Thursday, February 21, 2008

Two films based on the acclaimed manga Akira are coming soon to a cinema near you. Previously adapted in its native Japan as an animated film in 1988, this version will be live action and released as two films. The director will be first time feature film helmer Ruairi Robinson, an Irish filmmaker whose animated short film Fifty Percent Grey was nominated for an Oscar in 2002 (you can view it here). The biggest announced change will be the story's location: Neo-Tokyo in the manga will become New Manhattan in the films. Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the producers, but there's no word yet on if he'll also be one of the stars.

Charles Burns' award-winning graphic novel Black Hole also has a film version in the works. The story concerns a sexually transmitted disease that causes teenagers in the Seattle suburbs to physically mutate. The film will be directed by David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club) from a screenplay by Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction) and Neil Gaiman.

Garth Ennis' dark comic book series The Boys is being brought to the screen by producer Neal H. Moritz, one of the executive producers of Tru Calling.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine has firmed up its supporting cast: Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, Taylor Kitsch from television's Friday Night Lights as Gambit, Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth, Danny Huston as Colonel Stryker, Lynn Collins as Silver Fox, and of the Black Eyed Peas as John Wraith.

The direct-to-DVD animated film Justice League: The New Frontier will be released next Tuesday. Its voice cast includes David Boreanaz as Hal Jordan (Green Lantern), who recently gave an interview about his role. It's interesting to read how much Hal sounds like Angel.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Review: Torchwood, Episode 2.7, "Dead Man Walking"

Writer Matt Jones, who began his career as a columnist for Doctor Who Magazine and was a script editor for Torchwood creator Russell T Davies' Queer as Folk, brings some interesting ideas to the table here but just isn't able to fully realize them. The episode is a bit disappointing and simply not on the same level as its predecessors this season. For one thing, Jones isn't able to bring the emotional resonance to the story needed to develop its themes and serve as a follow-up to the events of the previous episode.

Things that didn't work:

Warning: spoilers below, please highlight the white space with your mouse to read them.

1. The child tarot reader revealing the location of the second resurrection glove is a poorly conceived deus ex machina. It would have been simpler and more interesting had Jack known its location all along.

2. The Grim Reaper. Are we supposed to believe it really is Death and killing thirteen people will allow it continued freedom? If it's the thing lurking in the darkness that Suzie referred to last season, it's not very impressive.

3. The Weevils are used as red herrings.

4. Not enough Martha!

That said, the CGI effects are great and it's good to see that Owen is still alive, at least in some fashion.