Written PostNews Around the Net

News Around the Net

This is fantastic: Tom Hiddleston (who played Loki in both Thor movies and The Avengers) doing a phneomenal impression of Owen Wilson, had Owen been cast as Loki.  Check this out.

West Wing fans!  Did you see this clip of Allison Janney performing The Jackal on The Arsenio Hall Show?  This is an obscure reference, but one that any die-hard West Wing fan will appreciate:


This blog from Kevin Smith gives an intriguing update on his fast-developed, absolutely bonkers weird-sounding new movie, Tusk.  Click here for even more info.  Despite being an enormous fan of Kevin Smith, I still haven’t seen Red State.  I want to see it, for sure, since I can’t imagine not having seen one of Mr. Smith’s films, but it just doesn’t interest me that much.  So far, I am bummed to say that Tusk is trending the same way, but it’s such a loony concept that I am intrigued.  It’ll be interesting to see how this develops.

This is a great short little retrospective of Jim Henson’s life and work.  I very much want to read Brian Jay Jones’ biography of Jim Henson, it sounds like a really fascinating book.

OK, this is a very geeky link, but I loved this.  An enterprising photoshopper has created images showing how awesome the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast would have looked in Original Series uniforms.  So great.

There are a lot of stories cropping up about behind-the-scenes issues on the pre-production of Star Wars: Episode VII.  Seems Disney is pushing for that 2015 release date, come hell or high water.  More info here.  I hope it’s all just talk.  I don’t have much hope that I will ever again in my lifetime see a great Star Wars film, but that little ember of hope does still exist, deep inside me.  Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe!

Chris Claremont is, I would argue, single-handedly responsible for the incredible popularity of the X-Men today.  Mr. Claremont wrote The Uncanny X-Men comic book, and a truck-load of spinoffs and mini-series and annuals and other special events, for a jaw-dropping seventeen years, from the ’70s into the ’90s.  (In one of the great injustices of the medium’s history, he was sort of pushed off of the series when his work began to be overshadowed by the popularity of the superstar artists working at Marvel in those days.)  A new documentary about his career — focusing on that incredible seventeen year run on the X-Men — has just been released, and I am dying to see it.  This is a fantastic article about a recent screening of the film, followed by a Q & A with Mr. Claremont himself.  A great read for any comic book fan out there.  (And more on the film adaptation of one of Mr. Claremont’s greatest X-Men opuses, Days of Future Past, just a few paragraphs down.)

This is a terrific article by talented TV-reviewer Alan Sepinwall on When Good Shows Go Bad: Ten Terrible Episodes of Great TV Dramas.  I just knew BSG’s “Black Market” would be on there!  Rightly so.  (Show-runner Ronald D. Moore’s mea culpa podcast commentary for that episode is spectacular listening.)  I haven’t seen many of the other shows on the list, but he’s 100% right about that terrible CJ episode of The West Wing (which I always skip when re-watching the series).  But he is wrong about the “Tea Leaves” episode of Mad Men.  Yes, fat Betty was a silly idea (they did that — as a JOKE — years before on Frasier!!) but Don and Harry at White Castle is magical!  I also think he’s a little off-base regarding the “Stranger in a Strange Land” episode of Lost.  Mr. Sepinwall has often commented on the Jack’s tattoo episode of Lost being the worst of the series, but I disagree.  There are MANY worse episodes of Lost!! It’s a weak installment, but not because, as Sepinwall argues, an episode dealing with the origin of Jack’s tattoos is inherently stupid.  Actually, I had been wondering about Jack’s tattoos since the pilot, since they seemed so out of character for him.  The problem is that this episode tells the origin of Jack’s tattoos… without actually telling us anything!!  We see Jack getting the tattoos, but don’t have any idea what they mean or what Bai Ling’s weird character is up to.  It’s classic Lost obfuscation for no reason whatsoever, and as such extremely annoying.  But still not the worst episode of the series.

OK, I really loved last month’s Simpsons couch gag directed by Guillermo del Toro, and this elaborate new couch gag spoof of The Hobbit is pretty good too.

Maybe it’s time for me to finally start watching The Simpsons again…?

I have watched this new trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier a LOT:

That is a great trailer.  It looks like Robert Redford’s character has a more central role than I’d originally thought, which is great.  I love the focus on the politics of this new super-hero-filled world.  It’s interesting that the main villain, and the reason that the film has the title that it does, is hardly featured at all.  I was worried Marvel would spoil the whole Winter Soldier story in the trailers — and they still might! — but not yet.

The other big super-hero film coming this summer is X-Men: Days of Future Past, Bryan Singer’s return to the franchise he launched (with X-Men and X2), and a big trailer for that film has dropped as well:

Click here for Mr. Singer’s breakdown of that trailer.  There’s a lot that I like.  First of all, it’s so great to see so many of these great actors back in these roles, something that I never thought I’d see again.  But there they are, Patrick Stewart as Professor X, Ian McKellan as Magneto, Anna Paquin as Rogue, and more.  (Conspicuously absent are James Marsden as Cyclops and Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, which is too bad).  I love the somber, serious tone of the trailer, and I am absolutely tickled by the promise of Mr. Singer’s original X-Men cast crossing-over, on-screen, with the prequel X-Men: First Class cast (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Nicholas Hoult).  On the other hand, I was not impressed by the cheap, cosplay look of Bishop or those mutants (who I didn’t recognize) who we see in the trailer in the shots following Bishop’s appearance.  More problematically, by using the title Days of Future Past, which is one of if not the single greatest X-Men stories ever (written by Chris Claremont), I am going to be expecting more than just one or two nods to the original story.  I can live with Wolverine being the X-character who travels through time (rather than Kitty Pryde), but there are a number of beats  from the original story that I need to see in the film, or I am going to be very disappointed.  This trailer doesn’t really sell the post-apocalyptic future that the future X-Men are dealing with, which is the heart of the story.  I was bummed that we didn’t see any Sentinels, that we didn’t see any tombstones, that we didn’t get the sense of the horror of the Mutant persecution nor anything else to convey just what exactly is so bad that is driving the future X-Men to try to change history.  But, OK, hopefully they’re just holding that stuff back for now.  I like what I see so far.  Here’s hoping.

Lastly, if you haven’t yet seen this extraordinary two-minute animated film, celebrating Superman’s 75 year history, then you should really do so immediately.  It’s gorgeous, an amazing collaboration between DC Animation guru Bruce Timm and Man of Steel director Zack Snyder.  It’s beautiful, and manages to highlight an incredible array of moments from Superman’s history in the comics (spotlighting many of the different iconic Superman designs from different artists over the years) and on-screen (as we catch animated glimpses of George Reeve, Christopher Reeve, and eventually Henry Cavill).  The score is perfection, beginning with John Williams’ iconic Superman music and eventually transitioning into Hans Zimmer’s main theme from Man of Steel.  Now, I’m a big-time geek, so of course there are things I wish had been included.  I would have thought for sure that John Byrne’s Superman would get a nod, seeing as how his stories and art defined the Superman comics for years following Crisis on Infinite Earths and Mr. Byrne’s Superman reboot, Man of Steel (no connection to the recent movie, other than of course the main character).  I also would have loved for Dean Cain and Brandon Routh to have been in there somewhere.  But for all the bits of Superman lore that I wish were included in this short, there are scores of amazing references that fill me with delight.  I am overwhelmed by the amount of love poured into every frame of this video.  It is magnificent.  I think I’ll go watch it again.