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Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Preternatural films fared better with renters than buyers last week

In Film, Shape Shifters, Urban Legends/FolkTales on 30 June, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Four preternatural films were among the top renting and bestselling DVDs last week. Assuming, that is, that turning Fate into a government agency is preternatural. The three films that made both lists ranked higher overall on the top rented list than the top-selling list.

The Adjustment Bureau topped the DVD rental list overall and placed second on the bestselling DVD list in its first week on video. Lovers David Norris (Matt Damon) and Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) battle Fate (in the form of mysterious agents for the Adjustment Bureau) to be together in this sci-fi romance directed by George Nolfi for Universal.

The third most rented DVD was Battle Los Angeles. It was also held the Number 4 spot on the bestselling list. An alien invasion landing off shore near Los Angeles delays Sgt. Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) retirement and thrust him into battle beside 2nd Lt. William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez). Jonathan Liebsman directed this  war picture with a preternatural twist for Columbia Pictures.

The latest retelling of the classic fairy tale Red Riding Hood, ranked Number 8 overall among the top renting DVDs and tenth among the bestsellers. Catherine Harwicke, who also directed Twilight, guides Peter (Shiloh Fernandez, whom fans might recognize as Sean Henthorn for the TV series Jericho), Valerie (Amanda Seyfried), Solomon (Gary Oldman otherwise known as Harry Potter’s godfather Sirius Black) and Cesaire (fellow Twilight alum Billy Burke) through this fantastic horror for Warner Bros.

The two discrepancies for the week were Gnomeo and Juliet, ranked seventh overall  on the bestsellers list, and I Am Number Four, ranked tenth on among the top renting DVDs. Neither appeared on the other list. Both have been on video for 5 weeks.

Gnomeo and Juliet, the animated gnomish retelling of Shakespeare’s tragic love story landed at Number 7. Director Kelly Asbury, who was also behind Shrek 2 and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, guided a chorus of familiar preternatural voices. Everyone from Hogwarts’ Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) to Bruce Wayne’s trusty butler Alfred (Michael Caine) to Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) has lent their voices to the garden version of Shakespeare’s classic play produced by Touchstone Pictures.

I Am Number Four is the sci-fi thriller from Dreamworks and director D.J. Caruso landed at Number 5 among all the best-selling DVDs and was the third most rented DVD of the weekStars John (Alex Pettyfer) and Sarah (Dianna Agron) may not be on the same level as Edward and Bella or Hermione and Ron, but they seem to be developing a solid fan base among young audiences.

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Nexia’s Redline Entertainment to showcase Paladin: Dawn of the Dragon Slayer

In Film on 30 June, 2011 at 9:51 am

Redline Entertainment, a subsidiary of Nexia Holdings, Inc. has contracted to license certain foreign distribution rights to the feature-length film Paladin: Dawn of the Dragon Slayer.

“I am excited about the successes we are experiencing in assisting independent film makers with their efforts to sell the licensing rights in foreign markets,” said Nexia CEO Richard Surber. “As Redline continues to accumulate contracts to license rights to quality projects like Dawn of the Dragon Slayer, our revenue stream will begin to ramp up. “

Nexia’s Redline, in association with the Highland Film Group, has contracts signed or pending selling certain rights to Paladin: Dawn of the Dragon Slayer in Spain, France, Germany, Thailand, Romania, Indonesia and the United Kingdom. This is the fifth film Nexia’s entertainment division has been retained to sell in foreign markets.

Paladin: Dawn of the Dragon Slayer

Paladin: Dawn of the Dragon Slayer

The agreement with the producers of Paladin: Dawn of the Dragon Slayer, Fantasy Feature Funding One LLC, includes the right to a second movie, The Virgin and the Warrior, that was shot in conjunction with a team of Revel’s film makers in April of 2011. The level of interest in both these projects is very high, according to Nexia.

Paladin: Dawn of the Dragon Slayer was shot on location in Ireland. The dragon-focused fantasy stars Rogan Ap Cynan (Phillip Brodie, whom some may recognize as Sir Ethan from the TV series Merlin or Ivan from the TV series Young Dracula), Baron Sterling (Ian Cullen, whom fans first met in 1964 as Ixta on Doctor Who) and Kate Sperling (Nicola Pesener) under the direction of Anne K. Black, who also directed The Virgin and The Warrior.

Stan Lee, Todd McFarlane & Yoshiki to unveil Blood Red Dragon at #SDCC

In Books, Travel on 29 June, 2011 at 7:45 pm

That’s right, the much-anticipated comic book series Blood Red Dragon will finally be making its debut in San Diego at Comic Con International on Thursday, 21 July, 2011, according to a statement issued by POW! Entertainment.

“I am extremely excited about Blood Red Dragon,” states Stan Lee, Chief Creative Officer of POW! Entertainment. “Yoshiki’s exceptional musical abilities, visual flair and passionate humanitarianism make him an amazing and inspiring collaborator and I think readers will experience every bit of that in the comics.”

Lee, renowned comic book artist Todd McFarlane and music superstar and humanitarian Yoshiki will join moderator Jon Goff, himself an established and respected comic book author, for a panel discussion at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel on 21 July from 1pm – 2pm.

“Working with the one-and-only- Stan Lee has been an incredible experience for me,” Yoshiki said. “He is truly a genius and one of the best storytellers living today. I’m excited with the results of our efforts and look forward to the response from readers and music lovers around the world.”

Blood Red Dragon Issue #0, the first in the series published by Todd McFarlane Productions, contains a surprise for readers as well as a first-of-its-kind publishing innovation that combines the unique skills of three-world-class artists. The debut issue focuses on the origin of an ancient and benevolent force locked in an epic battle with the dark armies of Oblivion.

Once in a generation, when creative expression and destiny collide, an individual is born with the potential to unlock the might of the Blood Red Dragon and become the Earth’s protector.  Inevitably, agents from Oblivion discover the key to unlocking the Blood Red Dragon energy is music and accordingly launch a series of attacks against the musicians of Earth. Yoshiki, on whom the central superhero of the graphic novel is based, comes face to face with his true destiny as he performs at the opening show of a massive world tour and experiences a transformation that will change his life and perhaps the fate of the world in front of a live audience.

“Being able to collaborate with creators on a global level is always a thrill,” McFarlane said. “Working with two big names, like Yoshiki and Stan Lee, I hope I’m able to add a little bit of my touch to a book that my, Stan’s, but most importantly, Yoshiki’s fans will enjoy. At the same time, I hope this book helps introduce Yoskiki to fans that don’t know him on American shores.”

For those who don’t know (and we admit, we didn’t) Yoshiki, who has been referred to by his first name alone throughout his professional career, is the Japanese version of Bono. Known as much for his global humanitarianism as his incredible skills as a musician (classically trained pianist and drummer who also plays guitar, bass and trumpet) and the heart of the band X Japan, Yoshiki is arguably Asia’s most influential musical artist and biggest rock icon. In the U.S. Yoshiki is probably most recognized as the writer of the song I.V. which was recorded by X Japan and played over the closing credits of the 2007 international blockbuster horror film Saw IV. On 27 May, 2011, Yoskiki launched Yoskiki Radio on Sirius XM. The hour-long program airs on the first Sunday of every month (so tune in on 3 July, 2011 at 9 p.m. (ET) to hear samples of his favorite music and Japanese popular culture.

“I want to show people that there is no one language, no real boundaries when it comes to music and art, and that we are all more alike than not,” Yoshiki explains.

Harry Potter, Immortals in mobile games lineup for rest of 2011

In Games, Ghosts, Wizards/Witches/Pagans on 29 June, 2011 at 9:43 am

Gameloft, a leading global publisher of digital and social games, has announced its mobile lineup for the second half of 2011 and it includes some great preternatural news. Mobile games featuring both Harry Potter and the Immortals are on their way as is a sci-fi Where’s Wally? game.

Harry Potter 7 Mobile Petrificus Totalus

Screenshot from Gameloft's new mobile Harry Potter game

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™ – Part 2

In the official mobile game of the final film in the series, gamers will experience an exciting and of course, magical, adventure, millions of Harry Potter fans have been waiting for. And they won’t have to wait for the launch of Pottermore to get it! This will be Gameloft’s first foray into the Potter-verse, previous mobile games were produced by EA.

Immortals

Players become Theseus (James Cavill) a young villager chosen by the Gods to battle save the world from the power-hungry and vicious King Hyperion and his armies. Based on the highly hyped film scheduled to hit theaters on 11 November, 2011.

Where’s Wally?

The iconic globetrotter is wandering even farther afield in this new mobile puzzle game. Gamers will travel through both space and time in the challenging but still fun search-and-find adventure.

These are the mobile games with the most obvious preternatural connections, however, several of the other nine games in Gameloft’s lineup have preternatural influences as well. For instance Wild West Guns, the first open-world western action mobile game offer a ghost town environment. It’s hard to tell just what Assassin’s Creed: Revelations has in store for gamers but the Constantinople setting leaves us hopeful as does the ability to discover new technologies and go head-to-head with history’s greatest leaders in Sid Meier’s Civilization® V: The Mobile Game.

The games will be released gradually on feature phones and in all countries between July and December 2011.



TBRP Guide

Twe-Guide to TBRP

For another variation on mobile gaming, try role-playing on Twitter. Our very own @TB_PamR helps you get started with her FREE Twe-Guide to TBRP  designed specifically to be read on mobile devices.

“Joining TBRP is like being a telepath in a room full of people…overwhelming. This Guide can help you find your way.” @DarlingSookie

“It’s awesome!” @BecomingTruebie

“A must read! Do It!” @RomanLucious    

Have you heard about the Immortals trailer…on the radio?

In Film, Urban Legends/FolkTales, Wizards/Witches/Pagans on 28 June, 2011 at 7:35 am

There was a time when movie trailers promoted movies. Recently, and thanks largely to the internet, streaming media, high speed modems and services like YouTube.com, trailers themselves have become products to be promoted. For the most part, this promotion has occurred using the same online channels that turned trailers into miniature features in their own right rather than just another ad. That changed on Monday, 27 June, 2011.

We now have advertising campaigns for trailers on, of all places, the radio.

On Monday, 27 June, 2011 Ryan Seacrest kicked off an unprecedented promotional campaign for the Immortals which hits theaters 29 June, 2011. Not the film. The trailer. The film doesn’t open until November 2011.

Seacrest used his KIIS-FM radio show On Air with Ryan Seacrest to deliver teasers and tidbits about the trailer beginning at 6 a.m. He was also be talking up the trailer through his social media (Facebook and Twitter) and website (ryanseacrest.com). He did manage one tweet about it yesterday:

bandicam 2011-06-28 07-09-11-078

Ryan Seacrest's tweet about the new Immortals trailer

Also on Monday, Clear Channel‘s on-air personalities airing on approximately 400 stations in 150 markets began promoting the trailer. DJs (if we can still call them that) have been directing listeners to digital networks ranging from their individual station websites to iHeartRadio to Facebook pages to Twitter accounts for information about the trailers, and, almost coincidently the film. The trailer, not the film, will receive prominent placement within the dynamic lead on the stations’ homepages, Facebook pages and Twitter timelines.

Though #Immortals is not trending in the U.S. at the time of this writing, it is being tweeted about, and not just be radio personalities.

Makeup artist & hair stylist @Nichole_McRiley tweeted “the #Immortals graphics and mind-blowing”.

According to @GirlsLoveSciFi “A new #Immortals trailer hits the Internet – Henry Cavil is looking HOT. #thatisall” The also review the trailer on their Geeky Girls Love Sci-Fi blog.

In fact, none of the tweets yet today have been from radio stations, indicating that either their efforts yesterday are working or that the radio types are not big tweeters. Not even the corporate @ClearChannel account has mentioned it. Then again, they haven’t tweeted since 15 June, either. Continue reading… Read the rest of this entry »

Ghost Train Orchestra debuts Hothouse Stomp

In Ghosts, Shopping on 27 June, 2011 at 8:10 pm

If eras have soundtracks, then the 1920’s belong to Jazz. Not the big-band sounds that would dominate the 1930’s, but a more intimate and eclectic sound that developed in a variety of ways all across the United States. Featuring smaller horn sections, not to mention less standardized rhythm sections these units, often modeled on Fletcher Henderson in New York and Bennie Moten in Kansas City, had colorful and eccentric sounds. Just ask a vampire, or human, that was around at the time.

Or you could give a listen to Hothouse Stomp, the debut release from Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra.

Hot Bones and Rice by Ghost Train Orchestra (Hothouse Stomp)

Ghost Train Orchestra performs new arrangements of music for four of the seminal bands from Chicago and Harlem in the 1920s: Charlie Johnson’s Paradise Orchestra, McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, Fess Williams’ Royal Flush Orchestra and Tiny Parham and His Musicians.

The Ghost Train Orchestra was formed in 2006, after Carpenter was selected as the musical director for Voltaic Vaudeville, an event marking the 90th anniversary of the historic Regent Theater in Arlington, MA.  Members of the Ghost Train Orchestra include: Brian Carpenter (trumpet, leader, arranger), Denis Lictman (clarinet), Andy Laster (alto sax), Matt Bauder (tenor sax), Curtis Hasselbring (Trombone), Mazz Swift (violin, vocals), Jordan Voelker (violin, saw player), Brandon Seabrook (banjo), Ron Caswell (tuba) and Ron Garcia (drummer). All members save Carpenter live in the NYC area where the band has performed regularly since their inception. Hothouse Stomp was recorded at Avatar Studios in Manhattan and produced by Grammy award winner Danny Blume.

Hothouse Stomp

Hothouse Stomp debut album from the Ghost Train Orchestra

Hothouse Stomp transports listeners into the past and uses the past to transform the future. Combining a loving attention to period detail (right down to Molly Crabapple’s sketches of the bandleaders in the graphic style of the 1920s featured in the CD booklet), with utterly contemporary energy and attitude, Hothouse Stomp is as enjoyable to young audiences exploring beyond today’s mainstream pop, rock and jazz cultures as it is to purists of early jazz.

Jazz, of course, is best experienced live.  New York audiences will have the opportunity to do just that on 29 June, 2011 when the Ghost Train Orchestra performs at the HighLine Ballroom (431 W. 16th St. in NYC).

“Playing this music live with this incredible cast of musicians is a continuing revelation to me,” says Carpenter. “This music is as visceral and full of life now as it was 80 years ago.”

U.S. Supreme Court ruling give video games constitutional rights

In Games on 27 June, 2011 at 4:57 pm

“This is a historic and complete when for the First Amendment and the creative freedom of artists and storytellers everywhere.  Today, the Supreme Court affirmed what we have always known — that free speech protections apply every bit as much to video games as they do to other forms of creative expression like books, movies and music,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which represents the U.S. computer and video game industry. “The Court declared forcefully that content-based restrictions on games are unconstitutional, and that parents, not government bureaucrats, have the right to decide what is appropriate for their children.”

The Courts landmark 7 – 2 decision came in the case Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association/Entertainment Software Association. At issue was a 2005 California statute restricting the sale and rental of computer and video games based on content.  California argued that the state had a compelling government interest in the law and that the proposed remedy was the narrowest, or least restrictive, means of furthering that interest. The ESA argued that the statute presented unconstitutional limitation on expression. The Supreme Court agreed with the ESA.

“California’s effort to regulate violent video games is the latest episode in a long series of failed attempts to censor violent entertainment for minors,” Justice Anotnin Scalia said, writing for the majority. “Even where the protection of children is the object, the constitutional limits on governmental action apply.”

The Court’s decision underscored the constitutional protections for video games, developers and video game industry artists.

US Supreme Court

United States Supreme Court Building

Citing may of the same reasons cited by lower courts in striking down the California statute and other similar statutes, the Supreme Court held that:

  • Video games contain expression that is protected as much as the best of literature.
  • California had not shown that video games were harmful to minors.
  • Less restrictive means of achieving the state’s intended goal of protecting children from violent content exists, notably in the form of rating systems.
  • Parents, not the government, should bear the primary responsibility for determining what games their children play.

The Entertainment Software Association is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet.

“We are very gratified that our arguments — and those of over 180 other groups and individuals from across the ideological spectrum — were heard in this case,” Gallagher said. “The Court has now definitively held that legislative attempts to restrict video game content will be struck down.

“It is time for elected officials to stop wasting time and public funds seeking unconstitutional restrictions on video games,” he continued. “Instead, we invite them to join with us to raise awareness and use of highly effective tools that already exist to help that parents choose games suitable for their children.”

"She's Not There" – True Blood Season Four Premiere

In True Blood on 27 June, 2011 at 10:39 am

Saucy and sassy Sookie Stackhouse is back. Last night’s premiere brought an entirely new spin on HBO’s hit series “True Blood”. Episode One, titled “She’s Not There”, will have viewers screaming “What the F*ck?!”

The first eight minutes of the show was release over the past few weeks… so no need to delve into that debacle.

So jumping into the black chasm is Alan Ball’s equivalent to Alice falling into the rabbit hole.

After rediscovering her long last grandfather, he goes “poof” into a pile of dust, in the cemetery.  Actually, this scene reminded me of many nights of watching Buffy Summer stake Vampires in Sunnydale’s Cemetery. Random, I know.

After stumbling back to her home, Sookie is surprised to find her home is now no longer reminiscent of the reign of MaryAnn. After workers call the Bon Temps Police Department, Sookie is further surprised that her brother has finally gotten his act together and become a local cop.

What was merely an hour long visit to fairyland for Sookie, was twelve and a half months back on the Human Realm. Relieved to find her alive, Jason and Sookie catch up, briefly. No sooner has she dealt him the news of their grandfather, than she realizes the sun has set. Stepping onto her porch, Sookie is forced to face both Bill and Eric. Both of which, realized the moment she returned into the Human Realm.

Still disoriented by the loss of time, Sookie is not as ecstatic to see either as they are to see her.  According to Eric, everyone but him, believed she was dead. This news isn’t taken lightly, as demonstrated by the look on Sookie’s face as he speaks. But this is not the end of the line for surprises. Eric is easily dismissed by Bill and Sookie is left to wonder what else has changed. When Bill so easily offers to leave her, the hurt is written on her face as she realizes, he has moved on since the last time they had spoken.

The world continues to turn upside down, with the revelation of Andy’s new founded V-addiction, Arlene’s and Terry’s -coughs “Rene’s”- baby ripping the heads off of dolls, and Sam’s new “anger” issues.  Tommy is living with Maxine, and our favorite True Blood couples, Jessica and Hoyt as well as Lafayette and Jesus are clearly on the rocks.

In order to prevent from spoiling episode two, “You Smell Like Dinner”, for everyone, I’m going to bite my tongue. All I’ll say is, Sookie continues to fall further down the rabbit hole. Like with all things “True Blood”, things are not as they seem.

Someone is faking. Someone is cheating. Someone is woeing. Someone is lying.

There will be more blood, sex, fangs and fur flying around this season. Add in the introduction of the witches into Area Five and this Season is already proving to be explosive! Leaving all in its wake, suffering from True Blood Withdrawal and craving more. Fans are salivating for more.

How will you handle your TBWithdrawal before next week’s episode?

*Episodes 1 and 2 are available on HBO on Demand as well as HBOGO*

Five preternatural films earn big at the box-office

In Film, vox populi on 27 June, 2011 at 7:31 am

In the battle to save the Earth, pagan deities are losing.  Earth’s newest savior, Green Lantern has taken over the box-office and was the highest earning preternatural film of the weekend for the second weekend in a row even though it ranked third overall. Thor didn’t even make the list of top earners.

In fact, there were no new preternatural films topping the box office this past weekend, although five films did make Rentrak Corp.’s list of top-earners. Maybe more if you count talking animated Cars and spiritual quests. Fortunately, the preternatural (zombies, aliens, mutants and animated animals with wicked martial arts skills) was well-represented and we didn’t have to!

Test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) faces the greatest challenge of his career and life when he becomes the first human recruited to the Green Lantern Corps. Now this cocky and confident must prove he can master the power of the ring and restore the balance of power to the Universe as The Green Lantern. Oh, yeah, and along the way he gets to save the Earth, if he can…. Director Martin Campbell is responsible for bringing the popular DC Comics hero and other characters to the big screen for the first time. The Warner Bros. film brought in more than $18 million over the weekend of 24-26 June, 2011, making it the third highest earner of the weekend overall.

Super 8 slipped to the Number 4 spot overall bringing in an estimated $12 million for Paramount. The story of a group of young friends – Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning, sibling of Dakota Fanning), Joe Lamb (newcomer Joel Courtney), Cary (Ryan Lee), Preston (Zach Mills), Charles (Riley Griffiths) and Martin (Gabriel Basso) – who begin investigating strange happenings around their small town after a mysterious train wreck. Produced by Steven Spielberg and written and directed by J.J. Abrams, Super 8 has been, almost inevitably compared to E.T. Despite some superficial similarities (a young cast and aliens), Super 8 is a very different and darker film.  Read the rest of this entry »

Guide to True Blood Role-Play Published

In Books, How To/Advice, Resources, RP, True Blood, Twitter on 26 June, 2011 at 2:40 pm

The Preternatural Post is pleased to announce that our very own vampire, @TB_PamR has written a book. Not just any book, mind, but a quick start guide to True Blood role-play (TBRP) on Twitter!

“The premiere of True Blood Season 4 will bring many new fans and truebies to Twitter,” Pam said. “I am looking forward to the fresh blood, however, I recall how I felt when Eric first called me here. I wish I’d had some of this information at my fingertips rather than having to learn it the hard way. Hopefully, my little literary exercise will be useful to existing RPers as well as newbies.”

Pam’s Twe-Guide to TBRP: Getting Started with True Blood Role-Play on Twitter is available as a .pdf file. The price is definitely right too: it’s FREE.

TBRP Guide

Twe-Guide to TBRP