July 2009 Archives
Meta is the new black. How else do you explain the runaway success of 30 Rock, which stars Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan as the writer and star of a variety show? Or Jean-Claude Van Damme playing a down-and-out version of himself in JCVD? Or Paul Giamatti playing a jaded actor named Paul Giamatti in the movie Cold Souls? You can't, can you? Well, director Judd Apatow has harnessed the power of meta for his own ends in Funny People, and thanks to an amazing supporting cast and liberal use of the word "cock," he seems to have opened some sort of bizarre rift in space and time and made Adam Sandler funny again.
To describe Park Chan-wook's newest film, the vampire tale Thirst, to someone who has never seen one of his films is difficult. The movie is horribly violent, and features people doing terrible things to each other in between graphic sex scenes. But, like all of Mr. Park's films, the violence and sex are intercut -- and often interwoven -- with hysterical comedy, so you find yourself laughing at things that you might not normally find amusing.
It's official -- Rachelle Lefevre is out as Victoria in the third Twilight movie, Eclipse, and Bryce Dallas Howard (Terminator Salvation, The Village) is in. Supposedly, it's due to a "scheduling conflict," but could it simply be that the producers wanted a better, more famous actress in the role? They're not alone. We think that a lot of actors in the cast could stand to be upgraded, so we went through and re-cast the entire thing in our Re-Casting Wish List. Click the link, and tell us you don't think that would be a better movie.
Movies based on children's books by Dr. Seuss have done very well in Hollywood. How the Grinch Stole Christmas was a Jim Carrey blockbuster in 2000, as was the animated Horton Hears a Who in 2008. Mike Myers' The Cat in the Hat, on the other hand... well, two successful movies out of three ain't bad. But now that the news has broken that Universal will be releasing a 3D animated movie based on ecological parable The Lorax in 2012, one has to wonder how many movies ol' Theodor Geisel's oeuvre has left to give us. We looked over his body of work and called out some of the most marketable titles. Expect to see one or more of these in theatres by 2015.
Starting with 1960's The Magnificent Seven (a remake of The Seven Samurai) and culminating in the recent spate of adaptations of Japanese and Korean horror movies, Hollywood has often looked to Asia for new ideas. But rarely do we see it go the other way -- at least, not in any sort of official capacity. But Sony Pictures Classics will distribute the new film from acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), and it's a remake of the Coen Brothers' first film, Blood Simple.
Fans of the classic children's book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH were treated to animated version in 1982, retitled The Secret of NIMH. Except in the movie, there were some significant changes, like the addition of magic and mysticism, and a lot more deaths. Well, that may be rectified, since a new film adaptation of the book is in the works, one that will likely be a combination of live-action and computer-generated animation. If that had been an option back in 1982, they probably would have just done that the first time, as they would have with every other talking-animal movie made in that decade. We made a list of the animated classics that need an updated go-around, either because they didn't do the book justice or because a new version would make them that much cooler.
Mark your calendars, because August 21 is Avatar Day! What's that, you ask? Is it some sort of new holiday where a benevolent bearded wizard gives you presents? Kinda. James Cameron doesn't sport a beard any more, but he is giving the world what he probably thinks is the greatest gift of all -- a free, 15-minute clip of his new, 14-years-in-the-making CGI spectacle movie, Avatar! Unfortunately, you need to go to an IMAX 3D or other 3D theater to see it. Because it can't be fully appreciated on the Internet or TV, of course. Which is apparently why absolutely zero footage has been released from this enormous movie that comes out in less than five months, aside from a few pieces of artwork and the footage that was recently shown at San Diego Comic-Con. Description of the footage ranges from highly positive to "lower your expectations". Based on what I've heard (a lot) and seen (very little), they're already pretty darn low.
There is very little that could be done to make me (or most people) worry about Iron Man 2. The first movie was so good, and so fun, that the second would have to be good, right? Unfortunately, it has to be good. It has to be better than the first, in fact, or people will be disappointed. It has to bring something new to the table. Luckily, director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey Jr. seem to realize that, and they brought their A-game to the San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend. The footage they showed isn't online yet, but the descriptions of it dazzle the imagination. Here are ten things I learned from the Iron Man panel at SDCC that have gotten me even more excited to see it.
Last summer, a teaser trailer for Tron 2, spelled "TR2N," was shown at the San Diego Comic-Con. Shaky footage leaked onto the Web, showing an older, bearded Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) watching a deadly lightcycle race from his monklike home inside a mountain in cyberspace. (A fictional Website searching for the missing Flynn may be closer to his location than it realizes.) At this year's SDCC, an expanded version of that same clip was shown, and this time, the title was revealed as Tron Legacy. While the footage is certainly impressive, thanks to famed commercial director Joseph Kosinski, the new title, Tron Legacy, is not.