Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, August 28, 2011

RIP ToyFare

I know I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I just found out that back in January, my beloved ToyFare magazine ceased publication.

ToyFare was a sister publication to Wizard, which also ceased publication in January.  Wizard was the magazine for coverage of the world of comic books.  Interview with the artists, previews of upcoming storylines, and a comprehensive price guide, for those who might be looking to make a buck off their collections.  And ToyFare did for action figure collecting what Wizard did for comics.  Interviews with the sculptors who actually made the action figures, previews of upcoming toy lines, and a comprehensive price guide, so I could prove to my friends that I was actually making money with my nerdly hobby.

I started collecting action figures way back in high school.  Playmates Toys had just released their Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures, I decided to pick some up, with the goal of tearing them open and sitting them on my desk.  But then, I read some where that keeping an action figure in its package makes it more valuable, so I kept them in the package.  And hell, they still looked as nice sitting on my desk.  Then Deep Space Nine figures came along, new Star Wars action figures came out, and things kind of snowballed.

I first discovered ToyFare magazine in my college days.  It was one frosty November night, when I was taking a study break to make a Sev-Run.  There, on the magazine rack in 7-11, I spotted it.  It must have been frosty November 1996, because there was a bunch of Borg action figures on the cover, and Star Trek: First Contact had just hit theatres.  I started leafing through it, and as I saw page after page of news about action figures, I was hooked.  I bought that issue, and became and immediately became a regular reader.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Yay New Pixar!

I'm still a Pixar fanboy, and as such, a little bit miffed that I never got a chance to go see Cars 2 this summer...even though it looked rather lame.  It's just been announced that it hits DVD on November 1, and I'll probably still pick it just to make sure my Pixar collection remains complete.  (I do own all the Pixar movies on DVD.) 

So, this past weekend, Disney held their most recent fan event/official con D23, and while there, Pixar announced a couple of upcoming films.  To recap, these are the upcoming Pixar films that we already know of:

Brave - Coming out on June 22, 2012.  Pixar's first fantasy film, following the adventures of a princess in medieval Scotland.  It's also Pixar's first film with a female protagonist.  Apparently, at D23, Pixar's head honcho John Lasseter issued the challenge, "It's set in medieval Scotland, I dare you to find the Pizza Planet truck!" 

Monsters University - The exciting prequel to Monsters Inc, detailing Mike and Sully's college years and how they first met.  June 21, 2013 is when this comes along.

But, what comes after these two?  That's what was announced at D23.  I'd like to point out that these are working titles, and not the actual titles. 

The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs - Answering the age old question, "What if the dinosaurs never went extinct?", it's set in the present day of a world where dinosaurs are now the domesticated wildlife.  This one comes to us from longtime Pixar animator Bob Peterson, who helped write Monsters, Inc, Finding Nemo and Up.  Christmas 2013 is when this'll hit theatres.

The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind - That description pretty much sums it up.  Taking place inside a human mind, they tell us this'll answer questions like why you remember certain things and why songs get stuck in our head.  The talent behind this one is Pete Docter, who was the director of Monsters Inc and Up.  Summer 2014 is when this one is slated to come out.

But that's not all!  One of most delightful surprises in front of Cars 2 was a new Toy Story short film, entitled Hawaiian Vacation.  It's been known for a while that a second Toy Story short film was in development, but now we have a name, a plot description, and release information.

It'll be called Small Fry, and is apparently about Buzz Lightyear getting left behind at a fast food place, and having to team up with a kids meal toy to get home.  Glee star Jane Lynch does the voice of the kids meal toy.  It's going to be in front of the new Muppet movie, The Muppets, this November.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

G.I. Joe 2 Update

So, hey!  G.I. Joe 2 began filming last week!

Just to get it out there, I LOVED G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.  My attitude towards it is pretty much the same as with Michael Bay's first Transformers movie.  Yeah, it's a deeply flawed, deeply cliched action/superhero film, but my childhood nostalgia helps blind me to all the flaws.

Originally, the release of G.I. Joe 2 was kept kind of vague, but then, J.J. Abrams got all wrapped up making Super 8, and that meant Star Trek 2 got pushed back from summer 2012 to...some time in the future.  So, needing a tentpole release for summer 2012, Paramount fast-tracked G.I. Joe 2 and gave it Star Trek 2's old released date of June 29, 2012.

For a second film, though, it looks like they've decided to go in a completely new direction and kind of disregard the first film.  It was announced that the only returning Joes from the first film would be Channing Tatum as Duke and Ray Park as Snake Eyes.  So who's stepping forward to fill out the ranks of G.I. Joe this time around?

  • Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is Roadblock.  This caused some head-scratching when this casting was announced because, as Roadblock's wikipedia entry says, Roadblock is "the most prominent African-American in G.I. Joe."  The Rock is not African-American.  But hey, they made Ripcord black in the first film, so why not make Roadblock white for the second?
  • DJ Cotrona is Flint.  Cotrona comes to us from the short-lived cop show Detroit 1-8-7.  
  • Adrianne Palicki is Lady Jaye.  Palicki was on the football drama Friday Night Lights, and most recently played Wonder Woman in the ill-fated, horrible-looking Wonder Woman pilot.
  • French-Asian actress Elodie Yung will be Jinx.
  • Joseph Mazzello will be Mouse.  Mazello, of course, still remembered as the kid in Jurassic Park, and as adult, he was one of the stars of The Pacific.  I originally thought that Mouse was an original Joe for the film, but poking around online, I found that he's a character from the short-lived Sgt. Savage and his Screaming Eagles line.  
And it was just announced that Bruce Willis has joined the cast as General Joseph Colton.  The gimmick in the toyline is that Gen. Colton was the first  G.I. Joe...the original 12" figure from the 1960s.  He was turned into a 3.75" mail-away exclusive figure to commemarate the franchise's 30th anniversary in 1994, and when the comics were relaunched around 10 years ago, he was made the new commander of G.I. Joe, taking over for Hawk when Hawk was paralyzed from the waist-down in a Cobra attack.

As for villains, the only one returning from the first film is Lee Byung-hun as Storm Shadow.  The only one announced for this new one is Ray Stevenson as the Cobra saboteur Firefly.  Stevenson you may remember as the Punisher in The Punisher: War Zone.

The script was written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who wrote the zombie comedy Zombieland.  And the director this time out is Jon Chu.  Chu, of course, best known for the dance films Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D, and the Justin Beiber movie Never Say Never.  In a few interviews, Chu has said he understands why some fans see him, the "dance movie guy," as a bad choice for for an action film, but Chu assures us that he's a huge G.I. Joe fanboy and is doing his best to give these characters justice.

There's not title for the film yet...rumored titles online have included G.I. Joe: Cobra Strikes (which has since been denied) and G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

G.I. Joe 2 hits theatres June 29, 2012. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance trailer

With the main focus being on The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, and The Amazing Spider-Man as the big superhero films for 2012, there's one that's been in production for a while now that's been sneaking in under the radar.

And that's Ghost Rider 2, which is going by the name Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

Nicholas Cage is back as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider.  Interesting fact this time out:  this time around, Cage himself is playing Ghost Rider.  In the first film, all of the Ghost Rider performance capture was done by a stuntman.  But for the second one, Cage did it himself.

The plot, this time around, has Johnny Blaze heading to Europe to stop the birth of the anti-Christ.  To stop the Ghost Rider, the Devil sends that Ghost Rider enemy known as Blackout to defeat Ghost Rider.

In addition to the returning Nicholas Cage, Johnny Whitworth is Blackout, Idris Elba is Moreau, a warrior monk who seeks out Ghost Rider to help stop this anti-Christ plot, and the Highlander himself, Christopher Lambert, also shows up as the leader of the warrior monks. 

The directors of Spirit of Vengeance are Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, collectively known as Neveldine/Taylor.  They are the two who gave us the Crank franchise, and according to reports of footage shown at ComiCon a month or so ago, Spirit of Vengeance promises to be full of the same ridiculous, over-the-top action sequences that the Crank films are famous for. 

As for my thoughts on this trailer...meh.  I liked parts of the first film, but to me, the first film was the first indication that the "superhero movie formula" was starting to get set in stone.  It was the first superhero film I saw that I felt comfortable calling "formulaic."  So, really, then, I guess there's no where to go but up.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance hits theatres this February. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some of That High Class British Porn: Hysteria Trailer

Normally, I just slap something like this straight up on my Facebook page, but since I'm Facebook friends with some of my nieces and nephews, I figure this may not be for their tender eyes.

So, last fall, there was some giggling and nervous twittering when it was announced that Maggie Gyllenhaal had signed on to to do a historical romantic comedy about the invention of the vibrator.

Well, guess what?  We have a trailer!

Ladies and gentlemen, Hysteria.

I just noticed this is posted at the YouTube channel for the Toronto International Film Festival.  That's where The King's Speech had its world premiere last year.

I predict this will be seen by a lot of upper-middle-aged people, wandering in to the theatre expecting to see the next King's Speech.

Keep an eye on your neighborhood art house for when it comes to your town.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reflections on ReBoot

I've been watching an awful lot of ReBoot lately.  Shout! Factory, the folks who did those impressive complete series boxed sets of The Transformers  and G.I. Joe, gave the same treatment to ReBoot this year.  Seasons 1 & 2 came out back in the spring, and Seasons 3 & 4 came out just a month ago, and you can get the whole thing together in a big boxed set called The Definitive Mainframe Collection.  I bought the two separate sets because they were good and cheap.

For those who don`t remember, ReBoot was the world's first computer animated half-hour television program.  And it's Canadian, too, made by Vancouver-based Mainframe Entertainment!  It premiered in the fall of 1994 -- beating Toy Story by one year -- on YTV in Canada and on ABC in the USA.  The show was created by Mainframe's founders, Gavin Blair and Ian Pearson.  Blair and Pearson were already widely known in animation circles for doing the computer animation in the legendary Dire Straights video Money for Nothing.

The series was set inside a computer system known as Mainframe.  It followed the adventures of Bob (a Guardian...aka anti-virus software) who sought to defend Mainframe from the evil computer viruses Megabyte (who sought to conquer all of Mainframe) and Hexadecimal (who was just psychotic and near-omnipotent).  Bob was assisted in his mission by Dot, who I think was Mainframe's OS, which made a business mogul who pretty much owned all of Mainframe, and her kid brother Enzo, who idolized Bob and hoped to grow up to be a Guardian like Bob someday.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Cowboys & Aliens Review

Had me a day in the city yesterday.  Didn't inspire the usual blog entry full of witty observations, though.  I bought pants.  Make of that what you will.

However, I did swing by the theatre and catch Cowboys & Aliens.  I've got a complete review over at my main website, so click on over and check that out.

When I got home from the city, I sat down to watch Rango, which a co-worker had loaned me.  I don't know, dude.  I know it got lots of critical acclaim, but I found Rango to again be pretty cliched and stick to the animated film formula pretty closely.  It did have some nice, surreal touches, though. 

Thursday, August 04, 2011

First Look at the New Superman!

So, today, they released the first picture of Henry Cavill as Superman from the new Superman movie!

I'm going to crop this sucker so we can get a better look....

So, let's begin the whiny fanboy rant, shall we?

First up, the colours are too dark.  That could be the lighting in the photograph, so we'll let it slide. 

Cape it too big.  I don't like the texture of the suit.  They're trying to make it kind of scaly, like the Spider-Man movie costume.  And where's that trademark Superman spit curl?

But for the things I like...I do like the logo on the chest.  It's a little bigger and more silver age.  Plus, I like that this is the first time Superman is kinda ripped.  Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh were lean and mean.  But Cavill...he's big and mean. 

So let's recap what brought us to this place.  How did this new Superman come to be?

Flash back to 2006.  Superman Returns underperformed at the box office...both financially and critically.  "It made $400 million at the box office, what's 'underperforming' these days?" said director Bryan Singer.  "Yeah...our budget projections said it should have made $500 million," said the bosses at Warner Brothers.  So the decision was finally made to reboot the series.

And you know, Superman Returns had a few good spots, but when all was said and done, I think it's a movie that needed to be made.  The Christopher Reeve Superman films were so legendary, that something had to be done to pay homage to them or give that series a proper end or just plain get it out of our systems before a whole new cinematic Superman could be made. 

So, Warner Brothers started entertaining pitches for a new Superman film.

Meanwhile, down the hall, riding high on the success of The Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan and Batman Begins/The Dark Knight co-writer David S. Goyer were beating their heads against the wall, coming up with a great idea for a third Batman film.  During a break, Goyer said, "It's too bad we're not doing Superman, I've got a great idea for Superman."  And Goyer shared his great idea.  Nolan said, "That is awesome," and they ran down the hall the Warner Brothers big brass and gave their idea.  Warner Brothers agreed that the idea was awesome.  Goyer was put to work writing the script, and Nolan was signed on as a producer. 

Nolan and Goyer then set out to find a director.  After searching through Hollywood, they finally settled on Zack Snyder, who directed 300, Watchmen, and this spring's Sucker Punch.  And then it was time to find the cast!

And what a cast!  I think it's fair to call this an all-star cast.  In our new Superman film, we will be treated to:

It was originally going to come out Christmas 2012, but it was decided it was more of a summer blockbuster, and it got pushed back to Summer 2013.  And taking a cue from The Dark Knight, this new Superman tale will be called....
Man of Steel.  

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Red Tails Trailer

So, this has been online for a few days now, and I've been wanting to blog about it.  It's the first trailer for Red Tails.

I got kind of excited in those weeks before the release of Revenge of the Sith when I caught an interview with George Lucas in which he confided that part the reason why did the prequels was because he knew they would make a ton of money, and thus ensure his financial security to give him the freedom to make the kind of moody, experimental films that he really wanted to make.  Ooo...I wonder what Lucas was going to make after the prequels.  What did he mean by "moody and experimental?"

Apparently, he meant Indiana Jones fighting aliens, because that's what he made next.

But after that, he assured us that he was finally turning his attention to Red TailsRed Tails is a movie that Lucas has been developing since the late-1980s.  Some originally thought it was a code name for Episode I, as Return of the Jedi had the similar-sounding code name "Blue Harvest."  Lucas, however, assured the fans that Red Tails had nothing to do with Star Wars...that it was, in fact, a World War II epic about the legendary Tuskegee Airman -- an all-African-American fighter pilot squadron. 

While Lucas himself wrote the original story, he handed screenwriting duties over to John Ridley.  For the director, Lucas chose Anthony Hemingway, a veteran television director making his feature film directorial debut.  The film boasts an all-star cast, with Terrance Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr, Method Man, Ne-Yo, and Bryan Cranston. 

This is Lucas's first non-franchise film (i.e. not Star Wars or Indy) since 1994's Radioland Murders, and that's a bit of a detriment for me.  Without the nostalgia factor of lightsabers in the trailer, it's tough to get excited about this film.  I need to know more right now...more about the plot, more about the characters...just more.

However, since it is Lucas, the special effects are looking amazing.  It looks like he's taking what he learned from the spectacular space battle scene at the opening of Revenge of the Sith and applying it to World War II dogfights.  That's kind of a neat full-circle thing....  As has been widely reported, Lucas showed the special effects artists on the very first Star Wars dogfights from World War II films to convey what he wanted to achieve in the space battles. 

Red Tails hits theatres this January, and I look forward to finding out more.