This is a great weird picture. When I first looked at it I thought Aahhh!!! DOG MAN and my mind ran off into a wonderful B movie that borrowed a lot of elements from The Fly. Just remember for the full effect and fun of the picture only look at it at a glance.
Theater or Renter: June 2010
Theater or Renter: June 2010 includes 6 SF movies Marmaduke, Splice, The A-Team, The Karate Kid, Toy Story 3, Jonah Hex. Will we watch? Will we rent? or do we even care? Rules of the Game: Watch the trailers. Rate the Trailer. Then share with us your comments: does the movie, it’s trailer and buzz make you want to watch it in the theater, rent it, or not interested at all, and why?
Release Date: June 4th 2010
Listed as: Fantasy, Family
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Tom Dey
Produced by: John Davis, Tom Dey
Written by: Vince Di Meglio, Tim Rasmussen
Stars: Owen Wilson, George Lopez, Fergie, Kiefer Sutherland
The Plot / Story: Based on the comic strip of the same name by Brad Anderson. The Winslow family moves from the country to Orange County, California and has to adjust to the new environment. This is particularly difficult for the lovable yet awkwardly large Marmaduke, who tends to wreak havoc in his own oblivious way.(Wikipedia) (The Official Site)
Marmaduke is a renter at best for me.
It has a good cast. The trailer made me laugh at times.
I have concerns that it may be more kidsey then a family movie. All of the early promotion materials gave me the impression this movie is more fluff.
Release Date: June 4th 2010
Listed as: Sci-Fi, Horror, Thriller
Studio: Dark Castle Entertainment via Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Produced by: Steve Hoban, Guillermo Del Toro
Written by: Vincenzo Natali, Doug Taylor, Antoinette Terry Bryant
Stars: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chanéac
The Plot / Story: Elsa and Clive, two young rebellious scientists, defy legal and ethical boundaries and forge ahead with a dangerous experiment: splicing together human and animal DNA to create a new organism. Named “Dren”, the creature rapidly develops from a deformed female infant into a beautiful but dangerous winged human-chimera, who forges a bond with both of her creators – only to have that bond turn deadly. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)
Probably theater definitely renter.
Guillermo Del Toro. Premiered at Sitges Film Festival winning Best Special Effects and Best film. Also had a showing at Sundance and was then fought over by several studios in a bidding war to get distribution rights. The trailer looks very interesting. and Guillermo Del Toro.
Release Date: June 11
Listed as: Action, Adventure
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Joe Carnahan
Produced by: Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Jules Daly, Stephen J. Cannell
Written by: Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom, Skip Woods, Michael Brandt, Derek Haas
Stars: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson, Brian Bloom
I'm on the fence if this will be a theater or a renter for me. This is a niche movie that will probably have a limited appeal with the chance of also attracting the action movie going audiences. I grew up watching A-Team on TV. I loved what they stood for: justice and helping those in need. I can only hope those elements are in the movie.
The casting looks the part. Trailer impressed me, it looked good and has a very A-Team feel to it. Derek Haas did a good job with wanted so hopefully he brings some of those elements to this project.
Initially I thought a movie of this was a bad idea but after watching the trailer that has changed. The Loosers was so disappointing that it has left great concerns for the A-Team which is a similar style of movie.
The Karate Kid:
Release Date: June 11
Listed as: Action, Drama, Family
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Director: Harald Zwart
Produced by: Jerry Weintraub, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, James Lassiter, Ken Stovitz
Written by: Christopher Murphey
Stars: Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith, Taraji P. Henson
The Plot / Story: This is a remake of The original Karate Kid. A 12 year old Detroit kid moves to China with his mother. Due to cultural differences he makes the class bully and enemy. With no friends, in a strange land, Dre has nowhere to turn but maintenance man Mr. Han, who is secretly a master of kung fu. Han teaches Dre that kung fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calm. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)
Skeptical of the remake, I have concerns that those values from the original will not be maintained. I may have to wait for early reviews before I can make a decision on whether I will even watch it.
Loved the original film.
Concerns over how they will keep some of the spirit of the original film due to some of the fundamental changes.
Toy Story 3:
Release Date: June 18th
Listed as: Fantasy, Family
Studio: Pixar Animation Studios
Director: Lee Unkricha
Produced by: Darla K. Anderson, John Lasseter
Written by: Michael Arndt
Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, John Ratzenberger, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris, Wallace Shawn, Blake Clark, Jodi Benson, Michael Keaton, Ned Beatty, John Morris
The Plot / Story: Andy is now heading off to college and plans to put the toys into storage in the attic but his mom accidentally donates them to the Sunnyside Daycare. Woody, Buzz and the whole gang meet new toys at the daycare for better and worse. Learning of Andy's sadness over their loss they must fight to find their way back to Andy's house before he leaves for college.(Wikipedia) (The Official Site)
Really enjoyed the previous 2 Toy Story Movies. The cast is stellar. Trailer looks good.
Release Date: June 18
Listed as: Superhero, Westeren
Studio: Legendary Pictures, DC Entertainment
Director: Jimmy Hayward
Produced by: Akiva Goldsman, Andrew Lazar
Written by: Screenplay: Neveldine & Taylor Story: Neveldine & Taylor, William Farmer Characters: John Albano, Tony Dezuniga
Stars: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, Will Arnett, Michael Shannon
The Plot / Story: Jonah Hex is a scarred drifter and bounty hunter of last resort, a tough and stoic gunslinger who can track down anyone... and anything. Having survived death, Jonah's violent history is steeped in myth and legend, and has left him with one foot in the natural world and one on the "other side." His only human connection is with Leila, whose life in a brothel has left her with scars of her own. But Jonah's past is about to catch up with him when the U.S. military makes him an offer he can't refuse: in exchange for his freedom from the warrants on his head, he must track down and stop the dangerous villian Quentin Turnbull. But Turnbull, who is gathering an army and preparing to unleash Hell, is also Jonah's oldest enemy and will stop at nothing until Jonah is dead.(Wikipedia) (The Official Site)
On the fence between theater and renter.
John Malkovich a plus. Superhero movie a plus. The steamPunk elements borrowed for the film it makes for a more fantasy version of the Wild West but one that I enjoy.
The trailer was not terribly exciting border lining on the boring.
Iron Meh 2
Review of Iron Man 2
Overall Rating: 6 out of 10
Iron Man 2 not as bad as Spider Man 3 but falls into same quality category as Electra and Daredevil. It sits on the fence and was focused group to death. If only it would have had a strong story line or just abandoned that and been all action it would have been a much better film. This is a renter.
- Scarlett Johansson stole the show with Black widow she is amazing. Her action scenes were not only great action full of fun gadgets but they bring in an erotic element.
- Samuel L. Jackson was brilliant as Nick fury he rocked.
- Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko has an interesting character who is worth watching. Rourke's homework paid off I love all of the small nuances he gave to the character.
- Wonder twins power activate: When Iron Man and War Machine would shoot at each other at the same time I laughed and thought "wonder twins power activate
Dislikes / Concerns
- Intro credits were a disappointment. Marvel is known for telling an amazing pre-story in their roll in credits and even the Loosers has an amazing intro it should have been a warning for the movie to follow.
- Slow Intro: the movie was boring and horrible until the fight scene between Iron Man and War Machine at Tony Stark's party
- Effects were a hit and miss probably because it took 8 special effects companies. The whole race car scene was atrocious, the physics were horribly off and many parts looked plastic like.
- Whiplash first fight didn't make sense why didn't the car crush him and when Tony Starks car crashes they had a piece of shrapnel's vector was off flying through his head damaging the car behind him but not effecting him at all, they even have his head hit the pavement which should have killed him but no effect.
- Smashing someone with a car against concrete wall should spill guts especially if repeated. Though Tech Wolf pointed out that maybe Whiplash is actually Omega Red and then it makes sense
- Sam Rockwell complete disappointment
- Robert Downey Jr. appears to have "phoned in" his performance which is sad he is usually a brilliant actor who did not even hold his own in the scene with Samuel L. Jackson.
- The final explosions in the movie looked like fireworks
- Rhodey was a dusche in the movie
- The writing is horrible: the A plot line between Justin Hammer and Tony Stark was weak and should have been a B or C line. Tony Stark's father and Shield should have been the A plot line
- I found the use of Captain American's shield offensive
Dead of Night to be faithful to Dylan Dog
The inevitable question arose regarding the adaptation of Dylan Dog into the Dead of Night movie... Will you be true to the comic that the movie is based on? Dan Forcey answered on Dead of Night official blog:
Changes had to be made:
I understand completely that some changes had to be made between the book and the film adaptation of it, but I hope... you will find that there are very good reasons for most of the changes. Unavoidable reasons in most cases that meant the difference between having a movie and not having a movie.
Remained true to the spirit:
We honestly believe that we’ve remained very true to the spirit and character of Tiziano’s character...
We are fans too:
I truly appreciate you and everyone else who is so very passionate about Dylan and I understand because I love him nearly as much as you all do. (And I only say “nearly” because I’m not Italian. :-) )
Don't pass final judgment without watching the movie:
...with all due respect, you cannot get out of the short synopsis that have been released publicly or the few photos you may have seen. Let me give you a parallel. If you go to imdb, you’ll find the following summary: “When wealthy industrialist Tony Stark is forced to build an armored suit after a life-threatening incident, he ultimately decides to use its technology to fight against evil.” Is that an accurate accounting of what the movie ultimately was? If you were an Iron Man fan and you read that, would you be excited to see the movie or would you have thought they had dressed some guy like Iron Man and called it that? Would you assume, based only on that, that it would be a faithful adaptation of the character you loved in the books?
Once you’ve seen it and if you hate it then, feel free to write me and I will humbly, genuinely, and personally apologize for letting you down, because that’s the last thing I want to do for you or any Dylan fan. But, please, don’t judge us until you have the full “picture” (pun fully intended).
Will you be true to the comic that the movie is based on?
I hope so. We’re all doing our best, but none of us know. We hope so and at the very least we’ll be able to say we did the best job we possibly could under the circumstances.
I find it very reassuring to know that fans are working on this project, it gives me hopes for a more true adaptation from one medium into another.
Dan does bring up a question for me though: What are the unavoidable circumstances that required change, beyond the obvious adaptation ones between print medium and motion picture medium? The way in which unavoidable circumstances are brought up hints of behind the scene political wrangling occurring.
For more read: Early look at Dead of Night Movie
(via Dead of Night)
A Look At "The Spirit"
While at the theater watching the trailers waiting for Iron Man to start I got excited. This trailer started and I thought it was for Watchmen but quickly realized that it did not have the correct feel to it then they revealed the name of the move: The Spirit. Here is the trailer. The trailer did it's job, I got curious and was quickly on the case. The Spirit is due for a Christmas release 25 December 2008. It was written and directed by Frank Miller. They label it as an action, adventure, & romance. The official Synopsis (via The Spirit Movie):
...the story of a former rookie cop who returns mysteriously from the dead as the Spirit (Gabriel Macht) to fight crime from the shadows of central city. His arch -enemy, the octopus (Samuel l. Jackson) has a different mission: he's going to wipe out spirit's beloved city as he pursues his own version of immortality. The spirit tracks his cold-hearted killer from central city's rundown warehouses, to the damp catacombs, to the windswept waterfront ... all the while facing the bevy of beautiful women who either want to seduce, love or kill our masked crusader. Surrounding him at every turn are Ellen Dolan (Sarah Paulson), she whip-smart girl-next door; Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson), a punk secretary and frigid vixen; Plaster of Paris (Paz Vega), a murderous French nightclub dancer; Lorelei (Jaime King), a phantom siren; and Morgenstern (Stana Katic), a sexy young cop. Then of course, there's Sand Saref (Eva Mendes), the jewel thief with dangerous curves. She's the love of his life turned bad. Will he save her or will she kill him?
I love that Samuel Jackson has a major part on the project. Not that his presence means that it will be a good movie because he has been in several bad ones but his parts are always enjoyable and sometimes the only good parts of a movie. So for me that is a nice plus.
The names of some of the characters are a little distracting but I can move past that. Sand Saref, honestly I chuckle and shake my head but if the actors / actresses do their job they will be able to make it sound natural. Besides it was written in the 40's - 50's and names have been that way for over 50 years so I give them credit for not changing them.
The Spirit is based on the 16 page newsprint comic book which was sold as part of the Sunday paper. Created by Will Eisner, The Spirit ran with 20 issues from June 2nd 1940 to October 5th 1952. from wikipedia:
The Spirit chronicled the adventures of a masked vigilante who fought crime with the blessing of the city's police commissioner, an old friend. Despite the Spirit's origin as a detective named Denny Colt, his real identity was virtually unmentioned again and for all intents and purposes he was simply "The Spirit". The stories ranged through a wide variety of styles, from straightforward crime drama and film noir to lighthearted adventure, from mystery and horror to comedy and love stories, often with hybrid elements that twisted genre and expectations.
Stardust best fantasy tale since The Princess Bride
Tristan fianlly gets Victoria to enjoy a romantic dinner under the starlight only to find that Humphrey was willing to travel to another town to get her an engagement ring for her birthday. After watching a falling star Tristan makes a deal with Victoria that she will marry him if he gets her the falling star and returns to her by her birthday which is within one week. The problem is that the star fell on the other side of the Wall which divides England and the magical world of stormhold.
The rest of the tale is an adventure fairy tale following Tristan as he races to get to the fallen star and return before the week is up. He also has to survive while the evil witches and the Kings murderous sons also pursue the fallen star in hopes of cutting out it's heart for eternal life.
This is the best epic quest / fantasy tale since The Princess Bride! I give it 10 out of 10, wow! Stardust is pure art* presenting me with a delightful tale suspending me in time and space through it's immaculate reality*. The twists and turns of the story surprised me and even though it had a typical fairy tale ending I was proud for the hero whom I cared about watching him grow in skill and character and actually earning the happy ending.
Tristen is set on an epic quest with only one week to earn the love of his true love by getting the fallen star and return back through the wall. All of the classic elements of a Joseph Campbell's hero's journey were present but Neil Gaiman enhanced the tale with delightful touches to those steps. One instance was when the hero was about to cross the threshold and got denied by the threshold guardian. I mean he got his ass kicked by that old man who demonstrated an unexpected proficiency with that stick, I was in tears from laughing so hard.
Stardust is an expression of pure art bringing me to a suspended moment through a beautiful balance between drama, action, comedy, and tension. There are many films that try to get this balance but many merely push and pull me from one moment to the next taking me on a roller-coaster ride of emotions leaving me feeling drug out and tired at the end of the film. Neil was able to get it so that I laughed often while griping the edge of my seat thrilled by the action and drama of the scene.
Neil uses a delightful sense of dark humor that put such a twisted smile on my face. He just hits you right from the start of the movie with a murder that I could only laugh at because it was delivered with such tong in cheek. Neil has the King disappointed in his sons because they haven't murdered each other yet, desiring only the strongest son to survive and ascend to become the next ruler of Stormhold. As shocking as the kings position was Neil made it seem so natural that a short distance into the film I found myself only laughing when a son would get himself killed, thinking to my self 'well he wasn't kingly material,' like it was some kind of acceptable behavior. Twisted... I love it.
Throughout the movie there is a beautiful exploration of true love. This story line was masterfully woven into the tale and takes the audience all the way to the very last scene where we find out that true love is not conditional and it is eternal.
The artwork, set design, and graphics all lend to the immaculate reality that Stardust is able to forge from the very beginning and maintain through to the credits. For example the wall that separates England from the magical world of Stromhold was short maybe 3 feet tall yet I never once thought to question why everyone passed through the crack in the wall and not just jump over it. Another example would be on the air ship where the crew collects lightening but it seems so natural like any other type of fishing barge that is out the on the ocean.
The special effects were absolutely beautiful. I loved the scene when the evil witch used her magic to create a road side in by having it form from a point in space and expand out until it filled the normal space it should fill. The subtle use of a light effect for Una which made he glow but they did it in such a manner as to make the whole thing seem so natural. Not only well done on the effects but they added to the immaculate reality keeping me pulled into the world Neil created.
With all of this raving I do have to say "Please, Please stop the use of the helocoptor pan shot." I am so sick of seeing a helicopter pan shot of people walking. Why not try something different. If you want to show them walking a long distance then put the camera behind them and focus on a far off distance point in front of them or something else. I was also disappointed when the director let Una ride the unicorn in an un lady like fashion and did not make her ride side saddle.
The plot twists were really well played in Stardust. Neil builds beautifully an expectation, lulls the viewer into a false sense of security and then blows your mind by zigging when you expect the plot to zag. I could sit here and list the many, many instances when this occurs but I don't believe in putting spoilers into reviews and for those readers who have already seen the film then you already know of the moments I am speaking of and you are probably sitting back like me with a big goofy grin on your face as you recall those moments.
In addition to maintaining such a tight immaculate reality with beautiful effects Stardust had some wonderful little touches too like the use of traditional folk magic. Neil surprised me by not turning to the traditional overused and expected forms of divination like the use of the crystal ball, reflecting pool / mirror, seeking an old shaman but instead had two less used forms the main one being the use of intestinal divination. Yes folks, things get eviscerated so that the witches can view their organs to see the future. As gross as this practice is they did a wonderful job with it making it seem so natural and by not showing anything to the audience and thereby avoiding the modern day trap of being grotesque. The other form of divination was the use of rune tossing. All I can say is that there is a beautifully tense scene on a beach that just wowed me.
In the end it is all about the performance and everybody loves a good show even swashbuckling, murdering, privateers!
The film stars: Adam Buxton as Quintus, Ben Barnes as Young Dunstan Thorne, Charlie Cox as Tristan Thorne, Claire Danes as Yvaine, David Kelly as Guard, David Walliams as Sextus, Henry Cavill as Humphrey Monday, Ian McKellen as Narrator, Jason Flemyng as Primus, Joanna Scanlan as Mormo, Julian Rhind-Tutt as Quartus, Kate Magowan as Una, Mark Heap as Tertius, Mark Strong as Septimus, Mark Williams as Billy, Melanie Hill as Ditchwater Sal, Michelle Pfeiffer as Lamia, Nathaniel Parker as Dunstan Thorne, Peter O'Toole as Lord of Stormhold, Ricky Gervais as Ferdy the Fence, Robert De Niro as Captain Shakespeare, Rupert Everett as Secundus, Sarah Alexander as Empusa, Sienna Miller as Victoria Forrester
*Art: as defined by James Joyce something that neither pushes nor pulls you but merely presents it's self holding you in the moment. As apposed to pornography which he describes as something that drives you either toward or away from it.
*Immaculate Reality: Akira Kurosawa talks about immaculate reality where the story / movie is so self contained that the audience is pulled in and does not question the events because they are natural within the reality crafted by the story / movie.