News Around the Net
Well, everything I have seen or read so far of the Terminator reboot Terminator: Genisys has looked abysmal (and good lord I hate that ridiculous title more each time I write it). But I have to admit this trailer is intriguing:
I love how the first half looks like it’s the behind-the-scenes of what we already knew happened just prior to the start of the original Terminator film, and then when Sarah Connor crashes that truck through the department store window we see that we’re in some sort of alternate timeline. I am curious how they’ll explain the cause of this alternate timeline, but I like much of what I see so far. She looked ridiculous in the early photos that were released, but here in the trailer I can see why Emilia Clarke was cast — she’s fantastic as Sarah Connor in this glimpse. And while I still think that including an aged Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film was silly, seeing old Arnie and CGI young Arnie and the new Terminator played by Byung-Hun Lee is exciting, they all look pretty great. My biggest concern is how horrible Jai Courtney seems as Kyle Reese. Absolutely none of Michael Biehn’s charm and presence. I still think it’s pretty likely this film will suck, but at least this trailer makes me somewhat excited and curious to see the film, so that’s a big step-forward in terms of T-5’s marketing.
In more important sequel news, the new James Bond film will be called Spectre. Excellent. Ever since The World is Not Enough, I have been dreaming of the return of Blofeld to this series. The first trailer for that film featured a glimpse of a bald Robert Carlyle, and at the time I dared to hope he was playing Blofeld. Not so. That character has been tied up in lawsuits for decades (all stemming from a conflict over who wrote what for Thunderball back in 1965). But finally last year that lawsuit was resolved, and I am thrilled that SPECTRE is finally returning to the Bond series. They’re playing coy, though, as to whether Blofeld will be in the film. It’s hard to imagine that he wouldn’t be, unless Bond 24 is a long tease for the villain’s return in the next film, Bond 25. I could see that happening. But for now, I am really hoping that Christoph Waltz (who is starring in the film, reportedly as a character called Oberhauser) will be Blofeld. That would be amazing. I am thrilled the film is called Spectre, I love that return to the old Bond style of the villain’s name being the title. (Ex.: Goldfinger.) The only thing that would have been better had the film been called S.P.E.C.T.R.E.! Heh. I wonder if they will reference Quantum, the S.P.E.C.T.R.E.-like criminal organization that featured in the first two Daniel Craig Bond films, or whether they will just ignore that. Perhaps Quantum will be revealed to be a branch of S.P.E.C.T.R.E.? I love the casting of both Bond girls: Lea Seydoux and Monica Bellucci. Both are phenomenal actresses and are also gorgeous women. My only disappointment is that Felix Leiter will apparently not be in the film. The only thing that will make that OK is if his absence allows the screenwriters to focus more on Bond’s interplay with his fellow MI6 operatives, all established in Skyfall: Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, and Ben Whishaw as Q. It’s a great team of actors and I would love to see them all be centrally involved in the story of this film. Ok, I am very excited for Spectre!! Bring it on.
Good news: HBO has remastered all five seasons of The Wire to run in HD on HBO Signature. The bad news? They have reconfigured this 4:3 show to appear in 16:9, which has necessitated some substantial reworking of the show’s imagery. The good news? Creator David Simon was involved in the process. The bad news? He doesn’t sound all that wild about it. Neither am I. I’ll take the show in its original, intended version, please, thank you very much. Here is a great piece about this.
This is a fascinating essay by the great Chris Rock on racial issues in Hollywood. I am eager to see Mr. Rock’s new film, Top Five.
So, anticlimax: Benedict Cumberbatch really IS playing Doctor Strange!! That’s great casting and I am thrilled this has finally been settled. (I wonder what the holdup was, and why this deal couldn’t get made in time for Marvel’s big ten movie Phase III announcement from last month?)
Speaking of Marvel, Krysten Ritter has been announced as Jessica Jones for Netflix’s upcoming series. Judging by her work in Breaking Bad season 2, I am pretty happy with this casting. I hope this series can capture one-tenth of what was so great about Brian Michael Bendis’ series Alias, which is the reason any comic book fan anywhere cares about the character of Jessica.
In even more interesting Marvel news, I am fascinated by the revelations coming to light that Marvel and Sony were in talks for Sony to allow Spider-Man to appear in the upcoming Captain America 3: Civil War. Spidey had a HUGE role in the original Civil War comic-book mini-series. It would have been astonishing to have the character cross companies to appear in that Marvel film. Sigh. Guess we can dream of what might have been.
Is the next 21 Jump Street film going to cross over with Men in Black? That idea is just so insane that I sort of love it.
This gorgeous four-minute short-film, Wanderers, is a wonderful paean to the dream of mankind’s exploration of our solar system. The locations depicted in the film are digital recreations of actual places in our solar system, built from real photos and map data where available. The narration is by the late great Carl Sagan.
This is fun: John Williams’ Duel of the Fates (the most iconic piece of music from Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace) played on acoustic guitar. I loved it!