Trailer: Furious 7 (Extended)


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We saw the Super Bowl trailer of Furious 7 (formerly known as Fast & Furious 7). Well, here’s the extended version of it with more Jason Statham mayhem added to the mix. We also get The Rock get beatdown by Statham. Then again we’re all pretty much aware that Statham probably is the only person can put a beatdown on the Rock.

It looks like the summer blockbuster season starting out earlier and earlier with each passing year. Furious 7 is set for an April 3, 2015 release date.

Trailer: Furious 7 (Teaser)


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To much fanfare we finally have the teaser trailer to the latest adventures of Dominic Toretto and his band of misfit drivers.

Now officially titled as Furious 7, the latest film in the franchise goes further away from it’s street racing roots and into the spy thriller and superhero genres it drifted into with Fast Five. Even the title alone sounds like a superhero team straight out of Marvel Comics. It’s almost as if I expect to see Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Daredevil and Elektra plus three other furious heroes fighting the good fight.

The teaser pretty much teases the sort of over-the-top, physics-defying action scenes we’ve come to expect from this franchise. It’s almost as if with each new film they up the ante as to how much universal laws Dom and his crew will break in order to entertain it’s massive fan audience.

Furious 7 is set to ride and die this April 3, 2015.

Trailer: The November Man


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Outside of Sean Connery, my other favorite James Bond has always been Pierce Brosnan. He was able to inject some of the fun that became camp when Roger Moore was Bond, but still retain the ice-cold lethality that Connery brought to the role. It was just bad luck that he ended up with Bond writers and directors that were hit or miss. I think Pierce woud’ve done just as good a job, if not better, in the films that Daniel Craig ended up doing as Bond.

We now have Brosnan back as a spy, but not as Bond, but as Peter Devereaux from the spy novel series written by Bill Granger. The November Man looks to be Brosnan’s attempt to try and add another spy thriller franchise in the mix with both Bond and Bourne. Whether Brosnan succeeds depends on how critics and audiences react to this film.

The trailer makes the film look interesting enough. Using the time-tested plot of master vs. protege, The November Man may have some success when it comes out at the tail end of the summer season with little to no competition.

One thing that’s good to see is Brosnan back on the screen. If Liam Neeson can transition into the elder action hero then I can’t see why Pierce Brosnan can’t do it as well. Neeson can’t be the only Irish kickass on the screen. Lisa Marie would agree that there’s never enough kickass Irish stars on the big-screen.

The November Man shoots its way onto the big-screen this August 27, 2014.

Review: Oblivion (dir. by Joseph Kosinski)


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Good science-fiction films tend to be far and few between. Most of the time the ideas and ambition to make a good or great science-fiction film are right there on paper, but loses much once people actually have to create it for others to see. This puts the latest sci-fi film from Tron: Legacy filmmaker Joseph Kosinski in a weird position. His follow-up to the underwhelming sequel to the classic sci-fi film Tron is called Oblivion and it manages to be thought-provoking and entertaining, yet also have a sense of a been there and done that to the whole proceeding.

Oblivion quickly gets the introductions to the film’s backstory out of the way. Earth was attacked 60 years ago by aliens who were called “Scavengers” (Scavs for short) who destroyed the moon thus causing massive tectonic upheaval and gigantic tsunamis to ravage the planet. Humanity in its desperation would fight back with the only weapons it had left once the aliens began landing troops and that would be the nuclear kind. The planet is now devastated with the surviving population leaving Earth for a new colony on Saturn’s moon of Titan and in a massive tetrahedron space station orbiting Earth simply called “The Tet”.

It’s the story of the technician pair left behind to provide support for the array of armed drones who patrol Earth for any remaining Scavs and protect the reclamation factories that has been removing the remaining resources that the planet has to be used as an energy source for the Titan colony. This pair of technician are Jack (Tom Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) who live in a towering base above the clouds. Jack does the dirty work by flying patrols in the area that encompasses what used to be the East Coast of the United States while Victoria (who also happens to be Jack’s lover) provides comm and technical support back at their base.

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Victoria can’t wait to finish their five-year stint on Earth and with two weeks left before they can rejoin the rest of humanity on Titan her dream is coming closer. Yet, Jack doesn’t seem to want to leave Earth behind. He has begun to dream about Earth before the war that he should have no memory of. First they’re dreams while he’s asleep but as the film shows it soon begins to invade and distract his waking hours as well.

It’s during one such mission where he comes across the a sudden arrival of a human spacecraft with surviving humans aboard that his dreams become reality. A woman he has dreamed off that he’s never met is one of the survivors (played by Olga Kurylenko) and she becomes the key to unlocking the secret that’s been kept from him about the true nature of the war that devastated Earth sixty years past and why he continues to have flashes of memories that he should never have had.

Oblivion sounds like it’s original at first glance, but as the story moves along we begin to see influences (at times outright plot point lifts) from past innovative sci-fi films such as Moon and The Matrix. While Kosinski (who co-wrote the film as well as directed it) does put his own spin on these ideas it’s not enough to fully distinguish the film from past sci-fi films which did them better. Oblivion is not bad by any means, but it fails to stretch beyond it’s influences that would’ve made it a great film instead of just being a good one. It doesn’t help that the script lags behind Kosinski’s talent for creating some beautiful images and vistas. The world-building he does with art director Kevin Ishioka manages to make a devastated Earth look serenely beautiful which when paired with cinematographer Claudio Miranda’s panoramic sweeps of the Icelandic location shoot make Oblivion one of the best looking film of 2013.

Yet, the script tries too hard to explore some heavy themes such as the nature of memory and identity. The film doesn’t explore them enough to make this film come off as something heavy sci-fi like Solaris. It just teases the audience enough to start a spark that could lead to conversations afterwards. The action that does punctuate the more introspective sections of the film does come off quite well despite coming only few at a time and not for any extended length.

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What seems to hold the film together outside of it’s visuals would be the performance of the cast which sees Tom Cruise doing a very workman-like performance as Jack. We’ve seen him do this sort of performance time and time again that it seems to be second-nature to him by now and something audiences come to expect now. Even Morgan Freeman as an aged resistance fighter lends a bit of serious gravitas to the film whenever he’s on-screen. But it’s the performances of the two female leads that sells the film despite it’s flaws. Olga Kurylenko has less to work with in the role of Jack’s mystery woman Julia. What she does get she does so with a level of empathy that instantly sells the notion that Jack and her were destined to be together despite the vast gulf of time and space.

The stand-out performance comes from Andrea Riseborough as Jack’s lover and partner Victoria. Where Jack comes off as restrained chaotic glee who marvels at the sight he sees every day he’s out on patrol the opposite is Victoria. Her organized and reserved demeanor comes off as sexy in a cold and calculated way, yet just behind that British reserve we see glimpses of her hanging on by a thread at the chaos she sees in Jack. Andrea Riseborough plays Victoria so well that every scene she’s in she steals it from Cruise. Her performance was all about slight changes to her body movement, a quick glance that speaks volumes of what she’s thinking. While this film may not make Riseborough an outright star it will get her noticed by other filmmakers soon enough.

With the summer blockbuster season of 2013 coming closer like a freight train with the approach of Iron Man 3 it’s a good thing that Oblivion was released weeks before this hectic season. For despite it’s flaws in it’s script and the lack of originality in it’s premise the film does succeed in being entertaining and thought-provoking enough that people should see it on the big-screen. Plus, nothing but the massive screen (especially IMAX) does full justice to some of the vistas shot of Iceland that doubles as devastated Earth. So, while Oblivion may not be the slam-dunk hit for Kosinki after failing with Tron: Legacy it is still a film worth checking out.

Trailer: Zero Dark Thirty


After the success Kathryn Bigelow had with her award-winning film The Hurt Locker it was just part of the norm that people began to wonder what she would do to follow-up the film which gave her the Oscar for Best Director. There was talk of her making an action thriller about the Tri-Border Region in South America that many intelligence agencies consider a major haven for global organized crime and terrorist groups of all kinds. This particular idea bounced around for months then nothing came of it. Then news came about around late-Spring to early Summer 2011 that Bigelow and The Hurt Locker writer and collaborator Mark Boal came upon the idea that would be Bigelow’s follow-up.

The film that the two decided upon would be an action thriller detailing the global manhunt for Osama Bin Laden. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but this decision became even more important once news broke out on May 2, 2011 that the hunt for America’s Most Wanted criminal was finally over and that Operation Neptune Spear was a success with the death of Bin Laden.

Zero Dark Thirtyis the title of Bigelow’s film about the details and backstory which led up to this special operations mission on May 2, 2011. The first trailer for the film has been released by Sony and it’s short on details other than some voice overs over satellite imagery. I’m sure there’ll be more trailers that will open up what this film will truly be about leading up to it’s December release date (just in time for awards season).

It’s going to be interesting how Bigelow will do with this follow-up to The Hurt Locker. If her history is anything to go by then it shouldn’t disappoint even if some of her detractors will be chomping at the bit to see it fail and further see her Best Director Oscar win as a fluke done to keep the award from her ex-husband James Cameron.

Zero Dark Thirty is scheduled for a December 19, 2012 release date…just two days from the end of the world.

Trailer: The Amazing Spider-Man (3rd Official)


I will say it now that when I first heard that Sony was going to reboot the Spider-Man film franchise I wasn’t enthused by their decision not to mention saying bye to Sam Raimi as the franchise director. I saw this decision as Sony’s attempt to hold onto the licensing rights to the character. Without a new film coming out soon the rights were going to revert back to it’s parent company in Marvel Comics (something comic book fans probably hope would’ve happened). So, a new film was rushed, with a new director in Marc Webb and a new Peter Parker in Andrew Garfield.

This reboot will retell Spider-Man’s origin story once again and much more grittier than the more fun, pulpy Raimi trilogy. I think the fact that it was going to be another origin story is what made me hesitant to embrace this reboot. I’m still not fully committed to this film, but with each new trailer released my interest continues to rise. With this latest trailer we can see that the effects look to be much improved from the first three films which is understandable with advancement in CGI. We can also see in this new trailer the “grittier” aspect Sony was promising. I will say that I’m still not sold on Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, but maybe seeing the finished product will prove me wrong.

The Amazing Spider-Man is set for a July 3, 2012 release date.

Quick Film Review: Immortals (dir. by Tarsem Singh)


Perhaps I’m jaded and spoiled by movies like Jason and the Argonauts and games like God of War.

I’m pretty sure that in an alternate dimension somewhere, audiences are sitting in the theatre and loving the hell out of Immortals. Maybe in some ways it’s actually good, but I can’t see them. At best, the film acts a great demo reel for Henry Cavill, who audiences will see as Superman sometime next year. For that reason, and perhaps Mickey Rourke’s Hyperion, Immortals is worth a peek. Even then, you may want to have someone take you to the movie, rather than pay for it yourself. Let’s put it this way. I spent more time on my iPhone with the brightness dimmed during the movie than I did actually watching it, and that’s a rarity for me. You’re better off waiting for the Netflix Edition. Everything you see in the trailer is basically the film in a nutshell.

The only other thing it really does have going for it is the 3D, which actually happens to be pretty good for the half hour that you can see it (and perhaps that’s just me, because it feels like it fades over time). The film does feel as if it were primarily filmed in 3D, and boasts some awesome visuals, but the story is a little jumbled. I won’t deny that Tarsem Singh has a really fantastic eye for painting a scene from The Cell to this point, but without sharp writing there’s something lost in the translation. It’s like watching David Fincher when he was still partnered with Darius Khondji on Seven or Spielberg with Kaminski in Minority Report. You can make pretty pictures, but there has to be some kind of meat and potatoes to it for the audience. That’s just how I felt here.

Eons ago, you once had mortals and you had gods. Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, Apollo, Dionysus, Aphrodite, etc. In Immortals, the gods learned that they had the ability to kill one another and as a result, there were a number of wars.  Enter Hyperion, who loathes the gods and wants them destroyed. In order to do this, he has to unleash the Titans, who were once servants of the gods but were punished for their treachery and sealed away in a special cage that can only be unlocked with an item called the Epirius Bow (which was one of the elements I truly enjoyed).

Our hero, Theseus (Cavill) lives a quiet life with his family when Hyperion’s forces attack. In the process, he witnesses his mother’s death at the hands of Hyperion himself and swears vengeance. Captured and left for dead with a number of others, he meets a mystic named Phaedra (played by Freida Pinto, who seems like she may be playing the same role emotionally that she did in Rise of the Planet of the Apes). Phaedra provides him with visions that allow him to reach the Bow.

Lead by Zeus, the gods watch all of this from Olympus, but are unable to interfere in the affairs of mortals on pain of death. These sequences (when they do happen) are the ones that you’re seeing in the trailers for the most part. Oceans rise and bad guys are cut down so fast that the first hardly has a chance to fall before the ninth one is hit. It’s amazing to see, it really is, but it’s been done before in movies as old as Jet Li’s The One. The film doesn’t lack in action, and in that, there’s a plus. What I had personally hoped for was something akin to giants or mythical creatures. Even though it was geared for teens, last year’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians offered more of a mystical element than Immortals did for me. It wouldn’t have hurt to have undead warriors or harpies or something. For all the money spent in effects, everything in this film seemed to be grounded in human based actions.

All of this culminates into a huge 300 like battle, right down to the narrow passageway that is used as an arena of battle. Theseus rallies his troops that are ready to retreat with a speech that’s helped along with the banging of shields. It was nice, but again, it wasn’t anything terribly new – “They’re only human!!” *clack clack clack* “We can beat them!” *clack clack clack* “For the children!!” *clack clack clack*

“And a tighter script!” I wanted to yell with a raised fist. “And maybe a refund!”

As for the audience, they seemed okay with it. There is a love scene which I don’t think younger audiences are ready for, but it was done in such a way that the “fade to black / open to the following morning” shot doesn’t let things get too far, visually.

When it gets to video, I may see Immortals again (because it is visually beautiful), but you’re better off treating yourself curling up somewhere and reading Homer’s The Odyssey for a while and letting your imagination fill in the pieces. It’s a okay film if you don’t ask for more than what it’s giving you.