Welcome to The Morning Read.
There's a wee bit of "duh" running rampant around the internet this morning in some of the headlines, but considering I ran a story this weekend clarifying what "Jurassic Park IV" will NOT be about, I guess we are filling column inches any way we can.
For example, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis and Ivan Reitman and Sigourney Weaver have all said in interviews in the past that the only way Murray would return for a new "Ghostbusters" film would be if they killed him off early and had him return as a ghost. And now, Murray has confirmed that he will indeed die in the first reel of "Ghostbusters 3" so he can spend the rest of the film as a "free-roaming full-body apparition." I can't say I consider that big news, if only because we've heard it so many times now. I like the idea, but I'm confused... will it be Bill Murray shot in front of a greenscreen? Will the ghost be a CGI character who he only voices, a la "Garfield"? I think the wee bit of speculation that Cinematical added to the story is very interesting, and I hope their bad guy in this film is as smart and fun as the franchise deserves, and not just a rehash of Gozer from the first movie.
At least with the "Ghostbusters 3" news, though, there's a substantial quote from Murray to back it up. I'm amazed at how many places ran with giant "BATMAN 3 IS COMING!" headlines this morning based on the vaguest of vague David Goyer comments to Nikkie Finke upon leaving "Flash Forward" as a showrunner. I don't think it's any secret that Warner Bros. is rabid to get a next film in the Christopher Nolan Batman series, and I'm sure there are ongoing conversations between all the key creative players in the series. But right now, Nolan's in the middle of wrapping up "Inception," a film that is very important to him, and he's not splitting his focus with one eye on the franchise. There will be time to gear up on a new Batman after the July release of his Leonard Di Caprio-starring SF thriller, and until then, you're not going to hear any concrete news, so maybe we can dial down the fervor a bit.
I think it's good news that Lionsgate has decided to make the new "Saw" film the last in the series... at least for now. I'm not an avid follower of the series, but I'll give them credit for building a fairly elaborate character mythology into the series, and in the last movie, it was obvious that they're doing their best to build a narrative mousetrap that has potential payoffs in the approach. Screenwriter Patrick Melton spilled a whole bunch of beans in a recent interview about what to expect from "Saw: Endgame," and I hope they stick to it. The film will be better for it, and the series has a chance to end on its own terms, and not just because the audience finally dries up.
Okay... what's the difference between a giveaway and a contest? Well, this is a contest, or a "sweepstakes," to be more accurate. And this is a giveaway. If you're a fan of the various "Stargate" shows out there, then make sure you enter that contest. I think the prize is a really good one. And the 3D t-shirt we're giving away as part of the Facebook promotion is very cool, a design that I know Greg and Jen, our Grand Poobahs here at HitFix, really worked hard to get right. Do me a favor and check out both links... I think you'll be happy if you do.
I am greatly amused by the outrage over Kevin Smith's idle suggestion that he might try to fan-finance his horror film "Red State." Right now, Brad Miska of Bloody-Disgusting is on Twitter freaking out at the idea, and I'm not sure if he's read Kevin's response to all the outrage or not. I think The Playlist has a pretty solid take on what Smith meant, and honestly, I don't begrudge any filmmaker at any level of success the idea of exploring new ways of getting a film made. We all sing for our suppers, folks, and if enough people want to chip in to see that film, then why should anyone else be upset by it? Things are tough all over.
Oh, my. I'll bet Devin Faraci's already getting a fever at the thought of just how wrong this might go.
Speaking of Devin, he managed to wrangle some more info about other characters that will show up in "The First Avenger: Captain America" than I did, and it confirms something our own Greg Ellwood was speculating about last year after a conversation with Marvel's Kevin Feige. I love the notion of The Invaders appearing in the film, and can't wait to see which line-up they go with.
I've had several film fans over the years act offended when I tell them that I don't take the Oscars seriously or consider them any sort of arbiter of quality, and I'm amazed by people who do. Now, if you are interested in the Oscars as a sort of report card on Hollywood, issued once a year by the industry, and if you love following the gamesmanship behind the awards, that's different. I respect that. I don't look down on anyone else's interest in them. But when you read Mark Harris's piercing analysis of the season at hand, I think it expresses beautifully why these awards are not about what is truly "best," unless it's the campaign you're talking about.
As MTV finally admits that they no longer have much of anything to do with music, rebranding themselves again, I figure it's time to look back at my favorite thing about the old MTV. Man, if I added up all the hours I spent smoking weed and eating crappy pizza and watching "120 Minutes," I'd have to use both my fingers AND my toes. Enjoy a trip backwards through my reprobate youth.
And while you're mainlining nostalgia, you should check out Fatboy Roberts's outstanding new "Geek Remixed III" project. "Star Wars" fan, radio personality, and all around uber-geek, Fatboy's remixes are flat out gleeful, and I guarantee something on that album will get you smiling, or you've got no geek blood in you. Fact.
AHHHH!! LOOK OUT!!
Whew. Turns out it was just a cliche. Nothing to be afraid of.
Interesting first look at Studio Ghibli's take on Mary Norton's "The Borrowers":
Now that's a tease. Look! There are houses and foliage!
Who says civil discourse is dead? Look, I think there's a legitimate gripe to be made about the way Vanity Fair handled their starlet issue this year, but let's take a step back and look at what everyone's upset about. Specifically, the cover of Vanity Fair. In the larger scheme of things, who cares? It's only as important as you make it, and if it really offends you, then don't buy or read the magazine. Go a step further. Don't support their advertisers. But threatening someone who wrote an article? Really? Way to make your case.
I had never heard of the webcomic "Anders Loves Maria" until it wrapped up with a final strip the other day, but I'm glad I've been steered to it now. It's a sweet and savvy read, and I'm working my way through, knowing there's a finite end to it, and enjoying every single bit of it as I go. You should do the same and start here.
"Lost" fans, this is the best thing you'll see today:
Oh, man, that just rings my nerd bell. I think this season's off to a hell of a start, and I can't wait to recap tomorrow night's episode.
And finally, to wrap up today, there's a new story on Popcorn Fiction that is a real treat for SF fans. I love the diversity on that site, and this story in particular shows just how elastic the site's thesis really is. Hats off to Todd Stein for the excellent and god-I-hope-it's-not-prescient "Tipping Point."
The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Except when it doesn't.
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