Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Not Quite Weekly Link Run Down Part 4, only some Remake Madness

Trading in "Film Futures" is a Possibility, But of course That Wouldn't Just Insulate Studios From Awful, Awful Choices
Disappointed that Tinseltown never got to officially capitalize on the mortgage scandal, proposals have been made to allow the purchase of "Film Futures." This would basically be a commodities market for movie studios. Can't see anything wrong with that? Well, hundreds of millions of dollars are funneled into pictures that are mostly (a) dumb fx orgies, and (b) riding the coattails of some earlier project. Some movie-makers don't even bother adding things like a coherent plot or decent dialogue - who needs to, with a lot of money on the screen and a big marketing push? I can only assume there'll be an even greater collapse in the minimalist quality incentives that exist for big pictures.

Director of "Brick" Made a Great Concert Film for The Mountain Goats, You Already Missed Your Chance to Watch it For Free
It was up on Pitchfork.com, but it's already gone. Rian Johnson, creator of "Brick" and "The Brothers Bloom" put out another top-notch effort. Thanks to aicn for the heads up!

Comcast Wants to Buy NBC-Universal. In Related News, Disney Offers to Buy Every Company in the World.
The headline says it all. My assessment is that this move brings America scandalously closer to just having one giant company that owns every other company. Still, we're out of the Bush-Cheney years, so maybe law-makers will remember that Capitalism justifies its existence partly on the fact of competition. You can't get much competition if the company with the most money gets to purchase whoever might put them out of business...

The Oscars May Be Forcibly Made More Relevant, Annoying
A lot of folks aren't big fans of the Oscars. People get snubbed for reasons that seem unrelated to the product put onto film. Some actors get an Oscar because they basically "should have" received one by now (Al Pacino in "Scent of a Woman"). And many folks favor the Golden Globes, feeling that the GG is more of a "viewer's choice awards," one that better reflects the opinion of folks a little bit removed from the Hollywood system.
Well, the folks in charge of the Oscars are tossing around an idea - move the awards broadcast to January, which puts it up against the Golden Globes ceremony. It would also occur ahead of the SAG awards and the BAFTAs. Many justifications are being bandied about, but it seems clear this is a matter of self-interest, not a dedication to the men and women who make Hollywood work.

WB and DC Comics Takes a New Tack in Their Superman Litigation
I'm posting this because it's an interesting example of how people use the law; in many cases, if you can't get something done directly, you try to solve the problem by "going sideways..."
So the creators of Superman didn't get much compensation for what they brought to DC, the WB-owned comic book company that has Batman, the Flash, and Wonder Woman. There has been a lot of legal action between the family of Superman's creators and DC - of course, the whole thing is over copyrights and money. The latest twist - if you can call mid-May news "the latest" - is that DC decided to sue the opposing attorney, Mark Toberoff.
The big friendly comic book co. claims that Toberoff pursued this case to further his own financial interest in the "Superman property" (I hate phrases like that); oh, and that he got the creators' families to breach agreements with DC in order to file this suit. Follow the link if you want to understand what the claims are and how Mark Toberoff has a financial interest in the outcome of his case...
Law is very much like a battlefield, and few people have an interest in fighting the good fight through the law - it's just too damn expensive. DC is obviously motivated to use whatever they can to make this suit go away, but I don't know enough to say if that's a good or bad thing here...

Everything Old is New Again
Apparently, comebacks are planned for almost every single cartoon (that 20+ people remember) from the 80s. After the "GI Joe" flick, I had a feeling "Voltron" would be on the list. I can't say I'm happy to be right.
For those who don't remember, Voltron was the highly-improbable man-shaped, giant robot that was formed by 5 inter-locking robot lions. They fought lots of weird monsters (think Godzilla's uglier siblings) and other robots. I don't know why such a mechanical "marvel" would use a sword - hell, I don't know why it was made in the first place. But I have a pretty good idea why it'll get a reboot now, and that leads us to

Thundercats, Another Cartoon Ghost Risen From the Dead
A slightly more interesting cartoon than "Voltron," "Thundercats" is still fairly senseless. Like the big metal cats, this is about a team of people who fight monstrous bad-guys on a planet that might somehow be related to earth. Like "Voltron," it lacked an over-arching plot and had minimal character development. It too has no reason to exist other than intellectual property rights, creation of a modern-but-familiar toy line, and bags of money...

"Three Men and a" Film Sequel No One Wanted
I hate to stay in this "everything old is new again" kick, but it's out of my hands. Two movies were made about Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg, and Tom Sellick banding together to raise a child left in their care. The first flick was a sweet family event, but I never saw the second.
Someone seriously thinks that the "Three Men and a [stage of female development]" name is so big that it'll draw in audiences. Nobody really asks if a vague memory of a successful film will help people craft and release a good movie. I would be much less snarky if I thought quality control played any part in these productions...

Film Reboots That Don't Inspire Cynicism Because It's Impossible to Care
"Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead." Seriously.

A TV Reboot That No One Wants, But Might Be Half-Better Than What Came Before
"Alias" was the show that put JJ Abrams ("Lost") on the map. The first episode featured a nice American girl who ran around looking like Franka Potente in "Run Lola Run." The first two seasons provided some gripping, funny, and extremely-enjoyable viewing. It was cracker-jack tv, so much that you didn't spend too much time mocking some foibles: like super-spies that speak English in many bad "foreign accents," instead of speaking in foreign languages; also, most of the lead's missions involved her changing into some fetish gear (nurse outfit, lederhosen, dominatrix).
Sadly, the other three seasons were repetitive, strained, and, above all, repetitive. So in this case, a desperate grab for cash might actually produce a show that doesn't break its fan base. I don't know it would be worth caring about, especially since they could just make a new show already.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gets its 4th Reboot
Courtesy of Platinum Dunes and Michael Bay, a live action TMNT movie is in the works for 2012 (Mayan Apocalypse, anyone?). This "innovative" move would capitalize on the middling financial success of the CGI TMNT movie that came out in 2007. Please note, this was a highly-successful comic book that became a cartoon, then became a live-action film trilogy, then became a live-action tv show, then became another cartoon series, and then became a CGI movie. Now this. Oh, and they're planning a fourth (animated) tv show of this series that will neither die nor become so good that it can't be ignored.

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