Sunday, December 26, 2010

True Grit

Yes, it has been months since my last posting here. I've been waiting for a good enough reason. Today I found it.

I just saw the new film from the Coen brothers, True Grit, starring Jeff Bridges as one-eyed US Marshall Rooster Cogburn and an all-star cast. It is the best film of 2010, in my view.

If I gave out awards, I'd give the following to this extraordinary retelling of an American classic Western:

- Best Score by Carter Burwell

- Best Screenplay adapted from a book

- Best ensemble of actors including the young phenom Hailee Steinfield as the avenging 14 year old Matty Ross, Matt Damon as a stalwart Texas Ranger, Josh Brolin as the hunted killer Tom Chaney, and Barry Pepper as outlaw chief Lucky Ned Pepper.

- Best directors

- Best picture

My niece came along to see the film and had never seen a Western before. She loved True Grit and asked me what other Western is as good. I'm still thinking about that one.

Go see it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Whoever it was that said Inception is like "James Bond Meets The Matrix" was right on the money. Except that such a comparison only goes so far. And film-maker Christopher Nolan's grand dream epic goes so much farther.

What a movie! For most of it, I was breathless. I couldn't even manage a "Whoa!" during the many Whoa-deserving scenes.

I won't even try to sum up the labyrinthine plot that has something to do with invading Cillian Murphy's dreams to plant an idea there that will change the business plans of his energy company. I'll just say that Inception boasts a huge and impressive cast headed by the always excellent Leonardo DiCaprio and the sadly gorgeous Marion Cotillard, supported by Ellen (Juno) Page, Joseph (Brick) Gordon-Levitt, Tom (Bronson) Hardy, and Ken Watanabe. And Tom Berenger, for goodness sake!

Composer Hans Zimmer's pounding pulsating score is one of his very best!

I think I may have just seen the Best Picture winner of the year.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on July 22, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


When Pandorum came out in theaters a year or two ago, I remember thinking, "I've got to see that one." But I never did.

Until last night. Thanks to my sons, they sat me down, with takeout food (excellent Vietnamese dinner from Nha Trang Place Jersey City) and beer (Exit 4 from Flying Fish) to watch Pandorum.


An intense and terrifying spaceship thriller starring Ben Foster, Dennis Quaid, and German actress Antje Traue (who would make an excellent Lisbeth Salander), I was riveted throughout as director Christian Alvart kept me guessing as to just what the heck was going on.

And I loved the ending.

For some reason, when Pandorum ran in theaters, it tanked. The critics didn't like it. And audiences passed on it.

If you like Alien, The Descent, and similar sci-fi/horror films, this one is for you.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on July 13, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

When I Was A Kid

At the Movie Addicts group on LinkedIn, someone asked, What were some of your favorite movies when you were a kid?

When I think back to my kid days, the late 1950's to early 1960's, I was truly a movie (and TV) addict, watching just about everything that the New York stations had to broadcast, especially channels 5, 9 and 11.

I loved anything having to do with horror, ghosts, sci fi, name it. And classic comedy, especially Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, the Three Stooges, even the Bowery Boys.

So here are some of the films that really resonated with me when I was a kid:

- The March of the Wooden Soldiers. To this day, I can sit and watch this timeless classic comedy with Laurel & Hardy and still laugh my butt off over their old jokes ("Good night, Ollie.")

- Mighty Joe Young. I still choke up during the climactic fire rescue scene.

- King Kong. A classic of cinema, period.

- The Wizard of Oz. Ditto my last comment. One of the top ten films of all time.

- The Time Machine starring Rod Taylor, with its excellent music score by Russell Garcia.

- Jason and the Argonauts. For mythic adventure and strange creatures, this one has it all, courtesy of animation master Ray Harryhausen and composer Bernard Herrmann.

- The Day the Earth Stood Still. When Patricia Neal approaches Gort the giant robot, to stop it before it destroys the Earth by saying "Klaatu barata nikto," you have one of the most terrifying moments in film history. Plus score by Bernard Herrmann.

- Hold That Ghost. One of Abbott and Costello's early efforts has gangsters, ghosts, and the Andrew Sisters!

- The Magnificent Seven. What a cast. What a story. What music (by Elmer Bernstein)

- Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Maybe the best mix of comedy and horror ever. And the score by Frank Skinner is a favorite.

And one more I just remembered:

- The Fabulous World of Jules Verne. A Czech film with striking visuals that look like drawings come to life.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, July 10, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Jason and the Argonauts

When I was a kid, I begged my dad to take me to see Jason & the Argonauts (1963) at the local movie theater. I could tell he wasn't enthused. But he relented and took me to see it.

It changed my life.

The creatures animated by the great Ray Harryhausen were among his very best, including the tormenting harpies, the giant man of bronze Talos, and the army of skeletons. Each scene is a classic of cinema.

Elevating these and other scenes is the music provided by the legendary Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann whose score for Jason is among his very best. From the opening theme with its strong pounding drums and triumphant horns, to the wild fandango that propels the battle with the skeletons, this is film scoring at its greatest, transporting you to a mythic place where you believe in seven headed hydras guarding a golden fleece.

Tom Hanks said, at an Oscar ceremony a couple years ago, that the greatest film ever made was Jason and the Argonauts. I agree.

Posted by terrence Seamon, July 3, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Big Trouble in Little China

One of my all-time favorite adventure films from the 1980's is John (Halloween) Carpenter's deliriously wacky Big Trouble in Little China (1986). Starring Kurt Russell as a swaggering doofus hero named Jack Burton, and Kim Cattrall as his near-girlfriend, the story is a delightful mishmosh of kung fu, mystical battling wizards, and "It was a dark and stormy night" scary ghost story.

I never tire of watching it. The script is replete with wonderful snatches of dialogue. For instance, ever wonder what's in a Six Demon Bag? "Wind, fire, all that kind of thing!"

Big Trouble in Little China is just that good.

If there was ever a movie that cried out for a sequel (or two) it was this under-rated lark from the master John Carpenter.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, June 26, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Superman II - The Richard Donner Cut

I like the films of director Richard Donner. Films like the classic Lethal Weapon and its follow-ups.

When Donner made the original Superman movie with Christopher Reeve, he also shot much of what he intended as Superman II. But then he was fired. And replaced with UK director Richard (A Hard Day's Night) Lester.

Superman II came out in 1981 and was a smash. But it was not what Donner had in mind. Lester's film had a very different tone from the first. While it was OK, it felt too jokey to me. I remember not liking it. It didn't feel right. It wasn't true to the spirit Donner had created in the first film.

Fast forward to 2006, and the Richard Donner cut of Superman II was released. I finally saw it tonight.

While the film is a somewhat strange result, cobbled together as best they could from footage found in a vault, I am so glad they made the effort. The Donner cut features a wonderfully moving performance by Reeve and has brought back the heart that Donner had invested in the first film.

In fact, that's what Donner is about: heart. The heart of human relationships. Look at the connection between Murtaugh and Riggs in Lethal Weapon.

In the Donner cut of Superman II, the scenes between Superman and his ghostly father Jor-El (played by Marlon Brando), where the son is torn between his mission to care for humanity and his love for a mortal woman, will bring a tear to your eye.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, June 24, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Fall

Today is Father's Day. At my son Kevin's insistence, this morning I watched director Tarsem Singh's 2006 movie The Fall. A film that, in essence, is about becoming a father.

What a wondrous visual feast! It reminded me of The Princess Bride, The Wizard of Oz, and the Arabian Nights, somehow blended with a story of early Hollywood in a hospital near the orange groves of 1920's Los Angeles.

The Fall is teaming with interesting actors, but not one that I recognized. Actor Lee Pace stars as an injured Hollywood stuntman who is contemplating suicide rather than live as a cripple. Another patient in the hospital, a young immigrant girl (played by a remarkable child actress named Catinca Untaru) who broke her arm picking oranges, is drawn to him when he tells her an epic story of a team of friends seeking revenge against an evil governor.

And what a colorful team of heroes! I especially liked the mud-covered mystic wildman who emerges from a smoldering tree. Tarsem's band puts many other superhero films to shame. I even had the thought that Tarsem should be in the running to direct The Hobbit now that Del Toro has stepped down.

Though the lavish visuals nearly overwhelm the story, the director never loses sight of the heart of this story, the relationship between the forlorn stuntman and the fatherless child.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, June 20, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cross of Iron

Continuing my rediscovery of forgotten Sam Peckinpah movies, I rented Cross of Iron, his 1977 film set on the Russian Front during World War II, featuring a dynamite international cast headed by James Coburn, Maximilian Schell, David Warner, James Mason, and Senta Berger, but teaming with excellent supporting players.

In Cross of Iron, Peckinpah takes the viewer to the hell of war, and there is no escape. Even the hero, German soldier Rolf Steiner (wonderfully played by under-rated actor Coburn), beloved by his men and decorated for bravery, is unable to escape the unrelenting savagery, even though he has a chance when he is injured in a ferocious battle with the Russians and sent to hospital where he meets the gorgeous nurse Eva (played by lovely Senta Berger). Unable to abandon his men who are still waging war with the overwhelming Russian army, Steiner leaves her and returns to the front line where more horror awaits.

Though a box office dud at home in the U.S., Cross of Iron was a huge success in Europe.

While watching this forgotten masterpiece from American original Peckinpah, I found myself thinking of Quentin Tarantino's excellent WWII film Inglorious Basterds. Knowing that QT is a total film geek, I wonder if he had Cross of Iron in mind as he crafted his fantasy film about the war?

Tarantino's entertaining film feeds our wish fulfillment by depicting an alternate ending to the war, while Peckinpah, the grim realist, gives us mud, blood, agony, and death.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, June 10, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Review of Splice

Imagine your most dysfunctional family. Got it? Now go see Splice, the new horror/sci-fi flick from director Vincenzo Natali. This mother, father, and daughter will send you to bed with shivers and nightmares.

When I heard about this film back when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, I knew I had to see it. And wow wee, it's good! If you like your sci fi and horror to go over the top and then some, you will like this.

I had heard from some other reviews that there are "eewww" scenes of gross-out horror (yes, there are), as well as "whoa hey now" scenes of highly inappropriate sex (yes, there are). So be prepared. This is NOT, I repeat NOT, a film for children. So get a baby-sitter, people.

The opening night audience that I saw Splice with, at the Loews in Edison NJ, was very appreciative, hooting and yowling at all the right spots as Natali pushed our buttons good.

Usually in films of this sort, the actors are beside the point. But not here. Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody as the husband-and-wife scientists who "birth" a cute little chimera named Dren, deliver terrific performances that veer from Dr. Frankensteinish glee to Biblically resonant insanity.

The film I was most reminded of while watching Splice was David Cronenberg's masterpiece of horror/sci fi The Fly. And it seems that Natali was nodding to The Master in several scenes.

So, I'm giving it a B+ because I kept thinking, "Gee. This is really good, but . . . What if David Cronenberg had made this?"

Posted by Terrence Seamon, June 5, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Jack Bauer on the Silver Screen

So 24 is no more. Or, to be precise, the TV series called 24 is no more. After eight seasons of fighting foreign terrorists, weasley bureaucrats, and evil politicians, CTU agent Jack Bauer's run has ended.

When we last saw Jack, he had avenged the brutal killing of his girlfriend and, in so doing, brought down the presidency. In the final scene, he was given a head-start to flee the country.

Yes, the show is over, but, the word from 24's producers (including Kiefer Sutherland) is that the franchise will make the leap to the movie screen. Jack will be somewhere in Europe, fighting terrorists and saving the day.

Sounds good...but will it work?

There have been many attempts to translate a beloved TV show to the Big Screen, almost always a failure. Look at the miserable turd they made from the excellent landmark 1960's TV series I Spy starring Bill Cosby and the late great Robert Culp.

So here's the question: Can it be done? Can a great TV series like 24 be successfully translated to the Big Screen?

In the case of 24, I think they have a chance to succeed, especially with the success of the movie Taken, and the vacuum left by the Bourne series. Audiences clearly want to see a lone man with skills take on the bad guys.

Can a show as unique as 24 survive the move from the TV set to the theatrical film level? Due to its "real-time" concept of a day-in-the-life of Jack Bauer, 24 pulsed with an energy that made its rabid fans return week after week. I wonder how that is going to work in a two-hour format?

Whatever they hatch, one thing Keifer and Company can count on is that its loyal fans, which includes me, will be lining up to buy a ticket.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 28, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - Part 2

OK I saw the film last night. And I am torn about it. While I really enjoyed much of it --and I thought that Noomi Rapace is a breakout star in the part of Lisbeth Salander-- I thought that the screenplay left out way too much of the book.

So, on balance, I'll give the film a B+ and add the suggestion that a book as rich as this one needs a longer running time (or more than one movie) to do it justice.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Who Needs It?

I guess I'm getting cranky as I get old. But the other day, when I read that there are two remakes of The Three Musketeers in the works, I found myself barking, "Who needs this?" I feel the same way about the new Robin Hood film. Who needs another Robin Hood movie?

Maybe the risk-averse bean counters need endless remakes of tried-and-true formulas. But not me. Give me originality any day. For example, Splice. I can't wait to see it.

At the risk of muddying my own waters, I'm not against classics like the Musketeers or Robin Hood. What I want, however, is an original spin.

For example, put the Three Musketeers into a contemporary urban setting. The makers of the HBO series The Wire did an interesting update on Robin Hood with the character of Omar Little (played so memorably by Michael K. Williams).

Come on, Hollywood. let's get creative and take some chances.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

I just finished reading the book The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by the late Steig Larsson. It's a cliche to say that I could not put the book down, but guess what? I could hardly put it down, and when I had to, I could not get it out of my mind. That, to me, is the hallmark of a great book. One that creates believable and palpable characters and relationships, and a world so fully realized that you enter it and enjoy the stay.

"The Girl" is Lisbeth Salander, a fascinating character, an angry anti-social hacker somewhat similar to Chloe O'Brien from TV's 24, but way more socially estranged than Chloe ever was. But like Chloe who is loyally attached to Jack Bauer, Salander gradually becomes attached to her investigative counterpart Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist. Together they find themselves researching a decades-old disappearance that might be a murder, uncovering some old sins (such as Nazism) and some hidden ones (such as abuse of women) along the way.

I've read that the next two books in the trilogy continue to develop the story. And I look forward to reading both books.

No, I have not yet seen the movie version that came out last year from Sweden. (That is actress Noomi Rapace as Salander, in the photo.) But I hope to catch it soon.

I've read that an English-language remake is being planned and a search is on for the actress to play Lisbeth Salander. Names such as Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Kristen Stewart, and Scarlett Johansson are being mentioned. Who would I cast?

I think I would go with an unknown. An actress like Sarah Clarke, the one from the first season of 24 who played Jack Bauer's nemesis Nina Myers. Someone with that lean and scary look.

How about Noomi Rapace?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 12, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Iron Man 2

Can a movie give you a headache?

I walked out of Iron Man 2 with a splitting headache.

There's an interesting story buried in the noise of Iron Man 2, about three men, one good, one ugly, and one bad: a rapidly deteriorating Tony Stark (an excellent Robert Downey Jr) haunted by his dead father; brilliant badguy Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke in tattoos and wild hair) out to avenge his dead father; and slimey competitor Justin Hammer (well played by Sam Rockwell).

But the story gets lost in the noise. There is a lot of action in this sequel. Probably too much action. It drowns out the characters and the relationships.

Did the movie give me the headache? Maybe it was the Diet Coke and Raisinets?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 11, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Space Jockey's Story

I've read that director Ridley (Robin Hood) Scott is planning to revisit the Alien franchise, which he started, with a couple of prequels. I'm up for that! His original film is still the best in the series, with James Cameron's Aliens a close second.

Considering how the franchise has deteriorated, it's time for someone to take hold of the story, and who better than Ridley Scott. He has said in recent interviews that he is planning to tell what happened to the Space Jockey (aka The Pilot), the giant corpse with a hole in its ribs, found by the investigating crew members of the Nostromo in the first film.

Since these prequels will tell a back-story thirty years before the original film, Ellen Ripley, the xenomorph-blasting heroine played by Sigourney Weaver, will not be in the picture. The Company, on the other hand, will be featured. So you can bet there will be some evil suits plotting something dastardly. Hopefully, Scott will introduce a new hero or heroine to battle the hordes of slimy space bugs.

Scott says to look for the first of the prequels to hit theaters toward the end of next year.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Did you notice the big controversy that erupted with the release of the R-rated super-hero film "Kick-Ass" from UK director Matthew (Layer Cake) Vaughn? Famous film critic Roger Ebert gave it one star and a big fat thumbs down for being "morally reprehensible" due to the movie's portrayal of an 11-year old girl as a ruthless superhero assassin.

With such a brouhaha, I couldn't wait to see it! So, when my son Dave invited my wife and me to a matinee, I jumped. And found Kick-Ass quite entertaining!

To sum up the main plot, Hit Girl (who steals the show) is on a mission, with her father Big Daddy (played by the ever watchably nutty Nic Cage), to take down a local crime boss who was responsible for the death of her mother.

As for Roger Ebert's objections, the movie is clearly a cartoon style revenge flick much like Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill where a female hero slays a legion of evil men in her quest for the Big Bad Guy.

Have we ever seen a young girl character in a movie like this?

In discussing Kick-Ass afterward with my son Dave, he said it reminded him of the excellent anime film Princess Mononoke, a mythical saga about preserving the elemental spirit of nature, which features a young girl as the fierce killing machine that will stop at nothing to achieve her goal of defending the forest from those who would destroy it.

Though Kick-Ass is a hoot of an action flick, there is more going on. For me, the film is saying something profound about the shaping influence that Fathers have on their Children. By the end of the film, both the crime boss and Big Daddy have "birthed" super-hero children who may come back in sequels to do battle again.

Friday, April 9, 2010

RoboCop and Jesus

Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven, director of such films as RoboCop, Total Recall, and Black Book, has recently revealed a long-standing interest in the life and meaning of Jesus Christ. A student of the Jesus Seminars since 1987, Verhoeven has co-written and published a book called Jesus of Nazareth, published by Seven Stories Press.

Today, on the Leonard Lopate radio show, I heard an interview with Verhoeven where he talked about the book and his interest in Jesus.

Lopate asked him about the resurrection angle in RoboCop. Verhoeven confirmed it, saying that his wife helped him to see it in the script: Murphy is killed, then brought back to life as half-man/half-machine who later reclaims his humanity.

Asked if he has plans to make a movie based on his book about Jesus, Verhoeven said maybe. If he were to do one, it would not be like the Mel Gibson film, The Passion of the Christ, which stressed the arrest, torture, and crucifixion that Jesus suffered.

For Verhoeven, focusing on "the passion" misses the point of Jesus' life and message. I for one would be very interested in Verhoeven's take on this.

Posted April 9, 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Garcia, Oates, and Peckinpah

My son Kevin came home the other day with a bag of dvds of old films from the Seventies, including two by legendary director Sam Peckinpah: The Killer Elite and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.

While The Killer Elite has a good cast (including Robert Duvall, James Caan, Mako, Gig Young, Arthur Hill, and Burt Young), it's an odd misfire. On the other hand, the 1974 film Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, starring the under-rated Warren Oates as Bennie, was something else. All I can say is that it's an over-looked Peckinpah masterpiece.

Though flawed, it's a fascinating story of evil, greed, love and revenge, featuring a terrific cast headed by Oates, with excellent support from Isela Vega, Robert Webber, and Gig Young.

Wearing annoying sunglasses for most of the film, Oates is a revelation. Several scenes were jaw dropping; for example, the bedroom scene where he pours booze on his crotch; the graveyard scene where he cracks up; and later scenes where he and "Al" (the severed head) bond and become partners.

My only serious objection is that the ending should have been a final scene between Bennie and Al, instead of a hail of gunfire. Imagine the bullet-riddled Bennie, a breath away from dying, turning to the blood-soaked head and saying, "We killed that son-of-a-bitch, Al. We killed him."

Oates should have won an Oscar that year for Best Actor. He and beautiful co-star Vega are amazing together.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Film Music

When Michael Giacchino won the Oscar last night for best original musical score for the animated film Up, I cheered. Why?

Music has always played an important role in my life. My family loved music so I was surrounded by it as a child: Motown, Beatles, show tunes, even operettas.

My dad was a pretty good singer in his heyday (in the Frank Sinatra mold) who also sang in the choir at our church. In time, so did I.

I guess it was fate that I married a church musician. And our sons Kevin and Dave love music. Kevin is a fan of rap. And Dave has turned into a budding musical genius: singer, pianist, composer. And Yes, he cantors at our church.

So you can well imagine that I've long been attuned to film music. Of all the genres of music that I love (including classical, jazz, Broadway, and folk), I adore a good film score.

Here is a sprinkling of some of my favorite composers and some of the films they scored:

Jerry Goldsmith's Chinatown

Ennio Morricone's The Good the Bad and the Ugly

John Powell's Bourne Identity and Face/Off

John Barry's Bond movies especially OHMSS and Thunderball

Elmer Bernstein's The Magnificent Seven

Joe Hisaishi's Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away

Bernard Herrmann's The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Jason and the Argonauts, and Obsession

Miklos Rozsa's Ben Hur and Eye of the Needle

Dimitri Tiomkin's Lost Horizon and The Thing

Franz Waxman's The Bride of Frankenstein

John Williams' Jaws and Superman

Of all the above, my heart's favorite is Herrmann, who died suddenly in 1976, the year he did the scores for Scorsese's Taxi Driver and DePalma's Obsession. On today's film music scene, there are a lot of great composers, including Marco Beltrami, Carter Burwell, Howard Shore, James Newton Howard, and Alexandre Desplat.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, March 8, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Oscars

I've been watching the annual Academy Awards show for well over 40 years. And for most of that time, it has been mostly long, boring, and painful. So why do I continue to watch year after year? Because...I am a fan.

Here are my picks, followed by my wish list.

Picks (who I think will win)
Picture: Hurt Locker
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Actor: Jeff Bridges for Crazy heart
Actress: Sandra Bullock for Blind Side

Wish List (who I wish would win)
Picture: Inglorious Basterds and District 9
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Actor: Sam Rockwell for Moon (amazing)
Actress: Monique for Precious (blew me away)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sweeney Todd

When I think about the many Broadway shows I have seen that knocked me out, three come to mind right away: Wicked, Phantom, and Sweeney Todd.

I guess you could say I am a "big fan" of the Stephen Sondheim show Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I saw the original with Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury, and then the revival with Michael Ceveris and Patti Lupone. Both productions were wonderfully done, though I prefer the original.

When film director Tim Burton did his cinematic take on the story, with stars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, I was pleased with the bloody result (except for the omission of "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" and the chorus which drives the show to its horrifying finale).

So, you can imagine my joy when my son Dave, a junior at Rutgers, landed the part of Anthony (played by Victor Garber in the original) in the Livingston Theater Company's production. They are doing a bloody wonderful job that would make Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury proud. I'll be attending the final show today at 2 p.m.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Feb 28, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Unbreakable 2?

In other Bruce Willis news, I read that he is urging director M. Night Shymalan to return to Unbreakable and do a sequel.

I don't know about you, but I would love it. Though there are a lot of Unbreakable haters out there, I'm not one of them.

I thought Unbreakable was a masterful twist on the superhero genre: the ordinary man who gradually discovers that he may be extraordinary, even superhuman. And his mysterious mentor, Elijah Price (played by Samuel L. Jackson) is not a benevolent teacher like Dr. Xavier in the X Men mythos. Rather, his mentor is an evil genius, bent on finding the supermen of the earth by engineering mass disasters. Whoa.

Okay let's start imagining. If Bruce persuades Night to do this, what would you suggest?

My idea: continue twisting the X Men storyline. Just as mutants were gathered around Dr. X in a school, what if other quietly extraordinary men and women, awakening to their super powers, come to Philadelphia in search of Willis' character David Dunn. What if, like Dunn, they are regular people --housewives, cab drivers, and even unemployed accountants-- afraid of the latent power within but curious to discover their purpose in life. They gather around Dunn in a sort of 12 step support group for super humans. Then...the evil genius returns.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Die Hard 5, anyone?

I have read that Bruce Willis and Company are starting preparations for Die Hard 5.

As a fan of the first movie, I am excited about this. But, having seen the series steadily deteriorate in quality, I'd like to invite comments on ways to recapture the magic in Die Hard 5.

A few of my thoughts...

- Rating: Go for the R. The more mayhem, the better.

- Director: Where is the original guy, McTiernan? If he is not available, how about the director of Taken?

- Locale: I've heard that Willis is thinking of setting the next film in a non-US location. Great. Now the question is: What kind of place to put John McClane in? Remember the Nakatomi Tower in Die Hard 1? It's key to put McClane inside a specific place where he is not only trapped, but he is able to use his resourcefulness and wits to outsmart the baddies.

- Story: What makes the Die Hard formula work so well is that John McClane is not on duty. He is not looking for a fight. In the first movie, he is in Los Angeles to try to reconcile with his estranged wife. Then suddenly all hell breaks out around him, and he chooses to take action.

Your thoughts?