Monday, June 28, 2010
For all those who know me, I am a big M. Night Shyamalan fan. However, I am realistic enough to admit that the man has fallen into a rut in terms of critically acclaimed hits. No matter how much I think The Happening is completely misunderstood, I digress, and look to the future.
So here we are, only a few days away before Shyamalan unleashes his $150 million fantasy epic The Last Airbender, based off the hugely successful Nickelodeon Anime Series about four nations made up of four different elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), where the Fire Nation has declared War and only the last remaining airbender (played by newcomer Noah Ringer) can stop them from destroying mankind. Including a marketing cost of $130, the movie is already $280 million in the red.
But that's nothing new. Avatar's production cost came close to $300 million, Iron Man 2, Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland, and Toy Story 3 are all north of $200 million. However, this is Shyamalan's first attempt at tackling non-original source material with a franchise kicker to boot. When all is said and done, the man needs his movie to deliver.
It's facing tough competition, too. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opens one day earlier, meaning the movie will have to be critically well-received in order to climb past it.
Is it possible? Can The Last Airbender somehow beat Eclipse? The answer is no, only for the weekend though. As history has shown us, Twilight tends to stumble in its second weekend, mostly because all the fans have already tasted their sustenance. So if Shyamalan pulls it off (and early word of mouth has been positive), we could see it proclaim the #1 spot in its second weekend. It's certainly a long shot, but in a summer movie season that has only been saved by Toy Story 3, anything is possible.
With a PG rating, a visually astounding trailer, and a fresh adaptation, there is a chance that M. Night Shyamalan will be tasting victory for the first time in years.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
It neither is or isn't Megan Fox's fault that the movie bombed. It bombed because everything about it sucked. No offense to Josh Brolin, who tries his best, but the movie is 72 minutes of combined visual effect footage, thrown in with Brolin narrating as Hex to remind the viewer that they are not watching an incomplete film.
As for Toy Story 3, the reviewed movie so far this year, look for this blockbuster smash to be one of the highest grossing movies of 2010, including a surefire nomination for Best Picture. Better yet, we may be looking at the front-runner.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
I was 7 years old when the original Toy Story came out in 1995.
Therefore, I was 11 when the sequel came out in 1999.
I am now 21 years old, having just graduated college exactly one month ago, and just experienced Toy Story 3 for the first time.
And I will forever say this: Toy Story 3 is more than genius. It is more than a movie. It is a return to your childhood for infinity and beyond, all within a smooth running time of 109 minutes. Call me premature, overemotional, or even illogical, but Pixar’s Toy Story 3 is one of the greatest sequels of all time, one of the greatest animated movies of all time, and far and away the best film so far this year.
Not only does the third chapter in one of the greatest of all franchises match (and perhaps exceed) its predecessors, it has even changed my views on sequels. Some work, some don’t. But Toy Story 3 is the nail in the coffin in the debate that as long as you have a captivating story with characters an audience cares about, sequels can forever work.
So too bad for you Iron Man 2, you can go to hell Sex and the City 2, and no one cares about you anymore Shrek Forever After, as we have reached the movie that has saved the year of 2010.
Pixar makes the most important decision of its life by sticking to its roots. They know that Toy Story was their first baby and to only justify it would be to stick to that audience. Therefore, we see Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), and the rest of Andy’s toys struggling with the idea that Andy is moving off to college and that the day they’ve been worrying about for so long has been finally bestowed upon them: their play days appear to be over forever. So when they are mistakenly thrown into the garbage instead of the attic by Andy’s mom, the toys think they’re ditched and decide to find a new life for themselves.
The exception is Woody (who Andy wants to take to college with him) who decides to first save his friends from extinction before making the big move. After being saved from the dump, the toys find themselves donated to Sunnyside, a day care that looks like toy heaven at first glance, but behind the curtain it is an evil dictatorship ruled by Lotso (meaning Lots-o’-Huggin’) a pink and evil toy. After experiencing toy hell, the toys learn that Andy’s attic may not be so bad after all.
So leave it to Pixar to save the day once again. Leave it to Pixar to return true movie magic to the big screen on an annual basis. Leave it to Pixar to remind adults of their childhood (and for this, I am eternally grateful). Toy Story 3 mixes all the right emotions to create a nostalgic, natural high even time travel cannot provide. When all is said and done, you will be reminded of the message these movies have successfully conveyed to all of us:
You’ve got a friend in me.
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Brody and Polley star as Elsa and Clive, married scientists who are on the verge of a groundbreaking experiment by splicing together human and animal DNA new create a new organism. To their surprise and completely rebellious towards their moral ethics, it works. They decide to name it Dren (the unimaginative idea of spelling Nerd backwards), as it begins to grow into a deformed female infant and later becoming close to the form of human.
Conveniently for the plot, Elsa and Clive are unable to get pregnant, which is why they decide to keep it as their own and ignore the road to publicity. Time passes and things change, and the couple eventually leads themselves down a path of self-destruction.
While I admire the idea of what Splice tries to do (the psychological repercussions of their actions), it falls victim to unnecessary scenes of awkwardness, including some of the most ridiculous sex scenes I've seen since the remake of The Hill Have Eyes. To the point where I would suggest a disclaimer before the opening credits stating: A long shower is needed after the viewing of this film.
I never like to dis on a film when it tries to go there. Usually, I admire the guts it takes to make a film stand out (regardless of the subject matter), so long as the film stays true to itself. Unfortunately, Splice commits the sins of being weird for the sake of being weird, as if being weird is the controversy itself.
Friday, June 04, 2010
Get Him to the Greek, the sequel/spin-off to 2008’s hilarious Forgetting Sarah Marshall is the first film of the summer that truly lives up to its hype. It won’t set any records, and minus P. Diddy’s breakout role it will hardly be remembered as anything groundbreaking, but there’s nothing wrong with a movie that delivers exactly what you are promised: non-stop laughter in every way possible.
When Jonah Hill first hit it big as a lead actor in Superbad, I knew it was the birth of a comedic movie star. However, I was a bit skeptical as to how he would be able to break out of that kind of character. Instead, Hill embraces it, and is full-force funny as Aaron Green, a record company intern who is hired to get rock legend Aldo Snow (Russell Brand reprising his role from Forgetting Sarah Marshall) from London to Los Angeles in 72 hours for the ultimate comeback concert.
The catch? Aldo Snow has suffered public scrutiny after releasing an album many of which have call the worst of all time. But Aaron has hope in the artist, and promises his boss Sergio Roma (P. Diddy playing a wilder version of himself in quite possibly the funniest supporting turn since Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder) that the man will deliver. So Aaron and Aldo go on an adventure consisting of sex, drugs, rock and roll, and everything in between. In other words, leave the kids at home. This one is for your inner party animal. Or outer. Your choice.
Fast-paced, appropriately rude, and mind-blowingly hilarious, Get Him to the Greek achieves the goal of balancing the raunchy and delivering the comedic goods thanks to another top-notch job by director Nicholas Stoller. Finally, this summer movie season is showing signs of life.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Gross so far: $280 million
Budget: $200 million
Gross so far: $86 million
Budget: $200 million
Gross so far: $146 million
Budget: $165 million
Gross so far: $37 million
Budget: $200 million
Gross so far: $51 million
Budget: $100 million
For anyone who knows me, May is one of my favorite months of the year. The summer movie season begins and audiences are thrown into the world of blockbusters. There is usually one film that sticks out as one of the summer’s best. In 2008, there was Iron Man. Last year was Star Trek.
This year, there’s…
Iron Man 2 is acceptable but nowhere near the heights of the first. Robin Hood is barely escaping bankruptcy. People don’t seem to care about Shrek Forever After. Prince of Persia is in theaters and it still doesn’t seem to make sense. Sex and the City 2 lost half its audience because its marketing campaign failed to realize that you need more than just a sequel to be successful. You need to sell a story. Because of this, I’ve only seen two movies all month, and only one midnight premiere. Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood. As it is now June, I must look back and ask, what the hell happened?
Maybe I was busy graduating college or working more hours. Maybe it’s because I moved back home to New Hampshire from Boston. Or maybe, for the first time in my movie-going experience, it’s because I just don’t want to see anything that's been offered to me.
This is a rare occurrence, because I am always game for the movies regardless of what it is. But I think it’s time I finally say that I am not the same moviegoer I once was. I’m losing hope in the blockbuster genre, as this summer we have eleven sequels (up from nine last year and seven the year before), God knows how many pointless remakes/adaptations (Robin Hood, The Karate Kid, The A-Team, etc.), and several projects that once looked promising but now have fallen victim to mediocrity (I don’t want to say it, but I’m becoming skeptical of Toy Story 3, mostly because of sequel fatigue). Is it bad that the next movie I’m looking forward to the most right now is a horror film starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley called Splice?
I would recommend Get Him to the Greek, the funniest movie of 2010 so far. For those wanting an Apatow-fix, this one supplies the rare feeling of satisfaction.
Attendance is down and universal crowd-pleasers are becoming extinct. When will Hollywood redeem itself? Other than my personal interest in seeing The Last Airbender (mainly because I’m the last remaining M. Night Shyamalan fan), I never thought I would be so vulnerable to put all of my hopes for this summer of movies on one film. One film that will make or break my decision of whether or not this is (so far anyway), the worst summer of movies I’ve ever been apart of.
Did you hear that, Inception?