“Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn” Films To Be Spaced A Year Apart. For Twilight fans, the end isn’t as close as they thought. Summit Entertainment has announced the release date for “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2” and they’re going to have to wait. The first “Breaking Dawn” film is still set for release on November 18th, 2011. Fans will have to wait another year entirely for the release of its follow-up. “BreaUSking Dawn, Part 2” won’t hit theaters until November 16th, 2012. “Twilight” fans don’t do too well with waiting, and so far they haven’t had to. “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” was released exactly a year after the first “Twilight.” “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” hit theaters just 7 months later. But while many were speculating that the second part of “Breaking Dawn” would be out by at least summer of 2012, Summit Entertainment hasn’t revealed why exactly they’re taking the extra time. It could be for the effects for the mostly CGI character of (spoiler alert for non-readers) Edward and Bella’s baby, and the almost “Curious Case of Benjamin Button”-type effects most likely to be employed for the strangely growing baby. It could also be because summer 2012’s current movie schedule, which is already seeing plenty of high-profile sequels slated for release. “Men In Black” and “Madagascar” sequels open in May, while the rest of the summer includes sequels to “Star Trek,” “Batman,” and even “G.I. Joe,” as well as re-boots to “Spiderman,” “Superman,” and the all-star cast of “The Avengers.”. “Breaking Dawn,” which is set to be directed by Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls”), is also rumored to add another element to its films. It’s said to be the first installments of the “Twilight Saga” to be in 3-D.
‘Inception’ earns dreamy reception with $60.4M. Leonardo DiCaprio and Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” is anything but a sleeper as the thriller opened big with $60.4 million and a No. 1 finish at the weekend box office. The action tale about a team that sneaks into people’s dreams is DiCaprio’s biggest opening weekend, topping his previous best of $41.1 million for last winter’s “Shutter Island.” “Inception” falls far short of director Christopher Nolan’s best, though. Nolan is the man who directed the Batman blockbuster “The Dark Knight,” which opened over the same weekend two years ago with a record $158.4 million. Slipping to second place was the previous weekend’s No. 1 movie, Steve Carell’s animated hit “Despicable Me.”
Supervillains and Philosophy: Sometimes, Evil Is Its Own Reward” by Ben Dyer The comic book world is full of equations, theories and principles that would rival the combined works of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Many of these are unspoken postulates and chief among these is that for every great superhero there must also be a great supervillain, be it Lex Luthor to Superman, The Joker to Batman or the Green Goblin to Spider-Man. So says the foreword to the anthology “Supervillains and Philosophy: Sometimes, Evil Is Its Own Reward.” As part of the ongoing Pop Culture and Philosophy series, “Supervillains” picks up where predecessor “Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice and the Socratic Way” left off in discussing the battle between good and evil as found in the multi-paneled world of the glossy pages of comic books and graphic novels. Here however, contributors look specifically at the dark side, and no, we’re not talking about Darth Vader. Philosophical writers and comic book experts from all walks of life in academia and otherwise provide 19 essays worth of content on topics ranging from moral authority to the nature of existence to the application of science. Mad science, specifically. Like most entries in the Pop Culture series, there is a blend of classic philosophy and how it relates to modern topics, be they “Harry Potter,” “The Simpsons” or Bob Dylan. Here is no exception, as writers under editor Ben Dyer draw inspiration from Plato, René Descartes and Immanuel Kant, to name a choice few. Especially noteworthy is Andrew Terjesen’s thoughts regarding Plato student Aristotle’s definition of the term “magnanimity” and supervillain Doctor Doom’s embodiment of the idea of being nobly obligated to rule. As one of the top baddies of the Marvel Comics universe, the character of Doom has long been simultaneously renowned and criticized for being the archetypal European dictator with delusions of grandeur and plans of universal domination. Terjesen expands on this concept by questioning Doom’s role in the Marvel community and whether or not his intentions are basically good with negative outcomes. Such is the query of many essayists, as the word “utilitarian” keeps popping up again and again as they evaluate what truly separates a hero from a villain, particularly the motives of “X-Men” villain Magneto in fighting for the betterment of mutant life. Contributors to this work approach their writing in different styles, whether it’s a fictitious conversation, such as the chapter “New Wars, New Boundaries,” or a recount of certain character’s back stories, like “Two Fates for Two-Face,” a look at what shaped the psyche of one of Batman’s most well-known adversaries. There are numerous similarities between these topics and the ones found in “Superheroes and Philosophy,” as well as entries in the comparable Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, including “Batman and Philosophy: The Dark Knight of the Soul,” “Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test” and “X-Men and Philosophy: Astonishing Insight and Uncanny Argument in the Mutant X-Verse.” But there’s no lack of new issues to be examined alongside these previous texts, especially with the Marvel Comics “Civil War” miniseries and the film version of the villain-centric story “Wanted” making for poignant talking points. Whether you want a better insight into Brainiac, Venom, The Sandman and more, or you can’t get enough of Friedrich Nietzsche, “Supervillains and Philosophy” is as enjoyable a read as any Superman or Iron Man title. And there are so many more pages?
Alice in Wonderland. There’ll be no malice from this end because we’re a far cry from Blunderland. Still, despite its visual inventiveness, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland lacks the exuberance of his best films or the splendid, bracing nonsensicalness of the source material. It’s a sequel of sorts to the whimsically absurdist Lewis Carroll children’s stories, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking Glass (1871) from one of our most fascinating and creative directors. And one who seems perfectly suited to the material, which has been adapted for the screen a couple dozen times, in versions live-action and animated and everything in between. Alice in Wonderland is an eye-popping, CGI-enhanced, 3-D, surrealist extravaganza and family adventure fantasy that tweaks the form while remaining true to the spirit of Carroll’s vision. Mia Wasikowska plays Alice Kingsleigh, a conflicted nineteen-year-old, plagued by bad dreams and about to reluctantly embark on a marriage arranged by her widowed mother. She takes another tumble down into the underland realm she remembers as Wonderland for the first time since she, as a young girl, followed a white rabbit (Michael Sheen) down the rabbit hole into the magically surreal queendom. So, she discovers, it wasn’t just a dream. This trip the bride-to-be learns that, to restore order to this strange and wondrous place, she must slay a fearsome dragon, and thus free Wonderland by ending the reign of terror of the despotic and dyspeptic Red Queen, played by Helena Bonham Carter (and having more fun than anybody on-screen or in the audience), who has seized power from her sister, the kindly White Queen, played by Anne Hathaway. So Alice turns for help to Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter — a literally colorful (green eyes, orange hair, and rainbow skin tones) split personality who’s, well, mad as a hatter — and the array of Wonderland creatures, including the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Matt Lucas and Matt Lucas), the March Hare (Paul Whitehouse), Bayard the Bloodhound (Timothy Spall), and Absolem the Caterpillar (Alan Rickman). And not only does she come up against the imposing and big-headed Red Queen, she also has to deal with the Knave of Hearts (Crispin Glover) and the dragon Jabberwocky (Christopher Lee). Burton (Batman, Beetlejuice, Big Fish, Planet of the Apes), twisting perspectives into three kinds of pretzels, works from a female-empowerment screenplay by Linda Woolverton that provides an emotional underpinning and a fluid narrative so that the story is more than just Alice serving as a tour guide as she wanders through a succession of bizarre encounters. Ironically, however, the who-needs-a-plot charm of the quirky original stories, dominated by arbitrary dream logic rather than common sense, gets somewhat compromised as the film becomes formulaically shapely. We wish the film would get “curiouser and curioser,” but it does just the opposite as it builds to its conventional climax. As has been true of many of Burton’s movies, the memorability and impact of the set pieces is stronger than the dramatic arc and narrative continuity. That is, we’re more wide-eyed and enthralled than emotionally invested. So we end up watching the visually splendiforous AIW and admiring its merits without quite tumbling down the rabbit hole ourselves. Pity. Whether it was a good idea to make Alice a savior on a heroic quest — something we’ve probably seen far too much of on the movie screen in recent years — is one question. Regardless of the answer, however, the superb Mia Wasikovska brings shades of sweetness and strength to her performance, lending Victorian-era heroine Alice three-dimensional life, handling her character’s learning curve with aplomb, and alerting us to this young Australian actress’s vast potential. Burton’s seventh collaboration with Depp (including Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sweeney Todd, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) finds Depp uncharacteristically unfocused. Burton finds plenty — too much actually — for the Mad Hatter to do so that Depp avoids the sidelines, but whatever commercial wisdom is being applied, the Hatter’s ubiquitousness is not really dramatically justified. Tim Burton’s moderately bewitching gothic fantasy, Alice in Wonderland, doesn’t fall into a rabbit hole, but does fall a bit short of wonderful.
No. 6: Batman: Arkham Asylum
Forget Batman. The maximum-security prison in which this game is set is such a major component, perhaps the asylum should have received top billing. After all, the story is almost secondary: There are so many places to explore — including sneakily hidden air ducts, secret passages and even hanging gargoyles from which Batman can swing. Besides the moody level design and giant melee fights, the caped crusader also must use “CSI”-style investigation techniques to uncover clues, a nice added wrinkle.
Details: PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms; $59.99; rated Teen (alcohol and tobacco reference, blood, mild language, suggestive themes, violence).