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Saturday, September 22, 2007

AVPR (2) Poster Released

Click below to enlarge:

And I'm a little "meh" with it. I hope this isn't the only poster for the film-- It lacks the classic quality of the first film's poster and the Alien and Predator slinking around the Earth looks kind of weird. Oh well, as long as the movie is better than the first, everything will be cool.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tarantino and Porn?

One of the craziest filmmakers in the business right now has decided to go even crazier... Tarantino is thinking about an erotic film.
He says it would be, "a cool sex movie that would take place in Stockholm, with a couple of Americans visiting a couple of Swedish friends… just going out drinking, having a good time, hooking up. If I actually do an erotic movie, I’m going to have to reveal what I find sexy, what turns me on… It’s got to be kind of kinky, because that’s what’s cinematic, that’s what’s fun. Everything else is just - shagging.”
Welp. That's gross. I really have no interest in what Tarantino finds sexy. His foot fetish is enough for me and knowing him he'll probably do enough disgusting things with the camera that will prompt the MPAA to create a new rating. I won't hold my breath for this though. The man changes his mind a great deal and I wouldn't be surprised if we never heard of this again.

TRAILER - Donnie Darko's Richard Kelly is back!

Richard Kelly revealed what many thought was a less than outstanding cut of his sophmore film "Southland Tales" at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Since then Kelly has been doing a massive overhaul of the film and it will finally get a limited release this November.
With that said, take a look at the new trailer for "Southland Tales"-- Richard Kelly's second film and his first one since "Donnie Darko."

After Texas was nuked in 2005 America became a strictly enforced country, bordering martial law. Three years later an underground Marxist cult tries to take down the government by force. The story keeps coming back to action movie star Boxer Santaros (Dwayne Johnson), porn star Krysta Now (Sarah Michelle Gellar), and L.A. police officer Roland Taverner (Sean William Scott).
I'm puzzled at the really odd choice of casting for this movie, but it's kind of impressive that such mainstream actors have taken on something so different. The film looks great and appears to have a wonderful fusion of drama, comedy and science-fiction. (Great music by Moby too!) This just may be THE movie of the year-- Limited or not.
"Southland Tales" comes out November 9. Find a theater that's playing it and go!

Resident Evil 4? And without Jovovich?

It's amazing how a movie franchise that was bad from the beginning has become such a seller. Ali Larter, a co-star in the new "Resident Evil: Extinction," may be looking at a fourth "Resident Evil" in her future. Although Alice, Milla Jovovich's character from the first three films, may not be returning, the storyline is rumored to continue with Larter's character in the latest movie.
I saw the first movie, it was entertaining, but stupid. (Like all of Paul W.S. Anderson's movies.) I'm interested in seeing what happens, but I think I'll wait to watch the second and third films when it's mroe convenient for my wallet.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

TRAILER - "Alien vs. Predator - Requiem" (International Trailer)

The international trailer for "Alien vs. Predator - Requiem" has surfaced.

I got to say, I'm really, really pumped for this movie, no matter how bad it or its predecessor is. Going to be a fun Christmas!

REVIEW - "Halloween" (2007)

It’s clear that Hollywood has been running out of ideas lately. The biggest movies of the year are often sequels or remakes. Remakes have played a major role in the past, but now Hollywood has found a new obsession: The reboot. The reboot is different from a remake in the sense that it takes a whole franchise and starts over from scratch. The reboot deals with the same characters, but has a completely different storyline compared to any of its predecessors. There have been some really amazing reboots recently, including “Batman Begins,” “Superman Returns,” and “Casino Royale.” It’s clear that director Rob Zombie wanted his “Halloween” to be a reboot, but what it adds up to is a poor remake with a long prologue.

“Halloween” begins with ten-year-old Michael Myers and his bad childhood. After murdering his mother’s boyfriend, sister and sister’s boyfriend he’s sent to psychiatric care under Dr. Loomis. He spends the better part of his life there and escapes to find his baby sister, Laurie, and continue his killing spree. More or less it’s the same storyline as John Carpenter’s original film.

I’m not a fan of slasher flicks. They’re all the same and always showcase the most incompetent actors. That said, I’m a fan of John Carpenter’s original “Halloween” and even “Halloween II.” Carpenter’s 1978 film set the standard for slasher movies, but the problem is none of them have been anywhere near as decent. They have all copied “Halloween” to the point that even it gets bashed for formulating the genre. (Not that it was the first slasher movie, but it set the bar.)

So how does Rob Zombie’s “Halloween” stack up? Well the man tries desperately to bring something new the table, but it doesn’t necessarily work. The young Michael Myers doesn’t transition well to the adult version, but it’s interesting to watch the character psychoanalyzed. We find out why Michael wears a mask and why he never talks and while it’s mildly intriguing it ruins the character’s mysticism. When Michael finally breaks loose the movie transforms in to a sped up version of the first film, only with awful actors and no scares. In some ways, the goofy antics in the awful “Halloween: Resurrection” were more affective.

How does revealing Michael’s past ruin his character? First we find that Michael killed his mother’s abusive boyfriend (in a rather unintentionally hysterical scene involving duct-tape) and in some twisted way it was for his mother. As awful as his act is, there is still compassion for his mother. So the character, that is suppose to be nothing more than the embodiment of evil, now has compassion? This would work if Zombie was trying to completely reinvent the character, but the second half doesn’t follow suit. In fact it offers nothing more than your typical slasher formula. However, I’ve seen the “work print” version of this film and the ending to that version far better suits the Michael that has been developed in this movie. Instead of keeping that ending, Zombie decided to go the route we’ve seen hundreds of times and finish a movie that contradicts itself. Oh well…

The casting is kind of bizarre. The first half of the movie offers some relatively decent talent, where as the second half, which consists of Michael terrorizing a neighborhood, tortures us with some of the worst performances I’ve seen this year. Malcolm McDowell does a fine job as Dr. Loomis; contrary to popular belief he delivers a satisfactory performance. Even Daeg Faerch, who plays the 10-year-old Michael, does pretty well. But the teenagers of the second act are nearly unbearable. Scout Taylor-Compton takes over Jamie Lee Curtis’s character, Laurie Strode, and does nothing more than disgrace the character made so popular by this series. While it’s disappointing that she’s not a main character like she was in the original film, I’m glad she got less screen time.

The gratuitous decisions in this movie are very curious. Rob Zombie has an odd idea about how normal people speak and a clear obsession with trailer trash. Michael’s family is so cliché and unbelievable I couldn’t realistically grasp why he became a killer. Laurie’s adopted family, in the second act, is clearly a nicer, cleaner family, but they still talk like drill-sergeants. Cursing like crazy is apparently normal in Zombie’s world. As is sex! In this film there are three sex scenes and one rape scene—All of them are uncalled for. In fact, the majority of Michael’s prey are in the middle of having sex before he kills them. How necessary is this? Does Michael have a fetish for killing people engaging in intercourse? Whatever the reason is, it doesn’t make the scenes any scarier.

While Zombie did bring new ideas to the table, he also succeeded in ruining the impact of Michael Myers and giving us the same bad acting and poor characters we’ve seen many times before. He simply revealed too much and killed the suspense as a result. In the original “Halloween” there is a seen where Laurie (the superior Laurie, played by Jamie Lee Curtis I might add) accidentally pushes Michael’s mask off while trying to get away. Michael is so scared that his mask is off that he takes the time to put it back on while Laurie tries to flee. Why? He’s a good-looking young man, what did he have to hide? The poetry of this scene is that Michael was so scared of revealing he was human that he had to put the mask back on. Men have evil in their hearts, but they have good in them too. Michael didn’t want the good showing so he masked it…literally. This is the only secret about Michael revealed in the original film and it’s all we need to know. What Zombie did was take that concept and humanize Michael to the point where he’s not as evil and not as scary. The allegory of evil is lost and we end up having too much sympathy for a character we should hate.

*½ out of ****

TRAILER - "Beowulf"

A new, slightly more impressive trailer for "Beowulf" has been released.

I have to say I'm interested in this movie, but I'm not sure how good it'll be. Guess there's only one way to find out. See you in theaters November 16.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

REVIEW - "28 Weeks Later" (2007)

Where do I start? I’m going to assume the original poster for this movie was a big, fat dollar sign, but the producers felt that might reveal too much. I make it no secret that “28 Days Later” was not one of my favorite movies. It showed the growing talent of director Danny Boyle and introduced the world to the genius that is Cillian Murphy—But the movie mirrored too many past zombie flicks. My biggest problem was that the film felt like two movies incompetently mashed together-- Especially when the military storyline entered. However, after watching “28 Weeks Later,” I have come away realizing what a better movie its prequel was.

“28 Weeks Later” shows the British Isles slowly being reconstructed after the outbreak seen in “28 Days Later.” A safe zone has been designated for people willing to come back and start life anew. It’s controlled and monitored by the U.S. military and there are strict rules concerning where people can go.

Two siblings make it to the Isles and are reunited with their father, whom survived the outbreak twenty-eight weeks prior. Knowing their mother was one of the infected, the children sneak away to their old house to find a picture of their deceased parent—Only to find she’s still alive, still infected, but not showing any symptoms of having contracted the virus. Due to a poor decision on the father’s part, he meets with his wife and, without spoiling too much, all hell breaks loose…again.

Now I won’t deny that on paper this movie probably seemed really good, but everything that happens is so contrived and so quick that there is no time to construct a coherent narrative. I’ve heard some people call this the “Aliens” of the “28 … Later” series. If that’s true the world needs to stop making any subgenre of science fiction because we’ve sunk low! “Aliens” had relevance; it answered many questions that were left open by its predecessor, “Alien,” and maintained strong characters while amplifying the action. “28 Weeks Later,” on the other hand, has no purpose to exist. The characters range from moronic to useless and very little development occurs. Often a new character will be introduced and then dropped before anything can be done with him (or her).

Like “28 Days Later,” the sequel has a lot of similar themes, including how dangerous "normal" men are. Admittedly, this is done more smoothly than what we saw in the first film, but, at the same time, could it be more brutally obvious? Once again the military is used as a backdrop for “evil men.” It may also have a political agenda seeing as it’s the U.S. military that ends up gunning down as many civilians as infected. How original.

The characters infuriated me to no end. First we have the two siblings who sneak out of the safe zone to find their old house. I’m sorry, but do they realize why they’re not supposed to leave the safe zone? Do they understand what happened twenty-eight weeks prior? Do they know how hazardous it could be for them? And it’s all to find a picture of their mother. Genius. These two bright, young people find their mother who turns out to be infected, but has no symptoms. Why? The guess is that her blood has an immunity to the virus, but she’s still a carrier. So naturally daddy-dearest waltzes in, kisses her, and boom! Instant zombie! We have a new outbreak! (Now, how did their mother survive for 28 weeks without being eaten alive by infected? I don't know. In fact, there are many questions left unanswered by this film.) Calling these characters weak is an understatment. I don’t care about them enough to be concerned for their well-being, and those that are set up to reconcile for past sins (like the father) are instantly denied that chance.

The biggest mistake this film made was accepting the absence of Cillian Murphy. “28 Days Later” at least had characters worth caring about; why they were ditched for this sequel, I’ll never know. (Perhaps they read the script and figured they needed to bale while they could.) So we’re left with two, uninteresting children who need to get to safety because their blood may contain an anti-virus. This plot point seems futile due to the last few seconds of the film which is a welcome matt for the next sequel.

So what does “28 Weeks Later” offer? More gore, that’s for sure. Perhaps it’s a bit more coherent than the first film. Really I can’t find too many good things to say about it. It offers few thrills, no scares and a fruitless journey that could be described as a poor man’s “Lord of the Rings.” Watch out for the scene in the tunnel! As you follow what's going on through the night-vision of a sniper scope you may see flashes of "The Blair Witch Project's" cliched techniques. The scene couldn't be cornier.

“28 Days Later” was a standalone film; it’s not franchise material. Why are any sequels made? To cash in on a product’s name of course; but you expect a sequel with franchises like big-budget action flicks, comic book movies, or “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Those films have continuing storylines and character growth, but “28 Weeks Later” just provides more of the same and even less. Unfortunately, I’m afraid the ending of this film has ensured a “28 Months Later.” What could be scarier than that?

½ out of ****