Holy F**K! "Red Tails" is actually coming out!

This sort of thing has passed into film-geek legend at this point, but there’s always been this whole list of “dream projects” George Lucas was going to make once “Star Wars” was suitably wrapped-up; and of all of them “Red Tails” – a WWII actioner about The Tuskegee Airmen – has been one ‘just about to get made’ for at least two decades. Because, y’know… George Lucas.

Well, the son of a gun finally did it – as a producer and (supposedly) very hands-on post-production overseer and genre-TV vet Anthony Hemingway directing. And it has a trailer…

The Tuskegee Airmen are one of those “why haven’t there been FIFTY movies about this?” WWII stories, and while there was already a really good ‘serious’ biopic version for HBO years ago I like the idea of the story getting the soaring, kinda-corny old-Hollywood approach Hemingway and Lucas seem to be striking here.

I wonder… does it still “register” with people that “Star Wars” doesn’t really become a samurai-in-space series until “Empire;” and that the first one is much moreso a WWII fighter-pilot movie but in space?

Rodriguez remakes "Fire & Ice"

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Y’know what’s great about reporting on Robert Rodriguez movies? If you’re seeing SOMETHING visual from it, you know that about 70% of the movie is already done, locked-in and ready-to-go on a thumb-drive in Rodriguez green-screen-studio/garage. ALSO: That when he calls stuff like the image above “concept art,” he means “this is ACTUALLY what it will look like.”

In any case, one of RR’s 5 to 10 currently in-production projects is a live-action remake of “Fire & Ice;” a swords n’ sorcery animated feature from the 80s. It’s LEGENDARY among the relatively small number of young kids who rented it expecting something on the lines of He-Man and instead got 90 minutes of lovingly-rendered brutality, beheadings and barely-contained cartoon-cleavage (anime hadn’t really “happened” in the U.S. yet) but today mostly remembered for being a collaboration between cartoon-renegade Ralph Bakshi and Frank Frazetta, the guy who pretty-much invented modern fantasy-art…

Yes, young animation-students in the audience: Those are hand-painted cels rotoscoped frame-by-frame off of live-action actors – keep that in mind the next time Flash makes your wrist hurt a little bit. And as a cel-animation-era attempts at making Frazetta’s signature style “move” go it’s pretty damn gorgeous; but as a narrative it’s largely reflective of the kind of stock high-fantasy schlock his work tended to appear on the cover of – arch, overwrought and sort of forgettable, though the astonishingly politically-incorrect mincing/woman-hating/momma’s-boy gay villain is good for a laugh.

I’m pretty psyched for this. Rodriguez is a Frazetta fanatic, and he’s been trying to make a movie in that style for a long time (he almost made the new “Red Sonja.”) He has his flaws as a filmmaker; but no one in the business is better at turning “unworkable” visual styles into moving images and, as a bonus, his knowingly-juvenile blood-n-boobs-by-the-bucket sensibilities is a perfect fit for the material. Much as I love the more “subtle” fantasy aesthetic of the LOTR films and their descedants… yeah, I’m soooo ready for the return of gore-slathered broadswords and amazons in bronze lingerie. And given how inhumanly shitty the new “Conan” continues to look, I welcome this sucker openly.

The original, incidentally, was put out on a REALLY good DVD set from Blue Underground awhile back that also included the excellent Frazetta biopic “Painting With Fire” (a must-see for aspiring artists) as a bonus feature. Worth picking up if you can find it around.


The big misconcpetion that most of the public has right now about every movie needing to be “based on” something, even old toys and board-games, is that Hollywood is “out of ideas.” Not the case. What they’re “out of” – or at least percieve themselves to be out of – are things that garauntee an instant “connection” with an audience in the marketing sense. A Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts rom-com BOMBED this summer. That scares the shit out of industry people – if name-stars can’t “register,” what the hell can? Well, brand-names – of ANY kind – that’ve been burned into the collective unconscious, for one.

Hence, “Battleship,” which basically takes the name (and probably the “you sank my Battleship!!!” line at least once) and packaging-font of the old naval-warfare game and slaps it onto a (technically) original story about a navy fleet versus water-based aliens…

Take away the “oh, gawd… the BOARD GAME!?” aspect, and I don’t think it looks half bad. Peter Berg is an interesting director; and we haven’t seen a wholly ocean-set genre film in awhile. I’ll admit I’d be exponenially more interested if it didn’t look like they were just regular space-aliens hanging out in the water – when did science-fiction decide that the “undersea invaders from Atlantis, Mu, etc.” bit wasn’t “cool” anymore?

"Knights of Badassdom"

Hat-tip to Devin

It’s kind of a shame that the studios have woken up to the notion that being a big-hit at Comic-Con doesn’t mean it’s going to make money, because otherwise “Knights of Badassadom” would probably already have a distributor. The director is Joe Lynch – who’d be more reverred among horror fans if only his excellent “Wrong Turn 2” wasn’t tainted by being a sequel to “Wrong Turn” – and the premise is a head-slapper: A bunch of LARPer buddies accidentally unleash an actual demon and have to fight it. Peter Dinklage, Steve Zahn, Danny Pudi and Ryan Kwanten star as the hapless heroes, while Summer Glau stars as another $15-20 Million in fanboy tickets alread sold…

These Are Your "AVENGERS"

Marvel’s people at SDCC have been doling out “concept” (read: paintings, not photographs) character-posters of the various film characters as they’ll appear in “The Avengers.” The set is now complete, and when placed together they form a banner that now constitutes the first “official” group-shot of (right-to-left) Black Widow, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents Coulson and Maria Hill. Click it to embiggen it:

The immediate “big deal,” of course, is that we can now see what the new-er Hulk looks like… which is to say he looks like The Hulk. I haven’t put them side-by-side as yet, but it looks to me like the face – with the larger-than-normal maxilla (“upper-lip” palat) and pronounced Neanderthal-esque brow – is erring more toward the 60s/70s comics Hulk than previous versions. The Ang Lee version, for contrast, was designed to look more like an “inflated” version of Eric Bana; while the “Incredible” Edward Norton Hulk reflected more recent designs where he’s more of a “giant human.” But… yeah, Hulk looks like Hulk. I wonder if they’ll keep this design for the new TV show?

Oh, yeah… that’s something else that’s kinda gotten lost in the Comic-Con shuffle: in lieu of (for now) further films, Hulk is getting a new live-action TV series. Also on the front-lines of Marvel/Disney’s new TV venture: “AKA Jessica Jones” (with Luke Cage and Carol “Ms. Marvel” Danvers in the supporting cast) “Cloak & Dagger” and, for some reason, “Mockingbird.” Those with a less-than-noble interest in the “Cloak & Dagger” announcement should, unfortunately, adjust their expectations accordingly; as it’s an ABC Family project and thus very unlikely to let Dagger keep her infamous uniform.

I’m also given to wonder if there’s any significance to the fact that Captain America (which is now on-track to have had the biggest opening weekend of all the Summer 2011 superhero movies) has the center-spot, appears to be at the “front” of the lineup and seems to have a color-scheme that’s a little bit bolder and less effected by the sepia-sheen of the rest of the piece, which makes him stick out from the others. A lot of folks had been assuming that the more popular Iron Man (or the more widely-exposed and theoretically higher-ranking Nick Fury) would be the “boss” of The Avengers; but this makes it look an awful lot like Cap is in his (in the comics) usual position as team-leader.

I like Hawkeye just fine, but I still say not even letting him have a mask only serves to call attention to the question of just how useful being really, really good with a weapon that’s been obsolete since the 14th Century is on a team of (literal) gods, monsters and super-soldiers. And hey, look: You can see the Helicarrier and a Quinjet (?) in the background. Awesome.

The Oslo Massacre

FYI, a piece about certain revelations about Anders Behring Breivik – the alleged perpetator of the horrific bombing/shooting in Oslo, Norway – is now up at The Other Blog.

I know that there are Norwegian readers and fans of this blog and the attendant shows/series; and I encourage other readers to keep them in your thoughts, prayers etc. during this period and to keep discussion of the tragedy respectful (re: I WILL delete insensitive/confrontational comments regarding the tragedy) and to donate to charitable organizations of your choice when/if the ability to do so is made available – for those in Norway: I am told that Ullevaal Hospital – where some victims are being treated, is in need of TYPE 0 BLOOD donations.

Escape to the Movies: "Captain America"

It’s fantastic, go see it. Seriously, go – a superhero movie this good and this different “underperforming” would be a disaster for the genre.

Also: “Intermission” talks Easter Eggs – “Captain America” may feature the most obscure Marvel cameo ever.

AND ALSO: Did you watch the explosive new GAME OVERTHINKER yet??