May 31, 2012

More clips from "Prometheus"

Ridley Scott and co have released four new clips from "Prometheus" and the good folks at Collider have put them all together in the one video below. If you really want to enter the theater completely in the dark about this film you should consider taking a pass on this video. If you're like me however and can't get enough then click and enjoy.

Collider also has a 5 minute behind-the-scenes video up for viewing.

Prometheus has already started playing in some non-US markets and opens in the states June 8th.

New trailer for "Red Lights"

Starring Sigourney Weaver, Cillian Murphy and Robert DeNiro "Red Lights" tells the tale of two paranormal investigators who decide to take on the challenge of debunking DeNiro's character Simon Silver, a legendary "psychic" who is making a return to public engagements after a 30 year absence. It would be nice to see DeNiro in a role that challenges him a bit after the past decade or so of paycheck roles and this looks like it could be pretty good.

"Red Lights" opens stateside July 13 which will put it up against some pretty stiff competition in its second week from Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight Rises".

May 30, 2012

The top 10 movies for the weekend of May 25 - May 27, 2012

1) Men In Black III $54.5 Million
2) The Avengers $36.6 Million
3) Battleship $11 Million
4) The Dictator $9.2 Million
5) Chernobyl Diaries $7.9 Million
6) Dark Shadows $7.5 Million
7) What to Expect... $7.1 Million
8) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel $6.3 Million
9) The Hunger Games $2.3 Million
10) Think Like a Man $1.4 Million
The number one movie a year ago this week was Warner Brother's "The Hangover Part II" which debuted in the top spot with an $85.9 million haul.

May 29, 2012

Ridley Scott talks "Prometheus" and just about everything else

Britain's "Independent" has a wonderful article/interview with Ridley Scott in which the director talks about a little of everything. The article includes some nice tidbits of information about Scott's working method, his history, his disdain for inefficiency and his relationship to his friends and fellow directors. Highly recommended.

Read it here.

New "Prometheus" featurette

In this piece Ridley Scott and production designer Arthur Max discuss the design concepts behind the "Prometheus" itself while lots of juicy new footage plays in the background.

Prometheus begins rolling out overseas at the end of this week and opens in the US June 8th. Almost there...

May 28, 2012

"Dark Shadows" - 2012 - movie review

By the time I finally got around to seeing Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" on Saturday night my feelings regarding the movie had come full circle. From ignorance of the project a year or so ago to excitement to wtf (when the first trailer did one of those LP scratching turn-arounds in mid flight) back to ignorance (of the willful kind) as the movie dropped completely off my give-a-sh*t radar.

The only reason I finally went to see it was because my Memorial Day Movie Marathon required I see something and Dark Shadows was about to start as I wandered into the multiplex. With my expectations so seriously dashed, however, I needed to adjust my attitude toward the project and try to simply take it at face value. So here goes.

First of all sitting through the film was less of a chore than I anticipated thanks to the fact that the humor was no where near a pervasive as the trailers led one to believe. In a broad sense what emerged from behind the marketing deception was a movie with tremendous potential totally undercut by occasional spasms of humor the film didn't need ("occasional" if you take the running gag of a 200 year old vampire in 1972 America out of the equation which was pretty easy to do since most of the film takes place in the very gothic mansion of the Collins family).

The first part of the film is a series of gorgeous foggy-night-by-the-colonial-seashore scenes where Johnny Depp's Barnabas Collins lays out his and his family's tragic history. Burton deftly creates an exaggerated colonial atmosphere any vampire would feel perfectly at home in. Then we jump to the modern era, circa 1972, and things take a turn for the unpredictable. The first sign that things are going astray is when Barnabas - having been turned into a vampire then buried alive by his scorned lover in the late 18th century - is accidentally dug up by a highway work crew and he spots a McDonald's sign glowering overhead. It's not even his reaction to it that causes the disconnect with the film's mysterious and promising setup, it's the very presence of that sign at this time that tells you Burton intends to deviate significantly from the source material.

From this point on right through to the end of the film the question in scene after scene becomes "will he play this one straight or attempt to impose some over-the-top humor on it?" Most of the time he plays it straight and in the process even manages to conjure up the bizarre greyscale mood of the tv series. Then he "cuts Johnny loose" and things fall tragically apart. Then he "reigns Johnny in" and things come back together, often spectacularly, then he "cuts Johnny loose" and, well you get the idea.

After a while I found myself experiencing a kind of PTSD as I was never sure if I could relax and just drink in the atmosphere or if Burton was going to undermine things and "cut Johnny loose". I don't know if I can remember another film that had the pendulum of my interest swinging so wildly to and fro, though Burton's second Batman film does come to mind.

Where Burton succeeds beautifully is where the makers of Men In Black III failed miserably; in recreating the past.  The look of any time, particularly any time in the past hundred years or so, is not a uniform thing but rather a collection of some things from the year being presented and many things from the preceding decade or two. Not everyone drove 1972 cars in 1972. Not everyone wore the style of the day or had furniture plucked from showrooms of the day. Most everything that was in the cultural mix of 1972 was leftover from earlier years, as is the case today. The only part of any year in the modern era that displays some form of homogeneity is media, print and otherwise, and people don't live in magazines, they put them on their 20 year old coffee table in front of the 10 year old sofa. The creators of MIB3 took their cues from the media of the times and as a result their 1969 looks little like 1969. Burton has done his homework however and his 1972 is utterly convincing.

So Dark Shadows looks great. Too bad all that effort wasn't put to better use. It could have been a true black comedy on par with "The Shining". The art direction was there, the sets, the actors even the director. If the humor had simply been toned down a couple of notches or toned down and tweaked juuuuust a bit toward the darker side of things instead of the wacky side I could have enjoyed this film immensely.

May 26, 2012

"Chernobyl Diaries" - 2012 - movie review

"Chernobyl Diaries" is a low budget horror movie set in the infamous Ukrainian ghost town of Pripyat where 50,000 people (workers from the doomed nuclear power plant of the film's title and their families) lived and which was completely abandoned with only a few hours notice by the Soviets in the wake of the disaster.

Our story begins with two couples on a tour of Eastern Europe. One of their group proposes that, instead of going on to their next destination (Moscow) they instead take an "extreme tour" of Chernobyl and says he knows a reliable local guide named Uri who's willing to take them. Reluctantly the others agree and at Uri's office they also pick up a British couple. Everyone piles into Uri's Soviet-era van and they head off toward the disaster site.

At first they are denied entry into the exclusion zone around Pripyat/Chernobyl by the Ukrainian army who cite "maintenance" issues. Undeterred Uri takes his group through a long abandoned entrance assuring one and all that everything will be fine. Once inside the exclusion zone he stops at a river on the outskirts of town where ominous long-toothed fish hold sway. From here they make their way to into Pripyat itself where they spend time taking photos and wondering at the abandonment of it all.

After encountering a huge, angry bear in one of Pripyat's numerous empty buildings they beat a hasty retreat but the fun is just beginning. They load back into the van only to find that someone or something has sabotaged the engine wiring. Uri's radio call for help yields no response and the group are forced to spend the night during which time Uri disappears, one of the men is attacked and seriously injured by something or someone after going out to find Uri and the van is besieged by some kind of wild animal. They survive the night but Uri does not return.

Chernobyl Diaries obeys the first law of horror movies which is to make sure your characters make the dumbest possible decision in each and every instance. But the novelty of the setting which comes with it's own large suitcase full of cultural baggage works to minimize the predictability level and even imbue the proceedings with (Dare I say it?) an air of freshness.

That said there are still moments during the film where you've just got to shake your head. Like during the final act when the wounded and desperate survivors are attempting to escape yet decide to go into the darkest, most labyrinthine building available, head down into the local dungeon and follow the sound of mad dogs and who knows what else chowing on human flesh, all the while repeating "we gotta get outa here!" Indeed.

Horror movies only work if the writer and director are able to put the audience into the heart of darkness. Recently Hollywood has taken this as an excuse to justify the found footage genre. To it's credit Chernobyl Diaries proves you don't have to stoop to that overused and boring device to create tension and a sense of dread. You also don't have to stoop to using undead or crazy dudes in sports masks as the evil foils. That role is filled just fine here by a combination of bears, ravenous dogs, carnivorous fish and radiation; along with something else that goes largely undefined until very late in the proceedings.

Chernobyl Diaries is not a great film. It's not even a really good film. But its an okay film with some pretty scary moments that does a decent job of presenting a well-used theme in a new and interesting way without pretending to be important. I went into Chernobyl Diaries not expecting much. After just seeing "Men In Black III" I was prepared for another letdown. But to my surprise this low budget outing managed to get and keep my attention and provided what was definitely the more enjoyable movie experience.

"Men In Black III" - 2012 - movie review

In the present day an alien named "Boris the Animal" escapes from a poor excuse for a  maximum security prison on the moon and travels (how?) to earth to seek revenge on The Men In Black's agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), the man that imprisoned him 40 years earlier. Meanwhile agent K and agent J are going about their business keeping the streets of New York clear of extraterrestrials. Boris appears on the scene and, after a feeble attempt to kill K, seeks out a guitar geek who happens to be in possession of a time travel device. His plan? To travel back to 1969 and kill agent K thereby preventing his incarceration and simultaneously preventing K from deploying some kind of planetary defense shield.  The absence of this planetary shield will clear the way for a present day invasion of earth by Boris's brethren. In order to keep all this from happening agent J must also travel back to 1969 where he'll team up with a younger agent K and premium antics will ensue. That's the theory.

In reality the entire film feels like a joke I've heard before. The film makers seem to be somewhat aware of this possible effect and attempt to play up the story around the characters to compensate. That effort would have worked better if they, well, put more effort into it. Instead they took the discount approach to traveling back to 1969 (no doubt to save money for all the uber-expensive CG shots) and reduced that complex and compelling time in American history to a few stereotypical hairdos, catchphrases and musical snippets. They even figured out a way to stuff all the cliche's onto one set (thereby saving millions in expensive street reassignment surgery) by directing agents K and J to a party at Andy Warhol's "factory".

Throughout the entire flash-back part of the film I was dogged by a nagging feeling that nothing was actually happening on the screen. There was movement, sound and splashy (if decidedly retro looking) CG. There was talking, more movement and more sound but virtually nothing of narrative, visual or comic interest. I began to suspect that I was in the theater because I'd been neuralized and told to attend.

And speaking of Tommy Lee Jones his disappearance after half an hour leads me to wonder if the time travel aspect of the story was something that came about organically or was the result of Jones wanting only limited exposure in this product and the screen writers needing to contrive some device where his absence could be logically excused. Not knowing the development tale of this product I couldn't say for sure but I know this: when I go to an MIB movie I expect to see Tommy Lee Jones. While I understood going in that Josh Brolin would be playing a younger TLJ in some time travel scenes, I didn't realize that Jones would depart before I finished my popcorn and never return. Not that I have anything against Josh Brolin, he's a fine actor who does his best here but he's not Tommy Lee Jones and a Men In Black movie largely without Mr Jones is like a Batman movie without Wayne Manor.

In a nutshell though Brolin lacks Jones' grim authority he doesn't really need it seeing that the whole time travel thing allows him to play a younger, decidedly lighter-of-spirit K than the grizzled xenomorph-whacker of later days. Indeed the break between the two ages of K becomes the narrative center of the film with Will Smith repeatedly asking "Man, what happened to you?" just to make sure it's always up front in our minds. Yet when that "something" finally occurs I was left asking my date "That's it? That's what changes him into the ultimate curmudgeon?" Given how much they'd built the moment up (and given how little else there was to grab hold of in this film) I was expecting/hoping for something that would knock my socks off. What I got was an enormous letdown wrapped in cheesy Hallmark sentiment that left me exiting the theater wishing I could travel back in time and get my 2 hours back.

May 23, 2012

New "Prometheus" TV spots add fuel to the fire

Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" begins rolling out in non-US markets at the end of next week and the marketing blitz is in full swing. These 2 new TV spots don't add a lot to the conversation just ramp up the anticipation. There is one new element in the first spot that warrants noting though. See the still at the end of this post.

Here's a still from the first spot. From where I'm sitting the figure on the right looks like the "space jockey" laid out on his back and fighting for his life against some sort of very mean-spirited extraterrestrial.

Can't wait.

May 22, 2012

"The Great Gatsby" - trailer

Director Baz Luhrmann has apparently decided the only way to handle F. Scott Fitzgerald's seminal piece of lost generation literature is to treat it as total fantasy. While that in itself is enough to make me pause tacking a bad version of U2's gut-wrenching "Love is Blindness" over the whole proceeding doesn't help matters either. I have to say that for a guy with seemingly unlimited Hollywood clout Leo old boy is certainly making some less than laudatory film choices lately.

May 21, 2012

The top 10 movies for the weekend of May 18 - May 20, 2012

1) The Avengers $55.6 Million
2) Battleship $25.5 Million
3) The Dictator $17.4 Million
4) Dark Shadows $12.5 Million
5) What to Expect... $10.5 Million
6) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel $3.2 Million
7) The Hunger Games $2.9 Million
8) Think Like a Man $2.6 Million
9) The Lucky One $1.7 Million
10) The Pirates! Band of Misfits $1.5 Million
The number one movie a year ago this week was Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" which debuted in the top spot with a $90.1 million haul.

"Skyfall" - teaser trailer

Bond 23 finally has a trailer and while it's short on specifics it looks like a pretty clean break from "Quantum of Solace" which basically picked up a few minutes after the excellent "Casino Royale" ended. Daniel Craig looks to be in fine form calmly stating at one point: "Some men are coming to kill us. We're going to kill them first." Bring it on!

"Skyfall" opens November 19th.

May 19, 2012

"Snow White and the Huntsman" featurette

Charlize Theron is due to get her fair share of attention at this summer's box office what with her upcoming stints as the hard-as-nails mission leader in "Prometheus" and as the hard-as-nails queen Ravenna in "Snow White and the Huntsman". Here she talks a little about the latter role and explains that, while she's not a method actor, some aspects of her character really spoke to her. Lets hope it wasn't the parts where she rips out people's souls.

"Snow White and the Huntsman" opens June 1st.

May 18, 2012

"Prometheus" poster

If the fate of the good ship "Prometheus" hadn't become apparent to you from watching the various trailers and clips released so far this new poster for Ridley Scott's upcoming return to sci-fi should make it abundantly clear, and also raise a bunch of questions in the process. I love questions.

Prometheus begins its rollout in parts of Europe on May 30th and reaches US screens on June 8th.

Original "Blade Runner" scribe Hampton Fancher in talks to pen sequel

Hampton Fancher - who achieved notoriety for his 1982 "Blade Runner" screenplay - is in talks to return as screen writer for Ridley Scott's projected Blade Runner sequel. It's difficult to gauge whether this is good news or not because Fancher hasn't spent the last 30 years writing a lot of screenplays. So he could be, let's say, rusty. But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt at this point and trust that Mr Scott knows what he's doing. The original film was one of the great movies ever made and one of the few films worthy of the title "visionary". To do justice to the original while creating an entirely new property will be a monumental challenge but Scott seems re-energized regarding the sci-fi genre following his experience with the soon to be released "Alien" prequel "Prometheus".

There is no word at this point whether Harrison Ford has been approached about the project though it is conceivable that his character "Deckard" could have some role to play in a sequel supposedly to be set "some" years after events in the original film.

source: The Hollywood Reporter

May 17, 2012

First trailer for "Maniac" - NSFW

Elijah Wood makes me believe in this first trailer for his new film "Maniac". As stated in the post title this trailer is definitely not safe for work.

May 16, 2012

Noomi Rapace gets digitally disected in new "Prometheus" viral video

While the prospect of slithery little alien buggers finding their way into your body isn't one any rational human wants to spend too much time contemplating the new viral video from "Prometheus" gives us an entirely different sort of invasive experience and one that seems equally creepy: the digital facehugger. Have a peek as the Weyland Corporation computer coolly wraps itself around Noomi Rapace's head and even gets into her oral cavity. Yikes! Who's the invasive species here?

Prometheus opens June 8th.

International TV spot for "Prometheus" gets to the point

This new TV spot for "Prometheus" takes things to a whole 'nother level. Maybe to the level where some will see it as spoiler laden. Personally I'll take whatever they're giving.

Prometheus opens wide June 8th.

May 15, 2012

"The Cabin in the Woods" - 2012 - movie review


The experience of watching "The Cabin in the Woods" was more than a little similar to those art school lectures of yesteryear I used to sit through where this or that aspiring art historian would try to make a name for themselves by deconstructing Picasso to "prove" that because he wasn't a monogamist he was really a misogynist . As I say the experience was similar and so was my reaction, which was to listen for a few minutes, have a few chuckles then tune the speaker out and try to enjoy the great slideshow that usually accompanied deconstruction.

What I discovered with TCITW was that it's harder to tune out the psychobabble and enjoy the pictures if the pictures are created by the deconstructionist himself.

Basically the "story" goes something like this. A group of up and coming, well educated, fairly well adjusted young people head out of town in the RV for a weekend at a cabin in the woods. As they pull away from their house we see someone is watching them. That someone is in league with of a pair of post modern Fred MacMurray types working in a hi-tech bunker who are taking an unnatural level of interest in our kid's little getaway. After the kids have a run-in with the requisite mean-spirited bubba lording over the local abandoned gas station they settle in at the cabin, the MacMurrays watching their every move via hidden cameras. Before you know it one thing leads to another and the woods are full of zombies.

While the kids are being devoured by the undead the MacMurrays begin discussing the hows and whys of free will, and it's then that the red flag of deconstruction begins moving up the flag pole for me. I begin to think: "Who in their right mind thinks horror movies need deconstructing? They're the most straightforward, formulaic type of exploitation flick ever invented. Anyone who's seen more than 1 has figured that out. What's going to be revealed by taking them apart and examining the pieces that we don't already know?" Apparently the film makers didn't bother to ask themselves those questions because the movie continues.

So I'm beginning to feel a little put-off by the whole affair, but I paid my hard-earned cash to get in so I continue to occupy my seat. Plus I haven't finished my popcorn. As I watch the MacMurrays and their bunker-buddies begin to take over the film, with the actual cabin of the title and all the "horrors" going on there sliding further and further into irrelevance. To demonstrate just how irrelevant fully 3/4 of the advertised "stars" (those would be the actors playing the young people at the cabin) are dead by the beginning of the third act. I can just hear Joss Whedon and Co laughing behind the screen; "Gotcha you blood thirsty pervert! You came here expecting boobies and blood but instead we're gonna give you a lecture on how gullible you are!" (Throw in a Nelson Muntz "Ha Ha" here just for good measure.)

By now I'm not too thrilled that I chose this movie over, well, any other movie but I still haven't finished my half-gallon of Sprite-flavored ice so I continue to watch, searching for any narrative thread within the lecture that I can latch onto to save my evening.

On the screen a series of blunders and unlikely turns of the page have left the men behind the curtain (who are now front and center) facing a crisis: how to deal with a person who's on to them. This is supposed to say something about the skeptics in the horror audience and how they ruin everything with their prescient observations about the absurdity of it all. According to The Cabin in the Woods, film makers deal with doubters by bludgeoning them with yet more absurdity. I believe that's what they're saying because that's where the movie goes, right off the edge.

So let me cut to the chase. More people die and some don't die as quickly and what those delayed-diers witness at the end is suppose to blow them/me away, I think. Anyway it didn't. Because I kept looking for a narrative in the pictures I could hang my hat on I couldn't get past the idea that the super secret organization the MacMurrays work for, an organization that has supposedly been controlling the fate of the human race for centuries, put a lock on their lab door that could be hotwired by a stoner. I'm sure that piece of absurdity was intentional, one more element meant to drive home the thesis that horror movies are manipulative and silly, but again, because there's nothing even remotely provocative about this thesis I didn't care. I kept waiting for that slide that would make the lecture one worth sitting through. But alas, none appeared. Instead even all the expensive CG toward the end of the movie was put to the service of the boring deconstructive agenda and I was left swirling the flotsam at the bottom of my plastic tub waiting for the fade to black.

To summarize; The Cabin in the Woods is just a B-movie with pretensions to a higher calling that, like most B-movies, doesn't work very well on any level. The horror is undercut by the parallel storyline, the deconstructive undertones of the parallel storyline are undercut by those loveable MacMurrays, the big ending is undercut by it's preposterousness and the preposterousness is undercut by the startling arrival on the scene at the 11th hour of Sigourney Weaver.

First clip from "Prometheus"

With all the hubbub surrounding the astonishing box office prowess of Marvel's "The Avengers" a lot of other upcoming big movies have suffered from a bit of benign neglect. That's certain to change in the coming weeks and maybe this clip will help nudge that process along a bit.

In the first clip from Ridley Scott's upcoming "Alien" prequel we are taken through the landing of the good ship "Prometheus" on (what I'm admittedly assuming is) LV426. Nothing is revealed plot wise but the clip does look fantastic. I can't wait to see the whole thing on the big screen come June 8th.

May 14, 2012

First poster for "Sin City 2" - really?

This poster that's been making the rounds of the internet is purported to be an official release for the upcoming and long-awaited "Sin City 2". But if that's the case I have to say that, in my humble opinion, it's lame in the extreme. It looks like it was made by an 8th grade graphic arts student.

Since there isn't an official site for the movie (yet) it's hard to verify, but for what it's worth here it is.

May 13, 2012

"The Avengers" smash 2nd weekend record enroute to $1 Billion

Joss Whedon's superpic has become an unstoppable box office force, pulverizing the 2nd weekend record with an estimated $103.2 million. The previous record  of $75+ million held by "The Dark Knight" now seems kind of quaint by comparison.

But The Avengers didn't stop there. Boxofficemojo estimates that by the time the dust settles Sunday the film will have crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide. And it will have done so in a scant 19 days matching box office behemoths "Avatar" and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II". Whether or not it ultimately has Avatar's staying power remains to be seen but it now seems entirely possible that it could end up the number 3 movie of all-time at the worldwide box office, an incredible accomplishment.

May 12, 2012

2 new viral videos for "The Amazing Spider-Man"

A couple of new videos have hit the web as part of the viral campaign for "The Amazing Spider-Man". I have to say I've been uber-skeptical about this film from the moment it was announced but the more I see of it the more I'm coming around to it. It remains to be seen if it'll deliver in the theater but I won't have to be dragged there kicking and screaming to see it as I once thought I would.

The 2 clips focus on Dr. Curt Conners who becomes The Lizard in the film. The first is a fake recruiting video by said Dr for Oscorp. The second is a bit of behind the scenes chat with Rhys Infans, who plays Conners in the film.

"The Amazing Spider-Man" opens July 3rd.

May 11, 2012

"7 Days in Havana" - trailer

"7 Days in Havana" is a compilation film made up of 7 shorts by different directors, each covering a different day of the week. Havana looks great, as does the trailer itself; even if does seem a bit thin and contrived in the narrative department. The film is scheduled to debut at Cannes later this month, though no word yet on a wide release.

Elijah Wood: maniac!

I suppose his role as the cannibalistic psycho in "Sin City" should have put us on notice that Elijah Wood wasn't going to be shy about putting distance between himself and his heroic Hobbit persona. But just in case there was any doubt about it new photos from Franck Khalfoun's remake of the 1980 classic slasher flick "Maniac" should put them to rest.

Photo courtesy of The Playlist.

May 9, 2012

"Piranhaconda" - trailer

Looks like it was filmed in the same locations as the immortal "Dinocroc vs Supergator". God knows the monstrous mutant of the title seems to have a similar taste for blood and silicone.

Ladies and gentlemen: "Piranhaconda".

Rebecca Hall in talks to join cast of "Iron Man 3"

Variety reports that Rebecca Hall (The Prestige) is in talks with Marvel to join the cast of "Iron Man 3" as the female lead. She'll reportedly play a nanotechnology scientist. Her invention, called "Extremis" winds up in unsavory hands and leads to all sorts of trouble for Tony Stark.

Filming begins later this month with the 3rd installment in the Iron Man series due out May 3rd next year.

May 8, 2012

The top 10 movies for the weekend of May 4 - May 6, 2012

There was only one story at the US box office this weekend and that was the astonishing performance of Marvel's "The Avengers". The superflick vacuumed up an all-time opening weekend record of $207.4 million. By comparison the other 9 top 10 films took in less than $40 million combined.

1) The Avengers $207.4 Million
2) Think Like a Man $8.1 Million
3) The Hunger Games $5.58 Million
4) The Pirates! Band of Misfits $5.50 Million
5) The Lucky One $5.3 Million
6) The Five-Year Engagement $5 Million
7) Safe $2.67 Million
8) The Raven $2.63 Million
9) Chimpanzee $2.4 Million
10) The Three Stooges $1.8 Million
The number one movie a year ago this week was Paramount/Marvel's "Thor" which debuted in the top spot with an $65.7 million haul.

May 7, 2012

"Prometheus" to be rated "R" - apparently

May 9th UPDATE: 20th Century Fox today confirmed "Prometheus" will indeed be rated R for intense images, sci-fi violence and some language.

After months of speculation it seems the matter of which rating the MPAA would assign Ridley Scott's upcoming "Prometheus" has been settled quietly. A presale ticket stub (left) posted on line by an IMDB user reveals the rating, which had not been formally announced. To fans hoping to see the film Scott intended to make this is good news, though it may of course mean fewer tickets sold overall. And that's been the debate/discussion all along: artistic integrity vs cash money.

Of course a word of caution is needed here. Since there has been no formal announcement it could be that the ticket agency simply made an assumption and took it upon themselves to print the "R" on the ticket. Maybe they just got tired of waiting for a decision. Or it could be that the person who posted the image has a decent knowledge of photoshop and was of a mind to make some mischief. Impossible to tell for certain at this point. But if this ticket turns out to be genuine and the rating is confirmed kudos should go to 20th Century Fox for staying their hand and giving Scott his way.

May 6, 2012

"The Avengers" shatters opening weekend record with $200.3 million

Marvel's "The Avengers" didn't just break the opening weekend record set last year by "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II" it crushed it. The official weekend estimate is now a mind-boggling $200.3 million with some analysts suggesting that Disney and Marvel are actually low-balling the final number. The box office behemoth earned its haul by attracting an "Avatar"-like audience composed of men and women, teens and adults, couples on dates and scores of families as well. It's Saturday take of $69.7 million set an all-time Saturday record and represented a scant 13% drop from Friday's gargantuan $80.5 million. It's the first movie to earn more than $200 million dollars in its first 3 days of release in the domestic market.

Take a bow folks. You've earned it.
At $641 million worldwide and considering that it's just started it's domestic run as well as its run in Russia and Communist China and that it hasn't opened yet in the lucrative Japanese market the film is poised to rocket past the 1 billion mark. These must be heady days at Disney and especially Marvel, which bet the farm on their superhero movie convergence strategy several years ago and are now watching it pay off in spectacular fashion.

May 5, 2012

James Cameron: "I’m not interested in developing anything"

While in Peking recently (I'll call it Bejing when they hold an election) James Cameron sat down for an interview with the New York Times and The Economist. He talked about a number of issues but maybe most surprisingly stated...

"Last year I basically completely disbanded my production company’s development arm. So I’m not interested in developing anything. I’m in the “Avatar” business. Period. That’s it. I’m making “Avatar 2,” “Avatar 3,” maybe “Avatar 4,” and I’m not going to produce other people’s movies for them. I’m not interested in taking scripts. ...anything I can’t say in that area (Avatar sequels), I want to say through documentaries, which I’m continuing."

This is bad news for anyone (like myself) who has been waiting anxiously for the past several years for any news regarding "Battle Angel Alita", one of those properties Cameron talked about for a long time but is apparently no longer interested in. He's going to do "Avatar" and documentaries and that's it. Okay James, if you say so. But (and this is me getting editorial) I'd like to state for the record that, like most people, I've never seen one of your documentaries and don't plan on doing so any time soon. Also, by the time you actually get around to releasing the Avatar sequels going to see one will be more of a nostalgic thing than an actual movie experience.

He had one more disturbing thing to say before the interview was over. When asked about Chinese censorship he stated...

"I can’t be judgmental about another culture’s process. I don’t think that’s healthy."

Au contraire James. It's not only healthy, its essential, especially for anyone who dares call himself an artist. You don't have to be overt in your criticism or set out to make anti-regime propaganda but you must keep all creative and expressive options on the table. If part of your film makes the unelected squirm in their (knock-off) Depends then so be it. Once you start editing yourself to appease tyrants you're lost as a creative entity. But hey, it's your call.

Anyone who wishes may read the entire interview here.

"Jersey Shore Shark Attack" - trailer

For everyone losing sleep wondering whatever happened to Paul Sorvino you can rest easy. He's back at the top of his game in the latest from legendary director John Shepphird.

I only have one question: where the hell is David Hasselfhof?

May 4, 2012

"The Avengers" set to challenge for domestic record

UPDATE: Marvel's "The Avengers" hauls in a staggering $80.5 million in its opening day Friday. Many media sources are now confidently predicting the superhero epic will push past $170 million for its opening weekend which would make it the new #1 opening weekend of all time.

The box office juggernaut that is Marvel's "The Avengers" has trained its sights squarely on the domestic box office records for opening Friday and opening weekend. Both those records are currently held by the Harry Potter finale "Deathly Hallows 2" from last year which opened with a $91 million Friday and a $169 million weekend. Studio estimates for The Avengers have been tracking upward all week as astonishing numbers have come in from overseas markets and showing after showing has sold out in the US prior to the film's opening. We already know that The Avengers earned $18.7 million in its midnight showings besting the superhero record set 3 years ago by "The Dark Knight" and that it's worldwide total (without having played a full day in the US, Russia or Communist China) stands at $322 million, but where will it go from here? Is $170 million or more really in play? That would be pretty amazing and a stunning vindication of Marvel's brazen master plan to bring the ensemble to life on the big screen.

Fans line up for midnight showing of Marvel's "The Avengers"

While it seems a no-brainer now that the Avengers will take the top spot at the domestic box office this year it should be remembered that such a feat was anything but guaranteed only a month ago. Most people would have put any one of several movies atop the year-end list over The Avengers. But now that it seems Joss Whedon's superpic will not be denied the only question that's lingering in my head is whether the long awaited "Dark Knight Rises" (which many were and still are picking to be the year's domestic box office champion) will come in 2nd, 3rd or maybe even 4th or 5th. I could see a scenario where the domestic order winds up like this...

1) The Avengers
2) The Hunger Games
3) The Hobbit: An unexpected journey
4) Prometheus
5) The Dark Knight Rises

Then again no shuffling of the order of numbers 2 thru 5 would really surprise me. The only thing that would surprise me would be a different #1. Whatever the final box office verdict it will be fun to watch.

New trailer for "The Amazing Spider Man"

I love this time of year! All the big tentpole films are lining up on the runway getting ready to take off. Among those is the-reboot-nobody-asked-for; otherwise known as "The Amazing Spider-Man", which  is back with a new trailer. It looks pretty good and I'm glad they chose The Lizard as the baddie here but I'm not sure a smart-ass Peter Parker is what the masses have been (silently) longing for.

"The Amazing Spider-Man" opens July 3rd.

First trailer for "The Expendables 2"

The Geritol gang is back and bigger than ever. Stallone, Crews, Li, Statham, Lundgren et at are joined in their second outing by none other than The Impregnator himself Arnold Schwarzenegger and my granddads favorite action hero Chuck Norris. Revel in the glory of HGH-driven action like you've never seen it before.

"The Expendables 2" opens August 17th.

May 3, 2012

2 new images from "The Amazing Spider Man"

With Marvel's "The Avengers" bogarting most of the movie hype oxygen right now other superhero movies due out soon have been forced to take a back seat. Maybe none more so than the-reboot-nobody-asked-for, Marvel's own "The Amazing Spider Man". But the fact that it's not getting much press doesn't stop the Spidey PR machine from grinding ever onward and the latest piece of the marketing puzzle are these two images from the upcoming film that showcase The Lizard. He's green. He's slimey. He looks pretty cool actually (love what you've done with the lab coat dude) and he's got his spiky reptilian mitts all over Peter Parkers camera. What does it all mean? I guess we'll have to wait for the new trailer (due out any time now) to learn more.

May 2, 2012

The top 10 movies for the weekend of April 27 - April 29, 2012

1) Think Like a Man $17.6 Million
2) The Pirates! Band of Misfits $11.1 Million
3) The Hunger Games $10.81 Million
4) The Lucky One $10.80 Million
5) The Five Year Engagement $10.6 Million
6) Safe 7.8 Million
7) The Raven $7.2 Million
8) Chimpanzee $5.2 Million
9) The Three Stooges $5.1 Million
10) The Cabin in the Woods $4.6 Million
The number one movie a year ago this week was Universal's "Fast Five" which debuted in the top spot with an $86.1 million haul.

Off the beaten track trailer of the day - "Zomboobies"

While Chris is busy being consumed by blockbuster fever I thought I'd lighten the mood a bit. Here we have the aptly name "teaser" trailer for Francois Fujimoto's sure to be classic "Zomboobies". The footage is heavy on the blood and heavy on the heavy boobs as you might expect so it's probably not safe for work unless you work in a porn production house. Enjoy!