JULY 2016 Viewing Recap + Movie(s) of the Month

July16Recap

I can’t believe I’m doing yet another monthly roundup. I swear I just did this not that long ago.

The last day of July also marks a milestone for me as I finally got to type those elusive two words at the bottom of my script!!!

HW_TheEnd

Now I’m going to lock it away for a month (an advice I took from a screenwriting site) before I tinker with it again… so no, I haven’t got to that coveted FINAL draft yet. But still, it took me nearly a year to finally get to this point so it’s quite exciting!

Well it turns out I did watch quite a bit of movies in July, both new-to-me and re-watches. August screenings include Suicide Squad, Florence Foster Jenkins, Pete’s Dragon, Anthropoid and The Light Between Oceans. Still hoping to get a screener link of Equals, the romance sci-fi by Drake Doremus w/ Kristen Stewart & Nicholas Hoult, so hopefully I get that soon.

So anyway, here are movies I saw this month:

New-to-me Movies

13movie

13 (2011)

CaptFantasticCaptain Fantastic (2016) – review upcoming

AdventurerMidasBox

The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (2013)

SecretLifePets

The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters (2016)

STB

Star Trek Beyond (2016)

AbFabMovie

Absolutely Fabulous (2016)

JasonBourne

Jason Bourne (2016) – review upcoming

Laura

Laura (1944)

LifeMovie

Life (2015)


Look for my review of Jason Bourne and a guest review of Café Society sometime next week!


Blindspot Pick

Laura1944poster


 Rewatches

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

….
Gladiator (2000) | Pride + Prejudice + Zombies (2016) | BBC’s Sense & Sensibility (2008)  | Superman Returns (2006) | Toy Story 3 (2010) | The Dark Valley (2014) | Becoming Jane (2007) | Working Girl (1988) | The Age of Adaline (2015)

I ended up re-watching a ton of movies this past month. Most of these are on Netflix and Amazon Prime, so I might as well watch them when they’re still available. Some of them I own the Blu-ray (PPZ, Toy Story 3, Superman Returns and BBC’s Sense & Sensibility) and you know my penchant for period dramas, naturally I have to watch a few every month 😉

I hadn’t watched Working Girl for at least a decade and I have to say it’s definitely shown its age but it’s still pretty enjoyable. Boy whatever happened to Melanie Griffith? I mean Harrison Ford is definitely still relevant and so is Sigourney Weaver, heck even David Duchovny who’s only credited as a guy at a birthday party still has a pretty good career now.

I’m participating in Movie Rob’s Genre Grandeur and the this month’s topic is Foreign Language so of course I’m picking one featuring Sam RileyDas Finstere Tal (The Dark Valley), so watch for my comprehensive review of that in the next few weeks.


 TV Series
VEEPseries

I’ve only gotten to two episodes of Season 1 but I enjoyed it so far. Julia Louis Dreyfuss is a hoot as the Veep herself Selina Meyer. I didn’t realize there are 5 seasons already but the good thing is it’s only a half-hour sit-com so it’s easier to catch up on.


MOVIE(S) OF THE MONTH

MoviesOfTheMonthJuly

It wasn’t as easy to select my movie of the month of July. But out of the contemporary films I saw last month, Captain Fantastic is one I still think about the most. I’m hoping to review it soon, but it’s certainly one of the most unique films ever and Viggo Mortensen is well, fantastic.

I’ve been wanting to watch Laura for a long time. My friend Vince reviewed it for me back in 2011 and he highly recommended it. It’s one of the most acclaimed classic noir mystery and was nominated for five Oscars. Well, it certainly lived up to the hype. I was quite mesmerized by the beautiful Gene Tierney.


Well that’s my viewing recap of July. What’s YOUR favorite film of the month?

Weekend Viewing Roundup: Ghostbusters (1984) & Superman Returns (2006) rewatch + The Adventurer: Curse Of The Midas Box (2013)

weekendroundup

Well this weekend’s viewing turns out to be pretty eclectic. Given that I saw the screening of the new Ghostbuster movie (review up later this week), I was inspired to re-watch the original. I honestly can’t remember when I saw that one, probably when I was a teen years ago, so my memory of it is hazy.

Well, just like the reboot, the cast of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver is truly the best thing about the movie. I enjoy the camaraderie of the ghostbustin’ team, which is the main strength of the new one as well. So yeah, I’d say the original movie still holds up very well, though I actually find Rick Moranis‘ character a bit irritating. The movie is obviously funny, but the comedic style is pretty different from the new one, which isn’t a good or bad thing. Having seen both movies last week, I’m more convinced of how absurd the controversy is over the all-female cast. I suppose haters are gonna hate, I just can’t fathom the idiocy of it all.

Speaking of Bill Murray…

Sunday is often reserved for indulgent viewing for me, which is the time I usually watch my fave period dramas. But for some reason I was in the mood to watch Superman Returns. I can’t believe that movie is 10 years old! It’s funny how remakes/reboots often made you reflect on the older movies. Now, I never hated this Bryan Singer version apart from the whole Superman kid absurdity, which I think is the weakest link of the movie. But rewatching it this time around made me like it a bit more. I like how geeky Brandon Routh‘s Superman is as Clark Kent, and that rousing airplane rescue scene is still awesome. Yeah it’s definitely more of a rom-com at times (which Singer himself admits), but you know what, I enjoyed that whole flying scene of Supes & Lois. Oh and Parker Posey is a hoot to watch here, esp. the scene where she’s fan-girling over Supes!


Lastly, I watched this UK adventure flick The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box. Heh, that is one clunky title and the movie itself isn’t that much better. Honestly, I only watched it because of the awesome Welsh actors in it: Aneurin Barnard (in the lead role), the always watchable Michael Sheen and Ioan Gruffud. Sam Neill and Lena Heady played the villains, so even though it’s still fun to watch these talented actors, they all deserve a much better movie!


It’s supposed to be Indiana Jones meets Hugo (as Aneurin played a teenager here), but it’s nowhere near as good as either. I concur with Rodney’s review and rating of it here, which is too bad given the talented cast and promising plot. I agree that the score by Fernando Velázquez is the best thing in it, he happens to also score the great soundtrack of Pride + Prejudice + Zombies.

Tomorrow night I’ll be watching these two wacky-but-fabulous London ladies wrecking havoc in style…

AbFabPoster


So that’s my weekend recap. What did YOU watch this weekend, anything good?

Final Man of Steel Countdown: Top 10 Favorite Superman movie scenes

ManofSteelCountdown2

All right! The wait is almost over for me… After anticipating this for exactly two and a half years, precisely since January 2011 when Henry Cavill was first announced as our Kryptonian hero, the agonizing wait soon comes to an end. Years have turned to months, months to weeks, weeks to days… and now it’s just a matter of hours!!! 😛

Now, for my final countdown post, I thought I’d revisit some of my favorite scenes from previous Superman movies. I deliberately exclude the George Reeves’ TV series as well as Smallville and focus on the big screen adaptations. I’m starting with the 1978 Richard Donner movie (you’ll see which movie from Christopher Reeve’s canon that I skipped, ahah), so here goes!

1. Superman: The Movie – Superman meets Lois at the Daily Planet

I love scenes at the Daily Planet… It’s funny how hilariously goofy Clark Kent was and Jackie Cooper is so endearingly grumpy as Perry White. In one quick line, Mr. White explains how Clark got the job, “… he’s a reporter that not only has a snappy prose style, but is the fastest typist I have ever seen!”

2. Superman: The Movie – “You’ve Got Me? Who’s… who’s got you?”

This is perhaps my most favoritest of ALL the Superman movies combined. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched it and I never, ever not get teary-eyed watching it.  Believe it or not, I still get sweaty palmed watching Lois hanging down from the chopper, I really think if I had vertigo I won’t be able to get through this scene! But the moment Supes stepped out of the revolving door — with that memorable quip ‘Say Jim! Whoo! That’s a bad out-fit! – and our hero soaring to the sky along with John Williams’ rousing score, I turn into this giddy fangirl and starts cheering like the crowd beneath him in the movie!

3. Superman: The Movie – The interview and taking flight with Lois

I’m forever jealous with Lois Lane. Yes, I know she’s not real, but boy, what girl wouldn’t want to be swept off her feet [literally or figuratively] and Lois gets to experience both, whilst still retain her career-woman status in the process! These two clips are basically the same scene, starting with Lois interviewing Superman, which leads to the two of them taking flight. That whole ‘Can You Read My Mind?‘ bit is so decidedly schmaltzy, but I fall for it every single time … [sigh]

4. Superman II: Superman saves Lois [again] in a Parisian elevator

Lois and peril goes together like, well, Supes and his red cape! I actually like this clip as it shows Clark Kent transforming into Superman in the alley on his way to save Lois. There’s always something so magical about the transformation which of course then leads to the flying sequence. I mean THIS is why we watch a Superman movie, the one superhero who can effortlessly take to the sky anytime and anywhere he wishes… and of course Chris Reeve always look so darn graceful doing it!

5. Superman II: Lois finds out Clark’s identity

So she’s the best reporter of the Daily Planet (and perhaps even in the entire NYC), but it took her THIS long to find out Clark is Superman? Ahah. I have to admit though, this scene mesmerizes me as there’s something so magnetic about Superman taking off his glasses whilst still dressed as Clark Kent. Chris Reeve still looked ever-so-fetching in a grandpa sweater! I  When Lois says, ‘I’m in love with you…’ I always yell at the screen, ‘Yeah, so is every girl in Metropolis! Get in line!’ Except, Lois never even has to be in a line. Lucky, lucky girl!

Note: I couldn’t find the exact scene, but you can watch it up until 0:43. The entire clip is a mash-up spoof that’s actually pretty darn hilarious, ahah.

6. Superman II: “General, Would You Care To Step Outside?”

Yes, Terrence Stamp’s Zod looked like a lost member of the Bee Gees with his shiny Disco outfit. But with his cold, steely eyes, he made the character iconic, even if it lacks menace the more times I watch it. I mean, what’s with this obsession with people kneeling before him? I also love the part when Lex Luthor sighed ‘Superman, thank God’ ahah.

7. Superman II: Superman finally ‘kneels’ before Zod

There’s nothing like a good pay back, and Supes does it in style. Mind over muscle, Lex. Chris Reeve looks positively glorious in this scene, but it’s Zod’s groan in agony that sticks in my mind. Ouch man, that looks painful!!


8. Superman III: Clark vs. Superman Fight

Ok, I’ve got to admit I LOVE this scene as I find Chris Reeve so unbelievably sexy sporting disheveled hair and five o’clock shadow [yowza!!] The whole suit is made darker as well which made him even more This is really the only reason to watch Superman III and it really shows the acting chops of the Juilliard-trained actor in tackling the dual role effectively. But yeah, I kinda enjoyed seeing Supes being bad 😉

9. Superman Returns: Epic plane rescue

Despite everything that was wrong with Superman Returns, I didn’t hate the movie. In fact, there are parts that I did enjoy and this first scene of Superman first rescue after being gone for five years is pretty epic. Certainly the effects have improved a lot since twenty years prior [though some of the CGI scenes look too obvious], but it’s the sense of electrifying heroism that always gets me. I always get caught up in the crowd cheering for a hero’s welcome, and of course, the rather flirtatious way Supes greets Lois turns me to mush as well.

10. Superman Returns: “Lois, will you come with me?”

I’ve actually already did a spotlight of this very scene back in 2010, but seeing it again last night made me realize how much I love it. Now, I’m actually not too fond of Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane, I mean she just isn’t believable as a Pulitzer-winning journalist, and she lacks the spunk needed for the character. But, this flying scene is just so beautifully-shot, aided by John Ottman’s excellent score inspired by the John Williams’ original.

“You wrote the world doesn’t need a savior, but everyday I hear people crying for one.”

I love how that single line sums up just what Superman is all about and his love for humanity. The ‘almost kiss’ part gets me every time, perhaps one of the most emotional scenes of the whole film for me.

___

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Superman II: The duel with General Zod

The whole fight scene in downtown Metropolis is so darn entertaining. It’s decidedly much more lighthearted in tone than all the action we’ve seen in the Man of Steel trailers, but it’s just a hoot to watch. Who doesn’t love seeing Zod being swung around and thrown into a giant Coke neon billboard!! 😀

Superman II: Clark’s diner scene retribution

This is actually one of my hubby’s favorite scenes, so I figure I should include it somehow. Even though it’s a ‘revenge’ scene, it’s not mean-spirited. I mean Supes could’ve done a heck of a lot more damage to that jerk-off truck driver if he were a mean guy, ahah. The scene cuts off but if you remember, Clark gives some money to the diner owner for the damage he’s caused. What a sweetheart 😀

Superman Returns: The Bullet Stopping Scene

People complain there are so few great action scenes in this movie and that might be so, but I think this very scene is pretty darn cool. It’s hilarious how the doofus baddie just didn’t get how indestructible Supes is. I mean if a string of bullets bounce off him like air bubbles, what makes him think it wouldn’t also bounce off his eye ball?!


Check out the other Man of Steel Countdown posts from the past three weeks.

Redditors, would you UPVOTE this post please? Thank you kindly!


Well, there are surely a ton more awesome scenes I left out here. So tell me folks, which are YOUR favorite Superman scenes?

Monthly Roundup: April Movie Watching Recap

Happy May Day folks! April certainly flew by amazingly quick, I feel like I had just done this monthly round up not that long ago and now it’s time for another update!

Well, this month is a busy one blogging one. Here are a few blogging events I hosted as well as took part in, check ’em out if you haven’t already:

I’ve only gone to the cinema once this entire month, opting to catch up on some older films I haven’t seen yet, as well as TV shows that I’ve been wanting to check out for some time.

Movies I haven’t seen before:

I wanted to see The Raven last weekend as I was intrigued by the trailer, but the dismal reviews (21% on Rotten Tomatoes!) dissuaded me. Now, I like Luke Evans, but I think I’ll just rent it later.

Re-watch:
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Iron Man
  • Superman Returns
  • The Insider
  • David & Bathsheba
As you can see, in anticipation for The Avengers, I re-watched a couple of Marvel films. We were going to re-watch MI:4 Ghost Protocol as we just got the Blu-ray, but Ted gave me the BD of Superman Returns so we spent most of that night watching the Behind-the-Scenes stuff which is one of the most-detailed Special Features since Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy! It was awesome to see the casting process on how Brandon Routh was cast, and various film shoots on location in Australia. We watched the movie Sunday night and I must say I have a whole new appreciation for the movie. I wasn’t blown away on initial viewing though I didn’t dislike it, but now I actually enjoyed it more. I still think the Superman’s son plot is ill-advised however, but it’s not a deal breaker. I also think that Routh was perfectly-cast, he may not be a good actor, but he made for an excellent Superman/Clark Kent.
… 
TV shows/miniseries:
  • CBS Scarlett miniseries
  • BBC Sherlock (Season 1)
  • BBC Spooks (3 episodes of Season 7)
Well I’m hooked on both Sherlock and Spooks now, so in the next few months we’ll be playing catch-up on both those shows. Thankfully season 2 of Sherlock will air on PBS starting this coming Sunday. As for Spooks, I’m only watching the seasons when Richard Armitage joined the series [season 7, 8 and 9], even though I first discovered this series when Rupert Penry-Jones was the main um, hunk on the show. It’s such a thrilling, well-written and superbly-acted series, no wonder it’s been around for a whole decade. It’s inevitable of course that a US remake is already planned, no word whether the agents [spooks] will be Brits or Americans. I doubt it’ll live up to the original.
 Favorite April Movie:
Thanks to Jack Deth’s review that finally compelled me to rent this. It certainly merits its classic thriller status and it even makes me want to watch the sequel just to find out what happens to that Elusive Mr. Charnier! I realize it won’t be as good as the original though. Oh, after seeing this one and Manhunter, now I REALLY want to see To Live and Die in LA, directed by William Friedkin and starring William Petersen. Thanks Ted S. for lending me his Blu-ray!
… 

So, how many films did you see this month and what’s your favorite?

From Vision to Film: Superman Returns

TedSaydalavongBanner

Welcome to the second edition of FlixChatter’s From-Vision-t0-Film series. Have you ever seen a film and then wonder what would happen if they were done differently? Well, in Hollywood, about 70% of films that they produced had different visions initially.

This post is courtesy of special guest blogger Ted Saydalavong, a movie trivia aficionado who shares my affinity for superhero movies. If you haven’t read Ted’s first post on Batman Begins, you can check it out here. Now, here’s an in-depth look of how Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns finally took flight:

Way back the mid-90s Warner Bros. wanted to reboot their Superman franchise, so they decide to hire Kevin Smith (hot off his first film Clerks) to write a script for the new version of The Man of Steel. Smith, a self-proclaim super comic book super geek, was hired to write a screenplay based on The Death of Superman comic book series where Superman was killed and came back. The screenplay was titled Superman Lives. After he finished script, he showed it to the studio executives and they loved it. But the producer of the film, Jon Peters, hasn’t read it yet. Around this time, Peters was still a powerful producer, he made a lot of money for Warner Bros. He was the producer of Tim Burton’s Batman, so he has the final say if the new Superman film is a go or not.

So Smith met with Peters and Peters said he loved the script, but he wanted to add a sidekick for the villain Brainiac and that the story must include a giant robot spider for no good reason what so ever. (The giant robot spider did appear in a film that Peters produced, the awful Wild Wild West.) So anyways, Smith said he’ll re-write the script to include a sidekick and giant spider robot. Now this is where things got complicated, Peters brought on Tim Burton to the project. Burton like Smith’s script but decided he wanted to change a few things. He told Peters that there won’t be a sidekick or a giant robot spider, since Burton is a big shot, Peters didn’t object. By now Kevin Smith was practically kicked to the curb and he was out of the project. He begged the studio to let him meet with Burton so he can explain how he had envisioned the new Superman, but Burton just refused to meet with him and he already brought in his own writers. If you want to listen Kevin Smith talk about his involvement with this project, see it below, it’s quite funny:

So now with Burton on board, everyone is happy since he already made two very successful Batman films. The script has been approved by the studio, Burton’s next task was to cast the new Man of Steel and his choice was quite surprising. Burton’s one and only choice for the new Superman was Nicholas Cage. Remember, this was a time when Cage was on top of the world – he recently won an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas and his three big action films The Rock, Con Air and Face/Off made quite a bit of cash at the box office. He confirmed that he was going to be the new Superman on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno while promoting Face/Off. He even told Jay that he won’t be wearing a cape in the new version of Superman.

A Japanese Tim Burton fan site actually leaked a test photo of the actor in the red and blue suit

Also, if you do some hard searching online, you might find a poster of Superman Reborn, Warner had scheduled the film to be release on June of 1998 to celebrate the studio’s 75th anniversary. I remember seeing the poster in movie theaters in the summer of 1997; the poster has a big red S and the word Reborn Next Summer on it. The rest of cast would have included Cameron Diaz as Lois Lane, Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor (rumor has it that Burton asked Jack Nicholson to play Lex but Jack didn’t want to play another big name villain since he already played the Joker) and Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen.

With casting in place, Burton and company was about to start principal photography, but the studio executives had some concerns about the budget. They had green-lit the project for $100 mil, however, in the script the first big action sequence in the film will cost at least $30 mil to shoot. So they asked Burton and his writers to re-write the script and tone down some of the big action set pieces to save some money. By then the film couldn’t make the June of 98 release date because they had to re-write the script, so the studio pushed the date back to summer of 1999. The new script was handed in to the studio, and they still thought the budget would get out of control. Again they asked Burton to restructure the script, so now the release date got pushed again to Christmas of 1999. Well, in the fall of 1998, Warner Bros. then announced that they’ve decided to shut down the production of the new Superman film because of budget concerns. Burton had already left the project a few months prior so he can start working on Sleepy Hollow. In an interview back in 2006 around the time Superman Returns came out, Burton said he’d already made a new Superman film but he never got to shoot it. I think he spent like close to two years trying to get his version of Superman off the ground but couldn’t.

Supes possible helmers: Tim Burton, Kevin Smith, Wolfgang Petersen, Michael Bay, McG and Brett Ratner
Director Bryan Singer on the set of Superman Returns with Brandon Routh
Director Bryan Singer on the set of Superman Returns with Brandon Routh

In early 2000s, Warner decided to get the project back on the ground because comic book-based films have been making money left and right, Spiderman and X-Men films were raking in a lot of cash for other movie studios. The list of directors who came on board to try and tackle the project were Michael Bay, McG, Wolfgan Petersen and Brett Ratner. They even brought in J.J. Abrams to re-write to script, he basically threw out Kevin Smith and Tim Burton’s script and wrote his own version. In fact, the studio liked it so much that wanted to shoot his version with Brett Ratner as the director. Abrams’ version was basically another re-telling the origin of Superman. Ratner even hired Anothony Hopkins to play Supe’s father.

The reason why Abrams version never happened was that Ratner and the studio couldn’t agree on who should play the new man of steel. Rumor has it that Ratner wanted Josh Harnett while the studio wanted Brenda Fraser. Of course Ratner eventually left the project and then he got the gig to direct X-Men 3. This is when Singer pitched his version and the rest is history.

P.S. An interesting swap indeed, given that Bryan Singer’s the one who brought us X-Men, thereby launching the whole superhero franchise in Hollywood that continues until today.

TedS_post


Well, what are your thoughts on the Superman Returns story?

Scene Spotlight: Superman Returns – Taking Lois Up

Happy Friday all! Haven’t done a scene spotlight for a while, and guess what, I just realized the last scene spotlight I did was from the original  Superman movie!

But the reason I feature Superman Returns today is because my sister in-law who lives in Seattle called over the weekend and said she sat next to Brandon Routh during a movie premiere. She was attending the Seattle International Film Festival and the movie was an indie dark comedy Miss Nobody, where Routh is part of the cast that include Leslie Bibb and Adam Goldberg . I’m so jealous! Not only I’m a huge Superman fan, but Mr. Routh is muy caliente! 🙂

Routh at Miss Nobody’s Q&A

Too bad she didn’t get to have a photo taken with Mr. Routh, obviously she has much more restraint than I would, ha..ha..! A bit of info from the SIFF official site, “From May 20-June 13, SIFF presented 408 films in 25 days, with 73 premieres and more than 600 screenings and special events…” One of the festival highlights include a tribute to Edward Norton where the Oscar winning actor received the 2010 Golden Space Needle Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting and he also screened his latest film, dark comedy Leaves of Grass.

Anyway, back to the scene in question, this is one of my favorites from the movie. Sure the plot leaves much to be desired and Kevin Spacey makes for a lame Lex Luthor, but most of the movie’s flaws aren’t about Routh’s casting. Don’t get me wrong, I still think Christopher Reeve will always be the greatest Superman ever, yet considering the massive shoes to fill, Routh pulled off the role quite well. He’s got a nice combination of strength and vulnerability, with the perfect dorky-ness as the bumbling Clark Kent. Alas, chances are he won’t reprise his role as Supes. Oh btw, my sister in-law said that during the Q&A after the movie, someone asked Routh what role he’d like to do next. He paused for a moment before answering “Superman.” Boy, I hope he’s just being sarcastic.

This flying sequence – albeit not as iconic as the ‘Can you read my mind’ of the original – is still quite romantic. A bitter Lois confronts Superman for leaving her so abruptly, but it’s clear the two still have strong feelings for each other… “I forgot how warm you are…” Yeah, I’d think the temperature goes up a few notches when Supes is around 😉 The flying sequence is brimming with sexual tension up until the romantic near-kiss at the end.

Thanks to Prairiegirl for capturing the clip for me. I always dig flying sequences in Superman flicks. One can’t help wishing I could switch places with Lois Lane just for a day… [sigh]