anhunt: Unabomber premieres tomorrow evening on Discovery – which has released this creepy clip of Jim Fitzgerald (Sam Worthington) walking the scene of one of Ted Kaczynski’s targeted bombs as we see the events that triggered the blast. Continue reading Profiling Clip: Manhunt: Unabomber!→
In 1982, five men kidnapped Alfred Heineken, the man who built Heineken into a commercial behemoth. Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is based on the book The Kidnapping of Alfred Heineken by Peter DeVries. It’s mostly a one-note thriller that could use a little humor and a little more depth.
When I first saw the trailer for Wrath of the Titans, my initial response was “Huh?” The idea that someone would greenlight a sequel to one of the worst movies of 2011 was a surprise to me. The fact that after seeing the trailer a million times I walked into the theater thinking “it might not be bad” is a testament to the power of marketing.
Clash of the Titans was not an awful movie – or rather, wouldn’t have been if the 3D hadn’t been so bad – but it was no great fantasy-action flick, either. Wrath of the Titans may actually have less plot – less actual story – but it is superior in every way. In fact, it is a decent enough time-waster for a spring afternoon – it moves quickly, has glorious special effects, the CG effects have genuine heft and the 3D is quite wonderful.
The Debt is a sometimes haunting fiction that starts out as a celebration of the publication of a book that chronicles an important moment in the history of Israel – the death of a Nazi war criminal known as the Surgeon of Birkenau.
I will say it once and I will say it again, Hollywood STOP–PLEASE STOP remaking the classic films we love and enjoy. You turned a cheesy cult classic from the year I was born and made it into a two hour snooze fest that no one would enjoy unless you have seen the original. The original 1981 classic is remembered for three distinctive things. It featured the stop-motion monsters of legendary puppeteer Ray Harryhausen. Second, it featured a ham performance of Sir Laurence Olivier. Finally, we get to see a pre-L.A. Law Harry Hamlin as Perseus. I can enjoy the original with just the magic and the myth with a hearty chuckle. Twenty-nine years later, this remake can only make me cringe.
Back in 1981 when the face of special effects were changed by the 1977 movie Star Wars and the introduction of digital animation, stop animation creator Ray Harryhausen decided it was time to do one last movie with his stop action animation process. He chose Clash of the Titans, the epic tale of Greek god vs. man, as that project. The movie starred Sir Laurence Olivier as Zeus and Harry Hamlin as Zeus’ half-mortal son, Perseus. But the real star of that 1981 movie was Harryhausen’s incredible stop action animation process.
Now flash-forward 29 years and the face of special effects have changed even more radically as digital animation is combined with a stunning visual effect known as Real D technology. Real D is a technology that gives images on screen a richly textured three-dimensional look. It was Real D technology that was used in the 2009 remake of the horror movie My Bloody Valentine, which starred Jensen Ackles, to give the movie an ‘in your face’ feel to the gruesome scenes of mayhem. In the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans, the Real D effect seems to only be there to give the movie’s sweeping scenery a more textured look and feel because it sure wasn’t used to give any ‘in your face’ feel to the few and far between action sequences of the movie.
I think Sam Worthington is living proof that there is a Devil and it’s possible to make a deal with him. It’s the only logical explanation that I have for his meteoric rise to become the king of the blockbuster. Someone please explain his appeal to me because it completely escapes me. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen an actor be this bland, boring, wooden. At least Orlando Bloom tried and Keanu picks roles where it’s not required; Sam just stares vacantly at the camera. With that said, for most of Clash of the Titans Sam’s blandness doesn’t ruin the movie. No the bad story, bad direction, bad 3D all comes together bring something to the screen that’s so bad it becomes campy good fun.
I’ve just returned from an alien world. That’s what it feels like after seeing Avatar.
I’ve heard all the negative buzz: it’s Dances With Wolves in CG [really? You consider that a Bad Thing?]; some of the dialogue is clunky [I prefer blunt and to the point, but, well…]; it’s a crossover combining too many genres – a boy’s adventure; epic romance; action flick; a melding of both science fiction and fantasy; an eco-fable [someone forgot to mention that they are blended together seamlessly]; and on and on…
I don’t care.
Let me repeat that for you: I. don’t. care.
Avatar blew me through the back of my seat. And a quick check of the numbers at both rottentomatoes.com and MetaCritic.com overwhelmingly agree – James Cameron set out to make the biggest, baddest, entertainingest movie the world has ever seen, and he pretty much delivered.
The most impressive thing about Terminator Salvation is that it features only one character who actually earns our emotional engagement – and it’s not John Connor [Christian Bale using his Bat-voice]. Neither is it sweet, mute, cute, black girl Star [Jadagrace], a kindergarten-aged child who is so obviously planted to manipulate our emotions that the strategy fails, miserably; nor is it Connor’s pregnant wife Kate [Bryce Dallas Howard] whose worries about her husband are so underwritten that the character feels more like an add-on than someone from the original story. It’s not even Moon Bloodgood’s Blair, who follows her heart when it comes to dealing with the character who does earn our involvement, Marcus [Sam Worthington].
Y’see, we meet Marcus in 2003, just before he’s about to be executed for murder – and Dr. Serena Kogan [Helena Bonham Carter], who is dying of cancer, persuades him to donate his body to science by allowing him a kiss [“That’s what death tastes like,” he notes]. When he awakens, it’s in a desolate 2018 and he makes the mistake of attracting the attention of a T-600 – fooled by its bipedal appearance. He is saved by the teenaged Kyle Reese [Anton Yelchin] who exists, plot-wise, only to provide Marcus with directions and Skynet with bait to lure Connor to his death.
Other than Marcus, the human characters are of the “insert tab A into slot B” variety. Connor is one-note and utterly lacking in any real charm, or charisma; Star is but a blatant manipulation by the writers [who also wrote the disastrous T3]; Blair exists, primarily to convince us that Marcus is human; Kate is there to make think that John Connor can actually care about anything other than beating Skynet. Even the submarine-based Command exists only to make Connor look real – despite some vintage mugging by the extremely ill-used Michael Ironside.
The real star of the film the half-human cyborg, Marcus [which you probably figured out from the trailer]. Outside of Worthington, the movie’s real stars are, as in T3, the machines – and even then, all the quality FX in the world can‘t give them any sense of real intelligence. In The Terminator, and T2, the back and forth between humans and machines seemed like a game of Risk – each move was made within the structure of a plan. Move and countermove. In T3 and Salvation, there’s none of that. As good as look onscreen, the machines of Skynet are random and chaotic.
Even worse, for all its technical skill and well-executed action sequences, Salvation is a machine on virtually every level – excepting Marcus, who is not only engaging, but actually provides the film with its only genuine moment poignancy [if you see Salvation, you know it when you see it].
Sadly, for all its budget and high-powered cast, Salvation is little better than an empty, soulless, but well-made B-movie – which places it in the company of other beautifully made misfires like Max Payne and Punisher: War Zone. This series should died with T2 – and more people should have watched the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series, which honored those movies and built upon them.