Pop Culture

Friday, January 23, 2015

Super Visions: Marvel v. DC (Eternity War, Part II)

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 1:04 PM

  • Courtesy CW Seed

Last blog I stated that the upcoming animated “Vixen” Web series for CW Seed will be a big-time game changer. And I asked you, dear reader, to take my word for it.

How, after all, is it going to be a bigger deal than the “Veronica Mars” spinoff (“Play It Again, Dick”) already airing on CW Seed?*

For starters, “Vixen” has a main character who is black, female, and African. Do I really need to amplify upon how unusual it is for a network show to choose her as its title character — even a program distributed via their website? Good, because those details are merely incidental to the series’ game-changerliness.

What “Vixen” proposes to be is a bridge between platforms, one that might never have been crossed the way this show’s makers intend to go.

Yes, Vixen, as discussed last time ’round, has been animated before. She appeared on “Justice League Unlimited,” itself a serious game-changer in terms of its quilting together narratives and characters from at least three other shows (“Batman: The Animated Series,” “Superman: The Animated Series,” and “Batman Beyond”). As I write these words, it occurs to me that “JLU” was the small-screen Avengers of its day. The “JLU” Vixen, aka Mari Jiwe McCabe, was a strong and powerful black woman who was romantically and desultorily involved with a strong and powerful black man — John Stewart, that League’s Terran Green Lantern.

But this Web series is, at least in theory, to share continuity with “Arrow” and “The Flash.” Its happenings are to be canon within producer Greg Berlanti’s corner of the onscreen DC universe. If anyone has shared continuity between an ongoing live-action project and an animated one, I missed it (and I encourage you readers to let me know when and where it might’ve happened). To put this penultimately important detail in perspective, imagine that a powerhouse producer/director — Joss Whedon, for example — carried forward storylines and characters from a multi-season, televised, and heartbreaking work of staggering genius in comics form. Oh, wait: He did that. Okay, imagine instead that as the so-called Buffy Season 8 was unfolding on comic-book pages, “Angel” was still on the air and the two series were crossing over!

I know. Brings a wistful tear to my eye, too. Even so, a hinted-at last detail looms in the game-changer potential of “Vixen”: Berlanti and company are rumored to want the actors from the producer’s live-action shows to voice their characters in animated form, too. And to carry us back to “Play It Again, Dick,” note that Kristen Bellˣ appears therein as Veronica Mars, a sign of CW Seed’s respect for its “little Web shows” that bodes well for “Vixen.”

Alternatively, things could go horribly wrong here.

How? Again, reader, I beg your patience and leave you with a name that ought to be familiar to you (and if not, don’t worry, ’cause I’ll make it so in Part III): Andrea Romano.

Same bat time. Same bat channel.

*And though that sentence may sound sarcastic, so vast is my respect for “Veronica Mars” that I sincerely believe the very existence of “Play It Again, Dick” to be a damn big deal.

ˣWho would’ve made an ass-kicking Buffy, as an old friend of mine once observed.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

7 takeaways from 'The Walking Dead' trailer

Posted By on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 at 1:56 PM

Let's be real; the new teaser trailer for season 5 of AMC's "The Walking Dead" doesn't reveal too much, if anything at all. But after watching it over and over, a few things come to mind. Maybe these are tellings signs, or maybe they have absolutely no bearing on the episodes to come. Either way, here are some random observations from repeat viewings of this one-minute clip.

1) Rick's beard is HUGE. How much time has passed since the events of the mid-season finale and time-wise where will we pick up in February?

2) Carol has a brass-knuckle shank. Per usual, she's not fucking around.

3) It's cold. Look at all that hot air spewing out of mouths of our characters. I've never really kept up with the seasons as they take place in the "TWD" universe, but something tells me that perhaps the climate will play a role going forward.

4) The guns are drawn. The guns are big. Remember when it was the smart, non-attention grabbing move for our survivors to use the quietest possible method to dispose of walkers? Well, this show of heavy artillery and Rick's voice saying, "Surviving. Surviving together is all that matters." leads me to believe that things are going to get desperate, and downright violent for our crew.

5) Where is Carl? Baby Judith? I spy Rick, Rick's beard, Tyreese, Carol, Maggie, Glenn, Abraham, Eugene, Sasha, Tara, Rosita, Michonne, and Daryl. Maybe our favorite, angst-y, trigger-happy tween is somewhere singing his lil' sister to sleep since Beth's gone (too soon?), and can't do it.

6) If you're wondering where that awesome song playing in the background comes from, apparently you can't find it, unless you have an in with the show's producers.

7) Who/what is everyone shooting at? Probably a hoard of zombies, but there's been speculation that it's Negan or a group of walker-face-wearing survivors known as the Whisperers.

Hopefully when the mid-season premiere hits on Sun., Feb. 8, at 9 p.m., we'll have some answers. Either way, I'll have a recap. Thoughts on the clip?

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Friday, January 9, 2015

ATLwood: Why wouldn't R. Kelly celebrate his birthday in ATL?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 9, 2015 at 3:42 PM

Filming Updates:
>> Melissa McCarthy's Michelle Darnell will be filming in ATL and they're casting.

>> Oh look, it's a post-Alien-apocolyptic version of Macon! OK, it's actually just some scenes from the forthcoming The 5th Wave starring local gal Chloë Grace Moretz.

>> Here's British crooner Sam Smith fresh off the plane at Hartsfield-Jackson:

15 hour flight - not fun

A photo posted by Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) on

After landing in ATL, Smith apparently kicked it at Whiskey Blue with his entourage. Per spies: "He and his group enjoyed Sambuca, Moscow Mules and wine, while hanging out at the stylish rooftop lounge."

>> "Vampire Diaries" star Michael Malarkey will perform some tunes at Eddie's Attic on Sun., Jan. 18. Grab tickets here.

>> R. Kelly's birthday celebration went down in ATL Thursday. TMZ has video footage of Kelz's epic BDAY cake, cake, cake, cake, cake.

>> Marvel's ATL-shot, Paul Rudd-starring, Ant-Man has an official trailer. Just one question: "It is too late to change the name?"

Deals and Payoffs:
>> AMC's locally shot computer biz drama "Halt and Catch Fire" was picked for a second season, despite only "modest" ratings.

>> ICYMI Part I: The Punchline Comedy Club is on the move. So long, Sandy Springs!

>> ICYMI Part II: And continuing with theaters on the move, Dad's Garage officially closed on their "forever home." To mid-2016, and beyond!

>> The Sony Playstation original series "Powers" is looking for extras and kid actors in ATL. Sorry, parents, this doesn't count as actually buying your kid the game console.

>> Speaking of the vamps and their "Diaries," the show just posted a double casting call.

>> Ratchet and ratings generator "Real Housewives of Atlanta" continues to shatter Bravo's viewership records.

>> "The Bachelorette" stars Andi Dorfman and Josh Murray called off their engagement.

>> SCAD has your "10 Reasons to Seek a Job in Atlanta's TV and Film Industry."

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Friday, December 26, 2014

ATLwood: Atlanta Jewish Film Festival announces 2015 lineup

Posted By on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 10:03 AM

FLIGHT CLUB: The AJFF kicks off with the documentary Above and Beyond, the 1948, a group	of World War II pilots volunteered to	fight	for Israel in the War of Independence.
  • Courtesy AJFF
  • FLIGHT CLUB: The AJFF kicks off with the documentary Above and Beyond, about a group of World War II pilots that volunteered to fight for Israel in the War of Independence.
The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival has released their lineup and schedule for the 15th annual event. From Jan. 28 to Feb. 19, the country's second-largest Jewish film fest will screen 65 films from 26 countries, at seven different venues including United Artists Tara Cinemas, Regal Atlantic Station, Lefont Sandy Springs, and Georgia Theatre Company’s Merchants Walk location. The Opening night feature is the documentary Above and Beyond, the story of Jewish-American, World War II fighter pilots that fought for Israel in the War of Independence.

Along with the screenings, CL and AJFF will have another installment of the Young Professional’s Art Party on Feb. 7, at Mammal Gallery. And who doesn't love a good themed party? This year, the theme is a celebration of Jewish comedy stars from the past few decades. Oh, and there will be art drops from ATL creatives Catlanta, Blockhead ATL, Clunky Robot, and Crazy Monkey Trucker. Head over to the AJFF website for all the pertinent info.

Filming Updates:
>> A League of Their Own director Penny Marshall's next baseball biopic is slated to begin filming in Georgia early next year. The film tells the story of Effa Manley, the first woman inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

>> The Divergent cast and crew was in ATL last week to do some re-shoots. They may or may not have shot at the High Museum of Art.

>> Speaking of Divergent, star Shailene Woodley (oh, hey girl hey) was spotted taking some photos with fans last weekend.

>> Young Jeezy loves the kids! The ATL MC treated 200 youngin's to a screening of Annie. The good fellas over at Motion Family posted shots of the new Daddy Warbucks, who bought out the entire theater and even provided the lil' ones with refreshments.

>> Ludacris also loves the kids. Luda dropped in on the Christmas party at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta this week. FreddyO was there to document it all.

Deals and Payoffs:
>> As much as you might hate VH1's "Sorority Sisters," the network says the controversial show isn't going anywhere.

>> ATLiens aren't fazed by Kim Jong-un. Local theaters showing The Interview on Christmas Day sold out.

>> In non-surprising news, "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Phaedra Parks has officially filed divorce from her imprisoned hubby Apollo Nida.

Have any tips? Sightings? Encounters? Pictures? Filming news? We need 'em! Drop me a line: gavin.godfrey@creativeloafing.com; or send me a tweet at @WriteGavinWrite. Don't forget to use the hashtag #ATLwood.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

'Welcome to Noisey('s version of) Atlanta'

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Noiseys Thomas Morton (left) dives headfirst into Atlantas rap scene for 10-part docu-series starting Jan. 13.
  • screenshot/Noisey
  • Noisey's Thomas Morton (left) dives headfirst into Atlanta's rap scene for 10-part docu-series starting Jan. 13.

Noisey released a trailer last week for its upcoming documentary on Atlanta's industry-backed rap scene. Titled Welcome to Noisey Atlanta, the 10-part series promises an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look into the city's continued stranglehold on pop culture and hip-hop charts. Featured artists include 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, Migos, Rich Homie Quan, Young Thug, Jeezy, iLoveMakonnen and Awful Records, as well as producers Mike Will Made-It, Metro Boomin, and 808 Mafia.

The series, which drops the first episode on Jan. 13, follows 2014's eight-part Noisey docu-series Welcome to Chiraq, which took viewers on a tour through Chicago's gang-fueled rap culture from whence Chief Keef emerged.

At first glance, Noisey's outsider p.o.v. — with its heavy focus on guns and drugs — seems to resemble click bait more than cultural criticism. But between Chiraq's ghetto-safari and earnest-hipster curiosity, Noisey's Thomas Morton also took a sobering look at the violence and the role the industry's move to capitalize on the culture has played in further glamorizing it. At one point in the last episode of Chiraq, even Morton questioned whether rappers were playing up certain elements of their lifestyle for the camera. Of course, no city gets branded the murder capital off hype alone. Atlanta rap suffers from its own sensationalized stereotypes: trapping and strip club culture being two of the most notorious. From the looks of it, both will play a significant role in Welcome to Noisey Atlanta. Should be interesting to see what else the series has to offer and how producers will contextualize it all.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Super Visions: Wild guesses and rank speculation

Posted By on Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 3:33 PM

WOMAN IN BLACK: Ming-Na Wen as Agent Melinda May in Agents o SHIELD
  • Courtesy ABC
  • MASK, MADAME?: Ming-Na Wen is making the most of playing Agent May and her scarred, face-thieving foe, Agent 33.

I learned from the Internet which characters Kyle MacLachlan and Chloe Bennet, his onscreen daughter, are supposedly playing on “Agents of SHIELD.” Fret not! In case you don’t know already, I won’t repeat the names I saw online.

What I will do is toss out some wild guesses (maybe they’re hopes) for "AoS" and other entertainments headed our way.

On "AoS," poor Agent 33 got stuck with Agent May’s face. Most of it, anyway. In case you missed it, Hydra outfitted the mind-controlled 33 (back when she was portrayed by Maya Stojan) with tech that let her mimic May’s appearance and voice. In the course of a fight, that elaborate mask seems to have fused onto 33’s head — except where it melted and left behind a horrific, eye-framing scar.

I vaguely recall having heard someone or other utter 33’s real name, but in the wake of the "AoS"’ midseason finale the character was clearly on the way to becoming someone else. A scarily insane someone else. Confronted with the seeming demise of her Hydra brainwasher/evil stepfather, the weight of what this woman had endured seemed to make something snap. The scene was beautifully played by Ming-Na Wen, whose stoicism as Agent May gets the precise dose of self-knowing humor it needs to be believable (the character knows what she’s feeling, but she sees no reason to share those emotions with anyone who might weaponize them). As 33, you could see whatever identity that character thought she had just … evaporate at the sight of Bad Daddy lying dead in front of her. Who might she be on her way to becoming, you ask? Could it be … “Whitney Frost”? A name that was itself an alias, I recall, once I find the proper link to Madame Masque.

Here’s hoping.

Elsewhere in the world of superspies, the happy news is the casting of Christoph Waltz in the next James Bond film. Its title, SPECTRE, has people speculating that Waltz is playing Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Bond’s nemesis and a character who’s been mired for years in legal wrangling that is, at last, wrangled. One interviewer asks the actor outright, “Is your character the head of SPECTRE?” Waltz’s amused reaction — as he says no to that question and adds, “Actually, it’s more interesting than that” — says to me: Blofeld’s Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion doesn’t exist at the beginning of this movie. Other reports say that the story involves the sinister cartel Quantum, from the first two of Daniel Craig’s (collectively quite stellar) Bond films. My suspicion? The character is a member of Quantum who has ideas of his own about how the world ought to be taken over. He’ll be dismantling that organization and remaking it as his own.

If I’m right, the result will basically be Blofeld Begins.

And I smile a Grinchy grin at that prospect. Here’s hoping your holiday wishes and mine all come true.

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Blondie gives Lady Gaga a piece of her mind at Clermont Lounge

Posted By on Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 1:39 PM


On Wednesday night's episode of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Lady Gaga told the story of her trip to the Clermont Lounge while on a date in Atlanta. Apparently, she got some unsolicited advice from Blondie, who was coincidentally dancing to "Poker Face" when she leaned in and suggested that Lady Gaga would really be the truth if she peeled off all those damn costumes and kept it real.

Thing is she didn't realize she was talking to the actual Gaga, according to Gaga. Blondie ain't stupid; I think she knew exactly who she was talking to. She's equally adept at crushing egos, too.

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ATLwood: Donald Glover's 'Atlanta' pilot comes to FX

Posted By on Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 9:30 AM

STONE MOUNTAINS FINEST: Donald Glover TV pilot got the green light from FX.
  • Zach Wolfe/CL File
  • STONE MOUNTAIN'S FINEST: Donald Glover TV pilot got the green light from FX.

Filming Updates:
>> FX ordered a pilot for Donald Glover/Childish Gambino's hip-hop-based show, "Atlanta." The pilot revolves around two cousins in ATL trying to navigate the rough and tumble terrain of the city's rap scene. Glover's playing the lead role of Earnest ‘Earn’ Marks, and will also serve as an executive producer.

>> Word is AMC's "The Walking Dead" spinoff won't be shot in Georgia. The setting for the new show? L.A. Beach walkers! Yikes!

>> ABC's "Resurrection" filmed in Norcross yesterday.

>> Bubba Michael T. Williamson made a stop by Power 96.1's Stuff-A-Bus in Atlantic Station. Here's video proof:

>> Who knew the "S" on Shaquille O'Neal's chest stood for Santa? In the words of Bill Walton, "the big fella" recently brought some holiday cheer to kids at a local Boys and Girls Club.

>> HLN's Robin Meade was in Vegas singing some Christmas tunes.

>> CW's "The Vampire Diaries" is looking for "police/military types" to work two days between Jan. 13 and Jan. 20. If available send an email with your name, age, height, weight, and all clothing sizes to tvdextrascasting@gmail.com with “POLICE” in the subject line.

>> Paul Giamatti and Ethan Hawke's The Phenom is looking for experienced baseball players (ages 18-25) and scouts (ages 35-60) to shoot a forthcoming scene in ATL. Interested parties should email CLCPhenom@gmail.com. Include three pics (head and body), age, height, weight, and all contact info.

>> ICYMI: Theaters in ATL and nationwide canceled screenings for the Seth Rogen and James Franco flick, The Interview. Even Team America: World Police isn't safe.

>>The Georgia-shot Robert Redford/Nick Nolte film A Walk in the Woods was added to the Sundance lineup.

>> VH-1's ATL-based reality series "Sorority Sisters" got the people talking and the advertisers thinking twice.

>> ICYMI II: WABE's expanding their news programming in January 2015. Here's what we know so far.

>> "In the '80s, until Time-Warner bought Turner Broadcasting, I feel that the ratings maybe weren't that important. But now we're talking a hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars industry, so the stockholders want returns, and the people in charge have to show them the returns. The return is the ratings."

>> It's the 75th anniversary of Gone with the Wind, and nobody cares.

>> Things don't look so good for the future of FOX's "Red Band Society," but the cast isn't taking that news out on ATL. In fact, they love our fair city and the video proof of their love is below:

>> So Aeman Lovel Presley, the man accused of killing two homeless men in their sleep and a Decatur hairstylist, apparently had dreams of being an actor, and had roles in couple of local productions.

Have any tips? Sightings? Encounters? Pictures? Filming news? We need 'em! Drop me a line: gavin.godfrey@creativeloafing.com; or send me a tweet at @WriteGavinWrite. Don't forget to use the hashtag #ATLwood.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Super Visions: Midseason Gulch and other cliffhangers

Posted By on Sat, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:42 PM

REPLACEMENT FACE: Hayley Atwell (Captain America: The First Avenger) takes charge of the small screen when Agent Carter fills the long midseason break for ABCs Agents of SHIELD.
  • Marvel
  • REPLACEMENT FACE: Hayley Atwell (Captain America: The First Avenger) takes charge of the small screen when "Agent Carter" fills the long midseason break for ABC's "Agents of SHIELD."

Happily, I just finished watching the gripping winter finale for “Agents of SHIELD.”

Unhappily, I won’t get to see more of this show till March 2015.

Happily, its sister program, “Agent Carter,” begins airing with a two-hour ep in January.

Unhappily, when March rolls around the cast of “Agents of SHIELD” will be at least one character sparser (good to remember, always, that this show has Joss “kill the right one” Whedon as an exec producer).

Happily, the character who failed to survive the midseason finale was not one of my favorites.

Unhappily, the diversity of the cast is also a bit sparser as a result of this loss.

Happily, the season got an injection of fresh blood that included the superb Adrianne Palicki (Bobbi Morse), on whose face something fascinating is always transpiring, and the equally superb Henry Simmons (Mac), who often dresses up his character’s uncommon stolidity with an even rarer quality I don’t have a name for yet.

Unhappily, my abhorrence of spoilers precludes much of what I’d like to write about several character arcs on “Agents of SHIELD” — eventually though, eventually.

Happily, every preview I’ve seen of “Agent Carter” confirms what two Captain America movies already communicated in no uncertain terms: Hayley Atwell is always astonishingly watchable and commanding in the new show’s title role.

Unhappily, I know that the schedule for Marvel films means that new threads introduced near the end of the “Agents of SHIELD” ep are likely to be gathering toward some bigger ball of yarn for years.

Happily, I’m a patient individual (though I did pay Amazon to see the “SHIELD” ep, rather than waiting to see it for free next week on ABC.com; pesky “authentication” protocols).

Unhappily, the midseason gulch yawns before me for “Gotham,” “The Flash,” “and “Arrow,” too.

Happily, I still have one unwatched ep each of the two CW shows, and the Twitter buzz after the Oliver Queen/R’as al Ghul death match has me all … well, atwitter.

And happily, I get to come here soon and let you know what I thought of it all.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

ATLwood: Chris Rock likes his Waffle House

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 3:18 PM

SMOTHERED AND COVERED: Chris Rock kicks it with the staff of a local Waffle House.
  • Marissa May/Allied
  • SMOTHERED AND COVERED: Chris Rock kicks it with the staff of a local Waffle House.

Filming Updates:
>> So yeah, apparenty at least four of the worst films of 2014 were shot in Atlanta. Guess we're not exactly Oscar bait. And we made a quite a few other lists as well. Here's the breakdown.

>> Oh just your weekly Ryan Gosling and Matt Bomer sighting. Nothing to see here. Move along.

>> The Robert DeNiro and Zac Efron flick Dirty Grandpa is filming in ATL and is looking for extras.

>> Looks like Paul Giamatti and Ethan Hawke were filming for their new flick The Phenom, at the East Cobb baseball field complex in Marietta.

>> So ATL's all up in the new trailer for the next Divergent installment, if you haven't noticed. Can you spot all of the ATL-centric shots? Oh hey, Shailene! Peep:

>> Singer/songwriter/Goddess Keri Hilson turned 32 earlier this week, and celebrated with 10 of her closest friends at STK. "RHOA" star Cynthia Bailey was there. Below is a shot of Hilson with Jesse Mills and STK manager Fred Alexander. Per onlookers: "They sipped on champagne, she enjoyed STK’s signature birthday along with a round of shots. She also dined on Chef Alba’s roasted chicken breast and Arctic Char entrees. She looked absolutely stunning, wearing a matching black crop top and skirt and black Louboutin’s. She was very lovely, chatting it up and taking pictures with patrons."

>> Chris Rock popped into Regal Atlantic Station for a screening of his film Top Five. He hit up a Waffle House sometime therafter where he, "joked with everyone about what Atlanta is known for — thousands of Waffle House locations, strip clubs and how the Atlanta Falcons are in first place with a 5-8 record," accoring to sources. It was part of day one of a two-day, five-city tour Rock's on to promote the film.

>> Local Queen Violet Chahcki was cast as contestant for season 7 of "RuPaul's Drag Race" on Logo TV.

>> Ex-"Scandal" star Columbus Short is apparently in ATL looking to clean up his act. Let's just says, sh*t got real after Stomp the Yard.

>> Locally shot MLK biopic Selma recieved four Golden Globe nominations. Director Ava DuVernay is making history as the first African-American woman nominated for Best Director. So maybe there's hope for an ATL-shot film to get an Oscar after all.

Have any tips? Sightings? Encounters? Pictures? Filming news? We need 'em! Drop me a line: gavin.godfrey@creativeloafing.com; or send me a tweet at @WriteGavinWrite. Don't forget to use the hashtag #ATLwood.

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