Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lab Meeting

Because a lot of time and effort seems to get spent on things that do not matter.

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Battlestar Finale Rewritten, Depressing

adama1.jpgThe best thing about the recent WGA strike? It gave Battlestar Galactica writers the chance to rethink and rewrite the entire second half of their final season, according to showrunner Ron Moore, saving us from episodes with titles called "Oh Jesus, Can I Have Five More Minutes? No? Okay, Then, This Time Around Starbuck Is A Cylon, Whatever."

Speaking at a press conference, Moore explained the seeming change of direction:

The writers had worked out what the arc in the back half [of the fourth season] was already... I think [the strike] actually benefited the show in some ways in that... we started to think about things that we could change, things we could make better. And when the strike was over... we wrote the second half of the season all over again.
And as to how the season will end now? Edward James Olmos isn't optimistic:
It's devastating... don't watch this program; it's not an easy ride.

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NBC President Mocks Writers, Strike In Upcoming "My Name Is Earl" Commercial

Jeff Zucker, President and CEO of NBC Universal, will appear in a commercial to run before the April 3 return of NBC's "My Name is Earl." In the commercial, Zucker appears to mock both the writers and the strike that sidelined Hollywood for months.

"We put together a little recap to get everybody back to speed," Zucker says. "It's right here on, where you can watch all of your favorite shows, preferably within the first 17 days." A key point of contention in the writers' strike was that the writers received no residuals for any content downloaded online — and the strike agreement now provides a 17-day window during which studios can stream content without paying the writers royalties. Zucker also references online advertising, another centerpiece of the strike.

Zucker also took a non-strike-related dig at the writers, saying, "Earl gets hit by a car, just like he did in the pilot episode. Writers refer to that as a 'callback.' I call it getting paid twice for writing the same thing."


Children of Men: The Television Series

Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men was one of my top 10 movies of 2006. When I saw the movie I was so enamored with this post-apocalyptic world where women have become infertile, and no one had been born in the last 16 years. Basically it’s a world where everyone is living in knowledge that they are the last generation on earth. It’s an interesting place for a story, and I always wished it could be explored at more length.

And now my wish might be granted, as it was announced at last week’s SciFi upfronts that David Eick, writer-producer on the Battlestar Galactica and Bionic Woman contemporary remakes, is writing a pilot script for a series based on Children of Men. Of course in the movie, loosely adapted from the book (from what I understand the film used the story concept and not much more), “a disillusioned government agent agrees to help transport and protect a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea where her child’s birth may help scientists to save the future of mankind.”

“It’s really taking root more in the origins of the novels in that it will focus on the cultural movement in which young people become the society’s utter focus. Much like our culture, whenever Lindsay Lohan does something [and] it becomes the headline of every news show, it’s about how, when you don’t have a responsibility to the next generation and you’re free to do whatever you want, where do you draw the line?” Eick said in an interview with SciFi. “It’s not really a war show like the movie was. It’s more an exploration of that issue.”

The issue he speaks of is “how society defines responsibility, freedom and a sense of values when it doesn’t necessarily believe humans will survive as a species.” I’m in, especially if they try to incorporate some of the gritty visual cinematography that was part of the film.

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The Top 10 Worst Hairstyles In Music

Like Nickelback, we all yearn to be rockstars. But being a rockstar is tough for many reasons - not the least of which is landing a good stylist and securing a 'look' that'll be memorable, but in a good way. Here's a list of ten musical hairstyles that we wish we could forget.

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Mike Score
Almost too obvious to mention, the 'Flock of Seagulls'
haircut gets placed on our list for two reasons: 1) The fact that it is still parodied in the media, so that we can all relive the horror and die a thousand tiny little deaths every time it comes up on screen (Shame on YOU, diet Pepsi!) and 2) Prior to hitting the big time with their hit, "I Ran (So Far Away), (*shudder*), Mike Score was a hairdresser. His 'do was not the fault of some overzealous stylist, but sorely his own creation. Wowzers!

80's Hair Bands
Not wanting to single out one band (ahem, Poison - or Cinderella, pictured above) for this atrocity perpetrated by many, 80's hair bands belong here simply for the pure wuss-factor of this style. For some reason, rock bands spent hours teasing their hair instead of rocking out. For the sheer oxymoron-iness of the look, (and for the power ballad), 80's hair bands earned their spot on this list.

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Britney Spears
I think the MTV Music Awards have proved to us all that if you shave your head in a fit of crazy, you shouldn't buy extensions for $9.99 from a place called 'Skeevy Weavey.'

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Billy Ray Cyrus
Although Billy Ray was certainly not the first to give us the mullet, (thank you Canadian hockey players), he inspired legions of followers to get a 'Business in Front, Party in Back,' style by portraying himself as a sex symbol. Firmly believing in their sex appeal, the two-haircuts-in-one are still being sported by Cyrus' biggest fanbase much to the chagrin of those of us with, you know, taste.

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A.J. McLean
"Look at me! Look at me! Even though I'm in a boy band, I'm still a man. I can grow super-cool facial hair, and can shave it into rebel patterns that really let my audience know I'm dangerous. Sure, I sing love ballads to 11 year old girls (ew!), but as you can see by my tattoos and goatee I'm really badass."

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The Emo Cut
Just so you know, if you and all your friends share the same haircut, you're no longer unique and trendsetting. Now, you're just kind of a loser with a haircut that makes mothers all over the country want to scream, "Get your hair out of your eyes!" P.S. You look stupid. P.P.S. Cut your bangs.

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Michael Jackson
I know, I know, stop picking on Mikey! Although it is kind of easy, Jackson's hair is included more as a cautionary tale than anything else. Not only was the Jheri Curl pretty nasty to look at, (and if you ever see someone still sporting this look, stay away, as it's greasier than a vat of oil), it was also highly flammable. When shooting a commercial for Pepsi (again Pepsi?) in 1983, sparks showered on his Jheri Curl lathered head, causing Second degree burns to the King of Pop. Also, Rick James sported the Jheri Curl as well. 'Nuff said.

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Bill and Tom Kaulitz
Amazingly enough, these two twin boys from Tokio Hotel have separate looks for their hair, but each style is equally questionable. Tom sports dreads worn underneath a toque AND a baseball hat in a ponytail fashion. But that's nothing compared to Bill's 'do, which looks like he just touched the elecrticity ball at the Science Centre. It's like 80s Metal Hair on drugs, with a new-school penchant for giant weaves thrown in for good measure. Listen, twins. Dressing alike is unnecessary, but your mane style may be even more unnecessary-er (yeah, we went there). We know you've got a kabillion fans and while we do enjoy your attempts at being avant-garde, please consider a good visit to the barber in your 5 Year Plan.

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Amy Winehouse
Bundling a nasty rat's nest on your head doesn't make you alternative. Although I appreciate people that buck the trends, there's something to be said about a hairbrush. And shampoo. And that something is a little thing I like to call hygiene. (Of course, if she took down the beehive, she'd have to look for a new place to put her crackpipe.)

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The Faux Hawk
While it started off as a semi-cool look, it's been brought down to all-time douchey levels in recent years. We get it, you're hardcore. (Not quite as hardcore if you'd gotten an actual Mohawk but whatever). Here's a helpful tip: When guys like Ryan Seacrest, Jack Osborne or Chester Bennington start sporting the same haircut that you have - it's time to get a new look.

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YouTube yobs chase top video off the charts

The Italian blogger who uploaded what became the most watched YouTube video of all time says he decided to kill off his mega hit after he was subjected to a torrent of abuse from viewers on the Google-owned video sharing site.

The year-old video, which had been viewed over 100 million, was deleted from the YouTube servers last weekend by the Italian, who calls himself Clarus Bartel.

"I was fed up [with the abuse and accusations of statistical manipulation]," Bartel said in an email. "I am not interested in the first place if this is the price I have to pay."

The three minute clip was a home made video remix featuring the Brazilian band Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS) and their song Music is My Hot Hot Sex .

According to the last published YouTube tally before it was deleted, the video had been watched 114, 281, 553 times since being uploaded last April.

Unusually, over 70 million of the views came this year in the month between February 17 and March 15, the day it was zapped.

On February 29, according to figures obtained from TubeMogul (see graph) , a video tracking site, Hot Hot Sex overtook Judson Laipply's Evolution Of Dance to become the most viewed YouTube video of all time.

Laipply's clip - which has now been viewed over 79 million times - had held the top spot for more than 18 months.

On March 7, YouTube removed the Hot Hot Sex video from the leaderboard pending an investigation into the unusual traffic spike.

"We don't condone efforts to affect the integrity of our video rankings or view counts," a YouTube spokesman told at the time. "We are looking into this matter and will take appropriate action when we resolve the investigation."

On or about March 16, Bartel's video reappeared at the top of YouTube's all time most watched video leaderboard (see screen grab) but disappeared again shortly after.

YouTube has not given any insights into its investigations nor explained why the video briefly reappeared on the leaderboard after it had been deleted from the server by its creator.

Bartel said even after he disabled comments on the Hot Hot Sex video, he continued to receive "obnoxious" comments from YouTube users on his other videos.

"I was forced to continuously delete comments," he said. "[Finally], the only solution was to remove the video."

In an earlier interview with Los Angeles-based blogger Andy Baio , Bartel denied fiddling the video's viewer statistics.

"I barely know how to turn a computer on and off," he said. "Never would I have imagined that such an ugly video, made on a whim, would make it to the top of the charts."

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19 Upcoming Horror Movies We're Dying to See!

#19: Rogue
Release Date: TBA
Aussie writer/director Gregg McLean follows up his incendiary feature length debut Wolf Creek with Rogue; a movie that highlights the travails of American journalists touring the Australian outback. Once there, they encounter man eating crocodile out for fresh feast; picking off the tourists one by one from a stranded muddy oasis. If this packs half the punch of Wolf Creek, this could be a bonafide '08 sleeper. The movie stars Radha Mitchell, Michael Vartan, John Jarratt (Wolf Creek's villain) and Robert Taylor (of Matrix fame). A tentative U.S. release date is un-slated at the moment.

#18: The Box
Release Date: TBA 2008
After Richard Kelly's sublime, cryptically dark cult debut Donnie Darko, it took him seven or so odd years to release his sophomore effort Southland Tales, a widely lambasted debacle of a film that resonated with neither audiences nor critics. It appears his plans as auteur have been relegated to work for hire, now Kelly opens The Box; about a couple who mysteriously receives a small wooden box on their doorstep. Opening the box rewards with the couple with instant wealth; yet little do they know that every time the box is opened, a complete and total strange is killed. The movie features James Marsden, Cameron Diaz and Frank Langella, based on the storied urban legend by Richard Matheson. The movie is in post-production and will be released some time in 2008.

#17: Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Release Date: July 11, 2008.
The Golden Army - Though not technically a horror film proper, Guillermo Del Toro returns with his kick ass off beat comic book character with Ron Perlman reprising the titular role. Not only directing, Del Toro's new script will focus on Hellboy and his team's attempt to save planet Earth from rebellious creatures out to conquer the world, stopping at nothing short of all out intergalactic war. On board this time are the familiar faces of John Hurt, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Brian Steele and Jeffery Tambor, among others.

#16: Cell
Release Date: TBA
Horror icon Stephen King lends his conception of a zombie filled technological future run amok in Eli Roth's new film Cell. The writer/director of Cabin Fever, the highly successful Hostel and Hostel Part II, now tries his hand at adapting perhaps the most notorious of difficult material in the genre; a King novel. The film revolves around a deadly pulse that radiates through the every cell phone; causing each user to degenerate into flesh hungry fiends out to eviscerate all who stand in there way. The film is currently in pre-production and is scheduled to hit theaters some time in 2009.

#15: Teeth
Release Date: May 6, 2008 (video)
Well, what can we say about Teeth? Perhaps the best premise combining horror with humor in the most unique way since, I don't know, Re-Animator? Evil Dead 2 maybe! Writer/director Mitchell Lichtenstein (son of Pop Art pioneer Roy Lichtenstein) takes his first bite out of filmmaking with Teeth; a picture about a young girl who develops deadly fangs along the inside walls of her gender region. She lures horny teenage boys like flies to a trap, offering them something intimate they'll never forget. I mean, I've heard of a girl being a dog, but canines in her crack? DAMN!! The flick stars Jess Weixler, John Hensley, Josh Pais, Hale Appleman, and Ashley Springer. Teeth starts with a limited release in May 2008, hoping for wider distribution in the months to come.

#14: Machete
Release Date: TBA
Robert Rodriguez's send up to action exploitation can never be more evident than his soon to be straight to video release of Machete. The film stars Danny Trejo as a one time Mexican Federale, hired and ultimately set up to assassinate a corrupt senator. As Machete survives an onslaught of initial attacks, he sets out to exact revenge on those conspiring to ensure his demise. Though not your typical horror fare, this will certainly have plenty of blood shed, campy humor, nudity, even cooler 70's low budget production values, and an awesome throw back soundtrack. Fun, if nothing else! No release date has been set. Note: below is the faux trailer of Machete from the film Grindhouse and not the official trailer for the planned full length film.

#13: Mirrors
Release Date: August 15, 2008
Alexandre Aja seems to be cornering the horror remake market. After his 2006 rendition of The Hills Have Eyes Aja is now focusing his efforts on the remake of perhaps the most original Asian (South Korea) horror flick to come out in many a moon, Into the Mirror. The film, about a mall security guard who notices strange happenings in a department store, focuses on one man's tireless determination to solve mysterious murders linked with the mirrors that align the store. Aja has locked familiar American talent such as Kiefer Southerland, Amy Smart, Paula Patton, as well as British imports John Shrapnel and Jason Femyng.

#12: The Ruins
Release Date: April 4, 2008
Director Carter Smith tackles his first horror effort with The Ruins; a film about a group of young twenty something friends whose rural Mexican vacation gets side swiped upon the decision to explore an archeological dig in the heart of the jungle. Inside the ruins, an ancient evil presence festers and threatens to overtake every last newcomer; a premise that pits the survivors against each other as much as against the root of the evil (ala The Thing). The Ruins features Jonathon Tucker, Jenna Malone, Shawn Ashmore, Laura Ramsey and Joe Anderson.

#11: Giallo
Release Date: TBA 2008
Argento returns to his roots with Giallo, a slasher flick cut from the same cloth as Tenebrae, Deep Red and Opera. This time out, we have an American stewardess in Milan, who must cooperate with an Italian detective to reclaim her abducted sister from a deadly assailant simply known as "Yellow." In addition to literally translating in Italian as "Yellow," the word Giallo has come to represent a film genre unto itself; one featuring elaborate, bloodletting death scenes accompanied with strange musical tones and ambient sounds (Argento and Bava being the fathers). Along with daughter Asia Argento, Ray Liotta and Elsa Pataky will also star in Dario's latest dance with the dead. Giallo is in pre-production and has a provisional 2008 release date.

#10: The Midnight Meat Train
Release Date: May 16, 2008
From the demented mind of horror veteran Clive Barker, comes the twisted story of The Midnight Meat Train, where a photographer in the Big Apple is hell bent on tracking down and ending the life of a rampant serial killer. This particular yarn weaves horror with mystery as well as elements of the crime thriller; all helmed by Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura, who's dipped into this sort of territory with prior works such as Alive, Sky High (not the Kurt Russell piece) and Versus. The script is adapted by up and coming horror enthusiast Jeff Buhler, who currently has his own feature length horror debut in post-production called Insanitarium, which also might be worth keeping eyes on. The film stars Vinnie Jones, Bradley Cooper and Brooke Shields.

#9: Silent Night, Deadly Night
Release Date: TBA
Easily one of the most inspired, yet polemical slasher flicks ever to be sprung into the mainstream; Alexandre Aja is back at rehashing good ideas with his remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night. The movie focuses on a maniacal psycho killer who roams the streets of a small town decked in a Santa Clause outfit, viciously laying to waste all who cross his path; gorily disposing all he deems naughty, on Christmas Eve no less. The original '84 version was met with rabid criticism and protest, and although Aja can't seem to conjure an original idea for himself, he does seem to have a flare for directing this kind of material. No actors are on board yet, and a release date is nowhere in sight.

#8: Mother of Tears
Release Date: June 6, 2008
The undisputed maestro of Italian punk splatter Dario Argento is back at work, adding to his impressive oeuvre with the conclusion of the "Three Mothers" trilogy; the final installment being Mother of Tears. The film is set in Rome, where an ancient urn discovered in a cemetery becomes pierced, unleashing an evil spirit that plagues the city with murder, rape, looting; all around violent chaos. The fate of the city is left in the hands of a young art student, who with her own supernatural ability; has finally met her ultimate match. The film stars Asia Argento, Dario Nicolodi, Udo Kier, and Christian Solimeno; and a limited NC-17 theatrical release is in negotiation.

#7: 25/8
Release Date: TBA 2009
With recent artistic departures in films like Red Eye, and Paris, I Love You, Wes Craven is back with slasher vengeance in his newest project 25/8. Like many of the highly esteemed directors listed above, we all hope that one last savage entry into the genre will debunk any notion of these men slipping into effete categorization of washed up old hacks. In 25/8, a homicidal psychopath returns to his home town to stalk a handful of children who share the same birthday as the day he was left for dead. Not only directing, Craven penned his own script, and since the film is merely in pre-production without a cast, a 2009 release is looking more and more imminent.

#6: Wizard of Gore
Release Date: TBA
Herschell Gordon Lewis' original vision was so offbeat and underground that it took two years after the film was wrapped to find distribution. Almost four decades later, director Jeremy Kasten, who's headed such horror fare as All Souls Day and The Thirst, takes Allen Kahn's story updated by Zach Chassler, and attempts to put his own stamp on it. The flick is centered on a sadistic magician who finds pleasure in maiming, torturing and brutally killing his on stage volunteers. Or so it would seem! The movie will feature Crispin Glover, Bijou Philips, Brad Dourif, Kip Pardue and Jeffrey Combs. A release date has not been ascertained as of yet.

#5: From a Buick 8
Release Date: TBA 2009
Speaking of the aforementioned Tobe Hooper, the man responsible for genre greats like Eaten Alive, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Funhouse; also has the pick back in hand, ready to carve another master work in the Stephen King adaptation of From a Buick 8. The film highlights a strange car looking vessel, a Buick 8; that serves as a portal into another dark dimension for human beings to experience. Those who have read the book know this bears no resemblance to King's other automotive horror story, Christine. The film is currently in pre-production and is chalked for an unknown 2009 release.

#4: Stuck / House of Re-Animator
Release Date: May 30, 2008 (Stuck); TBA (House of Re-Animator)
Stuart Gordon, chiefly known for his comic horror gem Re-Animator, has immersed himself in the horror world once again, steadfast at work with the release of his next two features. The first, Stuck, is a blood-splattered horror/thriller dealing with the intricacies of a hit and run car accident, and the fate of being "stuck" in the wrong place at the wrong time. The flick stars Mena Suvari and Stephen Rea with a hopeful limited release to start May 30, 2008. Not to be outdone however, Gordon goes back to the well with the announcement of House of Re-Animator, delivering Jeffrey Combs' iconic role of Herbert West into the White House for some presidential comic gore. Along with Combs, George Wendt and William H. Macy are attached to star. No release date is set.

#3: L.A. Gothic
Release Date: TBA 2008
Along with colleagues like Argento, Hooper and Gordon, working on the Showtime series "Masters of Horror," has seemed to pump new, invigorated blood into horror legend John Carpenter. With a slew of misses (albeit at times fun) like Ghosts of Mars and Vampires, Carpenter now devotes his time and effort to L.A. Gothic; a quintet of horror stories surrounding an ex-Priest's fervent attempt to save his teenage daughter from the unnecessary evils of the Los Angeles underworld. With a hopeful 2008 release, so far only Brent Gorcie is rumored to play a part.

#2: Frankenstein
Release Date: TBA
Although Guillermo del Toro has been relatively silent about his plans to direct his own version of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, we're still extremely excited the acclaimed director is even considering to provide his own take on the classic story. Del Toro, who is known for directing Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, and other films, has said that he believes that he'll be able to "tell the myth in a different way." Prior Del Toro fare in the horror world include Mimic and the must see Cronos.

#1: Drag Me to Hell
Release Date: TBA
Before becoming an A-list director behind behemoth blockbusters like the Spiderman franchise, Sam Raimi was deeply steeped in the horror genre. He pushed the envelope with The Evil Dead series, combining technical ingenuity with a blend of horrific and humorous story elements. Not only that, but he basically apotheosized the character of Ash, the immortal Bruce Campbell camp cult hero. And now, for the first time since '92, he returns to the genre with Drag Me to Hell, about a supernatural curse gone awry, permeating a human host. So far, Justin Long is in line to star, an unsettled 2009 release date to be seen.

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Transformers 2 Filming Underway? Barricade Spotted!

A set of photos sent over by a friend this afternoon might lead you to believe that the filming of Transformers 2 is getting close to being underway. The pictures were snapped from a camera phone in Culver City, and they are clearly Saleen Mustangs with the Decepticon logo on the side. This just might prove that even if things have not started yet, they are getting close. We reported not long ago that Michael Bay worked on the story during the Writer’s Strike and that writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman were excited to get things underway.

Transformers Saleen Mustang
Transformers Saleen Mustang
Transformers Saleen Mustang

The most recent update was that the script is currently in the working stage, with the production set to start in June, but I don’t think that Mr. Bay would let that stop him from blowing some stuff up. As well, you will notice that there are multiple instances of Barricade, the Saleen Mustang Decepticon. Conspiracy theorists would say that maybe Transformers 2 features multiple versions of Barricade — but that is a pretty wild theory. I would imagine it has to do with needing more than one for special effects purposes — you know, just in case one should get blown up. Which would be, to say the least, awesome.

So what do you think? Is this a significant discovery, leading you to believe that Michael Bay is getting the production of Transformers 2 in gear? Or is this just some dude with 3 replicas? I doubt that it is the latter.

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New Images: Iron Man Versus Iron Monger


Rather epic new images for this summer’s Iron Man have touched down over at Yahoo that show Tony Stark facing off against the film’s main villain Iron Monger aka Obadiah Stane (played by Jeff Bridges/killer effects). Loving how the SUV above is packed with people. Click to make them all pop. I’d say about 90% of the imagery from this film so far dazzles like few comic book films before it, but there is a debate waging about how well the film will do at the box office.

Over in the comments for Peter’s interesting Video Games Vs. Movies Rant, the questionable Grand Theft Auto IV-Iron Man “showdown” is mentioned, as well as Iron Man’s status as a “b-level superhero.” All that aside, these images of Iron Monger and Iron Man launching automobiles at one another have me more stoked than the TIH trailer with The Hulk and Abomination facing off in hang time. What do you think?



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Lala Showers

Original 007 Sean Connery wants to be a James Bond baddie

It has been 25 years since he ordered a martini, shaken, not stirred.

But Sean Connery, who played James Bond in seven of the classic spy movies, has a sudden taste for a comeback - as a villain.

Preliminary discussions are said to have taken place between the 77-year-old actor and Bond producers since Daniel Craig reinvigorated the 007 role two years ago with Casino Royale.

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Hero or villain: Could Sean Connery be a baddie?

But it would take an exceptional pay-cheque to lure Connery, who usually commands £10million a film, out of retirement.

He first played Bond in 1962's Dr No, followed by From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever then Never Say Never Again in 1983.

"I wouldn't mind coming back as a Bond villain," he said. "But I don't think they would pay me enough money."

The actor who played Ian Fleming's agent on screen seven times, says he has been so impressed by Daniel Craig's debut that he wants to be pitched against him.

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The name's Bond, James Bond: Sean Connery in the 1962 film Dr No with Lois Maxwell

"I think Daniel Craig is a terrific choice," said Connery. "I think they're going back to a more realistic type of Bond movie as I don't think they could have gone much further with the special effects."

He added: "They don't pay the money for the other parts, only for the Bond character, although that wasn't the case when I was doing it."

The jibe about money is related to the fact that Connery earned just £50,000 to play James Bond for the first time. By his last 007 movie in 1983, where he also negotiated a percentage of profits, Connery was paid £3 million.

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Thunderball: Sean Connery with Lois Maxwell in the 1965 Bond movie

Daniel Craig has signed a £30 million deal to make the next four films in the Bond franchise.

Connery added that despite not playing 007 for the past 25 years, he is still typecast by the part.

Asked about losing the James Bond tag, he said: "It's not something that's ever likely to happen," he says. "It's with me until I go to the box."

He also revealed that although he has been given the all-clear from throat cancer, he suffered from the condition for over two decades.

"I'm healthy and happy. I did receive my annual medical checks last year and I'm feeling well. It means a great deal to me to know that people out there care so deeply about my well being."

His decision to semi-retire from acting has allowed him to spend more time with his French wife Micheline and he confesses that the marriage works because it's an attraction of opposites.

"There's no doubt that the French have a Celtic link with the Scots. But my wife speaks fluent English, which reflects rather badly on me, because I can't speak French. With her food and language she's very much more developed. I've had a poor education and can't even remember our wedding anniversary date."

He spends time playing golf – and watching old Bond movies.

He told My Weekly magazine: "I still haven't seen all the old Bond films, only the odd one or two. I have all the films on DVD so I must catch up on them."

Bond baddie? Sean Connery and his wife Micheline

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

RIAA doesn't want to pay for a fair defense, says victor

Even as exonerated file-sharing defendant Tanya Andersen pursues her malicious prosecution case against the music industry, there is some unattended business left over from the RIAA's original copyright infringement lawsuit. After the RIAA threw in the towel on its lawsuit against Andersen, she sought and won an award of attorneys' fees. The two parties are now trying to settle the bill, and the RIAA is only willing to pay one tenth of what Andersen's attorney is seeking.

Andersen's attorney, Lory Lybeck, is looking for just under $300,000 in fees from his defense of Andersen. The $298,995 figure submitted to the court includes a "multiplier" of two times the "reasonable" hourly rates due to the "high risk, successful" defense (Oregon law allows for multipliers).

In a brief filed earlier this month, the RIAA called the $298,995 figure "excessive" and said that it should be drastically slashed to something along the lines of $30,000. In the RIAA's opinion, Atlantic v. Andersen was a "straightforward copyright infringement claim," and the labels' independent expert believes that the fees sought are excessive "in numerous respects."

Lybeck takes issue with the RIAA's characterization of the case in his reply to the RIAA's brief. "Contrary to plaintiffs' argument, this copyright case was anything but typical or 'straightforward,'" argues Lybeck. "As the court has previously found, the proceedings were complicated, prolonged, and made more expensive by the plaintiffs' unreasonable tactics throughout the case."

Indeed, the mere existence of a malicious prosecution case accusing the RIAA of all sorts of questionable tactics seems to belie the labels' claim that Atlantic v. Andersen was "straightforward." The RIAA stands accused of racketeering, fraud, deceptive business practices, and a host of underhanded tactics such as seeking to directly contact Andersen's then-eight-year-old daughter under false pretenses.

Recently retired Judge Donald Ashmanskas, who presided over Atlantic v. Andersen, took issue with the labels' tactics, writing "[w]hatever plaintiffs' reasons for the manner in which they have prosecuted this case, it does not appear to be justified as a reasonable exploration of the boundaries of copyright law." The RIAA did not act "in an objectively reasonable matter," Judge Ashmanskas wrote in one ruling.

Lybeck is seeking payment for over 540 hours of work. That's way too much, argue the labels, because those hours include time spent on counterclaims that were voluntarily dismissed as well as on "talking to the media" and working on the attorneys' fees question. Lybeck replies that all of those things are covered and notes that the argument the RIAA makes is "exactly the opposite" of those made throughout the case.

That's not the only double standard from the RIAA, Lybeck says. He notes that the RIAA frequently had multiple attorneys present in court, including six at a single hearing. Despite that, the RIAA says that Andersen's having just two lawyers present at a hearing or deposition is "duplicative" and that only one should be reimbursed. "Defendants like Ms. Andersen... should be allowed to defend themselves as aggressively as the RIAA prosecutes claims against them," Lybeck counters.

The labels are also upset about Lybeck's travel expenses. Lybeck told Ars earlier this month that the RIAA was digging its heels in on that issue. "Andersen tried to get a local lawyer," he told us. "But no one would take the case unless she agreed to default on the judgment and file bankruptcy."

Ultimately, the dustup over attorneys' fees isn't that surprising. Losers seldom like writing checks for the winners, and the RIAA is no exception. After exonerated defendant Debbie Foster won an attorneys' fees award in the case the RIAA brought against her, the RIAA appealed and dragged its feet before finally cutting a $68,685 check.

As was the case with Capitol v. Foster, there's likely going to be more back and forth before a final fee is agreed upon—or ordered by the judge. One thing is certain: the RIAA sued, lost, and the judge has said it is going to have to pay up.

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Reznor vs. Radiohead: Innovation Smackdown

Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have been taking turns giving the music industry the finger. The British band made headlines last October for releasing In Rainbows without the support (read: control) of a record label, and Trent Reznor's group followed suit with last month's Ghosts I-IV.

The two bands have also been busy one-upping each other with their innovative promotion strategies. We were tempted to let the groups coexist peacefully at the forward edge of digital distribution until Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor accused Radiohead of betraying fans by selling them low-quality files. In light of Reznor's accusations, we put together a 10-round, voting-enabled smackdown to find out which band is really blazing the trail of innovation.

Click on the head next to the best argument in each round.

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Sweded Tron Movie Is Probably Best Sweded Movie Ever

While it's not the entire movie, this sweded lightcycle scene from Tron, every computer geek's favorite movie this side of War Games, has to be the best sweded version of a film in the entire history of sweded films. It may not be as funny as the hilarious sweded BigDog quadruped robot or the sweded Star Wars after the jump, but the execution of its cardboardish cheesiness is absolutely perfect.

And yes, I like to say "swede." I like swedes, some of my best friends are swedes, and I want to move to Sweden. I can't have enough of the TIE Fighters here either.

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50 Movies That All Guys Should See Before They Die - A Modern Guide

Classic movies like Bullit, Easy Rider, The French Connection, amongst others, are guy movies, but our list is a modern guide (past 20 years). The movies in this list are pretty much everything that chick flicks are not: any or all of bad ass cars, ass-kickings, kick-ass girls, scary monsters, super creeps, outrageous or immature comedy, with the occasional bit of real emotional or intellectual depth. It’s not necessarily about an award-winning film, though we’ve included lots of those. It’s about the elements of a guy movie. Some of these should be seen for the actors/ acting, some for the story, others for the cinematography or special effects, and still others for more obscure reasons that are harder to define well.

Enjoy, and feel free to commend us or tell us how dumb we are for forgetting YOUR fave guy movie. But beg, borrow, torrent, buy, rent, pay per view, and pass the buttered Orville, please. In each of the five main sections (#50-41, #40-31, etc.), to see a larger poster, trailer, and movie details, please click on the movie title.

Please also note that much of the content in these movies, and sometimes the video trailers, is intended for adults and might be occasionally be NSFW. View with discretion.

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4 Questions for Star Wars Modelmaker Grant McCune

Before the days of computer-generated graphics (fighting Transformers! scowling sabertooth tigers!), filmmakers such as George Lucas relied on tiny plastic models to lure us into a world of X-Wings, Death Stars and Millennium Falcons. Back then, it took a lot of time and a lot of imagination to trick the eye into believing that the fate of the Rebellion rested in a small piece of plastic. Still, many film buffs maintain, the old models looked more realistic than today’s expensive effects. Lucas’s team of F/X wizards took home an Oscar for Star Wars in 1977, and one of the quiet but crucial innovators among them was Grant McCune. Since then, he’s built models for over 100 films, spanning decades of sci-fi and action classics, from Star Trek: The Motion Picture to Speed and Spider-Man 2. McCune granted PM a rare interview from his California-based studio, where his company, Grant McCune Design, still pumps out today’s R2-D2 2.0 designs. —Seth Porges

What’s the secret to making a good model?
For motion picture miniatures and production miniatures, I’ve always told people to get a good background in photography first. The most important thing is what you see with your eye. Movies are a lot different from reality. This is because you’ve isolated the viewer’s eye to a certain spot—you can’t look anywhere else. If you’re a photographer, you get the idea of what you need to do by analyzing what it is that needs to be set and where it is and how much detail it should have. All the best people who ever worked for me were first good with the eye.

So what should amateurs do to perfect this?

Just look at photographs, sit and analyze what’s there and where it’s positioned. Miniaturization is really just fooling the eye about perspective—how far away it is really. The 1:10 scale is just 10 times closer. If you’re a hobbyist and want to become a movie modelmaker, take your models and set them up and photograph them and see if they look real. You can use real background with your model—they call them dioramas in hobby modeling. Some work as a diorama, but they don’t work as a realistic miniature. So you need to try different things and see what works.

What’s the simplest way to make your models better?
The first big thing is what we call surface excitement or surface enhancement. If you take a model of a 747, it’s pretty plain, it’s pretty homogeneous across the body. But if you look closely, there are really subtle differences in contrast, reflections, oil, grease spots, dents. We try to overdo that a bit. It’s kind of like extra makeup on a model: You try to get all those blank spaces that are just going to pass as nothing, and then a little excitement and a little enhancement. It doesn’t have to be real, it just has to be something that fools the eye. For Star Wars, for the models of spaceships we used to make, all the stuff on them was model kit parts from tank and bridge models. We just put them in places they were needed. And the marks don’t have to have rhyme or reason—the Millennium Falcon probably had 15 pounds of model parts off plastic trees taken from tank and bridge kits. You just clip out the stuff and glue it on and then paint it­. We painted the Millennium Falcon all gray—it makes the lighting right. There’s a certain three-dimensionality about it.

What’s the perfect scale for making a model look real?
If it’s kinetic and in motion, it has to be pretty big—minimum 1:4 scale. If it has to blow up or fall in water, then you need to go bigger, because water and fire don’t miniaturize well. Almost everything else does, but water has this peculiar property. Water drops are white when you see a bunch of them, but up close they’re clear. It’s because of surface tension.

And scale also depends on how big a space you have to photograph in. I’ve used car models that were down to 1:24 or 1:32, but they were just background stuff. And then, in the movie Daylight, we built all these 1:4 scale models that had to actually look like they were moving. When you get too small, it gets pretty tedious.

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Dr Pepper Will Give Everyone* in America a Free Soda If Axl Rose Releases New Guns N' Roses Album, Chinese Democracy, In 2008

PLANO, Texas, March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Tired of a world in which Americans idolize wannabe singers and musicals about high schoolers pass as rock 'n roll music, Dr Pepper is encouraging (ok, begging) Axl Rose to finally release his 17-year-in-the-making belabored masterpiece, Chinese Democracy, in 2008.

In an unprecedented show of solidarity with Axl, everyone in America, except estranged GNR guitarists Slash and Buckethead, will receive a free can of Dr Pepper if the album ships some time -- anytime! -- in 2008. Dr Pepper supports Axl, and fully understands that sometimes you have to make it through the jungle before you get it right.

"It took a little patience to perfect Dr Pepper's special mix of 23 ingredients, which our fans have come to know and love," said Jaxie Alt, director of marketing for Dr Pepper. "So we completely understand and empathize with Axl's quest for perfection -- for something more than the average album. We know once it's released, people will refer to it as "Dr Pepper for the ears" because it will be such a refreshing blend of rich, bold sounds -- an instant classic."

Show your support for Axl and get on the nightrain of encouragement at -

About Dr Pepper

Dr Pepper is a leading brand in the beverage portfolio of Plano, Texas-based Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages (CSAB), a subsidiary division of Cadbury Schweppes plc . CSAB is one of the largest producers of soft drinks and premium beverages in the Americas. CSAB's brand portfolio includes Dr Pepper, 7UP, Snapple, Accelerade, Mott's Apple Juice and Sauce, RC Cola, A&W Root Beer, Sunkist Soda, Canada Dry, Hawaiian Punch, Schweppes, Diet Rite, Clamato, Mr & Mrs T Mixers, Holland House Mixers, Rose's, Mistic, Yoo-hoo, Orangina, IBC, Stewart's, Nantucket Nectars and other well-known consumer brands. For additional information on CSAB and its products, visit

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Trippiest Twilight Zone Episode Becomes A Movie

A classic Twilight Zone episode written by Richard (I Am Legend) Matheson is getting a big-screen update called Countdown. The original episode, "Death Ship," is about three astronauts who arrive on an alien planet, only to find their own dead bodies, in a crashed version of their own ship. The movie version will be written and directed by Michael Brandt, co-writer of 3:10 To Yuma and the upcoming Wanted. Details (and spoilers) below.

Says Brandt:

Countdown is fantastic because it wraps the themes of fate and predestination in a movie that is really a giant puzzle (that will also) be fun for the audience to piece together... The updates that are successful - not just of this but of any of the great 1950s Sci-Fi concepts - are those that take the idea and bring a modern sensibility to it. When it misses sometimes, it's because people get caught up in the story from start to finish.
"Death Ship" was a short story by Matheson before he adapted it into a TV episode. In the famous TV version, after the astronauts discover their own wrecked ship and corpses, they reason that they've jumped forward in time and all they have to do is change their actions to avoid this fate. (Which could be the "predestination" stuff Brandt is talking about.) But there's also a lot of other stuff, including the astronauts seeing visions of their dead friends, and it's hinted that they may actually be dead already, and just seeing weird afterlife visions. The whole episode is up on YouTube.[SciFiNow]

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Sir Ian McKellen Says He WILL Return as Gandalf in The Hobbit!


Although most of us knew this had to be the case or else we would have protested the making of The Hobbit, profound British actor Sir Ian McKellen confirms that he most definitely will return as the wonderful wizard Gandalf! Earlier today on his official website, McKellen answered numerous fan questions in an E-Post, two of which pertained specifically to The Hobbit. The short of it is that he will be back and he even in fact mentions Guillermo del Toro as the director, but unfortunately there is no signed deal yet and it's still not close to moving into production.

The third question down gets right to the point - will you again be our Gandalf in The Hobbit now that the deal is settled?

"Yes I will, if Peter Jackson and I have anything to do with it, he being the producer and me being, on the whole, a very lucky actor. I've just read your quote out loud - fabulous speech."

The quote he speaks of is one that the questioner took straight from The Hobbit: Shall the dreaming masses with their musty books and their blackened pipes at long last hear those immortal words issued from under that famous nose? "Yes, yes, my dear sir–and I do know your name, Mr. Bilbo Baggins. And you do know my name, though you don't remember that I belong to it. I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me! To think that I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took's son, as if I was selling buttons at the door!"

One other question inquired as to whether he had actually be approached by Peter Jackson yet since filming is supposed to commence in 2009. His answer:

"Encouragingly, Peter and Fran Walsh have told me they couldn't imagine The Hobbit without their original Gandalf. Their confidence hasn't yet been confirmed by the director Guillermo del Toro but I am keeping my diary free for 2009!"

Oh thank the heavens! Things are already starting to look up for The Hobbit! I couldn't imagine it without McKellen either and I can say that this is easily the biggest sigh of relief ever to hear him utter those words. Now the next big step is actually getting this off the ground and into production. Unfortunately given that New Line buckled, it's probably going to take even more time for this to actually come together. At least we can sit in confidence knowing that our beloved Gandalf will be back while we wait until Peter Jackson, New Line, and Warner Brothers work out their woes.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Take 10: Marvel's Best Buddy Teams

By Ben Morse

Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas. This go around, the Cabal says goodbye one of its personal favorites, as CABLE & DEADPOOL #50 ends is five-plus year run this week, and to honor the oddball teaming of C&D, they've chosen to select their personal choices for Marvel's ten best buddy teams of all time. Keep reading on to learn what duos shined and where you can read more about them on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!

First Meeting:.GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1 (1975)
They're Kinda Like… Drinking buddies
Their Deal: Perhaps no two members of the second generation of X-Men seemed more different than the surly, violent Wolverine and the playful, religious Nightcrawler, but Logan and Kurt Wagner proved the old adage that opposites attract. As teammates, they've always had each other's backs, but as friends, they shared an even closer bond.
Why They Make The List: Wolverine quickly came to enjoy the company of the man he playfully referred to as "Elf," and Nightcrawler came to see Logan as a far deeper, more intelligent fellow than his gruff exterior would indicate. Each allowed the other to display more the reality beneath the surface their fellow X-Men perhaps weren't ready to see.

Titanic Team-Up: On a trip up to the Great White North of Canada, Wolverine and Nightcrawler pay a visit to Wolvie's old team, Alpha Flight, and wind up drawn into their pursuit of the wild Wendigo. Kurt ends up getting blindsided by the beast and taken out of the fight, leaving Logan to go claw-to-claw with the monster, but Nightcrawler teleports back into action just in time to turn the tide. (X-MEN v1 #139-140—1980)
Spotlight Comic: WOLVERINE v2 #6, Nightcrawler meets Logan in a mutant bar to try and help his friend sort his life out

First Meeting:.X-MEN v1 #129 (1980)
They're Kinda Like… Surrogate father and surrogate daughter
Their Deal: When young Kitty Pryde first joined the X-Men, she and the feral brawler Wolverine kept their distance from one another, but Logan gradually came to feel a paternal obligation to care for the teenager and keep her out of trouble. As Kitty grew older and became formidable in her own right, in large part thanks to Logan's training, she and Wolverine remained close and the loner began to trust and rely on his protégé as an equal.
Why They Make The List: Relationship between men and women that don't involve physical attraction often end up being the most interesting to follow when it comes to comics. Equally interesting as far as Wolverine and Kitty go has been how she caused him to break from his isolationist tendencies and reach out to become a friend and protector, giving Logan far more dimensions than simply being the scary guy with claws. For his part, Wolvie helped Kitty grow from wannabe into legit X-Man as well.
Titanic Team-Up: When Wolverine's evil former mentor Ogun

lures Kitty to Japan by capturing her father, the malicious martial artist manages to brainwash the young mutant into becoming his personal assassin. Wolverine frees Kitty from Ogun's mental reprogramming and the two X-Men overthrow their mutual tormentor, with Logan delivering the killing blow his young ally refuses to give. (KITTY PRYDE AND WOLVERINE #1-6—1984-1985)
Spotlight Comic: X-MEN v1 #141, in "Days of Future Past," possible future versions of Kitty and Wolverine fights to save mutantkind from the Sentinels

First Meeting:.IRON MAN v1 #118 (1979)
They're Kinda Like… Corporate colleagues
Their Deal: James Rhodes met Tony Stark only moments after the birth of Iron Man, a marine whose helicopter had been shot down right near where the billionaire had been captured by warlords and forced to construct his famous armor. Stark helped Rhodes repair his chopper and they escaped together, then upon returning to the U.S., the former marine became the industrialist's pilot and closest confidante. When Stark faced the demons of his alcoholism, Rhodes took over as Iron Man, and later he received his own armor, becoming War Machine.
Why They Make The List: Tony Stark may be the alpha male of the Marvel Universe, with his wealth, good looks and power, but he still needs a pal to catch him when he stumbles and smack him when he's being an ass. Before James Rhodes became the second Iron Man, no lead character in the history of comics trusted one of his supporting cast enough to turn over his very identity to him on a regular basis. Whether they're teaming or at odds, that trust and respect has always made Marvel's iron men an interesting pair.
Titanic Team-Up: After a period of estrangement, Tony and

Rhodey find themselves reunited under the worst of circumstances, captured by the Mandarin, their armors deactivated by the villain's anti-technology field. War Machine manages to escape with the help of Force Works member Century, and later returns with an army at his back to help Iron Man put the finishing touches on halting the Mandarin's dreams of conquest, repairing their friendship in the process.
Spotlight Comic: BLACK PANTHER #23, Iron Man teams with Rhodey's Sentinel Squad against the Black Panther and Storm at the height of Civil War hysteria

First Meeting:.NEW MUTANTS v1 #98 (1991)
They're Kinda Like… The odd couple
Their Deal: Deadpool first entered Cable's life as a mercenary hired to kill the mutant soldier, and the duo remained at odds for years, but recent circumstances forced Wade Wilson and Nathan Summers to become first allies and then the most unlikely of friends. Deadpool sincerely believed in Cable's plans to try and change the world for the better—even if he drove him nuts every step along the way—and while a rift grew between the two when they were on opposite sides of the Civil War, they eventually reunited.
Why They Make The List: There's certainly some depth to the strange friendship between Cable and Deadpool, but at the end of the day, they're just fun to watch. Wade's manic psychosis playing off Nate's bemused god complex proves good for a barrel of laughs any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Whether it's Nate paying Wade in secret to perform mercenary jobs for him to boost his buddy's self esteem or 'Pool's disturbing dreams involving Cable and sunscreen, these two will always put a smile on your face.
Titanic Team-Up: Like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cable and Deadpool have one last hurrah before the former rides off into the sunset of

"Messiah CompleX," defending the ruins of Providence from a trio of Marauders. Cable saves his buddy from a beating by Sabretooth by blasting the feral mutant right off the island and then the odd couple teams one final time against Gambit and Sunfire before Deadpool bids his only true friend an emotional, if quirky, farewell. (CABLE & DEADPOOL #42—2007)
Spotlight Comic: CABLE & DEADPOOL #19, as Cable ages back to adulthood, Deadpool tries and play mentor to his buddy with entertainingly disturbing results

First Meeting:.CAPTAIN AMERICA v1 #117 (1969)
They're Kinda Like… War veterans
Their Deal: Sam "Snap" Wilson, a respected community leader who fell on hard times and became a mob racketeer, originally became the Falcon as an unwitting pawn of the Red Skull, who erased his criminal personality and steered him towards becoming Captain America's partner hoping to have a sleeper agent. However, even after Cap and Falcon learned of Wilson's true origins, both forged past what had come before and with Steve Rogers' help, Sam continued on as a proud and moral hero, in and out of costume.
Why They Make The List: At the time that Captain America took on Falcon as a partner, the idea of one of comics' most famous characters teaming with a black man may have seemed radical, but it quickly became evident that neither Steve Rogers nor Sam Wilson saw the other as simply a skin color. The Cap-Falcon relationship has always been less about race and more about two men who consider themselves to be equals. Sam Wilson remains one of the few characters not intimidated by the iconic Sentinel of Liberty, willing to call him out on his faults, making him one of Cap's most invaluable allies.
Titanic Team-Up: Facing the lethal marriage of advanced

technology with base human emotion, Cap and Falcon were tasked to find and dismantle the Madbomb, a sonic weapon able to drive any within its range insane and turn them violent created by Mason Harding for the Royalist Forces of America. The patriotic pals quelled a mad riot in Harlem before battling their way through hordes of psychotic civilians to disable the device. (CAPTAIN AMERICA v1 #193-200—
Spotlight Comic: CAPTAIN AMERICA #177, Cap's retirement forces the Falcon to fight alone

First Meeting:.AVENGERS v1 #151 (1976)
They're Kinda Like… The class clowns
Their Deal: When Wonder Man emerged from being "dead" for years and became a probationary member of the Avengers, he immediately bonded with his teammate, Beast, who took it upon himself to reintroduce Simon Williams to the world after he had slept away years of his life. The two shared common interests like theater and literature, but perhaps more importantly, Beast provided Wonder Man with a guide to an unfamiliar landscape he could count on, and Simon Williams gave the bestial Hank McCoy a true friend who saw past his physical appearance to the man inside.
Why They Make The List: Among a team of billionaire playboys, peak human super soldiers and literal gods, Beast and Wonder Man found themselves the odd men out of the Avengers, a fun-loving furball with a vocabulary as big as his feet and a man who could move mountains with his muscles, but whose painful shyness proved his greatest vulnerability. Both were underdogs in the midst of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and when they got together you couldn't help but root for them to score the upset.

Titanic Team-Up: On vacation in Los Angeles, Beast and Wonder Man come under fire from Simon's old enemy Lotus Newmark. Fending off attacks from both the armored mercenaries Armed Response and the massive It the Living Colossus, the pair of former Avengers manage to expose Lotus's criminal empire and end her cover as a legitimate businesswoman. (AVENGERS TWO: WONDER MAN & BEAST #1-3—2000)
Spotlight Comic: WONDER MAN: MY FAIR SUPER HERO #2, Beast tries to help Wonder Man reform the lethal Ladykiller

First Meeting:.CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 (1941)
They're Kinda Like… Big brother and little brother
Their Deal: When Steve Rogers became Captain America and got shipped overseas, the U.S. government assigned him a sidekick in the form of James "Buchanan" Barnes, but while Cap initially expressed concern about a young boy riding into battle with him, those fears quickly dissipated when he realized Bucky could hold his own in a fight like few others. Rogers thought he lost Bucky forever when he seemingly perished disarming a weapon launched by Baron Zemo, but many years later the prodigal son returned as the Winter Soldier, a brainwashed mercenary who Cap managed to snap out it. Today, with Rogers dead, Bucky has become the new Captain America.
Why They Make The List: It's great to have a hero, but living up to your idol's expectations can be a chore like none other. Likewise, it's nice to have somebody look up to you, but a lot of pressure to never falter in their eyes. Cap and Bucky both made each other better heroes because of their mutual respect and the responsibility each felt to his respective partner. For a long time we only knew bits and pieces of their relationship, but the last few years worth of stories in CAPTAIN AMERICA have opened up amazing hidden chapters and given the duo far more depth.
Titanic Team-Up: Barely freed from his programming as the Winter Soldier, Bucky

hops a plane to England in hopes of thwarting a terrorist plot by the Red Skull and Cap follows in hot pursuit. Without even planning to work in tandem, the veteran partners end up assisting one another in spite of themselves, beating back the new Master Man and putting a crimp in the Skull's plans. (CAPTAIN AMERICA v5 #18-21—2006)
Spotlight Comic: CAPTAIN AMERICA 65TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL, flashback to a classic World War II adventure starring Cap and Bucky

First Meeting:.FANTASTIC FOUR v1 #1 (1961)
They're Kinda Like… Brothers who fight—a lot
Their Deal: When Reed Richards took that fateful trip into outer space that gave birth to the Fantastic Four, along with his girlfriend Susan, he also brought along his best friend Ben Grimm, doomed to be the Thing, and her brother Johnny, the future Human Torch. As the FF became a family, the playful and often immature Torch did his best to lift the morose Thing out of his frequent doldrums, but often went too far with his pranks. Though they drive each other nuts, the Torch and Thing consider one another to be like brothers.
Why They Make The List: Many of us have that brother or sister who drives us nuts—and the rest of us may have found friends who fill that role—but who at the end of the day we still love because, hey, they're family. Ben and Johnny embody those two guys who will beat the crap out of each other for hours on end, but the minute somebody else takes a shot at one guy, he's got to contend with both. There's a refreshing realism in two heroes who don't get along perfectly, but at the

same time, couldn't be closer.
Titanic Team-Up: Ben comes to his burning bud's aid when Johnny finds himself over his hothead against the awesome Dragon Man. While the Fantastic Two manage to put the reptilian wrecker away, they end up practically destroying State University's campus in the process—no doubt Reed ended up footing the bill. (HUMAN TORCH #12—2004)
Spotlight Comics: FANTASTIC FOUR: FIRST FAMILY, the origin of Ben, Johnny and the rest of the FF is re-told

First Meeting:.AMAZING SPIDER-MAN v1 #1 (1963)
They're Kinda Like… High school rivals
Their Deal: Shortly after becoming Spider-Man, Peter Parker invaded the headquarters of the Fantastic Four, hoping to become a member, and while he didn't end up joining the team, he certainly made an impression, particularly on fellow teenager the Human Torch, Johnny Storm. Over the years, Spidey and the Torch grew from bitter rivals for publicity and respect to close friends, leaning on one another in times of crisis.
Why They Make The List: Perhaps no ongoing friendship in the Marvel Universe has produced more mirth over the years than the never-ending game of one-upmanship between Peter Parker and Johnny Storm. However, on a more emotional level, readers have gotten to grow over the years alongside these characters and their relationship, as they matured from insecure and jealous teenagers desperate for one another's approval to adults who can jab each other but still lend an ear when their buddy's going through hard times—and of course no matter how old they get, they'll still be webbing and burning each other's boxers.
Titanic Team-Up: With the Fantastic Four enduring rare bad publicity as a result of

Mr. Fantastic temporarily taking over Latveria, Johnny turns to his pal Spider-Man—no stranger to negative public sentiment—for advice. Their conversation gets interrupted by Hydro-Man, and after the heroes dispatch their foe, Spidey helps the Torch get back in the good graces of nearby onlookers, despite having enjoyed his brief time as the more popular of the two. (FANTASTIC FOUR #512-513—2004)
Spotlight Comics: SPIDER-MAN/HUMAN TORCH, five memorable meetings through the years between the Wallcrawler and his fiery friend

First Meeting:.LUKE CAGE, POWER MAN #48 (1977)
They're Kinda Like… Twin brothers from different mothers
Their Deal: Luke Cage—then Power Man—and Danny Rand—aka Iron Fist—first met when the nefarious Bushmaster blackmailed Cage into attacking Fist's lover Misty Knight and her friend Colleen Wing, and the quartet teamed to turn the tables on the villain. Luke and Danny decided to continue teaming as the Heroes For Hire, taking on jobs as super-powered bodyguards and private investigators. The organization would disband in the wake of Danny's seeming death, but after his return years later, Cage and Fist have remained close and continued to watch each other's backs, including currently as members of the New Avengers.
Why They Make The List: Initially, two characters with seemingly nothing in common got thrown together because neither could sustain an ongoing series on their own. As time went by, we came to see that the teaming of a jaded, street smart tough guy with a laid back, philosophical master of the martial arts produced both entertaining stories and genuine good feelings. Initially, the fun resulted from watching Luke and Danny struggle and often fail to relate to one another's worlds, but the more everlasting enjoyment has come from seeing two men who could not be more different on the outside form a remarkable bond and come to care for one another because on the inside of each lies a good man.
Titanic Team-Up: Cage joined Danny in pursuing his enemy, Master Khan, back to

K'un-Lun, the ancient mystic city where Iron Fist had been raised and trained, only for the duo to find the former paradise overrun by the malevolent plant creatures, the H'lythri. The Heroes For Hire rallied the remaining warriors of K'un-Lun to defeat their enemies and Iron Fist bested Khan, but at the price of severing the link between Earth and his adopted home. (POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #74-75—1981)
Spotlight Comic: NEW AVENGERS #27, the former Heroes For Hire reunite in the New Avengers

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