12/29- I used to hate my birthday.
Having a summer birthday when you're younger sucks. If you actually want to celebrate it with your friends you have to invite everyone over weeks in advance and you basically only have one option: the "pool-party". This inevitably ends up being a disaster since it's so damn hot that the cake melts, everyone gets sunburned, and all your presents end up being pool noodles or floats.
But now that I'm older, it's great. I get to use my summer birthday as an excuse to go on vacation. Which is what I did this year in San Francisco. Such a great b-day treat. And our dear friend Mark got engaged on the 24th as well (Congrats!). It was a special day all around.
Plus, it was the date of the annual film sci-fi/geek-gasm that is Comic Con. This year, Comic Con was in San Diego and I swear to you, you could hear the fan-girl screams and nerd grunts as far as the Golden Gate Bridge.
For those of you who don't know, Comic-Con is (among many other things) an annual film/tv convention dedicated to sneak-peaks, pre-sceenings, and interview/discussion panels with cast and crew of what I will call "alternate reality films." Comic books movies such as Iron Man 2 and Avatar work the rounds alongside fantasy films such as Tim Burton's Alice and Wonderland and those fucking Twilight disasters.
There's an awful lot to sift through at Comic Con, so for those of you more gainfully employed, I have attempted to separate the sheep from the goats.
Sheep: (aka. PLUGs)
Credit must be given to Sleight for this one. She turned me onto this long before Comic Con, but apparently it was all the buzz at the convention this year. Peter Jackson (LOTR) is backing it, but don't worry, this film is no child's play. The plot revolves around "refugees" who land in South Africa and then are segregated, placed in confinement, and forced to work. It's a documentary/sci-fi reinterpretation of Apartheid and looks pretty damn awesome.
"Alice in Wonderland"
Yes. If you don't know about this, you should. Tim Burton's doing Alice. And it will be creepy as all get out exactly the way Lewis Carroll intended it to be. There was a discussion panel and Burton was all weird and looking like a modern day version of Carroll himself. He answered questions. He showed the first ever trailer. If you are one of those chicks who loses it over Johnny Depp, this will either cement it forever or break it (beyond repair) for you. He's the Mad Hatter. See below.
"Iron Man 2"
I have a huge, eternal, un-wavering devotion to Robert Downey Jr. I don't care that he was a drug addict and screwed himself up for a long time. He is smart and funny and amazing. While most of our generation wets themselves over Johnny, my heart and loins are much more susceptible to Bob.
Robert Downey Jr. is a true maverick. He's legitimately hard core and quite honestly makes Johnny Depp look like a pussy. Do NOT fight me on this.
Apparently he killed it at the panel discussion. He and John Favreau (director) showed a fake clip that was really bad and passed it off as the real thing to a horror stricken audience before showing the real clip which was amazing (will post when they become available).
And speaking of amazing, Bob was smiling and gracious as he pulled double duty promoting Sherlock Holmes as well. Can't really tell you that I'm happy about this movie. So, even though it pains me to say it...
This is not Bob's fault. He will be funny, and cute, and charismatic. He will do a great job. But Holmes was not Jackie Chan. In fact, he was actually a bit of a dandy. Furthermore, his "love" interest was actually never interested in him, and they never made love. So, if you want to see an action film where Bob is told by the writers and directors to play a send up of Arthur Conan Doyle amidst some explosions, go see this. But for greater accuracy and enjoyment, read the books.
"Twilight: New Moon"
It looks like it will be marginally better than Twilight, but only just so. Why, why do bad movies happen to good directors? You would think that it would be all their fault, right? A film is bad, it must be the directors fault?! Apparently not. Apparently, if you have awful source material (for reference, please see any of the Twilight books), a bad screenplay, and a tight-wad studio budget, it will outweigh your innate ability to make a movie. Just ask Catherine Hardwick. Great director. Awful movie.
Sadly, it's now Chris Wiesz's turn. He did "About A Boy." Such a good movie. It's on my top 30 for sure. But he has been tragically bitten by the curse that is the Twilight universe. I mean, really, is it so hard for a studio to scrounge up some cash to make a wolf not look like a teddy bear? We are supposed to be afraid of that? Right.
Leave it to James Cameron to make an incredibly expensive movie that will suck. It's what he does best. And this, friends, is supposed to be cutting edge. But apparently the sneak peak disappointed all but the die hards. 10 foot tall blue people are a tough sell.
PS. Yes, my parents and I did meet Robert Downey Jr. when I was eight. He had just been nominated for the Academy Award for "Chaplin." He stopped and talked to us and was so nice and gracious. I told him I thought he was funny, and he palled around with me for a few minutes doing Charlie Chaplin impressions while I laughed and my parents took pictures. He then signed an autograph and took a "real picture" with me and couldn't have been nicer to anyone let alone a little kid. We will meet again someday. It's destiny.