Posts filed under ‘comic book movies’

Huh, so there are people out there who won’t see ‘The Dark Knight’

logo227….it just turns out that it’s no fault of their own.

Warner Brothers, the distribution company behind “The Dark Knight,” has reportedly decided to pull the film from release in China, according to an article on Variety.

“Based on a number of pre-release conditions that are being attached to ‘The Dark Knight’ as well as cultural sensitivities to some elements of the film, we have opted to forego a theatrical release of the film in China,” Warner said.

A studio spokesam declined to elaborate. “The Dark Knight” included scenes shot in Hong Kong, which could have created difficulties in convincing censors to approve the release.

The Chinese market has been growing impressively in years due to increased numbers of multiplexes and an expanding middle class. But sensitivities remain high about Hollywood’s treatment of its culture.

When I first heard of the news, I couldn’t figure out what in “The Dark Knight” would be so offensive to the Chinese, but now it makes perfect sense — Hong Kong is not painted so positively in the movie. I’m going to continue writing, and if you haven’t seen the film, I’d advise you stop, because there will be some spoilers.

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If you remember, the Chinese banker flees back across the Pacific Ocean, knowing that, no matter what his crime, the Chinese government would never surrender one of their own back to the United States for prosecution. That’s when Batman flies overseas to kick some International Ass, eventually securing the banker, smuggling him back into the United States and getting him in jail where he belongs.

With a government as apt to censor media as the Chinese have proved to be — everything from cutting “The Mummy 3” to lording over copy from journalists at the Beijing Olympics — it’s no surprise that they would be wary about a film that — even so subtly — spoke out about how they choose to run their government.

I have no doubt that “The Dark Knight” would have made some serious bank in China — it’s made ridiculous amounts of money wherever it is shown, including overseas. On top of its domestic $530 million-plus, the sequel to Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” has raked in more than $465 million in foreign box office. Whew, that’s a shit-ton of money. So, I’d be willing to bet that Warner Brothers fought long and hard to get this movie in Chinese theaters, especially considering the ever-growing movie market there.

I don’t really know what  to think of this. It is what it is, and no matter how much I — or anyone — spouts off against it, the Chinese government will continue to censor films. I just feel bad for the citizens of China, because, this time, they’re missing out on a really, really good movie.

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December 23, 2008 at 6:15 pm 2 comments

Commentary: Lay off ‘The Dark Knight’ sequel rumors

logo223I’d like to take a step back and look the flurry of ridiculousness that have followed this summer’s — and possibly this decade’s — biggest blockbuster hit, “The Dark Knight.” There has been a roller coaster of excitement following these rumors, from the explosion of happiness when the “news” broke that Johnny Depp and Phillip Seymour Hoffman had signed on to play the Riddler and Penguin, respectively, to the lull in news to ensued — then to even more ridiculous rumors, like Angelina Jolie playing Catwoman to Michael Caan being replaced as Albert.

Now, I’m sure you’ve all heard about the last — and most overtly absurd batch — Eddie Murphy as the Riddler and Shia LeBouf as — ahem — Robin. Now, I have one simple plea to all of you who have, over the course of the last few months, freaked out about each successive “leaked” rumor — all of which I can guarantee you was simply made up:

STOP IT.

Eddie Murphy is not playing The Riddler. He’s just not. There is no place snn1803gx1-280_684409afor a goofy Riddler in The Nolan-verse. If the Riddler is in the next Nolan Batman movie — which everyone is just assuming, but the writers have said they may go into the well and find some villains that have yet to see the screen in any Batman adaptation — he’d need to be real; he’d need to be gritty and creepy. Nolan took an age-old Batman villain and turned him into a realistic terrorist in “The Dark Knight.” Expect him to do the same with The Riddler, is indeed he comes into the picture.

And for the second name that popped up in this crop of rumors, LeBouf, I actually chuckled when I heard this. Really? Really? Please, if you actually believed this rumor, let me know in the comments section. I’d like to know if there is anyone out here that really bought this steaming pile of lie. First off, both Nolan and the Caped Crusader himself, Christian Bale, have spoked out against the introduction of Robin to this trilogy. Bale actually said he wouldn’t come back until Robin was dumped from the script if, by some horrible turn of events, the Boy Wonder was actually and wrongfully written into the story.

These rumors aren’t true. And they’re not even believable anymore. At least with Hoffman and Depp — even Jolie — you could picture them actually playing these characters in the Nolan-verse. So, even though those rumors didn’t have a shred of evidence, you could at least get some enjoyment out of them, dreaming about how sweet a movie that would make.

Murphy? LeBouf? Fuck that.

I, for one, am sick of these rumors. I don’t want to hear them anymore. 77Nolan isn’t signed on for another movie, and, in fact, he hasn’t even come up with a legitimate storyline yet. They’re not going to sign Murphy to play the Riddle if they’re not even sure the Riddler will be in the movie. I believe these unsubstantiated and increasingly sensational rumors are a ploy — the last one was broken by London’s Sun, which is historically less than credible — to grabs readers and internet hits. That’s it. The most popular movie in a long time — “The Dark Knight” — means people are interested. Fake stories about potential sequels are going to get people to your website.

That’s it.

And if we keep eating up stories like Murphy as the Riddler, more and more of these ridiculous stories are going to hit the web. And each time people will freak out. And each time, we’ll all look like fools for buying it.

Let’s just not give them what they want. Ignore them. Don’t react when you hear that Rosie O’Donnell is pegged to play Poison Ivy or Michael Cera has been cast as Mr. Freeze (I feel like an idiot for saying this, but I just made these up — they’re not real rumors, just sarcastic choices to make my point. I just want to make sure I’m not responsible for the next round of madness). Don’t give them the satisfaction of listening to their childish plans to grab as many readers as possible.

I want news on the — hopefully upcoming — Dark Knight sequel as much as you do; believe me. But I want real news. I, for one, am going to ignore anything about the sequel until Christopher Nolan speaks out about it himself, and I encourage all of you to do the same thing. I wouldn’t expect any solid news for at least six months.

That way, we all can stop getting so upset about Eddie Murphy as The Riddler.

December 23, 2008 at 12:02 am 3 comments

Top Six: Most anticipated movies of 2009

logo222I’m home from school, and, while I can’t do my Top Six movies of 2008 because I have yet to see “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and feel like I’ll really enjoy that flick, I need something to do. That’s pretty much why this blog has been started back up, even after such a long hiatus.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep Movie Chutzpah up through next semester, but you never know. But, let’s all just enjoy it while it lasts.

Let’s be honest; 2008 was an incredible year for movies. “The Dark Knight,” “WALL-E,” you name it — there were some amazing movies that hit theaters this year, and I think it showed at the box office. Even with the industry worried about home theaters, netflix and pirating movies taking away from the in-theater sales, “The Dark Knight” made an insane amount of cash, and even smaller flicks like “Mama Mia” did quite well in their runs. So will the studios be able to keep it up with their 2009 lineups?

We’ll see. The lasting effects of the writers’ strike might put a damper on things — especially in the comic book movie genre, which could lose a lot of the steam it picked up with “The Dark Knight” and “Iron Man.” But even so, there’s plenty to be excited about, I promise. Without further ado, here are the six movies I can’t wait to see next year.

6. “Terminator Salvation,” May 22, 2009

title-for-terminator-4-gets-terminated“1984” is my favorite book, “Brazil” is one of my favorite movies and so-on — I love dystopian literature. I always have and a I probably always is. There’s just something very intriguing to me about the different ways government and society could go to absolute shit. And, with the entire human race being beaten in a war versus man-like machines, it doesn’t get any more dystopian and depressing than the Terminator series. I know that, no matter how many of these films McG decides to pop out (he apparently already has plans for a fifth installment after “Salvation”), nothing will ever top “Terminator 2,” but I still enjoyed the third one. “Salvation,” even though Arnold isn’t going to be in it, is exactly what Terminator fans have wanted since the beginning; we’ve heard about the Great War between man and machine for three movies. Now we get to see it. I’m really excited that Christian Bale is playing John Connor, too — I think he’s going to be a really good addition to the franchise. Check out the trailer here:

5. “Monsters vs. Aliens,” March 27, 2009

monster_vs_alienI have yet to see a Disney 3-D movie, but I’ve heard very good things about it — like, the innovations that have been made in this new generation of 3-D movies are good enough to remove the kitsch label from the technology. This will most likely be the first one I see, because it looks amazing. Action, humor and crazy character designs — I really think this has the potential to be one of, if not the, best non-Pixar CGI-based film yet. It looks as if it has a tiny bite of satire, and it definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously, blatantly making fun of the classic genres its borrowing from. I love, love, love b-level 1950s sci-fi movie like “Attack of the 50 foot Woman,” “The Blob” and especially “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” so I’m assuming that a lil’ throwback-parody action in “Monsters vs. Aliens” (it looks as though the 5o-foot woman actually makes an appearance in the flick) will be fantastic. This is going to be a good one.

4. “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” Nov. 6, 2009

9220__wes_lSome people love him; some people think he’s a no-talent assclown who hides under the “indie” label to slip crappy movies into American pop-culture. Wes Anderson is a very polarizing director, and I happen to be in the former category. I adore all of his movies, and “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” which is reportedly using the stop-motion animation that Anderson tinkered with in “Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” is definitely one of the most intriguing endeavors of 2009. Although the settings of his movies are drastically different, I think the core of every one has been the same — dealing with disappointment, family issues and general disfunction. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see Anderson try to work out of his element with this project. “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” is based on a classic childrens’ novel by Roald Dahl and will a great lineup of voice actors, including George Clooney, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jason Schwartzman and Anjelica Huston. Here’s a clip from “The Life Aquatic” that showcases the stop-motion animation that could be used in “Mr. Fox,” too:

3. “Inglourious Basterds,” June 2009

tarantino-sipaFirst of all, let me say something: I know both “Inglorious” and “Bastards” are spelled wrong in the title — but that’s the way director Quention Tarantino wants it. And at this point, I’m ready to let him do whatever he wants, just as long as this movie finally gets finished. He’s been talking about this project, I believe, since the early 1990s after the completion of “Reservoir Dogs.” No after all the speculation, hype and rumor, we finally know that it’s finally going to get made — with a killer cast that includes Brad Pitt, B.J. Novak (from “The Office”) and Samuel L. Jackson. From what I’ve heard about this flick, including script reviews and such, this could be Tarantino’s coupe de grace, his masterpiece. And that’s with”Pulp Fiction” — one of the best movies of all time — hanging over this project’s head. Maybe I’m getting a little carried away on the hype train, but, I think it’s safe to say that, if there’s this much buzz around a movie this earlier, it’s going to be pretty darn impressive. Here’s a fan-made video of the shooting set of the flick:

2. “Watchmen,” March 6, 2009

watchmenMy first experience with the graphic novel “Watchmen” came as soon as I could find the book after I saw the mysterious trailer linked to “The Dark Knight.” I don’t like comic books, but this was different, and it completely blew me away. Reviews — even ones from cynical comic book fans who have seen bits and pieces of the film — are crazy-good already, headed by a glowing review by indie-film guru and mega-nerd Kevin Smith. Zack Snyder’s movie is one of the only big-name comic book adaptations that will hit theaters next year, but it’s a good one. If done right, and from all accounts it has been, Snyder continue setting the bar higher for comic book movies, a trend that started with “Spider-Man” and has continued through “The Dark Knight.” I don’t want to get my hopes up too high, but I really can’t wait until I can see this — in the IMAX Experience, of course.

1. “Where the Wild Things Are,” Oct. 16, 2009

where_the_wild_things_areflvThis movie just has to freakin’ come out already! Shoots and edits and reshoots and re-edits and test audiences and so on — this movie has gone through a lot, even the release date being pushed back over a year. It seems as though everything is on the right track now, with — apparently and hopefully — the majority of Spike Jonze’s original, darker view in tact. The studio has backed him 100 percent, even after children were scared and adults calling the lead character, Max, “unlikeable” in test screenings. I, for one, desperately want to see Jonze’s version hit the screens; his work on movies like “Adaptation” and “Being John Malkovich” is simply amazing, and bringing that gritty, realistic style to one of the most surreal and famous childrens’ novels of all time … well, I’m just just excited to see it. The video posted below is very, very early test footage — the sound isn’t synced and the kid isn’t actually Max Powers, who will be playing Max — but the angles, lighting, cinematography and general feel of the movie is exactly what I expect. October 16th cannot come soon enough:

December 22, 2008 at 10:08 pm 2 comments

Worst Watchmen news ever

So, a couple of days ago — when I posted a picture of what Rorschach will look like under the mask in the upcoming “Watchmen” adaptation — I revealed that I had broken down and read the comic book, even though I’ve never enjoyed comics. But I’m sure hardcore “Watchmen” fans aren’t surprised to find out that I loved the book and immediately began counting down the days until the movie came out.

Now comes news that, if FOX has their way, the movie will never come out.

FOX has sued Warner Brothers, the film’s producer and eventual distributer, over the rights to the “Watchmen” property, saying they’ve owned the right to make an adaption all along. A lot of internet wizards and movie geeks such as myself dismissed the lawsuit as silly and without base when the news first broke that FOX was attacking Warner Bros, just waiting until the thing was thrown out of court. But yesterday, a judge took the case a little more seriously, denying Warner Bro’s motion to dismiss the case. Uh oh.

Very little was divulged about the case, and neither party wants to comment on “ongoing litigation,” so us fans are left to twiddle our thumbs and hope for the best. But here’s the shitty party — FOX says they’re not looking for a monetary compensation or to become a profit participant of the film. They want to see that Zack Snyder’s “Watchmen” never gets released. Ever.

It doesn’t make any sense that FOX wouldn’t want this film released. True, they have the rights to produce their own “Watchmen,” and they would make tons and tons of money. But guess what? They’d have to front tons and tons of production-cost money, casting money, marketing money and whatever else production companies have to spend to get movies made. Here, the movie’s already made, Warner Brothers have already put all the money up front, and FOX stands to gain huge amounts of money from the film’s release — money that will all be straight-up profit, since they didn’t have to pay anything to get the flick made.

Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m upset at the prospect of this version of “Watchmen” never getting released. Maybe I’m just not seeing the advantage that FOX sees of blocking this film’s release. But, to me, this looks like a MASSIVE lose-lose-lose (Warner Bros, FOX and “Watchmen” fans everywhere) for everyone involved.

Variety has a little explanation about the origins of the film’s copyright history:

At the heart of Fox’s suit, filed in February, is the contention that it never ceded rights to the property. And according to the federal Judge Gary Allen Feess, Fox retained distribution rights to the graphic novel penned by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons through a 1991 claim. Furthermore, Feess appears to agree that under a 1994 turnaround deal with producer Larry Gordon, Gordon acquired an option to acquire Fox’s remaining interest in “Watchmen,” which was never exercised, thereby leaving Fox with its rights under the 1994 agreement.

The film has been in development hell since 1994, with many people saying it was impossible to bring a faithful adaption to screen. So, with so many people taking an ill-fated stab at a “Watchmen” movie, I can see where the murkiness as to who owns the rights came from.

I really don’t know much about the legal side of things. I wish I going give you some expert analysis about the goings on in the court room, but you and me both are just going to have to wait and see on this one.

August 19, 2008 at 1:26 pm Leave a comment

The Dark Knight finally falls from box office top spot

“The Dark Knight”  finally loosened its iron fist on the domestic box office this weekend. After crushing all opening weekend, the subsequently beating “Step Brothers,” “The Mummy 3” and “Pineapple Express” in their respective opening weekends, the latest and hands-down greatest bat-flick has finally slowed its ridiculous money grabbing — well, slowed it to the tune of a $16.8 million haul, a good total box office draw for some smaller flicks.

But alas, “Tropic Thunder,” the second R-rated, action-based comedy to draw well at the box office in as many weeks, picked up another $26 million this weekend after opening on Wednesday to finally strip “The Dark Knight” of that No. 1 spot. “Thunder” has taken in $37 million in its five days so far. It’s a great draw for not only an R-rated comedy (which generally don’t do well in theaters), but one that faced boycotts and protests from pretty much every special needs awareness groups in America. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I haven’t heard anything but good things. To be honest, I’m really glad “The Dark Knight” fell to a — from the sound of things — good movie as opposed to “Mummy 3” or “Step Brothers” or, God forbid, “The Rocker” next weekend.

Christoper Nolan’s epic crime drama with spandex didn’t go away empty handed, though. It toppled the original “Star Wars” to take the No. 2 spot on best domestic box office draw ever. Pretty good deal when it’s only been out a month.

August 17, 2008 at 2:00 pm 1 comment

The Dark Knight dvd update: BatPod gift set

By now, every Batman enthusiast has heard that the suits at Warner Brothers Studios are pushing for a holiday-season release of the highly anticipated “The Dark Knight” dvd. The quickly approaching release date is the main reason why internet wizards and box office pundits are saying the film won’t topple “Star Wars” as the highest box office draw ever (over $600 million).

Honestly, I could care less whether or not it beats “Star Wars.” Being a huge fan of the movie, I love to see it smash all these records and whatnot, but this is a sign of the times — we want the DVD as quickly as possible (including me. I want to be able to see it everyday, if I feel like it), and there’s not reason that the flick should stay in theaters for 44 months, like “Star Wars” did

Well, let the speclation begin. Over at slashfilm, they have pictures of, what looks like, mockups for the various forms in which the DVD will be release, including some pretty sweet gift set ideas which involved the crowd-favorite BatPod and a BatMask. Of course, we have to be skeptical, with every teenager with a bad case of acne and nothing to do on a Saturday night stirring up crazy internet rumors with a few hours spent on Photoshop, but if these are real, they’re pretty freakin’ cool. Check ’em out below.

First things first, here’s the coolest one. The one that garnered the post’s title, the BatPod gift set:

And now the inside specs, which reveal that the two discs are, very creatively, hidden in the stand of the BatPod figurine:

Yes, this display is incredibly geeky, but I like the idea behind it. When I went to the midnight showing, one of the loudest cheers mid-movie came when Batman rocketed out of the broken tumbler, first introducing the audience to the odd-looking BatPod. No one expected it, and everyone loved it, so it makes sense that Warner Bros. would try to capitalize on the popularity of this suped-up motorcycle.

Next up is a much lamer gift set, with a small BatMask included:

It looks as though the mask is about the size of a DVD case, and, with no stand or anything like that visible, it leaves the question of how to display this open. I can only see the most diehard Batman fans going for this useless piece of memorabilia, where I can see many casual fans and those who just like “The Dark Knight” being much more apt to pick up the BatPod set.

And finally, we have the regular releases, including a two-disc set, a two-disc set in a “limited Steelbook case,” and a blu-ray release:

I’ll most likely pick up the regular two-disc set. I don’t have blu-ray yet, leaving that option out, and I don’t have much need for a geeked-out gift set. Although — and I hope I don’t sound like a total nerd — that BatPod set is pretty badass. I really like the design on it, and if it’s a real option, I’ll have some serious thinking to do: should I just go regular dvd, or totally nerd myself out and get the collector’s edition toy? Hmmm, decisions, decision.

Here’s my only beef with these mockups — The Joker is, far and away, the highlight of the movie, both in Heath Ledger’s execution and the viewers’ eyes. I would love to see a gift set that highlights him, in some way. It would be much harder to do, seeing as how he doesn’t really have any cool gadgets like the BatPod, but I’m sure the Warner Bros bigwigs could figure something out. And there’s no doubt in my mind that a Joker gift set would get eaten up by the hardcore “The Dark Knight” enthusiasts and the general public alike. I would be really surprised if there’s nothing like that offered by the time the DVD is released.

August 14, 2008 at 4:48 pm 2 comments

Robert Downey Jr: “Fuck D.C. Comics”

Do you remember a time when the only people that cared about the never-ending battle of comic book supremacy between Marvel and D.C. were portly virgins in under-sized “Star Trek” t-shirts, spouting most of their arguments during the fourth hour of a highly competitive Dungeons and Dragons game or on an online forum from the basement of his parents house?

Yeah, those were better times.

But this might be funnier. At least it’s a little bit less sad. Robert Downey Jr., star of Marvel’s biggest summer 2008 blockbuster “Iron Man” recently thrashed not only D.C. comics, but also the arguably biggest comic book movie ever made, “The Dark Knight.” Maybe it’s jealousy because the Gotham’s Caped Crusader completely stole the spotlight from “Iron Man,” which, back in May, set the bar pretty high for this summer’s comic book movies. Maybe he’s just trying to stir up some talk about “Iron Man,” because it’s never too soon to get the hype started about the sequel. Or maybe he really just didn’t understand it (Via Moviehole):

“My whole thing is that that I saw ‘The Dark Knight’. I feel like I’m dumb because I feel like I don’t get how many things that are so smart. It’s like a Ferrari engine of storytelling and script writing and I’m like, ‘That’s not my idea of what I want to see in a movie.’ I loved ‘The Prestige’ but didn’t understand ‘The Dark Knight’. Didn’t get it, still can’t tell you what happened in the movie, what happened to the character and in the end they need him to be a bad guy. I’m like, ‘I get it. This is so high brow and so fucking smart, I clearly need a college education to understand this movie.’ You know what? Fuck DC comics. That’s all I have to say and that’s where I’m really coming from.”

So, you’re telling me Downey Jr. is out of consideration for any D.C. upcoming gigs?

I would love for this to start a everyone-takes-sides Hollywood comic-off, where all of the industry’s big shots put in their two cents. I think it would be hilarious and equally idiotic if Christian Bale fires back, Edward Norton throws down some ugly words, Tobey Maguire gets really nasty — is it just me or would it be, like, the greatest thing ever if all these guys really, really took Downey Jr.’s words personally?

Fingers crossed.

August 14, 2008 at 3:48 am 5 comments

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