I don't think I ever wrote a review of "Titanic."
I'm not sure, though. I know I was already contributing reviews to Ain't It Cool in 1997. I'm pretty sure I sent material to Ain't It Cool as early as 1996. I know I was writing reviews for newsgroups as early as 1995. But for some reason, I don't think I ever wrote a review of James Cameron's massive cultural event, which seems strange to me now.
After all, I've been a James Cameron fan since the moment my first screening of "The Terminator" ended in 1984. And working in Los Angeles, it was impossible not to be aware of and fascinated by the stories of what was happening on the set of "Titanic". What I found most interesting was that Cameron was getting a reputation as the guy who made the most expensive film of all time every time out, and each time, those big bets seemed to be paying off. "Terminator 2." "True Lies." Giant expensive gambles that managed to shrug off the reports of trouble that plagued them during production. But at a time when $100 million was still considered a lot of money to spend on a movie, "Titanic" was at least twice that, delayed, a nightmare, the moment he was bound to fail.
I don't think I ever wrote a review of "Titanic."
I'm not 100% sure the people who released the DVD version of Donald Glover's one-hour stand-up special "Weirdo" actually watched the special. When you watch the disc, all the previews are for black-themed entertainment of the Tyler Perry school, very specifically targeted, and none of them remotely similar to the work that Glover does.
I first became aware of Donald and his work when I saw "Mystery Team" at Sundance a few years ago, and it's amazing how quickly things have blown up for him. Little wonder, though. He is a prodigiously talented guy, and in many ways, he represents the ideal for how you have to be willing to work these days, doing any number of different things. He was a staff writer for "30 Rock," he's a star on "Community," he's releasing albums as Childish Gambino, and, yes, he's got his own comedy material that he does.
One of the great traditions of Hammer Studios is that when you have a hit, you make a follow-up. As a result, I'm not shocked to hear that they announced today that Hammer is going to begin development on "The Woman In Black: Angels Of Death," the next installment in the story begun in their hit spring movie, "The Woman In Black."
Daniel Radcliffe's first major post-"Harry Potter" performance may have had something to do with the film's international success, but before there was a film, there was a book, and then there was a stage show, both of which were also very successful. There was meat on the bones to begin with, and this wasn't just some cheap cash-in horror film. Hammer's approach to film series has never been to just make the typical sequels, either, so it makes sense that they'd push the definition with this series as well.
For horror fans, the return of Hammer to the world of international production is a welcome event, and even if they did release the risible "The Resident," they also were part of the very well-made "Let Me In" and "Wake Wood," which both signaled that there were people involved in this new version of the veteran British company that were determined to try harder, who respected the legacy that their company represents.
I would not call myself Seth Macfarlane's biggest fan.
I'm not going to waste time beating up on "Family Guy," because at this point, either you like its scattershot approach to pop culture comedy, or you don't, and there's not really much of a chance someone's going to convince you to laugh or convince you not to laugh. I think the show has settled into its own weird, icky groove, and I think it's a little funnier now than it was in the early days. Part of that is that Seth Macfarlane has become more and more comfortable with the voice of the show, and at this point, it's carved out its own weird corner of the comedy world.
My favorite moment of his so far is his work in "Hellboy: The Golden Army," where I think he gives a genuinely great vocal performance. His choices there make me laugh out loud, and I think he also finds some great strange notes to play in the film that are unexpected and wonderful. That was the moment that convinced me not to underestimate Macfarlane, and over time, I think he's proven himself to be a very sharp wit when he's appearing as himself.
Also, he could buy and sell me a zillion times over. So he's got that going for him.
I am often surprised at the loyalty people display towards the 1990 "Total Recall."
It is a film with some great ideas embedded in it, many of which were either lifted from the Philip K. Dick short story, and some of which were created by Gary Goldman and Paul Verhoeven during the film's lengthy development process.
It is also a film that is bogged down by the baggage of its star, and there is no one on Earth who is ever going to convince me that Arnold Schwarzenegger was the right guy to play that part. And as much as I adore the Verhoeven of "Robocop," I sort of hate the Verhoeven of "Recall." I think it is one of the flat-out ugliest blockbusters of the '90s, fake and garish and dated the second it was released.
Looking at the trailer for the new "Total Recall," it's obvious that they started with the movie when building this remake. This is not a new adaptation of the same story, no matter what they say, because so many of the elements that we see here were created for the film. That's fine. Even the title is a nod to the fact that they are directly remaking the film.
Walt Disney is a major force in the lives of modern kids, whether you like it or not.
Their brand is so omnipresent, so in your face, that it seems like they absorb it almost by osmosis. For example, why do kids love Mickey Mouse? How often do you actually see Mickey Mouse cartoons these days? How many kids have actually seen anything with Mickey in it aside from clips? When you go to any Disney park, obviously Mickey is a huge presence, and mouse ears are probably the single highest-selling piece of merchandise at the parks, with kids thrilled to wear them. But… why?
I've noticed it in my own kids. On Allen's third birthday, we took him to Disneyland for his first trip there. The whole ride down to Anaheim, Toshi worked to get Allen hyped up, telling him how cool Mickey's house was, and by the time we hit the parking garage, Allen was basically hovering a foot above his chair, like a hummingbird, superexcited, and when he saw the posts in the garage that you use to find your car later, he pointed and started to bellow "IT'S MICKEY! I SEE MICKEY! LOOK! THERE'S MICKEY! MIIIIICKKKEEEEEEEY!"
This is a kid who's never seen a single scene that Mickey Mouse even appears in, and yet he's acting like it's Shea Stadium 1964 and the Beatles just hit the stage.
The first of this year's Snow White movies arrives in theaters this weekend, and one thing is immediately clear.
These movies are not competing with each other.
Whatever "Mirror Mirror" is, it is not looking to stake its claim as a big fantasy action epic. You look at the trailer for "Snow White and the Huntsman," and they're looking to compete with films like "Wrath of the Titans" or "Thor." That is not at all the sort of thing that "Mirror Mirror" has on its mind, and so the first thing you have to do when dealing with these two films is to remove all comparison from the way you regard them. That's probably a good thing for both films, because if they were trying to play to the same audience, then any reaction you have is just about comparing and contrasting, and that seems like a losing game on both sides.
How do you kill a 42 year old fat man who is waaaaaaay too emotionally invested in what happens with a remake of "The Thin Man"?
You hire Rob Marshall to direct it.
No matter what we hear about casting on this film, I'm going to be nervous to the point of irritated the entire time it's in production. I'll do my best to be fair, but the bitter sting of the awful "Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" is still way too fresh for me to just assume Marshall will do right by one of my favorite films of all time.
No, scratch that. The "Thin Man" series is one of my favorite anythings of all time. It's right up there with things like fire and penicillin and indoor plumbing. Nick and Nora Charles are my favorite married couple in Hollywood history, and no matter what I think of the individual films in the series, I will take any opportunity to watch William Powell as Nick and Myrna Loy as Nora.
There is something undeniable about the announcement of the new Bond girls.
And, yes, I know both Berenice Marlohe and Naomie Harris are women, not girls, and I've had many nice things to say about Harris and her work in the past. I use the term Bond girls because that's the term. Decades may have passed, Bonds have come and gone, and one thing that's never changed has been the Bond girls. As much a part of the series as the familiar orchestral sting or the gun-barrel circle that opens each picture, the announcement of the new Bond girls is always interesting if for no other reason than they are bound to be drop-dead beautiful.
Sometimes, the roles they play are ridiculous. Well, to be fair, most of the time, the roles they play are ridiculous. They are given preposterous names that no human being would ever actually have, and they are asked to just roll with it, play it as real, as the rules of the universe where a James Bond could exist. When you have a character named Dr. Holly Goodhead, it is the "Dr." that makes me laugh, not the single-entendre smutty joke. It is the straight-faced absurdity of it that I love.
A few months back, James Rocchi and I spent the afternoon at Dreamworks in Glendale, talking to William Joyce, Peter Ramsey, and Christina Steinberg about their new film, "Rise Of The Guardians."
I walked away from that event thinking there was a good chance Dreamworks had developed a real winner here, and now the first trailer is available, and it certainly is pretty.
One interesting thing to note… the main character in the film isn't actually one of the Guardians. It's Jack Frost, who wakes up a la Jason Bourne at the start of the film, imbued with the magical powers of winter but not sure who he was or where he came from. His journey is the movie. The film starts with him underneath the surface of a frozen pond, waking up, stepping out, claiming the staff that gives him his powers, and heading off in search of an identity.
It's during that journey that he encounters Nicholas St. North, aka Santa Claus (voiced by Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and the Sandman, who doesn't speak at all in the film. Jack Frost is played by Chris Pine. And yet, he's not in this trailer. There are actually shots in the trailer that have Jack Frost in them in the film, and in this trailer? They don't.