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July 31, 2007
Been meaning to get around to this...

There's been a sudden rush of deaths this week, and though each has struck me in separate ways, I find the most painful passing to beb that of Tom Snyder.

I used to love Snyder's late night talk show on CBS. I really responded to his casual nature and his friendly face, the stylish substance of his show accompanied me to REM sleep more than a few nights in my formative years. I'll miss Bergman. I'll miss Antonioni. But I'll really miss Snyder.

July 30, 2007
RIP Ingmar Bergman

As tributes are pouring in, I feel it would be remiss not to tip our hats at InContention to this lion of cinema. From "Wild Strawberries" to "Fanny and Alexander," Bergman was always at the very pinacle of the film world, achieving a notoriety that has, with the arguable exception of Fellini, never been equalled by a non-English language filmmaker. As the Tech Support columnist, I also feel that I must note the invaluable service he gave to cinema by giving the great Sven Nykvist his most noted projects.

At 89 years of age and such a memorable filmography, it would be hard to say that he did not have a full life. But that can never diminish the loss to the film world without his presence in it.

Rest in peace.

July 28, 2007
I'd like to say...

...the more I think back to Zack Snyder's ComicCon panel, the NY Times story to boot, I really am happy at how extensively the director GETS "Watchmen," and it's potential as a film adaptation.

Summary of yesterday's viral marketing "Dark Knight" campaign...

Here's a synopsis.

A lot of people think all of that was "awesome." Maybe I'm getting old, but I thought it was extremely lame, given the outcome.

July 27, 2007
Bailing on the Con

(Updated, with Pics.)

I had to. I just...had to. Back in LA now and feeling strangely...safe. No Marvel panel for me tomorrow. No Iron Man. No Hulk. And I really don't give a shit either. It'll just be more santimony, more empty rhetoric about "visions" and not enough material to bother waiting in line for three hours to get into the damn H Hall and see the thing.

I guess another thing I'll be missing is the "Masters of the Web" panel, which ought to be renamed the "Masturbators of the Web" panel. The usual suspects: Devin Faraci, Ed Douglass, Drew McWeeney, Garth Franklin. I respect a few of these guys, but do we really need webmaster circle-jerk #492?

Some scattered pics after the jump.

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Inside the halls of the San Diego Convention Center.

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Chick dressed in Rose attire a la "Grindhouse."

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"Golden Compass" prop.

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A beaut. Punk kid got in my shot.

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There is a moment when "atic" can be added onto "fan." This was taken at 6:00 in the fucking morning.

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Blurry shot (sorry) of Ken Davitian, The Rock and Steve Carrell during pointless (given it was COMIC Con) "Get Smart" panel.

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Rorschach fan asking question during "Watchmen" panel.

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Director Zack Snyder, actress Malin Akerman and actor Jackie Earle Haley during "Watchmen" panel.

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Snyder revealing original piece of artwork Dave Gibons has created in preparation for the movie. Kind of a Comic Con teaser poster with the release date on it.

Public apology goes to Brian...

I thought there was no way a "Dark Knight" teaser could be "terrible" or "horrendous," but damn if WB didn't find a way to make it just that. What...the...fuck...was...that? It might be the cheapest teaser ever made in the 21st century, at least as far as perception goes.

Heath Ledger sounds fantastic, though.

Oh yeah, and "Joker money."

Apparently dollars with Joker makeup drawn over George Washington are floating around.

Actually, there IS a "Dark Knight" presense here after all, just one EXTREMELY vague and covert.

So jets flew over head this morning with the following number and "HA HA HA."


You call it and you get a weird message, sounds like someone held captive by The Joker. It's a campaign, apparently, a scavenger hunt kind of thing. Not sure how to describe it, just call it and you'll see.

Notes from the Con

I settled into my groove, but not much of one. This is still way too many people for far too many stretches to fill the niche. And next year, when the Convention Center contract runs up, they're thinking about moving into a bigger place. As if they'd keep the same cap with the potential out there to make even MORE money.

Yesterday was slow, and yes, Karen Allen was "officially" revealed as being in "Indy IV" at the Paramount presentation. Though the 20 minutes of "Beowulf" wasn't shown, it's instead showing in a theater in town or some such strangeness.

A personal pleasure was being in a scantly attended Joe Jusko spotlight. The Marvel Masterpieces card series are my childhood, and his drawing of Wolverine for that set is my single favorite comic image...ever.

Also, last night, the premiere of DC animation's "Superman Doomsday," which I suprisingly enjoyed. I'm not big on DC animation outside of the early 90s "Batman: The Animated Series," but this PG-13 epic was kind of the shit. It's what the fallout of "Funeral for a Friend" should have been, if you mixed in a touch of what "Quest for Peace" should have been. Trust me....it works itself out.

Today, the Warner Bros. presentation was a complete disgrace. A huge chunk was devoted to "Get Smart," footage and a panel with Steve Carrell, The Rock, the Japanese cat from "Heores" (I despise the show too much to search for his name), etc. There was an interesting look at Joel Silver and Dominik Sena's Greg Rucka adaptation "Whiteout," which could be some genre fun.

The "Watchmen" panel - if you want to call it that - consisted of a long-winded Zack Snyder talking about his vision for the project, which, thankfully, is purist to the tenth degree. Solid R rating, no updating to reflect current environement and damn if he isn't trying to get the pirate story in there, too. His explanation for the young-ish casting decisions was that he wanted actors he could age up and down accordingly. That makes some sense given the narrative. Jackie Earle Haley and another cast member, actress, can't recall, came out but not much from them. Questions were fielded, but really, it was a completely impotent showing and not having "The Dark Knight" here was absolutely STUPID. Whatever.

An interesting "I Am Legend" panel discussion regarding the upcoming comic books spun off the narrative and the film adaptation. Orson Scott Card and Richard Christian Matheson were in attendance among others discussing their contributions to the Vertigo book. Card revealed he finally pried the gaming and comic license for "Ender's Game" away from Warner Bros. and that his next comic project would likely be one based on his classically beloved sci-fi novel.

Let's see, what else. I met the obligatory Lou Ferrigno? I'm skipping the Neil Gaiman spotlight because they've got it in four rooms, which means wall-to-wall people yet again and no sight from the back? I may check out NBC's pilot premiere of "Chuck," or I may just bolt from the convention center into downtown San Diego and hope for a "Dark Knight" trailer attached to a screening of "The Simpsons Movie."

Oh, and that "Sweeney Todd" poster is apparently a Comic Con exclusive. Not the final teaser or one sheet.

That's all for now.

One can't fault the poster


From the attic in "Scissorhands"? Maybe. But still bloody awesome.

July 26, 2007
The Dark Knight Teaser

Terrible. Horrendous.

"The Dark Knight" has had amazing viral marketing so far. The Harvey Dent site and the Joker reveal were fantastic, as were the Joker cards strewn about California and Chicago. But this teaser, ugh, it makes my heart sad. It had the potential to be something so great, something that made everyone stand up and freak out in theatres, but nope. It's just meaningless, and it doesn't even "tease."

Heath sounds great I guess, but really, it's not enough for me to get excited. "Iron Man" has a full trailer put together and it's coming out only a month or so before Dark Knight. This was clearly just a scramble from WB to make up for the backlash on ignoring the Con this year, and honestly, they shouldn't have cared. Pissy geeks will forget everything about not getting a comic-con panel when the undoubtedly amazing trailer comes in December, as the Joker first promised.

So THIS is Comic Con?

A wall-to-wall cluster-fuck of capitalist greed was expected, but not the absolute exhaustion it would induce. I know the Con has supposedly gone more and more to shit (and how could it not when film studios begin to leech onto it as a jumping off point for genre films that really...don't belong in the same context as they'd like to think. But this...this is disgusting. I am a comic book fan, and I hate the San Diego International Comic Convention.

I said it.

Anyway, I guess it didn't help getting a slow start today and, due to traffic, parking, registering and standing in a gigantic line, I missed the damn Paramount presentation this afternoon. No 20 minute "Beowulf" presentation for me. No "Indy IV" look. None of that. Granted, I'm coming at this as an attendee. I didn't try to take a presss route because I was just curious enough tto see how a regular fan could or couldn't enjoy him or herself here, and while there's plenty to see and do, I just don't know if this kind of mass humanity should beb allowed...anywhere.

To top it off, the majority of that bigass line were people hoping to see Jessica Alba at the Lionsgate panel that FOLLOWED the Paramount presentation in the same auditorium. Straight...to...shit.

So two days is going to be enough for me. I'll check out the Warner Bros. presentation tomorrow and hold out hope that there will be a teaser for "The Dark Knight," but I'm doubtful. There's a rumor it might be shown with tonight's "Superman Doomsday" animated flick. I don't know. WB really is gonna be left with no major showing if this happens, because now it seems they had to pull out of Wizard World Chicago due to some political nonsense.

As the world turns.

Anyway, I'm out o here tomorrow afternoon. I already heard it stated that today, THursday, is worst than a typical Saturday at the Con. Which means this thing is getting more bloated than the World Series of Poker.

At least San Diego is gorgeous as always. A trip across the harbor to Coronado suddenly sounds much more enticing than hearing Joe Jusko or Neil Gaiman talk about why it is they do what they do...

How I would love to be in Venice this year

Loach, Lee, Haynes, Haggis, Gilroy, Dominik, De Palma, Branagh, Anderson and Wright. Not to mention many more of the world's best talents. Should be a treat.

July 25, 2007
Leader Hulk's New Foe?

Talk about an about face from the initial film. But what do we think of Tim Blake Nelson's casting? I think it's a totally inspired choice and, frankly, this is a project I'm more and more looking forward to. Three superheroes in one summer may just melt my face off.


I didn't bother heading down for preview night tonight in San Diego and add a fourth day to an already exhaustive schedule, so I'll see the Beowulf presentation tomorrow with all the "little people." But for now, Paramount has posted a trailer that's pretty badass. Check it out!

Kubrick flicks double-dip for real this time.

This is the most exciting DVD news I've stumbled across in years. That "2001" looks like a gem and a half.

July 24, 2007
"Lust, Caution" trailer in Quicktime


For some reason I can't get excited about this film...

July 20, 2007
"Bourne" Back and Meaning Business

I'll post a full review when I collect myself, but for now, "The Bourne Ultimatum" is the most riveting, most creative, most stimulating film of this already thoroughly engaging series. Paul Greengrass has managed to provide one of those rare movie delights, a franchise that bested itself with each installment.

More over the weekend.

Where will Travolta be campaigned?

That is the question. Plausible arguments can be made both ways. Supporting is the smart route (and frankly legitimate, in my opinion) but he still gets first billing and is the star of the movie. Not to mention the fact that the HFPA will certainly put him in lead.

What say you?

July 19, 2007
Oh, and let me just say...

...two Emmy nominations for "Friday Night Lights" is a disgrace. It deserves to win in both categories (direction and casting), but regardless, this was the best show on TV last fall and it got the shaft. Meanwhile, horseshit like "30 Rock" continues its parade down the throats of people with brains.


How much ass does "The Bourne Supremacy" kick?

I've been gearing up for Monday night's big critics screening of "The Bourne Ultimatum" at the Arclight by dipping into the old Bourne titles this week.

Doug Liman's "Bourne Identity" didn't impress me much the first and only time I saw it five years ago. The best thing director Paul Greengrass could have done for Liman's introdcutory installment was keeping it so tonally similar, right down to the "Extreme Ways" closing credits. It almost elevates the first film by proxy as a result. Watching them back to back, I have to say I enjoy "Identity" a touch more than I did back in '02.

But "Supremacy." Jesus. It was damn-near a top 10 film for me three years ago and it just gets better and better.

July 17, 2007
"Thank you, come again."

Well, I made it out alive today when I decided to take a gander at the Kwik-E Mart/7-Eleven over on Verdugo and Olive in Burbank this afternoon. They have to form a line outside or else the place will be overrun with frothing-at-the-mouth Simpsons fans and their digital cameras, yuk-yuk laughs at Jolt Cola and Duff Beer (well - they were actually out of these items) and the like.

Sadly I didn't bring my camera along to document the nightmare. Though I did take a shot of the pink sprinkle doughnuts on sale in 6 packs 4 packs and singles. I nearly went into a diabetic coma when I ate one, by the way. Never tasted anything so sweet in all my life.

Anyway, chalk one more up for publicity...

It seems ThinkFilm is distributing "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead."

The new Sidney Lumet film. Is this old news that I somehow missed?

July 16, 2007
"Into the Wild" an Original Song contender?

I heard on the radio (of all places) this morning that Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder will be contributing an entire album of original material to Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" soundtrack. Could one of these tunes wind up a serious contender for Best Original Song? I suppose it's possible if the film makes any dent whatsoever.

July 15, 2007
Harry Knowles is getting married.

Over at Aint It Cool today, you'll see plenty of talk and celebration for the day where the big jolly red head, Harry Knowles, gets married. You'll hear that directors such as Eli Roth and Richard Kelley were there, that Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor at WETA made the invitations, and more. A lot of web journalists (and print journalists too, I'm sure), seem to resent Knowles today more than most days. They hate his friendship with filmmakers and even bash the fact that his bride-to-be is 19 or 20.

Grow up, I say.

Regardless of what one thinks of Aint It Cool, I think it's near impossible to deny the obvious: that Harry Knowles worships movies. His soul belongs to them. The reason he's friends with a lot of filmmakers isn't to write good reviews for their movies or to be pampered like a spoiled geek brat. It's because they, like him, love movies. His friendship with Peter Jackson famously started well before Rings when the two of them would always be the two highest bidders on Kong memorabilia. His pure love of movies overrides the Anton Ego cynicism that 99% of our film critics have. Even when I think his being a tool, I still appreciate him for that. One could make the argument that no one would take movie web critics and writers seriously if it wasn't for Knowles, and I think they'd have a strong case.

I'm not even sure what I think of AICN. I might be young enough to appreciate it more than most writers. But I will say this: let's all wish Harry Knowles a long and loving marriage. To do otherwise is just immature in the most infantile way.

So good luck to you, Mr. and Mrs. Knowles, and may your marriage be a happy one.

July 13, 2007
"The Dark Knight" at Comic-Con after all?

Brian just sent me a link to this ComingSoon.net story that says, in addition to "The Dark Knight" teaser trailer potentially being attached to "The Simpsons Movie," that the studio might actually debut the thing at the WB panel in San Diego in two weeks.

Not to get my hopes up, but that'd sure make the trip I'll be taking down there worth it.

July 12, 2007

Jeff Wells has a friend who screened "Youth Without Youth" recently, and damn if the guy didn't rip the guy a new asshole:

As feared, the film is Coppola at his most indulgent. The narrative is borderline incomprehensible, heavy handed, laughable at times. Even the most dedicated festival audiences are likely to be bored stupid. I can't imagine what the general public will make of it, if it ever sees the commercial light of day.

More at Hollywood Elsewhere.

"Burn Notice"

Anyone else think that was about half as cute as it thought it was?

Random blog posting of the day...

I don't know. Don't ask.


Hey everyone, my name is Brian Kinsely, I'll be writing the reviews over at Page to Screen every week for a while, hope you enjoyed the look at Charlie Wilson's War.

Now that the pleasantries are over, let's get down to businss: Quicktime finally put the trailer for top-secret "1-18-08/Cloverfield/The Parasite" movie up. If you saw "Transformers," you saw what I consider to be the easy winner for best trailer of 2007, but one of the finest trailers I've ever seen. I remain skeptical on what the film itself might look like, but the trailer guarenteed that on 1-18-08, I'll be at the movies.

I've been trying to think of what the greatest trailers of all time are. I suppose starting backwards would be a good place to start: I thought last year's best trailer was hands down "Little Children." Agree/Disagree? What are some of your favorite trailers of all time, and in recent years?

On the Potter Movies

I'm very curious if anyone reading the blog has seen these movies without reading the books. Because for the fifth time in a row, I maintain that if you haven't, you'd be confused and/or underwhelmed. And I say this as a huge admirer of the books. Not to mention that the acting from the three principals is really bad as far as I'm concerned.

The adult characters still continue to be fabulous additions. (Thanks, Imelda.)

July 11, 2007
"Zodiac" Director's Cut in '08 a Potential Oscar ploy?

As you've seen, David Fincher's "Zodiac" is releasing on DVD later this month, with a director's cut set for release next year. If released in January, could such a tactic be a stab at Oscar hopes in addition to the obvious money-hungry studio typicality? It might have been smarter, if such a thought was in Paramount's mind, to push that director's cut into the fall rather than next year, giving more time for consideration. Regardless, this seems to beb a title that was fumbled by management over and over again, so why not one more for the road?

Frontline's "News War"

I've been watching Frontline's four part series on the media and its evolution in the modern era, titled "News War," and I have to say this is one of the most cogent and comprehensive studies of the form of journalism I've come across in a televised, documented format.

The correspondent is Lowell Bergman, who joined the PBS program after leaving CBS in the late 90s, and he does a fine job of balancing careful observation with seeing red and going for the jugular. It's also beneficial to see such a who's who of the industry interviewed at length across the board, from the Millers to the Koppels, the Rosenstiels to the Kellers, it's all inside but still heavily applicable to an interested public.

Do yourself a favor when you have four hours to spare and give this thing a look.

July 10, 2007
Spacey to reprise Lex Luthor role in "Superman: Man of Steel"

Anne Thompson has the scoop tonight that, not only will Kevin Spacey NOT be retiring from the screen (as was reported in a somewhat lax fashion here and there last month), but he also agreed to appear in two "Superman" films, the second, apparently subtitled "Man of Steel," is currently being prepped by director Bbryan Singer and Warner Bros. for a 2009 release. Singer has two other films in the pipeline before pre-production is set to begin on "Man of Steel."

Personally, I found Singer's "Superman Returns" to be a great film. Fun and exciting, it was still something unto itself in Singer's twisted, Donner-worship, a thing that doesn't belong in the continuity of a rebooted franchise. It might have been best to let Singer go off into the sunset having had his druthers with the mythology behind a couple of films he clearly admired. But this is the same studio that clearly got its act together on a "Batman" franchise just 8 short years after it collapsed under Joel Schumacher. Why so stale with the other big boy in tights?

Thompson's Variety story.
And more on her blog.

Reiterating Hoffman

Regarding Bbrian Kinsley's look at Aaron Sorkin's "Charlie Wilson's War" screenplay today, I have to reiterate how much of a dynamite role Phillip Seymour Hoffman has in this flick. Indeed, forget Roberts, and of course, the Wilson role is a prize no matter who got the part, but Hoffman's saucy CIA agent has the most howlers in a typically dialogue-explosive Sorkin riff.

And I agree Brian's overall assessment. Iit's a hell of a script.

Next week Brian will be looking at Ben Affleck's "Gone, Baby, Gone."

July 06, 2007
Affleck back in the saddle.

A lot of talk on this "Gone, Baby, Gone" trailer, including a ton of inane "Mystic River" comparison. Aside from Lehane being behind the source material of each, there isn't much to validate all of that. But that's the typical empty talk that accompanies early materials on an upcoming film, that desperate need to classify a flick as "this year's so and so."

In any case, I recall Ben Affleck's intense concentration on this project last season. He didn't do much, if any, major press on "Hollywoodland" (including a NY Times piece I wrote on the film) due to his invlovement with "Gone, Baby, Gone," and looking at this spectacular trailer, one is left with the feeling he may have hit it just right.

Brian Kinsley will be reviewing the script at "Page to Screen" in the coming weeks, but for now, take a look at what could be a hell of a vehicle for Casey Affleck.

July 05, 2007
It's O'Connell and Russell's year.

At this point, I'd say the only competition "Transformers" will have for the Best Sound Mixing Oscar is "Sweeney Todd" (assuming Burton puts out a worthy effort).

"Pirates" and "Spider-Man" are old news franchises. A film like "Beowulf" could stun, especially given the talent involved in the sound department. "The Golden Compass" will certainly be lurking, and there are always the potential surprises in films like "The Bourne Ultimatum" and "The Kingdom." But at the end of the day, no one can deny how loud this fucking movie is, and how integral to the suspension of disbelief the sound work had to be (regardless of how shitty the screenplay).

Maybe Kevin and Greg have their gold coming...finally.

July 03, 2007

I somehow left "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" off my screenplay charts this month. Too lazy to fix it now. I'll adjust in August.

July 01, 2007
Pathetic news...

Apparently Warner Bros. has made the lame-brained decision to exclude Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" from this year's San Dieco Comic Convention. I need to stress lame-brained even more because I bought attendace to the Con for the first time ever this year expecting something for the biggest fucking comic book adaptation of 2008 and yet, nada. Zip. But of course the studio is primed for something at August's WonderCon in Chicago, but what the fuck?