The month of October began with some sad news, with the passing of prolific author, Tom Clancy. This week’s episode of GeekScholars Movie News begins with a retrospective of Clancy’s work and continuing legacy, as the hosts review the trailer for the reboot adaptation of his most famous character in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit which puts Chris Pine (Star Trek) into the role famously occupied by Alec Baldwin (The Hunt for Red October) and Harrison Ford (Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger). Hit the jump to hear about the game the hosts played starring Tom Hanks. Continue reading The Legacy of Tom Clancy and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Recasting Early Tom Hanks Roles, Gravity Review + Spoiler Session
Two-time Academy Award®–winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks topline Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” inspired by the extraordinary, untold backstory of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” made it to the screen. The teaser poster features the two familiar stars and two equally familiar silhouettes.
Saving Mr. Banks premieres on December 13, 2013. The film’s official synopsis follow the jump.
Mary Poppins is one of the most beloved films ever made – but it was far from the easiest that Walt Disney ever produced. The story of how Disney came to be able to make the movie is a wonderful story in its own right and the first trailer for Saving Mr. Banks, the movie that tells that story, is now available.
The movie stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as the author of the Mary Poppins stories, P.L. Travers. Check out the trailer after the jump. Saving Mr. Banks will be released on December 13th, 2013.
Autumn always seems to bring the most interesting and challenging films – and Cloud Atlas, from a novel that even its author described as ‘unfilmable’ is definitely both. By slipping from one arc to another (six in all) repeatedly, filmmakers Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer link tales of characters who are bound together through past, present and future to create a rich tapestry of visual styles and philosophical depth.
Toy Story 3 is that most unusual of films: a second sequel that matches – or betters – its predecessors. The setting, as with Toy Stories 1 & 2, is the present – which means that Andy [John Morris] is about to head off to college. For Woody [Tom Hanks], Buzz [Time Allen] and the rest of his toys, this is a time for panic. Will they be thrown away? Stored in the attic? Donated to someone else?
Unlike The Da Vinci Code, I found the Angels & Demons novel to be impenetrable… maybe it was just my mood, but I saw the movie without having read the book. That may have been a positive for the movie.
Angels & Demons has a number of things going for it: it’s less convoluted than The Da Vinci Code, which means it’s less clunky, less herky-jerky; Tom Hanks has vastly more chemistry with Ayelet Zurer than he did with Audrey Tautou; the lack of a campy eccentric performance a la Sir Ian McKellan in the The Da Vinci Code is made up by several moments of genuine humor [though, unfortunately, no more wit], and Professor Robert Langdon [Tom Hanks] has foregone his hideous, slicked-back do and gone for a center part that makes him look like a middle-aged Reggie [see: Archie Comics], while, while still odd, is a vast improvement.
The idea of the Catholic Church being under attack by the long underground Illuminati allows for the same kind of mix of fact and fiction that made The Da Vinci Code relatively compelling despite its clunkiness. Placing this attack during the period immediately following the death of the pope is good as it catches the church at its most vulnerable.
The nature of the attack is such that there had to be someone inside the Vatican to make it happen which gives us an intriguing array of possible infiltrators. Is it the Pope’s Camerlengo, Father Patrick McKenna [Ewan McGregor], a youthful priest with a curious tie to the late pontiff; could it be Commander Richter [Stellan Skarsgard] head of the Swiss Guard, who controls the security for the Pope; might it be Cardinal Strauss [Armin Mueller-Stahl], an older Cardinal with great influence – but not one of the four most likely candidates to replace the late pontiff?
Because the threat includes the kidnapping of the four most likely candidates – and the destruction of Vatican City via the releasing of anti-matter, Langdon is joined in his assignment to find the missing cardinals and prevent the explosions by beautiful physicist Vittoria Vetra [Zurer].
Ron Howard’s pacing is much better and his transitions smoother in Angel & Demons – he clearly recognized that The Da Vinci Code was not his best work. Unfortunately, even with all the improvements in this production, it’s still not more than a reasonably solid entertainment that doesn’t really bear repeat viewings. Still it looks much better than its predecessor [Rome being an incredibly beautiful place] and the basic storytelling is decent enough. Which is to say that, unless there’s an audio commentary, I certainly wouldn’t rush out to buy the DVD.
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I’m not a fan of Tom Hanks or Ron Howard and I also hated The Da Vinci Code so to say I wasn’t enthused to see the sequel, Angels and Demons would be an understatement. It starts off a little slow but somehow I found myself getting sucked into the mystery surrounding the disappearance of 4 Cardinals on the night of electing a new Pope. This is where I put in the disclaimer that I’m not a religious person so most of this stuff went completely over my head. But I found it sort of intriguing. The problem with a movie like this is that in the past writers like David Koepp (screenplay) and Akiva Goldsman (screenplay) would do a thriller where the bad guys would have very simple manageable plots that as an audience you can just go with. It’s going to be hard to do this review without spoiling the film.
These days the bad guy has to be a freaking genius to be able to explain all the various plan details. Look at everything that Tony Alameda on 24 would have to know way in advance in order for his Bad “Guyness” and master plot to make any semblance of sense? The same thing occurs here where the bad guy would have to know well in advance that Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) the man the church hates would be called in and if not him, someone else – maybe one of the scientist who helped create it, Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) would be able to put all the pieces together in time to stop an Antimatter bomb from destroying Vatican City. Yes, I said an Antimatter bomb.
Angels and Demons, set some time after Ron Howard’s previous adaptation The Da Vinci Code, finds Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon being summoned to The Vatican in order to help them with an impending crisis. As a new pope is set to be elected, a mysterious organization known as the Illuminati, an old villain to the Catholic Church, threatens to eradicate the holy city and everyone in it by using an unstable substance with bomb-like properties.
When speaking about this movie, I seem to always get the same basic opening question- is it better than The Da Vinci Code? The short answer is yes. Ron Howard has done a much better job on this venture of trimming the fat from the novel and leaving the audience with a far more engaging movie than the first film. Fans of the book should be rest assured that some of the more preposterous events have been wisely omitted. Hanks also fares better by showing much more confidence and comfort in his role as Langdon, which I’m sure is aided partly by a much deserved upgrade in his hairstyle.
Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: Angels and Demons Holds Some Improvements and Thrills, But Only Some