28 April 2010

The Hobbit Pushed to 2013


Warner Bros. and IMAX Corp. have just issued a joint press release announcing a partnership through 2013 that will include placing upwards of 20 Warner Bros. films into IMAX theaters, (the biggest being Inception, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pts. 1 & 2, Happy Feet 2, Batman 3, as well as the new Superman film). The biggest news to come out of this whole thing is a tentative release date for The Hobbit of December 2013, two years after its initial date of December 2011. We assume part one will debut in 2013 and part 2 in 2014.

Producer Peter Jackson revealed last week that both scripts for the two-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy novel are finished and apparently production will begin later in 2011. Good to see that despite MGM's financial woes that the film will commence filming within the next year.

27 April 2010

Metropolis Is Fully Remastered and Coming to You


Fritz Lang's Metropolis, long forgotten and ravaged by time has been remastered and an additional twenty-five minutes of footage has been added. The film’s national theatrical release will occur on May 7, with a NY premiere at Film Forum, and on April 14, at Laemle’s Royal Theater in Los Angeles – followed by runs in all major markets throughout the US and Canada. If you cannot attend those (and really who can?) the DVD and Blu-ray release is set for November of this year.



21 April 2010

Thoughts: The Losers (***)

I don't know why they were called The Losers. They were all quite accomplished, successful, and capable... of wide-scale carnage!

It was a dumb action flick, but wasn't bad as those go; it was surely entertaining.

Avatars 2 & 3 Mapped Out


When interviewed by the LA Times plugging the Earth Day dvd release of Avatar Cameron revealed his larger plans for the franchise's proposed trilogy:

"We created a broad canvas for the environment of film. That’s not just on Pandora, but throughout the Alpha Centauri AB system. And we expand out across that system and incorporate more into the story – not necessarily in the second film, but more toward a third film. I’ve already announced this, so I might as well say it: Part of my focus in the second film is in creating a different environment – a different setting within Pandora. And I’m going to be focusing on the ocean on Pandora, which will be equally rich and diverse and crazy and imaginative, but it just won’t be a rain forest. I’m not saying we won’t see what we’ve already seen; we’ll see more of that as well."

I may be in the minority that really enjoyed the film, but I definitely want to see where Cameron goes with this. His work in the oceans in The Abyss was something that had to be seen and if anything can be said about Cameron, the man knows how to wow moviegoers visually.

20 April 2010

People Don't Like Paltrow


I knew people didn't like Gwyneth Paltrow - and after Shakespeare in Love who doesn't? - but who knew that her being punched in the face could rake in Iron Man 2 millions?

(Courtesy: The Onion)

Easy A Teaser Trailer


I think we're all familiar with a tune that initially we don't like, but grows on us after a very short period. "Hot & Cold" was stuck in my head when it first came out despite my intense dislike of Top 40 music.

Easy A is about highschool student, Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) whom after a little white lie about losing her virginity gets out, sees her life paralleling Hester Prynne's in "The Scarlet Letter," and decides to use the rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing.

19 April 2010

Bond 23 Delayed


What will be viewed as a disappointment to many the 23rd Bond film while be delayed indefinitely until MGM's financial solution becomes clear.

“Due to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development on BOND 23 indefinitely. We do not know when development will resume and do not have a date for the release of BOND 23,” stated Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli jointly.

I can only hope that MGM figures their stuff out before production of the Daniel Craig continuation of the Bond franchise and the Guillermo Del Toro helmed Hobbit film are driven too far back. Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace are two of the best Bond films in a long time and I want to see where this blonde Bond goes.

18 April 2010

Superman Returns: A Retrospective

It has been almost four years since Bryan Singer's Superman Returns hit theatres and for the most part it has remained maligned by the community. Superman is a huge part of the collective consciousness of the pop culture lexicon. The story of a man who leaps tall buildings in a single bound is well known and all those familiar with Superman/Clark Kent's origin can find something to relate to.

Superman Returns arrived at theatres with the excitement of seeing the Man of Steel returning to celluloid for the first time in nineteen years. Unfortunately, the return was met with stunted optimism in the midst of two wars, diminished prestige of the United States, and the beginnings of an economic downturn.
The spectacle of Returns never seemed to really captivate with all of the action sequences requiring Superman/Clark Kent (Brandon Routh) to only catch a plane, carry an island out of the ocean, and getting shot in the eye. The film seemed like the reel was dragged through a sepia toned universe where a flying man is only registered as, "Hey that guy used to live here before he unexpectedly disappeared!" The optimism that came tied with Christopher Reeve is met only with mild distaste by the citizens of Metropolis.

Superman's disappearance is noted only by the child he leaves behind with Lois (Kate Bosworth), to raise with her new husband, Richard White (James Marsden). It's obvious that Superman felt like an extended leave of absense was entirely necessary, but when he comes back the World has moved on. "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman" is a prominent article in the film and we get the feeling maybe Clark should hang it up and go nomad. Lois doesn't want him there and really there are so many horrors in the world that a global Superman could undo.

With the first Superman film in almost twenty years the villain showdown was expected to be a big deal, but what happened was less a beatdown of a supervillain than the reality that - like in real life - the villain wins. The final showdown with Lex (Kevin Spacey channeling perhaps the world's most insane real estate agent) is hedged by - what else? - Kryptonite. Unfortunately Superman gets the wrong end of a shard broken off in his abdomen and the megalomaniac who has dreamed of this day for years has finally won. When audiences watched the victory (albeit short-lived) of Luthor over Superman many felt that the film had gone too far in a dark direction. But it was not for nothing as the film's implications had much more to say about the world we lived in.



Implications of 9/11 and the War on Terror do not go lost, the airliner going down brings back many painful memories of that fateful September morning. In this world there is a Superman and Osama Bin Laden does not go unfound, the towers do not fall and there is no constant threat of global annihilation. The political allegory of Returns is far more interesting than any battle between The Man of Steel and Doomsday/Brainiac/Darkseid. Superman, much like the United States at that time, had undergone a transformation in the public eye, and we don't know if he'll be forgiven.

A lingering romance between Lois and Superman has always existed, but where Returns veers off the old dirt road is that Lois isn't too dumb to not catch the resemblance rather the opportunity for their love is gone. Nothing can change what happened when he left. And Lois, struggling with her own resurgent feelings, can only skirt an actual relationship with the man seemingly always staving off another disaster.

The biggest problem with the film, for many, was the realization that Superman is a deadbeat father. Only when at the end of the film when Superman tells his son that, "he'll always be different an outcast who can pass as a human being but will never truly be one" does it come clear. Just as Superman was raised by Martha and Johnathan Kent, Jason belongs only with Lois and her new husband. Jason, unlike Superman, can be a part of this world, but - mirroring the Jor-El relationship to Kal-El - eventually the son must surpass the father and when that time comes Superman will be there.

16 April 2010

Review: Kick-Ass

After attending a screening of Matthew Vaughn's film, was surprised how badly this film played to me. I fit the main demographic Kick-Ass is aimed at (under 25 male, superhero enthusiast) and despite that everyone else at the screening really seemed to enjoy Kick-Ass. I wouldn't have written anything about the film, except the general theme of reviews seems to be that this is Pulp Fiction meets Spider-man. While it could be argued that the film is fun, it isn't up to par with a Batman Begins, or Iron Man.

The story starts off with a voice-over narration of Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) as the overlooked high-school student who decides that becoming a superhero in this day and age can be achieved. He dons the suit and mask of Kick-Ass and the story goes on. Unfortunately for Kick-Ass he discovers that he isn't even the most qualified vigilante on the streets and is soon outshined by the foul-mouthed and probably deranged Hit-Girl (Chloe Moritz) and Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage, doing his best Adam West impersonation).

Red Mist also makes an appearance (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) but he's definitely not my cup of tea - in any of his roles.

Now, walking into a film called Kick-Ass you expect some extreme action, and or violence. Beheadings, shotgun blasts to the face, etc. But when Kick-Ass and Big Daddy end up in a bad way, that is really unpleasant to watch, it becomes too much. If you watched No Country for Old Men and thought, "Why is this Anton Chigurh guy such a choir boy? He should act with some malice!" then this scene with head mobster Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong) might be your cup of tea. Anyone else, however, will probably be disgusted.

But there are two things going for it: Chloe Moritz and Nicolas Cage. Hit-Girl is an interesting take on why a sidekick becomes a sidekick, but ultimately it's just funny to watch a twelve year old girl kick the asses of low-life thugs. Nicolas Cage looks like he's finally found some career resurgence with this and the Bad Lieutenant reimagining, hopefully this career transition manages to last past Sorcerer's Apprentice and Season of the Witch. Cage, an avid comic-book aficionado  got his chance to play a decent superhero - no, I'm not counting Ghost Rider.

I didn't hate this film (violence against children aside), but it just doesn't seem to have that spark that most comic book films have. If you want a subversive film that skews the conventions of a comic-book film rent Defendor instead.

**/****

"Yes, I'm Still on Hold."

We enter the warehouse panning slowly from an expansive room closer to the desk of Barry Egan (Adam Sandler). He is pushed up against the corner speaking timidly to a line operator regarding airline miles--the currency of the future. Sandler scans the newspaper ad as if he were Indiana Jones in the proverbial Lost Ark. The isolation of the warehouse is soon to be contrasted by dreams of Hawaii. Escape is near and he'll be damned if it gets away from him this time.

12 April 2010

Conan Back on T.V.


Conan O'Brien will be returning to television this November at TBS following the World Series! Many had speculated that he would end up at FOX, but the appeal of keeping control of his show and his audience was too much of a pull as he went to the Atlanta based cable network.

His new TV show will air Mondays through Thursdays at 11 p.m.

09 April 2010

Regret.


Joe Wright's Atonement did many things - one of which was remove the romantic aura from World War II - something a great deal of period films never do.

Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) is a man falsely accused of rape forced into joining the army or rotting in prison. Four years have come and gone from his life and he is still no closer to reuniting with his love, Cecilia (Keira Knightley). He is suffering from considerable exhaustion and this scene captures the loss he's experiencing in the most haunting fashion.

08 April 2010

Watch Logorama For Free


The Academy Award winning animated short Logorama is available to watch in its entirety for free! I'm sure McDonalds is thrilled about its mascot being used as a criminal.

07 April 2010

Disney Puts 'Tron' Cart Before the Horse


The Hollywood Reporter has scooped that Lost co-writers Edward Kitsis and Josh Horowitz have been set in motion to write a third TRON film before Tron Legacy even hits theatres in December. While the cast and director Joseph Kosinski are lacking deals if buzz keeps building for Tron Legacy a sequel wouldn't be out of the question.

Dinner for Schmucks Trailer


Paul Rudd, Zach Galifinakis and Steve Carell? Sign me up. And it's really nice to see Ron Livingston in a movie...it's been, what, seven years since The Cooler?

05 April 2010

Inception's Dream Machine Revealed?


/Film editor and writer Peter Sciretta came across some Inception merchandise while attending the panel for Christopher Nolan's latest film and it included this t-shirt. More is becoming clear about the film as the year progresses and it appears as if Warner Bros. is definitely expecting something big from this film.

(Courtesy: /Film)

02 April 2010

Review: Greenberg

Writer/director Noah Baumbach has always been accused of being a cynic and for the most part, when he isn't teaming up with Wes Anderson, that is the truth, but Greenberg dials it up to eleven on the miserable bastard scale. Don't get me wrong Greenberg succeeds as a comedy, but only on the same plane that A Serious Man did. This film will definitely be an acquired taste.

The film opens up in a way that many films about California do not, instead of the splendor of Hollywood what we see instead are mass amounts of smog overtaking everything in sight. A way of foreshadowing Roger Greenberg's (Ben Stiller) mindset? Absolutely.

The relationship between Florence (Greta Gerwig) is a hard-to-watch-one at best. While she sees a vulnerability in Greenberg, the audience sees an abusive relationship slowly unfolding to several awkward attempts at having sex because, "it feels good". Given that Greenberg starts from her point of view is strange  considering Florence is such a passive character. She could find no other employment than as a house-sitter for the Greenberg clan, Roger's successful brother Phillip Greenberg (Chris Messina), his wife and their two children. When she isn't at Trader Joe's shopping around, she is dutifully taking care of their dog, Mahler. Her great joy seems to be performing karaoke in a small bar, reflective that even in her small happy moments she is still only singing someone else's song.

The films' most effective scenes are between Greenberg and his former Magic Markers bandmate, Ivan (Rhys Ifans). After the fallout that occured between the band when Greenberg turned down a record offer the two went their separate ways. Ivan and Greenberg are friends in the sense that they both know they have nothing in common anymore, but the stories shared can always pass the time between them.

When Ifans is on the screen Greenberg is certainly more tolerable and we feel like we can get to know him more intimately than just someone at an arms length. The explosive confrontation they have during a house party is easily the best scene of the film. Baumbach really keys in on the relationship between former best friends who have let too much time go to pass.

To Ben Stiller's credit he never attempts to make Greenberg anything more than he actually is. A stubborn, narcissistic agoraphobe with little to no consideration for everyone else in his small circle of friends and family. You may not like Greenberg, but Stiller doesn't need you to. Greenberg's isn't a transformation that takes place in the third act like a lot of films; Greenberg is who he is. And sadly we might know him better than he knows himself.

**/****

01 April 2010

The Losers Trailer



For those of you who haven't seen the trailer for The Losers yet, or haven't heard that Chris Evans is confirmed as Captain America, or don't know who Chris Evan is watch this. Mama didn't raise no fool may be the funniest thing in the whole trailer.