Friday, May 31, 2013

M. Night Can't Catch a Break

Poor M. Night Shyamalan. The dude just can't catch a break. His new Will Smith-starring sci-fi pic After Earth adventure is currently scoring 13% on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety has called it "listless", a "non-happening", "a leaden affair". Twitch says it's "apocalyptically bad". Film Freak Central gave it ZERO STARS, describing it as "a thinly-sketched, unbearably haughty survival story that cites Moby-Dick as it steals from Suzanne Collins". And so it goes. None of this is surprising of course, given the steady, consistent decline of the Shyamalan brand over the last six films he's made since his breakthrough hit The Sixth Sense. The marketing team at Sony were well-aware of this too, pre-empting any damage wrought by audience expectations ("It's that twist guy again!") by scrubbing his name clean from promo materials to focus on Will Smith. So what happened to M. Night Shyamalan? Have a read of Nick Schager's piece at Village Voice. After Earth comes out in NZ on June 20. Oh yeah, M.'s still talking about doing Unbreakable 2...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Trailer: This is the End

If you ever wanted to see a film where Michael Cera gets wasted, slaps Rihanna's butt -- then gets impaled -- This is the End might the best film you'll ever see. Written and directed by the Superbad team of Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, this apocalyptic meta-comedy stars pretty much the who's-who of the Judd Apatow universe plus familiar faces from Parks and Recreation, The Office, Eastbound and Down and Arrested Development. Early word is that's it's flat-out hilarious. In theatres June 20!

Iron Man in 60 Seconds

Iron Man compressed into 60 seconds in sweet old-school 8-bit animation!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Not Booed at Cannes: Robert Redford in All is Lost

Robert Redford has good reason to be beaming: his new pic All is Lost, unlike Only God Forgives, has received (mostly) glowing reviews at Cannes. Directed by J.C. Chandor (Margin Call), it's a one-man, lost-at-sea survivalist tale where astonishingly, Redford practically speaks no dialogue for the entire running time. Being a fan of stripped-down, limited-location movies, I totally can't wait for this. It sounds like the movie Life of Pi should've been instead of the flashy, waffly CGI spectacle that we were given. There's no trailer yet but here's a short clip from the film...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Only God Forgives Booed at Cannes

Nicolas Winding Refn's new film Only God Forgives, which reunites him with his Drive star Ryan Gosling, has been greeted with boos at Cannes. Reports say the film's extreme violence has prompted walk-outs and even one viewer to loudly exclaim, "This is shit!" during the screening. At the AV Club, critic Mike D'Angelo called it "the worst movie" he'd seen all year, "by a good margin." By all accounts, it appears those tender moments from Drive that balanced out all the brutal stuff is nowhere to be found in this new film, which many have cited as being an exercise in pure style without any substance. Click here for some crowd reactions.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Trailer: The Dance of Reality

Now this is exciting: visionary Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, responsible for surreal midnight movies such as El Topo and The Holy Mountain, has just premiered his new film The Dance of Reality at Cannes. Now 84 (!), Jodorowsky apparently received a standing ovation for the semi-autobiographical film, which is his first in 23 years and being hailed as a return to form. Watch the French trailer below -- it's chock full of the kind of weird, playful carny-esque imagery we've come to expect from him.
Some early reviews: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The Guardian, Indiewire. Fingers crossed the NZFF will get it!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Clips #5

Time for some quick clips to perk up this grey Friday arvo!

Awesome recreation of the opening scene of Casino Royale in LEGO: I did a blog on car movies over at Flicks and a commenter shared this wicked supercut of car chase sequences: This needs no explanation: A short and sweet message from Gareth Edwards, director of the upcoming remake of Godzilla:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

JJ Abrams on Howard Stern

If you've seen Star Trek into Darkness, have a listen to this entertaining 35-minute interview with director JJ Abrams on the Howard Stern Show. Abrams talks Star Trek fans, William Shatner, his madly busy schedule that includes developing TV projects and the next Star Wars movie (!), his abandoned Superman script, a strange meeting with Eddie Murphy and more...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

For the Star Wars Fan with Everything #27

Jabba the Hutt COOKIES! Can't decide if these are cute or just creepy...
If you have sometime on your hands and want to spice up your next Star Wars shindig... get the how-to here.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Google Doodle Tribute to Saul Bass

It was late, influential title designer Saul Bass' birthday yesterday (or today in the US) and Google paid tribute to the man with this fantastic Doodle recreating many of his famous designs:

Trailer: Captain Phillips

Until this popped up on my feeds this morning I had no clue Paul Greengrass had a new movie coming out, let alone one starring Tom Hanks sporting a hilarious Boston accent in a true story about a freighter hijacked by Somalian pirates?? For the most part I'm on board with Greengrass (the Bourne movies, United 93), but something about this project makes me giggle... that title, Captain Phillips... Hanks' accent and goatee... could this be Greengrass' Under Siege?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ray Harryhausen: "If you make fantasy too real, it loses the quality of a dream."

AMEN! I was watching Life of Pi last night thinking, "Okay, that's a pretty impressive and realistic-looking computer-generated tiger and all... but...". This weird kind of feeling - attributed to a phenomenon called "uncanny valley" - has yet, for me anyway, to be overcome by CGI, no matter how good it looks. There's so such problem with Harryhausen's pioneering stop-motion animation creations. The hand-crafted charm, the jittery quality, the fact that an actual three-dimensional object was photographed, the onus being on the viewer to do some work filling in the gaps - these elements make, say the skeleton army in Jason and the Argonauts, feel a whole lot more real than some of the slick, overblown CGI effects we've seen and been accustomed to in recent years.

Anywho Ray Harryhausen's passing is a great loss to the film world. Without this guy there would be no Star Wars, no Jurassic Park, no The Thing, no Nightmare Before Christmas etc!  A lot of Hollywood's greatest and most memorable creatures, aliens and monsters simply would not exist.

Here's a pretty good comp of Harryhausen's work:
If you 'd like to catch up on some of the films he's worked on, this is a list of what we've got in our library:

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
It Came from Beneath the Sea
Earth vs the Flying Saucers
20 Million Miles to Earth
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
Mysterious Island
Jason and the Argonauts
First Men in the Moon
One Millions Years B.C.
The Valley of Gwangi
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
Clash of the Titans

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Trailer: Grabbers

Ireland's not usually known for their bloodsucking alien monster movies, but Grabbers is just that! Coming out on DVD and Blu-ray from Vendetta Films on June 19, this darkly comic flick has a terrific premise: to survive an alien invasion, the locals of an Irish island must get completely drunk to prevent themselves from getting eaten. Looks dang fun, with some perfectly slimy creature effects. Fans of Tremors, The Host, Attack the Block, etc. take note.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

State of Cinema: Steven Soderbergh

So what's wrong with the movies these days? What exactly IS the state of cinema? Let Steven Soderbergh lay it all out for you in this 40-minute speech he made at the San Francisco International Film Festival. It's a cogent, funny, intelligent piece that's a must-listen for anyone who wants to know what factors and circumstances are influencing the production of movies these days and so forth. And it seems the guy can't get away from movies, even after he's announced his retirement - here's some talk of Magic Mike 2 being on the way.