Entertainment Today and Beyond

Never Met a Zombi I Didn’t Like…

ALIEN PREQUEL officially confirmed

alien picAccording to the movie site Collider, Carl Rinsch, a commercials and music video director for Scott Free Productions has officially been handed the reigns to direct a new Alien movie for 20th Century Fox. Even though Ridley Scott, the director of the first film in the Alien franchise, will produce, is there any real reason to do another Alien film? Reportedly the game plan is to create a prequel and stick with the original concept of one Alien on a spaceship, but is this enough to get a new generation excited for a series that has produced six films featuring ‘Aliens’.

When Alien first came out in 1979 the premise was fairly original and highly effective. With John Carpenter’s Halloween released just one year before, audiences got their moneys worth with Ridley Scott’s scare fest. The project that had been pitched to the studio as ‘Jaws in space’ radiated with audiences and became a solid word of mouth hit. At the time, Sigourney Weaver was an unknown but, after the first Alien sequel, her character of Ellen Ripley would become the greatest heroine in the history of film. What’s interesting about the sequel is that James Cameron produced one of the most fascinating follow-ups ever.  He took Scott’s horror concept and turned it into an amazing action film that I have no problem calling a masterpiece. The relationship between Weaver’s Ripley and the little girl Newt is an example of a script with a heart that elevated the genre to the very highest level. The film worked at such a high level that it almost guaranteed anything following in this franchise would be a letdown.

While Alien 3 (1992) is a well made film (David Fincher’s directorial debut) and a solid watch, audiences were somewhat disappointed. The film is much smaller in scope than Cameron’s epic and the Alien_Resurrection_posterscreenwriter’s decision to kill the character of Newt off-screen before the story kicks in is one of the greatest blunders ever for any franchise movie property. 

Alien Resurrection (1997) had its moments but the idea of bringing Ripley back as half Alien/half human never really went over well with fans and it was obvious that the premise was wearing itself thin. In 2004 Fox combined the Alien and Predator franchises and delivered the watchable but totally mediocre Alien vs. Predator. With a cast of mostly unknown actors and a relatively economical budget, the film produced a nice profit for the studio and the result was the 2007 sequel Alien vs. Predator: Requiem. While rejected by most fans and critically trashed I enjoyed Requiem strictly as B-movie fare. Still I knew in my gut that movies featuring the Alien had pretty much run their course. So the question is: Is Ridley Scott’s involvement in this prequel reason to get excited? I say marginally, but I still feel that this franchise has little juice left regardless of who is involved. Filming on this new Alien film could get underway later this year.

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May 31, 2009 Posted by | And Beyond - Trailers & News | , , | Leave a comment

Zombie’s HALLOWEEN 2 behind the scenes FOOTAGE

halloween2posterDimension films has released an exclusive behind the scenes look at their August 28 release of Rob Zombies Halloween 2 on You Tube. While I don’t feel Zombie’s the right guy for this material, I will see the film as I’m a fan of the Franchise through thick and thin… and there’s been a lot of thin. It’s interesting in one of the clips how director Zombie is distancing himself from John Carpenter when talking about this sequel to his remake of Carpenter’s original. It appears the studio is going with the Halloween 2 instead of H2 which was the title on the film’s first posters. At least that’s a smart move.

May 30, 2009 Posted by | And Beyond - Trailers & News | | Leave a comment

A PERFECT GETAWAY TRAILER

perfect-getaway-movie-2Rouge Pictures has released its first look trailer to A Perfect Getaway, directed by David Twohy (The Arrival) and starring Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil), Steve Zahn (Joy Ride) and Timothy Olyphant (Live Free or Die Hard). The story is about a couple of Honeymooners in Hawaii who soon discover that their tour guides are assassins. The film was shot in Puerto Rico and Hawaii and is scheduled to be released on August 14, 2009. While it looks a lot like the 2006 film “Touristas” which had a similar premise, I expect this one to be of a higher quality. At least I hope so. Take a LOOK

May 29, 2009 Posted by | And Beyond - Trailers & News | , , , , | Leave a comment

GREEN LANTERN fan-made trailer

This fan-made trailer, created by video editor Jaron Pitts, has created a lot of BUZZ on the net over the last few days. Why? Because it’s pretty darn good. Pitts, who obviously wants to see actor Nathan Fillion (Firefly) cast in the part of Hal Jordon/ Green Lantern, uses footage from Fillion’s previous work and blends it all together fairly convincingly. Using the score to the Star Trek trailer is a big reason this thing really flies! While Fillion would make a solid choice, I would also like to see director Martin Campbell consider Patrick Wilson (Night Owl in Watchmen). I just finished watching two of Wilson’s films this weekend -“Clearview Terrace” and “Passengers” and think this guy is the real deal. Consider me a fan. If you think this fan-made piece is really good, check out one that I thought was even better. It’s GREYSON, a fan-made trailer to a Robin (Batman’s sidekick in the comics) movie made a few years ago. Both are definitely worth a LOOK

May 27, 2009 Posted by | And Beyond - Trailers & News | Leave a comment

TERMINATOR SALVATION – Flawed but SATISFYING

T4 WorthingtonKnowing that there was a wildly split reaction (more negative than positive on RottenTomatoes) for this fourth entry in the Terminator franchise,  I waited a few days before seeing it because I didn’t want to be swayed one way or the other. While I certainly acknowledge that Salvation was badly in need of a script rewrite, the film still worked for the most part and, while not great, is a good entry in the overall canon.

After an opening scene that introduced us to Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a death row inmate in the year 2003 who goes on to play a prominent role in the story, the film carries us to the year 2018 where machines now rule earth nine years after judgment day has taken place. John Conner (Christian Bale) at this point in the Terminator timeline is a foot soldier/prophet in the human resistance movement who is trying to find the character of Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin), the teenage version of his father. The villainous Skynet has targeted Reese for death in order to stop him from eventually going back in time and impregnating Sarah Conner – thus stopping the existence of future resistance leader John Conner. Yes, you have to love the time-travel paradox. If nothing else it’s certainly thought provoking – if not mind-boggling.

T4 motorcycleThe script from the writers of T3 focuses primarily on three main characters: the mysterious Marcus Wright, who really emerges as the heart of the story (in more ways than one); Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn in the first film), very well played in a highly likeable performance by Yelchin, and; John Conner, played by Bale. While Bale is a solid presence, his take on Conner is somewhat stiff and not really the way I envisioned Edward Furlong (T2) or Nick Stahl’s (T3) Conner growing up to be like. The growling Batman voice was a bit much. Worthington, whose Marcus character raises the question of what it means to be human, is a find here. He has a charisma that should make him a name in the business and his storyline is the film’s most compelling. I was actually moved by his actions at the film’s conclusion. Considering he’s the star of James Cameron’s highly anticipated upcoming sci-fi epic “Avatar”, predicting a bright future for him is not much of a leap.

The film also does a great job maintaining its post-apocalyptic feel throughout, as earth has been turned into a barren wasteland with unending grey skies. This is the future Sarah Conner tried to avoid. This future is as bleak as it gets. It’s man vs. machines and the machines are winning. Director McG (We Are Marshall), who was severely scrutinized by the internet fanboy crowd when he signed on to direct, stages some very exciting action pieces, one involving a giant Harvester robot that ejects two terminator motorcycles out of its leg, enabling them to chase their intended target. That was a true WOW moment and proved that he can shoot action very effectively.

The much talked about Arnold Schwarzenegger cameo, in which his face is CGI’d on a T-800 terminator in the film’s last act, is very cool and the audience I saw the film with really loved it as much as I did. I have to admit I was grinning from ear to ear. Terminator Salvation is an example of a film that is obviously flawed but it has more than its share of good stuff to elevate it into a solid film well worth seeing if you’re a fan of this franchise. Worthington, Yelchin, and the marvelously well executed effects (everything involving machines was great) are enough juice to give this fourth installment in the 25-year-old series reason to see it. I can’t say it left me foaming at the mouth for a fifth installment but I can honestly say I was satisfied by what McG delivered. Let’s be honest – James Cameron is truly one of a kind!

While Cameron’s first two Terminator films are pretty much universally loved (with good reason), I’m somewhat perplexed by the fan-boy hatred of Terminator: Rise of the Machines (with a 70% positive rating on RottenTomatoes) as it was a very respectable effort in the overall series.

My overall ratings for the Terminator series:

Terminator -1984 – 5 out of 5
Terminator 2: Judgment Day – 1991 – 4.75 out of 5
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines – 2003 – 3.75 out of 5
Terminator Salvation – 2009 – 3.5 out of 5
 

I was also a fan of the Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles TV series which lasted two seasons before Fox pulled the plug because of low ratings. I’ve watched every episode and consider it a nice fit between the 2nd and 3rd entries in the film series.

May 25, 2009 Posted by | Reviews | | Leave a comment

MICHEAL MOORE’S take on FINANCIAL MELTDOWN hits theaters this OCTOBER

SickoposterOverture Films and Paramount Vantage have announced that Oscar-winner Michael Moore’s new documentary feature will be released domestically on October 2, 2009. The as-yet-untitled film will explore the root causes of the global economic meltdown and take a comical look at the corporate and political shenanigans that culminated in what Moore has described as “the biggest robbery in the history of this country” – the massive transfer of U.S. taxpayer money to private financial institutions.

Says Moore: “The wealthy, at some point, decided they didn’t have enough wealth. They wanted more — a lot more. So they systematically set about to fleece the American people out of their hard-earned money. Now, why would they do this? That is what I seek to discover in this movie.”

For the record, I’m an independent when it comes to voting. I try to keep an open mind and understand that no one is perfect and we all have life experience and opinions. While I’ll always have a problem with what Michael Moore did to Charlton Heston in “Bowling for Columbine” I like his films and have a lot of respect for him as a person. I believe he speaks for the little guy. I honestly believe that. There is no doubt he is biased but you can’t have a passion for what you think and feel and not be biased. It’s perfectly fine by me. I guess who you are and what you believe weighs heavily in your opinion of Moore but, from where I stand, I can agree with a lot of what he has to say than disagree. I thought his last film “Sicko” was a very important film that should have been seen by every American. If telling the story of people whose lives are turned upside down, and in many cases destroyed, because they either didn’t have health insurance or they were buried in bills that their insurance didn’t cover is a bad thing, then I guess I just don’t get it anymore. If one wants to argue that the Cuba portion of the film was pushing it I can respect that but the bulk of “Sicko” is must see viewing on a very important subject and the next big bubble to explode in this country. 

I’m really looking forward to seeing his new documentary on the country’s financial meltdown as it’s certainly a major piece of history that we are experiencing. While the story has many parties to blame, the film should be a cathartic experience for many whose lives have been affected by pure greed and irresponsibility on many levels. That should be almost everybody. At the end of the day it will be Michael Moore vs. Wall Street. I’ll be rooting for Moore and happy to do so!

May 23, 2009 Posted by | And Beyond - Trailers & News | | Leave a comment

SURROGATES TRAILER

bruce-willis-surrogatesTouchtone Pictures has released the first look trailer to its Sept 25, 2009, release of Surrogates, a science fiction thriller which stars Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell (Silent Hill). The film follows two FBI agents (Willis and Mitchell) as they investigate the mysterious murder of a college student. The murder is linked to a man who helped create a high-tech surrogate phenomenon that allows people to purchase unflawed robotic versions of themselves. These are fit, good looking, remote controlled machines that ultimately assume their life roles; enabling people to experience life vicariously from the comfort and safety of their own homes. The murder spawns a quest for answers – in a world of masks, who’s real and who can you trust? Surrogates is directed by Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) and has a very slick look that reminds me of I Robot. It’s amazing how Willis keeps doing his thing and I really like actress, Radha Mitchell, who was extremely appealing in the little seen film “Henry Poole is Here”. Take a LOOK

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo-DqihTJ3c

May 22, 2009 Posted by | And Beyond - Trailers & News | , | Leave a comment

ABC releases TRAILER to its new take on classic series V

V posterBack in 1983 NBC aired one of the greatest SCI-FI related miniseries ever produced in V, a classic alien invasion story with multiple layers to its storyline. The highly rated and popular miniseries later spawned a follow-up miniseries and then a weekly TV series. ABC has brought it back with the new show airing mid 2010. Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet on Lost) Scott Wolf (Party of Five) and Morena Baccarin (Serenity) will star. This really looks good and it’s on my list of must-see shows for next season. Take a LOOK

Here’s the complete V summary from ABC.com

V castToday, the world woke up to find spaceships over every major city. The Visitors claim to have come in peace, bringing gifts of medical miracles and technological breakthroughs. They promise to do no harm. They’re lying.

Most people believe the aliens have arrived just when we needed them most. We’re eager to embrace their generous offers of help but, while tracking a terrorist cell, Homeland Security agent Erica Evans stumbles upon something far more sinister. Erica discovers that the aliens have plans to infiltrate our governments and businesses, planting seeds for their plot to control mankind. Convincing anyone of the truth will be impossible because the Visitors have two powerful weapons. First, they’ve given people faith with their reassuring presence and gifts. Second, they’ve rallied our youth. Thousands of teens, including Erica’s son, have been recruited as ‘Peace Ambassadors’ but they’re actually serving as unwitting spies. When Erica gets thrust into the resistance movement, she’ll have to balance her covert activities with her job and her role as a mother, fighting to protect her son Tyler – even as he joins forces with the enemy.

From executive producer Scott Peters, Emmy-nominated creator of The 4400, comes a bold re-imagining of the sci-fi classic. Let the invasion begin.

The series is produced by HDFilms in association with Warner Bros. Television. Scott Peters is executive producer/writer and Steve Pearlman and Jace Hall are executive producers.

May 21, 2009 Posted by | And Beyond - Trailers & News | , , , , | 2 Comments