NBC released the schedule for the next half of the season, with the critically beloved (but sadly low rated) Community no where to be found. Luckily, the show has not been canceled, just benched. Instead, 30 Rock, which has been (in my opinion) on creative life support for a while, is taking it’s place. Many are fearing the worst. We all want to see the Greendale gang graduate! Four seasons, that’s all we ask! But, even during all the nervous chatter, I’ve found an article that breaks down the situation pretty well. It’s worth a read, if only to realize that it’s not all certain doom and gloom.
“Six seasons and a movie!”
(Editor’s note: Brittaed the link before. It’s the right one now)
I attended the Austin Film Festival and got to meet a few very interesting people. I’ll post up a few experiences I had here and there, but one that’s standing out in my mind tonight is meeting Lawrence Kasdan. Responsible for a good chunk of our childhoods, Mr. Kasdan wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strike Back.
At an intimate Q&A session, Kasdan told us the story with how he got the job writing Empire, which I wanted to share.
So, Kasdan had just written the first draft of Raiders of the Lost Ark (his first writing job, by the way) and he hands it to George Lucas in his office. Lucas plops it on his desk, turns to Kasdan and goes, “Let’s go get some lunch.”
At lunch, Lucas mentions that the first writer of the Star Wars sequel (still called Star Wars 2 at this point) recently died from cancer after completing a draft of the script. Lucas, though, wasn’t happy with her work.
“So, how would you like to write the sequel to Star Wars?” Lucas asked.
Kasdan just looked at him. The man across from him just asked him to write the sequel to the most successful film of all time.
“But you haven’t even read Raiders yet. What if it sucks?”
Lucas shrugged, “Oh, well, I’m reading it tonight. And if it does I’ll take the offer back in the morning.”
The next day, Kasdan walked into Lucas’ office. “Larry, you nailed it,” says Lucas, “I’d like you to go ahead with what we discussed. Before you do, I need to tell you something.”
Kasdan shrugged, “Alright.”
“Darth Vader is Luke’s father.”
Kasdan just stood there, looking at Lucas, “… no shit?”
Everyone loves the opening credits of a Bond movie. Sure, you have a kick ass teaser to kick start a Bond movie, but you really know you’re there when the theme music starts.
As it turns out, Tomorrow Never Dies and Quantum of Solace have two theme songs, both of them replaced. You can tell they were meant for the original songs, as their tunes match up with the theme music by David Arnold all over their respective films. The first is “Surrender” by K.D. Lang, was replaced as the producers simply didn’t like it and asked Sheryl Crow for a replacement. The story of the second song, “No Good About Goodbye,” is slightly more complicated. David Arnold developed the song with Amy Winehouse, but she dropped out due to health complications. When Jack White and Alicia Keys were brought on, their went their own way with the song and we got the wildly uneven “Another Way To Die.” Personally, I think it’s a shame, as Arnold’s original song for Quantum of Solace would have fit the movie far better. Arnold eventually recorded the song with Shirley Bassey, who sung the theme music for Goldfinger, Diamonds are Forever, and Moonraker.
For your listening pleasure, here they are:
Tomorrow Never Dies, “Surrender”
Quantum of Solace, “No Good About Goodbye”
The interplay between all the members of the group looks great, and I’m sure RDJ loved all of Whedon’s one-liners for Stark. Not the biggest fan of the screaming rock music, but I’ll be damned if the actual footage isn’t pretty cool. Check it out.
With the prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 masterpiece The Thing coming out at the end of the week, I thought it might be a decent idea to spent a little time honoring the franchise this week. The first little tid bit I have is a rather new blog created by the film’s co-producer. It has a lot of great inside information, including the process of marketing the movie, deleted scenes, and the relationship members of the production had with the studio. He also gives his (and at times the screenwriter’s) opinions on several of the film’s mystery’s. It’s really worth a gander if you’re even a little bit interested in the movie.
And, just as a shameless plug, here’s the trailer to the new movie, starring the always wonderful Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton. Ron Moore, the head writer of the new Battlestar Galactica, is also co-writer on the script:
Originally posted here.
The season premiere of Dexter teaches us that religion is, of course, for the ignorant and criminally insane.
Dexter stalks a member of his former High School class he suspects murdered his own wife while he attempts to enroll Harrison into a pre-school.
Upon seeing promos for the new season of Dexter, I found myself apprehensive of season 6’s religion angle. By the end of the episode, the writers proved that they (hopefully) wouldn’t become too heavy handed with issues of faith. Instead, the episode delves more into Dexter’s curiosity with human behavior. Harrison is growing up, after all… and Dexter doesn’t have much left in his life other than him and Deb. Obviously, the show has restarted itself into something closer to season 1. Dexter as a show is incredibly frustrating, as it has the potential to be amazing but is afraid to shake up the status quo. Season 4 promised us an interesting new direction, but season 5 simply took proceedings back to business as usual, which became very frustrating. Worse yet, Deb had the chance to uncover Dexter’s secret using her budding detective skills, but let it slip by. I only bring up the series’ past failings to highlight the basis in which season 6 must be judged: will it finally take risks, or be the same old? For now, let’s just judge the episode on its own merits.
Dexter’s shenanigans at his 20 year (seriously? People go to those?) High School reunion was both interesting and surprisingly amusing. Dexter’s former classmates fawning over him proved to be a great source of amusement. It does make you wonder why everyone swarmed around Dexter because of his wife, but people didn’t do the same for his prey. It seemed people liked him for the jock persona, not the traumatic history. Still, it proved to be entertaining watching Dexter learning to mingle as more than a fly on the wall, right down to an inevitable but humorously useful blow job from a former prom queen. Dexter’s trickery with his class ring, despite it backfiring, was also quite clever. Lastly, while I hate Harry as a story device (he was played out by the end of season 3), his scenes at the dance and on the football field were actually rather fun.
As a side note… what exactly is hammer time? Obviously it’s a dance, but I’ve never heard of it before. It sounds extremely lame.
Edward James Olmos and Colin Hanks had a somewhat cryptic, if important roll in tonight’s episode. It’s hard to judge them, as they were given little to do. It would be more pertinent to simply say that they were intriguing and it will be interesting to see how they tie into Dexter’s journey over the course of the season.
Looking at the changes in the last year… I admit I’m surprised that Angel and LaGuerta seemingly broke up between seasons. It seems like a waste of two seasons worth of drama just to have them revert to a single status. Now Angel is taking care of his sister? Once again, the writers show just how little ideas they have for the two characters, so they just reboot them back to square one. Wouldn’t it be best just to kill one of them off?
As for Deb and Quinn, they didn’t have too much time to shine, but the touches with Quinn’s nervousness in proposing to Deb were well done. It’ll be curious to see how she ultimately reacts, given what happened to her with the Ice Truck Killer. Will she freak out or embrace it? My money is on the former. Still, Deb will have plenty else on her plate during the season, as her gunfight at the restaurant will no doubt put her in the running to head up the department instead of Angel… much to LaGuerta’s disdain.
Overall, the episode itself was solid. Dexter’s adventure was great and the duo of Hanks and Olmos has the potential to be amazing. Despite the writers tripping up her development, Deb vs. LaGuerta could be a very fun plotline. It’s too bad Angel and Masuka are settled with half baked plotlines, as the actors deserve better. It’s just hard to take Dexter seriously as a show anymore, as it suffers from the same problem Smallville had: on an episode to episode basis it’s pretty good, but as a whole it just feels like it could be so much more. Here’s hoping the season will amount to more than a missed opportunity.
Originally posted here.
On the latest episode of FOX’s Fringe, we learn that people are kinda like herpes: just when you think they’re gone forever they find a way of staying with you.
When the other side asks for Olivia’s help solving a string of murders, she brings our side’s version of the killer to aid in the investigation. Meanwhile, Walter attempts to ignore his flashes of Peter.
Major spoilers ahead:
The latest Fringe is a curious episode, as it follows a formula decidedly less true to itself, yet still successful. By taking procedural elements seen in something more like Law and Order, Fringe created a stand alone adventure that proved to be a surprising potent outing thanks to some excellent acting. Yet at the same time… are well done procedural episodes the reason why we watch Fringe? (more…)
2011 has been an interesting year for games. Not only to we have almost every major franchise throwing their latest, greatest entry into the meat grinder, but we have the mother of all first person shooter grudge matches brewing: Battlefield 3 vs. Modern Warfare 3.
While the Bad Company games were certainly good, they were overshadowed by the growing phenomenon of the Call of Duty franchise. For the last two years, in fact, the winter release schedules have been rather barren in order to avoid the CoD juggernaut, but not so in 2011. EA and Dice are here to play and they go a long way in proving it with their Battlefield 3 beta. While not perfect, it’s enough to give a gamer hope. (more…)
Originally posted here.
In the season premiere of FOX’s Fringe, we learn that once in a while an episode’s title perfectly describes it.
In a newly augmented timeline devoid of Peter Bishop, an uneasy truce is established by both universes. Meanwhile, Team Fringe investigates a translucent skinned killer with the help of our side’s agent Lincoln Lee.
Major Spoilers Follow:
Back in May, I mentioned how season finales are a funny thing. Premieres are also funny in the fact that how they are constructed is reflective of how the show is doing ratings wise. A ratings juggernaut such as Lost can open a season and pick right up where they left off… but a show always on the renewal bubble like Fringe often needs a stand alone story to draw in new viewers. As a result, we have the season opening in a place friendly to new viewers. Agent Lee serves as the audience’s perspective as a newcomer to the Fringe universe. While Lee’s a welcome addition to the cast, everything else just came off as business as usual. (more…)
Fan Films can either be wonderful or just plain horrible. Luckily, two shorts came out that are pretty damn good. There’s some great special effects at work here. Escape From City 17 Part 2 in particular has been in the making for years. Check them out:
Escape From City 17 Part 2
Portal: No Escape
As I’m sure many of you have heard, the DC universe is being rebooted from scratch later this year. For some, the move is a bit of a relief. After all, isn’t the DC universe just way too complicated? It’s one of the reasons I’ve always been a bigger fan of the Marvel universe. Hell, DC has done soft reboots before in the form of a Crisis… but they’ve never restarted with a total blank slate until now.
Many stalwart fans of the DC comics universe are upset by the change and rightfully so. Rather than simply start over, DC is doing so with some major changes to iconic characters. While it certainly seems like the right time to change up the status quo for many characters, some it seems are getting rather baffling augmentations. One such character, Barbara Gorden is being changed in a fundamental way.
For those of you not familiar with her history, she led a successful crime fighting career as Batgirl until the Joker paralyzed her. For the last twenty years, she’s taken the role of Oracle, a techno savvy information broker who acts as a confidant to Batman and many other heroes. With the universe rebooting, the writers at DC have taken the opportunity to return Barbara to the land of the walking. I personally found the decision suspect, as Barbara’s role as Oracle made her a unique presence and a far more interesting character. If she becomes another costumed hero, how is she different than anyone else?
Well, one such writer, Eric Glover, felt compelled to write a passionate and thought provoking editorial on the subject. Not only does his article go into the pitfalls of changing the character, but why she stands as an important symbol of diversity and overcoming disability in the midst of a less than diverse medium. I hope someone out there at DC is listening, as Eric makes persuasive argument against the coming change to the character I agree with strongly. I highly suggest you check it out:
Just found this and thought it was adorable. Click it to see it in full size.
Before I start the review, I should warn everyone that while I have a great deal of respect for J.K Rowling’s book series, I’m not its biggest fan. In fact, in many ways I enjoy the movies more than their written counterparts. I have several problems with the last book in particular, but as a whole I definitely enjoyed reading the series (Prisoner of Azkaban being my favorite). If you can forgive my tastes, hopefully we can find some common ground in enjoying a very cool universe. With that out of the way, here’s my review for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2:
Note — Minor spoilers for the film, but nothing the trailers haven’t revealed. If you wanna go in totally fresh (as in, you haven’t read the books), you might want to read the review later. (more…)
Release: July 8th
Starring: Jason Batemen, Charlie Day, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacy
Directed by: Seth Gordon
The Story: Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.
The Gossip: To be honest, there haven’t been many discussions around the campfire about the movie. The reviews so far have been rather solid with 80% on rotten tomatoes at the time this article comes up. Usually, a smaller scale movie comes out after the big July 4th release and Horrible Bosses seems to fit the bill. Last year we got Predators in the same slot. The marketing has been solid, as are the names in the cast. If the reviews hold, it may be worth a look for a few laughs.
So, will it be any good? Magic Eight Ball says “Cannot Predict Now” (more…)
While it may or may not be true if Williams named his daughter after the game character, the commercial has a lot more heart than that Helen Mirren ad for Wii Fit.
It’s nice to see Robin Williams do something that isn’t total crap these days…
E3 2011 is over. We got lots of great game coverage and peeks at distant titles. But the real meat of the event came from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo’s press conferences. How did they do? Well, let’s take a look at the good, bad, ugly, and then tally it up. Before we go any further… these articles are about the press conferences only, not the meetings going on behind closed doors or the demos on the show floor. (more…)
2011 is an exciting year for E3, though to be fair most of that has to do with the hype surrounding Nintendo’s next console. Wii 2, Project Café, or even Stream – whatever it’s called, holds both great promise for the company and its followers. 2011 is going to be the start of a minor reinvention for Nintendo that comes with a new console cycle. If the rumors are true and Nintendo is trying to recapture the hardcore market, then they have a great deal of work to do in reshaping themselves. The battle for the new Nintendo will start at their press conference. Their first impression will be crucial. (more…)
X-Men: First Class
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, January Jones
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
The Story: In 1963, Charles Xavier starts up a school and later a team, for humans with superhuman abilities. Among them is Erik Lensherr, his best friend… and future archenemy.
The Gossip: The last two X-Men movies were badly produced and lazy films that tarnished the good name of the first two entries in the franchise. However, Bryan Singer, the director of the first two films, is back to guide the creative decisions of the film. Matthew Vaughn, the director of Stardust and Kick-Ass is directing a wonderfully chosen cast in an intriguing premise. While Fox’s history and an accelerated production schedule haven’t inspired much confidence in the film, each new piece of footage released looks better than the last. A respect for the source material is here, as well the time in which the film takes place. Also, early reviews for the film have been nothing less than raving with an outstanding 98% on rotten tomatoes with 50 reviews. That’s pretty damn impressive.
So, will it be good? Magic Eight Ball says: “You may rely on it” (more…)
Originally posted here.
Last time, we discussed Sony’s position coming into E3. In the interim, their “Welcome Back” program will hopefully improve their standing going into the conference. With Sony’s hand tipped, we know precious little about what Microsoft has in store for us – even less than Nintendo.
Unlike Sony, Microsoft has a very small list of established exclusives this year. Gears of War and Forza are certainly popular franchises, but they won’t carry a holiday season. However, several multi-platform games such as Arkham City, Skyrim, and Modern Warfare 3 will sell in numbers favoring the X-Box. Unfortunately, bragging on how multi-platform games sell better on their system isn’t going to help Microsoft with their press conference. No… they need something to wow their audience… so what could it be? (more…)
Normally, I hate re-posting news I found on other sites, so I’m going to give Garth Edwards at darkhorizons.com a thanks for posting this up… but we have our first official image of Tom Hardy as Bane in the next Batman movie:
Well… they certainly made him more in line with the Nolan universe, even if he looks a little heightened for it. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting the mask… especially one so frightening and modern. I suppose I should have, given what Nolan did with the Joker. I’m actually a fan of the look, even if does stray a bit from the Mexican wrestler look of the comics (which doesn’t have to be a bad thing). All the evidence seems to point to Bane being a disciple of the League of Shadows, so the look fits quite well. More as the story develops, but I for one am impressed. He looks like he’ll be quite a match for the the dark knight.
For anyone who’s played Mass Effect 2, you’ll know that the cast of characters are an expertly written and very relatable bunch… with one exception.
Bioware seems to have this need to put a bland, straight arrow character in their games. Likewise, their fans also have a need to hate that character and make them the brunt of jokes. Knights of the Old Republic had Carth, Mass Effect had Kaidan… and Mass Effect 2 has Jacob. If you play as a male… he’s pretty bland, but if you’re a female… he’s plain creepy. I recently found a bunch of videos that make a very compelling case for his deranged mental state. (more…)
If you’re a PS3 owner, I’m sure you’ve noticed the PSN is back up after the whole hacking debacle. What’s really interesting is Sony’s awesome apology:
So, the PS3 options for your free game are:
- Dead Nation
- Super Stardust HD
- Wipeout HD + Fury
And the PSP options are:
- LittleBigPlanet (PSP)
- ModNation Racers
- Pursuit Force
- Killzone Liberation
Great choices all around. For the PS3, I’d say inFAMOUS is the best out of the bunch, with LittleBigPlanet and Wipeout in second place. Really, any of those choices are fantastic. As for the PSP, I’m a little less sure, but they all seem like pretty good options. Overall, this is a great move by Sony and will go a long way to keeping it’s install base. The apology will also smooth their position for E3. Nice job, guys!
Originally posted here.
It’s that time again… Christmas in June for gamers and geeks alike. E3, when the big gaming companies pull back their curtains and let us know what exciting projects they’ve been working on. The event is capitalism at its finest.
At the beginning of the year, it seemed as though 2011 belonged to Sony. Nintendo’s sales have been flagging while Microsoft doesn’t really have much to show on the horizon except for Gears of War 3. Sony’s machine had finally gained the momentum it needed, as well as a reasonable price tag. With blu-ray and an army of exclusives including Twisted Metal, inFAMOUS 2, and Uncharted 3, Sony was to be the dominate force in gaming for the foreseeable future.
Then hackers broke into the PSN and the SOE servers, resulting in a massive theft of personal information and a questionable PR reaction from Sony.
And now, with the PSN and SOE servers still down, millions of dollars have been lost over several companies. In addition, exclusives such as Killzone 3 and SOCOM 4 haven’t received the best reviews.
Sony’s position going into E3 is… awkward to say the least. (more…)
Remember the times growing up with the Super Nintendo, the N64, or Playstation? The best games were always Japanese, right? Final Fantasy, Mario, Zelda, those were the ones that got you excited. Now, think about it… when’s the last time you got excited for a Final Fantasy? Now what games are everyone looking forward to? The next Call of Duty? Uncharted 3? Final Fantasy XIII was met with general apathy and disappointment, the same of which have come with Metroid: Other M (which has been disparaged for its character assassination of Samus Aran and simplistic game play) and Donkey Kong Country Returns (which has been criticized for difficult game play and strange jump mechanics). JRPG’s as a whole have been losing steam in the United States. The Last Remnant and Lost Odyssey are two RPG’s from Square Enix that have been all but forgotten. It seems with each new Japanese game, the more resistance builds up against them. Where Squaresoft would be the premier RPG developer, Bioware has taken the mantle. Where the Metal Gear Solid games were once known for their stories, their overly convoluted nature has allowed more tightly written games such as Uncharted to come along and grip the hearts of western gamers.