Monthly Archives: September 2008

Take The Guinness World Records 2009 Pop-Culture Quiz

In honor of the recent release of the 2009 Guinness Book of World Records here are some fun pop culture questions for you:


1. First film to feature an entirely computer-generated character.
2. Most lucrative filmmaking partnership between an actor and director.
3. First U.S. female to write or co-write every track on a million-selling debut album (hint: It’s not Mariah).
4. First high-definition film to be successfully pirated and downloaded online. 
5. Show with the largest TV audience ever.
6. The most popular TV show according to public vote.
7. The most-watched current TV show.
8. The first in-flight movie.
9. The highest paid television cast.
10. Shortest music concert ever.
11. Longest-running monthly comic book.
12. The highest-grossing film actor. 
13. Actor with the most recorded sword fights in a movie career.
14. Most Oscar-nominated living person.
15. Country that downloads the most singles.
16. Most character voices by an individual actor on a single audiobook.

The answers can be found HERE.


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Portland State University And Dark Horse Comics Open The Country’s First Comic Book Archive

The hallowed halls of Portland State University’s Branford P. Millar Library house some very valuable holdings—the Middle East Studies collection, for example. But the library recently accepted a collection considered by most academics to be far less, well, academic. Milwaukie’s Dark Horse Comics has so far donated over 3,000 volumes to the library’s shelves (that’s three copies of every title the company has ever produced), making PSU the first university in the country to keep such an archive. “This is an important international research collection,” says librarian Helen H. Spalding. “It holds an interest for those studying American pop culture, gender studies, violence in literature—almost anything.” Dark Horse, which PSU alumni Mike Richardson and Neil Hankerson started in 1986, is the third-largest comic-book publisher in the country after powerhouses Marvel (X-Men, Spider-Man) and DC (Superman, Batman), and its titles have provided the inspiration for such Hollywood hits as Hellboy and Alien vs. Predator. “We wanted to make the university a hub of comic-book studies,” says Richardson. It seems to be working: The comics have already proved popular checkout items—even patrons at other city and university libraries are requesting them through Interlibrary Loan. If you’re stuck on the waiting list, you can peruse the comics inside the library instead. Here we offer a sneak peek at just what you can expect to find.

This comic, about a congressional speechwriter who morphs into a one-ton concrete creature, debuted in Dark Horse’s inaugural year. “I expected it to sell 10,000 copies,” says Richardson. “It sold 50,000.” The creator received several awards for Concrete in the late 1980s, including multiple Eisner Awards for Best Continuing Series and Best New Series.

In 1990, writer Frank Miller, of Sin City and 300 fame, and artists Dave Gibbons and Geof Darrow broke ranks with Marvel and DC. The trio then created Hard Boiled, about a homicidal cyborg tax collector, and Give Me Liberty, which features a war hero named Martha Washington from Chicago’s Cabrini-Green housing projects. Unlike other publishers, Richardson gave the creators ownership of their characters—if Miller wanted to take Martha back to Marvel, he could. This approach brought an influx of writers and artists to Dark Horse, including Hellboy writer and artist Mike Mignola, who began inking the series in 1993. Eleven years later, the movie grossed $23 million in its opening weekend.

Before Dark Horse’s publication of Aliens in 1988, comic-book adaptations of movies were usually low-budget rehashes of the filmed originals. But Dark Horse hired well-known writers and artists—like Marvel’s longtime Uncanny X-Men writer Chris Claremont—to continue the sci-fi series, basically “making movie sequels in print,” says Richardson. That led to Aliens vs. Predator, which became a movie more than a decade after the comic book came out. (Reprinted from Portland Monthly)



Marvel Studios Enters New Distribution Agreement With Paramount

Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom, Inc. and Marvel Studios, a subsidiary of Marvel Entertainment, Inc. today announced an agreement under which Paramount will distribute Marvel’s next five self-produced feature films on a worldwide basis. The deal, an extension of the original agreement made by Brad Grey when he arrived as CEO and Chairman of Paramount Pictures, includes theatrical distribution in foreign territories previously serviced by Marvel through local distribution entities. The distribution pact capitalizes on Marvel and Paramount’s successful efforts with “Iron Man,” which has grossed $574 million worldwide for Marvel.


The highly anticipated live action releases include “Iron Man 2″ (May 7, 2010), “Thor” (July 16, 2010), “The First Avenger: Captain America” (May 6, 2011), and “The Avengers” (July 15, 2011). The distribution agreement also includes “Iron Man 3.”


“Coming off of Iron Man’s incredible success this summer, we could not be more excited about extending our relationship with Marvel,” said Rob Moore, Vice Chairman of Paramount Pictures. “Marvel’s iconic brand, its popular characters and its proven ability to create compelling and visually spellbinding films complement Paramount’s great history of filmmaking. We look forward to a long and successful run together.”


“Paramount is an excellent partner and an outstanding global distributor,” said David Maisel, Chairman of Marvel Studios. “Through our experience on Iron Man, Paramount has demonstrated a passion and ability to release Marvel properties theatrically, allowing us to focus on making great movies for the largest audience possible.”


Marvel’s “Iron Man,” starring Robert Downey Jr. and directed by Jon Favreau, was distributed by Paramount earlier this year and was one of the top films of 2008. The DVD, including a version in Blu-ray, will be released on September 30, 2008.



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Possible Blade Runner Sequel In The Works

Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner sequel is in the works under the command of veteran producer Bud Yorkin. Top screenwriters John Glenn and Travis Wright (Eagle Eye) are working on several treatments since 2006 and the current status of the story is classified, but Yorkin is in touch with pre-visualization team The Third Floor (all former Star Wars special effects team members) in order to work on some of the hunter sequences and space battles which occur in off-world colonies where the sequel is most likely to take place. Blade Runner II is still away from its conclusion, but it’s evolving.

Yorkin mentioned that if the green light is given, he’ll bring back stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer and Daryl Hannah.


Spider-Man & Stephen Colbert Team Up In Amazing Spider-Man #573!

Marvel is proud to reveal that Spider-Man and acclaimed television personality Stephen Colbert will join forces in an all new eight-page story featured in the extra-sized AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #573! Acclaimed writer Mark Waid and fan favorite artist Patrick Olliffe present Stephen Colbert, a candidate for the U.S. Presidency in the Marvel Universe, teaming up with Marvel’s most iconic crime fighter. What could bring these two together? And what will it mean for both their futures?




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Origami is the art of paper folding. The word is Japanese, literally meaning to fold (oru) paper (kami) and comes in many styles and varieties. Please click HERE to create models folded from dollar bills. The subtle genius lies in the way the artist incorporates the prints on the dollar bills into the facial characteristics of the finished figures.



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Turn Your Drawings Into Objects

Ponoko has a very cool new service called Photomake. You draw something with a marker and paper, upload it to Ponoko and they will turn it into a “real life product.”

This means you do not need to use graphics software to make something. This significantly lowers the entry barrier for all creative people who can hand draw using pen and paper but do not know how to use design software.



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The 3M Mpro 110 Micro Projector

The 3M Mpro 110 Micro Projector is tiny, light and very portable. At only 11cm long, 5cm wide and 2cm high, the Mpro 110 can easily fit into a pocket, handbag or computer case. Images can be projected up to 50 inches and is great for business and home use. It can be connected to a laptop using a VGA cable and also iPods, digital cameras and multimedia mobile phones using a video cable.  The MPro 110 is expected to retail for $359 and will be available on September 30th.


The Trailer for Will Smith’s Seven Pounds

Will Smith reunites with the directors and producers of The Pursuit of Happyness for the emotional drama. In the film, Smith plays Ben Thomas, an IRS agent with a fateful secret who embarks on an extraordinary journey of redemption by forever changing the lives of seven strangers.

Co-starring Rosario Dawson, Michael Ealy, Barry Pepper and Woody Harrelson, the film opens in theaters on December 19th.



New Software Turns PC Into TiVo TV Recorder

The kit will cost $199 when it goes on sale Oct. 15, and includes a remote and a TV tuner that plugs into the PC. The interface on the computer screen looks just like the one on a TV equipped with a TiVo box.

It’s not the first software that allows TV recording on the PC. That’s been possible for years on computers equipped with TV tuners, and some versions of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Vista operating system include the necessary software. But it will be the first time that both the TiVo interface and functions have been replicated on a PC.

For people who already have a tuner-equipped PC, Nero — a private company mainly known for CD- and DVD-burning software — will sell the TV recording software separately, for $99. Either way, buyers will get a one-year subscription to TiVo’s program guide updates. Renewal will cost $99 per year.

The renewal cost sets the product apart from the digital video recording features of Windows Vista, which has a free program guide. However, Nero and TiVo are counting on the popularity of the TiVo interface and brand to overcome that hurdle.

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Serenity by Jan

Jan from NBC’s “The Office” now has a website for her candle company, complete with testimonials from the Scranton office staff. Kevin Malone states, “Jan’s candles smell good enough to eat, but you can’t eat them. They’re made from wax.”  Who wouldn’t want the scents of denim, bottled water and new milk?



Kenneth Branagh In Talks to Direct Thor

Kenneth Branagh is negotiating to direct “Thor,” the next Marvel Comics property that will be turned into a live-action film by Marvel Studios. Pic will be released in 2010.

Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige’s choice of Branagh is surprising, as Branagh hasn’t really directed an action-heavy film since his debut on “Henry V,” a bloody telling of the British king’s conquest of France. 

Branagh is the latest in a string of directors — such as Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”), Christopher Nolan (the Batman franchise) and Gavin Hood (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) — with arthouse roots taking on big-budget comic book fare.

Marvel will set a distributor for “Thor” shortly.

“Thor” comic book adaptation, penned by Mark Protosevich, follows disabled medical student Donald Blake, who has an alter ego as the hammer-wielding Norse god Thor.

Marvel will self-finance the film via its $500 million credit facility through Merrill Lynch. Marvel used that coin to fund both “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk” and will do the same for the “Iron Man” sequel that has director Favreau and star Robert Downey Jr. returning. 

The “Thor” negotiations come during a resurgence for Branagh. He’s currently drawing raves on the London stage in the title role of “Ivanov,” and he’ll next be seen acting in the Richard Curtis-directed “The Boat That Rocked” and the Bryan Singer-helmed “Valkyrie.” (From Variety)


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Bruce Springsteen To Perform During Halftime of Super Bowl

Another Super Bowl, another rock ‘n’ roll superstar at halftime. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will perform at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show in Tampa, Fla., the NFL and NBC announced Sunday night.

Continuing a run of major talent that has lately included the Rolling Stones, U2, Paul McCartney, Prince and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the biggest television event in the nation will showcase one of its most beloved rock ‘n’ roll artists. The Super Bowl will be played Feb. 1 at Raymond James Stadium.

Last year’s halftime show was watched by more than 148 million viewers in the U.S., the NFL said in its release.

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Are You Registered To Vote?



You can register to vote HERE, locate your polling place and find the voter registration deadlines for your state.  Make a difference this year!

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Rumor: George Clooney To Play The Lone Ranger

Last week, when Disney announced rather vaguely that Johnny Depp would be playing the role of Tonto in their big screen reinvention of The Lone Ranger, based on the popular ’50s television of the same name, it took the entertainment world by surprise. England’s semi-tabloid newspaper The Sun is claiming that Tonto’s Kemosabe will be played by none other than George Clooney!An insider said last night: “George is very keen — he’s been trying to do a movie with Johnny for a long time. He thinks they’ll make the perfect on-screen partnership.” Written by Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, who also penned the three “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, the Jerry Bruckheimer production will try to revive the iconic character who first appeared on the radio in the ’30s but became best known by the version played by Clayton Moore in the early days of television. Clooney’s last attempt to play an action hero was the ill-fated Batman & Robin for Warner Bros. where he had Chris O’Donnell as his sidekick, so hopefully Disney’s movie will fare better for the star.  


The George Costanza Candy Identification Quiz

As Seinfeld taught us, some men will stop at nothing to stake their claim to a Twix bar that’s rightfully theirs. While George Costanza was unable to fool anyone with his all-Twix candy bar lineup at David Puddy’s car dealership, maybe you’ll have better luck identifying your favorite unwrapped confections HERE.


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The Dark Knight DVD Will Be Released On December 9th

Warner Home Video has announced 1-disc ($28.98), 2-disc ($34.99) and Blu-ray ($35.99) releases of The Dark Knight for the 9th December. The extras have yet to be revealed for the DVD releases, although the Blu-ray release will include a Gotham Uncovered documentary, featurettes (Batman Tech: The Incredible Gadgets and Tools, Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of The Dark Knight), 6 episodes of Gotham Cable’s Premier News Program, galleries (The Joker Cards, Concept Art, Poster Art, Production Stills), trailers and TV spots. A limited edition set with Batpod will also be available.



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Sarah Silverman And The Great Schlep

Viewer discretion advised, contains expletives.

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5 Questions With Stan Lee

Behind every great superhero, there’s a great writer, and in the case of Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four and Iron Man, that scribe is Stan Lee. With his trademark dark glasses and grandiose cadence, the former Marvel Comics chairman has become as iconic as the characters he helped create, thanks in part to his amusing movie cameos, like his two-minute turn as a Hugh Hefner wannabe in ‘Iron Man.’

On the occasion of that hit flick’s DVD release, Moviefone chatted with the comic book giant about the ‘Iron Man’ sequel, which stars we can expect to see in 2011′s ‘The Avengers’ and how he felt about one of the few superhero flicks he had nothing to do with.

There’s been some drama about whether ‘Iron Man 2′ will be shot in L.A. and whether Jon Favreau will be back as director. Care to comment?

I certainly hope he is, because he did such a great job with the first one. And of course I hope it will be [shot] in L.A. because then I’ll be able to do another cameo, which is the most important part of the movie. I’m waiting for the Academy to have a special category, Best Cameo of the Year, but they haven’t come up with that yet. [Laughs]

Were you surprised by how well ‘Iron Man’ did?

Not really. I expected it would be good with Jon directing and with Robert Downey Jr. and the rest of the great cast. The character has always been popular. When I was doing it years ago, when it was just a comic book, we got more fan mail from females for Iron Man than we did for any of our other characters. For some reason women seem to really turn on to him. So there really is no reason why the film shouldn’t have been a hit. In fact it should have been a bigger hit! [Laughs]


Did you feel at all overshadowed by ‘The Dark Knight’?

Well, you know what it’s like, when a movie comes out that’s a big hit, and it makes more money than the previous movie, it overshadows it a little. But that’ll give us something to shoot for. We have to make sure that the ‘Iron Man’ sequel does better than ‘The Dark Knight’ sequel.

Both ‘Iron Man’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk’ had cameos from other superheroes in the Marvel universe. Will we be seeing those same actors in the upcoming ‘Avengers’ film?

I would certainly expect to have all the stars back. Downey just has to be Iron Man. And Ed Norton has to be the Hulk. I didn’t think that the first ['Hulk'] movie was all that bad. But obviously the second one was better and Ed Norton’s performance had a lot to do with it. Like Robert Downey Jr., he’s very believable, he’s very credible. I hope Ed gets a sequel, but they don’t keep me in the loop on these things. I also hope Samuel L. Jackson comes back as Nick Fury … even though I didn’t think David Hasselhoff‘s interpretation was that bad. But I’m probably in the minority on that. I feel the same way about ‘Daredevil.’ I thought that Ben Affleck did a good job. But as for final casting, I’m guessing right along with you. Like Will Rogers always said, “I only know what I read in the papers.” [Laughs]

There was a rumor going around that Will Smith would be cast as Captain America. Any truth to that?

I would love us to do something with Will Smith, but I don’t know that he’s Captain America. That would be a long shot. It would be a real leap to make Captain America black … then again, I don’t know. It might be a really smart thing. If Barack Obama becomes President who knows … suddenly a lot of our characters will be black!


Jon Stewart And Stephen Colbert Recreate Controversial Obama Cover

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert re-created the controversial New Yorker cover illustration of Barack and Michelle Obama for the cover photo that graces this week’s print edition of Entertainment Weekly.





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Guillermo del Toro To Write Vampire Trilogy

As if Guillermo del Toro weren’t busy enough, the director has inked a publishing deal with HarperCollins imprint William Morrow to pen a trilogy of vampire thrillers with Chuck Hogan.


First book, “The Strain,” hits bookstores next summer. The story will revolve around an invasion of New York City by a vampiric virus. The series will trace the roots of the vampiric race back to its Old Testament origins. The books will be published by HarperCollins in the U.K., and a special edition will be published simultaneously by the company’s Spanish-language imprint, Rayo, in the U.S.


Del Toro is currently readying to direct New Line and MGM’s The Hobbit, to which he has committed the next five years. He’s essentially booked through 2017, attached to helm a remake of Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Slaughterhouse Five, as well as Drood, based on the Dan Simmons novel.


Hogan has penned the thrillers “The Standoff,” “The Blood Artists” and “The Killing Moon.”




I Am Legend Gets A Prequel

According to the trades, Warner Bros. has set in motion a prequel to the Will Smith starrer “I Am Legend.”

The plan is for Smith to reprise his role as scientist Robert Neville, with Francis Lawrence returning to direct. Akiva Goldsman and his Weed Road banner will produce with James Lassiter, Smith’s partner in Overbrook Entertainment.

The studio has set D.B. Weiss to write a script that is based on a detailed outline that was hatched over the past few months by Smith, Goldsman, Lassiter and Lawrence.

The prequel will chronicle the final days of humanity in New York before a man-made virus caused a plague that left Smith’s character the lone survivor among a mutated mob in the city.

Making a prequel was the only way to extend a franchise that grossed $584 million worldwide for Warner Bros. and keep Smith in the lead role. His character was killed in the first film, after extracting a potential cure for the virus for the scattered survivors.


10 Funniest Chris Rock Stand Up Video Clips

Chris Rock’s new stand up comedy special, Kill the Messenger, debuts this weekend on HBO. Because we love Chris Rock jokes so much, HERE are the 10 funniest Chris Rock stand up comedy video clips from his previous specials. Caution, raw language.



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