Saturday, July 30, 2011

THE FILM TOME REPORT: ISSUE 39

NEW IN THEATERS


Attack the Block* / 88%
Cowboys & Aliens / 44%
Crazy, Stupid, Love / 73%
The Devil's Double* / 57%
The Future* / 87%
Good Neighbors* / 65%
The Guard* / 94%
The Smurfs / 19%

* = limited release

NEW IN STORES


Dylan Dog: Dead of Night / 3%
Heartbeats / 72%
Ironclad / 44%
Leon Morin, Priest CC / 92%
Life During Wartime CC / 68%
Source Code / 91%
Trust / 78%

CC = Criterion Collection
% from Rotten Tomatoes

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TRAILER ROUND-UP


In my breakdown of trailers, there are several different breeds that clearly emerge as prototypes. Perhaps my least favorite is the "plot summary" method wherein you receive a basic streamlined story-line in two minutes. Unfortunately, the trailer for "Dream House," a new scary thriller starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz as a married couple with two young daughters, adopts this approach. The spooky image of two girls at the end of the hallway will immediately conjure memories of Kubrick's "The Shining" in any film scholar's mind. That may not be a bad thing as it is widely regarded as a classic of the genre. "Dream House" comes to us from director Jim Sheridan ("In America" and "Brothers"), which is a very promising point. Using the auteur theory one can find struggling families at the core of these films. How will Sheridan's first attempt at a "scary movie" fair in regards to his other critically-acclaimed films? Find out on September 30th.


Dude, a deer gets kicked in the head during the trailer for "Detective Dee"! Hong Kong has long delivered some of the most outrageous action films. Filmmakers like Siu-Tung Ching and Jackie Chan and Stephen Chow have choreographed and filmed some of the most hilarious fight scenes and chase scenes. Their creativity has no limits and only adds to the argument that some of the best films have always come from the Far East. "Detective Dee" is being sold as "'Crouching Tiger' meets 'Sherlock Holmes,' only a lot more fun!" by NY Magazine. Um, where do I pre-order my ticket? Andy Lau ("Infernal Affairs" and "The House of Flying Daggers") stars in the title role, hired by an Empress to find out (and fight along the way) why some of her subjects are bursting into flames. Like the historical epic "Red Cliff," this one features obvious CGI-heavy establishing shots (a very distracting tendency for "epic" moments in films from all over the world these days). Thankfully there is still wonder to be found in them. Also, expect elaborately decorated interiors, another staple in Hong Kong films. At least we can safely assume there is some awesome action sequences strewn throughout. Can you find "Detective Dee" in theaters September 2nd? Probably only if you live in choice cities.


"The Thing" is a prequel to 1982's, "The Thing," which was a remake (of sorts) of the 1951 film, "The Thing From Another World." Hopefully that's not too confusing... The 1982 film (directed by horror legend John Carpenter) has since became a cult classic, even though "E.T." kicked its trash in the box office when they both hit theaters around the same time. The highlight of Carpenter's version were the incredible creature effects, done in a time before CGI. The result was some of the most horrifying visuals audiences had ever seen. Hats off to Rob Bottin and Stan Winston for their work in that film. Except for the most flawless computerized effects, practical effects have always had the edge on realism. The trailer for this prequel looks a lot like Carpenter's version (except for the reliance on digital imagery). Joel Edgerton (who was fabulous in "Animal Kingdom" and who we will surely be seeing a lot of in the coming years) even looks like Kurt Russell, who starred in the earlier entry. He may be a reason to check this out. On October 14th you should definitely see "The Thing," probably the '80s version.

It is prime time for some choice lassoing. Here's this week's awards for the Trailer Round-Up:


The Headscratcher: We've been hearing about this "Battleship" film for a while now. At first some of us it was a joke, making a game based on the tactical/luck board game by Milton Bradley. Some of us are still hoping it is a joke. Of course, there is not much of a narrative to the game to base this movie on. Really, it is just taking the name and brand. After seeing the trailer you will probably think to yourself, "This looks like the Michael Bay's 'Transformers,' but set in the ocean." No doubt it is modeled after that successful franchise. You may recall how hopeful I was for the latest installment in that series, "The Dark of the Moon." Well, it is easily my least favorite of the year. One bright light about this project is that is it directed by Peter Berg, who brought us one of the most refreshing action/comedies of the last decade, "The Rundown," and directed the film version of "Friday Night Lights" and episodes of the much-liked TV series. This trailer has brought a lot of reactions. People are loving the chance to poke some fun at the project. Here are some of my favorite Tweets about "Battleship" thus far: 
"I'm writing the sequel to BATTLESHIP. It's about a baby cousin who visits and then swallows half the pieces." - @scottEwainberg.
"Saw 'Battleship' trailer at 'Cowboys and Aliens' screening. If someone in the movie doesn't say 'You sunk my battleship!' I'm not going." - @LCJReviews 
In the very least, we can expect more witty commentary about this film before it submerges next spring.



Toss of the Week: From writer/director/actress Mirada July ("Me and You and Everyone We Know") comes "The Future." A couple in their 30s are going to adopt a stray cat (which we get strange close-ups of it's paws throughout the trailer) in 30 days. This causes them reevaluate their lives with some drastic changes and revelations. The quirk charms, the characters fascinate, and the ideas presented will lead you to examine your own life.

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ENLISTED


In honor of the release of "Cowboys & Aliens" this weekend, Brian Warmoth over at IFC presents "The 10 Least Realistic Cowboy Movies of All-Time." I have only seen a few of these and consequently added the rest to my Netflix queue (however, "The White Buffalo" is not available. For those interested, the cowboys meet zombies horror/comedy "Undead or Alive" is currently available on Netflix Instant. However, as Warmoth himself said, "If you spend money to see one zombie cowboy experience in your lifetime, buy the 'Undead Nightmare' downloadable content for Rockstar Games' 'Red Dead Redemption.'" I too recommend that successful blend. Are there any ridiculous Westerns that come to your mind that aren't on this list? I thought of "The Burrowers" and "Shanghai Joe." The first: a strange horror film that really takes itself seriously, the second: an often offensive, sometimes hilarious mess (though worth seeing for Klaus Kinski as Scalper Joe).  

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CAST AWAY


Are you excited for Disney's upcoming revival of "Lone Ranger"? Gore Verbenski, who directed the first three "Pirates" films and this year's quasi-Western "Rango," is teaming up with Mr. Depp yet again, who will play Tonto, the Lone Ranger's right hand man. Armie Hammer, who played both Winklevoss twins in "The Social Network," will be playing the masked hero himself. In a recent posting by The Hollywood Reporter, we learned that Helena Bonham Carter (most recently seen respiring her role as Bellatrix Lestrange in the final "Harry Potter" film) might join the project, playing "the madame of a brothel who deals with gentlemen and scoundrels." Barry Pepper (who I still refer to as "the sniper in 'Saving Private Ryan'") is also in talks to join the already promising cast to play a military officer. The film is reported to begin shooting later this year in New Mexico and Texas.

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THE GOOD


You may recall the first production video I plugged for "The Hobbit" several weeks ago. Well, this month Peter Jackson has posted another two production videos on his Facebook page. Check them out to continue getting amped for next year's inevitable epic. Also, there has been a frequent serving of concept art and dressed actors, primarily for the dwarves (see above). Check out "The Hobbit" page for more.

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AND THE WEIRD


According to CTV News, scientists have discovered the saddest movie ever made. What's more, they have identified key scene from that film. As the article states, "Researchers say the two-and-half-minute climax of the 1979 boxing flick 'The Champ' is the most reliable way to open the waterworks for even the most hardened, cynical viewer." Clearly the scientists have never seen "Dear Zachary" or they would have included that in their study and it undoubtedly would have won. Then again, what am I saying. This whole study seems ridiculous to me. Each film as watched by each viewer creates a unique experience, especially as feelings are concerned. Wanna try the challenge? Watch the mentioned clip from "The Champ." JoBlo shares their thoughts on the story.

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OR THE COOL


A couple of this year's superhero films ("Thor" and "Captain America") were made in part to prepare for next year's blockbuster, "The Avengers." JoBlo has pics and video (as seen on Yahoo) of that highly anticipated film. You can see the full trailer for "The Avengers" at the end of "Captain America: The First Avenger," which is currently showing in theaters everywhere.

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1 comment:

Galyn said...

I will be interested in seeing the trailer for The Lone Ranger. I used to enjoy that as a kid. Boy, are you going to be excited to see The Hobbit?