Mania 2012 Fall Picks (Mania.com)
Date: Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Fall always brings with it the promise of the new and the exciting…new TV shows, hot new holiday films, and the most sought after video games of the year. Is it any wonder why Fall is the best season of the year? Here are a few of the items on Mania’s Fall must watch/play list:
Tim Janson Columnist and Critic
On the TV front, I’m excited about 666 Park Avenue, the new ABC Supernatural drama for several reasons. First and foremost is that it will feature the brilliant Terry O’ Quinn (Lost) in the lead role as the sinister owner of a posh New Your apartment building. A young couple are offered the opportunity to manage the historic building but begin to experience the shadowy, supernatural forces within the building that imprison and endanger the lives of the residents inside. I’m a huge fan of Terry O’Quinn and can’t way to see him onscreen again. The other reason I’m excited is that the show was created and produced by David Wilcox who was a writer for Fox’s Fringe.
On the big screen, my must-see film is The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey. Director Peter Jackson returns to the realm of J.R.R. Tolkien for the three-part, Lord of the Rings prequel. Ian Mckellan, Cat Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Christoper Lee, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Andy Serkis, and ian Holm all reprising their roles from the LOTR trilogy. They are joined by new cast members including Martin Freeman as Bilbo; Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield; and Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown. Jackson did a better job with the LOTR trilogy than any of us could have hoped for and he has set the bar very high.
On the videogame front, the Fall is always the biggest time of year and this year will be no different with the releases of Call of Duty Black Ops II, Halo 4, Resident Evil 6, and Assassin’s Creed III all coming are way. But if you’re looking for something that is NOT a sequel, then keep an eye out for James Bond 007 Legends. Coming out to coincide with the release of the next Bond film, “Skyfall”, Legends will not only allow you to play through the story of the newest Bond film, but also through six other classic Bond films such as “Moonraker” and “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”.
Jarrett Kruse: TV Critic
SKYFALL. It has been four years since QUANTUM OF SOLACE slammed into theaters and it is finally time for SKYFALL. Although it will be not keeping in continuity like Daniel Craig’s first two features, the worldwide organization Quantum will still be a looming threat. The new Bond flick (number 23 for those keeping track) is being brought to us by Academy Award winning director Sam Mendes of American Beauty fame. Although details are hazy on the plot thus far, we do know that something from M’s past (the always terrific Dame Judi Dench) threatens to bring down MI6 and Bond himself. With Oscar Winner Javier Bardem as the lead baddie, SKYFALL sounds like it has been worth the four year wait. Also back in the fold is Q, the gadget guru played by Brit newcomer Ben Whishaw. One thing missing though, no more Martini’s neither shaken or stirred. Just Heineken. Maybe he’ll assassinate someone with the twist-off cap. That aside, I think Craig is giving Connery a run for his money as the best Bond yet. Trailer looks great and no big plot reveals just the way I like it. Just the repeat of the word “SKYFALL.” A trigger word? A mission gone bad? A new RPG shooter?? SKYFALL has a lot of street cred riding on the Bond rep and I for one cannot wait for some big time international espionage. Maybe they will even give Bardem a bowl cut.
REVOLUTION. From the mind of wunderkind-producer J.J. Abrams comes the new drama Sci-Fi Drama REVOLUTION. What’s it about? Simple, 15 years ago everything in our world that relies on electricity just stopped working. Awesome! No one texting during that big summer movie you’ve been waiting to see. Actually, no big summer movie either; damn! The world is shifted back into a much slower and boring time much like the turn of the 19th Century but there is definitely something creepy abreast if we know Abrams. The story centers on the origins of the blackout from fifteen years earlier and how things have progressed to what they are now—a more docile and peaceful society. Naturally there is a ragtag group of 20 & 30-somethings that begin to ask the wrong questions and start to unravel the real reasons behind the electrical blackout from years earlier. I love the premise of this show and if the show can remain true with solid story lines, I think that it can be a sleeper hit if the mystery is solid. Plus to see no gadgets, Googling or texting and having characters have to rely on their actual wits to solve problems will be a pleasant change. Kind of like when I used to have to find a pay phone to call home to tell my folks I was going to be late on a Saturday night in the early 90’s. Now those were real adventures; I think REVOLUTION will be one too.
Chuck Francisco: Columnist and Critic
Looper. I have to admit my obsession with time travel centric plot elements. They've always been my favorite Star Trek episodes (Yesterday's Enterprise, anyone?) and some of my favorite fiction deals with this, as yet, untapped scientific frontier. In Looper, time travel is made illegal, though the mob still utilizes it to get rid of people it considers problematic. They're sent back in time to be killed by Loopers, hitmen waiting at the arrival point. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one such man, who's living the high life until the mob sends back his thirty years senior self. In the most brilliant bit of casting, the older version of Gordon-Levitt is a world weary Bruce Willis. Looper hits theaters on September 28th.
Halo 4. This will be the first Halo ride not piloted by Bungie, so a little apprehension is by all means natural. However, the videos which have been released thus far via Halo: Waypoint have me looking forward to the always robust multiplayer mode. In this incarnation, the carnage of multiplayers is given a plot, which provides coherent motivation for all the online blood spilling which fans will no double revel in. All MP matches are in reality "training exercises" for Spartans aboard a miles long spaceship, on what is likely a holodeck-like system. I'm getting older and it's getting harder, but this will likely be another game I get at midnight and then play straight through to completion with my likewise insane buddies. Halo 4 begins kicking ass on November 4th.
The Walking Dead. It's no secret that many folks were not happy with the ponderously slow middle section of the second season. But I've been a steadfast reader of the comics, so I know what the prison means, I know who the bad ass chick with the sword is and I know all about the Governor. If all of that is any indication, this third season of The Walking Dead is going to kick all manner of ass. Hopefully, the extra time spent at the farm last season was all a side effect of the forced departure of Frank Darabont, and not a recurring curse set to strike again. The Walking Dead takes a hearty bite out of your neck on October 14th.
Robert T. Trate: Columnist and News Editor
The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey really is the no brainer of the fall and winter of 2012. Sure, it comes at the very end but the anticipation and excitement will be almost as much fun. The best gift now is that there will be three Hobbit films. That’s three premieres, two more Comic Cons featuring The Hobbit, and of course three years of waiting for extended edition Blu-rays. To put it simply... “my precious”.
Call of Duty Black Ops II. The COD games are not for everyone, I know that. They do, however, give me a great excuse to detach myself from the world for a few hours every night. I liken it to running around the house as a kid and playing “war”. Only this time when I say I got you, I really do got you. Thankfully, all my friends like COD and we have a great time laughing it up and making fun of each other in private matches. Yet another great excuse to hang out comes wrapped in Call of Duty Black Ops II.
Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection Blu-rays. I have bitched about the lack of sequels in this set, but to have the original Universal Monster Movies on Blu-ray makes
Christmas arrive on October 2nd. Nothing says October or Halloween to me more than rediscovering these classic films. I simply cannot wait.
Joel Rickenback: Columnist and Critic
Django Unchained. Anything Quentin Tarantino does is worth scheduling your calendar around, but Quentin dipping his toes into the Spaghetti Western genre? Consider all other plans canceled. Yes, it has been said Django Unchained is more of a "Southern" (and the plot certainly proves that), but the trailer gives us enough to see the Spaghetti Western influence. From the quick zooms on Leonardo DiCaprio, to the gun play shot only as Tarantino dares, Django Unchained has me positively giddy. I love that Tarantino is picking up the long standing Django tradition and putting his mark on it. I love that he is putting himself even further into genre territory than he's ever gone. And I love that we get to see a whole new crop of actors tackle Tarantino characters. Tarantino is one of the few filmmakers who can make films that are truly of the genre he chooses, rather than a spoof or homage. Remember- the "D" is silent.
Marvel Now! This seems to be a less drastic approach at revamping a comic line than DC's New 52. In the wake of Avengers Vs X-Men there will be some big shifts in the Marvel U. Mutants, who once ruled the roost at Marvel, have been isolated for far too long. The Avengers have been comfortably inhabiting the throne leading up to this summer's big crossover, and once the dust settles, Marvel will be trying something new- Their flagship book, Uncanny Avengers #1, will be a team made up of Avengers and Mutants. This has me excited for a few reasons- First, putting together interesting mixes of characters should lead to some fresh stories and ideas. Second, getting some new creative teams on these new books will inject some life into a line that has been great, but getting long in the tooth. Brian Michael Bendis has knocked his Avengers books out of the park for years. but putting him on the new flagship X-men title (All New X-Men) is a fantastic idea. Third, it's a risk, and taking risks can lead to exciting things. Comicscape should be a busy column this fall.
There’s no doubt that there will be plenty of TV shows, movies, and video games to keep genre fans busy this Fall.
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