Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ Poster Plays Down Vampire Angle

Of course you’ve heard of that holiday-season prestige project that’s expected to snap up a bunch of Oscar nominations (and wins) when it is released in November — a little picture called Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and directed by a guy named Steven Spielberg. Awards bait, for sure.

I mean, just look at this initial teaser poster: It’s packed with so much… gravitas… that I imagine it would be difficult to hang on a wall because it’s so heavy and serious.  This is clearly “a film by,” and not some popcorn romp. There’s nary a mention of his other career as a slayer of vampires!

Look at DD-L, all grim, as if the weight of preserving the Union is on his shoulders. He’s alone — that stark white background tells us he’s on his own — and it’s in black-and-white, which means it’s Serious. Plus, he’s pretty much struck the same profile pose as on the penney, so you know it’s him.

Coud you imagine if the Lincoln teaser had been handed over to one of the hack publicity firms? We surely would have gotten the image of Lincoln’s disembodied head (colored blue, of course) floating over a generic Civil War battle scene, with maybe Mary Todd Lincoln’s head and a male supporting character’s floating below and behind Lincoln while a jagged bolt of orange light slices down the poster vertically. The log line would be something insipid but deep-sounding: “The war that tore his country apart almost tore the president apart.”

I don’t know… maybe you can think of something better?

Amy & Rory Go Online in “Pond Life”

We all know that when the seventh series of DOCTOR WHO kicks off on Sept. 1, we will be watching the final five episodes featuring Amy and Rory as the 11th Doctor’s companions, and it will be a sad time for all.

However, starting Monday, the BBC have cooked up a way for us to spend a little more time with the Ponds being the Ponds. The web series Pond Life will let fans hang with the couple and see what happened off-screen between the end of Series 6 and the start of the new season with “Asylum of the Daleks.” What exactly do Amy and Rory get up to during their down time?

But don’t my word for it; see what Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill have to say:

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Phooey on Finnick Odair Casting

After all this time, all this hemming and hawing, tossing around names and rumor-mongering, the best the-powers-that-be at The Hunger Games: Catching Fire could come up with is casting Sam Claflin in the important role of Finnick Odair?

Seriously? We waited all this time for… Sam… Claflin?

You might remember Claflin for his small role as the replacement pretty boy when Orlando Bloom skipped The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, or as the prince in Snow White and the Huntsman. Oh, who are we kidding — he wasn’t the least bit memorable in either role. I thought his character was weird in the pirates movie — a missionary who kinda sorta falls in love with a mermaid, and the only thing I can recall about his prince in Kristen Stewart’s movie was that he played the grown-up version of the kid who grew up with Snow.
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Crappy Photoshop Makes Me Worry About The Hobbit

Sylvester McCoy’s head is pasted-on, yeah.

This is supposed to be an image of McCoy in costume as wandering wizard Radagast the Brown from The Hobbit, but it looks more like a hostage note — with images clipped out of magazines instead of letters.

I know this is merchandise not the movie, but the Hobbit 16-month wall calendar (from which this image comes) was authorized by Peter Jackson’s people and produced by Warner Bros (no slouches), so the fact that this amateurish snip-and-paste job was approved makes me worry about the movie.
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America’s Appointment With the Doctor Moved Up!

The 11th Doctor has taught us that “Time can be rewritten” — so why not a press release? Taking just such a course, BBC America has decided to debut the first episode of the new season of DOCTOR WHO on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 9 p.m. ET, one week earlier than previously announced.

The good news is that not only do we get the Doctor and the Ponds sooner than we thought, we Yanks get to keep up with the Time Lord’s activities on the same schedule as our friends in Great Britain and Canada. Thank you, BBC America!

Here’s a look at BBC America’s new teaser trailer, which includes new footage (along with the new date):


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Unknowable, Yet Awesome Clip

This teaser trailer for AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it’s fun to watch — and it accomplishes its goal: It makes me want to watch!

Love the way the white nun suddenly looks over at the blue coat, as if she expected it to move, then give us viewers a sidelong glance. But what’s with the black nun facing the wall in the priest hole? Are they in the titular asylum? We’ll have to wait until October to find out what the hell is going on.

Creator Ryan Murphy is about as forthcoming as the clip:

An insane asylum run by Jessica Lange’s character which was formerly a tuberculosis ward – but also signifies a place of haven for the unloved and the unwanted. This year’s theme is about sanity and tackling real life horrors.

The second season on FX is set in 1964 in an insane asylum. It stars returning players Jessica Lange, Zachary QuintoEvan Peters and Sarah Paulson — but reportedly as different characters —  as well as newcomers Lily Rabe, James Cromwell and Joseph Fiennes.

Can the Doctor “Save the Daleks”?

Oh, of course he can! All the Doctor has to do is… er, um… Hey, wait a minnit!

“Save the Daleks”? WTH?

Save the mad pepperpots he’s been battling since his first incarnation? That’s crazy! Anyone who thinks that ought to be locked up in an… asylum…. Yes, I see where the episode title comes from now…

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Happy Birthday, H.P. Lovecraft

“That is not dead which can eternal lie,

And with strange aeons, even death may die.”

Howard Phillips Lovecraft would have been 122 years old today, had he not died of intestinal cancer on March 15, 1937.

Long neglected by the public, but appreciated by a cabal of aficionados and most writers who came after him, Lovecraft was easily one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. His moody, atmospheric stories set the standard for the extreme mind-bending terror that many subsequent authors would essay, but few would approach and none have ever matched.  Lovecraft’s field was known as weird fiction, and that description could not be more fitting. He wasn’t about the scare — although there are plenty of those — it was about creating unease in the reader. He worked hard to generate the feeling that if you were reading one of his stories at night, you mustn’t — no, DON’T! — don’t look behind you!

There were plenty of awful, hideous deaths in Lovecraft’s tales, but his terror was all in the language, and the horror in your mind. If you really imagine a doglike ghoul, isn’t it much more scary than a clear description in Pickman’s Model would be?
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BBC America Schedules Doctor Appointment for Sept. 8

Not to blow my own horn (too much), but I called it! In a piece of reasoning worth of the Ninth Doctor, I predicted that BBC America would hold back the premiere of DOCTOR WHO Series 7 for one week, due to the Labor Day holiday weekend, when viewers will be outdoors, rather than perched in front of the TV. Odds are the BBC will debut Series 7 on Sept. 1.

Lo and behold, BBC America has done exactly, that, trumpeting the scheduling of “Asylum of the Daleks” for Saturday, Sept. 8, at 9 p.m. ET. Check out the promo (which is really just the Series 7 long trailer with a concrete date inserted at the end, but let’s face it, this is an awesome teaser!)

ETA: On Aug. 22, BBC America changed its mind and moved the premiere forward to Sept. 1, thus invalidating the end of this trailer, so it was removed. Please take a look at my Aug. 22 post, “America’s Appointment With the Doctor Moved Up!” for the new trailer — featuring new scenes!

Somehow, having a definite date makes it both easier and more difficult to wait for the first episode to actually air! I mean, c’mon, the way Matt Smith delivers the line, “Dinosaurs — on a spaceship!” is just as amazing as… well, dinosaurs on a spaceship.

Are You in a Frenzy for Mad Max: Fury Road?

If you thought details were sparse for The Wolverine, they are at a downright premium for a much larger, more star-packed production, namely Mad Max: Fury Road.

The long-gestating follow-up to 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (and before that, The Road Warrior/Mad Max 2 and Mad Max) is being directed by franchise honcho George Miller, but main character Max Rockatansky — the role that made Mel Gibson an international star — has been taken over by Tom Hardy, lately seen as Bane, the mush-mouthed villain of The Dark Knight Rises and in the current moonshine flick Lawless.

Here is what passes for a story synopsis of Fury Road:

“Mad Max is caught up with a group of people fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by the Imperator Furiosa. This movie is an account of the Road War which follows. It is based on the Word Burgers of the History Men and eyewitness accounts of those who survived.”

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