Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rise of the Lycans



Not as good as the first, but a better attempt at storytelling than “Evolution” -- which was basically a vapid chase flick. I guess the logic here is that if you’ve seen the first two, you might as well watch this totally unnecessary prequel. The action is fine and Rhona Mitra is a decent stand-in for Beckinsale. Not a lot big set pieces to be found. Looks like they scaled back the budget.

Sadly, the film can’t escape its most obvious flaw: we already know what’s going to happen. There are no surprises here. You’d expect more character development. Would’ve been nice to see some new characters in the mix. Maybe a wrinkle in how Lucien and Sonja got together. Doesn’t happen.

Drama has always taken a back seat to action and special effects in the “Underworld” films -- hardcore fans certainly don’t mind. Is it a bad thing to give audiences what they want? No, but I don’t think audiences always know what they want. People connect to stories on an emotional level. Don’t pay any attention to the stuff they say about clich├ęs and plot holes. Every single film has them. What they’re really saying when they talk about disliking a film -- generally, not the obvious stinkers -- is that they didn’t connect with the actors, characters, situations, etc. If they’re emotionally invested, they’ll overlook plenty. “Paul Blart“, “Madea” and “Taken“ anyone?

The mistake some writers make is to try and out-funny, out-scare and out-action what we see onscreen, but the true task is giving it meaning.

Lycans was pretty much paint-by-numbers for me. There was plenty of stuff to work with on an emotional level, but they dropped the ball.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Knowing



I was intrigued by the premise ever since hearing about the script a couple years back. Spooky kid puts a bunch of predictions in a time capsule. Years later, it’s dug up and they all turn out to be true… except for the ones that haven’t happened yet!

Better than “I, Robot“, but nowhere near “Dark City”. “The Knowing” is the kind of film that falls apart if you think about it too much -- or even a little bit. Great concept that falters somewhere in the middle -- under the weight of all the heavy handedness. Seems to have polarized a lot of folks -- on the imdb anyway. I thought it was an average sci-fi flick. Okay acting. Cool special effects. Cage is Cage. Lots of stuff here to pick at -- especially the last 10-15 minutes, but I’ll wait a week or two...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Quick hits

Gabriel

A two-hour music video about good angels vs. bad angels in purgatory -- Aussie director Shane Abbess has talent though. Got a lot out of a few million dollars. Would like to see what he can do with a better crafted story.

Over Her Dead Body

Supernatural comedies are always hit and miss. This was mostly miss. Way more physical comedy than I expected -- Lake Bell is a trooper. Might have been more effective with a younger cast in a high school setting.

Passengers

Shrink Anne Hathaway counsels survivors of a plane crash. Spookiness ensues when they start disappearing. Obviously, someone caught an old "Twilight Zone" marathon before dreaming (it's not that) this up. Be prepared for a "shocking" twist!!! Speaking of Twilight...

Twilight

Wasn't crazy about the script, but held out hope for the film.... the chemistry between the leads was decent, but the story drags at a snail's pace. How many angsty glances can two characters exchange before the viewer goes mad? I almost found out.

The Unborn

Read an interview where David Goyer said this was intended for folks under thirty -- who probably have difficulty walking and chewing gum at the same time. Cheesy, PG-13 popcorn horror with lame scares -- unless you think an old guy with his head upside down and crabwalking is scary. Did decent business in its opening weekend, mostly people under 30, so what do I know?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Franklyn



That's the eye-catching trailer for the fantasy flick, "Franklyn". It has a bit of a "Dark City" meets "V for Vendetta" vibe going on there. The cast includes Eva Green and Ryan Phillippe, but I don't think it's being released in the States.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sci-Fi to SyFy

When the Sci-Fi Channel floated the idea of changing their name to "Beyond" a while back, I understood where they were coming from. Trying to soften their image. Reach past the hardcore base and attract some casual viewers. Made sense. But this alternate choice is just plain stupid. Who is "SyFy" supposed to appeal to? Bad spellers? The kewl hyp kidz? Should we be prepared for upcoming flicks like "Alien Allig8t0r" and "Dragonphiya"?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Story Starters

UPDATE: From now on, check me out on twitter for quirky stories.

Here are some story starters that I had planned to post on Friday the 13th:

DNA test screens sports ability

Dracula fish.

Paralyzed for 20 years, man walks again after spider bite.

Police hunt radioactive man on the run.

Rancher blames aliens on cow mutilations.

Vampire discovered in mass grave.

Let the Right One In



It's rare when a film lives up to the hype, but this was pretty close. One of the better vampire films I've seen in quite some time. Can't go into detail without getting all spoilery, but definitely check this one out. There's an American remake in the works -- who would've guessed -- and I have serious doubts if they'll be able to pull it off. The tween leads might give audiences the wrong impression about the mature tone of the story -- which surprised me. No sparkly vampires playing baseball here.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Next Friday

Things aren’t looking good in Hollywood -- or anywhere else -- these days. Read all about the doom and gloom here.

ABC axed “Life on Mars” earlier in the week. No big surprise. I had given up on it a while ago. Intriguing premise that was never able to find its footing.

It’s doubtful, but I wish NBC would give their “Life” a shot on the USA Network. Aren’t characters supposed to be welcome there?

The CW dusted off the cobwebs and “Reaper” had its mid-season premiere on Tuesday. Good episode, but didn't resolve any of the nagging questions from last season. Also got killed in the ratings -- something like 2.3 million viewers?!

After a false start, I’m back on track with the new script -- giving the sequence method a try this time around. Been busy mapping out the story with index cards... so far so good. The old script is getting a polish for some upcoming contests.

Just a quick hit and run:

“One Missed Call”

Another Asian horror remake gone bad. Really wished I “missed” that one. Didn’t care for the original, so I should have known better. Check out Shannon Sossamon in a much more interesting flick,
“Wristcutters: A Love Story”.

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