I have a tradition of seeing a film on Christmas day every year. This year, I am seeing something on the 23rd (Martin Sheen in The Way) and 24th (Tin Tin) as well.
This has been all over the world. It looks great, sounds exciting. Much like with Martin and Hugo, Steven is having a possible creative surge working in a new medium, motion capture. I would like to see an Asterix and Obelix movie one day or at least see the great French ones get a decent US release, Tin Tin is a decent substitute tho.
This Tin Tin and MI 4 are the movies that open wide on Wednesday the 21st. I am avoiding this because tho it is likely good, i feel they got this film and its follow ups right the first time plus outside of Zodiac no fan of the director.
And this is what I am seeing Christmas Day. Sure it looks formula but it is actually a relief to see Cameron Crowe try to make a crowd pleaser again. This is the only film of his I have wanted to see since Jerry Maguire. The idea of owning a zoo is too cool a concept to pass on. This is Crowe’s third 2011 movie, this a documentary called The Union and well he had two movies if you don’t count Pearl Jam 20 and I dont since I try to pretend that band never existed.
Almost forgot this one. There is no listing at box office mojo, maybe they are not optimistic, oh well, looks good reviews have been good and we talked about it in the last thread along with Holmes 2 and Chipmunks 3.
The second Speilberg film in a week and it looks epic, not a fan of epic really.
Warhorse and this are the offical XMass releases. This reeks of counterprogramming and won’t make a cent. It looks as cheap as Skyline, might pick it up at the flea market for laughs.
Dragon Tattoo and Tintin look decent enough, file them in the ‘strong maybe’ pile.
Out of the rest, I’d much rather sit through a Mission Impossible film than Academy-dreck like War Horse.
I agree with this^.
Holy shit, that War Horse looks insane! The music in the trailer was killing me. It’s like John Williams overdosed on all his bad musical tropes (actually, the film has all the worst Spielberg tropes)
A heartwarming story of a boy and a horse, eh? Those horses have so much courage. The end of the trailer brought a tear to my eye.
ok i’ll see tintin based on this trailer. i’m not getting the uncanny valley vibe nearly as badly as before
also is spielberg himself a character in the film? who’s that guy in the balcony?
War Horse is a eyewater-inducing backhand to the Spielbergian slap that was Tintin.
That’s the heavy; I thought he looked a lot like Spielberg, too, I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t some amount of self-deprecating humor in it.
And by the by, considering that Spielberg could just retire, I think it’s kinda neat that he’s released two movies in one year. I really appreciate that.
No Spielberg for me.
I plan on seeing Dragon Tattoo and The Darkest Hour…..
And hopefully something at an art house (I hope “I Melt with You” will be playing there. Fingers crossed)
I’m avoiding We Bought a Zoo for 2 reasons:
1. it doesn’t look like my type of movie
2. Elle Fanning is hardly in the trailer. She’s the only reason I’d see it anyway and it looks like her role is very very small
The early reviews of Dragon Tattoo are saying it’s very pulp-ified.
Still waiting to hear Mubi consensus.
Tintin, I’ll put that in the ‘Something to do when I get together with my mother’ pile.
And Mission Impossible in the ‘father’ pile. ;)
from entertainment weekly:
The zoo has been closed down for two years, and Benjamin, quitting his newspaper job, tries to get it back into shape. This means interfacing with the animals (water buffalo, porcupines, an army of snakes, a grizzly bear on antidepressants). It also means getting to know the human wildlife who staff the place. Scarlett Johansson is the comely zookeeper, and everyone else is part of a kind of boho commune (the token Crowe touch). Benjamin is supposed to be embracing the daffy-irrational, and Damon is among the most rational of actors. Yet he gives a gradually winning performance as a depressed dad coming to life. The movie is like Doctor Dolittle remade as a therapeutic sudser. By the end, it got to me. B
from my favorite print critic Rex Reed:
In the blood-soaked hands of the hair-raising, always surprising director David Fincher, the creepy remake of Sweden’s grisly thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is dreary and confusing but technically superb—a darkly photographed and superbly acted film. It is not my cup of bitter tea laced with arsenic, but I admire its tenacity in keeping the viewer dazzled, while the toxic effect of its violence, sometimes unwatchable, left me charged. I hated the 2009 Swedish film version, my dashed attempt to read the book (the first volume in the crime trilogy by the late, overrated Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson) put me to sleep faster than a double-dose of Dalmane, and I still don’t understand why it has been recycled in an estimated $100 million remake as unnecessary as it is unoriginal. It is also impossibly long-winded. When it ended, after just under a whopping three hours, I ended up impressed, in spite of my reservations. If I had found it even half as incomprehensible as it is, I might have liked it twice as much.
Oh, my god, that plot. After being investigated for making licentious mistakes in fact-checking a magazine profile that causes a scandal, the controversial, complicated and egotistical journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) loses his job, apartment, moral compass and most of his sanity. Then he spends the rest of this interminable, head-scratching thriller trying not to lose his life and everything below his gym-ready waistline and above his walnut-cracking thighs in one scene of nasty brutality after another. He’s crafty, but he’s also a two-fisted fool for getting recruited by Swedish industrial tycoon Henrik Vanger (a wasted Christopher Plummer) to investigate the disappearance of his great-niece Harriet, who disappeared 40 years ago from a family reunion on a sinister island with an unpronounceable name off the coast of Sweden. The case was never solved, but Vanger believes she was murdered by a member of his own dysfunctional family. Here the brain-twisting plot begins to get delusional. As the reporter begins to unravel multiplying clues, he tracks down and hires Lisbeth Salander (newcomer Rooney Mara), a chain-smoking, motorcycle-riding Goth lesbian computer hacker shrouded in black leather whose invasion of his hard drive reveals the errors that have tanked his career. This zombie is a real creep workout, replete with body piercings, a dragon tattoo that encircles her body and more rings around her eyes than a rabid raccoon.
Sharing a deserted cottage by the sea in a gray, frozen Swedish winter, the reporter and his freaked-out researcher, equipped with his-and-her laptops, dig up newspaper reports from the year Harriet disappeared, connecting an entire series of homicides, and before you can yell “Holy Whitechapel Ripper!” the Vanders turn out to be a whole family of serial killers! There’s Henrik’s brother, a Nazi who died in 1940, and the brother’s son, Gottfried, and grandson, Martin (Stellan Skarsgård), the latter two of whom continually raped and sodomized Harriet, Martin’s sister, who moved to Australia and is living under the assumed name of her cousin Anita. It takes an hour and a half before the two stars of this bizarre puzzle meet and he hires her to look up all the other women who have been murdered under similar circumstances, all raped and killed, all with names from the Bible and linked by verses from Leviticus. Then, under pressure, they end up in bed in a savage sexual fury—an unconvincing twist, since Lisbeth has endured a lifetime of rape and sexual torture herself, and despises men. (We’ve just seen her sewing up an eye with dental floss, tying up a victim and tattooing “I AM A RAPIST PIG” on his chest with a carving knife.) Reckless, hostile and pretty close to being a serial killer herself, she’s seriously damaged, exacting gruesome revenge on anyone who crosses her, but when it comes to her boss, she melts, saving a naked Mr. Craig from an unbearably convincing basement torture chamber that leaves nothing to the imagination.
I’m a big fan of the kind of sleaze and terror David Fincher is famous for (think Se7en and Fight Club) and this is no exception. The great screenwriter Steven Zaillian’s elaborate, convoluted script, so muddled that even after it’s over you still don’t know what it’s all about, is a drawback—but the movie is a master class in sinister style, tense and deeply uncomfortable. The cold Swedish dreamscape of blackness is so effective that sometimes you feel like you need a flashlight. Mr. Fincher also knows how to bring out the fearlessness in actors. As James Bond, Mr. Craig is a terrific mixture of sarcastic charm and sartorial splendor, in or out of the sack, but when the role calls for something darker, he’s equally well equipped. Mr. Skarsgård is especially scary because of the sheer exploitation of power with which he manipulates people under the guise of polite, amiable calm—making his later scenes from friendly to ferocious doubly shocking. Ms. Mara is a damaged ferret, her eyes darting, her tongue rubbing her stapled lips as she helps the mentally distraught reporter try to make sense of a deepening mystery. It all adds up to a noxious brew of teeth-grinding, knuckle-whitening brutality. Merry Christmas to you, too.
from the telegraph:
The story starts on a farm in Devon rented by the Narracott family – father (Peter Mullan), mother (Emily Watson), and son Albert (Jeremy Irvine). When the father buys a beautiful horse for three times its work value, Albert becomes enamoured with it and trains it, naming it Joey.
Their bond becomes as strong as possible between a human and an animal.
But on the outbreak of the First World War the British Army buys the horse, along with many others in the county. Albert promises Joey that they’ll find each other again one day – and eventually enlists to embark on a search for his friend.
Spanning four years during the war, the story is of Joey’s journey; from becoming the mount for a brave English officer (Tom Hiddleston), to a German workhorse, to a gift from God for a dying little girl. He gives us a glimpse of the waste of war – and of all the soldiers, both young and old, who never deserved to die.
The film is genuine in its emotion, unflinching in its reality, epic in its grandiosity, effective in its performances, and imaginative in its storytelling.
John Williams’ score and Janusz Kaminski’s stirring cinematography only enhance this. The battle sequences (two large ones in particular) easily rival those in Saving Private Ryan.
My sole complaint is a lack of compelling storytelling during the first 20 minutes, but otherwise War Horse is as flawless a movie as we’ve ever seen from the director.
Seeing something as brutal, terrible and human as war through the innocent eyes of a horse is an ambitious form of storytelling, and Spielberg pulls it off with honesty and authenticity. I felt each emotion as if I was a marionette, manipulated by the director’s strings.
The most telling scene, set in No Man’s Land, involves a German and an English soldier, a pair of wirecutters, a horse and a casual conversation about home.
It reveals what makes this a movie that will be watched generation after generation, with each one crying and cheering in the same places.
It has all the hallmarks of the Spielberg we’ve missed so much: powerful, gutsy, honest, and effective.
from Kurt Loder:
The latest Mission: Impossible film, an enormous piece of product said to have consumed some $140-million on its way to an IMAX pleasure dome near you, has one idea, and you already know it. The idea is: Run for your life!
In Ghost Protocol, the fourth installment of this 15-year-old franchise, Tom Cruise—short of hits in the five years since the last film in the series—returns as Ethan Hunt, star agent of the Impossible Mission Force, that U.S. government espionage squad dedicated to squashing colorful malefactors in picturesque locations around the world. This time out, Hunt has a new team: brainy-hot Agent Jane Carter (Paula Patton, smart choice); displaced intel analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner, over-qualified for this sort of exercise); and, also back again, tech wiz and comic-relief specialist Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg). Their target: nuclear terrorist Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist, of the Swedish Dragon Tattoo movies), whose rather Bondian ambition is to destroy the world and then rebuild it into a new, improved, presumably more Hendricks-centric society.
The story begins inauspiciously. Hunt is confined in a Moscow prison, for reasons we don’t learn till much later. Carter and Dunn bust him out, and they all set off in search of the nuclear launch codes that are a key component of Hendricks’ scheme. There’s an unexpected complication, though: The Kremlin explodes (in a burst of exemplary CGI) and Evans’ team is set up to take the blame. At this point, the government disavows all knowledge of the IMF, leaving Evans and his little band to accomplish their mission with no further support. Since the launch codes have fallen into the hands of a pouty freelance assassin named Moreau (strikingly upholstered Léa Seydoux), and she’s on her way to Dubai to hand them over to Hendricks, Evans and company have no time to mope over their new outcast status.
The story is inevitably generic: a frenzied international chase sprinkled with squibbets of backstory and occasional intrusions of emotion. But the script, by Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec, is cleverly structured (especially in a montage of duplicitous negotiations taking place in separate hotel suites). And director Brad Bird—the Pixar wonder kid lured away from Oscar-winning animation (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) for a first foray into live action—is resolute in keeping cliché pyrotechnics to a minimum: Most of the thrills here are provided by practical stunt work, for which Cruise must be given abundant props. Amid all the usual spy technology (an “eye cam” contact lens, a portable invisibility screen, a weapons-stocked safe house tucked away in a freight train) and a furious chick fight of which James Bond himself would surely approve, we find Cruise being banged around in a wild car chase through a blinding sandstorm and body-slammed from one to another of the moving platforms in an automated parking garage.
His most spectacular feat takes place on the upper reaches of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, whose glassy façade rises more than half a mile skyward. (The owners of this super-hotel, which has been something of a financial bust, were no doubt delighted to host a money-stuffed Hollywood production.) Here the actor is required to climb from one floor up to another on the outside of the structure, using a pair of computerized “Gecko Gloves” that prove to be not all that reliable. As he dangles and swings, cinematographer Robert Elswit frames the star’s perilous progress up the side of the building, with the city itself spread out far below, to vividly demonstrate that what we’re seeing is real, not digitized. I know I was impressed.
The story moves on to India for some sillier fun at a champagne-fueled mega-party in Mumbai, site of the movie’s preordained wind-up. Ghost Protocol is a picture calculated to extract maximum profits from a global audience, and surely it will succeed. Just as surely, another sequel will be called for. But will Cruise, now pushing 50, be up for another punishing workout? At the end of this film, one character says to him, “I’ll see you in Kandahar.” You do the math.
I guess after the monster flop of the grotesque (but apparently deeply personal) Elizabethtown, Cameron Crowe is really whoring for a hit.
NO THREAD THIS WEEK AS THERE ARE NO NEW RELEASES FOR THE WEEK OF 26-5
I will be back next week covering something called The Devil Inside
War Horse and Zoo look like cheesy, smelly piles of goo. You might convince me to see Tintin but you couldn’t pay me to see War Horse. And We Bought a Zoo couldn’t possibly appeal to me any less. Even Matt Damon, when he was describing the plot on the Daily Show and Jon Stewart didn’t look interested, Damon pleaded “but it’s directed by Cameron Crowe!”
“The early reviews of Dragon Tattoo are saying it’s very pulp-ified.
Still waiting to hear Mubi consensus.”
Jirin – If you’re not a Fincher hater, go out and see it. The Mubi consensus will not be good because the Mubi consensus, in a general sense, doesn’t seem to favor Fincher anyways. But if you like some of his films and his style of filmmaking, you could do a lot worse than Dragon Tattoo. It’s definitely better than the Swedish version.
You guys are all being too hard on War Horse….it is what it is….was a fun time at the movies…..and it’s that rarity that is decent enough for the whole family. Yeah…it’s emotionally manipulative…but so what? I liked it…for the most part.
You gotta check your cynicism at the door once in a while and just sit back and enjoy the show……..
I can leave my cynicism at the door and I can definitely be a sucker for manipulation (I think I’m the only person on the planet looking forward to Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud – haha) but War Horse just looks like a joke. A big, fat, Hallmark Hall of Fame joke. I can’t imagine any scenario where I could enjoy a film like that.
//I can’t imagine any scenario where I could enjoy a film like that.//
How about just enjoying the scenery? Or the majestic beauty of the horses? The ending shot alone is worth the price of admission (which for me was free so maybe that’s why it went down better than if I had plopped down 10 bucks).
Roger Ebert gave it 3 and a half stars….which I thought was high but apparently he enjoyed it…
Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud looks sooooooooooooooo manipulative……and I’m kinda tired of Tom Hanks schtick. But I’m curious about it…..
…and really let’s face it….the anti-Spielberg bias on here is palpable.
I can’t enjoy a movie simply because of the scenery. There are very few exceptions to this and Janusz’s classism here isn’t one of them.
I’m sure that like We Bought a Zoo, War Horse is good at doing what it sets out doing. But what that is isn’t particularly interesting to me. You’re right, cinephiles hate Spielberg. And that’s misguided because he’s a master storyteller. But over the last ten or fifteen years, he hasn’t made much that has interested me. In fact his name over the marquee doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. I’ll see Lincoln but both Tintin and War Horse really have no appeal to me. I’d rather just stick to my childhood favs like Jaws and Indiana Jones.
As for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, it could very be schmaltzy and I understand why people hate the trailer. But movies like this, emotional stories with a kid as the protagonist – I’m a sucker for these. Where the Wild Things Are is one of my favorite films of the last decade and this film just appeals to me. Maybe I’ll hate it, maybe I’ll love it. I really don’t know. But with War Horse, the odds of me liking it are almost non-existent.
I love Spielberg, but War Horse looks about as good as Always. Not all Spielberg films are created equal.
I didn’t know that Spielberg directed War Horse until yesterday. thought he only produced it.
I’m not biased against Spielberg, but i don’t like the sentimental piffle or the faux epic stuff, and when they are both present in the same film it just becomes nauseating.
My prediction for War Horse is that, quality wise, it will fall somewhere between Always and Amistad.
Tin Tin looks ok though.
I’d rather have my emotions manipulated by Spielberg than my senses numbed by Fincher. I just hope War Horse is more Empire of the Sun than Schindler’s List.
//I just hope War Horse is more Empire of the Sun than Schindler’s List.//
Cruise is back, MI 4 huge internationally and in US.
MI 5 has been fast tracked into development as well as Top Gun 2.
The Gun people were waiting on MI 4 opening weekend to see if Cruise could still open a flick.
^^he is back but only because he is playing it safe and making these franchise pictures.
the real test will be when he makes a different kind of film.
i’m waiting for that.
his next two films are not franchise pictures (and by the way most franchise pictures are failing)
Rock of Ages (I belive it will make good money and even if it does not, it will not hurt Cruise since he seems to be a supporting player and it is a dicey musical project)
After that, One Shot, sophmore film from The Way of the Gun director
imdb description: A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims. Based on a book in Lee Child’s crime series.
cast: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins, Werner Herzog
sounds like an excellent cast, certainly has a chance at making money
^^we’ll see. a movie directed by the guy that made Way Of The Gun doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence ;-)
Btw, did Tin Tin have a poor opening?