Posted by Adam Wills
“X-Men” and “X2” director Bryan Singer—who is already attached to an Excalibur remake and a Battlestar Galactica feature—is talking with Fox about a possible “X-Men” return, according to AP/Hollywood Reporter:
“I’m still looking to possibly returning to the ‘X-Men’ franchise. I’ve been talking to Fox about it,” Singer said at a talk at South Korea’s Pusan International Film Festival.
“I love Hugh Jackman. I love the cast,” he said, referring to the Australian actor who plays Wolverine.
Singer said he enjoyed making science fiction and fantasy movies because they allowed him to discuss serious issues through entertainment. He said the “X-Men” series, which follows a group of mutants with superpowers who struggle to fit in with humans, is about tolerance and social structures.
He said he likes to “trick audiences into thinking they’re seeing fireworks, but they’re learning about themselves and listening to what I have to say.”
“The excitement about working in science fiction and fantasy is—the stories, if they are good, are about the human condition,” Singer said.
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October 5, 2009 | 2:12 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Lois Griffin – a Jew?
That’s the revelation from last night’s episode of “Family Guy” (titled “Family Goy”), which included Stewie in payot and a kippah reciting a “L’hadlik Ner” blessing during a Passover seder (followed by Mola Ram’s prayer from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” before he removes Meg’s heart).
This second episode of the season, written by Mark Hentemann, begins with a geektastic “Super Friends” parody opener and then meanders through some flat gags about Peter falling in love with a Kathy Ireland cutout before moving on to a mostly sharp-witted Jewish plot. As can happen in “Family Guy,” the script’s humor takes a few mean-spirited, dark turns, including one gag that only a white supremacist could love –- shooting at Jews.
The Jewish plotline begins when a breast cancer scare leads Lois (voiced by Jewish actress Alex Borstein) to discover that her mother, Barbara Pewterschmidt, is a Holocaust survivor who gave up her Judaism to help her husband get into country clubs (“It was the right thing to do, dear,” Mrs. Pewterschmidt says).
“So Grandma Hebrewberg is actually Jewish?!” Lois asks.
“Yes, when she moved to America, her family changed their name. It was originally Hebrewbergmoneygrabber,” her mother says.
“Family Goy” includes the brief return of Jewish accountant Max Weinstein, the titular character from the episode “When You Wish Upon a Weinstein,” who reassures Lois she doesn’t need to change her life. (Another returning “Weinstein” character: the congregational rabbi voiced by Ben Stein.)
Peter embraces his wife’s Jewish heritage—donning a tallit, kippah and Star of David necklace (chest hair included), and changing his name to “Chhhhhhhh.” When Lois objects, Peter complains, “Leave it to a Jew to take all the fun out of being a Jew.” His enrolling the kids in day school is good for a few laughs, along with his pushing Lois to dress frum in the bedroom to turn him on and, wanting to be humiliated, says, “Tell me I don’t earn as much as your friend’s husband.”
The episode’s conflict is introduced via the ghost of Francis Griffin, Peter’s father, who chastises him for forsaking his Catholic beliefs. Peter immediately shuns his wife (“It’s the only religion with the word ‘ew’ in it”) and crucifies her on a makeshift cross made from Stewie’s crib. The episode takes a truly tasteless turn when Peter emulates Amon Leopold Göth, the Plaszów concentration camp commandant featured in “Schindler’s List,” sitting shirtless in his bedroom window with a rifle aimed at his wife, shooting at her and the town’s other well-known Jew, Mort. After Lois apologizes for Peter, Mort responds with, “No problem, Lois. That’s just how people say hello to me.” The bit crosses the line and hits with the same thud as the protracted scene from the episode “Long John Peter,” in which Peter is offered up as the real killer of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson and O.J. is portrayed as the couple’s horrified best friend.
As Lois and Peter square off over whether the family will celebrate Passover or Easter, the resolution pulls in Jesus—a semi-regular character on the show—to reach an interfaith bridge of understanding, which seems to offer tepid support for Judeo-Christian belief and indulges mildly funny slights against Islam and faith in general.
My hope is that the series will roast the familial Jewish themes introduced in “Family Goy,” rather than continuing on the Jews-as-targets route. The show has regularly featured some inspiring Jewish gags – both in good taste and bad. And while highbrow community in-jokes would be better received by Jewish viewers, the likely reality is the Holocaust humor will continue to dominate. “Family Guy” voice actor Seth Green—also a Jew—once shared with me something Borstein told him prior to the launch of “Robot Chicken”: “The moment you put a bunch of Jewish writers in a room, you’re going to get a ton of Hitler jokes.”
October 2, 2009 | 8:05 am
Posted by Adam Wills
“Zombieland,” a post-apocalyptic zombie comedy written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and directed by Ruben Fleischer is out today, surprise cameo (which Variety spoiled) and all. Starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg (”Adventureland”), America’s answer to “Shaun of the Dead” has won over critics and it’s inspired GeekHeeb to consider the…
Top 10 Reasons Why Jews Would Make Great Zombies
10. Brains can’t be half as bad as beet-jellied gefilte fish.
9. Deathly moaning made more jaunty with a nigun.
8. Jewish community already rife with soulless animated creatures who have insatiable appetites—lawyers.
7. Torah walk + foot drag—the perfect zombie shlep.
5. Attacking a Jewish zombie = hate crime. Thanks ADL!
4. Returning from the dead saves relatives days sitting shiva.
3. None of that rank embalming fluid smell.
2. Unlike a golem, you’re your own boss.
1. Lose a body part? Been there, done that. (guys only)
September 21, 2009 | 5:08 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Sony’s 3D animated comedy “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” was No. 1 this weekend ($30.1 million), raining out the much-hyped “Jennifer’s Body,” which scared up only $6.8 million. But for those in Israel who went to see “Meatballs,” it was missing one critical element: meatballs (What War Zone, courtesy of i09):
If you like meatballs, however, you might want to catch it in the States because you’ll be getting a slightly different delicacy served here.
“Rain of Falafel,” anyone?
Oh, come ON. Don’t even pretend like there are no meatballs in this country. I’ve SEEN them. Sure, they were served with chumus but…
September 17, 2009 | 8:15 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Avast! Grab some grog, and hoist the colors. It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day! And this year it falls on Rosh Hashanah!
My 2006 Talk Like a Pirate Day interview with Edward Kritzler, author of “Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean” (Doubleday, 2008), fast became one of The Jewish Journal’s most popular stories online. Given the tie-in with Rosh Hashanah, the topic this year was a no-brainer ... but Journal contributor Paul Kujawsky beat me to the punch! Arrrrrrr!
Ahoy Vey, Matey!
by Paul Kujawsky
On Saturday, Sept.19, people all over the world will celebrate a special holiday—a holiday beloved everywhere, full of deepest meaning.
I refer, of course, to International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Created in 1995 by two guys, Cap’n Slappy (Mark Summers) and Ol’ Chumbucket (John Baur), International Talk Like a Pirate Day emerged from near-total obscurity when humorist Dave Barry wrote a 2002 column touting the holiday. Since then, it’s taken off like wild cannon fire.
Sept. 19, 2009, is also the 1 Tishrei 5770. This will be the first time in history that International Talk Like a Pirate Day falls on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Thus, the insistent question: How to integrate the observance of these two important holidays?
I wrote to the Southern California Board of Rabbis, asking for guidance. Inexplicably – unbelievably—they never responded. Unfortunately, neither of the International Talk Like a Pirate Day organizers is Jewish. So we’re on our own.
Start with your clothes—that sets the tone for the day. Instead of your usual tallit, you can take a Jolly Roger (the black flag with grinning skull and crossbones) and attach tzitizt to each of the four corners. Voila, you’re swashbuckling now!
Your kippah can also be adorned with the skull and crossbones, or, better yet, replace your shtreiml with a three-cornered hat. A hook or a peg leg is a nice touch. Only wear a single earring (both for men and women). And there should be a parrot on your shoulder. (If it’s dead parrot you’re veering into Monty Python territory, and things will be weird enough for you anyway.)
Now you’re ready to start talking like a pirate. The basic unit of pirate talk, the urtext of piratish, is “Aarrgh!” Throw that around liberally. Rather than “amen,” try “aarrgh-men.” But “L’Shana Tova Tikatevu—aarrgh!” might seem a bit forced; try “Ahoy Vey, Matey!” instead.
The cantor plays a crucial role on Rosh Hashana/Talk Like a Pirate Day. Piratical music should infuse the nusach of the day, and creativity is called for. “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)” is good for “Adon Olam” (but then, what isn’t?). Not everyone realizes that “A Muppet’s Treasure Island” has some great tunes. And of course, you can always draw from “Di Yam Gazlonim”—“Pirates of Penzance” in Yiddish (“I am the very model of the modern Jew from Hollywood…”).
The rabbi’s drash is the highpoint of the day. But if you fear that your rabbi can’t rise to the occasion, fear not: Your average rabbi can write a sermon on any topic. There are bunches of pirate stories in the Talmud—these can be twisted into lessons about judgment, kingship, repentance and that sort of thing with minimal effort by the practiced rabbinical imagination. Mentioning Bernard Madoff isn’t obligatory, though it couldn’t hurt.
(By the way, those doubters and scoffers who frown on mixing piratism and Judaism should take a peek at Edward Kritzler’s “Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean.” Perhaps Jewish piracy doesn’t have the longest or most glorious history, but we’ll take what we can get.)
Yes, this year on Sept. 19, Jews are doubly blessed. If everyone gets into the spirit of the day with proper pirattitude, no one will have to walk the plank.
Paul Kujawsky writes on the Middle East for Examiner.com.
September 14, 2009 | 4:01 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Rachel Weisz, GeekHeeb’s favorite Egyptologist, will be subjected to Cronenberg-style body
delight horror in the next project by “Jennifer’s Body” director Karyn Kusama, according to an interview with i09:
io9: What’s next for after Jennifer’s Body - will you stay in the supernatural, horror or genre realm?
KK: There’s a screenplay I wrote a while ago with a partner that has a sort of element of horror, although I would call it a psychological horror in the David Cronenberg tradition, that I’m tying to get made.
io9: How are you influenced by David Cronenberg?
KK: He’s a very important filmmaker to me. I’ve watched a lot of his movies with a lot of admiration. I feel like he’s somebody who early in his career found ways to marry concepts of horror and certainly elements of gore, but those elements had some sort of deeper meaning, beyond the surface of the movie.
io9: And you’re applying that to your screenplay inspired by him? Can you talk about that at all?
KK: It definitely does fall into sort of a body horror movie that deals very, very specifically with our concept of gender. I can’t really talk to you specifically about it other than to say that Rachel Weisz is attached to the film.
io9: Rachel Weisz and gender issues - I’m excited!
KK: Me too actually. Let’s hope that some day it finally gets some money.
September 14, 2009 | 2:13 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Scarlett Johansson, who plays Russian super spy Black Widow in “Iron Man 2,” says her home is being overrun with comic books because of all the research she and hubby Ryan Reynolds, who played Deadpool in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” have done for their roles. And while this sounds like a dream come true for most fanboys, ScarJo says it’s enough, Contact Music reported:
“There is a lot of superhero stuff going on for us at the moment. We have quite a few stacks of comic books. We’re in different universes but it’s fun to get into that whole world together even if there is quite a stack of comic books taking up space!”
Although Scarlett wants to dump the comics, the 24-year-old blonde star is keen to reprise her role for another Marvel comic book adaptation.
She recently said: “The Black Widow has many different incarnations and different storylines so I’m hoping she will be able to continue in that way. I’m hoping that if the fans like the character and support the character, we’ll see her again.”
Ryan is already in talks to have his own spin-off movie - based around Deadpool, a disfigured and mentally unstable mutant mercenary.
September 8, 2009 | 5:57 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Leonard Nimoy told fans at a DragonCon panel that he will not return as Elder Spock in the sequel to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 “Star Trek,” Geeks of Doom reported:
“There are no plans for me to return for the second movie,” he said in response to a question asked by an attendee.
William Shatner, who has been absence from the convention scene for the past few years, joined Nimoy on stage for a discussion that began with a playful exchange about why Shatner wasn’t featured in the new movie.
Shatner admitted he’s never seen the movie, but not because of any sort of grudge.
“I think the Spock character is very well established as portrayed by Zachary Quinto. And I think if you saw the movie Bill, you’d say the same of Chris Pine,” Nimoy said.
After a long pause from Shatner, he replied with the classic Shatner-esque: “…Bullshit” — causing the audience to erupt in laughter and softening the blow that Nimoy would no longer be a part of the universe he helped create.
“I ain’t seen the movie ya’ll,” Shatner quipped back in his best Southern accent.