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Saturday, February 10, 2007

New Harry Potter Pics

I don't have much time to post them, but Newsweek has some new Harry Potter pics. You can see the five of them at this link, copy and paste:
Not much to them, but it's something. Enjoy Mary!

Star Wars: Beating a Dead Horse

Time to let it go Lucas... Although I can't see him doing anything else worthwhile. Associated Press reported Lucas is going to bring great support to the "Star Wars" series in the next several years. Next there will be a Star Wars animated series of sorts and supposedly in 2009 we'll be getting a live-action Star Wars television sereis...supposedly. I'm not too surprised by this really, but I don't know what more needs to be told in this series. Perhaps if one of these series centered around Vader hunting down the remainign Jedi it'd be kind of cool. But it seems like Lucas just won't let go of this fantasy. At some point people are going to get sick of it.
What really blew my mind are vague reports of another Star Wars DVD release. I don't know how much truth is behind this because everywhere I look it's just more and more speculation. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. I frankly don't and am not going to spend energy on the subject when i know there are already a couple different versions of these DVDs floating around. First the overpriced boxsets, then the lower price box set without the extra disc and then all of them sold seperate with both the original and special edition cuts included. What more can you do?
It just amazes me, he finishes the story like he wants, we get really poor prequels, (yes, Episode 3 was poor) rereleases of the original series on different levels, a cartoon mini-series leading up to Episode 3 and it's still not enough. He's got to milk it further. Why? man...what do rich people strive for...what DO people with lots of money want more of-- Oh! Oh! That's right, more money. Silly me.
Well, more on that when I start caring.

Set Release Dates for '08

The new "Incredible Hulk" movie (which apparently has no relation to Ang Lee's bore-fest staring Shrek on steroids) is set for a June 13, 2008 release. Mean while del Toro's "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army" is going for an August 1, 2008 release.
Meanwhile "The Dark Knight" faces "competition" from "Mamma Mia!" (Look it up...I'm not worried for Batman) on July, 18 2008.
Good to know these guys plan ahead so hundreds of movie goers and fanboys can mark their calenders for over a year.

Friday, February 9, 2007

The "Cover-Up": "Ghost Rider" Apparently Sucks?

Don't you love this age where we can tell when a studio is really nervous about a movie? It starts becoming a bit too obvious when we see promotions for it everywhere and the studio is very cautious about revealing it to critics. Normally when this happens it means the movie, more than likely, blows. Rewind to 1998 when the atrocious American "Godzilla" (GINO) came out. Promotions were everywhere. As it got closer and closer to the time of the film's release commercials were seen on almost every channel, on every program’s break. Taco Bell had the infamous "Here lizard, lizard..." campaign. Bus signs and building drops saying, "His foot is as long as this bus" or "He's as tall as this building” were all over the place. Super Bowl Ads. New Year Ads. Name it and this awful movie had it! What did it amount too? Nothing, it flopped. Well here we are again, 2007, and not a lot has changed. You can always tell when a movie is probably going to suck because you start seeing television commercials for it non-stop and each one is different. Film studios do this when they feel they have a flop on their hands. The last few weeks before their potential flop is released they will dish out another million or so dollars to fill the minds of people and get them curious enough. "Ghost Rider" has fallen in to this hell and it makes me wonder, if it didn't work for "Godzilla" almost a decade ago, why would it work now?

I've watched a lot of TV this week thanks to "24" and the remarkable return of "Lost" and often while I'm working I'll have it on for atmosphere. The one preview I remember constantly coming on was "Ghost Rider". Now, since this is from the director of the atrocious "Daredevil" (Mark S. Johnson) I already figured this movie was going to be horrid. But after noticing all the previews for the movie I started thinking, "Wow. This thing must be REALLY bad." Sony Pictures has been pulling out the stops for "Ghost Rider" and not just with television commercials but billboard ads as well. A commercial with some insurance company tie in has aired enough times to make me giggle. What does insurance have to do with "Ghost Rider"? Is it from all the fires his motorcycle causes?

The argument against this is that lots of previews don't always mean the production company is scared. For example some movies will release "exclusive" footage with a television program due to all the hype. "Spider-Man 2" did this mostly to appeal to fans before it was released and the third movie has already done this. So is the attitude toward “Ghost Rider” fear or hype? Well, for starters hype doesn't normally spend too much time and money on tie-ins with other products or companies. If the "hyped" films are tied in with something it normally isn't advertised much. "Ghost Rider", on the other hand, wanted people to know it was tied in with an insurance company. Meanwhile, "Spider-Man 3" is tied in with Fruit Rollups and the only reason I knew that is because I went to Wal-Mart.

Furthermore, Sony Pictures is not screening "Ghost Rider" for critics. For those who don't know, screenings are events shown only for critics and they happen a week, sometimes more, before a film is released. This is done so critics have a chance to write an article on the film before it's released and tell people whether it’s a hit or miss. Normally studios don't allow screenings when they think it will receive a lot of bad reviews and hurt the film's performance at the box-office. Not many people will heed to a critics' warnings though. Many people, including myself, will read that a film has received generally negative reviews and still go see it. But if a film studio won't even screen the movie, it must be a real catastrophe.

This is common with big budget films. A company lays down the money to make a movie, they go a direction they think would be favorable and stick with it in hopes it will work. But if they see the final product and think they spent a great deal of money on crap, they'll do everything they can to cover it up and get as many butts in to the theatre to see the film before word gets out. Of course, I don't know what possessed Sony to use Mark S. Johnson for this movie. The best-case scenario is the movie might actually do well and the studio might use him again. But unless that happens Sony is probably not going to be in favor of Johnson doing any more projects anytime soon-- And that's something I'm in favor of as well.

UPDATE: A reader had informed me that it is apparently being screened this Thursday. However that means the Friday edition reviews will probably be rather sparse. One has to wonder why it's being screened so late though. Perhaps late post-production delays. (Which is absurd since the movie was suppose to be out last year.) And why so many sources say the film is not being screened is in question as well. Overall I can't say it boads well for the film as a whole. This whole miscommunication is awfully muddled in negativity that's for sure. And one more thing, I've seen, at the very least, 6 ads on television for this movie since I posted this. Kind of funny in any case.

Disney News: Hand Drawn Animation and Toy Story 3

Looks like Disney is going to go back to some old ways of doing things. They're going to try and make hand drawn animation popular again with an unconfirmed roster of new movies.
On top of that, "Toy Story 3" has been announced for a 2009 release, but John Lasseter, the director of the first two, will not be directing it. Instead he's handing the project over to co-director Lee Unkrich of "Toy Story 2". "Monster's Inc." and "Finding Nemo". Tim Allen and Tom Hanks will be returning to voice Buzz and Woody. Michael Ardnt ("Little Miss Sunshine") will be writing the script.
Well i hope Disney succeeds in bring back hand drawn animation. It's an art I still greatly respect, but it seems its been left in favor of the new CG animation, which is a darn shame really. On the other hand a lot of Disney's last few hand drawn films were pretty poor. Remember the days of "The Lion King", "Aladdin" and the Academy Award nominated "Beauty and the Beast"? Disney's animated films have not been up to the calibar of films like those since then. If they want to bring back hand drawn animation, they're going to need something as big as those. Otherwise the most we'll see of hand drawn animation is on television series.
As for "Toy Story 3", I loved the first too and welcome another. Hopfully the change in director won't hurt too much.

Sony Pictures Puts the GEAR to the METAL Baby!

It has been confirmed that Sony Pictures will bring Hideo Kojima's video game masterpiece, "Metal Gear Solid" to the big screen. The adaptation will be produced by Michael De Luca (producer of the Rush Hour and Blade movies and "American History X") and will team up with Hideo Kojima as Executive Producer on the project. Very vague info, but atleast we know it's happening. The movie has been rumored for awhile and Kojima had been saying he was trying to find the right company for it.
Now for those of you think, "but....almost all the video game movie adaptations have sucked." Play "Metal Gear Solid", any of them! The games are basiclly movies anyway, you're watching it just as often as you're playing it. The Metal Gear mythos is meant for the screen and is far easier to adapt than the painful "Super Mario Bros." movie. I can't wait!
Nothing is concrete as far as casting goes, but the name being thrown around for Snake with Kojima and Luca is Hugh Jackman.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Superhero Villians Designs Unite!

CG designs for villians in upcoming Marvel films have been released.

Dr. Doom gets a facelift for "The Fantastic 4" film.

"New" Goblin, as Harry's being called....dumb costume, but it is growing on me...kinda...

And here we are! It looks more and more like the picture of the toy design I posted a while back was inaccurate and we'll be getting a much better and respectable design. It's great to see the white logo on his chest! Found it hard to look at Venom without it. Furthermore that ridiculous stitching in the suit that was shown on the toy is gone. (Why would there be stitching in symbiotic goop?) Cross your fingers that this is the design.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

"The Departed" Sequel and Prequel

I'm going to get this out before I force my fingers to type this. You don't make sequels to movies like this, you don't make sequels to movies like this, you don't make sequels to movies like this, you don't make sequels to movies like this, you don't make sequels to movies like this, you don't make sequels to movies like this, you don't make sequels to movies like this. While I'm at it, a prequel probably shouldn't be made either, but for some reason I can tolerate that more.
In any case it seems like the rumors are true. Mark Wahlberg, who is now an Academy Award nominee for "The Departed", talked to Empire Online recently and said he was asked to reprise his same role "The Departed" prequel and sequel. Here's what he said:

"They told me they wanted to try to do it and I said, 'Well, I enjoyed playing the character'," he continued, "They're talking about bringing in De Niro to play a senator or a congressman. You know, the corruption obviously going deeper and higher up the ranks — reaching up the political chain. So it'll be fun. And if it's a success, they're gonna do a prequel and bring everyone back... make it a trilogy."

Finally he said writer William Monahan is working on the script to a sequel and filming should start somewhere at the end of this year. Unless Scorsese has one hell of an ace up his sleeve (two actually) I find this to be a bad idea. On the other hand IF the next two films are anywhere as good as "The Departed" I will eat my words and declare Scorsese a pulp-storytelling genius. It has a lot of potential, I admit, but it just doesn't seem like this movie needs a sequel at all! They should ask me about these things before they do them, you know?

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Indiana Jones 4 Release Date

May 22, 2008, Indiana Jones will ride again. Paramount just recently announced the fourth installment in the franchise will be released Memorial Day. It'll be battling that weekend with Warner Bros. "Speed Racer" film, which is also being released Memorial Day. What do you bet "Speed" pulls out? Indy 4...I can't believe this is happening...

Monday, February 5, 2007

Narnia Starts Filming Next Week

"The Chronicals of Narnia: Prince Caspian", begins production next week. Director Andrew Adamson and Producer Mark Johnson are really excited about their casting choice for Prince Caspian who is, apparently, a very talented, British stage actor named Ben Barnes. Meanwhile, even though filming starts really soon, casting for King Miraz is still in the works.
For guys excited about their choice for Prince Caspian, they sure act like they care less about King Miraz...whoever the hell he is... Oh well, I'm sure it will be fine, but starting a film before everyone's even cast yet? I'm sure it's happened before, but it seems like they're rushing in to things here.

"The Flash" Director

Shawn Levy, director of the recent "Night at the Museum" will director Warner Bros. new "Flash" movie.
Originally writer David Goyer (writer of "Batman Begins") was set to write and direct the film, but left recently, probably over creative differences with the studio.
Levy has confirmed he has no intention of making the film a comedy, but is aiming for something lighter hearted than "Superman Returns" and "Batman Begins".
Sounds like Goyer was going for a much darker approach and wasn't going to be allowed to do what he wants with the franchise. This is sad. I think Warner Bros. wants to cash in on a superhero that much wider audiences can accept, much like Sony and Marvel's "Spider-Man" franchies. I really wish Goyer was still helming the film, I mean, "Night at the Museum? Come on! Goyer is a comic book specialist. He was a writer gifted with putting a superhero on screen and he gets the boot for a guy who directs a kiddie comedy with Ben Stiller? Ok, i have yet to see "Night at the Museum", but still, Goyer should be allowed to do what he wants with "The Flash". Poor decision...

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Li in Mummy 3? And a Working Title?

I don't normally post rumors, but from what I can tell this is close to confirmed. Apparently Jet Li will be appearing in the new Mummy film which has the tenative title of, "Mummy: Curse of the Dragon" Is Li the new Mummy? More later. And if this is false, shoot me.

Narnia News: "The Prince of Caspian"

Bob Beltz was recently asked by Infuzed Magazine what the status was for the new Narnia film. He said it's underway and the movie is sticking quite close to the book. Andrew Adams will be directing again and much of the same cast and crew from the first film will be returning. Although I find this hard to swallow, he stated that everything that was in the book will be in the film. Anyone want to take him up on that?
He stressed that he doesn't think this will be the case for all of them, because these people don't want to be spending the rest of their lives on just one series. But anyone who's kept up with the "Harry Potter" films knows a change in crew is inevitable. Although they have no choice for the next two. After "Prince of Caspian" is 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader". Beltz says that all the kids look the same for the most part, with the exception of Skanday Keynes, who plays Edmund. Apparently he's really shot up and he's not suppose to look as old as he does right now for the next film. "The big challenge is going to be Edmund I think." He continues, "We're going to try and film the next two ["Caspian" and "Voyage"] in a way that it won't have to be two and a half years between them. We'll be able to bring them out sequentially a year apart. In theory, what we'll do is as soon as they are done filming 'Caspian' and into post-production, then we'll have a new crew to do the filming part of 'Dawn Treader.' Then when that one goes into post-production, we're hoping to go into 'The Silver Chair,' which would be the next book into production."
Pretty good plan, a good way to keep the crew's focus on one film rather than filmming two at a time like so many franchise do these days. The film is schedualed to be out May 16, 2008. While "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" wasn't my favorite movie, it was enjoyable and very well made. I am certainly anxious to see the next film in this series. Looks good.

"Spider-Man 3" "First Look" Clip

"First Look" has released a clip from "Spider-Man 3" with a few new shots from the film and some quick words from director Sam Raimi and the cast. It's a pretty nice clip, worth checking out.

Roman Polanski to Exterminate "Pompeii"

Roman Polanski, the Academy Award winning director of "The Pianist" and the masterpiece "Chinatown", will direct a film that depicts the destruction of the city of Pompeii. The city was destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
The story is told following the character Marcus Attilius who is an engineer working to repair the aqueduct that brings water to the people who live on the Bay of Naples. Attilius must eventually fight both the corrupt Roman rulers of Pompeii and the time bomb of nature.
Oh this sounds good! Polanski is an amazing filmmaker. He's had his downs, but his masterpieces far outweigh them. "Pompeii" seems like an excellent film for him to do. Pre-Production begins this summer.

New Shrek 3 Trailer

Yet a new trailer for "Shrek the Third" has been released. It's a lot funnier than the first one. I look forward to it.

"Ghostbusters III"? Animated?

It's funny cause the other day I was talking about how Bill Murray needs to stop making these hideously boring indie films of his and go back to what made him...oh..."good". I jokingly said he needs to do "Ghostbusters III", apparently God took me seriously. Or maybe he found "Lost In Translation" just as bad. I don't know.
In any case, Dan Aykroyd was quoted saying that a "Ghostbusters III" was in the works and was going to be completely CGI animated. He and Bill Murray are attatched to voice their respective characters from the first two movies. No word on if the others will return or not quite yet.
As odd as this sounds, I'm ok with it. As long as its not kiddied down and maintains the humor of the first two movies, I'll be ok. Yeah...I know...They'll probably kiddie it down. It's worth crossing my fingers over though.

Extended Spider-Man 2 DVD

April 17, one of the greatest, highly acclaimed superhero films of all time will be re-released as "Spider-Man 2.1". The new DVD release will include 8 minutes of new footage, including extended fight sequences. It will also contain footage from "Spider-Man 3". Genius marketing ploy since "Spider-Man 3" comes out just a few weeks after this. I might just pick this one up...