Movies & TV / Columns

Movies/TV’s 3R’s 12.13.11: Dark Knight Rises, Alec Baldwin, Michael Bay, Three Stooges, More

December 13, 2011 | Posted by Porfirio Diaz

Welcome to Week 128 of The 3 R’s for the Movie/TV world.

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Without any further ado, here is…

  • Dark Night Rises has a viral marketing campaign; poster: I love it when Hollywood pulls stuff like this. Following the success of the popular “Why So Serious” and “I Believe in Harvey Dent” Dark Knight viral, the Internet was treated to a handful of sneak peeks from the Batman viral promotion department. It’s a lollapalooza of clues and paraphernalia tailored made for the die-hard Batman fans, which suits perfectly for the people who read this website. Let’s have a peek.

    Be warned: the following contains possible spoilers, so if you want your Dark Knight Rises experienced to be as untainted as possible, I’ll avoid this part of the column and blind scroll your way down. I have received comments from Ant-LOX and several others who want to refrain from such spoilers and I want to respect their wishes as best as possible.



    ***LAST CHANCE***

    Click to enlarge; via Wired

    Click to enlarge; via Empire

    Click to enlarge; via @thefirerises

    The first image is a Central Intelligence Bulletin for Dr. Leonid Pavel, a Russian nuclear physicist gone AWOL. If you google his file number, the first hit to pop up is a compound summary of CHEBI: 16308. A clue to possible nuclear weapon insinuations? What kind of role will the mad scientist play in the movie? Darn if I know, but we know that the Leonid Pavel character has been identified as Alon Abouthoul, one of the many mysterious cast members.

    The second document is a censored transcript between the CIA and the militia. If you associate this piece of information with the profile, strong hints suggest of an explosive contraption created by the good doctor, to which Bane will use and threaten the world with. Yup, sounds like he got a hankering for some evil delight. EvilD?

    The third document seems to be a letter wanting to retrieve Pavel from the militia and the code name “Operation Early Bird“. I don’t want to give myself all the fun, so put on your decipher hats and see if you can figure this one out for yourself.

    Document puzzles and inside information isn’t all that was released. This is the new teaser poster and… oh my, he killed Batman! Or it could be he disliked his Halloween Batman mask and wanted to exact revenge on Gotham instead of simply asking for store credit. I don’t know, Bane, seems like a cool mask to me. Imagine if the paperboy from Paperboy had such a mask. No yuppie dog or tornado would want to mess with him. It’ll be the easiest video game ever, right up there with Mario Paint and whatever the opposite of Battletoads is.

    ***END SPOLERS***

  • NBC comes up with brilliant concept: have brilliant people write possible brilliant television shows: NBC is known for swimming in the shallow end of their own pool, never wanting to explore further towards the deep end. They’re satisfied with just splashing water in people’s faces and yanking away our pool toys. So in what is considered a startling development, NBC has decided to venture in the deep end for the first time in a long time.

    The Office and Parks & Recreation executive producer Greg Daniels is teaming with a writer from each of his two NBC series to develop new animated comedy projects for the network. One of the projects will be written/executive by The Office co-executive producer/co-star Mindy Kaling, who will also voice a character, the other – by Parks & Recreation producer Alan Yang. Daniels and his manager/producing partner Howard Klein will executive produce both comedies. The Mindy Kaling project revolves around a girls high-school volleyball team. Alan Yang’s toon is about a group of 20something guys sharing a house in Los Angeles’ upscale community of Hancock Park. For King Of The Hill co-creator Greg Daniels, returning to his animated roots was important when he closed a new overall production deal with Universal Television this past summer. “One of our focuses will be to return Greg to primetime animation, for which he had particular success with King of the Hill when he and I worked together at FBC,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said in announcing the deal. – Deadline

  • So the network will have the same people response for successful television programs be put in charge of creating entirely new programing. What a fresh change of pace for NBC. In addition to the three aforementioned shows above, Greg Daniels has also done work for The Simpsons, including co-writing “Bart Sells His Soul”, one of my favorite episodes ever. Mindy Kaling and Alan Yang are no slouches either. Both are funny people who do funny things. And NBC is giving them full authority to create more awesome shows? Brilliant!

    So we should expect them to set the bar high. We should expect whatever television shows they produce to be critically acclaimed and highly popular.

    We should also expect NBC to yank them off the air within two weeks for their debut.

  • Battle Royale gets (very limited) U.S. theatrical release: Good news Battle Royale fans: the non-profit organization Cinefamily will host the controversial live-action movie from December 24 to January 2. Awesome. Bad news: there’s only one Cinefamily in the entire U.S. and it happens to be in Los Angeles. Not awesome. For more information, click here.

    While the release is limited to a 10 day showing for the Los Angeles area, at least this still counts as an official U.S. theatrical release. Maybe once the release of Hunger Games – spiritual successor to Battle Royale – draws closer, we could be awarded with a more wide-spread release at various locations. Or we could just keep watching it on Netflix. Or we could just hold onto our bootleg DVD copy. Or we could just have neither, and watch it through illegal sources. Super.

  • Keanu Reeves: Subway Gentleman: Alright, let me get this out of my system first:

    – What, she wouldn’t rather be handcuffed to the rail?
    – Wow. He is taller.
    – Keanu Reeves can’t seem to pry himself away from subways, can he?

    That’s about the extent of my Speed knowledge. Relevant side note: I once saw Speed 2 in theaters with Spanish subtitles. It was thrilling.

    Keanu Reeves is one stand up down-to-Earth dude. Sure, I may be establishing his good guy status on this one video and nothing else, but look at how modest he is. He frees his seat on the subway so a bag-carrying woman could take his spot. What kindness. He thinks of only others! How often do we capture celebrities during moments of kindness? I have to question the YouTube title ‘KEANU REEVES gentleman or douche?” and point out the lack of douchedom found in the video. How is it even a question? He’s just a common man – a common multi-millionaire Hollywood man with golden toilet seat covers (possibly) but bear with me on this one – who uses the subway as his main source of public transportation. Business as usual.

  • Great, Bane speaks in mumbles now: Congratulations to those who were invited to watch an early screening of the Dark Knight Rises six-minute prologue. Yeah, most of them were, like, journalists and bloggers from major news institutions but whatever. Not like I was eager to watch the prologue anyway, at least not for a fee… I’m sure my free ticket is on the way via mail express right now… any day now…

    Anyway, the big news coming out of the prologue: no one could understand a word Bane (Tom Hardy) said. Uh oh.

    “It may be early in the sound mixing process, but a lot of key dialogue, particularly that of Bane, who speaks via a mask, was unintelligible,” The Hollywood Reporter says of those opening scenes, which take place in and around a heist on a plane. That sentiment echoed all across the Internet in reports from Movieweb (“You can’t understand anything he is saying”), Entertainment Weekly (“Prepare to scratch your head at much of Bane’s dialogue, which had most everyone in Thursday’s screening asking each other how much, if anything, they could understand”), FirstShowing’s Alex Billington (“It’s distorted, dark, like through a vocal box. I actually couldn’t hear what he was saying half the time”), The Daily Beast (“Many of those in attendance at the IMAX event commented that between the character’s labored breathing and quasi-English accent, he was impossible to understand”), Ain’t It Cool (“Honestly, I caught probably half of Bane’s dialogue, and every colleague I spoke with had similar difficulty understanding him. I hate to cause problems for Nolan at this stage of the filmmaking process, but if Bane sounds like this throughout the film, it could be an issue,”) and /Film, who complains, “His voice is synthesized and muffled in a way which is sometimes hard to hear over the score,” suggesting composer Hans Zimmer may have abandoned his usual gossamer touch. – AV Club

    While it may seem like a major miscommunication between Tom Hardy’s voice and the audience’s ears – yeah, like this is the first time a Nolan movie has featured a character with vocal distortion before (growly throat Batman FTW!) – there is still plenty of time to fix this glaring situation before the film’s release next year. Sure, the prologue is only a beta demo, but still, early rough start for Nolan.

    Since you’re here, I might as well give you the link to the full count description of the prologue. Cue Samuel Jackson!

  • Michael Bay, once stated he will not direct Transformers 4, is stated to direct Transformers 4: I was scared there for a minute. I was worried the fourth installment of Transformers would not be handled by everyone’s favorite on-again off-again on-again director. Because Michael Bay explosive explosions like an explosive source of explosions Michael Bay. Explode.

    Michael Bay is in final negotiations to direct a new Transformers film, insiders tell Vulture.

    Another insider familiar with the situation cautioned that while Paramount “does not have a closed deal” with Bay, the studio “is not far from closing” on one, either, and that an announcement could come as early as next week. Meanwhile, the details of the next cyborg saga are being kept secret, but we’re told that it is definitely not a prequel, and that it will delve deeper into the Transformers canon to mine older characters and lore. “Regular people might not care about bringing out a character like Sentinel Prime,” says one of our insiders, referring to the little-known character who played a major part in last summer’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, “But believe me, fans of the series cared.” – Venture

    Fans of the series care? The franchise has become one giant commercial. Michael Bay could direct a movie where he has a robot jingling keys for 90 straight minutes, and it wouldn’t matter as long as the keys have the car sponsored on it and the robot turns out to be a Microsoft Zune.

  • $1 bargain bin Three Stooges > Three Stooges trailer (with noticeable exceptions): I understand the appeal for the The Three Stooges. Who doesn’t love three lovable goofs produced only to humiliate and injure each other in hilarious fashion? Poke in the eyes? Hit on the head? It means they value your company. They were Jackass before Jackass became Jacksass but with less color and a little more Zoidberg-ish. I just don’t understand the appeal of a 90-minute modernized version of it. Even Jim Carrey, Sean Penn, and Benicio Del Toro (who were initially set to star) didn’t think too much of it.

    Make no mistake, The Three Stooges – retro comedy dropped into new century charm – sounds like a terrible idea but I don’t want to bash the trailer too hard. As hard as I resisted, I did laugh at the following: the 0:40 mark (watching people bite their tongue is funny) and the part where Snooki was on the receiving end of an eye poke. Really, anything where Snooki is on the threshold of pain (even in fantasy/disbelief) is funny. But the main attraction happens to be Kate Upton in a bikini, version nun. Let me rephrase: KATE UPTON IN A NUNKINI.

    Hmm… there is a great possibility The Three Stooges, Version 2.0 will be nothing short of blasphemous. Then again, tongue violence. Then again, Kate Upton. In a bikini. Then again, it has a Snooki and by all accounts, things with Snooki are awful. Except when she’s poked (heh, wouldn’t be the first time).

    Man, I’m so confused.

  • So many sequels, so little time: I had them all listed as an separate entry until I just said “eh, screw it” and placed them all under one blurb labeled “Hollywood – original ideas”. Yup. If there’s one thing we can say about Hollywood, it’s that they’re always full of them. For example:

    Top Gun 2

    “We’re working on it.”

    That’s the official word on “Top Gun 2,” straight from the star himself, Tom Cruise, who spoke with MTV News’ Josh Horowitz during an event in Dubai for Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

    When Horowitz sat down with Cruise in Dubai, the actor updated the project’s status and shed new light on the script. “I don’t think Chris [McQuarrie] is going to write it,” Cruise said. “Chris is directing ‘One Shot’ right now, which I’m acting. We’ve got to go back in January and finish it.”

    With McQuarrie out, that leaves Cruise, Scott and Bruckheimer as the only major players left with the project, but Cruise insists he could still do a sequel.

    “I said to Tony I want to make another movie with him. He and I haven’t made a film since ‘Days of Thunder,’ ” Cruise said. “Tony and I and Jerry, we never thought that we would do it again. Then they started to come to us with these ideas of where it is now. I thought, ‘Wow, that would be … what we could do now.’ ” – MTV News

    That sure does like a good idea Tom Cruise. I can’t even imagine the wonderful possibilities of who will be casted as the next cocky young airplane pilot. Of course that is if Cruise isn’t destined to reprise… no. I must not think about it. Can’t. Process. Wonderful dream…

    Saw XXLII or whatever

    Liongate Vice Chairman Michael Burns recently spoke with CNBC and openly revealed that a new film was in the cards.

    “I’m sure, some day, you’ll see Saw back in the picture,” Burns said, speaking on the potential return of Jigsaw and his infamous games of life and death.- Bloody Disgusting

    Meh. I’m not in love with the whole “let’s kill people through complicated torture devices for 90 minutes” bit but surely one of you has to be excited, right?

    Sequel to Grown-Ups

    Sony Pictures and Happy Madison Prods. are in talks with “Grown Ups” scribe Fred Wolf to write a sequel to last year’s Adam Sandler comedy, the funnyman’s highest-grossing film worldwide at $271 million. (if that’s the case, then we should just light our 12 dollars for the sequel right now)

    Sandler has never appeared in a sequel and he has no deal in place for “Grown Ups 2,” as his involvement is contingent on the script. Still, the fact that Sandler would be open to a reunion likely comes as music to Sony’s ears. Happy Madison had no comment. – Website

    If you were one of the many people who wished for a sequel to Grown-Ups, then consider your wishes granted, only now expect much worse without the possible involvement of Adam Sandler. A little thing like “not bring back the original stars” is not going to stop Sony from squeezing every last ounce of blood from their cashew. Monkey paw! !

    What really shocked me was that Sandler has never done a sequel. Who would have guessed Adam Sandler to be a mainstay of integrity?

  • Alec Baldwin removed from airplane for doing most Alec Baldwin thing ever: The culprit: Alec Baldwin. The setting: airplane. The story: Alec Baldwin got kicked off an American Airlines flight last week. The reason: Word with Friends. And now you can read the complete version of the story.

    On Tuesday, the actor took to Twitter to announce he’d gotten in trouble on an American Airlines flight while sitting at the gate at Los Angeles International Airport.

    “Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving. #nowonderamericaairisbankrupt,” he tweeted, before following up with “But, oddly, 30 Rock plays inflight on American. #theresalwaysunited.”

    Former MTV COO Michael J. Wolf was also on the flight, and tweeted that the actor had actually been kicked off of the plane, indicating he may have been at fault. – The Hollywood Reporter

    What’s even odder is that the airline shows 30 Rock as the inflight entertainment. Ha.

    I know how much you love Words with Friends Alec but would it have killed you to turn off your device and not make such a big scene? I like you and your brand of comedy but when a 9/11 widow calls you out, you know you done messed up.

    There’s more to the story – R.I.P. Alec Baldwin Twitter account – but I think it’s more fun if I posted the Taiwanese animation take – the new American standard in media coverage. My favorite part is where he rides a tank down the street with a military helmet and a sash that says “mayor” as he mows down numerous press members from big league organizations and shoots down a billboard representing his deceased Twitter status. Sounds about right. He even issued himself an apology in a skit on SNL, essentially calling himself an American treasure who should be given the right to play whatever game he wishes to play in whatever place he damn well pleases.

    Forget I said anything bad about you Alec. Let’s be friends again.

  • Four possible Kardashian spinoffs? Why not just light my eyes on fire right now: Scary news from the entertainment capital of the world and not exactly the kind of world I no longer wish to be a part of.

    Are you ready? Ready for more Kardashian madness, I mean? Yes, there is a growing group of angered pop culture consumers joining a boycott against the family, but E! has no plans to stop keeping up with the Kardashians! In fact, the cable network is looking to ramp up their offerings featuring the world’s premiere reality family. Bonnie Hammer, the new cable entertainment chair of NBCUniversal, spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about her vision for E!, promising more highbrow coverage from the network.

    That, however, doesn’t preclude new Kardashian series; while current iterations of the franchise may go by the wayside, she told THR that she’s hoping for “two, three, even four new Kardashian [spinoffs].” – Steve Gustafson’s The Hollywood 5 & 1 via The Hollywood Reporter

    Is the new spin-off titled Kardashian Klan Battles the Lava Monster? Will this be one of the few times everyone in the world would watch? Just so they could watch the villain win?

    Oh, and hey, I actually sourced a fellow 411 columnist. Steve seems to be in pretty good spirits about it, whereas I will plan to follow Brendan Fraser in Blast from the Past and hold myself up in complete solitude for 35 years. Say what you want but it beats having to live in a world where four possible Kardashian spinoffs exist.

  • House cannot be shot through houses? Myth busted: An experimental theory to determine the effectiveness of firing objects not in the form of cannonballs went a bit haywire last week. The Mythbusters crew went to test out their Mythbusters-made cannon at a local bomb disposal range. Unfortunately, one cannonball didn’t care for such scheme. As Led Zeppelin would tell you, the cannonball went “over the hills and far away”… into a couple of houses and a minivan. I imagine Zeppelin just forgot to include that detail in.

    Sgt. JD Nelson from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department says hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage were trying to figure out how effective a cannon is at firing non-cannonball objects … but first, they had to test the cannonball itself.

    The cannonball was supposed to land harmlessly in a nearby hill — but something went wrong … and the ball, traveling at about 1000 ft/s, went over the hill bordering Camp Parks Military Firing Reservation, and into the neighboring town of Dublin, crashing through two separate houses before finally coming to rest … inside someone’s minivan.

    The Discovery Channel show has been put on hold after the mishap, pending a full investigation. Luckily, no one was injured. – TMZ

    It was also said that a man, woman, and child spelt through the ordeal. The ordeal being how the 6-inch cannonball bounced to the front door, ripped through the front door, raced up the stairs (??), and blasted through a bedroom. Not enough to wake a family of three apparently. Forget the cannonball incident. Someone needs to do an investigation on how more than one person can sleep while a cannonball vandalizes their property. Not Adam and Jamie though. I have a feeling they won’t be doing any myth busting for a while.

  • *New Feature* Gratuitous Adorable Animal Video of the Week

    I think you should have a cute/funny animal video every week. That can be your gimmick. Practically all the other 411 writers have one, you should have one, too. – Posted By: JLAJRC (Guest)

    And thus it was so.

    This column is a haven for certain movie and television news but I am also not afraid to include occasional “adorable animals doing adorable things” videos. Well now thanks to JLAJRC’s suggestion, it’s now to be a weekly feature. Sometimes we fawn over Hollywood news. Most of the time, it’s met with intense disapproval. No such thing exists with cute animal videos. So I hope you enjoy the new feature.

    Today he’s getting ice, tomorrow he’s posting naked pictures of you on 4chan

    “The Red Dragon just ordered a #37 with a pork-fried side of SNAP!”

    Damn, I love me some Chang. – Posted By: Jimbob Jones (Guest)

    Brilliant stuff. I hope NBC can stop licking wall paint for one second and rethink this whole “we don’t need Community all at because we’ll too busy licking wall paint” dilemma. If not, then we’ll have to recruit people from Occupy Wall Street and help toilet paper the Rockefeller Center.

    Looking at that picture of Batman, he needs to just put metal tips on his “nose” and “ears”, and attack people with those.

    Posted By: The Great Capt. Smooth (Guest)

    I would prefer he learns the Bushwhackers “battering ram” finisher. Pulling out his nose and ears sounds too Michael Jackson-ish.

    Yo, you got any Kick Ass 2 trailer leaks or pics or anything from Kick Ass 2?

    Posted By: Big Lou (Guest)

    Sorry. I’m not too deep within the industry to find out about these things. Usually my source is whatever source found on the Internet. Even IMDB – Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall (????) – is naïve to any new leaks.

    Damn dude, this column used to be a good read but you’ve just been getting too cute with all of your “clever & witty” asides. I honestly couldn’t make it through much of this. – Posted By: Guest#4792 (Guest)

    This week is better. I promise. Maybe.

    Seriously though, my clever and witty asides is what got me here in the first place and it’s hard to change what is seen as an effective format. If it becomes too much of a pain, then I’ll think about dialing it back a little.

    Holy crap, I want those Walking Dead Chuck Taylors NOW! TAKE MY MONEY!!!!! – Posted By: APrince66 (Guest)

    I’d rather not see spoiler pics of the batman cast hanging out and chatting. After the movies is out maybe but it’s really taking away something for me to have so much revealed. Plus Bale is creepy when he smiles. – Posted By: Guest#5472 (Guest)

    I was all geared up to go see the prologue, but I’m going to refrain. I want my TDKR experience to be as untainted as possible. – Posted By: Ant-LOX (Guest)

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, avoiding Dark Knight Rises spoilers is tough. I wish both of you the very best on your non-spoilerific adventure.

    Last word: Hey, Fear Factor is back and (presumably) bloodier than ever! The show is set to start by the time the column goes live, so feel free to post any comments about the show below. I’ll be watchin’.


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    Porfirio Diaz