Saturday, October 31, 2009

What Do You Do With a Drunken Ewok?

Happy Halloween, Wortmaniacs! On yesterday’s edition of the Today show, Matt Lauer, Ann Curry and the rest of the gang dressed up as Star Wars characters, which was pretty cool in and of itself. But when a pair of boozed-up Ewoks started getting a bit out of control in the middle of a segment, hilarity ensued.

Apparently, after knocking back a few martinis, Ewoks are prone to fighting, moonwalking and humping Al Roker’s leg. But, then again, who isn’t?


Friday, October 30, 2009

Sir Anthony Hopkins Joins the Cast of Thor!

Okay, so it’s not necessarily Halloween news, but Sir Anthony Hopkins is perhaps best known for playing cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter. So yes, this is totally holiday appropriate.

Variety reports that Hopkins will play Odin in Marvel Studios’ Thor, which hits theaters in 2011. As comic book fans and mythology buffs probably know, Odin is the king of Asgard and the father of the titular Norse god of thunder. So yeah, he’s kind of a big deal.

Chris Hemsworth (James T. Kirk’s dad in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek) will play Thor, while Natalie Portman has signed on as Jane Foster, Thor’s love interest. Thor’s brother and nemesis Loki will be played by British actor Tom Hiddleston.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Star Trek Bonus Footage Hits the Web

Like many geeks out there, I’m pretty pumped about the impending November 17 Blu-ray/DVD release of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek.

To whet our appetites, Paramount has released a deleted scene from the franchise reboot, showing the film’s time-traveling Romulan bad guy Nero (Eric Bana) being interrogated by Klingons. It’s a pretty cool sequence, and I kind of wish it made it into the final movie. But, I’m guessing Abrams is saving the Klingons for the sequel.

Watch the clip below (via SPIKE.com).


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to Feature Acts of Terrorism

The Call of Duty series rarely pulls punches when it comes to realistic depictions of the horrors of war, but the latest installment, Modern Warfare 2, may spark some controversy by including scenes of terrorism.

An Activision representative told gaming blog Kotaku that, early on in the campaign, players reach a mandatory checkpoint “in which they are warned that an upcoming segment may contain disturbing elements and they can choose not to engage in the gameplay that involves this scene.” The segment is part of the game’s infiltration-focused storyline, which requires players to earn the trust of a Russian terrorist bent on bringing the world to its knees.

According to The Associated Press and other media outlets, illegally leaked footage from the game reveals that the sequence in question allows players to shoot innocent civilians in an airport during a terrorist attack.

I think it’s smart that Activision and developer Infinity Ward are making player participation in this segment entirely optional. While actively trying not to offend sensitive players, they aren’t compromising content. This title is rated M for Mature—any halfway intelligent adult gamer should be prepared for whatever this game dishes out. That said, we should all prepare ourselves for a firestorm of negative publicity.

Modern Warfare 2 hits stores November 10, but look for the inevitable Fox News stories about a “terrorism simulator” poisoning our nation’s youth to follow shortly after.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Care for a Stroll Through “Siren Alley?”

Released in 2007, BioShock remains one of the most groundbreaking and satisfying first-person shooters of this console generation. Needless to say, we’re all expecting quite a lot from its sequel, due for release early next year.

To tide fans over ‘til then, 2K Games has released a gameplay trailer titled “Siren Alley,” giving us a peek at some of the new weaponry and locales this new underwater adventure has in store. The clip also informs us that a “worldwide embargo” on BioShock 2 will be lifted on October 29. Wait a sec! That’s this Thursday! 2K Games, you sly devils.

My interest. It’s piqued. Watch the clip below (via GameTrailers).


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Refrigerators. Very Dangerous. You Go First.


When I heard that Sideshow Collectibles was releasing an Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull action figure set based on the aged archaeologist’s escape from a nuclear explosion in a refrigerator, I assumed it was some kind of elaborate joke. After all, who would want to pay $174.99 to own and display a constant reminder of one of the most ludicrous and unintentionally hilarious moments in modern cinema?

The answer? At least 600 people. According to Sideshow’s website, this limited-edition 12-inch figure is already sold out, and it doesn’t even ship until early 2010.

Wow.

Click here for more info.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lucasfilm Debunks Star Wars Sequel Rumors

As a lifelong Star Wars fanboy, I was pretty excited when I learned that MarketSaw, a blog focused on 3D movies and technology, ran an exclusive story on October 21 revealing that Lucasfilm is readying a Star Wars sequel trilogy to be filmed in 3D, a la James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar.

No Bothans died to bring us this information, but it allegedly comes from a reliable but anonymous source who said that Star Wars creator George Lucas would not be directing, and that Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola may take the reins of a new trilogy set after Return of the Jedi.

This story quickly began making the rounds online. But like many so-called “exclusives” citing unnamed but “trusted” sources, this was all too good to be true. Quint at Ain’t It Cool News squashed this rumor almost immediately, firing off an e-mail to Lucasfilm’s public relations department. The company affirmed that there are no new theatrical Star Wars films heading our way—3D or otherwise.

I’m not surprised, but I think this speaks to one of the prevailing issues in the blogosphere: it’s just way too easy for outright bullshit to spread quickly. When it comes to Internet movie rumors, keep those salt grains handy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nickelodeon Nabs the Ninja Turtles for $60 Million

On October 21, Nickelodeon announced it has purchased the intellectual property rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from Mirage Studios and 4Kids Entertainment for $60 million. That can buy a lot of pizza.

As part of the deal, Nickelodeon—part of Viacom’s MTV Networks—will revitalize the property by developing a computer-animated TMNT television series, which is slated to debut in 2012.

Also in 2012, Viacom’s Paramount Pictures—which has turned fellow 1980s children’s properties G.I. Joe and Transformers into movie franchises—will release a new TMNT feature film. Nickelodeon has also acquired merchandising rights to the Turtles, and will continue working with Playmates Toys,  producer of Ninja Turtles action figures and accessories since 1988. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you accumulated quite a few of those growing up.

While Nickelodeon will likely play up the kiddie appeal of these heroes in a half shell (as they should), part of me hopes this 2012 relaunch of the Turtles will retain some of the edginess of creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s black-and-white comic books, which debuted in 1984. But, then again, the kid-friendly, cartoonish version of the Turtles brought us the timeless Vanilla Ice classic, “Ninja Rap.” So that’s...something.

He Ain't 'fraid of No Ghosts!

Wow. This video pretty much sums up everything I love about the Internet. For your viewing and listening enjoyment, here is sure-to-be YouTube sensation Matt Mulholland performing a multi-track acapella rendition of the Ghostbusters theme.


Monday, October 19, 2009

What Does Obi-Wan Really Think of Mos Eisley Spaceport?

I came across this clip on Topless Robot this morning and I just had to share. If this audio edit cracks you up as it did me, thank actor/writer/comedian Peter Serafinowicz, who was the voice of Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode 1-The Phantom Menace (hence the Star Wars connection). Enjoy!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Sam Raimi Promises Less Villains in Spider-Man 4

Like most comic book geeks with a keyboard and a digital soapbox, I have a hard time writing about anything related to the Spider-Man movies without first mentioning what a missed opportunity Spider-Man 3 was. So let me get this out of the way early: Spider-Man 3 sucked.

There. That felt good.

I should add that I in no way blame director Sam Raimi for how that film turned out—the end product reeked of studio meddling that was likely out of his hands. Fortunately, Raimi is well aware of the fan backlash and, as reported by the Coventry Telegraph, he’s going to make sure that film’s mistakes are not repeated in the next installment.

The one misstep Raimi is addressing up front is the number of villains. Last time, Spidey took on three baddies —Sandman, Green Goblin II and Venom—and the film suffered as a result. But, on a positive note, more characters helped Hasbro sell a lot more action figures.

“I think having so many villains detracted from the experience. I would agree with the criticism,” said Raimi. “I think I've learned about the importance of getting to the point and the importance of having limitations, and I'm hoping to take that into a production where I'm actually allowed to explore with more of the tools to pull it off with a little more splendour.”

He added, “I hope I don't lose that edge that I've just found. That would be my approach to Spider-Man 4: to get back to the basics.”

Spider-Man 4 goes into production next year.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Star Wars Gets Spooky

Today, October 13, horror-themed Star Wars novel Death Troopers hits store shelves. Penned by Joe Schreiber, the book revolves around a contagion that kills quickly and revives its victims. Those victims then feast on the flesh of the living.

Folks, Star Wars and zombies are together at last.

I don’t care much for these Expanded Universe novels, mainly because too many of them read more like generic sci-fi than genuine continuations of the Star Wars films. That said, I love the idea of a zombie story set in that galaxy far, far away. I’m in.

Death Troopers
retails for $24.00.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Journeying Through Zombieland

In spite of pop culture’s ongoing obsession with vampires, spurred by Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books and accompanying feature films, zombies (the other undead) haven’t lurched out of the limelight just yet. While not the first zombie comedy—the 1980s Return of the Living Dead films and Shaun of the Dead immediately spring to mind—Zombieland is an uproariously funny and relentlessly gory trek through post-apocalyptic, zombie-ridden America.

The main character is Columbus, played by Jesse Eisenberg doing his best Michael Cera impression (these two are going to be fighting over the same roles for years). Serving as the narrator, Columbus explains that his neurotic tendencies have been key to his survival, inspiring him to come up with a list of rules to avoid falling victim to the undead. His rules include traveling light, “double tapping” seemingly incapacitating zombies (always shoot them twice) and to beware of public bathrooms. Anyone who’s read Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide is sure to get a kick out of these zombie survival rules, which crop up humorously throughout the film.

Columbus (everyone is nicknamed after their hometown) crosses paths with Tallahassee, a Twinkie-loving badass zombie killer played by Woody Harrelson. Harrelson seems to be enjoying himself whenever he’s onscreen, and his chemistry with Eisenberg provides much of the film’s comedy that isn’t derived from creatively massacring—or running from—the living dead. The pair soon stumbles upon con-artist sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who round out this film’s makeshift and eventually somewhat functional family unit. Once they all learn to get along, the group heads west to Pacific Playland, an amusement park that’s rumored to be zombie-free. If you’ve ever seen a zombie movie before, you already know those rumors are complete bull.

As if director Ruben Fleischer’s genre mash-up wasn’t awesome enough—finding a tremendous balance between horror and comedy—a brilliant cameo toward the end of the film sends Zombieland right over the edge. I won’t spoil the surprise here, but it’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a movie in recent years.

With franchise written all over it (likely smeared in blood), Zombieland is an instant comedy classic.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ivan Reitman Confirmed for Ghostbusters 3

While the specifics are still unclear, veteran Ghostbusters producer/director Ivan Reitman has been “straight up confirmed” for Ghostbusters 3, according to Bloody-Disgusting. This could mean he will be attached to the film as a consultant, producer or even a director. My fingers are crossed for that last one.

The piece goes on to reveal that the story will involve the ‘busters reopening for business after being closed for an extended period of time.

Reitman’s involvement may not be all that surprising, but it’s great to see this project actually moving forward in a tangible way after all these years. Hopefully, the script by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (The Office) makes this film worth the wait.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Venomous Spidey Spinoff May Have a Writer

After arch-villain Venom was unceremoniously shoehorned into Spider-Man 3, Columbia Pictures is readying a spin-off film for the character, Variety reports. Fresh from rewriting the script for Spider-Man 4, which goes into production in 2010, Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) is in talks to pen the script. He may also direct.

Do I think Venom could work in a movie? Sure. He’s one of my favorite Spidey villains. But I just don’t see how a standalone Venom film would work if it’s attached to the existing Spider-Man franchise. All fanboy conjecture aside, Venom/Eddie Brock (played by Topher Grace) is quite dead at the end of Spider-Man 3. So this movie already has that going against it.

Also, and let’s be honest, the Venom subplot is easily the weakest aspect of that film. Since the studio essentially forced director Sam Raimi to work the character into the story somehow, the entire film suffered and left a lot of fans disappointed. Spider-Man 3 came out in 2007—I’m not sure if those wounds have healed just yet.

If Ross does sign on to this project, he has his work cut out for him.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Final Countdown: Writing Begins on Arrested Development Script

No, it’s not a trick. As renowned illusionist George Oscar Bluth II (Gob) has taught us, those are what whores do for…you know the rest.

Arrested Development creator Mitchell Hurwitz and co-executive producer James Vallely have officially begun writing a screenplay for the anticipated film continuation of the popular (but criminally short-lived) Fox series, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

With Hurwitz stipulating that he wouldn’t begin scripting the film unless the entire cast agreed to return, it’s safe to say that each of the Bluths is on board.

Ta-da!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Transformers 3 Set for 2011

This may not necessarily be the most awesome news for those of us who sat through the barely coherent (albeit pretty) Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but director Michael Bay announced October 1 on his Shoot for the Edit site that he has a “great Transformers 3 story,” and that the release date of the sequel has been moved up to July 1, 2011 from 2012.

According to his blog, Bay has already had a five-hour meeting with visual effects powerhouse Industrial Light & Magic in San Francisco, and is in talks with Transformers toy manufacturer Hasbro about new character designs.

Bay ends the post with a shot at franchise star Megan Fox, who has described him in the press as being “like Hitler on the sets” among other widely publicized insults. Despite this apparently rocky professional relationship, she will be returning in the next installment.

He writes:
P.S. Megan Fox, welcome back. I promise no alien robots will harm you in any way during the production of this motion picture. Please consult your Physician when working under my direction because some side effects can occur, such as mild dizziness, intense nausea, suicidal tendencies, depression, minor chest hair growth, random internal hemorrhaging and inability to sleep. As some directors may be hazardous to your health, please consult your Doctor to determine if this is right for you.
Ouch.