Movies

The Big Friendly Giant and Seed of Creativity

Steven Spielberg is making a movie of The Big Friendly Giant. (squee)

The BFG was one of my favorite books when I was a kid.  It is hard to explain how much this book means to me. 

I grew fast.  I was almost always the tallest kid in my class.  When I read this book for the first time, I found two characters I could identify with, but so much more than that, I found a world that I wanted to spend more time in.  I pretended I was the giant, and acted out not only scenes from the book, but I invented new ones.

When I was in the third grade, I volunteered to write our class play, and of course, I based it on The BFG.  It was the first thing I ever wrote.  I even starred as the BFG, and I directed the play.  I even set up a foley artist (though I didn't know that word at the time) to do sound effects off stage.

This is one of those books that had such an effect on my life that I can say I would be who I am or doing what I do without it.

Igniting your child's imagination

Books like this one have a special power over our imaginations.  They are important for children, but in many ways, they are even more important for adults.

Somewhere along the way, many of us are taught to stop playing, stop using our imagination.  We are all lessened by this.  Imagination and play are tools to not only help us relax, but also to grapple with abstract concepts and work over problems in different ways.  Play is important.

I plan to see The BFG when it comes out, and I hope it awakens parts of me that went dormant long ago.  What reawakens your sense of childlike wonder and play?  If you can't think of something, what are you going to do to try to bring it back?

Many dark dreams for the Crow reboot

Round and round goes the planned Crow reboot film.  New names added, Old names fall away.  I could go on and on like others about the no name director and the actor I have never heard of, but that combination is what made the first one great, so I will hold my tongue.

Normally, when a great movie is getting a reboot, I am the first one to sigh, roll my eyes, and ask why the movie needed to be made.  This is different.

While the original is a gothic masterpiece that I still watch every year, there is so much in source material that was left out of it.  I would love to see some of that brought into a new movie.

The comics are a stunning meditation on love, death, hatred, justice, and revenge.  It paints a sweet yet violent picture of a man who lost his love and his life in a random act of violence.  In return, he returns to the land of the living to destroy those who killed them.

The Crow is a visionary masterpiece (I know I have already used that word before, bur it is the only one that fits).  A hypnagogic nightmare of love, loss, and agony, the books paint visions of inner pain and turmoil that I have not see the like of since Blade Runner.

I can only hope that whoever makes this movie, they will make the wise choice and include some of this scenes.  From the valentine with hollow eyes to the stampede into barbed wire.  If the director can create the same hallucinogenic terror from the book, the new film will be different and spectacular.

The biggest danger is that they will simplify the story down to an action film or a horror film.  It needs to be both, or it will not work.

Thoughts on the Star Wars cast

Star Wars.com has announced the cast of Star Wars Episode VII.  The list includes names we all expected: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker.  It also added 7 new names.

The Seven New Actors

First, I have to say that I don't think it is a coincidence  that the announced seven new actors.   This feels like a calculated JJ Abrams decision.  Seven new actors for the seventh film.  So who are the seven new actors?

John Boyega

Oscar Isaac

Daisy Ridley

Andy Serkis | Gollum

Max von Sydow

Adam Driver

Domhnall Gleeson

Predictions

Since Andy Serkis is in the movie, I think it is fairly safe to say he will be playing at least one animated CG character.  If this were the movie I had hoped it would be, I would say that he would be playing the Noghri, but I doubt that is going to happen.  I presume he will play a number of characters.

Daisy Ridley  will most likely play the daughter of Princess Leia and Han Solo, who presumably will be called Jaina, but I think that that is a little bit too much to hope for. 

Adam Driver   Would make a very interesting Jacen Solo, however it is more likely that he will be playing in Imperial officer.  I would love to hope for Thrawn, especially since Max von Sydow would make a great Jorus C'baoth, but he is more likely to play a Moff or a ghostly Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Domhnall Gleeson Is my front runner to play Ben Skywalker or whatever they decided to name Luke's son, or if the rumors are true Obi-Wan's son.

Oscar Isaac will likely play a storm trooper or Mandolorian.

Excited, I am not

I cannot get past the fact the JJ Abrams is directing and writing this movie.  He demonstrated with the Star Trek films that he is incapable of honoring the legacy of a franchise.  I hold out hopes that Disney will force a decent film out of him.

It is also more than a little suspicious that they will not be releasing the film until December 18, 2015.  This is a giant red flag.  Every Star Wars film with the exception of the animated Clone Wars was released in May.  They were summer blockbuster films.  This date tells me that the studio is unsure how audiences will react to episode VII.

By releasing the film in December, they are hedging their bet that the film will debut at number 1 its opening weekend.  Anything less than the top slot would be perceived as a failure and a bad omen for the sequel series.

Disney fires the Deathstar at the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Boom!

Queue the fanboy freak out in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

No!!!!!!!  The Mouse is not my father!

*** Warning, what follows is a RANT  ***

So, Disney, ahem, Lucusfilm as owned by Disney, has announced that the Extended Universe never happened (read it here).  They are urban legends.  Like a good JJ Abrams film or an Ewok that isn't annoying.

While the announcement was polite, and I didn't expect them to canonize the whole of the expanded universe, I thought they would at the very least respect the Thrawn trilogy, if nothing else...  I suppose JJ needed his freedom so he could add more lens flare and red matter.

What pisses me off the most about their patronizing announcement is that it feels like this is the decision they had already made, and that they pretended to look into the question in hopes it keep fans like me from freaking out.

Too little, too late.  I was done with the Empire a long time ago, and I not really interested in rehashing all this again.  I know they are making the films for the mass audience, and they don't give a crap about what the fan base thinks, but this is just salt in the wound JJ cut into my interest in the franchise.

I hope they make a better film than I think they will, but my hope is as dead as Alderaan.

Star Wars: Episode VII: Struggle for Hope

So, JJ Abrams is working on Star Wars...  That is probably the hardest thing for me to understand in this process.  JJ gives me such mixed emotions.

I didn't like Lost or Alias.  Mission Impossible III and Ghost Protocol were alright, but they were throw away movies.  I saw them once, and yet to have an urge to see them again.

Star Trek was a dumbed down, over simplified, almost parody of a series that used to be about ideas.  Star Trek Into Darkness was better, and I actually enjoyed it.  It was still obvious he didn't understand the franchise he was working in, but it worked as an extended universe story.

I liked Super 8, but for all the wrong reasons.  It was a mash up of many films I loved as a kid.  As a mash up it was clumsy.  You could name each and every film it "borrowed" from, and it didn't feel like it was a self contained story in itself.  I watched the Goonies again afterwards, and I am thankful to JJ for that.

Now, he said when he made Star Trek, that it was his attempt to make a Star Wars movie.  If that is the case, it really makes me wonder what his Star Wars will look like.

Forget everything that you know

So, Disney has empaneled a group to decide what is Star Wars canon, and what isn't.  To make matters more confusing they have announced that the spin off movies they are making are not canon... They will have little or nothing to do with the main series and may contradict it...

Before I get bogged down in the mixed messages coming from JJ and the Mouse, let's look at some of the problems they are facing.

Star Wars: Episode VII: Heir to the Empire?

When I chat with fellow fans, we agree that their are two series from the extended universe we would like to see made into movies.  The Thrawn Trilogy is first on the list.

I love these books, and if you haven't read them, you should.  They are a natural end to the Rebel/Empire storyline, they introduce Mara Jade, and well, they are great stories.

The biggest problem to this is that the original actors are too old for this storyline.  If fandom went apoplectic about the Prequel Trilogy, I can only imagine how they would react to the recasting of these pivotal roles.

This is the best place for JJ to start.  This storyline fits in quite well with the type of films JJ has made in the past with some success. 

Don't expect to see Thrawn (who in any universe would be played by Benedict Cumberbatch) any time soon.  They said that while Luke, Leia, and Han will be the main characters, the kids will be in the movie.

Star Wars: Episode VII: Betrayal?

The second on the list is Legacy of the Force.

I know I am skipping a lot, like the Yuuzhan Vong war, but the series fills in readers of necessary back story quite well, and it would translate well into a film.

Personally, this is where I think they should start.  Why?

  • The Actors are age appropriate.

The story takes place 40 years after the battle of Yavin, and it has been 37 years since A New Hope came out.

  • It has imperial elements.

The Imperial Remnant is involved with the story, so it could be used to bridge the gap to future movies.

  • It introduces several new threats.

Not only is it about the rise of a new Dark Lord of the Sith, but it sets up new villains that could be used going forward.

  • It hands off the series from the characters we know and love to a new generation.

At some point the series has to move on from Luke, Leia, Han, and the rest.

  • The Love Commander has to be in a movie!

If you haven't read the books, that is the name of Lando's ship... 'nuff said.

Holding my Breath

I can only hope that Disney will treat Star Wars with respect.  It is not a Hans Christian Andersen story they can bastardize for money.  People really care about it.

JJ will make a fun movie.  I have no doubt about that.  It is what he does, but I want him to make a good movie, or great movie.

He may have as little respect for Star Wars fans as he had for Star Trek fans.  I want to be proven wrong though.

I want more than Darth Vader II: Electric Boogaloo.

Whatever happens.  These are just movies.  If they are bad, I still have two good ones.  The worse he can do is kill Star Wars for the pop culture, and I am not sure that is a bad thing.

What would another Serenity movie be about?

14 - 1.jpg

When I saw this image, I started wondering what a second Serenity/Firefly movie would be about.  How many characters would Joss kill off?  What could they possibly do the movie about?

Maybe it is because Joss is making the Avengers movies, but I would really love a film that explored and explained "Super Soldier" program that exists in the world.

Throughout the series, and even in the the movie, we got to see a lot of Blue Sun (I presume) agents that were enhanced for some reason.  River was apparently picked up to be a part of this program.

Since we now know that the Reavers were created by accident as a way to pacify the populace, I assume these "super soldiers" have a similar control purpose.

It does feel like a bit of overkill engineer these troops simply as assassins.  I can't help but think that they have an purpose that we haven't seen before.

Mal and the crew have a quasi-decent motivation to pursue this mystery after River's performance in the final battle against the Reavers.  A fight she seemed engineered to engage in.

Perhaps the answer is really that simple, but I feel like there is more there than has been revealed yet.

That is what I would like to see in the next movie, should it ever happen.  What would you like to see?  What questions do you see outstanding in the series?

The Flying Man

I am not sure how I missed this when it came out other than to say the internet is a big place.

The filmmaker, Marcus Alqueres, has successfully made a short film that is captivating and creepy.  It is a twist on the superhero as vigilante from the bad guy's and the news' point of view.

I want more.  He set up a Facebook Page, and added a page to his site, here, but it I don't see any hint about more to come.

To be honest, the film feels like something from the Sovereign Universe, I felt the same shock as I did when the Washington Monument turned black in Brave Men Run.

I like the idea of hero as monster.  It is a fun way to tell a story.

A new superhero is coming, only this time it's on his terms. Will he still be considered a hero? Directed, produced, financed, edited and story by Marcus Alqueres (twitter.com/marcusalqueres) m.alqueres@gmail.com Sound and score by: Roger Lima (www.whitenoiselab.com) Manager: Scott Glassgold / IAM Entertainment Website: malqueres.com/The-Flying-Man (for press release) Facebook: facebook.com/TFMshort Credits: Written by: Marcus Alqueres and Henry Grazinoli DOP: Anthony Scott Burns Production Manager: Christopher Yurkovich Visual Effects: João Sita / Marcus Alqueres Cast: Mike: Nick Smyth Rob: Rick Cordeiro Voices:Justin T. Lee Colorist: Marco Polsinelli from Topix Fx A/B Camera: Julian Van Mill / Anthony Scott Burns / Marcus Alqueres Script Revision: Moss Badran Sound Recordist: David Guerra / Randy Resh Production Assistant: Nick Bechard Additional DOP: Marcus Alqueres (opening and hospital scenes) Makeup: Helen Johns / Carly Sellen Special Thanks: Beatriz Costa / Daniel Luna / Richard Penner / Sarah Arruda Fernando Faria / Livia Ramos / Xande Torres / Chris Bahry - Sylvain Taillon / Chris Wallace

Prometheus is Pointless

We went to see Prometheus, and I am glad I will not remember this film at all in a week.  It was dull, boring, and poorly written.

So many people have tore this movie apart, I don't want to follow them.  I want to take a different tact.

The Pointlessness of Life

This movie is little more than a nihilist propaganda film that works way to hard to teach you several things:

  1. Religion is futile.
  2. Science is futile.
  3. Belief in anything is futile.
  4. The Sontarans created man before they shrank.
  5. Drugs lead to death.
  6. Sex proves you are not a robot, unless you are a Cylon.
  7. Androids don't die.
  8. Goo makes snakes.
  9. Women can walk, run, jump, fight, lift heavy objects, and repel down great heights immediately after a cicerian.
  10. Aliens are brutish and dumb, but not the ones you are thinkin of.
  11. Prequels are rarely ever good.

 

New John Carter Story Trailer With Rant

The new trailer for John Carter is here:

I have read a couple sad reviews of the trailer from people who have never read the books, so I  thought I would take a moment to respond.

While I am not yet convinced this is going to be a good or great movie, I take umbrage with the people who are saying that this movie is a knock off of Star Wars and Avatar...

The first Barsoom book was published in 1912.  That is all that needs to be said.  The books came first, and the movies that came after it inherited themes and imagery from it.  I know it is a lot to ask from internet folk to get their facts straight, but they need to do it.

I hope the film benefits from the technology used in Star Wars and Avatar, that will only make it a better movie, but that does not mean it copied them unless the filmmakers went off script.

Ok, has Netflix just lost its mind?

"Ok, has Netflix just lost its mind?

Netflix is rebranding its 12-year-old movies-by-mail service as Qwikster and adding video games to its catalog, Reed Hastings, the company's CEO, announced Sunday night. The Web-streaming portion will continue to be called Netflix, he wrote on the company's blog.

After the separation, people who subscribe to both services will have to log into two separate websites, Netflix.com and Qwikster.com, to manage their movie queues and account information...  (via cnn)

I was one of the few who didn't freak out about the new pricing structure Netflix introduced. As a person who works online, I understand the need to make money on those endeavors, but now seeing that they are spinning off part of their service I am not sure I understand it at all anymore.

Why split off the DVD part of their service? 

The only thing I can think right now is that Netflix has decided it is their mission to kill physical media. 

This feels so premature. After the studios pulled out or instituted stalling tactics on streaming rentals my Netflix streaming dropped.  After all If their streaming offering was better, I could see how this is a good move, but right now... ugh.  To compensate I had plans to keep both.  Renting DVD's for those few things I wanted to see right away and that was not available for streaming.  For the rest I would just wait for it to show up on streaming or never bother watching. 

I was fine paying a little more to have both physical DVD rental and streaming rental in one convient place.  The convience of managing my ratings and que was one of the biggest draws to Netflix.  Like most we live a busy life with our time divided and enough inconviences that no one wants to pay for another one.  On top of that the extra step is one I know I will forget to take...

Then that name: Qwikster.

Really? That sounds like something Randal from Clerks thought up one morning after recovering from a heavy night of binge drinking and salsa shark attacks. Time to cancel the DVDs?

Video game rentals sweeten the deal, but I haven't turned my 360 on in about 6 months.  In addition to that I tried a seperate Video game rental service but the inconvience added an extra step that I did forget to take.

And then their subscribers drop and stock drops.  Not a suprise here.  They claim they made the split and price changes for 4 reasons:

(1) to create a dedicated DVD rental division that takes pride in great execution and maximizes the opportunity for disc rental over the coming decade;
(2) to enable us to improve our global streaming service even more rapidly, because it is not meshed with a domestic DVD business;
(3) to enable us, with the growth in revenue, to license more streaming content and thereby improve our streaming service even more;
(4) to remain very price aggressive, with $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming of a huge library of TV shows and movies, and $7.99 per month for unlimited DVD rentals, 1 out at-a-time.  (via  Online Video News

  1. Didn't they already have a great rental division that had pride?
  2. A big improvement to streaming would be providing a service in which I could manage both my streaming videos and my rental videos.  By the way wouldn't the extra cost help to pay for them to make streaming improvements?
  3. Wouldn't it be easier to streamline costs when both divisions are under one roof verses two seperate companies?
  4. Sadly they forgot about and now are loosing the convience and service of one que one rating place.

 

First Look At American Pie 4: American Reunion

I love the photo booth trailer, watch the video above.  It's a brilliant piece of promotion showing me little but telling the emotional story of the next American Pie move American Reunion.  I get a wonderful sense of nostalgia when watching this trailer.

When the American Pie movies first hit the scene I underestimated it presuming the movie to be throwaway entertainment and hoping to maybe get a laugh out of it through crass humor.  Much to my delight I was very wrong.  The series has it's low brow humor, which is also very funny, but it also has a brilliant insight on life, friend and growing up.  It's predecessors were also well done with American Pie 3 American Wedding really bringing the quality back that the first movie had. 

 

I'm really looking forward to watching American Pie 4: American Reunion. 

Plot:  It was summer 1999 when four small-town Michigan boys began a quest to lose their virginity. In the years that have passed, Jim and Michelle married while Kevin and Vicky said goodbye. Oz and Heather grew apart, but Finch still longs for Stifler's mom. Now after a decade has passed these lifelong friends have come home as adults for a long-overdue weekend to reminisce about—and get inspired by—the hormonal teens from long ago.  They will discover what has changed, who hasn't and that time and distance can't break the bonds of friendship.  (Wikipedia)

Pixar's "Brave" Trailer and Poster

Pixar's 2012 movie Brave looks great.  They also have a great cast involved with Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson as just a few to mention.  It's set in a 10 century Scotland with a touch of fantasy.  Watch the Trailer above.

Plot:  Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In Brave, a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts. Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor . Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin , surly Lord Macintosh and cantankerous Lord Dingwall. Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Witch for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.  (Wikipedia)

Brave is scheduled for release on June 22, 2012.

Shop Pixar's Amazon Store here (affiliate link)

 

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Trailer

I want to like Ghost Rider.  In theroy everything about it should be awesome: motercycles, fire, rider of vengance.  Unfortunately I'm not that excited. 

After the first Ghost Rider, should by all acounts rock was more of a meh, this trailer has a lot of work cut out for it.  I first saw it in 3D which looked bad, very bad.  The fire effect left my eyes hurting and was not helped when Conan started showing me what good 3D fire should look like.  Thankfully the 2D looks a lot better and gives me some hope.  Watch the trailer above.

Plot:  "Set several years after the first film, Johnny Blaze is in self-imposed exile from the world. Blaze has become a tormented soul, convinced that his powers are a curse. Former stuntman Blaze is then approached by Moreau, a member of the monastic order of Michael, the warrior angel. Moreau seeks a protector for a mother and son duo who are being pursued by a figure named Roarke – a fellow with a detailed knowledge of the Ghost Rider and his different identities over the centuries."  (Wikipedia)

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengance will hit theaters 2-17-12

 

 

Underworld Awakening Let Loose The Hunters

The trailer is out for Underworld Awakening and it looks awesome!  watch the trailer above.

This is set after Underworld Evolution. Looks like we will get to see human hunters enter the fight between the two clans and some hints that Michael might return as the abomination.

 

Plot:  "Kate Beckinsale, star of the first two films, returns in her lead role as the vampire warrioress Selene, who escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans, and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species.

 

Underworld Awakening will hit theaters January 20, 2012.

More Underworld on dashPunk

John Carter Trailer

John Carter is a sweeping action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars).  I like the look of it from the trailer but then I'm a huge fan of swordplay.  Check out the trailer above

Based on the classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter, who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris. In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.

John Carter is slated to hit theaters March 9th 2012

CONAN THE BARBARIAN - Red Band Trailer

I'm excited to see Conan The Barbarian my only regret is the title I wished they would have distinguished it from the plethera of other Conan movies, shows, and books with a change in the name.  Afterall there is already a move named Conan the Barbarian why not call this one Conan the Cimmerian and truely gain geek cred.

Jason Mamoa definetly pulls off the look of Conan plus Ron Perlman who is a satple for these types of movies. 

After his father is murdered and village destroyed, Conan ventures into an unforgiving world where he survives as a thief, pirate, and warrior. On his path of wanton adventure and women, Conan chances upon the warlord responsible for his tribe's destruction. As he tracks Khalar Zym, Conan battles monsters, Zym's henchmen, and Marique, a powerful witch. (via Wikipedia)

stars Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lang, Rose McGowan, Saïd Taghmaoui and Ron Perlman. The film is directed by Marcus Nispel, and written by Thomas Dean Donnelly & Joshua Oppenheimer and Sean Hood.

Conan the Barbarian hits theaters August 19th.

Theater or Renter: Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger hits theaters July 22nd raising the question:  will I watch it in the theater, rent it, or don't even care?  Before making that decision lets watch the trailer above.

I will probably see this in the theater mainly for the awesome cast.  There are many concerns over the look epsically for Captain America who looks more like a plastic action figure in the trailers.  I suspect this is due to the studios foolish choice of making 3D special by making everything look wierd in 2D.  This is one of the major flaws that hurt Green Lantern and will probably be a big problem with Captain America as well.  

The film tells the story of Steve Rogers, a sickly man from Brooklyn who is transformed into super soldier Captain America to help the war effort. However, Captain America must stop Red Skull, Adolf Hitler's ruthless head of weaponry and leader of a terrorist organization, who intends to use a mysterious tesseract energy-source for world domination. (via Wikipedia)

 

A Steampunk Three Musketeers Movie?

My first reaction to a Three Musketeers movie comming out was meh.  I love swashbuckeling movies but the 1993 Disney version was great why make another...

Then I saw the trailer above!

Wow a steampunk version of The Three Musketeers!   This could defenitly make it better.  Little did I know that flying airships is what was missing from the original Three Musketeers movie.  Then add to that Milla jovovich and I'm there.

It is scheduled for release on October 14, 2011.

 

The New Planet of The Apes Promise

 

After watching the trailer for the new planet of the apes I have hope.  They promise a movie with improvements which is the main point of doing a remake.

What made the old planet of the apes so great was the social message in it.  From what I can see is that they will continue with asking those questions of quality of life, equal treatment and second class citizenry. The original Planet of the Apes are a Sci-Fi must see for the story and social messages.  Even if the effects and look are a little cheesy by today standards they did an incredible job with the very restricted budget they had to work with.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes hits theaters August 5th.

 

Review: Transformers 3

Transformers 3 is awesome movie. My expectations for a giant killer robot movie are simple. First, giant robots. Secondly, stuff blowing up. Thirdly, see the first two and do many of it lots of robots and tons of explosions. Thats it. As expected Transformers 3 had lots of giant killer robots and stuff blowing up. The pleasant surprise and bonus came in the form of a good storyline that did not seem out of place with nor detract from all of the explosions and giant robots. After the film I discovered that Orci and Kurtzman had nothing to do with the writing, a smart choice by Bay since the writing on this film is way better then the first two. Another pleasant deviation from the first two Transformers movies was being spared the bad acting of Megan Fox. In Transformers 3 we get to meet the beef's new love interest played beautifully by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. I would even go so far as to say her screen presence helped the beef with his performance. The effects look great. This is a must see and the best of the Transformers movies not counting the 80's animated one which will be incredibly hard to beat.