Sunday, August 31, 2008

Death Of The Parody Movie

Well all I can say is thank god. "Disaster Movie" tanked at the box office this weekend, and I could not be happier. Hopefully, the bozos that keep making these brain dead movies will stop getting money to make them. Remember when the parody movie was actually funny? It's ok if you don't because there has not been a funny one in the theaters for quite some time. I have been trying to figure out what went wrong with this genre. I had the unfortunate experience of seeing the truly horrid "Meet The Spartans" in the theaters. The trailer looked mildly amusing, and my girlfriend and her daughter wanted to see it, so we went. I was amazed that I even heard anyone laughing. I laughed about 3 or 4 times the entire movie, and that is sad seeing as it is supposed to be a comedy.

"Date Movie", "Not Another Teen Movie", "Epic Movie", "Superhero Movie". All examples of parodies that wee not funny. The problem with these movies is that they try to jam too much into the movie. The parodies of the 70's and 80's worked, because they parodied a certain type of movie and stayed within the genre it was parodying. Just from watching the trailers for "Disaster Movie", you can see the movies they are poking fun at- "Iron Man", "The Incredible Hulk", "Juno", "Hancock","Sex And The City". None of those movies have any relation to the disaster movie genre, they don't belong in a parody of it. In "Meet The Spartans" there were video game jokes, Britney Spears jokes, Dancing With the Stars jokes? Come on, those have no place in a parody of "300". I could even accept going out of the genre you are parodying, if it were not for one simple thing-these movies are simply not funny.

It's really simple how this problem can be solved. First, stop giving money to these hacks that slap together these awful films. Second, before making a parody, go back and look at how good they used to be. "Young Frankenstein", "High Anxiety", "Airplane", "This Is Spinal Tap", "Top Secret", even "Spaceballs", were all good parodies of the genres/movies they were going after. They stayed within the genre, and took the time to actually make sure what they were doing was funny.

The parody film, for the time being, is dead. Let's hope that someone in Hollywood has the vision to make a good parody film and stop feeding us this garbage. What do you think on the subject of parodies?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blast From The Past #1

Today I am adding a new feature called "Blast From The Past" where I will talk about a movie from years ago that I love. 1984 saw a lot of great films released- "Red Dawn", "Purple Rain", "Splash", "The Terminator", among many others. This installment I focus on the 1984 release "The Karate Kid".

I grew up in the 80's, and that decade produced many of my favorite movies and music. This is what I consider to be one of the quintessential 80's movies. "The Karate Kid" was touted as a teenage "Rocky", and that's basically what it is. It helps that it was directed by the same guy who made "Rocky", John G. Avildsen. Although it had many similarities to "Rocky", it was still its own film. The characters are what made this movie rise above the standard underdog story. Ralph Macchio played Daniel Larusso perfectly. The kid taken away from his home and friends to California so his mother can take a job. He has left everything he knows, and you can tell he misses it. Everything just goes wrong for him, and then he meets Mr Miyagi (the great Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita) and finds a friend in him. You can tell that they need each other, Daniel doesn't have a father, Mr Miyagi has no children. They become more than friends, they become surrogate father and son to each other. The chemistry between the two actors is what shines in this movie. It doesn't even matter that you can pretty much guess the end half way through, because it doesn't matter, you want Daniel and Mr. Miyagi to win, and it is totally satisfying when they do. The heavy in this movie is played by 80's bad boy staple, William Zabka, and he is truly a real jerk in this, and it makes you root even more for the underdogs to win. Pat Morita created a truly wonderful character in Mr. Miyagi, he is kind, caring, and funny in a subtle kind of way, in fact he has most of the funniest lines in the movie. Oh yea, he knows Karate as well, this is one old guy I would not want to mess with. There were two sequels with both Mr. Miyagi and Daniel. The first sequel was, in my opinion, as good as the first. The second sequel was good, not great like the first two. There was a third sequel, but Ralph Macchio was not in it, and although Pat Morita was still good, you can tell he was not as into it as he was in the first three. This was a movie you could not help but walk away from feeling good. It was a story of friendship, of two people who brought out the best in each other. I recently showed this movie to my kids, and they loved it, it was great to see them cheering for Daniel at the end. The test of a movie's longevity is its ability to entertain generations of viewers, and this is definitely a movie that does that.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Top 5 Worst Sequels

Sequels. Some movies are made with the idea of having one or many sequels, others are intended as a one shot deal, but of course when a movie does well, if a sequel that be made it will be. Sometimes, sequels outdo the original ("Superman II", "The Empire Strikes Back", "The Godfather Part II"), other times they are just as good as the original, or not quite as good but still a worthy follow up. Then we have the ones that are just completely awful. These are the sequels that take everything that was good about the original and just totally destroy it. The following movies are what I consider to be the worst sequels ever.

#5 - "Beverly Hills Cop III" - Total disappointment is the nicest way to say how I feel about this movie. I absolutely loved the first two movies, and I was really hoping for a third. I was excited to hear that one was finally being made 7 years after part II. Needless to say, I walked out of the theater scratching my head. I kept wanting to walk out during the movie, but I stayed, wanting and hoping it would get better, but it never did. First off, John Ashton (Taggart) was absent, that was the first mistake. Second, the setting was an amusement park, and that was lame. Third, the bad guy was boring. The action was boring. The story was OK, Foley avenging his boss's murder, but it just didn't feel like a Beverly Hills cop movie, gone was Axel Foley goofy con man cop, instead we got Axel Foley SUPERCOP!!! The only thing that sort of made me smile , aside from the credits, was Bronson Pinchot's brief scene as Serge, and that itself is pretty lame.

#4 - "Caddyshack 2" - No Ted Knight+No Bill Murray+No Rodney Dangerfield=No Laughs. That pretty much sums up this lame follow up to the original. If you are going to wait 8 years to do a sequel, at least bring back what made the first one great. Sure Chevy Chase was in it (when he was still sort of funny) but even he seemed to know the movie sucked. Crass rich guy gets rejected from a country club, buys it, turns it into an amusement park type golf club. Then comes the inevitable "showdown" on the golf course. Jackie Mason has been good in supporting roles (really funny in "The Jerk") but this movie showed that he can in no way carry a movie himself, because that is what he had to do with Murray, Knight and Dangerfield absent. It was the combination of those actors that made the first one work. Without them, and without a strong enough comedic actor to take the place of THREE actors, not to mention a lame story, this just fell flat on its face.

#3 - "Jaws The Revenge" - "Jaws" is the gold standard of blockbusters and changed movies forever, so why this was even made is beyond me because there was simply no way to measure up to the original. "Jaws 2" was just a retread of "Jaws" and even Roy Scheider's presence could not save it from sucking. Then we had the awful "Jaws 3D" which was even worse than #2. The minute I heard the title of this I knew it was going to suck. A shark that takes revenge? They tried to make it like the original, bringing back Lorraine Garry as Ellen Brody, and having Michael Brody (Brody's son, who in the original, was almost taken out by the shark) all grown up and being some kind of marine biologist or something. Even going so far as to copy the cute scene in the original when Brody and his little son Sean are at the dinner table mimicking each other. The shark follows the family to the Bahamas (follows?) I guess in an effort to exact revenge for his cousin , brother or whatever being killed by Martin Brody in the first movie. How incredibly stupid is that? Then, to top it all off, at the end when they are trying to kill the shark, it roars in pain or anger or something. Sharks CANNOT make sounds of any kind!!!!! That is just an outright insult to the viewers intelligence. Terrible, terrible movie, everyone involved had to be desperate for a paycheck to sign on to this dead fish.

#2 - "Grease 2" - I am really not a huge fan of the movie musical, but "Grease" just happens to be one of my favorite movies. Everything about the movie worked, and you cannot deny the chemistry between John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. The songs, and the numbers that accompanied them, the rest of the cast, all came together and made a memorable movie experience. Why try to top that? Money of course. "Grease 2" follows the exact same story as the original, but the geniuses behind this movie thought it would be neat to reverse the roles. Good boy meets bad girl, and must become a bad boy to win her. One of the things about "Grease" was the fact that none of the actors looked liked they belonged in high school, but it was easy to suspend disbelief because of how well everyone worked together. That is gone in "Grease 2", and mostly because the lead actors are weak, and bring everyone else around them down. There is ZERO chemistry between Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield, I never once believed they had a connection. Adrian Zmed was a piss poor replacement for Jeff Conway, they brought back some of the original actors from the original, but none of it worked. The songs were lame. The comedy seemed forced. The producers didn't even bother to make it seem like they were in the 50's, looked more like the 80's to me. This movie took everything that was great in the original and reduced it to a steaming pile of crap. A completely, embarrassingly awful movie.

#1 - "Superman IV The Quest For Peace" - This hurts to write this, because I loved the first two Superman movies. Sure, "Superman III" was bad, but it was at least fun. So, where to start with this turkey. The story. Superman thinks if he rids the world of nuclear weapons, the world will be at peace. But of course, Lex Luthor steps in to mess up Supe's plans. Luthor steals a lock of Superman's hair from a museum, and proceeds to make what is the single most dumbest bad guy in the history of movies, Nuclear Man. Nuclear Man's weakness (can't function without the sun) is a huge one and is never exploited until the end. The acting. Everyone is horrible in this, even though it's a comic book movie, everyone phoned in their performances. Jon Cryer is a total waste as Luthor's stupid bumbling nephew (Lex Luthor does NOT need a comic sidekick). The whole thing with the Daily Planet being taken over by a tabloid owner was dumb and added nothing to the already lame story. Christopher Reeve had to be desperate for money, as well as Margot Kidder, and gosh I can't believe Gene Hackman signed on for this either. The special effects. Terrible, the whole movie was obviously shot on a shoestring budget, and it shows in every frame. There are some shots where you can actually see that Superman is a toy doll, and the other shots of him flying are just so fake looking. There is nothing about this movie that could be called good, nothing. The comedy is not funny, there is no excitement, the action is as lame as it gets. Worst super hero movie ever, worst sequel ever. This movie could be singled out as the greatest example of everything that is wrong with sequels, because everything that can be done wrong in a sequel was done in this lame brained stinker.

Well, that's my choices for the worst sequels ever made. There are so many, I could have easily made a top ten. Here are some other turkeys that deserve to be avoided at all costs- "Highlander 2", "Speed 2", the aforementioned "Jaws 2" & "Jaws 3", "The Next Karate Kid", "Porky's 2", "Batman & Robin". What are your most hated sequels? What do you think of the ones I just talked about?

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Films Of The Fall Season

Well the Summer is coming to a close, and it has been one heck of a movie season. Now we head into fall, when Hollywood rolls out less big budget spectacles, and more "serious" film fare. That is not to say the fall won't have its share of summer type fare, just less than the summer season puts out. So let's take a look at some of the upcoming films on the fall schedule.

"Quantum Of Solace"- The next James Bond flick, comes out November 14th. This is the second 007 movie with new Bond Daniel Craig, the first being 2006's excellent "Casino Royale". This film has 007 on the revenge trail, while also trying to stop an environmentalist from gaining control of a country's water supply. I loved "Casino Royale" and am really looking forward to this one as well, Craig is the best Bond since Sean Connery, in my opinion.
"Madagascar:Escape 2 Africa"- (November 7th) The sequel to 2005's "Madagascar" finds Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria escaping from Madagascar only to end up in Africa, where they discover their roots and long lost family members. Ben Stiller and Chris Rock reprise their roles in the film. I am not sure what to make of this, I liked the first one, and it seems like they are at least trying to do something different with the sequel. I will probably wind up taking my kids to see this, so I will let you know how it is.
"Valkyrie"- (December 26th) Director Bryan Singer's WWII drama stars Tom Cruise as a Nazi(?) involved in a plot within the German army to assassinate Hitler. Bryan Singer is capable of making really good drama ("Apt Pupil", "The Usual Suspects") and this seems like a real interesting story. I have heard complaints that the actors portraying the Nazis do not even attempt a German accent. I am not too keen on that myself, but if the story and performances are good, I can overlook it. Tom Cruise is riding high after his appearance in "Tropic Thunder", and he is a very capable actor, so this may be worth checking out.
"Twilight"- (November 21st) The first film based on Stephanie Meyer's mega popular novel, this film tells the story of a family of vampires who are different, as they choose to not feed on human blood to survive. When one of the vampires falls in love with a mortal girl, it seems he starts to have problems resisting his natural urges. I have not read any of the "Twilight" books, but I am a bit cautious about this. The trailer kind of looks like Beverly Hills 90210 vampires, and right off that really doesn't interest me. I will probably see it, but it's gonna have to really be the opposite of what it looks like for me to enjoy it.

A few other films I am looking forward to are "Righteous Kill" (September 12th) with Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, about cops tracking down a vigilante killer. Sounds like the plot of "Magnum Force" but I will go see anything that teams up two of our best actors. "Max Payne" (October 17th) the movie adaption of the gritty, violent video game. Mark Wahlberg stars as the title character out to avenge his family's death. Video game movies usually suck, but this one at least looks like it could break that tradition. What are you looking forward to this fall movie season. If you want to see any of the trailers for any of the movies I just talked about, click on the links below.
"Quantum Of Solace", "Valkyrie", "Madagascar:Escape To Africa", "Twilight", "Righteous Kill", "Max Payne"

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Future of Star Wars

"A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away" - A phrase that has and always will give me chills. The Star Wars movies are my favorite movies of all time, yes, even the prequels. August 15th saw the release of "The Clone Wars" animated movie, but so far, it has not been as well received as I am sure George Lucas had hoped.

So what is next for this long standing franchise? "The Clone Wars" is supposed to be the start of a animated series, and there are also plans for a live action series that fills in the gaps between Episode III and IV. Sometimes movies made into TV shows work ("Highlander" & "Stargate" come to mind) and sometimes they don't ("Robocop", "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"). So what does a "Star Wars" live action TV show need to work? It needs new characters, ones we are totally unfamiliar with. At this point, we all know the fates of the established characters, so centering the stories around them would be pointless and without any drama whatsoever. The writing also needs to be top notch, that is what fueled the success of the new "Battlestar Galactica" series. We need to see characters and stories we care about, not just thin stories that are just an excuse to show off visual effects. Can it be done? Yes. Will it be done is another question that won't be answered until we actually see the show.

What myself and I am sure many other fans want to see is a continuation of the story after "Return Of The Jedi". Unfortunately, the chances of that happening are probably slim to none. Harrison Ford stated in an interview many years ago that he has no intrest in reviving his role as Han Solo, stating that he felt he had become an "empty" character. Sure dangle enough money in front of him and maybe he would do it, but I am afraid his heart just would not be in it. So the question remains, how could this be done? Well I am going to go out on a limb and say:make it animated. Yes, I said animated. But I don't mean animated in the style of "The Clone Wars". more like "Beowulf". It would be much easier for the actors to do voice work than the actual physical work, and animation has a lot less boundaries than live action does. The story could be based on the novels of Timothy Zahn, whose "Thrawn Trilogy" ("Heir To The Empire", "Dark Force Rising", and "The Last Command") is beloved by Star Wars fans and would be a perfect story to tell.

Will this happen? At this point, it's doubtful, but I never thought I would see another "Star Wars" film after "Return Of The Jedi", so I have learned to never say never. George Lucas has said he is done with live action "Star Wars" movies, but he is always changing his mind, so who knows what we will see in the future. Then again, and I never thought I would EVER say this, maybe it's time to just stop it all. I don't wish to see my favorite entertainment fall and stumble and have to end because nobody wants to see it anymore, going out on top is always the better alternative. What direction do you think "Star Wars" should go?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ben Affleck in new Mike Judge movie

Seems that Ben Affleck is planning on being in Mike Judge's next movie, titled "Extract". I read about this in a small article at

Ben Affleck is in negotiations to star in Miramax's Mike Judge comedy Extract, reports Variety.

Affleck will play an ambulance-chasing lawyer in the film, which centers on a flower extract factory owner (Jason Bateman) who's dealing with workplace problems and a streak of bad luck, including his wife's affair with a gigolo.

Clifton Collins Jr. is also joining the cast as a factory worker who loses a body part in a freak accident and is now due for a huge settlement. Mila Kunis and Kristen Wiig have already boarded the project, which begins filming Monday in Los Angeles.

Judge wrote the screenplay and is producing with John Altschuler and Mike Rotenberg via the trio's Ternion Productions.

Now, I have always felt that Ben Affleck has gotten a bad rap. No, he isn't the most amazing actor in the world, but how many of those are there? But he is a capable actor, and personally, I have liked everything I have seen him in. I felt that "Daredevil" was highly underrated and a really good super hero movie. He was good as a young Jack Ryan in "The Sum Of All Fears". I could go on and on, but the bottom line is he is a good actor, and seeing him in a Mike Judge movie should be good fun. Judge's first full length feature (not counting the Beavis and Butthead movie), "Office Space" is one of my favorite comedies, and I just caught his most recent movie, 2006's "Idiocracy", and it was good dumb fun as well. I like that fact that Judge doesn't just churn out a movie every couple of years, he seems to pick and choose his projects which is good. Any thoughts on Ben Affleck or Mike judge? Uhhhhh....yeahhh....they're cool.....huuhhhh huuuh.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Superman: Will he fly or fall?

EDITORS NOTE: After this article was posted, Warner Bros. announced that it will reboot the Superman franchise, meaning Brandon Routh will most likely not return, nor will director Bryan Singer. Apart from that my thoughts on the direction of the next Superman film remain unchanged.

In 2006, director Bryan Singer gave us "Superman Returns", the long awaited return of the Man of Steel. The film grossed a very respectable $200 million, and was generally enjoyed by audiences. Brandon Routh did a good job in the title role, playing the character much like the late Christopher Reeve did. The rest of the cast did a good job as well, I was really impressed with how Kevin Spacey played Lex Luthor. I remember taking my kids to see it in the theaters, and my daughter was even crying at the end when she thought Superman was dying. But as much as I enjoyed it, I always felt the movie was not quite what it could and should have been. Let's face it, Lex Luthor is in every Superman movie, and as great a character as he is, he really does not present that great a threat to Superman. Not since the three Kryptonian villains in Superman II has Superman really been challenged.

So now Bryan Singer is starting work on "Superman:Man Of Steel". The big question is can he deliver on the groundwork he laid down with "Superman Returns". I have a few thoughts on that.

OK, if you have to have Lex Luthor in the movie, he cannot be the main villain. Give him a role similar to the one he had in "Superman II", but Superman really needs a villain who can give him a real challenge, be a real threat. Superman is just about indestructible, so he needs a villain that is almost at the same level. There also needs to be more action, the action in "Superman Returns" was good, but the stretches between the action were a bit too long. Not that it was boring, but the action needs to come a bit faster than it did. The whole Superman has a son thing, I could have done without it. The kid was OK, but it really didn't add anything to the story, but he is a part of it now, just take the focus off of him.

Bryan Singer is a very capable director, after all, "X-Men" and "X2" were awesome super hero movies, so I know Singer has it in him. Let's just see if he can do what he did with "X2", take what was great about the first one and make it better.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tom Cruise in a Comic book movie?

I saw this article at The Hollywood Reporter, apparently Tom Cruise has an interest in a comic book movie based on a DC/Wildstorm comic called "Sleeper". Here is a small part of the article:

As Tom Cruise goes about writing the next chapter in his career, he's developing an interest in comic book movies.

Together with Sam Raimi, he is setting up "Sleeper" at Warner Bros. Cruise is loosely attached to star in the adaptation of the DC Comics/Wildstorm comic that Raimi would produce with his Star Road Entertainment partner Josh Donen.

Written by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips, "Sleeper," which ran from 2003-05, centers on an operative whose fusion with an alien artifact makes him impervious to pain and allows him to pass it on to others through skin contact. He is placed undercover in a villainous organization by an intelligence agency and falls for a member of the group, named Miss Misery.

Tom Cruise is a capable actor and has done a lot of different roles, but a super hero? I am not sure about this, I guess he could pull it off because "Sleeper" doesn't seem like a typical super hero kind of movie, it just seems like maybe he is getting desperate. What do you think about the prospect of a Tom Cruise comic book movie?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Remakes & Hollywood

Remakes.....the very word can have two effects, it can make you smile, or cringe. Sometimes remakes are a good thing, they can be an improvement upon the original, or they can be just a more modern telling of the original. Other times, they are, how do I say this nicely....TOTAL GARBAGE.

Hollywood, since the early days has always done remakes, and the results are a mixed bag. Some movies transcend time and can be remade, some are not meant to be remade, and all a remake does is show you just how great the original was.

Look how many times "Dracula" has been remade. Now I am not talking vampire movies, I mean the specific character of Dracula. Each version shared similar qualities as their predecessor, but always managed to have their own style, and for the most part, stayed true to the character. Sometimes a remake can be true to the original, but simply does not have the same effect as the original. Such a case is "Frankenstein". The original 1931 film is a classic masterpiece, as well as its 1935 sequel, "Bride Of Frankenstein". In 1994, Kenneth Branagh did a remake and while the attempt was noble, and there were good things about the film, it just did not have the same impact as the original. So as you can see from just two examples, remakes are a funny thing.

The Good: Ok, I am gonna talk about a few movies that were good remakes.
"King Kong"- This movie has been remade twice, once in 1976, and again in 2005 by Peter Jackson. The 1976 version starred Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin and a then unknown Jessica Lange. There were things about this version I liked, and overall I can say I liked the movie, but it was not nearly as good as the original. The visual effects were just ok, and the relationship between Kong and Jessica Lange's character (Dwan) seemed forced and I just didn't buy it. They also set the movie in modern times, which seemed ok at the time but looking back, it was a mistake. The 2005 version, on the other hand, is a great example of a remake that works. It was at the same time a tribute to the original and a great movie on its own. The casting was great. Jack Black was a great Carl Denham, Adrien Brody was great as Jack Driscoll, although I didn't understand why he was changed from a sailor to a playwright, but that is a minor gripe. Naomi Watts made a great Ann Darrow as well, and the love story between her and Kong worked this time around. The setting was also key to this movie working, as it was set in 1933, the same year the original was made. The natives of Skull island were savage and scary, another nice touch. The visual effects were top notch, Kong, the dinosaurs, the giant insects (yuch, I hate bugs). Even the theater in NY where Kong appears looks exactly as it did in the original. Overall this is a perfect example of a director having respect for the original, while at the same time adding his own touches to it and making it his own.
"The Thing"- Originally titled "The Thing From Another World", this 1951 film centers on a team of scientists at an arctic outpost that are being stalked by an alien creature. It scared moviegoers when it came out, and with good reason. Heck when I first saw it when I was a kid, it scared me! The scientists find a humanoid type body frozen in a block of ice. The creature thaws, accidentally, and the horror starts. You hardly saw the creature and when you did it was always a scary moment. The arctic setting also adds to the dread, creating a feeling of total isolation from the rest of the world. The movie set a standard for horror films for years to come, many times it was never matched. That is, until director John Carpenter released his version in 1982. It followed the same basic story as the original, but the creature was way different. The creature is discovered by Norwegian scientists, also in the arctic, and finds its way to an American outpost in the same region. The creature is able to take any form it wishes, and this just added to the feeling of total paranoia, nobody knew if the guy next to you was the creature, and there was no way to tell until it attacked. Eventually, one of the scientists concludes that if this creature were to escape, it could basically destroy the world, and that could not be allowed to happen. The tension in this movie was so high, I remember jumping, and sitting there feeling almost as tense as the characters. This film took the idea of the original and amped it up, and in my opinion, was even better than the original. A rare thing, but this one does it like very few remakes have. onto
The bad: Unfortunately, there are more bad remakes than good, and I could probably rant on and on about all the bad remakes that have been done, but I am going to talk about two that are outstanding for me because of how much I love the originals.
"Planet of the Apes"- The classic Sci-fi movie with Charlton Heston, is one of my favorite movies, and when I heard that Tim Burton was going to remake it, I was cautiously excited. Burton is a good director so I figured in his hands this one had a chance to be good. Oh how wrong I was. First off, Mark Wahlberg is a good actor, but let's face it, he aint no Charlton Heston. They changed all of the characters from the original. Gone were Cornelius, Zira, Dr. Zaius. Even Charlton Heston's character was renamed Leo Davidson. In the original, humans were the animals, nothing more, and the apes were the rulers of the planet. The remake had the humans on the same intelligence level as the apes, changing the whole scope of the story making it a war between apes and humans. They tried making a love story between Whalberg and a human looking female ape and it was lame. Even the ending, which in the original was a complete shock, and a perfect way to end the movie. Burton tried to make the remake's ending have the same effect, and it didn't even come close, it was just stupid. The makeup in the remake was impressive, but not much more than in the original, and that itself is pretty sad. This movie had no business being remade.
"The Honeymooners"- Ok, where to start with this trainwreck. TV to movie remakes are hard enough to do, and most of the time they are lame ("Bewithced" anyone?). There are the occasional good ones, I thought the movie of "The Beverly Hillbillies" was pretty faithful to the series, and had a lot of good funny moments. But when I heard that they were making a Honeymooners movie, I was skeptical from the get go. The TV show is a classic that has seen no equal, it is one of my favorite shows of all time, I can watch it over and over and still laugh every time. What made the show great was the characters, and their devotion to each other no matter what. Well, the movie really had none of those elements. They were the characters in name only. Yea, Ralph was a bus driver, Ed worked in the sewers. There was the occasional line taken right from the show, and that was the only way you knew it was the Honeymooners. Sex jokes? LAME, Norton not even sounding like Norton? LAME. Some people didn't like the fact that it was a black cast, and that was not even a problem for me. Cedric the Entertainer is a funny guy, and probably could have done a good Kramden, but he didn't. What sucked was that the actors did not act like the characters they were supposed to be. It was as far from the Honeymooners as you could get. Like I said before, in name only. The only satisfaction I got from that movie was watching it tank at the box office, which means that the few who saw it found it as lame as I did.

Maybe one day Hollywood can get it right on a more consistent basis. The thing about remakes is to have respect for your source material which is not always the case. Also, there are some movies that should just not be remade, the aforementioned Planet Of the Apes, is definitely one of them. Looking at the remakes Hollywood has in the pipeline, I have mixed feelings, most I feel don't need to be remade. Take a look: "Robocop" (oh god no don't destroy that great film), "Red Dawn" (probably won't translate well because the cold war is long over), "Highlander" (after a bunch of lame sequels, why not ruin the original?), the list goes on and on. Am I the only one that feels imagination in Hollywood has gone the way of the dinosaur? What are your thoughts on remakes, your favorites, the ones you hate, the ones you never want to see? I know I wouldn't mind seeing the remake go away for a long time.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Summer 2008

Welcome to Movie Talk, my first attempt at a blog, I hope you enjoy it.

I am starting off with a review of a few of the 2008 Summer movies. Although summer is not technically over until Labor Day in September, all the really big movies have been released.

I have to admit, I have not seen as many movies this summer as I usually do, my one big sin being I have not yet seen "The Dark Knight", which even to me is a shock. I have seen the other two big super hero movies, "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk". Those movies were made by the new Marvel studios, and they are two for two so far. Let's talk about those two.

"Iron Man" was kind of a gamble, as he is not as well known a super hero as other Marvel characters, but the gamble worked. "Iron Man" is incredible from start to finish. Great acting, awesome visual effects, and a good story. Robert Downey Jr. took the character of Tony Stark and made it his own, gave him confidence, yet vulnerability, and he makes this movie work in a way that I really think only he could. It was also nice to see Jeff Bridges as bad guy Stane, he made it so you kinda liked him at first, but then pulled that rug right out from under you later in the movie. I liked the fact that Director Jon Favreau made use of what is called "practical" visual effects, it was not all CGI. Don't get me wrong, CGI effects can be great, but I have always felt that CGI is not ALWAYS the way to go. I can't wait for the next movie in what looks to be a long running series of films.

Now we have "The Incredible Hulk", which has not done as well at the box office as I had predicted it would ($133 million so far, I was thinking closer to $170 million), but has done respectable business nonetheless. The first Hulk movie was directed by Ang Lee, back in 2003 and made a decent $132 million. It just was not what Hulk fans wanted, not enough action, too much concentration on the psychological aspects of the characters. The actors were actually good, Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliot, even Nick Nolte, thats a darn good cast and the acting was good, it just didn't feel like the Hulk. Well, Marvel studios decided it was time for another shot for the big green guy, and it worked this time. "The Incredible Hulk" is a loose sequel to the 2003 Hulk, not much time past the opening credits is spent explaining the Hulk's origin. But any Hulk fan knows how he got the way he is, so that's fine. The action is great, the acting as well. Edward Norton take over as Bruce Banner, Liv Tyler as Betty Ross, and William Hurt as General Ross. The story centers around the governments hunt for Banner and Banner trying to find a cure for his, um, condition. If you are a Hulk fan, this movie will not disappoint.

"Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" was also released this summer, and wow did it do incredible business, $314 million to date. It shows you how much people missed the character. It has been 28 years since "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", so having the great Harrison Ford grab his whip and don his fedora hat was a bit of a gamble, but George Lucas and Steven Spielberg delivered the goods. Yea, the giant ants were a bit much, as was Shia swinging through the jungle like Tarzan, or Indy surviving a nuclear blast by hiding in a fridge, so it was definitely not as good as the other three in the series, but the thrills were plenty, and it was nice to see Karen Allen back as Marion Ravenwood, Indy's love, missing from the second and third films. I have nothing against Shia Lebouf, I liked him in "Disturbia" and "Transformers" but he wasn't needed in this movie. Not that he was bad, he just was not needed. It was one thing having Indy team with his dad, but to have a young kid at his side, just didn't work as well. I hear that they are considering a 5th Indy movie, and I for one, always welcome Dr. Jones.

Well, that's all for now, but please share your opinions with me. What are your thoughts on the Summer of 2008? Were you pleased with the movies or disappointed? What movies surprised you? What movies let you down?