Posts Tagged ‘remake

07
Jun
10

Movie Review: The Wolfman

Werewolves of 19th century London, ahhh-oooooo…..

Starring Benecio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, and Hugo Weaving. Directed by Joe Johnston

If I were thirteen years old, this would be the awesomest werewolf movie ever made. But, I’m not and it isn’t.

The time and place: late nineteenth century England. Gwen Conliffe (Blunt) is writing a letter to her brother-in-law, Lawrence Talbot (del Toro). Her husband Ben, Lawrence’s brother, was mauled by something in the forest late one night. The police aren’t sure who or what did it and the speculation (this being post-Jack the Ripper) is that it was some sort of madman. However, giant claw marks and the fact that only half his body were recovered from a ditch suggest a “werewolf.” With no real leads and the fact that you just can’t get a “werewolf” lineup down at the station it’s all just hearsay and rumor, but everyone is pretty sure it was a werewolf.

Lawrence arrives at his boyhood home, a giant castle that he was initially sent away from. He was sent abroad to New York City and studied theater, his last production being “Hamlet.” With the murder of his brother shrouded in mystery, he plans on getting to the bottom of what really happened. He’s greeted by his father Sir John (Hopkins), a man who he doesn’t so much despise as feels detached from. Sir John has a dog as well as a servant named Singh (Art Malik). We find out later that he sent Lawrence to an asylum for a year before sending him abroad to America. If my own father did that to me I would never speak to him again.

Upon meeting Gwen again we realize the two have something between them. Yes, she’s his sister-in-law currently living on his creepy father’s residence but they have feelings for each other, or else why did she bother writing him? Not really sure on that one, but now is not the time to question story or plot.

Lawrence finds that his brother was a liaison between the gypsies and the townspeople. He heads to the camp to find out more info when suddenly it’s attacked by a fierce, malevolent creature (or, a werewolf). Shots are fired, people run around, there’s a lot of bloodletting and amputees… Going into the fog-filled forest Lawrence is attacked but saved by the main gypsy woman who knows that he’ll eventually become a werewolf. Maybe she took the Hippocratic Oath…

He’s sent back home and wakes up days later after having some intense CG-filled dreams (and one that questions how his mother had died). He had some claw marks left on his neck but other than that, he checks out alright. His father has shifty eyes and a smile that seem not to make any sense, or at least gives the idea that there’s more to what’s going on than he’s letting on.

Scotland Yard Investigator Abberline (Weaving) comes to question Lawrence but doesn’t get that much more info. It’s not so much that he suspects Lawrence but seeing as how the rest of the town despises Sir John and consider his family cursed Abberline just wants the facts.

To hit the fast-forward button and save you some cash, Lawrence is in fact a werewolf who was bitten by his father. Lawrence goes to get revenge, a giant melee ensues, the father is killed, and Gwen puts a silver bullet through his heart. The end.

This is the type of movie you show to others and say, “See? This is where Hollywood went wrong.” Having watched so many movies within 10 minutes I know where most movies go off the track. The problem with “The Wolfman,” is that, like “Transformers 2,” you’re not sure that it was on the track to begin with. Hell, after 10 minutes I wanted to go home and pop Francis Ford Coppola’s “Dracula” into my Blu-ray player and watch that. But, I digress.

Where did this movie go wrong? I think part of it lies in the fact that -supposedly- it was staying close to the original source material. Unfortunately movies made in 1941 are not movies made in 2010. Secondly, for a film taking place in England Hopkins, Blunt, and del Toro do NOT have any type of accent. In fact, del Toro -painfully- delivers an accent that sounds so ambiguously straight-forward that NO person talks that way. Third, Hopkins looks as if he’s channeling the spirit of Montgomery Burns (“The Simpsons”) in the way that he’s eyes constantly shift (or maybe that’s him making sure that the producers are signing his paychecks). Last, there’s a love scene so stilted I could almost hear George Lucas say, “See? The scene from ‘Episode 3′ was better than THAT!” Honestly, I can’t remember what point in the movie I stopped caring about what was going on but it just made it THAT much longer…

Blame the horrible writing (was it a direct translation?) Blame del Tor’s accent. Blame Hopkins’ character. Blame the CG effects and plastic prop-looking set design. Hell, just blame Joe Johnston.

I cannot recommend this movie. While not horrible, I wouldn’t bother watching it on cable or even as an in-flight movie. I wouldn’t even recommend downloading it illegally.

My grade: D

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11
May
10

Mythology Returns to the Movies with “Clash of the Titans”

A black pegasus?

Starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Gemma Arterton. Directed by Louis Leterrier

NOTE: I watched the film in Real 3-D.

I was all of four years of age when the original “Clash of the Titans” was released in 1981 and like every kid who grew up in the Eighties, I’ve watched the original at least a dozen times. Not to have a “back in the day” moment, but mythology was one of those cool things that sprang up on occasion. There was only one universal book on the subject by Edith Hamilton and aside from the fact that my “gifted”/really intelligent kids program did a unit of study on it, I might not have known anything about it save for the fact that the movie production company Orion was named after the constellation named for the mythological character. I have no idea or clue if kids are interested in it nowadays.

This remake directed by Louis Leterrier (“The Incredible Hulk”) brings back that since of nostalgia for Perseus, Zeus, Athena, Io, and the myriad of characters that deep down we find fascinating. Mythology envelopes us in a time and place where incredible feats were accomplished and the gods did way more than just place dice with the universe.

Loosely following the structure of a film that played pretty loosely with actual mythology, the story opens with the constellations in the sky and explains the creation of the Kraken (which comes into play later, if you didn’t know) as well as what happened between the god brothers Zeus and Hades. After creating the Kraken (a hideous, evil creature) Zeus sent Hades to sit immortality out running the underworld (a little Christianity with your Greek mythology, folks?)

Perseus is a baby laying on his dead mother’s body inside a coffin when he’s picked up by a fisherman (Pete Postlethwaite) who brings him up as his own son. On a particular trip in his late teens Perseus (now a grown Sam Worthington) and his family watch from their boat as the tides of change have enacted against the gods and a ginormous statue of Zeus is being toppled from a cliff by soldiers. The world of men no longer needs the gods; they can make their own.

Which doesn’t bode well on Mount Olympus where Zeus looks down to see that Man has turned against him. He needs the love and worship of Man to have power and he’s quickly losing it. When his brother Hades (Fiennes) shows they make a deal to teach mankind a lesson, not knowing that Hades has bigger plans. In the meantime Zeus sends winged creatures to pick-off the soldiers and Perseus’s family drowns when their boat is capsized by the falling statue.

At Argos a ceremony is being held by the king and his wife who decry the gods and goddesses. When the queen states that her daughter Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) is better looking than the goddess Athena, Hades makes his play on the kingdom of Argos: unless the king sacrifices his daughter for his wife’s insolence to Athena, the kingdom of Argos will be destroyed in ten days. Oh, and by the way Persues, the guy they pulled from the ocean, is a demi-god. Thanks.

Which causes Perseus a lot of problems. First off he blames Zeus for the death of his family. Second, the gods aren’t exactly winning any population contests with the people. Third, he’s just a fisherman and really doesn’t want to answer to being any more than what he is (an ongoing theme in the film). Meanwhile, we find out more about the birth of Perseus. His father Acrisius (Jason Flemyng) got screwed-over by Zeus in the beginning of Man’s war against the gods when Zeus came to Earth in the form of Acrisius and made out with his wife. Acrisius finds out, Zeus flees the scene and Acrisius waits until Perseus is born before putting his wife and him into a coffin and throwing it into the ocean. The demi-god Io (Arterton) guides the coffin to the boat of a fisherman while Zeus punishes Acrisius by deforming him (he now becomes Calibos) and banishing him to be Hades’ neighbor. Speaking of, Hades hires Calibos to kill Perseus because he has big plans.

Perseus meets Draco (Mads Mikkelsen) the leader of the Argos soldiers sent to prevent the death of Andromeda by… whatever. We in the theater (and at home) know it’s the Kraken, but the characters aren’t exactly sure what’s going on or really where they’re going; for all they know they could be on a suicide mission to chuck a ring into a volcano. They pick up two travelers and a Djinn (decrepit guy who can wield ancient magic) on their way to the witches and to Medusa and finally back to Argos to save the princess and keep Argos from being obliterated by the Kraken.

It’s better than I thought it would have been. Honestly. I loved growing up watching the original and was more than cautious on seeing this one. Having picked up the original on Blu-ray I can see it through a different set of eyes and –yes- it’s not the greatest movie since the train station one by the Lumiere Brothers, but it’s good and worthy of seeing at a theater.

Leterrier’s remake parallels the original but keeps its distance. Instead of “one man making a journey” it becomes a sort of “Fellowship Against the Kraken.” In the original Perseus went through self-imposed training to become PERSEUS and save the day whereas in this version the character doesn’t want to answer “the call of destiny” opting to rebel against it either because he just wants to be a fisherman or his self-esteem really is that low. The white Pegasus was traded for a black one, and the Kraken is a verifiable sea monster with tentacles as opposed to the giant Harryhausen creation.

My main complaint on the movie is that it lacks imperative nature. At no point in the film is there a time countdown; in fact, the film feels like it took place over two or three days at most. While there is camaraderie among the rag-tag group, they’re all sure of pursuing certain death so that Perseus can become who he needs to become in order to save Argos/the Princess/the day but Perseus doesn’t believe in himself nor what he’s being expected to do. Meanwhile, those around him get killed. And at the end of it all everything is righted again but it doesn’t stop from feeling underwhelming.

And that’s a concern: that our culture has divided everything into being either super-soft touchy/feely or super-action hero incredulous; there seems to be no middle ground. This is a movie for a generation of kids who grew up on “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” antidepressants, etc. On one hand not having more anima hurts this film and keeps it from being great. On the other, Leterrier makes a case about friendship, love, worship, the gods, and becoming one’s own self, regardless of fate or destiny.

Another minor adjunct complaint: everyone in the movie seemed to know what was going on/what they had to do but ignored the audience. Maybe this is a “gutsy” move to make audiences think, or maybe Leterrier is harkening back to olden days when everything wasn’t explained to its final detail. I don’t remember what led them from one place to the next except for a clue, and not one person questioned what was going on. Maybe I’ll chalk that up to “lack of character development” and letting the characters serve the story.

Special effect fight scenes were really well done. Acting was pretty good. The filmmakers attempted to take the original and make it their own and for the most part (given the source material) they did so. As for 3-D content… I have problems with 3-D glasses. Aside from putting them over my own I have a stigmatism and it takes ten minutes for my eyes to adjust to the image and as long as the picture stays in place I’m fine. The problem with 3-D (and me watching it as well) is when quick-cut fast-paced action sequences occur; they give me a headache. If you have the same problem, you may wanna skip seeing it in 3-D.

I can recommend this as a good matinee film or you may want to opt for full-price. It’s good for a remake and I would consider seeing it again.

Watch for Bubo (the mechanical owl) to make an appearance.

My grade: B

25
Nov
09

Remake Radar: The Crazies

 

Welcome to Remake Radar, where we take on Hollywood’s penchant for remaking films for better or worse (which is most of the time). This month’s movie:

“The Crazies” (1973)

Stars: W.G. McMillan, Lane Caroll, and Harold Wayne Jones

Director: George A. Romero

Story: A military plane carrying a dangerous bio-weapon crashes outside the small town of Evans City, Pennsylvania. Troops and scientists are dispatched to contain the area. Meanwhile, the biological agent infects the town’s water supply causing death and permanent insanity to the residents. When the troops show up, all hell breaks loose.

What do we know now?: Pretty much the same plot. Tim Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, and Joe Anderson star. Breck Eisner is directing.

The release date is February 26, 2010

Original trailer:

Remake trailer:

 

 

24
Nov
09

Movie News and Views November 24, 2009 Poster Edition

Welcome back for more Hollywood info…

– New to Sequel-ville: “Stomp the Yard”

– Charlize Theron was auctioning-off a trip to Africa which included a meeting with Nelson Mandela. With the highest bid being $37,000 she decided to offer a seven-second kiss to any man for $130,000. A woman offered $140,000. The kiss lasted for 90-seconds. Photo is below.

– The third Daniel Craig “Bond” movie will begin filming next year.

– New to Remake-Town: “Dambusters,” “Footloose,” “My Fair Lady,” “Short Circuit,” “Let the Right One In,” “Reincarnation of Peter Proud,”

– Pam Anderson has spoken out against the new “Baywatch” movie citing that she hates it when movies are made from TV shows. Nice to know she has standards…

– Tara Reid will be in Playboy and a team of Photoshop-ers are currently working on the pictorial.

– J.R.R. Tolkien had a good year for being a dead guy: he made $50 million. Although he was beat out by Michael Jackson ($90 mil) and Elvis Presley ($55 mil) he did make more than John Lennon ($15 mil), Jimi Hendrix ($8 mil) and fellow author Michael Crichton ($9 mil).

– The original writers on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” are coming back for the sequel. How many years has it been…?

– According to a recent AOL poll, Miley Cyrus is the worst influence on kids (42%), followed by Britney Spears and Kanye West.

– The movie “Australia” couldn’t get a nomination for itself or actors by the Australian Film Institute.

– According to the Parents TV Council, violence against women has risen 120% in the past 5 years.

– 50 Cent is on board with the idea that UFOs/aliens have visited us and the government is covering it up.

– For those with extra cash lying around, the rights for the “Terminator” franchise will be auctioned off this month.

– Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin will co-host the Oscars.

– Ted Danson, Tom Selleck, and Steve Guttenberg will reunite for “Three Men and a Bride.” I should say something witty here…

– Sony has acquired the rights to “Risk,” the world-domination board game. No word on how long the movie will be, but I’m hoping less than 6 hours.

– Will Smith has signed on to star and produce “Flowers for Algernon,” based on the story.

– Dwight Schultz, who played “Howlin’ Mad” Murdoch in “The A-Team,” has confirmed that he has a cameo in the upcoming film.

– Guillermo del Toro has confirmed his cameo in the “Hobbit” movie.

– Two good pieces of news for “Dark Tower” fans: J.J. Abrams will NOT be directing a “Gunslinger” movie, and Stephen King is possibly working on an 8th novel.

– MGM is up for auction as well…

– Due to bad money management, Nic Cage has foreclosed on 4 of his homes.

– Will Ferrell tops the Forbes Most Overpaid Actors list, with his films earning $3.29 for every dollar he’s paid.

– Michael Moore’s “Capitalism” has not been nominated for an Oscar. Apparently people in SoCal like their money…

– Michael Bay will NOT kill off Megan Fox’s character in “Transformers 3.” Because, what else is Megan Fox going to do?

– “The Howling” franchise will be rebooted. Yeah, that’s what I was waiting for… While you’re at it, can you bring the “Werewolf” TV series back?

26
Aug
09

Remake Radar: Poltergeist

poltergeist

 

 

Welcome to Remake Radar, where we take on Hollywood’s penchant for remaking films for better or worse (which is most of the time). This month’s movie:

“Poltergeist” (1982)

Stars Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, and Heather O’Rourke.

Director: Tobe Hooper

Story: Steven Freeling (Nelson) is a rest estate agent who moves his family into newly designed suburban housing. When strange things begin to occur and his daughter Carol Anne (O’Rourke) sits and points at the TV showing static and saying, “They’re here!” he decides to get to the bottom of the matter. His boss tells him that his house rests on an ancient Indian burial ground. Great. Matter are further complicated when Carol Anne is taken hostage by the malevolent spirits and thrown into another dimension. Steven calls on parapsychologists who are immediately humbled and bring in a small medium for their large request: bring back their kid from the other side, and get rid of the ghosts.

What do we know now? When there’s a remake / in MGM’s neighborhood. Who did they call? / Vadim Perelman! In a case nearly unprecedented by surely the way the Studios are going MGM greenlit a remake of the movie, picked a release date of November 24, 2010, then picked a director (Perelman) and screenwriters Juliet Snowden and Stiles White. Perelman directed “House of Sand and Fog.” Snowden and White co-wrote “Knowing” and “Boogeyman.”

25
Aug
09

Movie News and Views August 25, 2009 Poster Edition

avatar

 

– George Lucas is the highest-paid man in Hollywood, raking in $170 million. Feel free to make your own comment.

– “Resident Evil 4: Afterlife” will begin filming in September.

– Warner Bros. and Leo DiCaprio are pushing ahead on their “Twilight Zone” movie.

– Following “Spider-Man 4,” Sam Raimi is set to direct “World of Warcraft,” based on the video game.

– A sequel to “The Strangers” will begin shooting in September.

– Stephen Baldwin has filed for bankruptcy. Again, feel free to drop your own comment.

– More visitors to Sequel-ville: “300,” “Beverly Hills Cop 4,” “Constantine 4,” “Saw 6” and “Sex in the City 2.”

– “Pirates of the Caribbean 4” will start shooting April 2010.

– James McAvoy and director Timbur Bekmambetov will return for “Wanted 2.”

– David Cronenberg to direct “Cosmopolis,” based on the novel by Delillo about a guy whose day centers around his white stretch limousine.

– Is “Batman 3” a “go?” Nolan and Bale say they have no clue, but other reports are saying otherwise…

– Jon Favreau confirms “Iron Man 3.”

– “Chronicles of Narnia 3” now filming.

– Ron Howard is set to direct “The Parsifal Mosaic,” based on a novel by Robert Ludlum (“The Bourne” series)

– Ridley Scott is set to direct a prequel to “Alien.”

– Steven Spielberg’s next project is a remake of the Jimmy Stewart movie, “Harvey.”

– AO Scott and Michael Phillips are the new hosts for “At the Movies.”

– J.J. Abrams has hired writers for “Mission: Impossible 4.”

– Watch for “Underworld 4.” It has a January 2011 release date.

– Paul Giamatti is replacing Sean Penn in the “Three Stooges” movie, but now Jim Carrey has left. The only other original person to sign is Benicio del Toro.

– A “G.I. Joe” sequel has been confirmed by Paramount.

– With DVD sales falling 13.5% and Redbox’s revenue up 110%, the Studios are fighting back.

– Warner Bros. are developing a “Lego” movie. No word on how the shots will be blocked…

– “Poltergeist” remake has a release date of Nov. 24, 2010.

– Warner Bros. has lost the rights to Superman’s origins to the Jerry Siegel estate.

– For $500,000 you can be buried next to Marilyn Monroe.

– Blockbuster plans to offer movies that can be watched on Motorola cellphones.

– “Outland” and “Dirty Dancing” to be remade.

– Bryan Singer is set to remake “Excalibur.”

– Watch for “Cars 2: World Grand Prix.”

 

Thanks to www.worstpreviews.com

 

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30
Jul
09

Remake Radar: Footloose

footloose

 

Now I gotta cut
Loose, footloose
Kick off your Sunday shoes

Welcome to Remake Radar, where we take on Hollywood’s penchant for remaking films for better or worse (which is most of the time). This month’s movie:

“Footloose” (1984)

Stars: Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow, Chris Penn, and Sarah Jessica Parker

Director: Herbert Ross

Story: Ren McCormack (Bacon) is a street-wise teenager living in Chicago when his parents move the family west to a small town where dancing and rock music are as illegal as any progressive thought post-1950. Ren gets interested in Ariel (Singer) and with the help of classmates tries to lift the ban only to run up against the Bible-thumping preacher Rev. Shaw Moore. With a rockin’ soundtrack from Kenny Loggins (who does the main theme), Deniece Williams, Bonnie Tyler, Quiet Riot, Foreigner, and John Mellencamp, how can he lose?

What do we know now?: Aside from being turned into a Broadway production, it’s slated for release on June 18, 2010. The director is Kenny Ortega (“High School Musical 3”) and the two signed-on cast members are Chace Crawford (as Ren) and Julianne Hough (as Ariel).