August 2011 Archives
Tongues wagged when Disney declined to peddle their upcoming cinematic wares at last month's Comic-Con: International in San Diego. But don't think for a second that the Mouse House was out of the self-promoting game. Far from it: They just opted to keep it all in the family by saving what would have been their Comic Con show reel for their own fan-friendly convention, the D23 Expo. Held this past weekend at Anaheim Convention Center, the event was a three-day celebration of all things Disney, promoting everything from Radio Disney and the Disney Channel to Disney.com and the various Disney theme parks. Not surprisingly, the most buzzed-about panels were the ones devoted to Disney's upcoming feature film slate, which includes such releases as Andrew Stanton's John Carter, Pixar's Brave and a little movie called The Avengers from the company's most recent acquisition, Marvel. Here are the bits of D23-related movie news we found to be the most supercalifragilisticexpialidocious:
Twenty years ago, the news that Ridley Scott was going to be revisiting the futuristic world he created in Blade Runner would have been met with hosannas by that 1982 film's passionate fanbase. But after two decades, too many "director's cuts," an overabundance of disappointing prequels/reboots/spin-offs of other seminal sci-fi movies and Scott's own spotty recent track record (Robin Hood or Body of Lies anyone?), it's hard to view this as anything other than a bad idea. Nevertheless, there's still a chance that a trip back to the Blade Runner universe could yield something good or even great. We humbly offer a few suggestions on how to avoid a Phantom Menace-like backlash.
It's taken 27 years, but Hollywood finally got around to making another Conan movie. Since the original big-screen Cimmerian barbarian is currently in exile following a detour into politics and a series of personal troubles, Conan's sword has been passed to a new slab of beefcake, Jason Momoa. The Hawaiian-born actor has a fair amount of experience playing muscle-bound warriors with superb fighting skills and great hair -- check out his work on the TV shows Stargate Atlantis and Game of Thrones for proof. And if the new Conan flops, there are plenty of other '80s fantasy franchises in need of a revival that Momoa would be a good fit for. Because, let's be honest: we're all kinda tired of these girlyman action heroes, right?
The late '70s and early '80s were a boom time for cheap horror movies as the big Hollywood studios and independent producers churned out dozens upon dozens of low-budget pictures that featured attractive casts of teenagers getting summarily slaughtered by serial killers, zombies, vampires and other assorted monsters. Today, those titles have provided the industry with plenty of remake fodder to fill up multiplexes on otherwise slow weekends. In the past few years, we've been treated to remakes of everything from Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street to Prom Night and My Bloody Valentine. (Anyone wanna bet how long it'll be until we're buying tickets to new versions of Chopping Mall, April Fool's Day and Night of the Creeps?) So it was only a matter of time until someone got around to Fright Night, Tom Holland's fondly remembered 1985 tale of a suburban teen (William Ragsdale) who discovers that the guy next door (Chris Sarandon) is a literal bloodsucker.
For several years now, The Notebook has been the movie of choice for viewers in the mood for a cheesy, contrived and completely addictive glossy romantic melodrama. Well, move over Ryan and Rachel, because here comes Anne (Hathaway) and Jim (Sturgess), the stars of One Day, another three-hanky weepie about a couple whose romance is thwarted by the passage of time and their own foibles. Based on the best-seller by British author David Nicholl -- who clearly went on a Nicholas Sparks binge before sitting down to write his own book -- One Day is such a cannily crafted tale of love and loss that you're always aware (and kind of hate) just how much it's manipulating you and yet get caught up in it anyway. If this doesn't become the cinematic romance of choice amongst mooney-eyed tweens and teens and their equally sentimental parents, then the studio has botched a sure thing.
It's been eight years since those resourceful Spy Kids last saved the world from an overacting mad-man, but this Friday they're back in theaters in the Robert Rodriguez-directed fourth chapter Spy Kids: All The Time in the World (now in 4D!). Actually, the original kiddie spies -- Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara -- aren't the stars of this particular outing, since, you know, they're not actually kids anymore. (They do both make cameo appearances though.) Instead, there's a new pair of pint-sized action heroes in town, played by Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook. Other new-to-the-series actors include Joel McHale as the duo's father and Jessica Alba as their stepmom, a retired agent that introduces them to the spy game. Spy Kids 4 is far from the first film to try and restart a dormant franchise with an infusion of fresh faces playing new characters. Here's a look back at some of the other series that have attempted similar relaunches and whether or not they succeeded. (Hint: The answer is usually, "No.")
In this month's crop of VOD titles, a former tabloid queen tells her life story, a bunch of dazed and confused teens enjoy one last summer sleepover before school starts and another group of idiots gets lost in the woods while pursuing the truth about a local legend.
The Dude abides, Jane Eyre pines and Ginnifer Goodwin borrows her best friend's fiance in this week's batch of DVD releases.
I know many people aren't exactly fans of the Final Destination franchise -- they don't think watching people die in the most ridiculous ways possible sounds like an appealing Friday night. I understand those people -- just like country music isn't for everyone, neither are narrative-lacking horror movies.
Objectively speaking, Glee is a cash cow. It translates into anything, be it board games, apparel, books series, reality competitions... nothing is too much of a stretch to brand. When I originally heard of the concept of the Glee Live! In Concert! tour, I thought they were pushing it. And when I found out that they were slapping together a 3D documentary about the concert in a mere six weeks, I was ready to deem Glee bastardized beyond the point of return. But I was wrong: Glee: The 3D Concert Movie not only surprised me as a film, it restored a faith in the series that had been lacking for me. And as it turns out, a lot of my original assumptions going into the movie turned out to be incorrect.