Sep 30, 2012

"Dredd 3D" - 2012 - movie review

Dredd 3D is good enough to make one forget all about the earlier iteration starring Sylvester Stallone (if you hadn't already forgotten about it). It sets a grim yet believable tone right off the bat and though it occasionally descends into typical hyperbolic action-symbolism it nonetheless manages to keep the ship upright throughout by staying grounded in the story and characters and thus provides an enjoyable evening at the movies if, like me, dark is your idea of enjoyable. Dredd is the second remake in as many months that is a vast, and I mean vast, improvement on the original - the other of course being "Total Recall" - and let's hope it's a trend that continues since Hollywood seems hell bent on remakes and sequels anyway.

The rot in any system - whether its a computer system or an economic system - always asserts itself in the long run and one of the primary functions of science fiction/futurism is to fast-forward us to the future in order to expose the rot at the heart of our current way of viewing the world. Dredd is all about the rot whether economic, political or social and as such stakes a kinship to other cautionary sci-fi tales like "Blade Runner" and "Brazil". While "Dredd" is not in the same class as those legendary movies, it is at least in the conversation.

MegaCity 1 is what the current Boston to Washington megalopolis has devolved into in the future. 800 million inhabitants in the only habitable land left in a post nuclear catastrophe US. The sense of overbearing urbanity is continually reinforced by wide shots from every conceivable angle, creating the sense of an ant farm more than a city full of human beings.

Like any city MegaCity 1 is rife with drug users and suppliers. For the purposes of our story the supplier is Lena Heady's "Mama" an ex-hooker who rose to the top of MegaCity 1's drug pecking order by castrating her former boss with her teeth and then, somehow, taking over his business. She's thrived by spreading the wealth intelligently at the Hall of Justice, effectively buying herself a no-go zone for the judges.

Karl Urban is Judge Dredd, mega enforcer of the law and the one who has the unfortunate (for both sides who'll become involved) job of responding to a series of murders committed by Mama's men at her up-to-now judge-free mega block.

Olivia Thirlby is Dredd's rookie foil "Anderson"; an enormous step up in the foil department from the original film's Rob Schneider whose primary function was to act so pathetic that his patheticism (I made a new word!) would make Stallone's machismo that much more machismoistic (I did it again!), like a primary color popping on a neutral background. Anderson is no neutral background - she's more a complementary color - and, surprise, Karl Urban's Dredd doesn't suffer from having a strong counterpoint. In fact the entire film is buttressed by the taut and wary way the two leads eye each other throughout. Anderson is never quite sure if Dredd is a psychopath, Dredd never quite sure if Anderson's compassion is born of weakness or strength.

The majority of the film is a cat and mouse game that takes place in the aforementioned "megablock" that has the wonderfully incongruous name "Peach Trees" and which is essentially a building out of "the projects" on a steroid drip. Mama doesn't really want Dredd or Anderson. What she wants is the member of her gang that they've arrested and were attempting to take to the Hall of Justice. He knows everything about her operation and she can't afford to have him crack under interrogation. The danger in confining so much of the film to one location is that it'll start to wear but "Peach Trees" is so large the action never bogs down. Instead it moves from room to corridor to elevator and from level to level and is saved from becoming mundane by strong performances and compelling characterizations.

Karl Urban was maybe the perfect choice to play the eternally masked Dredd. Not being quite on the A-list yet the studio was able to exercise their power by insisting he keep his helmet on throughout. Yet Urban is such a fine actor that even though we never see his eyes we nonetheless get into Dredd's head via Urban's spot on body language, timing and vocalizations. That's no small accomplishment.

While Dredd has overtones of being a totalitarian fantasy, its really a totalitarian critique, and quite a good one though you may have to be on your toes to pick up some of the signs. The action is well modulated and full of kinetic energy without ever stooping to brain jarring jump cuts every nanosecond. If I have a gripe with Dredd its the fact that there is virtually no justification for this to be a 3D film and everyone would have been better off leaving the 3D idea on the whiteboard in the conference room.

Regardless of how this film performs at the box office during it's initial run (and it certainly seems like it's off to a rough start) I have a feeling that appreciation for it will grow over time. At least I hope so.

New video blog from "Skyfall" is all wet

With the UK premiere a mere 23 days away (US premiere November 9th) the "Skyfall" promotional machine is in full gear. The latest piece of the marketing puzzle is this video segment from the aquatic set. The blog post takes us through the process of getting men and machines ready to work and how they synchronize all the parts of, what could easily be, a nightmare production sequence.

Off the beaten track trailer of the day - "Caleuche: The Call of the Sea"

Chile's Jorge Olguin has made a bit of a name for himself on the art house circuit with title's like "Eternal Blood (Sangre Eterna)" and "Descendents (Solos)". This time out however he's been given a substantial budget and it seems he's put it to work in crafting what is certainly a beautiful looking film. It would have been nice if he'd spent just a bit of that budget on subtitles but ...

Here's the blurb from the film's IMDb page.

A young woman who suffers a strange disease must travel to a mysterious island in South America, where the myths and the reality do not have differences.

There's no US release date as of this writing.

Sep 29, 2012

Liam Neeson can't imagine "Taken 3"

In an interview with Empire the action star was asked if he anticipated being on board for another sequel beyond the soon-to-be-released "Taken 2" and he had this response:

"I don't see it, I don't think it's going to happen. I really don't. I can't see a possible scenario where audiences wouldn't go, 'Oh, come on...! She's taken again?'"

Good point. I know plenty of people who are already saying that about "Taken 2 though most of them will let their skepticism slide for just this one more stroll down Asskickin Lane.

Liam Neeson shoots down the idea of "Taken 3"

"Bullet to the Head" - International trailer

Stallone's late career renaissance continues apace with his latest "I'm tougher than a wagonful of your mamas" role in the cheerfully entitled "Bullet to the Head". Apparently somebody done Sly wrong, ya know, wid da family an all dat, and he gotta go shoot some people and hurt a bunch of others. I know, I know. I don't like stories that are unnecessarily complex either but I think in this case it all might come together. Take a look at the trailer and decide for yourself.

"Bullet to the Head" opens Feb 1st, 2013.

Sep 27, 2012

Off the beaten track trailer of the day - "Vanishing Waves"

The trailer for this Lithuanian sci-fi drama is most definitely Not Safe For Work. Also it gets very loud. VERY, annoyingly loud. You have been warned on both fronts.

Now, just what it's all about? Well, below is the official synopsis and if it makes sense to you then you get the rest of the day off.

Have you ever dreamed of being inside the head of another person - a beloved one or your rival ? Have you ever wished to experience the ideal relationship, where two minds come into total fusion? "Vanishing waves" - a sci-fi melodrama. Following solid scientific experiment, based on the neural transfer, a young inhibited man will live an astonishing journey in the comatose woman anonymous mind. This contemporary tale is exploring the nature of desire by exposing links and contradictions between the human body and the mind.

Sep 25, 2012

Spielberg confirmed to direct "Robopocalypse"

DreamWorks Studios officially announced today that Steven Spielberg will direct the studio's adaptation of Daniel H. Wilson's best selling science fiction novel "Robopocalypse". Production will begin early in 2013 with the film slated to open the following spring. In a somewhat surprising move Tom Rothman - who only last week announced his resignation as head of Fox - will come on board the project as producer.

From the official press release:

Tom Rothman will come on board to produce the science fiction epic, “Robopocalypse,” it was announced today by Stacey Snider, Partner and Co-Chairman of DreamWorks Studios. Steven Spielberg is set to also produce and direct the DreamWorks and Twentieth Century Fox co-production.

The film will begin principal photography in early 2013 and will be released on April 25, 2014 day and date worldwide. The Walt Disney Studio’s Touchstone Pictures will distribute the film domestically via its Touchstone Pictures with Twentieth Century Fox handling international distribution.

Exploring the fate of the human race following a robot uprising, “Robopocalypse” has been adapted for the screen by Drew Goddard, based on the novel of the same name by Daniel H. Wilson. DreamWorks acquired the rights to Wilson’s unpublished manuscript in November 2009. Published by Doubleday on June 8, 2011, the book soon appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Said Steven Spielberg, “When someone like Tom is a free agent, you snatch him up fast. He has proven himself to be a necessity of this industry. At Fox he had already been an enthusiastic partner on ‘Robopocalypse,’ and it is to our advantage that he would come produce this film with me. Tom has been a wonderful friend and colleague over the years and DreamWorks is incredibly lucky to have him on board.”

Said Tom Rothman, “If you are in politics, you dream of a call from the White House, in baseball, from the Yankees, in movies, from Steven Spielberg. ‘Robopocalypse’ is the kind of important epic entertainment, a big movie with big ideas, that Steven does better than any filmmaker on earth. I am honored beyond measure that he asked for my help on it and fired up to do whatever I can for him, Stacey, the outstanding DreamWorks team, and all of my friends at Fox. I enjoyed the idea of being unemployed for a week, but this will be way more fun.”

Tom Rothman (right) will join Steven Spielberg (left) in bringing "Robopocalypse" to the screen.

The top 10 movies for the weekend of September 21 - September 23, 2012

In the interest of snazzing things up a bit we've decided new releases will be indicated by green type. And it will be so from now until Ragnarok. - Gigi

 1) End of Watch $13.1 Million
2) House at the End of the Street $12.2 Million
3) Trouble with the Curve $12.1 Million
4) Finding Nemo 3D $9.6 Million
5) Resident Evil: Retribution $6.7 Million
6) Dredd 3D $6.2 Million
7) The Master $4.3 Million
8) The Possession $2.6 Million
9) ParaNorman $2.3 Million
10) Lawless $2.2 Million

The number one movie a year ago this week was Buena Vista's "The Lion King 3D" which retained the top spot for a second consecutive week taking in $21.9 million.

Sep 24, 2012

"Dredd 3D" bombs at the box office

Judgement is here, and it's harsh!
The $50 million remake of the Sylvester Stallone, Rob Schneider fiasco carved out territory all its own in the annals of film bombography taking in a paltry $6.3 million (estimated) over its opening weekend. The slo-mo box office results are a bit of a mystery (to me anyway) as I thought the film (which I admit I haven't seen yet) looked reasonably interesting from the promotional materials released. At least star Karl Urban wasn't walking around with his helmet off!

It remains to be seen if overseas box office will save the day for the Judges but at the very least the domestic results should silence all that sequel talk that's been making the rounds the past week.

Sep 22, 2012

4 clips from the upcoming "Taken 2"

With "Taken 2" opening in just a couple of weeks (October 5th) Fox has released 4 new clips from the movie to stoke interest. The good people at collider have combined all 4 clips into one reel you can watch below. While the plot certainly isn't breaking any new ground it's great to see Liam Nesson breaking some heads as only he can.

Sep 21, 2012

New videoblog from "Skyfall" focuses on the Bond girls

Naomie Harris plays Eve and Berenice Marlohe plays Severine in the upcoming "Skyfall". Marlohe states that Bond girls "don't look like models" and she's right. While there's certainly an element of supermodel in many a Bond girl there's also an almost indescribable "something else" that the ladies of the Bond universe have that sets them apart and makes them a phenomenon unto themselves.

Check out the short videoblog below.

"Skyfall" hits US theaters November 9th.

First trailer for "42"

Jackie Robinson was one of those cultural figures that comes along every couple of centuries like Caravaggio or Napoleon. In the case of Robinson there were professional sports before Jackie Robinson and professional sports after Jackie Robinson and they are not the same thing.

In Brian Helgeland's picture Robinson is played by newcomer Chadwick Boseman and the man who signed him and played him, Branch Rickey, is played by an almost unrecognizable Harrison Ford. Helgeland has gone for the mythic treatment if this trailer is any indication and that seems perfectly appropriate given the stakes and the size of the hurdles Robinson would have to leap on his way to acceptability. Rickey knew something about most bigots that most bigots didn't know about themselves: people love a winner. He reined Robinson in off the field so that nothing would detract from what he was doing on the field.

"42" opens April 12, 2013.

Sep 19, 2012

New international trailer for "Skyfall"

Javier Bardem's baddie "Silva" is all in-your-face in this new trailer for "Skyfall". Plot-wise most of the material released so far hints at Judi Dench's "M" committing some form of treachery against Bond and perhaps his fellow agents and Silva reinforces that reading here.

For some reason after watching this I have an urgent desire to leap onto a disintegrating train just so I can adjust my cufflinks. I'm not sure what that's about.

New trailer for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"

As promised Peter Jackson has delivered the 2nd full-length trailer for the first film in his upcoming "Hobbit" trilogy and it's a doozy. I have to say I've been harboring more than a little trepidation over whether or not all those cutesy-wutsey Dwarves were going to turn this into an Ewok-style disaster but this trailer has gone a long way toward mollifying any apprehension.

From here on out I'll let the trailer speak for itself. Take a look. It's excellent.

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

New red-band trailer for "Sinister" starring Ethan Hawke

Chris can live quiet well without horror movies. I, on the other hand, love 'em. This one looks particularly disturbing, though maybe it's just the total lack of dialogue that's messing with my head. Ethan Hawke stars as true-crime writer who discovers some pretty gnarly home movies in the attic of his new house. The really bad news is that apparently by viewing the movies he's released the demon who authored them. Yikes!

Remember this is a "red-band" trailer depicting lots of grisly events and probably shouldn't be viewed in your cubicle at work.

"Sinister" opens October 12th.

Sep 18, 2012

The Engineer opens up in this deleted Prometheus scene

In this short deleted scene we see the Engineer is not the lumbering, mean-spirited mute we were led to believe. While I'm no expert in alien languages I've listened to the clip several times and I deduced that what he's saying is "Eeeee, you da moron dat eat-um my carrot cake!" I could totally understand why he'd be pissed though there's also a small chance I could be wrong about what he says, so you'd better listen for yourself below.

The top 10 movies for the weekend of September 14 - September 16, 2012

1) Resident Evil: Retribution $21.3 Million
2) Finding Nemo 3D $16.6 Million
3) The Possession $5.7 Million
4) Lawless $4.3 Million
5) The Expendables 2 $3.1 Million
6) ParaNorman $3 Million
7) The Words $2.86 Million
8) The Bourne Legacy $2.85 Million
9) The Odd Life Of Timothy Green $2.5 Million
10) The Campaign $2.4 Million
The number one movie a year ago this week was Buena Vista's "The Lion King 3D" which debuted in the top spot with $30.1 million.

Sep 17, 2012

Peter Jackson promises new "Hobbit" trailer this Wednesday

In this short video clip (courtesy of Jackson makes the trailer announcement and also discusses other things related to "Tolkien" week.

"Stand Up Guys" - trailer

It's good to see some of these aging stars still getting work in quality productions. That is: productions that don't ask them to simply strap a machine gun to their waist and fire in long, uncontrolled bursts. "Stand Up Guys" - starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin - looks interesting if a bit downbeat and the fact that it's directed by the long-lost Fisher Stevens makes it an automatic curiosity to boot.

"Stand Up Guys" is due in theaters January 11, 2013.

Sep 16, 2012

"The Bourne Legacy" - 2012 - movie review

I've delayed posting a review of this film because, frankly, I didn't know whether or not I would be playing directly into the hands some marketing demon by doing so. Ultimately I decided that it would be worth writing about only if I kept the focus squarely on those marketing demons and their little plan to trick unsuspecting movie goers into laying down their hard earned money on this existential calamity.

Sitting through "The Bourne Legacy" was one of the strangest experiences of my movie-going life. It's a sequel, in the sense that it's the 4th film of the Bourne franchise, but it's not because events here are allegedly running parallel to events in the 3rd Bourne film; "The Bourne Ulitmatum". It's a reboot in the sense that it's attempting to reset our experience and expectations of all thing's Bourne, but it fails in that by relying so heavily on the idea of the original central character (as portrayed by the original actor) remaining intact. It's a remake - even more so than it's contemporary "Total Recall" - but it denies it's remakeness, insisting instead that it's simply here to expand the Bourne universe

So it's a spin-off, which is the term historically given to attempts at narrative "expansion" of an established storyline. But the film makers seem reluctant to use that term and I can see why. A spin-off succeeds by taking a secondary character and developing him or her. What the makers of "Legacy" have done is simply shifted the burden of the narrative onto the supporting characters and filled the void in the film's center with a clone of the former central character.

I've seen plenty of sequels, prequels and spin-offs yet I've never had the kind of experience I had here where there were times when I felt what I was watching were simply out-takes from "Ultimatum", or an alternate edit of that film. As if they'd filmed 2 different actors in the lead and then released both cuts 5 years apart. At no time did I feel like I was watching a spin-off or experiencing an expanded universe because Jeremy Renner's character was a carbon copy of Matt Damon's, right down to the marginal gal-pal.

Bear with me here as I set the "way-back" machine in order to try and illustrate my point. What if producer Norman Lear decided to make an "All in the Family" spin-off using the same supporting characters from the original show and orbiting them around a carbon copy of Archie? What would be the point of that? That's not how you do a spin-off or get "expansion". You get expansion by following the adventures of the Meathead after he moves away from Archie. And you'd kill that expansion by saddling the Meathead with a next door neighbor who was indistinguishable from his famous father-in-law, giving that clone-character the majority of screen time and calling the spin-off "Archie's legacy".

If they really wanted to expand the Bourne universe they would have delved into Noah Vosen's rise and fall. Or the life and times of master soldier-programmer Dr. Albert Hirsch who created all these human terminators. Or they could have followed Nicky Parsons as she tries to re-start her life in the aftermath of events in "Ultimatum". Any of those narrative threads would have represented expansion of the universe. Simply sidestepping out of Matt Damon's character into Jeremy Renner's identical yet supposedly completely independent character is not narrative expansion, it's just a marketing trick intended to make us think there's something new here while keeping the door open to future boffo-box-office in the form of Matt Damon's possible return.

But there is nothing new in "The Bourne Legacy". You've seen it all before, heard it all before, experienced it all before with a different actor hitting the marks. It's all professionally done and everything with all the supporting actors doing their best to earn their paychecks. The fight scenes are well choreographed and the film moves along at a brisk pace and all that. It's just that it's not going anywhere. It's like you get on the bus, sit there for 2 hours and then get off without having moved an inch.

The studio could have done everyone involved an enormous favor by simply announcing that Jeremy Renner was taking over as Jason Bourne and got on with it. It's not like that kind of thing has never been done before, and done successfully, as "Skyfall" will no doubt prove for the 23rd time next month.

Sep 15, 2012

"Texas Chainsaw 3D" - trailer

In 1974 a film franchise was born...

From the official synopsis:

Lionsgate's "Texas Chainsaw 3D" continues the legendary story of the homicidal Sawyer family, picking up where Tobe Hooper's 1974 horror classic left off in Newt, Texas, where for decades people went missing without a trace...

Decades later and hundreds of miles away from the original massacre, a young woman named Heather learns that she has inherited... a lavish, isolated Victorian mansion. But her newfound wealth comes at a price as she stumbles upon a horror that awaits her in the mansion's dank cellars.

"Hmmm, let's see.. a homicidal maniac is chasing me through a graveyard with a massive chainsaw... Hmmm... I know! I'll jump into this open grave and hide in the wooden casket! I'll definitely be safe there. Everybody knows chainsaws can't cut through wood!"

TC3D opens January 2013.

Sep 14, 2012

Full trailer for Spielberg's "Lincoln"

It's amazing to think that the powers that be in Hollywood haven't seen fit to produce a single movie on the tumultuous and epoch-changing Presidency of Abraham Lincoln up til now. But they haven't, for whatever reason. Enter Steven Spielberg. Several years in the making his dramatization of the last 4 months of Lincoln's life finally has a full trailer and it looks pretty incredible. Spielberg has said that the film is more a political drama than a war movie and that's certainly evident from the trailer. Daniel Day-Lewis seems to have grown a new layer of world-weariness that he uses to illustrate the tremendous weight that came to bear on the 16th President as he walked a necessary tightrope between Commander-in-Chief and tyrant. The fact that he was able to negotiate the political minefield of Civil War Washington and achieve most of his main objectives relative to the war while at the same time dealing with profound family tragedies is a testament to the fiber of the man. The film does seem like it'll be a bit reverential but, as long as it's basically factual, I can live with that.

"Lincoln" is due in theaters just before Thanksgiving (November 16th).

Sep 13, 2012

"300" sequel gets a new name

Xerxes contemplates a name change
Previously titled "300: Battle of Artemesia" the sequel to Zack Snyder's 2006 hit has been given (what seems to me like) the more nondescript title of "300: Rise of an Empire". Just why the new name is anyone's guess.

The film, starring Eva Green and Rodrigo Santoro is currently in production and set to open August 2nd of next year. It will, like the first film, use a Frank Miller story as its point of departure.

"Killing Them Softly" with Brad Pitt moves to November

Originally slated for release October 19 Andrew Dominik's crime drama about a heist on a mob poker game that doesn't exactly work out is moving to November 30. Speaking to deadline Harvey Weinstein wasn't trying to conceal anything as to why he decided on the move.

“In this industry it is a very rare event to look at a weekend where your movie could open as the only wide release picture,” he said. “November 30th will allow us to bring Killing Them Softly to a wide audience without competition. Additionally, the critical response to the movie has been very favorable especially on the amazing performances and November 30th positions us better in the Awards season calendar.”

So he wants better box office and he also wants to position his star, Brad Pitt, squarely in the sights of Oscar voters.  The film also stars Scoot McNairy, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins and Ray Liotta.

Brad Pitt and Scoot McNairy in a still from The Weinstein Co's "Killing Them Softly"

Sep 12, 2012

Photos from the set of "Thor 2"

Principal photography has barely gotten under way and already we have a slew of photos from the set. Courtesy of the shots show the big guy engaged in battle with what look an awful lot like dark elves of the Svartalfhiem variety. While I'm glad to see things moving on this film I'm still a bit apprehensive about the direction it may take, given that Kenneth Branagh stepped aside early on in pre-production citing creative differences. He did such a masterful job with all aspects of the first film it's still a head-scratcher to me that he wasn't given carte blanche to do as he wished with the sequel. But such is life and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the sequel will live up to its predecessor.

Anyway here's one of the photos from superherohype. Click here for the rest of the gallery.

Sep 11, 2012

Digital Domain files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Founded by James Cameron the special effects house got off to an auspicious start doing effects for the director's "True Lies" and "Titanic" early on. Over the ensuing years it was attached to numerous other big budget films like "The Day After Tomorrow", "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End", "Transformers" and more recently "Avatar" and "Thor". The bankruptcy filing comes as a bit of a shock as it was only 9 months ago that the company moved into a spacious new headquarters in Port St Lucie Florida. Last Friday (Sept 7th) though the company abruptly announced it was shuttering the new facility and laying off 300 workers there.

The announcement today also included news that Digital Domain will be sold to Searchlight Capital Partners for a reported $15 million and move forward " deliver all of our clients’ productions on schedule, on budget and at the highest degree of quality that they expect from Digital Domain."

 according to new CEO Ed Ulbrich

The top 10 movies for the weekend of September 7 - September 9, 2012

1) The Possession $9.3 Million
2) Lawless $6 Million
3) The Expendables 2 $4.9 Million
4) The Words $4.7 Million
5) ParaNorman $4.1 Million
6) The Bourne Legacy $3.9 Million
7) The Odd Life of Timothy Green $3.6 Million
8) The Campaign $3.37 Million
9) 2016 Obama's America $3.30 Million
10) The Dark Knight Rises $3.2 Million
The number one movie a year ago this week was Warner Brother's "Contagion" which debuted in the top spot with $22.4 million.

Teaser trailer for Spielberg's "Lincoln"

Not a lot to chew on here though perhaps a fair indication of the tone of Spielberg's ode to the 16th president. I'm not expecting the iconic director will have Honest Abe chasing the undead but it remains to be seen if the film will be approachable or so dryly historic and reverential as to be interesting solely to history buffs and fans of Americana in general. Thursday promises a full trailer and we'll have that for you when it comes online.

"Lincoln" hits theaters November 9th.

Sep 10, 2012

Cameron still planning "Battle Angel" film?

When James Cameron announced earlier this year that he was strictly in the "Avatar" business from here on out a lot of people, myself included, were incredibly disappointed that The King of the World seemed to be closing the book on his long-rumored manga adaptation "Battle Angel Alita". Well, only a couple of days after making it clear there were only 2 Avatar sequels in the pipeline and not 3 Cameron's producer Jon Landau is talking again and this time he's saying that him and Jim are still hopeful they'll get a Battle Angel film made after they do the Avatar two-step.

Here's what the producer had to say to the Swedish website MovieZine:

"We'll focus on 'Avatar' for the next four or five years," producer Jon Landau told the site when asked about Cameron's continued interest in the property, "Hopefully right after that… I am confident you will see it. It's one of my favorite stories, I think it is an incredible story, a journey of self-discovery of a young woman. It is a movie that begs the question: 'What does it mean to be human? Are you human if you have a heart, are you human if you have a mind, are you human if you have a soul?' And I look forward to bringing that film to audiences."

Five years is a long time to wait but it's better than hearing the film's been scrapped.

Off the beaten track trailer of the day - "Dead Europe"

Set in present day Greece the film tells the tale of a Australian man who returns to the motherland to scatter his father's ashes only to discover that the locals believe his family to be cursed. The film, by "Jewboy" director Tony Krawitz, seems timely and intense though it doesn't yet have a theatrical release date.

Sep 8, 2012

"Star Trek" sequel reportedly gets a name

Trekmovie is reporting they have confirmed with multiple sources that the title for J.J. Abrams "Star Trek" sequel will be "Star Trek Into Darkness". That isn't a typo. There is no colon, according to trekmovie. Colon or not the title is intriguing but since we still don't know anything about the villains involved its difficult to even speculate what the "darkness" is that the crew are heading into. Guess we'll have to wait until May 17th, 2013 to find out.

Sep 7, 2012

New trailer for "Taken 2"

Liam Neeson takes the time to personally introduce this new trailer for the upcoming "Taken 2". In the new film it seems relatives of the scumbags Bryan Mills (Neeson) dispatched with such ferocity in "Taken" have taken (so to speak) exception and decided to hunt him and his family down and exact their pound of flesh. This new trailer is a step up from the previous ones which seemed to emphasize the formulaic elements of the sequel. Here we're brought further into the premise and given good long looks at several scenes which set the stage for what appears to be a heapin' helpin' of genuine badassery to come.

"Taken 2" opens October 5th.

Daniel Craig signs on to extend his run as Bond

He's been a controversial choice from the outset but no matter what you think of him Daniel Craig has reportedly signed on for 2 more Bond films (in addition to the soon-to-be-released "Skyfall") according to the Bond site MI6.

Personally, I'm thrilled by this news as I feel Craig brings a physical authenticity to the role that was lacking in his predecessors (with the possible exception of Sean Connery) and is perfectly suited to the post Jason Bourne world of cinema superspys.

Look for "Skyfall" to hit theaters in the US on November 9th.

Sep 6, 2012

New "Cloud Atlas" trailer

Tighter and more to-the-point than the gargantuan 6 minute trailer released a couple of months back this new trailer focuses on the film's main premise: that no one and no thing exists in a vacuum and therefore everything we do and say will effect someone or something at some future date, often in ways we'd never have anticipated.

Lana and Andy Wachowski's "Cloud Atlas" opens October 26th.

Sep 5, 2012

The top 10 movies for the (extended) weekend of August 31 - September 3, 2012

1) The Possession $21 Million
2) Lawless $12.8 Million
3) The Expendables 2 $11.4 Million
4) The Bourne Legacy $9.3 Million
5) ParaNorman $8.9 Million
6) The Odd Life of Timothy Green $8.5 Million
7) The Dark Knight Rises $7.9 Million
8) 2016 Obama's America $7.5 Million
9) The Campaign $7.2 Million
10) Hope Springs $6.1 Million
The number one movie a year ago this week was Buena Vista's "The Help" which spent a third consecutive week at number 1 with $19.8 million.

Sep 4, 2012

Michael Clark Duncan passes away at 54

Six weeks after suffering a heart attack actor Michael Clarke Duncan - best known for his roles in "The Green Mile" and "Sin City" among others - has passed away.

Duncan started in Hollywood working as a bodyguard for stars including Will Smith and worked his way into the film industry; getting his big break after Bruce Willis recommended him for a part in 1998's "Armageddon". Below is a statement from his rep.

Michael Clarke Duncan passed away this morning in Los Angeles, said his fiancĂ©e, Reverend Omarosa Manigault. The Oscar-nominated actor suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered.  Manigault is grateful for all of your prayers and asks for privacy at this time. Celebrations of his life, both private and public, will be announced at a later date.

Michael Clarke Duncan was 54.

Sep 3, 2012

No "Avatar 4" says Jon Landau

Anticipation was running high among Pandoraphiles a while back when James Cameron said in an interview that he was in the business of making Avatar films... "Period. That's it. I'm making 'Avatar 2,' 'Avatar 3,' maybe 'Avatar 4.'" The rumor mill was further stoked when Sigourney Weaver said she'd be showing up to work on 3 sequels whenever production finally got under way. Well, producer Jon Landau - Cameron's right hand man for a couple of decades now - has officially put the kibosh on all the "Avatar 4" talk. In a conversation with the courier-post he had this to say about the future of Cameron's Avatar business: “We doing two back-to-back, but not a third”.

Not a lot to add to that. Looking forward to #2 regardless, which may or may not hit theaters by its theoretical release date of December 2014.

Sam Worthington in "Avatar"

Sep 1, 2012

Off the beaten track trailer of the day - "Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack"

What would happen if all the fish in the sea suddenly grew legs and decided to amble up onto land? Well, other than suffocating pretty quickly once they left the water the fish would apparently adopt a uniformly nasty attitude and set to assaulting g-string clad Tokyo housewives in very, very rude ways. At least that's the premise from Japanese manga artist Junji Ito.