Sunday, January 28, 2007

Smokin' still bad for you, says Joe Scott

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First, let me just come out with it and say that I hated this film. I know I was pumped as hell to see it sometime around New Year's. I watched the teaser and the trailer, and I remember thinking, 'This kinda looks like it might have almost zero cohesion, but a talented young director like Joe Carnahan would never let that happen. Certainly he will somehow manage to reign it all in with a decent narritive flow.'

Well, he didn't.

From what I could gather, Smokin' Aces is little more than a game of bumper cars wherin the cars are replaced with depraved murderers, two FBI agents, and Andy Garcia with the worst Southern accent I have ever heard. The psychos and agents bump into one another, shoot one another, and, for the most part, kill one another. Then, at the very end, they throw us a total screwball of a twist-ending, as if this film even deserved to have one in the first place. Let me tell you the kinds of films that deserve twist endings, ones with straight beginings and middles. By the time we get to the film's finale, it's not so much a twist as it is another boring turn on this jumbled Rubix cube of a story.

As far as acting goes in this film, there were a few people who took their parts and conducted themselves nicely. Ryan Reynolds proves that he deserves more work for having the courage to appear in a film like this and not be terrible. Ray Liota, the fine actor that he is, simply needs more work. Perhaps someone will develop a worthy TV show around him so he can keep from having to do crap like this. Maury Sterling was great as this southern fried rockabilly nightmare; and Alicia Keys and Taraji Henson might have been the most likable people in the film, playing a pair of assasins whose partnership might run deeper than professional for one of them.

But back to Andy Garcia's accent. Dude changes gears somewhere during the film, going from his usual quiet voice to a tidewater southern lawyer. Wasn't there enough money in the budget for all this meyhem to hire a dialect coach? Garcia desperately needed to be told that he sounded like Looney Tunes' Foghorn Leghorn. Absolutely pitiful.

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(Someone at Warner Brothers needs to get cracking on Andy Garcia's next film.)

Ultimately, I will look back at the whole affair (if I do look back at it whatsoever), and say that some movies were never meant to be more than just a trailer. two-minute glimpses into what could have been. Maybe the studio should have just cut their losses and included the preview as a part of the Grindhouse project that Quentin Tarrantino and Robert Rodriguez have been working on.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Greatest. Comercial. Ever.

While I am a Brut man myself, the following ad has got me thinking about switching brands:

RE: Laugh at the Wicker Man.

Someone on YouTube edited all of the 'greatest' scenes from Neil Labute's Wicker Man from last year, and the results are hilarious. I missed this film in theaters, and have no intentions of seeing it on video as well. As a matter of fact, the only person I know of who saw this film was Yes Weekly's Glen Baity. Guess he's a braver man than I.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

RE: Two Avatars in one day.

20th Century Fox finally let the cat out of the bag via The New York Times that they have officially given James Cameron the go-ahead on Avatar. With a $200 budget. I wonder if the studio actually plans to hold Jim to those numbers, because he always goes over budget by about 30-50% (we could be talking about a $300 million movie here, folks.

They have also announced the male lead for the project, a Mr. Sam Worthington.

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Note that this person is not a star whatsoever. That means that the bulk of this 200 million is going towards what we see rather than who. The movie hits theaters on Memorial Day 2009 (talk about advanced eh?). James Cameron gave AICN an exclusive interview, telling them that the reason it will take so long is because all characters, both humanoid and non, will be rendered via a new photorealistic CGI process that he is co-inventing with Weta digital. The best part of the interview came when Harry Knowles asked Cameron why the studio decided to announce the project so far in advance to which the director-scientist said "The studio just wanted to drive a stake in the ground and say 'We’re doing this, Watch out Summer 2009, don’t plan your big summer movie on Memorial day Mr Spielberg or Disney or whatever.'" I guess it was just the polite thing for him to do.

But if that wasn't enough Avatar news for you, Nickelodeon told the trades yesterday that they will be moving forward on a TRILOGY of Avatar films as well, courtesy of director M. Night Shymalan.

I'll let you catch your breath.

Take heart, however, because this particular Avatar project is based on some faux anime project that runs on Nickelodeon.
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I have only caught glimpses of this show, and from what I have seen so far, if you were to take the most redundant plot devices of all actual anime, put them in a cartoon with sub-par, computer assisted 2-D animation, you pretty much have this series in a nutshell unless someone proves me wrong.

A rep from 20th Century Fox (the one making Cameron's Avatar) seemed less than pleased that another film could confuse business away from their $200 million project. He told Variety, "We own the movie title 'Avatar.' There won't be another film called 'Avatar' coming from anyplace." Ouch! Well, we shall see how this pans out. If you guys remember, this isn't the first time that Shymalan has been involved with a film that shared its name with a completely different project. The Village was originally titled The Woods until May-director Lucky McKee revealed that he had copyrighted the name first, forcing Shymalan to choose the alternate title.

Personally, I just hope that both directors make excellent films. Cameron and Shymalan are coming from two completely different places career-wise. One has been in long hiatus since he directed one of the highest grossing films ever made, while the other is walking wounded after helming one of the biggest duds of last year. The expectations for both parties to perform is extremely high.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

RE: Hillbilly Jedi

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Saw something funny on AICN's review of the direct-to-video sequel to Walking Tall. AICN spy 'Vern' inquires what connects all of the original films with Joe Don Baker and Bo Svenson, the TV show with Svenson, the TV movie with Brian Dennehey, the remake with the Rock, and the two DTV sequels starring Hercules Kevin Sorbo together. His answer is kinda funny, and dead-on:

So on the surface none of these movies are connected, but I got a theory. Remember those movies "THE CROW," where it's always different people who die and come back to get revenge? The only connection is that some crow helps them turn into a vengeful ghost who makes everybody uncomfortable by quoting poetry all the time. This is the same kind of thing, the spirit of Walking Tall is passed on from sheriff to sheriff, from small corrupted town to small corrupted town. First it was in Joe Don Baker as Buford Pusser in the original movie. Then it was in Bo Svenson as Buford Pusser in the sequels and the TV series. And Brian Dennehy as Buford Pusser in the TV movie A REAL AMERICAN HERO. And The Rock as Chris Vaughn in WALKING TALL (2004). And now Kevin Sorbo as Nick Prescott in WALKING TALL: THE PAYBACK.

How does the spirit get transferred? It's obvious: it's in the stick. All these guys at one point carry some sort of stick or wood product as a weapon.

I know they are at best retarded, and at worst unwatchable, but I loves me some Walking Tall. Why? Because in real life, corruption is usually vast and far reaching, and it's always nice to see a movie wherein some country-ass boob takes this complex and evil force down with something so simple as a large piece of wood. To me, the first Walking Tall with Joe Don Baker was a modern-day Star Wars adventure. Joe Don was our hillbilly Jedi, and his hand-fashioned, blunt trauma-inducing piece of wood was his light saber. He was from a simpler age, where people respected the notion right and wrong, and he had to deal with a whole Empire as it were of rot-gut moonshiners and sadistic whorehouse operators. When Joe Don finally crashes his car into the redneck casino in the film's explosive finale, it's like he took down the Death Star.

The irony here is that the real-life Bufford Pusser, the person whose life is supposedly the basis of this long line of movies, tv shows, remakes, and videos, was supposedly a corrupt police officer himself.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Japanese Transformers trailer.

I know you might be wondering, 'Why should I watched the Japanese version of a trailer I saw two week ago?' Well, the answer to that is 1) you get to see an intro by producer Steven Speilberg and Michael Bay where both of them speak in Japanese and 2) if you actually watch the entire trailer, there is about 5-8 seconds worth of footage that didn't appear in the U.S. version. Lame, I know, but I only did this for the die-hards out there (plus we owe Peter 'Optimus Prime' Cullen a favor).

Mike Judge's Idiocracy FINALLY has a trailer.

Remeber last fall when we complained about how 20th Century Fox dumped Mike Judge's (Office Space, King of the Hill) newest film, Idiocracy, in about five cities with not so much as a theatrical poster for publicity?

Well, it hits video store shelves next week, and I couldn't be more excited. They also made a trailer which looks like it could have fooled no less than $25 million worth of asses into theater seats (if the movie would even need to 'fool' that many people - Office Space has tons of fans), which could have offset the tremendous loss that this film cost the studio. Anyway, you can see the trailer here. How this movie didn't get theatrical while Deuce Bigalow 2 did is beyond me.

RE: Glen Baity's top 5

Movie Show friend and occasional guest-host Glen Baity posted his 'Top 5/Worst 5' movies of 2006 on this week's edition of Yes Weekly; and while I won't spoil his entire list (read the entire thing right here ), I will share the one film that he had in common with Mike, Mark Burger, and I:

2. The Prestige. Christopher Nolan re-teamed with brother and Memento scribe Jonathan Nolan to make the best film of his young career. Add stellar performances by Michael Caine and David Bowie and an elaborate plot with mystery to spare and you've got one killer illusion.

I guess if there was a Triad Critics Association, The Prestige would be at the top of our collective list. Definitely a great film.

It's a shame that Glen didn't get to take part in last Thursday's special - he's a hilarious guy and you can always trust him to have his own opinion about film. However, I am still glad to see that he not only got to share his list with the public, but that he also has a pretty darn good list of films as well.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Indiana Jones will ride again in Summer of '07

We've been waiting for a fourth Indiana Jones film since the late nineties, and everytime an interviewer asks a principal (i.e. Harrison, George, or Steven), they always say they are going to shoot it 'next', or 'soon', or 'next year'. George Lucas has used the term 'next year' for this project so many times that the phrase literally has no meaning whatsoever when it comes out of his mouth.

So if The Hollywood Repoter's article is to be believed, they are going to move ahead on production this summer with a screenplay by War of the Worlds writer David Koepp. Koepp's not a terrible writer - I love Stir of Echoes - but I have to say that I am pretty much indifferent to most of his work on adapted properties (Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds, and the first Spiderman to name a few).

I guess all I can really say at the moment is I will believe it when they shoot it - when they have the director, producer, and star in the same place at the same time shooting this geriatric adventure that many people have been dying to see.


A spy by the name of 'Hamburglar69' sent us this still image from Indy IV screen tests that they've done with Harrison Ford. Enjoy!

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('How am I supposed to find these gol'-durn artifacts, when all I really need is a fiber pill and some depends?')