March 27, 2015

Jake Gyllenhaal Does His Best Junkie Balboa In The SOUTHPAW Trailer

I love boxing movies.  I love Jake Gyllenhaal.  And after Olympus Has Fallen (I still haven't gotten around to The Equalizer) I'm even warming up to director Antoine Fuqua.  So I'm pretty excited about Southpaw, better known as That Boxing Movie Where Bubble Boy Got Totally Jacked.  Now we've got our first look at the film via the trailer below, courtesy of Eminem's YouTube channel.  Thanks, Slim Shady.

This has all the hallmarks of a classic boxing movie, including a down-on-his-luck ex-champ with an awesome name (Billy Hope!) who trains in a dingy old gym with an irascible trainer to take on an eminently hateable opponent.  It's basically the exact plot of Rocky III (which might be my sneaky favorite one) in which Burgess Meredith is played by Rachel McAdams.  I'm also already kind of in love with Billy Hope, as he appears to possess some sort of goofy pugilistic superpower in which he can absorb the power of all the punches to his face and then unleash them on his opponent in the final round.  (Which, for what it's worth, is basically how Rocky beat Clubber Lang.)

Gyllenhaal's impressive musculature has been getting plenty of attention so far, but how about those teeth!  Good god.  Paired along with that mad dog stare and it looks like we're in store for a healthy dose of Flirting With The Edge Of Psychosis Gyllenhaal, which is easily my favorite of all the Gyllenhaals.  The guy is on a crazy hot streak right now and Southpaw looks like a worthy successor to Prisoners, Enemy and the criminally under-appreciated Nightcrawler.

That said, I kind of can't wait to see what kind of weird left turn his career takes next.  I wouldn't mind a resurgence of Goofball Gyllenhaal, to be honest.

March 26, 2015

This MAGGIE Trailer Is Surprisingly Affecting

When it was first announced that Arnold Schwarzenegger would star in Maggie, a film about a father who's forced to protect his daughter as she slowly turns into a zombie, I was hardly alone in the assumption that the former Governator would spend a fair amount of screen time fighting off swarms of the undead.  But now we've got our first real look at the film courtesy of the trailer below and it is surprisingly...emotional.

That is not at all what I was expecting.

People don't give Arnold enough credit as an actor.  His post-political performances in stuff like The Last Stand and Escape Plan have been shockingly on point.  Like a potent and smokey bourbon, the man has only gotten better with age, to the point where I'm getting more and more excited about the promise of the long-threatened Legend Of Conan sequel.  Maggie is the feature debut of director Henry Hobson, a man who's mostly known for crafting title sequences in movies like Rango, The Lone Ranger and Snow White and the Huntsman.  But this thing looks somber and moody and heart-wrenching in all the best ways.

Do I want to watch Arnold shotgunning a horde of zombie faces?  Of course.  This is America.  But I'll happily fork over my hard earned cash to watch bearded, grieving farmer Poppa Arnold care for a disintegrating Abigail Breslin anytime.

March 25, 2015

Steven Spielberg Will Direct READY PLAYER ONE

For the last two years I've been lucky enough to attend SXSW and both years I've started off the festival with panels led by author Ernie Cline, the guy who wrote the film Fanboys as well as the excellent novel Ready Player One.  The latter is a fantastic, lightweight sci-fi adventure set in a future world where humanity spends most of their time living in an immersive virtual reality which consists primarily of recreations of Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Firefly, Ghostbusters, Buckaroo Banzai, Dungeons and Dragons, Marvel, DC and every other nerd property of the past 30 some-odd years.  It's a story that is both ripe for cinematic adaptation and a potential nightmare of intellectual property litigation.  But Warner Bros is determined to shepherd this thing into theaters and now they've brought on perhaps the ideal director to make it happen.

According to Deadline, Steven Spielberg has signed on direct Ready Player One immediately following his adaptation of Roald Dahl's The BFG.  Now, with a busy director like Spielberg, these things always feel like they're in flux.  The guy builds a future slate six movies deep and often times they end up in the hands of other directors.  (see: Interstellar.)  But I really, really, REALLY hope this actually comes to pass.  Spielberg is an endlessly exciting and appropriate choice, if for no other reason than so many of his iconic films are specifically referenced in the book.  I also suspect he'll be able to lend a little more dramatic heft to the story and keep it from delving into subpar dystopian YA territory.  (See: Divergent.)

This is some exciting stuff though!  I've been waiting for this movie to inevitably disintegrate, but Spielberg's involvement is beyond promising.  The book is an easy read that I cannot recommend highly enough.  And if you're still on the fence, here's a picture of me with Ernie Cline's real life version of Wade Watts' DeLoreon, complete with Oscillation Overthruster, Proton Pack and Flux Capacitor.

It's okay to be jealous.

March 24, 2015

Is This Real Life? Digital Bruce Lee vs. Iron Mike Tyson In IP MAN 3

I'll admit that Donnie Yen's vaunted Ip Man films have somehow slipped under my radar despite having been available to stream on Netflix for months.  But I did get around to Wong Kar Wai's take on the same character in The Grandmaster and that was a fairly stunning affair.  Now The Hollywood Reporter has broken some news that will almost certainly inspire me to finally get around to watching Yen's depiction of the man who trained Bruce Lee.

Principal photography begins today on Ip Man 3.  That's surprising enough in itself, considering that Yen's series has been quiet for half a decade.  But now it seems the film will also star none other than Iron Mike Tyson as the film's villain, a real estate developer with a penchant for street fighting.  If that wasn't bizarre enough, it also turns out that the filmmakers have opted to forgo casting someone to play young Bruce Lee and will instead bring him to life using some form of CGI, likely something along the lines of some Social Network-style face swapping.

My impression was that the Ip Man films were classier than this sort of tomfoolery, but now I need to watch the first two entries to see what other oddities I may have been missing out on.  Either way, this is some peculiar and exciting stuff.  And lest you forget, Mike Tyson also has his Adult Swim series Mike Tyson Mysteries which he describes as "Scooby-Doo meets The A-Team."

How have I not yet watched that show?

February 12, 2015

Say ALOHA To Cameron Crowe With This Trailer

When this trailer for Aloha hit the web this morning, my wife sent me an article titled, "Are You Ready To Have Cameron Crowe Back In Your Life?"  For this guy, the answer is a resounding, "Fuck yeah."

Crowe is one of those guys who I can't help but love despite any and all logic.  And while Almost Famous is easily his best work and Jerry Maguire is certainly his most commercial, it's his more maligned films like Vanilla Sky and Elizabethtown that I find myself revisiting most often.  Sure they're far from perfect, but I guess I'm just a sucker for Crowe's particular brand of earnestness and bleeding heart sentimentality.  Besides, the guy wrote Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

Okay sure, Aloha looks like it borrows liberally from the Elizabethtown playbook, specifically the good looking guy who gets chewed out by Alec Baldwin after blowing a huge business deal and then having to move to his former home to sort his life out.  But after that we get a love triangle of sorts between Bradley Cooper's old flame (Rachel McAdams) and an energetic young Air Force officer (Emma Stone) and I guess he's working for his old boss and HOLY SHIT IS THAT BILL MURRAY???  Jesus fuck!  I am all about Bill Murray in full on Lester Bangs-mode, spouting insight and wisdom as only Bill Murray can.  And hey, maybe this movie will finally put Bradley Cooper back in my good graces.  Then again, maybe not.  Every time I see him do that little surfer hand gesture I want to punch him in the dick.

Also, nothing against Jon Krasinski, but I really hope that his character goes the whole movie without speaking.

February 10, 2015

PODCAST: Screening Episode 49 - JUPITER ASCENDING Cannot Maintain SUPREMACY


I want to love Jupiter Ascending.  SO MUCH.  And make no mistake, there is plenty here to keep you entertained, including some beautiful outer space visuals, Channing Tatum's anti-gravity rollerblades, the adorable Elephant Man and every second of Eddie Redmayne's utterly batshit performance which consists solely of hoarse whispers punctuated at random by ear-splitting screams.  But in the end, the most impressive thing about the latest Wachowski film is that it somehow manages to feel both thinly drawn and completely overstuffed at the same time.  Throw in a surprisingly inert Mila Kunis and a stifled Channing Tatum, add a romance with absolutely no chemistry whatsoever, and you end up with a movie that simply collapses under the weight of its richly detailed yet completely empty spectacle.

And yet, part of me can't wait to watch it again.  I guess that's just the kind of guy I am.

Jamie and Bart join me on the podcast to break down this big bad space opera, plus Bart and I continue to forge ahead through the Bourne franchise with The Bourne Supremacy.  Bart didn't particularly care for it, while I discovered that I've apparently been confusing it for the third Bourne movie for years.  Who knew?

PS: At one point I suggest that the Wachowskis particular brand of storytelling would be far better served by a long form premium TV series, completely forgetting that their next project, Sense8, is exactly that.  It airs on Netflix this May.  Huzzah!

Next Week: We celebrate Bart's Birthday with Kingsman: The Secret Service and The Bourne Ultimatum.

February 06, 2015

This POLTERGEIST Trailer Wants You To Fear Your Flatscreen

I caught up with the original Poltergeist for the first time this past Halloween.  It played as part of an all day marathon in a huge old local theater and I totally flipped for it.  My only wish is that it had played as the last film instead of right before the midday break.  That movie fucking plays, with scares and humor and and awesome mix of practical and old school optical effects.  Seriously, you could put that movie in theaters every Halloween and I'm convinced it would simply never go out of style.

Instead, we're getting a remake with Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt and Irish Lane Pryce.  I mean, I guess.  Rockwell's great, but I doubt this movie will give him the chance to do any of the things that make me love him so.  Then again, the director is Gil Kenan and he's responsible for the seriously underrated Monster House.  So maybe there's hope!

What annoys me the most about this trailer is that, while it does look to stick pretty close to the original, it also looks fairly indistinguishable from a dozen other haunted house/ghost movies from the last few years.  It seems like they're compensating for a lack of originality with TONS MORE GHOSTS!  While that fucking clown doll is appropriately creepy, there's certainly nothing here as uniquely peculiar as the original's Zelda Rubenstein character.  I'll see it for sure, but the chances that it can hold a candle to Joe Dante's version seem pretty slim.