So here it goes...
1. Batman on Film - "Let's talk sequel"
Jett of Batman On Film wrote an excellent article about the future of the current Batman series. Like me and many others, Jett wants another Batman film directed by Christopher Nolan, the vision behind Batman Begins and the most recent box-office and critical champion, The Dark Knight. Nolan's participation in the next Batman film is pivotal--and so is the material itself. After the overwhelmingly positive response The Dark Knight has received, how is any sequel ever going to top that?
David S. Goyer (screenwriter for Batman Begins) said he has a theme and villain in mind. Gary Oldman also suggested The Riddler as a villain in several interviews and I think he would make a terrific Riddler if he wasn't already Jim Gordon. But it has been mentioned repetitvely that at this point, the filmmakers aren't interested in doing well-known villains. I guess that crosses out The Riddler, The Penguin, and Catwoman.
But yet, I'm yearning to see Selina Kyle/Catwoman in Nolan's Batman universe. Now with Rachel Dawes out of the picture (Maggie Gyllenhaal will be missed--at least by me), it's almost a rule that every superhero on film needs a love interest. I know Batman has an insane amount of love interests from the comics, but Selina Kyle/Catwoman is an iconic character who is more than just "Batman's girlfriend." Her cat burgular/socialite character in the comics fits the Gotham City Nolan created almost too perfectly.
I wouldn't be surprised if they changed their minds to go with Catwoman after all. There have been some very talented and gorgeous actresses (i.e. Angelina Jolie, Emily Blunt, Eva Green, Kate Beckinsale) suggested for the Catwoman role, but I want someone entirely from left field. I want to see Winona Ryder (who was great with Bale in 1994's Little Women), or--this is an out-of-this-world suggestion, but I actually think Zooey Deschanel might make an interesting Catwoman, despite the fact that she's a little too adorable. Honestly, if Gyllenhaal was not cast as Rachel, she would have been my top choice for Catwoman. No, really--I, for one, find her incredibly sexy.
Then again, Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer were electrifying together in Batman Returns. If they want to do a convincing Bruce Wayne/Batman-Selina Kyle/Catwoman relationship this time around, Keaton and Pfeiffer will be hard to beat.
But Catwoman won't be able to carry all the troubles of Gotham on her own. If Batman ever needed a shrink, it would be now. What makes Hugo Strange a probable choice is that he isn't as popular as The Riddler or The Penguin, but he does fit into this reincarnation of Gotham like a glove. My personal casting suggestions are Jackie Earle Haley and Ben Kingsley.
So I'm interested to hear your take on the inevitable third Batman film. Villains? The plot? Rumors you've heard? Just anything, really.
2. The Editing Room - "Abridged Script for Superman Returns"
The Editing Room is one of my favorite new web discoveries from the past few months. It is a collection of hilarious abridged film movie scripts written by the very talented, Rod Hilton. Several of my favorites are the abridged scripts for the Harry Potter movies and undeserving Best Picture winner, Crash.
But after watching the terribly stupid Superman Returns a few days ago, I checked out what kind of script The Editing Room had cooked up for that movie. The abridged Superman Returns script is full of brilliance and everything that is said in the script are just too true.
Superman Returns just sucks. I've never been a huge Superman fan. I watched the Superman cartoons as a kid, the TV show Smallville, and Superman: The Movie and found the character unebelievably boring. Perhaps Superman doesn't necessarily have every imaginable superpower, but he sure has the majority of the top ten most desireable superpowers ever. The only things he doesn't have is a peace of mind since Lex Luthor's always around and a normal life with ladylove, Lois Lane. I also hate the Superman costume.
I tried to watch Superman Returns with an open mind, but Bryan Singer's film simply emphasized everything I didn't like about The Man of Steel. It doesn't help that the silly script doesn't give its title characters much lines. Brandon Routh plays Superman and Clark Kent with little charm or allure and I bet the only reason that he got the role was because he resembles Christopher Reeve, minus the acting chops. Routh just delivers a boring performance with already underwritten material.
Then there is the fantastic Kevin Spacey, who can spin yarn into gold like no other actor out there. As much menace and intimidating qualities Spacey tries to inject into Lex Luthor, whatever on paper just solidified him a weak villain. Lex Luthor also has a lame sidekick, Kitty Kowalski, who is played by the usually talented but ultimately disappointing Parker Posey. I believe Spacey does his best and has some fun with the material, but how could he beat the great Gene Hackman from the 1976 original when Hackman had nuclear missiles and Spacey only has real estate? Usually, in superhero movies, the villain carries the film along.
But how exactly is the audience supposed to care about some inane idea about the U.S. sinking and a development of a new crystal-formed island when nobody--not even the hero of the story--senses it as a threat until the last half-hour of the film? Keep in mind, this movie is 2 hours and 29 minutes long and the majority of those seconds kind of glazed past my eyes like a huge, unnecessary void. The "showdown" (if I can even describe it as such) between Lex Luthor and Superman must be one of the most anti-climatic hero-villain showdown scenes I've ever witnessed in my life.
There are a couple of thankless supporting performances, namely by Kate Bosworth. Bosworth as Lois Lane? The Razzies nominated Katie Holmes in her somewhat-terrible, somewhat-mediocre performance in Batman Begins, but not Bosworth for her amazingly atrocious portrayal of a supposedly intelligent Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter? I can't think of a performance more bland or a role more miscast (maybe with the exception of Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code), but seriously--are we really supposed to believe that Bosworth is Lois Lane, after Margot Kidder's wonderful portrayal in the original film?
This time around, Lois has a new boyfriend in the form of James Marsden's Richard White (masterfully nicknamed "Cyclops" as a reference to Marsden's X-Men role in The Editing Room's abridged script). Richard thinks he is the father of the son he and Lois are raising together. Boy, is he in for a surprise someday. But I really like Marsden in the role and it doesn't hurt that he's a pretty good-looking guy.
Superman Returns has fantastic visual effects, but they all seem obligatory and unengaging. There is a major action sequence in the first hour of the film that looked cool as a film promo but when seen in the context of the film, it lacks the excitement of what the superhero genre is all about. The Editing Room's script captures the dullness and stupidity of Superman Returns much better than my short review. I know I gave this film a 5.5/10, but it's mostly because I found some of the scenes unintentionally funny and strangely enjoyable. Plus, it is technically a well-made film with a terrible script and a weak director.
But is it wrong for me to dislike a film so much, yet realize the tremendous potential a sequel may have? There is a lot of unfinished business left and if they hire the right writers, a sequel might work. I'm not saying I'll be first in line for Superman Returns 2, but I'm just saying that it's an idea that I'm surprisingly not against.
3. Youtube Video - "Castle in the Sky/Kiki's Delivery Service AMV set to Breaking Free"
So enough about superheroes. Let's talk anime.
I've been having a bit of a Hayao Miyzaki film festival these days at my house, ever since I saw J.D.'s favorite, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
A few days ago, I gushed about the lighthearted loveliness of Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service. So far, Kiki's Delivery Serivce and Castle in the Sky are my two favorite Miyazaki films. I was quite ecstatic to discover a Youtube AMV of both films with music provided by--yep, you guessed it: High School Musical. But it's "Breaking Free," one of the not-so-terrible songs from the High School Musical soundtrack! You all know how I feel about High School Musical: I kind of hate it, yet I can't keep my eyes away. In fact, I think I hate it so much that I'm starting to love it. Truthfully, it's my ultimate guilty pleasure.
Some people on the comments section act like it's a travesty to have great art like Miyazaki's be combined with a song from an over-commercialized Disney TV movie, but hey--the song and images fit, right? Personally, I dig this video so I might as well share it.
4. EW - "Obama vs. McCain: The Great Presidential Pop-Culture Debate"
I was obsessed with CNN before my crappy cable wouldn't allow me to watch it anymore. I don't know the deep ends of politics or any of the technical terms, but it is something that always interested me to some extent. I don't support any major political party nor do I have a definite belief on how people should run my country. I guess I'm pretty much clueless when it comes to my personal opinion regarding politics, but that doesn't keep me away from checking CNN.com and watching the news almost everyday for fun.
Anyway, I found this amusing little piece from "Entertainment Weekly's" website with presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain discussing their favorites in the world of pop culture. I'm not partial to either presidential candidate (and I don't have to be, since I can't even vote in the upcoming election), but I have to admit, McCain certainly has better taste, although many preferred Obama's picks.
Care free to weigh in about which candidate has the better taste in pop culture? Or want to share who you're supporting in the upcoming election? Feel free to do so in the comments section. I'm in the mood for some political sound bites.
5. EW - "Jonas Brothers eye a return to Camp Rock"
I first saw this piece of news on Fataculture and it had me grinning from ear to ear, mainly because I knew a sequel to Camp Rock was inevitable. Am I looking forward to it? Not really. Camp Rock isn't as fun as High School Musical, but I guess that depends what your definition of "fun" is. I guess some songs from Camp Rock are kind of catchy and Demi Lovato has a nice enough smile to carry her role, but it didn't leave me dying for a sequel.
The real reason that I posted this article is because I thought it was kind of funny. This part made me really made me laugh:
A Disney Channel spokeswoman confirms that a sequel is in development, and that the [Jonas] brothers would like to premiere the movie in Central Park, where they'd serve pizza from their favorite New York restaurant.I love how there isn't really a legitimate shooting script yet and they already know where they're having the film's premiere and what they want to do at the premiere.
I promise you that my commentary will be much more brief next time. (I really, really type too much.)