Author Archives: Guest Post

Could A Wonder Woman Game Be On The Way?

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Wonder Woman is all the rage in the comic world of superhero developments. The character is set to be played by Gal Gadot when making her silver screen debut in next year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice but will then get a solo film in 2017. Additionally, an article at Tech Times recently confirmed that DC Comics will revamp the character in print, too, with an upcoming new series called “The Legend Of Wonder Woman.” The comics will apparently tell the story of a young Diana Prince (aka the eventual Wonder Woman) growing up as an Amazonian princess before taking on the rest of the world.

This is all a pretty big victory for those who have been calling for more of a female presence in the superhero entertainment industry. Wonder Woman truly is everywhere: in upcoming films, in a new comic strip, in entertainment news headlines, and expected to be flying off the shelves as a popular Halloween costume once again. But one question that has yet to be answered could end up being one of the biggest ones for the ongoing exposure of the character to modern fans: is there going to be a video game as well?

As of now there’s not much talk of such a project, though it’s worth noting that Wonder Woman does already exist in a few modern games. Most notable among these are the popular Injustice games that exist on both console and mobile devices, incorporating a huge selection of DC characters in a brawler/combat style. And Wonder Woman is right there among them. However, the character is also featured at Gala Casino’s games section in a slot machine experience. The game is largely about the slots and involves real money play, but it has a brilliant comic-esque Wonder Woman cover and includes the “Ares bonus game” in which Wonder Woman fends off a plague of zombies. Not bad, at least for invoking some Wonder Woman lore.

But gamers and Wonder Woman enthusiasts alike will be holding their breath for more given the emergence of the character and the lack, currently, of signature DC game series. In fact, with the exceptional “Arkham” series now wrapped up, a Moviepilot editorial went in-depth discussing why Rocksteady (the developers who made the “Arkham” games) should consider partnering with Warner Bros. for a major Wonder Woman franchise. (*Editor’s note: Not to mention this franchise would be pretty lucrative just by attracting the female gaming audience who loved Arkham but yearn for more diversity in main characters, story lines, and who have been begging for  female comic book characters to be the center attraction in well anything.) Some of the specific suggestions are pretty exciting, but the basic idea is that Rocksteady could infuse Wonder Woman games with the same scope, detail, and basic fighting and movement mechanics that so many loved in the “Arkham” series, while creating whole new worlds to do it in. Because Wonder Woman sort of bounces back-and-forth between mythical realms and the DC Universe, such games could make use of everything from Gotham City to Olympus, with fascinating new supporting characters and villains to go with the settings.

At this point it’s still only an idea, but it’s certainly a fascinating one to think about. DC appears to be determined to get the cinematic version of Wonder Woman right, and if she’s as popular with fans as many hope she will be, a major gaming adaptation may be a natural next step.

DVD Review: Yours Mine & Ours (1968)

Time for home movies

In the 1960s, big Catholic families weren’t uncommon. Nor were big navy families. But a family of 22 was remarkable. A true story of a navy widower, Frank Beardsley, with 10 children and a navy widow, Helen North, with 8 children, who fall in love and end up with two more children inspired this 1968 film. A 2005 remake starring Rene Russo and Dennis Quaid took the basic premise but adapted it heavily to make it more relatable for a modern audience. We’re focusing on the original film, which stars the legendary Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. Continue reading

Set Design Secrets from “The Great Gatsby”

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Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” is a sumptuous visual feast for the moviegoer this summer. With a $104 million dollar budget, Luhrmann and his wife, Oscar-winning set designer Catherine Martin, have created a visually unique movie. A daring mix of old and new, this interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel has created quite a buzz offering a new look at the Roaring Twenties. Continue reading

A Brief History of Single-Season Television Shows – Infographic

The current TV season officially ends next Wednesday, May 22nd, and with it comes several show cancellations. A second season is never a sure thing; TV networks commonly cancel shows that started off with a lot of hype. In fact, approximately 25% of shows get canceled after their first season.

666 Park Avenue, Last Resort, and Golden Boy are just a few shows on the chopping block this year after only one season. Check out the data we compiled covering single-season shows from 1955 to today.  You’ll be surprised to find that some of the best known actors and executive producers in the industry were also attached to several canceled shows. Continue reading

How Will the ‘Need For Speed’ Video Game Franchise Influence the Movie?

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The venerable racing game franchise “Need for Speed” has kept up its high-octane momentum for the better part of two decades, and it’s now racing to the silver screen. Beginning with “Need for Speed” in 1994 to the recent “Need for Speed: Most Wanted” in 2012, the franchise has accrued a legion of fans over the years, a fact that no doubt contributed to the movie’s creation. Let’s take a look at how the video game franchise may have inspired the movie, which is set to open spring 2014. Continue reading

The Best Animated Movies for Kids

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Through moving illustrations and computer-generated images, animators create movie magic that stirs the heart and soul. Animation surpasses the limits of live action film and offers an integral function in galvanizing a child’s imagination. Here are some of the most creative and innovative animated movies of recent memory.

Cars

A tale of anthropomorphic automotives, Pixar’s “Cars” tells the story of rookie racer Lightning McQueen and his efforts to travel to California to win a tiebreaker race. When McQueen takes an unintentional detour into the antiquated town of Radiator Springs, his chance to win the gold cup seems to have disappeared in a puff of exhaust fumes. Fortunately for the determined race car, he meets an eclectic crew of vehicles to help him arrive at his destination. The film is an animated love letter to cars and features animated equivalents to the Plymouth Superbird, Hudson Hornet and Porsche 911 Carrera among others. The race cars of the Piston Cup are all equipped with new Goodyear tires, or “Lightyear” tires as they’re called in the film.

WALL-E

Centuries into the future, Earth has been transformed into a planetary landfill. Robots, like WALL-E, are left to sort out the worldwide mess, while humanity becomes morbidly obese after flocking to space. WALL-E is soon joined by EVE who is searching for sparse signs of vegetation, and a story of robotic romance ensues. For two lead mechanical characters that communicate wordlessly, they are both astonishingly relatable and human-like. This animated film is no mere children’s movie, but an undeniable science-fiction masterpiece displaying the dangers of rampant consumerism, over reliance on technology and environmental apathy.

Shrek

Everyone’s favorite Scottish ogre challenged animation powerhouse Disney with the release of “Shrek” in 2001. When Shrek’s swamp home is overrun by fairytale creatures, the not-so-jolly green giant and a garrulous donkey must stop the lord who is responsible for their displacement. The film successfully parodies fairy tale classics, and places Shrek in the unlikely shoes of a charming hero archetype to save the beautiful princess—who coincidentally plans to marry the villainous lord.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wes Anderson brilliantly adapts Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book into a stop-motion spectacle. Unable to control his larcenous nature, the dashing Mr. Fox brews up a plan to rob the nefarious farming trio of Boggis, Bunce and Bean which places his fellow animal kingdom in peril. The comic caper features impressive animation, an A-list cast of voice actors and is steeped in Anderson’s characteristic charm and quirkiness.

Toy Story

“Toy Story” is the film that launched CGI-animated movies and placed Pixar firmly on the map. You should know the story by now: a group of toys inconspicuously live out their lives under their child owner Andy’s nose. Cowboy Woody’s status as “number one toy” is threatened when space-age action figure, Buzz Lightyear, arrives at Andy’s birthday. When a sadistic toy torturing neighbor jeopardizes Andy’s toys, Buzz and Woody must overcome their rivalry and live to be played another day.

This guest post was written by Tiffany Smith.

Tiffany is a writer, editor and artist from San Franscisco.

Soul-Crushingly Bad Movies Inspired by Video Games

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Hollywood filmmakers are, to put it bluntly, a rather greedy and opportunistic lot. No trend, brand or character is immune from being brought to the big screen in an attempt to wring some profit out of movie-goers. Video games are no exception and the results over the years have been mixed. “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” was pretty good, and if you didn’t love the plot, at least you couldn’t disagree with Angelina Jolie’s wardrobe.

Unlike Tomb Raider, many games don’t have a compelling plot or enough characters to justify a film adaptation. But with the recent announcement of an Angry Birds movie in 2016, you might download games online today and see movie trailers once a large enough fan base is established. Angry Bird creator Rovio is financing the full-length animated movie themselves, so we may start seeing more gaming-related films being produced outside of the traditional studio system.

We’ve highlighted three of the worst movies made from video games. What do you think is the worst? Let us know in the comments!

TEKKEN

The Game:

The original game in the franchise was released in 1994 as an arcade game and eventually for home gaming on PlayStation. TEKKEN was one of the most popular hand-to-hand fighting games of the era, allowing players to choose from a wide variety of fighters. It gave rise to several sequels and is beloved by many a video game aficionado.

The Movie: Tekken (2010)

The film was produced in America and only theatrically released (with any minuscule amount of success) in Japan. Stateside, it was so poorly received that it was given a straight-to-video release. Even the producer of Tekken (the game) publicly bashed it, saying in a tweet from his @Harada_TEKKEN account, “That Hollywood movie is terrible.” Further derisive comments on Rottentomatoes.com include:

  • “…a limb-snapping effort of escapism surrounded by bland writing and sleepy performances.”
  • “The fight sequences – dreamlike and almost-spiritual in the original game – are relegated to UFC-style octagons, shot like shaky-cam snuff and soundtracked by Insane Clown Posse-wannabees. It’d be headache inducing if it weren’t so damn boring.”
  • “…You do not want to see Tekken the movie.”

BloodRayne

The Game:

Released by Terminal Reality in 2002, this game features a well-endowed, scantily clad female protagonist by the name of Rayne. She is a dhampir (half-vampire) intent on hunting down her vampire father and striking down any vampires she meets on the way. She joins the Brimstone society and works with them to vanquish the undead and prevent powerful occult relics from falling into the wrong hands.

The Movie: Bloodrayne (2005)

If you invoke the golden rule, you can’t say much about the film except for facts. So, here goes: Meat Loaf was in it. Ben Kingsley, Michelle Rodriguez and Billy Zane were also in it. The movie had a budget of $25 million and grossed almost $3.6 million, which leads us to believe it wasn’t well received.

Critical responses on Rottentomatoes.com were pretty forthright about how terrible the film was, saying things like:

  • “The fight scenes are the worst kind of editing-room cheating, meant to cover for actors who haven’t been trained to wield anything more intimidating than a cell phone.”
  • “Turgid drama and incompetently staged action sequences…”
  • “This is a movie that begs you not to watch it.”

Super Mario Brothers

The Game:

Back in the day when the original Nintendo console was king, everyone who was anyone had a copy of Mario Brothers. Mario and Luigi are some of the most recognizable video game characters in the world. Every platform ever sold by Nintendo features multiple game titles with these guys as featured players or stars. It must have seemed like a slam-dunk in Hollywood, bring the duo to the big screen.

The Movie: The Super Mario Brothers (1993)

Despite starring talented actors like Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper and Samantha Mathis, this film is a flop. The world of Dinohattan is campy and the action is not compelling. We kind of wish they’d flushed this concept down the pipes.

Critical highlights on Rottentomatoes.com include these gems:

  • “Game over, man.”
  • “Super Mario Bros. is about as playful and challenging as an unplugged pinball machine.”
  • “They should have used cheat codes to make this a winner.”
  • “It will baffle kids, bore adolescents, and depress adults.”

Guest post written by Mark Sumner

A very busy film editor, Mark is glad that his film trivia is being put to some use and that he can use his writing abilities to supplement his artist’s income.

I Can Has Cheezburger is Now Saying, I Can Has Steak Dinner: ‘LOLwork’ Debuts on Bravo Network

Picture images of little kitties playfully spinning about with a meme tagging the photo “Calgon, take me away” or imagine a video of a massive St. Bernard so scared to go down a stairwell as his owner tries to lure him down that all he can do is cower and whine at the thought. These are the types of things you can view on the website icanhas.cheezburger.com. They are cute and they are funny.

Founder and CEO of Cheezburger Inc, which landed on The Wall Street Journal’s 2012 list of top 50 U.S. venture-backed companies, Ben Huh has a very simple philosophy: “We want people to make each other happy.” It seems to be working because, according to the Wall Street Journal, the company now has $32 million in venture funding. Cheezburger asks for user-generated content, which is reviewed by the employees and highlighted on the home page.

The website is so huge that Bravo has based a television series on it called “LOLwork,” and it’s basically a show about how to make the Internet funny. It highlights amusing animals, funny videos and the swift and nimble rise of Internet pop culture and the people behind the Web pages.

“Platform of Humor”

Cheezburger’s motto is to “make people laugh 5 minutes a day.” The I Can Has Cheezburger? website is not about cheeseburgers or food at all; it’s about funny cats, adorable dogs and kooky animals of all kinds. It highlights images and videos capturing our domesticated and loveable furry (sometimes furless) friends adorned with quick-witted grammatically incorrect captions. That’s it. But that seems to be enough.

The employees at Cheezburger work all day to understand what users want to see, so they research what is trending and put that on their website. It isn’t easy creating content that is not only funny but appropriate for all ages to view. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Huh says they want to avoid the “starfish” shots (this is when an animal is showing too much anus) and obeying the rule “absolutely no dead cats” (being sure there are no posts of animals that did not survive the highlighted incident) is a testament to their values and convictions.

Not only do they operate the website I Can Has Cheezburger but also Fail Blog, Memebase, ROFLrazzi and The Daily What — all of which offer different types of humorous content, not strictly animal-based.

From Cheezburger to “LOLwork”

Going from icanhas.cheezburger.com to the Bravo TV Network, “LOLwork” is quite a leap for this Seattle-based Internet company of 90 employees. While not all of the staff will appear on the show, the ones that do are quirky, charismatic and quite-curious computer gurus who create content, debate about what is and isn’t funny and argue, but this documentary is low drama. It’s more a tongue-in-cheek view of the world behind what we see everyday on our computers. The things happening behind the scenes are really happening in their lives and not scripted.

Their jobs are strange, their work is odd and that is just normal to these employees. They aren’t actors but they do know they are being filmed. So their “normal” may be a little over the top, and that is OK because they are all awkwardly entertaining.

What’s Up With Ben Huh

Cheezburger is “a thesis about the Internet; (the Internet) needs it’s own platform for humor, so we are going to let people express their sense of humor and remix it to create something brand new,” explains Huh on Forbes.com. Huh was named Entreprenuer of the Year in media and entertainment for the Pacific Northwest region by Ernst & Young, reports The Seattle Times. With a network of online humor sites, the Cheezburger Network’s fan base is at 20 million users monthly.

Written by Casey Farley.

The first film review Casey ever wrote was on a McDonald’s napkin. It said E.T. = awesome! He was 5.

Psychos and Silver Linings: Toronto Film Festival Awards Winners

The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival is a highly anticipated and followed showcase that exhibits some of the world’s best and brightest in the film community. Original stories are on display and producers vie for the hottest ticket on the ballot. Of the 239 films shown, eleven took home official awards. With a fantastic lineup of movies– some touted as sure Oscar bait this year– the festival was filled with chills, thrills, and psycho pills, proving that the Toronto knows how to differentiate itself from the rest of the festivals.

BlackBerry People’s Choice Award Winner: “Silver Linings Playbook”

This award is for the most popular film as voted on by audiences at the festival. David O. Russell (“The Fighter”) directs acting school alum Bradley Cooper as a teacher who returns home to live with his folks (Robert De Niro, Jackie Weaver, “Animal Kingdom”) in Philly, following his release from a mental hospital. While coping with returning to reality, Cooper gets involved with a young widow (Jennifer Lawrence, “The Hunger Games”) who is just as off-kilter. The dramedy also stars Julia Stiles and Chris “Where Have You Been” Tucker.

BlackBerry People’s Choice Documentary Award Winner: “Artifact”

Bartholomew Cubbins examines the nature of the music business today though intimate access to actor/musician Jared Leto and his band 30 Seconds to Mars. The film covers the band as they record their album “This is War,” and fight record label EMI in a nasty lawsuit. No one gets in the way of an artist and his music.

BlackBerry People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award Winner: “Seven Psychopaths”

A veritable dream team of actors bring this quirky, sure-to-be cult hit, to life. Writer/director Martin McDonagh follows a struggling screenwriter (Colin Farrell) as he tries to complete a script. His best friend, an unemployed actor who could probably use a stint in acting school (Sam Rockwell), wants to help and the pair quickly get involved in a dognapping scheme gone awry, mixed up with serial-killers who prey on serial-killers and other off the wall characters. Weedy Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits and Harry Dean Stanton also lend their talents to this “wacky, blood-spattered commentary on the psycho-killer thriller.”

City of Toronto & Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature: “Laurence Anyways”

A jury of industry professionals chose Xavier Dolan’s French-language romance as the best feature film by a Canadian filmmaker. Described as “Wuthering Heights relocated to the wilds of Montreal, with a transgender Heathcliff and a punked-out Catherine” the film is visually breathtaking and a daring examination of the nature of love and sexuality.

Award For Best Canadian Short Film: “Keep a Modest Head”

One of several French-language winners, this Deco Dawson short film is a unique eulogy for Jean Benoît, the last official French Surrealist.

The SKYY Vodka Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film: “Antiviral” & “Blackbird”

Brandon Cronenberg’s “Viral” is a satirical examination of our celebrity and spectacle-obsessed culture set in a dystopian future. In “Blackbird,” Jason Buxton examines the culture of fear and social media that has evolved in the wake of the Columbine tragedy and other school shootings.

International Critics’ Prize (FIPRESCI Prize) – Discovery: “In the House”

This French-language film from François Ozon is an adaptation of Juan Mayorga’s “The Boy in the Last Row” and is described as a “chilling, crystalline thriller.”

NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) award: “The Land of Hope”

Director Sion Sono tells the tale of a (fictional) rural family’s struggle to survive after the nuclear crisis resulting from the Thoku earthquake.

Grolsch Film Works Discovery Award: “Detroit Unleaded”

Rola Nashef took home an award for her first feature-length film about a Lebanese-American youth coming of age as he takes over the family business.

For a closer look at other TIFF hits, watch the video below from The Guardian UK.

Article written by Sarah Owens

Sarah loves music, theater, films and books. She is a multi-media guru who is always hungry for information. She is originally from Akron, Ohio, and now calls the Denver area home.

4 Things Fans Want to See From the TMNT Reboot

Are you ready for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to return to the big screen? Based on what they’ve seen from an early draft of the script, some diehard fans aren’t too crazy about the whole idea.

A leaked draft of the script for “Ninja Turtles” alters the origin story for iconic comic book heroes in a half shell that are stirring controversy. Reported changes include making Casey Jones and April O’ Neil into a teenage couple and turning the turtles from mutants raised in the sewers into aliens from another planet.

Director Michael Bay is spearheading “Ninja Turtles” through Platinum Dunes, his production company. The franchise reboot was green lit by Paramount and is slated for a 2014 release. Bay has built his career on producing and directing action and science fiction films characterized by explosive action scenes and larger-than-life special effects. Paramount turned to Bay to revive the franchise after his success with “The Transformers” trilogy.

Michael Bay was quick to distance himself from the controversial script, saying neither he nor Platinum Dunes had anything to do with it. If Michael Bay wants to satisfy longtime fans of the franchise, these are four things that must be included in “Ninja Turtles” when it finally hits theaters in 2014:

1.) Turtles must be from Earth

Making the ninja turtles come from another planet doesn’t make sense and isn’t necessary. Their origin story has the turtles come forth as a result of chemical enhancements from toxic waste. The same is true with Master Splinter, the rat who becomes their shepherd. They reside in the sewers and use it as their base while they fight villains in relative anonymity. Bringing the turtles in on a spaceship kind of defeats the purpose of working as ninjas. Why not just blast the bad guys with ray guns?

2.) Shredder needs to be the central villain

No Ninja Turtles movie is complete without Shredder as the primary antagonist. He is a villainous ninja master who leads the Foot Clan and battles the turtles while trying to establish world domination. Turning Shredder into an American general in charge of a secret military division called “The Foot” introduces a foreign concept into the franchise. There has never really been an issue with military or government forces.

3.) April O’ Neil and Casey Jones need to be adults

Changing April and Casey into a teenage couple undermines what their characters are all about. One reason they work as adults is that they can do things for the Ninja Turtles in the outside world while they remain in the shadows. April and Casey are valuable allies in fighting villains. It’s hard for them to fill their roles in a realistic manner if they’re teenagers.

4.) The movie needs a “Dark Knight” style approach

If the new reboot is true to the original comics, it needs to have a dark edge to it. No campy plots or dopey humor will cut it. Movie fans proved with the Dark Knight trilogy that they like gritty realism to guide the plot and define the characters. It will give the movie added layers of depth.

This guest post was authored by Miranda Perez. When Miranda isn’t blogging about the latest restaurants and trends, she is traveling to discover new and delicious creations. Her frequent flier miles are her most prized possession.