Thursday, September 18, 2008

News - 09/18/08...

"Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland" showcases Mary Blair's concept art

Jim Hill reviews a brand-new picture book which is built around the amazing artwork that this Disney Legend created for that 1951 animated feature

Forget about "When Harry Met Sally." You want to talk about a truly magical movie moment? Then let's discuss when Mary met Alice.

To be specific, when Mary Blair was assigned to work on Disney's animated adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."

Ever since May of 1938, when the Studio had officially acquired the movie rights to Lewis Carroll's two "Alice" -based novels, Disney artists had struggled to get a handle on this material. For a number of years, Walt tried to produce a picture which would have replicated Sir John Tenniel's distinctive illustrations for the books. But when that proved to be impractical ... Disney then turned to Blair and asked her to imagine a far more film-friendly Wonderland.

Many of the concept paintings that Mary created for this 1951 release have just been collected in a brand-new hardcover. Which is called -- appropriately enough -- "Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland" (Disney Press, September 2008).

Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved

As you leaf through this beautiful 64-page picture (which features noted children's author Jon Scieszka's witty take on Carroll's classic tale) it's hard not to be dazzled by Blair's amazing artwork ...

Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved

... her vibrant use of color as well as her strong sense of composition.

Mind you, not every idea that Mary proposed for Disney's animated "Alice" actually wound up in the finished film. Take -- for example -- the concept painting below. Which shows Alice wearing a dress that's distinctly different from the one Tenniel originally designed for Carroll's heroine.

Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved

But for the most part, where Blair dreamed up eventually became part of Disney's "Wonderland." From the look of individual characters ...

Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved

... to the staging of comic bits of business ...

Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved

... Even the composition of specific shots in the film ...

Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved

... as well as the staging of certain action sequences in this movie ...

Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved

... were clearly influenced by Mary's concept art.

A worthy successor to last year's "Walt Disney's Cinderella" ...

Copyright 2007 Disney. All Rights Reserved

... (which also showcased Blair's brilliant work), "Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland" will make a fine addition to any Disneyana fan's library.

Just make sure to leave a little space available on that book shelf. Why For? Because the third & final volume in this Mary-Blair-concept-art picture book series -- "Walt Disney's Peter Pan" -- is due to be released next fall.

Chowder DVD cover art

The cover art for Chowder - Volume 1 can be seen on TV Shows On DVD. The set contains ten episodes from the series, a list of which can be viewed here. The DVD collection will be available for purchase on November 4th with a suggested retail price of $14.98.

Bob Winquist, Influential CalArts Instructor, 1923 - 2008

The Los Angeles Times reports the passing of Bob Winquist at the age of 85 on September 10, 2008, due to complications related to old age. Winquist was an extremely influential animation teacher at the California Institute of the Arts, with his followers including Pixar's Ralph Eggleston and Pete Docter. Winquist also ran a design firm with Robert Hammer, an artist and also Winquist's life parter, and designed "everything from movie sets to diapers."

The Secret Studio

Well, actually it's not a secret, not really. It's an animation unit now working on the Warners lot, in two different buildings among the big sound stages where Casablanca, Oceans Eleven and Key Largo were filmed.

Director Chris Bailey heads up a crew of animators, riggers, board artists, surfacers and all the rest who are doing a number of shorts for the state department. When I strolled through yesterday, one artist said to me:

"We've got a terrific group here. People from Dreamworks, Disney, other studios. We're moving fast, so we're testing the rigs as we go along ..."

The shorts are being made for the great acronym "PEPFAR." And what is PEPFAR? "The President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief."

The whole deal is supposed to last for three or four months.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Buzz Lightyear Saves Family

The Marino family was vacationing in Daytona Beach, Florida when disaster struck!

Ed Marino's autistic son Christopher was swimming when the 12 year-old became caught in a current and was suddenly swept away. His father jumped in after him and they spent the next 15 hours treading water overnight in the dank Atlantic,

Marino told The Today Show that a catchphrase from the Disney/Pixar cartoon Toy Story kept hope alive as he called to his son in the dark.

Throughout the long night, Marino would call out, "To infinity" and then Christopher would respond "And beyond!"

"Buzz Lightyear got us through," Marino said "I'd be screaming 'To infinity, and beyond,' and then I would hear him, and it would get more and more distant until finally I couldn't hear anything else."

Finally, a boater found the distraught father the next morning and Marino feared the worst. Two hours later when the Coast Guard asked him to come aboard their rescue boat, his heart sank.

The officers then told Marino that Christopher had been rescued about a mile from where Marino was recovered.

"I never kissed so many Coast Guard men in my life," Marino said.

Second Official Transformers 2 BTS Clip

Wal-Mart has posted its second exclusive behind-the-scenes video for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The second clip takes a look at Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox on the set of the Michael Bay sequel. A fourth video has also been added, which features Fox's auditions for the first film.

To access the content, just go here and use the access code AllSpark62609.

"Revenge of the Fallen," opening in conventional theaters and IMAX on June 26, 2009, stars Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Isabel Lucas, Rainn Wilson and Jennifer Alden.

Auctions for Ohio Superman birthplace top goal

Online auctions benefiting Superman's birthplace have been more powerful than a locomotive.

The sales on eBay are only half-done and already have surpassed their goal of raising $50,000 to fix up the boyhood home of Jerry Siegel. It's where he and Joe Shuster came up with the Man of Steel during the 1930s.

When the second of four auctions of original art and other items wrapped up Tuesday, more than $53,000 had been raised. The auctions continue through Sept. 30.

The proceeds will be used to replace the roof and redo the exterior on the former Siegel family home on Cleveland's East Side. Organizers say money beyond the original goal will be set aside for repairs inside and for future work.

The Age Profiles Australian Stop-Motion Animator Glen Hunwick

The Age has profiled Australia's Glen Hunwick, who has made a name for himself in his native land with memorable stop-motion advertisements and has just debuted his first short film "Mutt." Hunwick describes why he enjoys stop-motion animation and why he has opted to stay in Australia instead of moving to countries with larger and more lucrative markets for animators.

The Australian Interviews Andrew Stanton on "WALL-E"

The Australian has interviewed Pixar's Andrew Stanton about WALL-E (which opens in Australia tomorrow, September 18, 2008). Several topics recur in the interview, such as the perceived political message or contradictions of that message, but Stanton also delves into new territory, such as how Finding Nemo's success emboldened him to try something different in WALL-E.

Animated Shorts: The Voices of the Next Avengers

One of the key concepts of the recently released direct-to-DVD Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow was to introduce a new generation of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. One could say the same for the movie’s voice cast. Yes, it has some of animation’s top veterans but also its share of v.o. rookies.

Among the vets are Tom Kane, Fred Tatasciore, (who Marvel’s Craig Kyle calls “the Hulk for life.”). and anime veteran Brenna O’Brien, who’s past work includes Elemental Gelade and Inu Yasha.

“I was really lucky to get into the business,” Kane recalls. “I just happened to come in during the tail-end of the careers of some amazing icons when they were still working such as Mel Blanc and Daws Butler. I started 22 years ago, and that was just at the time of the animation renaissance, too."

Actually, how Kane broke in to the business is a story in itself.

“I was doing voice over work when I was 15,” he recalls. "I started by doing commercials, locally, in Kansas City. I knew I wanted to do cartoons. Now one thing that happened is I have a brother who is ten years younger than I am. One day I was watching cartoons with him and I got really pissed off at the poor quality of the cartoons that were on, especially the Hanna-Barbera stuff.

“Anyway, there was a TV clip on the news about the sad state of TV animation and how something should be done about the state of children’s animation. So I was bored and wrote a letter to the TV station agreeing with that, including saying how horrible the toons I watched with my brother were. Even then I could tell they were using about the same voices over and over again.

“A few days later my phone rang and it was a radio station in the state of Washington. They said they wanted to interview me about that letter. It seems it went all the way over to the FCC. So I was interviewed.

“Apparently it got back to Hanna-Barbera,” says Kane. “They sent me a letter saying that if I was so upset maybe I should call them. So I picked up the phone and called them. So they hooked me up with this woman who they told me was one of their producers. So I talked to her for a few minutes. She was understandably kind of hostile. I mean here was this punk kid from Kansas criticizing the quality of her work, especially the show Jabberjaws, especially the voices. I even went so far as to say that I could do better than them. Mind you I didn’t know who Casey Kasem or Daws Butler were. So she said if I thought I was so good at it, maybe I should come out to Hollywood and do cartoons. I said ‘OK I will.’

“Now fast forward about 15 years, and I’m doing a Scooby Doo episode at Hanna-Barbera. I was sitting next to Frank Welker recounting the story. When I then mentioned an example of what I thought was an absolutely brain dead cartoon I said Jabberjaw. I called it the stupidest thing I ever saw. That got Frank to just laughing. Finally, he looked at me and went (in Jabberjaw's voice) ‘Jabberjaw's, eh?’ Then he told me I was absolutely right.

“Then he asked me if I knew who was probably the producer I talked to?”
Kane concludes. “He explained to me that at that time, there was only one woman producer at Hanna-Barbera. It was Jayne Barbera, Joe’s daughter. I guess I was fortunate that she had a good sense of humor or I wouldn’t be here today.”

A conversation with Kane that while the man has a thorough knowledge of those who preceded him, he also has equal respect for contemporaries like Tatasciore.

“I love him,” Kane admits. “He’s a big teddy bear of a guy. He’s done Hulk for a while now, and the fans just freaking love him. Let’s face it, there’s not a whole lot of range in that role. How many different ways can you say ‘Hulk Smash!’? But he does, and he manages to imbue it with a little bit of flavor each time. And this time in particular he had to do it old, which was a twist on everything. Fred and I have read with recently, on the upcoming Wolverine & The X-Men. He is the Beast there.”

“Playing Hulk is really one of the most physically demanding roles I play,” says Tatasciore, who’s career goes as far back as looping for Jackie Chan in the movie Project A (1985). “It really wears me down because I have to physical-ize everything I do. Playing him is just extreme.”

”I’m a real fan of the work. When I was growing up reading comics I loved the Hulk as a character. So it’s so funny to get a part that you’ve been into all your life. The thing about the Hulk is he’s really a pretty blunt character. He’s very to the point. If you don’t do it right it can end up being a very comic role. It’s a real work out though.

“What I really like is they let me take everything I know about the Hulk and try to make sense out of it.,” says Tatasciore. “It doesn’t hurt that Craig Kyle also has a great understanding of it. He’s also such a joy to work with. As an actor that really helps me do my work. That really helps get all the inside feelings of the Hulk out.”

The rookies include Noah Crawford (James Rogers, Young Earl in My Name Is Earl), Aidan Dummond (Pym, Gabriel in The Collector), Dempsey Pappion (Azari, lots of supporting roles on TV) and Adrian Petriw (Hawkeye, Mitch in Edgemont High).

“I have just gotten into it. I had done a few auditions and this is my first major job,” says Petriw. “My agent gave me a call. I was on the set of another thing I was doing. It was then a top secret project. My agent didn’t even know what it was, all he know was my character’s name was Hawkeye. Being a comic book fan, I immediately knew that it had something to do with the Avengers. The Avengers wasn’t one of my mainstay titles. I really read Batman or X-Men, a lot of Spider-Man, too. You read them, you run into the Avengers eventually.”

“I will say all the kids did a bang up job,” says Tatasciore. “We were all in different places. It was amazing Gary (Hartle, the director—ED) managed to put it all together.”

It was also a leaning experience for the newbies, as Petriw would readily admit. He admits having Hartle around was important.

“He was really cool,” said Petriw. “He’s this big guy in a cowboy hat and I’m this little guy. I loved that he really could talk about comics. He really helped guide me. When it comes to acting, I have a lot of experience and at its core it’s really the same thing, even if the technical stuff is different. The goal is always to play the character as accurately as possible. The Marvel guys helped me fine tune it and made sure it was appropriate.

“The one thing I did learn when I started was I was being too subtle. I forgot people could see what I was doing with my hands and such. At the same time, it really helps to get as physical as possible. When we were doing the fight scenes, I had them show me the sketches so I could do the same gestures in the booth. It helped me get the authentic sound and feel.”

Petriw also admits one thing he had as opposed to Kane and Tatasciore was he wasn’t in complete isolation.

“I’m in Vancouver,” he stated. “Most of the veterans like Tom Kane and Fred Tatasciore work out of Los Angeles. I did have some of the younger cast with me, like Brenna O’Brien, who played Torunn, and Aidan Drummond, who played Pym. So we got to play off each other there.

“It was incredible. Craig, Gary, Chris and everyone from Marvel were really passionate about their work. They also really know their stuff. Even though it was my first animation project, they were there the whole way to make me feel at home. Even if I had to do a line 20 times, they made me understand they were doing it to make sure it was absolutely perfect.”

How well did it work out? A critical scene in the film is when Tony Stark (Kane) finally has an opportunity to sit down and talk about the original Hawkeye, Clint Barton, with the new one, Francis (Petriw). Stark states that there would have been a moment where Barton Sr. would have punched him in the face and then went on with the mission as Stark planned. Barton Jr. turns around and says “So you DID know my father!” What matters is one can’t tell if the interplay between Stark and Barton is radio style or, as it really was, isolation. That’s the it should be.

“Yes. Obviously I wasn’t there when Andrew recorded his part of the scene,” says Kane. “I’ll give you a dirty little secret. Most of the time, when we record a project like this, we don’t read the script, we just read our lines. A script for a direct-to-DVD movie is usually an 1 ½” thick and we just don’t have time for it. I don’t. That’s why they have a director. He knows the entire script.”


Briefly: New Voice of "Backpack;" Otaku's Japan PM Candidate; "Black Lagoon" Manga

* The Hudson Reporter has profiled 8-year old Alexandria Suarez of her new role as "Backpack" on Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer.

* Japanese Prime Minister candidate Taro Aso has probably sewn up the otaku electorate, judging by his popularity in the renowned Akihabara shopping district in Tokyo, which includes a shop dedicated to merchandise about the "cool old dude." [Wired]

* VIZ Media has begun shipping the Black Lagoon manga by Rei Hiroe, on which the acclaimed anime series is based. Volume 1 is available now for $12.99. [Press Release]

'Green Lantern' review, plus a casting rumor debunked

Latino Review provides a hybrid script review/rumor debunking in one article when they turn their sights towards 'Green Lantern'.

First up, there's apparently a rumor making the rounds that actor David Boreanaz ('Bones') was up for the lead role in the film. LR looked into and found out the rumor was completely untrue. The script is out to actors but Boreanaz isn't one of them.

The reason? He's too old. Hal Jordan is meant to be in his late twenties, whereas the former 'Buffy' and 'Angel' star is in his late thirties.

As for the script? LR read what is said to be the first draft and there have been several drafts since then. Here's a synopsis of what they had to say:

The script is good. REALLY REALLY GOOD. Hence the B+ rating. I had a ball reading it and got very into it. The script for me is short of excellent and an A rating because of one particular stupid ignorant scene which offended and pissed me the hell off and took me out of the story which I will mention at the end of my review.

Click HERE for their complete comments on the script.

Major anime titles to go online at, a leading global community and online destination for quality entertainment, announced a deal today to distribute film and episodic content from Starz Media's Manga Entertainment, one of the premiere distributors of anime. This deal includes some of the genre's most popular titles and significantly bolsters Jaman's library of high-quality entertainment from around the world.

Among the Manga Entertainment titles that are now available for download at are: 'Ghost in the Shell', considered one of the most influential and visionary animated films of all time; 'Robotech', the landmark anime series made popular in the United States in the 1980s, and other well-known series such as 'Astro Boy', 'Street Fighter II V', 'Noein', 'Karas' and 'Tactics'.

"Jaman is excited to bring some of the most well-known and iconic titles in Japanese animation history to our online audience," said Gaurav Dhillon, founder and CEO of Jaman. "Animation fans are among the most passionate in the world, and episodic content has proven to be very popular with our audience. We look forward to bringing new fans into our vibrant community with this amazing collection of titles."

"We saw an obvious match between Manga Entertainment's properties and Jaman's sensibilities," said Mara Winokur, Starz Media's vice president of digital media and business development. "Jaman's audience has come to expect cutting-edge, quality titles from across the globe, and they will find what they're looking for in the entertainment we're supplying to Jaman."

Premium feature-length films from Manga Entertainment will be available for $2.99, while all series episodes will be available for $1.99.

Shadows Of The Dark Knight: The History of Batman - Part 1 of 3

This is the first in a 3 part series covering the history of Batman.

Now that The Dark Knight has crossed the magic $500 million barrier at the US box office and grossed over $900 million worldwide, Batman is once again a true cultural phenomenon. It is perhaps now relevant and interesting to look at the history of the character to see here how he has had such an enduring appeal over the last 70 years.

Since his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 in May of 1939, Batman has become not only an iconic comic book character, but also a major character on television, radio, novels and of course, the big screen.

Created by a young artist named Bob Kane (with a little help from Bill Finger) and following the success of Superman in 1938, Batman was an instant sensation, and although he has remained comparable to the original Batman that solved “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate” quite a lot has altered over the last 70 years.

Kane’s genesis of Batman came from an eclectic assortment of sources including heroes such as Zorro; pulp character The Shadow; the work of Leonardo Da Vinci; historical characters such as Robert the Bruce; and even a villain from the 1930’s film The Bat Whispers.

Merely a few months after Batman had achieved his own comic book title, he also gained a sidekick in the form of Robin: The Boy Wonder. It was Robin’s appearance that first softened the edge of The Dark Knight. When he initially burst onto the comic book scene, Batman had no qualms about killing the bad guys. However DC soon acknowledged that it was imperative that he was much more in line with the Truth, Justice and the American way of his comic stablemate Superman.

Furthermore, Batman developed a rouge's gallery that has become as illustrious as the Dark Knight himself over the past several decades: The Joker, Catwoman, Penguin, Two-Face and The Riddler are all iconic in their own right and they have helped the Batman mythology to develop and evolve.

The raison d’ĂȘtre for such an extensive and deadly group of villains was that Batman was such a formidable character; it soon became quite problematic to pit him against “normal” criminals from the streets of Gotham City.

As the 1940’s continued, Batman assisted the war effort - selling war bonds and even (in the comic books at least) visiting the US President in Washington DC. From the 1940’s and on into the 1950’s Batman became more of an amiable character, who was gradually moving out of the shadows. This was to become even more pronounced in 1954 with the publication of The Seduction of the Innocent, a book that denounced comic books and lambasted them for corrupting the minds and hearts of American children.

While the comic organizations fought back by forming a self-censoring body: The Comics Code Authority, the damage was already done and a significant proportion of publishers folded. Even though Batman could overthrow the Joker, he couldn’t crush the bad press leveled at him from The Seduction of the Innocent. The book’s author, Frederic Wertham stated that Batman, Robin and their faithful Butler, Alfred, were having an illicit homosexual relationship - it was after all the only logical conclusion as to why three men would be living together in a great mansion.

DC’s knee-jerk reaction was to replace Alfred with the character of Aunt Harriet.

As the 1950’s and 60’s persisted Batman became even more detached from his initial origins and the stories became more and more implausible (even by comic standards) and sales of Batman were in decline. It would appear that the 1960’s might be the one entity to defeat Batman. Consequently Batman effectively became a guest star in his own publication with the introduction of Bat-Girl, Bat-Hound and even the bizarre Scrappy-Do-esque, Bat-Mite.

Coming in Part 2: How Batman went Pop Art in the 1960’s, and the character survived the Burton and Schumacher years.

Will Smith confirms he's NOT 'Captain America'

MTV Splash Page chased down Will Smith to put a nail in the coffin of the rumor they'd starter: that the actor had been offered the role of 'Captain America'.

The rumor was floated by actor Derek Luke during an interview, but quickly debunked by Ain't it Cool. Now Smith himself comments:

Brett Ratner On The J.J. Abrams’ Superman That Might Have Been

Once upon a time, Bryan Singer and Brett Ratner swapped movies – Brett got the third “X-Men” and Bryan got “Superman,” which in his hands was “Superman Returns” starring Brandon Routh. We all know how that turned out.

But what would have happened if Ratner had continued along his merry way and done the “Superman” he wanted? What would it have been about? Brendan Fraser, who saw the script written by J.J. Abrams, was impressed. So was Ratner, who filled us in on the storyline and casting plans.

“The original movie I was going to be a part of,” Ratner said, “took place on Krypton for about half of the movie. So it was much more otherworldly, and much darker, because there was a civil war on Krypton. You’d get more of the history.”

“The Death of Superman” and the art of Alex Ross.

“That wasn’t just darker, but cooler, in my mind,” Ratner said. “That was what we were going to model the visuals after. When you have to translate it to a cinematic world, it’s a whole different animal, and he’s one of the best Superman artists I’ve ever seen.”

If it’s as dark as Warner Bros. wants for their reboot of Superman , Ratner still has a shot at making it: “Maybe we can go back to it one day,” he said.

But sorry, Brendan Fraser, that’s not a shot for you, too. “I definitely agreed with Bryan Singer that you need an unknown actor,” Ratner said. “I was going to surround Superman with known actors, but it’s important to get an unknown. I love Tom Cruise, but to have someone like him who you see as Tom Cruise would be a mistake.”

Universal pulls out of 'Tintin' venture

In her Deadline Hollywood column, Nikki Finke reports that the back-to-back 'Tintin' movies, to be directed by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, may have suffered a significant setback. Apparently Universal Pictures has pulled out of their co-financing arrangement with Dreamworks, leaving the movie short on funds.

To put a finer point on it Finke actually writes "Universal has declined to exercise an option to co-finance DreamWorks' 'Tintin'".

Dreamworks parent Paramount will have to fill the gap created by Universal's absence.

Horrors! Movie Cliches You'll See Again

Stop us if you've seen this before.

Horror movies have been spoofed to death in movies like Student Bodies, Saturday the 14th, Scream and Scary Movie (and, presumably, other movies whose titles don't begin with an "S"). And there's a reeason: horror movies are prone to cliches, stock scenarios that pop up over and over again, like a serial killer in a hockey mask, no matter how implausible.

As another Halloween movie season approaches, we deliver the kill shot with some of our own favorite horror cliches and predict where you will more than likely be seeing them next.

1) Falling Down. No doubt you've run hundreds of times in your life, but how many times have you fallen while in full sprint? Never, is my guess. But put Jason, Freddy or Chucky behind you, and down you go! Surely we will see fit young stars Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker and Amanda Righetti bite the dust more than once in the upcoming Friday the 13th remake, due in theaters on Feb. 13, 2009.

2) Cat Scratch Fever. If you have a pet kitty, we bet it's never once jumped out at you from a dark hiding place, hissing and spitting. It's a stock move in horror flicks, though. This was best-spoofed in Scary Movie 2, when Anna Faris as Cindy Campbell screams, "Someone help! My pussy's gone crazy!" We expect we'll be seeing something like that in the third American entry in the famous Grudge J-horror ghost series (starring Shawnee Smith and going straight to disc next year), where it all narrows down to a murdered little boy and his dead black cat.

3) Full Moon Lunacy. In a horror film, whenever you see a full moon, there is either an owl hooting or a wolf howling in the distance. Always. Check it out: It's in the Animal Actors' Bylaws. Look for it in the forthcoming remake of The Wolfman, starring Benicio Del Toro, which is due on April 3, 2009. Admittedly, that's an easy target. We thing we might also see a glimpse of the moon in the period horror/SF western The Burrowers, starring Clancy Brown and Doug Hutchison under starry desert skies. It premiered at the Toronto Film Festival this month.

The Wolfman

4) Hiding and Seeking. People love to run and hide upstairs, where a possible escape is much, much more difficult. They also love to hide in pantries and closets--preferably disorganized ones, where something is bound to get knocked over and make a noise. Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan cleverly swapped this cliche by having the monster hide inside a pantry. Next up, we'll more than likely be looking around dark corners and under beds in the Stepfather remake, starring Dylan Walsh as the title character, in theaters on Oct. 16.

5) Just Say No. If it feels good, don't do it. Anyone having sex, getting high on illicit drugs or eating a yummy dessert in a horror movie is bound to die next. Bad things happen to a good boy in Parasomnia (starring Dylan Purcell and Jeffrey Combs) after he witnesses all of the above. The times they are a'changin': He didn't even do it, and he's in deadly peril! The film is due in theaters in 2009.

6) Should've Had a V-8. A V8 engine, that is. Why do cars never, ever go when the victim is trying to start it and the killer is coming closer and closer? A few years back writer/director Victor Salva turned this cliche on its ear with Jeepers Creepers, having his hero's car not only start, but also run the baddie over ... and over ... and over. We can hear that heart-sinking "ch-ch-ch" dead-car sound already as we anticipate the direct-to-DVD releases of Joyride 2: End of the Road (Oct. 7) and (Sept. 30).

7) The Thing That Wouldn't Die. When a killer or monster seems dead, he or she never is. There will always be one--sometimes two--resurrections. (Who can forget the famous bathtub scene in Fatal Attraction?) Our trusty hero will frequently see the battered baddie coming, even if his back is turned. If he doesn't, a friend will finish the villain off. We know for a fact that Jennifer's Body (starring Megan Fox) is going to be just like the (evil) Energizer Bunny. It's set for release next year.

Moriarty’s Been Thinking About SUPERMAN...

Aint It Cool News' Moriarty has some thoughts about Superman -

Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here.

Okay. Let’s get something straight regarding the occasional BUZZKILL column here on the site. I’ve got nothing against a good rumor. My problem is with bad rumors. I’ve been sifting through them for 12 years online, and I’ve got a decent average. Not perfect. But decent. Either you buy that by now or you don’t.

And I’ve certainly pissed some people off over the years with opinions I’ve offered up. And that’s cool. There’s no way to begin to deny that. I think when you write opinion, you risk that every single time. Even when I like things, I manage to piss people off sometimes. Timing can be crucial.

Let me say this: I’ve got some regrets regarding SUPERMAN.

I’ve spoken to JJ Abrams one time since I sort of torpedoed him. He was really genial when we spoke on the phone, and it was a fairly casual conversation overall. We talked more about STAR TREK than anything, but in a general off-the-record sort of way. I think it was still early days for them, and we were starting to bust the story a bit. I would imagine the SUPERMAN incident crossed his mind, and he decided to call me and see if he could talk about his goals with the film before I ended up reading anything this time.

It takes a real solid person to make a call like that and to be as comfortable as he was. And after seeing SUPERMAN RETURNS, frankly... I’m not sure that it was a better decision to shoot that than to have stuck with Abrams and whoever ended up directing it since McG couldn’t fly. And it’s been nagging at me, especially as they start to talk about making their choices for the new film.

Because... trust me... there WILL be a new film.

I’ve spoken with McG a few times, too, and I always half-believe he’s about three seconds from punching me. I’m also convinced that’s because he really is constantly about three seconds from punching me. It certainly makes for an interesting day on set.

But truth is, I never bagged him once on SUPERMAN. Everything I talked about was regarding the rejiggered details of the mythos, the idea of rigging it the way they were. It changed the fundamentals. That was the thing that made me uncomfortable as a fan of the iconography of SUPERMAN. There are details that make him who he is. Everything else is sort of Elseworlds one-shot “what if his spaceship landed in the ocean, and the baby Superman drowned?” radical what if stuff. And that’s fine. I love some of those books dearly. It’s cool to play with it, bend it, twist it. But the original... that’s always in place. The traditional. That’s really what endures with some characters, and with Superman in particular.

People want Superman. They do. They’ll go. If you show them a trailer that is a promise. And if you just meet that promise. Make it fun. Make it H U G E. Make it fun. Make it smart. Make it fun. Make it about something real and honest that uses the icon right, without irony. And make it fun. That’s what we’ve always been promised, and really... no film does it yet. Not really. I like stuff about the first three films. I like a few things about Singer’s film, but have some real major problems with it. I’m partial to the Fleischer cartoons more than anything. SUPERMAN III is a freakshow if it’s 3:30 AM and you’ve got the munchies. But is there a SUPERMAN film or TV show, even among the animated ones, that gets it all 100% yet?

Warner Bros, like I said... I feel bad about even the possibility that any part of my article or the press you guys got afterwards about it or any fallout from it led to you guys redeveloping the property. I feel bad because, like I said... comparing what you made versus what you could have made, I’m not sure I was right. I think the controversy might have been outweighed by the “holy s***” of it. And maybe that would have been fun. Not really SUPERMAN, but fun.

When I wrote what I wrote, I certainly knew that it would cause a reaction of some sort in the fan community. It was absolutely a test shot across the bow. Because it was a reinvention of the wheel. And maybe that reinvention would have been really groovy to watch. I’ll bet those fights would have been madness. Chaos. Total GODZILLA-scale destruction.

Which, to be fair, is what I would have liked a little more of (or even any of) in Singer’s film. Just a little f***ing rock and roll, right?

I have heard the rumblings of Mark Millar out there sniffing around it, and I would imagine Legendary has heard about 3,000,000,000 pitches on the property at this point from writers in that rarified paygrade, the A-list all-star usual suspects. And I would imagine they’re going to make a decision soon. And whatever that person is doing, I would imagine we’re going to hear that word again, that buzzword of the day.


The hell of it is... Warner Bros. owns the right property. Tom DeHaven’s novel is a thing of burnished beauty, smart and richly imagined and profound. It is classic Superman in every way, but it manages to make it all feel real, immediate, brand new. I reviewed it here, but I can’t find the review in our archives. But it’s theirs. They published it. And the last thing you could call it would be a reimagining.

It is, instead, what happens when you crush coal for 50 years, telling the same story 10,000 different ways. Eventually, you will produce a diamond. The story told right. The version that works best.

And while I’m apologizing for things I’ve said in print, or at least invoking my right to update my opinion after further life experience, can I suggest a director/writer choice? I gain nothing from this except the possibility that if you’re truly open to anything regarding getting the character right, and learning the RIGHT lessons from THE DARK KNIGHT, then bear with me.

I know someone who needs to have a “f*** you” sized hit, guaranteeing him another 20 years of total freedom. I think you’d be doing the world of film a service, and you’d be getting the single most beautiful SUPERMAN film ever made. I don’t think it’s debatable. And if you’ve read this source material, you’d know how dead on they are.

There’s a detour through a Southern landscape deep in O BROTHER country, there’s a New York that feels like it shares the same snowfall as THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, and there’s a precision of language that is as carefully calibrated as the screenplays these guys write together. I’ve said some pretty harsh words regarding them when I didn’t like the films they were making, at one point suggesting they consider a few years off of filmmaking altogether. But that’s the disappointment of an ardent fan, knowing that behind the scenes they were struggling to find a home for the work they really wanted to be doing.

Let’s be clear. I don’t think they should ever have to struggle to do anything. I think they are a natural resource, and they should be followed around by a team of people with checkbooks. I had it all wrong before. The answer isn’t them giving up because they couldn’t make a few films they wanted to. The answer is that they should make one film that is already plugged into the national zeitgeist, and they should make it the biggest goddamn piece of candy they can. Because there are very few filmmakers who work at the same level of visual invention as Joel and Ethan Coen.

The Coen Brothers. IT’S SUPERMAN. 2010.

Now we’ve made amends. Go make a billion dollars. And then let the Coens make a film a year until they die. Or, if you insist on “not listening to the lunatic fanboy” and “making a professional decision” and “earning your paychecks,” then so be it. It’s just that with people getting crazy over the idea that you can make a potential Oscar nominee that’s the second biggest film of all time, and it’s a superhero movie, there are choices being made... on all sorts of properties...

And we’ve seen this before, haven’t we? For each good one, there will be some really-not-good ones, and it’s a crap shoot. On this one particular property, I have no idea what the studio is thinking right now. I don’t have an inside scoop.

I’m not sure when they’re going to announce what they’re doing, or if they’re even moving forward aggressively. Maybe they’re doing nothing. I don’t really know.

But it’s a chance. You pulled the trigger. You cleared out that giant development anchor that was weighing the first one down. You spent $200-howmuch? million once everything was said and done. And... it was what it was.

Don’t chase anybody else’s movie. Don’t model it after any other hit. It’s Superman. IT’S SUPERMAN, indeed.

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