"Voltron" concept-art looks like you’d expect

Joblo.com scored some pieces of the concept art Atlas Entertainment is using to pitch a live-action “Voltron” movie to studios. It’s about what you’d expect – “Transformers”-style jaggy mecha design, magic-hour lighting, etc. You can’t really see if you don’t brighten it up, but the Lions are color-coded and look to be in the “proper” arrangement; so that’s something at least…

Honestly, they’re more interesting to look at in the context of HOW a “visual pitch” is intended to work: Notice how, while “explaining” the basic “big human-shape robot made of smaller lion-shaped robots” hook, it’s also working it’s ass off to remind potential investors of other profitable hits like “Transformers” (the mecha design and lighting) and “Iron Man” (look at “his” eyes and face.)

The Statue of Liberty is mainly there for scale (“Our robot can step on The Transformers!”) but I’m wondering if someone in the artist is making a funny about how The Internet somehow assumed that “Cloverfield” was actually teasing a Voltron movie. In any case, if this accurately reflects the story their pitching as well, that’s the element that’ll be the most controversial for Voltron/GoLion fans – the original story took place in a Star Wars/Trek-style future on another planet.


The date has already passed here, and possibly where you are to, but just in case I didn’t want to let this pass without notice here: “Super Mario Bros.” is 25 years old today.

The original SMB was released on the Nintendo Famicom in Japan on 9/13/85. The game, alongside the NES, would arrive in the United States in limited release one Month later before a full roll-out in February ’86.

about book-burning

Believe it or not, I AVOID mentioning non-movie-related political stuff on this blog lately because A.) it requires an up-to-the-minute-ness I just don’t have time for and B.) I’d really rather not suddenly turn myself into a “public relations” liability for the various professional entities I’m involved with. BUT, sometimes there are “implications” or tangential questions to political stuff that I actually feel like speaking on and/or having a conversation about, so… here’s the deal: The (in my opinion) not-controversial part goes here BEFORE the jump, and if you feel like hearing a self-important movie critic prattle about more specific/dicey stuff you can keep reading AFTER the jump. Okay?

Okay. THIS, I think, oughtn’t be at all controversial: The Pastor in Florida (no links, no names, he’s gotten enough free publicity) who’s behind “International Burn A Koran Day” is SCUMBAG, simple as that. Furthermore, anyone trying to draw some kind of “equivalency” between this douche and his nutcase “congregation” and the folks who want to build an Islamic Community Center two blocks from “Ground Zero” is – at best – being incredibly dumb. But, yeah: Guy’s a scumbag, hope he doesn’t do it, etc.

More after the jump.


This whole thing has made me ask a question I don’t think I’d have otherwise ever considered asking: Does “book burning” MATTER now as much as it once did?

Now, right off the bat – YES, I understand that the books in question here are Holy Texts which has a whole other dimension of taboo attached to desecration. I get that. That said… look, I’m not especially religious myself so, forgive my perhaps lacking sympathy, but… from where I sit, while I have nothing but CONTEMPT for the pastor pulling this stunt, honestly I have something close (not equal, but close) to the same contempt for anyone of any faith who reacts to this sort of “nyah nyah” affront with retaliative violence or even tacit “approval” of such.

Look, I’d more “get” the outrage if this asshole had, let’s say, snatched up a bunch of sanctified Korans from local Mosques and he was going to burn those. Or if it was a hand-written, one-of-a-kind Koran from the 12th Century, something like that – or a collection of Islamic Holy Relics; that sort of thing. Being angry about that I get. That crosses the “that which can never be replaced” symbolic-destruction line between “you’re a jerk” and “you’re Hitler.” Still not sure I “get” throwing a bomb over it, but I get being infuriated and hurt and soured on the whole “getting along” thing.

But what’s actually set to happen here? A few dozen idiot rednecks in Florida burning a bunch of cheap, mass-produced, assembly-line-printed copies of The Koran they picked up at Barnes & Noble? I’m sorry, like I said I get being PISSED at the juvenille “screw you!” taunting aspect of it… but I’m just don’t get the “blasphemy” of this sort of thing, in Islam or otherwise. The whole concept of commercially-produced “sacredness” is part of what turned me off (organized) religion in the first place. I was an Altar Boy back in Catholic School, I distinctly remember that actually seeing all the “holy” accoutremants like Sacremental Wine, Holy Water, Communion Wafers, Incense, etc. coming out of shipping boxes (Communion – aka “The Body of Christ” – came in big air-sealed bags like store-brand cereal!) being one of the bigger “wait a minute…” turning points. I just can’t wrap my head around – or “empathize” much with – being “jihad-level” angry at THIS particular act. I mean, wasn’t there just an actual full-fledged Mosque hit by an arson attempt in (I think) Tennessee? If so, why is this a bigger deal than that?

But… whatever, that’s just one cranky Agnostic’s perspective on the matter. If you genuinely believe in sacredness and holy writ and whatnot, I imagine it makes more sense. I respect that – I don’t get it – but I respect it.

Thing is, just ruminating on THAT point is what made me ponder whether or not – in the broader sense – any book-burning ought to “mean” much anymore. Again, as with the specific Koran case, I’m not talking about First Editions or rare pieces or irreplacable texts – I mean regular, off-the-shelf, 800-copies-taking-up-space-at-Borders books. Should this still be a HUGE taboo in 2010?

I understand the longstanding symbolism of book burning – the idea of “purging” an idea from the world in it’s purest concrete form, and I agree it’s disgusting symbolism and I’d never willingly burn even an “evil” book. But the thing is, the reason it was ever seen as SO abhorrent – both the reason that the Nazis did it and why we condemn them for doing it – is because it wasn’t solely a symbolic act: Until fairly recently, it actually was concievable that if you put you’re mind to it you really could burn an idea or a story out of existance by burning enough copies of it. THAT was the nightmare-scenario of “Fahrenheit 451,” not just the burning of books but the extraordinary lengths one would have to go to to preserve the ideas and stories within them.

You see where I’m going with this, right? “Burn all the books?” Well, okay, do-able in theory… but are they ALSO making sure to track and down and fully-destroy all the trillions of discs, flash-drives and even SD Cards that can hold hundreds of thousands of books? And even if that, are they also going to scrub the entire Internet, The Cloud, the “Singularity,” whatever, too? For all practical purposes, The Digital Age has essentially rendered “Fahrenheit” an all-but-impossible scenario. Books – and all that they entail – are safer now than they have EVER been. Think about it for a minute, it’s really kind of monumental. Memo to Mr. Bradbury: The good guys won, thanks for the head’s up.

(Damn, but this turned out long) So, what I’m getting at here is: Are we giving all asshole book-burners way too much “power” by still treating their actions as anything more than a purely symbolic act of douchebaggery when technology has essentially made it a meaningless, futile gesture? Or is this a rare moment of misplaced optimism on my part?

Alright, so that’s my “piece” on this. Once again, pastor guy is a jackass, anyone who reacts to pastor guy with violence is also a jackass, burning the Koran is wrong, book burning of any kind of wrong, terrorism is wrong, can’t-we-just-get-along, etc. It’s late, goin’ to bed now.

First set photos of Captain America in costume…

…are of Chris Evans’ burly stunt-double on a motorcycle:

So… not exactly the approved-n-retouched “official” reveal Marvel Films would’ve preferred. For you young whippersnappers out there, this is pretty-much what ALL first-looks at genre projects looked like back in the days when the studios hadn’t yet learned how to micro-manage their own “leaks.”

But, yeah, it’s a “meant-to-take-a-pounding” version of the outfit on a guy who’s not “playing” the part, so don’t look to be blown away. The important stuff is in the details: It’s roughly the design we’ve already seen, but (apparently) at least partially comprised of fabric rather than spandex-armor (which, of course, didn’t exist in WWII) they eye and chin pieces are black, he has the FUCKING WINGS ON HIS HELMET FUCK YEAH!!!, the shield looks perfect, etc. Supposedly he starts his “career” in a USO “Mascot” costume modeled on the Golden Age comic outfit, then builds his own combat-ready version by repurposing (dyeing?) standard army gear, which is basically the idea here.

Okay, pretty cool in-context. Y’wanna see pretty cool in ANY context? Hit the jump (because while this has been “out there” for a little while I don’t want anyone complaining about quasi-spoilers…)

From the same site, here’s a pair of (presumably) bad-guy bikers (so they’re filming a chase scene?)

Dig the retro-futuristic design, right? But why would the Nazis have high-tech super-bikers? Well, look at this 360% ZOOM:

A skull with tentacles: The seal of HYDRA.

In the Marvel Universe, HYDRA is basically 007’s “SPECTER.” In traditional Marvel continuity, they start out as an adjunct of The Third Reich in WWII (though their supposedly as old as Ancient Egypt, like everything else in genre-fiction) transitioning into a fascist high-tech terrorist outfit in the “present,” frequently involved-with or even run-by various life-extended or “legacy” onetime Nazis like Baron Zemo, Baron Von Strucker, Arnim Zola and The Red Skull – at least two of whom are already supposed to turn up in “Captain America” already. You know, the sort of thing you’d need a whole team of superheroes to fight. Hm…

For those keeping track, this puts the list of significant Marvel Universe “continuity nuggets” confirmed to be part of this movie as follows: Howling Commandos, The Invaders, Bucky Barnes, Peggy Carter, Armin Zola, HYDRA, Yggdrasil/Asgard & The Cosmic Cube.

This is really happening.

somehow innevitable

German filmmaker Uwe Boll gained fame making really, really bad movies out of video games, openly-antagonizing internet movie writers who hated them, challenging his critics to boxing matches and opening the action/comedy “Postal” with a slapstick-comedy restaging of 9-11. Really.

When that well dried up, he moved on to making “straight” horror/action films and questionable-taste dramas built around hot-button political issues; notably “Darfur” (that was actually the title) and “Rampage” – a kind of rural, youth-oriented “Falling Down” about a small-town loner on a day-long killing spree. At least one thing is clear: The man understands the importance of a “hook” for selling low-budget movies.

For what it’s worth, “Rampage” was kind of a revalation for me: Well directed, well written (he also scripted) and possessed of a genuinely keen undestanding for the unique nihilism of a theoretical Middle American sociopath. It’s his best film, by far, and if ANYONE else had released the same product it would’ve been recieved as one of the better indies of that year. If nothing else, it means that it’s impossible to simply dismiss him as a resourceful hack – the man has actual talent. Which is kind of too bad, because I get the sense that most would prefer and excuse to dismiss or otherwise not acknowledge what is apparently his next “big” project.

“Auschwitz.” Seriously. (NSWF trailer and more after the break…

Hat-tip to Chud and Twitch…

For those unfamiliar, that’s Boll himself in the Guard uniform.

Someone was eventually going to make a “torture/gore-FX-showcase” shocker out of The Holocaust, which is what this looks like – and it’s definitely interesting to see it coming from Germany of all places – but still… yikes.

They got her

According to the AP, Bosnian police have tracked down the videotaped puppy-murderer; another apparent feather in the cap for Evil Internet Lynch-Mob turned, er… uh… Good Internet Lynch-Mob 4Chan.

Questions remaining: Who get’s Michael Bay’s $50,000 reward, and do the Bosnia police understand that 4Chan etc. probably won’t stop gunning for this kid until they see more retribution than a fine?

Strange times we live in…

…when the Bad Guys become the Good Guys.

I’m not putting a link up to it, but by now you’ve probably at least heard about the “puppy tossing” video that’s been all over the place. If not, to summarize: A young-ish looking blonde woman in what has apparently been identified as Bosnia is seen throwing a bucketful of newborn-looking live puppies into a river. Overhand, one at a time, with great force and having a big “wheeee!” laugh over it. Just… awful, awful stuff.

Anyway, no one knows precisely who she is (or who shot/uploaded the video) but that won’t last – she’s currently being “hunted down” by a worldwide network from users of the infamous message board 4Chan. You may recall that earlier in the month 4Chan turned it’s hivemind-esque detective skills toward running down an attempted cat-killer, also caught-on-tape, in the UK… and succeeded – the woman in question was essentially harrassed straight into protective-custody.

Watching 4Chan transition from self-described “internet hate machine” to animal rights do-gooders has been… surreal, to say the least – it’s like if S.P.E.C.T.E.R. suddenly turned their attention from World Conquest to World Hunger – especially because the methodology is so consistent: What’s the difference between being a “civic-minded hero” and a “bully?” The choice of target. But, hey, they’re gettin’ the job done, after a fashion; and at least until the fun of being treated like cyber-superheroes wears off and they revert back to formula I’m not too uncomfortable with the idea of 4Chan as a force for good.

What’s LESS easy to wrap my head around are feelings of respect – or, at least, non-hatred – for Michael Bay, who according to the DailyMail has ALSO joined this particular fight, offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the puppy-flinger’s indentification.

So… now I have to like 4Chan and the director of “The Island?” Stupid human-capacity-for-redemption…

All kidding aside, I’ve actually heard quite a bit that Bay’s redeeming feature is that he’s a BIG animal lover and supporter of animal charities – he’s supposed to have given his Bar Mitzvah money away to California animal shelters as a kid.

Well, alright. Fine. Michael, I guess you’re a decent guy after all. Everything but “Bad Boys 2” is still terrible, though 😉

EDIT: Before anyone brings it up… NO, I don’t in fact think it’s at all “interesting,” sad or somehow wrong to be more worked-up about stuff like this than it is about the people starving in Darfur or wherever the mass-suffering region du-jour is right now.

UPDATE: Apparently, they got her. 4Chan bags another one.