Posts Tagged ‘3D’

2011 Summer Movies

May 5, 2011

Yippee, it’s May. Not only does it mean that winter is over, spring is in full bloom and summer is just around the corner, it also means that Hollywood will be churning out my favorite kind of movie—the SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER!!  Since I love summer blockbusters sooooo much, I will use this blog entry to highlight a few of the many movies that will be coming out this summer.

May
Thor

Based on the characters from Marvel Comics, Thor is more than just a big lug with a hammer.  After all he gets his powers from the Norse gods, so he can’t just be some rock’em sock’em super hero. In fact, Stan Lee admitted that he occasionally had his characters, like Thor and Silver Surfer put forth his own philosophy of life. The film was directed by none other than Kenneth Branagh, of Hamlet fame and stars Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman.

Pirates of the Caribbean—On Stranger Tides
Love’em or hate’em, you have to hand it to Disney, when something works for them, they keep using it. Case in point, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The last one made $300 million, so the powers that be decided to make another one. This one features Penelope Cruz, as well as Johnny Depp and is in 3D. I’m sure this will make a pretty penny this time around, as well. After all, the mouse doesn’t live on cheese alone.

Hangover 2
The crew from Hangover, which is the highest grossing R-rated comedy, is back. Need I say more?

June
X-Men First Class

Another one of Marvel and Stan Lee’s properties is getting the blockbuster treatment this summer. This one is a prequel of how Charles Xavier and Magneto came to be who they are. While some of the teaser posters weren’t so great, this film looks interesting to me. This film stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and January Jones.

Cars 2
I guess the folks at Pixar thought since sequels worked so well for Toy Story, might as well try them for Cars. This time Lighting McQueen gets involved with spies during an international road race. I’ve seen the previews and they look good, so I’m actually looking forward to this film. Features the voices of Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy.

Rise of the Apes
Look at what Star Wars has wrought, sequels and prequels everywhere. This is a prequel for the original 1968 film Planet of the Apes with the dude who played Moses in The Ten Commandments. Hmmm, what was his name?* Well, senior moments not withstanding, this film deals with genetic engineering and what can happen when tinkering in the lab goes astray. Stars James Franco, Tom Felton and John Lithgow

July
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2

The long awaited end of the Harry Potter series will come this summer. Will Voldermore be defeated? Will Hermonine choose Harry or Ron? What will become of Harry? Oh wait, these questions were answered in the books. Maybe I should hurry up and read them all. Stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.

Captain America: The First Avenger
Yet another Marvel property is getting the movie treatment. This time the story deals with a someone who volunteers to take part in an experiment during World War II to become a super soldier, only to end up with super human strength. Stan Lee must be very happy to see his creations on the big screen. I hope he is getting some money out of this, as well.  Stars Chris Evans and Samuel L. Jackson.

Cowboys and Aliens
Talk about your genre mashups. It wasn’t enough to make a western or a sci-fi film, director Jon Favreau of Iron Man fame, decided to take the graphic novel (comic book to those over the age of 40) by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and turn it into a movie. Of course the next question is, who will win? The cowboys or aliens? I have a feeling it will be the cowboys. Stars Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.

August
The Smurfs

Yes, those little blue creatures who got their start in a comic strip in 1958 by Belgian artist Pierre Culliford, also known as Peyo, and then ended up as a Saturday morning cartoon on NBC in the 1980’s, are now coming to a multiplex near you—in 3D no less. Again the powers that be are into recycling and there is no end to this trend in sight. To quote, a famous Smurf line: “La, la, lala, la. La, lala, la.” Features the voices of Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria and Katy Perry.

Conan
Speaking of recycling, weren’t the first two with the Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger enough? Stars Jason Momoa. Would you believe that Momoa got his start in Baywatch Hawaii? Talk about fail safe casting.

Final Destination 5
Will this be the final Final Destination or will there be a 6, 7, 8….

Well, those are my thoughts on select 2011 summer movies. Tune in again next week for another thrilling blog entry. (Okay, so my blog entries aren’t exactly thrilling, but they are good reads.)

*It was Charlton Heston and I knew it along. I just did that to be funny.

Sources:
http://www.reelzchannel.com/article/1082/summer-2011-preview-20-movies-well-be-talking-about-next-year/

Cantu, Hector, Heritage Magazine “Stan the Creator” Fall 2008, pg. 51

http://bluebuddies.com/help/smurfs_peyo_biography.htm

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“Filmed” with Whatever

March 31, 2011

Do wonders never cease? Not only can the iPhone™ let you surf the web, take photos and has loads of cool apps that lets you do anything from find the nearest coffeeshop to listen to your favorite radio station, you can also make a movie with it.

I’m not talking about something high school kids make in a few minutes and upload to YouTube to so that others can laugh at their sophomoric hijinx (i.e. burp and fart jokes). What I am talking about is South Korean director, Park Chan-wook who was given $130,000 by a South Korean cell phone company to make a movie with an iPhone™. While this has the feel of a promotional venture, Park isn’t the first director to use tools that weren’t exactly high end in order to make a movie.

Christopher Nolan, of Batman and Inception fame, made his first film, Following with limited equipment and a ‘crew’ of people who had day jobs. While it didn’t become a blockbuster, it is respected among the cult film aficionados. Independent director Lena Dunham shot Tiny Furniture on a Canon EOS 7D, a still camera that sells for $1500 and she got a nomination for Best Cinematography from the Independent Spirit Award.  Robert Rodriguez’s budget for El Mariachi was only $7,000 and the movie was financially and critically successful.

So, will the next Scorsese, Lucas or Cameron use off-the-shelf equipment and work with a budget of thousands, maybe tens of thousands of he or she is lucky enough to get that much money. Most likely yes. Still, it is important to remember that in the end it isn’t so much the equipment that makes a good movie, rather it is good storytelling. After all films like Star Wars, Love Story, Avatar, Gone With The Wind, and When Harry Met Sally captured the popular imagination the way that they did because films had a good story to tell and each of them told it well. Pyrotechnics, animation and 3D will have the audience saying “Wow”, but without a good story, it is just an exercise in visuals.

So, who knows what the tech heads will dream up. It could be something that you hold in the palm of your hand, use to order pizza on a Friday night and inspire a future Oscar winning director. Something to think about the next time you make a phone call on your smart phone or happen upon a bunch of teenagers filming fart jokes on an iPhone™.

Sources:
http://www.ebertpresents.com/episodes/episode-108/videos/88

http://blog.koldcast.tv/2010/koldcast-news/the-15-cheapest-movies-that-went-on-to-become-cult-classics/

I Never Met A Slasher Film That I Liked

October 13, 2010

Recently, Nightmare on Elm Street the classic slasher film from 1984 about “the son of 10,000 maniacs” who visits people in their dreams and kills them, was redone. I didn’t see it because I don’t like films of the slasher/horror genre. While my tastes in film are of the escapist/Hollywood variety, slasher films don’t do it for me.  I need more to a movie than some homicidal maniac/malevolent entity who kills, torments or both with all the gory details displayed in living color. (Sometimes in 3D)

Since I came of age in the 1980’s, many of the people I grew up with lived for movies like Nightmare on Elm Street, the Friday the 13th series and low budget films like Evil Dead. Yuck. Still, what is it about horror films that appeals to people? Well, here’s what I think.

1.)Vicarious thrill. As crazy as it sounds some people just like seeing movies that feature running and screaming, slicing and dicing, blood and gore.  While the protagonist and companions are being chased and slashed by the homicidal maniac/malevolent entity, the viewer gets all of the excitement without the harm. He or she is sitting at home or in the movie theater, safe from all harm. Hopefully they are smart enough to realize that what they see in a movie, stays in the movie. There already is too much violence in the world, there is no need to add more. Of course, there are other ways to get some excitement in your life, but that’s a blog entry for another time.

2.) Morality play. How did the protagonist fall victim to the villain in the first place? By going camping when you shouldn’t, not leaving that house when they should, not noting what day it is, not realizing that it is all a dream, hitting a pedestrian on a deserted road and not reporting it, etc.* If the protagonists were more aware of their actions, they would not fall victim to the villain.  That can be expanded to our own lives. If we were more aware of what we do, there would be less trouble. So, let that be a warning to you. Be aware of your actions and a homicidal maniac won’t come and get you.

Just know that no matter who’s staring in the film or who’s doing the special effects, horror movies aren’t my cup of tea and they never will be.

Sources:
http://www.amazon.com/Know-What-You-Last-Summer/dp/6305017115/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1279503428&sr=1-1

*Plots of Deliverance, Amityville Horror, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street and I Know What You Did Last Summer

The Sequel Strikes Again

April 29, 2010

Recently, it was reported on Empire Online that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are confirmed for Men in Black III and it will be a 3D film. The expected release date is May 30, 2011.

Since the late 1970’s, there have been sequels galore. Notable examples are the Star Wars films and Star Trek films. Yet, it wasn’t always like this. Up until the 1970’s a film was made, it was a success or failure and that was that. The characters were never revisited and the story was not continued. Of course, the exception was the James Bond films. The movie going public in years past were willing to accept that Elsa never saw Rick again, Dorothy never returned to the land of Oz and while Scarlett said that she was going to get Rhett back, it was seen as wishful thinking on her part.

My theory is the establishment of episodic television shows lead a desire in the movie going public to know what happens next. It wasn’t enough to have the main characters ride off into the sunset. People wanted to know if Luke Skywalker became a Jedi and defeated Darth Vader or if the crew of the Enterprise found Spock and saved the whales.[1]

I like sequels. There I said it. The Star Wars films are among my favorite movies. I saw Shrek and Shrek 2 and liked them both. I like the Star Trek films with the original television cast, the Next Generation cast and the J.J. Abrams reboot. Also, The Dark Knight was a blockbuster film that I felt was more thought provoking than most blockbuster films.

Of course, not every movie benefits from a sequel and after a while, the story gets old. The two Tim Burton Batman movies were great. Burton and Michael Keaton in the title role got the darkness and the tortured soul of Batman/Bruce Wayne right. When Joel Schumacher took over the franchise, the movies were just about some rich guy who dresses up and chases bad guys. Also, as many Trekkies know, some Star Trek films are better than others.

Still, the powers that be in Hollywood don’t want to mess with a good formula. So, if a movie made lots of money, more often than not a sequel is in order. As the engineers say, “If it works, it works.”

Source:
http://www.empireonline.com/news/feed.asp?NID=27639


[1] Star Wars Episodes IV-VI and Star Trek II & III respectively.

3D Movies—The Boomerang Film Effect, Since It Keeps Coming Back

April 22, 2010

Recently several big budget films, such as Avatar, Alice in Wonderland and Clash of the Titans, have been made available in 3D versions. This film effect isn’t new. Mainstream 3D films first came along in the 1950’s as a way to get people away from their televisions and back to the theaters. Most of the films from the 1950’s wave of 3D were in the horror genre. They included films like Bwana Devil and House of Wax and they weren’t exactly Oscar contenders. Many times the fact that they were 3D films was the only thing going for them. Also, the moviegoer had wear cheap paper glass with red and green plastic sheets in each eyepiece, in order to experience the 3D effects. Then the fad faded. In the 1980’s came a resurgence of 3D films. Movie such as Jaws 3D and Friday the 13th Part III in 3D, helped to cement 3D’s reputation as a cheesy gimmick that didn’t add much to the film.

With advances in technology, the studios are hoping that the recent crop of 3D films will show how this can enhance a film. The trouble is how do the studio heads define enhance? Among the group of recent 3D movies, only Avatar was filmed in 3D. The 3D effects in Alice in Wonderland and Clash of the Titans were added post-production. Because of that fact, not everyone is jumping on the 3D bandwagon. Avatar director, James Cameron states that the decision to make a 3D movie should be made by the director, not by studio heads.

So, where does that leave the average filmgoer? I don’t know. I will say that while I’m intrigued by this next generation 3D, in the end, I want a movie that tells a good story. I don’t want to pay extra for a gimmick that may not add anything to the movie going experience. So to the studio heads out there, cool your jets when it comes to 3D. Like James Cameron said, if the director wants to do a 3D movie, great, let him or her do it. If not, leave the film alone. Not every movie benefits from being viewed 3D. Also, many filmgoers have complained of headaches and dizziness from watching a 3D movie. So, just because 3D worked for Avatar, it doesn’t mean it will work for every movie.

Sources:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/aug/20/3d-film-history

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/digital/3d/aliceinwonderland3dvfx

http://www.latinoreview.com/news/james-cameron-thinks-studios-should-chill-on-3d-conversions-9545

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62N14P20100325?feedType=RSS&feedName=entertainmentNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2Fentertainment+%28News+%2F+US+%2F
+Entertainment%29