viernes, 30 de julio de 2010

2010 Comic-Con Recap: What's Next On The Big Screen?

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The San Diego Comic-Con can only be described as super cool, a four-day convention in which professionals, exhibitors, and guests present their latest products to the media and audience. They present the very latest in comic books, science fiction and fantasy material, video games, toys, and a long "etcetera." I am going to focus on the best of the upcoming movies that have been presented during the convention.

Day 1, July 22

The first day of the event started big, really big. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (a.k.a Brangelina) had panels that day and as you can imagine everybody wanted to see the couple together once more (a few days prior to this event, Brad and Angelina attended together the premiere of Salt). Well, Brad Pitt (or more to the point, cardboard cut-out Brad Pitt) was sitting in between Tina Fey and Jonah Hill during the press conference for the animated movie Megamind, in which the aforementioned actors lend their voices to the main characters. The one and only who was flesh and blood in San Diego was Angelina Jolie, looking fierce and gorgeous in black leather, presenting her latest spy thriller/action movie, Salt. If you ask me, Angie is the best action actress, no doubt about it! She's always convincing as a spy.

The day continued with a panel that lots of people attended, Tron: Legacy. Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen, and Garrett Hedlund talked about the new version of 1982's Tron. Even though the new trailer was online a few hours before the panel, the official presentation of the trailer took place during the conference and now you can enjoy it:

We could also witness the return of Sylvester Stallone to the big screen since the latest Rambo installment in The Expendables (action granted, of course). Other movies coming down the line include Scott Pilgrim vs. The World with Michael Cera and Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick, and Red. Now Red really got my attention. First off, the title is a play on words: it's not the colour but an acronym for Retired Extremely Dangerous and the guys thus described are Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Mary-Louise Parker, and Dame Helen Mirren shooting a big gun. You need more incentives to check this one out?

Day 2, July 23

Nicolas Cage hit San Diego to present Drive Angry 3D, a movie where Cage's character chases the men who killed his daughter (haven't we seen that before?). Also in our future is the low-budget Skyline which alert us that aliens are coming again to invade us, and Super with Rainn Wilson, Liv Tyler, and Nathan Fillion.
Producer Guillermo del Toro, along with director Troy Nixey, presented Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, a remake of the 1970s TV film of the same title, starring Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes. The second day at Comic-Con climaxed with the presentation of another highly anticipated movie, The Green Hornet, directed by Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind's Michel Gondry and starring Seth Rogen (who also wrote the screenplay), Cameron Diaz, and Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz. Check out the trailer:

Day 3, July 24

If day one was big, we could all expect a big finale for day three. Heroes, heroines, vampires, wizards, you betcha! Meet our heroes: Green Lantern, Thor, and Captain America — or Ryan Reynolds, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Evans. The three movies will be released next year; the two first are in post-production, and Captain America is still filming. By the way, did you know that Kenneth Branagh is the director of Thor? I cannot wait to see this movie — I really miss Branagh behind the camera, his Shakespeare adaptations to the big screen are simply exquisite.

Meet our heroine, Alice. What's not to love about Alice? Fierce, powerful, always ready to bring down the plans of the Umbrella Corporation and wonderfully played by lovely Milla Jovovich (who made it in time to San Diego after her flight got canceled). The fourth installment of the Resident Evil franchise, this one is called Afterlife and promises us the undead, plenty of action, and the opportunity to watch it in IMAX 3D. Check out the cool trailer:

Vampires couldn't miss the opportunity to be presented at Comic-Con. No Cullens this time, but still vampires. Let Me In is the Hollywood remake of 2008's excellent Finnish film, Let the Right One In, and stars Kick Ass's Chloe Grace Moretz and Richard Jenkins. Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, and director Jon Favreau also visited Comic-Con in order to talk about Cowboys & Aliens, still in production. Harry Potter lovers also got the chance to see a sneak preview of the very last movie of the saga, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows. As you know, the movie is going to be presented in two parts. The first half will be released this November and the second next summer. Be patient, it's almost here!

Day three came to an end with the official announcement of the impressive cast of The Avengers. Joss Wheldon will be helming the project and starring are Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton / Hawkeye) and Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk).

Comic-Con is a four-day event but the fourth day is dedicated to kids. The big panels take place in the first three days. Not bad considering the great quality and interest level of all the panels. 2010 Comic-Con, thank you for a wonderful preview of what the studios have in store for us in the next months. See you next year!

What do you think of this year's movie offerings? Which films are you really looking forward to seeing?

November 5 Is Robert Downey Jr.'s Due Date

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Fans of Robert Downey Jr. (I’m included in this group) cannot complain at all. We get a double dose of Downey Jr. this year. First, we had him in the big blockbuster Iron Man 2 and next we'll have him in a totally different role in Due Date, which opens next November 5.

It’s so nice to see Downey Jr. in a comedy (a crazy comedy, better said) and it gets even more interesting when you know that the director helming this project is Todd Phillips, the same director who gave us one of the funniest movies of 2009, The Hangover. In this movie, Phillips reunites with The Hangover alum Zach Galifianakis and Downey reunites with his Kiss Kiss Bang Bang leading lady Michelle Monaghan and his The Soloist co-star Jamie Foxx. These big names are reason enough to watch the movie.

The film is centered on Peter Highman (Downey Jr.), a man who is about to become a father but is far from home and his wife (Monaghan). On his way to catch a plane in order to get home in time for his child’s birth, he comes across Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis), an aspiring actor who makes Peter’s plans fall apart and forces him to set out on a crazy, cross-country road trip.

Check out the trailer:

TV Preview: USA's Covert Affairs To Premiere July 13

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Although, Covert Affairs hasn't been aired yet (it premieres Tuesday, July 13 at 10/9c), I've been really lucky to watch the pilot in advance and I can guarantee you that the USA Network's new spy series will definitely draw your attention this summer.

Leading the cast, we find actress Piper Perabo, who debuts as a leading lady after some guest starring spots in shows like Law & Order: Criminal Intent and House and a quite prolific career in cinema (who doesn't remember her in Coyote Ugly?), Christopher Gorham (forget him as Henry in Ugly Betty, here's a new version of him and I love it), Erik Lively, Kari Matchett, Eion Bailey, House's Anne Dudek, Heroes' Sendhil Ramamurthy (you won't see him in the pilot but he's definitely a part of the show), and Peter Gallagher.

Created and written by Chris Ord and Matt Corman and produced by the man behind the Bourne trilogy, Doug Liman, Covert Affairs is centered on Annie Walker (Perabo), a world-traveler and multilingual rookie CIA agent who is assigned to leave The Farm (a super secret facility where she's receiving her CIA training) for some hours and go to the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia for an assignment. Under the orders of Joan Campbell (Matchett), Walker (and the audience) discovers in her first mission that the CIA is not as cool as she thought it'd be. Her inexperience might be the key that leads her to "fail" such a simple exchange of information with a Russian assassin but with the invaluable help of blind CIA tech Auggie (such a charmer!) Anderson (Gorham) and Walker's own resourcefulness and intelligence, she is able to finish her assignment successfully and get a taste of what it's like to be a CIA field agent.

This pilot has a good pace in its storytelling; we get the presentation of Walker and the people surrounding her in the agency and at home. Not too much background on each of them but not too little either, just enough to make us look forward to more. Just one thing: the action sequences have to be polished, they need more energy and rhythm. Having a female spy in the leading part makes us think of Alias involuntarily but Covert Affairs is a whole new thing.

Alice Walker is the girl next door who we would never think of as a spy; she is funny, fresh, friendly, and vulnerable but at the same time really competent. We sympathise with her from the first, especially when she's going through the difficulties of her first day at work in the CIA, because we all have been a bit clumsy and disoriented on our first day in a new job. We can also empathize when Annie's sister, Danielle (Dudek), sets up a dinner and forces Annie to meet a new guy she's invited so Annie can abandon her single status. At the end of the episode, we see that Walker has a great future as a CIA agent, she just needs some time to get familiar with how everything works in the agency but questions like has she really been promoted because of her skills or is there something else behind this premature promotion come to mind swiftly. We shall see, I'm sure of it! The show looks promising!

In the meantime, check out a sneak peek of the show below, become a fan on Facebook and Twitter, and visit the official website where you'll find the latest info.

Don't forget to tune in Tuesday, July 13 at 10/9 c on USA Network for the series premiere! Are you going to watch it?

Movie Review: Killers

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Director Robert Luketic rejoins his The Ugly Truth leading lady, Katherine Heigl, in this romantic comedy that tries really hard to be a Mr. & Mrs. Smith but misses the point.

Jen (Katherine Heigl) is a recently single young woman who is traveling on vacation to the south of France with her parents (Catherine O’Hara and Tom Selleck). There she meets Spencer (Ashton Kutcher) and here we get the same old story once again: Boy meets girl, boy takes girl on a date, they fall in love, they quickly get married and have a quiet and lovely life in a suburban area.

However, everything takes a turn when Jen discovers that her husband is not the man she thought he was but a former CIA hitman and her neighbors are not charming and kind people who have embraced them in the neighborhood but assassins hired to kill her and especially her husband. How would you react in such situation?

At first, you may think that Jen and Spencer are the perfect match because they complement each other. He is used to living life on the edge but looks forward to having a normal and quiet life and she is “tired” of her secure life and her overprotective parents and looks forward to a more spontaneous and edgy life. Both characters live both lives during the movie but what fails is their chemistry. Heigl and Kutcher are cute together, they try really hard to be credible, but they don’t have a sparkling chemistry, which is why you feel there’s something off about them. If you were expecting an explosive chemistry like the one Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, I’m sorry, you won’t find it here.

You will laugh at some situations and dialog (most of the time uttered by Jen's parents) but the movie is not hilarious, jokes could have been way better written, and it's not action-packed. Kutcher and Heigl are two regulars in romantic comedies but the promising career that Knocked Up seemed to predict for Heigl may be a bit stuck. I really think she needs to look for more powerful roles if she wants to become the new romcom queen or look for a good drama - she got quite nice dramatic material in Grey's Anatomy pre- season six. Choosing good material is the key.

Fans of Kutcher and Heigl, go see this movie if you want but don't expect too much of it. It's your choice now.

J.J. Abrams Is Definitely Not Lost

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When I was watching the Lost finale, I was thinking of the impact that this TV show has had during its six seasons and how it will always be remembered in the history of television for the big shakeup that it represented to the genre and all the faithful fans who discussed and theorized (and still do) after every episode. Helming this phenomenon was J.J. Abrams, a very talented man who is not content merely to direct, but also takes the lead in producing, writing, and composing.

I have been following Abrams’ career for years and I can clearly see that experience has definitely been his best teacher. Educated in the school of television, he showed a clear progression in his directing style and writing that started with Felicity, where we got to discover the beautiful Keri Russell, continued with the elegant spy drama Alias, where he created one of TV’s most charismatic female characters, Sydney Bristow, wonderfully played by Jennifer Garner, and took a big step forward with Lost, which clearly positioned him at the top of the list of Hollywood directors to watch. With the exception of Lost, Abrams has always placed a woman in the lead role of his stories: see Felicity Porter (Felicity), Sydney Bristow (Alias), and Olivia Dunham (Fringe). The three of them clearly reflect the image of 21st century women; they are intelligent, strong, fierce, and totally capable of running the show without a male figure next to them — very powerful women that have inspired many female fans around the world.

After making a name for himself on TV and winning some Emmys, J.J. Abrams debuted on the big screen after Tom Cruise hired him to bring IMF special agent Ethan Hunt back in Mission: Impossible III. It was not a problem for him, considering his background in action and espionage material. Then he produced Cloverfield and went really big with Star Trek. I do not like comparisons but J.J. Abrams reinvented the Star Trek saga just like Christopher Nolan reinvented the Batman saga with The Dark Knight.

This New York-based talent possesses a very creative mind and the ability to understand what the audience wants and doesn't want. Abrams manages to break with the predictability factor that the public could expect when watching his shows and movies with unexpected turns of the screw. I have never had the chance to meet the guy in person but he seems to be very passionate about his job, he takes it seriously but at the same time, he considers it a game — a very rewarding game that allows him to put all his creativity into practice and so that we can enjoy it.

So, what’s next for J.J. Abrams? On TV, we will not have time to miss him now that Lost is finished. The third season of Fringe on FOX and a new spy series called Undercovers on NBC are coming up this fall. As for the Alias reboot, well, the rumor is out there, we will see. On the big screen, he has joined forces with Tom Cruise again in Mission: Impossible IV but only as a producer and writer this time (Brad Bird will be the one directing this fourth installment of the franchise) and the top secret Super 8, produced by Steven Spielberg.
So, are you a fan of J.J Abrams? Do you prefer his work in TV or on the big screen? Would you like to see Alias rebooted? Are you looking forward to seeing what Super 8 is really about?