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Friday, June 28, 2013

HBO Plans Six Seasons of Neil Gaiman's AMERICAN GODS (UPDATED)

Looking for another good HBO series to help fill the wait until the fourth season of Game of Thrones?

The television adaptation of Neil Gaiman's 2001 novel American Gods has finally been greenlit by HBO with a planned six-season run.  Empire reports that Tom Hanks' Playtone Productions will produce the series, with a $40 million budget for each season of 10 to 12 episodes.

The HBO series was first announced back in June 2011 with the same six-season structure and at the time, Gaiman commented on Twitter about one novel being stretched across six seasons.  "And for those asking, No, 6 years of AMERICAN GODS on TV doesn't mean just the 1st book. It means I need to write the 2nd now, for a start."

At the moment, there's been no word on when the American Gods sequel will be released but an article on HBOWatch back in April featured details taken from Gaiman at the Cambridge International Student Film Festival.  The first two seasons of the TV series will cover the first American Gods novel, and by that point, Gaiman hopes to have the sequel written and ready for release.  Also, the premiere episode will mirror a lot of the novel's opening chapters but will contain new elements and details.  Gaiman remarked that American Gods will debut later this year if he can get the pilot script finished in time to HBO's satisfaction.  However, the most likely scheduling date for American Gods would be after the fourth season of Boardwalk Empire ends sometime in December.

For those not familiar with the novel, it focuses on a man called Shadow that is about to be released from prison when he receives word reaches him that his wife and best friend have been killed in a car crash.  Shadow soon finds himself reluctantly working as a bodyguard for a mysterious conman called Mr. Wednesday and is soon drawn into a conflict between America's gods, old and new.

** Update as of 6/30/13 ** Neil Gaiman posted on Twitter that American Gods has not been greenlit for production, so forget about seeing the series in 2013 at least.  Fingers crossed for 2014, though.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

SHERLOCK's John Watson to Marry Mary in Series 3?


I can't imagine many "Johnlock" shippers are pleased about this...

With the third series of the BBC's Sherlock finally beginning on October 31st in the UK, speculation continues that Martin Freeman's character Dr. John Watson will marry his literary love Mary Morstan in the series' second episode, "The Sign of Three."  The episode written by Steve Thompson is presumably based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novel The Sign of Four, first published in 1890, which introduces Morstan and has her becoming engaged to Dr. Watson. 

Actress Amanda Abbington has been cast in "The Sign of Three" and is reportedly sworn to secrecy in an undisclosed role, but her real-life romantic involvement with Freeman makes it likely that she is indeed playing Mary Morstan.  In addition, Abbington was photographed back in April wearing a wedding dress during the filming, which fits in with the August 2012 teaser that the second episode for Series 3 involved a "wedding."  However, having Watson meet Morstan and marry her all in the same episode seems a bit rushed to seem plausible.

The site KpopStarz posted quotes from Abbington about the filming of "The Sign of Three."  "Working with Martin on Sherlock is really quite inspiring," said Abbington, "'cause he's so good at his job.  And he and [Benedict Cumberbatch] have this fantastic chemistry.  Coming into Sherlock, you have to up your game 'cause they're so good together."

According to the article, Freeman and Abbington met on the set of 2000's Men Only and have two children together, but remain unmarried.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DAMN Good Comics -- LAZARUS #1

Family above all.

That's the tagline provided in the back matter section of Lazarus #1, a new Image Comics series from writer Greg Rucka and artist Michael Lark.  Set in an oh-so-trendy dystopia of powerful Families, Lazarus is the story of Forever Carlyle, a young woman skilled in the arts of combat and weaponry that happens to be able to resurrect herself in the inconvenient event that she's killed.  Like Lazarus, get it?

This first issue opens with a demonstration of said resurrection ability as Forever is shot three times and left for dead, only to rise a minute or two later and swiftly kill all three of her attackers.  As Forever relays the details of what happened to her doctor James, we get our first glimpse inside her head with hints that she isn't entirely satisfied being her Family's protector against people who are only looking for something to eat.

Rucka reinforces this initial drama of "problematic questions" by having James share his concern with Forever's brother Jonah.  It seems Jonah and James know far more than they're telling Forever, to the point where James is giving her stronger doses of oxycontin to keep her from "getting ideas."  A later scene underscores the series' dark tone, as Forever hesitantly executes an old man taking the rap for someone who provided access to the attackers.

As for the art, it's wonderful to see Rucka reunited with his Gotham Central creative partner Michael Lark once again.  The two mesh so well, with Lark's gritty realism enhancing everything Rucka is attempting to deliver to the readers.  He doesn't skimp on the brutality or violence, but it's never gratuitous and only adds to the overall storytelling.  The only problem area seems to be Lark's lettering, which often uses narrow word balloons that make the dialogue stilted, and confusing caption boxes that aren't distinct enough to differentiate between characters.  Hopefully these minor issues will be addressed before too long.

All in all, a promising introduction to the world of Forever Carlyle.  It's only a matter of time, of course, before Forever is able to resist what's being done to her and uncover what her Family is really doing.  However, comics like these are more about the ride than the destination and already there are plenty of unanswered questions to keep you coming back month after month.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Neil Gaiman Discusses SANDMAN and BOOKS OF MAGIC Film Failures


With all the comic book characters adapted into movies over the last decade, it's been a little surprising that none of acclaimed writer Neil Gaiman's various comics projects (apart from Stardust) has reached the big screen.

Gaiman recently appeared as a guest on the Empire Magazine Podcast and discussed having a number of his various works as unproduced screenplays.  As you might expect, the process of pitching the properties to studios and developing them for production often resulted in the films straying farther and farther away from the original source material.

His best-known comics work, The Sandman, was originally slated to be directed by Roger Avary in 1996 but Avary was fired after creative disagreements with Warner Bros. executive producer Jon Peters.  The project carried on with various writers and script revisions, but was ultimately stalled in Development Hell by 2001.

During the Empire Podcast, Gaiman remarked, "We also dodged a bullet on the worst of all the Sandman scripts.  It was so bad, I couldn't even get to the end of it.  I read about five to ten pages and went 'I can't bear this.'  And later read a summary of the plot on Aint It Cool News because somebody there got hold of the script, and I just felt sick the whole way [through].  [In that script] Morpheus' first line was, 'As if your puny weapons could hurt me, Morpheus the Mighty Lord of Dreams.'  And I went, 'Oh no, that's awful, this is terrible.  He was kept by electromagnets underneath New York and it must have been about 1997 or '98 because it was a millennium based plot.  [The lead characters] had to do some stuff before the millennium, the lead characters were brothers, Lucifer, The Corinthian and Sandman were brothers, and it was this race against time to gather a bunch of MacGuffins before the millennium.  It never got made and whoever wrote [that script] got paid more for writing that than I ever was for writing the entirety of Sandman.  So in terms of how I feel about stuff [I write not becoming films], I feel fine."

Meanwhile, Gaiman's four-issue limited series The Books of Magic introduced young British magician Timothy Hunter in 1990, years before J.K. Rowling's famous creation Harry Potter.  It was optioned by Warner Bros. as a film before the first Harry Potter novel was published, with Gaiman serving as executive producer in 1998.  After several years of revisions, the script moved far away from the original concept and the project has yet to emerge from Development Hell.

"The worst one of all was Books of Magic," said Gaiman during the Podcast.  "It was really weird because the first draft and the second draft scripts were really good.  And they were good enough that they got everybody at the studio really excited.  But now everyone is giving notes and now everyone is piddling into this thing because they really like the idea of 'smelling their own weight' and it's slowly turning into this sort of 'urine soaked lemonge' and it's no longer any good.  Now the original writer leaves and a new writer comes in and all he knows is that the more you change, the more likely you are to have your name on the credit when they make it, so he's changing everything randomly.  And then he's fired and they get somebody else in but now they've got a director and the director goes away and does his own draft and I look at the [current] script and it looks like they're about to make it -- and for all I know they may have, because I called DC Comics and said, 'This has nothing in common with Books of Magic anymore other than the hero's name is Tim Hunter and the movie is called Books of Magic.  And if this movie happens, all it will do is upset any fans of Tim Hunter and The Books of Magic and make them feel used.  It's perfectly adequate for what it is, which is terrible, so why don't we ask if [the studio] can pay us off and they can use the script and we take back the name Books of Magic and they can call their hero something else.'  And they did and I was incredibly relieved and I have no idea if that film ever got made or not."

If you'd like to hear the full Empire Magazine Podcast with Gaiman, you can listen to it below...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mary Jane Watson Cut from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

Face it, tigers...Shailene Woodley just hit the cutting room floor.

The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that the 21-year-old actress and her character Mary Jane Watson have been cut from Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  Woodley only appeared in three scenes that were shot over the course of three days, but the article claims that Webb "decided to streamline the story."

It seems Mary Jane will now be held off until The Amazing Spider-Man 3 in 2016, announced earlier this week with a planned fourth film.

"I made a creative decision to streamline the story and focus on Peter and Gwen and their relationship," said Webb. "Shailene is an incredibly talented actress, and while we only shot a few scenes with Mary Jane, we all love working with her."

"Of course I'm bummed," Woodley said to Entertainment Weekly, which first broke the story.  "But I'm a firm believer in everything happening for a specific reason.  Based on the proposed plot, I completely understand holding off on introducing [Mary Jane] until the next film."

With Woodley's additional commitments as the star of the Divergent film trilogy, it seems unlikely that she will return for the fast-tracked Spider-Man sequels.  However, the negative reaction from some comics fans could have factored into the decision to edit Mary Jane from the second movie and possibly recast the role.  Hopefully we'll get to see Woodley's deleted scenes on the Amazing Spider-Man 2 Blu-Ray/DVD release.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 3 and 4 Announced for 2016 and 2018


So the next move has to be Disney/Marvel announcing The Avengers 3, 4 and 5, right?

Days after Warner Bros. released word that the sequel to Man of Steel is already being worked on, Sony Pictures has confirmed that there will be another two (yes, two) installments of The Amazing Spider-Man following next year's The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  Hey there, here come the press release...

CULVER CITY, Calif., June 17, 2013 – With Sony Pictures Entertainment now in production in New York on The Amazing Spider-Man™ 2, slated for release on May 2, 2014, the studio is planting its flag on two future release dates for one of the most successful franchises in studio history, it was announced today by Jeff Blake, Chairman, Worldwide Marketing and Distribution for Sony Pictures. The next two films in the story of Peter Parker will be released on June 10, 2016, and on May 4, 2018, respectively.

Commenting on the announcement, Blake said, “Spider-Man is our most important, most successful, and most beloved franchise, so we’re thrilled that we are in a position to lock in these prime release dates over the next five years.”

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & Jeff Pinkner, with a previous draft by James Vanderbilt, and based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are the producers. The executive producers are E. Bennett Walsh, Stan Lee, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci.


The first Amazing Spider-Man reboot starring Andrew Garfield brought in over $262 domestically with a production budget of $230 million, but was huge overseas, earning over $752 million worldwide.  As long as the sequel performs as well, the additional two films would certainly be justified, although there's no mention if Garfield or director Marc Webb will return for the next two films.  If nothing else, this should effectively kill the ridiculous rumors of Sony selling the Spider-Man movie rights back to Marvel.

Friday, June 14, 2013

DAMN Good Movies -- MAN OF STEEL



Time once again for another of my movie takes, this one on the film Man of Steel, based on the iconic DC Comics character Superman.  As always, if you haven't seen the movie yet and you don't want it spoiled for you, then please step back from your computer or whatever electronic device you're reading this on and stop reading now.  If, however, you're wise enough to know that movie reviews with spoilers are always more interesting than the ones without them...well...look, up in the sky...

It's been a long, hard road for the Last Son of Krypton to appear on the big screen.  After the last two disappointing Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve, there were a number of failed attempts to resurrect the movie franchise.  The most notable was Superman Lives, a Kevin Smith project that became a Tim Burton project starring Nicolas Cage of all people, and almost became an Oliver Stone project starring Will Smith.  Another was Superman: Flyby, a J.J. Abrams treatment that was almost directed by Brett Ratner starring Josh Hartnett or Jude Law, then became a McG project starring Brendan Fraser.  With those speeding bullets successfully dodged, the Bryan Singer movie Superman Returns starring newcomer Brandon Routh was finally released in 2006, nineteen years after Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

Superman Returns actually did pretty well, bringing in over $391 million worldwide in box office, but was burdened with a reported production budget of $270 million, plus the hidden financial damage from all the other mercifully aborted attempts.  Also, there was the creative problem of where to take Superman next, after the character had been painted into a corner as essentially a deadbeat dad prone to stalking Lois Lane on a regular basis.  In 2008, Warner Bros. decided another reboot was needed and even took pitches from comic book writers Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Geoff Johns and Brad Meltzer on how to relaunch the film series.  A couple of years later, things finally got moving when Dark Knight screenwriter David S. Goyer told director Christopher Nolan his approach.  Watchmen and 300 director Zack Snyder was brought in to helm the film, with Nolan serving as producer and creative mentor to Snyder.

In addition to the first two Christopher Reeve films, Goyer's script borrows story elements and dialogue from the comics All-Star Superman by Morrison and artist Frank Quitely, Superman: Birthright by Waid and Leinil Francis Yu, and even the controversial Superman (vol.2) #22 by John Byrne. We open on Krypton, with the birth of our hero Kal-El (something rarely seen in comics, let alone on screen) and are quickly introduced to the necessary backstory required in telling the legend of Superman.  This version adds the extra dimension of showing the revolt led by General Zod, depicted as an epic widescreen battle as Jor-El looks out at the chaos engulfing his world.  As you watch Zod and Jor-El actually fighting with one another with an unexpected result, you realize Snyder, Nolan and Goyer aren't playing it entirely by the (comic) book, which makes the uncertainty a good thing.

Don't panic though, the key elements to the Superman mythos remain intact -- They're just viewed through the camera lens of 2013 instead of 1978.  The setting naturally shifts to Smallville, Kansas on Earth, as we see Kal-El growing up as Clark Kent and coping with his powers and abilities beyond those of mortal men while feeling isolated and different.  Try as he might to keep to himself, the adult Clark just can't stop himself from rescuing those in need, which draws the attention of one Lois Lane.  Clark soon discovers his Kryptonian heritage, meeting Lois in the process, and even picks up a spiffy mesh costume in the process.

All this self-discovery becomes a big Zod Signal, bringing the General and his minions including Faora and Jax-Ur to Earth.  Taking over Earth transmissions in a multilingual broadcast, Zod demands that Kal-El be turned over with the usual threats of consequences, forcing Clark to reveal himself to the United States military.  The Phantom Zone criminals arrive at last, setting off the film's absolutely insane third act.  Since, well, forever, comics fans have been dying to see a truly destructive Superbrawl that they first got a small taste of in 1981's Superman II and later saw the potential with 2003's The Matrix Revolutions.  To his credit, Snyder gives them exactly what they want...and then some.  Clark first throws down with Zod and Faora in Smallville, devastating the town worse than two TV series meteor showers, all the way up to the Kryptonians' vessel above Earth and then back down to destroy as many Metropolis skyscrapers as humanly (or alienly) possible.

In the midst of all this pure, unbridled chaos, composer Hans Zimmer thunders along with every blow, every kick, every truck used as a Whack-A-Mole mallet.  When it was first understood that Snyder and Nolan wouldn't be using the definitive Superman music by John Williams, there was an understandable amount of concern from fans.  Thankfully though, Zimmer manages to solve the unsolvable by going a completely unexpected route, bringing heavy drums and gritty sounds similar to Bear McCreary's superb dogfight sequences in the Battlestar Galactica remake.  What Zimmer does here is probably the best superhero movie soundtrack since...John Williams.

The final showdown between Superman and General Zod echoes the issue of Superman #22 I mentioned above, in a very controversial scene where Superman is forced to kill Zod to prevent him from murdering an innocent family nearby.  It's a bold move, not taken lightly as Superman anguishes over the act and reinforces the notion that yes, this is a different take on the Man of Steel.  There are going to be a lot of people who hate what Superman did, probably ruining the movie forever in their eyes, and others that will respect him more than ever because of it.

As the movie winds down, we see Clark Kent finally stepping into the role we know and love as a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet.  He finally dons the glasses that define his disguise and grins an endearing smile, setting Henry Cavill firmly in place as a welcome addition to the long line of actors who have portrayed the world's greatest superhero on screen.  With the sequel already in motion, will Superman face Brainiac next?  Or perhaps Doomsday, Mongul, Metallo, Bizarro, or even yes, Lex Luthor again.  All I know is, after the events in Man of Steel, insurance premiums in Metropolis are going to be ridiculous.

So what about the performances from the cast and the characters they portrayed? Well, as you might expect, I have a few thoughts...

SUPERMAN/CLARK KENT -- Thank Rao for Henry Cavill.  Yes, it feels all kinds of awkward to have another British actor playing another major American superhero, but Cavill has the looks, the charm and the build while most importantly, being a decent actor.  For someone best known as "that guy who was friends with Henry VIII on The Tudors," Cavill carries the role exactly as you hoped he would and you can't wait to see him as a more traditional Clark Kent in the sequel.

LOIS LANE -- Amy Adams was an interesting choice for Lois, especially since her previous Superman experience was portraying fat-sucking vampire Jodi Melville in the first season of Smallville.  Her introduction into the film is strong, with a great line about "comparing dicks" when she's confronted by self-important military officers.  It's a shame we don't get to see much of Lois being a reporter in the movie's second half, but there's an interesting dynamic to explore with her already being aware of Clark's dual identity.

GENERAL ZOD -- I'm guessing most people have never heard of Michael Shannon before now, but those of us who watch HBO's Boardwalk Empire knew all too well what an effective villain he could be.  Shannon has a completely different take on Zod than Terence Stamp did in Superman II, coming off a bit too standard supervillain at first until he gets the opportunity to portray Zod as somewhat sympathetic because of his devotion to restoring Krypton.

JONATHAN AND MARTHA KENT -- Kevin Costner and Diane Lane wouldn't have been my choices for the crucial roles of Clark's adoptive parents, but they work well enough.  Lane seems a tad miscast, but Costner surprises with an effective depiction.  His Jonathan is more fearful than even John Schneider's version was, with an unsettling statement that "maybe" young Clark should've allowed a busful of children to drown in order to preserve Clark's secret. 

PERRY WHITE -- Laurence Fishburne has been killing it of late, first on NBC's superb Hannibal and now here.  His casting may have been a deliberate attempt to diversify Superman's whitebread supporting cast, but there's no denying the man's talent and ability to be authoritative.  Perry doesn't get to do much apart from scold Lois about wanting to run a story about aliens and help Jenny (Olsen?) after she becomes trapped under skyscraper rubble, but he makes you want to see more of him.

JOR-EL -- Attempting to establish himself as the heir to Marlon Brando, Russell Crowe gives us far more of Superman's birth father than we ever expected to see.  In addition to being a scientist, he's physical in his mission to retrieve a codex and subsequent brawl with Zod.  Later on, Crowe gets even more screen time as the holographic recreation of Jor-El, interacting with his adult "son" the way the real Jor-El can never do.  Another bit of terrific casting.

FAORA -- If Antje Traue isn't somehow related to Superman II's Ursa (played by Sarah Douglas), she damn well should be.  Although the character names are different, it's essentially the exact same role gloriously played the exact same way, right down to the wicked smile.

LARA LOR-VAN -- Another casting surprise is Ayelet Zurer as Superman's birth mother Lara.  The character receives a significant upgrade from the days of Susannah York, with Lara being the one who discovers Earth as a hospitable place for her son to be sent.  And with Jor-El's premature death, it's sad to see her watch Krypton die without him by her side.

COLONEL HARDY -- Christopher Meloni may have voiced Hal Jordan in the DC Comics animated movie Green Lantern: First Flight, but he's more effective here as a United States military officer.  His role is basically to show an acceptance of Superman, starting off with not caring if Superman is in the way of gunfire aimed at the Phantom Zone criminals until he turns around later and respects Superman for battling his fellow Kryptonians on behalf of Earth.

DR. EMIL HAMILTON -- Richard Schiff serves as Scientific Exposition Guy whose only memorable act is to insert the key into a Kryptonian device, but I found it pretty damn amusing to see Schiff sharing scenes with Alessandro Juliani, who played Dr. Hamilton on Smallville.  How's that for an Easter egg?

All in all, Man of Steel is the solid franchise reboot Superman fans and Warner Bros. wanted it to be.  It's not a perfect movie and Zack Snyder annoys the crap out of me with his excessive shakycam, but it certainly doesn't deserve the coordinated hatred from movie critics.  After watching this movie, I'm convinced the aging guard of movie reviewers are either far too trapped in 1978 to appreciate a 2013 take on the Superman legend, or they're just sick and tired of all these superhero movies and staged a conference call to deliberately tear down a high-profile film.  The bottom line?  Forget the critics, forget Rotten Tomatoes, and go enjoy yourselves, especially if you're a Superman fan.  You deserve it.

And for those who may be wondering, here's the updated list of my Top 20 Comic Book Films:

1. Superman (1978)
2. The Dark Knight (2008)
3. The Avengers (2012)
4. Man of Steel (2013)
5. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
6. Spider-Man (2002)
7. Batman Begins (2005)

8. Watchmen (2009)
9. Iron Man (2008)

10. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
11. X-Men: First Class (2011)
12. X2: X-Men United (2003)

13. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
14. X-Men (2000)
15. Thor (2011)
16. Iron Man 3 (2013)
17. Batman (1989)
18. Superman II (1981)

19. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
20. Iron Man 2 (2010)

Your friendly neighborhood movie reviewer,

Charles

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Snyder and Goyer Returning for MAN OF STEEL Sequel


Yes, Zack Snyder's Superman film Man of Steel doesn't come out until Friday and plans are already underway for the sequel.

Deadline announced yesterday that the highly-anticipated movie has so much positive buzz that Warner Bros. Pictures is fast-tracking a sequel with the same central creative team.  Snyder will return as director with David S. Goyer once again providing the script.

Goyer apparently signed a three-picture deal at Warner Bros. for Man of Steel, the Man of Steel sequel and the Justice League movie adaptation, which seems more likely than ever to include Henry Cavill as Superman.  "How Hollywood works with these kind of things," said Cavill in a recent interview to the Huffington Post, "is that when you are doing a screen test, you will sign a contract saying, 'Okay, yes, I'll do the movie if you guys want me.'  And in that, it's standard procedure to do two options beyond the movie."

It seems Justice League will probably be held off until after Man of Steel 2.  "I feel like you need to get Superman a little further down the road before you can do a Justice League movie," said Snyder in a Collider interview.

It's not known if Christopher Nolan will return as producer, but Deadline claims that "next time Nolan's producer role won't be as 'full-blown.'"

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Hub Creates Shot-For-Shot Animated MAN OF STEEL Promo


What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended?  What if a child aspired to something greater?  What if this already happened in 1996?

To promote their upcoming five-episode marathon of the classic Superman: The Animated Series beginning Friday, June 14th at 4 p.m. EST, cable network The Hub created a special TV promo featuring footage from Superman: The Animated Series edited to mimic shot-for-shot this trailer for the upcoming Superman film Man of Steel, directed by Zack Snyder.

And as an added bonus, they use new audio of Man of Steel trailer dialogue voiced by the original Superman: The Animated Series voice actors reprising their roles, including Tim Daly (Superman/Clark Kent), Dana Delany (Lois Lane), Christopher MacDonald (Jor-El) and Mike Farrell (Jonathan Kent).

The Hub did the same thing last July for the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises.  You can check out the Hub promo on Entertainment Weekly's site HERE, which starts running on the network Monday.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

THE COLBERT REPORT Decries MAN OF STEEL Going Commando


If Stephen Colbert is this bothered by Superman's missing briefs, he'd better not read any issues of DC Comics from the past couple of years.

The host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report opened last night's show with a three-minute rant on the upcoming Zack Snyder movie Man of Steel, focusing on the decision to alter Superman's costume design and remove his traditional red briefs.  On the subject of the film, Colbert remarked, "I have not seen it...and I do not like what I have not seen."

"Folks," began Colbert, "I have been warning you about the Man of Steel for two years now, about the way its liberal indoctrination about hope and change and the scandal that the guy playing Superman is English.  Excuse me, English?  Superman is an American from Krypton.  Read your Constitution!  Even worse, folks, this Henry Cavill guy looks almost exactly like the guy they cast to play Clark Kent.  It's going to confuse the audience.  Think!

"And today, today, I saw something that really crossed the line.  And by that, I mean the visible panty line.  Superman is not wearing his traditional red underwear!  This is disgusting!  You can clearly see the outline of his -- shall we say -- Fortress of Solitude.  Come on!  I gotta tell you, folks, if you look closely, it doesn't even look like he's wearing underwear inside his tights.  Which could be trouble, because as you know, our Earth talc has no affect on him.

"I mean, look at this guy," Colbert continued, showing Cavill in his Superman costume, "it's just blue, blue, blue, head to toe.  It's like wearing a denim jacket with denim jeans, which everyone knows got Aquaman kicked out of the Justice League.  The red underwear, folks, is a crucial part of Superman's costume.  Every Superman has worn them, starting with (Adventures of Superman star) George Reeves and his belted granny panties.  That's how we were in the Eisenhower administration.  It was before elastic was invented."

Calling Superman the "Commando of Steel," Colbert then showed a brief interview clip of Man of Steel screenwriter David S. Goyer saying "Our approach was not a comic book Superman.  It was just to do a more realistic Superman."

"That's right," scoffed Colbert, "a more realistic Superman.  Because when your hero is a flying man from another planet who can crush coal into diamonds and melt titanium with his heat vision, you don't want to do something unbelievable like underwear.  I mean, Great Caesar's Ghost!"

If you'd like to see the full show opening, you can view it HERE on Colbert Nation.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

ORPHAN BLACK Reveals Season 2 Spoilers We Wish Would Happen


One of the best new series of 2013 is BBC America's Orphan Black, a science-fiction drama starring the insanely talented Tatiana Maslany as several identical women, each with distinctive personalities, that are revealed to be clones.  The show's first 10-episode season just ended last Saturday with a second season of ten episodes scheduled to begin sometime in Spring of 2014.

To celebrate fan support for the series, the entire production team behind Orphan Black went on Twitter to express their gratitude to members of the #CloneClub.  Mackenzie Donaldson, the assistant to the show's executive producers, went the extra mile on Tumblr and posted this hilarious gag storyboard breakdown of Season 2 that exemplifies the series' wicked sense of humor.


"Season 2" apparently breaks down as follows:

Episode 1 - Sarah (Manning, a small-time con woman clone) doubles down...in Vegas, while Alison (Hendrix, a suburban soccer mom clone) has her head explode.

Episode 2 - Frankenstein!  Felix (Dawkins, Sarah's foster brother) blows Paul (Dierden, dead clone Beth's boyfriend), while Rachel (Duncan, a corporate executive clone) has her head explode.

Episode 3 - Cosima (Neihaus, a PhD biology student clone) has a space adventure, while Delphine (Cormier, Cosima's lesbian love interest) takes the Iron Throne from HBO's Game of Thrones and is now Cosima's "puppet."

Episode 4 - Kira (Manning, Sarah's young biological daughter) shoots Vic (Sarah's abusive and stupid ex-boyfriend), while Sarah rejoins the police force and is now "Captain."

Episode 5 - Sarah and "Mrs. S" (Siobhan Sadler, Sarah and Felix's foster mother) have a lightsaber "battle for soul."

Episode 6 - Clones in a bottle.  Vic (repeatedly maimed in Season 1) appears in Act 3 and loses his penis in a medieval torture device.

Episode 7 - Dr. Aldous Leekie (head of the Neolution self-directed evolution movement) is caught smoking crack and buys video evidence.

Episode 8 - The clones host NBC's Saturday Night Live.

Episode 9 - Everybody dies.  (Hey, works for every Episode 9 of Game of Thrones...)

Episode 10 -- ?

Ah, if only some of this would really happen in Season 2.  Otherwise, I'm going to be a little disappointed if John Hurt isn't introduced at the end of Episode 10 as another clone...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Matt Smith Leaves DOCTOR WHO, New Doctor for Series Eight


It's the end...and the moment is being prepared for.

The Telegraph has announced that Matt Smith will be ending his role as the Eleventh Doctor in the 2013 Christmas Special, making four years since his debut at the very end of "The End of Time, Part Two" on January 1, 2010.

"Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke," said Smith, "and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show.  I'm incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day, to realize all the elements of the show and deliver Doctor Who to the audience.  Many of them have become good friends and I'm incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years."

Smith also commented on his time with showrunner Steven Moffat, whose "varied, funny, mind bending and brilliant scripts has been one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges of my career.  It's been a privilege and a treat to work with Steven, he's a good friend and will continue to shape a brilliant world for the Doctor.

"The fans of Doctor Who around the world are unlike any other; they dress up, shout louder, know more about the history of the show (and speculate more about the future of the show) in a way that I've never seen before, your dedication is truly remarkable.  Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation of the Time Lord, number Eleven, who I might add is not done yet, I'm back for the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special."


It's not know who will replace Smith as the Twelfth Doctor, but Jenna-Louise Coleman, who plays current companion Clara Oswald, will remain with the series.  Rumors of Smith's departure began when he appeared with his hair shaved for Ryan Gosling's film How to Catch a Monster.
Steven Moffat remarked on Smith's departure, "Every day, on every episode, in every set of rushes, Matt Smith surprised me: the way he'd turn a line, or spin on his heels, or make something funny, or out of nowhere make me cry, I just never knew what was coming next.  The Doctor can be clown and hero, often at the same time, and Matt rose to both challenges magnificently.

"And even better than that, given the pressures of this extraordinary show,he is one of the nicest and hardest-working people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  Whatever we threw at him -- sometimes literally -- his behavior was always worthy of the Doctor.  But great actors always know when it's time for the curtain call, so this Christmas prepare for your hearts to break, as we say goodbye to number Eleven. Thank you, Matt -- bow ties were never cooler.

"Of course, this isn't the end of the story, because now the search begins.  Somewhere out there right now -- all unknowing, just going about their business -- is someone who's about to become the Doctor.  A life is going to change, and Doctor Who will be born all over again. After fifty years, that's still so exciting."


Some unconfirmed rumors claim that the new Twelfth Doctor will debut in Series Eight in August 2014 for twelve episodes, leading up to the Series Eight finale that also doubles as the 2014 Christmas Special.