Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

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The Red Damn Baron

October 16, 2007

You know me. Any one biplane is usually enough to get me in front of a movie. With Lena Headey and a hundred biplanes (plus triplanes, plus zeppelins), the forthcoming German film, The Red Baron, is now engaged to be married to my money. (It’d have to be pretty bad to keep me from buying the DVD. I own Flyboys.)

Oh, and that logo? Indecipherable, perhaps — my wife thought it said “The Hed Barm” — but I love it anyway. If you’re still on the fence (traitor), look at this glorious effects reel from the film and listen to yourself say “wow.”

Music: Clem Snide, “Evil Vs. Good”

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Two Pretty Movie Things

August 24, 2007

Two especially well designed things have come out of Hollywood and lodged behind my eyes like little glass splinters this week. The first is the trailer for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The film looks absolutely gorgeous, from compositions to colors to textures. And I expect that I will not like the title of any other film this year as much as I like this one.

The second is the poster for the new film by Tony Gilroy (who wrote those Bourne movies I like so much). Like we did on the poster for Syriana, we see that the star power of George Clooney is so great, and his ego so easy-going, that you can blur and obscure his face and still be affected by him. If this were a book called The Truth Can Be Adjusted, I’d buy it:

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The Bourne Ultimatum Review You Knew Was Coming

August 6, 2007

The script is fucking brilliant, transforming material from the previous films into new motifs and moments of foreshadowing. Rather than cheeky callbacks, we get a film that rhymes with the first two. Classy and brutal, aggressive and intelligent.

The only thing stopping me from calling this a flawless sequel is my intense desire to see it again. Just to be sure.

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Again With the Bourne Ultimatum

July 26, 2007

My excitement for The Bourne Ultimatum continues to grow. I’m looking forward not just to the movie — which is almost here — but for composer John Powell‘s score for the film. (You can hear some of it at Amazon.) Both of the previous Bourne soundtracks are staples in my “Get Work Done” playlist, and are great background noise for writing and editing.

The updated Bourne Ultimatum website is excellent — this is what movie websites should be like. Instead of cluttered, jerky MySpace pages (gross), they should offer this kind of enticing setup and additional footage. Go there, enter the site, and you’ll get a nice long stretch of footage introducing you to key characters and context for the story. It’s like an extended remix of a trailer, with little tags showing you what’s what. If you want, you can get all the production notes and cast bios and all that usual stuff, too, but this is kind of footage is what you really want. Simple. Good.

Plus, we get another clever little tie in to the end of a previous Bourne movie — this time the first one. At the end of The Bourne Identity, after Abbot (Brian Cox) has had Conklin (Chris Cooper) killed and shut down Treadstone, he lies to a Congressional committee about the nature of Treadstone, and reports its closure so he can get out from any unwanted scrutiny that could lead to him getting pinched. That done, he moves on to another project, which just gets brought up to show how casually Treadstone gets shut down at the political level, and to provide us some dialogue to go over the visual transition to the Greek coast, where the movie ends.

In this dialogue, Abbot mentions a project called Blackbriar. I remember thinking, “Blackbriar’s a terrific name. Better than Treadstone.” Now we see that Blackbriar is a big part of the new movie. It’s, apparently, a “Treadstone upgrade.”

I’m sure that wasn’t an idea built into the Blackbriar reference in the first movie — deleted scenes from the first movie make it pretty clear that Doug Liman had other ideas in mind for Brian Cox’s character — but Tony Gilroy (and Co.) continue to make great use of little details in the previous movies to create a sense of tight continuity out of what was, before, just the illusion of depth. I love Tony Gilroy’s work on these films.

Next week, I’m going to see the hell out of this movie.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

July 23, 2007

I don’t read the Harry Potter books, but I’ve enjoyed the past few movies quite a bit. That Prisoner of Azkaban movie is terrific. Out of the three good Harry Potter movies, though, Order of the Phoenix is the weakest. It’s still pretty, to be sure, but it’s oddly paced from scene to scene (some scenes are redundant, others jarringly clipped short) and, simply, not a whole hell of a lot actually happens in this movie. In general, I like it when things happen.

The wizard’s duel at the end is pretty fucking rad, what with all of its little details and all. Just letting some of Britain’s finest actors pantomime for the SFX artists turns out a pretty handsome bit of action. Sirius Black’s exit couldn’t be much more vague, though, and sure doesn’t have any of the impact that the scenes after it seem to think it had. And how, on earth, you can waste David Thewliss like that, I don’t know. Here’s hoping we see more of Lupin in the next movie or two. But the Death-Eaters look great, the wand battles look great, and while I was let down here, I am still looking forward to Steve Kloves’ return (as screenwriter) in the next one, Harry Potter and a Whole Damn Lot of Alan Rickman, From What I Hear.

Next, I’ll tell you why it’s clear that the Weasleys (or at least the Weasley dad, Arthur) are working for Voldemort, as written by somebody who hasn’t read the books and has no idea what Harry Potter and the Ghastly Title (The Deathly Hallows, is it?) has in store. If you read the books, you can judge the theory and let me know if I’m crazy. In the meantime, let me be crazy.

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The Bourne Speculation

July 10, 2007

Update: Turns out I’m right. According to Devin Faraci over at CHUD.com, this last Bourne movie takes place largely when I speculated. If this wasn’t such an act of geeky obsession and pedantry, I could be proud.

Those Bourne movies are terrific. I love those things. While cleaning house a few weekends back, I put on The Bourne Supremacy for background noise. That, of course, drove me to dig up the trailer for the third and final film in the set, The Bourne Ultimatum, which is the summer sequel I’m really excited about.

Anyway, I’m watching the second movie and I’m reading the (handsome, but really pretty bare) website for the third one, and see that in the third movie, he “must travel from Moscow, Paris, Madrid and London to Tangiers and New York City…” Then, on the screen where I’ve got the DVD playing, that last scene in The Bourne Supremacy comes on, after the car chase and the, uh, climactic apology in Moscow: Jason calls Pamela Landy on the phone (and recalls a scene earlier in the movie) while he’s watching her from some high-rise window. They’re in New York. “David Webb,” she says. “That’s your real name.” And that’s the end of the second movie.

So what are we doing back in Moscow in The Bourne Ultimatum? Why does he have to go all over the world to dig up his forgotten past if he knows his real name now? He has a place to start right here in the States doesn’t he?

Any number of things could take Jason Bourne back across the globe in his search for the truth(TM), but I have a theory, and I’ll share it with you so we can see, come August, if I’m right or not. I think screenwriter Tony Gilroy’s work on the previous Bourne movies has been very clever, and the second one shows that he’s not afraid to pull punches.

I propose that last scene in the second movie happens part way through the third movie. Yes, it’s possible that Landy just goes down the hall to the operations center they’ve had set up and waiting for Bourne, and so the movie opens where the last one left off, and that’s when we see all this “within 1,000 yards of this building” stuff that we get in the trailers, but I don’t think so. (For one thing, Landy’s not wearing the same clothes.) More to the point, it’s anticlimactic. I think this third movie takes us from Bourne’s acceptance of his own actions, and his apology1, across the globe and back to the States where, later on in the movie, he calls Pam on the phone in the scene we see at the end of The Bourne Supremacy.

In fact, that shot that ends the trailer, with a backlit Bourne walking through what appears to be an empty office building is a strangely un-dramatic way to end a trailer. I’ll bet that’s a shot of him walking to or from the call to Pamela Landy. And I’ll bet that last Supremacy scene has a lot more going on in it than just a simple callback and whiff of closure, once we’ve seen this last movie in the series. We’ll see if I’m right.

1. Brian Cox’s character’s last words in The Bourne Supremacy are, “I’m not sorry.” The climactic Moscow car chase occurs almost solely so Jason Bourne can find a young woman and apologize to her. I dig these movies.

Music: Jesper Kyd, “Hitman Title (Extended Version)”

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Still Brilliant

June 4, 2007

Just so we’re clear: Children of Men is fucking brilliant.