Archive | July, 2011

**Trailer Time** (Special Edition): “Battleship” and “New Year’s Eve”

28 Jul

This is a special edition of Trailer Time. I don’t mean the good kind of special. It’ s the window licking kind….

Battleship

I’ve mentioned this film before, several months ago, and how terrible I thought the idea was. I know I’m not really supposed to lay judgement to the film itself without seeing it, and when I wrote about it before I was merely criticizing the idea. Now that the trailer is out, subtitled edition, I have a really really hard time imagining any way that this could be good. A movie based on a board game….ok Hollywood you could do worse than that, but basing it on something that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever….this could quite possibly be the worst idea I’ve seen in a while. Check it out:

This hits home for me for a couple of reasons.

1) I am a Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) in the United States Navy. There has not been a decent film portraying that side of the military in a very long time. I keep hoping that we get something that can make us look cool, but it is next to impossible. SWO is not an exciting life and making an accurate and exhilarating film about us is definitely a challenge, but the Aviators who at least have the movies Top Gun to claim, will never let us live this down.

2) We don’t even have Battleships anymore! This film would’ve made sense, and been more exciting if you had just set it in a time when there were Battleships and it was actually cool to be a SWO.

Okay, "cool" and "SWO" should never be used in the same sentence.

You could probably make a film that was much more like a real life version of the game if you set the film back during World War II or something. Then you could’ve brought a historical aspect into it as well and made it somewhat educational.

3) Aliens? …..Really? Aliens? Maybe this movie was written by two kids playing Battleship who had just chugged three Mountain Dews and were like, “You know what would be awesome? Some aliens? Go get a crayon and we can draw up a picture for my Dad, the Hollywood Producer. The geekdom website Topless Robot also had an interesting origin story for this film. You can check it out, here.

New Year’s Eve

Last year’s Valentine’s Day featured a star studded cast and led to many star-lacking reviews (14% on RT). Anyway, so what happens when your film didn’t do as well as expected? Why stuff more stars in the cast to the point where there will be no plot and only cameos of course! That’s what the new film New Year’s Eve seems to be all about. There isn’t much more to talk about except that at this point. I’m sure it will make back some money, since most of the actors in there seem to be fading in Hollywood and probably in need of a quick buck. Anyway, here is the trailer:

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New Posters for “The Avengers” and Why The Hulk is Getting a Makeover

28 Jul

Here are the new posters for Marvel Studios’ The Avengers, courtesy of Marvel.com.

As some of you may know, Mark Ruffalo is replacing Edward Norton (who replaced Eric Bana) as The Hulk in next year’s The Avengers. While the ins and outs of how this came to be are still a little hazy, there is one thing that Producer Kevin Feige was clear on…the actual look of The Hulk will change as well. While some die hard fanboys might protest, after reading an article from the L.A. Times this new approach could be more interesting than the recent Hulks we’ve seen. This is what Feige had to say:

“He’ll be about the same size he was in “The Incredible Hulk” [which was about 9 feet tall] or maybe a little bit smaller. His muscles won’t be quite as cut. We figure he’s been the Hulk now for a few years and [his physique is changing]. He’s not as cut or as ripped as he was in “The Incredible Hulk.” The most important thing is that face. As you can already see in that concept painting, it is — more than any Hulk that’s ever been done in live action — a Hulk that let’s you see the actor in there. You will be able to see Ruffalo in there. That was a big revelation for us. It’s just a concept painting, but in that you can see the [influence of Marvel Comics pioneer and original Hulk artist Jack] Kirby, as people have already pointed out, but also, and equally important in this case, Ruffalo’s eyes and his cheek structure. It is him.”

Later in the interview, he also added this:

It was something we actively avoided before. Hulk was Hulk, he’s not any one actor and Hulk should look like Hulk. It was  like Iron Man’s armor, in a way, it wouldn’t change depending on the actor wearing it. But we’ve taken a different approach because Hulk is Banner and, frankly, we came to question our approach. Why are we not doing it this way?  So we did a few designs that put Ruffalo into it, and we immediately saw how much more you feel for the creature. When you keep that connection going between Banner and the Hulk and you have characters around him trying to reach Banner inside — “Bruce, calm down,” and all of that classic Hulk stuff — it means more if you see the same actor throughout. I think before it was something we thought might look silly. We were nervous about getting it good enough [via visual effects] to work. Frankly, it was the same way we were nervous early on about making Steve Rogers skinny for “Captain America.” Is this going to look disturbing? Is this going to look silly? In the end, we got that one right. We’re going to get this one right.”

I agreed that they definitely did an outstanding job with making the skinny Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, so I’m interested to see what they do with Hulk. Although, for a minute when they said that the Hulk won’t be as “cut” it brought some humorous images about a Fat Hulk to mind.

What are your thoughts about this? Should they just leave well enough alone? What do you think about Ruffalo as The Hulk?

New to Blu Ray DVD the Last Few Weeks (July 12, July 15, July 19, July 26)

26 Jul

Released July 12, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer

Rated: R

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei and Ryan Phillippe

Director: Brad Furman

Synopsis from IMDB: A sleazy defense attorney has a crisis of conscience when he represents a wealthy client who has a foolproof plan to beat the system.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: Typically I’ll dismiss any movie where Matthew McConaughey recieves top billing, but the critical success of this film has peaked my interests enough to warrant it a rental (not to mention the ageless beauty that is Marisa Tomei).

Insidious

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Ty Simpkins

Director: James Wan

Synopsis from IMDB: A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: I’m a sucker for a good horror movie, and I hear despite Insidious’s PG-13 rating, it is so far the years best and scariest.  My growing interest in Patrick Wilson also gives this film a boost, and despite The Lincoln Lawyer being the most acclaimed of this week’s releases, I vote Insidious as this week’s rental recommendation.

July 15, 2011

Rango

Rated: PG

Starring: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher and Timothy Olyphant

Director: Gore Verbinski

Synopsis from IMDB: Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: I have to be in the right mood for an animated film, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about Rango.  That being said, I’ll probably add this to my Netflix queue, though I’m sure it will be there for a while.

Arthur

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren and Jennifer Garner

Director: Jason Winer

Synopsis from IMDB: A drunken playboy stands to lose a wealthy inheritance when he falls for a woman his family doesn’t like.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: I’m just not sure about this film.  While the original was a great comedy, I find this to be an unecessary remake with a few actors I don’t particularly care for.  Still, the marketing did a good job making this film appear to be genuine and well-scripted.  Helen Mirren is also a plus.  I’ll probably give this one a try in the near future.

July 19, 2011:

Limitless

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Anna Friel and Abbie Cornish

Director:  Neil Burger

Synopsis from IMDB: A writer discovers a top-secret drug which bestows him with super human abilities.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: I seem to recall being interested in this movie when it was released in theaters but can’t recall what prevented me from seeing it.  Still, now that it is on home video I’ll definitely give it a look.

Take Me Home Tonight

Rated: R

Starring: Topher Grace, Anna Faris and Dan Fogler

Director: Michael Dowse

Synopsis from IMDB: Follow an aimless college grad who pursues his dream girl at a wild Labor Day weekend party. He, his twin sister and their best friend struggle with their burgeoning adulthood over the course of the night.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: A cast full of names that haven’t fully lived up to their potential, Take Me Home Tonight seems to be yet another disappointment for Topher Grace, Anna Farris, and Dan Fogler.  While the reception seems to echo that sentiment, I’ve seen enough glimpses of goodness from each of these actors to at least give this movie a shot.

July 26, 2011

The Source Code

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga

 Director: Duncan Jones

Synopsis from IMDB: An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: I’ve heard nothing but good things about this film and am disappointed I wasn’t able to catch it during its theatrical run.  Still, my reward is saving a few bucks and enjoying it in the comfort of my own home.  This will be near the top of my Netflix queue.

Trust

Rated: R

Starring: Clive Owen, Catherine Keener and Liana Liberato

 Director: David Schwimmer

Synopsis from IMDB: A teenage girl is targeted by an online sexual predator.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: I remember seeing this trailer when Chris posted it for an opening this week.  I really like the cast for this film and look forward to watching it.  As and aside, I was pretty shocked to write David Schwimmer in as the film’s director.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Brandon Routh, Anita Briem and Sam Huntington

Director: Kevin Munroe

Synopsis from IMDB:

The adventures of supernatural private eye, Dylan Dog, who seeks out the monsters of the Louisiana bayou in his signature red shirt, black jacket, and blue jeans.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take: I passed on Dylan Dog in theaters solely because of its poor critical reception.  I’ve really been rooting for Brandon Routh after his disappointing departure following Superman Returns and look forward to seeing this on DVD/Blu Ray.  Hopefully I enjoy the film more than others clearly have.

TAKE TWO: Captain America: The First Avenger

26 Jul

Captain America: The First Avenger

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving

Director: Joe Johnston

Chris’ Take: The big concern for me going into this film was that it would merely be a stepping stone to The Avengers. Marvel Studios knew that it had a large fanbase that would show up to this film and they probably knew that regardless of its quality they would still make bank off the aforementioned super-project that is going to be released next year. While there was a fair amount of effort to tie in this film to the other Marvel projects, Captain America  was at least decent enough entertainment to leave the viewers salivating for more.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a scrawny and asthmatic young man who is desperate to join the U.S. Army and defend freedom and justice, but his conditions leave him marked as 4F despite several attempts to falsify his records. His determination attracts the attention of a scientist (Stanley Tucci) in an experimental branch of the U.S. Government, who is developing a serum to build super soldiers. Rogers jumps at the chance and is transformed into Captain America. His excitement is short-lived as he is instead used as a mascot for war bonds instead of fighting in the actual war. His powers are soon called upon when the looming threat of an underground group of Nazis, lead by the mysterious Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), harness the power of the gods and pose a greater threat than Hitler himself.

When trying to harness the power of the gods, you might want to up your SPF.

The Captain America  comics were a very blatant attempt at propaganda during war time. Looking back the comics seem hokey, and the outfit is certainly ludicrous by today’s standards. I was expecting them to almost completely update it and try to provide a grittier film. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of cheesiness, it fit well within the context of the film and brought a certain nostalgia for the old comics, while simultaneously updating it for this generation.

Chris Evans is a charismatic guy and is a perfect fit for Rogers. The script really developed his character and made him relatable and sympathetic before he even became Captain America. I think what bothered me about Marvel’s last endeavour, Thor, was that it was hard to relate to someone that was a god and had always been a god. Rogers’ earnestness and appreciation of his powers makes the audience want to root for him, and Evans never made his ambition seem anything less than genuine.

A lot of the other superhero films focus heavily on how much the main character kicks ass, and how the fate of the world rests completely on their shoulders. In the final battleCaptain America was certainly the only one that could defeat Red Skull personally, but  the film as a whole made it clear that he heavily relied on friends and his “team” to get him where he needed to be. I liked that aspect of the film, and in some ways it makes him seem that much more likeable as a character. It made him seem less egocentric than a lot of other superheroes. A lot of other Marvel films have some of those elements, but the characters only rely on friends when they actually need it, or it is almost too late for them to succeed on their own. Captain America plans on needing them, and works in conjunction with them, rather than seeming cocky by running in guns blazing on his own.

No, no....you're the man!

The action in the film was exciting, and while it was over-the-top at times, it felt more subdued than a lot of other recent action films. There was a scene involving a jailbreak that was particularly thrilling. Joe Johnston had shown glimpses of his ability to direct an action film, but he certainly was allowed a bigger budget for this one and you could tell he was just having fun with it.

While the film could’ve been better, and did feel a little rushed at the end, it certainly didn’t let me down. All the other heroes (Iron Man, Hulk, Thor), I’ve seen about as much of their course as I think I care to see outside of The Avengers. Captain America is the one character that I hope gets his own sequel once the major assembly is done. With as much money as that movie is probably going to make, I’m sure Marvel Studios will have some left over “change” to make it if they so desire. If they do, I’ll be there.

OVERALL: B+

Pac’s Take:  I was expecting to see a different film than the one Captain America: The First Avenger turned out to be.  Knowing the film was going to be set during World War II and given the footage I saw from trailers, I was expecting more of a gritty war movie than I was a comic book movie.  While at first I was disappointed by this curve ball and seeing this film play out in a completely different tone than what I anticipated, it quickly grew on me and I started to enjoy the ride.  The hokiness of some of the film certainly fit in with the agenda of the Captain America comics (the early ones at least), as well as the character’s purpose in the beginning of the film.  However, as Hydra emerged as a threat and Captain America’s role became more pivotal to the success of the war, the film did a great job of changing tone (which aided in keeping the pace) and keeping me invested in the story.

There were times where I noticed Chris Evan’s acting and delivery waiver, but I really have to hand it to him, Joe Johnston, and the screenwriters (Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) for fully developing the Steve Rogers character and his relationships.  Chris touched on this, but the humanization of Steve Rogers really made the Captain America character more likeable.  Every sacrifice and effort Steve Rogers made for his friends and his country felt genuine because of this development and really made the film where it could have easily been broken.  The chemistry was most evident between Rogers and Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), and it was a joy to watch these two on-screen together. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, we will now commence stealing this scene.

 The fight scenes in this movie were captivating, and while we ultimately knew the fate of Captain America, his close relationships with the supporting cast created a great amount of suspense whenever they were in danger.  There was one particular death that I really didn’t see coming, ultimately making it one of the best scenes of the movie.  As for the fate of Rogers, though we all know he ends up frozen (this is no spoiler due to The Avengers and the foreshadowing in the first 5 minutes of the film) his self-sacrifice carried an emotional weight with the audience and felt like more than a stepping stone to The Avengers.  With as much time as they invested in the emotional humanization of Steve Rogers, I really hope they spend some time at the beginning of The Avengers focusing on Rogers’s adjustment to the 21st century and coming to grips with the mortality of now aged or deceased friends.  It would be a great waste to unravel all the work that was put into this film and ultimately diminish its quality.

I wonder if she still wants that dance...

 Many have dubbed Captain America: The First Avenger the best superhero movie of 2011, I’m a little reluctant to give it that title considering how much I enjoyed X-Men: First Class.  Still, it is a very good installment, certainly one of the best amongst The Avengers pre-films (it’s between Captain America and Iron Man for that crown).  Marvel did a great job closing out the “prequels” for The Avengers, and I’m really excited to see them all come together next year.

Overall: B+

 

TAKE TWO: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

26 Jul

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes

Director: David Yates

Chris’ Take: Well, it’s been a long 10 years and if it hadn’t been for my brother I probably wouldn’t ever have watched more than the first film. We had a family tradition of seeing a movie on Thanksgiving Day and it was usually a family oriented movie, so in 2001 my parents dragged my brother and I, who were both about college age, to see the very kiddie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. My younger sisters loved it and my brother and I were groaning, knowing that there were more mature films that we could’ve gone to. The next year, my brother being more benevolent than I was, took my sisters to the second film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I scoffed and went and watched one of the worst movies I have ever paid money to see in the theaters, Star Trek: Nemesis. My brother came and told me that the second film was “awesome” and definitely worth seeing. Against my instincts that told me my brother was playing a prank, I went and saw it later and was thoroughly impressed. I was not expecting the level of excitement or wonder that the film brought. I was hooked, and on Saturday, when I finally saw the last film I felt like I really was saying goodbye to people I had gotten to know really well over 10 years. Even if at times I thought they were hokey, cheesy, or just plain dumb, I had watched these characters grow and the final installment of the franchise was nothing short of impressive.

We find  Harry, Hermione and Ron right where we left them at the end of Part I. They are getting ready to stage an attempt to steal a Hocrux out of Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault in Gringott’s. Severus Snape has turned Hogwart’s into what looks like a program for the wizarding Hitler youth, and Voldemort is flaunting the power of his new found elder wand. Harry comes to grips with the fact that he must confront the dark wizard face-to-face in order for the wizarding war to end.

As some of you might remember from my review of the first part, I thought the pacing was rather slow. However, in retrospect it was the perfect set up for the fast-paced action of Part 2. Almost all the exposition and necessary character development occurred in Part I and built a rock solid foundation for two and a half hours of non-stop excitement. The viewer was able to just sit back and become completely engulfed in the wizardry and epic that ended the series.

Unless, of course, the viewer had never seen any of the previous films or read any of the books. In which case, they probably were completely engulfed in sleep...or confusion.

The care for the characters is really what made the action seem that much more intense. That was my gripe with Transformers: Dark of the Moon. I cared about none of the characters Michael Bay presented. It didn’t matter how eye-popping (or eye gouging) the action scenes were. The suspense really gets created through characters that you love being placed in danger. If not, it just becomes a mildly sick hope that they die. 

David Yates’ talents were under question for closing out the series, since many people claimed that the fifth and sixth Harry Potter films were arguably the weakest. I think after he proved that he could direct on an epic scale in this conclusion, he put any and all criticism to rest. Sure, he had a screenplay that was based on a fantastic book and he had an endless list of talented actors lined up at this beck and call, but taking all those elements and reigning them into a cohesive directorial piece that captures the wizarding fantasy world and doesn’t disappoint fans and critics is quite a challenge. He received high accolades from me for being able to pull it off.

The cinematography in the first part was stellar, there really was a tremendous depth to each shot, and this film was very similar in that regard. A fantasy world should not be shot close unless there is a specifically claustrophobic scene and Yates seemed aware of that. In each shot you weren’t just get a close up on the actors participating in the action or a simple line of dialogue, you could clearly see the world around them, and made it almost a character of its own.

It seems redundant for me to keep bringing up the fact that the lead actors in the series are really what made it what the series have the clout that it did. Say that someone who had the acting talents akin to Jake Lloyd, the cute but talent deprived Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, had gotten the role of Harry. The credibility of the series would’ve tanked, no matter how well the story was developed around him. Radcliffe, Watson and Grint were incredibly talented child (now adult) actors. Plus, they were surrounded by some seriously gifted people in supporting roles. While Ralph Fiennes would not have been at the top of my list of actors to play Voldemort back when his character first started playing prominently in the series, I can’t see anyone pulling it off like he did and really making his character three-dimensional.

And I don't just mean in the technical IMAX 3D sense.

The series will always be something that is easily watched again and again. Some might start making the argument that this should be nominated for Best Picture, but I am still not convinced that these films contain the caliber and depth that I think warrant that. These films more deserve to be filed under a “favorite films” list as opposed to “best films” list. They were certainly all quality films, except for the first one, and I could easily make an argument that this was the best in the series.

OVERALL: A

Pac’s Take:  My journey through the Harry Potter  series also came to fruition through reluctance.  My younger brother was really into the books and encouraged me to start watching the movies as he collected them on DVD.  While the films entertained me during some of the more boring nights of my summers home from college, I was never that invested in the series.  Then, when I finally got around to seeing movies three through five I became a fan.  It is no coincidence that this was the same time in the series that one of my favorite actors, Gary Oldman, played a pivotal role as Sirius Black.  Once Oldman’s involvement ended my interest wavered again, but by this time I was too invested in the series not to see it through.

Though Gary Oldman's star power does have it limits

 Like Chris, I was not satisfied with the pacing of part one of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but I do have to agree that it was necessary for the success of this film.  Part two picks up right where part one left off, as if they were one movie seamlessly making a scene change.  However, as a single movie they cannot work because the pace and tone of the second movie severely contrasts the first.  This was the Harry Potter movie I came to see, two and a half hours of action. 

Since Chris compared this film to Transformers: Dark of the Moon, I’ll play devil’s advocate for a moment.  I think David Yates could have learned something from the last hour of Michael Bay’s film.

Product placement?

 SPOILER ALERT:  While I certainly was much more invested in the wizards of the Harry Potter universe much more than I was Sam Witwicky and the Target car of the Autobots, at least during Transformers I felt like they were challenged.  For what was supposed to be an epic battle to end all battles, all the fights were too brief and lacking of suspense.  There’s nothing David Yates (director) and Steve Cloves (screenwriter) can do about J.K. Rowling’s inability to kill major players (though she didn’t seem to have a problem doing this before), but they could have at least made it seem like they were threatened.  While the final battle between Harry and Voldemort is evident of this, the prime example would be the death of Bellatrix Lestrange.  Considering how prominent and menacing she was throughout the final chapters of this series, she met her demise far to easily. (END SPOILER ALERT)

Regardless of this films flaws it still was a major success both financially and as a piece of entertainment/art.  I do find it possible that the Academy will reward the creators’ and players’ work for this series (just as they did with Lord of the Rings), though I don’t think it is necessarily justified.  It’s hard to rank Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two amongst the other films, but I do consider it to be top-tier. 

It may have ranked as the best if they would have not wasted five minutes of my life with the pointless epilogue.

Overall: A-

Opening This Week (29 July 2011)

25 Jul

Captain America knocked off the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 juggernaut to take the top spot in the box office this past weekend. The latest Marvel Superhero brought in $65.8 million beating out the boy wizard by almost twenty million. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 took almost a 75% drop from its opening weekend, finishing with $48.1 million to make its two week total just below $275 million. Friends With Benefits came in third with $18. 5 million. This week might bring another box office contender with a big budget sci-fi blast being the top contender to take on Captain America.

Cowboys & Aliens

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell

Director: Jon Favreau

Synopsis from IMDB: A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys are all that stand in their way.

 Trailer:

Chris’ Take: I think this has a 50/50 chance to be good. Pac would probably give it a 110% chance to be awesome, but I think that there is a lot to overcome within the ludicrous plot to make it interesting. However, Jon Favreau is a great summer blockbuster director, just look at the two Iron Man films. Plus, there is a great starring and supporting cast, who I have difficulty believing would all sign up for a project that had a propensity to tank. So, like I said I think there is a 50/50 chance this would be a worthwhile visit this weekend to the theater, Pac and I will certainly be there.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone

Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

Synopsis from IMDB: A father’s life unravels while he deals with a marital crisis and tries to manage his relationship with his children.

Trailer:

Chris’ Take: This looks like a pleasant summer comedy and it might also contain some thought behind it, which is rare for this time of year. I like every actor/actress that the film stars and the early reviews have been positive, even though there are only 7 total so far (86% on RT). I think it will probably end somewhere around 72%, but we’ll see. If sci-fi/western action isn’t your thing, this is probably the best box office alternative this weekend.

The Smurfs 3D

Rated: PG

Starring: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Katy Perry, Jayma Mays

Director: Raja Gosnell

Synopsis from IMDB: When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world and into ours.

Trailer:

Chris’ Take: Hollywood continues to run low on creativity for family friendly films and is banking heavily on nostalgia. Here we have an inexplicably popular cartoon from the 80’s making a comeback, kind of like Alvin and the Chipmunks. I expect that this film will be on the same level as the Chipmunks films as well, but maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Limited Releases

Attack the Block

Rated: R

Starring: Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh

Director: Joe Cornish

Synopsis from IMDB: A teen gang in South London defend their block from an alien invasion.

Trailer:

Chris’ Take: I’ve been tracking this one for a while. There was a lot of buzz about this film coming across the pond and then it won the Audience Award at the L.A. Film Festival. It does have a very Shaun of the Dead feel to it, which makes sense. I like the fact that they bring a younger group of people to defend their block, kind of like the fantasies kids have when running around the streets playing pretend games. RottenTomatoes currently has it at 91%, which is pretty staggering for an alien invasion gang war dramedy. Anyway, this is only playing in select theaters right now, but will probably be On Demand shortly.

The Guard

Rated: R

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham, David Wilmot

Director: John Michael McDonagh

Synopsis from IMDB: An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is teamed up with an uptight FBI agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.

Trailer:

Chris’ Take: Brendan Gleeson certainly has a knack for dry comedy. Come to think of it, I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a movie that I haven’t liked him in. This film reminds me a lot of the style of In Bruges, which is one of my favorites. It’s at 100% on RottenTomatoes as well, which bodes well for its final critical tally.

Good Neighbors

Rated: R

Starring: Scott Speedman, Emily Hampshire, Jay Baruchel

Director: Jacob Tierney

Synopsis from IMDB: Takes place in 1995, the year of the second referendum on the separation of Quebec. In the dead of winter, a serial killer is on the loose in the small Montreal neighborhood of Notre Dame de Grace. The tenants of an old apartment house must figure out who they can trust and who they can’t.

Trailer:

Chris’ Take: Looks like a very claustrophobic, low-budget thriller, but it looks decent. It has an 88% on RT and received a fair amount of praise at film festivals. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will show in many theaters, but it should be available On Demand shortly.

 

Quick Take: Prometheus to be shot in 3D, and everything else Ridley Scott makes. Ever.

22 Jul

The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, Man of Steel, Bond 23, World War Z, Django Unchained.  These are just a few of the films that I’m looking forward to in 2012, what appears to be an uprecedented year for my bank account in terms of movie ticket purchases.  However, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is, without a doubt, my most anticipated film of 2012. 

Yesterday, Comic-Con got its first look clips from Prometheus, and while I’m still waiting for those clips to hit the internet, we did get a little bit of information about the film.  Scott told Comic-Con attendees (in a video conference) that Prometheus was shot entirely in 3D, and that he liked it so much he’ll never shoot another scene again in 2D.  I am no defender of 3D but in Scott I trust, so I’m expecting Prometheus to look incredible.  One concern I do have is the use of light, or lack there of, to create tone.  Evident by the recent rants about the projector lenses, 3D works best with high contrast and bright lighting; not something we should be expecting from a Ridley Scott sci-fi picture.  But if Ridley Scott can get so excited about the 3D of Prometheus to proclaim he’ll never work without it again, I can’t help but get excited.

http://www.slashfilm.com/ridley-scott-work-3d/