Of all the movies slated for release this summer blockbuster season, the one which seemed to lack the necessary geek credibility was Green Lantern, starring Ryan Reynolds. The first trailer did not help this perception as it played more like a comedy (think: Batman & Robin) than a dark epic superhero drama (think: The Dark Knight). But since then, Warners has taken great pains to address that imbalance with a second trailer which has certainly raised the expectations amongst the geek community.
With the movie release coming up very soon and perhaps concerned about public perception (non-geek), a third (and final) trailer has been released – narrated by GL Toma Re (as voiced by the excellent Geoffrey Rush), this trailer gives the requisite background into the GL universe so that neophytes may also understand what Green Lantern is all about. Take a look and you will be convinced that the Green Lantern movie will be a superhero action-adventure to look forward to.
This, for me, is the superhero movie of the summer, mainly because of what I have seen of Michael Fassbinder’s Magneto in the trailers. In addition, I am also putting a certain amount of faith in director Matthew Vaughn’s ability to make this work (but since his competition is the risible X-Men 3 and Wolverine movies, it will not be difficult).
Fox has issued four trailers focusing on the very subject matter of the film – the first class of mutants tutored by Professor X and Magneto viz. Banshee, Mystique, Beast and Havok. Whilst all look intriguing, it only serves to emphasize that the film deviates too much from the comic book to make it an absolute winner.
This is obviously an attempt to link this prequel with the X-Men trilogy in the eyes of movie-goers. Therefore, we get a Havok who is older than Cyclops, a different Angel, a young Banshee and a Mystique that was formerly an X-Man! Only the Beast remains from the original comic book team.
Of course, only geeks like me – who grew up loving the original X-Men – will be pissed off and bothered about this whilst watching the film.
The best compliment I can bestow upon Thor is that I was expecting more when it ended. The two-hour duration whizzed past so quickly that it actually felt short. Kudos to director Kenneth Branagh for bringing to life a comic book super-hero story that seems almost unfilmable.
Brilliantly interweaving two stories – one, in Asgard and the other on Midgard (i.e. Earth!) – Thor is delivered almost naturally for a movie that involves Norse deities. There’s not a single moment where you begin to feel that the concept is silly or corny – in line with other Marvel stories, the believability quotient is always high. No mean feat.
It’s nigh impossible to escape the influence of iconoclastic sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick on modern day sci-fi movie making. Already this year, we have actually had one (subpar) Dick adaptation (The Adjustment Bureau) and one superficially Dick-inspired fantasy (Zack Synder’s critically lambasted Sucker Punch). However, it may well be Duncan Jones’ superlative Source Code that takes the prize for the most faithful Dickian film creation in 2011!
V1K1: A TECHNO FAIRY TALE Directed by Tzang Merwyn Tong
After the screening of this short film, director Tzang remarked to me that imagination has no budget constraints. Or something like that! Produced in conjunction with ITE College West, a group of dedicated thespians and intelligent special effects personnel, Tzang has delivered a sci-fi/fantasy narrative that works even on a minuscule budget. Chief amongst its many achievements is the amount of plotlines, nuances and tangents into its brief time frame.
Based on the comic book of the same name, Cowboys and Aliens has released its second theatrical trailer. It’s always exciting to see a sci-fi alien encounter story within other historical contexts, and that for me is the main draw (pun intended) for this Jon Favreau-helmed action thriller. And it’s got Harrison Ford in it as well. Check it out.
Singapore film-maker Eric Khoo’s Tatsumi (based on the life and short stories of Yoshihiro Tatsumi) will be the 13th animated feature to premiere at Cannes Official Selection!
This 95 minute animated feature in Japanese explores the life of the father of Gekiga (dramatic pictures) inspired by his autobiography, A Drifting Life. It also showcases some of Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s most important stories written in the early seventies such as Hell, Beloved Monkey, Just A Man, Occupied and Goodbye.
If you watched Let Me In without knowing anything whatsoever about the original Swedish film, you’d definitely walk out of the cinema hugely impressed and touched. However, if like me, you have seen Let the Right One In, you’d be scratching your head as to why this remake needed to exist at all.
Of course, I was expecting the worst – Hollywood remakes of non-US films tend to sentimentalize and smoothen the rough edges – but in this case, director Matt Reeves has created a faithful adaptation of the original source material. In terms of tone and atmosphere, it is almost identical to the original. The winter wasteland, the stark horror and the understated acting, for instance.
What Reeves does amp up slightly is the romance between the lead characters Abby (Chloe Morentz) and Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and also, makes it emphatically clear that Abby’s ‘father’ (Richard Jenkins) is actually Abby’s companion (in the same way that Owen will become at the end). IN the process, making the movie more definitely, the passing of the torch – so to speak – from the ‘father’ to Owen.
Other than that, there are no surprises whatsoever and anyone has seen the original will find nothing new in Let Me In. So I ask again – what was the point of this exercise? Hurm.
I never liked the original Arthur movie starring the late Dudley Moore and never quite understood it’s popularity and the soundtrack contained one of the worst songs ever written by the great Burt Bacharach, not helped by Christopher Cross’ awful falsetto as well. So it seemed to make perfect sense to me when it was announced that a remake would be produced with the over-rated Russell Brand reprising Moore’s role. Ugh.
But… if Ben Gibbard’s contribution to the soundtrack – a wistful Springsteen channeling slow rocker called When the Sun Goes Down – is any indication, then at least the music on the film is going to be worth checking out. Listen for yourself…
VARIOUS ARTISTS Sucker Punch Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (WaterTower)
If you’ve read my review of the film itself, you’d be aware that I believe despite scathing reviews the movie has instead received, it is the ultimate geek movie and this extends to the excellent music featured on the fantasy scenes, where Baby Doll and team embark on their quests to obtain the items required for their escape.
Through unique cover versions and intriguing remixes, the producers behind this dazzling soundtrack album have really put together a music geek’s wet dream. From the opening expository sequence scored to Emily Browning’s excellent rendition of the Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), it’s clear that Snyder and company have brought their superior tastes to bear. Along with exciting new treatments of Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit, Stooges’ Search & Destroy, Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows, Pixies’ Where Is My Mind and the Smiths’ Asleep, the remixes of Bjork’s Army of Me and Queen’s I Want It All/We Will Rock Out truly stand out.
Throbbing, sweaty and edgy, these songs remain in-your-face to perfectly complement the wild action sequences that Snyder has expertly together. But even without the visual elements there is no denying the power of the music itself. Even at the end, Roxy Music’s Love is the Drug slithers it’s slinky self through our synapses courtesy of Oliver Issac and Carla Guigino! Magnificient!!
Both film and soundtrack album are essential. But you knew that.
Yes, geeks and geekettes, I must confess that I have been thus far less than impressed by the prospect of the Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds. The first trailer did not do much to allay the fears as the tone of the movie came across as comedy-adventure rather than space epic.
I read a lot of super-hero comic books growing up in the 60s and one of my favorite characters was the X-Man, Cyclops. You know, the guy who could shoot red laser beams from his eyes, functioned as team leader (in the absence of the crippled Professor X), hooked up with the only girl (Marvel Girl, natch aka Jean Grey) in the team and possessed all the qualities that I looked up to as a young pre-teen child.
Of course, in the subsequent years, Cyclops’ life got a whole lot more complicated and his character has been revised to such an unrecognizable extent (as with most comic book super-heroes) that I have lost all interest in him (and super-hero comic books in general).
This is for all you Sucker Punch haters out there.
(Press release) The soundtrack is currently all over the Billboard Album Charts! It’s the #2 soundtrack in America, #31 on the overall Top 200, #4 on the Indie Chart and is the #10 overall Digital Album!!! Check out this video of star Emily Browning covering The Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This).
Kudos to Zack Synder for making the ultimate GEEK movie! I am certain this unique film will leave many scratching their heads at the film’s conclusion but that’s the whole point of Sucker Punch. And I’d wager that unless you’re a geek, you are pretty much gonna hate this mash-up of the different facets of geek culture. Which is just fine with me.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER OFFICIAL TRAILER
This is already looking like an AMAZING year for superhero movies. Based on the trailers of Thor and X-Men: First Class, it appears that directors/producers are pulling out all the stops to make superhero movies work on every level – for the geek and casual movie-goer alike. Finally, Captain America is given a proper trailer and it looks like yet another winner. Every comic book geek knows Cap’s origin story and I am hoping that the promise shown here is fulfilled and justice is done to the vision of creators Joe Simon (now in his late 90s!) and Jack “King” Kirby (rest in peace). The movie opens on 22nd July.
Michael Hutchence was the quintessential rock frontman and his relatively short life span (3 years shy of 40) lived up to the moniker adopted by his world-famous band, INXS. This DVD presents Hutchence and INXS live in Germany, a couple of months before his tragic early demise. The performance is top notch and all the classic hits are trotted out and delivered with panache and verve e.g. New Sensation, Never Tear Us Apart, Need You Tonight, Suicide Blonde and so on.
Also included bonus tracks from the first appearance of the band on the German TV show, Rockpalast back in 1984, when the band played a more pure form of post-punk, although Hutchence’s smoldering sex appeal is already in strong evidence.
The filmmakers of “The Hunger Games” are pleased to announce that Academy Award® nominated actress Jennifer Lawrence will assume the coveted role of Katniss Everdeen in the much anticipated film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games”.
The film will be directed by Gary Ross. Collins’ best-selling novel, which has over 3 million copies in print in the United States alone, is the first in a trilogy of science fiction/action novels which have developed a global following. Cathay-Keris Films will release “The Hunger Games” in Singapore in March 2012.
Newcomer Lawrence’s meteoric ascent began in earnest with her breakout role in last year’s “Winter’s Bone,” and culminated in an Academy Award nomination. This summer, Lawrence will star in Matthew Vaughn’s “X Men: First Class”.
“The Hunger Games” chronicles a dystopic Capitol which requires its twelve subjugated districts to pay tribute in the form of a teenage boy and girl, forced to participate in the annual “Hunger Games”, a fight-to-the-death live televised event. Katniss Everdeen’s little sister is chosen in the lottery to participate and Katniss volunteers to take her place. Although persevering through hardship is commonplace for Katniss, she must start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love in order to win the games and return home.
First proper trailer for the Spielberg-Abrams secret project is now out! And doesn’t it look like am 80s alien/monster movie, directed by Spielberg? Not sure quite what to make of it… should be interesting in any case.
The first Conan the Barbarian, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, was significant in Singapore cuz it actually gave Singaporeans an uncensored view of bare boobies, which was incredible back in 1982! Right.
So a good 29 years later, here comes the remake which introduces Jason Momoa as the Barbarian. The teaser does not show that much (it is a teaser after all) but the voice over should elicit quite a few chuckles – “Enter the world of the Barbarian”. Okaaay….
RED WANTING BLUE These Magnificent Miles CD/DVD (Fanatic)
I will shamelessly confess to the fact that there was a moment in the DVD documentary that I had to stop and basically broke down in tears. The culprit? The Red Wanting Blue track Finger In The Air, along with the band members talking about what that song was all about.
They say, “give up and go back where you belong/Dreaming’s for the dead, kid, the road is too long”/Middle finger in the air, I’m still here/Egging them on…
For every dreamer who’s ever had to fight for what they believe in, this song resonates powerfully and it fit perfectly with the story that unfolded on this simple yet touching documentary.
Based on iconoclastic sci-fi writer Philip K Dick’s short story, Adjustment Team, Adjustment Bureau contains star power and an interesting premise but in the end is poorly conceived and executed. In Dick’s short story, the protagonist discovers by accident that the world is not what it seems to be. Behind the scenes, white-robed men make “adjustments” to the world to correct certain anomalies to the grand design. You can read the short story (legally, it’s in the public domain) here. You probably recognize the influence of this premise in sci-fi films like Dark City and Matrix, even in the Fringe TV series.
How much you’d enjoy the new Chinese remake of the 2000 Mel Gibson film, What Women Want, largely depends on how much you’d enjoy seeing a topless Andy Lau prance around in drag. Does the idea of that turn you off? Then this glossy romantic comedy starring Andy Lau and Gong Li would probably fall short of your expectations. If you’re looking for a passable date movie, however, this low-calorie fluff flick has just enough humour and sex appeal to fill an hour and a half or so.