Monday, July 26, 2010

(GUEST POST) Comic-Con: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

By Kevin Taylor (@tayke2)

We ended the looonggg but awesome weekend with the Always Sunny panel, which was a great way for me to end it because it is easily one of my favorite shows. The whole cast was there, which is Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olsen (who must be at least 7 months preggers), Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney, Danny Devito, and Mary Elizabeth Ellis. They were also joined by David Hornsby, who plays Rickety Cricket. He was in the crowd, but was convinced by the crows chanting his name to come up to the panel. They started off by showing us an episode from the upcoming season which starts in September. It was “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” and it was about the gang piecing together the night of Halloween, where Dee says one of them got her pregnant. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that I’m very excited for the upcoming season. The highlights of the Q&A were Charlie and Dennis singing the Nightman song. They also hinted that they would love to have Dolph Lundgren guest star, which would be pretty awesome, especially since it's filmed in the city where Rocky was. It was Always Sunny’s first time at Comic Con, and I can say that based on the crowd reception they got that they will probably come back, or at least I hope. It really is one of the best written and acted shows on TV, and it says a lot because it is just the 5 main actors going through their daily lives and it never gets old to me.

Comic-Con: Saturday Wrap Up Part 2

After Trailer Park, they didn't turn on the lights much so I couldn't take notes. Below are all the videos from Saturday I was able to take.

Paul Panel

Cowboys & Aliens Panel

We got to see a clip from the film and it really got me interested in this movie! A blending of western and sci-fi, it manages to have the gritty old west work while simultaneously bringing in an alien invasion. With an all star cast of Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, and Sam Rockwell, this could be the best movie of 2011.

Marvel Studios: Thor and Captain America Panel

Comic-Con: Saturday Wrap Up Part 1

Saturday is traditionally the biggest and busiest day of Comic-Con and this year was no exception. People started lining up for The Green Lantern, Sucker Punch, Harry Potter panel at 9pm the night before! My friends got in line at 8am for the 11:45 Warner Bros. Panel and were among the last to be let in! KT and I decided to skip that madness for the still passionate, slightly smaller Chuck panel.

Chuck Panel
SPOILERS AHEAD. You've been warned. The panel opened up with an awesome highlight reel made just for the event that had the best moments of the past 3 seasons and revealed a huge spoiler for next season. Last seasoned ended with Chuck finding out his mother was in the spy business too; his mother will be played by (drumroll please!) Linda Hamilton! Famous mother of John Connor, she epitomizes a kick-ass, badass mom - perfect for Chuck! She actually heard the rumors on the fan boards that she would be the mother and thought that sounded like fun. When they approached her about it, she was kind of already on board. The search for his mom is going to be a huge part of Season 4, along with trying to get Team Bartowski back together now that Chuck has quit the CIA but remained a spy of sorts. An interesting tidbit is that while the Buy More blew up, it will be back as a completely CIA owned and operated front. There will be "Greta" - a CIA/Green Shirt at the Buy More that will be played by a new actor every week. Olivia Munn will be first, then Isiah Mustafa (Old Spice Guy), and more.

They all love working on the show and the support of the fans. Unforetunately between the video opener and the delayed start, there wasn't much time for them to talk and no time at all for fan Q&As. Even so, the panel was one of my favorite from the weekend. And it was made even better by the Chuck Tweet Up the night before, where I got to chat with other Chuck fans and the cast even made a surprise appearance! I'll post pictures later, once I find my camera cord.

Let Me In Panel
A remake of the recent Swedish film Let the Right One In, the footage looked promising but the fans didn't seem to keen on an American remake of such a recent film. The director was coming to the project as a fan of the original film and wanted to keep the tone the same - a coming of age story that also happens to be a vampire movie. I couldn't take many notes since they didn't turn up the lights, but below is the flipcam video I took:

Trailer Park
They showed nearly all trailers I had already seen, but there was one that stood out from the rest.
The Adjustment Bureau

Comic-Con: Friday Wrap Up

Friday was supposed to be my day in Ballroom 20, but I waited until 11am to line for the 2pm Bones panel, which proved to be a huge mistake. Due to the popularity of True Blood, the room closed and the weren't allowing a line to form because no one was leaving the room between panels. The True Blood panel was at 5pm, so pretty everything before it closed off to those fans because of the fanatical passion of those waiting to see Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer. Oh well, a lesson learned. Instead of listening to the panels for Bones, The Joss Whedon Experience, and The Girls Who Kick Butt, I headed to the Scott Pilgrim Experience and Hall H for the movie panels.

The Scott Pilgrim Experience
This was the first year I ventured outside of the convention center to see what the studios had set up in the Gaslamp Quarter. While there was Dexter: Game On and Britt's Garage for The Green Hornet, I only experienced Scott Pilgrim. After being in line and enjoying all the free garlic bread I could handle, were finally let in. I got to custom make a t-shirt, and actually have it fit me! They also had booths set up for people to play the upcoming video game, create flip-books from 7 seconds of anything they wanted to do in front of the Scott Pilgrim backdrop, and get select cast members/creators to sign posters. If you followed along on twitter, you could know who was going to be there. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see the cast or the battle of bands performance, but Bryan Lee O'Malley was on hand to talk about the graphic novel and sign copies of the books or posters.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Panel
I wasn't here for the movie, it was just convenient for me to stay in Hall H and wait for the next panel for Priest, The Other Guys, and The Green Hornet. I'm not much for scary movies and the clips they showed for this were terrifying! Sarah and I literally shrieked during the first teaser. Even though I have no interest to see the film because of my horror flick preferences, it was very interesting to listen to Guillermo Del Toro speak about it and film in general. He saw the original made-for-TV movie as a kid and it was the scariest movie he had ever seen for a very long time. In 1998 he wrote the screenplay about an ancient chimney with an ashpit that has scary creatures from the bottom of the earth inside. They take children to the darkness and replace them with fake stand ins. It's a mix of fairy-tales and horror. He wanted to make a horror film because in American cinema, the horror film has become entangled with comedy and he wanted to make a movie as "serious as an attack of fucking gonorrhea." He doesn't like Postmodern horror films because there's no respect for the material; it feels like the films are saying you're smarter than the material is.

Del Toro is also venturing into Cable TV horror, doing an anthology series that would rely on shock and power, not gore. If The Walking Dead on AMC finds success, it will open the doors for more horror on television. On his list of projects he'd love to work on, he wants to do a serious take on a masked wrestler vs. vampires. He wants to bring in more Mexican legends and do his version of Frankenstein, he just needs to find the time do everything he would like. He confirmed that he is developing a twisted, stop-motion version of the original story of Pinocchio, not the Disney version. He is working with Disney on a new Haunted Mansion movie. It would be a giant love letter to the ride, since he's been in love with the experience since he went on it for the first time when he was 4. Hopefully it can wash the Eddie Murphy film from our brains.

Stay tuned for KT's post on the Sony Panel with Priest, The Other Guys, and The Green Hornet.

(GUEST POST) Comic-Con: Animation Domination Panels

By Kevin Taylor (@tayke2)

Family Guy Panel
The first part of the animation domination portion of the TV panels, the Family Guy panel was very entertaining. They started off showing 9 minutes of their straight to DVD release of their “Return of the Jedi” spoof coming out in December. It looks pretty hilarious and something I’ll definitely wanna check out. The panel included a few of the writers/producers, and some actors: Seth Macfarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green, and Patrick Warburton. The highlight of the Q&A was Warburton sharing a story of losing a golf bet with his friend and having to eat a brand of dog food that was later linked to mad cow disease, so he’s worried that he could die at any minute. Other then that, there wasn’t a whole lot of great stuff, except for Macfarline singing the “Down Syndrome Girl” song at the podium. That was pretty cool.

The Cleveland Show Panel
I only saw this panel cause it was between Family Guy and Futurama. I really had no desire to see any of this, and when they showed a 6 minute package real of the 2nd season, I did my best to not laugh at anything out of principle. I only laughed once and it was when they were on a plane to Africa. When Cleveland Jr. walked by, Cleveland said “Hey Junior, You know we are going to see our ancestry and where you came from.” And Junior responded, “no way dad I thought I was fucking Scottish.” After that, the panel, including Macfarlane, Jamie Kennedy, Mike Henry, Sanaa Lathan, Kevin Michael Richardson, and a few of the writers, did a script reading of a scene shot at Comic Con that was ok. Overall, a panel to forget for a show to forget.

Futurama Panel
The creators of the show, Matt Groening and David X Cohen were there, along with most of the cast, including Billy West, who voices Fry, the Doctor, and several others, Katey Sagal, who voices Leela, John Dimaggio, Bender, Maurice LaMarche, and Phil Lamarr, who voices Hermes. They showed a scene from Comic Con that they animated, which I thought was funny cause it basically made Cleveland Show look lazy. They also did a table reading themselves of a show that will air next summer, and the creators confessed that this upcoming episode is probably their favorite one they’ve created.

(GUEST POST) Comic-Con: Expendables, Skyline, and Super

By Kevin Taylor (@tayke2)

Expendables Panel
Probably the most pleasant surprise for me for the whole trip to be honest, and that was due mostly to the fact that I’m a guy. This movie is essentially action porn. It’s the biggest action stars of all time all on one screen and it looks just as bad ass as it sounds. The panel had Terry Crews, who got the adrenalin flowing early when he took his shirt off and flexed his pecks like in his old spice commercials. After him Stone Cold Steven Austin came out, sadly not to his iconic wrestling intro music. Following him were Dolph Lundgren, Sly Stallone, and Randy Catoure. You could have filled a sick panel with those who WEREN’T there, which included Jet Li, Jason Staham, Mickey Rourke, and the Governator.

The clip they showed was the “tunnel fight” and it was basically a bunch of bad ass kills. They included an awesome broken arm shot, a broken leg, and probably my favorite, a shot where Jason Staham breaks out of a hold by shooting his opponent in the ankle, then the head as he falls down. When they are in trouble, Terry Crews saves the day by destroying bad guys with a gun that Stallone says cuts people into pieces in real life.

This truly is a bad ass action movie. All the big guys did their own stunts, which led to a lot of injuries, including Austin breaking Stallone’s neck, loosening 3 bone spurs in it. The movie had to be shot in Brazil, because a lot of the explosions and fire power they used are illegal in the United States. Crews also commented how surprised he was that the explosions were real and realllllly powerful. Overall, it’s a movie that I’m very excited for. Not one girl will like it I’m sure, but if you are a guy, you will love it.

Some flipcam videos from the panel are below. Sorry for the poor quality, but those are the closest seats I could get:

Skyline Panel
I had not heard a single thing about this movie before this panel, and I have to say that it does look pretty interesting and might be something I check out when it comes. The movie was independently made on an extreme short budget. It is directed by Colin and Greg Strause, and the majority of the film was shot in their apartment. The story is that of an alien abduction rather then an alien invasion or extermination. The panel was Eric Balfour, Donald Faison, David Zayas, Scottie Thompson, and Brittany Daniel.

They showed the first trailer and a 2 minute scene. The movie reminds me a lot of Cloverfield, except that its not shot on handheld its actually a good camera. They said that because its an independent production that there were only about 5 decision makers on the set per day, as opposed to the standard 20 at the bear minimum. The scene was of Balfour and Faison on the roof looking at the alien abductions for the first time. It was funny because Faison said that because they shot it in their apartment that they had to be quiet as to not have the neighbors file a noise complaint. This of course was tough to do with the world being abducted around them.

Overall it seems like a pretty cool concept and it certainly looks like they did a pretty good job especially considering their extremely short budget. I would say wait for the reviews and if it gets good reviews then check it out because it certainly looks like it has promise.

Super Panel
This was once again a movie that I hadn’t heard any of and once again a pretty good surprise for me. This movie was shot on an extremely short budget as well, yet it had a star studded cast, most of whom were at the panel. James Gunn is the director, and he has with him Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, and Nathan Fillion. The story of the movie is an average every day guy, Wilson, who’s wife, Tyler, leaves him for Kevin Bacon’s character. Tired of being run over by people, he creates an alter ego that is a vigilante hero, very much along the lines of Kick Ass. When Page’s character sees him in action, she volunteers to join, even though she is extremely uncoordinated and all together not very useful.

The movie looks like it has a lot of funny moments. In one scene, a guy cuts into line for a movie, and when Wilson complains to no avail, he changes into his super hero outfit and proceeds to split his head open with a wrench. The movie is scheduled to come out later this year, and certainly seems promising. As I said before, it sounds like a more comical less action version of Kick Ass, which is a great sign since that movie was so great.

Comic-Con: Thursday Wrap Up

Comic-Con is the only place where I can make an obscure pop culture reference and expect everyone within earshot to get it. It's one of my favorite times of year and I definitely plan on going again and again for as long as I can afford (and maybe even some where I can't!). Growing up as a geeky teen girl, my first Comic-Con when I was 17 was eye-opening. It was the first time I realized just how many people out there are as passionate and obsessive about sci-fi/fantasty/superheroes as I am. So, as you can imagine, I'm very excited to share my experience here on my blog! Kevin and I will be posting about nearly all the panels we were able to attend, so keep checking the blog today and tomorrow for updates. I wanted to post earlier, but the wireless situation in San Diego was not the best.

Salt & Battle: Los Angeles Panel
My interest in Salt surrounds the fact that Angelina Jolie took over the role after Tom Cruise backed out. This change was a big learning process to the writers. They were surprised by how much it changed how all the characters relate to her. This one change had a snowball effect that slightly shifted every character in the film. Even with the change, expectations for the film and character are the same. It's not the "what" that changed, it was the "how." Angelina Jolie was on stage to discuss the role, but many of the questions centered on her method acting and were a bit repetitive. It was interesting to learn that she performed all of her stunts. The stunts were grounded in reality and had to be pratical and feasible, since this is an action film based in reality instead of inspired by a video game or graphic novel.

I hadn't heard of Battle: Los Angeles before this weekend, but was impressed with the viral marketing campaign ( throughout the weekend and the footage shown during the panel. Inspired by a mysterious event in Los Angeles, back in 1942 where the military shot hundreds of rounds on an unknown aircraft that didn't seem to suffer any damage. It then flew off and was never explained. The film takes these events as alien reconnaissance missions, and in 2011 the aliens come back to take over Earth. Instead of following a general citizen, it blends the war and sci-fi tropes by following an elite marine troop while they battle their way through Los Angeles in an effort to save the world.

Summit: RED Panel
RED was the highlight of Thursday for me. I had not heard of it before, despite having an A-list cast of Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis, Karl Urban, Mary Louis-Parker, who were all in attendance for the panel. Also in the film are Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich.  Based on a DC series, Retired Extremely Dangerous aka RED follows CIA operatives that know to much to simply retire. With the government they served after them, they'll prove that they're not too old to kick some butt. While the movie is a fun, action/adventure film, it stays grounded thanks  to the fantastic performances from the cast.

Fans of the graphic novel can rest assured that they stay true to the character of Frank. They took the character and just placed him into a broader environment with a lighter, punchier tone so it will work in the film medium. The character is what sold the studio on the project. The writer was available, but he saw it more as a translation of the story, not a dictation of the graphic novel to the screen.

We saw the world premiere of the full length trailer, which is embedded below. Catch the flick in theaters October 15!

The Visionaries: Joss Whedon & JJ Abrams Panel
The geek gods of Buffy and Lost in the same room together! The biggest announcement was the confirmation that Joss Whedon will be directing The Avengers. While they haven't worked together, but they have known each other since the days of The WB where they both worked on Felicity and Buffy, respectively. They talked about everything from film memorabilia to 3D. While the fans cheered at the announcement that Super 8 won't be 3D, Joss loves it. He loves that it puts you in the space of the film, and adds just a little something to the viewing experience. There are definitely movies that don't need it, but when it is suited for it, it's great. It's not a fad, but it won't take over the film medium entirely. There's no audience to see a period drama in 3D, for example.

Joss also talked about Dr. Horrible and his desire to make a sequel. He proved that the internet could be profitable, just not at the same scale as film/television. He's too busy to work on the sequel now, since The Avengers is about to start up, but he and Jed Whedon have talked about some ideas. In addition to taking a break from Dr. Horrible, he's taking a break from television. He learned his lesson with Dollhouse. He was trying to fit a square peg (creative, serialized storytelling) into a round hole (broadcast television). FOX is incapable of letting him roam free creatively, like The WB did with Buffy, so now he knows if/when he returns to TV he fits within the cable mentality.

JJ did reveal that Bad Robot is trying to get in to web content creation, but didn't give details on the project. Whatever they release, I'll be very interested to check out given the Bad Robot track record. One fan question was if he was happy with the Lost ending, given that he created the show and still had input on the direction until he gave complete control over to Darlton for Season 6. He and Damion Lindleof made a Bible in the beginning of what they wanted to address in the show, but things change in television. You have to adapt when you come across great actors, like Michael Emerson, or have a great new idea. You need to listen to the show and be flexible. All that said, he did love the finale and the emotional satisfaction for the characters it provided.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Panel 
While the panel featured nearly everyone involved in the project, and even some who weren't, it ultimately proved a bit disappointing for me. With Edgar Wright (Director), Bryan O'Malley (Creator), and all the actors on stage, I expected more discussion, but it was really just a series of clips highlighting each character and then the reveal that select members of the audience were going to see the movie RIGHT NOW! Since I was not one of the lucky winners of that, the panel didn't add much knowledge to the project than I already knew. It was nice to see Michael Cera dressed as Captain America and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost surprise the audience though.

That covers my Thursday! Are you excited for any of these projects in particular? Stay tuned for more from Comic-Con info from me and KT soon.