The Kraken. Releese It.


In anticipation of the upcoming blockbuster, Clash of the Titans, Urlesque posted some silly reproductions of the incomparable and iconic line: Release the Kraken! After opening up the readers to make interpretations of their own, they got a bunch of submissions. I love this one by Zeblue. If you have no idea what this is, well…

(YouTube Link)

It’s only a matter of time before Epic Beard Man gets a nod. See more at Urlesque.


Does It Hold Up: Starman


One of my favorite movies of 1984 was Starman.  At the time, I was very much into acting, and Jeff Bridges’ performance is what I remember above all else.  Memorably basic, yet adroit and casually hilarious, he embodied a role no one had ever really tried before.  Strangely, upon re-watching (and wondering, titularly, does it hold up to the cinematic whims of culture?), I noticed Starman seems to have curious echoes of another 1984 film of great importance.  The similarities between Starman and The Terminator aside, here’s what else I found.

John Carpenter deserves a lot of credit for making this movie work at the time.  During the 1980s, he was the king of good, low-budget films.  He had a huge run of cult favorites from Escape From New York (1981), to Big Trouble in Little China (1986) to They Live (1988).  In this case, it seems the effects called for in the script were just a little too special for Carpenter’s budget.  Visual effects, however, were great.  The spacecraft crash magnificently lights a forest ablaze with eye-popping delight, but does it make up for the digital lite-brite display that conveyed to us the ship was shot down by an Air Force jet?  No.

Also, regarding that shot of a naked Jeff Bridges levitating a marble and why it looks so weird: Jeff was shot hanging upside-down, hence the look of blood filling his face.

Here’s the thing about Starman. The story is rather flat; mankind sends a invitation to visit Earth into outer space, an emissary is sent in the form of artificial intelligence, that emissary is shot down on arrival, so it must meet up with a retrieval ship halfway across America, thus turning the bulk of the movie into a road trip.
That, the conflict Jenny grapples with (as she is forced to flee with this doppelganger of her dead husband), and Starman’s confusion about the state of mankind make up the meat of this movie.  And that calls for some meaningful acting.  Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark)  attempts to characterize Jenny as a frail, lost soul who chooses to drown in her grief after her husband, Scott, is killed in an accident.  As much as I admire her for taking that tack, it doesn’t work.  Although her arc sees her falling in love again with Starman/Scott, she comes across as whiny and annoying.

Even more annoying is Charles Martin Smith as the alien-loving scientist from SETI.  I’m pretty sure he’s always bothered me, whether he’s in American Graffiti, or The Untouchables, and here he comes off as an ass trying to play the cute, smart, winning geek.

It’s still an enjoyable film, with enough to keep you interested throughout.  But something doesn’t carry through, as though the decades have dampened our fascination with alien visitations.  What worked then (Columbia supposedly chose this script over another, similar visitation story involving an alien and a young boy) doesn’t necessarily work now (District 9?).

So, this Michael Douglas produced sci-fi drama, directed by John Carpenter (Douglas almost asked Tony Scott to direct), starring Jeff Bridges (nominated for Best Actor Oscar, and the role almost went to Kevin Bacon, yikes) definitely hit the right spots in 1984 – glowing blue lights, resurrected deer, Karen Allen in tight jeans, etc.  But in conclusion, this is a rare time when I will say a movie needs to be remade.  No hurry, or anything; I’d rather see fresh new material come out of Hollywood, and lots of it.  But if they must keep remaking films that already had a good run in the past, Starman deserves to be on the top of the pile.

Here, if you’d like to judge for yourself, is Part One of like ten or eleven on YouTube.  Enjoy.

(All photos: Columbia/Sony Pictures)

Robin Hood Trailer


Russell and Ridley, together again.  William Hurt as the Sheriff.  Looks awesome enough to negate what Costner did with the role.

Watch Here.

The Shelving of Superman


In 2006, I and millions like me were supremely disappointed with Bryan Singer’s contribution to a seemingly simple franchise: Superman Returns.  Many compared the experience to gang rape, and questioned Mr. Singer’s true intentions (The Gayification of Superman).  Myself, I thought he tried too hard to connect the film to the Christopher Reeve era, particularly Richard Donner’s Superman II.

But Elisabeth Rappe of Cinematical has a piece up about the way Hollywood has failed to return to that singular magic that Donner and Reeve captured, and why they need to revise the approach.  Everyone loves to throw around the word “reboot,” and for some franchises, it works.  But Superman is a pretty famous dude, and if an audience doesn’t know about Jor-El, Krypton, and the Kent farm, it’s really not all that bad.  They won’t be lost if we just jump into a Supes story in Metropolis, ratcheting up a plot that doesn’t have to explain Superman.  What’s not to get?  He can fly.  He’s strong.  Only Kryptonite can harm him.

Therein lies another problem that Elisabeth brings up.  He’s kind of a boring hero.  Even when Lex Luthor flattens him with a giant slab of the stuff, we know he’s going to be okay, somehow (although Singer’s solution reeked).  We know our protagonist is going to come out fine, and that hinders suspense.  However, if we have Superman performing to save someone else, say, the human race, then we have ourselves some real, interesting drama.

The reality is- Tinseltown is giving up for now.  The last Son of Krypton won’t be flying across movie screens anytime soon, because the potential for another failure is too great.  That’s really too bad, for I think it’s important to have more Superman in our lives… as long as he’s done right.  I suppose the only hope we have to believe a man can fly would be to combine him with another, more bankable hero.

In Need of 3-D



I barely missed Coraline in 3-D at theaters because that day the 3-D machine went to the theater showing a movie about these three brothers who sing songs to pre-teens. It was then I sensed a tremor in the Force.  And here we recently saw it’s not relegated to new movies, but old ones too, and boy what a great choice for this formula: Toy Story and Toy Story 2.  They were mildly successful with their so-far 13+ million dollar grab on a re-release.

Obviously, this needs to be done with better movies, and Popeater has a fine list of good candidates.  I especially like the concept of seeing The Wizard of Oz in 3-D.

They left off two I’d be keen on: The Empire Strikes Back and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

This one image is more interesting than a 2 hour Jonas Brothers concert.

This one image is more interesting than a 2 hour Jonas Brothers concert.

Remakes Rule The Box Office


Some movies from the past could use an update, a polishing here, a plot kink there.  Some fine tuning would work to improve on them.  This is not the case 99% of the time.  This is because 99% of the movies worth remaking (i.e. getting asses in the seats to see them) were already good movies in the first place, and still succeed in entertaining new audiences on Blu-Ray today.  One title, however, seems to fall in the 1% of necessary re-tooling, and it opens next year.


That’s Terminator Salvation‘s Sam Worthington as Perseus in the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans. And as much as I adored the original for it’s groovy special effects, I could go for a new version, one that’s maybe a little easier to follow, plotwise.  The effects are sure to be excellent, anyway, and lookie here- Liam Neeson plays Zeus, and Ralph Fiennes, Hades.  Winner-potential.

Another project supposedly being hammered out is a live version of Akira, which I think could be fantastic.  And thankfully some remakes I’d heard about are either dead rumors, or failed starts, like The Last Starfighter, The Evil Dead, Conan the Barbarian, and The Breakfast Club.

However, I must frown on the imDb confirmed “in production” crap-fests awaiting us.  In 2010, look out for The Thing (a remake of one of the best remakes in history), & The Birds (No!!).  2011 looms with Escape From New York, and Westworld, while they plan to spit in the face of classic cinema in 2012 with The Dirty Dozen.

It’s really a tired (yet true) idiom of Hollywood running out of ideas faster than the speed of light.  I’m still reeling over the new Nightmare on Elm Street camp.  And I actually wouldn’t mind a remake of some old movies that could use a tune-up.  Farenheit 451 comes to mind, but then again, so does Speed Racer.

The Prisoner


I’m all kinds of excited and hopeful about the remake of The Prisoner.  That British series was my official favorite TV show of all time for a few years, until I burned out on it.  A fresh remake is all I need.  And it doesn’t hurt to have Ian McKellan as Number 2, not to mention Jim (Jesus) Caviezel as Number 6.  The fact that AMC is producing it is just icing.

Check out their site.

I can still recite the intro from memory.  Patrick McGoohan was never so Present.  Here’s the ridiculously long, yet awesome intro to the original.  Something I never fast-forwarded through on any episode.