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Saturday, March 15, 2008

REVIEW - "Vantage Point" (2008)

“Vantage Point” is another one of those movies that most people will either love or hate. The fact I’m on the fence about this movie is probably due to a few things: I waited a long time for it. It has a great cast. And the movie I saw before this was “Strange Wilderness.” (So at this point watching Paris Hilton’s online blog for 10 hours would’ve been more satisfying.) No, I can’t quite call “Vantage Point” a good movie, but it can be somewhat enjoyable if you get past how overly elaborate it is.

“Vantage Point” couldn’t be a more appropriate title. The event of President Ashton’s assassination at a peace rally in Spain is told from the point-of-view of eight different people. A few of these include Secret Service Agent Thomas Barns (Dennis Quaid), a lovable tourist (Forrest Witaker), and a news coverage director (Sigourney Weaver). As a result, the same events are played over and over, but new facts are revealed each time.

As infuriating as it got to see the events rewind every ten to twelve minutes, it was easy enough to get involved with the new character’s point-of-view. Yes something new and surprising was introduced with every character’s “vantage point,” and as fun as it was to be surprised, it was equally as ridiculous to swallow.

Most of the big glaring questions I have about the movie are spoilers, and I try to stay away from those as much as possible. Yet it occurs to me that a lot of the answers in this movie simply bring on more questions. And, unlike an episode of “Lost,” we won’t get any further answers because the movie actually does end. (Although, there are times it feels like it won’t.)

On a more positive note the acting was pretty solid. Dennis Quaid looks great in anything he does. He plays the most interesting character and gets involved with the biggest twist at the end. Matthew Fox, star of “Lost,” does a fantastic job at branching out of his Jack character he’s so use to playing, and Forrest Witaker, I’m convinced, can do just about anything. Is there a role he won’t give 100% to? Witaker’s character was far from realistic, but he made the role lovable enough for audiences to accept. I was certainly convinced.

By the end of the movie we are fed a poorly edited chase scene that came as a relief after seeing the same events get played on screen so many times. During the absurd car chase everything begins to come together and all the different stories come to an end. Cliché? You bet, but the movie has to end somewhere.

Once the melodramatic ending lead in to the credits my roommate turned to me, ever so astutely, and realized, “They just fed us twenty minutes worth of story in an hour and a half of film.” He was right. Each story would end after a bomb exploding at the peace summit and then rewind for the next character. That took roughly anywhere between ten to fifteen minutes, depending on the character. Then the chase scene at the end of the film took around ten minutes. I suppose the biggest thing to get past is believing all of this happened in an amazingly short time span. “Vantage Point” would have probably worked better as a television series.

I can’t recommend “Vantage Point” to a great number of people because it’s just too convoluted, too frustrating and too hard to accept. It can be fun, but it’s as unrealistic as a political movie gets. There was also a lot of wasted talent put in to this production. While it’s certainly watchable, I can’t help but hope for better in Quaid’s and Fox’s future. Best if viewed after “Strange Wilderness.” (Which I absolutely don’t recommend.)

** out of ****

New "Punisher: War Zone" Stills

Fresh from the new "Punisher: War Zone" site. Bleh... Bring back Thomas Jane. This guy isn't cutting it for me. (Then again that's what I said about Daniel Craig for Bond.)
Still not liking how the movie is shaping up though. For those who are, however, click to enlarge:

Three Hundred and One Spartans?

Producer Mark Canton has given some not too subtle hints, during a recent interview for "The Spiderwick Chronicles," that a sequel to "300" may be in the works.

Here's part of the exclusive interview from SOSHollywood:

Is a new 300 a reality? Should we expect to meet you again on a press junket for that?
(Another gigantic smile)
Wouldn’t it be nice to do that again with Zack (Snyder).

So you’re going for it, right?
I just said “wouldn’t it be nice?”. But I’d love to. (and he winked). Budgets are really a problem to approve these days. (Another smile and left the room).

If that isn't enough, sources within Warner Brothers are claiming that a "300" sequel is ready and waiting to go in to production.

If this is true, I wonder what would happen next and if it's necessary? I loved "300" and found it to be one of the most entertaining and powerful action gems of last year. Does such a story need a sequel though. I suppose it wouldn't be as bad as making a sequel to "Gladiator," but I simply don't see a sequel holding up well without Butler as King Leonidas. Frank Miller's graphic novel doesn't span anywhere after the end presented in "300" and though there is more history to the Greco-Persian war, lets face it, history isn't why we go to see "300."

I'm on the fence for this one. I don't like the idea of a sequel, but I'm also curious to see where they take it. Time, as always, will tell.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Robocop Gets Rebuilt...

MGM recently told the press about the "exciting" catalog of movies coming our way in the future. Of course they mention "Quantum of Solace" first, but we already knew about Bond's new adventure. Then they mention the forever-in-development-hell (or at least it seems like it) "Thomas Crown Affair." And then blips on the radar like "The Outer Limits" and "The Pink Panther 2" were mentioned. I couldn't care less.

But here's the kicker. MGM also mentioned a new "Robocop" movie. And with all the remakes going on these days, I don't think they're talking about a sequel to the miserable third movie from 1993.

As a young Padawan, my mother, an avid fan of all things film, once said to me that they should try to remake bad movies because there's something to at least make better. (I use to agree, but seeing as bad movies do get remade I'm left unimpressed. "Rollerball" was awful the first time, but did anyone check out the remake? Yikes!)

Some might put "Robocop" in the bad movie category and believe a remake is suitable for such a film. While I admit it's not Shakespeare, I think "Robocop" is a great satiric, cult movie that has earned its right to be remembered fondly in film history. That said, (you know it's coming) a remake sounds like an awful idea to me. I simply don't care to see the story remade. It was told well the first time and its left its mark. The only thing a remake can provide is greater special effects. (I can already see the CGI leaking from the screen to create Robocop.)

Let it be, I say. But as I've discovered, big studios don't listen to blogs run by tired college students that about three people visit. Ah well. Maybe one day.

Metal Gear Solid Gets a Writer?

This is still uncertain, but it seems that the Metal Gear Solid movie is starting to become closer to reality. At the premiere for "21," Producer Michael De Luca dropped some hints that Kurt Wimmer (director and writer of "Equilibrium") will be handling the writing for a live action adaptation of "Metal Gear Solid."

Apparently, awhile back, when "Equilibrium" came out, video game fans were clamoring for Wimmer to both write and direct a movie based on some video game. That wish may come true. Producer De Luca will have a meeting with Wimmer in a few weeks about writing the script. No word on who's directing or if it will be Wimmer.

Now while "Equilibrium" is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I like Wimmer enough for that alone, I want to direct everyone's attention to the "but..." in the room. Does anyone remember "Ultraviolet?" Yeah, well, Kurt Wimmer did that too. 'Nuff said. If Wimmer writes I'm sure the script will be just fine, but if he does end up directing I hope the talent he displayed for "Equilibrium" comes back in full force, as the "Metal Gear Solid" is easily my favorite video game series. I can already here the outrage from this series' enormous fan base if this movies sucks.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2

Looks like Warner Brothers and crew have made up their minds and the final Harry Potter book will be split in to two movies. The titles of the films will simply be:

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"

The release dates planned are November 2010 and May 2011, respectively. Apparently J.K. gave producer David Heyman her blessing of good luck and is quite alright with the final book being split in to two films. David Yates will also be returning to direct the final film(s) due to his popularity with the cast and crew. That's fine with me. "Order of the Phoenix" was the best one of the lot and a major relief after the lacking fourth movie.

I'm not sure how I feel about this anymore. At first I didn't mind, but my significant other, who is a huge fan of both the book and movies series, thinks its rather pointless. "Order of the Phoenix" was the longest book, why wasn't that split in to two movies? Money you say? Well according to David Heyman the decision to split the final film in to two movies is "purely for creative purposes." Then how do you explain this? quote:

"The question will be, where do you break it?" says Heyman, "And how do you make them one but two separate and distinct stories? Do you break it with a moment of suspense or one of resolution? These are the interesting challenges. But each book has presented its challenges."

I have a better question, if you don't know where you're going to split the book, don't know how to make both movies in to their own stories, and don't know how to break the moment of suspense and gain resolution, then what "is" the creative purpose behind splitting the book in to two movies? If there isn't a problem with telling the entire story with one movie, but there is a problem telling it in two movies, why bother? Sounds like this "creative purpose" stuff is a load of crap to ease the hearts and minds of fans. I feel such a move could in fact be disastrous. (But the pay off will be nice for WB.)

TRAILER - Incredible Hulk

Well "The Incredible Hulk" trailer has finally been released. Is it cool? I'll let you be the judge. I wasn't blown away by it or anything. In fact, after seeing the trailer my feelings toward the movie is pretty much still the same. Edward Norton is always a plus and the special effects look a great deal better than what we saw in Ang Lee's "Hulk."

I can't help but fear this "reboot" will be no better, if not worse. We'll see.

Let me know if the link goes down and I'll put up another.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

TRAILER - Wall-E (Final Trailer)

The "final" Wall-E trailer has surfaced. I can't help but laugh at how cute and quirky this movie looks. Pixar may really have something here. I haven't been this excited for a Pixar film in awhile. Lets hope it lives up to the hype:

This June.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Singer Returns to "The Man of Steel"

Bryan Singer, the much applauded director behind the first two X-Men films and the recent "Superman Returns" is confirmed to be directing "Superman: Man of Steel."

The sequel to "Superman Returns" will seek out new writers, however, because Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris have left the project. Rumor has it that "Star Trek" and "Transformers" scribes Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman will be on board to write the Superman sequel.

Still not sure how I feel about those writers, but the fact that Singer is on board gives me nothing but relief. I hope this means the project will move ahead real soon.

Monday, March 10, 2008

TRAILER (kinda) - "Some" Hulk Footage

When commercials for commercials begin appearing, I think we can accuse someone of overhype. But seeing as we've seen next to nothing from the new Hulk movie I'll let it fly. MTV will have the "trailer premiere" this Wednesday, 9:56 est. (How ridiculous is that?) However I'm sure about 5 minutes after it's aired you can go online and find it for example.

Anyway, here's the preview of the preview. It doesn't show much, but seeing as there's so little "Incredible Hulk" stuff out there, I thought it was worth putting up:

In theaters June 27.

Poll Results - Do You Agree "No Country for Old Men" is the Best Picture of 2008?

The latest poll was in reference to the Oscars, but seeing as only nine people voted I guess most people didn't watch it. Surprise, surprise. (Either that or the majority of the people who visit my blog have not seen most of the movies the Oscars nominated. I can't believe more than nine people visit this place though. Hmm.)

Here's the results:

Yup! - 7 - 77%
No! - 2 - 22%

AVP3 on the Way

I am and am not surprised by this news. While I greatly enjoyed both of the AVP movies they're more of a guilty pleasure and I'll be the first to admit... They suck. Plus the second film seemed to be hated more than the first by general audiences and critics. (Not to mention poor box office receipts.)

On the other hand I think Fox has been aiming for an AVP trilogy from the start. So here we go again. The aliens and predators will do battle at least one last time and Fox better pull out all the stops if they want it to: a) do well and b) be liked. Is third time a charm here? Often no, but we'll see. Most fans want to see an alien and predator battle in space, or a futuristic setting, and I hope that's what they go for.

No mention of the Strause Brothers returning or when pre-production will begin. (If it hasn't already.)

New "Dark Knight" Pictures

Seems like it's been awhile since anything "Dark Knight" has surfaced. The pictures aren't anything too exciting, but it's something. Nolan's Batman can't come soon enough! Click to enlarge:

"The Dark Knight" returns to the big screen July 18.

TRAILER - Righteous Kill

While I'm anxious to see this movie, I'm not 100% sold on it. I'm not expecting an Oscar caliber movie, but if it hits the same bar as, oh, lets say... Michael Mann's "Collateral," then I'll be satisfied. But, for me, that's still a really high bar to hit. ("Collateral" is one of my favorite films.) And I expect a lot from a script that calls to reunite De Niro and Pacino.

The trailer looks cool enough-- About what I expected. I just hope it lives up to its cast and slick'n'suave feel as presented in the trailer.

TRAILER(S) - Speed Racer (International Trailers)

Two new, and very cool, international trailers have been released for the Wachowski Brother's "Speed Racer." While it looks like one of those movies you either love or hate I think "Transformers" should take note. The look of this film really feels like an animated cartoon gone live action.

Nothing is "adapted" exactly, it simply looks like the TV show was turned in to reality. The colors, the animated flare, the costumes-- They all look surreal in a live action environment and they should! Animation takes action to make reality more exciting. One can argue that it works better in animation and it should stay there, but I think basing as much detail on an animated world alone is a wonderful idea and I hope the Wachowskis pull it off. Here's the trailers:

And how badass is Matthew Fox?

Speed races to theaters May 9.

EDIT - WB has decided to be shits and pull off most of the trailers. I'll try to find other links for anyone who's interested.

"Max Payne" Goes Forward

A few months ago it was revealed that Mark Wahlberg will be playing the title character of the video game adaptation of "Max Payne." Since that announcement everything has been so quiet that I was wondering if the movie was going to be made. Perhaps I just haven't been paying attention. The here is the crew line-up:

John Moore ("Behind Enemy Lines," "The Omen") is directing based on a script by unknown Beau Thorne. Mila Kunis will play opposite of Wahlberg.

John Moore is not an exceptional director, but he can make some fun, mildly respectable flicks. The problem is, who remembers any of them? "Behind Enemy Lines" was probably his best thing. "Flight of the Phoenix" was pretty entertaining. "The Omen?" Meh.

I often trust Wahlberg's choices in scripts so I'll give it a chance. Not that all the movies he's been in have been great. ("Planet of the Apes" anyone? And "Four Brothers" is likable, but it felt like it should have been more.)

"Max Payne" is currently in the middle of filming and will be released in theaters this October.

It's a Long Raimi "Hell"

Justin Long has been cast in Sam Raimi's next film, "Drag Me To Hell." Alison Lohman replaced Ellen Page as the lead actress when Page decided to bale out at last minute.

After seeing Long in "Live Free or Die hard," I've "longed" to see him do more than just really, really, really bad Happy Madison comedies. ("Strange Wilderness") The mac guy has some talent in him, he just needs to go other places to let it out. While a supernatural Sam Raimi feature may seem too typical of a role for a young actor who mostly plays teen parts and is often in bad comedies, I have hope that Long will be more than cannon fodder in the "long run." (Okay, I'll stop.)

Anyway, production begins at the end of march.

Indiana Jones 4 New Poster

In keeping with the traditional look of the past Indiana Jones posters, the new "Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" poster has that grand, romantic and adventurous aesthetic to it. Very classy poster and a lot more fun than the past two posters that have been released for the film. Click to enlarge:

Man, oh man, I can not wait for May 22!

"Bourne" to Go on a Fourth Adventure?

Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass ("The Bourne Supremacy," "The Bourne Ultimatum") were recently asked about the future of the "Bourne" series.

Matt Damon seemed enthusiastic about the future:

"We’ve just kind of been amused by the whole thing," said Matt Damon about rumors of a fourth film. "I think it’s one of these stories that has a life of it’s own. Not that we’re against it, we’re all for doing a fourth movie but it means coming up with a good story. There are a lot of things that would have to happen before we would sign up for it."

Paul Greengrass seemed surprised when Damon basically admitted he'd be up for another:

"He says yes? It’s news to me. I think the truth is that it’s a very well loved franchise, but we’re in the process of trying to work out what kind of film you could make. If there is one, what would it be? How it could go? Without any pressure; without any commitment to it, but everybody loved the franchise. We love it, but none of us would want to go again unless we’re sure there’s a worthwhile film and that could take some time. You don’t want to do that when you feel like you’ve got to make it and none of us need to, so that’s where we are."

So I guess another "Bourne" flick is a little ways off and I don't think anyone's jumping at getting another one done right now. But the fact that there's this much buzz about it leaves me hopeful.