<p>Mariette Hartley takes a quick break from a Polaroid commercial to menace the hero of 'Genesis II' with her two navels and her rhythm stick</p>

Mariette Hartley takes a quick break from a Polaroid commercial to menace the hero of 'Genesis II' with her two navels and her rhythm stick

Credit: Warner Archives

QuickFix: 'Genesis II' on DVD

Warner Archive releases a long-lost Roddenberry pilot

No, I have not abandoned my plan to write up everything I see this year.  I'm just off to a slow start for the year.  I saw two films yesterday that I can't write up because of embargo, "Creation" and "Legion" (yes, it was a very Paul Bettany Friday), but I've got a few titles to catch up on, and I'm watching a triple feature tonight while I do some other work, so I'll have plenty to share this weekend.

I love the Warner Archives program.  I think it's a precursor to what studios will eventually offer via subscription once we've all got crazy fat broadband pipes into the house.  It really shouldn't be considered a shock that some titles aren't considered "commercial" enough to get a regular DVD release, complete with marketing costs, but that doesn't mean those titles should remain lost in home video limbo forever.  Even if they're not great films, the curiosity factor makes some of them worth seeing.

In this case, I've been curious about "Genesis II," a failed Gene Roddenberry pilot, since I read an article about it in Starlog magazine about a thousand years ago.  Alex Cord stars as Dylan Hunt, a scientist who is part of a NASA program to perfect suspended animation for astronauts on long-distance interstellar exploration.  As the head of the program, he decides to test it on himself (because I'm sure that's NASA protocol) and, unsurprisingly, it goes badly.  So badly that whe he wakes up, it's hundreds of years later and civilization as he knows it has collapsed completely.

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<p>Would buy a monkey from Ricardo Montalban? &nbsp;How about if he was a radical revolutionary played by Roddy McDowell?&nbsp; No?&nbsp; Well, Fox didn't either, darn it.</p>

Would buy a monkey from Ricardo Montalban?  How about if he was a radical revolutionary played by Roddy McDowell?  No?  Well, Fox didn't either, darn it.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

TMR: Who killed Scott Frank's 'Apes' and a new 'Kick-Ass' trailer

Plus: James Cameron wants to bomb Japan and Disney goes 3D at home, too

Welcome to The Morning Read.

Wow, the schedule's starting to get complicated already, and we're still about two weeks away from the start of Sundance.  I'm going to have to give up sleeping this year, I think.  You don't need that, do you?

Over at CHUD, Devin Faraci broke the news that Scott Frank's proposed reboot of the "Planet Of The Apes" franchise, tentatively titled "Caesar," has been tabled.  That is a shame, because I think what Frank was planning sounded fascinating, and if you want to know what might have been, read Devin's initial report from a while ago.  But I'm not surprised.  There hasn't really been much of a regime change since the last "Planet Of The Apes" by Tim Burton, and you saw what sort of empty, stupid spectacle that was.  Why would they suddenly grow some taste and decide to make a smart and thoughtful movie using the "Apes" characters?  Frank's film sounded expensive and dark and idea-driven.  My hope now is that some other studio lets Scott Frank write and direct a big movie, because he's proven himself as both writer and director at this point, and the process he's been through for the last few years has gotten him comfortable with the idea of working on a mega-budget FX film.  One of the smartest dudes in town is all dressed up with no place to go.  Let's not leave him that way, eh?

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<p>I wonder if she knows she has something on her face in this scene from the new documentary 'The Dungeon Masters'</p>

I wonder if she knows she has something on her face in this scene from the new documentary 'The Dungeon Masters'

Credit: Cinetic Media

WATCH: Our exclusive trailer premiere of the documentary 'The Dungeon Masters'

Plus we'll tell you where you can see it starting February 12

I missed this one at SXSW and Toronto, which seems to be a mantra of mine no matter how many films I see at these festivals, but I'm very interested.  I thought Keven McAlester's last film "You're Gonna Miss Me" was sort of awesome, a look at rock icon Roky Erickson and his long struggle with mental illness.  And there's no doubt that the subject matter of people who are wrapped up in the world of "Dungeons & Dragons" is potentially ripe for the right filmmaker.  I'm curious about tone and about how much respect he does or doesn't pay to these people, and now, thanks to Amazon VOD as well as iTunes and Netflix, I'm going to get my chance to find out.

Check out this description:

"From award-winning filmmaker Keven McAlester (“You’re Gonna Miss Me”) comes this acclaimed documentary about the lives of ordinary Americans who are consumed and obsessed by the legendary game “Dungeons & Dragons.” An evil drow elf is displaced by Hurricane Katrina. A sanitation worker lures friends into a “Sphere of Annihilation.” A failed super-villain starts a cable-access show involving ninjas, puppets, and a cooking segment. These are the characters, real and imagined, of Keven McAlester’s documentary, a selection of the Toronto and SXSW Film Festivals.

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<p>Ray Milland gives new meaning to the term 'bloodshot' in a scene from Roger Corman's 'X - The Man With X-Ray Eyes'&nbsp;</p>

Ray Milland gives new meaning to the term 'bloodshot' in a scene from Roger Corman's 'X - The Man With X-Ray Eyes' 

Credit: MGM Home Video

Motion/Captured Must-See: 'X, The Man With X-Ray Eyes'

Low-budget '60s horror proves ideas don't cost a thing

Welcome to The Motion/Captured Must-See Project.

I started this last year, and it got side-tracked as the end of the year came hurtling towards me. 

I haven't abandoned it, though, and starting now, and continuing this year, we're going to make this an every Thursday part of the blog.  I decided to do the first 26 entries on the list as an alphabetical A-Z run, and so today, we continue that.  Once I reach "Z," though, we'll be opening it up to whatever I consider appropriate.  Sometimes it'll be themed to things happening in pop culure, sometimes it'll just be something on my mind, but each and every week, I hope to write about a film I consider an essential part of the education of any true film freak.

One of the sad things about the Academy's decision to move the honorary awards to a separate ceremony is that most of America has no idea that Roger Corman is now an Oscar winner.  And as far as I'm concerned, it's long overdue.  Corman's impact on American cinema is impossible to estimate, but if you erased every person he ever helped get started in this industry, the last 40 years of film would look totally different.  Like many people, I was shocked byhow dismissive much of the reaction to the award was in print and online, and I was particularly struck by just how wrong Eric Snider's complete dismissal of Corman was, but his opinion is probably closer to what the general public feels when they hear the name, if they know who he is at all.

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<p>You might want to put some towels down when 3D&nbsp;TV&nbsp;arrives later this year from a variety of manufacturers, including Sony BRAVIA, Philips, and more.</p>

You might want to put some towels down when 3D TV arrives later this year from a variety of manufacturers, including Sony BRAVIA, Philips, and more.

3D TV is coming soon, and Sony, IMAX, and Discovery want you to be part of it

Between BluRays and a dedicated TV channel, the revolution is here

It's interesting... the studios made such a big deal at first about how 3D was going to be the thing that drove people back to the theaters, and based on the performance of "Avatar," they could make that case quite successfully right now.

And yet all I'm hearing right now is about the push to get 3D into the home, and with the Consumer Electronics Show in full-swing in Vegas right now, there's tons of breaking news about the format and what we can expect from it every day.  Sony made a splash this morning with the following news:

Culver City, CA (January 7, 2010) – To coincide with the rollout of 3D electronics hardware from Sony Electronics, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) today announced the studio will begin releasing 3D content on Blu-ray Disc™ worldwide in 2010.

The first planned SPHE Blu-ray 3D release will be the recent animated blockbuster “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs,” timed to the availability of Sony Electronics’ 3D compatible BRAVIA® LCD TVs and 3D compatible Blu-ray disc players in the summer of 2010. More information about the upcoming Blu-ray 3D edition of “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs,” as well as other future SPHE Blu-ray 3D releases, will be announced in the Spring of 2010.

“3D entertainment on Blu-ray is poised to revolutionize the home viewing experience in much the same way that high-definition televisions and Blu-ray Disc have over the past several years,” said SPHE worldwide president David Bishop. “SPHE is proud to lead the way in providing compelling 3D entertainment to complement the new hardware entering the marketplace.”

I fully intend to pick up one of those BRAVIA 3D sets when they're released this summer.  I know people who are saving money for that new Apple tablet thing... not me.  I want a 3D HD set and a compatible player, because I've seen a few tests that have blown my mind.

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<p>Martin Compston, Gemma Arterton, and Eddie Marsan make a winning trio in the kidnapping drama 'The Disappearance Of Alice Creed'&nbsp;</p>

Martin Compston, Gemma Arterton, and Eddie Marsan make a winning trio in the kidnapping drama 'The Disappearance Of Alice Creed' 

Credit: CinemaNX

The M/C Review: 'The Disappearance Of Alice Creed' just plain works

Suspense drama doesn't reinvent the form, but it gets it all just right

One of the most constant criticisms I've heard of "Avatar" is "the story isn't original."  And while I understand why people want to be knocked out by something they've never seen before, I don't think the only valid form of storytelling is trying to be completely original.  Not every movie is going to be "Adaptation".  For me, it's not really about the story being told so much as it is about how that story is told.

Case in point:  "The Disappearance Of Alice Creed."

I was at Toronto this year, seeing whatever I could see, taking recommendations, and since I was up there without a press badge, I was sort of at the mercy of the fates.  I had never heard of this film until I was outside a theater and Michael Lerman, a friend from the festival circuit, started raving about how great it was.  I was lucky enough to sneak into the only other screening of the film, thanks to Lerman putting me in touch with the right people, and I still owe him a thank you for the suggestion.

Written and directed by J Blakeson (and, yes, that's how he bills himself), this is probably the hundredth indie kidnapping drama I've seen I started working as a professional reviewer.  So many of them fall into a familiar pattern, and there's little or nothing they can do to liven up the formula. As soon as this film started, I sort of involuntarily sunk down in my seat, convinced I was in for a whole lot of been-there-done-that.

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<p>In Edgar Wright's 'Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,' Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) prepares to whup some ass with a flaming sword.&nbsp; Call it a lightsaber, and comic artist Bryan Lee O'Malley and Lucasfilm legal will whup some ass of their own.</p>

In Edgar Wright's 'Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,' Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) prepares to whup some ass with a flaming sword.  Call it a lightsaber, and comic artist Bryan Lee O'Malley and Lucasfilm legal will whup some ass of their own.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Universal releases preview images for 'Scott Pilgrim,' 'Your Highness,' and more

'Green Zone,' 'MacGruber,' and some 'Little Fockers' also featured

When I look at the image of Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), flaming sword in hand, with Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzmann) looking down at him and Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in the background, it is hard for me to believe that the film really exists and that it's really coming out this year.  It's even harder for me to believe that I actually stood on that set in Toronto.

Yet... it's true.

And if you're not yet familiar with the material, I can understand why these early images from "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" might not blow your mind.  But based on how great "Shaun Of The Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" are, one would hope you might get excited based on the knowledge that this is the new film from director Edgar Wright.  Or maybe the premise hooks you the same way it did when I first heard about the books, before there was a film in development.  A young guy, Scott Pilgrim, is basically just drifting through his life in Toronto, in a band with his friends, sort of dating a high school girl, when suddenly he meets a girl named Ramona Flowers  who rocks his world.  He wants nothing more than to date her, but she tells him that in order for that to happen, he will have to defeat all seven of her evil ex-boyfriends in battle.

Uhhhh... awesome?

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<p>Benecio Del Toro stars as Lawrence Talbot in 'The Wolf Man,' which is finally being released this spring after a rocky production process</p>

Benecio Del Toro stars as Lawrence Talbot in 'The Wolf Man,' which is finally being released this spring after a rocky production process

Credit: Universal Pictures

TMR: Sean Penn's still a Stooge and are there really two cuts of 'The Wolf Man'?

Plus Woody Allen welcomes in the New Year and George Lucas chats with Jon Stewart

Welcome to The Morning Read.

As I was working yesterday on some articles, I was inspired by the "10 best man-in-gorilla-suit movies" list by Mr. Beaks at AICN to throw on some Three Stooges shorts.  Those guys knew the value of a good man-in-a-gorilla-suit gag, and sure enough, about two shorts into the disc I randomly picked, there was an entire bit about a mad scientist who wanted to put Curly's brain in a gorilla's body.  Good stuff.

And obviously there's something about the simple vulgarity of the Three Stooges that endures.  As long as I've known the Farrelly Brothers, they've been interested in making a movie about the Stooges.  It's not a biopic, though.  It's more of an anthology film, with several Stooges shorts in succession.  The film seemed to hit a development wall just as it was getting ready to move in front of the camera when Sean Penn dropped out last year so he could focus on his family.  According to a report in yesterday's Boston Herald, Penn is now back onboard.  We did a little checking around on our own, and it sounds to me like the Farrellys are planning for a very busy next year and a half, as they get ready to shoot one film for Fox and then shoot "The Three Stooges" right afterwards.  That, of course, depends on MGM's financial restructuring, just as "Bond 23" does, but I'm guessing Jim Carrey hasn't been packing on pounds for nothing.

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<p>Hit Girl is trying to be polite, so don't make her angry. &nbsp;Just tell her you'll be at the opening night screening of SXSW this year and no one has to get hurt.</p>

Hit Girl is trying to be polite, so don't make her angry.  Just tell her you'll be at the opening night screening of SXSW this year and no one has to get hurt.

Credit: Lionsgate/MARV

SXSW this year is totally going to Kick Ass

New docs from James Franco on 'Saturday NIght Live' and 'Hubble 3D' also announced

Earlier today, I was goofing around on Twitter (big surprise) and Rebecca Feferman, who is in charge of press and publicity for South By Southwest (SXSW) was asking if anyone wanted to guess what movie might be opening the festival this year.

I wrote back, "Beats me, but I bet it will kick ass."

I got this e-mail a few minutes later as a reward for guessing it right.  Here are the first official titles announced for the fest, and trust me... if you're able to get there for opening night, "Kick-Ass" is totally worth it.

--------

Austin, Texas -- January 6, 2010 – Earlier today, the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival announced it will host the world premiere of Lionsgate and Marv Films’ Kick-Ass for its 2010 Opening Night.  A twisted, funny, high-octane adventure, based on the comic written by Mark Millar and John S. Romita, Jr., Kick-Ass was directed by Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust) from a screenplay by Jane Goldman & Vaughn. The South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival runs March 12 – 20, 2010 in Austin, Texas.

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<p>Daniel Craig and Gemma Arterton in 'Quantum Of Solace,' which also signed an upscale director to 'class up' the Bond franchise... but did it work?</p>

Daniel Craig and Gemma Arterton in 'Quantum Of Solace,' which also signed an upscale director to 'class up' the Bond franchise... but did it work?

Credit: Sony/MGM

Sam Mendes in discussions to direct 'James Bond 23,' but when will they make it?

The sale of MGM complicates the sequel's development

Daniel Craig is James Bond.

And by that, I mean we finally have the right guy for the job, a guy who should be making a James Bond movie every four months, a guy who wears the role like a tailored tuxedo.

And yet so far, we've got one great movie, one movie that felt like a coda to that movie, and then a whoooooole lot of development angst.  And that's all.

I love the notion of Peter Morgan as the first-chair screenwriter on a new Bond film.  Action is something that can always be tweaked and finessed later, but watching a James Bond film that had an actual great plot and compelling characters would be a welcome surprise.  Morgan has proven himself to be a keen observer of the dynamics of power, and that's important in the world of Bond.  "Casino Royale" and "Quantum Of Solace" set up a great organization of shadowy bad guys and a wonderful ally in the form of Felix Leiter, and I hope that whatever Morgan did built from that foundation.  I know Purvis and Wade will be the guys who actually polish the script and work on it during production, but that's actually not a bad thing... they can build a stunt sequence, and they're experts at dealing with the demands of Broccoli and Wilson at this point.  As long as Morgan wrote something really strong to start with, I think it's all looking good.

The problem right now is that MGM is for sale

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