2015 is not 1966, but with the aid of animation, it sounds like we're getting a real throwback soon, as Adam West and Burt Ward announced last weekend that at least one - and maybe two - cartoon movies featuring themselves as Batman and Robin were on the way. For a medium that only requires their distinctive voices, age is not an issue for the Dynamic Duo.
Alas, that despicable fiend Father Time has made it an issue for most of their villains, as most of the greats, save Julie Newmar, have ascended to Bat-Heaven. Like all obstacles facing the caped crusaders, however, this is one that is not insurmountable. Start with the fact that recasting the bad guys was part and parcel of the original show. And continue that train of thought as you realize there are undoubtedly numerous stars of today who are huge fans, willing and able to take up the cause of crime in order to be busted by the Bat. In selecting some new contenders we'd like to see, the rules are as follows. One: as with the 1966 series, the actor chosen must already be some sort of celebrity, so that the joy of the performance comes in the merger of established persona with bad-guy costume. Two: re-casting old characters is perfectly acceptable. Three: we will assume that the characters will be drawn to resemble the actors voicing them.More >>
Ladies and gentlemen, we may have finally taken this shared universe thing too far. Since 2008's Iron Man, we've seen an explosion of movies and television shows in which various characters and teams that populate the same canon jump in and out of each other's stories. Marvel Studios started the trend with Paramount before moving on to perfect it with Disney. The House of Mouse then continued to roll with that game plan by scheduling a barrage of Star Wars sequels and spin-offs. Warner Brothers, likely tired of being a laughing stock for their inability to capitalize cinematically on their own DC Comics properties, finally followed suit by announcing a massive slate of Justice League oriented features.
I bring all of this up because on Friday, Paramount announced that they have enlisted Akiva Goldsman (of Batman & Robin fame) to help put together a "writer's room" with the goal of generating Transformers sequels and spin-offs. Yes, as in the Michael Bay films.More >>
Last Thursday night, Adult Swim brought the mighty drive-in theater back with a free Los Angeles-area event. From the looks of it, the late night network might be bringing this 20th century experience to a town near you sometime in the future. Everyone received a feedback form with questions like whether or not we wanted to see the event tour.
I was expecting the event to have the carnival-like atmosphere of Adult Swim's last San Diego Comic-Con extravaganza, where throngs of people filtered through a funhouse, a crazy, animated dome show and some wild panels. However, this event was much more subdued. The network took over a small portion of the parking lot at Santa Monica Civic Center, set up an inflatable screen and took over a radio station. Attendees could choose to either reserve a parking space for their party or take seats on the fake lawn that was rolled out in front of the screen. Food trucks offered free grub. People had the chance to win prizes in a trivia contest. Plus, we all got to see some programming that hasn't aired yet. Here's a run-down of what happened.
(This post contains spoilers for various Adult Swim series.)More >>
It was announced last year that Warner Brothers would finally, after well over a decade of development hell, give us a Wonder Woman solo film in 2017, starring Gal Gadot as the world's most famous female superhero. Although she is making her debut in next year's Batman V. Superman movie in a supporting role, it'll be her own movie that really defines how she's perceived for a whole generation. The first good move Warners made is to hire Michelle MacLaren, director of episodes of several great shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Walking Dead, to direct. Putting a talented woman behind the camera is a smart move, hopefully the first of many.
So which pieces of Wonder Woman lore should MacLaren dive into before directing the film? There are those who say that unlike characters like Batman or Spider-Man, there are no "definitive" or important takes on the character, to which I say "nonsense" - in nearly seventy-five years of continuous publication, there are indeed several defining versions of the character. Here are ten takes on the Amazing Amazon that Michelle MacLaren should absolutely check out before cameras start to roll on Wonder Woman's first ever solo film.More >>
I know, I know...all you fans of the Top-Down Smackdown column were bummed that on the Monday before WrestleMania, I went on vacation. Consider this my atonement. And for those of you not a fan of that column, who'd rather see it confiend to Monday nights...I'll atone for this some other time.
But non-fans should keep reading anyway, because you may be wondering why you have a friend who invited you to watch wrestling this weekend. They know you're not generally into it, right? Well, yeah. But it's WrestleMania weekend, which is the Superbowl of wrestling, ad they hold out some hope that just as non-football fans can enjoy that big game day, WrestleMania will transcend boundaries and be, at the very least, a fun curiousity. Heck, just two days ago a friend of mine in the media business asked, "I'm going to WrestleMania; what do I need to know?" For her, and the rest of you who aren't fervent followers, consider this your cheat sheet, complete with relevant video clips. For more faithful fans, you still get to see my predictions and picks. Everyone wins!
Whether it's a lack of money, a loss of faith in the project or plain old controversy, games get taken out behind the barn to be put down with a Zapper all the time. Some will live on in infamy, like StarCraft: Ghost, and we don't think anyone will miss others, like Project Milo. It's always a shame when a creative project doesn't see the light of day, but we've dug up a few obscure titles you've probably forgotten (assuming you had even heard of them to begin with), that we especially wish had made it to the retail promised land.More >>
These days, when it comes to beloved geek properties of the '80s and '90s, the nostalgia factor is at an all time high; we've got Sigourney Weaver coming back as Ripley for another Alien movie, Arnie coming back as the Terminator, and even Harrison Ford returning as Deckard for another Blade Runner, not to mention the big one-his reuniting with Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And now TV is feeling the nostalgia bug as well, with Bruce Campbell coming back as Ash for an Evil Dead series, and limited "event series" planned for Twin Peaks as well as The X-Files. Even Pee-Wee Herman is coming back, via Netflix. When it comes to nerd entertainment, right now age ain't nuthin' but a number.More >>
South by Southwest is actually three festivals in one. There's music, which is how it began; film which has kind of taken over; and interactive. Music is out of our wheelhouse but the films tend to be nerd-friendly. The city motto of Austin, TX is "Keep Austin weird" so they certainly bring movies that cater to that crowd. Then the interactive portion can give us all sorts of technological fun, like last year's real life Mario Kart racing. SXSW is the festival where Twitter blew up.
Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina
At SXSW 2015 I didn't hear as much about interactive stuff, but a few of the film promotions incorporated technology heavily. There were plenty of midnight movies, big premieres and special events to make SXSW 2015 a truly weird and nerdy experience yet again.More >>
Although it may be hard to imagine, there was once a time when "comic book movies" were not a ubiquitous film genre each year. The reason is that comic book movies (at least the superhero ones, as opposed to those more like Ghost World , Virus, or A History of Violence) used to be financially risky and treated with derision. Sometimes the only way filmmakers could get a superhero movie made before the boom was to pretend it wasn't based off comic books. This had the additional economic incentive of not licensing any source material.
Hollywood's attitude shifted once it realized there was a sustainable market for superhero movies with quality production values at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Now studios' problem was that the film rights to all the popular comic books had already been snapped up years ago for peanuts. This led to a new wave superhero movies with their serial numbers filed off. Even television got in on the unlicensed superhero mania. (Watch the first season of Heroes for a great X-Men analogue, then cringe as the next three seasons manage to make the comics' worst aspects even more terrible!)More >>