Comic Con 2008: Day 4

Sunday: It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Hamlet 2

I entered the It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia panel not knowing what panel I was going in to, I wanted to wait around for Hamlet 2. I’ve seen a few episodes of Philadelphia and never known what to make of it as I’ve caught them half way through, and didn’t understand the concept. I became a fan at the panel, and not just because they gave me a free t-shirt and the show on DVD. IT’s a fun show and they described it as Seinfeld if the characters really were that mean and horrible of people that no one else would ever be friends with them.

What I find really interesting about Hamlet 2 is the fact that it’s already achieving cult film status without being widely released. Sexy Jesus is going to be a geek icon, and I do have to say the lyrics to Rock Me Sexy Jesus are some of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. I cannot wait to see this movie.

Comic Con 2008: Day 3

Saturday: Heroes, Lost, Terminator Salvation

I went to the Heroes panel last year and had a blast, so I had to go back this year. I was not disappointed even though the panel started late because the cast got stuck in the elevator. Tim Kring brought the entire cast, plus the entire season 3 premiere for us to watch.

Heroes: Villains is going to be amazing. I have not seen a better hour of television in a long time than that episode. At the season 2 panel Jeph Loeb asked us not to talk about the footage they showed, this time they pleaded with us to talk about the episode as Heroes will have been off the air for 9 months when it premieres.

The best part was that during the panel several cast members decided to tape the audience from the stage. That was funny, you could tell they were having so much fun. On top of that a kid went to the Q&A mike and told Zachary Quinto (the arch villain Sylar) that “Silo” was “the best hero ever!” The entire audience and Zachary could not stop laughing. When asked another question by the audience Zachary insisted on being called “Silo”.

I sat through the LOST panel even though I don’t watch the show because Christopher and Beth are fans. I appreciate the show, but I’ve had issues with how a season or two felt so muddled and off track. Last season rocked though. However, the panel was fun as two of the creators/exec producers were there and did a Q&A where they gave out odd prizes like a life vest & dry eraser signed by the writers. It was also “sponsored” by the Dharma Initiative as they are recruiting.

My favorite thing of the weekend had to be the panel for Terminator Salvation.

I will be the first to say that until Christian Bale was cast as John Connor I was beyond skeptical of this film. I really didn’t enjoy Terminator 3 that much and didn’t see a point to continuing the franchise without James Cameron. However, Bale picks his projects carefully so that really helped up my comfort level.

The only thing holding me back was McG being attached as the film’s director. I never really disliked him, but after the Charlie’s Angels films I just kind of thought he was Brett Ratner without the roughness around his edges; then I saw We Are Marshall and was blown away by the skill put into that film and the ability of McG to change genres so flawlessly – but I still didn’t see him making a decent Terminator film.

I was wrong. McG is going to make a GREAT Terminator film.

I was blown away by the knowledge and passion McG demonstrated for Terminator Salvation proves that he is not an idle director but one who does his homework, has inspiration, is a fan of the series and truly wants to make an excellent film. I sat with my jaw dropped as he explained the evolution of the machines and how that process went into the concept of where they would be at that point in the film, the makeup of the resistance fighters, the mental process of Connor, and the concept of a destiny/fate that cannot be avoided by the characters. Then he showed the footage and I got goose bumps it was that good. This is the war with the machines we all imagined it would be and not only that it is visually stunning. On top of all this the entire cast (minus Bale who was still doing international press for The Dark Knight) adores the project and you can tell.

Comic Con 2008: Day 2

Friday: Watchmen, Trailer Park, Wolfman, The Spirit

I am currently reading the graphic novel on which Watchmen is based. I have not finished yet, but it is amazing. Even with as little as I know so far about the comic I cannot wrap my head around how the heck Zack Snyder and his team managed to even come up with a coherent way to turn such a dense, far-reaching story into a film and stay faithful to the original material. Let me clue you in for those that don’t really know what I’m talking about.

The main story takes place in 1985 in a post-hero era where the majority of costumed heroes have removed their capes in the name of patriotism or become agents of the government – then one is murdered and one of the last non-government heroes (he’s also the legally insane one) begins to they and find out why. There’s a love triangle between Dr. Manhattan (a 6’4” blue former-human who can manipulate time, space & molecules), a second generation hero Laurie, and another retired hero, Nite Owl. There is an old generation of heroes waxing nostalgic on the past, and we can actually visit the past due to Dr. Manhattan, there is the Cold War issues, and there is some conspiracy forming around Dr. Manhattan. On top of this there is a sub-plot about a kid reading a pirate comic that underlies some of the themes in the story and there are excerpts of novels about our heroes laced throughout the book. And I’m only half way through the comic.

Back to the panel, everyone from Zack Snyder to Billy Crudup was excited to be there and stoked to see the footage – which kicks some major ass BTW. If all goes as I think it will this film will further cement Snyder as one of the foremost big budget film directors in the business. Just wait until you see Dr. Manhattan on Mars.

I’m not going to write about Trailer Park because let’s face it – it’s just a bunch of us sitting in a room watching movie trailers to kill time. You’ve seen ‘em all before online or on the big screen.

The nice little badly advertized surprise was Universal’s Wolfman panel with Rick Baker, Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro. The footage looks pretty dark and bad ass, they did the wolf with make-up instead of CGI and I got to see Fenster in person, and one of the film gods – Rick Baker.

Baker talked a bit about Stan Winston, and the coolness of getting to make Del Toro into the wolf, Blunt was stoked because she got the be the damsel in distress and Del Toro is a wicked old school film geek. It was fun. I want to see the period-piece horror movie they have created. It has Anthony Hopkins so that’s a lot towards its credibility.

What we were all actually waiting through the Wolfman panel to see was the panel on The Spirit. We were not disappointed. Frank Miller is a kick to listen to because you can tell he loves the material but would still rather not be talking about it, he’d be drawing or showing it.

The best part of the panel was Samuel L. Jackson who is playing the villain the Octopus. When he came out he climbed up and stood on his chair while people cheered and then he was the wittiest panel member I’ve ever seen. Someone asked Samuel what his favorite action figure of himself is and he said Mace Windu as there are so many versions of that figure, and that he has his action figures all over his office peeking around shelves, fighting each other, etc. When asked about Nick Fury he said that he was excited because when he was a kid Nick Fury was white, and now Nick Fury had finally evolved into something he could understand and that it proved that “you too can grow up to be a black man.”

Comic Con 2008: Day 1

Thursday: The Day the Earth Stood Still/Max Payne, Summit (Push, Knowing, Twilight)

Instead of doing studio panels this year I was a bit disappointed to find that each studio (or perhaps Con) broke the panels down to focus on 1-2 movies by that studio. That being said, I did enjoy the panel for Fox’s The Day the Earth Stood Still and Max Payne.

I do not think that Keanu Reeves is a phenomenal actor; however, he is a smart actor in the sense that he picks roles that work for his personality and when used by a strong director can give a great performance. That being said he was a blast at the panel because people kept asking him complex questions that poor Keanu had no chance of answering. Jennifer Connelly is a shy actress as well, but still was able to deliver great articulate answers. I don’t know much about the people behind the film, but they have obviously thought out how to remake this film while not pissing off the lovers of the original. I cannot wait to see what the final product is.

I know nothing about Max Payne, and really didn’t enjoy the footage all that much, but I was greatly excited to see Mark Wahlberg in person. You could tell the crowd went nuts just for him, and he did remark that a response like that made him understand why musicians did reunion tours; however, I could have lived without hearing the phrase that the crowds response made him “all warm in the pants” referring to his Marky Mark days.

One of the biggest surprises of the weekend was right after Max Payne. The moderator came out and announced that there was a special guest just arrived – Hugh Jackman with Wolverine footage. Not only was the man completely cool and humble thanking his fans for giving him a career, but the creator of Wolverine was in the audience and he jumped off stage to go shake his hand. On top of that we saw the footage/trailer for Wolverine and it was damn cool but one thing stood out. We get Gambit in this movie!

The Summit Entertainment panel was entertaining but I in no way am looking forward to their slate of upcoming releases. First there is Push, which could be slightly interesting in concept, but from hearing the director speak I don’t think they have their sci-fi mythology figured out. It’s a film about people with psychic abilities who have been manipulated by the government since experiments that began with the Nazi’s in WWII. The footage was not that spectacular and the director Paul McGuigan was not that smart. He talked about how he shot his effects very low-fi as they tried to do everything on location (he meant practical effects yet used a sound term), and was upset that when they blew up fish tanks that he wasn’t allowed to blow them up with the fish in them… Brilliant man I tell you.

They also have Knowing which might be interesting despite my heebie-jeebie factor regarding Nicholas Cage. It’s about a kid that 50 years ago created a numeric cipher that foretold all the major disasters up to a few years in our future…the footage was actually decent and I enjoyed it. But why Nick Cage? Sorry, that’s my personal thing.

Finally, they had the Twilight portion of their panel. I am a fan of the Twilight book series, and I know I’m not in its prime target audience, but like the Harry Potter books I think they work for many age levels…but I was not a fan of Con being invaded by thousands of screaming teen girls who had nothing intelligent to say to the panel. If Catherine Hardwicke and Summit were smart this would have been an opportunity for them to prove that this is an intelligent film and team that transcends teen mania; instead, it was a ton of screaming teenagers talking about how hot the actors and characters are and the cast and director couldn’t form an intelligent sentence to save their lives. The only two people I had respect for on the panel were Rachelle Lefevre and Edi Gathegi who were able to speak in a clam, collected, and intelligent manner about the project and the production. I would cast Rachelle based on seeing her there.

I was saddened by the fact that Hardwicke is the only female director that I've ever seen on a panel at Con and she did nothing to help the credibility of female directors.

Comic Con 2008: Preview Night

Preview Night: Fringe

I didn’t know much about Fringe going in, but I was somewhat excited because it’s sci-fi and I do adore Josh Jackson. However, let me be clear going in – I have a love/hate relationship with the work of JJ Abrams. I kind of have the opinion that he starts shows, gets bored starts new shoes leaving the old ones twisting and then realizes that the old ones are plummeting so he jumps back on the old show briefly before jumping into another new show and abandoning the old one all over again. Fringe is one of those shows; he’s tired of Lost and backing off again to do this show.

The disappointing thing is that Fringe is not that good. It’s got some buzz around it, and Josh Jackson is really good, but the pilot is really disjointed and majorly feels like it is trying to pin down it’s genre. I’m used to people still ironing out odds and ends after their show’s pilot – but the genre/tone? I also didn’t like the casting of the lead actress, Anna Torv. It’s not that Torv did a bad job, she just doesn’t seem to have the presence to carry this kind of a show, and this show operates on what seems to be a huge scale.

Fringe feels very incoherent. Unlike most good pilots it doesn’t really set up a central concept to the show, it spends it’s time setting up Trov’s initial romance, the chemistry between Trov & Jackson and that there is a “conspiracy” out there…but nothing that really tells you “this is our show” so the audience is left guessing what a second episode would look like.

Be it the networks fault or Abrams fault, Fringe still needs a lot of work. Right now it feels like an uncertain version of The X-Files.


The Ground Shakes!

An earthquake is the quickest way in the world to sort out the native Californinan's from the people that migrated here.

We just had a 5.8 earthquake which is a decent size, but still not big enough to do a ton of damage in a place like Southern California where we have strict earthquake codes built into our construction standards. Pretty much, unless you were at the epicenter or in a crappy building there is not much of a danger from a quake like that.

I am a southern California native. The worst earthquake I can remember happened before I was ten. I remember sitting under the kitchen table for what felt like hours watching things fall off of shelves, the stereo speakers shake, and everything in our house clink, rattle and crack. I also survived the huge San Fransisco earthquake a decade or so ago and remember sitting and waiting forever to find out if my Uncle and his family were okay and their home was still standing.

So as I sat calmly in my chair through today's earthquake I watched others panic about the ground moving, and I took a look around and nothing was falling over, falling down or breaking...so nothing to panic about. Just sit, wait it out and if it doesn't stop, gets worse or things start to go to hell then deal with it.

However, as I am learning gradually I am one of the few genuine southern California natives. So I sat and watched as my co-workers got up from their chairs, dived under their desks, and panicked about what was going to fall on their heads.

I'm sorry to be harsh on those that are freaked by earthquakes, but I really don't mean to be. I just find it kind of funny. I've dealt with them my whole life and they're over so quickly that I just wait them out...

Have fun with the aftershocks.


Random Quote #12 of many.....

"Justice has a name - besides justice - and that name is Captain Hammer."

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog


Some Critics Thoughts

With The Dark Knight, the cinematic superhero spectacle comes closest to becoming modern myth, a pulp tragedy with costumed players and elevated stakes and terrible sacrifices. It's the new gold standard for superhero noir.

Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

May be the most hopeless, despairing comic-book movie in memory. It creates a world where being a superhero is at best a double-edged sword and no triumph is likely to be anything but short-lived.

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

The highest praise I can give a superhero movie is that it makes me forget about its 10-cent-comic-book soul.

Kyle Smith, New York Post

Bale again brilliantly personifies all the deep traumas and misgivings of Batman's alter ego, Bruce Wayne. A bit of Hamlet is in this Batman.

Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter


Natural Fears

So here’s the deal. All artists go through the process where they doubt themselves and their talent. I believe this is a natural process; if you were really full of yourself at the beginning of your career everyone would hate you and you would go nowhere fast.

On top of this doubt, I am the first to admit that I do have an inferiority complex, I don’t know if it’s born from being a middle child, teased in school or what, but it’s there. I deal.

Combine these two things together and I panic about my filmmaking ability from time to time. I’ve gotten used to it and I deal with it. However, I am currently majorly into production on my first feature film – on a shoe-string budget, with an insane schedule. This has made for some panic inducing moments for Megan, and I am not a person that panics. I get mad, but I don’t panic.

For example, a week ago, before my first table read I slept horribly and had a nightmare. I have not had a nightmare that I can remember clearly since I was about 6 and I remember it had to do with witches and monsters…and the color green. But, I had a nightmare that none of the actors could find the location, and all of my crew and cast quit.

I knew this wouldn’t really happen and I was proven right; my entire cast showed up, and all of my crew is enthusiastic about the project.

Of course this week I’ve been working on my shot list so of course the doubts about my directing ability crept in. I watched some films and proving to myself that I am not crazy, I have seen what I’m thinking before. I also know that people like my previous work. So I prayed and squashed that fear down.

Then the stress started creeping in about my schedule. How the heck can I get a feature film done on that schedule. I am insane. This thinking persisted…and persisted… However, I am a firm believe that if I am doing what God wants me to do He’ll deal with me and it may be in really odd ways. And it was an odd way that God took this fear from me.

Swingers. I watched a documentary in the special features on Swingers last night because I wanted to have something on while I straightened my hair (and I wouldn’t care that I had to see it backwards in the mirror).

They shot Swingers in 20 days, but only scheduled 18. They shot in clubs and casinos that weren’t closed. They couldn’t get financing. Doug Limon was DP and he’d never DP’d before. They used practical lighting. One thing they said was they decided they were going to have a set that they would be embarrassed to have visitors on, because if it looked like a Hollywood set it meant that they were paying attention to the wrong things. They couldn’t get into Sundance.

At least half the cast and crew are now major players, who have great careers. And Swingers launched them.

I’m not putting any kind of insane hope that END will launch me in the same way that Swingers launched Doug Limon, but God did use a dang special feature on a dvd to make me feel like less of a hopeless freak.



I am a total geek freak.

I saw a new TV spot for Dark Knight.

The coin spins on a table at the end of the trailer.

I flipped out.

Those of you who are my kind of geek know why.


Random Quote # 11 of Many...

"Fellows, let's be reasonable, huh? This is not the time or the place to perform some kind of a half-assed autopsy on a fish!"