Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Box trailer FTW, Saw theme FTL

I love the Saw movies; they're this generation's Friday the 13th, a series of slasher flicks that please on a goofy, splatter-movie level. I also like the music, by Nine Inch Nails member Charlie Clouser. That said, they keep using the "big reveal" music from the end of every Saw picture in movie trailers, like the final Valkyrie trailer, Deja Vu, and now The Box, the third film from Donnie Darko and Southland Tales writer/director Richard Kelly.

Aside from that musical misstep, the trailer looks awesome.

The Box opens on October 30th, 2009. Here is the IMDb page for the movie, because there are 33 other movies with the title The Box.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Remake Watch: Blood Simple, RoboCop

Holy s---, do I get to make an entirely awesome Remake Watch post? I think I do. First, the Associated Press says director Zhang Yimou (Hero and House of Flying Daggers) is about to start shooting a remake of The Coen Brothers' debut picture Blood Simple. I love Blood Simple, but unlike some films I love, the idea of a remake is crazy and interesting, a feeling that's only increased because the remake is foreign and by a notable filmmaker. Of course, Blood Simple's film-noir plot, with its lost lighters, unscrupulous detectives and bodies that don't stay dead, is so f---ing awesome I have a hard time imagining anyone screwing it up either, so that's probably part of it.

Also, after CHUD questioned Aronofsky's commitment to the RoboCop remake, they've confirmed that it's still on like Donkey Kong. I left a comment to Devin Faraci about how Aronofsky had the same non-committal answer that made Devin suspicious in the first piece months and months ago when I saw The Wrestler in Seattle with the director in attendance (I was the one who asked about it), but either way, it's good that he's still on board. RoboCop is probably the most potentially awesome remake on the books at the moment; I feel pretty strongly that, as great as the original is, this is one of those rare chances the remake could actually be better. I hate to cite everyone's favorite "reboot" example, but there's some really great Nolan-plus-Batman potential here (by which really I mean I think Aronofsky-plus-RoboCop could totally eclipse the success of Nolan-plus-Batman and become the new "reboot" success story. I hope).

Also, Moviehole reports they're remaking some Australian movie I've never heard of. Must be good, if the remake process doesn't involve the profile of the original picture.

Remake Watch 2009:
13 film remakes announced
4 film remakes released
2 tv remakes released
2 reboots announced
2 reboots released

A "reboot" is defined by Remake Watch as a new attempt at a film series with new actors playing old characters (thus, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Race to Witch Mountain are excluded). Sequels to remakes (The Pink Panther 2, Halloween 2) are ignored.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Marshall's Predators Doomsday imminent (?), but Antal has the Vacancy under Kontroll

Twelve days ago it looked like Neil Marshall, director of junk-food John Carpenter homage Doomsday and indie horrors The Descent and Dog Soldiers was in the lead to direct series reboot/sequel Predators for writer/producer Robert Rodriguez and 20th Century Fox, but now Latino Review is exclusively reporting that now Hungarian director Nimród Antal apparently has the job in his pocket.

Antal directed the American thriller Vacancy, which I wasn't a huge fan of but fellow, lazy TFP writer Matt Lingo liked, and he's responsible for the upcoming film Armored, which I thought looked like a glossy, direct-to-video potboiler awkwardly assigned a huge cast until I learned that Antal was behind it. That said, Antal also directed a really awesome film set in a Hungarian subway station called Kontroll.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Remake Watch 2009: Meatballs

Digital Spy says that Bill Murray's first major film Meatballs is in the works for a rehash at Paramount. Yet another project that doesn't really scream for a remake. Admittedly, Meatballs was Murray's first notable role, and it wasn't until test screenings that director Ivan Reitman and co. knew what they had in him, but most comedy vehicles, both then and now, were developed for the star that headlined them. The plot of Meatballs is that it's summer camp. Without Murray, it's not so much that the concept doesn't hold any draw, it's more that it's barely even a concept to begin with. Imagine in 40 years when they're remaking Will Ferrell's movies like Talladega Nights -- a NASCAR driver falls from grace and has to redeem himself. It's Shakespearean, isn't it?

Also, Latino Review claims that Roland Kickinger is actually not Conan after all, but their piece is so poorly written that I can't take the reporting seriously. I don't think the collective internet roared with laughter when the supposed announcement was made, nor is THR a remarkably unreliable source. If they were talking about the rumor that Eddie Murphy was the Riddler, Rachel Weisz was Catwoman and Shia LaBeouf was Robin, then maybe their mockery would be justified.

Remake Watch 2009:
11 film remakes announced
4 film remakes released
2 tv remakes released
2 reboots announced
2 reboots released

A "reboot" is defined by Remake Watch as a new attempt at a film series with new actors playing old characters (thus, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Race to Witch Mountain are excluded). Sequels to remakes (The Pink Panther 2, Halloween 2) are ignored.


CHUD openly mocks mega-hack M. Night Shysmalan's recent statement that he's considering digging up Unbreakable and making the long-belated sequel oh-so-tantalizingly promised by the movie's premise.

Admittedly, I'd have to agree that it's unlikely to happen, because unless Avatar: The Last Airbender is a hit, it seems like Shyamalan's box office pull has been shrinking at the same rate his ego's been inflating (well, maybe a little slower), so making a decade-late sequel to an underperforming original seems like a project that doesn't exactly scream to be greenlighted. Still, I really like Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, and it's been too long since they've teamed up (they've been in four movies together, the last one being Unbreakable). And, of course, Unbreakable is, in my opinion, Shyamalan's one great movie, that succeeds at everything it wants to do despite Shyamalan's portentous style and insistence on a twist ending. Then again, Shyamalan hasn't made a good movie in years, so maybe it's good he's not out there ruining the film's legacy.

Amber Stepfather Heard and Amber Zombieland Heard Trailers. Also 2012.

Earlier I said I didn't care about The Stepfather remake, but it turns out I lied, because I watched the trailer and Amber Heard is in it. Yes, the film may be by the people who made the Prom Night remake (ugh), it might be yet another in a long line of glossy Sony/Screen Gems garbage (awful), and it's rated PG-13 (stupid, stupid, stupid), but, again, in the movie's defense, Amber Heard is 100%, definitely, absolutely in it.

Here, you watch the stupid trailer.

Yep, I'm that easy. The trailer gives everything away, but when it invariably comes to DVD and is Unrated, I'm sure I'll end up giving it a chance, because, in case you hadn't heard, Amber Heard is in it. Let's hope they do a special edition of the original in the meantime.

Oh, hey, Amber Heard iz in Zombieland as well.

Many people are saying the zombie thing is over and done with, and judging by the stylish-but-not-particularly-inspiring trailer, I might be inclined to agree, but in addition to Amber Heard, this movie has Bill Murray in it too, so it's gotta be at least a little entertaining.

On an unrelated note, while I'm at it, I might as well post this trailer for 2012, the new Roland Emmerich movie that looks exactly like every other Roland Emmerich movie in existence, as long as you swap John Cusack for Jeff Goldblum or Jake Gyllenhaal. I like John Cusack. No, Amber Heard is not in this one (I actually went to IMDb to double-check), but I might see it anyway.

Bringing this post back around to what it's really about, the apparently abominable film The Informers (in which Amber Heard gets naked) is on DVD and Blu-Ray August 25th, 2009, and her long-delayed All the Boys Love Mandy Lane was just negatively reviewed by co-DVDTalker Brian Orndorf. She's also signed to appear in The Ward, which The Hollywood Reporter says Danielle Panabaker just signed onto, and which is being directed by John Carpenter, one of my heroes. I'm thrilled to see Carpenter come back, but truth be told, Amber Heard or not, I'm more interested in The Prince, about a gangster who returns to Las Vegas after decades away, violating contracts on his head, in order to save his daughter. That sounds f---ing awesome. It's been on Carpenter's plate for awhile, but I'm skeptical about it actually going before cameras. Let's hope for the best.

The Stepfather opens on October 16th, Zombieland is in theaters October 9th, and 2012 arrives on November 13th, 2009. Hooray, another crappy movie opening near my birthday.

Time to take a cold shower.

Why Tween Trends Are Stupid

Were it not for a nationwide army of girls drawn to the idiotic soap operas of "The Vampire Diaries", "True Blood" (Anna Paquin's nudity excluded) and, of course, Twilight, then really awesome vampire movies like Let the Right One In wouldn't get shafted. Or director Park Chan-Wook's Thirst, sure to be seen as yet another blip on the zeitgeist radar by the rest of the world, even though it was in development before I'd ever heard of Stephenie Meyer.

This version of the trailer isn't the greatest, but it is the best one on YouTube at the moment.

Did I mention that Park Chan-Wook is the director of Oldboy and the underrated J.S.A.: Joint Security Area? I know the trailer makes mention of the former, but I figured I'd remind you again all the same. If you haven't seen either, go rent 'em. At the very least, they're all visually stunning, something that's equally evident in the above trailer.

Thirst opens in limited release on July 31st, 2009.

Sweet Cherry Pie

IMDb posted a news article (wait, they have actual news on IMDb? I thought it was just idiotic celebrity gossip and poorly-transcribed EW stories!) about star Kyle MacLachlan potentially making some "Twin Peaks" webisodes. Sadly, David Lynch is too busy being completely bats--- crazy to be involved.

Whether the eps are good or bad, I suppose that means it's time for me to go buy The Gold Box.

Via Stuff We Like.

Remake Watch 2009: Teen Wolf, Das Experiment

If you guessed I made that Cold Souls post just to space out another Remake Watch post, you'd be right.

Moviehole howls about a Teen Wolf redo, and CHUD says Das Experiment is being reformulated. Meh. I have almost nothing to say about either of these. I mean, even if you like Teen Wolf, could your fan-love for it really be so strong as to loathe the idea of a remake? I doubt even the guys who wrote it have that much devotion to the original. By which I mean, I doubt anyone gives a s--- about the franchise, much less whether or not a remake exists.

Also, Roland Kickinger is the new Conan, and there's a trailer for The Stepfather remake. Yeah, I don't care about those either.

Remake Watch 2009:
10 film remakes announced
4 film remakes released
2 tv remakes released
2 reboots announced
2 reboots released

A "reboot" is defined by Remake Watch as a new attempt at a film series with new actors playing old characters (thus, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Race to Witch Mountain are excluded). Sequels to remakes (The Pink Panther 2, Halloween 2) are ignored.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Soul

Above is the trailer for Cold Souls, a new film starring Paul Giamatti. It looks like a Charlie Kaufman film, but it isn't. It also looks like it could be interesting and funny, but it's hard to shake the Eternal Sunshine vibe in the trailer, especially during the part when Giamatti first visits David Straithairn's office -- I immediately thought of the scene where Jim Carrey asks Tom Wilkinson, "This is a hoax, right?"

Even if the movie ends up being derivative, here's the really awesome poster.

Cold Souls opens in limited release on August 7th, 2009.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Remake Watch 2009: Bride of Frankenstein

Making three Remake Watch 2009 posts in a row is kind of gross, but I'm not the one with my hand on the greenlight button in Hollywood, I guess. In any case, something called The Risky Biz Blog is reporting that Universal Studios plans to remake Bride of Frankenstein.

Does the Frankenstein character have any real brand recognition anymore? Is this really going to get teenagers hearts pumping? These pretty stupid questions, as Frankenstein is one of the most famous literary monsters ever, but they're the kind of questions a Hollywood executive might have pondered before pushing the button, and I'm surprised the answer was "yes". It seems like a grotesque stretch, reeking of the worst kind of Hollywood unoriginality. They just don't want to have to write a new story and sell it, so they find a movie with a similar plot and tag it as a remake. And why remake Bride of Frankenstein but not start with Frankenstein? It does seem like there could be a cool new set of movies with classic Universal monsters, but I wonder why they're not starting at the beginning.

In the film's defense, I guess, I do like Neil Burger, who wrote and directed the theatrical blink that was The Lucky Ones last year, which featured an Oscar-worthy and completely ignored performance by Rachel McAdams and similarly great work by Tim Robbins and Michael Pena. Not that it's a good representation of why he'd be good at writing Bride of Frankenstein, but, shut up.

Remake Watch 2009:
8 film remakes announced
4 film remakes released
2 tv remakes released
2 reboots announced
2 reboots released

A "reboot" is defined by Remake Watch as a new attempt at a film series with new actors playing old characters (thus, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Race to Witch Mountain are excluded). Sequels to remakes (The Pink Panther 2, Halloween 2) are ignored.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Remake Watch 2009: Akira

Something new to report! Bloody-Disgusting says that the live-action Akira remake is actually dead.

Dead? I agree with CHUD, who suggests that the relative failure of Terminator Salvation and Watchmen might have caused them to rethink their potential investment (I'm sure the path to $200m being the road their $30m comedy juggernaut The Hangover is walking on is going to define their output in 2010 or 2011). It's too bad, this was one of the few remakes I thought had some legitimate potential. Not that I'll lose any sleep over it.

CHUD also reports that The Birds may be equally dead. I wasn't at all interested in that, but it is a surprise, I was sure when Martin Campbell and Naomi Watts were announced as being attached, it was going somewhere. Guess not...

Remake Watch 2009:
7 film remakes announced
4 film remakes released
2 tv remakes released
2 reboots announced
2 reboots released
1 remake canceled

A "reboot" is defined by Remake Watch as a new attempt at a film series with new actors playing old characters (thus, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Race to Witch Mountain are excluded). Sequels to remakes (The Pink Panther 2, Halloween 2) are ignored.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Remake Watch 2009: The Incredible Mr. Limpet informs us that The Incredible Mr. Limpet is being churned out again, this time by Enchanted director Kevin Lima. I haven't seen the original, so I don't have much comment, but based on the DVD cover, I'm guessing it's a live-action animation blend, which is something I find myself inescapably drawn to (no pun intended). Ultimately, my desire to see more of those types of hybrids counters my dislike of remakes. Score one for Limpet!

Also, Conan and The Warriors may have had some news or errant movement this week, but both have been on the cards forever and the latter may not actually be moving forward, ever. I am surprised to see ComingSoon boldly insisting that Conan will be a remake, though, because the character seems fairly open-ended.

Remake Watch 2009:
7 film remakes announced
4 film remakes released
2 tv remakes released
2 reboots announced
2 reboots released

A "reboot" is defined by Remake Watch as a new attempt at a film series with new actors playing old characters (thus, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Race to Witch Mountain are excluded). Sequels to remakes (The Pink Panther 2, Halloween 2) are ignored.

In Defense of M:i:III

On June 23rd, 2005, Tom Cruise appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and proceeded to go completely nutso over his new girlfriend Katie Holmes, and the world changed forever. I'm serious: Scientology is a household name, and Tom Cruise lost almost all of his pull at the box office. There were other effects, but aside from those two main results, there was only one other that mattered to me: Mission: Impossible III opened on May 5th, 2006 to underwhelming box office.

Which sucks, because I felt then, and still do, that it's one of the best summer action movies of the decade. Aside from some minor quibbles (not enough of Hoffman as the villain and a few lame political touches during the movie's twist), it's a popcorn masterpiece that throws in plenty of grit under its PG-13 rating and packs a stellar cast (including Hoffman, Laurence Fishburne, Billy Crudup, returning star Ving Rhames, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Maggie Q, Michelle Monaghan, Keri Russell and Simon Pegg) while blasting away the terrible taste left behind by the excruciatingly poor Mission: Impossible 2. It had good trailers and the critics liked it (scoring a 70% on Rotten Tomatoes), and yet it didn't do as well as the others, just because Tom Cruise lost it. Now, I hate celebrity gossip magazines and tabloids, and I can't blame them for this -- Cruise did flip out -- but does it really make a difference? He's an actor. Who he is on screen is not who he is in real life. Frankly, if this influenced your opinion of him as an actor and not as a person, then I just think you're foolish.

There was a period following M:i:III where Cruise had a falling-out with Paramount and it looked like another Mission: Impossible would never happen, but here we are three years later and Tom's made good with the studio. Yesterday, it was announced that a fourth film is in the works with Paramount's newest box office king J.J. Abrams returning to produce.

All of you who skipped Mission: Impossible III in theaters, do yourself a favor and go see it now. Squirm at the thought of nasal-injected brain explosives. Hold your breath during the excellently tense bridge scene, which gives you that rare feeling that the characters might really be screwed. Watch Tom Cruise give what may be the last self-aware performace he'll ever give. Then be ashamed that you valued your opinions about what a celebrity does with their life over seeing a good movie. Jerks.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rob Marshall + Predators = Sure

Bloody-Disgusting says director Neil Marshall is in talks to pick up the reins of Robert Rodriguez's Predators. Sounds fine to me. I admit it, I really wasn't all that jazzed by The Descent, and I haven't seen Dog Soldiers, but even if Doomsday was warmed-over John Carpenter homage, Marshall's clearly got skills, and the idea of him working with Rodriguez seems like a solid collaboration.

Some people will ask why I've attached a picture of Rhona Mitra in Doomsday instead of a picture of a Predator or director Marshall. Those people are stupid.

Martin Scorsese + Horror = Yes

As a palate-cleanser after the dreck that is the Old Dogs trailer, here's the trailer for the new Martin Scorsese film Shutter Island. I've been ignoring the news about this movie, for whatever reason, but it doesn't even matter, because even if I had been listening, it wouldn't have prepared me for the trailer, which basically looks f---ing amazing.

As a horror fan, there's nothing like seeing a great horror movie after thousands of mindless slashers, missed opportunities, and these days, terrible remakes.

Shutter Island opens October 2nd, 2009.

Old Dogs, old tricks.

As far as I can tell from the trailer for Walt Becker's Old Dogs, the movie is about Robin Williams, John Travolta, and a bunch of kids getting the living s--- beaten out of them in a variety of ways for about 90 minutes. Seriously, I don't think I have ever seen so much awful physical humor packed into one trailer.

Walt Becker also directed Wild Hogs and it is clear that this movie aims to take his "Old Men Doing Silly Things" series to even wackier heights. Get pumped.

Old Dogs is coming to theaters November 25th.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"I meant ASS whiplash."

Good news, everyone! "Futurama" really, totally, absolutely, no-kidding, for-real, 100% returns for 26 belligerent and numerous episodes on Comedy Central in 2010! That's not one, but two more shiny metal seasons of 13 episodes apiece. Click here for the press release, meatbag!

As Bender would say, "Bender Bender Bender Bender Bender!"

Monday, June 8, 2009

Where the Hell is the Jetsons Movie?

A couple of years ago, famed director Robert Rodriguez made it known to the public that he was considering working on a couple of movies based on famous television shows. One was Land of the Lost, which was just released last week (and not directed by Rodriguez) while the other was The Jetsons, which Rodriguez was leaning more towards due to the script being further along. This, of course, proves that nothing is at it seems in Hollywood since The Jetsons was originally scheduled for a January 2009 release and has since been pushed back to 2012, and has no one attached to it except for a few malnourished writers and some producers who by now surely have a healthy respect for mind-altering substances. Land of the Lost, the movie that was further behind in production, is out and raking in money (more money than the non-existent Jetsons film, anyway, and despite how the critics may feel about that), but The Jetsons is about two hairs shy of being shelved. This leads me to a very important question:


There is no need whatsoever for this to take so long. With The Flintstones, the crew had to go to great lengths to bring Bedrock to life in such a way that made it look as if you were indeed watching the adventures of a modern Stone Age family set millions of years ago. But this is the freakin' Jetsons, for crying out loud! They're set in the not-to-distant future of 2062 and use flying cars, robots, and conveyor belts. How is this so hard to put together?! Most of the technology used in the show is either already here or not too far off, so surely the budget can't be that big of a deal. God knows Hollywood has enough cash to throw at Eddie Murphy, surely they could spare some for a movie that might be worth watching. It can't be a matter of casting, there's probably hundreds of actors out there who would be thrilled to try to be George Jetson or even just the voice of Astro, and I'm sure Hanna-Barbera would jump at the chance to make some more money, so what's the deal? Where is the progression of this film coming to a standstill? I've searched for answers but returned empty-handed and just a bit frustrated, because with Rodriguez at the helm The Jetsons could be a wholly entertaining movie with plenty of neat effects and a feel to it that's retro-futuristic, which is exactly how it should be. I want to see that movie, so where is it?

If this is Cogswell's fault, I'm going to bust a sprocket...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Please give Richard Linklater more money

Richard Linklater is trying to make a spiritual successor to his classic Dazed and Confused, which I am certainly not alone in thinking is one of the best teen films of all time, but CHUD says there isn't enough money to go around. Well, to put it eloquently, that's stupid. School of Rock cost $35m to make, and raked in $131.2m at the worldwide box office, and Dazed has invariably raked in millions upon millions for Universal on DVD (even before they licensed it to Criterion). I really doubt That's What I'm Talking About, as it's reportedly called (not my favorite title, but whatever) is going to cost $35m, but the potential is certainly there for it to bank big bucks.

Last I heard, Linklater was also working on School of Rock 2: America Rocks, so one can hope rakes in another $130m that punches all the scaredy-cat investors in their stupid faces.


Comedy Central maybe orders 13 new episodes of "Futurama".


Axel F

Top 3 looming belated 80's movie sequels I'd like to be good: Ghostbusters III, Tron 2 (or whatever the f--- they're calling it), and finally, Beverly Hills Cop IV.

I have my doubts about GBIII, because they're doing some passing-of-the-torch thing, and because Ghostbusters II has so many flaws, but I've been waiting for that movie since I was 5 and I really will take whatever I can get, for better or worse. Plus, there's always the video game, which seems at least reasonably entertaining (although I'm hedging my bets there too). Tron 2 looks like it's on the right track, although I'm still waiting for a high-res version of that awesome Comic-Con video Disney debuted as a surprise after the Witch Mountain and Bolt panels at Comic-Con 2008.

But then there's Beverly Hills Cop. As far as I'm concerned, the original Beverly Hills Cop, frankly, is one of the best movies of the 1980's. It's funny and thrilling in equal weight and measure, features one of Eddie Murphy's best performances as both an actor and a comedian, and he's got great chemistry with all of his co-stars -- none of which are played by Murphy in make-up. I thought Beverly Hills Cop II was an oddly-toned misfire that seems too slick, and dark, and is overwhelmed by a humid 80's heat that suffocates the movie into datedness, and the third film is easily one of the worst movies I've ever seen -- just absolutely, completely execrable, and I love John Landis (although, and I'm going to get mobbed for this, I think Coming to America is overrated, overlong, unfunny garbage. I prefer Trading Places ten-to-one).

Yet despite mega-tool Brett Ratner in the director's chair and Eddie Murphy's career on a seemingly endless slide into Hell (see the trailer for Imagine That, the movie Murphy's opening this week -- which, coincidentally, also features Murphy's BHC co-star Ronny Cox...or, better yet, don't), this Moviehole article gives me some renewed hope. Early talks have suggested Judge Reinhold's Billy Rosewood might bite the dust, which I'm strongly against, because it would make Beverly Hills Cop IV another one-man Murphy show, but I don't know if the Haas/Brandt script is the one that kills the character, or if that twist will ultimately make it to the screen.

Either way, I wanted to counter my pessimistic Expendables piece with a positive one, and I want to see a Beverly Hills Cop besides the original that doesn't suck. Can we do that, Hollywood? Please?


So, the internet has been making a great big deal of fuss over The Expendables, Sylvester Stallone's next big action epic, and in its favor, it does star Stallone, Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Brittany Murphy, Danny Trejo, Eric Roberts, Steve Austin, Randy Couture and Terry Crews, plus a (non-digital) cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger and, if Moviehole is to be believed, an appearance of some sort from Bruce Willis, who's pretty far up on my list of favorite action stars. But I can't help but wonder: is it really going to be any good?

In the interest of full disclosure, I gotta say I'm no Slycylopedia. In fact, I'm going to be forced to admit that I've only seen two of his movies: the original Rambo movie First Blood (a true classic) and, uh, the arm-wrestling action film Over the Top. Probably not the best cross-section of the Italian Stallion's work.

Yet the list of people who aren't in The Expendables keeps looking longer and more interesting than the list of people who are. I like most of the actors Stallone's picked, but the one-time WWE stars do nothing for me and as much as I like Crews, I'd much rather have seen the initially announced Forest Whitaker appear in it. Sandra Bullock was asked, but declined (I can't imagine why -- regardless of quality, this movie will probably be a hit). And then there are the other action titans: Jean Claude Van Damme, Wesley Snipes, Steven Seagal and Sly's Tango & Cash partner Kurt Russell all opted out. Van Damme told Total Film Magazine why he bailed:

“Stallone gave me a part in his next movie," he told us. "But I ask him about the subject, about the story."

"He said, ‘You’re gonna make lots of money.’ I don’t want to hear that, I want to hear what was my character. He was unable to tell what it’s going to be."

"[Stallone said:] 'You know, uh, well, the fighting will be good.' [So I said:] 'Sly, what is my character?' So I didn’t do the movie."

Say what you will about Van Damme's career, but he was just in the highly entertaining JCVD, and frankly, it's ridiculous to bash an actor for being selective when the film's director won't even tell him what the movie is about. Admittedly, Snipes is trapped in the country due to his tax woes and Russell probably just felt he was getting too old for this kind of thing, but it's hard not to feel like Sly's dream cast is better than his actual cast.

And of course, the movie's shooting for a PG-13. I know PG-13 is the new R (which is confusing, since it's also the new PG, seeing as how many families see PG-13 movies), but it still seems like it's going to hamper what's meant to be the ultimate, testosterone-filled action explosion of 2010.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this movie will blow the doors off theaters in an explosion-and-gunfire fever dream while forcing me to eat my own testicles as penance for ever doubting it. And while I don't want to eat my own testicles, I would like to be wrong, but I just can't help but think that the movie can't live up to its own grunting, beefcake hype machine.

The Expendables opens April 23, 2010.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Remake Watch 2009: Valley Girl

That's the problem with Remake Watch: I'm going to end up updating this column every single day, if not repeatedly.

Moviehole reveals that someone I haven't heard of and already can't remember a mere minute and a half after reading the article is turning Valley Girl into a musical. Frankly, I'm surprised they chose Valley Girl instead of trying to re-adapt the Legally Blonde musical back into a movie. You'd think such pointlessness would be greatly appealing to someone with a lot of money.

I also hate to look like a bandwagoner, but Devin Faraci is right, so forget the new Scream film being a reboot.

ETA: Actually, the jury's still out on Scream. Bloody-Disgusting insists it's a reboot. It doesn't really make sense, but we'll see how things turn out.

Remake Watch 2009:
6 film remakes announced
4 film remakes released
2 tv remakes released
2 reboots announced
2 reboots released

A "reboot" is defined by Remake Watch as a new attempt at a film series with new actors playing old characters (thus, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Race to Witch Mountain are excluded). Sequels to remakes (The Pink Panther 2, Halloween 2) are ignored.

Remake Watch 2009: Part 5

Equilibrium director Kurt Wimmer has signed on to write the Total Recall remake for Sony, sayeth Bloody-Disgusting. Wimmer also directed the Milla Jovovich sci-fi action movie Ultraviolet, which is one of the best unintentionally funny movies of the decade. No word if Wimmer might also helm Recall once the ink is dry.

I also forgot that Kevin Williamson is working on resurrecting Wes Craven's Scream franchise with a whole new trilogy, and while their participation has long been rumored, offers are finally out to Courtney Cox and David Arquette, according to EW. I dunno how I feel about that. Then again, there are probably established rules for the sixth film in a horror franchise. In fact, as long as they keep making Saw movies, they can keep making Scream movies as well.

Since Total Recall is already being accounted for, I only added one to the "reboot" column, for the Scream film.

Remake Watch 2009:
5 film remakes announced
4 film remakes released
2 tv remakes released
3 reboots announced
2 reboots released

A "reboot" is defined by Remake Watch as a new attempt at a film series with new actors playing old characters (thus, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Race to Witch Mountain are excluded). Sequels to remakes (The Pink Panther 2, Halloween 2) are ignored.

Where's Nickelodeon?

So, speaking of terrible ideas that won't work, there's all this buzz on the internet about how Universal also picked up the rights to Martin Handford's Where's Waldo? series of books. FilmDrunk mentions that it's a stupid idea, and reels that Universal reportedly paid at least a million dollars for the rights, but this is made twice as staggering by the fact that they already tried to do a Where's Waldo? this decade and failed miserably at it.

Apparently people don't remember, but in 2002 or 2003, Nickelodeon and Paramount had the rights to the character, and they had already concocted a crappy enough plot to get a greenlight at most studios. It made Waldo a janitor who invented a time machine and ended up going back to important historical periods and getting lost. He might have been chasing Odlaw, and I think Waldo's girlfriend was in it too.

There was also that Saturday morning cartoon show with Waldo, which awkwardly paused for a true Where's Waldo? frame at every commercial break. It didn't really work in the cartoon, and we've already failed at making a movie once, and yet the rights to this doomed or at best extremely unwise attempt at franchising an 80's relic is still worth more than a million dollars?

I had better get to work on that Koosh Ball movie I'm working on. I see big money in my future!

Holy s---, can I kill myself now?

Universal's press release, posted at, officially announcing and dating their ill-advised Stretch Armstrong movie is unexpectedly soul-raping. Have you ever seen a more vomit-worthy conglomeration of corporate synergy and poor salesmanship as Grazer trying to justify this picture?

"Stretch Armstrong is a character I have wanted to see on screen for a long time," said Imagine Entertainment's Brian Grazer. "He's an unconventional kind of super hero with a power that no one would want. It's a story about a guy stretching – if you will – the limits of what is possible to become all that he can be."

Dear Brian Grazer: I hope you really haven't been sitting around thinking, "Gee, I wish there was a Stretch Armstrong movie. I mean, s---, I'd pay to see that in an instant!" Also, please stop using puns forever. That is the entirely wrong way to convince me to see your terrible movie that apparently until now was merely a really stupid twinkle in your eye.

But who knows, maybe I'm just jaded. Maybe I just don't get it. Admittedly, I missed the height of the Stretch Armstrong fad, being born in the 80's. The Stretch Armstrong I had (pictured) looks like a combination of Hulk Hogan, a surfer, a car salesman, a game show host, and Brock Samson.

But I doubt it.

If you need me, I'll be out buying a revolver. Stretch Armstrong opens April 15th, 2011.


Good luck, Steve!

Watch live video from G4TV - Steve Wiebe Donkey Kong Cam on
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters on IMDb

Monday, June 1, 2009

10th Anniversary: The Matrix (Part 2)

10th Anniversary is a column where we talk about popular movies that are now 10 years old. Are they still popular? Culturally and artistically relevant? If they're franchises, have they retained their commercial viability?

We continue our discussion on The Matrix with Tyler Foster and Matthew Lingo. Look for more 10th Anniversary articles with other members of our writing staff.

Tyler Foster:
Do you think the franchise is dead?
Matthew Lingo: Yeah, it kind of is…
Tyler Foster: Well, if they invented a Matrix television show, for instance: good or bad idea?
Matthew Lingo: It could be interesting. I mean, the basic idea of The Matrix is infinitely interesting. But the Wachowskis only seemed to show a limited interest in creating an expanded universe. It’s nothing like Star Wars.
Tyler Foster: I don’t know, I mean they did spearhead side projects, like the comic books and The Animatrix
Matthew Lingo: The Animatrix was cool but I never felt that their hearts were completely in any of the video games.
Tyler Foster: Well, okay, that's probably true.
Matthew Lingo: I don't even remember the comic books. I do feel like the sequels had an effect on the movie's reputation a little bit. Part of the problem with them is, unlike with Star Wars or even Lord of the Rings trilogy, there isn't a clear, easy-to-follow arc. I remember walking out of Revolutions, I was maybe in the 9th grade, and I was confused as hell.
Tyler Foster: You don't think Neo's journey to being The One is an easy-to-follow arc?
Matthew Lingo: Well, but he becomes the One in the first movie.
Tyler Foster: Do you think the first movie has dated itself? I think it's going to stand the test of time. It's still pretty entertaining.
Matthew Lingo: The first movie probably will, but what I mean to say is, if the sequels had been better envisioned, The Matrix could have been like a Star Wars for our generation. I think the potential for that was there, but instead it's just The Matrix that was a great movie.
Tyler Foster: Well, this isn't directly related to The Matrix, but do you even think, the way movie studios are insistently franchising everything ever that we could even have a Star Wars for our generation? I mean The Matrix is one of the last big surprise franchises. Now everything's franchised.
Matthew Lingo: Well, maybe not now, but back in 1999-2003, it wasn't as rampant. Now it would be much harder, because being a trilogy isn't enough anymore. It would have to be something that would stand out from all the other franchises.
Tyler Foster: It was pretty lucky that DVD was just becoming huge. I think without DVD being huge, there might not be Matrix sequels.
Matthew Lingo: Possibly. It did pretty well in theaters, though, from what I understand…I know I at least saw it.
Tyler Foster: Yeah, but I think we would still be talking about the potential for a sequel today, maybe, it would have been more of a cult, underground thing. Which, I don't know, would probably have been good for it.
Matthew Lingo: Probably. To have less expectations placed upon the sequels. The sequels felt to me like the Wachowskis didn't have enough time to work the whole mythology out in a coherent manner. They always felt kind of disorganized to me. I wonder if doing both sequels in one year hurt it.
Tyler Foster: Yeah, people always make a big deal out of shooting sequels back to back and I think the only time that's been entirely successful is Lord of the Rings, and I think that's because they shot the first movie at the same time too, it was all one big project.
Matthew Lingo: Well, Reloaded is a pretty good second movie. If they had waited, they could maybe have come up with a more satisfying ending, and in addition, it would have created a lot of fan anticipation during the wait.
Tyler Foster: When you shoot an original and then do back to back sequels you're sort of forcing the audience to bunch them together.
Matthew Lingo: Yeah, exactly. Now, when people think of the sequels they probably associate them with each other, and not as three separate chapters. I guess it was kind of disappointing when the whole thing came down to another battle between Smith and Neo. They had battles in all three movies.
Tyler Foster: Yeah, and the battle…there are still bits of it I think are awesome, that shot when they slam into the ground is really eye-popping, but the battle is so boring and tired.
Matthew Lingo: There aren't any ideas behind the fight.
Tyler Foster: I think “spinning sky battle” is the idea. Most of the fight takes place off the ground.
Matthew Lingo: That's true.
Tyler Foster: But first one is the one having the anniversary, so what do you think it is that the first one has that the others don't? A more concise idea, better plotting…?
Matthew Lingo: Well, The Matrix is almost more intriguing as just an idea. What if reality was just a simulation? There's no real way to know whether or not it's somehow actually true, so it's interesting to think about. The sequels kind of get away from that and get more into details. The Matrix also has really strong character writing and good acting. I mean, I can still remember all the specific characters from that movie 10 years later.
Tyler Foster: Characters like the hugely overhyped "Twins" are just wasted in the sequels.
Matthew Lingo: Yeah, the Twins did nothing.
Tyler Foster: They just spouted bad “twin” dialogue.
Matthew Lingo: Too many characters in the sequels are just avatars for a bunch of plot information, but in The Matrix, all of the people on the Nebuchadnezzar are well-developed. You get to know them and care about them, which makes the action scenes better, since you have a vested interest in the outcome.
Tyler Foster: So do you think…The Wachowskis haven't really succeeded at capturing any of the same success, do you think that's their fault or like...I dunno how to put it…was it just the right place and time for The Matrix or….do you think they're the real deal, I guess, or if The Matrix was just a stroke of genius?
Matthew Lingo: Well, a big part of The Matrix's success is that the action really is pretty groundbreaking. It was a really exciting new way to do action scenes. That the story around it was really interesting and the acting was strong and such just made it better. But they could never recreate the shockwaves of The Matrix, since it had the whole element of coming out of nowhere and doing all of these exciting things with the cinematography and slo-mo.
Tyler Foster: Well, but, clearly bullet time is a huge deal, and directors are still using Matrix-style slow motion, so they've made their impact, but is that really the "action" of The Matrix? The Matrix is really about wire-fu.
Matthew Lingo: Maybe action isn't the right word.
Tyler Foster: The Matrix did make wire-fu big for a bit but it was more like a Hollywood fad than anything, and bullet time is a technique, and it's not something The Wachowskis invented.
Matthew Lingo: True, but they brought it to the attention of a massive audience. They didn't invent it, but they figured out a way to use it that would appeal to a lot of people.
Tyler Foster: So, ultimately, how much of their direction would you really say played a huge part in The Matrix being this sci-fi landmark? I feel like it's a good film…because it's a good film, not because it was revolutionary or impactful. It's just got ideas.
Matthew Lingo: Right. I'm not saying it's a good film because of the bullet time, just that the public reaction to the way they used that stuff is why The Matrix stands apart in terms of being a big deal. But, yeah, the heart of The Matrix is just a cool sci-fi story that's well-executed.
Tyler Foster: You'd think they'd make more of those.
Matthew Lingo: Yeah, I know.

It's weird that The Matrix isn't more a part of the culure than it is.
Tyler Foster: I dunno, I think it is. I don’t think we’ve forgotten it or swept it under the rug or something.
Matthew Lingo: It feels like more of a cult thing to me. It felt so big in 1999 that it feels like there should still be all sorts of Matrix stuff in stores.
Tyler Foster: It feels different from the reception to other franchises to me, I guess. It feels like it still has that respect.
Matthew Lingo: Oh, probably. The Matrix is a lot smarter than most franchise movies. I mean it actually has ideas. Even the Spider-Man or Batman movies don't really have what The Matrix has. It goes beyond just being good storytelling and becomes something more by posing interesting questions, and considering The Matrix when it was made, they had to have assumed it was a one-off. It's kind of admirable that they really stick to the idea they had, that everybody is just being harvested by machines and being deluded, it's a really dark idea but the first movie doesn't end with Neo saving everyone, or anything close to that. They stuck to their guns. And how many huge blockbusters do you see that even show an awareness of any sort of philosophy or anything like that?
Tyler Foster: I dunno, I think maybe in that sense like…I mean, you're right. So, even if it's not three movies, maybe The Matrix still is a Star Wars of our generation. I guess I don't know that being one movie precludes it from being that.
Matthew Lingo: You're right. I think it is that good. It's just a bummer that they couldn't keep it going, but I don't think that makes The Matrix irrelevant. It stands on its own really well.
Tyler Foster: Well, I think the sequels are sort of disappointing, but I don't think they're disgraceful, I can watch The Matrix and watch its sequels and still take it as a whole and not feel like it was terrible or a waste. Even the best franchises, people almost forget, everyone hates The Godfather Part III, people don't like Temple of Doom, there's huge debate over whether Jedi or Empire is better. I mean, nobody loves all of any franchise, do they?
Matthew Lingo: Yeah, I don’t think they’re disgraceful.
Tyler Foster: I'm thinking that eventually, the fact that the sequels are inferior will just be accepted as part of what The Matrix is, and it won’t be this big deal to people anymore, like “oh, they ruined it,” or something.
Matthew Lingo: I think you're right. I imagine it just seemed worse at the time, because in the moment I think people really wanted The Empire Strikes Back, but it wasn’t that, so people were let down.
Tyler Foster: Yeah, because the hype machine was going.
Matthew Lingo: But I mean, I didn't really dislike any of them.
Tyler Foster: I still think Reloaded is pretty great, it's a solid B+ in my book, so it's just Revolutions that drops the ball.
Matthew Lingo: And The Matrix is still a classic.