Probably the biggest surprise at this year’s New York Comic Con had to be the Summit Entertainment Panel, which featured footage from the studio’s upcoming films, Knowing, The Hurt Locker, and Astro Boy, all three of which are looking pretty good.

KNOWING

Knowing is the upcoming film from Alex Proyas, director of The Crow. It stars Nicolas Cage as a brilliant professor who discovers a sequence of numbers in an unearthed time capsule that predict every major disaster of the last century–and a doomsday disaster that will soon occur.

There were two clips from Knowing screened at the panel. The first showed how Nicolas Cage’s character, John Koestler, coming to believe in the numbers: he’s driving home on the highway contemplating the sequence and ends up stuck in traffic. As he’s stopped, Koestler happens to glance down at his car’s GPS navigator and realizes that his current latitude/longitude coordinates appear within the sequence. And just then a Boeing jet comes crashing onto the highway in a ball of flame and carnage. It’s pretty nuts.

The second clip took place later in the film, when Koestler is desperately trying to prevent these disasters from occurring. He goes into the NYC subway looking for what he assumes is a terrorist about to strike. He chases a suspicious man through the station and onto a train, only to discover the man is just a bootlegger. And just then an oncoming train jumps the track and goes careening through the station, crushing dozens of people. Again, pretty nuts.

So far Knowing looks pretty crazy. Don’t know how the actual plot is going to turn out (I see it potentially unraveling in the third act), but we’ll know for sure when Knowing hits theaters on March 20, 2009.

THE HURT LOCKER

I didn’t know much about The Hurt Locker going into the panel, but I definitely know about it now. The film stars Jeremy Renner (28 Weeks Later) as a Sgt. William James, a badass bomb diffuser over in Iraq. Watching James’ back are his fellow members of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit, Sgt. JT Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Owen Eldrige (Brian Geraghty). The movie focuses on the bond between the three EOD Unit soldiers as they travel through Iraq facing life and death with every job.

The clip screened at Comic Con focused on establishing the characters of the EOD Unit members: James, the bomb handler, is reckless, fearless and ultimately brilliant at what he does. Sgt. Sanborn, the Unit leader, is disciplined, methodical and pragmatic. Sgt. Eldrige, the sidekick, is meek but brave, and acts as the buffer between the clashing wills of James and Sanborn. The three lead actors all portrayed their parts well, and showed real chemistry as an ensemble.

Renner was present at the panel and shared some amusing anecdotes about what it was like to train in the desert wearing 100lb bomb disposal suits while being forced to perform menial tasks like picking up paperclips or completing math problems. He added that his character’s renegade attitude was based in part on crazy stories real EOD Unit soldiers had shared with him.

(Side note: Jeremy Renner could use an infusion of charisma. Smile every now and again bud, your’re in the movie biz!)

The Hurt Locker was directed by Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break) and I have to say, from what I saw, she’s done a great job at the helm. The clip they screened was one of the most tense sequences I’ve seen in years: quiet, no ambient music, with intimate close-up camera work and some exceptional sound mixing (every little rip, tear, or heavy breath sounds like the precursor to an explosion). The Hurt Locker will be sure to get hearts everywhere pumping triple-time when it hits theaters later this summer. Be sure to check it out.

ASTRO BOY

One of the films I’m really looking forward to this year is Summit Entertainment and Imagi Studios’ CGI reimagining of the anime classic, Astro Boy.

The Summit panel featured some never-before-seen concept art from the film, along with an extended sequence of the teaser trailer for the film, showing how Astro Boy learns how to use his foot jets. IGN got access to the pics (they were hosting the panel, after all), but the footage was off strictly limits (and security wasn’t messing around. They were watching the crowd with night vision lenses every time footage was shown).

Guess we’ll have to make do with the pics. Astro Boy is poised to hit theaters on October 23, 2009.


Astro Boy‘s Schematics: arm cannons, leg jets and mini butt cannons, check


Astro Boy takes flight over Metro City


Astro Boy gets harrassed by the man


Astro Boy tries to escape pursuit


Astro Boy‘s nemisis, The Peacekeeper, in “absorbtion phase”


Astro Boy gets excited for his big film debut

That’s it for the Summit Entertainment panel at this year’s New York Comic Con. Be sure to check out more on Knowing, The Hurt Locker and Astro Boy and tell us what you think.

Source: New York Comic Con