That Just Happened

Having Clint Eastwood as Mitt Romney’s “surprise” lead-in speaker at the RNC should’ve been a slam-dunk: Dirty Harry walks out onstage and lays down some gravely platitudes (ideally ones that ignore Mr. Eastwood happening to be pro-choice and pro-gay marriage) while the assembled crowd basks in the glow of just about the ONLY remotely-relevant right-wing actor who isn’t a walking joke – or, rather, wasn’t one yet..
Just one small problem. Apparently, Clint decided to ad-lib… and nobody (understandably) had the guts to tell him “no.”

So, the night that was supposed to be all about introducing Mitt Romney to America… instead became all about an 82 year-old man performing a rambling, nigh-incoherent ventriloquism routine in which he conversed with an empty chair representing “Invisible Obama.” Social media (re: “The Twittersphere”) lit up immediately as the slow-motion train wreck unfolded… and even the Official Obama Twitter got in on the act…

The video is below. I warn you, it’s cringe inducing. No, not because it’s a Republican thing – it would be just as embarassing if, say, Michael Douglas did this at the DNC next week – because it’s just awful all-around, an all-time low and probably the most embarassing thing Eastwood has ever been associated with. Ugh, what a shame.

"The Iceman" Trailer WILL Kick Your Ass

Via Latino Review

2012/13 is the Year of Michael Shannon, and I’ve been waiting a long time for it – Shannon has been the best “very-possibly-a-genuine-out-and-out-insane-person” actor in Hollywood for years, but he kept being so in movies nobody saw. That changes this year: “Premium Rush” is a theatrical bomb, but it’ll very, very soon be thriving on Redbox/Netflix/VOD where people will discover Shannon stealing the ENTIRE MOVIE with a over-the-top-and-then-some villain performance. And after that: He’s General Zod in “The Man of Steel,” which is garaunteed to at least open huge. So… welcome to being the new “guy fanboys want to play EVERY villain,” Mr. Shannon – you’ve earned it.

BUT before that, he’s also playing the title roll in “The Iceman,” a true-story crime flick about an infamous mafia contract-killer who gets in trouble when he starts taking freelance work. The film now has a trailer, and… Holy. Fucking. SHIT. Have you been jonesing for hardcore balls-out nasty mob-movie action? If so, it looks like your fix is coming…

http://www.springboardplatform.com/mediaplayer/springboard/video/ltrv001/955/543767/

Film is currently without a solid U.S. release date, but is slated to hit the festival circuit at Venice this weekend followed by a TIFF appearance.

This Scene Probably Should’ve Been Left In "The Avengers"

We’re starting to see the “Avengers” deleted scenes turning up, and a pattern is starting to emerge: The “much longer” original cut of the film may also have been a “darker” cut, and what went out seems to have been anything that might’ve changed the “colorful romp” energy of the final film. Probably the right idea – they weren’t going to out-gloom the summer’s other big superhero epic, and to be perfectly honest the blatant 9/11 allusions in the “alternate opening” is cheesy in the wrong way and would’ve left a bad taste in people’s mouths. “The Avengers” was when this genre stepped back into the light, and I’m more than fine with that.

That said, this bit re-introducing Captain America probably should’ve found a way to stay in. I can see how it would hurt the pacing (Act 1 is a touch on the long side as-is) but it’s a really good piece that (hopefully) signals the sort of movie we might be getting from Cap 2.

Appreciation

So… it sometimes seems like I have a contentious relationship with my own fanbase, particularly as concerns comments and feedback. It’s my own doing, I know, in as much as I decided early on that my approach to being an online personality would be to A.) engage the audience and B.) give as good as I got, within reason.

But, without getting into specifics, I’ve had some instances happen recently in terms of fan-feedback and general appreciativeness that reminded me that I don’t accentuate the positive nearly enough in that regard. In any case, in spite of a lot of general internet nonsense that often goes down around here, I really do have some of the best fans/readers/viewers in this business; and I want you to know it.

Thanks, and hope y’all keep watching/reading/etc 🙂

New "Game OverThinker" is Live!

A few weeks ago, my colleague Jim Sterling did a video on what he so as the waning (or, at least, “water-treading”) state of the Super Mario Bros. franchise which, along with a general sense of “I’ve gotta get to this at some point” regarding the matter, inspired me to undertake this episode… which is NOW SHOWING on ScrewAttack!

Embedded video (and SPOILER TALK) after the jump:

http://www.springboardplatform.com/mediaplayer/springboard/video/scre004/711/536759/

SPOILERS BELOW

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So… “gotcha,” I guess. The AntiThinker WAS back… for about five minutes. I’ve been planning this bit, broadly, since before shooting wrapped on “War of The Thinkers.” AntiThinker was always going to go away for at least two “arcs,” then come back but in an unexpected context. Not long after that, the notion of adding “evil robot” (“RoboThinker,” who you’ll probably see in the metallic flesh next episode time permitting) to the evolving bad guy character-roster (alongside “ninja” and “demon”) and “Terminator parody” seemed like a logical way to go about doing it.

THEN it occured to me that A.) I hadn’t really done a Dragonball Z parody yet, either, and it seemed like a natural fit for the show; B.) DBZ’s Androids/Future-Trunks/Cell episodes WERE a Terminator riff and C.) a version of The OverThinker in Trunks’ purple hair, blue coat and sword ensemble would (hopefully) be inherently funny… it was suddenly an obvious manuever: Let “OmegaThinker’s” debut be taking out AntiThinker in a parody/recreation of the “Oh no not MORE Frieza epis-OH! Frieza’s DEAD just like that!?” debut DBZ gave Trunks.

Sony Making "Console Wars" Movie

Sony Pictures, you may have heard, has bought up a bunch of domain names relating to a movie project called “Console Wars.” Yesterday, HitFix’s Kris Tapley ambiguously tweeted that he’d heard of the project before and described it as “The Social Network” but for video-games.

So… a non-fiction drama about corporate-rivalry in the video game world? Interesting. But what would it be about – which “war” are we talking about?

It would be almost comically cynical and gauche for Sony to make a movie about a business they are one of the three major players IN – even in a “names changed” fictionalized version everyone would be able to tell which one is supposed to be Playstation, making it impossible not to be looking for moments of self-aggrandizement. Also, the movie would probably be current-gen because that’s when the mainstream audience/press started caring about the games industry… and most of the “drama” in Generation 7 has involved Sony tripping over it’s own shoes in some way.

I’ll get called “biased” for this, but the only remotely movie-worthy console-biz story of Gen7 is the Wii: a company that used to be on top, now struggling on the verge of collapse, making a hail-mary pass that everyone says is insane and will fail based largely on the ideas of it’s chief creative guy (Miyamoto as Billy Beane from “Moneyball,” basically) …only to see it become a giant restorative success. Like The Wii or not, that’s the story.

The “Great” Console War, of course, was Nintendo vs Sega in the 80s and 90s (back when consoles actually had totally different sets of games and such) but I agree with Devin at BAD that it’d be hugely unlikely for Sony Pictures to be so gun-ho to make an 80s period piece featuring almost-exclusively Japanese actors.

That said, if Sony really does want to make a movie about the game business where their brand gets to be the underdog turned conquering hero, the “birth of the Playstation” would be the way to go: Screwed-over in a VERY public and humiliating way by the industry’s top dogs, turning the remains of that screw-over into thier own brand, ultimately getting-over on aforementioned top-dog by innovating where they refused to? That’s a movie. On the down side, there’s no way Nintendo is going to agree to let their logos, names, products etc. be seen in that movie; which you’d kind of need…

Michael Bay’s Postponed TMNT Script Has (Maybe) Leaked

You may have already forgotten this, but Michael Bay was producing a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reboot for Nickelodeon (retitled to just “Ninja Turtles”), but the project got shitcanned – I’m sorry, postponed – earlier this Summer. Said postponement came shortly after alleged details about the screenplay (reportedly hated by the people financing the project) leaked to the web. The “big deal” detail was that the main characters’ origins had been revised to make them aliens.

Well, now it seems like the full screenplay might have been leaked, according to the fan blog “TMNT, NOT TANT,” which seems to have been dedicated wholly to railing against this particular project. The whole thing is online in a pdf which is linked from TANT; but just in case there’s some kinda skullduggery going on here I won’t directly link to it.

There’s been absolutely zero confirmation of this yet, so this could all be an elaborate hoax. But I’ll say this: if this is a forgery, it’s a pretty damn good one – containing every detail that had previously “leaked” (even the non-outrage-inducing stuff) and reading like exactly what you’d expect from a Bay-produced “modernizing” of the franchise… but not in an overblown self-parody way.

Yeah, I read it. Yeah, I’ll fill you in. And since this MAY actually be the real deal, and the thing MAY actually still get made, SPOILER WARNING for everything after the jump.

Okay. Overall? It’s not good. The ritual-slaughter perpetrated on the mythos aside (lets be frank here: TMNT has already been drastically re-fitted and rebooted plenty of times before) it’s just not a very good action script. Locations, characters, arcs and plot turns are generic, action scenes are uninspired and been-there/done-that.

Biggest numero-uno glaring problem from a strictly technical standpoint: The four Turtles just don’t have any character “on the page.” They all read the same – which is to say, they all read like the first live-action movie’s version of Raphael. The character “details” are there (Leonardo is the pragmatic leader, Raphael is the sarcastic hothead, Donatello is the techie, Michaelangelo is the big kid, etc.) but they don’t “read” any differently. Admittedly, it’s the sort of thing good voice casting would go a long way toward fixing.

Either way, the Turtles aren’t the main characters. Our lead is Casey Jones – here, a small-town teenage hockey goon whose girlfriend (April O’Neil) has left him to pursue a TV journalism career (at… CBS?) in The Big City. It’s Casey who, by happenstance, discovers the Ninja Turtles, rescues them from a military experimentation facility, gives them their color-coded masks (they all look the same and he needs to tell them apart, haw haw) and offers to help them get back to Master Splinter in New York (exactly where April went – what are the odds!!??) Yup – it’s Sam from “Transformers” all over again.

The “alien origin” is in there, but it’s meant as a third-act surprise. The Turtles start out having been raised (by Splinter, as ever) under the impression that their origin was the same as the comics and the cartoon – i.e. ordinary turtles mutated by mysterious ooze. Speaking of which, the occasionally-stated dictum that this was going to be “closer to the Mirage comics?” Complete bunk – it’s the 80s cartoon by way of Bayformers; with Bebop, Rocksteady, Dimension X, The Technodrome and Krang all present and accounted for.

But what about Shredder? Well… this is the stuff that initially made me think this still might be a parody: In this version, the main heavy is COLONEL SCHRADER, who runs a covert military squad codenamed “THE FOOT” that is hunting the Turtles and also bosses around Bebop and Rocksteady (who are more-or-less direct lifts from the cartoon, save that they actually use their guns.) Big second-act reveal: Schrader is also a mutant/alien/whatever disguised as a human who produces blade from his body like a mecha-porcupine. (Michaelangelo: “Schrader? More like SHREDDER!”)

So what does Col. Schrader want? Well, he’s an advance-man working for Krang (still a living brain, riding in a humanoid mecha-suit with four arms) who’s waiting over in Dimension X to invade Earth (by merging the two dimensions) with The Technodrome (the Utroms, Neutrinos etc don’t appear to exist.) What’s been keeping him?

Well… the TMNT are Superman, basically. Humanoid Turtles are apparently an indigenous race to Dimension X (a generic jungle planet, incidentally), and the four we know are (what else?) THE CHOSEN ONES, spirited away to Earth via Splinter as newborns just as Krang was taking over and fated to return and use their predestined Ninja Weaponry (they seriously do not get their familiar weapons until the end of the movie!) to set things right. Also, there’s some B.S. about magic orbs that had been hidden on Earth that were holding Krang back, but we’re informed that he just got done tracking them all down offscreen.

The whole thing ends with the by-now expected “Return of The Jedi” pitched three-way battle: The Turtles fighting Krang on NYC rooftops while Casey and April try to short-circuit the dimensional merging aparatus (Casey single-handedly takes out Schrader, Bebop and Rocksteady. For real)as Splinter and The U.S. Military battle Krang’s invasion force; culminating in a bizzare setup for more sequels: Turns out the Turtles “destiny” isn’t to remain together and fight crime, but rather to split up to the four corners of the Earth and each guard one of those dimension-seperating magic orbs and to train their own individual squads of pre-teenage Ninja Turtles. In a final bit of fanservice, April ditches her go-nowhere “internship” at CBS (surprise! She’s exaggerated her glamorous NY life to Casey and was really just an errand girl – betcha didn’t see that coming!) and instead becomes an “underground webcam blogger” (oooh! How current!) for ChannelSix.com. Heh. Oh, and the “Turtles arriving at their orb-guarding posts” montage seems to set up a movie-verse version of Venus from “The Next Mutation,” FWIW.

So… this reads like it could be the real thing to me, but it could just as easily be bullshit. If it is real, though, it feels like a bullet has been dodged. It doesn’t even really read like a “Transformers”-style disaster, really more of a dull, standard-issue action dud. Despite how many franchise-friendly advances have been made in the fields of CGI and choreography, the script is shockingly light on the “Ninja” part of it’s title: The Foot Soldiers are just generic Black Ops mooks with machine guns (the Turtle’s shells are bulletproof) and most of the action scenes are just chases – until they get their weapons at the end, the extent of the Turtles’ martial-arts prowess is limited to shuriken-throwing and improv-weapons. The big final fight with Krang is clearly meant to be the big payoff – at least, here are the guys as you recognize them – but too little, too late.

I actually really like the prospect of having Bebop, Rocksteady and Krang turn up in live-action, but the execution of them is pretty terrible. Krang, especially, is a boring “evil for the sake of it” heavy; which is a problem because he becomes the main threat in the third act. Schrader is a pretty dull bad guy in his own right, but at least if he was the “end boss” there’d be history with the various characters sort of paying off. One of Krang’s (not-even-a-handful) lines is to trot out a version of the “Your father looked just like that when I…” lines; referring back to a (biological) father the Turtles and the audience never knew and just found out existed.

We’ll probably find out shortly if this is indeed the real thing. Until then… whoa.