hakka narejo (hakkanarejo)
hakka's Recent Reviews
New chracter's b"Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer" reminds you that there's always room in the middle of the road. Fox presents the blue suited Marvel comics superhero team straight up and like something groomed to be cancelled after six episodes on Friday night TV. There's no edgy this or dark that, just an expensive and loud couple of hours of costumed heroes out and about on a big screen.
The studio attempts to help settle their stomachs about the film production costs, by lining the frames with greedy corporate advertising. At one point Johnny Storm plays into the corporate sellout possibilities by wearing a logo laden version of the Fantastic Four costume. This seems like cheeky fun until the Fantasticar turns out to be a dodge, with a Hemi no less as Reed Richards confirms. Of course it is.
To its credit, the Fantastic Four sequel succeeds where it was successful before. Michael Chiklis continues to be the perfect person to play the Thing, Jessica Alba still makes for a hot Invisible Woman, and Julian McMahon presents Dr Doom as creepy as he needs to be. With the origin story out of the way, FF2 lets the characters develop and we see the team interact on the level that readers have been following since they were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1961.
The introduction of the Silver Surfer is handled reasonably well, despite there being barely a glimpse of the shadow of Galactus. And remarkably, Fox has managed to even make the tragic story of Norrin Radd more tragic by forever linking the Silver Surfer with a widespread federal crime committed as part of a recent publicity stunt for the movie.
Earlier this year, Fox partnered with the Franklin Mint and took forty thousand quarters and emblazoned an image of the silver surfer on them and then set them loose into circulation around the country over the Memorial Day weekend. And even though "the Fantastic Four" movies remind us that we live in a world where corporate advertising has infested every surface of our day to day lives, the US government hasn't sold out the space on our money yet. And when that happens we'll need a different kind of superhero team than the Fantastic Four to help us.
The primary focus will be on the ordeal of Dwight McCarthy (a duel role played by Josh Brolin and Clive Owen.) An aspiring photographer, Dwight is forced to take jobs as hired muscle for a rotund sleaze merchant moonlighting as a P.I. While he is no stranger to beating down the scummiest elements the city has to offer, nothing would prepare him for the malicious machinations that would await him.
Dwight's old flame, Ava Lord (yet to be cast) has intruded her way back into his life after breaking his heart years earlier. Now desperately asking for his help, she claims to be stuck in a horrific and abusive marriage to a rich and powerful mogul named Damien Lord (casting yet to be revealed). Initially reluctant to help, Dwight finds himself seduced by the voluptuous victim and in the process of "helping," ends up a pushover patsy, ensnared into her web of sex and murder. He'll need the help of his part-time lover, Gail (Rosario Dawson) and the dangerous Girls of Old Town (aka, the back-alley hooker army) to take control of the situation and gain revenge.
Shifting focus to another story of the film, a chapter entitled "The Long Bad Night" focuses on an original story of a character named Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a cocky gambler who utilizes his skills with chance to hoodwink the biggest villain in all of Sin City. Presumably, this is the mysterious Mob Boss, Wallenquist, whose criminal tentacles are firmly-affixed in all the various chapters of the Sin City mythos. For Johnny, however, it seems that his overconfidence was rooted either in delusion or ignorance, as he dares to beat this monolithic mastermind at his own rigged game. In doing so, extremely bad things are in the works for him.
2013 Movie Preview: Sin City: A Dame To Kill ForAnother original story will once again feature Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) and her childhood protector, Detective John Hartigan (Bruce Willis, who has been confirmed to return). Details of this story are still under wraps, but it is believed to be something that will properly tie into the events of the first film's "That Yellow Bastard" storyline. In fact, rumors point to it taking place after the events of the first film, which culminated in Hartigan's ultimate sacrifice to protect Nancy.
The film will also see Mickey Rourke return as the thick-chinned, lovestruck tough guy, "Marv" for some violent involvement in Dwight's story. He'll also get a chapter of his own in another tale (obviously) set well before his fateful date with an electric chair in the first film. It will also feature the return of Jamie King as Marv's amorous muses in twins, "Goldie" and "Wendy."
8 years removed from the release of the first film, casting substitutions had to be made. Dennis Haysbert steps in as a pre-occular-injury version of enforcer, "Manute" to replace the late Michael Clarke Duncan. Also, Jamie Chung will play the sword-swinging soiled dove, "Miho," replacing Devon Aoki, who left acting behind for motherhood. However, the role of "Shellie," played by the late Brittany Murphy still needs to be filled.
While the film's visual style may not experience too many creative deviations, it is interesting to note that this follow-up is being shot in full 3D with the latest post-Avatar era technology. Such a thing might complement the film's unique black and white styling in which the crimson color of blood is the only chromatic deviation. With an inevitable hard-R rating set for the film, expect to see streams of blood splattering at your face.
At this point, there are several confirmed cast members, but identifying exactly who some of them will be playing remains a mystery. This, however, may be by design, since Robert Rodriguez has implied in interviews that we will be surprised over the coming months about the revelation of exactly which cast members play what roles. As for now, the most notable vacancy is for the role of Ava, the titillating, titular "dame" who, after gratuitous sessions of skinny-dipping, reveals herself as the cruel villainess of the film.
hakka's Favorite Movies
Starring: Eva Green, Orlando Bloom, David Thewlis, Jeremy Irons Director: Ridley Scott Genres: Epic, Historical Film Ridley Scott directed this epic-scale historical drama inspired by the events of the Crusades of the 12th century. In the late 12th Century, during the Crusades of the Holy Land, a young French blacksmith mourns the suicide of his wife after the death of their young son. On hearing this news, Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson), a highly regarded baron to the King of Jerusalem who is deeply committed to keeping peace in the Holy Land, seeks out the grieving Balian, his illegitimate son. Balian of Ibelin (Orlando Bloom) will rise to become a knight, a brilliant military tactician, a romantic lover and peacemaker, driven by the possibility that Muslims, Jews and Christians can co-exist in the same land. Kingdom of Heaven certainly looks impressive (as you would expect from Ridley Scott movie) thanks to production designer Arthur Max, who also worked on Scott's Gladiator (2000) and Black Hawk Down (2002). Here he has memorably replicated 12th century Jerusalem, with its magnificent churches, minarets, temples, and palaces. Computerised graphics compliment the whole effect, as does the clever insertion of buildings from Morocco and Spain. The story oscillates between representing the good Christians such as the handsome Balian (Orlando Bloom) and the stereotypical screen bad guys, represented by the ugly, aggressive Templars, who simply want to crush the Muslim world using the excuse that it is God's wish. They are led by Guy De Lusignan (Marton Csokas) who is married to the beautiful Sibylla (Eva Green), and is therefore the brother-in-law of King Baldwin (Edward Norton), the peaceful Christian King of Jerusalem. Edward Norton shines in his cameo role playing an historical figure that is rather under-represented. Because of the advanced stage of leprosy which is killing him, Norton's King wears a delicately etched silver mask over his face and speaks with a suitably sepulchral tone. Norton certainly has the aura and presence for the role, and the short screen time in which he appears leaves us wanting more. Kingdom of Heaven sets out its stall as the Hollywood blockbuster epic we would expect, but its initial promise never quite comes to fruition. Aside from Edward Norton, only Ghassan Massoud as Saladin (in what appears to be his first film role) portrays a fully rounded character. As the film depicts the oppression of Muslims, he represents the anger towards the invading crusaders which parallels Muslim opposition in the current world climate, particularly regarding President Bush's own Middle East crusades. The climax of the film is the spectacular attack on Jerusalem, complete with siege engines and catapults hurling flaming balls through the night sky, not only justifying the director's budget but also Scott's research into medieval machinery. The casting in this film pushes the bigger established names like Liam Neeson and Jeremy Irons into the background, and gives plenty of screen time to Orlando Bloom. Although it is arguably his most mature role to date, he again fails to measure up, and, as with the other main actors, you don't really feel anything for him. His lines are meant to be historically poignant and memorable but come across at times as someone merely acknowledging the script. When Balian says, 'Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Safeguard the helpless, even if it leads to your death; that is your oath. Rise a knight... rise a knight!' we should feel an emotional surge, but somehow don't feel any self-belief in his statement. This is also true of Eva Green's character of Sibylla. In her short career she has already given two good performances for foreign directors - seek out her roles in Bertolucci's The Dreamers (2003) and the Arsène Lupin (2005) by French director Jean-Paul Salomé. Here she seems miscast and far less comfortable in an almost whimsical performance and her appropriately exotic costumes. Hopefully she won't follow the same arthouse to commercial cinema route chosen to detrimental effect by other beautiful and talented actors like Juliette Binoche. Watching Kingdom of Heaven is a similar experience to watching The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), not because of Orlando Bloom, but because it comes across as a long introduction to a story that will be continued. Indeed, the greater part of the crusades will be Richard the Lionheart's journey into the Holy Land that takes place immediately after this film ends. Perhaps Iain Glen going head to head with Massoud's Saladin would have been more compelling, and a more befitting event in history for an epic Hollywood blockbuster.
Cast: Al Pacino Marlon Brando James Caan Mario Puzo Directors: Francis Ford Coppola Screenwriters: Mario Puzo Francis Ford Coppola Running Time: 175 minutes Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of Mario Puzo's The Godfather is regarded as such an important cinematic classic that it's easy to forget what a bold undertaking it was and how unconventional Coppola decided to make it. Here is adramatic and violent story, epic in scope, that begins with a thirty minute wedding celebration that has very little plot advancement, no action, and introduces about twenty key characters. The payoff comes later when we feel like we know these people like our own family. I'm interested to know what it was like to see it in 1972. What did people think as Vito, Sonny, Michael, Kay, Fredo, Tessio, Clemenza, and all the others are presented, sometimes for fleeting moments in those opening moments? The plot is only set up in a cursory way as the Corleone patriarch Vito takes meetings in his darkened study, plotting sinister deeds behind closed doors while hundreds of guests celebrate his daughter Connie's (Talia Shire) wedding in the bright sunshine outside. So much information is thrown at the audience during the opening that I can't imagine anyone retaining it all the first time. At this point the movie is so ingrained in me that I don't even think of the actors when I'm watching the movie. When I see Marlon Brando on the screen, I'm thinking about Vito Corleone. I don't see James Caan. I see Sonny. The Godfather is pure cinematic brilliance at every possible level. From the marvelous acting in every role right on down to the costume design that helps set Michael and Kay apart as outsiders in the opening wedding. Can we now imagine anyone else in the lead roles? Could anyone but James Caan have captured the explosiveness and exuberance that is Sonny Corleone? It's as if Marlon Brando was born to play Vito. Who but John Cazale could have made so much of Fredo's limited role in the first film? He is a natural sad-sack, impotent in the face of assassins after his father and completely lacking in imagination while working under Moe Green in Las Vegas. Robert Duvall is Tom Hagen through and through. And Al Pacino was the great revelation as Michael, the youngest son who was never supposed to get involved in the family business and then dives in head first. The studio famously wanted a known star like Jack Nicholson, Ryan O'Neal, or Robert Redford for Michael - all of whom would have been profoundly wrong. The plot, as it is finally set in motion about 25 minutes in, is mostly about a mafia crime family whose boss wants to hold fast to a proud tradition and refuses to offer protection and investment cash to the other families who are interested in expanding their spheres of influence from gambling and prostitution to include narcotics. Although Vito knows it stands to be a lucrative business venture, he also recognizes the inherent dangers involved and the almost certain possibility that the politicians and police he has in his pocket will distance themselves from him as a result. It is a man named Solozzo who propositions him. Solozzo (Al Lettieri) works for the Tattaglia family and in order for them to continue in their business, Vito has to be removed. And in a famous sequence, Corleone is gunned down on the streets of Little Italy. The turning point of the film, however, comes later when Michael visits his father in the hospital and discovers that the body guards have been called off. In a first hint of the smarts that will put Michael in power later, he immediately senses something is wrong and he makes all the right decisions to protect Vito. This precisely edited scene in the hospital is both beautiful and sad as Michael tells his father, "I'm with you now." Are Vito's tears from joy or sadness? The story moves in a different direction shortly after this as Michael orchestrates the assassination of Solozzo and a police captain and is forced to flee into hiding in Sicily, leaving behind Kay (Diane Keaton), the woman he loves. The narrative spends a great deal of time in the gorgeous landscapes of the Mediterranean island, with Gordon Willis's cinematography demonstrating that he can do expansive landscapes as pristinely as he does dimly lit interiors. The screenplay by Coppola and Puzo distills the sprawling novel to the essential drama that takes place over a roughly five year period beginning in August 1945. Puzo's novel encompasses Vito's rise to power in the 1920s, but they wisely left the back story out of the first film. It tightens the focus and allows us to sympathize a great deal with Vito without having to see that he, too, murdered and stole to achieve greatness. Together, they crafted a story that was little more than a lurid pulp novel into a story of great, almost Shakespearean heft with notes of Greek tragedy. Ultimately The Godfather is a story of a family. More precisely than that, it's about Vito and Michael. The title readily refers to both men. As a young director, Coppola still had the courage to take the time out to show familial relationships and build characters. One of the family's caporegimes (a kind of lieutenant), Peter Clemenza played by the great Richard Castellano, takes the time to demonstrate for Michael how to make a proper tomato sauce. In the closing moments, as someone close to the Corleone family is revealed to have betrayed them, Coppola makes the right decision in keeping his murder off screen. We are supposed to feel melancholy at the choices these men make. When you've seen the second film (or read the book) and understand the full extent of that man's history with the Corleone's, his betrayal is even more profound. The whole movie is crammed with great scenes. The great director Howard Hawks famously remarked that what constitutes a great movie is three great scenes and no bad ones. By that standard, The Godfather should be held aloft in the stratosphere. There's not a single bad scene to be spoken of and I could easily rattle off half a dozen great ones: the opening scene with Bonasera asking a favor; the horse head scene; Vito gunned down; Michael saves his father; Michael's makes his bones; the montage that wraps up the action and the plot intercut with the baptism of a child. It was reportedly Pacino's performance in the scene where he kills Solozzo that saved him from being cut from the film. All the tension and emotion in that entire scene is written on Pacino's face - in his expressive eyes, his tightened jaw, his stiff upper body. What continues to resonate so deeply for me every time I see the film is the power of Nino Rota's haunting and beautiful score, in particular the main theme. I nearly always have to choke back a lump in my throat when I hear it, especially in the closing moments of the film as Kay looks on as Michael becomes the new Godfather and the door shuts her out. It makes me think of the sadness I feel when, after delivering the story of Luca Brasi holding a gun to a man's head at Vito's behest, Michael says to Kay, "That's my family. It's not me." We know what he will become when we hear him say that. We also know that to some extent he falls into power after doing what any son would do to protect his father. After all, Michael is a Corleone. He's unable to deny that. After all, it's all in the family.