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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Venom Toy Reveals Real Design?

There are three major comic book superhero movies coming out this year. One is "Ghost Rider", from Mark Steven Johnson, the director of "Daredevil". This is a sure-fire canidate for the worst movie of the year already. The trailers look hideous and judging from Johnson's last movie ("Daredevil") and his last writing credit ("Elektra") I have no doubt it will suck.
The next is "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer". While the new trailer has "wowed" many people, I still can't shake the the first "Fantastic Four" movie from my mind. It was a horrid, anti-climatic pile of crap that gave the actors such bad lines none of them could utter a word without sounding like amatures. So my hopes for the second "Fantastic Four" are very low.
However, the most promising in the dwindling quality of these Marvel comic movies is "Spider-Man 3". "Spider-Man" made superhero films popular again with its stylistic, feel good approach to capture a wide audience. The second film evolved this status further, making it one of the best character oriented films of its kind. With the rare occasion of sequels being better than their prequels, one might be cautious with their hopes for "Spider-Man 3". But director Sam Raimi did it before and he's shown us a lot of the film with it still being so far away from release.
That said, "Spider-Man 3" is getting hype for finally having the villian Venom in it. Though only briefly seen in a TV preview, we have not actually seen a good look of the monster. Not too long ago a computer animated picture of Venom was leaked online:

It's been claimed to be authentic, but now we have something new and...less impressive. I was able to snatch these photos before Tri-Star/Sony Pictures told toy retailers to take them down; but anyway here's a figure of Venom and what we might expect him to look like:

Now, I'm a bit worried. Obviously it will look a bit different in the film (and hopfully more buff), but Venom simply looks too...ordinary, a part from the mouth.
I hope this toy is simply unfinished or hasn't been fully painted. Venom needs to be more buff looking than that...
While I'm complaining I want to add something unrelated to this, but related to the film in general. Sandman killed Uncle Ben?!?! Does that not just ruin the point of the whole Spider-Man mythos and the irony of why Peter let the criminal get away in the first movie? I hope it's not true, infact I doubt it's true, but if it is it takes a lot away from Spider-Man's genesis.
While I'm being typical I'm making a prediction right now:
At the last 30 minutes of the movie Spider-Man is going to get help from Sandman and Green Goblin 2 (Harry) to beat Venom in a gigantic four way battle. I'll lay $30.50 on it right now. Four way battle at the end of "Spider-Man 3". Someone better challenge me on that.
Anyway, there's Venom. And here's hoping he'll look better than that.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Battle of the "Avatars": M. Night vs. J. Cameron?

No it's not a slugfest; the directors aren't in any feud, but I thought this was interesting. First off, James Cameron is finally returning to the sci-fi genre that he conquered so well in his early career. The director of "The Abyss", "Aliens" and the first two "Terminator" films (as well as "Titanic") has been planning this movie for a long time. I don't know much about it, but it seems like its been in development hell for awhile. Fox has finally agreed to finance a 2009 release for Cameron's original film "Avatar". It will be his first feature film since "Titanic".
Here's where it gets juicy. Apparently hours after Fox announced Cameron's "Avatar", Paramount announced their project with M. Night Shyamalan based on the Nickelodeon cartoon series, "Avatar: The Last Airbender". As I type this I must admit my confusion. M. Night has not had the best luck since "Signs". "The Village" is about as respectable as "Daredevil" and while I really liked "Lady in the Water", it wasn't quite up to par with his first three films. Now, after establishing himself as an original storyteller, why go off and do a franchise-- A mainstream, kiddie franchise from Nickelodeon and the loathsome MTV Films? Is he willing to sellout this easily? Or does he have a plan to make something out of this show? I don't know. I like M. Night, but I was hoping his next movie would be something truly grand. "Avatar: The Last Airbender" wasn't quite what I meant... On the other hand I've heard he has other ideas planned, so maybe "Airbender" won't be his very next project.
In any case the battle isn't between the directors, but the studios. Fox is angry that Parmount is making a movie with "Avatar" in the title and claim they, "own the movie title 'Avatar.' There won't be another film called 'Avatar' coming from any place." (A Fox rep.)
Ok, this is absurd! I'm excited about Cameron's "Avatar" and I don't know what the hell is going on with M. Night and this Nick cartoon show, but Fox "owns" the word "Avatar"? Ok college undergrads! Everytime you use the word "avatar" make sure you have a big, fat, copyright key to hit after it's typed!
Can I point out something:
If you go to this link you'll see around 20 movies with the same title, "Hero". Just let them make the friggen movie! It isn't going to hurt business. The movies will be aimed at completely different audiences and Paramount's film seems further on the back burner than Cameron's. I'll be surprised if that movie with M. Night gets made.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to Cameron's new sci-fi epic and whatever M. Night does, I know atleast my little sister would enjoy an "Avatar: The Last Airbender" movie.

"Godzilla 2" Rumors: Load of Crap

As a longtime, hardcore, devoted fan of the true King of all Monsters, I had to throw this up there.
Last month a German website announced that Sony Pictures had plans to produce a second, big budget American Godzilla film.
A little history lesson: The 1998 American "Godzilla" was a critical flop and fans of the REAL Godzilla, especially myself, continue to blast it for being so sacrilegious to the true, Japanese series. Seeing the American film as an insult to the real Godzilla, the movie and the monster has been labeled as GINO (Godzilla In Name Only). Director and Producer Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin ("Independence Day", "The Patriot", "The Day After Tomorrow") were responsible for the horrific creation and are to this day cursed by G-Fans worldwide. (And then cursed by historians after the inaccurate Revolutionary War tale "The Patriot" and then by society as a whole after "The Day After Tomorrow". It was after this movie Dean Devlin made a public apology to G-Fans for GINO. He needed friends.)
Before that though a much more promising movie was in pre-production. Stan Winston was on board to do the special effects, an awesome design was put forth by Stan Winston's studio and Jan de Bont ("Speed", "Twister") was set to direct the film. The movie was to tie in with the Japanese series and continue the adventures of Godzilla. Alas Tristar Pictures wouldn't give him the budget for the film, so he dropped out. Then Devlin took over and we got a pile of crap that still haunts Godzilla fans' nightmares.
Well, it turns out the German source was false. Tri-Star/Sony Pictures decided to respond to the article and announce there are no plans for a sequel, THANK GOD. Godzilla will remain dormant until Toho Company Ltd. decides to bring him back in Japanese in a little under a decade. The last Japanese Godzilla film was the 50th Anniversery "Godzilla: Final Wars" (2004), a stylistic, purposefully cheesy and action packed film directed by the widely known Ryuhei Kitamura. The movie featured Godzilla kicking GINO's ass in a 45 second battle.

This wonderful battle can be viewed here:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

"LOST" meets "STAR TREK"

For those who don't know, J.J. Abrams, the mastermind behind "Lost" and the high-tension "Mission: Impossible III" is directing the next Star Trek movie. Yeah, I know... Good news since the last two Star Trek movies kind of blew and the last series "Enterprise" got cancelled.
Anyway, I'm a mild fan of Star Trek. I'm not a trekkie, but I enjoy my Star Trek fix now and then. Furthermore I've always wanted William Shatner to come back to the series as Capt. Kirk, especially after how awesome he's proved himself to be in "Boston Legal". Well, looks I'll get that wish. Seems like he might play "Old Kirk" in this prequel movie to the original Star Trek series. (Hinting that the movie may be told in a big flashback.)


"I met with J.J., and they told me they would like me to be part of their film, but they have to write the role," Shatner said in an interview. "They need to figure out how to put the dead captain in with the young captain," he said. "It's a very complex, technical problem of how to write the character in, and I'm not sure how they will solve it." It sounds as if Shatner may play an older version of Kirk.

J.J. Abrams adds on about the movie: "On the one hand, for people who love Star Trek, the fix that they will get will be really satisfying. For people who've never seen it or know it vaguely, I think they will enjoy it equally, because the movie does not require you to know anything about Star Trek. I would actually prefer [that] people don't know the series, because I feel like they will come to it with an open mind."


I love "Lost". I enjoy some "Trek". Abrams is the man. I'm there.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End" Posters!

Yeah, ok, I wasn't the biggest fan of the 2nd film. It grows on you after watching it more and more, but even still it's hard not to look back on it and make a slightly disgusted face. However, I am a believer in redemption and I certianly am crossing my fingers that the third (and hopfully final) film will redeem the second. And if not, atleast the posters are kickass. I wouldn't mind one of these hanging on my wall.

Click on the pic if you want them bigger.

And if it does suck think about this: A) There's "Spider-Man 3" B) Can't be as bad as "Transformers" will be.

REVIEW - "Children of Men" (2006)

I've been waiting to see this movie for a long time. First, the fact Alfonso Cuaron was directing it got me excited. This was the man who directed one of the first mainstream arthouse films, "The Secret Garden", remade "A Little Princess" into a much darker and more diverse story and gave us one of the better Harry Potter films, "The Prisoner of Azkaban". That was a good enough track record to my butt in the seat! Plus Clive Owen in a trailer with one of my more favorite Sigur Ros songs didn't hurt either.

Alas, I feel a Sigur Ros song was needed in the film itself... I was disappointed by "Children of Men, but not devestated. Cuaron created one of the most horrific visions of the future since "Mad Max", only less over the top. The plot revolves around Theo, played by Owen, an x-activist (hippi) and hopless guy bumbling around in a world where women can no longer bear children. Why are women unable to give birth anymore? Don't know, but that's not the point of the film anyway. His attitude of course changes when he is shown the miracle of Kee's pregnency and begins protecting her at all costs. Now of course Kee is a foreigner and of course at this point in time all foreigners are illegal in Britian. So now Theo must find a way to get Kee to "the human project" without her or her child being harmed. Good luck buddy! Director Cuaron makes sure the audience is skeptical if she'll make it or not. The world surrounding Theo and Kee is so harsh and riddled in confusion, hatred, destruction and fear, that getting the characters through all of it seems about as likely as a baby making it across a mine field in one piece.

The movie has some of the most impressive shots I've seen in a long time. During an enormous battlefield scene the camera follows Theo down two streets and up the stairs of a building as he takes cover from gunfire, bombs and the mayhem of both soldiers and innocents running for cover. The shot lasts well over five minutes without cutting or transitioning at all and it only gets more tense.

While the world Cuaron created is an amazing, bleak depiction of the future and his technical abilities as a director far surpass that of most films these days, I was disappointed with the handling of the characters. (Especially one that got WAY too high a billing...) In Cuaron's other films, mentioned above, he emotes his characters to the audience in such a way that it's hard not to be concerned about them like they were close friends or family members. But in "Children of Men" I was concerned only if they made it through the current situation. My girlfriend pointed out that maybe this was done on purpose to evoke how hopless this future is, but part of the point in this movie is the prospect of hope returned, right? When Theo begins actually fighting for something again, we should see more of his character to care about right? It just didn't happen and on top of that the script wasn't the strongest thing in the world either. Some of the lines felt like they wanted to be smart, but came out as rather lackluster. (And on a personal note, I'm not a fan of hippies and a lot of their mannerisms, so several characters were a turn off for me in that aspect.) Despite my dislike for hippi-esque organizations, I must say it was nice to see Michael Caine do something a bit different. I'm glad a long haired, drug producing, crazy Caine wasn't taken too seriously-- He's rather comical for the most part. Seeing him straight-faced in such a role would be too painful to take seriously.

Ultimately I was hoping for more emotion and shock from this film. It's not a bad movie by any stretch and certianly worth taking a look at. Cuaron is still very talented and I look forward to his future work. Hollywood has a goldmine of talent in him alone. Use it damn it!

**1/2 out of ****