“Tusk,” Kevin Smith’s new horror-comedy about a man who is literally transformed into a walrus, is a different animal of a movie in more ways than one. Smith delivers on the thrills and chills of full-on horror and masterfully interlaces humor in unexpected ways. One of the strangest treats will come in the third act with Johnny Depp, unrecognizable as detective Guy Lapointe. Depp’s brilliantly odd performance adds to the weirdness of an already weird but truly worthy cinematic voyage. When he’s on the screen, you know that someone of a high caliber is playing with the ooey gooey elements of zany humor. Credit Mr. Depp and credit Mr. Smith for that.
Tag Archives: Joss Whedon
Welcome back to the Buffyverse! Dark Horse Comics launches Season 10 today. Without a doubt, this is a high point. So, without further ado, let’s take a look. New Rules. New Rules. That’s the name of the game and the name of this first new story arc. Buffy back to basics, fighting vampires. First off, Executive Producer: Joss Whedon; Writer: Christos Gage; Editor: Scott Allie; Artist: Rebekah Isaacs; Colorist: Dan Jackson; Cover Artist: Steve Morris. Everyone accounted for. And the very same can be said for Buffy. She can count on Xander, Willow, and Spike. Heck, we even have magic back. So, what’s a girl to do when everything seems to be going her way? Or is it?
Writer/director Joss Whedon gave “Marvel LIVE!” the exclusive first interview after the announcement of Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” during Marvel Studios’ Hall H presentation. You can expect a new spin on the Ultron origin story and a global outlook.
“Machinima” provides a recap on the news coming out of Comic-Con about a Superman vs. Batman movie. The news is very brief amounting to a quote from a confrontation between Superman and Batman from Frank Miller’s “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.” However, there is no indication that this story will be the basis for the new movie.
George Clayton Johnson is a born storyteller. Listen to him and you’ll find a good yarn told by someone with a love for the spoken and written word. He is, after all, one of the big players of pop culture: Among his credits: writer of landmark episodes of THE TWILIGHT ZONE; writer of the first broadcasted episode of STAR TREK; co-writer of OCEAN’S ELEVEN; co-writer of LOGAN’S RUN. For this interview, George and I began to talk about William Shatner. I was thinking over how William Shatner can be misunderstood as only being brash when that’s definitely not the case. With “Star Trek Into Darkness” arriving in theaters on May 17, Mr. Shatner was an excellent point of departure.
We quickly moved forward with a look back to Roger Corman’s 1962 “The Intruder,” a significant drama about the high tensions in the American South during the Civil Rights Movement. Mr. Corman was having difficulty in finding actors and approached Mr. Johnson, as well as his writing partner, William F. Nolan, about playing roles in the film. They were more than happy to join in. The film is based on the novel by Charles Beaumont, a science fiction writer, and a fellow contributor with Mr. Johnson to “The Twilight Zone.”
George then related a wonderful story about the origins of “Star Trek” and we ended with news of an exciting possibility. There is a tantalizing possibility of “The Twilight Zone” making its way to the stage. As George envisions it, the story would take place in a rest home, just like the famous “Kick The Can” episode. It would be about a seasoned writer who has had a lifetime of success and wants to knock one more ball out of the park. He has an idea for another story. This one will be about an individual focusing on a special moment, either in the past or the future. The trick is to avoid the present. In that way, you can live forever. In the course of the production, there will, in fact, be a series of stories and each will play off landmark “Twilight Zone” episodes that George wrote. And, to top it off, there needs to be a narrator, of course. Who better than Rod Serling? If all goes according to plan, this will be a musical.
Who would play the role of Rod Serling? Well, that brings us back to the subject we began our interview with: William Shatner is on the short list of possibilities. That is certainly an exciting prospect. Mr. Shatner came of age in that era, he knows the talent behind the original series, and he starred in one of the most memorable episodes, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” He would be an excellent choice.
There are a number of details to consider about taking such a project, conceivably, all the way to Broadway. Not least of concerns is getting just the right tone to what the Rod Serling narrator would say. He might be presented like a hologram. And he certainly will have a vital role to play, much like the narrator of “Our Town.” It was very gracious of George to share this project in the making with us. He has a number of projects in the works and this one is very dear to his heart. These are the early stages. We all hope it will come together.
Other subjects we cover in this interview are what led up to the original novel, “Logan’s Run,” and what may lie ahead, and a most intriguing thing that happened when George Clayton Johnson and J.J. Abrams discussed working together.
The full interview is below. Enjoy!
“Willow” glides deeper into her wants and needs in Part Three of “Wonderland.” The Jeff Parker and Christos Gage script gives it up for Willow. Brian Ching’s art gives it up for Willow. This issue is an enchanting walk through the mystical realm that doesn’t seem to offer any options besides hedonistic pleasure. That’s not exactly such a bad idea for Willow. She has a new girlfriend, the reptile witch, Aluwyn, and an intoxicating playground to enjoy.
It is Willow’s sidekick demon, Marrak, who needs to take on the role of nag. He is confident that he’s found some ancient relics that may very well solve Willow’s problem. But what problem is that? Oh, yeah, the whole reason she’s there, to return magic to Earth. It seems no use getting through to this girl. Marrak can’t do it alone. If there was ever any doubt, Willow needs Marrak.
This issue has some really beautiful scenes in it. You have the ocean, and cute and cuddly little octopi, just before a huge Cthulhu like monster spoils the mood. But, the prevailing theme in this issue is that Willow is really at odds with remaining the persistent do-gooder and just giving in to her new bond with Aluwyn. So, a good issue and a chance for us readers to bond more with the characters.
“Willow #3” comes out January 2, 2013. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics.
Joss Whedon’s contemporary take on “Much Ado About Nothing” has been picked up by Lionsgate. As reported by Deadline.com, Lionsgate acquired North American distribution rights to Joss Whedon’s low budget Shakespearean romp which played at the Toronto International Film Festival last weekend. It is packed with wonderful actors that have a history with Whedon, like Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof pictured below. And the look of the movie, judging by these stills, is lush and something to look forward to.
Here is a charming press release from last year, just after completion of principal photography:
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is the first feature from Bellwether, a micro-studio created by Joss Whedon and Kai Cole for the production of small, independent narratives for all media, embracing a DIY ethos and newer technologies for, in this particular case, a somewhat older story.
Shot in glorious black and white by Jay Hunter (PAPER HEART, “Dollhouse”), the film stars Amy Acker (CABIN IN THE WOODS, “Alias”) and Alexis Denisof (“How I Met Your Mother”, “Angel”) as Beatrice and Benedick, the world’s least likely lovers headed for their inevitable tumble into love. As Joss Whedon puts it: “The text is to me a deconstruction of the idea of love, which is ironic, since the entire production is a love letter – to the text, to the cast, even to the house it’s shot in.” The supporting cast includes Nathan Fillion (“Castle”, WAITRESS) as Dogberry, Clark Gregg (AVENGERS, IRON MAN) as Leonato, Fran Kranz (CABIN IN THE WOODS, “Dollhouse”) as Claudio and Reed Diamond (“Franklin & Bash”, MONEYBALL) as Don Pedro.
The film was produced by Whedon, line-produced by Nathan Kelly and M. Elizabeth Hughes, and co-produced by Kai Cole and Danny Kaminsky. The super-impressive cast is listed below. Full tech credits (for the extraordinary crew) will be up shortly. The film should be completed by early spring and headed for the festival circuit, because it is fancy.
There’s a wonderful interview with Joss Whedon conducted by the editor of Rookie, 15-year-old Tavi Gevinson. It is a remarkable piece in that it brings out the key facts we’ll enjoy knowing about “Much Ado About Nothing,” like it was filmed entirely in Joss Whedon’s home and Shakespeare’s work plays a very important role in Whedon’s life and his group of actors. But, beyond that, Ms. Gevinson gets Mr. Whedon to open up about his childhood, the girl avatar in his work, and a bunch of silly and human stuff that would not emerge in a more standard interview. So, congrats to Rookie and Tavi Gevinson.
Is it the story that’s a little different from previous superhero movies? Loki, a god from another world, is bent on conquering Earth and it’s up to The Avengers, an unlikely mix of individuals with superpowers or super skills, to save the day. Nope, that is pretty much a standard-issue plot for superhero comics as well as movies. So, what is the twist to “The Avengers”? Wait for it….Joss Whedon!
There are a lot of Joss Whedon moments in this movie. Maybe they’re Whedon/Marvel moments but, still. I like the one where Stark momentarily has his hands on a ginormous alien ship resembling a spinal column. Just before he tosses it over to the Avengers gang to work over, he says, “I’m taking the party over to you.” Once the monster is in sight, Black Widow quips, “That doesn’t look like a party.” Or how about the moment when Captain America, at the height of the crisis, orders two of New York’s finest to secure a perimeter. One cop says, “Why should we take orders from you?” Captain America fights off like a dozen aliens before he can return his attention to the officer. The officer immediately turns on his heal and barks Cap’s orders to the rest of the police force. So, yeah, maybe you don’t want to say this exactly, but I will. The Avengers has been Buffified!
Marvel Comics was able to, one by one, create successful movies for a string of high profile superheroes that would lead to a team-up of these characters, just like in the comics. It is the talent of Joss Whedon that pulls this colossal venture together. As writer and director, Whedon has taken his quirky sensibility from his offbeat creations, like “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” and managed to tweak the superhero genre in just the right places. Okay, there was a misstep with the original “Hulk” but, in this latest Marvel flick, the Hulk steals some of the best scenes! Is that all thanks to Whedon? Well, here’s the thing, Marvel Comics has a long history of having a good sense of humor. They can be quirky in their own way. Whedon’s quirk and Marvel’s quirk found some common ground.
Yeah, in the end, it seems like a true blending of Whedon and Marvel. The Whedon touches are there, sprinkled throughout. You can find them in some of the more elaborate details to the basic plot. And you can definitely find them in the more irreverent attitude. You’d think Tony Stark had all the snarky lines covered already without the help of Whedon. But there are a few times when Robert Downey Jr. does get to kick around more hip humor as when he keeps warning a guy at the command center to stop playing Galaga at his post.
Whedon doesn’t deconstruct willy nilly. The story is very much something that easily gets the Marvel stamp of approval. You’ll find it mostly in the banter and one liners that come up at the right moments. You’ll find the Whedon vibe in the cocky way these guys fight. There’s one scene where one of the heroes is shooting in one direction and looking nonchalant in the opposite direction while still hitting his mark. There’s a hilarious scene that has the Hulk confronting the evil mastermind, Loki, who berates him for daring to take on a god. The Hulk simply bats him around like a ragdoll.
Marvel and Whedon are also very good about tackling the big themes and having characters talk out complex issues. Every evil genius always gets a chance to have their say. In Loki’s case, we get a credible look inside his head when he explains that he just wants to give humans what they really want: to be subjugated. Another example is a beautiful scene between Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. where Bruce Banner is explaining his inner turmoil. He had reached a point where he’d had enough. He took a gun and put it to his mouth and pulled the trigger. But “the other guy” stopped it in time. Stark tells Banner he should take that as a good sign. Banner appreciates the sentiment but asks what good can the Hulk have in store for him. Stark tells him to find out. He might even enjoy it.
What a lot of folks love about Marvel is its gritty realism. This is New York City under attack, not Gotham City. It adds another layer for the viewer to invest in. And there’s some clever plot twists that demand that realism which Whedon and Marvel make pay off. In the end, you couldn’t ask for a better mix of quirk and good old fashioned superhero action.
The second chapter to “Apart (Of Me)” teases out a little more of the tension between Spike and Buffy and gives us on eyeful as to what some people (Andrew) think is best for Buffy. If only Buffy, as a plucky mere mortal, could get it together and buy into the American Dream by getting a mortgage on a two-bedroom starter home stocked with IKEA furniture! That is Andrew’s dream for Buffy. And, ever since his amazing and disastrous “plan” to keep Buffy safe, he has managed to secure only part of it, “part” being the key word here. Buffy’s programmed body had been made secure in the suburbs, until it was kidnapped, while Buffy’s mind was encased in a bot! So, for the purposes of this review, “Buffy” is the one encased in a bot. And “the other Buffy” is Buffy’s body programmed to believe it has a personality. A bit confusing, no doubt, and a bit of a mystery as to how this was going to keep Buffy safe in the first place!
Buffy observes that the space in Buffy’s “dream home” that is designated as an office is in between a bedroom and a bathroom. Is it possible that the other Buffy might have plans for a nursery in the future? Spikes dismisses that as rubbish. But Buffy begs to differ. Indeed, there are two Buffys with their own ideas on what is real and what is rubbish.
And then, quite abruptly, Andrew reveals that he has placed a tracking device in the other Buffy’s necklace. That seems rather convenient but plausible. It’s an intimate chocker that she might like to keep close to her body indefinitley. Whatever the case, that’s what they’re working with.
Circumstances being what they are, it makes sense that things would have cooled down for Spike and Buffy. Buffy is simply not herself! However, there is a scene with Buffy trying to reach her friend, Dawn, on the phone and Spike casually asks if Dawn is aware that she is no longer going to become an aunt, at least, not yet. Yep, mark that as a tease for what my lie ahead for those two. Spike, for his part, remains protective of Buffy and has his own ideas to work through. That leads to a nice little dust up when Buffy pulls away from Spike and, given that she’s part robot, tells him she isn’t exactly all that vulnerable. But she may regret those words. Inexplicably, she takes things too far in the other direction and is barking orders! Andrew and Spike, feeling rather guilty, just follow along but maybe that’s not such a good idea. In what seems like a nod to Joss Whedon’s recent movie, “The Cabin in the Woods,” Buffy decides to split up the group as they zero in on the other Buffy and her captors. Andrew and Spike obey. And then Andrew thinks it over. Hasn’t Buffy seen enough horror movies? he asks himself. Doesn’t she know that splitting up the group is the last thing you should do?
“Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 9,” issue 9, arrives May 9. Visit Dark Horse Comics.
“ANGEL & FAITH” is one of the best comics you can be reading today. A whole host of pop culture elements have brewed in an old witch’s kettle and, out from the steam, has emerged this amazing comic.
Dark Horse has the magic touch with this spin-off of “BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.” This is something that’s been brewing, indeed, for quite some time and fans and new readers alike can rejoice. At Issue Three, that’s out this Wednesday, this comic just keeps delivering the goods. And this is the thing, as with any quality comic, you really can jump in anywhere and enjoy the hell out of it. I will provide some essential facts here to get new readers up to speed but, trust me, I know comics and this one is a winner.
Part Three of Christos Gage’s story, “Live Through This,” finds Angel and Faith on the search for “Mohra blood” in a swank London nightclub full of beautiful and libidinous young people consorting with demons and vampires. Much has changed, and much has managed to hang on, since Buffy turned the cosmic switch off to magic in the world. For a full picture on that, you must read “BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 8.” The loss of magic leaves a void that must be filled by the likes of Angel and Faith. It leaves them to crash decadent parties like this one, brought to vivid life by the art of Rebekah Isaacs and the coloring work of Dan Jackson.
Talk about bringing something to vivid life, this is a Dark Horse specialty. The TV show, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” has taken on a whole new life as a comic for many years with the lovely Sarah Michelle Gellar-inspired Buffy Summers leading the way. And, much in the same way as that show spawned the spin-off TV show, “Angel,” starring David Boreanaz as the vampire with a soul, we now have the spin-off comic, “Angel & Faith” which includes the lovely Eliza Dushku-inspired Faith Lehane, who owes everything to Angel and has become his partner in making the world safer from demons.
Back to the Mohra blood, now that’s essential stuff. It comes from a very special demon, a Mohra demon. And it can cure anything, regenerate lost limbs, give you a whole new liver if you need it. And, sure, it can bring back the dead. But, hold on. It’s dangerous stuff to play with. Word on the street is that it can turn Angel back into a human. Faith wouldn’t mind that. He’s easy on the eyes and a nice guy. Problem is, he’s too nice of guy, has a whole martyr complex. He did do a lot of evil things but he’s made up for it over and over. Faith thinks he’s ready to hang it up. But Angel sees it much differently. He will continue to do the good work that he can only do as vampire.
That leads us to the other essential fact you need to know, if you don’t already. Among all the evil things that Angel has done, and he really has an out since he did these while he was possessed, the one thing that’s really gnawing at him is that he killed Rupert Giles, a beloved wizard who had a most special connection with magic and who was an expert at killing demons. That death hangs heavy over everything going on in this comic. That’s what has thrown Angel and Faith together. They have settled into continuing the good work of Rupert Giles. But here is where Angel can’t leave well enough alone. He is determined to bring Giles back to life! And the Mohra blood might be just what it takes to do that. Unless, a couple of baddies from Angel’s past, Nash and Pearl, get to the blood first and kill Angel in the bargain.
“Angel & Faith” is going to enjoy a nice long run. It has that special combination of being both a character-driven and story-driven comic. You will just have to get the latest issue and see for yourself. It’s not that common for a TV show to make such a smooth transition to comics and become something exciting in its own right. That’s definitely happening with “Angel & Faith.” It has that kind of magic.
“ANGEL & FAITH,” issue 1, is scheduled to come out August 31.
“BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, SEASON 9,” is scheduled to come out September 14.
I am looking forward to these Dark Horse titles. I just picked up the trade to Buffy Season 8 and I’m hooked. I can’t say that I ever really followed Buffy all that much. I certainly like Sarah Michelle Gellar but, I don’t know, for whatever reason, I never followed the show. And now I want to make things right! I think starting with the BS8 is a logical first step. That will prove the gateway to the rest of the Buffyverse.