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!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Avengers Assembled!

Below you'll find a picture shot at San Diego's Comic -Con showing the entire cast for Marvel Studios' upcoming Avengers film, assembled for the first time!

From Left to Right:

Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man), Clark Gregg (SHIELD Agent Coulson), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner), Joss Whedon (Writer/Director), Keven Fiege (Head of Marvel Studios).

Well, it looks pretty cool! Let's see how it all comes together!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sci-fi Tech that Will Kill Us All (10): Quadricopters

In my continuing series of warnings about technology that will lead to a dystopian nightmare of a future, may I present the quadricopter? At first glance, these little guys don't seem all that menacing. I mean, they're just little remote-controlled helicopters, right? yeah, little helicopters that can sneak through your window and stab you in your sleep! Look below:

What? That's not terrifying enough? Okay, this shows them cooperating to pick up objects and carry them off. Things like bodies:

So, how long before we see these pop up in a movie as a deadly little killing machines? Maybe Gene Simmons will use them to kill people, forcing us to rely only on Tom Selleck, and possibly a thin, hot, Kirstie Alley.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sometimes, I wish the Interwebs Was All a Dream...

So, I saw Inception this weekend. I thought it was amazing. End of review.

The reason why my review of this film won't get any more specific is that I've been reading some of the Internet comments out there on the movie, and it's really made me come to realize that some people have really no idea of what intelligent criticism and analysis means.

In the days before Internet forums and blogs (yes, I know, hello, Mr. Kettle, have you noticed we're black?) criticism was practiced by people who, in some way, had some degree of expertise and/or standards to guide them. You can say what you want about whether you think Roger Ebert or Gene Siskel or Pauline Kael were good critics, but you can't say they weren't qualified. And part of these qualifications meant adhering to a series of standards and a level of objectivity that had to be met.

Along comes the Internet and now everyone can comment on films as they come out. You can put up a blog or post a comment in a forum and all of a sudden you are one step closer to being exactly like the arbiters of taste that previously had to get a college degree, work in film, or you know, get a job with a publication. And I don't have a problem with that (obviously).

But, when no one is out there moderating things, some pretty arrogant and insane and downright stupid things get said. I'm not saying you aren't entitled to your opinion, but if a film like Citizen Kane or Star Wars or Seven Samurai came out today, there would be people on the Internet that would take a contrary position to the masses who love it just to feel all self-important and edgy, and most of all, unique.

It's okay to say you didn't like Inception. I did. I thought it was original, and executed with panache. But you could say it didn't do it for you. You could, and should, feel free to argue about why. But I see online talk about it being overrated or unoriginal or how Christopher Nolan is a hack, and the movie is sloppy. Look, just say you didn't like it and what you didn't like about it and leave it there. Look at what is actually going on inside the frame and ignore what other people say, or what the hype is, or how cool it would be to be the lone person who doesn't like the hit.

Going against the grain for the sake of going against the grain doesn't make you hip. It just makes you a douchebag. And loving something that a bunch of other people also loved doesn't make you a sheep or an idiot either. Sometimes it means that the artist in question made something really brilliant, or at the very least, accessible. I have no respect for someone who makes fun of people who like Casablanca but has no problem saying that Krull is one of their favourite movies. Love Krull all you want, but don't snicker at me for liking Iron Man, please.

Some of you may think that I'm as guilty of this kind of behaviour as anyone. But I hope my posts have been, by and large, funny and/or positive. I really love what I write about, even when I'm taking the piss. I'm just tired of people who seemingly don't contribute anything running down people who bust their ass to try and entertain us.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sorkin to Make Directorial Debut

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Aaron Sorkin has acquired the film rights to Andrew Young's expose of his time working as one of John Edwards' closest confidants, and will make the project his directorial debut.

The Politician focused on the ethical dilemmas Young found himself in once Edwards began asking him to help cover up his extramarital affair and the child that was born as a result of the affair.

Sorkin commented:

This is a first-hand account of an extraordinary story filled with motivations, decisions and consequences that would have lit Shakespeare up. There's much more to Andrew's book than what has been reported, and I'm grateful that he's trusting me with it.

Sorkin, the writer of A Few Good Men, The American President, Charlie Wilson's War, and the upcoming David Fincher film The Social Experiment, is also the mind behind such television shows as The West Wing and Sports Night.

This material sounds like a very good fit for Sorkin, but I'm not sure that he'll make the best director. He often works with Thomas Schlamme, a gifted TV director who should get back to doing films, and I can't help but think this would make a good project for the pair.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Social Network Unveils a Full Trailer

After unveiling a pretty engrossing, and starkly simple, teaser trailer, and after releasing this very cool poster, the full trailer for the upcoming film about the founding of Facebook, entitled The Social Network was released.

Now two things made me excited about this flick early on. First, the screenplay is being written by Aaron Sorkin, and I think he's one of the best screenwriters working right now. He's got his own style, and some people don't like it, but I find him to be smart and funny and I'm always blown away by how writes for adults, not teenagers like a lot of American screen writers out there.

Then I found out it was being directed by David Fincher. To my mind, Fincher may just be the best director working in America. After a disastrous debut with Alien3 (which was not his fault at all), he made Se7en, The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. That right there is one pretty interesting body of work.

With the new, full trailer below, The Social Network might be the perfect film to capitalize on the success of ...Button and finally plant him firmly in the A-List where he belongs. It might also nab a Sorkin an Oscar nod. Check it out:

Pretty cool, yeah?

Comic Observations: Gaze Upon the Visage of Odin.....and the creepy mask of Green Lantern

Here's a new photo from Marvel's upcoming Thor film. It depicts Anthony Hopkins as Odin, flanked by his sons Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

Well, first off, I like the Jack Kirby-esque design of the costumes, even if they look sort of, plasticy. But I really hope that the lighting here is a little more bright than what we'll see in the finished film. Hopkins is a great choice for the role of Odin, and Hemsworth certainly looks the part of the Mighty Thor.

But, out of all the Marvel properties, Thor has the biggest chance of plunging headlong into silliness, so we'll see.

And speaking of silliness, below you'll find the first released photo of Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern, and, looks fucking ridiculous. I still don't know why they went with a CGI mask. What, is spirit gum too expensive?


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Norton Out, Ruffalo In?

As most of the geek world knows, Edward Norton was recently, and rather publicly, fired by Marvel Studios from reprising the role of Bruce Banner. The character, and his green-skinned alter-ego the Hulk, is scheduled to appear in Marvel's Avengers film. The film was always been planned to showcase the Marvel super-team and the stars of its franchises; Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor and Captain America. The film is seen as the culmination of the fledgling studio's bold attempt to recreate their comic book universe on film, and will be directed by Joss Whedon.

Marvel's head of production, Kevin Feige, released a statement that strongly inferred that Norton was being dropped due to an unwillingness to collaborate and share the spotlight. The statement included the following:

Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.

Ouch. That is public relations speak for, "We'd like to hire someone who isn't such a dick."

Norton's rep was understandably upset, saying it was an offensive, purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light, adding counter to what Kevin implies here, Edward was looking forward to the opportunity to work with Joss and the other actors in the Avengers cast, many of whom are personal friends of his. Feige's statement is unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory. Mr Norton's talent, tireless work ethic and professional integrity deserve more respect, and so do Marvel's fans.

For his part, Norton responded pretty damn classily. The weird thing is that while what Marvel charges isn't exactly out of character for Norton, neither is Norton's camps that Marvel is unreasonably cheap.

Norton has had a history of somewhat fractious professional relationships. Tony Kaye, the director of American History X, famously has huge clashes with his star, as Kaye hilariously wrote about in an article for the Guardian. Here's a few choice excerpts:

The first screening of my cut had been a success. Then the studio gave me pages and pages of notes, as did Norton...Their first reaction after I bawled them out was to ban me from the cutting room. Eventually they let me in, and I worked with them on re-edits for a year. In that time, I found a whole new film, one that they never allowed me to finish. At one point, they even let Norton work on the editing. I was so staggered by what he was doing to my film, and by the fact that New Line approved, that I punched the wall and broke my hand.

Whenever I argued with Norton, I didn't have a leg to stand on. He could wipe the floor with me because he's a great articulator...Of course, if you actually listened to what Norton was saying, you could hear that none of it made sense in film-making terms: that's not his forte, as you'll know if you saw the movie that he directed,
Keeping the Faith. "Pretty fucking awful" hardly covers that one.

Marvel has also had its share of difficulties, most famously falling out with original Iron Man co-star Terrence Howard and replacing him for Iron Man 2 with Don Cheadle, purportedly over salary demands.

So, who knows? Norton has never been the easiest guy to work with. Look at how many times he's worked with anybody twice. That's your biggest indicator in Hollywood if some one's a massive pain in the ass. Still, the usual (well, polite, really) thing to do is to refer to some sort of nebulous "creative differences". What you don't tend to do is come right out and say, "That guy over there? Major asshole!"

But word has just come out that they are in talks with Mark Ruffalo to take over the role. And I think Ruffalo might wind up being a better fit than even Norton. Ruffalo is a bit more off-kilter than Norton; less of a leading-man, more of a character, but still charismatic enough. Could be interesting.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Double Features : 70s Thrillers

As I said in my previous post, I've come up with a couple new features here at The Nerd Report, and the first one I want to share with you is my new Double Features series. Ever been at the video store, looking for some good flicks for a solid night at the movies, but you can't find anything to tickle your fancy? Well, hopefully this feature will help. I'll pair up some movies that will be connected by theme, stars, directors or some wacky connecter. What hopefully will make this different will be that I'll also be giving you a drink and a snack to go along with it!

To get us going, let's pull out our neckerchiefs and flared pants, enjoy the sexual liberation and the doses of the clap that accompany it, and relentless presence of countless shitty songs by the Eagles. That's right, we're heading back to the 1970s with a couple top notch thrillers.

Double Feature: Three Days of the Condor & Marathon Man

These two films recall the halcyon days when the Paramount logo meant quality as opposed to today, when I can't remember the last time I saw anything made by Paramount that actually wasn't a piece of crap.

Three Days of the Condor stars Robert Redford as an inexplicably hunky researcher who works for the CIA reading and analyzing various books. When his entire office is massacred for reasons unknown, Redford escapes and soon realizes that he can't trust anyone; not his friends, not his bosses, not even his own ideas about his country. Basically, it's a perfect representation of the paranoia that was rampant in those times. Redford is excellent, and the rest of the cast, featuring Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow and Cliff Robertson, is top notch. There's a love story that is unrealistic, but is mitigated by a sad undercurrent. The spy stuff is very cool here, mostly because it's so completely re-

Marathon Man is the more famous of the two, and certainly the more chilling. Dustin Hoffman stars as a graduate student and marathon runner who, through his brother's shadowy life as a secret agent, becomes the target of a brutal Nazi war criminal played by Laurence Olivier. Beset on all sides by pretty much everyone all around him, Hoffman has to, through sheer endurance, stay alive and try to figure out exactly what is going on. Notable for its absolutely horrifying interrogation scene involving Hoffman's hero, Olivier's Nazi dentist, and one
question repeated over and over; "Is it safe?" Chilling and engrossing.

Drink: Our drink for the movie is that champion of the era: Harvey Wallbanger! You'll need 1.5 oz of Vodka, 3 oz of fresh Orange Juice, and a 1/2 oz of Galliano. Shake vodka and orange juice briefly over ice. Pour into a Collins glass. Top with ice if necessary. Float Galliano on top.

Snack: What better 1970s choice than some nice Fondue? Get some nice cheese, throw it in your fondue pot, and heat it up. Then dip in some nice meat, bread cubes and veggies and you're almost ready for a key party. Don't have the hardware? Then get yourself a snack plate that is segmented, preferably with a faux wood finish, and throw in some potato chips, bridge mix and roasted peanuts.

Enjoy the show!

Many Apologies.....

Hello, all!

So, I guess you may be wondering where the hell I've been for the last month. Well, June was absolutely insane for me as I started a new job and found myself with very little downtime to research subject matter, let alone post anything. I apologize most heartily, and promise that I won't let as much time go between posts again.

The good news is that I've come up with a few new features that I think people will enjoy.

So, let's carry on!