January 30, 2015

Somehow That COWBOY NINJA VIKING Movie Just Got More Awesome

Yesterday I mentioned that every studio wants newly minted movie star Chris Pratt to headline their potential franchise pictures.  One of the first such projects to snag Pratt is the magnificently titled Cowboy Ninja Viking.  It's the story of an assassin who utilizes his multiple personalities to kill folks in what I can only assume is a series of increasingly hilarious manners.  There is no word yet on whether the ninja personality is in fact named Johnny Karate.

I'm basically already in love with this movie, but I'm even more smitten now that Universal is negotiating with John Wick directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch to come on board the fledgling project.  Woo hoo!

I loved John Wick.  Like, really REALLY loved it.  It is, quite frankly, some of the best down and dirty fight choreography I've ever seen, plus it's easily the best character Reeves has been given since Constantine if not The Matrix.  And while my wife had some serious problems with the film's brutal depiction of puppy murder, I actually respect the film even more for treating Wick's dog the same way many inferior versions of this type of story have traditionally treated the hero's wife or child.  It's not only a novel approach, but it actually provokes a much richer emotional response from the audience.  Besides, it's hard not to love a movie with that many point blank headshots.

Stahelski and Leitch are former stunt men/coordinators and I cannot wait to see what kind of insanity they dream up for Cowboy Ninja Viking.  I'm imagining Pratt headbutting dudes with a Norse helmet and stabbing dudes in the face with his horns.

In the words of Veruca Salt, "I WANT IT NOW."

PODCAST: Screening Episode 47 - Smoke A Thousand Joints With INHERENT VICE

I am a big fan of the collected works of Paul Thomas Anderson.  Bart is decidedly less so.

This makes for a fairly entertaining podcast.

His latest film, Inherent Vice, is certainly not his best work and it's easy to see why the majority of audiences would find it pretty off-putting.  After all, it's a detective noir about the death of the 1960's west coast counter-culture wrapped in a mystery so dense as to be practically impenetrable.  But that's part of why I found it so enjoyable.  Instead of spending the (very lengthy) running time trying to figure out what happened to Shasta Fay Hepworth and why I should beware the Golden Fang, I was able to sit back and let the colors and the textures all wash over while basking in the glory of Joaquin Phoenix's doper PI, Josh Brolin's unhinged LA cop and Jenna Malone's ridiculous chompers.

I will say that I think the film suffers some pacing issues and feels like it goes on about 20 minutes longer than necessary.  There's also a part of me that wishes the film's tone retained some of the lunacy and charm of that first trailer.  Ultimately, the strong performances by Phoenix and Brolin were joyful enough to get me through, but I must admit that Inherent Vice didn't pack quite the emotional wallop of some of Anderson's previous efforts.

Next Week: We finally catch up with Nightcrawler and I introduce Bart to The Bourne Identity.

January 29, 2015

The First Trailer For TED 2 Is Sperm-tastic!

I find it difficult to be impartial about Seth MacFarlane's Ted, not because I'm a huge fan of the Family Guy creator (although I kind of am) but because it's a movie that's meticulously constructed to appeal to my baser, Masshole instincts.  Ted's girlfriend, Tami-Lynn?  Every word that comes out of her mouth likely falls flat to most of the country.  But to an audience of South Shore townies?  That shit KILLS.

Now we've got a sequel coming our way, and while I wouldn't exactly say I'm excited for it, this trailer is funny enough to ensure my future ticket purchase.

I like seeing Flash Gordon right up front and that Sam Jackson line is pretty good.  It seems like they've given Tami-Lynn a lot more to do this time around and that makes me a little nervous, as does the lack of Mila Kunis.  But Amanda Seyfried can more than hold her own.  And what can I say, I just unabashedly love goofy Mark Wahlberg.  I've watched him say "fish nuggets" five times now and I've laughed every time.

I also appreciate the tasteful cutaway to the outside hallway when Wahlberg knocks over the baker's rack full of sperm cups.  This way it'll be even funnier when the movie actually shows him dripping with semen.  This is Trailer-Cutting 101, folks.

No Shit: Disney Likes Chris Pratt For INDIANA JONES

After the disastrous misfire of Crystal Skull*, we all collectively decided that Indiana Jones was probably better left alone.  Everyone except Disney that is, who bought up the franchise rights in a package deal with Star Wars back in 2013 and have been looking to reboot the series with a charismatic new star.  While Star Wars is on pace to dominate theaters this coming Christmas, things have been fairly quiet on the Dr. Jones front aside from some unsubstantiated rumors of Bradley Cooper's involvement.

Now we can add Chris Pratt's name to the list.  Deadline's story just says that Disney is pursuing Pratt, which feels like a no-brainer to the point that I question how real this might be.  After the success of Guardians Of The Galaxy and with Jurassic World on the way, there is no doubt that Pratt is at that top of every studio's casting wish list for at least one major franchise.  Short of also sending Andy Dwyer to a galaxy far, far away, Indy is probably the next biggest pre-sold property Disney is developing at the moment.  It would be stupid for them NOT to be pursing Pratt.

Sidenote: What if Pratt ends up cast in one of the Star Wars stand alone films?  If they're really looking at him for Indy, they MUST be considering him for young Han Solo.  Could Pratt pull off the Disney trifecta of Marvel, Star Wars and Indiana Jones?

Do we really need a new Indiana Jones?  Of course not.  We also don't need new Ghostbusters nor do we need a new Snake Plissken, but there's simply no stopping these things now.  Until they secure a writer and/or director, it remains to be seen whether or not we'd get a total reboot of the character or if we'd just get further adventures of Indiana Jones which maintained some continuity with the previous films.  Conventional wisdom would say a full on reboot, but I think Harrison Ford would totally show up as older Indy to bookend the film.

I'm not entirely sure that I'd buy Burt Macklin as an archaeology professor, but at the end of the day, we could do much worse than Pratt.  We could end up with Bradley Cooper.

*I finally rewatched this recently and I maintain that while the film just does not work, I still appreciate what Spielberg was going for.  There's no way to ignore Ford's age in that movie, so setting it in the 50's and telling a story filled with the iconography of that era - atomic bomb tests and flying saucers - is hardly the worst decision they could have made.  The worst decision they could have made was casting Shia LaBeouf.

January 28, 2015

The Cast Of GHOSTBUSTERS Fills Me With Trepidation

I am firmly on record in believing that the world does not need a new Ghostbuters.  That said, such a move was inevitable and when Paul Feig signed on to direct a reboot with an all female cast, I was cautiously optimistic.  Of all the different ideas I'd heard pitched around, this was probably the least awful.

Then yesterday, Feig announced the cast.  My optimism is dwindling.

In a move we all saw coming from a million miles away, Melissa McCarthy was the first to officially sign on.  I'd be okay with this if it weren't a virtual guarantee that we'll now get a scene where McCarthy either a) can't fit into her jumpsuit, b) breaks the fireman's pole, c) stumbles behind her partners, out of breath and complaining that the proton pack is too heavy, or d) all of the above.

Kristen Wiig is still negotiating.  I guess I'm okay with Wiig since, considering the rest of the cast, I expect she'll end up playing some kind of Ben Stiller-esque straight man role.  I don't know.  I've never been as in love with Wiig as the rest of the world.  Her recurring SNL characters were always an exercise in diminishing returns.  That said, I've never laughed at that show as hard as I did the first time I saw her baby arms character on The Lawrence Welk Show.

Finally we've got two current SNL cast members currently attached,  Leslie Jones and Kate "Crazy Eyes" McKinnon .  Seriously, her giant bug eyes freak me the fuck out.  It feels unfair to criticize McKinnon based on tenure at SNL considering that I've yet to see her attempt play a person who isn't at least partially deranged.  Jones is even more of a wild card, having just been promoted from a writer to a featured player just this season.  She's very funny while sexually harassing human mayonnaise sandwich Colin Jost on Weekend Update, but I think that's basically just Jones being Jones.  She's a bit rougher in her sketch work.  I haven't seen Chris Rock's Top Five yet, but I hear she does nice work in it.  I guess this will just depend on how far Feig asks Jones to stretch her talents.

Feig is apparently still chasing after Peter Dinklage to play the film's villain, and I'm always up for more of The Dink.  But there's also a rumor (first put forth by HitFix's Drew McWeeny and later redacted at the request of Sony) that there's a Walter Peck-ish character who debunks paranormal phenomenon and that they're hoping to lure Bill Murray for that role.  Good lord, what a terrible idea.  I'd be worried about it if I thought for one second that it might actually happen.

McWeeny also listed a sort of character breakdown (also redacted) which described two former friends: Not-Egon, a strict academic (this has Wiig written all over it) and Not-Venkman, a Ghost Hunters-type who 's now working with a new partner, Not-Ray.  They team up with Not-Winston, an MTA ticket booth worker who comes into contact with the main ghost (Dinklage?).  McWeeny has this character pegged for McCarthy, but I wouldn't be surprised to see her as the Not-Venkman role, particularly since she and Wiig have such great chemistry together.

These are all very funny comedians who have made me laugh many, many times.  But they've also made me roll my eyes.  A LOT.  I was also really hoping we'd get at least one proper actress with strong comedy chops (think Lizzy Caplan or Emma Stone) as opposed to four straight up comedians.  And while Bridesmaids and The Heat both did very well at the box office, I didn't actually enjoy either as much as I wanted to enjoy them.  At this point it feels like the foundation is there for a movie that is either hilarious or unbearable.  All we can do is hope for the former and brace for the latter.

Introducing The Daley Planet Podcast!

I'm now at the age where a bunch of my friends have kids, which means that they no longer have time to go to the movies.  That sounds like a horrifying reality that I want no part of, even though I do want kids eventually.  It's a conundrum.

A few of my parent-friends (among others) have told me that they often don't listen to our Daley Screening podcast because they haven't had a chance to see the movie in question, which doesn't really make for an enjoyable listening experience.  We initially tried to combat this by doing movie news stuff at the top of each episode, but eventually it just meant that episodes were approaching two hours in length which is a tad unwieldy and perhaps a bit daunting.

Problem solved!

Introducing the Daley Planet podcast, a spin-off of our original Daley Screening podcast.  That's right, we're splitting up the podcast into two discreet branches.  The Screening will continue to discuss new releases and some old throwbacks in great spoilery detail, while the Planet will focus entirely on the latest news, rumors, casting and trailers in the world of movie magic.  We're still playing with the format a bit and working on some recurring bits to include, so if you have any suggestions (for either podcast) leave them in the comments below.

The good news is, because I don't want to pay double the web hosting fees, subscribing to our podcast feed either on iTunes or on SoundCloud will get you access to both shows as they become available.  I'm trying to work out a more routine release schedule too; since we typically record on the weekends, I'm shooting for Planet episodes to be come out on Mondays and Screening episodes to come out on Wednesdays or Thursdays.  We'll see how it works going forward.  Some weeks we might only do one show or the other, as scheduling requires.

Check out our first episode below, in which we talk about Simon Pegg writing the next Star Trek, Tom Hardy's potential replacements on Suicide Squad, and the impending resurgence of The X-Files.


Better Late Than Never: The FASTASTIC FOUR Trailer

Just last week there were rumors that Josh Trank's upcoming Fantastic Four was such an unmitigated disaster that Fox was considering burning the whole thing down, scrapping the release and starting over from scratch.  I never put much stock in those rumors, although the complete lack of ANY marketing materials for a major tentpole feature less than eight months away was more than a bit suspect.

Yesterday, Fox attempted to quiet the naysayers by releasing the first teaser for the film, conveniently while most of the east coast was trapped in their homes by a mountain of snow.  Why they didn't save this reveal five more days and air it during the Super Bowl is beyond me.

Well it hardly looks like an unsalvageable mess, but that's mostly because it doesn't really look like much of anything at the moment.  There's a lot of vague voiceover about discovery and risk, some moody shots of our four leads not doing much in the way of superheroics, and...that's about it.  They certainly want us to know that this is a SERIOUS MOVIE, which might be a bit of an over-correction from the previous attempt at the franchise.  Still, a lot remains to be seen.

What do I like?  The homegrown version of Miles Teller's contraption looks cool.  For some reason I was under the impression that they weren't going to space this time around, but that last image certainly looks like another planet to me.  Perhaps it's a different dimension?  I dig that our brief glimpse of Michael B. Jordan flaming on appears to just be a guy covered in flames, as opposed to when Chris Evans turned into a molten human.  It's a nice and simple differentiation, and it looks classier.  I also like the design of The Thing (at least from behind), although I wish he was a bit bigger, more Hulk like.

What do I not like?  I realize that all the humor in the old Fantastic Four fell horribly flat, but I wish this movie didn't look so damn dour.  Also, I assume that we're getting a version of Reed Richards as a child prodigy, but for a guy named Mr. Fantastic he looks awfully young.  They all do, which isn't helped by a shot of Jamie Bell playing Little League.  Also, more Kate Mara please!

Oh, and fuck you SO HARD for replacing the "A" in Fantastic with the number four.  Seriously.  Can we officially call a moritorium on this shit?  For a movie that so desperately wants to be taken seriously, that title treatment is beyond childish.  From now on, if you're gonna start shoving numbers into your titles, I'm gonna start pronouncing those titles as written.

Fantfourstic hits theaters this August.