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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Predator Buzz

So the other day while I was wasting more of my life, surfing movie news sites, nerd forums and gangbang videos co-staring AIDs, I tripped over the rather shocking realization that the the next Predator movie, Predators, comes out this July. And here I was thinking it was set for a 2011 release. Currently, I'm not sure if the movie has wrapped production and is on the editing room floor. Although it wouldn't surprise me if it wasn't half-way done shooting given how Fox enjoys the most unrealistic production schedules. On the other hand Robert Rodriguez's "studio" seems to have full reign of the film. Who knows where it sits currently.

The director, with the unfortunate name of Nimrod Antal, seems to be getting some positive buzz from this production. I hope his previous works (Vacancy, Armored) aren't a reflection on what this movie is.

Staring Adrian Brody and Laurence Fishburne, I can only hope Rodriguez's hand in the script will make this the Predator film it should be. As much as I enjoyed AVP-R in a sick, "so bad, it's good" kind of way, I have no desire to revisit that type of mindlessness. I long for a Predator feature with the suspense and ambiguity John McTiernan fed us in the original. (And some messy kills fitting of an alien hunter.)

So where did my shameless surfing lead me? To some rather cool on-set pictures:

You really can't tell how good the movie is going to be from these pictures alone, but I'm enjoying the look of both the human and "yuatjaian" characters. Some fans have pointed out that if you look behind Adrian Brody, in the second photo, it features Stan Winston's original design of the creature. I think its both too far away and too blurry to make that claim, but time will tell. I really like these designs though. Come on Nimrod! No more AVP foul-ups are tolerated. Hell, these days Predator 2 seems like a worthwhile bar to hit!

Predators, in theaters July 9th. This year. (WAAH?)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lionsgate May Acquire Terminator Rights

Now that you've read the title lets assume you've asked, "For how much?" Well, apparently for the lowest common denominator. $15 million. (Halcyon was trying to sell it for $60-70 million. Ouch!) The Terminator rights aren't exactly being dogpiled by a lot of studios and my hopes of Warner Brothers acquiring it seems to be nowhere in sight. (So things are looking bleak for The Sarah Connor Chronicles.) The next in line is Summit, who is coming up in the ranks with the money they've made from the Twilight movies and a quality picture with The Hurt Locker. Despite Twilight I'd prefer Summit to grab the rights, but I have a strong feeling that's not happening.

So what say The Resistance out there? Is the studio that's given us the horrendous Saw series, Hostel, Delta Farce, the Transporter trilogy and bad documentaries really what we want for the series? And what of TSCC? Will it get a second go from Warner Brothers when the final decision is released this February?

You see that mushroom cloud? That's not Skynet. That's the franchise...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW - Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

EDIT: Synopsis fixed for the Boston-ites/hard core fans.

Oh, what a rush. The Boondock Saints doesn’t really have the greatest reputation among film critics, but I suppose the liberal media would slam movies like these. Being something of the year’s anti-Men Who Stare at Goats, I was pleased with the no holds barred approach of The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. So I’m going to side-step the educated, snob-a-thon critic bullshit this time and praise it for what it is: A movie that hangs its nuts without any intention of putting them away.

After going in to hiding, the death of a priest lures the MacManus Brothers back to Boston for more “gratuitous violence.” But it turns out to be the genesis of a much larger problem that goes back before their conception. Thus, Daddy MacManus steps in to confront his past. Among the returnees are newcomers Clifton Collins Jr. as Romeo and Julie Benz as Agent Eunice Bloom. I wasn’t too keen on their addition at first, but once the movie gets rolling you won’t want them to leave.

While the film attempts to answer some questions about the MacManus family we still get what we came for—More punishment than The Punisher could ditch out. The question of whether or not they’re doing right or wrong is never brought up again. Frankly it doesn’t need to be. Murphy and Connor are completely at piece with their job and firmly believe in destroying evil. What's important is this leads to more over-the-top action sequences, some hysterical dialogue and, yes, the return of the “fucking rope.” Add to the mix Rocco’s cameo (and his cat) which distinctly slams everything Men Who Stare at Goats stood for with, “I am so sick of all of this self help, twelve step, leftover hippie generation bullshit!” and you have a recipe for a man movie. What is a man movie you ask? Many have forgotten. Predator and Dirty Harry fit the bill, but man movies don’t quite jump at you like they use to. I blame George Lucas. I can’t think of any examples since Greedo shot first. That’s another rant for another day.

What’s important to come away with is accepting, and enjoying, how the film makes no apology for being the cinematic equivalent of a hardened assassin. It is an exercise in badassery (yup, my word again) and a non-to-subtle reminder of everything a guy wishes he would be. It spits at political correctness with a grimace and smirks while shooting bad guys. Sure there isn’t much character development, but how do you develop characters as hardened and devout as the MacManus Brothers? While the most interesting players tend to be the new kids and the talented Billy Connelly as “Il Duce” (Papa MacManus), we never lose that aspiring glance we give Connor and Murphy as they slide to their knees with two guns. Why? ‘Cause they’re just that damn cool.

I’m not here to say The Boondock Saints II is the greatest balls out action flick ever, or even of the year, but it is a satisfying sequel with no interest in social sensitivity. It doesn’t make me wonder how right or wrong their actions are like the first one, but I don’t think director Troy Duffy is too concerned with those questions here. No, this time it’s about gifting the fans and keeping The Saints true to their word. Lets top it off with a very surprising ending that begs for another sequel and the politically incorrect extermination of “evil men.” Bring back the MacManus Brothers. I’m ready for round three!

*** out of ****

Spider-Man 4 Not Happening. Reboot Launches in 2012.

Well it looks like all that tireless villain speculation for the fourth Spider-Man was just wasted bandwidth. Director Sam Raimi has left the project due to a weariness of the film's 2011 release date. Tobey Maguire has jumped ship with him. Beforehand John Malkovich had confirmed he would be the Vulture. But now there will be no Malkovich, no Vulture, no Raimi, no Maguire, NO SPIDER-MAN 4. (Just in case I couldn't make it clear enough.)

So what will happen with the Spidey franchise? Well for those hoping for the series to land in the laps of Marvel/Disney-- Keep praying. Sony still has rights to produce Spider-Man films and will be doing so in the form of a reboot. Oh. Shit. For those of you happy a sequel isn't happening, tell me, is this much better?

So instead of pushing back the Spider-Man 4 release date, Sony will be producing the reboot for a 2012 release. (They couldn't push Spidey 4 to that date? Are they really dumb enough to believe the world is ending that year or what?)

As the story goes James Vanderbilt wrote both Spider-Man 4 and a reboot script as a plan B. I suspect there were some anticipated script disagreements between the studio and Raimi. (I assume over villains.) So talks went nowhere, Raimi got fed up with Sony, not wanting a Spidey 3 repeat and now we'll get a potentially cheaper Spider-Man flick with a different director, different star and (thank Christ) no Dunst.

I can definitely say I have no excitement for this project. It feels like a cheap business move and, well... it looks like a cheap business move. After Raimi and Maguire have successfully created a recognizable and iconic universe Sony's going to reboot it? Who specifically is afraid to pay up at Sony? I think this whole "reboot" idea is getting a little out of hand. When it was done with Batman Begins it was because the franchise was in need of rescuing. Not to mention it had been close to a decade since Clooney's Bat-shit. But to abandon a successful and recent franchise like Raimi's Spider-Man is just an odd and hasty move. Green over great I guess.

But I can't totally give Sony the middle finger. No Dunst is always a plus, right?