Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The International Trailer for Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds looks like it's going to kick all kinds of ass when it hits U.S. theaters on August 21. Here's the international trailer, which I came across on Ain't It Cool News. Enjoy!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Scores More Than $200 Million in Five Days

Hate it or love it, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen raked in $108 million domestically over the weekend, earning $200.1 million since its June 24 opening, The Associated Press reports. The Michael Bay sequel had the second-best five-day gross of all time, trailing behind 2008’s The Dark Knight by just $3.7 million.

Despite being panned by critics, word-of-mouth on Revenge of the Fallen has been surprisingly positive. It seems as though most filmgoers are willing to overlook the film’s pacing, storytelling and continuity flaws in order to lose themselves the spectacle of it all. I wish I could join them.

It’s not that I hate this film. I still thoroughly enjoy the original Transformers and I think the action scenes in this installment are some of the best we’ve seen in quite some time. But it’s a fairly entertaining 90-minute film that’s stretched out to a mind-numbing two-and-a-half hours. And far too much of that time is dominated by pointless and often irritating filler material.

Read my full review at Broken Frontier.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson: 1958-2009

Regardless of how you felt about his alleged personal life, Michael Jackson left an indelible imprint on the music world and was arguably one of the most influential pop superstars of all time.

Following his passing on June 25, it’s refreshing to see the King of Pop making headlines not for child molestation charges, plastic surgery speculation or other oddities; but for his work as an artist. While I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a Michael Jackson fan—I was born after Thriller’s release and never really latched onto the majority of his music as I got older—it’s hard to deny his talent not only as a musician but as a performer and a showman. Thriller ranks among the best pop albums of all time, and his “Thriller” short film, directed by John Landis with makeup effects by Rick Baker, remains the best example of how a music video can be far more than a promotional tool.

To watch “Thriller” and the rest of Jackson’s groundbreaking music videos, visit his official YouTube page.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Has Record-Breaking Opening

Despite being pummeled by critics, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen opened strong on Wednesday, June 24, earning $60.6 million in ticket sales, The New York Times reports. The sequel, directed by Michael Bay, has set a new record for a Wednesday opening, besting 2007’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which earned $44.2 million on its opening day.

Most critics are calling Revenge of the Fallen loud, cluttered and downright stupid. In his review, Roger Ebert describes it as “a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments.” He adds, “If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.” Ouch.

However, Paramount Pictures said audience opinion has been overwhelmingly positive, with exit interviews on opening day showing that 91 percent of ticket buyers thought the film was better than or as good as the original Transformers.

Watchmen Director’s Cut to Screen in Select Theaters

Did you love Zack Snyder’s Watchmen? If so, you’ll be pleased to learn that a director’s cut of the film will be hitting select theaters in Los Angeles, New York, Minneapolis and Dallas the weekend prior to its July 21 DVD and Blu-ray shelf date, according to the The Hollywood Reporter. The cut includes 25 minutes of unseen footage.

The weeklong theatrical Watchmen event will culminate in San Diego on July 25 with a special screening at Comic-Con International. Snyder will attend to talk about the film and answer questions from fans who may or may not be dressed as Rorschach. If you’re going as Dr. Manhattan, I think everyone—Mr. Snyder included—would appreciate it if you wore pants. In that case, accuracy be damned!

The screening will be a BD-Live session, meaning that Blu-ray owners can watch the movie at the same time as the Comic-Con crowds, listen to Snyder’s commentary and even submit questions. The screening will be archived, so fans can revisit it anytime they want.

“Comic-Con, it isn’t just comic book fanatics, it's cinephiles as well,” said Snyder at a June 24 Warner Bros. press event. “It'll be cool to discuss what people are thinking.”

The Hollywood Reporter notes that a theatrical re-release of this film is unusual, as the big-budget comic book adaptation is generally considered a financial disappointment. Watchmen earned just $107.5 million domestically.

However, Snyder has no regrets. “I’m proud of this movie,” he said. “It does everything I wanted it to.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Crossing the Streams With Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Xbox 360)

It came, it saw, it kicked our ass!

If you grew up with the Ghostbusters films, chances are you’ve already rushed out and purchased Ghostbusters: The Video Game to live out your childhood fantasies of strapping on a proton pack, hopping in the Ecto-1 and ridding Manhattan of pesky poltergeists. However, if you’re a skeptical ectoplasm aficionado who’s been burned far too often by movie adaptations in the past, you’ll be happy to learn that Terminal Reality’s Ghostbusters, while not a perfect game, captures the charm of the 1984 film (and its lesser but underrated sequel) and is a blast to play.

Part of what makes this game so enjoyable is that it’s essentially a third Ghostbusters film. Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis—who join Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson to voice their respective paranormal investigators—the story is set two years after Ghostbusters II. You play as a rookie hired to test out Egon’s experimental equipment. Humorously and sensibly, your character is never given an actual name. Since you’re handling such dangerous gear, the guys reason that there’s really no point in getting too attached by learning your name. “Rookie” it is.

You might be disappointed that you never get to play as Peter Venkman (Murray), Ray Stantz (Aykroyd), Egon Spengler (Ramis) or Winston Zeddemore (Hudson) in the single-player mode, but it’s fun sitting back from an outside perspective and watching these iconic characters bounce off each other in some of the funniest dialogue you’re likely to find in a video game. Annie Potts returns as receptionist Janine Melnitz, retaining her sardonic wit, while William Atherton returns as reviled bureaucrat Walter Peck, who apparently still has no dick. (Well, that’s what I heard!) Alyssa Milano steps in for Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett as Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn, the focal point of the story and Peter’s love interest. If you’re not happy with Dr. Venkman getting over Dana so quickly, back off, man. He’s a scientist.

At the beginning of the game, Ray gives you some pointers on how to use your proton stream but, in your excitement, you accidentally unleash Slimer from the containment unit. He returns to his old haunt, the Sedgewick Hotel, and it’s up to you and the boys to re-capture the ugly little spud while causing a copious amount of collateral damage. Accidentally, of course.

Sound familiar? It should. The early sections of the game spend a lot of time rehashing characters and locations from the original movie. In the first few levels, you’ll face off against the gluttonous Slimer, the monstrous Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (now with creepy little marshmallow minions) and the New York Public Library’s Gray Lady. Things get a lot more interesting storywise once the game begins exploring new territory—including a jaunt through an alternate dimension—but I doubt any Ghostbusters fan will truly protest wrangling Slimer in the Sedgewick ballroom or reducing Mr. Stay Puft to sugary goop. Love for the films is what made you purchase this game in the first place; Terminal Reality is merely indulging you.

However, 1980s nostalgia would be pretty worthless if the game wasn’t fun to play. Controlling similarly to the Gears of War series, Ghostbusters is a third-person shooter with a twist. There are ghosts that can be vanquished simply by blasting them with your proton stream—or one of three upgradeable weapons on your proton pack—but a lot of the combat requires you to weaken, lasso and trap your opponents. This rhythmic gameplay component certainly had the potential to be repetitive, but it’s actually incredibly satisfying.

My favorite proton pack add-on is the slime blower, which is a slightly modified version of the one seen in Ghostbusters II. In addition to the standard hose, the blower has a “slime tether” function that allows you to solve puzzles and play around with the game’s impressive Infernal Engine physics.

Does it have flaws? Sure. Some of the voice acting is a bit forced, and, while this isn’t necessarily a hard game for seasoned vets, the difficulty ramps up at odd times and it becomes frustrating. That said, it’s eight hours of mostly solid gameplay that hardcore fans will want to revisit more than once. After finishing the single-player mode, a variety of multiplayer options will keep you coming back long after you help the boys once again save New York from total annihilation.

Ghostbusters could have easily been a run-of-the-mill movie cash-in title, but there’s a lot of love in this game. Terminal Reality clearly intended to craft a unique Ghostbusters experience and they’ve certainly succeeded. From the nuanced combat to the clever integration of gadgets such as the PKE meter to the chuckle-worthy dialogue, this is a game by and for the fans.

Bustin’ will make you feel good.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Is Michael Bay Done With Transformers? Nope.

It was reported last week that pyrotechnic auteur Michael Bay would be leaving the Transformers series after the second film in favor of smaller, more personal projects. Wait, what?

“After the three-and-a-half years I've spent making these movies, I feel like I've had enough of the Transformers world,” Bay was quoted as saying. “I need to do something totally divergent, something without any explosions.”

Many news sources took this to mean that Bay is growing tired of blockbusters, but the director confirmed that the press is exaggerating. Without explosions and visual effects, wouldn’t his movies consist almost entirely of military fetishization, glistening half-naked women and product placement? Not that I’m complaining about glistening women, but this story doesn’t add up.

As reported by FilmDrunk, Bay revealed on his official message board that what he meant was that he needs time off from the undeniably demanding Transformers franchise to pursue other interests, not that he was abandoning action films entirely. He wrote, “Love press how they spin. Never said it—just wanted a vacation is more to the point.”

Phew. I was worried there for a second.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
hits U.S. theaters June 24.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Random Bloggery: Saved by the Bell Update for June 19!

This just in!

Bayside High School student Zack Morris, pictured here, is alerting the authorities.

Image courtesy: Andrew Metzger (The Needle Ninja)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Indiana Jones 5 Is “Progressing”

In a recent interview with the BBC, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen star Shia LaBeouf said that director Steven Spielberg has “cracked the story” for a fifth installment in the Indiana Jones franchise. The last sequel, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), featured LaBeouf as Indy’s son, Mutt Williams, who may or may not headline future installments once Harrison Ford hangs up his fedora and whip.

Fueling sequel speculation is producer Frank Marshall, who told Empire that Spielberg and series co-creator George Lucas are in the early stages of developing Indy 5. However, he says, nothing is “cracked” just yet.

“It’s really about the script,” Marshall said. “Once we see that, we’ll see. We’re not going to wait another 20 years. We’d all love to make another one. I’m anxious to hear the idea!”

He added, “We had a great time making the last one and, as Harrison said, we need to make this one soon. We're not getting any younger.” Ford will be 67 in July.

Further confirming that a sequel is in the works was a June 18 post on his Twitter page, in which Marshall wrote, “The story for Indy 5 is progressing. It is still in the research phase.

Now, I don’t hate Crystal Skull. In fact, if you read my review last summer, I pretty much liked it when it hit theaters. However, unlike its predecessors, it doesn’t stand up to repeated viewings all that well. So why make another one? According to Box Office Mojo, Crystal Skull earned nearly $800 million worldwide during its theatrical run. I’d say that explains it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rupert Murdoch, Scientology Linked to Wolverine Leak

It’s old news that X-Men Origins: Wolverine leaked online on March 31—more than a month before the film’s theatrical release. But did you know that 20th Century Fox head Rupert Murdoch may have been indirectly responsible?

Let’s recap. After the film leaked onto the Internet, FoxNews.com showbiz columnist Roger Friedman reviewed the unfinished workprint. While Friedman’s review of the Fox-produced film was overwhelmingly positive, News Corp. accused him of promoting piracy and promptly fired him. He now writes for The Hollywood Reporter, and is filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against his former employer.

Friedman’s attorney, Martin Garbus, told the New York Daily News’ Rush & Molloy column that the pirated copy seen untold times through illegal online downloads can be traced back to Murdoch, who asked the studio to make him a DVD copy of the movie.

“Apparently, somebody made another copy for themselves,” Garbus said.

Friedman also claims that he was canned due to his frequent criticism of Scientology in his columns, citing a campaign spurred by Scientologist Kelly Preston—wife of John Travolta—to have him fired. While in Memphis attending the funeral of Isaac Hayes, a Scientologist, Preston allegedly saw Friedman at the Peabody Hotel and called him a “religious bigot.”

Friedman was later told to go easy on Fox’s Valkyrie, which starred noted Scientologist Tom Cruise. In addition, Friedman says his editors prohibited him from writing about the January death of Preston’s son, Jett. The Wolverine incident, Friedman charges, was the justification the company needed to finally give him the axe.

“I’ve seen how Scientology intimidates even the most powerful media,” said Garbus. “That seems to be what happened here.”

It’s baffling that this overblown fiasco is swirling around such a mediocre film.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Valve to Continue Supporting Original Left 4 Dead Despite Forthcoming Sequel

When game developer Valve unveiled a sequel to its smash-hit zombie shooter Left 4 Dead at the Electronic Gaming Expo in Los Angeles earlier this month, some of the game’s hardcore fans were pretty disgruntled. Kotaku reports that thousands of L4D enthusiasts even signed an online pledge to boycott the game when it hits store shelves on November 17.

However, according to Valve president Gabe Newell, the developer will continue supporting the original game with updates and new content. So, if you want to continue eviscerating undead flesh eaters with your friends, you won’t necessarily need to shell out $60 for L4D2.

“Some in the community are concerned that the announcement of L4D2 implied a change in our plans for L4D1. We aren't changing our plans for L4D1,” Newell told Kotaku. “In addition to the recently released Survival Pack, we are releasing authoring tools for Mod makers, community matchmaking, 4x4 matchmaking, and more new content during the coming months for L4D1.”

Okay, so the bottom line is that we’re getting a brand-new L4D, but there’s still going to be plenty of new content for fans who don’t want to buy the sequel. That seems reasonable. Activision released Call of Duty: World at War just one year after the acclaimed Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and both online communities are thriving with a great deal of fan overlap.

However, will L4D2 (which totally sounds like a Star Wars droid) be a different enough experience to justify its price tag? Should this have been a downloadable add-on? Valve’s Chet Faliszek told Kotaku that while the content released thus far looks eerily similar to the original game, “none of the additions [in L4D2] are trivial.”

Friday, June 12, 2009

Random Bloggery for June 12

Happy Friday, Wortmaniacs! I’ve got a ton of obligations all weekend, so I’ll likely be away from the computer for the next few days indulging in what some may call a “social life.” Unless the Internet implodes, I’ll be back next week with more geeky blog goodness.

And what happens next week? Ghostbusters: The Video Game slimes store shelves on Tuesday! If you see me in a Ghostbusters T-shirt in the near future, you’ll know why. It won’t just be because I’m a total nerd. Only partially.

Because we’re all so pumped for this game—and because the flowers are still standing—here’s a preview of the Ghostbusters game that I came across on Topless Robot this morning (via GameTrailers). Enjoy!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fox Wants Ridley Scott for Alien Prequel

Awesomely, it seems as though 20th Century Fox is not going to be moving forward with a prequel to its 1979 sci-fi classic Alien without the original director, Ridley Scott, at the helm. Entertainment Weekly has the full story.

While it was previously reported that relatively unknown director Carl Rinsch was in line to reboot the franchise, Fox sources told EW that this is simply not the case. However, Scott himself has yet to comment.

I don’t necessarily think that a prequel to Alien is necessary. I’m aware that, from a business perspective, brand recognition is extremely important in idea-starved Hollywood. However, do we really need an expository film to shatter the mystery that made the original film so fascinating in the first place? Just introduce new characters in the same film universe, write a good script and pretend that those terrible Alien vs. Predator movies never happened. By starting fresh with a completely new sequel story, the film won’t be as tethered to decades-old continuity and will have far more room to grow.

Regardless, it’s cool that Fox isn’t rushing things, and it would be even cooler if Scott finally returned to science fiction.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Glimpse at Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2

On June 9, Paramount Pictures released an early look at Mickey Rourke (Sin City, The Wrestler) as Iron Man 2 baddie Whiplash, who will face off against billionaire industrialist Tony Stark in Jon Favreau’s hotly anticipated superhero sequel. The publicity photo—now making its rounds on the Web—was originally published by USA Today.

In the accompanying article, Favreau explains that Whiplash, aka Ivan Vanko, is a Russian weapons designer who works for Stark’s competitor Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell). He has created his own version of the Iron Man suit, complete with a pair of whips powered by a glowing chest piece similar to Stark’s.

"The technologies are definitely related," says Favreau. "That’s part of the core theme of the film."

Favreau explains that, in some ways, his ultimate vision for the character—an apparent amalgam of the Marvel Comics’ version of Whiplash and Iron Man villain Crimson Dynamo—was largely influenced by Rourke’s casting.

“It was very important that the villain be as compelling as can be. … Once I thought of Mickey in that role, it made me understand how to shape the story.”

Iron Man 2 hits theaters May 7, 2010.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Zack Attack!

Whether or not you approve of Jimmy Fallon as a talk show host (I honestly think he’s pretty good), it’s hard not to love his quest to stage a Saved by the Bell cast reunion. If the prospect of bringing Bayside High alumni together on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon isn’t exciting enough for you, children of the 80s and 90s, then how would you feel about Mark-Paul Gosselaar doing an entire interview on the show as Zack Morris, complete with his characteristically gargantuan cell phone, stonewashed jeans and time-stopping powers? Would you flip out if he proceeded to perform his (imaginary) Zack Attack hit “Friends Forever” with Fallon’s house band, the Roots? As crazy as it sounds, this happened on the June 8 show.

While Gosselaar was also busy promoting his new legal drama, Raising the Bar, he committed to Fallon’s cast reunion, joining Dennis Haskins, Mario Lopez, Lark Voorhies and, as apparently revealed during an in-show “phone call” on the aforementioned giant phone, Elizabeth Berkley. Tiffani Amber Thiessen and Dustin Diamond are the two remaining cast members who have yet to sign on…unless we’re really holding out for final season Kelly/Jessie stand-in Tori Scott (played by Leanna Creel). I don’t think we are.

Watch the clip below. I promise, it’s some of the most surreal television we’ve seen in quite some time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Michael Bay: “Haters Beware”

In a June 7 post on his website, Shoot for the Edit, Transformers director Michael Bay boasts that the upcoming sequel, Revenge of the Fallen, will feature 42 robot characters in all, with a level of animation detail far surpassing that of the 2007 original.

“…you can really feel empathy for them,” Bay writes of the computerized Autobots and Decepticons populating his latest blockbuster. “What is also very different is the sheer scale of the movie. We have been very tight holding back much of the best imagery in commercials and trailers.”

That’s great, as a major problem with most summer films these days is that they put their best moments front and center in the promotional materials.

Bay adds that the best way to watch Revenge of the Fallen when it hits theaters on June 24 is on an IMAX screen.

“For IMAX, I created a slightly longer cut with more robot fighting,” Bay says. “Four scenes were shot on IMAX cameras so the screen will fill the full IMAX screen for these scenes.”

He ends the post with a parting shot at his detractors: “Haters beware.” Undoubtedly, the filmmaker’s latest ode to product placement and explosions won’t be for everyone. However, if you love giant robots that fight each other while occasionally turning into cars and trucks, Revenge of the Fallen should be an awesome time at the movies.

I’ll see ya there.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Random Bloggery for June 7

I would write a full review of The Hangover—which opened June 5—but to spare you all from a long-winded examination of Zach Galifianakis’ comedy stylings, I’ll just say that it’s hilarious and that you’d all be doing yourselves a favor in checking it out before all of the catch-phrases are ruined for you by drunk people at parties this summer.

On the gaming front, I recently picked up the Punch Out!! remake for the Nintendo Wii. Having already played the original 8-bit version repeatedly on the Wii’s Virtual Console, I was skeptical as to whether a graphical update and the addition of motion controls warranted the $50 price tag. Fortunately, it's worth the money if you're a fan of the original game.

The motion controls are pretty neat, but the game really does play best if you turn the Wii Remote on its side and use the classic Nintendo control style. Punch Out!! requires very precise timing and, unfortunately, the motion controls just aren’t as accurate as they need to be against the game’s harder opponents. However, no matter what control scheme you prefer, the unique multiplayer is a hell of a lot of fun.

Speaking of Nintendo, they made some interesting announcements at last week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, including New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2. Not groundbreaking stuff by any means, but they look to be promising titles, even if they're both retreads.

Watch the trailer for Super Mario Galaxy 2 (via G4TV) below.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fake Guitars Gently Weep on September 9

Developer Harmonix officially unveiled The Beatles: Rock Band on June 1 at the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo. Featuring an impressive song list—spanning the Fab Four’s entire career—in addition to key Beatles venues such as the Cavern Club, the Ed Sullivan Theater, Shea Stadium and Abbey Road, this latest installment in the popular rhythm game franchise looks to be every game-savvy Beatlemaniac’s dream.

The game hits store shelves on September 9 of this year alongside Beatles instrument replica controllers: John Lennon’s Rickenbacker 325 guitar, Sir Paul McCartney’s Höfner bass, George Harrison’s Gretsch duo jet guitar and Ringo Starr’s drums with a black oyster pearl finish and a Ludwig-branded Beatles kick drum head.

Gameplay should be pretty familiar to anyone who’s played Rock Band before, but this version includes, for the first time, three-part vocal harmonies. The game also boasts a campaign mode that allows fans to experience the Beatles’ entire career, from their humble beginnings in Liverpool to their final live performance on the roof of Apple Records in 1969.

As an added bonus for Xbox 360 owners, Microsoft will be offering “All You Need Is Love” as an exclusive download via Xbox Live on September 9. All proceeds will benefit Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an independent humanitarian organization that provides emergency medical care to more than 60 countries in need.

In addition to “All You Need Is Love,” more songs from the Beatles catalog will be available for future download to supplement the 45 tracks available on-disc, including the entire Abbey Road album.

If you’re unsure as to whether the Beatles translate to video games, watch the game's gorgeous opening cinematic below.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Left 4 Dead 2 Brings Big Trouble to the Big Easy

Oddly enough, blasting through hordes of ravenous zombies is a great form of stress relief, which is probably why Valve’s Left 4 Dead is one of the most satisfying multiplayer experiences in gaming today. But did you know there’s a sequel on the way? Rev those chainsaws, because Left 4 Dead 2 invades Xbox 360s and PCs on November 17.

Wait, did I say chainsaws? That’s right, boys and girls. In addition to new campaigns, guns, characters and enemy types, L4D2 boasts melee weapons such as fire axes, baseball bats and the aforementioned motorized splatter machines.

Set in and around New Orleans, LFD2 includes five campaigns and four different gameplay modes, including campaign, versus, survival and a fourth secret mode, Joystiq reports. While I would probably prefer a downloadable expansion to the first game as opposed to a full-fledged sequel, there’s really no reason why this shouldn’t warrant an immediate purchase once it lurches its way to store shelves later this year.

Watch the awesomely gory (and gorily awesome) teaser trailer (via G4) below.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Star Wars: The Old Republic Trailer Debuts at E3

On June 1 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, game developer BioWare (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect) unveiled a trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic, the forthcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) set in that galaxy far, far away.

It’s not gameplay footage, but the action-packed cinematic looks amazing and, if you’ve played Star Wars: KotOR, you know that BioWare understands this mythology, crafting interactive adventures that outdo just about everything franchise creator George Lucas has churned out over the past decade. It will be interesting to see if that attention to story and character carries over to an MMORPG style of play.

Set 300 years after Star Wars: KotOR and its sequel—but thousands of years before the Star Wars films—The Old Republic casts players as bounty hunters, soldiers, smugglers or other unannounced character classes as war rages between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire.

Neither BioWare nor publisher LucasArts have announced a release date for The Old Republic and, as of this writing, it remains uncertain whether the game will make the jump from the PC to home consoles.

Watch the video below (via GameTrailers), but be warned: It just might get you geeked about Star Wars all over again.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Will Bryan Singer Return to X-Men?

Finally, some good prequel news. Director Bryan Singer—who helmed the first two X-Men films—told Total Film (as reported by the Coventry Telegraph) that he’s interested in returning to the series with X-Men Origins: Magneto. Singer left the franchise to direct 2006’s Superman Returns, leaving X-Men: The Last Stand in the hands of Brett Ratner. As we all know, that third installment in the series received mixed reviews from fans and critics, as did Gavin Hood’s mediocre X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which opened this year.

When asked if he would return for another X-Men film, Singer said in the interview that he “would love to return to that universe.” He later added, “The only thing that concerns me about Magneto is that if the prequel were to follow the track I used in X-Men, which is Magneto's history in the concentration camp, then I've lived in that world.”

"Apt Pupil, X-Men and now Valkyrie...I've lived in that Nazi universe for quite a while. I just might need to take a little break before I do something like that."

In other words, a Singer-directed Magneto film might happen, but not just yet. The Coventry Telegraph notes that the Magneto project has yet to move forward officially.

While some may disagree, I rank Singer’s X-Men films among the best comic book film adaptations, and I would love to see him tackle Magneto’s backstory. Singer already gave us a glimpse of a young Magneto (then Erik Lehnsherr) as he was torn away from his parents in a Nazi concentration camp at the beginning of the first film. Why not let him expand on that?

Or, we could always go the Wolverine route and throw in Dazzler as the USO girl who rescues Magneto—played by Zac Efron—from the gas chamber through the power of dance. You could even cast Lady Gaga and include her sure-to-be hit single “Magnetic” on the soundtrack.

Damn, I just gave Fox an idea, didn’t I?

Bottoms Up at the MTV Movie Awards

Like a lot of people old enough to know better, I tuned in to the 2009 MTV Movie Awards and, since I’m not a Twilight fan or a teenage girl, I wasn’t all that impressed with the broadcast. Aside from some funny moments from host Andy Samberg—including a song tribute to action movie characters who nonchalantly walk away from explosions—and some brand-new footage from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the whole affair was pretty bland. But, then again, at 25, I’m far removed from MTV’s target tween demographic.

Of course, everyone is talking about Sacha Baron Cohen (as gay, Austrian fashion journalist Brüno) aerially tea-bagging Eminem. Dressed as an angel, Cohen descended from the rafters until a “wire malfunction” placed him upside-down in front of the rapper with his ass cheeks exposed just inches from his face. As one might expect, Em was hardly amused, exclaiming “are you fucking serious” before making a hasty—and angry—retreat. It made for some interesting television, to say the least.

In the end, it’s very likely that the headline-grabbing incident was completely staged despite Eminem’s apparent outrage. After all, Eminem’s got a chart-topping album, Relapse, in stores now while Cohen’s Brüno hits theaters July 10. Everyone benefits from the barrage of free publicity.

Watch a clip of the cheeky stunt below.