Tag Archives: Movies

Uwe Boll X Zombies = Fun?

It seems utterly beyond belief that this meeting of the minds hasn’t happened until now.  Legendary Z-grade auteur and astute money man Uwe Boll – in his capacity as producer – has gone zombie.

I’m sure he has a lovely personality…

Sensibly, and perhaps understandably given his status as go-to punching bag for any genre film fan bemoaning the questionable standard of modern exploitation cinema, Boll has chosen to stick behind the camera on this one, leaving the orchestration of gory gut munching and head-shot kills to a pair of Italian film makers.

Intrigued?  Check out the trailer here.

It has a weird, cg-enhanced look which doesn’t entirely work for me – the military base location looks less like the foreboding backdrop to a zombie versus bad-ass soldiers showdown  and reminds me more of an episode of BBC Three‘s excellent ‘Canines Gone Wild!’ show, “Dog Borstal” (something tells me that grumpy dog trainer Mic Martin could take down any errant undead brain muncher with a roundhouse kick and a ‘Leave it!’).

Still, as a fan of most horror flicks which aren’t from the “Saw”/”Hostel“/blah school of torture and nit-wittery, I can always find it in my heart to enjoy a spot of gross make-up, the world gone to heck and intense actors wrestling manfully with dialogue that most daytime soap operas might reject as being a tad bit heavy on the exposition.

It can’t be as bad as “House of the Dead”, can it?  (Warning – NSFW video link contains gore. And ass hats)

Related articles

Leave a comment

Filed under Films, Geekery, Movie Trailer

Three Point Wow

Via the fine folks at SFX comes this little slice of genius video wittily delineating a modern pop culture cliché which now has a name – the three-point landing.

Image

Image

Image

You’ve seen it in films, video games, tv shows and music videos and wondered what it was and now a very helpful supercut video has shown us the light.

Worryingly enough, a great many of my favourite things appear in that video, which either indicates that the creators of my favourite flicks are indulging in predictably geeky tropes ahoy or that my taste in pop culture tends more towards super-powered, ass kicking sci-fi fantasy than period drama and high-octane emoting.

C’est la vie and all that.

Leave a comment

Filed under Films, Gaming, Geekery

“TRON: Legacy” Concept Art

Image

TRON: Legacy Concept Art – Imgur.  Via Reddit user Lechedemipalo.

No apologies for a bit of self-indulgence, here.  I loved “Tron: Legacy” and can’t get enough of its insanely geeky universe – hopefully, we’ll get to see more on a cinema screen sometime soon (with an improved, non-terrifying virtual Jeff Bridges, let us hope), but in the meantime perhaps the forthcoming animated series “Tron: Uprising” will tide me over until that happy return to the Grid.

Leave a comment

Filed under Films, Geekery

It’s Ebertfest!

Could take Armond White in fisticuffs and has forgotten more about film than I'll ever know - US film critic/legend, Roger Ebert.

Andy Watches Movies (a blog you should be reading) has a cool series this week on critic Roger Ebert’s annual film festival – Welcome to Ebertfest!.

I can only imagine the carnage which might arise should our UK’s own pre-eminent film critic, Mark Kermode, be permitted such an equivalent honour.

The Exorcist, followed by Slade in Flame, with back-to-back screenings of “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Transformers” for the Lulz, anybody?

2 Comments

Filed under Blogs, Films

“Expendables 2” posters – It’s a milliner’s dream!

Toughness comes in many forms.  Some dudes like to present a visual image of intimidation and go the bulk-up route,  body-building their way to success.  Others follow the ‘quiet, inner strength’ formula and let the unspoken menace do the talking.  Others fight fire with fashion – “If you want to get ahead…”, as the saying goes, “…get a hat“.

Image

Yep, there’s a new bunch of character posters for the Stallone toplined, Simon West directed “Expendables 2”, which look unintentionally hilarious when viewed together.

How so?  Well, you’ve got Sly above. Looking appropriately grizzled and time-served, quite in keeping with the premise of the series.

Image

Nobody’s going to argue with Jason Statham bringing back his specific brand of cockney bad-assery to the franchise – nice facial expression, Jase, loving the grimace, very on-message.

Image

Dolph Lundgren – no argument from me.  Could he look any more 80’s action hero gone bad?

Image

Liam Hemsworth – one of these chaps is not like the others.

I’m assuming his casting (and puppy dog good looks) are a deliberate and plot-driven decision, as it’s hard to see the audience who fell in love with him in The Hunger Games being that motivated to check out a testosterone-driven action flick with a cast largely composed of blokes old enough to be their Dad.  I’ve been proven wrong before, mind you.

We’re still waiting for a decent trailer – apparently one was just shown behind closed doors to industry types attending this week’s CinemaCon in Las Vegas, and as these posters are now in the wild, it can’t be too long until we get to see what the mayhem looks like in motion.

1 Comment

Filed under Random Notes

Whatever happened to action movies?

Image

An interesting and thought-provoking piece today over at about the unbearable heft of the latter-day action movie – as you may reasonably fear, it set me thinking…

The premise of Simon Brew’s feature is that contemporary action movies fail because they have concerns which are impossible to relate to – who, amongst us, will ever be called upon to duke it out with our giant robot buddies and face off against meaner, bigger robots in a tumultuous struggle to save our very planet?

There can be no inherent suspense or drama in a premise like that because we can’t relate to it – we can only behold it, with mouths wide and brains in idle, as one would take in a theme park ride.  As an audience, we’re hostages to which ever kitchen sinks the film maker chooses to lob at us (in 3D!).

It wasn’t always this way.

A man of thought and action in nice Tweed - that's what's missing nowadays...

Harrison Ford used to own the summer movie-going season by playing broadly plausible, fallible and identifiable action heroes who were at least as gifted with thought as talented with fists.   Indiana Jones, Jack Ryan, Dr Richard Kimble – not an indestructible, CG-assisted, weightless sketch drawing of a character amongst them.  If you wanted a moderately grumpy voice of reason who could kick your ass and fix your roof, Ford was your man.

I love a superhero movie as much as the next nerd but I have to confess that the last couple of decades have robbed the honest-to-goodness action movie of a lot of its impact – why would you pay your cash to see an actor in their thirties foil conspiracy and bust crooked cops when you can have a quippy stud in a unitard fling cars and thunderbolts at your barely believing noggin (in IMAX!)?

This isn’t a thinly veiled pitch for a return to the glory days of Shane Black penned, acerbic crime thrillers (Hell, even the Black-meister’s now writing and directing the third Iron Man for Marvel, which actually seems like a good fit), as that era had more than it’s fair share of unwatchable crap.  But it would be nice to balance out the CG juggernauts with smaller scale action fare which has a more human-sized premise to induce mayhem and reduce metropolitan property values for our entertainment.

Perhaps our collective world view is now so jaded that a nineties action movie can’t seem like anything but a quaint remainder of when film directors really had to blow things up with practical explosions as opposed to giving Chip, the ILM work experience guy a plate and letting him go nuts with his PC.  I’d like to think not – but a glance at this summer’s putative blockbusters-in-waiting is short on old school action heroes and big on funny book follies.

You’ve got your Jeremy Renner rebooted “Bourne” spin-off, soon-come Superman Henry Cavill in “Bourne”-like The Cold Light of Day and the unapologetically retro sequel to old school icon Sly Stallone‘s “The Expendables” to look forward to if you prefer to have your asses kicked by veterans rather than n00bs, but the real-world action is thin on the ground this year.

I’ll be honest with you – I love my Sci-Fi, horror and fantasy, but I miss the 80’s and 90’s lunk heads, heroes from a time when all you really needed to make it big in Hollywood was a dubious mullet, noxious reactionary politics and a million-dollar grin.

"Go on, mention 'Tooth Fairy' one more time..."

My point, and I think I do have one, is this – why the hell isn’t Dwayne Johnson doing this kind of stuff and being the biggest movie star in the world?

1 Comment

Filed under Films, Geekery

Get your ass to Mars!

Total Recall

Total Recall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No, it’s not a late April Fool’s joke.  They really have remade “Total Recall” with Colin Farrell in the lead role.  Here’s a trailer for you to have a gander at…

Image

And remarkably, friends and fellow nerds, it doesn’t look that bad.  In fact, it looks like a fairly pacy, well-designed slice of future frolics (albeit one where the industrial design appears to be taking notes from the choices made by BioWare with the “Mass Effect” series)

The advanced word on this remake is that it won’t, as my title alludes to, being visiting the Angry Red Planet and confines its action to a more Phillip K Dick-friendly Earth (I’m pretty sure that Dick’s original short story doesn’t have much room for the kind of martial arts, multiple-takedown whuppings handed out by Farrell’s confused everyman in this trailer, however).

Image

There’s lots of action, whizzy future cars, Kate Beckinsale being bad, Jessica Biel handing out smackdowns and enough gadgets to make Jason Bradbury go all funny.  Not quite as deliciously OTT as the classic Verhoeven/Schwarzenegger collaboration of 1990, but then what is?   Something tells me that director Len Wiseman doesn’t have it in him to go that all-out and transgressive (boy, the original film was absurdly violent…) but I’m a bit more interested in seeing this than I was.

2 Comments

Filed under Films, Geekery, Movie Trailer

“Wrath of the Titans” – reviewed!

Now featuring actual Titans!

No Kraken were armed in the making of this motion picture – but Greek mythology was slightly bruised by liberties in the script.

I think that most people can agree that the remake of Clash of the Titans could have been better.  The greatest source material that you could hope for – Greek mythology, for the sake of the Gods! – and what director Louis Leterrier delivered was some nifty effects, set design, a stellar cast and a story which seemed plodding and dull.  That’s somewhat unforgivable, frankly.   It was a success at the box office, but had a terrible post-conversion to 3D and even star Sam Worthington felt that a better movie was needed from a sequel.

And, even though this isn’t the best movie ever made, it’s a hell of a lot better than the first entry in the series.

Perseus - Bestrider of Staircases!

This time around, Worthington’s Perseus has rejected his half-God status to live a simple life as a fisherman, raising his son Helius in what passes for peacetime in ancient Greece (Io, Perseus’ love interest in the first film is no more, a plot detail in no way driven by Gemma Arterton‘s fee going up between that flick and this sequel).  As you might expect, peace exists in a film like this only to be shattered and it’s not long before all manner of Gods and Titans are kicking ass and putting the mortal characters in the thick of a battle for the fate of the universe.

So, small beans then?

You want to get that looked at, mate...

This is basically a classic quest narrative, as befits the source material, with Perseus teaming up with Greek warrior Queen Andromeda (a lovely, brilliantly posh, somewhat underused Rosamund Pike),  and fellow half-god/half-mortal rogue Agenor (Toby Kebbell – the best thing in the movie) to acquire a weapon god-tier enough to beat the God Kronos who wants to unleash Titans on a planet which has lost all respect for the Gods.

The man, the myth, the crusty beard - Toby Kebbell

If it’s spectacle that you go to the movies for, then this film delivers that with almost casual aplomb.  Unlike the laboured and oddly static original, “Wrath…” hits the ground running in its first ten minutes and doesn’t really come up for air until the end credits.  The ‘bigger/better/badder’ mantra is frequently thrown around with sequels as an indicator for the floating ticket buyer that they’ll get value for money from the film.

Making Kate Middleton look like white trash - Rosamund Pike.

I saw this film today in the new IMAX/LieMax 3D screen at my local multiplex in Sheffield and it was a feast for the eyes – the 3D is still post-converted but it’s a good job, achieved with more time allocated to the conversion and with a stereographer on set, per director Jonathan Liebesman‘s recent interviews.  The effects work is particularly impressive during a sequence set in the Labyrinth which guards a mortal back-door to the God prison in Tartarus.  Things are popping past you, dimensions are being played with and the scale of the thing is something, truly, to behold.

It’s not all good, however.  That same sequence in the Labyrinth bears witness to the worst example of action movie editing and photography that I’ve seen in a while – it’s all handheld camera work, blink and miss it edits and totally impossible to follow, even on a screen taller than my house.  Apparently, somebody on-screen was vanquished but you’d be hard pressed to tell how it was done – a pox on you Paul Greengrass wannabes!

Sam Worthington’s actually quite likeable this time around – he’s not the pissed-off, MMA fighter badass of the first movie and his performance is all the better for it.  He’s good at stoic, pretty good at delivering the one-liners his character gets this time around and a suitable foil for Toby Kebbell’s brilliantly cool and disreputable Agenor.  Neither characters wants to be a god or lead men, but when the plot calls for them to put aside earthly concerns for the good of their fellow-men, both rise to their missions brilliantly – I’m not asking questions particularly about how Agenor got to be a master tactician and lead a major part of the Greek army in the climactic battle, but I’m glad that he did.  Even if he did look like a member of 90’s UK alternative rock troubadours, The Levellers whilst doing so.

TL;DR version?  Better than the first one (especially in IMAX), far peppier and a decent way to spend a couple of hours at the multiplex.   Still loud, funnier and better acted than the first – I’d be up for a third movie.

Not something I expected to be saying this time yesterday, let me tell you.  And I didn’t even mention Bill Nighy in the review!  He’s in it – playing mentalist inventor Hephaestus, replete with a most unexpected, contextually ludicrous and bloody glorious Yorkshire accent: Greatest Living Englishman status confirmed!

4 Comments

Filed under Films

Super Bits & Bobs…

Image

Oh hi there, new Superman movie logo.  As the text above suggests, this is the first look at the new logo for Krypton’s finest son and will be seen in his next on-screen adventure, Zack Snyder‘s “Man of Steel”, which is due for release in June 2013.

As somebody who dug the ever-living kibbles out of Bryan Singer‘s “Superman Returns”, creepy Emo-stalker Superman and all, I’m more than keen to see what Snyder does with it, just so long as it isn’t having the action take place in Amy Adams‘ head and require that everybody dress up like a fetish model.

Elsewhere in the realm of the computer-coloured and splash-panelled, enterprising YouTubist TheIrishAvengerCBM has posted the ‘Head Count’ tv spot for “The Avengers”, which gives us at least a second of face time with the mysterious alien pawns of Loki.  And SPOILERS…

Image

This would be the Badoon, apparently.  Charming fellows, just given to planetary/dimensional jumps, weird gender schisms and first appearing in “Silver Surfer” Vol 1, number 2 if my interweb searches are to be believed.

Meanwhile, back in the realm of DC, it would appear that the possibility of an Avengers-like “Justice League” movie might still happen if the publisher and Warner Brothers can figure out how to make their – let’s face it – gloriously cinematic creations into movies which work on screen.

There’s a wee interview with “Wrath of the Titans” writer Dan Mazeau over at SuperHeroHype which alludes to his work on a “Flash” movie – ‘(He) can’t just be a guy who runs fast’.  So, a guy who runs fast and runs a street dance school, maybe?  The kids are into that, amirite?

Image

I suspect that much of the issue may be tone – are DC going to set these films in the near-realistic Nolan universe of the “Batman” movies, which makes the likes of The Flash, Wonder Woman and J’on J’onzz that bit more difficult to incorporate or might they take a leaf out of the book of Marvel and find the science fiction in the premise to make DC’s roll-call of titans, aliens, gods and goddesses fly on screen.

Because, you know, one slightly-botched “Green Lantern” doesn’t mean that we have to give up on the idea of the DC universe in movies.

Leave a comment

Filed under Films, Geekery

Katniss Sells Out

Image

Via The Mary Sue

And that’s how you make $152 million in three days, I guess.  Despite some controversial changes, an appalling subset of fans and the wholly expected overreaction from the brains trust at Fox News, Lionsgate have a bona fide, wide appeal blockbuster with “The Hunger Games” and despite my misgivings about the source material, I suppose that any self-respecting Whedonist like myself should be happy that a movie with an accomplished, flinty female protagonist is doing so well.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs, Films, Geekery