0 Comments · Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Pulp — there it is again — the good cheap
stuff is back and, not surprisingly, it has found its way onto the big
screen. Jo Nesbø, the Norwegian bestseller trawling these murky shores,
provides the basis for a solid anchoring with Headhunters.
Typical sequels dominate the summer slate, but smaller festival favorites offer hope
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The visions are as fresh as the day they
entered my impressionable head. As a child weaned at the entertaining
teat of 1980s blockbusters like Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Ghostbusters and Back to the Future, I have a soft spot in my movie-snob heart for a good summer popcorn movie.
by Brandon Barb
at 12:21 PM | Permalink
John Cusack an odd choice for Edgar Allan Poe; Larry, Moe and Curly finally go big screen
When I first saw the trailer to the upcoming John Cusack movie The Raven I wasn't quite sure what to
think. At first, I was excited because it is a movie based on Edgar Allan Poe’s
work, but I'm still skeptical. The English major side of me jumped for joy (but then
remembered he was an English major and went back to brooding).
Everything was fine until John Cusack walked in from the shadows. Don't
get me wrong, his movies are some of my favorites and I love his work, but
Cusack playing Poe is a strange combination. Maybe they wanted to have the same
dark character they saw in Identity.
There are a few people that I could see playing Poe. Off the top of my head,
Sam Rockwell, Edward Norton and Gary Oldman are three guys who could pull off
the dark character that Poe was. At least Cusack resembles Poe in the movie.
Maybe it is just the trailer
that turns me off to Cusack filling the boots of the late American poet. In it,
Cusack’s delivery is dry and stiff. I don’t feel any kind mystery that
surrounds Poe. Some of his writings are real disturbing when looked at closely,
but with Cusack the character appears to be deflated. I guess this hesitation
comes from Poe being one of my favorite writers. For all I know, the trailers
don’t do the movie justice, which I hope is the case. Cusack is known for his
obscure roles and disturbed characters, so this is probably a perfect fit.
The premise for the film has been done before, but since it's Edgar
Allan Poe it gives the movie somewhat of a different angle. Some man is committing
murders based on stories written by Poe, and then Poe has to figure out who the
murderer is with the help of Detective Fields played by Luke Evans. If you're
worrying about spoilers, don't be — all of that is in the trailer. I
think I know who the murderer is already, but it’s Hollywood so anything can
Movies based off of literature are good as long as they keep true to
the source material. It will be interesting to see what happens with The Raven. It feels like a mixture of
the Sherlock Holmes movies and the Johnny Depp picture From Hell. We will all find out on April 27.
Another movie is being released today and me torn as to whether
to watch it or not. The idea of a The Three Stooges film has
bounced around for years, but now it has finally limped its way to the screen.
Leave it to Hollywood to take a beloved comedic classic like the Stooges and
churn out a mediocre-looking movie.
There have been many names were attached to this project, including
Jim Carrey, Justin Timberlake, Andy Samberg and Paul Giamatti. Actually filling
the shoes of the Stooges are Sean Hayes as Larry, Will Sasso as Curly and Chris
Diamantopoulos as Moe. To me the only choice that makes sense is Sasso because
he made a name for himself with physical comedy on Mad TV.
I’m surprised this is actually a movie, because it just looks horrible. I
don’t want to watch it but I probably will end up in the theater because the
original Stooges are a great gift to slapstick comedy — I’ll even give Curly’s
replacement Shemp a nod and say he wasn’t that bad, either. But any movie that
incorporates the Jersey Shore should
just go straight to DVD.
The tagline for the movie is “Just say Moe” but someone should have
told the Farrelly brothers to just say no. They are known for great comedies
like Kingpin, There’s Something About
Mary and Me, Myself & Irene, but their trek into classic slapstick comedy
appears to be anything but. As much of a fan as I am of the Stooges I hope I'm
wrong with this one, and that at least Will Sasso is just as good as he was
on Mad TV.
by Brandon Barb
at 08:48 AM | Permalink
'Clash of the Titans,' 'Total Recall' and 'American Pie' all get remakes/sequels
Movies that populated theaters in the '80s and '90s are
making a comeback. Some are better than others but since there is a built-in
audience, Hollywood is cranking out remakes and reboots left and right.
This practice has been done for years but recently
more movies than ever have been redone. March brought 21 Jump Street with skinny
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. The buddy cop movie was actually
funny and has made more than $90 million so far.
Other notable remakes over the last few years include Fright Night, Conan the Barbarian, Karate Kid, Clash of the
Titans, Footloose, Nightmare on Elm Street, Wall Street, Arthur and Die Hard. Out of the nine mentioned, only Fright Night and Die Hard were actually enjoyable (in my opinion).
The worst out of the bunch had to be Clash of the Titans. Cheesy acting and bad 3D effects plagued this Sam Worthington CGI-fest.
Worthington did a better job in the ads for the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Now an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie is getting another look,
and thank goodness it isn’t Junior.
The first trailer for a new Total Recall was released Sunday. No,
this isn’t a late April Fool’s joke. The remake to the 1990 Schwarzenegger
movie is a real thing, and fans of not only the original but of science fiction
in general should be giddy with anticipation.
The remake stars Colin Farrell, coming off of his
performance from the 1980s vampire remake Fright Night, with Kate Beckinsale
and Jessica Biel taking roles of eye candy. Will there be another
three-breasted woman? Fans of the original can only hope. AMC’s Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston
plays the bad guy. The cast alone gives a lot more credit to this remake than
We will all have to wait to actually watch the thing to
figure out if it’s worthy enough to be considered a decent remake.
In other movie news, the next American Pie installment hits
theaters today. To me, this is going to be a paycheck movie. Meaning, the
original cast of characters is only returning because they haven’t been in
anything major in the last few years. Well, for the exception of Allison
Hannigan who has been on the long running show How I Met Your Mother. Expect
a lot of dick and sex jokes, which is essentially what the first movie was, but
now the cast is much older.
The original American Pie was released in 1999 and was
seen as a fresh take on the high school sex comedy. The second added on to that
with more outlandish situations — like mixing up lube with super glue. American Wedding was thought to be the ending to Stifler and the gang’s
stories — compared to the first and second, it was somewhat of a letdown. Then
came the straight-to-DVD American Pie Presents movies. I will admit, though,
American Pie Beta House was a hilarious college comedy; women might not want to
watch because it focuses on a misbehaving fraternity.Squeezing film stars for as much money as possible is the norm
nowadays with movie franchises – just look at Pirates of Caribbean. Maybe I
am jumping to conclusions with American Reunion, but the pie lost its flavor a
long time ago.
by Brandon Barb
at 12:58 PM | Permalink
Don't compare the latest young adult book-to-film to 'Twilight'
When I go see a movie, it better be a great one — at least a good one so that I didn’t waste an evening. Being in my final year of college I don’t exactly have all the time I want to go out to the theater. There have been numerous movies that are already out on DVD that I missed out on seeing on the big screen, the most recent example being The Rum Diary.There is another reason that I visit the theater maybe two or three times a year, and that is the price of tickets. My student status means what little money I have goes to more important needs. Going to see a movie should be an enjoyable event not a troublesome occasion that breaks your bank account. Tickets, dinner and movie snacks can get incredibly expensive which is why I’m glad there was still a little tax return money left when I went to see The Hunger Games. I know this is a little late in regards to the movie’s release, but better late than never.Going into the movie I had not read any of the books. I know that is sacrilegious in some circles — even the English major in me was furious. But I am not here to talk about the book, even though I did subsequently pick it up, so that could happen in a few days.With that being said, I didn’t have any preconceived notions of the story, characters or setting. In some cases that is the best way to be introduced to a series. With a clean slate, that allows little room for disappointment. The only thing that I was really disappointed about was the use of the shaky camera, mainly in the opening and final scenes in the arena. Apparently director Gary Ross felt that using shaky cam work would help give a better portrayal of Katniss Everdeen’s point of view and gave a sense of urgency to the movie. My only advice is that if you get motion sickness, be careful with this one.At risk of sounding cheesy, everything else about the movie was great. Jennifer Lawrence did an excellent job of being the badass Katniss is. Woody Harrelson kept his string of great roles going; in some scenes he stole the light away from Lawrence and company — at least in my eyes. Maybe I’m just too big a fan of Zombieland.There was one thing that went unnoticed though. Peeta, played by Union, Ky., native Josh Hutcherson, turned into a wimp in the arena. A big deal was made of how much weight he could throw around, even showing him picking up a spiked metal ball and hurling it across the room. I was expecting him to throw a heavy boulder at someone Braveheart-style. Instead, we were shown that he all he could do was camouflage himself to look like a rock. At least in the book he killed someone.The only bad part of The Hunger Games was having to sit through a trailer for the final Twilight movie. That whole series is like watching pieces of wood trying to act. There have been comparisons of the two book/film series but there is one difference between them: The Hunger Games is actually good.The Twilight books are horribly written — I wasn’t able to get more than 20 pages into the first one before I had to stop — the English major in me came out again, rejoicing like the Wicked Witch was dead. Then the Twilight movies completely destroyed every bit of vampire lore ever created. Vampires don’t sparkle and they can’t go out in the sun. I guess I don’t get the appeal of Twilight because I’m not a teenage girl. The choice of actors/actresses was strange as well, mainly because they give the same performance in each movie they are in. Check out Taylor Lautner’s terrible action movie Abduction for a piece of wood with abs’ best impression of acting. With that, I think I need to stop with the Twilight comments before it gets out of hand.Though I picked up the Hunger Games book after I watched the movie, I can now say the filmmakers stayed true to the source material. There have been other movies with the same concept of a group of people fighting to death — The Running Man, Battle Royale and The Condemned are only a few. The story has been done before but it still manages to stay fresh. I’ve been going on and on, go see the movie for yourself or better yet read the book, it would only take a day or so to get through it.
2 Comments · Tuesday, February 21, 2012
contemporary filmmakers can claim a career as interesting as Gus Van
Sant’s. The 59-year-old director studied painting at the Rhode Island
School of Design before shifting his studies to film. He tried his hand
at Hollywood after graduation, but soon moved his home base to Portland,
Ore., a place where his artier leanings would flourish.
by Eli Johnson
Posted In: Movies
at 02:17 PM | Permalink
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found via animal testing that zapping the testicles of rats with a therapeutic ultrasound machine can get rid of the germ cells used to produce sperm. "This caused rat sperm counts to fall far below the [equivalent] range seen in normal fertile men, and this happened in just two weeks," said James Tsuruta, assistant professor of pediatrics in the laboratories of reproductive biology at UNC Chapel Hill. "This method dropped sperm counts 10-times lower than just using heat," said Tsuruta. "It's going to be exciting to figure out how this exactly works: if it's safe to use repeatedly, how long it lasts, and if it's reversible." Scientists believe this study could pave the way for a new method of male contraception, but have discouraged women from electrocuting their beaus’ balls with or without consent at least until clinical trials have begun.
by Eli Johnson
Posted In: Music
at 01:27 PM | Permalink
An 82-year-old named George Murphy was getting stomped by a ferocious Alaskan moose before his 85-year-old, 97-pound wife Dorothea Taylor intervened. With a shovel. Story here. Mee Yan Leong, 58, sat down on a toilet and refused to get up for 902 days because she claimed she “felt a force holding me down.” Story here.
by Mike Breen
Posted In: Movies
at 09:12 AM | Permalink
The nominees for the 84th annual Academy Awards were announced this morning. Local-boy-done-very-very-good George Clooney, as expected, is up for this year's Actor in a Leading Role trophy for his work in The Descendants, while The Ides of March scored Clooney another nod for best Adapted Screenplay (the only nomination for the largely-locally-filmed flick). Below is the full list of noms. So — who's winning an Oscar this year?