Comic-Con’s been over for a week and a half and the geek news is flying.
* Mike Fleming is claiming a Finke “Toldja!” for the news that Disney and “Tron: Legacy” director Joseph Kosinski are going ahead with a film version of the comic book, “Oblivion.” I’m not familiar with the book so, should I be more excited about this than I am? Of course, having recently rewatched the original “Tron” I’m even less excited about his other movie. I’m sorry, but it’s got to be one of the thinnest excuses for a piece of entertainment I’ve ever seen. A few interesting visuals aside, it’s easily one of the weakest efforts Disney has ever been associated with as far as I can see. It’s lingering appeal is a complete mystery to me.
* As rumors of the day go, I find this one even less believable than most. That idea is that Quentin Tarantino may be “attached” to what had previously been Sam Raimi’s new version of William Gibson’s influential pulp character, the Shadow — who became best known via a popular thirties radio show starring a very young Orson Welles. I’m a fan of the character and of Tarantino, so I certainly wouldn’t mind this being true. It just feels significantly off from Mr. Tarantino’s many obsessions, though considering his delving into thirties and forties cinema for “Inglourious Basterds,” you never know.
Also, I don’t dig the sort of glib, information-free dissing the character has been taking at various blogs by people who are likely not familiar with the pulp, radio, or comics version of the character but who may know the unsuccessful 1994 film starring written by David Koepp and directed by Russel Mulcahy. (People seem to want to blame Alec Baldwin for this, as if he wrote and directed it. Do people even understand how movies are made and that actors just don’t make up the words and story on the spot?) You can see my response in comments at the Playlist.
* The genius of “Blade Runner” notwithstanding, I’m personally not at all sure Ridley Scott is the right director for it. However, news that David Webb Peoples, the great screenwriter of that classic and the even greater “Unforgiven,” is taking on Joe Haldeman’s Vietnam-era science-fiction classic, “The Forever War” has to be a very good thing.
* According to Cinematical, actor Jay Baruchel (who presumably would have been playing one young sidekick or another) told them that the shelved movie about DC’s Justice League of America to be directed by the terrific Australian director George Miller — a guy whose career is flanked by the poles of “Babe” and “Mad Max” — would have been “dark, brutal and gory.” Wasn’t that movie called “Watchmen“?
* I love Anne Thompson, but I’m nevertheless not sure that taking M. Night Shymalan’s name off it makes the trailer for “Devil” look any better than it is. On the other hand, “The Night Chronicles” is a really unfortunate name. She’s right about the unchecked ego thing, I fear.
* I enjoy the work of Samuel L. Jackson as much as anyone, but to me, even a teaser trailer needs more than a person’s voice to work, even if Joss Whedon is really making an “Avengers” movies. (The “awesome” factor is just starting to sink in with me there.)
* Speaking of Mr. Whedon, he and J.J. Abrams recently go sucked into the ongoing 3-D “resistance” by the New York Times. He responded humorously today, though if someone can explain to me what he actually meant, I’d be grateful. On the other hand, considering that the maybe no-longer-being-converted-to-3D “The Cabin in the Woods”, co-written and produced by Whedon, remains in MGM limbo, co-writer-director Drew Goddard’s question 11 is kind of salient.
* After wasting spending at least $24 or so watching the second and entirely regrettable “Star Wars” trilogy, it’s nice to know that maybe a buck or two of that will be going to various good causes. Apparently, George Lucas, along with other industry wealthy guys Ted Turner and Barry Diller, has taken the Bill Gates/Warren Buffett “giving oath” in which billionaires pledge to give most of their wealth to charity. I could give a political rant about the vast greed and selfishness among the moneyed classes of our time, but the short version is it’s a great idea that I hope becomes an out-and-out fad. As long as I don’t have to watch any more of his boring post-eighties movies, I forgive him everything, much as I forgave Ted Turner for colorizing black and white movies after founding TCM — and not showing colorized movies on it. Now I doubly forgive Mr. Turner.
* Viggo Mortenson and Amy Adams are joining the cast of director Walter Salles’ version of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” to be co-produced by Francis Coppola. It’s been a while since I’ve read the book — which is half brilliant and half kind of silly, as I recall — but Mortenson’s character is supposedly based on the late William S. Burroughs. That should be interesting.
* And here’s a publication I don’t link to so often. Gabrielle Birkner of The Jewish Daily Forward has a unique confession regarding everyone’s favorite film acting Jewish American Prince: “Paul Rudd Was My Bat Mitvah DJ” Check this out. Remember, a big part of being a truly good actor is loosing your fear of embarrassment.