A quick note to mis Comic-Con compadres

Yes, I am now well ensconced here at Comic-Con, and I’m not breaking my planned semi-silence for some huge news scoop…well, it’s not a big scoop unless you happen to be down here and are a movie fan who enjoys freebies.  Okay, that’s everybody.

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Apparently Fox really wants to promote the heck out of “Machete” — a movie which we’ve certainly covered here before (because we can hardly wait to see it). Anyhow, tonight (i.e., Thursday 7/22/10)  it’s certain to be a mob at the 5 Star Parking lot at the corner of 5th Avenue and J Street where they’ll be free tacos, yeah, you heard me free tacos, from 5-to-8 p.m. At 9:00, they’ll be showing “exclusive” footage from “Machete” on a giant screen. Then, supposedly DJs, dancers, graffiti artsits and, oh yeah, more tacos — presumably the real taqueria kind, not the Jack-in-the-Box variety — as well as “tequila and cerveza for all.” Yes,  you read that right and, of course, you have to be 21 to get into this one. The first 100 get a t-shirt, but they’re probably already there.

I was sent an official looking invite, but gmail appears to be down right at the moment, so if you feel the need to print something out, I’ll have to refer you over here.

SELF INDULGENT MOVIE/COMIC BOOK NEWS ITEM: Highly acclaimed comics creator Kurt Busiek has made a deal with Working Title films for a movie version of his award-winning, long-running series, “Astro-City.” Busiek actually stopped by the legendary booth K1 in the Small Press Area where I can sometimes be found last night to visit with my frequently plugged here Comic-Con buddy Randy Reynaldo. (He designed the logo for Randy’s Adventure Strip Digest pro-bono around the same time as “Astro-City” started I believe; he didn’t like the old one and Randy was smart enough to accept it.) As far as I noted, Busiek didn’t say a word about it. It’s always the quiet ones.

Also, some news clown/love child of Steve Doocy and Rod Burgundy on the local Fox affiliate was telling Comic-Con guests that “Ghostbusters 3” is a done deal and maybe even already in production. Well, this isn’t a case of rightwing bias leading to utterly false and defamatory news stories on the mother network. It’s just utterly false.

That’s it for now. I’ll see ya when I see ya…

  

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A refreshing cine-breather

If you’ve been noticing a bit of a lack of action on the online cinematic front today, and not just at this site, that’s probably got something to do with folks getting ready to get the heck out of  Dodge (or more specifically, Las Dodgeles) and heading for this year’s completely sold out Comic-Con in beautiful San Diego and starts in less than 48 hours if you count Preview Night. Seeing as I’m not only attending Cannes-for-Geeks once again this year and will be participating in a few movie-and-TV plugathons — most of which you’ll be seeing evidence of right here at Premium Hollywood, I’m going to take a little break from my usual twice daily film blogging through this week and possibly going into the following week  a bit. I will probably break my silence, however, at at least one point during the ‘con, logistics and schedule permitting, and also talk a bit about what I see there afterward.

Also, in what’s become a yearly tradition for me akin to opening the door for Elijah at Passover, I’d like to encourage any readers attending to stop by my very good and very talented friend Randy Reynaldo‘s booth this year in the Small Press area (K1) where I’ll occasionally be (though probably less this year than some past ones — I’m being kept pretty busy). One of these days some smart TV or movie producer is going to snap up the rights and make “Rob Hanes” the next “Scott Pilgrim” and then you’ll all be sorry you didn’t stop by and say “hi.”

Anyhow, until my return, enjoy these moments of geek cuteness I have pilfered off of Rob Bricken.

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Your end of week movie news dump

A ton has happened since my last of these posts and I’m sure I’m missing plenty, but here are just a few of the interesting things going on in the movie world as this rather loony week finally ends.

* Bryan Singer will be producing, not directing, the next “X-Men” prequel. He’ll be directing “Jack, the Giant Killer” instead. And another Mike Fleming story, an exclusive this time: “Paranormal Activity 2” has a director. He’s Tod Williams, best known for “The Door in the Floor.” Sounds to me like Paramount is keeping things modest, wisely.

* The very ill Dennis Hopper got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today.  Amy Kaufman has video of the ceremony which included Hopper rather gently chiding the paparazzi for an incident which caused him to fall. The video itself ends with photographers yelling “Viggo!” and “Jack!”

* Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood” with Russell Crowe as Robin will be opening Cannes this year. The plot description put me somewhat in mind of the angle the great director Richard Lester and writer James Goldman took on the legend in a film I’m quite partial to, “Robin and Marian,” which starred Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn.

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The Pacific war in the movies, pt. 4

HBO’s “The Pacific premieres on the West coast as I write this, and it’s time to take a look at two acclaimed films that take a sidelong look, even comic, look at the hardships and danger of war. Both of them, for whatever reason, have “Mister” or “Mr.” in the title.

Our first film is suggested by master cartoonist and my personal consultant on matters relating to World War II, Randy Reynaldo. Directed and co-written by John Huston, “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison” stars Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr as a Marine and an Irish nun who are forced to live under the noose of enemy Japanese soldiers when they become marooned on a remote island.  Though a hit on its release, it’s become a somewhat obscure film today, despite being one of Huston’s personal favorites and despite the enormous talent and appeal of its two stars. (Kerr was nominated for an Oscar; Mitchum was not, though many feel he was robbed.) I confess to having not seen it myself, but after looking at the trailer below, I really want to. Something tells me I might like it even better than the not-completely-dissimilar, “The African Queen.”

I’ve seen the second film so many times since childhood, it’s kind of fused with my subconscious, though I didn’t think of including it here until almost the last minute. Directed by two of the greatest classic-era directors, John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy, and featuring four of the greatest stars of three different Hollywood eras, “Mister Roberts” doesn’t break any cinematic ground but that doesn’t matter.

Starring Henry Fonda as an intelligent and humane officer desperate to get off the cargo ship he’s been stationed on and away from its small-minded, tyrannical captain (James Cagney) in order to see real action against the Japanese, it’s easily one of the funniest and most captivating tales of wartime life ever made, right through to its devastating conclusion. There isn’t a single battle shown, but no film I’ve even seen more powerfully conveys the grim seriousness of war in quite the same way. It’s no masterpiece, but it’s still a classic.

  

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RIP Shel Dorf

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The reaction in the film geek/geek film press has been minimal, but Shel Dorf, the founder of what we now call Comicon but was for years known as “the San Diego Comicon” passed on yesterday from complications of diabetes. While comics blogger Heidi MacDonald covered his passing nicely, for the most part the only coverage has been a terse AP story which has been picked up at a few places.

By all accounts Dorf, whose  reputation was as an relentlessly positive and upbeat booster of the arts of comics, was unhappy with what the con is today — for better a worse a multimedia extravaganza and entertainment biz mecca, emphasis on “biz,” where comics themselvees come far down the list of priorities after toys, videogames, and movies. However, his creation is perhaps the single most discussed media event of the year on a lot of web sites and I would have thought his passing merited a bit more discussion. Anyhow, I can personally attest to the part of the AP story that mentions how he helped new talents in the comics field. One of those cartoonists was my good friend, Randy Reynaldo, with whom he bonded over their mutual admiration for comic strip legend Milton Caniff, for whom Dorf worked as a letterer for many years.

As a grown-up geek who grew up with pretty deep love of the comics form, I have no problem with comics derived movies — in fact, some of them are like dreams come true for my inner 13 year-old. (Others are nightmares.) I just wish the comics themselves from which they came got more respect as something more than a source for movie ideas.

It should also be said that Dorf and his cohorts in the early con days recognized the intimate link between comics and cinema, and included all kinds of movies from very early on. A slightly chubby 13 year-old kid who would take refuge in a back room where 16mm prints of obscure genre films, cartoons, and trailers, played continually remains particularly grateful to Mr. Dorf.

  

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