Monday, November 30, 2009

Raimi wants his own DISTRICT 9 with PANIC ATTACK

Looks like Sam Da Man Raimi, a director I like so much I'm even willing to look forward to SPIDER-MAN 4, won't let hand-held cam documentary-style sci-fi films go out of style. And with the immense recent success of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and DISCTRICT 9, the former of which I have to be perfectly honest I have no interest in whatsoever, all he needs is a fresh-minded director with a vision. Check.

Raimi's Ghost House Pictures has snagged upcoming Latino filmmaker Frederico Alvarez for an unspecified sci-film, unspecified meaning they want him to expand on his kick-ass looking 4-minute short ATAQUE DE PANICO (Panick Attack). Like Peter Jackson asked Neil Blomkamp for his short ALIVE IN JOBURG (that became this year's sleeper hit DISTRICT 9). I absolutely love the short but there is one problem: it's actually a set piece or sequence, no story to speak of found in there. So Alvarez would have to flesh out an entire narrative around his concept, hopefully without being too cliché and rehashed.

Here's the original short film, for y'all to make up your mind. I'm putting myself on the interested side of this; I like the retro IRON GIANT-like look of the robots. Unlike ones with giant...ya know, dangling...

(The folks from Twitch have the original report)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Frogcast #2

I was hoping to have a few guests this week but all of them bailed out, so it’s just you and I for this Thanksgiving Weekend edition of the Frogcast, where:

-I rant on legality when it comes to streaming movies

-Review a yet-unreleased little gem I was priviledged to watch recently called VERONICA DECIDES TO DIE

-Check out the new movie releases for this week

-And add bits and pieces of hilarious audio clips.

Any comments, questions, suggestions or subpoenas can be addressed to
Follow me on Twitter as well as my new gig on Swan Diary.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Love Whispers of Twilight

Isn't there anything more thrilling than the sweet moments shared with a new love? Like those cuddly little love whispers lovers tell each other thinking nobody hears of notices them?

The completely insane folks of Liquid Generation were nearby when Bella and Edward were having those moments, before Eddie bailed so that Bella could get her rocks off with a six-packed werewolf. And here's what they witnessed of those sweet little nothing whispered between the sun-crossed lovers.

The Shining 2: Electric Boogaloo?

Danny Torrance is alive and well and living on horse races. Or so it he could, if Stephen King gets through with his latest revelations.

The be-spectacled and probably stinkin' rich writer spent a night in Toronto where he treated audiences of the evil city's (evil for Montreal Habs fans...) Canon Theatre to a 15-minutes read of his new novel "Under the Dome". Which many say is a rip-off from the Simpsons movie. Hey - it's Stephen friggin King, he could rip off Jesus if he wants, a'ight??? Anyhoo, a Q&A after the event had him reveal he'd been thinking about the young hero of his fluvial thriller "The Shining" and has already been scribbling down some ideas of what he could be up to. King said he was simply musing for now, but you bet your sweet blog readin' ass some asshole Studio Exec will be paying him a visit very soon. Lots of them, actually.

King's plan for Danny would have him in his 40s, working as an orderly who secretly helps on death's door cross over more easily thanks to his power. As The Torontoist observes, the original novel's "happy" ending doesn't preclude that the character walked off the ordeal with deep and haunting scars. What ever the kid made of that trauma and how he deals with it would make a kick-ass sequel, the author feels.

His potential title, should it all come to fruition? "Doctor Sleep". Come on King - long live and all, but just do it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Once were Toys, soon to be Movies

You've heard all the crazy stories -toys and board games being turned into movies, and by serious directors- and understandably some if not most of them might feel like out-of-control rumors or really bad jokes. On the other hand, that's what everybody -including and especially me- said of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEANS. To help keep track and confirm what you might've simply been suspecting, here's a list of toys & games on their way to Hollywood.


I wondered what Peter Berg was still doing on the other side of the camera after the irresponsibly painful mess that was VERY BAD THINGS, but then he made FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and the unfairly mistreated HANCOCK, so I figured he might be able to pull some kind of RED OCTOBER out of his sleeves, which would sound absolutely cool. Not the case... Berg's film for Universal will inolve...dare I say it??? Oh what the heck! ALIENS!!!! What the F do aliens have to do with the board game? Why use the game's name at all??? Well... your guess is as good as mine.


One of the greatest collective WTF was heard rumbling throughout the movie appreciators community when Ridley Scott announced his intention of making a film out of the grandfather of all boardgames. Since, contrary to BATTLESHIP, this one exposes itself to being ridiculous. But Ridely??? But then he revealed plot details, and ya know, it actually sounds cool...

Set up (again) at Universal, the film will follow a (probably lovable) loser who tries to become famous by breaking the record for time spent playing Monopoly, his only real talent. The ordeal leaves him in a state where reality blurs itself with the game as he finds himself in Monopoly City, fighting against the evil Parker Brothers who have nefarious plans for the denizens. I still say Scott's name sounds weird in all of this - more like a project for, say Terry Gilliam or Tim Burton. No, Gilliam. Burton would make this so creepy I'd need months of therapy to regain my childhood memories...


This one actually makes sense. A little. Kinda. I mean it's a game aimed at toddlers who don't really get the intricacies of dealing with money (neither does my 39-year old brother however...) and it's filled with, you know, candy and stuff.

The film will be handled by Kevin Lima, which again makes sense. The guy gave Disney a family-oriented hit with ENCHANTED, which sent cute-as-a-button Amy Adams singing at the Oscars. Guess what studio is doing it??? I can understand Universal's position - they just made a ludicrous bundle with those TRANSFORMERS movies nobody liked. Imagine if they pull a good film out of a game?...


This one is a convergence of inevitability: a game adaptation AND a remake! How could Hollywood pass up that opportunity?!? Correction - how could Universal pass it up... I have to say the original 1985 comedy is a guilty pleasure of mine. The premise was quirky and fun, it had an absolutely superb cast including Howard Hessman, Tim Curry and Chris Lloyd, and it was written by John Landis when at the peak of his creativity.

To be fair with the remake, Gore Verbinsky will be directing. And I use fair in a loose way - I liked his MOUSE HUNT but any if not all credit for PIRATES' success goes to Johnny Depp's out of this world performance. Oh, and it won't be a comedy but an international thriller... yup. The Clue Identity.


I remember reading about an upcoming Stretch movie back when I was in high school - to give you an idea, that was about the time Marty McFly hit 88 miles an hour. Then in the mid 90s Disney tried to do it with Jackie Chan as stretch and Danny DeVito as his nemesis sibbling Evil X-Ray Wretch Armstrong. I'm not even making this up. Wonder why it got tossed with such a loud thud down the dumpster...

Hasbro, Universal's new BFF, bought the toy's rights from Kenner and wants to bring it back on the shelves, and movies being the best commercials money can buy, well here we go again. Mindbendingly, Ron Howard's usual partner in crime Brian Gazer is producing. Not so mindbendingly, Grazer chose Steve Odenkerk as a director. I like Steve's work in a cult-classic kinda way - KUNG POW is damn funny with a heavy brewsky- but the guy is anything but mainstream material; whenever he tries to be , he just ain't funny. Being an over-idiotic movie idea to begin with, I really can't see how or when this will ever get made.


Dearest Micheal Bay,
You're just a stoopid hack.
Although I have to say
I do love Megan's crack.

That film in a nutshell, which it probably will be - Michael Bay, board game, spirits being called upon, hot chicks, fast cars and loud 'splosions. Add a Brett Ratner cameo and you got a reason for the Nobel organization to create a movie prize as well - to make sure no one ever feels like looking up to those two.


The title for this should be something like "Friggin Obvious". Hollywood has been demoralizing tweens, teens and drama queens for decades with the image of the sparkly slim and tall blond with generous boobs and perfect looks. I can think of 2 or 3 dozen current young actresses who could fit that mold. It was just a matter of time before someone figured "hey! let's make a film about the original!"

There's also the fact that Mattel's been banking like crazy on those costless CG DTV Barbie films for a few years now, hence little doubt there's big bucks to make with her. Having producer Laurence Marks on board continues the guy's weird streak; he's had some strong stuff like AS GOOD AS IT GETS and FINDING FORRESTER mixed with stink bombs like ROMY AND MICHELLE or CUTTHROAT ISLAND. Strangely, I would've seen Mike Bay behind this one as well...


I remember watching the 1987 Dolph Lundgren wet firecracker and actually enjoying the cheesy quality of it. Frank Langella was da bomb as Skeletor! But I've never really considered this property in any way capable of reaching serious audiences. I mean come on - He-Man? Eternia? Skeletor?

Warner's been trying to do it for a while but those oh so pesky creative differences with Mattel put the kibosh on that one and forced procuder Joel Silver out. Columbia picked it right up (before Universal could get a chance to...) and kept KUNG FU PANDA director John Stevenson attached. Yup, sounds serious like hell...


Now THAT is the mother of all WTFs, right? A whole movie based on a toy where all you do is look at pictures of old cartoon shows through daylight. Here's the bigger kicker ('cause there's one...) - the film will be produced by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the same two who wrote the robotic scrotum into TRANFORMERS 2. And don't you dare drop STAR TREK on me - JJ Abrams deserves all the credit on that one!

Strangely, Universal is nowhere near this one; it's actually being made by Spielberg's house of Dreamworks. Stevie, you're getting senile with old age. Before, it was cute. Now it's just senile. You're nuking the fridge more and more, dude...


Something prime for a feature film if there ever was, especially with how advanced CG is nowadays - even independent filmmakers can make uber-cool stuff now (just look at Rob Rodriguez' graphic work on SIN CITY or those SPY KIDS films) and that's exactly where this one is headed. No studio interference, just  a writer who knows this material backwards (Dan Abnett whose written a dozen W40K inspired books) and a rookie director not bound by conventions.

The game is one of those tabletop  Risk-like things where you could assemble and paint the figurines. it then became an online RPG along with books to create a rich universe of stories, and now you can even spot costumed-fans of it at conventions. If done well, this could be the next MATRIX.


I've never owned any of the WWR collectibles, but I thought the concept of it was fascinating. Sentient machines and their human allies at war against other machines all over the planet and beyond. Started off as just a series of very cool-looking figurines all expanded form the initial concept of a robotic world war, and that too evolved into books and RPGs. And a rich concept it is - the background story created for them has the robots fighting all the way to Mars.

Jerry Bruckheimer is behind that one, so expect the very best in action sequences. Or at least the most entertaining. Could be quite to dud if done too quickly, so Jer, take your time to find the right writer and director. Make this one count!

Got anymore upcoming toy flicks I forgot about? Drop a line in the comments section and let us all enjoy!

New Moon's dimissed auditions reel

I'm still wiping tears of laughter... sorry... can't write this up.
Just watch. Thanks to the folks of

Superhelden: Real-life Robin Hoods in Superhero Costumes

Don't you just love wacky documentaries that make you realize your world is not as crazy as you thought - it's barking mad! This one is among them...

I know about the real-life "Superhero" stupidity phenomenon in the US where common people dress up in quasi-elaborate costumes and pretend to fight crime while mostly posing for youtubers and novelty seekers. But Janerk Romero's documentary SUPERHELDEN (Superhero) puts the spotlight on a group of people who don't practice the American passive-idealism of their counterparts- they push the boundaries of lunacy and legality under the guise of "social change". Like raiding stores and delis and "stealing" whatever they want apparently to give back to the needy, and organizing "costumed" protests with thought-bubbles instead of signs.

At the same time the filmmaker follows one of those needys, a working mother who has to resort to the unthinkable to put food on the table. The result is not only an interesting look at how one country translates a growing phenomenon, but raises tons of questions toward social equality and the limits of do-gooders morality.

Here's the original trailer, and YES I know it's in German. Soon as I can find a translation I'll put it up here, promised. (Thanks to Quiet Earth for the find)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Slap Bet: The Game

Barney Stinson has spent the last 2 years slap-free, with 3 of the 5 slaps he lost to Marshall already administered. This November 23rd, the 4th slap was consecrated. And to mark the event, the producers of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER want all of us to join the fun! Here's Slap Bet: The Game!

(Notice the song, same that Marshall composed for Barney 2 years ago?...)

Check out The Nukies

Just in case someone out there doesn't know the expression, as was discussed with my gal-pal Super Marcey during my last FrogCast, there was this scene in the 4th Indiana Jones movie where Indy escapes nuclear havoc by taking refuge in a fridge - which gets propelled clear out of danger. Die-hard fans hated that scene so much it quickly became a thing, a reference to designate the moment when a once-great franchise veered straight into mediocrity.

A couple of guys decided the hype was too good to overlook and started their own website dedicate to that phenomenon,, where last year they held an Awards ceremony of sorts to "celebrate" such moments throughout the year where a movie or career got completely engulfed by a moment of lameness. Seems like it resonated with lots of movie fans since this year they're not only repeating but evolving with that ceremony.

Says Jason Nicholl, co-founder of the site, "Yes we will do the Nukies this year.  We will even expand the categories.  There are many entries this year, this was a horrible year for movies". The awards, like last year, are planned to be held on the same day as the Oscars, while the Razzies are held the night before.

To give an idea, here's a look at last year's "winners":

The Film that Most Nuked the Fridge
Winner: “Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”
Runner-up: “Transporter 3”

Actor or Actress to Most Nuke the Fridge: Pierce Brosnan.  Mr. Brosnan is an outstanding actor, and one can make the argument that he is the great James Bond of them all.  But the man can not sing.  So what was he thinking starring in the musical “Mamma Mia!”?  This was such a cringe inducing performance it left us all scratching our heads and wondering “what the?”

Nuke the Fridge Career Achievement Award: Mike Myers.  Mr. Myers was once funny.  But somewhere between driving the Austin Powers and Shrek films into the ground and the release of his latest film, the god-awful “Love Guru,” he became seriously unfunny.  Not since Eddie Murphy has a comedian so lost his touch.  “The Love Guru” was so unfunny, that his entire career seems to have nuked the fridge.   Can Mike Myers ever get back on track?  Only time will tell.

So what and who should be nominated THIS year??? I vote TF2's Robotic Scrotum!

Of Sparkly Vampires and 6-Packed Werewolves...

Everybody and their great aunt Edna has written reviews or op eds on NEW MOON and its predecessor TWILIGHT, so I'll spare myself the duty of reviewing it. BUT I did see it, for curiosity's sake -didn't pay for it, nor did I do anything illegal don't worry- and I feel I should bring some objectivity to it, with the following 3 thoughts.

On the Appeal and Quality
I tried to read the novels (again out of curiosity) and I have to say I understand the appeal for tweens; they are NOT well written at all, but then again if the vocabulary and turn of phrases require too much it won't be interesting for the "Instant Gratification" generation - said not as a poke but as a perfectly viable observation. But still, they are badly written, and thus the movies do not deserve the hysterical hype. The first one was a low-budget (low for a Hollywood studio, not for an indie) fare that should've generated between 20 and 30 millions in domestic take. The second one cost around $50M and looks it, but it's still a unoriginal and quite boring story that doesn't deserve to rank alongside THE DARK KNIGHT for opening week-end biggest takes.

On the Cast and crew
Kristen Stewart comes out very much as the chick who called the first movie's fans "retards" shortly after its release; she looks bored and not at all intent on doing something strictly for the people who adulate those movies and made her a star who can choose whatever project she likes next. Same for Rob Pattinson who makes SPACEBALLS' Prince Vallium look like a walking percolator. Big props however to Taylor Lautner who definitely pulled out all the stops to deserve the fan's dedication and looks to be having the time of his life. Ditto to Billy Burke who, although holding a small role in daddy Charlie, knows this could be his only shot at the big time and makes the most of it. Micheal Sheen knows how to enjoy himself with a paychek part, Dakota fanning makes you wonder why she isn't the one with the lead role, Cameron Bright is barely recognizable or seen and never says a damn word, and they kill Graham Friggin Greene midway through the movie! You can't kill Kicking Bird you lousy pagans!!!

To summarize: Lautner and Burke save the film, Stewart deserves a lifetime Razzie membership, Pattinson is on his way to pulling a Joaquin, and Sheen is a hell of a classy actor.

As for the director, I completely disagree with people who say Catherine Hardwicke is barely fit to handle a viewmaster let alone a camera; she knows how to use very little in framing and lensing to maximize the actor's play and the story's depth. She makes her movies small-scale by choice, and the narrative benefits greatly form it. Chris Weitz is brilliant with his brother Paul, but here repeats the unlearned-from mistakes of solo efforts like GOLDEN COMPASS: all visual, no heart. Dude says he might not make another movie for a long time, and dare I say please keep to your word.

On the subject or creatures
I'll refrain from saying Vampire should burn and not shine since everybody else did from here to eternity, and instead will focus on the other kind of classic creature revisited. Or I should say "used"; author Stephenie Meyers didn't try to re-invent or explore those mythos, just make them fit  her narrative (if that's what she calls it...). Anyhoo, werewolves are often a huge let down for either being too anthropomorphic or for not even trying to look like nothing else than a garden variety wolves; here, they're enormous, impressive, scary and still extremely dog-like in their behavior. rarely have I been that incensed by lycnathropes. But, again, all visual, no heart. The reasons for Bora and Edtard's infatuation is never explained nor, and it should be since we just don't see it. On the other hand, Jacob's hots for Bella need not be detailed - we do very much sense it, again thanks to Lautner taking his job much more seriously than everybody else.

If absolutely have to rate the film, I'll give it a generous 6/10; a very clichéd and lazy story, with a pair of un-interested leads, but some much invested co-stars and a great team behind the visuals.

"Defying Gravity": What we won't get to see

I've been a huge fan of the international collaboration show DEFYING GRAVITY since its very first (of 13...) episodes, and I really didn't mind people calling it "Grey's Anatomy in space" - it was character driver science-fiction, or soft-core sci-fi as I like to call it, as opposed to heavier genre shows like "Stargate". Plus it had a warm and charismatic cast, but above all I got the sense that the show's creator James D. Parriott knew where it was all going, as opposed to "Lost" where one of the exec producers admitted after season one they were no farther then 4 episodes ahead - which means they had no clear plan and made it up as they went...

Problem with the show wasn't quality -which it had in spades- but marketing; ABC bought the show from its producers a mere 3 weeks before airing it, thus leaving no time or space to promote it on their network, and no favourable time slot either, so unnoticed it went to the Friday night "death slot". Fast forward to about 8 episodes later, ABC yanks it off, and the producers just lost their major market. Show's dead and never got a chance to conclude in any way. Here in Canada we did get to see the final 5 episodes, but no clear answers were provided to the legions of questions planted throughout.

In late October, shortly after ABC's pulling of it, Parriott had a sit down with the folks of Clique Clack TV where he graciously revealed what he had worked out for at least 3 full seasons of the show. The interview can be found HERE, but for clicklessness' sake here's a brief breakdown of his revelations.

Nadia - As many had guessed with her hallucinations of a man who strangely resembled her, Nadia was born a hermaphrodite who's parents had made the gender choice for her age 11. The visions were of what she could've been had she chosen for herself. All those DNA changes Beta brings on the crew? They would've slowly reverted Nadia back to a more male-like state, and have her revisit the choice made for her by others in order to make it herself.

Donner and Zoe –  Donner’s reversed vasectomy was also part of the DNA change brought upon by Beta. Eventually, toward the very end of the series, the true reason for that happening would be revealed, when Zoe becomes pregnant again on the trip. So yes, even Zoe’s hysterectomy would be “reversed” in order for that to happen. The idea, for all of them, is to have Beta confront them with choices they made that changed their lives forever, and have them decide if they,d make the same choice again.

Wass — Wass was going to have something like Pervasive Developmental Disorder [like Autism] and have a great fear of people touching him and having contact with other people. He was going to become a weirder guy. He didn't have hallucinations simply because none could be worked out properly for him. He would've had them eventually, though.

Arnel Poe —People guessed pretty early on that it’s Arnel’s leg loss that gets Zoe back into the program. At the beginning of the second season, she was going to be at home, with a job teaching college,  have another romance. She's washed her hands of the whole thing which drives Donner nuts. Then Arnel would lose his leg during survival training, and Zoe would be called back.”

Jen — Jen's "challenge" from Beta is to face her fear of abandonment, as hinted with the isolation tank episode. Season two would have her driven farther apart form the others, and brought on the brink when the rabbit she "created" wreaks havoc on the ship and has to be put down. 

Eve — Eve would discover that her flashback of Ted on Mars is a flashforward - Ted has the word Antares on his helmet. By season 3 the crew would be back and preparing for the final pick-up, Mars, and Eve would have to go along.

Rollie — Rollie violates the gag order and goes to jail for running over the cyclist. He'd be released to prepare a resupply mission on Mars with Eve.

Goss — Goss would not be the bad guy in the end. Goss would find out that he’s been being duped a little bit, and that it’s bigger than all of them.

Beta and the other “fractal objects” —Their true nature was never going to be revealed, but left for the audience to debate and decide.

Other reveals:
  • They would eventually get all of the fractal objects during the course of the show.
  • Arnel, Trevor, Ajay and Claire would have been behind the “true” mission being revealed to the world, eventually. The three would be forced to work with Trevor in a sort-of underground initiative and ally with him when they see that he’s right in that something larger is being hidden. We would find out that Goss is hiding a larger agenda, and then there’s an even larger agenda that even Goss is unaware of.
  • The state of the world — the planet Earth itself — would have been revealed. Budget was insufficient to do it initially, with most of it going to the ship, but by season three we'd get a glance a future-earth, and in Parriott's own word, "it's a fucked-up place".
  • There was discussions of having the crew find Sharon and Walker alive on Mars, having managed to survive on the base-shelter built for the original mission.
(Thanks to jjadziadax for the heads-up)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How TWILIGHT Should've Ended!!!

I abso-friggin-lutely love Daniel Baxter's How It Should Have Ended website where he regularly creates short cartoons that parody how silly Hollywod can be. And just in time for the release of NEW MOON, Dan's created a hilarious send-off on the first film's questionable climax.

Enjoy, I know I did!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

FrogCast #1

My (hopefully) triumphant return to podcasting after a 6-mont stint writing movie news on a daily basis and wanted to hang myself with all the New Moon crap I had to cover…
I this week’s edition:
  • *A quick look at the interesting pieces of movie news from the last week
  • *A chat with my friend Super Marcey of the world-famous SuperPodcast who needs to rants about kitchen appliances vs nuclear weapons…
  • *Movies being released this week in theaters - guess what? NEW gosh-darn MOON!

Send your thoughts, questions and requests for my cabbage rolls recipe at and be sure to check out Super Marcey’s SuperPodcast!

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