Martin Cambell (Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro) has made Green Lantern, which looks somewhat unusual (sort of psychadelic) for such a routine action director. I have no interest in the comic (or in Blake Lively with clothes) but here is the goofy trailer
Another goofy film is Mr. Popper’s Penguins and rightfully so since it is a screwy comedy that looks like the best Jim Carrey comedy in over a decade. The director Mark Waters has done some real shit: Mean Girls, Head Over Heals, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, but he also did Freaky Friday (better than it had a right to be) and more importantly House of Yes. I predict this will be a huge comeback for Waters and Carrey. Everyone should see it if for no other reason, because Angela Lansbury is in it.
Everyone says The Green Lantern will be shit, and it probably will be, but I agree with you, it looks strange. The trailer gives off weird vibes. Therefore, I will see it (plus, I really like Casino Royale).
I’m amazed no one’s ever made a movie of Mr. Popper’s Penguins before this. It’s a children’s book that’s been around for generations.
Here’s what’s lame about Green Lantern from the looks of the trailer—these guys have extraterrestrial technology that can basically make anything, and for key scenes Campbell has them using the using the rings to make . . . guns and swords? Things that could not only easily be found in the world of the film without have to be made by the rings, but also thing which exist appear in almost every action movie ever. Failure of imagination of the part of the filmmakers.
Lantern (dark horizons reported) has cost 300 million with budget and marketing costs. It would have to make twice that to show profit. Does not seem possible. Why is it the most expensive movies never use stars, a great stars chemistry can outdo most special effects
I guess the wring can’t make money, only guns and swords.
it cannot even make effects that look good on a computer screen (maybe they blow up on the big screen but on the computer they look weird and cheap
This is the same problem with almost every virtually omnipotent character in films lately. I don’t want to bring up Superman, but more recently, Limitless was a fine example of this.
These “limitless” powers are limited by either the imagination or budget concerns.
This one looks really confusing to me. At least captain America looks like a pulpy b-movie on a bigger budget. This film doesn’t have any built-in audience. Too much CGI is going to kill it.
An attempt to infuse an earnest piece of comicbook lore with an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek sensibility yields decidedly mixed results in “Green Lantern.” Starring a ripped, wisecracking Ryan Reynolds as the greenest member of a mighty intergalactic league of superheroes, helmer Martin Campbell’s visually lavish sci-fi adventure is a highly unstable alloy of the serious, the goofy and the downright derivative. Sans Batman/Superman-level name recognition, this risky DC Comics franchise launcher will rep a real test of Warners’ marketing muscle, though it functions well enough as eye-popping spectacle to appeal to summer moviegoers beyond its core constituency of salivating fanboys.
More than usual for this type of megabudget fare, the studio will rely on favorable reviews and word of mouth to counteract negative buzz that has persisted since the release of the film’s first trailer in November. With four credited writers onboard (including producer Greg Berlanti, once slated to direct), the picture has been conceived as a present-day origin story for Hal Jordan, the most popular of the six human protagonists who have wielded the green power ring since the creation of the enduring comicbook series in 1940.
Packing so much exposition that some viewers may require maps and flow charts, a sonorous voiceover introduces the Green Lantern Corps, a federation of alien warriors who use their extraordinary abilities for good. But an evil, soul-sucking force called Parallax is spreading its tentacles across the 3,600 sectors of the universe, striking fear even in the intrepid Lanterns, who draw their energy from the power of the will, fear’s very antithesis. One of their top fighters, Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), is mortally wounded by Parallax and realizes he must transfer his gifts to a new Lantern in the time that remains.
Cut to planet Earth, home of brash U.S. fighter pilot Hal (Reynolds), to whom the dying Abin Sur bequeaths a ring, a lantern and some cryptic instructions. Swiftly teleported to the distant planet Oa, Hal runs the usual rookie obstacle course, receiving sage advice from chicken-fish hybrid Tomar-Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush); rough training from piggish Kilowog (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan); and sneering disapproval from Sinestro (Mark Strong), the Lanterns’ supercilious, red-skinned leader.
Sinestro disdains human weakness, and indeed, Hal’s reckless nature hides feelings of insecurity rooted in his father’s fiery death years earlier, as glimpsed in a manipulative childhood flashback. Paradoxically, this trauma makes him just the guy to don suit and mask, recite the catchy Green Lantern oath, and prove that courage is a far greater weapon than fearlessness.
Yet it also underlines the irony that this cinematic enterprise should feel so risk-averse in almost every particular, and so slavishly devoted to its innumerable bigscreen forebears. For all its industrial-strength visual wonders, “Green Lantern” is marked by a spirit of profound timidity, straitjacketed by its need to satiate its target audience without seeming too geeky for the mainstream.
Pic does show an admirable boldness early on, embracing its material with a po-faced sincerity that may get laughs from the uninitiated; this is especially true whenever Sinestro seeks advice from the ancient Guardians of the Universe, whose pallid, oval-shaped heads and stilted diction suggest a council of Yodas several millennia past their expiration date. Yet the filmmakers mock their own bid for seriousness with a jokey, self-conscious attitude elsewhere that, far from providing knowing comic relief, merely saps the picture of gravitas.
Even the casting of Reynolds, arguably the film’s biggest gamble, soon reveals its calculation; the amusingly glib, too-smart-for-the-galaxy actor seems to have been chosen primarily to inoculate the film against its own encroaching cheesiness. As Hal learns to fly, conjure weapons with his mind and charm the socks off childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris (an underserved Blake Lively), Reynolds looks alternately flabbergasted and self-satisfied, providing little emotional bandwidth for a hero whose sense of wonder the viewer is never allowed to access. It’s especially disappointing given the rich psychological dimensions Campbell brought to a very different origin story in 2006’s “Casino Royale.”
Registering more vividly, as villains often do, are Strong as the never entirely trustworthy Sinestro and Peter Sarsgaard as geeky scientist Hector Hammond, whose exposure to Parallax triggers a descent into psychotic monomania. With yellow eyes and a freakishly engorged noggin, Sarsgaard is feverishly creepy despite inadequate motivation from the script, which makes a perfunctory attempt to set up a tangled backstory for Hal, Carol, Hector and Hector’s smarmy-politico father (Tim Robbins). The viewer is left with the annoying sense that the ruling powers of the universe, in their infinite wisdom, have entrusted the fate of humanity to a waspy, overprivileged social circle with major daddy issues.
If it offers little worth listening to in terms of dialogue or music, “Green Lantern” does provide consistent visual diversions in Grant Major’s production design, whose otherworldly cityscapes bear some resemblance to the all-digital backgrounds in the most recent “Star Wars” pictures. Even when its fantastical effects look blatantly artificial, the cleanly edited film has an elegance and overall design coherence that bespeak an able craftsman at the helm.
While hardly essential to the viewing experience, the application of 3D is well judged in its occasional isolation of foreground elements, and image brightness was at acceptable levels at the screening caught.
Feeling like a desperate bid to revive that old “Ace Ventura” magic with Jim Carrey bringing a sextet of penguins into his tony Manhattan apartment, “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” is actually rooted in the old Disney live-action comedy tradition, with its colorful stars, ridiculous situations and theme of family unity. Carrey’s headlong dive back into the family-movie pool will make a bit of a splash with its target tyke audience, but this Fox release won’t be popping up on his career-highlights reel.
While husband-and-wife co-authors Richard and Florence Atwater set their quaint ‘30s-era children’s novel in the small American town of Stillwater, the film unfolds in the slicker, fancier climes of present-day Manhattan, where hotshot commercial real-estate agent Tom Popper (Carrey) lives in a hyper-mod condo, alienated from his ex-wife, Amanda (Carla Gugino), and possibly even more so from his teenage daughter, Janie (Madeline Carroll), and younger son, Billy (Maxwell Perry Cotton). Carrey at first makes Popper come across as a shark, whose No. 1 goal is to enter the tight circle of his firm’s partners (Philip Baker Hall, Dominic Chianese, William C. Mitchell).
Laid out in a brief prelude, Popper’s childhood was marked by a distant relationship with his adventurer dad, forever absent on treks and keeping in touch with his son via short-wave radio chats. Now, news of his father’s death hardly fazes Popper, who hasn’t seen him in years. But when Dad gifts son with two crates containing Antarctic penguins on ice, Popper’s life is turned upside down.
Under the workmanlike direction of Mark Waters (“Freaky Friday,” “The Spiderwick Chronicles”), the movie centers around the fundamental gimmick of pitting Carrey and his trademark physical comedy against a group of scurrying and noisy penguins (lensed with a combination of live-action shots and well-rendered CGI animation), which seem to take to Popper’s pad like fish to water, even settling down in a cozy corner of his freezer. Preposterous, of course, and the movie habitually reminds the viewer there’s no way Popper’s neighbors can’t be noticing the sudden chaos that has descended on their exclusive uptown co-op — though nothing is ever done about it, even when Popper turns his place into a penguin-friendly snow field and ice rink.
Key to the comedy is Popper’s parental guilt: Aware that his work has kept him too much away from his kids, he realizes Janie and Billy love the little grounded birds at first sight, and in fact demand them as pets. What’s a dad to do but to nurture the critters, even though the “penguin expert” at the New York Zoo (Clark Gregg) wants them for his own sinister, supposedly zoological needs?
In a mechanical screenplay by several hands (Sean Anders, John Morris, Jared Stern), Popper’s parental project goes predictably out of control. This is perhaps most cleverly expressed during a fundraising party at the Guggenheim, where Popper tries to convince Mrs. Van Gundy (Angela Lansbury), the crusty, imperious owner of Central Park’s legendary Tavern on the Green, to sell the property to his firm. With a little ice and water, plus the Guggenheim’s famed sloped ramp, the penguins slip and slide and cause all sorts of problems. The script, however, rams its points and intentions across, no matter how little sense they make, perhaps cynically assuming most kids won’t notice the jarring narrative bumps.
Following his terrific performance in the R-rated “I Love You Phillip Morris,” Carrey has turned to a soft PG vehicle, and shows too much strain to make the comedy viable. Occasional asides from the gifted comic, such as when he nails an impersonation of Jimmy Stewart or a slo-mo run in real time, come off as distractions rather than magic moments.
Unlike Gugino (in a vanilla role) and Ophelia Lovibond (in an annoying one), Gregg and Lansbury (now in her eighth decade onscreen, in a substantial role in which she dominates her scenes) pleasurably give Carrey something to play against. Both actors portray hard-hearted New York operators, offering a counterpoint to the movie’s endless visual love notes to the Big Apple: With Florian Ballhaus’ shiny cinematography and Stuart Wurtzel’s upscale production design, the city is presented as a glorious winter wonderland. Composer Rolfe Kent accents his usual dark-tinged tropes with variations on Gershwin, which is almost as nice as the pic’s sweet tributes to Chaplin.
Camera (Deluxe color, DV), Florian Ballhaus; editor, Bruce Green; music, Rolfe Kent; production designer, Stuart Wurtzel; art director, Patricia Woodbridge; set decorator, Ellen Christiansen-De Jonge; costume designer, Ann Roth; sound (DTS/SDDS/Dolby Digital), Danny Michael; sound designer, Mark Mangini; supervising sound editor, Mangini; re-recording mixers, Andy Koyama, Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill; special effects coordinator, Mark Bero; visual effects supervisor, Richard E. Hollander; visual effects and animation, Rhythm & Hues Studio; visual effects, Hydraulx, Centro Digital Pictures; penguin expert, W. Scott Drieschman; stunt coordinators, G. A. Aguilar, Stephen Pope, Blaise Corrigan; associate producer, Linda Hill; assistant director, Stephen X. Apicella; second unit director, George Aguilar; second unit camera, Lukasz Jogalla; casting, Marci Liroff, Kathleen Chopin. Reviewed at 20th Century Fox Studios, Los Angeles, June 14, 2011. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 94 MIN.
Green Lantern at least looks watchable, whereas Mr Poppers Penguins…well, the latest South Park episode approximates my feelings about it pretty well.
It looks like just a lot of penguins doing modern kitsch stuff for cheap laughs and Jim Carrey getting hit in the crotch by things.
that being said I have a feeling Poppers will be more appreciated by its target audience than Lantern.
I think it’ll make a ton too, may see it myself gf has a thing for penguins, we went to Monterey Aquarium a few days ago. More likely tho, I will convince her to see Midnight in Paris; she was mad when I took her to Whatever Works but she loved Tall Dark Stranger as did I.
I guess, Mr Popper’s Penguins will do well with very young children, but I think kids even as old as 8 or 9 will roll their eyes at it.
It is true it will please its core audience more than Green Lantern, but the audience of Green Lantern is way more picky. In other words, the young kids who watch Mr Popper’s Penguins will have positives and negatives, and focus on the positives, and the nerdy teenagers who watch Green Lantern will have positives and negatives, but focus on the negatives.
Just out of curiosity, what prompted this observation? …
Another goofy film is Mr. Popper’s Penguins and rightfully so since it is a screwy comedy that looks like the best Jim Carrey comedy in over a decade.
EDIT: Anywho, I’m not looking forward to either of these films. Green Lantern looks horrible, simply put … and Ryan Reynolds? Really? Who was the genius who thought that would work?
I’m finally gonna get around to see Tree of Life.
“Just out of curiosity, what prompted this observation? …
Another goofy film is Mr. Popper’s Penguins and rightfully so since it is a screwy comedy that looks like the best Jim Carrey comedy in over a decade."
not a single laugher in the bunch. This one at least looks modestly amusing.
That Carrey film has flop written all over it imo. for the sake of his career, i hope i’m wrong, but its looking like he is pretty much dead as a movie star imo.
he should go back to making smaller films like Eternal sunshine
“he should go back to making smaller films like Eternal sunshine”
I am no fan of Eternal but when he does try different things, they end up small, 23 and Phillip Morris come to mind. As for Popper’s chances, I teach at a school and everyone at my school talks about it even more than Cars 2.
I hope children nowadays are familiar with the book, it has its charms.