Tagged: Die Hard

Divergent Blu-ray Release Scores August 5 Release Date

0612176BTr1SANTA MONICA, CA (May 20, 2014) – Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), the premier next generation global content leader, will release the electrifying first installment of t
he blockbuster action adventure franchise Divergent on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital HD), DVD (plus Digital), Video on Demand and Pay-Per-View on August 5, the Company announced today. The film will be available on Digital HD two weeks early on July 22.

A new trailer for the home video release was also announced.

Based on Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times best-selling book series which has sold nearly 22 million copies worldwide, the film features an all-star cast including Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Academy Award® winner Kate Winslet and Ashley Judd. To date,

Divergent has grossed nearly $150 million at the domestic box office and more than $250 million worldwide in its theatrical release on Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label, getting the new franchise off to a fast start.  The next three installments — Insurgent and Allegiant Parts 1 & 2 — will be released theatrically on March 20, 2015, March 18, 2016 and March 24, 2017, respectively.

There is a new clip, “Bringing Divergent to Life”, that’s worth a look.

Packed with bonus material, the Blu-ray Combo Pack includes the documentary “Bringing Divergent to Life,” an in-depth look at the making of the film plus the exclusive featurette “Faction Before Blood,” detailing the film’s future world. The Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD both feature deleted scenes and two audio commentaries – one with director Neil Burger and one with producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher. The Divergent Blu-ray Combo Pack will be available for the suggested retail price of $39.99 and the DVD for $29.95. 

Divergent stars Shailene Woodley (upcoming The Fault in Our Stars), Theo James (Underworld: Awakening), Ashley Judd (Double Jeopardy), Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard), Ray Stevenson (Thor), Zoё Kravitz (X-Men: First Class), Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now), Tony Goldwyn (TV’s Scandal), Ansel Elgort (upcoming The Fault in Our Stars), Maggie Q (TV’s Nikita), Mekhi Phifer (Torchwood) and Academy Award® winner Kate Winslet (Best Actress, The Reader,2008). The film is directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist, Limitless) from a screenplay by Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman) and Vanessa Taylor (HBO’s Game of Thrones).

Divergent is a thrilling action adventure set in a future world where society has been divided into five distinct factions. But Tris will never fit into any one group-she is Divergent, and what makes her different makes her dangerous. Targeted by a faction leader determined to eliminate all Divergents, Tris turns to the one person she believes she can trust: Four, an instructor for the militant Dauntless faction, and a man full of dark secrets. Together, Tris and Four uncover a mind-bending conspiracy that will put their courage to the ultimate test…and forever link their destinies.

BLU-RAY COMBO PACK SPECIAL FEATURES*

  • “Bringing Divergent to Life” Documentary
  • “Faction Before Blood” Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Audio Commentary with Director Neil Burger
  • Audio Commentary with Producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher

*Subject to change

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES*

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Audio Commentary with Director Neil Burger
  • Audio Commentary with Producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher

*Subject to change

PROGRAM INFORMATION

Street Date: August 5, 2014
Price: $39.99 Blu-ray / $29.95 DVD
Title Copyright: Divergent © 2014, Artwork & Supplementary Materials ™ & © 2014 Summit Entertainment, LLC. All Rights Reserved
Rating: PG-13 for Intense Violence and Action, Thematic Elements and Some Sensuality
Feature Run Time: 139 Minutes
Type: Theatrical Release
Genre: Action/Adventure
Closed Captioned: NA
Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish
Blu-ray Format: 1080P High Definition 16×9 Widescreen (2.40:1)
DVD Format: 16×9 Widescreen (2.40:1)
Blu-ray Audio Status: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Optimized for Late-Night Listening and English Descriptive Audio
DVD Audio Status: English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio

Fast & Furious 6 Arrives on Home Video December 10

FAF6_Steelbook_3DUniversal City, California, October 3, 2013— The latest blistering addition to one of Hollywood’s greatest action-movie franchises, Fast & Furious 6, roars into the holiday season as the unbeatable choice for “Highest-Octane action yet!” (Meriah Doty, Yahoo!) A transcontinental caper that reunites fan-favorite stars from the blockbuster franchise’s earlier films, Fast & Furious 6 earned almost $800 million at the box office worldwide. Fast & Furious 6 comes to Blu-ray™ Combo Pack including Blu-ray™, DVD & Digital HD with UltraViolet™ and On Demand on December 10, 2013, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film will also be available on Digital November 19, 2013. Found exclusively only on the Blu-ray™ is a special Extended version with even more intense action, as well as over an hour of exclusive behind-the-scenes bonus features, only available for a limited time in collectible Steel Book packaging

Fast veterans Vin Diesel (Riddick, xXx), Paul Walker (Takers, Flags of Our Fathers) and Dwayne Johnson (Pain and Gain, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) lead an all-star cast that includes Jordana Brewster (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Dallas), Tyrese Gibson (Transformers, Death Race), Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (Crash, RocknRolla), Sung Kang (Ninja Assassin, Live Free or Die Hard), John Ortiz (Silver Linings Playbook, American Gangster), Gal Gadot (Night and Day, Date Night), Elsa Pataky (All Things to All Men, The Wine of Summer) and, for the first time since 2009’s Fast and Furious, Michelle Rodriguez (Resident Evil, Turbo), plus series newcomers Luke Evans (Immortals, The Three Musketeers) and MMA-champion Gina Carano (Haywire, Blood and Bone). Director Justin Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan team up for their fourth Fast & Furious collaboration, hailed “Fun, entertaining and sexy” by Jake Hamilton of FOX-TV, and packed with “bigger fights, badder villains, bolder chases,” according to Elizabeth Weitsman of The NY Daily News. Call **Fast 6 (**3278) from your mobile phone to get a special message from Vin Diesel plus an exclusive behind-the-scenes clip.*

The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack includes a Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD with UltraViolet.
• Blu-ray™ disc unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring 6x the picture resolution of DVD, exclusive extras and theater-quality surround sound.
• DVD offers the flexibility and convenience of playing movies in more places, both at home and away.
• DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly stream or download movies to watch on iPad®, iPhone®, Android™, smart TVs, connected Blu-ray playres, game consoles and more.
Bonus Features Exclusively on Blu-rayTM

Extended Version of the Film

Take Control—Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and director Justin Lin appear at key moments throughout the film, offering observations and reflections on the movie, behind-the-scenes footage and more.

Planes, Tanks and Automobiles
• The London Chase—Gives viewers a front-row seat for the filming of a sprawling car chase through the streets of one of the world’s most historic—and congested—cities. Examines how director Justin Lin and his team pulled off car-flipping mayhem on a breathtaking scale.
• Highway Heist: The Convoy Attack—A first-hand account of a meticulously planned and executed action sequence, as Dominic’s gang saves the day in this high-velocity battle featuring a tank, an armored cargo carrier and a harpoon.
• The Antonov Takedown—An exploration of what went into creating Fast & Furious 6’s spectacular finale sequence, featuring the world’s largest plane, including first- and second-unit filming, special effects, visual effects, car rigging, stunt drivers, green-screen shooting and more.
• Dom and Letty Race Again – Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez reunite on screen.

Gearhead’s Delight—From the shop to the test track, to the set and back again, a look at the latest hot cars showcased in Fast & Furious 6. Narrated by car lover Paul Walker, this piece features Dom’s latest Charger, Brian’s Nissan Skyline GTR, the BMW M5’s, the Alfa Romeo and the classic cars from the film’s car-auction scene.

The FLIP Car—Provides an inside look at the Fast franchise’s newest mind-blowing vehicle—the pivoting FLIP car. Dennis McCarthy, the film’s picture car coordinator, will take us through the coolest parts of this truly astonishing vehicle, and the destruction it leaves in its wake.

Hand-to-Hand Fury—This jam-packed featurette offers viewers a detailed look at the rehearsals, choreography, stunt work and filming of some of Fast & Furious 6’s most bone-jarring fight sequences.
Bonus Features on Blu-rayTM and DVD
• Deleted Scenes
The Making of Fast & Furious 6
• The Fastest of Them All—Chronicles the epic saga of the Fast films from chapters three through six. Justin Lin and his team reveal how they brought new energy to the franchise, creating a dynamic multi-movie story arc.
• Reuniting the Team—Explores the characters (and actors) that make up the Fast family, with a focus on founding partners Dom and Brian (and Vin and Paul).
• Letty’s Return—Heralded by a crowd-pleasing cliffhanger in Fast Five, Michelle Rodriguez (“Letty”) makes a dramatic return in the sixth installment. This short feature explores how the creative team engineered her resurrection.
• The Mastermind and The Mole—Viewers meet Fast “newbies” Luke Evans (“Shaw”) and Gina Carano (“Riley”) as they share their experience joining the cast of Fast & Furious 6 and how their characters fit into the new plot.

On the Set with Vin—Vin Diesel talks through a stunt he is about to perform and then rides his hot rod through an explosion, coming out unscathed.

Feature Commentary with Director Justin Lin
SYNOPSIS
Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson and Michelle Rodriguez lead a cast of returning all-stars as the global blockbuster franchise built on speed delivers the biggest adrenaline rush yet in this explosive extended version. Hobbs (Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled drivers, whose mastermind (Luke Evans) is aided by the love Dom (Diesel) thought was dead, Letty (Rodriguez). The only way to stop the criminal mercenaries from stealing a top secret weapon is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs asks for the help of Dom and his elite team. Payment for the ultimate chase? Full pardons for all of them and a chance to make their families whole again.

CAST AND FILMMAKERS:
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Sung Kang, John Ortiz, Gal Gadot, Elsa Pataky, Luke Evans, Gina Carano, Shea Whigham, David Ajala, Kim Kold, Thure Lindhardt, Joe Taslim
Directed by: Justin Lin
Screenplay by: Chris Morgan
Based on Characters Created By: Gary Scott Thompson
Producers: Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, Clayton Townsend
Executive Producers: Justin Lin, Amanda Lewis, Samantha Vincent, Chris Morgan
Director of Photography: Stephen F. Windon
Production Designer: Jan Roelfs
Editor: Christian Wagner, Kelly Matsumoto
Costume Designer: Sanja Milkovic Hays
Music by: Lucas Vidal
TECHNICAL INFORMATION – BLU-RAY™
Street Date: December 10, 2013
Copyright: 2013 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Selection Numbers:
SteelBook: 61127649 (US), 61127790 (CDN)
BD Combo Pack: 61125007 (U.S), 61125653 (CDN)
Running Time: 2 hours, 11 minutes (Rated); 2 Hours 11 Minutes (Unrated)
Layers: BD-50
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 2.35:1
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and mayhem throughout, some sexuality and language/ Unrated
Technical Info: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/DVS DD 2.0 (English); Digital Surround 5.1 (Spanish and French)
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
TECHNICAL INFORMATION – DVD
Street Date: December 10, 2013
Copyright: 2013 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Selection Numbers: 61124405 (U.S), 61125652 (CDN)
Running Time: 2 hours, 11 minutes
Layers: Dual Layer
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and mayhem throughout, some sexuality and language
Technical Info: Dolby Digital 5.1/DVS DD 2.0 (English); Dolby Digital 5.1 (Spanish and French)
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

Jack Reacher Coming to DVD in 2 Weeks

JackReacher_Combo_BRD_3D_xtraSkewWhile Tom Cruise flogs the so-so reviewed Oblivion, his last feature effort, Jack Reacher, is coming to home video on May 7. According to the PR:

One of the most compelling heroes ever to step from novel to screen makes his highly-anticipated home entertainment debut when JACK REACHER blasts his way onto Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on May 7, 2013 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.  The film will be available for Digital Download on April 23rd.  Tom Cruise tackles the title role with the brute force his character is known for and his “tightly controlled performance holds our attention all the way through to the tense finale” (Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News).  Based on best-selling author Lee Child’s wildly popular series of novels, JACK REACHER was adapted for the screen and directed by Academy Award-winner Christopher McQuarrie (Best Original Screenplay, The Usual Suspects, 1995).  Filled with heart-pounding action, thrills and a “killer chase scene” (Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News), JACK REACHER is “hard-boiled detective story entertainment” (Richard Corliss, Time) that “will have you gasping in surprise at the velocity and ferocity of the action” (Marshall Fine, Huffington Post).  The film also boasts “a top flight ensemble cast” (Claudia Puig, USA Today) including Robert Duvall (Apocalypse Now), Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day), Werner Herzog (Rescue Dawn), David Oyelowo (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Richard Jenkins (The Cabin in the Woods) and Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard).

In anticipation of the home entertainment release, journalists from around the globe gathered on the Paramount lot in Hollywood, California to step into the shoes of world-renowned author Lee Child’s legendary anti-hero, Jack Reacher.
 From the brutal, no-holds-barred street fight to the heart-pounding and high-octane car chase, experts demonstrated how they helped bring these unforgettable scenes to life in the action-packed film Jack Reacher.

Veteran fight coordinator Robert Alonzo provided expert training in the Keysi Fighting Method to prepare participants for their own choreographed fight.
Stunt coordinator and 2nd unit director Paul Jennings gave an inside look at how the killer car chase was filmed.

Blake MycoskieStunt driver Joey Box showed off the actual Chevelle from the movie.

The JACK REACHER Blu-ray/DVD combo pack with UltraViolet™ is bursting with compelling bonus features including an in-depth look at Reacher’s journey to the screen, the filmmakers’ devotion to remaining true to the essence of the character and their drive to create an action-thriller that harkens back to the landmark films of the ‘70s.  The combo pack also includes a look at the training and stunt choreography behind the gritty and intense fight sequences, an exploration of the Reacher phenomenon around the world with Lee Child, as well as commentaries by Tom Cruise, director Christopher McQuarrie and composer Joe Kraemer.  The film will also be available as a single-disc DVD.

The Blu-ray release available for purchase will be enabled with UltraViolet, a new way to collect, access and enjoy movies.  With UltraViolet, consumers can add movies to their digital collection in the cloud, and then stream or download them – reliably and securely – to a variety of devices.

Michael Davis: Once You Go Black… Part Two

If you have not done so, please read last week’s article. Thanks.

The opening night of the movie Blade, I was sitting in a packed Magic Johnson Theater in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles. Crenshaw is a predominantly black community, so needless to say the crowd for a black superhero movie in a black neighborhood in theaters owned by a black sports superstar was overwhelmingly Jewish. The Jews, they so love to hang in the hood. Black hats, long black coats – they roll big pimpin’ style.

I kid, I joke. The audience was crushingly African American. There was a lot of excitement in the crowd. When the lights went down the audience started to clap and that’s rare in a black movie house. To have a black crowd clap for a movie before they have seen it is extraordinary.

Black people rarely do that. We take our leisure time seriously. We are also very vocal about entertainment and we expect our monies worth. If a black crowd does not like a film – no that’s wrong – if black people don’t like a movie we will not be shy about voicing our opinions immediately.

Yep. I freely admit we can be a bit loud in the movies but for us it’s part of the show. To be fair we only tend to get loud during action and horror movies. You will seldom hear, “Yo! Henry Fonda! Don’t get in that motherfucking row boat!” during a screening of On Golden Pond.

Black people by in large don’t go see a film. We go to the movies. What’s the difference?

My Left Foot, film.

Die Hard, movie.

Still confused? OK, try this. A film is a motion picture that many may consider art. A film will have these elements in it: a story, a point of view, and a message.  It will make little or no money but will win lots of awards and always features white people.

A movie will have these elements; some kind of story that won’t be important, shit that blows up, sex, violence, vampires, it will only win special effects awards, it will make tons of money and always features white people.

The one thing you will find in both a movie and film is white people. From time to time you will find black people in movies but you will always find white people in every movie ever made. Most times those white people will include Nicolas Cage.

But, (man, I wonder why Peter David hasn’t pimp slapped me yet) I digress… As I was saying, black people take our movie going outings very seriously. We don’t clap just to clap (that’s why we have sex), we clap to show appreciation for the work. So the reaction by the sold out crowd at the Blade opening was quite the pleasant surprise to me. Clearly some of the applause was because this was something rarely seen in movies, a black superhero.

When the credits began Wesley Snipes got quite an ovation and the crowd continued giving props to some other recognizable names. Then up on the screen came this gem: “Blade created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan.

Oh, yes!” I screamed like 40-year old woman who just had her first orgasm after being married for 20 years. “Oh hell yes!” Much, like I imagine that 40-year old woman would react, I did not notice that everyone else had stopped hollering and were looking at me. A large, as in large like the Hulk, man noticed my outburst had occurred during the “created by” credit.

“What you yelling for?” He asked. “I know Marv Wolfman, one of the guys who created Blade.” I said, hoping this guy wasn’t a Crip because I had on a red sweater.

He asked, “Is he a brother?”

What? Is he a brother? Marv Wolfman? I mean come on! Before I could answer I noticed that there were others listening and realized that I could dampen the mood of the crowd. But I’m not a lair so I told him the truth.

“He’s my brother.”

“Right on!” Someone shouted!

That was a great moment in what would turn out to be a great night.

The move was wonderful. The crowd loved every minute of it and me? I was in cloud nine.

Blade was a great movie. It featured a black superhero but it was not a “black” film. Nope. It was a superhero movie, period. Not long afterwards I ran into Marv Wolfman at Comic Con in San Diego. I recounted to him my interaction with the Bulk (black Hulk, get it?) and he was pleased as can be. Up until I told him he did not know that he had gotten an entire card in the credits. A “card” is what the credits are called in the industry it’s a big deal when your name is the only name on a card or is shared with just one other name. Big Deal. Marv created Blade at a time when black superheroes were few and I mean very few. Here’s the kicker: Blade does not have to be black.

Nope.

Blade could be just another white guy who kills v. The character works just as well as a black character as it does a white character. Marv created a good character and that’s why it works.

I’m of the opinion the color of the character really does not matter as long as the character is a good character. That said I’m a comic book fan first and I get a little pissed when a character I’m familiar with in the comics has a race change in the movies. You would think that as a black man and a black comic book creator I’d be happy that Nick Fury was turned into a black man.

Nope.

I liked Nick Fury as a badass white super spy.

That’s because of the Steranko comics. Jim Steranko’s Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. was one of the greatest comics ever! When Fury was changed in The Ultimates it pissed me off. When I saw Samuel L. Jackson as Fury in Iron Man it pissed me off even more.

I know Sam Jackson, Sam Jackson attends my annual Comic Con parties, Sam Jackson is a huge comic book fan, Sam Jackson is a great actor, alas Sam Jackson is not Nick Fury.

I want my comic book heroes to be like the comic book. I can hear some black people now “Man we need more black superheroes… and you’re stupid, Davis!”

I know we need more black superheroes, but Nick Fury will always be the cool ass super spy white guy in the Steranko comics to me.

The fact is I care that Nick Fury is not white in the movie because he’s white in the comic book. Did it stop me from seeing The Avengers?

Here comes that 40-year old first time orgasm woman again, Oh Hell No!

Did I like Sam Jackson as Fury? Damnit, yes, yes I did. Did anyone seem to care in the two sold out showings of the movies I sat through that Nick Fury was black?

Nope.

Did Blade not make a zillion dollars and spawn two sequels?

Yep.

And speaking of Spawn (damn I’m clever) did Spawn, another black superhero, not make a grip in movies, television and toys?

Yep.

Was Static Shock (still seen in reruns to this day) not one of the highest rated animated shows on television?

Yep.

I’m told often, black doesn’t sell. Clearly that’s bullshit. Just ask Will Smith, the biggest star in the world. He has played a few superheroes and all made serious bank.

With these examples and many more why does Hollywood still think that “black means death” when it comes to black superheroes?

End, part 2.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Emily S. Whitten On The Job

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Covers Covers

 

Universal Picking Up Charlize Theron Sci-Fi Project ‘Agent 13’

Universal Picking Up Charlize Theron Sci-Fi Project ‘Agent 13’

The Hollywood Reporter reports that “Rise of the Planet of the Apes'” director, Rupert Wyatt is attached to the Charlize Theron Sci-Fi Project ‘Agent 13’.

Universal is finalizing a deal to pick up Agent 13, a sci-fi project that sees Charlize Theron attached to star and Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt attached to direct.

T.S. Nowlin  is the writer behind the pitch, which is based on a little known comic book from 1988. It was created by G.I. Joe and Transformers cartoon writer Flint Dille and David Marconi, who went on to pen the Will Smith thriller Enemy of the State as well as Live Free or Die Hard. 

The comic had post-modern pulp overtones, replete with femme fatales and explosive cliffhangers. The main character is male and despite Theron’s involvement, will remain that way. (The actress is attached to play another part.)

Sean Daniels, one of those behind Universal’s Mummy franchise, discovered the comic and has been developing since at least last year, is one of the producers along with Jason Brown. Theron is also producing via her Denver and Delilah banner as is Union Entertainment.

For more information on Agent 13, check out All Pulp’s interview with Flint Dille and David Marconi from December 2010 at http://allpulp.blogspot.com/2010/12/all-pulps-flint-dille-and-david-marconi.html

MINDY NEWELL: The Enemy Within

I stink at writing battles between the superhero and the bad guy.

Oh, I’ve always managed to struggle through – and through the years I’ve learned how to choreograph them pretty well, thanks to watching great action movies, anything from Bullitt to the Die Hard series to the Matrix Trilogy and Kill Bill, Vols. I and II. But I was always happier to write a fight scene “Marvel style,” especially if I was working with an artist I trusted. Full script, though? Talk about pulling teeth!

So why the hell do I love writing comics?

That’s a good question. And here’s the answer.

What has always interested me about the superhero is the what makes them tick?, the what’s going on in their lives?, the how does having special abilities affect a person? Questions. Of course I wasn’t the first comic writer to address these issues. There’s one or two columnists here at ComicMix who have done so and continue to do so – yeah, I’m talking ‘bout you two, John Ostrander and Denny O’Neil. But John and Denny are also able to write great battle scenes. I can’t.

Way-back-when I sat down to try my luck at writing an entry for DC’s New Talent Showcase program, I thought about what was lacking in the super-hero biz. Hmm, I thought. There are superheroes who are men, and superheroes who are women. There are superheroes who date or are married to ordinary women, and there are superhero married couples. But I couldn’t think of any super-hero women who were married to “ordinary” guys. “That could be really interesting,” I thought to myself.

Then something clicked in my brain. “What if,” I said to myself, “these two people are just regular young marrieds, very much in love with each other, expecting their first child, and believing they’ve got the world on a string? And then everything goes wrong. She gains super-powers, but the trade-off is: she loses the baby. And he just can’t deal.  What happens to them? What happens to the marriage?”

And that’s the way I’ve always tried to approach the superhero. Treating them like real people, with real personalities and all the positive and negative traits that real people have. Facing real problems with paying the bills and trying to lose weight.

Let’s take Wonder Woman. I don’t remember the issue number, but it was one of the last few issues before the book went on hiatus until George Pérez reintroduced the character. One of my favorite scenes was the one in which Diana tried to make breakfast, only she burned the toast and undercooked the eggs. It was only about two or three panels, but it made sense to me that as an individual who grew up on a magical island on which time had stopped in the Hellenic Age, a toaster and a frying pan would be as strange to her as, well, the appearance of an Amazon princess in the middle of New York City would be to us here on Earth-Prime.

And, although I’m a staunch pro-choicer, I’ve always believed Diana should be a staunch pro-lifer. Why? Well, think about it. An island of immortal women called Themyiscyra, where men are forbidden. For 3,000 years, cut off from the outside world by powerful magiks, babies are unknown…yes, pregnancy, the unborn child, would be ultimate, holy, sacrosanct, untouchable, inviolable object of worship of a woman raised in this environment.

(Of course, when I mentioned this to Karen Berger once, I believe she was intrigued, but what with Jenette Khan, then publisher of DC, being a friend of Gloria Steinem, and Steinem being one of the “ultimate, holy, sacrosanct, untouchable, and inviolable” feminists of the day, along with being editor of Ms. Magazine, she basically told me to “forget it.”)

I’d like to explore the loneliness of the last survivor of an alien civilization. (Superman, J’onn J’onzz.)

What does it do to a person to be able to run “faster than a speeding bullet” and get stuck in traffic? (Flash, Quicksilver).

How do you not go insane when you’re trapped in a body of rock? (Thing, Concrete.)

If you can fly, would you resent having to walk?

If you have x-ray vision, can you resist taking a look the boss’s e-mails? Or your co-worker’s paycheck?

If you can read minds, do you really want to know what people are thinking?

If you have telekinesis, would you ever get up off the couch?

One of my favorite science fiction movies, definitely on my top five list, is Forbidden Planet, in which the monster is a creature risen from the jealousies and fears that lurk within the human mind.

“Creatures from the id.”

Yes.

The enemy within.

TUESDAY: Michael Davis

FORTIER TAKES ON ‘HUGH MONN, PRIVATE DETECTIVE!’

 ALL PULP REVIEWS-by Ron Fortier

HUGH MONN –Private Detective
By Lee Houston, Jr.
Pro Se Press
176 pages
Genre blending has always been a staple of pulp fiction and there have been many sci-fi based private eye creations over the years.  Writer Lee Houston Jr. isn’t breaking any new ground with this collection. What he is doing is adding to it with a truly sympathetic character in Hugh Monn, a human residing on the planet of Frontera.  For background, we are told that there was an intergalactic war between isolationists who opposed species interaction and the allied worlds who favored it both for moral and economic reasons.  The isolationists lost although remnants survive in bands of outlawed terrorists.  Monn is a battle weary veteran of the campaign having fought with the allies.  Now he’s settled down in his one man private investigations business and the eight cases in this volume have him mixing with various humanoid species also inhabiting the city island of Galveston 2. Each is well done and adds in creating a fascinating supporting cast.
“Dineena’s Dilemna,” in which a disinherited son attempts to frame his cousin for the murder of his own mother.  Alas, private detective Hugh Moon is on the case and spots enough clues to free his client and bring the murderous heir to justice.
In “Shortages” Monn is hired by a docking outfit to solve the theft of merchandise from a highly secured storage facility. It looks like an inside job and evidence implicates one of the alien employees unless Monn can figure out how the thieves are working their operations.
In “Law and Order,” Monn is retained by a Felinoid lawyer named Mau to help clear her client from an armed robbery charge.  The problem is the store’s video tapes clearly show the defendant committing the crime. Monn has to prove that even the eyes can be deceived by digital chicanery.
With “The Siege,” Houston gives us his version of the move “Die Hard,” with Monn going up against a group of ant-like terrorist secretly taking over a major business tower at the heart of the island where he resides. Super rifle in hand, the gutsy private eye takes on this squad of trained commandos single handed.
“Where Can I Get A Witness?”  Monn is hired to subpoena an elusive witness in a motor vehicle accident case.  In the process he stumbles over the case of a popular female singer who mysteriously vanished decades earlier. What’s the connection between that disappearance and the old man becomes the puzzle he must solve before someone dies.
Then a paternity issue results in a kidnapping and ends with Monn trapping an embezzler who became too greedy, all in the story, “For The Benefit Of Master Tyke.”  This one gives us more of the detective’s character and sensitivity as he tries to keep a family from falling apart.  While “At What Price Gloria?” Monn helps an old acquaintance from an earlier case outwit foreign blackmailers and foil an assassination plot.
Finally the book ends with our hero attempting to spend, “A Day At The Beach,” only to end up solving a brutal murder with the help of a few other beach goers.
What is particularly refreshing in these tales is that Houston wisely opts not to make his hero a hard-boiled, typically cynical type.  Hugh Monn is a genuinely nice guy who likes people and aliens alike and is sincere in trying to make his world a better place for all to live in.  He’s a good guy I liked meeting and hope to see him again real soon.

HANCOCK TIPS HIS HAT TO THE BEST NEW PULP NOVEL EVER!

Tippin’ Hancock’s Hat-Reviews of All Things Pulp by Tommy Hancock

FUN & GAMES
by Duane Swierczynski
Mulholland Books
287 Pages
Published June 2011

The debate is settled.  The argument is over.   The conundrum has been solved.

There can be New Pulp that satisfies all sides of the ‘Classic Feel versus Modern Relevance’ discussion that some of us have been involved with for a tentful of Sundays.  Yes, the perfect expression of New Pulp does exist in between two covers, Virginia.

Duane Swierczynski, noted author and comic scribe, released “the first of three explosive Pulp thrillers” this past June under the title FUN & GAMES.  And I’ll tell you, it’s definitely both.   Swierczynski hits all the points that Pulp has to hit to be Pulp.  Even with that, though, he presents us not with a perfect hero, but one replete with flaws, weaknesses, and scars.   Charlie Hardie’s inherent goodness, however, is the perfect part of him, the piece that even when he himself doubts it, does not crumble and break away.  This gives him the steel and nerve he needs to be the perfect Pulp hero.

Hardie, as he’s introduced, is a Housesitter on his way to sit the house of a major player in the movie business.   A few years prior, he’d been a ‘consultant’ of sorts for the Philadelphia Police Department and used various skills to help his best friend end some of the crime and corruption in the city.   Tragically, Charlie’s best friend and family are killed when Charlie is basically set up to birddog them for the bad guys.  Nearly killed himself (he earns the nickname Unkillable Chuck because it seems like he’s almost impossible to kill.  He earns that nickname time and again in this book), Charlie makes sure his own wife and child are protected and dives headfirst into a bottle and the life of a housesitting gypsy, which is how he ends up in LA in FUN & GAMES.

The book opens with a B movie actress with quite a history of wild times and drug use racing in her car around the twisted back roads of LA, another car in hot pursuit.   She’s sure they are trying to kill her, but it simply might be coincidence.  Until she’s rear ended and someone approaches her and sticks a syringe in her arm.  She stumbles off the road and out of sight.

Hardie gets to his current assignment, has issues getting in as the key left for him is gone, and is stabbed almost immediately in the chest by a mike stand being projected at him from a somewhat high, beaten up, dirty but beautiful lady hiding in the house.  As she rambles about a group of people trying to kill her and make it look like an accident and how she barely escaped after they rear ended her and drugged her with something, Hardie has to decide rather quickly how to handle all of this.  Why?  Because the people who are trying to kill the actress are already outside the house and determined to get in.

Much of FUN & GAMES takes place IN the house.   It feels very much like a compact version of Die Hard as Hardie and his new charge fight with each other, then the baddies just to stay alive.  Once the action moves beyond the domicile, it amps up even more.  The pacing of this book is frenetic, but well focused and controlled.  Swierczynski knows each and every character inside and out and this allows him to inject them into this breakneck, high octane ride that he’s concocted around one of the coolest concepts I’ve seen in fiction lately.

That concept?  The bad guys.  Good Pulp needs Great Villains and Swierczynski gives Hardie the best.  An organization nicknamed ‘the Accident People’ by the actress they’re pursuing is actually a well peopled, extremely connected group that essentially deals with people, especially celebrities, when they become a problem for someone with enough funds to pay the Accident People.   Overdoses, suicides, car accidents, all the tragic things that befall people in the limelight are basically due to the manipulations and machinations of the Accident People.  Filled with mostly directors, actors, and others from the film industry, this group approaches each job like a movie, insuring the narrative goes the destructive way they want it to.  At every turn, Hardie finds victory only to get handed more defeat by the director of the narrative he fell into, a lady by the name of Mann.  The Accident People are clearly a great template for what Pulp Villains should be.

Equally, Hardie is a perfect example of a New Pulp Hero.  An angel by no means, Hardie wars with himself as much as he does the villains after him.  He’s definitely in a pit of despair and destruction and doesn’t really climb out of it before the book ends.  But he is clearly heroic.  He will not admit he’s an expert in anything, but he does have what he refers to as his ‘lizard brain’, something that he relies on when he simply cannot easily get out of a situation.   This innate primal instinct turns Charlie into a juggernaut of terror against any who stand in his way.

FUN & GAMES simply is the best example of New Pulp at its best I have ever read.  The beginning of the book will jar you, the ending will blow you away…and force you to go out and get the second one.

FIVE OUT OF FIVE TIPS OF THE HAT-Oh yeah.

National Graphic Novel Writing Month Day 18: Starring Roles– The Importance of Character Analysis

National Graphic Novel Writing Month Day 18: Starring Roles– The Importance of Character Analysis

“It’s the
characters, stupid.”

    – Ronald D. Moore, Executive
Producer of Battlestar Galactica
(2004) and Caprica

Comics are
always filled with over-the-top superpowers, bright spandex costumes, and
universe-spanning storylines. While these flashy props were enough to sustain
the comics industry in its infancy, the modern comic reader expects more. Many
of the biggest, most complex stories are known for their iconic moments with
their characters.

DC’s Final Crisis saw the return of Darkseid
and a time-travelling bullet, but we all remember it for the simple image of
Superman holding the lifeless body of his best friend – Batman – in his arms,
sorrow filling Big Blue’s face. Marvel’s Civil
War
brought heroes toe to toe with one another, splitting teams and
friendships alike. What became iconic was the bitter struggle between two men
who used to be best friends: Iron Man and Captain America, then Stark’s grief
over his actions leading inexorably to the death of Steve Rogers. 

Imagine a
photo in a frame. A couple is standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, quite
happy. The frame is a fun pewter souvenir from the Tower itself. The focus –
however – is still the couple. Stories are just the same. We may set it in a
creative, dramatic setting. We may dress it up with superpowers, costumes, or
deep philosophic meanings. None of this works, however, without the characters
to drive the story. If the characters don’t ring true, the entire story falls
apart. Characters are how we – the reader – access, understand, and empathize
with a story. 

When dissecting your characters, whether protagonist,
antagonist, or a mere cameo appearance; they need to feel real. The
three-dimensionality of a character can make or break your story, no matter how
brilliant of a plot you’ve devised or how epic the setting. Creating a
believable character involves a precarious balance between two not-so-small
aspects: uniqueness and universality.

(more…)

Could ‘Pirates 4’ be in 3-D?

Could ‘Pirates 4’ be in 3-D?

David S. Cohen at Variety blogged the following:

“To date, other than James Cameron’s Avatar, there have been no announcements of a major franchise installment in live-action 3-D. No 3-D Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Die Hard or Pirates of the Caribbean. We hear from people who’ve worked on live-action 3-D that there’s a learning curve involved, and that a company or studio should make a 3-D movie before diving into the format.

“With that in mind, though, we can’t help but notice that 1) Disney is heavily invested in 3-D, including live-action. 2) Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp are making an animated 3-D movie together, Rango. and 3) Jerry Bruckheimer is making G Force in 3-D.

“Disney, Bruckheimer, Verbinski, Depp… Nobody at Disney is talking, but we wouldn’t be surprised to hear a P4 3-D announcement one of these days.”