30 October 2012

Disney Buys LucasFilm, New Star Wars Every 2-3 Years

Well, I picked a terrible week to move. Disney made major news today in announcing the purchase of LucasArts and, more shocking, that Star Wars will have new features released every two to three years. Newly hired Kathleen Kennedy will act as executive producer on Episode VII and George Lucas will be creative consultant. George Lucas released a statement shortly thereafter today:

For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.

May I suggest Joss Whedon for overlord of all Disney geek-related properties (Marvel, Star Wars)?

(Courtesy: /Film)

'Wolverine' Poster Has Claws

Nice artwork. I just hope that The Wolverine proves to be a better film than Origins was. With James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma) in charge, I'm expecting good things.

28 October 2012

Hit Me With Your Best Shot #2

The game where I throw out one of cinema's more obscure quotes and you try to guess it. No clues, all glory. Let's see if you can name the film this quote is from.

"What happened to you? -Ping-Pong accident."

23 October 2012

Iron Man 3 Trailer Premieres

Looks like stuff just got real for the eccentric billionaire known as Iron Man. The glamour of his superhero alter-ego is gone and the enemies he faces have far more reach than a homeless Russian man. No one is safe: Pepper, Rhodey, or Tony himself.

Iron Man 3 opens in 3D on May 3, 2013.

21 October 2012

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

The first in a start of many posts featuring obscure quotes. Let's see if you can name this one.

"Go ahead, tell em'..."

19 October 2012

Review: Blast from the Past (Argo)

The economy is slow, the President is embattled, and a crisis in the Middle East has sparked a panic. The year? 1979. Nothing ever really changes does it?

Hostages are held captive in the Embassy, elsewhere, six workers sit in a the house of a Canadian Ambassador. The CIA is bereft of ideas on how to get them out of the country. Exit strategy maestro Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) has been called in to assess the situation. The extraction options suggested thus far have been a teaching program, vegetable growers and bicycling to Iraq. Understandably, Tony is not pleased.

The Company asks a lot of its faculty and Tony has felt the brunt. He rarely sees his wife and son, at most he gets a phone call every few days a week. He saves lives every day and yet can say nothing. During one of his few phone calls with his son, an idea blossoms: a fake b-movie production.

First things first, they'll need a crew to make their fake film. John Chambers (John Goodman) is another asset of the C.I.A. Tony has worked with previously and knows the ins and outs of Tinseltown. In the better part of a week Tony needs to be able to blend in with every schmoozing producer there is if he is to convince Iranian officials that Argo is a real film. Producer of yesteryear classics, Lester Siegel (a comic Alan Arkin) will show him the way.

Ben Affleck has only three directorial features to his name, but he has very quickly transitioned himself into the upper echelon of elite helmers. The mixture of equal parts humor and tension throughout Argo is the result of a craftsman who knows his trade. His handling of ensembles in Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo is reminiscent of Robert Altman.

Every scene, every take and every climax is extracted with precision and done with the full picture in mind. It should come as no surprise that supporting characters like Goodman and Arkin hand in capable turns as Hollywood veterans as well as a chameleon-like Bryan Cranston as Tony's supervisor, Jack O'Donnell, a man who knows how to bend the rules at Langley.

More impressive is that when Mr. Affleck takes the lead he has no problem relegating himself to the background when it calls for it. Understated lead performances are a rarity in the Oscar-bait of winter, but Affleck knows exactly what it takes to play a man like Tony Mendez. A cool smile and before you turn around, he's gone.

Argo sneaks up and floors the audience unexpectedly, much like the long con of convincing the entire world that a sci-fi picture in Tehran was anything but what the trade sheets suggested.

***1/2 out of ****

18 October 2012

Profile Posters for 'Django Unchained'

Just in case you forgot, Django Unchained is coming out this Christmas and Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio are starring in it. Also, slavery, rich people, and guns.

15 October 2012

Marvel Announces New Slate of Films

IRON MAN 3 – now available in 3D – 5/3/13

THOR: THE DARK WORLD – now available in 3D – 11/8/13


GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY date is unchanged 8/1/14

ANT-MAN is scheduled for 11/6/15

With The Avengers 2 release date listed in summer of 2015 it shall be seen whether or not Ant-man makes an appearance in the film prior to his solo-shot. Given that audiences are unfamiliar with the character, he may join the team in their adventures (battling Thanos?) similarly to how Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson were introduced in Thor and Iron Man 2. Still no standalone Hulk feature though. Either way, I'll be there with bells on for Whedon's second effort.

13 October 2012

Second 'Django' Trailer Is Heartening

This should quite easily wash the taste of Oscar-fare out of your mouth following a heavy November and December. I don't recommend inviting your mom to see this on Christmas, mind you, no matter how much she likes that handsome, young man from Titanic.

12 October 2012

10 Words or Less: Sinister (2012)

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Scary stuff. Over.

11 October 2012

'Hitchcock' Trailer Jammed with Prestige

For all of the questions of whether or not Anthony Hopkins or Scarlett Johnannson would look like Hitch and Janet Leigh, the newly released trailer seems to quell those complaints. Fox Searchlight may have a winner on their hands come awards season.

08 October 2012

More Bad News for 'Community'

Fans of Community will be disappointed to hear that the show's debut on October 19th has been delayed until further notice. No word yet on whether this is because NBC is considering bringing Community back to Thursday's comedy night, but here's hoping.

And because I can't help it, it's worth mentioning that the fellow in the very sparkly dress is an Oscar winner (Adapted screenplay for The Descendants). Take that, Peter O'Toole!

Courtesy: EW.com

07 October 2012

Review: Rage Against the Time Machine (Looper)

Film noir has not been a traditionally successful genre in the last twenty years. Then along came Rian Johnson and changed all that. He took the leads who provide the context for the audience, the women who lead them to their fall, and hard times where morally ambivalent men succeed and reformatted it for the 21st century. The man is Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the year is 2044 and the occupation is looping.

Joe is a cocky young man and he has little time for anything other than making money and planning on getting out of the country. His profession is explained in few words and without dumbing it down.

Loopers are not forward-thinking people, Joe explains. They are contracted to kill people who don't yet exist in this time and collect the precious metals that come with the body. They are rewarded quite handsomely for this task, but it comes with strings: eventually they have to kill themselves. Killing your future self usually goes off without a hitch. Blunderbuss in hand, Joe waits until a masked figure appears in front of him. What happens next is unexpected.

Elder Joe (Bruce Willis at the best he's been in a long time) is ready: he strikes first and leaves everything in chaos. The consequences for the elder Joe running around are almost unfathomable. The consequences for current Joe are even more harsh. Where elder Joe comes from is a horrifying place and he must change the past if his younger self is going to be able to find the same happiness he has.

Willis and Gordon-Levitt sets the tone of the film immediately: there is more at stake than the whims of a wayward twenty-something. Many people will die.

Initially a questionable aspect, Joe's visage seems a little strange, but Levitt picks up every nuance and mannerism of a young Bruce Willis. When the two interact for their first sit down scene, no qualms are had about prosthetics at all. The following collision course that takes place between the two men ranks as one of the most haunting representations of seeing who you are become corrupted right in front of you. The diner scene between 

By attaching himself to original concepts such as this, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has quickly become one of the most interesting leading men in Hollywood, with directors like Rian Johnson guiding him, he has nowhere to go but up.

Much like its lead actor, Looper is destined for higher things. It is fated to become a sci-fi classic.

***1/2 out of ****

05 October 2012

Adele Performs "Skyfall"

The last song for Bond by Jack White and Alicia Keys was criticized for how it fit the 22nd film (oddly enough "Two Against One" would have fit Quantum of Solace much more). Adele's selection, without doubt, will not be questioned given her classic sound. Give it a watch.

Don't get sold out! Buy advance tickets to Skyfall.

Review: Welcome Home (The Oranges)

The Wallings (Hugh Laurie and Catherine Keener) and Ostroffs (Oliver Platt and Allison Janney) have been friends for years. They share dinners, holidays, and traditions. The only problem for these two benevolent clans is that they're about to share something else: infidelity.

The eldest daughter and son of the Ostroffs and Wallings are coming back home. Nina (Leighton Meester), fresh off of a break-up and Toby are both returning after being on their own for five years. Most stories would dictate that Nina and Toby get together and turn the friendly bond between families into a marital one. Instead, Nina engages in an affair with David (Hugh Laurie), upheaving everything.

Christmas, never the time of festiveness that it promises, is now a battleground between good pals David and Terry (Oliver Platt). Carol Ostroff (Allison Janney) and Paige Walling (Catherine Keener) are left to take sides as well as Vanessa, the daughter no one wants to deal with. The holidays will not prove to kind to David as Christmas cards and anything else that can be used as a weapons in Paige's war on destroying him. Keener seems miscast as a controlling and vindictive wife here, someone like Laura Linney may have been a better choice. From the eye of the audience it's no wonder why David spends more time in his shack than with his wife.

If you have been reading this and assuming the story takes place from Hugh Laurie's perspective, you would be wrong. It is Vanessa's story and she lends her voice to the unfolding drama, but the writers seemingly never intended for the focus to ever be on her. Why Nina is expected to be sympathized with leaves one puzzled. She is generally selfish and oblivious to what she has done to both families.

Oddly enough, the middle-aged father who would be expected to be made the bad guy, is hard to dislike. David is no Humbert Humbert and he is torn by his quest for youth as he watches the town turn on him. Hugh Laurie has always had a knack for turning jerks into engaging characters so it should come as no surprise that David is easily one of the few highlights of Oranges.

Suburban life has been captured on film so frequently that most stories of domestic bliss are already over before they begin. And down to the all too familiar ending where all the family members make a sudden realization that changes their loves, The Oranges is just another template.


04 October 2012

The Most Distinctive Movie Voices

Characters that sound unique are rarely found in cinemas. Globalization has made most voices recognizable to moviegoers all over the world. Very few characters make one turn their head and go "huh?", so one when such characters present themselves, we have to take notice.

Bane - Tom Hardy
Of the many discussed items of The Dark Knight Rises this summer, Tom Hardy's voice for the masked villain was easily the most popular. What was it? Scottish? Indian?

Anton Chiguhr - Javier Bardem
Another villain with a voice hard to detect. While Bardem slipped between accents in scenes, no one was really wondering anything other than "what is he going to do with that cattle prod?"

Batman - Christian Bale
Bale's growl that he used as Caped Crusader has been described as many things: a mix between Clint Eastwood and a Gorilla, a severe case of bronchitis, and induced by childhood nightmares. All I know is, it is the best Batman voice done.

Vito Corleone - Marlon Brando
One of the most imitated voices in cinematic history it commands your attention as well as your respect.

Hannibal Lecter - Anthony Hopkins
If the eerie gaze of Dr. Lecter didn't send shivers down your spine, then the timbre of his voice will.

Bill Lumberg - Gary Cole
"Yeah, we're gonna have to ask you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too."

Groundskeeper Carl Spackler - Billy Murray
Maybe one of the greatest comedic performances of all-time and infinitely quotable.

Clint Eastwood in anything
You just know it's him. From the cool, collected breeze of the Man with No Name all the way to the grizzled man who wants you off his lawn. Instantly recognizable.

03 October 2012

"Clothed in Immense Power"

Daniel Day-Lewis' delivery of that last line is chilling. So can we please stop talking about his voice?

02 October 2012

New 'Killing' Poster Is Work of Art

Surely, there are those of you who are more than tired of seeing posters line the top seven posts of NMPF on a regular basis, but this one simply couldn't be ignored. Contrast this with the one-sheet released for Parker and you will know exactly what I'm talking about.

Killing Them Softly comes out November 30th

'Lone Ranger' Trailer