Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cancelled Action Figure Cavalcade: The Celebrity Likeness Edition

Licensing contracts sometimes give actors approval over how their likeness can be used for merchandise. Sometimes this means the actor can keep a toy based on their likeness from being released. So Lucy Liu and Beyonce Knowles can make it so that the Kill Bill and Austin Powers lines are missing O-Ren Ishii and Foxy Cleopatra figures respectively.

In a particularly odd case Playmates couldn't use Christian Bale's likeness for their Terminator Salvation line, despite the fact there are a multitude of toys using Bale's likeness even ones based Terminator Salvation made by Hot Toys. I suspect this might be Playmates' fault. You get the sense that they didn't completely know what they were doing. I read an interview where the toy designers admitted the reason their Endoskeleton figures have open jaws was because they based them off of a broken prop. Had they'd never seen a Terminator Endoskeleton before? It's too bad because the unused John Connor head sculpt shows the potential the line could have had. It's definitely leagues better than what Playmates chose to release.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Talking Softball

  • Bandai Entertainment has licensed The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Season 2. They have one of their ASOS Brigade videos up on YouTube heralding the announcement, sort of. I knew the girl playing Haruhi, at least I think I might have.

  • Universal is re-releasing the complete Battlestar Galactica on Blu-ray on April 6th. The new set will include The Plan and both the broadcast and DTV versions of Razor. It will retail for $299, which is $50 cheaper than the first boxset. So you'd be paying less and be getting more. I haven't even mentioned the best part yet. The new set will come packaged in standard Blu-ray cases, as opposed to the folded cardboard packaging of the first set. Sometimes it pays to wait.

  • Special effects & collectibles company, Weta will be making collectibles based on the film District 9 for which they also did the special effects for. Makes sense to me. You can read the announcement here. There's no substantial details but based on Weta's track record I expect there will be statues and prop replicas. If Weta's license doesn't include toys then I hope it's only a matter of time before another company picks up the slack.
  • Apparently Guy Ritchie is off the Lobo movie. He'll be making a sequel to his Sherlock Holmes instead. Is there some reason why the studio simply can't delay the Lobo movie until Ritchie's schedule is clear? Not that I'm complaining as I don't really care one way or the other, it's just strange.

  • Sorry for the complete lack of softball talk in this post. "Homer at the Bat" is on TV as I type this. Ken Griffey Jr. suffering from gigantism never stops being funny.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

10 Most Anticipated of '10

It's funny but I'm still trying to get used to it being 2010. So another new year brings another slate of movies. I've compiled a list of the ten that I'm most looking forward to. Let's see how many of these I actually end up watching. There are still three movies from last year's list that I still haven't seen but, as you'll be reading, I have a very good excuse in one instance.

10. Alice In Wonderand

I've been a fan of Tim Burton's work for almost as long as I can remember. That said it's been a decade since he's made something I've really loved. I've also been a fan of Alice in Wonderland for most of my life. I read the book when I was a kid and the Disney animated film is a favorite of mine. The nature of Alice seems like it would be an excellent fit for Burton's style. So I'm looking forward to his latest film as well as his next one, which I'm hoping will be the Dark Shadows movie.

9. Resident Evil Afterlife

With each sequel the Resident Evil film series seem to steer further away from the video games that inspired it. Hopefully Afterlife can correct that and I have reason to think it could. The fourth film has Paul W.S. Anderson returning as director after previously directing the original. Wentworth Miller will star as Chris Redfield, with Ali Larter returning as his sister Claire. Together they'll take on Umbrella bad guy Albert Wesker, played by Shawn Roberts. Ideally all those elements will make up for the movie featuring a super powered Milla Jovovich and her clone army.

8. Scott Pilgrim vs the World

Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, is adapting this popular graphic novel about Canadian bassist Scott Pilgrim who falls in love with Ramona V. Flowers and must do battle with her seven evil ex-boyfriends. An early review calls it a "mash-up of elements from Fight Club, Kill Bill, Speed Racer, Natural Born Killers, and a Michael Cera movie". The latter comparison is particularly apt as Michael Cera stars as Scott. This movie sounds like it could potentially reek of awesome. Wright will also be releasing a movie called The World's End which will reunite him with actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. I don't know much else about the film but based on those credentials alone I feel it deserves an honorable mention.

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part I

I'll never be in contention for world's biggest Potter fan. Not sure if I would even want to be. But I have enjoyed all of the Harry Potter film series. (Okay the first one is kind of bland.) If anything I've become more of a fan as the films progressed. So as the seventh movie approaches I'm as eager as anyone else to see the beginning of the end. And since I didn't read the books I don't actually know what's going to happen, so I might be more excited than most. Lastly I want to say that I don't care how Warner chooses to spins it, splitting up the final novel into two films is a cash grab, pure and simple.

6. Clash of the Titans

The most surprising thing about Clash of the Titans is how very faithful it seems to be to the original 1981 film. In these days where remakes mean little more than brand name recognition that's pretty cool. It's not too faithful of course. The special effects and creatre designs are all apropriately updated. The trailer does a good job of selling the film. It gives the film the aura of mural painted on the side of van parked at a metal concert. How could you not want to watch that?

5. Avatar The Last Airbender

I don't think it would be at all provocative if I called Avatar The Last Airbender the best North American produced animated series of the previous decade. My admiration for the series means that I'd naturally have an interest in the upcoming live action in spite of some odd casting choices and a director who's had a pretty spotty track record of late. Here's hoping the film stays true up to it's source material. One major alteration has already been leaked. Apparently in the movie the Fire Nation wipe out the Air Nomads because their temple was built upon the richest source of unobtanium. What a twist!

4. Machete

Robert Rodriguez had a history of pretty consistent output but the only movie he made in the last three years was Shorts. He tried making a star vehicle for his girlfriend Rose McGowan with his planned updates of Barbarella and Red Sonja but those fell through. Then the relationship fell through. There's still no word on his long promised Sin City sequel. He is delivering on another long promised film and that's Machete. Machete is based on a fake trailer from 2007's Grindhouse. The trailer was pretty fantastic so here's hoping it works in a longer format. Want to know how adaptation crazy Hollywood is getting? Now they're making movies based on movie trailers.

3. Predators

Now we move from one Robert Rodriguez film to another. This one however is only being produced and co-written by Rodriguez. The directorial duties lie with Antal Nimród, director of Vacancy and Armored. The cast includes Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, and Machete himself Danny Trejo. How's that for an interesting cast? It's taken awhile but I am glad that the Predators are finally getting more sequels. They've been under-utilized compared to their Alien counterparts. And no matter what Predators is like I figure it has to be better than AvP Requiem.

2. The Wolf Man

The Wolf Man was set to come out in November of last year. It was delayed to this February. So one of my "9 Most Anticipated of '09" didn't even come out during '09. I think it's a safe bet that it will be coming out now since I've been seeing ads on TV lately. Still anything is possible. Perhaps the change of release date was a good thing, because if nothing else the delay helped to move it up a notch on my list.

1. Iron Man 2

Okay so it's not really a surprising choice, especially considering how much I've written about it already. I think there's good reason to look forward to Iron Man 2 though. The first Iron Man was great and part 2 will reunite director Jon Favreau with the incomparable Robert Downey Jr. The sequel will also add Don Cheadle as War Machine, Mickey Rourke as Whiplash, Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow and Sam Jackson as Nick Fury. On top of all that the movie is the next stepping stone to the depiction of the larger Marvel Universe on the big screen.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Webb of Spider-Man

Marc Webb has been confirmed as the director of the new Spider-Man movie coming in 2012. Webb is the director of (500) Days of Summer and not a whole lot else. That might not sound like much but (500) Days has earned a lot of praise. Of all the rumoured directors Webb was the most promising but that probably says more about how bad a lot of those rumors were. More importantly having Webb as the director indicates that this won't be just a mindless action film.

Man this is happening all so fast. So Joseph Gordon Levitt as Peter Parker? That wouldn't be bad casting although I doubt it'll happen. I'd rather see him come back as Cobra Commander anyways.

Incredible Conan vs. Super Jay

Some conflicts transcend all language barriers.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

  • Spider-Man 4 has been canceled. Sony and director Sam Raimi couldn't come to an agreement on where to take the third sequel. Sony now plans to "reboot" the franchise with a new film in 2012. I did want Raimi off the series. His plans for Spider-Man 4 were terrible, but I just wanted him replaced with a different director. Would that have been so complicated? It's actually more unusual for the same director to stay on for four installments of a series. Even if Tobey Macguire is unwilling to do a Spider-Man film without Raimi, it would be better to recast the role than to start over from scratch. Now Sony has a whole new opportunity to screw up the character. There have been all kinds of rumors in the short time since the reboot was announced; many of which sound dreadful. Now unsettling rumors are par for the course with comic book adaptations, but the original Spider-Man was one of the first movies that showed us that these things can sometimes turn out alright. It's too bad we have to go through this process again. We might end up with a better Spider-Man movie as a result. Or maybe not.
  • Conan O'Brien's tenure as the host of The Tonight Show seems to be coming to an end. He took a stand against NBC's rescheduling and while he was completely in the right to do so, it looks like he'll be losing his show because of it. All signs point to NBC taking the shortsighted route of giving the The Tonight Show back to Jay Leno at it's normal full length time. That would leave Conan out in the cold for a little while anyways. I have to admit I didn't support Conan when he needed it. I really like Conan and his humor but I don't watch talk shows. I don't think I'm alone. Considering the outpouring of support I've seen for Conan on the internet, coupled with his stronger ratings with younger demographics makes me think all of these talk show shenanigans stem from a generational issue. Certainly no one under retirement age could find Leno amusing. In the end if Conan ends up with a show on another network where he doesn't have to fake conversations with C-list celebrities trying to plug their latest crap then I'll consider all of this a win.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Powerfully Adorable Rangers

Bandai's official Mighty Morphin Power Ranger site is up. The site's product pages feature a few new items we haven't already seen before, mainly these little guys.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Year We Make Contact

It's the first day of a new a year and a new decade. This morning I watched the Rose Parade in Pasadena live. You can see some pics and comments in my Twitter feed. Afterwards I spent most of the day sleeping. Clearly I'm off to a good start of making the most of my time in 2010.