<p>Eddie Riggs (Jack Black) offers to give Ophelia a ride in the Iron Deuce in Tim Schafer's deliriously deranged 'Brutal Legend'</p>

Eddie Riggs (Jack Black) offers to give Ophelia a ride in the Iron Deuce in Tim Schafer's deliriously deranged 'Brutal Legend'

Credit: EA/Double Fine

The M/C Review: Jack Black rocks in 'Brutal Legend'

The latest Tim Schafer game looks and sounds great, but how does it play?

One of the best movies I've seen all year is a game I just finished playing.

And, yes, I know how that sounds.  But it's true.  Tim Schafer's "Brütal Legend," released on both XBox 360 and PS3, is one of the best narratives I've enjoyed all year.  It just happens to be contained in a video game that is an absurd, outrageous homage to the excesses of heavy metal.

I don't listen to much of it these days, but there was a time where I would have described myself as a big metal fan.  Even saying that, though, it's not terribly descriptive, since there are so many eras of heavy metal, and so many sub-genres, and the amazing thing is that Tim Schafer has paid tribute to all the different ideas of what metal "really" is, all while telling a fantasy story that is both ridiculous and emotionally engaging.  I know this isn't a video game blog, per se, but one of the reasons I push for us to do more coverage of games in general is because I think the lines are getting increasingly blurry about how stories are told and what constitutes a game, and how these things are produced.

In this case, Schafer is a game designer who is well-known for the story-based games he's created in the past.  He's got a silly sense of humor, and games like "The Secret Of Monkey Island," "Grim Fandango," "Full Throttle" and "Psychonauts".  He's been carrying around the idea of a game set in a heavy metal universe for years now, and I can see the appeal.  If you've ever been a metal fan, you know how the album covers and much of the iconography of metal marketing has little to do with the records themselves. Schafer made the obvious jump, designing a world where all of the creepy demon nuns and the battle axes and the crazy monsters and the ruined fantasy landscapes are all real.  For his lead character, he created Eddie Riggs, and then hired Jack Black to voice him.  It's a logical fit, and Black seems really engaged by the character and the world.  So much of the humor of Tenacious D was based on taking the ideas of rock hyperseriously, so this just feels like a logical extension of Black's sense of humor.

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<p>&nbsp;Pixar's 'Up' continues the company's tradition of going above and beyond when putting together their BluRay releases</p>

 Pixar's 'Up' continues the company's tradition of going above and beyond when putting together their BluRay releases

Credit: Walt Disney/Pixar

DVD & Games Forecast: A Pixar BluRay Trifecta of 'Up,' 'Monsters Inc.,' and 'Cars'

Plus 'Modern Warfare 2' blasts its way into stores

Welcome to Motion/Captured's DVD & Games Forecast for November 10, 2009.

I normally love to wax on about the week's releases, but (A) a ridiculous schedule for me yesterday and (B) a fairly thin week of releases and (C) me already being a day late means that this is going to be lean and mean today.  Besides, it's video game day here on Motion/Captured, which I'll explain at the end of the column.

First, let's see what the big tickets are this week, including one that was supposed to be on shelves last week originally...

THIS WEEK'S FEATURED TITLES:

"Up" (BluRay/DVD)
"Monsters Inc." (BluRay)
"Cars" (BluRay)

Is there any question who owns today in terms of BluRay releases?  Pixar has always gone above and beyond in the presentation of their films on home video, and they have embraced BluRay in a way that is positively gorgeous.  Not only are their digital-source transfers pretty much the standard for sound and picture in high definition, but they also still work harder than anyone to provide genuine value in the extra features, with both of today's new releases showing just how far they'll go to make sure these discs are worth purchase.

On "Monsters Inc," they acknowledge that it's a double-dip from the very beginning, explaining all the new things that they put on the discs and then talking about what they've brought over from the DVD that most families have probably watched 10,000 times by this point.  Well-played, gentlemen.  Talk about basic respect for the consumer... they go above and beyond in making sure people won't feel burned.  The textures in the film have never looked more amazing, and I am reminded just how lovely a left turn this was when it first hit theaters.  The new packaging for "Cars" comes with two toys, new designs of Lightning McQueen and Mater, and trust me... if you have a "Cars" fan in the house, and you haven't made the upgrade from DVD yet, this is the excuse.  Toshi and Allen both freaked out when they saw it, and because there were two cars, bloodshed was avoided.  Barely.

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<p>Aaron Johnson makes a splashy debut as a superhero in an early scene from Matthew Vaughn's 'Kick-Ass'&nbsp;</p>

Aaron Johnson makes a splashy debut as a superhero in an early scene from Matthew Vaughn's 'Kick-Ass' 

Credit: Lionsgate/MARV

Watch: First 'Kick-Ass' teaser trailer introduces the characters

But you won't hear one mention of Nic Cage from Mr. Voice-Over

 

Great timing.  I was just talking to Matthew Vaughn about the inherent difficulty of cutting a trailer for "Kick-Ass" earlier today.  He was bemoaning the fact that most of the money shots in the film are impossible to put in a trailer, either because of spoilers or because the MPAA would blow a gasket if you tried to show certain things.

That certainly ties your hands a bit when advertising a film, doesn't it?

Still, I think Vaughn knows exactly what he wants to do in terms of introducing the world of his film and the characters, and just like the teaser posters we ran the other day, the trailer takes the somewhat bold tact of introducing these characters without giving the names of the actors playing them.  So often, international financing these days, particularly on the indie level, is done based on "who can we put on the poster?", so hiring a Nicolas Cage and then specifically NOT saying his name?  Perverse and creative.  It may give the money guys fits, but I think it helps sell the reality of "Kick-Ass" from the get-go.

There were two things that Vaughn said he wanted to do with the marketing for this film as far back as a conversation I had with him before production started.  First, he always said he wanted the teaser trailer to use the opening moments of the film, involving the kid standing on the edge of the building with his superhero-suit with the wings.  Exactly like the trailer opens now.  That was important to him as a way of first establishing expectations, then demolishing them.

Second, he's always said that he wants to use the tag line, "No power, no responsibility," and I think that reflects just how askew the sensibility is of this film from what we're used to in the genre.  Smart choice, and I'm willing to bet that ends up a key piece of the campaign at some point. 

Ahhh, Hit Girl.  Just a hint, but enough that America should sit up and take notice of a superstar about to happen.

This is a far more comic and light trailer than I expect the final one will be.  Right now, this all looks like fun and games, and there's no hint of just how high the stakes are in the actual story.  Once people realize this isn't a joke, I think interest will go up even more.

Me?  I can't wait for April. 

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<p>Sam Worthington stars as Perseus in 'Clash Of The Titans,' based on the 1981 film</p>

Sam Worthington stars as Perseus in 'Clash Of The Titans,' based on the 1981 film

Credit: Warner Bros.

Watch: Ralph Fiennes, Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson in 'Clash Of The Titans'

First trailer for the action fantasy remake arrives online

Well, if you're going to remake things, this looks like the way you should do it.

I know the original "Clash Of The Titans" is much loved, so I'll tread lightly here.  I like the film, but I can also recognize that it's got some big huge flaws.  It's one of those films I enjoy watching, particularly if I stumble across it on cable, but that I find myself tuning out of at times, depending on what part is on.  Between Bubo the R2-D2 owl and Harry Hamlin, it's sort of a miracle the film is enjoyable at all.

But, yes, Ray Harryhausen's work makes up for all of that, and then some.  Pegasus, Medusa, the Kraken, the Harpies... it's overloaded with great creature moments, and for a Harryhausen fan, that more than makes up for any narrative weakness.

This remake's been in the works for a while, since well before "300" became a break-out hit for Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, and they've had writers like Lawrence Kasdan and Travis Beachum take a shot at it over the years.  Now, under the guidance of director Louis Leterrier, they've finally pulled it off, and Yahoo! Movies has the exclusive premiere of the trailer this afternoon.

My first impression?

This is gonna be fun.

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<p>Joe Kubert's take on Sgt. Rock is perhaps the most defining era of the long-running comic book, set now to be updated in a SF spin from director Francis Lawrence&nbsp;</p>

Joe Kubert's take on Sgt. Rock is perhaps the most defining era of the long-running comic book, set now to be updated in a SF spin from director Francis Lawrence 

Credit: DC Comics

'Sgt. Rock' heads to the future with Francis 'I Am Legend' Lawrence

Long in-development comic book adaptation takes odd new turn

I can honestly say I was not expecting that.

"Sgt. Rock" has been in development since the actual end of World War II.  I'm almost sure that's a fact.  In all that time, the film has always been a WWII action movie, although the style and the mission and the combination of characters has varied wildly over the years as filmmakers have come and gone.  When I was on the set of "Sherlock Holmes," Guy Ritchie talked to me about his plans for the project.  He wanted to make a straight-up "Dirty Dozen," and I could tell he was curious to see if "Inglourious Basterds" was going to be a threat to their plans.  Since then, Ritchie's moved on to "Lobo," and it looks like "Sgt. Rock" has entered a brand-new chapter in its development history.

A very, very strange chapter.

Sgt. Rock and Easy Company have been part of comics since 1959, and they've had their own book on and off since the late '70s.  And in all that time, in every incarnation, with every various creative team who have worked on the character over the years... it has always been about WWII.

So now Francis Lawrence, director of "Constantine" and "I Am Legend," is interested in doing "Sgt. Rock" as a war movie set in the future.  

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<p>Stephen Lang stars as Quaritch, the main bad guy in James Cameron's 'Avatar,' which is alleged to cost as much as a half-billion dollars&nbsp;</p>

Stephen Lang stars as Quaritch, the main bad guy in James Cameron's 'Avatar,' which is alleged to cost as much as a half-billion dollars 

Credit: 20th Century Fox

The Morning Read: 'Avatar' budget rumors spark online fights

Plus best-of-the-decade lists, 'Twilight' parodies, and a new DERRICK Comedy short

Welcome to the Morning Read.

Good god, is it already time to start the end-of-the-decade lists?  I've been making notes on mine for a while now, sure, but there are people publishing already.  Have they already seen all of this year's films? What if "Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakuel" turns out to be amazing?  Are these people prepared to go back in and revise those lists?  HMMMMM?

The Times Online weighed in with a list of the best 100 films of the decade and, like most lists, it seems designed to provoke conversation and disagreement.  I'm not sure exactly how they picked the list or ranked the films, and I'm flabbergasted by them picking Michael Haneke's "Hidden" as the film of the decade.  The Telegraph also kicked things off early, and they chose Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" as the number one on their list.  Of course, they also included "Avatar" despite having only seen the 15-minute promo presentation, something not even I would do.  Noah Forrest over at Movie City News named "The 25th Hour" as his favorite film of the decade, and although I doubt it'll end up that high on my list, I can see why he picked it, and he lays out a convincing case for why it may be one of the films that best encapsulates the decade we've all just survived.

When I say that the choice by the Times flabbergasts me, it's not because I dislike Haneke.  Far from it, actually.  I just find it hard to believe that an intentionally chilly and oblique work like "Hidden" would top a list when you have a decade as rich and interesting as the Noughties to choose from.  I'm always interested in what Haneke has to say, and this interview with him should make the folks at the Times Online verrrrrry happy indeed.  And it reminds me that I really, really need to see "The White Ribbon" as soon as possible.

Okay... so let's say these tourists actually find the town they're looking for.  What then?

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<p>&nbsp;Mark Ruppert is the subject of Chris Smith's disturbing new documentary 'Collapse'</p>

 Mark Ruppert is the subject of Chris Smith's disturbing new documentary 'Collapse'

Credit: Vitagraph Films

The M/C Review: Does Chris Smith's 'Collapse' count as a horror film?

If so, it's definitely one of the year's scariest

Chris Smith has consistently been a filmmaker of merit, a guy whose work has been strong since day one.

"American Job" is a strong first film, and "American Movie" is a classic.  If you haven't seen the story of Mark Borchardt and Mike Schank, then you need to log off of the internet RIGHT NOW and go find the film in whatever format it is available.  And you need to watch it.  Now.  We'll wait for you here.

Okay?  So now that we're all caught up, you see what I mean?  Smith is a documentarian with a knack for getting his subjects to open up to him, knowing that he won't make them seem foolish when they reveal themselves.  It would be so easy to make a movie about Borchardt and Schank that was mean, but Smith isn't that guy.   His work seems to be informed of a great curiosity.  When he's shooting a subject, it's because he genuinely wants to hear what this person has to say.  He is hoping for great answers, answers that reveal, but not at the expense of the speaker.  Same's true of "Home Movie," where people are basically laying bare one of the most personal things there is, their homes, and I love how he finds these eccentrics but then refuses to editorialize in how he shoots them or even in how he cuts the conversations.  He doesn't want to tell you what to think of someone... he just wants to present them and then let you have your own reaction.

That's a particularly fruitful approach when it comes to Michael Ruppert, the subject of Smith's new documentary, "Collapse."  Ruppert is a former LAPD officer who also has long-term ties to the American intelligence community.  He is a smart, well-spoken man, and he lays out a horrifying portrait of what to expect from the world, financially and socially, over the next few years.  In his opinion, we're on a downhill slide towards oblivion in the very, very near future.  He lays out his case persuasively, calmly, and with precision.  If you take his statements at face value, it's a terrifying movie.

Of course, he might be crazy.  He might well be falling apart on film as he explains his theories.

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<p>Director David Fincher has 'Peter Proud' on his mind</p>

Director David Fincher has 'Peter Proud' on his mind

David Fincher reincarnates 'Peter Proud'

Reunites with his 'Se7en' screenwriter

David Fincher directing a full-on horror film?

Sign me up now.

David Fincher reuniting with the screenwriter of "Se7en" to update a flawed but fascinating '70s relic?

I'm sooooo onboard.

In fact, there's nothing about the news that David Fincher is considering directing a new version of "The Reincarnation Of Peter Proud" that is anything less than exciting to me.  Fincher gives good creepy.  Fact.

Sure, it's another remake, and I'm as weary of those as everyone else, but this isn't just some hack knocking out yet another '80s slasher update because he's convinced there's a market for it.  Fincher is one of those guys who has long since proven that he'll tell the stories he wants to tell, and he'll tell them his way.  He's not just going to take any gig at this point in his career.  He's able to pick and choose, and the best scripts in town end up on his desk.

So when he says there's a reason to remake "The Reincarnation Of Peter Proud," I would tend to take him seriously.  I have two distinct memories of the story.  I read Max Ehrlich's book first, because my mom had it in the house.  They never would have taken me to see a horror film at that age.  I was five when the film came out.  The book was just one of many in the stacks around the house, and I was a precocious reader, so it was only a few years later that I was pillaging the stacks specifically for horror or otherwise forbidden materials.  I remember the book disturbing me, really working on me.  

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<p>&nbsp;Country superstar Kenny Chesney is hitting movie screens in 3D in April of 2010</p>

 Country superstar Kenny Chesney is hitting movie screens in 3D in April of 2010

Credit: Craig O'Neal

Kenny Chesney sets release of 3D concert film

Is this the future of live music on the big screen?

Last year, one of my favorite films was the amazing visual experience that was "U2-3D," and not because I'm a fan of the band.  I mean, I am, but that's not what made me love the film.  Instead, I flipped for it because I feel like it is a signpost on the road to the future of live performance.

I live in Los Angeles, and any time I want a ticket to see anything live that is even remotely possible, I log onto the Ticketmaster website, enter my credit card information, and then weep bitter tears of failure.  No matter if I'm able to sign in ten seconds after a sale starts or not.  It is impossible to get good seats for anything here unless you're willing to go through one of those legal scalpers and pay two years worth of your child's future college tuition to get the seats.  I hate it, and it's essentially turned me off from being a fan of live music altogether.

But if there was a way for me to go to a theater and pay $25 for a reserved seat and watch a live 3D simulcast of, say, Radiohead live at Wembley Stadium... well, I'd do that for every single artist I'm interested in.  I'd do that a few times a month if the programming was available.  For bands I love, I wouldn't have to think twice about it.  Watching "U2-3D" wasn't the same thing as being at a live show... in many ways, it was better.  I've never had a seat as good as the one offered up by "U2-3D," especially on an IMAX screen, because there is no such seat.  The feeling of being at the live event was overwhelming, but it was like being on a God's-eye harness, hanging right over the crowd, moving up to the performers at times, then out over the huge Argentinian stadium at other times.  A remarkable sensation, and an overwhelming visual experience.  Some of that is because Mark Pellington is a very skilled filmmaker with a history of shooting live performance, but the format itself contributed to the feeling.

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<p>Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. follow clues in 'Sherlock Holmes,' and they want you to do the same with a new online RPG</p>

Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. follow clues in 'Sherlock Holmes,' and they want you to do the same with a new online RPG

Credit: Warner Bros.

A new trailer and an online RPG let you play 'Sherlock Holmes' with Robert Downey Jr

You just need to find your own Watson or Holmes to play with for the game

Gotta say... I love this idea.

By now, you've probably seen something from the new "Sherlock Holmes," and it seems like people are reacting in one of two ways:  either they think it looks like fun, a logical reinterpretation of the Holmes characters and stories in a post-"Pirates Of The Caribbean" world, or they're freaked out and outraged about all the action in what is supposed to be a largely cerebral affair.

After all, Sherlock Holmes is the greatest detective in the world, right?  This is a man whose keen powers of observation make him appear almost superhuman to the people around him, and who uses his friend Dr. John Watson as a sounding board, to help him work out his elaborate solutions to some of the most elaborate mysteries of his age.  That friendship is one of the most important things about the Holmes stories, and it's one of the main things that the new film focuses on, starting at the point where Watson is considering marriage, which would leave Holmes flying solo.  The awkward space this creates between them is as much of a problem to be solved in the movie as any mystery, and the interplay between them is one of those things that has to work if the film has any hope of success.

Now Warner Bros. has launched a really smart introduction to the world of this new "Sherlock Holmes," which stars Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as the famous friends.  "221B," named for the street location of their home, is a two-person role-playing game that uses Facebook and other internet resources to set up clues to mysteries that you need to work together to solve.

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