Nov 2012 22

Steve-O is back with an interesting mix of Jackass and the X-factor.  Contestants are judged on their ability to sing while suffering shocks or frights.  These clips are highly entertaining and if the producers can keep thinking of ways to put of the contestants it could be a Saturday evening must watch!

 

 

TW

Nov 2012 21

I was a big fan of the original ‘The Host’  and had no idea they were planning a sequel.  This is clearly a bit of a tech demo but it looks like it could be another cracking South Korean monster movie.

 

Here is the monster attack from the original if you have never seen it.

TW

The World War Z Trailer is Here!
Nov 2012 09

… So after multiple reshoots, reports of internal wrangling, and a rumoured change to the ending, World War Z is finally (nearly), released. Its teaser poster dropped on the 6th November, although it would be better described as a teaser logo, and now we have the trailer.

For those who don’t know, World War Z is an upcoming movie starring Brad Pitt, directed by Marc Forster, depicting (you guessed it) a zombie apocalypse. Based on a novel of the same name by Max Brooks (son of Mel), the book took the form of an ‘Oral History of the Zombie Apocalypse’.

Developing a book that is essentially a set of first-hand accounts into a narrative movie is a hell of a challenge, and perhaps has resulted in being too challenging. Rumours of Brad Pitt not being on speaking terms with Marc Forster have emerged, as well as copious on-set rewrites of the script, and Studio intervention leading to a massive change to the ending. It begs the question: are we reaching saturation point on zombies? During the making of the movie, several other properties have emerged, into an already crowded zombie pop-culture horde.

I personally like zombie movies, and still have a relentless, zombie-esque appetite for the walking dead, so am somehow still looking forward to this. The controversy-tinged production though, should raise warning signs for the fans. The trailer follows, feel free to leave a comment below.

TA

A Couple of Ideas for Walt and his buddies…
Nov 2012 07

As TA & NP have discussed the pro’s and the cons of the Disney buyout of the Star Wars brand I thought I should add a few words.  I’m not interested in debating if it is a good thing or not, I’m just excited for new Star Wars films!  I have a couple of suggestions for the magical kingdom.  Here are a couple of already existing stories that could make in my opinion excellent additions to the Star Wars legacy.

  1. The Han Solo Trilogy

The Han Solo trilogy is set before ‘A new Hope’ and tells the story of young Han Solo.  It is a ripping adventure and explains his relationship with Chewbacca, how he won the Millennium Falcon, how he upset Jabba the hut and why he wears imperial trousers when he is a smuggler (I wonder how many of you hadn’t spotted this previously and are now looking at Google images?).  Obviously you would have to find an actor with a mild resemblance to Harrison Ford to make this work, for god’s sake not Shia Lebeouf though Disney!  The three books place you perfectly at the beginning of a New Hope so it wraps it up in a nice little package.

 

  1. Death Troopers

This is a little more left field and pretty new to the Star War mythology.  Death Troopers is a zombie Star Wars novel written by Joe Schreiber.  Set roughly before ‘A New Hope’ a prison vessel discovers an abandoned Star Destroyer and all hell breaks loose.  It is a great twist on what you would expect from the Star Wars universe, but it is exactly this reason it hits all the right notes.  A real ripping yarn.

 

If either of these stories ever make it to the cinema I will be the first one in line, with my popcorn and my large diet Coke.  I really hope they don’t make them in 3D though…

 

TW

Newsflash: Is Matthew Vaughn in Line to Direct Star Wars Episode VII?
Nov 2012 05

So, with RBT’s upcoming pieces for and against the Disney takeover of Lucasfilm coming soon, we had to report the latest, most ‘out there’ gossip to come of it so far. Collider are reporting that Matthew Vaughn (he of Layer Cake and X-Men: First Class directing fame) is in line to direct the first major motion picture out of the blocks. In lieu of our pieces on why this takeover is a good/bad idea, it has to be said that, first of all, this is absolutely batsh*t mental. Collider cite the fact that he has dropped out of the running to direct X-Men: Days of Future Past (The X-Men: First Class sequel) as reasoning for this, but other than that are very up front about it being only a rumour.

Since this is still early days and all, any decisions like this are probably a long way off, but it would be a very interesting choice. Although his background in gangster movies would seem to indicate he operates better in the real world, X-Men: First Class showed that he could direct large-scale action and believably render characters with powers. A better comparison from his filmography would be Stardust, his most underrated and under-seen effort to date. This film captures what Star Wars often reached in its early incarnations, and failed to ever reach in the prequel trilogy: it had high adventure, action, comedy, a great love story, and, perhaps most importantly: a genuinely threatening antagonist. If he were able to recreate the feel of Stardust while directing this new film in the Star Wars universe, why, I’d be first in line.

Source

TA

Hollywood Movie Trailer Cliches
Nov 2012 01

Some time ago, I wrote this piece about trailers taking us all to hell in a handbasket… or something. Maybe it was more along the lines of trailers ruining cinema? I forget. Anyway, the point is: trailers bad.

Well, not really.

But all too often that is true. If they’re not showing too much of the film, they’re misrepresenting it, if they’re not copying other trails that have gone before, they’re featuring reviews from fawning, but clearly biased critics. While a well-made trailer can still wow you from time to time, after you’ve been to the cinema a few times, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you’re going to see. So the good folks at Cracked put together a spoof video that is slightly mis-titled as “Trailer for Every Oscar-Winning Movie Ever”, when in fact, it’s a well-observed and executed lampooning of trailers in general. Check out the embed below, and feel free to riotously disagree in the comments.

“Accusation about your sexuality!”

TA

Using the Force, or Turning to the Dark Side? Two Views on Disney Buying Lucasfilm
Nov 2012 06

So Disney’s acquisition of the Star Wars universe is complete, with the first of the next trilogy due for release in 2015. We’re told that movies will follow every 2 to 3 years, stretching into the distance like the iconic exposition crawl at the start of each film so far.

What are we to make of all this? Like all of the best opinionated schizophrenics, RBT has two voices to put forward a case for those for, and against, this fundamental shift of power. It’s time to pick a side, which will you choose?

THE DEFENCE (Why this is a good thing):

I love Star Wars. I was raised on it. I don’t recall seeing A New Hope in the cinema at the age of two, but have heard the tales recounted by my parents of how I sat open-mouthed at the spectacle for the entire duration without making a peep. Much like everyone else at the time.

For a reminder of the magic, Exhibit A (the original trailer from 1977):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gvqpFbRKtQ

But hang on a minute – I need to qualify this statement a little. I loved growing up with Star Wars, and it was such a fundamental part of my youth that I recognise the propensity to overstate the franchise’s greatness through nostalgia. So, let me make this clear. I love the original Star Wars Trilogy, which contains 2 truly great films (New Hope & Empire), and 1 good film (Jedi). I cannot imagine how many times I have watched them in my life, and can quote scenes over and over again, with unhealthy levels of detail. The imagination behind them, and scale of universe around them is staggering. But I do recognise that they are essentially big screen popcorn fodder, with corny scripts and some occasionally dodgy acting.

But in 1999, when The Phantom Menace was released, everything started to go wrong. George Lucas, was beginning to resemble a human version of Jabba, and his ego had become just as swollen – and fans of the original trilogy should have seen the warning signs when he began insisting on retaining pretty much exclusive control of the new trilogy as Director, Writer, Producer, Costume Designer (he personally designed Natalie Portman’s bust enhancing dresses inAttack of the Clones?!).

Lucas wisely gave away Directing responsibility on Empire and Jedi, citing the stress of directing the first movie. The on-set tales of his clashes with Irvin Kershner, who picked up the reigns for Empire Strikes Back are well known, but Kershner held out, and his vision remains by far the strongest, not to mention darkest of the 6 films so far – and is the most successful in introducing some of the more epic elements into the mix too. Richard Marquand (Return of the Jedi) is rumoured not to have been so lucky. By this time, Lucas was all over the production like a rash, always on set, and dictating what should and shouldn’t happen in every shot. Marquand had a subsequent nervous breakdown as a result. (I still love to dwell on the thought that David Lynch was 1st on the list to direct Return of the Jedi!)

Exhibit B:

The first sign that Lucas was capable of getting it wrong. Yep, I liked Ewoks when I was a kid, but their place in the original trilogy is mis-placed and comical. I still want the Stormtroopers to kick their furry butts in a sliding doors universe.

Exhibit C:

You get my point.

So when the prequel trilogy was released, Lucas had become Jabba, and the series was plunged into the kind of dystopian, dictatorial society that Emperor Sidious would have approved of. It also showed how dangerous Lucas could be without other voices in the mix. Old Georgie was hardly an actor’s director, rarely giving them guidance with performances (his favourite direction?: “do it again, but slower… and better”), means he gets a lot of credit for their consequently wooden performances. He was also involved in some atrocious casting decisions (Jake Lloyd, anyone?), and bogging the prequels down with endless ‘Trade Federation’ guff, whilst trying to appeal to kids with an annoyingly zany, patronising, and borderline racist character in Jar-Jar Binks. What we’re trying to say here, is that it would have been best to take George away from the trilogy sooner.

THE PROSECUTION (why this is a bad thing):

OK, so with all the positive feeling flying around about this takeover, this feels about as welcome as a bacon salesmen at a Bar-Mitzvah, but this must be heard!

Yes, George Lucas no longer having the reins of Star Wars is reason to celebrate, and yes there is potential there (particularly if there’s any truth to the rumours of Matthew Vaughn and/or Joss Whedon’s involvement), but just because it’s different, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be better.

Is it just me, or does George Lucas look like Emperor Palpatine in this picture?

Isn’t it time we stopped dabbling with the classics? The original trilogy is beloved of so many, and the fan culture that grew up with it, alongside the more film-based appreciation is unmatched, despite the prequel trilogy. The prequel trilogy, however, is exactly why this should stop, and stop now. Whenever I now watch the original Star Wars trilogy, I still get the old thrill, and can’t help but enjoy them. This thrill, is tainted though, by the knowledge, and memory of, what was to come. With largely forgettable animated TV series to accompany the flat, lifeless, unimaginative prequels, we have enough content out there that is unworthy of the Star Wars name. Do we need any more? What if they make another film, get Michael Bay to direct it, with Ashton Kutcher starring, Miley Cyrus alongside him, and Charlie Sheen as the villain? It would suck, right?

Brave: Evidence of Disney diluting the Pixar power?

What if Disney’s takeover of Pixar has resulted in their recent undeniable downswing in quality (Brave and Cars 2 weren’t terrible, per se, but do they match the transcendant beauty of Wall-E whilst also somehow still being children’s films? No). What if the impact of the takeover Disney of Marvel has not yet been felt? Cars 2 felt like an exercise in merchandise selling (a strongpoint of the Cars franchise, but also of Disney’s), and Brave felt more Disney than Pixar. What if Disney’s desire to sell merchandise means any film is geared towards toys rather than characters? Marketing and Mouseketeers rather than plot and characters? What if they make the franchise skew even younger, and thus move it further away from that magic mix of the adult and the child-like? Will they add MORE CGI?

I’ll leave you with one final thought:

The Mouse House already have Pixar, ABC, ESPN, Marvel, The Muppets Studio, and Touchstone Pictures under their remit. With Lucasfilm and THX representing such a huge chunk of the movie industry and popular culture in general, does the fact that they are reportedly even in talks to take over Hasbro not worry you? One message? One voice? One huge, supposedly nice and family-friendly company owning everything, and one day coming for us?

Why, it’s enough to make me want to join some kind of rebel alliance, and if that ever happens, we certainly will need A New Hope.

NP and TA

The RBT Top 5 Halloween Movies
Oct 2012 31

For this Halloween roundup, we’ve selected movies that aren’t necessarily the most pant-wettingly scary, the most gore-stained, or blood-tinged. Instead, we wanted to pick the 5 films that best define the Halloween Spirit… whatever that is.

1. Trick ‘R Treat

There’s no doubt about it: anthology films are tough to pull off. Plenty of films with full-length run times for one story struggle to to display likable and defined characters. Or believable, well constructed plots, for that matter. That Trick ‘R Treat manages this, should be reason enough to fire up the jack o’lanterns, but it also weaves several interesting stories (one of them starring Anna Paquin, another starring Brian Cox), into a narrative and world that seems to run the Halloween gamut. Malevolent spirits, plentiful candy, numerous trick-or-treaters, and Halloween parades all make an appearance, and if a film better defines Halloween, I haven’t seen it.

2. Halloween

The John Carpenter horror masterpiece. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the litany of inferior slashers that sprang up in the wake of this blood-spattered masterpiece are testament to its impact and quality. That it takes place on Halloween not only gave it further disturbing qualities, it also further camouflaged the central antagonist, adding to the drama. Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis made her name with this demure and innocent calling card of a performance.

3. Night of the Living Dead

A strong contender for a place in the top 3 most influential horror films ever. Halloween may have spawned imitators and a sub-genre, but Night of the Living Dead gave birth to a sub-genre, a pop culture meme, practically invented zombies, and used political metaphor to give further impact to its visceral and nerve-shredding visuals. A drive-thru staple, NOTLD is deservedly considered a classic.

4. Evil Dead II

With its hokey mythology, reputation as a video nasty, and DIY aesthetic, The Evil Dead brought a freshness and an impressive sense of humour to the table. What the original did well, the sequel did better, and when the original made you feel queasy, Evil Dead II made you feel worse.

Considered a remake by some, this film assumes no knowledge of the original, and, in a lot of ways, has an identical plot. With added humour (the Farewell To Arms visual gag is a classic), and higher-budget splatter, this film outshone its predecessor and launched Sam Raimi on his trajectory towards directing tentpole arachnid-superhero movies. The ‘pencil moment’ is bound to make you regurgitate your ill-gotten candy.

5. The Nightmare Before Christmas

When Halloween’s over, we’re all familiar with the sense of anti-climax, the sugar crash, the vacuum of the macabre that opens up in our lives. Until Christmas (and, for our American friends, Thanksgiving), at least. This is why The Nightmare Before Christmas makes perfect sense as a film to manage the segue from the sinister to the wholesome. Set in a world where each of the holidays is a world itself, and enhanced by Tim Burton’s stylised designs (realised in claymation), this musical perfectly encapsulates what’s so great about each holiday. Some great tunes get your feet a-tappin’, and your larynx a-shakin’, and a horrifyingly fun realisation of a world where it’s Halloween all the time, as well as a classic ‘be true to yourself’ message ups the ante.

If only all those self-pitying emo kids hadn’t adopted this as their flagship film, we’d all feel even better about liking it.

Honourable mentions:

Arsenic and Old Lace

 The Omen

 The Exorcist

 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Disagree? Too scared to shout? Leave a comment below.

TA

What if Mrs Doubtfire Was a… Horror Movie?
Oct 2012 29

In the run-up to Halloween, here is a truly terrifying titbit to have you screaming yourself to sleep tonight:

Mrs Doubtfire, that saccherine and ubiquitous holiday TV ever-present has always been a disturbing film. Disturbing because it begs several questions: why would somebody think it was a the story was a good idea? Why would anyone pick up the script and say “yup, I want this crap to define my filmmaking career”? and why would Robin Williams… oh wait, I know.

But this time, Mrs Doubtfire‘s most disturbing qualities have been laid bare by ‘Javid Power‘ in a faux trailer that cuts together footage only taken from the movie, and makes a passable and disturbing horror movie trailer.

Check it out. If you dare.

http://youtu.be/UMyp6fRRwr0

TA

First Iron Man 3 Trailer Hits
Oct 2012 23

After the muted reception to Iron Man 2, and the largely enthusiastic reaction to The Avengers, Marvel have begun pushing ahead with the further expansion of their cinematic universe by releasing the trailer for Iron Man 3.

Even though we’re not exactly hurting for superhero content here at RBT, we thought we’d post this, because it looks fairly promising. One of the interesting questions that comes up every time a new Marvel film is mooted, is how far can they push this? How much can they get people to buy in to their less mainstream, less marketable, lesser-known characters? Will they reach a point where the public have had enough? 

Trends come and go, and history would seem to indicate that eventually we’ll all get tired of superhero films, and they’ll go back to only being appreciated by socially-challenged nerds who live in their parents’ basement. But for the moment, there seems no end in sight for their time in the box office sun.

I, for one, thought saturation point had been reached way before The Avengers, but then it came out, and not only was it good, but it was phenomenally successful in a financially, bank-balancey sort of way. Marvel are on a roll right now, and they seem to be doing it their own way, without even compromising their (sizeable) geek factor.

Even dudes in super-powered suits can see the benefits of a good couch

With all that in mind, it’s true, though, that Iron Man 2 was not as good as Iron Man. Partially hampered by having to give over substantial amounts of its running time to Avengers setup, it had an under-utilised villain, a disjointed plot, and a forced air to it. It was fun in places, but had an inescapably disappointing conclusion.

However, before you let that you off, don’t forget that the films’ ace-in-the-hole, Robert Downey Jr. is still on board for this one. Shane Black, a director and writer who, in the criminally under-seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, showed that he could provide the cinematic ammo for R.D. Jr to hit the comedy targets is on megaphone duties. There’s also the impression of the character, and Marvel in general, getting a second wind. Now that the 20-ton elephant in the room that was The Avengers is out of the way, they can get back to making films that have their own satisfying and self-contained storylines. This is something that the forthcoming Thor and Captain America sequels will also hopefully benefit from. So, check out the Iron Man 3 trailer underneath; enjoy, scrutinise and critique, and feel free to let your feelings known in the comments below.

Iron Man 3 is currently scheduled for release in May 2013

TA

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