Saturday, May 17, 2008

adventures in film geekery may 12-17th

With the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian opening this week and Indiana Jones opening the next, I decided to skip out on Narnia and save up my energy and money on Indiana Jones (despite the lukewarm reception its earning in the early buzz). Here are my thoughts on some of the news from the past week in movie land.
  • Apparently, Uwe Boll may not need a million signatures on the Stop Uwe Boll Petition to stop making movies. His latest film, Postal will not be screened at any movie theater in the United States and will go directly to DVD. This is fantastic news, as Uwe Boll's terrible video game adaptations not only lose money from the German government (look it up) but they are also one of the many factors that keeps video games from being considered an art form. While Postal was not necessarily a great game to begin with, he also has a Far Cry movie coming down the pipeline. Boll believes that theaters are afraid to show his film due to the controversial subject matter, which is partially true. I'd say its too soon for a 9/11 comedy movie but there's barely any humor that could be found in such a tragedy, it would be like making a comedy film about the JFK assassination, doing so is only distasteful. I'm sure the fact that Uwe Boll's last film, In The Name of the King a Dungeon Siege Tale lost $50 million worldwide doesn't help either. [link]
  • Despite Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf being contractually attached to a possible three new Indiana Jones films, George Lucas recently announced that he may make a fifth Indiana Jones movie possibly five or six years from now. I guess this is good news, even though George Lucas hasn't really made a good film since The Empire Strikes Back (which he didn't even direct) he's still gained immortality in my mind just for the strength of those two films. I feel as if Lucas is just stuck in a creative rut and is making films anyway "for the fans" with a total lack of inspiration. The five year break should be enough for him to get his head together. [link]
  • The first images from Sylvain Chomet's (The Triplet's of Belleville) next film The Illusionist (not the Ed Norton one) have emerged on the internet. I'm fairly excited for this one because he's using an old script from Jacques Tati as the baseline for the film. Tati's style is actually very compatible with Chomet's subtle animation and working off of Tati's script I'm sure he'll be able to get a story 10 times better than that of Triplets of Belleville. I'm also kind of entrigued to see how modern audiences would react to a fifty year old script animated with 21st century technology. [link]
  • A Goosebumps movie is coming out. I was looking over the Monster Blood books lately and their plots are fairly laughable. This movie will at least be awesomely bad. [link]
  • The character designs for Bolt are looking a bit generic. This wouldn't really be that bad of a statement if it was not assembled from the ashes of American Dog, a 3D animated project from Chris Sanders (Lilo and Stitch) where he was abruptly fired. The early footage from it was looking quite good. [link]
  • Jon Favreau may not be directing Iron Man 2...not cool. [link]
  • Mike Judge is considering a live-action Beavis and Butt-head movie. The notion of an animated series being adapted into a live-action film would normally make me cringe but I feel that Mike Judge's dead pan humor does not really take too much advantage of animation in the first place and it translated really well to Office Space (which was based off of an animated short he made anyway). [link]
  • Michael Moore's next film will be called Fahrenheit 9/12. September 12th is my birthday so that's as good a reason as any to want to have that on my DVD shelf. [link]
  • On the note of video game film adaptations, Paul Thomas Anderson (director of There Will Be Blood) may direct the inevitable Metal Gear Solid movie. This all sounds pretty promising but I guess I felt the same way when they announced that Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf) would direct the Silent Hill film, which turned out pretty terrible. [link]
Onto the movies I watched on DVD this week...

The Orphanage (El Orfanato) - I picked this one out because I always cautiously wanted to see this one. The trailer reminded me a bit of the 1976 version of The Omen and typically creepy little kids make for great horror flicks. It also was "presented" by Guillermo Del Toro (the Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy guy) which is a decent reason to be excited. I found it pretty comendable how the film refrained from using gore apart from pivotal moments when it would be actually scary. While I don't mind torture horror flicks like Hostel, after ahwhile all the gore begins to lose meaning and it just becomes more of a popcorn flick than a horror movie. I was not too sure about the ending. It seemed a little too fairytalish while the rest of the movie had a art house meets low budget 70s horror-esque vibe.

Marie Antoinette - this was one I always wanted to see but never wanted to put any money down on. I really enjoyed the style of Lost in Translation so I was interested to see where Sophia Coppola's style went wrong in this movie. Surprisingly I really enjoyed the change of pace in the bubblegum and punk rock coated approach Coppola took in this historical biopic, I just wish more of the film radiated that tone and not a few overdrawn out montages that just felt a little out of place. The run time was a bit longer than the film deserved too.

Groundhog Day - this one is often stated as one of the best comedy movies of all time, with an incredibly high rating on IMDB and a place in the Library of Congress. I'd actually have to agree with this. I was afraid that the unique concept would run thin but instead it played off of the repetitious concept and threw it through every possible scenario. Bill Murray was fantastic in this too, very funny but also very serious at times too.

Akeelah and the Bee - I typically like to avoid anything that has to do with the overpriced marketing based empire known as Starbucks Coffee and Lionsgate has been responsible for some of the worst horror movies of all time. However, this drama was quite good. I felt a bit cheated by the ending but it was able to compete with the fantastic documentary Spellbound in my mind and that's a pretty amazing achievement in its own right.
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