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Nerd news.

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Clive Owen and Julianne Moore.
For the un-nerd-affiliated, turn your eyes away — Comic-Con is over, you won’t be hearing more on the topic.

For the rest of you: dork on:

The big rumor on the web being ever-so-responsibly passed-off as fact by several news sources despite, as far as we can tell, remaining unconfirmed, is that Heath "If you can’t fix it, you gotta stand it" Ledger has been offered the role of the Joker in the next Batman film. Via Kellvin Chavez at LatinoReview.

Sheigh Crabtree at the Hollywood Reporter writes that Bryan Singer claimed that, despite "Superman Returns" being officially a box office disappointment (defeated by pirates — how embarrassing), he is in talks to make a sequel.

"I plan to get all ‘Wrath of Khan’ on it," Singer said — a reference
to 1982’s "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan," which is generally considered
as having breathed life into the "Star Trek" franchise after 1979’s
"Star Trek: The Motion Picture" suffered critical barbs. "We haven’t
concluded a deal. That’s always iffy," Singer added. "The intention is
to do it for 2009."

Also via Hollywood Reporter, Quentin Tarantino has announced that Kurt Russell will star as Stunt Man Mike in "Death Proof," his half of semi-double-feature "Grind House."

Crabtree and Anne Thompson have been doing some nice Con coverage at the Risky Biz blog: here they talk about "Pan’s Labyrinth" (and Guillermo Del Toro‘s admirable, if terrifying, openness to his fans); here Thompson reports on the panel in which Del Toro interviewed Alfonso Cuarón after a screening of the trailer for and footage from "Children of Men" (We’re bringing things going on to the world of the 21st century, like immigration. I said, ‘Let’s do the Battle of Algiers for the 21st century.’"); here, a description of the Matthew Vaughn (of "Layer Cake")-directed Neil Gaiman adaptation "Stardust" (preview footage was shown); and here, Thompson muses that:

Not so hunky is Nic Cage, star of Ghost Rider, a cool-looking macho flick that has been in the works far too long to be good. He also turned up for a panel. I adore this gifted actor on-screen. But in person, he is way too weird. Note to studio flacks: like Tom Cruise, some movie stars are better left at home.

Meanwhile, Film Force notes that fanboy nirvana was achieved by some when Sam Raimi premiered footage (much of it unfinished) of "Spider-Man 3" to a packed and adoring house:

There are shots of love interests Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy, as well as shots of both Peter Parker and Eddie Brock becoming overwhelmed at different points by the black symbiote suit. The trailer ends with the "money shot": the first look at the CG-animated Venom in all his vicious glory!

Fan reaction to this exclusive peek at Venom was through the roof. (Sadly, the panel only showed the new footage once.) Many of these wildly enthusiastic reactions were articulated during the Q&A session with Raimi and company that followed.

BBC has some choice quotes from the crowd ("He made the entire world happy by putting Venom in it").

And some Comic-Con love from the LA Times: Geoff Boucher describes Marvel Studios’ plans to adapt some of their lesser known characters for the screen. While Jon Favreau will be helming "Iron Man," Edgar Wright (of "Shaun of the Dead") will take on, er, "Ant-Man."

Kevin Feige, president of production for the Beverly Hills-based Marvel Studios, said that Marvel’s deep archive is teeming with those sorts of high-concept characters. By gaining creative control and some distance from major studio bureaucracies, Feige believes the comic book company can match unexpected projects with young filmmakers who grew up loving the Marvel universe and who may be more interested in exploring characters such as, say, Deathlok, Moon Knight or Hawkeye anyway.

That certainly applies to Wright, who, as a kid in the 1980s, came across an Ant-Man adventure drawn by John Bryne that captured his imagination with its shrunken-world exploits and insect sidekicks. The director now sees a film that could meld a spy story with computer-generated visuals that evoke the memorable juxtapositions of a film like "The Incredible Shrinking Man."

"The fact that this is not a hero that is defined in everyone’s mind is absolutely part of the appeal to me," Wright said. "You’re less handcuffed in what you do creatively with the character."

Tony Perry has a piece on the studios hoping to get in on the increasingly influential event:

For established studios and indies, Comic-Con has become a must. And the fans — those derided as nerds and geeks by the jocks and cheerleaders in school — are the sought-after buzz-makers and ticket buyers.

"Comic-Con is huge," said John Hegeman, chief operating officer of Fox Atomic. "It represents the core, the people who are just fanatic about this kind of entertainment. If you’re in the 17-to-24 age-group market, this is where you have to be."

+ Exclusive Scoop: We Know Who The Joker Is! HA HA
(Latino Review)

+ Singer sees ‘Superman’ sequel for summer ’09 (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Tarantino hires Russell for slasher film (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Comic-Conning Pan’s Labyrinth (Risky Biz)
+ Cuarón Unveils Children of Men (Risky Biz)
+ Sprinkling Fantasy Stardust on the Con (Risky Biz)
+ Speleers, Urban, Butler: Hunks of Comic-Con (Risky Biz)
+ Comic-Con 2006: Venom Revealed! (Film Force)
+ Spider-Man movies ‘may continue’ (BBC)
+ Ka-pow, Spidey! (LA Times)
+ Comic-Con, because the studios are listening (LA Times)


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.