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January 19, 2012

11 Reasons to Watch “Archer”

[via UGO]

When people are asked to name great animated comedies the likes of South Park and Family Guy are usually at the top of the list. And every time that happens, I shed a tear (I’m an emotional man). Not because I dislike those shows (in fact, quite the opposite), but because Archer never seems to be among the top three named. Despite being created by Adam Reed (Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Sealab 2012), Archer is often overlooked by many.  But we’re going to change that status right here, right now (time zones be damned!). Hear me, Internet, Archer is a show worthy of your time and affection! Don’t believe us? Here’s 11 reasons why you should watch Archer.

Also, don’t forget to watch the comedy’s return tonight, January 19th on FX.
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January 19, 2012

Video Gaming News: Vita, Kinect, Alienware

PS Vita

Sony has come out and confirmed the full launch day and launch window lineup for its PlayStation Vita, as well as the pricing on all launch accessories. The Vita arrived in Japan on December 17 and it’s still on track to arrive in the U.S. and Europe on February 22.

Launch day:

  • Escape Plan (PSN Only)
  • Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
  • Hustle Kings (PSN Only)
  • Little Deviants
  • ModNation Racers: Road Trip
  • Super StarDust Delta (PSN Only)
  • UNCHARTED: Golden Abyss
  • wipEout 2048
  • Army Corps of Hell
  • Asphalt Injection
  • BEN10 GALACTIC RACING
  • Blazblue: Continuum Shift EXTEND
  • Dungeon Hunter Alliance
  • Dynasty Warriors Next
  • F1 2011
  • EA SPORTS FIFA Soccer
  • Lumines Electronic Symphony
  • Michael Jackson The Experience
  • Plants vs. Zombies (PSN Only)
  • Rayman Origins
  • Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen
  • Tales of Space: Mutant Blobs (PSN Only)
  • Touch My Katamari
  • Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
  • Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition

Launch window:

  • Gravity Rush
  • MLB 12 The Show
  • Reality Fighters
  • Unit 13
  • LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
  • Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention
  • NINJA GAIDEN ∑ PLUS
  • Ridge Racer
  • Silent Hill Book of Memories
  • Supremacy MMA: Unrestricted

Also, AT&T has announced they will be offering two wireless data plans for the PlayStation Vita console when the handheld launches on February 22. According to the company, neither of the two monthly plans will require a contract.

The first plan will go for $14.99 and provide 250MB of data for use in one month. The second plan will cost $25 and will provide 2GB (8x more than the other plan) of data. These plans come on top of the price of the actual system, which is $249.99 for the Wi-Fi only model or $299.99 for the 3G model.

Not only will you get the data, but anyone who activates their Vita on an AT&T plan will get a voucher for a free game from the PlayStation Store and they’ll also get free access to over 29,000 AT&T WiFi hotspots around the U.S.

Check out G4’s handheld impression’s of PlayStation Vita here.

Kinect for Windows

Kinect For Windows Coming On February 1

Microsoft confirmed during CES 2012 keynote that the official Kinect for Windows release is happening on February 1.

There’s no price announced, but Amazon pegs the number at $249.99 (via Major Nelson’s Twitter). That’s a full $100 more than the MSRP for the console version of the peripheral. The PC version of Kinect was confirmed last year to be an improved take on the Xbox 360 release, highlighted by an ability to detect objects in close proximity to the camera lens.

 

The New Alienware X51

Alienware X51 Puts Gaming Desktop Power In A Console Shell

[via G4]

UPDATE: Hey all– I just got off the phone with Alienware and I’ve got some additional information now about these X51 desktops. I speculated in my original post that upgrades might be tough with them, since the amount of physical space inside a pint-sized PC casing like this is at a premium. It turns out that upgrades — particularly for graphics cards — are a snap. It’s one screw and a release latch to get the outer casing off and the actual graphics card sits inside of an easily accessed tray. I hope that clears up any concerns!

ORIGINAL POST: True PC gamers will almost certainly chime in with comments about how it’s always better (read: cheaper) to build your own PC by hand — and they won’t be wrong — but Alienware tends to give pretty decent tech for your dollar. The just-announced Alienware X51 serves up a new kind of gaming PC, one that looks an awful lot like a gaming console.

Prices start at $699 for the Xbox 360-sized gaming desktop, though the top-level $1,149 unit is probably what you’ll want to get for the best possible Battlefield 3 experience. The Alienware website even says so, with the product listing proudly touting that it is “capable of playing Battlefield 3 at 50+ frames per second with 1080p Full HD resolution.”

Of course, the danger with highly specialized and compact designs like this is that you spend all sorts of money and then don’t have the ability to swap out parts as they become outdated. If you’re okay with spending a large chunk of money on a gaming PC that will play the latest games for the next few years — at increasingly lower graphics settings — then the X51 looks like a good choice. The compact size makes it perfect for those who want a PC connected to their TV.

The two lowest price models, available for $699 and $899, respectively, both come with an NVIDIA GeForce GT 545 GPU installed. The cheaper option has half the RAM, at 4GB vs. 8GB. The big difference, however, is the CPU: for $699 you get an i3-2120 3.3 GHz and for $899 you get an i5-2320 3.0 GHz.

The two high-end models ($949 and $1,149) also share the same GPU, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 555. The RAM difference is 6GB vs. 8GB. The cheaper model uses the same CPU as the $899 option, while the more expensive one packs in an i&-2600 3.4GHz processor. Be aware that hardware customization is limited with the X51; pretty much everything except for the optical drive is standard.

Source: Alienware

January 19, 2012

The 6 Most Unintentionally Hilarious Superhero Reinventions

[via Cracked]

 

There are comic book characters that have successfully been reinvented over the years, like Superman (originally couldn’t fly), the X-Men (originally sans Wolverine) and Batman (originally a cricket-themed adventurer). In all those cases, however, the writers and artists were always respectful to the core of the character, since that’s what made them popular in the first place — changing that would be stupid, because then you might as well create a new character.

Which isn’t to say that it hasn’t happened. Like in …

#6. Groovy Kung Fu Wonder Woman

Even though her creators gave her a horrible sexist superhero weakness, Wonder Woman is still a pretty big deal — if this were a list of the 10 most recognizable superheroes ever, she would not only be there, but also be the only woman.


If this were a list of the superheroes whose live action TV shows we’ve masturbated to, it would be her and Batman.

Part of the appeal is that the Wonder Woman concept is pretty straightforward: She’s a powerful Amazon sent to the world of man to fight crime. It’s that simple. Also she owns a magic lasso and an invisible airplane.

The WTF Reinvention:

All that stuff was tossed aside between 1968 and 1973, when DC Comics decided to update Wonder Woman as a hip kung fu private detective without powers. Or a costume. Or, you know, anything else that might justify the use of the words “Wonder Woman” on the cover.

Wonder Woman #201 (1972)
“You dig this diggity dig diggeroo, hepcat? It’s the ’70s, by the way.”

Though DC was probably trying to cash in on that whole “feminism” thing with this move, it all happens because of a guy: In Wonder Woman #179, her boyfriend Steve Trevor (the male Lois Lane) gets in serious trouble and she has to help him — meanwhile, the Amazons announce they are leaving for another dimension and that Wonder Woman must come with them if she wants to keep her powers. Knowing that Steve would die within two days if left to his own devices, WW gives up her costume and Amazonian abilities to stay with him.

Luckily, she’s not helpless for very long because she immediately runs into a blind guy called I Ching who teaches her kung fu.

Wonder Woman #179 (1968)
“The secret to kung fu is — holy shit why is my left arm Caucasian?”

A short training montage later, the new Wonder Woman is ready to go back to helping Steve … but then Steve dies anyway, because let’s face it, he was a moron. Even though her dead boyfriend was the entire reason that she didn’t go with the Amazons, Wonder Woman doesn’t even think to follow them into the other dimension. Instead, she opens a mod boutique, becomes a part-time private eye and starts traveling the world with her kung fu master.

Wonder Woman #189 (1970)
“I’ve forgotten why I decided to become a superhero!”

In one adventure, she fights a gang of lesbian hippie child-slaving jewel thieves, probably as a result of the editor asking for a story “ripped from the headlines” and the writer literally combining several news items together. It’s like they were so desperate about doing topical comics that they completely forgot about the “doing Wonder Woman comics” part. In most of these issues the name Wonder Woman isn’t even mentioned outside the cover, since the whole time she went by her alias, Diana Prince.

Ironically, the same feminist movement that DC had clumsily been trying to appeal to was responsible for Wonder Woman going back to normal five years later, when an offended Gloria Steinem began a public campaign to reinstitute her classic costume and powers. DC quickly printed a story where I Ching is killed and Wonder Woman gets hit in the head and loses her memory of the past five years, soon wandering back into Amazon island and into her old duds. Presumably her martial arts expertise was reverted at this point as well, because none of this was ever mentioned again.

Wonder Woman #202 (1972)
Sadly, the secret to Fafhrd’s man-girdle is forever lost to time.

#5. Angel Punisher

Just about every superhero has some kind of strict moral code, usually regarding murdering their enemies (they’re against it). Comics writers put the moral code in to keep our heroes likable, and to prove that they’re better than the murderous, costumed villains they fight.

But comics writers were allowed one guy. One hero who was going to look and act like a villain. A guy whose only power was that he was crazy and had lots of guns. No code. No moral hang-ups. Just a “murder the bad guys” kinda guy. That hero is the Punisher.

The Punisher War Journal, #1 (1988)
“With great power comes great shooting everyone in the goddamn face.”

It’s the one totally irresponsible mainstream comic where all bets are off and everyone dies. It’s awesome.

The WTF Reinvention:

In 1998, to freshen up the character (???), Marvel decided to have Frank kill himself (???).

Punisher (vol. 4) #1 (1998)
“I’ve just killed everyone already. Got shit else to do.”

And things just went downhill from there. All because someone thought it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to turn Punisher into a gun-slinging angel.

In this miniseries, the Punisher is brought back to life by Gadriel, a guardian angel who decides to give this mass killer a shot at redemption — which in this case means handing him angelic weapons and sending him off to kill demons. His new job also gives him invulnerability and heightened senses, at which point he stops being the Punisher and becomes a male version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The Punisher: Purgatory #1 (1998)
“Anyone else getting a migraine?”

While Frank’s magic glowing guns can kill common criminals, during the course of this series he mostly uses them to fight the hordes of hell in order to fix his karma and have a chance of seeing his family again in heaven. This is the sort of bullshit premise that could have only come from the mind of a coke-fueled TV executive pitching a toy-friendly Punisher animated series where they don’t actually show him killing people, and yet it was written and published by Marvel Comics themselves.

At the end of the miniseries, the Punisher winds up as a sort of guardian angel himself, drawn to helping out people who need it instead of just blowing the heads off of criminals. And when he does come across criminals, he now gives them a chance to repent and walk away before dispatching them, the most blatantly out of character part of the whole mess.

Punisher (vol. 4) #4 (1999)
Why would angel guns need horns?

Apparently being some twisted, angelic disciplinarian with guns was supposed to make the character more likeable, but again, that’s not what the Punisher is about. This run completely undermined the intent of the character who had the simplest goal of any superhero ever (“Kill all the things”). After one more miniseries of this same shit (this time guest-starring a very confused Wolverine), Punisher was brought back to normal. Thankfully it only took the next writer a few panels to fix all the damage.

Punisher (vol. 5) #1 (2000)

Punisher (vol. 5) #1 (2000)

#4. Professor Hulk

From his inception, the Incredible Hulk has always been about a normal man (Dr. Bruce Banner) struggling with his inner demons, which are represented in the form of a green monster with a fondness for purple pants.

Marvel.com
We’ll discuss the levitating, double-amputee Hulk another time.

Central to the story was Banner being forced to live like an outcast while hiding from the military, which proved tricky given his tendency to grow large and smash things whenever he became upset. It’s that paradox that made the stories interesting — that and all the cool mindless violence.

The WTF Reinvention:

In 1991, however, Marvel did a story where Banner gets his shit in order and, through hypnotherapy sessions, cures himself of his anger issues … leaving him as an 8-foot-tall green-skinned science professor. So not only can the Hulk form coherent sentences now; perhaps most offensively, he also wears full clothes.

The Incredible Hulk Online
Stan Lee must be spinning in his $100 bill Jacuzzi.

But such a dramatic reversal of the character’s very core couldn’t last for long, right? Actually, it went on for eight years, with Banner staying in his Hulk form the whole time since there was really no reason to turn back into a skinny little nerd anymore. Not only that, Hulk also turned into a full-fledged superhero, joining a philanthropic organization called the Pantheon and eventually becoming their boss.

Obviously, Hulk’s new social status required him to class up his act even more:

Incredible Hulk #402 (1993)
Thirty tailors died constructing that suit.

Incredible Hulk #405 (1993)

So yeah, he wasn’t really the Hulk anymore in the traditional sense. He could still smash a tank pretty good, but preferred using his brain before his massive fists. More importantly, he no longer found himself in that sort of situation as often as he used to. One storyline was completely centered on Professor Hulk dealing with the fact that a close friend had contracted AIDS — which was a great way to raise awareness and all, but not exactly the kind of drama you picture when you pick up a comic with a giant muscular abomination on the cover.

Incredible Hulk #420 (1994)
“KIDS BUY HULK COMICS FOR TENDER PATHOS!”

But wait, if he’s that muscular giant when he’s feeling calm, what happens if he gets really, really angry? Well …

Incredible Hulk #425 (1995)
Why are his pants torn?

Eventually Professor Hulk was revealed to be just another split personality (which they seriously called “Professor Hulk”), meaning that Banner was never really cured at all. It took his savage version 15 minutes to ruin all his good work and punch things back to normalcy.

 

#3. Punk Storm

Storm is one of the X-Men’s most popular mutants (after Wolverine, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Wolverine) and also one of the most powerful, due to her incredible ability to control the weather.


She’s most helpful when clearing scary freeway fog.

Originally, Storm was treated as a goddess in her native Africa due to her powers and benevolence, and even after joining the X-Men, she retained that serene, majestic and somewhat naive quality. She’s one classy lady, is what we’re saying.

The WTF Reinvention:

What happens when you combine Storm, punk rock and (we’re not shitting you here) Mr. T?

Uncanny X-Men #173 (1983)
Likes: The Sex Pistols. Dislikes: Fools.

Chris Claremont, the writer of the X-Men at the time, decided it was time to give Storm a new haircut. Then, as a joke gone horribly wrong, the artist did a sketch of Storm with a Mr. T look, since this was the ’80s and the guy was everywhere. To the artist’s shock, the editor liked that look and forced him to include it in the comic, despite him arguing that it was a “monstrously bad idea.”

As any accomplished anthropologist will tell you, fool-pitying naturally follows the mohawk wherever it grows, and Storm was no exception. Storm simply said screw it and proceeded to start taking on whole gangs with her bare hands just to show how badass she could be.

Uncanny X-Men #180 (1984)
Also, at some point she became a Drow.

The change was completed a few months later when she was hit by a ray gun that stripped her of her powers. This would be no big deal, except that the whole point of being in the X-Men is that the characters are mutants. It’s the number one criteria for joining and staying. But not only does Storm stay, she challenges a fully powered Cyclops to a fight for the role of team leader.

And wins.


And a single lava tear rolled down his cheek.

Imagine recruiting this sweet, humble foreign girl and watching her slowly transform into Clubber Lang. We’re guessing the other X-Men were too afraid of her to say anything at this point, powers or not.

Uncanny X-Men #180 (1984)
Professor X, from a distance, closes one eye and mimes squishing Storm’s head, his only recourse.

Once the ’80s were over and T-mania ran its course, Storm slowly reverted into her original personality. Just in case, no one’s allowed to watch Rocky III at the Xavier Mansion since then.

#2. The Robotic Shadow

The Shadow was Batman before Batman: cool, mysterious, dressed in black and with a talent for terrorizing criminals. The Shadow had unnatural powers, a distinctive costume (cloak and fedora) and a suave playboy secret identity.

The Shadow DC Issue #1
And a train boner.

However, with the Shadow it was never about the superpowers — he was always fond of firearms, but more often than not he defeated his enemies simply by messing with their heads until they surrendered (and THEN he shot them).

The WTF Reinvention:

And then they turned him into a giant robot:

The Shadow#19 (1989)
Who has enough chrome to outfit every Mercedes in Compton? The Shadow does.

By the ’80s the rights to publish official Shadow stories had fallen on DC Comics, who clearly had no idea what to do with the guy (they already had a Batman). DC decided to update the character to the present era, which meant replacing his iconic handguns with Uzis and rocket launchers, for instance. Also he drove a flying car.

The Shadow #13 (1988)
Apparently the “present” setting was as poorly researched as the past would have been.

As the series progressed it became increasingly bizarre and ridiculously violent — getting to the point where at the end of a regular issue without any warning, this happened:

The Shadow #13 (1988)
“Also, uh, Spoiler Alert, we guess.”

But superheroes never stay dead for long. Six months later DC finally brought back the Shadow … as a disembodied head. Turns out his inept and offensively yellow-skinned sons, Hsu and Chang (created for this series), had stolen his casket in order to bring his body to the mystical kingdom of Shambala where it could be resuscitated, but in the process managed to misplace everything from the neck down.

The Shadow #19 (1989)
“– hang on, am I a fucking head?!

At this point the comic was barely recognizable as a Shadow series anymore, but it was about to get even worse. Left with no other choice, the scientists/wizards at Shambala place the Shadow’s head on a muscular robotic body they happened to have lying around. Shadow adjusts to this change surprisingly fast and is soon ready to leap back into action.

The Shadow #19 (1989)
Shaaaadooooooow!

The new robot body can zap power bolts from its hands and is equipped with all sorts of weapons, gadgets and Terminator-like kill-vision, which the Shadow uses to literally annihilate an army of around 200 thugs in the space of four pages.

The Shadow #19 (1989)
None of them thought to, y’know, aim at the head.

And Shadow stays this way. In the last page a new story line is announced in which the Shadow will battle his oldest enemy, Shiwan Khan, also a cyborg now for some reason.

The Shadow #19 (1989)
Machine-gun nipples come standard on all new-model robot torsos.

Anyway the comic was abruptly canceled after this story.

#1. Captain America Becomes Captain … Nothing

Here’s everything you need to know about Captain America:

Yeah, the flag getup pretty much says it all, and also the fact that he’s punching Nazism in the face — not just Hitler, but the actual concept of Nazism. Reportedly, the moment the artist finished drawing this page, Hitler’s actual jaw spontaneously dislocated. After WWII was over, Captain America took it easy for a while, but then returned in the ’60s to show all those new superheroes how it was done. Since then, he has remained the most popular patriotic-themed hero in and outside the U.S.

The WTF Reinvention:

Except for that time when he gave up the “America” part and turned into a shitty generic superhero:

Captain America #180 (1974)
“Did … did Captain America just change his pants in front of us?”

Yep, for a while Captain America ditched his name, costume and shield and became … another obscure Marvel character no one cares about, basically. It all began right in the middle of Marvel Comics’ version of the Watergate scandal, in which President Nixon is found out to be a supervillain and blows his brains out in front of Captain America. Cap is so shocked and disillusioned that he tosses his costume and quits patriotism.

Captain America #176 (1974)
“President Nixon just killed himself. Maybe we should all, like … process that, first.”

However, after a few months of unemployment Cap decides he still wants to be a superhero, and so he starts thinking of an identity that will reflect his new attitude …

Captain America #180 (1974)
“Cut Man. No. Captain Loose Guy. No. Mr. Manningwithoutacountrington DAMN I’m so bad at this.”

… eventually settling on “Nomad” and getting himself the worst costume imaginable. In his debut adventure, the Nomad must battle a woman who is obsessed with snakes inside a movie theater that happens to be playing an old Captain America interview, presumably to underscore just how awful this costume is compared to the old one.

Captain America #180 (1974)
The absence of patriotic quips has forced Nomad to resort to double entendres.

The question is: Why change everything? Couldn’t he just cover the “A” on his old costume and be done with it? At the very least he could have kept his indestructible shield (which accounts for only 90 percent of his fighting style) and give it a new paint job to make it look less patriotic. Maybe put some badass flames there or something. Also, even the comic itself acknowledges that the decision to give Captain America a cape was not so great.

January 18, 2012

Super Bowl 46 Being Streamed Online!

NBC and the NFL announced that Super Bowl 46 will be streamed live on NBCSports.com and NFL.com. The game will be held on Sunday, February 5, 2012 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Here’s the announcement:

The Super Bowl, Pro Bowl and NBC’s wild-card playoff games will be streamed online and on mobile phones for the first time, the NFL announced Tuesday.

The games will be streamed online at NBCSports.com and NFL.com through SNF Extra, which features an HD broadcast, DVR-style controls, additional camera angles, in-game highlights, live statistics and interactive elements.

NBCSports.com and the NFL have streamed games online since 2008 with SNF Extra, NBC Sports’ exclusive video, but this is the first time playoff games have been streamed.

“We are especially excited to now bring our unique and innovative SNF Extra video experience to the NFL playoffs, Pro Bowl, and Super Bowl,” said Rick Cordella, vice president of NBC Sports Digital Media.

NBC’s streams on Sunday nights typically average 200,000-300,000 viewers, compared with 21 million for the telecasts. The network has seen no evidence it hurts the traditional broadcasts’ healthy TV ratings. If anything, the extra options online may help keep fans glued to the games on their sets.

“We don’t want to limit ourselves to people not in front of the TV,” Cordella said. “The playoffs are appointment viewing,” he added. “People schedule their day around it.”

“By adding multiple camera angles, HD-quality video, DVR controls along with social interactivity, our online streaming represents a compelling, second-screen experience that nicely complements NBC’s on-air presentation.”

NFL Mobile from Verizon will stream the broadcasts for the first time on a mobile platform, the NFL announced.

“We are pleased to work with our partners NBC and Verizon to bring our fans more ways to watch their favorite sport during their favorite time of the year,” said Hans Schroeder, NFL senior vice president of media strategy and development.

The Super Bowl is Feb. 5 in Indianapolis. The game is annually by far the biggest attraction on television, with last season’s Packers-Steelers matchup drawing a record U.S. audience for any show with 111 million viewers.

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January 18, 2012

Updates on Possible Upcoming Movies

Test Footage made for possible Dead Pool movie

Rob Liefeld and Scott Lobdell had a few some pretty cool information on the movie, like the fact that director Tim Miller has shot some test footage for the movie. Here’s what they had to say at the Amazing Arizona Comic Con last weekend…

They’ve got a great director on the movie, they’ve got a great script. I may or may have not seen some sort of test of footage that would blow your mind if you saw it and go holy crap and that’s Deadpool in costume. Katana swords, guns, shooting people’s faces off and making me laugh. And I may or may not have seen something that looks just like that. And you’ve got what would amount to the first R Rated X-Men movie. Because that script is R Rated.

They may or may not have wanted to shoot eight minutes to see how it would play. And all I can tell you,  it’s close. It’s closer that it’s even been to going, or going Naaah, that’s too scary a proposition to make a R Rated Deadpool movie.

This will be Miller’s first feature film as he comes from a special effects background. I’m still not sure if he’s the right choice for the movie; it’s hard to tell since I haven’t seen any of this footage. If we take Liefeld’s word for it though, then it sounds like we can all get very excited about what is coming.

Script Being Written for Beetlejuice 2!

A few months ago it was announced that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter author Seth Grahame-Smith was going to take a crack at writing a script for Beetlejuice 2. This all came together while Smith and Tim Burton were working together on Dark Shadows. Burton confirms that he gave Smith his blessing, and that he would actually be interested in doing it.

When MTV asked him if it true that he was considering doing another Beetlejuice film, he said,

Yes. I love that character, and Michael [Keaton] is so great in it. I always think about how great and fun that character was, so I just said to [“Vampire Hunter” writer] Seth [Grahame-Smith], “If you have some idea about it, go for it, and then I’ll look at it freshly.” In the past, I tried some things, but that was way back when. He seemed really excited about it.

When asked if any ideas have been run by him he said,

No. I told him to try some stuff, but he hasn’t come back to me yet. Michael was so great in it. I’m sure he’d strangely tap right back into it.

[via MTV]

Casting Has Begun for Reddick 3 . With Some Very Interesting News.

Battlestar Galactica‘s  Katee Sackhoff is in final negotiations to play the female lead opposite Vin Diesel in the third Chronicles of Riddickfilm. Sackhoff will play Dahl, a Nordic mercenary tracking Riddick. According to recent reports, Karl Urban has accepted the offer to reprise his role as Vaako, one of Lord Marshal’s commanders. The new movie was recently put on hold due to payment issues. Production is now back on track in Montreal.Plot: Betrayed by his own kind and left for dead on a desolate planet, Riddick (Diesel) fights for survival against alien predators and becomes more powerful and dangerous than ever before. Soon bounty hunters from throughout the galaxy descend on Riddick only to find themselves pawns in his greater scheme for revenge. With his enemies right where he wants them, Riddick unleashes a vicious attack of vengeance before returning to his home planet of Furya to save it from destruction.

Paramount moves Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters to Jan. 2013.

Besides the still above, we’ve seen almost nothing official from Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. It’s one of the first completed movies in the fairy tale-inspired wave of Hollywood programming, and the film was set to open on March 2. Rumors of the film being pushed several months started to fly a few weeks back and now Paramount has confimed that the movie will now hit on January 11, 2013.

The official reasoning here, as passed along by Deadline, is much the same as Harvey Weinstein’s reason for pushing back the release of Wettest County. Just as Harvey hopes many more people will know Tom Hardy after The Dark Knight Rises, Paramount says it hopes more people will be more familiar with Jeremy Renner after The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy.

[via /Film]

The Avengers Update.

We all can’t wait for May 4 to be here. Paramount has confirmed that The Avengers will be released in 3D. Joss Whedon confirms that the film will be in the perspective of Captain America.

I set out with a very simple problem: There is no reason for these people to be in the same movie. So that’s what my movie has to be about. So much of the movie takes place from Steve Rogers’ perspective, since he’s the guy who just woke up and sees this weird ass world. Everyone else has been living in it.

Sad News for Ghostbusters 3.

[via ONTD]
Bill Murray has shredded his copy of the Ghostbusters 3 script, according to reports.

Murray is believed to be the one obstacle in the way of the supernatural comedy sequel getting made, with the rest of the original team being on board.

According to the National Enquirer, Murray has returned the destroyed script to former co-stars and co-writers Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis. A note apparently read: “No-one wants to pay money to see fat, old men chasing ghosts.”

Rumours have suggested that the script, penned by the writers of the US version of The Office, would see the original team hand over the ghostbusting business to a younger generation of comedy stars, while some have even claimed that Murray’s character Peter Venkman would himself appear as a ghost.

Sony Pictures is said to be uncomfortable about making Ghostbusters 3 unless Murray rejoins the cast, while Signourney Weaver has insisted that she will not return unless he does. Ackroyd, however, has claimed that the movie will get made with our without him.

The famously reclusive Murray did, however, join the original cast to offer voice work on the recent Ghostbusters console game.

007 Skyfall Website Launch

The official 007.com website has been officially re-launched in preparation for the the marketing and release of of the 23rd James Bond film Skyfall. Not only will the website be used for the release of Skyfall, but it will also be a part of this year’s 50th Anniversary of 007 in the movies.

As of right now now the site features a timer that’s counting down to the release of the movie on November 9th, 2012. It also has an introduction video with producer Michael G. Wilson, giving us a brief behind the scenes look at Skyfall.

Bradley Cooper in Man of Steel?

This is one of the most intriguing rumors that I have seen lately about Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Apparently, the Cosmic Book News is reporting that they were tipped that Bradley Cooper (The Hangover) is going to be doing a cameo in the film as Superman’s arch-nemesis Lex Luthor.

Here is what they had to say:
We were told after Paradise Lost bottomed out, that Bradley Cooper will appear as Lex Luthor in a cameo role in the Man of Steel.Back in April of 2011, we were provided information that the first draft of the script held a prominent role for Luthor, one that even saw Lex forcing the Kryptonians through a Phantom Zone portal using Kryptonite in the final battle. At the end of the movie, Lex considers forcing Superman through as well, but relents.

Star Trek 2 Update!

[via GeekTyrant]

J.J. Abrams gave an update on Star Trek 2 at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour yesterday. Abrams confirmed that he will shoot on film starting January 12, and then do a 3D post-conversion during post-production. He also talked about the original TV series, and announced two new cast members.

Thanks to Collider we have some cool quotes from the discussion:
We’re shooting on film [as opposed to digital 3D], and the reason for that is I wanted to shoot with anamorphic, and you can’t shoot 3D in anamorphic.
Abrams then talked a bit about why he chose to convert the film into 3D:
I did not fight for the 3D. It was something that the studio wanted to do, and I didn’t want to do it. And then, when I saw the first movie converted in sections, I thought that it actually looked really cool. So, I was okay with their doing it, as long as I could shoot the movie the way I wanted to, in anamorphic film, and then let them convert it. So, those who want to see it in 3D, which looked pretty cool, can do it, and those that want to see it in 2D can do that too.
Abrams then stated that none of the original actors will appear totally set in the new universe created by the first movie:
I think the job of the first movie was just to establish [the universe]. I don’t want to give anything away, but I would say that the burden we had in the first movie was just existing at all. With this movie, instead of having to stand on the shoulders of the original series, we built a little bit of a platform for us, with the last movie, to tell this story.
Two new cast members have been announced – Joseph Gatt (Thor) and Nazneen Contractor (24). According to Entertainment Weekly, Contractor will star as the wife of Noel Clarke’s character.
Benedict Cumberbatch was on hand to discuss joining the cast. Here is what he had to say:
There’s a lawyer standing here saying that I can’t say anything. I’m hugely, hugely excited and I’m very, very flattered. I’m very, very excited, but obviously I’m not here to talk about that. I will, in the future, I’m sure. I’m just getting my head around the fact that it’s happened. If you’ll forgive me, I’ll pass on that. But my headline is that I’m over the moon.
Star Trek 2 will begin filming in the next four months to meet its scheduled release date of May 17, 2013.

How will 2012’s Dredd differ from the 1995 Judge Dredd?

[ via DenofGeek]

Work continues on the new big screen take on Dredd, starring Karl Urban, which is due to hit our screens in September. And Olivia Thirlby has offered an update on what we can expect.

Thirlby is playing Judge Anderson in the movie, and she revealed to Josh Winning that “I’m totally leather body-suited up”. She added that “ like a proper comic-book action hero. One thing I love about Dredd is its really realistic approach, it’s a very dark and gritty approach, so my look is much less sexy femme fatale and a little bit more like a football player.”

Talking about the potential differences between this take on Dredd and the 1995 Sylvester Stallone vehicle, she revealed she hadn’t actually seen the previous version. But Thirlby said that “It doesn’t go that way only to separate itself from the former Dredd movie, it takes its air of seriousness and violence from the comics, so our idea was to really honour the world of Mega City One in the comics”.

The new film, thus, “rests on the bizarre complexities” of Dredd and Anderson’s working relationship.

Total Recall Remake Has a Synopsis

[via GeekTyrant]

This Total Recall remake starring Collin Ferrell is going to be awesome! I never thought I would get excited about this movie, but I was completely sold after seeing some mind-blowing footage from last years Comic-Con. It looks like director Len Wiseman has done something extremely cool and very different with this story.

The action thriller also stars Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, John Cho and Bill Nighy. Here’s the official synopsis for the film released by Sony Pictures:

“Total Recall” is an action thriller about reality and memory, inspired anew by the famous short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick. Welcome to Rekall, the company that can turn your dreams into real memories. For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), even though he’s got a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) who he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life – real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man. Finding himself on the run from the police – controlled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), the leader of the free world – Quaid teams up with a rebel fighter (Jessica Biel) to find the head of the underground resistance (Bill Nighy) and stop Cohaagen. The line between fantasy and reality gets blurred and the fate of his world hangs in the balance as Quaid discovers his true identity, his true love, and his true fate.

The film hits theaters on August 3rd, 2012.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter‘s New Poster and Synopsis

The highly anticipated adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s  Abraham LincolnVampire Hunter! The film is being directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted), and stars Benjamin Walker as Abe Lincoln. The story focuses on the president who, after having his mother murdered by the monsters, is on a quest to rid the world of the evil vampires.

Here’s the Synopsis:

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a re-imagining of the 16th President’s life that depicts him as an axe-throwing, highly accomplished killer of vampires — an obsession of his since those bloodsuckers supposedly took the life of his mother. Lincoln eventually learns that the vampires have fled to the southern states of the U.S. and are concocting a plan to conquer and enslave the entire country — this in turn leads to the Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy, the latter of which the vampires are aligned with.

The movie is scheduled to hit theaters on June 22th, 2012.

January 18, 2012

Updates on our Favorite TV Shows

Psych Renewed for a 7th Season!

On Tuesday, USA Network released that Psych has been renewed for a seventh season. YAY!  Season 7 will consist of 16 episodes and begin airing some time later this year. “We are always trying to find ways to reward our Psych brand ambassadors for their loyalty and passion and social media plays a critical role in how we connect with the people who matter most — the fans,” USA Co-Presidents Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel said in a statement. “It was exciting to deliver this historical news to them first and before traditional media.”

Psych, currently USA’s longest-running series, returns for the second half of Season 6 on Wed., Feb. 29 at 10/9c. If you haven’t watch any episodes, start catching up. This is a show full of nerdylicious stuff. Shawn and Gus are just like you and me.

The Walking Dead Starting Again Soon and Third Season News!

AMC announced today from the Television Critics Association (TCA) Press Tour in Pasadena, CA that the third season of The Walking Dead will consist of 16 episodes. All previous season were only 13 episodes. We get three more episodes!

Cougar Town Finally Returns!

The comedy is returning to ABC on Feb. 14 at 8:30 p.m. YAY!

Sherlock Renewed for Season 3!

The incredibly awesome BBC series Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freemanhas been renewed for the third season! I loved the first season, and I’m looking forward to seeing season 2, which just concluded on BBC, and is set to air on PBS this May. I’m excited to see this story continue.

Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat confirmed the show’s renewal via his Twitter on Sunday night when he said, “Of course there’s going to be a third series — it was commissioned at the same time as the second.”

As of right now there’s no start date for the third season production, but the the show is expected to begin airing again next year.

Game of Thrones International Premiere Dates

Game of Thrones World Wide Coverage Map:

We already know that HBO’s Game of Thrones starts April 1. But, for all of you out there that aren’t in the states, some dates have been released. The UK will get Season 2 premiere on April 2, only one day after The US and Canada.
The Netherlands also has their Season 2 premiere on April 2, their Season 1 has yet to premiere, but looks to begin on February 8.

In Greece, the show (Season 1) will air on the Nova Cinema channel starting January 21, 2012.

For more information about previous air dates for Season 1 and Season 2 premiere dates, check out the International Air Dates page on Winter-is-Coming.

[via SpoilerTV]

January 18, 2012

Fest News! Paley, Comic-Con & SXSW

Full Lineup of Honorees for PaleyFest 2012

Beverly Hills, CA, January 10, 2012 – The Paley Center for Media today announced the full lineup of honorees for the upcoming PaleyFest: The William S. Paley Television Festival, with the latest additions including freshman series New Girl and Revenge, as well as returning favorites The Office, Castle, The Vampire Diaries and Community. These series will join previously announced honorees Two and a Half Men, Sons of Anarchy, Once Upon a Time, Mad Men, Modern Family, and American Horror Story, which will each take part in the Center’s annual two-week celebration of great television at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills March 2 – 14, 2012.

The full schedule is as follows:

3/02/12 Opening Night Presentation: American Horror Story (7:00 pm)
3/03/12 Community (7:00 pm)
3/04/12 Once Upon a Time (1:00 pm matinee presentation)
3/05/12 New Girl (7:00 pm)
3/06/12 The Office (7:00 pm)
3/07/12 Sons of Anarchy (7:00 pm)
3/09/12 Castle (7:00 pm)
3/10/12 The Vampire Diaries (7:00 pm)
3/11/12 Revenge (1:00 pm matinee presentation)
3/12/12 Two and a Half Men (7:00 pm)
3/13/12 Mad Men (7:00 pm)
3/14/12 Closing Night Presentation: Modern Family (7:00 pm)

Individual event tickets will go on sale to Paley Center members beginning Jan. 13, 2012 and to the general public on Jan. 15, 2012. Premium Festival Passes and Premium Packages, including tickets to multiple events are currently on sale via the festival’s official website http://www.paleyfest.org and via its ticket provider http://www.ticketweb.com

San Diego Comic-Con Requires Pre-Registration

Anyone planning on attending the mother of all conventions, which will take place a bit earlier this year – July 12-15 – should now sign up for a Comic-Con Member ID. This does not guarantee you a badge when they go on sale (a date has yet to be announced but four day with preview night sold out at Comic-Con 2011) but you will need to have a member ID to purchase one.

Basically, they’re forcing you to register for their site to buy a badge and you must do so early. All the links and instructions are below.

The direct link to sign up for one of these ID’s is here but there are some additional instructions, especially for press and professionals, along with FAQ’s and more by clicking here.

Comic-Con isn’t coming out and saying this but doing this serves one major purpose. It should, in theory, cut down on the huge amount of traffic once online badge sales begin. Every badge will be linked to an ID so people trying to buy more than one (unless it’s for a child, that’s okay) will be hampered. Plus, by instituing this policy a good six months before the event, it should weed out people who are on the fence about attending.

 

The Cabin in the Woods Opens SXSW

Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods is finally getting the premiere it deserves. The long-delayed horror film is set to premiere at the SXSW Film Festival from March 9-18 this year.

What is even better is that Joss Whedon, who co-wrote and produced the film, will be in attendance for a Q&A panel. Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford lead this horror film.

The full press release is below.

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival is pleased to announce the world premiere of Lionsgate’s The Cabin in the Woods as the 2012 Opening Night Film. In addition to premiering the film, Whedon will participate in a key Conversation panel at the SXSW Film Conference on Saturday, March 10.

Produced and co-written by iconic genre storyteller Joss Whedon, The Cabin in the Woods marks Emmy®-nominated writer Drew Goddard’s (Cloverfield, Lost, Alias) first foray into directing. This mind-blowing horror film starts typically enough, as we join five young adults embarking on a weekend of debauchery at an abandoned cabin in the woods.  But as layer after layer of the film’s truly kaleidoscopic world is revealed, everything we know about horror is deconstructed, and everything we love is reconstructed before our eyes. The film stars Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz, Anna Hutchison, Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford, and will be in theaters everywhere on April 13, 2012.  For more information about the film please visit:www.discoverthecabininthewoods.com/.

Register for a Film, Gold or Platinum Badge today at www.sxsw.com/attend, and join us March 9-17, 2012 for unparalleled access to these energetic panels, exceptional films, exciting parties, the SXSW Trade Show and, of course, the inspirational experience that only SXSW can deliver. Register by January 13 and save up to 20% off the walk-up rate

December 30, 2011

TV Shows We Lost in 2011

[via TV.com]

 

December 23, 2011

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’

Charles Schulz’s ‘Peanuts’ characters have become timeless classics, thanks to their long-lasting presence in newspapers and their many animated TV specials. (“It’s Arbor Day Again, Charlie Brown!”) A big part of the characters’ success is thanks to the classic ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ TV special.

Since it first aired in 1965, the beloved special has practically become required viewing for families celebrating the holiday season. Its message of anti-commercialism and good will towards man mixed with Schulz’s trademark humor of caustic kids in a cynical world is a perfect remedy for the holidays that can get sappier than your aunt’s homemade egg nog.

At the time of its airing, ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ received rave reviews, record ratings and an annual presence on television and home video for decades to come. And yet 46 years later, few fans know about its rocky beginnings that were fraught with much frustration and cynicism by the network executives who commissioned it and the producers who fought so hard to preserve Schulz’s humor and pathos. In celebration of the special’s annual TV airing, here are some things you might not know about ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.’

1. Most of the voice actors were cast from kids in the director’s neighborhood

Charles Schulz (known to friends and colleagues as “Sparky”) wanted to bring believable voices to the characters he created, so the producers cast real children to give life to the ‘Peanuts’ gang instead of adult voice-over artists. Professional child actors were cast in the roles for Charlie Brown, Linus and Lucy since they were required to recite most of the dialogue. The rest came from children who lived in director Bill Melendez’s Southern California neighborhood, most of whom had zero experience in acting or voice-over work.

2. Some of the child actors were so young, they couldn’t read the script

Melendez and Schulz wanted to cast children in the special in order to preserve their innocence and voice because they believed it would not only make the cartoon more realistic, but also funnier and edgier. Their idea hit a snag when the production team realized that some of the children were so young that they couldn’t read the script that was sitting in front of them. Melendez said in an interview for the book ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition’ that he had to recite the script line by line for the children who couldn’t read, including Christopher Shea who voiced Linus.

3. Charles Schulz refused to let CBS executives insert a laugh track

Since this was the first time Sparky’s ‘Peanuts’ would be represented in an animated cartoon to a national audience, he had a strong hand in the production process and fought hard to preserve his creation by not letting the “suits” tinker with it. Schulz insisted that the cartoon not have a laugh track, something that was a standard for TV comedies at the time. Producer Lee Mendelson recalled in Schulz’s biography that he was just as adamant that the special not have a laugh track to “help keep it moving along.” Sparky said at a staff meeting during production that the network should “let the people at home enjoy the show at their own speed, in their own way” and promptly walked out of the room ending the argument. Sounds like Schulz had a little bit of Lucy in him that day.

4. Schulz actually hated jazz music

Musician and composer Vince Guaraldi’s ensemble of holiday infused jazz for ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ became just as famous and as much of a yuletide favorite as the cartoon that popularized it. Sparky, however, wasn’t a big fan of the catchy tunes. In fact, according to his biography, Schulz told a reporter two months after the special aired that he thought jazz music was “awful.”
Guaraldi’s involvement with the ‘Peanuts’ dates back to before production started on the Christmas special. Mendelson had been working with Schulz on a documentary called ‘A Boy Named Charlie Brown’ that featured a soundtrack of jazz music composed by Guaraldi. Despite his feelings about jazz, Sparky insisted that they use Guaraldi’s music again for ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ with a mix of traditional Christmas hymns because it created the perfect “bubbly, childlike tone” for the show.

5. Linus’ “True Meaning of Christmas” speech was almost cut

Sparky was also a religious man and, according to his biography, “the life of Jesus remained for him a consuming subject.” He also insisted in the early days of production that the script feature some religious overtones, particularly a passage from the St. Luke gospel about the birth of Jesus Christ, to bring some meaning to the holiday that “had been lost in the general good-time frivolity.” The producers agreed to include a Nativity scene to represent Sparky’s feelings, but by the time the script was finished, Mendelson realized he had included an entire minute-long speech directly from the New Testament. This led to the biggest arguments between Sparky and the producers, with Mendelson insisting that the special was an “entertainment show” and the speech would scare off advertisers by narrowing its audience. Thankfully, the now iconic speech survived the final cut and has aired in the special every year since.

6. The network execs and sponsors hated the special and wanted to bury it

Linus’ famous speech was just one of the complaints the network executives and Coca-Cola, the special’s chief sponsor, had with the final cut of the cartoon. They expected a TV comedy with a laugh track, and got instead a wry, melancholy commentary on the holiday season. (The network also objected to real children voicing all of the characters.) The brass was particularly wary of the religious overtones that Sparky insisted the special carry on the air. According to Mendelson, the executives agreed to air it “once and that will be all.” Of course, we all know what happened next.

7. The producers thought it would be a flop and that they “ruined Charlie Brown forever”

If the network executives were a tad bit too hard on their first screening of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ the show’s producers were downright cynical. Mendelson and Melendez were more pleased with the final product than the network, but they feared the public would not embrace it, let alone watch it. They also thought it would forever tarnish Sparky’s characters and comic strip. Mendelson said in an interview, “We kind of agreed with the network. One of the animators stood up in the back of the room – he had had a couple of drinks – and he said, ‘It’s going to run for a hundred years,’ and then fell down. We all thought he was crazy.”

8. Snoopy got all the action scenes because he was the easiest to animate

Both Mendelson and Melendez (who passed away in 2008) grew to appreciate the applause the special has received over the years despite their initial misgivings about the final product. They’ve also acknowledged some tiny animation mistakes that are still noticeable, even after all these years, such as the changing number of branches on Charlie Brown’s scrawny tree. One of the biggest obstacles was transferring Sparky’s comic strip characters into an animated form for the first time. The distinctive giant heads of the ‘Peanuts’ gang made them hard to animate in any kind of fast-paced sequence, so most of the action went to Snoopy, the most cartoon-like character of the group.

9. Some earlier runs of the special included product placements for Coca-Cola

Despite its anti-commercial message, ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ wouldn’t have come together without its initial soft drink sponsor. Coca-Cola wanted to produce a Christmas special and ‘Peanuts’ stood at the top of their list. The first version of the special that aired on CBS not only included a brief announcement of Coca-Cola’s sponsorship in the closing credits, but it also carried a product placement in the show’s opening titles. As Charlie Brown and Linus are being tossed around by Snoopy while ice skating, Linus crashes head-on into a sign advertising the popular soda. The scene has since been cut due to expired advertising contracts and the sign was replaced with one that read “Danger.” (Check out the original ending with a message from Coke on the left.)

10. It is the second longest-running Christmas special of all time

The drunken animator turned out to be the smartest person in the screening room. The first broadcast on Dec. 9, 1965 garnered more than 15.4 million viewers, received rave reviews by almost every major television critic and earned Schulz and Mendelson an Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Program. CBS immediately commissioned more ‘Peanuts’ specials. Since then, ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ has aired every year during the holidays on CBS and ABC, who scored the rights in 2001. The broadcasts still earn the highest ratings in their time slot. Even more impressive, it has become the second longest-running Christmas special of all time behind ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.’ Poor Charlie Brown never comes in first.

[via ONTD]

December 22, 2011

DC Comics Holiday Cards

[via GeekTyrant]

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