Best Look Yet At The New "Superman"

“The Man of Steel” is shooting in Plainsville, Illinois in full view of passers-by and their cameraphones, so by now everyone has seen every inch of the (practical, un-color-corrected, un-camera-filtered) new Superman outfit. The shot at the right was tweeted minutes ago by, of all people, MST3K/RiffTrax’s Michael J. Nelson; and is the best look yet I’ve seen at what the whole thing basically looks like – as lots of the “action” shots are being done without the cape (presumably to be CGI’d in later.) The only thing you can’t see is the “boots” (which are red and go all the way up to just below the knees) and that the flexi-armor plating on the sides of his torso go all the way around and up the back (I’m not sure how much we’re supposed to see of them, as they’re covered by the cape.)

I’m on record as being a fan of losing the red trunks, but I don’t know that I love the weirdo “suggested belt” thingee (the two wrapparound lines “pointing at” but not attached-to the “buckle” are red.) I do like how not-armored the majority of it looks, and the various spy pix and videos show that he actually has a full range of normal movement. I’d like to see this sort of “template” applied to Batman at some point.

I really am getting the feeling that this is actually going to work. If so, which gods do I need to offer sacrifice to to get Snyder attached to “Wonder Woman?” Preferably without the Nolan Brothers, mostly because I don’t need an entire movie about how hard it is for Steve Trevor to get his work done with all these crazy mischief-making girls running around.

The Alyssa Saga

Some Twitter folks may have wondered what the “#NotRightForAlyssa” hashtag that’s been making the rounds since yesterday was all about.
Short version: Pretty-much the entire Internet ganged-up on a lady blogger… and it was largely justified. Really short version: Go read this. Long version?

Okay, so yesterday Gizmodo published a piece by intern Alyssa Bereznak titled “My Brief OkCupid Affair With A World Champion Magic: The Gathering Player.” I’m not giving them a link, because – let’s face it – nerd-baiting for traffic was the whole goal here. The gist of peice is that Bereznak went on an OkCupid-arranged date with a guy who “seemed normal” (direct quote), only to be informed – to her abject horror – that he was a competitive player of the “Magic: The Gathering” card game.

Another sample quote: “Just like you’re obligated to mention you’re divorced or have a kid in your online profile, shouldn’t someone also be required to disclose any indisputably geeky world championship titles?”

The whole thing is written in what’s probably intended as a halfway self-effacing tone, but the basic “joke” is the supposed absurdity of there being “championships” for a geek hobby like “Magic: The Gathering,” and of this guy actually being said champion. Oh, one other detail: She identifies him by name – which is pretty-much what takes this from “stupid, mean-spirited article” to full-bore “mean girls” territory:

“The next day I Googled my date and a wealth of information flowed into my browser. A Wikipedia page! Competition videos! Fanboy forums comparing him to Chuck Norris! This guy isn’t just some professional who dabbled in card games at a tender age. He’s Jon motherfucking Finkel, the man who is so widely revered in the game of Magic that he’s been immortalized in his own playing card.”

Oh, and if you DO google up the article, please note that it’s actually been altered since it’s initial publication to remove two of the nastier lines. Here they are, as originally seen:

“I later found out that he infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people I sort of know, including one of my co-workers. Mothers, warn your daughters! This could happen to you. You’ll think you’ve found a normal bearded guy with a job, only to end up sharing goat cheese with a world champion of nerds.”

“So what did I learn? Google the shit out of your next online date. Like, hardcore. Also, for all you world famous nerds out there: Don’t go after two Gawker Media employees and not expect to have a post written about you. We live for this kind of stuff.”

So, once this hit the web – the web had a fit. What was kind of terrific was, while one expected a certain amount of “defend your own” tribal wagon-circling from male geeks who’ve “been there;” by far the most wide-ranging and vocal shaming of Bereznak (who seems to have vanished from the web since the whole business began) came from women of the geek/gamer community rushing to denounce her behavior in general and “making our whole gender look bad” specifically.

Finkel himself responded to the whole thing on Reddit, and the Australian version of Gizmodo openly-disowned the piece. But my favorite response, for various reasons, came from The Escapist’s Susan Arendt (who, full disclosure, is the exceptionally cool and talented producer of both of my shows there) who drew up and published an apology from “The Ladies of Nerdland” to Finkel, signed by a diverse group of Twitter-ettes. I advise you to read it HERE, and then tweet the crap out of it.

My favorite quote from the piece: “Because if the positions had been reversed, and a man had written a similarly snarky post claiming that a woman should put a “fondness for knitting” on her profile to prevent accidentally going out with her, the female community would be in an uproar – and rightly so. But if we’re going to point out when men behave like jerks, it behooves us to do the same when women do it.”


Do people remember “Wholly Moses?” Dudley Moore vehicle from the early-80s? It’s not wonderful – fairly transparent attempt to do a “Life of Brian” for the Old Testament…

The premise is that Moore is a random Exodus-era shepherd who happens to be around the corner from where Moses is recieving instruction from the Burning Bush and goes off on an adventure assuming that the voice of God was talking to HIM. It’s part of the weird subgenre of mildly-amusing “Bible Spoofs” that seem aimed at Sunday School kids just coming into their own irreverence (see also: “Year One.”)

I was just thinking today that I’d love to see a variation on the “unimportant minor character who mistakes himself for the hero” gag applied to a spoof of movies like “The Help” – which has officially become a “sleeper hit” and thus an almost-certain Oscar/Globes/etc contender, whoopee – about a clueless white character who happens to be randomly around during certain key points of the early Civil Rights movement and assumes himself/herself (probably herself, given the subject under-scrutiny) to be some kind of “Hero of The Cause.” To my mind, this sounds like a great vehicle for someone like Anna Faris in the lead – backed-up, of course, by a slew of black comics doing cameo character-riffs on famous figures (MLK, Malcom, Rosa Parks, etc.) Maybe get Morgan Freeman in to do a takeoff on “Miss Daisy.” In the right hands, that could be hysterical.

What would it be called, though? “I’m Helping!” or “The Blonde Side” is all I can come up with off the top of my head.

Religion can be weird sometimes

The attendant image was found, multiple times, in a standard Google Image Search for “Beast of Revelation.” For those not “up” on their Escatology, “The Beast” is supposed to team-up with “The Dragon” and “The False Prophet” and lead the bad guys during The End Times. It’s typically described as a lion/bear/leopard hybrid (i.e. all local predators that would be common to folks in the time/place Revelations is supposed to have been written) with seven heads and ten horns; and is typically depicted in the manner of a plus-sized Chimera.

I’m not going to call myself a Biblical scholar, but I’m reasonably certain that “Ginormous Triceratops Face” is conceptual-license on the part of the artist. I find it fascinating.

I can’t find exactly where this came from, or if it was intended as “serious” Christian art or if someone is doing a parody of the genre, but this specific image (and imitations of it) are ALL OVER “End Times” websites; so whether it was meant seriously or not it’s certainly being taken seriously by the audience for such things.

What intrigues me so much about stuff like this is, assuming for a moment that this was painted by a true-believer… whoever he/she is is not only fairly talented, but has also clearly seen and been influenced-by a pretty good deal of fantasy/monster art AND has enough real creative energy happening to conjure up “ten horns and crowns” = “what if one head is a Triceratops with a crown on the horns” out of thin air. This is probably more my own prejudices, such as they are, speaking; but to me the concept of someone whose mind is “assembled” in such a way being “on board” with the Left Behind set is kind of baffling yet fascinating.

I’m given to imagine the unknown-to-me painter as a profoundly conflicted being: a psyche torn between an obvious creative/imaginative instinct and sincere adherence to repressive-by-nature fundamentalism, with rendering Biblical demons being the only form of self-expression that can be unleashed without allowing one to negate the other – in much the same way that medieval and renaissance artists REALLY “cut loose” when depicting demonic figures or visions of Hell. That, or it’s something a committed Metalhead/D&D fan trapped in Sunday School did to stay sharp until he/she could turn 18 and earn a living painting stuff like this on people’s vans. Either way works.

FUN FACT: In the late-1970s, Toho actually proposed making a “Godzilla vs. Satan” movie – with Godzilla fighting the Biblical monsters of Water, Air and Earth (Leviathan, Ziz and Behemoth in the actual scriptures) followed by The Devil himself – hoping to cash-in on the success of “The Exorcist.” I would absolutely watch a “Christian Kaiju” movie if that sucker up above was in it.

Dawkins on Perry

I’m not particularly enamored of Richard Dawkins, for the most part. I admire the efforts of damn near anyone whose goal is to make science and reason – as opposed to faith and “morality” – the cornerstones of modern society; but his zealotry on behalf his own atheism is often a bit too close to what it aims to oppose. However, when he’s right… he’s right.

Writing for the Washington Post, Dawkins takes current GOP frontrunner Rick Perry to task for his evolution-denialism; but in the big-picture he’s really calling out the strain of anti-intellectualism (masquerading as “anti-elitism”) that has infected the modern “conservative” movement in American politics. I find this passage particularly inspiring:

“What is unusual about today’s Republican party (I disavow the ridiculous ‘GOP’ nickname, because the party of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt has lately forfeited all claim to be considered ‘grand’) is this: In any other party and in any other country, an individual may occasionally rise to the top in spite of being an uneducated ignoramus. In today’s Republican Party ‘in spite of’ is not the phrase we need. Ignorance and lack of education are positive qualifications, bordering on obligatory. Intellect, knowledge and linguistic mastery are mistrusted by Republican voters, who, when choosing a president, would apparently prefer someone like themselves over someone actually qualified for the job.”

To me, regardless of whose saying it, that sums up damn near everything wrong with not only Republican politics but American society in general – we’ve allowed “normal,” “average” and “common” to be seen as not just benign traits but POSITIVE ones. A society that equates someone who attains greatness – particularly intellectual greatness – as somehow being LESS qualified than a “normal” person or a “common-sense” approach is a society that is doomed.

Are we to be a people of Knowledge, and continue forward into the future? Or will we be a people of Belief, consigned to the ashbin of history alongside whatever arcane superstition we refuse to relinquish?

Probably Not News: Will The Dark Knight Rise in "No Man’s Land?"

I’ll be damned if I’m the only internet movie-guy NOT getting a traffic boost for reporting non-news about TDKR. Everything after this jump almost-definitely ISN’T a “spoiler,” but proceed with whatever caution you like anyway.

SuperHeroHype has some paperwork suggesting that there will be a big on-location action shoot for the film in Los Angeles that will include “simulated flood sequences” among other mass-destruction, suggesting that the poster/teaser motif of a destroyed city is meant to be taken literally.

To the degree that anything in a Christopher Nolan Batman movie can be said to suggest anything familiar to comic fans, this will certainly remind some people of “No Man’s Land” – an in-continuity miniseries in which an earthquake cut Gotham City off from the mainland U.S. Such a sequence on film would definitely require flooding FX to show how the ocean fills-in the space between the land-masses, so… is this something?

"Rum Diary" trailer

Remember when the phrase “new Johnny Depp movie” made you anticipate something original, entertaining and almost-certainly worth watching instead of the exact opposite of those things? Well, this long-delayed psuedo-sequel to “Fear & Loathing” sure as hell hopes so…