San Diego Comic-Con 2011: Movie Guide

Originally posted August 5th, 2011 on Intersections.

cci_logo_1_0Warning! This article is obscenely long due to my excessive raving of The Adventures of Tin-Tin and The Amazing Spider-man. I can’t help it, there was so much good material. The Adventures of Tin-Tin was definitely one of the best panels I ever attended. Read on to see what’s coming soon to a theater near you for: Aziz Ansari, Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield, Jessica Biel, John Cho, and many more.


Alien invasion set in South London.
Inner city vs. Outer space.


“We should go to Ron’s weed room.”

“What’s Ron’s weed room?”

“It’s a room… full of weed… and it’s Ron’s.”

“I’ve only one text left and this is too much crazy shit for one text!”

So we got alien invasion, British accents, British humor, inner city kids wielding samurai swords and aliens with glowing teeth. Old school rotoscope + live action with 11 first-time actors from ages 10-17 and a score is being done by a small band with London. Oh and did I mention it won Audience Awards at both SXSW 2011 Film Festival and LA 2011 Film Fest? Why shouldn’t you see this movie? I honestly don’t know.

Attack the Block opened on July 29th in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Austin and Chicago. Platform release is expected sometime in August.


From IMDB: “Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery guy, strap a bomb to his chest, and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank or else…”

Brilliant right? Especially if Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) is playing the pizza delivery guy and his right hand man is Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation). Throw in Danny McBride (Pineapple Express), Nick Swarsdon (Just Go with It) and Michael Peña (Million Dollar Baby, Crash) and you know you’re in for a fabulous comedy. Oh yeah, directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland).

See for yourself:

30 Minutes or Less is coming to a theater near you August 12th, 2011.

??????????????????????????DreamWorks is remaking Fright Night (1985). Now I haven’t seen the original, but Chris Sarandon, who was in the original, introduced the panel and gave his stamp of approval saying it does it fabulous job of paying homage and making its own path.

The movie is set in Las Vegas where Anton Yelchin, who plays human Charley Brewster, and Colin Farrell, the dashingly vampiric Jerry Dandridge, are neighbors (if only such a world existed). Charley grows increasingly suspicious of Jerry and his vampirism. Once he’s confirmed that Jerry is definitely not human he consults Peter Vincent (played by the brilliant David Tennant/10th Doctor of the Doctor Who series), a sort of David Blaine-esque character for vampire slaying help.

I, for one, am glad to see a movie where the vampires aren’t glittery, but badass, house-torching, murderous supernatural creatures. Check out Fright Night, in theaters August 19th, 2011.


Steven Spielberg & Peter Jackson… if that isn’t reason enough for you to watch this movie when it is released on December 23rd, 2011 then I would kindly advise you to promptly see a psychologist. Tin-Tin may be more familiar to readers who grew up outside the United States. Those who haven’t ever read the comics should really try picking up a copy. There are several layers of meaning and complexity in these comics that appeal to readers of all ages.

A little bit of trivia, just for you: Peter Jackson said that when he was younger, Jurassic Park inspired him and showed him what was possible with computer animation and drove him to create Weta, the visual effects/animation powerhouse that brought us Lord of the Rings. In fact, the two had never met until Spielberg presented Jackson with his Academy Award for Lord of the Rings. Now, the company that was created by Jackson is now being employed to animate for the very same man that inspired Jackson in the first place, Spielberg.


The dream team collaboration between Spielberg and Jackson aims to produce a movie that will appeal to both Tin-Tin fanatics and newcomers to the series. Spielberg, like most Americans, had never read Tin-Tin until reviews came out comparing Raiders of the Lost Ark to the comics, while Jackson, a Kiwi, grew up with the books. Another reason to be excited? Spielberg claims that this project is the best collaboration since he worked with George Lucas, his best friend, and that working with Peter Jackson was like working with a brother.


As an international icon, Spielberg and Jackson both realized the importance of the visual aspect of the film connecting to the audience and having them recognize their hero. The solution? Motion capture footage layered with animation to allow for casting the most talented actors without having to worry about appearance. Jackson also remarked how excite he was that he was able to do things with a motion capture camera that you just can’t do with a live action camera.

For those who are already fans of Tin-Tin, you may be excited to learn that Spielberg & Jackson chose the Secret of the Unicorn (which is a ship by the way) as the central arc of the movie. The duo wanted Haddock and Tin-Tin to be together for the start of the Tin-Tin series’ cinematic life.

ALSO! Am I the only one who thinks that Steven Spielberg looks like Steve Jobs + Sigmund Freud?

In other news:

1. Jackson actually likes working on The Hobbit more than he thought he would. He’s very excited about Martin Freeman playing Bilbo, who has also snagged the role of Dr. John Watson on Sherlock.

2. Spielberg, in the middle of one his most prolific years ever (11 films for 2011, nbd), finds that his multiple projects help him maintain his objectivity and actually helps him make better films, rather than distracting him. ALSO! Jurassic Park IV, confirmed as of Comic-Con. So. Excited.

3. Jackson makes movies for the kid he was and still is.

4. Spielberg’s favorite movie that he ever made is E.T. because after making that movie and working with those kids, he wanted children.

5. Spielberg’s “movie that got away” is American Beauty, though he admits it got away to the right director.

6. Best Job as Producer for Spielberg? Back to the Future.

7. What do the two look for in young filmmakers? Spielberg looks for total originality in short films submitted to him. He wants the films to speak to the identity and character of the director. Jackson wants to feel something when he watches short films; he wants a reaction to the film’s, and therefore the director’s, inherent understanding of storytelling.

8. Joe Cornish & Edgar Wright, the writers of Attack the Block (see above), are also working together for The Adventures of Tin-Tin.


Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are definitely the two most daredevil directors I’ve ever heard of. Instead of letting cameramen do the work, they run around set like stuntmen filming everything. And by daredevil I mean: to film a motorcycle shot, Mark Neveldine puts on a pair of rollerblades, holds on to the back of another motorcycle as it speeds past Idris Elba, and then lets go, turns around and films. Yeah. The results are absolutely stunning. Appropriately, the teaser reel touted the promo of “F***ing s**t up in 3-D.”

Plot wise? I’m not so sure. Nicolas Cage was spouting some nonsense about how he channeled the energy of snakes in order to prepare for his role as the Ghost Rider… Yeah ok. I’m convinced Nicolas Cage is some weird hybrid between Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen, only better at hiding his insanity off camera. Though it becomes blatantly obvious on screen.

Regardless, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, out in theaters February 17th, 2012, should be an interesting experience.

The Raven MovieEdgar Allen Poe was found on the streets of Baltimore 4 days before he died, delirious and in some one else’s clothes. The Raven a fictionalized account of what happened during the last days of his life. There is a serial killer running around Baltimore committing murders along the lines of Poe’s stories and poems. Naturally, Poe (John Cusack) is brought into the police for questioning, but it becomes obvious that Poe is not responsible. Poe teams up with Detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) to help try to catch the serial killer. His motivation is boosted when his own wife (Alice Eve) is kidnapped. At the site of each murder, the serial killer leaves a clue leading to his next victim.

Despite my aversion to horror flicks, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the artistry of this thriller. Gore and corpses galore aside, the film was shot in Eastern Europe and has that dark, gorgeous 19th century feel.

Check out The Raven, March 3rd, 2012.

the-amazing-spider-man30WTF. Why are they rebooting Spider-man when the Tobey Maguire series just finished? Good question.

First off, it doesn’t seem like this new movie is meant to compete with the Tobey Maquire/Kirsten Dunst version at all. For starters, the movie is centered around the Peter Parker/Gwen Stacy arc instead of the Peter Parker/Mary Jane Watson arc. Secondly, while the villain of the movie, Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, is still linked to Oscorp, there were no Osborns in sight.

Andrew Garfield’s incarnation of Peter Parker seems even more isolated than that of Tobey Maguire. I mean, you can’t really be a loner if James Franco’s Harry Osborn is your best friend. While the 2002 Spider-man movie was also set in high school, it never felt completely believable. In The Amazing Spider-man you’ll witness a delightfully awkward encounter between Gwen and Peter that is so high school you’ll be flailing in your seat with joy.

Still have your doubts on Andrew Garfield vs. Tobey Maguire? Well, apparently Maguire gave Garfield his blessing right after he landed the role. In response, Garfield stated: “I’m Team Tobey, personally. It made me feel OK jumping into it. The 4-year-old inside me was like, ‘You’ve gotta do this man.’”

Reason to be on Team Andrew:

Confession: this is my 11th Comic-con… in a row, and it’s moments like this that make it magical and bring me back year after year. When actors, writers, directors, etc. share with us their passion for their art, that’s when it clicks. These celebrities and pop culture big shots are fans just like us that made it. They’re the ones that continue to stand on the Hall H stage in front of 6,500 people and remind us that with a lot of hard work and dedication, you can do what you love most for a living.

Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man is coming to theater near you July 3rd, 2012.

total-recall-poster-670Another reboot for you, this time of a 1990 film starring Arnold Schwarzenneger and Sharon Stone. I, yet again, have not seen the original, but if it’s got the Governator, I’m sure it was fabulous. The 2012 cast is rather star studded, featuring Kate Beckinsale (Underworld), Colin Farrell (In Bruges), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Jessica Biel (The A-Team), and John Cho (Star Trek).

It plays with reality vs. fantasy, intellectual vs. emotional world, and the idea of escapism. Definitely something to check out for those who liked Avatar, Inception, Matrix, etc. Total Recall hits theaters August 3rd, 2012.

For more on Comic-Con, check out PART 1: Fall TV Guide


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