Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fringe's Next Episode gets a Movie Style Trailer

This season of Fringe has been consistently blowing my mind. And, due to Fox somehow thinking scheduling it on the uber-crowded Thursday night was a good idea, it's also been consistently slipping in the ratings. Seriously, it was cleaning up in its previous Tuesday time slot, and now it's sucking hind teat. Why not move it back?

Anyhoo, the season has been incredible. And now Fox has released this kick-ass movie style trailer to hopefully entice some new viewers. If you haven't given this show a shot, why don;t you tune in on Thursday. I think you'll be glad you did. This is one of the smartest, most thrilling pure sci-fi shows around right now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Giant Fist Alert! Green Lantern Trailer Debuts

As I've reported before when Entertainment Weekly released a picture of Ryan Reynolds in the suit, I'm a little nervous about Green Lantern. And this recently released trailer is most definitely not reassuring me, sad to say. Take a look and see.

Look, I love the whole GL mythos. I'm a comic book geek, and this is basically superheroes meets Star Trek, which is very cool. There's a great central character; Hal Jordan, a womanizing test pilot whose fearless quality is what gets him the job as a GL, but that same quality can also make him come off as a cocky jerk at times. The concept of space cops with magic rings that can basically create anything you will them to is great and hugely visual.

So what doesn't work for me in this trailer? Well, first of all, the costumes still look silly. The effect is nice, I guess, but they look.....wrong. Off. The mask looks terrible, and the whole thing looks, well, dainty. Like he should be doing a dance recital, not facing the extremes of space travel and cosmic battle. I thought the idea of a suit created by CG was novel, but the result as far as I can see so far is that they look flimsy. Only one guy has ever pulled off a skin tight body stocking super-suit and that guy is Christopher Reeve. I don't know exactly how he did it, but he did. No one else. And Reynolds is the most fit human being on the planet right now.

Next are the effect themselves. Nothing here blew me away, with the possible exception of the giant green fist, and even that didn't look as cool as it could have. The effects all looked a little too CGI. You all know what I mean. Great CG can create a reality that feels totally authentic and yet still fantastic and unbelievable, resulting in audiences seeing things they had never thought they could see. Cheap or unimaginative CG makes everything look like a video game or a cartoon, and therefore robs the film of any suspense or feeling that these things are happening in areal world. Sad to say, and I hope I'm wrong, but this trailer feels more like the latter to me.

Finally, Blake Lively should get a an award for worst single line reading in a trailer for 2010. She was great in The Town, so I'm not writing her off yet, but man that was godawful.

What did I like? Well, Reynolds seems to have captured Hal's spirit, his attitude and his swagger. He's a guy who's incapable of not being charming, even in the truly awful movies he sometimes does. He also got across some of Hal's awe at being introduced to a larger universe, which is hard to communicate in a trailer. Also, Peter Sarsgaard looks great as Hector Hammond.

So, hopefully I'm wrong. Hopefully, the effects aren't entirely finished, and I'm not getting the whole shebang. Maybe on a big screen that costume will work. I hope all that is true, because it could really be a great franchise.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

And Tron: Legacy Just Keeps Looking Better and Better

I've written before about how nuts I am for Tron. Me and Mrs. Nerdlinger watched the original not so long ago, and even though it treats computers like they are magic boxes inside which anything could be going on, it's still a blast to watch.

Below you'll find the latest Tron: Legacy trailer. And holy shit, it looks incredibly beautiful to behold. Yeah, young Jeff Bridges is still a little off, but it's so damn close that it's actually spooky. Anyway, this could be the best popcorn movie of the year.

Feast Your Eyes on This:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

First View of Evans in Cap Costume

Entertainment Weekly's web site has posted the first image of Chris Evans in costume as Captain America, along with a preview of their upcoming article on the film. You can spy the pic below:

While Evans is a dead ringer for Steve rogers, the costume is a little modified from the comic book version, but in my opinion in a good way. It would be nice to see the head piece, but that may be in the article itself. All in all, the suit looks a lot more practical than the comic version ever has, and the shield looks like it has real heft and the scratches make it seem like it's really deflected machine gun fire.

With the solid comic-con trailer for Thor not too long ago, combined with how Cap looks to be shaping up, the next few years could be something truly exciting for comic fans. A live-action Marvel Universe. I'm jazzed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Galifianakis Gets Ferned

In an awesome display of bravado, a Texas entertainment reporter named Gordon Keith went to a press junket for Zach Galifianakis' new film It's Kind of a Funny Story and did his interview in the same style of Galifianakis' hugely funny and uncomfortable series of shorts called Between Two Ferns.

What's awesome is watching it slowly dawn on Zach that this is what the guy is doing, and willingly going along. Watch the vid below.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander

The first pics of Rooney Mara in the role of Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher's upcoming adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo have been released. Now, for those of you who recall Mara in her small, but really solid turn in The Social Network, she looked like so:

And in the recently released pics, she looks like this:

So.....yeah. She looks pretty much exactly like the character. Here's a picture of Daniel Craig as Blomkvist, as well:

All of them look appropriate to the book. And while I have only watched the first one of the Swedish films, I have to say that I liked, but didn't love them. Noomi Rapace was very good, but I still think looked a little too old for the role. Mara's look seems to fit more with my idea of a solidly true outsider. Also, I thought some of the changes made to the story didn't make sense, or weren't as intriguing at the novel. So, I'm all for taking another stab at the story, and David Fincher is awesome, so I'll have faith he can pull it off.

The Doctor Visits the Colonies...

After decades of attempts to film an episode of Doctor Who in the US, it looks as if it is finally going to happen in this upcoming season. The classic series set a story or two in the US, but always filmed at the BBC. The show rather famously attempted to shoot on location in New Orleans in the 1980s, but never managed to make it happen. They did however, shoot in locales such as Paris, Lanzarote, Amsterdam and Spain. Then, the 1996 TV Movie filmed in Vancouver, BC, but was set in San Francisco. Since the series returned in 2005, episodes have been set in Utah and New York, but once again were filmed in the UK. The new series has gone on location in Rome, as well as other locales, but never the US.

Now the Beeb has announced that the two-part premiere of the new season will go on location in the US, for a story set in America in the 1960s. From their press release:

In the special two-parter co-produced with BBC AMERICA, key scenes will be filmed in Utah for a story set in the late '60s in which the Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves on a secret summons that takes them on an adventure from the desert in Utah - right to the Oval Office itself.

The premiere will also feature the return of Alex Kingston as River Song, and will be written by show runner Steven Moffat.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Snyder Will Direct Superman

According to, well, pretty much everywhere, Zack Snyder has been confirmed as Warner Bros.' choice to direct their upcoming Superman film. It's been pretty much confirmed as well that the new Superman film will not follow on the latest movie, Superman Returns, but will instead be basically a reboot a la Batman Begins.

As previously reported, Christopher Nolan, the director and co-writer behind Batman Begins and The Dark Knight will act as producer and "creative overseer" of the Superman franchise. He is working on the story with his frequent collaborator David Goyer. Snyder is the director of such hits as Dawn of the Dead and 300, as well as the comic adaptation Watchmen. His next film is Sucker Punch.

While some people will meet this news with joy, other will react with dismay. My response is one of puzzlement, truthfully. If this decision was one made solely by the studio, it makes complete sense. Warner's was famously disappointed with Bryan Singer's more thoughtful take on the character, and Snyder is definitely much more visceral and confident with action. Watchmen is already legendary for how it divided fans. I myself thought it was probably the most faithful and effective a film version could be, while also finally admitting the material really doesn't work as a movie.

However, if Nolan was the final word on who would direct, then I'm really scratching my head, as I wouldn't have thought that Snyder was the type of the director Nolan would connect with. Nolan has always been about precision, both in his film making and his story telling. He's been concerned with giving audiences a complex, intricate experience. Say what you want about Snyder, but you could not call his film making intricate. But, maybe this is what the Superman franchise needs in order to kick it off. So, I'll wait. I've got lots of faith in Nolan and Goyer's abilities, and while Snyder seems to me to be a pretty shallow film maker, I can't say I've out and out hated anything he's done.

There better not be any slow motion or "ramping" fights. Seriously, that's getting old.

Friday, October 1, 2010

RIP - Stephen J. Cannell

Stephen Cannell, the prolific writer and television producer whose greatest successes became part of a generation's pop cultural memory, has passed away from melanoma. He was 69.

In his early years, Cannell struggled with dyslexia, and eventually overcame the disorder well enough to become a sought after television writer in the late 1960s. After stints writing for Ironside and Columbo, he became the story editor for Jack Webb's police procedural series Adam-12.

While he had been working steadily, in 1974 he co-created what would be only the first of many mega-successful television series when The Rockford Files debuted. A charming series about affable if long-suffering ex-con turned PI Jim Rockford (James Garner), the series was a critical and popular favourite, buoyed by a central character that seemed to be the antithesis of the cliched hard-boiled cool PI. Rockford had the tried and true noble code, and he was definitely world weary, but he took far more punches than he gave, and lived in a trailer on the beach and was constantly getting a raw deal. The series became a beloved classic for its wit and reliably artifice-free style, combined with Garner's immense charm.

But it was by no means Cannell's sole hit, nor was it his sole hit big enough to indelibly leave its mark on pop culture. The Greatest American Hero was another successful series, less so during its original run, but in the year since it has acquired a powerful cult status, and is fondly remembered by people who watched the series in reruns as kids.

The A-Team was a phenomenon, becoming one of the signature series of the 1980s, and running for five seasons. Following the adventures of four Vietnam war vets falsely accused of a crime they didn't commit, the series was juvenile and campy, but its high action quotient and infectious sense of fun connected with a generation of kids, quickly becoming a classic. It made a super-star of Mr. T and reignited the somewhat stagnant careers of George Peppard and Dirk Benedict. A recent big-screen remake tried but failed to capture the spirit of the original.

Following the end of The A-Team in 1987, Cannell began his long association with the Vancouver film community by shooting his next two projects there. One, Wiseguy, was a dark and complex series following an FBI agent's (Ken Wahl) journey as an undercover operative. The series was not a huge hit, but its dark theme of the loss of identity, and its adult approach to the subject matter was miles away from his previous, campier fare, and it was a major critical success. The other series debuting in 1987 was 21 Jump Street, and once again, Cannell successfully captured lightning in a bottle. The show was a huge hit, and launched the career of a young actor named Johnny Depp. Although Jump Street was more light-hearted than Wiseguy, it also dealt with more serious subject matter and experimented with longer story arcs.

Throughout the 1980s, Cannell created show after show that resonated in some way; Hunter, Hardcastle and McCormick, Stingray and Riptide. He also created some series, that although they were not successful, are now seen as years ahead of their time; Unsub, Tenspeed and Brown Shoe and Profit. In the 1990s, Cannell moved away from network television and embraced syndication, with one of his series, Renegade, becoming the most watched syndicated series of its time after Baywatch. But Cannell moved away from television now, choosing to focus on another type of writing.

Cannell began to write mystery novels, many featuring detective Shane Scully. He found great success as a mystery writer, and even returned to television as an actor in Castle, playing himself as one of the eponymous character's poker buddies, all of whom were famous writers. Cannell is survived by his wife of 46 years, Marcia, and their three children and three grandchildren.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

RIP - Tony Curtis

A Hollywood icon has passed away; Tony Curtis is dead at the age of 85. Curtis was one of the most vibrant leading men of the late 1950s and early 1960s, giving indelible performances in such classic films as The Defiant Ones, Sweet Smell of Success, Some Like it Hot, Spartacus, and The Boston Strangler.

He was born Bernard Schwartz in the Bronx in 1925, to poverty-stricken Hungarian immigrants. His father operated a tailor shop, and his mother was a schizophrenic that regularly beat her children. The Depression hit the Schwartz' so hard that Bernard and one brother were made wards of the state. They lived a hard-scrabble, tough existence, and Bernard Schwartz' escape only came with WWII, where he served aboard a navy submarine in Japan, witnessing their eventual surrender.

After the war, Schwartz returned to New York, where he studied acting and performed in the Catskills before eventually signing a contract with Universal Studios in 1948. His name change to Tony Curtis, and his incredible good lucks, marked him as an up and comer, and by 1951, he was headlining a film called The Prince Who Was a Thief. That same year, he married an actress whose career was also on the rise and whose beauty rivaled his own; Janet Leigh. The marriage made them media darlings, and the press followed them everywhere.
In 1953, Curtis headlined his first major hit, portraying legendary magician Houdini. The film, and his high-profile marriage, cemented his status as an A-list movie star. He would spend the next few years making schlocky costume pictures that the thoroughly modern and urban Curtis seemed ill suited for.

It wasn't until 1957, and his magnificent turn as sleazy press agent Sidney Falco in Sweet Smell of Success, that Curtis began to be recognized as a gifted and powerful dramatic actor. The following year, he appeared opposite Kirk Douglas in The Vikings and co-starred in Stanley Kramer's The Defiant Ones, playing a racist fugitive manacled to fellow escapee Sidney Poitier. Curtis received an Oscar nomination for his performance in the film.

He followed this up with some very successful comedies, Mister Cory, The Perfect Furlough and Operation Petticoat, all directed by Blake Edwards. He followed this with a film that many consider to be the best American comedy film or all time, Some Like it Hot. During this creatively successful period, he would appear in Spartacus, The Outsider and The Great Imposter.

But in 1962, he and Leigh divorced after an affair with a 17 year old co-star came to light. The break-up and affair severely damaged his reputation, and although he had a hit with Blake Edwards' The Great Race, his career never really recovered. In 1968, he gave a final great performance as The Boston Strangler. But the film was years ahead of its time, and was seen by the critics and public of the day as tacky and garish.

The 1970s were spent in minor film roles and marginally successful TV shows, and he went through multiple marriages as well. The 1980s did not begin well, either, with a stint in rehab. However, during this time he discovered a love for painting and his work sold well, inspired by Matisse and buoyed by his celebrity. But it brought him a measure of peace and it would remain his primary love for the rest of life.

And with his passing, there is the feeling that an era of old time glamour has come finally to an end. His career was full of peaks and valleys, but few had peaks that rose as high.

Monday, September 27, 2010


No other comment to make, really. Coens, Bridges, Damon, Brolin. A great novel. Some amazing cinematography. I can't wait.

Are You Talking to Me?

News has been leaked today that literally dozens of celebs in New York have been licensed to carry a concealed weapon. According to several stories, the list includes Marc Anthony, Donald Trump, Howard Stern, and Robert De Niro. The NYPD have been issuing these permits, and they are famously rather tough to get. you have to prove either that you are under some increased level of threat or regularly carry large amounts of cash or valuables.

What this means is that you may experience the following scene for reals, if you get up in Bobby D's grill looking for him to autograph your DVD of Showtime:

Now, I really can't make fun of Donald Trump's hair should I ever run into him. Cross one more dream off the list, cruel world.

Friday, September 24, 2010

First Look at Chris Evans as Steve Rogers

Recently there has been a whole ton of Captain America stuff leaking to the net. There has been some set walk throughs from over in England:

and a video of scene being filmed:

By the way, I love the gasps from the people watching who obviously weren't expecting that last bit!

Until now though, no one had gotten the big matzo ball; a shot of Chris Evans in the role. And while the photo below doesn't show him in costume, it does show that anyone worried about whether or not Evans could get fit enough to carry off the role of the peak human physical perfection, this puts all doubts firmly to rest.

Holy jeez, look at that guy. Now, that is absolutely how Steve Rogers should look. And for those of you wondering why his clothes are so tight, I would bet that this scene takes place just after he goes from skinny Steve to Super-Soldier. Also, his weird feet? Those are prosthetics they give to actors when they have to run barefoot over rough terrain in scenes. Steve Rogers is not a hobbit.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why Ben Affleck Should Be Given Some Slack

So, I saw The Town. It's a really good movie. Is it a masterpiece? No. Is it as good as Gone Baby Gone, Affleck's directorial debut? No, but then I'm not sure it's trying to be as emotionally complex as that film, so it's not really a fair comparison. What The Town is is a solid, entertaining, satisfying heist film, with characters and dialogue that are richer than usual for the genre. But when I talk to some people about the film, they give me this look. This look that says, "Waitaminute, Ben Affleck made a good movie? Really?" and I really can't figure out why it's been so fucking hard for this guy to get any respect at all.

Let's go back to the beginning. Not the very beginning, because I don't think anyone who saw him as a child in Voyage of the Mimi thought, "That pre-teen is a major douchebag."

That kid? Major prick.

Really the first time anyone took any notice of him was in two films; School Ties and Dazed and Confused. Neither was a huge role, but in Dazed...he was supposed to be a prick, and you know what? He did his job. He was a colossal prick. He hooked up with Kevin Smith around this time, appearing as another colossal prick in Mallrats. and once again, he was good. But maybe this is where it started. Maybe he had made enough of an impression as a prick to irrevocably imprint him as one in the public eye. But I don't really buy into that, because it's not like any of these films were huge enough to make that big an impact on anyone's career. They may be cult faves (okay, not School Ties) but the appeal they have today has come over years.

Next came Chasing Amy. I like Kevin Smith, but it's fair to call him.....limited. He's not a terribly sophisticated writer, and he certainly has no visual flair, but he does have an earthy realism to his writing, and some skill at examining certain relationships. Chasing Amy is by far his most complex, funny, and all around successful film. And you know what? Affleck is fucking great in it. He's vulnerable, he's relatable, he convincingly portrays a guy who falls in love with a woman he is absolutely in no way prepared to handle, and he rather touchingly depicts all the confusion that comes with that. It's what made him, well, not a star certainly, but at least an actor you knew you would see more of.

You named your kid Pilot Inspektor, and I'M the one they ridicule?

Then came Good Will Hunting. Huge. Mega-Huge. Made Matt Damon and Ben Affleck stars. It was a labour of love that they wrote over years. And yeah, there have been rumours about this. Rumours that William Goldman or Kevin Smith or the film's director Gus Van Sant wrote it. Rumours that it was originally a spy movie about the genius Will Hunting being recruited by the CIA until someone else turned it into a drama. It's all bullshit. Goldman and Smith have denied it, and even if it was once another type of flick, what matters it what's on the screen, folks. And the movie is a drama, and it's written by Damon and Affleck.

The nastiest rumour has always been that Damon did all the writing, and Affleck basically changed paper in the printer when it ran out. And I remember that rumour starting pretty much immediately. Why did people immediately jump to that conclusion? Was it because Damon was the public face of the flick? Was it because Affleck played the dimmer best buddy to Will Hunting? Maybe. But here's the thing, Affleck is one of the best things in the movie. He's extremely funny, and very authentic. It's clear he knows guys like this. Also, one of the most original things in the film is how Affleck's Chuckie knows that Will has to outgrow their friendship to reach his potential. There's no jealousy there, there's love and a real fear that his best friend may waste a pretty amazing gift. Affleck earned my loyalty in that film, and I've stuck by him.

Suck on these, William Goldman.

He's made it hard. He was 25 years old when he really hit it big. It's really hard to avoid letting that stuff go to your head. Around this time, he began dating Gywneth Paltrow, while Damon started seeing Winona Ryder. Typical movie star stuff. He took a supporting role in Shakespeare in Love, and considering the part was well outside his wheelhouse, he did a good job. But he followed it up with Armageddon, and though I'm only slightly ashamed to admit that his final scene with Bruce Willis made me tear up, it must also be said that it was a pretty schlocky piece of dreck.

And now, he was seen as a leading man. And for the next few years, he tried to be a traditional leading man. But it seemed like he was running away from the indie-style films that made him big in the first place. Bounce, Reindeer Games, Pearl Harbor, The Sum of All Fears, Daredevil. All films trying to position him as a Movie Star like Tom Cruise. And while some were better than others, they all felt calculated, as if his manager were picking them. Sure, he made some indie films during this period, notably with Kevin Smith, and he made one good studio flick (Changing Lanes), but all he accomplish was to reinforce his image as a guy who stars in pretty mediocre flicks. And the Movie Star roles didn't seem to fit him. He seemed uncomfortable, unable to connect, but not sure what else to do.

Then he began dating Jennifer Lopez, and all hell broke loose. They were everywhere. Lopez was busily trying to set herself up as some sort of pop culture polymath a la Madonna. She was an actress, a pop star, a producer, a trend setter, a diva. Affleck and Lopez became known as Bennifer. Verrrrrry quickly, they became overexposed and surrounded by scandal and seemingly jerky behaviour. Then came Gigli, a movie so bad that Satan sent out a press release saying he had nothing to do with it, for fear being associated with it would give him a bad name.

After that, he made a couple of more movies, all of which tanked, and then he took two whole years off where he and J-Lo broke up, and he began dating Jennifer Garner. Basically, he went into hiding. At this point he was only 31 years old. It seemed as if his career as a major movie star was over, now relegated to a joke.

But after his exile he returned to the screen in Hollywoodland, a understated film that centered on the mystery that surrounds the death of George Reeves, TV's Superman. The film wasn't perfect, but it was a damn sight better than Jersey Girl, and Affleck reminded people he could act with a subtle, sad turn as Reeves. Still, reviews drew parallels between the typecast Reeves and Affleck, as if their lives were so similar not much acting was involved.

In 2007, he directed his first film, Gone Baby Gone. He adapted the novel by Dennis Lehane. The film was very well-received, garnering pretty much universal praise. Even still, there was some incredulity to the praise, as if no one ever suspected he had it in him. Here was an Academy Award winning writer and everyone still seemed to think he was basically an idiot. Maybe he hadn't quite ever delivered on the promise of Good Will Hunting, but what was the last great film Matt Damon wrote or directed?

Then out came State of Play, a neat thriller that had him more than holding his own in dramatic scenes with Russell Crowe. He followed that with another supporting role in Extract, a lackluster comedy whose stoner bartender played by Affleck was the only good thing.

Now comes The Town, which contains, as far as I'm concerned, his best performance since Chasing Amy and Good Will Hunting. It's a solid piece of work. You root for a guy you really have no business rooting for, and Affleck is extremely low-key, underplaying things and rooting his performance in a haunted quality. He co-wrote the adaptation of Chuck Hogan's novel here, but it's his direction that really confirms him as someone to watch. Like Gone Baby Gone, it's not self-conscious or too earnest, the way other actor's directorial forays can be. He clearly grasps the most important quality a director can have; a solid instinct for casting, as both films have extremely good performances throughout. He feels like a director, not like an actor moonlighting. His two films may not reinvent the wheel or announce a startling new talent, but they are both exceptionally well done pieces of entertainment.

So, let's stop being surprised. Ben Affleck is back. He's good. Get used to it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Trailer and Buzz Comes in for Trigger

If you were a fan of recent Canadian film, chances are you have seen the work of Tracy Wright. Wright appeared in such films as Monkey Warfare, Highway 61, Last Night, Blindness and Me and You and Everyone We Know. She was a fixture in groundbreaking Toronto theatre, and made appearances in sketches for The Kids in the Hall, as well as the classic Twitch City. Wright and Canadian icon Don McKellar were probably the most beloved husband/wife team in the country's art world, and her list of collaborators and admirers include Daniel MacIvor, Bruce McDonald, Molly Parker, Callum Keith Rennie, and many others.

So it was a huge loss when she passed away in June after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Shortly after her diagnosis, celebrated playwright and screenwriter MacIvor wrote a film for Wright and Molly Parker called Trigger, with Bruce McDonald coming on board to direct. According to Parker, Wright's husband McKellar told them to hurry if they wanted this film to be Wright's final performance.

Parker had this to say at a recent press conference: Don said the only way to do it was if you do it right now. Like, right now.

A recent article in the Vancouver Sun documents the making of the film, which got started after longtime friend Callum Keith Rennie donated some start-up money. After a very quick shoot, in which many Toronto pros donated their time, the film is now being shown at the Toronto Film Festival. Shot incredibly quickly, and with obviously real emotion behind it, it's already generating buzz as perhaps the Canadian film of the year. Here's the trailer:

Wright, who had given a lot to our country's arts over the years, certainly deserves a swan song as good as this one appears to be.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

First Photos of Cap Costume Leak!

Below you'll see the first photos of the Captain America costume from Marvel's upcoming Captain America: The First Avenger. Before you get too excited, it should be noted these pics are of the stunt double, not Chris Evans' himself. Also, for those of you who may get too nit picky, these photos are taken in the harsh light of day, without the proper lighting and effects they'll use to really make it look great on film, so let's not be too hard on it here. Still, I think it looks really great. Oh, and the Red Skull's soldiers look appropriately kick-ass, too.

Pretty cool, no? I love that Cap carries his sidearm. And the Shield looks great.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hey Now! Complete Larry Sanders Show Coming to DVD!

Garry Shandling's HBO series The Larry Sanders Show was a classic. The show ran on the cable network from 1992 - 1998, and it starred Shandling as Sanders, the host of a long-running late-night talk show a la Carson, Leno and Letterman. The show also starred Rip Torn as Sanders' foul-mouthed but loyal producer Artie, and Jeffrey Tambor as his sidekick, an insecure and buffoonish pitch-man named Hank Kingsley. It was amazing. It was satirical and hilarious and misanthropic. Sanders was riddled with neuroses and angst and as a result was occasionally completely unlikable.

And real stars came on the show and lampooned themselves or got in on the profane, sometimes brutal comedy of the show. People like David Duchovny, Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Petty, Carol Burnett, Alec Baldwin and Jon Stewart all made cameos. Shandling headed the writing team that featured future comedy lights such as Judd Apatow and Peter Tolan. And the show was a proving ground for future stars in roles as the production team; Janeane Garofalo, Bob Odenkirk, Jeremy Piven, Wallace Langham, Sarah Silverman, Scott Thompson and Mary Lynn Rajskub.

The first season was released on DVD in 2002. Then nothing until 2007, when a "Best of" DVD set was released. But on November 2, 2010, all 89 episodes will be released in a Complete Series set by Shout! Factory. Here's a look at the packaging:

Here's a summary of the extras from the press release:

60-page collector's book - The Larry Sanders Show The Complete Guide
Video introduction by Garry Shandling
All-new deleted scenes
All-new outtakes
Garry Shandling lectures at University of Southern California (40 min.)
Audio commentaries with Garry Shandling, Todd Holland, Judd Apatow and Peter Tolan.
The Making Of The Larry Sanders Show feature-length documentary
Garry Shandling and Judd Apatow on "The Writer's Process"
Interviews with cast and crew - Garry Shandling, Jeremy Piven, Bob Odenkirk, Linda Doucett, Penny Johnson, Janeane Garofalo, Scott Thompson, Wallace Langham, Sarah Silverman, and Mary Lynn Rajskub.
Garry Shandling's personal visits with guest stars: Alec Baldwin, Sharon Stone, David Duchovny, Tom Petty, Jon Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Carol Burnett and more.
Rip and Jeffrey visit with Garry in his living room
EMMY print campaign gallery (Season 6)
The Journey Continues...

I can't wait to watch it all over again.

Double Features: Gritty Crimes & Tarnished Badges

Here's another Double Feature programmed on a theme by your friendly neighbourhood Nerdlinger. It's a recurring column I began a little while ago to help some of you come up with some interesting options at the video store, along with a tasty beverage and snack to accompany your evening.

Double Feature: To Live and Die in LA & Narc

This time out we're diving into the seedy side of law enforcement with a couple of particularly nasty cop films that examine the blurred line between cops and criminals. Yeah, yeah, it's cliched subject matter, but it's also kick-ass, intense subject matter, so enjoy some car chases, bad language and truly bad muthafuckas.

To Live and Die in LA is first up, and it was looked upon as one of director William Friedkin's many comebacks. Friedkin shot to the absolute top of the directorial pile with the incredible one-two punch of The French Connection and The Exorcist before flaming out in spectacular fashion with Sorcerer and Cruising. He would continue to direct, and every once in a while, he'd have a film come out that seemed poised to return him to the A-list. To Live and Die in LA is the one that came a closest; a lean, brutal and joyously over the top movie about federal agents so obsessed with taking down a counterfeiter that they will cross absolutely any line to do so. William Petersen and John Pankow plays the cops and Willem Dafoe is the crook. There's a killer car chase, and an equally killer twist in the final act, and while the film is almost a museum piece of the 1980s and the dialogue can get a little obvious, the film still packs a vicious punch.

Before Joe Carnahan disappeared up his own ass with overly stylized, empty-headed excess like Smokin' Aces and The A-Team he made Narc, an intense and brilliant study of two cops seemingly completely destroyed by the war on drugs. Jason Patric is heartbreaking as a cop traumatized by an awful experience who has been paired up with Ray Liotta's veteran detective. Liotta has skated completely over the edge in his pursuit of the two dealers who he thinks killed his partner, and the crux of the film is whether Liotta has lost it, and whether Patric will follow him down the rabbit hole. It's a depressing, but captivating, film, and it makes one wish this was the type of film Carnahan continued to make.

Drink: As an ironic counter-point to the cops in these films, I offer you the Pink Police:

Pink Police Recipe

12 oz Beer
12 oz Vodka
12 oz Frozen Pink Lemonade

Pour one can of beer into a pitcher. Add one can of frozen pink lemonade. Add vodka (in place of the water), stir and serve.

Snack: What better snack for a double feature about cops is there than this:

Old-Fashioned Cake Donut Recipe

If you would like to make traditional donuts you will need to buy a simple donut maker machine. They are inexpensive (often less than $10) and can be found in brick and mortar specialty cooking stores or can be easily purchased online at a kitchen supply store. While waiting to receive your donut maker, you can start by making donut holes. Simply drop small balls of dough into the hot oil.

• 2 1/2 c. flour
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
• 1 c. sugar
• 2 beaten eggs
• 1 Tbsp. softened unsalted butter
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1 c. milk


1. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and sugar with a mixer.
3. Add the softened butter, vanilla, and milk and mix until well-incorporated.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Do not overmix.
5. Lightly coat the inside of the donut maker with nonstick cooking spray and fill with batter.
6. Hold the machine just over the hot oil and lightly press on the lever to release the batter. Then gently release the lever and allow the donut to fall into the pan.
7. Fry the donut batter in hot vegetable oil, turning halfway through to ensure even browning. Fry approximately one minute per side, although that time can vary depending on how hot the oil is.
8. Remove golden-brown donuts and allow them to cool on paper towels.

Makes about 1 dozen donuts.

Enjoy the show!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Comic Observations: Waid, Aragones & Comic Book Piracy

This past Saturday, comic book writer and BOOM! Studios Chief Creative Officer Mark Waid delivered the keynote speech at the Harvey awards, one of the industry's leading awards ceremony.

It was controversial, to say the least.

Waid's speech was about file sharing. Basically, it was about illegal downloading of comics, a practice which conventional wisdom has put forward as the possible death of comics publishing. Creators and the companies they work for have consistently decried the practice as outright theft.

So why was Waid's speech considered to be so controversial? Well, it appears that some industry people, including beloved Sergio Aragones, thought that Waid was basically endorsing piracy and giving a big middle finger to all those hard-working vets who get screwed out of royalties by thieving scuzzy Internet nerds.

Here's a copy of Waid's speech. I've taken out a few sections to highlight what I think his actual position is. First, here's his views on copyrights:

What most people don’t realize about copyright is that it was originally conceived to protect not artists but the public domain--to ensure that artists and writers and their heirs couldn’t have perpetual ownership of their work until the end of time because, at some point, the sentiment went, you ought to have to give back to culture the same way you, I, and all artists draw from it. Certainly, you should benefit from your work, and you should have legal protection, but I find it interesting that the original intent was to deliver ides back into the public domain.

He goes on to say that "Culture is more important than copyright", meaning that sooner or later he feels that the industry should relax its stranglehold on makling money, and make it easier for society to enjoy the works they provided.

Then he had this to say on file sharing:

Like it or not, downloading is here. Torrents and filesharing are here. That's not going away. I'm not here to attack it or defend it--I'm not going to change anyone's mind either way, and everyone in America at this point has anecdotal evidence "proving" how it hurts or helps the medium--but I am here to say it isn’t going away--and fear of it, fear of filesharing, fear of illegal downloading, fear of how the internet changes publishing in the 21st century, that’s a legitimate fear, because we’re all worried about putting food on the table and leaving a legacy for our children, but we’re using our energy on something we can’t stop, because filesharing is not going away.

And there's more:

We are the smartest, most creative medium in America. We put out ideas on a periodical basis bam, bam, bam. We don’t put out a screenplay every three years. We don’t invent a TV show every ten years. There are more ideas in one Wednesday in one comic shop than in three years of Hollywood. We're notoriously bad businessmen, but we are unmatched for creativity and inventiveness, and there are ways to make filesharing work for us rather than cower in fear that it’s going to destroy us.

Naturally, a lot of people in the industry missed Waid's overall message: that they have to find a way to make this reality work for them rather than simply ignore and villify it. He's right, it's not going away, and trying to stamp it out is simply impossible. I've talked before about how I consider it to be stealing. And I still do, but I have also relaxed on the issue when it comes to comics. Currently, I have downloaded every single appearance of Spider-Man, in chronological order, from his debut until about 1977. Trying to do so through purchase would be simply cost prohibitive. I would have loved to have done this through Marvel's digital service, but they don't currently have all the issues online.

Waid is right. The industry needs to get cracking and start thinking of ways to embrace the digital medium in a smart, cheap way. Marvel is close. You can join their digital library for about $60 per year. But there are no new issues there, and the runs of their series are patch work and not complete. How can joe blow hacker find the time to do this, but Marvel can't? Give us a system that is way less virus-plagued, more effecient and with better quality control than the illegal guys, and you'll see things improve. iTunes ain't going anywhere, from what I hear.
In ten years, I bet Waid will be seen as a forerunner.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thom Yorke Performs New Radiohead song

So, recently, Thom Yorke has been playing a few solo gigs here and there, performing music off of his brilliant The Eraser album, as well as some Radiohead songs.

The cool thing is that he also performed a new song, making a point to identify it as "a new Radiohead song". Give Up the Ghost is the first new song attributed to the band since August 2009, when they released Harry Patch (In Memory Of) and These Are My Twisted Words, both of which were available for download.

Below you'll find the incredibly shaggy (and is that grey in his beard? Man, I'm getting old) Yorke performing the new song at the Big Chill Festival in Eastnor, England a few weeks ago.


Sci-Fi Tech That Will Kill Us All (11) : The BEAR

Meet Vecna Robotics' Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot, or BEAR. I'm going to let the video speak for itself, but as an intro, here's what BEAR's severely misguided creators have to say about their flagship product:

Designed to locate, lift and rescue people in harm's way, the humanoid BEAR can do what humans can't: lift heavy loads and carry them long distances. Whether on a battlefield, in a mine shaft, near a toxic chemical spill, or inside a structurally-compromised building after an earthquake, the BEAR can rescue those in need without risking additional human life.

The BEAR combines the versatility of tank-like tracks, and powerful hydraulics to do all sorts of pretty terrifying things, as seen below:

Yeah, watching it smash through glass, lift barbells and drag clearly unconscious human bodies is creepy enough, but then, HOLY FUCK, DID IT JUST TRANSFORM? It clearly transformed and rolled out there at 0:33. I think we just found the leader of the robot army that society has foolishly been building.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Comic Observations: Batman, Inc.

So, as I have mentioned elsewhere, I have pretty much left DC Comics in favour of Marvel, with a few exceptions. I'm still reading Green Lantern (though I really don't know why as I haven't been excited about it for months now), I still collect the trades for 100 Bullets (though I'm a little behind), and I'm still reading Batman & Robin, which remains a joy largely thanks to writer Grant Morrison's amazing talent.

In the past, I've written about how his stories tend to confuse the fuck out of me, but upon reflection (and a few more reads) I usually begin to regard them as utterly brilliant. He just has a completely masterful way of telling modern stories that recall the flavour of earlier eras while still containing some of the most innovative, bizarre, and fresh concepts. I've gone so far as to completely reverse my initial reaction to Batman RIP and now call it the best Batman story in a decade. Here's a cool interview that describes his stance on Batman.

He's been behind the Batman franchise for a few years now, and he's doen some incredible things. Since Bruce Wayne's "death" in Final Crisis, former Robin Dick Grayson has taken on the mantle. In the series The Return of Bruce Wayne, it's been revealed that Bruce was in fact zapped by Darkseid back in time and is now bouncing back towards the present through his family history. Amensiac, and yet still driven to survive against all odds, other heroes such as Superman have become aware that Darkseid has turned Wayne into some sort of living weapon, and when he finally figures out who he is and returns to the present, he might destroy the world. In effect, Wayne's indominatble spirit, his greatest asset, is now being used against the world. Cool, huh?

Meanwhile, fans have been sort of loving Grayson as Batman, and his partnership with Wayne's abrasive uber-assassin son Damian, who has become Robin. So, you've got two popular characters trying to fill the same role. But there can be only one, right? Well, not according to Morrison and DC.
Morrison is leaving Batman & Robin to create a new title, Batman Inc, which finds Bruce Wayne returning to the role of Batman and taking a more global stance on his mission. He is basically sertting up Batman as a worldwide organization. Grayson will continue as Gotham's protector, but Wayne, in a slightly different costume, will focus on "franchising" Batman, going so far as to have numerous others take on the role throughout the world.

Personally, I think this could be an amazing idea, or a complete disaster. On the one hand, it's bold and certainly innovative to have Wayne take on a global view, it also runs the risk of weakening the brand through diffusion. Still, it does allow fans of either Batman to have their cake and eat it too, while opening up the adventures of the Caped Crusader to other locales and new frontiers.

Trust a complete wacko like Morrison to take such a tried and true icon in a totally new direction.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Look For the Nerd!

As everyone can see, the site has a new look. I think it's a sleeker, more modern kind of style. Anyone have an opinion? Like it? Hate it? Let me know.......and I probably won't do much about it, but you can't say I don't ask!

Michael Ian Black Goes All "Network" On a Dude

Michael Ian Black, who is a funny, funny man (even if I don't love Stella as much as my best friend Scofe does) went completely berserk on a heckler the other night. This wasn't in a Michael Richards offensive insanity way, in fact, it was sort of the direct opposite of that.

He blogged about it in a typically funny and honest way. Read all about it. Done?

Okay, his response, while perhaps a little extreme and embarassing to him personally, was right on the money. Say what you want about Obama (and I would say he's only guilty of naively taking advantage of people's ignorance of how their political system works and how hard it can be to actually accomplish major change), I think it's fair to say that there are people out there who don't like the guy, and don't think he's a good leader and what have you.

He's not Hitler.

And here is the major problem with the Internet age, it makes morons think their opinion matters, and the more contrary the opinion, the more it feeds their ego. Here are some popular Internet phrases that should be banned unless strictly warranted:

  • Insert Name Here raped my childhood, dreams...basically any inappropriate use of the term "rape". Look, George Lucas made some shitty movies. That's all he's guilty of. Rape is something that happens a lot of people. It's horrible and ugly and has no comparison to the creation of Jar Jar Binks.

  • Calling anyone a fascist who isn't actually a fascist. You can insert Communist, Socialist, and/or Terrorist here, too. No matter what you believe, the people who attach themselves to those "ism"s are usually not too shy about doing so. It's an ethos they want to be a part of. Very, very, very few people in North American society can muster the energy to vote, let alone join a fringe ideology. There are some people that are followers of these systems, but you can usually spot them coming.

  • Comparing non-genocidal maniacs to Hitler, Stalin or Mao. If you have a body count less than a hundred thousand people, you're simply not in their class, folks. As Obama has not ordered the systematic murder of any one group of people that I know of, I think we can hold off from comparing him to one of history's greatest monsters. Calling him Hitler is vastly ignorant of both Obama and Hitler. I'm not saying you can't be inappropriate about these guys; I for one find Stalin hilarious for some reason. But these comparisons aren't meant to be funny, or to ridicule a frankly horrible historical figure, but to demonize someone for a "crime" that is in no way equal to the travesties committed by those they're being compared to.

So, Mr. Black, while you may be a little sheepish that you resorted to such fury in retort, I think the douchebag deserved to be roundly ridiculed, and I hope he learned something. Here's an excerpt from an article where Black expounds on why he thinks he may have gone a little too far in his outrage:

Here's the thing: I honestly believe that the vast majority of Americans want the same things; peace, opportunity, a fair shake, and the freedom to pursue their version of happiness. Democrats want that. Republicans want that. Oprah wants that. Ted Nugent wants that. Everybody. The arguments arise about how we get there. I just think we'd all be better served if we gave each other the benefit of the doubt instead of automatically demonizing the other guy. Here's the thing I am trying to keep in mind: the other guy isn't automatically the asshole. Whenever I start to think that he is, I have to remind myself, "The asshole, perhaps, is I."

Words of wisdom.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Nerdlinger's Most Anticipated Films of Fall 2010 (Part 2)

Here's Part 2 of my look at the films I'm looking forward to the most this coming fall/winter.

5 - True Grit - Now, this is an odd one. The Coen Brothers are almost impossible to pigeonhole. They can make the best dark crime films tinged with black comedy (Blood Simple, Miller's Crossing, Fargo, No Country For Old Men), they can make bizarrely heightened comedies (Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou?), totally unique and obscure art films (Barton Fink, The Man Who Wasn't There, A Serious Man) and attempts at more broad hi jinks that are interesting misfires (The Hudsucker Proxy, The Ladykillers, Burn After Reading). With this film they're making their first full-fledged western (though No Country...was close) and they're tackling a role that won John Wayne his sole Oscar. Granted it's Jeff Bridges, but still, that is daunting. I for one am really quite excited to see their take. It could fall into their misfire category, but the Coens are never boring. (Dec. 25)

4 - The Fighter - I'm of mixed feelings about David O. Russell. His films Flirting With Disaster and Three Kings are amazing. I Heart Huckabees has its fans, but I'm not one of them. His actions on-set border on the utterly reprehensible and unbalanced. He seems to have generated no shortage of ill will but he is still regarded (justifiably so) as talented. So, when you hear he's just made a boxing movie with frequent collaborator Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, maybe he's met two actors who either won't take or can handle his technique of mental cruelty. Wahlberg plays a welterweight fighter on the road to a comeback, who is helped by his recovering Crack Addict brother (Bale). If done well, you've got a lean, powerful and crowd-pleasing Oscar contender. (Dec. 10)

3 - Biutiful - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s latest film stars the incredible Javier Bardem as Uxbal, a lonely man involved in criminal enterprises and who, Bardem won Best Actor at Cannes, and Inarritu is getting praise for this film, which, like his previous films (Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel) is dark, but unlike them follows a more linear story. Bardem seems incapable of being anything other than captivating (he was even amazing in a terrible film like Love in the Time of Cholera), so at the very least, you'll be blown away by his performance. (Dec. 17)

2 - The Social Network - Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay. It's about the creation of Facebook and the subsequent legal battles, and friendships that ended, in the aftermath. The cast is full of young actors on their way to the top, and has David Fincher ever made a bad film (Okay, let's not count Alien3)? What more is there to say? (Oct. 1)

1 - Blue Valentine - The story of a married couple's life together, told in a non-linear style, this film directed by Derek Cianfrance took Sundance by storm this year, and apparently, both stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are amazing. I'm excited to see a grown-up look at the realities of a truly adult relationship. Both of the stars have shown real potential in the past, and could possibly mature in two of the best actors of their generation. One not to miss. (Dec. 31)

Honourable Mentions:

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger - I love Woody Allen, but he can miss as often as he hits these days.

Hereafter - Clint Eastwood dives into the metaphysical and the supernatural? I'm intrigued, but as a film maker he's never been interested in the fantastic.

Howl - James Franco as Allen Ginsberg. Could be brilliant. Could be beyond irritating.

The American - George Clooney as an assassin is intriguing, but it otherwise looks familiar.

The Tree of Life - Brad Pitt and Sean Penn star in a film directed by the legendary Terrence Malick, which will certainly look beautiful, but could also be ponderous to the point of dullness.

Nerdlinger's Most Anticipated Films of Fall 2010 (Part 1)

It's that time again, when the leaves turn, kids go back to school, and Hollywood attempts to prove they're capable of producing more quality films than All About Steve and The A-Team. Oddly enough, so far this year, I can't see any clear-cut Oscar-favourites coming down the pike. In fact,t here looks to be more than a few smaller, riskier films poised to step up to the plate, which is a welcome change from bloated prestige pictures that don't deliver.

Without further ado, here's part one of my list the ten films I'm most looking forward to this fall/winter, with a "honorable mention" section of films that might surprise me. Let's get the show on the road!

10 - Waiting For "Superman" - Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, It Might Get Loud) directs this documentary that examines the American public school system, how it is broken, what opportunities are available for the average student, and what steps could be taken to fix the myriad problems faced by today's kids and educators. The film follows a selection of promising kids as they struggle to gain the best chance for a quality education. Should be powerful, engrossing, and most all, a great generator for serious discussion of reform. (Sept. 24)

9 - Miral - Julian Schnabel (Basquiat, Before Night Falls, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) directs this film about Hind Husseini's attempt to found an orphanage in Jerusalem following the creation of the state of Israel. The story is told through the eyes of Miral, a young women in the late 1970s who leaves the shelter of the orphanage and falls for a politically active Palestinian man, leading to her becoming embroiled in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Schnabel is major league film maker of singular vision, so this may not be two hours of fun, but it should be affecting and bold. (Dec. 3)

8 - Black Swan - Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder and Vincent Cassel star in this thriller about two young ballerinas (Portman & Kunis) who find themselves in competition for the lead role in Swan Lake. Portman's Nina is an innocent, devoted to dance, but Kunis' Lily is more sensual and dark. Their rivalry warps into a twisted friendship, and then into something darker. Darren Aronofsky has long been poised to become one of the most gifted film makers of our generation, with some critical successes (Pi, The Wrestler), and some divisive films (Requiem for A Dream, The Fountain) under his belt. Here's hoping Black Swan is the one that truly confirms his promise. (Dec. 1)

7 - The Town - Ben Affleck directs and stars in this Boston-set crime film as a local bank robber who finds himself increasingly frustrated by the life he's chosen and aware that it doesn't have many positive end points. He sees his opportunity to change in his growing attraction to a former hostage (Rebecca Hall) who may or may not be able to finger him to a relentless FBI agent (Jon Hamm), while their relationship puts him at odds with his partner in crime (Jeremy Renner) and may endanger his life. Affleck proved with Gone Baby, Gone that he was more than a beefy pretty-boy who fluked into writing an Oscar-winning film. He has a real eye for this kind of gritty crime film, the cast is exciting, and the trailer looks great. (Sept. 10)

6 - Tron: Legacy - The first Tron didn't set the world on fire at the time of its release, but has since become recognized as one of the innovators in computer generated images and has achieved a cult following. That was enough to get Disney to green light this update, which follows the son (Garret Hedlund) of the first film's protagonist (Jeff Bridges) into the computer world, where Bridges has been lost for years. The footage and trailers that have been released look absolutely spectacular, and the story is still intriguing, if a little goofy. Still, could be a blast. (Dec. 17)
See you soon for Part 2!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mara Cast as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

In the big casting news of the day, Rooney Mara has won one of the most coveted roles for an actress in years; that of Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher's adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Mara, who just finished working with director Fincher on his soon to be released The Social Network, has been considered the favourite for the role for some time, although many fan sites held out hope for bigger names such as Natalie Portman or Ellen Page.

Mara, who also appeared in the recent remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, joins Daniel Craig in the cast, who will play journalist Mikael Blomkvist. Robin Wright and Stellan Skarsgard have been in discussion for supporting roles.

I have never seen Mara in anything that I can recall other than Youth in Revolt, which she was good in, but she seems to be the right age and body type of the role, and if Fincher has confidence, I can go along. Craig is a really good choice to top-line the film.

It's Not the End of Civilization.. But We Can See it From Here.

Justin Bieber has a biopic in the works. What......the......fuck? Now, I am not in the core audience for Justin Bieber, being neither a tween, nor in possession of a vagina, so I do not track the level of relevance this kid exerts, but he's just another pop star right? I mean, we're talking less Ray Charles or John Lennon, more Frankie Avalaon or Bobby Sherman, yeah?

The recently announced direct (who won the job after helming recent masterpiece Step Up 3D) actually said the following:

This is the story of a new voice continuing the tradition of musicians that defined their generation.

Oddly enough, his pants were not actually on fire while he said this.

So, Justin Bieber now has a biopic. For those playing at home, here's a list of musicians that don't have a biopic:

Smokey Robinson

Jimi Hendrix

The Ramones

The Velvet Underground

Bob Marley


Sam Cooke

Iggy Pop

The MC5

Marvin Gaye

Kurt Cobain

Frank Zappa

James Brown

Elliot Smith

David Bowie


But, we've got Bieber all taken care of. We've locked that down. I hear Daniel Day Lewis is in talks to play him.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Belle & Sebastian Release Album Name

One of my favourite bands, Belle & Sebastian, has just released the album art and name for their upcoming album. Here it is below:

That's pretty much the look of every single one of their albums. They don't have a release date yet, which is annoying. but they do have a cool sort of contest going on right now. Band front man Stuart Murdoch has set up a Flickr album where people can post their own photos of your town with the album's title Write About Love scrawled on a public space (non-permanently, of course).

I'm excited to hear some new B&S, as it's been a while since The Life Pursuit. There's a nice NY Times article on Murdoch from last year, which paints him in a complicated light, but it's a fascinating read. Also, here's a link to the band's tour page, which doesn't show any Canadia dates.

Finally, here's a video of the band playing one of their new songs, I Didn't See It Coming below:

Not the best quality, but it does make me eager to hear the song for reals!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Imagine if Scarlet O'Hara Were a Tattooed Hacker With A Social Disorder

The search for the actress who was going to play Scarlet O'Hara in Gone With the Wind was so highly scrutinized that it has become the benchmark for scouring the earth for that perfect actor. Everyone wanted that role. Thousands of women auditioned.

Now, there's a role that's shaping up to be almost as sought after. The role of Lisabeth Salander in David Fincher's upcoming adaptation of Stieg Larsson's mega-selling Millennium series of novels. Fincher is directing the film version of The Girl With the Dragoon Tattoo. Salander has been widely praised as one of the most original and compelling central characters in recent literature. The three novels have already been filmed in their native Sweden, with Noomi Rapace taking on the role to great acclaim.

Now, for the American version, director David Fincher and the studio have already confirmed Daniel Craig in the lead role of Mikael Blomkvist, but Salander is the flashy role. Everyone from Ellen Page to Keira Knightley to Carey Mulligan to Kirsten Stewart were rumoured to be considered and/or actively pursuing the coveted part. Pretty much every young actress even remotely in the age range were hungry for it. Fincher reportedly offered the role to Natalie Portman, who turned it down.

Now, according to EW, the main contenders seem to be four largely unknown young actresses, who we'll look at below:

Sophie Lowe is an Australian actress that has done a number of high-profile roles down under but is pretty much completely unknown here in North America. She seems a little soft to me, but make-up and a haircut would probably take care of that.

Sarah Snook is also Australian, and has even less experience than Sophie Lowe, mainly on the stage. She's definitely got an edge to her, which whoever plays Salander would need in spades.

Rooney Mara is the sole American on this list, and the one probably most known to American audiences, with roles in Youth in Revolt and the recent remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. She's also recently worked with Fincher, with a role in his upcoming film The Social Network. That could be a plus or a minus depending on how he feels about working with actors back to back.

Finally, there's French actress Lea Seydoux, who most recently appeared in Ridley Scott's terrible film Robin Hood (but she was quite good) and in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. She's got a good look for the role, as well, but that could just be because she's French.

I'm glad that Fincher seems to be leaning more towards an unknown for the role. I think that's kind of vital, as Salander is largely a mystery, and a movie star brings all sorts of baggage to roles that can be hard to ditch. It's an extreme role, and one that, done well, will make a big star out of the actress who plays her. Fincher is absolutely the right choice for the role, and his recent announcement to retain the Swedish setting shows an understanding of a major component of the books. Fincher said of the setting while at Comic-Con:

Stockholm. Uppsala. In the north. You have to. What, are you going to put it in Seattle?

I'm in the midst of reading the books right now, and they're some of the most fascinating detective fiction I've read since James Ellroy came on the scene. Check them out!