Notes from the back row 

Geek News

The freaks come out at night but the geeks own the lazy days of summer - as witnessed last weekend at Comic Con 2009 when geeks of all varieties converged on San Diego to get boners in their jogging pants over the coolest upcoming films, games, comics and Megan Fox.

Fox was on hand to promote Jennifer's Body , a Diablo Cody-scripted ( Juno) demon cheerleader flick that's out this fall and Jonah Hex , a comic adaptation Western flick set for release in 2010. Fox plays a prostitute and geeks love corsets so this will be a hit.

Other Comic Con highlights included a teaser for Iron Man 2 with Robert Downey Jr. joined by Scarlett Johansson, Mickey Rourke as a villain, and the next set of armour - War Machine. Comics continue to rule the box office and this one is out May 2010.

Disney unveiled some special Alice in Wonderland footage. It's 3D,  directed by Tim Burton, and Johnny Depp is the Mad Hatter. 'Nuff said.

As well, Richard Kelly ( Donnie Darko ) has just finished a sci-fi flick called The Box which is already garnering comparisons to Hitchcock and early Kubrick. And James Cameron debuted footage of Avatar, his first feature since Titanic. Cameron is one of the best filmmakers of the last 20 years so expect him to return with a bang with this 3D sci-fi epic slated for release Dec. 18.

Speaking of returns, Adam Sandler hits the big screens of the Village 8 this Friday in Funny People , the third directorial effort from platonic-male-love guru Judd Apatow who's attempting something new with this one, an adult comedy.

Apatow mines his own experience and creates a personal picture, an attempt to infuse his eternal-adolescence shtick with some pathos and drama. Sandler plays an aging comedian diagnosed with Leukemia who hires Seth Rogen (slimmed down and aw shucks-ing his way through the first half) as an assistant/writer/friend - someone to tuck him into bed at night as well as go on wild double dates with hot chicks.

Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman appear to add chuckles and there are still plenty of one-liners and dick jokes but the flick shifts gears for the second half. Sandler gets a new lease on life and goes after his ex-fiancee, the one who got away (because he cheated on her) played by Leslie Mann. Rogen is relegated to babysitter as Sandler and Mann rekindle the past.

Mann is Apatow's real wife and, as the sister, she was one of the highlights of Knocked Up, but in Funny People her part is a bit flat. I guess it's supposed to be funny when she butchers an Aussie accent to her philandering husband (Eric Bana), but for people like us who hear that all the time it just kind of drags.

The whole movie does, actually. It isn't terrible (there are some laughs) and you can't blame Apatow for wanting to try something new, but his personal catharsis film goes on for 146 minutes and isn't nearly as funny as its title proclaims. Not garbage, and Sandler shows some dramatic talent, but a tad disappointing all in all.

Also opening Friday, Aliens in the Attic . A kiddie movie about Aliens living in an attic and the family that has to deal with them. Directed by the guy who made Like Mike , this looks like a renter.

And for all the geeks who missed Comic Con, check out this Where the Wild Things Are featurette where original author Maurice Sendak goes to bat for Spike Jonze and the new film set to hit theatres this October.

http://www.apple.com/trailers/wb/wherethewildthingsare/

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