Sunday, March 26, 2006

Superman Returns....Some Crappy Merchandise!

Here comes the wave. It's out there in the far distance, approaching very quickly and it will be here before you blink. The giant, plastic, red and blue wave of overabundant department store aisles, filled with the fresh bounty of "Superman Returns" related products! The hope and dream filled, risk-taking unknown actor, who has put his entire career on the line and in the hands of Director Brian Singer, will remember always this moment in time, when his face was molded onto hundreds of dolls and "action figures" and printed on everything from keychains to lingerie. For his sake, I hope success is around the corner or these plastic pals will be a constant reminder of his failure, reflected in the eternal optimism of the world of movie merchandising and over saturation marketing.

For my part, I see fear and awe in the approaching piles of pressed and molded mayhem. Who's this guy? Not Superman! Not yet at least! He hasn't earned anything yet! Superman's been gone a long time and the actors who have played him have been embraced in our hearts like Mr. Reeve or ejected from our sight like Mr. Cain. The only decent Superman that's been around lately, and he is, in my humble opinion, one of the great portrayals, is the WB Animated version that those pesky Warner Brothers (and Sister Dot) are pulling off the air with the cancellation of Justice League Unlimited.

has held the live action fort with the stories of young Clark, pre-Superman, and many of us are sad that Wacko and Yakko decided to not let young Tom Welling take to the cape that we have watched him approach these last five years. The truth is, they desperately wanted him, but Welling didn't want to go down that road. He was afraid of the "Superman Curse" that would have forever associated him with the character. Tom, are you crazy? Do you think there's a "I only played Clark, so it doesn't count" loophole? You're already part of the curse, why couldn't you just ride it to the big bucks? Did it get in the way of doing important independent movies like "The Fog" or "Cheaper by the Dozen 2?" It's been a lot of fun Tom! See ya in a few years as corpse #12 on the CSI dissection table during the debutante ball massacre episode.

Moving on.....Okay Brandon Routh, you put it on the line, you deserve our hope and attention. For what it's worth, I'm a Brian Singer fan, as is any self respecting comicbook movie fan. We will go and see you attempt to reach thesky. We will even root for you, but doesn't the rain of plastic kill the buzz?. Don't you Warner Pals get it? If the movie is successful, you will sell it all, even the extremely ugly cookie jars that were probably made by slave labor in Brazil.

Why can't the merchandisers wait? Because they don't believe in films, patience or class, they believe in the here and now. They will make the money on the anticipation, the building hype, that once made it immediately "not nerdy" to wear a Batman symbol on your baseball hat and still makes kids think that dressing up like Harry Potter or Frodo Baggins is a smart way to make friends. If the movie is poor at least the dark theater will give the viewer ample cover to covertly drop their Superman hats and Lois Lane charm bracelets under the seat in front of them, before their rushed exit, when they run to their cars with Superman scarfs wrapped around their faces for anonymity, scarfs that will quietly be burned later at home..

The bombardment of STUFF ruins the magic, doesn't it? It's like seeing naked pictures of your date before the date. Isn't it more fun to discover things slowly layer by layer? And aren't we kinder and more willing to believe when we go slow, and act in the moment? Doesn't building passion forgive and enhance, where foreknowledge just invites insecurity, paranoia and cold analyzation? Just a thought Warner Bros, learn how to woo your audience. Don't make them sick before they even see the movie, let them be slowly seduced. When they do fall in love, the public will buy all the "Superman Returns: Super Cheese Cheetos" they can pump out of the machine..

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mighty Mid-Week Miscellaneous

This is the perfect spot for us to catch up on the little "bits o'news" and updates that either I've already expounded upon or just don't require their own posts.

Mike Allred is letting us know what's going on regarding the preproduction work for the "Madman" movie. Apparently George Huang (?) is helping work out the script with Robert Rodriguez:

Doing covers and inking Dead Girl have been my only regular comics work lately (if that wasn't obvious)--working on preproduction for the Madman Movie has taken the bulk of my time. I've set that aside for the moment after doing HUNDREDS of storyboards and wait work on a new draft of the screenplay (coming together bee-yoo-tifully!). Now I wait to work on it with my writing partner, George "Swimming With Sharks" Huang and Robert Rodriguez has dove into his next project, Grind House (which, a little bird tells me) will have some of our comics in it. Don't blink. More HERE! is talking about a Green Lantern Movie that may be stirring up into pre-production and that a certain "Dawson's Creek" actor wants. At this point, who doesn't want to be in a big budget superhero movie?:

Q.What's the latest on "The Green Lantern" movie? Alan

A. Apparently, a trilogy is already envisioned. No word on casting yet, but former "Dawson's Creek" star Kerr Smith is pretty interested in slipping on the green ensemble. Something I always wondered…. how does a superhero get about carrying a lit lantern?
From the Moviehole Mailbag HERE!

Over HERE Billy West, voice acting God and the voice of "Fry" from "Futurama" lets his fans know that 26 brand spanking new episodes of the show are in the works!!

I'm thisclose to selling my show--''Billy Bastard--Amateur Human Being,'' And the other good news is that they're doing 26 new episodes of ''Futurama'' for TV and we're hammering out the deal now.

The original plan was to have the DVD's first but that's no longer the case.I'm totaly jammed dude.

Greetings from the year 3000! It still sucks!

Over at Variety, HERE, we find the first inklings that that Fantastic Four Cartoon that's being made for Cartoon Network is probably not going to be the next Justuce League. They're aiming it at 6 to 11 years old:

Cartoon Network has landed exclusive domestic TV rights to a new half-hour animated series based on Marvel Entertainment's "Fantastic Four." A co-production of Marvel StudiosMarvel Studios and the French animation company Moonscoop, "Fantastic Four" will premiere as a weekly series on Cartoon in the fall. Cartoon has commissioned 26 episodes of the series, which is aimed at 6- to 11-year-olds.

As always, Joss Whedon is letting us know when he's finished another page of the Wonder Woman script, HERE:

Wonder Script Almost Done

Writer/director Joss Whedon told SCI FI Wire that he's probably going to turn in his script for the feature-film version of Wonder Woman sometime this coming week, and added that it will feature all of the expected gadgets and costume gimmicks from the DC Comics franchise. Whedon spoke in an interview at the star-studded Los Angeles premiere of Slither, which stars Whedon's Serenity star Nathan Fillion.

"I'm probably going to turn it in in a few days," Whedon said of his Wonder Woman script. "It's coming along. ... There will be all of the expected stuff. Of course there will be the bracelets; there will be the invisible jet, the lasso, all of that."

Whedon likened the character to another one of his creations, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, adding: "It's about girls maturing, a rite of passage, that kind of thing." Nothing good ever happens when you compare Wonder Woman with Buffy. Joss, don't mess it up!!

Over HERE we find the name of the new Hellboy film:

Ron Perlman told SCI FI Wire that the Hellboy sequel has a working title, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, and he's hopeful it will go into production later this year. The actor starred in the 2004 original, playing the title red demon who fights for good.

"I think that that's an invention based on a number of different things that have appeared in other comic books," Perlman said of the title in an interview while promoting the upcoming television miniseries Stephen King's Desperation.""But basically the idea for [Hellboy 2] was something that was hatched by [Hellboy comic-book creator] Mike Mignola, with [Hellboy writer-director] Guillermo [del Toro] sitting alongside of him. And then Guillermo, of course, did all of the writing. But, you know, the story was Mignola."

Perlman added: "It's a compendium of a lot of elements that they were not able to address in the first one, because the first one was kind of a slave to the backstory and who Hellboy is, how we come to find him, etc., etc. Now they can kind of branch out a little bit and get funky with it and hit some of the other colors that existed in some of the other comic books."

Stop by HERE and if you look hard enough you can find out that everybody's favorite dead uncle will be showing his ghostly image in Spider-man 3, most likely making sure that Peter isn't forgeting to feel tortured and guilty:

Sunday, another Oscar winner — Cliff Robertson, 80, best actor in 1968 for his role as a retarded man in Charly — watched the show at the Palm Beach International Film Festival's gala, at The Breakers. Robertson, now known as
Spider-Man's uncle, told Page Two he'll take back the ghostly personae of the murdered Ben Parker in Spider-Man 3.

"I just got a call that they were going to bring my character back to life again," he said. His part is being filmed in May. Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst are back in the lead roles, Robertson said. But he pretended to lock off his mouth with a key when asked to give up more about the future blockbuster.

An awesome game to waste your day playing HERE! It's called Mr. Danger and it's crazy fun!!

Finally, over at the "Post Chronicle Tittle-Tattle™" (which is what?) We learn that another little bitty model/actress will possibly be the next Supergirl. It's HERE:

In recent news, the lovely Mischa Barton's career is looking to the heights, as she is apparently at the top of a list of candidates to bring Supergirl back to the big screen.

"If Superman Returns does as well as expected this summer then Supergirl will be pushed into the schedule," reveals one movie insider. "There are a few actresses in the reckoning and Mischa is at the top of that list."
Wheew! That is a load off! -Jared, The Stuff Daddy

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hugh Jackman is in Everything!

Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) seems to be rumoured to have a part in almost every movie coming out in the Superhero future! He's in X3, he's shooting "The Prestige" with Christian Bale (Batman) and Michael Caine (Alfred) Directed by Chris Nolan (Batman Begins.) is reporting on a Vareity article that says he's playing Pa Kent in a small part in Bryan Singer's (X-Men, X2) "Superman Returns." (Read it HERE!) Over HERE at Batman-on-Film, Jett is hearing that Jackman may have a part in the next Batman movie:

"Paul From Australia" shot me an email informing me of the following:
"Hugh Jackman appeared on a television show here in Australia called 9 AM, and did mention in the interview that his next project was...the Batman sequel. Unfortunately, he did not go into any specifics."

Jett also heard later that this may be false.

Over HERE, In an interview with Fox studio head Tom Rothman, the young daughter of comic movie reporter Robert Sanchez gets Tom to admit that the first "Wolverine" movie will be a prequel. This rumor was first let loose by Jackman himself HERE:

Fresh from the set of The Prestige, the magician movie he's making with Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan, Hugh Jackman popped by to accept the Male Star of the Year award — and to answer a few prying questions from EW about his spin-off movie, whose second screenplay draft, by David Benioff (Troy), is due momentarily. ''Wolverine substantiates a feature film,'' Jackman said. ''I mean, he's a really intriguing, mysterious, enigmatic character, à la Mad Max, Dirty Harry, Han Solo — he's that kind of screen antihero.'' So what's the movie about? ''I'd love to get into the origins of that character and find out what he's really made of. So that was always my idea.... Benioff came in with a pitch that was so brilliant, I was so excited, I actually tried to get Fox to make it [before X-Men 3]. But they said, 'No, no, no, we have a trilogy, let's finish that.''' Ah, so that means that Wolverine will survive X-Men 3 this summer, right? ''Well, you never know. Wolverine might be a prequel. Wolverine might be a prequel.'' Yeah, we heard him — nudge nudge — the first time.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Batman vs. Superman? Someday?..Yes.

Never have I doubted that this will come. A movie featuring both the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel. Could it work? Yes, there is no denying that the modern era of comics has shown that the water/oil mix of these two opposing forces of nature; God versus Man, Brain versus Brawn or positive reinforcement versus negative reinforcement is an exciting and compelling story. When done right as in the DC animated series three part "World's Finest" we see that the world needs both heroes and that they each support the weakness of the other.

Batman is strongminded, serious, paranoid, always planning ahead, practical, violent, angry and dramatic. He is best when he is descending into tragedy, becoming more antisocial and more controlling. Rule #1 for Batman: given time, he can plan and react to almost anything, although he's only human. A human who has the money to buy plenty of kryptonite and brilliant enough to use magic or science to block Superman. The Batman would, opon hearing the news reports of the existence of a Superman, spend every waking hour to devise multiple plans and scenarios to deal with this "Alien" just in case the day comes when he proves a danger. Superman is unchecked power and one of the largest threats in the world, yet he seems to be a force for good.....for now.
Superman is open minded, trusting, generous and benevolent, gentle yet godlike, upfront, honest and friendly. Almost all seeing and all knowing and yet, he tends to push head first into things, because he can afford to. His limitations are much greater in the newer incarnations and let's not forget, in 1939 he could only jump a building and was just a bit stronger than ten men. Rule #1 for Superman: His strength is tied to his heart and his compassion. So much of the time he is pulling his punches. Only true fear for those he loves, and that's the whole planet (aw, how sweet!), can allow him to let loose on someone like Lobo or Darkseid. He is more interesting, when he is vulnerable and imperfect, when he can't save everyone. When he first hears of "The Batman," he would probably covertly observe him and find him an uncertain quantity. The more often he observes however, the more likely he would unknowingly be studied in turn (see Batman Rule #1). Batman is at least as dangerous as Lex Luthor, but his methods, which Superman does not truly approve of, are not that of a true criminal. This gives Superman pause.

The well made Superman Vs. Batman movie will incorporate these extremes and in the end find the cohesion of the most powerful teamup possible in all comics and movies. Supes hits them high and Batman sneaks around the back and hits them low. Batman learns to almost trust this god and through this trust, use his friend's potential to pass his own limitations. Clark is his friend and in a strange way much more of a functional human being, than Bruce is. Superman learns to respect this mortal and to rely on him more than any god or super being. Bruce is his equal and getting there with no powers, makes him almost his better.

Below, surprise! The tells us that this idea is not dead. But will it be the death of the one character superhero movie? If successful, will the genre be filled with teamups, guest stars and compromise? You better bet your lunch money!! Although I'm hoping Watchmen makes it to the screen first and explodes the "teamup" gimmick before it starts.
It was all set to go a couple of years ago, it just never, excuse the pun, took off. Talking of course about the much talked-about "Batman vs. Superman" – the script of which, has been widely available on the internet longer than Frank Castle's been The Punisher – which director Wolfgang Peterson was set to steer into production, before he got a woody for swords and swords and went and done "Troy" instead.

You remember the one? In it, Batman and Superman have a bit of a skirmish. Capes fly, as they say. Everyone from Jude Law to John Travolta (priceless!) to Colin Farrell was apparently in talks to take part in the production. At the end of the day, Warner decided to ditch the idea – for the meantime anyway – and relaunch the solo adventures of Clark and Brucie, respectively.

There are rumblings that the Superhero teaming will happen at one stage, but not until after a couple of solo efforts for the new "Batman" and "Superman", which would make sense. Having said that, it's a shoe-in that both Brandon 'Superman' Routh and Christian 'Batman' Bale will reprise their roles for the two-hander.

IESB caught up with Peterson and asked him whether he was still interested in bringing "Batman Vs.Superman" to the big screen still – even if it is in twenty years time – and though he reminds that it's "on the shelf right now", he did confirm that "at one point" he might do it.

The script for "Batman Vs.Superman", by "Se7en" writer Andrew Kevin Walker, sees an aged Bruce Wayne - who lost Robin, the boy wonder, some five years before - retired from Batman duties and retiring with new fiancee Elizabeth. Unfortunately, Batman's old foes return just after their wedding - namely, The Joker - and Elizabeth is murdered. Hell-bent on getting revenge, Bruce dons the cape again in a mission to destroy the clown prince of crime. Superman, fearing Batman is about to cross the line and become a murderer like the criminals he chases, ends up clashing with the Caped Crusader over his motives - and the heroes are set on a violent collission against each other. Unbeknownst to the heroes, their actions are falling in line with a villainous plot by Lex Luthor, who is responsible for the resurrection of the Joker.

Check out the site HERE!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Star Wars: The Ruining

Ok, take a breath. ..... Word is out via the BBC, that Star Wars, the soon to be TV series, will produce at least 100 episodes. Oh goody, goody gumdrops. The fairytale I loved as a child is finally crossing that fine line from mythic "Joseph Campbell" spiritual journey, to mouth breathing mediocre, weekly Sci-Fi.

I don't hate Sci-Fi, Science Fiction is a proud Genre with many great works. Unfortunately, Sci-Fi fans aren't the most discriminating folks and they pretty much take whatever they can get. So nobody's out there weeding out the good from the bad, and what we get becomes at most B-grade filler. For every good book, show or movie, there is a vast dunghill of craptastic, pseudo intellectual, Twilight Zone rip-offs (most of which were rip-offs anyway!) The same folks rabidly support Farscape and Stargate SG1 with exactly the same fervor (I'll leave it to you, which one is cool and which one sucks.)

Sadly, it seems that the modern Star Wars fan is just a well versed in the continuity free books, games and toys as they are in the three films that first sparked their passion. Sometimes I think the message of the Jedi, the profound message of the peaceful human spirit over technology, has gotten lost amongst the alien creatures, cool space ships and bleeping droids, that run amok in the peripheral of Star Wars films. Jedi has become the imaginary religion of the internally driven genre junkie, a Space Buddhism to oppose Star Trek's Protestant militia "Star Fleet." Will a weekly show push Star War further towards the mundane?

The BBC reports:

The TV series spin-off of the Stars Wars film franchise will run to at least 100 episodes, according to producer Rick McCallum. The series will be set between episodes three and four of the film saga. It would cover the 20 years in the life of Luke Skywalker growing up that remains a mystery to most film-goers. McCallum said there would be "a whole bunch of new characters" and the series would be "much more dramatic and darker".

What mystery? He wasn't doing anything! He lived on a backwater world. What's going to happen on this show? How many times can he go to Tashi Station to pick up some power converters? Think about it, a hundred episodes about an indoor farm in the middle of a vast desert? Are they going to mess with Luke's back story, so he'll no longer be that bored and stranded, starlusting innocent, that we met so long ago? I don't know what they could write about, but I'm sure it will involve sewing a hell of a lot of Sandpeople and Jaw Waw costumes!

What angers Old Skoolers the most about these continued addendums? It's not the sterile diologue, lack of character development or heavy handed use of computer effects; it's the dilution of the original work, which newer works seem designed to contradict even as they syphon off what little credibility is left from the classic source.

Will the original movies survive the inane background plots and teen angst that is sure to come as the "Crazy, Old Wizard" (Lucas, not Guinness) milks the green from this "Smallville-ization" of the Teen of Tatooine? I'm sure the royal triology will survive, and one day emerge as the seminal works of this vast commercial enterprise, but in the meantime, we'll have at least another decade of this crap to wade through. Read the whole story HERE!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ghost Rider Hype

You know what always instills faith in a film project?

When it's months after the picture has gone into post production, the first trailer has already been considered a giant flop and they start presenting "exclusive new artwork" from the film that looks like the cover of an eighties heavy metal album.

First, why are you showing us artwork? Isn't artwork, what you do in pre-production to give an idea of the vision of the character? Aren't we long past that now?
Shouldn't we be seeing...the Ghost Rider himself? You're showing us storyboards, when we want to see action! Maybe a new, good trailer? A couple of scenes? Come on, this thing was shooting before X3 was! Is director Mark Steven Johnson just being careful and patient in getting this right? Or.... is the man who brought us DareDevil creating a giant fiery, cow pie with Nick Cage's hairpiece on top? Here are a few of the images that are brought to us by the super positive, super nice, super sweet people over at Superherohype, who love and promote everything. Movies Yay!. Check it out HERE!

SuperHero Hype! has your exclusive first look at new artwork for writer-director Mark Steven Johnson's Ghost Rider!

Columbia Pictures' anticipated comic book adaptation stars Nicolas Cage, Wes Bentley, Eva Mendes, Matt Long, Sam Elliott, Peter Fonda, Donal Logue, Mathew Wilkinson and Daniel Frederiksen. The film rides into theaters on February 16, 2007

Update! Hmmm, I guess the trailer is coming with X3, only a minute long? What are they hiding?

In addition to the new movie artwork by Crash McCreery, Ghost Rider writer/director Mark Steven Johnson has revealed on the SHH! Boards that the trailer will be in theaters with X-Men: The Last Stand on May 26!

The long wait for a theatrical trailer is almost over. Look for Ghost Rider to be on X-Men 3! May is almost here! You'll get to see him on the big screen (if only for a minute) instead of on your computer.

More HERE!