Pay attention, kids

With XMas having passed, the web now turns to it’s yearly job of try to “top” the famous “Nintendo 64 Kid” video from a few years back. I’ve seen a bunch already this year, and I was noticing a depressing trend: It’s not “cute” with current-gen gaming systems.

Call it nostalgiac projection (i.e. 30something geeks like me liked N64 Kid because “that was us”) but, well… seeing this year’s crop of kids flipping their shit about an XBox 360 mainly made me think more on the lines of “Great. Dollars-to-donuts that kid is going be cheap-sniping and/or hurling unspecific xenophobic insults at me on Live within a week.” Humbug.

But this… this is something else. Take a look:

The “hook” here, if you haven’t already seen it, is that the kid gets a 360 (for his birthday, though this is being called an xmas vid all over the web) and what looks like a mega-super-edition of Halo3 and reacts, well… gratefully. As in, instead of losing his shit in a giant joygasm, he’s completely overcome with gratitude to his parents for the gift. You kinda have to wait for the last few moments for a bit of info that puts it all in context as to what might’ve helped shape his Tiny Tim-esque outlook on life, but the main thing is that the kid seems both TOTALLY surprised and accutely aware of what a lavish expense it is for mom and dad – he’s got quite the vocabulary for a young kid, but the word “entitled” doesn’t seem to be among them.

Kids, watch careful: THIS is what your parents are looking to see when you tear into the “big” gift.


Just in time for the Holidays, here’s some fun nonsense courtesy Christopher Knight and the L.A. Times:

Short version: The kids over at Andrew Breitbart’s twin conservative-entertainment-professional wildlife preserves, “Big Hollywood” and “Big Government,” (which politically saavy people, liberals especially, should be checking at least once a day; because it’s basically a one-stop source for tomorrow’s crazy today) were in a snit about the White House Christmas Tree. Specifically, that newly-minted official-decorator Simon Doohan (an underground-art type, apparently) had included some collage-art ornaments made from image-scraps including a photoshop of Obama on Mt. Rushmore (okay, a little tacky) and transvestite performer Hedda Lettuce (I have no idea.) The worst offense, though, was a fragment of a Chairman Mao pic – further evidence, y’see, of Obama’s hidden communism…

…except for the detail that the image in question was actually Andy Warhol’s PARODY painting of Mao – the one wherein he defaced the dictator’s famous portrait with lipstick and mascara.


Scroll down through the comments on Knight’s article for Breitbart (who, all kidding aside, strikes me as far too sharp to keep getting caught in this shit – dude needs to crack the whip on his people) making an utter fool of himself defending the “reporting” (best to take the LOW bet on how long it takes for Reducto ad Hiterlium to rear it’s head.)

Karate (?) Kid

Comingsoon has the new trailer for the “Karate Kid” remake, which for those who hadn’t heard takes a pretty radical story-deviation from the original: Instead of the titular “kid” (Jaden Smith, son of Will and Jada) moving to a new town, he moves to a new COUNTRY – to China, specifically. Beyond that, the main beats look similar with the kid taking shit from bullies and fighting back by learning martial-arts from Mr. Miyagi – played in this version by Jackie Chan. Yes, Jackie Chan.

Trailer looks like about what you’d expect, right down to that awful song that was overused in every sneaker commercial and highlight reel of the last two years, but it’s got my interest for two reasons. Firstly: There looks to be A LOT of location shooting in this, so it’s going to be interesting to learn how much (and what kind) of input the Chinese government had over the portrayal of, well… anything. Secondly: It’s a little shocking to see Jackie Chan seemingly acting his ass off in the role. You’d think this would be the definition of a “paycheck” part, and Chan has been alarmingly candid about how little regard he has for his English language films, but in the footage here he’s playing Miyagi straight and serious with a “patrician hardass” vibe that’s worlds away from the fun-loving regular joe guy he plays in… well, pretty-much everything.

For what it’s worth, Chan learned HIS craft in the infamously-punishing children’s program of the Peking Opera School, meaning he’s had lots of experience with rough-hewn, unforgiving instructors of young students; so maybe that’s where this surprising-looking spin on Miyagi is coming from.

Oh, and just to get started early on what will easily be the most annoying (yet true) bit of fanboy-bitching of the year right off the bat: WHY is it still called “The Karate Kid” when it no longer has any connection to Japan and they clearly AREN’T using Karate? (I imagine that the filmmakers are smart enough to know this but don’t want to lose the title, and furthermore I’d bet that there’ll be a running gag about it on the lines of The Kid calling it “Karate” and having to be corrected.)

2 steps forward, 1 step back?

When you’re a movie geek, some days look like this:

ITEM: After departing the “X-Men” series to make a perhaps-too-introspective “Superman” movie that me and like five other people still like and, in doing so, freeing up the combined efforts of Tom Rothman and McG to steer the franchise into one of the most spectacular protracted artistic-suicides in memory (seriously, at least the original “Batman” movies ENDED after the fourth one… they made a whole OTHER MOVIE after “X3!!!”); Bryan Singer will apparently RETURN to direct “X-Men: First Class,” a prequel (reboot?) with Cyclops, Jean, Storm etc. in their student-age days at the Xavier School. So, “Harry Potter” but with the X-Men. SOLD! Best of all, this almost-certainly means no Wolverine, so the other characters might actually get to DO something for a change.

But then…

ITEM: “Spider-Man 4” is apparently officially “stalled” (as in, not moving forward) because – surprise surprise! – Sony and Sam Raimi are fighting over the villain. Raimi wants Silver Age mainstay “The Vulture,” Sony wants… NOT The Vulture. If true, this is exactly what happened with #3: Raimi wanted Sandman and Vulture to continue his preferred trend of using the classic Spidey enemies, Sony (and Marvel) forced his hand for the more marketable Venom. Amazingly, damn near EVERYONE – even non-geeks – is aware that this went down last time, yet they’re possibly at it AGAIN? I wonder who the studio-preferred nemesis would be… they wouldn’t REALLY try and make him go with the (amazingly even MORE worthless than Venom “Carnage,” would they??)

UPDATE: AICN is reporting that the Spider-Man story isn’t true, or rather that the work-stoppage isn’t true, since the “arguing over the bad guy” thing has been out there for a few weeks now:

ALSO, apparently it’s called “Spider-M4N” now.

Iron Man 2

Apple (and now everyone else) has the Iron Man 2 trailer, already up:

Not much that hasn’t been seen if you poked around for the Comic-Con footage, but looks pretty good. “New” money-shot is Iron Man and War Machine teamed up fighting what looks to be a bunch of other armored enemies (or are these full-on ROBOTS now? THAT would be pretty great.)

Obviously, hardcore geeks like myself are watching stuff like this looking for different stuff than most of the audience, who’re likely just glad for the “yes, there’s an Iron Man 2” factor. What might we be “looking for?” Why, “Avengers” crossover-clues, of course! So what’s going through MY mind? Well…

First good listen to Mickey Rourke’s Russian-accented dialogue for Whiplash. Digging the juxtaposition of the self-made hardcase baddie with the sleek, high-end good guy. More noteworthy, to me at least: Whiplash makes it clear he has a mad-on not just for Stark, but the Stark “family line.” For the record: IMDB lists actor John Slattery as playing Howard Stark and also a role for “Young Tony Stark,” so… flashbacks?

That’s interesting, since the previous film also took time to mention that the elder Stark had been big in the morally-dubious military/weapons field, too; AND Stark’s appearance in “The Incredible Hulk” indicated that he’s been aware for some time of the WWII-era Super-Soldier program, i.e. the source of that serum that turns Tim Roth into The Abomination… which, for those without a devoted nerd in your life to point such things out, was marked with a scientist’s name that “confirmed” that this is supposed to be the same stuff that gave Captain America his powers. So, I’m thinking: Is THIS (Stark Industries going back to WWII and possible involvement with Cap and/or the forerunners of S.H.I.E.L.D.) a big part of how they’ll tie all this together? (Dear lord… if some fragment of Captain America turns up as the “tie-in tease” for this, I’ll shit a solid gold brick.)

Also: No good look at Sam Rockwell as (apparently) the main bad guy, Justin Hammer. In the comics, Hammer is one of the Marvel Universe’s endlessly-useful “weapon-making-bad-guys,” an evil counterpart to Stark who’s made gear for something like 70-80% of the supervillains. He also figures prominently in both the “Armor Wars” and “Demon In A Bottle” story-arcs, the two most-prominent ongoing stories in Iron Man prior to “Civil War.” “Armor Wars,” incidentally, involved Stark fighting bad/corrupted robots and robo-suits made by the army and others using his tech, which would make sense given the Senate scenes and the other robots/armors in the trailer. (I won’t say what it is and advise you not to look, but the reliably-sloppy IMDB lists another specific Marvel character in the roster, though the listed-casting a certain scenes from this trailer lead me to conclude that someone has a wire crossed somewhere.)

Nice to see Nick Fury getting some trailer-love, and in addition Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow looks even better than I’d hoped for.

Alice in Thunderdome

Sometimes, it’s helpful to remember that all the GOOD points of the Hollywood “blockbuster machine” having been taken over by the general mindset of a 13 year-old boy (see: Marvel Films’ “Avengers” master-plan) come with their price – namely that 13 year-old boys can be pretty daft a lot of the time.

For example, around that age, it’s customary to arrive at the assumption that EVERYTHING can be improved by turning it into some kind of Epic Battle – especially if the Epic Battle is also Grim n’ Gritty – up to and including otherwise-good-natured superheroes and whimsical fairytales. It’s this kind of thinking among 13 year-olds during my time as such that was largely responsible for Image Comics, and right now it seems to be responsible for re-imagining every movie property in the context of a Boris Vallejo/Julie Bell tableau (or, in studio-speak, “we’re goin’ for a “Pirates of the Carribean” angle.”

To that end, here’s the new-er trailer for Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” dealie, which despite what you’re brain may be telling you he HASN’T already made seven or eight times…

Gotta give `em credit, at least, for seemingly hitting every damn mark of this type of “reimagining:” Pseudo-sequelism? Check. Hero-as-vaugely-chosen? Check. Most-prominent baddie as world-conquest supervillain? Check. Massing armies of storm-troopers? Check. And dig what appears to be Alice striding out into the midst of a Braveheart-fight in full battle armor, or Depp’s Mad Hatter wielding a broadsword. Or maybe it’s kidding, and this is all out of context…

Kingdom of Gladiator Hood

COMING SOON has the first actual trailer (an “international” sizzle-reel type thing) for Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood” movie:

…yeah. This is another one of those teasers, like the early ones for “Sherlock Holmes.” that’re so concerned with reminding you of other recent movies the target-demo may have liked (in this case: 300, Gladiator, King Arthur, LOTR and so on) that there’s really no way to tell what the hell it is until the title comes up – before that, this might as well be the trailer for “Untitled Medieval Russel Crowe Actioner #5.” That it doesn’t look especially different “aesthetically” from “Prince of Thieves” over a decade ago is… not a good sign. Still, one must remember that this is Ridley Scott, who’s movies are usually better than their trailers (or, in some cases, the version that actually opened – if you’ve not seen the director’s cut of “Kingdom of Heaven,” DO SO: It’s one of the best films of his career.)

The history of this production has been ridiculous – assuming that ANY of it has been true: Depending on who you ask, this may or may not have started as a project called “Nottingham,” which would’ve been a revisionist version of the story with Robin as an illegitimately-lionized thug with a flair for self-promotion and the Sherriff as the put-upon good guy trying to bring him down even with “the people” against him. Sounds cool, right? Well, whether or not that was ever the case, it wasn’t for long: The next anyone heard of it, no one could confirm which of the two roles Crowe would be playing, and a NEW rumor surfaced that he’d actually be BOTH – either as some kind of “meta” casting or another “revisionist” take in which “Robin” is actually Nottingham’s secret-identity, which he creates in order to subvert The Crown himself. Also a nifty take, also apparently not-happening.

There’s also been some unsubstantiated talk that the people paying for the production more-or-less “demanded” that Scott/Crowe deliver a straight-ahead “unofficial-sequel-to-Gladiator” style take; resulting in this film which Universal is describing as another “real history behind the legend” go-round of the familair outline – i.e. Robin as disillusioned Crusades veteran who forms a woodland guerilla posse to fight unfair taxation.