Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pirate Zombies: Concept Art from On Stranger Tides

The lines are starting to blur in the Pirates vs Zombies vs Ninja vs Jedi argument. The new film in the flagship series of the pirate fanboy, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, is crossing over and adding zombies. I am convinced that it is only a matter of time before all four will somehow make it into one film. Sucker Punch looks promising but so far no reports of Jedi...yet.

Anyway, the producers of PotC: On Stranger Tides have released some new concept art from the production and I must say it looks AWESOME. I guess it makes sense as the concept of Zombies does have roots in the caribbean (one R, two B's). And the graphic representations are beautiful.

At first thought, I was a little put off by this films existence. The last film was kind of a waste of time and energy and was only required because that story line needed closure (and the studio needed more revenue). But now, I am starting to warm up to this.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull

Click on the image for a full size version
Right off the bat, I am sorry for the slow down in postings. The site redesign has taken much more energy than I thought it would. I have new respect for web masters.

Anyway, wanted to share the new picture of Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull from the film: Captain America: The First Avenger (out July 22, 2011).

While this is a huge improvement over the 1990 incarnation, I am not in love with what I am seeing. I will wait to see how it works within the context of the film itself.

This brings up a topic that I will be covering in a future posting...the superhero appearance in film. Stay tuned.

So, what do you think about the photo?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So what's the deal with the Ridley Scott directed Alien prequel named Prometheus?

Yes, Ridley Scott has announced that he is returning to the genre and will be directing a new sci-fi film. First reports were that it would in fact be a prequel to the 1979 film Alien. Once this happened the fanboy-o-sphere has erupted and the inevitable waive of misinformation has swept over us all. Here's what we do know.

Director – Yes, the Ridley Scott, creative mind behind the original Alien film in 1979.

Screenplay – The screenplay was written by Damon Lindelof who penned Lost (TV) and Cowboys and Aliens due out August 12. Here's the first may not be an Alien prequel at all. Lindelof has been quoted as saying:
“In a world flooded with prequels, sequels and reboots, I was incredibly struck by just how original Ridley’s vision was for this movie. It’s daring, visceral and hopefully, the last thing anyone expects.”
Alien (1979)

When the press challenged the meaning of this, Scott replied with:
“While Alien was indeed the jumping off point for this project, out of the creative process evolved a new, grand mythology and universe in which this original story takes place. The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien’s DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative. I couldn’t be more pleased to have found the singular tale I’d been searching for, and finally return to this genre that’s so close to my heart.”

This doesn't sound like a prequel at all, but more of a film within the same universe as Alien. I have to say I really don't have a problem with it unless they market it as an Alien film. Then a bit of news has come from SCREENRANT. Apparently a source at Sky films is saying that,
"The Jockey will be brought to life as an eight foot tall animatronic, with sculptor/set designer H.R. Giger overseeing its structure." 
The Jockey is, of course, the pilot of the crashed spaceship that was the catalyst of the first Alien film. I am still not sure if it is a direct prequel or not.
"The Space Jockey" from Alien (1979)

Cast – From what I have been able to piece together Micheal Fassebender is in it and is saying that the film will, "will retain stylistic hallmarks of the original 1979 release." Also included is Noomi Rapace (The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo) and Variety is now reporting that Chalize Theron will also be staring in the film. I guess a statuesque female character is a also a "stylistic hallmark" of the franchise, when you consider Sigorney Weaver's height in relation to Theron's.

The shoot – Apparently Sky films has a leaky faucet as another report from a nameless source at the production company says:
"Part of the film will be shot in Morocco," says this mystery source. "I've heard that some sort of archaeological dig where they discover alien DNA takes place there and that DNA gives them the coordinates for an alien world. I've also heard Morocco is being used for alien planet landscapes so I'm not sure if it's an archaeological dig on another planet."

So, this is all promising. More information to come as it arrives. Please post any info that you may have heard.
Ridley Scott directing John Hurt

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Trailer: Don't Be Afraid of The Dark

Jeezuz Christ! Now that I am just getting to the point where I am finally able to purge some of the terrifying memories from the 1973 TV movie of the same name, they go and remake this. Who would do such a thing? Well Guillermo del Toro co-wrote this with Matthew Roberts and it is directed by Troy Nixey (?) that's who.
 Click for full size image

I  have not been able to purge from my head the image of the creatures pulling Kim Darby down the stairs and into their layer, while she uses a camera flash to create light (the foil of the creatures). It is terrifying.

And look at the way the creatures are done in this one. Part monkey, part goblin, and all evil. I am simultaneously scared of this and excited to get a viewing.

Anybody else have memories of this film like I do?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Trailer: X-Men: First Class

Finally, the X-Men First Class trailer is out. "Peace was never an option". WOW!

I must say I am happy with everything I am seeing. Charles and Eric seem to be in good hands with Michael Fassbender and James MacAvoy. And I didn't know Azazel is going to be in this (Nightcrawler's father). It is looking like the producer's did their homework....which doesn't always happen (see Tim Burton). Great music as well. What do you think? Sound off.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Trailers: All 13 Super Bowl Movie Trailer Ads

Sorry for the lapse in postings and getting back to those who have been writing me. I have been on vacation from my day job for a week. But, I promise to get back to each and every one of you and resume regular postings.

My vacation culminated in catching a collection of ads that were interrupted by some strange game where guys who are suffering from 'roid rage or small penis disorder (or both) receive millions of dollars  for moving a small leather ball up and down a large grass field. I am not really sure what the game is an allegory for, or what the skills needed in that game are used for in the real world but it did seem to drag on. Anyway, it gave me plenty of time to socialize with my loved ones while waiting for the collection of ads, including many movie trailers. Lets take a look...

Captain America (release date: July 29)

Hmmm. I like the costume (more on that in a future posting) and that the producers kept the original WWII setting that the comic was set in. But The Red Skull (the villain) that can be seen for a millisecond worries me. Also, is anybody else bothered by the fact that Chris Evans, who ALREADY plays a MARVEL hero is cast as another one? Are there really no other actors out there? This lack of creativity by the producers has me a bit worried. Stanley Tucci and Hugo Weaving are always promising in trailers and usually the movies themselves. And I love the idea of using CG to thin down the actor before transformation into the super solider known as Captain America instead of the more common other way around. Still, something is bothering me about this....

Super 8 (release date: June 10)

Anytime I see a Spielberg influenced film that has a suburban kid with a movie camera in it, my gag reflex takes my lunch up to the lower throat. We get it, Steven, you're that kid, and you just want to capture our imagination again. And JJ Abrams, I still haven't forgotten about the "The Great Lost Debacle of 2010". I am going to send you a bill for wasting my time for six years like that. I just need to figure out the formula for compensation. Anyway, the potential for this film is limitless, which again makes me scared. its a hard standard to live up to. That and it looks a little too much like a Cloverfield sequel of some sort.

Thor (release date: May 6)

Now I will be the first to admit that I didn't read the comic that this film is based on. And it's for the same reason that I am not too excited about seeing this film. The fact that Thor is a cast away from the Nordic (I think) after-world of Asgard makes me wonder how they are going to work a hero with a supernatural origin into The Avengers movie (2012) with characters like Iron Man and The Hulk that the producers went to such lengths the sell the plausibility of events in their individual origins. Helmsworth seems a good fit for Thor. The Natalie Portman uber-trend continues with no complaints yet. I feel that this film is trying to make up for the impossible story line (which kept me away from the comic) by sliding in Anthony Hopkins. It used to be an equation for weak films: Need credibility? Just add Anthony Hopkins. Hmmm. I'll see this in the theater, but again, I fear the worst for this film.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (release date: May 18)

Mental Note: C-a-r-i-b-b-ean. One "R" and two "B"s. Anyway, This is the lone 60 second long ad spot for the Super bowl and at $6 million a minute I am not sure they got the bang for the buck. First off, I can't figure out how this series can get even more convoluted and off track from the brilliant first film in the series, yet this one seems to have. This one appears to be trying too hard. Penelope Cruz in that outfit looks like she got her wardrobe from a high school drama club. And they added zombies to a pirate movie? Isn't that crossing the geek culture dividing line? Are Jedi and Ninja's in the next one? Still seeing it, though. What can I say? Depp rules in this role. RULES.

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon (release date: July 1)

Now,  I will believe that there is some sort of cube that can turn my "japanese" Nokia phone into a little robot with missiles, like in the first film in this series. And I will believe that robots, yes robots, can descend from earlier robots and carry out some diluted prophecy, like in the second film. But I will NOT believe that a girl that looks like Megan Fox AND a girl that looks like Rose Huntington-Whitely would go for a guy that looks like Shia LeBeouf, like this series is trying to sell me on. I will not. I cannot suspend my disbelief that much. I just can't.

Cowboys & Aliens (release date: August 12)

For a second, I thought that my game console was still on and had somehow been playing Red Dead Redemption and Halo Reach at the same time. I am not really sure what to make of this. Westerns seem to be a trend right now, although the true Spaghetti Western style is being overlooked. Craig and Ford are intriguing and they had me at Olivia Wild. They had me at Olivia Wild.

Fast Five

Wait, WTF? Five? There were four previous films in this series? Really? I looked it up and there are in fact 4 Fast/Furious films out there already. I guess they still need to blow up more import tuners. Looks like this is some sort of crossing of films 1, 2, and 4. Really? They are pretending Tokyo Drift never happened? Really?

Rio (release date: April 8)

Yet another Non-Pixar CG animation film that wont live up the the impossible standards set by Pixar. My vision for the future on this one is that I will be watching it on my iPad in a few months, get bored mid way through and start playing Angry Birds. Then, I will get tired of playing that and go back to watching the film. My new found love for Hathaway is going to trick me into seeing this film. Not a full on Megan Fox Effect (The Megan Fox Effect: the phenomenon that drives a person to spend money on theater tickets knowing full well that the film is likely to be poor just to see someone they find impossibly attractive act in it) as it is animated but something. Jesse Eisenberg's career is starting to look like I thought it might turn out...underwhelming. And I guess George Lopez has got to eat.

Just Go with It (release date: February 11)

By showing Brooklyn Decker in a bikini for about one-third of the 35 second trailer tells me they are trying to convince me that this is maybe a watchable film. But in the immortal words of Ash, "It's a trick, get an axe". And this is a trick. Anniston and Kidman combined with Sandler in a Rom-Com what has Sandler "taking it in the nuts" as the payoff joke for the trailer ( at $3 million) has nothing to offer me. I really want to take my boom-stick to this film before Anniston swallows my soul.

Battle: Los Angeles (release date March 11)

No not another gang movie with a message. But okay, I'll see this. Although, I feel like I have seen this before ...a million times. And I am never in love with films that try to convince me that we can really compete in a battle with aliens that can travel to our planet while we are still noodling over the status of Pluto's classification. That goes for Cowboys & Aliens as well.

Drive Angry 3D (release date: February 25)

Just going from what the trailer says, this has potential to be the worst film of all time.
"One helluva ride"...shocking a driving movie that is "one helluva ride"
"Spectacularly explosive 3D action like you have never seen"....sure. This is going to be so recycled the DVD will be made of old coke bottles.
"Insanely fun" Insanely? Really?
"Must be experienced on the big screen" Sounds desperate to me.
"Nicolas Cage at his action-packed best" Well I guess "best" is a relative term.
"Shot in 3D". Please, for the love of god, end this 3D fad. I don't want to catch lice from the person who wore the glasses in the showing before mine even though they were  (wink) "sanitized". 
Wow that's a lot of BS is 30 seconds. Wait, Amanda Heard is in it...DAMN! I am going to be paying good money to see this: The Megan Fox Effect (see above).

Rango (release date: March 4)

$3 million for 30 seconds of reused footage? Yikes. Depp is the lead. Still not going to be up to Pixar's standards, even Bug's Life.

The Adjustment Department (release date: March 4)

The first of the Inception rip-offs hits the theaters next month. This looks like: Inception times a Jason Bourne film (IxB=TAD). My favorite part of the trailer is after about a third of trailer of Damon and Blunt running, he turns to her and says,"We're being chased." Really?

So what do you think of these?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Scan: The Rite

I want to get  something off my chest before I do my first "review" that I have actually written down instead of telling it to my Mom, waxing on at length with coworkers, interrupting my wife's bedtime book, debating it with my friends, or blathering on with the guy in line at the deli.
I have decided to not do "reviews". Like everyone that is absolutely addicted to just about all types of films, I cannot talk enough film. There are times when I have lost track of time while talking film, yes I have been in conversations that have lasted that long while in full discussion about film. I am talking several hours. I have had those debates with loved ones over some minute detail of a really mid-level film and have it go from, "What did you think of it?" to "I will burn your car!" Basically, I am like a lot you, I can't get enough film, even on the Internet. This created a dilemma that I thought would be solved by writing regular reviews on my own blog and discussing/debating it with heavy minded movie people. As I sat down to really pound out the first "review" I realized there are two issues. One,I myself am not influenced by reviews. If I read/hear a review before I see a film I never, ever let it deter me from seeing a film that I would like to no matter how poor the feedback is. That's the point of see it and decide if you like it. Not to let someone else watch it for you. And secondly, I wouldn't want to deter someone else from seeing a film because I had a less that spectacular experience while watching it.

So now I have a movie review blog and I no longer see value in movie reviews. So I thought about why I like to discuss /debate film so much. It is because I do like to hear other people's take on a film. Not that negative feedback means that I wont see it, but to get a take on it not just by what they are saying, but also by how they tell it. I decided to change my review into a look at my experience of the film. I will not be giving a film a thumbs up or down. I will not assign a star rating system. Those are meaningless. I have never  acted on a review, positive or negative. I have never decided to go to a film that didn't interest me based on a beaming review and I have never skipped a film that I was anxious about seeing because some guy somewhere says he didn't like it. I have never found a single reviewer and agreed with everything that she or he says on all of their reviews.

The conclusion that I came to was that a review is pointless. If you haven't seen a film yet then a review will ruin it as one has to discuss major points of the film. And if you have seen the film, then a review is not something you need as you already have an opinion of it. It's more or less a pat on the back if you agree with the reviewer. Gold star for you, you agree with someone who has gotten a  job as a film reviewer. That's why they give them star ratings, I guess.

So instead, I will share my experience while watching a film. Therefore I will be ruining the films for anyone who hasn't seen it yet as I am going to write about anything and everything having to do with the film. It is probably best to be read after seeing the film. I would love to hear what you think of my writings. If you do disagree, bring it on, I would love to have a civil debate. So I will call these non-reviews "scans".

According to the dictionary a scan is:
1. to examine the particulars or points of minutely; scrutinize. peer out at or observe repeatedly or sweepingly, as a large expanse;survey. 3. to analyze (verse) as to its prosodic or metrical structure; read or recite(verse) so as to indicate or test the metrical form. 
I will need to change my header and page titles and remove "reviews". So here goes my first "scan"...

So my wife has an unusual love for movies about ghosts, possession, and the devil. When we saw the trailer for The Rite, I knew I would be seeing this film with her. We missed the release date so she looked that up when we got home and she read a press release on it. She told me that it didn't sound like it was going to be,"Green puke and heads twisting around." She really said that. I love her for things like that. Anyway, on opening night we found ourselves at the Emery Bay Theatre in Emeryville, CA. We got there early enough for the movie trailers because I am a new trailer junkie. First up was Priest. I need to read up on that. But I wasn't to thrilled. It reeked of bad. The second was Sucker Punch. Even though I have seen it (and posted it), this trailer was the herald of the marking blitz for the movie which means that the release is right around the corner.  Releases March 25, 2011.

So I was about all of two minutes into this film and I realized something. All films about exorcism are basically "green puke and heads turning around." Well, maybe not exactly that (although many do have exactly that) but all of the typical cliches. Bad decay makeup, the perfunctory convulsing on a bed, a deep voice in an ancient language coming out of a girl, the played out special effect of something moving under the skin of the possessed. And this film had all that. And I knew it would. They all do. In fact, there was puke, although not green.

Then came the punchline. Anthony Hopkins plays a venerable exorcist who is, by the way, working a regular set of possessed people who come in for their weekly exorcism and colonic and then go back to their lives until next week's appointment. Okay, I was joking about the colonic but he really did see regular "patients" who were POSSESSED BY THE DEVIL. I never thought demonic possession as a chronic condition.  Anyway, he is trying to convince the young priest who is disbelieving in demonic possession that it was real, and not like the movies, " There will be no spinning heads and pea soup." Later that night, I asked my wife if she was repeating that back from the press release. She wasn't. Its just that vomiting and contortion are so synonymous with exorcism movies that its one of the first things that enters the mind when they are discussed.

And this film had all of the cliches that I have listed above and not much more. No exorcism film ever has much more because frankly their isn't more to tell. The Exorcist pretty much covered everything that one needs to see on this topic. That's right, it was perfected on the first real try. In 1973. I know there are earlier exorcist films but The Exorcist started a sub-sub-genre: exorcism films. I started thinking of my top ten exorcism films of all time. I would have to include Rec even though we don't know that religion is involved until Rec2. I would want to include Repossessed even though it is a comedy. And on that note, technically Ghostbusters was about demonic possession. Then off course Seytan, The Devil Within Her, and I guess technically Rosemary's Baby. Oh and by the way, I having sorting this all out in my head...during the film. I never zone out during a film, I am there to absorb it. It speaks to this film that my mind actually wondered while watching it. It was the usual venerable master teaching the faithless student type of fare.

Which is something that really bugs me. I absolutely hate when film narratives take a ridiculous leap in logic. I call it "movie logic." In this case the young priest has decided to leave the church as he was only there to escape his father. So what does the church do, they send him the The Vatican to study EXORCISM? Yep, they give him a cherry assignment where he lacks the key element needed to do the job. I mean if there is one place where you really should have faith is when you are performing exorcisms, I suspect. I mean, if you are the church and you are dealing with the devil himself taking over a living persons body, right near the Vatican no less, wouldn't you send the most dedicated, righteous man that you have an not someone who is taking the job in lieu of resigning. It's the devil we are talking about here, wouldn't the church have a competent eye on that?

So the film carried on through the standard early signs of possession to a full on exorcism battle finale all while framed in the old, " Is this real? Do you have faith? What do YOU think?", heavy handedness.

There were a few cool images here and there. A red eyed mule created a nice image. The scenery in Rome is awesome, but the nice look of the film was not enough for me to forget the predictability and other flaws of the film.

What else...oh, Rutger Hauer is in it as the young priest's father. He is only in it for a few moments so I am not really sure what the value of having Hauer in it for such a short time.

So there it is. My first "scan" for the blog. I wish it was on something that will go on to be historic or at least great but I still like to talk about it. What did you think of The Rite? Use the comments section to sound off.