14 July 2007

Another Look to Next Summer's Big Ones

See Part 1 for my first 3 picks.

May

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - 16 May 2008

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was a decent adaptation and introduction to Narnia. Though Caspain's story is not as good, it will be fun to return to Narnia to meet Reepicheep and others.

Indiana Jones IV - 22 May 2008

After 19 years, Junior returns. As long Harrison doesn't break a hip making this movie it should be a nice bookend to the Jones franchise. Just please let Indy shoot first!









June

The Incredible Hulk - 14 June 2008


Am I the only one that enjoyed Ang Lee's 2003 Hulk (Hulk poodle aside)? In any case, the jolly green giant will be next years 2nd superhero flick, and Marvel's second production. I am not as jazzed about this as Iron Man, but a great trailer could make me a believer.

13 July 2007

The Friends and Foes of Batman - Batzarro

Batzarro is a twisted doppelgänger of Batman, in the same vein as Bizarro, the similar doppelgänger to Superman. He has never appeared outside of the comics. His origin is unknown, but his speech patterns are almost identical to those of Bizarro. Just as Bizarro has an inverted "S" on his chest, Batzarro has Batman's logo on his chest, but it is upside-down. He also wears a utility belt like Batman's. However, he wears it upside-down as well with the pockets open. He calls himself the "World's Worst Detective". He uses a large steel chain as a weapon and as a grappling hook, but no other items. He may not be human, since he seems to lack eyes and has yellow fangs. Interestingly, Batzarro has a tendency to think aloud, often repeating what has just been stated in his thought boxes, the opposite of Batman's custom of quiet contemplation. However, it is possible that he actually thinks whatever he says, because at one point he suddenly screams, out of pain he wasn't expecting, and this scream is also in the thought box.

In his first appearance in Superman/Batman, he is seen with dual pistols and gunning down couples who walk down Crime Alley, doing the opposite of Batman. Bizarro feels sorry for Batzarro since he doesn't get out much on account of his lack of friends. Batzarro claims that he comes from the same place that Bizarro does and wants to be a hero like his idol Batman. Bizarro offers to team-up and Batzarro agrees. The two shake hands and suddenly Bizarro starts to feel strange. Batzarro is amused by this and reveals the Blue Kryptonite shard he found after the meteor shower. Bizarro flies away and returns to normal (so to speak) and tells Batzarro that he will be back to help him solve the murders. Batzarro thanks him and adds that he hasn't touched anything so the crime scene is not contaminated. (It should be noted that this entire exchange is done in the usual Bizarro negative speak)

At times it seems as though Batzarro is trying to aid Batman, but his mangled dialogue and inexplicable actions make it difficult to be sure. According to Bizarro "Him no come from same place as Bizarro #1. That am why we am so different." He may be a failed clone like Bizarro or a Batman from another planet or alternate reality. Some believe that this statement was actually reversed due to Bizarro-speak. Therefore, it could also be read as Batzarro saying that he came from the same place as Bizarro, and that is why they're so similar. It was revealed that the Joker created Batzarro, therefore he comes from the same place a Bizzarro #1. They were both created by the Joker.

Batzarro apparently met his end when he jumped in the path of a bullet shot by the Joker to save his idol's life. Before then, Batman never even knew that Batzarro existed as the Joker reveals that he created Batzarro so he would have the pleasure of killing 'a Batman'. He was last seen been being put into the Phantom Zone by Bizarro in an effort to heal him.


Friend and Foe Profiles:

Ra's al Ghul
Talia al Ghul
Azrael
Baby Doll
Bane
Bat-Hound (Ace)
Batgirl
Bat-Mite
Batwoman
Batzarro

The Dark Knight returns in 370 days!

Will 2008 Be Great? A Look to Next Summer's Big Ones

This summer has had a lot of 3quels (Spider-Man, Shrek, Pirates, Ocean's, and Bourne), some other assorted sequels (Harry Potter 5, Die Hard 4, Fantastic Four 2) and a couple of good original films (Transformers and Ratatouille). And even though the summer is not over yet, its never too soon to look forward to next summer's big ones. Over the next few days I will post the movies I am looking forward to (in order of release date). Fell free to comment on your most anticipated films as well.

March

10,000 BC - 07 March 2008

Calling this a live-action Ice Age makes it sound kinda lame, but the trailer makes it look rather good. If you like mammoths and sabreteeth, this could be the film for you.





Horton Hears a Who - 14 March 2008

This cg adaptation of the Seuss favorite looks like it has fun designs. Plus, its got Jim Carrey and Steve Carrell so hopefully its funny.









May

Iron Man - 02 May 2008

Marvel's Studio's first solo effort has so far not missed a beat. This looks to be a serious superhero film that could take a lesser-loved hero and turn him into a superstar. It will have been a few months since we got a comic book film, so us geeks will be hungry.

Fresh Idea - A Movie About Bugs!

What will they think of next, maybe a movie about zoo animals! Jerry Seinfeld's involvement is probably the main thing going for this movie. It may be funny, but the bug thing hasw already been done. Here's the newest preview.

12 July 2007

No Need to Lament Order of the Phoenix

Just got back from seeing HP5 in IMAX 3D. The 3D was quite impressive, especially for the film's climax, though I don't think I would like to watch a whole movie with those glasses on. I was not looking forward to this one as much as I have to past Potter films since the book wasn't one of my very favorites. Of all the books, Order of the Phoenix is the only one I have only read once, and that was 4 years ago. Maybe that played to my advantage, because the movie seemed to hit on most of the highlights I remember. I enjoyed the movie better than the book, and am surprised at how much steam the Potter franchise still has. I don't really want to write a full scale review so I will just point out my pros and cons, but overall, I really enjoyed this Potter. As of today, I would rank the films in this order 3, 5, 4, 2, 1.


Pros:

Umbridge. I hated her just as much as I did when reading the book. And I really hated her stupid cat plates.

Luny Lovegood. I nice new character with some depth.

DA meetings. These really played well.

Score. The music has a bit of a folkish flair that spiced things up.

Final battle. Much better on screen than in the book. Quite intense.

Voldemort. Still one scary dude. I won't be letting my kids watch this movie for many years.

Sirius, Mad-eye, Lupin. It was nice to see these old faces, though they didn't get a lot of screen time.

Weasley Twins. Their departure was fantastic

Cons:

Grawp. Really lame and pointless. And way too big to believe a human and giant could have a baby (Hagrid). Also, bad effects.

Department of Mysteries. Where were all the mysteries? No big brains :(

The prophecy. Just like in the book, all this build up for a big "no duh."

Centaurs. Just like in Sorcerers Stone, so-so CG and kinda pointless.


Neither Good Nor Bad:

Not even a mention of Quiddich. No Weasley is our King.

Dementors had a new look, and they attack by choking with hands!?

Tonks and Kreatcher. Yeah, they were in the movie, but hardly.


Well thats it. I will add more if I think of them.

Weasley is Our King


Potter has set the Wednesday box office record with an estimated $44.2 Million (including $12 million from midnight sneak peeks) Avada Kedavra-ing the previous record of $40.4 million set by Spider-Man 2.

Fantasy Moguls offers a look at the five biggest days in Potter history:

ALL-TIME TOP 5 HARRY POTTER DAYS
1. 07/11/07 - Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix - $44.2M
2. 12/18/05 - Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire - $40.1M
3. 06/04/04 - Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban - $38.2M
4. 12/19/05 - Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire - $36.7M
5. 11/15/02 - Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets - $34.2M

Radar Blips - Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

The Year: 1982

The Players: The Original Series cast (Kirk, Spock, McCoy, etc...), Ricardo Montalbán as Khan, and Kirstie Alley

The Take: $79 Million

Who the devil is Khan?: Khan originally appeared in the original series episode Space Seed. He was genetically engineered to be super strong and smart and led a war against humanity in the 20th century. He lost the war, but escaped and was was put in a cryogenic freeze and found by the Enterprise. He tried to take over the ship, so he and his men were left on an uninhabited planet by Kirk to build their own civilization.

Why you should see it: Highly regarded as the best of the Trek films, or at least the best of the Original Cast films, this movie kicks off a grand trilogy for Star Trek. There are some great battles between the Enterprise and Reliant with real stakes and loses. This is also the movie with the nasty bugs that crawl in people's ears. After the dull but thought provoking Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Wrath of Khan injected a serious dose of action into the series which gave it new life.

The Dark is Rising Trailer


Click HERE to watch the trailer. My judgment is still out on this one. I never read the books, but this looks to be a pretty generic mish mash of 2 parts Potter, 1 part Narnia. Still, its got my interest.

11 July 2007

Supergirl Returns, er I Mean Arrives

Although "Kara from Krypton" already appeared in season 3, the real Supergirl is joining the lineup for Smallville season 6. From People Magazine:

Supergirl is coming to the CW's Smallville. Canadian actress Laura Vandervoort just got the call Wednesday that she has been cast and will start shooting with Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum and Aaron Ashmore next week in Vancouver.

"She's a combination of beauty, intelligence, a certain warmth, and great attitude," Smallville co-creator Al Gough tells PEOPLE. "We've wanted a character to shake things up. She may be Clark Kent's cousin, but that doesn't mean she's going to be the obedient one!"

Since mid-May, when DC Comics approved of introducing Supergirl to the Smallville series, creators Gough and Miles Millar have seen hundreds of actresses for the part but found perfection in Vandervoort, 22, of Toronto, who may be known to fans of the cable series Instant Star as Sadie Harrison. "She was speechless but she was very excited," Gough says of Vandervoort's reaction to the news.

Supergirl will be introduced to viewers as Kara, Clark's cousin, who was born on Krypton and has all of Clark's powers plus the ability to fly. Watch for her to spark romance with Jimmy Olsen (Ashmore) as well.

Wholy Mammoths!


Check out the preview for 10,000 BC - Coming next March.


Battlestar Pegasus Trailer

Its a first look at the next batch of Galactica episodes featuring the backstory of the majestic Battlestar Pegasus. I can't wait for this show to return.

Harry Potter 5 Is Upon Us

Order of the Phoenix is here. Evne though OotP is my 2nd least favorite book (ahead of CoS), I still enjoyed the book and the movie looks to have captured quite a dark feel. How will the film measure up to the series. Are general audiences getting burnt out on Potter? How well will Harry do against box office juggernaut The Transformers?

This is the place to post all your thoughts on HP5. I plan on seeing it tomorrow, and hopefully in 3D but we will see.

10 July 2007

Ink Blots LXXI - Happy Feet

Happy Feet was an Academy Award winner as 2006's Best Animated Film. Audiences also enjoyed the film paying $198 million to see it, but part of that could have been due to penguin mania begun by the uncanny success of March of the Penguins a year earlier and continuing to 2007's Surf's Up.

The basic plot involves the notion that most penguins are natural singers, but not Mumble. His daddy dropped him when he was an egg, and somehow that translated into a unique talent for flipper tapping. Mumble can light up the dance floor, but he has a horrible singing voice. Through the movie, he learns to appreciate his uniqueness.

This film had better than expected animation. The Antarctic landscapes are vibrant and beautiful, and the penguins are cute. CG was a good choice for animating these penguin armies as traditional animation of millions of little birds would have been tedious. Additionally, the dance choreography is well animated.

I particularly enjoyed the "latino" penguins, and the love penguin. Also, fearing the worst from Robin Williams, I was pleasantly surprised with his reasonable performance.

As for the story, it is slow and meandering. There are quite a few enjoyable scenes of penguins singing and swimming, but they don't push the story along. The main story finally arrives at about 75 minutes in, and is really lame with an even lamer, out of nowhere, resolution.

So, this film looks good on the outside and is enjoyable in parts, but overall is lacking in the story department. I would say I enjoyed both of the other Academy Award nominees (Cars and Monster House) better. Happy Feet surely won because of its beautiful animation but mostly for its environmental message. Don't get me wrong, I like the environment, but simply having an environmental message should not be reason enough for the award. If you are going to be political, do it well and do not just shoe-horn it in.

So many other films have done the nature thing so much better, particularly films by Studio Ghibli: Princess Mononoke, Naussicaa, Pom Poko, but even Disney did it masterfully with Bambi. Even last year's Over the Hedge had some clever satire on consumption and materialism.

Anyways, sorry for the rant, I just think Happy Feet is undeserving of a Best Picture nod. It is a good looking film with fun moments and cute characters that talk a lot for no real purpose. It will have to be Happy with a B-.

08 July 2007

Mechas Run Amucka at the Box Office


Transformers has kicked things off with an impressive start. Its $28 million Tuesday was a record for that day of the week... but to be fair most movies don't open on Tuesdays. Transformers went on to trounce the competition through the weekend gathering $67 million and winding up in 4th place for the summer so far after one week.

The other great performer has been Ratatouille, thanks to good word of mouth. It opened under $50 million last weekend but had some great days through the week to gather momentum. The Rat has earned nearly as much during its first 10 days as did Cars last year meaning that Rat could be well on its way to $225 to $250 million in spite of a smaller opening.

In milestone news, them Pirates peglegged it past $300 million, the 3rd film of the year to accomplish this mighty feat. Pirates has also claimed the #1 position in the wolrdwide box office race with over $900 million so far, yar! Of course, Transformers and Ratatouille also became blockbusters by passing the $100 million mark.

Next week, the cranky boy wizard Harry Potter returned in his 5th outing. This series has aged well as most series are limping by the time part 5 comes out. Potter opens on Wednesday and should have a large opening day as well as a great weekend though I expect Transformers and Ratatouille to keep on truckin' as well.

Current Rankings:

#9 Live Free or Die Hard - $84,160,000
#8 Ocean's 13 - $109,145,000
#7 Ratatouille - $109,546,000
#6 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - $123,791,000
#5 Knocked Up - $132,026,000
#4 Transformers - $152,500,000
#3 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - $301,500,000
#2 Shrek the Third - $316,000,000
#1 Spider-Man 3 - $334,000,000



My Predictions:

#9 Evan Almighty - $170,000,000 (45.9%)*
#8 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - $175,000,000 (70.7%)*
#7 The Bourne Ultimatum - $185,000,000 (0.0%)*
#6 Transformers - $205,000,000 (74.1%)*
#5 Ratatouille - $260,000,000 (42.1%)*
#4 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - $275,000,000 (0.0%)*
#3 Shrek the Third - $325,000,000 (97.27%)*
#2 Spider-Man 3 - $380,000,000 (87.9%)*
#1 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - $395,000,000 (76.3%)*

*Percentages earned relative to my predictions