Friday, August 19, 2011

See Cap and Thor Fight......Guys?

This whole post is SPOILERY,  so proceed with caution!

So, with Avengers currently shooting bigass action sequences on the streets of Cleveland (doubling for New York) some youtube clips were bound to make the rounds. I never thought they would be this cool, though. We've got footage from the filming of a fight sequence featuring Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans). They're mostly fighting guys with mo-capture suits on, and the scuttlebutt around the interwebs is that the villains are going to be (POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOLLOW) the Skrulls.



And finally here's the God O' Thunder smiting a Chevy:



So that's all pretty cool. If you're a lifelong Marvel Zombie, you've got to be jazzed to see those two characters kicking ass together.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Drive" Trailer Looks Badass

Below you'll find the trailer for Drive, a new low-budget thriller starring Ryan Gosling as a stunt driver who moonlights as a wheelman for criminals. And yes, while this looks a lot like every other movie about a monastic, disciplined and honorable crook who gets in over his head, it's been a while since I've seen a really good version of that particular story. This one could be it. The cast looks great, and holy shit, is that Albert Brooks? Awesome.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's A Bird, It's A Plane...

...yeah, you know who it is. Warner Bros. released their first official shot of Henry Cavill as the Man of Tomorrow in Zack Snyder's upcoming Superman: The Man of Steel. Take a gander below:



That's pretty awesome, actually. The detailing on the suit is a little busy, and is it me or does the cape seem absurdly long? Anyway, I like the look of Cavill. He gives Supes a sense of intensity and power that the more earnest portrayals have always missed. I'm still a little guarded, mostly due to how Snyder's movies seem to be heading on a downward slide. Dawn of the Dead was great, 300 was good but a little flawed, Watchmen was faithful but lifeless and Sucker Punch was mindblowingly awful. Haven't seen the one he did about owls, but assume there will be scenes that start off in slo mo and then ramp up to regualr speed. But Christopher Nolan and David Goyer are overseeing the film, so they could curtail some of Snyder's weaknesses and play up his strengths. Who knows, but this shot certainly has piqued my interest based on its atmosphere alone.

On a side note, recently watched all of the original Christopher Reeve movies. Beyond nostalgia, I was amazed at how well the first two films hold up, especially Richard Donner's cut of Superman II, which is head and shoulders above Richard Lester's more campy version. Also astonished that I found Superman IV to be vastly superior to Superman III. Yeah, IV had like a dollar ninety-five as a budget, and it looked like it.  But III seemed completely uninterested in telling a Superman story, and way more interested in making a Richard Pryor comedy. And by trying to do both, it winds up being neither. It's painfully unfunny. Pryor isn't even as funny as Ned Beatty was in the first two Superman films. The only bright spot is Reeve's continuing brilliance in the title role, and an almost unbelievably luminous Annette O'Toole. That's it. Everything else is godawful.

On the other hand, its cloying naivete aside, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, is at least trying to tell a Superman story. Gene Hackman is back, and though his wit is a shadow of his former excellence, bad Gene Hackman is still fun to watch. Margot Kidder is more involved, which is good even if she somehow looks ten years older than anyone else in the film aside from Jackie Cooper. Mariel Hemingway is quite good, and the much ridiculed Nuclear Man is actually a good physical foe. With a little more care (which new producer Cannon Films was unable to provide given their meager funds) the script and film could have been tooled into something actually enjoyable. As it is, it's a goofy little B-movie, and far easier to sit through than Superman III.

So, let's hope The Man of Steel is more Superman I & II than III or IV.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Apparently, A Mixed-Race Spider-Man Will Destroy the World.

Spider-Man is perhaps my favourite super-hero ever. It's for a lot of reasons, but mainly it's because he is the best example of the everyman super-hero. I'm currently in the midst of a big reading project where I'm reading every single Spider-Man appearance in chronological order. So far, I've read about two decades worth of Spider-Man stories.

These days, Spidey exists in two separate iterations published by Marvel. The first is the mainstream Spidey, the one who has existed since 1962 and stars in Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers, and a couple other books. But over a decade ago, Marvel created a separate line of comics from their long-established line, called Ultimate Marvel. The original idea was that Ultimate Marvel would feature characters from their starting points, in contemporary times and without any established continuity, allowing creators to take them in brand new directions.

The first Ultimate series was Ultimate Spider-Man, written by Brian Michael Bendis. And, well over a hundred issues later, Bendis is still writing it today. I read the series when it first started, but around the 100 issue mark, I stopped reading it. I had always really enjoyed what Bendis and his collaborators were doing with the book, and I'm still not sure why I didn't keep up with it. I can say that Bendis did do some really exciting things, tweaking the story of Peter Parker and his classic arcs without losing sight of his core qualities that give him resonance.

Just recently he made waves with a story arc where Peter Parker actually died. That's right, they killed off Peter Parker. As in, no more Spidey. Now first off, I am not naive enough to believe he'll stay dead forever. He'll be back, that's for sure, it's only a question of when. That decision made enough waves, but what came out in the last couple of days really sent some people on the interwebs into insanity.

The new Ultimate Spider-Man will be a half-Latino, half-African American kid named Miles Morales. And the comic world cracked in half with some of the most racist bullshit spouted on message boards across the world. Here's a selection from Bleeding Cool of some of the most hateful:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Teaser Poster for "The Dark Knight Rises" Hits Webs

Can the the teaser trailer be far behind? Will it be attached, as many think, to the new Harry Potter flick? If it is, I think it'll be like that first teaser for The Dark Knight, maybe some dialogue of a very, very brief snippet of footage. Why? Well, they're still actually shooting, so how much could they have to show? Anyway, the teaser is good, it's definitely visually arresting. I'm not sure it's supposed to be foreboding or uplifting, though. Take a look:



So, is the motif supposed to communicate the sense of the hero rising to lift up the city from darkness into the light of day? Or is it communicating destruction? I lean towards the former, given that this is the end of the trilogy and the culmination of what Nolan has been trying to do with the franchise. Gets me jazzed though.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Less Than Meets The Eye

In the past, I have railed against the Transformers movie franchise. I freely admit that I have hated each and every installment. Before any fans accuse me of being an elitist snob with pretentious film tastes, I have to say nothing can be further from the truth. I like big summer tent pole extravaganzas. I like films that aspire to be a great time at the movies, nothing more. And I've liked Michael Bay films. I don't think that he's the end of films as we know it. I don't think he signifies all that's wrong with American films in and of himself. I liked Bad Boys, The Rock, and Armageddon. They were all solid action blockbusters; not deep by any means, but they delivered on the promise of some thrills and explosions and fun. I even thought The Island, while bad, was kind of trashy fun with a neat concept at its core.

But the Transformers franchise is the Anti-Christ, and it must be stopped. Seriously. It's not because these films are thinly disguised toy commercials. And it's not because these films are basically about giant robots fighting each other. I love the idea of giant robots fighting each other. I loved it in the 1980s, when I couldn't get enough Transformers. I love it now. And I have to admit that, by and large, the franchise of films does deliver on the promise of giant robots fighting each other. No, there are different reasons why I believe the movies are actually bad for you.

I've posted before on how much I loathe this franchise. And I held off watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for about as long as I could. I saw it about six months ago. And it didn't let me down at all. It was just as big a mess as I thought it was going to be. Casually racist, blindingly misogynistic, and totally incoherent. Not all of that was Bay's fault; the script was god-awful. But the little touches that were undoubtedly his were among the most aggravating. That awful Stepin Fecthit pair of Autobots may not have been his idea, but the tiny transformer that humps Megan Fox's leg probably was. Worst of all, his visual style and quick cuts made the action scenes so cluttered that any clear picture of what was going on was almost impossible. The screen simply became filled with metal crashing into metal, with bad guys and good guys indistinguishable from each other.

I don't care if you're voiced by Nimoy, you still suck.
With the third film, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. I honestly wiped the slate clean. The trailer was really strong, and it looked as if he was really going to pull out all the stops, and so I went in with an open mind. And it was an improvement, notably in the way it handled the action. The battles were no longer an indecipherable mess, but were clearly and efficiently directed, with Bay's skilled deftness with such set pieces seemingly back to the level of his earlier films. The major final battle in a decimated and war-torn Chicago is really a sight to see. Every single cent spent on visual and practical effects are up there on the screen, showing you things that you can honestly say are thrilling and bold.

The story is also better, or at least, almost coherent. Certainly it makes more sense than any of the previous films. There's a great little prologue involving the Moon Missions of the 1960s, and Shia LaBoeuf gets an interesting character arc at the beginning of the film; how does a guy who's saved the planet twicedeal with being seen by pretty much everyone around him as slacker doofus and not explode from frustration? It allowed for some interesting scenes for him to play. And LaBoeuf really does act his heart out.

But, that's where the good things end. There's still the same rampant misogyny, which is really getting tiring. Bay infamously fired Megan Fox after she made a few disparaging remarks about the guy, and replaced her with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, a model who is not an improvement in any way. In fact, I thought she was a robot herself due to her complete inability to express any emotion whatsoever. I thought he might have corrected his treatment of women in films by hiring the astounding Frances McDormand, but she provides nothing aside from a slight obstacle, and her government agent character is not only set up as a jerk, but she also needs to get her butt saved by John Turturro's embarrassing caricature. Bay also manages to sneak a joke in about the Japanese and how those crazy people make strange machines like photocopiers! Awesome.

Remember how much you loved this guy? Yeah, he's nowhere near this movie.
The story completely sabotages its own hero, transforming Optuimus Prime from the wise noble warrior of the first two films into a merciless engine of destruction in this film's final act. There's also (and SPOILER WARNING here until the new paragraph) a part of the story where Prime and the autobots pretend to be dead until after Chicago is razed and thousands are dead because "your leaders had to learn" some sort of lesson about....well...giving in to giant robots, I guess. Well, thanks for letting thousands of people die, Optimus Prick, hadn't you sworn to protect us in the last two movies? Awesome object lesson, big guy. Where'd you learn that from, George Bluth?

In the final analysis, this film suffers from the same problems that both the earlier installments suffered from, namely laziness and a lack of heart. The effects and the action set pieces are not treated this way, but the story and the characters most certainly are. People don't behave consistently, and caricatures are placed right next to so-called actual characters that we're supposed to care about. The action, as well done as it is, is also pretty intense for a film series that is designed to appeal to 11 year old boys. More than one good guy coldly tells various bad guys, "I'm going to kill you". I'm not saying that PG action films can't be that intense, but they have to earn that level, and Transformers doesn't. It's a toy commercial, and its tone is so all over the place that when it does go to the dark place, it feels woefully inappropriate rather than an earned escalation.

Again, I feel this is different than other bad movies, say like Green Lantern. Green Lantern understands its audience, and tried to make a film for them, they just made mistakes that led to a bad film. Transformers: Dark of the Moon thinks its a great film, and makes choices that seems to say, "They're going to come see it, so we don't have to care that much about story or the characters, we can just throw anything we want in there as long as it ends with a giant robot battle." That's crass, and the epitome of soulless marketing.

It has made a huge amount of money, so I'm guessing Transformers will be back. Here's hoping Bay has had enough and feels the need to move on, because a fresh mind may still be able to give us the gooey robot centre, without wrapping it up in all that soullessness.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Explosions! Shooting! Punches! DeNiro! Facial Hair!

Wow, okay, the trailer for Killer Elite has come out. Now, from what I can decipher from this trailer, Jason Statham is a Killer, being hunted by a mustachioed Clive Owen (also a Killer). To up the ante into "aw no, you di-in-n't" territory, Owen kindaps Robert DeNiro (Statham's father figure. Oh yeah, also a Killer).

There are so much balls in this trailer that women may become pregnant simply by watching it. The only way this film could be more manly is if someone opens a closet during the film and the corpses of Lee Marvin and Steve McQueen fall out, shooting rocket launchers. Check out the manliness below:



The best part is when they show Statham, tied to a chair, leaping out a third story window in slow-mo, and then flash the title card, "Based on a True Story". That actually had me laughing out loud.

Still, it does look like it would be a good time at the movies. It's just so over the top insane that it might be a blast to watch. Also, it makes me sad for Clive Owen. Remember when he was a big-time Oscar nominated super-star? Closer? Children of Men? The many thought was perfect for James Bond? Someone should introduce him to the concept of saying no to things like Shoot Em Up. Then maybe he wouldn't have to do movies where he's second fiddle to our generation's Jean Claude Van Damme and forced to grow a hideous perv 'stache.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

5 Ways They Could Have Made "Green Lantern" Not Suck

There is no way on Earth Green Lantern should get worse reviews than Mr. Popper's Penguins. How in the name of Ganthet did that happen? And yet, this is the case. And having seen Green Lantern this weekend, I can say, that the reviews were mostly spot on. Ryan Reynolds was far and away the best thing of the film; his Hal Jordan was cocky, funny and spot on, tonally. The direction and effects were solid, as well, with a couple minor oddities. The place where it mainly fell apart was the story. So, I've got a bit of a dissection of the mistakes that were made, along with some suggestions as to how they could have avoided the narrative pitfalls they eagerly leapt into.

1 - How is Green Lantern Different - This is actually a good question for anyone writing a story. How is my antagonist different from others? They totally screwed that up here. Green Lantern is the story of a guy who becomes an intergalactic space cop. Taking the super hero concept and transplanting it in to outer space takes it into a fresh new world. The film makers seemed unsure of taking the story to space, spending an absolute minimum amount of time on Oa, but those moments are by far the most interesting parts of the film. A space-set super hero story is something we have never seen before, and the freshness of that would have made the origin story less familiar than what was presented. The alien supporting cast, such as Tomar Re and Kilowog, are reduced to the barest sketches of characters, with only Sinestro being explored fully. Instead, we got a ton of time on Earth, with Hal Jordan struggling with taking on the role of a space cop. Which leads us to our next problem:

2 - Hal Jordan is not Bruce Wayne or Peter Parker - There's a whole bunch of time spent with Hal brooding over his father's death, and the fact that a GL is supposed to be fearless,and yet Hal has all this fear inside him. You know what's great about Hal? He is a cocky guy who loves his life, loves flying jets and banging chicks. He has no fear. THAT'S WHY THE RING CHOSE HIM.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Avengers Sort-of Assembled!

Over at Aint It Cool, they've got a scoop from The Licensing International Expo in Vegas that shows some early promo art for Marvel's Avengers film, due to be released in 2012.

To be clear, this is early promote art to attract potential merchandisers, not final finished art from the film, so let's not ascribe too much importance here. The cool thing to note is Captain America's revised "modern age" costume, as well as a potential Hawkeye suit, and the presence of a certain Incredible Behemoth. Check it out:


Okay, to me, this is just cool. If I has seen this picture when I was nine, I probably would have lost my fuckin' mind. Now, we just have to see some footage.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pure Awesome

Ladies and Gentlemen, the greatest beer commercial of all time....



Don't you wish they sold that beer here in Canadia?

Monday, June 6, 2011

"First Class" is First Rate

Okay, so I'm not all that used to eating crow here at The Nerd Report. Nerds never admit when they're wrong. But a while back you might recall that I posted about X-Men First Class and how I couldn't really get my head around some of the continuity gymnastics the film presented.  I'm sure many of you fully expected me to not see the film in protest, as nerds are wont to claim.

But hey, this is the Interwebs, where no one has to back up their principles with action! So, I went. And you know what? The movie is great. Before I went into the film, I pretty much thought the X-Franchise was dead. The third X-Men film was a colossal disappointment after the sustained excellence of the first two films. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was almost diabolically bad, and the idea of a Deadpool spin-off (a comic character that I think has absolutely zero mainstream interest attached to him) left me beyond cold. I was excited about a Wolverine film based on the classic badass Claremont/Miller miniseries and directed by Darren Aronofsky. But when Aronofsky had to leave the project, I really thought that the whole X-Franchise had run its course.

So when X-Men First Class was announced and in the run-up to release, I saw it as 20th Century Fox's attempt to squeeze a little more money out of a cash cow while holding on to the film rights that I'm sure Marvel Studios would love to snatch back. The whole mismatch of continuity (some of which directly contradicts the other films, let alone the comics) seemed arbitrary and while I liked the casting and the choice of director, the whole thing felt like the latest Pirates of the Caribbean flick; calculated, gluttonous and without any heart whatsoever.

But as the lights came up on First Class, I had to admit that I was completely and totally wrong in my impressions. This is the best X-Men film since X2. I would say it was better than the first film, and so much better than the third that it scarcely bears mentioning. Far from feeling like a heartless money grab, the film is loaded with heart, and it's got a great central story at that heart. It's clear the film makers wanted to tell the story of the friendship of Magneto and Professor X and how it collapsed.  And it was also clear that they had a very interesting way to approach it. The brave thing about the film was that they did something that I often think needs to be done more often in adaptations; they didn't let the source material get in the way of a good movie.

MacAvoy as Charles Xavier and Fassbender  as Eric Lensherr
It's a fine line between being faithful and respectful of the source material and being a slave to it. Continuity is one of those classic double-edged swords, especially in comics. It gives the characters and concepts heft, but it can also straight-jacket options for story-tellers. the fact that the film makers here chose to not allow past continuity to limit what they wanted to do makes for a movie that is both more surprising and more enjoyable.

Fox clearly would like this film to be the launching pad for more X-Men films, and I have no problem with that at all. James MacAvoy and Michael Fassbender are both great, with Fassbender turning in a particularly solid performance as Magneto. The kids who play the titular first class are well drawn, with special kudos going to Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. Kevin Bacon makes a good villain, with a motivation that makes sense, and a power set that while not quite like the Sebastian Shaw of the comics, does fit the story well. There are tons of great little cameos and tidbits for fans of the previous films and the comics, but another way the film succeeds is in not letting those treats overwhelm the story.

Matthew Vaughn, the director, does a great job, and this film is head shoulders above his last comic book film, Kick Ass. I liked his film Layer Cake, and this is more of a return to form, with a great attention to the period setting that never feels artificial, but accomplishes a lived-in tone that works.

The only let downs are some of the visual effects, which a merely workmanlike, not stunning, and the performance of January Jones, who somehow manages to make a telepathic woman who can change into a diamond form and who dresses in lingerie the whole movie completely uninteresting.

Still, I'm very glad to be proven wrong in my initial suspicions. This is a solid direction for the franchise to take, and I think it means that the future for the X-brand is considerably more assured.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

UPDATED - Trailer for "Dragon Tattoo" Hits The Interwebs

Okay, so obviously I took most of this month off, but I think now I'm ready to resume transmissions. Amd I will do so with a very cool video. I don't know how long this will stay up on the World Wide Webs, but here's the first teaser for David Fincher's adaptation of the mega-hit novel The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The trailer is only playing in Europe right now, but the American version is expected to hit theatres next week.

UPDATE: So, the version I originally posted was completely unauthorized, which you could guess from how it was from footage of someone pointing a camcorder at a movie screen. Go figure. Here's the actual trailer, though it isn't a red band one. That one is gone, daddy, gone. Still a very good trailer.




How awesome is that? I love the music (Karen O from Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails covering Led Zeppelin), I love the cast, and David Fincher is an incredible director. I even love the tagline. Looking forward to this one.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Did-A-Chick, Friendo?

If you don't get the references above, then you may not get the full impact of this post. It's being reported that Academy Award winner (and acording to my wife, muy caliente) Javier Bardem has been cast as Roland Deschain in the upcoming gargantuan adaptation of Stephen King's Dark Tower series of novels. 

The book series, which stretched over seven novels, will be adapted into a trilogy of films, with two TV miniseries airing to bridge the gaps between novels. Bardem was long time favourite for the role, and while he currently has only signed for the first film and the miniseries, it is intended that he will appear in all of the films. Ron Howard is expected to direct the first film, at least, with Akiva Goldsman and Mark Verheiden writing the screenplays.


I've read all the books, and while I'm hardly a super-fan, I did really quite enjoy them. At least until the final book, which does make some choices that are a little unsatisfying. Bardem is a fantastic actor, and he certainly will bring a lot to the role, but I can't say I really picture him as Roland. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure he'll be great, but whenever I pictured Roland some of the other front-runners fit better; Hugh Jackman or Daniel Craig.

Still, it's an inspired choice, and one that makes sure that at least Roland will be memorable.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Long Goodbye to Movie Theatres?

The interior of Manhattan's Zeigfeld Theatre
There's an article over at Entertainment Weekly talking about how a group of A-List Hollywood directors have recently released a letter decrying the recent deal struck between some studios and DirecTV.

The deal basically allows DirecTV to release films for viewing to its VOD customers as soon as eight weeks after the films' release in theatres. Currently, most films are available to VOD services four months after their theatrical release. Yesterday, the National Association of Theatre Owners sent out an open letter blasting the studios involved in the deal, and the letter was signed by a group of film makers that included James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Michael Bay, Guillermo del Toro, Kathryn Bigelow, Robert Rodriguez, and others.

The letter says, in part: Major studios are struggling to replace the revenue lost by the declining value of DVD transactions. Low cost rentals and subscriptions are undermining higher priced DVD sales and rentals. But the problem of declining revenue in home video will not be solved by importing into the theatrical window a distribution model that cannibalizes theatrical ticket sales.

It goes on to warn that this action may force the closure of movie theatres: The competition for those screens that remain will become that much more intense, foreclosing all but the most commercial movies from theatrical release. Specialty films whose success depends on platform releases that slowly build in awareness would be severely threatened under this new model. Careers that are built on the risks that can be taken with lower budget films may never have the chance to blossom under this cutthroat new model.

I think this a fairly stunning act of solidarity. The film makers, form what I can see, are trying to not only prevent a move away from theatres that could see a great many of them go under, but they also are taking a stand regarding the ideal way they want people to experience their films. They are talking about the value of exhibiting films in theatres, not just in dollars, but in terms of the experience of being an audience member.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RIP - Elisabeth Sladen

Some incredibly sad news today, as word is coming out that Elisabeth Sladen, beloved to Doctor Who fans all over the world for her role as Sarah Jane Smith, has died. She was just 63.

Sladen played Sarah Jane Smith on the classic series from 1973 - 1976 and would return to the role twice in the 1980s. After the series revival, she returned in the 2006 episode School Reunion. Her appearance proved popular, and she soon was starring in her own spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures, aimed at children.

Sladen began acting as a child in school, eventually heading to drama school and beginning her professional career in repertory theatre. By 1971, she was making guest appearances in such television series as Doomwatch and Z-Cars.

In 1973, longtime Doctor Who companion Katy Manning was leaving the series, and producer Barry Letts was scrambling to find a replacement. Sladen was recommended  to Letts by the producer of Z-Cars, and when she auditioned for Letts and current Doctor Jon Pertwee, it was clear she was the best possible choice.

Sladen and Tom Baker
Sladen would appear alongside Pertwee during his final season, and help viewers adjust to the new Doctor as played by Tom Baker. Her remarkable chemistry with Baker, combined with her portrayal of Sarah Jane as an intrepid and resourceful best friend to the Time Lord, completely redefined what the role of the companion could be. As a testament to her popularity in the role, when she left the series in 1976, it was front page news.

Sladen reprised the role in a pilot for a failed TV spin-off called K-9 and Company, and once again in the 1983 anniversary special The Five Doctors. She would reprise the role for charity specials and audio productions, but it was not until 2006 that she again "officially" played the role in Doctor Who proper. That appearance led to her successful spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures, which debuted in 2007, and recently began airing its fourth season.

Sladen remained a popular figure to Doctor Who fans, consistently ranking at or near the top of polls to list fans' favourite companions. It has been revealed that she had been battling cancer for some time, and eventually succumbed to the illness. She is survived by her husband, actor Brian Miller, and her daughter, actress Sadie Miller.
Sladen and current Doctor Matt Smith

Monday, April 11, 2011

RIP - Sidney Lumet

A legendary filmmaker passed away over the weekend; Sidney Lumet died at the age of 86 after a battle with lymphoma. Lumet was one of the great American directors, having been behind such classics as 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network and The Verdict.

Mr. Lumet was born in Philadelphia in 1924. His parents were veteran performers of the Yiddish stage. His father Baruch was an actor, director, producer and writer, while his mother Eugenia was a dancer. As a young boy, Lumet began making appearances on stage, and soon made his Broadway debut. He had a successful career as an actor on stage, which continued up until World War II began.

Returning from military service in 1946, he joined the newly created Actor's Studio and created a theatre workshop. it was at this point he began his directing career. He started doing some Off-Broadway and summer stock work, while also teaching.

In the 1950s, he began working in early television, gaining a reputation as one of the most proficient and brilliant young directors in the medium. He directed episodes of Danger, Mama, You Are There, Playhouse 90, and Studio One. In 1957, he directed his first feature film, an adaptation of a teleplay that had been produced for Studio One. The film was set almost entirely within a jury room during the deliberation of a murder case. Henry Fonda played the lone juror who votes to acquit the accused, and the story follows his attempts to sway the votes of the others. The cast was one of the all-time great collections of character actors ; Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsalm, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Jack Warden, Ed Begley, and John Fiedler to name just a few. The film was a critical triumph, and was nominated for 3 Oscars.

From there, Lumet returned to television, and also began directing feature films in earnest. He was incredibly prolific, completing a film per year throughout the 1960s. Not all of them were successful, but during this time Lumet made several classic films such as Long Day's Journey into Night, The Pawnbroker, Fail-Safe, and The Hill.

But it was the 1970s where Lumet had his greatest successes, both commercially and artistically. He started the decade with some minor successes in the form of The Anderson Tapes and The Offense. But, in 1973, he directed Serpico, a film that was a huge success in every way, and helped secure Al Pacino as a major box office draw. Lumet capitalized on that success with a remarkable run of films that were both commercial hits, as well as some of the best films of the decade; Murder on the Orient Express, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, and Equus.

Lumet began the 1980s with strong, challenging work. He released Prince of the City, Deathrap and The Verdict, all of which were successes. But the rest of the decade proved mixed for Lumet. He made some flawed films with moments of greatness, such as Power, Running on Empty, and Q&A, but there were more weak films than he ever had previously.

In the 1990s, he continued to make films, but they were smaller in scale. Some remain hidden gems well worth checking out, such as Night Falls on Manhattan. In the last decade, he seemed to find his footing once again, releasing two films that rank among his best, Find Me Guilty and the stunning Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. The latter would be his final film.

Lumet was a director who favoured a naturalistic or realistic style, preferring a technique that didn't call too much attention to itself. He was a master of combining social commentary into films without making them preachy or distracting from the story. He was highly regarded for his speed, as well as for his versatility in taking on all kinds of genres. He was also renowned for his ability to collaborate without ego, as well as his genuine love for, and rapport with, actors. This explains why so many actors he worked with went on to be nominated for or win major awards for their work in his films.

Sidney Lumet surely must be counted among the greats of American film making, even if his modest ego never permitted him to blow his own horn too loudly. He was nominated for an Oscar five times, four for directing (12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Network and The Verdict) and once for writing (Prince of the City), but he didn't win an Oscar until 2005, when he was presented with an Honorary Award. But it's his body of work that is the true measure of his skill, and few filmmakers can boast the sheer amount of classic work that Sidney Lumet produced. He will be missed.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Beastie Boys FTW!

Below you'll find the truly awesome and star-studded trailer for the Beastie Boys' upcoming album, Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2. I'm not a huge Beastie Boys fan, but I have loved their stuff in the past. And this is awesome. Let's play count the celebrities!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

He Said/He Said - Source Code

Welcome to a new recurring feature here at The Nerd Report. This one is going to be called He Said/He Said, and it features a co-writer; none other than the man called Scofe.

He Said/He Said is basically going to be duelling reviews of movies and anything else that comes into our collective head. What separates us from other similar reviews, you may ask? Well, a superfluity of awesome, first of all. Also the fact that, spelling corrections aside, we'll do it live in chat form. We'll try to bring the funny, but the conversation goes where it goes, and if we devolve into a screaming match, it will usually be because Scofe just won't do the sensible thing and agree with me.


We begin with each of us writing a short bio for the other. Here's Scofe's bio for me:

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Nerdlinger is his fear of heights. “He must be terrified”, I find myself thinking, “or why else would he be so short?” I don’t know how many times when looking for him, I’ve had to turn my gaze down. It’s really sad, and I feel sorry for him, much like we all feel for the little people of the world.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Reaction to Season Debut of "Doctor Who" Pours In

The first two episodes of the new season of Doctor Who had its first press screening last night, and reaction has started to pour in.

Patrick Mulkern of the Radio Times had this to say:

We sat pinned to our seats for 90 minutes or so of electrifying, bamboozling television, which might just be also the most unsettling since the series came back in 2005...The chills are leavened with laughs (the Doctor flits through history, upstages a timeless comedy duo, and dubs his chums "the Legs, the Nose and Mrs Robinson"). River makes two spectacular entrances. There's a new use for dwarf star alloy (conceived 30 years ago in Warriors' Gate, it enchained one of The Family of Blood in 2007). And the number 1,103 may be significant.


(Show Runner Steven) Moffat ladles mystery upon mystery, so that by the end we're gagging for answers. The second instalment concludes with a mouthwatering cliffhanger.

Tom Phillips of Metro wrote this:

It’s about five minutes into the first episode, The Impossible Astronaut, when the first jaw-dropping thing happens - and before the second episode, Day Of The Moon, is over, we’ve had at least two more series-changing revelations and a dizzyingly twisty, tightly-packed story that contains so many future plot threads, red herrings, teases and unsolved puzzles that there’s a chance its broadcast will actually make the internet catch fire...Make no mistake, this isn’t easy, switch-your-faculties-off entertainment - it’s big, dark, impressively ambitious, dazzlingly executed entertainment that demands and repays your full attention.

And finally, here's what the Guardian had to say:

In truth the opening episode of the two-parter took a while to warm up, but a fiendishly complicated plot – it is probably not a spoiler to suggest it involves time-travelling – required no end of exposition. But by the end of the first episode it had drawn gasps and applause in almost equal measure...


It looks like Moffat and company have delivered a fantastic opener that could lead to one amazing season. I can't wait for April 23rd.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ok, This is......Better?

Earlier in the month, I posted an official shot of Adrianne Palicki in her Wonder Woman costume for the upcoming David E Kelley-produced series. It was, if you'll recall, a fucking debacle.

Now we get some shots of WW in action, and while they have toned down the chintzy shininess of the previous costume, it's still not really all that great. Here's a shot:



Better, for sure, but still kind of ridiculous. Here's another shot:


Okay, how are her boobs staying that top? Seriously, that will be a great special effect on that show. But yeah, terrible, terrible stuff.

Trailer for Upcoming Season of "Doctor Who" is so Boss.

Below you'll find the latest trailer for the new season of Doctor Who. There's not much to say aside from that it kicks....fucking.......ass.




How cool does that look? I think that last season the show stumbled a bit, even though I think Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill have been great. But they had a big job to do last year, what with both David Tennant and Russell Davies having left. Now I think they'll be more confident and more bold. I for one can't wait to see what happens.

 The new season debuts in Canada on the SPACE Channel on Saturday, April 23rd at 8:00pm ET.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Not Only Will Lois be in Superman, she'll be a Ginger.

Breaking news from Hero Complex today, as Zack Snyder has confirmed he's found his Lois Lane, and it's  36 year old recent Oscar nominee Amy Adams.

This is somewhat surprising news, given that last we heard, it was in no way certain that Lois was even going to be in the movie. I stand by what I said then, that the whole Lois/Superman thing has been pretty well covered, but I also get the view that it may just be too central to the mythos to leave out.

So, Henry Cavill will be playing Superman/Clark Kent, with Amy Adams as Lois. The only other cast members or characters confirmed so far have been Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as Ma and Pa Kent. There's a pretty persistent rumour flying around out there that the main baddie is going to be General Zod, and that Snyder is pursuing Viggo Mortensen pretty relentlessly for the role.

I don't know. I'm of the opinion that if you can cast Viggo in your movie, do it, because that guy is seriously amazing, but Zod? Again? Superman actually has a pretty great rogue's gallery, and they've been woefully underused. We've had Lex Luthor (in four out of the five films, for god's sake) and Zod and the Kryptonian criminals, and, I guess, Richard Pryor and the Man from U.N.C.L.E? Lame showing for Supes, really.

What about Brainiac? Or Darkseid? Parasite? Metallo? Raid a few other DC villains, even? Can we switch it up a little? Anyway, Amy Adams is Lois, and she's a great choice. Let's just see where they go from here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Okay.....No......Just....No

So, Entertainment Weekly is running an official shot of Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman. in case you don't know, this is from the pilot for a possible NBC series headed by David E. Kelley.

Anyone got some singles?


Yeah.....that's fucking awful. It looks like those picutres of adult halloween costumes that are always vaguely stripper-rific. It looks chaep, and I don't know this Palicki woman from a hole in the ground, but she isn't exactly projecting powerful, enlightened super-woman. More like pissed-off stripper.

Seriously? We've advanced so far in adapting comic book super-hero suits to film, and this crappy early 1990s latex/PVC suit is just terrible. I didn't have high hopes, because David E Kelley isn't the guy I would have picked. Boston Legal, Boston Public, Picket Fences, Ally McBeal. Any of those shows scream super-hero to you? Yes, I'll admit he can write interesting women. And he can often be funny in a quirky sort of way. But this smells like a debacle in the offing to me.

There's a way to make a Wonder Woman project work. I'm not sure what that way is, but a flashy, cheap looking costume is not going to help.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"X-Men First Class".......God, Really?

Also, that's a terrible fucking poster.
So, I cover a lot of comic book related things on this site. I mean, like, 90 % of articles on this site are about comics and comic book films. Marvel Studios should be paying me, with all the love I've rained down on Captain America, Thor and The Avengers, etc. I even posted on the new Spider-Man film, even if every shot of that costume looks more and more awful; it's like Spidey went to Vegas and wore a fat old Elvis jumpsuit version of his classic duds.

But there's been no love for the upcoming X-Men flick. Why? Because I really can't wrap my head around the whole concept. First off, there's the fact it takes place during the Cuban Missile Crisis. That's actually a pretty cool idea, but the mathematical gymnastics you have to go through is insane.

Okay, so the first X-Men film was released in 2000, and supposedly took place "in the near future". Let's be conservative and say it took place five years in the future, so that's 2005. Now, when that movie starts, it shows Magneto in a concentration camp in WWII. Let's say that he was thirteen at the time, and that the year was 1944. That makes Magneto 74 when X-Men starts! Some of you may argue my using 13 as his age during the concentration camps scene, but mutant powers, we are told, typically manifest during puberty. Even taking three years off still means Mags is 71 when X-Men takes place. Following this logic, in X-Men First Class, Magneto should be 28 years old, but he's being played by Michael Fassbender, who's 34.

Now let's take Professor X. In X-Men First Class, he's played by James McAvoy, who is 32. I'll shave a couple years off and say Charles Xavier is supposed to be 30 years old in 1962. This means by 2005 he would be 73 years old. That's older than Patrick Stewart is right now.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Soderbergh Ready to Move to Florida; Start Complaining About Weather Incessantly

According to a recent articles out there on the Interwebs, Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh has announced that he is retiring from directing films. According to Soderbergh, he is simply done with making films, and he wants to get out and make way for others who still have the passion.
Soderbergh is probably known to most people as the director of the films in the Ocean's Eleven franchise, as well as the guy who, in one year, directed both Traffic and Erin Brokovich. Both were nominated for Best Picture. But he leaves behind a much larger legacy as one of the most successful and innovative independant filmmakers and as a champion of "little films".

He burst onto the American film scene with his first feature film sex, lies and videotape. It caused a sensation when it was shown at the Sundance Film Festival, and pretty much put that fest on the map. It also sparked a massive interest independant film. Its success paved the way for Clerks, Reservoir DogsMetropolitan and other indie films that revolutionized American movies throughout the next decade.

Soberbergh had trouble connecting with audiences during this time. His follow up films, Kafka and King of the Hill, were not well-recieved. He began making more complex and idiosyncratic films, the best example of which is Schizopolis. But in 1998, he made a film, and found a collaborator, that would help catapault him to the top of the film world. That film was Out of Sight, and while it wasn't a big hit, it had a couple things going for it. First, it showed Soderbergh could make a mainstream film without sacrificing the qualities that made him unique. second, he worked with George Clooney, then a TV actor struggling to make his mark in the movies.

Out of Sight was well-recieved by critics, and it began to grow on audiences on video as well. His next film, The Limey was even more well-recieved, and it was clear that Soderbergh had found his groove working in the system. He was great at making mainstream films feel fresh and innovative. It seemed like he was ready to go to the next level, and craft a film that could be both a big hit and an artistic success.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

First Look at The Red Skull

Over at Entertainment Weekly, they've unveiled the first official look at Hugo Weaving as the full-on, totally bad-ass and freaky Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger. They did not wuss out on his look at all. Check it out:


That is not a drawing or a rendering. That is full on, live action Skull. Awesome.

Yeah, I'm sure some people will complain that he's not dressed up in full Nazi regalia, and I kind of get that. But I think it's been made pretty clear that the HYDRA organization are Nazis. My take on this? Well, this flick will most likely end with Steve Rogers being revived in the modern day. The Avengers will carry on from there. And if another Cap movie is made, it will involve Steve finding out, to his horror, that while the Nazis are gone, HYDRA is still alive and kicking in the 21st Century.

Thor is looking better each time I see it, and I'm really stoked for Captain America. The interview EW has with director Joe Johnston makes it clear that he truly understands the character. Marvel could really take super hero flicks to a whole new level with these films.

Monday, February 28, 2011

I'd Like to Punch the Academy

Hello, Oscar. It's me, Nerdlinger. You know, the guy who has watched every single Oscar telecast, live, since 1989? The Oscars are like the Superbowl:  It's something I look forward to every year, I care about who wins and loses, the musical acts suck balls and occasionally someone gets hurt in a spectacular fashion. But there can also be moments of startling grace up there.

We've had our ups and downs, haven't we, Oscar? Remember when Shakespeare in Love beat Saving Private Ryan? What happened there? And Crash? Seriously, Crash? And we've disagreed at times. I liked David Letterman as host for instance. But I've stuck by you. That's what you do when you're a devotee. Even back in the mid 1990s, when the shows were like, 19 1/2 hours long.

But last night, you tested me. The telecast was only a little over three hours, but it felt longer than any of those bloated affairs from the past. It was by far the least enjoyable show I've watched in my memory of the telecast. Why, you may ask? Well, let me give you some reasons:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

RIP - Nicholas Courtney

More sad news, this time from the world of Doctor Who. Nicholas Courtney, the actor who played fan favourite character Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, has died at the age of 81 following a long battle with cancer.

Courtney first played Lethbridge-Stewart in 1968, appearing opposite Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor in The Web of Fear. He was a regular army Colonel then, but he returned later that season in The Invasion, newly promoted to Brigadier and heading up an international organization called the United Nations Intelligence Task Force, or UNIT.

When Troughton left the series and the Doctor regenerated into his third incarnation, played by Jon Pertwee, it was decided that the character would be Earth-bound for a time, and would work with UNIT. Courtney became a series regular during this era, his formal and somewhat pompous military bearing creating a good contrast to the Doctor's eccentricities. Over time, he would be brought back again and again, to fan delight. He appeared opposite all of the classic series Doctors, with the exception of Colin Baker's sixth Doctor (although he did appear opposite the Sixth Doctor in audio productions and a charity special).

Oddly enough, The Web of Fear was not his first appearance in Doctor Who. He had first appeared on the series in The Daleks' Master Plan, a 1965 serial starring William Hartnell as the Doctor.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

RIP - Dwayne McDuffie

Shocking news hit the world of comics today, as it has been reported that comic book and animation writer and icon Dwayne McDuffie had died. Although the exact cause of death has yet to be confirmed, it is being suggested that he passed away during a medical procedure he underwent on Monday.

McDuffie got his start in the comics industry as an assistant to an editor at Marvel Comics. His first major work as a comics writer was Damage Control, a satirical and irreverent book about a construction company that specializes in cleaning up after destructive battles between superheroes and their foes. He became a freelance writer in 1990, contributing stories to Marvel, DC, Archie and Harvey Comics.

During his time at Marvel, McDuffie had been frustrated at the stereotypical way African-American characters had been depicted and created by the company. Reacting to the overtly "hip" and "urban" characters, McDuffie fired off a pitch for a new series called Teenage Negro Ninja Thrashers, in which, among other things, all of the characters would ride skateboards, sport hairstyles and clothing from 1974, speak in bizarre speech patterns, and have smart white friends. The sarcastic pitch is now legendary in fandom.

In 1992, McDuffie finally was able to take a huge leap for multi-culturalism in comics when he founded Milestone Media. It was a comic book company. It featured new super heroes. It was owned and run by African-Americans. Although it featured heroes such as Hardware and Icon, the most popular and enduring hero created under Milestone was Static. Though Milestone's comic line eventually folded by 1996, Static lived on through the popular and award-winning animated series Static Shock. In 2008, DC Comics announced that it would be folding the Milestone characters into the DC Universe proper, and severely heroes have shown up in various DC titles.

During the late 1990s, McDuffie was a story editor and writer for Static Shock, which led to his other career, that of animation writer. While he worked on Teen Titans, Scooby Doo, and Ben 10, he was most lauded as one of the guiding lights of the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series.

After Justice League ended, he returned to comics, writing Beyond! and Fantastic Four for Marvel, and Firestorm and Justice League for DC. Although Justice League seemed like a perfect fit, based on his experience with the popular animated series, his take struggled to connect with fans. He was fired from the book after airing his creative differences with DC regarding its direction during an online interview.

Even with this fracas, McDuffie enjoyed a stellar, almost beloved, reputation within the industry. His shocking passing, much too soon, will leave a large hole in comics. He was a unique voice in an industry that could always use more uniqueness, and even though he would surely argue that more work needed to be done to create true diversity in comics, we can thank him for much of the strides that have been made. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Production Roundup: "Thor" Has New Trailer, Black Confirmed for "Iron Man"

So, Thor has a new trailer, and the more I see, the more I like. I guess the vibe out there on the Webs is not a s strong for Thor as it is for Captain America. Or maybe I've got it backwards. Who fucking knows. It changes every other day, and people on forums are borderline insane.

But this trailer really kicks ass, as far as I'm concerned. It's a little odd that a taser knocks Thor out. Hopefully they explain that tiny detail. But other than that, the Destroyer looks great, the Asgard stuff looks great, the Frost Giant stuff looks great. The Earth stuff looks a little goofy, but it feels okay to me. Check it out:



And it looks like Shane Black is confirmed as the director of Iron Man 3, which is good news. Hopefully, this means everyone will now go check out Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, for the first time Downey and Black teamed up.

So very, very awesome.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Arcade Fire Wins Album of the Year

The Grammys continue to be full of surprises, though this year, it's a good surprise. Usually, when one gets knocked by a surprise win at the Grammys, it's because a ton of relevant and amazing albums lose to, say, the latest retread by the Doobie Brothers or something.

Well, last night, Arcade Fire won Album of the Year, beating such megastars and front runners as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Eminem. It's one of the biggest upsets in years, though oddly, the band didn't win the category everyone though they would. They lost in the Alternative Album category to the Black Keys.

It's sort of an upset, but in truth, not really. Arcade Fire's The Suburbs was one of the best reviewed albums of the year. And though it is not a commercial success on the scale of the other nominees, it did mange to sell half a million copies, so it's far from a failure. It actually reminds me of another nominee for Album of the Year, Radiohead's Ok Computer. That album didn't win, but it had a similar critical vibe. The real groundbreaking aspect is that The Suburbs was released as an independent, not on a major label.

Anyway, I echo Arcade Fire's lead singer's response when he won, "What the hell?" But it's great. It's an amazing album. However, most of the people out there on the Interwebs are treating the win like it's some totally obscure band that somehow managed to undeservedly topple some music greats. But their previous two albums were nominated for Grammys, so that doesn't really make sense. The fact is that, whether you like Arcade Fire or have never heard of Arcade Fire or love Arcade Fire, the real question is was their album a legitimate contender based on the material alone? The answer is yes; and maybe we should be happy that the Grammy voters listened to all the nominees and voted the way they felt rather than bowing to marketing or press. Kind of cool.

Here's Arcade Fire in action:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Production Roundup: Visnjic joins "Tattoo", Black may forge new "Iron Man"

According to Deadline, Goran Visnjic has joined the cast of David Fincher's adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Visnjic, a handsome actor whose name I cannot possibly pronounce properly, is best known for playing Dr. Luka Kovac on ER.

He has been cast as Dragan Armansky, the CEO of the security/private investigation firm that employs Lisbeth Salander. In the novels, Armansky is a pretty major supporting character, appearing all three books and one of Salander and Blomkvist's main allies. However, in the Swedish films, the role was reduced to basically a one scene cameo.

Visnjic joins a cast that already includes Rooney Mara as Salander, Daniel Craig as Blomkvist, and Robin Wright, Stellan Skarsgard, Christopher Plummer and Joely Richardson. Given the pedigree of the director, the popularity of the book, and the casting, this is already one of the most anticipated films out there.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Superbowl Movie Trailers...

I love the Interweb age. It used to be that if you wanted to see the ads that ran during the Superbowl, you had to actually, you know, watch the Superbowl. As I have explained, I'm most assuredly not a sports guy. My obsessions are comics, movies, TV, and robophobia, I don't have time to get invested in sports. I'm barely involved in my real life as it is.

Except baseball. Baseball's cool.

Anyway, now that we live in an instant gratification society combined with the most advanced information sharing technology in the history of mankind, I no longer have to slog through a three hour sporting event to see cool commercials. There were a boatload of cool movie spots during the game, and I have compiled the best ones for your enjoyment. All except Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Why? because Transformers fucking sucks. The first one was awful and the second one (which I only saw a few weeks ago because I was able to see it for free) was abysmally, diabolically bad. If things keep progressing the way they have been, this one should induce seizures and vomiting. So, this is the last time I'm going to mention it.

Anyway, here are the best of the movie spots:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cap Teaser Poster Revealed

Marvel has released their teaser poster for Captain America: The First Avenger. And it looks pretty damn cool. I'm sure fan boys will jump all over the fact that he's not wearing his helmet, or that there's too many straps, or that the shield shouldn't be scarred or pitted. I've even heard people criticize Chris Evans' face and performance. Okay, let's be clear; no one has seen one frame of this flick yet. We've seen pictures. And as for Evans being pretty, it's not like Steve Rogers was Steve Buscemi or anything. The guy is a blond haired, blue eyed man in perfect physical condition. Everyone needs to relax.

Instead, look at the tone they've been exhibiting overall. Through all the pics I've seen it's been one that is suitably dark, but pulpy enough to still be fun. Above all, it's being shown to take the period seriously, as well as combining some of the darker, more thriller based takes of recent years with the sci-fi gee-whizzery of past years. Footage is really the only thing that will give us any sense of an idea of what the film will actually be like. So, keep your eyes peeled during the Superbowl, because the first trailer is supposed to debut during the game.


Hmm, where have I seen this before?


So, yeah, the movie does pay attention to the source material. This is one of the more iconic images of Cap in the last decade or so.

Superman Still Looking For a Female Lead - But It's NOT Lois Lane

Here's a scoop! No one reads Newspapers.
According to a recent article posted on Variety, Warner Bros. and director Zack Snyder have not yet found their female lead. But, the big news is that the lead character will not by traditional Superman love interest Lois Lane.

Alice Eve, Rosamund Pike and Diane Kruger are apparently all being considered for the role, whatever it may be. Before the news that Lois Lane wouldn't appear, speculation was running high as to who would be cast, with Rachel McAdams being one of the front-runners (But if I were casting the role? Rashida Jones, all the way)

I really don't quite know what to make of this news. Is it just Lois who's out? Or are they giving a miss to the whole Daily Planet crew? Because having Clark Kent walking around the Daily Planet without Lois would definitely feel awkward. Will the story even be set in Metropolis at all? That's a pretty major part of the whole mythology, and to lose it may make some people (okay, insane Interwebs fanboys) cry that they have strayed too far.

On the one hand, I can see why they made this call. If there's one aspect that we have covered pretty much fully in the Superman films it is the whole relationship with Lois and the Daily Planet setting. That and Lex Luthor and land schemes. Sidebar: isn't it insane that in Superman The Movie Lex steals nuclear missiles for a real estate swindle? I mean, he could sell the fricking missiles and make an assload of money and not have to irradiate his real estate.

Anyway, perhaps this opens up great possibilities for the film. Maybe it puts Superman in some other setting? Perhaps a New Gods storyline? A major criticism of Superman Returns was that, with all the improvements in visual and special effects, they still had him going up against Lex Luthor. It would really have to pull out all the stops to have Superman go up against Darkseid, that's for sure. But with Christopher Nolan behind things, I had assumed they would be taking a similar approach to the Batman films, namely creating a realistic world to ground the fantastic elements.

Who knows? But the possibility is intriguing.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

RIP - Maria Schneider

Some sad news today, as word comes that Maria Schneider, who starred as Jeanne in the classic and controversial film Last Tango in Paris, has died. She was just 58 years old.

Schneider had started acting in films as early as 1969, but it wasn't until she co-starred with Marlon Brando in Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris that she became famous internationally. The story of Paul (Brando), who, after his wife's suicide, enters into an anonymous affair with a young French woman (Schneider) who is about to be married. It was immensely controversial for its frank and explicit sex scenes between Brando and the then 20 year old Schneider. It was loudly decried, and released with an X-rating. However, Brando's performance was celebrated for its brutal vulnerability and honesty.

While Brando, and even Bertolucci to some degree, escaped relatively unscathed, Schneider took the brunt of a lot of the outrage. This situation was exacerbated once she revealed she was openly bisexual and that she was a user of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. At the time, she spoke warmly of the experience of making the film, and of her relationship with Brando and Bertolucci. However, in the years that followed, she revealed that she felt manipulated and humiliated during the making of the film, and she said she considered Bertolucci to be "a gangster and a pimp". She remained friends with Brando for the rest of his life, but did comment that on set he wasn't terribly sensitive to how she felt at the time.

The experience and the furor surrounding it did lead to her gaining larger stardom. In 1975 she starred opposite Jack Nicholson in The Passenger, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. In 1976, she was slated to star in the ill-fated Caligula, but walked off the set after she refused to do nudity. She checked herself into an institution in Rome. The years since Last Tango in Paris had taken their toll, and her drug addiction, combined with a suicide attempt, left her in a dangerous state.

By 1980, she had recovered, and she began working steadily in European films once again. She starred in films like A Woman Like Eve, Savage Nights and Jane Eyre throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Though she never reached the heights of stardom she achieved in the 1970s, she did seem to be happy with both her work and life.

Sadly, she had battled an unknown illness for some time, which eventually claimed her life.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gordon-Levitt Joining Dark Knight Rises

Word's coming out that the cast for The Dark Knight Rises is getting effing ri-donk-ulous with the news that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has joined the cast. No one has revealed what role he's going to play, but speculation is running from Hugo Strange to the Riddler to some sort of copy-cat version of the Joker.

So, just to confirm, here's the cast for this flick: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy and now Joseph Gordon-Levitt. You just know Nolan's going to stick Cillian Murphy in there too. 

Still, I love Gordon-Levitt, he's consistently amazing. Nolan really has a magic touch when it comes to casting, and no matter what role he plays, he'll probably be great.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Superman Fights for Truth, Justice and Steak and Kidney Pie

I'm comfortably heterosexual, but that man is hunky.
Word around the playground is that British actor Henry Cavill will be the new Superman. Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder have confirmed that the 27 year actor will be the next Man of Steel in Warner's upcoming reboot.

Cavill is mostly know for his role on The Tudors, where he plays Henry's confidant Charles Brandon, but he has also appeared in films such as Stardust and Tristan + Isolde. However, he's almost more famous for the roles he has been up for, and close to, but didn't quite land. He was strongly considered for the role of Batman that eventually went to Christian Bale. He also was one of the front-runners for James Bond before Craig landed the role. To top it off, this is not his first kick at Superman either, as he was one of the front-runners for that role before it went to Brandon Routh.

Oddly, this means that three of the biggest super-hero characters around are now being played by people whose background comes from the UK. Bale as Batman, Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, and now Cavill as Superman. Hell, even Ryan Reynolds is a Canuck, and he's playing Green Lantern. Thank God for Robert Downey to show people a true-blue, red blooded American super hero, goddammit!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

HBO Takes Sorkin's Latest Idea to Pilot...

Soon after his snagging an Oscar nomination for the script for The Social Network, HBO has announced it will take Aaron Sorkin's latest television idea to the pilot stage, heralding the scribe's return to TV after the spectacular failure of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

The pilot focuses on the behind the scenes at a cable news network. This had long been rumoured to be his next project, especially after he revealed he had been hanging around the set of Keith Olbermann's MSNBC series (from which Olbermann was recently, and publicly, forced to depart).

Sorkin, who had a cult success with the short-lived Sports Night before creating and running the massive hit The West Wing, has not had a television series on the air since Studio 60... and expensive and hugely anticipated series that barely lasted a season before being cancelled. Opinion of that show still sharply divides fans.

I think this news is good news, and news that more closely fits in with Sorkin's style than Studio 60... ever did. While I thought the show was well-cast and well-shot, it was clear that Sorkin had no flair for writing the sketches that were supposed to appear on the show, leaving one with the impression that the show within the show wasn't actually any good. Also, Sorkin likes to tackle real-world issues, and it rang a little false to have them tackled by comedy stars and Hollywood execs.

But a news show? With both the cynicism and the idealism and the possibilities for the patented Sorkin dialogue? Coupled with no-holds-barred HBO? Sounds like a great match to me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The APC Net

Hi, folks!

Well, as if I didn't have enough trouble keeping up with The Nerd Report, I have decided to launch a new blog - this one dedicated to an analysis of Doctor Who.

It's called The APC Net (after a computer network in the episode The Deadly Assassin). If you're a fan of the show, or are mildly interested in seeing what all the hubbub is about, then head on over and take a look.

Not to worry, I'll still be making it a priority to post here and enthrall you all with shallow observations, thinly veiled sarcasm, overpowering nerdery, and barely concealed contempt.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The 83rd Annual Academy Award Nominations...

The Oscar nominations were announced today and there were a number of surprises that caught more than a few people off guard. No Best Director nom for Christopher Nolan. Andrew Garfield being left off the Best Supporting list, and Ryan Gosling being left off the Best Actor list, as well. But, while some may disagree with who was left off, the question then becomes who would you kick off that is currently on there? Look at the Best Actor category. Hard to deny any of the men who are on there already. Personally, while I admired Tom Hooper's work on The King's Speech, when you compare it to the virtuosity and vision of Nolan, I do feel that he should have taken Hooper's spot. But it's hard to exclude the director of the front-runner, I guess. In any case, the nominees all look deserving, which is a good thing.

BEST PICTURE
127 Hours
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

BEST ACTOR
Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, The Fighter
John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

BEST ACTRESS
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

BEST ANIMATED FILM
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

BEST DIRECTOR
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit
David Fincher, The Social Network
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
David O. Russell, The Fighter

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Hors la Loi (Outside the Law) (Algeria)
Incendies (Canada)
In a Better World (Denmark)
Dogtooth (Greece)
Biutiful (Mexico)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Another Year, written by Mike Leigh
The Fighter, Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; 
Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
Inception, written by Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right, written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
The King’s Speech, Screenplay by David Seidler

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
127 Hours, Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network, Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3, Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
True Grit, written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Winter’s Bone, adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini