19 May 2006

From the Makers of Smallville Comes AQUAMAN... NOT!

Here is a look at the Aquaman Trailer for the series that the new CW network passed on. Rumor is they went with One Tree Hill over this new series. They also kept 7th Heaven for another year. That show should have been put out of its misery years ago. At least Smallville will be around for another year. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Pajama Party: Fantastic Flinch

If Dr. Doom couldn't prove a match for the Fantastic Four, who could? The answer: Optimus Prime! Fantastic Four 2 and the live action Transformers Movie had both staked their claim on July 4, 2007. I think F42 had a bit more of a reason with the 4 and all, but the Fantastics decided to tuck their tails and run. The new release of June 15 may be strategically superior as F42 now looks to have the opening to itself, and it will still be around to cash in a bit on the July 4 weekend. This earlier date also distances the film from Harry Potter 5 which opens a week after Transformers and is likely to dominate the box office.

The main problem is that without filming yet underway, shaving off two weeks of post production time could hurt. Then again, Fox seems to love rushing movies. F41 was under a considerable crunch, and X3 had a tighter schedule than this as well. Will F42 be any good? Maybe not, but with a rumored inclusion of the Silver Surfer, and the return of the Invisible Girl, I will be there in the theatre to find out.

In other news, check out this cool poster for Superman.

17 May 2006

Disappearing Ink XIII - Strings

Sword and Sandals month continues with a lesser known show about sword wielding puppets. Chances are, you have never heard of this one. I only sorta stumbled upon it by accident as a recommendation from Amazon.com. As hinted at by the title Strings, this movie not only stars puppets, but is about a puppets world. Rather than attempting to hide the marionettes' strings, these titular strings become a key plot point. In this world, the strings that connect to the puppets, connect them to the heavens, to each other, and give them life. The strings can get tangled or severed resulting in injury. If the headstring is cut, then the puppets dies. When new life is to be given to baby puppets, new strings from the heavens appear. Since you are already thinking it, I will come out and say that this is no Team America: World Police style parody. And believe it or not, it is easy to get lost in this film as the artistic style is so well done. The puppets have very emotive faces in spite of the fact that their mouths do not even move when they speak. Somehow, the director was able to truly capture the emotional essence of the performances using the puppets eyes, and movements. Its always nice to discover such an underappreciated gem. Released in 2004, the Danish made Strings has yet to receive a widescale recognition that it deserves.

The movie starts by showing the real world puppeteers above a stage beginning the show, and then the story takes us into the fantasy world inhabited by the characters. The plot follows a somewhat Shakespearian formula as the film begins depicting the suicide of the Hebalon king. His intentions are that his son Hal will pursue the peace that he was unable to find with the enemy Zeriths. But Hal is manipulated by his evil uncle into thinking the suicide was in fact a murder plotted by the enemy. Pledging vengeance, Hal begins a quest to find the leader of the Zeriths. While well executed, the story is not entirely original; however, the film has enough heart and creativity to make it a completely new experience. Even when Hal finds a love interest, the film manages to avoid the silliness that could so easily overtake it.

I highly recommend this film, its sure to be a pleasant surprise and a much appreciated dose of originality in our world of sequels, adaptations, and remakes. Tied by love, Bound by Hate, Strings earns an A-.

Check out my past reviews:
The Sword in the Stone
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

15 May 2006

B.O. Derby

I may have grossly overestimated the popularity of both Mission Impossible: III and Poseidon, as neither look to be on a roll to approach my estimates. Poseidon has all but flopped, but who knows what will happen with Memorial Day approaching. In any case, here is how the summer box office stands:

2)Poseidon - $22,155,410
1)Mission Impossible: 3 - $85,100,142

My Top 9 Predictions

9) Lady in the Water - $160,000,000
8) Poseidon - $175,00,0000
7) Mission Impossible: III - $205,000,000
6) Over the Hedge - $220,000,000
5) X-Men: The Last Stand - $225,000,000
4) Cars - $260,000,000
3) The Da Vinci Code - $275,000,000
2) Superman Returns - $325,000,000
1) Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest - $350,000,000