I saw this a few months ago (you know, before you had heard of it, bro), but Bleeding Cool refreshed my memory today. Basically, a gentleman named Gary Shore – a relatively new director who cut his teeth directing some big commercials – took it upon himself to make an incredibly badass Wolverine short-film-cum-faux-trailer out of still images, animations, score and black magic. Honestly, I don’t know how the hell he did it, but it is stunning. Watch it below: Read the rest of this entry »
Remember back in 2007 when the Why So Serious? ARG started, bearing its first fruits in the form of our first look at Heath Ledger? Yeah, I can’t believe it was that long ago too. We’re now two months away from San Diego Comic-Con, and it’s fitting that WB would start up some form of viral for the third film in Christopher Nolan’s franchise. Even though there hasn’t been much official coverage for any of his Bat-films at the annual con, the convention has embraced the viral promotion, and we can expect the same in July, I’m sure.
It went down like this (or rather, up): www.thedarkknightrises.com played a looped .wav file with some weird tribal chanting (presumably something to do with the League of Shadows or lazarus pits); some crafty cats found the twitter hashtag #thefirerises hidden in the audio (that’s some Hackers shit right there); the more people tweeted that hashtag, the more an image would be revealed on the site, very similar to how we first saw the Joker. Now, as of this writing, the image hasn’t fully filled in yet, but somehow every site on the internet has the proper image, in big ‘ol hi-res too. That image: our first look at Tom Hardy as Bane. Check it out (image and sleuthing via Joblo.com): Read the rest of this entry »
I may have waited a couple of weeks so that I could just bombard you with Green Lantern promo stuffs all at once. May have.
Irregardless (yes, I’m bringing that word back, thank you), I rounded up a ton of character posters and banners, as well as some trailers. I officially banish the first trailer from existence, as that was kind of shit. The wondercon footage – watch it again here – made me pull a complete about-face on this one; I’m now seriously excited for this. Read the rest of this entry »
Hey, hey, hey! Con Season is in full swing, kids. Take a deep breath. Smell that? It’s the smell of freshly printed promo comics, plastic con exclusives and cosplay nerd sweat. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, gang.
So with that, I bring back my personal project Con Artist. My rejection of reality and adulthood where I piss off my coworkers in taking multiple summer vacations in attempt to attend the best of the Comic/Entertainment conventions. My first of 2011: WonderCon.
Few things you might want to know going into this: Ratings are on a scale of 5 fanboys. I don’t rent a car, so most things are done within walking distance. I don’t particularly care to eat AT the convention; I typically eat at surrounding restaurants. I’m usually with my brother, so most of what I do is good for two people. We’re panel people, I don’t really understand autographs and I like to buy toys and statues. Keep that in mind when you read these write-ups; since there’s a bunch of ways to do a con. Read the rest of this entry »
It was a pretty big week for comic book movies, with things being strewn about the internet at lightning pace. The blogosphere couldn’t keep up. I decided to let it all happen; you’d read about it there and get the gist, and then I’d post a recap with some commentary. After all, that’s why you come here, no?
So, in rapid fire succession, here’s my thoughts on the comic-related movie news this week:
Darren Aronofsky quits The Wolverine – I took this one kind of hard. I actually slumped in my seat a little bit and let out a urggh. The official statement from Fox and Aronofsky is that the director was uncomfortable with the long overseas shoot, specifically being away from his family for so long, and therefore passed on the project. I can understand that. Other sources are claiming that Aronofsky simply couldn’t get the full control he requires when making a movie. That I can understand a little more; Fox doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to letting the creators do their thing. Either way, The Wolverine – which is slated to take Jackman’s character to Japan – will still most likely go ahead. One can deduce, however, that with the ongoing tragedy in Japan, the next installment of a big-screen Logan isn’t in a rush to begin. As of now, no names have come up for a replacement director, but I’m sure fanboys everywhere have their fingers crossed for one name: Bryan Singer. Don’t get your hopes up though, he’s hard at work on Jack the Giant Killer. Read the rest of this entry »
Hola lords and ladies! I know it’s been a while since we’ve last chatted, personal commitments and novel work have kept me pretty busy over October and November. Before I hunker back down into novel-mode I thought I’d put out one more e-soapbox rant for you all to enjoy!
We’re quickly heading into the holiday season, oh joy. Nothing fills me with more dread, bile and hatred than the madness of the holiday season. The only real respite is the seasonal movies that can take some of the Xmas rage away. But I’m not talking about ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’, ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and ‘Santa Claus: The Movie’, movies and specials so disgustingly sweet they make your teeth fall out of your head. No, the following list of holiday movies are for those of us that had our hearts shrink five sizes. Lords and Ladies, I faithfully submit for your enjoyment:
The list of Christmas movies and Specials for the cynic!
1) Santa’s Slay – Wrestler Bill Goldberg stars as a Santa Claus that kills people! The story goes that Santa was a virgin birth produced by Satan and Christmas was a ‘day of slaying’ for him until he was defeated by an angel in a curling match in 1005 and forced to deliver presents to children for the next 1000 years. Well, time’s up on the agreement and Saint Nick goes on a killing spree! It’s up to a crafty kid and his smart-assed grandfather to find a way to bring him down. Any movie that has Santa’s sleigh being pulled by ‘hell-deer’ is worth watching in my book!
2) Black Christmas – This proto-slasher film was directed by Bob Clark (Porky’s, A Christmas Story) and starred Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey and John Saxon as a group of college students face off against a deranged serial killer that lurks in the attic of their sorority house. This is the story where the now-infamous ‘the calls are coming from inside the house’ trope in later horror films would come from. It even goes against the much later horror stereotype of the virginal college student surviving to the end, as the lone survivor was pregnant and was considering having an abortion. Watch this one with the lights on people!
3) Jack Frost – No, I’m not talking about that Michael Keaton vehicle about the dad who is reincarnated as a snowman to be with his son on Christmas. This Jack Frost is a serial killer being driven to his execution when he is in an accident involving a truck carrying genetic material, mutating Jack into a killer snowman! Featuring the ‘acting’ debut of Shannon Elizabeth, this heckle-worth film will keep you laughing all night long!
4) Dennis Leary’s Merry F*ckin’ Christmas – This one’s really self-explanatory. Dennis hosts a holiday special featuring Charlie Murphy (Eddie’s comic brother), Carmen Electra asking for donations to ‘Tits for Tots’ and The Barefaced Ladies singing holiday classics. This special is always a must-see for me!
5) Die Hard (and Die hard 2) – Yippee-Ki-Yay motherfucker! Bruce Willis’ star making turns as Det. John McLane are the perfect holiday movies! You have terrorists, guns, explosions and Reginald Veljohnson (Carl Winslow from ‘Family Matters’)! What more could you possibly want out of a holiday film!
There you have it, my list of holiday classics to watch with a nice bowl of popcorn and a hot chocolate. Alright lords and ladies, time for me to get back to novel-writing, so this’ll be it until the New Year.
Happy Holidays from Giant Killer Squid and the Asylum!
Read my original review, circa April of this year, here.
Of all the films of 2010 (so far), I’ve probably debated the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street the most. Not because the films is unusually controversial or boundary-pushing, but because I seem to be in the minority. I really liked it.
As with any horror remake, the deck was stacked against this one from the beginning, especially considering the cultural impact Wes Craven’s film had on us and the horror genre. The original – and to a lesser degree its long, bumpy franchise – is considered a classic. And rightfully so; even though revisiting Craven’s 1984 film might show more cheese than you remembered, the Freddy character – his means, his methods and his mouth – is indelible. Did the remake even have a chance?
To me, Samuel Bayer’s re-imagination of the Springwood slasher does what every successful horror remake, as few as they are, strives to do: twist the film to be its own, in some way. Gone are the quips, the one-liners and the PG-13 cursing, and are instead replaced with a vile child-molester. Jackie Earle Haley’s Krueger plays out like the Freddy we all love, mixed in with a little To Catch A Predator.
The story is pretty much the same this time around, with exception to an added sub-plot questioning the validity of Freddy’s guilt; the film goes where the original only hinted, confirming Krueger to have dabbled in the diddling. The origin of the character, and the way he dispenses of the children of Elm St. is intact. Many of the scenes, like the bedroom murder of the post-coital blonde girl, are still in the film, albeit with a slick polish and modern teens (complete with dialogue that no youth would ever really spout). The film has been under plenty of fire for being saturated with unlikeable characters with no depth (or, in this case, Depp… har har). Not to defend this claim, but I ask, did the original? Has any big franchise slasher or remake (the original Halloween excluded) really shown any character development?
Whether you liked the film or not, you can’t refute the film has balls for taking such an iconic character and portraying him in a different way. Whether that’s the right way or not, this is a very different Freddy, both tonally and physically (though the trademark sweater, fedora and glove remains). The film is dark and gritty, with a layer of filth you’ll have to wash off afterwards. But it is also quite predictable and suffers from a rushed and anticlimactic third act. Jackie Earle’s Freddy is worth the watch alone though, if only to see how different the portrayal of one of the most iconic characters in pop-culture.
The Blu-Ray – complete with DVD and digital copy – features a fantastic video transfer with acceptable audio quality. If you enjoyed the film, it’s well worth the extra dollars to pick up in hi-def.
Jonah Hex. Now here’s a film that seemed to light a fire under fans of the long-running comic series. For the record, I have not read any of the series, my only familiarity with the disfigured outlaw is what I’ve seen on the comic book covers and the fervor overheard from those who hold Mr. Hex close to their hearts. With that in mind, I can’t compare the film to the source material, and a the end of the day nor should I. A film is its own and should stand, or fall, based on what it is.
So. What is Jonah Hex?
I will say this: it’s interesting. It’s not a good film by any means, but it also isn’t as horribly unwatchable as most have painted it to be. There are some redeeming elements and also some very detrimental elements, both of which I’ll get to. The film opens with the most compressed origin story of any comic book movie; confederate soldier Hex (Josh Brolin) betrays Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich), his commanding officer, resulting in Turnbull burning down Hex’s house – with his wife and child inside – and branding his face, giving him that oh-so-un-leading-man-ish facial scar. From then we leap right into a brief animated intro, and we’re off to the races with Hex – now much more haggard and surly – trying to stop Turnbull from unleashing a horrific army while clearing his own not-so-savory record.
I like Josh Brolin a lot, and he’s probably the best person to touch the role of Jonah. There’s just something off in this flick. I like how his scar was achieved with practical makeup effects, but it does limit his performance. I can see that he’s delivering his lines well, he’s acting, sure, but the damn scar just makes his delivery look goofy most of the time. Across the board however, the performances – especially from Megan Fox – are close to that of a well done local theatre group. I blame a fair amount of this on poor dialogue. The script is just too typical of a period piece, with the cast not really nailing the nuance of the language. Brolin and Malkovich fit right in comfortable, but several stars, like Arrested Development’s Will Arnet and the aforementioned Fox, stick out like a very sore thumb.
Director Jimmy Hayward tries to do some interesting things in this film, and I’ll give him credit for making this hyper-post-civil-war-reality atmospheric.. kinda. The production ultimately feels cheap. There’s just too much conflicting style at work, and the film feels unguided because of it. It’s pretty clear that the real bad guy in the film isn’t Turnbull, but the screenplay from Crank masterminds Neveldine & Taylor. It’s just all over the place, paced erratically and insincere at every turn.
If you were looking for something to praise the film for, the costume and set design is quite good, lending some authenticity and aesthetic to an otherwise superfluous mashup of genres. And Mastodon’s soundtrack – though entirely unfitting, underused and watered down by Marco Beltrami – is worth listening to.
At the end of the day, Jonah Hex is an unremarkable-yet-on-par entry to the comic book film genre as seen five years ago. It’s the perfect companion to such grey-stained big-screen translations of Daredevil, Ghost Rider and Fantastic Four. The real crime here is that there was so much potential for a truly unique film, one that incorporated elements of action and sci-fi within a western.
Paranormal Activity 2 does what very few horror sequels succeed in pulling off…being a worthy entry into the collections canon, staying true to form and style, while introducing new elements just subtly enough to not water-down or tarnish the vision the film-makers initially set out to achieve.
The film is set-up as a prequel to the original smash hit Paranormal Activity which, once we’ve reached the end of the film, actually manages to tie itself into the originals premise effectively enough to have made me want to watch the original as soon as I had left the theatre.
Unfortunately, to give any plot details might spoil the deliberate, and sometimes tedious, build up to the films conclusion. What can be said is that the film takes place 60 days before the death of Micah in the original film. The family of this film is related to Katie, the pro/antagonist from the first film. After experiencing what seems like a random break-in in their family home, they set up a series of cameras as a security measure. ‘Nuff said.
The effectiveness of this film is ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. PA2 plays out in a very similar way that it’s predecessor did, with a few noteworthy items that make it stand-out. First, add a dog and a baby. Nothing creeps audiences out more than a crying baby, or a dog barking at nothing. Both plot devices are used effectively and subtly enough to not hit us over the head, and lend a nice level of extra ‘drama’ to the film.
Secondly, the tie-in with the two films. I went into this film with very little research to keep it as surprising as possible (something I would suggest everyone do). Having done that, the film played out before me in the exact way the director and storytellers would like, slowly, deliberately with a sprinkling of confusion peppered in to make the final moments reveals effective and spooky.
Where both films succeed so well is with their acting. I refuse to mention any actors by name, because these people are not actors, they truly are subjects of a documentary gone wrong. In fact, I would say the stellar acting in PA2 greatly overshadows the acting in the first film, no small feat. I especially call attention to the father/daughter combo in the film, both being played with such nuance that I was convinced they were a real life father/daughter. It’s the performances that help elevate PA2 to more than just a ‘tired sequel’.
Where the film does stumble is in it’s pacing. The film at times seems to plod along, especially in the first 20 minutes. It’s obvious every time we are being set-up for a fright, anyone who has seen the first film knows when it’s coming. This time the director, Tod Williams, let’s the leading moments play out too long, with too many lingering camera shots, that diminish the true frights, albeit slightly. The film could have been edited down by 10 to 15 minutes without losing any of the fright factor or aesthetic presence. It’s not a deal breaker, but I found my attention waning slightly when I was supposed to be slowly rising in ‘terror agitation’.
With that being said, there are a few real moments of ‘jump-worthy’ frights that get the heart pumping and make you keep a light on in the house when you get home.
I had low expectations for the film going in, traditionally being disappointed with horror sequels (The Blair Witch Project 2 being one of the worse offenders of all time), but was extremely surprised at the strength of the script, it’s tie-in with the original, and some powerhouse ‘real’ acting. I left the theatre having had a great ‘horror movie experience’ and maybe a little wee in my pants.
From the Academy Award winning director of An Inconvenient Truth comes WAITING FOR SUPERMAN, the intense look at the state of public education in the United States. Early reviews of the film indicate this one is a ‘can’t miss’.
We’re giving away some ADMIT TWO passes for the film, good at The Globe theatre, Calgary, during the film’s theatrical run.
Entering is easy – leave a comment on this page and you’re automatically entered. Winners will be notified via email next Sunday, October 17th.
Waiting For Superman hits Canadian theatres this Friday. Visit the official site for more info.
This Friday, a day that will live in infamy, marks the 3rd big-screen reunion of the Jackass crew and GKS is celebrating by giving away JACKASS 3D prize packs to two lucky readers.
What’s in these prize packs, you ask? Inside each Jackass Party Supply Kit you will find:
• An ADMIT TWO pass to see the film at any Cineplex theatre during it’s theatrical run.
• Two Jackass 3D t-shirts.
• Party blowers.
• Shot glasses.
• Ping pong balls.
Winning one is simple – in the comments section below, tell us the worst injury you’ve ever received. Winners will be notified by email next Sunday, October 17th. This giveaway is for Canadian readers only.
Back in 2005 The Descent hit screens, heralding in a new high for horror. The film was gritty and claustrophobic, preying on a very common, very real fear. The concept, though invoking the supernatural, was still simple: you are stuck in a series of underground caves. Here we are in 2010 and writer/director Adam Green (Hatchet, Hatchet II) has taken the same approach and streamlined it into an inventive little thriller called FROZEN.
So what is that concept? It’s entirely brilliant in that why-didn’t-I-think-of-that sort of way: three friends hit the ski hill for some fun in the snow and take a late night chair-lift up the mountain… where it gets stuck. They quickly realize, after all the lights in the resort are shut off, that they’re are the only ones on the hill, with the resort closed for a week. I won’t give away any more details on where the story goes, but let’s just say it goes from bad to worse many times over.
It’s easy to write a film like Frozen off, especially with such an unusual and intangible adversary – hell, the response I’ve received from telling people about the film is usually along the lines of “really? It’s actually good?!” – but the film is really fun and a terrific thriller. There are a ton of “WTF moments” and scenes that are hard to watch, though not too gory. Frozen is a nightmare. It’s more than enough being stuck up there in the bitter cold with the elements, but the ordeals these three have to go through are truly what horror is made of.
A narrow film like this is all about the characters, and the film doesn’t disappoint. The performances from the three – Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore (this time a literal Iceman) and Kevin Zegers – are believable and emotional. Unlike The Descent, which had a few too many throw-away characters, it’s easy to actually care about these kids. It’s no challenge to become invested in their plight, making the situation that much more frightening. Adam Green knows how to pace a film and make audiences squirm, but beyond that he can write decent dialogue between the three, a feat that’s harder than any other aspect, especially in the genre.
The less you know about Frozen, the better, so with that I leave you to check the film out. I guarantee it will surprise you, leaving you telling your friends to check out ‘this little horror flick about the kids stuck in the chair lift’. The blu-ray, which is out now for $9.99, also has some really interesting behind-the-scenes features chronicling the difficult shooting conditions.
Patton Oswalt, a brilliant and wise artisan, once said “I don’t give a shit where the stuff I love comes from, I just love the stuff I love”. I think it’s fair to say that even with the critical acclaim David Fincher’s THE SOCIAL NETWORK is receiving, a large amount of the world will take that approach with “the Facebook movie”. Little do these people know, the story behind the most frequented social networking site is nowhere near as boring or superfluous as your news feed and status updates.
Based on The Accidental Billionare by Ben Mezrich, The Social Network – written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by David Fincher – tells the true story of the creation and imminent success of Facebook; the rise and fall of Mark Zuckerberg. Though to be fair the only thing that falls is his reputation, while he lands on heaping mounds of millions.
This is David Fincher’s least Fincher-esque movie to date, leaving behind the bio-mechanical first-person style he’s become famous for, and focusing on solid, character-driven drama thanks to an exceptional ensemble cast. Jesse Eisenberg leads the film as Mark Zuckerberg, painting the Facebook founder as less of an arrogant dick, but more of a socially-clueless-or-just-doesn’t-give-a-fuck dick. And he does so indelibly and convincingly. Eisneberg is flanked with equal talent in Andrew Garfield (our future Peter Parker) as Eduardo Saverin, the level-headed, morally sound “victim” in all the drama. Garfield is definitely on my radar, and although I still have a tough time imagining him as Spider-Man, there’s no doubt that this guy can act, and will likely be raking in the roles from here on out.
The performance that really struck me as exceptional however, is Armie Hammer playing two roles, that of the Harvard rowing twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss who claim the Facebook concept was theirs. I loved their characters in this film, and Armie Hammer – a relative unknown, though previously cast as Batman in George Miller’s now-defunct Justice League film – blows not one but two roles out of the water. The twins are so perfectly all-American and Ivy League, almost a satire of the archetype, while being interesting, sympathetic, and downright funny. My favorite line in the film comes from one of the twins, “…I’m six-five, two-twenty and there’s two of me.”
Sadly, Justin Timberlake, who showed some acting promise with Alpha Dog and his Saturday Night Live appearance, is the weakest link to the cast. Though he’s still pretty good, his portrayal of Napster founder Sean Parker leaves little impression, and Timberlake just doesn’t seem as comfortable in front of the camera as the rest of the cast.
Important as any character in the film, is the score provided by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. If you haven’t heard the score yet – available here for $5 – it’s mesmerizing, anthemic and emotive; easily some of Reznor’s best work. And it fits the film perfectly, with equal parts technological and organic. I strongly suggest you give the album a listen, it definitely holds its own as a cohesive body of work, not just an accompaniment.
It was an unusual feeling, sitting in the theatre watching a drama about Facebook, a relatively new, still fresh part of our culture. It felt like this was something that should happen post-mortem, but still I came home and checked my news feed. Hell I’ll be posting this review to the very app built on the backs of those men. Those men now sleeping on billions because of me doing so. And yet, The Social Network is important. It is relevant. It’s also a damn fine film, the Wall Street of our trans-media generation. We need to know how the things we love come to be, even if it is from one side (I’m sure Zuckerberg has his own version), and in this case the film is a story worth telling, done expertly so.
If the response to LET ME IN has been anything at all, it’s been passionate. It has sparked debate and discussion. It has opened up audiences to dissection and analysis of film. For that reason alone, especially in a climate so heavy with remakes, retellings, reboots and sequels, Let Me In is an important film. Beyond that, it is an exceptionally made film that unfortunately will never escape the shadow of its predecessor, the Swedish Let The Right One In.
Tomas Alfredson’s 2008 film has been called everything from ‘brilliant’ to ‘masterpiece’ to ‘modern classic’. Naturally, with Matt Reeve’s American version, you’re bound to fight resistance, comparison and passion. While Let Me In adheres to the narrative, adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel, the US film is the product of a different artistic vision. This is Reeve’s interpretation of the source material, not simply a remake of Alfredson’s film. And after all, isn’t that what makes some remakes not only great, but worth retelling?
Let Me In moves the story from Stockholm to New Mexico, centering on young Owen, a boy seemingly at the whipping end of life. Owen befriends Abby, the unusual little girl that just moved into his apartment complex, and as the trailer suggests, she is a vampire. It isn’t long before their relationship blossoms and the pain of being loved only by that which isn’t living becomes apparent. One thing to note of Reeve’s English version, is that the film does play out darker and with more horror elements than the Swedish film, something I thought was quite clear with the trailers. LMI is tonally very different from LTROI because of this. Matt Reeve’s also shines in this aspect; his camera work and lighting is some of the best of the year, as is Michael Giacchino’s brooding, emotional score. Visually, Reeve’s has more aesthetic style than Alfredson. That isn’t the claim that LMI is a better film, it’s merely proof that it is a vastly different film, should you view film as an art (and if you don’t, why read this?). I choose not to have these two films compete, as they both hold such strong merits and both deserve to be seen.
If there were one film to make up for the harsh bastardization of the vampire mythos of the last decade, it would be this. Don’t go in expecting a balls-out horror as the trailers and tv spots suggest. That’s far from what you’ll get. LMI is the story of a young boy, not a blood-sucking vampire. It’s unapologetic in its harshness and equally as discomforting as the bitter cold onscreen. And it’s entirely relatable. The pain felt in the film, beyond that of the neckwounds, are very real and presented in beautiful agony.
While “remaking” a film such as Let The Right One In (named after a Morrissey song, fyi) has split audiences and fans, you can’t deny that Let Me In is not only a valiant undertaking, but a unique film with a stellar cast (Chloe Moretz trumps anything that Dakota Fanning has done before her) and a distinct visual style. Sure minor (I say superfluous) details have been changed, added or subtracted in comparison to Alfredson’s version, but so what? The film that exists is a whole, not a part, and it completely works and impresses alone.