<p>The superhero Superior will be brought to the bigscreen by director Matthew Vaughn, which should please fans of his other Mark Millar collaboration, 'Kick-Ass'</p>

The superhero Superior will be brought to the bigscreen by director Matthew Vaughn, which should please fans of his other Mark Millar collaboration, 'Kick-Ass'

Credit: Millarworld

Mark Millar and Matthew Vaughn team up for 'Shazam with MS' comic movie 'Superior'

Duo behind 'Kick-Ass' collaborates on new superhero project

Sounds like a kinder gentler Mark Millar/Matthew Vaughn film to me.

One of the things that has defined the modern era of comic book writing is the way writers these days take familiar tropes or character types and bend them in all sorts of interesting ways.  Frank Miller and Alan Moore and Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman were in the first wave of guys doing this, and in some cases, they were able to work with the actual characters and the results were something like Miller's landmark "The Dark Knight Returns" or Moore's "Watchmen" or Gaiman's "Miracleman" or Morrison's "Animal Man."  In other cases, they invented characters that were similar to things we knew, and then dirtied up the icons in very subversive ways.  
Mark Millar has had great success working in that vein, and in particular, he and Matthew Vaughn found it to be very fertile ground when they collaborated on the film version of "Kick-Ass."  Now it looks like the two of them will be working together again, although not on the sequel that many people expected.

Instead, they're going to be bringing Millar's new series "Superior" to the bigscreen, and based on the description of it, it sounds like "Shazam with MS."  I don't mean to be reductive, but the key to what makes "Shazam!" so potent is the idea of a young boy finding himself in the body of a super-powerful being.  It's like seeing a 10-year-old behind the wheel of a Ferrari.  There's so much potent drama in that archetype that adding a crippling illness to the equation is a very interesting complication.  Our own Greg Ellwood tells me he's hooked on this book, and I'm sure I'll be checking it out now, if only to see what it is that Millar and Vaughn are cooking up.

Read Full Post
<p>I've had headaches that feel like this.&nbsp; You should see my three-year-old when he picks up the toy I have based on this moment from John Carpenter's 'The Thing'</p>

I've had headaches that feel like this.  You should see my three-year-old when he picks up the toy I have based on this moment from John Carpenter's 'The Thing'

Credit: Universal Home Video

Want to see Carpenter's 'The Thing' on the bigscreen at the Arclight?

We've got the details for an event you won't want to miss

What are you doing next Thursday night?

That's a week from now.  I can tell you what I'll be doing.  I'll be at the Arclight in Hollywood, where I'll be moderating a special Q&A after a glorious bigscreen viewing of John Carpenter's "The Thing."

And I hope you'll be there with me.

Right now, the roster of guests we're going to have there is growing every day, and I hope to have some great surprises for you after the film.  There's going to be a giant display of props and other memorabilia downstairs at the Arclight, a special commemorative program book that's being produced for the event, a special poster… it's crazy how much effort's gone into this, but that's because Taylor White, the man behind Creature Features, has geek in his DNA, and when he sets out to put one of these events together, he pulls out all the stops.

Read Full Post
<p>It's almost time to wake the gimp, and that is never a good thing.</p>

It's almost time to wake the gimp, and that is never a good thing.

Credit: Lionsgate Home Video

'Pulp Fiction' and 'Jackie Brown' hit Blu-ray so hard they leave a mark

Plus an exclusive glimpse at the extra features for 'Pulp'

While I was away at Fantastic Fest, I got so crazy busy that I was unable to interview Pam Grier and Robert Forster about "Jackie Brown," which is one of two Quentin Tarantino films arriving on Blu-ray this week.

Bummer.

I mean that sincerely, too.  I love "Jackie Brown."  I think if you counted how many times I've seen each of Tarantino's films, "Jackie" would be the clear winner.  It's the emotional journey the film takes me on that I keep going back for.  Everytime I reach the reprise of "Across 110th Street," I feel the same surge of adrenaline and emotion, the same sensation of running towards the future, free and finally realizing what that means.  I love the performances, the cinematography, the dialogue, the relationships, the soundtrack.  It didn't feel like a 1997 film when it came out, and it still feels timeless.  The Blu-ray transfer is superlative, rich and film-like, and it sounds amazing.

Read Full Post
<p>Alexander Skarsgard tries to soothe the skittish Kirsten Dunst on the night of their wedding in the shattering new film 'Melancholia'</p>

Alexander Skarsgard tries to soothe the skittish Kirsten Dunst on the night of their wedding in the shattering new film 'Melancholia'

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Watch: An exclusive clip from 'Melancholia' with Kirsten Dunst and Alexander Skarsgard

Lars Von Trier's latest is gorgeous even in this short glimpse

I have an unabashed love for the new Lars Von Trier film "Melancholia."  I think it's the best thing he's done since he made "Breaking The Waves," and right now, if I had to pick, I think it might be my choice for best film of the year.

It is, therefore, a pleasure to be able to present an exclusive clip from the film for you.  This weekend, the movie will be available on On Demand, iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Playstation, and Zune, and then will open in theaters on November 11.  It's funny… I wrote yesterday about how Universal is skirting some real controversy with their VOD plan for "Tower Heist," but for Magnolia, their business model uses VOD as a pre-theatrical window.  They've completely inverted the typical model, and it seems to be working for them.

I want to encourage you to see the film on the biggest and best screen possible.  If you've got a great system in your house and you can crank it up and really lose yourself in the movie, great.  Do so.  But if you can, wait for it to play theatrically, because it is a lush and sensual film.  Much of the first half of the movie takes place at the wedding of Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgard), where we watch anxiety and fear eat away at what should be a joyous occasion for Justine.

Read Full Post
<p>Sure, little Kristi looks like a cute kid, but you haven't met her friend Toby yet from 'Paranormal Activity 3'</p>

Sure, little Kristi looks like a cute kid, but you haven't met her friend Toby yet from 'Paranormal Activity 3'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Listen: The directors of 'Paranormal Activity 3' join the podcast from Austin

Plus 'Human Centipede 2,' Fantastic Fest wrap-up, and more calls from you

September was a blur.

By the end, I felt like I had stayed on a Tilt-A-Whirl too long and my equilibrium was shot, but I loved it all.  Toronto was great, and I published two big podcasts about Toronto just before I left town to head to Austin.  Now, I'm finally on the other side of the wonderful Fantastic Fest, and I've come back with one less interview than I expected.

I'll explain in the actual podcast, but the short version is my computer just plain didn't record something.  And as a result, it doesn't exist.  And so in this week's podcast, I discuss the interview that didn't record with Scott and try to relate some of the highlights as best I can.  It's a disappointment for me, but hopefully I convey some of the flavor of what it's like to chat with make-up legend Rick Baker for a half-hour.

We cover a fair amount of ground this week.  I've got FEARnet's lead critic Scott Weinberg on to discuss "The Human Centipede 2," I sit down with the directors and star of "Paranormal Activity 3," and we go through many of the highlights of Fantastic Fest this year.

Read Full Post
<p>Ben Stiller and Matthew Broderick are two of the stars of 'Tower Heist,' which will hit VOD&nbsp;in Atlanta and Portland three weeks after it is released in theaters.</p>

Ben Stiller and Matthew Broderick are two of the stars of 'Tower Heist,' which will hit VOD in Atlanta and Portland three weeks after it is released in theaters.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Universal tests VOD market with 'Tower Heist' home debut three weeks after release

Will Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy be the test that finally changes things?

The theatrical model I grew up with is dead.

Sure, theatrical release is still the first stop for studio films, for the most case, but the window between when something plays in a theater and when it arrives at home is shrinking rapidly, and today, Universal Pictures unveiled a startling plan to bring the big-budget comedy "Tower Heist" to VOD a mere three weeks after it hits theirs on November 4.

They're going to be testing the idea in Portland, OR and in Atlanta, GA, and it's got a steep ticket price.  $59.99 is more than any typical PPV movie charges, but it's not typical in any way.  If this does work, it could change the way studios handle big-ticket releases, and I would bet they'll telescope the release dates even more.  If they can get people to pay $60 a pop to sit at home and watch a big new release, why not do it on opening weekend?  Why not go ahead and start at day one?

Read Full Post
<p>I'm guessing there's about an hour of this in the mirror to start each morning at the Downey household, followed by a standing ovation.</p>

I'm guessing there's about an hour of this in the mirror to start each morning at the Downey household, followed by a standing ovation.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Robert Downey Jr. will have his day in court as 'Perry Mason' for Warner Bros.

How many franchises can one movie star juggle?

I foresee a future in which every single franchise film stars either Computer-Generated Johnny Depp or Computer Generated Robert Downey Jr. or, on occasion, both of them.  It is inevitable.

The latest step towards this sure-to-be-reality is the announcement today that Robert Downey Jr. will be the star of "Perry Mason," a new film and potential franchise that Warner Bros. will be releasing.  I've been reading some of the pulp work of author Erle Stanley Gardner recently, and I'm surprised by how sharp and contemporary much of it is.  He's most famous for creating Mason, and it's exciting to hear that they're not only going to use his work as the basis of the film, but they're also planning to set it in the period 1930s Los Angeles that Gardner captured so well in his work.

Read Full Post
<p>Lars Von Trier, seen here just after his infamous Cannes press conference, now says he will no longer speak in public or grant interviews.</p>

Lars Von Trier, seen here just after his infamous Cannes press conference, now says he will no longer speak in public or grant interviews.

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Lars Von Trier retires from public speaking over police inquiry into 'Nazi' comments

Has it really come to this?

As I started flipping through headlines this morning, one of the first that caught my eye had to do with Johnny Depp apologizing for making a comment in a recent interview that compared photo shoots to being raped.

I am amazed how much time anyone in the public eye spends apologizing these days.  We have reached a point in culture where there is so much energy spent getting crazy about words that offend us that we seem to have stopped listening to the intent behind them.  Publicists have to put out daily fires that could easily be avoided if people just shrugged things off instead of organizing rallies over stupid off-hand comments.  It all makes me think of a word Berkley Breathed coined in "Bloom County" some thirty years ago, "Hyperoffensensitivity."

This was on my mind already when I saw a message appear in my inbox that simply said "A Statement From Lars Von Trier" in the headline.  Before we discuss it, I'd like to run the statement in full:

Read Full Post
<p>Tintin (Jamie Bell) and Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) race into trouble in 'The Adventures Of Tintin'</p>

Tintin (Jamie Bell) and Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) race into trouble in 'The Adventures Of Tintin'

Credit: Paramount/Nickelodeon/Dreamworks

Brand new UK trailer for 'Adventures Of Tintin' features eye-popping action

A strong cast and WETA working overtime looks like a winning combination

I don't care what anybody else says.  At this point, I am flat out excited about the impending release of "The Adventures Of Tintin".

It's exciting enough that Spielberg and Jackson are working together, and whatever you think about this film or that film, specific titles from either filmography, if that combination of brainpower doesn't excite you, then we simply don't have a common starting point in any conversation about film.

It's exciting enough that Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish were brought in to finish what Stephen Moffat began, and again, that's one of those equations that puts lead in the pencil, figuratively speaking.

And after the reaction many people had to Andy Serkis in "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes," it's a safe bet that there will be a lot of attention on his performance as Captain Haddock, which has always been one of the most enjoyable characters in the Tintin universe.

Read Full Post
<p>Werner Herzog, seen here at a film festival in Mexico earlier this year, will appear as the bad guy in the new Tom Cruise film 'One Shot'</p>

Werner Herzog, seen here at a film festival in Mexico earlier this year, will appear as the bad guy in the new Tom Cruise film 'One Shot'

Credit: AP Photo/Bernardo De Niz

Werner Herzog will try to kill Tom Cruise in first Reacher movie 'One Shot'

Can casting the right bad guy balance out the wrong lead in the movie?

I've been saying for years that Werner Herzog strikes me as a Bond villain in search of a movie, and now, it appears he's going to be playing the main bad guy in "One Shot," the first film adapted from the wildly popular series of novels about Jack Reacher written by Lee Childs.

I've written already about my irritation at the casting of Tom Cruise in the role of Jack Reacher, and no matter what Lee Childs says, I can't get past it.  I think the Reacher series is one of my favorite ongoing modern pulp series, and a big part of that is the sheer pleasure that happens when big giant Jack Reacher decides it's time to rain some hurt down on some deserving scumbag.  And as written, Reacher is a giant.  He's a huge hulking brute of a guy, and there is much time and energy spent describing him that way and making sure that pays off in the way confrontations unfold in the books.

I like Tom Cruise.  Don't get me wrong.  I think he's fun to watch, and in the right roles, he is absolutely iconic.  But he's not Jack Reacher as written.

Read Full Post