Jun 30, 2012

"The Secret" - trailer

Jessica Biel stars in this new take on the bogeyman story. Kids are disappearing from the small town of Cold Rock. Locals have come to ascribe the disappearances to a mysterious figure they call "the Tall Man". Julia (Biel) is a nurse who doesn't believe in all that hocus-pocus; until one night when she sees the big ol' bogeyman carrying her son out the front door.

There seems to be some confusion about the name of this film, with the trailer calling it "The Secret" and the below poster tagging it "The Tall Man". We'll have to see how that sorts itself out.

Pascel Laugier (Martyrs) directs with the film scheduled for limited release 31st.

New clip from "Expendables 2"

Statham and Stallone find themselves in a dilly of a pickle surrounded by your standard issue incompetent mercenary types when the Italian Stallion whips out his secret weapon. Cue Susan Sarandon: "Oh my!"

The HGH hits the fan August 17th.

Jun 29, 2012

"Mad Max: Fury Road" finally shooting in Namibia

When the Australian sets/locations for "Mad Max: Fury Road" got washed away during the Australian floods of 2010 producer/director George Miller needed to find a reliably drier place to film his little road movie. After an extensive search he found it and if.com.au is reporting the filming is finally underway in the impoverished African nation of Namibia. The same article also reports that Miller has decided not to shoot his long-awaited 4th Mad Max movie in 3D but instead to do a post conversion.

"Mad Max: Fury Road" stars Tom Hardy as Max and Charlize Theron as Furiosa, a role for which she's recently been seen gallivanting around with a shaved head.

"Gigahorse". One of the specially designed vehicles for the upcoming "Mad Max: Fury Road"

"The Dark Knight Rises" official website launched

Warner Brothers has officially launched the Dark Knight website and it's quite a looker. Lots of interesting stuff including all the full trailers, a stills gallery, a brief history of the film, wallpapers and more. Seems a little late in the game to me what with the film being released in 3 weeks but hey, better late than never. Below is a screen capture of the homepage. Click here for the site.

"The Dark Knight Rises" July 20th. Be there or be square.

Jun 28, 2012

"Looper" international trailer

In the future time travel has been solved and criminal organization are taking advantage of it by sending their enemies back to our time to be hit by Joseph Gordon Levitt's enterprising assassin. The new international trailer looks likes it's got action aplenty but I'm left with one nagging question: if time travel is possible why not simply send people to, say, the age of the dinosaurs and let nature do the eliminating for you?

"Looper" opens September 28th.

New TV spot for "The Dark Knight Rises" showcases Catwoman

Okay so the quality isn't so great but it's new and plays up the relationship between the Bat and the Cat.

"The Dark Knight Rises" July 20th.

First full trailer for "Total Recall"

This new trailer ramps up the action and even teases an appearance of the tri-breasted trollop of the original. I have to say I love the way this film looks. Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel, Bill Nighy and Kate Beckensale star.

"Total Recall" opens August 3rd.

Jun 27, 2012

Full trailer for "Frankenweenie"

Tim Burton returns to his roots with this bigquel buffing-up of his original animated short "Frankenweenie". The stop-motion looks amazing, the black and white looks rich and creamy and the story seems a delightful mix of cute and creepy.

"Frankenweenie' hits screens October 5th.

Jun 25, 2012

The top 10 movies for the weekend of June 22 - June 24, 2012

1) Brave $66.3 Million
2) Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted $19.7 Million
3) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter $16.3 Million
4) Prometheus $9.9 Million
5) Snow White and the Huntsman $8 Million
6) Rock of Ages $7.65 Million
7) That's My Boy $7.63 Million
8) The Avengers $7.1 Million
9) Men in Black III $5.7 Million
10) Seeking a Friend... $3.8 Million

The number one movie a year ago this week was Buena Vista's "Cars II" which debuted in the top spot with a $66.1 million haul.

Jun 24, 2012

Charlie Sheen adds that caustic panache to "Machete Kills"

Robert Rodriguez has confirmed that Charlie I'm-the-only-one-who-doesn't-know-I'm-a-trainwreck Sheen has signed on to play the big kahuna himself, the President of these United States in the upcoming "Machete" sequel, "Machete Kills". Sheen joins a growing cast that includes that other let's-get-hammered-and-see-what-we-say guy Mel Gibson. Now if they could only sign up John Galiano...

"You f***ers are so f***ing pache, pathe, pacheth, pachethick iz unbelivabone."

Jun 23, 2012

"The Avengers" set to pass $600 million domestic milestone

Until "Avatar" came through and reset the record books $600 million domestic was a seemingly unreachable milestone held aloft by "Titanic" as a tease to wannabe blockbusters. "Ha ha! You'll never catch me!" There were a lot of pretenders to the throne before Avatar, most notably 2008's "The Dark Knight" which leapt out of the gate and, for a while, seemed like it might grab the brass ring. Ultimately the cowled one faded down the stretch and the record was safe. Until Avatar. We all know what happened there with The Big A producing a new benchmark of $760 million domestic.

Still, $600 million retained a certain amount of luster what with the Titanic name and all attached to it. Well, Jack and Rose, say hello to your new neighbors because Tony Stark and his friends are moving in next store with "The Avengers" set to pass $600 million sometime early this coming week. If Titanic hadn't done a cash-grab 3D rerelease earlier this year we'd be talking about a new #2 all-time domestic. As it is we're talking about only the 3rd member of the $600 million club. The Avengers isn't stopping there however. The film has been holding up amazingly well in its golden days at the box office and could, conceivably, give the big boat that sinking feeling before all is said and done.

"We bow to no film."

Jun 22, 2012

"The Bourne Legacy" moves release date

"The Dark Knight Rises" isn't even released yet and already its casting a big shadow. So big in fact that Universal has decided to try and find some sunlight for its upcoming Bourne reboot/sequel/parallelquel/whateverquel "The Bourne Legacy" by moving the film's opening back a week to August 10th. Here is the relevant part of the press release from Universal.

Just as "The Avengers" demonstrated marketplace sustainability that well outpaced traditional patterns earlier this summer, the industry expects a similar trajectory for "The Dark Knight Rises". Moving one week further from its release will give "The Bourne Legacy" an even greater opportunity to maximize its opening box-office potential.

"The Bourne Legacy" attempts to find some breathing room with a later opening day

First trailer for "The Prototype"

The Bandito Brothers ("Act of Valor") have released the first trailer for their upcoming sci-fi film "The Prototype". In its noir-ish investigation into the line between man and machine it seems to draw inspiration from "Blade Runner", "The Terminator" and any of a half dozen or so video games. Possible inspirations aside it looks interesting and effort has obviously gone into getting the most out of the production budget.

No US release date is available yet. We'll let you know when that changes.

Jun 21, 2012

"Taken 2" - first trailer

Apparently Bryan Mills (Liam Nesson) ruffled a few feathers when he dismantled that international sex slavery ring in "Taken" because some very ruffled Balkan types are after him here in the first trailer for "Taken 2". The whole thing seems more than a bit contrived, but then again so did the first film. However, that didn't stop me from enjoying the whoop-ass festival then and probably won't hinder my enjoyment of it this time either.

"Taken 2" opens October 5th in the US.

"Dredd" - full trailer

The first full trailer is here for director Pete Travis' "Dredd" and it looks several flights of stairs above the Stallone version. In this new interation Karl Urban is one-with-judgement and will need all his power to take down Ma-Ma, purveyor of the uber-addictive new drug slo-mo.

"Dredd" hits theaters stateside September 21st.

Jun 20, 2012

Wachowski's "Cloud Atlas" release date moved to October 2012

The long-awaited new film from the Wachowskis has had its domestic release date bumped up to October 26th 2012. The film which chronicles how an individual's actions can have repercussions across time stars Tom Hanks, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant. This will be the first film for the Wachowski's since 2008's underwhelming "Speed Racer" crashed and burned at the box office and hopes are high that a return to metaphysics will mark a return to form for the film making pair.

Concept art for "Cloud Atlas"

Jun 19, 2012

New trailer for "The Dark Knight Rises"

This is probably it as far as trailers go given that there's only a month left until the film's release. This trailer lacks the levity of some of the recent tv spots and focuses more on the Batman/Bane conflict.

"The Dark Knight Rises" one month from today.

"Thor" - 2011 - movie review

Kenneth Branagh's "Thor" opens with Natalie Portman's scientist character Jane Foster combing the night skies of the desert southwest in search of an elusive phenomenon she can't explain. She believes it to be an Einstein-Rosen bridge but can't prove it. Suddenly it appears and while trying to chase it down she instead runs down a mysterious lone figure who seems to materialize out of the chaos around the phenomenon.

By opening the film with his characters gazing heavenward Branagh states in no uncertain terms that Thor is not your everyday superhero. This is entirely appropriate because he isn't. Thor is a god. One of the principal gods in Norse mythology and treating him as a mere superhero would be, to a certain extent, blasphemous. By extension, Thor is not your everyday superhero film either. It has more in common with Beowulf than Batman, though to be sure Thor is not a tragic character.

After the opening scene the film moves to Asgard where, after a short primer on said Norse mythology, the events that led to that mysterious figure appearing out of a light tunnel in the desert are played out.

Thor is about to inherit the throne of Asgard from his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), when his ascension is rudely interrupted by a small band of Frost Giants (the Asgardians mortal enemies) who break into Asgard's weapons vault. After the raid is thwarted Thor vows revenge. Odin attempts to rein in his impetuous son but Thor will have none of it. He and his closest companions (the Warriors 3) as well as his younger brother Loki sneak into the Frost Giants homeworld and nearly start a war. Odin intervenes just in time to save the day and then strips Thor of his power (manifested of course in his mighty hammer Mjollnir) and banishes him to earth. At the last minute Odin casts a spell on Mjollnir stating that only he who proves himself worthy will be able to take control of it and wield its power and then sends it through the light bridge to earth after Thor. 

Back on earth the man Foster hit with her truck rises from the ground babbling about hammers and bi-frosts and speaking with a kind of formal bravado that makes him seem, well, cartoonlike. Foster's assistant gets spooked by the large, wierd guy and tases him and the group take him to a local hospital.

Meanwhile, events in the desert bring Agent Colson of SHIELD sniffing around. Colson confiscates Jane Foster's computers in the name of national security. Out of ideas and with little clue as to what's going on Foster sidles up to the only guy who might possibly have a clue: the big, crazy guy she nearly ran over. Her colleague Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) attempts to warn her off citing the fact that this guy seems to think he's some kind of Norse god but Foster reluctantly decides to give him a chance.

The rest of the film deals with Thor having to come to grips with his situation and learning humility, Loki's attempts to grab the throne of Asgard in his absence, Foster and Selvig coming to grips with the possibility that maybe this big, wacky dude really is who he says he is and Colson and company nibbling at the edges of the narrative ever reminding us of the 'bigger picture'.

Branagh's direction is rock solid throughout: fluid yet never gimmicky. He coaxes excellent performances out of his cast, which is first rate and no doubt made his job a lot easier. Comedic elements (like Thor's interesting way of displaying approval of a good cup of joe) are subtle and deftly handled, never overplayed or over the top and never distracting. There is real chemistry between Hemsworth and Portman who once again demonstrates why she deserves a place near the top of the A list of actors working today. Remarkably though she doesn't overwhelm relative newcomer Chris Hemsworth who has genuine acting chops. His performance hits all the right notes and Branagh gives him plenty of space to demonstrate his range, which is impressive. The art direction and cinematogrphy heed the gravitas inplicit in making a film about a god, even one who's spent a few decades slumming through the comic book universe. This is a story that just wouldn't have worked had the cimematography been narrower in scope. A character of Thor's dimensions needs a stage the size of the desert. Patrick Doyle's soundtrack while not remarkable does what a good soundtrack should do, it suggests while staying out of the limelight.

Thor is far and away the best of the "Avengers" setup films. Some of that has to do with the strength and depth of the source material but Thor is more than the sum of its parts. It's big ideas and big characters bathed in golden light and played out on a stage with one of those enormous, multi-layered atmospheric background paintings. It never stays too long in small places, never strays seriously into self-parody but never forgets to be fun.

The top 10 movies for the weekend of June 15 - June 17, 2012

1) Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted $34 Million
2) Prometheus $20.7 Million
3) Rock of Ages $14.4 Million
4) That's My Boy $13.4 Million
5) Snow White and the Huntsman $13.2 Million
6) Men in Black III $10 Million
7) The Avengers $8.9 Million
8) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel $2.28 Million
9) Moonrise Kingdom $2.23 Million
10) Battleship $1.2 Million
The number one movie a year ago this week was Warner Brother's "Green Lantern" which debuted in the top spot with an $53.1 million haul.

Jun 18, 2012

Tim Burton talks "Beetlejuice" sequel

"Beetlejuice" is one of my favorite comedies of all-time. Just a great, wacked out exercise in pushing the limits. It succeeds brilliantly largely on the strength of Michael Keaton's outrageous performance as the little-demon-who-couldn't. I've never spent a second pining for a sequel but in this decade of sequelmania I guess it's not surprising to hear that Tim Burton is thinking about resurrecting the gnarly little dude from the foam rubber graveyard for another go.

In this clip from shocktilyoudrop Burton talks briefly about where things stand and what he liked about his 1988 classic.

Jun 17, 2012

"Prometheus" behind the scenes videos

Ridley Scott's "Alien" prequel has generated scads of conversation and debate with some claiming it's the best thing since sliced bread and others decrying it as a wholesale failure. Personally I felt it was a very good film that suffered from excessive narrative meddling. Still, any film that gets people talking is a good film. One thing few disagree about is the look of the film. It's simply gorgeous.

Courtesy of The Daily these two vids delve into the creation of the special effects for the film. The first deals with the disintegration of the "engineer" in the opening sequence and the second with the handling of the good ship Prometheus itself: what it took to create the landing, liftoff and collision sequences.

Jun 16, 2012

New "Expendables 2" poster

I think just about everybody knew that Liam Hemsworth was little more than the token young guy in Stallone's Geritol-istic sequel, nonetheless his placement in the new poster for "Expendables 2" is just ridiculous. He's so far in the background that his head could fit neatly into one of Stallone's HGH-inflated forearms. I suppose he shouldn't feel too bad though as he's joined in the outfield by FDR's favorite action hero, Chuck Norris.

"Grumpy Old Men 2", uh, I mean "Expendables 2" opens August 17th.

Jun 15, 2012

New tv spot for "The Dark Knight Rises"

This short spot has a little of everything. Commissioner Gordon being praised for how thoroughly he cleaned up the streets, Catwoman assuring one and all that things will not stay so neat and clean and Bruce Wayne tech shopping. Check it out.

"The Dark Knight Rises" opens July 20th.

"Resident Evil: Retribution" - trailer

The full Resident Evil: Retribution trailer is here and it looks like the film was tailor made for a good old fashioned 3D experience with all kinds of things projecting toward the screen/audience. At the outset Milla looks to be having a normal family-style suburban existence until a squid faced zombie bursts into the room and ruins everything (I hate when that happens!). One is soon followed by more and more and more and... next thing you know a zombie in the kitchen has turned into the end of the world as we know it.

"Resident Evil: Retribution" hits theaters this September.

Jun 14, 2012

"Sinister" - trailer

Here's the creepy first trailer for Ethan Hawk's upcoming film "Sinister" directed by Scott Derrickson. Hawk plays a writer searching for inspiration for his upcoming book who stumbles upon a box of old home movies in the attic of his house. The films are more than just a record of the family life of the people that used to live in the house, they're a record of pure evil; a Pandora's box that Hawk has opened and now must find a way to close.

"Sinister" opens October 5th.

"The Dark Knight Rises" soundtrack preview

Christopher Nolan and co. have released a 7:30 preview of the soundtrack music for "The Dark Knight Rises". I hope the film is as good as this music. Hans Zimmer of course is the composer.

Jun 13, 2012

"The Woman in Black" sequel moving forward

"The Woman in Black" was one of the big surprises of the past 12 months at the theater for me. I loved the film's throwback sensibilities and the lead role seemed a perfect fit for Daniel Radcliff as he works to put you-know-who in his rearview.

While I don't live for sequels (there's nothing wrong with the standalone movie event in my book) I was happy to hear that Hammer would be going back to the marsh again for "The Woman in Black: Angels of Death" and now shocktillyoudrop has got their hands on what they're calling an official synopsis and here it is.

Seized by the government and converted into a military mental hospital during World War II, the sudden arrival of disturbed soldiers to Eel Marsh Harsh has awoken its darkest inhabitant.  Eve, a beautiful young nurse, is sent to the house to care for the patients but soon realizes she must save them from more than their own demons.  Despite Eve’s efforts to stop her, one by one they fall victim to the Woman in Black.


Jun 12, 2012

Beowulf going biblical?

"What do you mean there's 2 of them?"
Multiple sources are reporting that Ray Winstone ("Beowulf", "The Departed") is in talks to join the cast of Darren Aronofsky's upcoming biblical epic "Noah".

Aronofsky apparently wanted someone to play opposite lead actor Russell Crowe that would be able to match both Crowe's size and his screen presence. Winstone would be playing the "villain" (though I have to admit I don't remember any villain in the story of the Ark but maybe it's just been too long since I've read it). Harry Potter alum Emma Watson has also signed on for the project so the cast is shaping up. Filming is set to begin next month with March 24, 2014 set as the opening date as of this writing.

New TV spots for "The Amazing SpiderMan"

3 new spots have hit the airwaves and here they are all together in one tidy video.

The Amazing SpiderMan opens stateside July 3rd.

Jun 11, 2012

The top 10 movies for the weekend of June 8 - June 10, 2012

1) Madagascar 3 $60.3 Million
2) Prometheus $51 Million
3) Snow White and the Huntsman $23 Million
4) Men in Black III $13.8 Million
5) The Avengers $11.2 Million
6) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel $3.2 Million
7) What to Expect... $2.7 Million
8) Battleship $2.27 Million
9) The Dictator $2.24 Million
10) Moonrise Kingdom $1.5 Million
The number one movie a year ago this week was Paramounts's "Super 8" which debuted in the top spot with an $35.4 million haul.

Jun 10, 2012

"Prometheus" - 2012 - movie review

Ridley Scott's long-awaited "Prometheus" aims high from the outset with the premise that the ultimate alien invasion occured millions of years ago when the earth was still a largely barren landscape and that said invasion consisted of extraterrestrials "seeding" the earth with their DNA. The result? Us.

Fast forward several eons to 2089 and archeologists Elizabeth Shaw (the marvelous Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (newcomer Logan Marshall-Green) discover a recurring motif in cave art worldwide. Somebody or something communicated with ancient civilizations and apparently left invitations for us to read when we were technologically advanced enough. Invitations pointing the way "home". Shaw and Holloway convince Weyland corporation to spend a trillion dollars to fund an expidition to accept this invitation and everbody's off to see the wizard.

The setup while effective seems overly simplistic/too matter of fact in its delivery, going from cave paintings to the depths of space to finding the alien habitat and effortlessly touching down without missing a beat. Personally I wanted to see some of the world of 2089 and learn more about how these 2 scientists convinced Weyland corp to finance their field trip. (Viral videos don't count as part of the movie.)

However, all is not lost during the setup as Scott uses all the empty narrative space to introduce David (Michael Fassbender), the expedition's resident android and arguably the film's central character. David is fascinated with "Lawrence of Arabia" and quotes from it at strategic points throughout Prometheus. If you're at all familiar with David Lean's masterpiece you'll probably get these references. If you don't you'll be missing a big piece of the David puzzle. David seems to use Peter O'Toole's extraordinary performance as a way to create a subtext for his own actions. Like Lawrence he's got a secret agenda, one he knows will result in harm to his hosts. This creates conflict within him which he neutralizes using Lawrence's trick; "The trick... is not minding that it hurts." Some other quotes from Lawrence of Arabia include "Big things have small beginnings", "Mortal after all" and "There's nothing in the desert, and no man needs nothing." As these references spill out of him you can see David internally imposing the Lawrence narrative on the unfolding events to provide himself context and again if you are familiar with "Lawrence" you'll know that this is not necessarily a good thing because hard lessons are waiting on the road to Damascus.

While David and Shaw are characters that shine there are others that don't work at all. Charleze Theron's mission overlord "Merideth Vickers" is a wood cutout of a character and its not all the writer's fault. Theron seems to think that "cold" equals "authoritative" when actually it means just the opposite. The way she's played here Vickers wouldn't last more than a few hours before being subjected to interstellar fragging. They are, after all, light years from home with no police force around, and the crew would have plenty of time to concoct a story about what happened to her. The other character that doesn't even begin to work is Fifield, a mohawked, crybaby coward with a nasty disposition who would never in a million years be allowed on a prolonged expedition of any kind in the real world.

Happily Prometheus gets most of its issues out of the way in the first act and once the alien worm-critters make their debut things shift into another gear. The scientists, in their rush to investigate what they're faced with upon landing, are unaware they've got a renegade android on their hands and David does his passive/agressive best to undermine the proceedings. In short order his actions begin to endanger the mission and its members and things go from bad to much worse when he sneeks some alien protoplasm on board and then sets about to "engineer" a way to get it home. And speaking of engineers, those humungous creatures who created us (and it seems the aliens as well) and are supposed to be the ones with the answers seem to have all perished some 2,000 years before Shaw and her colleagues land to interview them. Or have they?

Prometheus is loaded with big questions. None bigger than that old standby "Where did we come from?" In the best scientific tradition it doesn't really answer any of them. Instead it handles the immediate issues and leaves the bigger questions for the proverbial 'later day' (read 'sequel') where the answers will again no doubt be left dangling just out of reach.

It's stumbles are never enough to land it on its face yet are significant enough to make me wonder if Ridley wasn't paying attention here and there or if I just missed something. Personally I'm chaulking most of Prometheus' problems up to the presence of David Lindelof. His TV-shaped fingerprints are all over the films weaknesses (inexplicable characters, crappy TV-show musical theme and serial fetish) and it's my sincere hope that he's not allowed anywhere near the sequel, once it gets underway.

The atmosphere Scott creates is never dark enough for Prometheus to be considered a true horror film ala "Alien". What it is is a hybrid of sorts. Part house of horrors, part character study, part history lesson and part franchise reboot. It's visually breathtaking first frame to last, never less than engaging and often exciting with some truly "horrific" scenes. It's well paced, ambitious, imaginative and thought provoking and is Scott's best film in years. For the reasons mentioned above, however, it comes up just short of being a great film and I was left feeling a bit like Lawrence, staring off into space, wondering what might have been.

Jun 8, 2012

New poster for "Resident Evil: Retribution"

In keeping with today's (unofficial) Spanish language theme here's the new Span-Lan poster for the upcoming "Resident Evil: Retribution". Seems like it's come down to Milla's perfectly proportioned posterior against the world. I know where my money's going.

"Resident Evil: Retribution" opens September 14th.

Off the beaten track trailer of the day - "Everybody Has a Plan"

Whatever happened to Viggo Mortensen anyway? Well, nothing really happened to him, he just hasn't worked much in the last five years or so. But here he is in the trailer for the new Ana Piterbarg, Spanish-language thriller "Everybody Has a Plan". You'd think that maybe Viggo had to put in long hours perfecting his Spanish for the role but he actually spent much of his youth living in South America so the language comes naturally to him.

Sorry but there are no English subtitles for this one and no US release is scheduled; at this point anyway.

Jun 7, 2012

"Flight" - trailer

After more than a decade away from live action film making Robert Zemeckis returns with "Flight" starring Denzel Washington as an airline pilot whose cockpit heroics prevent a full-fledged catastrophe after the plane he's piloting begins to break up at 30,000 feet.

The investigation into the incident brings to light some potentially damming evidence against him, however, and the film revolves around his struggle to deal with life under the media microscope.

"Flight" opens November 2nd.

New clip from "The Amazing SpiderMan"

In this new clip we get to watch Peter Parker as he tries to get a hold of his new found web-slinging abilities. He's here he's there he's everywhere and he'd driving Dennis Leary nuts.

Jun 6, 2012

New video blog for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"

While the rest of the world has been going crazy over "The Avengers" (as well as other summer tentpoles like the now-rolling-out "Prometheus" and next month's "Dark Knight Rises") the folks in New Zealand have been hard at work on that other little flick that's due out in December named "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey".

In this video blog post Peter Jackson and Co take us through Stone Street Studios in Wellington to give us a feel of what things are like at the nerve center of Middle Earth.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is expected to hit theaters on December 14th.

Jun 5, 2012

"Prometheus" TV spot takes a strange twist

Just when I thought I'd seen it all comes this spot. While it does contain some new material it's that musical selection that's got me rockin'. Tres bizarre!

"Prometheus" opens stateside this Friday.

The top 10 movies for the weekend of June 1 - June 3, 2012

1) Snow White and the Huntsman $56.2 Million
2) Men In Black III $28 Million
3) The Avengers $20.4 Million
4) Battleship $5 Million
5) The Dictator $4.7 Million
6) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel $4.48 Million
7) What to Expect... $4.40 Million
8) Dark Shadows $3.7 Million
9) Chernobyl Diaries $3.1 Million
10) The Greater Glory $1.8 Million
The number one movie a year ago this week was Fox's "X-Men: First Class" which debuted in the top spot with an $55.1 million haul.

Jun 4, 2012

New trailer and TV spot for "The Dark Knight Rises"

UPDATE: Well, somebody doesn't want that new trailer to be widely distributed because it was apparently removed even from the venerable "comingsoon.net". Sorry about that. I'm going to keep the link in place in case the video makes a reappearance. In the meantime the TV spot is still good to go.

Okay, here we go again. I posted this trailer earlier today but after the video source was removed I removed the post. The footage has resurfaced though so I'm going to try again.

As I mentioned in my initial post I've been underwhelmed by the trailers and tv clips released so far, and most of that has to do with Nolan's decision to make Batman's ultimate foe a warehouse worker with a plate of spaghetti stuck to his face. However, this new piece has me excited for the first time about the movie. For whatever reason Bane seems a bit more menacing which makes him a bit more believable as a foe for the Caped Crusader. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that the look and feel of things as presented here is closer to the actual finished movie than what we've seen up to this point.

The TV spot focuses more on some of the underlying themes; Bruce Wayne retiring as The Bat, Catwoman prowling around the edges of the narrative, Bat-tech.

So here they are. First the trailer.

"The Dark Knight Rises" opens July 20th.

"Snow White and the Huntsman" - 2012 - movie review

Snow White and the Huntsman is an ambitious attempt to infuse the deservedly maligned Hollywood fairy tale film with some of the dread and foreboding of the source materials. Fairy tales after all were more often than not cautionary tales parents used to drive home points about the environmental and personal dangers of the medieval world. They were not meant to send little girls and boys off to dreamland with delusions about the dangerous, inbred swine collectively called "royalty" dancing in their head as most fairy tale films of the past half century or so would have one believe. So, if there was ever a genre in need of a reboot it is the fairy tale genre and Snow White and the Huntsman deserves credit for attempting to do just that.

First time director Rupert Sanders doesn't take anything remotely resembling a risk with the presentation yet his lack of directorial imagination is more than compensated for by art direction that is spot on. The first hour of the movie evokes comparison with nothing short of "the Lord of the Rings" trilogy. It's that visually sumptuous. At this point too the script has no obvious shortcomings since we're not expecting things to pay off or wrap up at the 1 hour mark.

Charlize Theron does a laudable job imbuing the evil stepmother Ravenna with the genuine creepiness of the narcissist. She gives a master class in acting to her young cast mate and Kristen Stewart suffers by comparison, her extremely limited gifts on view for all to see. Chris Hemsworth, while not exactly challenged by having to play a guy who beats people up while looking hunky doing it, nonetheless takes another giant step in making the movie going public forget about his Aussie compatriot, Sam Worthington. The rest of the cast do their jobs with the elves - supporting characters if there ever were any - perhaps enjoying the most satisfying and complete story arcs.

So as I said the first hour or so moves along smoothly and I was pleasantly surprised by my level of engagement. As things moved into the second hour, though, cracks began to open in the production, and questions began spilling out. Why, for instance, is this film called "Snow White and the Huntsman" when it is clearly about Snow White and her evil stepmother? Every plot point driving the narrative has to do with the relationship between Snow White and Ravenna. Another question: why even bother introducing the character of "William", Snow White's childhood friend who comes back into her life in young adulthood? The natural thing is to think there will be a budding romance between the long separated pair, or that William and the Huntsman will compete for Snow White's affections as the story moves along. But they don't. William is just kind of... here, and the Huntsman is just kind of... over there and the two never bother to duke it out over Snow White and indeed she never bothers to do more than slip a glance to one or the other here and there and maybe offer a wry smile or two. And speaking of wry smiles; Kristen Stewart? Fairest of the all? Nothing personal against Ms Stewart but...

To be fair though none of these questions are of the kind that derail a film by themselves and Snow White and the Huntsman manages to get across the finish line more or less in one piece. It should be noted though that the last 15 minutes or so seem very hastily constructed and have the feeling of editing-by-committee where things could go one way or could go another but wind up going nowhere. The emotional neutrality of the finale is maybe the most head-scratching part of the whole film which ends, not because the story is wrapped up, but because the screen fades to black.

As a whole I enjoyed this movie much more than I thought I would. While comparisons to "the Lord of the Rings" dissolved pretty completely during the second hour the movie still stands on it's own and has enough things going for it to recommend it.

Jun 2, 2012

"The Avengers" passes "The Dark Knight" and "Deathly Hallows Part II"

Marvel's "The Avengers" assault on box office history continued today as the superpic passed "The Dark Knight" to become the 3rd highest grossing film in US box office history. At the same time it also moved past the Harry Potter finale "Deathly Hallows Part II" to become the 3rd highest grossing film of all time worldwide. While $600 million domestic seems well within reach James Cameron's dynamic duo of "Avatar" and "Titanic" are probably safe for now as the #1 and #2 biggest films in history (not adjusted for inflation of course).

According to boxofficemojo "The Avengers" domestic total now stands at $538 million ($5 million above TDK) while it's worldwide total is now a staggering $1.33 billion (some $3 million above the Harry Potter swan song).

"The Avengers" captures all-time bronze

Jun 1, 2012

New TV spot for "The Expendables 2"

Looks like a double helping of kick-some-ass-and-take-no-prisoners action is on the menu for later this summer. I only have one question: how many kids will be saying "That's my grandpa!" on August 17th?

Full trailer for "The Bourne Legacy"

The trailer looks great though it does raise questions about just how much footage they used from "Ultimatum".

"The Bourne Legacy" starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton opens August 3rd.