Aug 31, 2012

"The Hobbit: part 2" has been officially renamed

After announcing recently that "The Hobbit" would be extended into three films instead of two there was a blizzard of speculation as to how (if) this would affect the title of the 2nd film; "The Hobbit: There and Back Again". Well the answer is in as Peter Jackson and Co have announced that that title will now belong to film #3 while the second film will get the new title "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug".

Glad to see that the big scaly dude is being brought front and center into the proceedings where he belongs.

Bilbo is informed his arch enemy will now get title billing in film #2

Aug 30, 2012

"The Iceman" - trailer

Director Ariel Vromen's film tells the tale of Richard Kuklinski, a hit man with a conscience, who plied his grizzly trade during the pre-digital era. The film stars Michael Shannon, Ray Liotta, Winona Ryder, James Franco and Chris Evans.

Curiously there's no release date available that I've been able to find, including on the film's IMDB page.

Aug 29, 2012

"The Avengers" alternate opening

Marvel has released this alternate opening to their mega-blockbuster and I have to say I'm glad someone was paying attention and decided to cut it. Having agent Hill hitting leadoff with a scathing critique of Nick Fury would have tainted just about everything else in the film. There's also the fact that New York, as depicted in this sequence, looks more likes it's just survived a really bad gas main explosion instead of an epic battle for the future of the planet.

Aug 28, 2012

Peter Jackson reassures the public that GDT's designs for "The Hobbit" are history

I was extremely pleased when Guillermo Del Toro felt compelled to walk out on "The Hobbit". The fact was though that he'd done a lot of design work for the film before taking his hike and there was always the possibility that the upcoming films might be saddled with some of his designs. Happily Peter Jackson (in an interview with i09) has stated that almost all the prep work Del Toro did for The Hobbit was scrapped once he (Jackson) took over the director's role.

Here's highlights of Jackson's interview:

I looked at his designs when he took over and a lot of his designs are very Guillermo . . . it was very much stuff that you would recognize from Pan's Labyrinth or Hellboy... I looked at his designs and I said the only person who can make a Guillermo Del Toro movie is Guillermo... So really I redesigned the film pretty much.

The top 10 movies for the weekend of August 24 - August 26, 2012

1) The Expendables 2 $13.4 Million
2) The Bourne Legacy $9.3 Million
3) ParaNorman $8.6 Million
4) The Campaign $7.4 Million
5) The Dark Knight Rises $7.2 Million
6) The Odd Life of Timothy Green $7.1 Million
7) 2016 Obama's America $6.5 Million
8) Premium Rush $6 Million
9) Hope Springs $5.7 Million
10) Hit and Run $4.5 Million
The number one movie a year ago this week was Buena Vista's "The Help" which spent a second consecutive week at number 1 with a $14.5 million take.

Aug 27, 2012

Joe Dante's "The Hole" finally gets US distribution

Produced in 2009 and released theatrically in a number of overseas markets beginning that year "The Hole", directed by Joe Dante (Gremlins), was never able to secure a US distribution deal. It seems that sad state of affairs is finally being set right. Sort of. I say "sort of" because while Yahoo movies lists a release date of 9/28 other sources are claiming that date is for the US DVD release and not a theatrical release. So things are still somewhat up in the air (or down in the hole depending on your point of view) regarding the ultimate fate of Dante's film. Still, I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that it'll make it to theaters. Here's the official synopsis.

Life couldn't possibly get worse, or so thought 17 year old Dane (Chris Massoglia) and his 10 year old brother Lucas (Nathan Gamble), when their single mother Susan (Teri Polo) uproots them from New York City to the sleepy little town of Bensonville. For Dane the only exciting thing about their new town is the beautiful girl next door, Julie (Haley Bennett). With Susan spending more and more time at work, Dane and Lucas are left unattended to explore the depths of their eerie new residence. With Dane paying more attention to Julie, he has far less time and patience for his little brother. But then everything changes when they find a sinister bottomless hole under a locked trap door in the basement. As the brothers experiment with the hole they realize that the cold pit goes on forever. They drop a nail and never hear it hit bottom. They lower a flashlight and a video camera and they get consumed by the darkness. Hoping for some answers about the house's past, Dane and Lucas bring Julie in on their new discovery. When the hole is exposed, evil is unleashed. With strange shadows lurking around every corner and past nightmares coming to life, the trio will have to come face to face their darkest fears to put an end to THE HOLE. 

Aug 26, 2012

Hammer Films promo for "The Quiet Ones"

Not a lot to say about this since the folks from Hammer do plenty of explaining of their own in the piece. All I'd add is that producer Ben Holden's assertion that "The Quiet Ones" is "Hammer's follow-up to "The Woman in Black" is a bit misleading. It is the newly reformed Hammer's 2nd feature after TWIB, but it's not a sequel to that film as the term "follow-up" would seem to imply. The actual sequel to "The Woman in Black" - still in the early stages of pre-production - will be called "The Woman in Black: Angels of Death".

Aug 24, 2012

30 second tv spot for "Dredd"

I'm guessing from what I've seen so far that there's not going to be a lot of Rob Schneider-type hilarity in this remake.

"Dredd" hits theaters September 21st.

Off the beaten track trailer of the day - "7 Boxes"

This one comes from Paraguay and tells the tale of a young man who's entrusted with the care of 7 boxes by some local criminal types. Of course, being that the kid works and lives in and around the downmarket markets of Acunsion keeping his cache a secret isn't going to be easy. The trailer looks great and gives a wonderful feel for this much overlooked part of the world. Whether or not the contents of the 7 boxes turns out to be a huge macguffin ala the briefcase from Pulp Fiction remains to be seen. Though it's playing at this year's Toronto Film Festival there are no plans at this time to release stateside.

Trailer courtesy of twitchfilm.

Aug 22, 2012

"The Expendables 2" - 2012 - movie review

"The Expendables 2" is what happens when Rocky Balboa decides, after 35 years of taking head shots, that he's capable of writing a script for a major motion picture. Some of these guys are still compelling screen presences (including Stallone) yet the obvious limits of their physical capacity require someone who knows how to write snappy (original) dialogue and create a compelling narrative for them to inhabit. The Italian Stallion is not that guy. (Sure he had Richard Wenk to help him out with the screenplay but anyone who thinks Stallone deferred to Wenk is smoking some of that Afghan weed the guys from "Savages" are selling.)

The story begins with Stallone and Jason Statham leading a charge into a criminal encampment in Nepal in order to rescue an unidentified colleague. Setting aside the fact that Nepal has apparently become infested with palm trees and that many of the evil foot soldiers are speaking Thai this Bond-wannabe setup turns out to be completely pointless. Its only purpose seems to be to provide Ahnuld with the first of several extended cameos.

After this we're introduced to the rest of the crew, including Liam Hemsworth, a fairly obvious marketing ploy intended to get the youngsters into the theaters. He's given the lamest, most cliche-riddled excuse for a backstory imaginable and then set firmly onto a red-shirt trajectory that the blind guy who lives across the hall could have seen coming a mile away.

So after the big non-setup Stallone meets with Bruce Willis' "Church" who informs him that he's got one last chance to apparently square things up between the two of them (manly men being eternally obsessed by squaring things between them you see). To do this he must retrieve some important data from a safe being held by some more baddies. Stallone isn't told exactly what the information is and he's saddled with another marketing ploy, Nan Yu, playing "Maggie" a semi-attractive covert operative who's going to extract the info Willis is after once Stallone and Co have secured the safe.

And that's about it. Once the info is secured we're introduced to the super-evil "Vilain" (wink-wink) played by Jean Claude Van Damme and his super-evil cohort who take it from the boys by force and the rest of the film is a plodding, enervating revenge tale littered with more pointless, nonsensical cameos and recycled one-liners than a late 70s Las Vegas rat-pack review.

Jet Li, Randy Couture, Terry Crews and Dolph Lundgren amount to little more than talking extras, while Bruce Willis, Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris don't do anything except stand in front of the camera a few times and fire big guns at groups of the most bumbling, inept Keystone-Cop bad guys that ever disgraced the silver screen. The films only actual action sequences are limited to a couple of first rate ass kicking sequences given to Jason Statham and the 'big smackdown' at the film's climax that pits Stallone against Van Damme. Other than that "Expendables 2" is just that; expendable.

The guys here deserve a better swan song than this. To those who might say Sly's hands were tied by the advancing age of his cast I'd direct them to check out Robert Rodriguez's breathtaking "Sin City". While its true that Rodriguez had Frank Miller's incredible series of graphic novels to draw from the fact is that Miller is not the only talented writer working today and if Stallone cared enough, and wasn't so driven by the needs of his own ego, he could have found someone with the requisite skill and patience to craft an interesting, engaging tale that utilized the advancing age of the stars here as fodder for something other than lame self-effacement.

"The Avengers" gag reel

With all the downer news lately "The Avengers" gag reel arrives right on time to lighten things up. Intended for inclusion in the upcoming (September) mega-DVD release it's four minutes of first-class frivolity with my favorite sequence being Tom Hiddleston channeling Alan Rickman. Check it out below.

Aug 21, 2012

The top 10 movies for the weekend of August 17 - August 19, 2012

1) The Expendables 2 $28.5 Million
2) The Bourne Legacy $17 Million
3) ParaNorman $14 Million
4) The Campaign $13.1 Million
5) Sparkle $11.6 Million
6) The Dark Knight Rises $11 Million
7) The Odd Life of Timothy Green $10.8 Million
8) Hope Springs $9.1 Million
9) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days $3.8 Million
10) Total Recall $3.4 Million
The number one movie a year ago this week was Buena Vista's "The Help" which rose to the top spot in its second week of release with a $20 million take.

Aug 20, 2012

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

Juan Carlos Medina's "Painless" tells the tale of a neurosurgeon who survives a horrible car accident only to discover he has cancer. His attempt to get his parents to save his life by donating an organ to him has the unintended effect of stirring up darkness from the past. Note the trailer (courtesy of the good people at Twitchfilm) is in Spanish with English subtitles.

The film will open in Spain October 1 but there's no word on a US release as of this writing.

Director Tony Scott is dead at 68

The director of last year's "Unstoppable" as well as mega hits like "Top Gun" and "Beverly Hills Cop II" apparently committed suicide by jumping from LA's Vincent Thomas Bridge. It's unknown at this time what would have driven him to such and act and the Scott family has understandably asked for privacy at this difficult time.

Tony Scott was the brother of Ridley Scott and together the two ran Scott Free Productions that produced high budget films (including "Prometheus"), innumerable tv commercials and tv series such as NUMB3RS. Scott leaves a wife and two sons.

Aug 19, 2012

"Total Recall" - 2012 - movie review

"Total Recall" is a first rate action flick whose only real flaw is that it has too much action. It's hard to keep track of what's going on with who when so many bullets are flying and so many people are leaping from building to building, floor to floor, elevator to elevator and so forth. Still, that's a minor complaint and one that can be overcome by just concentrating a bit more than you might want to at an action flick. A lot of ink has been spilled comparing it to its 1990 predecessor but I'm not going to go there.

The new film is an impressive dystopian vision of a world where the haves are working feverishly to eliminate what remains of the have-nots. Those 'haves' live in what is called the United Federation of Britain and the 'have-nots' are relegated to "The Colony" which is what Australia has become. The rest of the earth is largely uninhabitable with the two human outposts connected solely by a hole through the earth's center, a kind of Chunnel on steroids. The workers load up down under and 17 minutes later they arrive in London ready to be exploited.

Douglas Quaid is one of those exploited workers. He spends his days laboring to create the very machines that would oppress him. But he feels woefully out of place and yearns for something more. He's also haunted by a recurring dream where he and a beautiful lady (Jessica Biel, beautiful indeed) are attempting to escape from someone or something. The dream always ends the same, with the lady getting away, him being captured and then waking up in his shithole apartment.

Finding no peace or place either in his life or his dreams he decides to pay a visit to Rekall, a company that implants manufactured memories into your brain to give folks something else to think about while they waste their life workin' for the man. He opts for the "Secret Agent" program but as soon as the process begins things go terribly wrong. The Rekall process runs headlong into a previous memory implant and a squad of storm troopers arrive on site to take Quaid away. He escapes into the arms of his loving wife (Kate Beckinsale) though she turns out to be anything but and the search is on for his true self. Who does he believe? Those who tell him he's suffering delusions or those who tell him he's a rebel leader?

The look of the film is impressive. It's perhaps the first film that can truly be called a direct descendant of "Blade Runner" in that regard. Set design, lighting and CG work together seamlessly to imbue this world-gone-wrong future with a real-world feel. Colin Ferrell does a good job playing a man walking a tightrope between a past he doesn't remember and a present he doesn't want. Jessica Biel as his rebel comrade and paramour and Kate Beckinsale as his would-be wife turned personal tormentor spend much of the film at each other's throats. Neither is actually stretched by their roles but this is an action movie after all and the ladies have plenty of opportunity to display their action chops.

The film's climax drags on too long and has overtones of "Attack of the Clones" to boot yet the ending is smart enough not to shy away from the nagging question raised by the narrative without feeling like some cheap setup for a sequel. While it's not a film whose themes resonate like those of "Blade Runner" it's not too far from being that. A little more attention to the script and a little less to the bang-bangs would have gone a long way toward elevating this film to the level of 'important' sci-fi.

Alas, though it can't be called important it is a tightly wound, quality action flick that deserves a place of its own in the sci-fi/dystopian pantheon and represents another significant, if belated, feather in the cap of the late Philip K. Dick.

Aug 17, 2012

"Savages" - 2012 - movie review

Though not without it's flaws "Savages" is Oliver Stone's best film in years. It tells the tale of a SoCal bromance between Taylor Kitsch's character Chon and Aaron Johnson's character Ben, two guys from different sides of the attitudinal divide. Chon is an Afghanistan vet who sees the world as something that changes people whereas Ben is a yoga and sprouts guy who sees the world as something we change through our actions. Who's right? Well, of course they both are. But the difference in world outlook isn't as important to the story Stone is telling as it is a useful narrative device for the director to weave his tale around.

Chon returns from war with an idea: the Afghans produce the world's most potent weed so why not smuggle home some seeds and grow and sell that super-pot here in America, a country drowning in garbage weed from down south? Ben helps him set up his cottage industry and in a few years the friends are sharing the considerable spoils of their entrapanurial victory. Those spoils include one O (played by Blake Lively who also acts as narrator of the story). A consumer with few if any redeeming qualities she is both the character that drives the narrative and the movies weakest link. Who would go out of their way, risking life and limb, for O as she's portrayed here? It's a question that kept asking itself as the story went on and sadly one that remained when the film drew to a close. Stone wants us to believe that she's some kind of uber-pure spirit whose presence the boys need to keep them anchored to the world, when in fact she's clearly just a consumer gal who'd be out the door the minute the money dried up. If you can put aside the implausibility of these guys giving up everything they have and believe in in order to save her, though, you'll find the rest of the film works well as a pulpy, hard-nosed tale of David vs Goliath.

But let's backtrack a minute. I mentioned that the guys have created a mini-dynasty by bringing world class weed to the domestic market. While that fact makes them plenty of dough it also attracts the attention of a drug cartel from south of the border (led by Selma Hyak's Elena) who are being pressured from within Mexico and are looking for greener pastures up north. They make Chon and Ben a buyout offer they can't refuse but after the boys hesitate Elena has O kidnapped and held as insurance against their co-operation. The boys world begins to unravel as do they and their moral codes. The stakes continue to rise as they play an all-or-nothing game of cat and mouse with Elena and her crew in an attempt to have their cake and eat it too. Their plan is to raise enough cash to buy O's freedom outright and then jump ship with whatever they have left.

The film zips right along with Lively's screen time being mercifully limited. Kitsch and Johnson play well off each other with John Travolta as a corrupt DEA agent and Benicio del Toro as Elena's number one guy (who is playing a high stakes game of his own trying to ensure he comes out the other end of the drug wars on the winning side) giving first rate supporting performances. Though Stone occasionally delves into visual gimmicks as a way to keep things 'edgy' for the most part he displays a steady hand throughout and the film doesn't need tricks to hold our attention. Things careen toward the big climax... and then the end happens.

What's to be made of the ending Stone has chosen for what was an otherwise outstanding effort? It brought to mind the tacked on ending of the original theatrical release of "Blade Runner" where the studio dug up a bunch of leftover footage from "The Shining" and forced Ridley Scott to create an ending that was contrary to nearly every other aspect of the film. The difference between that debacle (later fixed) and the ending of "Savages" is that the ending on display in "Savages" wasn't forced on the film maker; it was Stone's decision. I have to ask myself if he showed this ending to anyone whose opinion he trusts before locking the edit because it's so contrary to the tenor of the rest of the film as to be almost absurb.

And that's too bad, because for most of it's run time "Savages" was a movie that had me in it's hold. I can only hope that at some point in the future a recut is made available that dumps Stone's ending squarely onto the cutting room floor where it belongs. The rest of the film deserves nothing less.

Release date set for "Avengers 2"

The box office phenom that is "The Avengers" hasn't even finished its box office run yet but Marvel has announced that the sequel will hit US theaters on May 1, 2015. The release of "Avengers 2" will mark the climax of "phase 2" of Marvel's plan for global box office domination and will follow "Iron Man 3", "Thor: The Dark World", "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Guardians of the Galaxy" which will reportedly introduce us to Thanos, the Avengers 2 villain. Mark it down.

"Avengers 2" in theaters May 1, 2015

Aug 16, 2012

Schwarzenegger's back in "The Last Stand" trailer

His glorified cameo in "The Expendables 2" notwithstanding, "The Last Stand" marks Ahnuld's real return to Hollywood in a leading role, where he has to carry the show. From the looks of things the years holed up in Sacramento banging the cleaning lady haven't done Arnie any good but I'll withhold judgement until I see the actual film.

"The Last Stand" is due in theaters January 18th, 2013.

Aug 15, 2012

Kristen Stewart out of "Snow White" sequel

In an interesting bit of news Universal has announced that Kristen Stewart will not be returning for the Snow White sequel. While, given recent events, its not surprising that Ms Stewart would not be asked back it is a little surprising that Snow White isn't being asked back either. The playbook now apparently calls for the franchise to shift it's focus to Chris Hemsworth's Huntsman and move off in a different direction. As a result of this shift screenwriter David Koepp has left the project to be replaced by an as-yet-unnamed new writer. Whether this all works out swimmingly or explodes in Universal's face is something only time will tell.

Chris Hemsworth in Universal's "Snow White and the Huntsman"

"Seven Psychopaths" - first trailer

Sure I would have preferred if Mickey Rourke hadn't bugged out on this project but this first trailer from "Seven Psychopaths" looks like a stone cold gas anyway. Martin McDonagh ("In Bruges") directs while Woody Harrelson, Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken star in this tale of dognappers who inadvertently snatch the wrong pooch and find a very upset, dog-loving gangster on their heels.

"Seven Psychopaths" opens October 12th.

Aug 14, 2012

"End of Watch" - trailer

"End of Watch" tells the tale of 2 young(ish) LA cops who decide to take on the baddest of South Central's drug baddies all by their lonesome. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as said police officers and is written and directed by David Ayers. Not sure why they're calling this a "red band" trailer but they are, so take that into consideration before playing.

"End of Watch" hits theaters September 21st.

The top 10 movies for the weekend of August 10 - August 12, 2012

1) The Bourne Legacy $38.1 Million
2) The Campaign $26.5 Million
3) The Dark Knight Rises $18.9 Million
4) Hope Springs $14.6 Million
5) Total Recall $8.01 Million
6) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days $8 Million
7) Ice Age: Continental Drift $6.3 Million
8) Ted $3.2 Million
9) Step Up Revolution $2.9 Million
10) The Watch $2.2 Million
The number one movie a year ago this week was Fox's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" which held on to the top spot for a second week with $27.8 million.

Aug 12, 2012

The best superhero movies of the 21st century (so far)

My personal choices for the best superhero movies of the admittedly young 21st century.

1) Thor
A great film is a great film regardless of genre and Thor is all the proof needed to back up that statement. Director Kenneth Branagh hits all the right notes, the first rate cast never misses a beat and the art direction is nearly flawless. All of that, however, would have been just so much window dressing without Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz and Don Payne's inspired script which effortlessly intertwines the needs and foibles of gods and humans to create a redemptive tale for the ages. Special shoutout goes to Anthony Hopkins who should have won a supporting actor nomination for the combination of fire and nuance he employed in bringing the all-father, Odin, to life.

2) The Avengers
Big, bold, exciting, brilliantly balanced and fun as hell The Avengers may turn out to be a one-off. But man, what a one-off!

3) Batman Begins
For my money its a draw between 'Begins' and Tim Burton's 1989 "Batman" as to which is the best Batman movie ever. It's the one film of Nolan's trilogy where his reach doesn't exceed his creative grasp. It's tight, smart and darkly fascinating and (despite Nolan's protestations to the contrary) doesn't forget that Gotham is a fictional place and Batman a comic book superhero.

4) Watchmen
Superheroes are basically sadistic/masochistic boozers and losers who help people because it kicks their libido into gear. Either that or they're egomaniac geniuses who sacrifice millions of lives to impose their vision of "right" on the world, or flee the scene of the accidents they helped create when the going gets tough. Real-world angst played out in an alternative reality USA beautifully re-created from the graphic novel.

5) The Dark Knight Rises
In spite of my reservations concerning some of Nolan's ongoing creative choices and the fact that I believe he could have cut a good 20 minutes out of the film's middle and had a much better film, TDKR still has enough going for it to warrant inclusion on this list. Strong performances all around, a basically smart story that brings 'Begins' back into the fold and an ending that raises plenty of questions but also ties up the trilogy in an unexpected yet satisfying way.

Aug 11, 2012

Special effects pioneer Carlos Rambaldi passes away

Mr Rambaldi, a 3-time Oscar winner best known for his work on "ET" and "Alien", died near his home in Lemezia Terme, Italy after apparently suffering through a long illness. He was 86.

Special effects in the 70's and 80's were largely defined by Rambaldi's work. Besides the two films mentioned above he also worked on "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", "Conan the Destroyer" and the 1977 version of "King Kong" for which he won a special Academy Award for his work (at that time the special effects Oscar had not yet been created).

Carlos Rambaldi's version of H.R. Giger's facehugger gets up close and personal in 1979's "Alien"

Aug 10, 2012

"Antiviral" - trailer

While I'm not usually one to promote nepotism Brandon Cronenberg has seemingly come up with a film here that would do his daddy proud. An uber-caustic take on celebrity obsession the characters in "Antiviral" will stop at nothing to be more like their media betters. In this case that means going so far as to be injected with celebrity viruses in order to more fully share their life experience.

Aug 8, 2012

Frank Marshall confirms "Jurassic Park 4" on the way

The good folks over at Collider have an exclusive interview with mega-producer Frank Marshall. He talks about a wide range of subjects during the interview including the the 3D retrofitting of the original "Jurassic Park", his feeling that 'Indy 5' is probably not going to happen and the long rumored "Jurassic Park 4, which he confirms is winding its way through pre-production.

Here's a part of that interview where he's discussing JP4.

Mr. Spielberg has talked about another Jurassic Park. It is a huge franchise for Universal that has dormant for a while [sic], how close do you think that one is? Obviously, the 3d re-release is to engage young movie goers, get people excited again. So how is the sequel coming along?
MARSHALL: I would say it will be on the screen within two years.
So you guys have a story that’s really coming along?
Will you be shooting in 3D?
MARSHALL: That I don’t know. We haven’t gotten to that stage yet where we talk about production. There’s definitely a story in the works.
Is it an actual sequel, or is it a reboot?
MARSHALL: Yes, it’s a sequel.
Do you have a filmmaker on this? Or have you announced it yet?
So it’s just story. This is a big one. I can’t believe it’s taken this long to make another one, especially with the technology these days.
MARSHALL: That’s what’s going to be great about it. The technology has taken a leap and we can really do some great things.

In response to the first question here Marshall seems to state that the sequel will be on the screen within two years though he then states that they don't even have a director lined up yet and haven't begun to think about actual production. Because of that I'm inclined to think he misunderstood the question and that when he said "within 2 years" he was referring to Jurassic Park 3D.

Though I suppose anything is possible it seems incredibly unlikely to me that you could finish the script, line up the talent, schedule the shoot and do all the shooting and do all the post-production on a major tentpole film in well under 2 years. (Remember, he says "it will be on the screen within 2 years".)

Read the entire interview here.

You can't keep a good dinosaur down. Frank Marshall confirms JP4 is a go.

Aug 7, 2012

The top 10 movies for the weekend of August 3 - August 5, 2012

1) The Dark Knight Rises $35.7 Million
2) Total Recall $25.5 Million
3) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days $14.6 Million
4) Ice Age: Continental Drift $8.6 Million
5) The Watch $6.5 Million
6) Step Up Revolution $5.9 Million
7) Ted $5.6 Million
8) The Amazing SpiderMan $4.4 Million
9) Brave $2.9 Million
10) Magic Mike $1.4 Million
The number one movie a year ago this week was Fox's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" which debuted in the top spot with $54.8 million.

"Zero Dark Thirty" - teaser trailer

Kathryn Bigelow's film chronicling the tracking down and killing of Osama bin Laden has been a hot button project from the get go and chances are the actual film will probably do nothing to temper conversation about what actually happened that night in May 2011 in Abbottabad Pakistan. The first teaser trailer is here though and it's a highly stylized piece of work with much of the copy blacked out ala a classified document.

Regarding any possible political aspect to the film writer Mark Boal emphasizes the movie is primarily about the people who actually hunted bin Laden down and the Navy SEAL team that brought the hard rain. Says Boal: "There’s no political agenda in the film. Full stop. Period... A lot of people are going to be surprised when they see the film. For example, the president is not depicted in the movie. He’s just not in the movie.” Some people will undoubtedly appreciate that, others will not.

"Zero Dark Thirty" is due in theaters December 19th and will be up against some stiff competition from Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" which opens just 5 days earlier.

Aug 6, 2012

"Cockneys vs Zombies" - trailer

While Chris may down on the whole zombie thing I still think there's some gold to mine in them thar hills. Sure "Cockneys vs Zombies" might as well be called "Shaun of the Dead II" but personally I can't get enough of those adorably accented Londoners slicing, dicing, mincing and generally aerating the crap out of the undead.

They're calling this a 'red-band' trailer but if you've seen any of the thousands of contemporary zombie pics there's nothing here that'll exactly shock you. The 'red-band' designation is due mostly to the language, which is not exactly genteel.

"Cockneys vs Zombies" opens in the UK August 31st. No date has been set as of this writing for a stateside release.

Aug 4, 2012

Stallone gets all blasphemous in new "Expendables 2" poster

The posters for the upcoming "Expendables 2" have been all about former action star Stallone with the space around him in the posters taken up by a bunch of other guys and this one is no exception. The reference here to life-changing events about to unfold is pretty clever but I've begun to wonder what guys like Bruce Willis and especially Jason Statham - who actually has a viable action career currently in progress - think about constantly being portrayed as also-rans living in the shadow of the Italian stallion. Just wondering. Here's the poster.

2nd trailer for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"

It would be a stretch to call this a 'new' trailer since 95% of it has been seen before. Still there is that 5% to justify its existence and the trailer itself serves to remind all who feel that the year's big releases have already come and gone that there's at least one more blockbuster working its way down the pike toward a theater near you.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" opens wide December 14th.

Aug 3, 2012

"Killing Them Softly" - trailer

Boasting an outstanding cast that includes Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Sam Shepard, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins and others "Killing Them Softly" tells the tale of a couple of small time hoods who unwisely hold up a mob sanctioned poker game.

"Killing Them Softly" is due in theaters October 19th.

Aug 2, 2012

New tv spot for "The Expendables 2"

The manly manliness of this manlier than manly manfest is manifest in this latest (and manliest) tv spot which depicts the manly exploits of the manliest man-crew ever assembled. Manly hijinx and mainly manly dialogue abound while manly men do manly things in extremely manly ways. The man-scapades are seasoned with manly humor and man-splosions of manly proportions.

"The Expendables 2" opens August 17th.

Aug 1, 2012

Fox confirms "Prometheus 2" in on while Lindelof is out

For me "Prometheus" was like going on a date with that hot chick you've been lusting after only to find out she doesn't believe in sex before marriage. Doh!

I laid most of the blame for this at the feet of Damon Lindelof who, in my opinion, gave "Prometheus" the "Lost" treatment. That is, he took an idea with a ton of potential and a great cast and, after a promising start, decided to play make believe in the backyard ("Wouldn't it be super cool if Joey had like a mohawk and some tats like my big brother, and, and, and what if Nancy like cuts herself wide open, pulls an alien outa her gut then, like, does wind sprints and rock climbing?! That'd be so cool!"). The whole production was wrapped in the cheeziest tv serial muzak theme to hit the big screen since, well, I can't personally remember another that felt so out of place. Every time the Prometheus theme drifted over the proceedings I felt like I was back on the couch and "Lost" had just returned from commercial.

To be sure, Ridley Scott deserves his share of the blame because after all the buck stops with him and he should have seen that the script was bogged down by nonsensical characters and inexplicable action (the engineer - who after all is supposed to be a member of the species that we're descended from - manages to go all the way from the downed alien ship to the crashed escape pod without the need for oxygen) and that the music sucked. Still, like that incredibly hot chick, Prometheus was redeemed by its visuals and had just enough going for it to keep me thinking long after I left the theater.

Well now THR is reporting that Fox has confirmed that they're moving ahead with a Prometheus sequel and that Damon (backyard writer of the year) Lindelof will likely have no role in the proceedings. Can I get an amen? Of course with Lindelof gone the sequel may reveal that the real culprit behind Prometheus's problems was one Sir Ridley Scott who will, after all, be nearly 80 by the time P2 hits the screen. But it's a risk I'm willing to take because if the franchise is going to go down I'd rather it went down in the hands of it's originator rather than some wet behind the ears writer/producer du jour.

Both Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender are under contract to return for the sequel which will likely hit theaters in 2015.

Noomi Rapace in "Prometheus"

New full-length American and International trailers for "Skyfall"

These new trailers are wall to wall action and include our first look at Javier Bardem as 007's nemesis. Apparently M (Judi Dench) has made a serious error and, after ordering Bond hit, must turn to him for help.

American trailer.

International trailer.

"Skyfall" stars Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, Berenice Marlohe,  Albert Finney, and Ben Whishaw as the new Q. It opens November 9th.