Right-Wing Douchebags Already Mad at "Happy Feet 2"

Everything below the fold may or may not be MILD plot-spoilers for “Happy Feet 2.”

American “conservatives” who still make a go of engaging with the popular culture already seem to live in a kind of fantasy fever-dream where every single entertainment entity on the planet with the exception of Country Music and Call of Duty (dig the ORGASMIC praise the widely-panned “Black Ops” got from the Breitbart coven) is attacking them – personally – with “surprise liberal messages!!!;” so it’s always fun to see how they react on those rare occasions when a “surprise liberal message” is actually there.

“Happy Feet 2” (written review coming at some point, but it’s REALLY good) features as it’s “B-story” a pair of Krill named Will and Bill (Matt Damon and Brad Pitt) who break off from their Krill swarm to explore the “next world” – i.e. everything outside the swarm which they had previously believed encompassed the entire universe. (their sequences are the visual standouts in what’s already a gorgeous looking movie – the swarm looks like something out of Tree of Life.) Basically, they’re here to go through the “animal outside his boundaries as metaphor for existential-transcendance” (the “Happy Feet” movies are kinda weird) bit that the Penguins already did in the first one.

So what has the professionally-grumpy’s panties in a bunch about that? Will and Bill are gay.

To be fair, they didn’t imagine this – that the two encompass a male/male couple (which Bill seems to be more “aware” of than Will) is the main “for the grownups” joke of the film. But if you want to see some choice venom, look at the comment thread below all that in the link. Yeesh…

Oh well, at least they’ll be thrilled that a film dedicated to telling an audience of mostly teenaged girls that abortion-to-save-the-life-of-the-mother is wrong because dying in childbirth will reincarnate you as what amounts to an angel/faerie/superwoman just had a $30 Million midnight opening. Joy.

Your Next Big Video Game Movie Might Be "RAMPAGE!"

I’ve been saying for years that the reason Hollywood keeps failing at making movies out of video games is largely because they keep choosing the wrong games; i.e. they should look beyond the currently-popular crop of big-sellers – overwhelmingly a collection of drably-generic properties built to resemble various popular movies – and toward older and/or more enduring properties originating in an era when the industry was a hair more creative.

Well, producer John Rickard of the reconstituted New Line Cinema has now opted to take exactly HALF of my advice, putting out the call for screenplay pitches for a big-budget adaptation of “RAMPAGE;” a Golden Age arcade classic that was funny, colorful, utterly bizzare… but also a blatant “Brand X” pastiche of popular movies. On the plus side, said popular movies meant “Godzilla,” so there ya go.

I’m excited about this on principal (it would be AMAZING if “golden age video games” became Hollywood’s new fixation a’la comics) but I’ll be interested as hell to see what they come up with… and probably dissapointed as hell when it turns out they just want to make a generic monster movie with a “brand” name attached. People forget this, but there WAS a semblance of a story to “Rampage” – George (gorilla) Lizzie (dinosaur) and Ralph (werewolf) were humans transformed by mad science.

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: If I was pitching this (I’d take this job in a heartbeat) I’d pitch it as a comedy – embrace the juvenility of the game (it’s literally coin-op destruction porn) and do it as a broad raunchy slapstick thing; “Harold & Kumar” but with Godzilla-style monsters (use guys in suits green-screened into “real” cities instead of CGI for added humor) as the leads. In fact, make it an Apatow-style dipshit-meets-girl thing with George (Seth Rogan/Jack Black type) and Lizzie (think Sarah Silverman.) King Kong and Girl-Godzilla fucking? That’s funny just on it’s own. Maybe Ralph is the bad guy, that’d work. Go all-out with the giant-sized scatology humor: Let the giant gorilla throw his giant gorilla poop. Skyscraper-humping. Big river of monster-pee coming down the street like a tidal-wave. Definitely do the toilet-eating thing from the game. Have one of them make a smokestack into a bong. Murderer’s Row of comedians doing bit parts as soldiers/cops/bystanders/etc. Do the “this isn’t a cave… we’re in a monster’s mouth!!!” bit… only they’re actually in it’s butt.

Two TV Things You Should Know About

I’m not one of these people who’ll try and tell you that TV is “better than the movies” right now because whatever handful of HBO/FX/AMC shows is the big thing at the moment. Please do not spam the comments with stuff I *NEED!!!* to see. Yes, I’ve seen and like “Community,” internet – thank you.

In any case, remember that “Alias/Jessica Jones” series that was supposed to lead Disney/Marvel into the live-action TV biz? Well, it’s going ahead, and today it was confirmed that this particular series will be directly-connected to the continuity of the Marvel/Avengers movie universe.

One assumes the main “point” of this connection is allowing Iron Man etc. to turn up as ratings-grabbing cameo parts, but I’m curious if this means it’ll have the same commitment to the comic aesthetic as the films generally have had. The series it’s based around was a “street-level” view of a superhero-saturated Marvel universe, the lead character being a depowered heroine turned embittered private eye; and the “hook” was seeing her world bumping up against the colorful costumed-hero world in often dark/ironic ways. Also, Luke Cage – a topper on Marvel’s “to-do” movie list – is a supporting character, so call this a potential “back door pilot” for him and a host of others. Carol Danvers – aka Ms. Marvel – has also been cast, wonder if they plan on skipping Mar-Vell altogether for her…

Meanwhile, from the “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” file: NBC is bringing back “The Munsters.” And, in what sounds too much like a satire of everything wrong with the reboot/remake mentality, the franchise – a cartoonish sitcom spoof about a nuclear family made up of a Frankenstein (dad) Vampire (mom and grandpa) and Werewolf (son) who have a pet dragon – is being reconstituted as (I shit you not) a “dark” hour-long drama that will explore the “origins” of the family. Really.

Titanic 3D trailer

Disney just made a small fortune off of a 3D re-release of “The Lion King,” fortelling what many had suspected and/or bet-on for a few years now. Our next big movie trend: 3D re-releases of movies that today’s twentysomethings loved when they were in grade-school.

Next up, “Titanic”; which is conveniently JUST starting to end it’s “cool to hate” phase of notoriety and begin it’s “appreciated as nostalgiac kitsch” phase (see also: the Backstreet Boys/NKOTB tour). I hope you enjoy faux-ironic recollections of teen-heartthrob “manias,” misty-eyed retrospectives of “first big date movie” experiences (both packed with “remember-that!?” references to questional high-school fashion choices) because the entertainment press is going to be soaked with them leading up to this release…

On the other hand – circa-1997 Kate Winslet topless in IMAX 3D? There are worse things…

I wonder, does having this back in public conscious help or hurt Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar push for “J. Edgar?” I mean, it’s no secret that he’s spent over a decade running as fast as he can away from Jack Dawson…

Incidentally, the next big “90s classic” re-release after this is “Phantom Menace 3D.” Raise your hand if you’re looking forward to butthurt “Star Wars” fans gravely grumbling about it like they’re planning a pilgrimage to Auschwitz.

I Live In a Nation of Idiots

hat-tip BAD

American readers, do you ever read those wacky news stories about cuss words or cleavage or other random things being “hi-lariously” edited out of movies and TV shows in certain foriegn countries and have nice, good laugh at their silly, backward cultural taboos?

Well, stop it – because YOUR culture is now no better. Telegraph reports that a BBC nature documentary set to air on the Discovery Channel will be edited for it’s American broadcast. The reason? The final chapter is about Climate Change – y’know, that thing that the smarties turned out to have been right about the whole time? – and that’s considered “controversial” here.

I live in a country where the following things are true:

Knowing what you are talking about is considered a disqualifying characteristic for high office.

“Bruce Jenner’s Stepkids Pretend Not To Know They’re On TV” is considered a viable broadcast pitch.

The same people who fight for laws declaring that a blob of cell-tissue has human rights fight even harder to declare that adult homosexuals do not.

It is LEGALLY OKAY to bully someone… providing you claim that God told you to.

It is widely accepted as both logical and “moral” that guns be as easy to get as possible, but health insurance should be as difficult to get as possible.

Only 4 in 10 people “believe” in evolution… and almost no one bothers to point out that “believe” is exactly the wrong term to use when describing a proven scientific fact.


It says on this blog, and it remains true, that I am proud to be an American. I am, however, utterly disgusted with what my country too often becomes – a collection of proudly-ignorant, self-righteous dolts who prize “gut feeling” above thought, belief above knowledge and regard a lack of intellect as evidence of some “purer” state of being. Superstitious denialists wishing to ignore facts and reason have, of course, a right to exist… but they should not have the influence that has been afforded them for far, far too long.

Two Minutes and Thirty Seconds of Pain

It’s been a good couple of days for Tarem Singh; as his “Immortals” – despite having no major stars and an R-rating – opened in first place ahead of presumed boxoffice-frontrunner “Jack & Jill.” But now, the trailer for his follow-up “Mirror, Mirror” (set to be the first of next year’s two competing Snow White movies to reach screens) has debuted and threatens to blast all that good will to smithereens; thanks to one of the all-time unstoppable forces of movie-sucktitude:

Julia Roberts.


The principal difference between this and “Snow White & The Huntsman” is tone: They’re both dropping most of the workload onto a celebrated “actress of a certain age” in a broad villain turn versus a neophyte actress, and both are positioning the heroine as an action girl, but otherwise they’re different beasts – “Huntsman” is aiming for LOTR-style high-fantasy, while this wants very (very!) badly to be “Shrek.”

That’s not necessarily a bad pitch, and I don’t hate the idea of reworking the princess/wicked-queen relationship from vanity to romantic rivalry… but wow, does Roberts look awful in the part. She’s not a terrible actress, but she’s never been especially GOOD and the stuff asked of her here – physical comedy, mugging, some kind of unplaceable campy accent – is waaaaay the hell outside of her limited skillset. This looks like a disaster, though not necessarily an unprofitable one given that it’ll be first to the gate.

Doctor Who Gets a Movie

David Yates, the BBC TV workhorse who jumped to features for the final few “Harry Potter” movies, makes what can be called a lateral career move – signing on for a feature adaptation of “Doctor Who.” The big news, of course, is that it will (apparently) be divorced from previous/current incarnations.

To be fair, this is a franchise that lends itself easily to a reboot. It’s actually part of the “gimmick” – the title character is a nigh-immortal time-traveler who gets a fresh new body/personality every time he dies. The series has been running on and off (mostly on) for DECADES, but the overall “continuity” is generally more about recurring/remade characters, stories and motifs than sequence-of-events.

That says, let me lay some “how movies are made now” bets down:

1. It’ll be an “origin story” a’la Abrams Trek or Casino Royale, with a new “first” Doctor and lots of big “oh, THAT’S where/why that came from/does that!” reveals for the TARDIS etc.

2. Youngest (in terms of casting) Doctor EVER.

3. Whoever the antagonist is, expect The Master to be hanging around at the margins for a “bad guy in the sequel!” reveal at the very end.