The nicest thing I can think to say about Lucy is that it is exactly how I would have remade 2001: A Space Odyssey if I had done it when I was 16 years old. I would have replaced the male astronaut with an attractive woman, kept the trippy end sequence and replaced the first two-thirds of the movie with a mediocre tribute to Hard Boiled. I also probably would have struggled to fill 90 minutes and would have added some really strange filler to get it to a marginally respectful run time like 89 minutes. Thankfully no one was willing to give me $65 million to make a movie when I was 16 (unfortunately no one will do it now) but we’re stuck with what Luc Besson made here. I was stuck at least; you might still be able to save yourself. (more…)
The thing about a great story is that it can be told so many different ways. That includes the Greatest Story Ever Told and, at this festive time of year, my mind turns to the Christmas Story. I recently had a flash of (possibly divine) inspiration: how would it work as a sitcom?
Hear me out.
It would focus on a middle-aged Jewish carpenter named Joseph back in Roman times. I’m thinking Tim Allen for the part. He’s got this hot young fiancée named Mary (Megan Fox?) who is saving herself for marriage but then winds up pregnant – and not by Joseph. Well, Joseph’s all set to break off the wedding when he gets visited by the Angel Gabriel. I’m thinking Morgan Freeman or possibly Chi McBride (who was so good in being the smart butler to a daffy, horny Abraham Lincoln in “The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer” that aired for about three heartbeats back in 1998).
Not only is it God’s will that Joseph take Mary as his wife but, according to the doctrine of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, Joseph can never have sex with her. At all. This would be a recurring gag. Joseph gets hot and horny and has to leap into a barrel of cold water to cool down. Maybe steam rises from the barrel. Trust me, this joke will never get old.
So the Romans order a census and Joseph has to go to Bethlehem, the city of David (because he’s descended from David) and get counted. Mary’s “great with child” which means she’s about to give birth at any moment. Maybe they got a late start, maybe Mary can’t move so fast or has to stop often, but by the time they get to Nazareth, everything is booked up. Lots of room for comedy there. One innkeeper (I’m thinking Richard Lewis, although Richard Karn who was in Home Improvement with Tim Allen could do it and audiences might like that) agrees to let them sleep in the barn out back.
Nowhere in any of the gospels or anything else I could find mentions a midwife. You think you would. Mary’s midwife would be a pretty important role. No mention. So – who has to do it? That’s right – Joseph. Tim Allen as Joseph. Can you see it? Alpha male having to deal with childbirth? Tons of humor to be mined there.
So while Mary is screaming and Joseph is ready to faint, Gabriel shows back up. He waves his fingers, Mary’s labor pain goes away (Gabriel claims it’s a divine epidural) and then – lo! – a great light shines ‘round about them coming from Mary’s womb. Enter Jesus.
I’m going to take a little artistic license here and suggest that he’s like the eTrade baby or the babies in the Guess Who’s Talking movies. The adults don’t react but it lets Baby Jesus comment on what’s going on. I always found young Jesus to be a little snarky, what with the “Don’t you know I’m supposed to be about my father’s business?” Jesus can play all sorts of tricks on Joseph, too, like change his wine into water.
In addition to the Innkeeper, there’s all sorts of wacky characters who can be brought in – shepherds wandering the fields at night, three Wise Men bearing gifts (maybe Joseph has to convince them that Jesus is the child they are seeking), and Mary’s Cousin Elizabeth can come for a visit (is it too much to hope for Carol Burnett? And maybe Tim Conway could play Elizabeth’s husband, Zachariah.).
I was contemplating the title. Modern Family is a popular show so I was thinking Ancient Family or Holy Family, but that doesn’t catch the flavor. I think Sweet Jesus! works. It could be pitched to the networks but HBO or Showtime might be looking for an edgy comedy. Or we could get Seth McFarlane interested and take it over to Fox. He’d animate it. Bill O’Reilly could denounce it on his show and when he cuts away for a commercial, there’s an ad for Sweet Jesus! I love it.
So, what do you think, Hollywood? I think we have a winner here. Have your people call my people. Wait. I don’t have people. Maybe Michael Davis could be my people; he’s always putting together deals. Hey, Michael – want to be my people?
And as Tiny Tim was heard to say, “God bless us everyone!”
There’s new viral stuff up at http://www.thedarkknightrises.com/ (if anybody makes it to the Empire State Building, let us know what you find) and we have a new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises to show you.
Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ “The Dark Knight Rises” is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Leading an all-star international cast, Christian Bale again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film also stars Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy as Bane; Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake. Michael Caine plays Alfred; Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Morgan Freeman reprises the role of Lucius Fox.
This past week on my podcast (which you’re not listening to, but totally should), a debate sparked that was left largely unresolved. Since I have this digital soapbox, might as well use it to bring said debate to you.
In a few weeks, the mega-multiplexes of America will be screening the culmination of years of work by the House funded by the Mouse. The Avengers will see the fruition of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger in one massively multiplayer action adventure flick. About a month or so later, Warner Bros. unleashes the end to Christopher Nolan’s bat-child, The Dark Knight Rises. There’s no doubt in my mind that both of these movies will be amazingly profitable. But the debate is this: which will bank more bucks? Which will be a better movie? Let’s look at the tail of the tape.
First up? Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes. Behind the scenes, we have the consummate king of the nerds… Joss Whedon as director. His writer team? Well… Whedon wrote with Zak Penn. Penn you’ll note wrote the successes such as The Incredible Hulk and X2, and the failures such as X-Men: The Last Stand and Electra. On the screen itself, the cast is of course a veritable galaxy of stars. Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scartlet Johansson, and Gwyneth Paltrow will all be in the film. Unlike any other franchise in history, The Avengers will coalesce four franchises into a single picture. From here? It’s all but a given that the there will be a sequel, as corresponding sub-sequels for all the individual characters. Can you hear that? It’s the sound of money growing on trees. Trees that became paper. Paper that became comic books.
The Dark Knight Rises, as previously mentioned, is helmed by Christopher Nolan. Nolan’s career has been nothing short of a meteoric ascent to directorial gold. Nolan also helped pen this end to his triptych with his brother Jonathan, and David S. Goyer – who, as you will recall, helped pen Batman Begins and Blade 2. And Ghost Rider: Spirit of Bad Acting. But you can’t win them all, can you?
Under the cape and cowl will once again be Christian Bale, joined by series stalwarts Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman. The villain this go-around will be played by Tom Hardy. You’ll recognize Hardy as the mildly funny Brit in Inception. While not as big in scope as Marvel’s upcoming blockbuster, The Dark Knight Rises is the follow up to the single most profitable comic book inspired movie of all time. For those who don’t recall, The Dark Knight did so well in the movie theaters, comic retailers reported sales of The Watchmen had gone up in response (which is nothing short of amazing, if you ask any retailer these days). With TDKR, Nolan puts his series to an end. Speculation on the plot, and how things will resolve has most everyone around in a tizzy.
The question then to ask: Which movie will make more money? Needless to say, both will bank boku bucks. For the sake of this argument, I’ll remove revenue from merchandise. Why? Because face it: Nolan’s Bat-Flicks haven’t spawned successful lines of toys; Marvel’s has. Specifically speaking on ticket sales? This is quite the toss up, is it not? On one hand you have the obvious ultimate popcorn movie in The Avengers. From the trailers we can safely assume there’s going to be wall to wall action, explosions, the Hulk, fighting, one liners, and boobs. Opposing that mentality, Nolan will nab those looking for a bit more substance. Whereas Marvel’s flicks were squarely targeting tweens and teens (with a side of general comic nerds and action geeks to boot…), DC’s Bat-Franchise has been nothing if adult in its complexity.
Gun to my head… if you asked me to choose, I’d end up with the nod to the Avengers making more moolah at the end of the day. The Dark Knight had the death of Heath Ledger, on top of the oscar buzz for his performance, on top of previous audience gained from Batman Begins. But TDKR features a villain most people aren’t familiar with (Bane ain’t exactly a household name now, is he?), and a star whose potential is only just now being noticed. And if other comic book trilogies are to be looked at (Spider-Man, X-Men, and previous Bat-Incarnations), the end of an era does not always translate into positive earnings. With The Avengers, we simply have too many stars to not draw an amazing crowd. Fans of any of those feeder movies no doubt want to see a team up. It’s the whole reason books like The Avengers and Justice League always sell so well!
Now, I would give The Dark Knight Rises the edge ultimately in terms of potential film quality. Not a knock on The Avengers mind you… I think from what we’ve seen, Whedon will deliver the goods. But The Avengers has more chance to pratfall than ascend to nerdvana. With so many stars on screen, there’s a real chance too much time will be spent assembling, mocking, and joking. And we can tell much of the movie will be dealing with a Loki-lead invasion fight scene. And just how much CGI action can we effectively sit through? Given the spectacle (and disappointment) of the last Matrix movie, suffice to say I’m fretful.
With Batman, Nolan seems to have been methodically building a dramatic arc. Bruce Wayne by way of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight has been an evolving force of nature. But Nolan’s best job has been grounding that force in reality. He’s delivered where so many others have failed: comic book movies without heroic quips and a knowing wink to the camera. When that theme of the dissonant chords let us know the Joker was at work, it was truly chilling. To think that Nolan is ending this series, one must postulate he’s had an ending in mind since the start. On that knowledge, I give the edge over to DC. Simply put, I’m more excited for their flick because I genuinely do not know what will happen.
In The Avengers? I’m almost certain we’ll have the following: Loki attacks. Avengers assemble by way of initial in-fighting. Disaster. True assembling. Fighting. Explosions. Boobs. Victory. Open ending for more sequels. Not that it’s a bad formula… but it’s just that: a formula.
So, plenty of points to discuss. Flame me, Internet, for I have opinions. Will Bats take more money? Will Avengers be the Return of the King for Comic Book movies? Discuss!
More than a month after word of a six-minute prologue surfaced, Warner Bros. has at last officially announced the opening sequence of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises will premiere exclusively on select 70mm IMAX screens with Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. The PG-13-rated prologue will debut on Dec. 16 in North America and on Dec. 21 in the United Kingdom.
The press release notes that Nolan’s 2008 blockbuster The Dark Knight was the first major motion picture to utilize IMAX cameras. With its sequel, the conclusion of his Batman trilogy, the filmmaker utilized the extremely high-resolution cameras even more extensively.
“Our experience on The Dark Knight shooting and projecting IMAX 15 perf 65mm/70mm film was inspiring,” Nolan said in a statement. “The immersive quality of the image goes beyond any other filmmaking tool available, and in revisiting Gotham, we were determined to shoot even more of the movie in this unique format. Giving the fans an early look at an IMAX sequence is a great way to draw attention to what I believe will be an incredible way to experience our story when it comes out next summer.”
We’ve got more secrets to share from SyFy‘s SANCTUARY, as Amanda Tapping gives us hints on this season’s shocking finale (still a few weeks away). Plus DC sells five million comics in just a few weeks, and NY Comic Con is ON and we are on the floor.
Evangeline Lily has found her way to the big screen again, starring this weekend with Hugh Jackman in this weekend’s REAL STEEL. We talk about the film, her passion for writing and life after LOST plus Horror Genius Wes Craven reports on how SCREAM 4 begins that francise all over again – plus NBC drops the axe on two shows.
This weekend, DOLPHIN TALE opens in theaters and we talk to Harry Connick Jr and Morgan Freeman on what is was like doing a strict “family” film and how Morgan just can’t seem to get away from his fans. Plus more with Kathy Bates on the new season of HARRY’S LAW and a 24/7 SIMPSONS Channel? It could happen!