Thursday, June 20, 2013

Downey Jr. to Continue as Iron Man announced today that Robert Downey Jr. will be returning to the role of Tony Stark/Iron Man not only for the upcoming 'The Avengers 2', but also 'The Avengers 3'.

Many superhero flick fans were more than a little nervous when, in an interview with Empire, Downey Jr. expressed interest in possibly leaving the part after the mega-hit Iron Man 3, even going so far as to suggest recasting the (now iconic) Tony Stark.
"[Recasting] would probably be the best thing in the world for me."
Such statements, tied with the fact that his contract with the studio officially ended after the May release of 'Iron Man 3' lead many fans to fear that the self-describe "King of ComiCon" would abandon the franchise.

The original 'Iron Man' was released in 2008 to stupendous box-office numbers and served not only as the first successful film that Marvel Studios released themselves, but also essentially re-launched the career of Downey Jr. after his previous struggles with addiction.

Since then, the character of Iron Man has become a household name, and has transformed into the center-piece of the massive (and massively popular) Marvel Cinematic Universe.  2012's 'The Avengers' and this year's 'Iron Man 3' haven't just been popular, they've been record-breaking box-office beasts.

Having Downey Jr. locked in for two more Avengers films can only mean good things to come, not only for Marvel Studios, but for fans of the company's interweaving film franchises.

'The Avengers 2' is set for a May, 2015 release.

What are your thoughts on Robert Downey Jr. returning to the role of Tony Stark?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

G.I. Joke

Hollywood hates us.

That's the only explanation I can come up with when I hear that there's going to be a sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Yep, that's right, someone at Paramount decided that they hadn't tarnished our childhood memories quite enough and that a sequel to 2009's schlock-fest was in order.

As much as I've come to accept the fact that Hollywood will continue to piss all over beloved childhood memories of great, established, franchises, this still sits wrong with me.

I know why too: It's such a blatant slap in the face to those of us that grew up with G.I Joe.  It's easy to dismiss the first movie as a simple misstep of filmmaking.  It happens.

Know what doesn't just happen?  Terrible sequels.

I know people are probably reading this and saying: "How can you judge the movie before it's even made?"

Easy.  I'm a pretentious film-snob and I am also capable of reading!

Seriously.  Most of the original cast isn't even coming back!  Not that they'll be missed, but when I see that only four or five members of an "ensemble cast" (I guess we can call it that) are coming back, that's a red flag!

Not even Marlon Wayans is coming back.  If a Wayans brother abandons ship, you know there's something bad on the horizon.

I loved your work in
'Race to Witch Mountain'...
Oh, but no worries, because we've replaced Wayans with The Rock.  Yep, Dwayne Johnson himself will be portraying 'Roadblock.'  I don't even dislike Dwayne Johnson, but let's face facts: He hasn't had a great track record of hit movies.

But you know what?  That still isn't the part that scares me.

What scares me is the fact that they've replaced Stephen Sommers, the man who directed The Rise of Cobra, with Jon Chu.

Now, most people may not be familiar with Mr. Chu, so I'll give you a  bit of his film making history.

Jon Chu really hit it big with another Channing Tatum vehicle: Step-Up 2!  He followed that up with Step-Up 3D, and broadened his horizons when he worked as a writer/director on the hit show The LXD: The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers.

Are we seeing a pattern yet?

But have no fear, for Jon Chu is no one-trick-pony.  His most recent work was directing a documentary that actually saw a theatrical release.

What documentary was that?

Well, it was Justin Beiber: Never Say Never, of course!

Because when I ask myself questions like: "Who should be directing a live-action adaptation of such a beloved action franchise?  Who best to recover from The Rise of Cobra and turn G.I. Joe into the Real American Hero he's supposed to be?  What man is up to this job?"

I immediately think of the guy who directed such timeless classics like Step-Up 3D.

I think I've made my point.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Comic Book Movies: I Don't Want A Carbon-Copy!

Let's get something straight:

Taking a comic-book and making an almost exact replica for screen is like communism;  It might make sense on paper, but in practice it sucks.

Now, I'm writing this article because over the next few articles I'm going to be talking quite a bit about comic-book adaptations.  I will be throwing out the term 'complete faithfulness' a whole lot.

What do I mean by 'complete faithfulness'?  I'm glad you asked!

Would this have made Spider-Man any better a movie?
When I say 'complete faithfulness' I'm talking about taking a concept from a comic and making an almost exact carbon-copy for the film adaptation.  Examples would be things along the lines of Wolverine's costume.  Yes, there were people that, when X-Men came out in 2000, were actually pissed that Wolverine wasn't wearing his classic yellow costume from the comics.  Another example might be Spider-Man's web-shooting ability.  For those unfamiliar, in the comic-books, Spider-Man doesn't shoot webbing from his own wrist like he did in the movies, he actually wears a piece of equipment on his arm that shoots the web out for him.  These would be examples of what I mean by 'complete faithfulness'.

My position on issues like these tend to make me rather unpopular with the hardcore comic-book fanboys of the world.  I am a member of the camp that claims that the movies need to be looked at as their own entities, and shouldn't be held to such constraints.

...That's not Deadpool
However, that's not to say that I'm in support of changing the core of a character.  There are film-makers out there that change every aspect of a character until it no longer resembles it's source material.  When that happens we get crap like Baraka-pool, and nobody wants to see a travesty like that happen again.  It may just be the greatest bastardization of a character in film history.

There's a fine line that must often be walked.

Let me walk you, dear reader, through one of the more memorable debates I've witnessed.

This isn't a debate that I had myself, but actually a debate that a friend of mine got into.  Oddly enough, that's the friend I am usually debating against.

At the surface, this may seem like a change to the core of the character.  I mean, Peter Parker has always been a little nerdy white boy from Queens, right?  While this may be true, it isn't the core of the character.  His race has nothing to do with how the character acts, or why he decides to fight crime as the web-slinger Spider-Man.  Peter Parker, as a character, was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962.  To have a Black super-hero at that point in time was not only unheard of, but would have been career suicide.  You don't have to like it, I certainly don't, but that's just the way it was.  The core theme of Spider-Man is 'with great power comes great responsibility.'  As long as he is a nerd who gets bitten by a radioactive spider and lives life by that credo, the core of the character is still there.

The man who could've been Spider-Man
It's no secret that I'm not a supporter of the Spider-Man reboot.  There are plenty of things about that project that I have issues with.  However, the only thing that did have me excited about the film was that they were considering the young, and talented, Donald Glover (a self-professed nerd) for the eponymous role of Spider-Man.  To me, this was a healthy change.  Not only would this help to set the new movie apart from Raimi's movies, but also it would just be an interesting change.  Of course, as most of us probably are aware, Glover didn't get the role.

I would have been curious to see who they got to play Peter's dear Uncle Ben.

For those who are still skeptical as to whether or not the Community star could have pulled off the required level of 'nerdosity' for Peter Parker, go check out the movie Mystery Team.  I do have to say, after seeing The Social Network, I'm confidant that Andrew Garfield will do a fine job in the role.  I just don't like the fact that their rebooting it on principle.

So what is it that I'm really trying to say?  That there's a very fine line that film-makers must walk when adapting a comic-book (or any other source material, really) for film.  I can't say that enough.

Look at some of the more successful superhero movies over the past few years; They've remained faithful to the character, but they weren't afraid to change aspects about the character to serve the film.  Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Nolan's Batman pictures: These are great examples of what a comic-book adaption can, and should, be.

So consider this a brief (if a bit disjointed) primer for the articles to come.

I'm sure I'll be pissing at least a few people off with my upcoming explanation of why Fantastic Four wasn't as bad a movie as you might think.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Complete Reboot (We're Going Darker This Time)

Alright friends and fellows, I have to apologize again.


For I have taken another leave of absence from the internets, more specifically, writing on the internets.  Why have I done such a horrendous thing?  Well, to be honest, real life decided to get in the way again.

Now, I understand that a lot of professional bloggers out there would claim that it's not really an excuse.

They're wrong.  Some good things have happened in my real life, as well as some unfortunate things.  Such is life.

However I have been thinking about the blog though!  Fret not, for I did not forget you!

In fact, I made a really big decision about this blog.

You see, there's a lot going on in Hollywood at any one time, and when I say 'a lot' I mean a ridiculous number of things.  Now, when I started this blog I was a bit lofty in my ambitions; I hoped to be able to write stories on all sorts of movies, doing reviews, previews, discussions, so on and so forth.

That's a crap ton of work for one guy who's trying to balance two jobs, college coursework, and all the other important things that make up my life.

For that reason, I have decided to completely change the format of the blog.  In a lot of ways, the blog will not be changing all that much, but in one very big way it's going to change.  In a sense, you could think of it as a 'blog reboot.'

Up until this time my stories and articles have been fairly unfocused.  This isn't what I want to write, and I don't think it's what most of you want to be reading.

From this point on the main focus of the blog will be bad movies.  Not just in a broad stroke sense though, but rather why the movies are bad (or at least not what they could have been) and what could have been done to make them better.

This will allow me to better utilize my knowledge and apply it to the blog and, frankly, I think will make for a better reading experience for you guys.

I hope that you guys will respond well to this change and I look forward to your feedback.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On Profit's Tides

Sorry for the leave of absence, class, but sometimes real life gets in the way of one's writing life.

On the upside, this period of retreat has allowed for a mass surplus in movie news, so I'll have plenty to write about!

Let's just jump right on in, eh?  The water looks warm enough.

That's CAPTAIN Turn-A-Profit.

Don't get me wrong, I like the Pirates of the Caribbean series just fine.  The first one was really good!  Sure, the second and third movies were 'Meh' but the first one was good, and we'll always have that.


Here's a question I pose to you, dear reader: How many mediocre sequels does it take to screw in a lightbulb crash a franchise?

Now, I want as much as the next person to walk into the theatre and enjoy Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.  I really do.  I mean, let's face facts: They cut the dead weight.  Sure Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley were adorable in the first movie, but then their on-screen relationship became bloated and convuluted as the series carried on.  They just weren't that interesting anymore.

So, I was honestly a bit excited to see the franchise was supposed to be getting back to what we loved about the first three movies: Pirates.

Now, let's step back for a moment, shall we?  Remember the ending to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End?  Now, despite all the crap that was piled up in front of it (Including Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest) that was actually the perfect ending for that movie.

I know, we'll call the feather Macaroni.

It was the perfect ending for that series.  Jack Sparrow sailing off, having tricked Barbosa one last time, to go look for the Fountain of Youth?  Perfect ending!

Now, I haven't been following this movie all that closely, but I was actually excited when I found out that it would focus on Jack Sparrow and Barbosa.

Then I watched the trailer.

Ok, it looks like a fun movie, to be sure.  Ok, Barbosa has allied himself with the British Navy (didn't we already do that, once, with the squid-faced Bill Nighy?) and is hunting down Jack Sparrow.  Ok, Jack's wife from Blow is in the movie.  Ok, we're re-using the same tired jokes from the first three movies.  Ok, there's another young couple, surely to be star-crossed, in this movie.

All of those things are well and good, sure, but here's the thing: Nothing about it seems fresh.  Look at the things I've listed above.  Do any of them seem like new additions to the series?

You're right, Penelope Cruz wasn't in the other movies, but let's be honest: She's just playing the same part Keira Knightley played except with an accent.

Now, I don't want to diminish Cruz's talent, but that's the way this business works: You always have to have a beautiful woman.  Imagine if you will, for just a moment, that instead of Penelope Cruz the film featured Roseanne Barr, or that they had actually made Cruz look the part of a pirate woman, by using make-up.

Ok, now I want all the guys who WOULDN'T go to see that movie step to the left side of the room, please.

Though, honestly, I can forgive a lot of the re-using of plot points and jokes.  It's the two teenagers that are obviously replacements for Orlando and Keira that I cannot forgive.  I guess they figure that we need a star-crossed lovers storyline to make up for the shallow and under-developed main character?

How about this idea Disney: Make Jack Sparrow and Angelica (Penelope Cruz) be the star-crossed lovers.  Let's actually develop Sparrow into the three-dimensional character, instead of a one-line spouting cash cow.

But alas, it's too late for that.

Like I said, I truly hope that this movie ends up being really good.  Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio are great writers, the movie is filled to the brim with talented actors, and Rob Marshall has a fairly strong, if short, resumé.  This movie could end up either making up for the last two movies, or end up tarnishing the the franchise even further.  Only time will tell.  However, even if the movie sucks, at least it's got a name that could easily be converted for a porn: My money is on Pirates of the Caribbean: On a Stranger's Thighs.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

One Ring To Rule Them All?

Not to seem like I have a man-crush, but I am doing another article about a Ryan Reynolds movie.

Now, I've always been more of a Marvel fan myself, but I see merit in DC properties as well, and they've got themselves an excellent catalogue of heroes to make movies based on.  Outside of Superman and Batman, Green Lantern is probably one of the best known DC properties, and making a movie centered around the Hal Jordan incarnation makes perfect sense.

It's not like they'd make an Aquaman movie.

If you're familiar with who The Green Lantern is, or what the basis of the story is, then bear with me for a moment whilst I explain it for those who have no idea.

No, Van Wilder did not pledge to a fraternity.
In this movie, Ryan Reynolds is playing Hal Jordan, a test pilot who, when he has a chance encounter with alien sentry Abin Sur (played by Temuera Morrison, better known as Jango Fett), is drafted into The Green Lantern Corps.  The GLC is basically a group of aliens sworn to protecting the universe, each member being assigned a sector to watch over, using a ring of green energy to manifest their powers.  Think of it as a galactic police force, and Hal Jordan is the new recuit.  He's also the only human to have ever joined.

Ok, so now you're caught up.  Let's get down to the nitty-gritty.

The more I look at the poster for The Green Lantern, the more I feel like something is wrong with it.  I have the feeling that it has something to do with the fact that if you photoshopped Ryan Reynolds out of the picture and replaced him with a unicorn, you could hang it on your little sister's wall and it would look perfectly natural.

Overall, it's really a fine poster.  On one hand, nothing about this poster excites me about the movie at all.  However, on the other hand, nothing about this poster is keeping me from wanting to see the movie either.

As far as the trailer goes, it does make the movie look fun, if nothing else.  It doesn't give any real clues as to what is going on in regards to the plot, but it does have some great action shots.  From a visual standpoint, the movie looks great.  The planet Oa (headquarters from the Corps) looks stunning in it's own right, and the aliens each look distinctive and interesting.  The trailer also shows off the impressive cast of The Green Lantern, giving each person a few seconds of screen time.

Now, it's no real secret that comic-book fans are, at the best of times, skeptical and distrusting of those who want to make movies out of their beloved characters.  You'll often hear criticism on everything from the actor chosen to play a role, to the shade of color used for a part of their costume.  The Green Lantern has been no exception, and I'm certain that it will garner plenty of criticisms from professional critics and fanboys alike.  I do think, however, that the movie will end up pleasing plenty of people at the box office, as it looks like it's aiming for more of an Iron Man tone than a Batman Begins (or even The Dark Knight) tone.  That's a good thing, as I don't think that The Green Lantern would be well served by anything so gritty.  Do I think that it will do as well as Iron Man did at the BO?  Well, we'll just have to wait and see, because it's too early to try and call it.

So, what do you guys think?  Am I crazy?  Do you still think that Ryan Reynolds should have stuck to one comic book character as opposed to three?  Do you anxiously await a Green Lantern/Superman cross-over movie?  Let me know and leave a comment.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

MYMNK: Chaos Theory

Firstly, let me apologize for the hiatus.  It's been a crazy couple of weeks, but I am back to writing for your reading pleasure.  So, with that, I'd like to introduce a new series of articles: Movies You May Not Know, or MYMNK.  For the first of these new reviews, I'll be covering Chaos Theory, the indie film starring Ryan Reynolds.

The movie centers around Frank Allen (Ryan Reynolds) a motivational speaker specializing in time efficiency.  Frank leads a seemingly simple, satisfying life with his wife Susan (Emily Mortimer) and daughter Jessie.  On the morning of a presentation that could prove to be a huge boon for his career, Frank realizes that Susan accidently set the clock wrong.  Frank ends up running an hour late for his presentation which sets up the entire rest of the movie's plot, as that single hour throws Frank's life into complete chaos.

Frank ends up being rather angry with his wife for her mistake and ends up harmlessly flirting with Paula (Sarah Chalke, best known as Elliot Reed from TV's Scrubs) who gets Frank drunk and then attempts to take advantage of him by luring him up to his own hotel room.  Frank, being an honorable man, informs her that he loves his wife and leaves the room.  Through simple bad luck, that's the moment when Susan calls his hotel room and, of course, Paula decides to answer.  I'm sure you can imagine what happens from there, and I'd prefer not to give out too many spoilers.  Needless to say, Frank's life takes a sharp left at that moment.

What's shocking to me is that Chaos Theory only has a 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (as reviewed by critics).  Granted, the audience rating is quite a bit higher at 61%, but the low rating still surprises me.

Overall, the film is a true dramedy in that it involves a rather serious, and tragic, subject matter spiked by bits of comedy.  What's great about the movie is that the comedy isn't intrusive on the overall story, but rather complimentary.  Most modern comedies allow the humor to come from set-ups, where a writer sits down and goes "Ok, so this is funny...", whereas Chaos Theory lets the humor simply flow, seeming more natural.  These aren't jokes written for the purpose of being funny (for the most part), but rather interactions that seem humorous to us as the audience.

I'll give an example:  There's a scene a bit over half-way through the film where a despondent Frank runs into Paula, the woman who can be held partially to blame for his life falling to shambles, in a bar.  She asks if he's still into time management and he immediately asks whether or not she's still a "home-wrecking bitch."

Now, of course, me typing the scenario out for you isn't nearly as funny as Reynolds delivery of the line, but I hope that you get my point about the comedy stemming from a naturalistic flow and realistic reactions.

None of this is to say that the movie is without it's flaws.  Overall, the performances are an average.  They aren't bad, but they aren't anything ground-breaking either.  I feel like the only person who really threw themselves into their role was Reynolds.  Throughout the movie you get a sense of the character's deepening depression and frustration with his complete loss of control over his life.  This is one of those movies that really proves that Reynolds has moved beyond his Van Wilder stage and is ready for the big-league.

Another complaint of mine, and I know that there are others who feel this way, is the ending.  The last twenty minutes of the main storyline just feel melodramatic to the point of bordering on soap opera territory.  It's certainly not the worst of endings, but it could have been better, a lot better.  You watch a movie for an hour and twenty minutes and you expect the ending to reflect the movie as a whole, but it seems that the filmmakers decided otherwise and left any trace of humor out of those scenes, which makes it feel hollow compared to the rest of the film.

I should note that the film is book-ended by scenes taking place years after the main storyline where Frank is talking to his soon to be son-in-law about the chaotic nature of love.  They're minor scenes, but they really frame the movie well and I thought they'd be worth mentioning.

I would certainly recommend this movie to anyone who's a fan of independent movies, Ryan Reynolds, or even just the dramedy genre as a whole.  So, "Check It Out" or "Pass It Up"?

Check It Out!