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Twelve Movies From The Last Five Years That I Wanted To Like But Didn’t – Part Two of Two

Twelve Movies From The Last Five Years That I Wanted To Like But Didn’t – Part Two of Two

I left one movie off my previous post from 2007, which was my Part One list of Twelve Movies From The Last Five Years That I Wanted To Like But Didn’t.  Remaining are the movies from 2008 and 2009 that made (or didn’t make, if you look at it that way) the cut.

2007 continued

American Gangster

Common = Gangster in RIdley Scott's American Gangster.

This movie was built up to be pretty big in the minds of those that love a gangster film.  You have Denzel, Russell Crowe, Ridley Scott directing, a Jay-Z-laden soundtrack, and comparisons to the classic film Scarface, then…ehhh.  The movie was just okay. It wasn’t along the same lines of the Pacino/DePalma classic, it didn’t really move me, nothing about it was very memorable, even though it was a solid film.  It was just another movie and that was disappointing. I still haven’t seen it since.

2008 – Be Kind, Rewind & Blindness

Be Kind, Rewind

Be Kind featured Mos Def and Jack Black, an odd and intriguing pairing, mixed with the directing talents of Michel Gondry, and the result was one of the weakest movies of the year.  Mos was almost impossible to watch (to listen to him), the lo-fi film recreation storyline should have been a lot more fun, and it really amounted to a schlocky, underwhelming piece, that made me further question the talents of those involved, and have highly soured me on Gondry as a director. He has to earn back the good will that he built with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and I don’t know that he is up to the task.

Blindness

This turned out to be the biggest rip-off ending in a film that I have seen in years.  With Fernando Meirelles helming one of my favorite films of the past decade and a high-ranking personal favorite of all-time in the amazing City of God, this was an opportunity to see him take the next huge step as a director and reap the rewards that fans of City of God wanted for him. (Fernando, feel free to mix in a Lil’ Dice cameo).  Instead, he didn’t take advantage.  The movie kept your attention (though not easily) for the duration and then yanked the rug out from beneath your feet in a horrendous ending.  I don’t know that I will ever forgive him.  BTW, Fernando, call me – because in truth I don’t remember the ending, I just know I absolutely hated it.

2009 – Bronson, Watchmen, The Hangover & Public Enemies

Bronson

Tom Hardy was Bronson, pre-Inception.

Nicolas Winding Refn’s film built up as A Clockwork Orange type of film, but was nothing more than a weird, sordid tale about a guy, told in an odd, and rather uninspiring way.  I was very high for the film before I saw it only to be incredibly let down. It was actually hard to make it through. I know it was based on a true story, but it didn’t redeem it at all for me. I hoped for a lot more.

Watchmen

This was a film that had a great trailer. Normally I wouldn’t have had much interest in a film like this, but it was built up to be perhaps one of the biggest movies ever, and landed with a rather resounding thud.  This wasn’t a horrible work, but if you counter it with a movie like The Dark Knight which more than matched the hype, it only exaggerated the difference of what this film might have been.  I think Zack Snyder may be able to become an interesting director, but he also might be the next Michael Bay. At this point, the meter is swinging in the “Bay” direction. Not good.

The Hangover

I don’t like comedies. Rarely, do they ever live up to my expectations, which are, I don’t know, how do I say this, to….laugh during the movie.  Is that too much to ask?  Absolutely. I chuckled two to three times during the film.  That does not a good movie make, nor is it worthy of being the biggest comedy of all-time.  This movie exemplifies how different the tastes of mainstream America and mine are.  I envy you, mainstream audiences.  To derive enjoyment from such average work must be nice. I wish I was as easily entertained, but alas, I am not. I’d rather be hung over, than watch The Hangover.  It was not believable, nor very fun.

Public Enemies

I have to include this movie on the list, because we did a dedication week to Michael Mann here on The Film Nest, and I (essentially) had breakfast with the man a few months ago. I was hoping for another movie along the lines of his previous actioners such as Heat and Collateral.  This did not match that.  I don’t think that this is a bad movie by any means, it just wasn’t great, and I thought it had the potential to be that.

Casting Johnny Depp (a feminine man in a masculine role) was the starting point of this heading down the wrong path.  The action was ordinary and you didn’t care enough about the characters to engage in the story.  It was a movie you simply watched but didn’t interact with. For that, it makes the disappointing list.  And Michael, next time we are at breakfast, easy with the staring at me brother, I’m just trying to eat and mind my own business.  Don’t use me for your script inspiration – unless of course, you really, really needed it.

I hope all movies I see are entertaining, but the odds are stacked wildly against me.  In the next five years, if I lower my expectations, perhaps there won’t be a need to compile such a list. I’m counting on you Hollywood, to bail me out.  If not, my pen (or keyboard in this case) is ready. Good luck.

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‘Kong: King of Skull Island’ Movie Develops

A sequel/prequel of sorts to Peter Jackson’s King Kong is being developed by Spirit Pictures.  Kong: King of Skull Island would be based on the book of the same name and would have Vincent Denham, son to Carl Denham (Jack Black’s role) and Jack Driscoll (Adrian Brody’s role) revisiting Skull Island to discover the origins of King Kong and the island itself, set 25 years after the original took place.  The producer on the project Steve Isles is paying homage to the original 1933 Kong’s director Marien C. Cooper by attempting to stay true to his vision and legacy.  No details about the project or casting beyond those are really available at this juncture. Source: Screenrant.

A topless J.Lange from '84's Kong.

A topless J.Lange from '84's Kong.

I remember being surprisingly pleased with Jackson’s King Kong of a few years ago.  While obviously long, obviously the special effects were stellar but a relatively moving story kept things going.  I thought Kong’s expressions gave the beast emotions I hadn’t counted on at the time.  Repeat viewings have somewhat dampened my initial feelings on the movie as a whole, but all in all, still a solid effort I believe.  However, bare in mind that King had a $200mm budget so any repeat version would not likely see anything near that figure, especially given the economy.  There are plans to use CGI and stop motion technology similar to Robert Zemeckis’ A Christmas Carol for this prequel.  What are your thoughts on the project?  I would be interested to see how it develops, casting, but I can’t say it would be a top of list sort of film for me.  Depending on the story though (have any of you read the book?), I might have a stronger interest based on that.  Hit us with your feeeeeelings.

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‘Year One’ Preview

‘Year One’ Preview

I used to be a casual Michael Cera fan. I thought he was funny in Superbad with his cool nerd type persona. It was in Juno when I realized this guy doesn’t have much depth as an actor, even a comedic actor. His roles in Superbad and Juno were essentially the same. His performance in Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist didn’t seem to detract much from his typecast characters. Judging by the trailer, it looks like his typecasting continues in Year One. This one also features Jack Black, an actor with much more depth. He also has a proven track record, ranging from Orange County and King Kong, to Kung Fu Panda. These two actors look mediocre together and Cera could have benefited more from Jonah Hill being in this, his Superbad counterpart.

"Naming your breasts 'Frankensense' and 'Myrrh' and wrapping them in a gold dress doesn't make you fit for Jesus."

"Naming your breasts 'Frankincense' and 'Myrrh' and wrapping them in a gold dress doesn't make you fit for Jesus."

Cera plays Oh (as in “Oh, goodness”), a nomad hunter who travels the countryside during Biblical times, specifically the year 1 A.D. (hence the title). His friend Zed, played by Jack Black, accompanies him. When Zed decides to eat an apple from “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil,” they are banished from their village since they cursed man. Zed says he’ll start a new tribe and asks any of the villagers to join him (Remember Jerry Maguire?). No one joins, expect Oh, even though he was looking at a shooting star and mistakenly walks up to Zed as if he joined on purpose. After being banished, they begin a journey to find people to join their new tribe. The meet some famous Biblical characters like Cain (David Cross) and Abel (Paul Rudd), Abraham (Hank Azaria) and Adam (Harold Ramis, who also directed the movie) and Eve (Rhoda Griffis). After they spot fellow villager and love interest of Oh, Eema (Juno Temple), acting as slave to a powerful empire (I assume the Romans), they must devise a plan to rescue her.

The film also co-stars Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fogell aka McLovin from Superbad) as Isaac, Oliver Platt as the High Priest and Bill Hader as The Shaman. Year One is directed and co-written by Harold Ramis, who is famous for doing Groundhog Day and Analyze This and That. Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg share the writing credit and both have collaborated on “The Office.”

"Shouldn't I be holding some grapes for the hieroglyphic still-life?"

"Shouldn't I be holding some grapes while posing for this hieroglyphic still-life?"

Despite the semi-funny trailer, the film doesn’t look all that appealing. Yes, Jack Black can be funny, but he should not have been teamed up with Michael Cera. John Heder would have been a better choice for the part since he has more dork-like talent. I think Year One might actually do poorly considering Cera’s formula has long since dried up and Jack Black is coming off an exceptionally annoying performance in Tropic Thunder. Of course I did predict Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” wouldn’t make it past its first season and that crap is still on, so I guess the success of crappy comedies isn’t unheard of.

Year One opens June 19th.

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The Nest’s Film News Daily

Angelina Jolie’s name has been bandied about for Sin City 2 for some time now, but of course nothing has been very official at all regarding the project. Mickey Rourke seemed to dismiss it in an interview a few months back, but [Moviehole] has the scoop that Jolie is currently in “serious talks” to play a role centered around Frank Miller’s “A Dame To Kill For” story. At this point, I’m pretty happy to hear anything positive about the follow-up, as long as it isn’t fully helmed by Miller himself after the apparent atrocity that was The Spirit.

Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) is very in tune with the power of the internet and has been revealing a production photo per day from his new film, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World on his MySpace page for a few months now. Today, he brings the first video blog on the production. Head over to [Collider] to check it out.

Coming off his Oscar-nominated direction for Milk, Gus Van Sant is all set to adapt “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” a very drug-induced piece of journalism. That notion was announced a couple of months ago, but recently Jack Black and Woody Harrelson have been named as possible actors for the film. Harrelson has been linked to playing Ken Kesey, who wrote “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” [CHUD]

Finally, just in time for Easter, here are a couple of rabbit-related top 10 lists. One is from [MTV Movies Blog], the other is from [Premiere]. I vow to not create a third one.

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‘Year One’ Trailer

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Chow Down On Hathaway, Other Casting Droppings (Videos)

A couple of casting rumors, while another actor turns down a job. You’ll never guess who. Seriously. It’s bewildering.

From China.org (everybody’s favorite film news site) via FilmSchoolRejects.com lies the tidbit of Anne Hathaway possibly getting together with Jack Black, for the next Stephen Chow (CJ7) film. You might remember Chow dropping out of the director’s chair on The Green Hornet and this is presumably the reason why. He is currently the writing the script for what is apparently a special-effects-ridden, superhero, action-comedy. No other tidbits have been revealed, aside from the aforementioned Black and Hathaway as possible stars, along with Chow himself.

The same person?

The last action-comedy Hathaway was involved in was last summer’s Get Smart. It was mostly unfunny and very forgettable. It did, however, wake me up to Hathaway’s beauty, and that’s certainly commendable. I wouldn’t put the onus on her for the film’s failings. I assume Chow saw something in her that made him think she’d work here. I’m definitely curious to see how this shapes up. Here’s the trailer for Get Smart in order to relive some past glory:

Courtesy of The Telegraph is the news Cate Blanchett has been mentioned as possibly filling the shoes left by Sienna Miller as Maid Marion for Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood film, Nottingham. Russell Crowe is set to play the dual role of Robin Hood/Sheriff Nottingham in the film. Actor, Mark Strong (studly in RockNrolla), playing Guy of Gisbourne, talked about the chances:

“I think Cate Blanchett is set to take the Maid Marian part. She is a wonderful actress and it would make it a much classier film if she was in it.”

That assessment is probably correct. Certainly classier than Sienna Miller, but I guess you’d have to combat the antics of Russell Crowe, too. Although I haven’t seen Scott’s past two teamings with Crowe (Body of Lies and A Good Year), I’m somewhat down with this movie. I haven’t been Blanchett’s greatest fan due to the costume dramas, but I don’t diss her either. I’m still on board with this.

To this day, this is what I think about with I hear the name Robin Hood:

Lastly, from TotalFilm comes an excerpt from an interview with Jean-Claude Van Damme about why he turned down a role in Sylvester Stallone’s old-school action-star throwback project, The Expendables.

“Stallone gave me a part in his next movie,” he told us. “But I ask him about the subject, about the story.”

“He said, ‘You’re gonna make lots of money.’ I don’t want to hear that, I want to hear what was my character.  He was unable to tell what it’s going to be.”

“[Stallone said:] ‘You know, uh, well, the fighting will be good.’ [So I said:] ‘Sly, what is my character?’ So I didn’t do the movie.”

So, he’s a serious actor now? Perhaps all the positive buzz from JCVD has gone to his head. I do like Stallone’s idea of this reunion of all these 80′s action stars for one last go-round, combining them with the stars of today, kind of passing the proverbial torch to them. It’s far better than the incessant remaking of the entire 80′s film catalogue.

As of now the action cast stands at: Stallone, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li and Jason Statham. Steven Seagal and Arnold Schwarzenegger somehow need to free themselves up for this.

Although most others would probably prefer Bloodsport, the combination of hockey and action film was my Van Damme haven. Gotta love it when he skates out and tends goal! Here’s a clip from Sudden Death:

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Super Bowl Spot Superlist (Videos)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Star Trek, Up, Land of the Lost, The Year One, Fast & Furious, G.I. Joe, Race to Witch Mountain, Angels & Demons, Monsters vs Aliens. All of their Super Bowl TV spots are here in this megalist. We’ve combined all the individual Super Bowl spot posts into this one, with full text included.


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

There’s been a lot of hype about the Transformers sequel over the past few weeks. We were given the teaser poster, we put the movie up as one of our Top 20 Anticipated of the year, we’ve learned there wouldn’t be any Dinobots and now we have the first official footage from the film. Below is the Super Bowl spot for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It’s short. Only 30 seconds, but for anybody planning to check out the re-boot of Friday the 13th in a couple of weeks, you can expect to see a longer teaser attached to that. Behold the TV spot:

I LOVE that huge robot bursting through the freeway and emerging right at the end. That’s just beautiful. I’m also very happy to see a quick glimpse of a robot transforming into a car. It’s a magnificent sight.

You can indulge your nostalgia for the first film here and go back even further and pick up the 1986 animated film. All will help bide time until June 26th.


Star Trek

I’ve never seen an episode of “Star Trek” in my life. I’ve actually worked hard to avoid it. It’s always been around me in its several incarnations on TV, but I’ve managed to make myself sparse during those times. It’s the Klingons that I can’t look at. Like Worf. I could hardly stand to look at that guy through a commercial. Look at that thing. The stuff nightmares are made of. For the same reason, I’ve never seen any Planet of the Apes films. The faces are too difficult to look at for me.

There aren’t any Worf-like creatures in any of the Star Trek spots so far and I’m thankful for it. Here’s your chance to check out the Star Trek Super Bowl spot, below:

Is anybody excited for this who’s NOT a “Star Trek” fan already? I can kind of see the appeal. I think the involvement of J.J. Abrams was a good decision. It might help crossover into non-”Star Trek” fandom. What did you think of the TV spot? Did it really entice? Are you more into it, less into it or just the same?


Up

Certainly one of my most anticipated movies of the year, Pixar’s Up, has its Super Bowl TV spot online. It’s very similar to the teaser trailer that’s already out. There’s a short tag joke at the end, which is knew. A whetting of the appetite for sure. Of course not much needs to be revealed to get people on board for a Pixar film. They just need to know it exists. Check out the spot, below.

We’ve already previewed the film here. And as the TV spot suggest, you can see an exclusive clip from ‘Up’ at Disney.com. Unfortunately I can’t embed it for you, so here’s a direct link to that clip. I won’t spoil anything about it for you.

Meanwhile, I’ve been catching up on my “Empire” magazine reading lately and there’s a couple new pics from Up I hadn’t seen before. Here they are for you:

What did you think of the TV spot? Did you check out the clip? I look forward to any comment from a devout Pixar fan, like myself.


Land of the Lost

Here we are with another Super Bowl spot before the game has been played. This one is for the filmic adaptation of the TV series “Land of the Lost.” Land of the Lost stars Will Ferrell and Danny McBride (second billing!) and they go back in time and face dinosaurs, amongst other creatures. I guess after not having Dinobots in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, we’ll still be able to get our dino fix this summer.

I don’t know. Never seeing the show, I don’t have any connection to the material. It could be good. I think this spot will do well in terms of selling the movie to viewers tomorrow, and that’s its main goal. I’m happy Will Ferrell isn’t in some crazy sports comedy and it looks pretty epic. Brad Silberling directs his first big movie since the unfortunate Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. That one is obviously off the “franchise” train.

What do you think of this spot? Do you want to see the movie?


The Year One

This one is more of a scene from the film than just a TV spot. Kind of hard to believe you’ll see this one in it’s entirely during tomorrow’s game. That’d be $12 million! Whatever gets people excited about the film and makes them buy tickets, I guess.

The Year One is directed by Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day) from a script he wrote with “The Office” scribes, Gene Stupnitsky & Less Eisenberg. Michael Cera and Jack Black star as Oh and Zed, respectively, two caveman trying to survive before civilization. In the clip/TV spot below, you’ll also meet Kane and Abel, played by Paul Rudd and David Cross.

It looks pretty decent to me. I’d love it to be good and funny. I recall the buzz being not particularly strong from some test screening reviews I’ve read. I wish I was able to tell you myself if it was worthy or not.

UPDATE: It turns out that was just a clip. Here’s the actual Super Bowl spot.

This scene reminded me of a clip from the 1981 film, Caveman, starring Ringo Starr, that I’ve seen numerous types playing “Scene It” on the 360. Sadly, I couldn’t find the exact one. Here’s a clip of music being invented.


Fast & Furious

I wonder if the Super Bowl will be holding any more surprises tomorrow. We now bring you the Super Bowl spot for the third sequel (that’s number four) to The Fast and the Furious, the creatively titled Fast & Furious! This is the first Super Bowl spot we’ve posted for a film that’s already had a trailer released, so only slightly new footage. Of course, this is going out to the few people that watch the Super Bowl, too. Behold!

Vin Diesel used to be my boy when he was coming up. For those that know his first major film role was Saving Private Ryan, an even more in-depth education will lead you to knowing Spielberg had that role written into the film specifically for Diesel after seeing Vinny’s short film Multi-Facial, at Sundance. I bought the DVD and have always enjoyed the 20-minute short. It definitely displays Diesel’s acting chops and saddens me to know he’s been pigeon-holed into this crappy action stuff. Hopefully one day, he’ll break out like I know he’s capable of.

The complete short is below, but if you find it in your heart to buy the DVD, check it out here: Short 5 – Diversity.


G.I. Joe

I was never allowed to play with G.I. Joe’s as a kid, so I never got into them. I have no idea what any character’s name is. I know “Cobra” has something to do with that universe. So, my excitement for this film is less than zero. It wasn’t really increased by this TV spot. If you want to see what G.I. Joe has in store for you tomorrow during the Super Bowl, just check it out below.

Did you like it? Are you excited for this?

I don’t hold director, Stephen Sommers, in high regard. Remember Van Helsing? It is nice that it’s trying to find a spot in August though, which over the past 10 years or so (ever since The Sixth Sense) has extended the blockbuster season. I’m all for better movies spread around. I hope this is good for anybody that has an interest. Be sure to let me know.

About a year ago, a friend and I were recalling this old G.I. Joe commercial. For the heck of it, here it is below.

I hate nose bleeds.

Thanks to Superhero Hype for the heads-up.


Race to Witch Mountain

The first film-related TV spot set to air during the Super Bowl was made available today via MTV Movies Blog. The spot is for the Dwayne Johnson-starring Disney film, The Race to Witch Mountain.

The film is a remake of the 1975 film, Escape to Witch Mountain. Johnson plays, Jack Bruno, a modern-day Travis Bickle (only in that he drives a taxi), who is sought by a paranormal expert, Dr. Alex Friendman (Carla Gugino), to help protect two extraterrestrials from a dastardly organization who only want to use them for evil. Sounds dastardly.

With 30-seconds of airtime costing $3 million this year, this ad is costing Disney $6 million. Do you think it’s worth it? We’ll find out March 13th, I guess.

For comparison’s sake, here’s the first trailer.

As promised earlier here, we’ll bring you all the movie-related Super Bowl ads as they’re released on the net. There could be more coming before the game itself, and we’ll keep you updated.


Angels & Demons

As mentioned in my preview of the film, I’m actually looking forward to Angels & Demons, even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Da Vinci Code film. I just have some wishful thinking, hoping Ron Howard and Co. will have learned from their mistakes. I did think the book was pretty cool and would like it to be done justice on the big screen. Tom Hanks is my boy.

The following clip doesn’t really show off a hell of a lot. It’s 30 seconds long and essentially just shows a few flashes. We’ll apparently have to wait for the theatrical trailer to even get a remote sense of what to expect. I would imagine we’ll get that pretty soon, as the film’s slated for release May 15th.

What did you guys think of this spot? Was they’re really much of anything to help you get hyped? Are you looking forward to this at all?


Monsters vs. Aliens

I certainly never bothered to make my way to a Sobe booth to pick up 3-D glasses, so I can’t tell you about the dazzling things I witnessed in the additional dimension. For those of you that saw the ad, here’s your chance to relive it, and for those that missed it, here’s you chance to see it.

I think this has a chance to be good, actually. I’m not much for any other studios computer animated films, but Pixar’s, and this certainly has a vague resemblance to Monsters, Inc. (as these studios are apt to do), but I do like the eye/tongue/elbow/butt scanner joke.

For those that saw the TV spot in 3-D did it really enhance your enjoyment at all? For anybody not as ready and willing to outright reject the animated product of non-Pixar, what’s your level of interest in the movie?

For some extreme trivia, former “The Simpsons” writer and longtime friend of Wes Anderson (he played the wrestling ref in Rushmore), Wally Wolodarsky had a hand in writing the script.

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Kung Fu Panda Trailer

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