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Friday, February 22, 2008

Weaving Hunts the Wolfman

One of my more favorite actors has signed on to star in the upcoming "Wolfman" film staring Benicio del Toro and Anthony Hopkins. Weaving will play Detective Aberline.

Despite the unexpected departure of the original director, Mark Romanek, production has not slowed and director Joe Johnston is prepped to direct the remake. The film begins production next month with an early 2009 release.

The Wolverine Cast Expands

Dominic Monaghan ("Lost," "Lord of the Rings") has joined the slowly becoming insane cast for "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." He be playing the character Barnell Bohusk, a.k.a. "Beak." Along with him is Daniel Henney playing Agent Zero.

Suddenly my excitment for this movie is becoming fear. If I wanted "X-Men 4" I would like to have additions to the original cast rather than a total overhaul. As it stands (and I left out a character or two the last time I reported on this film) here's the cast of characters:

Hugh Jackman - Wolverine
Danny Huston - William Stryker
Liev Schreiber - Sabretooth (why not Tyler Mane?)
Ryan Reynolds - Deadpool
Taylor Kitsch - Gambit
Dominic Monaghan - Beak
Daniel Henney - Agent Zero

And some others I didn't know about:

Will.I.Am - Kestrel
Lynn Collins - Silver Fox

And of course the rumored:

The Blob

Thick cast of characters for a "solo" X-Men character movie. I guess the real point of these "X-Men Origin" movies is really to fit in characters that weren't in the previous films without paying Patrick Stewart, Halle Barry and Ian McKellen the cost of four actors each. Not liking how this is looking.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

David Fincher Dives in to the "Black Hole"

It would could quite possibly be the most disturbing movie ever made, David Fincher has signed on to direct "Black Hole." In 2006 a script Neil Gaiman ("Beowulf") and Roger Avery ("Pulp Fiction," "Resevoir Dogs," "Rules of Attraction") were set to write a script based on a graphic novel called "Black Hole" by Charles Burns.

"Black Hole" takes place in the 1970s and is about a group of teens that contract an STD known as "the Bug." This STD causes bizzare deformities and physical mutations. These deformities turn them in to outcasts that end up finding peace at "The Pit," a place in the woods outside their home town.

No word on whether or not this is Fincher's next movie, but it sounds like the perfect film for him to direct. I'm very excited for Fincher's "Black Hole."

In the meantime, David Fincher's next movie, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," is due late 2008.

DiCaprio and "Akira"

Two decades ago, "Akira," the critcally acclaimed anime movie, turned the world of animation upside down and quickly became regarded as one of the greatest animated films of all time. I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone thought of the "brilliant" idea of making a live action movie based on it. At least there's some real talent backing it.

Leonardo DiCaprio is producing and is rumored to star in two movies covering the "Akira" saga. Word is that the film will be based more on the manga (Japanese comic book) than the movie because it offers enough material to span over two flicks.

Oscar winning, Irish short film director Ruairi Robinson is set to direct. The first film is slated for summer 2009.

"Toy Story 3-D" Reveals Its Story

Though it's a very short synopsis, it gives audiences an idea of what to expect from the next Toy Story. In the new three dimensional adventure, Andy, the owner of Woody and Buzz, leaves for college. As a result of his absence the toys are dropped off at a day-care center and... That's it. It's more of a setup than a plotline, but you get the idea.

So Andy is all "growed up" as they say. I'm not sure what to think of that because the point of the last two movies was how the toys make Andy so happy. It gave them a reason to catch the moving truck so dramatically. It gave them a reason to risk all that airplane absurdity. Now what do they have? (Or maybe that's the question they'll end up asking themselves.)

"Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" made people love toys again; I know I do! The idea of Andy dumping his "pals" after they went through so much to keep him happy is rather sad, but I suppose it was nothing that "Toy Story 2" didn't hint at all ready. Ah, well, I'd rather see another "Toy Story" movie than any more of this "Cars" nonsense.

Gambit and Dead Pool Take on Wolverine

Looks like Wolverine has a plethora of villians to take on in the X-Men spinoff "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."

Ryan Reynolds ("Definitely, Maybe," "Blade Trinity," "Waiting") will be playing Deadpool. A character I'm largely unfamiliar with. Apparently, like Wolverine, Deadpool is the product of the Weapon X program and is a highly talented mercenary.

Next up, Gambit will finally be making his appearence in the live action X-Men saga played by unknown Taylor Kitsch. The guy doesn't have much of a resume, but he apparently fits the part.

Gambit has been a highly anticipated character for the movie series since the very first "X-Men." Fans will no doubt piss themselves over this news alone-- but wait. There's more! Kitsch has signed a three picture deal to play the character. So whatever the X-Men franchise brings to audiences in the future, the possibility of Gambit returning will still be there.

To add on, The Blob is also rumored to be in the film. Though this isn't confirmed, that would stack a possible four villians against Wolverine: William Stryker, Gambit, Deadpool and The Blob. This makes me nervous because most superhero movies suffer from having so many villians. On the other hand the X-Men films have always had a large cast of heroes and villians; but this isn't suppose to be "X-Men" is it? It's suppose to be "Wolverine." As it stands the movie sounds more like "X-Men 4" without the characters from the previous films than a Wolverine-centric tale. I hope director Gavin Hood knows what he's doing.

Yates Could Exit Potter?

Though this isn't confirmed I thought it was worth throwing out there. David Yates, director of fifth and sixth Harry Potter movies, might be preparing for the final one. It was planned that he originally would be moving on to direct an adaptation of "The Giver," but Lois Lowry has posted the following on her blog:

"Bad news from The Giver Movie front. David Yates, the director currently working on the next Harry Potter film, was supposed to begin The Giver film next. But he has just decided he wants to do the final Harry Potter first, thereby postponing The Giver by several years. Maybe the opening of this film could be held simultaneously with my celebration-of-life service after I succumb to old age? Or the producers will decide to get a different director. Stand by. But without holding your breath."

As much as I like Yates and the fifth Harry Potter flick, this series has become well known for switching up directors in order to keep things fresh. I have no problem with him directing it, but if Alfonso Cuaron, or even Guillermo del Toro, are free, go for it.

I suppose what it will come down to is how good the sixth film is. If Yates impresses me again, let him have the final Harry Potter film! (Although a "Giver" film does sound interesting.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Best and the Worst Movies on Love

Romantic films are hard for me to call “good” at times. Far too often are they classified as romantic when in actuality they’re nothing more than a bunch run-of-the-mill chick flicks with the same cliché ending that’s expected of all of them. Such a formula has made the classic romances age horribly and given our culture a false look at what love should be. Now, as the song suggests, I’m not here to tell you what love is, but I am going to provide a list of GOOD love stories to boost your intellect.

Granted, they’re overlooked, but the mainstream audience doesn’t want love stories facing reality. They want love stories that work on paper, but could lead to divorce in real world. Thus, I provide my post-Valentine’s Day list of the five best films, concerning the now superfluous subject of love I’ve ever seen:

Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal – An anime film? Really? Really. “Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal” does more than just borderline an NC-17 rating with animated violence. The characters may very well be the most believable couple in a romantic relationship. Himura Kenshin is a samurai assassin in Japan during the late 1800s. His sad and violent life is finally given rest in the form of his first wife Tamoe. But not all is as it seems. Any synopsis I can give this movie really won’t do it justice, but rest assured, the portrayal of love is stronger than 95% of the live action, “romantic” American drek released every year.

A Beautiful Mind – Russell Crowe delivers his greatest performance as mathematic genius John Nash and his decent in to madness. The beauty of this story is not an easy-going romantic tale. Nash’s wife, Alicia, nearly goes insane herself staying with Nash. Her own life even ends up at stake. There are crucial points in the movie where you can tell there isn’t much love between Nash and Alicia. There’s even a point where she nearly leaves him. (In reality she did.., but came back.) The hardships of their relationship are a far truer look at love than most movies portray. There are moments where they can’t stand each other, but they stay together. They work through the difficult times and in the end it pays off. But it’s a painful journey. None of this, “you make me feel amazing 100% of the time, every day,” crap.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – I want to note that I think “A Beautiful Mind” is an overall better film, but this one probably portrays the essence of love better. In this film Jim Carrey plays Joel Barish, a man who falls in love with Clementine Kruczynski. Though they’re drawn to each other, their radically different personalities end up being the cause of their break up. Too hurt by the memories of one another, they find a doctor capable of erasing the memories of each other. Joel decides to do this but soon finds he wants to keep his memories—It’s too late though. However, the two meet up again, remembering what happened due to a specific twist of events, and decide to continue their relationship despite their differences. This is important because it seems all too often couples in reality don’t want to work through their problems. People get too caught up in the emotion of a moment that they forget about the actions that make love significant. “Spotless Mind” is an excellent reminder of trying against the odds, even more so than “A Beautiful Mind.”

Juno – Though not specifically a romantic film, the themes in “Juno” are some of the most important pieces of information any film has given on the subject. In a world where everyone she knows is breaking apart, Juno ponders if two people can stay together forever. Can love really conquer? Realizing that it is possible to stay with a single person forever, it is also very hard. “Juno” takes time to remind the audience that divorce is possible, but if a couple is committed to each other even in the worst scenarios, it is very possible to remain as one. Don’t look for the guy that makes you feel good, instead, as Juno’s father suggests, “the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person will still think the sun shines out your ass. That's the kind of person that's worth sticking with.”

The Fountain – The beautiful tale of love spanning over thousands of years. Or simply a love so powerful that it could span over thousands of years? Either way I’ve never experienced a movie so great that in transcends the theatrical and moves in to the spiritual. Probably the most underrated film in history, and easily one of cinema’s greatest, my favorite film shows Hugh Jackman in his greatest performance. Becoming the character Tom, instead of simply acting as him, we watch a man so in love with his wife that he will go as far as to cure life’s end and transcend time and space to do it. The emotion this film provides is so genuine and so powerful that many people just don’t get it. I however am constantly overwhelmed by its pristine power and can only urge others to marvel at its intense story of love in both life and death.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, what about the 5 “worst?” Granted, there’s probably worse out there, (or at least more bad chick flicks circulating bargain bins) but these strike me as the bottom of the barrel. This is going to be fun kids. Get ready for the 5 worst chick flicks:

Dirty Dancing – Patrick Swayze plays a dance teacher who falls in love with a very talented student. Typical drama follows with the worst, most cliché ending the movie could possibly have come down to. All flash and no substance; “Dirty Dancing” isn’t even dirty. It’s just bad.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days – The epitome of bad new millennium chick flicks. Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson embarrass themselves in this movie that’s so by the numbers and predictable you could fall asleep in the middle hour of the film and not miss anything. Naturally, there’s a final scene with the guy chasing down the girl before she leaves on an airplane followed by the obligatory, mind-numbingly bad speech of how she makes him feel. So you want this girl just because she makes you feel good? Well that’s rather selfish. The movie would have been better had McConaughey actually been “lost.” Otherwise it feels like it goes on for ten days.

The Wedding Planner – McConaughey knows how to pick’em! “J-Lo” stars as his love interest this time, and sat, watching this catastrophe, laughing harder than I did when I saw “Hot Fuzz.” With what is quite possibly the worst romantic script ever written, I find myself losing brain cells watching J-Lo attempt to act while McConaughey considers whether or not he wants to be with his bride-to-be or a wedding planner. Tough call!

The Notebook – The most overrated and despicable “love story” of my generation. This glorified chick flick has all the ingredients for getting naïve, teen girls to cry and has even tricked the male gender to think it has some cinematic worth. I will not fault the acting, but the story is designed to paint a picture of love that is false, melodramatic and, ultimately, a failure. When the story has to use typical, overdramatic plot devices to spice up the emotion it loses sight of what true love is really about. I wonder how many divorces this movie has caused?

Sleepless in Seattle – This is, without a doubt, the most ridiculous, far-fetched chick flick in history. Tom Hanks plays a recently widowed man with a son that uses a radio talk show to find him a new gal. “Aw! That’s so sweet.” Sweet would be if his son looked back on the memories of his mother at all. In the meantime the film flips back and forth from Hanks and his soon-to-be love interest, Meg Ryan who lives across the country. The two never interact at all and only see each another by the very end of the film thus we giving us the age old “love at first sight” cliché and a host of poorly constructed scenes. Cute right? “Rambo: First Blood Part II” was a better love story.

So there you have it. The good, the ugly and the super ugly. I hope the next time you sit down to watch a romantic film, or a movie simply dealing with the concept of love, you choose wisely. Happy belated Valentine’s Day.