Posts Tagged ‘special effects’

2012 Summer Movies

April 26, 2012

The weather is getting warmer. The days are getting longer. That can only mean one thing:

The summer movie season is coming!

In addition to not having to go to school, it was the summer movies that made me count the days to summer vacation. The films that come out during the summer have it all, action, drama, comedy, romance and lots of cool special effects to keep things from getting boring.

In addition to the usual mix of superhero and animated films, this year’s batch of summer films are based on the following:

  • A nonfiction book
  • A book by Saddam Hussein
  • A Broadway play
  • Two fairy tales
  • A 1960’s soap opera

So, here are a few I would like to highlight.

May
The Avengers

A superhero film that Marvel fans have been waiting for, since it features, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and the Hulk. Phew! That’s a lot of superheros. Expect to see a lot of fanboys on opening night. How can you tell the fanboys from the regular moviegoers? Simple the fanboys will be wearing either Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow or the Hulk t-shirts. This film opens on May 4.

Dark Shadows
Would you believe that in the 1960’s there was a soap opera about a vampire? Yes it is true and it was called Dark Shadows. The soap opera was about the Collins family and one member in particular, Barnabas Collins, who was cursed to live as a vampire by a witch. The show ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971 and developed a cult following, which lead to films and a brief return to television in the 1990’s. Now Tim Burton has directed the theatrical version, with Helena Bonham Carter as psychologist Dr. Julia Hoffman and none other than Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, the very reluctant vampire. The film opens on May 11.

The Dictator
Here’s something else from the “Would You Believe” file. Saddam Hussein wrote a book. Yes, it is true and it is a work of fiction called Zabibah and the King. The book is about a love affair between a wise king and a beautiful peasant named Zabibah. Now would you believe that Sacha Baron Cohen made a film based on this book? Yes, this is true, as well. This film stars Cohen as the title character, as well as Megan Fox and John C. Reilly. It opens on May 11. By the way, I think theater managers would like it if you leave the pancake mix at home.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Who wants to watch a movie that features women at various stages of their pregnancy? Neither do I.  This stars Cameron Diaz, Isla Fisher and Jennifer Lopez and opens on May 11.

June
Rock of Ages

Who wants to play air guitar and jump up and down on a sofa?  Obviously Tom Cruise does, since he is starring in this film based on the Broadway play of the same name. This film also stars Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin. It opens on June 1.

Jack the Giant Killer
The trend of fairy tales to the big screen continues with a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk. This is a motion capture film that was partially filmed in the forest that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to write The Hobbit. The films stars Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor and Bill Nighy, and it opens on June 15.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Honest Abe was a vampire hunter as well as a president who tried to keep the country together? Wow, the dude burned the candle at both ends. Actually, this is a film by director Timur Bekmambetov, the man who brought us Wanted, and it stars Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie and Benjamin Walker. The film opens on June 22.

Brave
A soon to be classic from the folks at Pixar. This film features a female protagonist who has to use her moxie and archery skills to undo a curse. Features the voices of Billy Connelly, Emma Thompson and Kelly MacDonald. The film opens on June 22.

July
The Amazing Spider-Man

Another movie Marvel fanboys have been waiting for. Personally, I think the reboot was unnecessary. The powers that be could have ended it at Spider-Man 3 and concentrated on other superheros in the Marvel universe.  Of course, the fanboys will be easy to pick out in the audience, since they will be the ones wearing the Spider-Man t-shirts. The film stars Andrew Garfield, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field and it open on July 3.

Ice Age: Continental Drift
Another animated film for the summer and another installment in the Ice Age “saga”.  This time an iceberg is involved and it is used for a good purpose. The film features the voices of Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo and opens on July 13.

The Dark Knight Rises
Yet another film that fanboys have been waiting for, albeit this film is the one DC fanboys have been counting the days and hours to and guess what t-shirts they will be wearing? Anyway, it features Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. I admit, I’ve been looking forward to this film because I want to see how Christopher Nolan ends the trilogy and I do hope this is the end of any and all Batman films. Directors Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan captured the darkness of Batman very well. Things got lost when director Joel Schumacher took over. So, let’s end it with The Dark Knight Rises and if the powers that be wants to do another superhero film let them pick from other characters in the DC Comics universe. The film stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Anne Hathaway, and opens on July 20.

Here Comes the Boom
Here comes a comedy about a mixed martial arts fighter. Sounds like it will become a classic, like Citizen Kane. Don’t you think? Yeah, I don’t think so, either. It stars Kevin James and Salma Hayek, and open on July 27.

August
The Bourne Legacy

This Bourne movie doesn’t feature Matt Damon, but it does feature Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton. The film opens on August 3.

Total Recall
Talk about your useless remakes. The one with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone was good enough. Can’t the powers that be greenlight something original for a change? (Yes, I know I say that a lot.) Anyway the film stars Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale and opens on August 3.

The Expendables 2
If you like shoot’em up movies with explosions and car chases, then this is the film for you. Stars Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Bruce Willis and opens on August 17.

ParaNorman
Now this film sound interesting and original. It is a stop action animation film about a boy who can speak to (as well as see) dead people and uses this skill to save his town from an old, old curse. Features the voices of Leslie Mann, Anna Kendrick and Casey Affleck and opens on August 17.

Well, those are just a sampling of the movies that will be coming out this summer. Just be sure to save me a middle seat in the middle row.

Sources:
http://www.reelz.com/article/1421/summer-2012-preview-25-movies-well-be-talking-about-next-year/

http://www.collinwood.net/info/

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1589395859/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1589396138&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1FQXRKHC99VX0TRB9DSW

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1217209/

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2011 Summer Movie Review

September 8, 2011

The first Monday in September is Labor Day in the U.S. and that day is considered the unofficial end of summer. It also marks the end of the summer movie season. This year’s summer movie season saw its share of blockbusters and bombs. Box office totals for this summer movie season have not been released in time for me to include in this blog entry.  Still, early indications are that the 2011 summer movie season was good, though not great, for the studios. Anyway, without further ado, here are some highlights of the 2011 summer movie season.

Blockbusters
This just in! Nine out of the 10 biggest money making films were either sequels or superhero films. Okay, so that isn’t such a big surprise. Then again, that’s what I like about summer movies. They are exercises in escapist entertainment. There’s a good guy and a bad guy, good guy gets the bad guy and the good guy gets the girl in the end. Not to mention, there loads of cool special effects to liven things up. Yes, I go on and on about the lack of originality in the current moviemaking environment, still if a blockbuster is original, I’ll go and see it. Of course, millions of other people went to see blockbusters this summer (original or not), as well, and here is the breakdown for you. Box office numbers are for the U.S. only.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows
$366,007,900
2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
$348,540,006
3. The Hangover Part II
$254,174,506
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
$240,141,369
5. Fast Five           
$209,837,675
6. Cars 2           
$186,951,457
7. Thor
$181,015,141
8. Bridesmaids           
$167,661,310
9. Captain America: The First Avenger                   
$164,747,643
10. Kung Fu Panda 2                                                    
$163,942,842

Bombs
Of course, not every film was a hit. Some movies were just plain bad and the audiences responded accordingly by staying away. Some movies just didn’t find or attract their audience. Then there were some that just had people scratching their heads. So, in case you were wondering, here is a breakdown of the summer movies of 2011 that bombed at the box office (as opposed to being the bomb). Again, box office numbers are for the U.S. only.

1. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
$    1,300,000
2. Glee The 3D Concert Movie                                 

$  11,700,000
3. Fright Night                                                            

$  14,300,000
4. Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
$  15,000,000
5. Conan The Barbarian                                           

$  16,600,000
6.
Priest
$  29,100,000
7. The Change Up                                                        

$  34,500,000
8.
Larry Crowne                                                         
$  35,600,000
9.
Cowboys & Aliens                                                   
$  93,500,000
10.Green Lantern                                                        

$116,000,000

What Do I Think
I’m not surprised that the movies in the Blockbuster list did well. After all, Pixar films  have done well. The last Harry Potter film was scheduled for this summer and if it wasn’t going to do well, loads of people would have lost their jobs and we would have heard all about it and then some.

I’m also not surprised that Conan The Barbarian, The Change Up and Priest bombed. In particular, Conan The Barbarian is one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature roles. He knew how to play an action figure better than anyone else. So, the expectation was pretty high for Conan. When it didn’t meet expectations—bombs away! As for the Green Lantern, I thought it would be this summer’s Iron Man. Unfortunately, for DC Comics and Warner Brothers, it wasn’t. Still, there are loads of superheroes in the DC universe. So, there are other comics books they can greenlight for movies.

As for Larry Crowne and Cowboys & Aliens, I am surprised and disappointed that these films didn’t do as well as expected. They each had a lot going for them, namely A-list stars and good concepts. Yet, for Larry Crowne, I think the problem was that it came out in July, as opposed to August. July is when the blockbusters are blasting away at the multiplex. August is when the studios release films that aren’t exactly shoot’em ups.  As big as Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are, if the movie they are in is going to be released in July, there better be a car chase and shooting at bad guys or else no one will see it. After all, The Help was released in August and it is doing very well without having explosions or car chases. Now Cowboys & Aliens, talk about an original idea that didn’t go very far. Having cowboys fight aliens—why didn’t I think of that? Why didn’t it do better and why did the The Hangover Part II make over $348 million at the box office?  The world will never know.

On that happy note, I say farewell and invite you to come back next week for another exciting read about the world of movies, movie posters and collecting.

Sources:
http://movies.yahoo.com/photos/collections/gallery/3572/2011-summer-box-office#photo0

http://movies.yahoo.com/news/summer-box-office-s-10-biggest-flops-of-2011.html

I Don’t Like Horror Films

September 1, 2011

This past weekend, while Hurricane Irene was creating havoc up and down the east coast of the United States, a remake of the made-for-television horror film Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark was released. The film starred Katie Holmes and was directed by none other than Guillermo del Toro. Yet, no matter who’s directing or starring in the film, I must admit that I was never a fan of horror films. Yes, that’s right, while the people I grew up with saw Friday the 13th Part Whatever, I either saw E.T., the latest Star Wars re-release or was working on my book that was destined to become the Great American Novel. Now that Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is in movie theaters, I thought take the opportunity to highlight the reasons why I don’t like horror films.

All that Blood and Gore
The old time horror films such as Dracula with Bela Lugosi and Frankenstein with Boris Karloff were built upon good acting and suspense. The violence happened off screen. Since the 1970’s, the unofficial motto of horror films is “We give you BLOOD!” All that slicing and dicing does nothing for me. I don’t think it is thrilling or even funny. It just seems like a big waste of acting, special effects and film. A car chase, as implausible as it is in a horror film, would be a much better use of all those things.

Too Many Damsels in Distress
Why is it that the chicks in the film are always the ones who are being chased and killed by the villain? If you are going to portray someone who kills indiscriminately, why discriminate against guys? Don’t guys get in the villain’s way?  So how about having a few guys sliced and diced, just to even out the body count? After all, it’s only fair.

Eddie Murphy Was Right
If you are of a certain age, you will remember when Eddie Murphy hosted Saturday Night Live in December 1982. He did a stand up routine in place of a monologue and during the routine he talked about the horror film plot device of the haunted/possessed house. The routine goes like this:

“Wow, baby, this is beautiful. We got chandelier hangin’ up here, kids outside playin’, it’s a beautiful neighborhood, I really love – this is beaut–”

[demonic whisper] “Get out!”

“Too bad we can’t stay.”

Exactly. Horror movies that utilize the haunted/possessed house plot device beg the question of “Why don’t the characters just leave?” The obvious answer is that it would end the movie without much of a dénouement. Still, lots of times in these films the characters heard the stories about said house or place, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise when things start go wrong. Dudes, they put a “Keep Out” sign for a reason. Don’t you think it would have been a good idea to stay away.

Of course, even with these “corrections” I still won’t like horror films. So, if you are in the mood for Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street don’t bother inviting me because I’ll either be working on another blog entry or watching Star Wars on DVD.

Sources:
http://movies.yahoo.com/blogs/movie-talk/don-t-afraid-katie-holmes-182915204.html

http://snltranscripts.jt.org/82/82imono.phtml

Has the Well Run Dry?

March 10, 2011

Doing a blog like this gives me the opportunity to share interesting personal discoveries. Case in point, not too long ago I took my nephew to see Yogi Bear (in 3D). I had railed against the film in an earlier blog entry (see December 2, 2010 entry, Can’t the Powers That Be Leave Well Enough Alone) because I thought it showed a lack of imagination among studio executives. After all, just because the technology exists to make a movie with a computer animated Yogi and Boo-Boo doesn’t mean that such a movie should be made.

Well, I watched the film with my nephew and I was pleasantly surprised. I liked it. It was an entertaining story. Dan Ackroyd was great as Yogi. Justin Timberlake was a very good Boo-Boo and the human actors looked to me like they had fun with their roles. So, the powers that be aren’t so bad for greenlighting Yogi Bear.

Of course, not all is sweetness and light in the Land of Blog. I learned that two previously successful films, one from the 1980’s and one from the 1990’s have either been remade or greenlighted. The films are Arthur and The Bodyguard.

The remake of Arthur is scheduled to come out in April. For those of you not familiar with the movie, the original Arthur is a comedy released in 1981 and starred Dudley Moore as a spoiled and boozy man-child millionaire who must choose between marrying for money or love. Liza Minnelli starred as the woman he ultimately chooses and Sir John Gielgud was Arthur’s erstwhile butler. I saw it when it first came out in and while I didn’t get all the jokes and lines, I liked the movie. The remake follows the same story line except that the 2011 version Arthur isn’t boozy and Helen Mirren plays Arthur’s nanny.

As for The Bodyguard, Warner Brothers recently approved a remaking this film. The Bodyguard came out in 1992 and dealt with a former Secret Service Agent who is hired to protect a pop star from a stalker. The original starred Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. The story has been updated, so instead of having the bodyguard be a former Secret Service Agent, the bodyguard is a former Iraq War Veteran and he has to content with the stalking via Twitter, Gawker Stalker and other Internet sites. So far, no actors have been chosen to star in the movie.

Good gravy! What has gotten into the studios? First they mine the comic books, then the sitcoms, now recent movies? It is one thing to redo Clash of the Titan because special effects are more advanced in the 2010’s then they were in the 1980’s. Arthur and The Bodyguard didn’t have any major special effects to begin with, so what could be improved about them? These films were both successful and good movies in their own right. Why couldn’t the studios leave them alone and greenlight a project that is not a remake or reboot? After all, there is so much talent and money out there. It is hard to believe that studio executives could not find, let alone fund, an original project.

Then again, I could be wrong. The new versions of Arthur and The Bodyguard could end up being just as good, if not better, than the original versions. Maybe they just needed some infusion of 21st Century sensibilities and doing that would give these films a little something extra to make them better creations.

Yeah and if you believe that, then I could sell you some bridge in Brooklyn and afterwards flap my arms and fly to the Moon when you find out that I don’t hold the deed to such a structure.

Sources:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/2011/02/22/greta_gerwig_finally_acknowledged_by_arthur_poster/

http://movies.yahoo.com/news/usmovies.thehollywoodreporter.com/warner-bros-remake-bodyguard

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082031/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103855/