DC Comics

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Tim Burton’s Batman wasn’t a movie, it was an event. It spawned a tidal wave of merchandise, video games, roller coasters, an animated series, a ridiculous music video, etc… He dropped that movie on the world like a bomb, and in many ways it could be considered the high point of his career. His artistic approach was finally paired with mainstream material, and his success there has propelled him to being one of the go-to money making directors in Hollywood. But, as an 8-year-old fan that was blown away by the gritty comic book take on the character that was developing throughout the 80s, the release of Batman is forever marked by me as a day of huge disappointment. I hated that boring, goofy movie. It was lamer than that show from the 60s I watched back when I was 6. Pathetic. Batman: Under the Red Hood was a straight to video cartoon that kind of gets lost in the sea of DC straight to video cartoons. Most of these movie are pretty strong, don’t get me wrong, but they’re strong with the caveat that they’re just cartoons. They’re for kids, but they’re good enough to be enjoyed by adults, not good on the level of the best feature films. Under the Red Hood is a step above the rest though. Other than The Dark Knight, I would say that it’s my favorite Batman thing that doesn’t come from the medium of the page.

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Merch Hunter

Christmas time is here. It’s now totally official – a patch of black ice and a totalled car can attest to that for me – so the concerns of the merch buyers out there have probably shifted away from self-servient purchases to more altruistic ones. Good to remember that buying someone something that you want is often a hidden win, since they might get sick of it and you’ll get to keep it. Just saying. Anyway, while you might be thinking about buying for other people, it’s still important to look after number one, and the three offerings below for this week’s column should hopefully represent enough of a draw to get you reaching for the credit card. Especially number two on the list. P.S. If you happen to have $500k in your sock drawer, or in that loose change bottle you keep in the office, the greatest movie poster collectible of all time is now for sale on eBay.

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A little birdie just dropped into my inbox, gravel-voiced a question about where the drugs were, and then told me that the prologue to The Dark Knight Rises will be in theaters 7 months before the rest of the movie. Those of you who want a taste of what Christopher Nolan and company are cooking up can get your six-minute fill on December 16th. Fans in the UK will have to wait a tick longer, but they’ll have their screens filled with Batman-y goodness on December 21st (which is the day the Magi spotted the Bane-shaped constellation in the sky and headed toward Gotham (true story)). Other international dates will be released soon. So will it be coming to a town near you, or will you have to pay for gas? Scope out the list of where it will be playing and see for yourself:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that has been working really hard lately at its other job. So if it gets a little loopy this evening, please cut it some slack. We begin tonight with Keanu Reeves and Chloe Moretz reenacting a scene from Taxi Driver. It’s part of a photo spread in Harper’s Bazaar celebrating the work of Martin Scorsese. Something about this is a little creepy.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It hasn’t been around for an entire week, so to be honest it’s not really sure. It knows that its primary function is to collect movie news links, but then what? Is there some sort of witty commentary that must be placed before and after said links, or can it just dump the links below? In the haze following its ruckus celebration of America and the death of colonialism, it seems to have forgotten how to do this. Maybe its like riding a bike… with no hands… while holding sprinklers and drinking from a beer helmet… Lets hope so, because that’s all it knows how to do at the moment. Perhaps one of the most overlooked and delightful animated films of the last decade, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has earned its place atop my Netflix Instant watch queue. I watch it what feels like weekly. And rightly so, as it’s a vibrant display of Sony Pictures Animation’s ability to carve out own unique place inside the shadows of Pixar and Dreamworks. So the fact that Cloudy is getting a sequel makes me happy. Time to go watch it again.

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So much potential and so much promise… and yet so much blandness. I had been trying to stay as hopeful as one could when it came to Green Lantern. Even after Neil – who I usually think is spot on when it comes to his criticisms – posted his review, I still held on to what little optimism I could maintain. “Perhaps Green Lantern would be this summer’s G.I. Joe, a film that is so cartoonish that you just can’t help but to laugh with it,” I thought. But, boy, was I wrong. Green Lantern is no laughing matter. Green Lantern + The guy who reinvented Bond twice + Reynolds’ mojo + Great Sarsgaard + Potential for Space Battles + Mark Strong as Sinestro = what should’ve been a real event film. Wha happened?

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Movies.com‘s John Gholson offers a primer before we all go see Green Lantern, and lead creature designer for the film (and Super 8, Avatar, and many others…) Neville Page talks about creating aliens. Plus, our very own Matt Patches faces off against UGO‘s movies editor Jordan Hoffman in a Movie News Pop Quiz that’ll be one for the books. We follow it up with a Green Lantern review, so stick around. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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While Warner Bros. is busy confusing themselves about what they’re going to do with Batman, Superman, and the rest of the entire Justice League up on the big screen, Paramount has been busy raiding their coop, and they’ve come away with the rights to one of their lesser known properties. Normally all of the rights to things published by DC Comics goes to their parent company Warner Bros by default, but apparently “The Mighty” started off as creator owned work and rights to the big screen adaption were still controlled by creators Keith Champagne and Peter Tomasi. This has allowed them to cut a deal and cash in on their creation.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news round-up that’s a little tired, a little wired and it thinks it deserves a little appreciation around here! Alright, so that’s the insomnia talking. For now, lets just do the news like we always do, shall we? The headline photo of the night is a shot of two morons Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin in Adam Shankman’s Rock of Ages, a film that will combine major Hollywood names with an infamously terrible director and a slew of over-the-top musical numbers. It’s so ridiculous that it just might work. But probably not.

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If you like superheroes that wear battle helmets with big wings on them and smash things with brutal, archaic weaponry, then you should go out to theaters and see Thor. But if you really like superheroes that wear battle helmets with big wings on them and smash things with brutal, archaic weaponry, then you should start getting excited for the competition’s take on that material. Warner Bros is looking to further mine DC Comics’ character library for future film franchises, and the latest name getting passed around for a possible project is Hawkman. A blurb put out by the studio to lure in potential writers reads: “Part Indiana Jones/Da Vinci Code, part Ghost tentpole about the fictional superhero that appears in D.C. Comic books. He used archaic weaponry and large, artificial wings attached to a harness made of the Nth metal that allows flight. Most incarnations of Hawkman work closely with a partner/romantic interest named Hawkgirl or Hawkwoman in his fight against supervillains. Based on the DC comic.”

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s waiting to watch the latest episode of Community because it promised its girlfriend it would. And that’s really hard to do, because that show’s really good. Also, Josh Holloway from Lost guest stars in the two-part season finale. How can that be resisted by the world’s most interesting nightly movie news linkdump? Must… hold… on… Must… do… the news… Quentin Tarantino went big when he cast Brad Pitt as his lead in Inglorious Basterds. So to see him considering Will Smith as the titular character, a freed slave trained by a German bounty hunter that sets out on a quest to save his wife from a head slave, is an act of pure bravado — he’ll just go get anyone he effing pleases to star in his movies, won’t he? And if that wasn’t enough to blow your mind, consider this: Christoph Waltz is said to be circling the role of the German trainer, with Samuel L. Jackson in consideration as the bad guy. That’s potentially a perfect storm of awesome, so we’ll see.

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Looks like today will be the Saturday of DC Comics movies. First is was the Superman Blu-ray announcement, and now it’s a 4-minute reel of footage from the upcoming Green Lantern film that showed at WonderCon in San Francisco yesterday. Unlike the previously released trailer, this abridged series of clips explores more deeply the world of the Lanterns and places Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) on Oa in a very real way. Also, that suit is starting to look much better. The entire affair feels a lot less cartoony and more genuinely alien. As in, alien to our world, but not our universe. Consider this your warning shot: one of the movies of summer 2011 is almost here. Take a look for yourself right after the jump.

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. One thing has become clear in the past week. Despite the comic book movie news flowing fast and furiously, the heroes were all familiar faces. The studios investing the most in bringing comic books to life have lost the plot a bit when it comes to the next few years of heroes to cultivate. Marvel tapping Black Panther is a nice start, but the studios are going to need to find alternate comic books to adapt in order to bring new life to the genre and surprise the fans who think seeing Spider-Man again will be fun but unnecessary. This week, we’ll look at the story of a family of lions in a time of war that remind us that there is no freedom that isn’t earned.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr makes a complete and total jackass of himself by enjoying the hell out of Red and being more excited than he should about the prospects of Jackass 3D. He realizes that it may be the beginning of award season, but that won’t stop him from watching a movie about bodily fluids flying at the camera in 3D and getting mildly turned on by Helen Mirren firing a Gatling gun while wearing an evening gown.

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Because it won’t be able to get a finished print ready in time that’s up to snuff, Warners has decided to show Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 of a 2 Part Series in glorious 2D. Apparently the smell of higher ticket prices wasn’t enough to motivate them. Is this one more sign that 3D doesn’t have quite the sway people claim it did? Probably. Is it another sign that the latest edition of the 3D fad will soon be over? Possibly. Does the release of this film and the next Potter the following summer signal the end of an era for Warners? Most definitely. To fill that gap, Warners is going to be pumping out at least 2 films based on DC Comics properties, starting with Green Lantern – the trailer for which you’ll be able to see, wait for it, in front of the 2D Deathly Hallows. It’s almost like they’ve got a long term plan over there at Warners that doesn’t simply involve sending Todd Phillips to Thailand with a case of booze and his Hangover stars.

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This probably won’t even matter once the rumors die down, but for the moment, at least a few reputable sources are claiming insider information that Warners is “looking at” Jon Hamm for Superman. By that, I envision a room full of execs watching episodes of Mad Men with tiny craft paper-made Superman suits to hold up between them and the screen. Still, there are voices out there claiming that Hamm, at the ripe old age of 39, is too old to play the Man of Steel. It couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve got the math to prove it.

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Please be R rated! Please be R rated! Please be R rated! Please be R rated!

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In a world — also known as The Internet — where we are constantly groaning at the prospect of filmmakers and studios rehashing, reinventing and repackaging just about any idea they can get their hands on, we should be applauding new ideas and approaches.

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superman-header

The results of a recent court case could put pressure on Warner Bros. to do something with the Superman franchise in the next few years…

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Batman: Cacophony

Kevin Smith has revealed some full color pages from his upcoming comic series “Batman: Cacophony,” which he has been working on with his good friend, artist Walter Flanagan.

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