Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"If you don't hurry up, the tigers will eat you."

Just thought I would take a minute to post a first look at some footage from Disney/Pixar's upcoming film, Up!, courtesy of YouTube.

Ed Asner as Carl Fredericksen (the old guy) and Jordan Nagai as Russell (the boy scout) are seen here, braving the South American jungle in their most recent adventure.

I can't be the only one out there who thinks Asner is absolutely perfect for the role of the old man. Although, maybe that's just my memories of him on Freakazoid! as Sgt. Mike Cosgrove speaking (Now that I think about it, his role in this film seems so reminiscient of that role). Still, the animation in this clip looks cool and fluid, and the story for this movie sounds endearing and promising. Both of those aspects are things I've come to expect from Pixar, and judging from what I've seen so far this film doesn't look like it will disappoint.

Up! hits theaters May 29th. For more info about Up!, head to Disney/Pixar's official website here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Yes, I Swear This Is Real (Wait a minute, apparently not)

UPDATE 4/10: OK, apparently the movie is fake. The trailer is the only real part of this movie. Nevermind, nothing to see here, move along.

This movie I'm about to show you may seem like a stupid idea. When I read how Devin Faraci of reports it, though, I can't understand why somebody didn't think of this sooner:

The idea of Willy Wonka as a horror villain isn't that far-fetched; the boatride in the Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory was a psychedelic nightmare. And in all versions Willy Wonka wantonly wastes kids. But now Human Giant director Eric Appel has put a completely horrific spin on the story with Gobstopper, starring Christopher Lloyd as a Saw version of Wonka.

The trailer (courtesy of Funny or Die [Warning: Not Safe For Work]) just makes the whole thing look even more ridiculous. It obviously wants to be a "so bad it's good" cult classic, but it looks like it's trying WAY too hard.

Also, of all the things I pictured Christopher Lloyd doing in his post-Back to the Future days, playing an evil Willy Wonka that sics rabid little people on extraordinarily dumb teenagers wasn't even on the list, let alone at the bottom of it.

Considering that they made a horror movie where the tooth fairy was the killer monster a few years back, I wonder if this is the start of some gag-inducing trend.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Watched The Watchmen

"...For the times, they are a-changing...(picture courtesy of Warner Bros.)"

“Superhero” is usually number one on any kid’s list of desired professions. Everyone had a vision of what powers and abilities they would have liked to have, and how they would save everyone. I bet if this movie was around back then, and our parents let us watch it, we would have probably had second thoughts.

Thanks to director Zack Snyder and screenwriters David Hayter and Alex Tse, I’m not so sure being a superhero is such an ideal dream anymore.

Based on the graphic novel written by Alan Moore and drawn by Dave Gibbons, Watchmen is not only visually impressive, but its story and plot are profound in ways that most superhero movies are not.

The story starts in New York City in the 1980s, existing in an alternate timeline. Nixon is President for Life, and Vietnam was a complete success. Superheroes, specifically a group of crime fighters known as the Minutemen (and later, the Watchmen), exist in this universe, and they have helped along these outcomes through their actions.

It is not all sunshine and daisies, though, as the US is now on the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, thanks to our interruption of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

This is Rorschach's signature calling card, as seen in the movie (skip to 1:40).

As a result of this situation, ex-superheroes Dan Drieberg (Patrick Wilson), Laurie Jupiter (Malin Akerman), Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), and businessman Adrian Veidt (Matthew Goode) are hard at work helping the government come up with a solution.

What is intriguing about these characters is the way that their lives as superheroes spill over into their personal lives as well, amplifying quirks in their mental behavior. Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) is brutal in the way he pursues criminals, and even a bit fascist, and in a way it drives him insane.

Dan and Laurie feel somewhat impotent without their superhero personalities, Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre. Dr. Manhattan has lived outside our world for so long, that he has completely lost touch with his humanity. The way the actors work with these character motivations are a strong point.

I think the only weak performance was Akerman’s, and that could probably be attributed to her not being given as much plot to work with as the other characters. Haley’s performance as Rorschach was perfect, albeit corny at times, and Crudup played Manhattan with the required amount of stoicness for the role.

Here's a quote from Rorschach himself: "None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with you. You're locked up in here with me."

Cinematography was another strong point for this movie. Some scenes were even taken out of the graphic novel directly, although the way it is done in this movie is not as ridiculous as the way it was done in films like 300. It helps that the novel was presented like a storyboard in the way the panels were arranged, so this must have made things easier for Snyder.

The violence and sexual content felt quite over the top at some scenes. While it is understood that Watchmen is considered to be more adult-oriented than most comic book stories, it can make some parts hard to take seriously. The sex scene between Dan and Laurie in the Owlship immediately comes to mind, as do many of the brutal fight scenes with Rorschach.

There were times when using such well-known selections worked, and times when it did not. The use of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changing” in the opening montage, which shows us the backstory of the superhero team, how it developed into the Watchmen, and what the heroes went through during the early-to-mid 20th century, was perfect. The use of “Hallelujah” during the Dan/Laurie sex scene, on the other hand, was really weird, and not as funny as it was trying to be. A lot of the music selections followed this pattern, and to be honest I would have liked it better if they had picked stuff that was not so obviously cliché nowadays.

One more quote, only this time from Dr. Manhattan: "A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally, there's no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts. Why should I be concerned?"

For fans of the graphic novel, Zach Snyder’s Watchmen will be distracting, as there are many sequences to point out where they got it right and where they didn’t. Those who are not immediately familiar with the graphic novel, though, will be able to jump right in to the experience of watching this movie with no trouble at all.

Finally, for your entertainment, here is an entry out of Rorschach's journal, courtesy of me, and Alan Moore's worst nightmare, courtesy of Newgrounds.

Picture captions for the mini photo essay within the review provided by the Watchmen Wikiquote.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"It's like they're flying right towards me!"

Looks like Pixar's Up! won't be the only opportunity to wear those super cool RealD 3D glasses once again.

There's been a lot of speculation floating around the blogosphere that the remake of Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror film The Birds might be shot in 3D. All the eye-popping buzz is stemming from an interview that B-movie star Brenna Lee Roth did for MarketSaw 3D recently, where she mentions that and some other news about the cast:

MarketSaw: Back to your career: Personally, I think these two movies are perfect
vehicles for you. Where do you see your roles evolving from here?

BLR: I am in talks with the producer of THE BIRDS (remake) and I talked
to the producer about shooting it in 3D, but I don't really know any more about
it. I like taking roles and working with directors that challenge me. I want to
play roles where girls are powerful, and really stand out.

MarketSaw: THE BIRDS! - I am very interested in the remake! It is rumored that George Clooney and Naomi Watts are attached as well - is that true? Which producer are you dealing with, Michael Bay, Peter Guber, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller or Cathy Shulman?

BLR: Bay and Fuller. Wow you are smart! I think Clooney and Watts are in it. Should be fun, I hear from the producers that Clooney is a prankster, and well... so am I, so it could be fun.

Hey, this is pretty good, but it's missing something. How about seagulls pecking at your face in 3D?

Seriously though, I'm actually hoping the producer follows through with Roth's request. I know it can be argued with some movies that 3D is just a cheap gimmick (especially in the case of movies like Journey to the Center of the Earth), but it actually seems that this film would benefit from its use. Horror movies are definitely a good genre to use 3D with, and if used effectively this could make the remake slightly more memorable than most remakes.

On one last note, jeez, George Clooney. That guy is becoming the next Samuel L. Jackson. Seriously, he's starring in everything.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Well this is...interesting...

The phrase "loose adaptation" is about to be pretty much defined with this upcoming project, coming out of Elton John's Rocket Pictures movie studio.

This news item is actually kind of old by now, but I just discovered it a while ago and it's certainly strange enough to earn it a pass. It comes off the pages of Variety, reported by Michael Fleming:

Elton John's Rocket Pictures hopes to make the first Jane Austen adaptation to
which men will drag their girlfriends.
Will Clark is set to direct "Pride
and Predator," which veers from the traditional period costume drama when an
alien crash lands and begins to butcher the mannered protags, who suddenly have
more than marriage and inheritance to worry about.
Shooting will begin in
London later this year. John exec produces, and his Rocket partners Steve
Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish are producing.
Clark, who directed
award-winning short "The Amazing Trousers," wrote the script with Andrew Kemble
and John Pape.
"It felt like a fresh and funny way to blow apart the
done-to-death Jane Austen genre by literally dropping this alien into the middle
of a costume drama, where he stalks and slashes to horrific effect," Furnish
John will supervise the music, as he does in each Rocket-produced
The company is in production on the CG-animated "Gnomeo and Juliet"
for Miramax/Disney; James McAvoy and Emily Blunt voice the title characters.
Rocket is also behind the Sundance series "Spectacle: Elvis Costello With

I had no idea that Elton John even had his own movie studio before this. I've always suspected, though, that the man might be slightly insane.

This reminds me of a friend of mine from high school. He was really good with Photoshop, and one time he made a movie poster for a movie called "Plagal Cadence." It featured classical composers like Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach pointing tommy guns at each other amidst a dark scenery of exploding sheet music. I think that's a solid assumption of what watching this film will feel like. It'll probably be Van Helsing-esque, from the sound of it.

Also, somebody really ought to let Hollywood know that people are sick of seeing remakes of Pride and Prejudice over and over again. Jane Austen wrote other books too, you know.

Bateman's Back Again

If you're interested in seeing Corporate America get a good satirical tongue-lashing from Hollywood, Jason Reitman's new project might interest you.

You may know him as the creepy dad from Juno. He looks much more professional here.

This news comes straight from's Russ Fischer:

Up in the Air, Reitman's adaptation of Walter Kirn's novel, is built along the
same lines as Thank You For Smoking -- that is, a bunch of snappy interactions
satirizing corporate culture -- there's plenty reason to be happy that Bateman
has been cast alongside George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. Bateman
is boss to Clooney, a consultant who specializes in firing folks. When a new
co-worker's (Kendrick) internet innovations threaten to make his in-person
tactics obsolete, Clooney talks Bateman into giving him one last chance.

The fact that Bateman and the director from Juno were getting together again to make a satire was interesting enough, but even more intriguing was the rest of the cast.

I am definitely looking forward to seeing Clooney in this film, because he always does good in these sort-of-buddy-type roles and it isn't all that hard to imagine him as a hard-nosed consultant.

I'll admit to not having seen much of Anna Kendrick, but if her IMDB page is any indication of what's to come, I'm certainly about to. She has had a good history in Broadway and is apparently the second youngest nominee ever for a Tony award, so if the hype is true we could be looking at a potential breakout performance from her here.