Cybersurfing: Salon reviews True Blood Season 3

True Blood Season 3 posterSalon.com’s Heather Havrilesky is the lucky recipient of screener copies for the opening episodes of TRUE BLOOD’s third season, which begins Sunday, June 13 at 9:00pm on HBO. Havrilesky’s verdict is a positive one:

While the orgiastic madness of Season 2 might be hard to top, the first three episodes of Season 3 look promising indeed, serving up one juicy twist after another, plus a steady flow of great dialogue, intense conversations, brutality, blackmail, mystery, suspense and, best of all, some wickedly funny moments that are beyond compare. Despite all of the campy, overly obvious commentary on prejudice, bigotry and marginalized subcultures that were always gumming up the works in the first season, “True Blood” had an addictive second season and now the show is reaching a new high. The cast’s Southern accents finally sound reasonably natural, their performances are better than ever, and the storytelling has blown past X having a crush on Y and Z wanting to kill X, and landed in some slippery realm where everyone is trying to get over on everyone else — you know, like “The Shield” except with vampires instead of bad cops and werewolves where the drug cartels should go.

Sounds like fun.

'Heroes' Mini-series Possible?

HEROES_s2WMissed this earlier, but TVGuide.com
reports that creator Tim Kring is hopeful that NBC will greenlight a mini-series to wrap up his cancelled show HEROES.

Kring said he would be meeting with NBC to discuss the idea later this month.
The story would take place a year or more after the events of the finale, in which Claire (Hayden Panettiere) revealed her invulnerability in a very public manner.

There will be a huge cultural and social change in the world,” says Kring. “Some [of our characters] will be hiding, some struggling, some basking in the glory.”

The producer seems confident he can reassemble the cast if NBC chooses to go forward with the proposal.

'Walking Dead' Zombie Make-ups

Zombie-Man-1-WDAMCtv.com is giving folks an advance look at some of the Zombie make-ups fom their upcoming series, THE WALKING DEAD.
Production began on June 2nd in Atlanta, Georgia on the cable channel’s adaptation of the comic book by Robert Kirkman.
The series will run just six episodes for the first season, to be written, produced and directed by Frank Darabont.
 
Check out the Photo Gallery HERE
Zombie-Woman-WD

Free 'Kekkaishi' Download

KekkaishiVIZ Media has passed on an invite to fans to explore the demon-battling action adventure of the Shonen Sunday KEKKAISHI anime series with a FREE Download-to-Own (DTO) episode starting today through VIZ Media partners iTunes, Xbox Live’s Zune Marketplace, PlayStation®Network and Amazon Video on Demand.
KEKKAISHI Episode 1 will be available for free download through June 17th to celebrate the recent domestic broadcast launch of KEKKAISHI on Adult Swim.

“KEKKAISHI is based on the hit manga series by Yellow Tanabe (also published in North America by VIZ Media). A story of mystical forces powerful in the region known as Karasumori. For over 400 years, it has been the duty of a clan of “kekkaishi”—barrier masters—to guard this land and exterminate the supernatural creatures that are drawn to it night after night.
Yoshimori Sumimura is a junior high school student at Karasumori Academy, which is built upon the Karasumori grounds. By night, Yoshimori follows the tradition passed down through generations and fulfills his destiny as the twenty-second “kekkaishi” of the Sumimura clan. But by day, Yoshimori’s got other demons to contend with, like an obsession with cake making and a seriously crotchety grandfather! Yoshimori’s pretty neighbor, childhood friend and rival, Tokine Yukimura, is also a “kekkaishi,” but their families are caught up in a feud over who is the true practitioner of the art. Protecting ordinary people from the ever-present danger of the Karasumori grounds, Yoshimori will continue to grow stronger as he battles the forces of evil again tonight!”

For more information on the KEKKAISHI anime and manga series (both rated “T” for Teens), you can visit www.ShonenSunday.com or www.viz.com.

CYBERSURFING: WANTED – 1 Director For “The Hobbit”, Will Pay Handsomely

guillermo del toroThe blogosphere, twitter feeds and various interwebs exploded this week with the news that Guillermo Del Toro, who was set to direct THE HOBBIT (the prequel to THE LORD OF THE RINGS films), would be stepping down due to scheduling conflicts brought on by studio delays. Yet the madness didn’t stop there. As fans of any major franchise tend to do, speculation began to run rampant as to who would take his place. Lists and charts popped up here and there, ranking various directors by number, popularity, sexiness (ok, that one was made up…probably…).
However, while lists can be a fun distraction for film fans, for others they tend to be a deceptive beast. They are made to start conversation and compare ideas but end up creating a “false hope” in some fans and, in the end, whatever director is chosen will ultimately fall short of the expectations of those die-hard few who were 100% sure that would get the job. It is fun to speculate and wish, just as long its understood that these lists are exactly that…wish lists.
Here are a few pointers on surviving the speculation madness:
• While Del Toro is an excellent director and a great choice, it is not a written rule that to direct a good movie about hobbits, one needs to look like them.
“Peter Jackson is the PERFECT choice to direct this movie!” – Well, ok…duh. However, the man has said many times he doesn’t want to. Anyone who spends a decade making what truly amounts to a 9-hour smash hit deserves a LONG vacation. If he decides to, he will. Until then, keep your pants on…someone good will be found.
• Most lists feature big-name directors in the top spots, those who have a track record of making epic movies. Fans tend to think that only the current best in the business directors should be able to get their hands on THE HOBBIT. Should I remind people that, prior to the release of THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, Peter Jackson was relegated to cult-status. Sure, he had paid his dues and had an ever-increasing list of successes, but the number of naysayers prior to the 1st film’s release was too many to count. The director may well be an unknown, but this is no reason to fret – Neil Blomkamp was a virtual unknown until the Jackson-produced DISTICT 9 hit theaters.
• Finally, to take a line from THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE: Don’t Panic. Though the delay in production is disappointing, this movie WILL be made. You don’t shelve a film with a built-in fan base somewhere in the hundreds of millions.
Links to various lists can be found below. Read them and enjoy. Just don’t be surprised if most of those wishes don’t come true!
Cinemablend: http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Who-Will-Direct-The-Hobbit-Our-Readers-Advise-Peter-Jackson-18796.html
Cinematical: http://www.cinematical.com/2010/05/31/who-should-direct-the-hobbit
Television Without Pity: http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/mwop/moviefile/2010/06/non-geek-directors-who-should.php
Io9: http://io9.com/5552022/who-should-direct-the-hobbit

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George Romero answers 10 questions at Time magazine

Director George A Romero
Director George A Romero

Time magazine has posted “10 Questions for George Romero,” in which the writer-director of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) and the recent follow-up SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD responds to queries from his fans. Romero expresses admiration for Guillermo Del Tor’s PAN’S LABYRINTH, reveals that Howard Hawks’ THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD scared him, and mentions that he has a non-genre film in the works (if he can get financing) but also says that he would like to make more films in the DEAD series.
His most interesting exchange:

Do zombies have an expiration date?Zachary Williams, BURNABY, B.C.
I hope that my guys don’t have an expiration date. My zombies will never take over the world because I need the humans. The humans are the ones I dislike the most, and they’re where the trouble really lies. The zombies are just [swats at the air] mosquitoes.

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Did Hollywood whitewash Last Airbender and Prince of Persia?

Dev Patel and Shaun Toub in THE LAST AIRBENDER
Dev Patel and Shaun Toub in THE LAST AIRBENDER

In an AP article from May 25th, author Deepti Hajela brings to light a controversy many may not even think of : Whitewashing. Whitewashing is the practice of casting Caucasian actors in the roles of ethnic characters. The examples cited are two upcoming fantasy films, THE LAST AIRBENDER, which has 3 white actors in the lead roles despite the fact that their cartoon counterparts are Asian, and PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME, which casts Jake Gyllenhaal as…well, a Persian Prince. While the article discusses the controversy itself, I wanted to provide my own view of this practice and, begrudgingly, play the devil’s advocate.
One would have to be blind to not see that this happens in film…hell, its been happening practically since the beginning. But this practice should be viewed for what it truly is: it’s not about race, it’s not about appealing to the “white audience”…it’s about money. Pure and simple. Each studio has its summer blockbuster, and in order to sell that blockbuster, they need a recognizable face on that poster. So they will go to the A-list stars to get it, those celebrities who are constantly being photographed for People and TMZ. They go to them because the audience, no matter their race, know them, identify them with movies that they’ve done and in some way enjoy what they’ve seen. Presumably, the audience would want to repeat that enjoyable experience. Hollywood is not ignorant of non-white actors but rather ignorant of the audience itself and what the people want.
For those who don’t agree, let me present another argument: You have a favorite Middle Eastern actor who is just starting to make a splash on the International film scene. Do you really want his first major studio film to be PRINCE OF PERSIA? Putting ethnic stereotypes aside, I think that we all know, deep down in our guts, that this movie is going to be a stinker. Disney has taken a gritty video game and adapted it to Kid-approved eye candy. If it failed, our hypothetical actor from the East would suffer a huge set-back in his career, whereas an actor like Jake Gyllenhaal is established and can definitely rebound from taking a hit. And lets not forget the possibilities that well-known foreign actors may have been approached, but were smart enough to turn the script down.
The arguments the author brings up are warranted and worth talking about, but the examples presented in the article are all concern popcorn flicks, not films. It concerns people getting upset over movies designed to appeal to our basest of instincts, to instill a sense of awe and wonder by flashing lights in our faces for a solid hour and a half. These movies are not high art; these are not though-provoking representations of people in our world, of characters with deep flaws. These are cash cows, here today and gone tomorrow (until the DVD pops up a few months later).
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BC bashes Bayer for blaming Nightmare backlash on fans

Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy
Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy

Brian Collins of HORROR MOVIE A DAY offers a sweet and succinct response to director Samuel Bayer, who gave an interview to Fangoria in which he blames fans for their negative reaction to his NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET remake. The post is too short to quote without spoiling the punchline; you should read it for yourself – it will only take a minute, and it is well worth the laugh.

Survival of the Dead red band trailer

IGN has posted a new red band trailer for George A. Romero’s SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD. The film, a sequel to DIARY OF THE DEAD, will makes its Video on Demand debut on April 30, followed by a platform theatrical release in May. The story is set on a small North American island, where the population fends off the living dead while searching for a cure that will restore the zombies to their former selves.
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Avatar director talks environment on Earth Day

James Cameron on the set of Avatar
James Cameron on the set of Avatar

James Cameron, whose 2009 hit AVATAR raised the ire of conservative critics for its pro-environment message, has given an interview to Politico, in which he discusses the issues that inspired him to make the film. I know the conventional wisdom among elite science fiction fans is supposed to be that Cameron is arrogant and full of himself, but he makes a lot of sense in the interview, focusing not on himself or his films but on the bigger political issues.

Cameron was in town last week, along with “Avatar” star Sigourney Weaver, to testify on Capitol Hill about various issues, including a proposed dam project in Brazil. He also met Barack Obama for the first time — the president said he and his family enjoyed the 3-D movie.
“Oh, yeah, he was highly complimentary about the film,” Cameron said, nonchalantly. “That’s great, but it’s just a movie. … Does it engender some rise in consciousness at a national and international level? It remains to be seen.”
[…]
Speaking of the mega-grossing 3-D movie, Cameron hopes that it can serve as a business model for others.
“Look at ‘Avatar’: It’s good for the environment and it’s good for the economy,” said Cameron. “That’s the paradigm that we all need to look towards. The Republicans have created this concept that you can either have a healthy economy or you can work on the environment — but you can’t do both. You have to choose between them — but you don’t! … What’s good for energy and what’s good for the environment is ultimately going to be good for the nation.”

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