Saturday, February 27, 2010

Reboot this!

If you in any way follow movies these days, you've probably heard the term reboot. In essence, what the term implies is that a film series needs to be started over, as it has begun to lag in quality. You know how a few years ago, everything was being remade, and everyone was talking about what should be remade next? Well, it's the same thing, except instead of sitting there and saying "I'm remaking an older film", what the studios and "filmmakers" are in essence doing is saying "look, the series is in the toilet, and no one cares anymore, so let's just go back to square one, start all over again, and do a great series of movies, this time." A good example of a reboot would be the Batman movies. Tim Burton did two really great Batman films, and then Joel Schumacher, with heavy studio interference, did two not so-great Batman movies. Then Christopher Nolan stepped in, and did 2 films that were pretty good, but fall somwhere in the middle between the Burton and Schumacher films, at least for me. So, why even write this post? Well, because as in most things, it's going too far. It's getting time to reboot Hollywood altogether, and here's the reason why.

As most people who read movie news is aware, they are planning to reboot Spider-Man. To me, this is the pointless reboot to end all pointless reboots. Superman needs a reboot because of the awful Superman Returns. Transformers might need a reboot, to make up for the crappy Michael Bay flicks. Fine, you can argue that with me. But Spider-Man? Okay, why? Sure, 3 was a letdown...but thanks to the studio! Sam Raimi wanted just Sandman in the movie, it was that numbnuts Avi Arad who wanted Venom! Okay...[deep breath]...I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let's examine the 3 Spider-Man films we've already seen:

Spider-Man - 90% Rotten Tomatoes ranking, made $821 million world-wide
Spider-Man 2 - 94% Rotten Tomatoes ranking, made $783 million world-wide
Spider-Man 3 - 63% Rotten Tomatoes ranking, made 890 million world-wide

So, what can we see here? All three movies received "fresh" ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, thought to be the gatherer of all things critically, so yes, 3 did not fair as well in the critics eyes as 1 and 2, but no one said it sucked (and evidently, when Mr. Raimi is left to his own devices, people seem to like it). Also, the 3rd film outdrew the other 2, so it clearly wasn't bad at the box office. So, this lends the question: why reboot the series? I mean yes, I don't think you'll find anyone who says 3 was the worst of the bunch, but does this really warrant starting again at scratch? Why not just make part 4, and give the reins back to Sam Raimi?

But you see, that's not what Hollywood wants. Especially Sony, who is probably sweating, because of the stipulation that any Marvel properties owned by another studio, who do not make a film in a set time period, featuring said character, the character reverts back to Marvel. So, Sony has to make another Spider-Man film to maintain the rights to make Spider-Man movies. Then there came the revelation that Sam Raimi was unhappy with the script, and that he wanted major changes...changes that the studio wasn't willing to make. So, off goes Raimi and his guys, and in comes Marc Webb, he of (500) Days of Summer. Next we hear, of the reboot, and not only is it a reboot, but it's going to be The Ultimates version of Spider-Man (so back to high school), and it's going to be about the angst of a teenager in high school who get bullied.

Wow...doesn't that just want you to run out and buy a ticket? I sure do! Forget the ridiculously rich rogues gallery Spider-Man possess, I want to see him take on Flash Thompson! Are you serious? Only in Hollywood baby, only in Hollywood. You see, these guys don't care about providing a quality product to the public. They were d0ing that, sort of screwed that up, and instead of righting the ship, they're just rebooting it, as if 3 never happened...but then the yahoos come up with an idea far, far worse than 3 ever could be. I don't want Ultimates Spider-Man. I don't want to have to go back to high school with Peter Parker. I don't want this teen angst bullshit. I...WANT...SPIDER-MAN! A Spider-Man who is done properly. The first two movies weren't bad at all, why can't they do that?

Well, they can't do that, because they don't understand why those movies were good. Plain and simple. The Hollywood execs have been living so long in their ivory tower, they have become completely disconnected from what actually makes a good movie, anymore. How often have you heard movie people speak about how "shocked" they were that a film they made actually did well. Here's the problem: people make movies for themselves, but in order to support this job, they need other people to pay to see the movie. If you see a good movie from a director, you may be inclined to pay again to see that director's next movie. This is how movies have functioned since the beginning of time. Hollywood doesn't seem to get that though, they don't seem to get anything. They don't understand why Ghost Rider was critically panned, why Daredevil was critically panned, why X-Men 3 was critically panned. Do they try and understand this, to go back and understand, so they don 't make the same mistakes twice? No.
They're answer is blow it up, and start over again. Usually, the preceding film isn't so bad that it requires a complete reboot, but they don't understand that. They're like a kid who breaks a toy, demands a new one, and then breaks that one, too.

The most damning thing though, is that a lot of these films that people didn't like would probably have been better off without the studio interference. Did anyone see the Daredevil Director's Cut? It was awesome! It was like a whole different movie! It made sense! Why didn't Fox just let Mark Steven Johnson make Daredevil like he wanted to? It would have done better critically, and probably made more money. Nope, the studios had to put their stamp on it, pulled out their pie charts, their demographics, and they wanted this changed, this changed, this changed. Movie came out, it didn't do so well. They release the Daredevil Director's Cut, everyone loved it. Hmmm! That's odd, isn't it?

So, what's the bottom line? The bottom line is, these reboots we're getting are really unnecessary. All they have to do is fix what didn't work in the film that came before, and things would be fine. Film studios don't want to do that, because that would mean admitting they screwed up, and as everyone knows, no one has ever screwed up in a Hollywood film studio. Never greenlighted a film that was garbage. Nope, not them. It was always "well, things didn't work out like we envisioned", and "we were excited with what we had, but for some reason, it didn't really translate". In other words, you guys suck. Your little pie charts and graphs, yeah, they didn't work. You should all do the film industry a favour, and resign, jump out of your ivory towers, and rejoin the little people who are actually the ones who pay to see your crap.

Please end the reboots. They aren't needed, just make a better sequel. You've effectively killed Spider-Man with your next movie. How many more are you going to kill?

I bid thee a fond reboot.

- Stephenstein.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's only paranoia if they're not really after you

Shutter Island. What can I say? If you want a movie that leaves you sitting there for most of the picture saying "What in the blue HELL is going on here?", then this film is for you. If you're not that sort of person, then stay away.

While I was watching this film, there was only 2 alternatives about what was going to happen. I'm not going to tell you what the alternatives are, because that will give away the ending to this movie, and most of what is good with this movie has to do with the ending. Scorsese plants a few clues to what this ending is in the film, but you really have to know what you're looking for in order to spot them.

So, DiCaprio and Ruffalo are up on Shutter Island (think Alcatraz, only in Boston Harbour instead of the San Francisco Bay), and all sorts of weird things start to happen. What the trailer misleads is that DiCaprio was not aware of how weird Shutter Island is. He is fact, he's on a mission that has nothing to do with his investigation. Once again, I refuse to give away this mission, because hey, isn't it awesome enough that he has a pre-determined purpose instead of just stumbling across something?

Anyhow, this film has the look and feel of Cape Fear, probably the last thriller Scorsese made before this movie. There's a lot of moodiness, bad weather, dark tunnels, water dripping, stylistic music cues, and just overall a rich atmosphere. I will say this for filmmakers today, I'm not impressed with a lot of what they come up with, but atmosphere doesn't seem to be a problem. The atmosphere is just really well done in this film, and it's obviously fairly early that Shutter Island is not easy to leave.

So, how did I feel about the ending? I'm a little half-and-half on it. While, as I said there was only one real alternative for the movie, the thing is that with either possible ending, you're going to leave someone unsatisfied. That bothers me a bit, as I feel that an ending should really suit the story; a great ending is not something that could be argued about (a perfect case is The Usual Suspects, in my opinion), but with this one, I feel that people could be pissed off with either possible ending, which raises some questions, doesn't it?

I did like the film, though. I like DiCaprio, I liked the atmosphere, and I did like trying to figure out what was going on. It's not a movie that I'm going to rave about how good it is, but I will say it's pretty solid, and worth checking out, if you're curious.

On a slight side note, there were these 2 younger girls sitting right beside me, and they kept laughing through this film, presumably at the mental illness portrayed in the film. Isn't it a nice state of affairs that someone with mental illness is the object of ridicule by the youth of our society? Then again, the youth of our society is 99 percent expendable anyway, so I wonder if they would find that funny? I do.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I bid thee a fond goodnight.

- Stephenstein

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The moon is full of greatness.


Wolfman is part of the universal monsters pack of films – something we should all own – I think we all do own them! He is in the same family as Creature from the Black Lagoon, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy and the Invisible Man. All great collections that are must haves for movie fans.

Anyway, we have seen many werewolf movies, some were re-imagined some were re-tellings etc. An American Werewolf in London / Paris, Ginger Snaps 1-3, Dog Soldiers, Underworld 1-3, Chocolate, Twilight Saga, Bad Moon, just to name a few. But this Wolfman film was one of the best. Why? Because we got Atmosphere, music, acting, story AND horror, effects, blood and guts! The wolfman is also the REAL wolfman. Meaning that he is a man, standing upright and has torn clothes. I’m sick of people turning into actual wolves (sorry Twilight) but that is just crap. I want a MONSTER! I loved Bad Moon because the guy transformed every night and he was a monster…really bad ass and scary! This wolfman is equal to him, but still had the torn clothes.

One other pet peeve of mine is quick transformations, like Chocolate or Twilight. They just morph into a wolf. I want the long agonizing transformation – this is a curse after all! This film is a PROPER remake. Period setting and actual horror, no jokes, no funny moments etc.

I must say I jumped at least 5 times during this thing, which was really unexpected! And they had the double hit dream – you get scared in your dream and wake up, only to be scared again! I love it!!!!!!!!!!

And you get to see the wolfman in full do his thing. Of course in the beginning you only see shadows, but you do get at least 3 good scenes where you see him perfectly! And he’s makeup, not CGI, well he is CG when he’s jumping around etc, but you get to see an actual human in full wolfman makeup – which I like! And you got a surprise battle at the end that I wont give away, but you can figure out.

You should see this movie large.



Monday, February 15, 2010

I am not a terrorist.

My Name is Khan.

Shahrukh Khan plays Khan, an autistic man who is on a mission. His mission is to meet the president of the United States and say “My name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist.”

That’s the premise of this amazing, thought provoking, powerful film. I suffered through an emotional roller coaster here to bring you this review. The highs of this film are great, and lows are very low. And you will get angry during this film, and you will cry and you will feel the pain of all the characters.

I don’t want to discuss the plot here, but it involves typical Bollywood style (love story), but it doesn’t have any musical numbers (there is just background music with montage sequences – no dancing). I only mention that because some who read this blog don’t care for the dancing – even though I like it. It’s not in this film because it’s not needed.

I don’t want to spoil too much for you, but I will tell you one scene – Khan finds that the president is attending a dinner service in the name of an African charity. This charity gives to the starving children of Africa. So Khan, knowing that the President will be there decides to attend, but it costs a minimum donation of $500 to attend. Khan gives the money to the receptionist (who is obviously annoyed at him – maybe because of his race, or because he is autistic – its not clear). She says “You know it’s 500 dollars to have dinner with the President.” He produces the money and she says “You know this is for Christians only – are you Christian?” He says no, and she comments “Well then you cant attend, here is your money back.” Khan says “keep the money and give it to the African children who aren’t Christian.”

That is pretty dry, but the driest thing about that is that Khan doesn’t understand that it was dry. He never means to harm anyone or hurt their feelings, but he only speaks in logical terms. He wasn’t trying to be dry. There are some great moments like that.

The message of this movie is given in the opening scene where Khan’s mother tells him that there are only two kinds of people in the world, good people and bad, and the colour of their skin and their religion has nothing to do with it.

This movie is must watch for everyone. In fact I would go so far as to make this mandatory viewing in schools too.



Truth Justice and the Soviet Way.

Superman: Red Son.

Superman’s ship crash lands in Russia instead of Kansas. He grows up in communist Russia instead of the small town Smallville.

This is the premise for one of the best books I have ever read from DC Comics. This is the same writer that wrote Wanted (the worst comic I have ever read – although now I understand what he was trying to do with Wanted, but I just didn’t like it). But Red Son is so amazing, you must all go out and buy it now!

The story is so amazing, I don’t want to spoil even one paragraph of it. But I will say (in case you are nervous about it) Superman is NOT evil or even bad in this, he is still good and wants to help people, but stuff happens, you’ll see when you read it.

If you consider yourself a comic guy (which means you own some comics) you should own this, or else turn in your badge.



Music unites people

Playing for Change.

A documentary about music and its effect on all of us. But instead of giving boring facts about music, the film makers here find homeless people, old people, poor people and anyone who has a love of music but isn’t a big celebrity and they combine their different types of music and play a song.

The songs are played simultaneously among these people and here’s the catch, they are all over the world. So you have a homeless guy in states, playing along with a guy in Africa and a girl in Venezuela, and a group in India. They all play their style of music and it’s combined in a very interesting orchestra.

This movie was just amazing. It’s more of an experience rather than a movie. It’s a movement that wants to unite us all through music.

The songs are just amazing and all the people are just wonderful to listen too.

This is an inspirational piece of film making.


Monday, February 8, 2010

The Golden Age of Smallville.

Smallville: Absolute Justice.

It took 9 seasons for me to finally watch Smallville, a show supposedly based on Superman before he became Superman. That being said, it’s been 9 seasons and no Superman. We had Aquaman (in orange shirt), Flash, Green Arrow (in full costume) but no Superman. Zod, Doomsday, Jor-el, Martian Manhunter, Cyborg, Metallo, BUT NO SUPERMAN!!!!!!!!!! WTF. Anyway, this is the ultimate in dry because this episode is about the JSA!!!!!

The Justice Society of America (my favourite team of heroes). Anyway, almost every JSA character is mentioned or referenced in some way in this episode any they are pretty much exact. You see Sandman, Dr. Fate, Star-spangled Kid, Stargirl and Hawkman. You see Green Lanterns ring, Jay Garrick’s Flash helmet, Hawkgirl’s mask etc.

This is one jam-packed episode! I loved it. But I am really biased here. I never thought I would see the day where I saw Stargirl, Hawkman, Dr. Fate and Sandman in costume in live action. That enough makes me pumped for this episode and it’s probably the best thing that came out of Smallville.

Since Smallville is still Superman, at least in name, I will be buying all the seasons (I currently own every Superman, or related dvd there is), but this episode should be packaged on it’s own as a tv movie, and ill buy that too.

No rating since Hawkman and Fate live action deserve 5 stars just of the heck of it.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

A Tale of Two Cities.

Based on Charles Dickens classic, this film version is one of many I’m sure. Now I don’t know what you all know about the storyline of this book/film, but I knew nothing but the opening line I wrote above.

But now I know why it’s a classic and why Dickens was so great. If the rule of the book being better than the movie holds true here, then the book must be one of the all-time greats. The movie is just amazing and even though I guessed what was gonna happen, it was still awesome.

The tale here concerns a bunch of French aristocrats who treated the French people like crap. At one point an a man is imprisoned for 18 for basically no reason, when he finally gets out he finds his daughter and swears revenge on the aristocrat that had him jailed. They move to England. On the boat ride there they meet a man who is also looking to escape, only he is the nephew of the aristocrat that imprisoned the man.

It gets more complicated then that though…I wont reveal it here.

You should see the movie – if you don’t like black and white, they have done several other versions, I’m sure they are all pretty good.

Sydney Carton is my favourite character in the film and story.