‘The Book Of Life’ Trailer 1 & 2

Guillermo del Toro, coming off the success of How To Train Your Dragon 2 (it’s earned over $535 million worldwide) has also produced the upcoming The Book of Life.  Judging from the trailer it looks like it could be fun but I have a few caveats:  First, it’s a cartoon that revolves around the Mexican Day of the Dead, yet there’s only one main actor–Diego Luna–who’s Spanish (Zoe Saldana doesn’t count.  She was born in New Jersey and and later, when she was 10, moved to the Dominican Republic with her family).

Looking at the credits on IMDB that’s actually not the case, but I hope they don’t end up window-dressing in a movie that’s about an aspect of their culture.

‘Silent Hills’ Trailer

Typically when horror-maestro Guillermo Del Toro creates something I am one of the first to acknowledge the sheer awesomeness of his work because few directors, in my experience, have such an eye for the small details that make a movie, be it science fiction, horror, or whatever, particularly memorable.

His most recent project, a videogame that expands the universe of Silent Hill, called Silent Hills, I am not sure what to think about.  I should also mention that it didn’t help that the first time that I saw the trailer that someone was playing the game and talking over it as well.

Minus the additional soundtrack, the PT (playable trailer) appears pretty atmospheric, though only mildly creepy, which considering that it comes from Del Toro and Hideo Kojima, considered to be one of the most influential game designers, concerns me a bit.

Though seeing is not the same as playing, though the game may indeed be terrifying, in the tradition of Silent Hill.  Being that I don’t own a Playstation, here are Brian Altano and John Ryan of IGN playing it, and offering a running commentary.

‘Patrick’ Review

Patrick: Evil Awakens

Some Memories, And Coma Patients, Are Best Left Alone

Mark Hartley‘s Patrick, is currently on Netflix, and is surprisingly a engaging little horror film (before it jumps the rails, that is).  I was expecting something silly, on the level of an Asylum feature, it was actually pretty engaging, before the aforementioned rail jumping.

Charles Dance brought a much needed sense of dread and gravitas to things, and he reminded me somewhat of Peter Cushing of Christopher Lee, both of whom possessed the ability to make sub-par material at least interesting.

Unfortunately, no one–other than the writers, or maybe Edward Norton–can do anything to make a silly story less so, or help a movie regain the goodwill its lost (misplaced somewhere around the half-way mark).

Events unfold place almost entirely in a moody villa that houses the Roget Clinic, where Doctor Roget (Dance) experiments on his patients, assisted by his daughter, Matron Cassidy (Rachel Griffiths).

As of late the doctor seems particularly preoccupied by Patrick (Jackson Gallagher), whom was somehow put in a comatose state after murdering his mother and her lover.

Roget is particularly fond of electroshock therapy, as well as a drug that will look eerily familiar to anyone that’s seen Re-Animator.  If he’s able to bring Patrick out of his coma, it will prove that his theories are correct, and enable him to regain the fame and notoriety he once had before a fall from grace (something involving illegal experiments probably similar to those he’s currently performing, I’d guess).

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Why ‘Pacific Rim’ Will Spawn A Sequel, Part II

In September of last year I wrote of how Pacific Rim Will Spawn A Sequel.  One of the reasons that I said that this was the case was because Guillermo Del Toro said at the time that he was writing it with Travis Beacham, who wrote the original with Del Toro.

Yesterday ScreenRant mentioned that Del Toro is no longer writing with him, but instead is working on the sequel with Zach Penn because he was no longer available (Travis Beacham is working on a new series, Hieroglyph, on the Fox television network).

That Del Toro is still working on a Pacific Rim sequel, despite the fact that his original writing partner is no longer available implies there’s enough interest on the part of Legendary Pictures that they are at least willing to see where a sequel would go (which I assumed would be co-financed with Universal Pictures this time around, as opposed to Warner Bros).

And that’s still not a guarantee that it will happen, though as I said, it shows that Guillermo Del Toro is still interested in revisiting the world that he’s built, which if all the planets align in their proper orbits, makes it even likelier that it will happen.

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‘Godzilla’ Review

Godzilla (2014) movie poster

Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla Isn’t The Same Monster Many Of Us Grew Up Watching, Which Sometimes Isn’t A Good Thing

In The Beginning…

I remember when I was growing that I spent many Saturday afternoons in front of a television, watching monsters like Gamera, Mothra and Godzilla.  They tended to have come into being due to the hubris of Man, as well as our tendency to use nuclear weapons, which inevitably got out of hand.

Though Mothra was most interesting because, besides being a giant moth, it was summoned by these two tiny women.  And by ‘tiny’ I mean literally small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, which made no sense at all.  Then again, Gamera could not only breath fire, but when he retracted his legs, arms and head into his shell he was capable of flight.  So really, can I complain about two micro-women all that much?

The first movies that dealt with both Gamera and Godzilla were fairly serious things, seeing that they were analogies about the dangers of nuclear weapons (which makes sense when you take into account Japan was the only nation that was attacked using them).

So if anyone was able to comment upon such things with authority, it’s the Japanese.

But a funny thing happened…as the adventures of Godzilla continued, they got goofier.  And when I write ‘goofy’ I mean that when Godzilla wasn’t throwing karate kicks, seemingly held aloft by his massive tail or talking smack at MechaGodzilla (via hand signals and attitude), he was hanging out with a baby Godzilla who instead of breathing fire, breathed smoke rings (unless you stepped on his tail, then look out).

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The Strain Trilogy Is Coming To A Television Near You! (As Long You Have Cable, That Is)

The StrainGuillermo Del Toro is, it goes without saying, one of my favorite directors working today.  His work is always interesting, even if doesn’t make billions of dollars.  He’s been working with Legendary Pictures since “Pacific Rim,” which did OK at the boxoffice.

I haven’t heard anything about a sequel, though he’s currently working on “Crimson Peak,”, also with Legendary as well as Charlie Hunnam (and probably Ron Perlman, who if anyone could be called his muse, it would be him).

But as much as I enjoyed ‘Rim,’ I am not writing about that.  Instead I am writing about the series he has coming on FX, based on the series of books he wrote with Chuck Hogan, which consist of “The Strain,” “The Fall” and “The Night Eternal.”

The storyline is vaguely similar to Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot” in which a plague of vampires–’plague’ is an apt word because Del Toro and Dixon treat the vampires as an disease (which is actually quite similar to what he did in “Blade II).

  The Eclipse

Body Bags

Five Reasons That Will Contribute To Guillermo Del Toro Directing Doctor Strange

This post is entirely speculation, though it is based upon logic as well as current news.

Notice that in the title of this article I sad “could” as opposed to “would” because the last I heard was that Del Toro was busy working on Legendary Pictures’ upcoming fright-feature “Crimson Peak,” as well as executive producing the FX series based upon the trilogy he wrote with Chuck Hogan, “The Strain,” “The Fall” and “The Night Eternal.”

But I have been reading the tea leaves and checking the entrails regularly, and here’s what I have seen:

1.  Despite Rumors To The Contrary, Guillermo Del Toro Will Not Be Doing “Justice League Dark” Anytime Soon

Why?  Because NBC is working on “Constantine,” a series not based on the Francis Lawrence movie of the same name, but the DC (formerly under their Vertigo imprint) series, also of the same name.  While it’s possible that the character could appear in both places at the same time (this is, of course assuming that the television series has a long life), it’s probably not going to happen.  The character of John Constantine is the lynchpin that the team revolves around, and without him the concept is pretty much dead in the water, besides being somewhat esoteric.

Matt Ryan/John Constantine

Matt Ryan as John Constantine

And that’s even considering how much Warner Bros would have to invest from the budget end of things, which would probably be huge (though they could do it with a partner, as long as it’s not Legendary Pictures, since they and Warner Bros. somewhat acrimoniously parted ways.  That being said, they still work with Village Roadshow Pictures).

2.  DC/Warner Bros. Doesn’t Seem To Have Much Of A Plan Toward Developing Their Characters

Whether or not someone likes what Marvel is doing with their characters, you have to admit that they not only have a plan, but they are executing it really, really well.  This is primarily because the head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, has apparently developed a plan to develop their characters, and is following it.  Marvel’s roadmap is divided into Phases:  Phase One consisted of “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” ” Captain America: The First Avenger,” and “Thor” and culminated in “The Avengers.”

Notice the pattern:  First there’s an introduction of the characters–which may or may not have more than one film in the future–and a film that brings them all together.

Phase Two consists of “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “The Guardians Of The Galaxy,” and “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Phase Three will consist of “Ant-Man,” “Captain America 3,” “Thor 3″ and “The Avengers 3.”

As I said, you don’t necessarily have to like what Marvel is doing, but what you can’t deny is that there is a plan at work.

Warner Bros/DC?  Not so much.  What seems to be driving them is profit above all, which I understand, but that’s not a plan.  Though it didn’t exactly start that way because for awhile it appeared that DC was building toward a Justice League feature–and probably still are–which began with “Green Lantern.”

Oh, but wait!  Green Lantern?  Don’t I mean Batman?  No, I don’t because Christopher Nolan’s Batman films aren’t necessarily part of DC’s greater cinematic plans because Nolan quite deliberately kept them separate from the rest of the DC Universe, which was probably not a great decision in retrospect.

Though that’s why “Green Lantern” was so important:  It was the beginning of DC/Warner Bros. establishing a larger canvas on which to display their properties.  If Green Lantern had worked they could have brought Ryan Reynolds back as the character in other DC films, such as the Justice League, or even the upcoming “Batman Vs. Superman” feature.

But it was not to be because Green Lantern was unable to recharge either his lantern or the box office, where it earned almost $220 million on a $200 million dollar budget; not enough to make a profit.

So DC rebooted Superman, in “Man of Steel,” without a doubt the most violent Superman film ever made.

Which could perhaps explain why that film made “only” $668 million dollars.  It’s a lot of money, but for a character as iconic and as firmly established in the public consciousness as Superman, it actually wasn’t that great a performance.

For the sequel, “Superman Vs. Batman,” DC will not only feature Superman and Batman, but Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor as the villain.  It seems apparent that they are trying to follow a strategy similar to Marvel, except more compressed.

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