Weekend Viewing Roundup … and Question of the Week

Hello everyone! To those who celebrated Father’s Day on Sunday, I hope you had an excellent time with your family.

ManOfSteelHenryCWell, sounds like many of you have seen Man of Steel by now, judging from the stellar box office take $125 mil so far in four days (including the $12 Thursday night tally). It’s apparently broken a record for highest opening ever in June (ahead of Toy Story 3‘s $110 mil) according to Box Office Mojo. Well, it’s sort of made a record for me as well as this is the first film ever that I’ve seen twice on the big screen within a week 😀

Yeah, after the press screening on Tuesday, my hubby and I re-watched it again (also in 3D) Friday night. You know what, I actually liked it more the second time around, though I still have issues with the CGI-action overload in the second half. But the good still outweighs the bad for me so I settled with a score of 4/5 in my in-depth review. If you haven’t read it already but you’ve seen the movie, I’m curious to see if you agree with my praises and gripes about it. No matter how you feel about it though, it’s hard to refute the fact that Man of Steel was a major movie-going event of the year and I certainly felt a certain rush of excitement going into it (yes I’m not gonna lie, Henry Cavill in the role of Supes certainly has something to do with it, too!) 😀 I had a hunch he’d be perfect for the role when I saw him in The Count of Monte Cristo, but he still exceeds my expectations! I sure hope this means he’d get more prominent roles in Hollywood, the guy’s certainly earned it!


Now before I get to the recap, I’m curious to hear whether you’ve felt the same way I did this past week, that is wanting to re-watch a particular movie fairly soon after seein it. So my question for you this week is this:

Which movie(s) have you seen twice (or more) in a single week?


Now here’s a brief recap what I saw this past week besides Man of Steel:

MonstersU

Monsters University
(review done for posting later next week)

OutsourcedMovie

Outsourced (2006)
Apparently this movie is the inspiration behind the NBC TV series back in 2010 set in
a call center in India. It’s a pretty hilarious cultural comedy. It’s on Netflix streaming,
so it’s worth renting if you’ve got that subscription.

TheTudorsI actually watched a few episodes of this a few years ago as I quite like historical dramas
based on the British monarchy. I only watched a couple of episodes of season 1 this time
(if you guessed it’s because Henry Cavill then you’d be right 😉 )
Not sure how long I’d want to continue watching this one though.

Screenings this week: The Bling Ring & World War Z


That’s my recap folks. Please take the time and answer my question above and/or tell me what you’ve watched this weekend.

DC Geekgasm Day: Man Of Steel Teaser Trailer is here!!

Seems like the past few years it has been the year of Marvel comics, what with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Spiderman, and of course the behemoth that was The Avengers! But this week and you could say even this whole month, belongs to DC… this Man of Steel trailer is released just mere hours before I head out to see The Dark Knight Rises!! Man oh man…

You could say I’m more of a DC girl because of my long-lasting LOVE for Superman. I have mentioned it several times on this blog how I’ve been a huge fan of the character ever since I was a wee girl, my mom even bought me a Superman costume that I often wore running around in our backyard. I even said on this post that Christopher Reeve is the one and ONLY actor I have ever written to, and I got not one but TWO autographed photos from the legend himself.

So you could understand my excitement for yet another Superman movie… starring one of my favorite Brits no less. And today, WB released TWO versions of the long-awaited teaser trailers… this one has the narration of Kevin Costner as Pa Kent:

And this is the Russell Crowe‘s version as  Jor-El which has the exact same footage:

It’s hard to say which one I like best, I guess the Crowe’s version has a certain gravitas, a dignified tone of a powerful leader giving his words of wisdom to his son on his ultimate providence. However, Costner’s narration provides such an emotional weight to the story. I tear up listening to Pa Kent seemingly choking up as he tells his adopted son,

“You’re not just anyone… one day you have to make a choice…you have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be… whoever that man is, good character or bad… he’s gonna change the world.”

I LOVE how understated, moody and unmistakably human this trailer is… well that is until that heart-pumping sonic-boom flying sequence at the end, woo hoo!! The typical fast-cuts and slo-mo action shots that you’d expect from Zack Snyder are noticeable absent. In fact, the tone is very much Batman Begin-ish in the way the origins story is handled, and with Christopher Nolan and screenwriter David S. Goyer involved, that is promising indeed!

The music may sound familiar to most of you. It’s by Howard Shore in the LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring, specifically the Bridge of Khazad Dum scene when the fellowship lost Gandalf. It’s an incredibly emotional and heroic scene of one powerful figure laying his life to save others, so I guess it’s quite appropriate. This is a teaser after all, and we still have about a year to go yet for Hans Zimmer to compose the original music for this film.

I have to say I’m beyond optimistic for this movie. Yes I know there are naysayers out there and I get it because we haven’t got a spectacular Superman movie since, well Superman II in 1980, that’s over 3 decades ago!! As I’ve mentioned here, I believe they’ve got the right actor for the job. I guess I have known that since a decade ago!!


So, what did you think folks?? You’re ready to see Superman fly again?

Weekend Roundup: Comic-con, 007 & Despicable Me

Happy Monday all!

Well I *survived* the Comic-con weekend, that is I haven’t exploded from jealousy from reading all those tweets and coverage of those who were lucky enough to be there!

Dan Fogarty of FogsMovieReviews had an extensive coverage of the event, check out this awesome costume gallery and his thoughts of why Comic-con is so world-renowned. He was kind enough to send me these two pics via Twitter from Hall H where both The Hobbit AND Man of Steel‘s panel were held.

Armitage starring as Thorin in The Hobbit
The unbelievably gorgeous Man of Steel himself … Henryyyyyyyy!

Oh my, I tell you, if I had already been screaming at the top of my head seeing Andrew Garfield last year, they might have to carry me off in a stretcher seeing those Richard Armitage and Henry Cavill back to back! [swoon…]

So thanks Fogs!!

***

Well, this week is rather lackluster movie-watching for me but hey, we did secure The Dark Knight Rises IMAX tickets for next Saturday night at 7PM, woo hoo!!

I figure it might be less crowded than Friday night, but so far about half of the tickets are sold for Saturday so I think it’ll be as busy. I heard from my buddy Ted that the Man of Steel trailer WON’T be in front of the IMAX showings of the latest Nolan’s trilogy because the film itself is already too long at 2 hrs and 44 minutes. Bummer!! I hope that isn’t true!

Ah well, I can’t wait for Saturday already. This is gonna be an epic weekend alright! So did you all get YOUR tickets yet?

***

I’ve also been in a Bond mood as I had just finished another post for the 007 Chatter series. So I re-watched The Living Daylights, one of my favorite Bond movies is Timothy Dalton’s debut. After all these years I still LOVE this movie (yes despite Joe Don Baker as a lame villain) solely because of Dalton’s performance. Right from that rousing opening sequence and the clever way he’s revealed the first time as the then new Bond, I was done for. I like my James Bond dark and gritty, but Dalton is also such eye candy. Now why wasn’t there a gratuitous scene of him emerging from the water like Craig did in Casino Royale?! 🙂 I even like the sub-plot with the Afghan Mujahideen, that last half hour is exhilarating-ly action-packed and the plane fight scene shows Dalton’s physical prowess.

Then after that, I started watching Dr. No…. the film that started it all. I saw it ages ago but have forgotten much about it. I do remember liking Connery in the role. I was reading the EMPIRE 007 special edition and there’s an article on Dr. No. One of the producers was saying how when Connery left their office, they’d go to the window and watch him walk. They all loved the way he moved and I’d have to agree. There’s such inherent machismo and playfulness that’s so effortless, it’s not manufactured in any way. I LOVE the scene when the famous line ‘Bond, James Bond’ was introduced.

Wouldn’t you know it, it was all inspired by a woman! ‘Trench, Sylvia Trench.’

Anyway, here’s my mini review of…

DESPICABLE ME

Truth be told, I wasn’t all that interested in seeing this movie. The trailer looked fairly generic, and even with the great reviews (81% on Rotten Tomatoes) I kind of forgot about it. But then I saw the trailer for the sequel with those adorable minions singing ‘Ba ba ba ba ba banana… ‘ and I just couldn’t wait to see it!! So yeah, the main draw for me is really those yellow minions in denim overalls and they did not disappoint.

Starring Steve Carrell as Gru, a criminal mastermind whose grand mission is to steal the moon with the use of a shrink rays weapon. His life takes an unexpected turn when he adopts a trio of orphan girls as pawns against his main nemesis, Vector (Jason Siegel). The story itself is nothing special, in fact it’s pretty predictable all around but still it’s quite entertaining. Some reviews compared this to a Pixar movie and though there are some tender emotional moments between Gru and the girls, the plot in this one is far more frivolous and not nearly as tightly-written as say, Toy Story.

I’ve always loved Steve Carrell and his brand of humor shines here in his voice work, even though his Russian-ish accent sounds odd at times. The three orphan girls are such darling and you truly feel for their desire to be loved. In fact, I teared up during such of those moments, yes even despite its predictability that beneath the cold-hearted exterior, Gru is a softie. But to me my favorite characters are those minions!! They didn’t quite overpower the story but definitely a delight every time they appear on screen. Seems like the way the sequel’s trailer is centered solely on them, they might have more screen time in Despicable Me 2? I certainly don’t mind it, I could watch those helium-voiced yellow creatures all day!

Final Thoughts:

I think the idea of villains vs. villains is quite fresh and boasted by wonderful, endearing characters, it makes for quite a pleasant movie for both kids and adults alike. Whoever think of those minions is a genius, I can’t get enough of them! 😀

Three and a half stars out of Five
3.5 out of 5 reels


Well, what did YOU see this weekend, folks? Anything interesting?

Five for the Fifth: May 2012 Edition

Hello folks, welcome to the May 2012 edition of Five of the Fifth!

As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here. So let’s get started, shall we?

1.  Happy Cinco de Mayo! Last year I chose to highlight a Mexican actor to celebrate Mexican heritage and pride , but this year why not talk about directors? There are quite a number of Mexican directors working in Hollywood today, and few are highly successful, i.e. Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Alfonso Cuarón, and the celebrated Luis Buñuel.

Out of the list, I’m most familiar with Cuarón’s work (Great Expectations, a segment of Paris, je t’aime, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and one of my favorite dystopian sci-fi thriller Children of Men. I saw it on the big screen when it came out in 2006 and was quite affected by it. I think it’s one of Clive Owen’s best performances to date, IMO.

So my first question has two-parts: Who’s your favorite Mexican director and your favorite film from said director?


2. Ok, since I just blogged about being hooked on Spooks, I had been reading a lot about the show and apparently a US remake is in the works [surprise, surprise]. According to Dark Horizon, ABC has acquired the American adaptation rights of the BAFTA-winning show, though no word yet whether it will remain set in the U.K. or shift its location and agency setting to the United States.

Heh, naturally I’m skeptical about such projects, most likely it just won’t be as good as the original. I read this soon after I heard news that The Help director Tate Taylor wants to make a movie version of 2002 BBC miniseries The Jury (starring a young Gerry Butler in one of my top five roles). It’s such a fantastic miniseries that explored how each juror’s life is affected by the case, not sure how that’d translate into a 2-hour feature film.

Now, I do welcome the idea of a Spooks movie however, after all there are dozens of TV series that have been made into films, I mean look at Serenity, Charlie’s Angels and of course the highly successful Mission: Impossible. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing Spooks being made into a film franchise and with the right people that could be an awesome one.

Richard Armitage who played Lucas North is very keen on the idea, in this interview he said, “Every time I see the producers I’m saying, ‘Come on, Olympics 2012. Come on, do it. Make a film’ I think it would be fantastic. And it would be great to see — I mean one of the things Spooks has done brilliantly is put London visually on the screen and shoot London beautifully…” Hear, hear, Richard! Of course they should make it with Richard in the lead 😉

So those who’ve watched Spooks, what do you think of the idea? If you haven’t seen it, what’s your favorite TV series-turned-film?
… 

3. Ok, I wasn’t going to feature this trailer anywhere on my blog as I thought the first movie is such an abominable! If you’ve read my short review of it, you’ll know why. But I think the second movie promises even more ridiculously bombastic and preposterous high-octane action in massive proportion!

Not only do we have the original 80s action heroes like Sly, Ah-nuld, Bruce Willis, and Dolph Lundgren, we’ve also got Jason Statham and Jet Li returning, along with even MORE action heroes in the form of Jean-Claude Van Damme AND Chuck Norris!!  I have to admit I laughed out loud watching the trailer, and everyone practically cheered when good ‘ol Chuck strutting into the screen taking off his sunglasses, ahah. Hey like the trailer said… When the threat is this great… only a cast this verbose could do it!!


So is Expendables 2 on your must-see list this Summer?
… 

4. Ok, since I just saw The Avengers last night, I have to have one Avengers-related question. I read on Friday on Deadline that apparently Samuel L. Jackson was furious that A.O. Scott gave The Avengers a negative review. Here’s what he tweeted:

This is what the NY Times reviewer wrote: “…while ‘The Avengers’ is hardly worth raging about, its failures are significant and dispiriting. The light, amusing bits cannot overcome the grinding, hectic emptiness, the bloated cynicism that is less a shortcoming of this particular film than a feature of the genre.”  

Now I disagree w/ Scott as I thought The Avengers was fun and definitely entertaining, but really is it really necessary for Jackson to be so bitter about just one bad review, especially when overall the critical reception has been positive? Proof that these superheroes certainly have super ego, ahah.

What do you think of Sam Jackson’s reaction? And if you have seen The Avengers, what did you think of his role as Nick Fury?


5. Ok last question. Today is Henry Cavill‘s 29th Birthday. As you already know, I’m highly anticipating Man of Steel with him in the role.

Apart from some behind-the-scene footage of him and this photo, we haven’t seen ANY teaser trailer yet. I’m hoping that maybe we’ll see at least a teaser with The Dark Knight Rises? Now, you’ve probably read that this Zack Snyder adaptation might focus a bit more on Clark Kent as ‘young twenty-something journalist who feels alienated by powers beyond anyone’s imagination’ [per ComicBookMovie]

There have been some on-set pics that show Cavill as Kent without his trademark glasses. Now, we should expect that under Christopher Nolan/Zack Snyder collaboration, we may see a Superman reboot unlike anything we’ve seen before. I mean look at what Nolan did with the Batman franchise, he’s not afraid to give the classic hero a whole new level of realism and darker tone with the story. So does that mean perhaps that would include Clark Kent having a different set of disguise in Man of Steel?

What say you, folks? Where are you in the ‘glasses or no glasses for Clark Kent’ debate?



Well, that’s it for the May edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all!

[Fan-Made] Posters of the Week: Man of Steel and The Dark Knight Rises

I wanted to do a poster post and there’s nothing that interest me from Impawards site. But a few days ago I came across these two awesome fan-made posters of two of my most-anticipated superhero flicks! I’ve posted fan-made posters before, like this broken-glass one for The Dark Knight Rises, as they’re often much, much cooler than the ones the studio churned out.

There are a plethora fan-made ones for Nolan’s final Batman flick, but I’m guessing there’ll be more popping up for Man of Steel as well in the coming months. This is the first one I’ve seen so far that looks pretty darn cool. I really dig the color scheme and the decidedly-darker tone instead of the usual bright and buoyant sentiment of Superman. According to ComicBookMovie site, the artist is Daniele Moretti.

Image courtesy of comicbookmovie.com

Instead of Photoshop-ing Henry Cavill’s head on to it, the designer went with a comicbook style, but the figure is clearly inspired by the now super-buff Brit’s on-set photos wearing the suit. There’s even a helicopter in the background, and from this new set of action shots, for sure there’ll be some helicopter rescue scene in it somewhere.

Now, this one for The Dark Knight Rises is set in the same bluish tone as these official versions for the second film.

Image courtesy of Shockya.com

I LOVE this, the rainy setting makes it even more dramatic and the bat signal amongst the futuristic-looking skyscrapers is a nice touch. It almost have the same theme as the Man of Steel one in that our hero is surveying the city below with the cape blowing in the wind.

Now I hope the official posters will be even better. We’ve seen this awesome teaser for TDKR, but I’m most curious about the Superman one. If anything, they should be as cool as the posters for Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns (I especially like this one), but perhaps a bit darker and grittier.


What do you think folks? If you’ve seen other fan-made posters you think are awesome, please do share the link!

Five for the Fifth: 5 Random Questions for the 5th of August

Happy Friday the Fifth, everyone! I haven’t been consistent with this supposedly monthly posting, as the last one was back in May, but I’m going to try to do this once a month (yeah I know, I said that last time, too :D) Well, the gist of the post is that I give five random news item/trailer, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic (you can do all five or just pick a topic). Ok, let’s do it shall we?

1. First thing first… This was all over the news yesterday so granted most of you have seen it, but I just had to post this Man of Steel‘s first look here as I’ve been a longtime fan of Henry Cavill.

Oooo… my initial reaction of course is pure glee… As I’ve said in this post, the first time I saw Henry on screen in The Count of Monte Cristo about a decade ago, I already thought he’d make a good Superman. Now here he is… in his full Man of Steel glory! Yes it’s a publicity pic, not exactly in the midst of a scene as the project hasn’t begun filming yet, but it’s enough to give us a taste of the tone of the film, which judging by that costume alone and Henry’s expression, it’s going to be a lot darker and perhaps even enigmatic.

I think the costume looks awesome, like The Amazing Spiderman‘s suit, I like the darker colors and the textured look, the crotch area is too dark to make out if he’s wearing that red underwear, which I’m guessing he’d still have those on. I hope it’d be in the muted red tone like his boots, or better yet, the suit would look more like this Jim Lee’s illustration. I agree with a lot of people’s comments about the hair though, should go easy with the hair gel! I wish they’d kept it more natural as obviously in real life Henry can definitely sport the iconic Superman curl as you can see in this picture!

Well, now that you’ve seen this first look, does it alter your view about Man of Steel in any way?

• Now switching from the good ‘ol hero to a bad ass prince of darkness… I’ve mentioned before that Rufus Sewell has been cast as the villain in Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter, just a reminder, here’s the plot of the movie: “President Lincoln’s mother is killed by a supernatural creature, which fuels his passion to crush vampires and their slave-owning helpers.”

You’ve got to be at least intrigued by that right? Well, for one I’m thrilled to see Rufus nab a prominent role in a relatively high profile project. In this interview with the Wall Street Journal blog, he shed a light to what his character called Adam:

WSJ: So you’re a smart vampire then.

RS: Well, yes actually. I’m a 5,000 year old vampire who has seen it all. And the big thing for me was to decide how he was supposed to talk because you can’t do an Aramaic twinge – because if they cut the scene that explains where you came from you just look stupid. So I just picked Old Hollywood – rather, old American, like Roosevelt. He’s a man’s man, cigar room dealmaker who also happens to be the king of the vampires.

Sounds like they’ve got the perfect man for the job. I always thought Rufus is devastatingly handsome in an otherworldly kind of way. And I often vampires as being rather elegant, which suits Rufus well, too. Btw, I found out from the article he was up for the role of Lestat in Interview with the Vampire, that is until Tom Cruise expressed serious interest, that is 😦 In any case, looks like the vampire genre is still going strong even as Twilight is coming to an end (thank goodness!)

So my question to you is… who’s your favorite cinematic vampire?


• Y’know, I wasn’t a big fan of Dominic Cooper, perhaps because I thought he was terrible as Willoughby in the 2008 BBC version of Sense of Sensibility. But I slowly warm up to him after seeing him in An Education and Captain America. Now, he’s got a movie coming out in August called The Devil’s Double that’s likely to show his chops as a serious actor. Check it out:

Cooper is playing a dual role of Saddam Hussein’s son Uday and his body double, army lieutenant Latif Yahia. The story is based on Latif’s memoir of the same name. After reading some reviews, including this one by AP, I know this is not my cup of tea at all. Not sure I can endure it even if I’m curious to see Cooper pulling off a dual performance. I haven’t seen too many movies like this, the only ones I can think of right now is Leo DiCaprio in The Man in The Iron Mask.

Which other actor(s) have you seen who played two different roles in the same movie convincingly?

Ok now, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised about this given the name of the franchise, but STILL! According to Deadline, Die Hard 5 (yep there was a 4th movie if some of you missed it, ahah) is in the works and 20th Century Fox is frantically looking for a director after the initial helmer left the project. Apparently Bruce Willis is eager to reprise his role as John McClane which will be set in Russia.

What I’m surprised about is the names being considered: Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), Justin Lin (Fast Five), Nicolas Winding Refn (Valhalla Rising) and John Moore (Max Payne). Now, the first three are pretty talented bunch, but whatever, I’m kind of tired of seeing another Die Hard movie. I like the first 3 but I think it’s time to give it a rest, no?

Well, do you feel the same way I do or are you excited to see Die Hard 5?


• I saw this video a few days ago and was really bowled over by it. It’s called The Beauty of Pixar, created by a law student and a movie buff from Brazil, Leandro Copperfield.  Based on the description on the Youtube page, he apparently spent 11 days re-watching all 11 Pixar feature films and then took 500 hand-selected scenes and made an amazing tribute to the best animation studio on the planet.

Amazing editing, isn’t it? He said that he’s not a professional editor nor has done anything related to movies, which makes this all the more impressive!

So, the question is an easy one (but might be tough to answer)… What’s your all time favorite Pixar movie?


Well, that’s it for this month’s Five for the Fifth. Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! 😀

THIS JUST IN: Russell Crowe cast as Jor-El in Man of Steel

WHOA!! File this under bombshell news. This totally hit me out of left field! I’ve heard other rumors the past few months of other actors rumored to have been ‘courted’ to play Superman’s Kryptonian father, the likes of  Viggo Mortensen, Sean Penn and even Daniel Day-Lewis (which would be VERY cool indeed if that were true!).

But this afternoon I saw a tweet from FirstShowing’s Alex Billington that my fave Aussie actor RUSSELL CROWE has been cast as Jor-El! The news seems official according to the FirstShowing’s article, which quoted Variety that producer Christopher Nolan had always wanted an A-list thespian to fill that small but pivotal role.

Well, I had a half an hour to kill in between projects so I made this image in Photoshop as I imagined what he would look like as Jor-El. In the photo I found he kind of already has that hair curl thing going on 😀

Well, Mr. Crowe has big shoes to fill considering Marlon Brando was the last actor in that role, including in Superman Returns by way of special effects. It’s definitely a VERY interesting choice… I didn’t know what to think the first time I heard it but I’m warming up to the idea now. Both Brando and Crowe are acting legends who’ve won at least one Oscar and multiple major nominations under their belts. They’re both also known for their antics off-screen (most recently for Crowe, he was under fire for his Tweet about the practice of circumcision in which he’s issued his apology).

Connie Nielsen as Lucilla

Having Crowe in this definitely makes me anticipate this Zack Snyder flick all the more (if that is even possible!) He doesn’t look at all like Henry Cavill a.k.a Kal-El, but I’m sure that’s a non-issue w/ makeup technology these days. Oh as if one Gladiator alum is not enough, and apparently Connie Nielsen (whatever happened to her??) who played Lucilla in the Roman movie has also been offered the role of Lara, Superman’s mom (per Latino Review). I wonder if the Gladiator reunion is intentional? So I guess Maximus and Lucilla did get it on after all, huh? I wonder how bad ass our new Superman would be with a dad like that? 😀


Well, what do you think of this news? Are you even excited for Superman reboot?