Friday, April 29, 2011

A Peek Inside Doctor Who: The Brilliant Book 2011


Are you obsessed with a fan of The Doctor? Do you look forward to seeing Doctor Who Confidential as much as a new episode of the show? I thought so. Do yourself a favor and go to Amazon.com right now and order this book! The Brilliant Book 2011 has just about EVERYTHING you ever wanted NEEDED to know about the fifth series of Doctor Who. The title may sound a tad pretentious but yes, it is brilliant.

The book is filled with interviews with many of the people involved in creating the show. Everyone from Matt Smith to composer Murray Gold is interviewed and each is given their due in the book. Through the interviews we learn some interesting facts like Steven Moffat has known, "for a very, very long time," who River Song really is. We also learn fun things like Karen Gillan likes bagpipe music, Arthur Darvill would like to see Rory become "a bit more of a hero" and Matt Smith would love to take the TARDIS down to Atlantis. My favorite is with director Ashley Way (The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood) who describes, in detail, the process of directing an episode of Doctor Who. He talks about interviewing for the job all the way up to the editing process.
 The book also contains background info on each episode with fun facts like how Steven Moffat got the idea for the cracks in the universe (“The wall above my son’s bed!”) and a peek at deleted dialogue from the original scripts. It also takes us deeper into the Who Universe with features like “The Lost Diaries of Winston Spencer Churchill” which describes all of his run-ins with different incarnations of the Doctor. Another fun one is a look at a "twitbook" page with pics and comments from Rory's stag party that took place in "The Vampires of Venice" episode. There are also original short stories written by Brian Aldiss (Umwelts for Hire) and David Llewellyn (The Little Planet).
The best part of the book by far has to be the feature, “Do the Drunk Giraffe” which shows you how to dance like The Doctor! The interviews, extensive collection of pictures and all the behind the scenes looks at what goes into producing this amazing show makes this book a steal at $19.99. It's the perfect “companion” piece to the fifth series of the show.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Scott Stewart and Cast Talk 'Priest' at WonderCon

Priest, which hits theaters on May 13, is based on Hyung Min-Woo’s manhwa of the same name. Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet and Lily Collins star in the film, which is set in an alternate, post-apocalyptic world. Bettany plays a warrior priest who disobeys the church and sets out on a search for the vampires who have abducted his niece (Lily Collins). Joining him on his quest are Priestess (Maggie Q) and his niece’s boyfriend, Hicks (Cam Gigandet). The film is directed by Scott Stewart, whose previous film, Legion, also starred Bettany.


The film takes place after the events of Hyung’s 16-issue series. This gave the filmmakers room to do an original story while playing in the already-established universe. Hyung said that at first, “I was a little bit worried about the different story,” but loves what the director has done with it. Stewart says, “Our idea was, that was the past and this is the future and that was a way to kind of create something that was a little more contained.”

Stewart was at first attracted to the project because, “Paul’s character in the movie, in many respects when I read it, kind of reminded me of John Rambo and First Blood. It’s a movie that takes place after a war is over and the people who won the war have been relegated to the shadows of society. And now he’s called upon to actually come back and save everyone again.” Another influence was The Searchers, which Gigandet, who “got rid of the sparkly make-up” for this vampire film says, “That was one of (Stewart’s) big inspirations. So he made sure we all had watched it.”

Stewart had a much bigger budget this time around than he did for Legion. It had its advantages because it allowed him to “Make the world feel more comprehensive and make the action scenes, particularly with the digital characters, the vampire characters, more elaborate and exciting.”

 
Bettany, Collins and Gigandet all had to put their imagination into overdrive when shooting scenes. The CGI presented a big challenge for Bettany who said, “There’s this moment where I jump up and meet this vampire in mid-air and I stab him in the chest and we hit the ground and I cut his heart out. In actual fact, that evening when I did it, I ran across the yard and I jumped up into the air and the timing had to be perfect for me to meet this incredibly unthreatening pillow.”

Collins, whose character was specifically created for the movie, says that Stewart, “Comes from a visual effects background, so this world that he created has always been in his head. We didn’t necessarily know what it was going to look like ultimately, but he did.”

The 3D film, which was post-converted, got a great reaction at a small screening during WonderCon. The director said, “The reaction in the room and what people were tweeting afterwards and the write-ups that are online, particularly from some pretty tough customers, was really pleasing. It’s a different view of vampires that’s meant to be really fun. It’s got really fun action, it’s got a very fast pace and it’s hopefully satisfying.”

Gigandet was impressed with what he’d seen on-screen saying, “I didn’t really realize how good he was in the special effects part of it. He would give us hints about what it would look like eventually. He created such an amazing world.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

eigoMANGA streams "Demian" and "Break Ups" on Crunchyroll

If you're an anime fan, you're probably already familiar with Crunchyroll. But, are you familiar with eigoManga? The San Francisco-based company has been around since 2000 and has primarily been focused on comic book publication, but has branched out into new media production and live event promotion. eigoMANGA has begun streaming English-subtitled original animation videos ("OAV") on the Crunchyroll video service. eigoMANGA's publisher, Austin Osueke said, "We're really excited to release our animation line and it's really an honor to have it featured on Crunchyroll to be seen by millions of anime fans from around the world."

Demian
'Demian' is a story about an elite government team that pilots a five into one super robot fighting force. They are called to take down their robot's creator who is now a terrorist.

Break Ups
'Break Ups' is a slice of life story about a young couple with an on-and-off relationship. They stumble upon a time machine that takes them back to several periods in their lives as a couple.


The OAVs can be accessed from Crunchyroll.com, the free iPad and iPhone application, the Android application, Roku, Boxee, Vizio VIA, WD TV Live and additional set-top channels, and affiliate partners.

The Crunchyroll page for 'Demian' is http://www.crunchyroll.com/demian

The Crunchyroll page for 'Break Ups' is http://www.crunchyroll.com/break-ups


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Joe Wright and Saoirse Ronan Talk Hanna

Hanna, played by Saoirse Ronan (pronounced seer-sha), is a bright, inquisitive 16-year-old girl who also happens to have the stamina, fighting skills and intelligence of a well-trained soldier. This comes from being raised by her father Erik Heller (Eric Bana), a former CIA agent, in the wilds of North Finland. Erik teaches Hanna everything he knows, which includes hunting, self-defense and several different languages. He has also home-schooled her with a set of encyclopedias, all in preparation for the inevitable confrontation with witchy CIA operative Marissa Wiegler (played to the hilt by Cate Blanchett), who has secrets that tie her to Erik and Hanna.

Much has been made of Hanna and its fairytale structure. Indeed, it does draw greatly from the Brothers Grimm. This is due to director Joe Wright, who says, “It was inherent in the structure of the script, but a lot of it, what you see wasn’t in the script when I first read it. So I kind of saw the structure as being a classic fairytale. And obviously, the first fifteen pages being set in a forest, in a log cabin as the child grows up, that’s a fairytale.”

Wright became involved at the suggestion of Ronan. She had previously worked with the director in Atonement, which earned her an Academy Award nomination. Best known for his period pieces Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, Wright says, “I think I may have been the first name that came into her head and thought she should say something, I don’t know because it’s kind of rather perverse casting on her part. I did mull it over. I was very interested in working with Saoirse again because I love her and I think she’s brilliant, but I wasn’t really sure that I could pull it off. And at the same time I was kind of scared of it. Often when I find I’m scared of something, it means it’s something I should do.” With Hanna, Wright proves that he can deftly juggle action, tragedy and fairytale elements to elevate the film above your typical popcorn fare.
In order to prepare for the action scenes, Wright took a unique approach. “Basically, the closest thing I’d done to action fighting sequences was dance. I thought, “Well, I’ll try and apply what I learned doing those sequences in this. It was just trying to see it purely as the organization of figures in space, which is a definition of choreography and therefore treating it in that quite abstract realm rather than thinking about selling punches.” The action in the film is intense, frightening and very real.

Wright has used memorable uninterrupted sequences in previous films The Soloist and Atonement. He again uses that technique to great effect in a scene in which Erik is followed, in one long steadicam take, below ground into a train station and finds himself surrounded by four agents he has to fight off all at once. Wright says, “The obvious way to do it is the Jason Bourne tradition of a barrage of fast cuts and all of that stuff, so I knew I wanted to step away from that.”

Ronan had more than her fair share of fight scenes. To prepare for the role she says, “I trained for about two months before we started shooting. I worked in the gym and did different styles of martial arts. It took a lot of focus and it was probably the most preparation I’ve done for a film.” Her hard work certainly pays off, as she pulls off her fight scenes convincingly.

Beyond the action scenes, she also has the daunting task of playing a stranger in a strange land. She’s someone has never been around another person aside from her father. She has never been exposed television, electricity or any of the things we use every day without a second thought. To get into the role, Ronan says, “With Hanna, something that really helped me to become this character was kind of wiping my mind clean of any experience that I had gone through. Especially over the past few years as a growing girl, because she’s never gone through those kind of experiences. And I got to see everything in a new light and so fresh and pure.”

When asked to describe the film, Ronan says, “I don’t think it’ll be what anyone expects. They walk in thinking it’s going to be an action movie and it’s not. It is, but it’s not. The thing that makes the story powerful, for me, is the strong characters that we have in this film. The story that surrounds them all, how they’re all intertwined. How Hanna’s journey is basically a coming of age journey.”


Hanna is in theaters now.

Friday, April 8, 2011

WonderCon 2011 Wrap-Up


For the second year in a row I attended WonderCon. This year was leaps and bounds better than I’d anticipated. Last year the big draw (for me) was the chance to attend one of Kevin Smith’s Q&A’s. This year, unfortunately, he was traveling the country showing his new film, “Red State,” and would not be attending. Initially, when I found this out I was sorely disappointed. As it turns out, it wasn’t such a bad thing after all.


DC seemed to take over the con with Green Lantern getting a big push. Not only were we treated previews of the upcoming toy line and video game, we also got a panel with Ryan Reynolds, Geoff Johns and Blake Lively. The cherry on top was the premiere of the newest DC animated film Green Lantern: Emerald Knights.


Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds
 This year seemed a lot more crowded than last. In fact, I’d heard a couple of people grumbling about the number of people in attendance and that they were scared that it would just continue to get bigger, eventually turning into SDCC. It was pretty crowded on the show floor Saturday, but everyone was reasonably gracious and laidback so it wasn’t horrible.


The best part of the weekend was getting to meet so many of my Twitter geek friends. At the Geek Girl Con party I had the chance to have a brief, yet great chat with @PapaLlama. I also (after missing her on Friday) got to finally meet my favorite Twitter pal @amy_geek on Saturday. We got to have a nice chat and I have to say, she’s as awesome in person as she is on the interwebs. Really hoping to see more of these two soon.

In an earlier post I put up a pic of the costume I decided to get together for the con (The Eleventh Doctor). It was the first time I did anything like this and it was partly inspired by two people, @amy_geek and @TheNerdyBird. Seeing them attending all these cons in their awesome costumes made me decide, “What the heck, I’ll give it a try.” As I mentioned before, when comes to cosplay, I’m more of an observer. I have to admit, I dug it. Yes, it was a little uncomfortable but it was fun. It was especially awesome since I had the perfect companion in @TheNerdyBird, who makes a great Amy Pond. It looks like I may be getting another costume together for FanimeCon in San Jose at the end of May (maybe something Pokemon?).

Come Along Pond...
 Will I be back next year? That’s not even a question. I’m hoping WonderCon can retain its small scale and not become bigger than it needs to be. I have yet to attend SDCC but the horror stories I hear from those who regularly attend make me cringe at the thought of having to deal with those kinds of crowds in SF. Though, I wouldn’t mind seeing even more fellow Twitter geeks there next year.


Director Tarsem & cast of "Immortals"

Halo

R2-D2 (as if you didn't know)


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thor: God of Thunder & Captain America: Super Soldier Screenshots

Typically, comic related video games, well...suck (Iron Man 2, anyone?). Of course, there are also some awesome ones like Batman: Arkham Asylum. This year brings us three movie-related tie-ins: Marvel's Thor: God of Thunder, Captain America: Super Soldier and DC's Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters. It's needless to say that I will, at some point be playing every one of these. Check out these screenshots of Thor: God of Thunder and Captain America. Are you excited yet? 

Thor: God of Thunder

Thor: God of Thunder takes players through a spectacular, epic-scale original third-person adventure for which Eisner Award-winning writer and lead Thor comic book author Matt Fraction served as story consultant. In the game, Thor battles through numerous worlds of Norse mythology to overcome monstrous foes lifted from the pages of the comics including Ulik, Ymir, and Surtur in conflicts that span realms ranging from primal worlds of fire and ice to extraordinary planets inhabited by Frost Giants, Trolls, and other monstrous denizens. Players will wield the iconic Mj√∂lnir, Thor’s legendary hammer, to fight enemies on an immense scale while controlling the elemental storm powers of lightning, thunder, and wind to vanquish foes.


Each version of the game will be uniquely suited for its platform, with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions featuring cinematic, third-person action gameplay with melee combos, ranged hammer throws, tide-turning elemental powers, and an upgrade system to bolster Thor’s powers as gamers progress. Players will take on enemies up to four times as large as Thor, with multiple grappling points and a variety of strategies for taking them down: go toe-to-toe with a 25 foot tall, 12 ton Ice Troll for a truly heart-pumping experience.

The Nintendo Wii game will feature the same overarching storyline as the next-gen consoles, but will also present a different gaming experience by utilizing the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to battle enemies and deliver Thor’s elemental powers. Thor for the Wii will also be presented with a uniquely styled comic book look, along with exclusive cinematics, story elements, dialog, locations, and dedicated flight levels. Nintendo DS players will experience a 2D side-scrolling adventure with narrative and gameplay unique to the platform.


 Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, 3DS

 Release date: May 3, 2011

 Genre: Third Person Action Adventure

§  Website: www.thorvideogame.com



Captain America: Super Soldier

Become Captain America, the ultimate Super-Soldier, in the darkest days of World War II as you face the Red Skull and his army in this epic third-person action adventure. Wield Captain America’s legendary shield to take out multiple enemies at once, deflect incoming fire back at your enemies, solve puzzles, and scale walls. Above all, hurl yourself shield-first into the fray, with the superior force of the world’s first Super-Soldier at your fingertips. Engage in free-flowing combat and acrobatic platforming to infiltrate Hydra’s massive and mysterious castle complex and battle the infamous Iron Cross, the forces of Hydra, and a host of nefarious enemies serving the Red Skull in an all-new Captain America story and adventure.


Captain America: Super Soldier combines an acrobatic combat system with fluid platforming and a highly tuned suite of shield attacks including melee combos.

The completely original story for Captain America: Super Soldier is penned by noted comic, film, and TV writer Christos Gage. The primary writer for the Marvel’s Avengers: The Initiative series of comics, Gage has written numerous books for major Marvel characters, including Siege: Captain America, Iron Man, X-Men, Spider-Man, Civil War: House of M, and Union Jack.

 Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, 3DS

 Release date: July 19, 2011

 Genre: Third-Person Action Adventure





Wednesday, April 6, 2011

LanternCon 2011

DC Comics’ Green Lantern took over WonderCon this year in a big bad way. It seemed that everywhere you looked, The Emerald Knight was staring right back at you. With the Green Lantern film bowing in June and Comic-Con in July, DC/Warner Bros. big push for the film happened this past weekend.

On the show floor, DC hung a huge banner of Ryan Reynolds in the Green Lantern costume so there was no missing their booth. The booth featured previews of the upcoming action figure line from the movie. They were pretty awesome…until I realized that my wallet is gonna take a big hit trying to collect them all. Mattel also had a booth where they featured yet more GL toys that I’m going to need to buy.

On Friday afternoon Eddie Berganza and Geoff Johns held a Green Lantern panel where they showed off the movie version of Hal’s lantern. Later that night was the big show. Geoff Johns, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds took to the stage for a Q&A session AND several minutes of footage from the new film. How was it? Color me impressed. I am now officially excited for this movie. The first pic of Reynolds in costume was disappointing. I thought it looked horrendous. Then WB premiered the trailer and it was…underwhelming. The footage that was shown that night instantly erased any doubts I had of the film.




Immediately after the Q&A, Warner Bros. treated us to the world premiere screening of Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. Without giving anything away, this film continues the tradition of quality animated features being produced by Warner Bros. (You hear that, Marvel? You have A LOT of catching up to do). If you were there and a Green Lantern fan, then you were well taken care of. In fact, WonderCon probably could have changed its name to LanterCon and it would have been totally appropriate.



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"ThunderCats, Ho!"

Unfortunately, I missed ThunderCats panel at WonderCon. I say unfortunately because I'm looking forward to this series like nobody's business. I grew up in the 80's and ThunderCats was just one of the many classic cartoons that kept me enthralled as a kid. The 80's were the Golden Age of cartoons- G.I. Joe, Transformers, SilverHawks, M.A.S.K., Masters of the Universe, Ninja Turtles, the list goes on. I admit, having gone back and re-watched some of these cartoons, they were nothing more than 30 minute toy commercials (some of them really bad 30 minute toy commercials). Despite that fact, I still love them.

What makes me excited for this new ThunderCats series is that over the last few years, we've seen successful relaunches of classic cartoons like Masters of the Universe that have been really well done. It's obvious that the people behind these relaunches were fans and have a love for the franchise they're working on (I'm looking at you, Michael Bay). After seeing the new trailer from WonderCon I can say that the team behind this new series definitely has me confident in what we've seen so far. Everything from the anime influenced designs to the involvement of Larry Kenney (the original voice of Lion-O), this seems to be hitting all the right notes. ThunderCats premieres later this year on the Cartoon Network.  


Based upon the iconic 1980s action classic, ThunderCats tells the epic tale of Lion-O and his battle against evil in the quest for the fabled Stones of Power. The series is executive produced by Sam Register (Teen Titans, Ben 10, Batman: The Brave and the Bold).

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Doctor Who Countdown Clock

5 Awesome Tron: Legacy Products

We here at Geek Hash HQ are ridiculously excited about tomorrow’s release of Tron: Legacy. I know I’ll be picking it up for sure. In honor of the release, we look at the 5 coolest products that the newest movie spawned:
Tron Light Disc Audio Dock by Monster
This bad boy comes with 80 individually controlled LED’s that light up to the rhythm of the music. It boasts four 1.5” drivers and one 3.5” long-throw woofer. You can use it with your iPod, iPad, laptop, or other audio source. For a measly $299.99 (plus shipping) you can order it directly from Monster. I’ve already started saving my pennies.

Tron Wired Controller for Xbox 360 Collector's Edition
This awesome controller comes with these features:


-Light-up accents illuminate nighttime sessions
-Rubber grips with soft-touch finish and perforated details
-Performance enhancing contours and design
-Precision controller parts and vibration support

It's also available in Wii and PS3 versions. Check out Amazon.com for availability.

Sam Flynn Movie Replica Leather Motorcycle Suit
This officially licensed motorcycle suit from Universal Designs LTD. (who also made Batman, Iron Man and Wolverine versions) is limited to 1,000 suits and comes with these features:


- CE Approved Body Armor
- Form Molded Leather Detailing
- Light Sensitive Reflective Accents
- Heavy Duty Stretch Spandex Inserts
- Silicone Hexagon Print
- Form Molded Leather Disk

For the low, low price of $995.00 you can order yours now. A women’s version of Quorra’s suit is also available for $899.00 Act now, sales for these suits close on May 31, 2011

Tron Deluxe Identity Disc
This toy replica from Spin Master features flashing lights and sound and also comes with a display stand. There are 3 versions available: Sam Flynn, Kevin Flynn and Rinzler. Get them while they last at Entertainment Earth.
Tron: Legacy Daft Punk Action Figures

These 12” tall figures from Medicom of the duo Daft Punk as featured in the film are nothing short of amazing. It’s the perfect gift for fans of the movie or the group. Both members, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, are available for pre-order for $183.99 each. They will be released in July.