Thursday, July 17, 2008

News - 07/17/08...

Even more Glago’s Guest

A short video clip of Disney’s short filmGlago’s Guest can now be seen on AWNtv. The highly stylized animated piece can be viewed in it’s entirety when it is released alongside Bolt on November 26, 2008.

Lone Ranger, Zorro Ride on Disc

Two masked men fight for justice in the old west in a new DVD release from BCI/Eclipse. The New Adventures of the Lone Ranger and Zorro Vol. 2 brings more episodes of the Filmation 1980s TV favorites to fans and collectors today for the first time ever.

With help from faithful native-American sidekick, Tonto, and his horse, Silver, the Lone Ranger rides the plains and protects the good people he encounters from the crime and corruption that plague the West. His Mexican counterpart, Zorro, defends the poor and downtrodden from tyranny and cruelty with the help of his trusty companion, Miguel. The Lone Ranger is a creation of George W. Trendle and Zorro was created by Johnston McCulley.

The two-disc set includes eleven Lone Ranger adventures and seven episodes of Zorro. Featuring voice performances by William Conrad and Henry Darrow, the shows offer 396 minutes of cartoon action fun and come packaged with unlisted special features for the list price of $14.98.

'The Flash' still in the running

'The Dark Knight' producer Charles Roven says he's still working hard to bring 'The Flash' to the big screen, but the labor problems in Hollywood have slowed the Scarlet Speedster a bit.

"We had hoped to be able to get a new draft going before the writers’ strike and we weren’t able to," Roven admitted. "And since the writers’ strike, we just haven’t been able to find the right creative compatibility between what we’re looking for and a writer and you know, we’re a little bit dragging our feet, we’re just waiting to see what’s going to happen with this actor’s strike, you know."

Roven made his comments to at a recent press junket.

E3: DC Universe Unveiled

Jim Lee--DC Universe Online's creative director and the renowned artist on such comics as Batman: Hush and Superman: For Tomorrow--introduced the new massively multiplayer online game at Sony's media briefing at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles on July 15.

After a one-armed push-up in honor of Jack Palance's similar performance at the 2001 Oscars, a slightly winded Lee enthusiastically pitched DC Universe Online.

"Imagine being able to create your own superhero or supervillain," Lee said. "[You can] enter the DC Universe to fight alongside or against the world's most powerful characters. Imagine how cool it would be to help Batman take on the Joker. Imagine being a villain and helping all the inmates at Arkham Asylum escape to attack the Batcave. This is certainly a project that would make my 12 year-old brain explode with excitement."

Lee finished off with a trailer showing such classic DC characters as Superman, The Flash and Wonder Woman interacting in-game within the expansive world of DC Online Universe. Players can fully explore classic locales such as Metropolis and Gotham City. The shots were heavy on action, with characters involved in individual duels and even teaming up to defeat larger foes. The clip ended with a classic shot of the Joker, grinning ear-to-ear and cackling maniacally. No release date was announced for the game, which is slated for the PlayStation 3 and PC.

Mummy Man Resurrects Monster Squad

The cult classic “The Monster Squad” is – not surprisingly – about to get a contemporary makeover.

“Mummy 3” director Rob Cohen tells Bloody Disgusting that Paramount have purchased the rights to the Fred Dekker flick. What isn’t known is whether or not the remake is in development, pre-production or… merely just an idea at this stage. Interestingly enough, Dekker mentioned last year that he’d be keen to do a sequel to the movie - - but guess that idea dies with the transfer of ownership?

Much to everyone’s surprise – particularly its cast and crew. “The Monster Squad”, a huge flop when it was released theatrically in 1987, is now considered a straight-up out-and-out cult classic because, well, it’s so infectiously tacky and incontrovertibly culpable fun. Written by Dekker and Shane Black and directed by Dekker, it’s a “Goonies” like romp about a bunch of kids that team up to bring down all the movie monsters – including Dracula, The Mummy and the Wolfman.

Unlike a lot of the so-called kid’s films today, 1987s “The Monster Squad” actually gives its audience – in this case, youngsters – what they want, and not just give in to what the studio executives believe kids want. Thanks to the ingenuity of its young writer/director Frank Dekker (“Night of the Creeps”), this one spoke straight to the kids – in the same way say, “The Goonies” did. But more so, this one let the kids swear… not many kids movies these days even feature a single ‘s#!t’ let alone an ‘asshole’ or ‘b!tch’… and it’s not often you’ll find references to ‘virgins’ in the family film, either. It truly was a landmark film for its time – something that was seemingly made whilst big brother (in this case, Mr. studio head) turned his back.

Cohen (”The Mummy : Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”, "Fast and the Furious", “XXX”) says he’d produce the remake, not direct it.

Keanu Reeves As Plastic Man?

Keanu Reeves already has long legs… why he’d want stretchier storks is beyond me!

According to CHUD ,The “Speed” star is rumoured to be playing ‘Plastic Man’ in a film based on the classic comic and cartoon series. It’s not the first time the bodacious actor-rocker has been mooted for a tight-wearing superhero part - a couple of years back Warner tried to talk him into donning the giant ‘S’ to play Clark Kent.

“Plastic Man” would, I imagine, be a much more lighter film than a “Superman” though (I always saw the character as a hammy sort-of Saturday Morning funny… something that belonged more in the Hanna-Barbera stables than DC) … but then, considering who is supposedly directing the film - it’ll likely be a tad “deeper” than the old toon. Yep, Larry and Andy Wachowski, the chaps behind Reeves’ biggest success to date “The Matrix”, want to helm this puppy .

You may recall that the W’s wrote a “Plastic Man” script prior to the first “Matrix” (there’s a script review of it here). Assumingly they’ll use that as the basis for this new incarnation.

Let’s see if this pans out.

J.J. Abrams Talks Star Trek

For the past several months getting any information out of the always enthusiastically secretive J.J. Abrams camp about his re-launch of the classic Star Trek series for the big screen has been about as easy as getting light out of a black hole.

But when cornered Abrams at a big Hollywood event this week, we were surprised that he seemed finally ready to reveal a few tiny, tantalizing hints about his version of the final frontier, as well as his feeling about the franchise and his film's old school standard bearer – and we didn't even have to pull a phaser on him.

CS: You've said that you didn't start out as an uber-fan of "Star Trek," but you quickly became a fan. Can you talk in general terms about what you fell in love with about the whole franchise?

I fell in love with the relationships between the characters. I fell in love with the characters. The idea of – it's so funny because you hear something so often and it loses it's meaning. But "space, the final frontier" – if you actually consider space as uncharted territory there's something about the idea of these people, because any ship flying by isn't going to get you excited. It's who's on the ship that matters. I feel like these characters actually going out into that nothingness and finding something is great. Having lived with it now and gotten to know the characters and worked with amazing actors who portrayed them, it made me fall in love with that notion, that idea that for some reason never struck me the way that "Twilight Zone" did.

CS: Are you ready to talk about the Jennifer Morrison character? There's been a lot of speculation and confusion as to exactly who she's playing.

She is so great. I'll just say that she plays Kirk's mother. She's awesome. Great.

CS: Does the film feature many flashback sequences? We also know that Winona Ryder is playing Spock's mother.

Yeah, most of the movie is not - I wouldn't call them flashbacks, but she's in a great sequence and is so good. I love her.

CS: What can you say about about working with Leonard Nimoy?

It was really just a dream experience, working with him. He is everything you want him to be. He's funny and incredibly thoughtful and was surprisingly open and receptive to direction. He's just got an amazing wife and family and working with him was literally... Like the other day we were doing some ADR and he was there and because we weren't shooting anymore I was standing there and I just looked at him while he was doing his thing. I wanted to burn it into my head. It was so great to get to work with that guy. He's just an amazing man and is terrific in the movie.

CS: Is he a major presence in the film?

Yeah. I think he's a major presence in any scene he's in. He's terrific.

Star Trek opens in theaters on May 8, 2009.

New live action 'TMNT' in 2010?

From the Playmates Toys website (the official license holders of the 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' license):

Following the success of the 'TMNT' theatrical release in 2007, Mirage licensing and Imagi studios have begun work on a new live-action TMNT film for 2010. It's the turtles like you've never seen them before! Shellalicious!

Josh Olson Has A Batman Story For You

Comic Book Resources has posted a brief interview with Oscar-winning screenwriter Josh Olson about his segment in the Batman Gotham Knight direct-to-video movie. Olson discusses why his agent thinks he's crazy, the inspiration for his chapter "Have I Got a Story for You," how he approached writing his first cartoon, and what he's working on now.

"Batman: Gotham Knight" on sale now

SPOILER WARNING: The following contains spoilers for "Batman: Gotham Knight."

On sale now is “Batman: Gotham Knight,” the latest release from Warner Bros.’ DC Universe line of direct-to-DVD features based on the iconic DC Comics superheroes. Split into six chapters created by six different teams of writers, directors, animators, and composers, “Gotham Knight” bridges the gap between 2005’s live-action “Batman Begins” and the forthcoming sequel, “The Dark Knight.”

Contributing the script for one segment is Josh Olson, who knows all about violence. After all, the writer of the hugely acclaimed
"A History of Violence”
has Batman chopping the head off a criminal in the first ten minutes of his tale, “Have I Got A Story for You.”
Trust us, you just have to see it.

CBR News spoke with Olson about the new film.

CBR: What was your favorite part about this anime trip into Batman's world?

Seth Olson:
Probably the enormous paycheck was my favorite part.

Scene from Josh Olsen's "Have I Got A Story for You" segment of "Batman: Gotham Knight"

No, I love Batman, I'm a comic book fan. I've been going to conventions for years, I've been reading comics since I don't know how old. I know I drove my agent nuts. [“Gotham Knight”] came my way a while ago. Sure enough, I got nominated for an Oscar -- that tends to raise your profile. I had just turned down an enormous TV project, then this phone call comes in and I jump all over it. My agent is going, "Are you out of your mind?!?" I told him, "I have to!" I love Batman. I love the concept. I love bringing in Japanese animators to give us these different views of Batman. It was so immensely satisfying. It's idiotic how often I'll watch it, and how often I'll get people to watch it with me.

When I saw ["Gotham Knight"], I was just giddy. This is the reason you write this stuff -- you have this secret hope that someone will get to see it and have the same reaction. I was knocked out.

Your segment -- “'Have I Got a Story for You -- is the first of the six tales told in "Gotham Knight." Is it good to bat lead-off on the project?

Yeah, I think so. Mine loosely connects to the others, but it's more of a stand-alone. I tied-in to the overall concept on “this is who the Batman is.” I take some kids and how they saw Batman and who the perceive him to be. Because I played so fast and loose with Batman and what he looks like, it is kind of visually arresting. There are many different perspectives just in this one 12-minute cartoon.

Scene from Josh Olsen's "Have I Got A Story for You" segment of "Batman: Gotham Knight"

Where did your story angle -- the different perspectives on Batman -- come from?

If I was the second guy to have done this, I'd be a thief. But I've seen about three of these stories now, and I'm the fourth, so it's a genre now. There was an issue of "Detective Comics” that I think Denny O'Neil wrote in the late '60s or early '70s. It's three kids around the campfire, Bruce Wayne is the scout master. I haven't been able to find that story since I read it, I'd like to give it the proper credit. It's also been done in "Batman: The Animated Series." It's been done several times now -- mine is a different version of the idea of three kids talking about what Batman looks like.

If you're going to steal stuff, you've got to make something about it original. I had each of the kids see Batman on a different part of the same adventure, fighting the same villain. One kid sees the beginning, one kid sees the middle, one kid sees the end. So I had them tell the stories backwards. It's sort of a nod to Christopher Nolan and "Memento."

And this is loaded with inside jokes. I thought I might never get a chance to write a cartoon again in my life. There's a moment where a girl is describing a fight, and she goes, "bif, pow, wap, flurb!" I remember “flurb” from the old Adam West Batman show. I use the word “flurb” because it was the most ridiculous sound effect they used on that show.

This is your first time writing for a cartoon -- how did you have to adapt your writing style?

Scene from Josh Olsen's "Have I Got A Story for You" segment of "Batman: Gotham Knight"

I took it as a license to go nuts. There were three different places where I just said, “animators: go nuts here!” I tried to write something that was loud and bright and colorful. I tried to make every scene as visually different as possible. These kids are skateboarders, I didn't describe the park, just the setting.

What are you working on now?

I'm just finishing up this weird departure -- it's a sequel to "The Wizard of Oz" for Warner Bros. I loved the books as a kid. They've attempted this before, in the 1980s. It's faithful to the books and faithful to the films. I'm handing that in this week.

I'm also adapting a short story by Dennis Lehane, who did "Mystic River," called "Shutter Island." [Martin] Scorsese is directing, with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Heroes Webisode "Going Postal" Part 1

The first episode of the "Heroes" Webisode series "Going Postal," titled "A Nifty Trick," is now online and can be watched using the player below:

Sony Cooks Up 3-D Meatballs for 2010

Sony Pictures Animation will make the upcoming feature Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs its first stereoscopic 3-D release. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the pic has been slated to debut in theaters on Jan. 15, 2010.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is a CG adaptation of Judi and Ron Barrett’s popular children’s book. The off-beat project will answer time-honored questions such as what would happen if food (i.e. meatballs, pancakes, spaghetti, hamburgers, peanut butter and jelly sandwich) dropped like rain from the sky? What if you didn’t like the menu? What would it be like to be squashed by a pancake? And who would clean up the mess?

The project has changes hands a number of times. At last reporting, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, creators of the erstwhile MTV animated series
Clone High, were set to direct with Pam Marsden (Disney’s Dinosaur, Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas)

Sony Animation’s debut feature, Open Season, was released in 3-D for IMAX presentations, but was not specifically designed for stereoscopic exhibition, as Cloudy is. Surf’s Up, the studio’s second film, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Also in the company’s pipeline is Hotel Transylvania, a supernatural comedy previously scheduled for a Sept. 25, 2009 release. Sony hasn’t announced any change to that plan. There’s also a new Smurfs movie in development at the studio.

JibJab Campaign Cartoon Hits Web

JibJab, the company behind the 2004 animated Internet sensation This Land and last winter’s year-in-review video, Nucking Futs!, has released a new presidential campaign spoof featuring animated likenesses of John McCain, Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush and others. Set to the tune of Bob Dylan’s 1960s political anthem, “Times They Are A-Changin’,” Time for Some Campaignin’ premiered on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Tuesday night and is now available for viewing at

JibJab made its mark with the debut of This Land, which poked fun at both George W. Bush and John Kerry as they ran for the highest office in the country in 2007. Offering a much-needed dose of bi-partisan silliness, the video became a viral phenomenon, racking up more than 80 million views before the election was over.

“Life's been a blur since This Land,” says JibJab co-founder Evan Spiridellis. “Thanks to the support of our fans, we've built JibJab from just me and my brother into a 35-person company and our 2008 election video was our twelfth video on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. It's been a very busy four years!”

Time for Some Campaignin’ is described as a rallying cry for both Democrats and Republicans as they head into the election season. In addition to fast-paced gags, the video features the JibJab's new Starring You! technology that enables users to upload their photos, cut out their heads, and put themselves and friends into the video.

“Our fans love the ability to personalize JibJab videos,” comments JibJab co-founder Gregg Spiridellis. “They have uploaded over 12 million heads to our website since we launched Starring You! That's more than the population of our home state of New Jersey!”

Starring You! is part of JibJab's recently launched eCard product line called Jibjab Sendables. There are more 1,000 JibJab Sendables eCards available at in categories ranging from birthdays and anniversaries to flirts, disses and everyday fun.

Space Chimps Game Launched

Brash Ent.’s video game based on the upcoming animated feature film Space Chimps has shipped to retailers nationwide. Featuring Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld) and other voice talent from the film, the title is available for Xbox 360, PlayStation2, Wii and Nintendo DS. The launch precedes 20th Century Fox’s July 18 release of the movie, which is produced by Vanguard Animation and presented by Starz Animation.

Produced by John H. Williams (Shrek, Shrek 2) and Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black, The Addams Family), and directed by Kirk DeMicco, the Space Chimps movie follows the exploits of a mischievous circus chimp named Ham III (Andy Samberg), who happens to be the grandson of the first primate ever sent into space. As a publicity stunt, Ham is chosen to lead a mission into space to explore a mysterious new planet. When he and his crew crash land on the bizarre world and find their lives in peril, Ham must prove that he really does have the right stuff.

The game has players step into the space boots of Ham and female counterpart Luna (Hines), who is head of her NASA training class. After crash landing on the planet Malgor, the chimps hatch a plan to overthrow its evil ruler, Zartog, and find their way back home. This game is rated “E” for Everyone by the ESRB. For more information, go to

Brash Ent. is a new video game company that has established long-term partnerships with leading Hollywood studios including Lions Gate Films, Twentieth Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising, Universal Studios Licensing and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, in addition to Vanguard Animation. Currently, Brash has more than 40 licenses and 12 games in production across all genres including kids, horror, action and adventure.

Pioneering Canadian animated feature makes debut

"Edison and Leo," Canada's first stop-motion animated feature film, will have its world premiere in September at the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival, organizers announced Tuesday.

It will be the first nine films to be shown as part of the fifth edition of Canada First!, a showcase which focuses on works from first-time Canadian directors.

Directed by Neil Burns of British Columbia, Edison and Leo is a sumptuous fairytale-gone-wrong about quirky inventor George T. Edison (Powers Boothe), who endangers his family in a quest to create a viable electric light bulb.

Written by Daegan Fryklind and frequent Guy Maddin collaborator George Toles, the film also stars Carly Pope and Gregory Smith.

Several animated films are also among the 38 titles announced Tuesday as part of Short Cuts Canada, another Toronto International Film Festival showcase.

Exhibiting the originality and creativity of Canadian short filmmakers, Short Cuts Canada focuses local and international attention on some of Canada's most innovative artists. Films in this program are eligible for the Award for Best Canadian Short Film, which carries a $10,000 cash prize and is supported by the National Film Board of Canada.

Among the animated selections in Short Cuts Canada at TIFF:

Cattle Call (Mike Maryniuk and Matthew Rankin, Manitoba, 4 min.)
Auctioneers and animation collide in this fast-paced and explosive introduction to the Winnipeg stockyards. Reflecting an unabashed prairie perspective, this blend of hyperbole and documentary creates a highly entertaining film imbued with social commentary.

Hungu (Nicolas Brault, Quebec, 9 min.)
This beautiful mixed-media animated film shares the tale of a young son who must leave his mother's side as she lies dying in the heat of the African desert sun. His mother's soul will be resurrected in the hungu, an African musical instrument, to return strength and life to the child as he becomes a man.

Passages (Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre, Quebec, 24 min.)
Blurring the lines between documentary and drama, this poignant animated autobiographical film tells of the director's horrific birthing experience as she and her partner deal with a lackadaisical medical system that ultimately fails them.

Pierce, Crush, Escape: Notes on the Boreal (Susan Turcot, Quebec, 9 min.)
This architecturally-textured experimental meditation examines the effects of deforestation on animals, humans and climate. Using digital animation and line drawings, Turcot continues her abstract exploration of the environment and the Boreal forest area.

Rosa Rosa (Félix Dufour-Laperrière, Quebec, 8 min.)
A beautifully assembled collage of photographic and hand-drawn imagery animates this narrated tale of a couple whose life together has been shaped by years of war. These new parents attempt to retain a daily routine through the rubble and turmoil that surrounds them.

Running (Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit) (Ann Marie Fleming, British Columbia, 4 min.)
Starring "stickgirl," Ann Marie Fleming's avatar, this animated short uses signature hand-drawn sketches and fluid lines to create a rhythmic pacing that matches the title. The energy of the animation is complemented by a dynamic and layered orchestral score by Maxime Goulet.

The 33rd Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 4 to 13. A selection of Short Cuts Canada titles will be available to view online at during the festival.

Ticket packages are now on sale. Purchase online at, by phone at (416) 968-FILM or 1-877-968-FILM, or in person at the Festival Box Office at Manulife Centre, 55 Bloor Street West (main floor, north entrance). Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

The Dark Knight Has Already Set One Record

It's opening in the most North American theaters ever! From The Hollywood Reporter:

The film's more than 4,366 domestic playdates is a record, surpassing the 4,362 theaters for May 2007's bow of "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End." Double- and triple-screening at many venues means "Dark Knight" will play on 9,200 screens in the U.S. and Canada.

Its engagements include 94 Imax venues -- Nolan shot long segments using Imax-format cameras -- and most of those giant-screen auditoriums were sold out by midweek. A Warners exec estimated that Imax presales totaled $3.5 million, with advance ticketing for other venues adding considerably to that total.

Check out the link above for more on the film's opening weekend which begins tonight (Friday) at midnight.

John Woo to Direct Caliber

John Woo (“Hard-Boiled,” “Hard Target,” “Broken Arrow,” “Face/Off,” “Mission: Impossible II,” “Windtalkers,” “Paycheck”) will direct comic book adaptation Caliber, to be unveiled at next week's Comic-Con in San Diego, reports Variety.

The film looks likely to be a three-way co-production of Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil, Barry Levine's Radical Comics and Lion Rock, the U.S.-based company that Woo runs with longstanding partner Terence Chang.

Radical Comics' hit story sets King Arthur and his knights as 19th century gunslingers in the Pacific Northwest.

Find all of Variety’s story on the matter here.

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