Archive | August, 2010

Ghostbusters 3 Script Rumors

31 Aug

Late last year Columbia Pictures greenlightedGhostbusters 3″ (now most likely “Ghostbusters 3D”). Since then rumors have been flying about who will star in it and who will return to reprise their roles etc. As of now, all four original Ghostbusters are returning as well as Sigourney Weaver to play Dana. Rick Moranis is also reportedly coming out of retirement (and a country music career with a cd entitled “Agoraphobic Cowboy”) to play Lewis, the health-concious nerdy accountant. Thumbs up so far, right?

The script is still in its second draft, but rumors from Cinematical.com say that the plot is going to revolve around Dana’s son, who might be Dr. Peter Venkman‘s (Bill Murray), trying to carry the torch as a new Ghostbuster. To me, this sounds like a particularly bad idea based on the recent attempts to pass the torch in other sputtering and un-necessary franchises (really Wall Street?). I am a huge fan of Bill Murray and the Ghostbusters movies and due to several re-makes and lame sequels, this is another franchise I would like to have left untainted.

What are your thoughts on this re-make? Yay or nay? Will 3D work in their favor?

REVIEW: Piranha 3D (2010)

31 Aug

REVIEW: Piranha 3D (2010): *** out of 4 stars.

Let me just start off by saying that in no way is this artistic or high-quality film-making, but in terms of summer popcorn movies, this is one heck of an entertaining ride.

Piranha starts off spoofing “Jaws” with a great cameo by Richard Dreyfuss fishing on Lake Victoria, home to one of spring break’s greatest hot spots. An underground earthquake creates a crack on the bottom of the lake that leads to an underwater cavern filled with an ancient species of piranhas, who have been festering down there for thousands of years. They immediately rise and swarm the lake that is filled with drunken spring breakers and it is up to sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue), her deputy (Ving Rhames), and a scientist (Adam Scott) to find a way to stop the feeding frenzy.

What makes Piranha an enjoyable movie to watch is that it makes no qualms about being anything but a playful gore-fest (if that is possible). The film goes above and beyond many recent horror movies in that it actually shows the massacre the audience wants to see based on the previews. A lot of aquatic creature movies involve a crowded beach, but the monster usually only gets one or two people before everyone makes it out of the water. Piranha shows (in gruesome detail) hundreds of college students being swarmed and attacked by the piranhas, appendages flying, and the sheer panic that ensues as opposed to glossing it over with a few secluded incidents.

While again, this in no way makes a quality movie and many times the gratuitous gore is disturbing, Piranha somehow manages to make a humorous satire of itself in that regard; which has Eli Roth’s (the producer) handwriting all over it. He knows this genre inside and out and uses his medium effectively (even bringing himself into the movie for a gruesome death).

One of the problems I have with this film is that it didn’t use the 3D to its advantage. There were very few times the piranhas seemed to come off the screen, which would have added that much more to the horror movie effects. The 3D was best when using sweeping shots of the lake to make the landscape visually arresting.

While I would have liked the plot to be tighter and the ending to wrap things up a little more, overall this was the best popcorn flick I have seen in a while. It has not done so well in the box office, but I think with the high critical approval it has, and the overwhelming word-of-mouth support that it is gaining, this film will do very well as a sleeper hit.

Small Re-makes Rant

31 Aug

I just heard a disturbing rumor from Perez Hilton (my girlfriend sends me posts that she thinks I would find interesting or amusing…I swear I don’t subscribe!!!) that Justin Bieber might be on tap to reprise Michael J. Fox’s role as Marty McFly in a “Back to the Future” remake. Wait….what? Why would they need to remake that movie in the first place? It is a Hollywood classic that is totally fine the way it is.

Somehow I just can't see this guy rocking out to Johnny B. Goode.

This is only a rumor, as I stated above, but if it is true, this would be something  far worse than a Justin Bieber biopic….in 3D. At least the biopic would only be his story and his interpretation of his boring story as opposed to destroying an iconic performance by Michael J. Fox. On top of that, who would they get to play Doc Brown? Who could step into Christopher Lloyd’s shoes for that part? The whole idea is ridiculous and I hope that it is just a rumor and there isn’t a spark of truth to it at all.

Great Scott!!! Not the Biebs!

There is, however, another remake in the works which I am sure will be done well, but I don’t think is necessary. “True Grit” is currently in the process of being re-done and returned to the big screen starring Jeff Bridges. While I greatly admire Jeff Bridges as an actor and I’m sure that if he is in it he will try to do it the appropriate amount of artistic justice, but I think making this film is taking away from the iconic, and Oscar winning performance, by John Wayne. I am interested to hear your opinions and comments on this because my take is that re-making “True Grit” is like saying John Wayne just didn’t do  a good enough job as Rooster Cogburn in the original and we want to make it “True Grittier”.

I don’t know, that is my opinion, but let me know your thoughts about the “True Grit” re-make in the comments. I am also interested to hear your thoughts on the Justin Bieber “Back to the Future” rumors (hopefully something that falsifies them).

REVIEW: The Last Exorcism (2010)

31 Aug

REVIEW: The Last Exorcism (2010): *1/2 out of 4 stars.

To me, this film was ruined by my expectations from the previews and the viral advertising campaigns. It is like that with a lot of movies these days, but this one was especially disappointing to me. Add to that the fact that the reviews for this film were pretty good, especially for a horror movie, and I walked away confused.

The Last Exorcism follows the story of Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian), a show-boat minister in Baton Rouge, LA, and his quest to prove that exorcisms are fake after he reads a story about a Catholic priest killing a child during an exorcism. He takes a film crew with him to investigate a potential exorcism situation with the Sweetzer family, who live on a small farm out in the country whose livestock is being mutilated. His plan is to pretend to exorcise Nell (Ashley Bell) and prove that the demon is just a figment of her imagination or damaged psyche. But, his faith is challenged when she is still troubled and continues to act increasingly violent without memory of each occurrence. When Nell becomes mysteriously pregnant and then threatens the lives of Cotton and his film crew directly, Cotton knows that he is faced with true evil and cannot just leave without putting the situation to rest.

The film had a lot of potential, especially since it was filmed in a documentary style like “The Blair Witch Project”, something that hadn’t been done with an exorcism movie yet. But, it failed to really capitalize on its cinematic premise, outside of a great scene in the barn (which was mostly shown in the previews). Maybe I am just gullible, but from the previews I gathered that a good portion of the film would take place in the barn, while in reality that was a very small chunk of the movie.

While the film does a great job building the atmosphere of a secluded, old farmhouse, it spent way too much time building the atmosphere than doing anything that was actually creepy. There were a few startling moments, but for the most part the film relied heavily upon atmosphere with little pay off.

Then, there is the ending, which I will not describe in detail for those who still have a desire to see it, which was the most disappointing part of the film. It seemed like the movie really was going somewhere exciting and was building to a thrilling climax. Instead, there is a mysterious ending, which could have worked had it had more to build on from earlier. The ending leaves a lot open to interpretation and I like when there are mysterious endings to films, but this one was left too open and hardly explained anything that was seen, leaving me feeling robbed and unsatisfied.

Bottomline, there is a lot of suspense building to absolutely nothing. Maybe there was something I missed or maybe I need to wait to see a director’s cut that might explain more, but this film to me was a huge disappointment.

John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe?

30 Aug

There was a recent report that stated that there would be a film called “The Raven” coming to the big screen. The film is not based on the poem specifically, but instead it is about Poe solving a series of murders, based on his stories, in Baltimore in the mid-19th century and the report also stated that John Cusack is now the top-runner to play Poe.

I am not sure what I think about this because on the one hand I think Cusack is a decent actor.

Plus, if you add a moustace there is kind of a resemblance.

 For whatever reason, I think that that John Cusack picks movies that are below his talent . I think he is great at playing the brooding, sarcastic outsider and could delve into that to play this role, but I am not sure I can see him playing the writer that wrote,

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”

I don’t think Cusack, even with as decent of an actor as he can be,  has the chops to play someone that possesses the ability to write such dizzying madness like “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “Descent into the Maelstrom” or even “The Raven” itself.

What do you all think? We know Cusack can play an alcoholic, but a troubled-genius alcoholic? If you have someone you would like to play Poe, list him in the comments.

The Return

30 Aug

I have finally returned after being down for the count with some unfortunate surgery and have a lot of material to catch up on, so hopefully, I can regain some of the readers that I have lost over the last couple of weeks.

First off, congratulations to “Mad Men” and “Modern Family” for winning best drama and comedy series at the Emmys. From what I have seen, these two shows deservingly got the awards. Season Three of “Mad Men” used its superb ensemble cast and brilliant writing to progress its intricate story to a great finale. I can’t wait to finally be able to review the fourth season, but from what I have seen so far it will not disappoint.  “Modern Family” is one the best additions to the fall TV lineup, bringing one of the first non-traditional family siticoms to the small screen with one of the best scripts and characters that have been written in a while. So, congrats to both these shows for getting the recognition they deserve.

Next, why won’t the “Mission: Impossible” franchise die already? I’m not saying that I didn’t like the first and third film in the franchise, but its appeal has greatly decreased in the last four years, especially if they keep Tom Cruise as the lead. I have heard that Jeremy Renner, of”Hurt Locker” fame, will be stepping into Tom Cruise’s shoes, but apparently not before Tom Cruise headlines the next film in the franchise. I can only take so much of Tom Cruise creeping around and staring people down, putting on masks of better actors that I would like to see more than him and like a sick joke taking them off at crucial moments.

Rawr!!! I'm a scary secret agent!

What I think this franchise needs is a “Casino Royale” type treatment, more grit and a more anti-hero type lead, which I think Jeremy Renner can do. While this may not appeal to fans of the original series, I think Mission: Impossible 2 took away an semblance of what the original show was like.

Third, I am glad critics saw Piranha 3D for what it was. I have to say that I was a bit cynical as well with this film and that it would just be plain stupid. Well, I was right, it was stupid, but highly entertaining. The film pulled no punches and didn’t try to be anything more than it was. Plus, it had one of the best horror-massacre type scenes that I have seen. I will have a full review up shortly.

What the heck is going on with “Vampires Suck” making the Top  Ten at the box office for the second week in a row? I am not saying that I don’t dislike the Twilight movies, they are cinematic travesties, but I would actually  prefer to see those films make another 10 million than watch another Seltzer and Friedberg movie become justified to the movie studios by making a profit. These guys are the most un-funny people on the planet and would love to see them star in the next “Human Centipede” film so they can have a taste of their own medicine and know what it feels like to have excrement shoved down their throats.

So will this movie.

I hope to write more by the end of the day and it feels good to rant again. Thanks for continuing to read and let me know in the comments if there is anything you want me to blog about.

11 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

11 Aug

My apologies for taking so long to return to the list of my 20 favorite films, but it had been a while since I watched this one and I wanted to watch it again before I wrote about it and then I realized I had lost it in the shuffle between deployments and several moves. Anyways, without further ado, here is why I love “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.

This film, in my opinion, is the original buddy action-comedy and when I watched it again it made me long for the depth of character development that is lacking in so many buddy films today. The way that Robert Redford and Paul Newman play off of each other is perfect and sets up future collaborations in other wonderful films like “The Sting”. Plus, could you have found two classier guys in Hollywood? (Also, watching this made me want some Newman’s Own salad dressing)

While I am not a particular fan of westerns, I do have to say that they have some of the best cinematography. The depth of the camera that they use to show these characters against the landscape is superb. The west is portrayed as vast and expansive; both beautiful and unforgiving. Many times, the terrain and landscape seem to be a character in and of itself, providing comfort and shelter one time, while other times providing obstacles (such as the famous cliff-jumping scene). Also, I love how the movie starts out in the sepia toned coloring and transitions to normal color. While some people don’t like it, I think it is very beautifully done.

There is a lot of comedy in this film, but there is an undercurrent of subtle social commentary about the west and how the culture was changing at the turn of the century. Like in “Gangs of New York”, you have characters who live by a code (even if the code is twisted at times) steeped in tradition, but the changing times leave no room for their tradition and threatens their purpose in life and their existence. They have opportunities to conform, but instead decide to stick to what they know instead of the challenge of the unfamiliar future(seemingly symbolized by the bike being tossed aside in the stream). Eventually, the modern times surround them until there is no escape and they go down fighting the future.  

The only qualm that I have with this film is the soundtrack. I don’t know what they were thinking putting the song “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” in there. I am not a fan of when movies use music that doesn’t fit the timeframe that the film actually takes place in; it rarely works. I think the exception might be in “Inglorious Basterds”, but films like that are more the exception than the rule.

Overall, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is just plain enjoyable and it is clear to understand why this is considered classic cinema, mainly due to the caliber of its stars. I am not sure if I will be blogging for a little while after tomorrow, but I hope to return soon and with lots to blog about. Also, I hope to be able to continue on down my list of 20 favorite films sooner than I did this time. I don’t think the next couple films I will have to watch again to write about.