Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Cabin In the Woods...The Amusement Park!

It's official...or more official than usual: Joss Whedon..and Drew Goddard...are the Kings of Most Media

Who would have thought that a horror movie written by Joss and Drew over three days, put on the shelf for two years because of financial problems with the original studio, and then finally released and getting a Saturn Award and wide-spread respect from horror fans everywhere, would wind up as the theme for the annual Halloween event at a major theme park?

The Cabin In The Woods is actually going to be this year's theme at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Orlando. The proof is right here in this link. It may be unexpected but Universal has worked with Lionsgate before, when the park included an attraction connected with the Saw movie series.
Fox News was among the first to announce it. They talked to Drew, who said...

"It was certainly always the dream. I don't know how far we thought the reality would go. But we always wanted 'Cabin' to take on a life beyond us. It just felt like such a rich universe where people can drop in and have their own fun."

In a nice twist, visitors will not be the victims of the monsters, mermen, unicorns, Hell Lords, zombie family members and such in that cabin. They'll be going through the secret facility that keeps those monsters..but there's a chance the monsters may get loose (heh, heh) However, there are no Ancient Ones involved. This time, the gods just want your cash to see this attraction, which to them is even better than ripping the Earth apart.
Or...maybe the Ancient Ones were too ancient to rip anything beyond the cabin at the end of the film, and decided to hook up with Universal Studios for this.
The article also says there's a chance Drew may be one of the monsters at the attraction.

Sounds great....but should the Cabin also be located at Universal Studios Hollywood?

At one point the Hollywood park didn't have Hollywood Horror Nights, but the Orlando park did. Now, they both do, and for the most part, the Halloween attractions are similar. Last year, both had attractions connected to Alice Cooper and The Walking Dead. So, there's a chance Universal Studios Hollywood will have its own Cabin In The Woods. Since the fright doesn't start for another three months, it'll be a while until we know for sure.

Then again, how would Doll Faces, Hell Lords and mermen battle, say, Transformers and King Kong?
I'm guessing....they'd rather not.

And who knows? Maybe someday we'll have an amusement park with sections based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teen Wolf, True Blood, and The Walking Dead. Twilight would not be included, obviously.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Seeing Some Jerks At The End of the World

When the hills of Los Angeles are burning
Palm trees are candles in the murder wind
So many lives are on the breeze
Even the stars are ill at ease
And Los Angeles is burning

                                           ..."Los Angeles is Burning", Bad Religion

Six years ago, Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel made a short film, actually a movie trailer, on what would happen if the world suddenly ended. From there, they decided to expand this to a full-fledged movie. But who would want to see a bunch of actors play themselves, battling the Apocalypse..and who'd want to be in it?

Answer to both: a LOT of people. Rogen got together with Evan Goldberg to write and direct this wild end-of-the-world comedy where you see some familiar faces do unusual things. Just remember it's not quite the real Seth Rogen, James Franco, etc. in this movie. After they see what they do, they'll make sure they're not like how they act here.

It starts with Seth and Jay meeting each other at LAX, with Seth filming the moment for some reality show or whatever. They both go to James Franco's house for a party, where we such surprising things like Michael Cera as a coke addict slapping Rihanna's butt..and doing a few other things he never did on Arrested Development. We also see Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Kevin Hart and even Emma Watson there, too. Jay feels uncomfortable, and decides to go to a convenience store. Seth follows him...
...and then the Ancient Gods from The Cabin in the Woods decide this movie's getting tedious, and jazz things up by setting up the Apocalypse. You know, fire, brimstone, sinkholes swallowing Aziz Ansari, Rihanna, and a few other people. What follows is seeing very familiar movie stars acting like most of us would trapped in the apocalypse. Add Danny McBride as the most unthinking jerk around, even worse than his character in Eastbound and Down, and you got a very funny situation. Oh, and Emma pops up alive with an axe. Between this and The Bling Ring, she'll leave her Harry Potter days way behind. There's also a cameo at the end that will stun a lot of people.

If you want a raunchy comedy in a sea of imperfect blockbusters, This Is The End is just the location. It'll conquer the comedy roster until The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy arrives, and also GrownUps 2.
Oh, and look closely at the end credits. There's a name you may recognize if you saw Much Ado About Nothing recently

Meanwhile, there's a trailer for a new Vince Vaughn movie called Delivery Man, where a sperm bank accidentally uses his sperm hundreds of times..and now he's being sued as if it's his fault. I know Law and Order did an episode with a plot that is strangely similar to this. So, it's Dick Wolf's fault if you don't like this movie.
Also, I saw a trailer for RIPD, which is the undead version of Men in Black. I can buy Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges pretending to be Yosemite Sam as police partners, but not if they're disguised as an old Asian man with a banana and a Victoria's Secret model. RIPD only makes us appreciate Man of Steel...or GrownUps 2...even more, and that's cheating.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Man of Steel Not Quite Shiny

The new version of Superman will fulfill his true destiny: create a Justice League franchise that will put those smug Avengers in their place.

Whether he really does this in Man of Steel.....not quite, but it's trying to be different than Marvel, and maybe riskier, too. That explains how the movie ended. Whether that will work out in the long run remains to be seen.

Man of Steel is much better than Superman Returns because it wants to recreate one of America's greatest icons by using familiar details and mixing new ones to fit current times. That was a better approach that making Superman Returns the semi-sequel to Superman II, complete with Lois having a child that is MUCH more than he looks. I'm guessing the writers of that movie were expecting a sequel to tie up loose ends. That was one of many mistakes.

In the 2013 version of Superman, we get the usual origin story, but with a bit more meat. I kind of wish there was a prequel with Kal-El vs. Zod over the fate of Krypton, plus what the planet was doing before its final destruction. Then you have Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Kal-El, coming to terms with his powers as a child and an adult. It seemed to be confusing, though. It should have been more chronological, especially with one friend who seems to be connected with Clark no matter what. I still thought Cavill played Superman as a hero-in-training, trying to figure out how Earth would accept or fear him, and how he should use his powers to benefit mankind.

I will say Russell Crowe's diving skills were better than in Les Miserables. It made sense for his hologram to tell Clark who he really was, and fill him in on Krypton and Zod. Afterwards, it was overkill, and too much of a plot convenience.

What would be considered unthinkable...allowing Lois Lane to be more familiar with Superman's true identity than ever before...actually works here. She's supposed to be this brilliant reporter, and expecting her not to catch on by connecting the dots is now hard to believe. Remember, in the original cut of Superman II, Lois does figure it out twice. You can't keep her ignorant just because she's a girl.
That being said, Amy Adams is very good as the resilient Lois Lane, much better than Kate Bosworth. It was still odd seeing Lois so deep in the battle between Superman and Zod. Seeing so many differences in the usual Superman myth may be the reason why critics aren't happy with this movie, but customers have been so far.

When Michael Shannon appears as Zod, he was chewing the scenery as much as Sting was in Dune, especially with that "I will find him" remark. He settled down after a while, but he was still a bit too hammy. His explanation of how he got out of the, er, strange-looking cocoons in the Phantom Zone made a lot of sense.

What really drags down Man of Steel is Zach Snyder's apparent need to create more collateral damage than The Avengers. Sure, in that movie stuff got wrecked, but the dialogue kept things interesting.
OK, so what about how it ended?
Some people may say the ending goes against everything the Man of Steel believes in, from his creation in 1938 to now. Snyder made the call, I think, because in this movie, Superman is learning what a superhero is, and what he thinks is right or wrong. A lot of people may disagree with his final decision, but at the spirit of the moment, it made sense.
Also, I think DC wants a movie philosophy where the heroes will make decisions that may not be popular with everyone, but you know why they made them. The template is the Christopher Nolan version of Batman, and it would be applied here because Nolan co-wrote this movie.

So, I'd give Man of Steel two and a half capes out of four. It took some risks to create a new Superman 'verse, but way too much collateral damage towards the end.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

So Long, Matt, And Thanks For All The Bow Ties

Being a Doctor Who fan in the 21st century must be very difficult. Just when you're settled in with a quirky Time Lord, he suddenly has to regenerate.
Chris Eccleston lasted one year, David Tennant four years, and now we hear Matt Smith is hopping off the TARDIS for good at the end of the Christmas special. I remember when I saw his first episode at Wondercon in the spring of 2010. Here's a link to that. I wasn't sure a Time Lord in his 20's could actually fill Tennant's shoes. Well, he could, and more. Having a sharp Scottish girl in Karen Gillan also helped.

Now, Smith has announced he's calling it a day. However, there's still the 50th anniversary special, which will include a clone of the 10th Doctor (remember him?), Rose Tyler from the days of Nine, and John Hurt as...The Doctor. That was what the end of "The Name of the Doctor" said, right?
After that, we start the long good-bye under the Christmas tree.

You know, when I was a boy, I didn't have to worry about the Doctor suddenly regenerating, or how girls would comment about how handsome he was. I started with Tom Baker, and he, his afro, and really long scarf lasted with me from puberty to adulthood.
Then, Peter Davison, who I knew from All Creatures Great and Small, suddenly took over.  He was young and handsome, but still a Time Lord who had lived for centuries but had a lot to learn.  His tenure was shorter compared to Baker, and then Colin Baker, a Technicolor nightmare, showed up. I liked him better in the Trial of a Time Lord season, but bad special effects and BBC labor disputes made his time shorter than it had to be.

Sylvester McCoy restored my faith in the show, despite a terrible soundtrack. At least it included the return of the Brigadier, who was wise to quit while he was ahead. McCoy could have lasted longer, but the BBC pulled the plug for a very long time.

This was back when we could see new episodes through local fan clubs, mostly by bootleg VHS tapes. We also met the cast through local conventions way before Comic-Con became what it is now. Back then, we didn't hear about a new Doctor Who three nanoseconds after the UK did, then discuss who'll take over two seconds after that. It usually took a week for that process to happen 30 years ago, but that's technology for you.

So, what's next? Will Matt Smith arrive for his farewell tour at Comic-Con, even if a few fans REALLY WISH he doesn't leave?
Of course! We let David Tennant wave goodbye when he announced he was leaving four years ago. Same thing for Karen Gillan.
There will be a few fans moaning what will they do with their bow ties now. Answer: keep dressing like Eleven if that's how you roll, as will Who cosplayers who dress like Three through Ten. Maybe someone who dresses like Eight will be spotted at Comic-Con.
Just cheer for Matt Smith, thank him for all the bow ties, and let him head off for other things, just as Tennant and Eccleston did.

Then we spend the summer asking, Who's Next? John Hurt would be a great idea, if he is "The Doctor" in the next episode in November. Have him make it official, while, for the first time since 2005, he'll be inheriting a companion in Clara. Maybe that's why she was let in on the fact that the Doctor changes bodies every once in a while.
Of course, some are lobbying for a female doctor. Amy Acker has been nominated, as has Olivia Williams of Dollhouse. Why not a black Doctor, like Chiwetel Ejiofor?

Technically, David Morrissey has been The Doctor. If not for The Walking Dead, that would be a good choice. For those who want an older Doctor, you can't lose with Anthony Stewart Head (even though he was a slick alien headmaster in a previous episode). A few have nominated Eddie Izzard.

I have an off-the-wall suggestion: Mads Mikkleson, who has been the scariest thing to come to TV in years in Hannibal. Imagine a guy like that as a Time Lord. Yes, we know Hannibal will be back next year, but a Time Lord who has Hannibal Lecter's clinical personality, but not...well...the creepier side. Even the Cybermen would know to turn around. So would the Weeping Angels.

It is going to a cruel summer for Who fans. They'll have to say so long to Eleven, and hope Twelve will work out. I'm guessing the BBC may hold off on a choice until Comic-Con. With thousands of fans at one spot ready to send Matt Smith off, what better time is there?