Sunday, May 29, 2011

George Lucas Gives New Details on the Live-Action ‘Star Wars’ TV Show

In a recent interview with G4TV’s Attack of the Show, Star Wars mastermind George Lucas talked about the process of converting the entire saga to 3D and the status of the live-action Star Wars television series, which will be set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.

“It sits on the shelf,” Lucas told Attack of the Show’s Kevin Pereira, much to the disappointment of countless Star Wars geeks (myself included). “We have 50 hours, and we’re just waiting to figure out a different way of making movies—a different technology that we can use—that will make it so that it’s economically feasible to shoot the show. Right now, it looks like the Star Wars features, but we have to figure out a way of making it for about a 10th of the cost of the features. Because it’s television. We’re working toward that and we will get there at some point.”

Keep in mind that the “50 hours” of Star Wars TV Lucas mentioned is in reference to scripts, not finished episodes. This series is still a long way off.

Watch the interview below.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Thanos Will Menace ‘The Avengers’

Latino Review reports that in addition to tangling with Loki and a Skrull invasion in next summer’s Avengers film, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will also contend with Thanos, according to a reliable source at Marvel Studios.

I didn’t think it was possible to be many more excited about The Avengers, but…here we are.

Check out the full story by clicking here.

Orlando Bloom Confirmed for 'The Hobbit'

Although we've already heard rumblings that Orlando Bloom would be reprising the role of elven archer Legolas in The Hobbit, director Peter Jackson has confirmed the actor's involvement in his two-film Lord of the Rings prequel.

"Ten years ago, Orlando Bloom created an iconic character with his portrayal of Legolas," Jackson said in a May 27 post on his official Facebook page. "I'm excited to announce today that we'll be revisiting Middle Earth with him once more. I’m thrilled to be working with Orlando again. Funny thing is, I look older—and he doesn’t! I guess that's why he makes such a wonderful elf."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

‘Star Trek’ Sequel Delayed?

J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot accomplished many things. It breathed new life into the staggering sci-fi franchise, it gave countless moviegoers an access point to the sprawling and downright confusing Star Trek mythology and—perhaps most importantly for Paramount Pictures—it set the stage for the further adventures of Kirk, Spock and the rest of the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise. So, two years later, Trekkers and casual fans alike are still wondering: What’s the deal with the sequel?

Well, according to Deadline.com—a site that tends to be pretty accurate when it comes to things like this—the next Star Trek film will likely fail to meet its scheduled July 29, 2012, release date. More realistically, we can expect the sequel at the end of next year, as the film is little more than a 70-page outline at this point, 13 months removed from its original release date.

This news doesn’t exactly set my phaser to stunned. After all, the revamped Trek was pushed back from December 2008 to May 2009, and that extra time seemed to work in its favor. However, it’s troubling that none of the creative forces behind that first film seems to be all that enthusiastic about moving next installment forward. If the point of Abrams’ film was to make the property relevant once again, it did just that. Now what? People are going to start losing interest again if we don’t start getting some concrete news on the future of this franchise.

Hopefully, we’ll be hearing more about Star Trek 2 after Abrams’ Super 8 hits theaters on June 10.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A ‘Muppets’ Trailer Sneaks Up on Us

Well, this looks like a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see what writer/star Jason Segel does with Jim Henson’s iconic characters in The Muppets, especially considering the fact that this is the first theatrical outing for Kermit and the gang since 1999’s less-than-good Muppets in Space.

Also, it’s hard not to love the fact that the new teaser (embedded below) is disguised as a trailer for a generic romantic comedy. Oh, those Muppets and their shenanigans.

The Muppets hits theaters this Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

NBC Deems New ‘Wonder Woman’ Less Than Wonderful

Don’t act surprised. David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman reboot for NBC will not be going forward, reports Deadline.com’s Nikki Finke. The pilot for the series, which was set to star Friday Night Lights’ Adrianne Palicki, was not picked up by the network.

Good riddance, I say. From the hideous costume to the “reimagined” role of Diana Prince as a corporate executive, this series had failure written all over it. The character deserves better than what Kelley had in store, and I sincerely hope this series’ demise inspires Warner Bros. to refocus their efforts on a proper feature film outing for the star-spangled Amazon. As far as I’m concerned, Warner Premier’s straight-to-video Wonder Woman animated feature serves as an excellent template for how the character should be treated in live-action. Filmmakers would be wise to look to that film for inspiration.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Finally, ‘Star Wars’ Pays Me

After two consecutive weekends partying it up in Atlantic City, I’m pretty much spent and I don’t even think my body has recovered quite yet. Still, I had a blast, and I’m proud to have finally gotten a firsthand look at the dizzying highs (the Borgata) and the staggering lows (the boardwalk) of Las Vegas Jr.

Now, I’m not going to name the exact amount, but I won big during my first trip, most of which came from a single bet on a slot machine. On my second journey to the city that’s “always turned on,” I came away with a much smaller amount, but I can’t help but love the fact that I scored those few extra bucks on a Star Wars-branded slot machine at the Borgata.

That’s right, ladies and gents. After spending untold amounts of cash on Star Wars merchandise for the better part of two decades, George Lucas’ media empire sorta paid me back. I know there are holes in that logic but…shut up.

The game I played is called Star Wars Droid Hunt, and it’s actually not the worst way to piss away time and money in a casino while buxom cocktail waitresses serve up free drinks. The game feature clips and sound effects from the original trilogy (mostly from A New Hope), in addition to interactive minigames that make you forget how many times you’ve been recklessly pressing the “max bet” button. It even features game-specific voicework from C-3PO himself, Anthony Daniels. That guy keeps busy.

Learn more about Star Wars Droid Hunt by checking out the trailer below. Yes, slot machines apparently have trailers now. I’m as baffled as you are.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Revamped ‘Spider-Man’ Musical Opens on Broadway

After taking a three-week hiatus for significant retooling, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark resumes previews this week, with producers promising that the troubled $70 million Broadway musical will now stick closer to the character’s comic book roots following the departure of previous director Julie Taymor, The New York Times reports.

Says Taymor’s replacement, Philip William McKinley, the show’s lighter tone aims to appease the “8-to-88-year-old market,” with an additional $5 million going toward five new flying sequences, new and rewritten songs by Bono and The Edge and expanded roles for Aunt May, Uncle Ben and Mary Jane Watson.

According to the article, the bizarre character of Arachne—previously a villainous goddess—has been scaled back and altered drastically, becoming, in the Times’ words, Peter Parker’s “guardian angel figure.”

“In Turn Off the Dark 2.0, the myth of Arachne does not overpower the reason people are there,” Bono told the newspaper via email, “to discover what makes Peter Parker a superhero, which in the end turns out not to be his spider senses, but his personal integrity and especially his humility—something something I hope all of us in this process have learned from.”

That sounds all well and good—especially that last bit about humility in light of the show’s disastrous history—but this shiny and new iteration of Turn Off the Dark evidently features a musical number in which the Green Goblin makes fun of voicemail.

...

No, I don’t think it’s fixed yet.

For the full story, click here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

‘Thor’ Reviewed

Arriving in theaters with exactly the type of bombast befitting the film debut of the God of Thunder, Marvel Studios’ Thor is not only perhaps the most polished of Marvel Studios’ outings thus far—due in no small part to some excellent directing by Kenneth Branagh—but is also the most ambitious. After the relatively down-to-earth Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2, Thor brings a grand, otherworldly mythology to the cinematic Marvel Universe that will no doubt be expanded upon in this summer’s Captain America: The First Avenger and next summer’s highly anticipated film union of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The Avengers.

The film kicks off when a team of researchers (played by Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård and Kat Dennings) comes across a strange phenomenon in the New Mexico desert. At the center of this supernatural occurrence—later revealed to be a wormhole to another realm—is a bulked-up drifter (Chris Hemsworth) claiming to be a Norse deity. While her teammates are wary of this potentially dangerous stranger, Portman’s character, Jane Foster, finds herself drawn to him. Could it be his piercing blue eyes, chiseled physique and lady-killing smile? Or does Jane somehow believe him when he says he is Thor Odinson, heir to the throne of Asgard?

Although we’re inclined to avoid people who claim to be Viking gods, Jane is right to trust Thor, who, after disobeying his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), is stripped of his powers and banished to Earth. In Thor’s absence, his calculating brother Loki (played to mischievous perfection by scene stealer Tom Hiddleston), seizes the opportunity to take the throne and claim what he believes is rightfully is. Assuming lordship over Asgard, Loki sets into action a treacherous plot that calls to mind several of the films in Branagh’s Shakespeare-heavy résumé. The film switches back and forth between Loki’s familial machinations on Asgard and Thor’s fish-out-of-water shenanigans on Earth, which can be jarring at times. But once Thor is reunited with his iconic hammer Mjolnir, both stories converge wonderfully for a fast-paced climax that hints at major things to come in the cinematic Marvel Universe.

Read my full review at Broken Frontier by clicking here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kenneth Branagh: Fans Will Decide Whether ‘Thor’ Gets a Sequel

Thor hits U.S. screens this weekend, but as is usually the case with potential franchises, fans are already asking questions about the sequel. We know the God of Thunder will feature prominently in next summer’s Avengers team-up flick, but what about Thor 2? According to director Kenneth Branagh, it’s up to ticket-buying fans whether or not the hammer-wielding deity gets another solo outing.

“You know as well as I do, there’s a passionate fan base out there that will say what they think,” Branagh told MTV’s Splash Page. “People will vote with their feet. And because it’s such a big chunk of change for everybody involved, I think that’s going to have a crucial, crucial impact.”

He continued, “It would be a lovely challenge and problem to have should we do a second one.”

Judging by the early reviews and extremely positive word of mouth thus far from those passionate fans Branagh spoke of, a Thor sequel released post-Avengers is almost a given. However, with so many Marvel Studios projects on the horizon—including another Iron Man film, a Captain America sequel and potential Hawkeye and Black Widow spinoffs—one wonders if audiences will ever get bored of seeing superhero movies every summer. I certainly hope not.

More ‘Star Wars’ Blu-ray Details Emerge

Unless you’ve been ignoring your friends on Facebook and Twitter for some reason, you’re probably aware that yesterday was Star Wars Day, a holiday that emerged because people love saying “May the fourth be with you.” Silly, I know.

Giving fans more reason to celebrate on this bizarre occasion, StarWars.com posted a detailed breakdown of what we can all expect from Star Wars: The Complete Saga, the nine-disc Blu-ray collection of all six live-action Star Wars films that hits North American shelves on Sept. 16. The set will boast more than 40 hours of extended and deleted scenes, cast and crew interviews and documentaries covering just about every aspect of the films and the fandom surrounding them.

It should be noted, however, that Lucasfilm does not state whether the original theatrical releases will be included on this set, so if you want to witness the original “Yub Nub” Ewok celebration sequence in high-definition, you’re probably outta luck…for now at least.

To check out the specifics of this Blu-ray release, click here.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Stuff Blows Up in the New ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ Trailer

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is easily among the most incoherent, rushed, sloppy and audience-insulting films to hit theaters in the last decade. However Michael Bay’s craptastic sequel to the dumb-but-fun original Transformers made a ton of money, allowing the boom-happy director to bring Hasbro’s Robots in Disguise to theaters once more with Transformers: Dark of the Moon on July 1—this time in 3D!

Since we all hated Revenge of the Fallen (and if you didn’t you should), Bay is hoping to redeem himself with an invasion story somehow tied to the 20th century Space Race. This time around, the Decepticons launch an all-out assault on Earth, putting the Autobots and their human allies in their most precarious position yet.

But does the new trailer tell us? There will be explosions, robots fight, and Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky’s new girlfriend played by Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whitely. Like her ousted predecessor Megan Fox, she will likely spend the bulk of the film looking dirty, sweaty and confused.

Also, judging by the previous film, we can also expect ample amounts of racial caricatures, robot testicles and at least one joke about dogs humping.

Check out the trailer below (via MTV Movies Blog).