DID YOU READ

Adapt This: “Justice League: Origin” by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee

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With Hollywood turning more of its attention to the world of graphic novels for inspiration, I’ll cast the spotlight on a cool comic book each week that has the potential to pack a theater or keep you glued to your television screens. At the end of some “Adapt This” columns, you’ll also find thoughts from various comic creators and other industry experts about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.


This Week’s Book: Justice League: Origin by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee

The Premise: In a world that’s getting its first introduction to super-powered, costumed heroes and villains, a cosmic threat forces Batman to team up with Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and various other superheroes to save Earth. With a live-action “Justice League” movie on the way, the first adventure of DC’s premiere super-team in the rebooted “New 52” universe offers a great blueprint for the big screen that simultaneously introduces the characters to new audiences and tests the limits of what the seven heroes are capable of — both individually and united against a common threat.

The Pitch: When DC decided to relaunch its entire universe, the need to begin with a strong foundation for its most famous team of superheroes was clear — and it’s easy to see that the potential for a big-screen adventure wasn’t far from the publishers’ minds, either. Geoff Johns and Jim Lee have crafted an impressive origin story for the Justice League that feels like it could make an easy transition from page to screen.

The first story arc of the new Justice League series assumes some familiarity with the characters who make up the team but still offers a bit of context for their place in the world — something a live-action movie would do well to mimic. On top of that, the story also illustrates the particular set of skills each character brings to the group and why “a guy dressed like a bat” can be just as important as the Man of Steel when the chips are down. In this way, Justice League: Origin simultaneously introduces the characters to a newcomers and establishes how they relate to each other, covering two of the biggest requirements for a live-action, superhero team-up movie.

While the story in Justice League: Origin follows the standard team-up formula, having the individual heroes fight amongst each other before eventually teaming up to take on the big bad guy they can’t defeat individually, “The Avengers” proved that you don’t need an overly-complex plot to make a good superhero team-up movie. If you cast the characters well, then you can put them in a scene together and watch the sparks fly. With Origin, there’s a compelling narrative that manages to give all of the heroes equal time while also splitting them up in various groupings to show how different characters play off each other (similar to what was done in “The Avengers” so well).

Probably the biggest obstacle in bringing Justice League: Origin to the screen is the villain used in the arc: Darkseid. One of DC’s most lethal villains from the cosmic side of the publisher’s universe, Darkseid is significantly more alien than anything we’ve seen in Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies or any of the Superman movies made thus far, for that matter. In fact, the most closest we’ve got to something vaguely Darkseid-like in recent, prominent comic book movies are the Frost Giants that appeared in “Thor,” with their massive, intimidating profiles and noticeably non-human appearance. The Superman-themed television series “Smallville” encountered this very same problem when it tried to bring Darkseid to the screen in its final season, and ended up turning the character into a red-eyed smoke monster. Most fans will probably agree that this isn’t the way to go with Darkseid, so a live-action “Justice League” movie will need to find the balance between a computer-generated character and practical acting. (Maybe some motion-capture work, perhaps?)

Casting Suggestions: It’s a no-brainer to suggest “Man of Steel” actor Henry Cavill as the Superman of “Justice League,” but what about the rest of the team? “Haywire” actress and mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano could make for an interesting take on Wonder Woman, with a physicality that’s quite a bit more believable than some waifish actress tossing bad guys through a wall.

Warner Bros. would certainly win points from the “Doctor Who” crowd for casting “Torchwood” actor John Barrowman as Bruce Wayne/Batman, but the need to skew a bit younger could make someone like “Sons of Anarchy” actor Charlie Hunnam a good pick for the role. His ability to channel the Dark Knight’s brooding intensity could make him a pleasant surprise in the role, though all of this probably depends on whether Joseph Gordon-Levitt wants to don the cape and cowl.

As for the Flash and Green Lantern, “Friday Night Lights” actor Scott Porter continues to be a good match for the Barry Allen version of the Scarlet Speedster (he’s been the subject of a fan campaign for a while now), while the studio would likely want to continue with Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan. If WB opts to recast the role, why not go with someone like “White Collar” star Matthew Bomer (who coincidentally was set to play Superman before Bryan Singer jumped onboard “Superman Returns”). And while we’re at it, let’s go meta and cast Adrian Grenier as Aquaman so he has the chance to bridge the gap between his “Entourage” character’s career and his real-world career.

Finally, putting Anthony Mackie in the role of Cyborg will give the project a serious, dramatic actor with the chops to make Victor Stone’s tragic condition a source of genuine angst.


Would “Justice League: Origin” make a good movie? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.