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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Dragonball Z" Release Date and Casting

I'm a bit surprised as to how fast they're rushing this thing considering it's been in development hell for over five years. This is actually happening.
Goku and Piccolo have been cast for the upcoming live adaptation of "Dragonball Z."

First up is Justin Chatwin playing Goku. Chatwin is most known for his role in "The Invisible" and Tom Cruise's character's son in "War of the Worlds." He has begun training under the company 87Eleven. (responsible for the stunts in "The Matrix," "300," "Mr. & Mrs. Smith.")
I've always thought of Goku as a bit older, but seeing as they're starting from the beginning I guess it fits. Chatwin is the right age I suppose, and I can see him pulling off the juvinile aspect of Goku.

James Marsters, known best for his television roles, namely "Smallville," will be taking on the role of Piccolo. Piccolo will be the main antagonist of this film. Marsters looks spot on for the part. I can't fault the casting here.

Meanwhile, Stephen Chow ("Kung Fu Hustle") is the producer on the project. Figures, no? "Kung Fu Hustle" was the fatest homage to DBZ from the beginning.
The release date? Get this: August 15, 2008. They're rushing this thing out quite quickly. Hell, it could be huge. Fox seems excited about it. I'm going to continue crossing my fingers for this. I want it to be decent, despite my fears for it, but I'm excited regardless. Nostalgia is enough to get me cranked for this one.
Well see you there this August. Dragon, Dragon... Rock the Dragon...

Lavender Brown for Potter 6

Jessie Cave has "won" the role to play Lavender Brown, the apparent love interest of Ron Weasley in the highly anticipated Harry Potter film. I say "Won" because, apparently, and I find this hard to believe, 7,000 girls auditioned for the role. (Honestly, is Rupert Grint that good looking to all of you?)
Anyway, the top five auditioned with Grint and he got to kiss all five of them to "find the right chemistry." I'm sure Grint was in agony about that. Anywho, I don't want to make a bigger deal about that than it is, cause every other media out there is making a huge deal out of it. Jessie Cave is Lavender Brown. Don't know who she is...but I hope I've read that book by the time it comes out.

Jason Remake Gets a Dirctor

Marcus Nispel, the "genius" behind the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake, is directing the "Friday the 13th" remake. Apparently he can only do horror remakes. But how much of a remake is this? The movie is said to involve Jason and he will be wearing his iconic hocky mask in the film.
That's not so much a remake as it is a very different film. The original "Friday the 13th" did not feature Jason as the killer, it featured his mother. Furthermore, Jason didn't get his hocky mask until "Friday the 13th Part III." No doubt this is done since Jason has become such an iconic character, but like I said, this is hardly a remake. Due to the differences involved in the film I'm kind of interested, but it sounds more like selling out the franchise. We all know the only reason the remake will focus on Jason is because he's more popular and audiences expect to see him running around killing people, not his mother.
Production for the movie begins soon.

Nero's General

The villian of J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" gets a right hand man. Nero, played by Eric Bana, has a general cast in the next installment of the franchise. Clifton Collins Jr. will play the role. Collins has worked with Abrams before with "Alias." No word on the character's name yet.
Christmas, 2008.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Spock Revealed!

Zachary Quinto has dawned the ears of the legendary Starfleet, vulcan officer and some pictures of the production have leaked online. I refuse to say what source revealed them (not that I ever cite sources) simply because they made it very clear with their fat, ugly, translucent, orange, white and black logo. If you can squint past all of that obnoxiousness, you'll see Spock.

He looks fantastic to me! Perhaps not the spitting image of Leonard Nimoy, but close enough. "Star Trek" arrives in theaters Christmas Day, 2008.

Astro Boy To The Rescue!

Concept art for the CG "Astro Boy" film (based on the old hit anime) has been released. The film, slated for a 2009 release, is said to be an origin story that will aim for a "hard PG rating" have influences from Miyazaki and the Star Wars saga.
Sounds ambitious. I'm in.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

REVIEW - "American Gangster" (2007)

After seeing "30 Days of Night" and "Saw IV" I've found myself weary of the movie theater. Distracted by my misgivings for two of the worst movies of the year, I almost passed on the opportunity to see “American Gangster.” Having already given up one opportunity I decided ignoring the talents of artists like Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington was borderline stupidity. After watching the nearly three-hour event I realized it was stupidity and laziness, not fear, which persuaded me to postpone this movie for over a week. How obvious is it for me to say that it’s a good year for gang/mob movies?

Washington’s and Crowe’s characters (Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts, respectively) start the film off with two different stories and well set-up contrasts of one another. Frank Lucas was nothing but a driver for a leading crime boss, but once his mentor dies he decides to find his own way to the top. In an arousing success story, Lucas claims the American Dream with business-like prowess. His success becomes an accessory for greed that leads to his downfall. Richie Roberts, in contrast, tries to make it to the top of his work through honesty. Trying to be the best cop/detective he can, he accepts his inability to father his child and focuses on taking down the larger drug-lords of Manhattan, namely Frank Lucas.

Ridley Scott may be one of the all-time greatest film directors of the last decade. He has somehow maintained the classic atmosphere of what made Hollywood films great in the first place. He ignores the “New Hollywood” syndrome of cutting down a movie for those with short attention spans and refuses to make a vulgar movie in language and violence just for the sake of it. Everything that takes place in this film is appropriate for the situation and nothing is dumbed down for the MTV crowd.

The aforementioned audience was probably expecting Denzel and Crowe to engage in a bloody gunfight amidst the streets of Manhattan. No, the real showdown between these two actors is one of ingenuity and respect. When Crowe and Washington come face to face for the very first time in the film, the two actors dared not to show each other up, but rather utilize their characters in what I like to call an “Acting Showdown.” A good example of this can be seen between Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman in the restroom scene of “Runaway Jury.” Or perhaps Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins during the scene where Clarice tells her story of the lambs in “Silence of the Lambs.” The actors are not trying to upstage the other, but they feed off of one another’s talent. As so, Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington hold nothing back and their “coffee” scene is one of the best moments of acting I’ve seen this year.

Scott has the steady hand every director should aspire to have. Every scene in the film feels like hours of thought was put in to it and the result is like reading a finely constructed book. The movie plays out as if it’s in chapters. When the chapter feels like it’s beginning to sag, the film turns the page to the next chapter that moves the characters to a new faze of the story. And make no mistake it is an epic story.

Ridley Scott has manipulated a very complex telling on the phrase, “what goes up must come down.” I don’t know who first said that, but it applies here. Frank Lucas is something of a tragic success story. He is a strict businessman who knows how to act, knows how to dress and knows how to influence others. He doesn’t adopt the ghetto-gangster look that so many of his business adversaries have. He’s a brilliant man, but one who didn’t know to quit while he was ahead. Comparatively, Richie tries hard to play the good-cop, but this story vividly shows that “good-cop” does not equal “good person.” Richie is plagued with the curse of only knowing how to do his job superbly at all times. For example, he finds a substantial amount of money and is constantly looked down upon for turning it in instead of keeping it. On the other hand he makes dry promises to his ex-wife and son. His life is something of a tragedy as well.

What it comes down to is that nothing is perfect. Despite all the opportunities America provides a single individual, “American Gangster” solidifies the fact that every route to any sort of success has its flaws—no matter who you are. Frank is actually a more likable person than Richie, but what does that mean? Clearly nothing as Frank is the one who has brought drugs to the country, killed people and bribed all of Manhattan. Richie isn’t very social and is bad at pleasing his family, but he’s the one who works so hard to take down criminals and keep people safe. The paradox of these characters and the end result of what they’ve worked so hard to accomplish is probably the most intriguing aspect of the film.

So “American Gangster” stands very tall among the weak year of films we’ve seen fly by. I probably enjoyed “Eastern Promises” more due to its poetic nature and originality, but even though “American Gangster” isn’t altogether original it posts a benchmark for what Hollywood films should aspire to be today. It is a potentially unknown story made in to an epic character story without looking overdramatic. Sure, Ridley Scott has made far more revolutionary films in the past, but the quality of his features has not wavered.

**** out of ****

And Out of Left Field... Conan!

Click to enlarge:

I... Hrm. I basically stumbled across this and was too busy shaking my head to look up anything about it. Basically the poster says all. No one has been cast and as far as I can tell there is no director either. Production is slated to start early next year. I'm not sure how possible that is with the writer's strike going on, but we'll have to wait and see.
I hope this isn't a sign for all of Arnold's films. Lets remake "Terminator" while we're at it.

New Sweeny Poster

A new Sweeny Todd poster has surfaced. Click to enlarge:

My excitment for this one kind of goes up and down. It looks cool one day and then the next day I could care less. I hope I see it on a day it looks cool-- Or perhaps on a day where I don't care to see it might be nice so I'll have low expectations? Either way, I'll be seeing it.
On another note I guess the full title of the movie is "Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." I'll have to confirm that.
This Christmas.