Posts Tagged ‘Guillermo Del Toro’

Fear and Loathing @ Comic-Con 2010 Part 2: XENA, ZOE BELL, SUPER, MORE DEL TORO, THE OTHER GUYS, THE GREEN HORNET, A RETURN TO FLYNN’S ARCADE & PARTYING W/ TYRESE GIBSON ON A BATTLESHIP!!

August 3, 2010

We were somewhere around  San Diego when the geek-gasms began to take hold. I remember saying something like, ”I’m feeling a little lightheaded…” And suddenly there was a huge roar all around us and the streets were filled with Supermen, Wonder Women, Klingons, Stormtroopers, Steampunks, Zombies and millions of other costumed geeks. And a voice was screaming: “Holy Moly! Who are all these goddamned nerds?”

This is how Friday started.

When I awoke the next day in our hotel suite in San Diego , my girlfriend and the lady I’m co-hosting THE POPCORN MAFIA with, Grae Drake was now dressed from head to toe as XENA, THE WARRIOR PRINCESS in a replica costume straight from the UNIVERSAL prop department. She looked absolutely SPOT ON and totally HOT! The moment we walked out of our hotel and headed out for the convention center, she was inundated with one photo request after another. We learned quickly that if you have a great costume at Comic-Con, people want to snap a picture with you (especially if you’re a cute girl). It was insane!

Xena/Grae is inundated with photo requests! Note she hides her cell phone behind her back to maintain authenticity!

Xena's primitive sensibilities are overwhelmed by the floor at Comic-Con.

Our mission for the day was to shoot as many bits with Xena interviewing fellow costumed geeks on the floor and asking them if they knew the whereabouts of Hercules. We got a lot of great footage (including an in depth discussion with a Zombie Stormtrooper), but things took an amazing turn when I went to the SCOTT PILGRIM swag booth to collect my booty.

Upon exiting, Xena/Grae was standing outside with an attractive, athletic looking blonde wearing black wayfarers and a red FLASH tee shirt. Then, Xena/Grae asked me if I could take a picture of her with ZOE BELL? At that point my head did an EXORCIST 360 degree turn as I realized the blonde was none other than the star of DEATH PROOF and former stunt double for LUCY LAWLESS herself, ZOE MOTHER-FUCKING BELL!!! I immediately lost my mind and starting swearing like I had a bad case of Tourette syndrome. She was incredibly nice and even agreed to do an interview, which we filmed for the podcast.

Surprisingly, Zombie Stormtrooper had a lot to say.

ZOE MOTHER-FUCKING BELL!!!

After that mind blowing awesomeness, we wandered back to Hall H and walked into the SUPER panel. We had tickets for the panel and grabbed a couple seats in the press section, right behind Mr. Beaks from AIN’T IT COOL NEWS and a reporter from MTV.

I didn’t really know much about SUPER, except that it’s written and directed by the very talented JAMES GUNN, the man responsible for TROMEO AND JULIET, THE SPECIALS, DAWN OF THE DEAD (2003) and SLITHER. The panel included GUNN and the entire cast, ELLEN PAGE, RAINN WILSON, LIV TYLER, NATHAN FILLION and MICHAEL ROOKER.

JAMES GUNN and RAINN WILSON.

ELLEN PAGE and LIV TYLER.

NATHAN FILLION and MICHAEL ROOKER.

The plot concerns the RAIIN WILSON character falling in love with the LIV TYLER character and marrying her, only to discover shortly after that she’s a drug addict. WILSON basically has a mental meltdown and decides to start dressing in a handmade superhero costume and starts assaulting law breakers with a huge wrench.

In one scene, WILSON becomes miffed by a man who cuts in a movie theatre line ahead of him. He goes off to his parked car and changes into his costume. When he comes back, he walks right up to the line cutter and splits the guy’s head open with his wrench. It’s an incredibly violent, funny and shocking moment that sent all of Hall H into mad hysterics.

I’m really looking forward to this movie now, because I love the premise and it has that wild TROMA-style twisted humor that I love. It looks like a low rent version of BATMAN combined with KING OF COMEDY and RAINN WILSON’S character is like a TRAVIS BICKLE/RUPERT PUPKIN type, but as a masked vigilante. ELLEN PAGE plays WILSON’S sidekick, who’s like a homicidal ROBIN, only without the motivation of revenge. She just wants to hurt people. Sounds great!

During the Q & A portion of the SUPER panel, Xena/Grae got in line and asked a rather embarrassing question to NATHAN FILLION in front of everyone in Hall H. It was a perfect capper to our Xena video and I shot the whole thing on a HD flip camera for the show.

Xena/Grae and I stayed for the next panel, which was for the highly anticipated remake of the classic 70’s made-for-T.V. movie, DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. For the second day in a row, GUILLERMO DEL TORO took the stage and addressed all the crazed horror fanatics in Hall H. He showed a really creepy trailer for the upcoming film that he’s produced for Miramax Films and afterwards gave everyone the GREAT news that it will be rated R by the MPAA for pervasive scariness. He said, “Horror movies need to have balls. And those balls need to be sweaty and wrinkled.”  I couldn’t agree more.

I’m a HUGE fan of the original, which I watched with my parents as a young child. The little creatures in that movie and the killer voodoo idol from TRILOGY OF TERROR gave me many sleepless nights in my early youth. Both were very creepy stories and great examples of a golden age of made for television horror, that also included DUEL, SALEM’S LOT, etc.

This remake looks really frightening and it’s obvious the scares are more extreme, while still remaining faithful to the original. The atmosphere in the footage was dark and gothic and there was a scene shown that’s a prologue to the film, where we see a desperate father going to extremes to get his son back from the little creatures that live in the home’s furnace. It was one freaky scene that involved a nasty bit of amateur dentistry and it made a lot of people jump in their seats. DEL TORO says the tone of the film is as “serious as a fucking attack of gonorrhea.” Ouch!

When asked what he’ll be doing in the future, DEL TORO said he plans to eat four chocolates, get a stretch mark, do an anthology horror series for cable, produce a “weird” version of PINOCCHIO, write and produce the HAUNTED MANSION reboot, and he hinted that he will be directing a big event ticket horror film for a major studio, which was later announced as the H.P.LOVECRAFT adaptation of AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS.  That’s a lot of cool stuff to look forward to!

When someone brought up THE HOBBIT and his unfortunate departure from that project, he said that he designed 98% of the first film and 50% of the second one and he hopes that MGM straightens everything out and PETER JACKSON directs them. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, although the loss of a DEL TORO directed version is still a painful sting. I love GUILLERMO DEL TORO and I think he’s one of the most talented and artistic filmmakers working today and listening to his very funny, obscenity laced presentation was a real treat.

Next up was the PREIST panel with director SCOTT STEWART and cast members PAUL BETTANY, MAGGIE Q, CAM GIGANDET, KARL URBAN and STEPHEN (TRUE BLOOD) MOYER.

SCOTT STEWART and PAUL BETTANY.

STEPHEN MOYER and CAM GIGANDET.

PRIEST takes place in a post apocalyptic world where the earth has been laid to waste by a centuries old war between the human race and vampires. PAUL BETTANY plays a heavily trained Catholic priest sworn to kill the bloodsuckers and it’s based on a Japanese graphic novel by MIN-WOO HYUNG.

There’s also an opening anime prologue that was created by SAMURAI JACK and CLONE WARS creator GENNY TARTAKOVSKY. They showed quite a bit of it and it was very interesting and violent.

They also showed us an extended trailer in 3-D and I must say, it looks pretty cool. Like a MAD MAX movie with vampires. Lots of action and some amazing looking visuals of a walled city and strange looking motorcycles riding over sand dunes in an apocalyptic landscape. Hopefully, it’ll be a cool movie.

I really shouldn’t be surprised that the most HILARIOUS panel I’ve ever seen in Hall H was for THE OTHER GUYS. Not when you’ve got WILL FERRELL and director ADAM McKAY together. These two guys play so well off each other they had the entire crowd in the palm of their hands the whole time. I love ANCHORMAN and TALLADEGA NIGHTS and consider them to be two of the funniest comedies this past decade, so I’m super-psyched for THE OTHER GUYS and the footage they showed looked great.

The panel was nonstop funny. When FERRELL came out (wearing dark shades in an outfit similar to STALLONE’S from the EXPENDABLES panel) he waved at the crowd and instead of stopping at his assigned seat, continued walking the length of the stage until McKAY went to bring him back. Once seated he exclaimed, “It’s great to be back in the whale’s vagina!”

They were joined by a stunning EVA MENDES, who was wearing an eye-popping gold dress. During the Q & A a teenage boy asked her a question about an encounter the two had had together at Comic-Con five years previous, during the GHOST RIDER panel she was on. He had asked her a question then and then bumped into her later that night at a restaurant in San Diego, where he was eating with his parents. She told him then, when he was nine years old, that he should look her up in about five years and he was here to see if she was still interested. It was really funny and began a series of running jokes about EVA being a cougar who stalks underage boys in Hall H.

MARKY MARK WAHLBERG was also there for the panel and from the footage shown he actually seems like he’s BOOGIE NIGHTS funny in THE OTHER GUYS. He also tossed in a few cougar jokes at EVA MENDES that were pretty good.

WILL FERRELL and ADAM McKAY were incredibly funny.

EVA MENDES a cougar?

MARK WAHLBERG had some humorous quips about EVA'S availability to minors.

The movie is about the cop duo that works a few desks down from the hotshot super-cop partners that usually star in a buddy action flick. The footage shown was hilarious and there was a running bit about a group of homeless guys that have sex orgies inside stolen cars, that was pure comic gold.

When asked if there would ever be a ANCHORMAN 2, McKAY said that it doesn’t look very good considering how hard it would be to get all those successful and busy actors together, but you never know. I’d love to take another trip back to 70’s era San Diego with RON BURGANDY and company.

Last and very much least was THE GREEN HORNET with director MICHELLE GONDRY and stars SETH ROGEN and (poor) CHRISTOPH WALZ. It was a long day and I really don’t have much hope for this movie. After the panel, I have less. It looks really lame in a very boring and uninspired way. From the trailer they showed, the tone of the film is confusing and I can’t quite figure out what they’re going for here. Some parts of the movie seem like a JUDD APATOW comedy and other parts look like they’re trying to make it seem post modern 60’s style retro cool, but without the cool part.

SETH ROGEN seems to be the only person in Hall H that's excited about THE GREEN HORNET.

CHRISTOPH WALZ is wondering where the exit is.

There was a fight scene shown that was in 3-D, because one thing that this Comic-Con taught me, everything is coming out in 3-D. THE GREEN HORNET wasn’t shot in 3-D, but it’s being converted just like CLASH OF THE TITANS was. They insist that THE GREEN HORNET’S 3-D will be much better, of course. I personally can’t see why anyone would want to pay an extra 5 bucks to see this piece of crap come at them in the latest three dimensional technology, but what the hell do I know? I think that anyone who’s even remotely a casual fan of the original television series this film is based on (which costarred the late, great BRUCE LEE) won’t go anywhere near this stupid looking reinvention. The best thing I can say about this movie is I’m really glad that STEPHEN CHOW left it.

We were done with Hall H and immediately headed over to FLYNN’S ARCADE to cheer us up after THE GREEN HORNET panel. The facade was similar to the one last year and when we walked inside, once again the arcade was filled with vintage 80’s video games that were free for everyone to play. Xena/Grae and I played a few games of ASTEROIDS, GALAXIANS, MS. PAC MAN, BATTLE ZONE and of course, TRON, before we walked through the entrance into the all new, ultra-cool TRON lounge. The place was trippy and filled with props, costumes and even toys from the upcoming TRON LEGACY and at a certain point the walls would project the new trailer all around us. It was even more awesome than last year!

Back at FLYNN'S!

XENA loses her turn.

I'm a GALAXIAN and GALAGA master!

The ultra-cool TRON LEGACY lounge.

XENA and the man from the future.

TRON TOYS!

That was a perfect capper to a long day of crazy Comic-Con action! Later that night we went to a party for TWEETHOUSE that was held on board the S.S. MIDWAY, which is a real live battleship in San Diego harbor. We filmed a few interviews (including some guy that was dressed like a pirate) and watched the quickest fireworks show I’ve ever seen from the upper deck. We went down below to hunt for one of the numerous celebrities that were supposed to be there, which included WILLIAM SHATNER, BRENT SPINER, LAVAR BURTON and TYRESE GIBSON. We couldn’t find THE SHAT or any of the other TREK guys, but we did manage to run into TYRESE GIBSON and stop him for a quick interview. He was walking around with a guy that was dressed in a weird red masked superhero costume, who I think is supposed to represent TYRESE’S new comic book character that’s based on him. The shit was surreal! Check out the video for yourself.

And you can look for more videos and our exclusive Comic-Con video podcast HERE at THE POPCORN MAFIA website.

Stay tuned for my Comic-Con conclusion, where things get really wild (including a blow by blow account of the infamous Hall H eye-gouging). Nerd out!

Fear and Loathing @ Comic-Con 2010 Part 1: TRON LEGACY, J.J. ABRAMS & JOSS WHEDON, THE EXPENDABLES and SCOTT PILGRIM!

July 29, 2010

We were somewhere around  San Diego when the geek-gasms began to take hold. I remember saying something like, ” I’m feeling a little lightheaded…” And suddenly there was a huge roar all around us and the streets were filled with Supermen, Wonder Women, Klingons, Stormtroopers, Steampunks, Zombies and millions of other costumed geeks. And a voice was screaming: “Holy Moly! Who are all these goddamned nerds?”

Welcome to Comic-Con 2010!

This year’s Comic-Con was something special, because I was there to represent the awesome movie podcast  THE POPCORN MAFIA, along with its lovely host Grae Drake. We stayed in an amazing hotel suite that was a light disc’s throw from the convention center and after checking into press registration on Wednesday, we hit the floor for preview night. I made a stop to the GENTLE GIANT LTD. booth to pick up my official Comic-Con exclusive Darth Vader bust that is based on the original Ralph McQuarrie design. Score one for the Star Wars nerd that lives inside me! The next day we made our way over to Hall H for the first panel of the day, MEGAMIND from Dreamworks…

Will Ferrell shows up in costume for the panel.

Tina Fey keeps the comedy rolling.

Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt's standee join the panel.

I’ve been a fan of Dreamworks animation ever since I saw ANTS and just recently I loved the holy hell out of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, so I’m really looking forward to their take on the superhero genre. This story involves two sworn adversaries that are constantly at battle: a superhero called Metro Man (Brad Pitt) and a supervillian named Megamind (Will Ferrell). But, when Megamind manages to actually destroy his crime fighting nemesis and is allowed to do whatever his evil little heart desires, he learns that a bad guy is nothing without a good guy to oppose. It looks amusing and has a very funny cast that also includes Tina Fey and Jonah Hill. The panel was good and Ferrell had some great jokes about how he was the only one who showed up in costume. Next up, the most highly anticipated panel of the day and possibly the whole con…

The Big Tron-bowski, Jeff Bridges!

Tron himself, Mr. Bruce Boxleitner.

The REAL creator, Steve Lisberger!

The TRON LEGACY panel was moderated by PATTON OSWALT and was absolutely mind-roasting awesome! The cast came out headed up by Flynn himself, JEFF BRIDGES, and also included OLIVIA WILDE, MICHAEL SHEEN, GARRETT HEDLUND (Flynn’s son) and of course, BRUCE BOXLEITNER (Tron). Also, on the panel was TRON LEGACY director JOSEPH KOSINSKI and the original creator STEVE LISBERGER. The footage shown was beautiful and exciting and looked stunningly gorgeous in Real 3-D. One long scene shown involved Flynn’s son (Garrett Hedlund) and his introduction to the computer game world in much the same way as his father’s was in the first movie. The flying ships that look like three dimensional versions of the aliens from SPACE INVADERS are back and they look similar, only much more detailed. Everything I saw has the same design from the first TRON, only more engaging and fully realized. The light cycle race looks crazy-ass sweet and there are fucking light cars, too! I can’t wait till December and you better believe I’ll be seeing it in IMAX 3-D for sure.

After TRON, Disney showed a teaser trailer in 3-D for the new PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movie that featured JOHNNY DEPP as Captain Jack addressing the audience. It made me want some rum.

Then it was announced that GUILLERMO DEL TORO will be writing and producing a HAUNTED MANSION reboot and Hall H went crazy when DEL TORO took the stage to talk about it. He said that ever since he was a little boy and went to Disneyland for the first time, he has loved HAUNTED MANSION and he intends to make a movie that will honor how fucking cool and scary and fun that attraction is. He also said that EDDIE MURPHY will NOT be getting a call for this one. Sounds great to me, as I too love HAUNTED MANSION and can’t wait to see the marriage of DEL TORO’S mind with what already exists there visually!

PATTON OSWALT and GUILLERMO DEL TORO discuss HAUNTED MANSION.

After the Disney panel, the Sony Pictures presentation began with SALT. The breathtakingly sexy ANGELINA JOLIE and the very reserved LIEV SCHREIBER came out to show some footage from SALT and I must say that I had zero interest in this movie until I watched some scenes from it, and now I think it actually looks pretty cool. They showed us this really great car chase scene where Salt (Angelina Jolie) escapes from custody in a car full of cops and beats their asses Jason Bourne-style. That combined with watching Jolie’s big red lips tell the crowd how hard she worked on the movie from the huge jumbo-tron in Hall H guarantees that I’ll be checking it out soon.

Next up was the BATTLE: LOS ANGELES panel and AARON ECKHART and MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ were trotted out for that. The movie’s about an alien invasion and a group of soldiers sent into an occupied L.A. to take back the city. There was some really intense fire fight footage shown of the squad going head to head with aliens armed with advanced weapons in an urban street fighting scenario similar to BLACKHAWK DOWN. I’m looking forward to this one a lot, because I never get tired of alien invasion movies and war flicks and this is both genres combined. THE HURT LOCKER meets HALO.

Mmmmmm, pass the SALT please.

LIEV SCHREIBER talks SALT

Harvey Dent on BATTLE: LOS ANGELES.

Feisty MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ fights again in BATTLE: LOS ANGELES.

Sony was followed by the Summit Entertainment presentation of RED, which is another graphic novel turned motion picture. This one features BRUCE WILLIS, HELEN MIRREN, MARY LOUISE PARKER and KARL URBAN, who were all on hand for the panel. The movie’s about a group of retired CIA agents who are forced out of retirement because someone’s trying to off them. Nothing I saw got me that interested. Maybe it was because BRUCE WILLIS couldn’t have seemed more bored and detached from the proceedings and answered everything posed to him in an unenthusiastic tone similar to a Cylon, only without the fun costume cred. Even the free swag for RED was unimpressive.

BRUCE WILLIS tries to stay awake for the RED panel.

MARY LOUISE PARKER and HELEN MIRREN are young hot and older hot.

Next up was the “visionaries” panel hosted by Entertainment Weekly. JOSS WHEDON and J.J. ABRAMS came out to discuss their bodies of work, future projects and their thoughts on the current state and future of fantastic cinema. It was very cool to hear these guys talk about what kind of things motivate them and what their influences are. JOSS WHEDON talked about how excited and frightened he is about the forthcoming AVENGERS project and his hope that MGM eventually releases his recent movie CABIN IN THE WOODS. J.J. ABRAMS had a lot to say about the forthcoming SUPER 8 and his love for old school SPEILBERG-style AMBLIN’ entertainment. He looks so cool in glasses, he made me wish I had shitty vision. I’m really looking forward to basically everything these guys do.

J.J. ABRAMS and JOSS WHEDON.

Following that, the testosterone level in Hall H went up to about 200% because it was time for THE EXPENDABLES panel! HARRY KNOWLES moderated the proceedings with cast members TERRY CREWS, DOLPH LUNDGREN, STEVE AUSTIN, RANDY COUTURE and none other than SLY STALLONE himself. Even a much more lively BRUCE WILLIS came out to support this exciting new throwback to the old school action flicks of the 80’s. This was the most macho panel of the entire con and I was afraid that at any second people could start fighting or fucking, or both! A few clips were shown, including a badass fight scene between SLY and STONE COLD where STEVE AUSTIN actually broke STALLONE’S neck for real! Talk about sacrificing for your art! This panel got me even more pumped up than I already was! I wanted to shoot some juice, lift some weights and blow something the fuck up with a bazooka while hanging from ANGELINA JOLIE’S tits!

TERRY CREWS is more than a little excited about THE EXPENDABLES!

DOLPH LUNDGREN comes in peace, but leaves in pieces!

GO FOR IT, SLY!

After the EXPENDABLES panel, there was a presentation for SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, but I was starving and had to leave to get some food. Besides, why watch a panel for a movie that I was just about to see an advanced screening of?! Grae got us both into a sneak peek of SCOTT PILGRIM at the beautiful Balboa theatre in downtown San Diego and EDGAR WRIGHT was walking up to everyone in line and personally thanking them for coming. No problem Edgar, your movie was absolutely awesome! SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD is a romantic rock ‘n roll action comedy that takes place in a comic book universe where our hero must battle the League of Evil Exes in order to win the heart of the girl of his dreams. The audience gave it a standing ovation and after the film, Edgar brought out the entire cast. Then the screen raised and METRIC rocked out for the crowd with a mini-concert that was off the hook EPIC!

EDGAR WRIGHT and ME at the SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD screening at Comic-Con!

The cast of SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD!

After the concert, Grae and I went to the MACHETE party. Sadly, we missed the footage shown, but we were still able to load up on some free swag and grab a couple tacos from the MACHETE taco truck. It was late and we were exhausted, so we headed back to our hotel to rest up for the next action packed day. Stay tuned for part 2 of my Comic-Con adventures. Nerd out!