Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Well, after a nice long weekend for those of us on this side of the world, we start off this abbreviated week right, with a recent installment of adventures from the dynamic duo.

It’s more Lucas and Spielberg news!!

Yesterday, VARIETY, posted an article announcing that it looks like two out of the holy trinity have approved Jeff Nathanson’s draft for the elusive Indiana Jones 4.

After George Lucas negged a draft from both Frank Darabont and M. Night Shymalan, he has apparently finally found what he was looking for, in the work of a man who wrote Rush Hour 2.

No offense to screenwriter Jeff Nathanson, (well not outright at least), but the man has yet to prove himself in the classy adventure genre. His other recent credits are The Terminal and Catch me if You Can, which explains how got linked up with Spielberg in the first place.

I would say Catch me if you Can was pretty solid, but The Terminal boardered on bland, for me the two best part of these films were that they were Spielberg movies, not that they necessarily had great scripts. Not to mention the fact that both were based on non-fiction books depicting “the true story” of two different men. Maybe this is me romanticizing things, but I feel that Indy’s adventures require a little more panache, style, and imagination than were exhibited in either CMIYC or The Terminal.

Indy 4 has been in the pipes for years, and I have to be honest, I won’t believe it’s actually being made until I see the first teaser trailer. I think the frachise was laid to rest in an appropriate way, and as much as I think those movies were great, I think there was a slight decline as they went along, and they stopped right before the bar slipped any lower.

I know I am about to speak sacrilege to many, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s got to do. RAIDERS is by far the best film, I don’t think anyone can argue that. But if you ask me TEMPLE OF DOOM is the unsung hero of that trilogy. THE LAST CRUSADE has its great moments, especially with Sean Connery, (I mean you don’t get much better casting than that) but in my opinion it is the weakest of the three. The Holy Grail is a great relic to use, but something about it just feels like they are trying to recapture a bit of the glory of RAIDERS. Once again Nazi villains are trying to claim a religious artifact that will give them the ultimate power to conquer the world. That Kalimah dude and the Shankara stones get a bum wrap, but hey, at least they were something different. There was also something about Indy in this film that seems a little too goofy, like he’s lost his edge or something. He gives in so quickly to the advances of Dr. Elsa Schneider. I mean what happened to the tough aloof guy that fell asleep why Karen Allen was trying to make out with him. This sillier side of Jones that shows through in this movie, does have its endearing moments, but also makes me yearn for more of the “no-nonsense” attitude he projected in the first two.

Also, as much as everyone always goes on and on about Kate Capshaw as Willie Scott in Doom, I actually prefer her to Alison Dody’s icy, yet flat Elsa. People say that Willie Scott was annoying - but that was the point of her character! She was supposed to be the spoiled starlet princess who learns how to eat bugs, ride elephants, and delegate knuckle sandwiches when necessary. I enjoyed watching her transformation, and I thought she had good chemistry with Ford. Sure she’s grating and melodramatic at times, but that’s part of the role. We’re supposed to feel the same things that Indy feels when he first encounters her.

To be honest I’m not really sure just what to expect from INDY 4. I was pretty excited when I heard that M. Night Shymalan was working on a draft, because I think he has a good sense of story line and characters, which are the most important things for this sort of a movie.

We’ve all heard that it’s going to be set in the 1950’s, and being the Harrison is also going to be significantly older when he reprises the role, I’ve wondered if they’re going to go more the route of a classic film noir. Just as the first movies were tributes to the pulpy adventure serials of the 30’s, this next film could be a clever throw back to a more subdued detective story, where Indy relies more on his brains than his brawn, and more on his pistol than his whip.

If you ask me here’s the conundrum with INDY 4: On the one hand you want to honor the image that has been created of Jones, as the fedora wearing, whip toting professor, who can outrun bolders and jump a canyon five meters wide. On the other hand, I think at this stage of the game, if you try to recreate this exact character, you will run the risk of the “aging rock star” syndrome. Let’s face it. Harrison Ford was forty seven when he made Last Crusade. That was sixteen years ago. He is sixty three now, and at the rate they’re going with getting this thing in gear, he may be a couple years older by the time they finally shoot this thing. I just don’t think he could pull off INDY the way he did before. I think if this film is to succeed, they are going to need to do some reconcieving of the kind of character he is, and the kind of adventures he goes on. Yet what is INDY if not the bare chested, dashing, vine-swinging hero. I don’t know. If you ask me it seems like there’s no way to win. But I guess if I had to choose a way to go I would go with the older more reserved professor, who has one last adventure, rather than the old guy who’s trying to still hold on to his youth.

As of right now, I’m not that thrilled about the direction they’re going in. It’s possible that this will be the first of Nathanson’s scripts to blow me away, but I still would have gone with either M. Night or Darabont. I suppose if Ford puts the kibash on it, we’re back to square one anyways.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

LOST Aftershocks

So here we are. Three months of Lostlessness.

I’ve spent a lot of the day reading various message boards like this one on TVgasm.com .

People from here to the other side of the Mississippi have been putting in their two cents, pitching their own ideas about what they think the secrets of the island could be – or at least what they SHOULD be.

Everything from nanotechnology to military experiments, to psychic powers have been brought up. Some people thought the two hour season finale that aired last night was terrific. Others thought it was terrible. While a few stood somewhere on the middle ground, thinking it was entertaining but flawed.

I’m not sure where I stand quite yet on the finale. There is no arguing the fact that I enjoyed watching it. I was completely riveted to the TV screen the entire time, and thank God for TiVo, because I was able to blur past the commercials without having the mood interrupted by brash advertisements for Tide detergent.

Without a doubt, I find LOST to be the most intriguing drama on network TV, if not TV as a whole. It has terrific characters with good chemistry, strong acting, and in terms of dialogue and character development, the writing is very well good. As for the overall story arc, I think there is tremendous potential, although there were times during the season, where I felt like the “mysteries” of the island storyline only advanced about a centimeter. Still, since X-Files declined, and then eventually left the air, I have been missing my solid one hour sci-fi TV show, and LOST has fulfilled that void for me.

The finale last night, was exciting but also frustrating. While I understand the argument that the writers/producers can not let the cat out of the bag all in one go, I do wish they had done some further reveals for some of the questions that have been building since Day 1 on the island. Aspects of the show like the monster, and the elusive “hatch” are basically still as mysterious as they were the first time they were introduced weeks ago. While it has certainly helped in keeping my interest over the summer, I do feel as though they could have given us a little more. Also, while disturbing, I’m not sure how I felt about the appearance of the others as casually dressed seabillies who looked more like they listened to the grateful dead, then they were vicious murderers and kidnappers. I have to say the reveal (of course we don’t know this for sure yet) that the others were not at all linked to anything supernatural was kind of disappointing to me as well. I thought that would have been an interesting direction to go in with a lot of possibilities. I also think it could have connected in well with some of the other storylines they have already established.

Here’s a theory for you. Let’s say, hypothetically speaking, that the writers and producers themselves don’t really know much more about the future of the show, than what they are “revealing” in each episode. Often with shows like these, episodes are contracted out to other writers, who watch a bunch of episodes on their own and sort of come up with their own take on the storyline. These creative mercenary types haven’t been along for the whole ride, devising “Le grande scheme” of the overall plot arc. They just create a take on an episode and go with it.

Furthermore, what if this group of writer producers was helmed by a really successful busy TV producer/writer, who already had another show on the air, and helped conceive the initial concept of the story (in broad strokes of course: there is a plane crash, people get stuck on this weird island…”), but then couldn’t really work on it full time, and would only pop in occasionally to see how his secondary ship was sailing. Yelling for his crew members to throw in “cool stuff” like a monster, or a hatch. And what if the writers did this, and as they tried to construct logic out of this sea of ideas, they would latch onto certain runners, or clues if you will. Like a sequence of numbers that keeps popping up everywhere, but whose actual meaning eludes even the very writers who include them in the script. Of course, the creators and writers would never confess to this, and would assure audiences at every opportunity that every little iota of the show has meaning, and that there is a definite “plan.” A velvety curtain of publicity behind which several men cower with pencil and pad in hand making sure the images on the screen continued to appear as complex as they seemed.

Interesting theory isn’t it? I think it is my favorite of all the different ideas floating out there.

But at the end of the day, does it even really matter?

As I scroll through the message board entries, reading how people have researched everything from numerology (in relation to that mysterious sequence of numbers) and the political philosophies of John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (two of the characters on the island have the last names Locke and Rousseau), I wonder if it matters if the writers intentionally put these things in here. Is it necessarily bad if people are discovering potential double meanings anyway? I mean, maybe the writers chose names like Locke and Rousseau, with general thematic elements in mind…but its quite possible these were short-term choices, and won’t necessarily matter that much in the long run of the show.

Guessing what will happen in the upcoming season(s) is fun. But I giggle when I hear people speak so positively about the entire trajectory of the show. How they be so sure? How can they be so sure the creators of the show are so sure? Ideas are constantly changing, they are always in motion and fluctuating. When I said at the beginning of this blog post that I wasn’t sure how I felt about the finale yet, I think what I really meant to say was I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that these writers may very well be flying by the seat of their pants, and making it up as they go along. On the one hand if they start to flail so much that they begin to create inconsistencies with the story, it will be disappointing. But as long as they stick to the rules that they’ve made for themselves, it should be interesting to watch how they unlock the very secrets that we wish to hear whispered in our ears. The writers/producers have already succeeded in casting talented and charismatic actors, and creating terrifically engaging characters. This is the basis for any great show; without this foundation, even the most intriguing story lines would crumble.

I don’t know about the rest of yous, but I’ll definitely be tuning in next season, master plan or not.

P.S. Season 1 DVD is released on September 6th, not that I pre-ordered it already on Amazon or anything….

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Alice in Wonderland: Take 17

Since 1903, Hollywood has been compelled to adapt the classic tale of Alice and Wonderland by Lewis Carroll onto the silver screen. According to IMDB , there have been eight versions made for TV, (including a weekly series) and about eight versions made for the silver screen.

Yet for all the variations on the theme, there has failed to be a definitive cinematic interpretation. The most popular of the films made is probably the Disney animated feature which was released in 1951. This is certainly my favorite of the films, though critics have pointed out that it is not the most faithful adaptation because it tries to meld Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass into one large story, when they are in fact two very seperate stories. This never bothered me that much. I think the artwork for the animated film is stunning, and the visual style masterfully captures the entire "fee" of wonderland. The voices and characterizations are great, and it remains to this day one of my favorite Disney films of all time.

About a year ago, various press releases like this one started popping up on film sites announcing that a new remake of Alice in Wonderland was in the works, over at Dreamworks. Screenwriter Les Bohem was pitching his take to Steven Spielberg, who had Dakota Fanning in mind for the role of Alice. Yet after a sudden surge of press, all news of the project died down, and no one heard much else about it....until now.

Quint, of Aint' It Cool offhandedly mentions in his article about his War of the Worlds set visit .

Qunt writes:

"And I was also told by Spielberg that he and Dakota were going to work together again next year on ALICE IN WONDERLAND! I hadn't heard about that one before, so that was a surprise. I'm assuming he means Dreamworks is producing the flick, not that he will be directing, but you never know."

Very interesting indeed. First of all if Speilberg actually ends up directing this huge big-budget feature film version of Alice in Wonderland, I think I could die happily after opening weekend of the film. This is one of my ULTIMATE film fantasies come true - a real live action film version directed by one of my heroes, which has all the visuals to back it up. Even if Speilberg is producing I think that will still be a huge blessing on the production because of his natural ability to hone fantastical stories, and his phenomenal aptitude for depicting them through the eyes of children.

What does concern me, however, is the choice of Dakota Fanning as Alice. Assuming the production begins at some point in 2006, Fanning will be twelve years old, which seems like just the perfect age for the role. However, there are two problems, Dakota looks like she's about seven, and acts like she's about thirty-seven, so I'm not sure how this will fit for the role of Alice.

I have to be honest, Dakota Fanning puts me off. I don't find her particularly cute or endearing. I find her zombie-like and disconcertingly mature before her time. Her characters are always too severe, too precise, too harsh. Granted certain films call for these types of roles, but I do not think Alice is one of them. Dakota Fanning appears to be the epitome of the right brained child (look at her character in Cat in the Hat) always organized, always logical and orderly. The character of Alice is the complete opposite of that. She is driven by her left-brain, she is creative and imaginative, whimsical and silly. She prefers pictures to words, and singing flowers, to singing people. Her cat Dinah, is her best friend, and when she sees the white rabbit with the waistcoat and the pocket watch, she doesn't question her eyesight or mental state, but runs right after it, believing it is exactly what she sees. I'm not convinced that Dakota can play this properly, I think she may be too stern. I fear she will try to talk the white rabbit out of existence as she tries to prove he is but a figment of her imagination.

I suppose the writer for the film could have a different approach to the film, where Alice is a young girl on the cusp of the journey into adulthood, and feels conflicted about using her imagination in the way she used to. Or I suppose the film could spin it so that she has never really been into child-like affairs at all, and is in a rush to grow up, but learns the virtues of imagination and fantasy in Wonderland. Who knows. I think I would rather see the story worked around her type, then her falsely attempting to be sweet and happy and loving it, throughout the film. I just don't think I could take that saccharin smile plastered on her face for two hours.

I also wonder if they will modernize the piece, and set the scenes with Alice at the beginning in modern day, as opposed to late ninteenth century Britain. As much as I am a traditionalist with this story, there is some great creative potential in placing it in a modern framework. Not to say that I want the catapillar speaking in slang, the fairy tale elements should definitely be maintained - but I think it might be necessary in to make some changes like this in order to make the film feel fresh, rather than just another standard rehashing of the tale.

So many questions, so many possibilities, I can't wait until more news arrives....

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Endgame of Ender's Game

While skulking around Aint It Cool I came across this interesting Message Board Thread dedicated to why Wolfgang Peterson should not direct the film adaptation of the science fiction classic Ender's Game.

For those of you who may not be familiar, Ender's Game is a science fiction novel written by Orson Scott Card. It was published in 1985, and was based off a popular short story on the same concept that Card had written previously. To try and describe the plot of Ender's Game is difficult - it is the sort of book that just needs to be read in order to fully appreciate its wonder. It was handed down to me by a fellow sci-fi geek, and when I looked skeptically at the cheesy looking cover with 80's esque renditions of space ships, he said to me "Just read it." So I did, and I absolutely loved it. So for those of you who have not read it, I will simply say to you also: "Just read it." But just to give you an idea about the story, it takes place in the future and involves the story of a group of maverick children who are in an intensive training program to save the world from evil bug-like aliens. I know, you're thinking it sounds ridiculous, but I'll say to you again:

"Just read it."

For years this book has been floating around the studio system, stuck in "development hell". I believe rights to the book were purchased shortly after the books publication in the late 80's, and nothing of significance has come of it in the past seventeen or so years. There have been rewrites of the script galore, attempts to reconceptualize the story, and various talent attached who have come and gone.

I have heard through the grapevine, that Wolfgang Peterson had been interested in the project in the early 90's, but then the project entered the stage known as "dead development" - meaning, there was no movement on the project and the studio had just shelfed it indefinitely.

Now all the buzz is that Wolfgang Peterson is back on as director, apparently Orson Scott Card just completed another draft of the script, and the movie train has started moving again.

The Message Board Thread is apparently some offshoot forum of Orson Scott Cards official web page, and Card actually participates in the talk back. I have to say, the fans have not been going easy on him, and there is a large amount of dismay about the fact that Peterson is going to direct.

Here's an exert of one of Card's responses:

The attitudes toward Wolfgang Petersen and toward Troy expressed here are kind of strange. Wolfgang is one of the most respected directors in the industry - both by money people (his films make money) and by artistic types (his films are brilliantly conceived).

No one here has actually given a coherent reason why ANYTHING is wrong with Troy. It was a powerful evocation of another era. My wife and I saw it twice in the first few days - it was powerful, entrancing. The writer, director, and actors achieved the sense of a heroic, semi-civilized era and captured the tone and feel of the world of the Iliad (while leaving out the gods).

Meanwhile, you also don't understand how Hollywood works. Writers don't "pick" directors. The only power I had was to veto the ones who would have been horrible. Beyond that, we looked for directors who found the project interesting, who were on the short list of those capable of directing it AND of getting a studio to back the project with that director attached. What some folks don't seem to grasp is that the ONLY reason Warner Brothers picked up the Ender's Game movie project was that Wolfgang was attached. If Wolfgang were not the director, THERE WOULD BE NO PROJECT. We'd still be going begging to the studio doors. Wolfgang, not I, is driving the project. That's how Hollywood works, when it works at all.

The very fact that the alternative proposed was a director like the one who did "Close Encounters" shows amazing insensitivity to what would make Ender's Game work. Take a look at Hook, for instance, or the false and dishonest over-the-top ending of Schindler's List ... you want a director who can't bear a tough ending? A director who has no understanding of character? I'd rather NOT see Ender's Game be nothing but a special effect-driven extravaganza, thanks ...

I do appreciate the fact that Card is upset for being blamed about Peterson's selection, for in fact, he had nothing to do with it. However, I have to take issue with a couple things. First off, I KNOW he did not just diss on my boy Spielberg. OH NO HE DI - ENT! Ender's Game is a terrific story, but I feel certain Scott would be lucky if the feature film version ended up being HALF the movie Close Encounters is. AND I don't care what anyone says, but I love Hook - yes it strays into "oversentimentality", and is one of Speilberg's goofier efforts, but that is the point of the movie.

{Rufio! Rufio! Rufiooooooooooooooh}

Also, Mr. Card, if we're going to talk about false, dishonest, and over-the-top portrayals of historic events, wouldn't TROY be a better place to start? Now I didn't hate Troy the way that many others did, I thought it was pretty average, with some boring scenes, some neat ones, the overall effect being that I left the theatre feeling fairly indifferent. Granted, I was just judging the film in the context of a blockbuster summer movie. Now if I were to look at it as an accurate and just interpretation of the Trojan War, I would say it failed to capture any of the magic of Homer's Illiad, and bungled every opportunity to make a mythic and historically resonant film.

I'm going to ignore the comment about "no understanding of character" because it is truly so preposterous that it doesn't even deserve a response. However, I would like to point out to Mr. Card that his preferred director, Peterson, recently directed a film who's entire plot built up to one big special effect at the end - a big wave.

I understand that Mr. Card feels the need to stand behind his film. Obviously no good is going to come of his bashing the director who has been chosen to direct his film, and is finally moving things along. However, was the rant on Steven really necessary? I think not.

My own opinion on Wolfgang Peterson is fairly mixed. He was around in Germany long before he started doing American films, and I haven't seen much of his earlier work, including Das Boot. I do love The Neverending Story, and I can see that he handled both fantasy and child actors well in that film, which would be relevant to Ender's Game. However, that was also over twenty years ago. In the Line of Fire, Outbreak, and Air Force One were all really solid action/thrillers. His last two outings, The Perfect Storm and Troy were both pretty mediocre. But I haven't made any final judgments on him yet. He has a good two or three films left to do well with before he enters the category of real hackery. I remain openly skeptical about Peterson's work on Ender's Game. My bigger concern is that the studio will try and make it "less dark" which will inevitably ruin it. If it's even actually getting made this time. I guess we'll just have to see.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Spiderman 3 - News & Views

Yahoo! Movies had a little blurb today about how Topher Grace has joined the cast of Spiderman 3. This news comes not too long after the announcement that Thomas Hayden Church will also be in Spiderman 3, portraying a villain, exactly which villain in the Spiderman universe remains to be seen. (Speculation abounds about exactly which villain he will portray. I myself would like to see Venom, but have heard that probably won’t happen)
By the way, call me a naysayer if you must, but I wasn’t exactly thrilled when I heard that Thomas Hayden Church was playing the lead bad guy in the third installment of this franchise. I thought he was fairly overrated in Sideways (I certainly couldn’t believe that he got an oscar nod, and Giamatti didn’t...) Willam DeFoe was a little hammy as the Green Goblin in the first film, but I still think he is a fantastic actor. Alfred Molina is another really strong versatile actor, who I thought was great as Doc Oc. If you ask me Church has two tough acts to follow.

I have a lot of curiosity about Spiderman 3. First off I wonder what role/character it is that Topher will play. A villain? Hopefully not another love interest of Mary Kate’s. There is a small part of me that worries they may go the predictable route of Peter Parker getting so wrapped up in his Spiderman job that he neglects Mary Kate again, and she becomes lonely and reaches out to her cute friendly neighbor. Played by Topher?
What’s funny is I think of Topher Grace as being the same “type” as Toby Maguire. They are both in the slightly dorky, almost too skinny but cute and smart catagory. Maybe Grace will play some sort of alternate universe version of Peter Parker who enters on the scene and tries to steal Spiderman’s legacy or life away. This is all pure speculation of course. I think Topher Grace is funny, and a pretty solid actor, so in my opinion he is a welcome addition to the cast.

In many ways, I think this film is going to present the biggest challenge out of the “trilogy” to the film makers. I was one of those folk who thought the second Spiderman was much stronger than the first chapter. For me the first hour of Spiderman, where Parker was just discovering his powers, and inventing himself as this new Superhero was very clever. But then I thought the plot got mired in the crazy Green Goblin stuff, and just became a series of blandly directed action sequences. It lacked a thematic throughline to properly meld the first half of the movie with the second half.

I thought Spiderman 2 was a good exploration of all the reasons why a superhero wouldn’t want to be a superhero...and yet ultimately why and how they must embrace that piece of their identity. I thought the script for “2” was stronger, and since less time needed to be spent establishing things, it allowed the story to go right into the meat of the characters. Also it seemed that with the success of the first film Sony loosened the riegns on Raimi who was able to do more creatively with the film on his end of things. Hopefully, now that he also has the sequel to back his work up, Raimi will be given even further creative control.

Alvin Sargent, one of the writers who worked on the second film, is writing the screenplay for the third film. Sargent has been around for eons and has an impressive resume of over twenty five films which run the genre gamit from Drama to Comedy, which bodes very well for Spidy 3.

Still, how does one wrap up this trilogy? This is Peter Parker’s (ostensibly) final stage of growth. He has discovered his powers, learned to harness them, and he’s made the decision to act responsibly and use them for the greater good. Parker has also already gone through the trauma of giving these powers up, only to have them start to actually slip away from him and then restored anew in the final hour.

Where to go from here?

He’s already won the girl, and come to terms with his identity. They’re really going to have to pull out the stops to go the next level with the third one.
Otherwise I fear it will fall into the trap that the first one did a little bit, which is to teeter on the edge of becoming a bland action film with a series of big fight sequences.

2007. Seems like a long enough time from now. They should be able to come up with something by then...

Star Wars Boffo B.O.

So I predicted Episode would rake in $125 Million, but I obviously underestimated the power of the dark side. According to Box Office Mojo.Com the four day total comes in at $158.5 Million, breaking a whole lot of records, including, highest single day, two day, and three day grosses.

People really are coming out in the droves to see this puppy. 20th must be kicking themselves right now, as they get to see very little of all this gold rush. If there's one thing you can say about Lucas, he certainly has plenty of business know how. Lucas had a singular "creative vision" and he spent a ton of his own money to get these movies out there exactly the way he wanted. Though some argue he could have done well to listen to outside opinions on how to make these movies, he's the one who's gettin' his right now.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The New Yorker sees S.W. E.3 ROTS and at last breathes a sigh of relief

Sitting in the theatre last night as the lights were dimmed for the coming attractions, I think it finally hit me.

This was the end of an era. No more Star Wars movies. No more anticipation, excitement, skepticism. It all came down to this moment.

As the brassy fanfare for Twentieth Century Fox was gallantly trumpeted through the surround sound speakers of the theatre, every doubt, every worry, every suspicion that I had had before the film vanished. All that remained was my giddy excitement.


I thought the film had fantastic visuals.

The galactic landscapes of the first fifteen minutes or so of the film where Anakin and Obi-Wan are on their mission to rescue Palpatine were stunning. The guys at ILM have used the improvements and progress in FX technology in many aspects of this new trilogy. But in my opinion it is in the look of the outer space sequences that the technology has been put to use best.

The little probe fighters that Anakin and Obi-Wan flew in the opening sequence had a neat design. I loved the way they flew in tandem with one another, effortlessly dodging laser blasts from the destroyer. There was something about the graceful way that they moved that reminded me of the Millennium Falcon. The whole orchestration of the first battle sequence was very impressive. There was something visually operatic about the way that the Jedi’s fighters wove in and out of other droids and ships while the destroyers glided through space with ease even as they were firing shots, and being fired at.

There were other little flourishes in the space crafts of this film that I really liked. For instance the mechanism of the hyper-drive ring that Obi-Wan’s small ship locked into, allowing him to travel at hyper-drive speed was very clever.

The city of Courasant looked incredible, as it did in the previous film. The glittering metropolis of the lights and buildings, and the layers of traffic streaming through the air captures perfectly the image of a futuristic city that shoots up into the heavens.

The interiors of the buildings in Courasant were equally impressive. The apartments were a stunning combination of classical Greco-Roman pieces, with Art-Deco lines fusing into a look that is as stylish as it is visionary.

If there’s one thing that can be said about these new Star Wars films is that their visuals were always strong. Every technique that was introduced in Episode I has been fine tuned here for Episode III. The CG work on Yoda has improved by leaps and bounds, and his facial expressions looked very nuanced and real in this film. The creature that Obi-Wan rides around on when he is ambushing General Grievous was really unique looking, I thought the FX guys did a great job with its design and movement.

While it is arguable that the Wookies did not really fulfill any purpose in appearing in this film, I really like the way their planet looked. The organic and environmental architecture and the integration of the bodies of water on the planet created yet another Star Wars world which was unlike any we had seen previous.


One of the biggest characters introduced in this last film was the villain General Grievous, and to be honest I wasn’t really buying it. I liked the concept of a pre-Vader proto-type that had both mechanical and organic parts. But though they added many little flourishes to make him seem like more than just a standard droid, I didn’t think many of them worked very well. Grievous had a strong accent that could be interpreted as either a weak Russian accent, or a Spanish lilt, but either way it was ridiculous, why Lucas insists on using these pseudo-ethnic accents, I’ll never know.

His coughing tick also didn’t really make much sense, and was used to the point of excess. I also thought the film really framed the moment that reveals Grievous could wield four light sabers at once. Yet once the cat was out of the bag, Grievous barely had enough time to show off before Obi-Wan cut his arms off, one by one. If you ask me, the best part about Grievous was the one wheeler motor bike that he rode around in.

One of the most irksome parts of the first two films were having to watch Natalie Portman plod through scenes with the charisma and realism of a wooden coffee table. Finally I thought she gave a decent performance as Padme. She dealt as best she could with some of her less subtle pieces of dialogue, and actually poured emotion into some of her scenes without being melodramatic or robotic. Portman’s gentle delivery and balanced presence, added emotional depth to her role which had been missing in the previous two films.

Hayden Christiansen also toned down his petulant whininess, and seemed a more seasoned actor in this installment. He was more comfortable in front of the camera, although still a bit awkward at times. He was fairly convincing as a young and confused Jedi who lacked a wealth of experience and knowledge on which to base his decisions. The mixture of innocence and anger he wore on his handsome brooding face was a refined improvement to the forced wild teen angst he projected in Episode II.

Ian McDiarmid did quite a good job in the role of Palpatine/Emporer. He made good distinctions between the two facets of his character, and played Palpatine as a sinister yet smarmy politician. I actually thought he could have been more understated as Palpatine early on in the film. There were moments it was so obvious that he was an evil character, one half expected the characters around him to call him out on I then and there. But I suppose that is probably more the fault of the script than of Mr. McDiarmid himself. It was thrilling to see Palpatine make the full visual transformation into the Emperor as he used his trademark electrical shocking powers for the first time, and deteriorated into the scarred and wrinkled face we recognize from the original trilogy. That moment where he puts his hood on and we see he burning eyes peer out from beneath it, feels monumental.

Ewan McGregor, who I’ve always thought was a good actor, but has not had much of an opportunity to show his chops in these films, gave his strongest performance of the trilogy in this film. Overall I thought he’s done a remarkable job of showing Obi Wan age through the passage of time in these films. I thought of all the actors and characters who have been in all three films, McGregor really made an effort to show how his character changed and grew. I still felt like he was holding back a bit in some of the more emotional scenes of the movie, but felt he did a nice job, particularly in his final confrontation with Anakin on the lava planet.

Other supporting performers such as Samuel L. Jackson and Jimmy Smits were fine, fulfilling the job of their roles without being strikingly strong or weak.

C3PO and R2D2 were great as always, I would have liked to see a bit more of 3PO, but R2 had some fun comedic moments.

Yoda was probably one of my favorite characters in this film. As opposed to one fight where he pulled out all the stops (Attack of the Clones), I really enjoyed watching the huge part that Yoda played in the genesis of the rebellion, and learning just how influential and powerful he was in the history of the Jedi. In Empire and Jedi, we don't see him interact with anyone but Luke, here finally in Episode III, we see he knew many of the characters, and ran with the big guns.

A Note on JarJar.
Jar Jar Binks does not have a single line in this film. In fact there are only a few shots of him in the entire film. One or two times he is shown with other senators, and then there is a close up of him at Padme’s funeral procession. I had mixed feelings on this.

On the one hand, I feel certain that finally the word must have gotten back to Lucas that Jar Jar was one of the least liked characters in the Star Wars Universe, and that nobody would miss him if he fell to the way side.

On the other hand, Jar Jar’s character had no closure within the series. It was as if his entire character was entirely meaningless within the framework of the trilogy and the saga on the whole. Jar Jar’s role was largely diminished from Episode I to Episode II, but at least it was implied that he was still involved with the politics of what was going on, and still had contact with the main characters. But there was not so much as even a mention of him, from any of the characters. Did he have a falling out with Padme? Did Obi-Wan ban him from talking to the Jedi? What was the deal? I wish at least they had tried to tie up his story somehow. Don’t get me wrong, I never really cared for Jar Jar, but still feel his storyline was mishandled in the trilogy. In fact to be completely honest, there is a small part of me that just feels pity for him. After all the Jar Jar bashing I’ve contributed to over the years, at the end of the day I kind of feel bad for the guy.


The first scene that Anakin and Palpatine have together is when Anakin has defeated Dooku on his ship, and Palpatine encourages Ani to kill him.

This scene was framed to set the tone for the film, to show that Palpatine already realizes what potential Anakin has for the dark side, and that he intends to foster it. It also shows that Anakin is conflicted between the powerful impulses of his emotions and the laws of the Jedi by which he must abide.

I suppose this is one of the elements of the film that I wish had been dealt with differently. If my memory serves me correctly, Attack of the Clones never really spent a lot of time developing a relationship between Palpatine and Anakin. Anakin never seems to have had an emotional tie to Palpatine before, nor reason to trust him on a personal level. Anakin is merely fulfilling his duty as a Jedi by rescuing him. Why should he so easily swallow everything Palpatine tells him? If you ask me Palpatine is acting far too fishy right off from the first scene. Between his bloodthirsty whispers in Anakin’s ear, and the fact that he basically asks Anakin to leave Obi-Wan for dead, Anakin should have been a little suspicious of Palpatine.

{I am actually curious if in this scene and others, Palpatine is exerting some sort of mental influence on him Anakin. A “Jedi mind trick” – or in his case I guess it would be “sith mind trick.” How else is it that Palpatine/Emporer brings up the fact that only the dark side can help save Padme? Anakin never told him about his fears of his wife dying…}

The film tries to re-establish the importance of the relationship between Padme and Anakin in order to play upon the fact that in the end it is Anakin’s love for Padme that drives him to do what he does.

Though crucial to the plot, the scenes between Anakin and Padme are somewhat inconsistent. There is a scene where Anakin and Padme talk about how in love they are with one another, and there were pieces of dialogue that caused laughter to erupt among the audience.

Also, my memory could be shoddy, but I don’t remember there being an emphasis on the fact that their marriage was to remain so secret. If this film is supposed to take place three years after Episode II, is it really realistic that they would be able to conceal their marriage from everyone including Obi-Wan? It seems like one of these plot devices that serves no purpose but to hinder the plotting of the story.

Also confusing in these scenes between the two lovers is the timeline of Padme’s pregnancy. Has Anakin been away from her for seven or eight months? The time that the entire film spans does not seem to be more than a couple weeks. Yet within these few weeks she confesses her pregnancy to Anakin and shortly after gives birth. It is very odd.

As cheesy as some of the lines might be, Lucas does try to spend some time emphasizing how much Anakin and Padme love one another. He can’t really bother being too subtle because he needs to show not only how much Anakin loves Padme, but how scared Anakin is that he may loose her.
While I got the fact that he was in love with her, I was not convinced as to exactly why he became obsessed with the idea that she was going to die. So Anakin has a couple of bad nightmares. But it is not as if Padme is ill, or has been told by a physician that her pregnancy has put her in danger. It is merely a sense of impending doom that he feels. I think more could have been done story wise in order to sell us on just how desperate Anakin was, and more importantly how this led to the Emperor holding him in the palm of his hand.

One the more intriguing scenes in the film is when Anakin pays a visit to Palpatine at a performance house. I really liked that they were showing a different side of the Courasant society that we had never really seen before. We have seen where x-cons and bounty hunters hung out (Mos Isles), and learned that Jabba liked to watch a good band and a good kill. But this was a new cultural element which showed what the more polished members of the society would attend. I liked the imagery of the large bubbles floating in mid air with the little ribbons of light and gas floating in and out of it. I also liked that we weren’t exactly sure what it was exactly that we were watching. Whatever this artform was, it didn’t seem to translate literally as in “this is their version of opera” or “this is their ballet”. It was just something completely different, and I really liked that Lucas chose not to spell it out.

Even more intriguing of course, is the subject matter of the conversation between Anakin and Palpatine, where Palpatine discusses the true powers and possibilities of “evil”. The story of Darth Plagueis adds a further mythology and background to the dark side. We’ve always learned about the Jedi side of the force, and the heroes and history of the good, and now finally we are learning more about the other side of things. About the figures who have embraced the dark side, and about what elements about it might draw people to it.

I like the thematic contrast that exists between this scene and the earlier scene that Anakin has with Yoda. Yoda reassures him that death is a natural and essential part of life, one which can not and should not be circumvented. Palpatine on the other hand seductively describes the power of the dark side which can “keep the ones you love alive” and make life immortal. Yet it is the Jedi way which embraces life, and fights to keep those who can not defend themselves from being wrongfully harmed. It is an interesting theoretical conundrum that the Jedis believe in life, but more importantly the in the balance of power and nature, where as the dark side vies for everlasting life in immortality. But for them, this drive does not come from a place of treasuring nature, rather it is founded on seizing what is natural and exerting its force on it, instead of letting the ways of the force take its course.

This idea of Darth Plagueis as a dark creator, is both interesting and disturbing, and at last brings metaclorians back into the mix. Palpatine discusses how Plagueis manipulated metaclorians to create life spontaneously. It seems we can only infer from this fact that either Darth Plagueis, or Plagueis’ apprentice was the “father” of Anakin. The idea that the emperor is Anakin’s father changes a lot in the ideology of the films. It is the closest possible recreation of the “I am your father” reveal in Empire Strikes Back, the implications are equally far reaching.

If this is the case, than the Jedi prophecy that this “immaculately conceived” figure would defeat the Sith and redeem the force is completely wrong,. Anakin would be “the chosen one” to further the power of the dark side, not to destroy it. But then this also derails that concept that this initial trilogy is meant to show how a man who was inherently good, chose to serve evil, and became corrupted. If Anakin was an offspring of the metaclorians as manipulated by the Dark side, the entire trilogy would just be a story about a bad seed, who could not escape his evil destiny.

There is also a part of me that wishes that a version of this scene had appeared in Attack of the Clones. Perhaps sometime after Anakin has lost his mother. It felt like so much information was squished into this film, and Anakin’s turn towards the dark side happened so fast, in a matter of weeks, instead of something that was a slow process, and occurred over years. Not only does Anakin’s allegiance to Palpatine fortify itself so quickly and strongly, but his final turn away from the way of the Jedi seems almost by coincidence.

When the Emporer and Mace Windu are entrenched in their battle, Anakin only seems to want to stop Windu from killing the Emporer, perhaps even in part because he wants to remain true to the Jedi teachings. After all it was Anakin who turned Palpatine in, exposing him as the Sith Lord. This scene mirrors Anakin’s choice to kill Count Dooku when he was unarmed, and perhaps Anakin feels he will redeem himself by not participating in the killing of a helpless prisoner for a second time. We do see that he still longs for the knowledge of how he might keep Padme alive, as he yells to Windu before he strikes him, that he needs Palpatine But even Anakin falls to his knees his devotion to the dark side seems uncertain. He cuts off Windu’s hand but does not kill him, and after the Emperor kills Window, he sinks to the floor unable to believe what he has just done. Yet suddenly mired in this place of confusion and disbelief he agrees to do whatever the Emperor asks and is dubbed “Darth Vader”, a knight of the Sith Order.

Anakin’s path to the dark side is not a very long one. Anakin has his first nightmare about loosing Padme about half an hour into the film. He then swears his allegiance to the Emperor about forty five minutes later. For a trilogy that was devoted to showing this moment, I find myself wishing again, that they had built up to this more in the previous films, particularly the second one. If we had seen more about Anakin’s fear of loosing loved ones, or an unnatural thirst for power, or a desperation to change the inevitable turns that life presents, any of these things would have better led up to this moment.


That being said, I found the last hour of the film to be absolutely riveting. Watching all the storm troopers who had been fighting for good suddenly turning on the Jedis in their group, was heart wrenching. Unfortunately, I had heard before I saw the film, that Anakin slays the young Jedi, but I still felt the impact of Anakin unleashing his light saber after a “youngling” asked him what they should do. I’ve got to give Lucas kudos for going that dark, particularly with the tone that he’s kept in the first two films. I don’t think any Star Wars film previous to this had anything as dark as innocent Jedi in training being slain, and by the hero of the series no less!

The rest of the film is really a string of scenes that serve as connecting puzzle pieces to Episode IV A New Hope.

The reveal that one of the wookies who had been helping Yoda was Chewbacca, Captain Antilles’ ship picking up Obi-Wan and Yoda as they flee from the forces of the Republic, C3PO and R2D2 subsequently being dropped off there, the Emperor announcing the birth of the Empire in front of the senate. All of these were nice little touches that formed a bridge from this trilogy to the next.

The final scene between Padme and Anakin on the lava planet was surprisingly well done, both sad and disturbing at once. We see clearly now, how deluded by the dark side Anakin has become. That he is no longer thinking of how his love can best serve Padme, but of how his power can best serve himself, for what he alone wants and needs. This is illustrated fully when he attempts to strangle her. It is a painful and tragic moment.

The drama is only heightened when Anakin confronts Obi-Wan. His irrational ranting drives Obi-Wan to do what he said to Yoda he could not do – to slay his brother. Though some might think that the exploding red lava that surrounds them is too obvious and lacks subtlety, I actually like the way it plays up the tone and feeling of the film and characters at this moment. For me, it was the perfect setting.

I thought the intercutting between the two light saber battles, that of Yoda and the Emperor, and that of Anakin and Obi-Wan worked nicely. In fact the duel between Yoda and the Emperor was one of my favorites in the film. In many ways there are no two other characters that fully embody the polar opposites of the force. The reprise of the Battle of the Fates music from Episode was very much called for, and Yoda vs. the Emperor has an epic quality to it that is both new and unexpected.

The grand finale of Anakin vs. Obi-Wan was perfectly escalated by the transition of their battle onto the floating droid platforms that hovered above the burning lava. I really don’t think I could have asked for anything more in terms of the way this fight played itself out. It was intense to the very last moment, and both the fight choreography and the emotional tenor of the characters were completely gut wrenching. Obi-Wan’s pained admission to Anakin that he had failed him, and subsequent declarations of love and brotherhood were as brutal as Anakin’s failed jump to the shore which resulted in Obi-Wan’s light saber cutting off both his legs.

I have to confess, I’m not sure what I imagined, but I did not anticipate just how vicious Anakin’s injuries would be, before he actually became the Vader in the helmet and full body suit. I found myself watching with my mouth agape as I watched him loose his limbs and then catch on fire and become horribly disfigured.

The sequence that shows his transformation into Vader just as Padme is in childbirth is completely engrossing. Again, I thought the intercutting of these scenes worked really well. People might critique the overt metaphors of life and death, but it worked for me just fine. It felt both appropriate and bittersweet, as I’m sure it was meant to.

But I think the moment when my heart actually broke was when Vader finally awakens from his transformation, not a visible sign of his former self left. When he asks for Padme’s safety and well being in his new electronically enhanced voice, the voice that we know well as Darth Vader’s and not Anakin’s, this was an unbelievable moment for me. It showed that within all his anger and hate there was still love and concern, and that it was the knowledge that this love has been taken away that seals his path to the dark side completely. These lines were incredibly moving.

Sure there were a couple of cumbersome moments here and there. The physician robot stating to Obi-Wan that Padme was medically sound but had for some reason “lost the -will to live”. Yoda suddenly name dropping Qui-Gon, in an off-handed mention to Obi-Wan about how he was going to teach him to speak to dead Jedi. But overall I thought the ending was really strong. Particularly poignant was the image of Aunt Baru and Uncle Owen holding Luke as an infant as they look off into the sunset, with strains of the original Star Wars score playing underneath. The same sunset that Luke would look out on when he grows up.

I really liked a lot of Revenge of the Sith. I thought there were things that could have been improved, and there were elements I didn’t really care for. But there were also a lot of scenes and moments that I really enjoyed and found moving. I could sit here and write about how the trilogy could or should have been better. But I think I will take and deep breathe, and let out a sigh. A sigh of satisfaction from the closure that this movie provided. A sigh of exhilaration at the adventurous climaxes I witnessed. A sigh of relief because it wasn’t terrible. But most of all, a sigh of sadness because it is all over.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Movies make front page of CNN

If you hurry over to CNN.com , you will see the article on summer movies, featuring Batman Begins, has made the front page of the web site.

Am I excited?

Actually, not really - in fact I sort of find it a bit ludicrous and alarming. Am I a movie enthusiast? Yes, of course. This entire blog is devoted to the entertainment industry. But CNN.com is a major news establishment, who's primary focus should not be Hollywood's summer movie slate. It's just...wrong. Not that they're stealing my thunder of anything like that at all...its just - aren't there more important things to report if you're one of the leading news organizations in the world? CNN leave the movies to me, go write about the important stuff.


Well its official. ROTH has officially broken all opening day grosses, tallying a total of over $50 Million dollars.

Allow me to adjust my estimates for the opening weekend from $85 Million to $125 Million.

Or so I predict....

Is there anything else BUT Star Wars?

Since my last posting of the continuing saga of the Star Wars saga, I haven’t really been able to bring myself to write any other post that doesn’t have to do with Star Wars. It’s been sort of hanging over my head. I feel like I’m about to have dinner with an X-Boyfriend, and every waking hour, every minute of the day is devoted to thinking what it will be like.

The Jury is certainly in box office wise as the movie raked in $16.5 Million from the Wednesday night midnight screenings alone, and as they tabulate the results from yesterday it seems that ROTH has broken an all time one day Box Office record. (Thank God Shrek 2 will no longer hold the honor of having the all time biggest one day opening.) While this number is not entirely surprising, it does not exactly fit with the trend of decline that occurred between Episodes I and II. The Phantom Menace grossed $431 Million, but Attack of the Clones only grossed $302 Million. That is a 30% percent drop in box office gross, which is not good when you factor in inflation, and the fact that trilogies should ideally increase their box office returns with each release in the series. {Example: LOTR Fellowship grossed $313 Mil, LOTR 2 Towers grossed $339 and LOTR Return of the King grossed $337}

But it seems that the faith of the masses has been rekindled, and even with past disappointments, no one can resist going to watch the dark side reign supreme. Based off the numbers so far, I would take a guess that this weekend the film will gross at least $85 Million if not more. I would also venture that the total Box Office gross will surpass Phantom Menace’s numbers, and get to about $500 Mill. Those are hefty numbers I realize, but being that this is the culmination of one of the most influential epics in cinematic history, I think people will forgive and forget and go out in droves. Just as Anakin will fail to redeem himself and fall prey to the dark side in this film, this is Lucas’ last chance to do exactly the opposite. Everyone wants Lucas to show us that he hasn’t lost his touch, and still knows how to make us cheer, laugh and cry.

I still have about thirty two hours to go before I see E.3 – ROTS. As I drum my fingers on my desk, I find myself going through the emotional rollercoaster of excitement and then anticipatory disappointment of waiting to see the film. Since this is Star Wars week, and since I am unable to gather my focus on much else, I have decided to post a hypothetical letter that I wrote to Lucas several months ago. This was prompted by the release of the Original Trilogy DVD set that went on sale back in the fall. This was written B.N.I.H. (Before New Yorker In Hollywood – so I sent it out in a mass email to some friends and posted it on a friend’s blog) It’s a bit angrier than some of my usual rants here, but it’s like they always say:
You have to really care about something in order to get this worked up about it.

Dear George Lucas,

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away lived a geeky little girl who loved three movies dearly. These three movies, which formed a trilogy by the name of Star Wars were first conceived in the late 1970's when American Cinema arguably jumped the shark. Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi were fun adventure movies in space, with ground breaking special effects, some campy acting, and a totally compelling storyline about good vs. evil and the internal struggles we all face in life. It also had kickass alien characters like Yoda and Admiral Ackbar. This little girl, let's just call her ME, spent oh a better part of her days watching these original movies over and over again until frames of film were imbedded on her cornea, and she could recite most of the films on cue.

{I don't like you either. You just watch yourself. We're wanted men. I have the death sentence on twelve systems.}

The remasters that were released on VHS in 1990 were terrifically exciting. The picture looked clearer, the sound was better, I was thrilled!

Then came 1997. The Special Editions. All three movies brought back to the big screen for the first time since their original release!! I had seen the last two in the theatre but was only old enough to really remember watching Return of the Jedi in wide eyed awe. But George, you just weren't re-releasing them and remastering them, you were adding a few things here and there, changing things to the way you say you really would have done them back in the day. But I trusted you George and I respected you, and I didn't doubt you for a minute.

Until I saw the Special Editions that is....

{LUKE: Uncle Owen, this units got a bad motivator UNCLE OWEN: Hey what are you trying to push on us?!}

Ok so you had added a couple creatures here and there on that desert planet that Luke lived on, that's cool, even some more in Mos Isles - but then there came the initial first horrorible grievance. Han Solo no longer shoots Gredo first! Because he's such a good guy?!?! What happened to the "scoundrel" that you, I and princess Leia loved so much? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?

From there it only gets worse, Empire being the best one (which might I remind you - you neither directed or wrote!) was left relatively unscathed, but then came Jedi, which you screwed up even more. What with changing the number in Jabba's palace, messing up the freaky sand pits, and then not only adding the shots of the cities at the end but irrevocably removing the moving rendition of "Nub, Nub" as sung by the Ewoks in the touching campside celebration! George how could you do this to me? You broke my heart! You ripped a piece of my childhood from my soul!


{Leia: Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder!}

After this things only got worse. Episodes I and II, were, well......I'll leave that for another letter. George, you left me with two bastard children that I feel compelled to defend from naysayers out of a sense of aborted loyalty, but children that I am too ashamed to even welcome into my own home.

But my heartache was not over. When I first heard the "good news" about the release of the DVDs. I thought well this is it. Many directors have their "director's cuts" on DVD, but they also have the theatrical release available. Remember Spielberg your old buddy? He did his thing with E.T. but he still had the theatrical release on there.

But did you do the sane and rational thing? No. You bungled everything up once again! No, you said. No, you selfishly declared. These are my movies, and I decide what to do with them! Star Wars is not a democracy! Well gee George I'm sure Stalin would be proud of your evil conniving ways, but I'm sure even he would want the original versions on DVD!

But the horror only continues I find, because not only are you not releasing the originals, but you are changing them even more then the "Special" editions. Because you need to make all six "films" seem cohesive. So you get a new Boba Fett voice, and you change dialogue between the emperor and Vader in Empire. You even add a Gungin at the end of Jedi declaring "WEESSAAA FWEEEE." Even the original artwork has been pushed aside for hideous graphics that imitate the DVD's of "those which shall not be named"

So Lucas, on this day that geeks everywhere are lining up to make you even more money, I choose to defy you! I will not give in to the dark side, because the force is strong with me. And if Star Wars isn't a democracy, then I'm moving to another star system!!!

Release the original films on DVD or die. It is a simple request.

I leave you with these thoughts of a once and great philosopher. For I think they apply to you.

"For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Adventure? Excitement? A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless."
- Master Yoda


A Disgruntled “Fan”

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

And When the Dust Settles? The Star Wars delayed reaction phenomenon

So here it is. Tonight is the night. In less than twelve hours the final chapter in the Star Wars saga will be unleashed. I can barely believe it to be true.

For those of you who may be looking for my review of ROTS to be posted on Thursday, it will be in vain. Due to reasons beyond my control, I will not be seeing the film until Saturday evening. So look on Sunday for my review.

As I sit here in the hours before the final judgement I find myself thinking back on the all the anticipatory buzzing that went on before Episodes I and II, ROTS appears to be no different. The teaser trailer comes out, and it looks great, everyone’s freaking out and sneaking into Wing Commander just to get a glimpse.

{Oh look at the teaser poster isn’t it clever?! The shadow of the little boy is Darth Vader! Don’t those pod racers look cool!?}

Then comes the full length trailer, and suddenly everyone’s TiVoing The OC, and talking about how handsome Hayden Christiansen or Natalie Portman look.

{Yoda’s gonna be in a light saber battle? Awesome! Jar Jar’s barely going to be in this one, that’s what I heard! Isn’t the Drew Struzzan one sheet amazing looking?}

We all got our tickets, we all lined up for seats with our shiny, happy faces, even the second time, even after we were bombarded with factoids involving trade agreements and senators and other meaningless space politics. We were there waiting to be wowed.

There’s something endearing yet also a bit sad to me about the way the strength of our devotion to these films. Now maybe I’m an idiot who surrounds herself with idiots, but the first time you walked out of that theatre after seeing Episode I: The Phantom Menace, you were not dissing on Jar Jar. You did not rip on Jake Lloyd, and you did not pick apart the plot. You were riding on the crest of an adrenalin wave because you had just seen the new Star Wars movie after your favorite franchise was resurrected after 18 years. And then as if that wasn’t enough, we went again. And again. And then, maybe after the third viewing, when our eyes began to glaze over during the more scenes driven heavily by exposition, it was a little more difficult to ignore the great divide in quality, and content. Maybe by the third or fourth time, it had dropped in our esteem, from awesome, to “maybe not as good as empire, but still really great.” Or we thought to ourselves “well there’s no way it could have fulfilled my expectations – it had such a tough act to follow! If that were just a stand alone summer movie, I would be completely floored!”


We were so caught up in our Star Wars loyalty, we couldn’t even recognize that before our very eyes, all the ideals and elements we treasured from the first trilogy were crumbling before our very eyes.

To be completely honest with you, I don’t even recall when it hit me how much I disliked the first film. I think it took at least a month or two to register in my brain that no, it wasn’t very good, and that if it wasn’t a Star Wars movie, there was no way in hell I would have gone to see it more than once.

Then came Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and it was like déjà vu all over again. Suddenly, it was as if Episode I had never even happened. We all told ourselves things like “Aw, Lucas was just rusty since he hadn’t directed a movie in a while, he’ll be totally on his game now.” “I heard the first one was just really light, because the second two were going to be really dark.” Or “The first one was just to set everything up plot wise. Now we’re going to get to the real nitty gritty.” (Metaclorians anyone?)

We all walked out of AOTC talking about how much better it was than the first one, how they minimized Jar Jar, and had those great fight sequences at the end. Weren’t the designs of those creatures in the coliseum cool? Ma’ Lady?

AOTC WAS better than TPM, but as time went on, we realized not by that much… While the plot may not have been as tedious, and the visuals were impressive, there was something missing… a soul.

I have friends who walked out of Episode II, saying it was the most amazing thing they’d every scene, who haven’t even cracked open their DVD copy of it.

No one wants to admit right off the bat, that these films have not met our expectations, as unrealistic as they might be. For a moment in time, when these movies are about to be released, we all fall under the Star Wars spell just like we did when we were half pints. As bitter as some of us were after the Episode I, we still went back with out hearts and our arms open to Episode II, and again, it wasn’t until weeks after our multiple viewings in the theatres that we started to realize something was up back at the (skywalker) ranch.

What’s that saying? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. I what happens after being fooled three times.

As the reviews from major publications have been released in the last few days, there is a flurry over how The New York Times loved it, saying it was even better than A New Hope. The Rotten Tomatoes Tomameter is at a strong 84%, with high profile critics like Ebert, Roper, Kenneth Turnan of the LA Times all singing its praises. (The Tomameter for the first two Episodes, were 62% and 65% respectively)

But has the spell just been cast on them as well?

The truth is, I don’t think any of us is going to really know how good this movie is for months. I think we will all want to love it so much, that whether it was actually good or not is besides the point. It is the final piece in the legacy.

The Entertainment Weekly issue dated May 20th, had an interesting article about the Star Wars legacy by Jeff Jensen, titled What A Strange Long Trip It’s Been The article, which was fairly interesting, discussed the saga of the making of the Star Wars films, and what this experience has been like for George Lucas. The article touches on how momentous it is, that it’s finally really over. There will be no more new Star Wars movies.

The importance of Episode III, is not only the culmination of one man’s life works, it is a symbolic synergy point of the entire story of the series. It is when good turns to evil, it is the galaxy’s darkest hour. We know of course, that Luke and Leia will grow up and turn it all around. If you ask me, of all the movies, while potentially the most exciting, this one also seems the most difficult to make. How do you make a film that creates an emotional journey that is strong enough, so that it just doesn’t boil down to Anakin walking around one minute, and Darth Vader the next. That is the moment we have been waiting for. The donning of the black suit, helmet and cape. But how do you lead up to that in a satisfactory way? Is it even possible? As much as everyone has been clamoring that Lucas is finally going dark again after two lighter and fluffier films, dark to what end? Episode I and II show us a spunky little boy with ability, and then a cranky teenager going through some growing pains. This film has to be the one with the real turning point.

According to the EW article after seeing one of the earlier cuts of the film, the F/X guys at ILM told Lucas that “(they) didn’t think it was clear why Anakin went bad.” This does not bode well. Apparently after hearing this Lucas did ten days of reshoots. But can ten days of reshoots save a movie?

If this final film is anything short of fantastic, the entire Prequel will be deemed somewhat of a bust.

I was talking with a friend last night about how The Simpsons, now in its 15th or 16th season is approaching the point where it’s now had as many weak seasons as its had strong ones. He expressed his frustration at the fact that if The Simpsons keeps going the way it is, the image of the show will deteriorate from brilliant, to ok, to not very good. What was once genius will be diluted to mediocrity.

I think Star Wars is a similar case. If this second trilogy is deemed as being an overall disappointment, Star Wars will have gone from being one of the greatest sci-fi sagas of all time, to an epic with one amazing trilogy, and one average. Its uniqueness and beauty will be diffused. Even if this movie is fantastic, it will still only be able to buoy the first two prequels enough to make this trilogy good, but still much weaker then the first. And the more Star Wars material is pumped out there, be it in further edited editions, or hour long TV series, the more its legacy will continue to deteriorate, until it is just another science fiction franchise to be mocked at. (see Star Trek: Enterprise)

We, fans don’t want this to happen. We are, as always, eager to embrace the new addition to the Star Wars family. But, I don’t think the truth about this movie, and the trilogy as a whole, will really come out for a while. Lucas says in the EW article that he used 40% of the Anakin/Vader plotting in the first two Episodes, and 60% in the last film. Some may get excited by this statistic, because it implies that something will actually happen in the final chapter, but to me it signals a failure of storytelling using the trilogy format.

I know I’m sounding a little grim here, and I’m as caught up in seeing this last installment as anyone. I recognize how important it is to get caught up in the ride, as we try to relive our childhood and reconnect to something that makes us feel excited and exhilarated. I want to get caught up in the ride. But I’m also afraid of what I’ll see when I finally stop to turn around and look at cinematic journey I’ve traversed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

What? Politcs in Hollywood?

Ok, I don't normally do this sort of thing on this blog, but I felt it my civic duty to remind all of you Angelenos out there who might peruse this site to go out and vote for mayor today. Polls are open till 8 PM, and if you're not sure where your local polling station is you can click here .

Am I going to endorse a candidate? No. Its a mayoral runoff for two candidates who I think have about equal set of pros and cons. Its all a matter of point of view. I see it more as getting into the habit of being politically active in one's community. So go excercise your right as a U.S. citizen and resident of California. Choose your own city mayor.

The Not So Fantastic Four

By now, I'm sure many of you have been wondering, well where is the New Yorker's take on Fantastic Four? Why hasn't she put up a link for the trailers on her blog? Is she lazy or just plain ignorant?

The answer is neither my fine friends, in fact, Fantastic Four is just the kind of movie that I would be all jazzed up about. It's based on a Marvel Comic Book about a group of explorers/scientists turned superheroes, and its one of those big blockbuster studio summer affairs.

Nevertheless, I must say there's not really anything about this movie that's got me excited. Let's look at the evidence we have so far. First there was the teaser , which I thought was terrible, and then internet trailer , which I thought was better, but still unimpressive.

That first teaser was just one big fairly incoherent montage set to horrible rock music. The cuts were impossibly fast, and appeared to be different shots from the same three or four action sequences in the movie repeated over and over again. I found the music so unpleasent that I briefly considered puncturing my eardrums with pens so I would never have to hear such an annoying horrible noise again in my life. The last part of the teaser was the highlight, because they tack on a clip of Johnny Storm looking into the camera and saying "You know that looked cool." What's funny about it is that it does not look very cool, ...at all. In fact I found myself thinking how they could have made a film which such a neat premise, so uninteresting and unappealing. The problem with this teaser, is that it makes Fantastic Four look like a generic Superhero film. Oh look, they were scientists and then something happened in space, and then they got cool powers, and then they fought a bad guy. There is no attmempt to single out any of the characters (besides briefly trying to summarize their powers)or give them any sort of real personalities beyond their super powers.

But its just a teaser right? Well the longer internet trailer , ain't much better. The full length trailer doesn't really do a better job of expanding on the plot, and it still fails to make the plot of the film have any twist or gimmick that would set it apart from the madlibs version of a Superhero script.

(insert #)________ (insert profession)__________________ were

(insert verb) ____________ when something went terribly awry.

Now the (insert same profession as before)_____________ s must battle the

evil(insert sci-fi name) ______________ or the entire city of

(insert noun with latin or greek root) _______________ will be destroyed.

Yeah, and? What are the personal stakes of the characters? Now I have not really read this comic, so I am judging this all strictly as a movie, so I don't have that much background info on all of them. Is the Fantastic Four just three smart alecky youngn's who hang around with The Thing, an older guy who looks like a cross between the Incredible Hulk and the Rock Biter from Never Ending Story? I think Michael Chiklis is a good actor. Whether or not his abilities will come through the shoddy looking CG is another factor. As for Ioan Gruffold, Chris Evans, and Jessica Alba, they might as well be the same person with different hairstyles, as I could detect no real difference in their characterizations, mannerisms, or delivery of dialogue. If Jessica Alba's acting were any flatter she'd make Chirstopher Columbus have a panic attack. She's the sort of actress I want to like, yet invariably can find no reason to do so. The script seems like a bunch of strung together action film cliches and cheesy one liners, and I would be shocked if there was a modicum of a real story in the script. This is no wonder with Fox's apoplecticly whimsical choices for the writers who wrote and then rewrote the movie. First there is Michael France, who seems a somewhat logical choice, having worked on The Punisher(eek), The Hulk, and Goldeneye. But then they threw Mark Frost into the mix, a writer who does a lot of TV work, wrote several episodes of Twin Peaks, and was a series writer on Hill Street Blues as well. Perhaps the studio was thinking, let's get a guy who does big movies, and a guy who does small stuff, and we will end up with exactly the right tone! But since these writers did not work on the screenplay simultaneously, it seems to me like one of them ended up sewing courdoroy to satin with yarn, and calling it made.

There were a couple of cool shots in the trailer, particularly the one where Johnny Storm dives off the building and flies inbetween buildings as a fireball. I also thought the flame entity in space looked neat. But director Tim Story doesn't add a lot of faith into the equation for me. His last feature was Taxi, and well... we all know how that turned out. Danny Devito, eat your heart out.

In a way I'm sort of surprised that this is going to be the big theatrical July 4th release this year. None of the cast are huge stars, and Fantastic Four, while quite popular in its own right, is not as iconic as something like Spiderman or Batman. The official movie website is pretty neat and well designed, but I don't even think they've necessarily been promoting the hell out of it the way they should if they want it to be enormous. This movie sort of looks like a poor X-Men rip-off, and I find that curious, being that Fox owns both franchises. But I guess you can never expect a studio to withhold from ripping something off- even if it is themselves...

Monday, May 16, 2005

Kung Fu Hustle: Part Deux

For those of you who absolutely loved Kung Fu Hustle as much as I did, here's some good news. Not more than two days ago The Hollywood Reporter published a press release about the sequal to Kung Fu Hustle that has just been greenlit by Colubmia Tri-Star Pictures.

According to the article:

"Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia managing director Barbara Robinson said Chow and his writing team from "Hustle," including Tsang Kan Cheong, have been writing a draft in the evenings while on the road for the 30-country Sony Pictures Releasing International rollout of the film(Kung Fu Hustle)."

Wow. They must be downing a lot of those Starbucks Espressos one shots.

I eagerly await the release of this film, and while I'm excited it will come out sooner than later, I just hope their rush to get the sequal out doesn't result in slapdash work.

Production of the follow-up film is supposed to start towards the end of Fall this year.

Hooray for dancing, quirky, unsung Kung Fu fighting heroes!

Unleashed: a fable of mind over matter

When I first saw the poster for Jet Li’s latest film Unleashed, I had absolutely no desire to see it. It isn’t that I dislike action or martial arts movies, I just haven’t been impressed with the recent slew of Jet Li movies, Cradle 2 the Grave (Li’s outing with DMX), The One, or Kiss of the Dragon.

So when a couple friends of mine asked me if I had seen the trailer for Unleashed, and told me they thought it looked good, I scoffed them a bit. I’ll be the first one to admit that I was acting a bit presumptuously and pretentiously making by making broad sweeping generalizations about lower budget action films and Jet Li movies in general.

But then I finally saw the trailer for Unleashed, (and would continue to see it many times over as the ARCLIGHT ran it constantly before all their screenings) and was actually intrigued. When I went to see the film last night, I was happy to find that the trailer did not misrepresent the film, nor had it lifted my expectations unrealistically high. I had gone in there expecting to see an entertaining, interesting and unique twist on the martial arts genre, and that is exactly what I saw.

The concept of Unleashed is quite compelling. It is the story of a young man, Danny, portrayed by Jet Li who has been kept in captivity all his life by a Bart, a loan shark and gangster played by the normally bumbling and innocuous Bob Hoskins. But it isn’t just that Bart has kept Danny away from the outside world, he has completely brainwashed him. Bart, who has been in custody of Danny since he was a small child has completely brainwashed him into believing he is no more than an attack dog. Danny wears a metal doglike collar around his neck at almost all times. His behavior is muted and docile, devoid of anything but the most basic of human instincts: fear, exhaustion, hunger. It is when Bart removes Danny’s collar and whispers in his ear to “get ‘em” that a brutal and unstoppable force of violence becomes unleashed. Danny has been so “well trained” that he has a near Pavlovian response when he is ordered by Bart to accost someone. No individual thought processes, desires, or concerns intervene, he merely proceeds to annihilate his targets with his extreme strength and martial arts skills. What makes Danny’s life as this “dog” all the more fascinating is that his leash is psychological. The collar he wears is not actually attached to anything, and it is only in his mind that he is bound to Bart and his life of servitude. I like the idea of mental chains being stronger than metal ones. It touches upon the philosophical idea that the most powerful prisons are the ones that are constructed by our beliefs rather than our physical surroundings.

As the film progresses, we see how lethal yet detached Danny can behave when “let loose” on people. But we also see that beneath his beaten down exterior there is longing and loneliness. His childlike qualities are accentuated by the two personal items that he keeps in the cage where he is forced to live, a teddy bear and a children’s book. There are some very bittersweet moments when we see him looking at the pictures that illustrate words of which he has no understanding: Love, Kiss, and Family.

The turning point in the film occurs when after a freak accident Danny is able to escape from his captors. Danny seeks out a piano tuner whom he had befriended by chance earlier in the movie. The piano tuner, Sam, played by Morgan Freeman, is a blind but kindly man, who takes Danny into his home, where he lives with his eighteen year old stepdaughter, Victoria. Here Danny learns of the possibility of life without violence and the power of free will to make one’s own choices.

Jet Li does well in the role of Danny, a man whose soul has been siphoned through the constricts of enslavement. He manages to portray both the deadly killer, and the innocent naivete with equal grace. The only element which I found to be a bit distracting was Mr. Li’s age. The actor is 42 years old, but the character seems like someone who would be in their late 20’s, 30 at oldest. The filmmakers were pushing it a little bit by asking the audience to believe that Li was a decade or so younger in the film than he actually is. I actually found this a little bit with Stephen Chow in Kung Fu Hustle, who is pushing 45, but is supposed to be playing a younger man who is just discovering himself.

The other performances in the film were all very good. Bob Hoskins, who I will forever think of as Eddie Valient in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, or Smee in Hook, shatters the image of the harmless and silly “old softy” and creates a horrible, nasty villain with the role of Bart. The brief moments of vulnerability that were given to Bart’s character by screenwriter Luc Besson and director Louis Leterrier mixed with his heartless cruelty make him despicably pathetic yet frightening.

Morgan Freeman’s sweet wisdom and humble self-effacing kindness as Sam make him a wonderful contrast to Hoskin’s morally repulsive Bart. Victoria Condon, as Sam’s stepdaughter Victoria, successfully achieves bright and chirpy without entering the realm of irritating.

Overall, I thought Unleashed’s screenplay was very well written. Luc Besson, who wrote Unleashed and also produced it, has done a variety of other films both French and American, including The Professional, The Fifth Element, and most recently The Transporter. Besson crafted characters that were multi-faceted and had depth. The pacing and plot development felt natural and carried the story along in a way that felt both organic and cogent. I felt as though the film spent just enough time in each act of the movie – Danny living with Bart, Danny escaping Bart and going to live with Sam and Victoria, and Danny resolving the conflict between the two worlds.

Director Louis Leterrier added further dimension to the film with his diverse camera sensibilities, and visually resonant edits. However, Unleashed was only his second film, his debut having been the Transporter, and his lack of experience showed in small moments, where atmosphere and attention to detail were not all that they could have been. Still I think he had a natural ability to tell the visual components of the story, and am curious to if his future work will have the screws tightened even a bit more.

One of the only other things that prevented this film from bridging the gap from good to great, was the inclusion of the "death match" plot line. I realize that Besson included it to give Bart even further reason to chase after Danny once he had gone, but it felt contrived, and too convenient that he would stumble across such a thing so inadvertently. It seems to me either, the death match fighting should have been the status quo for Danny from the beginning, or he should have left it out altogether.

Unleashed was a nice melding of a martial arts film and an emotional drama, and had metaphors and symbolism in the film that worked. I thought the piano was a great choice for a musical instrument because it encompassed many of the qualities that Danny had. It’s hard wooden exterior protects the ethereal music that could come from the inside. It is hard, yet soft, powerful, yet weak, and when not taken care of becomes a distortion of its true self. It was interesting to watch Danny learn how to tune himself from animal back to human, and how to channel his artistic abilities from brutalization to peaceful endeavor. Jet Li/Danny’s journey from a life of enslaved violence to one of free will is as endearing as it is engaging.

All in all, Unleashed is the uncommon charming solid action film that hits the mark not only with its visceral fight scenes, but also with its emotional milestones.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Seeing vs. Watching: The great movie dilemma

Both CNN.com and Entertainment Weekly have run stories this week about the declining film box office returns of the recent months.

Kingdom of Heaven, arguably the unofficial opener of the summer movie season, was predicted to break the $30 million mark. It didn’t. While it still came in at number one for the weekend, it barely hit $20 million, and a $10 mill discrepancy between predictions and reality has gotten a lot of people talking.

Both articles put forth the hypothesis that with the prevalence of DVD’s and home entertainment systems, people now prefer to watch movies at home. The idea is based on the fact that people would rather sit in the comfort of their own living room, than trek out to the theatre, pay $10 or more, and sit in a big crowded dark room to see it.

As a professional movie goer, I beg to differ.

1)The Cost

It’s not that this argument doesn’t make sense to me, it’s that I think people look at a price of the movie ticket in the wrong way. I pay anywhere between $10 and $14 to go the movies depending on which theatre I go to (and they’re really only two, the Arclight Cinermadome and Grauman’s Chinese, though occasionally I will head out to the Grove or El Capitan).

If you think of the movies as a night out, and compare it to the other activities that you might do during the evening or even the day, its really not such a bad deal. On any given evening you might:

a)Go out to dinner – and I mean a sit down dinner, not a drive through. You’ll be hard pressed to get out of a sit down place under $10 a person once you add in tax, tip and all that. More realistically you’d spend $15.

b)Go out to a bar – even a dive will charge around $3 or $4 minimum a drink. Factor in tip for the bartender and a couple rounds, and you’re well on your way to blowing $20. Easy.

c)Go to a concert – If you want to get me started on expensive don’t even get me started on how much the price of a big concert has gotten jacked up to. If you’re going to see some big headlining tour at a stadium you can easily spend between $60 and $80 on a ticket. Smaller venues are $25 easy, and even if you’re going to see your friend’s band play at the local club – a $10 cover is par for the course.

d)Go to a play/show – If you go to an established theatre, (and I’m not talking Broadway here) tickets will go anywhere from $25 to $45 and up. Even amateur houses will charge between $10 and $15.

I could go on, rattling off the prices of Bowling, Mini-golf, Dance Clubs etc, but I think you get the picture. Even if you pay $10 for your ticket and get a concession or two, you’re still at around $15 which is not a lot to spend for “a night out”.


It’s happened to us all before. We’re watching a DVD at home and our cell phone rings. We move to silence it, but then realize its our Dad and pick up. You pause the movie of course, but you end up talking for half an hour, and by the time you go to restart it your DVD has powered off. Dag nab it!

You get up from the movie to make popcorn and discover you have a rodent problem in your kitchen that demands your attention immediately.

Your neighbor knocks on your door asking you if you have a copy of the menu to the local Chinese take-out joint.

Giant flying saucers surround the airspace above your block and start firing lasers at your house.

When you’re at home anything can happen. Its easier for your mind to wander, you have to deal with potential interruptions, and you are easily distracted. When you are in the plush velvety seat of a movie theatre your visual field is completely submerged in the huge screen in front of you. Everything you hear, everything you see….is the movie. This is the ideal of course, and every now and again we have to deal with the occasional buffoon who has forgotten to turn off their cell phone or the guy who is whispering commentary to loudly to his friend. But still, if you can seek out the movie theatre nearest you where you know the real die-hards go, I think you’ll find you can minimize that. If all else fails there’s always the usher. (don’t you wish you had one of those guys hiding in your closet at home for whenever you needed him?)

3)The crowds, the sights, the sounds

Unless you’re going to some crappy small mall Cineplex, even if you have a large TV, say 36” or even 42” you just can’t compare it to a huge movie screen. Even if you have an awesome subwoofer with surround sound speakers, its just not the same. Now I have seen a couple home theatre systems in my day that are quite impressive. Darkened windowless rooms, where you can sit and watch as though it is a private screening for you. Those are great, but most people don’t have those.

Film is an art made to be seen in huge proportions with enveloping sounds. It is made so that you feel as though you are in the world, and every where you turn your eyes you see and hear the world that is unfolding in front of you. Particularly when it comes to cinematography, and art direction, you do not get the same effect when you are watching it on a screen that is 1/50th the size.

Also, there is something to be said for watching a movie with a large group of people. Horror films, Comedies, big action-adventures; watching these kinds of movies with a crowd, is an essential part of the experience. In a comedy you might laugh at things you might not have laughed if you were alone in your home. Someone’s laughter may make you look at a moment in a different way. In a horror or thriller you feel the collective tension in a suspenseful scene, and you all laugh together after you have had a big scare. In an adventure, you cheer and clap when the hero has just decked the bad guy, or the villain’s spaceship has just been blown up. These shared emotional moments are things that are part and parcel of going to movies, and they have a great deal of value.

Both CNN and E-Weekly attempted to get down to the bottom of just why people haven’t been coming out in droves in the same way to the theatres these past few months. Both sources cited a combination of factors, some which I discussed above.

A movie studio executive was even quoted as strategizing that in the future films might be released in conjunction on both DVD and the big screen. I found this solution to be a bit odd. Going to the movies has become so entrenched in America’s culture. From Drive-ins to Cinerama, 3-D to stadium seating, movie theatres have been ever changinig, ever evolving, as they try to perfect the movie going experience.

What we need right now is a dose of big (and hopefully good) summer movies to kick up the activity at the box office. People love event movies, but besides Star Wars, which is coming up (finally) next week, there aren’t a lot of others. Batman Begins isn’t released till June 15th, which leaves a gap of almost a month without a big blockbuster.

What really needs to happen is that the studios need to get in the game. Just skimming over my own reviews on the blog over the past couple months, there haven’t been any films that really wowed me. Kung Fu Hustle was fantastic, The Interpreter was quite good, Kingdom of Heaven was eh, and the rest were forgettable.

“Hey Hollywood, if you make 'em (good) they will come.”

Listed on BlogShares