The Tournament beckons in the Mortal Kombat Trailer


Way back in 1995, Paul W. S. Anderson made his big break with the original Mortal Kombat film. 25 years is high time for an update. Produced by James Wan, this Mortal Kombat seems to be a little stronger with the story it’s sharing. So far, I’m liking the cast here. The Raid‘s Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero, Hiroyuki Sanada (Avengers: Endgame, The Wolverine) as Scorpion, True Blood’s Mechad Brooks as Jax, and those are just the names I recognize. I’m just happy they added Kung Lao to the mix.  I’m hoping there will be more fighting action in this version, and a great soundtrack to boot.

Directed by newcomer Simon McQuoid, Mortal Kombat’s release date is set for later this year, and since it’s a Warner Bros. Picture, there’s a good chance HBO Max may get it early as well.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Enter the Dragon, Drive Angry 3D, The A-Team, Ichi the Killer


Tis November 27, 2015 and all 4 Shots from 4 Films are dedicated to four actors who share the same birth date. A date which all will have now figured out as being November 27. One comes from the Master of the Martial Arts himself, another a veteran character actor, a third who became a prawn and, lastly, the one who made the Glasgow Smile cooler before Heath Ledger.

4 SHOTS FROM 4 FILMS

Enter the Dragon (dir. by Robert Clouse)

Enter the Dragon (dir. by Robert Clouse)

Anime You Should Be Watching: Redline


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Anime has always skewed towards the hyperkinetic imagery that most Western animation rarely, if ever, put on the screen. Where Western animation has a much more flowing style that tries to mimic realism in the artform with anime we get intense action in the animation no matter what genre.

One recent anime that pretty much takes this hyperkinetic style to a new level was 2009’s OVA (original video animation) title from renowned anime studio Madhouse simply called Redline. It’s a wall-to-wall scifi action film that combines futuristic setting and world-building with the speed freak action of the racing genre.

Redline was directed by Takeshi Koike and it took him and his crew of animators from Madhouse a total of seven years and millions of dollars to finish the project. This was a project that pushed the animation to it’s limits with the film using over 100,000 hand-drawn pages of animations that at times looked like it was something that looked more computer-generated. It’s a film that showed many of Koike-san’s artistic influences from his mentor Yoshiaki Kawajiri (well-known for classic anime titles as Vampire Hunter D and Ninja Scroll) right up to the thick lines and heavy blacks of Frank Miller.

The plot for Redline is really not that complex and for some it’s too simple that it became a flaw. It’s a story about the a futuristic race that uses the greatest groundcar racers in the galaxy (instead of the current hovercar this world has turned to using) to tell a story about the underdog fighting against adversity to win not just the ultimate prize but the love of a girl who also happens to be one of his main rivals in the film. The story revolves around the main characters of Sweet JP, with his ludicrous pompadour (the subject of many jokes in the film) and 50’s-style Greaser leather jacket, and his main rival and love interest in Sonoshee.

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Redline barely brings the main leads past being cardboard cutouts as characters, but the story gives the two enough backstory to make them easy to relate to. Yet, it’s not the story that will hook and pull in anime fans both veterans and newbies. It’s all about the action and animation that makes this film one of those anime that people really should be watching. There’s so much action going on in the film that one could easily lose themselves in all that kinetic energy to forgive it’s story’s basic simplicity.

Some have called Redline as the anime version of the latest Fast and Furious films (mainly the last two), but I disagree with that assessment. The latest Fast and Furious films are attempts to make a live-action version of Redline. The two share similar traits and follow that racing creed that the Vin Diesel franchise has popularized: “Ride or Die”.

Redline might not the be the greatest story ever told in anime, but for pure-adrenaline action from beginning to end there’s none better. One can watch it on Youtube on their streaming service, yet I recommend that people who have a huge HDTV (especially the latest 4K screens) watch it on that to see hand-drawn animation at it’s best.

 

Trailer: 47 Ronin (Official)


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So, we have Keanu Reeves playing against type in Man of Tai Chi now we have another Keanu extravaganza where he returns to the role he continues to be cast in. The role of the reluctant hero who also happens to be the only one who can save everyone.

47 Ronin, I will have to assume, is probably very loosely-based on the 18th-century real-life account of the forty-seven ronin (masterless samurai) who took on the rival lord of their former lord and master. Their legend grew upon the success of their mission when they presented themselves to the Shogun and were given the chance to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) to keep their honor instead of being executed like criminals for the murder of the rival lord.

This story continues to remain a popular one in Japan and for those in the West who know of it. The film looks to take the basic premise but adapt the story in a more fantasy-setting that makes this 47 Ronin look more like a live-action anime than a traditional jidaigeki film like the recent 13 Assassins. This film marks one of the first Western Chushingura (fictional accounts of the forty-seven ronin event).

47 Ronin is directed by Carl Erik Rinsch and is set for a Christmas 2013 release date.

Trailer: Thor: The Dark World (Official)


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The second film of Marvel’s Phase 2 for it’s Cinematic Universe comes in the form of Thor: The Dark World. I’m sure the title should give as to which of the Avengers character is front and center for this Phase 2 film.

Above is the official theatrical poster for the film which has a strong fantasy, Drew Struzan feel to it. That’s more than appropriate since Thor bridges the gap between the more grounded superheroics of Midgard’s (that’s Earth to the layman) heroes (Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Iron Man) and the more fantasy and scifi denizens of Asgard like Thor and the upcoming film, Guardians of the Galaxy.

While this latest trailer released by Marvel is not the footage that was shown to Hall H attendees during Marvel’s panel at this year’s Comic-Con, it still manages to show some new footage in addition to one’s already shown at the initial teaser earlier. For one, it has more Loki (which is smart of Marvel since Loki has become this Cinematic Universe’s resident bad boy everyone seems to love or hate to love.) and it also shows some hints at the darker, grittier look that Alan Taylor looks to bring from his time as director of episodes of Game of Thrones for HBO.

Natalie Portman’s character, Jane Foster still seems to come off as not belonging to this ensemble, but there’s still chance that the finished product will flesh her out and her relationship with Thor to everyone’s satisfaction.

Thor: The Dark World is set for a November 8, 2013 release date.

Trailer: Thor: The Dark World (Official)


Thor the Dark World

Iron Man 3 is already premiering in Europe and less than two weeks from premiering in North America. To help tie-over North American filmgoers until Iron Man 3 premieres on this side of the Atlantic Marvel Studios has released the first official trailer for the second film in Phase 2 of their Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Thor: The Dark World sees the Marvel action return to Asgard as Thor must now battle the return of an enemy older than the universe itself. Kenneth Branagh is out as director and in steps Alan Taylor of Game of Thrones as the filmmaker for this sequel. Most everyone returns for this second go-around in Asgard and the Nine Worlds with some new faces such as Chris Eccleston as Malekith the leader of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim.

Thor: The Dark World is set for a November 8, 2013 release date.

Source: Joblo Movie Network

Trailer: Battleship (Super Bowl Spot)


Battleship is going to be the latest film to come out of that film blockbuster factory called Hasbro Studios. Like them or hate them their Transformers franchise by way of Michael Bay has been anything but flops. They’ve made truckloads of money for all involve despite each successive film in the franchise getting worse and worse. The latest Hasbro property to make it’s way onto the bigscreen will be a big-budget production of that classic naval war boardgame kids of all eras just simply called Battleship.

We’ve seen several trailers of the film now and this Super Bowl Sunday we see a new tv spot trailer which shows more of the alien invasion aspect of the film with more aliens in scifi-looking battle armor being seen. We still don’t know what causes this invasion to occur, but then again most of those who will see this film may not really care as long as the action comes fast and furious with enough of a story to keep things from becoming a huge jumbled mess.

Battleship is still set for a May 18, 2012 release date.

Source: Battleship the Movie

Trailer 2: Battleship (dir. Peter Berg)


With Skyrim having taken over my life for the past month or so I’ve been quite remiss with my duties on the site, but no more!

To help me catch up on things around these parts I’ve decided to join the rest of blogosphere and post the latest official trailer for what looks like the offspring when Transformers and 2012 decided to mate. What we get is Peter Berg’s ludicrous, but looks to be quite fun, film adaptation of that classic Hasbro wargame toy. Battleship looks to fill up 2012’s lack of a new Transformers film.

Some have begun to call this the Rihanna film, but I rather think that she’s just a piece in the machine that is Hasbro’s latest attempt to rule the entertainment world with their films based on their classic toy lines. I was very iffy about Berg doing this film, but after two trailer and this one showing more scifi carnage and action I may just put this on my “guilty pleasure” list for 2012.

Battleship is set of a May 18, 2012 release date.

Trailer: Battleship (dir. by Peter Berg) Teaser


It was just going to take before someone in one of the major Hollywood studios decided to tap into the board game market and pick one to adapt into a big-budget blockbuster. It worked wonders for Dreamworks and their bottom line with the Transformers trilogy. This time around we have Universal Pictures ready and set to release in the summer of 2012 their very own board game turned film in the Peter Berg-helmed Battleship.

Yes, you heard it right. That classic naval warfare game that made long road trips both easier to handle and also ripe for arguments has now been made into a film. There’s not much else to say other than watch the trailer. I will say that Liam Neeson must need a new mansion.

Review: Thor (dir. by Kenneth Branagh)


Marvel Comics has had a much better success in bringing their 2nd-tier characters over onto the big-screen than DC Comics and they’ve made the risky decision to tie-in every film they make into one shared universe. Comic book fans have begun to call this the Marvel Film Universe since it contains the same characters and backgrounds as those of their comic book counterparts but also with enough changes to make them stand-out on their own. They’ve already begun this with the first two Iron Man films and a recent reboot of the Incredible Hulk. With the X-Men, Spider-Man, Daredevil and Fantastic Four film rights still under the control of other film studios it left Marvel (now Disney) to use other characters in their control to fill out the rest of this shared universe. The next one to get their turn on the bigscreen is the live-action adaptation of Marvel’s Asgardian God of Thunder. The studios picked British filmmaker Kenneth Branagh to handle this adaptation and his background in bringing Shakespeare to the big-screen has made Thor a flwed but very entertaining superhero film.

To start off, it has to be said that Thor was always going to be the most difficult of all the characters that will make up The Avengers film to bring to the bigscreen. While all these Marvel films do have their fantastic elements due to each character’s superhero nature it was even more fantastic with the character of Thor. This character is in effect a being who has been worshipped by humans in the past as one of their deities. God-like characters have always been tough to make human and relatable in stories and film. It’s a testament to Branagh’s handle of the Asgard characters such as Thor, Odin and Loki that we don’t end up with just all-powerful beings, but individuals whose impulses and motivations definitely are human. It’s this dynamic between Thor, his father Odin and his brother Loki which drives the Shakespearean angle of the film’s storyline. It’s where Branagh’s history of making Shakespeare accessible to the general film audience that makes their story easy to follow and understand.

The film actually begins with the human characters of Dr. Jane Foster (played by Natalie Portman) and her colleagues (Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings)  driving around in the New Mexico desert at night looking for atmospheric disturbances which should validate Foster’s theories on the Einstein-Rosen Bridge aka wormholes. What they end up running to instead is Thor himself arriving on Earth (Midgard in Asgardian terms) to begin his banishment from his homeworld. Yes, I say homeworld as the film has turned one of the more difficult aspects of Thor’s background into something that makes sense for the audience not steeped and learned from decades of Thor comic books. Thor’s home of Asgard is just one of nine worlds around the galaxy of which Earth is one.

It’s right after this scene that we go back to what started Thor’s banishment. The film does a great job explaining the role the Asgard’s played in Earth’s past history and the consequences of their war against the Frost Giants of the world of Jotunheim (one of the nine worlds). It’s through the narration by Odin himself (Anthony Hopkins) that we learn of the origins of the Gods and myths of Norse culture. This intro scene also shows Odin showing his two young sons in Thor and Loki the relic he had taken to end the wars between Asgard and the Jotunheim. For an origin sequence it was able to set up the rules of this fantastical world of Asgard and it’s Nine Realms. It’s the sequence right after which would lead to Thor’s banishment from Asgard and the stripping of his all-powerful hammer, Mjolnir, and his powers.

For some, and I would have to agree, this sequence which takes Thor, his brother Loki, childhood friends Sif and Warriors Three to the icy world of Jotunheim made up the best action setpiece for the film. The battle which begins between Thor’s forces and those of King Lauhey (Colm Feore under some very elaborate make-up effects) of the Frost Giants. This scene shares some similar qualities with an earlier action setpiece in the first Iron Man film in that it surpasses all other setpieces which would occur later in their respective films. This is not to say that the other action scenes were boring or just simple fare. They were exhilirating and full of energy, but that very first one in the beginning just had even more energy and action that it might’ve been better saved for the climax of the film.

Once the banishment occurs we finally catch up to the film’s first scene and the film begins to go back and forth between Asgard and Earth. With the former we see the machiavellian side of Loki finally assert itself. While Loki’s character is never truly shown to be evil his mischievious streak does show to have a cruel side to it. The bombshell of a news from Odin about his true origins was a nice touch, but it doesn’t lead to the sort of evil character turn we’re used to. In fact, I would say that Loki’s character (played with Iago-like relish by Tom Hiddleston) ends up becoming like the son who does the wrong things for the right reasons. He’s a nice contrast to the more open-faced Thor who does what he says instead of dancing around the subject even to the detriment of his standing with his father.

The scenes on Earth itself is where the comedic aspect of the film comes in. Most of the comedy comes at the expense of Thor’s “fish out of water” reaction to the new world around him. It’s helped much by some great comedic timing by Jane’s assistant Darcy (Kat Dennings who steals the film from Portman whenever they’re on together). It is also the time on Earth where some of the flaws in the film really become apparent. First and foremost would be Portman’s Jane Foster character who seem to be so uneven. She goes from brilliant astrophysicist one moment then giggling schoolgirl the next whenever she’s in close proximity to Thor. While Portman and Hemsworth do make quite the radioactively beautiful couple there’s a sense of untapped chemistry between the two that might have been left on the editing floor. It’s a shame really since so much could’ve been done with the Foster character to really give reasons to why Thor ends up valuing the lives of said mortals to earn his God of Thunder status once again.

Thor really does entertain despite some character and storytelling (really most of it on the Earth side of things) flaws which could’ve sunk the film right from the start. I believe that it’s director Branagh’s handling of the Shakespearean tragedy on the Asgard side of the film that holds the film together. This is one reason and the other being a star-turning turn by Chris Hemsworth as Thor himself. His performance goes from cocky, brash young man on the cusp of leadership to lost, confused and rudderless once banished then back again to a maturing prodigal son who finally learns the lessons his father has been trying to teach him. It would interesting to see Hemsworth’s Thor truly interact with Downey’s Tony Stark and Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers when The Avengers comes out in 2012.

The riskiest part of Marvel’s attempt to create their Marvel Cinematic Universe succeeds where most seem to think it will fail. It’s not as strong an origin film as Favreau’s first Iron Man, but it does add a sense of wonder that film could never grasp through two films. Even the controversial casting choices to put non-white actors to play Asgard roles (Tadanobu Asano as Hogun and Idris Elba as Heimdall) comes off well that the audience shouldn’t even wonder why a black and Asian person were playing characters written originally as white.

From the look of things there’s no official word whether there will be a second Thor film, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was no matter how the film does boxoffice-wise. There’s just too much great stories to tell about Thor, Asgard and the rest of the Asgard Nine Realms now that the foundation has been laid down with this first film. I do hope that Branagh returns for those sequels if they do happen. One thing which Branagh has proven was his handling of action sequences. They weren’t amazing, but they were handled with enough skill that I believe a second time around we’d get even better action from a director known more for serious dramatic films.

A final thing to mention would be the Easter Egg final scene which occurs once the end credits finish their run at the end of the film. For those who stayed to see this scene it should be a nice treat for Marvel and comic book fans. It shows a certain artifact that should tie Thor to the upcoming Captain America film later this summer. All I can say for those who didn’t stay to see it and knows their Marvel trivia are two words: Cosmic and cube.

PS: An Avenger member makes a cameo appearance halfway in the film that doesn’t look tacked on despite what some of the more “glass half-empty” film bloggers on the net would make you think…Also, it’s safe to forgo seeing Thor in 3D. It’s not a bad post-conversion but it doesn’t really add to the film. See it in 2D to save yourself a few bucks on the ticket price.