24 November 2010

It's You Hollywood something on Thanksgiving Eve

As everyone heads off for Turkey Day 2010, here are few giblets to ponder from the land of The Hollywood.

While it's still nearly a year away from beginning production, casting has begun for Ghostbusters 3. Early rumors are circulating that Anna Faris (Pushing Daises) and SNL stars Will Forte and Bill Hader are up for roles.

Christian Bale confirms that with The Dark Knight Rises, it will be his final time playing Batman. That, honestly, is no big surprise.

Howard Shore, who won Oscars for his music for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, has confirmed he'll score both parts of The Hobbit.

Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski will now helm the Johnny Depp lead The Lone Ranger for Disney.

Expect the prequel to The Thing to be released for Halloween 2011.

Miranda Otto has joined the cast of the pilot Locke & Key, based on the graphic novel series by Joe Hill, for FOX.

22 November 2010

Warner Bros. is about to reboot Buffy -without Joss Whedon

So, Warner Bros. has announced plans to reboot the Buffy The Vampire Slayer film -without Joss Whedon as the writer. As Giles would say, "the Earth is doomed."

Who is Whit Anderson, the lady hired to write the new script? Apparently, as a fan, she used to watch the old show. It appears this show might have inspired her to become a writer. Thus, with this, every slash/fan writer across the universe might be hoping they too might get a chance to come over the real world of the Hollywood Dream. As Charles Roven, who was a producer on Batman Begins, said: "There is an active fan base awaiting this characters return."

So, Comic Book Guy, here's to you.

Here's what Wedon had to say:

"This is a sad, sad reflection on our times, when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths-just because they can't think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my Avengers idea that I made up myself.

Obviously I have strong, mixed emotions about something like this. My first reaction upon hearing who was writing it was, "Whit Stillman AND Wes Anderson? This is gonna be the most sardonically adorable movie EVER." Apparently I was misinformed. Then I thought, "I'll make a mint! This is worth more than all my Toy Story residuals combined!" Apparently I am seldom informed of anything. And possibly a little slow. But seriously, are vampires even popular any more?

I always hoped that Buffy would live on even after my death. But, you know, AFTER. I don't love the idea of my creation in other hands, but I'm also well aware that many more hands than mine went into making that show what it was. And there is no legal grounds for doing anything other than sighing audibly. I can't wish people who are passionate about my little myth ill. I can, however, take this time to announce that I'm making a Batman movie. Because there's a franchise that truly needs updating. So look for The Dark Knight Rises Way Earlier Than That Other One And Also More Cheaply And In Toronto, rebooting into a theater near you."

21 November 2010

Trailer Trash

Saw part one of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Its a good film, dark and adult as the novel its based upon. The performances are uniformly good, as the three main actors, Daniel Radcliff, Rupert Grit and Emma Watson have become wonderful actors.
But, the part I want to talk about are the trailers. While I realize I'm not the demographic for the Yogi Bear film, it still looks horrible, dumb and insulting. I feel sorry for the actors - even B type ones presented here - who have to do these films to make money. I will certainly skip this one.
There was one for the next Chronicles of the Narnia (and since I've yet to see the other ones, I'll skipping this one as well). The picture looks good, heavy CGI laden and what not. It just does not get my desire to see it, though.
Green Hornet looks good, with a heavy dose of explosions and CGI. Too bad I find Seth Rogen to be such an unappealing actor. I'm tired of the man-child stories, and this movie sort of continues this horrible trend in film. Then there is Cameron Diaz, who next to Tom Cruise, is just one hell of a bad actor. Then the trailer shows just shot after shot of explosions and destruction, and fight sequences stolen right out of the Charlie's Angel franchise and Zack Snyder. The raping of my childhood continues. Skip it, another words.
Green Lantern. Beyond Ryan Reynolds (and his hot body), the film looks dumb. But it may be the one film I might consider seeing. But I highly doubt that, as I've yet to see Iron Man 2.
Tron: Legacy is perhaps the only film I want to see out of this batch. I liked the 1982 original -and I remember seeing in theaters when it came out, which was 28 years ago! I do hope its good, and I think Disney knows they have to make a film that appeals to the audience who saw and loved the original and a generation who has never seen it -I'm hoping for a Blu-ray version soon. Sure its effects heavy, as was the original. Still, there was a story to the first one. I'm hoping there is one here as well.
I'm sure there was more, but I can't remember. Which just shows how unforgetful these movies have become. Or I'm just older, wiser and able to make better choices in the films I see and not be taken in by CGI effects and rememberances of things past.

20 November 2010

Books: Hell by Robert Olen Butler (2009)

If you ever wondered who ended up in Hell, well in Robert Olen Butler’s novel, just about everyone -including some who are still around today.

We meet Hatcher McCord, who was once a prominent new caster who ends up in Hell, well, reading the news. And in this version of the damned, how you led your life (whether you were good or evil) does not matter. It’s all, it seems, the personal hell we put ourselves through while we thought we were alive. But through the grapevine, well, Dante’s girlfriend Beatrice, Hatcher hears of way to escape Hell, and thus the clutches of Satan (who appears to have a boat load of daddy issues). So the former live newscasters begins a journey to find the back door out of the underworld, all while trying to figure out his feelings for his ex-wives, and Anne Boylen -who does some the oddest things with her severed head, things that Hatcher could, or would never dream of.

Olen’s novel, a sort of homage to Dante’s Inferno (and who is, damned it seems, to write Inferno over and over again), we have many cameos of famous people, like J. Edgar Hoover (who says he is in Hell because "I was needed. Can you imagine how many Communists there are down here?"), Dick Cheney, George W. Bush (who is confused and thinks he’s in Heaven), William Shakespeare (who’s weeping for quill and ink because "his hard drive keeps crashing and he loses his plays"), Virgil, Jerry Seinfeld, Christopher Hitchens, and Mother Teresa.

It is at times funny, even as it tries to explore the darker side of humanity. But Olen does take his time getting the novel going to where it suppose to go, and at a scant 232 pages, that’s pretty bad. Still, a worthy read, with a great wordsmith (cause I thought the Hitchens spot was awfully clever).

08 November 2010

Books: Mr. Monster by Dan Wells (2010)

In this continuation, John Wayne Cleaver is still fighting the urge not to hurt people, not to kill. It's been nearly six months since the events of I Am Not A Serial Killer, and his town of Clayton County appears to be relaxing its fear, hoping the horrible events of last winter are finished. Of course, the truth of the matter is the Clayton Killer was a supernatural force, a demon. And John had killed it.

But John, tasting the power of death now believes the "only monster left is me- the dark side of me I call Mr. Monster." While John, who narrates, does not hear voices in his head, or suffer multiple personalities, he none the less thinks there is something there, a dark force existing in his body.

The Mr. Monster.

And he continues to keep to his rules, so that he doesn’t let the evil that is Mr. Monster, even at the potential costs to his mom, aunt and sister. And, his growing (and sometimes, disturbing) infatuation with neighbor girl Brooke.

But things appear to begin again, when dead bodies start popping up around town. The police have little clue, but sense that the Clayton Killer maybe back. But since John knows that demon is dead, he begins to suspect that another demon is out there, killing women. Soon John becomes convinced that this new killer is sending a message, a message that only he can understand.

This second book in what is starting out to be a very interesting series, is much better than the first, and Wells packs a lot of info into such a relatively short book (287pages), that you can't help but keep turning the pages. And like the first one, Mr. Monster has some quite disturbing and graphic descriptions, once again making me wonder why this book would be classified as Young Adult (though my company has them in the Mystery/Suspense section).

As noted in the first review back in June, the crossing of Dexter book series and Stephen King is interesting. The demons that John has encountered so far seem to emulate real human serial killers, at least in their mind set. This element keeps the two books from falling into some sort of parody of those two genres. Plus, Wells has created a fairly original and unique voice in John Cleaver.

There is a third book coming, and it appears John may have found an outlet for his Mr. Monster, as there appears to be many demons haunting the Earth.

06 November 2010

Books: The Night Angel Trilogy: Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks (2008)

In the final volume of The Night Angel Trilogy, author Brent Weeks often violent, Tolkien style series comes together fittingly, but is rather over-long, and drags in many places.

The World Building that goes into these fantasy series can be daunting, and some authors get lost in their world, producing pages after pages of things that seem important, yet are nothing but filler. Still, I’m guessing Weeks will eventually return to this Universe, and that might be his purpose for filling out this series to nearly 700 pages in this final voulume.

There is some interesting stuff here, like the character of Dorian who seemed such a minor character in volume one, who in this final one becomes very integral to the conclusion -its interesting to see a “hero,” motivated by the desire to bring peace, who ends up committing countless acts of horror himself, all in the service of the ending another horror.

But after spending nearly 700 pages setting up the finale, it ends rather abruptly, with all the loose ends coming together rather neatly. It’s a good series, one that I recommend, but it reminds me why I read so little of this genre anymore: I’ve read most of them in the 1980s.

It may not be fair to compare him to Stephen R. Donaldson or Terry Brooks. The genre is rather limited, and it does need fresh ideas to make it worth reading, but when you’ve read as much as I have, you still can be disappointed by a story, even if it is well written.

Bond 23 set for November 2012; will it star Daniel Craig?

It appears that with MGM finally agreeing to go into bankruptcy (declaring bankruptcy instantly gives MGM a stellar credit rating), it now can go back into producing films. One of its biggest franchise, James Bond, is coming back, and plans are to have the next Bond film in theaters by November 2012. As is, the studio will retain 50% of the rights to that next film, while an equal partner will cover all the production costs (which could benefit many studios, as this could be Paramount, Universal, Sony, Disney or even Spyglass Entertainment -who’s management has took over the studio). Still, further Bond sequels will be fully owned and funded by MGM itself, even though most of the profits goes EON Films, who holds the copyright to the Bond films. And right now, their ambition is return a Bond film to the screen every two years starting with the 2012 release.

One big question hangs in the air is whether Daniel Craig will reprise his role in the next film. While signed on for three Bond films, with an option for a fourth, Craig moved forward with his career when it appeared the financial issues with MGM would not be solved soon. Thus, he committed to all three installments of the Millennium Trilogy, with the first film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, currently filming. There is also a potential sequel to next summers Aliens & Cowboys that could film in 2012. Will MGM/EON continue with Craig as Bond, or will this lead to a seventh actor to take on the role of the superspy?

01 November 2010

Halloween 2010

Spent Halloween with JayTee, Adam and PeeKay. We had snacks, chicken dinner with mashed potato’s and watched two films, one being the 2006 film The Descent. The other was 2007's The Mist.

Kind of liked The Descent, though its not my typical genre of choice, as its gory (yet filming in low light helped conceal the blood spouting around). Its slow to start, and wondered if the beginning (the prologue if you will) would dovetail with the ending. Cause, usually there are certain aspects of characters that will be revisited later. While, to a point this did happen, I was unsatisfied with the way it was handled. Fore me, the biggest issue was keeping the characters straight. While I appreciate them casting all females in the roles (something unique for a genre such as this), I sat through the film trying to remember who they were. You eventually don’t care and it becomes a guessing game of who will survive, even as you felt they were trying to give the cast some sort of dimension, but you sort also felt that the actresses were unable to capitalize on that.

Then, sadly, the director relies on too many horror cliches such as people jumping into scenes and accidentally scaring their friend. And the scene where Juno accidentally injures Beth is totally dumb, as no one would do what Beth did.

The one thing I did like, was the ending. Yes, its depressing, yes its hopeless, but not every film needs, or should have a happy ending. My understanding, however, indicates I saw the British edition of the film, not the American. Apparently we here in the colonies cannot deal with unhappy endings.

Unhappy endings continued with The Mist, based on the Stephen Kind novella published way back in 1980. While it is a horror movie, a monster movie and a psychological thriller, at its core is typical Stephen King: what ordinary people will be driven to do under extraordinary circumstances (it also harkens back to the old Twilight Zone tale Monsters Are Due on Maple Street and William Golding’s classic novel The Lord of the Flies). The performances are solid, if not at times, stereotypical. The direction, under Frank Darabont (who also adapted King’s The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile), is well crafted with few horror cliches. The CGI work is good, and while gory (we watched it in Black & White, which according to PeeKay was the way Darabont wanted to be), it never really get gratuitous.

Now the ending, which was changed from the novella, is very depressing. King was fine with the way Darabont altered it, admitting it was better than his, and excited because it would be unsettling for the studio brass. Still the film was originally released for the Thanksgiving weekend crowd in 2007, and does not strike as fun, holiday picture with its new ending.

And it was fun to see what actor had worked with Darabont before, with William Sadler, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Brian Libby, who all appeared in Darabont's previous King adaptations (DeMunn would also appear in another King story, The Storm of the Century).