Friday, March 30, 2012

Review: Mirror Mirror [2012]


Background:
Release Date: 29 March 2012 (Malaysia), 30 March 2012 (USA)
Directed By: Tarsem Singh
Written By: Melissa Wallack, Jason Keller, Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grim
Starring: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane
Duration: 106 minutes
In A Nutshell: 
A fresh take on the classic fairy tale of Snow White. The Queen (played by Julia Roberts) has taken over the kingdom after the death of the King and has ruled with an evil finger. She has set herself the target of marrying a rich and handsome Prince (played by Armie Hammer) so she can steal all his wealth. She has also secretly ordered the murder of Princess Snow White (played by Lily Collins) in the woods. Snow White is spared her life by the Queen's assistant Brighton (played by Nathan Lane) and seeks the help of seven rebels.
Thumbs Up:
+ Fresh take on a classic fairytale
+ Amusing enough jokes that are worth a few chuckles (see also "Thumbs Down")
+ As you would expect from director Tarsem Singh, the film's visuals are elegant
Thumbs Down:
- As mentioned in "Thumbs Up", it has a few chuckles, but nothing really to make you laugh out loud
- Lacking any sense of adventure or emotional heart


The Verdict Is In:
Director Tarsem Singh's last effort Immortals [2011] seemed to polarise the audience's opinions with some labelling it as awesome while others condemning it as one of the year's worst. I was in no doubt with the latter category so it was interesting how Tarsem's latest offering would fare. After the credits rolled, I wouldn't say I'm converted into an admirer but he has somewhat redeemed himself in my books.

Mirror Mirror is decent enough of a film in a very cartoonish sort of way. It would have worked well as an animation. And I'm not talking Pixar here (or Disney too since it doesn't have any singing). It was cute and amusing but ultimately lacked any emotional heart or elements of thrill and adventure to break that barrier and make it memorable amongst adults. Most of the entertainment is provided by the humorous roles of the Seven Dwarfs and also by the Queen's assistant, Brighton.


It's safe to say that Mirror Mirror won't be featuring in anyone's Top Movies Of The Year list but is an entertaining enough feature to spend your week with especially considering your other option is Wrath Of The Titans [2012] (to be fair I haven't seen it, but after getting bored with the first of that series, will not be spending my time and money for a trip to the cinemas).
Rating:
6 out of 10

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pulp Fiction Comments On The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games [2012] has become such a huge phenomenon right now that not only has it broke plenty of box-office records but also seems to be in the conversations of everyone. There have been plenty of talks comparing it to cult Japanese movie Battle Royale (Batoru rowaiaru) [2000] and also to that other young-adult franchise Twilight [2008]. But its seems that movie's favourite pair of hit-men also has something to say on the subject. Yup, we can always rely on the duo of Vincent Vega and Jules Winfield from the film Pulp Fiction [1994] to have something interesting to talk about. Very well timed too seeing that Quentin Tarantino's birthday was this past Tuesday.

Source: Here


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What If Iron Man Was A Pixar Movie?

Alejandro Stephenberg at JoBlo.com has pictured this following scenario: "Pixar and Marvel teaming-up!!". And since both studios has been acquired by Disney, that collaboration really is a possibility. This vision popped-up after seeing this captivating image below titled "What Are You Building Stark?".

25 year-old 3D artist, Victor Hugo from Brazil is the man behind this masterpiece. I think it has been pretty much established throughout this blog that I am a massive fan of both Pixar and Marvel (and Superheroes in general), so I am beyond delirious by both the idea and also just by looking at the image. This is just a magnificently stunning piece of visual. It is so becoming my Macbook wallpaper. always been envious of people with good drawing skills. Its a gift. Hugo's blog can be found here.

CLICK OR OPEN PHOTO IN NEW TAB TO ENLARGE


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Short Film: Pendulum (Furiko) [2012]


There's not much information yet about this short on the web other than its the brainchild of a Japanese comedian named Tekken (Takefumi Kurashina) and is titled Furiko, or Pendulum in English. I can't really confirm, but I think it is been released only recently this year. 

Basically it follows the lifetime relationship of a couple. Its very similar to that immensely touching scene between Carl and Ellie in Up [2009]. That particular Pixar scene is called Married Life, and quite honestly one the best moments in cinematic history. Personally I don't think Pendulum is on the same level as Married Life (it very hard to achieve that status), but it still evokes a powerful emotional response from the audience.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review: The Hunger Games [2012]


Background:
Release Date: 22 March 2012 (Malaysia), 23 March 2012 (USA)
Directed By: Gary Ross
Written By: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutchersson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth
Duration: 142 minutes
In A Nutshell:
Based on the best-selling novel by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games is set in somewhat of a bleak future, where Capitol (formerly North America) holds an annual tournament supposedly to remember its history. This tournament billed as "The Hunger Games" forces each of the twelve districts under Capitol to submit one boy and one girl of their own to compete against each other until there is only one living survivor. Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take the place of her 12 year old sister and finds herself paired with and ex-classmate, Peeta Mellark (played by Josh Hutcherson).

At Capitol, Katniss and Peeta is coached by former Hunger Games winner, Haymitch (played by Woody Harrelson). It is soon revealed that Peeta has a long standing crush on Katniss. Once the tournament starts, a few contestants begin to form an alliance and sets Katniss as their main target.


Thumbs Up:
+ As the story revolves heavily around her character, Jennifer Lawrence succeeds in delivering a strong, complex, and dimensional performance
+ The political oppression amongst the districts serves as an intrigueing story
+ Maintains good pacing throughout the movie, it never stays too long on one point
Thumbs Down:
- The shaky camera technique, especially in the beginning of the film is taken too overboard for my liking
- It almost seems that the film makers are assuming everybody has read the novels this movie is based on since there are often a lack of background detail
The Verdict Is In:
First of all, I must acknowledge that the environment that I was in watching this movie was far from ideal. I was seated in the same row with a few dudes who were of the "DVD commentary" type of audience. Both of them were huge too, so telling them to keep quite was pretty daunting. Secondly, despite me having the Bourne Trilogy as one of my favourite movies, I have a VERY bad case of motion sickness. Forget sea sick, I can even get sick in a car on a curvy road. Yes, that bad. Which is why the excessive shaky handheld camera been used, especially in the beginning of the movie made me extremely uncomfortable (if I had knew they would be using this technique I would have made preparations). Of course this is mostly my own personal weakness, but I do feel that sometimes the shaky-cam is overdone and unnecessary. I perfectly understand the unstable pictures when following characters moving around, but there were some scenes where people were just standing still while talking yet it was if the cameraman was having a seizure. Perhaps this technique was used to keep the film in PG-13 rating as the erratic moving distorts the violence taking place.


Enough shaky-cam rant. The dystopian future the movie takes place in really does provide for a compelling story. You could just feel the repressed desire among the district's people to revolt for freedom. Or the horror they feel when a children representing them dies while another district celebrate. How the tournament is shown in reality TV style also shows how hype and entertainment are used to distract people from engaging in more important issues. This of course results in them being subservient through ignorance. This social commentary is important as most of us movie fans are guilty of using films as a medium of escapism too.


Then there is Jennifer Lawrence. She had to beat several other good actresses to play the role of Katniss, and it absolutely paid-off. The role requires her to convey resolve, strength, social awkwardness, and assertiveness, and Lawrence shines in doing so mostly by physicality and just through the look in her eyes. There is no doubt she will one day add to her one Oscar nomination in her career. Maybe not in this film, but it will definitely come.

However, other than the shaky-cam mentioned earlier, the film does have other issues. It really does seem like the producers think that everyone has read the books this is based on. There are too many background details unexplained. I guess this is the bright side of sitting close to those "commentary dudes" I mentioned earlier. For example they talk about how the novel tells why Haymitch is in such a mess. Someone like me who has never read the novels would have appreciated information like this as the movie never bothers to tell us.

Overall, this is an enjoyable film but doesn't really whack the ball out of the park. This is probably because it is only the first instalment of the franchise, which sets it up nicely for the future films. It can only get better from here.
Final Verdict:
7 Out Of 10

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

List: 7 Favourite Athletes Turned Actors

I've just noticed, its been more than a month since I've compiled a Favourite List. Seeing that creating lists is what I love to do (just like what John Cushack and Jack Black did in the movie High Fidelity [2000] or what any other average guy loves to do), it is time for me to create a brand new one. But what should be my theme for today? Hmm, one of the many guilty pleasures I have is watching Pro Wrestling and its major event of the year, Wrestlemania 28 is only less than 2 weeks away. The main event will be between two wrestlers whom are also film actors, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and John Cena. I've always loved The Rock and hated Cena, long before this rivalry even started. As for Cena making fun of the The Rock for being in Tooth Fairy [2010], he should really shut up since his film credentials include Fred The Movie [2010]. That's lame multiple a billion right there.

At first I wanted to create a list for Favourite Wrestlers Turned Actors but soon realised that wouldn't be a very good list. So I had to change this into Favourite Athletes Turned Actors instead. Still not a good enough list when you consider the films these guys have been in, but I'm still going forward with this idea because at the moment I don't have an alternative theme on mind. Here we go then:

# Highest Order Of Special Mentions: Chuck Norris


First of all let's make this clear, this is not an honourable mention. This is the Highest Order Of Special Mentions. Chuck Norris deserves to be in a league of his own. Don't believe me? Search the multiple joke websites about him on the Internet such as this one here. Heck, try typing "Where Is Chuck Norris" in Google, scroll down to the suggested completion, select the "I'm feeling lucky" at the right of the suggestion, and read the results. Trust me, you do not want to mess with Chuck Norris!! You have been warned!!

On a serious note, I wanted to list one of my favourite football/soccer players, Eric Cantona on the list but have only seen one of his films, Looking For Eric [2009], which I placed first on my 5 Favourite Football (Soccer) Movies List.

#7 Carl Weathers (American Football)


Sports Career: Brief stint with the Oakland Raiders before playing in the Canadian Football League for the BC Lions.

Two roles stand out for him. First, being Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies and second, playing the role of Dillon in Predator [1987]. Those two roles alone makes him a familiar face to movie lovers especially in the testosterone-filled male demographic.

Selected Movies: Rocky [1976], Rocky 2 [1979], Predator [1987], Happy Gilmore [1996], Little Nicky [2000]

#6 Jason Lee (Skateboarding)


Sports Career: Prominent professional skateboarder in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Mostly recognised for his role on the TV series, My Name Is Earl [2005-2009] where he was twice nominated for a Golden Globe Award. Some people have suggested that his personal life is kind off wacky. I wonder if that has anything to do with him naming his son Pilot Inspektor or being a member of Scientology?

Selected Movies: The Incredibles [2004], Almost Famous [2000], Chasing Amy [1997], Dogma [1999], Vanilla Sky [2001]

#5 Jason Statham (Diving)


Sports Carreer: Finished 12th at the World Diving Championships in 1992.

Yeah, I know. He's not a very good actor and has probably been in more bad movies than good ones. But he is rather good in his niche. And that happens to be kicking ass!

Selected Movies: The Transporter [2002], Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels [1998], Snatch [2000], The Italian Job [2003], The Bank Job [2008]

#4 Vinnie Jones (Football/Soccer)


Sports Career: Part of the "Crazy Gang" that won the English FA Cup with Wimbledon FC in 1998.

As someone who'd played a lot of competitive football/soccer during my student days and having a huge passion for the game, I am obviously familiar with Vinnie's sporting career the most. His "hard man" reputation unfortunately has him playing the same basic roles in movies over and over again.

Selected Movies: Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels [1998], Snatch [2000], The Midnight Meat Train [2008], X-Men: The Last Stand [2006], Swordfish [2001]

#3 Terry Crews (American Football)


Sports Career: He has competed in the NFL for the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, and Washington Redskins.

You know a person is an "action star" if he is cast alongside other legends of the genre in The Expendables [2010]. A bonus for Crews compared to other "tough guy" actors is that he can play comedic roles very convincingly. Working to his disadvantage however is that he has never been the leading man in a notable film.

Selected Movies: The Expendables [2010], White Chicks [2004], The Longest Yard [2005], Middle Men [2010], Get Smart [2008]

#2 Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (Pro Wrestling & American Football)


Sports Career: Brief time in the Canadian Football League with the Calgary Stampeders before becoming a Pro Wrestling legend in the WWE.

Sure, Dwayne has been in quite few disastrous movies (still better than anything John Cena has been in). But he is charismatic and has star quality. To me he was one of the reasons for the revival of the Fast & Furious franchise, make the upcoming G.I Joe movie seem slightly fun (based on the trailer, then again not a hard job because the first film was horrible), and I loved him in The Rundown [2003] as well as his cameo alongside Samuel L. Jackson in The Other Guys [2010]. He is also in the Guinness Book Of Records for having the highest salary as an actor for his first starring role (USD5.5 Million for The Scorpion King [2002] ).

Selected Movies: Fast Five [2011], The Rundown [2003], The Other Guys [2010], Walking Tall [2004], G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation [2012]

#1 Arnold Schwarzenegger (Bodybuilding & Powerlifting)


Sports Career: 4 times bodybuilding Mr. Universe. Yes, he was the BEST IN THE WORLD FOUR TIMES. Also won a few tournaments in Powerlifting.

Say what you want about the former Governor Of California's acting abilities, in terms of making money at the box-office, he was one of the most bankable stars in history. Hugely impressive movie resume you have to say too.

Selected Movies: Terminator 2: Judgement Day [1991], Predator [1997], Total Recall [1990], Commando [1985], Conan The Barbarian [1982]

Friday, March 16, 2012

Miyazaki's Posters Re-imagined

In today's movie market, taking an already developed and proven Intellectual Property (such as movie posters) from a foreign market and re-imagining them for a new audience, is quickly becoming a trend. The people at Crimson Daggers recently had challenged artists to do so, with the films of legendary Studio Ghibli co-founder and director, Hayao Miyazaki being the focus. Some of the resulting entries have been staggeringly impressive.

Check out some of them below. My favourites just has to be the 2nd Spirited Away and also the My Neigbor Totoro posters. More poster illustrations as well as information on the artists can be found on the mentioned website.

# Castle In The Sky (Tenku no shiro Rapyuta) [1986]


# My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro) [1988]


# Nausicaa Of The Valley Of the Wind (Kaze no tani no Naushika) [1984] -1st


# Nausicaa Of The Valley Of the Wind (Kaze no tani no Naushika) [1984] -2nd


# Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea (Gake no ue no Ponyo) [2008]


# Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime) [1997]


# Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi) [2001] -1st


# Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi) [2001] -2nd


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Review: Take Shelter [2011]


Background:
Release Date: 30 September 2011 (USA)
Directed By: Jeff Nichols
Written By: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Tova Steward, Shea Wingham
Duration: 120 minutes
In A Nutshell:
Curtis LaForche (played by Michael Shannon) lives in a small Ohio town along with his wife, Samantha (played by Jessica Chastain) and their six-year-old deaf daughter, Hannah (played by Tova Steward). Although they are generally a happy family, taking care of Hannah's healthcare and special needs education is somewhat of a struggle especially given the current economy situation. Curtis then starts to experience terrifying dreams and hallucinations about an apocalyptic storm which he believes is imminent. Curtis whom also has a family history of mental illness decides to keep this disturbance to himself at first and is obsessed with building an elaborate and expensive storm shelter in his backyard. This shelter threatens to tear both his family and sanity apart.
Thumbs Up:
+ An impeccable portrayal of the protagonist by Michael Shannon supported by a strong performance from Jessica Chastain
+ Powerful, gripping, and engaging story which is masterfully directed by Jeff Nichols
+ Refreshing that Curtis immediately researches and tries to cure his mental illness instead of ignoring it like how other films deals with it
Thumbs Down:
- Other than the role of Samantha, other characters are rather underdeveloped



The Verdict Is In:
This was one of the movies from 2011 (alongside other award-listed features such as The Artist, Hugo, The Descendants, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, etc) that I wanted to see but didn't get to do so in time before I created my list of 20 Favourite Movies Of 2011. If I were to recreate that list now, I would have no doubt that this film will command a very high position indeed on that new line-up. Why? Because this happens to be such a profusely haunting feature that had left me moved long after viewing it. Yes, it is these types of cinematic experience that we thrive for and makes us fall in love with movies in the first place.

Central to this film is the intense performance by Michael Shannon. You have to consider him to be massively unlucky that he didn't manage to bag Best Actor nominations at any of the major award shows recently. He was simply magnificent. And he wasn't the only one. Jessica Chastain who seemed to pop-up with strong performances everywhere last year does exactly so here too. The best part is that the great performances and characters are only half of what make this such a great feature. The story and directing is an absolute delight to from start to finish. Jeff Nichols is certainly one to keep an eye out for in the future.
Rating:
9 out of 10

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Short Film: The Action Hero's Guide To Saving Lives [2009]


Background:
Year Of Release: 2009
Directed By: Justin Lutsky
Written By: Brett Simmons, Opie Cooper
Starring: Patrick Warburton, Brett Simmons, Sean Naughton, Andrea Bogart
Running Time: 16 Minutes
In A Nutshell:
[Taken From Official Website]:
When lives are on the line... When there's danger at every turn... When clichés run amuck... Sometimes the best thing to do is call Mulligan! Ace Mulligan!

No matter how villainous the madman... how humorous the henchmen... How sexy the damsel, one thing is for sure: Ace Mulligan will always come out on top. Sometimes.
Quick Comments:
In keeping up with my New Year's Movie Resolutions, I stumbled upon this hilarious short film. Its kind of what would happen if John McClain (from the Die Hard Series) was trapped in Groundhog Day [1993]. Now we know how McClain manages to defeat the bad guy while delivering those perfect one-liners.
View The Film:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: John Carter [2012]


Background:
Release Date: 8 March 2012 (Malaysia), 9 March 2012 (USA)
Directed By: Andrew Stanton
Written By: Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon, Edgar Rice Burroughs
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Willem Dafoe, Dominic West, Mark Strong, Thomas Haden Church, Ciaran Hinds
Duration: 132 minutes
In A Nutshell:
Based on the 100-year novel series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, where John Carter (played by Taylor Kitsch), who is a former military captain is mysteriously transported to the planet Mars (also known as Barsoom). Being on a different planet and atmosphere, Carter gains enhanced strength and agility, especially the ability for him to make incredible leaps. Carters is initially held captive by creatures called Tharks and their leader, Tars Tarkas (played by Willem Dafoe). Meanwhile the survival of the planet is under threat as war breaks out between the Kingdom of Helium, led by Tardos Mors (played by Ciaran Hinds) along with his daughter Princess Dejah (played by Lynn Collins), and the Kingdom of Zodanga, led by Sab Than (played by Dominic West).



Thumbs Up:
+ Interesting enough story with strong and dimensional characters
+ Excellent chemistry between Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins and good performance overall by the supporting cast
+ Captivating visuals and special effects
+ Nicely placed humour throughout the movie
Thumbs Down:
- With so many things going-on especially in the earlier parts, it may be hard to keep-up with everything
- While the action sequences qualifies as good and entertaining, it doesn't really break any new ground. Kind off disappointing considering the huge budget the film had.
The Verdict Is In:
After Brad Bird showed the transition from directing animation to live action feature can be successfully achieved in Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol [2011], it is now turn for another Pixar director, Andrew Stanton to follow in those footsteps. All the news leading up to the release of this film was how big the budget was, while the trailers seemed to portray that this will be a giant CGI-infested feature and nothing much more. But people seem to forget that Andrew Stanton has proven through his previous films, WALL-E [2008] and Finding Nemo [2003] that he is an excellent storyteller.

The earlier parts of the movie may have a lot elements to establish, so it might actually be a little hard to keep-up with everything that's going-on. But after around 30 minutes, Stanton's storytelling abilities will have us engaged with the plot and characters rather than the CGI. That of course is no easy skill to pull-off seeing that the special effects here are almost flawless. Having said that though, the action sequences while impressive is nothing we haven't seen before.



Other than their performances in X-Men Origins: Wolverine [2009], I wasn't quite familiar with the works of both Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins. In fact after initially seeing the photos and trailer, I felt Kitsch was miscast as he just seemed like a skinny Hercules or Conan. But both him and Collins gave strong performances while the same can be said of the supporting cast too.

Walking out of the cinema, the movie had managed to provide me with 132 minutes of enjoyable entertainment although it didn't quite reach the level that I was striving for. But my gut feeling however tells me that this film will improve upon a second viewing. And that is exactly why I will be doing so in this very near future.
Rating:
7 out of 10

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Star Wars And Star Trek Unites Against Twilight


It has always been the great geek debate: "Star Wars or Star Trek?" The ultimate battle of the sci-fi movie franchises. Unlike most fans I actually can enjoy both, but if I had to choose, ten out of ten times will pick Star Wars as the winner. And that's coming from someone who hates the Star Wars prequels. But honestly, it is a case of apples and oranges. Star Trek is science-fiction while Star Wars is science-fantasy.

I don't know why I didn't discover this news earlier, but apparently last year William Shatner (Captain Kirk from Star Trek if you didn't already know) and Carrie Fisher (is there really anyone out there who doesn't know Princess Leia from Star Wars?) were engaged in a war of words on Twitter and Youtube about this very debate. So this past December out came George Takei, the only person to be involved with both shows (well barely, he is widely known to Trekkies as Sulu but his only involvement with Star Wars is the TV animated show, The Clone Wars), to bring the message of peace. He called on both sets of fans to unite against a greater threat..... the franchise known as "TWILIGHT". He is right my fellow nerdlings. While we are busy fighting amongst ourselves, we have allowed this evil to grow and fester unopposed for years! :D (credit to a user comment on Youtube)

Watch the video below as he rips into Twilight (yeay!) and how bad it is. 



I'm also ecstatic that he made a shout-out to Buffy and Blade at the end there. With that, you George, are truly a geek icon. In fact I'm very happy to see George currently compete on the ongoing Celebrity Apprentice (my TV guilty pleasure). He seems such a classy man. Oh, and check out his Facebook page. It is full of funny and viral stuff.

In case you were interested, here is the first video from William Shatner that started the whole debate:



While this was Carrie Fischer's response to video above:



Captain Kirk just had to reply again:



p/s: Loved the comments on George's Youtube video where fans from other franchises also lent their support against Twilight. Example: "We fans from LOTR/Dr. Who/Harry Potter/etc are behind you as well" or "You have my sword/lighsaber". AWESOME!! Or in the words of George Takei: "Oh my!"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Looking Forward To These Documentaries...

When I wrote my New Year's Movie Resolutions post earlier this year I forgot to list down one other thing that I wanted to do more in 2012, which is watch more documentary-films. Because let's face it, reality always offer very interesting and thought-provoking entertainment. I've never been someone who've watched a lot of this genre before but the ones that I did manage to catch, I usually end up loving to bits. In fact I placed Project Nim [2011] at the very high position of number THREE on my 20 Favourite Movies Of 2011 (although that list was rather incomplete because at the time of writing that post, I still hadn't yet seen a few films, especially the award-involved ones like Hugo [2011], The Artist [2011], and The Descendants [2011] ).

It is still early in the year and so far I have managed to see a total number of documentaries (newly released or old) that amounts to ZERO! Hopefully that will change. Here are a couple of new ones that I am looking forward to see....

# The Imposter [2012]


This feature was apparently a hit at the recent Sundance Film Festival. Here's a description of it that I found from Indiewire:

"A 13 year old boy disappeared from San Antonio, Texas in 1994. Three and a half years later he is found alive, thousands of miles away in a village in southern Spain with a story of kidnapping and torture. His family is overjoyed to bring him home. But all is not quite as it seems. The boy bears many of the same distinguishing marks he's always had, but why does he now have a strange accent? Why does he look so different? And why doesn't the family seem to notice these glaring inconsistencies? It's only when an investigator starts asking questions that this strange tale takes an even stranger turn".

The trailer has a thriller feel to it and that has got me intrigued. Obviously this being a documentary you can find out the entire story online, but I won't be doing so because who needs spoilers?

*Trailers are currently unavailable on the internet as they are quickly taken down. What's up with that, distributors? You don't want promotion?

# Comic-Con Episode Four: A Fan's Hope [2012]


If you've read this blog for a while, its no secret that I have massive affection towards Superheroes and Star Wars. But as a whole I am also a movie-geek and I don't see the need to be ashamed of it. And being located in the far-east side of this globe, going to a comic-con has always been some sort of dream for me (the ones in San Diego and New York are highest on the bucket-list).

The people involved in this project also excites me. As producers we have the legendary comic book creator Stan Lee (really needs no introduction), Josh Whedon (director of upcoming movie, The Avengers [2012] and also creator of TV series, Buffy The Vampire Slayer [1997-2003] ), and Harry Knowles (founder of geek movie website AintItCool.com). Serving as the director is Morgan Spurlock who is most famous for his documentary Super Size Me [2004]. He also created the recent documentary The Greatest Movie Ever Sold [2011] and well as Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden? [2008].

I've shown plenty of love towards other geek-documentaries such as last year's The People vs George Lucas [2011] and Confessions Of A Superhero [2007], so there's no doubting that I'll enjoy this one.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Uggie (The Artist): The Dog With A Twitter Account


So awards season has finally come to an end, with silent movie, The Artist [2011] coming out as the big winner everywhere. Having finally got to see this delightfully clever film just in time before The Oscars last week, I too have become a huge fan. In fact, this movie along with Hugo [2011] and its story of Georges Melies has inspired me to watch more classic silent films.

Director Michel Hazanavicius' vision for for The Artist was just beautiful, while Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo delivered great performances without even having to utter a single word (spoilers: that's actually not quite true :D ). However there was another stand-out performance from that film that I completely loved, and that belonged to... UGGIE THE DOG.


A quick search on the Internet had revealed that I was not the only person to be captivated by this Jack Rusell Terrier's performance. In fact a Facebook campaign called "Consider Uggie" had been created by an editor from Movieline, for Uggie to receive a real or honorary Oscar nomination! Apparently the editor felt that Uggie had outperformed Leonardo DiCaprio's performace in J. Edgar [2011], although probably not as good as George Clooney in The Descendants [2011]. Just typing that sentence alone has given me one huge smile! Uggie eventually didn't get a Oscar or Golden Globe nomination (although he was on stage when The Artist won Best Picture at both awards shows), but he did manage to get a few other awards. 

The Prix Lumiere Awards (the French equivalent to The Golden Globes) gave Uggie a special mention, The Cannes Film Festival bestowed him The Palm Dog Award, while several BAFTA (Britain's equivalent to Oscars) members had even inquired if they were allowed to vote Uggie for Best Actor! If your laughing at all this, bear in mind this quote from the Consider Uggie campaign: "People say dogs in films are just doing what they are told. But an actor is just following a director's orders. They say that a dog is only working for sausages., but an actor is only doing it for his paycheque".


Uggie is 9 years old and typically like plenty other good stories about Hollywood veterans had a hell-raising past too. In his early years he was rejected by at least two owners for being too wild. He was about to be taken to a dog pound when Omar Van Muller, an animal trainer working in the film industry, was alerted to his plight by friends. Uggie has since worked in films such as Wassup Rockers [2005], Mr. Fix It [2006], and Water For Elephants [2011].

Proof that he has achieved full fledged celebrity status can be seen in fact that he now has his own personal account on Twitter (LOL! And who cares if he doesn't write his own tweets, there are plenty of celebs who hire people to maintain their social networking sites) and also has been made spokesperson spokesdog for Nintendo. He will promote their 3DS video game "Nintendogs + Cats". You know you're a celebrity when you're asked to represent a video game, haha!

Finally here's a clip of Uggie on stage with the rest of the cast and crew of The Artist for winning Best Motion Picture-Comedy Or Musical at the Golden Globe Awards.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

An Even NEWER Trailer For The Avengers... ASSEMBLE!!


Darn! Its been merely three weeks since the release of the Superbowl Trailer for The Avengers [2012], and Marvel has released another trailer! This really wets my appetite. They've been building up towards this movie ever since Iron Man [2008]. I just hope I'm not left disappointed with the movie come May (wait, I just checked, its scheduled to come out at my local Malaysian cinemas on April 27!! AWESOME!!). But for right now, I'm as giddy as I could ever be. Geek-gasm barely does what I'm feeling right now justice.

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