29 April 2006

Fastball Special - A Pajama Party Update

From the Tonight Show, a little clip of Wolverine decapitating a robot. Enjoy:

I hope the film establishes a slightly more somber/serious tone than this footage does, but overall, the clip is a-ight.

28 April 2006

Pajama Party - Abominable News

This week, Avi Arad of Marvel announced that Hulk would be facing Abomination in the upcoming Hulk sequel. Now, the fact that Hulk 2 is being made is probably news to many. Arad has continued to assure fans that a Hulk 2 is forthcoming, with a jollier green giant -- a Hulk-Lite or Diet Hulk if you will. The first Hulk was a dark and psychological film, that's what I loved about it, but it certainly wasn't what fans of the old Bixby TV show were expecting. For part 2, it remains to be seen if the roles will be recast, but I hope not. Whatever they do, I hope they do keep Nick Nolte far away. Same goes for Hulked poodles.

Anyways, Abomination is basically a big Hulk like mutant foe with dragonlike ears. Maybe in the film he would be a different color? Or maybe they will use the Gray Hulk this time. Either way sounds better than a mound of green flesh formed by the two monsters pummeling one another.

My thoughts are that I would probably enjoy another Hulk movie, but I am not sure it would make a ton of money unless it mustered up great word of mouth ala Batman Begins. The first outing opened big with a $62 million take, but had a gigantic 70% drop off in its second weekend. The final total was $132 million, about $5 million shy of the production budget. Luckily, associated merchandising of toys and DVDs were successful enough to justify a more reasonably budgeted sequel. As for the Hulk himself, whether he will remain a CG effect, or instead be acted by a tall deaf man remain to be seen. While the effects in Hulk were not perfect, they were pretty good, and I think the CG route is a better way to go than the Fantastic Four Thing approach.

A release date has not been set, but expect this one no sooner than 2008 if we get it at all.

26 April 2006

Disappearing Ink #10 - Metropolis

I wouldn't consider myself an anime nut. I am not really into mechas or pocket monsters, I just like good films, especially when those films offer something new. Metropolis was written by Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of Akira (possibly the best known anime, though not one of my favorites). Metropolis masterfully marries old and new. Influenced by the 1927 film of the same name and a 1949 comic book, The 2002 film Metropolis feels fresh by combining modern elements and science. Set in a futuristic city of multiple zones stacked upon each other, and supporting moving sidewalks, towering ziggurats, and robots aplenty, the film is scored with classic jazz, ragtime, and Ray Charles. It's an odd combination that works marvelously well. Traditional hand drawn character animation is combined with beautiful CG cityscapes, machinery, and helicopters. Not only are the characters hand drawn, but they have a very classic feel with childlike faces, large eyes, and simplistic features. All of these contrasts are a metaphor contributing to a mood of tension in a world were some embrace the "progress" of the civilization (robots, towers, computers), and other reject it and desire for a return to more traditional values.

But what is it about you ask? Well, its about that conflict between the tradition and progress -- between groups of citizens, the government, and within Tima, an ambitionless humanoid robot designed to rule. While Tima is discovering who she is and exploring the city, Rock the robot hunter is in hot pursuit, and not wasting any time shooting down any robots that he sees along the way. Oh and did I mention, there is a robot named Pero (named after a dog of course, now that I think about it, there is a robot named Fifi as well). The bittersweet ending has a lot going on, and is a bit confusing, but harmonious.

With a 91% fresh rating, and a huge thumbs up from James Cameron, I am going to go with the crowd and give this film a B+.

Check out my past reviews:
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
Princess Mononoke
The Black Cauldron
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Grave of the Fireflies
The Iron Giant
Kaena: The Prophecy

25 April 2006

B.O.Clairvoyant - Summer Edition Part III

Here they are, the big daddies:

3. The Da Vinci Code

I have not read the book, but this movie looks like a better version of National Treasure, which scored $175 million a couple years back. The book has been on the best seller list for 157 weeks and counting, and if the book is as good as the people say, and the readers turn out to see the film, this one could be huge. Besides Ron Howard is a good director, and he is due for a big hit. Tom Hank's mullet doesn't help its cause, nor does its May 19 opening against Over the Hedge or Memorial Day competition from X-Men 3, but barring huge boycotts from the Catholic Church, expect a pretty big result. Final Take Estimate: 275 million deciphered codes

2. Superman Returns

Who isn't wondering how newbie Brandon Routh is going to compare to our emblazoned memories of Christopher Reeve in spandex? Besides, its been 25 years since a Superman film anyone will admit to liking. Returns has Bryan Singer at the helm who has proven successful with them X-Mutants. The popularity of Supes is probably on par with Spidey (Spidey 2 = $378 million), but box office returns are down, and the Lois Lane single mother with live in boyfriend and Clark Kent home wrecker subplot may not appeal to everyone. Then again, this is Superman, and with a June 30 opening, Kal-El will have free reign through July 4. Final Take Estimate: 325 million shards of kryptonite

1. Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest

Last time around, the Pirates snatched 305 million gold dubloons, and paved the way for movies based on Disneyland's Matterhorn and Autopia rides (Actually, Disneyland has a whole lot of rides that could inspire great movies: Snow White, Dumbo, Pinocchio... Why not make movies about those :) ). Pirates 2 seems to be one of the most anticipated films of the summer. Its got old squidhead, and a bunch of other fishy inspired pirates like a hammerhead dude and a shell head. Sounds corny, but I think it will work. Jack Sparrow is back, and with more make-up than ever, as are Legolas and that chick. This film is expected to end in a cliffhanger prepping us to spend more money when Pirates 3 comes out. Yo ho Yo ho. Pirates 2 opens July 7, with little real competition for weeks. Count on this to be number 1, as long as its half way decent. Final Booty Estimate: 350 million swabbed poop decks

24 April 2006

B.O. Clairvoyant - Summer Edition Part II

So far, I have used my powers to reveal the 9th, 8th, and 7th biggest hits this summer will produce. But the stakes get higher in part II. Again, clcick the titles to view trailers.

6. Over the Hedge

Another month, another pack of computer animated animals. So far, we have had wooly mammoths and a second crew of zoo misfits, now we get a troop of rodents and a turtle. I guess this is based on a comic strip, but I don'’t think that really plays into the film. Advertised as "from the makers of Madagascar and Shrek," Over the Hedge actually looks promising, with an animation style that fits the characters. Also, Steve Carell is Mr Comedy right now, so his name on the marquee can'’t hurt. Unfortunately, the May 19th debut pits this up against Da Vinci, which might hurt its weekend total a bit. Then again, it should play strong over Memorial Day, that'’s when Shrek 2 made its killing. With 3 solid weeks before Cars comes out, Hedge stands to outperform last years Madagascar. Total Take Estimate: 220 million rodent pellets

5. X-Men: The Last Stand

Looks like everyone clamoring for more Storm will get their wish. The rest of us will just have to deal with it I guess. X-Men: The Last Stand opens May 26, and should pretty much dominate the Memorial Day holiday and continue to do well throughout June until Superman returns. If Singer was directing this, it would go gangbusters, but there has been grumbling amongst fanboys since Rush Hour's Ratner has taken over. I still have faith. Given Beast, Phoenix, Juggernaut, and some sweet trailers, this looks pretty dang good. Of course, Fox is notorious for trimming films too much to get a few extra screenings per day (compare Daredevil director's cut to the original, and check out the 20 minutes of good deleted scenes from a Fantastic Four that could really have used them). Numerous deaths could also earn some bad buzz. Still, the people are excited, and X3 should slightly outperform the fantastic X2. Besides, who ever really dies in comic books? Final Take Estimate: 225 million dead mutants

4. Cars

This year has already been supersaturated with computer animated films. Cars will be the 5th of the year, but its from Pixar who hasn't missed the mark yet. It seems like a nice movie for all the NASCAR dads to enjoy with their boys. And who doesn't love Owen Wilson and Paul Newman. On top of that, Cars opens June 9, and pretty much has the month to itself. The Incredibles scored $261 million opening in a November, a slight disappointment after Nemo's $340 million the summer before. As a result, Pixar aimed Cars for the summer. We will see if this pays off in a year of increased competition. I just don't know if cars are as universally appealing as toys or superheroes. Don't get me wrong, I think it will do well, but surely some of the CG pie has been gobbled up by all the copycats. Final Take Estimate: 260 million jars of motor oil

Stay tuned for the big 3!

23 April 2006

B.O. Clairvoyant - Summer Edition Part I

May is almost upon us, and with it, the big box office summer season begins. I have seen the future, and give you this summer's top 9 hits. Click titles to view the trailers.

9. Lady in the Water

M. Night Shama- lamading-Dong is back. I admit to being a big fan, and would probably see any film he makes. If people would get over expecting a twist and spending the whole movie obsessed with trying to figure it out, they would enjoy his films a lot more. For example, The Village was an excellent commentary on political leadership using fear to control its people. The acting was superb as well, but the "twist" was too easy to figure out... Mostly because it was not supposed to be a twist really, just a plot point. Anyways, Lady looks to be more of a straightforward "bedtime story" about a nymph in an apartment swimming pool. Great actors (including Spider-Man 3's Gwen Stacy) and Shyamalan's direction should allow Lady good word of mouth after its July 21 opening and throughout August should lead Lady in the Water to outperform The Village's $114 million, but it will still fall shy of Sign's $227 million. Final Take Estimate: 160 million mermaid scales

8. Poseidon

Probably the big summer movie I am least looking forward to, this remake of the 1972 Poseidon Adventure, dropped the Adventure and probably reminds people more of Titanic. While that will likely turn off some, it will be enough to reel in a plethora of teen age girls on May 12 with few other big movies yet opened to choose from. Oh and did I mention, its got Kurt Russell! Kurt + boats = excitement! Remember Overboard? Final Take Estimate: 175 million life preservers

7. Mission Impossible III

Six years ago, MI2 beat the odds and made $215 million. I think we should all take a moment to feel the shame of supporting such s lame Cruise-fest of a film. Having said that, I am sure MI3 will be a better movie. Better actors and directing should lure some of those burnt by MI2 to give the series another chance. Hopefully by now the technology is a little more realistic. No more emailing job@3.14 all while plugging AOL for the mesmerized audience. Also, the May 5 opening makes MI3 the first big movie of the summer. In spite of what people say, they can't seem to get enough of ol Tommy. Last year's War of the Worlds $234 million proves that. Final Take Estimate: 205 million self destructed video tapes

Stay tuned for 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!