Saturday, May 29, 2010

Movies to look forward to in 2010

This is a shortlist in a true sense of the word - 8 movies only, including two with unknown release dates. However it's just the beginning. Most of the films are American, with an exception of a few British ones, and there surely is a lot to explore in Europe. But let's start here.

"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"

Release date: August 6 (UK)

I have several reasons to believe this film is going to rock. First: It's directed by Edgar Wright - creator of some of the best modern comedy: "Spaced" TV-Series, "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz." Second: It stars Michael Cera ("Juno," "Superbad," "Youth in Revolt") - one of the most talented young American actors. Third: its going to be an action/adventury/romantic/comedy about a guy who must win his girl by defeating her seven evil exes. Don't know about you, but to me it sounds totally awesome. View trailer here

"The Last Airbender"

Release date: July 2 (USA)

Even though M. Night Shyamalan's last film "The Happening" was a complete disgrace, I still have a good feeling about this one. Unfortunately I haven't seen the original anime series "The Last Airbender" is based on, but the plotline - a wonder child who must stop Fire Nation from enslaving nations of Water, Earth and Air - sounds like a perfect fantasy adventure. Judging by the trailer, the visual part is pretty damn good. And finally I'm anxious to see Slumdog Millionaire's star Dev Patel in a very different role of an evil Fire Prince. View trailer here.


Release date: July 15 (Ukraine)

When I first saw the trailer for "Inception" at a movie theater, I was instantly curious to see it. Probably because I was still under impression of DiCaprio in "Shutter Island." Upon the second look however, the plot description and even its poster made me think of similar sci-fi flicks like "Minority Report" and "Surrogates." Still I'm hopeful that director Chris Nolan managed to make a decent thrilled based on a concept of lucid dreaming and power of the mind. Plus there is cool cast: Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy, Michael Kane and DiCaprio leading the way. View trailer here.


Release date: September 3 (USA)

I'm totally convinced this is going to be delicious! At least for anyone who loves Robert Rodriguez and masterfully shot trash-parody. "Machete" started as a joke - a fake trailer made as an opening to "Planet Terror." The real "Machete" trailer features some of the original fragments with the main star - Danny Trejo - as well as a bunch of fresh faces: Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, Robert De Niro, Don Johnson and ... wait for it ... Steven Seagal! Now you can't beat that, can you? View trailer here.

"You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger"

Release date: September 23 (USA)

I know he's no longer as good as he was and repeats himself a lot, but I'm still not giving up on Woody Allen. His previous, "Whatever Works," was not great, but pleasant, entertaining and still a lot better than the majority of the mainstream American produce. "Dark Stranger" premiered at Cannes and very few reviews are out so far, but the cast: Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Freida Pinto, Anthony Hopkins and Naomi Watts among others - sounds quite promising.

"The Rum Diary"

Release date: September 24 (UK)

Is it really coming out? Or if it does - when do I get to see it, unless I go to London for the premiere? The reason I ask is because the production of "Rum Diary" has tortured and haunted Hunter S. Thompson's fans, myself including, ever since it was first announced in 2004. Thompson himself was quite excited about the filming of one of his earliest novels, but then nothing was heard of it for a while. After Thompson's suicide in 2005, the talk about the movie began again... But it wasn't until 2010 that "Rum Diary" was finally set for release. The delay had a lot to do with the busy filming schedule of Johnny Depp, who had to reprise his role as Hunter S. Thompson's alter ego. In "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" he was Raoul Duke. In "Rum Diary" he is Paul Kemp, a journalist who goes to work for a run-down newspaper in the Caribbean, meets a number of unusual characters and goes through a critical point in life.

"Paul" and "Burke and Hare"

Release date: Unknown

Both movies star my personal favorite - British comic actor Simon Pegg. He co-wrote and co-starred in "Paul" with his best pal and longtime collaborator Nick Frost. The story is about two geek friends travelling across the U.S. to meet an alien. Black comedy "Burke and Hare" stars Pegg and Andy Serkis as 19th century grave-diggers who make money off providing cadavers for a medical school.

Monday, May 24, 2010

'Fantastic Mr. Fox"

This is the case when the name says it all – this stop-motion animation truly is witty, funny and, absolutely fantastic. Based on Roald Dahl’s novel and directed by Wes Anderson, "Fantastic Mr. Fox" works for children just as well as for adults. For the first – it has the fun adventures of talking animals. For the second – it has allegory, good jokes, familiar family troubles and free spirit, an injection of which we all need from time to time.

Mr. Fox steals chickens for a living, until one day he’s forced to give it up for a family life. Seven years (twelve fox years) later, Mr. Fox leads a quiet living and works at a newspaper, but has bigger dreams. First of all, he decides to move from a traditional hole in the ground to a potentially dangerous tree house. Secondly, he decides to go back to his old ways at least for one last time and rob three big nearby farmers.

The farm jobs turn out successful, however … now the farmers are enraged and going after the whole local animal community. But of course, Mr. Fox, as fantastic as he is, will find a solution.

The animation may look freaky from the first glance, but it perfectly serves its purpose, at times painting extremely vivid images, and at times – absurd. The cast of actors voicing the characters is just gorgeous. George Clooney is instantly recognizable as Mr. Fox, Meryl Streep is gentle but firm as Mrs. Fox, while their son, a troubled teenager Ash, is voiced by Jason Schwartzman. There is also Bill Murray as Badger and Willem Dafoe as Rat – you get the picture.

The main message of the story is as clear as it is genius. Mr. Fox does what he does because he can’t help himself. Even though he wears pants, lives in a house and has a job, he still is and always will remain a wild animal. Same as all his palls. Aren’t we all?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Robin Hood" vs. "Gladiator": Find 10 differences

At last, 10 years later, director Ridley Scott released a sequel to his "Gladiator." In this one, Russell Crowe fast-forwards quite a few centuries and lands in England where he gets an upgraded weapon - a huge bow and a set of arrows!

"Robin Hood" (2010)

"Gladiator" (2000)

"Robin Hood" (2010)

"Gladiator" (2000)

"Robin Hood" (2010)

"Gladiator" (2000)

"Robin Hood" (2010)

"Gladiator" (2000)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Matthew McConaughey vs. Jen Lopez: the lame poster battle

Smiley boy/girl posters are biggest Hollywood cliche and are typical for romantic movies. And they are quite useful. They immediately let you know what entertainment you're in for - so you can avoid it in time. Some actors have made more of such movies/posters than others. I'm talking of course about J. Lo and Matthew McConaughey. They are both champions of super lame romantic comedies and neither seen much evolution over last 10 years - both as actors and in their choice of films. But who is lamest ?

"Back-up Plan" (2010). I don't seem to recognize the dude, but J. Lo is meant to play this new-age lady who has not faith in modern men and therefore gets artificially inseminated ... and meets appropriate father for the baby right away. Is this meant as a tip for all the Single Ladies?

"Fool's Gold" (2008). Don't know about gold in this movie - but certainly no shortage of fools here. McConaughey and Hudson in their second movie - digging for gold mostly half-naked (as I can judge by the poster), thus pleasing both male and female viewers.

"Gigli" (2003). The film shot in the heat of Affleck/Lopez much publicized romance. There was a lot of talk about how Lo was never happy about the look of her precious butt on the poster - first she wanted it bigger, then smaller. Then the movie came out ... and well all I know it has about 2 stars on - same as Paris Hilton movies. Enough said

"How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" (2003). First McConaughey/Hudson movie. Probably works as a date flick but still - idiotic all the way through. The two meet - the girl tries her best to make the guy dump her fast but the guy proves a die-hard: both are faking and acting awfully.

"Maid in Manhattan" (2002). This sugary sweet poster is clearly suggesting an old-as-time Cinderella story - leaving nothing to imagination. Why would you even bother watching if you can see the ending on the DVD cover?

"Failure to Launch" (2006). Here Sarah Jessica tried to step away from being Carrie Bradshaw type - epic fail. Moreover she's again struggling with a man (as the picture shows) - you'd think she had enough after six seasons. And McConaughey - usually he's too lazy to act, now he's even too lazy to stand up.

I believe it's a tie! Those two even made a movie and a LAME POSTER together!

"The Wedding Planner" (2001). Lopez is wedding planner for McConaughey who's getting married to a silly blonde, but surely busty Latina won't let him go through with it. Looks like Lopez practiced making a dreamy face here - to get it right for "Maid" next year. It was still a few years before the focus shifted to her poking butt. And Mat is wearing glasses to look more serious. Fail - still an idiot.