Hello everyone. It's festival time again! The 52nd New York Film Festival kicks off tonight with the world premiere of David Fincher's Gone Girl, and continues through October 12th, closing with Alejandro González I&nt...
Folks, superhero movies are dumb. I don't care how many famous actors fill the roles, how many Oscars you think a performance should get, how many famous directors take on the stories, or how gritty each series is, superhero movies will always involve folks in speedo jumpsuits punching each other into explosions or something along those lines. It's when you forget how inherently dumb each property is that you'll run into trouble.
According to Drew McWeeny at HitFix:
Last week was about the fifth time I've heard that there is a mandate at Warner Bros. regarding any of the DC superhero films in development, and it's very simple and direct and to the point.
What? While it explains the stupidly serious photos of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman in the rain, it seems like a terrible direction for WB's nine (NINE) DC comics films going forward. Sure the reasoning is admittedly business sound (apparently it's because Green Lantern, full of jokes, bombed), but having all of these movies be all same-y and serious is a bad, bad idea. Remember Man of Steel? Oy.
What do you all think? Ready for the gloomy guses?
I've written about this movie as much as I can because I'm just so excited about the possibilities. A big budget Power Rangers movie that might not be terribly written or full of bad CG? Take all of my money now...or in 2016, when the film will finally hit theaters.
It'll officially be morphin' time July 22, 2016. Produced by Kurtzman and Orci (who produce everything now, which doesn't look good for the film overall) and written by Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (who are an okay duo). Here's the synopsis for the film...which doesn't give us any new details. All we know right now is it's a reboot that'll keep the continuity of the 20 season strong TV series, which is a HUGE deal for some fans. You ready?
From a story by Executive Producer Roberto Orci (TRANSFORMERS, STAR TREK, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2) and screenwriters Zack Stentz and Ashley Miller (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, THOR) comes a modern reinvention of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a group of ordinary high school kids who find themselves infused with extraterrestrial powers and must harness those powers as a team to save the world.
If you don't know the name Herschell Gordon Lewis, then you have missed an extremely important part of film history. H. G. Lewis' effects are seen in cinemas all over the world even today; his 1963 film Blood Feast was the first film to feature serious gore, and it started a revolution. It was followed up by two more films, collectively known as The Blood Trilogy (discussed at length in an article I wrote back in 2011).
After a string of other ultra-violent films, he quit directing in 1972 following the fascinating The Gore-Gore Girls. And suddenly he returned to the scene thirty years later with 2002's Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat (discussed at length in an article I wrote in 2012). Blood Feast 2 is easily one of my favorite films made in the history of forever, and though I didn't see his next film, 2009's The Uh! Oh! Show, I'm now officially excited for his next project, Herschell Gordon Lewis' Bloodmania, which began production yesterday.
Bloodmania is a film in four parts, two of which will be directed by Lewis and the other two will be directed by names I don't recognize (Benjamin Ross Hayden and Kevin Littlelight), but it's really about the man whose name is three quarters of the title. As with his other recent films, Bloodmania is going to be a comedy, and it will almost definitely be amazing. While it's exciting that production is underway, I'm unhappy about the release period: Spring, 2015. I would have much preferred an Apple approach, "Oh hey! Movie! It's out today!" But I'll take what I can get (at least when what I can get is another movie made by H. G. Lewis).
Guess I'll just have to watch Blood Feast 2 a couple hundred times in anticipation. Sigh.
Although a Godzilla sequel was announced shortly after the first film made Legendary Pictures a king-sized amount at the box office, they've finally confirmed it during their panel at San Diego Comic-Con last weekend. Didn't like the MUTO from the first film? Don't worry, we won't have to deal with their generic thoraxes anymore! Joining everyone's favorite giant lizard are Mothra, the giant moth queen (who sometimes fights as a pupae/larvae), Rodan, the giant pterodactyl that's sometimes a good guy, and King Ghidorah, the three headed dragon (sometimes a robot) whose power rivals Godzilla's.
Keen observers might remember the little Mothra shout out from the first film, and while I don't expect that to mean anything in the long run, it proves bringing all of these big dogs back was the plan all along. Couple that with news of the King Kong reboot and Pacific Rim sequel, and I'd like to think we're going to get a film starring all three franchises in the (hopefully not too) distant future. Oh, and Gareth Edwards is returning to direct once he's done with Star Wars. Cool!
The war in Afghanistan is the longest military conflict in which the United States has been involved. The operation is nowhere near as successful as hoped, which is part of the reality of fighting a war in Afghanistan, a lesson that the Soviet Union learned in the 1980s. Much of the logistic difficulty comes from the terrain and the size of the country. For the US, this difficult was compounded by its attempts to rebuild infrastructure and develop trust with the civilian population. Part of the issue here may be some of the troops themselves.
The documentary Kill Team chronicles one instance of egregious war crimes that US troops perpetrated against the people of Afghanistan. One army unit played a game in which they'd murder innocent civilians and pretend that they were enemy combatants.
One of the most chilling things about Kill Team is the matter-of-fact way that one of the troops characterizes these kinds of war crimes: it happens way more than we think, they were just the ones who got caught.
[This review was original posted as part of our coverage of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. It is being posted to coincide with its theatrical release.]
The Fast & Furious franchise is never going to be the same without Paul Walker. The filming process of the seventh film has been paved with heartache and drama, but at least it's finally over. Knowing that Fast & Furious 7 will sadly have the best box office performance in the franchise, it's good to see these folks take it stride. Here's a note commemorating the completed shooting.
I'm just going to get this dust out of my eyes. Fast & Furious 7 opens April 3, 2015
I like physics. I probably have as good a grasp of the field as any film critic, and I frequently read articles about things like the Large Hadron Collider and the revelation of the mass of the Higgs Boson and how that revelation has impacted supersymmetry theory.
You've probably heard of the Large Hadron Collider (possibly as that thing that didn't actually destroy the world) and the Higgs Boson (sometimes called the God particle), but it's less likely that you know what supersymmetry (affectionately called SUSY) is. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, much of the science in Particle Fever is going to fly right over your head.
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't see it. Because Particle Fever succeeds not because of its discussion of this particular science, but that of what science means and why it matters.
Han Gong-Ju is incredible. It's easily the best film I've seen at the New York Asian Film Festival thus far and among the best I've seen in a long time.
It's also extremely depressing, to the point where I'm not sure I can really write about it. But I can't in good conscience not give it my sincerest recommendation. If you're in New York, it's playing at MoMA for the next week. Tickets can be bought here.
Whether we end up with a full review or not, go see Han Gong-Ju.
[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click here for more information, and check back here and here for all of the Asian film coverage you can shake a stick at.]
Marvel has been having amazing success with its cinematic universe, and they show no signs of slowing down. But their two-films-per-year schedule is pretty solid, and any more superhero movies would really have the potential to cause the general public to lose interest (there is absolutely too much of a good thing). But if a new report from journalist Nikke Finke is correct, my hypothesis will be tested in 2016, because Warner Bros. will be releasing at least seven movies in just about two years. The current lineup is as follows:
May 2016: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
July 2016: Shazam (Captain Marvel)
Christmas 2016: The Sandman
May 2017: Justice League
July 2017: Wonder Woman
Christmas 2017: Flash and Green Lantern
May 2018: Man of Steel 2
Three movies per year for 2016 and 2017 and at least one in 2018? Wow... And that's on top of the two we'll be getting from Marvel each year, and doesn't count the inevitable adaptations from other publishers that seem to come out every year or two. But despite my apprehension, I'm fascinated by that last entry: Thus far, everyone has assumed that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (ugh) was replacing Man of Steel 2, but this doesn't seem to be the case. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
Either way, are you excited about the incoming glut of DC movies, or do you think they would be better served by spacing their lineup out?
If you haven't seen the 1920 classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, you need to fix that immediately. Conveniently, it's out of copyright, so I've embedded it below. But like most films from back then, it doesn't look so good. The scratches and dirt take away from the beautifully bizarre visual style that has influenced oh-so-many filmmakers. Fortunately, Eureka Entertainment has taken it upon themselves to restore the film to its original glory, and the snippets shown in the teaser above are a sight to see. Yeah, there are still some spots and stains here and there, but there's only so much one can reasonably do without having to straight up remake the image (which actually sort of happened back in 2005).
The restoration will be hitting UK theaters at the end of August and Blu-ray soon after. I would love to see it projected on the big screen, so I'm hoping that it gets a theatrical run stateside as well. Regardless, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the full cut. It's always exciting to these old classic films returned to their former glory.
Are there any other damaged classics you'd like to see restored?
Thanks to the Spider-Man property's massive popularity, talking about its movies are the most fun. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 already started out in a hole since it seemed like a cynical sequel to Sony's original cynical property hogging (Sony can keep the Spider-Man license as long as it continues to make Spider-Man movies), but most folks were still holding out hope that this time it'd be different.
After the film's release, more so than the first film, criticism seemed particularly divided amongst our community. Some absolutely loved it, and some absolutely loathed it. Because I wanted to get to the bottom of why the opinions varied so much, we now have Flixist Community Discusses, a series in which we'll discover why a film may or may not be successful in what it set out to do.
Gathered from the comments (from both the opinions post and the review) and Twitter, here's what the Flixist Community thinks of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Some spoilers ahead!
Looking for the next Transformers or The LEGO Movie, Sony's search for the next big toy movie has brought it to Mattel's Barbie. Closing a partnership with Mattel, Sony hopes to start a franchise based on the children's popular toy starting with a live action comedy that'll reflect Barbie's more empowering qualities. With a script in the works from Jenny Bicks (The Big C), the film will take a young cast and "use [Barbie]'s personal and professional skills to step into the lives of others and improve them, almost like a modern day Mary Poppins."
Although Mattel has released thousands of Barbie animated films to home video, this is the first time something like this has gone down. I'm curious as to what will come of this. Sure the Barbie name has a few stigmas, but done the right way, we could get more of a Lisa Lionheart than a Malibu Stacy.
So here's something I didn't expect: Blue is the Warmest Color is now available on Netflix Instant. Abdellatif Kechiche's spectacular three-hour romance is being released on Blu ray and DVD by the Criterion Collection, but while Hulu has that Criterion contract (which is a big part of why I subscribe to Hulu Plus), apparently Sundance Selects is running the digital distribution.
Joining the recently (and awesomely) announced The Simpsons licensed set, Brent Waller's Ghostbusters CUUSOO project (a site where artists can pitch ideas to be made into real sets much like the Back to the Futureset released some time ago) has been greenlit and will officially go into production to celebrate the film's 30th anniversary.
Although the final model of the Ecto-1 (complete with Peter, Egon, Winston, Ray, and Slimer) won't be the same as the CUUSOO project, it's still going to be great consolation prize considering we'll never get a third movie. But Legos are super cool, so I'm very excited about this.
In a move that has blown my mind, cult classic anime, Kite, is on its way to the big screen via live action. The cast includes Samuel L. Jackson, subbing for Akai's character, and India Eisley as Sawa. Not only known for its hyper violence, the anime was controversial due to its large focus on child rape and graphic sex, and the initial worldwide release was heavily edited.
As for the trailer: Hollywood, your care free, YOLO lifestyle has made me very sad indeed; this trailer basically giving away the entire movie. While it is an interesting concept lets hope they don't try to make Kite 's spiritual sequel Mezzo Forte into a live action movie.
Directed by South African Director Ralph Ziman, Kite should be released sometime in 2014.
So you like Netflix Instant, right? Prepare to be married to it for the rest of the year. According to Vulture (who spotted a thread on Reddit that keeps track of expiration dates now that Netflix gave that up), lots of notable movies are disappearing from Instant on January 1st, 2014.
Those movies includes favorites like Do the Right Thing, Being John Malkovich, Titanic, Desperado, The Faculty, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, Troll 2, and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (although I'm the only one that really cares about that one). Although that's a big list, there's a thread on Reddit that also claims we'll be getting other films like Good Burger and f**king Spaceballs, but it's not showing a source.
Keep an eye on the first Netflix Now of 2014 (January 8th) for that information if anything's confirmed. Until then, start watching folks!
"James? You've got an interview with the Associated Press in about ten minutes, sir."
"Oh, thanks...Jon, was it? You're the new intern?"
"Uh, sure. What are they planning to ask you?"
"We're probably going to talk about the Avatar sequels, I guess. I'm planning to shoot them in New Zealand. The first movie focused on Jake Sully a lot, but I want to make a Godfather-esque series based on his family."
"James, maybe you shouldn't compare a preachy sci-fi movie that critics and audiences have retroactively decided to hate to one of the greatest trilogies ever made."
"I think it's a perfectly valid comparison, Jon. I mean, I wouldn't call The Godfather preachy, but you're entitled to your opinion."
[Jon sighs the sigh of a defeated man. It's clear he's had this conversation before.]
I'm a bit at a loss of what to write here. I've always been weird toward deaths of well known individuals as to when how soon is "too soon." After spending the last few days thinking of all the positives of Paul Walker's career, when is it safe to talk about the negatives again? Sure Walker is the most attractive everyman I've ever seen, but he just never quite got the right material to emphasize it. He's always been stuck in middling solo films or in big name franchises playing second fiddle to someone else.
But Paul Walker was always trying to be more than a pretty face. Those middling solo films like Eight Below? It was his attempt at branching out past the action star he was portrayed as. With Hours, Walker once again tried to break out of that "Everyman" mold...with stymied success.
The King of the Monsters is back, baby! This first official trailer for Legendary's upcoming Godzilla reboot (not that unofficial one that was quickly pulled down several months back) gives our first real look at the new version of the same old beast. As Godzilla rises in order to fight a batch of bad kaiju (created by humans, of course), plenty of tall buildings will be destroyed. Also Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are there but no one should care about them because the movie stars a giant radioactive dinosaur.
Sure some Godzilla stories dig into how folks react to a giant monster attack, but the memorable ones just focus on Lizard Numero Uno. Remember the Godzilla cartoon? Exactly.
Godzilla "EHHERRRRGHNNNGH"s (that's a Godzilla roar) into theaters (and probably not in PG, you crazy kids) May 16th.
Disney continues its quest to own everything most people enjoy with Indiana Jones. Reaching a distribution deal with Paramount, Disney now owns future rights to every future Indiana Jones film (with Paramount still making a small sum off of each of them) while Paramount will own the rights to the previous four. Although there's no set confirmation of a fifth Indy movie, you'd be crazy to think Disney would make a deal like this and not capitalize on it.
Expect them to pull a Star Wars: Episode VII and announce Indiana Jones and the Incontinence Problem in the near future given that both Spielberg and Harrison Ford expressed interest in another one despite Ford being a sad and craggly senior citizen.