Jan 31, 2013

Henry Cavill talks "Man of Steel"

With the prince of heaviosity Christopher Nolan as producer a lot of fans of the son of Krypton have been wondering if Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel" would take Kal-El down a dark, existentialist path. The trailers, with their subdued tone, slo-mo images of our hero either in distress or brooding and music reminiscent of "Gladiator" have done little to discourage this idea. But now Superman himself, Henry Cavill, has chimed in with his reading of events and he seems more than willing to push perception back toward the center.

In an interview with Empire Magazine (see their Superman cover below) Cavill had this to say:
“It’s not a dark movie by any means. Past representations of the character have been quite light… This is a more realistic view of the character, while still maintaining the very unrealistic, or potentially unrealistic features of an alien with superpowers.”

So if you were worried that Superman was going to start speaking in a growl and spending his time sulking in the shadows you can probably relax a little.

"Man of Steel" flies into theaters June 14th.

Jodie Foster looking cold and corporate in "Elysium" images

Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to his aliens-in-the-slums breakthrough "District 9" is called "Elysium" and has Matt Damon in the lead role. The story takes place in a future world where the haves live on an orbiting super space station and the have nots scour a ruined world for morsels. Jodie Foster plays the director of the haves' orbiting refuge called "Elysium" and here are some just released shots of her from the film looking rather otherworldly.

"Elysium" opens August 9th.

Jan 30, 2013

"Django Unchained" - 2012 - movie review

Is "Django Unchained" a nifty historical revenge fantasy by Quentin Tarantino or simply the result of him once again trying to fit his B-movie sensibilities into an A-movie budget and finding that the shoe doesn't really fit? In truth it's a little of both with pretensions of being a lot more than either. It also thinks it's a spaghetti western though from the first frame the action moves south.

Culled loosely from a real Spaghetti Western by Franco Nero the film opens with the setup: Django (Jamie Foxx) is a slave being marched across the wilderness to auction. Dr King Schultz (a retired dentist turned bounty hunter played by Christoph Waltz) intervenes and excises Django from his fate . Django it seems had some dealings with Shultz's quarry and Shultz wants Django along to make a positive ID. In the best B-movie fashion it quickly becomes apparent that this Django is no ordinary slave and that Dr Shultz is a lot more like Robert Downey's version of Sherlock Holmes than anyone that might have actually existed in 19th century Mississippi. The two superfriends go on a pillaging and bountyin' rampage, earning boatloads o' cash for killin' whitey until finally Schultz becomes so enamored of his butchering buddy that he decides to help him find and free his wife.

This leads the dynamic duo to Leonardo DiCaprio's Calvin Candie, a sister-loving dandy of a plantation owner who wants to be called Monsieur though he can't speak French himself. Candie, it seems, owns Django's wife and doesn't seem to be of a mind to part with any of his "help". Schultz and Django then devise an elaborate ruse whereby they figure they'll be able to leverage Mrs Django away from Candie by adding her purchase to another larger (but fake) transaction almost as an afterthought. It's all going along swimmingly until Samuel L. Jackson's Stephen, Candie's black right hand around the house, picks up on the vibe between Django and his Mrs and alerts Candie.

The movie touches on some sensitive issues (see: Stephen) without resolving anything and plays fast and loose with history ala "Inglorious Basterds". It's all very cool and hip and packed I'm sure with lots of super subtle things to be learned and unlearned. Like the fact that plantation owners weren't the cultured, gentlemen farmers of "Gone With The Wind", but were in fact hideous, sadistic, incestuous, bloodthirsty scoundrels of the highest order. I hate to break it to ya QT but most of us already knew GWTW was a racist fantasy. And the fact that most people are already aware of the mechanisms of racism past and present is a pretty good point of departure for talking about what's wrong with this movie, which is this: Tarantino is dealing with a subject he has little innate business dealing with under the guise of educating us ignoramuses about racism. But most members of his loyal fanbase are already pretty well educated in that area thank you and those ignoramuses in the audience ain't gonna get what he's sayin' anyway. So the film's justification simply doesn't hold water. What seems far more likely as a rationale for this film is that Tarantino simply needed a revenge spectacle big enough to fit his big Hollywood budget and he'd already done his wacky sendup of the Holocaust, complete with new ending to WWII.

Is it well crafted? Sure. Is it full of Tarantino's patented projectile bleeding? Sure. Is it packed with tons of really nifty dialogue delivered with alacrity by a stellar cast? No doubt. But is it "important"? No. Does it tell us anything we didn't already know? No. Is it a decent revenge flick at least? Yes. It is that. But it's easily forgettable and not even close to Tarantino's best. He should go back to making smaller, more personal movies before he loses his seat at that table and leave history to those who don't see laughs in each and every apocalypse. What's next Quentin? A lively spoof of the Cambodian genocide?

Eva Green joins cast of "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For"

The cast just keeps growing and growing with an official press release today announcing "Ava Lord is one of the most deadly and fascinating residents of Sin City.  From the start, we knew that the actor would need to be able to embody the multifaceted characteristics of this femme fatale and we found that in Eva Green.”

Look for Ms Green and co in theaters October 4th.

Jan 29, 2013

Lucasfilm puts episode II and III 3D re-releases on hold

In order an effort to underscore their commitment to reviving the franchise in a way that will make everyone forget about the prequels Disney/Lucasfilm have announced they are putting the 3D re-releases of "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith" on hold for now while they ramp up pre-production on episode 7. The two prequels had been scheduled to see the light of 3D this fall but in a statement to EW the studio says - “Lucasfilm has decided to postpone this fall’s scheduled release of Episodes II and III in 3D... we will now focus 100 percent of our efforts on Star Wars: Episode VII

It could be that accountants for the Mouse simply did a cost/benefit analysis and decided that, with new product in the pipeline, spending a lot of treasure trying to squeeze a few more bucks out of these less-than-beloved titles at this time just wasn't worth it. But whatever the true reason, II and III 3D are officially on-hold as of today.

The top 10 movies for the weekend of January 25 - January 27, 2013

1) Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters $19.6 Million
2) Mama $13 Million
3) Zero Dark Thirty $9.7 Million
4) Silver Linings Playbook $9.4 Million
5) Parker $7 Million
6) Django Unchained $4.9 Million
7) Movie 43 $4.8 Million
8) Gangster Squad $4.27 Million
9) Les Miserables $4.22 Million
10) Broken City $4 Million

The number one movie a year ago this week was Open Road's "The Grey" which debuted in the top spot with $19.6 million at the box office.

(Green indicates new release)

Jan 28, 2013

"Episode VII" might not hit theaters in 2015 after all

Though J.J. Abrams has officially agreed to helm the "Star Wars" rebirth the Hollywood Reporter is stating that he may not be on the same page with Disney over Episode VII's release date, announced as 2015 when the Mouse acquired Lucasfilm. According to THR "sources say Abrams has not committed to that release date, meaning the date could be changed if the development process requires it."

It's not like he has no experience pushing back release dates. Paramount originally wanted his "Star Trek" sequel (currently in post production) to hit theaters last summer but Abrams balked and as a result "Into Darkness" will debut this coming May. Personally I don't care if he pushes things back as long as he gets it right.

Danny Boyle wants to send you into a "Trance"

This new poster from his upcoming art heist film is enough to make some migraine sufferers turn away. Everyone else though can immerse themselves in the 60s-ness of it all. Rosario Dawson (see poster), James McAvoy and Vincent Cassel star.

"Trance" is due for a UK release in March though a US release date hasn't been settled on just yet.

Jan 25, 2013

"The Last Stand" - 2013 - movie review

Ahnuld plays former LA cop Ray Owens who's left the big city behind to become sheriff of a tiny Arizona border town where nothing ever happens. He's surrounded by dopey deputies and locals so set in their ways that not even the threat of impending Iraq-style urban warfare will make them give up their cheddar omlettes and take cover.

Several hundred miles away in Las Vegas, inept FBI agent John Bannister (Forrest Wittaker) is transferring Mexican drug kingpin Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) from one facility to another and (ooops!) loses track of him when the secure van he's riding in is lifted off the road by a huge magnet slung beneath a rouge helicopter that somehow managed to violate Las Vegas airspace undetected. During his escape he (Cortez) manages to kill the FBI's most innocent agent in cold blood thereby verifying his non-humanity. He then hops in a brand new Corvette ZR1 (in many ways the real star of the film) and heads out into the desert night on a path that will inevitably bring him into conflict with Ray and the Immovables. Before he gets there though his advance team is hard at work, killing upstanding citizens (hello Harry Dean Stanton) and building a temporary bridge across the border/gorge that Cortez will use to slip back into Mexico.

Like a lot of action films not everything in "The Last Stand" makes sense. For instance why didn't anyone think to blow out the tires on the runaway Vette? No one hears a helicopter hovering in the air a hundred feet above the ground in the middle of Vegas? Where's the Arizona highway patrol? (Don't tell me they're giving up after one roadblock.) How is it the deputy takes an RPG straight on - one that sends the car he's hiding behind 20 feet into the air - and yet he emerges not only alive, but completely unscathed with a machine gun he didn't have before blazing away ? How can a car doing 200 miles per hour not have to stop for gas every 45 minutes? And why don't they nail him when he does? Why didn't Cortez simply fly the helicopter (that helped him escape federal custody) to freedom in Mexico? That last question is actually addressed. We're told, "The Zero 1 is faster than a helicopter." Cool. Except that piece of information is sandwiched in between numerous shots of a police helicopter nestled comfortably into the airspace above the fleeing ZR1, keeping up just fine thank you. Oops!

But these are all transgressions that can be easily overlooked. This isn't Lawrence of Arabia after all. It's fast cars and big guns. Comic relief exists in the form of one Johnny Knoxville who does his Rob Schneider best to make the big guy look uber macho by comparison. Rodrigo Santoro has a curious supporting role, one where he spends the first half of the movie occupying a jail cell with not much to do and virtually no indication of who he is and the second half being a serious badass. He seems to exist almost completely outside the narrative.

"The Last Stand" is not without its action charms, sports an generally outstanding supporting cast, moves along at a refreshing clip and features the new Corvette ZR1. It's major drawback is it's star who simply isn't up to playing a part which, perhaps surprisingly, calls for some emotional range.

Plain and simple Ahnuld can't act. When the Governator was churning out classic lines like "F--k you ass-hole" his lack of acting chops wasn't an issue. You don't need to be Olivier to play the terminator. However, though he has his share of memorable lines here ("Find da vooond, und apply prezzure!") the fact that his role actually calls for some acting means that more often than not it's cringe-city for the audience when the big guy is front and center.

For example: After half-listening to Wittaker's agent Bannister warn that a dangerous suspect is fleeing toward him across the desert our intrepid hero deduces that a truck he saw at the film's opening, a murdered local (yo Harry Dean) and said dangerous suspect are all somehow connected. He announces his conclusion after hanging up on Wittaker and without hesitating, changing expressions, looking at any particular evidence or giving any physical indication that he'd given the matter a single thought. It's tough to watch, especially when you think of how many real actors there are out there who deserve and would appreciate what should be a relatively easy lead role.

But if you can look past and/or forgive Arnold's incompetence "The Last Stand"is a pretty good high speed collision of good and evil. God knows it's several notches up from the travesty that was the first step in his attempted comeback ("The Expendables 2") and the actual actors in the cast do a decent job of keeping the whole thing afloat. Where Arnold goes from here, though, is anybody's guess and it seems safe to say that if the quality of his return doesn't pick up steam pretty soon it'll be short lived.

J.J. Abrams to direct "Star Wars" episode VII

The face of Star Trek is now the new face of Star Wars too
The Wrap is reporting that robogeek J.J. Abrams has agreed to take the helm of the much ballyhooed "Star Wars Episode VII".

Although shortly after announcing their acquisition of Lucasfilm and their plans to release new episodes of "Star Wars" Abrams seemed to take himself out of the running, nothing in Hollywood is ever really done until its done and the director has apparently succumbed to the lure of the force.

How, or indeed if, this news will affect Abrams' relationship with Paramount remains to be seen. Having one man in charge of both Star Wars and Star Trek seems a bit surreal from where I'm sitting but who knows? Maybe he'll pull it off. Let's hope.

Jan 23, 2013

"Jack the Giant Slayer" tv spot

With the film a little more than a month from release we finally have the first 30 second tv spot. While it doesn't break any new ground it looks pretty cool. Ewan McGregor stars.

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

This film has been making the rounds of European festivals. However it shows no sign of making it stateside for a theatrical run. Still, it's quite a hoot. If I were that young lady at the beginning I'd turn back after laying eyes on that first guy and go get a salad or something.

This trailer is most definitely Not Safe For Work. You have been warned.

Jan 22, 2013

The top 10 movies for the weekend of January 18 - January 20, 2013

1) Mama $28.4 Million
2) Zero Dark Thirty $15.8 Million
3) Silver Linings Playbook $10.7 Million
4) Gangster Squad 8.6 Million
5) Broken City $8.2 Million
6) A Haunted House $8.1 Million
7) Django Unchained $7.7 Million
8) Les Miserables $7.5 Million
9) The Last Stand $6.19 Million
10) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey $6.18 Million

The number one movie a year ago this week was Screen Gem's "Underworld Awakening" which debuted in the top spot with $25.3 million in ticket sales.

 (Green indicates new release)

"Mad Max: Fury Road" - Footage of vehicles from the set

“Mad Max is caught up with a group of people fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by the Imperator Furiosa. This movie is an account of the Road War which follows. It is based on the Word Burgers of the History Men and eyewitness accounts of those who survived.” - George Miller

This footage is from the set of "Fury Road" showing some of the incredible vehicles moving about during a shoot.

Tom Hardy plays Max Rockatansky in George Miller's return to the material that made him a big name in the 80s. Hopefully this new flick (which doesn't yet have a firm release date) will have more the flavor of "Road Warrior" than the corny "Beyond Thunderdome".

Bruce Willis to return for "Sin City 2"

In an interview with MTV director Robert Rodriguez talked "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For". Among his revelations concerning the much anticipated sequel was the fact that shooting "is completely done" on the "intro story" and that filming on the rest of the movie was proceeding somewhat piecemeal as actors became available. His big casting announcement was that Bruce Willis would be reprising his role as "Hartigan", the hard-bitten veteran cop who wound up airing himself out at the end of the original "Sin City".

Rodriguez also shed some light on Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character saying he's "A very cocky gambler that comes in and tries to beat the biggest villain in Sin City at his own game. He beats the wrong guy at a game... bad stuff happens to him." Sounds good. Can't wait.

Jan 21, 2013

He's back! - Unfortunately no one seems to care

What if Hollywood through a comeback party and no one came? Well, what they'd have would no doubt look an awful lot like "The Last Stand", Ahnuld's first leading role since returning from playing Governator of California. Could it be that the limelight has moved on? That all that time he was doing the family cleaning lady his audience was growing older and leaving the multiplex behind? Looks that way as "The Last Stand" barely managed to crack the top 10 this weekend.

Ahunld's big bomb raises an interesting question: with a half dozen more projects in various stages of development which ones will actually see the light of day now and which (if any) will be moved to the back burner and beyond. It'll be interesting to watch. Maybe "The Last Stand" will wind up being just that for the former action star.

Is that title prophetic or did Arnie merely hit a bump in road?

"Oblivion" TV spot

Tom Cruise stars in this post-apocalyptic thriller about a future human who returns to a devastated earth to find human survivors and, apparently, much more. Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko co-star.

"Oblivion" opens April 19th.

Jan 20, 2013

New "Parker" montage promo with Jason Statham

Lots of action footage with Jason Statham talking us through it. "Parker" tells the tale of a thief who gets double-crossed by the rest of his crew yet somehow survives to seek revenge. He tracks them to Palm Beach where he teams up with Jennifer Lopez and exacts his pound of flesh. Nothing groundbreaking here but it looks like it could be fun.

"Parker" opens January 25th.

Jan 18, 2013

Ray Liotta joins "Sin City 2"

Liotta joins an increasingly impressive cast that already includes Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Josh Brolin and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Also reported to be in consideration is Juno Temple who also appeared in "The Dark Knight Rises".

"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" opens domestically October 4th.

New clip from "Maniac" with Elijah Wood

In this clip Frank (Elijah Wood) goes home with a young lady and just can't seem to muster that lovin' feelin'. Maybe it's the music. Now where might I have heard that song before? Hmmm....

This piece of filmed entertainment is absolutely Not Safe For Work. It's also likely that the squeamish will find it enormously disagreeable. You have been warned.

Incredibly "Maniac" has not been able to secure a US distribution deal. It's hard to fathom that no one thought this film could find an audience. Amazing and appalling.

Writers hired to take on "Terminator 5"

"The Terminator" is one of my Big-4 science fiction movies along with "Alien", "Blade Runner" and "Aliens" so I'm always interested in hearing related news. That news hasn't always been good as after the ponderous "T2" and the abysmal "Rise of the Machines" the franchise seemed to be going nowhere in a hurry. Things took a turn in the right direction with the imperfect but interesting "Salvation" breathing some much needed life into the franchise and setting it up pretty well for the future. That future, however, turned out to be one where the franchise has languished for several years now. Happily that situation may have finally changed with Skydance Productions announcing that Laeta Kalodgris and Patrick Lussier have been brought on to pen a script. Kalogridis' credits include "Shutter Island" and "Avatar" while Lussier's include Wes Craven's "Dracula".

No word on whether or not Ahnuld will be asked to participate in some form but since his most compelling work in the series since the 1984 original was a CG cameo in "Salvation" it hardly seems like a necessary element at this point.

Does CG Ahnuld have a future in the "Terminator" series?

Jan 17, 2013

First clip from "The Canyons"

Everyone's favorite train wreck gives us a glimpse of one of her average mornings as she searches for her lost phone and then gets into it with some guy she's lied to. I think it's noble of Lindsey to allow documentary cameras in her home to record such intimate moments.

Jan 15, 2013

Off the beaten track trailer of the day - "Jug Face"

With a name like "Jug Face" you know it's got to have plenty of slack-jawed locals doin' unspeakable things in the yella light o' the backwood. In this case those unspeakable things revolve around feeding the local pit plenty of blood and treasure because, after all, "The pit wants what it wants." Amen.

Jan 14, 2013

The top 10 movies for the weekend of January 11 - January 13, 2013

1) Zero Dark Thirty $24.4 Million
2) A Haunted House $18.1 Million
3) Gangster Squad $17 Million
4) Django Unchained $11 Million
5) Les Miserables $9.6 Million
6) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey $9.1 Million
7) Lincoln $6.3 Million
8) Parental Guidance $6 Million
9) Texas Chainsaw 3D $5.2 Million
10) Silver Linings Playbook $5 Million

The number one movie a year ago this week was Universal's "Contraband" which debuted in the top spot with $24.3 million in ticket sales.

(Green indicates new release)

Jan 13, 2013

Bill Clinton stumps for "Lincoln"

I guess if you really want your picture to bring home the hardware during awards season you have to bring out the heavy hitters to promote it. Steven Spielberg certainly did that during the Golden Globes last night when the 42nd President sauntered out to say a few words on behalf of the legendary director's little historical picture. The Hollywood glitterati were clearly star-struck by Clinton's appearance, with only a few people associated with the film aware of what was about to happen. Will Bill make a similar star-turn at the Oscars? Probably not but it was fun to watch here.

Unfortunately for Spielberg the votes had already been cast by the time his special guest appeared and "Argo" wound up bringing home the award for Best Picture.

Jan 12, 2013

Egyptian gods meet AI in Kaleb Lechowski's "R'HA"

Though in reality it's little more than a scene from what could be a feature film (like this), it's a damned well-done scene and is worth having a look at.

Jan 11, 2013

"Jurrasic Park 4" is on and now has a release date

It seems like about 63 million years since we last heard anything about a 4th installment in the groundbreaking dinosaur franchise but now, in a week that's featured an incredible high for Steven Spielberg (12 Oscar nominations for "Lincoln") and a pretty deep low ("Robopocalypse" is being shelved indefinitely) the roller coaster is now back up with this news. Spielberg will produce along with Frank Marshall and Universal has announced an official release date of June 13, 2014. No director is attached yet though Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver ("Rise of the Planet of the Apes") have been hard at work on the script. The film will also be shot in 3D which may actually turn out to be a good thing for a change.

You can't keep a good dinosaur down

Jan 10, 2013

Spielberg puts "Robopocalypse" on the back burner - indefinitely

Hot on the heels of 12 Oscar nominations for his film "Lincoln" the director's spokesman has announced that "Robopocalypse" has effectively been shelved. This comes as quite a surprise as the film had some heavy talent attached in the form of Anne Hathaway and Chris Hemsworth and Spielberg had even convinced the former chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment Tom Rothman to sign on to the production

Spielberg spokesman Marvin Levy is quoted as saying the film was "too important and the script is not ready, and it's too expensive to produce. It's back to the drawing board to see what is possible."

In 2010 the film was announced as Spielberg's next project after "War Horse" but the production never really gained traction. It had already been delayed once so the director could focus on "Lincoln" and now it seems like it's taken a long-term lease on the back burner.

List of Oscar nominations in major categories

Notably absent from the Best Picture category is "Skyfall" (though it did garner 5 nominations in mostly technical categories) and from the Best Actor category is Liam Neeson who I thought gave one of the year's best performances in "The Grey". The big winner in the nominations race was, as expected, "Lincoln" which raked in 12 nominations.

  • Amour
  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Miserables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty
  • Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
  • Denzel Washington, “Flight”
  • Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”
  • John Hawkes, “The Sessions”
  • Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
  • Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
  • Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”
  • Quvenzhane Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
  • Amy Adams, “The Master”
  • Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”
  • Sally Field, “Lincoln”
  • Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”
  • Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Alan Arkin, “Argo”
  • Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
  • Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
  • David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Behn Zeitlin, "Beast of the Southern Wild"
  • Michael Haneke, “Amour”
  • Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Master”
  • Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
  • “Amour”
  • “Django Unchained”
  • “Flight”
  • “Moonrise Kingdom”
  • “Zero Dark Thirty”
  • “Argo”
  • “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
  • “Life of Pi”
  • “Lincoln”
  • “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • “Amour”
  • A Royal Affair
  • “No”
  • Kon-Tiki
  • “War Witch”
  • “Anna Karenina"
  • “Django Unchained”
  • “Life of Pi”
  • “Lincoln”
  • “Skyfall”
  • “Anna Karenina”
  • “Les Miserables”
  • “Lincoln”
  • “Mirror Mirror”
  • Snow White and the Huntsman
  • “5 Broken Cameras”
  • “The Gatekeepers”
  • “How to Survive a Plague”
  • “The Invisible War”
  • “Searching for Sugar Man”
  • “Inocente”
  • “Kings Point”
  • “Mondays at Racine”
  • “Open Heart”
  • “Redemption”
  • “Argo”
  • “Life of Pi
  • “Lincoln”
  • “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • “Zero Dark Thirty”
  • “Hitchcock”
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • “Les Miserables”
  • “Anna Karenina”
  • “Argo”
  • “Life of Pi”
  • “Lincoln”
  • “Skyfall”
  • “Before My Time” from "Chasing Ice"
  • “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from "Ted"
  • “Pi's Lullaby” from "Life of Pi"
  • “Skyfall” from "Skyfall"
  • “Suddenly” from "Les Miserables"
  • “Anna Karenina”
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • “Les Miserables”
  • “Life of Pi”
  • “Lincoln”
  • “Adam and Dog”
  • “Fresh Guacamole”
  • Head Over Heels
  • “Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'”
  • “Paperman”
  • “Asad”
  • “Buzkashi Boys"
  • “Curfew”
  • “Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)”
  • “Henry”
  • “Argo”
  • “Django Unchained”
  • “Life of Pi”
  • “Skyfall”
  • “Zero Dark Thirty”
  • “Argo”
  • “Les Miserables"
  • “Life of Pi”
  • “Lincoln”
  • “Skyfall"
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • “Life of Pi”
  • “Marvel's The Avengers”
  • “Prometheus”
  • “Snow White and the Huntsman”

Jan 9, 2013

"Zero Dark Thirty" - 2012 - movie review

The first 2 hours of Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty" is riveting, occasionally gut-wrenching cinema as the director takes us down the long road that led to Abbotabad. The film states in no uncertain terms that torture was instrumental in providing crucial information that would lead to the man who led to the spoiled little rich kid with a penchant for headlines holed up in Pakistan, right under the nose of the Pakistani military.

The film's main protagonist, Jessica Chastain's "Maya", is a pit bull of a CIA analyst, abrasive from the get go and determined to track down the bearded one and force feed him lead pie. According to the movie her mission is ultimately successful in spite of, not because of, the foot dragging toadies around her, each of whom seems far more interested in preserving their career arc than in finding the enemy. For years Maya follows leads down one rabbit hole after another. Most go nowhere. Others lead to ambushes and betrayals. Presidents come and go. "Directors" too. Each with their own priority list. Maya herself is shuffled from the field to the office, from Gitmo to Afghanistan to Langley and back around again, never catching a glimpse of her quarry.

That sorry state of affairs doesn't change until late in the game when Mark Strong's "George" holds a meeting of all concerned and reminds them in the strongest possible terms that they're not doing their jobs. This renewed focus on the primary objective yields a tiny tidbit of info that Maya is able to turn into a valuable lead which ultimately produces that blocky compound in the foothills of the Hindu Kush where the beard stroker sits day in, day out scheming to get back on the front page.

Yet even after locating what is obviously the home of a high value target the bosses fear to tread and Maya is left to spell out her frustration in lipstick on George's office window in the form of a count of days since the compound was found during which no action has been taken. Inertia holds sway and no one wants to be the one who recommends or orders a raid that might go wrong. Finally after months of inaction the fateful raid is ordered, though Maya must stay behind like everyone else and simply wait and hope she's right and that nothing goes wrong.

The film effectively conveys the sense that the hunt for bin Laden pretty early on morphed from a mission to a job for some of the people involved. This isn't to say that there weren't good people doing their best to shove him off the edge of the earth from the get go but that the lower level operatives and analysts often had their hands tied by politics.


Where the film stumbles for me is in the portrayal of the actual raid that took this guy out. Why on earth does Bigelow seem to think it's important to be 'sensitive' in how she portrays justice being visited upon this mass murdering cur? If bin Laden were Catholic would she be so careful not to offend other Catholics by showing the event of his death in such a blinding jumble of incomprehensible cuts? I doubt it. I have nothing against being deferential to people's religious beliefs but the muddled way bin Laden's killing is handled here smacks of cowardice, not respect. After all, what courtesy does she owe him or any of his deranged, 11th century, mysoginist lackies? You make me wait 2 1/2 hours for the payoff and then essentially say that you can't show it out of respect for Islam? Or is it that you don't know what happened? Given the level of apparent behind the scenes detail in most other aspects of the film I find that hard to believe. I think you know what happened. You're just afraid. And that's too bad. It basically means bin Laden won.

I picked Zero Dark Thirty as one of my 10 best of 2012 and I'll stand by that, mainly because of the skillful picture Bigelow paints of the hunt for bin Laden as a significant career step for many involved. But I think Bigelow has some explaining to do about the way she decided to portray the most important raid in modern American history. And I don't want to hear the words 'out of respect' in her explanation.

Josh Brolin confirmed to join "Sin City 2" cast

The "No Country for Old Men" star will replace Clive Owen in the role of Dwight. Meanwhile it's being reported that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has also signed on for SC2 joining Brolin and returning stars Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson and Jessica Alba. Here are some excerpts from the official press release announcing Brolin's participation:

Today Dimension Films announced another big name that has been added to the SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR cast roster, further ramping up the ensemble – Academy Award® nominee Josh Brolin (GANGSTER SQUAD, MILK).  Brolin will star as “Dwight” in the follow up to FRANK MlLLER’S SIN CITY for co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller.  

In SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR, Dwight is hunted down by the only woman he ever loved, Ava Lord, and then watches his life go straight to hell.  Chronologically, this story takes place prior to “The Big Fat Kill” (featured in the film FRANK MILLER’S SIN CITY) and explains how Dwight came to have a dramatically different face.

“We’re looking forward to Josh’s take on Dwight,” said Rodriguez and Miller.

New trailer for "Pacific Rim"

I wasn't all that stoked about this project when I first heard about it but the more I see the more I want. This latest trailer contains lots of new material and despite the obvious similarities to to you-know-what franchise I gotta say it's lookin' good.

"Pacific Rim" opens July 12th. Can't wait.

Jan 8, 2013

"The Last Stand" red-band trailer

Not sure why this is red-band other than the occasional vulgarity but red-band it is. Ahnuld shows a pulse in this newest trailer for Kim Jee-woon's "The Last Stand". Forest Whitaker, Luis Guzman, Rodrigo Santoro, Johnny Knoxville, Jaimie Alexander and Harry Dean Stanton also appear.

"The Last Stand" opens January 18th.

Jan 7, 2013

The top 10 movies for the weekend of January 4 - January 6, 2013

1) Texas Chainsaw 3D $21.7 Million
2) Django Unchained $20 Million
3) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey $17.5 Million
4) Les Miserables 16 Million
5) Parental Guidance $9.7 Million
6) Jack Reacher $9.1 Million
7) This is 40 $7.3 Million
8) Lincoln $5.4 Million
9) The Guilt Trip $4.4 Million
10) Promised Land $4 Million

The number one movie a year ago this week was Paramount's "The Devil Inside" which grabbed the top spot with $33.7 million in ticket sales.

(Green indicates new release)

Jan 5, 2013

Does this really cover everything that's wrong with "Prometheus"?

I have something of an unhealthy obsession with "Prometheus". It's sorta like the one that got away; only totally different, except for the similarities. I think. Just to prove that I'm not as bad as others, though, I give you "Everything that's wrong with Prometheus in 4 minutes or less". Now this is the product of someone who's got a real problem.

"Hansel and Gretel" get down in red band trailer

Okay, so in addition to possessing weapons that won't be invented until around 2050 or so Hansel and Gretel are also progenitors of post-modern, vulgarity-laced smartassery? Works for me.

Jan 3, 2013

Is this the first image from "Sin City 2"?

Of all the movies due out this year the one I'm probably most stoked for is "Sin City 2" and now Playboy model and cast member Crystal McCahill has posted some photos to her instagram account that bleedingcool has got a hold of. This one looks very much like poster art for the upcoming Robert Rodriguez sequel.

"Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For" is due in theaters October 4th.

New poster for Jason Statham's "Parker"

"To get away clean you have to play dirty". Considering the wording, the placement and Ms. Lopez's pose I'd say that's a tag line pregnant with possibilities.

"Parker" opens January 25th.

Jan 2, 2013

"Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" - trailer

H&G are kickin' ass and takin' no prisoners in this newest trailer. Which is kind of a strange thing to say about characters from a traditional children's tale. At least plenty of foley artists are getting work adding the 'ka-chiq ka-chiq' sounds for all those high-tech medieval firearms.

"Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton opens January 25th.

Jan 1, 2013

Academy Award winning sound editor Mike Hopkins dies in NZ accident

Known primarily for his work with Peter Jackson Hopkins won Academy Awards for "King Kong" and "Lord of the Rings". New Zealand police say that Hopkins died when his inflatable raft capsized after being caught in a flash flood on a river. His wife Nicci hung on in the water for 2 hours before being rescued by locals.

Peter Jackson issued a statement saying: "Mike was a very genuine, caring and warm-hearted guy with a great sense of humor". Mike Hopkins was 53.