Archive for February, 2008

The Bourne…Redundancy?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 28, 2008 by Drew

In a Variety.com article detailing the latest pursuits of Universal Studios, one little blurb caught my eye:

“More recently, Shmuger and Linde landed Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon for a fourth ‘Bourne’ movie, even though the director and star seemed ready to wrap it up after three pics.”Another Bourne Film?

Ok, I understand it’s good business to milk a franchse for all it’s worth, and I’m sure the “Bourne” series is a cash cow for Universal.  However, making a fourth “Bourne” film bothers me for one key reason: there is no novel behind it.

Few people may be aware of this, but the three existing “Bourne” films are actually based on a book trilogy by Robert Ludlum; but that’s all Ludlum wrote, a trilogy.  My fear is that without the same novelistic base as the trilogy, a fourth “Bourne” film will lose the essence of the series; that certain aura that makes the series unique and interesting could get lost in Hollywood hype and overbudget chase scenes.

Time will tell, I suppose. I am a fan of the “Bourne” movies so far, and I would hate to see them marred by mediocrity in the form of a sub-par sequel (remember “X-Men: The Last Stand?”)

Casting News for Next “X-Men” Flick

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24, 2008 by Drew

DeadpoolUsually, when I log into my Instant Messenger account, I get really annoyed by the browser window that automatically pops up displaying AIM Today. Today, however, it turned out to be a blessing (if you’re a movie buff and “X-Men” fan, that is).

IMDB confirms the small blurb on the AIM site: The next “X-Men” film, titled “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” will feature two characters long-considered to be fan favorites.   Ryan Reynolds (“Van Wilder,” “The Amityville Horror”) will play Deadpool, while Taylor Kitsch (“Friday Night Lights”) will play the heavily-anticipated GambitHugh Jackman will reprise the role of Wolverine.

According to IMDB’s preliminary plot summary, in this film Wolverine will learn “the full truth of his origin, while also heading in a bold, new direction.”

Vague? Yes.  Exciting? Absolutely!

No More HD-DVD. Blast…

Posted in Uncategorized on February 21, 2008 by Drew

Sad Day.It appears Murphy’s Law is upheld once more.  Not more than six months after I finally gave in to my materialistic desires and bought an HD-DVD player, this happens:

Toshiba announced this week that it will cease production of all HD-DVD discs and players by the end of March, effectively yielding the market to Sony’s Blu-Ray Disc format.

The format war between the two companies has waged for nearly three years, often being compared to the battle between VHS and Betamax during the 1980s.

According to an article in The New York Times, Toshiba is expected to suffer hundreds of millions of dollars in losses from the discontinuation of HD-DVD and all things related.

Personally, I managed to accumulate five films and two seasons of popular television series on HD-DVD before this lovely news broke.  I still plan to watch them all.  A lot.  Call me stubborn, but I’m going to get my money’s worth.

My Review: “Jumper”

Posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2008 by Drew

I know I promised this review would be posted by last Friday at the latest, but I didn’t count on life and my own laziness getting in the way as much as they did.  Oh well.A decent movie.

Based on the novel by Stephen Gould, “Jumper” is the story of David Rice.  In the course of being an angsty high school student, David discovers he has the power to teleport himself anywhere on Earth in the blink of an eye.  After eight years of reaping all the benefits of his ability and none of the consequences, David finds himself in the middle of a war between teleporters, a.k.a. jumpers, and a group of religious radicals called paladins, bent on ridding the world of the jumper abominations.

Hayden Christensen plays the lead role passably; I felt his acting was better than it was in the “Star Wars” movies, for what it’s worth (which may not be much).  Samuel L. Jackson plays Roland; an elite, very dangerous paladin and all-around evil badass, with his sights set on David.  The two actors play off of each other well, though Jackson clearly has to carry them through some scenes.

The special effects in this movie are impressive and intriguing; I never got tired of watching jumpers spontaneously pop in and out of shots, leaving little tears in space-time behind them (which, by the way, are called “jump-scars”).  One of my favorite moments is during a fight scene, when fellow jumper Griffin (Jamie Bell) simultaneously sprints and teleports in short bursts towards a paladin.  It’s hard to explain textually, but trust me, it was awesome.

The plot is lacking.  A very simple good versus evil conflict plays out expectantly, complete with the damsel in distress (Rachel Bilson) in desperate need of rescuing.  A side plot regarding David’s mother attempts to add some depth to the story, but it just ends up feeling forced and tacked on.

Overall, I would label “Jumper” as average; it isn’t horrible, but much better movies have been made.  If you’re a sci-fi fan it’s definitely worth seeing just for the cool jumper effects.  In the end, I award “Jumper” a three out of five.

Later: My Take on “Jumper.” Now, Someone Else’s

Posted in Uncategorized on February 14, 2008 by Drew

My plan for this installment of my blog was to review “Jumper,” the new movie starring Hayden Christensen, made by the same folks as the “Bourne” films. Unfortunately, today just HAD to be a Thursday, meaning that I just HAD to be in class instead of a movie theater. Thus, my review will come later, hopefully tonight. Until then, here is the Studio Briefing review as posted on IMDB:Movie Poster for

Hayden Christensen might legitimately conclude that all the major critics have suddenly morphed into his most famous character when he reads their reviews of his latest movie, Jumper. Listen for the heavy breathing as you read the words of Jack Mathews in the New York Daily News: ‘Given its uninvolving story, uninteresting characters and the presence of half-man/half-tree Hayden Christensen, the movie is wholly dependent on special effects, which I rate only so-so.’ ‘Christensen was no doubt tapped for the role to pull in Star Wars fans,’ writes Walter Addiego in the San Francisco Chronicle, ‘and this comic book material isn’t much of a test of whatever talent he may possess.’ (Hayden’s co-star is Samuel L. Jackson, who played Star Wars‘ Mace Windu.) Describing the film as ‘a barely coherent genre mishmash,’ Manohla Dargis in the New York Times concludes that it is ‘all bad, from the subliterate dialogue to the chaotic direction and heavily edited points in between.’ Lou Lumenick in the New York Post says that most of the film is simply ‘a badly edited, hourlong chase sequence with some of the cheesiest special effects seen in a major studio release of late.’ (Lumenick’s colleague, Kyle Smith, gives the film half a star on his blog on the Post‘s website — but the responses to his review on his blog suggest how effective he may be in discouraging his readers from watching it. One from ‘hurt fan’ reads: ‘I was looking forward to this movie man and now youve completely destroyed it for me. I can only pray that I find another artical that completely contradicts your argument.’ Another writes: ‘They only hate it because Hayden Christensen is in it. he’s still being punished for star wars.’) The film does receive a few so-so reviews. Peter Howell in the Toronto Star (perhaps giving Torontonian Christensen the benefit of a doubt) writes: ‘The movie is something of an abomination in narrative terms. But it does have its moments.'”

New Line Hasn’t Paid a Dime for “Rings”

Posted in Uncategorized on February 11, 2008 by Drew

I’m sure the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien was happy to let New Line Cinema make “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy into an epic movie experience.  After all, certainly Tolkien’s estate would share in the $6 billion in profits from the films, right?  Apparently not.

According to a story on Yahoo News, Tolkien’s estate hasn’t seen a cent’s worth of the profits from the phenomenally successful films.  The estate has filed a lawsuit, stating that New Line Cinema agreed to pay 7.5 percent of gross receipts, including everything from ticket sales to DVD and merchandise profits.

The plaintiffs also seek a court order that would give the Tolkien estate the right to terminate any of New Line’s movie rights to other works by the author. This includes “The Hobbit,” for which the two-film adaptation was set to be released in 2010 and 2011.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers said they have been spending the past three years trying to receive payment from New Line.

Will the Oscars Air as Planned? Maybe.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 7, 2008 by Drew

I was speaking to my fellow movie-nerd friends last night about the writers’ strike, and one of them said he had heard that negotiations have begun and that there is an end in sight.  With a cautious optimism, I turned to the World Wide Web for some answers.  Indeed, IMDB and Movieweb have both posted stories indicating that the Writers Guild of America is currently in talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers over terms of a new contract.  ABC plans to air the Oscars on timeUnfortunately, there are not many details beyond that at present. 

I also found a related story about the biggest event in any moviegoer’s year; the live Academy Awards telecast.

Oscar.com, the official website of the 80th Annual Academy Awards, is still operating under the assumption that the live event will air as scheduled on Feb. 24, despite the writers’ strike.  However, in the same IMDB story mentioned above, there is still uncertainly over the issue:

Sid Ganis, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, repeated his plea to leaders of the WGA to allow preparation for the Oscars to go forward. In an interview with Daily Variety, Ganis noted that the show involves complicated production numbers and making travel arrangements for presenters and nominees. ‘I’m nervous,’ he told the trade publication. ‘We’re getting down to the final moments; we need to make plans.'”

In short, there has been progress, but not much.  There is still too much uncertainty in the air for moviegoers like me to relax…for now.