NEED FOR SPEED Trailer

Whenever I think about the state of video-game movies, I have to keep reminding myself that Spawn, Steel, Barb Wire and Howard the Duck all got big feature-film adaptations before Spider-Man did. With that in mind, here’s the first trailer for the next very, very important gaming franchise to rate it’s own movie, “Need For Speed;” which appears to feature Aaron Paul as the less interesting version of the guy from “Drive.”



Y’ever see “student films” made by bro’s who switched to Film Studies their sophmore year because their buddy showed them “Boondock Saints” and they thought they’d found their creative calling?

Well, I have – and they all have this same basic music and narration. So I understand if no one else finds this trailer gut-bustingly hilarious; but this looks like the first great comedy of 2014 to me. Can. Not. Wait.

DC’s Agents of G.O.T.H.A.M.

Wow, that didn’t even take a day.

Effectively right after “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” had its premiere, Deadline landed the “exclusive” news that Warner Bros. is developing a comic-movie spin-off series of their own from “Mentalist” creator Bruno Heller. Surprising absolutely ZERO living humans, the DC franchise being spun-off… is Batman.

The title: GOTHAM. The pitch: The exploits of Commissioner Gordon in pre-Batman Gotham City… so, “Law & Order”/Criminal Minds”/”CSI”/etc but (presumably) with Batman villains.

Y’know what? That’s actually a really good idea – and you can tell that Warners thinks so as well by the network in question: This is going to Fox instead of traditional DC-series home The CW, which indicates that Warners is confident that people might actually want to watch this show. Fans and pros alike have been talking about bringing Batman back to live-action television for awhile* (real talk: Between the Adam West show, “The Animated Series,” both “Justice League” runs and “The Brave and The Bold;” episodic television seems to be where this character works best); and this is a great way of doing that without “lowering” their now Affleck-fronted cinematic cash cow to TV.

The big question, one imagines, is whether or not this will attempt to establish some kind of connection with the still-murky history of the new version of Batman set to debut in “Superman vs. Batman” – where they’re already talking up the idea that he’ll be a kind of grizzled “veteran” superhero in contrast to Superman’s relative-newbie status. Not long ago that would’ve been an easy “no, Warner Bros. doesn’t care about that;” but it’s sounding more and more like the new Flash who’ll be showing up on “Arrow” next season is meant to be part of the eventual “Justice League” feature, so who knows?

Continuity aside, one has to wonder what the setting for this is going to look like: James Gordon traditionally meets Batman either in middle-age or as an otherwise older man (he’s a Commissioner, after all); so “before Batman” is a pretty long stretch of time. Will they go younger, with Sexy Fresh-Out-Of-The-Academy College-Age Officer Gordon learning the ropes? Middle-aged Detective Gordon? Older Gordon who’ll meet Batman “any day now?” Maybe it’s telling that Deadline’s story only specifies that Batman won’t appear – does that mean Bruce Wayne could? If so, it wouldn’t be beyond the realm of logistical possibility to get Ben Affleck to throw on a three-piece suit and pull a sweeps-week cameo as “carefree playboy Bruce Wayne,” hanging out on the periphery of this or that investigation while series regulars make unintentionally-ironic comments about his physicality, sleeping-habits, etc.

We’ll see. Incidentally, “S.H.I.E.L.D.” was good. Solid, good cast, sharp writing that only occasionally feels a little too Whedon for it’s own good. Feels like almost every important character had two separate introductions – one for “this is X!” and one for “is it true about X’s ominously-alluded-to mysterious backstory?,” which would feel like too much ambition anywhere else but makes sense here. I’ll have more to say about that tomorrow, so stay tuned.

*Young Bruce Wayne was supposed to become a part of “Smallville” at one point, but the character and storyline were rewritten into Oliver Queen instead once the run-up to “Batman Begins” got under way.

"AGE OF ULTRON" SDCC Teaser Leaks

You’ll find out what I thought of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” tomorrow. Until then, here’s a REALLY fortuitous “leak” that hit YouTube right around the same time the series was hitting TV. It offers more-or-less the first look at Ultron (SPOILER: He looks like Ultron.)

Look now, because presumably Disney will pull this down right quick:

"Blue Is The Warmest Color" Trailer

Here’s the first U.S. trailer for “Blue Is The Warmest Color,” the lesbian romance from France that was this year’s big winner at Cannes – a move that was seen as reflective of the film’s high acclaim but also possibly a statement of support for the country’s then-recent legalization of gay marriage.



Even still, there was some controversy: Not so much over the subject matter or the content (the sex scenes between the two women are apparently so NC-17 explicit that the filmmakers and actresses have been fielding “did they or didn’t they” questions since the premier) but over the reception; with some chiding (straight) male critics and voters for allegedly overpraising the film because it aroused them. Meanwhile, the author of the graphic novel it’s based on has expressed disagreement with the adaptation, claiming that it presents too much of stylized, male-fantasy version of a female/female relationship. Either way, it’s being touted as a Best Picture contender even though a technicality makes it ineligible to compete for Best Foriegn Language Oscar.

We’ll see when it comes out. I think it’d actually be amusing to have a new-millenium version of the once-common phenomenon of highbrow European dramas pulling big bank in the U.S. on the basis of explicit sexuality.

End of An Epoch

Hiroshi Yamauchi, the former president of Nintendo, has passed away at the age of 85. Video-Games have lost their Walt Disney.

The importance of this man to the gaming industry cannot be overstated. He was the one who decided to change his family company’s direction away from traditional toys and playing cards toward electronics and ultimately video games. He made the decision to branch out into American and European markets. This was the man who tapped then-unknown Shigeru Miyamoto to create what would become Donkey Kong.

This was the man who willed home video gaming back into existence as a viable worldwide business when it was all but dead. It’s neither exaggeration nor hyperbole to suggest that the entirety of modern video-gaming – everything from the first Game & Watch titles and every single thing that came after – was built on the foundation he laid. More incredible still, he remained in charge of the company all the way into 2002 and had an active role in all major company decisions well into the GameCube era. It’s impossible to imagine what this industry would’ve looked like without him… or if it would even have existed at all.

Gomeifuku wo inorimasu, Yamauchi-sama.

ZERO CHARISMA Trailer

ZERO CHARISMA came out of SXSW with a lot of hype behind it, and the new trailer reminds us why: This looks really, really good. Film is dark comedy about a guy who starts to go unhinged when his sole sense of power and accomplishment in life – unquestioned supremacy within his local tabletop RPG game – is threatened by the arrival of a more forwardly-mobile, sociable “hipster” nerd player who his pals are maybe starting to like better than him: