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NYCC INTERVIEW: Dark Horse Comics Scott Allie on BUFFY & FIREFLY comics

NYCC INTERVIEW: Dark Horse Comics Scott Allie on BUFFY & FIREFLY comics 549 250 Jana

There always has to be someone to make sure the trains come in on time, and for Dark Horse Comics (HELLBOY, STAR WARS, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) that person is Scott Allie, Dark Horse’s Senior Managing Editor.

I met up with Scott at the Dark Horse booth at New York Comic Con where I’m almost sure he stood throughout the first full day of the east coast answer to San Diego, meeting fans, pros, and press alike.

Accommodating and forthright, Allie spoke about Joss Whedon’s involvement in this “season” of the BUFFY comic, the future of FIREFLY comics with Dark Horse, and the digital future of comic books.

Is Joss’s involvement on BUFFY this year less than it was last year?

SA: It’s different. He wrote a lot of last season, and he’s not writing any of it right now. He wrote the first issue. So it’s definitely less in that way. But we’ve got more going on, you know. So he’s overseeing the script that Andrew’s writing and that Chris is writing on the two different titles. And he’s still in control of the covers and that kind of stuff. Yeah, so there’s a little less day to day. And he’s not writing as many issues as he was.

He’s probably going to come back to write some when he really wraps up AVENGERS. But for right now Andrew Chambliss is writing all of BUFFY and Chris is writing all of ANGEL AND FAITH.

Any possibility of a FIREFLY monthly title?

SA: Not a monthly title. We don’t have any interest. It’d be great to do commercially, but creatively that’s not where we’re headed. But we are going to do more FIREFLY. We actually just announced yesterday that our Free Comic Book Day book will have STAR WARS and SERENITY. And then we’re going to follow up with some more stuff later in 2012.

Any more graphic novels like THE SHEPHERDS TALE?

SA: Depending on what we come up with it might be straight to graphic novel or it might be serialized like in the past.

You guys are really at the forefront of digital comics; Where do you see the industry five years from now? Do you see it more digital, or still paper and ink?

SA: There will be a shifting balance towards digital. Right now digital is not really a significant part of anyone’s financial life, but everybody’s being really aggressive and ambitious about building it.

We’re doing our thing, comiXology has what they’re doing, and there are other companies. I think that will continue to grow. Right now it’s a relatively small portion of income in the industry. So I’m sure it’ll shift a little bit more towards that in the next 5 years.

What about the pricing model? Do you think it’ll stay similar, or drop down to due to less overhead?
It’s all over the place. I think our digital pricing is the right way to go. But there are a lot of companies that charge a lot more for digital. So right now it’s everywhere. I imagine over a short period of time it will fall in line with ours, but you never know. Maybe when it takes off people will start charging more. Right now it seems like a lot of pricing is based off of pamphlet pricing. And we’re not exactly doing that. We’re a little lower, because you’re not paying for printing.

REVIEW – MONEYBALL

REVIEW – MONEYBALL 565 312 Jana

MONEYBALL
Directed by: Bennett Miller
Written by: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin and Stan Chervin
Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt

Not every movie has to be an Oscar darling. Sometimes a picture can be successful just by achieving its goals and telling its story well. MONEYBALL is one of those movies. It’s not going to be a Best Picture winner but that doesn’t deny its greatness.

MONEYBALL is the story of Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and his attempt to change the game. One year after a painful loss to The Yankees, Beane is looking for a new path to victory. His minimal team budget can’t compete with the big boys in New York or Boston so Beane is hoping to do a lot more with a lot less. When he meets numbers cruncher Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), Beane finds his new way. Brand is an economics major who truly understands the numbers of baseball. With Brand’s advice and analysis, Beane decides to invest his slim budget in the players other teams don’t want. Brand describes these athletes as “the island of misfit toys”. They consist of unorthodox, unattractive and past-their-prime guys. But they can hit the ball and make runs and that’s all that matters. They are Beane’s only hope. They’re his last hope.

MONEYBALL is an underdog story set against the backdrop of major league baseball. However, there’s a lot of talk about numbers and strategy in the film and that’s one of its strongest aspects. A brilliant scene with Beane trying to sell and buy players flows magically, Brand’s description of his method feels natural and enticing, chart after chart of RBI and hit percentages aren’t boring but engaging.

But it’s not only the inside baseball business that plays well in MONEYBALL. Several strong performances from Pitt, Hill, Hoffman and Pratt elevate the material and give you more of a reason to give a damn about the characters. Pitt especially delivers, playing Beane with brilliant, charming leading man quality. He makes some fabulous choices with the character. Instead of portraying Beane as an angry, unhinged guy, he plays him an exhausted, desperate and somewhat flippant employee out of money and ideas. When he’s trying to sell his new method of baseball, he’s doing it because it’s all he’s got, he’s at the end of his rope. There are several scenes when Beane is trying to convince the old timers that Brand’s path is the way to a championship. His demeanor, body language and overall attitude are pitch perfect. Anyone who has ever been sick of losing will relate with Beane. This is Pitt at his best.

There are a minor missteps in MONEYBALL. I feel like the film was this close to exploring some very fascinating character elements. Beane was a promising baseball player before his career fell apart. This collapse leads him to hate and fear failure. While this part of his personality is touched upon, I feel as though there is a little missing. We get to spend time with Beane and his adorable daughter (Kerris Dorsey) but these scenes don’t illuminate Beane aside from showing him as a good dad. More time devoted to Beane’s fear of rejection and failure would have been time well spent. As for Brand, we don’t get to know him at all. I wondered about him, about his love of baseball and his decision to enter the sport after studying economics at Yale. While exploring him would have added several extra minutes to the film I think it would have been fascinating.

But there’s little to complain about with MONEYBALL. The movie performs flawlessly, like a prime baseball team coached to perfection. There’s a solid script, a wonderful plot, terrific performances and direction that doesn’t overwhelm the story. And it’s an underdog story, one that everyone can get behind and cheer for. MONEYBALL isn’t the movie of the year, it isn’t this year’s THE SOCIAL NETWORK, but it’s a damn fine film.

The Story of That Badass Scorpion Jacket From DRIVE

The Story of That Badass Scorpion Jacket From DRIVE 576 324 Jana

Many of you caught DRIVE over the weekend.  Actually, let me rephrase that.  Since the film only came in at number three at the box office, not enough of you saw the thrilling neo-noir last weekend.  For those of you awesome folk who did, you were treated to seeing not only some amazing acting, stunts, and sound design, but also some genius costume design. 

Ryan Gosling’s character of little words, shows more of personality and panache through his clothing choices.  As many of cinephiles know, costume design is an integral part of character expression- especially in this layered film.  Throughout most of the movie, Driver wears an iconic satin scorpion jacket – a jacket whose metaphor is not lost on the viewer.  He can be both soft and quite paralyzing if crossed the wrong way.  The logo itself is a reference to one of the first music videos ever made by Kenneth Anger called Scorpio Rising. We even asked Gosling about the jacket when we sat down to talk to him about the film.  Turns out, Gosling wasn’t just joking around with us when he said he “made the jacket.”

According to Gosling – who was on Conan O’Brien’s show the other night promoting the film- there was always a reason the jacket had to be iconic.

“I always wanted to make a character that people would go out for on Halloween and so I’m really crossing my fingers on this one,” revealed the actor before he gifted O’Brien with his own, brown version.

DRIVE’s costume designer, Erin Benach, recently revealed that the actor was very involved in the jacket’s design.

Ryan had been really inspired by these 1950s Korean souvenir jackets,” Benach told Grantland. “He had bought one on his own and was wearing it around. … So we built it piece by piece. We knew the collar had to be able to pop up, we wanted the knit around the wrists and waist to be 100 percent wool as opposed to stretchy nylon. We wanted every element to be perfect. We went through 15 or 20 iterations until we got it right. Which was down to the wire — about an hour before shooting!”

Benach also revealed that when all was said and done, there were 13 versions of the fashion piece made for the star during filming. And, fans of the jacket may not have to wait very long to own their own version.

“You just might be able to find them online soon,” teased Benach.

Hey, Girl. We can only dream.  If you haven’t yet, go see DRIVE – now playing at a theater near you.

INTERVIEW: The Mind of Jane Espenson

INTERVIEW: The Mind of Jane Espenson 584 404 Jana

If you have watched a TV show in the last 15 years it’s likely that Jane Espenson has been related to it in some way–the Kevin Bacon of writers, connectable to most actors, writers directors, and shows by her extensive resume. Espenson is more than prolific though, standing as a trailblazer for female writers, and a beacon of quality in a TV world that consistently seems to devalue it.

Truly interactive at a time when that virtue can be easily faked, Espenson agreed to this extensive interview about TORCHWOOD, her new web-series HUSBANDS (premiering September 13th), the fairytale drama ONCE UPON A TIME (premiering October 23rd on ABC), and her extensive career.

In the interview we touch on issues ranging from televisions cowardice regarding same sex intimacy (my words), and the difference between fantastical and reality based story telling. We also address such burning questions as which Avenger Joss Whedon will kill, and who is the bigger bad-ass: Buffy, Starbuck, Echo, or Gwen Cooper?

As the season draws to a close, what has been the most satisfying part of working with Russell T. Davies and the rest of the TORCHWOOD crew?

JE: I think that question answers itself – working with Russell T. Davies has been the best part of working with Russell T. Davies. I already like that part of my job is helping someone else realize their vision. And Russell makes that task even better by being so effusive when one of us gets it right. It isn’t that he’s easily satisfied, exactly – he can be very exacting. It’s just that he notices the thing you did get right in a scene and praises it, even as he points out the thing that needs fixing. He’s this big tall guy shouting HOORAY at me and I can’t get enough of it! I adore him!

There is a scene in the TORCHWOOD episode “Immortal Sins” where Gwen and Jack make it known to each other how far they will go to protect what they value most–That scene can’t be written by someone who doesn’t fully understand the history of TORCHWOOD and specifically those two characters. How do you capture a previously established voice so well?

JE: Well, I watched all the previously existing TORCHWOOD episodes, and I rewrote that Gwen/Jack car material over and over at Russell’s direction. He didn’t tell me exactly what he thought they’d be feeling, but he just kept telling me to go deeper. It was a great note. And, interestingly, I think it might’ve helped me that I hadn’t been writing them from the start, because Jack’s mortality made him a bit of a different guy in these scenes – we’d never seen him fighting so hard for his own life before. To see him with a horse in the mortality horse race was something new and one of the things that changed from draft to draft was realizing that I had to make him fight harder. Which meant she had to come back harder. The first draft of that script was much more about sadness, and every draft got angrier and craftier, and then it kind of earns the sadness at the end because they’re so damn exhausted from all the anger. Russell let me take the time to find those scenes. I wrote them; but I couldn’t have written them without Russell.

Would you consider coming back to TORCHWOOD if the show is renewed for a 5th season? A follow-up: if the unthinkable happens and TORCHWOOD isn’t renewed, can you see it living on as a comic book like BUFFY?

JE: I would go anywhere with Russell. If he does more TORCHWOOD, I would do it in an instant. I would also go anywhere with Joss, obviously, and will be doing more BUFFY comic book work. And if TORCHWOOD lived on with a comic, I would do that, too. I think TORCHWOOD would lend itself very well to that, actually. Joss has been great at finding BUFFY stories that would’ve been impossible to film, and that took the series forward – I can see Russell doing the same with TORCHWOOD. I have no idea if he would want to, but I think it would be very do-able.

Any chance you’ll also write for the ANGEL AND FAITH comic?

JE: I don’t have any plans to write for Angel and Faith, but I wouldn’t rule it out.

How did HUSBANDS come to be and when did you decide, “I shall rule the interweb with this”?

JE: Ha! It came to be because of my co-writer Cheeks (Brad Bell). He’s a talented performer and I’d seen his videos on YouTube. I was interested in writing for him and that sort of turned into writing with him. We came up with the idea for HUSBANDS together – let’s do a newlywed comedy with two guys – oh, and let’s say they got married before they meant to. And then we just really wanted to make it happen. It didn’t seem like something we could take directly to television, and Cheeks had experience with making things for the web, so we just decided to go for it, to make it the way we saw it in our heads. We brought in Jeff Greenstein to direct it and help us produce it, and the three of us went forward as a team. If people like it online, perhaps it’ll make the jump to TV, or perhaps it will continue online, or not – who knows? For me, it’s very satisfying just to look at this thing we made and say, yes, that’s what I wanted.

There are other shows that get lauded for the fact that they prominently feature openly gay characters and yet we see them hide from actual same-sex intimacy. You’ve said that HUSBANDS is “ready for television, but television is not ready for it”. Is Husbands built to change that?

JE: Television may have changed since I said that. TV executives can be pretty good at reading the public and I’m seeing signs that they may be readier now. We certainly hoped that HUSBANDS would help bring about that change by demonstrating that there is an audience for this kind of story. But if that change is already happening, then that’s even better!

Do you think it’s a disservice to the story when the choice is made to avoid intimacy and a full portrayal of a same-sex relationship? I mean, going back to TORCHWOOD and “Immortal Sins“, if we hadn’t seen Jack fall so fully in love with Angelo wouldn’t that have limited our understanding of how deeply affected Jack was by his betrayal?

JE: Yes, certainly, it was always our intention that we had to make the audience sense the love between them, and that we wouldn’t skip over anything that you wouldn’t normally skip over in a love story. But I actually think the even more revolutionary thing happened in episode three, “Dead of Night,” in which we saw a male-male sex scene inter-cut with a male-female one. That’s an implicit statement of equality that’s pretty hard to miss.

Many know Alessandra Torresani as Zoe Greystone on CAPRICA. She’s just a teensy bit different in HUSBANDS. Is that how the character is written, or is there room for input and improvisation?

JE: Oh, Haley is written very differently than Zoe. Alessandra contributed a huge amount in terms of insight and physicality and commitment, but the lines mostly remained as Cheeks and I wrote them. Alessandra really is a madcap 1930s comedy blonde with no filter and a giant sense of humor, so this part is great for her. I hope people see what a comedy natural she is as a result of this part.

You’re involved with ONCE UPON A TIME on ABC. From what I’ve seen that’s a show that will look to tell a story with some rather big and fantastical elements whereas HUSBANDS is grounded in reality. Do you prefer one type of storytelling over the other?

JE: That’s a fascinating way to look at it. I think most people would characterize it the other way – ONCE is an hour with as many dark elements as it has light ones, while HUSBANDS is a half-hour comedy soufflé. But I think your point is valid, too. ONCE has scenes set in a literally fictional world, while HUSBANDS is set in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. I love writing all of it – one of the things I’ve been fortunate to be able to do in my career is to vary the genres I write for. I’ve written for comedies like ELLEN and DINOSAURS and ANDY BARKER PI, and for light dramas like THE O.C. and GILMORE GIRLS and for sci-fi and fantasy shows like BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and BUFFY and TORCHWOOD. HUSBANDS and ONCE both represent chances to try something new.

Tell us a little more about Once Upon a Time. How did you come to be involved with that, and what kind of stories do you want to tell in that world?

JE: I’m Consulting Producer now at Once Upon a Time and I’m loving it. The guys who created it and are running it — Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, come from Lost and they’re very smart guys. They happened to be Buffy fans and they brought me in to look at their pilot and meet.  I loved what I saw and was very happy to be involved. Technically, I’m part time, but I’ve found it hard to stay away. We’re writing really unusual and complex and funny and dark stories using iconic fairy tale characters. When do you really get to talk seriously about Snow White? I think it might be huge.

Do you prefer working on a show from the beginning or joining an established show midstream?

JE: They both have their upsides, but new shows are so often difficult because they take a while to find their feet. It’s exciting, but it can be stressful.

You’ve worked on some brilliant shows that never found the success they deserved; is there one you miss most as a fan?

JE: As a viewer I miss ANDY BARKER PI, the last Andy Richter half-hour. I loved that show. It was very funny and very smart and had the most amazingly high-powered writing room. I think it deserved more. And there was a lot more life left in two space-based shows I’ve written for: FIREFLY and BATTLESTAR. As a fan and as a writer I mourn those both.

Many of your contemporaries and former colleagues have explored film, most recently Marti Noxon with FRIGHT NIGHT; do you have a desire to tackle that medium as well?

JE: I think I would love doing punch-up on features. Just pitching jokes in the last phase before filming. And with the right project I might want to write a screenplay, but it’s not high on my list of things-I’m-burning-to-do. I like smaller scale things – in fact, the smaller it is, I might like it better. I really liked working on HUSBANDS because I could grok the whole thing and could help control it. On a feature the writer seldom has much control.

If you were Joss which Avenger would you kill?

JE: Oh boy, I’m not going to second-guess Joss.

Bigger badass: Buffy, Gwen Cooper, Starbuck, or Echo?

JE: That’s tough. Buffy’s got magic-strength which would kick the butts of the other three. But… hm…Gwen has righteous Welsh anger. Ultimately, though, I’m going to go with Starbuck. Buffy would beat her in a one-on-one fight, but Starbuck would never ever ever give up, even in the face of that certain knowledge, and I think that might make her a badder ass. But on any given day, the math may work out differently.

What’s your favorite question, “Will there be a sequel to SERENITY” or “What do you think of the Joss-less BUFFY reboot”?

JE: Ha – I actually don’t get asked the first one that much. I get the second one a lot. Right now, they’re both being beaten by “Will there be more TORCHWOOD?”

Russell Tovey joins SHERLOCK for Season Two

Russell Tovey joins SHERLOCK for Season Two 259 194 Jana

The UK’sDigital Spy is reporting that Russell Tovey, who stars in the UK version of BEING HUMAN, will be joining Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the second episode of the second season of DOCTOR WHO scribe Steven Moffat’s SHERLOCK, titled “The Hounds of Baskerville”.

Tovey, who confirmed this news via his Twitter account, will play Henry, Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman) after suffering from a traumatic childhood experience.

A bit more from Digital Spy:

It was previously announced that the new series of Sherlock will be comprised of Steven Moffat’s ‘A Scandal In Belgravia’, ‘The Hounds of Baskerville’ and Steve Thompson’s ‘The Reichenbach Fall’.

Back in April, Mark Gatiss explained the decision to adapt “the three most famous” Sherlock Holmes tales.

I am a big Russell Tovey, and have loved his work in BEING HUMAN as well as the bevy of other shows he’s done in the UK, and he brings considerable talent to a superb show. I was also lucky enough to meet him at Comic Con a couple years ago, and he’s an incredibly nice guy as well.

If you haven’t checked out Moffat’s take on Sherlock, which places Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters in modern-day London and reimagines Sherlock as a private investigator who uses text messaging and the internet along with his mind, and Watson (a veteran of the war in Afghanistan) to crack cases, I strongly recommend that you do so, especially if you liked the TINKER TAILOR SOLIDER SPY trailer we posted earlier today.

Luckily for you, the entire first season of SHERLOCK is available on Netflix Watch Instantly, so you’ve got no excuse.

PARTY DOWN movie might really happen

PARTY DOWN movie might really happen 540 88 Jana

We’ve been teased before with an ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT movie (that’s still technically happening, by the way) so I’m trying not to get my hopes up about a PARTY DOWN movie. Series creator Rob Thomas is making it hard not to get excited though.

The whole cast was in Austin this weekend to attend a PARTY DOWN marathon. At the event, they had a Q&A with the audience and someone asked about a possible third season of the cancelled series.

Thomas’s response:

People are talking to us about doing a Party Down movie. We are pretty far down the deal-making process with that, so we’re hopeful that there will be a Party Down movie. Ideally, if it works out we could be shooting in television hiatus time next spring. Hopefully that deal will close, and we’ll all tweet about it when it does.

They’ve been talking about a movie for awhile but no one really thought it would come together. Yet Thomas seems very inclined to believe in it. Shooting next spring? Far down the deal-making process? Can I get psyched yet?

To see more from the PARTY DOWN marathon, check out Badass Digest’s coverage. After that, fire up your Netflix account and re-watch the series.

Thanks to /Film for the text.

DEADPOOL movie will be “nasty” says Ryan Reynolds

DEADPOOL movie will be “nasty” says Ryan Reynolds 183 275 Jana

Back in December DEADPOOL creator Rob Liefield caused a minor stir when he challenged Fox studios by Tweeting that “Deadpool is not Green Lantern, not a family film. DP is filthy”. Well it looks like his vision for a DEADPOOL film may be exactly what Ryan Reynolds and co have in mind.

MTV News (that’s the Snookie-free wing of the company) sat down with Reynolds during his GREEN LANTERN press tour while on break from filming I imagine four other films. Reynolds, who played Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool in WOLVERINE was more than willing to talk about the selection of visual effects wizard Tim Miller as Director and the type of movie DEADPOOL will be. The watchword is “nasty” kids.

Now while some may hear Reynolds say “the way we want to do it is pretty nasty, and pretty hard. You can’t exactly have a $200 million budget when you want to do a movie like this.” and shiver in fear that DEADPOOL will devolve into some kind of Cormanized mess of bent quips and obvious wire fighting maneuvers but it sure makes me smile.

We don’t need a version of DEADPOOL that is PG-13, benign, and toothless. Another comic book movie that sands down the sharp bits of an outright anti-hero and wraps him up in a focus group approved cloak of redeeming qualities. Wade Wilson is a scarred mercenary, ruthless, hilarious, outright insane, and nearly irredeemable. His depiction shouldn’t be robbed of those unique characteristics in the interest of a mega budget and Thor-esque profit expectations. DEADPOOL needs to be a movie for adults. A comic book adaptation and action film that for once recognizes the fact that adults are a large part of the reading and viewing audience.

Thats the movie Liefield wants and it’s the movie that the overbooked Reynolds apparently plans on making should he ever shake the restraints of Oa and find the time, because while his boundless enthusiasm has kept the project alive his busy schedule may ultimately kill it.

Wanna pick a fanboy word kerfuffle in the comments section over my opinion on the Merc with a Mouth? Lets tango, “Cash”.

Jeff Bridges still wants to make THE GIVER

Jeff Bridges still wants to make THE GIVER 412 700 Jana

For such a successful children’s novel, it’s taken a long time to turn THE GIVER into a movie. No one knows that more than Jeff Bridges.

Bridges and producer Nikki Silver owned the rights to Lois Lowry’s dystopian novel a few years ago but lost them in 2007. Variety reports that the pair has gotten them back and are once again trying to convert the book into a feature film. Bridges would star as the titular Giver, a role he originally envisioned for his later father. He’s has been rocking a fierce beard in the last year so he’s definitely looking the part and he’s not getting any younger either. Vadim Perelman (THE HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG) has been dispatched to write the script.

The book is a middle grade staple (though I read it in sixth grade, thank you very much) about a future world where the memory of society has been removed and all citizens are given a specific job. 12-year-old Jonas’s world changes when he is tasked with receiving all the emotions and memories of the past from the current Giver. This will change how he views his community and his life. It’s quite a strong book that makes some daring choices. You’ve probably seen the cover before (pictured below) as it’s become quite iconic in most libraries.

Even if THE GIVER doesn’t happen, I hope that Bridges keeps that beard. It deserves an Oscar of its own.

DVD Announcement Roundup

DVD Announcement Roundup 400 496 Jana

Disney’s animated classic DUMBO comes to blu-ray September 20, 2011 in a 70th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray. Announced Special Features include: a deleted scene and song, Taking Flight: The Making of Dumbo – A journey back to the origins of the film as everybody’s favorite baby elephant takes wing, The Magic Of Dumbo: A Ride of Passage – Witness the excitement and magic of Disneyland’s most popular ride through the eyes of a child and Audio Commentary with Pete Docter, Paula Sigman and Andreas Deja.

KILL BILL: THE WHOLE BLOODY AFFAIR Details!

KILL BILL: THE WHOLE BLOODY AFFAIR Details! 332 412 Jana

When I heard the Quentin Tarantino was guest programming the whole month long at Los Angeles’ New Beverly Cinema, I just about passed out.  Come to find out a few days later he was going to be showing the assembled version of KILL BILL – the print of much speculation and lore – needless to say I freaked out and scored tickets immediately.  Good thing I did as tickets for its two week run, March 27- April 7, have entirely sold out.

Tarantino fans have been holding their collective breath for years now waiting for KILL BILL: THE WHOLE BLOOD AFFAIR to be released.  Since there are still no plans or dates the combined version will be coming to DVD anytime soon, this was the “Holy Grail” of screenings. Oh, and did I mention, it was Tarantino’s birthday yesterday and he intro’d our screening?! That’s right.  The director of one of my top five favorite films introduced his film, a cut that had only been shown twice before (once at Cannes and once at the Alamo Drafthouse).  Forget about it!  I can die happy now.

The unrated 247 minute cut of the film played twice on Sunday to sold out crowds.  Prior to the show starting, they were selling limited edition posters by Tyler Stout (see poster below) at $50 a pop.  My afternoon screening treated Tarantino, the cinema’s benefactor, to a rousing sing-a-long of “Happy Birthday” before he got up to introduce the film.

So onto information about the KILL BILL print that was screened.  If you are seeing the special screening and want to be surprised, obviously you should stop reading here.  There will be spoilers ahead!

KILL BILL: THE WHOLE BLOODY AFFAIR was the same print that was shown in 2004 in Cannes complete with French subtitles and intermission intact.  The variations from the originals range from the subtle (alternate takes used) to the impactful (no revelation “The Brides” child had lived).  Most of the changes came during Volume 1 although there was a subtle change I noticed in Volume 2 where The Bride arrives in Acuna to talk with Estaban (More shots of the whores are shown).

Highlights of the Volume 1 changes include the “House of the Blue Leaves” fight sequence when the Crazy 88’s arrive is shown in full beautiful color (vs. the American version when it turns to black and white). O-Ren Ishii’s anime origin story contains more gore with Boss Motsumoto getting disemboweled.  Sofie Fatale looses her other arm during a car trunk interrogation.  There may have been more changes, but I haven’t see the original US version in years so it was hard for me to remember the overwhelming differences.

Most notably absent was the revelation the Bride’s child has survived, which serves as the “teaser line” in the first film to set up the second film (that premiered months later).  If you hadn’t seen the films before, I would imagine this would have led for a much more dramatic impact when you see B.B. later at the Hacienda alive and being raised by Bill.

If you are a die hard fan of the film like me, you probably already own the Japanese cut on DVD and have noticed these changes are essentially what’s on that disc.  Not much was altered from this cut but little things, here and there.  That said, if you are a die hard fan, you will want to see and notice those differences.

If you can’t make it to LA and want to experience THE WHOLE BLOODY AFFAIR at home for yourself, here is what I recommend.  Buy the Japanese disc of volume one, stop the disc after the Brides’ instructions to Sofie (after the line “Soon they will all be as dead as….”), insert volume 2 fast forwarding past the prologue and that’s basically it. 

If you are a fan of the film and are in LA, I do recommend taking in a screening of this at the New Beverly.  Also worth noting, sometimes special guests will show up and talk about the film so there might be a chance your screening will have a surprise.  As I mentioned before the run is sold out but don’t let that dissuade you from taking your chances in the stand-by line.  The odds you might get in are pretty good as they let in quite a few from that line during the show I attended.

Thanks Slash Film for the poster pic!