Monthly Archives: May 2008

Let’s Cast…JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA

Marvel’s laying the groundwork for a film based on the Avengers, while DC appears incapable of doing the same for its premiere team: the Justice League of America. Why? Well, I’ll be fair and say that part of the blame probably goes to the WGA strike. Part of the blame also probably goes to casting that little wanker from The O.C. as the Flash–honestly, no one is going to get stoked about a movie starring that kid. DC should think about doing things “the Marvel Way” and introduce most of the Leaguers in their own movies before giving us the big team-up. But, when we do get a JLA movie, let’s not forget to make it awesome.

The Plot: When a seemingly unstoppable alien force invades Earth, only humanity’s greatest champions can stop them. But, these gods-among-men are used to working alone and doing things their own way. Can they learn to work as a team? And, when powerhouses like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern are captured, can two “regular” heroes like Batman and Green Arrow rescue them?

The Cast:

Christian Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne

Duh. Seriously, duh. He’s there. He has the suit. Use him, you dumb bastards.

Brandon Routh as Superman/Clark Kent

I wasn’t a huge fan of Superman Returns, but Routh wasn’t horrible. Besides, like Bale, he’s already played the role, so we’re stuck with him.

Morena Baccarin as Wonder Woman/Princess Diana

Someone (maybe Greg Rucka…maybe Joss Whedon) once said that as a character created by the Amazons of Ancient Greece, Wonder Woman never really looked Mediterranean. That was probably why Whedon wanted Brazilian beauty Baccarin to play the role while he was working on a Wonder Woman film. I say: “Why the hell not?”

Jeffrey Donovan as Green Lantern/Hal Jordan

Every week on Burn Notice, Donovan plays a former spy who’s good at what he does and knows it. That’s the kind of cocky arrogance you need in daredevil test-pilot-turned-galactic-cop Hal Jordan. (I have nothing against the other Lanterns, but since Hal is back amongst the living, I say we use him.)

Ryan Reynolds as The Flash/Wally West

I know, I know…I cast Reynolds as Hawkeye in Avengers–but to be honest, Reynolds was born to play Wally West. Wally’s my favorite Speedster, partly because he brings so much humanity to this modern-day pantheon. And, just for shits and giggles, let’s have a cameo by John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick.

Kenneth Branagh as Aquaman/Arthur Curry

Aquaman never gets any respect. He’s king of three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, for God’s sake. Branagh’s played Hamlet, so I think he could bring a bit of regal strength to the role of the King of the Ocean. I’d like to see a nice mix of the clean-cut “Orange Shirt” Aquaman and the long-haired “Underwater Hobo” Aquaman.

Lance Reddick as J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter

On The Wire, it almost seemed like Reddick was able to read everyone’s minds, so who better to play the telepathic Martian Manhunter? Can’t you just hear Reddick’s deep, authoritative voice rumbling through the theater’s speakers the first time J’onn’s voice is heard inside someone’s mind? Besides, he kind of looks like the revamped Manhunter.

Josh Holloway as Green Arrow/Oliver “Ollie” Queen

Yeah, I’ll admit it. It’s the goatee. But, it’s also the way that Holloway’s Sawyer thumbs his nose at authority every week on Lost. Who better to play the uber-liberal radical who distrusts superheroes and other authority figures?

Advertisements

Behold: The Mighty Kriegsaffe!

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University have found a way to wire a robotic arm into the brains of monkeys.  All the sciencey details are here, including a video!

I don’t know about you…but I think this means war apes are just over the horizon:

Let’s Cast…CAPTAIN MARVEL

I am not a big fan of Captain Marvel. I know next to nothing about the intricacies of his long and storied history. I do, however, love the basic premise: little kid transforms into giant muscle-man to fight the forces of evil, while retaining his idealistic child-like view of things. It’s a cool idea. A Captain Marvel movie has been spinning through the rumor mill for a while (as far as I know, Dwayne Johnson’s ready to go as Black Adam [see below]). I’d like to see them keep the basic premise–ie: don’t make Billy Batson some disaffected twenty-something whiner–and make a genuinely awesome movie. (NOTE: Remember movies like Goonies and Monster Squad, Hollywood? It’s okay to put kids in danger on film…it ain’t real!)

The Plot: Twelve years ago, husband and wife archaeologists, the Batsons, are betrayed by their associate Theo Adam and murdered over a strange golden scarab. When Adam goes to retrieve the scarab, it’s gone. Flash forward to the present day. Billy Batson has been in and out of foster homes since his parents’ death twelve years prior. He meets a strange old man who claims to be a wizard and leads him into a hidden cavern he calls “The Rock of Eternity.” The old man reveals himself to be Shazam and bestows upon Billy the ability to transform into Captain Marvel. Shazam also tells Billy that he has a twin sister and they are both in danger from the man who killed their parents: Black Adam. Billy must locate his sister Mary, find the gold scarab, and stop Black Adam.

The cast:

Jake Thomas as Billy Batson

There’s no reason why we can’t age Billy a little bit, make him about 15 or so. I think Thomas (the little brother from Lizzie McGuire) would make a pretty good Billy and, at 18, he can still convincing pull off 15 or 16.

Jerry O’Connell as Captain Marvel

Let’s face it, there are precious few people out there with “super-hero” physiques (it’s one of the problems with casting super hero movies). But, I think O’Connell has a mix of good-natured, boy-next-door charm and moderate buff-ness to pull off playing The Big Red Cheese. Plus, he really kicked ass when he voiced Cap in that episode of Justice League Unlimited.

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam/Theo Adam/Teth-Adam

Look at him. ‘Nuff said.

Erick Avari as Shazam

I never quite understood why a character with clear ties to Ancient Egypt was always portrayed as a Gandalfian/Merlin-esque old white dude. Let “That Vaguely Middle Eastern and/or Egyptian Guy” from Stargate and The Mummy play Shazam. With his role as Mohinder’s dad on Heroes, Avari should have enough geek-cred these days.

Kristen Stewart as Mary (Bromfield) Batson

What can I say? I think that Stewart kid’s got spunk enough to play Billy’s long-lost twin sister. (And, if you thought it was easy finding a picture of non-Marvel Mary, think again!)

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Mary Marvel

When Mary Batson calls upon the power of Shazam, she ages slightly less than her brother. Not only is Winstead a real cutie with legs that go on for days, but I also don’t think it’s that hard to imagine her being a somewhat older version of Kristen Stewart.

Kyle Gallner as Freddy Freeman/Captain Marvel, Jr.

If he can play Flash on Smallville, I think Gallner can handle playing Mary’s disabled best friend/potential love interest, Freddy Freeman. The wackiness will ensue when he’s the only one of the three Marvels who doesn’t age when empowered.

David Tennant as Mr. Tawky Tawny (voice)

I’m not sure how I’d manage to fit in the Marvels’ six-foot tall anthropomorphic tiger, but he should definitely be voiced by Tennant who, as the Tenth Doctor, manages to be both goofily foppish and kind of bad-ass. (Don’t believe me? Check out Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.)

Joey Pantoliano as Dr. Thaddeus Sivana

He wouldn’t be a main adversary in the first movie, but why not take the opportunity to introduce one of the Marvels’ chief villains and set him up for a sequel? And, let’s be honest, no one does weasely and evil like Joey Pants!

“Throw Me the Script!”

Judging from the box office results, most people have probably seen Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. If not, don’t worry, I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as I can.

The question most people are asking themselves, their friends, their family, and their co-workers is this: Was anything wrong with Crystal Skull? The short answer is “No.” The slightly longer answer is “No…but…”

I liked it. I didn’t love it, but I enjoyed myself fully for the 2+ hours that I spent in the theater, and I found myself humming the theme song as I was walking home. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was not a bad movie (if you enjoy silly adventure movies like The Mummy and National Treasure, which I do). But, as part of the Indiana Jones series, it was missing “something.”

What it was missing, in my opinion, was sincerity. It was no more ridiculous than any of the previous movies, it just didn’t pull it off as well. Let’s face it: Indy melting Nazis, drinking voodoo zombie blood, and hanging out with a 1000-year-old knight are all pretty ridiculous, but we bought it because everything else felt grounded in reality. The first three movies were played pretty straight, so when the weird shit started happening it meant something. Part of the problem stems from the lack of actual scenery. In the old days, when Indy went to Cairo or Venice or India, the cast and crew went to Cairo or Venice or India, or at least some place remotely similar. The majority of this movie was shot on a set in front of a green screen, so you never got that sense of realism that you did from the original movies. Most people are going to blame George Lucas. To be fair, he’s only part of the problem. Movies, in general, have become more interested in what they can do with computer effects rather than what they should do with computer effects. It’s easy to beat Lucas up about it because he just happens to own one of, if not the, largest effects companies in this or any other universe. The blame, if there is to be blame, should not rest entirely on Uncle George. He’s just trying to tell a fun story the best way he knows how.

The next head on the chopping-block is poor Shia LaBeouf. He was not bad. He was actually pretty good. It’s just easy to see him as the weak link and use him as a scapegoat for what went wrong. The same thing was done with Transformers. News flash, folks, he didn’t make these movies by himself. Which brings me to Indy, himself. In the previous films, Harrison Ford was Indiana Jones. In this one, he felt like he was playing Indiana Jones. Again, I am not laying blame at Ford’s feet. But, he clearly wasn’t feeling it. He wasn’t bad…he was just missing “something.”

As a friend of mine pointed out, what Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was really missing was the “Oh shit, it’s on” moment. Every action movie has one. If it doesn’t, then it ain’t no action movie. It’s the point in the film when the hero has been literally and figuratively tortured in body, mind, and spirit. He (or she) has been beaten down by the villain, but manages to get up, wipe the dirt and blood from him- or herself, and rain down bloody retribution upon their enemy. This movie didn’t really have that moment. It came close. There’s one scene where LaBeouf’s Mutt Williams gets this look on his face and you think, “Oh shit, it’s on”, but nothing really comes of it.

Bottom line: it was fine. It wasn’t awesome or excellent, but it was an enjoyable movie. It might lack the spectacle of the earlier movies, but it’s still a fun ride. George Lucas did not “destroy my childhood” or “ruin a beloved icon.” If I had seen this back in the day instead of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, and Last Crusade, I still would have majored in archaeology. And, really, that’s probably the best compliment I could pay this movie.

Does Whatever An Italian Spider Can

I really wish this student film was a real movie…it would probably be brilliant along the same lines as Turkish Star Wars:

Thank You, House of Ideas. Thank You.

Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, told Sci-Fi Wire that Marvel’s Captain America flick will be a period piece set during World War II and that Thor will take place predominantly in Asgard. The Cap thing is a serious no-brainer, but that doesn’t mean it was a foregone conclusion. As for Thor…well, I really couldn’t give two shits about the character–I’m not saying he’s a bad character, but he’s just never been on my radar–but, I’ve been saying for years that any Thor flick should take advantage of the post-Lord of the Rings goodwill and just be about a bunch of Vikings beating the crap out of monsters.

All this and a Runaways movie written by Brain K. Vaughan? Thank you, Marvel. I might not dig a lot of what’s going on during this whole “House of the Brand New Secret Civil Messiah Invasion War” thing you guys got going on, but you seem to be doing solid work on the feature film front.

Magnum Jones or Indiana, P.I.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the story that Tom Selleck was approached to play Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but had to turn it down due to contractual obligations with Magnum, P.I.

But, did you also know that David Schwimmer was approached to play the role that later went to Will Smith in Men in Black? Or that Sean Connery turned down roles in two franchises–The Matrix and Lord of the Rings–because he didn’t understand the script?

If you didn’t know that, you can go to this website and check out all of the roles that actors have turned down. See what could have been. What should have been. And what, thankfully, never happened (I love Bill Murray as much as the next man…but Batman and Kindergarten Cop??).

Personally, I was shocked to find out that Christopher Walken turned down as many roles as he did…I though that guy would do anything!