Wednesday, May 30, 2012

CINEPIX: MUPPET SNOW WHITE


I told of my liking for mashups with a memorable Cinepix from last month, "The Inconcievables." This time we around we mix two worlds that are even more iconinc: "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" and "The Muppets." This is just one artwork in series by David Peterson, which you can check out here. As you might expect, there are some very fun and adventurous results.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III - SHORT REVIEW

Mission: Impossible III
May 5, 2006
125 min
United States (English)


Directed by J.J. Abrams
Written by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci




J.J. Abrams has slammed the defibrillators on the "Mission: Impossible" series and given us one of the best action films of the new millennium. Series' semantics feel fresh in this visceral extravaganza.


Not unlike a Tarantino film, "Mission: Impossible III" starts in the middle of the story. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is tied to a chair. Owen Davian (played by Phillip Seymore Hoffman - who is far and away the best villain in the entire series) holds a gun to the head of Hunt's wife, inquiring about something called the "rabbit foot." I vividly remember first seeing this opening in theaters. The handheld camera, the sheer desperation on Hunt's face, the grit, the sweat... It's "Mission: Impossible" like we've never seen it before. Davion pulls the trigg- BANG! That thrilling theme from Lalo Schifrin gets us ready for an adrenalin call... or does it?


"Mission: Impossible" mixes frenetic action and quiet drama with its strong lead characters, something writer/director J.J. Abrams previously did with "LOST," a series that captured the interest of millions for over half a decade. The relationship between Ethan and Julia (Michelle Monaghan) stands in the forefront as an IMF agent struggles to keep his work secret from his wife. Trust. After Ethan messes with Davian, a dangerous black market dealer, she gets dragged into his world wether he wanted it or not.


The film boasts one elaborate stage after another. Besides attempting to make Palm Springs pass as Berlin, the film shows off sequences in the Vatican and Shanghai.  One is an elaborate infiltration scene bringing back the series' mask and some new toys. The other remains largely unseen by us, which I like in 2006 and still like in 2012. Even as the film ends and the "rabbit foot" remains a McGuffin (with winking from the filmmakers) I was not in the least bit dissatified because it was a pitch-perfect ride.



★★★★½


CONTENT: intense action and violence, some sensuality

Monday, May 28, 2012

THE FILM TOME REPORT: ISSUE 72


(Author's Note: I was working out of town last Monday and only had an aged laptop at my disposal. The thing is slower than frozen tar-covered molasses in January and even though I had most of an issue in the works there was no way I was going to get it looking ship 'n shape in time. Thus, here's a significant two-week's-worth issue tonight. As always, enjoy the show!)


NEW IN THEATERS




This Week
  • Apartment 143*
  • A Cat in Paris* / 85%
  • For Greater Glory*
  • High School* / 83%
  • The Loved Ones* / 96%
  • Piranha 3DD* / 8%
  • Snow White and the Huntsman / 86%

Last Week
  • Arjun the Warrior Prince* / 40%
  • Battle Royale 3D* / 86%
  • Chernobyl Diaries / 26%
  • The Intouchables* / 81%
  • Men in Black III / 67%
  • Moonrise Kingdom* / 96%
  • OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger's Movie * / 100%
  • Oslo, August 31st* / 97%

* = limited release

NEW IN STORES


  • Coriolanus / 93%
  • Gone / 11%
  • Goon / 82%
  • Man on a Ledge / 31%
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin / 76%

% from Rotten Tomatoes

* * *

TRAILER ROUND-UP




Michael Haneke's "Armour" took home the top honors from this year's Festival de Cannes and it is not hard to see why: This quiet yet musical drama packs an emotional punch throughout just the trailer. Haneke's films take their time, building the necessary feelings that this seasoned filmmaker deems fit to put on display. In this case it is the love that is being tested between an elderly couple, both retired music teachers. This is one to definitely keep an eye out for.




"Fightville" takes the MMA fighting subject from last year's "Warrior" and takes it to a documentary where we get up close and personal with the men in the ring. Their fighting does not speak for itself. Locker room interviews, ringside reactions, training and more all add to the story about why these men choose to subject themselves to one of the world's biggest and most brutal sports. "Fightville" can be found in select cities.




"Polisse" won the Jury Prize at last year's Festival de Cannes. The naturalistic film takes us deep into the Child Protection Unit of the Parisian police where we see a fair amount of action in their line of duty and a fair amount of what they do when not on the job. There is no clear protagonist, rather the whole team emerges as who this film is about. Then again, it seems it all goes back to the children. This film looks intense, intimate, and downright incredible. "Polisse" is currently playing select theaters.




"Dark Horse," the newest film from Todd Solondz, revolves around a thirty-something (Jordan Gelber) who still lives and works with his parents. Solondz is known for very dark comedy and while this does carry a fair amount of harshness it seems far more pleasant than what we've come to expect. Christopher Walken rockin' a toupee is another plus. "Dark Horse" hits select theaters on June 8th.


Strap them boots on tighter, I reckon it's prime time for the Trailer Round-Up Awards!


Sick Cow:




I've yet to see a Tyler Perry film, but "Madea's Witness Protection" will certainly not be the one I start with, end with, or ever go with. It is short by trailer standard, but still painful to behold every single second. I don't see the appeal in the Madea character. Martin Lawrence playing Big Momma and Eddie Murphy in Norbit were definite cinematic lows, but this makes "Mrs. Doubtfire" look like a masterpiece... I for one will be doing anything else come June 29th.


The Head-Scratcher:




Here's the teaser for "Anchorman 2" delivering more of the same for fans who want just that. I'm not much a fan of the coarse comedy this troop delivers, but I know there are diehard fans to and fro. They'll have to wait until 2013 for this one.


Lasso of the Week:




"Skyfall" is the 23rd Bond film and it just received one of the more interesting trailers I've seen for an action movie. No doubt this has to be in part due to the film's director, Sam Mendes, who has only done dramas ("American Beauty" and "Road to Perdition") until now. Here's a fantastic example of a preview that gives nothing-to-little away plot-wise. We get quick glimpses of several titillating scenes (Bond's going to China folks!) with a pounding rhythm throughout. This is wonderfully shot by Roger Deakins who has been the Coen brothers got-to-cameraman for years. You can literally see why. November 9th is not a question; shaken, not stirred.

* * *


POSTER CHILD




A couple weeks back I showcased the poster for "Hungry, Hungry Hippos," an obvious mockery of "Battleship" which obviously deserves to be mocked. While none are quite as good as seeing a hippo emerge from the deep sea, here are several others. My favorite of which is "Operation" seen above. (Source: ScreenCrush)



I'm looking forward to the next stop-motion feature from the folks behind "Coraline." You'd expect something like this to come from Tim Burton, but like "Monster House" before it they are proving others can successfully tap into some macabre animation. This poster conveys the adventure we can expect.


Heels are hot! Catwoman steps on the bat proving that Bruce Wayne/Batman has more to deal with than just Bane in the summer's most anticipated film. Gotham looks to be a bleak place indeed. This poster is far more comic book-ish than Nolan's realistic films typically are.


Classic James Bond as we look down the barrel of a gun at a confident Bond walking a lonely road towards us... What else?


* * *

ENLISTED




With the weekend release (and success) of "Men in Black 3" Rotten Tomatoes serves "Total Recall: Will Smith's Best Movies" for the film's star. Believe it or not, "i, Robot" cracked the top ten!




Johnny Depp teamed up with Burton for the upteenth time with the recent release "Dark Shadows." Rotten Tomatoes has "Total Recall: Johnny Depp's Best Movies," nearly half of which are Burton films. What is your favorite Depp movie and/or performance?




Hitfix shares their "The 10 Most Anticipated Titles at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival."




Also, Hitfix shares "Top 10 Cannes Film Festival Losers."




Rotten Tomatoes gives us even more films to add to your watchlist with "Cannes 2012: 25 Films to Watch."




In honor (or ridicule) of "Battleship," Movies.com reveals "8 Great Board Games That Need Their Own Movie." I know I would be first in line to see a Stratego film! What about you? Any boardgame adaptations you think would be fun?




Indiewire shares "Tim Burton's Five Best." "Dark Shadows" apparently has everybody thinking of better days.

* * *

CAST AWAY




A few weeks ago the picture of Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock lit up the interwebs. It was very exciting. Now we have an image of the beautiful Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh. (Source: /Film)


* * *


THE GOOD



Festival de Cannes wrapped yesterday. The great Michael Heneke took up the Palme d'Or (the top prize of the prestigious festival) for his film, "Amour" (trailer above). Chaz Ebert (wife of Roger) was in attendance and provides her commentary. (She also did a video report like last year.) You can also check out Rotten Tomatoes for a list of the top winners.




No, P.T. Anderson is not at Festival de Cannes this year, but apparently he is busy editing his upcoming film, "The Master." Easily one of my most anticipated films. The first teaser (but really it is more of a clip and so I am not covering it in The Trailer Roundup) was released today and it looks marvelous. This is said to be inspired by Scientology and its founder; the great Phillip Seymore Hoffman will be playing the stand-in L. Ron Hubbard role. We do not see Hoffman in this clip, but instead are treated to Jaoquin Phoenix (another great in my book) who is very much "out of it." I am fascinated and marvel at the image. P.T. Anderson folks. (Source: The Hollywood Reporter)




It's official, Aaron Sorkin is going to pen the screenplay for the Steve Jobs biopic! This is exciting news because Sorkin took home a much-deserved Oscar back in 2011 for this adaption for "The Social Network," easily one of the year's best films. Only weird part is, I thought this film was already well underway. Just last issue I shared the pic of Ashton Kutcher dressed as Jobs. (Source: The Film Stage)




Here are the winners of the 2012 Student Academy Awards. (Source: We Are Movie Geeks)

* * *

THE BAD




So, those parody posters above... Turns out one is not a joke... "Candyland." It's a crappy board game that is likely to be turned into a crappy movie, though I suppose both are/were meant for kids. Crap. Worst part? Adam Sandler is involved... (Source: Reuters)




"G.I. Joe: Retaliation" has been pushed back to March 29, 2013! What's holding the project up? A post-conversion to 3D. I would have expected something like this back in 2009, but in the last year or two I thought it was clear that 2D screenings were consistently over-performing their 3D counterparts. Oh well. (Source: Deadline)




Whilst at Cannes Jackie Chan announced his retirement from action films. The guy is 58 and a career of some of the craziest stunts this side of Buster Keaton has absolutely taken a toll on him. Chan further said the world is "too violent." I agree, let's leave action to the movies where it belongs. (Source: The Telegraph)






During an oversea premier for "Men in Black 3" a male reporter attempted to kiss star Will Smith on the lips. Smith is far from smitten and instead smites the guy with his backhand. Don't believe it? Watch it! (Source: TMZ)

* * *

AND THE RANDOM




"The Avengers" has finally been overtaken in the box office, but it took the Men in Black to do so. As always, Scott Mendleson provides an excellent analysis of the B.O. weekend. Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," currently in limited release, set a record of its own.




Here's a first look at "Taken 2" with Liam Neeson and Maggie Grace fulfilling the father-daughter roles from the first movie. This time around she is the one who has to save her dad (oh dear...) after people he pissed off in the first movie seek revenge. I am not a fan of the first film and cannot see how this one is going to be any better. (Source: Entertainment Weekly)

 * * *

OR THE COOL



Here's a radiculous supercut... "Sounds of Aronofsky." Tis pretty self-explanatory: the nouns emitting sounds in the films of Darren Aronofsky.




Scott Meslow of The Atlantic writes "A Brief History of Time Travel (in Movies)." This is yet another tie-in with "Men in Black 3," which takes us from 2012 to 1969. Look for my review in the near future unless I can go back in time and post it in which case it should already be here.




Check out Slate's interview, "Life in Stop-Motion," with auteur filmmaking Wes Anderson as they chat about his work on commercials, the possibilities of another stop-motion feature, and the meaning of the phrase "break the bank." Strangely there is no coverage over "Moonrise Kingdom" which premiered at the ongoing Festival de Cannes.




More stills from Tarantino's "Django Unchained." Apparently a segment was screened at Cannes and dropped some jaws. Here's hoping for a trailer soon-ish. (Source: /Film)


* * *


MAYBE THE HILARIOUS




I've got four words for you: "GET OUT OF THERE!" What a supercut...




Warialasky has made a trailer for "TETRIS," which somehow looks significantly better than "Battleship." As the posters above and now this clearly demonstrate, we've received one very influential blockbuster.

* * *

KEEPIN' IT SHORT



"GERALD"
Directed by Jeremy Warner

The year is 2009 in this alternate universe where monsters wiped out a significant portion of the human race (including Mel Gibson!). "Gerald" takes place after the monster epidemic... or does it? It's an enjoyable short film with fun cameos, funky music, and a freshly unorthodox take on the "monster film" genre. See it!

* * *

TV TOO




It has been two years since the "LOST" finale... Should you care to gander, IGN ranked all 113 episodes back then.

* * *

Monday, May 14, 2012

THE FILM TOME REPORT: ISSUE 71




NEW IN THEATERS



This Week
  • Battleship / 45%
  • Beyond the Black Rainbow*
  • The Dictator / 72%
  • Hysteria*
  • Lovely Molly*
  • Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog* / 67%
  • The Samaritan / 44%
  • What To Expect When You're Expecting / 20%



Last Week
  • The Cup* / 27%
  • Dark Shadows / 42%
  • Girl in Progress* / 29%
  • God Bless America* / 66%
  • Hick* / 0%
  • The Road* / 71%
  • Tonight You're Mine* / 38%
  • Where Do We Go Now?* / 46%

* = limited release

NEW IN STORES


  • Being John Malkovich CC / 92%
  • Chronicle / 85%
  • The Devil Inside / 7%
  • The Grey / 78%
  • One For the Money / 2%
  • Rampart / 76%

CC = Criterion Collection
% from Rotten Tomatoes

* * *

TRAILER ROUND-UP




I've never seen or heard of "Love in the Puff," but here's the sequel, "Love in the Buff." (No, this isn't a joke.) My fiancee tells me these are pretty popular in China, I can see the appeal, especially for the rising generation. Jimmy and Cherie (from the first movie) meet once again and even though they are both in other relationships, they cannot forget or resist. This is a series to catch up with if your interest is piqued.




Matthew McConaughey, who is having quite the year, is "Killer Joe." This is a new thriller from the director of " The Exorcist" about a group of siblings (including a Film Tome favorite, Thomas Haden Church) that hire a crazy and corrupt Dallas cop, who moonlights as a hitman, to take out their mom so they can collect her life insurance. This is definitely mature subject matter and it looks like it doesn't shy away from showing us any of the gritty details. This film has been slapped with an NC-17 rating so it will be somewhat difficult to seek out if you desire. "Killer Joe" hits select cities on July 27th.




Oscar-nominated "A Cat in Paris," a French animated film, is getting an American release this summer. It has a unique style and some dark tones even though it is about a pet cat that lives a double life. It is too bad that this is getting an English dub. Regardless, I am curious, but you know what they say about curiosity... See it in select cities on June 1st. 




"Gangster Squad" looks bloody great! From the director of "Zombieland" (one heck of a romp!) comes a post-WW2 cop vs. mob picture set in the City of Angels ("L.A. Noire" anyone?). Based on the true story of mob boss Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) whose reach and influence was making him king of the Western United States. A group of LAPD officers (including Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling) are tasked with shutting Cohen down for good, but their going to have to play by the rules of the street if they want to stand a chance. Emma Stone, Michael Pena, Nick Nolte, Anthony Mackie, and Giovanni Rigsbi co-star as well. I would put "Gangster Squad" on my calender right now if we had a date, instead they've left our tongues hanging out with, "Coming Soon." One complaint, lose the modern hip-hop please! Let's keep this in 1949 all the way.




Keep that brandy handy, I reckon it's prime time for the Trailer Round-Up Awards!


Sick Cow:




Bailee Madison, the ever-sulking star from the floundering "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," stars in "Cowgirls n' Angels." From the star-spangled title cards to the sappy story, this is clearly not a film for someone of my sentiments.  The country music didn't help either. And just wait for the actor round-up where they just stare... The award Sick Cow has never been more fitting.


The Head-Scratcher:




Will Ferrell punches babies in the trailer for "The Campaign" opposite Zach Galifianakis. Ferrell plays Cam Brady, a small town politician that appears to be a stereotype of Mitt Romney mixed with Rick Perry. Galifianakis plays Marty Huggins, an airhead who steps up to compete against Brady. There are some genuine chuckles here, but the genuine groans far out way it. August 10th will tell for sure, but I'm not holding my breath.


Lasso of the Week:




Ben Affleck is back with his third directorial effort. Of course, he stars in the film as well. "Argo" tells the true story of American hostages in Iran and the covert operation (involving faking a sci-fi movie shoot!) to rescue them. Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad"), Alan Arkin, and John Goodman co-star in what looks to be one of the most promising films of this already impressive year. Before this comes out I definitely want to go back and catch up with "Gone Baby Gone," Affleck's directorial debut. See it on October 12th.

* * *

ENLISTED




Need some tips? Check out "100 Pieces of Advice From Movies." Everything from "The Princess Bride" to "Lost in Translation" is deemed quote-worthy.




In honor of "The Avengers" Vulture lists the "12 Best and Worst Space Portals in Film."




Rotten Tomatoes has "Five Favorite Films with John Cusack" who played Edgar Allen Poe in the recent horror film, "The Raven."




Film School Rejects has determined "The 10 Greatest Movies According to the Internet." What do you think of the list and ranking thereon? The number one should not surprise me, but it kind of does. If anything it restores my faith in the cinephiles online. /Film shares their reaction to the list.

* * *

CAST AWAY




TMZ has photos of Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs for the upcoming biopic about the former Apple CEO.


* * *


THE GOOD




No big surprise here, Disney CEO announces "The Avengers 2." The film has already grossed over a billion dollars and even set a record for the highest second weekend (here's Scott Mendleson's box office analysis). What's most assuring is that film is actually exceptionally excellent. I just hope Joss Whedon stays involved. (Source: /Film)




Matt Singer, now of Criticwire, discusses "The Pleasures of Movie Marathons."




Criterion informed me that The Korean Film Archive has just launched a YouTube channel and uploaded over 70 feature films (with subtitles!) for free viewing!


* * *

THE BAD




Ross Douthat of The New York Times talks about "The Avengers" in his article, "When Good Movies are Bad News."

* * *

AND THE RANDOM




Here's the jury for this year's Festival de Cannes. (Source: The Hollywood Reporter)




Neil Marshal, director of "The Descent" (one of the finest horror films in recent years), is helming "Last Voyage of the Demeter." The only reason this is not under The Good is that the script is penned by the same fellow who delivered "Season of the Witch"... (Source: The Hollywood Reporter)

 * * *

OR THE COOL



"The Raid: Redemption" still may be the best film I have seen this year and is surely one of the best strictly action films of all-time. Check out Claycat's version of the Indonesian tour de force. (Warning: This is about as bloody and violent as claymation can get.)




Flickchart's blog talks about "The Cinematic Summer of 1982": "E.T.," "Blade Runner," and "The Thing"... What a year!




Here's something randomly cool. A Facebook timelime of Mark Zuckerberg as portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network." (Source: Before the Trailer)




Sources say it would cost $160 billion dollars to repair all the damages in New York City as seen in "The Avengers"... Holy smokes! Luckily, the movie cost slightly less than that to make, but may make that much in the box office. (Source: Gizmodo)



This is a couple months old now, but did you see the Lego trailer for "The Dark Knight Rises"? Keep in mind this is the film's second trailer, not the third and best that I covered in last week's issue.

* * *