Friday, November 5, 2010

Movie Review: Due Date

No Crowning Achievement
Due Date breaks water, no new ground

The filth wake of a new Jackass film makes other movies’ attempts to shock with ribald humor futile, even with dialogue like “I vomited in the wound.” Nice try, Due Date, but Steve-O practically gargled human feces. Too unimaginative to be risque, director Todd Philips has made a “blender” film; you know, where they make an acceptable-but-not-delicious cinematic smoothie by pureeing superior ingredients into one shapeless discolored but drinkable mess.

It takes a village to raise a child, and it took four writers to steal from Planes, Trains & Automobiles and The Hangover, from which the producers even stole an actor. Zach Galifianakis, who should ask Jack Black about the legal limit on the number of times a comedian can repeat the same performance, plays Ethan Tremblay. The difference between the good-hearted, dangerous man-child that is Ethan and Alan, the character Galifianakis played in The Hangover, is that one is named Ethan and the other is named Alan.

Because Ethan is a ridiculous cartoon, he somehow manages to get expectant father Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr) tossed off a plane and put on a no-fly list. Because the plot requires them to do so, the two wind up having to rapidly travel across country in an attempt to get Peter home in time to see his wife (Michelle Monaghan) produce his progeny. Do they make it? Do they become weird friends? Is there a bevy of masturbation jokes, including multiple shots of a dog making like a lonely prison inmate, and brief, mostly unfunny cameos from marginally famous actors and actresses? A gentleman never tells.


Look, Due Date isn’t bad. It isn’t interesting enough to be bad. The best description is that it feels like a classic comedy from which someone cut out all of the most memorable scenes. It’s perpetually marginally amusing, but whenever an epic moment is needed, the film resorts to barely passable physical gags, most involving "Looney Tunes" car crashes. Due Date takes place in the same plane of reality as “The Office,” in that it sure seems like our world, but people can do anything without actual consequence.

Downey Jr is charming, and Galifiankis is funny. And if Downey Jr and Galifianakis were as charming and funny as they seem to think they are, maybe the sins of Due Date are absolved. Instead, the film is just an unlikable douche and a stoner one-beard heavier than Forest Gump bumbling around as you ask “are we there yet?”

Grade – C-

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Fearless, Flawless Box Office Predictions

I'll be back at some point with my Due Date review. It was...okay. That's all. It's going to do CRAZY business that first week, that's for damn sure, as my MIDNIGHT SHOWING was pretty much sold out. People love this kind of broad-based, mass-appealing, semi-raunchy comedy these days. It won't be number one because Megamind gets the families, but it's going to be strong, mark my words. As for that latter film, I will also file that one under "meh." Wake me when Dreamworks designs a different looking character. They all look the same. Anyway, onward and upward to some Box Office Haikus!

Here's how I see the weekend:

1.) Megamind - $60 million

The voices are great.
The animation? It ain't.
The verdict is meh.

2.) Due Date - $33 million

One name is a haiku line.
Just thought I'd mention.

3.) For Colored Girls - $22 million

It's Tyler Perry!
Directing, but not his script.
No name in title!!!!

4.) Saw 3D - $7.5 million

A one-week wonder,
this franchise now goes away.

5.) Red - $7 million

Keep it up now, Bruce.
That sounded rather dirty.
I meant it that way.

WILDCARD - Paranormal Activity 2 - $7 million

Longer legs than Saw.
But that's because Saw sucks ass.
My last Saw joke? Please!!!!

Okay, that's it until I return with a review for your faces. Enjoy your weekends!

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Things You Should Buy Me (Volume 56)

This is usually something I do on Wednesdays. So sue me, it's late! Actually, please don't, I do not have the money and I don't want to cash in my lifetime annual favor from my lawyer brother-in-law on "got sued for a late blog posting." He's pretty smart, so I figure I'm good for getting out of a major crime of some kind and want time to plan something good.

Speaking of things that are good, you should buy me these things below. You should write me at, ask for my address, and then send me the awesome stuff I am about to describe to you. Why? Because I'm a wonderful human being and deserve monetary and material goods in exchange for my awesomeness. Okay, fine, I'm not really expecting you to send any of this (I won't send it back if you do, though, just FYI). I do expect you to say "whoa, that crap is COOL" and then buy it for yourself or someone you love more than me. Sadface.

Here's the stuff I want but can't have this week:

1.) Because I'm a fan of things that are plush, even though they shouldn't be - You have to admire the cleverness involved in making this:
That's Alex, a character from A Clockwork Orange. He does bad things. Now he's a plush doll. The product description cleverly says "all of the style, none of the social commentary." Given that this is a Stanley Kubrick movie we're talking of, that description also fits Brian DePalma. Zing! Look, either you're familiar enough with the movie to be like "OMG, they made a doll from a movie that includes a soliloquy that involves rape and Beethoven" or you don't find this weird/appealing at all. Also, he's only $14. That's a small amount for this bizarrely awesome conversation starter. But it Here.

2.) Now for this week's installment of "Which Star Wars Merch is Weird Enough to Want This Week" - Seriously, Lucasfilm, feel free to NOT make an intriguing piece of memorabilia for a week or so. It would be nice to have this be a non-Lucas-friendly zone for a week. Then you go and make these:
Those are ear buds. That's right, they retract. You can shove Darth Vader's hands into your ears and hear through them. Tell me that wasn't concocted by someone on shrooms. "Dude, what if...hear me out here...whoa, I'm about to talk about headphones and I just said hear twice. Anyway, what if you could shove Yoda's hands in your ears...but, like, they weren't his hands...but they were, like, tiny speakers." Now you can buy this somehow insanely cool hallucinated idea for yourself. Yay for brain-impairing drugs!

3.) Make a ninja shirt, I pimp the ninja shirt - It's simple. It's Threadless. It's always going to wind up here if it involves ninjas.
Look, this isn't rocket science. Ninjas are cool. This shirt has ninjas. This shirt is cool. Boom. Done. Buy it.

That's all for my wants this week, sorry they were late.

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Web of Lies: Casting old farts

Well, it was a matter of time before we moved from casting hotness like this:
To casting hotness like this:
And this:
The new Spider-man movie is apparently determined to cast things as on-the-nose as possible and has selected Sally Field and Martin Sheen (supposedly) to play Aunt May and Uncle Ben, respectively (wouldn't it be great if it was the other way THAT would be some inspired casting). Whatever. I mean, it works. I like both of them as actors, it was just nice to see some people we weren't as familiar with in those roles so they could really become them as people. Don't get me wrong, after all those years as President Bartlett, if Sheen commanded me to do anything, I would respond "I serve at the pleasure of the President" and run into traffic or whatever. It's know the cast is finally rounded out, and I like Emma Stone (that's an understatement) and think Andrew Garfield could do a nice job, even though he looks nothing like Peter in my opinion. But the villain is Rhys Ifans...who is The Lizard...who kind of sucks as a villain. And they're using Gwen Stacy...but she's played by a girl who should be MJ. And they're casting good actors in the adult roles...but they're so familiar and obvious. Look, it's just that if you're going to REBOOT things, it would be nice to see some creativity. That's all. This by-the-books stuff is just exhausting.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ryan's Junk Drawer

"Junk Drawer"
With great junk, comes great responsibility - "Better Off Ted"

First off, before I get to the usual "me joking around about showing people my junk" Thursday rigmarole, let me apologize for yesterday. Between the exciting new stuff we're about to unload all over your brains with the revamped Reader Web site and, you know, the job that actually pays for my life, I didn't get to blogging yesterday. Lo siento. I know that means you were deprived a "Things You Should Buy Me," but I'll make that up to you by doing one of those tomorrow. You can still buy me things on Friday, it works just as well. Also, I'm off Monday from the blogging. Hey, if this were more than a one-man junk show, I'd have backup. But unless this empty coffee cup or this Christmas ornament featuring The Swedish Chef for the Muppets I keep on my desk gain the ability to craft semi-offensive blog posts of moderate insight and limited information, that job is solely mine.

But you're not here to hear about this blog's nuts and bolts, you're hear to see my junk. For those keeping score at home, give me +14 points for finally thinking of putting the word nuts into a sentence about my junk. Anyway, when I talk about people waiting all week for a glimpse of my junk, I am not talking about what it sounds like I'm talking about (even though I like making it sound like I'm talking about what it sounds like I'm talking about). I'm talking about little, itty-bitty movie news nuggets that don't deserve their own blog posts. They think they're entitled, but they aren't. Sort of how I feel about a lot of Tuesday's elected officials. POLITICAL ZING!

We start off each week by looking at the image of a Junk Drawer up top. It's creepy, right? Maybe it's just me. It's from Highlights Magazine FOR CHILDREN and for some reason always makes me think that it's from a serial killers house. Like, if the camera panned back from the angle that image was drawn from, you'd see someone wearing another person's face on their face. Just me? Okay, moving on. What I do is pick an item from said image, make up a wacky story about it, and entertain myself.

Today's item is the screw. Martin couldn't understand why it didn't catch on. "It looks like a screw," he would yell, "but it's ACTUALLY a children's vitamin!" It had taken him years at the pharmaceutical company to finally push through his idea: Nailz N' Screws - Kiddie vitamins. "You know, because kids love screws and nails! And who hasn't wanted to eat them." Although wonderfully nutritious, Martin just couldn't seem to get the FDA to approve. "Do they want their kids to die of scurvy?" Dejected, Martin brought his pet project home, where his children loved them. Right up until his son get tetanus from eating what he thought was a Vitamin A-packed treat. "Oooooh, right," said Martin, who now keeps the last remaining vitamins tucked safely away in his junk drawer.

Okay, enough already, let's get to some movie stuffs!

1.) But...but...none of you LOOK like Harley Quinn...OR MARION COTILLARD! - CBM, the only blog I can safely call "friends of this program" for having given me my one and only shout out, has broken the news that we may be in for multiple females in The Dark Knight Rises. This comes as great news for those who were worried about Chris Nolan's treatment of women (go google "Fridging"). Or not, I suppose he could mistreat MULTIPLE women as easily as one. I know that sounds callous, but hey, my brain is really insensitive today. It just told me a terrible joke to use later about Vera Farmiga, but I promise I won't. The scoop is that the following ladies are in talks for

Kacie Thomas

Charlize Theron - She is purty and, based on her performance on "Between Two Ferns" may be cooler than I thought. Also, she does that with her legs sometimes.

Vera Farmiga - Her name is funny, and in this picture she appears to be confused as to who failed to change these sheets or how she was talked out of her pants.

The first and last ladies are apparently battling for the role of Julie Madison, a socialite who will replace the 'sploded Rachel Dawes as Bruce Wayne's loin luster. The middle lady may be Sarah Essex, who was created by Frank Miller in Batman: Year One and is a detective with a relationship involving Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman). None of these ladies are apparently playing villains of any kind, which kills my Harley Quinn buzz. None of these ladies are also Marion Cotillard, who is the actress I want in this movie after seeing Nolan direct the crap out of her performance in Inception. I'm not giving up on my Harley Quinn hopes, but it's not looking good. Speaking of not looking good, join me in the next nugget please.

2.) Pay no attention to the man behind the beaver - You have to feel bad for the guy who wrote The Beaver. It's apparently a brilliant script. It lingered around Hollywood for years before finally being scooped up by big name director Jodie Foster and big name star Mel Gibson. Oops. Here's the poster.

After Gibson's douche rampage subsided, he made this movie, which I'm sure is quite good. For a total waste of humanity, Gibson's a damn fine actor. Then he had another douche-tsunami and became a wife-beating, double-strong racist (seriously, he wins every game of Creative Racial Slurs). So now this movie, which struggled forever to get made...because it's about a guy who only communicates to the world through a beaver puppet he found in the trash is now going to slip back into that weird limbo again. I feel bad for Foster and the other creative folks behind it. Not so much for Gibson the douche-a-saur. I actually want to see it, then I want Gibson to fall into a well. A deep well. With spiders. And vomit. And lava. A deep spider, vomit, lava well. That sounds fair.

3.) Now THAT is a sexy beast - So, you're saying that when Sexy Beast director Jonathon Glazer thought about who should star as "an alien on earth disguised as a mesmerizing woman who snares human prey using her voracious sexuality," he thought of this?I am shocked...SHOCKED! I mean, how is it that Miss Johansson, who has made a career out of downplaying her sexuality, has sprung to the top of Glazer's list for Under the Skin? By the way, am I the only one who wants to believe this is a weird sci-fi sequel to In Her Shoes? Something about the title makes me find that funny. Look, I love Scar-jo. She's smokin' hot, and I've had a thing for her forever now. I just want to see her do stuff that DOESN'T involve being smokin' hot and horny. She's a superhero...but it's a leather-bound superhero named Black Widow who poses seductively a lot. She's in a Woody Allen movie (or three), but somehow is sexier than any Allen character ever. Point is, she was so good and vulnerable/nuanced in Lost in Translation. Let's see if she can act. She should have starred in Gravity while she had the chance. Now it's "alien-who-sleeps-with-dudes-to-eat-them" time. Ugh.

4.) It's Shakespeare, only more apocalyptastical - I love me a good Shakespeare retelling. I can't wait for The Tempest, and now I'm geeked for Henry 5. It's going to star Michael Caine and Ray Winstone and is an apocalyptic take on Henry the Fifth. Really? Okay. That sounds, um, AWESOME! I mean, I love apocalyptic stuff AND Shakespeare. What could make this better?

Right, if you can read that, it says Gerard Depardeu is in this. Ooooh, apparently that's what was missing. I wish they'd have Steven Segal in it. I'd just love to see him doing the Bard's work. I believe it's what Shakey would have wanted. Anyway, this is bad-ass. I managed to work Steven Segal and bad-ass into a post on Shakespeare. Give me +23 for that.

5.) Trailers, parked - Finally, here are some trailers. I bookended today's edition. The first trailer is The last one is fun. The middle one is a turd. So here's your trailer turd sandwich.

Sucker Punch is my friend Matt Lockwood's favorite movie. Oh, I realize he hasn't seen it yet, but this last trailer just confirmed he doesn't have to. This is pure visual paradise. I don't even care if there are words. Me likey. Me likey a lot. This guy is doing Superman. Everyone feel better about that now?

Gulliver's Travels is going to be awful. There is nothing good that will come of this. If we die out as a people, this may be responsible. This is the day the comedy died.

Blitz stars Jason Statham and is a thriller. That's all you need. Watch.

Okay, that's it for today. Tomorrow I promise to give you things to buy me and we'll talk weekend stuff, okay? Have a good one!

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010


It's election day. Obviously, unless you are intentionally hiding it from yourself, you can guess the direction my voting lever pulls. This is a movie blog, and I won't stand up on this soap box and rail on about who you should vote for and why...or even do the whole "I don't care who you vote for, just vote" schpiel because I DO care who you vote for, and if you're going to vote for someone stupid and evil I would, in fact, prefer that you stay home. This is me asking everyone to just do a little thinking, a little objective research, and THEN vote. I truly believe if everyone voted out of reasonable research and not fear, anger, or because they were told to be some media personality, we would be far, far better off. So do that. K?

Now, I mention the election stuff because it set me back a bit. See, I had to vote this morning, which means not starting this blog writing until later, which means I'm running behind. So I had two choices: I could either give you SOME of the casting news explosion today in multiple posts or I could deliver one giant kablooooooey of casting shenanigans all at once. I opted for the kablooey because, hello have you ever met me?

Ladies and gentlemen...start your moderately-interested engines, it's time for CAST-A-PALOOZA!!!! I ask and answer the following questions:

1.) Wolverine may be in X-Men: First Class? - Hugh Jackman took a cab to the set of X-Men: First Class, according to rumors from....someone. There is nothing backing this up, but it's probably true. Why? Because ever since Marvel did that cool Iron Man/Avengers bit at the end, all comic movies (especially Fox copycats) want to do that too. A cameo from Wolverine would fit, Jackman is already preparing for Wolverine 2: Talk to the Claws right now so probably looks like this:
And he's a good guy, a team player, and probably thinks it would be cool. It's a rumor, yes, but I'd like to believe it so I will.

2.) Leonardo DiCaprio is a serial killer? Take that, ladies. The drool-inducer is now going to carve up ladies in Devil in the White City. Not a whole lot of news beyond that, but it's good news. Apparently the giant book that this is based on is really good and DiCaprio hasn't done his obligatory "I'm a famous actor who everybody loves playing against type as a bad guy" role yet. My prediction? His first Oscar. We love to reward people for shit like this.

3.) Tarsem Singh directing Snow White? - Apparently, visionary director Tarsem Singh, who also keeps himself busy composing my nightmares, is going to do the serious, Brothers Grimm version of Snow White, not to be confused with the potential Johnny Depp/Cameron Diaz vehicle that's more goofy and action based. Singh has done some brilliant stuff with more placid, boring the thought of him uncorking on a fairy tale is pretty friggin' great. This is one of those decisions that moves the film from so far off my radar it's not even a blip to OH MY GOD I CANNOT WAIT! Nicely played.

4.) Cameron Crowe wants Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, or Rachel McAdams? - Just not for the same things I want them for. What? I want them to write haikus for me. What did you think I meant? Apparently one of the following women will be Matt Damon's wife and live in a zoo in We Bought a Zoo, which is the most literal title for a movie since The Dilemma.

She would be a great choice because she loves animals. You can tell by the leopard print.

She would be great to star against Matt Damon because she worked at Hooters. I don't know why that prepares her, but everyone keeps talking about how she used to work at Hooters.

Um, not sure about this one. She was considered for the role of Mary Jane or Gwen Stacy in the Spidey reboot, so being Matt Damon's wife seems a little creepy. Damon's down though.
She deserves the part BECAUSE I SAY SO, OKAY?!

Whoever wins, if this is the actual shortlist, audiences are going to be very happy.

5.) Baz Luhrmann wants Natalie Portman or Keira Knightley? - But not for the same things I want them for. What? I want them to write guest columns on the blog. Jeez, guys, what did you think? Luhrmann is casting his Daisy in The Great Gatsby, which may have Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire in it. He has about 5 names on the list, but you remember how I said I was running behind right? Here's the two that matter, the ones who would do the best job:

She who is rumored for every movie ever: Natalie Portman!!!!

She who only does period pieces: Keira Knightley.

Like I said, there are others, but that's not important right now. I actually think this adaptation could work. Luhrmann is often good (when he's not doing Australia), and the cast seems strong with DiCaprio and Maguire. That's the extent of my thoughts. Gotta run!

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Why Ron Howard is a douchebag for reasons other than Ed Tv

For those not following The Dilemma kerfluffle, it goes something like this: Hacktastic director and unimaginative boor Ron Howard's new movie, The Dilemma, featured a joke in the trailer that was an "it's gay" joke. You remember those, they're the jokes that some 10-year-old boys find clever, the ones who end up needing help to fight their later DUI cases. Although one could argue that it was not among the most offensive elements of the trailer, which includes Kevin James and Winona Ryder being married and Vince Vaughn continuing to look like somebody microwaving the Pillsbury Doughboy, it's still the equivalent of telling a joke that ends "Electric cars are for N-words." The studio pulled the trailer, replacing it with one slightly less vile, but Howard gets to decide if it remains in the movie. In the interest of being fair, here's his response to Patrick Goldstein of The LA Times...Goldstein had asked several great questions about the inclusion of this lame, tired, offensive joke at the expense of vulnerable people, some of whom have been killing themselves because others have been joking at them.

Patrick, I’ve been reading your posts about The Dilemma with a lot of interest. In the couple of weeks since you started covering the debate over our joke, it seems a larger conversation made up of many questions about all sorts of freedoms of expression has broken out: When’s it okay to walk off of a talk show if you disagree with the guest? Who is appropriate to cast in a movie and who gets to decide that? Should news people be held to a different standard in what they say? How risqué can a photo shoot be for a men’s magazine promoting an all-audience show? What role does comedy play in both pointing out differences and unifying us through laughter? They’re all good questions and I’m certainly not the person who has definitive answers to all of them. The debate about what is appropriate in films and advertising has been going on since well before I started in the business — which is to say a very long time — and will never have a conclusion. But I do have some answers to the five questions you put forth in your post. I suppose you’re right that since our movie about two friends trying to do right for each other has been caught up in this larger debate, I’ll have to face these questions as we start to promote The Dilemma. I figured I’d address your questions here and maybe answer them once and not from, as you said, “every reporter with a functioning brain.” So here we go. So why was the joke in the movie? Our lead character of Ronny Valentine has a mouth that sometimes gets him into trouble and he definitely flirts with the line of what’s okay to say. He tries to do what’s right but sometimes falls short. Who can’t relate to that? I am drawn to films that have a variety of characters with different points of view who clash, conflict and learn to live with each other. The Dilemma is a story full of flawed characters whose lives are complicated by the things they say to and hide from each other. Ronny is far from perfect and he does and says some outrageous things along the way. Was it in the script or was it a Vince Vaughn ad lib? Vince is a brilliant improvisational actor, but in this case It was always in the script. The Dilemma is a comedy for grown-ups, not kids. It’s true that the moment took on extra significance in light of some events that surrounded the release of the trailer and the studio made the decision to remove it from advertising, which I think was appropriate. I believe in sensitivity but not censorship. I feel that our film is taking additional heat as an emblem for many movies and TV shows that preceded it that have even more provocative characterizations and language. It is a slight moment in The Dilemma meant to demonstrate an aspect of our lead character’s personality, and we never expected it to represent our intentions or the point of view of the movie or those of us who made it. Did you think it wasn’t offensive? I don’t strip my films of everything that I might personally find inappropriate. Comedy or drama, I’m always trying to make choices that stir the audience in all kinds of ways. This Ronny Valentine character can be offensive and inappropriate at times and those traits are fundamental to his personality and the way our story works. Will comedy be neutered if everyone gets to complain about every potentially offensive joke in every comedy that’s made? Anybody can complain about anything in our country. It’s what I love about this place. I defend the right for some people to express offense at a joke as strongly as I do the right for that joke to be in a film. But if storytellers, comedians, actors and artists are strong armed into making creative changes, it will endanger comedy as both entertainment and a provoker of thought. And what do you have against electric cars anyway? Nothing! We have a couple of them in our family including the one I primarily and happily drive. Guess what that makes me in the eyes of our lead character? But then again, I don’t agree with everything Ronny Valentine says and does in this comedy any more than Vince Vaughn, the screenwriter or any member of the audience should for that matter.
So much stupid, so little time. Let's get right to it.

1.) Do not defend your cowardly use of a slur as "part of a character." These characters are as well crafted and nuanced as a Doritos chip. This is not f**king Shakespeare. Kids will not be studying the emotional conflicts of f**king RONNY VALENTINE in class. By the way, if you wanted us to consider the character as someone real, maybe don't name him "Ronny Valentine." This is a character, which means he's not real, which means he doesn't ACTUALLY have his own thoughts. They are written for him. If your movie is so thin that this joke is essential to him being proven a douche, your movie is every bit as awful as it looks.

2.) "I believe in sensitivity, not in censorship." Good, now that you believe in those words, let me teach you what they mean. Sensitivity is saying "this bit adds nothing at all to my movie and may hurt someone or perpetuate the dismissive attitude that some people are carrying into polling places with them." Censorship is when someone tells you that you HAVE to take something out. So, follow me on this, if you took this would be behaving SENSITIVELY to those you may hurt. Since no one is FORCING you to take it out, it's not censorship. For our next lesson in definitions, I'd like to teach you what comedy means.

3.) Here's the thing about you saying that you don't consider what's offensive: That's a lie. You do. You just make decisions about what offensive things you will or won't include. You don't include blatant racism in your films. That's a choice, right? Again, your characters aren't real, so they don't decide what they get to do. You do. Also, let's set aside this bullshit about whether edgy, offensive comedy will be hurt by this. Seeing as how it is IN NO WAY FUNNY, it doesn't belong in a discussion about comedy. You need laughter for something to be considered a joke, and let me tell you in a very scientific survey, no one ever laughed at this joke. Beyond all of that, I love offensive, edgy humor. Provided it isn't damagingly offensive. What do I mean? Could someone be offended by something like Jackass, when Steve-O is literally swimming in human feces? Oh yes, that's very offensive. Will people then use that as a basis to look down on others, to perpetuate their belief that some people are lesser-people? Probably not. Other than Steve-O, who is clearly not human. Point is, Ronny, offensive humor still has a limit for those with a conscience.

4.) The most offensive thing in your defense was when you called yourself a storyteller. Yes, weave your tale of legend, you gorgeous craftsman of lore. My favorite part of this transformational tale is when Vaughn falls into poison ivy. You, sir, are an artist. And should anyone interfere with your art, the first amendment itself may well fall prey.

You know why this matters, Ron? Because smart people know you're using this. You're keeping it in so that people remain stirred up about this bomb-waiting-to-happen. Controversy sells tickets, and this isn't even controversy. Your audience, demographically speaking, has a problem with gays. And you know it. You think the Adam Sandler frat-pack is chock-full of tolerance? If a homosexual stood up in the audience of one of Kevin James' movies and revealed himself, he'd get trash thrown at him and you know it. You know the core audience for this film will LIKE that you're keeping it in. You know that those who don't like it and cause a ruckus about it will only increase awareness of your movie. If this is a "slight moment" and there is a CHANCE that it could hurt someone or something, why leave it in? You're not smarter than us, we know what you're doing.

Let me end by saying this: It matters. These little gay jokes...they matter. They matter to the 12-year-old kid that hear people snicker when they use an orientation he's struggling to be comfortable with as a f**king punchline. They matter when adults who are increasingly voting to keep some of our citizens as second-class hear others like them chortle at the mere mention of the word. They matter because the real way that prejudice is enforced and supported isn't by hateful bigots that are obvious and easily dismissed but by subtle, tiny things that people hear and accept without thinking of it. Tell yourself that this doesn't matter, but you're wrong, wrong, wrong.

I am embarrassed that you thought it was okay in the first place. Double embarrassed by the moment's inclusion IN THE TRAILER. Triple embarrassed by this half-assed defense of prejudice and insult. This is a bad thing you are doing, and doing so knowingly and defending it publicly makes you a bad person for doing it. Shame on you, Ron Howard. You should be forced to send that letter to the parents of the children who have killed themselves after being bullied for being gay. Sit down with those parents, Ronnie, and tell them that they're just being too sensitive about a little joke. Shame on you.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Weekend Box Office Results: With a whimper...

Yes, this weekend does end with a whimper and not a bang. And that whimper isn't just coming from me. It's the wheeze that represents the death-breath of Saw, a franchise that just lived so far beyond the life it should have had that even 3D-ing it could only reanimate it's corpse ever so slightly. Here's hoping we're done with that everybody say hi to the second-place film, Paranormal Activity 2, which has now made $65 million collectively on a $3 million budget. I'm sure we won't be seeing one of THOSE every year now that Saw is leaving. May God have mercy on our box-office souls.

Here's this weekend's wrap-up, haiku style:

1.) Saw 3D - $24 million (Accuracy of prediction - 95.5%)

This is Saw 7
but they left that number out.
Maybe they can't count?

2.) Paranormal Activity 2 - $16.5 million (Accuracy of prediction - 89%)

A tiny budget
and zero big-name actors
means big-ass profits.

3.) Red - $11 million (Accuracy of prediction - 81%)

This is holding great!
Mostly because it is fun.
And for old people.

4.) Jackass 3D - $8.5 million (Accuracy of prediction - 87%)

Poop jokes are ending.
Nut shots are moving along.
We'll miss you, Jackass.

5.) Hereafter - $6.5 million (Accuracy of prediction - 88.5%)

It's an Eastwood flop!
Can we hold him in check now?
His last few sucked ass.

Overall Accuracy of Prediction - 88%

Forgettable week.
That's not good, life is too short.
Viva la MONDAY!!!????

Okay, that's it, gang. Go be productive. I'm going to try not to hurl and count down the minutes before I get back in bed.

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You got your Depp in my Theron

Everybody must be pooped today, as the biggest news scoops are a few images from a magazine of the motion-capture animated film from Spielberg and Jackson: Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn. Since I have a strict, no-unicorns-on-Monday rule, I'm going to just mention that the books on which they're based are uber-popular GLOBALLY, but not so much in the U.S. and that no matter how pretty it is, motion capture still mostly freaks my shit out. We'll cover Tintin down the road, but let's leave the reprinting of images from magazines to Captain America only, okay?

So here's the biggest news story I have for you after this weekend...and mind you, I am (as I mentioned earlier) in the scientifically defined, medically acknowledged realm of "pukey tired." Johnny Depp and Charlize Theron may star in Snow White and the Huntsman.

They look great, yes. Perhaps one would even long to see those two symmetrical faces smash into one another repeatedly, but rumor has it one will be playing the evil queen and the other will be playing the titular huntsman. Sure, you can probably guess based on gender, but you think they'd stop Depp from playing the evil queen if he asked for the role? Hell, they'd let him play Snow White. Then I'd want to see this. The movie apparently has a killer script, which features the huntsman chained to Snow White while they're being chased down by bounty hunters. It's obviously some crazy "reimagining," but everyone seems to be pretty enthusiastic about the whole thing. Then again, "Dancing with the Stars" has like millions of people call in every episode, so I'm not entirely sure what qualifies as actual valuable enthusiasm anymore. Anyway, whether or not this happens (as EVERY Depp project is a rumor until we actually see it), here's the only thing worth mentioning on this pukey Monday.

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Movie Review: Never Let Me Go

Justin turns in a review of a movie I desperately want and need to see but just haven't had the time for yet. It sounds as though it's going to be imperative for me to locate that time, however, after reading what he has to say about it. That fact is rather depressing after a weekend that saw me rising at the crack of 4:30 am on both Saturday and Sunday. Can you say Monday-morning-pukey-tired? Anyway, here's Justin's take on Never Let Me Go.

Lives for Sale
Never Let Me Go is a time-trapped tragedy
Justin Senkbile

In the special club of music video directors turned mainstream feature filmmakers, Mark Romanek is certainly one of the least visible members. That's probably because he hasn't actually made a film since 2002's creepy-but-minor Robin Williams vehicle One Hour Photo. Who would've thought, with only a handful of music videos made between then and now, that his latest feature, Never Let Me Go would be so good?

A medical breakthrough in the early fifties, which we learn all about soon enough, has precipitated the need for special boarding schools that keep their students regimented in health and behavior…and completely isolated from the outside world. One such school is Hailsham, located in some dreary English countryside, where we meet Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Ruth (Keira Knightley) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield, from The Social Network and last year's fantastic Red Riding Trilogy).

Without giving too much away, it's important to mention that, although a title card informs us that the average life-expectancy has passed 100, the students of Hailsham are destined for a short, controlled existence in service of “the greater good.”

We watch Kathy, Ruth and Tommy as children at Hailsham, puzzled by the mysterious outside world and the looks of guilt and pity elicited by deliverymen and teachers (primarily the one played by the always wonderful Sally Hawkins). As adolescents, they gain a bit more freedom and a painful awareness of their destiny. Anger, malaise and hormones swell but are assumed to be particular to their own special societal status and not necessarily typical traits. For all three, adulthood seems to bring a calm but fragile acceptance of fate.

Although the foundation of the story (based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro) is an inherently political bit of science-fiction, Never Let Me Go keeps itself staunchly apolitical, with no denouncing or indicting. That's the key to this film's success and also what makes it so bleak. The idea of our heroes escaping the life laid out for them, or overcoming the authority that laid it out, isn't even so much as whispered. The most they ever hope for, and gingerly fight for, is a little extra time.

And time is what Romanek is most interested in here. The always-too-few precious moments, the interminable distance between them and, in the case of these particular characters, the ache that accompanies having to live in the past-tense.

Mulligan, Knightley and Garfield are all exceptionally good here, but special attention should be paid to the young actors portraying the child versions: Izzy Meikle-Small as Kathy, Ella Purnell as Ruth and Charlie Rowe as Tommy. It's their work that grips us from the beginning, and these kids play out the intricacies of this love triangle just as impressively as their older counterparts.

Never Let Me Go is depressing as hell—no one is going to argue with that. But it's also very beautiful; it’s a sincere, totally unassuming movie that has you drawn in long before you realize it…perhaps even in spite of yourself.

Grade: A

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Fearless, Flawless Box Office Predictions

I'm just going to get right to it because I really don't have that many deep thoughts this weekend. One crappy new movie comes out, that will be number one. Other than that, you enjoy the last nice weekend of weather, have yourself some trick-or-treating shenanigans, and generally frolic and be merry. K?

Here's the box office prediction haikus all the kids love these days.

1.) Saw 3D - $26 million

This is the sixth Saw.
So why not call it Saw 6?
Those guys can't count good.

2.) Paranormal Activity 2 - $20 million

Look! Now you see it,
now you don't...or now you won't.
In which case, nice call.

3.) Jackass 3D - $9 million

One day, we'll look back
and we'll ask why everything
was in damn 3D.

4.) Red - $9 million

Old people need love,
or at least movies to see.
That explains this one.

5.) Hereafter - $8 million

This one is scary.
Not in terms of on-screen stuff,
just scary boring.

WILDCARD - The Social Network - $6 million

Soon this will be gone,
but it's legacy remains!
See you Oscar night!

That's it. You have a blast this weekend. Figuratively, no more explosives for you.

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Really quick note about Lost-related news

I will never be finished talking about something involving "Lost," no matter how peripheral it may be. News broke today that the show being created and pitched by the producers of "Lost" is called "Once Upon a Time," which I hate. It's also totally about "modern fairy tales," is a "mix of sci fi and fantasy with a strong mystery element" and features a "female protagonist." Well, other than the title, I am totally pumped. I mean, obviously a lot depends on who you hire as the female protagonist.
Yes, the mix of sci-fi and mystery is compelling, but it really comes down to who anchors your show as the lead.
I mean, with a show that's going to be this far on the edge, and given the loyalty that many fans had to "Lost," you're going to need someone that fans can really cling to and hold on to with all their hearts (and minds and other things).
There's no one right answer. I mean, there are so many talented, talented young actresses out there. Let's just say that I'm thrilled that they are not going with another boring, stale old male in the lead. It's nice to have a powerful female character, no matter who plays the part.
The important thing to remember is that it's about what will work best for the show, not what will work best for momentary buzz or short-term attention. Who has the talent to steer a show for 5-6 years?
THAT's the real question, you know? Like does anybody out there that we're familiar with, that these producers in particular are comfortable with, have the ability to really take the first show post-"Lost" from these creators in an exciting direction?
Because excitement is what this is about, you know.

If anyone has any suggestions as to who should be the lead, you just let me know.

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Sometimes I forget that there's a Captain America movie actually shooting right now. As much as I love me some Spider-man (always number one in my book, Wolverine can suck it), Captain America has always struck me as the character with the best chance of translating to the big screen...if only because we can all totally believe that our government would inject a skinny dude with chemicals to fight a war. Now, we finally get to see some shots from Entertainment Weekly that prove that not only is there a movie being filmed somewhere in Europe, but it looks...really good.
That first shot really gives me goosebumps. It just works, doesn't it. He somehow is capturing that whole "I'm just a kid who is thrown into war and suddenly I'm a superhero" with the whole "I have the confidence to lead" thing...and this is just a picture.

This next one is going to bulge eyes (and for some folks, other parts) for other reasons.
HOLY CRAP YO. I mean, I'm not saying he used steroids, but that dude used a lot of schmeroids. He's like twice the size he was a few months ago. That's not a normal thing. It's like they injected him with some kind of chemical that made him get...whoa...I just got that.

How great is that? You see Hugo Weaving pre-red face as The Red Skull AND you get to see the device they put Steve Rogers in to MAKE him Captain America. Again, somehow this is crossing the line between real and fantasy just perfectly. I mean, it looks comic booky AND some how 1940s sci-fi authentic.
If it's me, I go with that as the poster. Good God does that make me thrilled. I just love it so very much. Folks, we may have something great on our hands here. It's too early to tell, but unlike the Green Lantern photos in EW which made my sphincter recoil, these just delighted me to no end. Again, DC...feel free to TRY to be more like Marvel.

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They will change the title of this movie

First off, happy Friday. All you have to do is make it another few hours and you are granted your weekend reprieve...which you will undoubtedly use doing stuff that is not reprieving (I may have just made that word up).

Second, this is the adorable Aubrey Plaza, who has a name as quirky as her lovably cute look.

Look at her. She snuggles with cats whilst wearing whimsical leggings while sitting atop what may or may not be the body of a dead hipster. How great is that? You may recognize her from "Parks and Recreation." You may know her from Scott Pilgrim vs the World. If you know her from Mystery Team, I love you and we need to hang out more. She is the EXACT type of actress I want to be uber-famous. She has a reasonably proportioned, non-wafer-thin body, a unique sense of style, great comic timing, and a subtle delivery. More please. Well, studios have listened, as she will star in The Hand Job, which will not be called that. The script, which has gotten tons of great press, follows a high school graduate who decides she needs more sexual experience before going to college. It's a raunchy comedy...WITH A GIRL IN THE LEAD?! Oh my God! Will the universe implode? I mean, we're talking about letting WOMEN be FUNNY and talk FRANKLY about sex? FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE?!?! Obviously, this sounds to me like the most refreshingly good idea regarding teen comedies in forever. I look forward to seeing it when it's called something else entirely. Seriously, can you see asking "Can I get two for The Hand Job."

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ryan's Junk Drawer

"Junk Drawer"
With great junk, comes great responsibility - "Better Off Ted"

I kind of hate this week. It's been all full of weirdness and weak. It's a weak, weird week. Look at what it's done to me! I'm jibbering and jabbering and I don't even know what I'm talking about. It's time to get myself together, if for no other reason than this is the day I expose my junk to you. It may be someone's first time seeing my junk this week, and I want to make a good first impression. Because once someone has an impression about your junk, they will tell EVERYBODY that impression. "Oh, his junk is lame." I don't want that. I can't have people out there saying "Have you seen Ryan's Junk? I have, and it is not good." I want people to say how magnificent it was, how you were surprised at all it contained!

Obviously, I'm talking about my figurative in the movie news that I deem too small to warrant a full blog post. I realize that it sounded like I was talking about something else, but this is a PG-13 rated site at best. Okay, sometimes I dabble my toes in the R-rated waters...but it always feels like someone peed in that side of the pool. Anyway, as you know, we begin every weekly edition of my Junk Drawer column by looking at the creepy-ass image above from Highlights Magazine FOR CHILDREN and picking an item I write a goofy story about.

Today's item is the green and red tube in the lower right corner. Knowing full well the cycle of fads, what with the resurgence of skinny jeans and such, Karen knew that if she prepared herself, she could be ahead of the game. Armed with a bedazzler, limited sewing ability, and a passion for ridiculous accessories, she began amassing a staggering number of glittery, fuzzy leg warmers. She couldn't for the life of her figure out why people had stopped wearing them in the first place, what with how your shins felt like you were wearing pants even though you weren't and the awesome, raw, potent sexuality they unleashed. She knew it was only a matter of time before the populous awoke and realized that the only thing that would spell their thirst for sweater sleeves you wear on your legs were legwarmers! And she would be ready. Oh yes. She would be ready.

Okay, enough Tomfoolery and shenanigans. Let's get physical! Here's the Junk Drawer items for this week.

1.) Everything goes exactly as expected. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz - These bits of news were splashed across everyone else's Web site yesterday. But I stand from the pack. I mean, do you see other sites out there spending a good portion of time inventing stories about leg warmers and writing suggestive introductions about their junk? I didn't think so. Look, I didn't report on these things in depth because I find both of them as shocking as when CNN pundits press a button that turns Kentucky red on an electoral map. Here we go. Peter Jackson will, in fact, shoot The Hobbit in New Zealand despite all sorts of previous problems with labor unions (sorry, this is about New Zealand, so I think I have to use the foreign labour spelling, because nothing says "we ain't in America" like an unneeded U). Yippee! Look, it's good news because the films will look the same and it should be filmed there, just for consistency, but honestly did anyone think they wouldn't be? Put your hand down Guy Who Falls For Got Your Nose.

The other boring news is that James Cameron will be doing Avatar 2 and 3 next.
First off, this is so stupid that he should be forced to have the guy on the right in this picture follow him around during the entire production of these films. "I LOVE THE NAVI SO MUCH I JUST WANT TO BE ONE! Also, I really want Dave Matthews to get back to his roots, you know." Seriously, take off the face paint and that guy looks like the date rapist in a "Law and Order: SVU" episode. Anyway, I don't care to see sequels to these films, and just because he said these are his next movies that doesn't mean anything. Given his track record with his "next" project, we could be waiting until 2024. And by waiting, I mean not caring.

2.) Double-decker Cruise news - Maybe that should read "upper decker" Cruise news because both ideas are kind of stinky. Cristopher McQuarrie, who shall be forever loved in my book because he wrote The Usual Suspects, says that Maverick is the lead in Top Gun 2. That's in direct opposition to rumors that Tom Cruise would only cameo in the film. Is he willing to do a full-on sequel? I mean, I guess so. It's not like he's too big to ignore the possibility now. I can't wait to return to the character of Maverick, who has such a rich tapestry of emotions to boning hot chicks and being angry. I hope the villain is somehow Meg Ryan. That would be awesome. Oh, and in the second half of this news, Cruise was offered a role in the big screen Rock of Ages, which I'm told is a musical about rock music but sounds like it would give me ear herpes.

Tommy loved that joke. Anyway, I don't know if he can sing (no, no he can't), I don't know if he can dance (no, no he can't), but he may take this because he apparently really wants to sing and dance. Look for his wife to be given some role in it as well, which is great news because she needs to come up for air soon or she'll die.

3.) I want Harley Quinn. My ideas are the best. - You have no idea how much I want to be right about the upcoming plot for The Dark Knight Rises. I know I'm probably not, but hear me out. We know that Chris Nolan is meeting with young actresses. The assumption is Catwoman or a new love interest. The process is so secretive that not even the people auditioning know what they're auditioning for. I so badly want it to be Harley Quinn. Let me tell you how this would work and why it would be awesome.

How it would work: We know that Nolan has said his plan was to have the Joker return in the next film before Heath Ledger died. We know that he won't replace the role. We also know that, within the film, the Joker was HOPING that Batman would kill him at the end. That was part of his end game, trying to make Batman lower himself. I like the idea that there may have been a plot past that. As in, the Joker either had a contingency plan for if Batman only captured him or a next step if Batman killed him. Either way, he's out of the picture, which would mean that he couldn't be the guy doing stuff. So why not have it set up for someone else to take over the Joker's plan. It's reasonable and consistent with the character as presented to believe that he would have seen this coming. Don't make this a revenge movie where his girlfriend takes up his mantle, make this a logical extension of the last film.
Okay, why it's awesome. Because it keeps things consistent, because it lets you play with the themes you wanted to play with, because its unexpected!!! But beyond that, two more good reasons. 1 - It would automatically represent a great female character for Nolan, who has been accused of not having too many of those. 2 - It would avoid the cliches of every other major villain you could think of. I love this idea. I hope that this is actually what's happening even though I'm sure it's not. Nolan, it isn't too late! Make this happen!

4.) Zach Galifianakis gets my dream job - He's going to play with Muppets. We don't know the role, some have speculated he'll just be a voice. We don't know how big that role will be, but he's only going to be involved for a few days of shooting according to rumors. All I know is that his sense of humor is so completely perfect for the off-kilter universe of Muppets that it makes my heart almost as happy as this:

If this was a daily segment it would be the best part of every day. Anyway, Zacky-G is going to chill with the fuzzy folks. All is right with the world.

5.) Trailers, Parked - Two weird ones for you this week. First up is Rare Exports, a movie that involves a creepy take on Santa. It isn't your goofy slasher Santa movie, but a dark comedic/serious take on the origins of the child judger. Lord does this intrigue me.

Brother's Justice is another mockumentary, and I'm pretty much over them. It looks kind of funny, and I like the folks involved, I just can't really get all that jazzed over anything that looks like this anymore. Oh, I'll probably see it, but I ain't all tingly about it.

Okay, that's it gang. Hopefully a weird week means a great weekend, so let's hook up tomorrow to talk weekend plans. Have a great Thursday.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Things You Should Buy Me (Volume 55)

Greetings throngs of readers who visit this column filled with awesome things that should be bought who never buy those things for me! With Christmas stalking us in the corner like a fat ninja, I would imagine that people would be contacting me at like CRAZY to start sending me products to test out and enjoy so that I may promote them for the world to gobble up for presents come holiday time. Sadly, my inbox is emptier than the Tea Party's "good idea" box. Oh well, I guess I'll continue to shill for items that I find to be incredibly wicked awesome, even if I have to love them from afar. For those who say "why don't you just buy them for yourself," I hope you click 30 ads on this site today, because that's the only way that will happen. Obviously, this is just dark sarcasm, I only want to share fun things with you. But seriously, though, click the ads.

Here's what I want this week:

1.) Well, there goes my health plan - For the last 6 months I've run about 2 miles a day after doing some light weight lifting. The result has been...well, nobody really saying much of anything. Then again, I don't have a lot of friends or people who look at me in "that way." So, the real way I've consoled myself is knowing that I'm possibly allowing myself to live until they find the immortality pill. Health is its own reward!
Well, there goes that. I know that it's made for kids. I know that the apparent recommended serving size as shown above is a Dixie cup. I also want it. You have no idea how much I love Heath Blizzards...and Boston Cream Pie Blizzards...and Banana Cream Pie Blizzards. You know what, don't buy me this. I know it's only 30 bucks and seems like fun, but for once your unwillingness to give me crap I ask for could save my life and hard work. Damn you, DQ. Damn you to hell.

2.) "Raising Hope" got me thinking - First off, that's a funny show. Second, it reminded me that Shrinky Dinks exist. Then did the same thing.
I know this says "Creativity for Kids" right on the front and, when combined with the above item I want, makes me look really dumb or creepy. I don't care. I just miss Shrinky Dinks. If I had a Blizzard I made while making Shrinky Dinks, I'd be happy. I'd also be 8, but I'd be happy.

3.) This is for a friend - I do love this shirt, which requires two photos.
How great is that? I also may or may not know someone who is currently very invested in The Tin Man. This may or may not be a great idea for him. How great is that shirt? Very. But you knew that, right?

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Actual Bat information

I gotta hurry, as everyone with fingers, access to the Internet, and a love of Batman (so, all middle class white dudes) are typing furiously in an effort to finish in fifth or sixth place in the race to bring you the first real, tangible news from the mouth of Christopher Nolan.

First, the really shocking part.
You never bought Rachel Dawes did you? I mean, sure Batman got all blubbery when she went kablooey, but have YOU seen a mainstream, big-budget movie where the hero didn't shag the lead actress? Neither Katie Holmes nor Maggie Gyllenhaal took a ride on the bat pole, and that whole business about those models Bruce Wayne bought to come with him but then never appeared interested in, can you say "the best beards money can buy." Yes, the third Batman film will be a musical titled The Dark Knight Gets His; it will feature Robin, who will earn his boy wonder title, and the villain will be the group behind Proposition 8. As much as I'm kidding, I now want someone to actually make this as a viral video for the Eliminate H8 campaign. Speaking of which, how have we not gotten an update about the fast-tracking of that Prop 8 case in California. Sorry, waaaaay off topic now.

Obviously, Nolan is not brave enough to allow Batman to affirm who we all know he really is. No, the big jaw-droppers that Nolan unleashed were these: The film is called The Dark Knight Rises (which still could feature the plot I mention above), and The NOT the father. Sorry, too much Maury. Is NOT the villain. This (A) lends credence to Mark Millar's rambling lies regarding Killer Croc as the villain (and the role that Tom Hardy was cast in), and that fact (B) is going to make me reconsider bumping Millar down on my master list of lying liars.

Nolan also issued the cryptic utterance that "We'll use many of the same characters we have all along, and we'll be introducing some new ones." Does this mean Two-Face is back? I doubt it. I think Tom Hardy is the villain, and God help me I think he's Killer Croc. I suppose Two-Face could still come back and tie the whole thing together, but I kind of like one idea that was tossed out there and somewhat dismissed. I kind of like the idea of Harley Quinn.

I know, I know. She's always been thought of as the Joker's raunchy sidekick, but what if...what if the best way to get close to the original plan that Nolan had for the return of the Joker is to treat Harley as the reincarnation of that character. To have her so inspired by what he did that she takes over for him. Basically, make her the female Joker. Cast Marion Cotillard in it, who we know has talent, and let the original plan still occur.

This probably won't happen. We WILL get a new female character, and it will probably be the Catwoman. Yawn. But think about how cool that other idea is for a minute. Anyway, there's your first real groundbreaking news: No Riddler. Title is The Dark Knight Rises. Thanks to Hero Complex for giving us non-lies.

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A man machine that isn't Al Gore

First off, thanks to a DVR glitch (thanks Cox, not only does your internet sporadically reset itself so that I have to cycle my router every 2-3 hours WHILE WORKING FROM HOME, but your DVR sometimes decides to record a program from 6:59 pm to 6:59 pm), I JUST watched last week's "Community." I have to say a few words, even though it has NOTHING to do with what I'm about to talk about.

THIS IS THE SMARTEST SHOW ON TELEVISION. Last week's episode, which was nowhere near the funniest or most enjoyable, solidified the fact that it is not just the most clever, creative comedy on TV. Oh no, it's the SMARTEST SHOW on television. Sorry people-who-think-a-show-has-to-be-dour-and-mean-to-women-in-order-to-be-valuable...and sorry "30 Rock," who just got bumped to second place on the smart show big board. Facts are facts, and after watching a brilliant visual essay on post-postmodernism, "Community" is unparalleled. Not only was it a wink-and-nod at how the show has evolved into non-stop wink-and-nodding, but it tackled issues of naval-gazing filmmakers and blasted close-minded religious folks AND hard-headed atheists...before AFFIRMING the power of filmmaking and creating and embracing those committed to religious beliefs and atheists who are just doing what they believe. That's in a 22-minute COMEDY that also had a pretty funny subplot. It also had the two best lines of dialogue on television this year.

In second place: Said in reference to the time it takes to decipher complex meta-meta-meta filmmaking - "I mean, come on Charlie Kaufman, some of us got work in the morning."

In first place: This is just too great. "The Bible has been called the greatest story ever told." "Ben Lyons said the same thing about I Am Legend." - Folks, it DOES NOT get better than that.

Long, long, long, unrelated aside now complete. Watch "Community" or you're dead to me.

Okay, now the news I've come here to tell you. Darren Aronofsky wants to direct a movie about this guy.
Okay, not really. But kind of. See that IS Marvel Comic's Machine Man. And Aronofsky is directing a movie about Machine Man. Just not that Machine Man. Supposedly, the auteur is climbing behind the camera to direct a movie based on a novel that was released a page a day online. It's about a guy who replaces his body parts with metal. It sounds very Chuck Pahlaniuk-meets...well, Darren Aronofsky. It seems like a really good fit. The big issue this morning was that people were kind of confused how that would fit in with his current task of directing Wolverine 2. That was the moment at which most people realized, "Hey, we still haven't officially heard Aronofsky is directing Wolverine 2." It's been assumed, talked about, discussed, and even mentioned by the lead actor (Hugh Jackman), but we have yet to see official confirmation that the man signed on to direct a trainwreck...I mean, quality superhero film for 20th Century F-you. Chances are, he's just putting another film in the hopper, queuing it up for when he's finished with the mega-budget bonanza that nobody needs. Then again, maybe he's hedging his bets. I'm guessing the sticking point on that Wolvie 2 contract ain't money. I'm guessing it's a "Please don't force me to f**k up my movie at the last minute" clause, guaranteeing the studio can't come at him in the 11th hour with a note like "What if Wolverine suddenly could fly and fought Megan Fox?" Until they've worked out every issue, I remain leery that a guy who has yet to make even a modestly budgeted major studio film is going to agree to be their lap dog. We shall see. At least he has a backup if they balk.

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