Hey, 2011, you wanna pump the brakes for me?
I can't believe we're already hearing announcements for Fantastic Fest programming. After all, FanTasia in Montreal is just kicking off today, Comic-Con is next week, and then we've got… oh, that's right, it's just over a month until we reach September, or as I like to call it, "The month I am gone at film festivals." We just finished making all of our arrangements for Toronto, and now we're starting to think about Fantastic Fest.
For me, the highlight of the festival is going to be welcoming Tim and Karrie League's new twins into the world. I still can't believe they're scheduled to deliver their kids right in the midst of all the madness they've got planned for this year's edition of my favorite film festival, but I guess that just adds to the excitement. In the meantime, we've got a chunk of titles to check out, and one of the things that surprised me is how many vintage titles are part of this wave of announcements. I like that. I'm looking forward to those as much as any of the new titles, and let's take a look at all of them so far:
Hey, 2011, you wanna pump the brakes for me?
This one's been a long time coming.
So far, timing has kept me out of the loop on all things "John Carter." I didn't visit the set. I didn't visit Pixar to see footage with Andrew Stanton. My one real afternoon around pre-production art from the film was an accident because of where Disney held a "TRON: Legacy" event. And through all of this, I've been perfectly content to wait, because this is one of those films that will arrive with a lot of history attached to it, and I'd rather wait and let them show us whatever they're happy with when they're happy with it.
I love pulp fiction of all types. The "John Carter Of Mars" books by Edgar Rice Burroughs are great, spirited, inventive adventure novels that have been picked clean by people borrowing ideas and inspiration from them over the years. One of my biggest questions about this film is how they plan to make it feel fresh when so many movies have stolen elements of the source material over the years. It would be like making a "Lensman" movie and having to deal with angry "Star Wars" fans yelling about getting ripped off. Sometimes, you wait so long to make something that there's a chance it is going to feel like the imitation even if it's not.
Now is the time on "Sprockets" when we eat some crow.
All my reservations about a new "Evil Dead" movie of any kind are on the record from yesterday. My basic feelings are the same. If your'e just dealing with the bare bones (a bunch of college kids, a cabin in the woods, a cursed book, and terrible things happening), it's not the strongest spine to hang a remake on. We're going to see Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard play with the conventions in "The Cabin In The Woods," a movie that sort of makes the tropes of "Evil Dead" obsolete by design.
In order to truly make a new "Evil Dead" work, you have to do a few things. You have to make it genuinely scary, you have to do something we haven't seen from the genre, and you need to craft characters who matter and who aren't just generic spam in a cabin.
Hiring Diablo Cody is a step in the right direction. In my opinion? A big step.
I've had several conversations over the last few years with Thomas Tull about Godzilla, both generally and specifically.
If you don't know Tull's name, he's the Big Cheese at Legendary Pictures, the company that has served as one of the primary financing partners for Warner Bros. the last few years, and he is a fascinating figure, a guy who came to Hollywood from the world of high finance but who is genuinely a giant movie nerd. Sure, he's a financial partner in the Pittsburgh Steelers, and a guy who build a giant hedge fund, but movies are one of his great passions.
And even with movies as a general passion for Tull, the character of Godzilla is a particular passion, something he loves dearly. Right now, as Legendary prepares for their first Comic-Con panel next week, I'm excited to see what sort of presentation they've put together for "Pacific Rim," which is a big giant demented monster and mecha movie that Guillermo Del Toro and Travis Beacham have cooked up. It's a wild read, and I can't even imagine what sort of outrageous energy Del Toro's eventual film will have. I know there was some confusion during development when it was reported that "Pacific Rim" would be replacing "Godzilla," but despite the presence of giant monsters in both projects, I don't think that would be as easy as previously suggested.
I'll be honest… I don't really want an "Evil Dead" sequel or a remake, and no matter what you think you want, I'm willing to bet you don't either.
Sure, I know the mere mention of more "Evil Dead" of any sort is a guaranteed draw for traffic, but at some point, fandom's going to have to start to absorb some hard lessons and really reconsider what it is they demand from studios.
I'm going to offer you two benchmarks to keep in mind as you consider the idea of a return to "Evil Dead." First, I want you to consider the remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." And then, I want you to consider "Indiana Jones and The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull."
And then I want to you admit to yourself, even if it's difficult, that the odds are strong that any return to "Evil Dead" is going to end in tears.
Sure enough, the avalanche of new marketing materials continues today with the release of the trailer for Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows." We ran a piece the other day about the two teaser posters that debuted over the weekend, and now there's a trailer to go with it, and there's a lot to digest here.
It does not appear that Ritchie's made any major shift in style here, and that's a good choice. His "Sherlock" was marked by some very big choices in terms of how it's shot and cut, and it looks like the new movie is absolutely in line with the first one. The chemistry between Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. appears to be front and center as well, which was obviously a big part of the first film's appeal.
But what this trailer's really selling is the larger scope, with what looks like pretty much non-stop action, as well as the new cast members that have been added to the mix. Noomi Rapace appears to be a fortune teller of some sort, and casting her as a gypsy is a very natural fit for Arthur Conan Doyle's version of London. Just dealing with the friction between what is real and what is hustle in a character like hers is a great nod to the concerns that plagued Doyle in his real life. How they use her is important, but as far as a type of character, she is a perfect addition to the world.
Welcome to The Travis McGee Book Club.
The first question... why?
Well, I guess I could say this is a countdown of sorts to whoever finally wrestles Travis back up onto the big screen. Someone will. It's inevitable now that there's a script and a studio's spent money and there are various producers and talent attached. Even if it doesn't happen exactly the way they're considering right now (Oliver Stone directing Leonardo Di Caprio was one recent configuration), it's going to happen. At least once.
But the truth is, I don't have the stomach to contemplate what they're doing to him to turn it into a movie. And I don't have to. The books are the thing here. John D. McDonald's voice… that's the thing.
I can honestly say there's no writer whose work gives me more reading pleasure than McDonald. And those are big words. My favorite novel of all time is John Irving's A Prayer For Owen Meany, and the writer who I'd say is the biggest influence on me because of when and how I read him is Stephen King, but in terms of sheer pleasure, a sort of meditative joy that I get lost in with each of his books, it's McDonald, pound for pound.
VANCOUVER, CANADA - It was an appropriately dreary and gray day to contemplate death in Canada. We'd arrived on the set of "Final Destination 5." in late November of last year and it was drizzling and cold. The Vancouver area is unerringly pretty and green, even in mid-winter. A combination of the forest landscape and a clutched cup of coffee for the van ride from the hotel served to only slightly ready my brain for what we were to see next.
We all know what a "Final Destination" film is. The original 1999 film begins with a poor teenaged soul foreseeing and avoiding a catastrophic accident. In the original, Devon Sawa sees his airplane blow up and himself and his friends engulfed in flames. In the second a new kid sees a massive traffic accident involving a logging truck; In the third a roller-coaster goes off the rails; the fourth, a fun day at the races turns all fiery and un-fun.
Writing about "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" is going to have to be, by design, writing about the passage of time, the accumulation of experience, and the development of an opinion about not only what JK Rowling accomplished on the page, but what the producers of the series pulled off with the films.
I looked back at my published words about the series. It's not complete, but I reviewed "Chamber Of Secrets," "Prisoner Of Azkaban," "Order Of The Phoenix," "Half-Blood Prince," and the first half of "Deathly Hallows." There's another piece I found as well that was published the week that Rowling released the final book. Quint and I had a long conversation about it on IM, and decided to just cut and paste it as an article that was, more than anything, a chance for the Talkbackers to discuss the book.
My feelings about Rowling as a writer evolved over time, as her work evolved, and my feelings about the books and my feelings about the movies were not always the same. It's strange for me to look back at my predictions about how things would wrap up and see how right I am at times and how wrong I am at others. As you move from review to review, you can sense that I am more and more impressed as they get closer and closer to pulling it off, and I think David Yates has been a key player in how this series worked. I like that he directed the last four films. That's half the series, and I think he's got a lot to be proud of.
I can't believe Comic-Con is right around the corner. This year is racing by, and July has been a preposterously busy month overall. A week from Wednesday, Team HitFix will be descending en masse on San Diego, ready to bring you coverage of every major event.
To kick things off, we'll be hosting our opening night party for the second year in a row, and if you happen to be downstairs from the place we're throwing it at the Hotel Salomar, you're going to see one seriously bitchin' muscle car parked there, occasionally belching big bursts of fire. That's Medusa, one of the stars of "Bellflower," my favorite discovery at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and the people behind the film are going to be rocking Comic-Con this year as well.
If you haven't read my review of the movie, take a look at it. Or you could check out my interviews from Sundance with the cast and the creators. I've got mad love for this twisted tale of two friends, flamethrowers, broken hearts, and the end of the world, and I am pleased that today, we're are able to bring you the new poster for the film as an exclusive debut.