Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill is official!

After 7 long years, it's official!  The sequel to Robert Rodriguez' Sin City, based on Frank Miller's classic graphic novel, is coming.  Titled Sin City: A Dame to Kill, the sequel comes after a ton of rumors that came and went.  There are no other details, but we'll keep you posted as far release dates and castings!

Gary Ross out; three finalists may direct The Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire

The sequel is Catching Fire and will have someone else running the show.  It's official, Gary Ross will not be returning to the sequel for The Hunger Games.  News came out the other day that Ross didn't feel he had enough time to prep the sequel.  With only 19 months until the tentative release date, can you blame him?  Regardless if you agree with Hollywood's wacky ways, there's already a short list of possible replacements for Ross... an impressive short list that is.

/SlashFilm is reporting that Alfonso Cuaron, David Cronenberg and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu are in the running.  Let's go through each director and what they bring to the table:

Alfonso Cuaron
The man has an impressive resume.  With amazing foreign films, as well as domestic (Children of Men), he is a very versatile director.  His claim to fame is the third Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  Many fans of the films consider it the best of the franchise.  He would make a great choice for the futurist world Ross built in The Hunger Games.

David Cronenberg
This man is an amazing story teller.  He directed terrific films such as, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises.  His resume dates back to the 1960's and knows what he's doing!  His experience alone should keep fans of The Hunger Games relieved.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
This is perhaps the most interesting choice of the three men.  Inarritu has directed heart pumping dramas such as 21 Grams, Babel and Biutiful.  His distinct style would work perfect for the philosophical aspect of the trilogy.  It's not his typical film choice, but this could be a great way to bring him to much bigger audience.

I'm conflicted because I think they each bring something special to the franchise.  It's very early in the process, but my vote goes to Cuaron; solely based on my love for his Harry Potter film.  So of the three men, who do you think should get the gig?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

UPDATE: Captain America 2 gets a release date with no director hired yet

UPDATE: Of course the man I was hoping would direct the movie, has pulled out of the running. F. Gary Gray has withdrawn his name from the race to direct the Captain America sequel. I'll let you know when a director is announced; but for now, it wont be Gray.

Captain America: The First Avenger was one of my favorite movies of 2011.  It proved Marvel's hard work creating a 'universe' of superheros was not only well worth it, but spectacular.  This week, Marvel announced the release date for the next Captain America film.  It's interesting a release date has been announced, considering the movie still doesn't have a director.  Even though there is no director in place, the movie will be released April 4th, 2014.  There is however a shortlist of possible candidates for director.

George Nolfi directed the awful (in my opinion), The Adjustment Bureau.  Let's just say, I hope he doesn't get the job.  Plus, he's only directed one movie in his career.  F. Gary Gray (pictured) is my pick from this shortlist.  I really enjoy his style,  check out The Italian Job for an example.  Then there are Anthony and Joseph Russo, who have mostly directed television.  When they did direct a feature film, it wasn't pretty bad (You, Me, Dupree).  Which director do YOU think should take the reins on this franchise?

Why can't Marvel get a director to return to any of it's sequels?  First was Jon Favreau (Iron Man 1 & 2), then Kenneth Branagh (Thor) and now Joe Johnston (Captain America).

Either way, here is the schedule for the next few years of Marvel Films:
Iron Man 3 - May 3rd, 2013
Thor 2 - November 15th, 2013
Captain America 2 - April 4th, 2014

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ben Kingsley is in final talks to play the villain in Iron Man 3

The title of the post pretty much sums it up.  Variety is reporting that Sir Ben Kingsley is in final talks to play the villain in Iron Man 3.  This is pretty cool isn't it?  And the geeks online are full speed ahead in their guesses of who he will play.  My theory?  The Mandarin.  If you watch the special features of the first Iron Man film, you will see that Jon Favreau and company originally wanted The Mandarin to be the villain, not Obadiah Stane.  Check out the digital art above, Ben Kingsley could easily be transformed into that character, couldn't he?

What's even more interesting is the lack of information being released about the movie.  We know Marvel has kept the entire cast in tact; but that's about it.  We also know Shane Black is writing and directing the film.  Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., loves the script he's read.  “I think that we have an opportunity with the third Iron Man to make the best of the three, and maybe one of the better superhero movies that’s ever been made."  Well said good sir, well said.  Now let's see if that happens.

The Hunger Games review; the beginning of an epic trilogy

This movie is everywhere!  I may be late; but better late than never right?  The movie is The Hunger Games, directed by Gary Ross (Seabiscuit).  It stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz.  The movie is about a future government that forces 24 boys and girls to fight to the death, as millions watch on live television.  One boy, and one girl are selected as "tributes" from 12 districts, to make up the field of fighters.  The movie is the first in a trilogy of books, written by Suzanne Collins.  Let's go.

What I liked about the film:
The Actors/Characters
Jennifer Lawrence is quickly becoming one of my favorite actresses.  She's young, attractive and good at what she does.  She really carries this movie in more ways than one.  She pretty much portrays every human emotion imaginable in the film.  This movie is her story.

The rest of the cast is great as well.  Josh Hutcherson plays the love interest and a contender in the tournament.  Stanley Tucci plays a TV personality and is so animated in doing so.  Elizabeth Banks is barely recognizable in her role.  She, Woody Harelson and Lenny Kravitz play mentors to Lawrence and Hutcherson. 

Granted this is an adaptation from a novel, but the movie did a good job of character arcs.  Each of the main actors had enough material to work with and progress their characters.  I like the way the mentors were treated in the movie.  They had heart and cared about the young contenders.

The Costumes
This is such an underrated aspect of film.  I loved the costumes in this movie.  Banks' character is a self-absorbed woman who loves the finer things in life.  Her costume totally played to that fact.  Her hair and makeup as well.  The fighters from each district have similar costumes which are very cool; especially when they enter an event that introduces them to the world.  Very cool.

The Future / Special Effects
The future is a scary place, and Gary Ross and co. want us to know it!  There is no specific date set for the film, but it is a ways from 2012.  Although most of the movie takes place in a forrest, what we do see of the future is spectacular.  There is a great scene when the fighters are coming in on a bullet train; they look out a window, and the town is revealed to the characters and the audience.  It looked incredible. 

When I say I liked the way the future was portrayed in the movie, I don't just mean special effects.  The implications of the future are something to really think about.  The government is using propaganda to justify kids killing each other.  What had to have happen for people to be ok with that notion?  And what becomes of hope in times like that?  The movie touches on the power of hope and how it can spark something that brings down an entire government.  How relevant is that, in a decade that has already seen the demise of 3 dictators in the Middle East?  Hope.

What I didn't like about the film:
The Cinemotography / Fight Scenes
I understand a cinematographer will use various tricks to help the director tell the story.  But whatever Tom Stern was doing, didn't work for me!  The shaky cam is something a lot of movies use, but few use it well.  And this movie was another example of poor use of this technique.  It's used so much that I had to look down a few times to stop myself from getting dizzy.

Another negative that came from Tom Stern are the terribly shot fight scenes.  He gets so up close to the actors you can't tell them apart, much less what is going on.   It was really hard to watch this movie.

The Chemistry (SPOILER ALERT)
There is absolutely, positively, undoubtedly, no chemistry between our two main actors.  I love Jennifer Lawrence, but I didn't buy, for one second, she was interested in Hutcherson.  To be fair, I've never read the books, and this COULD serve a greater purpose.  There are a few moments in the film where I felt Lawrence was playing to the crowds and didn't really have feelings for Hutcherson's character.  And why the hell would she have feelings for him, if earlier he was leading a pack of tributes to kill her?  What the hell?  So stupid.

The Direction
The directors job is to tell a story.  Gary Ross did a decent job of doing so, but it could have been so much more.  The movie could have been on the level of Harry Potter's debut into film, but it wasn't.  The camera work, editing and pacing are all things Ross must take the blame fore.  The movie is so slow, it just drags on and on.  He did do a few things well... very well.  But I can't help but wonder what the movie would have been like with the a director like David Yates (Harry Potter 5 - 8).

The Verdict
Good when it could have been great
I didn't totally hate the movie.  Quite the contrary.  I enjoyed the movie at times, but could not ignore its faults.  I don't know the books, so maybe this first movie is the groundwork for something so much more.  And a part of me couldn't stop thinking to myself, "this could be so much more".  How fitting.  Either way, I'll be in line for the sequel and look forward to the future of the trilogy.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Seth Macfarlane's Ted red band trailer!

On July 13th, Seth Macfarlane's feature film debut will be released.  The movie is Ted, starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis.  Check out the trailer below and my thoughts after.  Careful, it's definitely a red band worthy trailer.

Wow! I love it.  Seriously, who else could create something like this, but Macfarlane?  It reminds me a lot of his hit animated show, "Family Guy".  Speaking of that show; Kunis voices one of the main characters and looks great in this movie.  Wahlberg is really committing to comedies isn't he?  He did very well in his bit role in Date Night, starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey; and scored good reviews when he co-starred opposite Will Ferrell in The Other Guys.  They've got my money, how about you?

Twins sequel "Triplets", starring Danny DeVito, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Eddie Murphy?!

I can't believe I'm even typing this post.  Remember the 1988 film, Twins, directed by Ivan Reitman?  The movie starred Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger as what else... twins (sort of).  Well, nearly 25 years later and a complete lack of originality in Hollywood comes this news... a sequel.

This is all in the rumor phase, but for some reason is picking up a lot of traction.  The sequel is tentatively been titled Triplets.  That's not even the biggest news associated with this sequel.  The biggest news is that Eddie Murphy is coming on board.  What the, what the heck?  I don't really know what to say.  I mean, I GUESS Murphy could bring something new to a movie with DeVito and Schwarzenegger.  But I don't know.

Does this movie even need to be made?  And if it does, what if it's as bad as Junior?  Remember that mess of a movie starring DeVito and Schwarzenegger?

The Mummy reboot of a reboot, coming soon

Universal Pictures was built by movie monsters.  Everything from Dracula to Frankenstein to the Wolf Man and The Mummy.  The last on the list was a classic that would be rebooted some 70 years later.  In 1999, Stephen Sommers directed Brendan Fraser and Reachel Weisz in an action-adventure version of the horror classic.  Between 1999 and 2008, two sequels and a Scorpion King trilogy spin-off were made.

This week, Universal announced it would reboot the reboot.  They have hired Jon Spaihts to write the film.  He recently wrote the script for Prometheus.  The studio is promising a "dark" version of the character.  It's funny, that seems to be the word used in Hollywood for any reboot.

I'm on the fence about this news.  I thoroughly enjoyed the special effects and Indian Jones style of the trilogy, but don't know if I need more of the character.  How about you guys, do you need/care about more Mummy films?

X-Men: First Class begins filming in January

Ok so this "Hunger Games" movie seems to be a big hit.  I'm underexaggerating (I made that word up); the movie is a monster hit for it's lead actress, Jennifer Lawrence.  The sequels have been lined up, which meant a possible scheduling conflict for Lawrence and crew, on the set of another great franchise... X-Men: First Class.  

Fortunately for us, everything has worked out.  'First Class' starts filming in January with no delays to the Hunger Games sequels.  We know director of 'First Class', Matthew Vaughn, has signed on for the sequel.  Most of the cast were signed to multi-picture deals.  Regardless of the contracts they signed, two of the first film's stars are really excited to get back into their roles.  Michael Fassbender (Magneto) and James McAvoy (Professor X) have been quoted as being ready to go, as soon as a script is in place.

I'm really excited the movie is inching closer to filming, how about you?