Mar 29, 2011

Deathly Hallows Part 2: Teaser Poster

Egad! It's all over the interwebs! In a very likely bid to boost what will already be a bajillion in DVD sales of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I on April 15, Warner Bros. are pulling out the big guns and releasing a teaser poster for Part II. Who cares what the dang reason is? Feast your eyes on this right here:

Rights sold to Gaiman's American Gods

Nerds everywhere, rejoice! Fans of Neil Gaiman who haven't read American Gods, perhaps his most famous novel, can now get cracking with the knowledge they probably won't have to wait a decade for the film. Or will you? Empire reports on the news and speculates about the lucky filmmaker in question (Gaiman is keeping quiet on the who). Given the length and scope of the novel, it seems as though the helmer would likely be someone who is always keen to research and immerse themselves in the world and mythologies. That said, fingers bloody crossed it's not Baz Luhrmann, what with his playing coy on details for The Great Gatsby, even though the Bazmark web site was displaying a pic of Carey Mulligan as Daisy coupled with an announcement on her casting for quite some time. While Empire mentions Peter Jackson and Ron Howard as possibilities (though undoubtedly too busy with other commitments), there aren't that many cinematographer-directors that still get behind the camera. We're going to throw in Tarantino in for the wildcard on this one, but we're more inclined to go with Empire's Danny Boyle speculation.

Are you excited to see Shadow on the big screen?

Mar 23, 2011

Review: Red Riding Hood

Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Release Date: 24 March 2011
Runtime: 100 mins
In all honesty, Red Riding Hood is far worse than Hardwicke's previous effort, that of the sparkly vampires, Twilight; the latter was plagued with emotion whereas the former lacks anything resembling real emotion. Amanda Seyfried's lines from the classic story Red Riding Hood are worked into the script so awkwardly, we'd guess she's about 24 hours away from being turned into an internet meme.

It's a travesty of rather epic proportions that British film veteran and unquestionable talent, Gary Oldman, has so little meat to sink his teeth into. A fine actor, even when presented with fantasy-themed films (remember his turn in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which many believe is the best Potter film to date?), his lines delivered still have a special presence, just not the lasting effect we're used to.

Writer David Johnson, with only one previous feature script under his belt (Orphans) and future release Wrath of the Titans because what major flop Clash of the Titans really needed was a sequel has done a pretty pitiful job. We'd definitely slip someone a crisp $20 note to get a look at the treatment and first draft of the script. It seems a shame that Hardwicke, a filmmaker with a keen eye for the visually arresting, was put in charge of this flabby Hollywood cash in. The settings are frequently beautiful and the tones oscillate between deep grey,  wintery white, warm amber, and of course the bright, tomato red of little red's cape. 

In interviews in the lead up to release, Hardwicke remarked that Seyfried looks like a fairytale character. Well sure, but she also looks like a stunned, very pretty mullet for much of the film. Her attempt at conveying terror and grief when she discovers her sister has died in an attack from the wolf is cold and unconvincing. Newcomer Max Irons (yes, son of Jeremy) may have a solid grip on the most honest portrayal of any character in the film, but it's still a role lacking depth. Put someone in a small glass box 3 feet by 4 feet and they're still going to be working within that confined space. Shiloh Fernandez has a fruity name and a handsome face, but lacks the charm and dare we say acting skills of his contemporaries such as Shia Le Beouf and even Robert Pattinson.

There are literally shades of Twilight here, but this film feels as flimsy and makeshift as the high school theatre production backdrop it seems to have been modelled around. The project shouldn't have been allowed to come to fruition with that script and those actors. Shame shame shame on you Leonardo DiCaprio, producer. Cavorting less and visiting the set more may have convinced you that this was an extremely bad idea, or allowed you to step in and show them how it's done.


Mar 22, 2011

Arrrrrrgh: Trailer News

Hear ye, hear ye! The trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has now swung its way online via a large tree vine, Tarzan-style, while Depp swigs whisky from a Vegemite jar. At least, that's what would have went down if our script had been accepted.  If you're wondering, we also would have called it Pirates of Brisvegas: I Lost My Wallet at the Normanby and Depp would have worn thongs (read: flip flops) for the entire film.

Damn those studios and their hiring policies.

Mar 19, 2011

First Look at Deathly Hallows Part 2: Behind the Scenes

In lieu of an actual trailer, Warner Bros. has finally released what we like to call a behind-the-scenes teaser from the final Harry Potter instalment. Does it look visually spectacular and jam packed full of action? Hells yes, but don't take our word for it. Check out the video below and let us know what you think. Are you excited for July 15?

Mar 17, 2011

Review: Battle: Los Angeles

The platoon on red alert in Battle: Los Angeles. Photo © Richard Cartwright
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Release Date: 17 March 2011
Rating:(M) (Science fiction violence and coarse language)
Runtime: 116 mins (really? Because it felt like longer) 

Here's what we would have liked to be able to say about Battle: Los Angeles: 
"Despite the formulaic, blow 'em up and cuss 'em out Hollywood trailer, Battle: Los Angeles has far more to offer than your standard alien invasion movies." But in fact, the opening moments, shot in a gritty cinema verite style, are misleading in terms of the quality and innovation one can expect.

Directed by Jonathan Liebesman, Battle: Los Angeles follows Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz, a battle-scarred and aging Aaron Eckhart (everyone's favourite bastard, ala Thank You for Smoking and The Dark Knight), who's due for retirement following some rough tours of duty and a long, if not always illustrious career. Pause for a minute. What's that we hear? Staff Sgt. Nantz is being pulled away from the clutches of retirement because of sudden, impending doom? Well of course he is! 

We appreciate the good intent that the film rolls with in the beginning: the attempt to focus on the minutiae of the soldiers lives, the seemingly minor details of everyday existence in the lead up to the alien invasion. The politics within the platoon are also initially exposed in a more nuanced fashion than one might expect from the director of Darkness Falls and the writer of, well, nothing we've really heard of before (Christopher Bertolini). The cinematography by Lukas Ettlin is for the most part visually dynamic, if not what you might call beautiful.
However, many of the film's virtues are shot to smithereens over the latter 90 minutes. The entire premise of the film seems to fall down almost immediately if you pause for 30 seconds to think about it. The magnitude of the alien invasion seems so daunting and insurmountable, making it completely pointless to follow the story further than the first 15 minutes: it definitely appears to be one of those situations where the battle is lost before it's begun.

Apart from that, an excessive amount of swearing, give 'em hell speeches, and severely underwritten characters (Eckhart and his giant chin dimple are sorely wasted here) make it difficult for us to care and furthermore sustain interest in a story that is a little more than a military puff piece. The problem is that the film doesn't know what it wants to be and thus descends into chaos, shaky cam, and oddly-paced dialogue. The concept in the hands of another director and creative team could have potentially produced a very different end result, perhaps more in the vein of Children of Men. 

We feel pretty confident in giving this a straight up assessment, given the evidence presented above. Battle: Los Angeles is superior to the director's previous film Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but far far down the totem pole from actioners such as Kick-Ass or emotionally superior alien flicks such as Monsters. 


Mar 7, 2011

Routh says 'woof' in Dylan Dog trailer

We feel pretty comfortable in saying not since TMNT has a movie looked this ghastly (the DoP clearly holds a good old green or purple neon light close to their heart) or this cheesy. Funnily enough, the trailer proudly touts that this IS a film from the TMNT director. Oh, goody. 

Vastly, vastly disappointing. Put the dog out.

Mar 6, 2011

The Weekly Round-up: SXSW, Potter, and Trailers

Pegg can see his own face. Frost can see Chris Evans in his Captain America suit.
Now that everyone's recovered from the self-congratulatory pat on the back that was the Oscars 2011 (and Joan Collins, from the clutches of her Oscar party dress) we can all get back to more important things like cringing at the minute-by-minute Charlie Sheen Twitter updates and playing tether-ball.

In all seriousness, there's a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks. 

                                    SXSW Film Festival gets superbad 
Bridesmaids, the newest (and from the looks of it, the freshest) Apatow produced vehicle, directed by the creator of seminal teen comedy Freaks and Geeks Paul Feig, has been added to the closing night line-up. Check out the hilarious trailer here:

Along with the other majors being screened this year, including Super (Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler), The Beaver (Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster), Win Win (Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan), The King of Luck (Billy Bob Thornton), and Paul (Brit-duo Pegg and Frost are at it again), the 2011 SXSW Film Festival looks like it will outshine some of the other more indie festivals this year in terms of originality and entertainment value. The festivities kick off on March 11.

                               Warner Bros. to Open Potter Studio Attraction
© 2004 Warner Bros. Ent. Harry Potter Publishing Rights J.K.R.
For fans of the books and films, there is perhaps no better place to visit than the site of all the action for the past decade: Leavesden studios. Warner Bros. purchased the studios late last year, which have played home to all eight Potter films, as well as numerous other productions such as The Dark Knight and Sherlock Holmes. The official web site states that while it will initially be a Harry Potter-only attraction, that the scope of this could expand in years to come. Opening in Spring 2012 (approximately one year from now), the official press release states:

"Featuring the authentic sets, costumes, animatronics, props and effects used in the production of all eight Harry Potter movies, the tour will showcase the British artistry, technology and talent that went into bringing this beloved film series to life.
Among a series of never‐before‐seen exhibits on the three hour long tour, visitors will be able to walk onto some of the most memorable sets from all of the films in the Harry Potter series including the iconic Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office and many others to be announced at a later date."

                                                  Trailer Watch
Along with these announcements, there have also been a slew of new trailers released this week. First up, the highly unnecessary and only mildly amusing Shrek spin-off, Puss in Boots. Won't someone think of the children?

The little hyped Peep World, starring America's #2 comedy darling Sarah Silverman (though we suspect she'd cuss anyone out for calling her 'darling') and Dexter's Michael C. Hall in a dramedy about what happens when a family member uses your lives for their work of 'fiction'. It's difficult to tell from the trailer what level of quality we can expect, but it's definitely one to keep an eye on.

The official teaser trailer for The Hangover 2 is out. What a snooze. Who'd have though a slow motion reveal of three douchebags walking with a monkey (one in mandals, might we add) wouldn't set the world alight. There had better be a bad-ass cameo in the actual film, or why bother paying 20 bucks for a ticket?