(Regular DHD readers know I don’t do geek. But frequent LA Weekly film reviewer and comic book expert Luke Y Thompson does. He spends all year waiting for Comic-Con and this time he’s covering it for me. Here’s his latest report.)
When you start Day 4 with LOST and TERMINATOR 4, where can you go from there? Not too far, as it turns out. Used to be that Saturday was the big busy day for Comic-Con and Hall H, but today, there were seats available for most of the panels.
Disney gave us a look at BOLT, in which John Travolta voices a celebrity dog who thinks he has super-powers — but doesn’t. Hmmm, I seem to recall Travolta believing he can lay hands on people and cure them, so could this be typecasting, like PHENOMENON? Maybe. The Disney folks showed about 20 minutes of the movie, including an elaborate action sequence from the TV show Bolt where he tries to escape a styrofoam container in the real world, and an action sequence where he and a hamster break a cat out of the pound. Best of all were scenes on the set of savvy cats who costar in the show taunting Bolt by pretending to be super-villains. It’s funny, but after watching 20 minutes, I feel like I’ve seen all I need to.
Then there’s Pixar’s UP, from MONSTERS INC director Pete Docter, in which an old man attaches balloons to his house to fly to a Venezuelan mountain range which his dead wife always wanted to visit. All while dealing with an annoying boy scout who has yet to earn the merit badge for assisting the elderly. I would suspect they all end up teaching each other valuable lessons; what say you? (Check out the teaser.) It will be Pixar’s first 3-D movie, but Docter says he directed it the same way as any other movie, so there probably aren’t any parts where yo-yos come out and hit you in the face.
Sam Raimi’s DRAG ME TO HELL has a terrible trailer that makes it look like a rip-off of THINNER, but he showed us a few clips that were more reassuring. Allison Lohman plays a young lady trying to impress her wealthy boyfriend (Justin Long), and in so doing denies a bank loan to an old woman, who proceeds to place a curse in retaliation. We got to see a scene set in a garage at night, all shot through aqua filters, where the woman shows up in Allison’s backseat, and a fistfight ensues that involves stabbing, multiple crashes, dentures, cinderblocks, and the old lady trying to eat Lohman’s chin. Just the mix of camp and creeps you’d expect from Mr. Evil Dead.
In another scene, Lohman is sleeping as a fly buzzes around her face, goes in one nostril and out the other, then forces itself into her closed mouth. She coughs, wakes up — and suddenly the old woman is there beside her in bed, vomiting worms. Cut.
Good clips, but seriously, the trailer is waaaay lame. Cut a new one.
I’ve always been a lukewarm fan of the UNDERWORLD franchise: it’s fun to look at, but instantly forgettable. But the newest in the saga, a prequel entitled RISE OF THE LYCANS, gets some things right. More gore, more nudity, more realistic werewolves, and of course more Bill Nighy, whose character is dead in the present so this is the only way to get him back on board. “I’m a vampire, I’m a zombie, and I’m a squid,” says Nighy. “How many people d’y’know who can make THAT claim?” (I don’t know, Bill — maybe Cthulhu?)
Effects guy-turned-director Patrick Tatropolous promises this will be “more violent than the other ones.” As it’s a period piece, female lead Rhona Mitra will not be wearing the Kate Beckinsale catsuit, but she does say of her costume that “it’s very spanky.”