Amazon Adds Epix to Prime Instant Video

Amazon has announced that it has inked a deal with Epix to more than double the amount of choices on Prime Instant Video. The streaming-video service is part of Amazon Prime, which gives customers free two-day shipping and reduced rates on express shipping. The videos are available for viewing on PCs, videogame consoles, mobile phones, and tablets. Epix’s studio partners include Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, and Lionsgate. Confirmed additions include The AvengersThe Hunger Games, and Transformers Dark of the Moon. Here’s a clip from the press release:

This agreement between Amazon and EPIX will add new releases such as The Avengers, Iron Man 2, The Hunger Games, Transformers Dark of the Moon, Thor and Rango as well as popular favorites such as Kick Ass, Paranormal Activity 2, True Grit, The Lincoln Lawyer, and Justin Bieber Never Say Never. EPIX also brings original programming including comedy specials and concerts such as Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell and Usher: Live from London.

It’s awesome to see Amazon beefing up the content for Prime Instant Video. I’ve been a Prime member since the program’s inception, which was before streaming movies and television were offered, so the video content was always the cherry on top of the sweet shipping savings. The video component of Prime started off as lame sauce, but now it’s a viable alternative to streaming competitors Hulu and Netflix.

How do you feel about these additions to Prime Instant Video? Are you more likely to subscribe to Prime

R.I.P. Michael Clarke Duncan

I was sad to hear that Michael Clarke Duncan passed away at age 54. He’s best known for The Green Mile, but nerds will remember him for playing Kingpin in Daredevil and voicing Kilowog in Green Lantern. In both those cases, he was one of the few great parts of otherwise bad movies. While many moviegoers enjoyed his performances as a gentle giant or a menacing brute, he was lots of fun in comedic roles too. I loved him in Talladega Nights and The Whole Nine Yards. Most will remember his moving performance in The Green Mile, but I’ll remember him for cracking me up in comedies.

What are some of your favorite Michael Clarke Duncan performances?

Today’s Poll: The Metal Gear Solid Movie and You

My fine friend Mark was at the Metal Gear Solid 25th anniversary jammie and tweeted that Avi Arad will be producing a Metal Gear Solid movie with Columbia Pictures. Is this something you’d be interested in? Obviously the Metal Gear Solid franchise is tremendously popular and has a global appeal. There are certainly many gamers that would love to see MGS: The Movie. MGS detractors ding the games for their lengthy cutscenes and will say that designer Hideo Kojima has already made several movies through his games.

What say you?!? Please vote in today’s poll and explain yourself in the comments section!

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Justice League Movie: No Affleck, Yes Wachowskis?

Looks like we dodged a bullet there, fellow comic-book fanboys. io9 has reported that Ben Affleck is definitely not directing the Justice League movie. Many JLA fans feel that his strengths aren’t suited to a spandex superhero movie, while others simply hate him for Daredevil. Either way, he claims that he was never in the running. Most would agree that Affleck not directing this movie is good news. The arguable news/rumor is that the Wachowski…uh…siblings are the leading candidates for the job. While many comic-book nerds loved The Matrix, opinions were split on the two sequels and most people hated the Wachowskis’ take on Speed Racer.

Personally, I’m intrigued but not yet sold. I loved The Matrix and enjoyed parts of the two sequels. I actually didn’t mind Speed Racer either. Having said that, I acknowledge that the Wachowkis are maddeningly inconsistent. They have the potential to make a killer Justice League film, but they also have the potential to make a disappointing one.

What do you think of the possibility of a Justice League movie directed by the Wachowskis?

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ECW Documentary Needs Kickstarter Help

John Philapavage is putting together a documentary about Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and is seeking funding on Kickstarter. For most of the organization’s existence, it was a small, regional wrestling promotion with limited television exposure. However, the workers had a passion that connected with the fans in a unique way. Much of what made ECW different and popular was later mimicked by WWE and WCW. The group helped one of the biggest pro-wrestling stars of all time — “Stone Cold” Steve Austin — find his voice. It gave many North American wrestling fans their first looks at Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, and many other fantastic wrestlers. For a small promotion, ECW’s contributions to the wrestling business were huge.

Check out the video below to learn more about Philapavage’s ECW documentary:

Here’s an excerpt from the Kickstarter page that lists the talent involved:

Our approach to telling the story of Extreme Championship Wrestling and giving you proper context has been holistic in nature. We’ve interviewed journalists, wrestlers, referees, ring announcers, security staff, company staff and production, all the way to fans and fan organizers. The wrestlers range from mainstays like Sandman, Raven, Shane Douglas, Balls Mahoney, Axl Rotten, New Jack, Mikey Whipwreck, The Blue Meanie, Stevie Richards, Nova, Ted Petty, and Johnny Grunge, to wrestlers from later years like Jerry Lynn, Angel and Devito of Da Baldies, Chris Chetti, Danny Doring, and Steve Corino.

I loved ECW back in the day. It was just different and refreshing. It had a mix of crazy hardcore action, edgy storylines, and outstanding technical wrestling. Allowing fans to bring weapons for wrestlers to use was an awesome touch. I fondly remember watching a show where a SNES was used as a “foreign” object.

I’m going to try to contribute to this Kickstarter project when I have some extra money. Any of you interested in backing this ECW documentary?

Captain Planet Live Action Trailer

No, this isn’t the hilarious Funnie or Die clip starring Don Cheadle. This is an honest to goodness live-action (fan-made) trailer for a Captain Planet movie! The quality is pretty high for a fan-made video. Highlights include Wheeler (fire) dealing with alcoholism and Ma-Ti’s powers (heart) still sucking. Kwame (earth) seems to be the best actor of the bunch and he helps compensate for Linka’s (wind) lack of a comedically overdone Russian accent. Sadly, Captain Planet’s trademark mullet is nowhere to be found. I’m pretty sure 78 percent of his powers came from his mullet. Bummer.

Anyway, check out the trailer and let me know what you think (please!).

Caroll Spinney (Big Bird, Oscar) Documentary Seeks Kickstarter Funds

Millions of people have been influenced and entertained by Caroll Spinney, the man that has provided the voices of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street since 1969. Spinney is the last of the original Sesame Street puppeteers and Copper Pot Pictures thought it would be a fine idea to make a documentary about the man. The film will be called I Am Big Bird. The company has reached its Kickstarter goal of $100,000, but there’s still time to contribute to the film.

Unlike an upstart Android console or an LGBT gamer conference, there shouldn’t be any debate about this Kickstarter project. Spinney is an awesome man that has voiced two of the most iconic characters in the history of children’s television. He has spent most of his life making children of all ages happy. A documentary about him and his work on Sesame Street sounds wonderful! Check out the video below for more details on I Am Big Bird.

Ben Affleck Approached to Direct Justice League Movie?

This might be the most frightening nerd news I’ve heard in 2012. According to Variety, Warner Bros. has approached Ben Affleck to direct the upcoming Justice League movie. While I enjoyed his performances in Mallrats and Chasing Amy, as well has the directing job he did in The Town, the “Ben Affleck + Superheroes” equation scares me. His performance in Daredevil was atrocious and I worry about what goes on in his head when he thinks about comic-book superheroes. Anyway, here’s the skinny:

With Christopher Nolan declaring himself out of the running for “Justice League,” Warner Bros. has approached another of its go-to directors in Ben Affleck, who’s expected to discuss the project with studio brass in the coming days, multiple sources tell Variety.

Since guiding WB’s “The Town” to commercial success and critical acclaim from both sides of the camera, Affleck has ascended high on the studio’s list of filmmakers who can be trusted with prime properties. Thus far, Affleck is the only candidate who’s been sent Will Beall’s “Justice League” script, which the “Gangster Squad” scribe was hired to write last summer.

This is the man that portrayed Daredevil/Matt Murdock as mentally disabled instead of blind. At least, that’s what it seemed like he was doing. Unless Justice League is set in Boston, I have a mountain of doubts about Affleck’s ability to successfully direct this movie. I’m scared. Somebody hold me.

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The Dark Knight Returns Trailer

Here’s the trailer for The Dark Knight Returns, an upcoming two-part animated movie based on Frank Miller’s critically acclaimed Batman mini-series. The first part hits on September 25, 2012 (my birthday!) and the second will be released in early 2013. Voice talent include Peter Weller as Batman, Ariel Winter as Carrie Kelley/Robin, and David Selby as Jim Gordon.

Considering that the Batman franchise is riding high off of the release of The Dark Knight Rises, DC’s animated features are generally great, and the movie is based off of one of the most revered Batman tales of all time, this should be a “can’t miss” movie for DC, right? Then again, Miller’s art style is so distinct that some people are bound to dislike an animated interpretation of it. Additionally, a ton is riding on the voice actors delivering top-notch performances of words and scenes that have been playing in comic-book fanboys’ heads since The Dark Knight Returns was released in 1986. Perhaps it’s not a sure thing that this animated film will deliver.

Kindly check out the trailer and let me know what you think. Will The Dark Knight Returns be the next great DC animated movie?

Coffee Talk #505: My Problem With Christopher Nolan’s Batman

Now that Chrisopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has wrapped up with The Dark Knight Rises, let’s take a look at his movies through the old retroscope. Nolan’s Batman flicks have been critically lauded and there are lots of reasons why the praise is totally deserved. However, it seems like the director gets a lot of passes, partially because he’s Christopher Nolan and partially because he’s not Joel Schumacher.

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Kristen Stewart’s cheating heart, Michael Phelps disappointing Olympic 2012 start, or super cute Jordyn Wieber failing to qualify for the all-around gymnastics competition, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Now that Chrisopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has wrapped up with The Dark Knight Rises, let’s take a look at his movies through the old retroscope. Nolan’s Batman flicks have been critically lauded and there are lots of reasons why the praise is totally deserved. However, it seems like the director gets a lot of passes, partially because he’s Christopher Nolan and partially because he’s not Joel Schumacher.

As a comic-book nerd, my biggest issue with Nolan’s Batman is based on the director’s penchant for realism. His ultra-realistic take on the Dark Knight made for some distinct movies, but it also took away from one of Batman’s defining characteristics: his desire not to see anyone die. I had a problem with the cavalier way that Batman let Ra’s al Ghul die in Batman Begins. The Bats that I know and love in the comics would have found a way to save Two-Face and Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight. Naturally, villains died in The Dark Knight Rises too. It was real and made sense under the rules of reality, but it wasn’t like comic-book Batman.

Look at the panel on the right from Kingdom Come. For those of you without the benefit of flash photography images, it’s Superman telling Batman, “More than anyone in the world, when you scratch everything else away from Batman, you’re left with someone that doesn’t want to see anybody die.” To me (again, as a comic-book nerd) this sums up Batman perfectly. The traumatic death of his parents has left him with an irrational desire to make sure that everyone lives — even his greatest enemies like The Joker! At times it’s frustrating, because comic-book Batman’s world would be simpler and his life would be easier if he’d let the occasional baddie die (or if Gotham had the death penalty). But comic-book Batman is not about simpler or easier. He’s about life.

So yeah, that’s my big issue with this particular Batman (and I totally admit it’s a nerd nitpick). Now it’s your turn to go on a Bat-rant! What are your problems with Christopher Nolan’s version of Batman?