Kevin's Korner Movie News Report 5.31.11: Kung Fu Panda 2, Rated R movies, Star Wars Fun, More
Posted by Kevin Hopp on 05.31.2011
The latest news and thoughts on Star Trek 2's delayed release date, Jurassic Park 4 being dead once again, Super 8's positive buzz, Star Wars' TV footage sitting on a shelf, Total Recall casting news and more!
Welcome to another edition of Kevin's Korner, the spot for everything geeky. It has been an interesting week, with tons of stuff going on. This week, there's my rant on theaters screwing patrons, Rated R movies, Star Trek 2 info, some trailers, the box office report and a bit of fun.
So, on top of my usual news-finding expedition, I have started a boot camp fitness class. I'm getting married in a few months, and I was hoping to look a little less… flabby. So, the good news is, I've worked my butt off; the bad news is that it's at 5 am, which means I've been method acting for the next Romero movie. Anyway, enough about me, let's get to the news…
I'm in the news business…and business is a boomin'
Sucker Punch adds R-rated version to Blu-Ray –Sucker Punch was released to poor reviews, and mediocre box office numbers. Apparently, Zack Snyder is hoping, by giving an additional 18 minutes of film for a Blu-Ray version will change the perception of the film, along with the MPAA rating. I don't think a rating necessarily means a better quality film, but it seems that an almost fetish movie like Sucker Punch could benefit from a few rougher scenes.
Movie Goers kept in the dark - There was an interesting piece in the Boston Globe last week about movie theaters, and how little light there is. You can find the article HERE, but the gist of the story is that as movie theaters go over to digital projection, many are buying a Sony projector that does both 2D and 3D projection. However, there is a lens that is required for the 3D projection of a film. When you project in 2D, you are supposed to take the lens off. The study among the theaters, at least in Boston is that that isn't being done, which means an 85% darker screen. The person the article interviewed said that theaters don't care, because it takes too long to switch out.
As I go around to different theaters, you can often see a difference in brightness between theaters. The 3D to 2D difference is pretty obvious, but even the 2D to 2D difference is noticeable. Is it enough to where I can't see the movie? No, but is it the way the director and producer and everyone else who worked on the movie intended? No way. I'm a big proponent of keeping films exactly how the directors had intended, which is exactly why I still go to a theater in the first place, because watching a film at home is not how the director intended; I don't care how big your TV is.
For me, going to a theater is an experience. The situation of the speakers, the smell of popcorn, the size of the screen and the projector its projecting on are all part of an experience any good director thinks about before shooting the first scene. I love that experience. While it can make or break a movie, there is nothing like going into a theater and sharing an experience of an amazing movie with an eager audience. That moment is what movie theaters need to be focusing on, and I think adjusting the film in any way, which includes making it much dimmer takes away from that experience.
Star Trek 2 could come … late – I am a huge fan of J.J. Abrams Star Trek. While I also loved all the Star Trek series, I can say most of the movies were nowhere near the top of my greatest of Sci-Fi list. So, when this new film came out, I was excited. Well, there has been talk for awhile about a sequel, and now, details emerge, saying a script is nearly done, and that Abrams is still deciding on whether to direct (the latest rumor is that he's read the rough draft and will direct). However, with a release date of the summer of next year, it could be too late. Latest reports are saying that the studio is considering a December release of next year to ensure Abrams and crew have enough time for a high quality film.
Universal, Orlando is getting Despicable Me ride - What used to be Jimmy Neutron is getting a makeover for next years Despicable Me ride. The ride takes the family into Gru's secret lab and turns everyone into minions, easily the best part of the film. I really liked the movie, but it always makes me scratch my head that they do this now. I mean, the ride won't be out until next year, which will mean two years removed from the movie. Unless there's a sequel on the way (knowing Hollywood, there probably is), it seems like they're backing a movie that's come and gone.
Torchwood: Miracle Day trailer - If you've ever seen the Doctor Who spin off Torchwood then you are already excited. If you haven't, I suggest you take a look at this trailer, and pull up the first three seasons on Netflix instant. The show is a bit more adult-themed (sometimes to a flaw) version of Doctor Who. It's fun, and wacky, and dramatic, and stuffed full of sci-fi elements, and this season adds even more, along with a huge new cast.
Sam Neil: No Jurassic Park 4 – Every once in awhile, we hear ramblings of a fourth Jurassic Park movie. Recently, actor Sam Neil, who played Alan Grant in the movie shot that down, saying the story is over, and with special effects designer Stan Winston and author Michael Crichton deceased, that is probably the end of that. I loved the first Jurassic Park, and I actually liked the third movie as well, and if they had a good story, I would love to see another great dinosaur movie, but I agree with Neil, the story is done.
The ‘tons of grains of salt' category – The latest rumor is that The Guild star, Felicia Day will have an appearance in The Avengers movie as a SWORD operative. After checking with Wikipedia, it sounds like if there is a SWORD operative in the movie, it lends credence to the idea of having aliens as the bad guy (the rumor is Krulls at this point). While director and writer and all around good guy Joss Whedon has worked with Day before on Doctor Horrible's Sing Along Blog and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this rumor seems pretty fishy so far. It's still fun to think about.
Super 8 has high critical reviews so far –Super 8 is one of my more anticipated movies of 2011. I'm a huge J.J. Abrams fan, and bring him together with Steven Spielberg in an almost homage piece to Close Encounters just sounds amazing. The trailers look incredible, and the secrecy behind the flick has my curiosity at an 11. Despite having an embargo up on reviews, critics who have seen it have tweeted high marks so far. It just leaves me even more excited.
New most anticipated film: Shark Night 3D – If you haven't seen the poster, or trailer yet for Shark Night 3D, you should. I'm a huge fan of cheesy movies, and especially cheesy shark movies, but this one looks to take itself fairly seriously. It looks like some bad guy puts sharks into a lake at the same time some scantily clad teenagers are looking to party. Isn't that always the case? Anyway, this looks like it could be all kinds of fun.
Sub Zero vs. Scorpion – Episode 7 of Mortal Kombat: Legacy has Scorpion battling off against Sub Zero in a heck of a fight that really leaves me wanting more. Like in all of these videos, it seems like things cut off just when it's getting brutal. This is quite the departure from the last time we saw the two battling in the second Mortal Kombat movie. In the name of Lucas, that was bad.
Megan Fox wants to be Carrie? –Transformers hottie Megan Fox has made it public that she has a huge interest in starring in the remake of Carrie. Considering the actors amazing amount of depth, it has most confused and somewhat paranoid over the idea of Fox ruining an iconic character. In fact, there's actually a PSA out, making it clear that nothing has officially happened yet. I would try to say that she at least draws in a crowd, but given the horrible box office numbers of anything not named 'Transformers' and considering Jonah Hex was a horrible movie, I doubt she even has that.
Grillenium Falcon is 2 parts awesome, 1 part nerf herder – Check out this massive mobile grill, called the Grillenium Falcon. I really have nothing else that can capture the awesomeness of this.
An R-Rated Riddick? – Vin Diesel was talking the other day about how he may have to take a pay cut for his next Riddick movie, but he also said they were kicking around the idea of making the next film a solid R. I don't know if that can save the series or not after that dreadful previous film, but I actually kind of liked Pitch Black. As I've said before, though, a rating doesn't make a film, but I think the nature of the character would probably do better with an R-rated movie.
Back to the Future True Ending - I realize there are tons of videos out there about Back to the Future, and what should or could of happened, and this is one of those, but I can't help it, I love the whole trilogy and even mocking it is pretty sweet. So, take a look at what really happened to poor, poor Biff Tannen. Take a look HERE.
50 hours of Star Wars TV sit on the shelf – Star Wars creator George Lucas sat down with G4 the other day and among the revelations was that he already had 50 hours of film shot for a live action Star Wars TV show that is supposed to take place between the third film and the fourth. Apparently, the cost is too high for the show, currently, so Lucas is trying to find away of reducing the cost, while keeping up the high quality. (How many of you rolled your eyes at the words "high quality" just now, eh?)
Disney wants Seal Team 6 trademarked - Disney finally relinquinshed their request to copyright "Seal Team 6" after the elite squad was credited with finding and killing Osama Bin Laden. The Navy then filed a claim to the name as well, and fearing a PR backlash, or maybe the Mouse is just being kind, they allowed the Navy to have the trademark. I understand it's smart business to seek out a trademark for anything popular at the moment, I can only imagine a Disney movie called "Seal Team 6" with a bunch of animated seals (like, real seals...the fish-eating kind) that go around all A-Team like and help people. It could've been gold, people.
7 Movie Easter Eggs - I loved Cracked.com. They have the best lists, and their writing makes me laugh every time. So, when I saw something movie related, I was in blogging heaven. This list is about 7 hidden moments in film, or "easter eggs." There are some really good ones here. If you are a hardcore movie geek, you may already be aware of them, but they're still fun to look at.
Total Recall has some hot casting - Len Wiseman's (Underworld) remake of Total Recall is moving forward with an interesting, and hot cast. It was leaked that Wiseman's wife, Kate Beckinsale would play Quaid's normal world wife, originally played by Sharon Stone. Jessica Biel will play Rachel, the girl Quaid meets in his spy life. Billy Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3) will play Quatto, the leader of the resistance, with Colin Farrell will play the role made famous my Arnold Schwarzenegger. While I don't think this movie necessarily needs to be remade, if Wiseman has a script with a unique view of the movie, then, I'm cool with that. The special effects in the original have not aged well, but the story is a lot of fun. What do you think, would you be excited to see this movie?
MIB 3 photos - I actually really liked the first two Men in Black films. Sure, they were cheesy, and silly, but I went into it looking for some light entertainment and that's exactly what I got. Now, the third movie is coming out, I'm pretty excited about it. There are some photos released this week, showing Agent J, Will Smith and a young Agent K, played by Josh Brolin, who is playing a younger version of the role Tommy Lee Jones started. The film has Agent J going back in time and meeting up with a young Agent K, to stop some alien bad guy. I can't believe how much Brolin looks like a young Jones.
The Hangover Part II set a box office record for R-rated comedies by bringing in an impressive $86.5 million, to easily take first place. Kung Fu Panda 2 came in second with an expected $48 million, and the fourth Pirates movie came in third with a respectable $39.3 million, which is about what the other films were making in their second week. Overall, a pretty big box office this weekend. What film did you contribute your dollars to?
1. The Hangover Part II - $86.5 million ($118.1 million total)
2. Kung Fu Panda 2 - $48.0 million ($53.8 million total)
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - $39.3 million ($152.9 million total)
4. Bridesmaids - $16.4 million ($85.0 million total)
5. Thor - $9.6 million ($159.7 million total)
6. Fast Five - $6.6 million ($196.0 million total)
7. Midnight in Paris - $1.9 million ($2.8 million total)
8. Jumping the Broom - $1.9 million ($34.2 million total)
9. Something Borrowed - $1.8 million ($34.8 million total)
10. Rio - $1.8 million ($134.8 million total)
My thoughts - Kung Fu Panda 2
I could go on and on about how sequels and how, by definition, are inferior to the originals. I even have a very short list of the exceptions to the rule; movies like Terminator 2 and Bad Boys 2. Kung Fu Panda 2 is nothing like any of those movies, other than the fact it is better than the original. Given the flawless nature of the first one, with a combination jovial innocence, a great lesson and some beautiful animation, the second movie had some large, panda-sized shoes to fill.
The second movie starts sometime after the first, with Po the Panda (Jack Black) continuing his training under the guidance of Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), along with the fab five (monkey, snake, mantis, crane and tigress). However, when an enemy from Po's past tries to take over China with a weapon that not even Kung Fu can stop, the Dragon Warrior must master even more if he can stop Shen (Gary Oldman) and find his own origins.
I went and saw the movie in 3D, which has some good and bad. At points, the 3D enhanced the action with a bit of depth, that made the kids in the audience smile with amazement. However, there are moments where the incredible animation, and the meticulous detail is hazed over due to the 3D. There are points where you could see and count the hair on Po's head, which allows you to really appreciate the hard work of the film.
This film is possibly darker than the original, with the badguy err, uh, the peacock having a dark side, but one that is rateable; he just wanted his parents to be proud of him, something similar to our hero's feelings, looking for his real parents. The five are really entertaining, and we get a little bit more from them this time around. The good and bad part about them is the voice casting being very recognizable in Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, David Cross and Seth Rogen. It's good because they have a certain charisma that shines through with every line. The bad side is that you realize and start thinking about the star, and not the character in the film. It's hard to see the Tigress, because you are thinking about Angelina Jolie's sexiness.
I may not be the target age of the movie, but I truly enjoyed the movie. It had some serious heart, and a couple of touching moments, with Poe trying to come to grips with his past, and accept who he is. The film also had tons of stylized action and plenty of slapstick comedy. There wasn't too many one-liners, as much as the silly slapstick, which had me audibly crack up a few times.
Overall, it was a blast of a movie that can stand toe to toe with the first one. The voice casting was enjoyable, and easily recognizable, and it had plenty of fun, along with some action and beautiful animation. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a family friendly comedy.
DVD's to hit the shelf today - True Blood: Season 3
Trailer of the Week -
Yes, I know, it's another muppet trailer, but I love the muppets, and I think the trailers are just so creative. It seems to me that movie trailers are so cookie-cutter as of late, that all you can hope for is a glimpse of good CGI, with everything else being completely predictable. These trailers kind of spoof that.