Movies

Must See Movies 2013: A Glimpse So Far

Below are the movies I am most excited about for first half of the year or so. Release dates indicated are for South Africa, and are subject to change. Only movies with trailers and confirmed SA release dates are shown here. Watch my monthly posts for more up to date info. Source for release dates: http://moviesite.co.za/CPR.pdf

 

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January

Django Unchained

Prediction: Damn funny and will rock, plenty of Oscar nominations.

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Also watch out for Argohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w918Eh3fij0

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February

A Good Day To Die Hard

Prediction: Not really too sure, but should be good fun :)

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Lincoln

Prediction: Gonna be amazing!

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Also watch out for Zero Dark Thirty if only to see what the hype is about - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxC_JNz5Vbg

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March

Oz the Great & Powerful

Prediction: Looks promising

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Red Dawn

Prediction: Probably will be the same old formula, but should be entertaining

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April

Oblivion

Prediction: Even if it sucks, it should be interesting or at least entertaining, it’s win-win

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Seven Psychopaths

Prediction: It’s a winner! Why? 1) Woody Harrelson, 2) Christopher Walken, 3) It’s looks awesome

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Also watch out for the Carrie remake - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaHzUMq8iaM

May

Iron Man 3

Prediction: Looks very dark…

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Evil Dead (Remake)

Prediction: Where’s Bruce? No really… ooh wait this looks kinda freaky actually :)

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Fast and Furious 6

Prediction: Another one? Only the big names are gonna save this one…

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Also watch out for the Texas Chainsaw 3D (yet another scray movie remake) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqCe2pDfICE

And don’t forget about Stokerhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brjtL-2kE9A

June

Man of Steel 

Prediction: Oooh dark… plus Christopher Nolan (producer) and Zack Snyder (300) are involved in it

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After Earth

Prediction: Should be pretty cool, starring Will Smith and son, Jaden

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Star Trek – Into Darkness 

Prediction: Never really got into old Star Trek (*gasp*), so the reboot since the previous film has me hooked :)

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July

World War Z 

Prediction: Bad CGI aside, it should be pretty cool, even if it doesn’t look anything like I’d have pictured the book.

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The Lone Ranger

Prediction: Looks pretty damn cool

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Despicable Me 2 

Prediction: Laughs and fun all around

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August

Pacific Rim

Prediction: Prepare to be blown away…

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September

Elysium

Prediction: Since this isn’t really a trailer, it’s kinda difficult to say, but if Neill Blomkamp bought us District 9 with $30m, imagine what he can do with $120m and Matt Damon?

The mystery around this film reminds me of the mysterious build up and viral campaign of “fakeverts” and the rest that he did with District 9. Less is known about this film that some films coming out in 2014.


Must See Movies 2012 #9: The Hobbit, Life of Pi (& Jack Reacher)

Week 1

There was nothing really worth watching in the first week in December in my opinion, and since that was the case, I’m going to recommend that you watch Skyfall (again if you already have), which opened the last week on November here in South Africa. See my previous blog post, Must See Movies 2012 #8: Skyfall Review

Otherwise The Hobbit is a winner!

Week 2: The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey

hobbit_an_unexpected_journey_ver2This past weekend marked the release of the long awaited prequel to the Lord of the Rings. I watched it on Saturday night and all the people I went with were impressed.

The Hobbit is directed again by Peter Jackson and marks the return of several familiar faces. In case you didn’t know (like my fiancée) the Hobbit has been split into three movies: ‘The Unexpected Journey (2012)’, ‘The Desolation of Smaug (2013)’ and lastly ‘There And Back Again (2014)’. I have seen the meme doing the rounds and was expecting it to be very drawn out. While it could have (and should have) been done in one movie, the pace of the movie moves along pretty nicely and you rarely (although not never) get bored. Some critics moaned about it being a overproduced and being about the special effects, but I don’t see how you can make these movies and not.

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Hobbit Meme

The Hobbit also debuts the new HFR 3D technology, where the films are shot at 48 frames per second compared to the normal 24 of other films. Reviews have been mixed but the major advantage to the technology is the minimising of motion blur which affects other 3D movies. Unfortunately the cinema we were at didn’t have the infrastructure so I saw it in normal 3D, so I can’t really tell you more. Feel free to comment if you have.

IMDB Moviemeter: 1

Other IMDB: Top 250 #84 | 5 nominations

Tomatometer: 65%

Trailer 1

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Trailer 2

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Week 3: Life of Pi

Li of Pi

Based on the fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel, Life of Pi tells the story of a 16 year old boy, Piscione Molitor Patel, or Pi, when his family is killed in a shipwreck while  moving their zoo to Canada. The story is told from an older Pi’s perspective as he relays his story to a novelist who thinks his story would make a great novel.

A blog I follow did a pretty cool review for this movie. Have a look at the The Focused Filmographer review here

IMDB Moviemeter: 5

Other IMDB: Top 250 #242 | Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 10 wins & 21 nominations

Tomatometer: 88%

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Week 4: Jack Reacher

Jack_reacherI’m not convinced, but it might, just might, surprise me, so for that fact alone, give it a go if you haven’t see any of the first three films I mentioned. The critics seems to like it.

Tom Cruise stars as a homicide investigator who digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper that shot five random victims.

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Trailer 1

(When I first heard the soundtrack from the trailer, I thought it was a new Mission Impossible (1:02))

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Trailer 2

 

 

 

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Must See Movies 2012 #8: Skyfall Review

Skyfall - IMPAwards.com

Source – IMPAwards.com

WARNING: Possible spoilers!

Last month, my one recommendation was the new Bond film, Skyfall. I am happy to say I still stand by this recommendation, it is definitely a must see movie, especially for Bond fans, but then again if you are a Bond fan, I’m sure I didn’t need to tell you this. You’ve already seen the movie and are telling others the same thing… I hope…

Building up to Skyfall, I did a Bond marathon, my third one (which explains my lack of blogging for the last little while), and had managed to get to The World is Not Enough (1999, Pierce Brosnan) the day before I went to watch Skyfall. Up to this point, good old Roger Moore was my favourite Bond with Sean Connery in a very, very, very close second. I liked the Connery era SPECTRE storyline but Moore was just a better Bond for me. George Lazenby wasn’t around long enough to make an impression on me, but I still preferred him to Timothy Dalton & Pierce Brosnan. The Brosnan movies weren’t necessarily bad, although they may have been a bit over the top and worst of all they used BMW for the Bond cars, but I just didn’t like Brosnan. Timothy Dalton was a bit better, but still nowhere near Moore or Connery, and still not as good as Lazenby.

In my first Bond marathon, Brosnan was the current Bond and I was still in school, so I didn’t pay the attention I should have. It was something to watch while I was doing other stuff. I had watched Goldeneye on VHS, didn’t have DVD then, from the local video store where I lived. It was about a year after Goldeneye had come out, and since they had the whole collection, I thought why not. I would like to say I was a fan after that, but that would be a lie, I was just too young I think…

My second Marathon was almost 10 years later, just before the release of Casino Royale. I think this is when I officially became a Bond fan. The second time round I definitely paid more attention, to the characters which were repeated through the movies, the little inside jokes (“This never happened to the other chap” – George Lazenby), the quirks of the different Bonds, the cars, the airplanes and more. It was then that I decided that Moore was my favourite Bond. I watched Casino Royale afterwards when it came to the big screen and also watched Quantum of Solace a few years later and thoroughly enjoyed them.

A few months back when the 50 years of Bond hype was around and talk of Skyfall was on the rise, I decided to do my third marathon from Dr No up to Quantum of Solace and slowly but surely I made it through to The World Is Not Enough. That was just before the weekend of Skyfall’s release in South Africa. I then had the choice to wait until I actually finished my marathon, or to watch Skyfall that weekend. I watched it as you could guess and I was blown away, but I finished the remaining movies in the week afterwards. Which brings me to the one Bond that I haven’t mentioned yet, the current one, Daniel Craig.  He is definitely not the sophisticated, suave Bond that was portrayed by all the previous Bonds, although you can see his growth as a 00 through the first three movies.

But there’s a reason for that, in Casino Royale, the Bond movies took a drastic twist that some, non-Bond fans mostly, may not have noticed, it was a complete reset of the Bond Universe. It wasn’t so much of a new story as a new twist on it. Casino Royale was to Bond what Batman Begins was to Batman. Casino Royale was actually also the first book in Ian Fleming’s Bond novels.

Casino Royale Director Martin Campbell confirmed this:

“The producers felt it had gone off the rails a bit after Die Another Day, with invisible cars and all that. I told them, we have to go back to the books. We even discussed doing it as a period piece.We settled on a more fucked-up character with a dark streak in him – drinking too much, dodgy liver – all that’s in the book. In Casino, he also had a real relationship with a woman. He doesn’t just have a dozen for king and country.”

I didn’t know this when I first watched Casino Royale, it took a second watch a month or two later.  There were other things related to this that I also didn’t realise, like the reboot of the Felix Leiter character as well.

In Casino Royale, we see James Bond’s promotion to the ranks of the 00′s. He is definitely the darkest Bond of the series as we see him falling in love with the character Vesper and being betrayed by her near the end. In Quantum of Solace we are made more aware of the Quantum organisation (replacing both SMERSH and SPECTRE of the early films and novels in this reboot) and find that our villians in this film and the previous one are all part of Quantum, including Vesper and her killer/lover, Yusef Kabira.

In Skyfall, the foundation for the new Bond universe is set even more. We are introduced to the new Moneypenny straight away even if we don’t realise it and to the new Q a bit later. Many fans and even Daniel Craig expressed wishes for their return, and quite a return they have made (What did you expect, an exploding pen?).

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know about the whole M situation, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Ralph Fiennes is a pretty damn good actor and while I loved Judie Dench as M, she reminded me too much of the Brosnan era.

With Skyfall, Daniel Craig officially became my new favourite James Bond. I thought he was brilliant in Casino Royale, a little less brilliant in Quantum of Solace, although only a little bit less. In Skyfall he has me hooked to Bond 2.0. He was brilliant and even managed to not let Javier Bardiem outshine him, not easy, with Bardiem as the villian, ex-00 agent Raoul Silva (aka Tiago Rodriguez)

Don’t rely on me to convince you to watch though, go read some reviews if you need to, but the fact that it is the highest grossing movie of all time in the UK, and has almost reached the billion Dollar mark ($922 million at the time of this post) which would put in on top as the highest earning Bond film of all time (relative to inflation) which is currently held by Goldfinger at the magic $1 billion mark.

If you’re still looking at me for some reasons to go watch it, where do I start? The best Bond villian for a long time: Javier Bardiem, the sexy Bond girl Bérénice Marlohe, who plays Severine and the moment you see what Aston he is gonna drive (I heard about 5-10 “whoas” when I watched it in the cinema. Not to say those are it’s only good points, they’re just the most prominent ones.

Wanna have another look at that trailer? Sure!


Pixar, Marvel & Now Lucasfilm. The Force Is Strong With Disney

Disney

DisneyYesterday it was announced that Disney are to acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. This is all “subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions.”

But everything has been approved by both Disney and Lucasfilm’s sole shareholder, George Lucas. So what does this mean for the fans?

Well, besides three new movies, with “Episode 7″ being released in 2015 and all sorts of merchandising/theme parks spin-offs, only time will tell.

Did anyone really notice the changes in Pixar and Marvel. I didn’t. Let’s look at this from the fan viewpoint and the easiest way is to look at the responses to films before and after. Comparing Pixar before and after is relatively easy, but Marvel is a bit more complex as they licensed their comics to various companies for production & distribution, some good and some not so much.

Have a look at the two tables below, which are split into 2 sections (post- and pre-Disney) which are split again into public opinion and critic’s opinion. The abbreviations are as follows:

Lets start with Pixar:

PRE-DISNEY
Title Year RT (AR) IMDB RT (F) MC
Toy Story 1995 81 8.3 100 92
A Bug’s Life 1998 61 7.2 92 77
Toy Story 2 1999 72 8 100 88
Monsters, Inc. 2001 84 8 95 78
Finding Nemo 2003 82 8.1 99 89
The Incredibles 2004 67 8 97 90
Cars 2006 80 7.3 74 73
AVERAGE 75.3 7.8 93.9 83.9
POST-DISNEY
Title Year RT (AR) IMDB RT (F) MC
Ratatouille 2007 84 8 96 96
WALL-E 2008 89 8.5 96 94
Up 2009 86 8.3 98 88
Toy Story 3 2010 91 8.5 99 92
Cars 2 2011 54 6.4 38 57
Brave 2012 80 7.5 78 69
AVERAGE 80.7 7.9 84.2 82.7

A quick look the average public ratings (RT(AR) and IMDB) show us that the public prefer the post-Disney Pixar, if only slightly. If you take a closer look, Cars 2 was a major let-down for post-Disney Pixar. If we take that one out, things are very different the averages go up to 86, 8.2, 93.4 & 87.8 respectively. If you look atthe critic’s opinions however, Rotten Tomatoes says that Disney is not doing a great job, while Metacritics says it’s pretty much the same, unless again, you take out Cars 2.

But the jump from Disney to Pixar is not that huge, not as much as it is for Marvel… So what is the verdict with regards to Marvel. Up until 1998, Marvel never really made the jump to the big screen, with only a four movies coming out, including two versions of Captain America. From 1998, they started licensing out more movies to various companies until Disney bought them out in 2009 for $4.24 billion.

PRE-DISNEY
Title Year RT (AR) RT (F) IMDB MC
Year Title
1944 Captain America - - 6.6 -
1986 Howard the Duck - - 4.3 -
1989 The Punisher 42 24 5.4 -
1990 Captain America 20 11 3 -
1998 Blade 78 55 7 45
2000 X-Men 83 82 7.4 64
2002 Blade II 72 59 6.6 52
Spider-Man 65 89 7.3 73
2003 Daredevil 46 45 5.4 42
X2 84 88 7.6 68
Hulk 34 62 5.7 54
2004 The Punisher 68 29 6.4 33
Spider-Man 2 81 93 7.5 83
Blade: Trinity 70 26 5.8 38
2005 Elektra 47 10 4.8 34
Man-Thing 18 20 4 -
Fantastic Four 57 27 5.7 40
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand 73 57 6.8 58
2007 Ghost Rider 56 26 5.2 35
Spider-Man 3 54 63 6.3 59
FF: Rise of the Silver Surfer 55 37 5.7 45
2008 Iron Man 91 94 7.9 79
The Incredible Hulk. 75 67 6.9 61
Punisher: War Zone 45 27 6 30
AVERAGE 59.7 49.6 6.1 52.3
POST-DISNEY
Title Year RT (AR) RT (F) IMDB MC
2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine 72 37 6.7 -
2010 Iron Man 2 80 75 7.1 57
2011 Thor 80 77 7 57
X-Men: First Class 88 87 7.8 65
CPT America: The First Avenger 75 79 6.8 66
2012 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 32 18 4.4 32
Marvel’s The Avengers 96 92 8.4 69
The Amazing Spider-Man 81 73 7.4 66
AVERAGE 75.5 67.3 7.0 58.9

No matter which way you look at it, Disney is doing a pretty damn good job, except when it comes to Ghost Rider 2, which was neither produced or distributed by them or Marvel, since talk of it’s production began in 2007 already.

Ultimately, as I said, time will tell, but I’m pretty sure they’ll do a good job


Must See Movies 2012 #7: Cloud Atlas & Skyfall

cloud_atlas_ver2

AKA:  Must Miss Movies 2012 #1: Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2

This month isn’t one of the more promising months when it comes to movies.

Of course, if you’re a Twilight fan, then you may think that how can I say that, but I refuse to watch it, simple, so therefore it can’t be a must see movie for me.

Week 1: Cloud Atlas

Written and Directed by Tom Twyker (Run Lola Run) & The Wachowskis (Matrix Trilogy, V for Vendetta), the movie is based on the award winning book of the same name from David Mitchell. The movie consists of different stories ranging from the 19th century to a post-apocalyptic future and is “an exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future.”

The film’s premier in Toronto received a ten minute standing ovation. Almost every actor in the film plays 3-6 different characters within an almost mind-exploding weave of locales. It stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, and many more.

The movies was released in the US on 26 October 2012, but comes to us in SA on 2 November 2012.

IMDB Moviemeter: 19

Tomatometer: 62%

Trailer 1 (Extended):

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Trailer 2:

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Week 2: ParaNorman

It’s an animated movie, I know… but it has zombies in, that’s enough for me. If that’s not enough for you, how about the fact that it was done in stop-motion?

The movie used 31000 interchangeable parts to make the movie’s characters capable of 1.5 million expressions. Norman’s eye-rig alone has 40 parts and the faces were printed with a 3D printer. The rigs used for each character needed to be precise and even each individual stone & clump of dirt that is flung around when the zombies rise was controlled by individual wires.

On average, Laika’s 35 animators and 58 visual effects artists created all 244733 frames at an average of 4.4 seconds of footage. - (Source: www.wired.co.uk)

IMDB Moviemeter: Top 5000

Tomatometer: 86%

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Week 3 & 4

Nada :/

Yeah, that’s right, unless you’re a Twilight fan, in which case, you have my condolences.

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Week 5: Skyfall

I’m a huge bond fan, and there are quite a few of us out there. Those who like Bond will already know about this, the 23rd film in the 007 series and those that don’t like Bond will not watch it no matter what I say. For those that are on the fence, the trailer should convince you either way.

Skyfall was released in the UK on 26 October 2012 and is due for release on 2 November 2012 in SA.

IMDB Moviemeter: 11

Tomatometer: 94%

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Must See Movies 2012 #6: Frankenweenie, Moonrise Kingdom and more

Week 1: How I Spent My Summer Vacation (aka Get the Gringo)

This movie, starring Mel Gibson as a career criminal is due out in South Africa on the 5th of October. Caught by the Mexican authorities, he is thrown in a rough & tough prison, where a ten year old kid teaches him the ropes.

The sad thing is that this movie was already out in March in the USA and is already out on DVD there (since July), so most people have seen it already, probably. If not, give it a go…

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IMDB Moviemeter: Top 500

Tomatometer: 80%

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Week 2: Taken 2

The sequel to one of the more entertaining action flicks that has come out in recent years, Mills (Liam Neeson) and his wife are taken hostage while on holiday in Istanbul. Should be good fun, but the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating of 11% has me worried.

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IMDB Moviemeter: 19

Tomatometer: 11%

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Week 3: Moonrise Kingdom 

I am really not sure where to start with this movie. If I tell you that it’s about two 12 year old kids who fall in love and run away together, you’re probably gonna give me weird looks, but that’d be understandable as that doesn’t sum it up properly. Directed by Wes Anderson (Royal Tenenbaums, Darjeeling Unlimited) and starring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton and Bill Murray, this must be one of the most anticipated movies of the year.

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IMDB Moviemeter: 2

Tomatometer: 94% (Certified fresh)

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Week 4: Frankenweenie

Directed by Tim Burton and not featuring Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter (c-c-c-c-combobreaker), this black & white, stop motion film in 3D is about a boy who brings his dead dog back to life with dire consequences. Should be good pre-Halloween fun.

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IMDB Moviemeter: Top 500

Tomatometer: 81%

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In Case There’s Nothing Else 

Week 1: Premium Rush

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IMDB Moviemeter: Top 500

Tomatometer: 75% (Certified Fresh)

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Week 4: The Campaign

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IMDB Moviemeter: Top 500

Tomatometer: 67%

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Must See Movies 2012 #5: Total Recall, Resident Evil & Dredd (and others)

Over the next two months, there are three movies I cannot miss and some others I will try my best to see.

First up at the end of this week today is the remake of Total Recall. I loved the original with Arnie and am hoping that Colin Farrell won’t let me down. I don’t expect it to be better than the original, and am not going to walk in comparing them, but the trailer looks pretty kick-ass so I have a little bit of hope.

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In the middle of September, the day after my birthday actually, comes Resident Evil Retribution. Honestly I think this series of movies has been going on for way too long, but it has zombies and Milla Jovovich, so it’s a must see! :)

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At the end of September, comes a movie that I have been hoping for since the first attempt in 1995. That movie of course is Dredd 3D.

When I was in boarding school, every Friday afternoon would be spent at the bookstore in town reading the latest 2000AD comic. If I couldn’t read all of it, I would make sure that I had read at least the Judge Dredd part.

When I heard about the first movie in 1995, I was excited beyond words, until I watched it. It sucked and that is all I have to say about it…

Fast forward a few years (13 to be exact) and it was announced that Alex Garland (28 Days Later) would be the writer of the new movie.   Reviews of the initial screening of the movie have been positive with IGN giving it a 8/10. Even better has been the talk of a Dredd being a trilogy (did I mention how excited I am?)

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In summary here are the films to look out up to the end of September, including the above:

August

Now: Expendables 2

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Coming up: Total Recall

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September

Week 1: The Watch

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Week 2: Resident Evil Retribution

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Week 3: The Bourne Legacy

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Week 4: Dredd 3D


Must See Movies 2012 #4: Catching Up

After a few months of absence, I’m back! My last Must See Movies post was in May and to make matters worse, I have only seen one of the three movies that I rated as must see. That movie was Battleship and in my defence, I did say I thought it would be entertaining, whether it was good or bad… It turned out to be the latter.

I still intend to watch Men in Black 3 and Dark Shadows, but not sure when that’ll be. On the other hand over the last couple of months, there were three movies that really stuck out for me and if you haven’t watched them yet, what is wrong with you?

First up was Prometheus, and I really enjoyed the not-a-prequel prequel of the Alien saga. Check it out, there’s talk of a sequel to the not-prequel-prequel that will definitely not be a prequel, but a complete separate storyline. Confused yet?

The second one was The Dark Knight Rises. I know a lot of people won’t agree with me that this is the best of the Dark Knight trilogy. With the exception of Bane‘s almost unintelligible speech, I loved everything about it….

The third of my recommended movies for the past few months is The Amazing Spiderman, if only because it doesn’t have Tobey Maguire as Spiderman… Andrew Garfield did a much better job in my opinion. The only thing that made me appreciate this movie a little less was the fact that I had watched The Dark Knight rises a week before, so it was difficult to not compare


Must See Movies 2012 #3: Dark Shadows, Men in Black 3 (and Battleship)

Firstly, I would like to apologise to those of you who took my advice and watched The Hunger Games. In brief, it did suck a bit, so if you’re still on the fence about watching it, do yourself a favour, just climb down to the side where you don’t watch it. Or wait for DVD if you really have to watch it.

Moving on to the The Avengers though. OMG. Have you watched it yet? In one word, epic. That is what The Avengers was, epic. I loved it from beginning to end. Joss Whedon really did the movie justice. So if you haven’t watched it yet, go do it already. Big thumbs up.

For May, there are two movies that I reckon will be worth it. There’s one more that I will probably watch, but already have a feeling it will suck a bit, that is Battleship. I’ll get to this one at the end…

First up is Dark Shadows, Tim Burton‘s latest film, based on the 60′s series of the same name. In 1752 wealthy playboy Barnabus Collins, played by Johnny Depp, breaks the heart of a witch, who turns him into a vampire and buries him. He gets freed accidentally in 1972 and returns to find his once magnificent mansion in ruin and occupied by his dysfunctional descendants, each with the own deep dark secrets. It features, yeah you’ve guessed it, Helena Bonham Carter, in the role of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer), the family matriarch’s hired live-in psychiatrist.

At the end of May, we get to watch Men in Black 3. Not much needs to be said about this one except that we get to see the younger 1960′s “K” (Josh Brolin). As with the previous 2, it also features Will Smith & Tommy Lee Jones. There’s not much to say about this one except it should be pretty good, like the previous two.

As mentioned earlier, the other movie which I will probably watch this month is Battleship. The movie is based on the Hasbro game, Battleship. To be honest, it looks a bit too much like Transformers with a different name but it’ll probably be good entertainment regardless of whether it is good or not though, so give it go if you’d like.


Must See Movies 2012 #2: The Hunger Games & The Avengers

In my first “Must See Movies” post for 2012, which covered me until the end of March, I could barely scrape together 4 movies that excited me a bit. I am afraid that I must admit that the first two were major disappointments as well. 2012 isn’t the greatest of years for movies that have excited me so far. There have been some okay ones here and there, but none worth special mention. On the plus side, I’ve been catching up with my series and Skyrim.

The Darkest Hour was exactly that, and about 30 minutes more actually for that matter. The movie relied a bit too much on the cheap (3d) thrills. I can imagine watching it on a normal screen would make it even worse.

While Chronicle was not a complete disaster, the camcorder feel of the movie was a bit annoying, I think it would have worked much better if it was shot in any way but the way they did.

I have more hope for the remaining two, if only for their entertainment value. Project X’s producer is none other than Todd Phillips (who has previously produced and/or directed Old School, The Hangover I & II as well as Due Date) and, well The Wrath of the Titans will be some good fun even if it does suck

For April, I only forsee good things. There are two movies that deserve mention, The Grey and Take Shelter (see the trailers at the end of the post), but even they are simply overshadowed by two potential movies of the year for me.

Cover of "The Hunger Games"

Cover of The Hunger Games

First up, on 13 April 2012, is the movie adaption of  the Suzanne Collins novel of the same name: The Hunger Games. The book and movie are set in the fictional, post-apocalyptic country of Panem, built atop the remains of continental North America, which was destroyed by global warming, war and scarcity of resources. The country is ruled by the powerful, advanced city, the Capitol, which controls the 12 districts as well as all their resources. There were once 13 districts, but during a uprising by the 13 districts against the Capitol, they completely wipe out the 13th district and as a reminder of their defeat by the Capitol, an annual event televised event called the Hunger Games is held. Two tributes, a male and a female between 12 and 18 years of age, are chosen by the Capitol by lottery, unless someone volunteers, to enter a fight to the death. The district whose tribute is left standing at the end is showered with food and resources in abundance, while the remaining 11 districts face hunger and even death from starvation.

Knowing that Collins herself is involved in the movie is even better. I have been listening to the audio book while driving between work and home every day and am nearing the end now. This is one movie that seriously excites me so far. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a 100% fresh rating with an average score of 8.1.

Looks like it should be pretty rocking right?

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Avengers

Movie Poster

Next, coming out at the end of April is The Avengers. The Marvel universe in which the Avengers is based, has had five movies preceding it’s eagerly awaited release and set the scene. It started with Iron Man in May 2008, followed by The Incredible Hulk in June 2008. In 2010, Iron Man 2 was released and last year, we had Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. All 5 of these movies have had different directors and for the most part different writers, with the exception of Zak Penn getting involved in the story of The Incredible Hulk and now The Avengers. There are only two clear links between the films:

  • They each have a small clip after the credits have rolled hinting towards either another character or the Avengers themselves.
  • They are all produced by Kevin Feige

There is not much I can tell you about this movie that true fans don’t already know or that anyone else that is watching this movie would want to know. Let the trailers speak for themselves. If you don’t want to watch all of them, may I suggest that you just skip to Trailer #2 :)

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As a side note for those of you who haven’t seen the 5 movies mentioned and are wondering whether it’s critical to watch them before the Avengers, I have two things to say:

  • Why the hell not??
  • In all honesty it probably wont be the end of the world and you could probably get away with it, but they do provide an important back story for each individual character which may contribute to parts of the story.

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Then lastly as promised here are the trailers for The Grey and Take Shelter


Must See Movies 2012 #1

Out now:

The Darkest Hour

In Moscow, five young people lead the charge against an alien race who have attacked Earth via our power supply.

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February

Chronicle

Three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.

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March

Project X

3 high school seniors throw a birthday party to make a name for themselves. As the night progresses, things spiral out of control as word of the party spreads.

Wrath of the Titans

Perseus embarks on a treacherous quest into the underworld to rescue Zeus, who has been targeted for capture by his traitorous son, Ares, and his brother, Hades.


The World Is F***ed #4: MTV Movie Awards

MTV LogoI used to love MTV, back when Beavis and Butthead, Migraine Boy, Daria, and more recently Celebrity Deathmatch, had me laughing my ass off. Back when there were still nights dedicated to rock music, not just one night or show either. They also didn’t have 12 hours of ads per day…

Okay I’ll admit, I don’t watch much TV at all these days, let alone MTV. I watch the movies and series that I like and that’s it. Once in a while at a friends house I might jump across to MTV, but I hardly ever stay there more than 15-20 minutes before I get frustrated.

As if my apathetic view of MTV wasn’t bad enough, at the MTV Movie awards last night (5 June 2011), I was shocked to find that the best movie, according to them, was “Twilight: Eclipse” and along with that they got Best Male and Female Performance (for Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart). Oh and Best Kiss & Best Fight. WTF? Really… Twilight was their “best” movie? What the hell happened to all the other way better movies, never mind the best performance awards? Sorry MTV, but you now just plain suck…

So I guess this is my goodbye to MTV. As a final remembrance of the MTV I used to love, here’s a video I found of  a whole bunch of Beavis and Butthead.


Must-See Movies 2011 #2: Thor, Captain America and X-Men: First Class

Thor PosterI have to admit that these three movies have got me pretty excited and I don’t know which one I would pick if I had to choose only one… Right now, based on trailers alone, I’m leaning towards Thor, but that’s not really fair, especially since Captain America has only had the TV spot so far. But seriously, come now, it has Natalie Portman in it!

I’m not  gonna say much about them here, but if you do want all the info about them I would recommend heading here - http://avengersnews.com/ – since two of these movies are building up for the big one in 2012: The Avengers directed by Joss Whedon

For those of you who don’t know, the Hulk and Iron Man movies are also tied into the Avengers movie. At the end of 2008′s Incredible Hulk and the Iron Man Movies, you will catch the hints Thor, Captain America and The Avengers. So make sure you watch them as well if you haven’t already.

The X-Men movies are completely separate, but they rock anyway, that’s why First Class is thrown in here :)

Thor

Official site: http://thor.marvel.com/

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0800369/

Trailer:

Captain America

Official site: http://captainamerica.marvel.com/

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1270798/

Trailer:

X-Men: First Class

Official site: http://www.x-menfirstclassmovie.com/

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1270798/

Trailer:


Must-See Movies 2011 #1: Hobo with a Shotgun

Hobo with a Shotgun

Image coutesy of Wikipedia

Exploitation films are very difficult to judge. Sometimes there’s too much gore and not enough story, sometimes any hope of the good story meaning anything is lost by crap acting or directing, etc.

Machete pulled it off, as did the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse duo. I won’t even bother mentioning those that didn’t because that’s just not worth the effort…

There is one that has had my attention for a while now and after the awesome reception it had at the Sundance Festival, I am even more excited than I ever was. It started with the “fake” Grindhouse trailer which I honestly never thought would ever get made.

Then to my surprise, rumours that Jason Eisener was taking this project on began to surface. Cue excitement. Then came the best news ever: Rutger Hauer would be starring as the Hobo!! The legend of Bladerunner and The Hitcher fame is pretty much be the perfect person for the role of the Hobo.

I read this earlier last year and then it kinda got filed away, but then I happened to come across the new trailer again during the past week and just want to share it with all you folks out there who give a damn. I have a feeling the girlfriend won’t like this one though, so will probably watch with some mates or solo when I do! :)

Keep an eye out for this one…


Brains! A Zombie History Lesson

Hawt Zombies :)

I have always been a fan of zombies, but only recently has my interest “risen from the dead” so to speak, and I actually even look for the cheesiest movies out there to satisfy my cravings. Zombies have now become an obsession of sorts for me.

BRAINS!!

Zombies are rooted deep in history, back as far as the 1700s, but the zombie as we know it probably originated in the early twentieth century. Writers such as HP Lovecraft dabbled in tales of the undead, but the turning point in the American version of the zombie culture was the 1932 film, White Zombie. There is a story about how, during  political unrest in Haiti (this was about 1915), a mob of  citizens showed their anger towards the government, which had murdered over 150 political prisoners. They did this by catching a certain general, tearing his limbs from his body and then displayed across the city as a warning. This escalated things which led to USA’s intervention. The possibility exists that these events led to some sort of rumours, all starting from the news that was reaching the US. Sound very zombie?

During the 30’s up until the Great Depression the Voodoo zombie dominated despite HP Lovecraft’s stories of the undead. In the 40’s horror had started to reach its saturation point in film and the comedy zombie tried to rear its ugly head. This is probably due to the war and the fact that woman and children were the target market and zombies didn’t go down too well. During the 50’s the alien zombie and atomic zombie popped up but very few of these films were really worth watching unless you are a huge fan (like me).

Then George Andrew Romero came along and wrote and directed his first movie called Night of the Living Dead, which he independently produced as well in 1968. This movie started the new direction in zombie that took hold in the 70’s ending in Romero’s follow up Dawn of the Dead in 1978. He portrayed zombies as undead, rotting corpses and the idea stuck. While you would recognise the zombies in White Zombie, there is no mistaking the difference between the two. It is well known fact that Romero’s zombie movies were a social commentary on life at the time of their release as well from the chaotic 60’s to the consumerism in the 70’sand so on. Strangely enough io9.com did research a while back which resulted in an article: War and Social Upheaval Cause Spikes in Zombie Movie Production. Of course, as is true with any study done, especially one on the interwebs, results can always show what we want them to. A lot of the zombie films of the late 60′s and 70′s were very cool and worth looking into.

In the 80’s the Italians took over the zombie genre while Hollywood went all slasher-crazy. A conversation with a friend of mine recently though, led to an argument over the idea that Jason Vorhees of Friday the 13th fame was in actual fact, a super-zombie… thoughts? Not to say the 80’s never had it share of brilliant movies, but nothing revolutionary. This went on into the 90’s before zombies decided to shift to video games. In 1996, Capcom released a game in Japan called Biohazard, which became Resident Evil in Europe and the US and Sega also release a shooter called House of the Dead. At around about the same time, a movie called Scream gave horror in general, a shot in the arm and saw renewed interest in the classic horrors including zombie films. As in the 80’s hundreds of movies were made, many good, but more that were plain crap.

In the new millennium, Hollywood seemed to take interest in some big budget zombie-based movies ending up in a new set of Romero films, a series of Resident Evil films based on the 90′s video game, 28 Days Later (which spawned a sequel and comic book) and more like 2006’s Fido and 2009’s Zombieland . The new millennium seemed to like the viral zombie more than any other.

EDIT: As pointed out to me in the comments I forgot to mention 2004′s Shaun of the Dead from Simon Pegg.

To really appreciate the world of zombies you have to watch the good (The Dead series, Fido, Zombieland) with the (not so bad) low budget masterpieces like Zombie StrippersZombies! Zombies! Zombies. They are awesome!!! No matter how cheap or how bad the acting is, I take satisfaction that never ever will Hollywood be able to take zombies and turn it into a romantic piece of crap (think Twilight *vomit*), so I take the bad acting and everything that sucks in it’s stride.

There is a recent gem I came across, the Japanese movie, Kyonyū doragon: Onsen zonbi vs storippaa, or if you prefer its English translation, Big Tits Zombie… I can’t joke about that, even translating the actual Japanese title gives you the title: Big Dragon Zombie Strippers. And let me tell you this one has it all, geisha zombies, schoolgirl zombies, samurai zombies and even a stripper who becomes a zombie with a fire breathing razor toothed snatch.

Zombies in printed media have stuck more or less to the idea of Romero’s undead zombie and the modern viral as opposed to the voodoo zombie. Max Brooks‘ awesome book, World War Z is a crowning achievement for the printed world of the zombie in my opinion, as it actually explores what happens to governments and the average person in a crisis such as the zombie apocalypse and as the full title suggests, is “an oral history of the zombie war”. This is followed closely by Stephen King’s The Cell and Max Brooks’ other novel, The Zombie Survival Guide. There are others, such as the mash up novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but have a look at The Buyer’s Guide to Zombie Books for the good ones.

The most notable printed form of zombie right now, has to be The Walking Dead monthly comic book series, published by Image Comics. It has resulted in a TV series produced by AMC and has secured the rights for a second season with 13 episodes. Reception for the TV series has been pretty good, but as of episode five, aired a few days before this post, has started deviating from the comic book series, which could be a good or bad thing. Time will tell how successful the series turns out to be, but I hope it isn’t screwed up by the writers and producers, because I have recently started reading the comic and it rocks.

While doing some research for this post, I also discovered that World War Z is being made into a movie, starring Brad Pitt.

BRAINS!!!!!

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