Too much news to fit in print: comic book and video game movies

October 11, 2007

I like to think of it as a kill screen – eventually you get to the point where there’s just too much fun movie news of a certain type to handle it all, and you become confused and, well, okay, you don’t die, but serious writer’s block does become an issue. (If you’re wondering right now what a kill screen is, go see King of Kong immediately – or click on the “kill screen” link, but trust me, the first option is much more fun.)

My solution? Just provide the links in an easily accessible format so you can decide what you want to know. Lazy, you say? Perhaps. But what can I say, you get your news and better one okay post with many links, than many very mediocre posts with one link. I hope, anyway.

So here it is, what’s going on this week in comic book and video game movie news:

– In a big change of pace, Michael Gordon, of 300, Spider-man 3 and Ghost Writer fame is writing the EverQuest screenplay for the big screen.

– A movie trailer is available for the documentary Confessions of a Superhero. According to SlashFilm, it’s about “a group of people who make their money dressed as superheroes, taking photos with tourists outside the Manns Chinese Theater.” Awesome. What else is there to say?

Brandon Routh, the man of truth, justice, and all that stuff, is exchanging his tights and feel-good action for the role of Dylan Dog in the big screen adaptation of the popular horror comic books.

– The art director of Gears of War and other video games, Jerry O’Flaherty, will be directing the upcoming animated Thundercats movie.

– Director Xavier Gans has been fired from directing a big screen Hitman adaptation for making it too bloody. Yes, I can see how that direction for the film would be unexpected.


Best blogs from movie celebrities

October 2, 2007

With so many blogs on entertainment these days, how do you know where to go to get the juiciest stuff? (besides, obviously, going to this blog!) You go straight to the source, of course! For better or for, well, worse, many celebrities, or at least people who would kind of look familiar if you saw them on the street, are actually blogging.

Here are some of the best entertainer blogs out there, organized, most conveniently if I do say so myself, into easy referencing categories:

Quirky fun – is there anything better?

Kevin Smith (My Boring-Ass Life) – From the wealth of content here, some might argue not so boring, but in either case, this blog features relatively regular posts (up to a couple times a week) from the man behind Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Mallrats, and, of course, the whole Jay and Silent Bob saga regarding what he is up to these days. Features lots and lots of pictures, long posts and helpful information about Smith’s new projects and appearances – all told, naturally, with his signature dry, self-deprecating, casually R-rated humor.

Zach Braff – More down-to-earth chatter from that quirky guy from Scrubs and Garden State. Yes, he has “shameless plugs” (his words, not mine) in his blog, and not just in their officially designated area, but they’re scattered amongst (unfortunately infrequent – about once a month) blog posts full of funny and casual chatter. Skip past the seemingly obligatory “sorry it’s been awhile” at the top of each post and you’ll find cool nuggets of fun. My favorite – Zach’s answers to posted questions:

Answers to questions:
No
Yes
Cinnamon raisin.
That sounds like it would hurt me. No thanks.
Wrinkly, like a stone mason’s elbow.
I have several.
It depends; if it’s itching and burning, I would see a doctor.

Also included in the blog: videos, his favorite music, and yes, “Shameless Plugs.”

Funny or Die – Okay, yes, not technically a blog, but it does include a blog! (So ha!) This video site from Gary Sanchez Productions, a production company run by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay (SNL writer, director Talladega Nights and Anchorman) and Chris Henchy (producer on Entourage), features original comedy videos from Ferrell and other celebrity guests as well as user-generated content. Users vote on which videos are funny and which, alas, are not and thus deserve to die (get it – funny… or die?). The blog itself features such gems as:

I spent the last week in Reno and it was great. I went there with some eyeshadow and a dream and came back with a vanity license plate, a sprained ankle and a new husband, one Mr. Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Just for the suspense

Matt Groening – Is it a blog? Maybe a Simpsons archive? The future site for a new version of Mr. X? Or, gasp, a top secret storage space for as yet unaired Simpsons scripts? Sigh. We may never know. As Matt Groening himself says, according to simpsonsfolder.com:

I’ve reserved mattgroening.com. (Laughs) It’s said “This Site Is Under Construction” for three years now. I’ll get around to it. I know how disappointed I am when I go to a Web site and nothing has changed, and until I’m ready to wade in on a regular basis, I’m holding back.

Well, I suppose we’ll have to take his word for it. For now.

Voted Most Likely to Succeed

Wil Wheaton – If you’re a recent convert to the movie blogosphere, this name might not sound familiar, but for an actor who once starred in Stand by Me (1986) and Star Trek, Wil Wheaton has quickly become what the New York Times (not too shabby of a reference) called “a quirky star of the blogosphere” in 2005. With an important dose of that ever-popular self-deprecating humor, Wil’s blog features frequent posts (almost every day or so), pictures and favorite music. For you Alexaholics (you know who you are), his Alex rank currently stands at 110, 149, which ain’t too bad for a random blog. The blog is currently up for a Lifetime Achievement Award in the 2007 Bloggies.

The Omnipresence Award

Rosie O’Donnell – People are just going crazy over this thing. Now admittedly, the recent scandal can’t have hurt, but it certainly does feel like everything really is coming up Rosie (sorry, it was just too easy). Quotes from the blog, pretty much Rosie’s personal press agent at this point, pop up all over the news media (“on her personal blog,” “in a post on her official blog,” etc. etc. You get the idea). The blog itself is a tribute to all things Rosie, presented in that classic Internet format (i.e., no caps or punctuation) and in, well, poetry, plus photos, videos, links to her charities, and, of course, her gift shop. Posts are impressively frequent for a celebrity blogger – essentially every day. The blog currently has the most votes for “Best Celebrity Blogger” at the Blogger’s Choice Awards.

For “flans”-in-training (and those who understand what that means)

Nathan Fillion – The charismatic star of the cult film Serenity (and the Joss Whedon show, Firefly, on which the movie was based) writes every month or so on his MySpace blog about his life, interests and the crazy world around him. His down-home, direct talk is funny and refreshing and makes for an enjoyable read, although you may struggle not to be jealous as he describes his visit to the only paper supply office truly worth visiting:

I had lunch at the Office a few weeks ago. The Annex, the kitchen, the office itself- it’s all real! There is so much space between Pam’s desk and Dwight’s that I never knew about. I rummaged through Michael’s safe. I watched as cast members updated their myspace pages and checked their emails while on lunch, but at their character’s desks! Can you believe it? Now, many of you may have weirded out- sputtering stupid things excitedly while being ushered around on a first class tour. I’ll have you know… I’m not above that. Thank you, Jenna, for putting up with the high pitched squels [sic] of excitement, the stupid questions, and demanding that you answer as Pam.

And just cuz I can’t resist plugging it, if you’re as into The Office as Nathan here, and especially if you’re not into it at all, check out Jenna (aka, Jenna Fischer – Pam Beesley)’s own MySpace blog on my blogroll.

For the Faerie in you

Neil Gaiman – The award-winning author of illustrated fantasy works like The Sandman and Stardust (yep, the one that recent film is based on) and the co-author of the new Beowulf film shares his many, naturally well-worded, thoughts on his life, works, appearances, and other projects, and answers questions from fans and others. There are also lots of extras: book excerpts, interviews, essays, background info on some of his books, a schedule of his appearances, various message boards, and so on.

In memorium

Quentin Tarantino – The now-defunct diary of “QT.” Sure, it was fake, but hey, nobody’s perfect, right? And it certainly had its crazy day in the sun while it lasted.

Misc.

Other celebrities with a will to blog:

David Hewlett – The guy from Stargate: Atlantis (Dr. McKay) and the director of the recent independent film A Dog’s Breakfast shares his thoughts, and promotes his film, at this well-liked blog.

Michael Moore – The documentary star finally finds a way to express himself.

William Shatner – How could this guy not have a blog, I ask you? Thankfully, we don’t have to wonder.

The Huffington Post – Features blog entries from David Mamet, John Cusack, Christopher Guest, Ellen DeGeneres, and more. Click on the Huffington Post link for an index of all Huffington bloggers, or go here for the Wikipedia list of celebrity bloggers on the site.

Goro Miyazaki – From a man who knows something about living in a father’s shadow, the son of acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki discusses the development of his animated film, Tales from Earthsea, based on the Ursula LeGuin novels. For those of you who can read Japanese, enjoy! For us mere mortals, here is the English translation.

Margaret Cho – The well-known comedienne (Notorious C.H.O and, believe it or not, Face-Off) shares her thoughts on life, loves and the world at large, as well as many, many (many, many) pictures and videos.

Pamela Anderson – The eternal blond bombshell writes personal, and frequent, entries about her life, malicious rumors and the world at large in her bubblegummy diary (and I mean that literally – I’m suddenly craving something pink and fluffy…).

Michelle Rodriguez – Lengthy but sporadic messages from the tough Fast and the Furious and Lost beauty on her official website.

And finally…

Check out EW’s best and worst celebrity blogs for their take on some of these blogs, and others not mentioned here.


King of Kong clip

August 31, 2007

To send you off on your holiday weekend travels (or, at least, my holiday weekend travels), here’s a fun clip from King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.

Enjoy and see you next week!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Quotes

August 23, 2007

King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

“I wanted to be a hero, I wanted to be the center of attention, I wanted the glory, I wanted the fame, I wanted the pretty girls coming up to me and saying: ‘Hi, I see that you’re good at Centipede*.'”

(*Centipede is a classic Atari arcade game.)


The Competitive World of Donkey Kong

August 20, 2007

After movies covering the hypercompetitive subcultures of spelling bees and crossword puzzles, here comes a documentary about competitive, um, Donkey Konging. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I did not think the world of Donkey Kong competitions would the next gaming subculture covered in the movies, but here it is – a movie about those who spend their free time, or much of their time overall, playing arcade video games, particularly Donkey Kong.

One of the great rivalries of all time. – “King of Kong”

“King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters” follows the increasing rivalry between reigning champion Billy Mitchell, who held the world record in Donkey Kong scores, and everyman Steve Webie, who learns to play the game out of his garage, while dealing with some of the more unfortunate duties of being a father. The film explores the insular world of classic arcade game players, and how they interact with outsiders like Webie, coming in to rival their established hero, often to amusing and sadly poignant effect.

The documentary is perhaps not the deepest or the most originally produced of documentaries, but there is no denying that for me at least, watching it was a very fun afternoon activity. My boyfriend and I were trading lines from it the rest of the afternoon. However, it is a documentary – and for those who find that format somewhat slow-paced, this is probably not the film for you. But if you were a fan of Spellbound or Wordplay, or similar movies, take some time out to see this one as well.

To see the fun trailer on YouTube, go here. For an equally fun clip, go here.

(For Wii-less Nintendo fans: The official movie people are throwing a contest where you can win a free Nintendo Wii. To learn more, go to the official website. The sweepstakes ends September 4th.)