Thursday, June 23, 2011

Explosions! Shooting! Punches! DeNiro! Facial Hair!

Wow, okay, the trailer for Killer Elite has come out. Now, from what I can decipher from this trailer, Jason Statham is a Killer, being hunted by a mustachioed Clive Owen (also a Killer). To up the ante into "aw no, you di-in-n't" territory, Owen kindaps Robert DeNiro (Statham's father figure. Oh yeah, also a Killer).

There are so much balls in this trailer that women may become pregnant simply by watching it. The only way this film could be more manly is if someone opens a closet during the film and the corpses of Lee Marvin and Steve McQueen fall out, shooting rocket launchers. Check out the manliness below:

The best part is when they show Statham, tied to a chair, leaping out a third story window in slow-mo, and then flash the title card, "Based on a True Story". That actually had me laughing out loud.

Still, it does look like it would be a good time at the movies. It's just so over the top insane that it might be a blast to watch. Also, it makes me sad for Clive Owen. Remember when he was a big-time Oscar nominated super-star? Closer? Children of Men? The many thought was perfect for James Bond? Someone should introduce him to the concept of saying no to things like Shoot Em Up. Then maybe he wouldn't have to do movies where he's second fiddle to our generation's Jean Claude Van Damme and forced to grow a hideous perv 'stache.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

5 Ways They Could Have Made "Green Lantern" Not Suck

There is no way on Earth Green Lantern should get worse reviews than Mr. Popper's Penguins. How in the name of Ganthet did that happen? And yet, this is the case. And having seen Green Lantern this weekend, I can say, that the reviews were mostly spot on. Ryan Reynolds was far and away the best thing of the film; his Hal Jordan was cocky, funny and spot on, tonally. The direction and effects were solid, as well, with a couple minor oddities. The place where it mainly fell apart was the story. So, I've got a bit of a dissection of the mistakes that were made, along with some suggestions as to how they could have avoided the narrative pitfalls they eagerly leapt into.

1 - How is Green Lantern Different - This is actually a good question for anyone writing a story. How is my antagonist different from others? They totally screwed that up here. Green Lantern is the story of a guy who becomes an intergalactic space cop. Taking the super hero concept and transplanting it in to outer space takes it into a fresh new world. The film makers seemed unsure of taking the story to space, spending an absolute minimum amount of time on Oa, but those moments are by far the most interesting parts of the film. A space-set super hero story is something we have never seen before, and the freshness of that would have made the origin story less familiar than what was presented. The alien supporting cast, such as Tomar Re and Kilowog, are reduced to the barest sketches of characters, with only Sinestro being explored fully. Instead, we got a ton of time on Earth, with Hal Jordan struggling with taking on the role of a space cop. Which leads us to our next problem:

2 - Hal Jordan is not Bruce Wayne or Peter Parker - There's a whole bunch of time spent with Hal brooding over his father's death, and the fact that a GL is supposed to be fearless,and yet Hal has all this fear inside him. You know what's great about Hal? He is a cocky guy who loves his life, loves flying jets and banging chicks. He has no fear. THAT'S WHY THE RING CHOSE HIM.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Avengers Sort-of Assembled!

Over at Aint It Cool, they've got a scoop from The Licensing International Expo in Vegas that shows some early promo art for Marvel's Avengers film, due to be released in 2012.

To be clear, this is early promote art to attract potential merchandisers, not final finished art from the film, so let's not ascribe too much importance here. The cool thing to note is Captain America's revised "modern age" costume, as well as a potential Hawkeye suit, and the presence of a certain Incredible Behemoth. Check it out:

Okay, to me, this is just cool. If I has seen this picture when I was nine, I probably would have lost my fuckin' mind. Now, we just have to see some footage.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pure Awesome

Ladies and Gentlemen, the greatest beer commercial of all time....

Don't you wish they sold that beer here in Canadia?

Monday, June 6, 2011

"First Class" is First Rate

Okay, so I'm not all that used to eating crow here at The Nerd Report. Nerds never admit when they're wrong. But a while back you might recall that I posted about X-Men First Class and how I couldn't really get my head around some of the continuity gymnastics the film presented.  I'm sure many of you fully expected me to not see the film in protest, as nerds are wont to claim.

But hey, this is the Interwebs, where no one has to back up their principles with action! So, I went. And you know what? The movie is great. Before I went into the film, I pretty much thought the X-Franchise was dead. The third X-Men film was a colossal disappointment after the sustained excellence of the first two films. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was almost diabolically bad, and the idea of a Deadpool spin-off (a comic character that I think has absolutely zero mainstream interest attached to him) left me beyond cold. I was excited about a Wolverine film based on the classic badass Claremont/Miller miniseries and directed by Darren Aronofsky. But when Aronofsky had to leave the project, I really thought that the whole X-Franchise had run its course.

So when X-Men First Class was announced and in the run-up to release, I saw it as 20th Century Fox's attempt to squeeze a little more money out of a cash cow while holding on to the film rights that I'm sure Marvel Studios would love to snatch back. The whole mismatch of continuity (some of which directly contradicts the other films, let alone the comics) seemed arbitrary and while I liked the casting and the choice of director, the whole thing felt like the latest Pirates of the Caribbean flick; calculated, gluttonous and without any heart whatsoever.

But as the lights came up on First Class, I had to admit that I was completely and totally wrong in my impressions. This is the best X-Men film since X2. I would say it was better than the first film, and so much better than the third that it scarcely bears mentioning. Far from feeling like a heartless money grab, the film is loaded with heart, and it's got a great central story at that heart. It's clear the film makers wanted to tell the story of the friendship of Magneto and Professor X and how it collapsed.  And it was also clear that they had a very interesting way to approach it. The brave thing about the film was that they did something that I often think needs to be done more often in adaptations; they didn't let the source material get in the way of a good movie.

MacAvoy as Charles Xavier and Fassbender  as Eric Lensherr
It's a fine line between being faithful and respectful of the source material and being a slave to it. Continuity is one of those classic double-edged swords, especially in comics. It gives the characters and concepts heft, but it can also straight-jacket options for story-tellers. the fact that the film makers here chose to not allow past continuity to limit what they wanted to do makes for a movie that is both more surprising and more enjoyable.

Fox clearly would like this film to be the launching pad for more X-Men films, and I have no problem with that at all. James MacAvoy and Michael Fassbender are both great, with Fassbender turning in a particularly solid performance as Magneto. The kids who play the titular first class are well drawn, with special kudos going to Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. Kevin Bacon makes a good villain, with a motivation that makes sense, and a power set that while not quite like the Sebastian Shaw of the comics, does fit the story well. There are tons of great little cameos and tidbits for fans of the previous films and the comics, but another way the film succeeds is in not letting those treats overwhelm the story.

Matthew Vaughn, the director, does a great job, and this film is head shoulders above his last comic book film, Kick Ass. I liked his film Layer Cake, and this is more of a return to form, with a great attention to the period setting that never feels artificial, but accomplishes a lived-in tone that works.

The only let downs are some of the visual effects, which a merely workmanlike, not stunning, and the performance of January Jones, who somehow manages to make a telepathic woman who can change into a diamond form and who dresses in lingerie the whole movie completely uninteresting.

Still, I'm very glad to be proven wrong in my initial suspicions. This is a solid direction for the franchise to take, and I think it means that the future for the X-brand is considerably more assured.