Jared Leto Looks Like a Very Marilyn Manson-ish Joker in New Pic

By Luke Y. Thompson in Comics, Movies
Friday, April 24, 2015 at 5:36 pm

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As Tweeted by David Ayer, this may be the movie look, though I'm somewhat hoping the tattoos and teeth are just for a promo image.

In the end, I think Jared Leto will do a decent job no matter what he looks like - Heath Ledger taught me not to get hung up on the superficial details - but this is definitely different.

h/t chaoslex

Weekend Open Thread: Belated Winner Edition

By Luke Y. Thompson in DVDs
Friday, April 24, 2015 at 5:10 pm


Yes, yes, I'm super-late picking a Voices winner. Ask my writers how behind I am on invoicing sometimes.

At any rate, the winner of The Voices Blu-ray is BenCohen, whose mashup of comic strip and comic book produced this gem:

Alan Moore reboots "Beetle Bailey". It is now a violent, graphic deconstruction not only of military culture, but of the way it is sensationalized and glorified by the media as a recruitment push. Beetle's laziness is now primarily a result of drug use, PTSD from his first time in heavy combat, and a general desire to avoid the consequences of his enlistment in the Army, which he did out of high school assuming it would make him a hero. Sarge is so fixated on Beetle not because he is just a strict authority figure, but because he is a psychopath sexually obsessed with the perceived youth and defenselessness of his subordinate. That dog of his can't really walk on two legs, and only wears military clothing because the last person who told Sarge to stop was mysteriously killed in a landmine-spotting exercise. The General is so inept because he is impotent. The blonde secretary is secretly manipulating the entire base to her anarchic whim, which will eventually culminate in the units stationed at Camp Swampy being called into battle. There, they will be defeated quickly by the never-specified enemy they have always been preparing to fight: The United States.
Ben, please email me your address. Everyone else talk amongst yourselves.

TR Review: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Director Returns With The Harvest

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies
Friday, April 24, 2015 at 4:10 pm


I was probably a good half-hour into The Harvest when I wondered why the hell I was watching it. I partially remembered that I wanted to review it because I had a read a description that made it sound up my alley, but what was unfolding across my screen seemed to be a movie-of-the-week about a possibly terminally ill kid. And while it wasn't terribly bad to that point - Frankenweenie star Charlie Tahan does a good job of making you believe he's eternally ailing and unable to walk - I wondered what the hell I was doing sitting through "sick kid makes friend" when nothing I was seeing seemed relevant to Topless Robot readers in any way.

It takes a long time but, well, as the poster suggests, there are developments that push things into very different territory. And I'm going to try to finish this review without explicitly mentioning any of them.

Frank Miller Will Do Another Goddamn Dark Knight Sequel Called "The Master Race"

By Luke Y. Thompson in Comics, Movies
Friday, April 24, 2015 at 1:54 pm


I blame Zack Snyder for this.

"Batman remains my favorite comic book hero and a sequel to Dark Knight is going to be daunting," said Miller, "but we'll do our best."
Billed as an "epic conclusion," DKIII will be serialized in eight issues starting late fall.

Brian Azzarello will cowrite. Additional artists have yet to be announced. Zack Snyder to begin purloining ideas immediately.

It's Chris Pratt vs. Indominus Rex in New Jurassic World Scene

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies
Friday, April 24, 2015 at 12:44 pm


Chris Pratt just finished a Reddit AMA, and at the end unveiled this new clip, in which - well, as you can see by the still, he finds himself a tad overmatched.

Don't worry - the final outcome of this encounter is not revealed. It's just a cool taste of what happens when these movies introduce the closest thing to an actual evil dinosaur that there is.

Hell, if the Asylum hasn't taken the title "Evil Dinosaur" already, somebody should.

Telltale Games Is Doing a Marvel Series

By Luke Y. Thompson in Comics, TV, Video Games
Friday, April 24, 2015 at 12:14 pm


They just announced it with the image above, which isn't much to go on - but it will be an episodic game, like the kind they're generally known for.

So what should it be? What would you want it to be? Honestly, I'd like to see them go out on a limb and set something in the Netflix Defenders universe - it's tonally closer to The Walking Dead than most other Marvel stuff.

h/t Anyone00

Human Ancestors Had Tentacles, so I Guess Cthulhu Made Us After All

By Luke Y. Thompson in Tech
Friday, April 24, 2015 at 11:03 am

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A very jargon-heavy article at a very legit science news site says that Russian scientists believe this is so. Not the Cthulhu part - science's job isn't to prove or disprove the Elder Gods' existence - but the tentacle part.

Our study shows that there is a group of the Lophophore animals among the Bilateria -- Lophotrochozoa taxon, which includes the largest variety of types of animals, -- Elena Temereva says, -- The lophophore is a special organ that carries tentacles. Phoronids, brachiopods and bryozoans (ectoprocts) have collectively been called lophophorate, because they have the lophophore. However, multiple molecular phylogenetics data shows that there is no united group of the Lophophore animals
You can read the whole thing, but the entire article's like that. I'll sum it up for you: every animal that is bilaterally symmetrical (i.e. that could be divided in more or less equal halves if sliced down the middle) comes from an early sea creature that had tentacles, some 600 million years ago.

So when you see tentacle sex in anime, it's really just a throwback to some very ancient impulses.

(h/t Bradley J. Fikes)

NECA Recreates Classic Kenner Mail-Away Predator as Convention Exclusive

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies, Toys
Friday, April 24, 2015 at 10:05 am


Remember when action figures based on movies didn't have to actually look all that much like the movie version, as long as it fit the criteria for what designers assumed kids would play with? Back then, our one and only cloaked Predator action figure was a mail-away, with decidedly non-canonical chrome weapons.

Now, much as they did with the Night Fighter Robocop previously, NECA have taken their movie-accurate sculpt to recreate the less-accurate mail-away, with the con-exclusive Ambush Predator. Action Figure Insider has a fully detailed gallery - it's missing the goofy clip-on black chestpiece that nobody ever much liked, but the masks and weapons are nostalgia-riffic.

Ambush, you are one beautiful son of a bitch.

Previews Exclusive Mortal Kombat Figures Include the Bloodiest Scorpion EVAH!

By Luke Y. Thompson in Toys, Video Games
Friday, April 24, 2015 at 8:00 am


When I think of all the subpar Mortal Kombat figures I collected over the years because they were the only option, and then I look at these Mezco versions, I curse myself for being as impatient as my namesake in The Empire Strikes Back. These are what we should have been getting all along. And at just under $60 for all three of these variants - a frosty Sub-Zero, a blood-drenched Scorpion and a phasing Raiden/Rayden (seriously, dude, pick a spelling) - they're somewhat reasonable by today's standards.

Now, if they'd only "Get over here!" into my toy room, I'd have a Geekgality.

TR Interview: Animator Don Hertzfeldt, Picturing Matchstick Men and You

By Luke Y. Thompson in Cartoons, Movies
Friday, April 24, 2015 at 6:30 am


Don Hertzfeldt can truly claim to be the only director working today to have had a film featuring the repeated line "MY ANUS IS BLEEDING!" nominated for an Oscar.

Now that I have your attention, Hertzfeldt deserves more of it. Said Oscar-nominee, "Rejected," was an animated short in which Hertzfeldt himself is hired to create commercials, only to go insane and have the spots get weirder and weirder until the drawing paper itself rebels and creates a vortex that destroys all the animated creations. It was of a piece with other creations like "Billy's Balloon," in which childrens' balloons start beating the crap out of their owners. Drawn in simple black and white stick figures with occasional splashes of color, they were sometimes dismissed by animation snobs for having a primitive aesthetic, but appreciated by viewers who could sense the creativity underneath.

His 2012 feature It's Such a Beautiful Day, which combined his line drawings with filmed backgrounds, and meditated on infinite time, neuroses and the future, was my favorite film of that year, so I was excited to learn he had a new animated short available to view online, and is working on a feature. Also, you might have seen his recent take on The Simpsons couch gag, which was typically unorthodox and anti-consumerist. Here is my conversation with Don Hertzfeldt.