The Time Traveler’s Wife – coming in August

timetravelerswifeI noticed this movie quite a while ago when I read it in EMPIRE magazine, but sort of forgot about it. Based on a book by Audrey Niffenegger,  it’s about an adverturesome librarian, Henry (Eric Bana) and his relationship with beautiful art student Clare (Rachel McAdams). Henry has a rare genetic anomaly that causes him to involuntarily time travel, which creates complications for their marriage. Cinemablend dubbed it as the Notebook meets Ghost (minus that annoying Whoppi character), and from the trailer, this looks quite promising!

 

One look in this trailer and you’ll forget Bana was the Romulan Nero in Star Trek. I’m a huge fan of his (ya know I have a penchant for Brit & Aussie actors!) from the moment I saw him in TROY. He proved himself as leading-man worthy in Munich & Hulk (it wasn’t his fault that the film got trashed). I kept thinking Bana should’ve had the overhyped Brad Pitt’s career, most of the people I talked to agree that his Hector was far more watchable than Pitt’s bronzed drag queen Achilles. And if Bana had been Benjamin Button, I wouldn’t mind enduring the nearly 3 hours running time!

As for Rachel McAdams, she’s quickly becoming one of my fave actress (right up there with Cate Blanchett and Emily Blunt). I saw the Notebook on a plane recently and clearly she’s got the acting chops for deeply affecting love stories.

I like the gorgeous poster. Now let’s hope this one is as good as the trailer!

FlixChatter Review: Wolverine

I realize I should’ve put a spoiler disclaimer on this from the start. Sorry to all of you readers who haven’t seen the movie, this ‘review’ is meant as a post-viewing discussion/observation. I’ll make sure to be clear on that in the future, and enhance my flix reviewing skills!

Marvel and DC ought to thank Bryan Singer for resurrecting the comic-book flix franchise with the highly-rated X-Men: The Movie. If you’ve seen even just one of the series, it’s obvious Wolverine is the one character that sticks out. The then-unknown Aussie Hugh Jackman inherited the role from Dougray Scott who was bound to finish shooting Mission Impossible II. Lucky for Mr. Jackman (and women everywhere) that he did, as he was PERFECT as the brooding mutant with claws of steel.

The critics aren’t too keen on Wolverine, so I came in with a pretty low expectation. But guess what, I quite enjoyed it. The story pretty much centers on the relationship of half-brothers James and Victor, who’s later known as Wolverine and Sabretooth. The opening credit shows the journey of these two men across time and multiple wars, as their regenerative powers prevent them from being killed. Given Victor’s vicious temper, James had to constantly restrain him. In fact, it was his brutality that got them condemned to die by firing squad in Vietnam, but of course those bullets merely ‘tickled’ them and they’re back in jail again. That is until Stryker visited them and offered them to be part of an elite team of mutants, Team X. It’s pretty obvious Stryker had his own agenda and pretty soon, a group of mutans under his command were in Legos, Nigeria looking for a meteorite. Repulsed by the murders committed by his teammates, James leaves the group.

Wolverine emerged with new, shiny metal claws!
Wolverine emerged with new, shiny metal claws!

Six years later, James–now goes by his last name Logan–was now a lumberjack living peacefully with his girlfriend Kayla Silverfox. That peace was soon threatened when Victor started killing his old teammates from Team X. Stryker found Logan and told him that someone’s been hunting down the now disbanded group. He asked for Logan’s help but he refused. Predictably, Victor came after Kayla and killed her. The hurt & furious Logan ran after Victor, but he wasn’t strong enough to defeat him. So when Stryker came to him a second time for help, he agreed. Next thing you know Logan is on the ‘island,’ Stryker got him into a very painful experiment in which a series of metal needles insert adamantium, an indestructible metal compound retrieved by Team X, into his skeleton system. Just watching him go through that makes my whole skin crawl! Apparently, even though Logan has strong regenerative powers, he still feels pain like anybody else. Just before the procedure started, he asked his dog tag to say Wolverine (natch), in reference to a story Kayla once told him. Wolverine nearly died in the procedure, but woke up just as Stryker ordered his memory to be erased. He emerged of the ‘aquarium’ with a ferocious growl (just as you saw in those ubiquitous movie promo pics), displaying his now shiny metal claws.  For a 41 year-old, Hugh’s physique is impressive, albeit too huge for my taste personally (are those humps on his shoulder??). Still, I commend his discipline and dedication to get so buff (and he’s obviously proud to show it off), he looked unbreakable even without the claws!!

Ok, back to the story, Wolvy (sorry, Wolverine is just too long) then fled the scene and Stryker ordered the dexterous marksman, Agent Zero, played by the hot-looking Korean-English actor Daniel Henney, to kill him. A chase ensued, and Wolverine got to show off his now indestructible claws. After some outlandish acrobatic scenes, he’s able to bring down the chopper with Agent Zero in it (darn, the eye candy is dead already?!). With the help of an escapee mutant named Gambit, Wolvy later returned to the island to confront Stryker. There, we learn who Silverfox really was, and what’s Stryker’s been working on in his lab. The final battle was pretty intense when Stryker prematurely released Weapon XI, who possesed several powers from the killed/captured mutants. Wolvy and Victor joined forces briefly to fight the mutant frankenstein monster. Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool character half made up Weapon X’s face, but with his blabbermouth sealed. There’s a funny quip by Wolvy, “Looks like Stryker finally found a way to shut you up.”

The end actually ties well with the first X-Men, with Professor X making an appearance to save the escaping mutants. Wolvy and Victor’s whereabouts are left a mystery, which we later learn in the X-Men trilogy that they end up on opposite sides once again.

Pretty cool movie overall, but the storyline is pretty complex for this type of film that the plot often get convoluted. It seems as if the film tries to do too much (romance, action, sci-fi, drama) that it sometimes lost focus. Despite the great cast led by Jackman and thespian Liev Schreiber, it just isn’t ‘sharp’ enough (pardon the pun) as the original X-Men. But if you’re just looking for fun thrill on a Saturday afternoon, it’s fairly entertaining.

Update on Burns

Just when I thought the project is smooth sailing, I learned that it’s back on the back-burner, again! According to The Scotsman, budget is still an issue.

Even so, the future of the £5 million film, first mooted a decade ago, is unclear.

Although Mob Films, the production company behind Burns: The Movie, has held discussions with Scottish Screen, The Scotsman can reveal that it has not yet even applied to the agency for funding.
A fundraising dinner at Edinburgh Castle, to be hosted by First Minister Alex Salmond, has also been indefinitely delayed.

Darn, you’d think that with his rabid fans’ fundraising + the Scottish Gov’t backing, there’d be enough cash to get this thing going. Perhaps GB could just be charitable enough to work for free? If only …

Interactive Poster for GAMER – nifty!

Now, I’ve seen the trailer and truthfully, meh, I’m not impressed. I haven’t seen Crank and its even more preposterous sequel and I don’t think I ever will. This might be the one GB film I’d deliberately skip seeing on the  theater. I just may shell a buck to catch it from RedBox but that’s about it. 

The poster, however, caught my eye the other day when I saw Wolverine at the Edina AMC.  I thought it was all right, nothing too innovative, but apparently there’s a nifty INTERACTIVE version online. It’s pretty cool, check it out on its official site.

You’ll notice that you can scroll away parts of GB, revealing a kid’s face underneath. This is the synopsis of the film according to IMDB:

GAMER is a high-concept action thriller set in a near future when gaming and entertainment have evolved into a terrifying new hybrid. Humans control other humans in mass-scale, multi-player online games: people play people…for keeps.

So the poster infers that GB’s character, Kable, is being controlled by the kid playing the game. Pretty clever.

What do you think? Any movie poster stands out to you lately?

Burns, baby, Burns!

GB as the Robert Burns – what better man to play Scotland’s favorite son than the very Scottish Gerard Butler?

Robert 'Rabbie' Burns
Robert 'Rabbie' Burns

Now this is as good a news as they come for Gerard Butler’s fans. Those who’ve been following his career for a while knows full well he’d be perfect for the role and allegedly, the actor himself WANTS to do it. As far back as 3 years ago, at the Red Eye premiere (that smart thriller with Cillian Murphy & Rachel McAdams), he told a reporter that he’s read the script, and in his usual gregariousness enthused how great it was. He even said Julia Stiles was interested to play Burns’ love interest, Jean Armour. Sadly, it went ‘puff’ as soon as GB got his big break in 300. Suddenly he became too busy doing everything from rom-coms to straight-to-DVD wannabe-thrillers that Burns got put in the back burner  (or more like shoved under the rug!). He blamed it on financing but methinks he just got other priorities that spell ‘ka-ching.’ Let’s face it, doing a biopic on Rabbie Burns isn’t exactly Michael Bay-type of a blockbuster.

In any case, as of January ’09, seems like the Burns biopic is finally back on! According to Filmstalker, even the Scottish Government is going to provide financial backing for the film. How cool is that? You can read more about it here.

Let’s hope that this is more than just a rumor or wishful thinking. I can’t wait to see GB’s dramatic chops nail this one, oh, and it’d be great to hear him use his own Scottish brogue for once!

In honor of Burns, here are five notable biopics worth another look:

  • Walk the Line (Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash)
  • Ray (Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles)
  • Schindler’s List (Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler)
  • The Agony & the Ecstasy (Charlton Heston as Michelangelo)
  • A Beautiful Mind (Russell Crowe as Noble Prize winner John Nash)

FlixChatter Review: The Painted Veil

This is one of the most touching and poignant movie I’ve seen in a very long time. The tag line says “Sometimes the greatest journey is the distance between two people.” And what a journey it really is.

The story takes place in China in the 1920s, which tells the story of a mid-class doctor (Walter) who marries an upper-class woman (Kitty) and moves to Shanghai. It’s clear from the beginning that she marries him only to please her family. In Shanghai, she has an affair with a fellow ex pat (Liev Schreiber, Watt’s real life partner), which is quickly discovered by her husband. As an act of vengeance, Walter whisks her off to a remote village ravaged by cholera. It is here, amongst the deadly epidemic and tough circumstances, that they rediscover their relationship and find purpose both as a couple and as a person.

The movie is superbly acted and well-written. Ed Norton is in top form as always (he’s easily one of the best actors working today) and Naomi Watts gives a wonderful, nuanced portrayal as the initially unlikable Kitty, but she slowly earns my sympathy as the film wears on. Toby Jones as the couple’s cheery neighbor Waddington also gives a notable performance.

What I love the most is how the movie presents the characters as they are, neither heroic nor evil (like most people are), they are simply human. The film does shy away from being ‘preachy,’ such as when dealing with a Catholic orphanage, focusing instead on how the characters evolve as the story progresses. Although the pace is a bit slow at times, the ending has such a redeeming quality that it’s worth every second. It also boast a beautiful cinematography of the lush rural setting in China.

It’s rare to find a movie that tells a wonderful human drama without being too cutesy or overly romantic. Love is more than a bed of roses or candlelit dinner in fact, it’s best experienced when you’d least expect it.


Have you seen this film? Let me know what you think.

Before GB was famous

Prior to bellowing ‘Tonight, we dine in hell!” in 300 with his gravelly voice, Gerard Butler was just a struggling actor trying to make ends meet. Fast forward ten years and this short film still takes my breath away!

Peter is a novelist who is going out of his mind because his wife and daughter have left him. He’s bought a Smith & Wesson and put one bullet in it. Please note: though short, this film packs a punch and is not for the faint of hearts.

Published by: Atom Films, 1999

Director: Paul Black

Awards:

  • Best Live Action at the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival
  • Best Short film at the British Academy Awards
  • Official Selection at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 1999