Thursday, December 3, 2009

News - 12/03/09...

Chinese CGI Reconstruction of Tiger Woods Crash

Every news organizations has reported the Tiger Woods car crash by now, but only the Chinese have recreated the event with glorious CGI animation. They’ve even animated the alleged domestic altercation between Woods and wife that led to the crash. I would totally be a regular viewer of American TV news if they animated their news stories like this.

(Thanks, David OReilly)

(Thanks cartoon brew)


Back around 1975-1977 there was a 3rd-rate non-union animation studio in New York that many of my friends worked for. It was called Tele-tactics and I know very little about the place, except that they produced commercials, industrial films and at least two animated specials so obscure they are not listed anywhere on the Internet, on IMDB, nor in any history books.

The specials were Days of Liberty (1976, pictured above) which was tied into the bicentennial and ran on New York’s WABC on July 4th that year, and Why the Bears Dance on Christmas Eve, which was telecast on December 12, 1977.

Mark Mayerson, Yvette Kaplan, Tom Sito, John Lopez, Kim Miskoe, Kevin Petrilak, David Burd, Eric Eiser and Bob Lusk got there start there. Veteran cartoonist Milt Stein worked there; Selby Kelly, Tony Eastman, Chuck Harriton, and even John Canemaker is rumored to have toiled there. Dan Haskett designed and directed his first animated film, an industrial short Journey to Nutrition-land (Man, I’d kill to see that one!).

In 1978, the company’s founder, 40-year-old Barry Drucker, had a massive heart attack on the sidewalk outside the studio (located at 19th Street and 5th Avenue) and died. The studio died with him and all its work has completely drifted into obscurity.

Well, not all its work. The studio did produce one classic commercial - this long-running Tootsie Roll spot:

If any readers recall these productions, or better yet, if Tele-tactics veterans reading this have any memories to share - we historians would be very grateful.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

This Saturday, support a good cause

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Sweetworld Helps Spread Flu PSA

This nasty H1N1 flu seems to be on everyone’s minds this year, including the team at the animation boutique Sweetworld. They created this PSA to help education Scottish citizens about the flu, and the “free flu jab.”

AAU School of Animation Fall Animation Festival - December 4, 2009

AAU animation students, attend the annual AAU School of Animation Fall Animation Festival, held this year on December 4, 2009.

The special guest speaker will be Disney supervising animator Nik Ranieri.

Nik Ranieri is equally at home in CG Animation ("Chicken Little" "Meet the Robinsons" , "Bolt") as well as Traditional Hand Drawn Animation. He has been the Supervising Lead Animator on many Disney feature films. His latest role has been as the Supervising Animator on the character "Charlotte" in Disney's newest hand-drawn animated film "The Princess & the Frog" .

(see Nik Ranieri IMDB)

Event: School of Animation Fall 2009 Animation Festival

Date: 12/4/2009
Time: 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Location: Morgan Auditorium, 491 Post St., San Francisco, CA, 94108

Google Maps link showing this location

Phone for info. : 415- 618-3625

(*This event will be video recorded and posted online at a later date .)

(from the National Cartoonists Society web page)

(Thanks David Nethery)

"The Princess and the Frog" News Roundup: Interviews, Ultimate Disney Review/Photos

Several interviews with the cast and crew of The Princess and the Frog are surfacing in advance of its wide premiere date of December 11, 2009:

* - Canada's Movies Online has spoken with directors Ron Clements and Jon Musker, composer Randy Newman, and executive producer John Lasseter about several specific scenes in the movie.

* - Musker and Clements also spoke to The Los Angeles Times about setting the movie in New Orleans, the character Louis the trumpet-playing alligator, and making sure the villain Dr. Facilier isn't too scary for kids.

* - speaks with cast members Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Terrence Howard, Jenifer Lewis, Keith David, and Michael-Leon Wooley about voicing their various characters in the movie.

* - MovieWeb hosts an exclusive video featurette with the cast.

* - posts a brief chat with composer Randy Newman about his music for the movie.

* - The website has posted a review and several photos from the Ultimate Disney Experience exhibition at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City (via Brad @

Marvel And Disney Set Date To Finalize Merger

The impending sale of Marvel Entertainment to Disney has been one of the biggest stories of the year. While speculation has run rampant since the $4 billion dollar deal was announced back in August, an end date has finally been set.

On December 31, Marvel will bring the deal before their stockholders for a final vote. Should the deal be approved — and most analysts believe that it will — then Marvel will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Disney going into 2010.

At the end of September, Marvel brought the deal before their major stockholders in a bid to earn their support. At the time, the final sale was said to come up for a vote within 60 days of the “record date” under Marvel’s by-laws.

In an earlier poll by MTV News, many readers expressed anxiety over potential creative changes at Marvel following the impending purchase. However, various Marvel representatives and Disney officials have sought to calm such fears.

It is still unknown how or if Disney will be able to fully utilize some of Marvel’s characters given movie deals currently in place at other studios. Marvel’s characters are also currently tied to Universal Studios’ theme parks, which means it would probably be a long time before we see Spider-Man at Disneyland — or anything as cool as the recently released concept art for a Marvel theme park in Dubai.

THQ video games to be based on DreamWorks features

THQ Inc. and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. announced Wednesday that they have entered into multi-year, multi-property licensing agreements granting THQ the exclusive worldwide rights to develop and publish video games based on DreamWorks Animation's upcoming animated feature films Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom and Puss In Boots, as well as the popular CG-animated TV show The Penguins of Madagascar.

The new agreements grant THQ exclusive worldwide rights to publish interactive games based on these DreamWorks Animation properties for all console and handheld systems, including Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and Nintendo Wii Virtual Console, and wireless devices.

"The three properties announced today, in addition to MegaMind, underscore our commitment to reinvigorating our portfolio of licensed games for kids and families with top global entertainment brands," said Doug Clemmer, THQ executive vice-president for kids, family and casual games.

"We are pleased to expand our relationship with THQ and continue to be impressed by their focus on the kids and family video game business," said Kerry Phelan, DreamWorks Animation's head of worldwide consumer products. "We look forward to extending the reach of our feature films and The Penguins of Madagascar TV series into a broad line of games, and believe THQ will do a great job of maximizing our properties for family audiences."

THQ plans to release video games in conjunction with DreamWorks Animation's theatrical releases, as follows:

Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom, the sequel to the blockbuster hit Kung Fu Panda, is scheduled to be released June 3, 2011.

Puss In Boots, based on one of the most beloved characters in the Shrek universe, is scheduled to be released November 4, 2011.

THQ previously announced the rights to publish video games based on Mega Mind, which is scheduled to be released November 5, 2010.

The popular CG-animated TV show The Penguins of Madagascar has been running on Nickelodeon since March, and was recently extended to add more episodes. THQ expects to publish the first video games based on The Penguins of Madagascar during its fiscal year beginning next April 1.

"Green Lantern: First Flight" Direct-To-Video Animated Feature Nominated For Annie Award

The Warner Home Video direct-to-video animated feature Green Lantern: First Flight, from the successful DC Universe Animated Original Movie line, scored a nomination in the 37th Annual Annie Awards.

Announced earlier this week, the Green Lantern: First Flight direct-to-video animated feature, released to home video in July 2009, received a nomination in the 37th Annual Annie Awards, awards recognizing the year’s best animated features, television productions, commercials, short subjects and more. The nomination is as follows.

Green Lantern: First Flight
-Best Animated Home Entertainment Production

The Annie Awards honor overall excellence in the field of animation as well as individual achievement in a total of 24 categories ranging from production design, character animation, and effects animation to storyboarding, writing, music and voice acting.

Batman: Gotham Knight and Justice League: The New Frontier, two previous titles from the popular DC Universe Animated Original Movie line, were also nominated in the Best Animated Home Entertainment Production in 2008, but neither title took home the honors.

Additionally, ASIFA-Hollywood has announced Bruce Timm, along with Tim Burton and Jeffrey Katzenberg, as recipients of the Winsor McCay Award for 2009. The Winsor McCay Award may be awarded to a maximum of three individuals in recognition of lifetime or career contributions to the art of animation in producing, directing, animating, design, writing, voice acting, sound and sound effects, technical work, music, professional teaching, or for other endeavors which exhibit outstanding contributions to excellence in animation.

More details can be found at the official website for the 37th Annual Annie Awards. Award recipients will claim their trophies at the 37th Annual Annie Awards scheduled for Saturday, February 6th, 2010 at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles, California.

New 'toon continues Disney trend toward diversity

In this film publicity image released by Disney, Princess Tiana, voiced by Anika Noni Rose, left, and Prince Naveen, voiced by Bruno Campos, are shown in a scene from the animated film, 'The Princess and the Frog.'

For most of the last century, the Disney 'toon heroine was as white as, well... Snow White, the studio's first feature-film superstar, who marked her debut in 1937's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

It would take some 60 years for the Disney artists to begin painting their leading ladies with all the colors of the wind, including the American Indian Pocahontas (1995), the Chinese Mulan (1998) and the Hawaiian Lilo (of Lilo and Stitch) (2002).

Only now, with "The Princess and the Frog," have Disney animators put a black female front and center. Ironically, the inspiration for the new film came from two Caucasian men: current Pixar-Disney chief John Lasseter and the late Walt Disney himself.

"The story really came from an initial idea of doing an American fairy tale, which hadn't been done at Disney," said "Princess" co-director Ron Clements. "And setting it in New Orleans, which is John Lasseter's favorite city in the world. It was Walt Disney's favorite city in the world ... Out of that, it seemed natural that the heroine would be African-American."

Discussion of the character's race had some of the film's principals bristling. "We walk around being black every day, and nobody talks about it," noted Anika Noni Rose, who supplies the voice of lead Princess Tiana. "So, I suggest you follow your instinct and let it be nothing to be talked about."

Yet the "Dreamgirls" actress continued to talk: "The big deal is that it will quietly affirm to young brown-skinned children that they are special in this world," Rose said. "And I think that it is a bigger deal to those of us who grew up without it and are now adults and have been waiting for it. It's exciting to us, because we know how important it is to our children to have, to be image affirmed."

Production was started on "Princess" in March 2006, long before the election of a new American president. "We tried to arrange that," joked co-director John Musker. "We voted for Obama," Musker continued. "That was about as much influence as we had on things."

But the coincidence isn't lost on some members of the "Princess" cast. "It is historical in the sense now that there is 'Obama' and 'Tiana,'" said veteran character actress Jenifer Lewis, widely known as "the black mother of Hollywood." "It is a new day," she continued. "There is hope. There is change. That is what this movie is going to bring."

Perhaps, but the directors remind us that making history was never their point.

"It is a universal story," Musker said. "It is a story of trying to follow your dreams and overcoming obstacles. And I don't think that necessarily knows a certain color."

Walt Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" is now playing in Los Angeles and New York and opens nationwide on Dec. 11.

Fantastic window display

In an unusual but appealing marketing campaign for The Fantastic Mr. Fox, window displays featuring the characters along with various items of clothing have been set up at Bergdorf Goodman Men's Store in New York City. These displays depict several of the scenes in the movie, inluding not only the stars of the animated feature but also many of the according setttings and props.

THQ and DreamWorks announce deal

THQ Inc. and DreamWorks Animation have just announced a multi-year business deal that will give THQ exclusive rights to develop video games based off of the studio’s animated films and TV shows, including the upcoming Kung Fu Panda: The Ka-Boom of Doom and Puss in Boots. On a subject of interest, the article makes a quick note that DreamWorks’ superhero comedy Oobermind has gone through a title change and will now be called MegaMind instead. The first games of the deal, to be based off of the cartoon series The Penguins of Madagascar, are expected to be released next year.

Coraline, Nick Jr. U.K. Top Children’s BAFTAs

Henry Selick’s Coraline won the top honor for a feature film at the Children’s BAFTA Awards, while Nick Jr. U.K. won channel of the year and Lost and Found the animation honor.

The full list of winners, announced Sunday, follows:

Special award
Bernard Cribbins

Best presenter
Richard Hammond, Blast Lab

Channel of the year
Nick Jr. U.K.

Rhestr Nadolig Wil (Wil's Christmas List)


Helen Blakeman

Lost and Found

Breakthrough talent
Adam Shaw

Serious Ocean

Feature film

Big and Small Online

The Penguins of Madagascar

Learning (primary)
Off by Heart

Learning (secondary)
Troubled Minds

Pre-school animation
Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom

Pre-school live action

Video game

Short form
See Something Say Something

Independent production company
Astley Baker Davies

Kids' Votes

Feature film

Hannah Montana: The Movie

Hannah Montana

Video game
Wii Sports Resort

Club Penguin

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

VCL Opens Santa Monica Studio

Global visual-effects and animation company Visual Computing Labs is opening a new studio in Santa Monica that will be headed up by industry veterans Joel Hynek, Tricia Ashford and Treva Blue.

Hynek, who won an Oscar for the visual effects on What Dreams May Come as well as an Academy scientific and technical achievement for the dual quad effects printer, will serve as senior visual effects supervisor at VCL. His credits include The Mummy: Tomb of the Emperor Dragon, Jumper, Predator 1 & 2, Die Hard With a Vengeance and Zelig.

Ashford will be head of production at the new studio. She has Oscar nominations for her visual effects work in Independence Day and a BAFTA nomination for Vertical Limit. Ashford also launched and headed production for R/Greenberg Associates in Los Angeles, producing visual effects and title sequences for films such as Braveheart.

Head of trailer production will be Blue’s title at VCL Former head of the trailer department at Pacific Title, she has 13 years’ experience in the industry and has produced campaigns for the Harry Potter, X-Men, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Matrix series.

VCL is owned by Tata Elxsi Ltd., a technology-led creative and design services company and part of the $70 billion Tata Group. It has a global offices and centers in India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany.

Productions at the new Tata-VCL Santa Monica studio will be supported by a Stereoscopic DI Suite and Autodesk's Luster color system. Multiple Autodesk Flames, CG workstations and compositing stations will run Maya and Nuke softwares. The studio's artists will also use Film Light's True Light system to manage overall color calibration for their productions.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Total Drama Island Sets Two-Part Finale

The popular animated reality series Total Drama Action reaches its climactic moment this month as the series’ finale pits the final two contestants, Beth and Duncan, against each other for the million-dollar prize.

The Cartoon Network series will air its finale in two parts, with the first airing Dec. 3 at 9 p.m. That episode, titled “Mutiny on the Soundstage,” features pirate-themed challenge finds Beth and Duncan them racing through a series of ship-board obstacles before being launched out of a canon – and right back to the first set of the season.

Then on Dec. 10 at 9 p.m., is “The Aftermath - Part Four,” a final recap of the season that allows the contestants to grill each other about questionable choices they made during the game.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Cavanagh Cast as Ranger Smith for Yogi Bear

Actor Tom Cavanagh has been cast as Ranger Smith in Warner Bros.’ live-action and CG-animation hybrid feature film version of Yogi Bear.

Cavanagh, best known for lead roles on the TV series Ed and Trust Me, joins a cast that includes Anna Faris as a documentary filmmaker and Dan Akryod and Justin Timberlake as the voices of Yogi and Boo Boo.

The adaptation of the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon series has begun shooting in New Zealand, with Eric Brevig directing, Donald De Line and Karen Rosenfelt producing and a script by Brad Copeland.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Rotten Tomatoes ranks Disney classics

In celebration of the release of The Princess and the Frog, the popular website now has a Disney Animation Countdown. The list ranks the studio’s 48 “official” animated features from worst reviewed to best reviewed, starting with 1947’s Fun and Fancy Free and ending with…well, you’ll have to see for yourself.

Actor Chris Noth Discusses The "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths" Animated Feature

Warner Bros. has released a new studio-conducted interview with Chris Noth, concerning his role in the upcoming direct-to-video Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths animated feature.

The World's Finest presents the latest studio-conducted interview, provided by Warner Home Video, for the upcoming Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths direct-to-video animated feature. Continue reading below for the latest installment featuring actor Chris Noth.


Chris Noth (Law & Order, Sex and the City) is the voice of Lex Luthor in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the next DC Universe animated original movie. The film will be distributed February 23, 2010 by Warner Home Video. (Photo courtesy of Gary Miereanu)

If Sex In the City fans were confused over their see-saw love affair with Chris Noth’s Mr. Big, comics fans will endure an equal amount of trepidation over Noth’s latest performance – as the voice of a “good” Lex Luthor – in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, an all-new DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movie coming February 23, 2010 from Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, a “good” Lex Luthor arrives from an alternate universe to recruit the Justice League to help save his Earth from the Crime Syndicate, a gang of villainous characters with virtually identical super powers to the Justice League. What ensues is the ultimate battle of good versus evil in a war that threatens both planets and, through a diabolical plan launched by Owlman, puts the balance of all existence in peril.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is an original story from award-winning animation/comics writer Dwayne McDuffie (Justice League). Bruce Timm (Superman Doomsday) is executive producer, and Lauren Montgomery (Wonder Woman, Green Lantern: First Flight) and Sam Liu (Superman/Batman: Public Enemies) are co-directors. The full-length animated film will be distributed by Warner Home Video as a Special Edition 2-disc version on DVD and Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def, as well as single disc DVD, and On Demand and Download.

Noth has had a lengthy television presence as both Mr. Big in
Sex and the City and as Mike Logan in Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He can currently be seen starring opposite Julianna Margulies in the CBS drama The Good Wife. Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths represents Noth’s inaugural dip into the animated pool.

In Los Angeles to record his 100-plus lines as Lex Luthor, Noth took time during the marathon session to discuss his first animated role. Without further ado …

You’ve had an extensive career in a number of acting mediums – is this really your first animation voiceover experience?


I think I did about three lines of Mike Logan on Family Guy. That was a quick little gig. The character (Stewie) on the show carries a picture of Mike Logan in his wallet, so I was very flattered by that. But that was just a few lines – so Lex is pretty much my first real animated role.

In that case, can you describe what your first “actual” animation voiceover experience was like?


I felt I had an instinct for it, and it was a lot of fun. It's an interesting technique and, like any medium, whether you're doing radio or certain kinds of narrative voiceovers for stage or movies, it has its own sort of rules and performance values. I think the choices had to be bold and succinct and clear. To me, it appears that super heroes have to be powerful, but it also has to be real. You have to make bold choices and go all the way through with them. That’s true with a lot of acting anyway. But with animation, it seems to me there’s nothing coy about it. The acting has its own subtleties. So you have to find that balance. And as long as you go with that instinct, it's a blast.

A “good” Lex Luthor recruits the Justice League to come to his alternate Earth and battle their evil opposites in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the next DC Universe animated original movie. The film will be distributed February 23, 2010 by Warner Home Video.

Did you take a different approach to this Lex Luthor – a good guy Lex – than you would’ve taken with a typically villainous Lex?


I was extremely excited to be playing the ultimate villain from my youth. I remember how Gene Hackman portayed Lex Luthor with such great delight in the films, and I thought I’d be getting that Lex. So I was surprised to see that in this script, Lex is actually on the right side of the law. It required a whole new thinking on my part on how to approach him. I mean, he's a super hero who's in this very complex, parallel universe. He's actually trying to save all of reality from being destroyed. So I just took that adjustment and said, “Wow, I need to get up to date on my super heroes.” I'm guess I'm a little bit retro. (he laughs)

Do you feel any special significance to be joining the canon of actors – Gene Hackman, Kevin Spacey, Michael Rosenbaum, Clancy Brown – to have brought Lex Luthor to life?


Initially when I heard about the role, I thought about that great tradition of actors associated with Lex. And I really feel honored to be a part of that group. But this is a complete departure from those performances. This time, Lex is on the right side of the law. He's worlds away from the old Lex.

You’ve done your share of Shakespeare. Can you characterize Lex within the context of some of the great literary or stage heroes/villains?


Not this Lex. I find super heroes to be more archetypes of values of courage and fortitude and things like that. It’s interesting to me that the new world of animation, compared to when I was growing up, is so much more diverse in its characters. There’s so many more of them, and it’s a much more complicated world. The old comic books that I grew up on had these characters that were in many ways Shakespearean. They were very big with their evilness in the same vein as Richard III in Shakespeare. Those characters relished being bad, and that's always fun to play.

How did you find working alone in a sound booth versus playing off other actors?


It presented a different challenge in the same way that a radio play is different from being on stage, and being on stage is different than being in the movies, and the movies are different than being on a TV series. They all have different values that are fun to explore and to take a crack at. So I found it challenging and interesting to jump into that world.

Did it get easier when Bruce Davison joined you at the microphone?


That was even more fun because I know Bruce and it's always more fun to work off another person. Sandy Meisner, the great acting teacher, used to say that what you do doesn't depend on you. It depends on the other fellow. In other words, they make you respond. So when Bruce came in, there was a new kind of energy that I sort of relished. I didn't have that many scenes with him, but he was a lot of fun and I think he made a great President.

Lex Luthor prepares for battle against the Crime Syndicate – an evil version of the Justice League – in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the next DC Universe animated original movie. The film will be distributed February 23, 2010 by Warner Home Video.

As you are new to animation voiceovers, you’re also new to the direction involved. How did you find Andrea Romano's direction?


(Animation) is very quick, it's to the point, and very on message, and you have to just go with it. Andrea was extremely helpful to me to get some of the tone and in knowing what you have to keep in mind with what's happening to the character in the scene. Whether it's an intimate scene or there's a lot of action, she keeps you on point. So she's a very good field marshal.

For more information, images and updates, please visit the film’s official website at

Loki Drops in on the Next "Super Hero Squad Show" on Dec 5, 2009

On Saturday, December 5, 2009, at 7:30 PM (Eastern), the latest episode of Marvel's Super Hero Squad Show will host a raft of Asguardians as the mighty Thor must face off against his evil brother Loki, with the heroic swordmaiden Sif and the valiant Heimdall joining Thor and the rest of the Squaddies. Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica, Burn Notice) will guest star as the voice of Sif.

Click on any of the screenshots below to view in full high-definition resolution:

The full press release follows:

Oh Thor, Where Art Thou On The Super Hero Squad Show?

The heroic Thor and his villainous brother Loki are two of the most powerful people in the universe—so when these siblings fight, Asgard and Midgard are in a lot of trouble! This Saturday at 7:30pm Eastern on Cartoon Network, The Super Hero Squad Show sends the Squaddies into the center of Villainville and Asgard itself—has Loki’s scheming finally paid off? “Hero Up” with Battlestar Galactica and Burn Notice star Tricia Helfer as she voices guest-star Sif for the most action-packed family-friendly show in the universe! Heimdall, Reptil, M.O.D.OK. and more guest star in this mighty Marvel adventure!

Plus, don’t miss the new Marvel Super Hero Squad series, jam-packed with your favorite Marvel heroes and all-ages action, in comic shops now!

Tune into the Cartoon Network at 7:30 PM on Saturday to “Hero Up!” with your favorite characters in the Marvel Universe—or any other—in an all-new episode of The Super Hero Squad Show!

To learn more about The Super Hero Squad Show, please visit and!

How Oprah helped Spider-Man's star get a spider suit

Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire says that he actually had to publicly embarrass Sony studio executives into letting him keep one of his signature costumes as a souvenir, as he relates in the video below.

Maguire told the story to The Tonight Show's Conan O'Brien last night, in which he reveals he had Oprah Winfrey intervene on his behalf.

Can you imagine what a bunch of cheapskates? Granted, these suits cost like tens of thousands of dollars each. But given how much money the movies have made as a result of Maguire's work, you'd think they would have been a bit more gracious.

Whatever. Spider-Man 4 is slated to go into production next year.

(Thanks to Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood for the heads-up.)

War Machine And The 'Iron Man 2' Movie Poster: Where Have We Seen This Before?

nWar Machine made his grand debut this week in the first official "Iron Man 2" poster, standing side-by-side with leading man and best buddy Tony Stark. But most comic book and movie enthusiasts are too busy gushing over the reveal of James "Rhodey" Rhodes in his highly militarized armor to realize a fundamental truth — this poster has been seen before.

Alright, this exact poster is completely new to the world, but the positioning of Iron Man and War Machine — two compatriots, positioned one in front of the other, ready to face the world as a team — is a standard pose when it comes to Hollywood posters.

Don't believe me? Check out these six movie posters that follow a similar formula to the latest "Iron Man 2" poster for further proof.

The tragic and profound romance between cowboys Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist is captured in this famous poster for "Brokeback Mountain." While Rhodey and Stark's relationship isn't quite as heartfelt, they certainly can't quit each other, much like Ennis and Jack.

The buddy cop duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in "Hot Fuzz" isn't quite as well-armed as the superhero alliance of Iron Man and War Machine, but both pairs are nonetheless ready to take on the bad guys with weapons a-blazing.

Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker lack the technological equipment of Stark and Rhodey, but they're still striking an action pose that mirrors the new "Iron Man 2" poster — still, someone should warn Chan that roundhouse kicks have no effect on repulsor rays and gatling guns.

Even though Spider-Man is simply mirroring himself, the back-to-back dichotomy between his classic costume and the darker symbiote suit bears a striking resemblance to the visual differences between Iron Man and War Machine's respective armor.

Rhodey and Tony, like Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in this "Step Brothers" poster, are emitting a sibling rivalry vibe in the latest "Iron Man 2" poster. Just like Reilly and Ferrell, it's hard to know if Iron Man and War Machine are truly friends or foes.

Just like Iron Man and War Machine, Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy are armed and ready in this "Wanted" poster — though there's probably significantly more sexual tension between these highly trained assassins than there is between Tony and Rhodey.

Teaser trailer for new Buck Rogers series looks AWESOME

We were a bit skeptical when we first heard earlier this year about a web series based on the classic sci-fi comic Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

James Cawley, whose Cawley Entertainment Company had obtained the rights to the character created back in 1928, said he was aiming for a "retro-contemporary" look to the show. But what exactly did that mean? And he also announced that he hoped to release 20 Buck Rogers episodes a year, starting in late in 2010.

We have no idea whether he'll be able to accomplish such an ambitious slate, but as for that look? From what we've seen in the just-released teaser trailer, we now know what he meant. And we like it.

Check it out for yourself below.

Totally NSFW video of James Cameron as a CGI crackhead

With Avatar coming up in a couple of weeks, we thought it was time to show you exactly how James Cameron came up with the pile of money to finish its visual effects in the very NSFW video below.

Well, not really. This is a parody by Landline TV, a weekly Web sketch comedy show.

We think it's pretty darn funny: We especially like the appearance by Michael Bay. Do you?

Buffy's 'Willow' says no way to Joss-less remake

Alyson Hannigan at the wrap party for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, April 2003 (Patrick Lee)

Remember that proposed Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie we told you about that wouldn't involve creator Joss Whedon or any of the TV show cast?

Well, Alyson Hannigan, who played Willow, says she wants no part of it.

Speaking to Cinemablend, the How I Met Your Mother star said: "Yeah, and that's a very big mistake, in my opinion," adding, "I mean, if Joss isn't involved, it's only the title."

And without Joss, there's no way they'll get her involved in it. Not even for a cameo. She says, "Not without Joss. Joss is the only reason that we would go back. I mean, it's just ridiculous to think of that TV show without Joss. That's just silly to me. ... And all the fans know that, too, so I don't know what they're thinking."

If you're like us, as much we loved Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy, Alyson's adorably nerdy Willow was always our favorite. Even when she got all veiny and evil. Maybe especially then.

As for this proposed remake, as Willow would say: "Bored now."

How to tweet in Klingon and impress girls! (video)


If you've always wondered, "How come I can't tweet in Klingon?" ... well, game publisher Cryptic has the answer: You can!

Go to, which will install an app that allows you to post items to your Twitter account in the language of Kahless. You can translate from English or choose from a variety of useful phrases. (Your ship is a garbage scow!)

Which should go a long way to helping you get dates.

The app is part of Cryptic's promotion of its upcoming Star Trek Online MMORPG, which launches on Feb. 2, 2010. (Check out the Klingon-centric trailer below.)

tweet-lu'meH QaQ jajvam! (It's a good day to tweet!)

(Thanks to for the heads-up.)

With Real-Life Iron Man Armor On The Way, Is War Machine Next?

Okay, so we're probably a long time away from developing a power source like the one powering Tony Stark's armor in "Iron Man" and "Iron Man 2," but according to recent reports, we might be closer than you think to developing a version of "smart" armor like the one protecting Iron Man and War Machine.

According to Discovery News, scientists at a U.S. miltary facility in Michigan are currently researching applications for "piezoelectric" armor that can not only detect the size of bullets shot at it, but also identify the damage inflicted and generate small amounts of electricity in response. All of this could potentially allow for a similar heads-up display of the armor's current level of damage, weak points and various other conditions Tony Stark is alerted to while wearing the Iron Man armor.

"As a kid, everyone played those video games that showed you how much armor you had left as a percentage bar," said John Wray, a contractor for the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center. "That's exactly what we're working on here and more."

Over at SciFi Scanner, they further the video-game comparison with a few more details, explaining, "As it works now, data about the armor's integrity shows up on a monitor and is color coded so it's easy to understand: Green means you're good to go, black points out damage and red spots are where you've been hit."

While the science of the piezoelectric armor gets pretty involved, the basic premise is that the materials used in the armor produce a small amount of electricity when bent, but also bend when exposed to electricity. Two sensors are attached to each piece of armor, with one generating a low amount of electricity that runs through the armor into the other sensor.

When the armor is damaged, some of that electrical current isn't received at the second sensor, and a computer determines the level of damage indicated by that change in voltage.

Phew! Got all that?

In the end, this just means we're one step closer to jet-boots — and that's a discovery I think we can all agree needs to happen ASAP

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