Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 30 Seconds and Re-Enacted By Bunnies

This series of Flash cartoons has been around for awhile but this was the first time I'd seen this particular installment. I was kind of surprised that The Texas Chainsaw remake was the template rather than the original, but it's still a hoot. Check it out here.

While you're at it, these are pretty good too:

More DAY OF THE DEAD casting news

Bloody-disgusting.com has ammended its statement regarding the cast of the new Day of the Dead. Mira Sorvino will not be starring, but Mena Suvari will be playing Sarah, a role originated by Lori Cardille. It's fairly easy to see how that mistake could be made. Ving Rhames will still be starring, but rather than reprising his character from the 2004 Dawn of the Dead as I had hypothesized, Rhames will be playing Captain Rhodes, a role originally played by Joseph Pilato in the 1985 original. Pilato's inability to give the character any depth beyond his one note "military a-hole" performance was one of the original's greatest weaknesses. Rhames seems an excellent choice to add dimension to the character.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Night of the Living Dead-3-D

As I said regarding Day of the Dead, remakes aren't automatcially a bad thing. I will reserve judgement on Night of the Living Dead 3-D until I've seen it, but I have to say the trailer (which you can view at the above link to the film's official website) doesn't WOW me. Taking advantage of the public domain status of George Romero's original film, this new version is being billed as a "reimagining" of the tale. Sid Haig's participation lends promise, but the production values don't look all that impressive, and I've never thought 3-D added anything of value to a film. It's a gimmick and and a fairly intrusive one at that.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Descent

I blogged about the poster for The Descent awhile back, but my interest in the film increased significantly when I realized the film was written and directed by Neil Marshall, the filmmaker responsible for Dog Soldiers, one of the best werewolf films in recent memories. The trailer is claustrophobic as hell. I've noticed the films released by Lionsgate vary HUMONGOUSLY in quality. Maybe with a little luck we've got a winner here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Casting News

Contrary to popular belief, remakes are not inherently evil. Admittedly I was up in arms when the Night of the Living Dead remake was announced. How dare they attempt to recreate the movie that defined the modern zombie film? The final product, however, turned out to be pretty cool. When I first heard of the Dawn of the Dead remake I was again overcome with reluctance, but guess what? Also a cool flick, even though it still bugs me that you had to be bitten to become a zombie. I prefer my walking dead to be more spontaneous.

If you're going to remake a film, though, I suggest one might be better off redoing a film that didn't work perfectly the first time around rather than a classic. 1985's Day of the Dead, the third entry in Romero's Dead series, has its admirers, but I am most definitely not one of them. I rewatched Day not long ago, and while the action and gore are well done, the script is overly talky, the characters are flat as an Olympic gymnast, and it's all topped off with a lead actress who cannot act. If ever there was a movie that needed a do-over it was Day of the Dead.

Due for a 2007 release, the new Day of the Dead is being directed by Steve Miner, director of Halloween H2O, and Friday the 13th Parts 2 and 3. The screenplay is by Jeffrey Reddick who penned Final Destination.

What's even more interesting, though, are the casting announcements recently posted on BloodyDisgusting.com. Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino is joining the cast as is Ving Rhames. Rhames, of course, starred in the Dawn of the Dead remake, and BloodyDisgusting.com claims he has been cast in order to link the two films. It was my initial understanding that the Day remake was to be a standalone film and not a sequel to the 2004 Dawn. It's not clear if Rhames will be reprising his roll as Kenneth or if he's playing another character entirely.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Freaks on Film

A film version of Gilbert Shelton's Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers? I always treat news releases like this with cautious optimism. The Freak Brothers along with Shelton's Wonder Warthog were my favorite characters from the underground comic book movement of the seventies. Yeah, Robert Crumb is the guy everyone talks about, but give me Shelton's stuff any day.

Thanks to a report on Boing Boing, word is spreading about a stop motion animated film featuring Fat Freddy, Phineas, Freewheeling Franklin, and of course Fat Freddy's Cat. Production appears to be in the very early stages, as the Grass Roots Films website provides info for potential investors. There's a teaser trailer there too. It doesn't show much, but it's enough to get you thinking about the possibilities. Can the adventures of three drug-addled lowlifes find a mainstream audience in this day and age?

Meanwhile, over at the official Freak Brothers website, Shelton has posted his first Freak Brothers strip in 10 years.

The King of Dreams

One of the many things that has always impressed me about Stephen King is that he is equally adept at penning short stories as he is at novels. It's been my experience that few writers can master both forms consistently. Some of King's best books have been his short story collections including Night Shift, Skeleton Crew, and Everything's Eventual.

The King anthology Nightmares and Dreamscapes is being adapted as a mini seres for TNT in what is being touted as a Four Week Television Event. Eight King stories are being presented in a one hour format not unlike The Masters of Horror series. Presumably this format will better suit the story than a full length film treatment. Movies like Maximum Overdrive and Children of the Corn were hard pressed to expand the story to feature length.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes premieres Wednesday July 12 at 9:00 PM Eastern/8:00 PM Central with Battle Ground starring William Hurt, followed immediately by Crouch End at 9:50PM Eastern/8:50PM Central. The following three wednesday nights will bring two more episodes each. Cast and plot synopses can be found at the show's official website.

One More Superdude

For the sake of being thorough, here's Johnny Rockwell, missing from the Superman collage in the previous post. Rockwell starred in the unsold Superboy pilot from 1961. Click on the image for a closer look.

Supermen Through the Ages

Lest anyone think Brandon Routh is the first to sport the red, blue, and yellow, here's some pretty cool fan art of nearly every actor to play the Last Son of Krypton. Click on the image for a closer look. Tom Welling has obviously been Photoshopped onto one of the Superboy actors, and I can't identify the gentleman on the far left. Possibly he starred in the broadway show It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman. Notable for his absence is Johnny Rockwell, star of the 1961 unsold pilot episode for The Adventures of Superboy.

Superman Returns

Pity the poor Man of Steel. He comes back after a five year mission, boldly going where no earth-raised Kryptonian has gone before, only to find that the love of his life has written a Pulitzer-winning editorial about why the world doesn't need Superman. Oh, and she's shacked up with one of the X-Men. Bummer.

Five years ago astronomers reported they had located what remained of the planet Krypton. In hopes of finding others of his kind, Superman (Brandon Routh) left earth in a ship of Kryptonian design. The ship returns as a blazing meteor, crashing to earth on the Kent farm in Smallville. Martha Kent (Eva Marie Saint) welcomes the return of her adopted son, but he reports that his mission was a failure. Krypton is nothing more than a graveyard, and he is indeed the last son of Krypton. Clark resumes his job at the Daily Planet, where he learns that Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has moved on. She has a son now, is engaged to Richard White (James Marsden) nephew of Daily Planet Editor Perry White (Frank Langella), and seems to be getting along just fine without Superman.

Time has not stood still for Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) either. Luthor has spent several years in prison, but when Superman was not available to testify at Luthor's appeal, the follically challenged arch villain was freed. Luthor still has a passion for real estate schemes, and he plans on builing an entirely new continent with some help from Kryptonian technology stolen from Superman's Fortress of Solitude.

It isn't long before a crisis strikes that requires some super heroic action. A space shuttle piggy backed on top of a 747 full of reporters (including Lois Lane) runs into trouble, and as one might expect, this looks like a job for Superman.

Director Bryan Singer has crafted an exciting and faithful return to cinematic greatness for a character that he obviously has a great deal of affection for. Superman Returns is essentially a sequel to Superman and Superman II, but at times it also functions as a remake of the first film. The action scenes kick some serious butt, but the heart of the story resides with the characters. Superman must come to terms with being the last of his species and losing the love of his life, while Lois must figure out if life without Superman is really what she wants.

I've long wondered if any other actor besides Christopher Reeve could wear that costume without looking foolish. Reeve played the character with a grace and dignity that made you forget you were looking at a grown man in long underwear and a cape. Lois and Clark star Dean Cain never quite pulled it off, playing Clark Kent far more believably than Kent's alter ego. Brandon Routh studied Reeve's portrayal of Superman and seems to be channeling him quite effectively, carrying a similar degree of believability.

The film is peppered with in-jokes and nods that only Superman fans will get. When Martha Kent tells Clark that his father would never have allowed him to go on his Krypton quest, a photo of Glenn Ford, who played Jonathan Kent in 1978's Superman can be seen on the mantle. When Superman picks up an out of control car then lowers it safely to the ground, Brandon Routh strikes the same pose the Man of Steel held on the cover of Action Comics #1 (June, 1938).

So many summer blockbusters have left a bad taste in my mouth that it's easy to forget the formula can actually work in the right hands. As with the first two X-Men films, Singer proves that he understands the right blend of story and eye candy. A great time at the movies, so long as you can overlook the notion that an award winning journalist like Lois Lane would be fooled by a pair of horn rimmed glasses.

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