Thursday, December 13, 2012

Django Unchained Reviews Are In! + Tarantino stuff

There's only one thing causing more noise in film news than The Hobbit this month and it's The New Film by Quentin Tarantino. Django Unchained, the 49-year-old director's 7th feature, has been screened for critics stateside and the reviews are now starting to pop up on the web. Anne Thompson over at Indiewire has this mostly positive round-up, although she isn't as crazy about the film as some of other critics. Also: reviews from The Guardian, Badass Digest, Slant Magazine.

Recently the Hollywood Reporter held a Director Roundtable featuring Tarantino, Ben Affleck, Tom Hooper, Ang Lee, David O. Russell and Gus Van Sant. I didn't get around to posting it last week but here are a couple of Tarantino highlights from that session:
And last but not least, the following is a great interview Tarantino did with Howard Stern. The interview is very frank, revealing (he doesn't like Owen Wilson!) and often hilarious. Listen to its 75-minute entirety here:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Trailer: Beyond the Black Rainbow

January 10th will see the release of Panos Cosmatos' Beyond the Black Rainbow from Madman, and  it's without the doubt the weirdest, trippiest film you'll see that month. I've already done a rave in my review, so let's put some pictures to words now with this trailer: If you remotely have a taste for unusual, dreamlike cinema, you'll find much to enjoy/admire here (and if you don't, it won't be the easiest 90 minutes you'll sit through lol).

High Frame Rate Hobbits etc.

Because I'm someone who likes to occasionally ramble about things I'm passionate about even though I lack the expertise to do so, I feel like I need to weigh in on all this 48fps/high frame rate/Hobbit commotion that's going on. I'll say from the outset I AM at a disadvantage because I haven't seen The Hobbit yet so can't comment with complete confidence about what exactly The Hobbit's high frame rate looks like to my own eyes. But I will just riff on a few things I've been reading on the web and discuss my general feeling(s) on the matter.

As you might have heard, Peter Jackson decided to shoot the Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit at a higher frame rate than normal. Films are usually show 24 frames per second, and you do have the option to see The Hobbit at 24fps at the movies, but Jackson's conscious aesthetic decision was to shoot 48fps (+ 3D). 48fps doesn't look like 24fps. Although it's been said that it works better for 3D, 48fps also makes everything look SUPER-real - hence less real in a movie-movie sense: sets look like stage props, prosthetic make-up looks rubbery and so on. This has been my biggest problem with digital filmmaking to date. But it's almost not a technical issue. You can argue for tech advancement, saving costs, etc. but is it possible to argue going against the nature of cinema itself?

Ok, let's put it in simpler terms: why this obsession with making cinema look as real as possible? The beauty of cinema is that magic layer that lies between us and the big screen. Many viewers have complained about the "super-real" look of The Hobbit taking them out of the action - is that Peter Jackson's intention? I realise it's all purely subjective, but I can't get my head around the fact that Jackson would want to destroy that layer of make-believe - that immersion in the cinematic experience - by producing images that look fake and plasticky. I don't really want to feel like Bilbo Baggins is standing in front of me in my living room (maybe some people do? I don't know), because I KNOW for a fact that he's not REAL. He doesn't exist. I want to suspend my disbelief and pretend he does. 48fps seems antithetical to this.

This tweet by editor Peter S. Hall kinda sums it up:

Unlike celluloid, digital hasn't had 100 years of fine-tuning to make it work "right" just yet. There are so many freaking variables at play to successfully achieve a perfectly rendered "other cinematic world". Middle Earth is a massive world. You need to envelop your viewers in it. The LOTR movies did this fine. And to envelop your viewers you don't really want to have a great-looking 3D action set-piece one minute and then have other scenes that look like they've just come from a '70s TV soap. It's pretty much the same issue with any film that wants to transport the viewer into another time and place.

Michael Mann's Public Enemies is a prime example of a period film that never felt convincing because of its digital video look. It looks like it was shot by someone with an expensive handy-cam and some good tailoring at their disposal. It doesn't look or feel like the Depression. If you want a Depression-era crime flick that really takes you back in time, go watch Dillinger, or Thieves Like Us. 35mm has that softness that makes it easier for the viewer to BELIEVE - hence feeling more real, by being less real. This is what cinema is about.

I'm not as anti-digital as I used to be. I recognise it is a completely viable tool for filmmakers, aesthetically and financially. It can be used in a way that's organic to the story that's being told. It can be experimental and liberating. Seeing recent digitally shot films like Argo and Zero Dark Thirty has made be a believer in a camera like the Arri Alexa to produce images that are stunningly film-like in texture. But it seems in the rush to push everything out there in the name of technology, a lot of quality control and perspective has been lost. You want to recreate another world on screen? Great. Think carefully about what you need to do to make the viewers believe in it. The imperfections of digital that might not be so glaring for one kind of film, might break another.

Maybe 48fps will mean a future of everyone "adjusting" and "getting used" to this "new thing". But for now: meh (and I should really go see The Hobbit).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Honest Trailer: The Dark Knight Rises

If you haven't seen The Dark Knight Rises (which came out on DVD and Blu-ray last week), don't watch this, but if you have, this clip might give you a few chuckles and maybe force you to rethink the movie you've just seen. For the record, I'm not a Nolan/Batman hater nor am I a fan, but it's quite clear there are many massive logical inconsistencies in Rises that can't be ignored.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Random Stuff #31: Celebs Photoshopped into Party Photos

These almost had me fooled. Love the Ry Goz and the Rock snaps!
Source: chelspineda

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"More Twilight" - A Bad Lip Reading of The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Someone PLEASE bad-lip-read the entire Twilight series - I'd totally watch it then. "I ran over a gummy bear..." Here's the earlier one if you missed it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Game of Thrones as a Sitcom

Can't say I saw this one coming, but it was bound to happen sooner or later...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Trailer: Now You See Me

Magic? Heists? Magic + heists in a movie together? COUNT ME IN. Louis Leterrier's Now You See Me looks awfully silly but it also looks like awesome fun, if you can imagine how fun Ocean's Eleven by way of The Prestige can be. The film features a pretty good cast (Mark Zuckerberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Mark Ruffalo) - although the proximity of Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman in the same movie again, doing their standard "old guy thing" is strangely discomforting. Regardless, I already want to know how they pull off that trick in the trailer damnit.

Paul Thomas Anderson's Career in Five Steadicam Shots

For those film geeks out there who like picking apart shot construction etc, here's an excellent analysis of how Paul Thomas Anderson's camerawork, in particular his use of the Steadicam, has evolved over his first five films: Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood. We see a masterful director very much in command of film language, but one who's gradually refined and toned down his showy style for a subtler approach without losing its impact nor ambitiousness. Anderson's highly anticipated The Master will be released in NZ on 17th January from Roadshow (no 70mm screenings doh!).

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Short Film: Dragon Baby

Simple concept (kung fu baby vs dragon), executed well = awesomeness, and awesome cuteness.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

IMDB Top 250 in 2 1/2 Minutes

A couple of observations:
  • Moonrise Kingdom already??
  • I didn't realise Tarkovsky's Stalker was on there. Good to see a bit of taste. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

For the Star Wars Fan with Everything #23

If you were anywhere near the internet yesterday, particularly those wee social media haunts such as Facebook or Twitter, you were probably bombarded with the earth-shaking news of Disney acquiring LucasFilm for some insane sum which could feed an entire starving nation, which in layman's terms, basically means that Star Wars has become part of the Disney family (Twitter's still going nuts with the news). It also means that we can expect a brand new Star Wars film sometime in 2015, although George Lucas won't be directing it. This acquisition means a lot of things and opens up a lot of possibilities, not least of all giving fans "a new hope" for a franchise whose legacy has somewhat been tarnished by the crappiness of the prequels. Ol' Darth seems to be settling in fine:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloweeen!

Apologies for the lack of blog action lately - have been flat-out working on the new games section! I'll try to drop in whenever I can though. Until then have a great halloween and hope you've all got some good horror movies lined up to watch!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Trailer: Jack Reacher

Morning! Head over to Yahoo to check out the new full-length trailer for the forthcoming Tom Cruise vehicle Jack Reacher. We get a better picture of who this Reacher dude is (ex-army cop sniffing out a conspiracy!), and most excitingly, the first glimpse of Werner Herzog as a bung-eyed villain who doesn't seem to like Reacher noseying around. The film is based on the Lee Child novel One Shot, and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, maybe still best known for writing The Usual Suspects and not The Way of the Gun, the only other movie he directed - 12 years ago. Nice to see Robert Duvall alive and kicking!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

For the Star Wars Fan with Everything #22

Love the old couple at 1:22 dropping their pennies so quickly...

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Simpsons Title Sequence - with Real Actors

The Bart Simpson kid's a pretty good skater... Thanks to the boss for sending this through.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Trailer: Django Unchained

The new trailer for Quentin Tarnatino's western Django Unchained has arrived, featuring more footage of everything, like Jamie Foxx twirling pistols, DiCaprio relishing in some lip-licking, scene-chewing Southern villainry and Jonah Hill as a Ku Klux Klan member?? As with the release of any new Tarantino film, I'm excited, especially with this being his first all-out western, but I'm also a bit more cautious this time with the knowledge that there have been production troubles, from constant casting shuffles to a protracted shooting schedule. Let's hope none of this will show in the final film or matter when it's released on Christmas day (just over 2 months away!!).

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Q&A: Fatso's Steve Austin on Fantastic Fest 2012

Resident Fatso film fiend Steve Austin had the time of his life at Fantastic Fest 2012. Fatblog interrogated him when he returned...

Q: How would you describe Fantastic Fest for someone who's never been? 
A: Fantastic Fest is an eight day film festival that happens every September at the legendary Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas. Where other festivals around the world are quite staid and arty, Fantastic Fest cuts all of the boring bits out and plays only genre movies - horror, sci-fi, action, thrillers and "cult" - from all over the world. But more than that, it's a celebration of film nerd-dom, with parties every night, events during the day and other fun activities tied into the films playing. It features red carpet premières right beside fresh new independent features and screenings of older films from the vault. Fans brush shoulders with industry heavy-weights, critics, and celebrities in one massive party over the week. You're guaranteed to be exhausted (and pretty hungover) but massively happy by the end of it!

Q: How many films did you see?
A: I kinda lost count in all the madness! It was between 3-6 films per day, so lets say somewhere around 40, give or take?

Cloud Altas
Q: Best film(s) and why? 
A: So many highlights! The Secret Screening of Cloud Atlas with writer/directors Andy and Lana Wachowski in attendance for a Q&A absolutely blew my mind. It is quite simply an incredible film and I really cannot wait for it to arrive on NZ shores to catch it again with friends and be able to talk in-depth about its complex structure and characters. Tom Hanks and Jim Broadbent knock it out of the park, waaaay into the stratosphere. It truly excites me that this film was not made under any sort of major studio financing.

Looper was the sort of stunning, action-packed science-fiction I have not seen in a cinema for quite a number of years. Classy, vivid and never lets up.

Of the more independent films, I was most impressed by I Declare War: A feature about kids playing at war that is just so well thought out and acted by its all-teen cast that it soars high above its very Lord of the Flies-type premise and sustains itself perfectly.

Berberian Sound Studio
Berberian Sound Studio: Toby Jones plays a British sound engineer with moral objections to the 70s Italian Giallo horror movie that he is working on. An extremely detailed visual study of an unusual character falling apart from the inside. A bit of an audience divider, but I loved it to bits.

Flicker: Awkward, hilarious Swedish comedy about a Telecommunications company being brought to its knees by a militant anarchist group. Brilliantly quirky characters and head-spinningly silly situations. I was gasping for air when not rolling on the floor.

The History of Future Folk: This one is inevitably going to get compared to Flight of the Conchords but I think that's a bit unfair, as this great romantic sci-fi comedy about space aliens from the planet Hondo who decide to start a Bluegrass band sustains its brilliant premise without any sideways winks to the audience or trite self referencing. I hope this gets given a chance to find an audience here.

The American Scream: Documentary from Michael Paul Stephenson (Best Worst Movie) about home-made Halloween haunted houses and the obsessives who go to all of the effort one day of the year to spook up their family homes. I went in a little nervous that I might not connect with this, not having much of a culture of Halloween celebrations in New Zealand, but found that it was populated with such a bunch of affable weirdos and was so universal in its approach to telling its story that I fully engaged with it.

The Final Member: Doco about an Icelandic penis museum. I shit you not! The basic story is the search for the first human penis to be housed in the collection, but it is populated by such great characters and is such a genuinely twisted insight into such a strange world. Having Veal Testicles in Chipolte Mayo served to us halfway through the movie was inspired... and slightly gross!

Honorable Mentions: The ABCs of Death, American Mary, Errors of the Human Body, The Mafu Cage, The Warped Forest (hands down the weirdest film of the festival!), The Miami Connection.

Q: Worst film(s) and why? 
A: There were very few films in the fest that I intensely disliked, but I did walk out of Eli Roth's Aftershock when the earthquake of the title hit, simply because the characters failed to engage me, and I wasn't really too interested in where it was going from there.

Q: If one's going for the first time, what would you recommend to prepare... 
A: Make sure you're ready to have the BEST time at the movies you've ever imagined and be prepared to party hard! Take plenty of money, so you can sample ALL OF THE DELICIOUS FOODS on the Alamo Drafthouse menu (and so you can tip the excellent wait-staff well!) Expand the capacity of your stomach, so you can fit all of the BBQ, tex-mex and beers that the environs of Austin TX has to offer. Two pieces of advice that I received within the first day of the fest that were invaluable: "You don't go to Fantastic Fest to network; you go to Fantastic Fest to make friends!" "Fantastic Fest is both the best and worst first film festival - it is such great fun, it spoils you to all others!"

For more Fantastic Fest reading, head over to Flicks for Steve's wrap-up report.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Teaser Trailer: A Good Day to Die Hard

Watch lotsa stuff explode in this plotless minute-long teaser for the next Die Hard movie - the FIFTH one, if you've lost count. Brucey gets to shoot people in Russia with his son (Jai Courtney) this time round, which one hopes will be a step up from Die Hard 4.0 (jeez how that title has dated). It's directed by John Moore though, who doesn't exactly have a track record to get excited about (Max Payne, The Omen remake), but I guess we'll see on Valentine's Day 2013. Yippee ki-yay etc.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Time After Time

There's been a lot of time travel talk on the web to coincide with the release of Rian Johnson's Looper (go see it!), which is fine by me, since it's one of my favourite genres. Here's a list of stuff to read and see if you need more time travel in your life:
  • A Top 10 list I compiled for Flicks
  • A blog by NZ Herald's Dominic Corry
  • Indie Wire's Criticwire Survey: The Best Time Travel Movie
  • Flavorwire's How Time Travel Works video essay
  • Interview with Rian Johnson about Looper - do not watch if you haven't seen the movie, it's spoiler-heavy. But for those who've seen it a lot of interesting points to chew on.  
  • Tom Cruise has his own time travel flick in the works: All You Need is Kill, directed by Doug Liman and due for release in 2014.

Mad Drunk

Dang, that's a lot of drinking. I don't recommend driving after watching this.
PS: Mad Men - Season 5 is coming to DVD and Blu-ray in November. Add it to your queue here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Trailer: Stoker

Oldboy director Park Chan-wook's English language debut Stoker couldn't look more beautiful and enticing in this trailer. The film is a bit of an oddball collaboration in that the script, said to be inspired by the Hitchcock classic Shadow of a Doubt, comes from the pen of Wentworth Miller, writing under the pseudonym Ted Foulke. Now "nuanced screenwriter" doesn't come to mind when thinking of Miller, or more so his acting (Prison Break, the voice of EDI in Stealth) - but perhaps he's a much better scribe than thespian (the script made 2010's Black List of unproduced screenplays). Anywho this Gothic-looking chiller, starring Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode and Mia Wasikowska, could be an early highlight in 2013.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Alternate Ending: Toy Story 3

SPOILER WARNING: Do not read or watch any further if you have not seen Toy Story 3!! But if you have you'll probably find this prank pretty funny (well at least those of you with a dark sense of humour). The guy who made this video re-edited the film so it would end in that super-intense furnace scene where Woody and friends almost meet their death, then gave it to his mum as a christmas present. See what happens... (before Pixar takes this video down).

Friday, September 21, 2012

End-of-Week News Round-up

It's been another too-busy-to-blog week so here are a few items and news of interest:


  • Way back in April when I last did this round-up, I featured the first look of Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock. Now's here the first look of the poster for the film. Looks fantastic.
  • Resident Fatso film geek Steve is currently in the US enjoying the glorious feast-of-film that is the Fantastic Fest, and he'll covering his experience over at Flicks - here's the first entry with his cinema-hopping-partner-in-crime Andrew Todd.
  • There won't be a NZ Film Awards this year, but The Moas will be happening, a "Sorta Unofficial" celebration of the year in NZ film. More details here.
  • James Gunn, director of Slither and Super, has been hired to write and direct Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm not at all familiar with these characters (superhero raccoons?) but it'll definitely be interesting to see Gunn's transition from his dark indie roots to something more blockbuster-y.
  • Cinema Ninjas - One of the odder developments in cinema-going recently, London's Prince Charles Cinema have hired to people to dress up in bodysuits to go round shhhing punters who're being noisy etc. It looks like a prank or something, but it doesn't seem to be. Watch the vid below:
  • P.T. Anderson's new flick The Master is getting a lot of coverage around the place lately, here's a brief clip of him talking about it and shooting on 65mm film:
  • This movie looks kinda embarrassing and cringe but if you're a fan of late singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley, you might to want to check this trailer for Greetings from Tim Buckley:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Knowles on Kane

When Sight and Sound published their latest Top 10 a month or so ago, naming Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo as the #1, and knocking off Orson Welles' Citizen Kane off the throne, no doubt a lot of people were incensed (I have no qualms myself!). One of them was Ain't It Cool News' head Harry Knowles, who's now created a video professing his love for Welles' film and explaining why it should still be the greatest film of all time. Depending on how you feel about Knowles' style, his fanboy gushing can either be grating or infectious, but in this vid, he does make valid points about Kane's massive influence on cinema, particularly in the technical aspects. The only problem is when he starts off on a weird tangent about The Cabin in the Woods (Welles and Drew Goddard should not even be mentioned in the same sentence!) - he strains for credibility, and I kinda tuned out. It's worth a watch anyway, it works as an easy-to-digest primer on Kane (note: SPOILERS ABOUND!). P.S.: Kane is coming to Blu-ray end of October. Reserve your copy here.

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Googlefied

The party game known as "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" has now been built into Google's search. Although not perfect, it's nevertheless fun to be able to find out how Kevin Bacon is associated with Alfred Hitchcock just via a quick search as per below:

Just type in "bacon number" followed by the star or filmmaker etc, and Google will throw up the results. More about it here. Good job, Google!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Trailer: The Girl

Of the two movies coming out on Alfred Hitchcock, I'm more excited about Sacha Gervasi's Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho than this HBO film, mainly for Anthony Hopkins - his make-up looks more convincingly like Hitchcock. But that's not to discount the performance of Toby Jones, who in this trailer looks like he's doing a fine job of inhabiting Hitch. Directed by Julian Jarrold (Becoming Jane), The Girl focuses on Hitch's relationship with actress Tippi Hedren (played by Sienna Miller), who most famously starred in The Birds... here's a sneak peek at what to expect:

For the Star Wars Fan with Everything #21

Perfect early Christmas gift idea for parents who want to foist their geekiness onto their kids?
Get your R2D2 lunch bag here!

Friday, September 7, 2012

"Edward and Bella" - A Bad Lip Reading of Twilight

I must admit I still haven't seen any Twilight movies - but this made my insides hurt.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ocean's Eleven-Style Doco to Save the Ocean

Nat Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos made an amazing documentary a few years ago called The Cove, which brought to the world's attention the ghastly dolphin massacres that were occurring in Japan. Now he's back with a new project, and it sounds like another ambitious, eco-conscious undertaking that's bound to enrage and educate. But he needs your help to complete it - here's the Kickstarter campaign to raise $50,000 for the film. As pitched by Psihoyos, the description of the doco is enough to pique one's interest: "Think Ocean’s Eleven, The Avengers, but this time it’s real." Can't wait to see what he comes up with.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Podcast: "Writing for Tony Scott", Q & A with Quentin Tarantino & Richard Kelly

Just had a listen to this great podcast conducted by Jeff Goldsmith (Backstory magazine) with filmmakers Richard Kelly and Quentin Tarantino, who paid tribute to the late Tony Scott at a double feature screening of True Romance and Domino at the Los Angeles Film School last week. A really entertaining, candid listen if you have an hour or so to spare, packed with anecdotes where the directors talk about everything from script development to their personal and working relationship with Scott. What's especially interesting is how Scott figures in the generational gap between Tarantino and Kelly - the latter was only in high school when True Romance came out! The infectiousness of this Q+A is almost enough to make me want to revisit Domino...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Re-Cut Trailer: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Excellent, on-the-nose re-imagining of Stanley Kubrick's 1968 sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey as an ear-splitting, seizure-inducing trailer for today's audiences (reminds me of the trailer for a certain recent space film...).

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Classic Trailer: The List of Adrian Messenger

Sorry that's not quite accurate, this is not a trailer - couldn't find one on youtube. Instead here are the opening credits of The List of Adrian Messsenger, another old neglected gem Vendetta Films is releasing soon. They're still one of the few distributors around anymore who actually manage to really dig into the back catalogue and find lesser known films worth unearthing, so it's good to support these guys whenever we can. This one's a nifty whodunnit from John Huston, with one of the great A-list casts of the period: Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchem, Tony Curtis, George C. Scott. If you like old-fashioned mysteries with a slight gimmicky twist, add this to your queue now!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

R.I.P. Tony Scott

I'm probably the worst person to write obits, but the news of Top Gun director Tony Scott's suicide was such a mad shock it left me reeling and wanting to devote some space to the man. So here are some stray thoughts and things:
  • Why was it such a shock? The dude's a mega-successful Hollywood director who didn't seem to have any problems with drugs or illnesses or any bad shit - at least none that was made public anyway. He just appeared to be this jovial, energetic British guy who made fast, flashy mainstream films and enjoyed doing so (he called directing "the best job in the world").
  • He's not a critically acclaimed filmmaker. His films do not grace Top 10s. His increasingly ADD editing and visual style were often derided. But one wonders how, or if, in the sea of grief-stricken tweets and comments, taste matters. There are people saddened that the guy who made "one of the greatest films ever" Man on Fire has passed, or those exclaiming that Crimson Tide changed their life. The fact is Scott entertained a heck of a lot of people - even if his films weren't critical favourites. 
  • Which brings me to this tweet... Harsh? Insensitive? Or painfully true? 
  • It's entirely true that Scott is responsible - or at least partially - for a lot of what glossy modern blockbusters look and sound like these days, both the good and the bad.
  • Reports initially stated Scott had inoperable brain cancer and that's why he jumped - now that's apparently incorrect. Truly bad form, ABC.
  • For the record, my Scott faves: probably True Romance and The Last Boy Scout
  • A collection of celeb reactions to his death here, and a proper obit here from BBC.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Trailers: The Last Stand, Bullet to the Head

I'll admit that I wasn't too crazy about the '80s-action-hasbeen-revival-fest that was The Expendables - the idea seemed funny on paper, but watching the film was completely something else: a dreadful, eye-rolling experience which didn't match the novelty of its casting. But this nostalgia for over-the-hill action heroes ain't going away any time soon with The Expendables 2 on the way, and these two forthcoming vehicles for Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But I have higher hopes for Bullet to the Head and The Last Stand than The Expendables 2, because:
  • They're both solo outings, which means Stallone and Arnie have more time to uh, shine and won't need to vie for attention amidst other stars. One of the things that killed The Expendables for me was star-studded suffocation.
  • Directors: Bullet to the Head pairs Stallone up with one of the greats of the genre from the late '70s/early '80s, Walter Hill (Hard Times, 48 Hrs.). The Last Stand is directed by one of South Korea's top filmmakers of the moment, Kim Jee-woon (The Good, The Bad, The Weird, A Bittersweet Life).
Having said that, though these trailers are pretty fun, I also wouldn't be surprised if the films turned out to be lemons either. Time to hang up the guns and retire gracefully guys - your time has come and gone. :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Trailer: Cloud Atlas

The trailer for the Wachowskis' and Tom Twyker's Cloud Atlas has been gone online, and it's pure epic eye candy of the highest order, a mad exercise in cramming as much as possible into SIX MINUTES. Each gorgeous image it throws at you will have you swooning uncontrollably until you feel your sensory arteries begin to explode. Have no clue what it's about but if you don't mind a bit of spoilery plot guide, see here. I expect nothing less than the best-looking mess of the year. Click on Tom Hanks' toupee to watch the trailer.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

NZFF Highlight: Room 237

A brief word of praise for Room 237, Rodney Ascher's doco exploring some incredible, out-there meanings and theories hidden in Stanley Kubrick's enigmatic 1980 adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining. Some of it definitely gets you thinking (continuity errors or is Kubrick playing tricks on us?), some of it will make you spit-take in great WTF fashion, but one thing they all have in common is the utter obsessiveness of it all. This is the perfect companion piece to The Shining (alas no double feature pairing at the fest), and if you love the movie, Kubrick or unpacking puzzles and symbols etc, head on down to the Rialto Cinemas in Newmarket at 8:30 tonight for the final screening of the doco. Last night's session sold out, so get in there quick!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Keanu: Man of Renaissance?

Perhaps Keanu's time has come? We can now all stop laughing about his non-acting and look at what he's doing behind the camera! The dude, who's almost 50 (for anyone who's wondering), has a cool little doco called Side by Side playing at the NZFF, which I strongly recommend to anyone interested in the digital takeover of the celluloid as the primary means for shooting and exhibiting movies. Furthermore, his directorial debut, the martial arts flick Man of Tai Chi, is on the way, and it was recently reported that Iko Uwai, The Raid's chief bone-obliterator, has signed on for a role. According to Reeves, there will be about "40 minutes of fighting". I am excited yes. See the clip below for what to expect as he tests out some new tech for shooting the fights:

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

If you've just finished Curb Your Enthusiasm - Season 8 and are jonesing for more Larry David, he appears in the first episode of Jerry Seinfeld's new web-only series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. It's exactly what the title says, and it's great!