28 April 2007

Superman Doomsday Trailer

Click HERE or HERE to watch the trailer for the upcoming animated film Superman: Doomsday. I am surprised how similar the animation style is to the Superman Animated Series since this is supposed to be independent of that - but thats not a bad thing. Anyhow, looks like the Marvel DTVs have some new competition.

The Many Foes of Spider-Man - Venom

I hope this has been an enjoyable series. I know anyone could just click over to the wikipedia, but its been fun counting down to Spider-Man 3. Starting next week I will begin "The Friends and Foes of Batman" as I count down to the debut of The Dark Knight. I think I will try and make the profiles a bit more concise, but we will see. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments. But for now, enjoy the last foe of Spider-Man. I can't believe Spidey 3 is almost upon us!

It is Spider-Man's most venomy enemy Venom

Venom is a moniker used by several characters. It was first used by Eddie Brock in The Amazing Spider-Man #298. It is now used by Mac Gargan, formerly known as the Scorpion. The characters and their superhuman abilities are derived from the bonding between the human host and an extraterrestrial parasite known as symbiotes.

The symbiote came to Earth with Spider-man, at the end of the Marvel Secret Wars. Soon, the symbiote began to take over Spider-man. It was rejected, and later found and bonded with Eddie Brock, a journalist at the Daily Bugle, and later Mac Gargan, the former Scorpion.

Originally, the Venom symbiote was portrayed as a mute and lonely creature craving the company of a host. More recently, it has been shown as increasingly abusive of its hosts, as well as having the powers of speech. Users of the "Venom" title are usually symbiotically fused with an extraterrestrial symbiote called the "Venom symbiote". The Venom symbiote first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1, #252 (which was published several months before Secret Wars vol. 1, #8, which, chronologically, is when Spider-Man first encountered the symbiote).

Eddie Brock

Eddie Brock was a reporter who blamed Spider-Man for debunking his reward story, the Sin-Eater case, humiliating Brock and ruining his career, forcing him to find work with dirt-sheet gossip magazines. Attracted by his intense hatred of Spider-Man the symbiote bonded with Brock. When bonded, Venom speaks using the first person plural case (we), signifying that Eddie Brock and the symbiote are two separate entities joined together - although, on occasion, Eddie refers to it as 'My symbiote and I'. When he had devoured the original Carnage symbiote, he even referred to himself as '...one big, happy family'. They fought Spider-Man many times, and came close to winning on several occasions. As well as fueling Brock's rage against Spider-Man, the symbiote allowed him to indulge in a sporadic career as a vigilante. After switching back and forth a number of times-either helping Spider-Man or fighting against him, Brock sold the symbiote to Don Fortunato after he discovered he had a brain tumor.

Anne Weying Brock

The Venom symbiote joined with Eddie's ex-wife on two occasions. The first bonding occurred when Anne was seriously wounded after being shot by the second Sin-Eater. With her condition rapidly deteriorating, the symbiote bonded with Anne on Eddie's insistence in order to save her. Under the influence of the symbiote, Anne impulsively murdered a pair of thugs, an act she instantly regretted. The second time she bonded with the symbiote occurred in police custody. Used as bait to lure her ex-husband, Anne was once again joined with the symbiote after Eddie transferred his other through a telephone line, allowing her to escape. These instances proved traumatic for Anne, causing her to commit suicide later on.

Angelo Fortunato

Angelo was the youngest son of Don Fortunato, a prominent Mafia capo of New Yorks criminal underworld. Due to his frail physique and shy attitude, Angelo was frequently bullied and humiliated by his father. Tiring of his sons weakness, the Don attended a supervillain auction, where for $100 million, purchased the Venom symbiote from Eddie Brock. Though Eddie warned Angelo of the dangers inherent in the symbiote, the boy answered that he had nothing to lose seeing as his life had been one of non stop ridicule.

Once bonded with the symbiote, Angelo was revealed the secret identity of Spider-Man, whom he wished to destroy to prove himself worthy to his father. Angelo attacked Spider-Man during a high school reunion, injuring many bystanders in the process. They engaged in a ferocious battle which brought them out into the streets of New York. For a while, it seemed that Angelo had the advantage, seeing as he was learning how to use the symbiotes mimetic abilities faster than anticipated. However, when he killed an innocent civilian whom he mistook for Spider-Man, the superhero stopped holding back and beat Angelo into submission.

Angelo attempted to escape, all the while with the symbiote berating him for his cowardice. Irritated by the boy's lack of resolve, the symbiote ruthlessly abandoned Angelo in mid-leap, letting him fall. Spider-Man attempted to save him, only to find out he had run out of web fluid. Angelo was killed by the subsequent fall.

Mac Gargan

The Venom symbiote approached Macdonald "Mac" Gargan, who is considered a low-level villain, offering him new abilities, and Gargan becomes bonded with the creature. This would later give him an extra edge as part of Norman Osborn's Sinister Twelve. Even with these additional powers he was still swiftly defeated by Spider-Man, as the Avengers dealt with the rest of the Twelve. Gargan later becomes a member of a sub-group of the Thunderbolts, which is drafted by the Avengers to hunt down the members of the fugitive Secret Avengers. It is then revealed that he has been outfitted with electrical implants by the government to keep the symbiote in check. When in the Venom persona Gargan retains very little of his original personality and is almost completely controlled by the symbiote, and when the symbiote is dormant in his body he has expressed nausea and fear of the organism.

Villain Profiles:

the Beetle
Black Cat
the Chameleon
Doctor Octopus
the Green Goblin
J. Jonah Jameson
Jack O' Lantern
the Kingpin
Kraven the Hunter
the Lizard
The Sinister Six
Spider Slayers
The Spot
Spider-Man 3 debuts in 6 days!

27 April 2007

Superheroes on Screen - Retrospective 1996

If you like second rate heroes, 1996 was the year for you.


Based on a Dark Horse Comics bounty hunter, Barb Wire earned less than $4 million, but did earn several nominations for Raspberry Awards including the nomination for Worst Picture.

The Crow: City of Angels was the first Crow sequel and pulled in $18 million, less than half of the original. Similar to the Catwoman's resurrection in Batman Returns, the hero of this film is revived by a supernatural crow, and if you saw the first one, you can pretty much figure out how this one ends.

Vampirella was a direct to video movie based on a comic character that is now almost 40 years old. Right now this sits with a 3.0/10 on imdb.com which is one of the worst scores I have ever seen.

Fox aired a live action made-for-television movie based on the Marvel Comics series Generation X. The film featured Banshee and Emma Frost as the headmasters of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. M, Skin, Mondo, Jubilee (Non-Asian) and two made-for-film characters Buff and Refrax were featured as students (Chamber and Husk were not included because the budget didn't allow for the special effects their powers required). The team face a mad scientist named Russel Tresh and his machine that developed psychic powers. The film was poorly received and plans for a series were abandoned. Seriously, this could have been cool, and still could be today if they would do it right, but alas.

Here is a glimpse of this gem of TV programming:

UPN gave us the Marvel Comics' animated Hulk show. Lou Ferrigno returned to voice the Hulk (after portraying him on the live-action TV series). Ghost Rider, Iron Man, Thor, and The Fantastic Four all guest starred. After the "too dark" first season, UPN decided to give "female viewers a chance". She-Hulk became a regular co-star. As a result, the series was officially renamed The Incredible Hulk and She-Hulk. The second season also featured the Grey Hulk. Overall, season 2 was less popular with fans. After 21 episodes the series was cancelled.

Superman was a superb follow up series to the remarkable Batman:The Animated Series. Superman was a bit more light hearted, and the color palate was brighter to demonstrate the change in mood. The series also featured a great theme.. though it may have been a tad over used. Superman is every bit as good as Batman, which is remarkable considering how few people have really been able to get Superman right in TV and movies. He is strong, but not invincible, and there is a great cast of villains... not just Lex Luthor every time. Superman really has a great cast of opponents including the Toyman, Bizarro, Mr Mxyzptlk (awesomely done here), Livewire, the Parasite, and of course Darkseid. This series also introduced other DC heroes Supergirl, the New Gods, Aquaman, Green Lantern and Dr. Fate. Superman also featured a 3-parter with Batman and Superman teaming against The Joker and Lex. The series went out strong with a 2-parter featuring Superman leading an Earth invasion after being brainwashed by Darkseid. When Supes realized he was being controlled he unleashed on Mr. Seid in epic fashion. This is quintessential Superman!

While 1996 treated us to a couple of good animated series, everything else that came out this year was pretty much second string or lower.

Previous Retrospectives

2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997

Tony Stark Iron Man - First Look

From USA Today

Robert Downey Jr. is hardly the obvious choice to play an iconic crime fighter.

After all, this is the guy who became a poster boy for Hollywood excess, serving a year in prison on drug and alcohol-related charges and checking in and out of rehab like it was the Four Seasons.

But it is exactly that past, says director Jon Favreau (Elf), that makes Downey the only choice to play playboy millionaire and recovering alcoholic Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, the comic-book superhero who hits multiplexes next year.

"We didn't want to just go with a safe choice," Favreau says from the set of the film, due in theaters May 2, 2008. "The best and worst moments of Robert's life have been in the public eye. He had to find an inner balance to overcome obstacles that went far beyond his career. That's Tony Stark. Robert brings a depth that goes beyond a comic-book character who is having trouble in high school, or can't get the girl. Plus, he's simply one of the best actors around."

For his part, Downey is trying to become an iron man. At 42, he lifts weights five days a week and practices martial arts to get in shape to play the hard-bodied Stark, an arms manufacturer who uses his ultimate weapon, a jet-powered, missile-launching suit of armor, to fight evil.
FIND MORE STORIES IN: Paramount Pictures | Robert Downey Jr | Jon Favreau | Iron Man | Robert Downey Jr. | Avengers

More important, Downey says, he's been working on his emotional stamina since coming out of rehab in 2002. His supporting roles in Good Night, and Good Luck and Zodiac have earned critical raves.

And anchoring a big-budget summer film such as Iron Man could go a long way toward cementing that return.

"I'm more diligent than I used to be," Downey says. "I want to show Jon he was right to have faith in me. Whatever questions might have arisen about my life weren't issues with him."

Nor with many fans, says Rob Morley of Comics2Film.com.

"Fans need the heart of the comic to be in" the movie, he says. "Tony Stark had a substance abuse problem. He was built up and torn down many times. I think when people heard Robert Downey was going to play the part, there was actually a big relief."

Downey knows a thing or two about comics, and he can get downright geeky when discussing them. He prefers Marvel to D.C. comics. He liked Iron Man, "but mainly through his appearance with Avengers." His favorite early heroes, he says, were the relatively obscure Sgt. Rock and Sgt. Fury.

It wasn't until Downey matured that he came to appreciate the man in the iron suit.

"He struggles with his lifestyle, he struggles with the drinking," Downey says of Stark. "He faces the same issues a lot of people do."

Invincible Iron Man

26 April 2007

Mags & Cheese is on the Menu

This is actually not great news, but OK I suppose. David Goyer, the mastermind behind Blade Trinity has signed to direct Magneto: The Movie. Goyer is an all right dude, but he tends to like cheese. I am not sure if I want Mags & Cheese. Also, the whole idea of a Magneto movie is sorta lame. I would much rather see pretty much any of the X-Men (except Rogue or Halle Berry Storm) get a solo film first. I didn't see a release dat, but I am guessing 2009. Here is the story from Variety:

David Goyer will direct "Magneto," an "X-Men" spinoff film from 20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios that's drawn from the villain played in the original trilogy by Ian McKellen.

After the first three "X-Men" films grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, Fox and Marvel hatched the spinoff program. "Magneto" will be the second spinoff to go into production. First up is "Wolverine," a David Benioff-scripted film that will star Hugh Jackman as the steel-clawed mutant. Fox and Marvel will set a director shortly.

Goyer will develop a "Magneto" script that was written by Sheldon Turner.

McKellen's participation in "Magneto" will likely be limited, since the film is an origin story. In a storyline hinted at by the original "X-Men" films, Magneto comes to grips with his mutant ability to manipulate metal objects as he and his parents try to survive in Auschwitz. Magneto meets Professor Xavier (played as the wheelchair-bound mutant leader by Patrick Stewart) when Xavier is a soldier liberating the concentration camp.

Magneto hones his powers by hunting down and killing Nazi war criminals that tortured him, and his lust for vengeance turns Xavier and Magneto into enemies. Both characters will be played by actors in their 20s.

Marvel, coming off "Ghost Rider," has a May 4 bow for "Spider-Man" at Columbia Pictures, a June 15 opening of "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer."

Marvel Studios is in production on the Robert Downey Jr.-Terrence Howard starrer "Iron Man," which Paramount has slotted for a May 2, 2008 release, and Edward Norton was recently set to play the title character in "The Incredible Hulk," a Louis Leterrier-directed reinvention of the franchise. Universal has set a June 13, 2008 release.

Goyer, who directed "Blade: Trinity" and whose new film, "The Invisible," will be released this weekend by Disney, has scripted "Ghost Rider" and the "Blade" films for Marvel, as well as the DC Comics transfers "Batman Begins" and "The Flash," which he's now writing.

Turner's credits include "The Longest Yard" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning."

The X-Men Trilogy (X-Men/ X2: X-Men United/ X-Men: The Last Stand)

Simpsons Parody Idol


Summer 07 Box Office Predictions - Part 1

With May just around the corner, it's time to predict this summer's Top 9 films. Last year, by the time I stopped keeping track, it was obvious that my predictions were WAY off. But, I really think I can do better this year. I expect some big numbers, so here we go with #9 - #7.

#9 Evan Almighty - 22 JUN 07

Jim Carrey's Bruce Almighty pulled down $243 million 4 years ago, but I would argue that Jim was a bigger star then than Steve Carell is now. Still, Steve's performance as Evan was one of the film's best aspects. Now that Evan is in the spotlight, I think this film will be even better than Bruce. This may not be as big a draw as Bruce, but it is an all ages comedy, one of the few tis jam packed summer. $170,000,000 should be within reach.

#8 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - 15 JUN 07

In spite of bad reviews, the first Fantastic Four film earned $155 million 2 years ago. This one has everything that one had going for it plus the wise inclusion of the popular Silver Surfer. I just can't see how this film won't outperform the original. It is coming out when Spider-man 3 will still be in theatres, but most people should have seen Spidey by the time the Surfer arrives. The recent announcement that Galactus would be a Storm Cloud aside, the Surfer is poised to earn $175,000,000.

#7 The Bourne Ultimatum - 03 AUG 07

Another sequel (this list is full of em). The first Bourne (Identity) earned $122 million and became a smash hit on DVD. The second Bourne (Supremacy) improved to $176 million. Its been 3 years and I expect this Bourne (Ultimatum) to again improve, though less than last time. An August release with little competition aside from Rush Hour 3 should see Bourne making $185,000,000.

What do you think? Care to make any predictions? Come back in a couple days for the rest of the list.

The Bourne Supremacy (Widescreen Edition)

The Bourne Identity (Widescreen Extended Edition)

Fantastic Four - Extended Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Bruce Almighty (Widescreen Edition)

Radar Blips - Jason and the Argonauts

The Year: 1963

The Players: A Ray Harryhausen film

The Take: $?

What's an Argonauts?: Argonauts are like Astronauts, except instead of riding on an astro, they are riding on a ship named the Argo. They happen to be on a quest for the golden fleece, and the surprisingly inept Hercules (though he should be called Haracles) is one of them.

Why you should see it: According to Tom Hanks, this is the greatest movie ever made. If that ain't enough reason... Just kidding, Hanks is sort of an idiot, but this is a great movie. Its got amazing sequences including a stop motion bronze giant, a hydra, and a famous skeleton army. These sequences have stood the test of time. Seeing movies like this and Clash of the Titans makes me wonder why they don't make a modern version of the Odyssey or other Greek classics.

Jason and the Argonauts

24 April 2007

Optimus Bears All & Some Scary Barry-cade

From Entertainment Weekly

Superman Beware - Kryptonite is Real!

According to Reuters.com:

Kryptonite, which robbed Superman of his powers, is no longer the stuff of comic books and films.

A mineral found by geologists in Serbia shares virtually the same chemical composition as the fictional kryptonite from outer space, used by the superhero's nemesis Lex Luther to weaken him in the film "Superman Returns".

"We will have to be careful with it -- we wouldn't want to deprive Earth of its most famous superhero!," said Dr Chris Stanley, a mineralogist at London's Natural History Museum.

Stanley, who revealed the identity of the mysterious new mineral, discovered the match after searching the Internet for its chemical formula - sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide.

"I was amazed to discover that same scientific name written on a case of rock containing kryptonite stolen by Lex Luther from a museum in the film Superman Returns," he said.

The substance has been confirmed as a new mineral after tests by scientists at the Natural History Museum in London and the National Research Council in Canada.

But instead of the large green crystals in Superman comics, the real thing is a white, powdery substance which contains no fluorine and is non-radioactive.

The mineral, to be named Jadarite, will go on show at the London's Natural History Museum at certain times of the day on Wednesday, April 25, and Sunday, May 13.

Ink Blots LXI - The Road to El Dorado

Back in the day (yeah I guess 1998 wasn't really that long ago) Dreamworks used to make a different kind of animated film. They busted into the scene with The Prince of Egypt which boasted fantastic traditional animation and levereged the Disney formula of songs and heart and mustered a modest hit. A year and a half later, Dreamworks delved out of the spiritual story realm into that of the buddy comedy with The Road to El Dorado. Unfortunately, earing just $51 million, this film was not the success Dreamworks had hoped for, and in a few short years Shrek would forever alter that kind of films that Dreamworks would be known for.

This film followed two conmen Tulio and Miguel voiced by Kevin Kline (not Calvin) and Kenneth Branagh on an adventure to the City of Gold. The two were welcomed as gods, but all they really wanted was to loot the city and return to live as kings in Spain. Then they realize that King is a demotion from God. Also, Tzekel-Kan, one of the priests is hell bent on having a human sacrifice whether the gods demand it or not.

Its actually a pretty funny film along the lines of that other South American buddy comedy that came out in 2000, The Emperor's New Groove. In fact, I think the animation here is even better than the Disney entry with bright colors and a good blend of CG elements. The music in this film is so-so featuring several songs by Sir Elton John. None of the songs really stand out as singles, but they fit the film well enough. I quite enjoyed this film. One scene involving armadillo basketball was particularly fun to watch. There is nothing grandeous here, its just a nice movie about a couple of pals on an adventure. Its too bad films like this do not do better. Anyhow, for hailing back to simpler times, this Dreamworks film earns a B.

23 April 2007

UPDATE: The Jokes on Ledger, With a Splash of Color

UPDATE: Its fake.

Behold, the JOKER! Nice new twist on the classic design.

So Norton WILL Be Green, Just a Different Shade

According to Superherohype.com:

Empire Online just confirmed what we were thinking, that the Hulk will just be a different shade of green and not a completely different color, such as gray. Producer Avi Arad cleared up his comments from Friday:

"It was a joke!" laughs Arad, in town to talk up Spider-Man 3, which opens on May 4. "Here's what it was. There were 30 people around a table, and they said 'is there going to be a grey Hulk?' And I was thinking about it and I said, 'who knows?' It was one of those moments. I had just got back from Japan and I was trying to talk about Spider-Man and this guy was pushing me on The Hulk so I thought I'll be coy. I don't know what colour it is, and all of a sudden it's headline news."

But Arad did mention a new colour – so will the eponymous star of Louis Letterier's movie, due out in 2008, still be green? Or orange? Or pink with yellow stripes?

"It's a different shade of green," confirms Arad. "But the colour is not like the old Hulk. And no, there's no grey Hulk."

Arad goes on to mention that we'll learn who is playing Bettie in a matter of days.

As for Bettie, I have heard Jessica Biel is in the running, but since I am not a huge fan of hers I hope thats just a rumor.

Harry Potter Must Not Go Back to Hogwarts

A nice new dark Potter trailer.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)