Thursday, September 30, 2010

Get Ready for 3D 'Star Wars' in 2012

Earlier this week, Lucasfilm announced that all six films in the Star Wars saga are being converted to 3D and re-released in theaters, starting with The Phantom Menace in 2012.

Yes, that means Jar Jar Binks will soon have the opportunity to annoy us in three dimensions.

Decade-old fanboy gripes aside, it’ll be pretty cool to see the entire saga in theaters once again, although one hopes that Star Wars creator and notorious tinkerer George Lucas stays his hand when it comes to unnecessary alterations to the classic films. A nip and a tuck here and there, sure, but if Lucas further populates the original trilogy with irritating CGI aliens and slapsticky robots, there will be a lot of nerds cringing behind their 3D glasses. There’s enough of that stuff in the prequels.

Judging by the official statement posted on StarWars.com, it looks like Lucas and his team are determined to avoid the missteps that plagued previous post-production 3D conversions, namely Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Louis Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender.

“It takes a critical and artistic eye along with an incredible attention to detail to be successful,” said John Knoll, visual effects supervisor for Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic. “It is not something that you can rush if you want to expect good results. For Star Wars we will take our time, applying everything we know both aesthetically and technically to bring audiences a fantastic new Star Wars experience.”

For more on the 3D Star Wars saga, click here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

'Iron Man 2' Hits DVD and Blu-ray

Iron Man 2—the most satisfying 2010 summer blockbuster this side of Inception—blasts its way onto DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow, Sept. 28. If you’re at all into comic books (Marvel in particular), you’ve probably seen it at least once already in theaters. Me? I saw it twice. So there.

Although I loved Iron Man 2 (hence the whole “saw it twice” thing), It pains me to say that it didn’t quite live up to the original. At times, it felt less like a true Iron Man sequel than an advertisement for future Marvel Studios films, namely Joss Whedon’s The Avengers and Joe Johnston’s Captain America. Still, in spite of its cluttered narrative, Robert Downey Jr. was perfect as Tony Stark, while the rest of the cast—including Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson and Mickey Rourke—did superb jobs as well. As for the action scenes, they were suitably slick, especially the bombastic finale.

To read more about Iron Man 2, check out my review at Broken Frontier by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Geeking Out Over NYCC

Excelsior! I’ve received my weekend pass for New York Comic Con 2010, taking place at the Jacob J. Javits Center on Oct. 8-10, and I couldn’t be happier. Last year’s NYCC—my first large-scale comic book convention—was the most gloriously nerdy weekend of my life, and I fully expect this year’s event to be even better.

If you don’t have your tickets yet, first of all, what the hell’s the matter with you? Secondly, you can find out how to get your hands on some by clicking here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

“You came [on] that thing? You’re braver than I thought.”

Although I used a modified Star Wars quote for the headline, I assure you that this blog post is not of a family-friendly nature. I urge all of those with delicate sensibilities to stop reading right now.

In other words, s**t just got real.

[Pause]

Okay, now that it’s just us mature (snicker) folks left, I’d like to call attention to a recent post at The Smoking Gun, which I stumbled across via Topless Robot. Evidently, a 28-year-old Florida man by the name of William Tyler Black got caught masturbating to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (featuring superhottie Brooklyn Decker) in the middle of a Wal-Mart. He’s facing exposure of sexual organs charges, according to a probable cause affidavit.

A store employee reportedly told police that Black “ejaculated onto the floor and wiped his hand on a toy along with rubbing his foot on the suspected semen on the floor.”

A police source told TSG that the toy in question was a Hasbro Star Wars lightsaber.

Oh, you bastard.

Look, I know masturbation’s making headlines this week. Hell, Christine O’Donnell—the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Delaware—has been quoted as saying the act is synonymous with adultery, sparking quite a bit of spirited debate on the blogosphere and in the media on the ins and outs of self-pleasure. But wiping one’s baby batter on a lightsaber? That’s damn near blasphemy in my book. It’s “an elegant weapon for a more civilized age,” for Obi-Wan’s sake!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ Returns This Friday

If you consider yourself a Star Wars fan (and who doesn’t?), then you really owe it to yourself to tune in to the season three premiere of Star Wars: The Clone Wars this Friday at 9 p.m. ET. I know, I know, it’s no secret that I’m what one might consider a “hardcore” Star Wars fan, and a James Wortman nod of approval for a Lucasfilm product is as expected as catcalling in a Jets locker room. (Oh, snap!)

But before you start labeling me a blinded, unrepentant Star Wars nerd, I should remind you that I absolutely loathed the 2008 theatrical Clone Wars film, which served as the feature-length premiere of the series (read “Clone Bores” at Broken Frontier if you need proof). I hated the simplistic plot, the juvenile dialogue and the stylized animation bugged the hell out of me. If you’re a computer-animated flick opening the same summer as Pixar’s WALL-E, you’d better be damned spectacular. Alas, The Clone Wars was far from it.

I considering avoiding the series at all costs, but I talked myself into tuning in cautiously when the first episodes debuted a few weeks later. And you know what? I learned the show was actually pretty good. More sophisticated than the slapped-together film and a hell of a lot more fun than the prequels, The Clone Wars for me went from a guilty pleasure to must-watch TV in a matter of weeks. And, thankfully, the storytelling and the animation only improved in the second season (on DVD/Blu-ray Oct. 26), as supervising director Dave Filoni and his team grew confident with the material.

With season three, I’m absolutely stoked to see what lies ahead for Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and the rest of the gang in that galaxy far, far away (except Jar Jar Binks, he still sucks). If the quality of storytelling last season is any indication, we’re in for a real treat. And, really, as divisive as the prequel trilogy was, it’s about time the Star Wars fan community had something to celebrate in unison.

If you’ve yet to check out The Clone Wars, get caught up by visiting the official Star Wars site.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hey, a ‘Marvel vs. Capcom 3’ Trailer!

It’s been an exhausting week, so I’ll spare you my typically-excessive verbiage and just leave this Marvel vs. Capcom 3 trailer here. Feel free to geek out to your heart’s content, I promise I won’t mind.

The anticipated third installment of this blockbuster fighting game franchise hits consoles next spring. And with that, I wish all of you Wortmaniacs an awesome weekend. Enjoy!


(Via Topless Robot)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

‘Trek’ Turns 44

Damn it, Jim! I’m a doctor, not a historian!

Okay, I’m neither, but here's a pretty cool bit of trivia for all of you Trekkies (I’m sorry, “Trekkers”) out there: The original Star Trek series made its NBC debut exactly 44 years ago today, on Sept. 8, 1966.

The first episode that aired was “The Man Trap,” during which a shape-shifting “salt vampire” stalks the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise. True Trekkers know that this wasn’t the first episode produced: “The Cage”—the actual pilot featuring a different captain, Christopher Pike—was deemed “too cerebral” by NBC execs. Instead, the first Trek adventure aired was a hokey-yet-fascinating monster story that encapsulated much of what fans would come to love about the kitschy sci-fi series, which would go on to spawn five spin-off shows and a whopping 11 feature films (about half of which are actually good, but that’s another story).

In celebration of Trek’s ability to not only live long, but prosper (ugh, sorry), watch “The Man Trap” in its entirety on YouTube.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Some Spider-Man Reboot Tidbits Hit the Web

Apologies in advance for the limited updates lately. Between a busy work schedule and a social calendar packed with end-of-summer activities, I’ve been a tad estranged from the blogosphere, for better or for worse. I’m hoping to blog a bit more often moving forward, but if I stick to posting once a week for a while, I’m sure you’ll get over it.

Speaking of getting over things, I’m actually starting to get optimistic about Sony’s ill-conceived and unnecessary reboot to its ridiculously lucrative Spider-Man movie franchise. No, I’m still not keen on seeing Peter Parker in high school again, but I was also unsure about Warner Bros. retelling Batman’s origin story a few years back. In that case, returning to the well brought us Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, so at least there’s evidence that rebooting comic book movie franchises can work if done correctly by the right people. Here’s hoping Marc Webb—the director behind the surprisingly good (500) Days of Summer—is up to the task when he takes the helm of the 2012 web-slinging superhero flick.

I recently came across a Hollywood Reporter interview with Andrew Garfield, the 27-year-old actor playing the title role in Sony’s as-yet-unnamed Spidey reboot (fingers crossed for The Amazing Spider-Man, but that would make too much sense). In the interview, Garfield—who stars in the upcoming Facebook movie The Social Network—gushed that he’s a lifelong Marvel Comics fan, which is always a good sign.

“I have been waiting for this phone call for 24 years,” Garfield said in reference to his casting. “It’s a true f**king honor to be a part of this symbol that I actually think is a very important symbol and it’s meant a great deal to me, and it continues to mean something to people. So yeah, I feel like I’ve been preparing for it for a while. Ever since Halloween when I was four years old and I wore my first Spider-Man costume.”

The Hollywood Reporter piece notes that the film starts shooting in December.

In other Spider-Man movie news, it’s rumored that actress/singer Hilary Duff could be up for a role in the 3D franchise reboot. The Globe and Mail casually mentions in a profile on the former Disney child star and her hockey player husband, Mike Comrie, that what appeared to be a script for the film was seen on the couple’s kitchen table. Highlighted lines in the script were vaguely marked “girl.”

It’s easy to scoff at the idea of “Lizzie Maguire” starring in a big-budget comic book movie, but I could totally see her as Peter Parker’s pre-Mary Jane sweetheart, Gwen Stacy. Just sayin’.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

If Mammary Serves …

Okay, I went for an easy boob joke in the headline, but when I came across a new batch of screenshots from Batman: Arkham City—the hotly anticipated sequel to Arkham Asylum—breasts were the first thing that came to mind. Maybe it’s because Catwoman’s ample bosom is so prominently displayed in the images. It could also be the fact that the game developers at Rocksteady are seemingly determined to dress Joker henchbabe Harley Quinn in bust-enhancing fetish garb whenever possible. Not that I’m complaining, but still …

Titillation (ha!) aside, Arkham City looks like it’s shaping up nicely, and its fall 2011 release window can’t come soon enough. Head over to Kotaku.com to check out more images from the game.