300_still-frame

Hollywood is fully in thrall to 3D and 3D conversion at this point. The numbers for Avatar and Alice were just too good to pass up. So there’s the upcoming Clash of the Titans to join Alice in the vanguard for post-converted 3D movies (no matter how dodgy it may look) and now Warner Bros, the studio determined to make one 3D tentpole after another, is following suit with conversion and re-release plans for 300.

At ShoWest, director Zack Snyder talked about the conversation test that WB has already done on 300, and mentioned some details on Xerxes, the follow-up to 300 that has been under discussion for some time. Read More »

What's Under Your Mask?
What’s Under Your Mask? is a series of prints created by German illustrator Adrian Pavic honoring the masked icons in Western society, ranging from Darth Vader, to Point Break, to Spider-Man. No word on if Pavic will be making his prints available for public purchase, but you can view some of the art in the series, after the jump. I’d love to see Chop Shop produce a t-shirt based on this series.
Read More »

Frank Miller Updates His 300 Follow Up: Xerxes

miller_moody

I think that Zack Snyder‘s 300 was one of the more surprising big hits of recent years, a film that somehow managed a sizeable box office return despite having no stars, an unfashionable genre and setting and that oft-avoided R-rating from the MPAA. Perhaps – shock horror – it suggested that none of those apparent hurdles were hurdles at all. One Hollywood truism was consolidated by this success story, however – despite an ending that resolved the storyline quite conclusively, to say the least, immediate sequel talk welled up. Seeing as the film was based on a stand alone comic by Frank Miller there was no ready material for a part 2, but it didn’t take long for Miller himself to start work on a follow up strip.

Peter reported that Frank Miller was working on an unnamed sequel, jokingly referred to as 301, as far back as March 2007. Since then, Miller has been busy with his Batman vs. Osama Bin Laden comics, All Star Batman and Robin, that dreadful Spirit film, a script for Sin City 2 and, though he’s now off the project, a proposed Buck Rodgers movie. A lot of plates to spin, so it’s no wonder that we’ve had to wait so long for an update on the next 300.

So, what do we know now? That it’s called Xerxes, for one thing. And also which mythical-historical battle it will be dramatising.

Read More »

zack_snyder

Zack Snyder did promotion yesterday for the Blu-Ray release of Watchmen, and quite a few small tidbits of news came out of his various interviews. He talked about the theatrical release of the Watchmen Director’s Cut, which will hit four theatres, the future of his next film Sucker Punch, a possible follow-up to 300 and more. Read More »

Party Down; Episode 105

With each new episode, Party Down distinguishes itself as one of the funniest and lewdest shows on TV, and one of the coolest that many viewers have not yet seen. Last week, we had a great chat with Martin Starr, and this week we have an interview with Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars). As Kyle Bradway—an aspiring model, actor, rockstar, and server of cocktail weenies—Hansen plays the kind of pink and stoned specimen that is hyper-thriving in Hollywood circa 2009.

Like the other primary characters on Party Down, Kyle is employed at the titular L.A. catering service awaiting the big call. The irony is that as the careers of everyone else fizzle (Adam Scott‘s Henry) or zombify (Jane Lynch‘s Constance), Kyle surfs up the audition ladder on fresh-faced sex appeal. This pisses off his co-worker, the disgruntled, utterly weird screenwriter Roman (Starr), to no end. And in tapping the rude camaraderie between the two, Party Down and Starz may have already struck a tidy mine of black gold.

As exhibited below, some of the bubbly chemistry is actually just Hansen and Starr—characteristically eavesdropping?—nagging each other IRL. Other topics discussed include Party Down‘s myriad connections to Veronica Mars: both shows were created by Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell makes a profane appearance later this season. Hansen also talks about getting shot in the head by the latest incarnation of Jason Voorhees.

Ryan Hansen: Hey Hunter. How are you doing, bro?

/Film: I’m fine. Summer is finally here. So, you’re in Israel right now, eh?

Ryan: I am in Israel, yes…wait…did Martin say this? Did Martin say that? [laughs]

Read More »

Watchmen Outpacing 300 In Ticket Sales

watchmen street

MovieTickets.com just issued a press release claiming that Watchmen is outpacing 300 in advance ticket sales at 4-to-1 right now. But 300 sold more than 80 percent of its advance tickets on the Wednesday and Thursday prior to its release, so it’s too early for Zack Snyder and crew to celebrate. Also interesting is that IMAX ticket sales currently account for one-third of all ticket sales for Watchmen. This is shocking because only 124 IMAX screens will be showing Watchmen. 300 grossed $70.9 million in its first weekend, and went on to make over $210 million domestically, of which, $20 million was made via 62 domestic IMAX theaters. A couple dozen Thursday midnight shows are already sold out in New York and California.

Also, Fandango held an online poll and found out that 60% of those buying Watchmen tickets online claim to have read the Watchmen graphic novel. Niow keep in mind that Fandango’s sample is probably a low number and not a real indication of the mass audiences. Also, we’re just looking at people who are buying tickets in advance, and not the moviegoers who will show up at the box office this weekend. But the figure could indicate that the film will have a strong drop-off in it’s second week of release, as it appears that the advance interest is coming from people who have read the graphic novel (3 to 2).

This Week in DVD: Wall-E, Tropic Thunder, and More

This Week in DVD is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy, Circuit City, and Fry’s.

Please don’t take the commentary on the movies and TV shows too seriously, as they’re meant not to be reviews but rather previews that include the general thoughts and ramblings of a twice-committed DVD addict. The categories represent solely the author’s intentions towards the DVDs at hand, and are in no way meant to be a reflection on what he thinks other people should rent or buy. So if he ends up putting a movie you like in the “Skip it” section without having seen it, please keep in mind that the time you could spend leaving a spiteful but ultimately futile comment could instead be used for more pleasant things in life. Like buying DVDs.

Buy It

WALL-E
(Available as single-disc and 3-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy)
The last five Pixar films in a row have either won or been nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards, and just about every single one of their productions has earned near universal praise amongst critics and audiences. At this point, what else is there possibly left to laud when it comes to the latest Pixar film? You already know the movie’s amazing, and in all likelihood, you’re probably planning on buying it. Wall-E is one of their best yet, creating one of the most lovable characters in cinema and placing him in a gorgeously animated world filled with fun, magic, excitement, and just about every other word that might make fellow males stare blankly at me and question my sexuality.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: The 1-disc will include commentary with director Andrew Stanton, deleted scenes, featurettes (‘Animation Sound Design: Building Worlds from the Sound Up’, ‘Sneak Peek: WALL-E’s Tour of the Universe’), and a new Burn-E animated short. The 3-disc will add to this additional deleted scenes, 3 featurettes (‘The Pixar Story by Leslie Iwerks’, ‘BnL Shorts’, ‘Wall-E’s Treasures and Trinkets’), a Lots of Bots storybook, additional “making of” featurettes, Bot Files and a digital copy of the film.

BEST PRICE*
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$15.99 $14.99
Amazon – $14.99

*Does not include 3-Disc Edition, which costs $29.99 at Target and Best Buy, $27.99 at Circuit City, and $22.99 at Amazon.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Standard, deluxe and Blu-ray editions include free code. Enter code online and a free tree seedling will be delivered to your home. [Editor’s Note: WTF]
Where? Target.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free Wall-E Puzzle Cube.
Where? Best Buy.

TROPIC THUNDER
(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Unrated Director’s Cut)
Hate on the guy all you want, Ben Stiller clearly has talent. Maybe this is evident more so behind the camera than in front of it, but either way, he managed to make one of 2008’s best comedies, and he was even funny in it. Of course, Robert Downey Jr. was above and beyond the main highlight of the film, followed in close second by the hilarious self-parodying performances by Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey. Really, the only person who ends up being mostly wasted is Jack Black. The rest of the movie more than makes up for him though, unloading scene after scene of gut-busting satire and subversive gags. The movie’s ridiculous, no doubt, but it’s also downright hysterical, and easily worthy of a purchase.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: 2-Disc extras include commentary with Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr., featurettes (‘Blowing Shit Up’, ‘The Hot LZ’, ‘7 Cast of Tropic Thunder’), a make-up test with Tom Cruise, Full Mags, MTV Movie Awards – Tropic Thunder, a Rain of Mandess trailer, and a DreamWorks Public Service Announcement.

BEST PRICE*
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$16.99 $14.99 $15.99 $14.99
Amazon – $14.99

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $22.99 at each of the listed stores (including Amazon).

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Exclusive Patch.
Where? Target.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free exclusive T-shirt with purchase of Blu-ray version.
Where? Best Buy.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Exclusive behind-the-scenes material on the 2-disc or Blu-ray.
Where? Circuit City.

Rent It

GONZO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON
As someone who’s a fan of Hunter S. Thompson’s work on a very basic level (i.e., I’ve read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), I’m definitely looking forward to finding out more about his contributions to literature/journalism, and hopefully getting some insight into what exactly made this bizarre individual tick. I’ve heard this documentary acts more as an introduction to the writer than an extensive psychological evaluation (which is apparently something many fans of his were hoping for), but for what I’m looking for, I’m sure this will do just fine; particularly when you have as talented a filmmaker as Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Taxi to the Dark Side) helming the project.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Director commentary, deleted scenes, extended interviews, The Gonzo Tapes – Audio Excerpts, Wayward And Weary: A Tribute To Hunter S. Thompson, Live Acoustic Performance by Tift Merritt, Drawings By Ralph Steadman, and Hunter’s Guns.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
N/A $22.99 $19.99 $24.99
Amazon – $18.99

ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Exploring the beauty both above and below the ice in Antarctica (as well as the dedicated people who work there), acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog (Rescue Dawn, Grizzly Man) has made a documentary that, if nothing else, is certain to provide a solid hours worth of breathtakingly beautiful real-world visuals. I’m sure it has a lot more to offer than just that though, as the reviews have been extremely positive, and c’mon, this is Werner Herzog we’re talking about here.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Commentary by director Werner Herzog, featurettes (‘Under the Ice’, ‘Over the Ice’, ‘South Pole Exorcism’, ‘Seals and Men’), Dive Locker Interview: Herzog talks with Rob Robbins and Henry Kaiser, and a Werner Herzog interview by Jonathan Demme.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$19.99 N/A
Amazon – $19.99

PRICELESS
Since Amélie, I haven’t really seen the lovely Audrey Tatou in anything that impressed me too much. Dirty Pretty Things was fairly interesting, and Russian Dolls was entertaining enough, but as of now I still find myself trying to recover from her personality-less role in The Da Vinci Code. Priceless looks to be a remedy to this, allowing her to shine as an excitement-hungry high class gal who hooks up with a low-paid hotel employee after mistaking him for a wealthy guest. Think of it as a classic French farce version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: None.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
N/A $14.99 $19.99
Amazon – $25.99

Skip It

300 (LIMITED COLLECTOR’S EDITION)
As slick and beautiful as this set is, there’s really no reason to buy it if you already own the 2-Disc Special Edition of the film. If you’re considering the upgrade, I’d recommend waiting until the Blu-ray version comes out in 2009. I’m also confused as to why they didn’t think to include the original graphic novel, since that seems like an essential part of any 300 set. What it does come with though is a 52-page hardcover art book with a personal message from director Zack Snyder, a lucite display with motion film image, six collectible photo cards, and a digital copy of the film. All nice stuff to look at, but there’s practically nothing here of substance. Some could argue that also goes for the film itself.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: A third disc with a new documentary (‘Legend Filtered Through History, Graphic Novel and Film’), and the same extras as the 2-Disc Special Edition: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, 300 Spartans – Fact or Fiction?, Who Were The Spartans: The Warriors of 300, Frank Miller Tapes, and Webisodes.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
N/A $34.99 $49.98 $39.99
Amazon – $34.99

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free graphic novel on-pack. [Editor’s Note: Now THAT’S what I’m talking about!]
Where? Best Buy.

Other noteworthy DVDs available this week…
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2Mister LonelyBones (Season 3)Doctor Who (Series Four)The Complete Monty Pythons Flying Circus (Collector’s Edition Megaset)Charmed (The Complete Series)Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special

Discuss: What are you planning to rent or buy this week?

The Specials
NOTE: Some deals may be in-store only.


Exclusive: Free $5 Target GiftCard with purchase of Bones (Season 3).

$14.98 – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Seasons 1 – 3), Nip/Tuck (Seasons 1 – 4)
$12.98 – The Simpsons (Seasons 1 – 9), Family Guy (Vol. 1 – 3), Friends (Seasons 1 – 10)


$14.99 – Venture Bros. (Seasons 1 – 2), Aqua Teen Hunger Force (Vol. 1 – 4), Robot Chicken (Seasons 1 – 2), Metalocalypse (Season 1), Smallville (Seasons 1 – 6), That ’70s Show (Seasons 1 – 8), Nip/Tuck (Seasons 1 – 4)

$6.99 – Batman Begins (Two-Disc Deluxe Edition), Troy (2-Disc Special Edition), Fight Club, Little Miss Sunshine, Pan’s Labyrinth, Letters from Iwo Jima, Memento, Old School, Green Street Hooligans, Before Sunset, Zoolander, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Nacho Libre, Closer, Hitch, House of Flying Daggers, Stripes (Extended Cut), Underworld: Evolution, Chaplin, The Illusionist, and much more…


$6.49 – Airplane (“Don’t Call Me Shirley” Edition), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Bueller… Bueller… Edition), School of Rock, Zoolander, A Series of Unfortunate Events, South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut, Team America, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Super Troopers, The Girl Next Door, Varsity Blues, Clueless (“Whatever” Edition), Pretty in Pink (Everything’s Ducky Edition), and more…

300 Prequel/Sequel to be The Battle of Plataea?

IESB uncovered new details about Zack Snyder’s 300 sequel/prequel. Apparently the film will take place between the Battle of Thermopylae and the Battle of Plataea. You remember, the battle that Dilios (the narrator) is at during the film’s final monologue. So the film is kinda, sorta, a prequel and a sequel, because it takes place in the one year window, and likely concludes with the Battle we saw at the conclusion of the first film.

According to Wikipedia, The Battle of Plataea was the final major battle of the Greco-Persian Wars in southern Greece. It took place in 479 BC between an alliance of the Greek city-states Sparta, Athens, Corinth, Megara and others against the Persians. The Greek to Persian ratio is given as 1:3 (“Good odds for any Greek”) with the Greek force numbering 40,000 against 120,000 Persians.

I’m not quite sure if that is cool or not. Either way, it will likely be a long while before the film even goes into production as Frank Miller must first write/draw the story first. But Snyder insists that he is definitely going to film it, if and when it is completed.

Alan Moore Still Isn’t Watching The Watchmen

Watchmen creator Alan Moore is notorious for not being involved in the big screen adaptations of his comic book properties. Director Zack Snyder told fans at Comic Con last year that the best he can hope for is that Alan Moore will someday watch the DVD and say, “You know, they didn’t fuck it up that bad.”

“We all want to please Alan, and I think that’s a noble thing to want to do. There’s nothing wrong to get the guy who frickin’ created the thing to not hate it, I don’t think that’s an outrageous thing to want,” said Snyder. “I think the approach is to assume that the movie is better, and that’s a mistake. I would never make any assumptions.”

And now that the Watchmen teaser trailer has been unleashed, has Moore changed his mind? Nope. Moore tells Entertainment Weekly that he still has no interest in the movie.

“I would rather not know [about the movie],” said Moore. “[Zack Snyder] may very well be [a very nice guy], but the thing is that he’s also the person who made 300. I’ve not seen any recent comic book films, but I didn’t particularly like the book 300. I had a lot of problems with it, and everything I heard or saw about the film tended to increase [those problems] rather than reduce them: that it was racist, it was homophobic, and above all it was sublimely stupid. I know that that’s not what people going in to see a film like 300 are thinking about but… I wasn’t impressed with that… I talked to Terry Gilliam in the ’80s, and he asked me how I would make Watchmen into a film. I said, ”Well actually, Terry, if anybody asked me, I would have said, ‘I wouldn’t.”’ And I think that Terry [who aborted his attempted adaptation of the book] eventually came to agree with me. There are things that we did with Watchmen that could only work in a comic, and were indeed designed to show off things that other media can’t.”

Moore says that “nothing good can come of almost any adaptation” and that “there’s nothing that could get me interested in Hollywood” of “the American comics industry again”. Don’t worry folks, just because Moore is bitter, doesn’t mean the film won’t kick ass. You can read the whole interview with Moore on EW.com.

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

300 Prequel/Sequel Moving Forward

Earlier today, Peter reported on the race to the screen between two new Greek mythology epics inspired by 300. The flip side of this news is that both director Zack Snyder and 300 producers, Mark Canton and Gianni Nunnari (who are also producing one the aforementioned epics) confirmed to Collider at the Saturn Awards that a 300 sequel/prequel is finally bubbling.

“We’re working on sequel of 300, the prequel of 300,” said Nunnari. Canton chimed in with, “We’re looking to do another 300 and we’re looking for Frank Miller and Zack to do their thing. …Because we’ve had obviously around the world quite seriously such an amazing journey. It keeps on going. We’re talking about the genius of Frank Miller and Zack Snyder.”

In a separate interview, Snyder confirmed that if “something is cool” they’ll do it (isn’t this Hollywood’s MO right now?)…

“Yeah, I’ve talked to Frank a little bit about it, and he’s going to do something, I think he’s going to draw something. We’ll see what he does. If something’s cool we’ll make a movie out of it,” said Snyder.

There you have it! He’s going to draw something. For over a year, news about a follow-up to the game-changing green screen money maker has floated about the Net. Back in March ’07, Miller was said to be prepping one, even. As for a storyline, nothing was offered up in these interviews. Previously some readers suggested that “a sequel could be made using 10,000: The Battle of Plataea or the naval Battle of Salamis.” Of note: Snyder is interested in returning, whereas some speculated that Miller—with The Spirit already campaigning hard in Geek Land—would helm.

Up next for Snyder after Watchmen is the animated owl fantasy, Guardians of Ga’Hoole. He also has The Tattooed Man on the burner. He is also quite flabbergasted that some people don’t “get” the commentary that is nippled regalia in Watchmen.

Discuss: Would you rather see a sequel, a prequel, see everyone involved simply stop with the original or see nothing at all (if the latter, don’t bum us out, thanks)?

Resurrected Discuss: Uh oh. Some commenters below still feel with a certain passion that 300 was not “historically accurate.”