Monday, March 31, 2008

"Superman Returns 2" at jeopardy?

OK, the proposed sequel to Superman Returns isn't going to be called Superman Returns 2 or even Superman Returns Again. The problem is, the Man of Steel (the movie's real proposed title) may not make it back to screens for quite a while, based on a recent court ruling that essentially orders Time Warner (current owners of the Superman character) to share profits with the original creators of the comic-book legend. Read the NY Times article here.

A few quick thoughts about the article: the Superman character was sold for $130 back in 1937. That's not $130 million, that's $130 dollars, as in 13,000 pennies. And now the character is basically a money machine. So I'm glad to hear that the creators are getting a little fairer cut in their legacy (although I'm sure my capitalist brother will have a few things to say about this...).

Having said that, I liked the most recent film installment, and would be sad to see a follow-up further delayed. Superman Returns wasn't a perfect movie; it was a little too ponderous at times and wanted to be deeper than it needed to be. But it had a great look, a good cast, and a lot of promise for another great franchise. The problem for Warner Bros. is that the movie was horribly expensive, and didn't make nearly as much as they wanted it to. So greenlighting a costly sequel--especially now that their margins will be even smaller--may make this a tough sell for the studio.

Let's hope for a speedy resolution though. I'm dying to find out what Superman's illegitimate son will do when a bullet threatens to enter his eyeball...

Friday, March 28, 2008

"The Incredible Hulk" trailer

Yeah, I know, I was thinking the same thing: why do we need another Hulk movie, after the last version back in 2003 sorta stunk up the classic comic. The good news is that The Incredible Hulk is not intended to be a continuation to Ang Lee's artful (but miserable) Hulk movie from a few years back, but rather a franchise reboot akin to Batman Begins or Superman Returns. Watch the trailer here.

As you know, I'm always up for a great comic book movie. But my first reaction to the trailer is that (a) it doesn't look all that different from the last Hulk movie, and (b) it doesn't look that good. It comes out this June, amidst a very crowded summer movie season, and my initial reaction is that it may get lost amidst more original or more popular summer popcorn movies. And for some reason, five years doesn't seem like enough time between movies to launch a complete reboot.

What do you think of the trailer?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Little David baffles; comb-over David shines

Last night's American Idol provided some interesting surprises. No, I'm not one of the camp that thought that Kristy Lee Cook's God Bless the USA was fantastic, or even tolerable. Her song was the most blatant pandering to her traditional country fan-base I've ever seen on AI. Can someone please explain to me how she got this far?

Michael Johns' Queen medley was passable, and definitely better than some of his other performances, but I just don't get him. Aside from his cool accent and Aussie good-looks, he hasn't blown me away. Carly continues to underwhelm, despite her technical prowess. Syesha and Chikezie gave some more mediocre performances; they can both do better. And Ramiele should be packing her bags.

Rocker David, with a steadily improving comb-over, continues to prove that he is the most consistent performer in the race, and possibly the most daring as well. Right now, he looks like the front-runner to me.

As for our little Mormon friends, I've gotta say, Little David seriously needs some help in picking his songs. Did that song sound like a cheesy Christian rock song or what? And it did nothing for his talent. We know he has it in him, so why does he keep making terrible song choices?

Finally, Brooke. Yes, I agreed that the first half of her song was better than the second half, which got a little too traditional for me. Though she shows little range from week to week, you can't help but love the folksy-smoothness of her voice, her talent on the piano and guitar, and that million-dollar smile. I predict she'll go a long way in this competition.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A treasure chest for Disney fans

Several times over the past few months I have returned to a blog written by a Disney die-hard named Jim Hill. Not only is he fascinated by all things Disney (I'm talking the company, not the princesses), but he also seems to have some very interesting sources when it comes to breaking news about the company.

Two recent articles are a perfect example of how fascinating his blog can be:
  • In the first, Jim talks (and speculates convincingly) about Disney's plans to continue and expand on their film franchises of National Treasure and Pirates of the Caribbean. While much of this article is unofficial, it's at least very interesting, especially for fans of those franchises and/or fans of Disney parks.
  • In the second, Jim gives a fascinating history of how Pixar's Finding Nemo almost became a notorious flop (and how Pixar turned it around). Jim mixes in interesting details about the making of this classic with some of the politics that existed during Michael Eisner's reign at Disney.
One thing I've noticed about Jim's blog is a very interesting loyalty to vintage Disney, and even a mild reluctance to embrace the new Disney/Pixar marriage. Whether you agree with him or not, he's a fascinating writer, and one that I love to check in with from time to time.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Last night's "Lost" leaves me feeling lost

Let me preface this tough-love post to my favorite show by saying that I am not bailing on you, just that I'm really really REALLY disappointed with the direction you've taken as of last night with Jin and Sun. This is not an irreversible misstep, and maybe not even a misstep at all, but either way it upsets me.

There. Now we can talk about the details (skip this post if you didn't watch last night...):
  • Great, mind-bending episode. Lost is on a roll this season.
  • So it really does look like a showdown between Ben and Charles Widmore. Only question is, who's the good guy here?
  • Michael = Kevin Johnson? Is he just pretending to not recognize Sayid, or is he brainwashed? Is he Ben's spy? Did he write the "Do Not Trust the Captain" note?
  • Cabin fever: very creepy
  • Who wanted to slap Juliet right along with Sun last night? Now I don't normally slap women, but last night I really wanted to...
Finally, let's discuss the flash-forwards last night. Am I the only one who finished the episode thinking that Jin had had not only survived, but that he was living a second life somewhere else? Tragically, turns out he's dead. His "flash-forwards" were really "flashbacks," a fact I only clued into after reading commentaries on EW.com and TVGuide.com. This bothers me for two reasons: (1) I really don't like that producers played with our heads so much last night...they're taking some serious liberties by throwing THREE time periods into the same episode, just in the name of a good twist-ending. (2) Is anyone else getting sick of seeing that no one ever seems to be able to achieve happiness in this Lost universe? Would it have killed them to give SOMEONE a happy ending?

All I can say is that if in two years, when Lost comes to its promised conclusion, there had darn well BETTER be some smiling faces amidst the remaining survivors, or I'm going to feel like jumping off a boat with some heavy chains wrapped around my body...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's official: "HP7" film in two halves!!!

Even though I have mixed feelings about who will be directing the final movies of the Harry Potter saga (David Yates, the director from The Order of the Phoenix), I think that releasing the film version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in two parts will give filmmakers a chance to really tell the story in a more comprehensive way.

I can't wait to see how they split it up...can you think of a logical place in the novel for a cliffhanger? Here's my idea: directly after Dobby's tragic demise, Harry will go digging for carrots against a beautifully crimson sunset and promise himself that he'll never go hungry again. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"American Idol": The Top 12

Quickly, here's my reaction from last night's American Idol:
  • Brooke was great; definitely the best female performance of the night.
  • Little David was tragically off-his-game...I still voted for him though simply based on the potential he showed two weeks ago with "Imagine."
  • Rocker David was good, but a little cocky. And could we please lose the comb-over?
  • Kristy Lee was dreadful. Horrible. Train wreck. Please go home tonight.
  • Carly is always good, but for some reason I just haven't connected with her yet. Is it just me?
  • Chikezie...WOW. Who knew he had it in him? Definitely the best of the guys last night. And apparently he really, REALLY got to Ryan, who has never been stranger...
The rest were just OK, and I predict it will be little Philipino chick or Kristy Lee to go home, but Syesha has reason to be worried as well. Who did YOU vote for last night?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Final "Indy" poster

Now it's not just anything that could make me supplant a post of my adorable little daughter (see below), but this was just too exciting to pass up. How great is this poster? In addition to being a great throwback to the Indy posters of old, this poster gives a great view of several of the things that have really got me excited about this movie (see my comments related to the trailer). Perhaps most interesting about this poster is the central presence of the fabled crystal skull...does that look like a creepy alien skull or what?

May 22 is really only 59 days away. Just enough time for me to get my copy of Indiana Jones Monopoly and some fantastic Indiana Jones Legos...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Lily's first duet

video

Here's our little Lily, singing along with Wendy's whistling. (This video was taken last night and was spontaneous, of course, hence the poor lighting...)

On a related note, Lily has slept through the night for the last four nights...now THAT'S something to sing about! (knock on wood)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The "24" gods have smiled on us today...

Perhaps realizing that a two-year stretch between Jack Bauer's adventures is a little too much for die-hard fans, producers have decided to create and air a special two-hour bridge between last year's season 6 and next year's season 7. The two-hour special will air sometime this fall (probably November). The "core cast" has been contracted to appear, although aside from Jack and Chloe, I'm not sure who else is considered "core."

Either way, it should be interesting to see how producers treat a two hour self-contained story. Maybe it will be a little sneak peek into what they could do with a 24 movie...Read all about it here.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Interesting "Lost" Q&A

A few of you have expressed frustration that I haven't been blogging actively about the recent episodes of Lost with theories, reactions, etc. I'm sorry that I haven't been so die-hard as to include a week-by-week rundown of the show, but please don't misinterpret my lack of Lost-centric posts to imply that my passion for the show is cooling; Lost is as frustratingly addictive as it ever was, and I'm loving every minute.

There's always a mild sense of disappointment at the back of my mind when more questions are being presented than those that are being answered, but I'm pleased that this season has, at the very least, never slowed down. Even though I have no idea where producers intend to take the show, at least I feel like they are steadily pushing forward with the story. And the biggest blessing to come from the new flash-forward mentality of the show: no more pointless flashbacks. I don't mean that there are no flashbacks altogether--I think we have a Juliet-centric episode this week that includes some island flashbacks. But at least every time we leave the island, it feels very relevant to the larger questions looming over the island itself; the producers have really done a masterful job of maintaining that balance.

So I'm still all-in when it comes to my favorite show. It never fails to take me in directions that I couldn't have imagined (Aaron?!? Desmond?!?!). Click here if you'd like to read a mildly interesting Q&A session held between Lost producers and stars.