RSS

Tag Archives: movies

85th Oscars: Re-cap

I originally planned to avoid most of the Oscars, only to tune in for the acceptance speeches and the performance of Skyfall.  But between one friend’s company and the fact the host was actually churning out some good jokes, I remained invested.  While the show did drag towards the end, I think it was an overall good watch–and certainly better than any episode of Family Guy.  Those who know me know that the fact I’m not condemning MacFarlane is a double-take-worthy surprise in and of itself.  Let’s just say the reason why is because the jokes had context, reason and place during the show.  But no one cares about that any more, what we care about are the awards handed out.  Here are my thoughts:

The show got off to a great start with Christoph Waltz winning Best Supporting Actor (again).

First upset of the night was Brave winning Best Animated Feature; seriously, does anyone even have to argue the fact that almost all of the other nominees were more deserving?

Life of Pi’s many wins were well deserved.  I’m especially glad that Ang Lee took home the Best Director award and am glad my concerns for John Williams snatching Best Score were misplaced.  It should’ve won Best Film Editing too, but I’m fine with Argo grabbing a couple small accolades.

Am I the only one who wasn’t that engaged with Adele’s performance?

The tie for Best Sound Editing was a surprise (thought it was a joke at first).

Lincoln winning Best Production Design was the second upset of the night for me.  Everything looked good and authentic, but The Hobbit was more imaginative and creative while Les Miserables was at least interesting to look at.

Best Foreign Film, Best Original Song, Best Supporting Actress and Best Lead Actor.  One word: Yawn.  I would’ve loved to see anyone besides Daniel Day-Lewis win just so everyone would be thrown off (and because it wasn’t the best performance from last year).

Bringing the film students out and not letting any of them speak I found pretty short-changing.  So much for “helping present the awards.”

Jennifer Lawrence winning Best Lead Actress made the night for me.  Also, Doug Walker (aka Nostalgia Critic) said he wanted Quavenzhane Wallis to win just so she could say “I’m the man!”  I got no argument against that.

The acceptance speeches from Daniel Day-Lewis and the crew of Argo were both great; the other acting acceptance speeches were short but good and earnest.

A couple upsets and boring choices aside, I think this was a great Academy Awards.  They might be expected, but upsets are upsets.  Would’ve liked the surprises to come in the form of awards that were actually deserved, but you can’t win them all.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Blog, Film, Movies

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Looking Forward To: 2013

2013 might already be 1/12 the way done, but if Gangster Squad is the best we’ve been treated to thus far, then the good has yet to come.  Okay, so the recent Star Wars announcement was pretty sweet and, in all honesty, I now have no reservations about it.

But whether we’re talking film-related stuff or not, there are some things which the current year has me trembling to get.  So here we go, some of the things I’m curious to see what 2013 holds.

Star Trek Into Darkness

I’m still kicking myself over not catching The Hobbit in IMAX so I could catch the Star Trek Into Darkness prologue.  At the very least, this ties for my most hotly anticipated film of 2013.  To my surprise, 2009’s Star Trek was something I instantly fell in love with, and the first two trailers for Into Darkness had no trouble selling me.  Like a kid who first saw Harry Potter, I’m driving myself mad wanting to see what this sequel will actually provide.

The Place Beyond the Pines

Some might say Limitless was Bradley Cooper’s initial attempt to be taken seriously, but it wasn’t after Silver Linings Playbook that he actually had me convinced.  Now we have The Place Beyond the Pines, where he shares the screen with Ryan Gosling, Ray Liotta and Eva Mendes.  After seeing the trailer, I really wish I had the chance to go to TIFF last year.  Thankfully, the film isn’t far away from its wide release and it’s already looking like a Top 5 contender for me.  Hopefully it will deliver a similar effect to something like Mystic River did in its accomplishment at giving your mentality a true cage beating.

Catching Fire

I (finally) read The Hunger Games around the turn of the new year, and in a nutshell, I though the first 310 pages were solid, but those last 60 pages…I felt strangled.  If there’s anything Suzanne Collins is an expert at, it’s leaving you wanting more.  The book ended in such a way that it rattles me apart to not pick up and read Catching Fire before the film comes out, much less the first teaser.  Unfortunately, I already know how the book ends (thanks a lot, Cracked and Amazon), but I’m also interested to see how this ending will be led up to.  And the pain of not (further) ruining the movie for myself proves tougher and tougher every day.

Evan Williams CInnamon Reserve

In the status update for my blog, I showed interest in covering and reviewing alcoholic beverages.  Specifically, I’d be talking about spirits and cordials.  One company that’s recently caught my attention is the generally affordable Evan Williams.  I’ve already tried their “spiced” eggnog, which felt a tad harsh was while still being tasty, as well as their Honey Reserve, which is a surprisingly decent option.  And wouldn’t you know it?  While browsing for recipes to use my bottle on, I found they’re releasing a Cinnamon Reserve variant, which will make for a trio of Reserves thanks to Cherry Reserve (that’s a lot of Reserves).

Saivon Lapsi by Eternal Tears of Sorrow

Set aside the name and Eternal Tears of Sorrow are a fairly conventional, yet enjoyable, group.  Though they’ve slipped since the excellent A Virgin and a Whore, there’s still some symphonic/melodic fun to be had with their sound.  The released music video for their new album is definitely more akin to their 2010 release which, though not bad, isn’t nearly as inspired as I’d like them to be.  Still, they tend to deliver some good material amidst less inspired parts, so hopefully Saivon Lapsi won’t skimp out too much.

Ethera by VIsions of Atlantis

Congratulations, Visions of Atlantis, you’re finally getting a second album out with the same lead singer!  When I brought up this group to the heavy metal club at my college, our president immediately compared them to Lacuna Coil.  I see a bit more Nightwish, but hey, to each their own.  Either way, the band gives us some very cheesy stuff; though to be fair, that’s to be expected with power and symphonic acts.  I thought Trinity and Delta were both fun works in spite of these inherit shortcomings, so hopefully we’ll get plenty of the energy much of Delta offered up.

Circle by Amorphis

I seem to fall back on bands who, though I definitely like, have trouble releasing truly great material as of recent.  Amorphis slipped after the excellent Silent Waters on Skyforger, and The Beginning of Times left little to no lasting impression.  The band’s core sound does still work, but it seems like many of the times they experiment it produces very mixed and forced results, at best.  Hopefully Circle will harken back to Silent Waters and maybe a bit of Eclipse, which I’d compare to Dream Theater’s Images and Words.  Why?  Because it’s metal while being relaxing, two things that normally shouldn’t go hand-in-hand, but somehow both groups pulled it off.

Bioshock Infinite

The last time I could really game passionately was my first two years of college, back when financial stability was some sort of a reality for me.  But between game prices, an all around overemphasis on (online) multiplayer and generally stagnant progress, gaming has essentially been kept on my back-burner.  But Bioshock Infinite just might be the next new release I purchase, the last one being Halo 4.  I’m a huge fan of the first Bioshock and the second, though I haven’t finished and not as good for what I’ve played, is still solid.  The previews for Infinite look terrific and hopefully the elevated location won’t compromise a lack of linearity for eye candy.

Grand Theft Auto V

Just going to come out and say it: I’m not a GTA fan.  I really like Saints Row, but GTA has never honestly struck that chord I wish it would.  The GTA games have always been games more of curiosity than complete and utter enjoyment to me.  So yes, the trailers and announcements for GTA V have me interested, but I want to know just how FUN the game will actually be.  GTA IV played and handled so sluggishly that it made entertainment more scarce than it needed to be.  I honestly got more fun out of seeing my character fly out of vehicles and get splatter than I did actually playing any of the missions.  Hopefully GTA V will have a more refined feel as opposed to being, well, GTA IV.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Alcohol, Blog, Film, Movies, Music, videogames

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Status of the Blog

In an earlier post I mentioned how one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to try and watch one movie for every day of the year.  That quickly became a very unrealistic goal to set, since I struggled to play catch-up amidst shifts at work, obligations with family, time with friends, etc.  I’ll still be rolling out my thoughts on the films I’ve seen recently, but the frequency of posts isn’t going to be nearly as plentiful as I would’ve liked.  Believe me, if I could make a career out of watching a movie per day while providing my verdict, this probably wouldn’t be addressed.

Another reason I’ve had less time for movies is because I’ve been doing some writings which, though currently little more than trivial rants, are pieces I hope to eventually turn into stand-up material.  I’m not terribly experienced with presenting outside of classes in high school and college, but between watching videos of George Carlin and Louis CK, I’ve suddenly become more motivated than possibly any other point in my life.

Finally, I’ve considered doing drink reviews on my blog, specifically distilled beverages.  I’m far from a connoisseur of them, but I think I could offer decent input for the more casual shopper looking for a worthwhile drink on a budget.  As always, I’d like to know if anyone thinks this is something worth tackling and, if it becomes an inclusion, I’m open to requests for what you’d like me to give my thoughts on.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Blog

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

A Look Back: 2012 in Film (Part II)

Ruby Sparks

There’s an odd connection between actual aspiring writers and movies centered on writers that’s tough to pinpoint.  Ruby Sparks is like a vision coming into physical reality for writers, with a character transforming into something anyone else can see, touch and feel.  The initial promise of such a premise is taken in the directions you’d expect, before taking some surprisingly dark turns.  But fellow fictional writers will know that sometimes to truly understand your characters, you’ll have to put them through the worst possible hell.  It is, to borrow from another certain 2012 release, “a necessary evil.”  Ruby Sparks is, at the very least, compelling and leaves a relatively strong impression.  Things do end up a little to conveniently resolved, but given the road taken, such an ending can feel all the more rewarding.

The Expendables 2

Times at the cinema would be so much better if films like The Expendables 2 were easier to pick out.  Like its predecessor, this is a perfect break and escape from reality.  No, the film isn’t fantastical, but it’s a hell of a great time, suspending you amidst ridiculous action and one-linters.  While other cheap, campy B-grade action movies do little but bore, The Expendables 2 entertains and entertains and entertains.  There’s little serious merit here, but the fact you have so fun watching it the first time around makes everything else irrelevant.

Lawless

Lawless didn’t fear showing a generally grisly side to Prohibition-era America, which is showcased in a scene that makes me queasy upon the slightest recollection.  There are a number of ways to generically label Lawless, ranging from Tom Hardy’s Post-Bane Role to Wait, Shia LaBeouf Has Acting Capabilities?  Being one of the few non-haters of the latter actor, even I think he’s outclassed and generally unfit for such a role.  Thankfully, he’s not misplaced to the point of say, Josh Hutcherson in The Hunger Games, while every other performance from Tom Hardy to Jessica Chastain and Guy Pearce is spot-on.  It’s just a shame we only get two scenes with Gary Oldman, who completely owns both and shows us a side to Jim Gordon we might’ve forgotten after The Dark Knight Rises.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

It’s not every day–or even every year–I can call a film truly resonant with how I generally feel, but The Perks of Being a Wallflower managed to be such a film.  Shame it was a bit of a sleeper, though.  This is a film equally earnest and honest, working better than it probably should thanks to how relatable and irresistible the characters are.  Even Paul Rudd, amounting to a simply sympathetic teacher, manages to bring us into the film more because his scenes with Logan Lerman work so well.  Sometimes comedic, other times seriously dramatic, but always enthralling, The Perks of Being a Wallflower more than earns a personal favorite mark from yours truly.

Looper

Looper was definitely one of the more highly touted films of 2012.  Many people seemed to think it would be the next “it” thing for science fiction action thrillers, with big comparisons being made to Inception.  The film met with almost universal acclaim but seems to have become little more than a dud on the windshield.  While this is a bit of a shame, the film does have, at its core, some very potential shortcomings.  To be fair, like Philip K. Dick’s works, most of these issues stem from the film’s deliberate approach to pose ideas without completely fleshing them out.  It becomes a bit of a backdrop to the story, rather than a consistently integral part.  Some say this works to the film’s strength, I say this is a story that belongs in novel form rather than on the big screen.  Don’t get me wrong, Looper is a very solid film in its own regards, it’s just many of the paths taken are unexpected in a way that necessarily fit.  For much of the second half I forgot we were in the future, or even an alternate reality.  This isn’t a movie you watch for spectacle or visions of another world, it’s a movie you watch for its surprisingly down-to-earth story with alternating thrills and drama.

Argo

In my original review of Argo, I mentioned that while a good piece of filmmaking, it’s not one I’d have honored with several Oscar nominations.  It seems the Academy felt surprisingly similar notions, except they got a couple things mixed up.  Give Ben Affleck the Best Director nom and possibly retract its Best Picture nomination, along with Alan Arkin, despite being one of the best parts of the film.  But I digress.  Argo had a lot to live up to in my books since I’m a huge fan of The Town.  Ben Affleck has a thing about surprising many of us, which is very welcoming.  For a film with so many characters and a rather forgiving runtime, Argo feels surprisingly whole and complete.  Outside of Victor Garber, I think everyone was sufficiently developed.  The plot is expansive in some ways, but the actual story at-hand is very focused.  Not to mention we get possibly the more intense final act of any film from 2012 in Argo, which isn’t in, how do you say, a bang-bang boom-boom kind of way.  Far from my top pick of the year, but definitely one of the most well made releases.

Skyfall

I can already hear the boos coming on this one: I’m not a James Bond fan.  The whole spy movie genre is a bit elusive to me, but I can set things aside to enjoy them if I so desire.  Daniel Craig’s first outing as 007 in Casino Royale does hold up as what you could call a good movie that just happened to be associated with James Bond.  Quantum of Solace, on the other hand, was about as solid as the T-1000 at the end of Terminator 2.  Thankfully, Skyfall brought integrity back and offered a few eye-catching surprises along the way.  This is still very much a Bond film with some hard-boiled action/thriller elements pushing their way in for the final act.  Skyfall doesn’t transcend or turn its back on its faith, which means fans of the series will still get the most out of it.

Flight

I’m trying to remember if Denzel Washington has ever given a subpar performance, much less been in a bad film.  He’s able to easily outclass the best actors Hollywood has to offer and, go figure, his only Academy Award isn’t for one of his top-notch performances.  We can now add Flight to his almost intimidating resume, in which his character goes through so much in its accurate portrayal that it could be labeled synonymous with gripping tragedy.  Without giving anything away, the ending is a bit of a buzzkill and makes what comes off as a long, hard journey abruptly hit some sort of a roundabout.  Still, even for such a good year, you’re not going find many films with a lead performances that commands and demands as much Denzel does here.

Wreck-It Ralph

I can remember seeing the trailers for Wreck-It Ralph and thinking “whatever, just get Pixar out of their slump already!”  Then the film’s style brought comparisons to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and I suddenly grew intrigued.  Said film is among my favorites and one that I enjoy even more with subsequent viewings.  I can’t see Wreck-It Ralph achieving the same effect, but it was surprisingly fun, enjoyable and one I’d be all for seeing again and again.

Lincoln

We had quite a few Oscar bait films this year and Lincoln shamelessly abides the criteria.  If there’s any surprise we’re thrown it’s the amount of comedy, usually courtesy of Tommy Lee Jones.  Obviously an actor like Daniel Day Lewis brings the iconic personality we think of when we imagine Lincoln, though it can definitely become overbearing.  I must reiterate that this performance is literally 50% elaborate storytelling.  No, this is hardly a deal-breaker and, in the hands of Steven Spielberg, we have a nicely handled and borderline immaculate film.  The only downside is it isn’t the year’s most compelling release since it takes about as much chances as I do with the ladies.

Silving Linings Playbook

This is the movie that actually drove me to travel nearly an hour away just to see what the hype was about.  I’m a bit of a sucker for rom-com/dramedies since, when handled well, they strike me like few others.  Two hours of watching and cumulative driving later and I can easily say that it was a wait and trip well spent.  Silver Linings Playbook hits the dysfunctional character note like so few movies and the results are pure bliss.  Comedy and drama run equally high and effectively with no weak links.  Silver Linings Playbook is tough to describe and justify, but if I had to sum it up, I’d say go see the movie and experience it yourself.  Even if it doesn’t crack your top movies of the year, it’s guaranteed to be among the most entertaining and rewarding.

Life of Pi

A scene from Life of Pi showed before a screening of Prometheus and my reaction was, to quote my friend, “so confused.”  That scene was literally all I caught of the film before deciding to eventually see a 3D screening.  I always feel uneasy when thinking Ang Lee since I just can’t separate that name from 2003’s Hulk, a film that continues to leave a repugnant taste in my mouth.  But rest assured, Life of Pi is no Hulk.  Life of Pi is one of the most beautiful, fascinating, well directed and edited films of 2012, bringing an odd story to light that keeps us riveted, regardless of whatever crazy direction it might take.  One pleasant surprise is the ending, which avoids the happy Hollywood archetype but doesn’t take the slummy road either.  Simply put, Life of Pi is a wondrous piece of work and a movie I can’t wait to experience again from the moment it comes out on Blu-ray.

Killing Them Softly

I had my eye on Killing Them Softly for a few months, though shortly after I saw the summertime trailer it drifted off and became but a distant memory.  It’s fitting then, that the film itself will likely suffer the same fate as its previews.  Killing Them Softly certainly isn’t a bad film, it’s just a bit of a drag and feels too incomplete for its own good.  This is really a film that I thought was good for killing time, it’s just I wish it had been done with a better, more investible and worthwhile piece.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The whole idea of splitting film adaptations into multiple releases is just weird.  Monetary reasons aside, it kind of defeats the point of having an adaptation in the first place.  Typically a film adaptation is used to give us the short, sweet and entertaining version of a story.  If we’re lucky, we’ll occasionally get some good twists, but it’s often just the motion picture equivalent to spark notes.  So the fact we’re getting nearly 10 hours for a book that’s less than 400 pages is really just overkill.  Now, taken in its own regards, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a conflicted and inconsistent film.  It’s tough for me to tell whether the film wants to be a comedy or fantasy drama.  Even during its most serious moments, I kept thinking “is anyone on our side going do die?”  Granted, that’s probably the way the book is, but it cut back on the sense of urgency that The Lord of the Rings had.  That, I think, is a key reason this semi-adaptation of The Hobbit falters, in spite of retaining some laughs, entertainment and occasional majesty.

Django Unchained

Tarantino is a very inconsistent director with me.  I liked but didn’t care much for Reservoir Dogs; Pulp Fiction is, as we all know, a classic; Inglourious Basterds did what I thought no Tarantino movie would do in boring me; and Kill Bill just never appealed to me, hence why I haven’t bothered with them.  While I figured I’d enjoy Django Unchained based on the trailers, I was completely unprepared for the unrivaled level of entertainment I got out of it.  If Django Unchained is simply entertaining, then Silver Linings Playbook is a snorefest.  Now, if we break the film apart there are points that can be criticized, but there’s so much fun and enjoyment to be had that any shortcomings quickly become irrelevant.  A true crowd pleaser, Django Unchained can definitely earn more than a couple wholesome theatrical viewings.

Les Miserables

And finally we have 2012’s last impression according to release date (and alphabetical order): Les Miserables.  I’ve gone on to call Les Miserables the most frustrating film of 2012 because of how much I wanted to enjoy and be soaked into its story, only to be let down at almost every corner.  Detachment, spontaneity and weariness are how I’d describe the adaptation we’re afforded, which only accomplishes the visual class of Hooper’s previous effort, The King’s Speech.  I’d want to give the film another chance down the line, but one sitting was laborious enough.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Movie a Day Keeps the Absence Away

The holidays make constant updates a bit of nuisance, like several little scraps of exercises for classes just prior to Spring break.  But another new year has come, bringing with it all sorts of time to waste away enjoying, suffering and spaz-talking various motion pictures.  This has become one of my resolutions for the new year–yes, I can have more than one: watching more movies.  I’m not talking more movies in a generic sense though, I’m talking a new movie to my eyes and ears each day of the year.

By this time next year, I hope to be 365 movies wiser.

Keeping this up, there will naturally be plenty of opportunity to talk about what I’ve seen.  Since I still want to keep other posts going, my update of these movies will alternate.  Sometimes I’ll dedicate one movie per post, other times there may be several.  Either way, I hope to talk to you and myself in profuse amounts over the next twelve months about the movies I shall indulge in.  Until then, keep the reels going and the popcorn popping.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 1, 2013 in Blog

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Coming Soon (Late Summer to Early Fall)

Marathon Reviews: Monster Cereal

Marathon Reviews: Milky Way

Marathon Reviews: M&M’s

Critical Consensus with a Crate of Salt

More Epic Movie Scenes

The Blossom Experiment

Blu-ray’s We’re Still Waiting For

And many more!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Blog, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coming Soon: Epic Movie Scenes

We all know that feeling; what happens when the nerves under our skin gleefully sear and leave us paralyzed in our seats.  Whether it’s the panning of a wide-scale battle, every cut and shot in a pulsating chase sequence or the sheer effectiveness of underscoring perfectly set to the right moment, these are among the greatest, most powerful and memorable of scenes in film.

I’m of course referring to what can only be described as epic movie scenes.  What’s great about scenes is that so many can work on their own level–you can watch them outside of the rest of the movie and they’ll still strike you.  Even bad movies can have a scene or two of redemption which somehow makes it seem like less of a waste of time.

I’ll be compiling an ever-growing list of movie scenes to share with you.  Many of these will likely have spoilers, which will be marked in the post title.

In the meantime, here’s a mash-up trailer done by BMoneyrulz on YouTube:

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Film, Movies

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sci-Fi Reboots: Dredd vs. Total Recall

This is Law-Kall!

If there’s any reboot that people are bound to flock to this year, it’s The Amazing Spider-Man.  Marc Webb’s take on the comic book hero is pulling an Incredible Hulk on us by coming just five years after its spiritual predecessor.  Early reviews have been positive enough to guarantee that, unless it happens to bomb worse than Raimi’s castration of Venom, we’ll see at least one sequel.

But while Spider-Man joins Batman and the Avengers for the summertime superhero infestation, two films set for a later release have caught my eyes.

First we have the remake of Total Recall, this time seeing Colin Farrell follow up Arnie’s role from the 1990 version.  Like most of the reboots and updates we’ve seen, Len Wiseman’s Total Recall looks darkly dystopian.  So no, it hardly looks any different from all the other films that have ripped off Blade Runner for the past 30 years.  But if we were sick of the same things, film and sports would be as dead as knock knock jokes.  And let’s be honest, good as the original Total Recall was, it hasn’t exactly aged well; not to mention the fact it’s an above average mill of one-liners.  Though I’m not anticipating this to be to Philip K. Dick’s story as The Dark Knight is to Batman, a modernization doesn’t seem as pointless as many other recent sequels, remakes and spin-offs.  The remake looks more level-headed to say the least, and though Farrell wouldn’t be my first choice, he can do well with the right material and director.  Although I don’t think anything he does in the future will top Phone Booth.

Based on the trailer, the Rekall place Farrell visits might not be directly in-line with the people hunting him down.  This could make for a small scene versus business dynamic, but knowing the source material it’ll probably wind up being one of those double agent (or double company?) scenarios.  Either way, I hope we get some creative divergences from the original.  In particular, I’d like to see a twist to the original ending.

Then we have the remake of 1995’s infamous Judge Dredd adaptation.  The remake’s clever, shortened name?  Dredd.  Does this mean the film itself will be half as long?  Now if one of these sci-fi films will truly benefit from a newer, darker look, it’s definitely Judge Dredd.  There were two things Total Recall definitely had over Judge Dredd: the story actually required paying a bit of attention and it managed to be good in spite of the one-liners.  Even with the slated September release date, we hardly got a poster of Dredd until recently.  Now that we (finally) have a full-fledged trailer, we can see just how different and similar the film is simultaneously.  On one hand, we should be getting a more investible environment and story here.  And on the other it looks just like–you guessed it: any other Blade Runner inspired film.  One of the many things comic book fans weren’t so fond of in Judge Dredd was the fact Stallone took off the mask/helmet (we’ll call it a masket).  This time, however, Karl Urban of Star Trek, Doom and The Lord of the Rings will play judge, jury and executioner with the word being his masket never comes off.

One potential qualm I already have with the film is that I’ll always be able to tell Urban is acting, since he’s clearly trying to gruff up his voice.  But hey, it’s a step up from Stallone’s “law” and “I knew you’d say that” deliveries.  Beyond that, we have the usual mix of incredible technology but slum-ridden cities for the setting.  The drug used in the film (literally called “SLO-MO”) will probably appeal to some of the more…laid back audience members.  What I’m most curious about, as one who never read the comics, is how identifying with the characters will play out.  Just from the costume design, the judges scream symbolism of the law’s power, which not everyone is always so fond of.  And yet the people they’re against are being played up as the antagonists, so it might make for an interesting anti-hero scenario.

I doubt either film will leave a particularly big splash at the box office, especially since, after The Dark Knight Rises, our wallets will likely be gasping.  But in a summer littered with comic book superheroes and stale comedies, I’m up for a bit of standard, decent sci-fi flair.

Which do you think will stand above the other?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Film, Movies

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Casting Calls That Could Have Been…

Most of us know the movie industry well enough to realize that initial casting choices are like kids and vegetables: They seldom stick.  Recent news that Leonardo DiCaprio was considered for The Riddler in The Dark Knight Rises has become the latest in many publicized could-have-beens.  Some might even remember that before Keanu Reeves, Will Smith was sought for the role of Neo in The Matrix.  Stretches like these happen quite frequently, which are generally…interesting to stumble upon.  So to find out just how bewildering initial considerations were, here’s a list of various roles that could have gone to somebody else.

Spider-Man: Leonardo DiCaprio and James Franco as Peter Parker.

The suit must be surprising comfortable.

While we’re on the topic of Leonardo DiCaprio and superhero films, he was actually one of the actors considered for the part of Peter Parker in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man.  And in a twist of heroes and (semi) villains, James Franco, who went on to play Harry Osborn, was also among the screen tested actors.  Leo sure seems to shrug away from superheroes.  He’ll play a full-on retard and controversial, supposed homosexual, but isn’t up to being a comic book hero or villain?  Where’s the fun in that?

The Shawshank Redemption: Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp and Kevin Costner as Andy Dufrense.  And Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Paul Newman and Robert Redford as Red.

Prison does things to a man.

Yes, there were quite a few potential combinations for the roles of Andy and Red in The Shawshank Redemption.  Those who’ve seen the film know that Andy is a very subdued character, so I’m really flabbergasted that Nicolas Cage came to be considered.  But hey, maybe a transition Vampire’s Kiss to one of the few subtle Stephen King stories isn’t as much a jump as I suspect.  Though in all seriousness, Johnny Depp and Clint Eastwood playing together in the famous roles sure sounds interesting.  Maybe that way Clint could warn Johnny to back away from Tim Burton a bit earlier and keep his resume from molding up.

Titanic: Matthew McConaughey and Macaulay Culkin as Jack Dawson.

I know, right?

DiCaprio’s role as Jack Dawson in Titanic probably isn’t one that he’d label as self-defining.  But hey, it probably brought on a big, fat paycheck and plenty of attention-paying teenage girls; hard to complain with that!  And Matthew McConaughey has always struck me as a guy trying to be charming or suave, so I can understand his consideration.  Then there’s Macauley Culkin.  Who’d have thought Home Alone’s own Kevin could’ve followed up losing his family (twice) by dying on the infamous ship’s maiden voyage?  The kid hasn’t exactly had a brag-worthy career either; maybe he’s got some relation to Bad Luck Brian.  In all honesty, his twig of a body probably wouldn’t have endured past hauling Kate Winslet over the stern of the ship.  Can’t win ’em all.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Bill Murray, Steve Martin and Robin Williams as Captain Jack Sparrow.

Someone else playing me?  Hand up the rum.

Pirates of the Caribbean sat in development Hell for over a decade, with the story originally being pitched for Steven Spielberg to potentially direct.  At the time, the colorful lead character was pondered on quite a bit; and guess what?  Most of the initial actors lean(ed) towards silly, comedic roles!  Given the shaky track record Steve Martin and Robin Williams have, it’s weird to imagine them as the wobbly but strangely thoughtful captain.  As for Bill Murray, he just seems to come off as dryly sarcastic, so I’m not sure how colorful and upbeat he’d be.  I think this is just one more instance that the final choice is one we can agree was for the best.

Air Force One: Kevin Costner as President Marshall.

Surely the make-up wouldn’t be THAT bad?

Oh the many, many actors we’d rather see as the President of the United States.  Many people (including myself) absolutely loved Harrison Ford as the fictionalized President in Air Force One, a film light on plausibility but heavy on entertainment.  Although any movie where the President is a decent individual–let alone a badass who does things himself–has no realism in this day and age.  Then there’s the insanely inconsistent Kevin Costner.  I might be alone here, but I think the man is talented and is given too much flak.  I could see him playing the President quite well, though I doubt his voice would command nearly as much as Ford did.  But hey, this role wasn’t such a waste; I’m sure The Postman will live on with much more respect and recognition.

Alien: Veronica Cartwright as Ripley.

Switch roles?  You got a face-swap for us?

Right now one might make an argument the Alien franchise has hit the point of being milked.  Even so, throughout the course of over thirty years now, the role of Ripley in each Alien movie has become a bit of an icon.  And with a character this memorable, you can be sure a lot of it has to do with the actress, to which Sigourney Weaver proved to be likable in each film.  Now, looking back, could we see another actress tackling and sticking with the role?  One of the other Alien stars, Veronica Cartwright, was actually considered for the key role.  I for one could see her playing Ripley in Alien, but I’m not so sure about the sequels.  But thanks to the way Weaver handled her speech at the end of Alien, she ultimately got (and stuck with) the role.

Sandra Bullock as Maggie in Million Dollar Baby

We’re not convinced.

Here’s one we can shrug aside in hindsight, since both ladies in question were given an Academy Award.  But at the time of Million Dollar Baby’s release, you’d have to wonder even more just what Maggie could have been like.  I won’t hide that I’m not the biggest Sandra Bullock fan, finding her to essentially be a more famous Linda Hamilton.  She has talent, but I’m glad that Swank was chosen, since I always find her to be a versatile actress–precisely what the role called for.

Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder as Queen Ravena in Snow White and the Huntsman

Angelina gets to play a make-up and costume-drenched freak after all.  Happy seasons!

For one of these actresses, I can definitely see why they were considered.  For the other, I can’t imagine it.  But given the final choice, I’m thankful.  Angelina Jolie seems to be an immediate go-to actress for these big, tough female characters.  And I might risk what little reputation I have already, but she can never suspend me.  I feel that her as the Evil Queen wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting, but it’s probably more than what I can say for Ryder.  She’s certainly a likeable actress, but as the intimidating villain?  Sorry, but her child-like face just doesn’t scream evil or queen-like in any way.

Chloe Grace Moretz and Shailene Woodley as Katniss in The Hunger Games

Does this face scream bows, burns and harsh survival?

Here are two young actresses I’m quite fond of, despite having only seen one or two performances by each of them.  Chloe Grace Moretz of Hugo and Kick-Ass has already established herself as more adaptable than most adult actresses.  And Shailene Woodley turned out to be perhaps the biggest, most pleasant surprise of The Descendants.  That said, this is another instance that I must say I’m content with the final choice.  Jennifer Lawrence is another still-rising actress who’s impressed me with her filmography thus far.  For the role of Katness, I think she pulled it off better than the others could since she seems more physically adept (please don’t take that out of proper context).  The performance likely would have been great if any of the other two were chosen, but Lawrence just looks the part so much more.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 21, 2012 in Film, Movies

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,