FlixChatter Review: Immortals

Every once in a while, there’s a movie that comes along that’s critics-proof. This is one of those movies. I love swords and sandals genre and I went in with the expectation for Tarsem’s visuals and Henry Cavill’s performance to wow me and it delivered on both counts.

Apparently I’m not the only one who didn’t heed the critics as the Greek mythology visual feast reigned supreme at the box office with $32 million. Now, with that in mind, let me give you a rundown of what works and what doesn’t with this film.

The good

• Well obviously the visuals — the world Tarsem built is pure eye candy material. It’s artistic, bold, imaginative, which is what I had hoped from the first time I saw the first trailer. Given that this film shares the same producers as 300, the comparison is inevitable. At the same time, it’s got a pretty distinguished visual flair and style that’s entirely Tarsem’s. For one, Tarsem’s use of color is more vivid and rich, it’s like seeing a fine art painting, albeit a very bloody one, come to life.

There’s obviously painstaking details invested into building the sets and the costumes. The get-ups the gods wear as they watch mortals from way above the clouds are over the top but that’s the stuff of a fantasy flick. Apparently everyone has a Gold Gym membership up there in Zeus country.

• Henry Cavill’s on-screen charisma. Though I’ve followed his career for the past few years, this is the first time I’ve seen Henry carry a movie and I have to say he did a great job. It’s no doubt he looks the part as a peasant mortal chosen by Zeus to fight against the ruthless King Hyperion, but fortunately he’s got the confidence and gravitas to match those chiseled muscles.

• Mickey Rourke actually makes for a pretty brutal and vicious villain as Hyperion. The kind of enemy that makes your skin crawl with his sadistic shenanigans, especially to one traitor who comes to him and actually offered to help. He’s certainly more effective than Rodrigo Santoro’s Xerxes with all his gold body piercing. Hyperion is evil through and through and the relentless mano-a-mano fight between him and Theseus is quite rousing at the end.

• The special effects are definitely cool. Whenever the gods came down to earth, there’s a certain slo-mo technique used to illustrate just how much faster they move compared to humans, kind of like how in The Matrix, Neo is often shown as being able to move at lightning speed. I think it’s quite efficient and there are no annoying quick-cutting between scenes seemingly employed by every action directors. All the fight scenes involving Zeus and co. are incredibly bloody, but like 300, the stylized way they’re done makes ’em a bit more bearable to watch. I still cover my eyes a few times though.

The not-so-good

• The supporting cast is quite lame, to be honest. Even British thespian John Hurt wasn’t really given much to do, but my biggest quibble is with Stephen Dorff. He tried to be this wisecracking sidekick, but I find him to be irritating and silly. Kellan Lutz and Isabel Lucas barely had any lines or anything worth writing about. Compared to the compelling actors who fought alongside Gerry Butler in 300: Michael Fassbender, Vincent Regan, Dominic West, and David Wenham, these pretty young things just pale by comparison.

• Freida Pinto is beautiful but forgettable… she did have more to do here than in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but that’s not saying much. So yeah, she’s no Lena Heady. Even the sex scene is pretty ho-hum, it lacks passion and least of all, heart. Though guys surely remember Pinto’s body double’s derrière 😉

• Weak script — Tarsem’s story-telling skills doesn’t quite match his visual flair. The Fall was quite a disconcerting in terms of narrative, but there’s at least a strong connection between the two main characters. There’s not much going on between Theseus and Paedra, nor between him and any of the crews. Speaking of 300 again, the bond King Leo had with his soldiers make the nonstop battles mean more to the viewers than simply artistic amusements. I feel like there’s really not a whole lot at stake in Immortals. Of course the story tells us there is but we just didn’t feel it.

In my pal Scarlet Sp1der’s review, he mentioned that the stirring speech rounding up the troops pales in comparison to King Leo’s. I definitely agree with that, Butler’s certainly got that commanding presence that’s tough to beat. But to be fair, Leo has been a king for a long time, thus his troops were all ready to die for him, whilst Theseus is practically a stranger.

• Oh, and what’s with the Epirus Bow? I feel that for something so integral in the story, I find it odd that it somehow felt ‘forgotten’ by the end. The archery scenes are pretty cool though, I just wish they’d show more of those.

The Verdict?

Immortals is more style than substance, but at least Tarsem did deliver on his promise of Caravaggio meets Fight Club, complete with the ‘what the heck is going on’ ending. So yeah, despite the flaws I’ve mentioned, it’s still well worth-seeing for pure escapism’s sake. It’s a well-crafted production that’s sure to please anyone who appreciates fine workmanship and classic design. A quick note about the 3D: I saw this in 3D and though it didn’t really add much to it, it didn’t detract from it either. I’d say you probably won’t go wrong seeing this in 2D but the showtimes for those are much less than the 3D ones.

3Reels


Anybody else seen this one? Do share your thoughts on Immortals in the comments.

Flix Poster of the Week: The Cold Light of Day

Cavill on the set of The Cold Light of Day

Please note: This is a re-post from a year ago as the new poster has just been released today, as well as new details on the movie.

This movie wouldn’t have been in my radar had it not been for my affinity for Henry Cavill. Could 2012 finally be Henry’s year? After being passed over so many times in iconic roles (Superman and Bond, among others), I sure hope so! I’m so glad he finally nabbed starring roles in a pretty substantial project, the other one being Tarsem Singh’s fantasy flick Immortals as the mythical Greek warrior Theseus.

When I first heard about The Cold Light Of Day months ago, I thought it’d be a small little indie thriller. But since then its profile’s significantly gone up since Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver join the cast!

I was asked to remove the original poster I found though I really like it. It’s probably made before the cast were confirmed, but I kind of like it. The color scheme and composition immediately grabbed my attention and no floating heads. Now we’ve got this one that’s released today, 11/6/11, and it’s not as creative but I’m so glad to see Henry front and center as a leading man!


Here’s the updated synopsis per LatinoReview:

When Will Shaw (Cavill) arrives in Spain for a weeklong sailing vacation with his family, the stressed young business man is not in a holiday mood. His startup company just went under and his tense relationship with his disciplinarian father Martin (Bruce Willis) only makes matters worse. But when the family is kidnapped by what turns out to be intelligence agents hell-bent on recovering a mysterious suitcase, Will suddenly finds himself on the run. His whole world turns upside down when Martin reappears, revealing he is an undercover agent tangled in an intergovernmental web of lies and secrets. During a clandestine rendezvous, Martin is killed by a sniper, and Will must find a way to get the rest of his family back alive.

With the kidnappers counting down the hours, the Spanish police breathing down his neck for a murder he didn’t commit and a cadre of U.S. assassins on his trail, Will flees through Madrid, racing to piece together a conspiracy as labyrinthine as the city’s ancient streets. Who can he trust? Who killed his father? And where is the mysterious suitcase that seems to the key to getting his family come safely? In his quest for answers, Will finds Lucia (Veronica Echegui) – a half-sister he never knew he had, who is determined to help him. Bound by their shared kiss, the siblings are a force to be reckoned with, but can they overcome the massive odds against them before it’s too late?

According to the press release posted on Collider site, principal photography had already begun last month, and the film is set and filmed entirely in Spain, and  will be shot over ten weeks in the Community of Valencia and Madrid as well as several weeks on the stages at Ciudad de la Luz studios in Alicante. French-Tunisian director Mabrouk El-Mechri is helming the project, he did the Jean-Claude Van Damme’s biopic JCVD which was surprisingly well-received (85% of rottentomatoes!)

I’m definitely liking the cast, especially Weaver as a villainess will be fun to watch. It’s scheduled for release on April 6, 2012. Can’t wait to see the trailer!

What do you think folks? is this something you’d be interested in seeing?

Upcoming Flix Spotlight: Immortals – ‘The Story Behind Theseus’ Featurette

Exactly a month from now, on 11-11-11, Immortals is released. You probably already know that I’ve been anticipating this for some time. I was initially excited because Tarsem is directing (as I really like The Fall), but when Henry Cavill was cast, I am even more psyched!!

Yes the British actor is VERRRY easy on the eye, with his dark hair, blue eyes and tall, lean physique, he’s soooo my type, ehm. But looks can only interest me so far. Fortunately, after watching some of his interviews, it’s obvious he’s much more than a pretty face. Watch this featurette below of Henry discussing his lead character Theseus, as well as snippets of Tarsem and Luke Evans discussing his role as Zeus.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


I’m a big fan of swords & sandals movies and so this kind of movies is right up my street. Plus, with Tarsem’s visual flair this is likely going to be a visual feast in every sense of the word. Cavill is still relatively unknown now apart from him being cast as Superman in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Unless you’ve seen him in The Tudors and notice him in Stardust and Woody Allen’s Whatever Works, this is likely people’s first major introduction to Cavill before Man of Steel comes out in Summer 2013. It’s interesting that Immortals‘ been compared a lot to 300 and Cavill’s going to be working with 300’s director next.

Well, I do think he’ll do a good job. He’s got such a strong on-screen charisma as you can see in the trailer so I sure hope he’ll continue to have a lasting and varied career in Hollywood post Superman.

You can read updates on the film here and the latest trailer here. Immortals also stars Mickey Rourke, John Hurt, Luke Evans, Stephen Dorff, Freida Pinto, Kellan Lutz,and Isabel Lucas.


What do you think folks? Thoughts on Henry Cavill and/or Immortals?

THIS JUST IN! Second Immortals Trailer

Happy Monday, everybody!

Ooooh, lookie here. As you surely already know, I’ve been anticipating this movie for some time (you can see all my coverage on Immortals here). Last April I put up the first trailer and last night, director Tarsem Singh released the second one via Ryan Seacrest’s website. Check it out below:

[kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/388452/1392282&tbid=237659&p=&height=514&width=490]

I love swords & sandals genre and Greek mythology tales, and having one of my fave British actors Henry Cavill in the lead as Theseus just makes me anticipate this all the more! The trailer definitely is an improvement from the first one and Henry already looks much more expressive and engaging than Sam Worthington in Clash of the Titans. The rest of the cast is ok, apart from Mickey Rourke as the bloodthirsty King Hyperion and Luke Evans as Zeus, I’m not overly enthused about Stephen Dorff or Kellan Lutz. Indian actress Frieda Pinto as Phaedra seems fitting though, she’s such an unearthly beauty and I’m glad to see a person of color getting the female lead in this movie. Both Henry and Luke are two up and coming Brits high on my to-watch list, and I hope I get to meet them next month at San Diego Comic Con! 😀

I was bummed out when I heard news last week that Marvel Studios won’t have a big presence at SDCC this year. But… that disappointment is short-lived when I read reports that IMMORTALS will indeed be in Hall H!!! According to Stars Entertainment website, Relativity Media has announced their lineup for Hall H that includes Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire (too bad one of the cast members Michael Fassbender won’t be in the guest panel), The Raven with John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe, AND Tarsem’s Immortals! Evans’ star power is surely on the rise as he’ll be amongst the panelists for the period thriller The Raven as well. Looks like everyone from Immortals will be present at the Con… AND there’ll be an official autograph signing at the Convention Center, wahoo!

Man, oh man! Just the thought of being able to shake hands with the future Superman just gets me all giddy! 😀


Ehm, now that I got that out of my system… what do you think of the second trailer?

THIS JUST IN: Immortals Trailer

I was in the midst of writing a news post when this IMMORTALS trailer arrives. It was yanked out for copyright issues earlier today, but now it’s back on. So let’s just get to it, shall we?


Well, considering how many times I’ve blogged about this movie, you probably know I’ve been anticipating this one for ages. The trailer looks stunning, but I guess I’m expecting it to look a lot more unique. After all, the director promises “… Caravaggio meets Fight Club … It’s a really hardcore action film done in Renaissance painting style…” as I mentioned in this post.

Hmmm, I’m not really seeing what he described and its resemblance to 300 in terms colors scheme and even camera angles/movements are so obvious that some movie sites even saying it’s like watching a 300 sequel. Yes I know it’s from the same producers and I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the visuals of the Zack Snyder’s movie, but I’m just expecting Immortals to have its own look as the Indian director is known for a distinctive visual flair as evident in The Fall. It could be just a marketing strategy on the studio part though, given what a smashing success 300 was given its relatively low budget. So hopefully, the actual movie won’t turn out to be too identical to 300, or Zeus forbid, Clash of the Titans! Surely the acting and storytelling style has got to be better than Clash.

So yeah, this one’s still got enough going for it to make a fan of swords & sandals genre like me REALLY want to see this. For one thing, Henry Cavill looks pretty convincing as Theseus, so I’m sold on that front and even more excited to see him as Superman.


Well, what do you think, people? Are you sold on this one?

Updates on Tarsem’s Greek Saga IMMORTALS

Oooh, lookie here! I’ve been waiting for ages for this movie and finally this weekend we’ve got some goodies courtesy of WonderCon in San Francisco.

Tarsem with Luke Evans, Henry Cavill and Isabel Lucas

(Photo courtesy of nerdreactor.com)

I’ve been talking about this movie as far back as July 2009 around the time Clash of the Titans was filming. I thought it’d go head to head at the box office, hence the Theseus vs. Perseus title. I’ve blogged extensively about it when the name is changed from War of Gods to Immortals, listed it as one of my top ten anticipated movies of 2010, only to learn the release date’s been pushed back yet again. Now it’s back again on my anticipated list of this year, but this time the release date has been set to November 11. So clearly I’m not kidding when I said I can’t wait for this movie 🙂

Now, I’m a sucker for swords and sandals flick, as Ben-Hur and Gladiator are two of my all time favorite films. As it were, my disappointment with Clash of the Titans hasn’t put me off Greek mythology just yet. I remain hopeful mainly because of the visionary director, Tarsem Singh, whose sophomore feature film The Fall was such a visual feast and boast an interesting story (check out the trailer here). As I’ve stated in this newsflash post, he’s revealed that this project is done in the style of “… Caravaggio meets Fight Club … It’s a really hardcore action film done in Renaissance painting style… I’m going for a very contemporary look on top of that so I’m kind of going with, you know, Renaissance time with electricity.” Now, if that doesn’t make you at least intrigued to see it, I don’t know what will!

Before I continue, check out these five stunning character posters (courtesy of impawards) to wet our appetite even more.

immortals poster1
immortals poster2 immortals poster 3
immortals poster  4 immortals poster 5

Click on each poster for a larger version.

I’ve talked about the plot many times, but this is an updated synopsis from the WonderCon site:

“… an epic tale of treachery, vengeance, and destiny in Immortals, a stylish and spectacular adventure. As a power-mad king razes ancient Greece in search of a legendary weapon, a heroic young villager rises up against him in a thrilling quest as timeless as it is powerful.”

And now that I’ve heard two of the main cast, Henry Cavill (Theseus) and Luke Evans (Zeus) on various WonderCon interviews, I couldn’t be any more excited! Thanks to a tip from Scarlet Sp1der yesterday, I also found this interview footage from Collider site with Henry Cavill and Luke Evans. You might remember Evans from the Three Musketeers‘ trailer I put up last week, he plays Aramis. You gotta love the Brits. These guys are not only VERY easy on the eyes but they’re just so darn witty, funny and humble. Henry and Luke seem to have become good friends since working together and they certainly have a good rapport together.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

You probably noticed in the poster that Immortals is produced by Mark Canton and Gianni Nunnari, the same producers of 300. When asked about the similarities and differences between the two, Henry had this to say, “The similarities are the fighting nature, the action of it is visceral and exciting… major difference is that 300 is an ‘event’ story, ‘immortals’ is a journey involving many different chess pieces… You get to follow a character’s and their story throughout as opposed to just one event.” I like that answer a lot and I’m sure this one would be more of a visual feast than that Zack Snyder movie.

Too bad Henry couldn’t say much of anything about his upcoming role as Superman for legal reasons, but he did say he’s currently training with the same trainer Mark Twight from Gym Jones who trained Gerry Butler into that crazy buff shape. As Henry said, his priority now is “… getting my body into the right aesthetic state”  Can’t wait!! 🙂

Here’s an interview I found from WonderCon:


Well, how do you feel about this project and/or the filmmaker and cast of this movie? Are you as excited about Immortals as much as I do?

Updates on FC’s Top Ten Most Anticipated 2010 Flix: Part 1

I wrote this top ten list of most anticipated movies back in October, and lots of stuff have changed since then. Either I no longer anticipate a given flick, or simply the release date has been pushed back to next year, etc. So here are updates on the first five on my list.

1. Clash of the Titans (April 2, 2010)

This one turns out to be quite a disappointment, glad I didn’t pay the 3D fare! Read the full review.

2. Immortals (TBD 2011 – see updated news)

The most notable update is the title has been changed to Immortals, changed from Dawn of War/War of Gods. The main lead actor to play Theseus remains to be Henry Cavill, but this flick has since expanded the cast: Mickey Rourke (as the villain), John Hurt, Stephen Dorff, Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), and Luke Evans (Apollo in Clash of the Titans), among others.

Luke Evans has been cast as Zeus

This FirstShowing article reveals a very promising small details of that, courtesy of British actor Evans who’ll play Zeus in this movie (quite an upgrade from playing Apollo, eh?).

[Immortals] really plays on the human side of the battle, whereas there are so many monsters in Clash of the Titans. This film really is very strongly based on Earth, I would say, and it is about the human battle. The gods have a very strong presence [in it] and it’s a much bigger action film; this is way more action. Whereas the gods in Clash do very little but stay in Mount Olympus, in [Immortals] they are hands-on — especially Zeus. I’ve had training in every weapon you could imagine a god using.”

He’s also got this to say about the Indian director Tarsem: “What’s great about Tarsem is you only have to spend 10 minutes in his company to know the man is a visionary and a genius. If you know his work, you know how beautiful and visually stunning it can be. Tarsem sets an amazing scene and allows the actors to feel completely immersed in the world — we’ve walked on to the sets and they’re superb. The details of these sets are spectacular, and you know Tarsem has had a hand in every decision.”

With that said, this will also end up in my inevitable Most Anticipated 2011 Flicks blog post 🙂

….

3. Inception (July 16th, 2010)

You bet this is still one of my most anticipated flicks, in fact, this has risen to the top of the list! Five things I’ve learned so far:

  • According to Leonardo DiCaprio, the plot didn’t even make sense to the actors when they did the film. “We had to do a lot of detective work (laughing) to figure out what the movie was about.”
  • Nolan originally wrote this as a heist movie, realizing that “… traditionally [they] are very deliberately superficial in emotional terms”, but later realize he needed to “raise the emotional stakes
  • DiCaprio was integral in Cobb’s character development. “I’ve incorporated a huge number of his ideas. Leo’s very analytical, particularly from character point of view but also how the entire story is going to function and relate to his character… I think it’s improved the project enormously. The emotional life of the character now drives the story more than it did before.” [LA Times Blog]
  • This is the thinking-person’s Bond movie: “I grew up watching James Bond films and loving those and watching spy movies with their globetrotting sensibility…. We get to do that here, not just geographically but also in time and dimensions of reality as well. We get to make a movie that’s expansive, I suppose you’d say, in four dimensions.”
  • Inception is Nolan’s biggest challenge yet: “This is the biggest challenge I’ve taken on to this point… We’re trying to tell a story on a massive scale, a true blockbuster scale – the biggest I’ve ever been involved with. We tried to make a very large-scale film with The Dark Knight and with this one we wanted to push that even further.”

    [the last two bullets are courtesy of LA Times Hero Complex Blog]


Here’s the enigmatic second trailer. If there’s a flick that’ll blow Avatar out of the water, this’ll be it. Surely this is by far the best trailer of the year!

….

4. Toy Story 3 (June 18th, 2010)

A decade an a half after the first one came out in 1995, this time it’ll be in 3D! I’m a huge fan of the first two, and as if having Woody, Buzz and the gang back isn’t enough to anticipate this, they throw in a new toy voiced by none other than Timothy Dalton!! The Ken/Barbie thing looks pretty funny too, I seriously doubt I’ll be disappointed with this one.

All fourteen characters of Toy Story 3

Screenrant also have a handy guide to all fourteen new characters in Toy Story 3.
….

5. Iron Man 2 (May 7th, 2010)

The first one was sooo much fun and judging from the trailer, the sequel definitely ups the ante with plenty more action. I’m not totally stoked with Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard, nothing against Cheadle — granted he’s a great actor — but I just think Howard suits the Rhodes role better, and he’s got a nice rapport with Robert Downey Jr.  RDJ himself is still as mischievous and fun-loving as ever, this role is tailor-made for him as much as the suit is to Tony Stark. Oh speaking of the suit, who doesn’t dig the awesome briefcase suit?

This featurette centers specifically of Stark and his assistant Pepper Pots … it’s a testament to how great RDJ is because he even makes Gwyneth Paltrow looks so darn likable!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “New Behind-the-Scenes Featurette and …“, posted with vodpod

…..

Look for Part 2 sometime next week. Now, any one of this is on your anticipated list?