Earlier this summer, J.J. Abrams' alien invasion movie/small town coming-of-age story/extended Steven Spielberg homage Super 8 opened to generally positive reviews (though not here) and grossed $125 million at the box office. Today, the terrific U.K.-made alien invasion movie Attack the Block arrives in Stateside theaters after a successful run in its native land in May. Sadly, it will probably not earn $125 million at the box office, but a respectable domestic number followed by a long, lucrative afterlife on DVD seems likely. And even if Block doesn't match Super 8's box-office intake, writer/director Joe Cornish can content himself with the knowledge that he's made the better movie. Here's why:
Steven Spielberg's name is featured so prominently in all the trailers and poster for Super 8, you'd be forgiven for thinking that The Bearded One himself directed this summer season's latest would-be blockbuster. That feeling only intensifies in the movie's first few moments, which sets us down in a small Spielbergian town circa 1979 to the strains of a dreamy John Williams-ish score (actually composed by the always-stellar Michael Giacchino). But then the first of many lens flares strikes the camera and you remember, "Oh right! This is a J.J. Abrams joint!"
While the late, great Michael Jackson is most famous for his music, the man loved to make movies about himself and his songs, and as a megastar he had his pick of some of the most respected directors of our time. Granted, not all of the films were very good, and most were simply long-form music videos, but all were jam-packed full of enough ideas to make a feature-length movie out of. In honor of the man, what say we get today's hottest directors to remake his films? (We'll leave the challenge of recasting the Jackson role to more talented casting directors than ourselves.)
For months, there was virtual silence about J.J. Abram's new take on Star Trek. Details of the plot and images of the cast were kept tightly under wraps. Now, some six months before the movie bows in May 2009, you can hardly go a day without stumbling across some new Trek tidbit. Whether it's a new trailer featuring Leonard Nimoy or a new movie poster, news is coming fast and furious. Just yesterday, IDW Publishing announced it would be publishing a four-issue prequel comic book miniseries leading up to the new movie. As if that's not enough grist for the fannish mill, there are also new still shots from the scene in the trailer where young Kirk comes face to face with... Well, it's kind of hard to explain. Click on through only if you want to get a gander at what happens.
In an effort to spread the love and not alienate any one online entertainment news site (except maybe us), Paramount Pictures has released a crop of photos from J. J. Abrams' Star Trek set, dropping "exclusive" shots (one each) all across the Internet. MTV.com posted the one they got -- which I consider the best of the lot, a pretty righteous shot of the Enterprise bridge, with Kirk, McCoy, Spock, and a little bit of Sulu -- plus thumbnails and links to all the other ones around the 'net. They also spoke with co-producer Damon Lindelof, who dropped a bunch of hints on what the photo means, etc. Some of the juicier tidbits lie ahead, if you're avoiding anything spoilery...
Good news, all you beat reporters out there -- J. J. Abrams is going to adapt a newspaper article for the big screen. Granted, it's not your run-of-the-mill town council meeting report. It's a feature article that ran in last Thursday's New York Times, about a Manhattan apartment that was designed to be a scavenger hunt, with hidden clues and puzzles scattered throughout.
It seems like J.J. Abrams' Star Trek went from being a super hush-hush project to being splashed all over the media like Joe the Plumber, practically overnight. For the spoiler-shy, this is not a problem. Just stock up on Pop-Tarts, drive out to your nearest cave, and don't come out till the movie comes out. Likewise the sudden flow of news doesn't bother those who welcome spoilers like that first life-giving hit of coffee in the morning. But what if you're somewhere in between? You've been debating whether or not to buy the Star Trek issue of Entertainment Weekly. You want to know, but maybe you don't want to destroy all the surprise. If you were a phaser setting, you'd be Stun, not Kill. For you, we have teasers to help decide just how much more you want to know.
Here are some of the top movie-related stories from Movies Without Pity this week:
Marky Mark's House of Payne -- We hypothesize Marky Mark's rap soundtrack to Mark Wahlberg's Max Payne. Tighty-whiteys not included.
Alan Moore Endorses Watchmen Movie! -- ...Yeah, that's an old headline from 1987. But apparently, he was totally on board back then.
Raaarrrgh! Hulk DVD Smash Expectations! -- The Incredible Hulk DVD comes out on Tuesday, and we tell you what you need to know before you go and buy it.
W.: Oliver Stone's Conspiracy Notebook -- Ollie Stone is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, and thinks the cast of W. is out to get him, if his set diary is any indication.
Star Trek Movie Images Explode like the U.S.S. Reliant -- J.J. Abrams has set off a clusterbomb of Trek movie pictures. Never before has a blurry picture of Scott delighted so many. (Okay, me.)
Quentin Tarantino's Sex Drive -- Did you know QT wrote the original screenplay for Sex Drive? Neither did we! Or anyone else. (It's not true.)
Dan and Zach Talk About Watchmen -- Not a sequel to Zack and Miri Make a Porno, but judging by how turned-on they are by 25 minutes of Watchmen footage, it might as well be.
Having sat at (and eventually under) this very desk just over two weeks ago when the 5.4 Chino Hills earthquake trembled its way through my fair city, my first reaction upon hearing that J.J. Abrams would be making an earthquake disaster movie was: "Ugh, no thanks." Seeing the lights above you sway violently while you're enveloped in an unnatural rumble that's loud and quiet at the same time kind of kills any desire whatsoever to experience it in THX or Dolby. Then again, the memory of the quake is still pretty raw; my stomach still flips whenever a big truck rumbles past our building. Maybe months down the road when the film is in theaters and my nerves have settled, I'll want to flock into a crowded L.A. theater with two puny exits (that it takes ten minutes to get through even when you're not panic stricken) to find out what the creative minds of our time believe will happen when the Big One actually hits. Ugh. Maybe not.