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 would not call myself Seth Macfarlane's biggest fan.
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.
As giant monster movies go, "Wrath of the Titans" is definitely one of them.
I have written about both version of "Clash Of The Titans," both the original Harryhausen film and the recent remake. And now, Jonathan Liebesman has directed the sequel, which sort of veers off and does its own thing. In that way, it falls right in line with the tradition of the Harryhausen sequel. The Sinbad movies are all sort of generally connected and share a vague sense of continuity and reality, and when I think of the movies he worked on, not all of which were written and directed by the same people, I think of the monster fights. The creatures. The beasties. The fabulous, fabulous beasties.
And about ten minutes into "Wrath of the Titans," a fabulous beastie shows up and goes on a rampage, and Sam Worthington fights it, and he sort of gets his ass handed to him. Reeeeeeeeeal hard. And I kind of loved it.
It's July 7th, 2011, and I'm standing on a traffic island on a busy street in San Francisco, watching Jason Segel serve food from a catering truck to Da'Vone McDonald while his dad, David Paymer, looks on with approval. It's surprisingly cold outside, and this is just the start of what promises to be a very long day on-set.
There aren't many filmmakers who I can say I've visited on the set of every single one of their feature films, but "The Five-Year Engagement" is the third feature that Nicholas Stoller has directed, and it's the third time I've joined him on-set to watch him work and see what he's up to.
Like "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," this film is a close collaboration between Stoller and Jason Segel, who co-wrote the film with him. And, of course, Rodney Rothman is right there with Stoller again, producing and serving as a sort of comic sounding board for Stoller on the set. Watching these three guys work together, you get a sense that these are people who are incredibly comfortable as a team, and who have developed a shorthand that serves them well at this point.
JAMES BOND 007 DECLASSIFIED
File #3: "Goldfinger"
This series will trace the cinema history of James Bond, while also examining Ian Fleming's original novels as source material and examining how faithful (or not) the films have been to his work.
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Screenplay by Richard Maibaum & Paul Dehn
Produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman
CHARACTERS / CAST
James Bond / Sean Connery
Pussy Galore / Honor Blackman
Auric Goldfinger / Gert Frobe
Jill Masterson / Shirley Eaton
Tilly Masterson / Tania Mallet
Oddjob / Harold Sakata
M / Bernard Lee
Solo / Martin Benson
Felix Leiter / Cec Linder
Simmons / Austin Willis
Miss Moneypenny / Lois Maxwell
Dink / Margaret Nolan
After the gun-barrel image of Bond firing at the audience, we see Bond emerging from the water somewhere, a fake seagull on his head, and he immediately starts working to infiltrate wherever he is. This involves knocking out guards, firing grappling hooks, and planting plastic explosives all over a bunch of nitroglycerin tanks.