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Archive for January, 2010

Season of the Witch – Nicholas Cage at his best?

January 22, 2010 Leave a comment

I used to be an avid Nicholas Cage fan. In fact thinking back to the days of Con Air, Face Off and The Rock still gives me goosebumps. But let’s examine his recent string of films:

  • Ghostrider (2007) – bad
  • Next (2007) – bad
  • National Treasure 2 (2007) – average
  • Bangkok Dangerous (2008) – awful
  • Knowing (2009) – awfuller
  • G-Force (2009) – he’s a mole for crying out loud

You get the picture. Nicholas Cage needs to redeem himself. So it is with some joy that I’ve read about his latest project Season of the Witch. The supernatural thriller stars Cage as a medieval knight known as Behmen whose faith has been broken by years of battle as a crusader. Behmen returns to central Europe to find his homeland flattened by the Black Plague. While searching for food and supplies at the Palace at Marburg, Behmen and his trusted companion, Felson (Ron Perlman) are captured and ordered by the dying Cardinal to deliver a young peasant girl ¬ believed to be a witch ¬ to a remote abbey where her powers can be destroyed. Behmen agrees to the assignment but only if the peasant girl is granted a fair trial. As he and five others (many of whom are predictably going to die in interesting ways) set off on this dangerous journey, they realize that the cunning girl is no ordinary human, and that their mission will pit them against an evil that even in these dark times they never could have imagined.

Okay, so while I am excited I’ll also admit that there is huge scope for this film to suck. Luckily Dominic Sena is directing, and with films like Swordfish and Kalifornia under his belt we can at least expect something decent.

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Martin Scorsese’s latest project

January 22, 2010 Leave a comment

As well as having possibly the coolest eyebrows on earth, Martin Scorsese is pretty decent at directing films. His latest project sounds quite interesting. It’s based on a children’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret – set in Paris in the 1930’s and focused on a 12 year old boy called Hugo. Hugo lives in a train station and tries to solve the mystery of a broken robot. A robot in 1930… sounds interesting doesn’t it?

The book is 511 pages long, with over 200 pictures and the story is, apparently, based on the life of George Méliès, a film maker in living at the turn of the 20th century. Should be good.

Iron Man 2 – a potential new villain

January 22, 2010 Leave a comment

The hype around Iron Man 2 is going to continue to get out of hand. The film is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated of the year. And so every time I catch a wiff of a hint of something cool, I’m going to blog about it.

And here is one to keep your Iron Man cravings at bay – a site called Super Robot Mayhem claims to have been in contact with Adi Granov, Iron Man 2’s lead concept artist. He sent them the image attached with this article… his take on what Fin Fang Foom should look like. ‘So who the hell is Fing Fang Foom’, I hear you ask. Well basically he’s a Marvel monster, introduced in the comic Strange Tales #89. His story is that he is an alien being from the world of Kakaranathara who leaves his homeland, with a host of buddies, to conquer unknown worlds. The aliens (who look somewhat like dragons) land in China and used their shape-shifting powers to blend in and study humanity until such time as they can overthrow the world. So basically Fin Fang Foom is a badass villain with superhuman strength, shape-shifting abilities, the power to regenerate, and an unquenchable urge to destroy humanity.

Granov says that the image of Fin Fang Foom will actually show up in Iron Man 2, hidden on a billboard. It’s a cool little Easter Egg for fans of the Iron Man comics and perhaps a foreshadowing of things to come (insert ominous music here).

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Spiderman 4 – rebooting the franchise

January 22, 2010 Leave a comment

You might have seen Spiderman 4 headlines flying around, and wondered what they’re on about. Well basically the Spiderman world as we know it has come to an end. Sony initially began development of Spiderman 4 all the way back in 2007. Sam Raimi (the director of Spiderman 1, 2 and 3) was brought on board, and the original cast were all earmarked for the 4th instalment. At that point a fifth instalment was also on the cards. Now, after weeks of debate between Sony execs and Raimi the Spiderman franchise has been completely discontinued. Sources say that Raimi refused to direct Spiderman 4 due to the fact that he was doubtful that he could meet the films 2011 release date, whilst still delivering a film that was creatively progressive. I’ve also read that Raimi felt that Spiderman 4 needed to up the ante after he watched Avatar.

So where does that leave us? Well Sony have decided that they want to reboot the franchise, which essentially means starting something completely new. Raimi is out, but then so are Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and… well… the entire existing cast. It’s quite an interesting move, and one that has a host of fans and critics up in arms. The idea is that the ‘new’ Spiderman film will be released in 2012 and will focus a lot more on how Peter Parker develops his powers in highschool. The script for the film is being written by James Vanderbilt (think X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and is rumoured to star Jackson Rathbone (of Twilight fame) as the new Spiderman. The project will be directed by Marc Webb who recently directed 500 Days of Summer.

Pirates of the Caribbean 4

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

After entrenching itself as one of the most successful movie franchises of all time Pirates of the Caribbean is being resurrected for a fourth instalment. To be honest, after the last one, I’m not too sure what it’s going to be like. But I do love Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow… so I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt.

The forth installation of the film has been officially named On Stranger Tides and is said to be about Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) as they embark on a quest to find the fountain of youth. No surprises there given the ending of At World’s End. What might come as a surprise to many fans is that the characters of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann will not be returning for this edition. Both Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley agreed that their characters’ storylines ended at the end of the fourth film… which I tend to agree with.

The storyline seems to be heavily based on a novel by Tim Powers also called On Stranger Tides, written in 1987. The book follows the exploits of ‘Jack Shandy’ who travels to the new world to confront an uncle who has stolen his inheritance. His ship is waylaid by pirates, who force him to join their crew and the usual pirate festivities begin – drinking, fighting, drinking, sailing and drinking. Somehow the fountain of youth makes its way into the story, as does Blackbeard the legendary pirate. Quite how this all fits together I’m not sure. But the book has won some awards so the story must be okay.

Filming for On Stranger Tides will begin in Hawaii sometime toward the middle of this year (probably June) and the film has a tentative release date of May next year. At the helm of the project is Rob Marshall whose previous films include Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha and most recently – Nine which has been panned by most critics, but has still managed to garner a host of award nominations. It’s quite an interesting selection given his past work. Let’s hope he can pull off a big budget blockbuster.

I’ll keep you informed.

The Avengers – Earth’s Mightiest Heroes

January 19, 2010 1 comment

The Avengers… wasn’t that a downright awful movie with Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman? Well… yes it was. But that’s not what this article is about. This article is about The Avengers aka ‘The Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’. That’s right the team of superheroes whose job it is to rid the earth of villain scum – brought to you by none other than Marvel Comics.

So why am I, a humble movie fan, writing about The Avengers? Well I’ll tell you why – because they’re coming to a big screen near you. I’ll let you take a moment to yelp with joy. Moment over. On with the story.

The Avengers, as a comic story, came to life in 1963 in a Marvel Comic aptly titled The Avengers #1. The concept was the brain child of writer-editor Stan Lee and the artist Jack Kirby. The initial idea was that The Avengers would come together to fight foes that no single superhero could withstand, giving them their battle cry ‘Avengers Assemble!’. The team was originally made up of Ant-Man, Wasp, Thor, Iron Man and The Hulk, with Captain America added in issue #4.

Now the comic story is coming to life with a tentative release date set for May 2012 (that’s in the States of course). What makes this film all the more awesome is that the beginnings of The Avengers can be traced all the way back to…Iron Man, released in 2008. At the end Iron Man, Agent Coulson of the Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division reveals a handy acronym for his department S.H.I.E.L.D. Wait a minute… is that the S.H.I.E.L.D… the department that assembles the avengers. Why yes it is Pinky. To make things more awesome, after the credits of Iron Man we are treated to a scene where Tony Stark meets Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson) who is the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. He announces that Stark is not “the only superhero in the world”. Hmmm, the plot thickens (if you didn’t see this interchange click here – apologies for the poor quality).

Also in Iron Man we catch a glimpse of Captain America’s shield on Tony’s work bench. Only the most brilliant amongst us picked that up (including the guy whose blog I read to find out about it). Check out the scene here (again poor quality).

The next twist of events took place in The Incredible Hulk (the good one with Edward Norton, not the average one with Eric Bana). In this film you may have noticed the scene where Tony Stark ‘bumps’ into the general in a pub. “That’s strange” you may have thought. But it’s not strange, it’s awesome. In the interchange Stark mentions that a team is being put together (see the clip here). I wonder what team that might be?

So now things are hotting up. Thor is currently in production, and Captain America’s The First Avenger is planned for release in 2011. No doubt each one will include its own homage to the bigger picture. Which means that by the time 2012 rolls around the stage will be set for something epic.

In the meantime we’ll keep you posted on new developments.

Ricky Gervais – hosting the Golden Globes and insulting the whole world

January 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Ricky Dene Gervais. He’s 48. He’s a bit podgy. He makes albinos look pretty tanned. And he’s not one to pull his punches.

Ricky hosted the 2010 Golden Globes, and he’s pretty quickly become the talk of the town. Tinseltown that is. Some are praising him, others are vilifying him. And rightly so…after all he did poke fun at some of Hollywood’s biggest names, and by ‘poke fun’ I mean ‘lob insult grenades’. But my question to the seething masses is “what the hell did you expect?” Have you watched The Office or Extras… or even his (much underrated) film Ghost Town? Because if you have you’ll realise that Ricky doesn’t have to struggle much pull off the awkward, insulting character. In fact my best guess is that he’s a rotten actor, and that those characters we love to hate are very much a projection of a big chunk of Ricky’s personality. So when you throw a guy like Ricky into the mix with such easy targets as Mel Gibson and (Sir, apparently) Paul McCartney you’re in for a bit of a feeding frenzy. It’s more or less like inviting a professional seal-clubber to babysit your 3 baby seals.

Anyway, enough with the ranting. I thought I’d include a few quotes from the night for you to enjoy, after all, the guy is a legend. Please note that I do not endorse these comments… I just laugh at them.

  • “And I’ve had a penis reduction. Just got the one now. That’s enough. And it is very tiny, but so are my hands, so when I’m holding it, it looks pretty big. And let’s face, I usually am holding it. I wish I was doing that now instead of this, to be honest.”
  • “It is an honour to be here in a room full of what I consider to be the most important people on the planet. Actors, they’re just better than ordinary people, aren’t they?”
  • “I was on the same plane as Paul McCartney to LA. I was up front in first class and he was back in economy. He’s saving money, you know. That’s because he spent an awful amount of money last year.”
    [referring to McCartney’s expensive divorce from Heather Mills]
  • “Actors aren’t just loved here in Hollywood, they’re loved the world over, because they’re recognisable,” he said. “You can be in the Third World, and you get a glimpse of a Hollywood star, and it makes you feel better. You can be a little child, a little Asian child, with no possessions, no money – but you see a picture of Angelina Jolie and you think, ‘Mummy!'”
  • [pointing at his half-full glass of Fosters, from which he sipped throughout the ceremony]
    “Look, I love a drink as much as the next man. Unless the next man is… Mel Gibson!”
    [enter Mel Gibson to present the next award]
  • “One thing that can’t be bought is a Golden Globe… Officially.”
  • “Rachel from Friends and that bloke from 300,” was how he introduced The Bounty Hunter co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler to the stage. Neither looked very impressed.