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Friday, September 28, 2007

TRAILER - Ryuhei Kitamura's First American Film: Midnight Meat Train

One of my favorite, over-the-top directors is close to finishing his first American film-- A horror flick based on one of Clive Barker's short stories. The trailer has just been released.

Normally, I wouldn't think twice about not going to see a movie like this. It just doesn't look like something I'd enjoy or find scary. (Rumor has it, it's one of the goriest films ever made. While Kitamura has always had a fair share of gore in his films, it's always been over-the-top. Here's to hoping his lack of realism will take over-- Cause gore isn't scary... it's just gross.)
At the same time Clive Barker is a creative genius. His first two "Hellraiser" movies were actually a very good blend of fantasy and horror. Meanwhile, Kitamura brought me gems such as "Versus," "Alive," "Aragami" and others. I have yet to dislike a movie of his and he's enough to get my butt in the theaters to see this movie. "Midnight Meat Train" comes out 2008.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"X-Files 2" to Begin Shooting in December?

According to David Duchovny, yes. The X-Files lead said in an interview recently that shooting in December may be happening.

"...the script is written and as far as I know we’re all trying to shoot in December at some point." Says Duchovny, "We would all love it if we could keep it a secret and just give everybody a fresh experience of not knowing what the movie’s about. I know if I was a fan of the show I would kind of be excited to be surprised.”

Rumors have been flying that the movie might be a stand alone epic, set apart from the television series. Others say it's a direct continuation of the final episode. Guess we'll know soon enough.

"Terminator 4" in 2009?

Looks like the legal stuff has been sorted out. "Terminator 4" is heading to pre-production in the coming months and is said to be released in 2009. The fourth film in the legendary sci-fi series is said to launch a new trilogy, following the war against the machines. No word if Nick Stahl or Claire Danes will be reprising their roles.
Why? Why? And again, why? I was hoping the legal trouble surrounding this project would hold off this film long enough for no one to be interested, but aparently they're serious about getting this made. Apparently John Conner and spouse won't be the main characters this time around, but are in the script. Meanwhile, The Governator won't be the lead terminator, but is rumored to make a cameo. We'll see. They should have let James Cameron's masterpiece be as it were after the second film. Clearly I'm not happy about this whole, "new trilogy" thing. I try to convince myself that the first two films are the only ones that exist anyway. "Erk!"

Monday, September 24, 2007

Polanski Flees Pompeii

Roman Polanski was signed on to do an epic film highlighting the events of Mt. Vesuvius's eruption and the destruction of Pompeii. Well Polanski asked to get out of the film for fear that it would not be finished before the Hollywood strike this spring.
The strike is putting off a lot of filmmakers right now. 2009 may be a dull year for mainstream moviegoers if crew members keep getting scared. (On the other hand, it might be the best thing to ever happen to Hollywood. Less movies and lower budgets might call for more resourcful thinking. That couldn't hurt... or could it?)

Michael Bay's Options: "Transformers", "Persia", "2012"

The chances for "Transformers 2" seem to be dwindling, at least as far as Michael Bay directing is concerned. Paramount wants to have "Transformers 2" out by 2009. However, rumors are flying that Bay might take the job for "2012: The War of the Souls." (Based on a sci-fi novel.) Previously we've heard rumors that Bay might combine forces with Jerry Bruckheimer, once again, to do the video game adaptation of "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time."
Bay has already said he might drop the "Transformers" sequel to do another film before the Hollywood strike. I think "Prince of Persia" is unlikely, but it has been confirmed that Bay is interested in "2012."
If he does it I think Paramount should go ahead with "Transformers 2" without him. Get a better director.

Justice League To Start Filming

Warner Brothers is far more committed to this than I thought. Apparently auditions were recently held for "Justice League" and production will start in Sydney this February! The shoot will last for three to four months.
I'm guessing they aren't too concerned about the strike. I'd expect "Justice League" in 2009 at the earliest.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

REVIEW - "Dragon Wars" (2007)

I walked in to “Dragon Wars” knowing exactly what I was getting in too. The fact remains that it had giant monsters and impressive looking special effects so I went to see it. It was as bad as I thought it would be, but much more entertaining than I expected. Non-the-less, “Dragon Wars” is nothing more than a Saturday night, Sci-Fi Original Motion Picture movie with a bigger budget and more action.

Our “hero” of the film, Ethan, discovers he’s the reincarnated version of a Korean warrior destined to protect a young girl with the power to turn a serpent in to a dragon. (He discovers this as a child, and his reincarnated master tells him this and proves it with a scar on his arm he got hundreds of years ago. This, of course, makes no sense because he’s reincarnated and doesn’t have the same body.) Ethan finds Sarah, the reincarnated girl that holds the dragon power, and protects her from the evil Buraki and his followers. Buraki is an evil serpent that wants the power for itself, but the power is meant for Imoogi, the good serpent chosen by the heavens to become a dragon.

Honestly, I liked the storyline. The fantastical elements to it would have made for a good movie. Instead, director Hyung-rae Shim tried to make this the most typical, Hollywood blockbuster he could. Here’s the results: Bad American actors plague this film with a fiery dose of horrid lines. There are comical scenes that want to be funny so badly, but instead the unintentionally funny scenes are what made me laugh. The human “drama” in this film was so painful to sit through that my head began hurting. “Dragon Wars” tried to be emotional, heart-felt, pulse pounding and suspenseful, but it fails in all aspects.

Shim has a weird idea of how America works or how people react in general. There are many little things in this film that are so laughable, I felt bad laughing after awhile. A few examples: Ethan’s master, Jack, floating in mid-air, meditating. Why? Sarah goes to the police station, after Jack rescued her from rapists, to tell the officers about Jack. Why? He saved her? Where did Buraki get all the human followers? How did the large, slow moving monsters get rocket launchers on their backs? How is it Ethan and Sarah can outrun Buraki on foot, but can barely outrun him in a car? When Buraki attacks Ethan and Sarah in the psychotherapist’s house why doesn’t the therapist run out with them? No one knows why a town is mysteriously destroyed at the beginning of the film—How in the world do you miss a 200 meter long, giant snake?

Absurdity aside, the special effects were mildly impressive and the fights were pretty fun. Shim’s last monster movie, “Yonggary,” offered some awful CGI and was only able to make it to the Sci-Fi Channel for American viewing. “Dragon Wars” is a huge step up for the Korean effects department. Unlike “Yonggary,” and most Sci-Fi Channel films, the battle scenes in this movie are plentiful and satisfying. When Sci-Fi Channel pits two monsters against each other, they normally only have the budget to keep them fighting for a minute and forty seconds. ”Dragon Wars” spends the better part of its second half showcasing explosions and monster action. The L.A. battle was fantastic. Dragons and choppers are slamming in to each other, monsters and tanks are exploding, buildings and debris are being tossed around in Buraki’s wake—It was a lot of fun. The following final battle between Buraki and Imoogi is a lot of fun as well. It’s everything Sci-Fi’s “Boa vs. Python” wanted to be and you could actually tell what was going on, unlike “Transformers.” Some of the sets are hokey looking, but overall, Korea’s special effects are closing in on ours.

Here’s my biggest problem with “Dragon Wars.” This is the second Korean monster movie released to American theaters this year. The first was “The Host,” a highly superior movie that was nearly perfect in every way. The problem is “The Host” got a limited release and was not as action heavy as “Dragon Wars.” Because “Dragon Wars” looks more mainstream, it got the wide release—So people are going to leave this movie believing this is how all of Korea’s films are like. It’s frustrating because this isn’t true. “The Host” was better than most of the Hollywood films that have premiered this year. “Dragon Wars” was horrible and Shim wants to cater to an international audience by making dreck. If he stuck to making films for his own country and the world saw more movies like “The Host,” perhaps his home would no longer be labeled as a joke to the foreign film industry.

* out of ****

Transformers 2 in 2009? Maybe?

Right now Paramount is eyeing 2009 for "Transformers 2." Michael Bay has signed on to do it, but he might ditch it for a pre-strike film. This is a very curious move. If the strike happens making a movie like "Transformers 2" might be considered suicide for Paramount. If they go ahead with it and aren't finished before the strike, this movie might be held up in the middle of its creation for awhile-- Among a number of other possibilities.
No word on when it will go in to pre-production, but I find it interesting that the current plan is for a 2009 release.