Renaissance News Vol. 2 Issue 25

  • X-Men: First Class will be set in the 1960’s and focus on the rise and fall of the friendship of Magneto and Xavier. Kevin Bacon’s yet-to-be determined villain will be Hellfire Club head Sebastian Shaw and Mad Men’s January Jones has been cast as The White Queen Emma Frost. Rose Byrne (Damages) will play Xavier’s love interest Dr. Moira McTaggert. Oliver Platt has been cast as a character called The Man in Black.
  • So that was good right? Yeah Shia LeBeouf says he’s definitely back as Mutt in Indy 5. So…we break even.
  • Jim Carrey will play the lead in an adaptation of the popular children’s book Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Hey, remember when he was a serious actor for three movies? I liked that…
  • In keeping with the high school nature of the upcoming Spider-Man reboot, there will be no MJ. Your love interest (and by “your” I’m here just talking to Peter Parker) will be Gwen Stacey or a new character.
  • Underworld 4 is scheduled for a January 2012 release.
  • Star Wars is coming to Blu Ray in a six film boxed set that will include all new documentaries and deleted scenes in late 2011. I literally just tried to preorder it, but Amazon is not letting me…perhaps I shouldn’t make purchasing decisions when I’m writing something at 3 a.m.
  • Toy Story 3 has knocked Shrek 2 off it’s throne and become the highest grossing animated film of all-time.
  • Karl Urban (LOTR, Star Trek) has been cast as Judge Dredd in a reboot of the Dark Horse comic that Sylvester Stallone ruined and-in turn-ruined his dying career.
  • This will mean absolutely nothing to you if you’re not already a Harry Potter freak, but if you want to know when they will split Book 7 for the two films, it will happen around Chapter 24 when Voldemort gets his hands on The Elder Wand. Y’know, reading all of this back….I come off very very geeky (I mean MORE so) when I write this in the wee hours.
  • DVD/Blu Ray Release Dates
    SGU Stargate Universe: The Complete First Season, October 5th
    Toy Story 3, November 3rd
  • Box Office
    1. The Expendables, $34.8 million
    2. Eat, Pray, Love, $23.1 million
    3. The Other Guys, $17.4 million
    4. Inception, $11.3 million
    5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, $10.6 million
  • Billboard Top Albums
    1. Recovery by Eminem
    2. The Suburbs by Arcade Fire
    3. Camp Rock 2 Soundtrack by Various Artists
    4. Order of the Black by Black Label Society
    5. My World 2.0 by Justin Bieber
  • Video Game Best Sellers
    1. Madden 11, XBOX 360
    2. Madden 11, PS3
    3. Star Craft II: Wings of Liberty, PC
    4. Wii Party, Wii
    5. Wii Sports, Wii
  • New York Times Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
    1. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
    2. Tough Customer by Sandra Brown
    3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
    4. Star Island by Carl Hiassen
    5. Veil of Night by Linda Howard

Top 5: LEGO Video Games

Though I am definitely a gamer, the most addicting franchise for me is not HALO or Call of Duty, but LEGOs. Perhaps we can read a lot into the fact that essentially I’m spending my free time (which is to say ALL my time) these days doing what I did when I was four-playing with LEGOs. There’s just something infinitely adaptable to the building blocks and various pop culture franchises that when they’re combined in video game form, it’s crack to me. Each game takes a humorous look at whatever franchise it’s inhabiting and offers dozens of hours of replayability and collectibles. I’ve played so much LEGO Harry Potter the last few days that I see flying building blocks and little plastic characters whenever I close my eyes. So in tribute to my latest obsession, the top 5 LEGO games available for your home gaming console.
1. LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
2. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
3. LEGO Batman
4. LEGO Rock Band
5. LEGO Indiana Jones

Killing Time – August 20, 2010

This week has oddly floated by in a manner that can only mean that time is being killed. How have you been dispatching the minutes?
Book: Been reading through some quote books this week…
Music: Backload of podcasts
DVD/Blu Ray: Breaking Bad Season 1, Goldfinger on Blu Ray
Video Game: LOTS of LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4
Comics: Invincible Iron Man Vol. 4: Disassembled by Matt Fraction

Rubicon (First Three Episodes)

Somewhere along the line the kingship of cable dramas was lost by HBO and picked up by FX and, more recently, AMC. This is the network’s third show after Mad Men and Breaking Bad. It centers around a Washington DC think tank, the analysts who work there, and the fallout from the death of one of their key members. That’s as strong a plot synopsis as I can give because, after three episodes, that’s as much as we know.

Rubicon is an intensely cerebral and deliberate show. It probably would make for better viewing all at once season by season because it spends time with the characters and on minutae, because minutae is what these people are looking for in their work. They analyze travel patterns, credit card purchases, known associations, etc. in looking for patterns and trends that can fuel their recommendations. None of the actors are recognizable to me from previous work and I’m not even sure why the series is named after the Italian river that Caesar crossed to begin his war with the Roman Republic. On paper it sounds intensely boring, but there’s something compelling here. It’s the same kind of a large mystery vibe I got off of shows like Lost and The X-Files, but grounded in total reality. I find the characters interesting and I’m intrigued as to where things are going to go. That being said, they need to pick up the pace a bit. This is more of a telenovel than it is episodic TV so far, but to spin out your story so delibrately shows a lot of confidence in the eventual payoff. AMC continues to impress with their dramatic efforts and their next series is the adaptation of the zombie/horror survival comic series The Walking Dead so you know I’ll be all over that. Rubicon is intriguing. Download the pilot off of iTunes or Video on Demand and see what you think. From what I’ve seen roughly a quarter of the way into season one, I’m on board.

Movie Review: The Other Guys (2010)

There are people that we simply just find funny. What they say is only in addition to their look, their mannerisms, their tone of voice, their delivery; all this combines to form a perfect storm of funny walking around on two legs. I will admit unashamedly that I find Will Ferrell hysterical. Oh I’m aware of those who don’t. Believe I’m aware. My wife is merely situationally amused by Will Ferrell and is horrified that I not only made her go see Step Brothers in the theatre, but own it and quote it. I find him inexplicably hilarious. I am his target audience and for the most part his films (we’ll here just ignore Semi-Pro and Kicking & Screaming…and Land of the Lost…I said MOST PART) are all in my ludicrously large home library. Anchorman is the best comedy of the last ten years. Debate.

Right, none of that is actually about this movie though which pairs Ferrell as a tight-knit accountant for the police department paired with Mark Wahlberg who’s been busted back to desk duty after an accidental shooting of a celebrity which I won’t spoil. It’s the clichéd buddy comedy/mismatched cop partners dynamic and the plot is really secondary….until it isn’t (we’ll get back here). For the first half of the movie they let Wahlberg and Ferrell riff off of each other and it is fantastic. The first half of the movie is a solid 10.

Then they seem to want to make the movie a real cop drama and weave into it statements about corporate malfeasance and while I hate big corporations as much as the next angry disaffected person, that wasn’t where this movie needed to go. The laughs get thinner and spaced further out and the movie lasts at bare minimum 20 minutes longer than it needed to. By no means should this discourage anyone from going to see it because when it’s working, it’s gold. I’m not in a happy head place right now and I’m a tough laugh even for a Ferrell groupie and I rolled. However, the movie can’t sustain that momentum the whole way through and falls short of his best films.

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