Monday, November 23, 2009

Vanessa Redgrave Returns to the Movies in Letters to Juliet

Vanessa Redgrave (above, on the set of Letters to juliet) is a veteran actress and is one who we should see more of in movies with her return after a hiatus following the passing away of her daughter Natasha Richardson. In Letters to Juliet, Redgrave returns as a grandmother who goes on a quest to find a love she left behind as a young woman back in 1957.

A letter Redgrave's character had written and hidden in the Romeo and Juliet lovers' wall in Verona, Italy is found by Amanda Seyfried's character who goes out of her way to find her, leaving her boyfriend behind. In her journey, she befriends the old lady and falls in love with her grandson. In the end, the two girls of different generations discover what they had been searching for. It's a happy movie that will make you leave with a smile on your face and more romance in your heart.

Redgrave certainly played her part well in the movie as a woman taking a tentative dip into her past - a move that is triggered in the story by the appearance of Seyfried's young woman. The writers, Jose Rivera and Tim Sullivan, made the story like the fates worked together to find a way for the two women to meet and allow them to go on a journey to find what's missing in their respective lives.

Redgrave's role in this movie is a comeback of sorts and we can bet that she will become a more common sight in more movies to come. There are roles for senior actresses that only a few can fill and Redgrave is one veteran who can certainly fill roles like those brought to life by other actresses like Maggie Smith of the Harry Potter series.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Prince of Persia Evolves from a Simple Scrolling Game to Big Screen Reality

Do you remember the first Prince of Persia video games? The first one (Prince of Persia) came out in 1989 and was developed by Broderbund for the Apple II. Prince of Persia 2: Shadow of the Flame came out in 1994, also by Broderbund.

In 2003, Ubisoft took over production and came up with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within. The pervious one is where the prince takes a new look. From the turban-wearing figure, he became a more real character rendered in 3D. The character-rendition for The Warrior Within took criticism for making the prince too heavy metal.

The original Prince of Persia was created by Jordan Mechner, who was inspired by scenes in George Lucas's Raiders of the Lost Ark. That's the reason why there are lots of caverns, traps, and jumping in the game. Instead of a whip, though, the prince uses a sword. Mechner used rotoscoping to match the actual movements of his younger brother who he asked to perform the actions the prince has to do in the game. That is why the prince's animation in the original game is so smooth and realistic.

Prince of Persia came out on many platforms, including DOS, Amiga, Atari, and SNES, among the early ones. The 3D versions work in the X-Box. With new motion-capture technology, the game may soon use the player's own body movements to make the prince jump, crawl, dangle, and do all manner of acrobatics in the game. The later versions of the franchise give a new look to the prince, who used to wear a turban, a vest, and loose "Sindbad" trousers. He didn't really have a face in the game. Now, he's done away with the turban, sports straight, cropped hair, and has a goatee. He's the epitome of the ancient Middle-Eastern swashbuckler.

There's a good future for the Prince of Persia franchise and now there's a movie based on the game using the character design of the 3D versions. The movie, The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Prince Dastan. He partners with a rival princess Tamina (played by Gemma Arterton) to stop an evil vizier from unleashing the power of the sands of time and dominate or destroy the world. The quest is a tough one and the prince also has to deal with the princess who's more than a handful.

If you've played Prince of Persia before, you definitely have to watch this movie. It's from Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer, so it has to be just as good, and maybe even bette,r than Pirates of the Caribbean.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Julie Andrews Stars in Tooth Fairy with Dwayne Johnson

Who would have thought that former wrestler turned bankable actor Dwayne Johnson would star with veteran actress Julie Andrews? They're from two different worlds and appear in contrasting movies. We can't expect to see Andrews in The Scorpion King and we can't imagine Johnson to be in Princess Diaries. But as fate would have it, they are now in the same movie which makes good use of Johnson's spectator sports background and Andrews's appeal as a star of musicals with fancy costumes.

In the comedy movie, Tooth Fairy, Johnson get's in touch with his less masculine side as a tooth fairy with Andrews serving as his superior. It's his punishment for being a scrooge and he has to learn how to be a tooth fairy and a better person at the same time. Only problem is that he's a misfit as a tooth fairy and practically misuses his fairy powers. How that would sit with Andrews's character remains to be seen in the movie, but it's likely Johnson's tooth fairy will have to act on his own to redeem himself and right what he did wrong.

Click here to read about an sfx effects blooper in Tooth Fairy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Solomon Kane Looks Like Hugh Jackman's Van Helsing

Solomon Kane is a hero brought to comics life by the same man who created Conan the Barbarian in the early part of the 20th century. The writer is Robert E. Howard, a genius of the 1920s and 30s who was ahead of his time like H.G. Wells was when it came to fantastic ideas. But while Wells carved a niche in science-fiction, Howard's made a name with fantasy characters that were said to have given birth to the sword and sorcery genre. In fact, he's been compared to J.R.R. Tolkien, creator of the Lord of the Rings stories.

Anyway, back to Kane. This pulp-fiction magazine/comic book character is a loner in the 16th century who basically lives to banish and destroy evil wherever he goes - basically Europe and Africa and anywhere in between. You can consider him to be the undertaker of evil. Howard gave him a mentor and friend, an African shaman who gives him a mystical staff that turns out to be the staff of Solomon. He uses this as a weapon along with his two pistols - an unlikely combination of spiritual and modern tools, but Howard made it work in his stories.

Way back in those pre-World War 2 days, Howard gave Kane a dark profile with a look that's mysterious with a black cloak and wide-brimmed hat. The character's depiction in the movie reminds us of Hugh Jackman's Van Helsing (left). Some fans say the Van Helsing look was "inspired" by Howard's idea. It is a fact that the Solomon Kane "look" was envisioned well before the young costume designers of the Van Helsing movie were even born. Nevertheless, Solomon Kane still remainds us of Van Helsing.

Solomon Kane is directed by Michael J. Bassett with James Purefoy playing the lead character. It also stars Rachel Hurd-Wood who we've seen in other period films.

Before Solomon Kane was a movie, it was in the Weird Tales magazine. Here is a Dark Horse graphic novel which takes you to the good old days of pulp-fiction. It's got bonus stories of Conan the Barbarian and more! It's definitely a Robert E. Howard collectors' item! Click here or on the image above to place your order now.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Transylmania Spoofs Dracula

There's never a dearth of vampire movies. They just keep coming out and it's likely it's never going to end. Since the old-fashioned Christopher Lee movies, viewers have become harder and harder to please and the younger generation are always looking for something new. There's not much viewers can do about the classic tale of Dracula, so what filmmakers do is present it in a fresh light and in a different genre. In Transylmania, it's another comedy that sort of follows the footsteps of Mel Brooks's Dead and Loving It starring Leslie Neilsen.

Transylmania takes a group of college kids (it's usually teenagers, you know) into a school semester for an exposure trip to Romania. The picture-perfect holiday suddenly turns less rosy as the darkly hilarious presence of an undead vampire reveals itself. Usually, if the movie is a serious horror picture, the youngsters would be picked off one by one (especially those who "misbehave") until only a handful remain alive. In Transylmania, it's never going to be serious because it's a comedy from start to finish.

You don't need to see any critic's film review of this one. You just need to watch it and try to enjoy it. Guys would like to see this one just for Jennifer Lyons (top) who plays Lynn, the same name given to her in her role in Dorm Daze. The girl in leather (at left) is Musetta Vander who starred in the Hamm Stroker's Suck My Blood "episode" of the Son of the Beach tv series and Mortal Kombat.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland: Drink Me! Eat Me! Watch Me in 3D!

Lewis Carroll wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for a kid. Now, Tim Burton has re-imagined the old-time favorite for adults and with a young adult, Mia Wasikowska (shown below at left with a bunny), in the leading role as Alice. Judging by the trailer, it's still the same old story with Alice falling into the rabbit hole and drinking and eating things that would make her grow or shrink in size. The difference is that this one's got a burtonesque twist in the depiction of characters and production design. Of course, it wouldn't be a Tim Burton film without Johnny Depp and dark, twisted characters. The Alice in Wonderland teaser trailer clearly shows Burton's distinct stamp.

The appeal of this new Alice in Wonderland is it's being done by creatively playful Tim Burton and there's a lot to expect from his distinctly creative mind. How Burton envisions Alice as a young adult acting innocently like the child as the character was originally intended to be is also something to see. And of course, there's the red-haired Mad Hatter that doesn't look a bit like Johnny Depp although we can appreciate how he still acts like Johnny Depp. We can see bits of Edward Scissorhands, Willy Wonka, and other "Depped" characters in Burton's movies.

This new Alice in Wonderland, which Burton has described as "a bit of an experiment" will likely be a new collectible and something that's appealing to both young and old (at least Burton hopes so). It's being in 3D is an attraction that's hard not to let pass and it's a sure blockbuster in theaters and that's something predictable this early on.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

St. Trinian's Girls Misbehave but Get to Save the School

What's behind the walls of this old English school called St. Trinian's? Is it ghosts? Monsters? Creatures of the night? Wrong! It's full of crazy undisciplined girls making the best of the school's free expression policy. Sound too good to be true? Yes, because it is! This school is an anti-school - an educational institution where girls don't really learn and have fun instead like crazy anime chicks. It's an all girls school, so you can expect a lot of young girlie fun in this movie.

It's called St. Trinian's and it's rated PG-13. It's actually a remake of sorts of an old series. In it, you'll see lots of girls misbehaving to a tune similar to that Pink Floyd's song about school and education - Another Brick in the Wall. But of course, in the end, the girls will learn a lesson or two they'll never forget and save the school in the process. If you're young, teenaged girl, maybe you should watch this. Just make sure you don't try the things the girls do in the movie. They will definitely give you trouble. St. Trinian's stars Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Russell Brand, Stephen Fry, Gemma Arterton, Talulah Riley, Mischa Barton (pictured), Lily Cole, and Lena Heady.

Taxidermia Movie Is about What?!

There have been strange names for movies, and of course, you're familiar with some of them, like Disturbia. These kind of movies are usually of the bizarre kind - usually horror bordering on the insanely comedic. Now, there's a movie called Taxidermia and by the sound of the title, viewers may be treated to some hacking and slashing. But this movie isn't really about these. So what's it all about?

Well, simply put, Taxidermia is the story of three generations of men. There's the story of one who's obese and a speed eater; another one embalms giant cats; still another is able to shoot fire out of his "male member." The ideas are simply outrageous and you have the feeling that the movie may give you a dose of morbid comedy - never mind the horror. It's another surreal movie of the likes of Brazil. For all it's worth, it's also a drama. It's described as "a devious little nightmare," "a genre-defying exercise in imagination," and "perversely-fascinating."

It may not be for everybody, but Taxidermia is said to have been a hit in Cannes (these kind of movies often get critical acclaim there). If you're a film buff, you should definitely watch this one.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Megan Fox Burns the Tip of Her Tongue with a Lighter in Jennifer's Body

Megan Fox has battled giant alien robots in the two Transformers movies. She got a lot of publicity from them which sent her to superstar status. Now, a little-known movie with her in it is being released, 2009, and it's a teen horror flick called Jennifer's Body written by Diablo Cody and directed by Karyn Kusama.

Megan Fox plays a cheerleader who's possessed by a demon, so she's the bad one who gets to kill boys who fall for her seductions. It's up to Jennifer's friend to stop the murders. The story is not really new, and the poster reminds us too much of HBO's True Blood Series, but the movie is something that hormonal teens would probably like to see over and over, especially with Megan Fox in the starring role. Who would want to miss the scene where she sticks out her tongue and burns the tip with her lighter?

Jennifer's Body is a naughty but deadly romp in a high school where things go on but the authorities can't exactly figure out what's wrong. The story isn't really as important as what's expected to happen within the plot - which is the entertaining part. Viewers would want to see sexy Megan Fox transform (no pun intended) into a sexy demon-monster. If you've watched the Species movies, then it's something like that but it's never serious and should be a lot of fun (at least for some) to watch, however morbid.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hilary Swank Looks Like Amelia Earhart

Hilary Swank (top left) plays Amelia Earhart in a movie simply titled Amelia. The casting in this movie is superb and Hilary Swank is perfect for the role not only because she's convincing as a determined historic woman aviator but she also looks like Amelia Earhart! You can compare their looks with the photos above and left (the real Amelia Earhart).

We've all seen how actress Amy Adams played Amelia Earhart in Night at the Museum 2. There, our famous aviator is depicted as playful and alluring - which is only fitting for that kind of movie. In Amelia, which is a documentary drama directed by Indian director Mira Nair (video interview follows), it's all about the real person and how she lived and faced the challenges as a brave woman aviator and one who made history.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ice Age 3 Storyline Molded by Experiences of Cast

One of the things that endears the Ice Age movie characters is their acting like real people. While they're prehistoric animal characters like those found as fossils in the La Brea Tar Pits, there are of course living people behind their voices and actions. It's really the fine cast of actors, actresses, and animators who give believable life to the movie's heroes. They do their jobs so well that it's easy to forget that the movie characters aren't real - and that's the whole point in going to the movies, really - to suspend disbelief.

The stars, like Queen Latifah, Ray Romano, and John Leguizamo, all have stories to tell about how their experiences helped mold the movie story in Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Because this movie is in 3D, it's expected to have a lot more draw than the first two, especially now that people are already familiar with the characters. Above is a video in which you can hear what some of the stars have to say about themselves and the story.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Movies Are Where the Wild Things Are Now

In 1963, a writer and illustrator by the name of Maurice Sendak wrote a story book (left) about a mischievous boy in a wolf-suit named Max who is sent to his room without supper. In his room, a forest grows and it's there he comes face to face with the fierce-looking "wild things." The monsters fail to frighten him however as he learns that staring them in the eye makes them his willing minions. This is how be becomes a king in the eyes of the Wild Things! Max gets a whole world to play in as well as new animal-monster friends.

What adventures await our little hero in the land of the Wild Things? It would seem like the movie is banking on the appeal of different-looking creatures to kids' imaginations. Kids will surely be treated to a lot of them who may stay with them in their own imagination for a long time. The picture book is only ten sentences long and writing the story for the movie was likely a wonderful challenge to writer Dave Eggers and director Spike Jonze. Watch the trailer of Where the Wild Things Are.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Moon Continues with Old Twilight Teen Formula

The second of the Twilight teen vampire movie series is rising and now it's got a love triangle, lots of teen angst, soul-searching, and of course, lots of blood. It's a teen movie with teen situations set in a gothic but modern tale of vampires. It's the kind of movie that teens would love to watch at the cinema just for the sake of enjoying it with friends. The official New Moon trailer is also very popular.

The story of love found in the midst of opposing forces is a favorite of storytellers since time immemorial, but it's something that people still love to watch and is always welcome to a new generation of movie goers, particularly those who are inclined to things pale.

It's amazing how the lead vampire in the Twilight, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), still prefers teen girls when he is after all a lot, and I mean a lot, older than Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), he human girlfriend. He also behaves pretty much like a teenager. Perhaps that's how it is with vampires. Maybe when you get bitten by one as a teenager and turn into a vampire yourself, you get to be a teenager physically, mentally, and emotionally forever - as long as you're not staked through the heart or get your head lopped of, or something.

Twilight: New Moon is directed by Chris Weitz and penned by Melissa Rosenburg. Fans of the first movie based on the book by Stephanie Meyer, will get to see how the relationship of Bella and Edward progresses as they realize just how different they are and how love may not be enough to keep them together. Lots of werewolves also get in the way.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Amy Adams Steals the Scenes in Night at the Museum 2

Amy Adams is aviator Amelia Earhart in Night at the Museum 2, albeit only an animated wax depiction of a character. Nevertheless, she gives spunky appeal to a historical figure that we only see smiling in black and white archival photos. Yes, she definitely steals most of the scenes from lead actor Ben Stiller and is definitely the life of the movie. It's no mystery why the producers cast her for the role.

In the movie, Amy Adams's Amelia Earhart leaves in her plane, and just like what happened to the real one, she disappears leaving behind a mess at the Smithsonian. The movie does not delve into the aftermath of the "battle at the Smithsonian" anymore unlike in the first one, which showed how news reporters captured video of the mayhem. The epilogue to that is left to the imagination of viewers.

At the end of the movie, Amy Adams appears again as a visitor to Stiller's museum, this time sporting straight long hair and spectacles - a nod to the intellectual character of Carla Gugino in the first movie. Of course, Stiller's character sees it as fate that he gets a second chance with a wax woman he falls in love with. The real thing is always better, especially if the character is played by Amy Adams.

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Blood: The Last Vampire Is Buffy and Blade in One Movie

In one movie, a character says that the Japanese take the best of what the world has to offer and make them better. In a way this is true for the movie Blood: The Last Vampire, which is about a Japanese schoolgirl who's half human half vampire. For some reason, she's angry with blood-sucking demons and wants to kill them all (the post WW2 japanese government in the story has a lot to do with it).

The movie has teen elements found in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and also more adult ideas found in the Blade movie series. It's basically an anime-turned-into-a-movie flick with fantasy-girl elements that fans of Japanese anime want to see. The cute monster-fighting samurai girl in school uniform named Saya is at the top of the list. Other elements include the old white-bearded fighting man, and the beautiful-but-deadly nemesis with lethal robe extensions - all of which would be lucrative as action figures and other movie collectibles.

Blood: The Last Vampire is based on the popular series of the same title and brought to the big screen by a producer of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. It's from Sony Pictures and stars rising Korean actress Gianna Jun as Saya.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sam Raimi Helms Drag Me to Hell Movie

Sam Raimi is perhaps one of the most entertaining directors out there having the flexibility of a contortionist when it comes to movies and television shows that make your heart beat in excitement. Movies like Evil Dead and Army of Darkness are not your average movie-goer's fare but they have endured the test of time and have become cult favorites outside of Raimi's Spider-Man movies.

Raimi's style of in-your-face action special effects and humor has earned him a distinction that's unique among directors. But as a writer and producer of a lot of thriller and horror movies, he's got much experience and talent to offer in his project Drag Me to Hell, which stars Alison Lohman. For sure it's going to be another good one that would squeeze laughter from the audience's own thirst for being scared and on occasion, surprised! Boo!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

2012 Movie to Make Money Long After Doomsday?

So you might have heard of how the world might end in the year 2012. Why are people saying this? Well, it's the year when the calendar used by the ancient Mayans is supposed to end. To some people, it's either the end of the world or the end of an age when all the old is replaced by the new. And we all know what that means - destruction.

Yes, there has to be destruction before something new is created. It's the law of the universe depicted in many religious artworks worldwide.

But while many people are worried about how the world will end in 2012, some, like the producers of the special-effects movie of the same title, are thinking of how much money they are going to make, banking on this primal fear of humans. For sure, when the movie is released later in 2009 (before 2012, of course), a lot of hype will be created enough for Hollywood to make a lot of money on this one prior and perhaps after the expected doomsday.

2012 is directed by Robert Emmerich, who's no stranger to disaster movies with lots of visual effects. It stars John Cusak and Amanda Peet. You can take a peek at pictures of Amanda Peet before the world ends here.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Megan Fox Could Be the Next Lara Croft in Third Movie Installment

The third movie in the Tomb Raider series will depict a different Lara Croft. She will no longer be a rich English girl and she'll no longer be played by Angelina Jolie. So who's the girl lucky enough to be wearing the skimpy shorts of the sexy adventurer?

It's said that Megan Fox is the possible choice for the next Lara Croft. But of course, this might not be true, owing to the fact that Hollywood can make late decisions about casting. Remember that Fox was said to have been selected to play Wonder Woman in the movies, but it turned out that the news was a hoax.

The changes to be done with the Tomb Raider franchise (at least for the upcoming movie) was brought about in part by ownership of the rights to make the movie. The first two movies were produced by Paramount, but now the rights have been given back to video game company Eidos. Do you think the computer-graphic Lara Croft resembles Megan Fox?

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