Francis Lawrence Will Direct Catching Fire

Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend and Constantine) has chosen to direct Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games. Reportedly, the competition came down to Lawrence and Moneyball’s Bennett Miller, but Miller didn’t like the rushed production schedule needed to meet the studio’s already-announced release date of Nov. 22, 2013. (Let’s hope that’s not wishful thinking.)

Lawrence is an interesting choice. I think of him more as a visual stylist coming off Constantine, but he did handle a pretty sprawling story in Will Smith’s I Am Legend. Both of those films were fantasy/sci-fi projects, and both were adaptations of existing material – Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend novel, and Constantine is the star of the comic book series Hellblazer – so he has experience translating stories. (For what it’s worth, Moneyball was a book, too, so that’s probably why Miller was a front-runner.) Also, Lawrence built a compelling and complicated world overrun by mutations for I Am Legend, and world-building was Hunger Games helmer Gary Ross’ Achilles’ heel.
Continue reading

SURVIVOR: ONE WORLD 24.10: “I’m No Dummy”

If a show has a title like that, you gotta know that someone is going to prove himself or herself to be a dummy. And, since this season is populated almost exclusively by dummies, the odds were pretty good going in that somebody would do something stupid. Actually, a few somebodies.

With Jay gone, Troyzan realizes he’s on his own — and the women do their best to make him feel like a marked man (possibly a little something they learned from the cruel Colton). Troy decides that winning successive immunities or finding the new hidden immunity idol is his only path to success, so he starts hunting for the secret trinket and psyching himself to win challenges.
Continue reading

MAKE IT OR BREAK IT 3.4: “Growing Pains”

What’s the matter with Lauren? I mean, seriously. Well, after last week’s tease, MAKE IT OR BREAK IT finally got to the bottom of it when Payson made good on her promise to force Lauren to visit a doctor. And, wouldn’t you know it, it also happens to be Parents Weekend at the USATC, so Payson has problems of her own.

But not as big as Kelly Parker (Nicole Gale Anderson), whose megalomaniacal mom Sheila (played once again by Kathy Najimy) came to town intent on making KP captain of the Olympic team at any cost. Sheila finagled an invite to stay at Coach McIntire’s (Dondré T. Whitfield) house while his wife was conveniently out of town, then pretended to cook him a meal, then blatantly offered to bride him with lucrative endorsement deals! What a nightmare for poor KP.
Continue reading

MAD MEN 5.5: “Signal 30”

Pete Campbell and his portrayer, Vincent Kartheiser, got a genuine spotlight episode this week, and it illuminated just how dark Pete’s life has gotten lately. He seems to have it all: a great job, a pregnant wife and a home in the ritzy suburbs. But in Pete’s mind, none of it holds water.

The faucet in the kitchen is leaking, and Pete can’t sleep. The relentless drip, drip, drip of the water leaking away is clearly gnawing at his mind. It parallels his feeling that his life is being wasted and he is wasting away, drip by drip, living in the wilderness of the suburbs and laboring unappreciated at the office. Nothing is working out the way he imagined it, and his life is eroding, drop by drop… The monotonous sound is washing away everything he ever dreamed for his life.
Continue reading

GAME OF THRONES 2.3: “What Is Dead May Never Die”

This week’s GAME OF THRONES did clear up one thing for me: I’d always wondered about: the origin of that strategy of telling three different people three different stories in order to uncover a mole. Apparently, it originated with Tyrion Lannister, way back in… well, whenever the show is set.

Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is determined not to lose his head the way the previous Hand of the King did, so after dispatching the captain of the city guard last week, he set out to ferret out the mole in the Small Council by giving Pycelle, Varys and Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) a nugget of information about marrying off young Myrcell Baratheon (Aimee Richardson) to various lords. Pycelle (Julian Glover) went running to Cersei (Lena Heady) with the plan for her daughter, and so Tyrion had his mole, and tossed him into a black cell.
Continue reading

“Before Watchmen” Interior Art

DC released a mosaic of interior art from the first issues of the various comics in the “Before Watchmen” series at the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo this past weekend, and the image was put online this morning.

It sure looks purty, with a nice range of stylistic differences. There’s not denying that.

However, truthfully, I don’t think anyone is worried about the artwork; DC has top-flight talent working on the titles. The big worry is the stories: Can every single one of them live up to the legacy of the original series? Since Alan Moore and Dave GibbonsWatchmen is generally considered the greatest comics story ever told, that should be no problem, right?
Continue reading

New Amazing Spider-Man Poster

Apparently there was a fan-produced fake teaser circulating over the weekend, and a lot of folks were fooled, but this image has been verified as the real deal.

Looks like Spidey has been in a tussel with the Lizard, but the image is a bit static and dull. I feel like I’m looking at this image just after all the cool fighting stuff went down. I’m wondering what I missed; would that have been a cool image?

I still prefer the version of Peter Parker casting a spider shadow, released as a teaser a few months ago.

The Amazing Spider-Man opens on July 2.

This Supercell is Really Super

It’s kind of a lazy Sunday here, so I thought instead of boring you with another of my skreeds, I’d blow your minds with this photograph that I found. It’s Copyright: © Mike Hollingshead, and depicts Amazing supercell storm during twilight nears a York Nebraska truck stop on I80 as it spits out lightning, June 17, 2009. Only a half hour or so earlier this storm was producing a long-lived large tornado near Aurora Nebraska.”

This photo really captures the majesty of this destructive natural force.

Looper Trailer Will Hook You In

After a week of teasing from star Joseph Gordon-Levitt and director Rian Johnson, the first full trailer for the time-twisting gangster movie Looper has been released, and I think it does a remarkable job of making the complicated premise easy to understand. Also, the action scenes look exciting, so this clip is really effective.

And it accomplishes all this without including even a single Bruce Willis wisecrack!

The only downside to all this is that we have to wait until Sept. 28 for the movie to open. Because time travel hasn’t been invented yet.

Digging Up Suspiria Is a Rotten Idea

On its surface, remaking Suspiria is a bad, bad, bad idea. Upon further reflection, it’s an even worse idea. Dario Argento’s 1977 masterpiece of giallo and tension is essentially flawless, and there is simply no way to improve upon it, so why even bother with a project doomed to failure?

Well, don’t tell director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, The Sitter) that he’s embarking on a fool’s errand. Green has his Suspiria remake prepped to begin shooting in the fall, from a script by him and Chris Gebert. Here’s the synopsis, which hews closely to the original, but veers away on a key element:

A young American student travels to Europe to attend a world-renowned school. “After a series of brutal murders, she learns that the academy is a front for something way more sinister than education.”

Continue reading