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Posted on 16 July 2015 by Rich Drees


Last week, news came of a possible stage musical based on the James Bond film franchise and it sounded to us like one of the least likely of subjects for a song and dance show. Well, what do you think about Fight Club: The Musical?

Chuck Palahniuk, writer of the novel on which the film, and now a musical, was based tweeted out the following a few days ago –

Julie Taymor working with David Fincher on a FIGHT CLUB rock opera? You didn’t hear it from me. :) #SDCC
— Chuck Palahniuk (@chuckpalahniuk) July 12, 2015

Although Palahniuk later deleted the tweet, Collider is quick to point out that this is not the first mention of this project from the writer. A few months back he told the folks at MTV News

Fincher is optioning the stage rights. He’s finally moving on to the big rock opera. David says that there’s been a rock opera for every generation, you know, “Tommy” and then “The Wall,” but there really hasn’t been a really big one for the current generation – and he and Trent Reznor are really determined to make that happen. And David’s been consulting with Julie Taymor, the director, and she’s been kind of coaching him on what it takes to get a huge stage production.

Now, while this may sound as odd, or even odder, an idea than the James Bond musical, it does have one thing going in its favor right now – Julie Taymor. Sure, she has a rather big blot on her record right now thanks to the Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark musical, but she still has enough good on her ledger in both her film and stage projects that

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SDCC 2015: SUICIDE SQUAD Trailer Hits Web In HD

Posted on 13 July 2015 by William Gatevackes

Joker close upOh, what a difference a day makes.

This was Warner Brothers yesterday on the leaked Suicide Squad trailer:

We have no plans currently to release the Suicide Squad footage that leaked from Hall H on Saturday. It’s unfortunate and ultimately damaging that one individual broke a long-standing trust we have enjoyed with our fans at the convention by posting early material, which, at this point, was not intended for a wider audience. We are still in production on Suicide Squad, and will have a big campaign launch in the future. Our presentation yesterday was designed to be experienced in that room, on those big screens!

And this is Warner Brothers today:

I have to say something on the Warners’ statement. I think it’s is completely naive to think that the special trailer would not be released to the public. After all, paparazzi images from the set have already hit the Internet, and it was such an issue that David Ayer made a tongue in cheek reference to it while announcing clip to the Hall H audience. If still images were important enough to be released to the public to a massive amount of attention, what makes them think fans would honor a one-way “long-standing trust” and keep the moving pictures secret.

It’s just the nature of the beast. We live in a generation where almost everyone has a HD movie camera with an Internet connection in their pockets at all times and a generation where everyone wants to be “first” in breaking what they consider news. If your entire marketing plan is thrown into a tizzy because you failed to take this into consideration, the fault lies squarely on you, not the fans. This is the case of not blaming the scorpion for stinging you.

And if the studios take the passive aggressive move of not showing these special presentations in their panels anymore, good. That will eventually mean more tickets will be available to the convention and it will be easier to get a seat in Hall H.

Besides, what this all boils down to is more promotion for the film. The only problem studios should have is if the sizzle reel brings the wrong kind of sizzle. Speaking of which, let’s talk about the that trailer, shall we?.

Suicide Squad line-upFirst of all, let’s preface this by saying these are some snap judgements based on the disjointed scenes Ayer threw together to make the pseudotrailer. What we think we see here might not be what we actually get in the final film.

That being said, there’s a lot not to like in the trailer. Granted, the concept lends it self to the “let’s dial the brightness on every frame down to 2″ philosophy Warners has towards their DC films. But the opening scene has an air of absurdity that lends itself to more of a “lighter” action film in the mold of Commando or even The Dirty Dozen. Doesn’t look like we will be getting that one.

Another foible for me is that Deadshot is one of DC’s better characters. He is a man who kills for a living by choice, but still cares for his family and friends. The Will Smith Deadshot seems to be someone who is forced to kill people to support his family, if I read a lot into the scenes he is in above. That is a big difference and makes for a less appealing character.

But that’s nothing compared to what has been done to the Joker. The Joker is one of the most iconic characters in comics books, who has morphed over the years to keep up with the times. And Warners has now made him into a generic psychopath. The Joker scenes got a good response from the crowd, but for me, it left me yawning.

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Posted on 11 July 2015 by William Gatevackes

Batman Landing on SupermanIf you were hoping for the full Justice League line up or confirmation that Ben Affleck would be directing Batman, you were out of luck at today’s Warner’s panel at San Diego Comic Con (They did announce a Green Lantern Corps film). . What we did get from the presentation was the first official trailer. And it was…promising.

Here it is for your perusal:

First off, it’s still too dark. I mean, even with the Christ motif, it’s still dank and dark. But it does well in setting up the conflict between the two (and making sure we know its a two-way conflict: Batman doesn’t like Superman, Superman doesn’t like Batman). And the limited glimpse we get of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is enough to make this fanboy squee. My optimism has been upgraded from barely optimistic to cautiously optimistic.

What did you think?

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Affleck To Star, Direct And Co-Write BATMAN Film

Posted on 10 July 2015 by William Gatevackes

BenAffleckDirectorBatman has been a consistent cash cow for Warner Brothers, so it seemed very unusual for the studio to not have included a Batman film in the long list of DC Comics films it put out last year. But it looks like we will be getting a Batman film, once new Batman Ben Affleck’s schedule clears up a bit.

Deadline is reporting that Affleck will be co-writing a Batman feature with DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. Affleck will also direct and, naturally, star in the film as well.

Johns is no stranger to Hollywood. He got his start in film as Richard Donner’s assistant before becoming a superstar comic book writer, making for the most circuitous route any assistant ever took to become a screenwriter.

Don’t expect a Batman film too soon. Affleck has to direct and star in the long-delayed Live By Night, based on the Dennis Lehane novel of the same name. That film is scheduled to start shooting in November, aiming for an October 2016 release date. Affleck is also involved in 2017’s Justice League, so the soonest industry analysts think Batman will hit theaters is 2018.

We’ll see if this is all true on Saturday at Warners’ SDCC panel.

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Marisa Tomei Is SPIDER-MAN’S Latest Aunt May

Posted on 08 July 2015 by William Gatevackes

marisa-tomei-picture-2It’s not often you hear people complaining that a three-time Oscar nominee, one-time winner has been cast in a role, and its even rarer that an actress is criticized for being too young for a part, but that is what’s happening here.

Variety is claiming sources that say that Marisa Tomei has been cast as Aunt May in the joint Sony/Marvel reboot of the Spider-Man franchise. She follows Rosemary Harris and Sally Field in the role.

What is causing a bit of a brouhaha is that Aunt May is portrayed in the comics as a frail, weak octogenarian who ran the risk of getting a heart attack if the wind blew on her too hard. Even modern comic book revamps of the character cast her in the feisty grandma role. Harris, who was 74 when she took the role fit right in. Even Field, who was 65 when she appear in the last reboot, was close enough for the fans to stay quiet. Tomei is a rather spry and fit 50-year-old who could pass for being in her 30s. This is too much for some fans to take.

Me? I like the choice. I always had a problem with a teenage Peter Parker having an aunt who was in her 70s, if not her 80s. The age gap between her and Peter’s parents in the comics was too big for my liking. However, having a 50-year-old aunt seem way more plausible.

Besides that, Tomei is an Academy Award-winning actress who has range. She won the Oscar for her work in a comedy (My Cousin Vinny) and her next two nominations were for dramas (In the Bedroom and The Wrestler). I’m 100% positive that she has what it takes to make a memorable performance as the character.

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JAMES BOND: THE MUSICAL – Not An Evil Spectre Plot

Posted on 07 July 2015 by Rich Drees


When I think of the James Bond franchise one of the last things I think about is musicals. Sure, the films have spawned a number of hit title songs like “Goldfinger” and “View To A Kill” over the years, but the idea of an all-singing, all-dancing British secret agent only makes sense if you are making a joke, right?

Well there’s a producer out there who doesn’t see it quite like that and is aiming to mount a musical adaptation of the iconic super spy. The producer in question is Merry Saltzman, daughter of Bond film co-producer and theater producer Harry Saltzman, and she told Playbill that show will not adapt any previous Bond novel or film but will its own original story. However, it will feature “several Bond villains, plus some new ones.”

Appropriately titled James Bond: The Musical, the show will have a book by novelist Dave Clarke (Keeping Hannah Waiting), and music and lyrics by country composer Jay Henry Weisz (“Driving Home,” “Only One,” “Man in the Bar,” “The Fight”).

Saltzman is looking to have the production ready for a late 2017-early 2018 opening either on Broadway or in Las Vegas.

I certainly can’t be the only here think about the Spider-Man musical Turn Off The Dark, am I? This just strikes me as a colossal mismatch of story and genre. Heck, I would be willing to concede that a straight, non-musical James Bond play could possibly work on the stage. Think of a story that could take place in a few small locations like the Baccarat/Pokersequence in Bond creator Ian Flemming’s original Casino Royale novel or the original short story “Quantum of Solace.” But the idea of Bond breaking into a song and dance routine to move the plot along or showcase the feelings his character is expressing just sounds too ludicrous to work.

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Vertigo Comics films Move From Warners to New Line

Posted on 29 June 2015 by William Gatevackes

vertigo-comics-logoWhen Warner Brothers announced its slate of comic book films last year with no mention of the previously announced Sandman film, fans of the Neil Gaiman creation got worried the film might have been cancelled. Turns out it might be even worse than that.

Deadline is reporting that Warner Brothers is delegating any and all films based on DC Entertainment’s Vertigo line to it’s New Line Cinema arm. The reason given by Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. is that Warners has its hands tied trying to bring a shared universe together with the DC Comics films, and letting the Vertigo films become part of New Line’s 4 to 8 films a year means that there are a better chance of those films being developed and getting made.

New Line Cinema was founded by Robert Shaye in 1967. It built itself up by releasing the films of John Waters and re-releasing films such as Reefer MadnessThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Night of the Living Dead. These films established New Line’s identity as the studio that brought you quirky indie fare (MetropolitanRambling RoseState and MainHedwig and the Angry Inch, Boogie Nights and About Schmidt), low-budget horror (Nightmare on Elm Street series, Final Destination series, Critters, and Snakes on the Plane), before diversifying into comedies (Austin Powers series, The Wedding Singer, Wedding Crashers, and Semi-Pro) and Urban market films (House Party, Rush Hour and Friday series’, Love and Basketball, and Set It Off). New Line merged with Warner Brothers in 2008.

The studio is no stranger to films based on comic books, it was home to the Blade trilogy, The Mask, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, Spawn and A History of Violence.  However, most of its non-sequel films only have budgets of less than $50 million dollars, and the ones that go above that mark don’t usually make their money back (see Town & Country, Son of the Mask, and The Golden Compass).   So, if you were hoping that we’d actually see enough money spent to do Sandman right, it might not work out that way for you.

As for what the film slate will entail, in addition to Sandman, which has Joseph Gordon-Levitt attached as at least writer/director, there is the long-rumored Guillermo del Toro helmed Justice League Dark film (which features many former Vertigo characters in the cast), a Fables film that added Jane Goldman as a screenwriter in January of this year, and a 100 Bullets film that has been in development for a while.

Odds are we may be hearing more about this in a week when the San Diego Comic Con opens.

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Marvel Studios Sitting Out San Diego Comic Con This Year

Posted on 20 June 2015 by William Gatevackes

MarvelStudiosLogoIf you took July 8th to the 12 off of work in the hopes of keeping FilmBuffOnline up and refreshed constantly to see what Marvel Studios news would be coming out of San Diego Comic Con, you can tell your boss that you’ll be able to come in. For the first time since 2011, Marvel Studios will not have a panel at SDCC.

Also, if you wanted to find out what was up with the new Ghostbusters reboot or what the future of the Transformers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchises held, you can head in to work too. Sony and Paramount have joined Marvel in choosing not to have a Hall H presentations.

Once though the sure fire road to box office gold, the luster of a Hall H presentation wore off after films such as Doom, The Spirit, I, Frankenstein, The Giver and many other high-budgeted films had disappointing returns from the costly SDCC investment.

However, Marvel Studios was a juggernaut with hit after hit and a line of films custom made for the SDCC audience. Of course, you can also argue that Marvel’s cinematic success had little to do with its SDCC presence, but the SDCC promotion didn’t hurt.

Marvel’s exodus was foreshadowed by last year’s rather lackluster presentation. The studio saved its announcement of its Phase III slate for an October presentation at the Disney-owned El Capitan theater in Los Angeles, leaving the Hall H presentation to promote its 2015 slate. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn let the cat out of the bag in March of this year that Marvel would not be at SDCC, but fans refused to believe him.

Variety seems to think that instead of making the costly trip to San Diego, that Disney will promote its Marvel fare–in addition to its forthcoming Pirates of the Carribean and Finding Nemo sequels–at its company run D23 Expo in Anaheim in August. Disney will be promoting Star Wars at SDCC and its Marvel TV arm as well.

Marvel Studios’ absence is a gain for Warner Brothers, which will be promoting its DC Comics film slate at the con, and Fox, which will be hyping its Fantastic Four reboot and its X-Men franchise there as well. Both studios have less competition for server space at the movie news sites with Marvel not being there.

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Sony And Marvel At Odds At SPIDER-MAN Casting?

Posted on 12 June 2015 by William Gatevackes

Spidey apartIf you thought Sony was just going to get out of the way and let Marvel do what they do best with the upcoming Spider-Man reboot, you’d be sadly mistaken.

According to Jeff Sneider, co-host of the Meet the Movie Press podcast, the studio that managed the screw up two Spider-Man franchises is butting heads with the studio has done no wrong with their film slate to date over who will be the new Spider-Man.

The field is down to three contenders, the previously mentioned Tom Holland, veritable unknown Matt Lintz, and Boardwalk Empire’s Charlie Plummer. Conspicuous in his absence is Asa Butterfield, who Latino Review stated was in final negotiations for the role. I know, I know. A Latino Review rumor that is probably wrong? It seems hard to believe.

Sneider says that even though Lintz is still in contention, it really is a two horse race between Holland, who Sony wants, and Plummer, who Marvel is behind.

While a casting announcement was rumored to hit last week, this latest back and forth not only delays the announcement, but would possible delay shooting on Captain America: Civil War. Sources say Marvel was bringing potential actors to that film’s Atlanta set to audition with the hopes of immediately having the actor start shooting the character’s scenes in film. Now, it looks like the Spider-Man scenes will be delayed to at least July while the casting mess gets straightened out.

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Weekend Read: Ferris Bueller’s Anniversary, 3D Losing Its Charm, Hong Kong Girls With Guns, Rondo Hatton And More

Posted on 05 June 2015 by Rich Drees

A roundup of some worth while film stories you should be reading.

Take Ferris Out To The Ball Game: If you think that movie fans can be obsessive, then you probably don’t know many sports fans. And when the two intersect in one person… Well, you get someone like Larry Granillo, who looked at the meager clues available in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and managed to figure out what Chicago Cubs game Ferris, Cameron and Sloan took in during their famous day of skipping school. It was the June 5, 1985 matchup between the Cubs and the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field. That’s right, 30 years ago today. You can read about over at For The Win.

3Dead: Kyle Smith of the NY Post may not being bringing new to the complaints about 3D films, i.e., the terrible, murky-looking upconversions of films not shot in native 3D, the glasses, the extra expense at the box office. But he does verbalize something I’ve been hearing at screenings I’ve been to and from among the general movie-going public. The 3D process is loosing its appeal fairly rapidly. Smith almost seems to hint that there may be a corollary between the film’s quality as a film and how successful it is as a 3D movie at the box office, but doesn’t quite get there. Further exploration for another day.

yes-madam-michelle-yeohLadies, Locked And Loaded: Pound-for-pound, Grady Hendrix is probably the best writer about Asian genre cinema, and his latest piece for Film Comment is no exception. Focusing on the subgenre of “girls with guns” that flourished briefly from the mid-1980s to the mid-90s, Grady explains how these films feature ” international casts, exotic locations, lots of Uzis, a jackhammer pace, at least one fight on a construction site, some of the most synth-tastic scores of the Eighties, and many, many questionable hairstyles” and “don’t just pass the Bechdel Test, they destroyed it.” As usual with one his pieces like this, you will probably want to have your Netflix account open while you read it, adding a number of films to your queue.

A Composer In A Galaxy Far, Far Away: If you’re excited about the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens but you’re trying to remain spoiler free, this short Vanity Fair interview with composer John Williams might fit the bill for you. He talks about how he is approaching writing the music for the newest installment of the franchise his perhaps best known for without giving any actual story secrets away.

Bizarre Boy Bubby:The Australian Centre For The Moving Image asks if there is an Australian film weirder than writer/director Rolf de Heer’s 1992 feature Bad Boy Bubby? Our answer – probably not, at least until they decide to make a Danger 5 movie.

rondo-hattonAnd finally: A holdover from the Memorial Day weekend, this local news story from Tamp FL, looks at the annual commemoration ceremony at the only veteran’s cemetery in the county and mentions its perhaps most famous interee, the 1930s and 40s horror movie icon Rondo Hatton. A veteran of World War One, he found fame in films after acromegaly began to distort his facial features. (Not the result of a mustard gas attack as was thought at the time.)

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