Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Bits and Pieces

There's finally some decent news arriving about the upcoming year (in some cases, years) in movies. I thought some of this was definitely worth passing along.

We've got our first good look at Chris Evans as Captain America. The film, which is expected to be the final lead in to The Avengers, is due out this summer. It's being directed by Joe Johnston means it could go anywhere. I won't be shocked if it's horrible. I won't be shocked if it's a solid, fun, but not great film. If it's great, I will be shocked. This is the best look we've gotten at the suit, which is important. If the suit looks ridiculous, the whole thing is a non-starter. The suit looks pretty good. The utilitarian focus was a good way to go with it, and not making it absolutely skin tight was a good idea as well.

I'm including this because I find it interesting in the negative sense. In other words, I really wish these people would stop making films or at least move on to making original material only. A remake of The Monster Squad is one of the worst remake ideas I've come across. Shockingly, it's coming from the same people who gave us remakes of Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street (why Jackie Earle Haley... why?), both of which were horrific only in the degree to which they were terrible films. If you're interested in what Brad Fuller, producer and one of the brain trusts behind Platinum Dunes, has to say about the Monster Squad remake and the possibility of Nightmare and Friday sequels, I submit it for your perusal.

In case you hadn't heard, let me be the first to tell you that Christopher Nolan and David Goyer (the majority of the creative team behind rebooting the Batman film franchise) wrote a script for a Superman reboot. They've hired Zack Snyder of 300, and Watchmen fame (and the upcoming Sucker Punch which looks mind bogglingly beautiful as a mash up of every possible piece of action geekery known to man) to direct, and the search for someone new to put on the blue and red jumpsuit began. Henry Cavill is that man, and you can get a look at Cavill to decide for yourself to decide if you think he could possibly fit the role.

Javier Bardem is in the midst of quite a streak. He's been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his work in Biutiful, he's officially been offered the role of Roland Deschain, the lead character of Stephen King's epic Dark Tower series. The project is one of the most ambitious ever undertaken. It's being proposed as three full length film with two television mini-series to be released between each film. It could be three to four years in filming, and could possibly become as successful The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And now, it seems he's been offered the role of the heavy in the upcoming James Bond film. Daniel Crai is still on board for the role of everyone's favorite Double O agent, and Sam Mendes whose previous work includes the awesome satire American Beauty, and the understated and under appreciated Road to Perdition is set to direct. Bardem had some very interesting things to say about the role, and the direction of the series. 

In somewhat related news, Stephen King's apocalyptic opus, The Stand is apparently getting a chance to come to theaters as well. Warner Brothers has secured the rights to a film based on the novel. I can say with confidence that the novel can't be adapted successfully into one feature length film. It would have to be at least three films, possibly two if the cuts to the material were most austere and unkind. It's going to be interesting to see how Warner Brothers goes about planning for this adaptation, and will be something to keep an eye on.

James Cameron has long been suggesting he would be making a big screen version of the manga Battle Angel. As technically inspiring and visually beautiful as Avatar was, it's narrative was uninspiring and kind of trite. I'd be on board to see a James Cameron version of Battle Angel because I think it would be much stronger from a narrative perspective, but with Cameron's flare for visual inspiration and technical achievement, it could become something really special. Here's what he's had to say about it recently. 

Andrew Bird directed WALL-E, one of my favorite animated films of all time. He's now directing a film version of the extremely influential John Carter of Mars, about an astronaut who finds himself on Mars, attempting to help a princess sustain her kingdom. In the sci-fi world, it's canon, like Lord of the Rings for fantasy. The combination of Andrew Bird and this seminal source material make it an extremely interesting prospect to me.

This is always a good time of year for movie news, if for no other reason than that Sundance has just wound down, and we'll probably be getting our first glimpses and reviews of what usually are some of the best films of each year.

Silent House has been getting mixed reviews in terms of the films over all quality, though every single review has praised it's technical prowess and even those who were less positive suggested it's got some good scares.

Lucky Mckee previously directed the superb indie horror thriller/character piece May (which you should see immediately if it has escaped you to this point). His new film premiered at Sundance to both fanfare and controversy. The Woman has been loved and hated in equal measure, with one awesomely self important audience member throwing an epic tantrum, and getting caught on tape while doing so.

Brendan Gleason is an actor I'd love to see more of. He's an excellent dramatic actor who also has near perfect comedic timing and the kind of dry delivery I tend to most appreciate. He's starring in a new film called The Guard, and reviews for it have been extremely positive.

A Tribe Called Quest is one of the groups that provided the soundtrack for my childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. They are one of the most influential bands in hip-hop history, and created some of the most engaging and inspiring music in the genre. To say I'm a fan is to put it mildly. Actor Michael Rappaport has directed a documentary called Beats, Rhymes & Life. It's getting mostly positive reviews. Even the least favorable reviews have at least said it's a really fun documentary. It's shot straight to the top of my list of must see films for 2011.

Morgan Spurlock makes entertaining documentaries, no matter what else you might be able to say about him, you can't deny that. He's taken a lot of heat from the documentary purists through the years, but his films are really fun, while still being somewhat informative and thought provoking. As long as you can tolerate his blatant self promotion and his obvious bias, you can enjoy his films. I'm really interested in his latest film, appropriately called The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, about product placement and the way advertising has effected our culture.

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