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Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Universal Pictures secured the movie rights to the popular video game created by Sony Computer Entertainment back in the summer of 2005. Mosaic Media Group's Charles Roven and Alex Gartner were announced as producers at the time.
Set in ancient Greece, the game follows the battles of the warrior Kratos, who tackles mythological beasts including Medusa, Cyclops and the Hydra. Players navigate Kratos on his quest to find Pandora's Box and destroy Ares, the god of war.
The game, created by David Jaffe and Shannon Studstill, was released for PlayStation 2 in March of 2005. A sequel was released in March of 2007 and a prequel, exclusive to PlayStation Portable, in March of 2008. A third title is in development for the PlayStation 3.
In addition to God of War, Ratner also mentioned he has Playboy and Beverly Hills Cop 4 in development as well.
We've got his movie, 2 Hercules and a Jason and the Argonauts being made along with a remake of Clash of the Titans. The next few years are going to be sword and sandals all over the place!
What do you think of this news? Never played the game - is it good and would it make a worthy movie? Is Ratner the one to make that movie?
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Initially rated R by the MPAA, Moore strongly criticized the MPAA in an interview - calling the ruling unjust. Moore and crew "trimmed some frames more for the sake of trimming frames" and the film will now open with the PG-13.
The director also tells Game Daily that he is planning a "Gamer Dedicated Cut" of the film:"It's a little slower and a little more atmospheric. There are some rougher edges on it, but it's not going to be a bloodfest. I want this to be the Max Payne that I set out to shoot. It's not that I wanted to release one version in the theaters and make a cheap buck by following up with a blood-drenched DVD version. The movie you see in the theaters will be an intense experience and the movie you see on DVD will be as intense an experience with some extra sensibilities for people who really adore the game."
In my opinion making it a PG-13 will suck an awful lot of the appeal out of the movie. What do you think?
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Would you wear it? Apparantly it costs $98 which is roughly £55 at todays exchange rate.
Here's what Will has to say on the movie: Able is an apocalyptic zombie film! In his own words: "I see ABLE as an existential tale with 'the zombie apocalypse' as a backdrop."
Director Marc Robert had this to say: "Part slasher film, part zombie movie, ABLE depicts those few maniac days between the onset of a viral epidemic and the dead rising from their graves. Everybody knows how the zombie apocalypse could go down, but what happens in that in-between time--after the infection, but before the hordes of undead set upon the survivors? The answer is pretty gruesome: in the in-between time, the survivors are the monsters."
Here's some more plot details: "Set the story in Berlin. Stay close to the characters and their sickness and show how that works in a realistic fashion--it's painful, debilitating, and it will end in death. The news on the radio is repeating, over and over in a loop. The certainty that even fresh bad news would bring is denied. Isolated, as paralysis sets in, it might be the end of the world but you can't be sure about that. All you know is that it's probably the end of your personal world. Compound your uncertainty with unfolding 'public horrors.' Your neighbor committing suicide while she can still move. A massacre in the name of religion or as a 'mercy killing.' The depravity of opportunists taking awful sexual advantage of your sudden immobility. Worries about your faith and how your actions will be accounted for on the other side--if there is an other side."
Here's the trailer. What do you reckon to this? One to watch? Just another generic zombie apocalypse movie? Why are there so many zombie movies lately?
In response to a question about a Men in Black 3, Parkes says "the challenge is getting the script right and finding a time when our busy stars are available." He then goes on to say "Everyone, including Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, wants to do another."
Now I can't find anything more on this and was surprised on the last part of his comment. I did not think either of the two stars wanted to do another one after the naffness that was Men In Black 2.
If you hear anything more on this let me know. Do you want to see a third Men In Black movie?
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This is very cool. Geekologie have more pictures and this to say about it, "Daniel Deutsch went and built himself a 1:1 scale replica of the Star Wars Landspeeder that looks so good, I swear it's been shopped. But allegedly I'm wrong, and the vehicle has "a custom aluminum chassis, fiberglass body, and an electric drive system that hits lightspeed at 25 mph."
Somali pirates who hijacked an Iranian shipping vessel said to be carrying either "minerals" or "small arms and chemical weapons" have, en masse, fallen ill with a mysterious disease. The head of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme has been threatened with a lawsuit by the Iranian government for issuing spooky statements to the press to the effect that there was some kind of evil "chemicals" on the ship.
He told one news publication, The Long War Journal, that during the six days he had negotiated with the pirates, a number of them had become sick and died.
“That ship is unusual,” he was quoted as saying. “It is not carrying a normal shipment.”
The pirates did reveal that they had tried to inspect the ship’s cargo containers when some of them fell sick — but the containers were locked.
Osman’s delegation spoke to the ship’s captain and its engineer by cellphone, demanding to know more about the cargo.
Initially it was claimed the cargo contained “crude oil”; later it was said to be “minerals”.
And Mwangura has added: “Our sources say it contains chemicals, dangerous chemicals.”
But IRISL has denied that — and threatened legal action against Mwangura. The company has reportedly paid the pirates 200000 — the first of several “ransom instalments”, but that, too, has been denied.
Pirates die strangely after taking Iranian ship
Source: Boing Boing
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Ben Greenman of the New Yorker presents his list of the five scariest movies of all time. They are:
1. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” Tobe Hooper (1974)
2. “The Silence of the Lambs,” Jonathan Demme (1991)
3. “The Body Snatcher,” Robert Wise (1945)
4. “Night of the Hunter,” Charles Laughton (1955)
5. “Mulholland Drive,” David Lynch (2001)
David Lynch is the master of the eerie, which has also been called the uncanny, and his strongest films successfully deliver shock-horror at the conclusion of scenes that are either comically mundane or traditionally suspenseful. The film’s signal moment comes in the Winkie’s scene, which uses a highly traditional location (a diner) and traditional suspense tricks (P.O.V. shots, menacing background music) as prelude to one horrible moment. One respondent to the in-office survey put it this way:
I have seen the movie many times, and every time my chest tightens up and it occurs to me that I might actually die.
The 5 Scariest Movies Ever?
Here's the Mulholland Drive scene mentioned above and I must agree it cranks up the creeping horror as it moves on.
What do you think of the selection? What's the scene from any movie that creeps you out the most?
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Disaster Movie: "This carpet-fouling mongrel of a movie no more deserves release than do anthrax spores." -- Jim Ridley, LA WEEKLY
Babylon A.D.: "An abysmal French thriller in which everyone speaks as if they've learned their lines phonetically." -- Elizabeth WeitzmanNEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Righteous Kill: "A cop flick with all the drama of Law and Order: AARP." -- Peter Travers, ROLLING STONE
Space Chimps: "Sucks a whole lot of talented people into a wormhole of lousy." -- Michael Phillips, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Star Wars: The Clone Wars: "A continuation of Lucas' experiments to see how much shit his dwindling supporters will take before finally saying 'enough' and moving on to adult pursuits." -- Pete Vonder Haar, FILM THREAT
Source: Defective Yeti
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Iron Man 2 (May 7, 2010)
Thor (July 16, 2010)
The First Avenger: Captain America (May 6, 2011)
The Avengers (July 15, 2011)
Iron Man 3 (Date Not Yet Announced)
Note your diaries true believers. Excelsior!
Is this a photo from the new movie Che? Actually, nope it ain't. Its a photo of Andy D and the Chisholm in the back country. I apologise for the pixalation but it seems its technically impossible to actually capture Chisholm on camera. In fact its theoretically impossible to capture him with anything.
Robert Duvall is developing The Pony Express, a new AMC western television series, which he also plans to star in. Band of Brothers screenwriter Erik Jendresen is writing the pilot, and Richard Donner is expected to direct. [Variety]
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles star Thomas Dekker has signed on to star in the big screen remake of the 1980 musical Fame, which is scheduled to begin production in February, for a late 2009 release. [FirstShowing]
Batman-on-film is reporting that “very early pre-production” has begun on a sequel to The Dark Knight.
Customers will be able to purchase new Dell computers with a $20 option to have Iron Man pre-loaded on the machine. The $20 investment will also include “exclusive bonus footage” not included in the DVD release.
When MTV asked Kirsten Dunst if she would be returning for Spider-Man 4, the actress responded “I’m in.” Which sounds like a done deal if you ask me. But when pressed if she officially signed on to return, the actress changed her tone, “I’m not saying anything, I know there’s rumors…”
Shaun of the Dead and Little Britain actor Matt Lucas is playing both Tweedledee and Tweedledum in Tim Burton’s 3D adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. Lucas revealed the news on BBC’s Friday Night with Johnathan Ross.
MTV has a first look at Harry Potter star Rupert Grint in the dramatic indie thriller Cherrybomb.
FirstShowing caught up with producer Donald De Line, who revealed that a new draft of The Green Lantern has been turned in, and while nothing is “confirmed” they’re “gearing up to start shooting early spring.”
A better quality photo of the crushed cab from the opening sequence from the film adaptation of the comic "Kick Ass"
The first photo from the "Inglorious Bastards" set - a small French farmhouse built in the Czech hills.
"Fox Atomic is developing a new 'Alien Infection Project' hypothesizing a worldwide viral outbreak caused by a spacecraft returning from Mars with rock and soil samples..." (full details)
"Peter Cullen confirms that he's only voiced the opening narration of the 'Transformers' sequel so far, his main work as Optimus Prime will be recorded sometime in November..." (full details)
"'Watchmen' and '300 director Zack Snyder has signed a deal to develop three original games for Electronic Arts. EA will own the intellectual properties, but under the deal the publisher may turn some or all of them into films that will be produced by Snyder's Cruel & Unusual Films banner..." (full details)"
In a recent interview, James Cameron admits "There was no blessing involved" in the upcoming "Terminator Salvation" and that he never saw the script..." (full details)
"Sylvester Stallone has arrived to Bulgaria reportedly looking for locations for the next "Rambo" movie. Stallone will visit the Nu Boyana film studios and the Worldwide FX company that made the special effects for the recent fourth film..." (full details)"
An image of Dr. Manhattan's transformation in "Watchmen" has been hidden in the new trailer for "Frank Miller's The Spirit"..." (full details)"
Joel Silver is waiting on Mel Gibson's approval of Shane Black's script treatment for a fifth "Lethal Weapon" before moving forward. The story introduces a new pair of young NYPD police officers..." (full details)
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Monday, 29 September 2008
Some new Iron Man concept at images have been released online at Yahoo! movies. Most of these are probably off the DVD that is going to hit next Tuesday the 30th, but one image really stood out for us. It’s image 6 of 37, and it’s totally War Machine concept art. We know that Terrance Howard, playing Tony Stark’s buddy Jim Rhodes (this image drawn by Phil Saunders), will eventually get a crack at his own armor, and now we kind of know what that looks like to the filmmakers. It’s too early to start buzzing about Iron Man 2, yet we’re all vibrations over here.
This concept art looks a lot like the War Machine photo somebody mocked up a while ago. We posted it here and it's also below.
Steve Lodefink, one of the most creative and versatile DIYers I know, made this beautiful Planet of the Apes tunic from scratch. He's posting his build notes on his Finkbuilt blog.
I started working on the costume shortly after last Halloween, by making a paper pattern, but I set the project aside for the following 9 months or so. But with Halloween creeping up, I thought that I’d better haul it out and work on it again.
I got some fabric on sale at Wall-Mart for $1/yard and dyed it green. Then I cut out and stitched together the front and back panels to form the torso. I sliced the sleeve pattern into 3 strips in order to form the 3 panel sleeves that are customary for chimpanzees. I spaced out the 3 pattern pieces to account for seam allowances before I traced and cut out the 3 sleeve pieces.
POTA Chimp Costume Update
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Here's what they have to say:
Things start off in pretty standard fashion for this sort of movie – and by that I mean sword and sorcery, medieval, barbarian, and even western and samurai movies – a surly, tough, clearly evil WARRIOR is passing through town and stops in at the seedy local tavern. Everyone there is scared of him, but nobody has the guts to face him except our intrepid but at this point mysterious hero, who emerges from the shadows and dispatches the scumbag in a violent, badass fashion. In this case that hero is, of course, SONJA, disguised as a prostitute selected by the unsuspecting bad guy for a night of pleasure that quickly goes south for him. It’s fairly clear right off the bat that Sonja isn’t just cavorting around killing random sleaze-bag warriors; she has a connection to this particular sleaze-bag and her murderous actions are driven by revenge.
Sure enough, we’re promptly transported back a few years to a younger, more innocent, black-haired time in Sonja’s life so that we may learn the origins of her later, vengeful ambitions. In “Hyrkania,” Sonja’s idyllic hometown (or rather, homevillage) we meet Sonja’s MOTHER, FATHER, and brothers DARAN and GREGOR as they prepare for an annual festival held in their happy little shire. Amidst all the hustle and bustle Sonja sneaks off to the bank of the nearby river for some contemplative alone time – our younger, more innocent Sonja seems to be a bit of a dreamer - where she meets her friend hypothetical love interest CYRUS. The two teens flirt and tease each other playfully, and even share an awkward moment of intimacy in the woods on the way back to town.
Things seem downright wonderful, so I’m sure most of you reading this can see where things are headed. Before you can say “Conan The Destroyer” the peaceful village is overrun by violent marauders, riding through the town killing and burning everyone and everything in sight. Cyrus is (seemingly) dispatched in the blink of an eye, and the attackers quickly turn their attention to Sonja’s family as they try to escape. In what feels vaguely like a medieval version of The Professional, all four of them are brutally slaughtered before Sonja’s eyes. Things promptly go from extremely bad to extremely worse when five of the higher ranking members of the invading group show up. We can tell they’re important somehow, because they all wear distinctive matching amulets, which will no doubt have some significance later. This cabal includes their leader, ORNOK, as well as the man Sonja impales in the opening scene. The five of them take turns raping the poor girl and then conclude the highlight reel of brutality and horror by literally kicking Sonja while she’s down - they stomp on her head and leave her for dead.
Some indefinite amount of time later a barely living Sonja wakes up and begins dragging herself around the burnt-out, blood-soaked, corpse-ridden hellscape that was once her beloved village. Wandering around the wasteland in a daze, she eventually finds herself on the edge of a massive precipice and (actually, quite understandably) decides to end it all by jumping. Now, by this point in the script there have already been plenty of swords, but no sorcery, so the time has come to introduce some of that element. Sonja takes the plunge, but a giant funnel of mist rises up to meet her in mid fall and gently, miraculously guides her slowly and safely to the water below, where a magical, glowing figure called THE RED GODDESS appears before our heroine. The Goddess spouts some stuff about it not yet being Sonja’s time, and that she has chosen her for a special purpose, and that to that end the Goddess will imbue her with a special quality or power that will make her some sort of ultimate badass warrior of virtue and justice. Those may not be her exact words, but that’s the basic gist. She also makes a somewhat odd remark about potential future mates having to best Sonja in combat to prove themselves worthy of her love. Understandably overwhelmed by all the death, destruction, and mystical visions, Sonja passes out again.
She awakens to find herself at a campsite in the company of a man named OZZYUS, who is actually described in the script as “A rogue thief and warrior of dubious loyalties but unquestionable heart.” It seems that Ozzyus and his merry band of warrior thieves, among them the hulking BROGGER and the playfully insubordinate RONNEL, found the now mysteriously red-haired Sonja by the side of the river, and being of unquestionable heart, decided to nurse her back to health. Sonja initially plans to high-tail it out of camp ASAP, but is attracted to the whole warrior thief lifestyle and doggedly convinces Ozzyus and his men to let her stay and learn their ways. Time passes and Sonja, seeming to have a preternatural aptitude for said ways, blossoms into a formidable warrior thief.
...She demonstrates the scope of her abilities in a daring raid on the castle of KING GHANNIF, the objective of which is the theft of an extremely rare and precious jewel called the Tundas Ruby. Sonja gets sidetracked in a swordfight with the king, which ends in a draw. At this point the script somewhat awkwardly makes a big deal of Sonja realizing she can use her feminine wiles as an additional weapon, as she returns to the castle for a rematch wearing a chain-mail bikini and offs the distracted king. Now wanted for regicide, she must go off on her own, but not before Ozzyus can impart some words of advice and a wicked new sword on her. Sonja’s transformation is complete: red hair, skimpy outfit, forbidable combat and thieving skills, and mighty blade; this is the Red Sonja everyone in the theater paid money to see, the “warrior-woman of Hyrkania,” ready to set out on her mission of vengeance.
And that’s what we get, as we are finally caught up to the present as seen in the opening scene. Sonja is working through a list of her enemies, Kill Bill style, and is now three deep, as evidenced by the ever growing collection of their amulets around her neck. She’s still a wanted woman and must therefore contend with the seemingly constant threat of bounty hunters and mercenaries (i.e. an excuse for more badass sword fights). She is also being followed by a mysterious cloaked figure who is quickly revealed to be (surprise, surprise!) a still living Cyrus. Old Cyrus has helped to organize a rebel army intent on overthrowing an evil wizard/warlord called KULAN GATH, a character heretofore completely unknown to the audience, who is apparently ravaging the countryside and enslaving the people so that they can build him a temple that will supposedly imbue him with godlike powers. Naturally, Cyrus and his army want to recruit Sonja as their new leader. Single-minded Sonja refuses, determined to stay finish her personal quest for vengeance, which she does, but… I’m sure you can see where this is headed. Not only does she join the rebel cause (“reluctantly,” Han Solo style) but she is reunited with Ozzyus and his men, who have also been recruited by Cyrus. All this happens just in time for the cursory (and surprisingly anti-climactic) final battle.
And that’s the main problem with the script. You’ve no doubt noticed how many times I’ve said something like “You know what’s happening next” or “I’m sure you see where this is going,” and that’s because everything here is so familiar. Virtually every character, every plot point, every action beat – you’ve seen it all before in countless other sword and sorcery, fantasy, and “historical” epics. Yes, that’s just the source material, and in a sense that’s probably why a lot of people go to movies like this. It offers pretty much everything one could want out of the genre. But it makes little to no effort to dress it up as something fresh, to hide how generic it is. It’s fantasy 101, which is extremely well-tread not just for genre fans, but even for mainstream audiences at this point.
Not only does this leave the film feeling stale and bland, it also spreads the focus too thin. The script is so busy moving from one generic sword and sorcery cliché to the next it never takes the time to establish a truly epic or compelling story, or, perhaps worst of all, a distinct villain. Is it Ornok and his men? Sure, they serve as the catalyst for a lot of the action, but as villains they’re weak – not much screen time, no overarching plot, little to no menace, too easily dispatched by the heroine. Then is it Kulan Gath? No, not him either. His entire subplot shows up far too late in the script and is far too vague, and he barely makes an appearance in the flesh. They’re saving him for the sequel (and the filmmakers certainly seem confident that there will be a sequel, as this ends with a frustratingly massive cliff-hanger).
It’s reminiscent of a lot of the superhero movies that focus on the character’s origins; it all feels like one big prologue by way of commercial for the sequel, which will inevitably be better without having to worry about establishing the characters and their backstory. An epic quest to defeat the evil wizard Kulan Gath would make for a far more interesting (albeit still quite familiar) movie, but what we actually have here is clichéd, bogged down, and disappointingly small in scale. It can’t be a good sign if you’re more interested in the eventual follow-up than the first movie that hasn’t even started shooting yet, but never the less… wake me when Red Sonja II is hitting theaters.
What do you think? Are you still excited about seeing this?
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“War Heroes” is set in a dystopian future where the American Empire has bankrupted itself on ceaseless military conflicts, and World War III will be fought with super-powered G.I.s. In the story, a group of these super soldiers employ the drugs that give them powers to pursue criminal ends.
No writer or director is currently attached to the project.
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When checking the IMDb credits, you can see four names officially down as writers on the project, one that it appears has been in Steven Spielberg's wheelhouse for quite some time, waiting patiently for technology to do it justice. However, all the buzz and press are praising wunderkinds Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman as the screenwriters. After watching the high-action, high-octane car chases and explosions, I am one to believe the duo behind Transformers are pulling the strings. Whether it's an original vision of the subject or rewrites on an existing draft, who knows? The fact of the matter is that this film contains a lot of excitement, adrenaline-pumping setpieces, and pedal to the floor pacing. One thing that won't happen—whether you buy into the Big Brother meets HAL plot or not—is boredom. That is an impossibility.
The plot is very well orchestrated; good job whoever should receive the credit. Right from the start we are shown our lead character Jerry Shaw's penchant for slacking and living day-to-day without the means to even pay his rent. He is the epitome of the new action hero, an under-motivated, intelligent dropout just waiting, subconsciously, to be given the chance to matter. His twin brother, a military/Air Force man, has just passed away and after burying him, Jerry gets caught up in a web of governmental and terrorist intrigue. Framed as an enemy of the state, our lead, the always-entertaining Shia LaBeouf, must follow the instructions being relayed to him via a woman's voice on his phone. The voice sets his escape into motion and—now a fugitive of the law—he meets up with many other people being told what to do by her. Michelle Monaghan's role, Rachel, is the most embedded of these strangers, not blackmailed by jailtime or death, but instead by the murder of her son. Both Rachel and Jerry become caught in a life-or-death situation that is way too big for them, or even us, to comprehend.
Now I don't mean to make it sound that I thought the film was convoluted or anything, it's actually pretty well plotted. Holes seem plugged up and everything that gets set into motion at the start comes to play later on. Nothing shown on screen is wasted, it all plays a factor in the outcome. The general clichés are all present of course; this is a Hollywood action film after all. Besides LaBeouf's perfect hero evolution, we get the single mom, strong-willed and capable of anything when pushed against a wall; the hard, by-the-book cop who gets so involved in the case that he begins to uncover the conspiracy and risk maybe trying to intervene by helping those which appear to be the enemy; and the politician, capable of making the tough decisions, but never willing to let the power corrupt his morals, despite what could be his if all goes to plan. The beauty of the film is that those stereotypes are integral pieces to the puzzle. The psychology of their roles makes what needs to happen occur. Just as the super-computer reads everyone's file and body language to predict their movements, the script utilizes their inherent traits to allow the story to make sense in a logical way.
What really helps you take your mind off of the contrivances, though, is the non-stop action. There are so many car chases, and each one sprinkled with explosions and surprises. I give credit to D.J. Caruso for helming this thing to such success being that he's never been behind the camera on an actioner like it. Director of the criminally underrated Salton Sea and last year's LaBeouf vehicle Disturbia, I wasn't sure how he'd handle the choreography and speed necessary. The guy did well, especially being that he could handle the quieter moments that helped bridge the chaos. Much of the film is seen through the lenses of technology, whether that be security cameras, voices over cell phones, radar footprints shown digitally over a map of the US, or even the sound vibrations from a cup of coffee. It all adds to the futuristic feel and I'm sure will cause many people to gasp at the possibility we may all be under the same surveillance in the real world as we sit watching.
The cast also works with the script, fleshing out the characters and making the unbelievable seem like it could happen. LaBeouf has a little scruff, trying to make him look older, but it's really just his everyman look and witty retorts that make him successful. Ever since "Even Stevens", the kid is just likable. Monaghan adds another solid role to her expanding resume, playing the desperate mother on a journey to save her son. A puppet to the plan underlying the entire film, she goes though a wide range of emotions and pulls them all off. The rest of the ensemble includes some very familiar faces: Anthony Mackie, Rosario Dawson, Michael Chiklis, and Ethan Embry (What's with his small serious cameos lately? This guy used to be groomed to take on the small comedy world). The most notable supporting role comes from Billy Bob Thornton, actually getting a part that doesn't necessitate his usual surly and vulgar disposition of late. It's a very human role that evolves a great deal while also adding some brilliant comic relief from his cynical sarcasm.
With all the praise I have for Eagle Eye and all the fun, it does fall into the Hollywood trap. The final five minutes or so are so tacked on and unnecessary they only make you think how great a bittersweet ending could have been. Hey, these guys need to recoup some money off the decent chunk of change laid down to finance this thing, so they must cater to the general public. Sometimes that means excising the proper conclusion, one fitting in tone and structure, in order to show a watered down feel-good smile-inducing epilogue after it. We can't all be perfect.
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Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Julianne Moore, Alive Braga, Danny Glover, Gael García Bernal, Don McKellar
Running Time: 120 minutes
Score: 5 / 10
This review by debblyst
Being an admirer of Saramago's towering masterpiece and Fernando Meirelles's talent, I went to see "Blindness" with a pure heart but toned-down expectations; we all know how movie adaptations of great literature can be disappointing. But I wasn't prepared for the dismal formal and philosophical nada that is "Blindness" -- it could very well be entitled "Blandness" instead.
The problems start from the opening credits: after the names of a dozen international production companies comes the hype tag "A Very Independent Production". Following this tongue-in-cheek "manifesto", the opening scene -- of the first man turning blind inside his car -- belies it all: it looks alarmingly like an ad for the new Fiat Punto (Fiat is one of the backers, of course). It's a shameless piece of merchandising that immediately distracts you from what's supposed to be a harrowing scene; you pay attention to the car, not the man (excruciatingly played by Yusuke Iseya, in the film's worst performance).
The "very independent production" has more than a share of compromises, such as the terribly contrived Japanese couple, who seem to inhabit another film, with an undue prominence probably there to satisfy the Japanese producers and market. Or the timid, squeezed-in "action" flashes (cars crashing, planes exploding) to satisfy "action" lovers (definitely NOT the public for "Blindness"). Or the rather inexcusable decision to film in English an author (Saramago) who brought new heights to Portuguese-language prose, just to employ American stars and accommodate the international market.
The film never finds a tone -- it falters between the novel's apocalyptic allegory of society's prejudices, cruelty, ridicule and flawed power systems, and an thriller-like thread that has nothing to do with the book's style. Saramago took the idea and politico-philosophical implications from Camus's "La Peste" and made it a haunting literary piece, NOT because of the plot but thanks to his exquisite prose.
It would be easy to blame the film's failure solely on Don McKellar's unimaginative, schematic adaptation that resembles a first draft, riddled with bad dialog and pedestrian ideas, plus a narrator (Danny Glover's character) that confusingly comes in halfway into the film. But the problems are all around: César Charlone's cinematography never transcends the obvious (the blurring "white blindness" finally drains the film of all life; it takes away the visual as well as the emotional edge); Marco Antonio Guimarães's music is abysmally bland; Daniel Rezende (the superb editor of "City of God") never finds a compelling rhythm, alternating hurried scenes with unnecessary longueurs (e.g.the embarrassing "cute dog" sequence). Art director Tulé Peak gets the claustrophobic squalor of the asylum quite right, but the chaotic garbage-filled streets often look suspiciously composed.
The actors seem lost, and that's a shock considering Meirelles's former films (remember how "City of God" had all-around brilliant performances?). Though they're supposed to play stereotypes (doctor, wife, whore, etc), they lack the complex character development that is one of the high points of the novel; we end up caring for no one. Mark Ruffalo, of whining voice, emasculated demeanor and gutless face, looks like a boy who's lost his mammy rather than a dedicated ophthalmologist who slowly sinks into depression by his impotence to help others or himself. Danny Glover plays a beaten one-eyed old man incongruously sporting a supermegawhite Hollywood dental job that renders him impossible to believe in. The Japanese couple are given particularly ludicrous scenes and dialog. Alice Braga has a strong face and sexy attitude, but her character's complexities never surface, especially the nature of her relationships with the young boy and the doctor. Maury Chaykin's repellent character (the man who was already blind before the plague and becomes the meanest s.o.b. of them all) is underwritten and under-explored, and he turns to overacting for attention. Don McKellar's thief is an embarrassment and Sandra Oh's cameo is a waste.
Julianne Moore spends the first half hour repeating her role of the depressed/misunderstood wife in "The Hours". She's never allowed to show bewilderment as to the "why" she's the only one to keep her eyesight, but she's good when she gets into action and has a great final shot, though she could take a break from her de rigueur slow-motion crying scene, with that weird thing she does curling her mouth upside down (my friend said "Oh, no, it's coming!"). The best performance comes from Gael García Bernal playing the amoral, dumb, jackass opportunist: he makes an unbelievable character (how about his rise to power? And gun? And ammo?) come to life -- in his scenes, we recognize Meirelles's naughty, un-PC sense of humor.
Above all, it's Meirelles (director, co-producer and responsible for the final cut) who disappoints, letting his customary highly assertive film-making flounder in hesitation here. Perhaps he felt the burden of having to be faithful to the masterpiece of a Nobel-winner who's still alive. Perhaps he felt crushed by the brooding, gritty material; Meirelles seems rather on the cool nice guy side, and he's best when he can let his irony and humor show (as his films "Domésticas" and "City of God" prove). His sex scenes are REALLY bashful, though, looking more repressed than discreet. The novel's apocalyptic, sarcastic tone would need an aggressive, irrepressible director of wild imagination like Buñuel to do it full justice (the characters' passiveness/impotence recall "Exterminating Angel"). In this our time, Béla Tarr could've made it gloriously bleak; Lars von Trier could've turned it into a shattering, sardonic horror (if he got back into the splendid form of his "The Kingdom"/"Zentropa" days).
"Blindness" is not bad at all; it's just insipid and frustrating. Maybe Meirelles should do next a Portuguese-speaking Brazilian film again, to re-fuel his soul with his own culture, language and themes. Brazilian cinema needs him badly; abroad, he's just one more talented, competent "foreign" director, and these multinational ventures often turn out muddled or impersonal (think Kassovitz, Susanne Bier, Hirschbiegel...). He can do much better, and we deserve much better from him.
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Written by Mark Protosevich, the story begins as the arrogant God Thor is sent by his father Odin to learn humility in the body of a partially disabled medical student Donald Blake. He discovers Thor’s hammer and learns to change back and forth into the Thunder God. Marvel will self-fiance the production, and a distributor is expected to be announced shortly. Marvel has announced a June 4th 2010 release date for the film.
The "Thor" negotiations come during a resurgence for Branagh. He's currently drawing raves on the London stage in the title role of "Ivanov," and he'll next be seen acting in the Richard Curtis-directed "The Boat That Rocked" and the Bryan Singer-helmed "Valkyrie."
Variety have more on this story.
What do you think of the news? Exciting or rubbish? Will Branagh bring along some great British Thespians to be in the movie? Who could play Thor, Odin and the rest?
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Sunday, 28 September 2008
Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby ("Children of Men," "Iron Man") has confirmed that "There are some really juicy [movies] that we are very much talking intensely with Marvel about" and have already been vying heavily for a certain project (they won't say which)"..." (full details)"
Keira Knightley admits that she's done with the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series for now - "I think it's [time to do] different things"..." (full details)"
Anne Hathaway says that she asked Fox about their plans for a 'Devil Wears Prada' sequel to which they replied "we can't make a story, and it's not worth it to damage the original film". Hathaway says that she would be up for returning to her role though if they ever do it..." (full details)
The Official website for SAW 5 has been updated with about 20 new production photos. [Saw 5]
Get Excited, Bring It On 5 is now in production! [FSR]
Guillermo del Toro signed a deal to write a trilogy of vampire thrillers with Chuck Hogan. The first book, called The Strain, will hit bookstores next summer. [Variety]
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is looking or Arizona-based extras. [azstarnet]
LucasFilm has finally released an official Star Wars lightsaber app for the Apple iPhone. [iTunes]
You can pre-order the soundtrack for Repo! The Genetic Opera now on Amazon.
A fansite arranged 2 exclusive internet audio commentaries for the 1985 vampire film Fright Night. [iconsoffright]
Star Wars: The Clone Wars will premiere on October 3rd at 9pm on Cartoon Network. [theforce]
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The Oscar-winning superstar died in the farmhouse in Westport, Conn., where he lived with his wife, Joanne Woodward -- his costar in life and in 10 of his movies -- at his side, along with other family members.
In May, Newman dropped plans to direct a fall production of "Of Mice and Men" at Connecticut's Westport Country Playhouse, citing unspecified health issues. The following month, a friend disclosed that he was being treated for cancer.
As an actor, Newman, a native of Cleveland, got his start in theater and on television during the 1950s, and went on to become one of the world's most enduring and popular film stars, a legend held in awe by his peers. He was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning one Oscar and two honorary ones, and had major roles in more than 50 motion pictures, including "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "The Sting" and "Absence of Malice."
Newman worked with some of the greatest directors of the past half century, from Alfred Hitchcock to Martin Scorsese. His costars included Elizabeth Taylor, Tom Cruise and Robert Redford, his sidekick in "Butch Cassidy" and "The Sting."
"There is a point where feelings go beyond words. I have lost a real friend. My life -- and this country -- is better for his being in it," Redford said.
Newman sometimes teamed with his wife and fellow Oscar winner, Woodward. They wed in 1958, around the time they both appeared in "The Long, Hot Summer." Newman also directed her in several films, including "Rachel, Rachel" and "The Glass Menagerie."
A screen legend by his mid-40s, he waited a long time for his first competitive Oscar, winning in 1987 for "The Color of Money," a reprise of the role of pool shark Fast Eddie Felson, whom Newman portrayed in the 1961 film "The Hustler."
He won an honorary Oscar in 1986 "in recognition of his many and memorable compelling screen performances and for his personal integrity and dedication to his craft." In 1994, he won a third Oscar, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, for his charitable work.
"Sometimes God makes perfect people, and Paul Newman was one of them," said actress Sally Field, his "Absence of Malice" costar.
His last academy nod was a supporting actor nomination for the 2002 film "Road to Perdition."
But in May 2007, he told ABC's "Good Morning America" he had given up acting, though he intended to remain active in charity projects.
Newman also turned to producing and directing. In 1968, he directed "Rachel, Rachel," a film about a lonely spinster's rebirth. The movie received four Oscar nominations, including Newman for producer of a best motion picture, and Woodward for best actress.
In the 1970s, Newman, admittedly bored with acting, became fascinated with auto racing. After turning pro in 1977, Newman and his driving team made strong showings in major races, including fifth place in Daytona in 1977 and second place in the Le Mans in 1979.
In 1982, Newman and writer A.E. Hotchner, a neighbor, started a company to sell Newman's original oil-and-vinegar dressing. Newman's Own began as a joke but grew into a multimillion-dollar business selling popcorn, salad dressing, spaghetti sauce and other foods. All of the company's profits are donated to charities. By 2007, the company had donated more than $250 million, its Web site says.
"Our father was a rare symbol of selfless humility, the last to acknowledge what he was doing was special," his daughters said in a statement.
What are your thoughts and memories of Paul Newman? What was your favourite of his films?
Saturday, 27 September 2008
Gossips claim new Oscars bosses Laurence Mark and Bill Condon were impressed with The Office creator's laugh-raising stint at Sunday's Emmy Awards, and they want to audition him for the Oscars.
A source tells Ew.com, "The buzz around town is that Ricky should host the Oscars."
Previous Oscars hosts have included Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin, Jon Stewart and Billy Crystal.
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The Star says that the actress will play the role of Aspen, a mermaid rescued from the sea as a child. Now the Daily Star is not the most relieable of sources so don't be surprised if it turns out to not be true. Plus Fathom was given the green light in 2002 as a feature film by director James Cameron and his production company Lightstorm Entertainment, but nothing ever developed.
"Several writers have been brought aboard to revamp the script as a vehicle for Megan, who officially signed on for the project this week." An insider said.
Turner died June 27, 2008 at the Santa Monica Hospital in California, of complications from bone cancer. He is survived by his mother Grace Crick, his brother Jake Turner, and his fiancee Kelly Carmichael. Fathom (Vol. 3) #1, which was published on Wednesday, August 6, 2008, featured a tribute to Turner in the form of a stylized blue ribbon in the upper right hand corner of its cover, and its first page was a memorial to him, including a photograph of him at his drawing board.
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Starring: Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, John Malkovitch, Devon Aoki, Sean Pertwee, Pras
Running Time: 5 / 10
Score: 111 minutes
This review by Great Cthulhu.
Somehow this is just another example of a brand name being thrown into the shredder of film-making. One asks why? Especially with the rather unknown Mutant Chronicles (a role playing game, later board game, etc.). Well, I did play MC for a time maybe 14 years back and I liked it. So I looked forward to the movie – at least the cast looked good. But, at it was with many game/book/play/whatever turned into a movie – it had the same name, but most of the original background story is twisted, strangely falsified or just completely ripped out.
One has to ask why? While some changes always occur when converting something into a movie – for sake of pacing, storytelling, etc. – some changes are just stupid. It would have worked with the original story, but no, movie writers and directors seem just too clever and imaginative to just adapt a good story and so bastardize along, killing some of the vital features of the original story. In Mutant Chronicles this is the case with the complete background of the "Enemey", which is in the original game the Dark Legion, hailing from planet Nero, coming from another dimension and crippling all high tech with their "dark symmetry" – which is by the way why everything has this heavy industry/steam-punk flair. In the movie the enemy is a big machine that turns humans into zombies and lo! they go forth and destroy the Earth. The style is okay – they are heavily industrialized and use clumsy steam-punk's stuff – but the reason is never explained and has nothing to do with the evil that has come back. To whine on about the enemy only having one kind of mutant is pointless (they just trashed the original stuff more or less completely with the movie), but come on. Pedestrians without fine manipulation? That's the most evil the enemy can come up with? For a society as gun toting as the human race is in this movie, guys with a single spike for a hand (mutation sequence badly animated, and the spikes seem sharp and nasty, but can also be cut off with a knife) should not be that big a problem?!
Anyway. Some scenes of the movie are quite good, and the overall style of the costumes, backgrounds, etc. is not bad and captures some of the original flair. Then again the first believable and not somehow cheesy dialog happens in my book in the middle of the movie, between the main character and the captain of their drop-ship. That's something.
Shouting at the FX guys is also easy, you can only get some satisfaction from the overall computerish look if you like movies like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow – but Mutant Chronicles always comes off as something that was not really intended to look that way. It is like back in the 80s and early 90s some guys would cry "Science Fiction Movie" and go to some old factory or mine or subterranean dungeons and make a cheap sci-fi flick, pretending to be on Mars or whatnot. Today they seem to film a movie with the same shameless bad script, some clumsy acting and just smear so much CGI over it that is looks like a big picture with Special Effects. Almost all of the splatter effects could have been done better by make-up and "real" special effects.
Acting is okay (Jane, Perlman) to forgettable (most of the crew) to very bad (Malkovich, Walton). Some actors seem to have sensed that this maybe not the best movie of all times.
Overall another attempt to convert a nice story to the big screen, wasted for all the wrong reasons. But, isn't this the case with most of this kind of movie? So, if you like Sci-Fi you can try this one, maybe its "pseudo-artlyness" appeals to you. If you like a cheap flick with some nice scenes, wobbly dialog and cheesy one-liners to watch with some friends to have a laugh – good movie for that. If you know the original Mutant Chronicles stuff you will cringe in pain and gape in awe of what has happened to the story at time and at other times feel just a little bit of the flair of the game. Just a little bit.
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Friday, 26 September 2008
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Starring: Shea Whigham, Paulo Costanzo, Jill Wagner
This review by Meh.
First off its safe to say this review will not spoil the movie. So fear not my horror munching friends. This review is safe to read. Toby Wilkins Splinter is coming to Theatres October 31st and I had a chance to checkout a very early screener of the film. Toby Wilkins is also directing Grudge 3 that has some fans groaning and in the past worked on the Grudge Short films that were put out as part of a viral marketing campaign. So with Splinter this is our first chance to see what Toby can REALLY do.
First a bit of a background rant. In modern mainstream horror it is full of cliches, bad acting, and cgi out the wazoo. Three things that will pretty much ruin a horror movie for the die hard horror fans who expect and want more The flip side is you also have an entire generation of fans who are into horror to see things get bloody.... really bloody. Folks who like to see bodies getting ripped in half, limbs torn off, heads blown off and all that jazz. So the horror demographic is a diverse one. Gore hounds as well as people like myself who like their gore but also want some originality and intelligence in the film as well.
Mainstream horror as a whole has gotten lazy which is why most of us have to watch horror on DVD as its the only place to get a good quality FIX for our need for terror. The nice thing about Splinter is it pulls both those things off quite well. Gorey, intelligent and all around... bad ass. Think FEAST bad ass minus the comedy angle because this is a balls out blood bath and there is nothing funny about it. Although you might like me laugh that ackward laugh in a few scenes where bodies are bent in directions they shouldnt go and you get some sick bone cracking and screaming happening. Yes kids.. its sick.
The really vague overview I will give you is its about a group of people who end up trapped in a building and being 'hunted' by a monster/creature that is bent on having them for supper. It has a unique blend of 3 main characters who really work well together and are not your typical cliche, the hot chick, the tough guy, and the jock. You do get the hot chick, and you do get the tough guy, but in place of a jock we get a biology PHD student and a whole lot more intelligence. The characters are well thought out and interesting with a dialogue that actually makes sense in a horror movie. You dont see any cliche scares in this puppy and no, Jill Wagner who plays the fantastic female lead doesnt play the mindless tart who eats it. Smart characters and smart writing combined with a really cool monster done primarily with practical FX is what makes this movie a keeper.
The monster in Splinter is genius and again you have to watch to see. I dont intend to spoil it. Its not your typical monster and its also not some over the top insane creation that you have a hard time connecting with or having it scare the crap out of you. I take issue with movies that try to do a new and creative creature and fall flat or worse yet lack any sort of ingenuity to even go that far and just do the typical 'man with an axe' crap. The monster in splinter is definitely NOT your cliche formula monster and the first 30 minutes of the movie I spent trying to figure out exactly what the f*ck it was. But in a good way. Its bloody, its distinct and as pointed out earlier... its bad ass.
The film which is getting a theatrical run through Mangolia has outstanding production values. This is despite the fact it was shot on a relatively small budget in comparsion to a lot of other big budget horror films. There is no skimping to the viewers eye on how the film looks. The overall feel and appeal of the film is top bar the whole way. If your looking for a horror movie that not only has some serious bite but has some intelligent writing and interesting characters Splinter is for you. I have to say that this is a definite go see when it hits theatres.
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