AVATAR DAY update!

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Woo hoo! All that waiting and persistence finally paid off. I got confirmation from Fox Films earlier today that I got two tickets to see the 15-minute FREE footage of James Cameron’s AVATAR in IMAX 3D this coming Friday.

Well, I was thisclose to write a post about my frustration about getting the tickets. I had set my alarm at noon CST yesterday, but it turned out the tickets were to be distributed at noon Pacific time. Alas, the server apparently crashed, probably from high demand, so for the next five hours, I must’ve checked the site at least 50 times and kept getting an error message. Curses! Considering all the supposedly state-of-the-art and trailblazing film making technology to make this movie, apparently they couldn’t operate a decent server for mere 24 hours?! But just as I was about to turn off my machine to leave for the day, apparently I still had one of the Avatar site on one of my browser windows open and voila! suddenly the site was up and running. By the time I had registered for my tickets, there were still about 140 some tickets left for both 6 and 7 pm showings at Rosedale AMC & IMAX, but this morning they’re both sold out!

The marketing for this flick is really gearing up big time. Apple trailers site has already put up a countdown for the trailer release in 1 day, 10 hours and 3 minute from the time I publish this post.

I’ll be sure to give y’all an update on this. Can’t wait to see what all the buzz at Comic Con was about. The geek in me is psyched and downright optimistic.

Good news for Richard Armitage fans!

Richard as John Thornton
Richard as John Thornton

With all the sci-fi stuff swirling around in my head ever since District 9, I just had to take a break and watch something entirely different. As you know, my taste in movies span across genres, and one of my all time favorite period film is Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel adaptation North & South. Thanks to a Youtube clip I found randomly (oh how I survived without that site before I’ll never know), I immediately rented it and had to have it for my collection. Set in the mid-19th century, the story exposes the industrial North and its conflicts from its heroine Margaret Hale’s point of view, an outsider from the South. But the heart of it is a love story between its Margaret and the dashing mill owner John Thornton, much like Pride & Prejudice where the lovebirds didn’t get off on the right foot from the start.

This is the movie where I discovered British actor Richard Armitage, who played the role of John Thornton so brilliantly mesmerizing it made Colin Firth’s Darcy as exciting as an A&E Saturday afternoon special. No offense to Mr. Firth, though he never did tickled my fancy, but Richard’s gaze and gravely voice definitely give his Darcy a serious run for his money.

In my previous post, I suggested Richard for the role of  futuristic Robin Hood, having just played his nemesis Guy of Gisborne in the BBC series about the medieval hero. Now that series’ run has ended, his IMDB profile still doesn’t list any future project in the works for him. But perusing his forum did produce a glimmer of hope! A director/producer by the name of Mike Ogden is currently producing a film called Charlie, and Richard’s been tapped as the lead. Check out the premise:

Southern Italy, 1943. An on the run Allied prisoner of war – Charlie – encounters Marco, the teenage son of an executed partisan leader, out for revenge. Charlie wants nothing to do with Marco or his friends who have also run away. As the German commander ‘Schwarz’ ruthlessly sweeps the valley searching for him, Charlie finds he has to rely on the help of the children to survive until Marco discovers Charlie’s secret, one that could tear their fragile trust apart.

According to its official site, pre production will start in October 2009 with filming taking place during January/February 2010 in Italy.

All I can say is hurray!! I hope this will find a distributor in the US, but even if it’s released on DVD, it’s better than nothing. Oh well, I guess that’s what happens when your taste run in the obscure when it comes to actors. I found Gerry Butler far more intriguing when he was lesser-known. I did wish one day people will discover him and I wouldn’t have to search hard and might just to find a picture of him in a magazine. Oh well, be careful what you wish for I guess.

In the meantime ladies, here’s a clip of Richard as the fabulous John Thornton for your (and my) amusement:

It’s inevitable, District 9 sequel chatter has begun

Please put your scrawl here ...
Please put your scrawl here ...

Death and taxes aren’t the only things certain when it comes to the movie industry. Sequel is a sure bet as soon as a flick recoups at least the same amount it takes to produce. So now that District 9 already made more than its modest 30 million budget, it’s no surprise the sequel buzz has started swirling. Heck, the buzz was already so high even before the movie even opened. At the San Diego Comic Con last month, after Peter Jackson had only previewed the movie for the first time, people were already asking him about its future. Wisely, he said he would rather wait how the movie does and go from there.

Now, I’m torn with this. I REALLY like this movie that it should almost be left as it is. Sequels rarely do justice to the original, and a lot of flicks hardly ever merit a follow up. But by the same token, the movie also left me curious to see more of this new world, or mythology if you will, that Neill Blomkamp has created. Do I even dare to call this the next Star Wars? I wouldn’t go there as I for one wouldn’t want any George Lucas groupies to be all over me like a ton of bricks. But one thing I can assuredly say is that District 9 ends in such a way that made a lot of moviegoers go, ‘now what?’ So it seems that although the film makers weren’t exactly planning for District 10, or whatever else they’d end up calling it, they weren’t opposed to it, either. It also didn’t hurt the fact that, according to actor Sharlto Copley, the very nature of the production — its improvisatory dialogue, the filmmakers’ decision to shoot tons of material and see what developed — left nearly enough video on the cutting room floor for another installment. “There were a lot of exciting avenues to want to go down and you really [have to fit it all] into a small block of time,” he said.

Thus, with so many angles and back stories Blomkamp can explore and the biggest question will be which one should he take?

The folks at Cinema Blend has crafted some interesting ideas. For those who haven’t seen the movie, I’d rather you skip it as it contains some major spoilers. I personally don’t have a preference as to a specific angle, but just like Batman 3, I’d only be interested if the original brain behind the terrific film—in that case Chris Nolan—were involved. Similarly, Blomkamp has done something really special with District 9, and Cinema Blend’s writer Josh Tyler nailed it here with his suggestion of what NOT to do: Please, Mr. Blomkamp don’t go Hollywood. You’re going to get a bigger budget for the sequel, a much bigger budget I’ll wager. Don’t turn it down. Use it. Use it to make something even bigger and better. Spend it on special effects and wicked cool sets. Don’t use it to buy yourself an over the top sports car, move to LA, and turn the thing over to Hollywood’s never ending cadre of mega-producers. We don’t need to see Sharlto Copley replaced by Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise. You don’t have to bring in Jada Pinkett Smith to be Wikus’s sassy, tough as nails sidekick. Don’t step back into a supervising role and allow Michael Bay to take over. For that matter don’t even go to Hollywood. Stay in New Zealand, with Peter Jackson, and make your film.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Well, I guess I’ll just keep an eye on this one and see what they’ll do. Whatever route they’d take, I’m somewhat rest-assured by Peter Jackson’s response to MTV news in regards to the sequel buzz:

“I believe movies should come from the heart, and if there’s any sequel or continuation of District 9, it should only be because there’s a good idea involved, not because it’s a money-making venture,”

For that reason alone, it’s all the more imperative that nobody else should helm any follow-up to this soon-to-be-a-classic scifi flick.