R0BTRAIN's Bad Ass Cinema: Rob's Giant Comic-Con Preview!

Yes, yes, I know. Some of the best and most bad-ass films of the entire summer have been released in the last few weeks. Personally, I really dug the crap out of Predators and thought Inception was a mind-blowing masterpiece that reminded me why I loved movies in the first place. On the other hand, I’ve been completely distracted by the biggest geek event of the year: the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con. I’m lucky enough to get to go again this year, and can’t wait to take in the California sun and a crap-ton of geeky madness.

So with that, I present the ten panels I’m most looking forward to this year! Here we go!

Rob’s Comic-Con Previews: Most Anticipated Panels

10. Friday, July 23 – 10:30-11:30 Summit Entertainment: Drive Angry 3DOfficial Synopsis: A vengeful father hunts down the people who brutally killed his daughter and kidnapped her baby in the newest film shot in 3D from the writer and director of My Bloody Valentine 3D, starring Nicolas Cage, William Fichtner, Billy Burke, and Amber Heard. Join the cast and filmmakers as they showcase never-before-seen footage of this high-octane, blood-spattered road trip through hell!

Rob’s Take – I don’t know much about this one other than the description, but frankly this sounds right up my alley. I’ve become a giant fan of Nicolas Cage in the last few years, and I like his performances as ridiculous as possible, so I’m hoping that’s exactly what he brings to the table. I’m also a big fan of My Bloody Valentine 3D and would like to see director Patrick Lussier do something follow it up with an awesome piece of cinematic mayhem, and the trashier the better. If I’m lucky, this will look like a cheesier version of Death Proof in bloody 3D.

9. Friday, July 23 – 4:00-6:00 Sony Pictures Entertainment: The Other Guys and The Green Hornet – Two more sneak peeks at upcoming films from Sony Pictures Entertainment!

The Other GuysOfficial Synopsis : NYPD Detectives Christopher Danson and P.K. Highsmith (Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson) are the baddest and most beloved cops in New York City. Two desks over and one back, sit Detectives Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg). You’ve seen them in the background of photos of Danson and Highsmith, out of focus and eyes closed. They’re not heroes — they’re “the Other Guys.” But every cop has his day and soon Gamble and Hoitz stumble into a seemingly innocuous case no other detective wants to touch that could turn into New York City’s biggest crime. It’s the opportunity of their lives, but do these guys have the right stuff? Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, and co-writer/director Adam McKay will be appearing in person.

Rob’s TakeAnchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy is my favorite comedy of the last decade and the Ferrell/McKay collaboration Step Brothers is really up there on that list as well. I think both comedies are simply brilliant examples of the madness these two can produce when they work together, and you can tell how badly Ferrell’s act suffers without McKay to rein him in. It would be fortunate if film is in that same tradition, but also lets them open up further, considering the premise for this movie allows for comedic action sequences, perhaps similar to the hilarious Nascar sequences in Talladega Nights a few years ago. Also Mark Wahlberg could stand to capitalize on the critical buzz of his recent comedic turn in Date Night, especially after the dismal failures of Max Payne and The Happening. Maybe this could be the new Beverly Hills Cop.

The Green HornetOfficial Synopsis: Director Michel Gondry, who makes movies with a special, personal signature, is taking on The Green Hornet-and he’s doing it in 3D. Comic-Con audiences, prepare yourselves. In The Green Hornet, Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is the son of L.A.’s most prominent and respected media magnate and perfectly happy to maintain a directionless existence on the party scene-until his father (Tom Wilkinson) mysteriously dies, leaving Britt his vast media empire. Striking an unlikely friendship with one of his father’s more industrious and inventive employees, Kato (Jay Chou), they see their chance to do something meaningful for the first time in their lives: fight crime. To get close to the criminals, they come up with the perfect cover: they’ll pose as criminals themselves. Protecting the law by breaking it, Britt becomes the vigilante The Green Hornet as he and Kato hit the streets. Confirmed to appear in person to unveil this early look at The Green Hornet in 3D are the Hornet himself, Seth Rogen, director Michel Gondry, writer Evan Goldberg, producer Neal Moritz, and actor Christoph Waltz.

Rob’s Take – I’m really curious about this one just because there are so many question marks around this production. Could Seth Rogen actually be a credible action star? Can Michel Gondry shoot a proper superhero film? Will they show any 3D footage and could it look any good at all? This would be a great opportunity for Sony to show some footage that will absolutely blow away our concerns, and maybe make a showing that will start some buzz around the geek community the way Kick-Ass was able to do last year. Otherwise, this could be the second coming of The Spirit.

8. Thursday, July 22 – 2:15-3:15 Summit Entertainment: REDOfficial Synopsis: They used to be the CIA’s top agents — but the secrets they know just made them the Agency’s top targets. Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren star in RED, an explosive action-comedy based on the cult DC Comics graphic novel by Warren Ellis. Join him, director Robert Schwentke, and the film’s stars as they share footage from the film and debut the final trailer before it’s ever in theaters.

Rob’s Take – This one had stayed under the radar really well until the last few weeks, and since then Summit has hit us with a marketing blitz, including the very well put together trailer as well as a slew of posters. This looks like it could be a ton of fun, and appears to have veered away heavily from the original source material by Warren Ellis, which was much more dour than anything we’ve seen so far. I just know that the Comic-Con crowd is probably going to explode for Bruce Willis, whose always been very gracious to his fans, and loves the geeks in particular it seems. Also in attendance should be Helen Mirren, which is one of the most surreal announcements of the con in my opinion, and would only be trumped if Morgan Freeman were also in attendance.

7. Thursday, July 22 -3:30-4:30 Entertainment Weekly: The Visionaries- A discussion with geek gods J. J. Abrams (Star Trek) and Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) on the future of pop culture. Official SynopsisEW presents an in-depth conversation with these two creative geniuses about how technology, gaming, and global culture are reshaping how we tell and consume stories on television, film and the web. Plus: Is the superhero movie waning, or is it on the cusp of reinvention? And what do they think the pop culture universe will look like a decade from now? Moderated by Jeff “Doc” Jensen.

Rob’s Take – As movie geek, it was tough last year to beat the experience of 2009’s Visionaries panel, which allowed me to sit 30 feet away from James Cameron and Peter Jackson as they discussed the future of movies and talk a lot about a then upcoming little movie called Avatar. This year, Abrams and Whedon promise a similar experience, but the excitement comes from hearing the ideas and discussions from two directors with giant cult followings that are on the cusp of being absolute legends, especially with another Star Trek on the way as well as The Avengers ramping up.

6. Saturday, July 24 -4:45-5:45 Universal: Paul and Cowboys & Aliens – Universal presents two upcoming films in this exclusive Hall H presentation.

PaulOfficial Synopsis: Scheduled to appear for Universal Pictures’ sci-fi comedy-adventure Paul are a who’s who of film comedy. Director Greg Mottola (Superbad) will be joined by cast members Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz), Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead), Kristen Wiig (Date Night), Bill Hader (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Jeffrey Tambor (The Hangover), Joe Lo Truglio (Role Models), Seth Rogen (The Green Hornet), and Sigourney Weaver (Baby Mama) as they discuss the movie about two sci-fi geeks whose pilgrimage to Comic-Con ultimately takes them to America’s UFO heartland. While there, they accidentally meet an alien who takes them on an insane road trip that alters their universe forever.

Rob’s Take – Everything I’ve heard about this film has gotten me really excited for it. Pegg and Frost have been a comedic goldmine in everything they’ve been in together, so getting to see them onscreen again will be fantastic, and it’ll be intriguing to see just how good they are together without Edgar Wright directing them. We’ll even get to see how the duo does working against an all-star lineup from the Apatow crowd, including Rogen and Hader. Greg Mottola did amazing work with the buddy-dynamic of Superbad so hopefully that’ll translate with the style of Pegg and Frost.

Cowboys & AliensOfficial Synopsis: Director Jon Favreau (The Iron Man series) discusses what’s happening behind the scenes of Universal Pictures and DreamWorks’ action-thriller Cowboys & Aliens, based on Platinum Studios’ graphic novel. Currently shooting in New Mexico, Cowboys & Aliens stars Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford and takes audiences into the Old West, where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from beyond our world.

Rob’s Take – Alright, so no one is scheduled for this particular panel except Favreau, which would honestly be enough considering the goodwill he’s garnered over his last two movies, but it wouldn’t hurt if a certain Mr. Ford showed up either, especially after the geek community turned its back on the last Indiana Jones film (I still like it). Also, I wouldn’t mind seeing Daniel Craig there either, considering it may be a while before we get another Bond adventure. Did I mention this movie has Cowboys AND Aliens in it too?

5.Thursday, July 22 11:15-12:45 Walt Disney Pictures: TRON: Legacy

Official Synopsis: Returning for an unprecedented third year to the fans and convention that started it all, Walt Disney Pictures is pleased to present a special insider look at the upcoming TRON: Legacy. Panelists include filmmakers and talent from the film: director Joe Kosinski, producers Sean Bailey and Steven Lisberger, and cast members Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen, and Bruce Boxleitner. The discussion, moderated by Patton Oswalt, is set to include exclusive glimpses of the film, as well as a Q&A involving all panel participants, along with special surprise guests.

Rob’s Take – After three years of teasing us and showing us little snippets of footage, TRON: Legacy shows up for its final Comic-Con panel, and frankly I can’t wait to get teased one more time. Some jaw dropping footage is in order, and they’ve got one last chance to give us another taste of the 3D experience we’re in for. I’m certainly not a Tron fanatic, but I am a fan and can see where this has the opportunity to be really awesome and hopefully live up to the hype.

4.Thursday, July 22 6:00-7:00 Universal: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Official Synopsis: Genre-bending filmmaker Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz), graphic novel author Bryan Lee O’Malley, and the cast of Universal Pictures’ Scott Pilgrim vs. the World provide a sneak peek of summer 2010’s epic of epic epicness. Joining Wright will be our hero, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera of Superbad); Scott’s two current girlfriends, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead of The Thing) and Knives Chau (Ellen Wong of Unnatural History); his band, SEX BOB-OMB: Kim Pine (Alison Pill of Milk) and Stephen Stills (Mark Webber of Broken Flowers); SEX BOB-OMB super-fan Young Neil (Johnny Simmons of Jennifer’s Body); Scott’s awesome roommate, Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin of Igby Goes Down); and four of Ramona’s seven evil exes: Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha of Fair Game), Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh of Superman Returns), Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzman of Funny People) and Roxy Richter (Mae Whitman of Parenthood); plus Scott’s younger sister, Stacey Pilgrim (Anna Kendrick of Up in the Air), and the obnoxious Julie Powers (Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation).

Rob’s Take – This is going to be a special geek event. Comic-Con is definitely going to be a Scott Pilgrim crowd and the roof may just blow off with anticipation of the film’s August release. The entire cast will be present, as well as Edgar Wright, and I’m hoping we’ll get just enough new footage to get the place hyped, but not give away too much of the good stuff. Make no mistake, Comic-Con is going to be a coming out party of sorts for this film, and may just give it the momentum it needs to be huge upon its release.

3. Saturday, July 24 6:00-7:00 Marvel Studios: Thor and Captain America: The First AvengerOfficial Synopsis: Producer Kevin Feige and special guests give you an inside look at the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Rob’s Take – Needless to say, this panel is GIGANTIC for Marvel and the future of its superhero franchises. In the wake of all the problems with the Edward Norton and The Incredible Hulk situation, and Iron Man 2 not ending up as beloved as its first entry, if Thor shows up looking like a disaster at this panel the studio could be in for some major blowback. Then again, if there’s some awesome footage shown, and perhaps some test footage for Captain America, this could be the momentum shifter they need. Add in some Joss Whedon and Avengers news and you might end up with the biggest panel of the entire con.

2. Saturday, July 24 -11:45-1:15 Warner Bros.: Green Lantern, Sucker Punch, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Warner Bros. showcases three eagerly awaited upcoming new films in this Hall H presentation!

Green LanternOfficial Synopsis : Get a first look at the upcoming sci-fi action adventure Green Lantern, directed by Martin Campbell. Green Lantern is an epic adventure that crosses galaxies to bring to life the legendary Silver Age superhero Hal Jordan, who is chosen by the ring itself to become the first human member of the Green Lantern Corps and take on the vast and powerful Parallax as it threatens to destroy the world. The film stars Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, Blake Lively as Carol Ferris, Peter Sarsgaard as Dr. Hector Hammond, and Mark Strong as Sinestro.

Rob’s Take – As Marvel begins its final push to get all its ducks in a row, D.C. and Warner Bros. are getting their next big franchise all fired up. There’s a lot riding on Green Lantern and I know they’re hoping that this could be a breakout in the way that Iron Man was a couple of years ago. I know fandom is split on the first looks of Ryan Reynolds in the costume, but seeing him in motion should be a whole other thing. Green Lantern shouldn’t just be a great superhero story, but an awesome space/police adventure, which sets it apart from every other superhero franchise ever attempted.

Sucker PunchOfficial Synopsis : Fasten your seatbelt for a sneak peek at the dark action fantasy Sucker Punch, from director Zack Snyder, who previewed his films 300 and Watchmen at past Comic-Cons. A group of young girls escape the dark reality of their lives through their vivid imagination, which takes them to various fantasy locations in different realms. The ensemble cast features Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Vanessa Hudgens, Carla Gugino, Jena Malone, Jamie Chung, and Jon Hamm.

Rob’s Take – Comic-Con is Zack Snyder country. The guy has knocked the crowd out twice with footage of his last two movies, but now he’s coming with his first property not tied to a major graphic novel. Other than the recent photo on the internet, I have no idea what to expect from this, but to be sure I’m interested in what he’s bringing to the table.

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsOfficial Synopsis : Every saga has a final chapter. Kick off the year of Harry Potter with a first look at the coming screen adaptation of J. K. Rowling’s final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, with a program created just for Comic-Con fans. One way. One hero. One destiny. Don’t miss it!

Rob’s Take – Just as Green Lantern may be the start of a new major franchise, the biggest franchise to have a panel at SDCC this year is definitely the funky bunch from Hogwarts. The trailers for this have looked huge, and I can’t wait to see what they have for us. Just as it is with the other films being up-converted to 3D, I’m curious to see what this will look like if they bring 3D footage. The last two theatrical attempts at the process have been resounding failures, and I’d hate to see the same thing happen to Harry Potter when the movies should be taking a victory lap.

1.Thursday, July 22 4:45-5:45 Lionsgate: The ExpendablesOfficial Synopsis: Prepare to have your ass kicked by The Expendables, the biggest action movie this summer! Lionsgate presents exclusive scenes and the inside scoop on every punch, kick, and bloodied lip from the most iconic cast of heroes and villains ever assembled, including the director, writer, and star Sylvester Stallone (Rambo), along with Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier), Steve Austin (The Condemned), Randy Couture (Scorpion King: Rise of the Warrior), and Terry Crews (Gamer).

Rob’s Take – This should come as no surprise to anyone that knows me personally or reads this column that this is my most anticipated panel. What does surprise me is that I’ve become such a huge fan of Dolph Lundgren in the last few months that I’m just as excited about seeing him as I am about seeing Sly and the rest of the cast showing up. Thing is though, Bruce Willis, who also appears in the movie, also has to appear at the Red panel earlier in the day, and I know he loves his fans, so we may get to see him as well, and we all know that a certain Governor will already be in the state. Could be one of the biggest moments ever for action fans at Comic-Con. If this delivers like it should,

my head just might explode!!


So that’s the next few days ahead me and I can’t wait to dive into all of it. If you’re also interested, I’m sure I’m going to light up my Twitter (@R0BTRAIN) at the con, so if you want to follow all my geek-tastic ramblings then you’re welcomed to join me! See you guys for my wrap-up!

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