Bullet Points: Hot Rounds Of Information Goodness

dante's infernoFede Alvarez, who most recently remade Evil Dead, is in talks with Universal to helm an adaptation of the Dante’s Inferno video game from Electronic Arts. The video games star a knight named Dante advised by the poet Virgil as he navigates a battle between heaven and hell. [via Deadline]Boss 2 2012 Gallery

Turns out Nicolas Cage won’t be in The Expendables 3, but Kelsey Grammer is close to filling the spot. Grammer will play Bonaparte, a former mercenary who helps the team out. [via Deadline]

It wouldn’t be a Bullet Points without a picture from Dwayne Johnson’s Twitter account. This time we’ve got two shots of the in-progress Hercules film based on the Radical comic Hercules: The Thracean War. One prominently features director Brett Ratner while the other shows another piece of impress set building. the-tomb-arnold-schwarzenegger

For about a day there was talk about Arnold Schwarzenegger playing a bad guy in James Cameron’s Avatar 2 thanks to a story on Latino Review. Then sites like THR reported that Fox said the Terminator actor’s not even in talks for the role. Wahwah. MStuffins_001A

Comic book company BOOM! Studios, the same people who published 2 Guns, scored another live action deal. This one’s with Fox for a TV series based on Mark Sable and Julian Totino Tedesco’s Unthinkable. The plot revolves around an FBI agent teaming up with a screenwriter who was part of a think tank about potential threats years earlier. [via Deadline]

Finally, if you’re looking for some fan-made film continuations, check out The Dark Knight Legacy, which takes place in the streets of Gotham a year after the events of The Dark Knight Rises. The first episode features the Red Hood, Stephanie Brown and a guy doing a pretty darn good impression of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. If you like what you see, you can contribute to the project’s Indiegogo page. [via SHH]

BULLET POINTS: HOT ROUNDS OF INFORMATION GOODNESS

teenage mutant ninja turtles TMNTThe Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles flick from director Jonathan Liebesman got pushed back to August 8, 2014. This movie’s getting moved around more than the Turtle Van on patrol. Is there any hope it will be good? [via THR]

Lone Ranger 1

Word on the street is that Disney’s so pissed about the The Lone Ranger not making it’s money back yet that they’re restructuring their deal with producer Jerry Bruckheimer. In the past, his contract said that he had final cut, but that might not be the case anymore with Pirates Of The Caribbean 5. [TheWrap]

CW’s DC Comics-based Arrow is recruiting The Killing actress Bex Taylor-Klaus to play a  character called Sin. In the comics, Sin is a girl trained for years to replace super-assassin Lady Shiva who gets adopted by Black Canary. [via THR]

Speaking of Greg Berlanti-created shows, the futuristic prison series Paradise got snatched up by NBC. Berlanti’s teaming up with Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) to make the Prison Break-like show set in a version of Las Vegas that’s been converted into a giant prison. [via Deadline]

seventh son jeff bridges

Divorces can be rough, especially when kids are involved. When Legendary split from Warners earlier this summer, some of the films the former financed were left without distribution. That was the case with Sergei Bodrov’s The Seventh Son, but don’t worry, the Jeff Bridges film will now be distributed by Legendary’s new partner Universal. [via TheWrap]

Warner Bros. snatched up a pitch by Mark L. Smith (Vacancy) called Herald about a Viking king that Leonardo DiCaprio may or may not play. [via Deadline]

james cameron poster blue lady

James Cameron revealed to Visionaries that he was thinking of blue ladies well before he came up with the idea for Avatar. [via Movies.com]

hercules set

Dig this crazy set from Brett Ratner’s Hercules. [via Dwayne Johnson’s Twitter]

Finally, this video reenacts the Peter/Chicken fight from Family Guy as performed by stuntwomen  Jessie Graff and Tree O’Toole. [via Topless Robot]

I’m In Like With Avatar

Yesterday, in an unexpected twist, the in-laws and Em decided they wanted to  go see Avatar. Em had been making fun of it for months and her mom kept saying she didn’t want to see a sci-fi movie. I mentioned I’d be down for Avatar or Sherlock Holmes and eventually we ended up at the theater wearing Buddy Holly glasses and watching crazy aliens run around on-screen. I had been cautiously optimistic about the movie. Not because I’m a great big James Cameron fan and not because I’m that big of a sci-fi fan myself, but because I wanted to see the next step in 3D and CGI and I hoped it would be good. We walked out of the theater with all three of them singing the movie’s praises and I just felt kind of eh. I liked it and the special effects were amazing, but the movie didn’t really suck me in. I only ever got really absorbed and lost myself in the movie towards the end in the gigantic final battle scene, which not only looked sick, but had me really wondering how they were going to get themselves out of this one.

Again, that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it or find it interesting. I actually found the idea of a planet where every living thing was connected basically by synapses to be fascinating and started catching on pretty early as our main character, Jake, was driving around his blue-skinned, genetically altered Avatar (a mix between human and the indigenous alien DNA) and their footprints were glowing. I also really liked how the CGI made the blue alien humanoids look real. There was only one brief moment where I felt like I was watching a Pixar movie instead of a live action one, but after that it felt “real” the whole way. The animals of the jungle and the plant life were all a lot of fun to look at too.

I guess what bugged me was the story. It felt a little been-there, done-that. Maybe it’s because I’ve read thousands of comics and seen hundreds of movies and cartoons, so the idea of humans on an alien planet trying to take what they want from the “savage” aboriginals isn’t all that new. I was also a little disappointed in the portrayal of the army-like dudes. I know they distinguished early on that these were not government military personnel, but hired guns working for a corporation, but they didn’t really nail it home enough in my opinion. Not that I want things completely laid out for me, but it seemed like a fairly big story point that I had to keep reminding myself of and I kept thinking that these Army guys were dicks. And they were, which is another problem. Everyone wearing camouflage with the exception of Michelle Rodriguez (who I generally hate, but liked enough in this) is a jerk. And not just a jerk, but a lame, one-liner spouting jerk. Had those dudes not been in the movie or at least better written, maybe I would have been more absorbed.

Overall, I guess it was the little things that kept popping me out of the story. I tried avoiding all the hype and press and did an okay enough job. Okay enough that I had no idea Uhuru played the main female alien. In fact, I couldn’t nail down exactly who she reminded me of, but it popped into my head at the very end. She looks just like Uma Thurman. It’s crazy. Anyway, I’m in like with the movie, not love and hope to give it another viewing. We did see it in 3D, which I would recommend, because it’s not really gimmicky (though it probably could have been in a few places early on), it just puts you into things a bit more, kind of like the visual equivalent of surround sound. In the end, I would recommend giving it a shot and in 3D whenever possible. Oh, plus, check out this cool YouTube video of the toys which use a new technology called augmented reality to add a bit of awesomeness in each package!

Time Travel Shenanigans

This Sunday was kind of an unusual night now that I think about it. As a complete coincidence I ended up watching three movies that night dealing with time travel in in form or another: Terminator (1984), Primer (2004) and Next (2007). And oddly enough, I watched them in chronological order. Weird.

I actually didn’t watch Terminator alone as I usually do with rad movies from the 80s. Thanks to the sick looking trailers for the upcoming Terminator Salvation, Em wanted to check out the Terminator flicks. I had recently added the movie to our Netflix Instant Queue, so we finally checked it out.

The first Terminator movie I ever saw was T2 on TV with my parents. I remember them letting me stay up late and watching the end of the movie in their bedroom. Later, when I got my Family Video membership, I checked out the original and wasn’t too impressed. Stupid kid. Even though some of the Arnold masks don’t look that great, first off he’s a robot and second off it was ’84. And damn those exoskeletons and robots look real, even if the stop motion gets a little shaky. Plus, I like to think that Linda Hamilton’s crazy hair is a special effect all its own.

[Potential LOST SPOILER coming up if you haven’t been watching this season.] It’s actually kind of funny that the time travel mechanics are very similar between Terminator and Lost. You’ve got people heading back in time and affecting the future. Reese heads back and fathers John Connor. He always did that, he just didn’t know his role yet. It’s the “Whatever happened, happened” idea (which I have to toot my own horn and say I voiced a few weeks before the saying popped up on the show).

From there I went on to finish Primer, a low budget (supposedly made for $7,000) time travel movie that I heard about on both Horror Movie A Day and The Totally Rad Show. I won’t pretend like I understood the movie (I had to look it up on Wikipedia to get a better idea of the plot and mechanics), but it made me feel like I did when I was 16 working at Barry’s and Drew (whose last name I don’t know and haven’t seen in almost 10 years now) told me about Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects and then later when I saw Lost Highway and Clerks and some other flicks. Aside from feeling incredibly original and new, Primer showed me you can make an amazing movie that doesn’t talk down to its audience. Now, the above-mentioned movies don’t seem to have much in common on the surface, but the all showed me different ways of looking at movies, from a story standpoint and general presentation to how much you need to let your audience know.

Primer’s beautifully confusing (there’s so much jargon and science in there, it’d make my freshman year roommates jump for joy, what’s up Bryan and Hatem, you guys especially should check this one out). One piece of advice I’d give anyone trying to watch Primer (and understand it), is, don’t drink too many beers and try not to fall asleep halfway through. I fell asleep and then tried watching it a week or so later and had an even hard time remembering the whole story. I can’t wait to check it out again.

I will not, however, be watching Nic Cage’s Next again. As I’ve mentioned again and again I have a strange relationship with Nic Cage movies. Sure The Rock and Con Air are awesome, but somewhere along the lines, Cage seemingly went crazy and has been playing a kind of caricature of himself since then. Or has he? Maybe I’m the one that expects him to be crazy (there’s good crazy like in the National Treasure movies which I love and bad crazy like the amazing Whicker Man YouTube video).

Well, the last two Cage movies I’ve watched from the past few years (Next and Bangkok Dangerous) have just been boring. Even Cage’s craziness can’t save a fairly boring movie with some really bad CGI effects that breaks my cardinal sin of storytelling: don’t make everything I’ve just seen pointless, even if it is a tale of what could happen.

You might be wondering how this fits in with the time travel theme and it kind of doesn’t. But it kid of does, because, as Cage explains early in the movie, he can see a few minutes into his own future and just by seeing the future you’re changing it. Sure, it’s a tenuous connection at best, but it’s there.

Now I’ve just got to get Em to watch T2 which I have on DVD. But the last time I tried watching it, I wanted to rip Edward Furlong’s squeaky vocal chords out of his throat and feed them to the T-1000. Ah well, I’m sure I’m a lot more mature now (eh, not really, this was only a few months ago). Also, I might mine these flicks for a Live Blog post or two as I took copious notes.

Anything But Abyss-mal

2008-09-05
6:40:38 pm

James Cameron is one of those directors that I forget I like. I was one of the few people that dodged the Titanic bullet (one of the few bonuses of not having a girlfriend in 1997 or all of high school for that matter) and I really couldn’t tell you anything else he’s done recently besides Dark Angel which I never watched and fell off the radar pretty quickly. So, why did I add The Abyss to my queue? I didn’t actually know he had anything to do with it. Underwater stuff kind of freaks me out and I’ve always heard the effects were great, so I just went with it and it was freakin’ GREAT. Let’s hope Cameron can kick things up a notch and do another movie like this, Terminator or Aliens.

THE ABYSS (1989)

Written and directed by James Cameron

Starring Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn and Chris Elliot

So, the basic premise (I say that a lot, don’t I?) is that this underwater drilling team gets co-opted by the government to check out a sub that went down carrying a nuke (making Armageddon almost the exact opposite of this movie). A group of navy dudes including Michael Biehn board the ship and dive deep down with our heroes. Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio play a married couple who hate each other but are both experts on underwater stuff.

Like I said above, I’m actually pretty freaked out by underwater stuff, especially sunken ships with dead people floating limply inside. So, this movie had more potential to actually scare me, but it’s not really a scary movie, which is cool. There are definitely suspenseful chases, both in scuba-like suits and in underwater vehicles, though the scene where they go into the sunken sub and are surrounded by corpses was pretty creepy.

It’s really more of a psychological movie as Biehn starts going crazy. And really, how do you not go crazy when you only have a few inches of steel between you and certain death? Anyway, you’ve got chases, bare knuckle fights, great underwater filming and a pretty convincing relationship between Harris and Mastrantonio that feels really familiar now, but also fresh somehow. Oh, it’s also got aliens (lower case, “A”). The whole thing’s kind of complicated and I’m not sure I caught everything but way deep down in the ocean this huge spaceship of tiny aliens driving jellyfish-like vehicles has been hanging out. They can also manipulate water somehow in one of the coolest and best effects I’ve seen in a while and this was from 1989!

Fun fact, the filmed all the underwater stuff with the actual actors in specially made suits so you can see their faces in a nuclear reactor they filled with water. The sun kept getting through so they had to put at tarp over the top of it. Knowing that going in added a bit more of a creepiness factors because these people probably could have died if one or two things would have gone wrong. I really appreciate the actors doing their own stunts too. Can you imagine this being done today? Everything would be crummy CGI and just wouldn’t have that fear of imininent danger (like the scene after the underwater station starts taking on water, Biehn’s gone over the edge and Harris actually has to swim out an air lock up to another one and then ANOTHER one. Holy cats, that’s crazy.

This feels like a pretty rambling review, but I highly recommend the movie. I watched the theatrical version to save time, but would definitely check out the director’s cut next time.