Archive for the ‘film’ Category

Review: Robin Hood

13 May, 2010
Tackling the story of Robin Hood was always going to be a challenge for director Ridley Scott. The much loved tale of Nottingham’s most infamous resident was always at risk of upsetting fans of the legend, and taking on the fable by way of the ‘untold story’ has proved a mixed success for the famous talent.
The new film tells the story of how Robin – referred to here as Robin Longstride – initially ended up in the 13th century town of Nottingham after fighting alongside King Richard in France on the army’s return from the crusades.
Following the King’s death Robin (Russel Crowe) finds himself fleeing the shambolic army, taking on the identity of a dead knight, Robert Loxley, to get home to England under the pretence of returning the former king’s crown.
But having granting the knight’s dying wish to return his sword to his father in Nottingham, Robin finds himself embroiled in a fight to fend off the French army and reunite the nobles of the north – who are suffering from the heavy taxation and ineffective rule of the newly crowned king John.
It is difficult not to draw comparisons between this new Robin Hood and the director/actor team’s previous partnership on historical epic Gladiator. And it has to be said that the new film pales in comparison to their earlier efforts.
Director Ridley Scott does a good job of directing the film throughout, with slick, snappy editing and a firm display of his ability to direct with the best of them.
There are moments, however, where the action is all too familiar – a scene where Crowe rides his horse behind a row of archers and is thrown a weapon mid stride is almost identical to a like-for-like sequence in Gladiator, and Crowe’s Maximus-a-like gruff voice seems to be used more often than not to camouflage his wandering accent than to enhance it.
The battle scenes throughout the film also feel fairly boring and empty and fans of the director’s previous films will be disappointed not to see the relentless, all-out action of Gladiator or Kingdom of Heaven.
The scale and excitement seems to have taken a back seat, perhaps in order to preserve the family-friendly 12A certificate, but the overall impression is that of watching a poor man’s version of a familiar blockbuster template.
The decision to take the story back to it’s origins was clearly a clever move, not only does it follow in the footsteps of hit prequel story films Batman Begins and Casino Royale, but it also gives the film a good chance to stand out from the age old story – and avoid any risks of Men in Tights parallels.
And although the back history to how this legend came about is interesting, the seemingly simple narrative does end up becoming tiresome and a little unbelievable at times, particularly the obscure flashbacks to Robin’s inexplicably absent childhood memories which conveniently make him the perfect candidate to unite the country’s noblemen.
The choice to make Robin a Yorkshire man with the home town of Barnsdale will also be sure to aggrieve some more patriotic Nottinghamshire viewers looking to celebrate the heritage of their home county.
With filming taking place only partly in Robin’s Sherwood Forest home, Crowe has taken it upon himself to contribute the majority of the wood to the film with a dull portrayal of what is clearly a far more interesting Character.For a role so close to ones he has excelled in previously it is hard to understand why there is such a lack of enthusiasm and passion here.
Elsewhere Cate Blanchett puts in a solid turn as the begrudged but empowered Marion Loxley, while British actor Mark Strong does a good job of appearing brooding and sinister despite his lack of dialogue.
The real star of the film however is Oscar Isaac as the naive and arrogant Prince John, toying with the character’s vulgar confidence as he turns from disgruntled prince to ardent but completely inept king. Every second of screen time seems to be made entirely his own and it is hard not be captivated by his ‘bad guy you love to hate’ performance, opting for his sleazy king above the slightly overlooked Sheriff of Nottingham.
Ridley Scott’s latest take on Robin Hood clearly showed ambition, and outlined what could have been a fantastic film and the first of this summer’s true blockbusters.
Unfortunately although the film clearly has its merits the end result is something which does no justice to Scott as a director, Crowe as a leading man, or the legend of Robin Hood.
2/5
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The Immaculate Inception

10 May, 2010

Following last week’s news of J J Abrams’ latest hype-fest, Super 8, sneaking its way onto screens Brit director Christopher Nolan is hot on his heels with a new trailer for Inception. The third trailer shows a little bit more of what to expect from Nolan’s upcoming, super-secret, super-complex thriller. With cast and crew still tight-lipped about the film, despite the upcoming July release, it’s probably best to make the most of this video and start throwing wild theories about what is going on across the internet in the hope that you might just land on something eventually. Despite the confusion though, this looks absolutely stunning and comparisons are already being drawn to the first Matrix film in relation to the technical accomplishments of Inception. There’s a little bit more on the narrative here as well, with shots of what we can assume is mind thief Leonardo Di Caprio’s wife and a few scenes with Michael Caine looking cool.

Check out the trailer here and, please, if you have any idea what is happening, let me know.

Grab a pen and paper, Abrams is back…

5 May, 2010

Mind melting producer/writer J J Abrams is back – or so it would seem at least. According to HitFlix the trailer for a new project he is currently working on is set to be unleashed in cinemas across America this Thursday.

The project, being called Super 8 by the website, is rumoured to be connected to Abrams’ bizarre monster-mash Cloverfield in some way or another – although exactly how remains characteristicly unclear.

Writers over at Vulture seem convinced from an insider that the trailer shows a group of youngsters making a film on an old Super 8 camera. When they develop the footage however they see an alien in the picture. Rumours are also abound that the trailer will be set in the 70s and is shot as a prequel of sorts to Cloverfield rather than a sequel.

The only thing that seems to be set in stone is that Abrams himself won’t be directing, and is likely to take a producer credit on the project as he did with Cloverfield and Lost.

The trailer is due to be shown alongside screenings of Iron Man 2 and will be unleashed onto the internet shortly afterwards for the world to see.

In other mind-bashing news Warner Bros have released a synopsis for Christopher Nolan’s upcoming future-heist-no-one-has-any-idea-what-the-hell-it’s-about, Inception.

Up until now cast and cre have remained tight lipped about the film, refusing to confirm even the name of the film unless they were 100ft underground, in a sealed plastic room swept for bugs on a second by second basis.

Word from the bosses is thus:

“Acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan directs an international cast in an original sci-fi actioner that travels around the globe and into the intimate and infinite world of dreams. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable.

“Cobb’s rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but, it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption.

“One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible — inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime.

“But, no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming. This summer, your mind is the scene of the crime.”

Cowboys and Indi…. What?

4 May, 2010

In a late entry for the weirdest film news of the day award, word has reached the debris-strewn shores of Chad Cinema that Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau has signed up Moon’s Sam Rockwell to star in his upcoming western-meets-sci-fi-invasion flick, Cowboys and Aliens.

The news comes alongside last week’s release of the superhero sequel and will see Rockwell lining up alongside Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde in the film – which sees Apaches and cowboys uniting forces to fend of an invasion of alien attackers in the wild west, obviously.

Rockwell is set to star as Doc, a saloon owner who gives up flogging the sauce to fend off the otherworldly invaders. Rumour has it that the role was originally written for a heavyset beefcake but Favreau amended the part to suit the actor after they got to know each other on the Iron Man 2 set.

Coming tomorrow: Danny De Vito signs in Jolly Green Giant biopic and News of an Orson Welles screenplay for ‘Robin Hood – Zombie Fighter’

Ridley’s Robin Arrives

15 December, 2009

It has been trapped in development hell for years – mainly due to an intricate casting system which seemed to involve getting into a punch-up with anyone and everyone who may have been unfortunate enough to have auditioned – but the first glimpse of Ridley Scott’s Robin hood has finally arrived on the internet.

Set for release in 2010 (providing you will believe absolutely anything you are told), the Russel Crowe led biopic claims to set our the ‘true’ story of the infamous outlaw and his rise to notoriety.

Now seemingly settled on the title of Robin Hood after seemingly trying out every possible combination of words in the English language, the film also stars Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian and the not-at-all-menacing-looking Matthew Macfayden as The Sheriff of Nottingham.

To be honest, the trailer looks like a more British version of the opening battle scenes of Gladiator, but then that is probably not all bad. Crowe gets to husky grumble a bit in his trademark style, although it’s have any idea if he is attempting an accent having upped the gruff-factor to 11. Clearly Crowe feels Christian Bale needs a run for his money following the last two Batman films.

The trailer looks much darker than I think most people were anticipating, and it certainly shows all the hallmarks of the historical action epic exhibited in Gladiator, Braveheart et al, but I’m reserving judgement until we get more than a minute and a half of moody looking shots in the dark.

You can watch the trailer over at comingsoon.net here.

The jury is out on whether or not this Dylan-esque ditty will be included in the update:

Why I love zombies…

4 November, 2009

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George A. Romero was the first man to put flesh eating hordes of the undead onto celluloid in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead. Since then the pasty looking ones have taken on a life of their own (sic), with an endless army of the great exhumed hitting the big screen for our enjoyment and delectation.

Romero set the trend for the super low budget style of the zombie films we know and love today, creating the film on a budget of $114,000 and using a simple narrative, snappy writing, smart camera tricks and clever design and make-up to work with the constraints of his budget rather than against it. The end result was a film that took in a total of $30million worldwide.

Obviously, this seemed like the perfect amateur money making formula. But what the thousands of copy-cats failed to notice was that it was the immaculately constructed script and mythology that went into making Night of the Living Dead such an iconic, subversive piece of cinema, not just gratuitous brain-munching.

And so a new genre was born, the ultra-low budget, mainly god awful and predominantly straight-to-video zombie film. Here lies one of the greatest creations in cinema history, a place where you can enjoy a good 80 minutes of attention grabbing, nonsensical, cinematic bliss – with the most sublimely absurd titles known to man.

For the uninformed, here are some of my favourites:

  • Space Zombie Bingo!!! (Three explanation marks, three!)
  • Zombie Holocaust (simple, concise, effective)
  • Zombie Strippers (for raising the bar of absurdity)
  • Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! (a personal favourite and proof repetition gets you noticed)
  • Zombie Honeymoon (never a good way to start married life)
  • The Zombie Diaries (criminally undermined in the Bridget Jones series)
  • Stubbs the Zombie in ‘Rebel Without a Pulse’ (no more explanation needed)
  • Wu long tian shi zhao ji gui AKA Kung-Fu Zombie (because we all dreamed that, one day, someone would)
  • Gay Zombie (because zombies swing both ways)
  • Z: A Zombie Musical (who says the undead can’t sing and dance?)
  • Zombie Vegetarians (representing team veggie)
  • Get Along Little Zombie (a heartwarming tale of flesh eating youngsters)
  • No. My Other Possessed-Zombie Girlfriend. (if there’s a better title out there, I sure as hell don’t know it)

And finally… A few more top zombie facts, zombie-fact-fans:

Although Romero was first to put flesh eating zombies to screen, the first big screen appearance of the zombie was in the 1932 film White Zombie, starring man-god Bela Lugosi as the wonderfully named voodoo master, Murder Legendre.

In writing Night of the Living Dead, Romero openly’ admits to ripping off Richard Matheson’s superb 1954 book, I Am Legend, which everyone should have read.

Despite having no end of trouble finding a distributor for the film (many of whom wanted a re-shot ‘Happy’ ending), Romero refused to change the original print or make cuts to get his film into cinemas and insisted it should be shown in its entirety.

The cause of the zombie outbreak is never explained throughout the film’s duration. This might be obvious to some but it’s a subtlety that lots of people miss – another reason why it is so great. The closest we get to an explanation is offered by a scientist citing radiation from a space probe – another nod to militant cold war tactics in the film.

The film was made using chocolate sauce for blood and cooked ham as a substitute for human flesh, with mortician’s wax as make up for the zombies.

There are nine characters named ‘Zombie-with-gun’ in sequel, Day of the Dead.

It has been remade twice, made 3d and treated in 2004 to produce a colour version of the original. All of these are rubbish.

Everyone can do a good zombie impression, with sound effects. But mine is best.

ATTENTION WORLD – There is an Expendables trailer.

15 October, 2009

In the past I may have sounded over-excited about the impending release of The Expendables next year. But now the evidence is here, in three-minutes of pure, ball kicking glory. And it’s awesome.

There is always a place in my heart for mindless, shallow, thrill-seeking action films and from the looks of it The Expendables ticks all the boxes.

Make no mistake, there is more testosterone here than gym full of rhinos. But I think we should all take a gleeful delight in the fact that the majority of this trailer involves watching things get blown up, shot at, or beaten up.

The trailer first emerged last night at the movie blog and shows Stallone et al getting stuck in to a hefty glimpse of the final film. The banter between the cast looks good (Statham’s ‘I’m getting a text’ line and Jet Li’s small man complex stand-out here, as well as his ‘I would have winned’ line) and harks back to the glory days of muscle bound action one-liners that made the original 80s action films so amazing.

There’s a few interesting plot teases as well, why are Jet Li and Dolph Lundgren fighting at the end? Aren’t they both on the same side? Mickey Rourke looks ace as the group’s leader. The Stath and Li look great in the high kicking roles. Also interesting is Danny Trejo, conspicuous here by his absence, who many assumed would be the bad guy head honcho – we can just hope that the world’s baddest Mexican will be getting all the screen time he deserves.

Colour me excited.

A new depth to Hollywood…

1 September, 2009

James Cameron’s hype machine has been whirring frenetically for what seems like several decades in anticipation of his upcoming film Avatar, which – according to Cameron at least – will revolutionise cinema and the way we watch films.

For those not in the know, Avatar is Cameron’s come-back superhit (his first feature film since 1997’s record destroying Titanic) and is set to change all of our lives forever on its release this Christmas.

The trick here is the new 3d cameras Cameron has spent the past decade developing, promising an unparallelled depth of field and a type of 3D which is not possible using current techniques.

Unfortunately for Cameron decades of developments and around 12 months worth of clever marketing may have worked on Hollywood’s production gurus  – with production firms including Disney and Pixar, as well as directors like Guillermo Del Toro pledging their allegiance to his new system – but the fans seem yet to be convinced.

After the release of the first official teaser trailer for the film – which came initially at the cringingly titled ‘Avatar Day’ where selected cinemas around the world screened 15 minutes of 3D tit-bits for the film – floodgates opened, and the torrent of hate for Cameron’s latest began – with many claiming the promised 3D revolution was nothing more than a mediocre, video-game like cut-scene.

The problem Cameron now faces is to find a way to win back his fickle fans. And with the internet churning out more and more hate propaganda like this by the day, it’s hard to see how that will turn around.

Luckily for Cameron his ‘future of cinema’ idea which was such a hit with panicky studio bosses also happens to be a rather superb business model. Despite the resentment of fans, Cameron has the luxury of insisting he is right, and that his new 3D system, unlike the one currently being utilised by an increasingly large number of new releases, is as breathtaking as he claims. The problem here for the haters is that, for the time being at least, no one can prove him wrong. Slating Avatar for it’s video-game like look on a computer screen is easy, and can be just as easily defended by claiming the true image is only revealed in the cinema.

I’m also certain that the only victor of this stand-off will be curiosity. Fans who berate the trailer will be the first in line come the film’s release, just to be certain that they were right. And anyone who wants to decide for themselves will have  to fork out at the big screen.

And here we come back to those panicky studio bosses. The Hollywood big cheeses have been fighting a losing battle against piracy for years now. And with films now commonly leaking out and spreading almost instantly through internet in higher and higher quality before they even hit the cinemas, the studios are running out of options to stamp the problem out. Cameron’s vision of the future is, therefore, particularly appetising to the powerful people – his revolutionary technique is one which can only be leaked in an inferior quality, and one which punters will have to fork out for to see properly.

The money recouped from salvaging hollywood’s nose-diving box office receipts would more than outweigh the cost of Cameron’s Avatar (rumoured to have smashed its $200m budget way back) flopping. So a 3D film future is more appealing than ever to those who hold the purse strings tightly, making Avatar’s popular and critical success all but irrelevant to the impact of Cameron’s jazzy technology.

So no wonder Cameron is confident, the future of cinema looks all but decided already.

But enough with these nonsense conspiracy theories, it might be alright. Take a look and tell me what you think…

New Robin Hood details out

9 June, 2009

More news has emerged on Russel Crowe and Ridley Scott’s much troubled Robin Hood Film.

After being known as Nottingham since day one angry Aussie Crowe has revealed in a radio interview that the film will now be released under the startlingly innovative moniker of Robin Hood. Quite how they came up at that off-the-wall idea I doubt we will ever know.

Director Scott has also binned his original idea of focussing the story on the Sheriff of Nottingham as the hero, and having Robin Hood as the film’s villain. Clearly this was interesting, so Scott has decided to ditch the plan in favor of a more familiar platform – with Robin Hood stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

Last month a few more photos were leaked of angry men in armour running about in fields after this shot of Crowe in action, so it would seem that hugely delayed production is now up and running.

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You can listen to the ten minute interview with Crowe on the film’s set courtesy of livenews.com.au here.

Let me know what you think of Robin Hood by leaving a comment below, is this project back on target or just far wide of the mark?

Pictures, robots, Sly, just kill me now

16 April, 2009

Readers, rejoice! For this post features a feast of magnificent pictorial pleasures for you to soak up.

First up is new concept art for Christian Bale led robot kicking flick, Terminator Salvation. Avid readers (both of them) will be well aware of my deeply unhealthy love for the Terminator series. Yes, yes, we all know that only the first two films were any good, but despite being bloody awful both the third film and the Sarah Connor Chronicles spin-off had some pretty interesting ideas and the latest outing looks promising, although I’m still very dubious of McG’s directing prowess. These new pictures, courtesy of SarahConnorSociety.net, show some pretty awesome looking concept art for the film, which is now due for release on 3rd June.

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Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins

Also for those who havn’t seen the latest trailer yet, take a look at it here:

In other amazing news, Empire has unveiled a huge, manly handful of pictures from filming of my new favourite film of all time, The Expendables. For more details on how unbelievably awesome this film is likely to be, check out my last post. Needless to say that this is awesome and if you want to see more just click the picture below.

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So what do you think? Excited about any of these? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. And for those techno-gurus that are way ahead of me, why not follow me on Twitter: AdamChad