Tag Archives: Friday Films

Summer Action Movies

Friday Films

Action Movies to Look Forward to This Summer

This summer should bring an exciting mix of action movies, from sequels and superhero flicks to fairytale and classic rewrites, there should be something for every film fan. So take a break from your college, job or fun online school classes to check out some of these much-anticipated summer action movies.

[box] The Avengers” – Starting off the summer with a superhero bang, Marvel brings us “The Avengers.” Directed by “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator Joss Whedon, this early summer film should be a hit. The movie includes a team of famous Marvel characters such as Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, and Black Widow, and will also feature some great acting talent such as Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, and Scarlett Johansson. The plot centers on S.H.I.E.L.D., an international peace keeping agency, and its fight to save the world from disaster. Release Date: May 4, 2012[/box]

[box]Battleship” – Who says you can only get feature film ideas from a book? Director and producer Peter Berg turns to the classic Hasbro naval combat game for inspiration for the upcoming “Battleship.” When an international fleet of ships come across an alien armada, the men must do battle on land, sea, and air to discover the goals of the unknown “Regents.” Release Date: May 18, 2012 [/box]

[box]Men in Black 3 – Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones will team up this summer to star in “Men in Black 3.” If you thought the ending of “Men in Black II” left the series without hope for a sequel, think again. When the fate of the planet is at stake, Agent J (Will Smith) travels back in time to make things right. Get ready for more secrets, guns and aliens – all the components of a guaranteed summer hit. Release Date: May 25, 2012 [/box]

[box]Snow White and the Huntsman” – Kristen Stewart of “Twilight” and Chris Hemsworth of “Thor” face off against evil queen Charlize Theron in the upcoming spin on the classic Snow White tale, “Snow White and the Huntsman.” When evil Queen Ravenna decides Snow White must die, the smitten huntsman instead decides to train her for battle. Release Date: June 1, 2012 [/box]

[box]Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Stemming from the popular parody novel mashups like “Pride and Prejudice” and Zombies” and “Jane Slayre,” “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” turns good old Honest Abe into a vampire hunting superhero. When President Lincoln discovers that vampires are plotting to take over the United States, he must hunt them down to save the country. Release Date: June 22, 2012 [/box]

[box]G.I. Joe: Retaliation” – “G.I. Joe” fans will be happy to learn about the upcoming sequel to the series, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.” The Hasbro brand of “action figures” inspires another potential blockbuster this summer with the return of Roadblock, Flint, Duke, Lady Jaye, Firefly, Snake Eyes, and Storm Shadow. It will also feature Bruce Willis in the role of General Joe Colton. Release Date: June 29, 2012 [/box]

[box]The Amazing Spider-Man” – A new take on the superhero franchise, “The Amazing Spider-Man” changes the traditional story and adds some interesting characters. When Peter Parker discovers a mysterious briefcase that once belonged to his father, he sets out on a journey to find the meaning behind his parents’ disappearance. Release Date: July 3, 2012 [/box]

[box]The Dark Knight Rises – Just when you thought it was safe to put away your Batman mask, the epic tale continues with “The Dark Knight Rises.” Staring Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway, this should be on everyone’s must-see list for summer. When a new villain arrives in town, Batman must put his tarnished reputation aside to once again save Gotham. Release Date: July 20, 2012 [/box]

Movies goers especially interested in the directing and producing process of films might want to develop their skills by completing an MFA Degree in Performing Arts, Studio Arts, or even Film Criticism. Also, check out the sources listed below for more news about upcoming hits.

Sources

IMDb (2012)

Flixter (2012)

Quill

Friday Films

The Life of a Guide Dog

As a Labrador puppy, Quill is sent to live with a couple, Isamu and Mitsuko Nii, who train guide dogs (seeing eye dogs).

When he grows to an adult dog, Quill is taken to a guide dog school, by a friendly, yet firm trainer Satoru Tawada.

Although Quill is a little slower than the other dogs at the school, he seems to have an unusual ’empathy’ and remarkable patience with his trainers. Tawade decides that Quill would be the ideal guide dog for Mitsuru Watanabe. A lonely and ill-tempered middle aged man, Watanbe isn’t as enthusiastic – he would “would rather sleep than be dragged around by a dog.”

From here, the story is narrated by Wanatabe’s daughter, Mitsuko, and slowly, Wantanbe is rehabilitated, venturing into the outside world, and learning, not only to trust other humans, but the animal at his side.

Total Recall – 2012

Friday FilmsWay back to 1990 when the former Governor of California was an occasionally pretty decent action hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger made a film named Total Recall.

This post is not about that film…mostly.

This is about a Hollywood slap-out of ideas and nothing better to do than rifle back through the catalog, shake the dust off an old script and see if a new movie falls out. It’s shake and bake movie making.

This is about the 2012 reboot of Total Recall with Colin Farrell reprising the Schwarzenegger role from the original. Watching the trailer I can gather that Farrell does a pretty first-rate job of rebooting Doug Quaid/Hauser. Farrell brings a certain savoirfaire to the role the Governator could never achieve.

But I have to ask you this… In what world could Kate “Beauty is such a burden” Beckinsale ever replace Sharon Stone? Surely a place does not exist.

Now, in the role of Melina, I liked the very under-rated b-role actress Rachel Ticotin who did a decent job in the original. She went on to do some very forgettable roles since including the hot prison guard in Nick Cage’s Con-Air. She was good but she’s no Jessica Biel. I expect Biehl, who rocks the action girl role, to really strut her A-game partnered with the action master, Colin Farrell.

I believe the original Total Call had one of the worst villain casting of all time with Ronny Cox in the role of Vilos Cohaagen. Cox was great as Captain Bogomil in Beverley Hills Cop but as a martian gangster, not so much. The flip side of that is the casting of Bryan Cranston, the chemistry teacher turned meth chemist in Breaking Bad, in the Cohaagen role. This oughta be something to see!

In the Kuato role, served up with a journeyman effort by Marshall Bell in the original, I’m interested to see what veteran British actor Bill Nighy can do with the part.

The original won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1991. For the time it was all cutting edge stuff. The same gags in the 2012 remake is common Hollywood action now. What you can do with green-screen and a computer these days is amazing. We are almost at the point where they won’t even have to build anymore sets. Actors will soon be obsolete or at a minimum… redundant.

And then what will Beauty Beckinsale do for work? Barista? Bartender? Meter Maid? Spokesperson for Actresses of Hollywood Remakes, LLC? Only time will tell.

This looks like a definite big-screen watch but the cost of popcorn and gas to get there may keep me waiting for the Amazon Prime version for $3.99. It ain’t cheap being a big Hollywood film critic!

Snow White & the Hunstman

Friday FilmsWe’ve heard the story since we were children. However, this is not the old Queen/Witch with the rotten apple for the pretty Snow White tale. You won’t found those wimpy Disney dwarfs in this movie. These dwarfs have serious attitude and everyone comes together to deliver a fairy tale with balls.

This is Snow White and the Hunstman.

Hold on to your theater seats, the boys are back in town and Snow White isn’t going to lay down for anybody. The evil Queen is an evil bitch and Snow is going to go all medieval on her ass.

Kristin Stewart leaves the vampire world behind to slip into the role of Snow White. Charlize Theron shines in a purely evil performance as Queen Ravenna. Thor’s Chris Hemsworth steps in as Eric, The Hunstman and together the trio explode on the silver screen in a wonderment of action and magic.

Snow White opens on June 1st.

(Did I mention the Queen was really evil?)

[box]

Snow White Storyline

In a kingdom ruled by tyranny, the vain and selfish Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) learns her stepdaughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is destined to surpass her as not only the “Fairest One of All” but the kingdom’s future ruler. But the Queen then learns from her Magic Mirror (Christopher Obi) that the only way to remain in power is to consume Snow White’s heart and achieve immortality. Snow escapes into the Dark Forest and Ravenna recruits the Huntsman Eric (Chris Hemsworth) to kill Snow. Eric, however, takes pity on the young princess and teaches Snow White the art of war. Now, with the aid of eight dwarves and Prince William (Sam Claflin), Snow White begins a rebellion to bring down her stepmother once and for all.

Source: Wiki[/box]

Dark Shadows Reboot

Friday FilmsTurn the clock back to my early high school days. Say somewhere around 1969. There was a lot of stuff going on around me – Woodstock, Vietnam, “The Eagle has landed” and Quentin Collins began haunting Collinwood, so Barnabas traveled back to 1897.

Dark Shadows was the rage of the day.

It was a lot to keep up with for a young impressionable child of the 60s. With the right buzz on, Dark Shadows was magnificent!

Dark ShadowsSo here we are, 43 years later and the fascination with the vampire of Collinwood Mansion is at a fever pitch. That’s what happens when you put Johnny Depp in the role of Barnabas Collins. Vampires, and werewolves, and ghosts… oh my!

In a Tim Burton production, Dark Shadows is coming to the big screen on the 11th of May. It may even eclipse the camp factor of the original series.

With cameos by Alice CooperChristopher Lee and the original B. Collins himself, Jonathan Frid, this big screen reboot of the 60’s serial is sure to be a playful romp through the house that Barnabas built.

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Dark Shadows – Storyline

In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet-or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy…until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better…

Written by Warner Bros. Pictures on IMDB.com
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The Oscars

It’s that time again — The Oscars.

In an odd quirk of the calendar I have a double dose of guilty pleasure this Sunday — The Daytona 500 in the afternoon and The Oscars at night, horsepower and starpower, Red Bull and Red Carpet. Does life get any better?

Only if Mark Martin wins the 500 and someone streaks the Oscars.

[box type=”download” color=”blue”]The official Oscar Nominee list.[/box]

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

There’s kind of this whole mash-up trend going on in literature these days where an author with nothing much better to do will take a piece of classic literature and mash it up with zombie or vampire lore.

One example is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a 2009 parody novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, coming to theaters in 2013 as a full length film.

There are many others but for now let’s just focus on the work of Seth Grahame-Smith.

Smith is also the literary genius behind Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, and I use the phrase literary genius very loosely. I give him credit for taking old stuff and twisting it into something new and being successful with it. Am I jealous? Maybe. Far be it from me to drool over somebody else getting movie rights. (At least Phoenix Worthy is an original character.) But I digress….

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Indiana, 1818 — Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother’s bedside. She’s been stricken with something the old-timers call “Milk Sickness.”

“My baby boy…” she whispers before dying. Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother’s fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, “henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose…” Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth Grahame-Smith has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

Source: Amazon[/box]

With the whole Vampire thing contrasted against the Civil War/Gettysburg period there was only one producer who could do this justice. But since J.J. Abrams was not available they got Tim Burton. Nice call.

Here are some other classic literature mashups:

The Undead World of Oz

Little Vampire Women

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Robin Hood and Friar Tuck: Zombie Killers – A Canterbury Tale

Emma and the Werewolves: Jane Austen’s Classic Novel with Blood-curdling Lycanthropy

These are mad times we live in… mad times!
— Professor Horace Slughorn

The Spaghetti Western

You may recall I decided to dedicate Friday’s to a look at films, people, and trends related to the cinematic arts. I’m calling it – Friday Films.

Turn back the cinematic calendar to 1959 and what film would have the honor of kicking off the Spaghetti Western trend,  Il terrore dell’Oklahoma (1959), directed by Mario Amendola. It was the first of over 600 films made entirely on location in Italy by Italian filmmakers.

The popularity of the genre exploded in 1964 with the release of Sergio Leone’s  “Man with No Name” trilogy (or “Dollars Trilogy“) directed by Sergio Leone, starring Clint Eastwood and with the musical scores of Ennio MorriconeA Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). The success of the second film cemented Leone’s reputation as a Western director and helped make international stars of Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and composer Morricone. Sergio Leone defined the style of the Spaghetti Western.

As Sergio Leone is the man credited with bringing the genre into the mainstream it is fitting that his  My Name is Nobody from 1973 saw the spaghetti western era come to a close, giving way to kung-fu movies and porn.  Nobody is a comedy western film that poked fun at the genre. It starred Henry Fonda as an old gunslinger who watched ‘his’ old West fade away before his very eyes as he played his guitar. Terence Hill also starred in the film as the young stranger who helps Fonda leave the dying West with style.

Leon went on to direct the 1984 film, Once Upon a Time in America, an Italian mob movie that came in around four hours in the European market. Hollywood chopped it in half.

One of my favorites was another Leone film, the James Coburn, Rod Steiger effort, A Fistful of Dynamite. (Also known as Duck You Sucker.) It plays up one of the common themes of the spaghetti genre, The Mexican Revolution.

If you like the genre there is a host of great websites out there dedicated to Spaghetti Westerns.

I’d start with the Top-20 Spaghetti films of all time at: The Spaghetti Western Database.