Month: November 2010
"Turn Off The Dark" reveals itself… kinda.
The first write-ups from preview-showings of “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark;” aka the 2nd most-likely-to-suck impending Spider-Man project – 3rd being “Death of (Ulimate) Spider-Man” and 1st being you-know-what – are starting to come in. A growing consensus: Not-awful, so long as you assume a certain level of self-parody…. though it sounds like they haven’t come close to solving their infamous technical problems. Certain details sound garaunteed to give serious comic fans heart-attacks, but I’ll say it right upfront… other details make it sound like something that might actually be pretty interesting as bloated spectacle goes. Not the same thing as “good,” mind you, but it’s worth remembering that while they are indeed perfect living-caricatures of pretentious twits, Julie Taymor, Bono and Edge are really good at what they do.
IO9’s writeup handily sums up a lot of what I’m hearing about it (note: details may or may not qualify as SPOILERS to whatever degree you care.) AICN has more in-depth stuff, too. Discussion of said details after the jump:
So… yeah. These are the (supposed) elements that made me stand up and say “well, they certainly aren’t phoning it in, at least;” in no particular order:
It’s a meta-narrative… about Fan-Fiction.
That seems to be the biggest “huh?” of the overall production coming out of these previews: The story is structured around what may be called a “Geek Chorus” (oh, lord…) of fanboys brainstorming a Spider-Man story. That’s actually kind of ingenious, though you’ve got to be a bit wary that they’ll be some sort of obnoxious strawman caricatures – a “pre-emptive strike” against the people most likely to dislike the production on principle.
Swiss Miss = Red Herring?
Apparently, universally-derided new-for-the-show villainess “Swiss Miss” is an intentional bit of self-satire on the “Geek Chorus” attempt at inventing a character for the show.
Swarm is in it.
If true, this would be enough to get me in there all on it’s own. For the unfamiliar, Swarm is a Marvel villain. He is made of bees. Yes, made-of. He doesn’t dress like a bee, he’s not a giant bee, he doesn’t control bees, he’s made of BEES. He is also a Nazi.
Greek mythological figure Arachne, from whom spiders derive their scientific name, apparently turns up as a celestial guide (she may or may not literally BE “the spider” from whom Peter Parker recieves his powers) and mid-air romantic “hookup” for Spidey. This is the sort of thing you’d put in a PARODY of what a Julie Taymor “Spider-Man” production might look like.
Alright, sign me up. Assuming they make all the tech actually WORK, this is still supposed to open in about six weeks.
no words… should’ve sent a poet…
Now, pardon me, I need a moment alone…
Didn’t see that coming.
James Franco and Anne Hathaway, both expected to be Academy Award nominees themselves this year, have been selected to host the show.
Surface-wise, it has to be primarily seen as “youth re-branding” by The Academy – scooping up two actors more in the age, persona and career-phase one associates with the MTV Movie awards (Hathaway is a Disney-escapee branching out bigtime, Franco is basically the art-school-student-ironically-pretending-to-be-a-homeless-street-musician-to-stay-“in-the-real” of movie stars at this point) to headline what’s increasingly seen as an older-audiences event.
What makes it more than a little unusual – and will come more to the forefront once the nominations solidify – is that both of them are very heavily-favored as serious contenders for awards themselves this year, he for “127 Hours” and she for “Love & Other Drugs.” Sure, it “shouldn’t” matter if the person hosting the show also wins if they gave the “best” performance… but everyone knows it will because “it’ll look weird.”
Honestly, I think that may be what The Academy is banking on, at least in-part: Deliberately going after a pair of likely nominees in order to generate interest via an “oh noes!! what’s gonna happen!!??” drama to draw a bigger audience: “What if one of them wins!?” “GASP! What if they LOSE!? Will there be all kinds of bitterness to the jokes after that!” “GASP! What if only ONE of them wins!? Will the banter go all edgy!?”
Meh, it’s an interesting choice either way. I don’t think either of them are likely to actually win – “127 Hours” is pretty far outside The Academy’s comfort-zone (plus Colin Firth is “due” and will be the frontrunner for his performance in “Dignified WWII-Era Upper-Class English Historical Drama #5,981”) and Best Actress is looking like Natalie Portman’s to lose at this point – but the “drama” probably will rope the People Magazine/“Dancing With The Stars” audience. On the brighter side, they’re both fun – Franco is a real wild-card unafraid of playing chicken with his dignity, and I can certainly think of worse things to look at for four hours than Anne Hathaway…
RIP Irving Kershner
Irving Kershner, best known as the director of “The Empire Strikes Back,” has died at age 87.
RIP Leslie Nielsen
Well, this sucks.
Leslie Nielsen had one of the most unconventional career paths of any actor. Born in 1926, the majority of his career was spent as a journeyman TV mainstay and character actor; with only the cult-classic “Forbidden Planet” in 1957 and “Tammy & The Bachelor” (which was very popular in it’s day) in 1956 standing out; plus a turn as The Captain in the original “Poseidon Adventure.”
All that changed in 1980, when the Zucker/Abrams/Zucker team cast him in “Airplane!” With the senatorial gravitas that made him a mainstay playing iron-jawed authority figures repurposed for comedic-deapan, he became the unlikliest comedy megastar of the 80s and 90s in the “Naked Gun” films; becoming synonymous with both the movie-parody genre and the Z.A.Z. films in-particular. He kept busy well into the New Millenium, and still had (at least) three films yet to be released when he passed away in his sleep this weekend. He was 84.
MST3K. Gamera. Collection.
Hat tip: Devin
I remain convinced that “Mystery Science Theater 3000” would have a MUCH larger present-day fanbase if it wasn’t nearly impossible to see it without already being in search of it. The episodes were 2 hours long (with commercials) making it incredibly hard – but not impossible – to syndicate; but as the producers didn’t actually own/license the films they riffed on (relying on the licensed-film catalogues of the cable channels the show aired on) a HUGE number of episodes can’t even be released on DVD because the rights are spread out among so many different companies. Thusly, it’s still a far-off dream of frustrated MiSTies everywhere to one day see Season Sets, or even a complete collection.
But as of yesterday, the wait will be a little bit easier; as five of the most sought-after episodes in the series’ history finally return: MST3K: THE GAMERA COLLECTION.
Not wholly unexpected – DVD outfit Shout! Factory (who’ve become to the Autumn Age of DVD what Anchor Bay was to the initial DVD Boom,) who own the DVD rights to MST3K, itself picked up the original “Gamera” movies and did a BIG release last year – prompting more than a few fandom-born campaigns to get them to do the MST3K episodes as well.
No word yet on release date or price, but still…
Escape to The Movies: "Love & Other Drugs"
“Intermission” is about Green Lantern’s trailer.
Wahlberg & Russell to waste year of lives, millions of dollars, on "Uncharted" movie
To the surprise of few and the joy of… someone, I’m assuming… Mark Wahlberg will rejoin his “Fighter” director, David O. Russell, in the incredibly unnecessary feature film adaptation of the “Uncharted” video games. For the uninitiated, “Uncharted” is a studiously “cinematic” (hence the “incredibly unnecessary” part) “Indiana Jones” knockoff. Wahlberg will take the lead role of Nathan Drake, the least-likable video game hero outside of Leisure-Suit Larry.
For those keeping track, this will mark Wahlberg’s 3rd attempt at getting into the action-franchise rackett; following “Shooter” and “Max Payne.”
I’ve already said my piece about the relative pointlessness of filmming “Uncharted,” and I stand by my deep and bitter resentment at Nathan FUCKING Drake getting a proper movie before the nigh-endless line of more-deserving gaming icons, but at least it’s interesting casting. Drake’s monumental douchebaggery as a character comes from a “cool” obnoxiousness that’s almost the total opposite of Wahlberg’s usual near-comical earnestness – so maybe this is the first step toward making the character less hateful on the big screen.
Still not necessary, mind you, but less hateful. That’s at least a start.