Friday, July 30, 2010

My second-favorite time of the year

I love October ... but I also love the start of Raiders training camp every year. Hope springs eternal for the Raidernation.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

More Cap news from Director Joe Johnston

The Marvel panel began with an exclusive Comic-Con teaser trailer for Captain America: The First Avenger. After the jump you can read my notes from the panel, including a description of the teaser and a full scene which was screened for Hall H.

The teaser begins showing clips from World War II superimposed over close-ups of the Captain’s shield, while audio plays of FDR’s “Day That Will Live in Infamy” speech. On screen text reads: “Stories emerged…. But one story has never been told…. Every army starts with one man.” Cut to a shot of a silhouette of Captain America. On screen text reads: “Next Summer you will meet the First Avenger” We then see a short shot of Chris Evans in costume as Captain America shown from behind/side. Captain America logo. Cut to another shot of Evans in costume, this time from the front view. We don’t get to see much as he tosses his shield at the camera.

Notes from the panel:

Director Joe Johnston calls the film “a classic adventure love story with an edge.” he says that his favorite movie of all time is Raiders of the Lost Ark, a movie which he also worked on. He says that Raiders feels as modern today as it did they day it was filmed. This is his goal for Captain America. <THAT'S COOL! - Odogg>

Joe says that while he has studied the complete history of the character, he’s a fan of the Brubaker version of the Captain America. So they decided to Borrow certain visual elements from Brubaker version, but are “going a bit more modern than the original.” <I'M DOWN WITH THAT! - Odogg>

Johnston also says that “if we don’t love steve Rogers before he gets transformed, we won’t love Jim after.” <WERD TO THE MOTHER! -Odogg>

Filming has been going on for a few weeks now but Chris Evans only started on set five days ago and claims that he “did some nice gentle scenes to get my feet wet.”
Marvel head/producer Kevin Feige admits that Chris has only been in a test version of the suit. The footage from the teaser trailer was filmed at a costume test. “The suit is coming together well but isn’t finished yet.” he says it’s more realistic than the cartoony version of the suit that leaked a month back. “It is something that is unequivocally the Captain America uniform but fits the time period.” <NICE. CAN'T WAIT. -Odogg>

Hugo Weaving says he listed to tapes of Werner Herzog to help him get the voice of Red Skull. He has only worked one day in the mask, and he has “only started” getting to “make the mask work. “ <HELL YEAH. -Odogg>



EXCLUSIVE! Director Joe Johnston Will De-Wing Another Marvel Hero

The man who took the wings off of Cap's head in Captain America, director Joe Johnston, reveals for the first time that another Marvel hero will lose his wings!

Director Joe Johnston made an appearance on the floor of the San Diego Comic-Con yesterday to sign teaser posters for Captain America: The First Avenger and I managed to slip in a few questions about the movie. Read on...

Brent Sprecher: How's filming coming along?

Joe Johnston: Ah, we just started, but it's going great.

Brent Sprecher: Awesome. Was it hard to get away to come over here to do [the Con]?

Joe Johnston: Well, you know, they gave the crew a four-day weekend...everybody else gets four days off and we only get one.

Brent Sprecher: Are we going to get to see The Invaders?

Joe Johnston: Oh, yeah!

Brent Sprecher: Namor. Is he going to have little wings on his feet?

Joe Johnston: Ah, no.

Brent Sprecher: I'm really happy you're doing this movie.

Joe Johnston: Thank you. Thanks a lot.

Cap movie interview at MTV News

THOR footage from Comic Con

I don't know. It's Marvel, so I'll support it and watch it ... but I really worry about this Lord of the Rings type of material being way too big a leap to integrate into The Avengers, which is shaping up to be such a great story with the military reality that's been laid down with Iron Man and Hulk. Captain America will only enhance that ... and then here comes Thor with his cap and tights from a magical world of fantasy, unicorns and rainbows. We'll see ...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE: the official cast of Marvel's Mightiest Heroes!

I ... am ... emotionally ... satisfied. Thanks Comic Con: you are all that's right with the world!

Left to right: Iron Man, Agent Coulson, Black Widow, Thor, Captain America, Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Hulk, the director (Joss Whedon) and exec. producer (Marvel's Kevin Feige).

SuperHeroHype Live Blog:

Kevin Feige, Marvel's President of Production, has come out first to introduce the two Marvel films for next summer.

We're starting with Captain America and they showed a great teaser for the movie which started with an air raid siren, which led to archival footage of World War II with famous quotes voiced over the top. We can see that there's an alternating red, white and blue background as we see different scenes from World War II.

The titles say... "In the world's greatest (something), Our Courage and Strength Led Us Into Battle. Stories Emerged of Heroes, But One Story Has Never Been Told."

The red, white and blue background slowly pulls back to show us that it is indeed Captain America's shield.

There's a voice-over of Franklin D. Roosevelt saying "Today we must create the finest army in history, and every army starts with one man."

And we see Captain America in shadow. (The crowd goes wild.)

"Next summer, meet the world's first Avenger."

And we see our first look as Chris Evans as Captain America. (Crowd goes wilder.)

Then we see the "Captain America" logo and the next shot has Captain America throwing his shield at the camera.

Geoff Boucher then brought out director Joe Johnston, Chris Evans, and Hugo Weaving to talk about the movie and their characters.

Kevin Feige told the crowd that the shots we saw was footage from the costume test.

They've only been shooting Captain America for eight days, so Hugo Weaving says that he's only spent one day in the Red Skull mask, but he didn't want to do his German accent, but they then decided to show us the first footage that they shot last week, which looked fantastic.

[Description to come]

We were just shown some amazing footage from Thor which really gives us a great idea of the story.

It starts with lightning and then it shows a S.H.I.E.L.D. base where Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson is interrogating someone chained to a chair. It's Chris Hemsworth's Thor, and Coulson gives a long monologue asking him where he got his training. We see a bit of footage of Thor in action sans hammer taking down the S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers who are trying to stop him.

"Who are you?" asks Coulson and Thor looks up.

We then see what looks like a constellation system and we hear a voice-over by Anthony Hopkins as Odin as we see the golden buildings of Asgard and the camera goes into the throne room where he's giving a big speech to his son, who is kneeling at the base of the throne. We see glimpses of each of the Asgardian Gods including Sif, Balder and the Warriors Three, and Idris Elba's Heimdall. Odin is obviously mad at Thor and he says that he's going to take his power and banish him for his actions, sending a bolt that sends Thor down through the constellation where he lands in the desert and is found by Natalie Portman's Jane Foster. We then see Hemsworth walking around shirtless and impressing Foster and her assistant Darcy (played by Kat Dennings).

[More description to come]

They just showed a teaser for The Avengers with a voice-over by Samuel L. Jackson and then Jackson was introduced and he brings out Clark Gregg, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America... and then Robert Downey Jr. came out as Tony Stark and the crowd went crazy. Downey Jr. then talked about how people were saying how Inception was the most ambitious movie ever made, but Downey said that bringing together all of these heroes for The Avengers was the most ambitious movie. He then introduced and confirmed that playing Clint Barton is.... Jeremy Renner... and "reprising his role as Bruce Banner... Mark Ruffalo!" He then brought out director Joss Whedon, who said that he had always had a dream, presumably about directing The Avengers, "but my dream was never this good!"

We have a lot more to write up from this panel which literally had so much happening so fast that we really want to do it justice.

Just to quickly recap, we got the first teaser for Captain America as well as some of the footage they shot in the first week, an extended bit of footage from Thor, a teaser for The Avengers, essentially just the logo with a Samuel L. Jackson voice-over, and then they brought out the entire cast and director of The Avengers, including all of the actors already introduced and adding Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo as Clint Barton/Hawkeye and the new Bruce Banner/The Hulk.

We'll have to add the rest of this in a little while, because we want to make sure we get all of the great stuff said by Anthony Hopkins and Samuel L. Jackson correct.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cap director says Steve Rogers "not a flag waver"


Captain America: The First Avenger director Joe Johnston told the Los Angeles Times the screen version of the hero will be true to his roots up to a certain point.

"We're sort of putting a slightly different spin on Steve Rogers," said Joe Johnston, "He's a guy that wants to serve his country but he's not a flag-waver. We're reinterpretating sort of what the comic book version of Steve Rogers was."

"He wants to serve his country, but he's not this sort of jingoistic American flag-waver," Johnston added. "He's just a good person. We make a point of that in the script: Don't change who you are once you go from Steve Rogers to this super-soldier, you have to stay who you are inside, that's really what's important more than your strength and everything. It'll be interesting and fun to put a different spin on the character and one that the fans are really going to appreciate."

This ... doesn't ... feel ... right. I'm not militant about cannon, like most of the overly-prescious comic book nerds out there. But still, Steve Rogers had nothing in life but his passion for America. He was sickly, his mom died, he had no money ... all he had was that flag to love. Why must they take that away too? It's the 1940s, people were still patriotic then!

If Chris Evans comes of as douchey and too-cool-for-school, I'm gonna be really disappointed. The Cap movie that's been playing in my head all these years has been a characters study of the man under the mask: the tortured soul that is Steve Rogers. A man out of time. A man who doesn't fit in as an invalid, or a perfect human specimen. He's a man who can't find love, so he gives all he has to an ideal, to a country and its people.

In my head, the movie is almost a tragedy with depressing 1970s-style Kung Fu music. I can't quite describe it, so I'll quit now.

I'm a sucker for the catchy tunes

Wow. Good ol' Laroux is a lot more mannish that I've imagined her to look like all summer. Good for her ... ish.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Photos from Oakland

We're always making national news in the wrong way. Too bad. I wish that cop would've never shot that kid at BART Station. RIP, Oscar Grant ... Be In Peace, city of Oakland.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

JaGrimmace Russell strikes again

Here's Monty Poole's take:

Identified and selected to lead the rescue of the deteriorating Raiders, JaMarcus Russell came to Oakland as the designated franchise quarterback, a $40 million investment and, conceivably, a drug user.

Yet Russell, above all, is a human being.

Maybe the human aspect got lost in the football, obscured by the fumbles and interceptions and losses and finger-pointing and owner-vs.-coach beefs.

Russell's demons were with him all along. If they weren't rattling about his head when he reached Oakland, they stalked him from the instant he joined the Raiders family.

If he lacked the courage to admit those demons, or the desire and will to confront them, shame on JaMarcus.

Shame on the Raiders, though, if they served in the role of enablers — or knew of his potentially fatal struggle and were ill-equipped to provide assistance.

Triple shame on the organization if it was unaware of the demons that plagued him.

Within months of his arrival in the autumn of 2007 — a celebrated rookie from LSU — Russell's dirty business was a constant source of chatter on the streets of the Bay Area. The No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft and easily recognized by sports fans and young people of all stripes, Russell couldn't hide. Not that he tried.

Russell was arrested Monday on charges of possession of a controlled substance — codeine syrup. He was nabbed as part of an undercover investigation by the Mobile Police Dep't.

Roughly 21 years after the Warriors paid a steep price for drafting the troubled but prodigiously gifted Chris Washburn, Raiders boss Al Davis put his franchise in the hands of someone, at the very least, predisposed to substance abuse.

In 1986, when the Warriors drafted Washburn, there was limited knowledge about drug abuse and its effect on athletes. In the two decades since, there has been immense progress in terms of education, detection and treatment. Society has evolved to such a degree there are 100 reasons why the drug-related NFL and NBA draft mistakes of the 1980s should not occur in the 21st century.

Yet there it is, apparently right under the nose of the Raiders.

Were they so blinded by Russell's magnificent arm that they saw no need for the thorough and comprehensive background examination that could have afforded a more informed draft-day decision?

The Raiders drafted Russell because they believed in his talent, his character, his leadership and, yes, his work ethic. I'll assume they bought into all of this, because it's utterly preposterous to invest such a kingly sum in someone who raised enough red flags to color the sky.

And it's not as if JaMarcus changed. The sluggish attitude and personality he displayed in 2009 was no different than that seen in 2007. The issues he has now are the issues he had then.

Whether he was rolling through the 'hood in his luxury car or out "clubbing" with his boys, JaMarcus was a naive dude from Alabama with not an ounce of malice in his heart. Perhaps feeling he needed protection, he harbored questionable companions who longed to be near an NFL player and his wallet. The image of JaMarcus was that of a walking, sipping ATM, destroying his career and derailing the organization funding his opulent lifestyle.

Meanwhile, his former teammates would whisper and wonder and wait for the day the boss would wake up.

"You would hear it on and off but what I don't understand is, if it's true, why wasn't something done about it?" one Raider said Tuesday. "You want to make him your franchise quarterback and pay him $39 million to (expletive) off? You would think they heard the same things and that they would do something about it. I don't get that."

Three years and $39.4 million later, Davis threw up his hands and capitulated, releasing JaMarcus without acknowledging any efforts toward assistance. Moreover, Al is vowing to seek repayment of $9.55 million.

Perpetually ill-conditioned and rarely motivated, Russell was a poor impersonation of an NFL quarterback.

The Raiders, duly embarrassed by their decision to ride with Russell, have good reason to check themselves.

Newly enlightened, with a chance to get right, Russell would be wise to search his soul before facing an even greater challenge.

He turns 24 next month. He need not concern himself with saving his career. He has his life to salvage.

Chris Evans talks Captain America costume, shield

Empire magazine chatted with Chris Evans about the Captain America: The First Avenger costume and the testing of the shield. Here's an excerpt from the interview:

"It’s an amazing costume. Given the fact that his costume is red, white and blue, and it’s tight, and it could be kind of flash and over the top – and given the fact that the movie takes place in the ‘40s and ‘50s – they’ve done a really good job of making it look really cool."

"I think everyone that’s going to see it is going to say, 'Okay, well done. Well done. I think they got the costume right. The casting they completely ruined, but the costume they nailed!'"

In comparison to his lithe, skin-tight Fantastic Four costume, Evans says: “[In the FF suit] …you could move around quite well. This is a little more cumbersome. It doesn’t exactly breathe the way the Fantastic Four costume breathed, but it’s the way it should be. Any type of World War II uniform would be a little chunky, and I think that’s what kind of gives it its character.”

About the shield:

“We’ve been testing a lot of shields. Last time I was in London they had six shields and I had to hold each one, see if I was comfortable with each one, see which one we all thought had the right look. The thing is pretty heavy, so I’m not sure I can throw it that far! I’ll give it my best shot, but hopefully they’ll have some sort of stunt shield when it comes to actually chucking it!”

Sunday, July 04, 2010

THE MAGIC WANDS - Teenage Love

The Magic Wands are back in the O-dogg Blog with Teenage Love.

The Warrior video is also worth a second and third look. This version, which totally rocks bacon, is not embeddable, so get out to You Tube to see this 1980s cartoon superhero version of Warrior: Cartoon Warrior Video.

If you liked that, then you should love this one too: Treasure. Somewhere, Napoleon Dynamite is smiling ...