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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)

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?)

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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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Moonlight Graham

Moonlight GrahamI remember the first time I watched Field of Dreams. It was like magic from the opening scene in the cornfield to the closing shot of all the headlights in the distance. One of the real joys of Field of Dreams was watching Burt Lancaster in the role of former NY Giants ball player, Archibald “Moonlight” Graham. It was absolutely mesmerizing.

What I didn’t know at the time was Moonlight Graham was a real ball player. The author went to great pains to weave his story into the book.

Graham was born November 10, 1879, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He played college ball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and in the minor leagues for three years before joining the Giants on May 23, 1905. On June 29, the Giants were the visiting team against the Brooklyn Superbas at Washington Park.

For the bottom of the eighth inning, Graham was sent in to play right field, replacing George Browne. In the top of the ninth inning, Graham was on deck when Claude Elliott flied out, resulting in the third and final out. Graham played the bottom of the ninth in right field but never came to bat. That game turned out to be his only appearance in the major leagues.

Moonlight GrahamAfter playing in the minor leagues (mostly in the Class B New York State League and New England League) through the 1908 season, Graham completed his medical degree from the University of Maryland in 1905. While there, played on the school’s 1904 and 1905 baseball teams. He obtained his license the following year and began practicing medicine in Chisholm, Minnesota.

“Doc” Graham, as he became known after his career as a ballplayer, served the people of Chisholm for fifty years. From 1915 to 1959, Graham was the doctor for the Chisholm schools. The Graham Scholarship Fund, established in his honor, provides financial assistance to two Chisholm High School graduating seniors each year. The award is given to one boy and one girl, $500 to each. For many years, “Doc” Graham made arrangements to have used eyeglasses sent to his Chisholm office. On Saturdays, he would have the children of the Iron Range miners, from Grand Rapids to Virginia, come to his office, have the their eyes checked and then fit them with the proper set of glasses, all free of charge.

Graham died in Chisholm in 1965. He is buried in Rochester, Minnesota.

They told his story in the movie. I thought it was fiction. Knowing it was true gives it unbelievable magic.

Moonlight Graham

Field of Dreams Trivia:

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In the scene where Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones are sitting in the bleachers at Fenway Park, future stars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are sitting in the stands as extras. Neither get any real camera time in the shot and I have been unable to find corroborating photos.[/box]

Source: Wiki

Hugo

Friday FilmsHugo is a 2011 Martin Scorsese based on Brian Selznick‘s novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret about a young boy who living as an orphan in a Paris railway station. The root story is  about his relationship with an enigmatic  toy shop owner in the station.

Hugo is a  GK Films and Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil collaboration.

The film stars Asa ButterfieldChloë Grace MoretzBen KingsleySacha Baron CohenRay WinstoneEmily MortimerJude Law and Christopher Lee.

Hugo is Scorsese’s first film shot in 3D, of which the filmmaker remarked: “I found 3D to be really interesting, because the actors were more upfront emotionally. Their slightest move, their slightest intention is picked up much more precisely.” Paramount Pictures released and distributed the film in the U.S. on November 23, 2011.

HugoAt the 84th Academy Awards, Hugo received five Oscars — cinematography, art direction, visual effects, sound, and sound editing. Its 11 total nominations was the most for the evening.Hugo also won two BAFTAs and was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, earning Scorsese his third Golden Globe Award for Best Director.

The on-screen chemistry between Ben Kingsley (the toy shop owner) and Asa Butterfield elevates this film to an instant classic. The whole look and feel of the movie is like nothing I’ve ever seen. This movie rates a five on the Mickey scale. I considered giving it a four just because Sacha Baron Cohen was in the cast but even his antics could not bring down the power of this film.

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

Mr. Peabody and Sherman

Mr. Peabody and ShermanKids today have so many choices for entertainment it’s like a vast wasteland of suck to sort through to find one gem of a program like Mr. Peabody and Sherman.

Back in the day when we had… omg… three networks and no Playstations to entertain, life and choices were so much simpler.

Saturday mornings were consumed with Rocky and Bullwinkle, Clutch Cargo and Thunderbirds. Joining the Moose and Squirrel was a very smart dog,Mr. Peabody and his pet boy Sherman. What a team they made as they stepped into the WABAC (pronounced way-back) machine and took us on a trip through history to meet some of the worlds most important figures from days past.

Oh, man, that was great television.

So now all these years after Rocky and Bullwinkle got edged aside for The Simpsons and South Park, Peabody and Sherman are getting an animated reboot in a 2014 feature with A-list actor Robert Downey Jr., providing the voice of the canine genius.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman

The role of Sherman has not been cast yet.

Most people under 30 will not know who Sherman is.

Source: IndieWire – Mr. Peabody and Sherman

I’m a Bit of a Movie Buff

MoviesYesterday I mentioned one of my loves. Today I’ll share another — movies.

I love movies. I would say I love all kinds of movies but that would be a bit untrue. I’m not a fan of romantic comedy or chick flicks like, The Notebook or Steel Magnolias. To the other extreme I’m not real crazy about slasher or horror films either. I used to but I guess I just lost my taste for gore.

What I do like is movies with a good story and characters. I love good writing. You can always trust the Coen Brothers to give us good writing.

I like good action films and spy dramas. I can’t believe they are considering another Bourne movie without Matt Damon. But then Sean Connery turned over the Bond role to George Lazenby who gave it back to Connery for Diamonds Are Forever. Future 007s include Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and now Daniel Craig.

The HobbitI like good Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I’m a big fan of the Lord of The Rings trilogy and am anxiously awaiting Peter Jackson’s movie, The Hobbit. (I just finished reading The Hobbit again.)

I like westerns, good gritty tough cowboy westerns. Clint Eastwood did for westerns what Ray Croc did for burgers. Some of my favorites are Unforgiven, The Outlaw Josey Wales, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

As much as I love John Wayne and his westerns, what the Coen Brothers did for last year’s True Grit was amazing. The girl who played Mattie Ross should one day be a super-star.

I also like the classics, the old films by actors and actresses long gone — John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, Betty Davis and Katharine Hepburn.

From The African Queen to CasablancaCitizen Kane to Vertigo. Give me The Maltese Falcon and a bag of popcorn and I’ll show you a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

This year I want to do a regular feature called Friday Films where I took a look at movies, past, present and future. What I like, what I didn’t like, and invite you to join in and share your opinions and insights.

[box] “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

— Betty Davis as Margo Channing in All About Eve [/box]