GAME OF THRONES 2.5: “The Ghost of Harrenhal”

One king down, and… how many to go? GAME OF THRONES has so many kings and men-who-would-be-kings, that the show can afford a little regicide to keep viewers on the edge of our seats. especially during a largely expository episode.

That hideous shadow beast that Melisandre graphically birthed at the end of last episode got right to work at the beginning of this one. No sooner had Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony) cut a deal with Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) to align with her son Robb then the shadow beast arrived in his tent, assumed the form of Stannis Baratheon and skewered Renly through the heart. Catelyn convinced the horrified Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) to delay her revenge and flee with her, and later Brienne swore allegiance to Catelyn. The next day, Renly’s bannermen flocked to Stannis (Stephen Dillane) — all except the Tyrells led by Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and the grief-stricken king’s lover, Loras (Finn Jones). She convinced her brother to delay his vengeance, as well. I wouldn’t want to be Stannis and the Red Witch with all that frustration against me festering.
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Wishing Upon a Stargate…

A bit of hope for fans of the STARGATE franchise flickered to life at the Stargate Convention in Vancouver, B.C., this weekend: Producer Darren Thomas, who has not previously been linked to any Stargate projects, revealed that MGM is working to revive STARGATE SG-1 in a “new format.” Thomas declined to elaborate, but said (according to the MGM Stargate Facebook page):

“Plans are under way and I wish I could tell you more. The good news is that we will be unveiling something big at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego.”

To me, the “new format” could only be a Web series. I mean, what else is left? We’ve already seen a Stargate movie, TV series, TV movies, an animated series, comic books, novels and even radio dramatizations. It’s got to be a Web series. Or a stage play. But my money is on the Internet. That newfangled World Wide Web is reportedly all the rage among the youngsters these days.

So, how long until San Diego’s Comic-Con? (Hint: It runs July 12-15.)

Carrie Remake Just Became an Even Worse Idea

Word has leaked that the studio and producers of the remake of Carrie want to use the “found footage” trope employed in far too many movies already.

This is the worst idea I’ve heard since… well, since the idea of remaking Carrie.

Apparently, at least some of the movie will use the unimaginative technique, but the whole film will not necessarily be shot that way. The details are hazy, because the information is trickling out after the CEO of MGM, Roger Birnbaum, gave a speech at the University of Denver, his alma mater.

The reason I am so disappointed in this news is that – setting aside the boring idea of an unnecessary remake of a fine, iconic movie – the talent associated with project is very promising. It will be directed by Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry) and feature Chloe Grace Moretz (Let Me In, the remake of Let the Right One In) in the title role. And Julianne Moore has been offered the role of Carrie’s whacko mother. Also, the screenplay, adapted by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, is supposed to stick closer to Stephen King’s novel.

The idea of using “found footage” makes me feel like this is just a complete money-grab by MGM, but won’t even be interested in letting the new production put interesting spin on the project.

John Carter of DVDs

I expected Disney to dump the DVD of John Carter on the market quietly, like a Las Vegas gambler burying a body in the desert. But the Mouse House is giving the release top-tier treatment as a 4-Disc Combo Pack (3D BD + 2D BD + DVD + Digital Copy), as well as a 2-Disc Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD), a 3D DVD, and a 1-Disc version. Oh, and and On-Demand. All of this on June 5.

Including calling Andrew Stanton the Oscar-winning director of WALL-E (something the ads for the theatrical release never did) and cites star Taylor Kitsch’s FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS connection and Lynn Collins’ role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

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SURVIVOR: ONE WORLD 24.11: “Never Say Die”

As I labored to survive watching this week’s installment of SURVIVOR: ONE WORLD, one thought kept swirling through my head: How embarrassed is Christina Cha right now, watching her adventures on the island unfold? She must be mortified.*

I mean, how stubborn is she? Forget about refusing to see the handwriting on the wall — she denies the handwriting on the inside of her eyelids! I am at a complete loss to rationalize why she cannot see that she will be the first woman to go after the power trio disposes of the now cravenly pandering Tarzan.
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It’s Raining Fiery Rocks!

You can’t make this stuff up! In addition to California’s usual terrifying hazards — earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires and Real Housewives — we can add fireballs!

No, not some runaway CGI from a Michael Bay giant-robot crapfest, this was a genuine fireball falling out of the sky. As in, a giant rock from outer space that ignited due to ram pressure with our atmosphere. (It’s not friction that heats a meteor and makes it glow; the real culprit is the pressure exerted by atmospheric gases piling up in front of it and creating drag!)

It all happened this past Sunday, when a hunk of stone streaked through the clear blue sky over Nevada and California before exploding over Central Valley with a force equivalent to a five-kiloton bomb! Luckily for those of us who don’t live in the Golden State, the so-called fireball was captured in a NASA photograph. (Click it for a bigger view)

If you’re wondering why it was called a fireball instead of just a plain old meteor, the International Astronomical Union defines a fireball as “a meteor brighter than any of the planets.” Since this one was clearly visible in daylight, it was a hell of a lot brighter than any planet. Astronomers also toss around the word bolide to describe an especially bright fireball or one that generates audible sounds. Or one that explodes!

New G.I. Joe: Retaliation Trailer

The first movie in the live-action G.I. Joe series, 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, was a piece of shite that made little to no sense; even the explosions were silly, and the visual effects, weak. It was easily one of the worst films of the year. However, as this trailer suggests, the sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, looks much improved. Only Channing Tatum returns from the cast of the first movie, and all the other characters are killed offscreen in the opening sequence that sets up the premise of this movie: The Joes want revenge. This movie wasn’t even on my radar until I saw a couple of short clips of Bruce Willis… being Bruce Willis, and then I was intrigued. Now, after seeing this trailer, the movie has creeped onto my “will see” list. This clip sets it up pretty well. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson takes over as the lead hero, and Willis plays… well, a guy named Joe. His laugh line in this clip seems to be worth the price of admission itself. Continue reading

GAME OF THRONES 2.4: “Garden of Bones”

Well, there’s something you don’t see every day: A mysterious priestess giving birth to a smoke monster — onscreen. (Thank goodness they didn’t use that scene on LOST!) In an even more depraved scene, King Joffrey made a couple of royal whores beat one another. But I guess that’s just the way GAME OF THRONES rolls these days; gotta keep upping the depravity.

Robb Stark (Richard Madden) upped the ante by employing direwolves to soften up the Lannister army for another victory. A victory that so incensed Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) that he threatened to shoot Robb’s sister, Sansa (Sophie Turner), with a crossbow. He settled for having her beaten and stripped at court. But then Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) intervened, rescuing Sansa and embarrassing his royal nephew in the process. (Not to mention teaching the court — and viewers — the difference between “helpful advice” and a “threat.”) In an effort to assuage Joffrey’s rage, Tyrion later sent his nephew Ros (Esmé Bianco) and another concubine, but the king forced Ros to beat the other girl savagely while he watched, which a cocked crossbow pointed at them both. The boy ain’t right in the head!
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NHL’s Shanahan Fails Yet Again

Brendan Shanahan, NHL senior vice president of player safety, has once again proved that if he is not flipping a coin to decide whether to discipline players, he must be trying to confuse the players and fans. His rulings – and non-rulings – have been so wildly inconsistent as to beggar the imagination. If he was purposely attempting to make people believe that he was ruling randomly, he could not do a better job.

The man does not mete out justice fairly. He is so scattershot in his rulings, that there is no way players or clubs could possibly anticipate what he is going to do next. The one thing – the one thing – an authority figure should be is consistent. Even if he Shanahan is unfair, he should be unfair to everyone. Parents need to present a united front in order to instill discipline in a child. If Dad decides one day that the penalty for sneaking a cookie before dinner is no TV before bed, and the next day there’s no punishment, and the day after that the kid is grounded for six months –what’s the penalty for sneaking a cookie? Who knows? Ask Brendan Shanahan.
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John Carter Has Its Revenge

I think it’s OK for John Carter fans to indulge in a little schadenfreude after hearing the news that Rich Ross, the chairman of Disney Studios, has stepped down from his post in the wake of the debacle that was the bungled release of the long-awaited John Carter.

Ross issued a resignation and made the situation look like it was voluntary, but Hollywood reporter Nikki Finke over at Deadline wrote, “Make no mistake, Ross was fired.” The report focuses on personality clashes with business partners and all sorts of insider stuff. Well, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer studio head.
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