Wednesday, June 30, 2010
quotes Sam Raimi
At the recent Saturn Awards, director (of the Evil Dead trilogy, and the Spider-man movies) Sam Raimi talked to the media about his involvement with making a WORLD OF WARCRAFT movie. And he reveals that he is actually, in fact very much excited about making one. And is in the early stages of developing a treatment for its adaptation.
Close to a month ago, there were reports that say Raimi was also involved in developing "Oz, The Great and Powerful" which is said to be a prequel of the classic "Wizard of Oz". This has actually shook the paranoia of fans, fearing Raimi might be handling this instead of W.o.W.
But this recent interview does confirm that Raimi has no current commitment with that Oz project. He has also denied rumors that he is connected with the development of The Hobbit. And as for now, he is focusing his sights on W.o.W. with much love.
Raimi even reveals that he does play the game and reveals what kind of character he plays and what level he has reached.
Sam Raimi is one of those rare directors that are pure geeks. The kind of geek that takes the world of fantasy with a cinematographically serious approach. His massive popularity came from his being the director of the successful Spider-man movies. But before he did that he went through the lowest and most simplest of B-movie director statuses. His first full length feature EVIL DEAD went to become a cult classic, along with its 2 sequels EVIL DEAD 2: DEAD BY DAWN and EVIL DEAD 3: ARMY OF DARKNESS. In an interview with Peter Jackson for Lord of the Rings, he cited inspiration coming from the battle scenes of ARMY of DARKNESS In making his seige war scenes for Rings. If Raimi can make an epic (Army of Darkness) out of a B-movie budget, imagine how much more he can make now that he is in a high profile status filmmaker.
Check out the video...
Monday, June 28, 2010
By Reymundo Salao
The original Karate Kid movie which was such a hit in the 1980s was more of a teen flick; or rather one of the earliest teen flicks that appealed to all demographics because of its action content and teen romance element as well. But that concept is actually very common today. In order to make good resurrection of the Karate Kid concept, it is inevitable to make alterations and to take the concept to the higher level. And this new Karate Kid movie achieves that with flying colors. Among the pop category movies I’ve seen this year so far, I would have to say that this was one of the (if not THE) best.
The treatment of the new Karate Kid movie only required few major alterations apart from the original movie, and the rest was re-using the original concept. The pattern of events on this new movie and the old movie seems to be completely the same. You have the bullied kid, the cruel bullies, the unlikely handyman who comes to rescue the bullied kid and is revealed to be actually a martial arts master, the use of unlikely and unconventional methods in teaching martial arts, and the events leading up to the big martial arts tournament.
Personally, I think it was a wise choice to have the main central kid character much younger than the teenage Karate Kid that appears in the original, because this version becomes much more refreshing, and avoids the teen movie Twilight stigma it could possibly have if it were to have an older main character. It is easy for audiences to relate and sympathize with a more emotionally frail protagonist, one who will do feel the sense of alienation of living in a foreign land.
This movie really is a boy’s tale; it tells how it is living as a kid who has to deal with bullies, the conflict of having to face them, and the conflict of finding the courage to stand up to them. It really goes into the mind of a kid and how he deals with his insecurities, his problems, and the things he has to overcome in his young life.
The original Karate Kid movie was actually nothing more than an American version of the many kung-fu movies (among them include Jackie Chan movies like Snake in the Eagles Shadow) about a kid learning martial arts from an unlikely teacher employing unlikely manners of training. It sort of goes around full circle as the movie employs Jackie Chan himself the Martial Arts icon who has starred in those Hong Kong movies where this concept originally drew inspiration from. It is actually a really good thing that Chan is given a much more serious role in this movie; over the years Hollywood has just turned Chan into a cartoony caricature of him, disregarding Chan's capacity for powerful acting, the way he exhibits in Hongkong movies. But in this Karate Kid movie, we see a glimpse of a more serious Jackie Chan, an emotionally traumatized character actually who finds peace via the friendship with Dre (Jaden Smith). For a child actor, Jaden has overflowingly impressive potential. His acting is effortlessly sincere throughout the movie.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
The Heat Vision reports that Jackson is in negotiations to helm The Hobbit, which will be split in two movies. Almost a month ago, this project was left without a director after Guillermo del Toro, who spent more than a year of writing and doing pre-production on the project, parted ways on May 30 because of a complicated financial situation on MGM's part.
Del Toro's move caught observers by surprise because the filmmaker had devoted so much time to work with Jackson drawing up plans for the movies, and working on the script with Jackson, Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens. He moved his family to New Zealand. Casting was even in the early stages.
But ever since his departure, Warner Bros. and New Line, which run point on the production over partner MGM, has never done a full-on search for a director, even as some names surfaced as possible contenders. Why? Because the studio was saving most of its energy trying to woo Jackson back to the project.
Jackson is the most logical choice not only because he made the "Lord of the Rings" movies but also because he is deeply involved as a producer on the "Hobbit" films.
For now, all we can do is wait for it to be entirely official, and for Jackson to reclaim his Middle Earth throne in making THE HOBBIT movie a reality.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Nicolas Cage is also in early negotiations to reprise his role as Johnny Blaze, a stunt motorcyclist who, in order to save the life of a loved one, makes a deal with the devil. His soul is twinned with that of a demon, and he becomes a flaming-skulled figure driving a motorcycle from hell.
While the dealmaking is in the preliminary stages, the studio hopes to get principal photography going by late fall. Plot details are under wraps, and it is not known if any other character from the previous movie will return.
The first movie which was released 2007 had excruciatingly poor reviews and did not do well in the box office. But the studio was facing a ticking clock scenario that if it didn't act on a sequel soon, the rights to the franchise would have reverted to Marvel. It even considered the possibility of going ahead without Cage.
David Goyer wrote the story. Neveldine and Taylor are writers as well as directors, and the duo may do a rewrite, although that has not been determined at this stage. Avi Arad, Ari Arad, Michael De Luca and Steven Paul are producing. Goyer and Mark Steven Johnson are exec producing.
Personally, I had high hopes for the first movie when it opened. But the film really was an utter disappointment. Ghost Rider is one of the darkest characters in the Marvel Universe, and to treat it in a light, campy, or friendlier approach would be to weaken the strength of a movie adaptation. Duh!!!---It's a dark hero with a flaming skull... chains, spikes, and a bad-ass bike... that should give you a hint that this should have more or less the same treatment as movies like The Crow or Blade. The sequel should re-imagine its treatment and make it dark, or else they'll get another "missed the opportunity" failure.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
In the spirit of independent expression, the Cinemalaya Awards seeks to discover, encourage and honor the cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers that boldly articulate and freely interpret the Filipino experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity.
The works will be:
* narrative features that articulate the Filipino identity and culture
* in digital video format-to take advantage of this new, more accessible technology
* open to both filmmakers who have not yet directed a full-length commercial film, and filmmakers who have directed not more than three full-length commercial films.
There will be two main categories
* Short Feature–from 15 to 20 minutes
* Full-Length Feature – from 90 to 120 minutes.
Ten finalists were selected for the Full-length Feature category while ten finalists were selected for the Short Feature category. In the Full-length Feature Film category, each of the ten finalists received a P500,000.00 seed grant from Cinemalaya Foundation, Inc. as investment for the production.
The Awards are:
* The Best Short Feature Film will receive a grant of P100,000.00 and the Balanghai Trophy.
* The Best Full-length Feature Film will receive a grant of P200,000.00 and the Balanghai Trophy. Awards for both categories will be given on 18 July 2009 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
A new section, the Open Category, is being introduced this year. This section features Filipino filmmakers who have directed at least three full-length feature films which have been released commercially. Five finalists were selected to compete in this category.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Well, it's here people; the much awaited Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and it's coming this December...
Friday, June 11, 2010
by Reymundo Salao
Some fans of the original and Mr. T himself have expressed displeasure over the film, citing that it was unfaithful to the original. But then again, the original was made in the 80's, when it was almost pure taboo for a primetime TV series like the A-team to contain some gunfight “violence”, and also lacked a certain level of budget that allows some real action. You have a story that involves a crack commando unit, unjustly accused for a crime they didn’t commit, turned soldiers of fortune... you think you can pull off turning that concept into a movie with only fistfights and gunless action? Not unless you’re aiming to make a joke of a movie that wouldn’t be funny to begin with. The A-team, in my opinion, is ripe for a needed rehash. And not unless you really are a purist of the original TV series, I believe this movie adaptation gives it justice.
The A-team is wild action and fun-filled comedy rolled into one hell of a ballistic adventure. Surprisingly, even though this movie does have more than enough gunfights, the violence is almost unnoticeably kept to a minimal (kinda like the original TV series).
What I loved about this A-team movie is that even though it had some ridiculous stunts and action sequences, it compensates for attempting to inject some brains on it, and never does surrender itself into being just something that is dumb action. It does not have the Michael Bay format that relies too much on MTV-style, John Woo-rip-off, action hero vanity shots. It never becomes a lazily derivative parody of itself the way the 2000 and 2003 Charlie's Angels movies were. Instead, it took the concept of the original and, in my opinion, took a step forward to improve it and interpret it in more cinematic and spectacular standards.
Even though I initially felt Liam Neeson couldn’t fit in as Hannibal Smith, the leader of the A-team, I now consider his casting as a perfect fit. Expect from an actor like him to have an effortless yet smooth transition from his former serious and fatherly mentor roles (Ducard from Batman Begins, and the father from Taken) and into a team leader who acts with a rugged "boss-man" personality.
What is so refreshing here is that up from the beginning till the middle portion of the film, there is no clear villain. Lt. Sosa (Jessica Biel) and her unit are just doing their roles in trying to bring the outlaw A-team to justice, the CIA agent Lynch (Patrick Wilson) may be such an asshole as he may be but he seems to be just doing his duties as a tricky little spymaster, and the A-team are just trying to clear their name while they're on the run and kicking ass. I could not help but be impressed by their three-way game of semi-espionage. But then, as expected, the second half of the movie is predictable, but still fun.
The blend of comedy and marvelous action drives the energy of the movie. The fun action it has kinda reminds me of how fun the earlier Indiana Jones movies were; quirky, inventive, and explosive. Nowadays, it's not easy to plot out an impressive action sequence anymore, it seems like all the good ideas have already been taken. This movie breaks expectations as it goes on to the next level and resorts to the silly and the batshit crazy ones. And using insane stunts is quite in tune with the concept of the A-team, as one character from the movie puts it: "They specialize in the ridiculous"
This movie was quite a roller coaster. A definite full-price movie, especially if you’re watching it with friends or family. The A-TEAM is indeed back for a new generation to love.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
By Reymundo Salao
Ever found it annoying that sometimes in old tagalog action adventure movies and comedies, there would emerge a seemingly displaced musical number? Also ever took notice how Pinoys have such love for variety shows, music and dancing shows, and the incredible talent Pinoys have in the field of music? It makes you wonder why there hasn’t been a Filipino full-length musical yet. If we Filipinos are so great when it comes to music, then we should have already made a musical to contest and compete such cinematic musical classics as Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, and Phantom of the Opera. Well, director Chito Roño intends to change it with his new movie which is probably the first cinematic full-length Filipino Musical. I am very happy that the result exceeded my expectations, and Roño indeed delivers what I now consider a must-see Filipino movie (especially fitting for this long Independence Day weekend) for this year. It's about time; Emir is now showing.
Now for the very minimal flaws. There were a mere one or two scenes wherein which the transition felt a bit awkward. But what stood out as a downer for me is the ending part of the movie which lacked a sort of encore to close it up. Both story-wise and direction-wise, the movie seemed to not know how to end the thing. It just ended without a bang. I would have hoped for a grandiose epilogue song number, maybe an end that would look like the Les Miserables ending wherein all the characters including those who passed away emerge in spirit to sing a final song that formally ends the musical. Instead what we got was a sudden end credit sequence with a mediocre video from a song that does not involve any of the movie characters. Regardless of the same, the movie still remains a strong musical and a Filipino movie to be proud of.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
The unpleasant fate of the Hobbit movie is to be blamed on the problem, that has been money, specifically the dire situation at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the storied movie studio that has been pinned down by $3.7 billion in debt and a chaotic reorganization that has seen the balance of power tilt away from management and toward lenders with little or no Hollywood experience. The MGM crisis is the reason that plans for another James Bond film were put on the shelf a few months ago, but many people assumed that "The Hobbit" would be different since MGM wasn't the sole financing power behind the "The Hobbit."
That was not the case, as was made clear in Del Toro's comments during a press conference last week that veered into "Hobbit" territory even though the central topic was "Splice," a new film that Del Toro produced: "We have been caught in a very tangled negotiation. Now I have been on the project for nearly two years. We have designed all the creatures, the sets, the wardrobe, animatics and planned action sequences, and we are very, very prepared for when it is finally triggered. We don't know anything until the MGM situation is resolved."
Peter Jackson, the executive producer of "The Hobbit" films, chased those comments and tried to assure fans that the plan to deliver a two-film adaptation of the classic stories was not in jeopardy. It's interesting to read between the lines and guess whether there was mounting tension between Jackson and Del Toro. Maybe it doesn't matter after Sunday, when Del Toro dropped the bombshell on the One Ring, the official website for fans of the J.R.R. Tolkien books and their film adaptations.
"In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming 'The Hobbit,' I am faced with the hardest decision of my life”, says Guillermo. “After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures. I remain grateful to Peter, Fran and Philippa Boyens, New Line and Warner Brothers and to all my crew in New Zealand. I’ve been privileged to work in one of the greatest countries on earth with some of the best people ever in our craft and my life will be forever changed. The blessings have been plenty, but the mounting pressures of conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated for the project. Both as a co-writer and as a director, I wish the production nothing but the very best of luck and I will be first in line to see the finished product. I remain an ally to it and its makers, present and future, and fully support a smooth transition to a new director.”
One should note that with a high caliber director such as Guillermo Del Toro, he would have more than a handful of projects lined up, waiting to be done, and some of these projects are bound by contracts. It would be a useless waste of time for Del Toro to sit and wait for a project which may or may not happen.
Fanatics of the Tolkien series are hoping that Peter Jackson, who is well known as the man who directed the renowned Lord of the Rings movie series, and was the one who actually recommended Del Toro for the job of directing the Hobbit will take over the project.
Friday, June 04, 2010
By Reymundo Salao
I actually hated this movie initially because it seemed like a blatant propaganda for Noynoy Aquino. Even though I did vote for the guy, I felt that the country should take a break from any partisan propaganda for a while. Hearing another form of partisan media feels like as if being fed the same awful meal you vomited just a while ago. That was why I was not feeling positive about this movie at first.
NOY tells the story of a young man named Noy who comes from a poverty stricken family, what with a widowed mother who works as a manicurist, a paralytic older brother, and a kid sister still in her elementary years. In order to help his family survive out of poverty, Noy pretends to be a journalist. The story is set in the very recent time, that is, during the campaign period for the 2010 national elections, and Noy who is acting as a journalist has as his beat the presidentiable Noynoy Aquino. In a very raw documentary fashion, Noy along with a camera (and usually with a cameraman as companion) follows Noynoy Aquino’s plight as a presidential candidate, and goes along wherever his campaign takes him. But side by side his mission to make a really good video for his media company, Noy also comes home to face the challenges brought forth by their family in dealing with a miserably poverty stricken life.
But 20 minutes into the movie I was already loving it for the social relevance and the questions it poses. The cinematography was topnotch, with shots that are artfully done and makes creative use of the visual impact of the slums. Kudos also to the music which perfectly captures the mood of the story all throughout the movie. Halfway into the movie, I was actually impressed about the questions that it poses and the reality it exposes. The realities that the typical everyman Filipino (usually living within the poverty line) usually does not immediately give much of a damn who becomes president, because what only matters is the interest of his family. It's a bitter reality, but genuine nationalism is really quite rare, and usually it is the law of "every man/woman for her/himself (or his/her family)" that prevails. I love the exchange between the character of Noy (Coco Martin) and his editor (Baron Geisler) and how he attempts to enlighten Noy's uneducated views on society and politics, but eventually is greeted by stubbornness. I love that the main character is one who is sort of a jerk and an annoying idiot, but one that mirrors many of us, and that we expect his character to eventually have a point of enlightenment in the movie. I also love the metaphorical reflection of Noy's family to what is going on in the Philippines (and in many of Filipino families struggling to survive poverty), I also found depressingly fascinating the bleakness of the setting of Noy's home, a slum area in Metro Manila which is now seemingly a permanently flooded area, as an effect of the Typhoon Ondoy flood calamity that struck in 2009. Halfway through the movie, there were some minor awkwardly edited sequences, but it never did demoralize the movie...yet.
The second half of the film, on the other hand, was just a mess. After setting up some interesting points and questions, up from there, the movie looked like it went to various directions at a horrible pace. Many of the questions opened by the first half felt unanswered without any decent closure. It was not at an intentional manner but one that reveals the clumsiness of the scriptwriting and the direction. There is a scene where a child does a sort of "history background monologue" which would have been a really nice touch to the movie, but its editorial location in the movie felt misplaced.
The editing along with the direction was a disaster. There is no fluidity in the progression of the movie. One example that stands out is the gad-awful love story in the movie. Why is there even a love story subplot in here that is needlessly spotlighted? That was the first major fail-bomb that crippled the movie. The director obviously does not know how to shoot a love story because what I saw in there was a mixture of corny dialogue, corny acting, and an overall corny execution as to how the scenes should work out. I felt like I was watching a parody of an over-sentimental romance telenovela. The movie started to stink like manure when all of a sudden a torrid love scene occurred in the middle of this film which, by the way, should be a socio-political drama.
In the first half I could understand the relevance as to why this was shot side-by-side the Noynoy Aquino campaign for presidency, but as the film went on, that link got lost, and the movie began to lose its consistency in effect. The epilogue tries to explain the link, but by that time, the audience may have already realized that they seem to have just been making $h1t up as they went along.
The real meat of the story really lies on the plight of Noy's family struggling to rise from poverty, and the problems and miseries that haunt them. What is being shown in this movie does happen in real life. But the problem is that the film was not subtle in depicting it. During the lowest, most depressing part of the movie (when Noy and his brother argue over something), the main characters are suddenly being bombarded with problems that seem to have ridiculously popped up out of nowhere at the same time with a lack of basis to support the problem's existence. It felt like it diverted from making an honest depiction of harsh realities and exposed itself as an obvious attempt to make its audience cry.
But sure, there were moments that did manage to make my eyes watery. Because even though the execution of the story was bad, this was still a story of the Filipino people. And apart from other movies that pretend to be nationalistic or relevant, I could tell that this one had some sincerity in it. As a critic I should point out the movie’s flaws, but I’m sure that other people will love this movie despite its technical flaws. Not many people are really keen on the technicalities, that is why I still consider this a movie that I can recommend. To the naive, this serves as an eye opener to the bleak shadows of society, and this also serves as a prayer that hopes that a new administration will solve these bleak aspects of society.