The Spider-Man Cometh (Back)!

In response to Walt’s posting about Spider-Man3 (the movie) in the Cafe’s Sidebar.

LOS ANGELES, California (Hollywood Reporter) — Thomas Haden Church, who was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor in “Sideways,” has been cast as Spidey’s new archenemy in the next chapter of the “Spider-Man” franchise.

(You can read more of that article here.)

Church, best known for his TV roles in Wings and Ned and Stacy also has some very impressive big screen creds as well (most notably the role of Jack, the self-indulgent actor from the Oscar-Award winning film, Sideways

At any rate, looking for some “expert” input, I posted the note to my Spider buddies. As some of them had already heard about this so we had (and are still having, I might ad) some lively discussion on the matter. As to what we surmised thus far, in our preliminary round of postings is that Church could very well be cast as Sandman, Mysterio and Electro, all of which are what we call “Classic” Spidey villains (as well as being part of a villain group called The Sinister Six), plus one “modern” villain, Venom; all of which are very good guesses. (One thing we do know for certain, is that he won’t be cast as The Lizard, because we’ve already met the Lizard’s alter ego Dr. Curt Connors (played in Spider-Man 2 by Dylan Baker . Also, I personally feel strongly that he won’t be cast as The Vulture because this character is an older man, and thus should be cast as an older actor).

At first, I was going with Mysterio, because his cool illusion powers would make for great visuals (while I personally loved Spidey 1 I felt that the single thing that made Spidey 2 a better film was the presence of Doc Ock. For while it is true that The Green Goblin is considered by many (myself included) to be the foremost villain in Spidey’s Rogue’s Gallery, Doc Ock simply made for a better visual in fighting with Spidey. Sandman would also be pretty cool for the same reasoning (since he can shape his body in multiple forms, he would make for great visuals). Electro falls to the bottom of my list because while his powers are OK, he just stands there and points at stuff and tosses electricity around the room. Not as compelling a visual.

Now Venom, he’s actually close to the top, as he is extremely popular (and among all of Spidey’s foes, is the only one to ever have been granted his own series in which he starred without requiring the presence of Spidey). Plus, since he also can reshape his body as he consumes his victims, he would certainly make for great visuals. The question really is, in which direction will director Sam Rami go? Classic or Modern?

Personally, I’m looking forward to a two or three villain storyline (akin to Batman Forever, which gave us Two-Face and The Riddler; or Batman & Robin, which contained Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze. I think that it would be great to really put Spidey through his paces and put him up against the Sinister Six (which itself went through some seven different line-ups). Still, having said that, I can understand how Rami might want to actually introduce two or three more of these characters into his films before teaming them up.

However, even though I know that fan speculation is high in this regard, and casting choices for comicbook films is the sport of choice amongst the geek set, I tend not to speculate in this arena (having other rants to occupy my time), and writing this column is probably the most time I’ve ever spent mused on the subject. Plus, Rami has just gotten the release date of Spidey 3 moved back a year, so we won’t see it until 2007. Giving us fanboys plenty of time to spin our, er, webs.

The Perfessor

City Of Heroes win first round!

Well, the lawsuit is MOSTLY DEAD.

Federal Judge Dismisses Claims and Strikes Allegations in Marvel Lawsuit Against NCsoft
Makers of City of Heroes online computer game score favorable decision; judge labels Marvel allegations as “false and sham” and throws out trademark claims

LOS ANGELES, March 11, 2005—A U.S. district court judge in Los Angeles dismissed several key claims by comic book publisher Marvel Enterprises, Inc in the company’s trademark and copyright infringement case against online computer game publisher NCsoft® Corporation and game developer Cryptic Studios™. Marvel sued NCsoft and Cryptic Studios in November of last year, claiming that the City of Heroes® online computer game allows players to imitate comic book characters owned by Marvel.

In a March 9 order, U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner agreed with NCsoft that some of Marvel’s allegations and exhibits should be stricken as “false and sham” because certain allegedly infringing works depicted in Marvel’s pleadings were created not by users, but by Marvel itself.

Continue reading City Of Heroes win first round!

My Oscar Rant (Part the Second)

OK, boys and girls now that the dust has settled a bit on Oscar night it is time to tally up the score sheets, Sure, everyone is falling all over themselves to congratulate Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby (a great flick, and one of Clint’s best roles), and sure it did garner four statues:

Actor In A Supporting Role (Morgan Freeman)
Actress In A Leading Role (Hilary Swank)
Best Picture (Clint Eastwood, Albert S. Ruddy And Tom Rosenberg)
Directing (Clint Eastwood)

but it actually didn’t receive the most awards that night, that honor went to The Aviator with a total of five awards:

Actress In A Supporting Role (Cate Blanchett)
Art Direction (Dante Ferretti (Art Direction); Francesca Lo Schiavo (Set Decoration))
Cinematography (Robert Richardson)
Costume Design (Sandy Powell)
Film Editing (Thelma Schoonmaker)

Making The Aviator the big winner over Million Dollar Baby (sure, sure Million Dollar Baby received the more prestigious awards but to settle for that is to not know how to spin-doctor in Tinseltown).

The next big winners (quantity wise) were a tie for third place with Ray and The Incredibles landing two statuettes apiece.

Actor In A Leading Role (Jamie Foxx)
Sound Mixing (Scott Millan, Greg Orloff, Bob Beemer And Steve Cantamessa)
Animated Feature Film (Brad Bird)
Sound Editing (Michael Silvers And Randy Thom)

In the category of writing (a personal favorite of mine), we have Best Screenplay (original and adapted from another medium)

Adapted Screenplay
Sideways Screenplay By Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor
Original Screenplay
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind Screenplay By Charlie Kaufman; Story By Charlie Kaufman & Michel Gondry & Pierre Bismuth

I’ve got to say that Sunshine was truly one of the top five most original movies I have ever seen, and while it’s mode of storytelling is certainly not for everyone — it completely knocked me down. The fact that such a non-linear storytelling technique was utilized can only make me hope that there are other unusual films of this ilk on the cinematic horizon.

Also scoring one Oscar each were:
Spider-Man 2 Visual Effects John Dykstra, Scott Stokdyk, Anthony Lamolinara And John Frazier
Finding Neverland (Music: Score) Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
The Motorcycle Diaries (Best Song)Al Otro Lado Del Río” Music And Lyric By Jorge Drexler
Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events (Makeup) Valli O’reilly And Bill Corso

OK, you all knew that I wasn’t going to let an opportunity go by without having my say about how way cool Spidey 2 was. I actually knew that Doc Ock was going to be a great visual way back when Universal launched it’s Marvel Island some years back and we were all treated to that commercial with the kid in the airplane watching Spidey and Ock go at it out on the wing span. Well, this movie was that good, only better! I also just read how director Sam Rami asked for (and got) another year to put together Spidey 3. Which means that third time is most assuredly going to be the charm (I’m predicting either the Lizard and maybe Harry Osborn as the new Green Goblin, or he’s going to go whole hog, and recreate for us the cinematic version of the Sinister Six (those two plus Ock, and supplement them with three of the following classic Spidey villains Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, The Vulture and/or Sandman—Lizard wasn’t part of the original six, while the others were, but as this is a whole new version of Spidey, anything’s possible, and given how success Mr. Rami was on his first two outings, I, for one am entirely game for it!)

Well, that’s about it for now, except to observe where the heck was Jack Nicholson? I thought he was always sitting in the front row of the Oscars, and can’t hardly remember a time when he wasn’t — even when he wasn’t up for any awards.

The Perfessor