Gorilla Whale Returns

If that title means anything to you, I don’t really need to say anything else. Here’s the story, at Variety: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118017027.html?categoryid=13&cs=1

Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. are making a “Godzilla” movie.

There are two kinds of people in the world, at this moment: People for whom this rates as a giant ho-hum akin to the announcement of an as-yet untitled Jennifer Anniston rom-com, and people who are feeling some form of incredible excitement – though perhaps mixed with experience-based trepidation. People of the first type are entirely extraneous, as far as I’m concerned, and are almost certainly reading the wrong blog.

This is, instantly, the upcoming project which now has the majority of my attention. With appologies to The Avengers and Mr. Baggins… Godzilla is Godzilla.

“Legendary,” for what it’s worth, is Thomas Tull’s Hollywood/Wall Street investment hybrid, notably responsible for throwing their initial weight behind “Batman Begins” and a good bulk of Warner Bros. “geek” properties henceforth (300, Superman, Watchmen, Where the Wild Things Are, Ninja Assassin and Clash of The Titans, among others) so that, at least, spells “good hands” so far. The BIG surprise is that notoriously-protective (even for a Japanese studio) “Toho” let ANY westerners near the property, which says that Legendary/Warners either has a killer pitch or (more likely) a SHITLOAD of cash.

They’ll be announcing a director “shortly,” which likely means they’ve already got one. At least one likely bet would “Clash” director Louis Leterrier – if “Clash” is a hit then “director of hit monster movie to remake Godzilla” makes fantastic marketing synergy. But that’s just a guess. My dream choice? Neil Blomkamp.

Of Legendary/Warners, I’d make only TWO plaintive requests: Let Godzilla look like Godzilla, and let him breath fire. Oh, and if Ratner, Michael Bay, McG or anyone else in the Hack Pack finds their way to this project, I will find my way to you 😉


As “geek news” sites that either play ball with the studios better or are run by “the biz” itself take greater prominence on the web, the old warhorse AICN is more and more regarded as more an opinion/editorial site than a “news” source. Nothing wrong with that, march of history, etc. But once in awhile they pull one out, which may have happened once again.

Harry Knowles – to be fair, the patron-saint of “reporting stuff I WANT to happen as actually on it’s way to happening” – has a report up claiming that producer Jules Urbach is well on his way to a live-action “Shogun Warriors” movie.

“Shogun Warriors” is a bit before my time, but the basic history is pretty fascinating: Much as happened with Transformers, an American toy distributor bought the rights to a slew of largely-unrelated Japanese giant-robot characters and released them as the “Shogun Warriors.” A tie-in Marvel comic tied them together storywise, and the various heroes would become familiar to subsequent generations as their various anime series became syndicated worldwide like Mazinger (“Tranzor Z”) or the “Force Five” anthology series.

According to AICN, Urbach is gunning for a live-action franchise after initially scoring the rights for a short-subject in David Fincher’s long-gestating “Heavy Metal” movie. The plan involves starting with “Gaiking,” a giant horn-headed mecha who rides around in a spaceship that turns into a dinosaur who’s head he wears as a chestplate. Great idea… but we’ll see what comes of it. For now, AICN has Urbach’s FX-test clip of Gaiking himself which looks… pretty damn incredible, actually. Not to be a broken record, but why can’t the Transformers look this good, again?



Spoilers – though nothing that ain’t in the trailer – follow.

“Hot Tub Time Machine” and Dreamworks “Dragon” movie are the big deals this weekend, but if it’s playing near you “Chloe” is definately worth tracking down. The hook is about the same as “In The Cut” – i.e. art-film director, in this case Atom Egoyan, tackles trashy erotic thriller – but the payoff is actually quite excellent.

It’s basically a “Comfortably-wealthy married women have problems too, y’know!” drama centered around Julianne Moore’s Catherine, who’s not dealing well with her teenage son’s now-evident sex life and – more problematically – suspects her husband (Liam Neeson) of cheating. As in most stories like this, simply walking up to him and ASKING would apparently be “unrefined,” so instead Catherine tracks down conspicuously-glamorous call girl Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) and pays her to “bait” the husband. What could possibly go wrong?

We’ve seen this story before, and thus “know” that things will spiral out of control, but there’s a few character curveballs and one head-slapper plot twist (I won’t divulge that one, though this is technically a remake of the French “Nathalie” from a few years back) that put it on a different level. Most of the time, “erotic thrillers” using the “bait the cheater” angle are about jealousy and envy – here, it’s all about psycho-sexual transference: Catherine is deriving personal erotic satisfaction from Chloe’s descriptions of her encounter’s with Neeson, something the audience and Chloe pick up on before she does – in effect having an “affair” with secondhand storytelling – which escalates to the logical extreme as Catherine is compelled to “sample the wares” firsthand, taking Chloe to bed in a “holy shit!” sequence that’ll make this the most inappropriately-purchased DVD since “Mulholland Drive.”

This how you can tell European/Canadian erotic-thrillers from American, btw: The plot (if not Egoyan’s linger long-shots) take the lesbian development entirely for granted – there’s no “wait, a woman?” or “I’ve never done this” business at all… the film and it’s characters seem to take (female) bisexuality as a “given.” The real – er.. “thrust” of the story, as usual, is more about class than sex: Rich-as-hell Catherine, at the end of the day, essentially regards Chloe as an expensive tool to be used – either as agent, proxy and finally lover – then set aside. Act 3 is all about reminding Catherine et al that even a prostitute may react… “unexpectedly” to being used and discarded.

If the film gets any attention at all, it’ll probably face some backlash painting it as a stereotypical “lesbian stalker” moviel but it strikes me as having more going on. It’s possible to read it in basic, broad Freudian terms: Catherine is repressing her own homosexuality (she happens to be an ob-gyn, if you want to get really “broad” about it) which inflames cheating suspicions, which gives her the “excuse” to seek out Chloe. And Chloe’s constant insistance on “gifting” Catherine with an ornate hairpin that had belonged to her mother seems like a pretty clear-cut same-sex-Oedipal-complex. And not for nothing does Chloe open their initial dialogue by volunteering how seldom she’s contacted by single women (as opposed to couples.) But the fact that there’s something more AT ALL going on is the real point of interest.

…Or you could, of course, just go to gawk at the nudity from Seyfried – who looks like a Greek statue, an absolute stunner – and Moore – who’s better suited than most other actresses of her age to appear nude alongside (literally) someone who looks like a Greek statue. That works, too…

Chris Evans is Captain America

So says THR’s “Heat Vision” blog: http://www.heatvisionblog.com/2010/03/evans-accepts-captain-america-mantle.html

This all comes after Marvel Films essentially shortlisted, “considered” and screen-tested every “all-American”-looking male actor in the United States, up to and including Ryan Philippe, Channing Tatum and John Krasinski. If true, the deal not only gives Evans the lead in (at least) one major Marvel movie but also co-lead in “The Avengers” and (likely) cameos in “connected” Marvel movies. It also saddles him with the unenviable task of explaining to research-averse film journalists that it “doesn’t matter” that he was already in the (terrible) “Fantastic Four” movies because the shared “Avengers Universe” movies Marvel is making doesn’t (yet) include characters who’s franchises are currently owned by other studios (re: Spider-Man, X-Men, Fanastic Four, etc.)

In the broader sense, this also turns the (still akwardly-titled) “The First Avenger: Captain America” into the capper on a pretty big – and interestingly comic-book-centric – year for Evans: He’s also got big roles in the DC-based “The Losers” and Edgar Wright’s “Scott Pilgrim” movie.

Additionally, for those who hadn’t yet heard, the victor in the casting of The Red Skull – aka the battle of vocally-gifted pan-European character actors specializing in bad guys – ultimately went to Hugo Weaving.

Mario’s Inferno

King Bros. offers a spot-on goof at the expense of EA’s “GoW: ‘Mad World'”-wannabe trailer for Dante’s Inferno:

For a refresher, here’s the actual spot being spoofed…

…and the now-famous “Gears of War” ad it wants to be in the worst way:


So, for me the theme of the show this year was: “Very nice people giving terrific speeches in acceptance of awards they oughtn’t have won.”

Sandra Bullock seems like a lovely person, GREAT speech, obviously heartfelt… but “The Blindside” is a piece of shit and she’s pretty bad in it.

No way did “Hurt Locker” – a serviceable but utterly pedestrian war-is-hell script – deserve a Best Original Screenplay win over “Inglorious Basterds.” Yes, fine, hooray for low-budget indies and all that, but give me a break. Like I said, another great speech… but if anyone remembers “Locker” a year from now – which is a dicey prospect, at best – it’s exclusively because Kathryn Bigelow is a peerless director of action sequences. Speaking of which…

It’s unfortunate that the whole thing had to be between “Avatar” and “Locker” for Picture – utterly-shallow big-budget actioner versus equally-shallow low-budget actioner- and it’s right and just that Kathryn Bigelow has freed herself from directorial limbo at last… but c’mon. “Avatar,” at least, had the minimum novelty of being revolutionary and a pop-cultural “event,” but there’s no way “Locker” even belonged on the nominee list in the same year “Watchmen” and “Moon” got shut-out.

This is another Pulp/Gump/Shawshank year: People will bitch back and forth about “Avatar” and “Hurt Locker” for the next two years, and then by 2012 “Locker” will be in the $5 bin, “Avatar” will be the perenial big-box-store LCD “demo blu-ray” and people will be shaking their heads wondering why “Inglorious Basterds” – which by then will have been running in near-permanent rotation on the cables – was overlooked.

Whatever. Good on the “Hurt Locker” people for sincerely thanking the troops, if nothing else. On Monday morning, offers every un-attached action franchise on the planet will be piled up in Kathryn Bigelow’s office. Show of hands on everyone who was surprised to be reminded that there has NEVER been a black Best Director winner. Taylor Lautner looks like a middle schooler in his older brother’s tuxedo. The star of “Soul Plane” and the director of “Point Break” both have Oscars.

Oh, and if you’re wondering: Yes, the Fisher Stevens accepting the Best Documentary award for producing “The Cove” IS Fisher Stevens the actor you might remember from “Hackers,” “Super Mario Bros.,” “My Science Project” and the “Short Circuit” movies.