Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hugo Weaving Joins Wolf Man Cast

The Australian actor will play a detective in Universal's 1941 remake.

Hugo Weaving has joined the cast of The Wolf Man a month before principal shooting begins in London. Weaving, who has starred in The Matrix and Lord of the Rings trilogies, will play Detective Aberline. Aberline was not portrayed in the original 1941 horror masterpiece but will most likely be responsible for tracking down the Wolf Man in this rendition of the story.

It appeared as if production for The Wolf Man would go south after Mark Romanek left the director's chair in January. The One Hour Photo director cited creative-differences as his means for leaving the project. Since then Joe Johnson (Jurassic Park III, Hidalgo) has stepped in as his replacement and will helm the horror film.

The Wolf Man begins shooting next month and will hit cinemas in February 2009. The film stars Benicio Del Toro along with Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, and the just-announced Hugo Weaving.

will continue to run updates on the film as we get closer to its 2009 release date.


Subscribe in a reader

AddThis Social Bookmark Button Add to Technorati Favorites

Champions Online Announced

Cryptic Studios, makers of City of Heroes, has plans for another superhero MMORPG.

The game is called Champions Online and is based on the 1981 table-top RPG Champions by Hero Games. The premise is similar to City of Heroes where you play a hero in a superhero-laden universe as you try and make a name for yourself. Cryptic is boasting an insane amount of character customization and what they are calling quick and tactical real-time combat engine. The game won't just be released for the PC as the Xbox 360 will also be getting some of the action.

Cryptic has also released a teaser trailer for the MMORPG. Check it out below.

This looks really cool. If Cryptic can build on what made City of Heroes great this will be an excellent game. Also, how cool would it be for gamers on the PC and Xbox 360 to play in the same online world. Nothing has been confirmed but one can speculate there will be cross-platform online play.

Champions Online will hit PCs and 360s in the spring of 2009. Check back to MediaZEALOT as we'll keep you up to date on the game leading up to its release.


Subscribe in a reader

AddThis Social Bookmark Button Add to Technorati Favorites

Halo 3 Ghost Town Map Preview

Bungie has released the first images of one of their new maps.

Bungie plans to release a second map pack for Halo 3 this spring. The download will be titled the Legendary Map Pack and is a follow up to the Heroic Map Pack which was released on December 11th of last year. I wasn't a very big fan of the first map pack. Not necessarily because of the quality, they were decent maps, but just because I was on Halo overload and needed to get away from the game for a while. I haven't played it very much since.

Hopefully the Legendary Map Pack can fix all that. Bungie has released pictures of Ghost Town, one of the maps in the new pack, and it looks pretty cool. It features some wide-open areas for firefights as well as some ruined buildings for more confined battles. The map is an asymmetrical map geared for gametypes like CTF and One Bomb but should also work well for FFA and Slayer.

The Legendary Map Pack will hit Xbox Live Marketplace in the spring. I'm in no rush to download the new maps although I'll most likely give them a test run at some point. It's been too long since I played Halo 3, I just haven't felt the urge to pop the game back into my 360.


Subscribe in a reader

AddThis Social Bookmark Button Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ghostbusters at SDCC?

WonderCon program hints at big announcement at San Diego Comic Con later this year.

As many comic fans know this weekend is WonderCon in San Francisco. The convention is pop-culture event with a focus on movies, video games, television, and comic books.

Earlier today scans of a certain page in the Official WonderCon program started popping up online. The page has a picture of the 1984 Ghostbusters logo and features the text, "something exciting is coming to the neighborhood," followed by, "look for the big announcement at Comic Con San Diego 2008."

Could this mean the return of the Ghostbusters to the big screen? My guess is that the announcement will be the confirmation of a fully-CGI Ghostbusters 3. A live-action third film isn't possible because Bill Murray has been adamant about not wanting to reprise his role as Dr. Peter Venkman. He is, however, quite keen on lending his voice to the character in a CGI sequel. Dan Akroyd confirmed the existence of the project last year, will it be officially announced in San Diego?

We'll see what happens come SDCC this July. Check back to MediaZEALOT as we'll keep you posted on any related Ghostbusters news.


Subscribe in a reader

AddThis Social Bookmark Button Add to Technorati Favorites

Definitely, Maybe Review

Adam Brooks' Definitely, Maybe is one of the best romantic comedies in recent years.

I might have gone into the theatre for this flick expecting too much. I had seen the trailer a few times, along with some TV spots, and I had the feeling it was going to be something surprising. The previews gave the impression of a more laid back and sophisticated romantic film and I was all aboard and ready to watch. Well, I wasn't disappointed. Definitely, Maybe is a decent film in a struggling genre that excels simply because it doesn't make those fatal mistakes other romantic comedies often resort to.

The film stars the charismatic Ryan Reynolds (Smokin' Aces, Van Wilder) as William Hayes. Will has struggled with love his whole life and is on the end of an impending divorce. With his 11-year old daughter's interest piqued on the topic of love Will must explain his pending split with his wife along with his failed past relationships.

Definitely, Maybe is told in your traditional flashback storytelling format that catches up to itself a third of the way through the film. The jumps between the past and present day are very rudimentary but that's one of the things that makes the film work, it's simplicity. It doesn't try to be laugh-out-loud funny nor does it attempt to transform itself into a high-strung drama. It's just a simple romantic comedy.

What holds the film together and pushes it forward are the tremendous performances. Ryan Reynolds absolutely nails his character and turns out a great rendering of his character. He's witty, as expected, but also very fragile and easily shaken. His three love interests are played by Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher, and the amazing Rachel Weisz. All three share a great chemistry with Reynolds and it's a treat to watch as they play off of each other throughout the film. Kevin Kline also has a small role in the film but manages to hilariously steal every scene he's in. Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) plays her usual role of a child more mature than her age and does a decent job.

One complaint I do have about the film is how it bounces around quite a bit during its 112 minute duration. It is constantly changing gears and adjusting pace which keeps things fresh but also makes the film feel like it's dragging. A lot of this can be credited to the 3 seperate love stories. Every time there's a jump from one to the other it feels like a reset and momentarily takes you out of the film. This isn't a major problem in the film but hinders the view from total immersion in the experience.

Definitely, Maybe
is one of the best romantic comedies I've seen in recent years. It's not terribly original but manages to keep itself simple and grounded. It's a film with heart and tells the story of what feel like real people, not archetypes like in so many other romantic comedies. In a genre that often insults its viewers and feels cheap, Definitely, Maybe is a sigh of relief.

One Sentence Review: A very well-acted romantic comedy that doesn't fall into the usual traps of the genre.


Subscribe in a reader

AddThis Social Bookmark Button Add to Technorati Favorites

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fable 2 Co-Op Details and Video

Lionhead Studios once again promises to push the envelope.

Yesterday at the Games Developers Conference 2008 in San Francisco Lionhead Studios announced a key feature to their upcoming sequel to 2004's Fable. Lionhead's leader Peter Molyneux revealed the game will feature a simple yet dynamic form of co-op play. The concept is that at any minute you can plug a second controller into your Xbox 360 while playing Fable 2 and have a friend join in on the adventure. You can share experience points with him however you choose and everything he earns or accomplishes will then tie directly back into his save file. So, for example, if you and your buddy complete a quest and earn a ton of cash you're individual characters will have done the same. You can then pick up the single-player experience where you last left co-op play.

This is all good news, right? Sadly not. Molyneux was coy about co-op being a part of online play and didn't mention whether or not it would be possible over Xbox Live. One can assume that there will be online co-op but nothing has been revealed as of yet.

Molyneux had more for GDC than just an announcement. The egotistical creator also showed off a co-op demo for Fable 2. The video previews the new co-op system as well as character emoting, the game HUD, and more footage of virtual dog behavior. It all looks pretty cool, check it out below.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Fable 2 is looking like it will be everything the first game promised and more, hopefully it can live up to the hype. I've been craving a good RPG since Oblivion came out years ago and hopefully Fable 2 can fill that void when it hits the shelves. A release date has not yet been announced but one can speculate it will arrive during the summer later this year.


Subscribe in a reader

AddThis Social Bookmark Button Add to Technorati Favorites

TOP 10: Untraditional Love Films

In a now-weekly Thursday event MediaZEALOT counts down another top 10. This week it's the top untraditional "low-cheese" romantic films.

It's easy to get caught up in the romcom blues. The romantic comedy is part of a throw away genre. You digest the flick and then dispose of it as you leave the cinema. Many attend these so-called love films because of that fact, they are mindless and what is often referred to as popcorn entertainment. The films on this list, however, are the opposite. They deal with love and romance but don't go head over heels or cheapen themselves with sappy clichés. The relationships stay grounded and the films don't feel like reruns of the Teletubbies.

Keep in mind these films are graded by their quality, not by their "corn-factor".

10. Sideways (2004)

Sideways is a tale about two disappointing men, one depressed and one dreading marriage, who find love in places one wouldn't normally suspect. The film is harsh and awkward but manages to stay comedic. Just when you think Sideways will fall into another movie cliché it throws a twist to keep you on your toes. Alexander Payne directs Paul Giamatti, Thomas Hayden Church, and Virginia Madsen to amazing performances in this beautifully shot story of love.

9. True Romance (1993)

Written by Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction) and directed by Tony Scott (Top Gun, Man on Fire) True Romance is a gritty love story that doesn't pull its punches. It's about hookers (real hookers, not Julia Roberts), cocaine, and gunshot wounds. The film is ruthless and rugged in typical Tarantino fashion but is able to show a form of love not often seen in motion pictures.

8. Lost in Translation (2003)

Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation showcases a bond between an unlikely couple in Tokyo. Bill Murray plays Bob, a married and empty man who comes to Japan for work. Scarlett Johansson plays Charlotte, a girl who's been dragged to Asia by her hard-working husband. Bob and Charlotte meet and establish an honest friendship, something they both lack in their marriages. Charlotte questions her place in life and Bob tries everything he can to mentor her and help show her the way. They two make a visually awkward couple but the film is deeper than that, showing the truth to the pair's relationship.

7. Away from Her (2006)

Away from Her is about enduring love and learning when to let it go. Gordon Pinsent plays Grant, a man who must deal with the institutionalization of his wife, Julie Christie, due to Altzeimer's disease. She slowly loses all memory of her husband but he maintains hope, fighting to keep their bond. It's a sad and frustrating story, a disease tearing apart the relationship between two people very much in love. Away from Her is a very powerful yet romantic drama.

6. Garden State (2004)

Zack Braff's directorial debut is the fun yet emotional Garden State. Braff plays Andrew, a failed actor lacking motivation and emotional attachment who journeys back to New Jersey after the death of his mother only to meet Natalie Portman's character Sam. Sam is a habitual liar and overly self-conscious but is able to emotionally reattach Andrew to her and the world around him. It's an untraditional love story with a comedic punch and is easily one of 2004's best films.

5. The Fountain (2006)

Darren Aranofsky's The Fountain is both a visual and dramatic masterpiece. It's about love withstanding the test of time, obsession, and death and how a relationship can tear one apart. Do you abandon your dying wife in hopes of finding a way to cure her or do you accept her fate and spend time by her side until she passes? Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz lend tremendous performances to a film that continues to hit a nerve with me every time I watch it.

4. High Fidelity (2000)

High Fidelity is about throwing away the instinct to run from a relationship and knowing when to settle for the partner you have in front of you. John Cusack plays Rob Gordon, a man who's breakups haunt him and propel him to keep his feet moving. He's got a woman who loves him by his side but feels required to find something better, unable to fully commit to what he already has. It's well paced, extremely funny, and a very solid film.

3. Amélie (2001)

Amélie is about a girl who's lived in a secluded world her entire life only to one day wake up and want to make a difference and fit in with society. She helps the people around her only to find love in the process. It's a tale about reaching out and working for affection as love rarely finds you without you going out to look for it. Amélie is a treat of a film that gets better with every viewing.

2. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Shaun of the Dead is one of my all-time favourites and an excellent film. It's an action packed zombie flick but a romantic story at heart. Simon Pegg plays Shaun, a man who's girlfriend Liz has given up on his lack of commitment and ambition, not to mention the pub the two frequently visit. She gives up and dumps him, followed shortly by a zombie outbreak. Shaun thinks rescuing her is the way back into her heart but soon discovers what he needs to do for Liz to take him back. Director Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Spaced) delivers what is easily one of the best films of the past five years and does so with style. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are great and this film is not to be missed, even if you don't like zombies.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is well deserving of number one on any list, let alone this one. The film is about how pain goes hand in hand with the happiness of love. Would you erase your memories of the past if you had the choice? A couple, Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, both go through procedures to remove each other from their memories due to what they believe is a failed relationship. It's not until they've lost one another that they discover the special bond they had together and wish they were able to take it all back. It's a beautiful film that captures the spectrum of emotions, both good and bad, that come together to form love.

Well, that's it for another weekly Top 10 list over here at MediaZEALOT. Check back next Thursday for another countdown.

What did you think of this list? Do you have a suggestion for a future Top 10 list? Post a comment and let me know what's up.


Subscribe in a reader

AddThis Social Bookmark Button Add to Technorati Favorites

Invincible #48 Review

The latest issue of Invincible is light on story but still a great read.

Invincible has been an extremely fun and exciting comic for its entire 47 issue run thus far and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. It's easily one of my favourite books and Robert Kirkman is quickly climbing the ranks and becoming one of my most beloved writers. I've really fallen in love with the characters in this book and I look forward to reading all about them come every month's new issue.

That trend continues with Invincible 48. The issue is just as fun and exciting as always but something felt different while I was reading it earlier today; the pacing. Issue 48 feels like a "villain of the month" story instead of part of a larger narrative. It's easy to forget about this one soon after digesting it. A portion of the book is also cut out of this issue as Kirkman uses a few pages in the comic to advertise some Image books he's currently working on. It's a funny gag but feels cheap and wastes important page space in the comic.

Invincible is headed toward a milestone with issue 50 right around the corner and it feels as if Kirkman is holding back. The quality of this issue is nowhere near the standard for this book and one can only hope Kirkman isn't saving everything for the big issue. We'll find out next month if that's the case.

This issue wasn't a complete disappointment. Atom Eve is back and it looks like things could go either way between her and Mark. Let's hope their relationship is worked out in the next few issues (who's betting on issue 50?). Wolf-Man, from the pages of Kirkman's Astounding Wolf-Man, also shows up in this issue to fight alongside Mark and The Guardians of the Globe. However, with Wolf-Man in the picture quite a bit of the spotlight is taken off of Mark. Ryan Ottley's art is also simply amazing as usual. This guy is one of the best in the business and shows it every month with his work on this book.

Invincible 48 was fun but nowhere near as good as it could have been if Kirkman wasn't holding back. Hopefully issue 49 is a return to form and that the Kentucky-based writer isn't just treading water until issue 50.

One Sentence Review: Enjoyable, although not up to the usual snuff. | 8.0/10

Did any of you guys pick up this issue? What did you think? Post a comment and let me know your thoughts.


Subscribe in a reader

AddThis Social Bookmark Button Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gears of War 2 in November

The sequel to 2006's infamous third-person shooter is due out in November.

Gears of War was awesome. The game delivered a great video game experience but also packed a mean cinematic visual style that didn't hold anything back. During their keynote at the Game Developers Conference earlier today Microsoft announced that the Gears of War sequel will have a street date in November this year. The game will be released exclusively for the Xbox 360, no plans for a PC port have been revealed at this time. Along with the release date announcement the game's lead designer, Cliff Bleszinski, showcased the game's first teaser trailer at GDC. Check it out below or go download it in high-resolution on Xbox Live Marketplace.

This looks sweet so far. If Epic Games can build on everything that made the first Gears of War great the sequel will be a great accomplishment. The only complaint I had with the first game was a marginally short single-player campaign. Hopefully Gears of War 2 will feature a longer single-player experience. I also hope Epic Games is able to deliver on their now-promised release date. The game studio has a knack for missing deadlines and one can only hope that won't be the case with this release.

Check back to MediaZEALOT as we'll be keeping tabs on the game leading up to its November release.

UPDATE: Epic Games also showcased a tech demo to their new and improved Unreal Engine III at GDC 2008. Check out the video below to see what you can expect to see in Gears of War 2.


Subscribe in a reader

AddThis Social Bookmark Button Add to Technorati Favorites

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Two-Face Revealed?

Is this what Two-Face will look like in Nolan's Batman Begins sequel?

Pictures of Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face in The Dark Knight have surfaced on the net. Whether or not the photos are real is up for debate but they look fairly authentic. The character looks deformed yet menacing but also quite different than he does in the comics. Nolan and his team have definitely created a more realistic Two-Face if these two pics are indeed real.

The Dark Knight releases worldwide on July 18th. Check back to MediaZEALOT for updates on the film leading up until its release.

UPDATE: These are confirmed Photoshop fakes. Although, to tell the truth, I'm a fan of how the character looks in these pics. Exaggerate the deformation a little bit more and it'd be perfect. However, Two-Face in the film could look completely different as these are just fan mock-ups. Sorry for the the misinformation guys.

UPDATE 2: Pictures of the Mattel Two-Face toy from The Dark Knight have appeared online. The toy was shown during a restricted press event at Toy Fair over the weekend. Photos of the figure were prohibited and as a result the pictures are extremely blurry as they had to be taken without detection. The toy should be a good indication of what Two-Face will look like in the film. Scroll down for the sharpest (while still super blurry) picture of the toy.

The toy looks great and hopefully Two-Face looks just as good in the film. The left side of his face looks great and very rough. I'm also glad they used purple instead of a more subtle colour for the disfigurement. What do you guys think of the toy and the character's look?


Subscribe in a reader

AddThis Social Bookmark Button Add to Technorati Favorites