July 31, 2008

“BATMAN GOTHAM KNIGHT”: Now on DVD


Here is the latest spin on “The Batman” myth, brought to us by the team that gave us “Batman: The Animated Series”. We even get Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne/Batman, he is the voice of this generation’s animated Batman, still pitch perfect.

Told in six chapters, all done in Japanese anime, they are linked together telling the middle chapter of year one, between “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight”.

There are some heavy hitters involved in this project too…
“Have I Got a Story for You” – Oscar nom Josh Olson recounts Batman sightings by a group of youngsters leaving them with their own take on the Dark Knight. This one is a lot like “Legends of the Dark Knight” from around season 3 or 4 of the Animated Series.

“Crossfire” – Novelist Greg Rucka gives us the police-eye view. Gotham’s finest have to get over their mistrust of Batman, while caught between the Russian and Maroney.

“Field Test” - WayneTech arsenal from Lucius Fox, and the Batman must decide what he’s willing to do to win the fight..

The final three chapters is where it really gets going, better stories, animation, action…
“In Darkness Dwells”, - Batman takes on “Killer Croc”, after the Scarecrow and his fear toxin make an appearance. Written by David S. Goyer, co-screenwriter of “Batman Begins.”

“Working Through Pain” - Award-winning writer Brian Azzarello gives us a flash back of Bruce Wayne’s training. Showing how a mysterious woman helps him ignore the pain of his injuries, but there’s a lesson to be learned.

“Deadshot” - Emmy Award-winner Alan Burnett wraps it all up with Batman taking down Deadshot, gun for hire.

I think I would have preferred my animation old-school American. But like I said, the second half is really good so I’ll give the entire project a B.

Like your Batman animated?
Batman Gotham Knight
Batman: The Animated Series
Batman Beyond
The Batman

July 30, 2008

HARRY POTTER: and the Half-Blood Prince

Here's the new trailer...



Uh-Oh, dark and scary, very exciting!

July 29, 2008

X-files is for X-philes only


If you were a fan of the series when it originally aired you will appreciate the film. If not, hmm… maybe wait to rent it. I was a fan from day one and was very excited to see Mulder and Scully back in action. And Mulder and Scully are great to watch again, but the film is a slow-paced, disconnected mess.

Without the mythology (Mulder’s UFO obsession, the dark gov’t conspiracy) storyline to anchor “The X-Files: I Want to Believe”, we get nothing more then a 104 minute episode, which we might have seen in season 3 or 4. Even if they didn’t watch the X-files when it was on, audiences know about the UFO stuff from just the hype and publicity surrounding it. And those that did watch know that Mulder’s obsession was the pivot point of the whole show. [sigh]

Highlights for those of you that do go; Amanda Peet (“Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”), perky and doe-eyed as ever as the FBI agent who brings Mulder in from the cold. And Alvin 'Xzibit' Joiner, that’s right “Pimp My Ride” Xzibit, who turns in a believable performance also an FBI agent.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson slip effortlessly into the roles that made them stars. It’s a lot of fun to have them together again, believer and skeptic, bearing the emotional scars of their battle against black oil, super soldiers and the Cigarette Smoking Man.
It’s perhaps the weight of these performances, the character's emotional baggage and nine years of mythology that bring the entire picture to a near halt before it’s even half over.

Glad I paid the matinee price, and here's hoping that we see the truth revealed on December 21, 2012. I give “The X-files: I Want to Believe” a C.

July 28, 2008

I KNOW ONE OF THE PRODUCERS...

"I Want to Work for Diddy" is a new reality competition show on VH1. I went to the Maine Media Workshops with one of the Producers, Tommy (T.Popps) Popps.



"I Want to Work for Diddy" Premieres Monday, August 4th at 9p on VH1.

See the Trailer here.

July 23, 2008

Cable Nets Bring The Summer TV Heat


Just when you thought television was dead...

TNT brings back "The Closer" (season 4) & "Saving Grace" (season 2). I've been with Deputy Chief Johnson from the beginning and this show is great; great lead, great cast, great writing. Although I almost gave up on Grace and her slide through sin and deprivation, this show managed to raise it's own level of standards and provided the faithful with some choice story lines and great production values. The second season premiere was just awesome and I can't wait to see what's up next.

AMC will air season two of "Mad Men" starting on Sunday night. I missed season one and had to get caught up with last Sunday's marathon viewing. Wow - what a smart, funny, stylish, sexy show, it's programmed in the DVR now.

USA's summer season brings us the returns of "Monk" (season 7), "Psych" (season 3) and "Burn Notice" (season 2) all three of these programs are must see. Lisa and I carve out a two-hour block every week to catch Shawn, Gus and Mr. Monk. "Burn Notice", in its second season, is a fast-paced, smart-mouthed, spy fantasy, at times charming and witty and at others hard-edged & action-packed.

BRAVO brings back "Project Runway" (season 5) with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. This show is the model from which all reality-competition series should be made. It's smart, funny, well edited and always gives you some cat fighting to liven things up. With the exception of Emmy fave The Amazing Race this is probably the best reality-competition series on the air. Seriously, I could care less about fashion design, but this show is great television.

ABC provides some mindless fun that you just want to pop open a cold one too, with their rookie phenom: "Wipeout". Like According to Jim, "Wipeout" is so dumb it's funny! If you are a fan of MXC on Spike then "Wipeout" is for you. Ridiculous human beings vs. the ridiculous, cartoon-like mouse trap obstacle course. Big Balls anyone?

The Closer
Saving Grace
Mad Men
Monk
Psych
Burn Notice
Project Runway
Wipeout

"TOUGHER IN ALASKA": The Daily Show!


Geo Beach, esteemed host of “Tougher in Alaska” on HISTORY, will be appearing on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” this Thursday night.

Comedy Central, 11 pm, Thursday, 7/24.

THE DAILY SHOW

Tune in if you can!

July 19, 2008

“THE DARK KNIGHT”: WOW!!!


There should be no doubt about who the summer box office champ is now. Iron Man and Indiana Jones take a back seat to Gothams’ own; Batman.

Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” is a relentless, psychological, crime thriller starring Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Heath Ledger just to name a few. This film could have easily been a contemporary, straight-forward crime story, it just happens to have Batman and the Joker in it. Nolan starts the movie with a bang, steps on the gas (and your throat) until the closing credits, finally letting you up after 152 minutes to take a breath.

Ryan and I went to the midnight showing at our local IMAX theater and seeing the Joker that big is scary! Heath Ledger is deserving of another Oscar nom for his portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime. You know it’s him behind the makeup, but you never once think of the actor, you only think: Jeez this Joker guy is one sick son of a ….
Yeah, he’s that good. And in a film with an ensemble cast this large, this talented and this lauded, that’s saying something. Nolan does a brilliant job of maintaining the balance between the characters, their stories and their screen time.

I’m going back today to see it again (on IMAX) and will probably have more praises to sing. I’ll be calling LA Filmcutter too and just completely geek out! And I’m not exaggerating by giving this movie an A+, it is just the best you’ll see this summer.
OK now run, don’t walk, to a theater near you and immerse yourselves in “The Dark Knight” which is deserving of all the praise and hype it has received.

"Dark Knight" breaks preview record
Dark Knight Unofficial Movie Blog

July 17, 2008

“HELLBOY II”: Not Bad, Not Good, Not Ugly


I’m a fan of Hellboy, more accurately I’m a fan of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy. The guy in the picture above this paragraph, that Hellboy. He of the Right Hand of Doom, the cloven hooves, the cigars, the brooding, dark humor, the… well you get the picture right?
Now, I’ve been around long enough to know that films are not comics and you never get a celluloid incarnation of your favorite characters without throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Hellboy II was not what I expected, nor wanted, in a Hellboy movie.

Director Guillermo del Toro’s last big movie “Pan’s Labyrinth” is what this Hellboy should be, dark, evil, frightening, twisted. I think maybe he was afraid to go to that well of scary again so soon. I’m sorry Mr. del Toro but my Hellboy is not a victim of slapstick humor, rather he is in the grip of a giant rising from the earth to grind our bones! And shame on you Mike Mignola, co-writer, for letting him go that route.

As LA Filmcutter points out, the snarky one-liners are gone, the dark tones are gone, and as we agreed, this picture never gets off the ground. It’s a watered down version of Hellboy, that attempts to force humor into unfunny moments and is not allowed to be an organic experience. Everything is a big action set piece. Everything is a special effects showcase. Everything is forced and uneven. UGH!

The creature designs and the special effects are terrific but we’ve seen it all before; "Pans Labyrinth", "Harry Potter", "Star Wars". The trip to Troll-ville, or whatever it was, was a lot like Men In Black or even Diagon Alley. Too much of a good thing? Yeah. The problem is, there’s no mystery, no surprise, no holy crap moment of bogeymen jumping out of the dark corners. You never feel like the world is in danger, or that any of the heroes are in danger.

Want a taste of the “real” Hellboy? Go to the book store and pick up one of the many Mike Mignola comics or even Christopher Golden’s Hellboy: The Bones of Giants novel. You’ll get the full brimstoney, gritty, witty, scary Hellboy experience.

The Hellboy Zone

July 12, 2008

DR. HORRIBLE'S Sing-Along Blog


No seriously, check it out. Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly) has given birth to another, twisty, jokey, just plain whacky universe.
Joss's genius apparently knows no bounds, it's off beat, it's funny, it's actiony, suspensey and it stars Neil Patrick Harris (oh, and Nathan Fillion too)!!!
Need a little a little pick me up? Need relief from the dregs of TV? Bored with your summer reading list? Check out the links below and jump aboard Joss Whedon's cyber-space slip-and-slide. Wheeee!

Dr. Horrible
Wonderflonium
Captain Hammer

July 7, 2008

MICHAEL TURNER: Dead at 37

Michael Turner, a leading contemporary comic-book artist who was known for the highly stylized covers he created for major titles...


Wow. I knew he'd been battling cancer for some time now, but still, this is sad.

Here's the LA Times story.

July 6, 2008

“WANTED”: Sex & Guns & Rock and Roll


Sam Peckinpah, John Woo and the Wachowski Brothers walk into a bar… Ryan and I went to see “Wanted” yesterday. As always I ask if he liked it, he says yes. He asks what I thought, and I say “It was ridiculously good.", and then I laugh! “Wanted” is a non-stop ballet of gun-play, blood spray, and “no way”! But it’s all good, really good, and it all works, sometimes surprising, sometimes cliché, sometimes just plain fun to watch.

READER BEWARE: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Based on the Top Cow comic series by Mark Millar & JG Jones, the film has:
Massive set pieces - the train crash will make your head spin.
Crazy chase scenes - knowing how they did the Viper/Pet Food scene made it that much more entertaing.
A new twist on bullet-time - giving an up close view of the soon to be flesh tearing projectile, even retracing it’s flight path to show the ridiculous shot the trigger man just made.
Brilliant and darkly entertaining humor – computer keyboard to the face anyone?
And a fraternity of assassins fronted by “how can you not trust him” Morgan Freeman and the über tattooed and (wait for it…) naked Angelina Jolie who recruit James McAvoy into their secret society.
All of this and more are “woven” together by Timur Bekmambetov, a Russian director best know for "Night Watch" and "Day Watch" (neither of which I’ve seen but will now be seeking out).

The two main characters of the film are Wesley; the poor shlub office drone that needs desperately to take control of his life. He is an alternate universe Peter Parker for the gun-totin’ “Fraternity”. The Fraternity are assassins that have spent the past thousand years killing those that are chosen by fate for termination. And that made me wonder how fate could have missed, say, Hitler? But it’s best not to over think this plot device, especially when we get to the end of the movie.
And there’s Fox (‘What is that? A call sign? Like Maverick in Top Gun?’) played by Angelina Jolie, as the tragic figure with the haunting childhood who has turned her traumas into a gun-blazing, knife fight filled, blood bath therapy session. This is the Jolie that the boys like, a pouting, smoldering, melt you with a look, ass kickin’ goddess.
Fox helps Wesley discover who he is and helps train him to become the Jedi his father was... wait, sorry. BUT, she does help him harness "The Force" within him and with the help of a sadistic "Jedi Council" sets him on the path of the life he was destined to lead. Of course by the end of the film Wesley has become “the man” and surpasses his father (don't we all, am I right boys?).
But there are a couple of twists on the roller coaster ride too, and I’ll tell ya, having not read any reviews or spoilers, I was surprised by the outcome of the climactic gun battle.

The score by Danny Elfman is also a surprise. It’s a robust, hardened, re-telling of some of his greatest work. He also delivers great rock tunes (with lyrics!) that I immediately added to iTunes.

If you’re a fan of ridiculously entertaining, over the top, the good guys win, action flicks then this film is for you. Just be warned, there’s sex, there’s guns and there’s plenty of salty language to go around. WANTED, is rated R (duh), and gets a B+ from this fan.

WANTED Links:
Wanted Movie Site
Wanted Comic Site

Director Links:
Timur Bekmambetov
Sam Peckinpah
John Woo
Andy Wachowski
Larry Wachowski

July 3, 2008

“TRINITY”: The little film that might?

As some of you recall (THANKS DI & WILL!) back in February I worked on an indie feature down in Philly. Well… I got a call from the director the other night, and the film has been accepted to at least two festivals! She also indicated that they were still waiting to here from a few more but she wanted to spread the good news. She and the producer, her husband, were calling the entire cast and crew that night to let us know!
Due to the pregnant nature of my wife I will not be attending “The Indie Gathering” in Ohio on August 1st – 3rd. But I do have my passport so "The Indie Can Film Festival” in Toronto, October 1st – 5th, is a possibility.
OK, three cheers for “Trinity” and here’s hopin’ for some swag (or bling) for the mantel!

The Indie Gathering
Indie Can Film Festival