Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Miyazaki's PONYO ON THE CLIFF BY THE SEA on it's way to U.S. shores this summer!

By: JaysQ

The new animated epic from Hayao Miyazaki has FINALLY been given the U.S. release date of August 14, 2009 and I couldn't be more thrilled. The film which is titled PONYO ON THE CLIFF BY THE SEA was originally released by Toho on July 19, 2008, in theaters across Japan and on 481 screens, breaking the record for domestic films. It is definitely much anticipated, but I don't even hold the slightest doubt it will surpass expectations.

The story centers around a young fish girl named Ponyo after she's run away from her home in the sea. She gets stranded on the shore and is rescued by a young boy named Sosuke who lives on a nearby cliff. They both quickly take a liking towards each other, but inevitably Ponyo's father comes looking for her and takes her away, causing sadness for both. I don't want to give any more of the plot away because the aspects of innocence and discovery are what Miyazaki films are all about.

Some of the voice talented attached to the film include Noah Cyrus and Frankie Jonas (the only likable Jonas brother)as Ponyo and Sosuke respectively. In addition we have Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin and Betty White all voicing characters.

As a hardcore fan of Mr. Miyazaki's work, I have been frothing at the mouth in yearning for Ponyo for some time now. From what I've seen so far (which intentionally hasn't been much for the reason I stated above)this looks to include all the visual and narrative beauty combined with all the awe-inspiring weirdness that I've come to expect from the master's imagination. You can count on me to be there opening night for this one.

Here is some video of Ponyo, looks delightfully strange doesn't it?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This YEAR ONE trailer awakened my most secret primordial urges...

By: JaysQ

Aggghhh! I can't wait for this one. The first trailer that came out with the Super Bowl was pretty good, but now that I can see the full scope of the flick to some degree I feel more confident it's gonna be great. Michael Cera looks hilariously awkward as usual and we all know Jack Black is a cut-up, plus lots of cameos equals me laughing my ass off. Harold Ramis has some pretty amazing credits to his name in all catagories and I have no doubt this will be more of the same. Check the new trailer that came out this week with I LOVE YOU, MAN.

GREEN LANTERN Update: Captain Kirk to play Hal Jordan??

By: JaysQ

Now that The GREEN LANTERN is set to start filming mid-September in Australia, Warner Bros. is starting to look for a star for their franchise and IESB has reported that Chris Pine is at the top of their lists. The actor who is about to portray Captain Kirk in the new STAR TREK film does look the part, but will he be up for becoming a two-franchise man. My guess is that he would.

I think he's a decent actor, liked him in his roll in SMOKIN' ACES, but I can't help but wonder if he's got the chops for both of these roles. Not to mention the fact that both franchises have an unforgiving and oft times uncompromising fanbase. That's old news for trekkies, however, this'll be the first time we get a taste of Hal Jordan on the big screen so it'll be under much scrutiny.

The new STAR TREK keeps calling to me everytime I see the trailer. I want to just love it, no questions asked, but there's a part of me that remains apprehensive. It opens May 8, 2009 and GREEN LANTERN is set for a December 17, 2010 release date.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


By: JaysQ

In addition to sending me into a spasm of gut laughter MISS MARCH also managed to teach me a few lessons about life: If your suffering from muscular atrophy do NOT make any sudden movements, never ever piss off homicidal firefighters wielding axes (or their loved ones), and possibly most important, when receiving oral sex from an epileptic don’t even think about enhancing the mood with strobe lights. That is if you value your manhood anyways. You will learn all this and more in the new comedy from Trevor Moore and Zach Cregger, the geniuses behind the comedy sketch show The Whitest Kids U Know. The show itself is equal parts absurd, disgusting and hilarious; a formula that I’m happy to say they don’t deviate from in their film debut.

Enter young Tucker Cleigh (Moore) and Eugene Bell (Cregger), childhood best friends despite being almost complete opposites. One day as the boys rummage through the belongings of Eugene’s older brother they stumble upon something they weren’t expecting. Porno!! Playboy to be exact (The classiest skin-mag ever created) They both have their own distinctly different reactions to the images, but from there on out their lives are never the same again.

Fast forward to present day. Tucker, having tried to model his life around the principles of his hero Hugh Heffner, has become a zealous chaser of tail. Eugene on the other hand, has become a fierce advocate of celibacy due to a traumatizing unprotected sexcapade involving his brother (and his retarded pyromaniac baby) that results in him being thrown in the loony bin. Now he and his longtime girlfriend, Cindi Whitehall (played by the strikingly beautiful Raquel Alessi) lecture youngsters in a scared straight style seminar about waiting until marriage to have sex.

With senior prom night getting closer a reluctant Eugene agrees to have sex for the first time at the request of Cindi. Tucker helps him to gear up for it, as any good best friend would, by throwing back a few stiff ones. Drunk as a skunk and finally ready he heads off to meet his sweetheart whose already excitedly waiting, but accidentally takes a nose dive down a set of basement stairs and finds himself in coma.

Four years later Tucker, assisted by a Louisville slugger, snaps his friend out of his stupor. A confused and upset Eugene learns much has changed since prom. All his loved ones have moved away and his girlfriend has gone from innocent virgin to bonafide Playboy Bunny. In typical road trip fashion the two set out to the Playboy Mansion on a mission to confront Miss March.

Admittedly I was already in love with the stylings of The Whitest Kids, but fan gushing aside, Moore and Cregger have an undeniable chemistry on screen. They did well punching up a rather mundane script as well as directing themselves. Not to mention making a lot of smart casting choices.

The always golden Craig Robinson (Zach and Miri make a Porno, The Office) shines as the duo’s old friend and hip-hop sensation Horsedick.MPEG (still makes me chuckle days after seeing the film). Seriously Hollywood give Robinson more work. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in a major or minor role that he didn’t kill with his excellent comedic timing and delivery. It’s well past time he get some parts as a leading man.

Other humorous guest spots include Cedric Yarbrough (Reno 911) making a brief appearance as one of the coolest doctors Ive ever seen and the legend himself, Mr. Hugh Heffner, also cameos in his largest speaking role ever.

One of the most surprising things about the film is that amidst all the sex antics, cussing and gross-out humor it actually manages to have a few genuinely heartfelt moments. I’m not sure if it’s a result or the acting or writing, but I have to give them credit for tuggin on the ol’ heartstrings in an otherwise testosterone laden experience.

All in all MISS MARCH doesn’t necessarily update the over saturated sex comedy genre, but if you love that sort of thing it sure as hell will make a hysterical addition to your collection. Still, here’s hoping that this project leads them to some opportunities more within the realm of their sketch comedy work.

From The Whitest Kids U Know, Season 2, Episode2.

Sam Raimi's DRAG ME TO HELL trailer looks badass!!

By: JaysQ

There really isn't much I can say about this trailer that it can't say for itself. It's about seven layers of friggin cool. So nice to see Raimi getting away from web-slingers and back to his horror roots. Just check it out and get giddy excited like I did.

Friday, March 13, 2009

WATCHMEN Review, better late than never

By: JaysQ

It’s been a long time coming for the film adaptation of Alan Moore’s landmark graphic novel that deconstructs the archetypical superhero mold. The film rights were originally acquired in 1986 and since then its been through four directors, four screenwriters and a list of possible actors attached to the project ranging from the hilarious to the just plain absurd (Keanu Reeves as Dr. Manhattan, Tom Cruise as Ozymandias, Simon Pegg as Rorschach). Some people, including Mr. Moore himself, have even said that the story is not filmable, yet thanks to (visionary?) director Zach Snyder, Watchmen has hit the big screen. Now that the deal is done one important question remains. Was it for better or for worse? Over the past few weeks a myriad of reviews and opinions have surfaced concerning this matter. I’ve seen criticisms calling it everything from the biggest flop of the year to the best thing since sliced bread. There are valid sides to both arguments and it definitely has its shortcomings, but even with all these mixed feelings I walked out of my IMAX screening Friday night feeling satisfied. Well mostly.

Now as a ravenous fan of comic books from many different genres I have my own personal investment in Watchmen as well, and if you know nothing about the story or its characters, let me give you a very brief synopsis. Set in an alternate 1985, the glory days of costumed super-heroes have been brought to a close by a government crackdown, but after one of the masked veterans is brutally murdered, an investigation into the killer is initiated. The reunited heroes set out to prevent their own destruction, but in doing so discover a plot far more heinous than they ever expected.

To say that this film starts off with a bang is an understatement. In the opening scene we find ourselves introduced to Eddie Blake a.k.a. The Comedian (excellently played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan), an aging hero working for the government, relaxing in his home. Within a matter of moments, his quietude is abruptly and harshly disturbed as he finds himself in combat with an unknown assailant. This is an important scene for both the book and the film, and it’s done perfectly by all accounts. We’re made to feel every blow and broken bone with shocking authenticity, all the while a haunting rendition of Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” plays in the background. The battle ends with Blake being tossed from his apartment window to the city streets below. The opening credits then roll, also with a well chosen musical selection in Bob Dylan’s “The Times they are a changing” and we see the emergence of the masked hero as well as many of the historical events that play out differently due to their presence. Sadly the movie never quite hits this high point again. It also would seem that this is the only portion that Snyder puts his own personal style on the books happenings rather than just following artist Dave Gibbon’s original artwork.

Once the premise is set, we enter the thoughts of the mentally unstable Rorschach, played by Jackie Earle Haley who really steals the show as the brutal vigilante that dons an ever-changing, inkblot mask. He is fervently investigating the murder of The Comedian and what he thinks is a plot to kill off all masked super-heroes. During the course of his inquisition we also get to meet the rest of the former masks. Dan Dreiberg, the Nite Owl, a frumpy but kind hearted retired hero. Adrian Veidt, or Ozymandias, a respected businessman who was the only former hero to reveal his true identity. And finally the solitary hero to actually posses super human capabilities, John Osterman,(named Dr. Manhattan by the U.S. government, for whom he works), and his lover Laurie Juspeczyk ( Silk Spectre).

Patrick Wilson portrays Dreiberg with just the right amount of innocence and Malin Akerman is a suitable Silk Spectre, but ultimately neither of their performances stand out in any way. Matthew Goode’s Ozy, on the other hand is just bad. He plays the supposed most influential and “smartest man alive” with all the subtlety and poise of a 1980’s glam rocker. As I mentioned before the real show stopper is Haley’s Rorschach. His intensity and dedication to the character shows through in spades. After initially feeling put off by Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan (Especially his voice, which I had never envisioned him to sound as such), I ended up really appreciating his bemused, detachment and not feeling totally overwhelmed by his luminescent blue member (Something that cannot be said for the rest of the audience in my showing. Especially my buddy, whose snickering was present for every single scene that revealed his glowing shame). All in all, I’d say it was quality acting throughout.

At this point in the story, the real nitty gritty starts to unfold. On a live television broadcast Jon is accused of being the cause of cancer in some of his friends and former colleagues. The accusations are taken seriously and this forces him into a self-imposed exile on Mars, where he contemplates his former life. This is the next really beautiful scene of the film, specifically as we see the accident that gave Jon his powers. However, with Dr. Manhattan gone, humanity as a whole is sent into political turmoil. The Soviet Union immediately takes advantage of the seemingly defenseless U.S.A. and invades Afghanistan. Dan and Laurie end up living together after the government boots her from their living quarters and Rorschach is arrested in the middle of his investigation. Also Adrian is assaulted by an unknown assassin which lends credence to the mask killer conspiracy theory. Because of this, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre decide to come out of their forced retirement and break Rorschach out of jail.

In the midst of the jailbreak scene I felt the film was injected with some renewed vigor. Seeing Haley without the mask was incredible. I could see the pure rage behind his eyes, waiting to explode at a moment’s notice. And the things he does to his fellow inmates is just plain savage. I had goose bumps when he screams to the entire prison cafeteria “I’m not stuck in here with you, your all stuck in here with me” after dousing an attacker with a vat of scalding hot cooking oil. There are more ferocious incidents, but my favorite is a series of throwaway puns between Rorschach and his old nemesis, Big Figure (played by the best small actor of all time Danny Woodburn. I love that guy!!) and it doesn’t end well for him. You just have to see it for yourself.. Once out of prison, Jon shows up and takes Laurie away to Mars where they discuss his emotional involvement with the Earth as it plunges into Armageddon. Dan and Rorschach continue their search and end up finding something they don’t like. Apparently one of their own, namely Adrian Veidt, is a potential suspect in the murder case. They set out to confront him at his Antarctic retreat and it‘s there that he divulges his true plan: to save the world from complete destruction. Unfortunately it involves the death of millions of innocent people.

The final chapter is where I find myself having the most problems with the film. Up to this point Snyder has given us a near picture perfect, panel-by-panel adaptation of the graphic novel, but suddenly he veers down a completely different path. Rather than teleporting what’s made to look like a giant, alien squid/nightmare bomb into New York he instead sets off a series of explosions made to look like Dr. Manhattan’s awesome power around the globe. This definitely didn’t sit right with me in my initial viewing, but I couldn’t quite place my finger on what it was that bothered me about the change. It took fellow reviewer Alexandra DuPont's musings to help me realize my misgivings.

"I already know the arguments in favor of this change: It ties Veidt's plan more
directly to the other characters; the "squid" would look stupid; it brings
destruction to the whole planet instead of New York; it makes the parallels to
9/11 less blatant; yadda yadda yadda. If that makes the filmmakers feel better,
fine. But allow me to retort. First off, the "alien threat" didn't have to be a
giant squid; it could have been something more abstract, or even some kind
of massive bombardment from deep space. Second, putting the blame on an
American citizen turned into a weapon by an American laboratory accident -- superhero gone mad or no -- ultimately puts the blame for everything on
America, period. Veidt's plan is meaningless unless the threat is completely
external and all terrestrial villains are off the suspect list. I can't fathom
how Snyder and David Hayter talked themselves around this simple fact."

Neither can I.

In my final thoughts, I must once again reiterate that on a narrative and visual level I think that the Watchmen film is a success. Fans will find it a near perfect adaptation, while those with no investment in the graphic novel will still walk away satiated. This doesn’t negate the fact that Snyder does make some mistakes. He gets some of the smaller nuances of character relationships downright wrong, such as Dan and Rorschach’s awkward friendship and Jon’s reliance on Laurie as his last lingering connection to the feeling human world. Also some of the fighting sequences and (I can’t believe I’m saying this) a gratuitous sex scene feel out of place and are misrepresented from the original artwork. It’s this focus on testosterone fueled violence and special effects paired with a lackluster approach to the gravitas of the more thematic and though provoking elements of the story that lead me to believe Zach may not have been the right man for the job. Regardless, his film will effect you to some lingering degree and it is definitely a must see in the theaters.

Monday, March 9, 2009

OBSERVE and REPORT red band trailer!

By: JaysQ

As a fan of The FOOT FIST WAY, I'm pretty excited about Jody Hill's new dark comedy OBSERVE & REPORT. So far it has been the subject of some pretty mixed feelings. From the excerpts of the script I've been able to read all signs point to this being hysterical and deliciously violent. Don't expect to see an Apatow style Seth Rogan though. He's not his usual lovable light-hearted loser here, but I feel delving into the dramatic can only be refreshing for his career.

Click the image below to enjoy the red band trailer!

Salude!! Take a stiff shot of THE HANGOVER

By: JaysQ

The new film from director Todd Phillips looks pretty damn funny. It's three stars: Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms are all hilarious guys, but it remains to be seen if they possess the same on-screen charisma and chemistry of OLD SCHOOL's beloved trio. The story focuses on three friends who, after an overindulgent bachelor party in Vegas, wake up to find they've lost the groom and set out to find him in time for the wedding.

Click the below image to see the trailer!

Man it is so nice to see Zach Galafianakis get some big roles in quality films. I've been enamored with his unique brand of comedy for some time, but he's never had a role that I feel has properly showcased his style. Hopefully that will all change in 2009.

The same goes for Helms to some degree. The Daily Show and The Office fame have proven him to be a very funny character guy and I think he's more than ready for his turn on the big screen.

As far as Bradley Cooper goes, I've appreciated most of the work he's done, but I'm not necassarily convinced he's leading man material. I guess I'll find out when the movie is released on June 5th.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

By: JaysQ

Here is the new (and I believe final) trailer for
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE. It's early internet release comes courtesy of USA Today, presented in the most asininely, tiny format I've seen in some time (thanks?). The film opens on May 1st, is directed by Gavin hood and stars Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber.

I respect Hood's work, despite not having seen very much of it.
RENDITION got alot of mixed reviews, but I think ultimately it's a beautifully shot film with good direction. There have been alot of rumors circulating about problems on WOLVERINE's set. Most of it concering Fox execs looking for a damned "family friendly" appeal to the character and harrassing Hood about some of his darker content. I mean that's just absurd in so many ways (how can Wolvie's origin story be anything besides dark?!) but I won't even get into it because it's all just conjecture. Needless to say, it leaves me a little nervous about the atmosphere and tone of this movie, even if Hugh himself has shouldered the task of staying faithful to the source material. Anyways enjoy the excrutiatingly miniscule trailer!

For some reason the tiny version wouldn't embed, but it doesn't matter cause I found a better one anyways!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


By: JaysQ

Here's a look at a new clip featuring Ginormica's orientation in DreamWorks Animation's
MONSTERS VS. ALIENS, opening in InTru 3D, conventional and IMAX theaters on March 27th! The animated sci-fi comedy is voiced by Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Seth Rogen, Rainn Wilson, Stephen Colbert, Kiefer Sutherland and Paul Rudd.

Click here to see the clip!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Red band trailers for ADVENTURELAND and I LOVE YOU, MAN!

By: JaysQ

I Love You, Man - Directed by John Hamburg. Starring Jason Segal, Paul Rudd and Rashida Jones.

Adventureland - Directed by Greg Mottola . Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Bill Hader and Ryan Reynolds.

Can't wait for I LOVE YOU, MAN. Paul Rudd has been in so many funny roles lately I can't keep track. Segal is a personal favorite of mine since the days of "Freaks and Geeks". If any of their past team-ups are an indication, I suspect an endearing chemistry to play out here.