano movies (Dante’s Peak and Volcano), this year there are two Mall Cop flicks coming out.  Perhaps you, like me, chose to pass on Paul Blart: Mall Cop, starring Kevin James.  But you might still be interested in Seth Rogen’s much, much darker take on the idea.  Click here to see a trailer for Observe and Report.

Speaking of trailers, Quentin Tarantino’s let’s-go-kill-some-Nazis flick Inglourious Basterds (yes, that is how the title is spelled) has a teaser trailer that was just released.  Click here to check it out.

Is Joaquin Phoenix melting down before our eyes, or is this all some kind of hoax for the documentary that Casey Affleck is apparently filming about Phoenix’s attempt at a rap career?  I have no idea, but click here to watch his truly bizarre appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, and judge for yourself.

If you’re a Watchmen fan who is chomping at the bit for the movie to be released (Match 6th is coming!!), then you definitely need to click here to watch the teaser for the Tales of the Black Freighter direct-to-DVD release. 

Finally, I … [continued]

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News around the Net and 24 Returns!

January 13th, 2009
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Not to distract anyone’s attention from MotionPicturesComics.com, but I wanted to point out to y’all that Drew McWeeny, one of my favorite writers over the years at Aintitcoolnews.com, is now writing for HitFix.com and his blog (about movies, DVD, and lots of other fun, related stuff) is definitely worth checking out.  I’ve always enjoyed Drew’s writing over the years (he was known as “Moriarty” over on AICN), particularly his articles on all of the many many DVDs that he watches.  Those DVD pieces, in particular, were among my inspirations when I started this blog.  

McWeeny’s new blog attracted a lot of attention last week when he posted a lengthy open letter from one of the producers of Watchmen about the on-going litigation between Warner Brothers and 20th Century Fox over the film (and Fox’s attempts to stop Warners from opening the film as scheduled in March).  If you are at all interested in this story, you should click on that link and read this fascinating letter.  Another recent post of interest drew my attention to a phenomenal evisceration of Ben Stein’s recent “documentary” Expelled (if you haven’t heard about this film, it’s a defense of creationism and an attack on the theory of evolution) by none other than famous film critic Roger Ebert.  This is an older article (Expelled was released last year), but it is a terrific read.

But enough of all that — let’s talk about the first four hours of 24‘s much-delayed seventh season (it was supposed to have launched LAST YEAR at this time, but was scuttled by the writers’ strike), which premiered on Sunday and Monday nights.

I have made no secret of my opinion that, for some time now (since, oh, I’d say about season four) 24 has been crying out for a total reinvention.  Keep Jack, keep the adrenaline-pumping real-time format, but start telling some entirely different types of adventures.  For too long now, 24 has been telling the same types of stories over and over and over again, usually involving some variation on the following themes:  a terrorist captures someone and forces them to help with a nefarious plan… Jack tortures someone for information… there’s a lot of technical talk about access codes and opening sockets and someone gaining access to a weapon or a code or a piece of equipment that they can use to menace the United States… Jack winds up on his own with no one to trust, because there’s a mole or multiple moles in the government agencies trying to stop the bad guys… and meanwhile there’s a lot of intrigue in Washington involving the President trying to make some big decisions about important world … [continued]

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Happy Thanksgiving and News Around the Net!

November 26th, 2008

The folks over at aintitcoolnews have posted something very cool — a slightly tweaked version of the new Star Trek trailer.  It’s basically the exact same trailer, with one big glorious change made to the very last shot.  This isn’t a fan-made hoax, this is a real first glimpse at something cool from J.J. Abrams’ new movie.  Now, this addition to the trailer could sort of be considered a spoiler, so beware (although this particular plot point has been pretty common knowledge since the movie was first announced over two years ago, and I have no doubt that it will feature heavily into trailers that will get released closer to the film’s opening).  Anyways, it’s pretty neat, so check it out here.

I have a lot more to say about the Star Trek trailer, but I’m holding it in for now.  In the mean-time, there have been a LOT of words about the trailer written all over the web, and here are my two favorite pieces so far:  Devin over at CHUD (Cinematic Happenings Under Development) identifies a lot of the fears that long-time Trek fans like myself have over the new film, while Moriarty at AICN expresses a much more optimistic and excited view (which is where I’m at when I’m not getting insanely crazy over the idea that this new film seems to be ignoring established Trek continuity like the back-story that Robert April was the first captain of the Enterprise.)  OK, deep breaths…

In other news:

Wired Magazine has an amusing article on The Five Awesomest TV and Movie Spaceships.  I still think the refit U.S.S. Enterprise (from the first 6 Star Trek movies) is my favorite, but this fellow’s picks are pretty good, too.

There’s a neat new motion-poster out for the new Terminator movie.  See the thing in motion here (give the image a minute to get going), or click here to see a still of the poster’s final image.  Cool poster, but if this movie winds up actually being any good I will be stunned.

Can someone explain to me why Fox isn’t making lots and lots of X-Men sequels?  OK, the third one stunk, but it made a lot of money, right?  There are so many great X-Men characters and comics that are just waiting to be made into awesome films — what’s going on?  Instead, Fox is making spin-offs (there’s the Wolverine movie coming out this summer, inexplicably titled X-Men Origins: Wolverine; and they’re also working on an Ian McKellan-free Magneto spin-off titled, oh yes, X-Men Origins: Magneto), and now word comes that Fox is gearing up for an X-Men PREQUEL.  Read Variety’s story here.  A PREQUEL?  … [continued]

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News Around The Net

November 4th, 2008

A pretty slick new trailer for the seventh season of 24 is on-line here.  After a dreadful sixth season and a two-year hiatus, it’s hard for me to muster up much enthusiasm for the return of this once-great show…but the trailer is snazzy, and hope springs eternal!  We’ll see…

Joss Whedon updates his fans on the status of his new show Dollhouse here.  There have been a lot of rumors about trouble on this show, and Joss sets the record straight in his always hilarious style.  I’m not exactly reassured, but a new Joss Whedon show is something to anticipate, so I’m hoping for the best.  Hope it lasts longer than the killed-WAY-before-its-time Firefly.  Sniff.

Speaking of sci-fi, as we count the days until the the final batch of Battlestar Galactica episodes being to air, the web-site Galactica sit-rep has a pretty thorough update on all things Galactica.  Check it out here.

You’ve all probably heard that Terrence Howard, who played Tony Stark’s buddy Rhodey in Iron Man, has been replaced by Don Cheadle for the sequel (coming in 2010).  Entertainment Weekly has an interesting theory as to why the change was made, and you can find that here.  Whatever the reason, I’m disappointed by the switch, as I really enjoyed Howard’s performance in the first film and hate this kind of continuity change mid-series.  That being said, Don Cheadle is a tremendous actor, so this could be worse.

Let us end with the greatest and weirdest story I’ve read in a long time.  Is Fox planning on re-making Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (the FOURTH of the five original Planet of the Apes films)???  Check out this story.  I can’t imagine that a) this will ever get made, and b) that if it did, it would be any good.  Still, what a bizarre and wild idea!!!

Lots of movie and DVD reviews coming in the next few days… and tomorrow, we have a special guest reviewer from across the pond give us his thoughts on the new Bond adventure, Quantum of Solace (which doesn’t open here in the States for two more long weeks)!!!  See you then!… [continued]

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Second Chances…

October 23rd, 2008

A trailer for the fifth and penultimate season of Lost has made its way onto the internet.  Check it out here.  Nothing earth-shattering, but its enough to get my anticipation building for the return of the show in ’09.

Speaking of building anticipation, some new footage from Watchmen aired recently on Spike TV and is now, of course, up on YouTube.  Check it out here.  The first half is mostly familiar to those of us who pored over the amazing first trailer, but the second half is mostly new stuff.  Visually, this footage is incredible — Zack Snyder has really nailed a number of iconic moments from the acclaimed Graphic Novel.  Will the film live up to our hopes?  We’ll find out on March 6th…

Finally, due to nothing more than my own incompetence, yesterday’s cartoon (recapping Pirates of the Caribbean 2) went up pretty late in the day, so if you missed it just click on Comic Archive to check it out.… [continued]

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Coming Soon!

September 29th, 2008

There’s a new, longer trailer out for Frank Miller’s The Spirit, the movie-version of comics pioneer Will Eisner’s comic book.  And, well, I have no friggin’ idea what to make of this.  Looks like it’ll either be brilliant of completely unwatchable.  Guess we’ll all find out together on December 25th.

Interested in some more fun trailers? 

Here’s a new one for Bryan Singer’s film, Valkyrie.  Mr. Singer has taken a lot of hits recently, as rumors are swirling that Warners’ next Superman film won’t be a follow-up to his Superman Returns but rather another reinvention of the franchise.  (I am VERY disappointed by that idea, as I’m one of the people who loved Superman Returns and I’m intrigued to know where Singer would have taken his story.)  His latest film, Valkyrie, has been bouncing around the release schedule for the past year, which many saw as a lack of confidence in its quality by the studio.  It was initially scheduled for release in October, then pushed back to February 2009, then back to Decmber 26th.  Will it be as good as this trailer?

Here’s one for Oliver Stone’s W.  Josh Brolin is George W. Bush, Elizabeth Banks is Laura Bush, Richard Dreyfuss is Dick Cheney, James Cromwell is George Herbert Walker Bush, Scott Glenn is Donald Rumsfeld, and Jeffrey Wright is Colin Powell.  At the very least, I am intrigued.

For a look at another sure-to-be controversial film, take a gander at this trailer for Bill Maher’s documentary Religulous.  This could be the film that I am most looking forward to this fall.

Have you seen this peak at Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman Begins & The Dark Knight) as John Connor?  That’s great casting, although I have every confidence that I will ultimately be bitterly disappointed by this movie…

Finally, here’s something to get your blood pumping for the next Bond film, the oddly-named Quantum of Solace.  It gives a way a good chunk of the film’s plot, so beware of that.  But damn does it look good!  Can’t wait.… [continued]

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News Around the Net

September 16th, 2008
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There’s a great, in-depth interview with Jon Favreau on his plans for Iron Man 2 (and 3!) to be found here.  Some really interesting tid-bits to be had.  I have a lot of faith in Favreau and am really excited to see what he and his team cook up over the next two years.

I love movie posters, and here’s one I think you might enjoy as well:  Kevin Smith has posted the new poster for Zach and Miri Make a Porno, his upcoming movie starring Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks.  If you follow that link, be sure to also scroll down a bit to see the poster design that the MPAA rejected.  Pretty funny, the both of them!

This is old news, but I’ve mean meaning to mention it:  Don LaFontaine passed away earlier this month.  Don’t recognize his name?  Well I guarantee you’d recognize his voice.  He’s the famed “trailer guy,” whose deep tones graced the narration of so many movie trailers over the years.  A fascinating trip-down-memory-lane sampling of his work can be found here.  

Hope to see everyone back here tomorrow!… [continued]

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News Around The Net

LOTS of fun stuff continuing to hit the interweb in this past week, after the San Diego Comic Con.  Check out these links:

Creepy new trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince can be found here!

Is the new Terminator movie going to be any good?  I doubt it.  But is this poster pretty cool?  Why it surely is.

Speaking of posters, some gorgeous new posters for the Watchmen movie can be seen here.

The entire hour-long Battlestar Galactica panel from Comic-Con (hosted by KEVIN SMITH!) is on-line here.

If you’re going to go see the next X-Files movie, this somewhat humorous recap of the final two rather lame seasons of the show can be found here.  Of course, the movie doesn’t deal with any of that stuff.  But its a fun trip down memory lane, as well as a reminder of why I haven’t rewatched any of the episodes from those final years of the show recently!

And finally, who better to sum up the entire Comic Con experience for those of us who couldn’t attend than Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.  He is merciless.

OK, that should keep you all off the streets for the next little while…… [continued]

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News Around the Net

Every now and then a great, cancelled-before-its-time TV show earns a magical second chance. My favorite recent example of this is the staggeringly underrated Futurama. This wonderfully bizarre and hysterical show, created by Matt Groening, was cancelled back in 2005, but it was revived last year for four direct-to-DVD movies. The first, Bender’s Big Score, came out this past November. The second, The Beast With a Billion Backs, is nearly upon us. Check out the trailer:


If you don’t know what the twist of the story is going to be from the DVD’s title, the last line of the trailer spells things out pretty clearly.

In other news, the creator of the Pringles can died last month, and was buried in…oh yes, a Pringles can. Could I make that up?


Finally, in sad news, Alexander Courage died last week. He was a tremendously talented film composer and arranger…but his most famous work was probably writing the theme to the original Star Trek series. There aren’t too many pieces of music more iconic. What a giant. More information on his life and work can be found here:


That’s all for me for today!… [continued]