Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dan Aykroyd Addresses 'Ghostbusters 3' Rumors

A third Ghostbusters movie is apparently still happening, even though all evidence (and common sense) seems to point to the contrary.

In an e-mail to horror website Bloody-Disgusting, a reader notes that Ghostbusters 3 producer/writer/star Dan Aykroyd said in a recent WGN Radio Chicago interview that casting for the film is underway, and that fresh faces such as Bill Hader, Anna Faris and Eliza Dushku are being considered. Aykroyd also confirmed Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver’s involvement as well as the production’s May 2011 start date.

But like all Ghostbusters 3 news, take this with a grain of salt. Or, more appropriately, an ounce of ectoplasm.

Remembering Irvin Kershner, Director of 'The Empire Strikes Back'

Irvin Kershner, known to Star Wars fans as the director of The Empire Strikes Back, has passed away. He was 87 years old.

I became hooked on all things Star Wars at the tender age of three, when my parents introduced me to The Empire Strikes Back on VHS. I had no idea there were other Star Wars films in existence at that point in my life, so I’m fairly certain large portions of the story went right over my head. Nevertheless, I thrilled to the Rebels’ Hoth escape, the Millennium Falcon’s race through an asteroid field to evade the Empire, the wisdom of Yoda and the exciting lightsaber duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.

Even though I had no real concept of the grander Star Wars universe—something I’d go on to spend many years examining and appreciating—Kershner’s storytelling sensibilities made that galaxy far, far away feel accessible, rich and, most importantly, real. Sure, George Lucas unveiled Star Wars to the the world with the original film in 1977, but it was Kershner’s sequel released three years later that transformed Lucas’ space opera into a genuine modern myth. This is probably why just about every adult Star Wars fan will name The Empire Strikes Back as their favorite film of the saga.

“Following Star Wars, I knew one thing for sure: I didn’t want to direct the second movie myself,” Lucas said in a statement on StarWars.com. “I needed someone I could trust, someone I really admired and whose work had maturity and humor. That was Kersh all over.”

Lucas met Kershner while he was a student at the University of Southern California, and came to admire the elder filmmaker as a mentor.

“I didn’t want Empire to turn into just another sequel, another episode in a series of space adventures,” Lucas explained. “I was trying to build something, and I knew Kersh was the guy to help me do it. He brought so much to the table. I am truly grateful to him.”

The Star Wars creator added, “He was a friend as well as a colleague. He will be missed.”

Indeed, he will be. Click here to read a recent interview with the director, originally published in the August/September 2010 issue of Star Wars Insider.

Leslie Nielsen Passes

As just about anyone with an Internet connection or a cable subscription is probably well aware, legendary comedic actor Leslie Nielsen died over the weekend due to pneumonia-related complications. He was 84 years old.

Though he is perhaps best known for roles in slapstick comedies such as Airplane! And the Naked Gun series, Nielsen appeared in more than 100 films and 1,500 television series over the course of his storied career.

Shirley, he will be missed.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from The Wort Report

Here’s wishing each of you out there a happy and safe Thanksgiving. In honor of tomorrow’s celebration of turkey, pies and football, I present you with this video chronicling the creation of a questionable holiday dish called TurBaconEpic, aptly described by Epic Meal Time as a “bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a pig.”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brandon Routh Won't Return as Superman

Well, this was expected. Deadline.com is reporting that Brandon Routh—the actor who played Superman/Clark Kent in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns—won’t be returning for Zack Snyder’s upcoming franchise reboot.

Instead, Warner Bros., Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan are casting a “wide net” when it comes to casting the new Man of Steel. According to Deadline’s Nikki Finke and Mike Fleming, the next actor to don the iconic blue and red costume will be within the age range of 28-32 and will be a relative unknown.

Synder’s film is scheduled to begin production in June. For the full story, click here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Natalie Portman in a Thong!

Got your attention? Good. David Gordon Green has reunited his Pineapple Express pals James Franco and Danny McBride for Your Highness, a medieval-era stoner buddy comedy set for release on April 8, 2011.

As cool as it is to see Franco and McBride teaming up yet again in a film like this—albeit now in a fantasy setting—I’m more impressed by Natalie Portman’s involvement in this type of thing. Then again, she’s proven that she has comedic ability based on her Funny or Die and Saturday Night Live appearances.

Check out the red-band trailer, which features an oh-so-gratuitous shot of Ms. Portman in that thong I promised earlier. And before you ask, no, she hasn’t responded to any of those letters I’ve been sending.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The 'Green Lantern' Trailer Looks Terrible

Dodgy CGI. Lame jokes. Cheesy voiceovers. Ladies and gentlemen (mostly gentlemen), judging by this just-released trailer, I’m pretty confident that next summer’s Green Lantern film is going to suck—or at least enrage legions of diehard comic book geeks (which honestly isn’t all that difficult, but still).

Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

Get Pumped for 'Wolverine 2: The Wolverine'

Okay, that headline isn‘t exactly accurate (as you’ll soon read), but I get a kick out of redundant movie titles. Yes, I‘m weird. What of it?

Hitfix reports that the follow-up to X-Men Origins: Wolverine helmed by Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Black Swan) won’t actually be a sequel at all. Aronofsky told the website that the film will be called The Wolverine, and should be considered a “one-off” as opposed to a true sequel to the lackluster 2009 X-Men prequel.

In other words, think of The Wolverine as a standalone graphic novel as opposed to a trade paperback collection.

I’m cool with the idea of Aronofsky not referencing the other films, but I sincerely hope he doesn’t mangle the series’ already shaky continuity. Otherwise, Fox is better off just rebooting the series and starting fresh (although with X-Men: First Class already in production, that’d be pretty stupid).

For the full story, click here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Spider-Man Musical Delayed Yet Again!

Give it up, Webslinger. This is getting embarrassing.

The Associated Press has reported that the long-delayed Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has postponed its debut yet again, with previews now beginning on Nov. 28 for a Jan. 11 opening. The show was originally set to open just four days before Christmas, with previews beginning before the lucrative Thanksgiving holiday.

The latest in a long line of delays for Turn Off the Dark is tied to the $60 million production’s complicated Cirque du Soleil stunts and various technical issues.

“I’m not surprised that Spider-Man is delayed,” an unnamed theater producer not connected with the production told the AP. “They are building a musical that costs three times as much as the biggest musical we’ve seen previously.”

The previous titleholder for most expensive show on Broadway was the $25 million Shrek the Musical, which failed to earn a profit for its investors.

The Spidey musical, helmed by the Tony Award-winning director of The Lion King, Julie Taymor, was originally set to open in February, 2010. The timing issues have been exacerbated by two on-set accidents that injured actors—including one who broke both of his wrists during an aerial stunt—and the New York State’s Department of Labor’s failure to complete a safety review when producers said they were unprepared to show all of the aerial theatrics in a single day.

The show also features music by U2’s Bono and The Edge, which is another problem entirely.

For the full story, click here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chris Nolan Casting Two Female Roles in 'The Dark Knight Rises'

It looks like Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises won’t be a Bat-sausage fest after all.

Deadline.com is reporting that Nolan is meeting with six actresses to cast a new love interest for Bruce Wayne and a female villain. The six women being considered for the roles are Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway and Keira Knightley.

I’m sure many of you out there are already speculating that one of these roles will be revealed to be Selina Kyle/Catwoman, but I really like the idea of Hathaway as Talia al Ghul or Weisz as, well, anyone. As for Natalie, I find it hard to believe that she’d do a Batman film after starring in three Star Wars prequels, V for Vendetta and Marvel Studios’ upcoming Thor. She must be getting tired of creepy love letters from her nerdy fans (which would explain why she’s never answered mine).

For the full story, click here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What a Piece of Sith

Review: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 (Xbox 360)

At the time of this writing, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II has been on store shelves for close to two weeks, and if you’re the type to scour video game review sites and blogs on a daily basis, you’re already well of its myriad of problems and you’re probably not all that likely to pick it up in the first place. But if you’re still considering a purchase, I’ve got a few reasons to save your cash for something else.

Bear in mind, I wasn’t all that complimentary toward the original Force Unleashed. In fact, in my review of the first game, I called its core combat gameplay a “needlessly tedious exercise” and lambasted its broken camera and targeting system. However, I did—and still do—think that the original title’s story of betrayal and redemption had an “old-school” Star Wars feel to it, surpassing much of the melodrama and ham-fisted plot developments that plagued the prequel trilogy. Surely a sequel would address the original game’s shortcomings and deliver an equally gripping narrative, right? Well, read on, young Gameplayer.

I Find Your Lack of Story Disturbing

As I already mentioned, Starkiller’s emotional journey made the original game worthy of at least one playthrough. But if you played that story to completion and earned the “light side” ending, you know that Darth Vader’s evil-turned-valiant secret apprentice sacrificed himself to save the fledgling Rebel Alliance. So how the hell are we still playing as him in the sequel? It’s a good question, and it’s one LucasArts doesn’t bother to answer in TFU 2.

In this game, you’re one of many clones of the original Starkiller, but you’re haunted by the memories of your deceased Force-sensitive template. Is he really a clone? Did Vader somehow revive his fallen apprentice? Is this clone a medical anomaly? We never really find out. Instead, we follow Starkiller on his single-minded mission to reunite with Juno Eclipse, his love interest from the original game. And that’s about it. The game never gives you a reason to care about what happens this time around, let alone provide a compelling argument for its existence as the continuation of a finished story. If you’re expecting anything deeper than a “fight the bad guys to kiss the hot girl” plot from your video games, you might want to try something a little bit more sophisticated in the writing department—Just Dance 2, for instance.

Also, without going into detail, this game also makes Vader look like even more of a wimp than the prequels did, especially following the ridiculous (and canon-defying) finale.

Mash Buttons, Throw Controller, Repeat
The combat, Force powers and camera are greatly improved from the first game, meaning you’re able to slash, fry, toss and dismember legions of Stormtroopers, mechs and walkers to your heart’s content. Unfortunately, the routine wears thin about midway through the game (which is after the second level, by the way, but I’ll get to that later).

Force abilities are cool until you come face-to-face with enemies resistant to them, while wielding two lightsabers at once is awesome until you come up against enemies that block any and all physical attacks. And since the game likes to throw a healthy mix of opponents that are alternately weak to Force attacks and resistant to them, most of the game is spent frustratedly spamming enemies with whatever they’re vulnerable to so you can move onto the next group of bad guys. Isn’t being a badass Jedi with near-limitless power supposed to be fun?

“Boba Fett? Boba Fett? Where?” (SPOILER ALERT)
To answer your question, Mr. Solo, he’s in TFU 2…for about a minute. Yes, in an effort to appease Star Wars fanboys, LucasArts weaved two of the saga’s most popular characters—Boba Fett and Yoda—into the narrative. Wait, “weaved” isn’t the right word. Crammed? That sounds about right.

You meet Yoda outside the infamous “dark side” cave on Dagobah (he sits on a rock and spouts some nebulous dialogue in a cutscene), while Boba is hired by to kidnap Juno and lure Starkiller into a trap. You see him, but you never get to fight him. Instead, you battle legions of robot spiders in the bowels of a command ship. Yay.

The brevity of these cameos didn’t stop LucasArts from using both iconic characters in their marketing material (Yoda’s even on the back of the box). It’s funny how that works.

This Game Is Four Hours Long
I was going to include a clever title for this section, but I opted to take the direct approach because THIS GAME IS $60 AND ONLY FOUR FRIGGIN HOURS LONG. TFU 2 isn’t a full sequel: it’s a glorified expansion pack.

However, the repetitive combat and the copy-and-paste level design actually make the game feel twice as long. So that’s something.

Overview
I’d love to be able to say that TFU 2 is somehow worthy of a rental, but with so many better action titles on the market right now—including Dead Rising 2, Fable 3 and Fallout: New Vegas—playing through this lackluster sequel would rob you of time better spent playing games that matter. Sure, the graphics and the controls are an improvement on those of the original Force Unleashed, but the lame story, laughable length and boring combat not only make this a bad game, but a seemingly-intentional insult to Star Wars fans. LucasArts should be ashamed.

Martin Sheen in Talks to Play Uncle Ben in Upcoming Spidey Flick

Charlie Sheen’s battle with addiction has been making headlines recently, but that hasn’t stopped his dad, acting veteran Martin Sheen, from making some news of his own. The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog reports that the elder Sheen is in final negotiations to play Uncle Ben in Sony’s unnamed Spider-Man franchise reboot.

As Peter Parker’s wise-but-doomed father figure, Sheen would join Andrew Garfield as Peter/Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy and Rhys Ifans as the unnamed villain rumored to be the Lizard. Sally Field is reportedly in early talks to play Aunt May.

I’m still not totally sold on the idea of rehashing Spider-Man’s origin story just ten years after the first film hit theaters, but this is shaping up to be a stellar cast. Let’s hope director Marc Webb makes the most of the talent on his hands when he starts shooting next month.

The film is slated for release on July 3, 2012.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Zack Snyder’s ‘Superman’ Reboot Will Be “Different”

Wow, Zack Snyder’s having a good week. First, the trailer for his upcoming action flick Sucker Punch is dropping jaws all over the blogosphere, and now his recent interview with Empire (via Digital Spy) has comic book geeks buzzing about his anticipated reboot of the stagnant Superman franchise.

Man of Steel fans who were disheartened by the “been there, done that” narrative of Superman Returns—Bryan Singer’s painstakingly dull homage to Richard Donner’s 1978 classic—can rest assured that this new film won’t be a retread.

“It’s a different story,” the Watchmen director told Empire of the script penned by Batman Begins/The Dark Knight scribe David Goyer, quick to clarify that the film will not play fast and loose with Supes’ core mythology. “I won’t say there’s a break from the canon or anything like that, but there is definitely an approach that makes you go, ‘Okay, that's a way to get at it.’”

As for the rumors that Superman II villain General Zod will be the Last Son of Krypton’s adversary next time around, Snyder quipped that “the Internet has no idea what’s going on.”

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The 'Sucker Punch' Trailer Hurts Real Good

Regardless of how you feel about director Zack Snyder, you have to admit that his films—which include his Dawn of the Dead remake, 300 and Watchmen—look phenomenal. Therefore, it is with great excitement that I present you with the trailer for his high-octane action film Sucker Punch, which hits theaters next March.

The film centers around a young girl who, after being institutionalized by her sinister father, creates an over-the-top alternate reality for herself to aid in her escape from confinement. Dragons? Check. Ninjas? Check. Robots? Check. Gunfire? Check. Smoking hot women kicking ass? Check and mate.

I officially cannot wait to see what Snyder does with his Superman reboot, which is still in the early stages of production.

Check out the Sucker Punch trailer below.