Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Comic Con Trailer for Tron: Legacy

Let's be clear here, I fuckin' love Tron, but when I heard that it was going to be called TR2N, all my hopes were dashed.

Then, little things began to occur that gradually restored my hopes. First, they got Bruce Boxleitner. As I said in my earlier post, he was muthafuckin' Tron, bitches. I also mentioned that if they got Jeff Bridges to reprise his role, that would sell me.

Well, they got Jeff Bridges. And Bridges is kickass. Take a look at this scene from 8 Million Ways to Die. That is one scary performance in a very cool flick.

Then they got Daft Punk to do the music. Is there anyone more qualified to do the music for a Tron sequel than Daft Punk? Kraftwerk, maybe, but that's about it.

Then they released this trailer at the San Diego Comic Con:

Are you fucking kidding me? 2010? That is way too long to wait for a movie that looks this cool.

Go Team Venture!

So, I'm working my way through the three seasons of The Venture Brothers, and I am loving it! This is one of the funniest shows on TV right now, animated or otherwise. Of course, it helps to have a slightly twisted totally nerdy sense of humour, but if you do, this is gold, Jerry, gold.

Below you'll find a clip from YouTube of the "best" of season 2. Personally, I would have chosen some different moments, but these are still chocked to the gills with awesome.

And here's some quotes I love, courtesy of wikiquote, of course:

Brock: You could've told me Sasquatch was a dude...
Steve Summers: Eh? What, you couldn't tell?
Brock: Not until I had to.. (shudder) ...shave him.
Summers: What are you, shy? Sasquatch doesn't have anything you haven't seen before.
Brock: Sasquatch IS something I haven't seen before!

Hank: Dean, that's great and I can't wait to hear all about it, only Brock's stuck inside Dad's thing that makes people happy. But it's all evil.
Dean: I dare you to make less sense.

Pirate 1: We need that key that starts your boat Mr. Big Stuff. Lets have it.
Brock: It's up my ass!
Pirate 2: Are you serious?
Brock: Why don't you check?
Pirate 2: (looks at his partner) Well? Check.
Pirate 1: What if he's lying?
Pirate 2: If he were telling the truth, that would be better?

Henchman 24: Come on! They have one female servicing a large group of males. That implies a species that lays eggs.
Henchman 21: Oh my God, you're crazy! They're so obviously mammals!
Henchman 24: Please! She'd be in estrus 24/7 if she didn't lay eggs.
Henchman 21: Smurfs don't lay eggs! I won't tell you this again! Papa Smurf has a fucking beard! They're mammals!

Dr. Girlfriend: Sweetie, isn't that the guy from Depeche Mode?
The Monarch: Oh no, wait, where? Holy crap, he's with a girl!
Dr. Girlfriend: Oh yeah, that guy is totally straight. I saw a whole thing about him on the VH1.
The Monarch: But he's the guy from Depeche Mode. That's impossible!
Dr. Girlfriend: Straight!
The Monarch: Come on! He's in Depeche Mode!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blast From the Past - Cleese and Muppets

Here's an awesome little clip I stumbled across featuring John Cleese and the Muppets. Nice to see Cleese doesn't mitigate his mastery of comedic rage for adorable co-stars made out of felt.

See Kermit try to make Cleese do a musical number:

RIP - Les Lye

A true Canadian icon is gone; Les Lye passed away on Tuesday at the age of 84.

Lye was
known the world over as the adult star of classic kids show You Can't Do That on Television, on which he played numerous roles, notably floor director Ross and hygienically challenged chef Barth. An entire generation of children the world over watched the show, which featured characters being slimed from above if they said "I don't know" or drenched in water if said "water". Conceived as a sort of Laugh-In for kids, it was renowned for its anarchic and cheesy sense of humour and bold concepts. The series ran for an amazing eleven years, from 1979 to 1990.

this was not Lye's only success, for he was also a legendary presence on Canadian radio as well. In the late 1940s he began working at Ottawa's CFRA station, alongside a then-little known impersonator named Rich Little. Lye and Little were close, with Lye appearing on Little's first comedy album, My Fellow Canadians. Lye would gain a large following on the station, but in 1961 he left radio to start working at CJOH, a local Ottawa TV station.

1966, he teamed with Bill Luxton to create and star in the comedic kids show Willy & Floyd. Originally just a format to introduce Saturday morning cartoons, the show was a hit and soon expanded to a full half hour. It was syndicated nationally, and would run for an incredible 22 years, from 1966 to 1988.

Of his friend, Rich Little said: He was as good as anybody in the (United) States. I used to tell him, ‘If you want to leave Ottawa, I can get you a job.’ But he never wanted to leave Ottawa.

Ottawa Citizen has a nice look at Lye's life. Here's a look at Lye in action as Ross:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I am not Lebowski, man, you're Lebowski. I'm the Dude.

Over at Ain't it Cool, they've posted a neat little story about a funny thing happening at last night's Lebowski Fest in Seattle. Apparently, Jeff Bridges appeared via satellite in character as the Dude! He was apologizing for not coming in person, but he was stuck in Canada filming the sequel to Tron. A guy attending snapped this picture, which is so awesome I can hardly believe it:

Yep. That's the Dude. In a Tron hat. Bridges is awesome.

On a side note: they have Lebowski Fests?!?!?

Monday, July 20, 2009

UPDATE - New New Doctor News

This week is a big week for us Canadian Doctor Who fans. Forget Star Trek, Battlestar and Harry Potter, my favourite sci-fi show always has and will be Doctor Who.

I've already reported that current Doctor David Tennant is leaving the show (and rumoured to be the first choice to play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit) and that relative unknown Matt Smith will be taking up the role when the series returns for a full season of episodes following this year of "specials".

Well, the BBC has just released the first photo of Smith in costume as the Doctor, alongside Karen Gillan, who'll be playing new companion Amy Pond.

New show runner Steven Moffat is long-time fan and wrote the best episodes of the new series since its revival. He has this to say about the new season, which is just getting underway now:

And here it is, the big moment - the new Doctor, and his new best friend. And here's me, with the job I wanted since I was seven. 40 years to here! If I could go back in time and tell that little boy that one day all this would happen, he'd scream, call for his Mum and I'd be talking to you now from a prison cell in 1969. So probably best not then.

Matt and Karen are going to be incredible, and Doctor Who is going to come alive on Saturday nights in a whole new way - and best of all, somewhere out there, a seven-year-old is going to see them, fall in love, and start making a forty year plan...

Wow. He's a total geek. Which is awesome. Find more on the new series on Doctor Who's BBC website.

As an added bonus, Space begins a week of Who related premieres! Starting tonight, they're airing Who spin off Torchwood's five part miniseries Children of Earth. And it all culminates with the Canadian premiere of the latest Doctor Who special Planet of the Dead, starring the outgoing David Tennant.

I leave you with a photo of Karen Gillan, the new companion. The cast is so young it appears as if the TARDIS will be manned by college kids bumming around Europe for a summer. If it's anything like most college trips, they'll wind up with alcohol poisoning, a dose of the clap, and a guy from Australia who just leeches onto them and shows up at every hostel they check into.


Here's a better picture of the New Doctor and his new travelling companion outside the TARDIS:

Frankly, I like his simpler look. I never really favoured the overly designed look of other Doctors.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Portman to Get Her Hands on a Thunder God's Hammer!

The above headline was the most entendre-ridden one I could come up with to report the news coming from Marvel Studios that Natalie Portman has signed on to play the female lead in Thor.

The Academy Award nominated actress is the latest to join director Kenneth Branagh's film adaptation of the long-running Marvel Comics character. She joins Chris Hemsworth, who plays the title role, and Tom Hiddleston, who is playing Thor's evil half-brother Loki.

is playing Jane Foster, a character that appeared in the early issues of the Thor comic series as a love interest for both Thor and his human alter-ego Dr. Donald Blake. In the comic, Jane Foster was a nurse but presumably this will be updated to a Doctor herself, especially as another rumour suggests that the chracter of Don Blake is not appearing in the film.

she's not working with George Lucas, and therefore not reduced to wooden emoting while spitting out some of the worst dialogue in the history of film, she's always been great. Marvel has been pretty ambitous with their casting, going for bold, interesting choices; giving some unknowns a good break alongside some really quirky and well-cast heavy hitters. I started off being unsure about Thor working as a film, but with this director, and the cast he's creating, and the rumoured more fantasy, Lord of the Rings-like tone, I'm quickly getting sold.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Reynolds cast as Hal Jordan

So, after months of speculation about who would fill the title role in Martin Campbell's Green Lantern film, it's been reported in various news outlets that Ryan Reynolds will don the power ring for Warner Bros.

This comes after months of casting rumours, including Reynolds, Bradley Cooper and Justin Timberlake.

Personally, I think Reynolds is the best choice out of all of them. He's got charm, charisma and has carried films before. Granted none were as big as this, but he's ready now. He'll bring the wit and cockiness that needs to be there for Hal Jordan, but he's also got some hidden depths. Also, he might be the only actor who actually won't need to train to get in prime physical shape; I'm a confidently hetero guy, and even I can acknowledge that his body is totally insane. You could grade cheese on that guy's abs.

Long-time readers will recall that, a while back, I ranked Green Lantern as the number one property that should be adapted to a film, so I'm excited that Warner Bros. is moving ahead with it, and seems to be putting together a good team.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mocking Ralph his face!

Here's the first trailer for the new film called Cemetery Junction from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. If those two names sound familiar, they're the guys who created The Office and Extras, and while some may call them one-trick ponies, when the trick by said ponies will make you laugh so hard you'll pee, who gives a crap if that's the only trick they do?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Enough Already.........just...enough....

So, last night I watched a film that had been hyped to me by various sources as a masterpiece. I rented it, threw it in the DVD machine and sat down to hopefully enjoy.

It was literally one of the worst films I have ever seen.

The film was a French horror film called Martyrs. It was directed and written by Pascal Laugier , the director of Brotherhood of the Wolf, which I enjoyed even though it was maybe one act too long. Martyrs is part of that extreme sub genre of horror which has been depressingly labelled "torture porn" by the media.

I like horror movies, always have. What kind of a film geek would I be if I didn't? And not just the classy ones like The Exorcist or The Shining. I liked The Hills Have Eyes (both versions) and The Last House on the Left (the original one). I think The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the best films of the 1970s. The Thing is amazing. I love the work of Argento and Fulci and Romero. I have no problem with gore or violence, even when it's being used in an exploitational way.

Of the recent crop of extreme horror there have been some films I enjoyed, too. I really liked High Tension until the last half an hour, but up until that point it was a breathtaking film. Cabin Fever was insane fun that was redeemed by how goofy it was. I even liked the first Saw, which had a killer twist and a novel approach. You could even throw Irreversible into the mix, which I enjoyed the style of more than the content. I also thought The Descent was very good.

Does this establish my horror bona fides? Yes, there's some gaps. I haven't seen the lauded Inside or the incredibly acclaimed Funny Games (the original version or the lesser remake). I haven't yet seen Audition, which is supposed to be great. It's hard to get my horror fill in when my wife won't watch it, but I'm trying.

But, back to Martyrs. Basically, what made me despise this film so completely was its pretentious aspirations to any kind of depth or worth. I won't spoil the basic premise for anyone looking to experience this godawful dreck, but suffice to say that it attempts to justify ninety minutes of brutal, gory, explicit and dehumanising torture of women by raising some ill-defined pseudo-intellectual claptrap about martyrdom and the afterlife.

But the film utterly fails in its attempts at depth, and therein lies the really enraging aspect. Hostel and its ilk are total exploitative trash, but at least that's all they're trying to do. But the pretentiousness of attempting to claim that your film is not simply about the brutalisation of young women by interjecting some ill-defined half baked philosophical point is matched only by its callousness.

, there's no doubt that much of it was effective. The direction was good, the performances were okay, the look of the film was good. I was even scared in parts. But there was no point to it. It just nihilism, pure and simple. It was empty and devoid of any sort of catharsis or empathy or sense of fun. It tried to partially indict the audience, but attacking an audience for watching the very type of film you are making needs to be done much more cleverly than it was here, and it takes a special brand of arrogance besides. This type of film cannot be the future of horror, for if it is, we're talking about a future with no redeeming qualities other than imaginative ways to brutalize each other.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Successfully Avoiding Transformers - Day 13

Yeah, so Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is coming up on closing out its second week in release, and it looks like it's going to make a fuckload of money. It seems this flick is going to join a very small club, namely movies that have made a billion dollars. A billion. I love movies all to hell, but even I'm not sure it's reasonable for a movie to make that much money. At least the studio should be forced to buy a few hobos a sandwich or a Rolls Royce or something.

But, even with all the box office popularity, I am avoiding this like the plague. Even though I grew up loving Transformers. Even though I'll go see pretty much anything. Even though I enjoyed Armageddon and The Rock.

The first Transformer film was some fun, though I found myself being mildly repulsed by the way it was a recruitment poster for the U.S. armed forces (I know propaganda is nothing new, but at least be a little subtle), and found my credibility strained almost every few minutes. Remember the gigantic robots sneaking around Sam's backyard and no one noticing? Stuff like that. I was also rendered nauseous by what can only be described as seizure inducing editing.

Bay's whole resume is a testament to excess in every way, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the sequel gets reviews like this, but as I saw the bad notices roll in and the money pile up, I thought to myself, are these the movies we want to make money? Let's face it, Hollywood has always been about selling a product, but do we as a culture really want our entertainment to be nothing more than a nearly three hour toy commercial sprinkled with tits and ass and delivered to us like the Lodovico technique from A Clockwork Orange?

Go see Moon instead. It's fascinating and its budget was probably equal to the catering budget of Bay's mess.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

RIP - Karl Malden

I've been extremely busy and wasn't able to post this until today, but for those out there who don't know, Oscar-winning actor Karl Malden passed away yesterday at the age of 97.

Malden graduated from the Goodman School of Drama at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1937 and soon after moved to Manhattan to try his luck on Broadway. Soon after, he met Harold Clurman and Elia Kazan of the legendary Group Theatre and made his debut with the Group playing a boxing manager in their production of Clifford Odets' Golden Boy. In 1938, he married fellow actress Mona Graham, whom would remain by his side until his death seventy years later.

Following WWII, Malden appeared in a play called Truckline Cafe, a play that bombed but is notable for one reason; it featured the debut of a young actor named Marlon Brando. In 1947, Malden finally broke through after appearing in Arthur Miller's breakthrough play All My Sons.

He would re team with Kazan and Brando in the stage production that brought all three of them no small measure of fame; A Streetcar Named Desire. Malden played Blanche Dubois' suitor Mitch and had to hold the stage with Brando, who was giving a performance that would forever change acting and theatre. "Playing with Marlon consistently brought out the best in me," Malden wrote. "I guess, in the final analysis, it is impossible to beat genius, but it can be great fun to try to match it."

He would try to match it on stage for two years, and reprise the role in the 1951 movie version, earning an Oscar for best supporting actor. He would try to match it again in 1954 in On the Waterfront, playing a priest that inspires Brando's character and earning his second Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor.

Over the next five decades, Malden crafted many exceptional performances. Kazan directed him as middle-aged man with a teen aged bride in the controversial Baby Doll. He acted opposite Montgomery Clift in Alfred Hitchcock's I Confess. He was directed by his friend Brando in One Eyed Jacks. As a sadistic warden, he tormented Burt Lancaster's Birdman of Alcatraz.

In 1972, he gained a whole generation of fans, as he took on the role of Lt. Mike Stone on the long-running police drama, The Streets of San Francisco. He starred opposite a young Michael Douglas, who, in a statement to the LA Times called Malden a "mentor" whom he "admired and loved" deeply. During this time, he also became the spokesperson for American Express, and his catchphrase, "Don't leave home without it" entered into the cultural lexicon.

A founding member of the legendary Actors Studio, Malden was instrumental in ensuring that Elia Kazan received his honorary Oscar in 1999 for his body of work, a controversial decision given Kazan's testimony before HUAC in the 1950s. Malden stood by his friend when many deserted the director.

Malden's final significant work was a guest starring role in the first season of The West Wing, once again playing a priest.

I leave you with a nice story about the night he won his Oscar from his LA Times Obituary:

As Malden recounted, "I had a coat because in New York you had a coat -- a topcoat -- and I walked in. Nobody knew me."

He put
his coat in the adjacent seat before Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall sat down. When Malden's name was called as a winner, he asked Bogart to watch his coat.

"He said, 'Get up there kid, take your Oscar.' . . . . About a half-hour later, I see Bogart holding an Oscar for best actor in The African Queen. The first thing I said to him is, 'What did you do with
my coat?' He said in nice words, 'Forget your coat, hold on to the goddamn Oscar.' "

The man was a giant of the screen, one of the last true giants, and he will be missed.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day - Enjoy Some Music

Happy Canada Day everybody. Here's some toe-tapping music to use as a soundtrack to the day:

Here's Radiohead covering The Smiths from a webcast:

And here's a cool little video from Metric: