Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Trailer For Couples Retreat

Universal Pictures has revealed the trailer for director Peter Billingsley's Couples Retreat, written by Iron Man director Jon Favreau. Opening October 9th, the Universal comedy stars Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis, Kristen Bell, Faizon Love, Kali Hawk and Jean Reno.

The film follows four Midwestern couples who embark on a journey to a tropical island resort. While one of the couples is there to work on their marriage, the other three set out to jet ski, spa and enjoy some fun in the sun. They soon discover that participation in the resort’s couples therapy is not optional. Suddenly, their group-rate vacation comes at a price. What follows is a hilarious look at real world problems faced by all couples.

Finally we get a trailer for this and it actually looks really funny. With an all star cast like this, I'm hoping it becomes a sleeper hit kind of like Wedding Crashers.

Fox Going Through With Hitman 2

Agent 47 is coming back for a sequel to 2007's Hitman!

IESB has confirmed that 20th Century Fox has hired writer Kyle Ward to pen the script for the sequel to Hitman!

The original Hitman movie was a bona fide hit released in 2007 with an estimated gross of 100 million dollars in worldwide box office receipts not including DVD sales and television broadcast rights. The film starred Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47 and launched Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) to stardom.

Adrian Askarieh, Daniel Alter and Chuck Gordon will return as producers.

I thought the first film was disappointing so I don't know what to think of this. I love the Hitman video games, but the movie was different in a bad way. I don't see how they are going to make a good Hitman film especially with a studio like Fox which is known to control final cuts of their films.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

REVIEW: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Year: 2009
Director: Michael Bay
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Ramon Rodriguez, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13

After grossing more than $708 million worldwide, their was no doubt that their would be a sequel to Transformers. In September 2007, Paramount announced a late June 2009 release schedule for the sequel and the film was given a $200 million dollar budget which is $50 million more than the first film. Considering the budget was much more this time around, Michael Bay started thinking of what action scenes that were left out of the first film, were going to be used in the next one. Writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman who penned the first film, originally passed on the sequel because of a busy schedule. Paramount than began searching for new writers in May 2007, but wasn't impressed with the ideas they were getting from them. They convinced Orci and Kurtzman to return and brought on Ehren Kruger who impressed creator Hasbro with his knowledge of the Transformers mythology. Most of the cast members returned for the sequel and filming began on May 2008.

Plot Outline:
Two years have passed since Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and the Autobots saved the human race from the invading Decepticons. Now he's preparing for the biggest challenge of his life: leaving home for college. With the destruction of the Allspark, the Autobots make the best of their lives on earth, working in league with the military as part of a top-secret team called NEST. Meanwhile, the Decepticons learn what Sam doesn't know: he alone holds the key to the outcome of the struggle between evil and the ultimate power of good. With the help of the Autobots, the soldiers of NEST, and former Sector 7 Agent Simmons (John Turturro), Sam and his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox) must uncover the secret history of the Transformers presence on earth, and the sacrifices that have to be made to save it from an ancient threat sworn on returning here for revenge--an ancient Decepticon named The Fallen.

Michael Bay was bent on making this film bigger and far more louder. In the end, that's exactly what he did. The film feels more like a 2 hour demolition derby rather than a blockbuster sequel. The story is literally none existent for the first half and slowly picks up during the second. Their was many times where I couldn't figure out what the hell was going on and that thought also carried over to the action scenes. Whats the point of having the Autobots fight the Decepticons if you cant even tell who's winning? Its just badly edited and really not as exciting as it should be. I complained that the first film focused too much on the human characters and very little on the Transformers themselves. I appreciate that Bay and the writers listened to us fans who wanted more robot action, but why do so if its going to make the film incoherent? Theirs hardly any character development and the dialogue is absurd. The Transformers themselves can tend to sound annoying especially "The Twins" which I thought could have easily been left out of the film. Sam and Mikaela's relationship is also bland, and only gets somewhat interesting when they fight. The other major road block is the films run time. Revenge of the Fallen clocks in at 150 minutes and it really feels like its too much. The average Joe is going to think I'm crazy for complaining about the films run time especially when the film is full of action scenes, but the fact is that the films pacing is off. Their were parts of the film that dragged and really made it somewhat boring. By the time the film is over, you wonder if you even got any satisfaction out of all of this.

Shia LaBeouf (Eagle Eye) returns as the charming, yet clumsy Sam Witwicky. He does a pretty good job of keeping what made his character interesting the first time around, which was his funny remarks. LaBeouf was involved in a car accident half way through filming the film and filming was only delayed by 2 days because the writers found a way to incorporate his injured hand into the story. I'm glad he was still able to perform most of his stunts and I enjoyed his work here. Megan Fox also returns as Sam's girlfriend, Mikaela Banes. Her acting is alright in this film, but she still feels like shes only their to please the male audience. Her character doesn't get much development and still feels like a sidekick. Her relationship with Sam isn't interesting and feels alittle tacked on. Ramon Rodriguez plays as Sam's roommate, Leo. His character is really annoying and adds literally nothing to the story. He is a pointless character that also feels tacked on and doesn't entertain in the least bit of way. I got so tired of him screaming through out the movie that I started wishing that a Decepticon would come and kill him already. Josh Duhamel reprises his role as Captain Lennox and he too is pretty lame here. His character hardly gets enough screen time and theirs no character development on him what so ever. Whats the point of keeping this guy alive? Does he get any major scenes in the film? What does he bring to the table?

Revenge of the Fallen features the same great special effects that were seen in the first film. The team at Industrial Light & Magic who had done the effects for the first film, have also done the effects for the sequel. The Transformers are more lightened this time around and better constructed. They feature more parts and their animation has been re-done. Hasbro became more involved with the design for the robots and had the writers focus more on combining parts. The effects for Devastator proved to be a challenge because of his many auto parts. Revenge of the Fallen's special effects easily left me impressed the way the first film did. The films source is in great condition which shouldn't come off as a surprise considering the film just came out. Their is a hint of grain splattered around the image, but its in no way distracting. The color palette is excellent and very much vibrant. This is a darker sequel, but the many different variety of colors on the Transformers, is easily impressive. Black levels are simply perfect and I didn't notice any drop in quality during the night scenes. Flesh tones are spot on perfect and have that warm feel to them. Detail is excellent and easily one of the finest I have seen on a new release. Close ups feature some great clarity and you can literally see drops of sweat on Sam's face.

The soundtrack in Revenge of the Fallen is just as exciting as the one in the first film. Composer Steve Jablonsky (Transformers, Friday the 13th) returns once again to score the music for this film. I was happy to see that he was the right man for the first film and that doesn't change here. His music from the first film is back and sounding better than ever. His sound design for the film is just as epic and exciting. We also get a set of other music from a variety of artists. Linkin Park is back again to have a song featured in the movie and its just as good as their last song "What I've Done". Their new song "New Divide" is awesome and goes well with the film. I raved about how loud and amazing the bass was in the last film, but to my knowledge, Revenge of the Fallen sounds even more better. The film is essentially 90% action so it shouldn't come off as a surprise that the bass sounds thunderous. Its dynamically spread and doesn't sound like its focused on the center only. Revenge of the Fallen is sure to be the new demo disk to show off to your friends. I expect the Blu Ray to be pure reference material when it hits later this year.

Revenge of the Fallen is just a scrambled mess that is lousy and easily forgettable. The story is almost none existent and poorly put together on the big screen. Theirs no character development and the film tries to win its audience over with over the top action scenes that you can barely see. Its dialogue is cheesy and the story consists of too many annoying characters that aren't needed. With the pacing not as good as the first film, Revenge of the Fallen suffers from being too long of a movie. The cast is alright, but Shia LaBeouf still remains the only person that's enjoyable on the screen. The special effects are top notch and just as breath-taking as the first film. The soundtrack is also a winner and some of the loudest bass usage I have heard. Linkin Park's new song for the movie, New Divide is just plain awesome. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to say pass on this one. If your looking for a summer popcorn flick than go see the first film or just go see Star Trek again. If you desperately want to see this movie than Id at least wait for the DVD/Blu Ray.

Grade: D+

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

REVIEW: Transformers


Year: 2007
Director: Michael Bay
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Jon Voight
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13

The films development began with producer Don Murphy (Shoot 'Em Up) talking to Hasbro about adopting G.I. Joe into a film. After the United States took part in the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Hasbro suggested that they do a Transformers film instead of G.I. Joe. Being a fan of the toys when growing up, Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park, Minority Report) signed on as executive producer of the film in 2004. Writer John Rogers wrote the first draft of the film which was later re-written by writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek) in 2005. Spielberg suggested that "a boy and his car" should be the focus of the story. Orci and Kurtzman's first draft consisted of the Transformers having no dialogue, as the producers feared talking robots would look silly. The writers felt that even if it would look silly, not having the robots speak would betray the fan base. Michael Bay was asked to direct by Spielberg in 2005, but turned the film down stating it was nothing more than a "stupid toy movie". Still, he wanted to work with Spielberg, and gained a new respect for the Transformers mythology upon visiting Hasbro. Bay didn't like Orci and Kurtzman's first draft so he increased the military's role in the story.

Plot Outline:
For centuries, two races of robotic aliens -- the Autobots and the Decepticons -- have waged a war, with the fate of the universe at stake. When the battle comes to Earth, all that stands between the evil Decepticons and ultimate power is a clue held by young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf). An average teenager, Sam is consumed with everyday worries about school, friends, cars and girls. Unaware that he alone is mankind's last chance for survival, Sam and his friend Mikaela (Megan Fox) find themselves in a tug of war between the Autobots and Decepticons. With the world hanging in the balance, Sam comes to realize the true meaning behind the Witwicky family motto - "No sacrifice, no victory!"

I thought I go back and revisit this film in preparation for Revenge of the Fallen which is set to debut tomorrow in theaters nationwide. The films story relies too heavily on the human characters which should always be second before the actual Transformers especially in a film named after the robots. Our focus is mainly on Shia LaBeouf's character and his somewhat flat connection with the Autobot Bumblebee who is mostly in car form for the first 30 minutes of the film. The Autobots and Decepticons don't really get any time to shine until the every end. For some of us who have waited ages to see our favorite toys brought to life really just want to see two robot sides fighting in massive chaos. Its a shame that Megatron - the leader of the Decepticons - finally gets into battle with Prime near the end. Theirs also some side plots that don't add to the core of the movie and only end up stretching the movie longer than it should be. Why involve a crack team of analysts who suddenly decide to disappear near the end? The films dialogue is either cheesy at times or downright stupid. I love that Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime from the TV series is back with some of the original cast, but his jokes are painful to listen to. For some reason, the film just feels like a long military/product placement commercial. While the film does suffer in some areas, its still entertaining none the less. While the action scenes aren't perfect, they are still very fun to watch especially near the end. Bay is simply excellent when it comes to big explosions and he doesn't disappoint here. The special effects are also top notch and really bring the Autobots, and Decepticons to life.

Shia LaBeouf (Eagle Eye) plays as Sam Witwicky who is the main center of attention. The producers first thought he looked too old for the part, but LaBeouf used some make up and a good audition to pull it off. I think hes definitely the most enjoyable person in the whole movie. His character is corky, but funny. He gets the most screen time which isn't a surprise considering the film heavily involves his character. Megan Fox plays the hottie who gets involved with Witwicky's life, Mikaela Banes. Fox is hardly any good at acting and it really feels like shes only in this to please the male crowd. Her character is hardly developed and feels more like a sidekick rather than a girl who gets trapped in all of this mess. Josh Duhamel plays the tough US solider, Captain Lennox. His character is hardly needed, but he does a pretty good job at what hes suppose to do. The story could have honestly worked with out him, but whatever. Tyrese Gibson (2 Fast 2 Furious) also plays a US solider, but his character is named USAF Tech Sergeant Epps. I heard from some links that Gibson actually paid the producers to be in this movie. That right their makes him look so stupid and desperate. I mean why would you pay the producers of the movie to let you have a part in it? I just don't get it. His acting is very poor and hardly brings anything new to the table. No character development on him what so ever.

The special effects in Transformers actually doesn't disappoint. The effects were mostly done by Industrial Light & Magic which also provided effects for other hits such as Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. They are a talented studio and their work shows in this film. The Transformers are nicely lightened and constructed. The car models look very impressive and feature a ton of parts. This is easily one of the best films ever created visually and still holds up in 2009. The film's transfer is also a stunner. The source is an excellent condition and only exhibits a few gran here and their, but hardly anything I would call "distracting". The films color palette is wonderful and vibrant at times. The Autobots look nicely colored and feature bright colors while the Decepticons feature dark colors. Black levels are impressive and very inky. Flesh tones are natural and very smooth. Detail is also impressive and really pushes whats possible on the home format. The Blu Ray version has one of the better transfers I have seen and easily triumphs its DVD counterpart. You can literally see drops of sweat and pores during close ups.

The soundtrack in Transformers is also a winner. The films music design is composed by Steve Jablonsky (Friday the 13th) who also scored other films such as the 2003 Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and Michael Bay's commercial flop, The Island. Hes the right balance and is definitely the man for the job. His music design is awesome and really gives the film some legs. Its nicely used through out the films 2 hour run time and really makes the film much more enticing. The soundtrack also consists of other Rock/R&B music such as Before It's Too Late by The Goo Goo Dolls and my personal favorite, What I've Done by Linkin Park. Transformers also features one of the best bass usage I have heard in sometime now. Theirs no question that the film is loud and full of explosions, but its the way the bass is used through out that's impressive. Its dynamic and spread across all channels nicely. Its simply one of the loudest and aggressive films I have heard in some time. This is no doubt reference material from the get go. Transformers is easily the film to showcase ones home entertainment system. It is as perfect as it could possibly be.

Transformers is easily a fun summer popcorn flick. Its story does suffer from mindless characters and cheesy dialogue. The fact that the film relies too heavily on the boring human characters rather than the interesting alien wrecking robots, is also simply redundant. With all these issues aside, the films outcome comes off pretty entertaining. Theirs really nothing better than two robot forces going at it. Its sad that we have to wait till the second half before we see much carnage involved, but its somewhat worth the wait. The cast is hardly interesting other than Shia LaBeouf who gets the most screen time compared to anyone else in the movie. The special effects are simply stunning and really bring the Transformers to life. Its cutting edge and nicely integrated into the film. The soundtrack is loud and really fun. The bass is without a doubt, one of the best I have heard in a long time. Definitely something to showcase your home entertainment system. I can recommend this to those looking for a good summer popcorn flick. Its got issues, but those can be somewhat forgiven when you actually see the robots in action.

Grade: C+

Teaser Trailer For Shyamalan's The Last Airbender

The teaser trailer for M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender is now online. Opening July 2nd, Paramount's big screen adaptation stars Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone, Dev Patel, Jessica Jade Andres, Aasif Mandvi, Shaun Toub, Cliff Curtis and Keong Sim.

Based on the hugely successful Nickelodeon animated TV series, the live-action feature film is set in a world where human civilization is divided into four nations: Water, Earth, Air and Fire.

The Fire Nation is waging a ruthless, oppressive war against the other three nations. The film's hero, the reluctant young Aang (Noah Ringer), is the "Last Airbender" -- the Avatar who, according to prophecy, has the ability to manipulate all of the elements and bring all the nations together. Aided by a protective teenage Waterbender named Katara (Nicola Peltz) and her bull-headed brother Sokka, Aang proceeds on a perilous journey to restore balance to their war-torn world.

Jackson Rathbone plays Katara's brother Sokka, and Dev Patel plays Prince Zuko, prince of the Fire Nation. Mandvi is set to play the role of Commander Zhao, an ambitious and hot-tempered Fire Nation commander. Toub is cast as Uncle Iroh, the retired Fire Nation general and devoted surrogate parent to Dev Patel's character Zuko. Curtis is set to play the ruthless ruler Fire Lord Ozai. Keong Sim has been cast in the role of Earthbending Father.

Now I have stated before that I have never seen the TV series, but that teaser trailer actually looked pretty good. I really hope director M. Night Shyamalan delivers a solid movie especially since his last film was quite the disappointment.

Teaser Poster For Iron Man 2

It's not more than just the logo, but this teaser poster for Iron Man 2 was spotted at Cinema Expo in Amsterdam this week.

Opening May 7, 2010, the Jon Favreau-directed sequel stars Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Garry Shandling, John Slattery, Kate Mara, Clark Gregg and Olivia Munn.

I know you guys are probably thinking I made this with photoshop, but its the real deal. Its lame and very plain, but it is a teaser poster after all. Were probably not going to get a decent poster until early next year.

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Trailer For Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds

The new trailer for Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, which aired on Spike, is now online.

Opening August 21st, the film begins in German-occupied France, where Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris, where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema.

Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organizes a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of retribution. Known to their enemy as "The Basterds," Raine's squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of The Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquee, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own...

Looks really really cool and I'm excited as ever for this film. I'm somewhat of a big Tarantino fan so this is going to be a no brainer for me. Here's hoping the film doesn't fail at the box office like Grindhouse did.

Trailer For Rob Zombie's Halloween II

Dimension Films has revealed the new trailer for Rob Zombie's Halloween II is online.

In the sequel, opening August 28th, Michael Myers has returned home to sleepy Haddonfield, Illinois to take care of some unfinished family business. Myers will stop at nothing to bring closure to the secrets of his twisted past. But the town's got an unlikely new hero, if they can only stay alive long enough to stop the unstoppable.

Seeing as how I never got the chance to see the new Halloween film from Rob Zombie, I really don't know what to think from this trailer. It looks like it could be fun, but it really doesn't look scary.

New Images From Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

USA Today has published new images from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland featuring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, and Anne Hathaway as the White Queen. Also included are three more pieces of concept art.

The article explains that the March 5, 2010 release, co-starring Michael Sheen, Mia Wasikowska, Matt Lucas, Crispin Glover, Stephen Fry and Alan Rickman, is almost like a sequel to the original story:

The traditional tale has been freshened with a blast of girl power, courtesy of writer Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast). Alice, 17, attends a party at a Victorian estate only to find she is about to be proposed to in front of hundreds of snooty society types. Off she runs, following a white rabbit into a hole and ending up in Wonderland, a place she visited 10 years before yet doesn't remember.

I don't know why, but I'm actually turned off by these pics. I was really looking forward to this movie and Ill still end up watching it, but these pics don't look that good. Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter looks like Madonna with a heavy use of make up. Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen just looks really bad. She looks much different than I would have imagined. Anne Hathaway as the White Queen looks more like a guy wearing a long wig. The concepts do look pretty jaw dropping, but I'm really not digging the sequel type story. Overall, the film simply looks much more darker and mature than I had hoped for. While the novel does feature some elements of mature content, it definitely looks like Burton went alittle over board. I guess only time will tell, but my excitement for this film just went down a notch.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sean Penn Backs Out Of Two Huge Films

Oscar winner Sean Penn (Milk) has dropped out of two high-profile films: MGM's "The Three Stooges" and Universal and Imagine's crime thriller "Cartel."

It is understood that the Oscar-winning actor/writer/director is taking a leave from his Hollywood career to focus on his family. It's unclear how long the absence could last, though sources have said up to a year.

Peter and Bobby Farrelly have spent the better part of a decade trying to get "Stooges" off the ground, and in March they pulled off a major casting coup: Penn as Larry, with Jim Carrey as Curly and Benicio del Toro as Moe.

Now MGM and the Farrellys, who wrote the script and are slated to direct, need to decide whether they will wait for Penn or seek to find a new actor. Time and availability are the issues: "Stooges" was eyeing a late August start date, and MGM has slotted it for a 2010 release. If the studio does wait, it could risk losing Carrey and del Toro.

Universal and Imagine, meanwhile, plan to move ahead on "Cartel" without Penn and will recast the part. The script, which is still being worked on, follows a man who journeys to protect his son after his wife is murdered by Mexican drug cartels. Asger Leth is directing. The movie had no start date or release date.

That really sucks since I have been looking forward to both of these films, but I do believe spending time with the family is more important. It seems like The Three Stooges movie is going to suffer the most since it was slated to begin filming around August. Personally, I think the studio should find a replacement quick. Losing both Carrey and del Toro would be somewhat of a huge blow considering those actors are big box office draws. I was really hoping Penn would at least stay on board for Universal's Cartel since that seems more like a movie that would be ideal for him. Hopefully they can find a suitable replacement since the story sounds very promising.

Timur Bekmambetov Prepares Wanted 2, Jolie Set To Return

Russian newsite RIA Novosti had a chance to talk to that country's biggest filmmaker Timur Bekmabetov recently, and he told them that he has started preparations on making the sequel to the 2008 summer hit Wanted and that they've found a way to bring Angelina Jolie's character back.

“In July we will start preparation for the film. I think in the late autumn or winter shooting will be performed” - Mr. Bekmambetov said to RIA Novosti. “The shooting will take place in America, India and Russia” - added he.

The film director and producer promised that in the sequel he would bring back to life Angelina Jolie’s character, who perished at the end of the first movie. In addition to that, new characters will be introduced in the sequel.

“As for the character The Exterminator played by Kostya Khabenskiy, we’ll think about it. We might possibly resurrect him as well” - the film director said.

The movie with the $ 150 million budget became the first Hollywood production on such a large scale made by a film director from Russia and with participation of a Russian crew (computer graphic, costumes, make-up, etc.)

Count me down for some of this. I really liked Wanted and even own the Blu Ray version, which looks incredible by the way. Its going to be interesting to see how they will bring back Jolie's character, but if they can do it without it looking stupid, than I say go for it. I always did think that a sequel wouldn't really be the same without her. I'm also happy to note that creator/author Mark Millar has confirmed that the sequel will incorporate some of the ideas that were in the novel, but left out of the first film. Here's hoping they can get it ready for a 2010 release and develop a sequel that's every bit action packed, and fun as the first film.

Monday, June 15, 2009

REVIEW: Land of the Lost

Land of the Lost

Year: 2009
Director: Brad Silberling
Starring: Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma Taccone, John Boylan
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13

Various movie studios have been trying to get a film based on the popular Land of the Lost TV series from creator Sid and Marty Krofft since 1995. In 2002, Sony was working on a big screen version of the hit TV series, but the project eventually fell apart due to its long development. Universal Pictures obtained the adaption rights in April 2005 with director Adam McKay (Anchorman, Step Brothers) attached to direct and actor Will Ferrell set to star. Director Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, Sin City) met with Universal in May of 2007 to potentially direct the Land of the Lost film, but was too busy trying to get a live action film adaptation of The Jetsons made. After struggling with many different directors all of which had different ideas for the film, Universal finally announced that Brad Silberling (Casper, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events) will be helming the film with Ferrell still on board. The films original budget of $125 million was also reduced to $100 million.

Plot Outline:
On his latest expedition, Dr. Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell) is sucked into a space-time vortex alongside his research assistant (Anna Friel) and a redneck survivalist (Danny McBride). In this alternate universe, the trio make friends with a primate named Chaka (Jorma Taccone), their only ally in a world full of dinosaurs and other fantastic creatures.


Ill go on a limb here and say "I have never seen the TV series this film was based on". I first heard about this film during the Super Bowl last year when they aired the first official TV spot. I enjoyed director Brad Silberling's last film, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events so I was pretty much set to watch this film. Land of the Lost has an interesting plot simply because it hardly feels like a plot at times. The films story is mostly a mixed bag with a bunch of stuff thrown together to form what they would call a "plot". Its never really focused on one goal and theirs hardly any cohesion to it. It can be predictable at times and also alittle over the top. Whats even more frustrating is that the film just simply has trouble trying to reach a core audience. The films rated PG-13 which is fine enough since their are some raunchy jokes mixed with action scenes. Than their are times where the film feels like a family flick kind of like a Disney film. It never feels like the film is right for one particular target audience which kind of makes the film seem really unbalanced. That said, I did enjoy the movie to some extent because it felt like a fun ride. It can be downright silly at times, but I found myself not really caring about whats going on and rather enjoying whats on the screen. The films special effects are pretty good and I liked the amazing set pieces. Even though you cant really take this film seriously with most of the funny parts shown in the various trailers, It can still be entertaining to some extent.

Will Ferrell plays as the main character of the film, Dr. Rick Marshall. I'm not a big Will Ferrell hater, but I don't think most of his films are as bad as people say. I do agree with most people that his antics are getting old and tiring especially when most of the characters he plays tend to be the same person. That said, I enjoyed him in this role. He wasn't as loud mouthed and stupid as he was in some of his previous films. He does tend to get alittle annoying in some scenes, but hes mostly just fine in this role. Definitely not his best performance, but it certainly ain't his worst either. Anna Friel plays the love interest in the film, Holly Marshall. She does an average job in her role which is perfectly suitable for the job, but just nothing special. I did think she was a good choice opposite Ferrell, but It would have been more interesting if it were a more well known actress. Funnyman Danny McBride plays as Will Stanton and he gives an enjoyable performance. Nothing special, but just average for the role. I did end up liking him more than the other cast members, but maybe this was just due to the fact that hes probably the only one that I felt the audience can concnhestt with. Jorma Taccone plays as Cha-Ka and his performance is mostly going to be one sided. His character doesn't talk English and it really isn't that hard to play a caveman like character.

Land of the Lost is definitely not lost in terms of picture quality. The film has some pretty neat spacial effects that look very promising. Their is alot of scenes that feature a heavy use of CGI and they look pretty amazing. I wouldn't say the special effects are the best I have seen for a movie like this, but its still a great looking film. I don't know why, but the first Jurassic Park still has the best special effects for a T-Rex and that was over 20 years ago. Land of the Lost's film source is an excellent condition which really shouldn't come off as a surprise considering its a new release. I didnt notice any film grain even in the darkest scenes. The films color palette is also something to be excited about. Its vibrant and very much colorful. A majority of the film takes place outside during the day so colors tend to pop. Contrast is mostly on the hot side, but it ain't that big of a problem. Black levels are also strong, but they impress like the colors do. Flesh tones are very natural and slick looking. I didnt notice any micro-blocking or scratches. The image was as smooth as butter. Detail is generally on the strong side, but I did notice a few scenes that felt alittle soft compared to most of the film. Still, Land of the Lost looks great and showcases such fine detail. The film never looks amazing, but it comes damn near close.


Land of the Lost contains a good soundtrack that's somewhat evenly balanced. The films original music is composed by Michael Giacchino who also scored the music for End of Days and the new Star Trek film. His score sounds very fitting for the nature of the movie. Since I haven't seen the TV series the film was based on, I cant tell if it sounds similar to that of the show. Still, the score sounds fine and really brings that prehistoric feel to the movie. My only grip about it, is the fact that it ain't used as much as It should have been. As for various other musical instruments, the film is quite limited. Theirs really no debate on whether Land of the Lost delivers or not in terms of bass. The film rumbles like no tomorrow and definitely has some reference moments. I wouldn't rank it among the best of the best we have ever heard, but it does sound damn good. It feels mostly front heavy since the theater didn't really spread out in terms of delivering it dynamically.

Land of the Lost definitely isn't the best family film nor is it the best Will Ferrell flick, but it does contain a share of entertainment that might be worth watching on a boring Sunday afternoon. The films biggest weakness is the fact that it cant find the proper audience its targeting, but also simply the fact that the story is never really coherent. Still, it has enough joy and entertainment values that it hardly qualifies as the worst movie of the summer. The cast is alright and Will Ferrel actually wasnt that annoying in the film. The visual look of the film is mostly bright with bright sun-like colors. Theirs also a good amount of detail that makes the image nice and clear. The soundtrack is very fitting and the film definitely rumbles when it comes down to its bass. The film definitely ain't worth spending $10 to see it in theaters, but it should make a good rental.

Grade: C-

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Trailer For Martin Scorcese's Shutter Island

Paramount Pictures has released the trailer for director Martin Scorcese's Shutter Island, opening in theaters on October 2nd. The psychological thriller, written by Laeta Kalogridis, stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Patricia Clarkson and Max von Sydow.T

he film is the story of two U.S. marshals, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), who are summoned to a remote and barren island off the cost of Massachusetts to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a murderess from the island's fortress-like hospital for the criminally insane.

Looks pretty good and knowing its Scorcese behind the camera, its bound to be another hit.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First Look at Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2

USA Today has published the first look at Mickey Rourke as villain Whiplash at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix in director Jon Favreau's Iron Man 2, opening in theaters on May 7, 2010. Rourke stars with Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Favreau, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Garry Shandling, John Slattery, Kate Mara and Clark Gregg in the sequel.

Whiplash sports a power pack on his chest that looks similar to the one used by Iron Man. "The technologies are definitely related, and that's part of the core theme of the film," says Favreau.

The character's alter ego, Ivan Vanko, is a Russian who, Favreau says, "has constructed his own version of a suit." Among the creative alterations: a pair of whips, powered by the suit's glowing chest piece.

Whiplash "is going to light them up," says Rourke.

Looks good and I'm sure Rourke will give us another good performance. I am somewhat mad that Iron Man's greatest archenemy "The Mandarin", wont be appearing in the movie. I would have thought he would have been the villain in the sequel since he wasn't in the first. I do hope that they at least give us a teaser of him being the villain in Iron Man 3.

Focus Debuts New Poster For 9

Film School Rejects has put up a new poster for Focus Features' 9, directed by Shane Acker and featuring the voices of Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, Martin Landau, Christopher Plummer, John C. Reilly and Crispin Glover. It opens in theaters on September 9.

When 9 (Elijah Wood) first comes to life, he finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world. All humans are gone, and it is only by chance that he discovers a small community of others like him taking refuge from fearsome machines that roam the earth intent on their extinction. Despite being the neophyte of the group, 9 convinces the others that hiding will do them no good. They must take the offensive if they are to survive, and they must discover why the machines want to destroy them in the first place. As they'll soon come to learn, the very future of civilization may depend on them.

Looks cool and so does the movie. I'm still really excited for this film and happy that were finally getting adult themed animation. No offense to Pixar and DreamWorks Animation, but its time we finally see animated films that are more leaned toward older audiences. I'm glad Focus Feature is doing this with 9 and I hope its the first of many adult animated films.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Futurama Is Coming Back

Taking a page from the "Family Guy" resurrection guidebook, the canceled Fox animated comedy is returning with an order from Comedy Central for 26 new episodes to run over two seasons.

"Futurama" creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen already are working on stories for the new batch of episodes of the sci-fi cartoon, slated to premiere on Comedy Central in mid-2010.

Just like with "Family Guy," whose improbable return was triggered by big DVD sales and solid ratings for the show's reruns on Cartoon Network, the performance of "Futurama's" repeats on Comedy Central and on DVD was key to its resurrection.

The 26-episode order from Comedy Central was preceded by four feature-length original "Futurama" specials: "Bender's Big Score," "The Beast With a Billion Backs," "Bender's Game" and "Into the Wild Green Yonder," which have done well on DVD and on Comedy Central. (The most recent special, "Yonder," premieres on Comedy Central in September.)

Comedy Central was happy with the specials and with the 72 produced episodes of "Futurama" it acquired from 20th Century Fox TV in 2006.

"Futurama," which aired on Fox for five seasons (from 1999 to 2003) centers on Philip Fry (Billy West), a 25-year-old pizza delivery boy who accidentally freezes himself on December 31, 1999, and wakes up 1,000 years later with a fresh start at life and a "diverse" new group of friends including Leela (Katey Sagal), a tough but lovely one-eyed alien, and Bender (John DiMaggio), a robot who possesses human characteristics and flaws.

When the series returns with originals in 2010, it will be seven years after the show's last original episode aired on Fox. That is a much longer hiatus than the three years "Family Guy" spent on the bench before being summoned back by Fox.

All key voice cast members are expected to return for the new original episodes of "Futurama," along with the series' core writing team.

Storyline-wise, the new episodes will pick up where the most recent DVD special, "Yonder," took off -- with the main characters fleeing death and flying into the unknown.

For 20th TV, which has the right to shop the new "Futurama" episodes to a broadcast network, which would get first window over Comedy Central, this marks the second time in four years that a studio series has defied the odds and refused to die.

"When we brought back 'Family Guy' several years ago, everyone said that it was a once in a lifetime thing that canceled series stay canceled and cannot be revived," said 20th TV chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden. "But 'Futurama' was another series that fans simply demanded we bring back."

Hell yeah, at least Comedy Central knows good TV when they see it. I'm a huge Futurama fan and I'm really excited about this. It finally means that Futurama wont be returning in movie form, but rather TV episodes. Although the wait for 2010 is going to be long, I'm sure it will be worth the wait. Also glad to see the cast returning as well.

Monday, June 08, 2009

REVIEW: Drag Me To Hell

Drag Me to Hell

Year: 2009
Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao, David Paymer
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13

The film had a positive screen test awhile back and I have heard nothing, but good things coming from this movie. Just take a look at rottentomatoes.com and you can see the film sitting at an impressive 93%, which is really astounding considering its a horror flick. I never really hated Spider-Man 3. I mean I thought it was a disappointment compared to the first and second film, but I never hated it. It just wasn't as cohesive and special as the previous two. The real reason behind that is not going to get disclosed here, but maybe Ill post something about it later down the line. I didn't think much about the trailer, but it wasn't bad either.

Plot Outline:
Determined to impress her boss and get a much-needed promotion at work, Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) lays down the law when mysterious Mrs. Ganush literally comes begging for mercy at her feet. In retaliation for being publicly shamed, Mrs. Ganush places the dreaded curse of Lamia on her unfortunate target, transforming Christine's life into a waking nightmare. Her skeptical boyfriend Clay (Justin Long) casually brushing off her disturbing encounters as mere coincidence, Christine attempts to escape eternal damnation by seeking out the aid of seer Rham Jas (Dileep Rao ). But Christine's time is fast running out, and unless she's able to break the curse, she'll be tormented by a demon for three days before literally being dragged to hell.

Drag Me to Hell features an interesting concept that I wouldn't necessarily call original, but more like amusing. Director Sam Raimi and writer/brother Ivan Raimi worked on the script soon after Spider-Man 3 was done filming. Though the idea has been with Sam and Ivan since the Evil Dead days, it wasn't until after Spider-Man 3 where Sam felt he needed to take a break from web slinging, and focus more on the horror genre. Drag Me to Hell is every bit as Raimi as the Evil Dead movies were. Hes directing is top notch and so is his camera work. The performances are their and so is his sense of humor. I would really call this a comedy with horror elements rather than a horror flick with some laughter. The film is hardly scary, but their are some scenes that will definitely give you a jump. Raimi is so good at keeping the suspense their and some of the scenes definitely show this. What I really enjoyed about this movie was the fact that it was so entertaining. Its really rare these days that you walk into a horror flick and end up having a fun time. Usually people come off scared from the movie or un-pleased that it wasn't scary enough, but its totally different in this film. It has horror, comedy and suspense right in front of you. Their were some scenes in my opinion that probably should have been left out due to how silly it is, but it hardly ruined the experience. I also thought the ending was pretty cool. It makes the audience think that its officially over than comes back to kick them in the balls when they weren't expecting it.

Alison Lohman plays as the main character of the film, Christine Brown. This was first going to be played by the lovely, Ellen Page. Page dropped out of filming simply because it conflicted with her schedule (she was shooting another film). Than Raimi casted Lohman which I thought was a great choice since she has that innocent look in her eyes. Lohman gives a good performance that I really liked. Her character was definitely someone you could relate to and cheer for. Justin Long plays as Christine's boyfriend, Clay Dalton. He does a good job in his role and I liked him playing that boyfriend type character. We have the talented Lorna Raver playing as Mrs. Ganush. She gives a very good performance as Mrs. Ganush and one that was really entertaining to watch. Shes creepy, funny and somewhat disgusting at times. I thought her character was interesting and It would have been awesome if we would have gotten some back story on her. Dileep Rao plays as a fortune teller named Rham Jas.

The visual look of Drag Me to Hell is pretty great. The special effects in the film are somewhat mixed. Their are a few scenes where the special effects can tend to look too much CGI rather than art and its surprising because we have come along way in terms of technology, so rendering creepy shadows shouldn't be a problem. Except for those few scenes, the effects are generally good. The film does have some slight grain in the image, but I'm most certainly sure that director Sam Raimi did this on purpose to make the film seem like a classic horror. Hell, we even get the old Universal logo at the beginning of the film which was a surprise to me. The films color palette is somewhat vibrant at times, but also slightly dark in some spots. Black levels are pretty damn strong and exhibit a deep amount of solid black levels. Flesh tones seem natural and are spot on perfect. I didn't notice any micro-blocking or scratches. Detail is also on the strong side with alot of the scenes showing a good amount of detail. Close up shots - which their is a ton of - show alot of pores. Facial hair also being noticeable especially on Dileep Rao's character.

The soundtrack in Drag Me to Hell is really good and definitely makes the film experience a whole lot better. The films original music is done by Christopher Young who also scored some hits in the past such as The Hurricane and Wonder Boys. His music definitely fits the mood and atmosphere of Raimi's horror flick. Not only does it go so well with the films atmosphere, but its a score that I found to be memorable. Other than the score and some sound designs, we don't really get much in terms of other various beats. The bass is also pretty darn strong in this classic Raimi horror. Just like last years The Strangers, Drag Me to Hell packs a solid amount of ambiance and smooth fluid. Their are some intense scenes such as the beginning and the final part at the end, that deliver an aggressive amount of bass. This is a film meant to be heard on a nice step up because its really immersive. I wouldn't call it reference material when compared directly to The Strangers, but its definitely better than most horror flicks these days.

Drag Me to Hell is an entertaining yet funny film. Its clearly Raimi at his best which is a good thing especially after coming off something disappointing such as Spider-Man 3. I felt the story was engaging and worked for the most part. I still think the marketing for the film wasn't the best considering its more of a comedy mixed with some horror elements instead of a traditional horror slasher. Still, Sam Raimi delivered and I'm now interested in seeing what he can do with Spider-Man 4. The cast was great and I thought everyone delivered solid performances. I do wish that Bruce Campbell made some sort of an appearance, but I guess Its alright this time since he was busy filming his hit show, Burn Notice. The visual look of the film was pretty good, but the CGI effects weren't the best I have seen. I went in expecting another lame horror slasher, but was surprised that it was entertaining. Those horror fans looking for a scary film will be disappointed. Id recommend it if your looking for a fun film.

Grade: B-

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Short Circuit Remake Coming

Dimension Films has tapped Dan Milano to script "Short Circuit," the remake of the 1986 pic.

The original was about an armed robot that acquired a personality after a lightning strike, and sought the help of humans to prevent its destruction by its makers in the military.

Milano, who aside from writing and providing voices for the Adult Swim cartoon "Robot Chicken" and co-creating and playing the title character in "Greg the Bunny," figures to bring a subversive edge to the original film scripted by S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock.

David Foster, who produced the original and is back to produce the remake with Ryan E. Heppe and John Hyde, said that Milano first watched the original while he was in high school, and sparked to updating the concept.

"We're bringing Number 5 into the 21st Century and taking advantage of the improvements in robotics that are so massive that robots are now performing heart surgeries in hospitals," Foster said.

The producer said the robot's visual look won't change.

I had a feeling this was the next movie in the line of remakes. I mean WALL·E was a big success right? and WALL·E itself was based on the character Johnny 5. It only makes sense to remake it right? Well, I still have mixed feelings about this. I mean the original was a childhood film I grew up watching and one that I enjoyed when I was much younger. Bringing that into a whole new world doesn't seem to fit right. I mean I guess it might turn out OK since their basically keeping the same design, just bringing more technology this time around. I guess were going to have to wait and see. This could either turn out great and introduce new audiences to Johnny 5, or it could flop harder than some of the other remakes we have on the market.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Universal Bringing Where's Waldo? To The Big Screen

Several studios were in on the search, but Universal and Illumination Entertainment were the ones who found "Where's Waldo?"

Universal and Chris Meledandri's family film unit have acquired screen rights to turn the "Where's Waldo?" book series into a live-action family pic. Deal was worth high-six against seven figures. Meledandri will produce.

Among other bidders, Warner Bros. chased the property for Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne's Unique Features banner. The rights were brokered by Classic Media's Eric Ellenbogen, who'll be executive producer.

Written and illustrated by Martin Handford, the "Waldo" books have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. The books contain complex, full-page illustrations of large crowd scenes in which the main character is somewhere hidden, dressed in a red-and-white shirt, a hat, glasses and a walking stick.

Universal and Illumination will seek to create a movie with strong global appeal.

Deal comes as Illumination readies its first picture, "Despicable Me," for a July 9, 2010, release via Universal. Voice cast includes Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Danny McBride, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig and Julie Andrews.

I first thought this idea was simply stupid when I first heard of this announcement. Then I realized what a real live action Waldo movie might look like and I was somewhat intrigued. If they can make a feature film that's more family oriented and stays somewhat close to what the books are, than we might actually see a fun movie here. Its still too early to tell if this will actually end up good, but I'm kind of excited for it. I mean I know its not original, but honestly what is these days? I think they can make a great film if they make it appeal to more audiences and not turn this family series into an action vehicle.

Monday, June 01, 2009

An Alien Prequel is in the Works!

Rumors coming out of Bloody-Disgusting stated that 20th Century Fox was interested in relaunching the Alien franchise with some sort of prequel, following the recent news that Robert Rodriguez would be doing the same thing for 20th Century Fox's other sci-fi creature franchise, Predator.

While there was no confirmation from the Fox camp or the trades, Collider's roving reporter "Frosty" cornered director Tony Scott at the press conference for his own remake of The Taking of Pelham 123 to get confirmation and learned that Scott-Free Productions is indeed producing a remake with director Carl Rinsch helming.

They hope that the movie, which is meant act as a prequel to Ridley Scott's original 1979 classic Alien, will be shooting by the end of the year. The original Bloody-Disgusting story suggested that they would return to the original concept of just one alien creature, and that they'd be looking for a new "Ripley."

I'm disgusted by this news and will never support Fox for this. Alien is a classic that doesn't need a remake or a reboot. I also don't think a prequel would be a good idea because if its a success, you bet your ass that Fox will continue to pump the Alien franchise for all its worth. I don't even know this new director and to give him a big franchise such as Alien, is simply ridiculous. Not only that, but its coming from 20th Century Fox which isn't the Fox that we knew back in the good old days. The company has been delivering nothing, but mediocre films lately and has always been taking creative control over the films final cut. In other words, if Fox wants this movie to be PG-13 than its going to be PG-13. Not even the director will have his say in all of this. They will cut scenes out and demand that they reshoot them instead of leaving the directors artist vision the way it should be. Cant believe this news ruined my day.