Author: Robert Greenberger

Superman Unbound Details Released

SupermanThe trailer for this May’s release was missing from The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 but was subsequently released online. Now come the complete details of the next direct-to-DVD film from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The fun vocal casting takes television stalwarts from popular genre series and uses them in other iconic roles. Here is the complete press release.

BURBANK, CA (February 21, 2012) – A destructive force is devastating planets across the galaxy – with Earth next in its sights – and even Superman may not be capable of halting the terror in SUPERMAN: UNBOUND, the next entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. Produced by Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, the all-new, PG-13 rated film arrives May 7, 2013 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as a Blu-ray™ Combo Pack ($24.98 SRP) and DVD ($19.98 SRP), On Demand and for Digital Download. The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack will include UltraViolet™*.

Superman UnboundBased on the Geoff Johns/Gary Frank 2008 Action Comics storyline “Superman: Brainiac,” SUPERMAN: UNBOUND finds the Man of Steel aptly handling day-to-day crime while helping acclimate Supergirl to Earth’s customs and managing Lois Lane’s expectations for their relationship. Personal issues take a back seat when the horrific force responsible for the destruction of Krypton – Brainiac – begins his descent upon Earth. Brainiac has crossed the universe, collecting cities from interesting planets – including Supergirl’s home city of Kandor – and now the all-knowing, ever-improving android has his sights fixed on Metropolis. Superman must summon all of his physical and intellectual resources to protect his city, the love of his life and his newly-arrived cousin.

The film’s stellar voicecast is led by Matt Bomer (White Collar) as Superman, John Noble (Fringe, The Lord of the Rings films) as Brainiac, Stana Katic (Castle) as Lois Lane and Molly Quinn (Castle) as Supergirl. Additional voices in the cast include Golden Globe Award winner Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under) as Ma Kent, Wade Williams (The Dark Knight Rises) as Perry White, Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show, Office Space) as Steve Lombard, Stephen Root (Boardwalk Empire, Justified) as Zor-El, and Alexander Gould (Weeds) as Jimmy Olsen.

Supervising Producer James Tucker (Justice League, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) also directs the film from a script by Bob Goodman (Warehouse 13, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns).

SUPERMAN: UNBOUND adds an all-new chapter to the growing legacy of animated films featuring the Man of Steel and his epic challenges to maintain peace on Earth,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Home Video Vice President, Family & Animation and Partner Brands Marketing. “Matt Bomer’s voice epitomizes the All-American hero that is Superman, and John Noble counters that tone with a commanding, chilling delivery for Brainiac. A superhero is only as good as the depths of his opposition, and Noble brings out the best in his villainous portrayal of Brainiac.”

Lois LaneSUPERMAN: UNBOUND Blu-ray™ Combo Pack has over 4 1/2 hours of exciting content, including:

  • Standard and high definition versions of the feature film
  • UltraViolet™*
  • Sneak Peek at Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie
  • Featurette – “Kandor: History of the Bottle City” – An all-new featurette. Kandor: a peaceful scientific community dedicated toward the preservation of all that is good on Krypton, the home world of Superman.  That is, until the city was ripped from its world and placed into a small glass bottle!  This is the short story highlighting the shrunken city of Kandor.  Its history just as fascinating as it is unique, here is how it ties in directly with the Man of Tomorrow.
  • Featurette – “Brainiac: Technology and Terror” – An all-new featurette.  Mostly machine, but part sentient being, Brainiac steals cities and destroys worlds.  Is he the most vile of Superman’s villainous foes?  Experience the Brainiac mythology and find out why Superman barely stands a chance!
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring members of the creative team: Mike Carlin, Bob Goodman and James Tucker.
  • Four bonus episodes from Superman: The Animated Series (“The Last Son of Krypton, Part 1”; “New Kids in Town”; and “Little Girl Lost, Parts 1 & 2”), all handpicked by producer Alan Burnett.
  • Digital Comic – Excerpt from the graphic novel Superman: Brainiac by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.

* Spuerman: Unbound  UltraViolet offer is a limited time offer.  Restrictions and limitations apply.  Go to ultraviolet.flixster .com/info for details.

A New Clip from Oz the Great and Powerful

A New Clip from Oz the Great and Powerful

We’re less than a month away from the release of Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful, coming from Disney on March 8. Can James Franco make us forget Frank Morgan’s indelible performance as the Wizard in 1939’s classic MGM musical version of L. Frank Baum’s immortal novel? No one is sure yet but the trailers look cool and here’s a just-released clip for you to sample.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/c1u5r1CXcLE [/youtube]

Disney’s fantastical adventure Oz The Great and Powerful, directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great wizard but into a better man as well.

Oz The Great and Powerful is produced by Joe Roth, with screen story by Mitchell Kapner and screenplay by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire. Grant Curtis, Palak Patel, Josh Donen and Philip Steuer are serving as executive producers. “Oz The Great and Powerful” opens in U.S. theaters on March 8, 2013.

Share Paperman with your Valentine

PapermanWalt Disney Animation sets hearts aflutter with their charming blend of hand-drawn and computer animated short Paperman. This short ran last year with Wreck-It Ralph, making for a double-barreled win for the stuido.

Here is a chance to see it for the first or fifth time and it’s perfect to share with your Valentine on this red letter day.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/aTLySbGoMX0[/youtube]

Scholastic Unveils New Cover for Harry Potter’s 15th Anniversary

Harry Potter 15thHard to believe that it’s been 15 years since J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard first came to America. To celebrate, Scholastic announced this morning that a new covers will grace anniversary editions of the seven-book mega-best-selling series. In an interesting move, Kazu Kibuishi, the creator behind the over-hyped Amulet series, will be providing the new covers, replacing Mary GrandPré’s now classic images. Here’s the first cover for your viewing and personally, I think it’s an improvement. It’d be nice, as part of the celebration, they used the original title, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but that’s not going to happen.

Here’s the formal release with all the anniversary details.

New York, NY (February 13, 2013) – Harry Potter fans and young readers just starting their journey through the world of Harry Potter will have something new and exciting to add to their bookshelves this September.  Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children’s publishing, education and media company, today unveiled an all new cover for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – the first of seven new covers to appear on U.S. trade paperback editions coming in September 2013 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the U.S. publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the original book in J.K. Rowling’s best-selling Harry Potter series.

The stunning art for the new editions is by critically acclaimed artist Kazu Kibuishi, best known for his #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel series, Amulet.  Kibuishi is a longtime Harry Potter fan who called this opportunity, “more than a little surreal.”  Each of the seven new covers will depict a distinctive and memorable moment from the respective book.  The collection, which will also be released in September as a boxed set, will offer new readers just reaching the age to begin the series a glimpse of J.K. Rowling’s magical world and the epic story they are about to enter.

“The Harry Potter covers by Mary GrandPré are so fantastic and iconic,” said Kibuishi.  “When I was asked to submit samples, I initially hesitated because I didn’t want to see them reinterpreted!  However, I felt that if I were to handle the project, I could bring something to it that many other designers and illustrators probably couldn’t, and that was that I was also a writer of my own series of middle grade fiction. As an author myself, I tried to answer the question, ‘If I were the author of the books – and they were like my own children – how would I want them to be seen years from now?’ When illustrating the covers, I tried to think of classic perennial paperback editions of famous novels and how those illustrations tend to feel.  In a way, the project became a tribute to both Harry Potter and the literary classics.”

The inspired original art for the series, created by the talented Mary GrandPré will continue to be featured on the U.S. hardcover and digest paperback editions.

According to Ellie Berger, President, Scholastic Trade Publishing, “The brilliant artist Kazu Kibuishi offers his unique vision of the world of Harry Potter, making each cover an incredible adventure that will transport new readers just discovering Harry Potter for the first time directly into the rich world of J.K. Rowling’s imagination.”

Scholastic also announced that in November 2013, the company will release the first boxed set of the complete Hogwarts Library in the U.S., including Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard.  Sales of the Hogwarts Library will support two charities selected by the author, J.K. Rowling:  Lumos, a charity founded by J.K. Rowling which works to end the institutionalization of children, and Comic Relief, a UK-based charity that strives to create a just world free from poverty.

Fifteen years after the first U.S. publication of J.K. Rowling’s first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in September 1998, there are more than 150 million Harry Potter books in print in the United States alone and the series still hits bestseller lists regularly. The seven Harry Potter books are published in over 200 territories in 73 languages and have sold more than 450 million copies worldwide.

Amazing Spider-Man 2 Synopsis Unveiled

watch-the-amazing-spider-man-super-preview-550x207Sony has released the first formal details on the sequel to last year’s hit reboot, Amazing Spider-Man:

In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, for Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), life is busy – between taking out the bad guys as Spider-Man and spending time with the person he loves, Gwen (Emma Stone), high school graduation can’t come quickly enough. Peter hasn’t forgotten about the promise he made to Gwen’s father to protect her by staying away – but that’s a promise he just can’t keep. Things will change for Peter when a new villain, Electro (Jamie Foxx), emerges, an old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, and Peter uncovers new clues about his past.

The official, announced cast list: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Shailene Woodley, Dane DeHaan, Colm Feore, Paul Giamatti and Sally Field.

Additionally, the studio said that behind the camera Dan Mindel will be the cinematographer, Mark Friedberg is the production designer and Deborah L. Scott will be the costume designer and Pietro Scalia and Elliot Graham are the editors.

The film is scheduled for production this year, to be released May 2, 2014, one month after Disney’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and two months before Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, scheduled for July 18.

Iron Man 3 Spot to Air During Super Bowl

IRON3_BusShelter_Falling_v7Phase 2 of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe kicks off in May with Iron Man 3, to be followed in November with the second Thor film. There will be a new commercial for the feature to be aired during the Super Bowl. Here is Disney’s teaser for those who can’t wait. The studio is betting heavily on the audience for the Ravens-49ers contest (we’re rooting for the Ravens) with spots of Oz the Great and Powerful, The Lone Ranger, and Iron Man 3.

IRON MAN 3  (in Digital 3D and RealD)

MARVEL STUDIOS presents in association with PARAMOUNT PICTURES and DMG ENTERTAINMENT

Website and Mobile site: IronManMovie3.com

Like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/ironman

Follow us on Twitter: Twitter.com/Iron_Man

Genre:                          Action-adventure

Rating:

U.S. Release date:        May 3, 2013

Running time:

Cast:                            Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale with Jon Favreau and Ben Kingsley

Director:                       Shane Black

Producer:                      Kevin Feige

Executive Producers:    Jon Favreau, Louis D’Esposito, Charles Newirth, Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard, Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Dan Mintz

Screenplay by:              Drew Pearce & Shane Black

[youtube]http://youtu.be/2N6tDt-A7ME[/youtube]

Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale with Jon Favreau and Ben Kingsley, Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” is directed by Shane Black from a screenplay by Drew Pearce & Shane Black and is based on Marvel’s iconic Super Hero Iron Man, who first appeared on the pages of “Tales of Suspense” (#39) in 1963 and had his solo comic book debut with “The Invincible Iron Man” (#1) in May of 1968. 

In Marvel’s “Iron Man 3,” Tony Stark/Iron Man finds his world reduced to rubble by a malevolent enemy and must use his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him as he seeks to destroy the enemy and his cohorts.

REVIEW: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2

The Dark Knight Returns 2The second part of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns demonstrates how the world has changed since the graphic novel source material was published in 1986. Frank Miller’s reinvention of Batman was also his personal reaction to the conservative, jingoistic United States of America of the decade. President Ronald Reagan was a folksy president, good with a quip, and saw the world in stark black and white terms, which was feeling wrong in the final years of the Cold War. Miller also questioned all authority figures from know-it-all doctors who loved to hear themselves on the growing number of vapid talk shows to the unformed law-enforcement representatives who fired first and then questioned orders. While some of this was evident in part one, which was released last fall, this installment, out on Tuesday, really shines a spotlight on the themes.

Batman punchA visual tour-de-force, Miller’s four-part The Dark Knight took the storytelling techniques he developed for Daredevil and applied them to DC’s two biggest icons. Readers had seen nothing like it before and heralded the work an instant classic. Here we are, more than twenty years later being given a two-part adaptation of this story and suddenly it feels dated. Here’s no question screenwriter Bob Goodman and director Jay Oliva honored the source material and its satisfying as an adaptation.

But the notion that Superman, the ultimate authority figure, was blindly taking orders from the President, and allowed himself to take lives in an international conflict feels wrongheaded. That Batman and the other costumed heroes and villains would all willingly vanish into the shadows that spawned them feels wrong, as well. Much as it felt wrong for Batman to vanish for eight years in the Christopher Nolan films, it also now feels like Bruce Wayne would never stop fighting crime in his city.

TDKR_R2_06604But he’s back, pushing fifty, and feeling the effects of time on his bulky form. He’s dealing with a city that needs him but an administration that does not want him, especially as Commissioner James Gordon steps down, turning the police over to Ellen Yindel, who immediately wants Batman shot on sight. Where Oliva’s action sequences totally fail is that the criminals and police alike fire endless streams of bullets with little consideration of the collateral damage being inflict or civilian lives being endangered. Thousands of bullets are fired, but none strike Batman or Robin, which is stunning incompetence (and bad storytelling).

TDKR_R2_03783The conflict on the island of Corto Maltese is the backdrop as the Joker talks his idiot doctor into bringing him to a talk show to tell his side of the story. Michael Emerson’s clown prince of crime is cold and maniacal but depicted, he is a homicidal figure, nothing funny about his actions or methods at all. The character design may be Miller inspired but he’s too normal looking, just a muscular specimen in makeup which feels wrong. The criminal madman is free and after Batman after making a stop to humiliate a gone-to-pot Selina Kyle, now a Madame. The Joker and Batman face off one final time and this is when the Dark Knight finally gets hurt, in the Tunnel of Love of all places, a subtle nod to the homoerotic subtext Miller added to their relationship.

Superman vs. BatmanAll the episodic explosive action leads up to the inevitable conflict between the symbol of conformity and the agent of justice. Their climactic battle is nicely handled as is the denouement, bringing the 76 minute story to a fine ending.

Peter Weller’s Batman is okay but nothing special while Mark Valley’s Superman works much better. Ariel Winter’s Robin doesn’t get nearly enough to say but plenty to do in the film. The rich voice cast blends well together, aided by a good score from Christopher Drake.

The combo pack contains the Blu-ray, DVD, and Ultraviolet versions of the film. Special features include a too-short 9:24 Superman vs. Batman: When Heroes Collide, as the usual suspects talk about why these two fight and who should win. The longer, 14:07, The Joker: Laughing in the Face of Death nicely uses archival material so his creator, Jerry Robinson gets his say. While it’s good to have Emerson’s take on the character, Mark Hamill’s absence is missed as are his current handlers such as writer Scott Snyder. Oliva takes us through numerous sequences in the 43 minute From Sketch to Screen and he gives kudos to those who took Miller’s work and brought it the screen. Oliva is well-spoken and some of the information provided is interesting to hear and see.

Three episodes from Batman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Brave & the Bold are included on the Blu-ray disc. On the other hand, the promised preview of Superman: Unbound is curiously absence from the disc. Instead, there is another digital excerpt from the graphic novel.

Disney Teases Two Films

EVANORA_DARK_GENERICWalt Disney announced today that the hotly rumored 1952 project is officially titled Tomorrowland. Written by Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird from a concept by Lindelof and Jeff Jensen. Lindelof (Star Trek, LostPrometheus) will produce and Bird (The IncrediblesMission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) will produce and direct. Jensen, a longtime contirbutor to Entertainment Weekly and one-time Teen Titans writer, is making the jump to the big leagues with this one. George Clooney is signed to star in the film which is scheduled for released December 19, 2014.

Coming out far sooner is Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful. The studio released this teaser for the Super Bowl ad set to air on Sunday. Apparently, once the spot airs, the Disney website will be taken over by one of the witches. Willit be a good witch or a bad witch remains to be seen.

DARK_GLINDA_GENERICDisney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great wizard but into a better man as well.

Oz The Great and Powerful is produced by Joe Roth, with screen story by Mitchell Kapner and screenplay by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire. Grant Curtis, Palak Patel, Josh Donen and Philip Steuer are serving as executive producers. Oz The Great and Powerful opens in U.S. theaters on March 8, 2013.

Peter David’s Tigerheart eBook on Sale for $2.99

tigerheartAs you know, Peter is facing some horrific medical bills in the coming months and everyone is doing their part to help out. This now includes his publisher, Random House, which has temporarily reduced the eBook price of his fabulous fantasy, Tigerheart, to a mere $2.99.

The pastiche of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan was originally released in 2008 and remains one of his proudest achievements.

For those unfamiliar with it, here’s the official description:

For all readers who have ever lent an enthusiastic ear to a wonderfully well told tale, or tumbled gladly into pages that could transport them anywhere, now comes novelist Peter David’s enchanting new work of fantasy.

Action-packed and suspenseful, heart-tugging and wise, it weaves a spell both hauntingly familiar and utterly irresistible for those who have ever surrendered themselves to flights of fancy, and have whispered in their hearts, “I believe.”

Paul Dear is a good and clever boy, doted on by a father who fills his son’s head with tall tales, thrilling legends, and talk of fairy-folk, and by a mother who indulges these fantastic stories and tempers them with common sense. But Paul is special in ways that even his adoring parents could never have imagined. For by day, in London’s Kensington Gardens, he walks and talks with the pixies and sprites and other magical creatures that dwell among the living-but are unseen by most. And at night in his room, a boy much like himself, yet not, beckons to Paul from the mirror to come adventuring. It’s a happy life for Paul, made all the more so by the birth of his baby sister.

You can find it for this low, low price at Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes & Noble’s Nook and it comes highly recommended by those who have read it.

A big thank you to Nook’s Ali T. Kokmen for helping make this a reality.

The Official Confirmation that JJ Abrams is Directing Star Wars VII

JJ-AbramsIt takes a lot these days to make the internet meltdown but the news that Bad Robot’s J.J. Abrams was signing to direct Disney’s new Star Wars film was just the megatonage needed. It was a very good week for Abrams, whose production company also sold pilots to NBC and Fox. To avoid being totally eclipsed by the news, Paramount Pictures made it clear that Abrams and team would remain involved in some manner with its Star Trek and Mission: Impossible franchises. Here’s the official release which Disney sent out late last night:

J.J. Abrams to Direct Star Wars: Episode VII

J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII, the first of a new series of Star Wars films to come from Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams will be directing and Academy Award-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay.

“It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie,” said Kennedy. “J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture.”

George Lucas went on to say “I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller.  He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.”

“To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor,” J.J. Abrams said. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”

J.J., his longtime producing partner Bryan Burk, and Bad Robot are on board to produce along with Kathleen Kennedy under the Disney | Lucasfilm banner.

Star Wars logoAlso consulting on the project are Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg.  Kasdan has a long history with Lucasfilm, as screenwriter on The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi. Kinberg was writer on Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Abrams and his production company Bad Robot have a proven track record of blockbuster movies that feature complex action, heartfelt drama, iconic heroes and fantastic production values with such credits as Star Trek, Super 8, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, and this year’s Star Trek Into Darkness. Abrams has worked with Lucasfilm’s preeminent postproduction facilities, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, on all of the feature films he has directed, beginning with Mission: Impossible III. He also created or co-created such acclaimed television series as Felicity, Alias, Lost and Fringe.