Thursday, December 31, 2009

Patrick Stewart Knighted

Patrick Stewart, best known for playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men films, has received a knighthood in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year Honours List, BBC News reports.

So, let’s recap: the 69-year-old actor has been a captain, a professor and now he’s a knight. He was even a king in Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Is there any title he doesn’t have?

Your move, William Shatner.

Happy 2010, Wortmaniacs!

Here’s wishing each and every one of you a very happy and healthy new year. In lieu of one of those laborious “Best of 2009” lists in which I would arbitrarily rank my favorite stuff from this past year, I’ll simply share with you my favorite viral video of 2009: “Happy in Paraguay” by The Dayjob Orchestra (DJO). I could explain why this Star Trek: The Next Generation overdub is so brilliant, but I’ll let you discover that for yourselves.

If you’re craving apple juice, cheddar cheese or fish heads during your New Year’s Eve festivities, you can blame me.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wild Blue Yonder

Let me get my hyperbolic fanboy raving out of the way: Avatar is a groundbreaking technological achievement. Heralded as a cinematic game-changer that would forever transform the way we look at movies, James Cameron’s highly anticipated 3D sci-fi epic had a lot to live up to. Predictable storyline aside—if you’ve seen the trailer, you know exactly what happens—Avatar is satisfying in ways most big-budget blockbusters simply aren’t. Yes, Cameron places a heavy emphasis on visual effects wizardry. But those visual effects tell the story; they don’t replace it.

The Rodent Problem

While I’d hoped to see Avatar on its release weekend, weather and holiday-related scheduling conflicts prevented me and my friends from getting to the theater until Sunday, December 27. The place? City Center 15: Cinema De Lux in White Plains, New York. The time? 8:15 P.M. Beverage of choice? Diet Coke. It was on. Or was it?

Even though the movie had been out for more than a week, this screening was sold out, and my friends and I had to sit fairly close to the front of the theater when we got to our seats a few minutes before show time. We sat through the trailers as the remaining seats were claimed by grateful latecomers. But something didn’t seem right. The family-friendly coming attractions didn’t seem at all tailored to the type of audience Avatar would attract. We sat through an advert for a terrible babysitting comedy starring Jackie Chan. Another for a movie in which Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson becomes the Tooth Fairy called, you guessed it, Tooth Fairy. Then came the Twentieth Century Fox logo, while three prepubescent rodents started singing “You Really Got Me.”
No.

We were watching Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. We were in the right theater, but whoever was running the projector screwed up big time. An angry mob of movie nerds wearing oversized 3D glasses leapt from their seats demanding blood, or, at the very least, that someone fix the problem. We didn’t pay $15 to get jerked around while anthropomorphic chipmunk shenanigans played out on screen. Fortunately, the problem was fixed in a timely manner. We all put on our 3D glasses and began our journey to Pandora.

And what a journey it was.

The Movie

Avatar takes place in the year 2154, when a corporation called RDA has set up camp on Pandora, a moon of a planet called Polyphemus. On Pandora is a mineral called unobtainium, which is highly sought after by the corporation and its slimy administrator, Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi). Standing in the way of RDA’s ravishing of Pandora’s landscape are the Na’vi, the moon’s nine-foot-tall, blue-skinned inhabitants.
To interact with the natives in the hope of learning from them and ultimately earning their trust, the corporation has created human-Na’vi hybrids called avatars, which are remotely operated from a laboratory. Each of the avatars is genetically matched to a human driver, but when one of the drivers is killed, his twin brother Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is called in to take his place. Jake, a former marine, is wheelchair-bound, lacking his brother’s PhD and formal training. Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), head of RDA’s avatar program, has her doubts about this newly enlisted jarhead. But because avatars require a genetic match, she has little choice but to accept Jake into the program to serve as a bodyguard on an exploratory mission into the lush jungles of Pandora.

Linked up to his nine-foot-tall blue body, Jake relishes the ability to once again use his legs while exploring Pandora, but he soon runs afoul of some of the native wildlife and is separated from his group. He is rescued by a female Na’vi named Neytiri (Zoë Saldaña) who, after initial trepidation, brings Jake back to her tribe, where she is instructed to teach him the ways of their people.
Grace views Jake’s acceptance into Neytiri’s tribe, the Omaticaya, as a fantastic learning opportunity. However, Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), head of RDA’s mercenary security force, sees things differently. If Jake can use his newfound influence to feed him military intelligence on the Na’vi and convince them to leave their so-called Hometree—which sits atop a massive deposit of unobtainium—then he’ll make sure to pull the strings necessary to get him his legs back. If the Na’vi can’t be convinced to move, the site will be bulldozed regardless.

So, with Neytiri’s help, Jake begins immersing himself in Na’vi culture, keeping in mind the infiltrative goal of his mission. But as he ascends the social ladder of the Omaticaya—and begins falling for Neytiri—life with the Na’vi becomes far more attractive than his relatively constrictive life as a human. When the corporation grows impatient and begins its assault on Hometree, Jake must make a choice: is he human or Na’vi? You already know the answer.

I should say at this point that Avatar might be seen as a bit heavy handed in its left-leaning political commentary and military demonization, but those same criticisms could be leveled at the original Star Wars. In fact, the similarities between George Lucas’ space opera and Cameron’s burgeoning sci-fi franchise (you know there will be sequels) are numerous: both are simplistic modern myths showcasing revolutionary visual effects for their respective time periods, and both have been criticized for being shallow by those who’ve missed the point entirely.
Yes, from a story perspective, Avatar is nothing new, but the familiar narrative hardly detracts from the overall experience. This film is all about falling in love with Pandora: its strange creatures, its exotic bio-luminescent plant life and its dreamlike, otherworldly beauty. The 3D technology—because that is the only way to see this movie—makes Pandora tangible, and the stunning motion-capture effects courtesy of Weta Digital make the Na’vi just as compelling as any flesh-and-blood actor. You never feel like you’re watching special effects, even though you’re immersed in them for the majority of this film’s 162-minute running time. The best visual effects are the ones that draw attention to what they bring to life: not how expensive they look.

As far as performances go, I must say I was pleasantly surprised by Worthington. He didn’t exactly blow my mind in Terminator Salvation earlier this year, and I can’t say I necessarily looked forward to him carrying yet another multi-million dollar blockbuster. But Worthington is quite good as Jake, both as a pained, paraplegic human and a cunning warrior in his avatar form. He has genuine chemistry with Saldaña, who remains absolutely stunning even underneath all of that digital makeup. Not that I have a thing for nine-foot-tall blue cat aliens or anything.

The Final Word

At this point, it’s unclear whether or not Avatar will go down as the movie milestone Cameron has purported it to be, but is it one of the best movies of 2009? Absolutely. This is escapist cinema at its finest.

Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 Christmas Weekend the Biggest in Box Office History

It’s no secret that people love going to the movies during the holidays, whether it’s to share an experience with loved ones or to escape from all of that togetherness for a few hours. But, Variety reports, the 2009 Christmas weekend was the biggest domestic box office weekend of all time.

Weekend ticket sales reached an estimated record-breaking $280 million, led by James Cameron’s Avatar, which earned $75 million in its second weekend of release. The number two film was Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, which opened to $65.4 million. In third place was Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel with $50.2 million.

In other Avatar news, the film has earned $212.3 million domestically with a worldwide total of $617.3 million in its first 10 days of release. Having seen the film, I can safely say it’s earned every cent.

Look for my full Avatar review later this week.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from The Wort Report

Here’s wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas. In honor of all those Christmas miracles happening around the world this week, enjoy this festive pile of fail.

Yes, it’s from The Star Wars Holiday Special. I never said I wasn’t predictable.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Quentin Tarantino Has Begun Scripting an Inglourious Basterds Prequel

If you’ve read my glowing review of Inglourious Basterds, you know I’m a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino’s long-gestating World War II fantasy flick. I saw it twice during its theatrical run and I’ve watched it twice since it was released on DVD last week. In fact, it’s on in the background right now as I write this. Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like scalping Nazis, right?

Understandably I got pretty excited when I came across a recent New York magazine interview with the director, in which he revealed he’s completed 40 pages of an Inglourious Basterds prequel. But, Tarantino explained, it won’t be his next film. His forthcoming project—which he plans on writing in a five- to six-month period—will be “smaller, less epic” and in a “different genre entirely.” What that genre could be is anybody’s guess.

Head over to New York’s Vulture blog for the full interview.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bryan Singer to Direct X-Men: First Class

Last week, Bryan Singer announced he would be returning to the X-Men franchise with X-Men: First Class, a move met with nods of approval from the geek community. While not without its flaws, Singer’s original X-Men helped to once again legitimize comic-to-film adaptations when it hit theaters in 2000, after Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin utterly destroyed the genre three years earlier. Singer’s X2: X-Men United, released in 2003, remains one of the best superhero films ever released. Unfortunately, Singer later abandoned the franchise to lesser directors, leaving us with the lackluster X-Men: The Last Stand and the downright sloppy X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Singer said that his return to the franchise came about during a recent conversation with Fox co-chairman Tom Rothman. “We not only concluded a deal, but I’ve got a pretty concise treatment,” Singer said. “There’s a story that I really want to tell.”

While he would not reveal the specifics of that story, he said “it’s basically about the formation of the X-Men. How they began and the relationship between a young Xavier and a young Magneto.”

As fans probably know, a Magneto prequel was thought to be in the planning stages alongside another Wolverine film and a Deadpool spinoff. However, it seems like First Class will incorporate elements that would have appeared in the Magneto film.

“This story would probably utilize some of the Magneto story because it deals with a young Magneto, so it might supersede that because this would explore that relationship between a young energetic professor and a disenfranchised victim of the Holocaust,” explained Singer.

But with all of these prequels and spinoffs, is the X-Men franchise spreading itself a bit thin? Singer doesn’t think so.

“The X-Men universe is boundless,” he said. “These are great characters. And as young characters, they are quite different than the characters we have seen in the contemporary movies.”

Monday, December 21, 2009

James Cameron’s Avatar Earns $242.5 Million Worldwide Over Debut Weekend

The self-proclaimed “King of the World” might have another titanic (tee hee!) hit on his hands. Variety reports that Avatar—James Cameron’s ambitious 3D sci-fi epic—raked in $77 million domestically in its opening weekend. Overseas, the film earned $165.5 million, bringing its worldwide total to $242.5 million.

These numbers are impressive, but Avatar failed to wrest the best December opening title from I Am Legend, which earned $77.2 million domestically in 2007. It did, however, earn a record-breaking $9.5 million on IMAX screens. Worldwide, the film generated $13.6 million on IMAX screens, beating the $11.3 million opening weekend record set by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen this summer.

Experts say Avatar would have performed even better had a blizzard not hit the East Coast over the weekend. I know it prevented me from getting to the theater when it hit New York Saturday night. So, while I pretty much figured out the plot months ago after watching the first theatrical trailer, I’ll need to avoid potential spoilers for a few more days.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fan Posts Hilarious 70-Minute Video Review of The Phantom Menace

It would be an understatement to say that Star Wars: The Phantom Menace—which hit theaters ten years ago—was a colossal letdown. Heck, when I went to a Star Wars panel at New York Comic Con earlier this year, the mere mention of that movie elicited boos from an auditorium full of diehard Star Wars geeks. It’s still a sore subject.

In keeping with those ill feelings, Red Letter Media has posted a 70-minute critique of the film that’s as bafflingly genius as it is laugh-out-loud funny. It also gets kind of creepy, but I won’t spoil that for you.

“Where do I possibly start?” the reviewer, “Mr. Plinkett,” asks. “Nothing in The Phantom Menace makes any sense at all. It comes off like a script written by an eight-year-old.”

What makes this seven-part video review so great isn’t that it bashes the Star Wars prequel (who hasn’t by now?), but that it humorously dissects the movie on a film school level. The problems extend far beyond Jar Jar Binks and some wooden acting.

Watch the first part of the video below, and head over to Red Letter Media’s YouTube page (RedLetterMedia) to watch the entire series.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Iron Man 2 Trailer Now Online! (Update With Video)

Oh my. Iron Man 2 is going to be a damn good sequel.

Judging by the movie’s new trailer—which Apple debuted yesterday—director Jon Favreau is bringing the awesome and bringing it hard. We’ve got Iron Man and War Machine in a massive shootout with armored bad guys, Robert Downey Jr. at his scene-stealing best, Mickey Rourke as the badass—and suitably creepy—new villain Whiplash and Scarlett Johansson in skintight leather.

I could go on and describe everything that’s awesome about the trailer, but it’s probably best that you just watch it and geek out on your own. (Embed via Marvel.com.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Lord of the Rings Hits Blu-ray in April

By Gandalf’s beard! Peter Jackson’s breathtaking Lord of the Rings trilogy is finally making its way to Blu-ray on April 6. But, Den of Geek reports, the six-disc set will only include the theatrical cuts of the films. If you want high-definition versions of the Extended Editions—the only way to watch these films, in my opinion—then you might need to wait until the first installment of The Hobbit hits theaters in 2011. A smart move by Warner Bros., but a cash grab nonetheless.

Since I’ll likely have a Blu-ray player of some sort by April, I’m tempted. However, I already own both versions of these movies on DVD, and I’m not about to make the same mistake on a new format. I’ll pass for now.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II Confirmed for 2010

Taking the stage at the Spike Video Game Awards, Mace Windu himself, Samuel L. Jackson, announced that Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II will be released in 2010. The reveal was accompanied by a brief teaser trailer showing the first game’s protagonist, Galen “Starkiller” Marek, fighting a gigantic monster in some sort of gladiator event.

Now, as anyone who played the first game knows, Galen died during the canonical “light side” ending of the first game, sacrificing himself to save the fledgling Rebel Alliance from the Emperor. Were reports of his death greatly exaggerated?

I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Force Unleashed when it hit consoles in 2008, mostly because of its occasionally sloppy combat mechanics. That said, the presentation and story were great, and it was pretty fun to play despite its flaws. If LucasArts takes the time to fine-tune the gameplay a bit this time around, this could be a must-have title for Star Wars fans.

Watch the trailer at StarWars.com.

Batman: Arkham Asylum 2 Trailer Debuts at VGAs

At this year’s Spike Video Game Awards, Batman: Arkham Asylum developer Rocksteady Studios took home a trophy for Studio of the Year. But what lies ahead for the North London-based game makers? How does a sequel sound?

During the December 12 broadcast, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment gave fans a taste of the tentatively titled Batman: Arkham Asylum 2, which promises to take the action to the streets of Gotham (or, at the very least, a brand-new location). While the game will surely feature some as-yet-unseen members of Batman’s infamous rogue’s gallery, the Joker’s back, voiced once again by Mark Hamill. After getting his pasty ass handed to him last time around, the Clown Prince of Crime isn’t looking so good these days despite whatever maniacal intentions he might have. But he’s still got Harley Quinn by his side to look after him, for what it’s worth.

The first Arkham Asylum came out just a few months ago, and one wonders if this sequel announcement is a bit premature. Nevertheless, we’re getting a sequel to the best superhero game of all time a lot sooner than we thought.

You can watch the trailer on the game’s website, arkhamhasmoved.com.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Natalie Portman to Star in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I’m sure you all know about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame-Smith’s Jane Austen mash-up that, as the title suggests, adds a healthy dose of the undead to the literary classic and transforms its heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, into a zombie-killing martial artist.

Since the book hit shelves last Spring, there have been rumblings of a film adaptation. This week, Variety reports that Natalie Portman—who already established her geek credibility in the Star Wars prequels and V for Vendetta—has signed on to star in and produce the Victorian-era monster mash.

“Natalie and I are longtime passionate fans of Jane Austen’s books and this is a fresh, fun and thought-proving way to approach her work,” says Portman’s producing partner Annette Savitch. “The idea of zombies running rampant in 19th Century England may sound odd, but it lends a modern sense of urgency to a well known love story.”

New Iron Man 2 Poster Features Mickey Rourke as Whiplash

And the Iron Man 2 images keep coming! Apple has debuted a pretty awesome poster featuring Mickey Rourke as Whiplash, complete with badass energy whips and, judging by the newspaper clips in the background, an unhealthy obsession with Tony Stark. I was worried about how this character would work onscreen, but it seems as though director Jon Favreau and his crew have the right idea. Rourke is going to own this role.

Iron Man 2 hits theaters May 7, but, according to Film School Rejects, a trailer for the anticipated will be attached to Sherlock Holmes, which also stars Robert Downey Jr. That film opens Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Comes Early for DC Comics Fans

DC Comics’ official blog, The Source, has been posting some major announcements this week about the company’s plans for 2010. Next year, readers can look forward to new beginnings for Batman and Superman, a massive war between Earth and New Krypton and the return of Bruce Wayne.

Oh, and we get to see Batman dressed up as a pirate. Confused? Read on.

Superman: Earth One (J. Michael Straczynski, Shane Davis) and Batman: Earth One (Geoff Johns, Gary Frank) are graphic novel retellings of the heroes’ earliest days in an entirely new, shared continuity. So, in essence, DC is rebooting these characters for new readers without disrupting established canon.

Batman: Earth One allows Gary and I to break the restraints of any continuity and focus on two things: character and story,” said Johns.

Straczynski will take a similar approach.

“What I’m trying to do is to dig in to the character and look at him through modern eyes. If you were to create the Superman story today, for the first time, but keep intact all that works, what would it look like?”

War of the Supermen, which promises to shake things up considerably for the Man of Steel, kicks off May 1, 2010—Free Comic Book Day.

War of the Supermen is the culmination of literally years of stories in the Super-books, all building to a destructive conflict which can have no victors,” said DC’s Superman Group editor Matt Idels. “This Free Comic Book Day #0 issue is going to show the readers that no cows are sacred, and that they don’t want to miss this event.”

The Caped Crusader and his swashbuckling duds tie into Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, which kicks off in April. Presumed dead after Final Crisis, Bruce Wayne is lost in time, and is fighting his way back to present-day Gotham City. It sounds cheesy—and it pretty much is—but keep in mind that Grant Morrison, who has done tremendous work on Batman and Robin, is writing this six-issue mini-series. The Dark Knight’s in good hands.

Click here if you want to see Bruce Wayne as a caveman, which actually makes some sense considering his history with, well, caves.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

David Lynch on Turning Down Return of the Jedi

So, apparently, Star Wars creator George Lucas approached David Lynch—known for offbeat films such as Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Dr.—to direct Return of the Jedi. I can only imagine how that film would have turned out with Lynch at the helm.

In a November 15 interview posted on FORA.tv, Lynch recounts venturing to Northern California to meet with Lucas about the film, in which he had “next door to zero interest.” “But,” he adds, “I always admired George. George is a guy that does what he loves, and I do what I love. The difference is, what George loves makes hundreds of billions of dollars. So I thought I should go up and at least visit with him.”

Lynch goes on to describe what would become a headache-inducing ordeal, during which he was introduced to “these things called Wookiees” before taking a ride in Lucas’ Ferrari to a restaurant that only served salad. He would later decline the offer, suggesting to Lucas that he direct the film himself.

“But he doesn’t really love directing,” says Lynch. Relatively unknown Welsh director Richard Marquand would ultimately direct Return of the Jedi, while Lucas would later direct all three Star Wars prequels.

The clip is pretty brief, but it’s a cool bit of Star Wars history. Watch it below.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Some Spider-Man 4 Casting News?

Got a few grains of salt handy? You’ll need them.

According to Movieline, “sources close to the film” have divulged that John Malkovich and Anne Hathaway are in talks to play villains in Spider-Man 4. Malkovich is being eyed to play the Vulture—a classic Spidey adversary who made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #2 in 1963—while Hathaway might play Felicia Hardy who, in the comics, is the webslinger’s morally questionable costumed love interest Black Cat.

Malkovich is certainly creepy enough, and I doubt I’m alone in loving the idea of Hathaway in spandex or skintight leather. This is great news!

But here’s where this story gets a bit suspect.

Movieline reports that director Sam Raimi’s version of Felicia Hardy isn’t the Black Cat. Instead, she’ll “become a brand-new superpowered figure called the Vulturess.”

Wait, the Vulturess? Are we kidding? That doesn’t even sound good. If this is true, Raimi’s lost it completely.

Here’s hoping this news turns out to be completely false and that Sony Pictures makes some official casting announcements soon.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tony Stark Doesn’t Seem All That Happy in the Iron Man 2 International Poster

Just days after the first teaser poster for Iron Man 2 hit the Web, Empire unveiled the film’s international teaser poster, which shows Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) suited up, unmasked and pissed off. This poster is likely meant to reflect the sequel’s darker tone, but let’s be honest: superhero angst is where it’s at these days.
It’s not quite as cool as the domestic teaser—which gave us our first look at James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) in his War Machine armor—but it does the job. After the success of the first Iron Man, it’s not like the sequel is a hard sell.

Iron Man 2 hits theaters May 7.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Peer Pressure Prevails, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Dragon Age: Origins

I’m not quite sure I should be telling the world that it took a healthy dose of peer pressure for me to buckle down and purchase one of the year’s best video games, but I finally picked up BioWare’s Dragon Age: Origins this weekend after a strong recommendation from a friend. I suppose the abundance of top-tier titles being released this holiday season isn’t exactly a problem for gamers, but damn, the hobby gets expensive this time of year. After Modern Warfare 2, Left 4 Dead 2 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii, I thought I was all set with video games for a while (and so did my wallet). But I’m the highly suggestible type…or so people tell me.

At dinner, prior to a marathon Lego Rock Band session last night (another fun game), my friend Morgan told me that if I was into Mass Effect, also developed by BioWare, then Dragon Age would be right up my alley.

Now, if you’ve been following The Wort Report with any regularity over the past three years, you know that I’m a major BioWare role-playing game fanboy. I loved Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (not just because I’m also a notoriously unapologetic Star Wars nerd), I played through Mass Effect several times and I’m counting down the days until Mass Effect 2’s January 26 release date. If Dragon Age was anything like Mass Effect, I needed to own it, despite already having far too many games to play right now. Again, not the worst of problems for a gamer.

There was a Target nearby, and everyone in the group was keen on going there after we were done eating. Okay, I thought. In all likelihood, the game would be sold out and the burning desire to buy it immediately would subside by morning. Damn, they had it. Double damn, there was a salesman nearby. And when he brought the game to the register, it was on sale for $39.99. Triple. Dog. Damn. I couldn’t even argue over the price! So, it was mine…the only trouble would be finding the time to actually play it.

While I haven’t gotten the chance to sink my teeth into it fully, I really like Dragon Age thus far. I’m still getting the hang of some of the micromanaging and combat mechanics (it’s a bit more like SW: KotOR than Mass Effect on that front, which isn’t a bad thing whatsoever), but I dig the medieval fantasy setting, the voice acting and the character customization thus far. I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to finish the game and write up a detailed review anytime soon—if at all—but most of the reviews out there already are positive overall and seem mostly in line with my own thoughts. Click here to check out Dragon Age’s Xbox 360 Metacritic page.

And thanks, Morgan. Now I need to somehow invent a moderately healthy alternative to sleep.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Production Delayed on The Hobbit

Peter Jackson has announced that production on the two-part film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit will start in the summer of 2010—a few months later than expected, Variety reports. The Lord of the Rings prequels, helmed by Hellboy director Guillermo del Toro, are slated for release in December 2011 and December 2012.

But what on Middle-earth is the hold up? Jackson, an executive producer on the film, said that he, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and del Toro are still working on the second Hobbit script, and aim to have it finished early next year. After the script is completed, the film will be budgeted and shooting can begin in New Zealand.

I have faith in Jackson, and I doubt we’ll be seeing the first installment of The Hobbit any later than 2011. But whenever it does hit theaters, rest assured: geeks will be there…and back again.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Iron Man 2 Teaser Poster Hits the Web

On November 30, Yahoo! Movies unveiled the first teaser poster for Iron Man 2, which hits theaters next May. There’s not much to say about it, except that it gives fans their first real glimpse of Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) suited up as War Machine. He looks, well, like War Machine should look. Good stuff!

What do you think, Wortmaniacs?