TCA: Human Target

If you’re finding yourself concerned that Fox’s “Human Target” might tarnish your memory of Rick Springfield’s interpretation of the DC Comics character, then it means 1) you’ve got a really long memory, and 2) your memory is perhaps a little faulty, because Springfield’s version really wasn’t that good. Fortunately, what I’ve seen of the new “Human Target” actually is pretty good…if you like action-packed spectaculars, that is.

“Yeah, the show is a lot about action,” admits McG, one of the series’ executive producers. “But, truthfully, what I respond to mostly about the show is indeed the writing and the ability for these three guys to entertain. My favorite moments in the show are the character moments between what I think is an interesting triangle where you have three characters that occupy very different space. There’s nothing about each that would step on the other’s toes, and that, for me, makes it very entertaining to watch.”

The first episode takes place on a train, the second on a plane, and, yes, there’ll be an episode set on a boat coming up in due course. (Chi McBride claims there’s also one on a tractor, but we’re pretty sure he’s kidding.) Yes, set-piece stuff has been done to death via just about every mode of transportation there is, but McG’s fellow executive producer, Jonathan E. Steinberg, swears that they’re trying to expand beyond the predictable.

“We’re trying to do something you’ve never seen before in every one of them,” he says. “That’s the challenge for us: to kind of wade into a genre that’s been trod over for a long time and find a way to turn it on to you every week.”

Taking the original comic book character and making him into a TV series wasn’t quite as easy in 2009 as it was back when Springfield was playing the part, owing to the reinvention of the Human Target through DC’s Vertigo line of comics. “When I tell people that I was doing research for the character, I was reading the DC Comics,” said Valley. “Then I started reading the Vertigo Comics, and there seems to be a fairly significant departure when it goes into Vertigo. The characters seem to become a little bit thinner, a little more introverted, and a little more obsessed with his own existentialism. And the original DC character seemed like a little more like what Jon has on the page, actually. So in terms of kind of sticking with what the original character was, I think we are right in line.”

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Of movies and madness on a Monday

Movie news bits and pieces tonight.

* Universal may be having a bad year, but Sony is doing just fine.

* Disney has apparently ditched a McG-spearheaded sort-of prequel to “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” focusing on the “origin” of Captain Nemo and his fabulous submarine, the Nautilus. Apparently, pirates on the water are better than mysterious antiheroes underneath it.

20000_leagues_under_the_sea_1954

* Kim Masters introduces us to “the movie theater of the future,” which sounds an awful lot like no movie theater at all to me. With people buying fewer DVDs, I supposed it’s necessary for the studios to experiment with delivery systems and new approaches, but undercutting theater owners won’t help anyone in the long run. The focus should be largely on making moviegoing better, cheaper (or at least providing more value), and more of an event for filmgoers of all ages — while also maybe utilizing our enormous numbers of screens to offer more choices. Just a thought.

* Have you ever heard of fifties B-movie and sixties TV director Paul Wendkos? I just barely recognized the name and I’m a gigantic geek. C. Jerry Kuttner has some thoughts on his passing.

* That item above is via The Auteurs Daily and so is this item. Extreme meta and some inside baseball is involved, so caution is advised. So, was using the expression  “screw-up,” a screw-up? That’s the question facing Anne Thompson who, in post I linked to and left a brief comment at last week about a new job for L.A. Weekly movie critic Scott Foundas, had in passing pretty much said that former New York Film Festival programmer Kent Jones had apparently been guilty of some sort of big mistake, with the implied result being his departure. Anyhow, Mr. Jones has friends and one of them was Manohla Dargis of the New York Times. I really don’t know any of the specifics enough to even contemplate a comment on whose right and wrong here — the ins and outs of festivals and their personnel hasn’t exactly been on my radar — but fans of excess verbiage might want to take a look at the ‘net equivalent of a non-lethal multi-car pile-up that eventually involved Mr. Foundas as well.

* Bad news for cinephiles. Edward Copeland, whose  involvement in the movie-geek blogosphere predates my own and lots of others by some time, is taking a break from blogging because of health concerns. For as long as his break lasts, he will certainly be missed. Get better soon, Edward.

  

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Weekend at the Multiplex (Updated)

Christian Bale contemplates his eyelineHey folks. Now, if anyone out there remembers the series of “Multiplex Mayhem” posts I was writing back in the dark days of the late, late Bush Administration, I’m returning in a different, and briefer form. For this week and next, I’ll be covering the weekend box office, and then, starting next month, there will be more from me on movies in general here, and that’s all I’m saying for the time being.

This big movie Memorial Day weekend, though no longer the official start of summer movie season, brings us too major tentpole releases from the big studios: Warner’s “Terminator Salvation” and Fox’s “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.” The PG-13 Terminator reboot attempt is directed by McG, who Bullz-Eye’s Jason Zingale (who kinda sorta liked the movie) terms a “poor man’s Michael Bay.” Other critics were less charitable, and the film is getting easily the worst reviews in the entire history of the “Terminator” franchise, with the Rotten Tomatoes crowd giving it an underwhelming 35% “fresh” and generally seeming a little angry with star Christian Bale for walking into their collective eyeline. Not that any of that will matter to weekend grosses — and I do expect this to be the big winner of the long holiday weekend. However, if audiences agree that it really is inferior to prior “Terminator” flicks, it’s possible there will be a bigger drop-off later than expected. Still, at last night’s midnight’s screenings, it raked in a cool $3 million from the Red Bull drinking legions.

The sequel to 2006’s entirely unacclaimed “Night at the Museum” should also do well regardless of notices because it combines the only sure formula for box office success — a kid-friendly production that offers something, anything, to parents as well. In this case, Ben Stiller and a very strong supporting cast, even if the result had Roger Ebert squirming in boredom and remembering one of the truer critical refrains of all time:

I found myself yet once again echoing the frequent cry of Gene Siskel: Why not just give us a documentary of the same actors having lunch?

Still, the parents I know are mostly grateful for any movie that doesn’t involve CGI rodents eating their own feces, and at least this one encourages kids to go to museums.

And there is another option, that is the latest, at this point entirely unreviewed Wayans Brother’s spoof film from Paramount and MTV, “Dance Flick,” which at least has a reasonably funny trailer and Amy Sedaris (sister of writer/public radio superstar David Sedaris, frequent comedy companion of Stephen Colbert, before he was having portions of space stations named after him). Carl DiOrio says it will do well if can break out of the euphemistic “urban market”? Young folks looking for a comedy will likely go if they can’t get into something else, but something tells me that both “urban” people and their paler “suburban” friends will have other films to watch considering that, new releases aside, “Star Trek” and “Angels and Demons” are still very strong at the multiplex.

In limited release, we have Steve Soderbergh’s “The Girlfriend Experience” starring thinking man’s porn star Sasha Grey in a sexy but non-porn role which makes it something of a must for cinephile horndogs the world over. And because I’m the retro-guy who occasionally likes the same movies your grandma does, I feel compelled to mention both “The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story,” about the guys responsible for the vast bulk of the pre-“Little Mermaid” Disney songs, and the Noel Coward adaptation “Easy Virtue,” which looks like it would go down very well with a nice dry martini made with a good, dry English gin. But you’ll want to see Sasha, won’t you?

UPDATE: Apparently some disagree with what I thought was a conventional-wisdom friendly guess about the weekend’s winner, since “Terminator” is such a time-tested franchise. Nikki Finke says it will be neck and neck but those famed “insiders” are predicting immense numbers for “Museum.” We’ll see.

  

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Watch four minutes from “Terminator Salvation”!

The highly anticipated new installment of “The Terminator” film franchise is set in post-apocalyptic 2018. John Connor is the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators. But the future that Connor was raised to believe in is altered in part by the appearance of Marcus Wright, a stranger whose last memory is of being on death row. Connor must decide whether Marcus has been sent from the future, or rescued from the past. As Skynet prepares its final onslaught, Connor and Marcus both embark on an odyssey that takes them into the heart of Skynet’s operations, where they uncover the terrible secret behind the possible annihilation of mankind.

Watch the new four-minute Web promo below — and follow Bullz-Eye’s coverage of the movie here!


  

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New York Comic-Con 2009: The Wrap-Up

You know you’re on the right bus for Comic-Con when a guy comes aboard wearing a Flash t-shirt…and he’s followed a guy toting two enormous bags in which to carry swag…and then that guy is followed by Darth Vader.

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe Lord Vader wasn’t actually on the bus with me, but he was most certainly present – and in various heights, weights, shapes, and sizes, no less – during the course of the New York Comic-Con, which took place at New York’s Javitz Center from February 6th through the 8th.

Our man Jason Zingale has been our resident San Diego Comic-Con attendee for the past couple of years, but Bullz-Eye was also in the house for last year’s NYCC, thanks to our man in New York, Jonathan Flax. (Granted, he’s often a quiet man, but he’s still there for us when we need him.) This year, however, I couldn’t resist the chance to take in Comic-Con for myself. The San Diego event takes place immediately after I’ve already spent two-and-a-half weeks in L.A. for the July TCA Press Tour, and by that point, I just can’t be away from my wife and daughter any longer; fortunately, the NYCC takes place long enough after the January TCA tour that I was able to feel comfortable heading out of town to attend. It was disappointing that I had to take in all of the sights, sounds, and events all by my lonesome, but lord knows there were plenty of other people with whom I was sharing the experience. I might’ve come by myself, but I was in no way alone.

Day 1:

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