Tuesday, May 31, 2011

As you probably already know, "The Hobbit" will be a two part adventure. Now, obviously, it just wouldn't sound right to use titles like "The Hobbit Part I" and "The Hobbit Part II". I mean, this is not "The Hangover". So, the studios involved in producing Peter Jackson's epic Tolkien adaptation have just announced the subtitles used for each film. The first one will be called "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and will be released on December 14, 2012. The second will be titled "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" (like Bilbo's book) and will be released on December 13, 2013. Obviously, Warner Brothers and MGM like December for their Middle-Earth adventures, as all three "Lord of the Rings" movies were released during that month. It also makes it a lot easier for Academy Awards voters to remember them so they can shower the films with Oscars. 


Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's profound portrait of a conflicted man, played by Javier Bardem, gets a DVD/Blu-Ray release. Nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Picture and Best Leading Actor, the film is ponderous and a bit overlong (almost 2 1/2 hours), but through Bardem's confident, sensitive performance, it finds the right way to the audience's heart. Not exactly Inarritu's best, but certainly an improvement over his uneven and self-important "Babel", and definitely a significant and thought-provoking film. Available on DVD and Blu-Ray with some basic Special Features.

Patrick Lussier has directed such gory schlock fests as "My Bloody Valentine 3D" and "Dracula 2000", and "Drive Angry" is just the same kind of instant trash that B-flick connoisseurs will absolutely love. It's no surprise that Nic Cage is involved in this one, as his recent body of work reflects some rather odd choices. Still, it's not as bad as "Season of the Witch", or "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". At least this one's fun. Dirty, grimy, offensive fun, but fun nonetheless. If only they had a decent budget to get some better CGI visual effects for some of the action scenes (like the Hydrogen truck crash). Here's another little tidbit, Patrick Lussier will also direct "Halloween 3", after Rob Zombie left the project. Available as DVD, Blu-Ray and 3D Blu-Ray.

Rejoice fans of HBO's thrilling vampire horror series, the complete third season has been released on DVD and Blu-Ray. The 5-disc set contains all 12 episodes of the season and the usual assortment of Special Features (see below). The TV series, created by Alan Ball ("American Beauty", "Six Feet Under"), started in 2008 and is based on a series of ten novels and seven short stories. Needless to say, there's plenty of inspiration to be found for many more seasons. Anna Paquin, the series leading lady, has won the Golden Globe for her performance as Sookie Stackhouse. Season 4 starts on June 26, 2011.

Kevin Tancharoen's "Mortal Kombat" web-series saga has reached its 8th episode and there's plenty here to please the fans. The fight between Scorpion and Sub-Zero is a bit underwhelming though, but the story delivers in the end with a nice dramatic payoff, veering into revenge flick territory. The character origins pretty much stay true to the Mortal Kombat cannon and the production values don't disappoint. Only two more episodes left in season one, and their focus will be on two last characters : Cyrax and Sektor.


Monday, May 30, 2011

The epic adaptation of Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series has hit some difficulties. Universal has taken on the ambitious endeavour of translating King's novels into three films and several branching TV series in 2013 and 2012, respectively, but such a huge project obviously requires some hardcore resources to pull through. Ron Howard was set to direct, Akiva Goldsman ("Angels and Demons", "The Da Vinci Code", "Cinderella Man") was hired to write the script and Javier Bardem was brought on board for the lead role, but now Universal has taken a step back, because Comcast, the studio's owner, felt the costs are too big, so they paused pre-production. I can certainly see why Universal/Comcast are getting cold feet.

The project is beyond ambitious, it's crazy-ambitious. Still, Michael Rosenberg, president of entertainment at Imagine, denies the existence of any trouble, which means that they really want to get this going, as soon as possible. And, director Ron Howard has recently come out saying that :
"We had to pull back to our September start date due to budget delays and ongoing story development and logistical issues, but Dark Tower is moving forward, ...We're thinking of starting in early spring now. I can't really say who'll be in it yet, but Javier Bardem has shown a great deal of interest. We'll know by the end of the summer, when our flashing green light goes solid."
So, everyone's eager and willing, but there are still some issues to sort out, so Stephen King fans will have to wait some more before hearing some good news about the future of this adaptation. So, keep your ears and eyes open, for this summer will hold the fate of "The Dark Tower".


Who can forget Paul Verhoeven's awesome "Total Recall". It had it all : visceral action, intellectual thrills, great production values and plenty of Schwarzenegger one-liners. Verhoeven had already rocked the world of cinema with his "Robocop", so when in 1990 he came back to the sci-fi genre with this adaptation of Phillips K. Dick's short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale", there was no doubt he was the man to pull it off, even if not entirely faithful to the source material, something that director Len Wiseman wishes to change. He desires the movie to be more realistic, and decided to move the action to Earth, instead of Mars, which is indeed faithful to the the original short story. The script is written by Kurt Wimmer ("Salt", "Law Abiding Citizen").

The remake has pretty much finished its casting process, with several actors being cast in leading and supporting roles throughout this last month. The Schwarzenegger character will be played by Colin Farrell, while Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad", "The Lincoln Lawyer") is set to play the villain, Vilos Cohaagen, previously played by Ronny Cox. Bill Nighy ("Underworld", "Love Actually") got the part of resistance-leader Quatto, and John Cho ("Star Trek", "Flashforward") will appear as McClane, a representative of the company that sells the Farrell character into the virtual reality experience that we all know isn't all it's cracked up to be. The two love interest characters in the original will be played by Jessica Biel and Wiseman's wife and "Underworld" star, Kate Beckinsale. Which one is which is unknown at this point. Also there's word of a cameo by Ethan Hawke, although his part in the movie is still a mystery.

Now I have mixed feelings about the remake. One the one hand, I am enjoying the idea of Phillips K. Dick's works coming back into the mainstream, but on the other hand I have seriously mixed feelings about Wiseman directing this. It's not that he can't handle big budget flicks, but somehow I've always though of "Total Recall" as being a bit more than that. At least they decided not to do it in 3D. The remake begins production this week and is set for release on August 3rd, 2012.


The 'Family Tree' featurette gives us more insight into the characters and their motivations. The best part about it is that we get to see some new footage from the movie that wasn't in any of the Trailers or TV Spots. The director had some very interesting things to say, as the recent wave of positive reviews prompted him to talk some more about X-Men : "My ideas are much bigger for the next one. I'm surprised everyone is calling this a really big, epic move, and I'm thinking, 'Wait until you view the next one if you think this is epic, the next one you won't believe what happens". "X-Men: First Class", directed by Matthew Vaughn ("Kick-Ass"), opens this Friday.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

The first trailer for David Fincher's remake of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", the first in Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, is here in all its red-band glory. Normally, red-band means explicit content, but in this trailer, except for a couple of very brief nudity/sex shots, nothing really R-rated is evident, especially since there's no dialogue in this edit. The quality is rough, being recorded from a theater, but as soon as a better version is up, I will update this post.

We get a glimpse of the characters and action, which for those who have read the novel, or seen the Swedish original, will find very familiar. Rooney Mara's goth look seems to be very similar to that of Noomi Rapace's character. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist will be played by Daniel Craig. Other actors appearing in the movie are : Stellan Skarsgard, who is in fact Swedish, but never appeared in the original movie, Christopher Plummer, Joely Richardson, Goran Visnjic, Robin Wright, Embeth Davidtz and Julian Sands. The script is written by Steven Zaillian ("Schindler's List", "American Gangster", "Gangs of New York"). The movie opens this Christmas (21 December, 2011).

[UPDATE] - For a better quality version, albeit a green band trailer, without nudity or graphic violence, click here.


The latest news about the two-part adaptation of "The Hobbit" regards the official confirmation by Peter Jackson that Orland Bloom will be reprising his role as Legolas, the arrow-happy elf.This is only one of the many other "Lord of the Rings" actors that will return for a new Middle-Earth adventure. Among them, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Andy Serkis (in motion capture gear) as Gollum, Elijah Wood as Frodo, Sir Ian Holm as the older Bilbo and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, confirming at least informally that the movie's structure will feature scenes that are not part of Tolkien's novel. If the movie's really good, however, I can't see any reason to diss Jackson for adding a few things here and there. "The Hobbit" is in production at this point, with a December 2012 release in aim for the first part, and a 2013 release for the second part.


Tom Cruise loves sci-fi, and sci-fi loves him.
Tom Cruise, now free of any other obligations after Guillermo del Toro's "Mountains of Madness" fell through, has officialy joined director Joseph Kosinski ("Tron: Legacy") in his new project, a sci-fi epic called "Oblivion", about a drone mechanic getting caught up in events that will radically change the world as he knows it. Ambiguous and familiar as that may sound, the script is penned by heavy-weight William Monahan ("The Departed", "Kingdom of Heaven", "Body of Lies") and the up-and-comer Karl Gajdusek ("Dead Like Me"), the dystopian tale of global devastation might look to be a far better product than Kosinski's "Tron: : Legacy". Tom Cruise has also seen his fair share of sci-fi action, with the two Steven Spielberg collaborations : "Minority Report" and "War of the Worlds". Kosinski apparently first pitched the idea to Disney, but they sent him on his way, probably because they're still soar about how "Tron" performed. Now the project is being developed at Universal with a reported budget of $100 million. Needless to say, "Oblivion" has just climbed atop the "highly anticipated movies" stack. Read the Official Synopsis below :

In a future where the Earth's surface has been irradiated beyond recognition, the remnants of humanity live above the clouds, safe from the brutal alien Scavangers that stalk the ruins. But when surface drone repairman Jak discovers a mysterious woman in a crash-landed pod, it sets off an unstoppable chain of events that will force him to question everything he knows.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges has joined Robert Schwentke's ("RED", "Flightplan") movie about a slain cop who joins the Rest in Peace Department, a police force of the undead, in order to find his murderer. "RIPD" is based on the Dark Horse Entertainment graphic novel by Peter M. Lenkov ("24", "Demolition Man") and already stars Ryan Reynolds as Nick Cruz, the protagonist of the story. Bridges will play another cop in the RIPD, a part that was initially offered to Zach Galifianakis. The script is written by Phil Hay, a man whose credits include some underwhelming titles like "Aeon Flux" and "Clash of the Titans" (the remake). The supernatural action comedy is set for a 2012 release date


Guillermo del Toro returns to movies about things that go bump in the night, this time as producer and screenwriter. The haunted house horror, starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce, is directed by first-timer Troy Nixey and it looks really scary. So far, it seems to be some sort of creature feature. The trailer adds brief (and I mean micro-second brief) glimpses of some evil monkey things. The creepy voices are extremely effective, and the R rating for violence and terror guarantees that the horror will be gory too. Opens August 26, 2011, in the US, but Australia, Turkey and the UK will get to see it on August 12.


Oliver Noble created this little gem for FilmDrunk.com, in honor of Albert Brooks' most hated screenwriting cliche, the exhaustive use of character's names in a screenplay. So, the clip basically counts how many times the names Rose and Jack pop-up throughout "Titanic", and the result is often hilarious. It's quite obvious, even with a movie like "Avatar", that while James Cameron can stage breathtaking scenes and some pretty epic stuff, he just isn't that good a screenwriter.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Official Synopsis : From Terrence Malick, the acclaimed director of such classic films as Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950's. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick's signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life. -- (C) Fox Searchlight

What to Expect : If you're familiar with Terrence Malick's movies you'll know exactly what to expect and more. It's impressionistic. It's existential. It's slow. It's serious. It's art. It makes up its own filmmaking rules. It will blow your mind away or bore you to death. At this point, mentioning that the movie won this year's Palme D'Or at Cannes, or that Brad Pitt turns in a great performance, won't influence your decision much.

Critical Response : While the reception at Cannes was mixed, with some booing, while others cheered, no such division existed with the US critics. An overwhelming wave of positive critical response recommends this movie. Claudia Puig of USA Today argued that "Some will dismiss its overarching themes and elliptical visuals as pretentious. Others might question its quasi-biblical images. But the artistry in every frame is undeniable." A mixed opinion comes from Leonard Maltin who says that '"The Tree of Life" is a film in which the parts are greater than the whole". He mentions the wonderful cinematography and the vivid portrayal of emotions, but only recommends the movie to a "discerning and adventurous filmgoer". And if you must hear a negative reaction, here's Matt Singer from IFC.com who comments that the movie feels like "watching a magician perform one trick over and over again for 138 minutes". "Tree of Life" is currently 85% fresh on Rottentomatoes.com, with 61 positive reviews and 11 negative ones.

More Details : 

  • Starring : Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Fiona Shaw.

  • Director : Terrence Malick.

  • Screenplay : Terrence Malick.

  • Running Time : 138 min.

  • Rating : PG-13 for some thematic material.


The fate of the "Uncharted" movie hangs in the balance.
Sad news for fans of "Uncharted" (or not). Director David O. Russel has quit the big screen adaptation of the PS3 exclusive videogame. The biggest question left hanging is whether or not his leading man, Mark Wahlberg, has also left the project. The two have collaborated twice before on "Three Kings" and "The Fighter", and came aboard this project together. Obviously, Wahlberg might still be attached to star as the Indiana Jones-like character, but when changes this big occur within a project, it's not unusual for the cast to change as well. Russel's departure might also be a result of some unwanted additions he wished to include in the movie's story, additions that didn't sit well with fans of the game. Supposedly, the story would include New York gangsters played by Robert de Niro and Joe Pesci. Needless to say, this caused quite a stir. I don't own a PS3, so I was just thinking De Niro and Pesci together again in a movie just sounds cool. Variety reports that the official reason cited for Russel's departure was "creative differences". If I had a penny...no, let's make it a dollar, for every time I heard that one. So with a new "Uncharted" game coming out this year, and the movie left hanging, it seems the gamers will just have to stick to their controllers if they want more adventures from Drake.


"The Whistleblower" tells the true story of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop, working as a peacekeeper, who risks her job and even her life to uncover a human-trafficking scandal involving US military contractors and the United Nations in postwar Bosnia. It stars Rachel Weisz, Monica Belluci, David Strathairn and Vanessa Redgrave. Winner of the Audience Award at the Palm Spring International Film Festival. The only available release dates are for the US on August 5th, probably a limited release and for Switzerland on September 29, 2011.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Shark Night 3D" is your typical slasher movie, only instead of an actual killer, you get sharks. Not only that, but the sharks seem to be part of a bigger plot. So, to sum it up, the movie contains babes in bikinis and gory shark attacks, guaranteed by director David R. Ellis ("Final Destination 2 & 4", "Snakes on a Plane"). Oh yeah, and it's in 3D. Opens on September 2nd, 2011.


Only a day has passed and there's already a second teaser trailer for "The Muppets". This time, the teaser is a pardoy of "The Hangover Part 2"s trailer. It's actually pretty funny. Hilarious cameo by Danny Trejo. The movie opens November 23, 2011.


20th Century Fox teases us with a handful of "X-Men First Class" movie clips that cover, among others, a few of the scenes in the trailers. It's nice how they balanced the clips by showing us key moments from the movie, without revealing very much. Of course the movie has to have a "Training Montage". What action movie doesn't ? The movie opens on June 3rd 2011 in the US. [UPDATE] : Added five more action-packed clips, which include more mutant action and visual effects, as well as more intriguing questions about the plot.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oliver Stone's classic Vietnam war movie has now been released on Blu-Ray and given all the high-definition care you can expect and a wealth of special features. A complex story of a young marine (Charlie Sheen) thrown in the vortex of war, fighting both the enemy and the conflicting human nature of fellow soldiers, "Platoon" set a higher standard for every other war movie since, displaying a balance of melodrama and gritty violence that has influenced the genre and won the movie four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Available as a Two-Disc Blu-Ray/DVD Combo

Blu-Ray Special Features :
  • Audio Commentary with Director Oliver Stone
  • Audio Commentary with Military Advisor Dale Dye
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Flashback to Platoon (Snapshot in Time: 1967-1968, The Legacy of Platoon)
  • One War, Many Stories
  • Preparing for 'Nam Vignettes
  • TV Spots and Theatrical Trailer

Product Description : N/A

Release Date : 24 May, 2011

Run Time : 120 Min.

Studio : MGM

Rating : R for Graphic War Violence,Language and Drug Use.

Romeo and Juliet with garden gnomes. Who would have though ? This animated feature is far from being an instant classic, but it does have its moments. At times it feels a bit too self-aware, which is simultaneously a good thing and a bad thing. One of the better things about the movie is the Elton John soundtrack. Overall, an unpretentious (some might even say simplistic) movie that should appeal to kids and bore the adults into a coma. Still, I guess you could do a lot worse.

DVD Special Features :

  • "Elton Builds a Garden" Featurette
  • "Frog Talk with Ashley Jensen" Featurette
  • Nelly Furtado and Elton John, "Crocodile Rock" Music Video

Blu-Ray Special Features :
  • [same as the DVD] 
  • Alternate Ending
  • 6 Deleted Scenes
  • 2 Alternate Scenes
  • "The Fawn of Darkness", Voice/Outtakes Featurette feat. Ozzy Osbourne

Product Description : From a director of Shrek 2 comes your chance to step into the secret world of garden gnomes - Gnomeo & Juliet. Perfect for the whole family, this fresh and funny makeover of one of the world's most timeless story features music from Sir Elton John, and the voice talents of Emily Blunt, James McAvoy and sir Michael Caine. Caught up in a feud between neighbors, Gnomeo and Juliet must overcome as many obstacles as their namesakes. But with flamboyant pink flamingoes and epic lawnmower races, can this young couple find lasting happiness? Complete with hilarious never-before-seen bonus features, Gnomeo & Juliet is an out-of-the-ordinary animated comedy your entire family will love. We just gnome it!

Release Date : 24 May, 2011

Run Time : 84 Min.

Studio : Walt Disney Studios

Rating : G

The so-called "Green With Envy" teaser for the new Muppets movie is pretty interesting.I honestly haven't been a big fan of the Muppets, but the people doing the marketing know their business. The teaser starts out as some sort of rom-com starring Amy Adams and Jason Segel and then it's revealed as the Muppets movie that it is. Directed by James Bobin, creator of the TV series "Flight of the Conchords" and writer on the "Da Ali G Show". That last one alone recommends him for this movie. "The Muppets" opens November 23, 2011 in the US and December 28, 2011 in France. Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Netherlands, UK must wait till 2012 to see it.


Have you been eagerly awaiting to see the Smurf in a movie ? Prepare to be disappointed by "The Smurfs". This mix of animated characters and live action is pretty much like "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and we do remember how that one played out. Director Raja Gosnell has such classics under his belt as "Home Alone 3" and Scooby Doo" 1 & 2. I don't mean to be a grinch here, but this doesn't look very inspiring. Opens July 29 in the US and Canada, quickly followed by Europe throughout August.


A new TV Spot for Jon Favreau's "Cowboys & Aliens", based on an acclaimed graphic novel. Not much different from the trailer, but it's still fun. The movie opens on July 29, 2011, in the US. Europe can expect release dates ranging from August 5 to August 31, depending on the country.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The teenage sci-fi thriller starring Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant and Dianna Agron, made no big impact on audiences and the critics pretty much hated it. Director DJ Caruso has the skill to direct young actors, as was evident in "Disturbia", but here, he just doesn't have the right material to work with. The story of a teenager hiding an otherworldy secret while eluding a dark enemy is nothing more than an average thriller that has little hope of becoming a franchise, especially after a less than spectacular box-office performance. Available on Blu-Ray (Three-Disc Combo or Single Disc) and DVD.

DVD Special Features :

  • "Becoming Number 6" Featurette
  • Bloopers Reel

Blu-Ray Special Features :
  • [same as the DVD] + 6 Deleted Scenes with commentary by the director

Release Date : 24 May, 2011

Run Time : 109 Min.

Studio : Touchstone Pictures / Dreamworks

Rating : PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for language.

Three new TV Spots for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2", the final chapter in the long-running saga. There's the usual mix of drama and CGI action. This last movie looks to be really big, with set pieces that include some awesome destruction. It's not going to be as chaotic as "Transformers 3" I suppose, but it does look to have its fair share of 3D mayhem. Release dates include July 13, 14 and 15 (US), 2011, pretty much worldwide. To watch the other two clips, click the link below:

The 7th episode of Kevin Tancharoen's "Mortal Kombat" web-series is here and it's a fanbase pleaser, as the stories of Scorpion and Sub-Zero are now in focus. This is just part 1, and it ends with a cliffhanger, leaving the best parts for next episode. The production values are better than you'd expect, with the Japanese-styled art direction getting some nice attention to details, considering the small budget they have to work on. The story itself is kind of typical, but we'll have to wait for part 2 to get a clear idea of what they're trying to build. Scorpion and Sub-Zero look good (although Scorpion's mask is a little distracting), but the latter's special abilities are only hinted at, though I'm not entirely sure if Tancharoen is going for the supernatural with these characters, yet. Still kind of slow, compared to the first episodes in the series, but an improvement over the Kitana and Mileena episodes. Enjoy !


Monday, May 23, 2011

The Cannes Film Festival has ended and the winner of the coveted Palm D'Or is Terrence Malick's impressionistic saga "Tree of Life". The movie was met with mixed feelings during its screening, with some booing it and others praising it. One thing's for sure, it's this year's big winner at Cannes. Let's face it, with a director like Terrence Malick, uniquely original and exhaustively uncompromising, it was about time.  Malick previously won the Director award at Cannes in 1978 for "Days of Heaven". "Tree of Life" starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn deals with issues of life, death and the universe through the perspective of a 1950s Texas family.

Lars von Trier's movie didn't lose out all the way, as Kirsten Dunst won the award for Best Actress for her performance in Trier's apocalyptic drama "Melancholia". The Danish director was declared "persona non grata" after his silly attempts at nazi humor generated an uproar at the festival. He was not permited to attend the ceremony, but his movie was not kicked out of the competition, which would have been ridiculous. His movie was received far more enthusiasticly than "Tree of Life", which is surprising considering Trier is usually the kind of director that divides the audience.

The award for Best Director went to Nicholas Winding Refn ("Bronson") for the tense thriller "Drive" starring Ryan Gosling and Best Writer went to Joseph Cedar, writer and director for the Israeli dramedy "Footnote" about the conflict between father and son. Best Actor was picked up by french actor Jean Dujardin for his part in "The Artist", a drama shot as a black-and-white silent movie.

 For the full list of Winners, click the link below :

A new wave of TV Spots have hit the Internet, featuring a wealth of new footage from the comic book adaptation "Green Lantern", directed by Martin Campbell ("Goldeneye", "Casino Royale", "Vertical Limit"). The movie has had some trouble with the CGI, especially after some harsh fan comments about the visual effects, but they seem to have pulled through nicely. The movie opens on June 17, 2011. To see the rest of the clips, click the link below to read the full article.

A new TV Spot from the movie "Bad Teacher", starring Cameron Diaz as a foul-mouthed junior high teacher. The movie looks to have some genuine moments of low-brow comedy, but there's also the possibility that it will rely too heavily on the shock-factor. Opens June 24, 2011.


The first one I've posted before actually, but this one has much better video quality. The rest are indeed new, with additional scenes that were not featured in the previous TV Spots. "X-Men: First Class" opens June 3rd, 2011. To watch the rest of the TV Spots, click the link to read the full article.