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Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Mist approaches...

THE MIST... I saw the horror/sci-fi flick this weekend, and needless to say, I don’t think I’ve EVER felt so much anger or clapped this much for characters in a movie before. In fact, in the case of this film, I could type down two lists in this journal entry... The first one being for CHARACTERS WHO DESERVED TO SURVIVE (but didn’t) and the other for CHARACTERS WHO DESERVED TO DIE (and did). But first, let me point out the fact that the audience (at least the one I saw the movie with) reacted so strongly to the folks on-screen is a testimony to how well the actors and actresses portrayed them (and the script might have something to do with it too, haha). Well done. The characters you were suppose to like you did like, and the characters you were suppose to hate you REALLY hated. Now...onto the lists:

(BELOW: SPOILERS BEWARE!! Don't continue reading if you haven't seen the movie yet. And are planning to.)

Laurie Holden, Thomas Jane, Nathan Gamble, Jeffrey DeMunn and Frances Sternhagen in THE MIST.

CHARACTERS WHO DESERVED TO SURVIVE (but didn’t):
AMANDA DUMBFRIES (played by Laurie Holden)... Amanda had such a sweet personality that you wished she’d REALLY open a can of whup-ass on Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) for treating her like crap—and literally calling Amanda ‘crap’—throughout most of the film. She had to meet her fate with a bullet (won’t tell you by which character...yet).
OLLIE (played by Toby Jones)... The audience I watched the film with cheered whenever he killed a mist creature, and Mrs. Carmody (more on this one later) with his revolver. He met his fate by one of those creatures.
DAN MILLER (played by Jeffrey DeMunn)... He didn’t do anything special, but it sucks that he ate the bullet (by the same character who capped Amanda) as well.

And:

IRENE (played by Frances Sternhagen)... Irene instantly won the audience over after throwing a can of soup at Mrs. Carmody’s head to shut her up, and then using a barbecue lighter and what looked like a can of Raid as a blowtorch to incinerate a giant alien spider that was about to attack her in a drug store. Too bad her fate was the same as Amanda and Dan Miller.

Now, let’s get to the other list...

Norm (Chris Owen) is dragged out into The Mist by an unseen tentacled creature.

CHARACTERS WHO DESERVED TO DIE (and did):
NORM (Chris Owen)... The bagboy was such a douchebag that you were glad those giant tentacles that made their way into that loading dock first mauled Norm before taking him out into the mist and chewed him up. Looks like Norm should’ve stuck with being the "Shermanator". Watch the American Pie films if you don’t know what I’m talking about.
BRENT NORTON (Andre Braugher)... It’s actually ambiguous as to what happened to Norton the minute he stubbornly exited the market door...but you wished something bad happened to him after mocking David Drayton (the main character played by The Punisher’s Thomas Jane) after Drayton tried to warn the judge about the dangers that lied out in the mist. That, and failing to cut down the tree that destroyed Drayton’s boathouse during a storm at the beginning of the film. Interestingly, how funny that it was mostly the other African-American customers who followed Norton out of the market...and apparently met their fate at the hands of the alien creatures as well. The token black folks always get killed off in Hollywood movies...

And last, but DEFINITELY NOT LEAST:

Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden).  The TRUE danger in the film...

MRS. CARMODY (Marcia Gay Harden)... If ever you were looking for a movie that taught you about the dangers of cults, or how extreme religious fanaticism can get, THIS is the movie. Marcia Harden did a bang-up job playing this crazy character, and you end up hating Mrs. Carmody more and more each time you saw her on screen. In fact, I would have to go out on a limb and say that Mrs. Carmody posed a much greater threat to the other customers than the creatures did out in the mist. In fact, she did. You hate Carmody for getting that one Army soldier (Wayne Jessup, played by Sam Witwer) killed by the mob that you want HER to meet The Maker as quickly as possible. And she does...in SPECTACULAR fashion. Almost everyone in the audience (including I) clapped at the moment Carmody eats not one but two bullets by Ollie...one in the stomach and the other right in her forehead. Sorry for sounding so sadistic, but trust me... If you watch this film, you’ll be so fired up over how psychotic Carmody is that you want her to meet her fate as violently as possible. I don’t need to tell you that there are religious fanatics out there in real life who ARE as extreme as this character. 9/11 is a good reminder of that.

I deliberately waited till the end of this Blog to write about Thomas Jane’s character. David Drayton is an artist who does movie posters for Hollywood studios, and throughout much of the movie, you find it ironic that it is the showbiz guy who’s the most level-headed and noblest one among everybody in the market. However, this noble dude ends up doing something crazy at the end of the film that not even Mrs. Carmody would think of (unless she had Kool-Aid in hand). Wanna know how Amanda, Dan and Irene eat the bullet? Let’s just say... Drayton, in possession of the revolver after Ollie bites the dust, was determined NOT to let any of the people he cared about meet their fate at the hands of the mist creatures. KA-BLAM!!

For a mere horror film, The Mist sure does carry a lot of messages. The first one being about the dangers of religious fanaticism. The second one about how people become less civilized the minute "machines stop working and people are left out in the dark". The third one about the U.S. military engaging in secret projects at the expense of the general populace, and the last one being about how you act the minute you're faced with your mortality. Do you sacrifice your own life so you won’t face a painful death? Or do you let things play out as fate intended and wait till the end comes naturally? This last one is what makes the ending to The Mist a surprising one. I won’t necessarily say it’s a good ending, but it IS a lot lot more interesting than the finales you usually see in horror films (and people in this film do stupid things for valid reasons). Frank Darabont and Stephen King... You guys are craaazay.

Artwork depicting Amanda Dumbfries (Laurie Holden) and David Drayton (Thomas Jane) staring out at the U.S. military...who has something to do with The Mist...
All images courtesy of Dimension Films / MGM

UPDATE (ANOTHER SPOILER): The reason why this film is science fiction is because the mist has something to do with the U.S. military opening a gateway to another world...causing those alien creatures to get through and wreak havoc on the town (set in Maine but actually filmed in Louisiana) where the movie takes place. Hence that major electrical storm at the beginning of the movie.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

HITMAN poster.

HITMAN... Tomorrow, the FOX film starring Timothy Olyphant (who played the main villain in Live Free or Die Hard) will be released in theaters. Looks pretty interesting...otherwise, I wouldn’t have typed a Blog on it, haha. Though I have one question: Was the barcode-tattoo-behind-the-head idea originally from the video game Hitman is based on, or was it taken from the long-defunct TV show Dark Angel? Or did the video game itself rip the idea off of Dark Angel? Or did Dark Angel rip the idea off of- Nevermind. All I can say is, I’ll actually be disappointed if they don’t play that "Ave Maria" song in the film. I think that’s what gives Hitman its charm...in the trailers and TV spots, that is.

TOP PIC: Olga Kurylenko and Timothy Olyphant in HITMAN.  BOTTOM PIC: Do you think Agent 47 ever gets the urge to get that barcode scanned at the local Albertsons market?  Probably not.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Christian Bale reprises his role as the Caped Crusader...aka the Dark Knight...aka Batman.

THE DARK KNIGHT Update... Below are several photos from next summer’s anticipated blockbuster film. Heath Ledger plays the Joker, Christian Bale returns as—you guessed it—the Dark Knight, Michael Caine reprises his role as the faithful butler Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman is back as James Gordon, Morgan Freeman is once again Lucius Fox, Cilian Murphy will make another appearance as the villainous Scarecrow, and Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces Katie Holmes as Bruce Wayne’s love interest, Rachel Dawes. Prison Break and Black Hawk Down’s William Fichtner plays a bank manager, and Thank You for Smoking’s Aaron Eckhart is Harvey Dent. Oh, and Christopher Nolan is once again directing. Of course, I could’ve just provided a link to The Dark Knight’s IMDb page and spare my fingers of all that typing, haha. The Bat Pod looks awesome...though I hope the Batmobile (a.k.a. the Tumbler) returns in the sequel. The Dark Knight will be released on July 18, 2008.

The Clown Prince of Crime...a.k.a. the Joker, in THE DARK KNIGHT.
THE DARK KNIGHT Photo Montage.
THE DARK KNIGHT Photo Montage.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Most of the vehicles that were used in TRANSFORMERS are shown above.  The MH-53 Pave Low chopper that was used for Blackout, the minesweeper that was used for Bonecrusher and the M1A1 Abrams tank that was the alternate mode for Brawl (mistakenly called Devastator in the movie) are not shown.  And, of course, the Cybertronian jet that played Megatron is also nowhere to be seen.  Maybe Lockheed Martin is secretly working on making it a real aircraft, haha.

THIS BLOG would’ve been a bit more relevant if it was posted back in July (when the movie came out), but oh well. I found these awesome images on this site, and thought it would be cool to post them here. What’s great about these pics is that they are PNG files...meaning there are no backgrounds in them, and I can superimpose the robots onto any other image. Thank God for Photoshop. Here’s hoping that Michael Bay’s official website, which originally provided these snapshots, will do the same thing for all the new 'bots that will be in Transformers 2. I’m sure he will. Anyways, enjoy.

The Mountain Dew Bot.

NOTE: Ratchet, Bonecrusher, Devastator/Brawl, Scorponok and Barricade aren't shown. Neither are the Mountain Dew Bot, the Nokia Bot, the X-Box Bot (or X Bot) nor that Escalade Bot whose steering wheel attacks that hot girl's face. Sorry.

Optimus Prime.

Bumblebee.

Jazz.

Ironhide.

Megatron.

Starscream.

Frenzy.

Blackout.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The WGA Strike... I’d be indifferent, if not for the fact the screenplay for Transformers 2 hasn’t been completed yet, and production on the sequel will most likely be delayed. How this affects the film’s June 26, 2009 release date, we shall see. Also, the seventh season of 24 may be delayed because of the walkout as well. Worse-case scenario: Day 7 will be pushed back to 2008-09! In the words of Jack Bauer: Damn it! Curse you Writers Guild of America! And curse those screenwriters’ hides! Just kidding. Anyways, I need to re-register my Hard-Cores II script (which I wrote in 2001) with the Guild as soon as I can. Which would be...now. The screenplay’s first certificate expired in February. No, I didn’t write a porno flick...

24 logo.

Back to Transformers... The DVD sold 8.3 million units in the first week since its October 16 release. If you want to put this in perspective, 300 took 10 weeks to sell 8.3 million copies, and Happy Feet took 6 months to sell 9 million copies. In its second week, Transformers remained No. 1 with 5.1 million units sold and a two-week gross of $117,010,180. In its third week of release, Transformers fell to second place after the Spider-Man 3 DVD made its debut. However, the Michael Bay flick is still No. 1 in HD DVD sales. Thank the Transformers Live Action Movie Blog and Superhero Hype for the details.

Mikaela and Sam are awed by how cool the 24 Logo looks.  That is, if they were staring in the right direction.

UPDATE (February 12, 2008): The writers' strike has finally ended. WOOHOO!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Federation soldiers land on planet Klendathu to fight the Arachnids in STARSHIP TROOPERS.

STARSHIP TROOPERS... Today marks ten years since Paul Verhoeven’s satirical and bloody take on Robert Heinlein’s sci-fi novel of the same name came out in cinemas nationwide. The reason why this flick is meaningful to me is the fact that the first time I drove out once I got my driver’s license (which I received in the mailbox right before I left for the theater... I passed my driver’s test about two weeks earlier and was in my senior year in high school back in ‘97) was to go and see this movie. Starship Troopers was entertaining...though the climax was in all honesty underwhelming. Obviously, considering the tremendous bloodshed that we saw as the Federation fought the Arachnids on Klendathu and other worlds throughout the movie, Verhoeven wanted to show the soldiers capturing the Brain Bug without any conflict, so-to-speak. The special effects work done on the Brain Bug (and the whole film in general) was totally awesome—but I wanted to see one more gory battle before Casper Van Dien and Co. emerged victorious at the end. And yes, I consider Denise Richards being impaled by an Arachnid’s claw and her pilot friend getting the inside of his skull sucked dry by the Brain Bug to be pretty gory.

Lt. Carmen Ibanez (played by Denise Richards in the foreground) and her pilot friend confront the Brain Bug in STARSHIP TROOPERS.

Speaking of Denise Richards, she kept her clothes on in Starship Troopers but her sexiness made me want to...look up online photos from her subsequent film Wild Things (I heard Kevin Bacon also um, showed some skin in that flick besides Richards; I’ll pass). Fortunately, Dina Meyers made up for Richards' modesty in Troopers. Before this entry starts to go astray, I’ll also point out that Basil Poledouris' orchestral score for the movie is pretty awesome. I wonder if he also conducted the music for the two Starship Troopers straight-to-DVD sequels as well. I don’t think he did.

Johnny Rico (played by Casper Van Dien) and the other Federation soldiers take on a Tanker Bug in STARSHIP TROOPERS.