Posted on Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 by David Chen
[Photo by Flickr user Cheryl]
Note: The following contains potential spoilers for third season of Mad Men. We’ve hidden them in invisotext so you can easily avoid them if desired.
Here at /Film and on the /Filmcast, we deal with the issue of spoilers on a daily basis. We are true fans of the moviegoing experience, and although we cover news about movies that won’t come out for months or years, we try not to reveal a movie’s plot details if we think they could potentially spoil the joys of watching that film. If we do reveal such details, we scrupulously attempt to ensure that these are marked clearly (aurally or textually) with a spoiler warning. [In general, when I refer to spoilers, I'm referring to plot elements that occur more than 1/3rd of the way through the film, although there are certainly many exceptions to this.]
I was scanning through my Twitter feed this morning when I saw a link to an article at Televisionary entitled “Spoil-Sport: Why Talking About An Episode That’s Already Aired Isn’t a Spoiler.” The context for the piece: Earlier, Televisionary author Jace Lacob had published a spoiler-heavy piece over at the Daily Beast, with the title “Mad Men Postmortem.” The piece featured a lengthy interview with series creator Matt Weiner, but its opening, bolded paragraph led off with the following: “I have not seen more than one episode of Mad Men, but I have been told that these words (arguably) reveal key plot points for the ending of Season 3. And obviously, the interview itself discusses major spoiler-ific plot points in detail [Side note: Hunter's Mad Men season three wrap-up discusses this interview and other topics in-depth].
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Update: Comic-Con has partly responded to fan concerns by moving the Avatar panel until after the Twilight presentation. Unfortunately, the Disney 3D panel (Tron 2, Burton’s Wonderland) remain before the Summit panel.
I’m not a Twilight hater. We wrote about the first film a few times, and received a ton of extra traffic as a result. But I learned quickly that it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Not only that, but it isn’t something most /Film readers are interested in. That’s why we generally don’t cover the Twilight films (aside from some trailers or page 2 items). Unlike others, I don’t feel threatened by the books, films, or insane fandom. Why should I? Twilighters can do their own thing, and it really doesn’t affect me at all… except for when it does. And the one time it might is at a place called Comic-Con.
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Yesterday, CBS News aired a segment on an “ongoing blogger debate” over the representation of black people and negative stereotypes in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. Of course, after previous and longer segments on the failing economy and Air France, even the way in which Katie Couric mentioned “bloggers” carried a decidedly trivial tone connoting birds-on-a-wire. Snob. However, given that hardly anyone has seen a near-complete version of the fourth-quarter film, I have to agree that any “chirped” anger, feigned or genuine, is premature. Also: the world is mad, get over it.
But heated discussions about Disney’s movies, especially in this case, do have precedent: clips from the studio’s infamous 1946 film, Song of the South, are forever available to support and fan the issues of political correctness. Moreover, theories about sociological, hidden and subliminal messages in Disney films and characters are so prevailing that I have enjoyed intriguing classes on the very subject in junior high (for free) and at university (for a repossessed Porsche).
Which brings me to Disney’s Pixar, where animated films are made to awe kids and—and arguably more-so—adults. Feted, beloved, and at times “progressive” as it may be, Pixar is not immune to similarly “bloggy” issues regarding political correctness; a debate over the absence of female lead characters in their films began earlier this year and remains a valid and popular talking point.
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20th Century Fox has released the final download number for the leaked workprint version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and according to THR it turns out to be four times greater than previous estimates. Wolverine has been downloaded an estimated 4 million times according to Fox. But truth be told, Wolverine wasn’t even the top downloaded movie on the internet the week after it hit torrent sites.
With last year’s average ticket price of $7.18, this equates to $28.7 million dollars! But did Fox really lose $29 million dollars due to piracy? The film made a whopping $85 million in its opening weekend, but Fox believes it could have cracked the $100 million mark if it weren’t for the leaked workprint. I call bullshit.
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The gory image above is our first clear look at Laurie Strode, once again played by actress Scout Taylor-Compton, in H2: Halloween 2. Nice chipped teeth, eh? As you’ll recall, Strode is the (formerly) estranged sister of slasher Michael Myers, and according to horror visionaire Rob Zombie, “let’s just say this is the best part of her stay [at the hospital]. The worst is yet to come.” It will be interesting to see how Zombie’s sequel deviates from the original underrated 1981 follow-up, which was co-written and ghost-edited by The Shape’s creator, John Carpenter, and also set partially in a hospital to creepy effect. On his blog, Zombie has ended speculation about actor Malcolm McDowell reprising the pivotal character, Dr. Loomis, confirming that “he’s back and ready to deal with Big Mike.”As we’ve mentioned, H2 is due with the quickness this August and is now shooting in the state of Georgia.
After the jump: Hunter’s lengthy rant on the complete disappoinment and failure that was Marcus Nispel’s Friday the 13th, and Platinum Dunes’ annoying reign over horror icons vs. Rob Zombie’s polarizing Halloween and interpretation of Michael Myers. No friggin’ contest!
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“What is comedy? Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke.” – Steve Martin
“It is a sad fact of life, but the truth is we all have to eat a little shit from time to time.” – Bruce Willis, in the trailer for Fast Food Nation
Last Thursday night, in keeping with new tradition, viewers of NBC‘s 30 Rock took to Twitter to declare “St. Valentine’s Day” one of the best episodes ever. And it was. Judah Friedlander sported a Troma t-shirt. Tracey Morgan intentionally endangered a hot blind woman. Tiny Fey‘s mouth calculations sent 20something fan-gals off in secret to the nearest mirror. The superlative usual. It was the show’s embrace of cupid’s torturous holiday that added next levs hilarity and desperation to the ongoing romantic subplots between Fey’s Liz Lemon and her “cartoon-pilot” neighbor (Jon Hamm), and Alec Baldwin‘s Jack Donaghy and his Catholic caliente pursuit (Salma Hayek). At times, the marquee-value, the smart-date-friendly structure, and the plentiful LoLs warranted a bigger screen. It felt like you should be paying for what you were seeing.
Alas, the morning after was quite different. Online, some fans were now expressing remorse over the very same episode; some were angry as hell: Network pissed. Kurt Vonnegut once said that music criticism is like putting on a suit of armor to attack a hot fudge sundae; well, to me it seemed that an indeterminable number of 30 Rock fans were now sitting in cubicles or in pajama armor and going to war with 30 Rock‘s manipulative use of a dessert from McDonald’s called the McFlurry. Indeed, last Thursday’s episode began and ended on a love note with Baldwin and Hayek savoring this highly feted plebeian ice cream treat; moreover, the episode ended inside a McD’s, where the couple reunited arm-in-arm with McFlurrys. A window display of the Golden Arches was in full view.
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UPDATE 2: TWC is getting back to us. Now they say tomorrow.
UPDATE: A reader from Outlander.solsector.net says, “There’s been no confirmation about the DVD date and nearest myself and one of the producers can tell there really isn’t a date set for the DVD much less a theatrical release. Plus, The Weinstein Company is contractually obligated to give outlander at least a limited theatrical release.” We’ll be contacting TWC tomorrow.
Recipe: Go into the closet and dust off Castle Grayskull. Place an E.T. figurine with its arms raised on one of the turrets. Pour a goblet filled with red wine all over it. Now set it on fire. Pretend it’s worth $47 million. Send a recording of this to The Weinstein Co. in New York and entitle it “Angry Outlander Fan.” Kill yourself.
It’s a sad day when a movie featuring Vikings battling a giant, monstrous alien with the help of a spaceman doesn’t see a theatrical release. Do you know what P.T. Barnum could have done with this premise? Slashfilm planned on seeing Outlander on the big screen. Sober. We liked the trailers. We were stoked on what little buzz there was, including a super passionate plea to Ye Gods over at AICN. It wasn’t a friggin’ remake or a Vin Diesel movie or AVP-R, just an ever-rare shot at original genre fare. And based partially on their dedicated work, writer-director Howard McCain and fellow screenwriter Dirk Blackman were recently hired to rewrite Lionsgate’s $100 mill Conan reboot.
If Outlander sucked, we were confident the post-screening laughs and riffage would have made it worthwhile, even more so than Death Race (pretty funny remake, that one). But the fact remains: we could say we were effing there. It would have been a lifetime bond or a primo /Filmcast. Alas, Dread Central has discovered a DVD listing on Amazon via Movies Unlimited for November 18th. Conclusion: it’s been dumped.
There’s no word from TWC on the matter, but the film’s been without a release date for eons. I really hope the studio’s justification isn’t, “Well, Viking movies don’t play” complete with a box office scientist pointing smugly to Pathfinder and The 13th Warrior. Is this the point we’ve reached for genre movies? “Pirates don’t play,” “Vikings don’t play,” cannibals and on down the line?” Knowing TWC, there won’t be any justification. If they treated kids like movies, their basement would have been on the nightly news some time ago.
via Dark Horizons
Slowly but surely, Punisher: War Zone is being lowered into a grave of WTF by Lionsgate. First, Lexi Alexander, director of the gorey Marvel actioner, was seemingly kicked off the project. We still don’t know what happened exactly. Her candid, rah-rah website was suddenly wiped clean of all prior updates on the film, save for a cryptic “see, hear, speak no evil” monkey post, which was later replaced by a detached entry about a friend’s Bugatti. Today, Latino Review hears that Lionsgate might edit the film for a PG-13 rating. The site speculates that The Dark Knight‘s money volcano was an influence. Strange since Lionsgate is moving forward with an R-rated Conan reboot, also being compared (of course) to TDK. But if true, this is beyond absurd. We’re almost intrigued to see them brick, given that Alexander enticed fans with boasts of hardcore bloodshed and Castle-worthy violence for months—later confirmed by this entertaining, head smashing red band clip.
If Lionsgate is reading this, all it takes is a short statement to the fans clarifying your flick’s status. I was just interviewed by a mag about the detrimental impact a studio’s silence in 2008 can have on a movie generally perceived as troubled. War Zone is becoming a prototypical botched case. Current online perception is that there are two bad-buzz nails already in this film’s coffin, and buzz wasn’t too hot to start with. All it takes is one more, like star Ray Stevenson issuing a quiet diss, and this December outing will meet a worse fate than the prior Thomas Jane Punisher. That would make Frank Castle, a character that is, uhhh, not a “college educated Ferrari engine,” 3-for-3 for movie wipeouts.
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