The ever expanding roster of soldiers of fortune in Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables franchise gets a handsome black and white photo shoot, and a trailer just in case you are not photo gallery’d to death. If there is ever a case of character-posters getting out of hand, I present it below, tucked under the seat. But I will give it this, the black and white, minimalist style here with the lighting equipment visible in the frame does impart the overkill-basics ethos of the series.
This is a follow on by Errol Morris’ to “The Umbrella Man” short film commissioned for the New York Times last year (we featured it here.) In part 2 “November 22, 1963″ Morris continues his conversation with Josiah “Tink” Thompson regarding all things JFK.
The scope and tone of the Zack Snyder directed Superman feels earnest and emotional in all the right ways. This is the best execution of ‘pure epic’ that I’ve ever seen in a modern comic book superhero movie. Here is hoping that Man of Steel lives up to the incredible expectations engendered by this trailer.
Richard Linklater continues the romantic adventures and travails of Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke with Before Midnight. The third entry in the series find them a bonafide couple, with two little girls in Greece. And all the stresses of age, parenting, regrets, etc. challenge the notion of perpetual romance. I love the idea of these ‘delayed’ sequels (see also the middle chapter, After Sunset) which allow us to see the progress of these two characters as they (and we) make our way through life. They’ve also had a nice mix of the practical, the romantic and a sense of humour about things; what more do you need from life? To find out where the couple stands in their parenting years, and for that matter, who is the “mayor of Crazytown” you’ll have to watch the trailer below.
OK, I’ll confess: While I am rather indifferent to the been-there-done-that muddle that was David Twohy’s Pitch Black, the mega-budget rather delightful and thoroughly camp sequel is the guiltiest of pleasures. The Underverse, Colm Feore’s crazy-ridiculous armour, hell, the Flash Gordon level of production design, coupled with fully unrestrained Karl Urban and Thandie Newton shouting at everyone and Dame Judi Dench as a hologram, it’s the film that keeps on giving. Of course this kind of craziness lost money, and Twohy, who was a stalwart of writing middling genre films in the 1990s, kind of disappeared for a decade right after The Chronicles of Riddick torpedoed.
The convict with strange glowing eyes who simply won’t take your shit will be complete with the third film, simply called Riddick. Considering the all at odds titling of these films, they are going to look strange next to each other in the future discount box-set.
Until then, Vin Diesel would like to tease you with his gravelly hoobastank.
I should probably stop posting trailers for the sequel film to the rebooted Star Trek franchise, as the direction that the creators want to take these films is simply out of synch with what I know to be a Star Trek film. Apparently in this new tangent universe, there is no 5 year mission to explore new worlds. Why bother when you can set your tone in the vein of Chris Nolan Batman features – all culture of fear and terror and bureaucratic gridlock. This trailer also commits cardinal sin of using a Requiem for a Dream “Lux Aeterna” score, which at this point is as terrible of a cliche in science fiction trailers as is “Everyone Was Kung Fu Fighting” is for Jackie Chan imports. Oh, they apparently crash the enterprise and I know we never seen that done in a Star Trek feature film before.
I feel like a petty negative-nancy when it comes to the mass-sell of this film, with its endless explosions and its PG-13 lingerie shot. At least with The Wrath of Khan, they had the science and ethics of the Genesis project. Here, it’s all noise and fury, signifying nothing we’ve not seen in the past 5 years of space-shooter films. Congrats Star Trek, you are just like everything else. Thanks J.J., Orci and Kurtzman, you’ve risen my passion (a good thing!) but alas in a negative way towards what appears to be your collective, handsomely mounted and expensive mediocrity.
(Before you folks get all mad at me for pre-judging this enterprise: No, I don’t have to wait to see the film to get pissed off about it. I shall indulge myself like the patron saint of angry nerd, Ignatius J. Reilly, who to the best of my knowledge was not a Trekkie; but then again, neither am I.)
As far as Shittiest Sequels of All-Time Go, one can definitely make an argument for putting Live Free and Die Hard on the shortlist. It’s not just bad… it’s abysmally bad. Still, one can’t blame Bruce Willis. He received $25 million to make it and for that kind of money, I’d not only make a bad movie, but I’d do some really rotten, dirty, unforgivable things (then again, that might be because with my salary, that’d take me 625 years to make such money). Needless to say, Willis is probably received $25 million or more to do A Good Day to Die Hard. So, it’s hard to blame the guy.
That doesn’t mean he’s free from criticism. Because even though some people around the internet are reacting to this trailer far more positively than the last sequel, I was too burnt by the last one. Plus, it just looks pretty shitty. It doesn’t inspire confidence that the director, John Moore, is also known for shitty action movies, like Max Payne, Behind Enemy Lines, and Flight of the Phoenix. Also, the February 14, 2013 release date in the U.S. is a questionable one.
Are you a little more forgiving of this trailer? Or are you with me in thinking it looks pretty shitty?
It’s no secret that Iron Man isn’t the most popular movie franchise around these parts, large in part due to its following of such a safe formula and, as Andrew once complained, some exceptionally boring villains. I won’t argue against it. As for me though, it’s not secret that I’m a Robert Downey Jr. apologist and I’ll watch the dude crack jokes, wink, and womanize for 2 hours any day, regardless of plot.
The trailer for Iron Man 3 has landed today and it does somewhat suggest a darker tone for the otherwise light-hearted and family friendly franchise (being Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Iron Man 2.5 aka The Avengers).
For some, there won’t be any convincing them. For others, there is plenty of promise. For one, Downey Jr. is reuniting with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director (and Lethal Weapon writer) Shane Black. Secondly, the technological terrorist known as Mandarin (played by Ben Kingsley) is a far more interesting villain than the villains from the previous two entries. Third, Guy Pearce – who is doing a great job is showing up just all over the place in bit roles these past few years – is playing a mad scientist who creates the destructive virus. So yeah, plenty to look forward to with this entry, which we can only hope breaks away from the formulaic script of the first two and gives us something that feels fresh.
Iron Man 3 hits North American theaters on May 3, 2013.
I do not expect The Bourne Legacy to be like this, but the advertising really, really, really wants to to know that ‘the new Treadstone guy’ is far superior to the one from the previous three films; in fact he might actually be a superman of sorts, with the CIA scientists (Rachel Weisz) messin’ with his genes. Either way, I am completely sold on this franchise which is sort of a high water mark of American action cinema going so far as to influence how they make the 007 films. Besides, they have gone added a load of new actors (all showcased here in the trailer) while retaining a lot of the previous players. And if memory serves, they are going to integrate some footage from the previous films into this one, (liked they did in The Bourne Ultimatum.) Oh, and Jeremy Renner really, really stomps on a guys head.
The Wicker Man is one of those films that has taken on such a life of its own over the past 38 years. It succeeded against all manner of personality conflict, distribution woes, and production logistics – tales of which are legendary – to pretty much re-mythologize various old pagan rituals and philosophies and has hypnotized and surprised fans of thrillers, art-house horror, and folk-laden musicals. Director Robin Hardy calls The Wicker Man its own genre: The Wicker Man genre. Ironically, the 1973 film is in itself a satire of sorts on the power of belief, but that did not stop its fecundity of myth-making from re-establishing icons (look no further than modern Beltane festivals, Burning Man and other such festivals around the world) in popular culture that went well beyond simple film circles. Christopher Lee, who famously played Lord Summerisle as a mixture of haughty academic superiority and benevolent believer has often claimed The Wicker Man as his favourite film, and this on a resume that spans hundreds of films of all genres, budgets and ambition. Quite simply, the film is one of the greatest movies about the nuts and bolts of religion and the power of belief (a quite separate thing from religion, I assure you) as a tool for manipulation. A thriller, a mystery hidden in plain sight that shocks the audience in its final scene with a power rarely seen in movies, past or present.
Directors: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis (Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Cars) Story: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis, Dan Fogelman Screenplay: Ben Queen Producer: Denise Ream Starring: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Eddie Izzard, John Turturro MPAA Rating: G Running time: 112 min
Though filled with their typical beautiful animation and penchant for including a myriad of little touches and background jokes, Pixar’s 2011 summer entry Cars 2 is easily their least significant piece of work. It’s not as horrible as many people expected (and even seemed to want it to be), but it doesn’t feel like the same effort has gone into the story and characters as even their lesser films. There’s a great deal of creativity here (in the details – particularly when they take their car society to other parts of the world), but not as much artistry. For the most part it’s flash and brash and gets bogged down with chase after chase after chase. The story isn’t propelled by the characters this time around – and everything suffers as a result. There’s some fun to be had, but not really a great deal of humour and not a speck of warmth.
Still chuckling (or curled up in a corner sobbing) over that 2006 re-envisioning of The Wicker Man with a very “punchy” Nicolas Cage? The original director, Robin Hardy, has been working for years to get a sequel (of sorts) called Cowboys For Christ made, and the film being complete, and retitled, The Wicker Tree. He has been working on this for a while, as the film comes up several times in the book “Inside the Wicker Man: How Not to Make A Cult Film” (a good read) and that was written in 2000. Looks like the film is finished and heading to Cannes (according to Business of Cinema,) the release company, High Point, who will be pursuing sales rights to international markets, while British Lion is already handling Canada, US, and UK – the film is not in Competition or Un Certain Regarde. This is not surprising because the film looks to be in the murky territory of loose remake but also sequel involving two American Christian country singers that arrive in remote Scotland to preach the gospel, only to be bulldozed (and sexed up) by the local pagans. Although the original director, producer, and star Christopher Lee all being involved (impressive as the Wicker Man was made nearly 40 years ago!), I can’t say the trailer gives me a lot of hope that this will be as nuanced and off-kilter as the original, frankly it looks a little shrill, but you can bank on the fact that it will clear the low-bar set by Neil LaBute and Mega-Cage. Somebody out there, please pick up the rights and give show it over here.
You can see for yourselves in the trailer which is tucked under the seat.