Cowboys and Aliens – Review

Cowboys.  Aliens.  Cowboys fighting aliens.  James Bond and Indiana Jones vs. otherworldly Martian scum.  A horrible conglomeration or a whole lot of awesomeness?

Cowboys and Aliens, directed by Iron Man’s Jon Favreau, centres on Daniel Craig’s character Jake Lonergan.  Your quintessential tough guy from the west, Lonergan wakes up in the middle of the desert, with no recollection of who he is, or what the funky contraption locked around his wrist might be.  After discovering he is able to deliver damn good ass-kickings, he swaggers into the little-old town of Absolution.  Lonergan wastes no time in giving the local shit-stirrer Percy Dolarhyde (Paul Dano) what for.  Cue some ominously familiar shaped lights in the sky and tendrils viciously yanking the townspeople away.  It’s here we find out Lonergan’s bracelet is a whole lot more than a pretty fashion accessory.  Now it’s up to the rag-tag bunch of gun-toting men (and woman) to get their people back.

If you go into it expecting an intellectually stimulating storyline with soul searching characters and emotions galore, don’t.  Go see, I dunno, The Smurfs or something.  This is a no holds barred shoot-em-up Western crossed with heavy SFX and CGI aliens.  It’s exactly what the title says it’s going to be, and, it’s actually pretty decent.  Daniel Craig plays Lonergan straight and narrow.  Silent and somewhat stereotypical, but it works with the clichéd dynamic of the film.  Olivia Wilde plays the mysterious Ella, whose relationship with Lonergan is a bit disjointed and unusual.  I suppose they had to put a pretty lady in there somewhere though, didn’t they.  But its Harrison Ford’s Woodrow Dolarhyde that I was most anticipating, and his menacing exterior coupled with moments of genuine but subtle tenderness do not disappoint.

This is an enjoyable piece of mindless, explosion ridden gun slinging entertainment.  Have fun, go along for the ride.  The battle scenes are effective (the sound effects were actually a standout), there’s a little comedy, a little romance, a little bit of everything that makes a blockbuster.  It’s a film that’s not ashamed of what it is.  The alien’s themselves are quite unique, in that their motive is exactly that of the humans of the set time period.  And I’ll say no more.  They have absolutely no empathetic qualities.  And that’s ok.  (And boy, they look disGUSTING.)

In short, a fun mindless action-western romp that’s extremely likeable, clichéd and unashamed.

2.5 Stars

Cowboys and Aliens is in cinemas now.

Advertisements

Film News Friday – Week 33, 2011

Here’s what’s been happening in the Movie World this week…

  • Ridley Scott to make a new Blade Runner film. No word as yet weather it’s a sequel or a prequel.
  • Will Smith is in discussions for Fantastic Voyage
  • With The Avengers almost complete, Robert Downey Jr. states that he’s excited to work with Iron Man 3 director, Shane Black.
  • Warner Bros. Pictures hits the $2 Billion mark again this year.
  • The Trailer for Underworld Awakening has been released.

  • The troubled film The Wolverine is set to shoot in Vancouver in November. It is essentially a sequel to Origins: Wolverine and it expected to be directed by James Mangold.
  • A synopsis of Man Of Steel has been released with a Vancouver Casting Call:

In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time. Clark Kent/Kal-El (Cavill) is a young twentysomething journalist who feels alienated by powers beyond anyone’s imagination. Transported to Earth years ago from Krypton, an advanced alien planet, Clark struggles with the ultimate question – Why am I here? Shaped by the values of his adoptive parents Martha (Lane) and Jonathan Kent (Costner), Clark soon discovers that having super abilities means making very difficult decisions. But when the world needs stability the most, it comes under attack. Will his abilities be used to maintain peace or ultimately used to divide and conquer? Clark must become the hero known as “Superman,” not only to shine as the world’s last beacon of hope but to protect the ones he loves.

  • Films The Dark Tower and The Lone Ranger are undergoing some financial troubles for their respective production companies. The Lone Ranger may be able to get out of the woods by cutting back a science fiction/fantasy/Native American element.
  • Coming February next year is Daniel Radcliffe’s new film… The Woman In Black.

Green Lantern – Review

In brightest day, In blackest night, no evil… blah blah blah.

Before I go much more into this I would like to say that I was sort of hoping the trailer wasn’t a full indicator of this film… sadly it pretty much is. Green Lantern is a comic book adaptation film of a character I rather like. The Green Lantern gets his abilities from a power ring that uses the green energy of Will Power to create anything he/she/it imagines. There is a Green Lantern for every ‘sector’ of the universe and they all make up the Green Lantern Corps. Hal Jordan becomes a Green Lantern and in a very rushed storyline must save the earth from an entity who uses the yellow power of Fear.

Ryan Reynolds plays the not-a-care-in-the-world, Hal Jordan who is chosen by the Green Lantern Ring assigned to the sector that Earth resides in. His character style comes from his background in situation comedy, rather than the way Hal Jordan acted in the comic books. Because of this his character and therefore the film is more for comic relief and comedy, juxtaposed with the CGI action of the film.

His co-star and in my opinion probably the best performance in the film was Blake Lively, of Gossip Girl fame, who plays Hal’s long time friend and romantic interest, Carol Ferris. The bad guy, Hector Hammond, played by Peter Sarsgaard, was a typical pathetic and weak man taken over by evil and had very little character development.

The Green Lantern Corps were overall very well cast with the exception of Kilowog (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan) who in my opinion didn’t meet my expectations. Thaal Sinestro (Mark Strong), Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) and Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush) were all very well played out and I would like to see more from them especially Sinestro who in the comics had a very long and developed story as a Green Lantern who “went to the dark side”.

I feel bad for Ryan Reynolds as he never got the chance to wear the outfit, a privilege that I believe all superhero actors should have, instead he wore a grey full body suit. Which brings me to my point that the CGI was overdone and it would have been nicer to see less and more real-world SFX. It was a little disappointing because I prefer more real experience.

Overall, I believe that while the movie was pretty good, it lacked in many areas and thats one of the reasons why it failed. Another reason is that the producers obviously didn’t think it through because majority of the population haven’t heard of the Green Lantern and in a year where the movie The Green Hornet was released they may have not analysed their audience as well as they should have. However despite the poor box office effort, they are in scripting for a second and I am looking forward to what could and should be a sequel better than the original.

2 Stars

For those who want to know… the oath is as follows,

In brightest day, in blackest night,

No evil shall escape my sight

Let those who worship evil’s might,

Beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!

Green Lantern is in cinemas now.

Forecast – Week 33, 2011

FILM RELEASES THIS WEEK

CONAN THE BARBARIAN

Stargate Atlantis star Jason Momoa takes over from Arnie in the reboot of Conan mythology.

The most legendary Barbarian of all time is back. Having thrived and evolved for eight consecutive decades in the public imagination- in prose and graphics, on the big screen and small, in games and properties of all kinds- Conan’s exploits in the Hyborian Age now come alive like never before in a colossal 3D action-adventure film.

A quest that begins as a personal vendetta for the fierce Cimmerian warrior soon turns into an epic battle against hulking rivals, horrific monsters, and impossible odds, as Conan realizes he is the only hope of saving the great nations of Hyboria from an encroaching reign of supernatural evil.

Deftly adapted from the original works of Robert E. Howard and faithful to the mythology and psychology of his iconic character, CONAN THE BARBARIAN stars Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lang, Rose McGowan, Saïd Taghmaoui and Ron Perlman. The film is directed by Marcus Nispel, and written by Thomas Dean Donnelly & Joshua Oppenheimer and Sean Hood. Lionsgate and Millennium Films present a Millennium Films in association with EFF Independent Productions and a Conan Properties International LLC production.

COWBOYS AND ALIENS

Jon Favreau of Iron Man directorial ‘Fame’ gives another comic book adaptation a go.

Blockbuster filmmaker Jon Favreau directs Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford in an event film for summer 2011 that crosses the classic Western with the alien-invasion movie in a blazingly original way: Cowboys & Aliens. Joined by an arsenal of top moviemakers—Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci—he brings an all-new action thriller that will take audiences into the Old West, where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from beyond our world.

1875. New Mexico Territory. A stranger (Craig) with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don’t welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). It’s a town that lives in fear.

But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known.

Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he’s been, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a fighting chance against the alien force. With the help of the elusive traveler Ella (Olivia Wilde), he pulls together a posse comprised of former opponents—townsfolk, Dolarhyde and his boys, outlaws and Apache warriors—all in danger of annihilation. United against a common enemy, they will prepare for an epic showdown for survival.

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS

It seems they had to remake/reboot the film No Strings Attached in the same year… I wonder if this one will top that atrocity.

A young female headhunter (Mila Kunis) in New York convinces a potential recruit (Justin Timberlake) to accept a job in the Big Apple. Despite an attraction to each other, both realise they’re everything they¹ve been running from in a relationship and decide to see what happens if they leave emotion out of it and keep it strictly physical.

WIN WIN

Tom McCarthy, acclaimed writer/ director of THE VISITOR and THE STATION AGENT, once again explores the depths and nuances of human relationships in his new film about the allegiances and bonds between unlikely characters. Disheartened attorney Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti), who moonlights as a high school wrestling coach, stumbles across a star athlete through some questionable business dealings while trying to support his family. Just as it looks like he will get a double payday, the boy’s mother shows up fresh from rehab and flat broke, threatening to derail everything. McCarthy’s deft touch with balancing drama and comedy, broken hearts and poignant humanity is at play in WIN WIN.

THE WOMAN

New Aussie Horror, a continuation of the 2009 film Offspring.

When a successful country lawyer captures and attempts to “civilize” the last remaining member of a violent clan that has roamed the Northeast coast for decades, he puts the lives of his family in jeopardy.

————————————————————-
DVD RELEASES THIS WEEK
Paul (Film)
Justin Beiber: Never Say Never (Film)
It’s Kind of a Funny Story (Film)
Dexter: Season 5 (TV Series)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Review

“Get your paws off me you dirty ape!”  “You finally made a monkey out of me.”  These, to whom it may concern, are two lines dreadfully sung by Troy McClure featured in The Simpsons episode ‘A Fish Called Selma.’  It also represents the breadth of my knowledge about The Planet of the Apes before my voyage to its prequel.  To the uninitiated, fear not.  You don’t need to have seen the original to understand the storyline.

James Franco plays Will, a determined scientist developing a substance that potentially serves as a cure to Alzheimer’s disease.  Sticking to the good-old-fashion laboratory formula, the team continually test the serum on assorted apes throughout its development, one of which begins to show a marked improvement in mental capacity.  Jumping the gun, Franco and his stereotypically greedy boss (I swear you can almost see the oversized dollar signs in his pupils), present said primate to investors, however things go disastrously and the project is left in ruins.  Out of the chaos, Franco stumbles upon a baby chimp whose green flecked eyes (a side effect of the serum) indicate that this ape’s got potential.  Therefore Franco decides to play daddy and names him Caesar.

Overall, meh.  Performance wise, Franco strikes me hot and cold.  Yes, we feel him connect with the animal that he’s raised essentially as a human (teaching him sign language, clothing him), yet the first time they’re torn apart, it just didn’t feel like it HURTS Will enough.  They built it up as a father son relationship.  Care a little more dammit!  Slumdog Millionaire’s Freida Pinto plays Will’s love interest, who serves little more purpose than to run, offer the occasional titbit of opinion and stare in a concerned manner.  Forgettable.   John Lithgow solidly plays Will’s Alzheimer’s riddled father, a role in which he is allowed two opposite elements of mental stability.  You can tell he enjoyed the challenge.

However this is Caesar’s movie.  The visual effects crew at WETA Digital have again shown the fruits of motion capture done right.  Of course, this couldn’t have been possible without the extraordinary talent of Andy Serkis, king of the funny dots on your face.  It’s the eyes that have it in this film.  At one point I felt quite apprehensive at the impending presence of the monkeys, even though they aren’t even real!  A testament to the successful collaboration of the physical and digital.  One of the most fascinating elements of the film is the progression of Caesar’s character, from innocent baby to a somewhat malicious leader of a revolution.  Special mention: when Caesar speaks English.  Perfectly timed and quite affecting.

However a lot of the film feels like a giant cliché.  Sometimes it feels like the writers got stuck trying to represent CHIMP DOMINATION, resorting to the ridiculous.  The majority of the characters seem a bit one dimensional, the stereotypical villains in particular, so you don’t really give a rats when the inevitable happens.

Overall, predictable, but has its moments.  Go for the chimps, not the people.

P.S. This movie is a giant spoiler for Planet of the Apes.  Just sayin’.

3 Stars

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is currently in cinemas now.

This review was by Danielle Muir.

Film News Friday – Week 32, 2011

Here’s what’s been happening in the Movie World this week…

  • Bridget Jones 3 has been officially planned.
  • Anne Hathaway spoke on the image revealed last week, “…the picture that he (Chris Nolan) released of me, that’s not everything. That’s like a tenth of what the catsuit is. And I’ve got to say, I find it frustrating and I know he finds it frustrating, but I also think that he’s having fun with it, kind of like spooning out secrets. He has a lot more control than you think.”
  • It has been announced that Sin City 2 has financing and is ready to start production possibly by the end of the year. Rodriguez said, “Sin City 2 is going good, we’re just finishing the script for that, we already got the money. We have everything we need so we can just start shooting as soon as we get the pages. And it’s the same thing for Machete 2. We’ve already got the budget, just waiting for the script. As soon as we’re finished writing we get to start the shoot.”
  • Jason Momoa has written the sequel to his Conan the Barbarian film that is being released next week. He says that as long as people go to see it (the first one, that is). Then the second one can go ahead.
  • Boba Fett could get his own movie.
  • Samuel L. Jackson to produce a live action adaptation of Afro Samurai.
  • Rhys Ifans to play a part in the next Bond film. He is Playing the Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man.
  • The Dark Tower adaptation, a no-go.
  • The trailer for the board game adaptation film, Battleship has come out and… well… I have no idea whats going on…

In the Hawaiian Islands, an international naval fleet at Pearl Harbor engage in a very dynamic and intense battle against an alien race known as “The Regents”. The aliens come to planet Earth, on a mission to build a power source in the ocean. Upon their visit, they come in contact with a navy fleet. The film is also purported to show both sides of the story, from the aliens’ perspective, as well as the humans’ so the audience knows exactly where the opponent’s ships are. – I can’t wait for Guess Who: The Movie!

Sucker Punch on DVD

With the release of Sucker Punch on DVD this week how about we re-live the review of quite possibly the most hyped-up movie of the year…

It’s incredibly hard to describe this film. I saw it on Thursday and I’ve had to give it this long too sink in. This movie improves with age. It starts out with a five minute dialogue-less scene where where the story is set, A woman dies and has left everything she owns to her two young daughters, the girl’s jealous step father decides to take what he wants and he attacks the girls. In the process the younger sister is killed and in an act of self defence the older sister, “Baby Doll” (Emily Browning) points a gun at her evil step father. Baby Doll is framed for the murder of her sister and is sent to an asylum for the insane.

There, Baby Doll meets Rocket, Sweet Pea, Blondie and Amber and thats where things start getting interesting. Baby Doll’s imagination turns the asylum into a club where the inmates are the dancers. Baby Doll’s dancing mesmerises people and allows her and the other girls to experience awesome new worlds and crazy scenarios.

This film provides a look inside the mind of a crazy person. But is the crazy person Baby Doll or Zack Snyder? Let your imagination run wild and you might get this movie straight away. The soundtrack and visual effects are amazing and Zack’s use of his favourite special effect, slow motion shots make this movie a dream come true… Literally, this movie is more dream like than Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Despite what others say Zack Snyder is a talented director and he has made a good movie here. Although it’s a bit of a mess, Sucker Punch gets my vote!

2 Stars

Ultimately, the film only raked in $89 Million world-wide, in Australia, it pulled about $4.5 Million. The film never quite broke as good as the production company was hoping for. The budget of $82 Million was only just met in it’s theatrical life and unfortunately, Sucker Punch, missed the mark. Zack Snyder will return to the screen as director in 2013 with Man of Steel.

Sucker Punch is available on DVD and BluRay in all good video stores.

                   

Forecast – Week 32, 2011

FILM RELEASES THIS WEEK

GREEN LANTERN

In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. A brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers. But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds). Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before. But Hal is clearly the missing piece to the puzzle, and along with his determination and willpower, he has one thing no member of the Corps has ever had: humanity. With the encouragement of fellow pilot and childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), if Hal can quickly master his new powers and find the courage to overcome his fears, he may prove to be not only the key to defeating Parallax… he will become the greatest Green Lantern of all.

This seems to be unfortunately a probable disappointment, if the results of the other markets go, The Green Lantern won’t go so well in Australia. However, they’re already scripting for a second film.

FLYING MONSTERS 3D

Only screening at Sydney IMAX

David Attenborough the worlds leading naturalist, sets out to uncover the truth about the enigmatic pterosaurs, whose wingspans of up to 12 metres were equal to that of a modern day jet plane. Running time: 45 minutes.

GLEE LIVE 3D

Really only if you’re a fan of the series.

The multi-generational phenomenon that has inspired millions to embrace their inner-Gleek will soon bring them together to experience Glee a whole new way.

HORIZONS CROSSING

New Aussie Flick! Limited Release!

A love story and psychological thriller blurring the line between imagination and reality. Surviving an almost fatal fall, Abby is haunted by the voices and visions of two lovers, Theodore and Marie. Abby becomes obsessed with the race to save them. As the disturbing apparitions relentlessly torment her, an old tattered Teddy Bear proves her only solace. Feeling helpless, Thomas tries to retain control as Abby begins to slip away from him. Her increasing emotional distance and bizarre behaviour strains their relationship. Losing faith in Abby’s recovery he turns to a willing Cassie for comfort. Will their love survive?

JANE EYRE

Alice In Wonderland and Magneto team up in a Bronte classic.

In a bold new feature version of Jane Eyre, director Cary Joji Fukunaga (Sin Nombre) and screenwriter Moira Buffini (Tamara Drewe) infuse a contemporary immediacy into Charlotte Brontë’s timeless, classic story. Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) and Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) star in the iconic lead roles of the romantic drama, the heroine of which continues to inspire new generations of devoted readers and viewers.

POM WONDERFUL PRESENTS THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD

The guy from Super Size Me is back and this time he has sold out majorly!

Boundary-pushing Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock explores the world of product placement, marketing and advertising in POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, a film that was fully financed through product placement from various brands, all of which are integrated transparently into the film.

While using brands in film promotion is not new for Hollywood, it certainly is new territory for the documentary format. Spurlock exploits the phenomenon to new heights, with everything from branded pizza boxes and in-flight film promotions to branded-everything in-film.

With humour and insight, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold unmasks the marketing process to bring audiences behind closed doors directly into the pitch meetings and marketing presentations which ultimately inform our everyday entertainment decisions. Sponsors were provided with brand category exclusivity. The brands that agreed to sponsor the film placed Spurlock front and centre in their brand campaigns and advertisements, both on and off-line. Partners have the unique right to promote themselves in association with Spurlock and the film as “The Greatest.” The agreements also stipulate that Spurlock maintains creative control of the film’s content and final edit.

SENNA

Truly a life in the fast lane.

Spanning Senna’s years as a Formula One racing driver from 1984 to his untimely death a decade later, SENNA explores the life and work of the triple world champion, his physical and spiritual achievements on the track, his quest for perfection and the mythical status he has since attained.

UNITED

For all those Man U fans out there… and fans of David Tennant!

This moving drama tells the poignant, yet inspirational tale of a team and a community that turned tragedy into triumph. Based on the true story of Manchester United’s celebrated “Busby Babes”, the youngest side ever to win the Football League, and the 1958 Munich air crash that claimed eight of their team.

With its superbly talented cast and powerful script drawn from first hand interviews from survivors and their families, United tells how the extraordinary spirit of a community rebuilt the team in the aftermath of the crash, providing a powerful tribute to a tragedy that spurred the beginning of the global legend that is Manchester United.

Film News Update – Catwoman & Spider-Man

Selina Kyle (Catwoman, Batman) has appeared in a new official pic from The Dark Knight Rises. Anne Hathaway’s character on the site is referred to as Selina Kyle which may indicate a more realistic approach to the character similar to Harvey (Two-Face) Dent.

Official Pic:

Some unofficial pics of Anne’s stunt double:

In other news, in a very bold move, Sony’s Columbia Pictures have slated the release date for The Amazing Spider-Man 2! Thats right folks, still a little under a year out from the first film, the sequel, with no known storyline yet, will be released on May 2, 2014! Long way off but here’s some photos of the new Spidey, Andrew Garfield:

Spider-Man in costume (Left) and Peter Parker with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) (Right)

Film News Fridays – Week 31, 2011

Here’s what’s been happening in the Movie World this week…

  • Paramount Pictures have announced that they have broken the $2 Billion mark for the second year in a row.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road will now no longer be filmed in Broken Hill as first thought… Heavy rains changed the arid landscape and the location is not appropriate any more for the film. No new location has been announced.
  • Walking With Dinosaurs, a movie based on the TV and stage show, is slated for a December 2013 release.
  • Melisa Wallack has been signed to pen the screenplay for an “Emily The Strange” film, Chloe Moretz has already been attached to play the lead.
  • The trailer for Lucasfilm’s first non Star Wars/Indiana Jones film since 1994, Red Tails has been released… Think Remember the Titans meets Top Gun… interested? Click Here
  • In other Lucasfilm news, a date has been set for Star Wars – Episode One: The Phantom Menace 3D to be released in cinemas… February 10, 2012.
  • It hasn’t even opened here yet but there are already talks of a Green Lantern sequel… The president of Warner Bros. claims that the US opening was decent enough to know there is a fan base big enough to play around with continuing the story. He also stated that they have a solid script for a screen debut of The Flash, they are also toying with the idea of a Justice League film…
  • While we’re on DC comics Laurence Fishburne (of Matrix and CSI fame), has joined the cast of Man of Steel as editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet, Perry White.
  • Thats not all Super-fans! A new photo has been released of Henry Cavill as Superman!