Friday, July 30, 2010

"127 Hours" and "Black Swan" Release Dates!

You may notice in the sidebar that my Oscar predictions for Best Picture have changed, mostly because one of the big films of this year, Terrence Malick's Tree of Life, doesn't look to be coming out any time this year. So you'll find two new films have surfaced on the sidebar, the first being Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, which is set to open the Venice Film Festival. The other is 127 Hours from Academy-Award winner Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), a film about mountain climber Aron Ralston's remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah.

Both films finally have release dates set for the last two months of the year. 127 Hours is set for release on November 5th, and Black Swan will come into limited release on December 1st. This year has been mostly devoid of outstanding quality, with the exception of a few bold films. So now that we're entering the time of year when high-class filmmakers release their films, we may receive a flood of films that overshadow those three films from the first part of this year. I can see 127 Hours and Black Swan placing on the top 10 list for Best Picture.

J.J. Abrams Producing "Boilerplate"!

If there's any sort of geeky topic out there, expect somebody like J.J. Abrams to get a hold of it. The man who revitalized Star Trek, brought sexy back to the sci-fi genre with Fringe, and is currently making a tribute movie to Stephen Spielberg's old film, is now producing Boilerplate, based on the book by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett. The book follows a robot built in the victorian age and his travels during his long existence, meeting several historical entities along the way.

This sounds like the sort of strange science fiction film that could easily get peoples attention, especially if done in the right way. I can see it being part period piece, part bio-pic. What would a movie about a robot be if they didn't touch on the whole emotional topic. Does a robot have a heart? I get all emotional for that sort of thing. I keep trying to get myself to watch WALL-E again, but find myself deterred by something distracting me. Anyway, J.J. has got a tough project to push forward, and hopefully he finds the right man for the job of directing.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Comic Con 2010: Sucker Punch Trailer Online!

This was news that happened a few days ago, but somehow it just slipped past me until now. The trailer for Zack Snyder's period action film, Sucker Punch, dropped onto the internet the other day, and it was something pretty spectacular. This is the first completely original film that Zack Snyder has made, so it'll be interesting to see what is really going on inside Snyder's head. We've gotten glimpses based on the visual look of his films, but now we have something new. His images are just as amazing as they always have been, but now they're not from a graphic novel. Check the trailer out below.

Comic Con 2010: Thor Trailer Arrives! And Is Almost Immediately Gone

In the weeks after Comic Con, the footage that premiered there will start to trickle its way online, and now we have the first instance of that. The Comic Con trailer for Thor wass here for your viewing pleasure, but then it was quickly and predictably taken down due to copyright laws. Of the footage I saw, I'm a little bit split. While it looks cheesy as hell, and it doesn't seem there's anything new here, it looks like the kind of standard action film that pleases audiences in the simplest way. I don't think it will be anything special, but it looks fun. Since it was leaked onto the internet, no matter for how short amount of time, it'll probably still pop up in a few places. Once something makes it to the internet, you can't get rid of it entirely.

Guillermo Del Toro's OFFICIAL Next Film Is...

So after Del Toro's announcement that he'd be at the very least writing and producing The Haunted Mansion, which he hoped to direct, he revealed that that film will have to wait for the moment. He's going to be busy mastering the period horror film At the Mountains of Madness, based on the H.P. Lovecraft book. This project has been rumored to death, and many thought that it would never happen because of the way the story is put together. However, when you need a studio to give you the utmost trust, even if it's undeserving, there's only one man to go to: James Cameron.

Yes, the self-proclaimed "KING OF THE WORLD" has opted to produce the film, giving us assurances of top notch visual effects, and giving Guillermo free reign to do what he wants to do creatively. Horror films usually don't get such a high budget, but Del Toro is taking that leap of faith that it will work. I personally haven't read the H.P. Lovecraft novel, but I'd like to so I can get some sort of idea in my head of what this story is, and what the film will be. Best of luck to you Guillermo Del Toro.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Yogi Bear Trailer and Poster Debut!

At this point in my life, I have absolutely nothing to do besides comment about the most meaningless of events. I am ofcourse talking about the new poster for the Warner Bros. epic, Yogi Bear. Right now I am crying the way I cried when I saw what Scooby Doo would look like in a live-action movie. It's a creepy image that you can try to get out of your mind, but it will haunt you in your darkest dreams. Good luck getting through what I'm about to show you. It's right down there. I apologize for showing you this filth.

Are you alright? Did you like what you saw? Can you believe that it gets even worse? They now have a trailer up for the film. It is all kinds of sad and depressing awful that I can't describe it. If you were as misfortunately intrigued as I was, then take a look at the trailer. If you have the common sense to avoid it, then you're smarter than I am.

The Toronto Film Festival Line-Up!

The list of films showing at the Toronto Film Festival has been announced and can be seen below. It offers plenty of films up for Oscar consideration, so it will be something to look into.

The Bang Bang Club
Barney’s Version
Black Swan

Casino Jack
The Conspirator
The Debt
The Housemaid
Janie Jones
The King’s Speech
Little White Lies
Peep World
The Town
The Way
West is West

Another Year
The Big Picture
Blue Valentine
Brighton Rock
Cirkus Columbia
Dhobi Ghat
Easy A
Henry’s Crime
The Illusionist
In A Better World
I Saw the Devil
It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Jack Goes Boating
L’Amour Fou
The Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen
Love Crime
Made in Dagenham

Never Let Me Go
Norwegian Wood
Outside the Law
Rabbit Hole
A Screaming Man
That Girl in Yellow Boots
Tamara Drewe
The Trip
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Trailer Tuesday: The Debt, Company Men

I'm going to say that this is the last traditional outpouring of trailers on Tuesday. From now on, I'll be reporting on trailers as they come in. So lets take a look at our week old trailers that came before the madness and pen involved homicide of Comic Con. First is the WW2 mission flick, The Debt. For a film that I know probably won't be good, it sure looks pretty awesome. From this point, I have no idea what this film is about, but it's about a secret and a debt. This film could go either way, but I don't think it'll be considered for any Oscars come January.

Another film unlikely to be considered of Oscar quality is The Company Men, starring Ben Affleck. The film follows the unemployment of a group of people who try to work out their lives. People are speculating that this could be this year's Up in the Air, only because it deals with unemployment. This film looks like a boring shmaltzy mess of a film that doesn't look the least bit entertaining, which is what a film should be first and foremost. This film is acting like it's easy to get an Oscar, but that involves making a good film. This won't be.

Film Review: The Kids Are All Right

Seeing as we've gotten some great epic films such as Inception and Toy Story 3, it's easy to overlook some of these other great film opening in limited release. In a Summer so unrewarding, Lisa Cholodenko delivers more perfectly timed entertainment than most of the bloated blockbusters out right now. Her new film, The Kids Are All Right, is a suburban comedy focusing on the kids of lesbian parents Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Bening). The family is very unconventional, and while it never once seems unrealistic, we get that the family isn't the way they should be. A change needs to happen.

That's when the kids get in contact with their sperm donor, Paul (Mark Ruffalo), a slacker in the food service industry. His interactions with this family put them through a string of unexpected twists and turns that put their family bond to the test. While there are so many different stories being followed in this film, the one that I most related to was Joni (Mia Wasikowska), a girl who is about to go to college and leave everything behind, all while these changes are shaping her life. The ending to this film really had me in tears in a way that no other live-action film has done this Summer.

The entire cast does absolutely breathtaking work in their roles. Annette Bening isn't an actress I follow that much, but I should, because she always gives these honest performances that strike me as pure. Along the way, you may be wondering how I could possibly think her the best actress in this film, but by the end you'll realize. Mark Ruffalo does a great job portraying a slacker at his core. Deep down, he wants a family, but he isn't willing to do all the extra work. Mia Wasikowska really breaks through with this film, after her uninspiring turn in Alice in Wonderland. This film isn't completely hers, but every scene she's in is. I wouldn't be surprised if Bening, Ruffalo, and Wasikowska all get acting nominations come awards season.

Julianne Moore was pretty good as Jules, and carefully puts us on the edge of the confrontations through the film. The audience is never quite sure of what's right and what's wrong, and she embodies that sort of curiosity. Josh Hutcherson is actually a good young actor. I've never had a problem with any of his roles, but he's always felt like a Disney kid because he's starred in a lot of Disney films. It's nice to see that he's no longer bound by that company, and he displays such a great attitude as any son of two lesbian parents would. He'd kind of have to.

Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg's script has such comic timing on its own, so it seems even more natural when it's said. Everything feels like it works, and the dialogue never once feels forced. It doesn't feel like somebody else is putting the words in their mouths. The Kids Are All Right depicts the best portrayal of a real family that I've probably seen since Juno. Comedies don't usually score with the Academy, but this is more than just a comedy. It's an original film about growing up and growing old. This is one of my favorite films of the year, and it won't be forgotten when Oscar season comes swirling by.


3 to See in August!

As the summer comes to a close, we begin to enter Oscar film season. In the first seven months of the year, we have three or four films that could be nominated, and I don't think we're likely to get many more out of August. We don't have the comfort of Neill Blomkamp or Quentin Tarantino. On a side note, when is Quentin going to get back to making movies. He's had a solid year off. It's time to get back to work. As for August, it's really hard to find three films I might be looking forward to seeing, but I'll do my best.

3. Eat Pray Love

In a Summer this bad, this film somehow finds its way onto this list. The film focuses on a woman who goes on a journey of self discovery in some other country, I think somewhere in Africa. The film stars Julia Roberts, so it should have little trouble getting women to see it, and they'll probably drag their man friends to see it. I wasn't planning to see this film at all, and it's very likely I still won't. However, I did learn that Ryan Murphy, co-creator of Glee has written and directed the film, so maybe it won't be all that bad. It has Javier Bardem in it, so how bad can it be?

2. The Other Guys

This has the potential to be the rare Will Ferrell or Mark Wahlberg film that I don't aggresively hate. Adam McKay is directing, which opens up some obvious opportunities for great, or at least good comedy. I don't see this film being spectacular, but I can see it being fun. It has Samuel L. Jackson in a comedic role, rather than a serious one. Lose Dwayne Johnson, and I'd be there opening weekend. As it stands, I'll probably be there opening weekend anyway, but what's the alternative? Step Up 3D? Go see Inception for the seventh time?

1. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Usually the most anticipated film of the month has a lot going for it, but in a Summer that's mostly bummer, there's no guarantees, certainly not for Michael Cera. Cera is one of those actors who plays the exact same guy in every movie, which works because he's good at it. Still, this is kind of an action movie, so it's got something more than just comedy fueling it. It's written and directed by such a great director as Edgar Wright, so there will definitely be some great comedy. Whether it will resonate emotionally is unsure. This film is still very up in the air, but it's got more of a shot than most films in August.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Daniel Craig to star in "Dragon Tattoo"!

The other day at Comic Con, Daniel Craig spoke about wanting to get back to the James Bond franchise as soon as possible. Right now, it doesn't seem like that will happen any time soon, if ever. So what is an actor to do besides play a cowboy? Play the male lead in David Fincher's interpretation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I've been pretty quiet about casting rumors regarding Fincher's adaptation of the book, because I don't want to make too much hype about something that may not happen. However, I do hope the rumors that Ellen Page might take the title role, because that would be the greatest casting decision ever. After Inception, I want to see Page go the distance.

So now that Craig has been signed on for the film, it's only a matter of time before all the other cast members come into place. There are plenty of roles to fill, and if they're filled with actors as phenomenal as Daniel Craig, we may have yet another David Fincher film nominated for several acting awards come awards season two years from now. Right now, the only things set are Craig, Fincher, and the release date of December in 2011. On a semi-related note, Awards Circuit just posted a review of Aaron Sorkin's script for Fincher's The Social Network, and it's definitely something to check out. Follow this link!

Comic Con 2010: Wrap Up!

Alright, let me just wrap up with my thoughts on Comic Con. I was rather disappointed by how little low quality video captured on people's video cameras made its way online. I was hoping to see more, but was disappointed. That's my general feeling from this Comic Con. There wasn't enough material thrown around this year. Nobody real took full use of Hall H as they could have. There weren't many events that had a huge amount of buzz around them. I'm sad I wasn't there this year, but I feel like it wouldn't have be as exciting as I'd have hoped for.

We got some big events from TRON Legacy, Jon Favreau's Cowboys and Aliens (A photo from which can be found at the top of this article), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Matt Reeves' Let Me In, but there wasn't so much to talk about. Nobody premiered 20 minutes of footage to an eager crowd like James Cameron did last year for Avatar. The film sucked, but at least he took the time to give fans more of what they wanted. It'd have been nice to see the short bits of footage from Thor, Green Lantern, and Captain America, but I'm not as huge a comic book geek as the rest of my family, and I'm really growing tired of the Marvel franchise.

So what can we expect from Comic Con next year? For one thing, you can expect me to be there. It's a long trip across the entire country, and I literally mean the entire country. I live in New Hampshire, so San Diego will be a bit of a long haul, but hopefully I'll be able to make it. As for events, most of the summer will be long gone by the time Comic Con comes around. So what's there to hype about? Will they show an advance screening of Spy Kids 4? I sincerely hope not. There's a chance we'll get a lot more Cowboys and Aliens footage, seeing as the film comes out two weeks later, but there are a few films that come out that fall and the following year that might generate buzz.

Happy Feet 2, Martin Scorcese's Hugo Cabret, Mission Impossible 4, Sherlock Holmes 2, David Fincher's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Stephen Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn will all be dawning in November and December of next year. Not to mention, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1. I'll give you a few minutes to puke, and then you can finish reading. Also be ready for whatever footage from The Avengers Joss Whedon is sure to unveil at Comic Con, because you know he will. Also look for footage from the summer 2012 pics Battleship, Men and Black 3, the Spiderman reboot, and whatever Christopher Nolan feels good with sharing about his next project, whatever it is (The Dark Knight sequel?). Well for now, I leave you with one more poster. It's the third Let Me In poster from Comic Con, and it instantly overshadows the other two.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Box Office Report: Inception Holds Up Phenomenally!

Excuse my enthusiasm, but I'm just so happy that Comic Con is (almost) over. I can finally get back to my two to three post a day quota, instead of the frenzied flood of news that's come in the past few days. Now I can calmly break down the movie events that happened outside of San Diego with this week's Box Office Report. Inception took first for the second week in a row with 43.5 million, dipping just 30%. The film currently has over $140 million after just ten days, so any speculation that Chris Nolan's mindbender wouldn't register with audiences was completely unfounded.

As for the competition, Salt came in second with $37 million, a decent opening, but nothing spectacular. Expect the thriller to end up with $100 million at the end of its run. Ramona and Beezus opened in sixth with $8 million. That's really all that can be said about that. Were we really expecting something different? Despicable Me had another small dip of 26%, leading to $24 million this weekend, adding to its total of $161 million. The animated film will likely hold up for the rest of its time in theatres, leading to a hault at about $220 million.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice didn't fall quite as much as I predicted, and took in $9.6 million over the weekend. The fantasy film currently has $42 million in the bank. Meanwhile, Toy Story 3 continued its phenomenal summer with $9 million coming out of this weekend. The animated epic now has $379 million, and will definitely be passing $400 million before the summer is over. I'd also like to inform people how successful the worst films of the summer have been. Grown Ups currently has $142 million, Twilight: Eclipse is sitting pretty at $279 million (I hate it when small budget films make a ton of money), and The Last Airbender has reached $123 million.

In limited release, The Kids Are All Right took in $2.6 million from 200 locations. The film has almost $5 million so far, and is almost guaranteed an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Winter's Bone took in $0.3 million, adding to a total of $3.5 million. Overall this weekend was a 10% lift from the same weekend last year when G-Force opened, but a 10% drop from the same weekend two years ago.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Comic Con 2010: Panels for Paul, Cowboys and Aliens, Captain America, and Thor!

As much as I'd like to go into extreme depth with this post, I'm just sick and tired of Comic Con by now. I hate hearing about all these things that I wasn't able to witness, and I really hope that I get a chance to be there next year. Until then, I leave you with one more link to In Contention, where you'll be able to find out what Kristopher Tapley thought of yesterday's panels, including that of Paul, Cowboys and Aliens, Captain America, and Thor. So the link is below. Enjoy reading about things you didn't have the pleasure of seeing for yourself.

In Contention

Comic Con 2010: Internet Buzzing About "Let Me In"!

So in case you haven't heard, two horrific events happened in Hall H at Comic Con yesterday. The second was that two adult men got into a fight over a seat, and one of them stabbed the other in the eye with a pen. The victim was carried out of the room on a stretcher, while the attacker wearing a blood-drenched Harry Potter shirt (how much money would you pay to have that?) was walked out by police. Such a horrific event as that should've overshadowed the craze following the Let Me In presentation, but it didn't.

The presentation consisted of a new trailer, two clips, and the cast and crew answering questions. People are right now hailing this as one of the best things to come out of Comic Con, and it may be. I've had my reservations on the film, being one of the people who hasn't seen the original Let the Right One In, but is willing to endlessly attest for its quality nonetheless. However, after seeing the new trailer that just found its way online, I don't think I have much reason to worry. You can check it out at the link below, and I've also left a link for Kris Tapley's piece about the panel at In Contention, so you can find out about the clips played there.

"COMIC-CON: Let Me In isn’t just the rally cry of Hall H lines" at In Contention

Comic Con 2010: Green Lantern, Harry Potter, and Sucker Punch Panels!

So today Warner Bros. finally got around to advertising their top upcoming movies, which this year is narrowed down to three. Those three are Green Lantern, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Sucker Punch. As much as I'd like to point you off to one specific site, I just can't, because I planned to send you to Kristopher Tapley's article detailing it at In Contention. What happened? Kris didn't really go that deep into the Potter footage. I understand that he's become fatigued with the franchise, as quite a few people have, and I respect that. It just means I have to send you off to two different sites. One is the previously mentioned article by In Contention, and the other is's breakdown of the footage. You can find the links below, and if any of the footage burrows its way online, I'll let you know.

In Contention

Comic Con 2010: Joss and J.J.

If there are two people who have the greatest impact on the geek community, it's Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams, and if you haven't heard of one of them, you likely will soon. Joss Whedon is taking on The Avengers, and J.J. Abrams... seriously, how could you not know him? The guy created Alias, Lost, and Fringe. Don't ask for more reason to know who the hell this guy is. Anyway, footage from Comic Con of the two legends has found it's way online, so it's a good idea to check it out in your spare time. Listening to Joss Whedon is like watching Louie C.K. do stand up. Check it out HERE!

Comic Con 2010: Dexter Season 5 Trailer

To this date, I have not seen a single episode of Showtime's serial killer drama, Dexter, and it's a crime that I haven't. Every time I catch one of these trailers, I tell myself that I will be watching the show this season. I'm going to say right now that I will definitely be commenting on Dexter when it comes back this September, but don't be surprised if something gets in the way. All the same, this is an expertly put together trailer for the next season. There isn't a specific villain that ties everything together. This season looks like it will focus on Dexter, and his guilt after his wife's brutal murder. So take a look at the Comic Con trailer for Dexter.

Dexter Season 5 Trailer

Kevin McDonald's "Life in a Day" is Filming Today!

Today, Kevin McDonald's documentary Life in a Day, chronicling events around the world in a single day, will be filmed, not only by Kevin, but by regular people all over the globe. One of them could be you. Get your best video camera, go out, and record your day, however mundane. Then submit via this page to the film. If you win, you'll be listed as co-director, and you may go to the film's premiere at Sundance film festival. So go out and capture your day.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Comic Con 2010: Day 2 Panels!

Sorry if today isn't as eventful as yesterday. Nobody can expect any other major studio to pull what Disney pulled yesterday with their TRON Legacy panel. Today's panels were pretty standard, and we haven't really gotten anything special out of it. My source for Comic Con panel details yesterday, Kris Tapley from In Contention, hasn't done many posts today, but I thank him for the detailed look into the panels he saw yesterday. If you want to follow his twitter feed, you'll get a few more by the minute bits from Comic Con as they happen.

For the dish on today's panels, we turn to, who have given detailed descriptions of the goings on at Comic Con today. Today's panels included the Guillermo Del Toro produced Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, James Gunn's Super, Skyline, Green Hornet, The Other Guys, and Battle: Los Angeles. So check out the link provided above to find out more about the anticipated films.

Weekend Update: 4th Week of July

Last week was nice and all, but I feel like we've been waiting all Summer for something really special. This weekend, we are awarded for our patience in the form of Ramona and Beezus. If you ask me what this film is about, I wouldn't be able to tell you, because in all honesty I don't care. I can see the film receiving about 10 millions this weekend, and maybe even less. The other film dawning this weekend is Salt, starring Angelina Jolie. From the trailers I got the impression that I wouldn't want to see this movie ever, and by now, I find my suspicions confirmed.

Now, I can see this film doing decently with about 30 million, but nowhere near the opening numbers of Despicable Me, or that other film. The other film I'm referring to is Inception, which will probably take a considerable 38% drop, and end up with around $37 million. As for Sorcerer's Apprentice, I see it taking an even bigger drop to $6.5 million. An anomaly that happened to Predators last week. And Toy Story 3 should do slightly better with $7.3 million.

Comic Con 2010: "Machete" Red Band Trailer!

Last night offered people the once in a lifetime opportunity to eat a taco prepared by the cast of Robert Rodriguez's Machete. I don't like Mexican food, but I'd eat a taco if I had the knowledge that it had been touched by Michelle Rodriguez and Jessica Alba's hands. Either way, that was only one treat from the Machete section at Comic Con yesterday, another being this red band trailer for the film. It doesn't measure up to the initial fake trailer that premiered with Grindhouse, but it's worth it for that last line from Cheech Marin. You have to be 18 years or older to watch, but this being the internet, it's not very hard to fake that.

Machete Red Band Trailer

Chunks of TRON Legacy score now online!

This doesn't have any direct ties to Comic Con, but it's still pretty interesting. Some pretty big pieces of Daft Punk's original score for TRON Legacy have found their way onto the internet, and they are pretty interesting. I'm still suspicious of this movie, but it doesn't look nearly as bad as Avatar was last year. I know I'm in the minority of people who didn't like James Cameron's science fiction epic, but I'm sticking to that. Anyway, head on over here to take a listen in on the new score.

Comic Con 2010: "Megamind" Footage is now online!

I though that maybe the whole point of Comic Con was for it to be exclusive, but now it seems they're just releasing a bunch of the footage being released. So I was actually surprised by this footage from Megamind, Dreamworks' new animated action film coming out this November. If you were wondering why the theatrical trailers never showed much of the film's plot, it's because it's kind of dark. By kind of dark, I mean they kill someone within the first two minutes of the Comic Con footage. The protagonist is not only a villain, but a murderer as it turns out. So now I'm officially intrigued in this project, because it looks like something a bit edgier than Dreamworks usually goes for. So check it out. It may be one of the surprise successes of the year.

Megamind Comic Con Footage

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Comic Con 2010: Thursday's Panels: Megamind, and TRON Legacy!

Today Hall H was host to two 3D projects, both being released in the last two months of this year. One is Dreamworks' Megamind, the animated comedy-action film about a supervillain turned good. The other is Disney's TRON Legacy, the sequel to the original 1980s film, TRON. As much as I'd love to tell you all about what went down there, I can't. I wasn't there, so it only makes sense to direct you to somebody who was. In this case, I mean the more than reliable Kristopher Tapley over at In Contention. So feel free to skip on over there to get his take on the Comic Con panels. Also, just a small bit of news, Joss Whedon has confirmed that he is directing The Avengers, so that's pretty great.

TRON Legacy panel
Megamind panel

Comic Con 2010: A special "Pirates of the Caribbean" teaser shows at Hall H!

It seems like Disney used their TRON Legacy panel in Hall H today to promote a few of their other upcoming films, not only Guillermo Del Toro's recently announced The Haunted Mansion (by recently, I mean about an hour ago), but also for one of their most lucrative franchises, Pirates of the Caribbean. A special teaser aired for the Comic Con audience, with Captain Jack Sparrow on a beach, directly addressing the people in Hall H, assuring people that it certainly wasn't the case that he would soon be embarking on a quest to find the fountain of youth but that, even if he were, he wouldn't be looking for a crew. But, if he did, would anyone in the audience be interested? Not really much of a teaser, as it showed no relavent footage. Still, it's a nice reminder that On Stranger Tides is still coming in May of 2011.

Comic Con 2010: Guillermo Del Toro's next film might be "The Haunted Mansion"!

So what film could Guillermo Del Toro possibly be doing next after dropping off The Hobbit? It seems that Guillermo Del Toro is writing, producing, and directing a 3D reboot of The Haunted Mansion. If you remember, the last time Disney tried to make an adaptation of their Haunted Mansion them park ride, it turned out as a comedy starring Eddie Murphy. Luckily, that is not the aim Guillermo Del Toro is going for. “The scary WILL be scary. If you bring children, they will scream. And I hope to steal as many props as possible,” said Del Toro during his surprise appearance at the end of the TRON Legacy panel.

So I am currently unsure of if this is the surprise project Del Toro was talking about when going into Comic Con, but it worked. We're all surprised! Anything from Guillermo Del Toro is a treat, just as long as it doesn't star Eddie Murphy. "We are not returning Eddie Murphy's calls." Consider me relieved. I can't wait to find out what Guillermo has planned. It's not what I expected, but the best things rarely are. A release date hasn't been announced yet, but if I were to guess, it'll probably come out sometime year.

Comic Con 2010: TRON Legacy Trailer Debuts!

It's nice to see that us who aren't attending are actually getting something from Comic Con. It's not as much as those attending are receiving, but it's something. At the moment the TRON Legacy panel at Comic Con ended, the trailer that aired there arrived online. The initial trailer left me somewhat cold and confused, and this trailer gives me a similar feeling of confusion. This is a bizarre world they've created, and as one who hasn't seen the original TRON, I don't know what is going on.

This trailer offers plenty of eye candy, and it feels as if this film may have an emotional core to it. I don't deny the possibility, as the filmmakers went to the geniuses at Pixar before going to reshoots. Still, I'd like to know what the hell is going on here. Where are they? Why does Jeff Bridges play two characters who seemingly want to kill each other? And where exactly is TRON? He seems like he should have a big part in the film, seeing as he's in the title. So there are my questions. Here's the trailer. Enjoy.

TRON Legacy trailer 2

Comic Con 2010: "Let Me In" Poster Debuts

From horror to horror, the second poster for Let Me In, the adaptation of the book Let the Right One In, has debuted at Comic Con. I'm liking this poster a hell of a lot more than the first one, as the first one was just words in the snow. If that's supposed to impact me in any way, then the marketing department isn't doing their job right. I wouldn't be surprised if a domestic trailer for the film came within the next day or so, but this poster could keep me content for a while. The look of this poster, the fact that Chloe Moretz is in the lead, and the idea that Michael Giacchino will be scoring the film have me contented for now.

Comic Con 2010: "Saw 3D" Trailer Debuts

While I usually save trailers for the Trailer Tuesday section I post each week, I'm going to post on the trailers from Comic Con as soon as they come, and this is worth talking about. The trailer for the seventh and final Saw film is now out. Last year I was surprised by how Saw 6 actually felt like a real film, instead of the fake films the Saw films usually turn out to be. I got the impression that this was a game that Jigsaw felt needed to be done, as opposed to the ones that the filmmakers just stick in to continue the franchise.

This film is being directed by the same man as Saw 6, Kevin Greutert, and judging by the trailer, it may actually be worth our time. The Saw 3D trailer is by far the best teaser for the franchise, which is kind of an easy job seeing as most of the films only ever have a teaser, and then no full trailer. Still, if this is all we get to decide on whether the film will be worth it, I may go out of my way to see it. What stuck out to me is that there's a trap being executed in front of a crowd of people. That's what I've been waiting for the series to do. So it may have some visual flair to it, and it may not be the mediocre crap the series is more accustomed to.

Saw 3D teaser

Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" to open Venice Film Fest!

We've still got two big festivals on their way this year, one being Toronto, the other being Venice. Now the Venice Film Festival has its opening film, which comes in the form of Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan. The film is a psychological thriller set in the treacherous world of ballet. Doesn't quite do it for you? It stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as rival ballerinas. Alright, I have no angle to promote this film, but I'll bet Aronofsky does. As for other films playing at Venice this year, Somewhere, Miral, and The American are all very likely to appear, while Terrence Malick's Tree of Life may not surface at all this year, and may be forced into next year's awards season.

Comic Con 2010: Brad Pitt to star in "World War Z"

"We ain't in the prisoner taking bid'ness. We in the killin' zombie bid'ness, and cuzzin, bid'ness is boomin."

So the first news to spring from San Diego is that Brad Pitt has been attached to star in Marc Forster's adaptation of Max Brooks' novel, World War Z. As hinted in the title, the film follows a war between humans and zombies after an outbreak due to unknown causes. So yes, it's a zombie movie, so there lies my hesitation about the project. The only zombie movie I ever really enjoyed was Zombieland. I'm not sure what Marc Forster has planned for the project, or what role Brad Pitt is taking, but the film is aiming for a summer 2012 release.

2010 San Diego Comic Con Begins Today!

Always a huge topic of interest whenever it comes around, today marks the beginning of the 2010 San Diego Comic Convention. Each year, I tell myself I'm going to be there next year. I'm going to purchase a ticket, and go over there, and each year, I don't. My goal for the following year is to be able to be at next year's event, so I can give more in depth coverage to you. Until then, I'm stuck waiting here at home for the slightest scraps of news, and whatever footage leaks onto the interweb for a few seconds. So be ready for a flood of news dealing with several high profile projects within the next few days.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

PotterWatch (13 out 77): The Director's Chair: Chris Columbus

Across eight films, we've had four directors, some of which were great, and some who failed. Chris Columbus was the latter. It seemed like such an inspired choice at the time. The man who directed Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire, and Bicentennial Man is a natural fit for such a franchise, right? Wrong, and to be frank, none of those films were ever that good. Lets keep in mind the fact that after his contribution to the Potter franchise he went on to make the failed adaptations of Rent, I Love You Beth Cooper, and Percy Jackson and the Whatever.

So in retrospect, his work on Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets is some of his best work. That doesn't make it any more disappointing. As far as film adaptations go, it does help to add a little creativity to the project, and Columbus never once did that in his time as director. If he had continued on as director, I think the films would've gotten progressively worse. Take Sorcerer's Stone as a good example. The script is pretty much the same as the book, word for word. There's a point where loyalty to the source material gets you killed, and this is it. Some people exhibit fantasy series creativity for the better (Lord of the Rings), but more for the worse (The Golden Compass, Eragon, The Last Airbender).

Even the texture that Columbus brought to the first two films felt too real. It's a world about magic, so it's suppose to look and feel magical. Prisoner of Azkaban and Half-Blood Prince were the only ones to do that. Then Columbus continued into Chamber of Secrets, and when you're dealing with a climax involving a 12-year-old fighting and defeating a giant snake, it's hard to fail. Columbus does, and that's probably the biggest reason he isn't here now. Because he can't handle action, and there was quite a bit in the first two films. I'd be able to deal with the lack of action recently in the series if the action in the first two lived up to the potential of the books. So I think now is a good time to retire Chris Columbus, not only as a director, but as a citizen of the earth.

"Dark Knight" Sequel Rumors: Joseph Gordon-Levitt as The Riddler?

Here's a riddle for you: If Christopher Nolan isn't attached to direct the sequel to The Dark Knight yet, are any casting rumors regarding the film true? Put simply, no, but this is one that I truly wish was true. Rumors have been echoing across the interweb that Joseph Gordon-Levitt will reteam with Nolan for his third film based on the Batman comic books, this time in the face of The Riddler. The Riddler has been the villain that most have speculated will play a pivotal role in the sequel, and since initially talk that Johnny Depp would be best for the role, attention has shifted to the Inception star.

Why am I so certain it isn't true? Because when has news about the hyped up sequel that hasn't come straight from the mouth of Christopher Nolan ever been true? Answer: Never. Nolan is the only one you can trust when it comes to news about his movies. Both Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman have slipped up about these rumors, mistaking them for truth. When the people starring in the damn movie don't know what's going on, how can we? Now as much as I'd love Gordon-Levitt to take the role, I'm going to say right now that unless it comes from Nolan's mouth, it isn't true. The only true facts about the Dark Knight sequel are that Jonathan Nolan, Christopher's brother, is penning the script based on a story by Chris Nolan and David Goyer, and it's to be released on July 20, 2012. For now, that's the end of it.

Comic Con 2010: Saw 3D Poster Debuts

The Saw franchise has been known for some disturbing posters, but recently, I haven't been too impressed. While I have reservations against the title of Saw 3D (as I think it should be called Saw 7, just to avoid confusion), this poster disturbed me. Now if only they can actually put together a real trailer for the film, then it might be worth it. For a 3D version of the poster, follow this link. And yes, I am covering Comic Con this year, but I'm covering it from home, so I'm not busy running around to places and I can give instant posts on the events.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sam Raimi is not making Wyatt Earp!

So apparently I just got news that Sam Raimi is attached to direct Earp: Saints for Sinners, a graphic novel adaptation, and I immediately knew that this wasn't happening, and I knew it for two reasons. The first being, he didn't leave a comment with the news. The second is that he is already attached to direct Oz, The Great and Powerful, and that World of Warcraft film adaptation. He's actually talked about World of Warcraft so I'm sure that he's working on that. As for Oz, I have little faith that that project even exists. In all honesty, it sounds like a fake project. So I'm refusing to accept any of these new projects until I have a good reason to believe they're real.

Trailer Tuesday: The Social Network, The Town, Biutiful, Miral, Howl, Devil, Due Date, It's Kind of a Funny Story

We have a massive heap of trailers this week; more massive than we've had in weeks. So lets get right into with the first full-length trailer for The Social Network. Three weeks in a row we've had trailers from this film featured here, but now we have an actual idea of what this film is about. As rumored earlier, this is a decidedly darker film than originally expected. Then again, this is David Fincher we're talking about, so expecting him not to bring as much darkness to the foreground as possible is kind of illogical. I get the feeling that we have a smart and clever script on our hands here, and the actors seem more than capable of handling it, so consider this film a lock for a Best Picture nomination, just by this trailer.

Next is Ben Affleck's The Town, which visually looks quite a bit like his directorial debut film, Gone Baby Gone, but I also get the nagging feeling of Brooklyn's Finest spliced into this. We've got three brilliant actors at work here in the form of Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, and Rebecca Hall, and then we have Ben Affleck. If he could just stay behind the camera, I'd be fine with it. However, he seems to have some sort of vision of himself as the next Clint Eastwood, which he isn't. The plot feels a bit too predictable for my tastes, and there are some lines that feel recycled ("I'll see you again, this side or the other."). I also get the feeling that all of the action displayed here is all of the action that will actually be in the film. Call me a pestimist, but I don't see this film doing well in the awards circuit.

There are quite a few trailers out there that don't reveal much of anything about the plot, but rather show a series of images with out dialogue, while a nameless monologue continues on in the background. The international trailer for Biutiful works a lot like that, to greater affect than most of its brethren. This is a noticably dark story, and you can tell from the hue of the cinematography, the tone of the voice over, and the look on Javier Bardem's face, that this is a film that probably won't end pleasantly. This trailer has me very much intrigued, and seeing as Bardem's performance already won Best Actor at Cannes Film Festival for this role, I'd say he stands a good chance at a nomination this year. That is if it's released before the end of the year.

Then, on the lower half of the Oscar pool is Miral, a story of an israeli girl played by Freida Pinto. That's really all I could pick up from this trailer. There is some sort of uprising, somebody who can't be trusted, and I just don't understand why. This trailer has mood swings bigger and more irrational than that of Edward Cullen. It seems to me that this is a film that's trying to get all it can from the middle east setting, and it doesn't quite register with me. I don't see anything that interests me enough to catch this film in theatres, so unless critics begin praising it, count me out on this one.

Going from vague and confusing, to vague and intriguing, the trailer to Howl. Before you ask, the answer is no. This is not a werewolf movie. This movie is more in the veign of Milk, which also starred James Franco. This time Franco takes the lead role of Allen Ginsberg, a writer who penned "Howl", a poem accused of being obscene. The trailer doensn't reveal a lot, but the way it's put together puts it on the artistic side of the spectrum. I'm not quite sure of the focus of the film, but I like the combination of black and white, the old school color, and the more modern color. This film looks at the very least interesting.

Taking a short break from quality to look into the new trailer for Devil, the M. Night Shyamalan produced horror film. People have actually been defending this trailer, saying the Shyamalan didn't direct or write the film, and that he simply is producing it. While true, that doesn't excuse the fact that not much that is truly terrifying happens in this trailer. It's a bunch of stereotypes in an elevator that stop working. Apparently, the devil is in there with them, which feels like a huge stretch, which is something Shyamalan is known for. The twist ending? The elevator opens to Narnia. I don't care about this trailer, and I don't really care about the film. All I care about is that some guy who had a small role in (500) Days of Summer is in it. I hope he lives.

Finally, we have two Zach Galifianakis trailers in a row. Starting with Due Date, director Todd Phillips' followup to The Hangover. The film follows Robert Downey Jr. as he goes on a road trip with Galifianakis in order to make it to see the birth of his child. I was a little worried about this film during the first thirty seconds of the trailer when Galifianakis starts laughing at Downey Jr.'s father abandoning him. I was wondering if that was really the joke. Then Zach spoke up and said "My dad would never do that. He loved me." It's that sort of unexpected humor that made The Hangover such a knock out film, and I'm glad that they're going that route with Due Date.

The other Galifianakis trailer is for It's Kind of a Funny Story, a dramatic comedy set in a mental hospital. Picture a more lighthearted version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, with a romantic plot and Zach Galifianakis spliced into it, and you've got a good idea of what you're in for. Zach doesn't have quite the same great dialogue to work with here, but he's got a nice bit of charm to him. It's that little unknown main actor I'm most invested in though. Whenever I see an actor I don't know who really impresses me, I see it as a sign that there is still unknown talent out there. This might be a surprise success.

The Social Network Trailer
The Town Trailer

Biutiful Trailer

Miral Trailer

Howl Trailer

Devil Trailer

Due Date Trailer

It's Kind of a Funny Story Trailer

Monday, July 19, 2010

Oscar Lookout: Inception's awards prospects

After taking eighteen paragraphs to write about how much I loved Inception, I've gotten tired of talking about it, so I promise this will be the last you hear about it from me for a while. The film's Oscar prospects have been all over the board, and people are definitely uncertain of how the academy will react. If it were me, I'd have the film up for several major categories. I really enjoyed the film that much, and I think that people agree. The box office estimates for Sunday were about 2.5 million less than what the film actually made, so word of mouth is surely doing wonders for the film.

I think that this film will probably linger on through to awards season, and it will definitely be nominated for Best Picture at this year's Oscars. I'm very certain of that, because that's pretty much why the Academy expanded the field to ten nominations. They did it so that some of the more audience friendly pics would have more of a chance. If they don't have at least three films that grossed north of $200 million nominated for Best Picture, they have pretty much failed. I also believe that Nolan will be nominated for Best Director, because his attention to detail shows up in every frame of the film. It's a crime that he was snubbed in 2008 for The Dark Knight. It won't happen again this year.

The technicals are a lock no matter what. We don't have to worry about nominations in Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Art Design Visual Effects, Film Editing, or Original Score. It may have some trouble nabbing a cinematography nod, but I think it will make it. The screenplay for the film stands a good chance of being nominated, because it's one of the most original works that's been made in a long time. The biggest question mark on the board is the actors. There are reservations about whether or not any of the actors really deserve it, but I think DiCaprio's work this year, split between Inception and Shutter Island, is deserving of a nomination. It would be an unfair snub to cancel him out on that.

As for the supporting work, it is all really fantastic here. I can see Marion Cotillard being nominated for her fractured portrayal of Mal, but the role may be too small for much recognition. On the other hand, Vanessa Redgrave was nominated for six minutes in Atonement, so we can't be too worried about that. Of the supporting actors, if anyone were nominated, I'd have a hard time deciding between Ken Watanabe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Both are exceedingly charming in their roles, and both would be fine nominations. So here are the awards the film has chances at being nominated in: Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Editing, Original Score, Cinematography, Art Direction, Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Supp. Actress (Marion Cotillard), Supp. Actor (Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Ken Watanabe)

Radcliffe confirmed for "Woman in Black"

Daniel Radcliffe's taken on a tortured wizard, a horse fanatic, a soldier, and soon, another soldier. Now it seems he's going to play a lawyer who discovers a dark secret. As reports:
"The Woman in Black
follows a young lawyer, Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe), who is ordered to travel to a
remote corner of the UK and sort out a recently deceased client's papers. As he
works alone in an old and isolated house, Kipps begins to uncover its tragic
secrets, and his unease grows when he discovers that the local village is held
hostage by the ghost of a scorned woman set on vengeance."
With production set to begin in the fall, Radcliffe may have scheduling conflicts with his alleged role in the remake of All Quiet on the Western Front.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Inception Review

After the collosal success of The Dark Knight, everyone was waiting for Christopher Nolan to jump on board for the final installment of his Batman saga. I can't tell you how grateful I am that he didn't. Inception may very well be the film Nolan is remembered for. There have been many vivid interpretations of what dreams really are, but very few of them are as acurate as the ones Nolan presents here. It's obvious that Nolan has done quite a bit of lucid dreaming, because all of the dream logic this film utilizes is very real. It's very hard to break down the outstanding qualities of Inception without literally breaking this review down to focus on different aspects of the production, so here we go.

The Plot: Inception, in case you haven't heard yet, deals with Dom Cobb (Leonardo Dicaprio), an extractor who uses a device to share dreams with other subjects in order to extract information from them. Saito (Ken Watanabe) proposes that Cobb perform inception (planting an idea in someone elses mind) in order to take down a high profile competitor (Cillian Murphy), and in return Dom can return to America and rejoin his children who have been left parentless after the death of his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard). Cobb accepts, and the rest of the film involves his quest to return to his family.

That's as far into the plot as I'm willing to go, because it's really something that you have to experience for yourself. I feel sorry for anybody who gets the ending of the film spoiled to them. Suffice it to say that this is the most original concept that's been explored in years. The last time I remember seeing a truly original science fiction film is WALL-E. Nolan proposes many unique concepts in this film, and tries something that's never been tried before. He never takes the plot of the film further than it needs to go, and it goes pretty far. Nolan respects the journey these characters take too much to compromise that just by putting on the old razzle dazzle.

Many have drawn analogies from this film to The Matrix, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Blade Runner, but oddly enough, the film I most related this film to was Up. I am indeed speaking of the 2009 Pixar film that was nominated for Best Picture this past year. It does seem like a stretch, but they both deal with similar subjects. Both deal with men trying to get over the loss of their wife, and they constantly try to keep them alive. Carl Fredrickson kept his alive through the house they built together. Cobb keeps his wife alive through his dreams. That is the emotional core of the film, and it works splendidly in both cases.

The script by Christopher Nolan is very complex and creative, but once you understand the film, you really do get the chance to relish its creativity. It's clear that Nolan's spent years working on this film, and it was his ambition to challenge audiences integrity. It doesn't become endlessly confusing, and in many ways is refreshingly up front with the audience concerning several plot points. He doesn't weave convoluted and pretentious riddles. He composes simple and heartfelt ones. Inception is a film of the mind and the heart, and it exists on such a grand scale that is nearly impossible to acheive.

The Action: It's hard to keep an audience's attention throughout an entire two and a half hour running time, but then again, it's hard to do just about anything that Inception has done. There isn't a moment in this film when something isn't happening. The action in the movie is at a level higher than anything that regular filmmakers can put together. The action exists both in reality and in the dream world. You get the idea that things are happening in each layer of perception that are preventing Cobb from succeeding. The tension gets continually more palpable as the stakes get higher.

Whereas the action in The Dark Knight felt a little sluggish at times, there is a spontaneity displayed here that keeps us from falling asleep (get it? haha). Of course, a few explosions never hurt, do they? Events that occur in one level of the dream trickle down to the other levels, and it's brilliant just watching it all unfold before our eyes. One of the greatest action scenes, not only in this film, but in any film, is the Joseph Gordon-Levitt's zero gravity hallway fight sequence. It's a little too short for my tastes, but it is so perfect in its execution, that I marvel at how they filmed it without visual effects.

The Cast: This was one of the few instances in which every single actor portrayed on screen was absolutely perfect in their roles. Leonardo DiCaprio has really grown to become one of the best actors of our time. His work in Titanic, like everything else in that film, isn't really spectacular. However, 13 years later, he grown to be able to tell so much about the characters he portrays, even if it's not necessarily on the page. He goes far deeper into his character than Heath Ledger ever did in The Dark Knight, a bold statement, but one I hold on to. Cobb is a deeply flawed human being, and despite being the lead, he's one of the bad guys. He's a criminal and a con man, yet we get behind him.

Lets get to the very core of the character of Cobb. He's a widow, trapped by guilt. He is constantly uncertain of reality. He's a man with several years of experience, and when he says he's the best extractor, that is why. Most of all, he doesn't care too much about moral values. All he cares about is getting home to his family, whatever the cost. One of the brilliant things that Nolan does is take these usually antagonistic characters and give them the proper background to make you feel for them. Many have related DiCaprio's character to his in Shutter Island, but there are some very obvious differences.

Cobb and Marion Cotillard's character, Mal, share the emotional backbone of the film. Heist movies are most often devoid of any emotional value, but Cobb and Mal's story truly brought me to tears. Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose) gracefully embodies the different incarnations of Mal. She appears as both a whole person and a malevolent projection. For a great deal of the film, she isn't a fully rounded character, because she isn't meant to be. She's just a shade of the woman Cobb loved. Not the real thing.

The rest of Cobb's team bring quite a bit to the table. Joseph Gordon-Levitt ((500) Days of Summer) is quickly becoming one of the great rising stars in the business. His performance, while not too deep, is one of the most charming of the group. Ken Watanabe may be one of my favorite actors for the first half of the film when he is most utilized, and he plays a avaricious business man in a way that endears the audience to him, rather than repulses. Tom Hardy hasn't done a whole lot of screen work in his time, but he comes on screen with such an energy that shows that he clearly is having as much fun playing the role as we are watching him do it. Dileep Rao (Drag Me to Hell) plays the geeky scientist that you need in every science fiction film, but he does it to a lessened degree.

Ellen Page plays Ariadne (her name being the only part of the script that seems slighty forced), who is the architect of the dream worlds the team enters. At first she works as a conduit for the audience, asking the questions that we kind of need answered. As the story goes on, she becomes Cobb's closest confidant, and Ellen Page excells in one of her first serious roles. She's just got this fresh young spirit to her that never goes away no matter how many roles she takes. I really want to see her take on some more challenging roles, just so I can see if she can handle it. She probably can.

The other emotional character in this film is Robert Fischer, played by Cillian Murphy. He has various emotional issues with his dying father, and they have really shaped him as the sort of frail yet angry soul needed in order for inception to work on him. As they get deeper in the dream, his emotional arc really comes full circle, and props to Cillian for making it believable. Even the minor characters who have very little to do with the actual story bring what they can to the table. Tom Berenger, Talulah Riley, Lucas Haas, Michael Caine, Pete Postlethwaite, and Michael Gaston all do stunning work in their brief time onscreen.

The Technical Aspects: People can go ahead and bash the brilliant narrative elements all they want, claiming they are too convoluted and coldhearted. That's an opinion based solely on the viewer. That's something that you'll miss out on if you're not careful, and it is something that can be as simple as missing a train. If you give the film the same amount of attention that you'd give another person in a conversation, you should be fine. However, even if you slack off for the entire film (not recommended), you will still be able to fully admire the technical brilliance of the piece. There is so much to admire about this film, other than the story.

The visual effects of the film are top notch, but the film doesn't rely on them. Nolan very firmly believes in filming whatever you can in real environments. There is little to no green screen on this film, but at the points where visual effects are in play, you don't really notice. It's not that they're extremely real, but they just blend in with the look of the environment. Remember those waves that opened up the theatrical trailer, and how I was sure that those were computer generated. Brilliantly enough, they were real. That's the sort of beauty that is rarely captured in life, and props to Wally Pfister for capturing it the way he did.

Pfister's work in the film is amazing as it always is, but this being an action film, there are a few hiccups. The shaky cam is never to the point in which you have no idea what's going on, but it keeps some of the shots from being at the same painterly level as the action shots in The Dark Knight. However, we do get quite a few beautiful shots in this film. The folding city is an amazing sight to see, and I can't wait to see it in IMAX so I can get the full sweep of it. The hallway fight sequence is one of the most brilliantly shot scenes I've come to witness. However, my favorite shot (or rather two shots) of the film is Cobb and Mal on the railway as a train comes rushing forward. Pfister's work here may not earn him his long overdue Oscar, but it'll add another nomination to resume.

The art direction department does splendid work, and they are the true architects of the dream world. It's strangely beautiful at times, and they add to the visual spectacle of it all. The sound editing and mixing is quite something, creating some of the trademark sounds of the film, but it's the score by Hans Zimmer that will be drawing in the audience's ears. I was a little worried when Zimmer said that the score would be very electronic, but I was just to caught up in the epic feel of the music to notice. He's woven so many melodic themes into this film, and the fact that he did it without seeing footage from the film makes it so much more impressive.

Conclusion: For the past two days I have been barrelling through internet chat session where people keep on debating about Inception's quality. Quite a few people keep on saying that the film is in no way a masterpiece, and I tried to keep that in mind while watching the film, but I simply couldn't. The few flaws I did find with the film were forgivable. Inception is, in this reviewer's opinion, a masterpiece by definition. It's a film that's been made by a master of the art who is at the top of his form. My deepest thanks to Christopher Nolan for giving us this. After the film is over, people will want to know what I interpretted of the ending, so I will try to say it as simply as I can while trying not to give away any spoilers. However, out of fear that I will, I place a huge SPOILER WARNING!!!! After two viewings, I stand in the firm belief that the totem topples. Of that I am 100% sure, beyond any reasonable doubt.


Box Office Report: Inception begins at #1!

Given the mountain of hype surrounding Inception, you'd expect the film to open upwards of $70 million. However, given the fact that it's an original film with a complex premise, a 2 and a half hour running time, and presented in 2D instead of the money grabbing prices of 3D, I'm going to consider $60 million a success. It's Leonardo DiCaprio's biggest opening weekend, which begs the question of exactly how popular this actor is to audiences. Given the fact that both he and the rest of the cast and crew give effortlessly work to the film, and that it has been registering pretty positively with audiences, I can see the film holding up over the rest of it's run, and perhaps ending up with $250 million.

As for The Sorcerer's Apprentice, it took in $17 million this weekend. Big surprise, considering the negative reaction and the fact that it opened next to Christopher Nolan. Despicable Me held on to audiences with $32 million in its second weekend, adding to its total of 118 million. Twilight: Eclipse took in 13.5 million, and Toy Story 3 took in $11 million. Predators took a 71% drop to eighth. This weekend was down from the same last year when Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince debuted in #1.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Friday Take: July 16th

Well, Inception led the crowd on Friday, as if that weren't obvious already. My only breath of disappointment is in its $21.6 million take on its first day, and that includes the $3 million it got from midnight showings. So what does that mean for the rest of the weekend? For one thing, it'll likely hit well below my generous prediction of $87 million, and it'll probably end up with $60-65 million out of the weekend. Then again, the film could dazzle audiences enough to prove more powerful on saturday and sunday, and depending on how word of mouth for the film plays out, this may be one of the better hits of the summer, and one of the few that lasts.

As for The Sorcerer's Apprentice, the film took in 5.4 million, which should lead it to a total weekend gross of $15 million or so. Despicable Me held up impressively with $10 million from friday, and it could end up with $30 million by the end of the weekend. Twilight: Eclipse continued to tumble with $4 million coming to it on friday, and may just slip below Toy Story 3's weekend total, the Pixar sequel taking in 3.5 million from friday. I suppose I probably overestimated this weekend's potential, but honestly, when's the last time we got a great live action movie that had us completely involved from start to finish?

Oscar Lookout: Best Picture: What's left now?

The majority of 2010 is over by now, and it is somewhat depressing that we've gotten so little in the first half of the year as far as the Academy Awards are concerned. However, we still have a lot of potential winners to be released in the back half of this year. So here's the list of films already released and to be released. The star ratings go as follows:

* - Possible, but not likely
** - Probable nomination, but still uncertain
*** - Highly likely contender

Already Released: Inception ***
Toy Story 3 ***
Winter’s Bone ***
The Kids Are All Right ***

Not Released Yet: Love and Other Drugs **
Black Swan **
Another Year **
Conviction **
The Social Network **
The Tree of Life **
True Grit **
Everything You’ve Got *
Miral **
Somewhere **
The Way Back **
The American *
Biutiful *
Blue Valentine **
Eat, Pray, Love *
Hereafter **
Howl **
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 **
The Fighter *
The Town **

The King's Speech *
127 Hours **

Friday, July 16, 2010

Inception: My First Thoughts

Before I get started, let me say that this is not a review. There really is too much data in the film for me to fully process it after the first viewing. I'd first like to say congratulations to Christopher Nolan for creating such a complex, deep, emotional, powerful film that had the audience involved from the first few seconds. Christopher Nolan said, during his promotion of the film, that it was his ambition to include all the different types of human experience, and he has done that not only at minimum, but at maximum. Nothing like Inception has ever been attempted in filmmaking, and I don't believe it ever will be again. As Roger Ebert said so eloquently in his own review, "when Nolan left the labyrinth, he threw away the map."

I know that I love this movie, and that it's the best time I've had at an action movie since The Dark Knight. In so many ways, it is far better than The Dark Knight. I can spend several paragraphs throwing around words like masterpiece and Oscar, but part of me wants you to go out and see it for yourself first. I've seen how people have reacted to reviews for this film. The fans are ravenous, and they will tear a review apart if they don't agree with it, even if they haven't seen the film yet. Even if the review says that they liked the film, but didn't love it, readers will rip it to pieces. So go out to the theatres, see Inception for yourself, and then in a day or two we'll meet back here and talk about the film as equals. It's a lot to ask of a reader, but it's no more than Inception asks of you.

Weekend Update: 3rd Week of July

As usual, nothing really extraordinary coming out this weekend. The Sorceror's Apprentice disappointed on its wednesday opening with $3.8 million, not boding well for its take this weekend, which will probably end around $15 million. I can't really see it standing a chance against Despicable Me's second weekend. I can't expect a huge drop, so we'll probably see it taking in about $37 million. I'll bet that Predators and Twilight: Eclipse will dip below Toy Story 3 this weekend, with those first two taking in about $12-14 million, while the latter rakes in a fantastic $17 million. I can only see this weekend being something of a disappointment.

On the other hand, there is this little personal peice by Christopher Nolan, the guy who made Memento and Insomnia. He's been known for making those intimate detective films, and his new film Inception seems to be keeping with that. The characters look interesting, and it looks like it may have a little bit of action to it. Reviews have been either praising it, or calling it confusing. It could be both, but that's not nescessarily a bad thing. Most people are predicting the film to take in some small bit of cash like $60 million, but I think it may be a bit of a surprise success, so I'm going to say it'll take in precisely $87,642,854‏. It's just a guess. We'll see how it works out.