Sunday, September 30, 2012

Batman Live review; a Joel Schumacher style waste

All pictures used in this post were taken by me
I have been looking forward to this live-action experience for 6 months now.  Batman Live started in London about a year ago to rave reviews.  Fans of the superhero were delighted to see a live-action show with a new spin on some familiar characters.  I rarely review anything outside of movies, so I'll follow the same format I always do on this on.  Let's go...

What I liked about the show:
The Set Pieces
When watching a live show, it's obviously very different from a movie.  The sets are constructed and torn down, right before our eyes.  They have to logistically make sense for the actors, as well as the crew behind the scenes.  The set pieces are big, colorful and full of life.  This really is the best part of the show.  I watched the show at the famous Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.  That being said, there was a ton of room for the cast and crew to strut their stuff.  I especially love the Joker face that was about 15 feet tall.  Very cool stuff.

The Variety
Although I don't have a lot to say about this, I think it's important to note the variety that the show has to offer.  Of course you're going to see some action, but there's a lot more packed into the 2 hour show.  The story of Dick Grayson/Robin is told with a look at the characters' beginnings.  Especially his family's work with the circus.  The show uses acrobats, a magic show sequence, and wonderful CGI animation.  Speaking of the animation...

The Transitions
The backdrop to the stage is actually an approximately 100 foot wide screen.  Between scenes, transitions from one setting to another is projected on the screen with some amazing animation.  The screen is also utilized in the story telling.  There is an entirely CGI sequence of the Batmobile racing through the city.  Really cool stuff here.  I've never seen anything like it at a live show of any kind.  The best part for comic book fans across the globe?... some transitions used were comic book pages right out of famous Batman stories.  I recognized a lot of the stories used, and some I did not.  Loved this aspect of the show.

The Costumes/Make Up
I loved the various characters in the show.  Primarily the villains.  Batman is such a popular character, and his rogues gallery has a lot to do with that popularity.  The characters are dressed and made up differently than we've seen in past iterations.  But I do have to say, they closely resembled the Joel Schumacher style of camp we saw in the two films he directed in the 90's.  They're bright, colorful and just funny enough to keep kids engaged.  Don't expect to care too much about the characters though; but I'll get to that in just a moment.  The show is high energy and fun to look at.  By the way, the worst costume in the show was that of Batman.  Big, bulky nonsense.

What I didn't like about the show:
Everything else (action)
I didn't like anything else about the show, but I'll start somewhere in my explanation.  The action is so weak, I've seen better in a home made movie.  I don't know if the cast and crew were just off on this performance, but nothing worked.  The wire work in the show was just down right awful.  The actors playing Batman and Catwoman got tangled in the wires so many times, it became a distraction.  The fights were so lame, that performers were falling over seconds before the Batman actor could even swing his arm.  This is a show based on a superhero, you'd think the action would be much better than what it was.

There is no attempt to dive into the characters at all in this play.  In fact, characters like Two-Face and Riddler do little more than recite a few lines of dialogue and then just get out of the way.  I understand wanting to pack as many familiar faces into the show as possible, but come on.  If they don't add to the story, don't put them in the show.  These characters are so great, so rich with stories to tell, it's a shame they didn't do more with them.  Instead of focusing 70% of the story on the Joker; the writers should have included other characters.  Mainly Bruce Wayne/Batman!  Who I felt was barely in the show.  And if he was, it was to bicker with Dick Grayson/Robin.  This really was a dumb show folks.

The Verdict:
Just rent Batman & Robin instead
The show was bad, everyone.  I'm sorry I have to say it, but it was awful.  I feel so gypped.  Tickets to the show are NOT cheap.  Try $100.00 per person for lower-level seating.  It really did feel like a Schumacher directed play.  I know Christopher Nolan has better things to do in the future; but maybe he can come in and create a reboot to the show.  That helped me forget about Joel Schumacher once before.

Check out the video below.  It's a compilation of pictures and videos I took at the show.  It's probably better than the show ;0)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Identity Theft trailer, Jason Bateman will get back at Melissa McCarthy for stealing his identity

I LOVE Jason Bateman.  I also LOVE Melissa McCarthy.  What do you get when you put the both of them in a new comedy by Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses)?... Identity Theft.  A hilarious looking trailer that follows Bateman on his quest to find McCarthy, who has stolen his identity.  Check out the trailer for yourself, and my thoughts after.  

Seriously can't wait!  I'm a fan of the stars, as well as the director.  Gordon has an eye for comedy and will most definitely let his stars improv their way to laughs.  And check out this amazing list of supporting actors/actresses: John Cho, Jon Favreau, Genesis Rodriguez, Eric Stonestreet, Amanda Peet, Ben Falcone, Clarke Duke, Morris Chestnut and T.I.  WHOA!  That is one hell of a supporting cast.  I can't wait to see what everyone's role is in the film.  McCarthy is obviously going to pull a lot of laughs; and what I love from the trailer is she's not over the top.  And how funny is it that her house is full of goodies she's most likely bought with other people's stolen credit cards?  I'm in, sign me up!  Who's coming with me?

Taken 2 trailer... Liam Neeson will make them pay!

When Taken was made in 2008, it was almost a straight-to-DVD film.  It starred Liam Neeson as a man with a 'very specific set of skills'.  His daughter is kidnapped and Neeson traveled to Europe to find her.  A few years later, the trailer for the sequel has been released.  Below is the trailer for Taken 2, and check out my thoughts after. 

Interesting huh?!  I'm definitely excited to see Neeson wreak havoc all over the men trying to get revenge on him.  I like the new aspects like his daughter (Maggie Grace), joining the chase to find his ex-wife (Famke Janssen).  But with only this trailer to go off of, the story is a bit weak.  I'll save my final judgement for after the movie.  But in the mean time, what do you think?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Quickie: Marc Webb officially signs on to direct The Amazing Spider-Man sequel

The title of the post pretty much sums it up.  Sony Pictures was very pleased with the financial success of The Amazing Spider-Man.  Today it has been confirmed that director Marc Webb will return for the sequel.  This is really just confirmation on what has been rumored for some time.  Webb made no secret that he wanted to return.  And while I enjoyed the reboot very much, I have to acknowledge not everyone agrees with me.  

Peter Parker's origin story WAS basically retold with nothing new added to the reboot.  But I enjoyed Webb's, much more grounded, take on the character; and preferred Garfield's acting to that of Tobey Maguire (star of the first trilogy).  Let's see what happens!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Quickie: 300 Prequel gets a new title

300 was a huge success, and elevated director Zack Snyder to new levels.  The film is based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and told the story of the 300 Spartans that went up against thousands of Persian soldiers.  The sequel has been on and off for years.  It is currently, and most definitely on.  A director has been hired in Noam Murro (Smart People), while Eva Green (Casino Royale) and Rodrigo Santoro (What to Expect When You're Expecting) have been hired to star.

The movie has gone through two previous titles; Xerxes and 300: Battle of Artemsia.  Now it's 300: Rise of an Empire.  Let's just hope this thing lives up to its predecessor.

Mark Millar hired as a creative consultant for 20th Century Fox's Marvel films

Mark Millar is the author of some amazing graphic novels, including Kick-Ass and Nemesis.  The former already became a gem of an adaptation to film; the latter is in the works in Hollywood.  He has also written for numerous Marvel titles over the years.  In any event, he is a comic book celebrity.  Similar to the Frank Miller and Grant Morrisons of the world.  Today comes some pretty interesting news.  Check out this quote from a press release by 20th Century Fox:
Marking an expanded commitment to some of its most important franchises, Twentieth Century Fox has brought on comics superstar Mark Millar to serve as a creative consultant on the studio’s upcoming projects based on Marvel Comics properties. 
A lot of comic book/film fans feel 20th Century Fox has ruined their favorite Marvel heroes on film.  Daredevil, ElecktraGhost Rider and both Fantastic Four films were sub-par in their minds (I only disagree on Daredevil, I liked it).  The X-Men films have had a mix of success (X-Men, X2, X-Men: First Class) and huge, utter failures (X3: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolvervine).  Regardless, all of the above have had their share of financial success.

A part of me loves the news, because Fox ignored the source material in those failures listed above.  Having Millar to help consult on the source material is a huge asset.  But how much affect does a creative consultant have on the finished product of a film?  I think that's the bigger question.  Geoff Johns is the world's biggest Green Lantern fan, and a successful writer of the comic book series.  He was a creative consultant on the Green Lantern film, and that movie was; well, I'm still working on forgetting that movie.  In the end, I don't think it's going to matter if Millar helps out Fox or not.  It's going to come down to what it has always come down to.  A good story, great characters and a director with a clear vision.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rise of the Guardians trailer promises to bring together our favorite childhood characters

What if the immortal guardians all came together to save Earth's children?  That's exactly what happens in Rise of the Guardians, the new Dreamworks 3D animated film.  North (Santa Claus), Jack Frost, E. Aster Bunnymund (the Easter Bunny), Tooth (the Tooth Fairy) and Sandy (the Sandman) come together to defeat the evil Pitch (the Boogeyman).  Check out the trailer below, and my comments after; as well as the awesome character posters for the film.

I love what I see so far!  I'm a sucker for the Pixar and Dreamworks animated films.  They're all special in one way or another, but this one looks incredible!  It is visually stunning and the story appears to be simple, yet intriguing.  Like a lot of movie fans, I am a sucker for bringing together multiple heroes (much like the Avengers).  The visuals are incredible, the voice actors talented, and the story simple.  I'm in!  Who's coming with me?  Check out the cool character posters after the jump!

42 trailer; the Jackie Robinson biopic

42 is the incredible true story of baseball legend, Jackie Robinson.  Robinson broke the color barrier in a sport that was unwelcoming at the time.  The film stars Harrison Ford sporting some serious prosthetic, and Chadwick Boseman as the legend himself.  Take a look at the trailer below and my thoughts after.

Does Warner Brothers know how to make an Oscar darling or what?  I really like the tone of the picture.  It feels like a biopic, which could be good or bad to some.  But it appears to convey what the change in the sport meant to our country as a whole.  I'm not sold on Harrison Ford until I see some more footage; but as long as he doesn't phone in his performance like he does in every other film, I'm ok.  We'll have to wait almost a year for this one, so be patient friends.  I'll let you know when more is released.

Quickie: Guess who's joining the wolf pack in The Hangover 3? Bridesmaids star, Melissa Mccarthy!

I'm really excited about this movie tidbit!  Bridesmaids was a huge hit.  And it was pretty unanimous who stole the show in that talented cast, Melissa Mccarthy.  She was even nominated for an academy award last year for her role in the film.

Today comes news that she is joining the wolf pack in The Hangover 3.  It's pretty crazy, in my review of Bridesmaids, I actually compared her performance to that of Zach Galifianakis in the first Hangover.  Not too sure what her role will be in the film, but I still love the move.  How about you?  What do you think about Mccarthy joining the party?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Django Unchained trailer, poster and Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino is bringing the goods on this one.  The director wrote the film as well.  That film is Django Unchained.  Jamie Foxx plays a slave who becomes a bounty hunter.  With the help of his mentor (Christoph Waltz), he sets out on a mission to find and rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) from an evil plantation owner (Leonardo Dicaprio).  Check out the trailer below and read a cool technique Tarantino implemented onset.

On the Jimmy Kimmel show Tuesday
, Jaime Foxx says Tarantino is a "a cinematic genius".  Foxx explained that the director would play specific songs on set to evoke specific emotions for each scene.  I've never heard of a director doing this, and I thought it was very interesting.  I've read about actors who have different techniques in preparing for a role, but never a director preparing a cast, quite like this.  I think I'll be seeing this on opening weekend, how about you?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Lincoln trailer, an Academy Awards warm up

It's been rumored for so long now, a lot of people thought it wouldn't happen.  And it's been almost two years since Daniel Day-Lewis replaced Liam Neeson as our nation's 16th President, in a film of course.  That film is Lincoln, and is being directed by little-known director, Steven Spielberg.  Check out the trailer below and my thoughts after.

Everyone involved is at the top of their game.  Day-Lewis is going to be his usual, incredible self.  Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jackie Earle Haley and Jared Harris round out the supporting cast.  I like the tone, production design and acting in the first trailer.  Spielberg is going to tell an incredible story and will have all the help he needs.  I like what I see so far, and let's hope the movie continues what we see here.