Geeky Friday: Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Mad Max Reboot, Universal Monsters Blu-ray

If you just can’t get enough Batman (and who can?), check out the trailer for this animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part I coming to Blu-ray September 25. Ladies note that the story features a female Robin. (And watch out for those typos, kiddies—see if you can spot it!) Miller’s 1986 title was a landmark for Batman and graphic novels, so this is major. Let’s hope the filmmakers did it justice.

Still Crazy After All These Years
Grab your S&M leathers, sawed-off shotguns, and Dinki Di, then strap yourselves in for some high-octane adventure: Officer Max Rockatansky, MFP 4073, is back behind the wheel for another post-apocalyptic showdown! Some interesting pix are starting to hit the geekosphere from the Mad Max reboot, Thunder Road. Not much is known about the plot (hopefully it has one), but pix of the cars are surfacing, which is half the reason—at least—to see this film.

Tom Hardy steps out of his role as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises to take over as Max (Mel is too old and, alas, now truly seems mad), with Charlize Theron in the female lead and George Miller again directing. Max still is driving the blown-to-the-bone Ford XB Falcon with the Weiand supercharger, zoomies, chin spoiler, and other bolt-on goodies. Notice that the headlight covers and rear hatch still are intact, placing the action sometime between Mad Max and The Road Warrior.

Dig the pix:

And the most badass film vehicle ever: the last of the V8 Interceptors! (I’d give my wife to Al-Qaida for that car! Don’t tell her I said that.)

Blu Meanies
If you’re nowhere near NYC and couldn’t see all the wonderful old horror classics that Film Forum included in its Universal Studios centennial celebration, dig this: Universal is releasing its horror staples on Blu-ray this October 2 in time for Halloween. The boxed Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection set will sport Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon! Great stuff, but note that Phantom is the Claude Rains talkie instead of the original Lon Chaney silent.

I’m bummed that the set doesn’t include The Werewolf of London. Perhaps there will be additional releases with Universal’s other numerous horror flix. Fingers crossed! No word yet on the quality of the restoration (some are way better than others). The box costs around $160, but you can pre-order on Amazon now and snag it for a less monstrous $112 ($14 a film).

Total Wimp
The Dark Knight Rises has ruled the box office the last two weekends, but it will have some new competition starting today between the Total Recall remake and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. Despite that it looks really cool and the reviews are decent, Total Recall lacks A-list star power (no disrespect to Colin Farrell, who is ten times the actor the governator ever will be) and some nerds will refuse to see it out of silly fealty to the Ahnold original. But enough other guys will plunk down their dough just for the gun play and the visuals—especially the molten hotness of Kate Beckinsale and Jessie Biel punching the snot out of each other!

Joking aside, both actresses already have solid action-film chops: Biel buffed up beautifully for Blade Trinity and Beckinsale is near legendary as vampire warrior Selene in the Underwear, eh, I mean, Underworld series. Decked out in a skin-tight black rubber catsuit, corset, and a brace of full-auto handguns straddling her hips, Selene is an ass-kicking goddess!

Ahnold purists happily can mainline the original Total Recall on the just-released Mind-Bending Edition Blu-ray. The 1990 film has been cleaned up and restored with director Paul Verhoeven’s blessing, who also sat for an interview included on the disc.

Wimpy 3 also lacks A-listers (the biggest name in it is Steve Zahn) and the reviews were meh, but the books have a gigundo following (the first printing for November’s DWK: The Third Wheel is a mind-blowing 6.5 million copies), and the first two films adaptations were fun and made decent bucks. It’ll be interesting to see of The Dark Knight can hold the top slot another week.

New York Comic Con Countdown: Holy Oldies, Batman!
I received confirmation of my New York Comic Con press badge this week, so the fuse is lit and in less than three months’ time NYCC will explode, scattering geeky goodness all over Manhattan. I’ve also received my first official NYCC press release and it’s a beaut: actors Adam West and Burt Ward, stars of the campy 1960s TV Batman, have been named Spotlight Guests at the show. Ward, the Boy Wonder, is 67, and Adam West is older than dirt. It’ll be great fun to see them.

Suicide Blonde
August 5 marks the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s suicide—or murder, depending on who you ask. The advances in forensic sciences since her demise point to it being impossible for the actress to have orally ingested the number of barbiturates necessary for her blood to have been so contaminated with narcotics because she would have died well before her body had ingested all the pills, which still would be in her stomach instead of her blood. Some modern investigators contend that the only way so large a dose—enough to kill ten people—could be in her bloodstream so quickly was if it was injected with a syringe. Monroe’s bungalow was being renovated, and the water in the bathroom was turned off and no glass was found in her room when police first arrived (one appeared later), so MM would have to have dry-swallowed more than 75 pills.

Her body reportedly also showed signs typical of someone who had died on their back, but she was found face down. Lots of experienced coppers also since have studied the pix from the crime-scene and asserted it was staged—badly. All her organs, which would have provided more exact evidence, quickly were destroyed and most of the crime-scene photos just as quickly were lost. Lots of these Marilyn-was-murdered folks are trying to sell books or otherwise make money off their accusations, but still it makes you wonder.

Her Blondeness gets kudos for comedy, but she was equally solid at playing seriously twisted sisters in the thrillers Niagara and, especially, Don’t Bother To Knock. She’s fab in both, so if Some Like It Hot leaves you cold or you can’t scratch The Seven-Year Itch again, try one of these. (And check out these new Marilyn biographies.)

Lastly, belated happy birthday wishes to Herman Melville (Aug 1). Born and died in New York City and buried in the Bronx.

Have a great weekend, all. Get your geek on!

Michael Rogers About Michael Rogers

Michael Rogers ( is Media Editor, Library Journal and Managing Editor of LJ Reviews.