Watch your noses, 09ers – Veronica Mars is back.
Yep, the erstwhile snarky private eye, mama of Backup and SLR-wielding bad ass was reborn yesterday when series creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell took to crowd-funding site Kickstarter to raise funds for a low-budget “Veronica Mars” movie to wrap up stories from the show left hanging so egregiously when the CW dropped it after the third series.
In a result which perhaps points the way forward for beloved geek properties felled in a untimely fashion by uncaring corporate masters, the hoped-for $2 million baseline budget for the project was joyously reached in a mere ten hours. Creative people being able to take their niche wares to an audience who wish to back them? It’s Beethoven-era artistic patronage rendered feasible by digital connectivity, so it is!
Somewhere, a Browncoat’s ear has begun to twitch…
It defeated John Woo‘s attempts to make it and bested Paul W.S. Anderson‘s best efforts to tame it, but Midway’s classic “Spy Hunter” apparently has a director brave enough to take it on.
Ruben Fleischer who brought you “Zombieland” (yay!), “30 Minutes or Less” (…erm…) and “Gangster Squad” (oh dear…), is now intent on making vehicular espionage shenanigans the new hotness and has a script which Warner Brothers are sufficiently happy with.
So, explosions, then?
Clearly, the original game’s avoid civilian vehicles/evade & destroy bad guys/upgrade your super tricked-out spy mobile game play might have to revisited somewhat nascent franchise-in-waiting to literally take flight, but a devilish part of me would love for Fleischer’s take to somehow incorporate the classic top-down viewpoint somewhere into the film – after all, who didn’t love the FPS sequence in the movie version of “Doom”? Anybody? No?
A fun, frivolous gadget-based spy adventure sounds fun to me – perhaps one which occupies the silly, popcorn territory now vacated by the Craig era of “Bond” movies?
In a stunning development matched nowhere else in recorded history, Warner Brothers have really begun to push the Gollum piloted boat out for their December Tolkien release, “The Hobbit“.
Hence the screen grab above – a neat little game which allows you to
blatantly rig answers and cheat your way to your favourite Middle Earth character answer fun quiz questions and arrive at a nifty downloadable/Tweetable/BookFace-type digital thing to share with your fellow nerds.
You can book your tickets for Peter Jackson’s latest slice of Hobbit based awesome now, which is nice. And if you’re sufficiently tech-obsessed and live near a big IMAX screen, you can check out whether they’ll be showing “The Hobbit” in super-48FPS-3D-space-vision.
Oh yes, waiting until December 14th is going to be so easy…
Rumour has it that former “Daredevil” and excellent film director Ben Affleck is being courted by Warner Brothers to direct their attempt to get a slice of that sweet superhero movie pie with their “Justice League“ movie.
This pleases me on a few levels.
Ben Affleck is an excellent director. You might well have taken in his splendid Boston-set crime drama, “The Town”, and rightly enjoyed its muscular but layered take on heists, honour among thieves and the odd codes of masculine obligation which lead otherwise bright guys to do incredibly stupid things because friends, family and neighbourhood perception compel them to. He’s a natural with actors – duh! – getting convincing work out of Blake Lively, in a feat which suggests that her TV gig on “Gossip Girl“ vastly undersells her ability, a deft constructor of narratively valid and comprehensible action sequences and a storyteller who can find quirks and digressions which make even shop-worn crime tales ring somehow new.
And as I always say when talking about Ben Affleck the director, go and rent “Gone Baby Gone“ now – it’s an excellent directorial debut and a heart-wrenching tale of lost lives and everyday sadness beautifully placed within the wider frame of a private eye drama.
His Iran hostage drama “Argo” will be with us later in the Autumn, but the news that he’s being considered to direct a cross-media juggernaut such as “Justice League” indicates that Warner Brothers have as much confidence in him as I do – getting a proper film maker to helm a popcorn epic is a move which seems to have paid off for the WB before, and who better to tell the tale of DC’s Justice League than somebody with previous form in that area?
Shall we forget about the “Green Lantern” movie? It only seems polite…
No deals signed yet, of course, but all concerned will probably want to have Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and co. motoring along in an effort to be in cinemas by the time that Mr Whedon’s second “Avengers” adventure debuts in 2015…
Filed under Films, Geekery
In a reaction to Friday’s tragic events at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises“ in Aurora, Colorado, word has it that Warner Brothers will be postponing the September 2012 release of their 40s and 50s set crime drama, “Gangster Squad” to January 2013. Anybody who’s seen the Jay-Z scored trailer for the film may remember the bit where a cinema audience is gunned down by merciless criminals and realise quickly that this sequence now has as much chance of remaining in the movie as a scene in “The Expendables 2” where everybody sits around and discusses their feelings.
Whilst I understand the reticence to include any scene which reminds a potential audience of the shooting deaths in Colorado, it occurs to me that this delay is due less to any sudden attack of conscience than a desire to maximise the box office potential of the film by excising any particularly troublesome elements lest they be ceased upon by a media eager to jump on any potential controversy and run it into the ground.
Going back to the trailer – linked here (it features the scene now being excised from the film, so approach with caution if you’re sensitive to this kind of imagery) – it’s hard to see how taking one arguably contentious scene will do much to alter the tone of the film, which seems to revolve largely around sexy guys in stylish period attire punching, shooting and shagging their way across a lawless 40s Los Angeles. Taking out one scene which has unfortunate echoes in real-life events hardly changes the fact that much of their trailer promises the likes of It Boy Ryan Gosling shooting slightly less handsome people in the face in the name of ne0-frontier justice, after all.
I confess, I find Warner Brothers’ knee-jerk desire to pull scenes from their film to be entirely disingenuous and quite insulting – they greenlit this film, after all, and let director Ruben “Zombieland” Fleischer do his thing. Did they somehow not read the script? Are they suddenly surprised to have a film on their hands which has Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin‘s heroic off-the-books cops brutally murdering gangsters? This is, I take it, the same Warner Brothers who built much of their early success on gangster flicks and lurid crime dramas?
In the end, it’s all about cash, not caring about the sensibilities of victims of atrocity. Controversy sometimes equals full tills, but just as often induces people to avoid your product because it offends some weird moral sensibility which gets uptight about violence in films but sees no problem at all in having a gun (or two) in the house. As ever we see that popular culture is the real villain in cases like this, not the ease of purchasing high-powered firearms and ammunition for any sociopathic nut-job with a psychotic manifesto and a nihilistic worldview.
Warner Brothers have announced that the writer of last year’s slightly terrible “Green Lantern“ flick, Michael Goldenberg, will be scripting a movie adventure for the lasso-wielding Wonder Woman, as the studio’s plans for a post Christopher Nolan “Batman” cinematic universe gain pace.
Whilst the presence of the “Green Lantern” script on his resume shouldn’t set alarm bells ringing – a film is nothing if not the sum of its constituent parts and individual voices have a habit of being abruptly squished in order to make things that bit more mainstream – I can but hope that Warners and DC get the message that their characters should be a bit more expansive and heroic than they allowed Hal Jordan to be in his first outing.
You don’t get a massive “Justice League” movie by miring your cosmos-spanning heroes solely in the workaday world, guys…
Filed under Films, Geekery
If you’re going to see “The Dark Knight Rises” this summer, you had best come prepared.
That’s because studio Warner Brothers have confirmed that the running time of Christopher Nolan‘s eagerly anticipated, trilogy capping, final instalment of the Dark Knight saga has a two-hour and 45 minute running time. If you factor in the blitzkrieg of advertisements, concessions stand blurbs and trailers before the film, my Saturday July 21st 2012 trip to the cinema is going to run to three hours and 20 minutes. Add on travelling time and Nolan is getting a fairly sizeable chunk of my weekend.
Insert ‘alternative use for large-sized popcorn tub’ gag here, gross humour fans.
I imagine that it will be worth it, but my recent trip to see “Prometheus” at my local multiplex has taught me a valuable lesson regarding my seating comfort during long films. One of these babies is going to be rather useful:
Geek-centric cinematic event of the summer or cruel and unusual punishment for us Indoor Kids? I’m genuinely not sure…
Filed under Films, Geekery
In news calculated to give even the most vehement Whedonist indigestion, the awesome nerd visionary behind “Buffy The Vampire Slayer“, “Angel”, some show (and movie) about people with brown coats and this summer’s eyeball-buffing work of epic awesome sauce has mixed feelings about returning to the fold to helm another “Avengers“ adventure.
Empire magazine has more (via the L.A. Times’ ‘Hero Complex’ blog).
Notwithstanding Marvel Studio‘s alleged tendency to get cheap and cheerless when it comes to hiring back expensive creative talent (a predisposition apparently much maligned by Mickey Rourke and Jon Favreau on “Iron Man 2“), I think it certainly behoves all concerned to sit down and talk sensibly about returning for another go around the giant exploding bush (it’s like a Money Tree, if Michael Bay invented it).
Here, for my money, is Marvel’s chance to have an equivalent film-maker/studio relationship to that enjoyed by Warner Bros and Christopher Nolan – which is something that’s not to be taken lightly, as it appears to be of massive critical and financial benefit to both parties.
Make it happen, Marvel – this guy helped to get you your first $1 billion blockbuster and he’s worth betting on again, the big geeky lug of a renaissance man.
Filed under Films, Geekery