September 23, 2011 7:45am EST
James Bond, and his sundry exploits, represents the longest-running franchise in cinema history. Based initially on the novels by Ian Fleming, the Bond films have become a major part of basic film knowledge as well as a pop culture phenomenon. Even if you have never seen a single Bond movie, you’re familiar with his signature introduction, his womanizing habits, and his 007 handle. Heck, you even know how he takes his martinis.
While we wait for the latest James Bond adventure to hit theaters (which will effectively be the 23rd entry into the franchise) we can go back to the beginning, the very first James Bond film, Dr. No, which Netflix has just added to Watch Instantly. Here’s why we think you should consider adding it to your queue.
Who Made It: Dr. No was directed by Terence Young who would go on to helm two more Bond films: From Russia with Love and Thunderball. He also directed Wait Until Dark, one of my favorite thrillers of all time.
Who’s In It: Sean Connery, who was not only the first actor to play Bond, but remains the standard by which all other Bonds are judged.
What’s It About: A British operative stationed in Jamaica goes missing and is assumed dead. In response, British Military Intelligence sends their best double-0 agent (those granted a license to kill) to investigate. In the course of his inquiries, he discovers a connection between the agent’s disappearance and a reclusive scientist conducting bizarre experiments on his private island.
Why You Should Watch It:
It is fascinating to watch Dr. No in retrospect and note how the franchise works to find its rhythm. In terms of structuring, there is a well-established formula to the Bond films. They begin with the first few notes of Monty Norman’s James Bond theme as we see Bond appear through the barrel of a gun. Then we are treated to a few scenes of prologue followed by a smash cut to a wildly, visually stunning title sequence featuring the film’s titular song. But Dr. No’s gun barrel sequence starts with strange sci-fi blips and beeps and then goes right into the title sequence without the luxury of a titular song. It is amazing to watch the basic DNA of the James Bond series struggle to come together right before your eyes.
There is a good reason Sean Connery’s James Bond is the undisputed favorite of so many fans. From a purely cinematic standpoint, Connery exudes charisma and the camera absolutely loves him. He’s a suave, sophisticated secret agent who more than adequately brings Bond’s proficiency for sexual conquest from Fleming’s novels to the screen. But while Connery demonstrates a true knack for charm and wit, he is also a cold, calculated killer for the British government. The scene wherein he shots a defenseless foe after obtaining from him the information he needs is brutal.
One of the things that makes Dr. No one of the most memorable and indelible films of the franchise is a barely-dressed Swiss beauty named Ursula Andress. The legacy of Bond films are just as beholden to their revolving catalog of Bond girls as they are to the villains or the actors who played James. Andress’ Honey Rider (you’ve got to love those sexually suggestive names,) creates the perfect Bond girl prototype that would serve as an exemplar for all his subsequent ladies. She immerges from the water and onto that beach like Venus in that iconic white bikini. She is stunning beyond belief, but she is also a strong independent woman. She is quick to action when she feels threatened and knows considerably more about surviving the terrain than her male secret agent companion.
In addition to all of the built-in greatness of Dr. No, the HD stream on Netflix adds a whole new layer of appreciation to the film—the movie looks beautiful. Special side note, pay close attention to the scene wherein Maj. Boothroyd is giving Bond his equipment. Maj. Boothroyd is actually the real name of Bond’s long time tech guru Q; marking the first and only time in the entire franchise that Q was not played by Desmond Llewlyn.
September 01, 2011 8:57am EST
This week, Disney's 50th animated feature, the 2010 film Tangled, hit Netflix Watch Instantly. Amongst the sea of available streaming titles, the movie looks better suited for a rainy day when you're stuck babysitting young persons—but that's underselling it. Not only is Tangled a great animated film, it's a great film. Period. And one of the best of 2010, for that matter.
Featuring a cast of colorful characters (including a militant horse and an adorable chameleon), Tangled was obviously designed to appeal to the wee ones, but here's why you may consider taking it a look at it yourself:
Who Made It: Walt Disney Animation (the folks who aren't Pixar), who have been working steadily since Snow White, but only recently returned to the "fairy tale" brand that made them famous (see the underrated Princess and the Frog). Tangled is directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, who previously sharpened their skills on Mulan before directing their first Disney feature, Bolt.
Who's in It: The voice talent of Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi (Chuck), Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy), Donna Murphy, Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development)
What's It About: Tangled extrapolates the time-honored story of Rapunzel into a Disney-fied adventure flick. After being enchanted by a magic flower, the wee princess Rapunzel is kidnapped by a decrepit old woman, Mother Gothel, and locked away in a impenetrable tower. Every year, Gothel utilizes Rapunzel's imbued locks to revive her youth—until the savvy blonde works out an escape plan with a bumbling thief named Flynn Rider.
Why You Should Watch It: At first glance, Tangled might be too cute and cuddly for an adult looking for sophisticated entertainment. Don't let outside appearances fool you. The movie's infused with everything that made older Disney animation—from Walt's early films to the late '80s/early '90s, 2D revival of Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Lion King—genuinely magical. Tangled doesn't reach for the pop culture-infused, gag-a-minute style of Dreamworks movies or the dramatic intensity of Pixar, but completely owns the difficult balance of touching, coming-of-age story (as so many of Disney's princess movies were), fantasy romance and slapstick comedy. There's no shame in being a "nice" movie.
The story is simple enough that directors Greno and Howard were able to relish in the flourishes of what makes animation so engrossing—even in a 3D plane. Tangled mimics the Disney look while adding another layer of artistry. The movie looks like an expressionist painting brought to life, the colors soft and blooming. Animated light has never looked better, especially in a scene depicting the lighting of a thousand lanterns (see above). Beautiful stuff.
If that makes it sound like Rapunzel and Flynn spend most of their time frolicking around green pastures, basking in the warm glow of the sun, let me slip in a little spoiler: Tangled features one of the better executed action scenes of 2010. In one scene, when the duo find themselves running from Gothel's goons, the simple chase turns into a set piece straight out of The Legend of Zorro, canyon and all. It's an achievement to deliver those kind of thrills in animation.
Tangled knocks it out of the ball park with a hefty helping of Broadway-style songs. Composed by go-to Disney collaborator Alan Menken (Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and, most importantly, Newsies), the movie's soundtrack features a good mix of upbeat crowd-pleasers and elegant ballads. There's even a song featuring drunken vikings—literally, something for everyone. And the talent is there: no matter what you think of Mandy Moore the live-action actress, her animated counterpart is smart, sassy and can belt out a tune. Same goes for Levi—easily the biggest surprise of the movie—and theater staple Donna Murphy, who makes for one of the liveliest animated villains in some time.
I've met a lot of people who won't touch animated movies. They don't work for them. To that I say: just because your kids might love it, doesn't mean you can't too. Give Tangled a try on Netflix—you won't be disappointed.
July 08, 2011 12:32pm EST
Comic-Con. The mecca of pop culture.
Movies, TV, Comic and Gaming enthusiasts will gather in the temperate California town for a five-day, pop culture extravaganza, where the top dogs in every field come to showcase their latest and greatest products. Whether it's the Hall H premiere trailer of a new summer blockbuster, the cast meet and greet in Ballroom 20 for the hot new TV show or just a sit down with some insightful creator-types in a dark and dingy backroom, SDCC is always full of surprises and this year looks to be no different.
We'll be there on the ground floor picking up all the news bites as they break, but you can check out the schedule for the first two days below -- and better prepare for the onslaught of updates!
Friday, July 22
10:00-11:00 LEGO Star Wars— A behind-the-brick look with the LEGO Star Wars team at how the epic Star Wars story comes together with the creativity and imagination of the LEGO brand. Additionally, be among the first to hear about a special LEGO Star Wars entertainment event, and meet Emmy award-winning writer Michael Price. Also includes Q&A time. Room 7AB
10:00-11:00 Torchwood: Miracle Day— John Barrowman (Doctor Who) and Eve Myles (Doctor Who) join cast members Mekhi Phifer (ER), Bill Pullman (Independence Day), Alexa Havins (All My Children), and Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under), along with writer Jane Espenson (Battlestar Galactica), to discuss the fourth installment of the hit BBC Worldwide show, a Starz Originals co-production, currently airing Friday nights at 10 ET/PT on Starz. Ballroom 20
10:15-11:15 Star Trek: The Captains— William Shatner is joined by fellow Star Trek captain Avery Brooks to present a preview of the EPIX Pictures original documentary produced and directed by Shatner, in which he travels the world to interview all the actors who've played Starfleet captains. This lively discussion and Q&A session is moderated by Comic-Con fave Kevin Smith. Room 6BCF
10:30-11:30 Locke & Key FOX Pilot Screening— The most talked-about pilot not on the fall schedule was the FOX production of Locke & Key. This screening of the entire pilot will show you just what a void there will be on your TVs this fall. Watch the special filmed adaptation of Welcome to Lovecraft, and see the Eisner-nominated comic brought to life. Can't get in to see it this morning? Don't worry...there's a rescreening tonight at 9:15 in Room 6DE! Room 8
11:00-12:00 Radical Publishing— Radical will announce its imprint deal with Sam Worthington's production company, Full Clip, and introduce the writers and artists working on those projects. Panelists include Sam Worthington (Avatar), John Schwarz and Michael Schwarz (Full Clip Productions), Rick Remender (The Last Days of American Crime), Joshua Dysart (Unknown Soldier), Leonardo Manco (Hellblazer), and Radical Studios president Barry Levine. Radical will also give the inside scoop on Sam Worthington's attachment to Rick Remender's The Last Days of American Crime. Room 24ABC
11:00-12:00 Paramount: The Adventures of Tin-Tin— TBA Hall H
11:15-12:15 AMC's The Walking Dead— Stars Andrew Lincoln (Love Actually), Jon Bernthal (The Pacific), Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break), Laurie Holden (The Mist), Norman Reedus (The Boondock Saints), Steven Yeun (The Big Bang Theory), Jeffrey DeMunn (The Green Mile); series creator/writer/director/executive producer Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption); executive producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator); executive producer Robert Kirkman (creator/writer of The Walking Dead comic book series); and makeup artist and consulting producer Greg Nicotero discuss the success of season one of AMC's series The Walking Dead and reveal what to look forward to in season two, which will air on AMC this Fall. Join the panelists for a one-on-one Q&A session and an official sneak preview of season two. Ballroom 20
11:30-12:30 Halo Universe— Frank O'Connor, Kevin Grace, and others from 343 Industries, as well as special Halo guests Greg Bear and Karen Traviss, discuss the first 10 years of Halo and offer a sneak peek into what's next for this exciting sci-fi universe. Room 6BCF
11:30-12:30 Locke & Key Panel— Make your plans to watch the Locke & Key TV pilot at 10:30, then join Eisner-nominated creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, along with Locke & Key TV pilot writer Josh Friedman, for a frank discussion of the show, the comic, and what's coming up in Clockworks, the second-to-last story arc in the acclaimed series (or is it?). Room 8
11:45-12:45 Nickelodeon & DreamWorks Animation: Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness— The bodacity continues as Po the panda punches his way onto a new animated series. Executive producer Peter Hastings and supervising producers Randy Dormans band Gabe Swarr present an exclusive sneak peek into the new series by Nickelodeon and Dreamworks. This panel will also include select moments with voice cast members Mick Wingert (Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special), James Hong (Kung Fu Panda 2), Kevin Michael Richardson (Penguins of Madagascar), and John DiMaggio (Penguins of Madagascar), followed by a screening. Moderated by Megan Casey, executive in charge for Nickelodeon. Room 6A
12:00-1:00 ABC Family: The Nine Lives of Chloe King— An exclusive sneak peek of an upcoming episode of The Nine Lives of Chloe King, followed by a Q&A session with the cast and producers. The cast in attendance includes Skyler Samuels (The Gates) as Chloe King, Amy Pietz (The Office) as Meredith King, Grey Damon (True Blood, Friday Night Lights) as Brian, newcomer Grace Phipps as Amy, Benjamin Stone (Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter video game series) as Alek, Alyssa Diaz (Shark Night 3D) as Jasmine, and Ki Hong Lee (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) as Paul. The executive producers are Dan Berendsen and, from Alloy Entertainment, Gina Girolamo. The Nine Lives of Chloe King airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on ABC Family. Room 23ABC
12:15-1:15 Relativity Media: Raven and Haywire— Two fantastic films from Relativity Media debut in this Hall H presentation.Raven -- The film is a gritty thriller in which Edgar Allan Poe joins forces with a young Baltimore detective to hunt down a mad serial killer who's using Poe's own works as the basis for a string of brutal murders. Raven stars John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe, Luke Evans, and Alice Eve and is directed by James McTeigue.Haywire -- An electrifying tale of espionage and betrayal. A female covert ops specialist who works in the deadly world of international operatives strikes back after discovering she's been double-crossed by someone close to her in the agency. Mixed martial arts superstar Gina Carano makes her feature film -- and Comic-Con -- debut, starring and performing her own high-adrenaline stunts. Also appearing is director Stephen Soderbergh.
12:30-1:30 The Big Bang Theory Screening and Q&A— Dr., Dr., Dr., Dr., Dr., Mr., Miss...See everyone's favorite scientists (and engineer and waitress) from The Big Bang Theory as the show's producers and stars return to San Diego with a special screening and Q&A. Executive producers Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men), Bill Prady (Dharma & Greg), and Steve Molaro (iCarly) join stars Johnny Galecki (Roseanne), Jim Parsons (Garden State), Kaley Cuoco (Charmed), Simon Helberg (Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog), Kunal Nayyar (NCIS), Mayim Bialik (Blossom), and Melissa Rauch (True Blood) for a fun and lively discussion. From Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television, The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays at 8/7c on CBS, and The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fourth Season will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 13. Ballroom 20
12:45-1:45 Legendary Pictures: Preproduction Preview— Legendary Pictures holds its first-ever Comic-Con panel and shares an early look at some of the movies on the company's upcoming film slate. Fans will be able to access Legendary's plans, garner sneak peeks at their movies in preproduction, and hear from filmmakers and cast members from the upcoming Pacific Rim, Seventh Son, Paradise Lost, and Mass Effect. Panel participants include Jeff Bridges, Bradley Cooper, Guillermo del Toro, Ben Barnes, Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Alicia Vikander, Alex Proyas, Sergei Bodrov, Travis Beacham, Mark Protosevich, and Casey Hudson. Room 6BCF
1:30-2:30 Screen Gems: Underworld 4— Underworld 4 brings a stunning new dimension to the epic battle between Vampires and Lycans as the first film in the franchise to shoot in 3D. Kate Beckinsale, star of the first two films, returns in her lead role as the vampire warrior Selene, who escapes imprisonment to find that humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species. Appearing in person are Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy, Len Wiseman (producer and director of Underworld and Underworld: Evolution), and directors Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein. Hall H
1:30-2:30 Adult Swim: Childrens Hospital— See a never-before-screened episode of Childrens Hospital and hear from the show's creative team led by Rob Corddry (Cedar Rapids) and Jon Stern (The Ten). They will be joined by members of their ensemble cast of comedic heavyweights, including Malin Akerman (Couples Retreat), Lake Bell (No Strings Attached), Erinn Hayes (Parenthood), Rob Huebel (I Love You Man), and Megan Mullally (Will and Grace). Childrens Hospital explores the emotional struggles and sexual politics of a group of doctors charged with healthy libidos. The panel will close with a sneak peek at Adult Swim's newest live-action comedy, NTSF:SD:SUV::, featuring creator and star Paul Scheer (The League). NTSF:SD:SUV:: is a clandestine team of government agents working to protect San Diego from numerous terrorist threats coming in daily from such evil countries as Mexico, Canada, and Guam. This team of highly trained operatives has only one job: saving your ass so you can drive your Prius and see your movies in 3D without worrying about living in a country run by no-good terrorists. Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
1:45-2:45 Bones— Creator/executive producer Hart Hanson, executive producer Stephen Nathan, and stars David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel discuss the shocking finale of Bones Season 6 as well as what's in store for Booth and Brennan in an exciting Season 7! Hanson will also introduce the audience to the stars of The Finder, his new FOX series premiering in January. Plus, Q&A! Ballroom 20
2:00-3:00 Green Lantern: The Animated Series Video Presentation and Q&A— Warner Bros. Animation brings the Green Lantern to television in a new CG-animated action series for Cartoon Network from world-renowned producer, artist, and animator Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series). Based on the DC Comics superhero, Green Lantern: The Animated Series centers on Hal Jordan and his partner Kilowog, who find themselves alone on the edge of the Guardian Frontier fighting off an invasion by the deadly Red Lantern Corps. Timm headlines a panel -- moderated by Warner Bros. Animation's Sam Register (Teen Titans) -- that also features producer Giancarlo Volpe (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and producer/story editor Jim Krieg (Ben 10: Alien Swarm). In addition to the Q&A, fans in attendance will be treated to footage prepared exclusively for Comic-Con. Don't miss out, or you'll be waiting 'til 2012! Room 6BCF
2:15-3:15 Exclusive Screening of ABC's Newest Supernatural Series, The River— From the studio that brought you Lost comes a new adventure set deep in the Amazon. Executive producers Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity), Michael Green (Green Lantern), and Zack Estrin (Tru Calling), along with cast members Joe Anderson (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn), Eloise Mumford (Lone Star), and Leslie Hope (24), present an exclusive screening and a Q&A of their much-anticipated new series, The River. All attendees will get a limited-edition Comic-Con giveaway. Room 6A
2:45-3:45 DreamWorks: Fright Night— Colin Farrell (The Way Back), Anton Yelchin (Star Trek), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad), Imogen Poots (Jane Eyre), Dave Franco (Charlie St. Cloud), director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl), and screenwriter Marti Noxon (I Am Number Four) take the dais to give fans a taste of the horrific fun to come in DreamWorks Pictures' 3D reimagining of the classic horror film. Hall H
3:00-4:00 Eureka— Small town. Big panel. Syfy's smash hit Eureka is back at Comic-Con. Colin Ferguson (Jack Carter), Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Allison Blake), Neil Grayston (Douglas Fargo), and guest star Felicia Day (Dr. Holly Martin) join executive producers Jaime Paglia and Bruce Miller for a chat about the big secrets of America's smartest little town. Moderated by guest star Wil Wheaton (Dr. Isaac Parrish; Wesley Crusher, Star Trek: Next Generation). Ballroom 20
3:00-4:00 Bob's Burgers— Bob's Burgers creator/executive producer Loren Bouchard, executive producer Jim Dauterive, and cast members H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, and Kristen Schaal entertain animation fans with hilarious never-before-seen footage from season two, followed by a Q&A. Room 23ABC
3:15-4:15 Falling Skies— TNT's powerful drama series Falling Skies follows a group of survivors who band together after a devastating alien invasion has incapacitated most of the world. Ordinary people are called upon to fight back against the occupying alien force as they struggle for the survival of the human race. Join stars Noah Wyle (ER), Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation), Will Patton (Armageddon), Drew Roy (Secretariat), Collin Cunningham (Living in Your Car), and Sarah Sanguin Carter (Shark) and co-executive producer Mark Verheiden (Battlestar Galactica) in a Q&A, and watch exclusive never- before-seen footage from Falling Skies. Room 6BCF
3:30-4:30 ThunderCats Premiere Episode Screening and Q&A— Comic-Con, ho! From the moment this series was announced, fans have answered the call -- now, the wait is over as Warner Bros. Animation is proud to bring you the world premiere of this new reimagining of the beloved '80s franchise. Lion-O, Tygra, Panthro, Cheetara, Wily Kit, and Snarf are back! After the screening, producers Michael Jelenic (Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and Ethan Spaulding (Avatar: The Last Airbender), art director Dan Norton (G.I. Joe: Resolute, and members of the voice cast will discuss what viewers can expect in the first season of this exciting new series. ThunderCats premieres in a special one-hour episode on Friday, July 29 at 8/7c on Cartoon Network. Room 6A
3:30-4:15 Adult Swim: Robot Chicken— Seth Green (co-creator, Robot Chicken), Matthew Senreich (co-creator, Robot Chicken), and Tom Root (head writer, Robot Chicken) discuss the popular Adult Swim series. The series uses stop-motion animation to bring pop culture parodies to life in a modern take on the variety/sketch show format. In Robot Chicken, no pop culture target is safe. Legions of action figures are used to spoof everything from reality television and Star Wars to past presidents. Moderated by Keith Crofford, vice president of production, Adult Swim. Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
4:00-5:00 Developing Interactive Entertainment: The Performance Capture Techniques of the Uncharted Franchise and Today's Film Industry— Naughty Dog has consistently led the industry in adopting advanced performance capture processes and technology to propel their critically acclaimed Uncharted video game franchise to greater heights of quality and presentation. Launching in November, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception delivers character-driven narrative and dramatic action sequences to create an engaging experience that grounds the player in the game world with relatable and believable characters. Moderated by USA Today's Mike Snider, Uncharted 3's creative director Amy Hennig and cast members Nolan North, Richard McGonagle, and Emily Rose discuss the influence of theatrical techniques and styles from the history of film that have helped the team produce interactive entertainment. Room 25ABC
4:00-5:30 Sony— Sony returns to Hall H with a stellar lineup of films and talent, including:Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance -- After blazing a trail around the globe in the worldwide hit Ghost Rider, Nicolas Cage returns as Johnny Blaze in Columbia Pictures' Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Still struggling with his curse as the devil's bounty hunter, Blaze is hiding out in a remote part of Eastern Europe when he is recruited by a secret sect to save a young boy (Fergus Riordan) from the devil (Ciaran Hinds). At first, Johnny is reluctant to embrace the power of the Ghost Rider again, but it is the only way to protect the boy -- and possibly rid himself of his curse forever. Live on stage: directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (Crank) and stars Nicolas Cage, Idris Elba, and Johnny Whitworth.30 Minutes or Less -- From Ruben Fleischer, the director of Zombieland, comes the action comedy 30 Minutes or Less. In the movie, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg of The Social Network and Zombieland) is a small town pizza delivery guy whose mundane life collides with the big plans of two wannabe criminal masterminds (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson). The duo kidnap Nick and force him to rob a bank. With only a few hours to pull off the impossible task, Nick enlists the help of his ex-best friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari). As the clock ticks, the two must deal with the police, hired assassins, flamethrowers, and their own tumultuous relationship. Talent in attendance includes director Ruben Fleischer and stars Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson, and Michael Peña.Total Recall -- Welcome to Rekall, the company that with one little implant can turn your dreams into real memories. For a factory worker named Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell), the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his ordinary existence. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man. With the line between fantasy and reality blurred and the fate of his world hanging in the balance, Quaid goes on the run to discover his true identity, his true love, and his true fate. Based on Philip K. Dick's classic story "I Can Remember It for You Wholesale," this new take on some of his most visionary ideas is directed by Len Wiseman and stars Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, and John Cho, all of whom will be appearing.The Amazing Spider-Man -- The Amazing Spider-Man is back on the big screen, shot in 3D for the first time, and will be swinging into your neighborhood on July 3, 2012. Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, and Martin Sheen, as well as Sally Field, and directed by Marc Webb, The Amazing Spider-Man's new creative team will be taking a whole new direction in the unfolding saga of everyone's favorite web-slinger. Appearing in person are producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, director Marc Webb, and our own Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy -- Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.
4:15-5:15 Warehouse 13— For one day only, America's top-secret treasure trove is moving from the middle of nowhere to the middle of Comic-Con. Stars Eddie McClintock (Pete Lattimer), Joanne Kelly (Myka Bering), Saul Rubinek (Artie Nielsen), and Allison Scagliotti (Claudia Donovan), along with executive producer Jack Kenny, take you inside Syfy's blockbuster hit series, Warehouse 13. Moderated by Neil Grayston (Douglas Fargo, Eureka). Ballroom 20
4:30-5:30 Marvel Television Presents: Anime on G4— Marvel Television and G4 take your favorite characters -- Iron Man, Wolverine, The X-Men, and Blade -- to Japan to tell their stories in a whole new way, beautifully animated by the anime masters at Madhouse. Hosted by Attack of the Show's Blair Butler, watch a never-before-seen episode with Marvel's head of TV Jeph Loeb and surprise guests. Plus, get a sneak peek at The X-Men's explosive first episode. Room 6BCF
4:45-5:45 Phineas and Ferb— Hear from the brilliant minds behind the series, Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, along with voice talent Vincent Martella (Everybody Hates Chris), Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical, Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure), and Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad). See exclusive footage and hear all the scoop about their upcoming Disney Channel Original Movie Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension, which premieres August 5. Moderated by Matt Blum of Wired.com's Geek Dad. Room 6A
5:00-6:00 BBC America's Bedlam: Exclusive U.S. Premiere Screening and Q&A— Star Theo James (Downtown Abbey) and creator David Allison (Boy Meets Girl) host a premiere screening event followed by discussion and Q&A. Bedlam Heights, the stylish new apartment building, has sexy tenants and gorgeous amenities. But little do its new residents suspect that behind the luxury fittings lay unimaginable horrors. This is a place tainted by abuse, suffering, and death -- and the ghosts of its dark and violent past are out for revenge. As the direct descendent of those who ran the asylum, Kate (Charlotte Salt, The Tudors) -- who both lives and works there -- is a prime target. She is surprised by the unexpected arrival of Jed (James), her adopted cousin. With a history of mental illness, Jed is a troubled man who sees ghosts and visions of the past. Recent messages to "Save Kate" propel him back into Kate's life. Can he really "Save Kate"? And from whom, or what, does she need saving? Everybody has a dark side in this new series also starring Ashley Madekwe (Secret Diary of a Call Girl), Hugo Speer (Skins), and Will Young (Pop Idol winner, Skins). Bedlam premieres October 8 on BBC America's Supernatural Saturdays. Room 7AB
5:00-6:00 The World of Capcom— Capcom fans won't want to miss this opportunity to learn about all the new games coming from their favorite video game publisher. Plus, get in-depth details straight from Capcom's stellar producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi (Resident Evil 4) about his exciting new open-world action adventure game, Dragon's Dogma. Producer Jason Leigh talks about the zombie-infested streets of Fortune City in Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, and producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya discusses the new over-the-top rollercoaster IP, Asura's Wrath. Followed by a Q&A session. Room 25ABC
5:30-6:30 True Blood Panel and Q&A session— Mixing romance, suspense, mystery, and humor, the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated True Blood kicked off its 12-episode fourth season June 26 on HBO. The series follows the on-and-off romance between waitress and part-faerie Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), who can hear people's thoughts, and 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). Oscar and Emmy award winner Alan Ball created and serves as executive producer of the series, which is based on the bestselling Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. The series -- and this panel! -- also features Ryan Kwanten as Jason Stackhouse, Sam Trammell as Sam Merlotte, Rutina Wesley as Tara Thornton, Nelsan Ellis as Lafayette, Deborah Ann Woll as Jessica Hamby, Kristin Bauer van Straten as Pam, Joe Manganiello as Alcide, and Kevin Alejandro as Jesus. Moderated by Tim Stack of Entertainment Weekly. Ballroom 20
5:45-6:45 Spartacus: Vengeance— Liam McIntyre (McLeod's Daughters) makes his Comic-Con debut, along with Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess), Manu Bennett (30 Days of Night), Dustin Clare (Underbelly), and Katrina Law (Legend of the Seeker). Executive producer Steven S. DeKnight (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) joins the cast to discuss the upcoming second season, titled,Spartacus: Vengeance, expected to air on Starz in January 2012, and the exclusive content found on the Spartacus: Gods of the Arena Blu-ray discs, available September 13. Room 6BCF
6:00-7:00 Hermes Press / Dark Shadows The Classic Series and the New Tim Burton Film— Lara Parker (Angelique from Dark Shadows), Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans and Josette DuPres from Dark Shadows), Jim Pierson (consulting producer for the new Dark Shadows film), and Daniel Herman (publisher, Hermes Press) talk about the classic show, the comic book, and print tie-ins and reveals up-to-date news and some surprises about the upcoming Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp, along with a Q&A session. Room 4
6:00-7:00 Alphas— Syfy's newest original series Alphas has taken the summer by storm -- and it's just the beginning. David Strathairn (Dr. Lee Rosen) and fellow cast members, plus creator and executive producer Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand; The Avengers) and executive producer Ira Steven Behr (Star Trek: The Next Generation; The 4400), reveal why impossible is what Alphas do best. Moderated by Geoff Boucher ("Hero Complex," Los Angeles Times). Room 6A
6:00-7:00 Girls Gone Genre— Come talk with women who write, read, game, and perform in arenas that are statistically dominated by men. What happens when traditionally "male" genres are reinvented by female writers and embraced by female fans? Sex and the City it ain't. Meet the women who like to play with trucks and Barbies. And Wolverine action figures. And flux capacitors. Moderator Jenna Busch is joined by panelists Marti Noxon (screenwriter/producer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Mad Men, Fright Night), Gale Anne Hurd (producer, The Walking Dead, Terminator, Aliens), and Marjorie Liu (writer, X-23, Daken: Dark Wolverine, Black Widow, Dirk & Steele novel series). Room 25ABC
6:00-7:00 At the Drive-In— Come with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear when one of the few places you could see some offbeat genre films and a slew of trailers was at your local Drive-In. We're trying something new at Comic-Con this year by giving some up and coming genre filmmakers an evening berth to preview their upcoming films. So as San Diego gets darker tonight, so will Hall H as we welcome our first guests to the Virtual Drive-In:Grave Encounters -- Locked in an actual abandoned mental hospital, the crew of a ghost-hunting reality show find themselves trapped in a psychotically endless and deadly labyrinth. Written and directed by The Vicious Brothers, Grave Encounters, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, takes the found footage horror genre to a terrifying new level. Appearing on stage: The Vicious Brothers.Tucker & Dale vs. Evil --Tucker and Dale are two best friends on vacation at their dilapidated mountain house, who are mistaken for murderous backwoods hillbillies by a group of obnoxious, preppy college kids. When one of the students gets separated from her friends, the boys try to lend a hand, but as the misunderstanding grows, so does the body count. Tucker & Dale Vs Evil has been a hit on the festival circuit, debuting at Sundance, and winning the Midnight Audience Award at SXSW, the Jury Prize for First Feature at Fantasia, the Best Director award at Fantaspoa, and the Best Motion Picture Award at Sitges. Confirmed panelists include Eli Craig, Alan Tudyk, and Tyler Labine.
6:30-7:30 Resident Evil Round-Up!— 2011 marks the 15th anniversary of the legendary video game franchise that gave fear a face and horror a home. Get the latest information about the newest entries to the Resident Evil franchise: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, with producer Rey Jimenez; Resident Evil: Revelations for the Nintendo 3DS; the gorgeous reimagining of Resident Evil 4 HD; and Resident Evil Code Veronica X HD, plus some surprises! Followed by a Q&A session. Room 5AB
7:00-8:00 Sushi Girl— Sushi Girl chronicles the story of five friends who reunite six years after a diamond-job-gone-wrong to eat sushi off a naked girl. Sure enough, the thieves can't help opening old wounds in an attempt to find their missing loot, and all mayhem ensues. This film marks the return to the big screen for Mark Hamill (Star Wars) and Noah Hathaway (Neverending Story) and also features cast members Tony Todd (Candy Man), James Duval (Donnie Darko), Andy Mackenzie (Shoot 'Em Up), David Dastmalchian (The Dark Knight), and Cortney Palm (Sunday Morning High). The legendary Sonny Chiba (Kill Bill) also stars. Kern Saxton (Deader Living Through Chemistry) directed and co-wrote with Destin Pfaff (Millionaire Matchmaker). Producers Neal Fischer (Fight Club) and Suren Seron (Forever Plaid) and moderator Ted Stryker (KROC) round out the panel. Meet the entire cast and creators and witness the world premiere of the official trailer, followed by Q&A session. Room 25ABC
7:30-8:30 Death Valley— MTV brings the unique marriage of horror and comedy together with this new series. Join members of the ensemble cast, including Caity Lotz (Mad Men), Tania Raymonde (Lost), Bryan Callen (The Hangover), Bryce Johnson (Sleeping Dogs Lie), Texas Battle (Final Destination 3), and Charlie Sanders (Funny or Die), along with showrunner/executive producer Eric Weinberg (Californication, Scrubs), director Drew Daywalt (Bedfellows), executive producer/director Austin Reading (Spike TV's Scream Awards, FEARnet), executive producer Julie Kellman Reading, and co-executive producer Spider One, in a discussion about the challenges of bringing the comedy and horror genres together and how the team involved in the series bring all the elements of what they know best to the series. Fans will get an exclusive first look at an upcoming episode. Q&A session to follow! Room 5AB
7:30-8:30 Lost Girl— Supernatural seductress Bo is a succubus who feeds off sexual energy. Having survived for years alone, she now discovers she is one of the Fae, creatures of legend who pass as humans. Unwilling to chose sides, Bo forges her own path between the human and Fae worlds, embarking on a mission to unlock the secrets of her origin. Join star Anna Silk (Ghost Whisperer); actor Emmanuelle Vaugier (Saw II), who guest stars as The Morrigan, the head of the Dark Fae clan; and the production team behind the series, Jay Firestone, executive producer (Andromeda, Mutant X) and Michelle Lovretta (Mutant X), as they discuss this exciting new show coming soon to SyFy! Room 24ABC
8:00-10:00 World Premiere: Batman: Year One— Warner Home Video, Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Animation proudly present the World Premiere of Batman: Year One, the highly anticipated next entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. Based on the landmark 1987 DC Comics titles from 12-time Eisner Award winner Frank Miller and illustrator David Mazzucchelli, Batman: Year One depicts young Bruce Wayne's return to Gotham City in his first attempts to fight injustice as a costumed vigilante. The playboy billionaire chooses the guise of a giant bat to combat crime, creates an early bond with a young Lieutenant James Gordon (who is already battling corruption from inside the police department), inadvertently plays a role in the birth of Catwoman, and helps bring down a crooked political system that infests Gotham. When the film ends, stay in your seats for a lively panel discussion amongst voice cast members Ben McKenzie (Southland), Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica), executive producer Bruce Timm (DCU films), directors Lauren Montgomery (Superman/Batman: Apocalypse) and Sam Liu (All-Star Superman), and casting/dialogue director Andrea Romano (DCU films). Moderator Gary Miereanu will offer a first glimpse into the 2012 DC Universe Animated Original Movies slate, give away some exclusive prizes to inquisitive audience members, and quite possibly introduce a few surprise guests. Warner Home Video will distribute Batman: Year One on Blu-ray and DVD, OnDemand and For Download on October 18, 2011. Ballroom 20
9:00-11:00 Syfy Screening: Eureka, Haven, and Mercury Men— Imagine Greater with fellow fans during an advanced preview screening of the next all-new episode of Eureka, followed by a special presentation of an all-new Haven. And be sure to stick around for the exclusive premiere of the new digital series The Mercury Men. Introductions by Eric Balfour (Duke, Haven). Room 6A
9:15-10:15 Locke & Key FOX Pilot Screening Encore— Second screening added due to demand! The most talked-about pilot not on the fall schedule was the FOX production of Locke & Key. This screening of the entire pilot will show you just what a void there will be on your TV this fall. Watch the special filmed adaptation of "Welcome to Lovecraft" and see the Eisner-nominated comic brought to life. Room 6DE
10:15-12:00 Encore Screening: Batman: Year One— Warner Home Video, Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Animation offer a second opportunity to see Batman: Year One, along with a chance to see a few special Comic-Con exclusive trailers for upcoming Warner Bros. films, videogames, and Blu-ray/DVD releases. Ballroom 20
July 08, 2011 6:18am EST
Comic-Con. The mecca of pop culture.
Movies, TV, Comic and Gaming enthusiasts will gather in the temperate California town for a five-day, pop culture extravaganza, where the top dogs in every field come to showcase their latest and greatest products. Whether it's the Hall H premiere trailer of a new summer blockbuster, the cast meet and greet in Ballroom 20 for the hot new TV show or just a sit down with some insightful creator-types in a dark and dingy backroom, SDCC is always full of surprises and this year looks to be no different.
We'll be there on the ground floor picking up all the news bites as they break, but you can check out the schedule for the first two days below -- and better prepare for the onslaught of updates!
Wednesday, July 20 (Preview Night)
6:00-9:00 Special Sneak Peek Pilot Screenings: Alcatraz, Person of Interest, The Secret Circle, and Supernatural: The Anime Series — Comic-Con and Warner Bros. Television proudly continue their annual Preview Night tradition with exclusive world premiere screenings of the pilot episodes of three of the most highly anticipated TV series pilots of the 2011-12 television season -- Alcatraz, Person of Interest, and The Secret Circle -- as well as Supernatural: The Anime Series, the first-ever anime adaptation of a U.S. television series.Ballroom 20
Alcatraz—From executive producer J. J. Abrams (Super 8, Fringe) and showrunner Elizabeth Sarnoff (Lost) comes Alcatraz, a chilling new drama revolving around America's most infamous prison and onetime home to the nation's worst criminals. The series stars Sarah Jones (Sons of Anarchy), Jorge Garcia (Lost), Jonny Coyne (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life), Parminder Nagra (ER), Santiago Cabrera (Heroes), and Jason Butler Harner (Fringe), with Robert Forster (Jackie Brown) and Sam Neill (Jurassic Park). Abrams, Bryan Burk (Super 8, Fringe), and Sarnoff are executive producers; Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt (both Kyle XY) are co-executive producers. Alcatraz will premiere in midseason and air Mondays 9/8c on FOX.
Person of Interest—Jim Caviezel (The Thin Red Line), Michael Emerson (Lost), and Taraji P. Henson (Hustle & Flow) team up in Person of Interest, a thought-provoking crime action-drama from The Dark Knight's Jonathan Nolan and J. J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions (Super 8, Fringe). Set in New York City, with all of its multifaceted elements of justice (cops, criminals, corruption), this procedural centers on an ex-CIA agent, presumed dead, who partners with a mysterious billionaire to prevent violent crimes. Kevin Chapman (Rescue Me) also stars in the series, which is executive produced by Nolan, Abrams, Greg Plageman (Cold Case), and Bryan Burk (Super 8, Fringe). Person of Interest is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television. The series will air Thursdays at 9/8c on CBS this fall.
The Secret Circle—The ordinary becomes the extraordinary in The Secret Circle, a romantic drama full of mystery, intrigue, and danger from executive producer Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries) and based on the book series by L. J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries). The series chronicles the story of a young girl who discovers not only that she is a witch and part of a secret coven but that she is the key that will unlock a centuries-old battle of good versus evil. Britt Robertson (Scream 4), Thomas Dekker (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Gale Harold (Queer as Folk), Shelley Hennig (Days of Our Lives), Phoebe Tonkin (H20: Just Add Water), Louis Hunter (Out of the Blue), Jessica Parker Kennedy (Valemont), Ashley Crow (Heroes), and Natasha Henstridge (Species) star in the series, from executive producers Williamson, Leslie Morgenstein (The Vampire Diaries), Gina Girolamo (Alloy Entertainment), Andrew Miller (Nothing), and Richard Hatem (Supernatural). The series will air Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW this fall.
Supernatural: The Anime Series—Warner Bros. Television's hit series Supernatural (Fridays 9/8c, The CW) makes history this summer as Supernatural: The Anime Series is released in the United States, the first-ever live-action series to be reimagined in Japanese anime style. Inspired by the U.S. series' sensational following oversees, Warner Home Video Japan and renowned animation studio Madhouse -- working with the full approval of series creator Eric Kripke -- produced the anime series, which mirrors the story arc of Supernatural's first two seasons, providing supplemental stories ranging from prequels and spinoffs to untold tales that fit within the Supernatural mythology. The all-new, 22-episode animated series will be distributed July 26 by Warner Home Video on Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and for Download.
Thursday, July 21
10:00-11:00 TheOneRing.net: Hobbit Talk— From the decade-old and perhaps most influential fan site on the Interwebs (and a consistent breaking news source), staff vets Clifford Broadway (Quickbeam) and Larry D. Curtis (MrCere) take a good, hard look at the latest from the two Hobbit films' production. Since this isn't a studio affair, you'll get the street-level latest (authorized and unauthorized) as well as spy reports, rumors, and even informed opinions. Surprise guests are a possibility; audio and visuals are a given with a Q&A and all sorts of fun. Room 7AB
10:00-11:00 Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe— For fans of USA's hit series Burn Notice who've always wanted to know what happened before Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell) teamed up with Michael Weston and Fiona, Comic-Con attendees are invited inside the USA made-for-TV movie Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe, debuting on DVD exclusively at Comic-Con! The Burn Notice prequel chronicles what turned out to be the last military mission of former U.S. Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander Axe and the expedition that took him from the jungles of Colombia to sunny Miami Beach. Go one-on-one with Bruce Campbell, star of Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe, and Burn Notice creator, writer, and executive producer, Matt Nix. Ballroom 20
10:00-11:00 Journey— Get into the indie spirit with thatgamecompany and the PlayStation Network: From the developers who brought you Flower and flOw, comes one of this year's most highly anticipated PlayStation 3 exclusives, Journey. Meet and chat with thatgamecompany's Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago as they (along with special guests) provide insight on their creativity and the inspiration behind their work and discuss what it takes to be successful as an independent developer. Room 23ABC
10:00-11:00 Deadliest Warrior: Vampires vs. Zombies— Vampires and zombies have terrorized and tantalized their way through pop culture for decades, from Dracula to the Twilight Saga to Walking Dead. SPIKE TV and its Deadliest Warrior franchise are going to finally answer the question: Which of these mythical creatures would come out on top in a fight to the finish? Deadliest Warrior steps outside the confines of history for this groundbreaking fantasy episode destined to rouse heated debates amongst fans in the blogosphere for months. The special episode features an array of icons of film and fiction who are authorities on the topic. Through these expert interviews, scientific tests, and careful analysis, They will determine who would win in a battle to the death between these two iconic groups, zombies and vampires. The Deadliest Warrior team of Richard "Mack" Machowicz, Dr. Armand Dorian, and Robert Daly, guests Steve Niles, Max Brooks, and horror legend Wes Craven, and executive producer of Deadliest Warrior and president of 44 Blue Productions Rasha Drachkovitch make their case for who is, indeed, the fiercest. Los Angeles Times writer and HeroComplex.com founder Geoff Boucher will serve as moderator. Room 25ABC
10:00-11:00 Kinect Star Wars Panel— Enter the Galaxy with studio head Jorg Neumann (Kinect Publishing) and lead producer Craig Derrick (LucasArts) as they discuss the highly anticipated title with USA Today's Mike Snider, sharing new game play from the iconic Star Wars universe, revealing an all-new mode, and unveiling an exciting announcement. All attendees will receive a limited-edition poster. Room 32AB
11:00-12:00 The World of 2027 in Deus Ex: Human Revolution: The Line Between Science and Fiction— How do video games incorporate real-life science into their storylines, weapons, and characters? This talk will provide fascinating insight into how "sci" was used to create the "sci-fi" in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, one of the most highly anticipated games of 2011. Mary DeMarle, lead writer for Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos Montreal) and Will Rossellini, CEO of Microtransponder and consultant on the game, discuss how they created a realistic future vision for transhumanism and a world where mechanical augmentations have changed the fate of the human race. Room 5AB
11:15-12:15 Covert Affairs— For the first time, TV's sexiest spy show, USA Network's Covert Affairs, comes to Comic-Con! Spend some time with stars Piper Perabo (Annie Walker), Christopher Gorham (Auggie Anderson), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Jai Wilcox), Kari Matchett (Joan Campbell), Anne Dudek (Danielle), and Peter Gallagher (Arthur Campbell). Executive producers Doug Liman, Chris Ord, Matt Corman, and Dave Bartis also join the panel, moderated by the one-and-only Oded Fehr. Fans will get an insider's look into the action-packed world of Covert Affairs. Besides having questions answered about the exciting current season, fans will view exclusive video content featuring a sneak peek at upcoming episodes. There will also be surprise giveaways for audience members! Ballroom 20
11:15-12:15 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1— Summit Entertainment presents a sneak peek at the highly anticipated next chapter of The Twilight Saga. This is a must see for fans interested in the story's final chapters. You'll see exclusive footage from The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1 and be treated to a filmmaker and cast Q&A session providing details on the first half of the epic two-part finale. Hall H
11:45-12:45 Battlestar: So Say We All— Richard Hatch hosts a panel and fan discussion of the Battlestar Galactica universe, politics, and philosophy. Richard (Tom Zarek, Capt Apollo), Michael Taylor (Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Blood and Chrome), Dr Kevin Grazier (BG science consultant), and surprise guests for this exciting round table and Q&A session. Room 6BCF
12:00-1:00 Spreading The Darkness: From Comic Book to Video Games and Entertainment— In a world of comic book icons, The Darkness has not only stood the test of time but flourished in various forms of media. Celebrate the upcoming 15th anniversary of The Darkness with the creators that know Jackie Estacado and his world the best. The Darkness creator Marc Silvestri (X-Men/Dark Avengers: Utopia) and team members from Digital Extremes and 2K Games discuss not only the comic but the upcoming video game, The Darkness II, arriving in October. Plus special surprise guests! And be the first to hear about an exciting announcement regarding The Darkness in other media. Room 9
12:15-1:00 Focus on Rick Baker— The multi-Oscar winning master of makeup effects will take us on an overview of his remarkable career with a special emphasis on his work with director Barry Sonnenfeld on Men In Black 1 & 2, as well as a first look at some of his creatures and makeup for the upcoming Men In Black 3. Appearing on stage: Rick Baker in conversation with Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times' Hero Complex. Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
12:30-1:30 Psych— Calling all Psych-o's! USA Network's Psych is back at Comic-Con with another hilarious panel featuring the stars and producers behind one of cable's most popular shows. Moderated by Psych's resident morgue-dweller and fan favorite, Woody the Coroner (acclaimed actor Kurt Fuller), the one-hour panel will be full of surprises and face-time with series stars James Roday (Shawn Spencer), Dulé Hill (Burton "Gus" Guster), Maggie Lawson (Juliet O'Hara), Tim Omundson (Carlton Lassiter), Kirsten Nelson (Chief Karen Vick), and Corbin Bernsen (Henry Spencer). Joining the cast are Steve Franks (creator and executive producer), Kelly Kulchak (executive producer) and Chris Henze (executive producer). The cast and creative team will share secrets and stories from the set as well as answer questions about the show. Expect exclusive videos, surprise giveaways, live performances, and an extended preview of Season 6 episodes screened only for Comic-Con fans! Ballroom 20
12:45-1:45 Animation Showcase— Sony Pictures Animation plunges Hall H into a 3D animation universe with previews of upcoming films with Aardman, the home studio of Wallace and Gromit, as they make their first trip across the pond to Comic-Con to present a first look at two of their upcoming animated feature films:
Arthur Christmas -- The 3D, CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas, an Aardman production for Sony Pictures Animation, at last reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child's question: "So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?" The answer: Santa's exhilarating, ultra- high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. But at the heart of the film is a story with the ingredients of a Christmas classic -- a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero, Arthur, with an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning dawns. Producer Peter Lord and co- writer Peter Baynham discuss the animated film.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits -- In the 3D, stop motion-animated The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Hugh Grant, stars in his first animated role as the luxuriantly bearded Pirate Captain -- a boundlessly enthusiastic, if somewhat less-than-successful, terror of the High Seas. With a rag-tag crew at his side (Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey, and Ashley Jensen), and seemingly blind to the impossible odds stacked against him, the Captain has one dream: to beat his bitter rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) to the much coveted Pirate Of The Year Award. It's a quest that takes our heroes from the shores of exotic Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. Along the way they battle a diabolical queen (Imelda Staunton) and team up with a haplessly smitten young scientist (David Tennant), but never lose sight of what a pirate loves best: adventure! Director/producer Peter Lord will be live on stage to talk about the movie.
1:00-2:00 World of Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft Swag Show— Blizzard Entertainment creative and licensed partners unveil and discuss World of Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft-inspired products. In attendance: Chris Metzen (Blizzard Entertainment SVP of creative development), Nick Carpenter (Blizzard Entertainment executive art director), Christie Golden (New York Times bestselling author), Hank Kanalz (SVP Digital, DC Comics and World of Warcraft comics editor), Sean Gailey (creative overlord, J!nx Clothing), and Cory Jones (Cryptozoic Entertainment president and chief creative officer). Moderated by Kat Hunter ( host of BlizzCon coverage on DIRECTV). Room 6BCF
1:00-2:00 Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation: The Penguins of Madagascar: The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole— Executive producers Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley (Kim Possible), supervising producer Nick Filippi (Wolverine and the X-Men), creative consultant and voice of Skipper Tom McGrath (Madagascar 1 & 2), and cast members Danny Jacobs (Epic Movie), John DiMaggio (Futurama), Jeff Bennett (T.U.F.F. Puppy), James Patrick Stuart (Wolverine and the X-Men), and Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show) share an insider's look of how the show gets made, along with never-before-seen footage from their upcoming one-hour musical, The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole. Additionally, the all-star cast performs a table read of selected scenes, highlighted by the amazingly talented Danny Jacobs as the voice of King Julien, singing his booty off as he premieres a showstopper from the special. Followed by a Q&A session moderated by Rich Magallanes, vice president, animation for Nickelodeon. Room 23ABC
1:00-2:00 Archaia Entertainment: Immortals, the Graphic Novel— Before you watch Relativity Media's epic 3D film Immortals when it opens on November 11, dive into Archaia's prelude graphic novel, Immortals: Gods and Heroes, coming in September! Featuring original tales that expand on the movie's characters and written and illustrated by some of the top names in comics, Immortals: Gods and Heroes promises to prepare you for the visionary film directed by Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall). Editor Nate Cosby (Jim Henson's The Storyteller) and contributors Dennis Calero (X-Factor), F. J. DeSanto (The Spirit), David Mack (Kabuki), Ron Marz (Witchblade), Jim McCann (Return of the Dapper Men), Ben McCool (Captain America), and some surprise guests give you a sneak peek at the graphic novel, plus provide some cool behind-the-scenes info of its production. Meet the two winners of the "Become Immortal" contest, whose likenesses will be drawn into the book. Plus, everyone in attendance will receive a voucher for a cool Immortals: Gods and Heroes giveaway at the Archaia booth! Moderated by Archaia editor-in-chief Stephen Christy. Room 32AB
1:45-2:45 Ringer— Sarah Michelle Gellar makes her highly anticipated television return in the gripping new thriller Ringer, as a woman who, after witnessing a murder, goes on the run, hiding out by assuming the life of her wealthy identical twin -- only to learn that her sister's seemingly idyllic life is just as complicated and dangerous as the one she's trying to leave behind. Be the first to see an exclusive sneak peek at the new series about family secrets and stolen identities, followed by a panel discussion with series stars Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four), Nestor Carbonell (Lost, The Dark Knight), Kristoffer Polaha (Life Unexpected), executive producer Pam Veasey (CSI:NY), and co-executive producers Nicole Snyder (Supernatural) and Eric Charmelo (Supernatural). Ballroom 20
2:00-3:00 Napoleon Dynamite— Original cast members from the hit indie film including Jon Heder, Tina Majorino, Efren Ramirez, Jon Gries, Sandy Martin, Diedrich Bader and executive producer Mike Scully (The Simpsons) present a new series following your favorite awkward teenager like you've never seen him before -- animated! Join us for a sneak peek at never-before-seen footage of the newest member of FOX's Animation Domination lineup and a "sweet" Q&A session. Room 7AB
2:00-3:00 FilmDistrict Studio Panel— FilmDistrict, the new studio that brought you Insidious, celebrates two upcoming features: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, a Guillermo Del Toro production starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce, and Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Ron Perlman, and Christina Hendricks. Exclusive footage will be presented and a Q&A will be held for both films. Hall H
2:00-3:00 Warner Premiere: H+ and Mortal Kombat: Legacy— From producer Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2, X-Men: First Class, Superman Returns) comes a Comic-Con exclusive first look at H+, the forthcoming Warner Premiere/Dolphin Entertainment web series directed by Stewart Hendler (Sorority Row) and written and created by John Cabrera and Cosimo De Tommaso. H+ takes place in a near-future world where a tiny and stunning new piece of technology lies at the center of a dark and epic mystery. Then, Mortal Kombat: Legacy, a hit web series with over 35 million views, takes the stage for a panel discussion with director Kevin Tancharoen (Mortal Kombat: Rebirth), Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager), Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight), Darren Shahlavi (Sanctuary), Peter Shinkoda (Falling Skies), Matt Mullins (Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight) and Shane Warren Jones (Screwed). Fans will see -- for the first time -- the long-awaited final Mortal Kombat: Legacy episode! Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
2:15-3:15 Street Fighter X Tekken— Legendary Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono provides the latest update on the highly anticipated fighting game Street Fighter X Tekken. Learn just what's in store for your favorite Street Fighter and Tekken characters in this explosive genre-defining game. Street Fighter fans are encouraged to come in costume as Capcom deems Thursday to be "Street Fighter Day." Katsuhiro Harada of Tekken will also appear to face Ono-san and continue their fierce rivalry over which fighting game franchise is the best. Followed by a Q&A session plus some special surprises! Room 6BCF
2:30-3:30 Hasbro Transformers Panel— Would you like to see what's new with Transformers? The marketing and design teams responsible for the current Transformers: Dark of the Moon line present all the latest toys at this panel. Also, see a sneak peek into the 2012 line. Includes Q&A time. Room 24ABC
3:00-4:00 Game of Thrones Panel and Q&A session— Based on the bestselling fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, HBO's Game of Thrones concluded its 10-episode debut season on June 19. The series, executive produced and written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, follows kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and noblemen as they vie for power in a land where summers span decades and winters can last a lifetime. Some of the cast featured in the first season and appearing on this panel are (in alphabetical order) Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Ser Jaime Lannister, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Kit Harington as Jon Snow, and Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo. Moderated by George R. R. Martin, who also serves as a co-executive producer and writer on the series. Ballroom 20
3:15-4:30 20th Century Fox— At past Comic-Cons, 20th Century Fox has previewed Independence Day, X2, Avatar, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. You won't want to miss the excitement this year, as Fox presents first-looks at some of its most-anticipated pictures of 2011 and 2012. Hall H
3:30-4:30 Star Wars: The Old Republic : Join Us, It Is Your Destiny— BioWare and LucasArts are creating the most immersive MMO experience you've ever played with Star Wars: The Old Republic. Hear from BioWare developers as they discuss development of a story-driven MMO, debut new gameplay footage, and perhaps spring a few surprises along the way. Exclusive reveals, giveaways, guests, and Q&A! Room 6BCF
3:30-4:30 The Making of Transformers Prime— Join the Emmy Award-winning Hasbro Studios creative team as they walk audience members through the challenges they faced in developing and producing this awe-inspiring show that has helped redefine Transformers for a whole new generation of fans. The team will discuss all aspects of the show, including character and set development and design, the writing of this epic series, and the musical elements that have made this show a success. Key guests include Mike Vogel, Brian Lenard, Jeff Kline, Duane Capizzi, and Jose Lopez. Room 24ABC
3:45-4:45 Awake— Exclusive screening of Awake, the new NBC sci-fi drama about the power of the mind, to be introduced by star Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter) and executive producers Howard Gordon (24) and Kyle Killen (The Beaver). The screening will be followed by a brief Q&A session. Room 6A
4:15-5:15 TV Guide Magazine: Fan Favorites— TV Guide is back with an all-star panel for the fans! Moderated by editor-in-chief Debra Birnbaum, Fan Favorites features your favorite talent from your favorite shows -- in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Panelists include Nestor Carbonell (Ringer), Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory), Jorge Garcia (Alcatraz), Leslie Hope (The River), Zachary Levi (Chuck), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Julie Plec (Vampire Diaries), Matt Smith (Doctor Who ), Kevin Williamson (Vampire Diaries), Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood), and others. Ballroom 20
4:45-5:45 Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season Four Preview— The epic conflict of Star Wars: The Clone Wars intensifies in the upcoming season, as new battle lines are drawn, new threats arise, and old enemies resurface. Take an unparalleled first look into this fall's action, drama, and adventure as the creators of hit series from Lucasfilm preview some of what will astound Star Wars fans in Season Four. Featuring supervising director Dave Filoni, CG lighting/FX supervisor Joel Aron, and other talents from behind the scenes at Lucasfilm Animation. Hosted by Pablo Hidalgo. Room 6BCF
4:45-5:45 Robert Rodriguez's Quick Draw Productions— Be the first to get a sneak peek at Robert Rodriguez's upcoming films. Robert presents Quick Draw's new slate featuring special guest collaborators. He will also show exclusive material from his latest top-secret project. Hall H
5:00-6:00 Beavis & Butthead— In 1993, Mike Judge (creator of Beavis and Butthead) and MTV knocked their heads together and launched a cartoon series starring a couple of lunkheads and unwittingly started an animated pop culture revolution. Now, Beavis and Butthead are coming back to MTV in 2011 to unleash on music videos, Jersey Shore, viral videos, and more. See the first footage from the new episodes, and join Mike as he discusses the duo's return to MTV! Room 6A
5:00-6:00 Batman: Arkham City— Get the inside scoop on Batman: Arkham City, the highly anticipated follow-up to Batman: Arkham Asylum, one of the top-selling games of 2009 and the Guinness World Record holder for the Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever. Be among the first to see and hear new details about the next chapter in Batman's gritty, immersive world -- including some surprise game and character reveals—from panelists Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series), DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee, writer Paul Dini (Lost, Tower Prep), and game director Sefton Hill (Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City). Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
5:30-7:30 Showtime : Tired of Ordinary Television?— This year at Comic-Con, Showtime saves! The casts and creative forces behind Dexter and Shameless give sneak peeks into the new seasons. And be the first to see an exclusive look at the new Showtime original series Homeland.Dexter -- See the exclusive world premiere of the new season's trailer, then moderator Ralph Garman (KROQ entertainment reporter) will preside over a revealing interview and Q&A session with the stars and executive producers, including Michael C. Hall (star/executive producer), C. S. Lee (Masuka), David Zayas (Batista) , guest star Colin Hanks (Peter Jackson's King Kong, Roswell), and more. Also appearing are executive producers John Goldwyn, Sara Colleton, Scott Buck, and Manny Coto.Shameless -- Come party with the cast and creative team behind the hottest new Showtime original series, Shameless. If you thought your family was dysfunctional, wait 'til you meet the Gallaghers. Get the inside scoop on what's in store for the new season as Mike Schneider (TV Guide Los Angeles bureau chief) leads an interview and Q&A with stars William H. Macy (Fargo, Jurassic Park III) and Emmy Rossum (Day After Tomorrow, Dragon Ball: Evolution ), plus more, along with executive producer John Wells (West Wing, ER, Southland).Homeland -- This fall, the war on terror comes home in the new Showtime original series Homeland from executive producers/writers Howard Gordon (24, The X-Files) and Alex Gansa (24, The X-Files, Numb3rs), starring Claire Danes (Terminator 3), Damian Lewis (Band of Brothers, Life), Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride, Criminal Minds), and Morena Baccarin (V, Firefly). Comic-Con favorite Morena Baccarin will make a special appearance to introduce exclusive footage from Homeland.
6:00-7:00 Gears of War 3— Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski, executive producer Rod Fergusson, and special guest contributors to the Gears universe offer a look ahead at the most-anticipated game of 2011. Includes a live game demo and key announcements. Moderated by X-Play (G4) co-host Adam Sessler. Room 6BCF
6:00-7:00 Entertainment Weekly: The Visionaries: A discussion with Jon Favreau and Guillermo del Toro on the Future of Pop Culture— EW moderates an in-depth conversation with Jon Favreau (Cowboys & Aliens) and Guillermo del Toro (Don't Be Afraid of the Dark), two filmmakers at the forefront of bringing geek culture to the masses and making blockbuster art out of pulp fiction. They will discuss their inspirations, their current work, and how they strive to put a personal stamp on blockbuster entertainment. Plus: How is new technology changing the way stories are produced and viewed? And what do they think the pop culture universe will look like a decade from now? Moderated by Jeff "Doc" Jensen. Hall H
6:15-7:30 Wilfred Screening and Q &A— Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings, Happy Feet) stars as Ryan, a young man struggling unsuccessfully to make his way in the world until he forms a unique friendship with Wilfred, his neighbor's canine pet, played by Jason Gann (The Wedge, Mark Loves Sharon), who co- created and starred in the Australian version of Wilfred in 2007. While everyone else sees Wilfred as just a dog, Ryan sees a crude and surly man in a cheap dog suit. Elijah and Jason, along with Wilfred co-stars Fiona Gubelmann (Californication, Cold Case) and Dorian Brown (Roommates, Psych), executive producer David Zuckerman (Family Guy, American Dad, King of the Hill), and co-executive producer/director Randall Einhorn (The Office, Modern Family) discuss bringing this unique, live-action comedy to life. Room 6A
7:00-8:00 Writing Movies for Fun and Profit— Meet Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!, The State, I Love You, Man) and Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911!, The State, Bob's Burgers). Sure, you love their cult TV shows, but the movies they've written -- Night at the Museum I & II, The Pacifier, etc -- have made over a billion dollars at the box office. Their new book Writing Movies for Fun and Profit will teach YOU the secrets of the studio system and everything you need to know to break into the film biz and start earning piles of money by SELLING OUT. Join them for an informative and irreverent Q&A. Room 5AB
May 06, 2011 8:23am EST
S2E23: Before we get too far with this latest episode of Community, let’s keep in mind that while it’s certainly a worthy paintball redux, it can never really match the original “Modern Warfare.” It’s not possible and if you went in expecting that, you were probably disappointed. “Modern Warfare” is simply pristine, but “A Fistfull of Paintballs” was a fun, riotous companion to the classic episode and for the menfolk I’m sure Annie running in slow-motion in a low cut shirt was the singular reason this episode will be one of their top 10 favorite episodes.
The other factor to keep in mind here is that this paintball episode was actually made to be an hour-long one, but that the NBC schedule forced the show to split the faux-spaghetti western in twain and air it over two Thursdays. So, if you felt like you were left hanging or the episode felt unfinished, that’s because you’ve only seen half of it. With that in mind, I think we found a great set-up for the second half.
“Jeff wants to see you.” –Abed
“And I want pants. A lot of people want a lot of things.” – Annie
This episode is really Annie’s and that’s a beautiful thing. Beyond the fact that I have a total girl-crush on Alison Brie, Annie is a great character and while she hasn’t exactly been buried but she’s yet to have an episode that really features her first and foremost this season.
She opens the episode at Greendale, the school already deep into the game of paintball assassin, and she’s already kicking ass. She encounters the bully from season one and slays him before offering a duel to Fat Neil who promptly loses. Like the stop-motion Christmas episode, this one has a unique opening that had all the zeal of our favorite gun-slinging westerns.
Of course, being that Annie kicks so much ass, Abed (dressed as a Clint Eastwood-variety cowboy) enlists her and they save Jeff (who I’m pretty sure is wearing his sexy cowboy costume from Halloween last season) from the Math kids and Chang who’s jumping sides every chance he gets. The trio make an alliance and head out to seek Pierce who’s rumored to be sitting on an ammunition stockpile. There’s really not much to criticize here. Sure, they play up the camp, but that’s part of the fun. The result is a paintball redux with western flair and it’s simply a whole lot of fun.
“I’m not risking my butt hauling ammo back for the guy that has Vicki dancing for Twinkies.” –Jeff
Jeff’s having a hard time this episode, but we’ll get to that when touch on the Black Rider’s role. First, the trio runs into the rest of the study group outside of Pierce’s fort. Shirley (who’s kicking ass for someone who just had a baby), Britta, and Troy hold up Annie, Abed and Jeff but they eventually enter Pierce’s fort together. I would like to take a moment to commend Community for putting Troy in a costume reminiscent of a beloved western comedy while everyone else is channeling more serious cowboy gun-slingers. I think it’s safe to say his costume is a nod to Blazing Saddles – these guys are comedy writers after all.
The find Pierce at the vending machines, with a saloon set up and the men’s bathroom as his office (which is pretty damn appropriate if you ask me). Like so many eerily calm dinners with the enemy in movies, the group sits down to dine with Pierce and this is where the season-long arc about his separation from the rest of the group comes to a head. He’s jealous that they were playing poker without him the other day (and we assume that’s why each member of the study group has names like the Ace of Hearts – Annie), but as we find out later in the episode, they weren’t playing poker. They were using cards to vote him out of the group and Annie’s Ace of Hearts was the only red card and thus the only reason Pierce hadn’t been booted. Out of guilt, they all agree to seek the ammo Pierce asks them to find with the promise that they’ll split the $100,000 prize between them.
I like that they finally did something with this plot that’s been swirling around all season. It’s got a definite season finale feel without relying on cliff-hanger drama and Dan Harmon has said he doesn’t want to leave us hanging this season so that they can start off strong next season with a really great, new and different episode.
“Does that guy even go to this school? He's really good-looking. I mean network TV good looking.” –Abed
Of course, it turns out Pierce double-crossed them. The ammo he provided for the mission is full of blanks. It does manage to save Annie’s ass when she encounters the Black Rider (Josh Holloway) for the second time. He corners her and shoots her in the foot, but no paint comes out. This was probably the best part of the whole episode, with Annie resisting Rider and chalking her blushing up to a bean allergy – which I loved – and the slow-motion paintballs flying as Jeff and Abed come to her aid and Rider escapes. It was a really delightfully cheesy, high action scene.
When they finally do find the Dean in his impossibly skimpy cowboy outfit, they grab the ammo and I love that Annie ends up with Chang’s tiger gun from “Modern Warfare” as they head off to find Pierce and pay him back for what he’s done. The final scene was really great. It had everything: betrayal, drama, regret, and revenge (and for the guys, Annie’s boobs). Annie admits that the poker game was an attempt to vote Pierce out but that she voted him in. Because she feels so betrayed, she challenges Pierce to a duel, but of course the Black Rider comes waltzing in, arousing Jeff’s insecurities and we find ourselves in a four-way standoff. Pierce fakes a heart attack, because well, he’s Pierce and he’s a cheater, Rider falls for it and loses.
We knew his stint would be short, but of course we wanted a little more. I think he served his purpose though. He got to be Sawyer-esque, dark and mysterious (undercut by his affinity for Coldplay at the end of the episode) and he got to make Jeff feel incredibly insecure, which is always hilarious. (“Is my forehead really that big?” “It’s not small.”) Rider leaves right before admitting he was the mole for the ice cream company that's supposed to be supplying the prize money. Of course their backup plan is an elimination squad that swarms the campus at the end of the episode, led by the annoying giant ice cream cone mascot. This was the only part that really bothered me. A high-pitched voice commanding troopers from the inside of an ice cream suit just took the episode from delightfully campy to too much. I’m hoping it’s not too big of a part next episode, but from the looks of the preview scenes at the end, it will be.
As for now, at least we can say we had a bit of fun, let’s just hope we can say the same when we see the second half next week.
March 29, 2011 8:46am EST
When you’re Disney’s 50th animated feature you’re in a pretty tough spot. Add to that the fact that Walt Disney himself attempted to tell your story decades ago and that it’s a tale every child has heard before. A film like this has no choice but to be good. And luckily for Tangled the retelling of Rapunzel good is just the beginning.
As much of a Disney fan as I am I honestly didn’t have high hopes for Tangled. I wasn’t a fan of the "hip" title. I didn’t think there was enough meat to the Rapunzel story to hold an entire film. I thought that the addition of 3-D technology would just render it a giant gimmick. I was dead wrong. Not only is this film delightful adorable and even kind of moving it’s stunning even without the 3-D. Often when films in that format hit regular old Blu-ray the result is a film with incredible high-definition that only serves to emphasize how many 3-D tricks filmmakers attempted to shove down our throats. With Tangled the 3-D can serve as a fantastic enhancement to the beautiful settings in the film but it’s really not necessary to enjoy it.
As for the story itself it’s a delightful fresh take on the tale we all know so well. Yes I still think the title change is a little silly but the film is so enjoyable that by the end it’s just a name. Mandy Moore's head-strong (literally she's carrying a hell of a lot of hair) yet sheltered Rapunzel and Zachary Levi's conceited but lovable Flynn Rider are a wonderful pairing; they add enough modern flavor without taking us out of the fairy tale mindset. It’s something that many fairy tale cartoons have tried but Tangled succeeds without being too blunt about it. Overall it’s a fun little ride and while I would never place it firmly alongside classics like Snow White or Sleeping Beauty it reminds me of the fun and colorful adventures we witnessed in Aladdin and some of the more modern classics. It’s a fairy tale for the modern viewer.
As for the special features this Blu-ray isn’t quite as jam-packed as other more classic Disney films’ discs seem to be. We’ve got your typical deleted scenes with a little explanation from directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard a look at the original storybook style opening and two extended songs. The most worthwhile feature is probably the featurette “Untangled: The Making of a Fairy Tale.” It’s actually sort of a trivia presentation with stars Moore and Levi but you learn a bit and there’s a segment about the CGI snafus that happened with Rapunzel’s hair and I’m going to admit they’re kind of funny. I was a little disappointed that the feature seems to focus heavily on the fact that Tangled is the 50th animated feature and that the information about the film itself is pretty quick and light; I would have like to learn more about how they decided on this particular adaptation. Even so the gorgeous film is really enough on its own so anything extra would just be that much more fun.
Tangled hits Blu-ray DVD and 3-D Blu-ray March 29.
February 10, 2011 6:19am EST
Roger Ebert confuses me. Maybe 'confuse' is too strong a word. I had to unfollow him on Twitter because of his Luddite leanings -- one too many tweets about the Terror of the Kindle. But the man’s clearly passionate about film, far more knowledgeable than I will ever be. But then he writes what he wrote about Finian’s Rainbow and I shake my head.
Of course, it’s all subjective. The point of all the film reviews, star attributions, thumbs-up and thumbs-down is to complete a kind of sales cycle. For instance, I love Bad Boys. Yeah, that’s right, Bad Boys. I also love Birth of a Nation, which is horrifically racist. And while I love Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin kind of bores me. Why? It sure isn’t because Charlie Chaplin is “bad.” It’s just taste.
Anyhow, I personally agree with Ebert in his assessment of this week’s classic movie, and our third in a series (check out part I here and part II here) about Francis Ford Coppola:
1969’s The Rain People.
After the disastrous Finian’s Rainbow, it appeared Coppola wanted to get back to the stripped-down, intimate style of filmmaking he fell in love with in the first place. While working on Finian’s Rainbow, Coppola wrote the screenplay for The Rain People based on an incident from his childhood. After a fight with his father, Coppola’s mother had walked out of the house and spent two days alone in a hotel room. From that seed, Coppola wrote a story about a woman who leaves her husband and sets out across America in an effort to find herself.
The plot is baby boomerism to the extreme, but something about the delicate intimacy of the filmmaking saves it from the arrogance of someone venturing into the Midwest on a search for America. Part of that delicacy stems from the approach Coppola took to production. He put together a crew of about 20 and set off on the road. The crew included a young George Lucas as production assistant, and an even younger Melissa Mathison as Coppola’s babysitter. Mathison would later be nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay for E.T.
Ebert may have been the first person to point out that The Rain People is a mirror image of Easy Rider, also released in 1969. In Easy Rider, a couple of hippie drug dealers venture eastward across the U.S.A. in search of a middle-class retirement in Florida. In The Rain People, a woman ventures westward across the U.S.A. in search of freedom from the trappings of the middle-class lifestyle.
It’s difficult, I think, for some artists to find and stick to their strengths. As much as one can enjoy the stylistic flights of You’re A Big Boy Now or the more whimsical moments of Finian’s Rainbow, The Rain People suggests that Coppola’s strength might be with more intimate moments. For sure, Coppola adds his little flairs -- intercuts of the main character’s wedding at the top of the film, and some other stuff later on -- but for the most part the movie is shot in an almost documentary style that doesn’t leave any room for the characters to hide.
If there’s a weakness in the story, it has to do with the “searching for America” feel -- that strange middle-class notion that one is more likely to discover what our counry means a thousand miles down the road than in one’s own front yard. It’s a weakness that displaces any potential power in the film, because it turns away from the apparent source of Coppola’s obsessions: the father and family that the woman left behind.
If only Coppola could find a story that sits closer to his obsessions with fathers and sons and his urban Italian heritage.
October 29, 2010 5:20am EST
1. Career Advice for Tom Cruise
The problem plaguing Tom Cruise was clear. Everyone was angry with him for taking himself way too seriously. There was the whole "psychology is made up" strangeness, the video where he talked about how he was an authority on the mind, and the oddball Oprah couch zaniness.
Then he did Tropic Thunder in an effort to tell the general public "Hey, I can make fun of myself too! Look, I'm harmless!" And, you know, it kind of worked, though he’s not all the way back just yet.
So I'm proposing a radical solution for what ails Cruise, at least so far as public perception is concerned. I don't think the musical thing is the route to go. He needs to take a bold step, and that step is towards Paul Thomas Anderson's now dead anti-Scientology project. Finance that puppy and release a press statement that says the following:
"In an effort to support the freedom of expression, religion, and speech I've signed on to Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master." I'm still a proud Scientologist, but I recognize that it takes different strokes to rule the world. I worked with Paul previously on "Magnolia," and though he does about 100 takes of the same scene, I'm willing to follow him down the rabbit hole once again. After all, the last time I was nominated for an Academy Award was with PTA, he's as gifted as they come. Hopefully, this project will show everyone I'm ready to act, seriously act, again.
Watch your back, Daniel Day-Lewis!"
This would work! Because the problem was that Cruise took himself too seriously, so we couldn't take him seriously. He parried with the comedy, allowing us to continue not taking him seriously. Now, for act three, he's got to go all Yoda on us. Back to serious craft, Mr. Cruise, and don't dilly-dally. Hit us with the good stuff, the "real" Tom Cruise, the guy who gave life to characters in The Firm, Rain Man, and A Few Good Men. People will support you T-sizzle, if only you give them half a chance.
2. About That Ghost Rider 2 Budget ...
I'm amazed that Ghost Rider 2 has a budget above $263 dollars. Because I see the expenditures as follows:
$100: To buy the original comics, which clearly no one read before shooting the original.
$50: Six tickets to see Paranormal Activity 2, which was made for FIFTY TIMES less money than Ghost Rider.
$63 Hair products for Mr. Cage.
$50 To Purchase vintage Atari 2600 to handle "flaming skull" CGI if unable to find the previous one they used.
Everything else in the budget should be donated to charity. Terrible movies shouldn't get sequels, and they sure as heck shouldn't get sequels that cost more than a trip to the Dairy Queen.
3. Taylor Swift, Jake Gyllenhaal, and the Return of Gangster Rap (Sort of)
I generally stay away from personal relationships and gossip, because really, who cares, but I'm forced to enter the fray for this particular thought exercise.
You see, Taylor Swift recently took a bat to Camilla Belle (10,000 B.C.) with the following song:
The lyrics to this hit piece are tremendous for a few reasons:
1. It's about Joe Jonas (pronounced Yo Yonas).
2. Joe Jonas dated Taylor Swift, and then dropped her for Camilla Belle, causing Swifty to write this little ditty.
3. She alleges Belle is best known for her work on the mattress? Hey now!4. The lyrics hold Jonas blameless, he's just a pawn in the larger Swift vs. Belle battle, the closest approximation we've got to Tupac vs. Biggie going at the moment.
5. In fact, Joe (Yo) Jonas (Yonas) is an object, because you can't "steal" a person.
6. She hates Belle's vintage dresses.
7. She despises Belle's continual frown.
8. She feels Belle's prep school upbringing didn't infer her a level of sophistication.
Simply delightful. Now then, to the news of the day, our girl Swift is dating none other than Jake Gyllenhaal. Clearly, I hope everything works out and they get married, as I hope everyone gets married, because I am married, and it is a cult. But if it doesn't work out, can you just imagine? Could we be headed for another classic Swift takedown? Might it go a little something like this?:
I just saw Brothers and you know that film sucked on wheels /
And when we dated I towered over you when I wore high heels /
But now we're broken because of sex scenes you did with Hathaway /
Guess she doesn't know that Swifty gonna make her pay/
And so on, and so forth. Taylor Swift could be the entertainment gift that keeps on giving, because very few artists are compelled to bring personal vendettas into their work. It was pretty much just rap and Carly Simon prior to this. Ideally, perfect world, Jake Gyllenhaal can then make a retaliation film called Swift Justice. C’mon, you know you’d watch that.
On that note, I hope you have a weekend free of angry relationship rhymes.
Check out last week's Movie Musings here
Laremy is the lead critic and senior producer for a website named Film.com. He's also available on Twitter.
September 22, 2010 5:00am EST
The creations came under the spotlight before the Easy Rider star's death in May (10), when he filed legal papers accusing his estranged wife Victoria Duffy of stealing art pieces from him while he was battling cancer.
The collection included a portrait of the actor by Andy Warhol, and works by Robert Graham and British graffiti artist Banksy.
And now Hopper's pieces are set to go under the hammer - with the personal Warhol portrait expected to fetch $1.2 million (£770,000).
Marc Porter, chairman of auction house Christie's, says, "Dennis Hopper was the consummate creator. His pensive, personal collection of art reflected his strong, deep bonds with the artists whose work he collected."
Two sales of Hopper's pieces will take place; in November (10) and next January (11).
July 14, 2010 7:42am EST
Ten years ago, Doug Liman was prepping a little film called The Bourne Identity, based on Robert Ludlum's beloved spy from the days of the Cold War. He updated the setting and turned the material into an exciting contemporary action film with strong, well defined characters and full-throttle pacing. Bourne made major bucks for Universal and turned the struggling filmmaker into an in-demand director. Since then, he's produced TV shows (The O.C., Knight Rider, Covert Affairs) and made successful motion pictures (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Jumper), cementing his status in Hollywood as a go-to action auteur.
Liman recently finished up work on the political thriller Fair Game and is sifting through scripts and optioning properties as he decides which one deserves his attention first. In addition to developing All You Need Is Kill and an untitled Three Musketeers project at Warner Bros. (among many other projects), he has today signed on to helm an adaptation of Monte Reel's non-fiction book "The Last of the Tribe: The Epic Quest to Save a Lone Man in the Amazon." The story chronicles the search for the last surviving member of an Amazon tribe from the perspective of the government agents charged with both verifying his existence and preserving his way of life.
Chockstone Pictures has acquired the film rights to the novel, which Liman will produce along with Ed Saxon, Dave Bartis, Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz. Mark Bailey is adapting the screenplay and will serve as exec producer on the pic. Chockstone most recently helped bring the Cormac McCarthy novel The Road to the big screen and also helped Terrence Malick make The Tree of Life, which is supposed to release sometime this year.
The Last Of The Tribe sounds pretty interesting as an anthropological study and could make a cool adventure pic, but Liman needs to set his priorities. If there's one thing that I've learned from interviewing filmmakers, it's that producers have the luxury of working on multiple projects at once while directors need to focus on them one at a time. Sometimes it takes a director two to three years to properly finish the movie; it seems like a long time, but its a necessary sacrifice to turn in the best product. When a filmmaker is juggling as many gigs as Liman is (he has six projects in development, all of which he's circling as a directing vehicle), the work tends to suffer (See: David Goyer's Blade: Trinity or John McTiernan's The 13th Warrior). They won't all wait for him, so he'll have to decide where he wants to take his career next or risk the creative quality of some of the films.