Thursday, March 31, 2011

For Your Anticipation: You Okay There Captain?

Source Code does have the potential to be the first great film of the year, after three solid months of mediocre to average features. I have my doubts, because it's only Duncan Jones' second film and he seems to be going for the more mainstream crowd than he did with his first effort. Moon was an art-house science fiction feature that captivated us with spectacular direction and a wonderful leading turn by Sam Rockwell. This is going for more of the intense action feature than anything else, which could turn out great. We'll just have to wait and see. Here's the first five minutes of the film, setting up the main conflict of Source Code.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For Your Anticipation: What's A Toro?

It's only opening in limited release this weekend, which is a shame as per usual, but Super actually looks like an interesting sort of mixed bag. I love Ellen Page in pretty much anything, so her playing a semi-sociopath superhero sidekick is to me as catnip is to cats. Rainn Wilson never really impresses me too much, but he isn't annoying to the point of Owen Wilson or Luke Wilson. I'm always suspect on "real life" superhero films like these, because Kick-Ass honestly wasn't much of anything special. I can't yet tell if this will be any different. We'll have to wait and see.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Potter-Watch (46 of 77): It All Ends 7.15

You didn't think I was going to throw a poster for The Tree of Life your way and neglect to show you this fabulous piece of marketing, did you? I know that there are several detractors in the franchise, and it's something that I honestly understand. The first two films were wasted potential, somewhat alleviated by the marvelous third installment, but then they descended into another murky area, and by the time the sixth film came around most non-fans had already given up hope. It didn't matter that the series was about to be injected with a powerful burst of new life to even the playing field. The sixth film was simply a sign of the greatness ahead of us with Deathly Hallows: Part 1. I have doubts that Harry PotterDeathly Hallows: Part 2 will live up to that, but I remain as eagerly excited as before. This poster has an epic feeling to it that just screams conclusion. We're just a few months away now, and the tension is palpable.

For Your Anticipation: I Don't Know What To Call It

And here's yet another film I completely forgot about until the trailer came upon me unexpectedly while waiting to see Red Riding Hood (how appropriate). I do have an appreciation of sorts for actors Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne. Wilson was a few years ago what Michael Fassbender is now. He was on the brink of major stardom, and then it didn't happen. Rose Byrne on the other hand is on the rise now. She's got such a true emotionality, and I really look forward to seeing her in X-Men: First Class later this year. However, I do not consign to these sorts of throwaway mythology horror films like Unborn and its like, so I don't really care about Insidious.


Monday, March 28, 2011

"The Tree of Life" Poster

Finally, we get a look at one of them dinosaurs! In case you couldn't figure it out, column 3, row 10. I think at this point we have a vague idea of what The Tree of Life is about, and it's a very exciting possibility. It's obviously not essentially about dinosaurs or the space shots we see in the trailer, but the story of a boy becoming a man. We can't quite say what this film will be because it hasn't happened yet. This poster offers not one stunning image, but several different beautiful images, none of which ultimately reveal the essential meaning of the film, nor should they. Terrence Malick remains evasive to the very end.

Teaser Trailer: Midnight in Paris

Still not a fan of Owen Wilson, and I'm not going to start anytime soon, but I actually didn't mind him too bad in this trailer for Midnight in Paris. I thought that he'd be just a small part of an ensemble cast in the film, but it turns out that he's the main character. After I let that initial sense of melancholy get past me, I was able to respect this trailer as a potential return to form for Woody Allen. I obviously don't expect him to pull off an achievement similar to Vicky Christina Barcelona, but this actually seems like a pretty likable crowd-pleaser. That's something that you can't exactly say about most of Woody Allen's films. Maybe it's the wonderful cast, aside from Wilson, or maybe it's Paris' natural charm. In any case, I liked this trailer moderately enough, and it's hard for me to discount a film with Michael Sheen and Marion Cotillard in it.


New Developments on Pixar's "Brave"

It can't be said that Pixar is venturing into new territory with this year's Cars 2, because the first film was extremely generic and the sequel is shaping up to be just as uninspired. I know you're probably saying that it's Pixar and they will salvage it in some way, but I just don't think they will. So if this year is shaping up to be a massive letdown, we can take comfort in knowing that next year is bringing us two promising features, one of which is another sequel which may or may not turn out useless, Monster's Inc. 2. The other is Brave, the first fairy tale from the animation studio as well as the first film of theirs starring a female protagonist. I honestly didn't notice that until now, but up to this point it has been all male protagonists. It doesn't mean the company has been sexist in the past, but I think they just never got around to it.

Sure the whole Disney princess thing has been done time and time again, but not so much like this. For one thing, we have confirmation that Reese Witherspoon will not be playing the protagonist. Instead the Scottish tomboyish princess will be voiced by similarly Scottish Kelly MacDonald (No Country for Old Men). This is something I'm very excited about because it continues to prioritize Pixar putting suitable voices to certain characters, rather than just hiring famous actors to do the roles. The only time I can recall most assuredly in the past where Pixar put star quality over suitability to the role was assigning Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy as the two main characters in Cars. They were just preparing us for that film to disappoint.

Brenda Chapman was originally slated to direct the film, making her Pixar's first female director, but she pulled out unknown reasons. She'll still be listed as co-director, much like Jan Pinkava was credited as co-director of Ratatouille from before Brad Bird came in, but Mark Andrews will be the surrogate director bringing this film to term. Andrews directed the splendid Pixar short One Man Band, and I expect him to do a more than admirable job with Brave. Providing that Cars 2 is the fall from grace that I expect it to be, Brave could be a return to form. I still prefer its former title of The Bear and the Bow, but I'll forgive it. Pixar has released a few nice pieces of art direction for the film, and it sets the scale for a lovely feature. The previously mentioned short film One Man Band is embedded below in case you need further proof of the director's suitability to this film.



For Your Anticipation: I'm Really Special

I'm really sorry, but in terms of this particular film, I'm already supremely underwhelmed, specifically with the title. You have the entire world of Easter and Rabbit related titles to pick from, not to mention the implications of the story, and you go with Hop? I know that sometimes less is more, but this just isn't doing it for me. Aside from that, I just don't quite see the purpose of this film. I get that we don't have that many Easter themed films out there, unless you count The Passion of the Christ. I think you could've done a lot more with this film if it was completely animated. The combination of live action and CG didn't work for Alvin and the Chipmunks, and it doesn't really work here. You can't quite merge the two universes believably yet, unless you have the budget James Cameron had on Avatar.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Box Office Update: Felled by a Wimpy Punch

It's kind of hard to believe how pathetic the box office has been this year. There have been films that from afar seemed like definite irrational box office successes, such as Battle: Los Angeles and more recently Sucker Punch, and yet they have come in to less than spectacular numbers. It's kind of sad and depressing that a film made with all the things that guys love (girls, dragons, etc.) ended up drawing such a small opening. Zack Snyder's psychological action film Sucker Punch came in at #2 with a gross that doesn't even head past $20 million. Even more surprising than that low income is what it was surpassed by.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules performed exactly as expected to, drawing in enough excited children to surpass Snyder's under-performer. Kids being kids, you can expect them to return to the film across the following weeks. Talking of which, there were some pretty strong holdovers from last weekend, with Limitless and The Lincoln Lawyer both dropping less than 20%. Mars Needs Moms took the biggest dip of 59%, its target audience being snatched away by the top new release. Interesting enough, the top news of the weekend is probably Rango shooting past the $100 million mark, making it the first film of 2011 to do that. Adam Sandler's Just Go With It came just behind it, edging past the mark by a far more minuscule degree. Surprisingly, this weekend ended up being just 6.8% less than last year, when How to Train Your Dragon came in at the top spot. It did on the other hand come 22.9% lower than two years ago when Monsters vs. Aliens wowed audiences so.

1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (First Weekend; $24.4 million)
2. Sucker Punch (First Weekend; $19 million)
3. Limitless (Second Weekend; $15.2 million)
4. The Lincoln Lawyer (Second Weekend; $11 million)
5. Rango (Fourth Weekend; $9,8 million)
6. Battle: Los Angeles (Third Weekend; $7.6 million)
7. Paul (Second Weekend; $7.5 million)
8. Red Riding Hood (Third Weekend; $4.3 million)
9. The Adjustment Bureau (Fourth Weekend; $4.2 million)
10. Mars Needs Moms (Third Weekend; $2.2 million)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Metaphorical Review of "Sucker Punch"

I found this video really interesting and amusing, because the way the review is done is actually better and more creative than the film it is reviewing. Take a look below.


Television Breakdown: Birth of a Nation

Fringe: Bloodline


The last time Fringe shamelessly played to their strengths and committed to an entirely mythology based storyline, aside from flashback episode Subject 13, was in Reciprocity. There is something so completely rewarding about this series when it's firing on all cylinders, and Bloodline was one of those episodes. It brought together so many important lingering plot strings in the show for something incredibly emotional and climactic. It kicked off very quickly, with Olivia and her mother discussing the possibility of her having the same disease that killed poor alternate Rachel and Ella during childbirth. It's one of those things you never thought would come back to bite our heroes in the vagina, but it did.

Not that she should be immediately worried about it, seeing as moments after she enters her apartment she is zapped unconscious by a team of unknown individuals. This launches us immediately into a fast-paced race against time to find Olivia before it's too late. Nothing is revealed about the group of sinister kidnappers, nor should anything be. That shroud of secrecy adds a layer of menace to all the scenes of Olivia in captivity. Well, the fact that Peter's baby boy is rapidly growing inside of her does have that covered already, so this episode was wicked freaky and intense. Brings back some touchy memories from season 1 episode The Same Old Story, doesn't it?

As insane as what's happening on the inside was, what ended up being the bread and butter of the episode was Charlie and Lincoln searching for their friend. While they're on the hunt, who do they unexpectedly run into than good old Henry Higgins, the cab driver that aided Olivia early on this season. I have to say, I was really worried for a moment that things were about to go entirely downhill for poor Henry, but thankfully it was just a followup that prompted Lincoln to pop the ultimate question to Walternate: Was our Olivia replaced with theirs? I guess it was only a matter of time before that happened, and it made for scene of intense relish between the two men. To think that alternate versions of themselves were conversing last week about "soul vampires".

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Weekend Report: Success Is A Fantasy

As has happened almost every weekend this year, we can't really expect anything monumental or spectacular, no matter how large a budget a film releasing has. I did have a small spark of hope lit for Sucker Punch, because how can you not for a film set in the unstable dream world of a young girl in a mental asylum. Besides that, there's also the flash, flair, and overwhelming noise that made the trailer an unwilling assault on the senses. The latter of those appeals to the dumb grunt male audience this film is targeting, and the former is a cinephile's vain hope for something greater than indicated. The former isn't a factor in Sucker Punch, and I can't say I hold out much hope to see the film this weekend. If it makes as little sense as reviews are contesting, I can't see a reason to shell out $10 for it.

The only other option this weekend is Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules, and we know what the target demographic of that picture is. As such, we can expect it to do moderately well for itself this weekend, giving Zack Snyder's mindless action fest a run for its money. I'd like to think that maybe one of these films will break the mold and come out of the weekend with a figure north of $50 million. I think we'll just have to wait until May for that sort of nonsense. Success is a fantasy right now, and we are waiting for that to change. So what do I suggest you do with your Friday nights? I think I've made that abundantly clear by now.

Teaser Trailer: The Three Musketeers

I could list off the several horrible things that are featured in this trailer, from Milla Jovavich in slow motion, to predictably awful noble dialogue, to atrociously simple cinematography, to a woeful lack of Christoph Waltz. The Three Musketeers is not going to be a good movie, as you can always tell from director Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil). I just couldn't help watching this trailer with an overwhelming sense of dread. Take a look for yourself, and comment below on your thoughts.


Films To See In 2011: April

Last month was a bit of a failure in terms of predicting what is most likely to be good, or at least entertaining, mostly because I haven't gotten around to seeing any of those films yet. I've seen a lot of truly pathetic filmmaking, but we're moving more towards some sort of quality. I'd like to say that I'm sure April will be a step in the right direction, but that hasn't been working out for me. There have been some entertaining films over the past few weeks, but only in the sense that general audiences will probably enjoy it. I have moved more towards a special niche of high quality films, and it's become harder and harder to please me.

I don't expect that we'll be getting a lot of that sort of feature this April, but most of the films that are shaping up to be the most promising are films that I had mixed reservations about before. I'd have Steven Soderbergh's upcoming film Haywire somewhere up here if we had gotten any sort of trailer or footage yet. I think Source Code and Scre4m have promise, but there are creeping doubts in the back of my mind. Hop and Rio are both animated films, and I've found it very hard in the past to peg these sorts of features. The trailers try to appeal to children, and somehow that always involves leaving out the emotional moments that make the films so great. The films I have in the upper most echelon of this month are the films I am relatively certain will end up being good. Your Highness almost made it in, but it was just barely edged out by...

3."Water for Elephants"
Directed by Francis Lawrence

The idea of simple entertainment or fun doesn't really apply to this film, which I initially knocked against for being another throwaway vehicle for Robert Pattinson. Since further trailers have come out, he's actually grown on me. Same goes for Reese Witherspoon, who was at first only shown with an annoying smile, but is now shown with deeper emotionality. Christoph Waltz was never a problem with me, but he's becoming more of a standout actor in this feature, as well as every film he's in. We honestly don't even care about his accent, as if we ever did. Obviously there are similarities to Titanic, a film I've widely called out as overrated, but there's something vibrant that just grabs me in the recent trailers. (Releases nationwide on April 22nd)

For Your Anticipation: "Fringe" is Renewed!!!!!

OH YEAH! Those depressing statements on low ratings for the FOX science-fiction drama Fringe had some people on edge, but I kept a steady head during all this madness. Fringe has been renewed for a full 22 episode fourth season, promising another year of the best show on television. However, don't forget that the struggle isn't over. We'll inevitably be in this same position next year, with some people talking of a final season order and the threat of cancellation. For now, though, we are able to celebrate the show's bravery in facing down two years of uncertain future with high-quality writing, directing, and acting. I think that more than deserves your recognition for tonight's game-changing episode! Don't miss it!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Potter-Watch (45 of 77): Petunia's Farewell

Beyond simple fanaticism, I still believe that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is amongst the greatest films of 2010. My love for the epic fantasy has only grown with the subsequent months since I made my constantly self-correcting list of the best films of 2010, placing it currently around the #4 spot. There is such powerful storytelling at work that transcends anything the series has given us before. It's hard to believe that it could be an incomplete film, but a recently released deleted scene from the film featuring Aunt Petunia saying goodbye to Privet Drive makes me wish for an extended edit of the film. Either that or they replace Ron's relatively pointless standing bit at the beginning with this emotional farewell. Take a look below at this truly dynamic scene that widens the scope of the already epic beyond imagination finale. Special accolades for Fiona Shaw's wonderful final performance in the series.


To watch more, visit www.t5m.com

The Legacy of "The King's Speech"

It's been about a month since The King's Speech was honored as the 83rd winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, and all the anger and frustration should have faded away to some degree by now. There is obviously some lingering angst amongst those who are perhaps a little too invested in the highly subjective awards show. I learned pretty quickly that the measure of what film wins Best Picture is not a definite record of what was unanimously the best film of that year. If I were to have my own way, I'd have had Black Swan walk away with the top prize that night, but I would've settled for The Social Network. It didn't turn out that way, and that's honestly fine.

What's not fine is that the film that did win was so quick to change for the general public. A PG-13 version of The King's Speech is set to release next Friday in over 1000 theaters, and all I can help but wonder is why they would make this decision. The film has already made $132.9 million, and that was with the R-rated version that it won the Oscar with. Of course it's probably only going to omit pieces of those two scenes of King George swearing his ass off, but it still honestly feels like they're just pandering, and even more troubling, compromising their initial vision. I wasn't exactly the biggest fan of the film, but I thought it was very entertaining and inspiring, even if greatness evaded it.

Teaser Trailer: Captain America: The First Avenger

There is a lot that I'm not at all sure about concerning Captain America: The First Avenger. It's directed by Joe Johnston, the man who ruined The Wolfman last year, turning it into something instantly forgettable and atrocious to behold, and it's starring Chris Evans, the man you thought was a total D-Bag in Fantastic Four. Despite everything else, including the apprehension I still hold onto as a precaution, this trailer was something of a success. There were a few structural problems, but it doesn't look nearly as stupid or pointless as Green Lantern. I still have a weird sense of faith in Thor that I have not yet cultivated to this film, but we'll see how it turns out. I'm still kind of upset that Michael Giacchino isn't scoring it as originally rumored. This trailer doesn't stink of disappointment, but we don't have anything truly promising yet.


For Your Anticipation: I'm Calling Them "Mom Bucks"

I guess there are certain benefits to hating everything, because it's kind of boring to read something favorable. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is the only film out of last month's "Dread Locks" poll that I will not have seen, and I'm honestly quite happy about that. Rango turned out to be somewhat better than I expected, and Red Riding Hood was just a hilariously awful experience. I can't imagine deriving any such pleasure from this film. Such predictable kids pics are only entertaining for those devoid of intelligent thought, and that happens to be the target demographic of this film. With this film lacking Chloe Moretz, I can't think of a reason I should see it. It doesn't look like the worst film ever, but it looks worthless.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

R.I.P. Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011)

More often than not, these sorts of tragic events cause me new discoveries. Like most people, I have heard of Elizabeth Taylor plenty of times before, but I've just never gotten around to seeing one of her films. She hasn't appeared in films for years, but she's received Oscar nominations for her work in Raintree County, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Suddenly, Last Summer. On top of that she's won for roles in Butterfield 8 and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the latter of which I'll be checking out as soon as I find the time this week. I'm sure I'll have a greater idea of what's been lost as I look back onto her career. For those already in the know, here's a clip of her on "What's My Line?".


Red-Band Trailer: Your Highness

More of an obscene television spot than a full restricted trailer, I think that this gets across the comedic style well enough. Not the smartest film in the world, but it doesn't make any illusions about that. Your Highness continues to look like the answered wish for a fun raunchy comedy.

<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=us&amp;from=sp&amp;fg=shareEmbed&amp;vid=741da3f6-e99d-421b-b537-bdbf45a87a9c&amp;src=FLCP:sharebar:embed" target="_new" title="Exclusive: 'Your Highness' Trailer (Mature Audiences)">Video: Exclusive: 'Your Highness' Trailer (Mature Audiences)</a>

For Your Anticipation: Take That You Mother!

So why exactly were we ever so interested in seeing in the first place? Right! It's because it has prostitutes, Nazis, mech suits, robots, samurais, dragons, and really attractive young women. Even at this point, though I know that it probably won't be something great, I don't think it will be anything less than Zack Snyder's past films. What has been so disconcerting for me in the past is the unoriginal nature of all his features. 300 and Watchmen are both practically panel for panel adaptations of their respective comics. There is nothing new there, but Sucker Punch does seem to offer us something original. It could be something fresh and unpredictable to take our minds off all the dreck that's currently in the market. If nothing else, the opening credits will be great.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just To Ease Your Mind...


For Your Anticipation: On A Side Note...

This might as well be this film's epilogue, because I doubt will be hearing any major news from it ever again. You may remember that Miral premiered at Venice Film Festival last September to some mixed reviews, and they haven't gotten better in the months since. The film was slammed with a depressing March release date, and it hits limited theaters this weekend. The negative reception doesn't bode well for the filmmakers, most notable director Julian Schnabel, and their already meager box office reception. So it was kind of nice while it lasted, but I sensed an unfavorable stench from the first trailer. I can't say this turn of events surprises me.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Film Review: Another Year

I really didn't put in enough effort to see this movie before writing up my "Best of 2010" list in January. There are only a few films that really deserve that sort of extra effort, or that warrant an extensive trip to see. I haven't exactly been a follower of director Mike Leigh, having ditched out of an attempt to see Happy-Go-Lucky at the last minute. He certainly isn't a household name, even if he has earned it with a track record more flawless than Christopher Nolan's. I've been saying before that the only reason Another Year wasn't nominated for Best Picture this year was because it missed out on the final rush of nominations voting, given its late release date. I can't quite say that to be true now, because in a society that is currently inexorably rotating around The King's Speech, it baffles me that this could go unnoticed.

I can see why audiences don't find immediate appeal in it. That can be summed up in a simple synopsis: It's about old people. In each of the Best Picture nominated films this year, the protagonist is of reasonable age. The closest we get to old is with Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right, and they don't quite milk that for all that it's worth, do they? Even more than the characters, the central theme of Another Year is being old or growing older. The opening scene of the film, which could strike some viewers as being peculiar, shows a hopelessly depressed female insomniac, not ready to tell a psychiatrist about her family life. On a scale from 1 to 10, she's at a 1.

You see this character in very stark contrast to the other characters in the film at this time. There's Tom and Geri, two very happily married people, their positive son Joe, and their seemingly perky-as-bright-sunshine friend Mary. What could there possibly be to be so upset and depressed about. The film takes place in four acts, and the first act ends with a reveal of what kind of person Mary is. She drinks a lot, is very much in denial about her level of happiness, and her emotions are wild in frantic. She's a bit of a slut, thinking of a possibility with nearly every man she meets. You get to thinking, why are Tom and Geri even friends with her? She's that sort of friend that you're stuck with, and you very much don't want to just get rid of them. That would be just too cruel.

Theatrical Trailer: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

I know that the outlook of this Summer in terms of high quality entertainment is rather slim, but I always found that the season was meant for passable action entertainment. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was only ever going to be that sort of feature, as you can tell quite clearly from this trailer. None of the jokes quite hit the right mark, and it's clear writing isn't this latest film's strong suit. Check out the trailer below and feel free to chime in in the comments section!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Box Office Update: Limited Potential

I think we can now break down how 2011 at the box office is shaping up in comparison to past years. This weekend wasn't exactly a great weekend, but it could've been a lot worse. It did decline from where it was last weekend, but there wasn't really anything major in release to urge people to head out to the theater. Limitless ended up as the #1 film this weekend, but didn't manage to break the $20 million mark. The average income per theater was impressive, but it still lacked something crucial. Rango held onto second place, boosting the animated western to about $92 million. The film should break the $100 million mark next weekend, making it the first film to do so this year.

Battle: Los Angeles took a considerable dive of 59%, landing right behind Rango after opening in the top spot last weekend. The Lincoln Lawyer and Paul both managed decent numbers, but nothing at all spectacular given the hype surrounding them. Surprisingly enough, the wide release that held on most honorably was Mars Needs Moms. I guess 3D still has enough appeal to keep children in the theaters. Overall, this weekend was down 9.9% from last year when Alice in Wonderland held onto the top spot for the third week in a row, but up 7.1% from 2009 when Knowing opened at #1.

1. Limitless (First Weekend; $19 million)
2. Rango (Third Weekend; $15.3 million)
3. Battle: Los Angeles (Second Weekend; $14.6 million)
4. The Lincoln Lawyer (First Weekend; $13.4 million)
5. Paul (First Weekend; $13.2 million)
6. Red Riding Hood (Second Weekend; $7.3 million)
7. The Adjustment Bureau (Third Weekend; $5.9 million)
8. Mars Needs Moms (Second Weekend; $5.3 million)
9. Beastly (Third Weekend; $3.3 million)
10. Hall Pass (Fourth Weekend; $2.6 million)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Film Review: Cloverfield (2008)

2008 was not a great year in film. It was quite honestly a terrible one, and I have fears that 2011 will end up in a very similar fashion. The only thing really disputing that is that 2008 already had its greatest film within the first few weeks of the year. It set a high bar for the rest of the year, and no film quite matched up. I don't arrive at Cloverfield as my favorite film of that year lightly, because it is a highly polarizing feature. Mainstream viewers saw only what was right in front of them, which was a musically-devoid picture that hinges on a simple gimmick, following the least extraordinary group during this colossal event in New York City.

The premise of this film is rather simple, with an unknown monster attacking Manhattan on the night of Robert Hawkins' going away party. After all hell breaks loose, Rob heads towards the heart of the city to rescue his kinda-sorta girlfriend from her apartment before it's too late. That pretty much encapsulates the plot, and if it seems a little all over the place, that's by intention. The film throws a ridiculous and surreal science fiction element into the lives of these characters, derailing any plans they had before. The film itself is an artifact, revealing how these characters lost absolutely everything they had, and without any particular reason. Even the title of the film leaves it ambiguous as to the why.

Television Breakdown: Graves of the Unknown Lost

Fringe: Stowaway



Last week, Fringe brought us into a new chapter in its mythology with the unexpected and polarizing return of William Bell through Olivia's body. This week was on course to be either a sign of a downward trend, or a return to the brilliance this show's been acclaimed for. Thankfully, it turned out to be the latter, and then some. The writers and directors of this show have not gone astray, and remain on task to make these major shifts in reality come out organically and emotionally. Stowaway was brimming with light comedic moments, unexpected occurrences, and greater mythological meaning in terms of both the show and the religious ways of the universe.

The case of the week kicked off with suicide hotline consultant failing to help one of her patients, who was either played by Greg Grunberg or an effective lookalike of Greg Grunberg. As she jumps of the building with him, she crashes into a car, and gets out relatively unscathed. This brings in the Fringe division, minus Olivia Dunham of course, but with the added bonus of William Bell and the Lincoln Lee on our side. We've been getting to know the alternate version of the character throughout this season, and it's safe to see that we like him pretty well. In this universe, you couldn't help but be endeared by him learning of this world he never knew existed.

The Lincoln on this side is kind of a regular sensible detective, and though we don't really get much into his character's background, the same could be said of his character over there. All that we get about him comes from our experiences with him. The two characters are wildly different, and with this episode Seth Gable, only a recurring character on this show, gets more roles that Joshua Jackson. The poor guy just can't catch a break. On a semi-related note, Peter is less than excited by Bell taking over his new girlfriend's body, and you wouldn't expect him to just go about his business as usual. Things have shaken up for this team, so Lincoln coming in to fill the void offers an interesting kind of relationship for Peter to have while he's living without Olivia. I also love the shout out to Hartford, Connecticut. I love that this entire saga takes place on the familiar terrain of New England, even if it's shot in Canada.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Theatrical Trailer: POM Wonderful Presents "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold"

I can't say that POM Wonderful Presents "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" looks to be "the Inception of documentaries", or "groundbreaking", or anything that the quotes say it's going to be, but it looks hilarious as hell. I doubt I'll go through any other documentary this year that makes me feel as happy as this film seems. Documentaries are, by design, supposed to expose some sort of injustice happening in the world, and are usually depressing because of that. This may be one of the rare documentaries that doesn't make me more pessimistic about humanity. It looks funnier than most comedies that have come out so far this year.


The Weekend Report: Sexy Men & Aliens

I can't say this weekend is going to be much of an improvement at the box office, but it's shaping up to be rather great in terms of picture quality. None of the films coming out this weekend are likely to reek as much as the films of last week. On the lowest end of the spectrum is Limitless, the Bradley Cooper psychological thriller. I maintain that the film does have the potential to be entertaining, but the fact is that with this sort of material, it does tend to come out as forced. It's still most likely to garner a plethora of audience members, probably skewing towards the female demographic for obvious reasons.

There's also Matthew McConaughey's legal drama, The Lincoln Lawyer, which is snagging some surprisingly favorable reviews. I could've guessed as much from the excellent supporting cast, but I think it may be treading the line of good rather than great. I expect that this film will play most favorably to the older male audience. The rest of the male audiences this weekend should be heading out to see Paul, but that's assuming that people are attracted to quality entertainment. I personally enjoyed Paul very much, even though there are people who are somewhat underwhelmed with the feature. The crux of audience enjoyment is to not compare it to Pegg and Frost's past features. Win Win is in limited release, so if you're in that rare area to see it, that'd be a good idea.

For Your Anticipation: You Have My Word, Young Man

I may just be speaking for me, but I loved last week's epic twist at the end of Fringe. I think it's incredibly inventive to have William inhabit Olivia for the next few episodes. It certainly takes the focus off of Fauxlivia's pregnancy, but I remain somewhat disappointed. That's probably only because the finale of this season will only be one hour long. Message to the producers: Give us an actual two-hour finale next season, without breaking it into two different nights. I want to see some Lost level epic action unfold. Not to say they won't have that this season, but I've got my fingers crossed. We have two more episodes before another hiatus, including tonight's episode. Lets hope things don't unfold in a manner that could be called predictable.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

For Your Anticipation: You Shouldn't Be Smoking

The indie film I'd really like to see this weekend is Win Win, and I only won't because of general circumstance. Tom McCarthy has done a great job with such indie material in the past, even if this feels like more of a comedic effort. It's McCarthy channeling lighter fare than usual, but I relish the opportunity for another great performance from Paul Giamatti, but even more so from Amy Ryan. She really seems like the one on showcase here, even if the story is told through Giamatti's circumstances. I look forward to the opportunity to see this one.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Theatrical Trailer: Friends with Benefits

Since No Strings Attached only ended up being passable because of Natalie Portman's wonderful performance, hopes are set pretty high for Friends with Benefits. How is it looking so far? It's looking like a worthy follow up to Easy A, director Will Gluck's last feature. Look at the cast they've set up for this film. They have Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake, Woody Harrelson, Patricia Clarkson, Emma Stone, Andy Samberg, and probably several more. The script for this feature has some impeccable comedic moments to love, and I can't envision this being anything less than the sort of brilliance I absolutely love.


Theatrical Trailer: Larry Crowne

So it turns out that Tom Cruise has the acting capabilities of Ron Howard. Unfortunately I'm talking about the Ron Howard that brought us The Dilemma, and not the Ron Howard that brought us A Beautiful Mind. His directorial debut, Larry Crowne, looks to have the same premise as Community, except with less clever writing and characters. This looks predictable, not all that intelligent, and quite honestly boring. See for yourself and comment below.


Film Review: Red Riding Hood

You can never quite prepare for how stupid a film is going to be, because quite often in trailers they only choose to show slight flashes of stupidity. Red Riding Hood didn't hold back. You could tell from the trailers that this was going to be a total waste of your time, but not quite in the way you expected. This film is as much a remake of Twilight to include the story of "Little Red Riding Hood" as the 1907 short The Teddy Bears is an adaptation of Teddy Roosevelt's famed bear killing to fit in the story of "Goldie Locks and the Three Bears". There are obvious similarities that make it distracting, but both features are generally deplorable for their own reasons.

Red Riding Hood takes place in a quaint little village that you learn about half an hour in is called Daggerhorn. Clever exposition clearly isn't this film's strong suit, because they barely introduce the threat of the wolf before it kills the main protagonist's sister, who we also didn't learn about beforehand. What do we learn in the beginning? Valeria, played by Amanda Seyfried, is romantically involved with a lumberjack named Peter, who is more rugged and handsome than he has any right to be. Unfortunately, she's been arranged to marry Henry Lazar, who we also do not meet beforehand, and when the whole conspiracy of who in the village is the wolf comes into play, she won't trust anyone.

Even though she's in the presence of both Peter and Henry during different wolf attacks, she still suspects them for some stupid inane reason. Speaking of stupidity, after the townspeople kill a regular wolf, mistaking it for the actual werewolf, Father Solomon, played with maniacal vigor by Gary Oldman, comes around to explain exactly what a werewolf is. The man is a priest who is willing to murder his wife, who was a werewolf, in order to defeat evil. The man kills innocent civilians on holy ground, not to mention a fellow priest, and tortures a mentally deficient kid for what he perceives as "Black Magic". The kid pulled a card from behind a man's ear. Is this film really that stupid?

Oh, and you have no idea who exactly the wolf is in this film. It's kind of hinted at briefly, but they mostly just lead obvious hints to different characters. They keep showing off stupid camera tricks with the annoyingly cheery grandmother. Here's one thing that I can't get out of my head, though. Valerie is betrothed to Henry, whose father once had sex with her mother, and the offspring was Valerie's older sister Lucy. Lucy had a crush on Henry (ew), and even though the adults knew all of this, they still arranged for Valerie to be married to Henry? Gross! Stupid! What the hell is wrong with this village? They're all idiots!

If this film were Twilight then Valerie would be Bella, Peter would be Edward, Henry would be Jacob, and Billy Burke would be the main character's father, which he is. Henry even gives Valerie a little charm to carry with her. You could write a thesis paper on how similar these two stupid films are. The acting in this film is ridiculous, with Gary Oldman being perhaps the only exception. You hate his character, but not his performance. The look of the film is so quaint and fairy tale pretty that it makes you want to puke. They don't know how to direct the audience's attention. Besides that, Catherine Hardwicke just doesn't know how to direct. Red Riding Hood is a festival of stupidity, and in a few months, teens are going to be sending each other YouTube clips about how stupid this film is.

F

For Your Anticipation: I Need to Make It Right

I think that Matthew McConaughey has gotten a bit of a bad reputation over the years, but one he's definitely earned. He keeps choosing films and roles that benefit from his falsified good looks and charisma, and usually they fall flat on all other accounts. The only reason I had faith in The Lincoln Lawyer is because it's got such a fantastic supporting cast. You here names like Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, and Bryan Cranston, and you expect something fantastic. You here McConaughey, all that hope goes out the window. I don't quite hate the man's talent, but he hasn't really given us anything worthy of praise. That could change with this film, but it's not going to be a major revelation. Every turn around takes time.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dread Locks: April 2011

As always, it's proving a tad bit more difficult to see these awful films than I anticipated. Apparently it's hard to find a time when I actually want to see Red Riding Hood, but it's something that still has to be done. The drive to see this film is much like the drive for me to see each film in The Twilight Saga. I never enjoy the experience, but it's an experience nonetheless. That and the fact that I love writing reviews for films that I hate. In any case, we're approaching April just as rapidly as always, and that of course brings up a whole crop of films for me to potentially review. It's a bit duller than usual, but I think that's a good thing. Now people know just how dull these films are before they see them.

I had a lot of films that I could have put in this poll, such as
Hop, Insidious, Mother's Day, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, Hoodwinked Too, and Prom. I was close to putting Water for Elephants up here, but then we got a slew of trailers that embellished the more favorable aspects of the film. So the assortment I have for you starts out with Soul Surfer, the true story of Bethany Hamilton, otherwise known as the girl who got her arm bitten off by a shark. I know that it sounds like it could be a truly inspirational story, but Anna Sophia-Robb has not grown into a sexy charismatic teen, and I can't believe in the acting capabilities of Dennis Quaid or Carrie Underwood. This looks hilariously idiotic.

Through directing nine features, Tyler Perry has tried to break out of the name he's been given in the comedy industry, but ultimately failed. I can't believe that we could expect anything but a failure this time around, but people are still going to see his films. He has an eager crowd that likes his brand of filmmaking, but I'm just not part of that crowd. His next film is
Madea's Big Happy Family, and it looks like he's headed back into comedic territory again, sadly. Coming just a week later is Fast Five, which I have on here for obvious reasons. Oddly enough, I'm kind of hoping this one wins out. The last film grossed nearly $70 million opening weekend. This year could really use that sort of a face lift. Those are your choices, you can follow the links provided to see trailers, and you can place your vote in the sidebar.