August 27, 2008

SUPERMAN: DARK SIDE or DARKSEID?


I thought I would chime in on the scrapping of “The Man of Steel” and the darkening of the big blue Boy Scout. As reported by Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and everyone else, it looks like Warner Bros. is giving up on Brian Singer’s follow-up to “Superman Returns” in favor of giving Clark Kent and company the “Dark Knight” treatment.

Like many Supes fans I don’t think making him a darker character is the answer to the franchises woes. I watched “Superman Returns” yesterday and I could see past my initial reaction to the film (loved it), and separate the wheat from the chaff.
Brian Singer’s homage to the Richard Donner vision was too long by at least 30 minutes. It lacked urgency and pacing. As a film school instructor told me once it ‘made a meal of every scene’ when it should have been taking small bites.
All the beats were there, all the elements of a great story were right there, and I could clearly see the direction Singer was going in and his reverence for the Donner films was obvious, but…

Now I’m sure you all are saying: ‘OK smart guy, what would you do?”

Well, I certainly would not make Superman ‘dark’. He is not a dark character; he’s an example of all that is good and right with America. He is a hero that sets the example for all other heroes (of the DC universe) to live up to. He does not lie, he does not cheat, he unabashedly waves the flag, and he strives to be a better human being, even though he’s not an American or even a human being for that matter.
Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman’s story is the story of the American dream. An immigrant from a distant land, Clark is adopted by America (folded into our melting pot) and given the chance to become something (someone) better and to succeed despite his differences.

You know, ‘Truth, justice, the American way’, remember?

So, again, what would I do? Well, we’ll need at least three elements to darken the Superman universe, Red Kryptonite, Doomsday and Darkseid.

Episode 1:
Red-k is the Kryptonian element that has the ability to change Superman’s personality and/or his powers. Unlike green-k which kills him, red-k can have multiple, unpredictable effects on Superman. Classic villain and Superman nemesis, Lex Luthor hires the world’s leading chemist to synthesize red-k and exposes Superman. While Kal/Clark experiences all manner of unpredictable personal and professional calamities, Earth sees the arrival of a threat like no other it’s ever seen, another strange visitor with abilities beyond those of mortal man - Doomsday!

Episode 2:
Doomsday comes from Superman’s home world of Krypton. Created to be the ultimate hunter/killer and having escaped Krypton before it’s destruction and the birth of Kal-El. Doomsday travels the universe for hundreds of thousands of years (even encountering Green Lantern) before arriving on Earth and battling a fledgling Justice League. Finally hunting down his fellow Kryptonian in Metropolis, Doomsday and Superman meet in the ultimate showdown where Superman does the unthinkable and sacrifices himself to kill Doomsday and save Earth. Earth is left in shock, mourning and defenseless, opening the door for an invasion…

Episode 3:
Superman needs an adversary that is as bad as Supes is good, a villain that is a clear and frightening threat to planet Earth. We need a character that is the moral opposite of Clark Kent… We need Darkseid.
With the death of Superman, the door is left open for Darkseid and his minions from the planet Apokolips to invade Earth for colonization. Darkseid lays waste to Earth and enslaves its inhabitants. Meanwhile an underground guerilla faction, led by Lois Lane, secretly move Superman’s body to the Fortress of Solitude where they are able to resurrect the Man of Steel and spread the news of Superman’s return. Earth’s human population rises up against Apokolips, and Superman defeats Darkseid.

We don’t need a dark Superman. But we can have a dark Superman movie. Superman is not Batman; he is the opposite of Batman. Superman is the light that leads us out of the darkness; a beacon of hope when all hope is lost.

Supermanica
Superman/Doomsday DVD
DC Database Project
MTV Splashpage

August 20, 2008

VERONICA MARS: The Movie?


Michael Ausiello - over at Entertainment Weekly – reported yesterday that “Veronica Mars” creator Rob Thomas & star Kristen Bell are discussing bringing Veronica to the big screen.
So that’s what all the giggling and little-girl squealing was all about yesterday. Every fan boy & girl must have let out a simultaneous whoop of delight when they read the news.

I’m a fan too and I think a movie would be great. But what I think would be greater is a series of television movies or direct to DVD releases, it’s working great for “Futurama”.

Is this going to happen real soon? Nah. Thomas is currently working on two new series and Bell is at work on “Heroes” and a blossoming film career.
Will it happen? Oh I’m sure. If the creator and star are on board, then a studio is soon to follow. Why I am I so sure? Just a little ol’ show called “Firefly” that’s why.

From my previous VM blog entry:
Starring Kristin Bell (Heroes) as the title character, this show is a lively mix of Nancy Drew mystery solving, Buffy girl power (Veronica even has her own Scooby Gang) and a dash of West Side Story. The writing is sharp and witty, plenty of pop culture references, banter and burns. It is a very neo-noir storytelling style. (And I dig the noir.)

The Ausiello Files @ EW.com
Neptune Rising VM Fansite
Veronica Mars Official Website

August 19, 2008

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR


No, not Christmas. And no, not Back-To-School... It's the return of the Fall Television Season!!!
Ranking right up there with the Summer Movie Season, Fall TV makes me tingly all over (umm... maybe not actually tingly) as I wait not so patiently for the new TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly preview issues.
Television took its lumps with the writer's strike, but it appears to be rebounding quite nicely. Many returning favorites like House, Pushing Daisies, Big Bang Theory, 30 Rock and new fare; Kath & Kim, Dollhouse and Eleventh Hour are giving me hope for long hours in front of the High Def with Maddy and a warm bottle.

Follow this link to TV Guide's online Fall Preview

August 16, 2008

REMEMBER WHEN 2: “The Wild Wild West”


Here we go again, into the way back machine and stopping off at my parents’ living room and the TV in the corner (Different TV now but in the same location!). It’s 4:00 PM on a weekday and one of the greatest genre crossovers is on. That would be “The Wild Wild West” starring Robert Conrad and Ross Martin. “WWW” is a sci-fi western of the highest camp value (and I mean that in a good way), crime solving tech., Bond-like gadgets, steampunk science and good old fashioned six guns and cowboys all come together in a blend of cheesy goodness. There were guest stars galore, hot babes and crazy sets and wacky inventions too.

Robert Conrad was the chiseled-chin super-hero, complete with ridiculously tight pants, and abs of steel. He was the ladies man, the muscle of this secret service duo, and the star of the series.

Ross Martin, the better actor, was relegated to the brainy side-kick roll due, I’m sure, to his less than movie star good looks. But his roll was key to the appeal of this show. His chararcter – Artemus Gordon – was the Q to Jim West’s James Bond. Gordon, a master of disguise, was also the comic relief to West’s straight man.

Favorite villain? Oh come on, it’s got to be Dr. Miguelito Loveless. The maniacal, diminutive, evil genius played by Michael Dunn. His humor, womanizing and twisted genius made him a memorable villain and a character you loved to see over and over again. It’s interesting to note that over four seasons he only appeared in 10 episodes.

Here’s a video of the opening credits…



Two truly awesome attempts to revive this hybrid genre came in 1993 and then again in 1995. First “The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.” starring Bruce Campbell & Christian Clemenson. This show came from Carlton Cuse (LOST) and Jeffery Boam (Lethal Weapon 3) and lasted for 27 episodes on Fox. LOVE THIS SHOW!!!
The second series, “Legend” starred Richard Dean Anderson and John Delancie, was produced by Michael Piller (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Bill Dial (Sliders). It aired for 12 episodes on UPN. WE NEED A DVD RELEASE!!!

The Wild Wild West @ Wikipedia.com
The Ultimate Brisco County, Jr. Guidebook
Legend @ Wikipedia.com

August 15, 2008

REMEMBER WHEN: "Battle of the Planets"


Lisa forwarded a fun e-mail to me today, it was about childhood in the black and white TV era and it got me to thinking about other shows from my youth that I really enjoyed. I remember going home after school (with my best friend Chuck) while in Jr. High and watching "Battle of the Planets". I think it was on at 3:30 in the afternoon, but I can't remember if it was on WTEN (10), WNYT (13) or WRGB (6).

Anyway, this blast from the past always puts a smile on my face. And to think we got the watered down, anglo-sized version of the show, imagine how much better it could have been if we got the original Japanese run.

For those of you born in the 90's this was our version of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers". Five teens, each with his own color and special vehicle to drive, would be able to combine them into the Phoenix, a very kick-ass space ship. They would defend the earth against all manner of beasty sent to destroy our planet by the evil Zoltar. One of those major changes to clean up this show for American audiences was the fact that Zoltar was transgender! Oh those crazy Japanese!

OK, watch this clip of the series opener as I remember it, and take a little trip into the past...



BotP @ Wikipedia

PRESTO-CHANGO: New Release Date For Harry


Warner Bros. has moved the release date of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" from Nov. 21 to July 17.

Read More @ THR.com

August 14, 2008

August 12, 2008

MADDY IS HERE!


Sorry not to have posted in a while but we've been busy. Please welcome Madelyn Elizabeth, the latest production from Allen & Lisa.

Born on August 8th, 3:04 PM at a very healthy 8 pounds, 4 ounces & 21.5 inches. There was plenty of drama and action - Cord Prolapse! Emergency C-Section! Whoa, put the Gooey Oompa Loompa back in! Dad cuts the cord!
There was some comedy too - me dressed in scrubs and mask, fumbling for a camera to take the first picture (used my cell phone), and poor Lisa numbed up and loopy from all manner of drugs just along for the ride.

And now the whirl wind has swept us away from the hospital to the comforts of home. Our dog Jack is not sure what to make of the newcomer, but he's being good. Sniffing, whining, running in circles, jumping on everyone, following us (and Maddy) everywhere we go. The cat is pretty unfazed by the whole affair.

Our first night was uneventful and unpredictable. Just when we thought Maddy was on a feeding schedule, she shook things up with a two hour nap, snarfing down a bottle and then zonking out for four hours, up again for a bottle and out again for another four hours. Which leads us to this post.

OK, keep those cards and letters coming, and join us for the next episode of "Maddy The Jungle Girl" or "The Naked Maddy Band" or how about...

August 5, 2008

"TRINITY": The Little Film That Did!


The indie feature I worked on in February - "Trinity" - placed third in the Drama category at the Indie Gathering Film Festival.
Congratulations to Kathy & Jaime at Partners in Krime Productions (Philadelphia, PA)! And congratulations to the cast and crew who helped put this project together. Hey, how's that medal look?



Trinity
The Indie Gathering

August 4, 2008

"HEROES: Villains" Season 3 on 9.22.08



I was afraid after last season's lack luster storytelling that the series was done for.
But have no fear, it looks like Tim Kring and crew have things under control.

Heroes on NBC

August 2, 2008

Page to Screen: “BANGKOK 8”



Ever read a book and say – ‘Gee, this would be a great movie.’

Well John Burdett’s Bangkok 8 is one of those books. Published in 2003, I just read the trade paperback edition and thought it was great. It is fast paced, great characters, dark humor and a Buddhist wit I did not expect. Set in Thailand and involving the corrupt Thai police force, a fish-out-of-water FBI agent, illegal jade trading and a Buddhist "arhat" detective hero, this book really delivers.

And it was no surprise to discover that Millennium Films (“Rambo”) has already optioned the property and has it in development. There are two other books in the series, Bangkok Tattoo & Bangkok Haunts, so we can expect a film series too if the first one does well enough at the box office.

OK, get to the library or your local Barnes and Noble and pick up this great read before your summer vacation is over.

Bangkok 8 @ Random House

August 1, 2008

“MAMMA MIA!”: Light Summer Fun


Who knew ABBA would write a Broadway hit? (I know, they had help.)

Lisa:
Overall, nice light summer fun. Having never seen the Broadway show I have no comparison. Makes you want to visit Greece - love the blue, blue water.
Favorite Daddies were Colin Firth (Harry) and Stellan SkarsgÄrd (Bill). Didn't like Pierce Bronson's singing at all.
Meryl Streep did a good job. Her girlfriend sidekicks were better than Sophie’s who seemed an afterthought. Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) and her hubby to be were both well played/sung.
Should have used the Greek Chorus more.

Allen:
After a weird and slow opening there were some real good moments, and songs, but it felt off kilter, never really getting it’s footing.
Some Hollywood folks should not be looking to “tread the boards” anytime soon. Bravo for trying to sing and dance, but man, ya gotta know when to say when!
There was a lot of overacting, over emoting, over-gesturing; like someone forgot to tell the director (and cast) that they were making a movie, not a play, the camera is intimate and can exaggerate even the slightest movement.
I completely agree with Lisa about the Greek Chorus. This could have been a great plot device, but was given two small scenes and then kind of forgotten as the show went on.
The best thing I came away from the movie with was a desire to see the Broadway show.

So a combined score from the tag team reviewers will be (drum roll please)… B-

Mamma Mia! – Film
Mamma Mia! – Stage