Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Batman 3 Entitled: The Dark Knight Rises; No Riddler

Director Christopher Nolan has just revealed the name of his third Batman installment and it will be called The Dark Knight Rises.

Collider reports:

Director Christopher Nolan has spilled some revelations to Hero Complex about the upcoming film. First up, the next Batman movie will be titled The Dark Knight Rises. Nolan also tells Hero Complex that The Riddler will not be the villain in the third film. There have been reports that Killer Croc may be the villain, but that rumor came from Mark “in-no-way-trustworthy” Millar.

Finally, Nolan confirms what we already suspected: the film won’t be in 3D. Cinematographer Wally Pfister shares Nolan’s lack of enthusiasm for the technology. However, they’re both fans of IMAX and will “…instead use high-definition approaches and IMAX cameras to strike out on a different cinematic path…” Nolan filmed the intro of the Dark Knight in IMAX.

I'm kind of torn about the Riddler not being in the third film. I think it would have been a nice inclusion and we would have seen another part of Batman's intellectual side. At the same time, the Riddler doesn't pose a big physical threat to him so if Nolan does go with Killer Croc we will see great fight scenes. Actor Tom Hardy (Inception) is officially signed on for the The Dark Knight Rises so he may/probably will be the villain. I'm happy Nolan is staying away from 3D and taking the IMAX approach again. It's definitely more of a compliment to the story and it's not selling out. 3D would just ruin the quality of the film altogether. As for the title I gotta say I'm not that thrilled with it. I mean The Dark Knight Rises? In my opinion it's somewhat boring and unimaginative. It gives the impression that its the first in the series when its really the third. I would have been happier with The Caped Crusader or if Nolan went back to the simplicity of of just Batman with some other catchy word. Who knows maybe I just need some time to let it marinate. Either way I do look forward to this film immensely and cannot wait until July 2012!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jackass 3D

I'm a huge fan of Jackass. I think its extremely funny and highly entertaining. Watching grown men creatively come up with ways to hurt themselves is just highly amusing in my opinion. However, I felt the Jackass crew could have done better this time around. Although I'm not gonna go into specifics I thought some of the pranks/acts didn't live up to the essence that is Jackass. Don't get wrong there are funny, outrageous, and disgusting parts to the film (which almost made me joke) but I did walk in expecting a bit more. They relied too much on the slow motion shots where regular speed would have been suffice. Furthermore, perhaps some of the overall essence was different because they weren't hammered on the set or used footage while they drunk. This is mainly due to Steve-O's recovery, which in the whole grand scheme of things was a great sign of support and respect so I can't really argue with that. Is Jackass 3D worth seeing? Yes, especially if you're a true fan but I personally felt the first two were better.

Overall: B

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Social Network

After seeing The Social Network it became abundantly clear that as smart and talented Mark Zuckerberg was (and still is) back at his days at Harvard he needed to do something extraordinary in his life in order to feel special and get noticed. Creating Facebook made him shit loads of money, which in turn got him friends, notoriety, and exclusivity, all of which he was completely incapable of doing on his own. Zuckerberg’s social skills were so lacking and his personality was extremely rigid that it seemed as if he had no emotion at all. After finding out the story behind Facebook, even though some of it was glorified for the sake of cinema, I have to admit that part of me doesn’t want to be part of the Facebook world anymore. Zuckerberg’s dedication to the idea of this groundbreaking social media outlet is very admirable but when you see his lack of honor and loyalty to his best and ONLY friend, Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin, it may really disturb you as it did me. I have come to realize that Zuckerberg created something that has profoundly changed socialization forever but he paid a high cost largely due to his inability to connect to people. His actions towards others didn’t even register on an emotional level mainly due to his genius and dedication to the essence of Facebook. Ironic, isn’t it? What I found even more ironic is the fact a young man who was completely inept of socializing with his peers perfectly understood what people his age desired in order to socialize. It is within that critical understanding that I have to tip my hat to the guy. At the same time, Zuckerberg may have 500 million "friends" on Facebook but when your one and only true friend sues you it says something about the person you are. It says that you’re a jealous, low self-esteemed ass fuck with little to no sense of loyalty, which above all pisses me off.

Overall, The Social Network was a very good movie – a solid piece of cinema. Obviously, certain details were left out for legal reasons but the story that was presented was entertaining, thought provoking, and more importantly informative. Director David Fincher (Fight Club, Seven) flip-flopped between the past, which was the creation of the site at Harvard in 2003, and everything leading up to the present where Zuckerberg is entangled in two separate depositions. One deposition focuses on the Winklevoss twins (who are the EPITMOE of self entitled WASP jocks) who claimed that Zuckerberg stole their initial idea. The second focuses on Saverin’s. As for Jesse Eisenberg’s performance, it was truly exceptional and he did an excellent job displaying Zuckerberg’s genius, his callous and cynical personality, and his social awkwardness. Eisenberg’s ability to shell out hundreds of interrelated thoughts with intellectual superiority was astounding. Justin Timberlake played Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster, who at the time was an entrepreneur looking for the next big thing to make him money. When Parker befriends Zuckerberg things change rather quickly both in the positive and in the negative but it’s clear that Parker’s assistance took Facebook to the next level. Timberlake gave a very good performance playing the confidant and cocky Parker. His transition to the silver screen has worked out rather well for him and I have to say I enjoy watching him in the right roles.

Another thing that didn’t set well with me about this movie is the actual existence of these highly elite and exclusive Ivy League final clubs where everyone is preppy, egotistical, and has this arrogant sense of entitlement. Maybe I'm missing something concerning this because that world is very foreign to me. In the beginning of the film Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg stated that these final clubs would lead to a better life and the establishment of new and better relationships for one’s future. While I can't disagree with that latter part of that statement, undeniably networking and connections can get you very far professionally; I'm still in awe of the arrogance. Yes, it’s a privilege to go to any Ivy League school, especially Harvard, but the majority of people don't want to hear how awesome other people and their private clubs are. I couldn’t care less that you have a trust fund, or that your dad works in Washington DC and has several connections that will highly benefit your future, or that you’re a 6th generation WASP therefore you're apparently more American than me. Shit like that makes me fucking sick. I could say a lot more but I think I should end this little tangent now.

Is The Social Network worth seeing? Yes, and I suggest you see it. However, don't be surprised to feel a little dirty and uncomfortable when you walk out the theater. You may feel even dirtier when you log onto Facebook to update your status, tag someone in a photo, or do some other bullshit it offers. Whatever you do you should always remember at Facebook’s core was a lonely and bitter 20 something year old genius who created this phenomenon but burnt practically every bridge to get where he is today. For some that may not matter but for me I hold the relationships in my life with much more importance and respect than money, fame, and exclusivity.

Overall: A-

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Zack Synder Directing New Superman Movie

It's official...Zack Synder (300, Watchmen) will be directing the new Superman movie.

THR reports:

Zack Snyder has been chosen to direct the new Superman movie, which Christopher Nolan is producing for Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures. Negotiations began earlier today.

Snyder, who directed “300″ and “Watchmen,” had been on the list of helmers ensconced in meetings with Nolan and Warners execs, who in recent weeks have talked to Darren Aronofsky, Ben Affleck, Matt Reeves and Tony Scott.

Nolan, who revived Batman, teamed up with David Goyer for a new a way to revive the last son of Krypton. Goyer is writing the script, which is rumored to have, like “Superman Returns,” a Richard Donner Superman connection. In the movie’s case, it’s a villain connection: General Zod.

Nolan is producing with his wife and producing partner Emma Thomas, along with Charles Roven, and Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder’s wife and partner.

Because Nolan was godfathering “Superman,” it initially was though that any filmmaker coming on baord would be someone who would be more of a mentee in a mentor-style relationship. Snyder, however, brings not only box-office clout but also, like Nolan, a reputation for being a visionary.

Snyder, who told Heat Vision that he was “psyched” about the gig, played down potential class differences.

“In the initial meetings, he’s been super amzaingly smart and also amazingly kind, filmmaker-to-filmmaker,” he said of Nolan. “I have great respect for him. The process has been amazing so far, and it looks like nothing but pluses.”

Snyder first met with Nolan about a month ago, and while he didn’t do any dog-and-pony show, “I definitely expressed my love for the character and interest in seeing him treated right.”

Added Snyder: “The character deserves to be loved. It’s his time”

The director said he and the movie’s makers would work on the script a little bit before jumping to the next stage.

“We’re moving quick,” he said.

I'm really excited about this. Synder is a great director and has experience with comic book movies. His style is typically a bit darker than other directors so I'm interested to see how he'll incorporate that into the Man of Steel. Obviously, Superman isn't a dark character in any way but I think he's been missing some touches of darkness all these years. When I say darkness what I really mean is going all out in a fight, holding nothing back, and revealing some emotions. As a true Superman fan that's what I need to see. This is going to be awesome!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Town

Summary: A team of life long friends execute highly planned robberies in the Charlestown area of Boston. Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) is the mastermind and leader of the group but after crossing paths with Claire Keesey (Rebecca) a bank manager who they took as a hostage he starts to have a change of heart. MacRay must now deal with his growing emotions for Claire, the growing discontent between him and his best friend James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), and the extremely smart and determined FBI agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) who is onto his teams heists.

Plot (A-): What a great movie The Town was! Adapted from Chuck Hogan’s novel Prince of Thieves the story is filled with nail biting scenes. For a short amount of time there is a sense of calmness that overruns the story but that is short-lived due to the on going cat and mouse game MacRay and Frawley play. From the opening scene to the closing credits I was hypnotized but what I was watching. There is excellent plot development as well as character development, which allows viewers to appreciate the story and its characters. More specifically, The Town focuses on MacRay and his relationship with his friends (specifically Coughlin), his incarcerated father, the FBI, and Claire. Although, MacRay is a thief it’s easy to feel for him on a deeper level. The emotional pain he suffered throughout his life adds several layers to the story thus making The Town more than just a film about robbing banks and armored money trucks. The Town is similar to The Departed in the sense of the emotional roller coaster it puts the audience through.

Action (A-): Although there are only three heists throughout the film they are extremely cool. MacRay’s team are experts in the thievery game and have all the angles covered…and then some. These guys were not some morons who walk into a bank and rob the place. No, they wear masks, gloves, and carry automatic machine guns. They contaminate the crime scene with bleach before they leave so there is not a chance for forensics to establish a lead. Furthermore, their methods of getaway are a highly thought out thus adding to the action sequences. Overall, lets just say that these guys put the Ex-Presidents (Point Break) to shame. The last heist is definitely one that viewers will remember because MacRay’s team decides to steal a shitload of money from Fenway Stadium.

Acting & Dialogue (A): Serious dialogue with light touches of comedy run heavy through The Town forcing viewers to enjoy the film even more. As for the actors every single one gave a dynamite performance. There was a time when Affleck’s career was called into question by many for his choices of roles. In The Town we see a veteran actor give one his best performances of his career. I think what worked best for him, as it did in Good Will Hunting, was that the story took place in Boston. While Affleck did not grow up a thief he did grow up in Boston therefore he fully understood the attitude of not only a Bostonian but the character of Doug MacRay . Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) provided another solid performance. While Affleck played MacRay with touches of compassion and softness Renner’s Coughlin was rough around the edges. The diversity between both characters allowed for a proper balance within the film. Jon Hamm’s (Mad Men) Adam Frawley was a combination of both MacRay and Coughlin. Unwilling to negotiate, highly determined, and extremely smart are just a few characteristics that explain Frawley. Although, I don’t watch the hit show Mad Men on AMC I finally understand why people love Jon Hamm and his character. He simply becomes the character. As for the two supporting actresses in the film Rebecca Hall and the beautiful Blake Lively, who played Coughlin’s drug addicted sister and once lover of MacRay, Krista, their contributions to the film showed a more sensitive side to the character of MacRay. It is abundantly clear that the two women represent his past and his future.

Sex Appeal: N/A

Director (A): This is Ben Affleck’s sophomore film as a director, his first was the 2007 film Gone Baby Gone, which starred his younger brother Casey. Because Affleck is in front of the camera so much you tend to forget he directed the it. However, after the credits roll you’ll remember and then recognize how great of job he did. It is very difficult to write the screenplay, star in the film, and direct the entire production. As challenging as it was on a physical, emotional, and mental level I don’t think Affleck could have done a better job. Affleck has a real knack for directing and I look forward to his future projects as a director.

Overall: A-