Thursday, September 27, 2007

Is This The New Kirk?

IESB thinks so.

They also think Paul McGillion is the front-runner for Scotty.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Indiana Jones Plot Spilled

September 25, 2007 -- A BIG-mouthed extra working on the new "Indiana Jones" flick has blown his fledgling movie career to smithereens by spilling the film's major plot points.

Director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas made the entire cast and crew of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" sign nondisclosure agreements. But Tyler Nelson - cast as a "dancing Russian soldier" - gave an interview to his hometown newspaper, the Edmond Sun in Oklahoma, in which he revealed that:

[censored--but do the link for the bullet points, wihch absolutely have the ring of truth]

Nelson's own big scene comes when he celebrates Indy's capture by dancing to balalaika folk music. But it's doubtful the footage of the 24-year-old actor - a professionally trained ballet dancer who studied at the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow - will make it into the final cut. Spielberg, furious Nelson blabbed, has reportedly snipped his scene.

Spielberg's spokesman, Marvin Levy, wouldn't say whether any of Nelson's spoilers are accurate, but noted: "Who knows whether that particular person will ever work in this town again?"
Ooof--Wouldn't want to be that kid...

Monday, September 24, 2007

More Mad Men

in 2008. But enough about the election...

OK, sorry. That was bad (not untrue, but bad).

I refer, of course, to the best new show of 2007, AMC's Mad Men, created by Sopranos alum Matthew Weiner... Which is appropriate, 'cause Mad Men is very much the heir to The Sopranos. It's a different period (1960), and a different subject matter (creative director of a boutique ad agency, his staff and family), but the approach, and the sensibilities, and the focus on corruption, are the same.

The satirical look at the workplace, and the American faimly -- and the individual characters, taking particular interest in gender roles -- all the same.

And it's brilliant. I hope no one is missing it, but according to the ratings, the truth is closer to "no one's heard of it." That will change. In January, it will make major waves at the Golden Globes... and this time next year, in the middle of its second, 13 episode season, it will win serious Emmys.

Wait and see. Or don't wait: AMC has made all the current episodes available for free on-demand... Channel 1002 or 1004, something like that. Check it out!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Justice League Movie Rushing Into Production

Variety reports today that Warners is moving ahead "aggressively" with a big screen adaption of Justice League to serve as their superhero tentpole for Summer 2009. George Miller (Mad Max, Happy Feet) will direct a script by husband & wife team Kieran & Michele Mulroney.

While Superman and Batman will lead the JLA team, neither Brandon Routh nor Christian Bale are expected to reprise their roles, which are being recast. Their respective franchises are expected to continue, however.

Yeah--*that* won't confuse people. (Bale and Batman franchise director Chris Nolan have expressed their, eh, misgivings about the Warner Brothers plan.)

Wonder Woman, Flash and Aquaman are also in the lineup (what, no Green Lantern?!). Any or all could spinoff to their own features.

Anyway, as much as I want to see a Justice League movie, I want to see it done *right*, not rushed into production as strike insurance... which is exactly what this is.

The WGA, SAG, and other showbiz unions may well go on strike next June, so all the studios are rushing projects into production now -- whether they're ready or not. I understand their position: it's better--for them--than being left with no tentpoles for Summer 2009.

But it ain't better for us. This movie's gonna suck. :(

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Not Dead Yet

Just resting. :)

Bcak to regular posts soon... Probably next week.

In the meantime, I stumbled across this:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

3:10 To Yuma

*Loved* it. What a great, great script (by Michael Brandt & Derek Haas, based on the 1957 script and the Elmore Leonard short story). They could teach that script (and I imagine someone will). A script like that could be about basket-weaving and I'd still love it.

Bale and Crowe were brilliant. Two of our finest actors on top of their game. Their twist on the traditional hero/heavy relationship is complex and compelling. The plot point 2 turning point, where Wade gets the upper hand on Evans, and is choking him only to capitulate entirely, and then *help* Evans get him to the train, was a thing of beauty. A complete 180 for Wade, but it's made absolutely inevitable by the script.

The boy, William, played Bobby on Jack & Bobby... He's grown some, huh? And he was very good.

Ben Foster (Claire's gay boyfriend Russel in the third season of Six Feet Under, and Angel in X-Men 3) was a little much -- but "a little much" was appropriate to the part. (He goes a bit overboard with the method animal stuff--Yes, we get it. You're a lion.) He clearly was in love with Wade--flashing jealousy when Wade chose to dally with the whore instead of escaping across the border with the gang.

I might just go see this again.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Iron Man

Sweet Jesus, that was a great trailer. (Takes a while for the higher def trailer to download, but it's worth it.)

From the beginning, I felt like this project was getting done right. The casting alone... Robert Downey Jr was born to play Tony Stark. Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury? Equally fucking perfect. (I prefer the Ultimate Nick Fury anyway.) Jeff Bridges is Obadaiah Stane (Stark's mentor). Gwyneth Paltrow is Pepper (Tony's long-suffering exec. assistant). And Terrence Howard is Jim Rhodes.

All perfect. I am *so* there on May 2.

Jason Katims Arrives at Bionic Woman

Ausiello reports that Jason Katims (who began his career at my beloved My So-Called Life and Relativity, but who also created the execrable Roswell) has agreed to replace Glen Morgan as co-showrunner at Bionic Woman.

He will split his time between BW and his current show, Friday Night Lights.

Full Indiana Jones 4 Title Announced

The title of the new Indiana Jones adventure, now in production under the direction of Steven Spielberg, is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it was revealed today by actor Shia LaBeouf.

LaBeouf, who stars ... with Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone and John Hurt, announced the title during today's MTV Video Music Awards. ...

[Pic] will be released in the U.S. and simultaneously in most territories worldwide on Thursday, May 22, 2008.
We were so close.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Morgan Departs Bionic Woman

This does not bode well.
Morgan was an EP alongside David Eick and Jason Smilovic on the series, from Universal Media Studios. Eick and Smilovic will remain as executive producers on the show. Morgan, whose exec producer credits include "The X-Files," apparently wanted to take the series in a different direction than his cohorts.

Eick's credits include "Battlestar Galactica," while Smilovic was instrumental in last year's "Kidnapped." ...

"Glen Morgan has helped create a great template for 'Bionic Woman' but has decided to pursue other endeavors now," the studio said. "We wish him the best."

The show, which debuts at 9 p.m. Sept. 26, is in the midst of shooting its fifth episode.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Moral High Ground

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Greetings from Planet Earth

Thirty years ago today, the Voyager 1 probe was launched from Cape Canaveral on its celebrated mission to Jupiter & Saturn. In the early 80s, Voyager beamed back a treasure trove of data on both planets and their many satellites, including:

  • Io, the most volcanically active body in the solar system

  • Europa, which quite possibly contains under its thin, icy-blue crust, more liquid water than all the oceans of the earth combined

  • and Titan, a mysterious moon of Saturn shrouded in a thick, orange cloud thought to be identical to the atmosphere of primordial earth

  • Though it is long past its life expectancy, Voyager 1 continues to phone home regularly -- from 10 billion miles away.
    From Voyager’s perch, the Sun is just another star, south of Rigel in the constellation Orion, and the Sun’s planets have faded to invisibility.

    In 2015, Voyager 1 will cross the heliopause, considered by many to be the boundary of our solar system, becoming the first man made object to do so. (Pioneers 10 and 11 preceeded Voyager into the outer solar system, but have not passed the heliopause.) Voyager will then, quite literally, wander the cosmos forever... unless it passes too close to a gravity well... or has a close encounter of another sort:
    [T]he astronomers Carl Sagan and Frank Drake persuaded NASA to attach a gold-plated phonograph record to each of the Voyager spacecraft.

    Containing photographs, natural sounds of Earth and 90 minutes of music from all over our world, the record was intended to preserve something of human culture beyond what an intelligent extraterrestrial, encountering the craft at some far-distant time and place, might infer from the spacecraft itself.

    The information etched into the grooves of the Voyager record is expected to last at least one billion years.
    In addition to musical selections, natural sounds (waves crashing, thunder, wind), and animal sounds (whalesong, birdsong), the record contains greetings in 55 languages. Click here for a precise rundown of the contents. (A CD-Rom issued in the early 90s has, criminally, been allowed to go out of print.)

    Then-President Jimmy Carter recorded the following message:
    We cast this message into the cosmos… Of the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, some — perhaps many — may have inhabited planets and space faring civilizations. If one such civilization intercepts Voyager and can understand these recorded contents, here is our message: We are trying to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope some day, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of Galactic Civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination and our goodwill in a vast and awesome universe.
    Can I get an "amen?"


    Tuesday, September 04, 2007


    this. Seriously.

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    Monday, September 03, 2007

    Ultimate Star Trek?

    Moriarty at aint-it-cool-news had dinner with a friend who works at Paramount. Apparently, this friend gave him a brief precis of the premise of the new JJ Abrams-directed, $150 million Star Trek reboot.
    He then posted the following (taking pains to paint it as rumor--though Jeremy Smith at CHUD later posted that he had "100% confirmed" through a source of his own).

    Indicating that the movie opens on Old Spock (Nimoy), presumably on Romulus (where we left him in his last appearance in 1991), Moriarty writes:
    Picture an incident that throws a group of Romulans back in time. Picture that group of Romulans figuring out where they are in the timeline, then deciding to take advantage of the accident to kill someone’s father, to erase them from the timeline before they exist, thereby changing all of the Trek universe as a result. Who would you erase? ...

    Who else, of course, but James T. Kirk?
    Which may be a fanwank, but if so, it's an outstanding one, basically a variation "if you could go back and kill Hitler before he came to power, would you?"

    It's worth noting that the single best episode of the original series, "City on the Edge of Forever," is centered around a nearly identical premise: what happens if time travelers from the future save a person who would otherwise die?

    In the episode, this character's survival delayed the United States' entry into WWII, allowing Hitler to take over the world.

    So what happens if time travelers from the future remove a person who would otherwise spend his life saving the galaxy on a regular basis? One imagines that the galaxy would fail to be saved... Repeatedly.

    For example, Kirk would not have been there to defeat the Romulan Commander in "Balance of Terror." His mission to test the Federation's mettle would have been successful, quite possibly presaging a full-scale Romulan invasion. Even a hundred years later, there might be people on Romulus still nursing that grudge. (Which Old Spock, living on Romulus, might hear about.) It's worth noting that "Balance of Terror" was a *very* early TOS episode--probably the first one, chronologically-speaking, that could be remade into an excellent feature (it was a U-boat movie done for TV). It'd be great if Abrams & Co are using that for their A-plot... but that's purely conjecture on my part.

    Moriarty continues:
    If Spock were in a position to change that incident back, and then in a position to guard that timeline and make sure things happen the way they’re supposed to, it creates...

    ... well, what does it create?
    It creates a fairly compelling idea for a new series of Star Trek movies is what. If this is true, they're creating a way to keep Leonard Nimoy as Old Spock into as many sequels as he's interested in making--which is reason enough to do it, in my opinion. But they're also taking the opportunity to streamline and tighten 40 years of continuity created on the fly--it's a second draft of Star Trek history. Ultimate Star Trek. And why not? It's been a huge success for Marvel Comics.
    Because evidently the plan is to use this second timeline as a way of rebooting without erasing or ignoring canon. These new voyages of the Enterprise, they’re taking place in whatever timeline starts with this story. Maybe this timeline features dramatic differences.
    More importantly, that would allow them to remake classic TOS episodes on the big screen while acknwoledging that for some characters (i.e., Old Spock), and some audience members (i.e., the fans), all of this has happened before.

    I like it. I hope this is what they're doing... though it should be noted that, if this is true, it isn't so much the plot of the movie--at least, not the A-plot--as it is the premise for the movie and any sequels Abrams produces.

    Casting Update: apparently, they want Zoe Saldana for Uhura, but her involvement may be hampered by the shooting schedule for James Cameron's Avatar. They are also said to want a name for the heavy with the rumor focusing on Russell Crowe (who says he's interested). Crowe would make a fantastic Romulan, huh?

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