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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

THE FLASH Proposed as ARROW Spinoff for The CW


After 23 years, The Fastest Man Alive may be returning to television.

Deadline reported this morning that The CW is fast-tracking (of course they are) Flash, a drama series based on the DC Comics character from Arrow co-creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg and director David Nutter.  Nutter, who directed the Arrow pilot, will also handle the Flash pilot from a script by Berlanti, Kreisberg and DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns that will serve as a spinoff series from Arrow.

A feature film based on The Flash was expected to be announced at San Diego Comic Con and with the CW's Wonder Woman series Amazon being put "on pause," it's possible The Flash was reconsidered as a replacement TV series.

Later in the day, Deadline ran an update with additional information and quotes from Berlanti taken from a session promoting the new CW series The Tomorrow People.  He confirmed that Barry Allen will be a recurring character on Arrow this season, showing up around episode 8 or 9 and that casting will begin this week.  "Barry Allen’s story always has been a favorite of mine," Berlanti said, "as well as of Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns."  Johns, of course, wrote the Wally West Flash series for several years before restoring Wally's uncle Barry Allen as the Scarlet Speedster in The Flash: Rebirth.

Berlanti also remarked that there's a "wide belief" that The Flash works better as a television spinoff than other characters in the DC Universe.  "We wanted everyone to know about the show as that process commenced," said Berlanti.  "We think it fits well both in terms of (Arrow) and (as a stand-alone series)."

The previous Flash TV series aired on CBS from 1990-91, starring John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen, Amanda Pays as Dr. Christina "Tina" McGee and Alex Desert as Julio Mendez.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

DAMN Good Movies -- THE WOLVERINE


Time once again for another of my movie takes, this one on the film The Wolverine, the second solo film featuring the Marvel Comics character.  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...keep reading, bub...

It's been four years since the previous Wolverine spinoff movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine stripped away the interesting mysterious background of the X-Men's most popular character and perverted Deadpool into something completely unrecognizable.  Regardless, the movie tacked on a promising post-credits sequence that teased a sequel of Wolverine in Japan, something Wolverine fans have wanted to see ever since Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's classic Wolverine limited series in 1982.  It also didn't hurt that Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman stated publicly that the limited series was his favorite Wolverine story.

Christopher McQuarrie, an uncredited X-Men screenwriter, was hired for the script in 2009 with Darren Aronofsky originally slated to direct after X-Men director Bryan Singer turned the project down.  Aronofsky dropped out in March of 2011, citing not wanting to be out of the country for a year and away from his family for so long.  3:10 to Yuma's James Mangold was brought in a few months later as his replacement with the plan of shooting later that fall...that is, until Jackman decided he wanted to sing in Les Misérables first.  With the delay, Mark Bomback and Scott Frank were hired to rewrite McQuarrie's script and filming finally began in August of 2012.

The film opens in 1945 near Nagasaki, Japan, with a younger Logan held captive as a prisoner of war on the very day that the second atomic bomb is dropped.  Just as the bomb is dropped, Logan saves the life of a young Japanese officer named Ichiro Yashida, which of course pays off later on.  The scene turns out to be a dream, but within another dream involving Jean Grey, Logan's would-be girlfriend that he killed at the end of X-Men: The Last Stand after she sort-of went all Dark Phoenix.  We soon learn that Logan has become a hermit hiding out in the Canadian wilderness, brooding and feeling sorry for himself and only coming into a nearby town every so often for things like batteries for his radio.

During a bar scuffle with some obnoxious hunters who wounded but failed to kill a grizzly bear pal of his, Logan is confronted by Yukio, a young woman with a fondness for cosplaying hair dye.  Yukio reveals that she's been sent to bring Logan back to Japan, in order to see Yashida (Ta-da! See?) once again now that he's on his deathbed.  Naturally, Logan leaves with Yukio on Yashida's private jet and things finally get moving. 

For those hoping for a direct adaptation of the 1982 limited series, expect some disappointment as the film is only loosely based on Claremont and Miller.  The principal characters are there, as is the central theme of Logan as a wandering ronin (a masterless samurai) warrior, but they're bogged down somewhat in the superfluous subplot involving Logan's healing factor and for some reason, a mutant version of the villainess known as Viper.  As a result, the film feels a bit schizophrenic, with Mangold wanting to focus on Wolverine in an atmospheric Japanese action film, but forced to deal with a character that has a snakelike tongue, spews venom at people's faces and even sheds her skin for apparently no good reason.

Thankfully, Jackman makes the most of what could be his last solo film as Wolverine.  Even at 44, he looks more fit than ever and gives his character every ounce of depth he's able to muster.  He plays the role of the gaijin introduced to Japanese culture well, echoing similar efforts by Sean Connery in You Only Live Twice and Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai.  And with Wolverine's healing factor reduced to a bare minimum, the character feels more vulnerable than ever, which only enhances the potential drama during various fight sequences.

The movie takes something of a dive in the third act, however, as the Black Ninja clan shows up just so Wolverine can finally fight some ninjas.  Rather abruptly, the cool modern samurai tone shifts into Yet Another X-Men Movie with a giant robotic version of the Silver Samurai (Yeah, I know...) along with Viper trying to chew as much of the scenery as she possibly can.  There's an unexpected blasphemous surprise though, when Wolverine's adamantium claws are broken off by the Silver Samurai and he's forced to remind everyone that hey bub, I still have bone claws underneath.

Things end on a deliberately open note, with Logan saying goodbye to Mariko (for now?) before he and his "bodyguard" Yukio leave Japan with no clear destination in mind.  It seems Jackman isn't completely ready to put Wolverine behind him just yet, as evidenced by his participation in the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past.  But as long as Jackman is able to turn in this kind of compelling performance, I'm not ready for him to put Wolverine behind just yet, either.

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

WOLVERINE/LOGAN/JAMES HOWLETT -- Hugh Jackman turns in his strongest and best performance ever as Wolverine, reminding everyone what they loved about him in the role way back in the first X-Men movie.  He's constantly on the ropes in this flick, dealing with hallucinations of Jean Grey acting as his guilty conscience, coping with his severly-reduced healing factor, and falling in love with Mariko. 

MARIKO YASHIDA -- Tao Okamoto is simply stunning to look at, a true beauty that makes Wolverine fans understand why Logan fell for her character in the comics.  But as the love interest, Mariko essentially becomes the girl hostage that needs rescuing, although her takedown of the Silver Samurai proves she's not totally helpless.  Even better, she's not killed off, leaving things open for her and Logan's potential wedding if there's a third solo film.

YUKIO -- One of my favorite characters in this movie.  Decked out in a Japanese punk style, Rila Fukushima is going to inspire a ton of cosplayers to replicate her look for conventions.  Although not as wild and carefree as her comic book counterpart, Yukio has attitude without being annoying and certainly has the martial arts skills to pay the bills.  And with her going off with Wolverine at the film's end, there's definitely a chance we'll get to see her again.

KENUICHIO HARADA -- Will Yun Lee should've played his character's comic book alter ego the Silver Samurai, but Harada is altered here into a bodyguard for the Yashida family and former fiance.  He has a penchant for lurking on rooftops and acting like he's the X-Men's version of Hawkeye, but isn't overly memorable beyond that.

VIPER -- The decision to cast Russian actress Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper feels like a total misfire...until you learn that Jessica Biel almost ended up with the role.  The character starts off well enough as a scientist presumably working to keep Ichiro Yashida alive, but then starts sporting various snakelike mutant abilities just so you know exactly why she's called Viper.  Khodchenkova does well enough for what she's given by the script, but her character is just completely out of place here.

SHINGEN YASHIDA -- Hiroyuki Sanada plays Mariko's father, a Yakuza crime boss looking to take over control of his father Ichiro's megacorporation.  He's pretty much a one-note character, smacking Mariko in the face and basically being a jerk.  A far cry from the intimidating villain from the Claremont and Miller limited series.

SILVER SAMURAI/ICHIRO YASHIDA -- In a strange and somewhat disappointing twist, Haruhiko Yamaouchi's frail and dying Yashida turns out to the movie's Big Bad.  The climactic showdown has him inside a towering robot version of the Silver Samurai, which keeps him alive and allows him to fight Wolverine.  Instead of a dramatic, tension-filled duel however, Wolverine vs. Old Guy in Giant Robot Suit comes off just a wee bit hokey.

"JEAN GREY" -- Famke Janssen returns to the role of Jean for the first time since 2006, only she's not really Jean here, just a hallucination.  Serving as Logan's guilty conscience, Jean turns up at awkward moments to remind Logan that he killed her and to question various decisions he makes along the way.  Ultimately, she vanishes in a white light, signifying that Logan finally is able to move on with his life, just in time for the next X-Men movie.

PROFESSOR CHARLES XAVIER AND MAGNETO CAMEOS -- And while on the subject of X-Men: Days of Future Present, Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan return in a post-credits bonus scene to tease Wolverine's return to the X-Men.  A caption reads "Two Years Later," providing a little room if there's a third Wolverine solo film down the line.  Just as Logan is about to step through another security metal detector, Magneto shows off his restored magnetic powers and warns of a new enemy that threatens to destroy the mutant race.  Since the two have never gotten along, Wolverine is understandably skeptical, until Professor X wheels around the corner and reveals that hey, he's not really dead after all. "As I said to you long ago, you're not the only one with gifts," explains Xavier (sort of), resetting a line from the very first X-Men movie.

All in all, Mangold's The Wolverine is a very entertaining action drama...at least for the first two-thirds.  If the script didn't stray too much from the source material, this could've been a truly epic film but there's definitely room to follow up in a sequel.  And for longtime X-Fans, there's still a chance to see the X-Men in Japan at some point for Wolverine and Mariko's wedding.  Maybe that could be an ending for X-Men: Days of Future Past?

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. The Wolverine (2013)
13. X2: X-Men United (2003)

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

20. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Your friendly neighborhood movie reviewer,

Charles

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Matt Smith Discusses Future After DOCTOR WHO with Craig Ferguson


It's almost the end of Matt Smith's era as the Eleventh Doctor on Doctor Who...and he's trying to prepare for the moment.

Days after showing up for the Doctor Who panel at San Diego Comic Con, Smith returned for his fourth appearance on CBS' The Late, Late Show with Craig FergusonLast night's segment opened with a clip from the Doctor Who Series Seven finale, "The Name of the Doctor," showing the cliffhanger of John Hurt introduced as "The Doctor" that teases the upcoming 50th Anniversary Special.

Smith entered wearing a rather dapper grey Christian Dior suit and still sporting considerably shorter hair that was cut and shaved for the filming of Ryan Gosling's movie How to Catch a Monster.  He and Ferguson briefly discussed their time at the Doctor Who panel, which Ferguson moderated, and how the crowd of 7,000 people "went mad" for the 50th Anniversary Special trailer that was shown exclusively at the convention.  Smith mentioned that the trailer has yet to be leaked online, because showrunner Steven Moffat asked everyone not to, but the rest of the panel can be seen HERE.  Ferguson brought up the considerable fan ire from Whovians that weren't able to attend the panel and have been prevented from seeing the trailer, so Smith and Ferguson apologized on behalf of the panel.

When asked if he was done filming Doctor Who, Smith confirmed he comes back for one more episode, the 2013 Christmas Special that will feature his Doctor's regeneration scene into the Twelfth Doctor.  Smith thanked Ferguson for having the miniature TARDIS replica on his desk, which Ferguson replied "That's actually the outside of this studio" in a nod to the TARDIS being bigger on the inside (or smaller on the outside).

Ferguson asked Smith if he plans on moving to America to become a film star after leaving Doctor Who.  "I'll try," Smith responded, "I'll move to America and have a go."  Smith also mentioned that he would rather live in New York than Los Angeles, if only because he hates to drive in Los Angeles.  Smith then name-dropped his friend Firefly and Castle actor Nathan Fillion, saying "I just turned up at his house, he made me some lunch and he was like, 'Do you wanna borrow my car?'"

Ferguson brought up the subject of Smith having no privacy in Britain, which Smith shrugged off.  "Well, I don't know about that," he said.  "Listen, the closest I'll get to being a rock star is Hall H in San Diego."

Asked if he was nervous about leaving the role of the Doctor behind, Smith responded, "I'm sad, but you know, one has to move on.  You can't do it forever."  Ferguson cheekily suggested it was time for Smith to do some slasher movies or maybe porn.

During a few times in the interview, Smith kept accidentally touching Ferguson's leg with his hand, which caused Smith to recall a game he used to share with former Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan.  "It would be the first day on set for any actor, it could be (Michael) Gambon, it could be anyone, and they come onto set and every day and it's called The Uncomfortable Touch."  He then described how you take the hand of the eager guest actor/actress, start casually talking to them, and see how long it would take for them to pull their hand away.

Smith later brought up that he "had no idea that William and Kate (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) had a baby...until just now" when he discussed the subject with Ferguson's makeup people.  "You're the worst British person in the world," remarked Ferguson.  Smith mentioned that he recently met Prince Charles, who stopped by the Doctor Who TARDIS console room set with his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Ferguson closed the segment by telling Smith how excited and proud he was of Smith's tough decision to leave Doctor Who.  "Listen, because you've been so nice to me and you've got the TARDIS on your desk," said Smith, "and you've always supported the show...If I ever, you know, come into any success and fame and win an award, I'll come and see you first."

"Well, you'll regret saying that," replied Ferguson.

If you'd like to see the full interview, you can view it below thanks to YouTube user Ashleyous...


Monday, July 22, 2013

STAR TREK 3 Moving Forward with New Writers


Get ready to boldly go where no one has gone before...um...again.

Badass Digest reports that Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz are being considered by Bad Robot productions to write the script for the third Star Trek film featuring the current cast.  The two previously worked with Bad Robot on the TV series Fringe, wrote the first Thor movie and are credited on X-Men: First Class.  In addition, they wrote for Andromeda, the 2000-05 television series created by Gene Roddenberry.

However, the article states previous screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci are still involved with the third Star Trek film to some extent.  Kurtzman and Orci were apparently part of the decision to bring in Miller and Stentz, but it's not known how deep their involvement goes.

Kurtzman and Orci's scripts for 2009's Star Trek and its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness have received considerable criticism from Trek fans citing various plot holes, which could've contributed somewhat to the decision to bring in Miller and Stentz.  Despite the criticism, Star Trek brought in over $385 million worldwide and currently, Star Trek Into Darkness has earned over $448 million worldwide.  And with the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek TV series in 2016, there's already some pressure to get production moving on the next film.

I don't suppose Star Trek: The Five Captains with Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway and Archer is an option?  It worked for Doctor Who in 1983...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

SUPERMAN/BATMAN Movie Announced at Comic-Con for 2015


The Justice League movie just took one step closer to actually happening.

During a joint panel at the San Diego Comic-Con earlier today focusing on Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, moderator Chris Hardwick featured Man of Steel director Zack Snyder and star Henry Cavill on stage.  "It’s official that we are going to make another Superman movie," said Snyder.  "I’ve poured through the DC Universe for a way to tell this thing."

Harry Lennix, Cavill's fellow Man of Steel actor who played General Swanwick, then arrived on stage to read a specific passage from Frank Miller's 1986 classic Batman: The Dark Returns:  "I want you to remember, Clark, in all the years to come, in all your most private moments, I want you to remember my hand at your throat.  I want you to remember the one man who beat you."

At that moment, the screen behind the stage changed to display a graphic showing the Superman symbol positioned with the Batman logo, similar to the cover logo for DC Comics' Superman/Batman ongoing series.  Snyder quickly denied an adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, saying, "We're not adapting this thing, but it will help us tell you something."

As previously reported, this 2015 sequel to Man of Steel will have Snyder returning as director with David Goyer again as screenwriter.  Cavill will once again portray Superman/Clark Kent, with returning actors Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Diane Lane as Martha Kent.  The new Batman taking over from Christian Bale has yet to be announced, however.  Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas will be executive producers, but also adding Benjamin Melniker and Michael E. Uslan from Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy.

A press release shortly followed that gave some additional information:

Official Press Release

On the heels of the worldwide success of “Man of Steel,” director Zack Snyder is bringing together the two greatest Super Heroes of all time—Batman and Superman—for the first time on the big screen. The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution,Warner Bros. Pictures.

The current hit, “Man of Steel,” has taken in more than $630 million at the worldwide box office to date, and climbing. Along with its star, Henry Cavill, the upcomingfilm brings back Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane. The new Batman has yet to be cast.

Snyder is co-writing the story with David S. Goyer, who will then pen the screenplay. Production is expected to begin in 2014, with an anticipated release date inSummer 2015.

Silverman stated, “Zack Snyder is an incredibly talented filmmaker, but beyond that, he’s a fan first and he utterly gets this genre. We could not think of anyone better suited to the task of bringing these iconic Super Heroes to the screen in his own way.” Kroll added, “We are thrilled to be back in business with Zack and his team on this next movie. The success of ‘Man of Steel’ is a wonderful testament to the love and support that both fans and new audiences, worldwide, have for these characters. We are very excited to see what Zack has in store for all of us.”

Diane Nelson, President, DC Entertainment, noted,“Superman and Batman together on the big screen is a dream come true for DC fans everywhere. All of us at DCEntertainment could not be more excited for Zack’s continuing vision for the DC Universe.”

Zack Snyder, who made a surprise appearance at Comic-Con today, breaking the news to audiences there, later said, “I’m so excited to begin working again with Henry Cavill in the world we created, and I can’t wait to expand the DC Universe in this next chapter. Let’s face it, it’s beyond mythological to have Superman and our new Batman facing off, since they are the greatest Super Heroes in the world.”

The new film brings back Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder as producers. This time, Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas are serving as executive producers, along with Benjamin Melniker and Michael E. Uslan.

Thomas offered, “Whilst our ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy is complete, we have every confidence that Zack’s fresh interpretation will take the character in a new and exciting direction. His vision for Superman opened the door to a whole new universe and we can’t wait to see what Zack does with these characters.”

The film is based on Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, and Batman characters created by Bob Kane, published by DC Entertainment.


Earlier today, The Hollywood Reporter posted details of the expected announcement, adding that movies for The Flash and Justice League would arrive in 2016 and 2017 respectively, but no announcement for these two films was made during the panel.

** UPDATE AS OF 7/22/13 **

And here's video footage of Lennix's reading and the logo reveal, thanks to YouTube user Badtaste.it...


Friday, July 19, 2013

THE WALKING DEAD Reveals Season 4 Trailer at Comic-Con


Kinda sucks to be Tyreese this season, hunh?

At this year's San Diego Comic-Con earlier today, the panel for AMC's The Walking Dead debuted the eagerly-anticipated full trailer for the show's fourth season.  The constantly changing group of survivors in a neverending zombie apocalypse are once again being overwhelmed and forced to go on the run.  Here's a rundown of the trailer...

We open with Norman Reedus' popular character Daryl Dixon, Michonne (Danai Gurira), Glenn (Steven Yuen), Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), his little sister Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and a few redshirt expendables raiding a shopping center for supplies.  The group looks extremely armed and organized here as Sasha lays out the game plan.  "We go in, stay in formation for the sweep.  After that, you all know what you're supposed to look for.  Any questions?"  "Is there any time you weren't the boss of me?" replies Tyreese.  "You had a few years before I was born," counters Sasha.  A slow establishing shot follows of new character Bob Stookey, played by The Wire's Lawrence Gillard, who goes to investigate inside after hearing a scream.

Meanwhile back at the prison, those pesky walkers are becoming more and more of a problem outside the fences.  "We had a pretty big buildup overnight," remarks Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), "dozens more towards Tower 3."  We see Michonne riding into the prison on horseback (!) before going back to Carol who adds, "It's manageable, but unless we get ahead of it, not for long."

The walkers become more of a danger, somehow finding their way inside cell block D.  Panic, mayhem and bloody body parts naturally ensue, leaving the group to puzzle over the mystery of what caused the attack.  The group continues to organize, with less crazy-looking Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) advising, "You have to have numbers.  People are the best defense against walkers.  More people."  Great...Thanks, Rick.

Carol begins teaching kids rescued from Woodbury the importance of knives, specifically "how to use them, how to be safe with them and how they can save your life.  Maggie's father Hershel (Scott Wilson) believes things are about to hit the fan.  "We need a place to go," he says.  "We might be safer outside those walls than in here."  He later remarks, "We just lost twelve of our own, two more were killed in cold blood.  Everything we've been working so hard to keep out...just found its way in."

As the song "Serpents" by Sharon Van Etten begins to play, Sasha finds evidence of someone leaving meat by the fences for the walkers as Rick, Michonne, Glenn and Maggie, and even Daryl start realizing they need to leave the prison.  Michonne starts looking at a map toward Macon, Georgia.  A car containing Daryl, Michonne, Bob and Tyreese (with a swollen left eye) becomes surrounded by walkers, forcing them to leave the car and fight for their lives.  Tyreese, the last to leave the car, finally gets out and starts hammering away at walkers but looks hopelessly overwhelmed by their numbers.  Ruh-roh!

"You step outside, you risk your life," says Hershel the motivational speaker.  "Take a drink of water, you risk your life." 

We see Rick shooting some walkers to protect Carol, a pile of walkers being run over by the rear tires of the car shown earlier, and then a confrontation between Tyreese and Daryl where Tyreese probably ends up with the swollen eye after he punches Rick.

Hershel then resumes his pep talk.  "You don't have a choice.  The only thing you can choose is what you're risking it for."

The final shots inside the car are some point before the walkers arrive.  Daryl suddenly hears a mysterious female voice come over the radio that says "Sanctuary...Those who arrive, survive..."

Oh, and the Governor (David Morrissey) is still out there...somewhere...and you have to think he's probably the one responsible for the attack on cell block D.

The Walking Dead returns on Sunday, October 13th on AMC at 9 p.m. EST.  Here's the trailer that debuted today, thanks to AMC on YouTube...

ARROW Casts Caity Lotz as...Black Canary?


You know how some fans of the CW series Arrow wanted to see Katie Cassidy's character Laurel Lance take on her superhero identity Black Canary?  Well, Black Canary is finally appearing...only in a bit more complicated way.

The Wrap claims that actress Caity Lotz has been cast as Black Canary for the show's second season, with the character's real name as Dinah Drake.  As comics fans know, Dinah Drake (Lance) was the original Black Canary's identity in her Flash Comics #86 debut in 1947, until DC Comics expanded the character's history to include a daughter, Dinah Laurel Lance, who became Drake's successor as Black Canary and joined the Justice League of America and later the Birds of Prey.  The current "New 52" version of the character that debuted in 2011 is once again Dinah Drake Lance, with no daughter.

The article mentions that Black Canary will debut on Arrow in a recurring role at first, but is expected to develop into a regular love interest for Stephen Amell's Oliver Queen.  And of course, this probably means a bizarre love triangle involving Oliver, Dinah and Laurel.

Lotz has previously appeared as Annie in the movie The Pact, officer Kirsten Landry in the television series Death Valley, and as Stephanie in 2010 episodes of AMC's Mad Men.

The news follows on last week's casting of Firefly and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles actress Summer Glau as Isabel Rochev, Vice President of Acquisitions of Stellmoor International, a company looking to take over Queen Consolidated.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

AMERICAN HORROR STORY and GAME OF THRONES Lead Emmy Nominations



FX's American Horror Story: Asylum leads the pack with a total of 17 nominations for the 2013 Emmy Awards, including acting nominations for Jessica Lange, James Cromwell, Zachary Quinto and Sarah Paulson.  Once again, the series was closely followed by HBO's Game of Thrones with 16.

Other recognized geek-favorite shows include Syfy's Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome, Adult Swim's Robot Chicken, CBS' Elementary, ABC's Once Upon a Time, AMC's The Walking Dead and NBC's Revolution.  FOX's Fringe, however, was criminally overlooked once again in its final season, as was the CW's Arrow and BBC America's Orphan Black, with these shows failing to earn even a single nomination.

You can read the full list of nominations here, but this is the breakdown for the shows listed above...

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM (17 Nominations)

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie -- Jessica Lange as Sister Jude Martin
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie - James Cromwell as Dr. Arthur Arden
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie -- Zachary Quinto as Dr. Oliver Thredson
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie -- Sarah Paulson as Lana Winters
Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie -- "I Am Anne Frank (Part 2)"
Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie -- "Welcome to Briarcliff"
Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special
Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie -- "I Am Anne Frank (Part 2)"
Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special -- "Madness Ends"
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or Movie -- "Nor'easter"
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Miniseries or Movie
Outstanding Main Title Design
Outstanding Makeup for a Miniseries or Movie (Non-Prosthetic)
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special -- "Welcome to Briarcliff"
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or Movie -- "Welcome to Briarcliff"

GAME OF THRONES (16 Nominations)

Outstanding Drama Series
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series -- Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series -- Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series -- Dame Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series -- David Benioff and D.B. Weiss "The Rains of Castamere"
Outstanding Interactive Program
Outstanding Art Direction for a Single Camera Series -- "Valar Dohaeris", "Kissed by Fire"
Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series
Outstanding Cinematography for a Single Camera Seires -- "Mhysa"
Outstanding Costumes for a Series -- "Walk of Punishment"
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series -- "The Rains of Castamere"
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series -- "Second Sons"
Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic) -- "Kissed by Fire"
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special -- "Valar Dohaeris"
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series -- "And Now His Watch is Ended"
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) -- "And Now His Watch is Ended"
Outstanding Special Visual Effects -- "Valar Dohaeris"

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: BLOOD AND CHROME (3 Nominations)

Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or Movie
Oustanding Special Visual Effects


ROBOT CHICKEN (3 Nominations)

Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program -- "Robot Chicken's ATM Christmas Special"
Oustanding Voice-Over Performance -- Sam Elliot as Narrator "Hurtled from a Helicopter into a Speeding Train"
Outstanding Voice-Over Performance -- Seth Green as Aquaman, Batman, Nerd, Abin Sur, Martian Manhunter, Robin, Green Arrow "DC Comics Special"

ELEMENTARY (2 Nominations)

Outstanding Main Title Design
Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music -- Sean P. Callery

ONCE UPON A TIME (2 Nominations)

Outstanding Costumes for a Series -- "Queen of Hearts"
Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic) -- "The Evil Queen"

REVOLUTION (2 Nominations)

Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role -- "Pilot"
Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Miniseries or Movie -- "Nobody's Fault but Mine"

THE WALKING DEAD (2 Nominations)

Outstanding Interactive Program
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special -- "This Sorrowful Life"

DEFIANCE (1 Nomination)

Outstanding Special Visual Effects -- "Pilot"

FALLING SKIES (1 Nomination)

Outstanding Special Visual Effects -- "Worlds Apart"


THE SIMPSONS (1 Nomination)

Outstanding Animated Program -- "Treehouse of Horror XXIII"

SOUTH PARK (1 Nomination)

Outstanding Animated Program -- "Raising the Bar"

TRUE BLOOD (1 Nomination)

Outstanding Art Direction for a Single Camera Series -- "Whatever I Am, You Made Me", "Let's Boot and Rally," "Sunset"

The 65th Primetime Emmys is scheduled to air on Sunday, September 22nd on CBS at 8 p.m. EST.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Aquaman is #1 Most Toxic Superhero Internet Search


It seems Aquaman writer Geoff Johns has some fresh material for his continuing mission to address jokes and misconceptions about the King of Atlantis.

In a blog posted yesterday, internet security company McAfee named DC Comics character Aquaman #1 their "Most Toxic Superhero" when it comes to internet searches resulting in risky websites.  Their study, using McAfee SiteAdvisor site ratings, found that "searching for the latest 'Aquaman and free torrent download,' 'Aquaman and watch,' 'Aquaman and online,' and 'Aquaman and free trailer' yields a 18.6% chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware."

McAfee's Top 15 superheroes with the highest percentage of risk:

1. Aquaman 18.60%
2. Mr. Fantastic 18.22%
3. The Hulk 17.30%
4. Wonder Woman 16.77%
5. Daredevil 16.70%
6. Iron Man 15.63%
7. Superman 15.21%
8. Thor 15.10%
9. Green Lantern 15.00%
10. Cyclops 14.40%
11. Wolverine 14.27%
12. Invisible Woman 12.40%
13. Batman 12.30%
14. Captain America 11.77%
15. Spider-Man 11.15%


I'm guessing searching for "Mr. Fantastic" alone could result in something completely different than the leader of the Fantastic Four, which probably accounts for Reed Richards charting so high at #2.

Robert Siciliano, writer of the article, said "With the resurgence of the superheroes into mainstream movies (think Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America to name a few), hackers are leveraging their popularity to target consumers.  Hackers are most successful when they can attract a large number of victims.  One way to target big crowds online is to track current events—everything from celebrity meltdowns and natural disasters to holidays and popular music—and now, superheroes."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN Returns as a TV Pilot


Well, you already know Alan Moore won't be happy about this.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Moore and Kevin O'Neill's comic book creation The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is being adapted by Hollywood once again, this time as a television series pilot by Fox's 20th Television.  This will be the company's first drama sale for the new development season.

The network and its studio counterpart have given a pilot commitment to a script by Michael Green, who helped write the Green Lantern movie adaptation and also worked on Heroes and Smallville.  Green will serve as executive producer and showrunner if the pilot is picked up for a full series.  3 Arts' Erwin Stoff will also be an executive producer.

This version of The League is described in the article as "a drama based on Moore's graphic novels about a group of Victorian age literary characters, including Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, who team up to fight a common enemy,"

In 2003, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie was released, based loosely on the first six-issue LOEG limited series.  The movie starred Sean Connery as Allan Quartermain, Naseeruddin Shah as Captain Nemo, Peta Wilson as Mina Harker, Tony Curran as Rodney Skinner (The Invisible Man), Stuart Townsend as Dorian Grey, Shane West as Tom Sawyer and Jason Flemyng as Dr, Henry Jekyll/Mr. Edward Hyde.  The movie had a production budget of $78 million and grossed $179 million worldwide, but a sequel was never made.

Monday, July 8, 2013

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Movie Roles Revealed


It's been over a month since former Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan was cast in James Gunn's movie adaptation of Marvel Comics' Guardians of the Galaxy without any word of who she might be playing apart from "the film's lead female villain."  However, Den of Geek has new details of which actors have which roles in the upcoming movie, which is now filming in the UK.

Gillan will be playing Nebula, a villainous space pirate and mercenary that claims to be the granddaughter of Thanos, one of Marvel's Biggest Bads shown briefly after the closing credits of the first Avengers movie.  Nebula's first appearance was in The Avengers #257 in 1985. 

Actor Benicio del Toro will be another villain known The Collector, one of the Elders of the Universe that has existed in the Marvel Universe for millions of years and first appeared in The Avengers #28 in 1966.

Lee Pace, meanwhile, will be Ronan the Accuser, a character from the alien race called The Kree who first appeared in Fantastic Four #65 in 1967 as a villain but has had some heroic moments that place him more in the grey area between good and evil.

A full cast listing is expected at San Diego Comic Con later this month.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

BBC Wanted Tom Baker for DOCTOR WHO's 2005 Relaunch


Since Doctor Who's relaunch in 2005, the world's longest-running science fiction program has become more popular around the world than ever.  It seems, however, that the first series with Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor almost never happened on a number of occasions.

Blogtor Who shared details from The Doctor Forever: The Unquiet Dead, included as a special feature on the special edition DVD release for the Jon Pertwee classic "The Green Death."  Focusing on the years leading to Doctor Who's return in 2005, The Unquiet Dead contains interviews with former showrunner Russell T Davies and former Controller of Drama Commissioning at the BBC, Jane Tranter.

Some of the more interesting (and somewhat unsettling) tidbits:

Just before Davies' previous series Queer As Folk aired in 1999, Davies met with Mal Young (BBC Controller, Drama Serials 1997-2004) to discuss Doctor Who's return.  "I remember, actually," said Davies, "someone in the room said, 'Why don't we bring Tom Baker back?' and we all said, 'Yes!' I was sitting there, going with anything, 'Yeah, that'd be great!"  For anyone wondering, Tom Baker would've been 71 years old in 2005.

In 2001, the BBC wanted RTD to write a science-fiction version of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, but he turned them down saying, "If I'm going to do science-fiction with the BBC, then I want to do Doctor Who."

Market research by BBC Worldwide concluded there was "great awareness of Doctor Who, but very little desire to see it."

Co-producers of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) wanted to redub Christopher Eccleston with a Canadian actor, but Russell T Davies told them, "You're not doing that to our lead actor!"  There's no mention of why they wouldn't want to also redub heavily-accented Billie Piper as Rose Tyler.

Tranter's choice for the Ninth Doctor was acclaimed actress Dame Judi Dench, who would've been 70 at the time and about to make the James Bond film Casino Royale with Daniel Craig.

And lastly, Michael Grade, the man that put Doctor Who on an 18-month hiatus in 1985 and later fired Colin Baker from the role of the Sixth Doctor, returned to the BBC in early 2004 and just like before, wanted to keep Doctor Who from returning.  "The person who was completely opposed to bringing back Doctor Who was Michael Grade," said Tranter.  "He thought this was a really bad idea."  On his return to the BBC as Director General, Mark Thompson also spoke to Tranter about stopping production on Doctor Who. The former BBC Head of Drama "asked me if we could stop making it.  'Were we able to stop?'  And I said 'No!'"

Doctor Who: The Green Death Special Edition is scheduled for release on August 13th.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ron Perlman Claims HELLBOY 3 Could Kill Him


Well, if you gotta go, at least go out after a big stack of "pamcakes"...

Actor Ron Perlman and director Guillermo del Toro are still motivated to make a third Hellboy movie even though it's been five years since Hellboy II: The Golden Army.  The film would be the last in a trilogy based on Mike Mignola's character for Dark Horse Comics and it sounds like del Toro has some big ideas of how to end the series.

Speaking with Shock Till You Drop, Perlman shared his thoughts on Hellboy 3 and what it needs to include.  "[Hellboy 3] needs to be twice as big as Hellboy 1 or Hellboy 2.  It's all of these oracles coming home to roost with these apocalyptic things taking place," said Perlman. "Guillermo's version of this resolve in the trilogy is epic in scope. Not just anybody can make this movie. It has to be somebody who's no stranger to this sense of scope."

Meanwhile, the 63-year-old actor certainly isn't getting any younger and he knows it. "For me to do Hellboy 3, it could kill me -- in terms of physically demanding for a guy my age, but it's worth it because anyone who sits and listens to Guillermo's version of how this thing ends is completely seduced. It's so theatrical and compelling and if you liked the first two movies in any way, shape or form, this is the ultimate one-two punch."

A related Shock Till You Drop article by Ryan Turek from a day earlier revealed that Perlman and del Toro sat down with Legendary Pictures head Thomas Tull last week and del Toro relayed some of the encounter to Turek.  "I hate giving pieces about it," he said, "but last night, we were at dinner and Ron said, 'I would be very happy to do Hellboy again, when are we doing Hellboy 3?'  Thomas [Tull] said, 'I would love to see Hellboy 3.'  He didn't say he would love to do it, he just said he'd like to see it, but today, I'll ask him."

Turek then spoke with Perlman, who agreed that Legendary would be a good fit for Hellboy 3.  "Not just anybody can make this movie," said Perlman.  "I loved working for Legendary and I know for Guillermo working on Pacific Rim was one of his greatest experiences.  The reason I loved working for them is because Guillermo was so happy.  I came in six months into the shoot and he seemed as fresh as a daisy, simply because he was working for someone who appreciated and supported his outlandish visions of what he wanted to put on the screen.  My immediate, silent wish was, wouldn't it be great if these guys came in and helped resolve the Hellboy series."

Tull commented on the remarks, saying only that there would be rights issues to work out for Legendary to be involved in making Hellboy 3.

To be continued...