Bradley Cooper is Word [Thursday One Sheet]

 

 

Tomorrow’s regular post is already set to go (and it’s a good one), so I thought I’d jump the gun a bit and post a taste of first time directors’ Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal’s film The Words. I’m pretty sure this sort of design has been done before, but I can’t recall one quite as classy or eye-catching. So first time film makers they may be, but from a marketing standpoint, it looks good so far.

Furthering my interest, the movie also boasts a really nice cast. Obviously Bradley Cooper; but also Zoe Saldana, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, Ben Barnes, John Hannah and J.K. Simmons.

I don’t know much about the movie’s plot yet. It has something to do with strong consequences for plagiarism and how our use of words defines us especially when they are not your own. Now to me, this poster gives off a bit of a sci-fi (sort of an The Adjustment Bureau) feel for some reason. No reason to think that will be part of the story, but I like the style/vibe.

 

Review: Legion

Legion One Sheet

Director: Scott Stewart
Screenplay: Peter Schink, Scott Stewart
Producer: David Lancaster,
Starring: Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Doug Jones, Jon Tenney, Charles S. Dutton, Lucas Black, Kate Walsh, Adrianne Palicki, Kevin Durand, Willa Holland
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 100 min.

There were a number of good reasons to be excited for Scott Stewart’s directorial debut, a film of biblical apocalypse titled Legion. The trailers for the film suggested some serious awesomeness and with Paul Bettany on board as the protector (and perhaps savior) of mankind, there was no way to avoid seeing this. Sadly, Stewart creates a dull, mindless film that doesn’t even manage to be entertaining.

Legion Movie StillGod is angry. He’s not even really angry, he’s just pissed off and tired at the dumbassery of humanity and so he decides to wield his mighty power and set the apocalypse upon the human asses. Rather than simply exterminating us with some doom and gloom that will kill us off instantly, he decides to take his time, letting loose evil and in an Agent-body-take-over way right out of The Matrix, much of the world is taken over and controlled by some sort of evil entity. To the rescue comes Michael (yes, as in the Archangel) who has decided that God isn’t right this time around and needs some help seeing the light. Disobeying a direct order, he removes himself from heaven and falls to earth to yield guns and swords against the possessed in an attempt to save humanity’s only salvation: an unborn child getting ready to pop in the middle of bum-fuck-nowhere.

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Legion Trailer Starring Paul Bettany

Legion Movie Promo

The only selling point required to get me excited about seeing Legion was to tell me the movie stars Paul Bettany. I could watch Bettany sit in a chair for an hour, there’s a magnetism to him that always draws my attention and makes even the worse films bearable (I’m looking at you The Da Vinci Code).

An original story by Peter Schink and director Scott Stewart, Priest is a Christian-themed action thriller which stars Bettany as the Archangel Michael who leads a group of strangers in protecting a woman who is pregnant with Christ for the second coming (I can already see the protesters gearing up for action). Aside from Bettany, the film also stars Dennis Quaid, Kevin Durand, Doug Jones and Lucas Black.

The visuals here, and in part the story, remind me a little of Constantine, a movie which doesn’t get a whole lot of love but which I enjoy, and if this is in the save vein (which it certainly appears to be), it’s all the more reason for my excitement. The trailer is also very long and very much on the spoiler side of things. I recommend turning it off at the halfway mark if you’re worried about spoilers.

This is Stewart’s first full length feature though he has an extended list of visual effects work behind him. Granted that doesn’t say much but I am curious to see how this turns out, especially considering that Stewart is also directing Priest which also happens to star Bettany in the lead.

Legion opens on January 22, 2010.

Thanks to QE for the hookup, you can check out the trailer tucked under the seat!.

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Review: Battle for Terra

battle_for_terra

I really hate to pick on the rare breed of independently made 3D CGI flick with clearly smart aims and maybe, just a bit, attempting to stretch the imagination of children. But. This elaborate CGI feature is simply just a mix of squandered potential even moreso than the less ambitious comic riffing of Monsters vs. Aliens. The Battle for Terra could have been at the level of any of Brad Bird‘s films. Alas, this is not the case. It has a beautiful concept and impressive visuals (especially considering that it was probably made with less money than the Red Bull budget of Shrek 3). A feature length extension of the fabulous 2003 short Terra the basic concept spins the alien invasion movie by swapping perspectives. The peaceful alien world is about to be destroyed by a spaceship full of hostile humans. Unfortunately the result is a textbook example of a wealth of ideas and creativity neutered by a lazy screenplay.

On a distant helium world the sentient race consists of floating tad-pole like creatures. Cross ET with Jabba the Hut, swell the eyes out to anime proportions and you get the general idea. They live in harmony with the local fauna, birdlike animals and gargantuan floating whales and paint, sing and dance without too many cares. Theodore Geisel called this place Who-Ville, but here it is called simply Terra.

Mala (voiced by The Wrestler‘s Evan Rachel Wood) is the type of precocious youngster that infuriates her dad (Dennis Quaid) as much as he is proud of her fierce intelligence. The local elders are unhappy with her sharp knack with technology and invention as it upsets the gods, or threatens to expose a dark secret or two. They want her to stop. This drama is quickly interrupted when flying ships drop from the sky and start shooting up the village. The advanced alien invaders are as intent on destroying the place as they are abducting much of the citizenry (all fire-in-the-sky with green tractor beams), including Mala’s father. Trying to figure out just what is going on, Mala manages to bring home an injured alien from a crashed ship. Cue audience gasp – It is a “Human Being” (Luke Wilson for the second to become the everyman voice of reason in a sea of stupidity a la Idiocracy) Over a quick getting-to-know-you pow-wow at Mala’s house, it is quickly learned that Humans wiped out their own solar system in a massive civil war. The few remaining humans that were not wiped out (they being the most vicious of the bunch) have selected Terra for their new home. One problem – humans breathe oxygen and terrans breathe helium. And the humans have brought a terraforming device which spells doomsday – Project Genesis style.

Here lies the main the problem with The Battle for Terra. Despite all of the wondrous visuals, which include the Terra ecosystem and the expressive faces of the inhabitants, there is no connective tissue to the story. It is constructed with entirely out of George Lucas-isms and twice warmed over Battlestar Galactica modern-America allegory. [ed note: I caught this movie and wrote the guts of this review before Pixar’s WallE came out with its Axiom full of Disneyland blob-consumers. A film with similar images and messages that was 10 times more graceful with its plot development or metaphor (even if some rightfully claim WallE was heavyhanded itself)] After the strong first 20 minutes, it is as if everyone got really lazy and just painted grabbed parts of the Ewok section of Return of Jedi, the X-wing battle from Star Wars and George C. Scott‘s wacky general from Dr. Strangelove (flatly vocalized by Brian Cox who should avoid voice-acting from here on out). This may not even be that bad of a thing (heck, I would pay to see a mash-up of space opera an military satire any day of the week) except screenwriter Evan Spiliotopoulos forgot to add elements that bridge one set-piece to the next and characters with even the thinnest of shading. Everyone is a slave to plot machinations. The movie skips along far too quickly, expecting you to fill in the gaps because you’ve seen everything on display here, plotwise, time and time again. Eight to ten year old kids that have not seen many films will likely be confused by how things get from point A to B to C as their parents begin to yawn with familiarity. Is it fair to expect more from the writer of Pooh’s Heffalump Movie and Nutty Professor 2? Both of those were nearly (and appropriately) direct to video, and the fact that The Battle For Terra was rescued from the DTV ghetto and given the 3D spit-polish before dying in a single weekend on 1000 screens is very sad for the state of indie CGI productions (although this somewhat offset by the relative success of Coraline, yet driven very much home with Delgo). Perhaps director Aristomenis Tsirbas should have considered his screenplay before embarking on what is probably an Everest-like effort to get an independent CGI feature off the ground. Perhaps he should have written the screenplay himself, as his original 2003 short has better narrative and dialogue than this 85 minute feature. When attempting something on this epic of a level, including (potentially sophisticated) environmental and political subtext, perhaps a more Ghibli-sized runtime of 120 minutes would have been in order to allow scenes to breathe, develop and hum with the creativity on display everywhere else. This could have been the modern Canadian animated feature debut (Tsirbas is from Montreal) along the lines of Nausicaa: Valley of the Winds, but it ends up more like Veggie Tales. This is a real pity because it is nice to see a film that does not feature talking animals for a change.

Cinecast Episode 114 – The “Major League” Solution

cinecast_promo.jpg Matt Gamble

Episode 114:
A boatload of catch-up movies to talk about. Matt Gamble from WhereTheLongTailEnds.com joins in since he loves Watchmen so much. Some of us did the homework assignment too: top 5 hangin’ out movies.
Thanks for checking out the show!

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Below the fold are the Show Notes…
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