This Blog Has Been Glanced at This Many Times:

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Cloverfield Monster Concept Art

Apparently the last picture, that I put up reluctantly, is concept art for the monster in Cloverfield. I've found two others that may be concept art as well. No one has questioned these at all yet and I'm still trying to find out if they're legit, but it wouldn't surprise me if they are. The design elements to each picture are similar. I really like that first one, but I'm not too keen on the other one.
The insect-like creature is suppose to be one of the smaller creatures that are attatched to the giant monster. We'll know for sure in a week at the very earliest.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bale, Depp and Michael Mann!

Christian Bale and Johnny Depp in a Michael Mann movie? This sounds too good to be true if Mann can turn out something better than his movie adaptation of "Miami Vice." The "Collateral" director has brought on board two of today's best actors for "Public Enemies."

The film is based on a true story about Federal agents hunting down American gangsters during a huge crime wave in the 1930s. Depp is said to play the crime lord John Dillilnger; Bale is rumored to play FBI agent Melvin Purvis.

The film is set for a 2009 release and already I'm excited for it. The three big names I've mentioned in this post are more than enough to sell me. I'm in.

The Cloverfield Monster Revealed for Real? (I don't know...)

Once again I'm faced with the possibility of presenting false news, but seeing as this matches the description from several reviews and this picture has been making its rounds around the internet (which, granted, means nothing) I decided to give this one a shot.
Don't kill the messenger. If it's fake, I'll make sure everyone knows its fake.
Frankly, I think it's a really cool design and much better than the last design everyone thought was the monster. For those who don't want to know what "Clover" (as named, unofficially, by the films' monster designers) looks like I recommend not going going to that link below. For those who do wish to see it, go for it. I have a feeling this could be it: The real deal.

Copy and Paste in Browser:

If this is really it, I like the design. But I'm still not 100% sure if it is.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

REVIEW - "Rescue Dawn" (2007)

Christian Bale always takes on the most interesting roles. No matter how good or bad the movie is he performs to the very edge of his abilities. Always changing his appearance, voice, and mannerisms for every character he plays. “Rescue Dawn” is pretty well made, but also a let down in some ways, yet never for Bale—He puts together a character worth watching fight against the obstacles set for him throughout the movie. As a result, “Rescue Dawn” is a strong movie about perseverance and willpower. The kind of willpower that keeps people away from insanity, away from the loss of hope, and ultimately, the willpower that keeps people alive.

Based on a true story, Bale plays U.S. pilot Lt. Dieter Dangler who gets shot down over Laos during the Vietnam War. Dangler gets dragged in to a prison camp and meets with other U.S. militants. Facing an uncertain time in imprisonment, Dangler raises the hopes of his fellow prison mates and plans a risky escape. The escape leads Dangler to call upon more determination and find rescue.

Overall the movie does an excellent job fleshing out its characters. The danger of the situation feels very real and there are plenty of edge-of-your-seat moments that wouldn’t seem thrilling in any other movie. Director Warner Herzog invested a lot of time in making the surroundings as real as possible. It pays off and the entire prison chapter proves to be the best section of the film.

The characters Dangler must contend with in prison are quite versatile and rather realistic considering what they have been through. Steve Zahn plays Duane Martin, a man who grows close to Dangler and begins feeding off his energy and enthusiasm for escape—Despite his weakened state and slow decline in to hopelessness. The most interesting prisoner Dangler meets is, ironically, the person historians know the least about. Jeremy Davis plays the insane Gene McBroom, a man so out of touch with reality that he continues to believe rescue will come “any day now.” (He’s been there for well over a year.) Gene is against the idea of escaping and, as a result, proves to be a rather irritating obstacle for Dangler and Martin.

While I consider the prison scenes fantastic, the long journey after his escape isn’t nearly as inspiring. It has its moments though. The encounter with Vietnamese citizens was a scarier moment than most horror movies in their entirety. It simply felt that after so much time was spent uplifting the prisoners, the following scenes were a downer. Yes, this was probably intentional seeing as the characters weren’t (literally) out of the woods yet. But I felt that the travel through the jungle simply lasted too long. On the other hand the escape was a great climax and after that it was hard for the movie regain speed.

Regardless of its rather exhausting flaws “Rescue Dawn” can be a really encouraging movie at times. Other times it can be quite depressing. And then sometimes, you just want it to end. In any case Christian Bale is fun to watch, as usual, and the attention to detail this movie offers is something to be admired. No, it’s not quite the masterpiece I thought it would be, but in one in of the most brain dead summers for filmmaking it stands out pretty well.

*** out of ****

"Wolfman" Goes in to Production Soon

The long planned "Wolfman" remake is finally going in to production on Feb. 8. (My birthday.) The movie stars Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins. Mark Romanek will be directing. Here's an early photo testing out the make-up for Del Toro:

The movie is slated for a 2009 release date, so it seems Romanek is given the tim he needs to make this a fine tuned flick. I'm obviously not geared up for it now, and it seems like a rather obscure remake to do right now, but perhaps the future yeild more excitment for this movie.

REVIEW - "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" (2007)

From everything I had heard about this movie, I was expecting a rather bland, poorly made little flick. Expectations mean a lot though. “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” won’t win any awards, but I found it to be the great movie for the holiday season. It was fun, friendly and one of the few movies an entire family can actually enjoy.

Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) is back, this time taking the same team from the first movie to prove his ancestor’s innocence in the assassination of President Lincoln. The absurd goose chase leads him to various parts of the world concerning historical monuments and artifacts. This all takes place while he ends up being pursued by fellow treasure hunters and the United States government for “kidnapping” the President.

Subplots include trouble in paradise, as Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) has kicked out our beloved hero, Ben’s father (Jon Voight) finds a way to reconcile with his ex-wife (Helen Mirren) and Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) looks for a little recognition. Throw in Ed Harris as the not-so-antagonistic antagonist and you have one star-studded movie. But is it any good?

Most complaints about the “National Treasure” sequel have been pretty predictable, and they’re more or less right. It is historically inaccurate, absurd and it offers a lot of what we remember in the first movie. Yet isn’t that why we see this movie? It’s not suppose to be high art, it’s suppose to be a fun family film and, as one, it passes with flying colors. Meanwhile, the entire cast delivers solid performances and keeps the movie fun.

Once again, this movie is probably a history teacher’s worst nightmare, but why is that a flaw? Films have rearranged world history hundreds of times in order to suit its needs; even the most implausible stories have become legendary movies. The Indiana Jones movies come to mind! Granted the “National Treasure” movies aren’t anywhere near the quality of the Indiana Jones flicks, but they have both committed the same “crime.”

I also commend this movie for not winking at the audience with inside jokes from the previous film. It seems many sequels these days enjoy paying “homage” to their predecessors. While this isn’t a bad thing, and can certainly be really cool, it also is an overused tactic. Why do sequels spend so much time uttering lines from prequels just for audience reaction? I often have no problem with it, but I’ve recently felt it’s a technique that has been exhausted. The Wibberleys stay away from such methods and throw in new jokes and fresh lines to entertain the audience. Much of it works well.

“National Treasure: Book of Secrets” isn’t a movie that will change lives, but it is one that will be fun to share with your closest family. In an age where family films are sparse, cliché and just plain bad, it’s good to have one that parents and children can agree on. I’ll probably eat my words for this once the new Indiana Jones movie gets released, but for right now “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” is the perfect family adventure movie and was great for the holidays. Cage has mentioned the hope of doing a third and I truly welcome it.

*** out of ****

More Iron Man Images

Yet even more, cool Iron Man photos are up. Take a look and click each to enlarge:

With just a few months away, I'm growing more excited about this. Bring it on.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

REVIEW - "No Country for Old Men" (2007)

The two films I’m reviewing back-to-back have absolutely nothing in common, (this and “Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem”) but I felt it was important to review them together. As a blogger, and fan, I am not bound by the rules of a paid critic, so I can say what I actually feel about the movies. As a lover and student of film, however, I have an innate understanding of the good, the bad and the ugly. That said, I want to move on with the review and I’ll explain why this paragraph was necessary by the end of the “Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem” review.

“No Country for Old Men” is one of those “good” that I mentioned. So good it’s great. The Coen Brothers have always shown a powerful deal of talent and strong narrative in their movies, but they hit one out of the park with this film. Whereas “Eastern Promises” is like English literature with western influences, “No Country for Old Men” is more akin to American literature with early European influences-- And lots of it too. “No Country for Old Men” plays out like a Christopher Marlowe play or other Elizabethan tragedies. Its art lies in the thriving of evil throughout the movie, and the supreme torture of any character remotely resembling good. This leaves a sort of beautiful, real-life inconsistency that seems to represent an apocalyptic outcome. It begs us to question aspects of reality that many people will find disturbing.

Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) is a sadistic killer on the hunt for his money that has been taken by local hick, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin). Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) gets involved in the situation and watches the events unfold days after they have happened. As Anton continues a killing spree for his money, Bell, looking at retirement, watches the case with a poetic understanding of everything gone wrong in the world.

I don’t know what persuaded the Coen Brothers to create such a different movie, but the result is masterful and, albeit, very hard for audiences to “get.” The last twenty minutes of the film may leave people wondering, “Why did that just happen?” “Does that make any descriptive sense?” It’s hard to talk about this movie without spoiling it, so for those who have yet to see it skip to the next paragraph. Anton is the absolute of evil-- Of death. Such a force can be beaten, tricked, won against and you can even get lucky against it—Kind of like in a coin toss. Yet it always, always survives to destroy something another day. The last twenty minutes of the film is a narrative of reality. The characters thought it was going to end one way, the audience thought it was going to end that same way, but it didn’t. That’s because the same force that Anton represents is found everywhere—And it caught Llewelyn.

Tommy Lee Jones plays a character similar to that of Morgan Freeman’s in “Seven.” He represents the knowledge and purity of this world—The opposite of Anton. As such, he cannot be destroyed either, even when in close contact with the opposing force, but he can, and often is, weary of the evil, the death and the battles. His monologue at the end of the film, recalling dreams he had, might be a lot for audiences to take in before the screen cuts to the end title cards. Even the most intelligent film critics and historians are baffled and continue to converse about the ending’s relevance. I personally believe Bell’s dream is a longing for a peaceful world he wishes to create, but he can’t. He is an old man who failed to help anyone, thus there is “no country” for him. I think it’s the perfect ending. It solidifies Bell’s relevance to the story and it was ultimately where the entire movie was going all along.

While Tommy Lee Jones delivers a masterful performance, it’s Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh that will creep audiences out of their skin. His ruthlessness is undeniable and his presence onscreen is more menacing than any slasher villain I can recall in recent years. His initial “coin toss” is one of the most edge of your seat, psychological freak out moments of the film. The entire idea, while sick, is perfect for the character and Bardem handles it without fault.

While my initial reaction to the movie wasn’t so positive, I’ve had plenty of time to think about it. (It’s part of the reason why it has taken so long for me to get a review up.) Ultimately, this film does away with the common Hollywood film traits and, like many French films, mocks the classic Hollywood style with its unusual plotline. This only enhances the film’s study in reality and its evils. Dark, but witty; cunning, but hits you hard—This is the Coen Brothers at their best.

**** out of ****

REVIEW - "Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem" (2007)

So after reviewing an incredible movie, how appropriate is it to review a bad one? The Alien and Predator franchises were once respectable. Ridley Scott directed the original “Alien,” which has been dubbed by many as “the scariest movie ever made.” “Aliens” was a legendary follow up by James Cameron and “Predator,” while not quite up to the same bar as the early Alien movies, was an action movie masterpiece by director John McTiernan. (A man who has recently become a hack, but was once quite reputable.) Now we reach the second film pitting these monsters against each other. Yes, the first one was bad, but what do you expect? This is about two alien monsters fighting each other, not poetic studies on the different aspects of life. No, “Alien vs. Predator” was about two legendary movie monsters duking it out. The sequel, “Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem,” does very little to hide this fact.

The movie picks up where the first movie left off. The dead body of the previous Predator, Scar, lies onboard the Predator ship and “pop!” An Alien bursts out of his chest. The Alien grows, attacks and the ship crashes in Colorado. Afterwards a whole plethora of bad actors congregate to survive the Alien infestation. Meanwhile, a lone Predator agent, “Wolf,” comes to Earth and tries to clean up the infestation.

For those of you who thought the storyline wasn’t bad enough there’s also a lot of stereotypical teenage bullying among high school characters that look old enough to be my own father. The dialog is as laughable as it gets and it doesn’t help that the actors seem to be inexperienced at, well… acting. There are often awkward pauses among the actors that look as if they’re trying to remember lines. I guess if I had lines like the exchanges between Ricky and Jesse I’d pause to reflect on how awful the script is too.

But wait. Why was I there to see the movie? Ah yes, to see a Predator kick Alien ass. Well, to say the very least, the movie delivers there. It’s a shame several shots are so jerky and quickly edited-- It’s hard to tell what’s happening sometimes. Most of the time we’re able to see who’s winning against whom though.

The Strause Brothers aren’t much of directors, but they are very talented visual artists. If there is one aspect in this film that is done without fault it is the look of the movie. The Strause siblings are able to capture the visual atmosphere of the Aliens far better than Paul W.S. Anderson did in the first AVP. That’s saying a lot considering the Aliens are out of their element in this movie—Running amok buildings, houses and trees. The Predator is far more impressive as well. Wolf may be the most interesting Predator since the original one that fought the governor of California. His arsenal of weapons is very cool and watching him go on a killing spree for these creatures is too much fun.

The movie also seems to enjoy playing off scenes from previous Alien and Predator films. Wolf comes to Earth the same way the original Predator did. The Aliens ambush National Guard soldiers via a similar scene in “Aliens.” The dramatic escape scene at the end of the film is almost identical to the one in “Aliens” as well. While all of this is a cool homage, and admittedly I grinned at these inclusions, shouldn’t the film stand on it’s own? Perhaps the Strause Brothers are only capable of copying what has already been done. Or maybe they thought it would be a cool treat for the fans. If it was the latter they should heed the word “overkill.”

So the big question: Is “Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem” better than “Alien vs. Predator?” Hard to tell. Perhaps “Alien vs. Predator” is a more creative flick, but “Requiem” is a better Alien and Predator movie. It just feels closer to the roots of these franchises. Plus it’s a lot more fun. Many people will scoff at this rather amateur attempt at a movie, but fans, like myself, will probably view it as a guilty pleasure. So bad it’s good, but bad to be sure.

*½ out of ****


So why is it important I review “No Country for Old Men” and “Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem” together? No, it has nothing to do with the fact they’re directed by different sets of brothers. The fact is I initially enjoyed “Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem” more than “No Country for Old Men.” (That probably wouldn’t be the case if I watched them back-to-back right now though.) I had a great time and a lot of fun with my friends watching aliens and predators fight it out with bad acting and poor writing. Regardless of my feelings for that movie, it’s still pretty bad.

As a blogger I think it’s important to note that I really like that movie. However, as a student who respects film, it’s also important for me to state that “No Country for Old Men” is a much more artistic, aesthetic piece that requires my attention and deeper study. The more I look in to it, the more I love it. (In fact, just thinking about it makes me love it more.) There seems to be confusion between what is “good” and what you personally enjoy. Yes, personal enjoyment is part of it, but is AVP-R really better than the Coen Brothers movie? Certainly not. Sure, anyone can think that, but my critical opinion is that “No Country for Old Men” is one of the best movies this year and that “Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem” is probably among the worst. But I’m not paid to write reviews, so honesty is revealed: I enjoy both movies greatly. And I certainly hope there are people with a broad enough taste and love for movies that can enjoy both as well.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Happy Birthday to My Blog

GMAN's Movie Blog is now a full year old. It's been a fun little ride so far, I hope to continue what I do and continue posting things I enjoy in film. Hope anyone who comes here has found it usful in some form as well.
Happy one year Birthday to it.

Raimi Drags You to "Hell"

"Spider-Man" trilogy director will be returning to his "Evil Dead"- esque roots and direct a horror movie entitled "Drag Me to Hell." The movie is a thrill concerning a character who becomes "cursed," rather than gifted, with some great power. (Gift. Curse. Didn't we take a look in to what power was with "Spider-Man?" Anywho...)

What does this mean for the "Spider-Man" franchise? Is Raimi still in the running for "The Hobbit" now? Probably not seeing as it's a high priority for New Line and Jackson wants to get it to the fans as fast as possible.

Carrey and McGregor Go Gay

Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor have signed on to the dark comedy "I Love You Phillip Morris. The movie is inspired by true events concerning Steven Russell. The connman ended up in a texas prison a fell for his cellmate. (Phillip Morris) Carrey will play Russell and McGregor will play Morris. (That sounds about right.)

The film is set for an early 2009 release. Carrey is currently filming "A Christmas Carol," directed by Robert Zemeckis. But after that he goes gay. This sounds too funny to pass up from where I'm sitting.

Batman "Hyper" Figure

I decided to post this up as it gives everyone a good idea as to what Batman's new armor will be like. The Batman figure in the new suit will be seeing in "The Dark Knight" appears to be dubbed "Batman Hyper." (Wouldn't "Hyper Batman" sound better?) Anyway, here's a look at the figure in its box. The shoulder pads are a bit... I don't know... I keep flipping back and forth on how I feel about the suit.

And the New Bond Girl Actually is...

It looks like Olga Kurylenko will be the real "Bond Girl" in the next 07 installment. The previously reported gal, Gemma Arterton, will be playing another M16 agent in the film. Kurylenko will be the womanized victim this go around. I still think Eva Green is better looking... I know... I know... I did see the end of "Casino Royal."

Monday, January 7, 2008

New Bond 22 Photos

Some nice set photos have jumped online from "Bond 22." Click to enlarge: