Friday, July 31, 2009

"Alien," "Pirates" updates

I just need a quick break from work, so I'll give a very brief update on two very popular film franchises:
  • First, Variety reported today that Ridley Scott--director of the original Alien--has agreed to return to the franchise for a prequel to his original film. This is bizarre news, because it is rare for an A-list director to return to a franchise that has pretty much gotten worse with every successive installment. I can't wait to see what he does with this.
  • Second, rumor has it that Disney is apparently trying to woo Rob Marshall (director of Chicago and Memoirs of a Geisha) to direct the upcoming fourth Pirates of the Carribean film. While I don't really have any opinion about Marshall as a director, I am excited for a new Pirates movie, which the studio is aiming to make smaller and more character-centric than the most recent sequels. Johnny Depp is for sure coming back, but we will not likely be seeing Keira Knightley or Orlando Bloom in this installment. Most of this is unconfirmed by the studio, but I do believe they have said that they are aiming to start filming next spring for a tentative 2011 release. I'll post more info as it becomes available.
Should give us something to look forward to!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Here comes the bride...

My friend Aaron tipped me off to this YouTube hit: a couple who decided to have an unconventional entrance to their wedding. Looks like something straight out of Runaway Bride or the like.

If Wendy and I had tried the same approach at our wedding, I'm pretty sure we would have seen Jennie doing the running man, Fast Eddy doing the worm, and Ammon dancing to High School Musical.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Will John Williams return to score HP7?

Everyone who reads this blog regularly knows how much I have enjoyed the Harry Potter films. In some ways, the films just keep getting better and better. I think that I would still rank the movies in the same order I did a couple of years ago (with Prisoner of Azkaban as my favorite and Chamber of Secrets as my least favorite). And there are only two days before I get to see Half-Blood Prince and report how I would rank it with relation to its predecessors (stay tuned). But one of my only complaints about HP4 and HP5 is that the accompanying scores have been forgettable. They did very little to expand the magical canvas that was being painted on-screen for the boy wizard. The missing link? Legendary composer John Williams.

Anyone who knows me will tell you what a huge John Williams fan I am. You all know his music (Star Wars, Jaws, Indiana Jones, Superman, E.T., Jurassic Park, Home Alone). Less well known are his more subtle (but no less satisfying) scores for artsier films like Memoirs of a Geisha, Schindler's List, or Catch Me if You Can. And while his Harry Potter music (he did the first three films) isn't necessarily his most acclaimed, I can't help but hear it in my mind any time I read the books.

Today comes exciting word from Harry Potter producer David Heyman that John Williams has been approached to finish out the Harry Potter film saga by scoring one or both of the installments for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I believe the official quote was "If we can make work, and that's a big if, for his schedule and ours then yes." That's far from a confirmation of this happening, but at least it's a step in the right direction.

Let's all hope this works out, as having John Williams return to the series after a three-film break would be a lovely bookend to this fantastic franchise. I can't wait to see what he'd do with the broomstick battle in the skies, or the escape from Gringotts bank, or the battle at Hogwarts, or Harry's final confrontation with Voldemort, etc. Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Roger Ebert vs. "Transformers"

Roger Ebert is certainly the most well-known film critic in the United States, although I sincerely doubt it is because of his impeccable taste in identifying good and bad movies. Case in point: he gave this year's end-of-the-world travesty, Knowing, a full four stars (did he actually stay through the last 30 minutes?). Likewise to 2005's Flightplan, which he says "delivers a frightening thriller with an airtight plot" (I agree with everything there except "airtight").

That said, the man sure can write an entertaining article, as humorously evidenced by his recent skewering of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which you can read in its entirety here. Needless to say, he hated the movie (an opinion he shares with most of the nation's critics). But at least he hates it with flair. My favorite line from his review: "If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination."

The irony here is that I'll still go see the movie, along with the rest of the male population of the world. I'm just too much of a boy at heart to resist the sight of ginormous talking machines crashing and exploding before my very eyes. Director Michael Bay has never been known for subtlety (or anything, really, except for explosions), but when he blows things up, the dude BLOWS THINGS UP! And even though no reputable critic will admit to liking this movie, we'll all still plunk down our money to see it. So if no one actually heeds the advice of movie critics, why do movie critics even exist?

If Roger Ebert is any indication, I think it's because sometimes we just like a good read. And like a good explosion, who doesn't love a good read?