The Morning Read (3.31.09) Green chicks and sequels for 'Star Trek'
You know why it sucks that we're giving away an "Observe and Report" skateboard? Because I obviously can't win, and that sounds like a great prize. I want a freakin' "Observe and Report" skateboard, damn it.
You know, I've been fairly optimistic about "Star Trek" so far. I liked the 25 minutes or so that they showed us last year. I think that new trailer is all sorts of awesome. I'm not some rigid intractable Trekkie. But there's a controversy brewing today that threatens to derail my affection for the film before I've even seen it. I am talking, of course, about the way they managed to take Diora Baird, cast her as The Green Chick, and yet somehow turned this easy geek slam dunk into a disappointment by making her look... lousy? The fine folks over at Film Drunk ranted about it with pictures this morning, and I think they make a strong case. Diora Baird is indeed one of the most startlingly beautiful women in film right now, a throwback to the sort of sex kittens that made the '60s and '70s great, and The Green Chick is one of the most immediate images of SF sexuality. The combination of the two should have people in the streets throwing spontaneous parades, not wishing for a Brillo pad and some soap and water. Party foul on JJ.
Even with this hiccup, though, the "Star Trek" team seems awfully confident. Signing Kurtzman, Orci, and Lindelof to write the sequel before the first one's even in theaters is a bold step. My question about sequels hinges on a slight spoiler for the film coming out next month. It's not a reboot so much as it is a way for JJ to honor previous continuity while also releasing this franchise from any obligation to what has come before. Because the world has changed, anything can happen after the first film. They could reintroduce any characters they want from the whole history of "Star Trek," and the stories can play out in totally different ways now. I have to think that's part of the plan, and we'll see Tribbles and Klingons and Harry Mudd in the future. Most importantly, I hope we're going to see Khan again, and if we do, I'm afraid I have to insist... Javier Bardem will be playing him. I will accept no arguments on this point.
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Although it's not entertainment related, this story is sort of amazing. A man went around the world using only relationships and favors that he culled from Twitter. Social networking media may freak some people out, but it's also radically changing the way we interact. In good ways and bad, so it's nice to see a use like this.
Marshall Fine raises some big questions and makes some good points about the current climate for indie films and distribution, and it's a bleak picture he paints of where we are right now as a film culture.
Anyone who spends their time writing malicious viral code for computers, specifically anyone who creates worms that could destroy computers and delete files, is a genuine waste of the resources of this planet, and I'd like to demand that you return all of the oxygen and water and sunlight you do not deserve to share with the rest of us. Please immediately vacate the planet, you miserable filth, and stop screwing up the tools some of us use to make a goddamn living. I am not happy about having to take time out of my day to stress about whether or not my work computer's going to be screwed up tomorrow because some idiot knows how to write code.
I really hated Rob Zombie's remake of "Halloween," and I think most of what I've heard about the in-production "H2" sounds equally wretched. But I don't hate Zombie as a filmmaker. I actually liked "House of 1000 Corpses," and I thought "The Devil's Rejects" was a step forward for him as an exploitation filmmaker. And that's what he wants to be, and where it seems like his heart is, and I salute that. I wish more people would embrace the idea that not everyone has to make mainstream work. Zombie seems to be following his own particular bruised and dirty muse, and now the details he's revealed about "Tyrannosaurus Rex" make it sound like my cup of tea. It's a gritty action movie about an ex-prizefighter who went to jail and now, washed up, has to turn to the world of underground fighting to survive. It's set in the '70s, and this is my favorite quote from MTV's interview with Zombie about the film: "It's like if ‘Every Which Way But Loose' was a serious movie. How about that? Minus the orangutan." Okay. Ticket sold, Rob.
Vern saw "Seven Pounds," and he was surprised how much he liked it.
Jack Black is going to appear on "Yo Gabba Gabba"? Well, that sounds like a party everyone in the McWeeny house is going to attend.
Matt Zoller Seitz has been thinking about Wes Anderson. Seriously thinking about him, about his career, about his place in the industry right now... and the five-part video essay he's posting is probably one of the best overall summations of Anderson's art that anyone has put together so far. Great stuff.
Glenn Kenny, on the other hand, has been thinking about aspect ratios, and he's got a great piece at The Auteurs today about some recent issues he's noticed.
It seems impossible for any filmmaker of his stature to have survived this long in the industry without having done it, but David Cronenberg has never made a sequel to one of his own films. But that may change soon, and I'm really excited by the notion of an "Eastern Promises" sequel. That film set up a larger mythology that was just barely explored, and if they never made another, it would serve as a truly tantalizing tease. But actually going back to explore more about Nikolai, the character played by Viggo Mortensen. Could be great.
Emily Browning instead of Amanda Seyfried in Zack Snyder's "Sucker Punch"? That's like asking me if I'd like a million and one dollars instead of just a million. It's going to be crazy violent eye candy packed with beautiful girls, no matter who ends up starring in it. As Tina Fey would say... I want to go to there.
Does anyone really listen to complete albums anymore, start to finish? This used to be a big part of my entertainment diet, but I'm wondering in this iTunes age if anyone actually does it. Maybe at the gym? Or in the car? Our relationship with music definitely seems to be changing, and how we digest it says a lot about our manic lifestyle these days. That why I sort of love this list the A/V Club put together of 25 albums that really work best when played as a whole.
Kim Morgan contemplates "Bullworth" and "Ishtar" as a way of celebrating Warren Beatty's birthday. An "Ishtar" fan, eh? Hopefully she knows about our screening of the film in conjunction with Ain't It Cool and the New Beverly on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.
Finally, getting back to Twitter for a moment, one of the things that cracks me up about this social networking media stuff is the way people's weird little fetishes and quirks get trotted out and shared. Case in point: the great Paul Feig, one of the funniest guys working behind the camera in Hollywood right now, is a cereal freak. He loves breakfast cereal, and in particular, he loves cereal that they don't make anymore. So when he sent out a link to an article about discontinued cereals, he seemed particularly pleased. In his defense, it is a pretty great article, and I think I probably tried about 2/3 of those cereals when they were actually being sold.
I'll be back later with more reviews for you today. For now, thanks for reading.
The Morning Read appears here every day, Monday through Friday. Except when it doesn't.
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