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Legendary Pictures to talk “Mass Effect” movie at Comic-Con

Legendary Pictures to talk “Mass Effect” movie at Comic-Con  (photo)

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There’s been some talk about the death of Comic-Con as an epicenter of the buzz economy. Major studios aren’t spending the money and logistical capital to get directors, casts and that all-important shwag to San Diego this year. And, if you’re a lifelong comics fan like me and my colleague Matt Singer, then there’s some ambivalence at seeing the retreat of Hollywood powers-that-be who came to Comic-Con International to mine geek enthusiasm for their marketing efforts. On one hand, studios and stars showing up to court fanboys smells like nerd victory. But, when the flip side is a movie that underperforms or gets everything wrong about, say, Judge Dredd, all that wooing leaves a fanboy feeling cheap and used.

Nevertheless, if you want to capture the hearts of a hardcore nerd fanbase, Comic-Con’s still the beating heart of disproportionately passionate pop culture enthusiasm. If you want to shore up the force of will that says a movie based on Comic Book/Anime/Video Game X needs to exist, the Hall H of the San Diego Convention Center is where you go. Legendary Pictures finds itself in a unique position for this year’s Con. The production house has worked hand-in-hand with Warner Bros to make dozens of hit movies but it’s the first time that they’ll be presenting a slate of their own.

A panel on Friday July 22 will feature “Mass Effect” amongst the films that Legendary’s revealing to Comic-Con attendees. Legendary optioned “Mass Effect” last year but it’s been very quiet as to what exactly’s been going on with the process. To shed some light, Casey Hudson from dev studio BioWare will be on hand to talk about the deal, along with screenwriter Mark Protosevich, fresh off the success of Marvel’s “Thor.” It’ll be interesting to see just how much of the game trilogy’s sprawling story–where player-created hero Commander Shepard’s mission to stop a marauding machine race called the Reapers–will be kept for the film adaptation.

This isn’t Legendary’s first foray into game-related properties, as they also acquired the film rights to global phenomenon “World of Warcraft” and Epic Games’ hit “Gears of War” franchise over the last few years. (Of course, neither film’s shot so much as a reel of film yet. Ahem…) So a “Mass Effect” movie could still be a long ways off, but there’s some cold hard facts that will come with it. Foremost amongst them is the reality that the Commander Shepard in the film will inevitably be male. If fans are lucky, then maybe MaleShep and FemShep voice actors Mark Meer and Jennifer Hale will get cameos. It may be true that everyone loves Hale as the female version of Shepard in the games. However, it’s also true that putting men in charge of saving the universe is how Hollywood’s power studios roll. But, if we have to have a dude hero in charge of the Normandy, I, for one, wouldn’t mind Michael Fassbender as Shepard. He’s got enough menace, charm and gravitas to make audiences believe he’s a Paragon and/or a Renegade.

As the company’s website manifesto says, the films they have in development share a “targeted focus on the powerful fandom demographic.” They’ve got an all-new “Godzilla” in the works, as well as “Gravel,” a film based off comics writer Warren Ellis’ bad-ass combat magician and Guillermo Del Toro’s sci-fi thriller “Pacific Rim.” A giant space epic like “Mass Effect” certainly falls in line with the company ethos but it’s also the kind of thing that seems unfilmable. The joy of the “Mass Effect” games comes from not just action, but the consequences of those actions. That dynamic’s going to be tricky to capture in a cineplex.

Do you have high hopes for a “Mass Effect” movie? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

E.coli-class-

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

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

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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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.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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