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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?

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Film, Movies

 

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The Films of 2012 You Shouldn’t Ignore

Well before 2011 was over people were already claiming 2012 to be one of the best years for film.  After all, the only thing better than sequels, remakes and adaptations are above average sequels, remakes and adaptations.  But while films like The Hunger Games and The Avengers bask in the financial intake, there are a slew of movies being overshadowed.  Not that they need help to generate revenue, but those who want something a bit different from the publicized crop can venture a look.
Lawless

A Depression-era film starring shouter Shia LaBeouf might not be the best way to kick a list off, but films that deal with law-shrugging gangsters still seem to resonate with many people–and who can blame them?  Plus, we have The Road director John Hillcoat at the helm here with a cast that includes Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman, who make relatively good film choices.  And as an added bonus, we have Jessica Chastain filling in the pretty-face card.  The trailer certainly looks enticing and the film should be a good way to keep our attention between the summer and fall film slaughters of 2012.

Trailer:

Moonrise Kingdom

A few people are keeping their eyes open for this latest film by Wes Anderson, which got very positive reactions at the Cannes Film Festival.  After all, what’s not to like?  It’s a dramedy by a talented and acclaimed director, the premise and scenario is different, the cast includes Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Harvey Keitel and–brace yourselves–it’s not adapted!  Between this and the trailer, which implies a perfect balance of charming and awkward comedy, there should be more anticipation for Moonrise Kingdom than Men In Black 3.  Of course, we all know the chances of that happening.

Trailer:

ParaNorman

Even with the misstep that was Cars 2, Pixar still appear to have quite a following lined up for Brave.  But what about the other animated movies?  Frankenweenie has been showing before literally every movie and, quite frankly, sounds more like a bad porno title than anything.  Then there’s ParaNorman, which has a very off-beat vibe based on the trailer…but that’s why it might be worthwhile.  There’s a bit of Tim Burton meets Nick Park here, except the former aspects should be handled well.  And if that turns out to be accurate, then we should have our second promising animated flick this year.

Trailer:

Red Lights

Most movies that deal with the paranormal are little more than campy, B-grade throw-outs, but here’s a movie that could prove to be a little different.  The cast is decent enough, which should help Cillian Murphy continue his slow climb of recognition; shame he’ll probably be as old as Christopher Plummer before becoming a household name.  That aside, Red Lights should work since it might take its audience seriously.  Granted, it’s unlikely this will be a game-changer (since Hollywood hardly know the definition), but the movie can at least raise the standards for its siblings to come.

Trailer:

Premium Rush

Okay, let’s be honest: the main reason people will see this movie is because of Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  The man seemed to become an overnight sensation and favorite thanks to 50/50, which isn’t difficult to reason.  Beyond that, this film looks to be a fairly by-the-numbers chase/action-thriller, but that’s just the point.  Everyone knows all the action movies they want to see this year, so hopefully Premium Rush will be a fun by-the-numbers film.  In fact, calling it Speed on a bicycle really doesn’t sound all that crazy after giving it some thought.

Trailer:

Gangster Squad

Oh look, another gangster/mafia film!  Except where Lawless may or may not look merely decent at this point, Gangster Squad could potentially bring us back to the former mafia glory of the 90’s.  Almost all of Ryan Gosling’s recent films have been acclaimed, critic-favorites Sean Penn and Nick Nolte are alongside him and, just for good measure, Josh Brolin, Giovanni Ribisi and Emma Stone have parts too.  Not everything about the film is promising, however; let’s be honest, the title is just silly and Ruben Fleischer is at the helm.  This would be fine, except a little number known as 30 Minutes or Less made his other effort, Zombieland, look like Resident Evil with Citizen Kane-like execution.  We’ll just have to hope Ruben has learned from his misstep, much like we’re hoping for Pixar’s redemption after a merely subpar sequel.

Trailer:

The Words

What is it with the sudden surge of movies about writers?  Ghost Writer, Being Flynn, Ruby Sparks and this: The Words.  Though Bradley Cooper did stretch his acting wings in Limitless, this just might make him a card worth taking seriously.  Based on the trailer, it almost looks like the movie wants to shoot for some sort of Academy recognition.  Now, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, but the film does look promising.  Drama, some light-hearted humor and, more than likely, a typical Hollywood ending, should make this a modest hit with casual critics–if such thing exists.

Trailer:

Looper

Hey look, it’s Back to the Future meets Inception!  There’s a good chance people have noticed the poster for this movie, but don’t know anything about it.  Audiences seem to enjoy the movies that do away with some laws of logic while keeping others, and Looper is looking to fit the bill wonderfully.  Just don’t expect it to be nearly as huge as either of the aforementioned films, since it’s clear this is more an adrenaline fix than food for thought.

Trailer:

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Film, Movies

 

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The Dark Knight Rises: Trailer 3 & Impressions

Many fans have been skeptical but holding high hopes for what’s already one of the summer’s biggest movies.  The first two trailers for The Dark Knight Rises were somewhat scarce on details, arguably less so than those for its predecessor.  But now we have our final trailer before the third and final (?) of Nolan’s Batman films comes out.

Rather than literally say what’s in the trailer (since I’d be doing a disservice in the process), here are some details that I’ve found, as well as my actual impressions.

The slow, opening play of piano is wonderful; chilling and immediately grabbing.

Bane’s voice has been much improved over the second trailer and the prologue.  His two lines in this trailer seem to emote differently, so that’s definitely a plus.

Compared to the final trailer for The Dark Knight, there’s a good chance Bane isn’t going to have as many lines as The Joker.  But it’s clear he’s still going to have a key part in the film.

The shot of the bridges blowing up followed by people looking out windows to see falling snow seems to indicate being alone or cut off.

We’ve seen snow (or something to replicate it) between the trailers and set photos, which can be associated with a colder nature.  The snow can also be paralleled to the fact Tim Burton’s Batman Returns took place during Christmas.

It’s essentially confirmed in the trailer that Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) knows Bane, which solidifies my early suspicion that she’s been directly involved with Bane.

The very end of the trailer also shows Batman and Catwoman in the new Batpod; sounds like a team-up to me.  What I’m guessing is that Selina/Catwoman is conflicted from her possible relationship with Bane, her life and maybe something Bruce offers her.  There’s also a brief shot that shows her in a fight and Batman fighting in the background.

Of course there’s also the concern about whether Bruce/Batman dies.  At one point in the trailer, Selina’s asked by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character “did he kill him?”  The finger seems to point at him referring to Bane killing Batman.  There’s also Batman responding to Catwoman ( “you’ve given them everything”) with “not everything.  Not yet.”  It might be a long shot, but perhaps Levitt’s questioning of Selina is right at or around the end.

And we finally see Lucius is going to be in the film.  Since none of the previous trailers showed him and the fact Lucius no longer works for Bruce, it makes me wonder how he’ll still fit in.

Given the shots we’re given throughout of chaos in the streets (not to mention the blowing up of bridges and a football field), it appears that the people of Gotham and Bane’s forces are going to at their very ends here.

The building music in the second half of the trailer transitioning to the Bane Chant is just pure bliss.  A popular move to use when teasing a finale such as this, but they often work and it’s no different in this trailer.

Those are just some of my quick thoughts.  I’m definitely looking forward to this film, the trailer has left me ecstatic beyond belief, and I’m looking forward to The Avengers even more just to see this trailer on the big screen.

What do you think?  Is The Dark Knight Rises going to be the number one film this summer?  Will it be nominated for any Academy Awards?  What observations or theories do you have?  Spill your thoughts below!

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Film, Movies

 

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