October 01, 2014

Feast Your Eyes On The Final INTERSTELLAR Trailer


A small torrent of different TV spots for Christopher Nolan's Interstellar hit the web few days ago.  I ignored them in an effort not to over-saturate myself in the final weeks before the film's release.  My anticipation level is already absurdly high for Nolan's sumptuous outer space epic.  But then Warners released the film's final trailer and my curiosity got the better of me.


Holy fuck awesome.

I'm glad that this trailer highlights the space travel stuff as opposed to the dust bowl dying Earth stuff.  The very concept of Nolan, the man responsible for the mind-bending landscapes of Inception, getting to play with some truly weird alien landscapes (and perhaps lifeforms?) is enough to tickle all my nerd pleasure centers and from the look of this trailer my excitement has not been in vain.  The water planet with the giant tidal waves will surely provide some thrills, but I can't stop thinking about those upside down mountains.  I'm getting a heavy 2001 vibe off the whole thing and I couldn't be happier about it, although I can't help but imagine what Spielberg's version of this would have looked like if he hadn't dropped out.

Also, SOMEBODY GET ME THAT WEIRD ASS ROBOT!



September 30, 2014

The First Trailer For The Third TAKEN Is Weirdly Compelling


Five minutes ago I couldn't have cared any less about a third Taken movie.  The glut of near-identical films depicting Liam Neesons as a sullen action hero embarking upon a mission of tortured vengeance has muddied the waters a bit.  After Unknown, Non-Stop, A Walk Among The Tombstones and particularly Taken 2, the idea of Liam Neesons, Action Hero has become downright pedestrian.  At least in The Grey he got to fight wolves.

But then this trailer happened and now suddenly I'm on board once again.


It's completely ridiculous that they're still reading off Bryan Mills's super-spy resume three movies in, but the addition of Forest Whitaker is an absolute delight.  I particularly love that he appears to be playing the exact same character he played in The Last Stand.  This gives me hope that these movies secretly take place in the same world, allowing for the possibility that Arnold Schwarzenegger, Luis Guzman and Johnny Knoxville will show up at some point to bail Liam Neesons out of a jam.

Also, can we please call a moratorium on sequel titles that swap a letter with a number?  It doesn't look like clever wordplay so much as the illiterate ramblings of a YouTube commenter.




Hollywood Is Out Of Ideas: TETRIS Movie Will Soon Drop


Seriously?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that producer Larry Kasanoff and Threshold Entertainment, whose most impressive credit to date is 1995's Mortal Kombat, have made a deal to bring Tetris to the big screen.  That's right.  Tetris.

How did we get here?

Kasanoff would like you to believe that, much like The Lego Movie, Tetris could somehow serve as a rich canvas for crafting a major blockbuster.  "It's a very big, epic sci-fi movie," says Kasanoff.  "What you [will] see in Tetris is the teeny tip of an iceburg that has intergalactic significance."  That sounds more than a little bit grandiose, particularly coming from the director of Foodfight!

Short of some kind of Last Starfighter-esque tale in which a champion Tetris player is recruited by aliens to use his mastery of block-based puzzles to save the universe, I simply don't see how you build a compelling story around the classic video game in any meaningful way.  This feels like nothing more than yet another cash-in on brand recognition, and when the brand in question is a 25 year old video game, you have to wonder who really gives a shit.

According to Kasanoff, "This isn't a movie with a bunch of lines running around the page.  We're not giving feet to the geometric shapes."

Too bad.  That's the best idea I've heard yet.

The Trailer For P.T. Anderson's INHERENT VICE Is The Greatest Thing You'll See Today


Last night, while I was watching the Patriots give a Monday Night Football performance worthy of a high school JV squad, the internet was freaking the fuck out over the first trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice.

That excitement is justified.


Anderson's last few movies (There Will Be Blood and The Master) are each genius level films in their own right, but they're also pretty dark and nihilistic so I understand why the majority of audiences didn't exactly find them accessible.  But this looks like a return to Anderson's more populist work, exhibiting not just a lighter touch but some sheer hilarity.  And the continuing collaboration between P.T. and Joaquin Phoenix makes me happier than words can express.  Phoenix's work in The Master is easily one of the most underrated performances in the last five years and if we're all very very lucky, Inherent Vice will pave the way for his entry into the Marvel Universe as Dr. Strange.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to spend the rest of the day watching and endless loop of Josh Brolin shouting for pancakes and Joaquin Phoenix falling down.



September 29, 2014

Podcast Episode 32 - Denny Crane vs. RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART 2


We've now officially past the halfway mark of our Epic Rambo Rewatch, which is the part where I'm left scratching my head wondering, "Why were these movies so popular?"  As we noted in last week's conversation about First Blood, when people think about the character of Rambo, they're usually thinking about him from Rambo: First Blood Part II.  And yet, this Rambo is kind of...boring.  Stallone is at his best when he's allowed to be just a touch goofy, but here Rambo has become an emotionless cypher of destruction, morosely slaughtering dozens of faceless Vietnamese and Soviet soldiers in his attempt to rescue a group of American POWs.  At least in the first installment Rambo was dealing with some pretty serious emotional trauma, which made his violent behavior kind of fascinating.  Now he's basically a killer robot, which is ironic considering the movie's clear-cut hatred of technology and rigid systems.  Is this really what we wanted from our action heroes in the 80's?   All righteous fury and no semblance of humanity?

And while Rambo is an absolute void of personality, the same can be said of the direction by George Cosmatos.  Sure, you've got plenty of combat, chase sequences and machismo, but it's all fairly perfunctory with no trace of any real joy or style.  Even the part where Rambo obliterates an enemy soldier with his one of those exploding arrowheads feels somehow unremarkable, which might be the film's single biggest crime.  There's no actual tension to any of the action, nor do you ever emotionally invest in Rambo's need to liberate his fellow soldiers.  It's almost hard to believe that this is the same guy who directed Tombstone.  It's very easy to believe that this is the same guy who directed Cobra.

In our latest podcast, Bart and I delve into our disappointment over one of Stallone's signature roles while simultaneously discovering the joy that is Charles Napier's rich and varied filmography.  We also question the likelihood of Ryan Reynolds' long delayed Deadpool movie, chuckle at the cast of Police Academy fending off lava-spewing giant spiders and the marvel at the possibility that William Shatner's greatest role might in fact be Denny Crane.


Next Week: We gird our loins for Rambo III.




September 26, 2014

Canine Channing Tatum vs Evil Lizard Men In The Latest JUPITER ASCENDING Trailer


One of my biggest disappointments of the summer was the loss of the Wachowski's sci-fi epic Jupiter Ascending which was intended to hit theaters in July.  We can argue about the diminishing value of the later Matrix movies from now to eternity, but I remain a staunch defender of both Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas.  I'll grant you that their aspirations sometimes exceed their capabilities, but I hardly see that as something worth punishing.  There are few other filmmakers nearly so bold or exciting in their filmmaking choices, to the point that even the Wachowski's failures are significantly more interesting than most director's successes.  You've got to admire them for painting on a huge canvas.

We may have to wait until February to witness Jupiter Ascending in all its weirdness, but in the meantime here's a third trailer to tide you over.


We've got winged lizard people, rocket boots, badass spaceships and another inevitable Sean Bean death!  If nothing else, this trailer is really giving the hard sell on the actual story while still showing plenty of oddball alien shit.  Again, some of this stuff might just fall flat on screen, but I still can't wait to drink it all in.

Happy early birthday to me.




NBC Plans To Fuck Up REAL GENIUS


There's something magical in those childhood moments when you discover a great movie totally on your own and not because a friend or an adult sat you down and told you, "This is a good movie."  Those instances always seem few and far between and those films are the ones you will cherish forever, even if they don't exactly age well as you grow older.  Those movies are special because you actually began to assert your own tastes.  Those are YOUR movies.

Real Genius is my movie.

Young Val Kilmer is an eccentric young genius attending a Caltech-esque university and trying to build a powerful new type of laser for his dick professor, played by William Atherton in full on Walter Peck mode.  Kilmer takes in shy young prodigy (Gabe Jarret) as his roommate and plenty of crazy campus hijinks ensue, including one scene where they turn the dorm hallway into a frozen skating rink that may also explode at any moment.  Also there's a weird guy who lives in their closet.  Kilmer and Jarret eventually finish their laser project only to discover that they've unwittingly been constructing a military funded assassination weapon, thus prompting a mission of hilarious sabotage and juvenile revenge.

It is perfect in every way.

NBC is now developing Real Genius as a single camera comedy.  At first I was kind of excited at this prospect.  This could be like Community but with super geniuses!  That sounds amazing!  But then I kept reading Deadline's story and saw that it's being shifted into a workplace comedy.  So it's The Office with super geniuses?  BOOOOO.  The setting is one of the things that makes the film truly unique, along with the odd mingling of the military and the academic.  Plus Kilmer's Chris Knight is pure lightning in a bottle.

The original film isn't exactly a widely beloved title in the first place, so if you're going to make that big of a departure from the source material, why bother even calling it Real Genius?  Just because it's an existing property that will make it marginally easier to market?  Fuck that noise.

Still, I'll probably watch it.