‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ Official Re-release Trailer

The original 2001: A Space Odyssey trailer

I am sure that you have known a person that was not nearly as clever as they thought they were.  Such people tend to be a tad insufferable because they’re so convinced of the righteousness of whatever flag they happen to be flying that they don’t appear even cognizant that there is another side of a particular issue.

Well, 2001: A Space Odyssey is the movie version of that person.  It’s clearly a brilliant movie, with great model work by Brian Johnson (Alien, Space: 1999, etc) and showcases Stanley Kubrick at the height of his powers.  That being said, it’s not nearly as brilliant as it thinks it is, on top of being so demanding–and giving so little in return–that as a result it’s one of the most boring movies that I recall seeing.

A new trailer was commissioned by the BFI (British Film Institute) and Warner Bros. in celebration of a digitally restored release of Kubrick’s seminal sci-fi movie.  It’s a good trailer, but does little to add a pulse to what is a particularly cold movie.

The re-release 2001: A Space Odyssey trailer

‘The Evil Within’ Trailer

I have never been a huge player of video games, though recently I have been playing Penumbra: Requiem, and realized that enjoy it.  I don’t own any video game systems, though when I see trailers for games like The Evil Within it makes me wonder if perhaps life would be just a little bit better with a Playstation.

And I have no idea if the game is as interesting as the animatics, but if it is, the players are going to have a bloody good time (pun intended).

And isn’t that what gaming’s all about?  Good company, good food and mindblowing acts of digitized violence and gore?

‘Wolves’ Red Band Trailer

What it is about werewolf movies?  For every The HowlingAn American Werewolf In London or Dog Soldiers, you get twelve Skin Walkers and lots of crummy Howling sequels.

I don’t know know in which column David Hayter’s Wolves falls, but if the trailer is any indicator, lycantrophy is being used as a thinly-veiled allegory for a young man’s transition into adulthood.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, though it’s not exactly an uncommon theme as far as horror movies go.  That being said, plot and storyline are important, but a great looking werewolf transformation goes a long way toward, if not curing all ills at least making you forget about them for a little while.

‘Iron Man 4′ Is A Go!

Iron Man Flying

According to Robert Downey, Jr. Iron Man 4 is happening and truth be told I am a little torn by the decision.  It’s a good thing because Downey, for millions of people (including this writer) embodies Tony Stark.

It’s not such a good thing because Marvel has to know that they’re just delaying the inevitable.  Originally when this question was posed to Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios,  he said something to the effect that the plan was to have the Iron Man franchise to be similar to James Bond, in that the actor who plays Bond is important, but less so than the franchise itself.

In other words, the actor who plays Iron Man would change from time to time.

The thing is that Marvel Studios is known for their thriftiness (or miserliness, depending upon how you look at such things) and it goes without saying that they must be paying Downey a butt-load of money, to put on the red and gold suit again (though in Marvel and Feige’s defense, Iron Man 3 made over $1.2 billion on a $200 million budget, so $50 million–what he earned for Iron Man 3–was just a drop in the bucket).

‘The Houses October Built’ Trailer

After the mild letdown that was Annebelle, I am on the lookout for a really effective (read: scary) horror movie.  I had my hopes on The Houses October Built–awesome title, by the way–till I learned that it’s made in the style of a found-footage movie, which implies that, at the very least, it’s not going to be too good.

We’ll see, though why didn’t they just make it into a regular movie?  Probably so that they can do it on the cheap, I imagine.

‘The Colony’ Review

The Colony movie poster

“Lawrence Fishburne Is The Best Thing In A Feature You Probably Already Seen In Other Movies.” 

I have been wanting to see The Colony every since I saw its trailer on YouTube four or five months ago, so naturally I was jazzed to learn that it’s on Netflix.  It takes place in an indeterminate future, where we have built huge machines to control the weather (it should go without saying that if it’s isn’t broke, don’t fix it).  Naturally (and somewhat obviously), this scheme goes awry, and the Earth is plunged into an seemingly unending Ice Age.

And if that weren’t bad enough, for some reason people are more susceptible to ailments like the flu, which Colony 7 lacked the medicines to treat.  What the movie doesn’t seem to understand is that the flu is viral, which means that antibiotics have no effect (which is typically why doctors recommend bed rest and lots of fluids).

That being said, in 1918 the Spanish flu literally killed somewhere in the ballpark of 50 million, which included a lot of young and otherwise healthy people.  What made it so unusual is that it caused a person’s immune system to go into overdrive, which mean that–ironically–the healthier you are, and the stronger your immune system, the greater the likelihood that it would kill you while, young children and older people, with weaker immune systems were more likely to recover.

Besides, it’s not unknown for viruses to mutate, so it’s certainly possible that a new variant of the flu could have arisen.

In any case, they’re short of food, personnel, and (with reason) virtually paranoid about illness, so when they receive an SOS from Colony 5,  a neighboring settlement–which isn’t to imply that it’s, geographically speaking, all that close– need aid, their leader, Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) forms a three-man a team to investigate, despite the misgivings of Mason (Bill Paxton).

Which in hindsight wasn’t a good move because Mason makes it fairly obvious that he wants to take over.  His job was to “take care” of the people who were sick, which normally started with isolating them for a period of time.  If they got better, then all was good, though if they didn’t they would get the option of either leaving–almost certainly a death sentence–or a bullet–definitely a death sentence.

Mason streamlined the entire process:  If they’re coughing, he’s shooting.

There’s a subplot involving a distant colony that has gotten one of the weather control machines that dot the landscape like abstract art, working,  so they’re able to push back the ice and snow.

Though they don’t have any seeds, which makes the fact they can reach soil, but have nothing to plant, a bit of a catch-22.

But Colony 7 does, but can’t reach the soil because of the ice.  The movie dangles the possibility of locating this ice-free Roanoke, but does little with it (though there’s an implication that it’s not quite what it seems).

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Practically Speaking

If you’re a big fan of movies, particularly horror and sci-fi, you’ve probably taken a position on whether or not movies should use CGI (computer-generated imagery) or practical effects (which include prosthetics, animatronics, models and miniatures).

Personally, I am a HUGE fans of practical effects.  That being said, I understand that there are things that you can’t do as well practically as you can do with CGI–for instance if you’ve seen Alex Proyas’ The Crow, there are numerous scenes where cars are moving through city streets that’s clearly part of a miniature cityscape which probably would have worked better with actual cars, unless Proyas deliberately wanted it to look like models–and when it’s done well,  CGI can add a dynamism to scenes that isn’t always possible practically.

On the other side, when you’re dealing with practical effects the actors and actresses are performing against an actual thing, as opposed to (in some instances) a tennis ball.

This means that you’re not only likelier to get a better performance out of them, the scene that they appear in looks more real.

One of my favorite filmmakers, producer Gerry Anderson, was a huge advocate of miniature effects (which probably has a lot to do with him coming from a background of making shows that revolved around puppetry, like Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons, The Thunderbirds, and The Terrahawks) which he incorporated into live action in movies like Doppleganger (also known as Journey to the Far Side of the Sun) and television shows like Space: 1999, UFO and Space Precinct.

In the video clip below Tom Woodruff, Jr and Alec Gillis, of StudioADI, discuss why it is that studios sometimes choose CGI effects over practical ones.  And as usual, nothing is as simple as movie fans would like it to be.