Sunday, May 31, 2009


By Reymundo Salao

It is the year 2018 and the machines have pretty much decimated the human race, after an uprising of the machines have declared war against humans in an apocalyptic event known as Judgment Day. The remaining survivors are the ones that wage a war for survival against the machines. John Connor knew of this as his mother and himself have been targets of time-travelling terminators, and they also were trying their best to prevent Judgment Day from happening. But in this future, it is obvious that they have failed and Judgment Day did come. They only delayed it. Now, John Connor is one of the leaders of a resistance movement that is bent on crushing the machines. Many believe Connor is indeed the “prophesized” leader that will lead mankind into salvation. But there are many others who also think of him as a False Prophet.

This is a two-part review which will contain spoilers on its second part. We will be eventually talking about spoiler parts of the movie on the second part. That means that my review will contain some revealing details of the movie which can spoil your moviegoing experience if you indeed read on before having watched the movie (Don’t worry, the second part will actually be published on this paper next week, so you can read on to the end of the article). Let me just tell you now that Terminator Salvation is an excellently-done hardcore heavy metal action. This indeed succeeds in showing us the post-apocalyptic world after the machines have waged war upon all mankind. It succeeds on delivering what is really a great war-torn epic action movie.

I used to really hate McG. He directed the Charlie’s Angels movies, which to me, were really lame commercial, product-endorsing, “cheap-pleasures” movie that employed really awful renditions of various copied styles. In those movies, McG seemed to be only capable of making movies out of poorly-copied styles of the likes of other directors, from the Wachowskis to John Woo. But now that McG has been given a serious movie to direct, it was such a pleasant surprise for me to find out that he can really direct an excellent hardcore action movie. Yes, McG does really deserve praise for being a superb action director. There were many moments in the movie which made me cheer, none of the sequences made me yawn or roll my eyeballs, which proves how much of a great leap McG’s reputation is from that of a hack to somebody who knows how to make unique eye-catching scenes that would make you raise your eyebrows with delight. The movie’s bleak atmosphere, its war ravaged feel is beautifully brought to life by McG’s team. From the cinematography (Shane Hurlbut) to the editing (Conrad Buff), all did a great job. The weaker points of the movie that I would point out is the weak script (despite a strong plot) and the barely satisfying music. Danny Elfman is one of the best music directors/composers, having created classic and timeless scores for such projects as Batman (’89) and the Simpsons TV series (along with a seemingly countless more). But the guy is not really a god, and it is in this movie where he shows us just that. The theme music he made for this movie feels weary and boring. They could have easily just adapted or tweaked the original Terminator theme music (by Brad Fiedel), but it was only used in few scenes. But I do love the use of the songs “Rooster” by one of my favorite bands Alice in Chains, which fits the hopeless atmosphere of the story, and its use of Guns N’ Roses’ “You Could Be Mine” which was established in the previous Terminator 2 movie as one of the songs John Connor listens to when he was still an upstart kid. As for the script, there were many lines that felt pretty corny. Some were out of place. On the other hand, I would not agree with the opinion that some of the familiar catch-phrase lines from the previous Terminator movies were delivered on this movie in order to make a cheap wink at its fans. I believe it is merely character consistency at work (Kyle Reese’s “Come with me if you want to live”), making such characters have the tendency to use and re-use those lines, which for me is just a form of character development. While in other cases (John Connor’s “I’ll be Back”), it is just mere coincidence

Before we do indeed get into the spoilers, my verdict for this movie is that it really is a movie that deserves a full price, a great summer action movie, it is honestly not as great as Terminator 2 or not as great as, say for example, something like Star Trek. It is great but not really enough to make you stop shitting your pants for a moment and give it immediate attention, except maybe for geeks like me who adore this genre of movies. But the film does manage to deliver what it is expected to do: make us see and feel the war against the machines as promised in the previous Terminator movies. And in that specific point, it is an explosive success.

Many critics complain about the plotholes of the movie. But I believe many of these plotholes can only be solved if one would just surrender to good old suspension of disbelief. Its original story from the first Terminator movie was one big plothole from the very beginning. In the first movie, the machines sent a terminator back in time to the year 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of the leader of the resistance waging war against the machines. As a counter-measure, the resistance sends one of their soldiers Kyle Reese in order to protect Sarah Connor. As all of this chase-fight events were going on, Kyle and Sarah were able to consummate their love; they had sex. As a result, Reese impregnated Sarah. And the son of Sarah is of course John Connor, the destined leader of the resistance. Don’t you think that John Connor mistakenly changed his own fate and existence the day Kyle Reese fathered John instead of Being fathered by his original father (if Reese had not traveled in time to meet Sarah)? Now comes the new movie, which tells us that in the early days of the war, the number one target of the machines is a teenager named Kyle Reese. But why? How then did the machines of that time, know that Reese would soon become the father of John Connor? This is just one very tiny bit of plothole that you should gladly just ignore and exempt from your nitpicking, if you want to enjoy the film in its full capacity. On the other hand, these are plot-holes that is still open for a fix. Who knows, if a sequel can eventually provide answers for the minor nonsense involved here?

Another criticism is that Christian Bale’s performance as John Connor was too monotonous, like he was just merely gruff and tough all the time that it leaves no room for audiences to understand or even like his character well enough. While I may half-agree with this issue, I think audiences should take into consideration that the character of John Connor is one which is so dark and so serious; John has been and is facing his nightmares come true, nightmares worse than expected as is said in the movie (“this is not the future my mother told me about”) and continues on to predict the possibility of failure. The progression of his character from Terminator 2 to this movie is such that he has become devoid of any human emotional weakness by this movie, and is nothing any more or less than just a great soldier determined to win the war. Such to a point that when he sees the familiar T-800 to once as a kid, he once had a friendship with, there is not a single drop of emotional reaction from him because it is so clear in his head that this is the enemy and not the same machine he once knew. Speaking of the T-800, its appearance was the extra-sweet little extra little icing on the cake. Even though that Schwarzenegger did not make an actual appearance at the shooting, the filmmakers were able to recreate him with a model stand-in and with the aid of CGI. It was as if Arnold really was there. On the other hand, the execution of this effect was good but not flawless. Keen eyes can tell that this was CGI. But it was really a smart move to position the angles so that there would be a minimal use of CGI.

In some other aspects of the movie, it doesn’t underestimate the intelligence of the audience. So when Blair (Moon Bloodgood) attempts to set Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) free from the arrest of the resistance, she does not stutter in desperation as she convinces the guard to leave the room, and she even convinces him further by pointing her gun and shooting directly at Wright. And when Connor hears the lies made by the guard, his reaction is just ahead as the audiences’.

While half of the film focuses on the character of John Connor and his struggle with the resistance, the other half focuses on the character of a young Kyle Reese, a kid, and a mysterious man named Marcus Wright, and the dramatic revelation that he really is one of the machines. The marketing of the movie can be blamed for partially ruining the surprise of this revelation. Even though that many may have already guessed it from the very beginning of the movie, the film accomplishes on trying to divert that thought or that guess by presenting scenes where Marcus coughs and bleeds on the earlier part of the movie, a smart way of covering up the big surprise.

Many argue that there was not really one main character to root for, and not one main villain to hate. But that is what makes it a great movie in my opinion. The conflicts seem to be divided into conflicts with self, with trust on people, and then of course the violent conflicts on the battlefield. The movie feels more like a war-survival movie, standing apart from the previous Terminator movies. The film feels closer to something like a cross between Mad Max and a good Vietnam movie. Even though the movie held the number one US box office for only a brief period, it cannot destroy the fact that this is one hell of an action movie that deserves a better success.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Porn Goddess Sasha Grey in a Steven Soderbergh movie

Yes, SASHA GREY, most of you men know her, i know. If not, well, FYI, she's just one of the most popular, most lusted-over, and nastiest porn stars, probably on the same level with Maria Ozawa... Grey's gone mainstream now, as she is appearing in a non-porn motion picture directed by STEVEN SODERBERGH!

The Girlfriend Experience is a 2009 experimental drama film shot in New York City. It is directed by Steven Soderbergh and stars Sasha Grey. A rough cut was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009. The film has also been made available on Amazon Video on Demand as a pre-theatrical rental. Soderbergh mentioned Michelangelo Antonioni's Red Desert and Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers as influences. First-time actor and real-life blogger Glenn Kenny (of the blog "Some Came Running") plays the cameo role of a blogger and adult services reviewer. The film is also notable in that it was shot for 1.3 million dollars and that it was shot with a relatively inexpensive RedOne camera.

Hmmm... honestly, it makes me wonder what she had to do to get the part. But that's just my nasty fantasy at work. hehehe

Monday, May 25, 2009

Land of the Lost trailer

I cannot believe that there's not much publicity or trailers for this movie here in Iloilo City. It looks like a cool and funny movie. I know Will Ferrell has been making lots of lame comedies. But he does once in a while get in on projects that are profound and view-worthy (like Stranger than Fiction). I hope this movie really is good because I'm not really getting any excitement from Transformers 2 and that really dumb G.I. Joe movie adaptation

Saturday, May 23, 2009

"Kinatay" at the Cannes Filmfest

Coco Martin and Mercedes Cabral grace world premiere of Kinatay in Cannes
by Jocelyn Dimaculangan

SOURCE: Philippine Entertainment Portal

The delegation of Kinatay (The Execution of P) proudly walked on the red carpet of the 62nd Cannes International film festival last Sunday, May 17.

Filipino director Brillante "Dante" Mendoza, Coco Martin and Mercedes Cabral, actress-Bb. Pilipinas Universe 1982 Maria Isabel Lopez, and producer Ferdinand Lapuz graced the world premiere of the graphic crime shocker in Cannes, southern France.

Kinatay (which literally translates to Butchered) tells the story of a police-academy student named Peping (Coco Martin) who needs money for his young family. He takes on a job, that he later learns, involves killing a woman.

Mercedes wore a terno gown exclusively designed for her by Angeles City designer Joey Feliciano. The indie actress was overjoyed when she saw the blank and fuschia modern Filipiniana gown last Tuesday, May 12.

Feliciano also designed the Barong Tagalogs worn by Direk Brillante, Ferdy and Coco Martin. The designer used indigenous materials for the formal wear: indian raw silk and banana fiber.

This entry to the official competition of Cannes 2009 also stars John Regala, Jhong Hilario, Lauren Novero, Benjie Filomeno and Julio Diaz but they did not attend the star-studded event in France.

Formerly titled Chop Chop, Kinatay was written by Armando "Bing" Lao who also wrote Serbis last year.

American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill) attended the world premiere of Kinatay. This year, Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds is competing with Kinatay for the Palme d'Or, the top prize of Cannes.

Last Sunday, Direk Dante and cast members attended the press conference of Kinatay along with producers Didier Costet and Ferdinand Lapuz.

During the press con conducted in France, the director described the style that he used in this film:

"Other than the images, I think the sound and music play a vital role. Even if you don't see it in the images, you can almost feel the character and what's going on in the film just by hearing the sound and the voices of the character."

He also explained his use of time in Kinatay: "I thought of using, as in my previous film, real time to treat this kind of genre, this kind of psychological thriller, or psychological drama. Prior to filming this story, I saw other films by other masters, but I thought, 'I'm going to treat it differently.' I want the audience to have a different kind of experience. I want them to be with the character. I think it will be more effective if you do it in that way, rather than watching a film. When you watch a film, or a horror film, it's there just to scare you, but not to experience the whole process."

The delegation members of Kinatay extend their gratitude to Mr. Martin Macalintal of the French Embassy for assisting some of the delegates in getting their visas.

Aside from Kinatay, two other Filipino feature films are in Cannes this year: Raya Martin's Independencia and Manila co-directed by Raya and Adolfo Alix Jr.

Independencia, starring Sid Lucero, is the first Filipino film to enter the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes while Manila, topbilled by Piolo Pascual, was chosen to have a special screening in the 62nd edition of Cannes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Director Sam Raimi talks Evil Dead 4 & Spider-Man 4

L.A. Times' (Hero Complex section) contributor Gina McIntyre recently sat down with Sam Raimi to talk about his upcoming return to the horror genre, “Drag Me to Hell,” set for release later this month. She also quizzed the director on the status of other projects, too, namely the next “Spider-Man” installment and the long-discussed remake of his feature debut, “The Evil Dead,” which stands as an indie-horror classic. Check back here for the "Drag Me to Hell" piece, but in the meantime here's the wallcrawler update...

G.M.: What’s the status of “Spider-Man 4”?

S.R.: The next installment beings shooting, I believe, in February 2010. As far as we’re concerned, that’s no time left because they need so much time to work on the screenplay, casting is long, the storyboarding and the shots are very, very complicated. There’s a lot of animation, there’s a lot of character design, costume design. It’s like making an animated film and a live-action film. I’ll just barely be ready.

G.M.: Few directors endure in a franchise through four films. What made you return to the Marvel Comics character for yet another chapter?

S.R.: I love Peter Parker. I’ve always loved the Spider-Man comics, and I feel like I still know more about the character that I think I can bring to the screen -- and perhaps make it great if I do it right. It’s the same reason I keep reading the Spider-Man comic books. I’m really enamored with the character and now I feel like I have a history with him. I’d like to really make a great picture with him and bring the character to life at a level of detail that I’ve never realized before. It’s almost like I have a desire to do something I’ve been trying to do right and haven’t yet been able to. Not exactly.

G.M.: Are there things that you’d wish you’d done differently in the previous “Spider-Man” films? The first two earned especially strong reviews...

S.R.: What would I have done differently? I would have done everything differently, every single shot. I think in every picture that I’ve ever made. Everything that I’ve done torments me. I really would like another chance except I’d be too embarrassed to ever really try to do them again and no one would want to see the same movie just done differently.

G.M.: Is that the reason why “Evil Dead 2” is essentially a remake of “The Evil Dead” – but with a slightly different approach?

S.R.: That’s what that was. I was just trying to get things straight in my head and do them better and differently. People shouldn’t really do that though. That’s why I think you can make a sequel. If you’ve got more to bring then you should bring it, if you get the chance to.

I want to make the best [“Spider-Man” movie] of the bunch and I’ve always been touched by Peter Parker in a way that I’ve never been able to describe on film, even though I’ve got a great actor performing it.

In every moment, I’ve got to find some truth and really become the character in my mind. I think I feel a little freer to be able to do that. I’m going to try it.

G.M.: Speaking of second chances, there’s been a lot of talk about an “Evil Dead” remake. Is that project moving forward?

S.R.: I was planning to do that, but when I got swept away in “Drag Me to Hell,” it got pushed off to the side. I just finished [“Drag Me to Hell”] last week, and already “Spider-Man” is calling. So I don’t think I’ll be able to do it immediately, but the moment I have a chance, I really would like to work on an “Evil Dead” story.

I’ve talked about two things with my [producing] partner Rob Tapert: The first is, should we get a young filmmaker to remake the “Evil Dead” movie, the first one? When we made that, it was 16 mm, it was made in mono and very few people saw it on the big screen. Fifty or 60 prints were made, and they bicycled them from market to market and very few people saw it. It probably made like $1.1 million at the box office. It really is made for a big-screen experience. I’d love for some young filmmaker to make a remake if they had a new vision of the thing, 35 mm, 5.1 sound, really move the sound around and make it an immersive experience. I think it’s a good, simple campfire story and could really be fun. It’s still dependent on finding a filmmaker that really can present something great. Then I think I’d love to see it.

G.M.: What’s that other option that you’ve discussed?

S.R.: I would like to make “Evil Dead 4” with Bruce Campbell. I’ve said that before in an interview, and the fans sometimes say, "Why does he keep opening his big mouth about it and then not do anything about it?" So, I’m hesitant but -- between you and me and just the people who read the L.A. Times -- I’d still like to do that at some point. I do want to make it down the line.

-- Gina McIntyre

SOURCE: L.A. Times

Ash may be back after all!

Monday, May 18, 2009

SadyaSadya: My Favorite Movie: Star Trek / Star Wars

now here's something fun I picked up this weekend. Something that points out similarities between Star Trek & Star Wars. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Angels and Demons

By Reymundo Salao

ANGELS & DEMONS is the film adaptation of the Dan Brown novel of the same title. Although in chronological sequence, this is a prequel to The Da Vinci Code, this movie’s script was adjusted so that it would be the sequel instead. The story begins when the Pope passed away and during this period of transition in the Vatican, four cardinals were kidnapped allegedly by the Illuminati, a mysterious underground movement of scholars, scientists, and radical intellectuals which was founded during the ancient times and was in conflict with the Catholic Church. Brought forth to help with the investigation of this cryptic crime, Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) was summoned along with Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), a scientist whose antimatter experiment has been stolen by the Illuminati to be used as a bomb that is capable of destroying the entire Vatican City and perhaps the regions around it. Langdon and Vetra relentlessly search through mysteries in order to find the kidnapped Cardinals, the Illuminati, and the bomb that is set for cataclysmic annihilation.

Before I begin, I’d like to make it clear that I have not read the Dan Brown novel which this movie adapts. So I am not familiar with the characters or the storyline till only when I watched the movie & did additional research afterwards.

Both Da Vinci Code and this film Angels & Demons were directed by Ron Howard, who is indeed a good director. His style is fit for dramas and books like this because he is satisfactorily good at storytelling, but is almost devoid of any peculiar filmmaking style or signature. That is why he is good at adapting books. Because he will just interpret a story as it was written, and obviously won’t embed a personal directorial signature along with a faithful adaptation. This was more mystery action thriller. Oftentimes, the mood of the storyline felt like episodes from the popular TV series "24". The fluidity of the movie was also linearly simplistic because this was basically a "search for the kidnapper/s" and "hunt the killer" format combined, injected with elements of Christianity-based mystery and conspiracy theories. In comparison, while The Da Vinci Code movie (probably same with the book) was boring, slow, preachy and overhyped; Angels & Demons on the other hand, is more direct-to-the-point, thrilling, and fluid.

This film is actually less offensive to those religiously sensitive as compared to The Da Vinci Code which many devout Catholics view as a sort of heretic work of literature. So you can bring your Catholic lola to this one, with the condition that she is not a diehard religious. Because even though this was less offensive, it still does have few scenes that might piss off religious fanatics. This really is something for more open-minded Catholics.

Among the actors that stand out in this film, aside from Hanks, are Stellan Skarsgård as the head of the Swiss Guard and Armin Mueller-Stahl as Cardinal Strauss.(Cardinal Mortati in the novel). There wasn’t enough space in the storyline for Ayelet Zurer to impress us with her performance or even her existence as it felt like she was just a background character on this movie. As impressive Ewan McGregor is as an actor, in this movie though, his acting does not exactly hit the spot, as there are some moments where his performance felt awkward. It is as if he still had the Star Wars Prequel germs hanging in over him. Either that or it was actually intentional as to serve the storyline. I may be wrong in judging Ewan’s acting in this one.

Overall, ANGELS & DEMONS is an interesting and smart mystery-thriller. Its twists and turns can tend to be cliché but it does have its moments that surprise and slyly deceive its audience. My rating for this movie is that it really is satisfactorily good. It is neither grand nor awful. Although this was not very impressive, at least it does manage to make me love it, at least for the moment.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

STAR TREK (2009)

STAR TREK: Better than Sex?
By Reymundo Salao

STAR TREK was once a phenomenon that has spawned an entire nation of fanatics. A TV series that progressed into film, into comics, into books, video games, collectibles, apparel, merchandise, sense of fashion, psychology, philosophy, and into something as close to religion and crazy fanaticism, STAR TREK was never just as TV series or a movie. It was a phenomenon.

Of course, over the years, STAR TREK has gotten very much dated and got old quick as it was gradually overtaken by the likes of Star Wars, Matrix, The Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. Add to the fact that the various spawned series have failed to impress and recruit masses of fresh new fans to carry on the phenomenon. Many attribute its too serious approach, especially with heavy sci-fi-based storylines and a very minimal action-adventure and camp factor; of course, it was only natural to expect that the universe of Star Trek was one big boring universe with weird funny-looking aliens.

Not until 2009. Because this is the year STAR TREK becomes cool again. And what was once a boring universe to the younger generation now is something the younger generation will gladly beam on to.

STAR TREK is a semi-reboot/semi-restart of the Star Trek story where we see how characters like James T. Kirk and Spock have grown to become who they are as defined by the events that have transpired in their lives, and how they got to be part of the United Federation of Planets’ Starfleet. It is in their first mission together that they encounter a mad Romulan named Nero and his crew who were responsible for the death of Kirk’s father. Not only did Kirk and Spock find out that Nero came from the future, they also found out that Nero’s travel back in time has caused alterations in the present universe, causing changes that would become permanent in their world. Changes such as the fact that had not Nero traveled from the future, Kirk’s father would have lived long enough to see him become the captain of the USS Enterprise. Nero is now bent on his mad mission to destroy the Starfleet and what stands on his way are Kirk, Spock and the rest of the crew of the starship Enterprise.

Initially, the route this project goes in taking on the origin story of Star Trek's iconic characters at a great risk that could endanger the integrity of the entire Star Trek franchise. But that is the beauty of Star Trek: it is open to twists and turns because it is a universe where alternate dimensions and alternate timelines exist. If such plot device is used, it is easily and openly embraced by its audience, most especially if it is brilliantly used, such as in the case of this movie.

This semi-reboot really succeeds in effectively upgrading the franchise instead of degrading it. It is as if it creates an extra dimension to its characters and to its universe. Making such iconic characters like James T. Kirk and Spock far more interesting, far more positively rich in terms of character, and far more appealing. It makes me wish that the Star Wars prequels were made this way: character-based and not just pure eye candy.

Unlike the other Star Trek movies that felt as if it was too boring for non-sci-fi audiences, this one had a storyline that could attract even those not familiar with Star Trek. In addition, this was never dense and managed to have lots of fun moments. The film really knows where to insert its witty humor and seems to pick you up in every moment that it is about to lag. Serious storylines and funny moments rode on track, creating a perfect blend to satisfy the general audience and the purist geeks alike.

The action was also superb. Counting the many Star Trek movies, there were only like two or three Trek movies which had great action elements. This one is probably on top of the ranking. We have chase scenes, space battles, gunfights, fistfights, and even sword fights. This is one movie that breaks the bad impression of Star Trek being boring. JJ Abrams, its director really knew how to amp up the action in a way fitting of a Star Trek movie.

This is the proper way to revive a sleeping franchise. The way JJ Abrams really knows how to properly reintroduce the characters of Star Trek, making them idol-worthy of a fresh new army of fanbase. Quite ideally, this movie never ever lazily relies on cheap ways to bring back much loved characters into focus, instead, it really endeavors to create those characters inside out, a process of well-written character development that really fleshes out these characters and not make its audience see them as mere 2-D characters on the screen. When you see characters like Kirk, Spock, Mccoy, and Scottie; they immediately become movie idols to fans. And its actors are also unbelievably excellent because the film really endeavors not just to pick actors and actresses that merely look like the original cast of the old series, no no… these new cast really shows us that they are these same characters by how good their acting is. So if you see Karl Urban playing the role of “Bones” Mccoy (originally played by Deforest Kelley), he doesn’t show us that he is that same character by the way he looks or how the make up and hair department makes him look like Kelley… he does it by how well he acts exactly how Kelley defined the character. That goes out for the rest of the cast.

This really is this year’s “Dark Knight” STAR TREK really is one grand masterpiece, something I have already paid to watch twice, and still does manage to excite me because I am going to watch it again this week. This is one movie you should never miss.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

STAR TREK is BEST REVIEWED film of the year so far

It boldly goes where no Trek has gone before. This new Trek will live long and prosper. No matter what clichés they may use, there's no getting around the critics' main point: JJ Abrams' Star Trek is stirring mainstream entertainment, and breathes new life into the moribund franchise. It's an origin story, one that tells the tale of how Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) became, well, Kirk and Spock. The pundits say Abrams' action-packed, visually remarkable take on such venerable material will reward both fans and newcomers alike, and sets an impressive new course for one of pop culture's most enduring series. Not only is Star Trek Certified Fresh, it's the best-reviewed wide release of the year. To top it all off, it's the best-reviewed entry in the Star Trek franchise to date. (Be sure to check out Starfleet Command, RT's one-stop shop for all things Trek. Also, see this week's Total Recall, in which we count down all the previous Trek films by Tomatometer.)


Brett Ratner Off Conan? THANK GOD!

CONAN the BARBARIAN is one of the most respected works of fiction by Robert Howard. The Conan the Barbarian movie directed by John Milius was one of the best "sword and sandals" movies, probably the greatest movie of its category, a film way ahead of its time. Brett Ratner is the director responsible for the Rush Hour movies and also directed disappointing sequel movies Red Dragon and X-men 3. So you could clearly see why we want Ratner to take his hands off the upcoming Conan project.

Empire magazine spoke to Conan and Red Sonja producer Joe Gatta today, and he had a few revelations to share about the upcoming films. Most importantly, it appears that Brett Ratner is currently off Conan, which he was expected to direct.

"We’re currently in the process of hiring a director," he told us. "For the past six months we were discussing the movie with Brett Ratner, and for more timing issues than anything else we had to part ways with Brett. We all wanted him to do it, believe me; just the timing didn’t work. But you never know what can happen."

That last comment would appear to leave the door open for a return for Ratner, should his schedule free up (he's currently got about 12 films on his To Do list) but for the moment he's off the project. Still, that hasn't dented Gatta's determination.

"We have a potential start-date on Conan of August 24. And we’ll be shooting in Bulgaria. I would say though the emphasis is on Conan [rather than Red Sonja]. It’s our crown jewel here at the company and that will be the leader. Red Sonja probably won’t happen until next year, as far as making it goes. So we want to launch Conan and reinvent the franchise."

As for the hiring of Conan himself, you might want to start pumping some serious iron: Gatta says that, "We’ll have an open casting call: as soon as we hire our director the search is on."

With luck, between Conan and Red Sonja, this could be a brave new dawn for the horny-helmet genre, restoring it to its rightful place at the top of the movie pantheon, crushing its enemies, seeing them driven before it and hearing the lamentations of their women.

SOURCE: Empire Online

Friday, May 01, 2009

X-Men Origins: WOLVERINE

Definitely Not the Wolverine I Idolized
By Reymundo Salao

I’m going to tell you what you want to hear; that X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a movie filled with thrilling super-powered mutant action, that it never slows down for the audiences to get bored with, that it does have enough action but never goes beyond the levels of the disturbingly gory, and that it promises appearances from familiar X-men characters such as The Blob, Cyclops, and Gambit. If you consider yourself as just your average-joe movie goer just looking for a fun action-packed superhero movie then these first few sentences should probably be enough for you. And you can stop reading now. But if you wanna get into serious thought about the movie, or if you wanna nitpick from a Wolverine fanatic point of view, then you may wanna proceed on reading on.

Personally, I'm not really happy about how the movies adapted Wolverine. The true fictional character Wolverine is actually much much shorter, much bulkier, and much more bad-ass. That is why he is the perfect anti-hero; it's coz he does not fit the typical description of a superhero. He should look more like a kargador (cargo-worker) in mulle (seaport) rather than look like a freaking denim jeans supermodel. But, ok, let's say we look over past this little nitpicking detail. Is the movie any good? Does it work?

From the get go, the movie ran smoothly with what seems to be a decent well-made storyline. As a fanatic of the source material, I initially did not mind the alterations made and even managed to sincerely love the movie. It seems that the first act of the film had a good build-up, with a Wolverine who gives up on being a soldier and retiring to a normal life, and then with the diabolical paramilitary group led by William Stryker trying to search for him. It was such a pity to see the film gradually growing cornier and cornier as the movie progresses to its middle part. It's as if the movie drastically shifts away from the dark serious tone of the first act to give way for more lackluster atmosphere. As soon as you see the almost comedic reaction of an old couple to a naked Wolverine, things fall apart. At first I thought it was a clever move to make it a comedic version so that it could intentionally become darker. But it continues on with several more corny scenes. The progress of the storyline also goes sour during the final acts. It's as if the direction of the storyline made no sense. You have a revelation twist that doesn’t really make much sense. With action sequences that are not really that impressive, the movie should have at least made its storyline solid and its script interesting enough. This overall product feels like its just edible for the moment and will probably forgotten quickly, only to be replaced by a better movie adaptation after maybe the next 4 years.

The more tragic part of this movie is that a workprint copy of this movie was leaked on the internet and for all the CD pirates to feast over. There was a press release stating that the movie had to do more reshoots and that there is an additional 10 more minutes into the finished theatrical copy of the film than what is on the bootleg workprint. But when I compared the two after having watched the theatrical version, there seems to be no “10 minutes more” and not enough additional scenes for geeks like me to enjoy. What we only had is a very short extra scene at the very end of the credits of the movie. And that bit was even insignificant enough that it feels like there was really no point to add it.

All in all, X-Men Origins: WOLVERINE is an unimpressive but mildly entertaining movie. Enjoyable but forgettable.

Coming soon is the podcast version of my column & website on the Iloilo online radio at