Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 movie list!

Early Happy New Year, everyone! In time to kick off 2010, here's a list of next year's movies that I'm most looking forward to, by date, and their trailers! :D

1) Alice in Wonderland (March 5th)
It's a new take on the old story, as Alice returns to Wonderland in her teens. Tim Burton is directing, so get ready for Johnny Depp, some trippiness, and the awesomeness that is Danny Elfman's music.

2) Clash of the Titans (March 26th)
I've not kept up with news on this, but the recently-released trailer looks fricken', fricken' awesome. It stars Sam Worthington as Perseus, as well as many, many mythological beasts. Check it out below:

3) A Nightmare on Elm Street (April 30th)
The only reason this is on my list is because Jackie Earle Haley takes on the stripes and knife-claws, and because I'm curious as to whether Freddy Krueger was wronged, or is actually a child molester / murderer like in the original films. Trailer below:

4) Iron Man 2 (May 7th)
The first one was only good because Robert Downey Jr. was in it, and I'm only excited about IM2 because of that little scene after the credits in the first movie. War Machine looks fantastic, and I can't wait to see whether they set anything up for The Avengers that'll be out in 2012.

5) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (May 28th)
Pushed back a year, I kinda lost interest till I saw the trailer, which looks seriously cool. I'm still not used to Jake Gyllenhaal with an English accent, but his 'jumping from one building top to another' sure brings back memories. All we need now are wall spikes.

6) The A-Team (June 11th)
This movie has been making the 200- movie list rounds since the beginning of time, and it was only this year they'd manage to get the director and cast. Starring Liam Neeson (as John "Hannibal" Smith), Bradley Cooper (Templeton "Faceman" Peck), Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (Mr. T B.A. Baracus) and Sharlton Copley ("Howling Mad" Murdock), no trailer has been released yet, so enjoy this picture below:

7) Toy Story 3 (June 18th)
The toys and their voices (pretty much, R.I.P Jim Varney) are back, and I got all nostalgic and teary just from watching the teaser. New and full trailer below!


8) The Sorceror's Apprentice (July 16th)
If you've seen Fantasia, you already know the story, except that it's now set in modern-day New York, and has Alfred Molina playing the bad guy. It also gives Nicolas Cage another excuse to use the same hairstyle he's been using the past 10 movies or so.
[Looks like I'm more excited than I thought.My apologies for putting the Toy Story 3 up again. Below is the correct trailer.]

9) The Expendables (August 13th)
Featuring many, many action stars, this movie about a group of mercenaries is also the umpteenth movie Jet Li and Jason Statham has starred together (I kid, it's only the third). The Expendables is written and directed by Sly Stallone, and so long it's not another Rambo or Rocky sequel, it looks VERY promising. And why did I only find out now that Statham's English and not Australian? Damn, I'm losing it.

10) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (November 19th, 2010)
The beginning of the end, though the seventh Potter movie is adapted from the seventh book, it's not the last, 'cuz they split the book into two. Blasted Hollywood execs. Anyway, Part 2 has a release date of July 11th, 2011, so at least we won't have to wait long to finish the series. As of now, no trailers have been released yet.

Well that's it for me. Ten movies to look out for this year, and if anything else interesting comes along (as in, trailers), I'll be adding to this list. See you on the other side, folks! :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Avatar (2009)

The first thing I thought when the end credits rolled was, "Damn, I should've seen this in 3-D."

For clarity's sake, I'll include a basic outline of the plot, but for those of you who've seen Dances with Wolves, feel free to skip the below paragraph:

In return for spinal recorrection surgery, paraplegic ex-marine Jake Sully is hired to infiltrate local tribe Na'vi, gain their trust, and gather intel for the mining corporation's own ends, which is to drive off the Na'vi, as their home sits on deposits of a very, very expensive mineral. Jake does so long-distance, by controlling an 'avatar' which is created using human and Na'vi DNA. As he learns their ways and bonds with the tribe, he also tries to find a way to relocate the Na'vi, so that innocent lives won't be lost. The corporation gets tired of waiting and levels their home anyways. Jake sees the immense destruction he more or less caused, and joins forces with the Na'vi before the capitalist pigs humans can do any more damage to the land and their people.
The final battle, though intense and, for lack of a better word, awesome-looking, was slightly anti-climactic due to the fact that the final showdown was only between the manic Colonel Quaritch and Jake. I was expecting a lot more from the final battle, since earlier, Jake had prayed to Eywa (the Na'vi's deity) asking for Her help as the humans will be coming in with rocketships a-blazing. Though the animals eventually do fight back (interpreted as divine intervention) and win, I was expecting something much more grandiose, something that is definite proof of a greater power.

The visual effects were really worth the hype. Judge not from the trailer, for it looks like a video game. Pandora is the planet the movie revolves around, and is pretty much the star of the show. From floating-jellyfish tree seeds to hammerhead rhinos, the biology of the planet and its ecosystem is astounding. I'm running the risk of making the movie sound like a nature documentary, but that's what it really felt like. Pandora is another world that is alien to us, but at the same time, we can kinda relate to.

Once you're in the cinema and watching it on the big screen, you'd really be able to appreciate more of the environment and everything else. If you're a CGI buff, do go watch it in 3-D to properly immerse yourself in their world. Unfortunately for me, I watched it in 2-D because I was afraid I'd get nauseous, and after the movie, started kicking myself for not watching it in 3-D.

The actors do a stand-up job, especially Stephen Lang, whose Colonel is as bad-ass as he is ruthless. As I've mentioned earlier, the storyline isn't anything original, but it is riveting enough to hold your attention for two-plus hours, and it does make you connect with the characters and root for the Na'vi. It didn't leave a lasting impression, though, and I left the theatre feeling 'meh'.

7/10. Okay storyline backed by the loveliest backdrop in movie history. Most probably best watched in 3-D.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Spidey 4 production halted indefinitely?

IESB is reporting that the Spider-man 4 (or reportedly, Spider-M4n) script is incomplete, due to director Sam Raimi and Sony Pictures butting heads about who the major villain for this outing should be. As of last Thursday, production has been stopped.

Raimi wants the Vulture; Sony doesn't. The article also mentions that Sony doesn't seem to know what is it that they actually want, just not the Vulture. Apparently, Raimi had also wanted the Vulture in Spider-man 3; the Vulture and Sandman were supposed to be partners-in-crime, with the Vulture being the more aggressive of the two.

Looks like it's Spidey 3 all over again. To recap, Venom was only included in the villain mix due to Marvel head honcho Avi Arad's insistence, and we all know how that one turned out. Now, we all know that Raimi knows best, but really, TWO movies is enough foreshadowing.

Let the poor Lizard have his day out in the sun.

EDIT: MTV just reported that Sony has denied the rumors, and that the so-called 'hiatus' is just a break for the upcoming Christmas season. However, the source did agree that the script is still underway.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

George of the Jungle (1997)

A nice and feel good movie.

A 8.

300 follow-up gets title!

Previously thought to be a sequel, GeekTyrant reports that the now-titled Xerxes is actually a prequel, set 10 years before the events of 300. Zack Snyder is still on to direct, while Frank Miller, who wrote 300, is just starting on the artwork.

Good way to include Gerard Butler in the movie. No word yet as to when the prequel will start production.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Storm Warriors (2009)

Storm Warriors is awesome and fail all in one. This is the first time I've felt that way about any movie.
It is also by far the loudest I've ever seen, and I've seen Transformers 2 and G.I. Joe.

SW is the sequel to 1998's Storm Riders. Based on the manhua by Ma Wing Shing, this time around, Wind and Cloud has to contend with Lord Godless, a powerful Japanese warlord that wants to take over China, and his son, Heart. To defeat him, both Cloud and Wind have to train and increase their martial arts skills; Wind taking the evil path, and Cloud taking the normal one. Wind becomes demonic, so it falls to Cloud to stop him before he does any more destruction.

From the trailer, you can pretty much guess that it's a CGI-and-fight fest. And with these kinds of movies, I'm not fussy. Storyline is important but not crucial, and character development and all that other crap can go take a hike; as the average moviegoer, what we want is, "FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!"

This movie is the exception. For me, at any rate.

The fail in the movie comes from its treatment of certain characters, namely that of Nicholas Tse's. Tse plays Heart, evil Japanese son-of-a-warlord, who also has a few bad-ass scenes of his own, and in his last scene, well, like the Imperial soldiers he shares it with, we don't know what happened to him and them, because the movie pulled a Cyclops on us.

That's right, folks, no death scene. Only this time around, we don't get a gravestone, nor do we get bodies / remains for closure. We are left hanging, wondering what the bloody hell happened to those people, and how is it that Charlene Choi (who is always too annoying for her own good) is the only person from that scene to remain unscathed.

[Because seriously, at least Gillian Chung is pretty.]

The ending also sucks. I know every movie should be seen anew, no spoilers, no Wikipedia (old habits), no reading other reviews. But I would like to know in advance whether the movie I'll be watching is the first part of a larger story-arc, because with that was what Storm Warriors felt like in the end.

Cloud dies saving Wind and Charlene Choi. The latter person being the part of the equation also adds to my pissed-offness, but that's not the point.

Yes, people, Aaron Kwok dies. He. Friggin'. Falls. Off a cliff. At the end of the movie.

I understand that for a main character, no body means that he's probably not dead and will turn up in the sequel (if they decide to make another one) with amnesia or some crap of that sort, but in this type of movie, dying should be reserved for the middle of a movie, not at the end. It's effective as shock value, but it's highly unsatisfying.

Now that I've gotten all the crap from the movie aside, it's time to highlight the good parts:

The CGI is fan-bloody-tastic, very comic-bookish, and very 300, except more color. Cue 60-plus seconds of badassery 10-15 minutes into the movie, with Heart, Earth and Sky, and a whole ton of Immortals masked soldiers take on the other martial arts schools in China, with the baddies on the winning side, of course, and every other fight scene, really. In some instances they just stand there and throw chi / energies / [insert correct term here] at each other.

Doesn't lessen the cool factor, though. Plus, montages of innocent people dying.

Minor lousy things include the theme song, which kinda blows. It's awesome that they got both our leads to sing it, compared to the previous one where it's just Aaron Kwok, but I preferred the theme for the first movie. Overall score is lovely, though, and really went well with the fight scenes.

Female presence is pointless as usual, but for some reason, the need to provide love interests for these movies keeps coming up, even though they're annoying and are just there to be killed off. Except for Charlene Choi, but I digress. And since we're on-topic, where's Shu Qi? I didn't even know her character was in this film till I got on the Wiki, to check whether there were any end-credits scene that I missed. Just as well, though. Cho Cho was even more pointlessly annoying this time around. I guessed she was going to die, but her death was so abrupt I didn't see it coming. Props to the filmmakers for that.

6/10. Would've been 8/10 if it weren't for the ending and the X-Men 3 treatment.

Would've seen this movie a second time, too.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Another Pride and Prejudice adaptation...

...but with zombies this time!

Variety reports that Natalie Portman will produce and star as Elizabeth Bennet in a movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The original Pride and Prejudice was written by Jane Austen, and I guess to encourage more people to readfor the heck of it, Seth Grahame-Smith decided to do a rewrite of sorts, and add zombies to the mix. In this story, Elizabeth wields katanas and fights zombies, and Fitzwilliam Darcy (or Mr. Darcy to many of us) is now a monster-hunter.

Certainly sounds more interesting than the original. Remind me to go check out the book.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sorceror's Apprentice trailer!

Starring Nicolas Cage as the Sorceror and Jay Baruchel as, well, the Apprentice, the movie is a modern-day retelling of the famed Fantasia segment, which in turn is based on the poem by Goethe.

It looks pretty cool, though since it's a summer movie, that's pretty much a given.

Enjoy :)

The Sorceror's Apprentice will open July 16th, 2010.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Spidey 4 rumor!

I haven't been reporting much on Spider-man 4, since every other article is still on the Black Cat conundrum.

But this one takes the cake.

Instead of the hackneyed Anne Hathaway = Black Cat news, Hathaway apparently will be the Vulturess, a villain not of comic book canon to be introduced in Spidey 4. She'll still be Felicia Hardy, though, only she won't turn into Black Cat.

If this is true, Spidey 4 will turn out to be more of a massive fail than Spidey 3.

Movieline also states that John Malkovich is up for the Vulture, which I can totally see, but personally feel that the Vulture is too minor a villain for the likes of Malkovich.

I mean, come on, it's JOHN MALKOVICH.

[I'd say Gobby, but that's already taken. Awesomely.]

Really, March '10 cannot come any sooner.

Friday, December 4, 2009

New Moon (2009)

I always felt that Movie Edward glowed (or radiated, if you like) under sunlight.

Well, New Moon proved me wrong. Edward totally sparkled.

After a papercut on Bella causes Jasper to go loco, Edward and family take off, not wanting to bring anymore trouble to Bella. In turn, Bella goes emo and also becomes an adrenaline junkie, as she gets visions of Edward, naggingacting as her rationale (since all of it's been converted to hormones), whenever she does something dangerous.

Her friend Jacob becomes the rebound guy, and when cool transforming stuff happens, Jake tells her that he has to stay away from her to avoid hurting her (i.e. repeating what happened in the beginning). After a bunch of stuff happens which led Edward to believe that Bella is dead, Bella and Alice go to Italy, to stop Ed from exposing himself to the masses in an effort to get the powerful Volturi to execute him.

[It's like Romeo and Juliet.]

After a show of vampiric mental abilities and a pretty cool fight scene, Alice manages to convince the Volturi that Bella will eventually be turned (we get to see Edward and Bella running in the woods, and Bella $pArK1eD), and the Volturi let the gang go. Everyone goes back to Forks, Bella tells Jacob that she chooses Edward, Edward asks her to marry him, the End.

This is the first time I actually felt like dozing off while watching a film. For a romance movie, there sure is a lot of talk and no action.
If you know what I mean WINK

I find New Moon slightly better than Twilight, mostly because of the wolf pack, and Jacob, Bella's werewolf boyfriend. Although the interaction between he and Bella were a bit too long (think about it, it took Bella like half an hour of real time to fall in love with Edward), it was fun to watch them, as Jake seems to have a LOT more personality than Edward.

Unlike Spider-man 3, which went downhill in the last half hour, New Moon actually went uphill during then, with the inclusion of the Volturi. It was a pity that they only had such a short appearance in the movie; they were basically the only highlight of the entire movie.

[After they returned to Forks, everything went back downhill again.]

Consistency is also lacking, though very minor. Like the part when everyone finds out that Bella is immune to their vampiric mental abilities (not including biting and hitting and other physical damage). Wouldn't she have been immune to Jasper's emotion-bending at the beginning of the movie?

And was it necessary to show Bella's dad grounding her? I mean, the movie ended with Bella stopping a fight between Edward and Jacob in the forest. As in, not in / anywhere near her father's house! That part was rather pointless (the grounding), and would've made the movie a bit shorter.

If only they hadn't put in so much of the, "Dear Alice," voiceovers (a few are okay, but when there were so many it's just tedious) and the dream-screaming (they should've just shown us what her dreams were), New Moon would've been, I guess, an hour-thirty or -forty, making it a much shorter movie, and way more tolerable, too. Less time spent on Bella moping would've been nice. I shudder to think how the October / November / December scene is treated in the book.

One thing I appreciated was the title of each movie. The previous one was about Edward, so Twilight; this one is about Jacob, so New Moon. The next one is Eclipse: which probably means that she will pick her final choice in that one, since 'eclipse' means half-moon and half darkness. Props to Stephenie Meyer.

The score was absolutely beautiful, and the soundtrack wasn't bad either, but I felt that a lot of songs were jammed in a two-hour movie, so much so that some of those songs only got very short snippets. Like Muse's Mon Cœur S'ouvre à ta Voix. I was expecting Uprising, so that was a very pleasant surprise, even though it was only on for about 10 seconds.

4/10. Werewolves and Italians were the best things in the movie. About 45 minutes cumulatively.

Though I'm not a fan of the series... Team Jacob :)

Last Airbender full trailer postponed!

Initially to be attached to a December-released movie (no final word on which movie that would've been), the full trailer has been pushed back to February. Apparently, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) wasn't done with the special effects and the CGI of the movie yet, which means that the current shots that they do have, aren't that good.

Sounds promising.

/Film predicts that the trailer will be attached to Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, slated for release on February 12th.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Twilight pulls Harry Potter crap!

 Variety is reporting that the final Twilight book Breaking Dawn will be split into TWO movies.

And I didn't even roll my eyes this time around.

Nothing is finalised yet, as Summit Entertainment has to run it by the cast, the director (apparently they want Chris Weitz back), and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg to see whether they want to come back for the extra one, which will be done back-to-back. Since everyone's only signed on for only FOUR movies, their contracts will have to be renegotiated, and some say that our three leads (yeah, like I need to name them) could get eight-figure salaries.

Fun Fact:
Robert Pattinson will be the only actor to have been involved in TWO book-to-movie franchises that split the final book.

2012 (2009)

Based on the Mayan theory that the world will end on December 21st, 2012 (12 + 21 = 23 ha!!), 2012 is basically about the end of the world brought on by the sun's weird neutrino activity causing the earth's tectonic plates and everything cracking and sinking and magma-ing and obligatory tsunamis. Oh, and John Cusack.

But I liked it.

I've heard people say they didn't like the movie because it was unrealistic, that ONE FAMILY can survive ALL ODDS to reach the arks and is STILL able to get on it without being stampeded on / pushed over by all those rich people.

[Many say that they preferred The Day After Tomorrow. Personally, I can't remember anything about that movie, only that Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal were in it, and that at one point, Gyllenhaal was running from ice.]

Sure it's unrealistic, but honestly, do people want Cusack and Fam to get it? Where would we be if we didn't have the underdog to root for? Chiwetel Ejiofor's character is a good person in general, but as he already has a ticket to board the ark, it'd be a pretty straightforward and VERY short movie if he was the focus. And really, it'd be an awful downer (though realistic *sarcasm) if the final scene in the movie is a view from space of Earth and all we see is water and some burning magma, and the random tiny bit of land.

I'd say you could blame it on the fact that it was intended as a summer movie (July '09 release). Now, unless you're Transformers, you can't just go around bumping off your main character in a summer movie.

And many reviews have stated that with the amount of characters in the two-hour movie (as in, quite a bit), the audience stops caring about the characters, since there isn't enough time vested for us to get to know each one that isn't an extra and/or CGI.

But I beg to differ.

Though we get fleeting moments of the other characters, I still felt sorry all those who went under, especially George Segal, who didn't manage to make peace with his son in time. However, I'm most pissed that Tamara (the Russian girl) died, and that everyone conveniently totally forgot about it!! I mean, they didn't even talk about her in the end, even though she saved Cusack's daughter in place of her own. Gordon shouldn't have died, either. I blame the script for Amanda Peet's non-caring, but the biggest flaw of the movie was the lack of mention on Tamara's death. It'd also be pretty cool if Woody Harrelson had survived Yellowstone (and everything else), and became the first radio host to broadcast to the survivors.

[Honourable mention goes to the Russian mob dude's two little Dan Foglers. They are SO ADORABLE!!]

Also, Oliver Platt seems to be getting typecast as Person Of Questionable Morals #1.

In terms of disaster movies, this is the Ultimate Disaster Movie, unless someone makes a movie solely about the effects of a Death Star blast on Earth (probably would be an hour-long). There is simply no running from the devastation wrought in this film (unless you're Cusack or blood-related to the guy or his ex-wife), and I thought the CGI was pretty good.

As for that lousy last line, technically the last word in is, "Nice," which really isn't a bad word in itself.

7/10. Lighten up, people. Escapism doesn't have to be realistic.

If the end of the world DOES happen in 2012... I hope it doesn't happen before May 5th :)