I just don’t know about this movie. There’s nothing about it that’s screaming “love” to me, I’m not digging the tone of the trailers, the dark color pallet or the uniforms, and are people not allowed to smile in this universe? I mean really. Must be grim all the time. I’m trying to remain optimistic and hope for the best. I’m one of the only people on the planet who apparently liked the first two films. Check out these brand new character posters for the movie!
The rumors were true. Sony confirmed that yes indeed The Amazing Spider-Man is now an official “universe.” There will be two spin-off films – Venom and The Sinister Six. After this big announcement Sony pictures surprised the crowd at CinemaCon by giving the audience a 30-minute taste of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The three clips showcased an arc in the film.
This is one of those rare (sic) times when I want to complain about something. I’ve been part of the Paramount Star Trek Webmaster program for the last two years. The goal of the program is to provide a select group of webmasters exclusive access to all the news regarding the new Star Trek movie. Only problem is, those weasels at Paramount broke the entire concept of the private website by handing out exclusives to certain people. So AICN gets like a week window on all the Star Trek news before we’re even allowed to post anything, now Apple has the new 3rd trailer as an exclusive until Monday. This program is frustrating, it’s why I haven’t bothered to cover this movie. I’m not like most other journalist who feel a burning desire to have exclusives – it would be nice, I tend to go my own way with Eclipse which is why it’s rare that you’ll see the top news of the day posted here – unless I can put a spin on it. I figure why bother just regurgitating what is already on 100 different other sites especially when those sites can do it better and faster than I can. But it’s utter crap that they reached out to us because they obviously recognize our “importance,” but then to be treated so shabbily is ridiculous. I don’t even waste my time going to that site any longer. Why bother if everything that gets posted is embargoed until stupid AICN posts their stuff first? Anyhoo, enough of my mini-rant here’s a link to the new trailer http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/startrek/
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I’m not sure how to describe the type of X-Files fan that I am. The first episode that I remember watching was Anasazi and being blown away. After that I was completely hooked on the show. But the only episodes that I really loved were the Myth episodes. They added depth to Mulder and Scully and a lot happened in those eps. Then after everything that happens, I’d have to slog through 4 or 5 weeks worth of Monster of the Week episodes that sucked the life out of the series. They always felt out of context and there was always this elephant in the room that they wouldn’t acknowledge. This movie feels exactly like that. Ten years too late, out of season (this is a Winter film, not summer) and sort of perfunctory.
There’s a reason Writer/Director/Creator Chris Carter kept such tight wraps on the story and thus hampered the marketing campaign. The story is trite, it contains none of the surprises or thrills that the secrecy would lead you to believe are there. The story is actually pretty mundane.
When we last left our heroes Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) were on the run from the Government after Mulder was framed and convicted of murdering a federal Agent. Six years later, they are still wanted – but not. It appears the FBI just stopped caring. Scully has finally become a Doctor and Mulder is a recluse. When an agent goes missing the Agent In Charge, ASAC Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet) offers Scully and Mulder complete amnesty if Mulder helps. This entire beginning is typical MOTW crap.
After everything that happened at the end of the series, we’re supposed to buy that the government just stopped caring. They are wanted criminals, but aren’t exactly hiding. And the govt. does nothing? This film would have worked better if they were hiding and the FBI had to really work to track them down because this case was vital to the country or FBI. Or deeply personal to a major official, like the kidnapping of The President’s daughter. While tragic and difficult, this case seems too small to warrant bringing Mulder in and forgiving him his past sins. Not just showing up at Scully’s job one day and asking “Do you know how to get in touch with Mulder?” Remember; when we last saw them they gave up EVERYTHING to go on the run.
The movie looks and feels like a cheaply produced episode – not even movie of the week quality. And that’s a shame because one of the things that separated X-Files from any other television show was its high quality production values and unique visual style. Sure they only had $30 million to work with, but they had far better results on TV with far less. This movie showcases almost none of that. If this were any other movie other than a X-Files film, I would have hated it – or maybe I would have liked it more. But its saving grace is, that, while, muted, it still feels like the X-Files.
Mulder and Scully still hold your attention, all the little moments that you love from the TV show are there, like the music, Mulder dropping his phone, Scully’s long suffering sigh and her looks that say “You can’t possibly be serious.” Scully is still one of the most kick ass characters in TV history. There’s not enough of Mulder’s dry wit. I sincerely hope this weak installment doesn’t prevent them from giving fans an X-Files film that we deserve. One that wraps up the entire show in a slam bang fashion.
Final Grade C+
By Michelle Alexandria
In a conversation with Sheldon a few days ago he said he was having trouble writing a review of The Dark Knight because he thought he was going to descend into the depths of hyperbole to the 10th degree. I told him if he thought the movie was that good then go for it. Show no shame, be proud that you fell into the hype machine and sold your soul to the greatness that is The Dark Knight. I wanted to be the one critic who loathed this movie, I really did. In the "blogosphere," you gotta be different. I went into this film with such high expectations that I thought it would be impossible for it to meet them, then I could come home and completely trash this. But you know what? Christopher Nolan has crafted a masterpiece. It certainly has some flaw, but they are fanboish (in my case fangirlish) quibbles. My complaint about Iron-Man earlier this summer was that while it was an amazing adaptation, it missed one important ingredient. Heart. The Dark Knight has it all, it’s big, complex, dark, brutal, but it leaves you with both a sense of hope and hopelessness at the same time. It plays on all your conflicting emotions throughout the film.
Heath Ledger’s Joker is what everyone says it is, it’s a brilliant performance. But then he had amazing material to work with. What’s so great about this Joker is, he’s crazy, vile, and evil with a capital E. Jack’s Joker, from Tim Burton’s Batman, while dark, still had a lot of "humanity" in him so you could understand his motivations better. This Joker, there’s no understanding him. There’s no cutesy background information on him, we know nothing about what makes him tick or his even whether the makeup on his face follows canon or if it’s just "war paint." There is a shot of the Joker without his make-up on when Gordon gets shot, but it’s really quick so if blink you’ll miss it. The Joker is just out for Chaos, which the Crime Families who hire him to take out Batman find out too late. They unleashed an uncontrollable monster onto the city. Alfred (Michael Caine) tells Bruce a story where the point is some men just can’t be reasoned with, all they want to do is watch stuff burn.
The heart of the movie is crusading D.A. Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). A man who, on the surface, has it all. Looks, a beautiful girlfriend, Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and on the fast track to bigger and better things in politics. Dent is what everyone in the City strives to be, we all want to be better, not be scared of the night. Batman is the Yin to Dent’s yang. Batman. Dent puts a public face to everything that Batman does at night. Only he can’t bring true hope to a desperate city. Everyone in this film gives a great performance and all have at least one great scene. With the exception of M.G., usually I like her but here she felt weightless and had absolutely no presence on camera. She seemed lost most of the time. And Rachel’s role in this one has been beefed up. I think Katie Holmes got a bad rap in Batman Begins. I would much prefer her to MG. She would have brought the film to a screeching halt if the writing by Jonathan Nolan (screenplay) and Christopher Nolan (screenplay) wasn’t so good. The script for this film is brilliant. Any future writer should study this script.
Certain key scenes towards the end were so perfectly setup by everything that came before it. In any other movie you never would believe that you would get anything other than a happy, ra ra finish to The Joker’s twisted game. Like in Spiderman when the goofy New Yorkers start cheering and throwing rocks at the Green Goblin. No way would that happen here. The Joker gets away with just about everything so why not one of his final attempts to push people over the edge? The other thing about the Joker is, he’s insane, but he’s scary smart. 8 out of 10 times his plans do work and that’s Frightening as hell. But of course it’s the Joker so it’s almost a given that the people would end up destroying themselves. I’m trying my best here not to give spoilers. When you see the movie you’ll understand this paragraph.
While I loved Iron Man, I thought it lacked one key ingredient and that’s heart, a soul. Technically it was brilliant but ultimately felt hollow. The Dark Knight has soul to spare there are several heartbreaking moments in the film. Especially the end sequence between Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Batman (Christian Bale). One of the best closing monologues – or would this be called a "duelogue?" In years. If that moment doesn’t punch you in the gut nothing will. But then the entire 3rd act is absolutely brilliant. I didn’t like where they ultimately took the Dent character. Felt it was too soon, kind of tacked on, rushed and didn’t make any logical sense, but they set it up earlier in the film that Dent was already being ruled by the toss of a coin, so in that respect, yeah you can buy the turn he eventually takes – I’m not talking just about his becoming two-face but his deal with the Joker as well.
Another key point in this film is how the City of Chicago was transformed into Gotham City. Or maybe Gotham became a real, live breathing place in the form of Chicago. Never has Chicago looked more beautiful, vibrant, and dangerous all at the same time. Shooting in real locations added a since of hyper realism to the entire thing. It’s amazing that I’ve done this entire review without mentioning Bale who of course has truly immersed himself in this role. Many people will say this film is about the villains, but I maintain this movie is about Batman’s Journey (where Begins was about Bruce Wayne) to the Dark side and how far the Joker can push him and everyone in Gotham City. While I said the screenplay for this is brilliant, it is an almost Watered down (not much) variation on the legendary Alan Moore story "The Killing Joke."
This truly is the year of the Super Hero movie and Hollywood finally has the formula down where 8 out of 10 times they get the genre right. And hey how about that Watchman Trailer? My other complaint is Director Christopher Nolan does not know how to direct a decent action sequence. The end of Batman Begins has one of the crappiest action endings – ever, but you forgive it because everything else was so amazing. And some of the bigger action pieces in The Dark Knight are poorly shot, but because everything else is so over the top great, you forgive it. And each action scene actually means more than the slam bang, thank you ma’am.
Nolan and company did such an incredible job with this and tied up all the loose ends so well, that it’s hard to fathom what they could do and where they could go with a 3rd film. I sincerely hope there isn’t another Batman film. This is as close to perfection as you can get. This is really shaping up to be the best crop of summer movies in years.
Final Grade A+
EM Review by
Originally Posted 7.21.08
You’ve been reading about it all day, now comes the official press release from Warner on The Dark Knight’s amazing box office performance to the tune of 158 million smackers. There’s some chest beating going on in Burbank this week and I’m sure quite a few bonus checks and cars going around in the next few weeks. Usually I don’t care if a film does boffo box office numbers, but in this case since we did the promo for it I like to take a little credit. Not to mention it’s a kick ass movie. Not like when Pirates 2 was smashing records and screaming at anyone who would listen that "It’s not a good movie! What’s wrong with you people." This time you guys are all right. Here’s the official fist pounding. Or as Faux News calls it Terrorist Fist Bumping. But with Hollywood’s creative accounting, I’m sure somehow WB lost their shirt on this and Christopher Nolan owes them.
So you attended last night’ fabulous, stumpendous, special Advanced screening of The Dark Knight, I wasn’t able to attend (I cried myself to sleep) and will have to see it this weekend with the great unwashed. I have it on good authority that some folks from Nolan’s production office and movie actually read the site sometimes so let them and Warner Brothers know what you think. I may give a lucky poster a prize.
That’s right, it’s time for another fabu EM Madhouse Screening! We have Tickets for the Exclusive DC Blackout Screening of The Dark Knight! The Screening will be held at Washington, DC’s Historic Uptown Theater, Wednesday, July 16 at 8:30. This is a special Blackout Screening, you have to wear Black or you will be turned away. If you want to attend, send an email with your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your request MUST contain your UserID, Full Name, the number of Admit 2 tickets you would like. The SUBJECT MUST say The Dark Knight Screening Contest. I will not accept any requests that do not follow instructions. All requests must be submitted no later than Sunday 13. I will notify all winners Sunday evening. Check out the official website here and read my interview with Christian Bale.
You know it’s the 4th of July when you are sitting in a theater watching a Will Smith movie. Last week, I complained that Hollywood is trying desperately to turn James McAvoy into a leading man and I said he doesn’t have the “it” factor. Well one week later we see a full on display of a leading man who has that quality. And it’s surprisingly enough – Jason Bateman. He is what makes this mess of a film somewhat watchable. Now I’m not denigrating Smith because whatever you say about him, he also has that “it” factor where you would watch him read a phone book.
But Bateman is a real find. I loved him in Juno, but here I think he finally goes from being a cult favorite from Arrested Development (which I don’t get why people love it) to summer blockbuster status. I don’t think he’s ready to take on a leading role, but he’s great. Maybe it’s due to the fact that he’s the only likable person – the do-gooding, tree hugging, save the world PR guy Ray Embrey, who, after being saved by the foul mouth, alcoholic anti-Superman John Hancock decides he can turn Hancock into a real Hero.
The problem with the film, besides the fact that I was sitting next to these two girls who wouldn’t shut the f up, is it’s a ½ hour movie stretched to 90 minutes. Usually summer blockbusters have great 1st and 2nd acts, but lousy finishes. Hancock is the opposite. The first hour of this film is painfully slow, devoid of any heart, plot or reason for existing. The trailers and clips of Hancock walking around and flying drunk gets tired in the commercials, now imagine an hour of that. We see Hancock drink bottle after bottle of whisky. We see him tearing up streets just taking off and landing, we see him picking his nose. It’s a one note movie for the first hour; which is why Bateman’s manic performance comes as a breath of fresh air. Rumor has it Director Peter Berg wanted the movie to be edgier than this final cut. If edgier means another 20 minutes of a drunken Will Smith I would pass.
Hancock lacks a driving plot, villains and people we actually can get behind. The movie picks up in the 3rd act when Hancock finally becomes the Superhero he’s meant to be and we finally get to uncover some of his back story, his history with Ray’s wife Mary (Charlize Theron). There’s an interesting, tragic love story that gets thrown in and here we start to see the beginnings of some interesting ideas that slowly started to suck me back into the film. It would have been fantastic if the studio had the guts to actually kill off Hancock at the end.
If Hancock didn’t try so hard to be “edgy” and “different” it could have been a winner. Instead with the only villain in the movie being a Whiskey bottle it barely registers as a blip on the radar. Though, I still loved Jason Bateman in this. Whatever you say about Will Smith he brings it with every role he takes on and you can tell that even here he’s really intense.
Final Grade D
By Michelle Alexandria
Originally Posted 7.2.2008
The summer of the Comic-book movie continues this weekend with the launch of Wanted an adaptation of Mark Miller’s over the top graphic novel about a wimp who gets turned into an amoral, masochistic Super Villain. I had never heard of this book until the movie was announced last year. So I saw the film cold. I walked out of the theater being mixed, on the one hand Russia action director Timur Bekmambetov channels his inner Woo to bring us some amazing action sequences on the other the acting is all over the place. No matter how much Hollywood wants it to be true, James McAvoy doesn’t have the “It” factor. He’s ok in small doses but he just lacks charisma. Last year Timur floored me with the amazing, over the top Day Watch – if you are an action fan, you must see this. But all the elements that made Day watch so amazing, don’t work in Wanted.