Thursday, November 30, 2006

News: Fantasticar; 'Beverly Hills Cop IV'!; Brit's slip

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'Fantastic Four' sequel to feature Fantasticar

USA Today reports that the sure to be mediocre "Fantastic Four" sequel, "Rise of the Silver Surfer," will feature the freaky foursome riding around in the famous, for comic nerds at least, Fantasticar, kind of like a flying Batmobile.
The Fantasticar was always cool in the comics but, to steal a line from "Sin City," the movie version looks like an electric shaver to me. It looks like all the major principals from the first film will be returning. It's rumored that the Surfer will be motion capture, like Gollum. The film is slated to open next summer.

Eddie Murphy, desperate for a hit, to resurrect 'Beverly Hills Cop'

Do we really need another "Beverly Hills Cop" movie? Rotten Tomatoes reports that the ever-slumping Eddie Murphy (did anyone see "Haunted Mansion" or "Daddy Day Care?") will return to beat to death our fond memories of Axel Foley from the first two movies. I'm not even going to get into the disaster that was "BHCIII."

Yep, Britney Spears is really that nasty

Tons of news outlets are reporting on Britney Spears flashing her bare crotch at paparazzi recently during a night out with Paris Hilton. I'm not gonna post the photos of Commando Brit, I'm sure you can find them online if you really want to, but you can read about it here.
Me, I like my pop stars sexy, but not naste. Give me Kylie Minogue over Brit any day.
Anyway, It seems the two headed Sparis monster will host next week's Billboard Music Awards together. Slated to appear on the awards telecast are Sonic Youth, Pearl Jam, Mos Def -- nah, I'm just kidding. It'll be crap like Carmen Elektra and "American Idol" rejects.

TV: Watch, and read about, 'Battlestar Galactica'

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goldteethblog. has posted a great feature about the writers of The Sci-Fi Channel’s "Battlestar Galactica." If you've been avoiding the show because of that goofy title, well, you need to get over it.

Remember, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was arguably an even more ridiculous title, and that was one of the best and most critically acclaimed shows, like, ever. This season, “Galactica’s” third, alone has aired some of the finest television I’ve seen in years.

The show is a reimagining of the campy 1970s space saga of the same name, which I’ve never seen. The update follows the last human survivors of an attempted genocide. The humans organize a fleet of ships, lead by the Battlestar Galactica, and flee into space pursued by a synthetic race called Cylons. Yeah, it might sound like standard sci-fi stuff, but the quality of this show is unprecedented in sci-fi TV. It’s resem-bles “Firefly” in that it’s a space saga without the cheesy alien costumes or lazer blasters.

Executive producer Ronald D. Moore, a veteran of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Roswell,” delivers a smart, dark and impactful series driven by flawed and relatable characters, smart social commentary and absorbing ideas. “Galactica” can be read as a bold examination of post-9/11 America. The first major storyline of this season was in-formed by the current Iraq war, with humans acting not unlike Iraqi insurgents under the thumb of the op-pressive Cylons. The show manages to examine all the major tenets of our culture — politics, religion, faith, friendship — without being cloying or losing its visceral kick.

The Slate story is essentially a review of the “Battlestar Galactica Writers Meeting” podcast. The podcast is an unedited four-hour recording of writers David Weddle and Bradley Thompson “breaking” a story for a season two episode with Moore. The story and the podcast might interest non-“Galactica” geeks, since it details what TV writers go through when creating an episode. Read the story, and then buy the show on DVD. You have to start with the miniseries, then season one and so forth. Fans of quality TV will be sucked in in no time.

TV: Heroes (1.10) - 'Six Months Ago'

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(Air date: 11/27) What an exceptional idea for an episode. We don’t just follow Hiro six months into the past, but the entire cast in an episode filled with revelations and surprises.
Read my review at Pop Syndicate.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

News: ‘Preacher’ coming to TV; Silly ‘Superman’ offer; Virgin Mary actress preggers

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HBO turning ‘Preacher’ comic into series reports that HBO is developing a series based on writer Garth Ennis' and artist Steve Dillon’s comic book "Preacher". There’s no casting news yet, but Ennis and Dillon are attached as co-executive producers. That’s the good. Here’s the bad: Mark Steven Johnson, who wrote the joyless “Daredevil” movie and the upcoming “Ghost Rider” film, is writing the pilot.
I’ve never read “Preacher,” but a friend has recommended I read it. The premise of the comic sounds in-triguing. It’s about a cursed and powerful preacher who goes on a journey, with his witty vampire friend in tow, to literally find God, who’s gone into hiding. The book is known for its social commentary and tack-ling heavy political and religious issues. It was also one of the first successful books on DC’s Vertigo line.
Fun fact: Apparently Kevin Smith was, at one time, attached to produce a feature film version of “Preacher” starring James Marsden a.k.a. Cyclops.

Wal-Mart/Warner screw up ‘Superman’ online offer

Sci-Fi Wire reports that Wal-Mart and Warner Bros. are offering customers who buy "Superman Returns" on DVD, released Tuesday, the opportunity to download the movie for use on portable devices for $1.95, computers for $2.95 or both for $3.95. This seems like a terrible way to venture into the movie downloading market, because only people who already bought the DVD can download the movie.
Why would anyone who al-ready owns the DVD, which can be easily ripped to a computer or even a portable device, want to pay to download it online? Also, you can’t play the downloaded version on Apple’s iPod. Wal-Mart hopes to expand the pricing model to other film and television content, apparently to further ignite the ridicule of, well, everybody who likes movies and TV.

16-year old Virgin Mary actress pregnant

In a bizarre case of life kinda imitating art, Keisha Castle-Hughes, he 16-year-old actress cast as the Virgin Mary in the upcoming “Nativity Story” film is pregnant. She plans to have the baby. The dad is her 19-year-old boyfriend. I wonder if the evangelicals will stop supporting this movie after this news spreads.
The movie, which is directed by McAllen, TX native Catherine Hardwicke ("Thirteen," "Lords of Dogtown"), is getting pretty mixed reviews. It opens this week.

News: 'X-Men' artist dies, Borat blamed for Pam/Rock split

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'X-Men' illustrator dies wearing Superman pajamas

The Washington Post reported today that X-Men comic book illustrator Dave Cockrum died this weekend at the age of 63. The Post reports that Cockrum, who co-created the characters Mystique, Storm and Nightcrawler among others, died wearing his Superman pajamas and with his Batman blanket.

Borat blamed for Anderson/Rock split

A "pal" of Pamela Anderson told the New York Post that Borat is to blame for the former Baywatch star's split with Kid Rock. According to the source, Rock was upset after a screening of "Borat," calling Anderson a "whore" and a "slut" for appearing in the film. Funny I would have thought she earned those names from a few other onscreen appearances.

'Half Nelson' 'Little Miss Sunshine' top Spirit Awards list

It looks like 2006 really is Steve Carell's year. (Wait, wasn't 2005 his year too?) reports "Little Miss Sunshine" tops the 22nd annual Independent Spirit Awards list of nominees, along with Ryan Gosling's "Half Nelson." reports that the late Robert Altman earned a Best Director nomination for "Prairie Home Companion," which looks like another great Altman film. I should have a review of the DVD release up soon. the Spirit Awards air on IFC on Feb. 24.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

TV: Gilmore Girls (7.09) - 'Knit, People, Knit!'

Gilmore_Chris & Lorelai
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(Air date: 11/28/06) Bad move Christopher. You just don't get it do you? The town of Stars Hollow doesn't have a 12-hour knitting festival just to raise funds for a new bridge. The townsfolk hold such a ridiculous event -- replete with giant knitting needles -- to gossip, crack jokes and to wrap poor ol' Taylor up in yarn.

Christopher is clearly an outsider in Stars Hollow, at least that's what this episode -- one of the best since the Palladinos split -- was trying to tell us. And just when I was starting to like the guy.

I still dig Christopher, even though he did spoil everybody's knitting fun by plopping down a huge wad of cash to get the town's bridge fixed. He's a smart, well written character, and he seems to have shed a lot of the loser skin he was packing a few seasons back. It wasn't long ago that I was in the anti-Christopher camp, but can you blame me? For several seasons the guy has shown up, filled our Gilmore girls with hope and promises only to crush their precious little multi-syllabic hearts. I smelled a rat when he swooped in after Lorelai and Luke broke up, but now I don't know what to think. He's cool, he's confidant, funny and he's clearly smitten with Lorelai -- a fact he had to spread all over town in this ep. So why are the writers, and actors, working overtime to make sure we get that sense of impending doom about their relationship? It's pretty frustrating and its not nearly as fun as watching Chris and Lor happily toss witty one-liners back and forth at the speed of light like they used to.

At least we got to see Rory and Logan act like a proper "Gilmore Girls" couple this week, if only for a few minutes. Logan's job called him away, as it usually does nowadays, and Rory had to help plan a "2002 party." So, this is where the Palladino's touch is sorely missed. A 2002 party? That's a desperate gag, not funny and inspired like last season's Tarantino Party. They didn't even bother to illustrate 2002 properly; we got one Nelly song and a sight gag involving some clunky boots. Yawn. But, of course, the real story here was the dynamic between Rory and Marty.

I used to like Marty, but I didn't shed any tears when Logan obliterated his chances with Rory a few seasons back. Logan is one of my favorite characters on any show, and I really hope the writers don't plan to replace him with dopey Marty. What a bore that would be, especially since it seems like the whole Marty plot is another desperate attempt to create on-air conflict. It rings hollow. Why not deal with Rory's post-collegiate anxiety, or explore her dynamic with Paris instead of setting up another love triangle at this point?

We got to see a nice amount of Paris here, hip-hop dancing with Doyle no less, which is always great. I dig how she's kind of a celebrity among the Yale undergrads. But why was Rory moving back into Paris' deathtrap apartment? Isn't she crashing at Logan's pad -- the greatest TV apartment ever? That move felt pretty forced, like they're really trying to physically distance Rory from Logan.

And poor Luke. The guy's been jabbed in the heart all season. Now it looks like April's pathologically overprotective mom might move her away. It was great to see Luke sharing quality time with T.J. (who was actually quite hilarious in this ep), and the scene with him holding his new niece ("Doula!") was the stuff season one was made of. In a perfect coda, Luke marched over to Anna's to demand equal rights as a parent. He also did a good job of stuffing her obsessive attitude down her boho-chic throat. Now that's the Luke we know and love -- not taking anybody's crap.

It looks like Luke's previously latent doggedness will be on full display next week.He and Chris were about to go all "Mortal Kombat" on each other in the teaser for the next ep. Who'll win that possible street fight you ask? Let's see: Trendy, tight pants and hair product wearing rich boy vs. the pissed-off, flannel-draped outdoorsman with a persistent 5 o' clock shadow. Yeah, I'm bettin' on Luke.

So , this one was pretty good despite its flaws, almost as funny and warm as the "Gilmore Girls" of old. I predict "Wolf Girl" paintings will be all the rage this Christmas.

TV: Heroes (1.09) - 'Homecoming'

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After weeks of network hype and labored plotting “Homecoming” finally arrived. Armed with a fair amount of pleasures but dulled by a disappointing climax, this homecoming felt more like prom night.
Click here for review.