Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tim Burton's SUPERMAN LIVES Sees New Life on Kickstarter

No PhotoShop here, ladies and gents.

Just in case you were wondering, yes, this is a really big deal.

In the late 1990s, Tim Burton was all set to bring his own vision of Superman to the screen following the success of his two Batman films. The title? SUPERMAN LIVES (from a script written by Kevin Smith). The star? Nicolas Cage. The villain? Braniac.

Unfortunately, the movie gods unleashed their wrath upon the project, shelving the film permanently. But much more fortunately for anyone who would have loved to see this surefire clusterf*** of crazy see the light of day, METALOCALYPSE's Jon Schnepp is spearheading what may be the most worthwhile Kickstarter investment you'll ever make: a documentary on the abandoned film.

Check out his proposal for THE DEATH OF "SUPERMAN LIVES": WHAT HAPPENED?:

This is a brilliant idea, and a documentary that I hope to see on my shelf one day. Head over to Schnepp's Kickstarter page to get the full rundown and donate to the cause. Godspeed, Mr. Schnepp.

Monday, January 28, 2013

2012 in Comics: Best Series of the Year

After countless hours of quality comic-book reading time in 2012 (thanks to the wonderful folks at Bridge City Comics and the invaluable Multnomah County library system), I can honestly say it was a spectacular year for comic fans, and the future is nothing but bright.

Sure, some big things went down in the world of superheroes last year, but other than one particular pointy-eared hero, you won't find much Marvel or DC on this list. If you're new to the medium, most of these books would make for wonderful introductions. Here are my top picks for some of the best ongoing series of the year!

*Note: While all of these series are available on the digital reading platform Comixology –  on smart phones, tablets, and right on your computer screen – many first issues are also offered there for free! Simply create a free account and you're ready to get reading.


Writer: Ed Brubaker – Artist: Sean Phillips
Publisher: Image Comics

The Rundown: A classy noir with a supernatural horror twist, following an entrancing femme fatale and the men who stumble into her path.

I'm an absolute sucker for a solid noir tale, and even more of a sucker for supernatural horror. So you can imagine my excitement when this series was announced, pairing longtime creative partners Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (best known for their CRIMINAL series, among many other credits).

With tight and stylish writing, juicy cliffhangers, and stunning artwork, FATALE is a huge success each and every issue.

Vol. 1: Death Chases Me

Buy It:                                      

Read It Now:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spoiler-Free Review: Snowtown (aka The Snowtown Murders)

Plot: Based on the true story of Australia's worst serial killer, John Bunting (Daniel Henshall), whose string of killings is often referred to as the "Bodies in Barrels Murders," this grounded interpretation narrows in on 16 year-old Jamie (Lucas Pittaway). After experiencing tragedies of his own, the impressionable teen falls under the wing of Bunting and his crusade of evil.

Review: How do you approach making a film about heinous slayings pulled from the headlines without destining it to a Wal-Mart bargain big alongside other true-life murder flicks such as Dahmer, Ed Gein, and Gacy? The answer is simple, but far from obvious: don't make it a horror movie. Writer-director Justin Kerzel, in his first feature, manages to approach this well-publicized story without the bells and whistles of typical horror and treats the material with a much more appropriate natural style, which makes the horrible crimes all the more disturbing.

It's been a long time since I've seen an entire ensemble cast master naturalism so perfectly, with particular emphasis on Henshall's entirely believable and utterly terrifying turn. By underplaying Bunting as seemingly nothing more than a charming guy-from-down-the-street, Henshall shows us just how easy it would be for a susceptible mind to be swayed by Bunting's magnetic personality. But as much as Henshall stands out, it really is the effort of the entire cast that makes Snowtown feel like it could be happening right next door.
Daniel Henshall as John Bunting

There's no way to address this film without mentioning its graphic content. Before the screening, a speaker reminded the audience several times that the film is indeed very violent, and that refunds would be given to those who left the theater within the first 25 minutes of the movie. Yes, many people couldn't stomach it; I haven't heard so many seats flipping back and forth since I saw Brokeback Mountain in my Eastern Oregon hometown of about 10,000 people. What makes the violence so unnerving is not the direct filming of the murders, which we actually get very little of thanks to Kurzel's knack for suggestion, but the reactions from the characters to what they're seeing. Because Jaime is shocked to the core by what he witnesses, we feel exactly the same way, which is much more unsettling than watching Jason tear a promiscuous teen in half with a machete. Don't be surprised if you catch yourself feeling like a silent participant in these appalling proceedings; such is the hypnotic nature of Snowtown.

If you think you can handle the content matter, I can't recommend Snowtown enough. It is one of the most uniquely unnerving cinematic experiences I have had in a long while, and many of its beautifully framed images will stick in my mind for years to come – for better or worse.

A word of warning, though: I would recommend not seeing this film in a densely-packed shopping mall on a Friday night. Coming out of the theater and having to face escalators and screeching teenagers was jarring, to say the least.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Spoiler-Free Review: Kill List

Viewed as part of the After Dark portion of the Portland International Film Festival. 

Plot: I read this several times before seeing Ben Wheatley's second feature film Kill List, and I heard it again from the speaker who introduced the screening: the less you know about this movie going in, the better. I will say that it involves a hitman (Neil Maskell), which you can gather from the title, and that what starts as a well-written family drama gradually morphs into something much more sinister.

Here's a little more help. If you enjoy any of the following films, you may want to check out Kill List:

- The Wicker Man (1973)
- In Bruges
- The Descent

Review:  More than anything else, Kill List deserves a great amount of credit for its ambition to blend the crime drama, psychological thriller, and horror genres into an effective 95-minute film. The script by Wheatley and Amy Jump invites us into the home of our lead character and fleshes out his relationship to his family and friends so well that, like all the best horror, we actually care about what happens to him.

One thing's for sure: this film is not for the squeamish. As the plot spirals into darkness, the level of unsettling violence rises. But more disturbing than the bloodshed is the path that Wheatley has laid out for his protagonist; I'm not exaggerating when I say that one particular moment of the film sent chills throughout my entire body and, when I re-lived the scene in my mind on the drive home, caused the hair on my arms to stand up straight.

Not to say that Kill List is perfect. I had no trouble with several aspects of the film being left up to the imagination of the audience, but there are a few pacing issues throughout that may cause restless viewers to shift in their seats. If you fall into this camp, do yourself a favor and hold strong through the final act, which should send genre fans home with a punch to the gut and more than a handful of questions to ponder with their friend/spouse/partner – who most likely thought the film was garbage.

Kill List debuted at South by Southwest last March, and receives a limited U.S. release on February 3. It is also available now on Video on Demand, if you're so inclined.

Friday, December 30, 2011

JoBlo Movie News Coverage: Day 5

In what seems to have become a pretty darn obnoxious trend, another high-profile movie character has been revealed through the underwhelming medium of children's toys.

Elaborating on what we have already seen revealed as a Pez dispenser, we now have a clearer look at new Spidey baddie The Lizard (played by Rhys Ifans) from the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man via a graphic on a remote control. This is probably the clearest shot we've seen yet, revealing the creature in all his scaly glory.

So what do you think? Is this a ballsy, fresh take on the character, or does he look a little too much like a Goomba from the Super Mario Bros. movie?

For reference, here's our Lizard:



Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man is in theaters July 3, 2012.

Source: Coming Soon


Say what you will about actors needing to keep their cotton-pickin' mouths shut, but I think it's refreshing to hear their realistic opinions on movies that...well, flat-out sucked.

After sharing his thoughts on the travesty that was M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening, Mark Wahlberg has returned to give MTV News his take on Tim Burton's colossal failure, 2001's Planet of the Apes.

As is often the case, it was a classic tale of studio meddling. "They didn't have the script right," Wahlberg said. "They had a release date before he had shot a foot of film. They were pushing him and pushing him in the wrong direction. You have got to let Tim do his thing."

But it wasn't all bad:

"I had no better time on any movie than I had working with Tim," he said. "I had the most amazing time with Tim. I run to be on the set with him." What do you mean, Mark, it wasn't as much fun as working with David O. Russell on I Heart Huckabees?

Wahlberg's view on both Planet of the Apes and The Happening? "It is what it is."

For details on Tim Burton's time spent "in the club," check out the full interview below:

Source: MTV


In one of his first projects back in front of the camera, Arnold Schwarzenegger is skipping over the usual suspects (terrorists, drug smugglers, etc.) and going head-to-head with the big man himself: the Devil.

Okay, so that's not the official word, but Schwarzenegger's 2013 action flick Black Sands has been re-titled Black Sunday, and the actor himself has been quoted as saying: "I'm a kind of angel, but I can not currently say more about this film." An angel, eh? In an action movie called Black Sunday? Sounds like End of Days 2 to me.

The film was originally about a one-man war against an arms dealer, so we'll see if they simply make the hero a bloodthirsty angel out for revenge. Let's be honest, I think we'd all pay good money to see that.

With The Last Stand, The Expendables 2, and now Black Sunday, who's excited for Arnold's big return?

Source: First Showing


Thursday, December 29, 2011

JoBlo Movie News Coverage: Day 4

If you thought the poster for Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive was deliciously retro, then prepare to feast your eyes on this new poster for Lee Daniels' (Precious) upcoming film, The Paperboy, that looks like something you'd scrounge up in a bargain bin full of 1970's VHS tapes. In a good way, of course.

After pulling a switcheroo with all four of its leading actors, The Paperboy is shaping up to be a promising little project. Based on the novel by Pete Dexter (who also wrote the screenplay), the film was originally set to star Bradley Cooper, Alex Pettyfer, Tobey Maguire, and Sofia Vergara. Personally, I think we got enough of an eyeliner-clad Maguire in Spider-Man 3, so it's John Cusack's turn to look a tad creepy.

Here's the synopsis from Rope of Silicon: The film is an adaptation of the Pete Dexter novel and follows Ward James (Matthew McConaughey), a Miami Times reporter who returns to his hometown to investigate the murder of a local sheriff who is eventually helped by his younger brother Jack (Efron) as they investigate the possible wrongful conviction of a man on death row. Throughout the process Jack falls for the woman (Nicole Kidman) whom the convict (John Cusack) has been romancing through prison correspondence.


Now that bits and pieces of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises have been released through a full-length trailer, IMAX prologue, and a bundle of production stills, cast members can finally open up a bit about the film. I stress a bit, because I'm sure that their secrecy contract inked in blood still exists in one form or another.

Hero Complex has nabbed a pretty interesting interview with Anne Hathaway, who will bring Catwoman to the screen once again after Halle Berry took the character and...well, we all know what happened there.

Hathaway on Nolan's Bat-universe:  

"Gotham City is full of grace. You look at Heath’s performance as the Joker, there was a lot of madness there but there was also a grace and he had a code there. There’s a lot of belief and codes of behavior in Gotham and my character has one, too. A lot of the way she moves and interacts with people is informed by her worldview. Chris has given us all such complex, defined, sophisticated worldviews that it’s just a matter of doing your homework and getting underneath the character’s skin."

Geeks around the world should be happy to know that Hathaway has familiarized herself with Catwoman's origin, and even looked to Batman creator Bob Kane's inspiration for the character, Hollywood starlet Hedy Lamarr.  

"I know this sounds odd, but her breathing is extraordinary. She takes these long, deep, languid breaths and exhales slowly. There’s a shot of her in [the 1933 film] 'Ecstasy' exhaling a cigarette and I took probably five breaths during her one exhale. So I started working on my breathing a lot."

For the full article, including Nolan's take on Hathaway in the role, head on over to Hero ComplexAlthough it should be known that the piece contains SPOILERS regarding specific details of a scene from the film. 

And just for kicks, here's the full-length trailer. Because you haven't already seen it 47 times, right?

The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters July 20, 2012.

Source: Hero Complex


MSN Russia has revealed a "new" trailer for next summer's gargantuan superhero mash-up, The Avengers. While it's generally the same thing we've been seeing for months, there is a good amount of additional footage that establishes the team a bit more.

The trailer is dubbed in Russian, of course, but someone was kind enough to provide English subtitles in the version below. So if you want to see a cute little exchange between Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson), more banter from Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), and some fresh shots of the team in action, have a look!

The Avengers will destroy the box office on May 4, 2012.  

Source: Coming Soon

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

JoBlo Movie News Coverage: Day 3

Several friends of mine have told me the same thing: "Dude, you have to check out Cloud Atlas, it'll blow your mind!" And then I head to the book store, pick up the thing, and quickly set it back down, defeated. But with the magic of cinema, I get to enjoy the sprawling sci-fi mish mash in a single evening at the movies!

A handful of stills and conceptual photos have been released for the 2012 adaptation of David Mitchell's experimental novel, giving us a taste of what to expect. Everything looks nice so far (that eerie ship sailing into a dystopian city being the best of the bunch), but to be honest, I think I know less about the project after seeing these pictures than I did before.

Following six interlocking stories that dabble in every genre known to man, Cloud Atlas is directed by Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis, stars the likes of Hugo Weaving, Tom Hanks, and Susan Sarandon, and is set to be released late next year.

Head over to Han Cinema for the full batch of pictures!


Looks like the "magic" of 3-D isn't putting butts in seats...

According to the Associated Press, movie ticket sales have sunk to a 16-year low. While this is certainly not the most surprising news, it does help to prove my theory: Didn't Joel Schumacher start making Batman movies about 16 years ago? 

So what is keeping the theaters empty? With all of our iPads, Kindles, and other fancy devices, it's easy to imagine people staying home and splurging on a new $0.99 app rather than shelling out fifty bucks for a night at the movies. Or could it be that we're all just sick of the onslaught of sequels, prequels, and reboots?

According to Warner Bros. general sales manager Jeff Goldstein, "It's not any one thing. It's a little bit of everything." The studio's most recent outing, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, brought in smaller audiences than its 2009 predecessor. And let's not even dabble with the flop that was Green Lantern, which ended up a $200 million misfire. 

Part of the reason why the 2011 box office appeared particularly gloomy was the looming shadow of 2010's saving grace, Avatar, which grossed $2.7 billion worldwide. Studios should take a hint from this indication that bigger is indeed better when it comes to ticket sales. 

And "big" might be too small a word for 2012's film roster, which includes The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, and The Hobbit, only to name a few. But will we break the habit and get ourselves out of the 16-year slump? Only time will tell. 


Brace yourselves, because The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the official poster for the 84th Academy Awards, and it looks like they're going for a new theme: Nostalgic and glamorous.

What's that, you say? That's always the theme of the Oscars? My mistake...

Judging by this by-the-numbers poster featuring floating screenshots of classic films like Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, and The Godfather, we shouldn't expect anything too interesting to occur at next year's ceremony. And with Billy Crystal hosting, it's sure to be a pleasant, if not particularly memorable evening. 

On the left is last year's poster, with 2012's poster on the right:

The 84th Academy Awards will air February 26, 2012 on ABC.

Source: Coming Soon