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Saturday, November 15, 2003  

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

What's wrong with you people? Every time I think I have the IQ of an average studio executive figured out, the lowest common denominator drops a notch. And you know, I have nothing, repeat nothing against modern-day lighthearted adaptations of classics (if you consider the Austen to be a classic, honestly). But this? Made me shake my head in a sad disbelief.

Of course, maybe I'm not the one to judge a movie about a twentysomething single girl enrolled in a writing class.

posted by Vladimir | 2:50 AM
 

THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION

So Julianne Moore wakes up one morning and realises she's married... to Pierce Brosnan! Ah! The horror! The nightmare! The wish-fulfillment of every woman entering menopause! She has to do something about it, so she mugs a lot, in hope that this adult comedy about lawyers (The Laws of Attraction, get it? So spiffy) will attract the so-important teenage crowd. Because, you see, Intolerable Cruelty didn't doo too well, and we can't have a comedy for adults in this day and age. Why? Sociological treatise to follow.

posted by Vladimir | 2:36 AM


Thursday, November 13, 2003  

THE COMPANY

I love the Altman, but I dunno about this one. It almost put me to sleep and it was barely over two minutes long, dude. Maybe it's all the softening filters. Maybe it's Neve Campbell, her squintiness back with a vengeance. Maybe it's the voiceover, which informs us that ballet requires things like "sacrifice" and "feeling the music." What, like I didn't see Center Stage? Wait, uh, scratch that.

posted by Eric | 4:57 PM
 

THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW

...Never Dies.

Oh, God, where to begin. Okay. The natural disaster known as Roland Emmerich started his career in Germany back in the 80s with a little-known natural disaster movie known as Das Noahs Ark Prinzip, which kinda reminds me of this. Then he unleashed Stargate, ID4 and Godzilla upon us. Not to mention Patriot. And now he's back full circle, gleefully subjecting his usual victim (Manhattan) and his new domicile (LA and Hollywood, with the few landmarks they have) to some marvellously convincing effects which depict, well, natural disasters.

And knowing Emmerich's assumed US patriotism, it will probably just mean that We! As a Nation! Will Rise! Stronger than Ever! From this Calamity! Again! Or maybe not, considering the AI-style wintry fun of the closing shot. No actors are featured in the trailer; just plenty of destruction, and a lot of white noise. (Which isn't necessarily bad.) But you know what? I'm not an American, but I honestly do not enjoy - at all, at all - seeing America suffer like that. Even in a trailer. This is not fun, and not entertaining, and God help us, you shouldn't invite disaster in a big-budget movie like that. Call me superstitious, I don't care.

posted by Vladimir | 2:18 PM
 

DIRTY DANCING: HAVANA NIGHTS

No.

posted by Vladimir | 1:02 PM
 

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN

Actually, this is the very best trailer I've seen since my appointment as a Park Ranger. Looks and feels teasing enough, atmospheric enough, enough like a fairytale, sexy enough (even if not relying on the cute British school uniforms), and clever enough to actually seem all of a piece, precisely because of the Children's Choir. So, you know, unlike the previous two times, now I am actually excited to see a Harry Potter movie. What gives?

Cuaron, my man.

And don't listen to Cleo. She even got the trailer URL wrong. (Grin, boss. Big Wide Grin.)

posted by Vladimir | 1:00 PM


Wednesday, November 12, 2003  

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN

Trailer. Go now.

ETA: All right, I've finally come home and gotten hold of the thing. The opening logo is awesome. I loved Something Wicked This Way Comes, so it's a nice touch to have that as a tag line. The movie looks awesome, Gambon makes a fine Dumbledore, I really like Oldman as Sirius now that I've seen him in action... but. BUT. The Saint Toad Memorial Hogwarts Children's Choir sucks my left one. "Bubble! Bubble! Toil and! Trouble!"--seriously, what is up with that? Ugh.

posted by Cleolinda Jones | 3:07 PM
 

SCOOBY-DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED (TEASER)

I hate Scooby-Doo for roughly the same reason I hate The Cat in the Hat: BAD. CGI. Y'ALL. Bad CGI used to make something live-action that was never, ever meant to be live-action. I also just hate Scooby-Doo because he's not funny. And I also hate Matthew Lillard. And I hate any movie whose tagline is, "Look Doo's back!" What, like "Look who's back!"? Just kill me now.

Also: hideously low streaming quality alert. Don't even bother.

posted by Eric | 2:26 PM
 

CHASING LIBERTY

Mandy Moore stars as the President's daughter, pissed off about being swarmed by Secret Service agents whenever she goes on a date, so she decides to go on the run with a random hunk on a motorcycle. And they're in Prague, because he has to have a sexy accent. I suppose they're going to have many adventures wherein Mandy teaches Random Hunk how to live life to the fullest or something, because there's a scene where they go bungee jumping and there's not much else that that could signify in a movie like this.

Besides coming startlingly close to sharing a plot with The Lizzie Maguire Movie, Chasing Liberty also features the kiss of death for romantic comedies: "You lied to meeee?" It turns out that Mandy's little boyfriend is in contact with the President the whole time, so that she can get mad at him for no reason before forgiving him for no reason at the end.

posted by Eric | 2:15 PM
 

THE POLAR EXPRESS

Eeeeeeeekkkkk! Why didn't anyone tell me this was up! It might be months old, it might be brand new. But it's the first thing I've heard or seen of the new Zemeckis/Hanks collaboration since it was announced way back when. Oh, the joys of consorting with a movie news website mistress at the end of a semester. When her only joy comes from the movies featuring lots of hunky men in tights, shorts, leather pants, or skirts.

I dunno. There are lots of Zemeckis movies that just don't work for me, that's true. But the man never rests on his laurels. And both Contact and Castaway were seriously impressive on many levels. The man knows his melodrama and can go beyond it; and the man knows his effects and can go beyond them.

Or not.

This was supposed to be all-CG, except for Hanks. AND IT IS. Actually, even Tom Hanks looks CG. And the kid. And the titular train. And you know what? From this trailer - which features a CG kid in a CG town getting all roused up by the Christmasy magic of the Polar Express and its conductor (Hanks wearing a Groucho Marx mustache) the movie looks like the worst of both worlds. The worst you can do with CG and the worst you can do with sappy melodrama. Eeeeeeeeeekkkk, indeed.


Cleo says: Dude! I just found out about it, too! So I race over here to post about it and--you've beat me to it. Grrr.

You know what, though? I LOVE Van Allsburg's books, and the CG effect makes the visuals very true to his drawing style. And, speaking for American children here, even if you've never read any other of VA's books, you've read The Polar Express. But you know what? I don't like this trailer at all. The book (like most of VA's books) had sort of a hushed, eerie quality to it, to me. Zemeckis and Hanks seem all wrong for it.

posted by Vladimir | 2:06 AM
 

SHREK 2

Who making a strictly cash-in sequel? We at DreamWorks? But we never make sequels! Unless they have a strong enough story to stand on their own!

Uh, yeah, Mr. Katzenberg. True, this concept of poking fratboy-type fun at Brothers Grimm tales was, in fact, successful the last time round. Even took the B.O. gold and Oscar gold right from underneath that perfect little movie starring little Boo. But the original Shrek had the flimsiest excuse for a story; and judging by the trailer, the sequel is just more of the same, carrying on in a very linear and uninspired fashion in hope to catch a parody, a jest, or a snigger along the way.

And the PDI animated humans look as bad as the last time around. The single reason this doesn't reek of utter disaster? The Puss in Boots, as voiced by Antonio Banderas. Looks cool, acts cool, is cool.

posted by Vladimir | 1:42 AM


Tuesday, November 11, 2003  

TROY

In my raving flu I forgot to update the Troy entry, because I have seen the Quicktime version, and it is pretty awesome. Best shot: the camera pulling out to show, literally, a thousand ships. And you heard it here first: I promise you that haute couture is going to start ripping off that chunky geometrical jewelry in about six months. Oh, and Helen gets naked, which I guess is the trailer's way of throwing a sop to the straight guys in the audience and apologizing for the vast amounts of man-pretty.

posted by Cleolinda Jones | 9:24 AM


Monday, November 10, 2003  

THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA

To be honest, I can't say for sure if this is the real deal or not. However, being even more honest, it's the funniest goddamn thing I've ever seen. If a feature-length parody of Ed Wood-y alien invasion movies (without updated techniques, a la Mars Attacks!) is actually being produced by a real studio and distributed into real theaters, then there is a God, and he is smiling upon me.

"Aliens? Us? Is this one your Earth jokes?"

I will be there multiple times during its undoubtedly short and criminally limited release.

posted by Eric | 2:24 PM


Thursday, November 06, 2003  

TROY

The trailer's up at the official site. I haven't watched it yet (still loading), but let's just say that AngelDust gives "the Orlando Bloom trailer" two thumbs up.

ETA: DAMMIT! It's streaming Yahoo crap! I refuse to review streaming Yahoo crap. The official site says they'll have it Friday. Grrrrr.

posted by Cleolinda Jones | 2:13 PM


Tuesday, November 04, 2003  

THE PUNISHER (FULL TRAILER)

So... they killed his family on a dock and blew it up, and he waded out of the water and conveniently found a black T-shirt with a skull on it floating in the tidepools? Rrrright.

Also: We are to the point where advertising John Travolta actually makes me want to not see the movie.

ETA: Well, jinx (see entry below). Serves me right for not checking the blog first.

posted by Cleolinda Jones | 7:58 AM
 

THE PUNISHER

And speaking of castles, here's Frank. Frank Castle. The classic Marvel vigilante hero. Incarnated once before in the immortal visage of Dolph Lundgren. And now, for your delectation, inhabiting the persona of one Thomas Jane, esq.

Bet you didn't expect this to start out in Malibu to the ditzy sounds of Thomas Newman's American Beauty score, eh? Ah, the amber-hued times the Castle family had before the decrapitations hit the fan. Ah, the joys of family reunions presided over by Roy Scheider. Ah, the pain and suffering within Mr. Castle as the holds the dead bodies of his loved ones close to his permanently darkened heart, trying desperately to remember if George Miller went quite so melodramatic in the equivalent scenes of the first Mad Max movie. (Which is, you know, a quarter of a century old now, and yet seems fresher than anything on display here.) Ah, the portentous finding of a Death Metal T-shirt on the beach. (Should I become Butt-head, or a larger-than life vigilante?) Ah, the joys of doling out vengeance to John Travolta and his humanoid psychlo minions. Ah, the chances lost in relegating Rebecca Romijn-Stamos to the role of Featured Blonde Bimbo. And, you know, Ah, the joys of thinking that a ripped body and a gruff tone of voiceover can actually be a substitute for acting.

This? Should be rated WT-12. As in, for White Trash males of the mental age of 12, only.

posted by Vladimir | 2:43 AM
 

THE RETURN OF THE KING: MINAS TIRITH FEATURETTE

You know, the White City as envisioned in the film is narrower and spindlier than in practically any illustration I've seen before - including those narrow and spindly originals by Alan Lee. It has this overall Gothic shape, done in white, slightly Romanesque, and yet in shape more Byzantine than anything else. So, you know, with it the Wonderful World of Jacksonified Tolkien (TM) comes full circle as far as its art history references are concerned. And this time, amazingly enough, the featurette is worth viewing - it does have several new shots, it feels like an organic whole, and if I can be forgiven for knowing beforehand most of the insights on offer, having it all in one concise place is, in fact, a great introduction to the principal location of The Return of the King.

If only they bothered to explain the "stone prow" of rock slicing its way down the front of the citadel... So many people can't visualise the description in the book and go What the Udun is that? upon seeing it for the first time. Well, not the Udun maybe. If they know what Udun is, they are probably in too deep already.

posted by Vladimir | 2:25 AM
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