Saturday, July 18, 2009

Camera Obscura: Harry Potter Returns; Comic-Con News; 'Futurama' Fail; 'District 9'

The newest Harry Potter movie opened this week with midnight shows and Cathy at Domestic Psychology has the skinny on what that event was like --

  • Midnight movies are fun, but I fall two days behind every time I do an all-nighter anything.
  • HBP doesn’t suffer from the “trying too hard” to be dark, funny or normal that previous installments had.
  • This movie has an inevitable destiny feel that makes each of the characters more interesting and more forgivable.
  • Calvinists will like this movie.

  • Be sure and read the full report. HP6, as my niece calls it, is breaking records already for box office earnings and is on track to earn even more (and there are still two movies left in the series).

    Warner Brothers is looking to fill the soon-to-be Potter gap with a new series of movies based on another popular book series, this time it's writer Angie Sage's Septimus Heap series:

    Sage's seven-volume series shares a lot of similarities with young Potter. Septimus Heap is the seventh son of a seventh son, who possesses magical powers, and is apprenticed to ExtraOrdinary wizard, Marcia Overstrand. Naturally he must overcome many trials and tribulations in his magical training, and his life is a sharp contrast to that of his adoptive sister, Jenna, who gets to live in the comfort and security of the Heap household after a Skywalker sort of switcharoo. While she lacks magic powers, Jenna makes up for it by being a princess, and heir to the throne of Castle. The overarching villain of the story is necromancer DomDaniel, who is power hungry and up to no good, as all necromancers are. Unlike the Potter movies, Magick will be animated. Not only is that bound to be disappointing to fans, it's a pretty big departure for Frankel, who is best known for live-action flicks like Marley and Me and The Devil Wears Prada. "

    Warners is also planning a big push for their TV schedule at next week's frenzied Comic-Con in San Diego. From "Smallville" to "Fringe" and "Vampire Dairies" a re-boot of the alien-filled "V" series and much more, all can be yours to review and inspect at their official web site.

    Online sites are humming about the news too - which may be either confirmed or dispelled as wanton publicity hunting - that the return of the cult favorite animated "Futurama" series has hit a negotiations snag prompting the studio to promise to get rid of the entire cast of voice actors for the show and go for all new ones:

    We love the Futurama voice performers and absolutely wanted to use them, but unfortunately, we could not meet their salary demands. While replacing these talented actors will be difficult, the show must go on."

    Bad move - though bloody typical for the idiots at Fox - if it is true, and perhaps it is just a stunt to gain some talk for the show.

    Cinematical also has some preview pics of movies sure to be hot at Comic-Con - a new Iron Man, the next Twilight movie and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Check it out here.

    Speaking of aliens, this trailer for the new movie "District 9", produced by Peter Jackson, looks just fantastic, It's set for an August release:

    Speaking of alien movies, this week I saw one of my favorites from years past - itself a remake of a 1950s classic. "John Carpenter's The Thing" was one of several first class genre movies which came out in the summer of 1982. My brother and I saw this one summer day while in Erwin, TN in an older downtown theater which had just converted their balcony as a single screen. It was a jaw-dropping experience to watch the horror roll out on a gigantic screen in room with just a few dozen seats for the audience.

    It's by far Carpenter's best movie and has a great soundtrack, and a great cast, featuring Kurt Russell trapped in the frozen Antarctic along with a bizarre alien who had been trapped for perhaps as long as 100,000 years before breaking loose. The creature is not cute or even remotely human, until of course, it begins to imitate humans. The alien is more like some weird Lovecraftian silly-putty with endless power and energy. And the cast of victims quickly discover how vile and ruthless this creature can be. Rob Bottin's special effects are likewise first-class.

    If you've never seen it, it will curl up your hair and if you have seen it, it's worth seeing again.

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