Monday, February 27, 2012

Top 3 Books You'd like to See Turned into a Movie

cringe every time filmmakers decide to take my favorite books and turn them into Hollywood blockbusters, as I know that in some way the movie will never be as good as the book. Filmmakers made several attempts in the last 20 years to bring some of my favorite book to the big screen with marginal success. Nevertheless, I look at my bookshelf and see three books that would make for some good movie material and with any luck considered as major cinematic works of art. I offer the following books for film adaptation, along with a few casting recommendations of my own: Frank Herbert's Destination Void, Robert Heinlein's Job: A comedy of Justice, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. I now believe that any film is an entity unto itself, and that more people are encouraged, after seeing a movie, to read the novel. Read More ...

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

2012 is the time to Take Shelter

Are the end of days near, and it is time to "Take Shelter?"  This is a little known movie that came out in 2011 and didn't really gain much notice.  Only in 91 theaters in 144 days the film only brought in just over 3 million dollars worldwide. The film cost about 5 million to make so technically this film lost money.  In spite of these figures "Take Shelter" is actually worth the two hours of your time.  That being said, I have to warn you, that filmmaker Nichols takes a lot of care with his story in presenting it and allows the tension to grow within his characters and in his audience slowly.

Today, when someone has dreams of impending doom we tend to think the person is, if not insane, then not quite right in the head. However, long ago, if you had strange dreams about an upcoming storm or the end of the world, you may be crazy or you may be a saint. When John wrote about his revelations, early Christian church fathers took his writings and made them the last book of the New Testament. When Noah told friends and family about an upcoming flood, his neighbors thought he was crazy, but they were wrong. Early civilizations had a term for those who saw visions; they called them Shamans, today we call these people delusional. "Take Shelter" is writer and director Jeff Nichols' second film since his critically acclaimed 2007 offering titled "Shotgun Stories." "Take Shelter" is about a man who in the prime of his life is questioning not only his purpose in life as a husband and father, but also his sanity.  Read more of "Take Shelter" movie review...

Movie Data

Genre: Drama, Thriller
Year: 2011
Staring: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain
Director: Jeff Nichols
Producer(s): Tyler Davidson, Sophia Lin,
Writer: Jeff Nichols
Rating: R
Running Time: 121 minutes
Release Date: 11/10/2011


The term "Anonymous" is typically related to the hackers that go up against the corporations and the government.  However, Roland Emmerich. uses the term as the title of his film about who really wrote the plays we attribute to William Shakespeare.  This film challenges the conventional history that the Bard of Avon was no more than an actor who played a part in this grand conspiracy.  If you saw the trailers in theaters, but blinked and the film was in and out of theaters in two months, don't feel bad.  For whatever reason, Sony/Columbia studios only released this film in only 533 theaters and only made about 10 million dollars with 70% of that revenue coming from foreign ticket sales.  I don't know if it is the subject that perhaps the studio thought was too daunting for the audience, however, it doesn't seem like they gave it the support that I think the film deserved.  Is the film controversial,  yes it is if you believe everything you were taught in school. Are the Oxfordian's right? Who knows/

Since the mid-1800s, a controversy about the authorship of Shakespeare's plays has been debated back and forth. "Anonymous" is the culmination of that debate that tries to reconcile those theories by offering what, by some, is the most plausible, and the most probable author. Disaster director Roland Emmerich ("The Day After Tomorrow," "2012"), along with writer John Orloff ("Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole") put together a film, not so much about William Shakespeare himself, but about the political intrigue within the court of Queen Elizabeth I played by mother and daughter team of Joley Richards and Vanessa Redgrave. As a period piece, Emmerich does a great job of bringing us this story in such a way that not only is easy to understand, but in many ways captivating. Although not a true story in a historical context, Orloff's script does provides a reasonable doubt about who wrote Shakespeare's plays. Read more about the film "Anonymous"

Movie Data

Genre: Drama, History, Thriller 
Year:  2011
Staring: Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Sebastian Armesto, Rafe Spall, David Thewlis
Director: Roland Emmerich
Producer(s): Roland Emmerich, Robert Leger 
Writer: John Orloff
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 130 minutes
Release Date: 10/28/2011

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Iron Sky

Not since the Norwegian film  "Død Snø" have we seen the return of classic Nazi's in modern day settings. I use the term "classic" meaning that I am not referring to neo nazis nor white supremacy.  No, in fact "Iron Sky" is about how in 1945 during their defeat, escaped to the moon and have been waiting for the last 75 years been plotting their revenge.  Ludicrous, huh?

Taking conspiracy theories, Science-Fiction themes along with a touch of parody, Finnish director Timo Vuorensola and writers Johanna Sinisalo and  Jarmo Puskala bring us "Iron Sky."  Stating that V2 rocket scientist Hans Kammler (he was real) developed anti gravity technology and along with loyal supporters escaped to the moon 24 years prior to Apollo 11's landing. Hiding out on the dark side of the moon, the Nazis have been planning to retake the Earth and build an new glorious Fourth Reich.  This is director Timo Vuorensola's third film. His first film was a short called  "Norjalainen huora" (The Norwegian whore) that runs about 24 minutes.  In 2005 he directed "Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning" a parody of "Star Trek."  What is unique about "Iron Sky," is how it was made.  Collaborating with viewers through the website "Wreck a Movie," they focused not on the end product, but the process.  On February 11th 2012 "Iron Sky"  premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and is due out in the United States on March 10th 2012.  Vuorensola's Finland won't see the film until three days later on March 13th 2012. 

It has been well over half a century -- can we look back and laugh at the atrocity that was Hitler's Third Reich -- or are we so full of anger and hate that this film will just offend the hell out of us. You decide.

Take a peek at the trailers and let me know what you think...

Teaser trailer 

 Official Trailer Testimonials

Theatrical Poster

Movie Data

Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Year:  2012
Staring: Julia Dietze, Christopher Kirby, Götz Otto, Udo Kier, Peta Sergeant
Director: Timo Vuorensola
Producer(s): Oliver Damian, Tero Kaukomaa, Samuli Torssonen
Writer: Johanna Sinisalo, Jarmo Puskala, Michael Kalesniko, Timo Vuorensola
Rating: R
Running Time: 93 minutes
Release Date: 4/4/2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Safe House

So far, after only one week in theaters, "Safe House" has made over $49,201,240 in domestic ticket sales and another estimated  $10,200,000 in foreign sales. With an estimated $85 million production budget, Universal Studios is just over the half way point of breaking even with this film.  However this is a long way from other films of this type, which include films like any of the Jason Bourne films which holds three positions in the top five of the "thriller-on the run" sub genre of films.  The other two, ranking at number two and four respectively are "The Fugitive" with Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones from 1993 and "Minority Report" with Tom Cruise from 2002.  Right now "Safe House" hangs at number 13 right behind the 1998 release of "US Marshals" and just ahead of Sondra Bullock in "The Net."

Some movies within a certain genre are better than others are. "Safe House" is somewhere in the middle. Denzel Washington ("Man on Fire," "Déjà vu," "Training Day") is rouge CIA agent Tobin Frost who is now in the business of selling nations secrets. Tobin doesn't care which nation's secrets he sells. It could be the United States', it could be the UK's, or it could be all of them. Well, things go wrong for him while purchasing the "intel" and after some initial fight and flight scenes Tobin ends up at the US Consulate in Cape Town South Africa. Matt Westin is the keeper of the US's safe house, where Tobin will transfer to a few scenes later. Ryan Reynolds ("Van Wilder," "Blade: Trinity") plays the poor sap who for the last year has pretended to go to work at a clinic for the poor but is really been staring at four walls waiting for a house guest to arrive at the safe house. "Safe House" is rated R for extreme violence and language. Don't take the kids.  Read more of this review

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Beyond the Black Rainbow

I came upon this trailer for "Beyond the Black Rainbow."  This is a Canadian film set in the retro past of 1983.  The trailer is more like a hallucination of a bad dream or a bad trip.  This is Panos Cosmatos first film and he both wrote and directed this reature.  In the last ten years I have come to respect Canadian filmmakers and actors and find them highly underrated.  Here is the synopsis from Wikipedia 
"Deep within the mysterious Arboria Institute, a disturbed and beautiful girl (Eva Allan) is held captive by a doctor in search of inner peace. Her mind is controlled by a sinister technology. Silently, she waits for her next session with deranged therapist Dr. Barry Nyle (Michael Rogers). If she hopes to escape, she must journey through the darkest reaches of The Institute... but Nyle won't easily part with his most gifted and dangerous creation."  
I don't think this film is for everyone, but I think if you enjoy filmmakers who like to see things abstractly and from an expressionistic point of view then "Beyond the Black Rainbow" might be up your alley.  In some ways I see a touch of "THX1138" in this film and bits of imagery of "2001: A Space Odyssey" or "Tree of Life"  with a touch of paranoia.  

Set to release direct to DVD and Blu-ray on September 11, 2011 in the United States.  
Here is the trailer

Movie Data

Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller 
Year:  2012
Staring: Michael Rogers, Eva Bourne, Scott Hylands, Rondel Reynoldson, Marilyn Norry
Director: Panos Cosmatos
Producer(s): Oliver Linsley, Christya Nordstokke
Writer: Panos Cosmatos 
Rating: R
Running Time: 110 minutes
Release Date: 9/11/2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

New Bourne Legacy Trailer

The Bourne Legacy: Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz | A Constantly Racing Mind

As it has gone on since I was a kid i am sure it will go on for the Bourne films.  With  Jeremy Renner as a new operative replacing both Matt Damon and the Jason Bourne character. Without Paul Greengrass as the director and Matt Damon as Jason Bourne/David Webb, I guess this is a spin-off of the series.  Although there is a book by Robert Ludlam (Jason Bourne's creator) there is seems to be no connection with the book other than the title.  However, we may actually be in good hands as Tony Gilroy will take on not only the script writing job but the directorial job as well. Tony wrote all three previous Bourne scripts and is also known for films like "Michael Clayton," and "State of Play." 

Returning as Pamela Landy is Joan Allen ("Get some rest, Pam. You look tired") who actually was a good guy in the last two Bourne films ("The Bourne Supremacy,"  "The Bourne Ultimatum." Also returning is bad guy Albert Finney reprising his role as  Dr. Albert Hirsch who we know was the guy in charge of brain washing David Webb into Jason Bourne.  But, these characters are seen only on news clip footage. 

New to the series is Rachel Weisz ("The Mummy," "Constantine")  plays Marta.  As you can see in this trailer she is only on for a flash.  The same goes for Edward Norton ("Fight Club," "American History X").  Jeremy Renner, who has played both good guys and bad guys and looks like a spy.and as we have seen in films like "The Hurt Locker,"  is a pretty good actor.

What do you think of the "Bourne Legacy?"

Movie Data

Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery, Thriller
Year:  2012
Staring:  Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Oscar Isaac, Zeljko Ivanek
Director:  Tony Gilroy
Producer(s) Patrick Crowley, Frank Marshall, Jeffrey M. Weiner
Writer: Tony Gilroy, Dan Gilroy
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 135 minutes 
Release Date: 8/10/2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman trailer

"The Amazing Spiderman" trailer is out now.  The films stars Andrew Garfield from "The Social Network," and Emma Stone from "The Help," Zombieland," and "Easy A.After making three successful "Spider-Man" films, director Sam Raimi decided not to do the fourth, leaving Sony to come up with an alternative solution. Director Marc Webb ("(500) Days of Summer") will reboot the Spider-Man series, essentially starting over, as Christopher Nolan did in Batman Begins in 2005. Restarting an established franchise is a tricky feat to accomplish, considering that "Spider-Man 3" just came out three years ago. As the director of the Spider-Man franchise, Raimi brought in almost $2.5 billion dollars in worldwide ticket sales. Read More...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Apocalypse in a Bottle

The little boy, about six years old, digging through the attic full of his grandfather's trunks, books, and memories, found a dusty old brown bottle. Looking at the label, the boy tried to discern what the faded letters meant, but the word on the label was too big for his young years. He did recognize the pirate symbol under the word, as a faded skull, and crossbones. The word, printed in capital letters, started with an A, he was sure of that, the next was P, and he was sure of that. The next letter was a little broken up, but it looked like an O. The next three letters were CAL. Trying to sound out the letters one by one, as his mother had taught him, the boy struggled, but slowly stuttered out the three syllables, APOCAL. The next letters didn't make any sense to the boy, but he sounded out each one of them one after another with a little more confidence than the first letters YPSE. That's it, a-poc-a-lip-s-e, whatever that is, he thought as he pulled the cork from the top of the bottle and threw it off to the side. Looking into the bottle, the boy could see that something was moving down at the bottom, or is that just a reflection? 

Pouring out the contents, the boy watched in amazement as four objects the size of Cheerios came tumbling out. The objects landed on the hard wood floor of the attic and started to run on all fours toward the attic door. The boy wasn't sure, but to him it looked like the objects had grown a bit as they fell out of the bottle. Four little horses, with riders on the, but they didn't look like the cowboys that the boy was used to. By the time, the horse and riders reached the bottom of the stairs at the end of the hallway they had become the size of a cat. Coming to the front door, which the movers left open, the horse and riders were the size of a large dog. The boy's parents and the movers were around the side of the house inspecting a large cabinet that the movers thought they scratched; they don't see the horsemen dash across the front yard. 

About the size of a car, the horse and riders are almost full size now. Heading down the quiet street, the riders turn the corner and charge at full gallop. The riders are not cowboys at all, but rather, dressed in flowing robes and looking like characters from "Lawrence of Arabia." The first rider's white horse was foaming, and its mane flowing in the wind. The rider, leaning forward as the four of them reach the edge of the small town and start heading across the desert toward the Old Pueblo, he reaches behind him and un-slings his bow. The rider's eyes, squinting with determination, sweating, his mind reeling, one thought on his mind; battle. Not sure, whom he was to do battle with, he looked over at his companions riding on to his left and to his right. He knew them, but couldn't remember their names, they were familiar, but distant, and his mind was a cloud as he settled back into the thought that gave him comfort, conquest. 

The sky was turning dark as the clouds gathered, and the wind was turning cold, a wet cold. The distance between the outlaying areas and Tucson is about 14 miles and the horsemen were covering that distance quickly. The rider to Domination's left, a chestnut colored red horse, charging beside Domination was foaming and the horse was snorting. The rider, a look of anger on his face, moved closer to his brother, his hands on the reins gripped tight, speaking under his breath in an ancient language that was long dead before the Sumerians built their first towers. He repeated the same words over and over. If there were a linguist on this Earth that could translate the word, he would say that the word approximated our word for War. However, there isn't anybody who would know that language, having gone extinct before the Pyramids were even thought of. With the edge of Tucson coming into view, he reached up behind him and grabbed the sword that was sheathed and strapped to his back. Pointing the sword out with his right hand, his left hand still guiding his horse, he leans forward, the words on his lips getting louder than the pounding of the horse's gallop, becoming audible to the other riders. 

On the other side of Conquest, the rider of the black horse looked toward his brothers, and the word that his brother spoke sparked a memory buried deep within his thoughts for the last bit of time. Funny how time is meaningless, he thought, as he veered his horse away from the other riders. As the riders fan out, they are about to take the town just before twilight. On his black horse, the rider was searching for a word, a word that would describe the hunger, the pain, and the hate that he felt. Reaching into the bag strapped to his left side, he pulled out the object within and held it up. The scales held high the left one balancing against the right, wind whipping them wildly, and the rider lowered the scales and held them in front towards the city. Hearing his brother's words brought his long forgotten language back from the depths, and the rider fixated on the word, repeating it like his brother, the word was famine. 

The riders were now about three fourths of a mile apart as they galloped toward the modern town of Tucson, Arizona. Coming out of the dessert and onto the pavement, the riders dusty from riding through the sand and scrub bush, the dust flew from their robes. The storm behind them was coming upon the town as quickly as the riders. The last rider on his pale grey horse knew his purpose; he had no doubts why he was here; he knew what he must do, he always knew. Concentrating on his purpose that once along time ago he was charged with, he never once forgot who he was and who is brothers are. Long ago, when men wandered the earth as nomads, he and his brothers were already ancient. Long before the fall and before humankind received the spark of knowledge, the rider, and his brothers stood as lords over the world. Watching as the creatures gained first, knowledge of agriculture, and eventually settling and developing their first civilization, his name was already on the lips of all humans. As the nomads gathered in the Indus valley, his name became popular, and old men told stories about him and his brothers at night by the fire. The nomads told the stories to their children, and they in turn to their offspring; embellishments crept in and the stories were tamed down to frighten children. The truth frightened the adults. As the human's first civilization grew, and their language developed, and his name became both a noun and a verb. His name was Death. 

After many thousands of years watching the humans worship their pitiful gods, his brothers and he, retreated to the mountains of the north. From there, the four brothers were long forgotten as beings, but their names were never forgotten. Throughout the millennia, the memory of their reign continued, and their feats became legends amongst the mortals. The four horsemen lifted their heads to the sky as a loud trumpet sounds, getting louder and louder as they raced through the town. On his pale, grey horse, the rider took the lead heading towards the center of town. Breathing the air of this world made the rider sad. Feeling the wind against his face, he felt a pang of sorrow, and seeing the humans as he came around a corner, he knew that the time of men on Earth was over.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.

Its the end the world as we know it... At least that is how the R.E.M. song goes. 

Anyway 2012 seems like the year for disaster films, including this one, "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World." The plot for this film as the studios are saying is: "As an asteroid nears Earth, a man finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic. He decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Accompanying him is a neighbor who inadvertently puts a wrench in his plan. "  

Honestly, this film seems like it is going to be one of those where the two main characters are on a quest searching for what they think is going to make them happy, only to find that happiness is in them and with the one's they are with.  Mark my words.

The trailer is cute and features the "Talking Head's" "Road to Nowhere," which I am sure will NOT be in the film at all.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

Riddick Is Back!

With a new photo comes an announcement about what the new chapter of the Riddick chronicles will contain.  From Universal Pictures comes this announcement about the plot.

"...The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he's encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty."

The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won't leave the planet without Riddick's head as their trophy.

Riddick also sees the return of Karl Urban (Star Trek, The Bourne Supremacy) as Vaako and introduces to the series Jordi Molla (Bad Boys II, Colombiana) as Santana, the arrogant captain of the mercenary ship; Matt Nable (Killer Elite) as Boss Johns, a man looking for answers; Katee Sackhoff (TV's Battlestar Galactica) as the Nordic mercenary Dahl; and Bokeem Woodbine (upcoming Total Recall) as bounty hunter Moss. Rounding out the cast are Dave Bautista (The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption), Conrad Pla (Immortals), Raoul Trujillo (Apocalypto), Nolan Funk (TV's Aliens in America) and two-time Grammy Award-nominated singer Keri Hilson."


Riddick ~ Ambush
Riddick - Creature Trailers
Riddick ~ Motion Comic
Riddick ~ Cinema Spot
Riddick Rule The Dark ~ New Poster 
Riddick ~ New Trailer

Movie Data

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Year: 2013
Staring: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Katee Sackhoff
Director: David Twohy
Producer(s): Vin Diesel, Ted Field, Samantha Vincent
Writer: David Twohy, Jim Wheat
Rating: R
Running Time: 119 minutes
Release Date: 9/6/2013

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wrath of the Titans

In 2010 "The Clash of the Titans made $163,214,888 domestically and $493,214,993  worldwide. The film got pretty much low reviews by critics.  Those that liked it were wowed by the special effects and plenty of action.  Those who weren't to thrilled with the retelling of the myth of Perseus, had a tendency to be fans of the Ray Harryhausen's 1981 version.  

Returning in this sequel is Liam Neeson ("The Grey") and Sam Worthington ("Avatar," "The Debt").  IMDB says "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 Wrath of the Titans is due to hit theaters on March 30th, 2012.

Here are two more posters for the Wrath of the Titans:

So the question remains... Are you planning to see it?

The Hunger Games trailer

Not since Y2K have we see a year that we have looked forward to with dread and foreboding.  Yet 2012 may actually bring us some good motion pictures. 

In the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games" we see a post apocalyptic future  world as told to us by Katniss Everdeen.  She is a citizen of District 12 in the country of Panem, and has volunteered to take her sister's place in the annual tribute to the Capitol in the "Hunger Games" during the "Reaping Day."  The Hunger Games as it turns out is a fight to the death. 

Once again, Hollywood has turned to Greek mythology for their stories.  Collin's partial inspiration for her story was the Greek Myth of Theseus

The  "Hunger Games" is due out on March 23rd. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence ("X-Men: First Class") and Josh Hutcherson ("Journey 2: The Mysterious Island," " Zathura: A Space Adventure") and is directed by Gary Ross ("Pleasantville," "Seabiscuit").

Movie Data

Genre: Sci-Fi
Year:  2012
Staring:  Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks
Director:  Gary Ross
Producer(s) Nina Jacobson, Jon Kilik
Writer: Gary Ross, Billy Ray, Suzanne Collins
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 142 minutes 
Release Date: 3/23/2012