It seems like only yesterday (last fall to be precise) when we posted about how Joe Dante had once ben considered as the director of 1989’s Batman before Tim Burton got the nod. Dante’s choice for the Joker was John Lithgow, a well-known character who has enjoyed many decades of constant employment in Hollywood. Dante had met Lithgow on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie even though Lithgow appeared in George Miller’s segment, but something about the actor made Dante see “Joker”. It turns out though that Dante wasn’t the only one that saw the potential for a Clown Prince of Crime in Lithgow. (more…)
Joe Dante was part of a class of filmmaker that came up in the 80s under the wing of producer Steven Spielberg, and while he doesn’t get the projects and budgets of Robert Zemeckis or Chris Columbus, he’s still be turning out great work recently with films like The Hole and Burying the Ex. But what if, after Gremlins, Dante’s career had gone in another direction, a more action-oriented direction, one that involves the Caped Crusader and the Clown Prince of Crime. Yes, apparently Dante was up for the job of directing a Batman movie before Tim Burton in the mid-80s, but he’s now revealing why he passed, and who he would have liked to play the Joker. (more…)
When it was first announced that Christopher Nolan’s next motion picture would be a return to original, hard science fiction, I was filled with joy. It’s not that I don’t appreciate his Batmanfilms (The Dark Knight still stands as one of the best pieces of commercially-minded filmmaking made during my lifetime), they just don’t stack up to Inception — a film whose humanistic spirit is as big as its brain. While Nolan’s Batfilms are undoubtedly thrilling on a technical level, they still lack the eloquent investment of an artist utilizing a massive canvas to express deep-seated personal issues. However, now that he’s put his franchise days behind him (for the moment, at least), Christopher Nolan is again able to explore titanic ideas employing near infinite resources.
Today we get our first long look at his upcoming space travel film, Interstellar, which is attached to Godzilla in theaters this weekend (Sarah says you should see it!), and the spot promises a truly awe-inspiring journey.
Welcome back to our newly revamped “Retro Reviews” column, where we explore both the movies you know and love, as well as the oft overlooked gems you should be spending more time with. Our third entry is the crazy inspiring sci-fi superhero tale, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)…
“Excuse me…is someone out there not having a good time?”
Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) stops a performance by his band, The Hong Kong Cavaliers, so that he can scan the audience. Somebody’s crying and our hero needs to know exactly how anybody could be hurting during their set. Once he locates the source — a spiky-haired pixie named Penny Priddy (Ellen Barkin) – he calms the jeering crowd and informs them that “they don’t have to be mean”. In a moment of zen wisdom, he tells his admirers that the journey in life is all that matters, utilizing a simple maxim that becomes the movie’s guiding force.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes breathes new life into a molding franchise and gives us what is the most refreshing spin on the tale of a future where apes rule since the original Planet of the Apes from1968. Let’s pause, I can hear the cries of outrage already, “Blasphemy! Sacrilege! Roddy McDowell is rolling over in his grave and spitting at you, you stupid harpy!” But believe me, believe me as fan whose writing this review with her Cornelius in a space suit action figure watching over, Rise of the Planet of the Apes will have you yearning for it’s inevitable sequel as well as the classic, campier flicks.
The films’ biggest buzz comes from it’s inventive and truly revolutionary use of motion capture techonology and digital animation. And it does not disappoint; combining brilliant acting from all the “apes”, in particular Andy Serkis who turns in a stunning performance (and will totally be getting nominated this year, right, Academy?), with the incredible life-like animation from WETA.
Its awesome visual effects and a story that at times packs one hell of an emotional punch, Rise of the Planet of the Apes will thrill you with it’s action and have you questioning the meaning of ‘humanity.
Review continues beyond the cut, you are now entering, spoiler territory.
You’re a film nerd, you spend hours watching all the special features your DVDs and Blurays have to offer. I’m guessing you watched every featurette about the making of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, amirite? Well, duh, why else would you be here?
This featurette about the motion capture and WETA digitial effects work that went into making The Rise of the Planet of the Apes look so realistic, believable and just damn incredible is a must watch. Fascinating, even.
Andy Serkis is freakin’ fantastic. He’s a terribly under-appreciated actor, and his line of work even more so. All these new, fancy digital effects still require living, breathing actors and artists to make it look so jaw-droppingly incredible. And no one really does it better than Serkis, so yeah, rock on.
The Rise of the Planet of the Apes opens this Friday, August 5th and stars James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo and Andy Serkis.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is an origin story in the truest sense of the term. Set in present day San Francisco, the film is a reality-based cautionary tale, a science fiction/science fact blend, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.
They’ll do it, they’ll blow it all up! 20th Century Fox has released a second trailer for their prequel/reboot to the Planet of The Apes franchise. After Tim Burton and Mark Wahlberg shit all the the planet with the 2001 remake this is shaping up to be a proper take on the apes taking over. Starring James Franco, Andy Serkis, Frida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, and Tom Felton this second trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes focuses more on the actual plot of the movie instead of being an effects driven make-up test.