May 4, 2006
When Christians are trying to decide whether they should be up in arms over the movie adaptation of The DaVinci Code with Tom Hanks or embracing this opportunity for cultural dialogue, one voice stands out in the wilderness: Barbara Nicolosi. The founder and director of Act One, a group that trains Christians to work in the film industry, and editor of Behind the Screen: Hollywood Insiders on Faith, Film and Culture, is suggesting that Christinas should "othercott" DaVinci (or read her original blog entry) and go see a different movie the weekend it comes out.
Her point is fairly simple: The movie (and book) are about basic heresy and anyone interested in these questions is more interested in bashing Christianity than signing up. Therefore dialogue is pointless. Outright boycotts and protests never work and just end up giving the object of Christians' wrath more publicity. The only thing Hollywood understands is ticket sales, so Nicolosi recommends we vote with tickets and vote for a different movie. She recommends the computer-animated Over the Hedge.
February 21, 2006
NBC's new legal drama Conviction debuts next week, starring fromer Joss Whedon alums J. August Richards (Gun on Angel) and Eric Balfour (the short-lived Jesse on Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
Or you can just head over to iTunes now and download a free copy of the pilot.
February 6, 2006
Twin Cities filmmaker Ryan Wood put together a hilarious mockumentary for $800 about a couple of over-the-top Dungeons & Dragons geeks called Fear of Girls. Apparently MTV is now knocking at Wood's door.
January 27, 2006
Will the cancelled TV show Firefly that came back as the movie Serenity return yet again as a second series of the TV show? A guy named Ace Underhill think so, and he's started a Firefly Season 2 web site to gauge interest in non-broadcast revenue models and secure rights to the series.
Will it actually fly? Firefly/Serenity creator Joss Whedon has never heard of Underhill, who originally began campaigning to continue Firefly in 2003. Underhill says he won't do it without Whedon's consent, but it seems unlikely Whedon would let somebody he hasn't worked with continue his creation.
January 6, 2006
Seriously. That's the title of a movie starring Samuel L. Jackson. Snakes on a Plane. Apparently New Line tried to re-dub it Pacific Air 121, but Jackson wouldn't have it. He signed on to do Snakes on a Plane, and that's what it's going to be.
January 5, 2006
Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon pens a column for TV Guide where he predicts the future of television. Best lines:
"...the constant slew of cable mergers will result in the creation of CinePax, a channel that's just very confused about its morals. ...
"And what of me? My short-lived series Firefly was the basis for the epic action film Serenity (now available on DVD! I have little or no shame), and the future will see even more incarnations of this visionary work, as it returns to TV as Serenity: The Firefly Years, then back to film as Firefly: Serenity's Sequel, back to TV as SereniFly, and finally end as the direct-to-eyeglasses series Choose a Damn Name Already. I promise it'll be as heartwarming and exciting as the original Serenity, now available on DVD. (Explain again this thing you call shame....)"
If only he wouldn't jest about the future of Serenifly. You can't toy with my emotions like that! There's also an interview with Whedon in the Toronto Sun where he says lots of lovely things about the Fox TV executives. Kind of like an episode of the Simpsons.
November 15, 2005
There's nothing new under the sun, especially in Hollywood. First Sylvester Stallone is considering new installments of both Rocky and Rambo. Then there's the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones saga starring a 63-year-old Harrison Ford. Add to that rumors of another Die Hard movie, possibly starring (gulp) Justin Timberlake as Bruce Willis' son.
And now there's a Terminator TV show in the works. Thankfully it will focus on Sarah Connor and will probably not involved California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Star Wars producer Rick McCallum talks about the upcoming live action Star Wars TV show (upcoming as in after 2007) and the DVD extras in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, including a scene of Yoda arriving on Dagobah and the first meeting of the Rebel Alliance.
November 14, 2005
Writer and director Joss Whedon, the man behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Serenity, addressed fans on the Whedon-focused blog Whedonesque. He covered a range of issues, including his reaction to Serenity's disappointing box office numbers ($25 million as of last weekend, though I'm sure Universal will milk a profit once the DVD comes out--I mean, c'mon: The Greatest Game Ever Played hasn't even earned $15 million yet, so they're not doing that bad), a new Buffy comic book that's effectively season eight of the show, and his recent progress on Wonder Woman.
In other Serenity news, the DVD comes out December 20. Whedon also has a comment about the cover (what's with slutty River?):
I know there's been some debate about the DVD art. Just remember it's what's INside that counts, as I used to remind girls in high school constantly. CONSTANTLY - until I realized that I was empty inside. Empty and homely. Man, that's a rough combo.
And that's why I love Joss Whedon.
October 20, 2005
The new Johnny Cash biography Walk the Line comes out November 18. The New York Times tells the story behind the making of the movie, including the detail that the whole project didn't come together until Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash admitted their affair:
That night in Mr. Cash's bedroom, as June looked on, [James Mangold] put it to them straight.
"I don't believe you never touched each other in all those years," he told them, referring to their courtship. "I don't believe you never kissed."
Mr. Mangold saw the couple - devout Christians who had fallen in love while Mr. Cash was married to another woman - exchange a look. June finally said: "Vegas. The Mint."
Then, as Mr. Mangold recently recalled, "she told us about doing a show, and that one night they got together. How afterward she put an end to it, and John went downhill from there, with the drugs. And she gave up on him."
The director sighed, recalling the relief of unlocking that final door. "They'd told that story 100 times, without the part of their sleeping together," he said.
October 8, 2005
You can watch the first nine minutes of Joss Whedon's new sci-fi western flick Serenity over at iFilm.
But you should really just go see the entire movie. Some are comparing Serenity to Star Wars.
October 7, 2005
The buzz continues to build for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and many wonder if Christians will rally behind the film like they did for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. Time magazine claims that it will come down to four lines. Nothing in the story makes Narnia explicitly Christian, and C.S. Lewis himself always said that it was never meant to be a strict Christian allegory. But four specific lines tie the story to Christian meaning and may determine whether or not Christians support the movie.
After Edmund Pevensie betrays Aslan and his brother and sisters, the Witch claims his blood in accordance to the laws of "Deep Magic." Aslan concedes this and offers himself up in proxy, announcing glumly, "I have settled the claim on your brother's blood." Miraculously revived, he explains, "the Witch knew the Deep Magic. But if she could have looked a little further back... she would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."
No word yet as to whether or not Aslan's explanation has made it into the movie.
September 27, 2005
I know it feels like Joss Whedon day around here, but there's more. In honor of Joss Whedon's directorial debut this week (um, Serenity), Amazon.com is selling all Whedon DVDs at near half-price! Check out the goods:
- Firefly - $29.99 (40% off)
- Buffy Season 1 - $19.99 (50% off)
- Buffy Season 2 - $34.99 (42% off)
- Buffy Season 3 - $34.99 (42% off)
- Buffy Season 4 - $30.99 (48% off)
- Buffy Season 5 - $30.99 (48% off)
- Buffy Season 6 - $30.99 (48% off)
- Buffy Season 7 - $34.99 (42% off)
- Buffy Seasons 1-7 (out Nov. 15) - $129.99 (35% off)
- Angel Season 1 - $29.99 (50% off)
- Angel Season 2 - $30.99 (48% off)
- Angel Season 3 - $30.99 (48% off)
- Angel Season 4 - $30.99 (48% off)
- Angel Season 5 - $30.99 (48% off)
The book Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly is also 34% off at $11.84. Might as well fill your Christmas stocking now.
Update: Well, guess that Joss Whedon sale was one day only. The prices are back up today.
Gaiman talks about his blog, his Sandman comic book, and his fantasy novel Anansi Boys. Whedon talks about Wonder Woman. They both talk about the rise of the nerds.
And they also talk about the need to end something when it's over. For Whedon that seems to be Buffy and for Gaiman it was Sandman, a comic that ended while it was out-selling everything else. (And Whedon says Serenity is different because he never had a chance to tell the story in Firefly.)
Gaiman chimes in comparing writers to otters:
I saw a lovely analogy recently. Somebody said that writers are like otters. And otters are really hard to train. Dolphins are easy to train. They do a trick, you give them a fish, they do the trick again, you give them a fish. They will keep doing that trick until the end of time. Otters, if they do a trick and you give them a fish, the next time they'll do a better trick or a different trick because they'd already done that one. And writers tend to be otters. Most of us get pretty bored doing the same trick. We've done it, so let's do something different.
Rarely does a canceled TV show go anywhere. Though that's changing. Star Trek is probably the prime example, with the canceled TV show that spawned an entire universe of spin off shows and movies. Lately Family Guy had success on DVD and returned to primetime and also got to do their own movie.
"It's extraordinary and it still surprises me to sit here today and talk about the movie," says Sean Maher, who plays Simon. "Now that it's done and people are loving it, and it's getting this wonderful response, it continually surprises me. It's like we're this little show that could."
Serenity is not just the TV show on a bigger scale. It's also not necessary to be familiar with the TV series in order to get the movie.
"I worked for a long time to come up with something epic enough to be a Universal movie and not just a glorified episode of Firefly," says Whedon. "I wanted to make a movie that made me feel or made people feel the way I felt the first time I saw the first Star Wars."
That's a lot of hype to live up to, but we'll see what happens when the movie opens on Friday.
September 14, 2005
ComingSoon.net has an interview with Tim Burton that covers the director's latest work, the animated movie Corpse Bride which comes out next week. As for his apparent fascination with death, Burton says:
I think dealing with the undead comes from growing up in Burbank, I think. It's sort of a suburban "Night of the Living Dead" during the day. I always liked monster movies, and I'm always fascinated by, again growing up in a culture where death is looked upon as sort of a dark subject and then living so close to Mexico where you see the Day of the Dead skeletons and it's all humor, music and dancing and sort of a celebration of life, in a way, and that always felt more like a positive approach to things. So I think I always responded to that, more than just this sort of dark, unspoken cloud in the environment I grew up in.
August 16, 2005
The college freshman comedy Undeclared lasted one short season in 2001 and now it's back on DVD. Created by Judd Apatow, the same creative mind who worked on Freaks and Geeks (yet another single season series), the show featues plenty of improvised scenes and an incredible cast, along with a string of guest stars including Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Fred Willard (Best in Show), Tom Welling (Smallville), Mike White (School of Rock) and more.
You can also watch the entire episode "Truth or Dare" on iFilms. While this is the only episode I've seen, it's pretty funny. Especially if you can get past the surface veneer of college guys thinking only about sex.
Speaking of Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared borrows more than a few actors from that classic series, including regular Seth Rogen and guest stars Busy Philipps, Martin Starr, Samm Levine, Jason Segel, Steve Bannos and more.
August 3, 2005
Sixteen-year-old Anna Popplewell plays the older sister Susan in the upcoming Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe film. She talks with Christianity Today about the movie and her experience.
What does Aslan mean to you? And what does he mean to Susan?
When I read the books, Aslan was just this wonderful, magical lion, the epitome of goodness. And I think even after the movie, that's what remains. He's really just full of love. As for Susan, when she meets Aslan, that's when she really believes in Narnia and kind of gets a grip that things are going to be okay. I think Aslan really serves as a symbol of hope for Susan.
July 27, 2005
Remake-a-palooza continues with the announcement that the 1980s cartoon Voltron will be made into a live-action movie. Voltron: Defender of the Universe will follow in the footsteps of Transformers, another 80s cartoon that's being made into a live-action movie (with Michael Bay directing). Voltron, however, has the Neptunes' Pharrell Williams on board to ensure a killer score.
Check out Voltron Force for everything you need to know about Voltron. All I can say is the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers better look out: the original primary color coordinated super team is back.
The Chicago Tribune had the best headline: Giant robots from the '80s to invade U.S. theaters
June 9, 2005
It may be early to pick a best movie of 2005, but I think it's safe to give the nod to Millions. It's a family film by Danny Boyle, which is odd enough if you know Danny Boyle (he's responsible for films like 28 Days Later and Trainspotting). Millions has the same rapid-fire editing and special effects, but it's the magical story of a 7-year-old boy who discovers a small fortune and had to decide how to spend it.
Spiritual might be a better word than magical, as the boy, Damian, sees and talks to Christian saints. There's everyone from St. Francis of Assisi releasing doves to St. Peter telling a different version of the feeding of the 5,000. Yet the movie doesn't stoop to family cheese or tacky cliche.
Check out this interview with Danny Boyle.
June 8, 2005
Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, has confirmed the long-time rumor that the Simpsons would come to the big screen. She says production has begun on the Simpsons movie, but didn't offer any other details.
"We've just done the table read for the Simpsons movie,'' she said, "so although we've been promoting that we're going to do it, now we're actually doing it and are in production." She added, "I'm sure it won't take any less than a couple of years."
Cartwright, who was in London to perform her one-woman show, My Life as a Ten Year Old Boy, didn't divulge the movie's title or plot. "I don't know the name of it and I can't go into details about it and we'll just have to see how it goes," she said, "but I think it's going to be great and the fans are going to dig it."
May 17, 2005
Kevin Smith, the potty-mouthed man behind Dogma and Mallrats, gives an early review of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and it's packed with spoilers. Bottom line? He says it's what Star Wars fans have been waiting for since the disappointment of Phantom Menace.
May 2, 2005
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith opens May 19, the marketing machine is churning (I saw my first Yoda hocking Diet Pepsi commercial today) and the media are swarming. Time features Darth Vader on the cover this week (Wired did as well with their George Lucas/Vader cover for their story on Lucas) and a host of stories:
- Dark Side Rising - Your basic overview.
- Q&A with George Lucas - His martyr act is a bit lame: "Right now I'm thinking it probably won't make any money and will be considered a failure."
- Star Wars Web Guide - A nice list of links to all things Star Wars, including a link to the 47-minute fan film Revelations you can download for free (though it's a dousie at 240 MB).
April 30, 2005
Musician/producer/director Steve Taylor talks with Infuze magazine about his film The Second Chance, which stars musician Michael W. Smith. Taylor describes it as a "black and white buddy movie" and it sounds like it deals with racism and the church on some level, a topic you'll rarely find on screen. The movie will release Sept. 9, though no definite word on distribution.
If you rememember Steve Taylor's long time film project Saint Gimp from the Squint Entertainment years, he briefly talks about it and mentions a short animation by Jonathan Richter that was made for the movie.