Monday, February 1, 2010

The Jewison Re-Makes

As I mentioned in my last post, it seems like whenever a re-make is being considered people go to the films of Norman Jewison first. We've already had re-makes of The Thomas Crown Affair (original / re-make) and Rollerball (original / re-make), both of which were re-made by Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October director John McTiernan. And now, along with Jesus Christ Superstar, we are also going to get High Alert, which is a re-make of, or at least inspired by, The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming. I don't think McTiernan is directing either of them.

What is interesting about High Alert is that it's being co-written by Rick Mercer. I believe this is Mercer's first foray into film writing but he's very smart and very funny. I'm actually excited by this one.

Spider Webb

Apparently Marc Webb, director of 500 Days of Summer, has signed on to the latest Spider-Man project. This one is going to be reboot of the story, perhaps the way Christoper Nolan rebooted Batman. Neither Sam Rami nor Toby Maguire are attached, so now that there's a director on board in Webb the search is on for a lead. My guess, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I have nothing to base that on, but they have worked together before - to great result - and Gordon-Levitt has got the physical skills to do it, as we saw in G.I. Joe. Plus he's a great actor - way better than wooden Maguire. The only think going against him is he may be too old to play high-school, assuming that's what they're doing with this reboot. I have heard that Zac Effron is rumoured to be up for it but I think Gordon-Levitt is a better choice, although Effron was good in Me and Orson Welles.

In other semi-related news, Marc Webb is also apparently remaking Jesus Christ Superstar. I guess every film Norman Jewison ever made has to be re-made.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

After the beep

Recently, while aimlessly flipping channels, I stumbled onto the movie Killshot. It was shot in and around the Toronto area and I know a couple of actors who had smaller roles in it so I thought I'd watch it for a bit. Okay, so basically there are two killers who are trying to, er...kill people. There's a scene where killer one, Mickey Rourke (the deadly but respectful one) and killer two, Joesph Gordon-Levitt (the young pyschotic one), have Diane Lane held captive while they wait for her husband to come home so they can kill them both. While they're waiting the phone rings and everyone freezes thinking it might be the husband but no one answers so it goes to the answering machine. But whoever is calling doesn't leave a message and the suspense continues.

I HATE this. Who has answering machines anymore? I know of one person, ONE, who still has an answering machine, everyone else has voicemail. But the other characters and the audience can't hear voicemail messages so, in movieland, everyone has answering machines. This is lazy writing. Unless you're writing a movie set in my mum's house think of something else. The answering machine is dead.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Films of 2010

There are a few films that I'm really looking forward to next year so I thought I'd share them. A few are good old fashions blockbusters and are going to make money no matter how good the film ends up being and I'm just excited about the spectacle. But a couple are looking like they're going to be just plain awesome. Here they are in no particular order.

There's a little part of me that's going to miss the stop motion creatures when I go to see this. And there's something about Sam Wortington pisses me off but still, this looks like fun.

Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass are together again. This one is written by Brain Helgeland and based on the book Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. The only thing that could work against this one is that it's about America's involvement in Iraq. Although, the Hurt Locker might have broken that winless streak. Trailers are here.

I'm equal parts excited and terrified by this. I'm excited because it's Ridley Scott directing Russel Crowe as Robin Hood and Cate Blanchet as Maid Marion. I'm terrified for the exact same reasons, except for Cate Blanchet, she's awesome in everything. Watch the trailer here.

Iron Man was so much fun and the trailer for this one looks pretty great. Don Cheadle replacing Terrance Howard is a fantastic thing. I love the crossover with all the other Marvel heroes - apparently Sam Jackson has a 10 picture deal as Nick Fury. I just hope they get someone like Jon Favreau to direct the other ones too. Trailers are here.

Christopher Nolan directing. Leonardo Dicaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy and more acting. But forget all them and just watch the trailer.

Alright, I know this sounds like a porno but it's written by the same duo who wrote Sexy Beast and the cast is pretty freakin great. Plus John Hurt's character is called "Old Man Peanut." Watch the trailer here.

Edward can fuck off. Trailers are here.

Spencer Susser's zombie short I Love Sarah Jane was pretty great, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a damn fine actor. The premise sounds interesting and it just got into Sundance. All signs point to yes. There's more info on this film over at Twitch.

The Green Hornet
I'm not too familiar with this comic but Michel Gondry is directing and the villain is played by Christoph Waltz. Seth Rogen as our hero worries me a little though as it probably means that Britt Reid, the Green Hornet's alter ego, will be a pot smoker.

There are a few films that I'm excited about but also a little unsure.

I always wanted to be Murdock when we played The A Team but that part went to my brother, which, when I think about it now was better casting. Not that he was or is "howling mad", he just looked the part more than I did. I ended up playing Hannibal, which wasn't bad cause I was the leader. It's the actors playing Murdock and Hannibal that have me excited about this one, Sharlto Copley and Liam Neeson, nice. Bradley Cooper as Faceman isn't bad either but I don't really know Quinton Jackson.

It looks like they're doing this one right. The design looks great and is similar to the original. The original cast is back and then some. Theirs still something that worries me about it. Maybe it's just that I actually liked the arcade game more than I liked the original film. Theirs a small trailer here.

Black Swan
A film about rival, wait stay with me, it's written and directed by Darren Aronofsky and Vincent Cassel is in it. See, could be good.

The Social Network
The idea of a film about the beginnings of Facebook sounds terrible to me. If I could, I'd click "dislike" on this. However, its written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher so now I don't know what to think.
The cast is awesome but I fear that Oliver Stone might get a bit too preachy.

I loved Predator. I' pretty sure I would still know a fair amount of the lines if I saw it today, not that it was heavy on dialogue. Predator 2 not so much and Alien Vs Predator I didn't watch. I wouldn't really be that excited about this but Robert Rodriguez has a writing credit on it and it's got a pretty decent cast with Adrian Brody, Lawrence Fishburne and Topher Grace. This could work.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Films Oh Nine

Here's my list of the best films of 2009. Some of these should probably be on the best of the decade list as I think it was a pretty great year.

Fantstic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson)
500 Days of Summer (Marc Webb)
District 9 (Neil Blomkamp)
The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)
Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze)
Up (Pete Docter & Bob Peterson )
Inglorious Basterds (Quintin Tarantino)

Films I haven't seen but would probably have made the list had I gotten out to see them.

Up in the Air (Jason Reitman)
The Road (John Hillcoat)
Bright Star (Jane Campion)
A Serious Man (Coen Brothers)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Decade's Best

Here are my 10 best films of the past decade, I tried to spread out the years and vary in genres and I'm sure as soon as I post this I'll remember a film that should have been included so I'm giving myself permission to post revisions.

Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000)
Amélie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)
Lord of the Rings - Trilogy (Peter Jackson, 2001/02/03)
28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 2002)
City of God (Fernando Meirelles, 2002)
The Station Agent (Thomas McCarthy, 2003)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
Caché (Michael Haneke, 2005)
Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)
No Country for Old Men (Coen Brothers, 2007)

Since I'm indecisive and couldn't really narrow it down with out at least mentioning my other favourites here's a (long) list of my Honourable Mentions

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Coen Brothers, 2000)
Y tu mamá también (Alfonso Cuarón, 2001)
Royal Tennebaums (Wes Anderson, 2001)
The Bourne Trilogy (Doug Liman 2002, Paul Greengrass 2004/07)
Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)
Before Sunset (Richard Linklater, 2004)
The Motorcycle Diaries (Walter Salles, 2004)
Me and You and Everyone We Know (Mirand July, 2005)
The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006)
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, 2007)
There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
Michael Clayton (Tony Gilroy, 2007)
Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)
The Visitor (Thomas McCarthy, 2008)
Hunger (Steve McQueen, 2008)

I didn't pick any from this year as I thought I should give those films a little bit more time to see how they age, so to speak, but I will be making a best of 2009 list shortly.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

30 Best

I love lists. Best of lists, that is. I'm not a fan of worst of lists, as previously mentioned on this blog. With the year coming to a close soon the lists have started rolling in and this year marks the end of the decade so there's the added bonus of best of the decade lists.

We get things started with TIFF's 30 best films of the decade, not sure why they picked 30, and there are actually more than 50 films on this list because of ties, but, hey, it's their list. So, 60 film historians, archivists and programmers from around the world voted for their favourites and here's what they came up with.

1. Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand) – 53 votes
2. Platform (Jia Zhang-ke, Hong Kong, China/China/Japan/France) – 49 votes
3. Still Life (Jia Zhang-ke, China) – 48 votes
4. Beau travail (Claire Denis, France) – 46 votes
5. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong, China) – 43 votes
6. Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, France/Thailand/Germany/Italy) – 38 votes
7. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu, Romania) – 35 votes
Werckmeister Harmonies (Bela Tarr, Hungary) – 35 votes
8. Éloge de l'amour ( In Praise of Love ) (Jean-Luc Godard, Switzerland/ France) – 34 votes
9. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, Romania) – 33 votes
10. Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/France/Netherlands) – 32 votes
11. Russian Ark (Alexander Sokurov, Russia/Germany) – 31 votes
12. The New World (Terrence Malick, USA) – 30 votes
13. Blissfully Yours (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, France/Thailand) – 29 votes
14. Le Fils ( The Son ) (Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France) – 27 votes
15. Colossal Youth (Pedro Costa, Portugal/France/Switzerland) – 25 votes
16. Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse ( The Cleaners and I ) (Agnès Varda, France) – 24 votes
In Vanda's Room (Pedro Costa, Portugal/Germany/Italy/Switzerland) – 24 votes
Songs from the Second Floor (Roy Andersson, Sweden/Denmark/Norway) – 24 votes
17 . Caché ( Hidden ) (Michael Haneke, France/Austria/Germany/Italy) – 23 votes
A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, USA) – 23 votes
Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, France/USA) – 23 votes
Three Times (Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan) – 23 votes
18. Rois et reine ( Kings & Queen ) (Arnaud Desplechin, France) – 21 votes
19. Elephant (Gus Van Sant, USA) – 20 votes
20. Talk to Her (Pedro Almodovar, Spain) – 19 votes

21. The Wind Will Carry Us (Abbas Kiarostami, Iran/France) 18 votes
YI YI (A One and a Two) (Edward Yang, Taiwan/Japan) – 18 votes
22. Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, Spain) – 17 votes
23. L'Enfant ( The Child ) (Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France) – 16 votes
The Heart of the World (Guy Maddin, Canada) – 16 votes
I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan/France/Austria) – 16 votes
Star Spangled to Death (Ken Jacobs, USA) – 16 votes
24. The World (Jia Zhang-ke, China/Japan/France) – 14 votes
25. Café Lumière (Hou Hsiao-hsien, Japan) – 13 votes
The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/Spain/France/Italy) – 13 votes
L'Intrus ( The Intruder ) (Claire Denis, France) – 13 votes
Millennium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan/France) – 13 votes
My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, Canada) – 13 votes
Saraband (Ingmar Bergman, Sweden) – 13 votes
Spirited Away (Hiyao Miyazaki, Japan) – 13 votes
I'm Not There (Todd Haynes, USA) – 13 votes
26. Gerry (Gus Van Sant, USA) – 12 votes
27. Distant (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey) – 11 votes
Dogville (Lars von Trier, Denmark/Sweden/UK/France/Germany) – 11 votes
The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, USA) – 11 votes
28. Alexandra (Alexander Sokurov, Russia/France) – 9 votes
demonlover (Olivier Assayas, France) – 9 votes
29. Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner (Zacharias Kunuk, Canada) – 8 votes
Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan) – 8 votes
30. Longing (Valeska Grisebach, Germany) – 7 votes
Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-dong, South Korea) – 7 votes
Vai e Vem ( Come and Go ) (Joao Cesar Monteiro, Portugal) – 7 votes
Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, USA/France) – 7 votes

The ones in blue are the ones that I've seen. Thirteen of them. Not many. Definitely not as many as I would like.

My own list would undoubtedly have way more English language films on it. That's not because of preference it's just because that's what I'm exposed to. A good number of the titles on TIFF's list I haven't even heard of and would probaly have trouble finding to rent. I'll try though.

I'll also try and put together my own best films of the decade list, so check back for that.