Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Two Trailers and a List: What A Beautiful Gift For a Cloudy Wednesday Morning

I got a few links for you folks today. New trailers for some big-budget 2006 releases came out last night. One of these I'm really looking forward to because I read the screenplay-- I mean novel, a couple years back and I'd like to see how it plays on a movie screen. I'm talking about The Da Vinci Code. Trailer's pretty good though I wish they could have pulled off getting Jim Carrey to play the Albino assassin. My guess is his agent talked him out of it, saying doing a big supporting role in a big movie would take however many millions off his asking price for leading roles. Agents. Pfff.

The other trailer that came out was for Poseidon. This is the studio's massive remake of the 1972 Poseidon Adventure which, in my view, never much needed updating. Anyway, it's directed by Wolfgang Petersen, he of Troy and Air Force One fame. Petersen's weird to me. He's like a poor man's Ron Howard (or a rich man's Renny Harlin). Howard, unless he pulls something crazy off (which I don't think will happen with Da Vinci Code), will never make a great movie (though Apollo 13 came pretty close). Though Petersen (and I'm talking about Petersen post-Das Boot), makes plenty of watchable, entertaining movies, I don't think he'll ever make a very good movie. Poseidon might be fun, but I doubt it'll be very good. But that big wave looks cool.

And finally, I saw this top ten list and I thought I'd post it for my four or so comic-book nerd readers. This is a fun list because it essentially runs the gamut of every, well, villainous moment in comic history. From Joker shooting and paralyzing Barbara Gordon (which I still think is pretty shocking) to Ozymandius's alien drop in Watchmen. Most of these comics came out before I got into them, but I caught up on them all since then. Some of the "Moments" listed provided some fun, clueless debates back in the day ("How did Wolverine get his admantium back after Magneto ripped out out of him?" -- IGN's list provides the first official, though unsatisfying, answer to that question I've heard), and others seemed more like publicity stunts to reinvigorate flagging sales. One of these stunts, the so-called "Death of Superman" produced a great comic book filled with violent splash pages of superhuman brawling in the streets of Metropolis. Anyway, fun times. Watch the trailers, read the list, enjoy your day.


blankfist said...

How can you say that about Ron Howard? Seriously, he's made plenty of great movies. Parenthood! It's about as perfect as a heartfelt comedy can get. And, I'm glad you mentioned Das Boot, because, yeah, that movie was the sh*t.

Stop hating the good movies, Mr. Waterworld!

Moran said...

Crane, please. What Opie may lack in innovation, he more than makes up for in consistency. "Splash?" "Cocoon?" "Ransom?" "A Beautiful Mind?" The aforementioned "Parenthood" and "Apollo 13?" The dude makes good movies.

If you wanna see a hugely underrated flick, check out "The Paper." Extremely entertaining with a great cast. I also rented "Cinderella Man" the other night. Pretty damn good, with great period atmosphere. Wish I saw it on the big screen. "Backdraft" scared the pyromania right out of me and see if you can watch "Far and Away" in all its 70mm glory and not want to immediately hop on a plane to Ireland, Tom Cruise's phony accent notwithstanding.

I defy you to name a single mainstream American director with a better track record working today. He is the Robert Wise of our time. His daughter's pretty talented, too.

JudgeHolden said...

Only Spielberg comes to mind, but he's in his own league, so it's not fair to throw him into the mix. But that's consistently commercially successful. Consistently good films irrespective of box office, Ridley Scott's up there, and he's made a few GREAT movies to boot (Alien, Blade Runner, etc.) Classics.

Guys, guys (said in Janos voice). I never said Howard didn't make good movies -- only that none of his movies are likely to make it onto the Crane List of 100 Best Movies of All Time, or even into the canon of best American cinema of the 20th and 21st centuries. The line between "good" and "great" is a thin one, but I just don't think he's crossed over yet. I've seen almost everything he's done since Splash in 84 (not Missing and not Cinderella Man though I'm looking forward to seeing it in the next couple of weeks) and his movies are weirdly consistent -- good, crowd-pleasing films that rarely give reviewers much to complain about. I tend to like them, (though not so much Beautiful Mind, and Apollo 13 moreso than most of his other films). That's pretty amazing that he can hit for extra bases every time out, I'm just saying I don't know if he has it in him to knock one out of the park a la Spielberg, a la Jackson, a la Darabont, a la Coppolla, a la Ridley. Will Ron ever make a seminal movie? A movie that gets a mention in film textbooks? I don't see it happening.

I mean, Howard's good, don't get me wrong. Somehow he even made EdTV watchable. Good even. Crazy. Anyway, he's just not my kind of movie director -- just a little too middle of the road, too afraid to put his considerable talents towards a risky project, or take risks inside of his typically "safe" projects. I hear he's even taking out references to Opus Dei in the Da Vinci Code film. We'll see in May 06, but it seems like someone who doesn't see what doing something like that would do to his adaptation, may never make a great movie. Taking somewhat controversial references out of a movie is something a studio director who doesn't want to offend his bosses (or anyone else in the world) would do. To me, that's the essence of Ron Howard.

But I'll forgive him anything for helping put Bryce Dallas Howard into the world. I mean because she's such a good actress.

moran said...

Ridley's good, I'll give you that, but have you ever smiled watching one of his movies? I can maybe think of a couple vaguely funny moments in Thelma & Louise. That's it, really. Also, I get real weary of his obsessions with flags, snow that blows sideways, and light that gets filtered and gelled beyond any kind of naturalism - but that's just me. I'm not saying every movie has to be funny, but his films are populated with a bunch of miserable bastards brooding under a cold sun that's either blue or orange.

As for Darabont, I have a feeling that Shawhank was a fluke. I was eh for both Green Mile & The Majestic. I hope he surprises me with Fahrenheit 451.

Coppola hasn't made a great movie since I was an infant.

And film textbooks are crap.

On a side, do yourself a favor and rent The 40 Year-Old Virgin if you haven't seen it yet. Wicked funny.

blankfist said...

Dare you say Darabont, Crane? Dare you? Whoa. Was Shawshank a good movie. Hands down, but you made mention mainly of movies becoming classics or ending up in film textbooks. I'm not sure Shawshank is good enough for any of that. Cocoon was considered a huge success when it came out. Huge. Bigger than Shawshank. Way bigger.

Hell, Cocoon made 76.1 million back in '85. That's a blockbuster. Now, 76.1 may not seem that much with DVD sales being what they are and with cost of living much higher now. Shawshank grossed less than 60 million nearly a decade later. That's a classic? Hell, Parenthood pulled in 100 mil in '89.

Or are you evaluating the Oscars shawshank won within the criteria of what makes a classic? Well, it would appear that Shawshank won zero oscars. It did, however, win the 'Best Foreign Film' award at the Japanese Academy Awards. Bravo! What did Cocoon win? Two Oscars. I figure you wanted me to compare Shawshank being that using Darabont's Nightmare on Elm Street 3 (Dream Warrios) or The Fly II wouldn't quite cut it. And Green Mile? It made a shitload worldwide, but still made less than Apollo 13 which grossed 334 million worldwide. And, no Oscars for Mile, either.

It would seem you're judging classics based on what you enjoy, Crane. What strikes your fancy. You probably think Waterworld is better movie than any Ron Howard movie. And, I'm not trying to make a joke here. I truly think you would prefer to watch Waterworld over, say, A Bueatiful Mind. Sad, really.

But, comparing Ridley Scott and Copolla is a decent comparison. They've made classics. Huge classics. And, I guess if we're to put the best of everyone's careers beside other filmmakers, then sure in no way would Howard be at the very top. But, he'd still be up there.

JudgeHolden said...

Dude dude dude dude. Listen. Shawshank went completely unnoticed when it came out -- is all great art recognized when its creators want it to be? Nope. What you should look at is DVD sales over time, at its status in fan-based Best of All Time lists. On IMDB's best movies of all time, for example, Shawshank is currently number 2. Number 2, dude. And that is something that's always in flux. More people come onto the site and vote for the first time and still, 10 years later, people are still voting for this thing. A film is a classic based on how people respond to it over time, not just when it comes out and people respond to an ad campaign. Independence Day made huge dollars -- people don't talk about it now because it's a truly retarded movie. There's a great documentary on the Shawshank 10th anniversary DVD made by a couple of Brits (independently, mind you) talking about why so many people love the movie so much. From devout Christians to regular folks who go to the movies, Shawshank is in a lot of people's top 5 lists. Hell, John Edwards said it was his favorite movie of all time. Who's going to say that about Ransom? Grinch? Beautiful Mind? I bring up Darabont not because of Green Mile or Majestic, I bring up Darabont because, fluke or not, he's already made a great movie in Shawshank -- a classic. Ron Howard -- God love him -- has 0 classics to his name, in my opinion. And yeah, I admit, this designation of good vs great has a lot to do with personal preference, but I'm trying to broaden out a little and explain what I think the general opinion on the Howard canon is. For example, and I know this is far from damning evidence, but on the IMDB Top 250 list, not a single Ron Howard film appears. And take a look, it isn't just geek movies like Usual Suspects and Alien, it's Charlie Chaplin movies, it's Stagecoach, it's Arsenic and Old Lace, and it's Maltese Falcon (though Episode 3 is also on there -- like I said, it's far from damning). But this gives, I think, a general snapshot of where Howard's batting in the lineup.

Also, no. I would rather, right this second, if the choice was put to me, watch A Beautiful Mind rather than Waterworld. Even though Mind was essentially a bio-pic with a cheap gimmick at its core, Russell Crowe brought it up out of that and made it worth watching.

And 40-Year Old Virgin is awesome. I hope it holds up for a 2nd viewing -- my guess is it will.

blankfist said...

By the way, I was looking at the DVD sales. I was looking at total worldwide gross. So, when I say Parenthood made 100 million in '89, I guess the best way to say that would've been since '89. Sorry. That was misleading. Therefore, Shawshank grossed less than 60 million according to IMDB Pro. Hey, I cannot say this is accurate, I'm only going on what I see on IMDB Pro. They say it has only grossed 60. In my mind, that's incorporating ALL SALES. Dunno.

Yeah, no one is going to consider Grinch or Ransom a classic. I agree. But you can say the same thing about Ridley's GI Jane. Or Copolla's Rainmaker. Still, Shawshank is a great movie. I'm not disputing that. But so is Cocoon and Apollo 13 and Parenthood and Splash.

Cinderella Man wasn't as good as I had hoped it to be, so don't expect much. I know you weren't, Crane.

Anyhow, you are entitled to your opinion, although I think you're telling untruths when you say you'd rather watch A Bueatiful Mind over Waterworld, but whatever.

Fried Pepperoni said...

Hmm. You know, Heath spent all weekend telling me about how you HATE Ron Howard, Crane. But I think he misrepresented your argument now that I've actually read it. Not that I find this surprising or anything, I just mention it for the sake of discussion.

Because I side with the author in this case, I think I've got a better comparison than any mentioned so far. Better because it supports my argument. And better because I'm right.

I'm talking about Robert Zemeckis, boys.

I think Crane's criticisms of Howard could also be applied to Zemeckis, the same way I think heath and moran's approval of Howard could also be applied to Zemeckis.

But since this is my argument, let me point you to the key difference between the two: Howard has no Gump.

He has his Polar Express (the Grinch), his Back to the Future (Backdraft, Splash), his Roger Rabbit (Coccoon, Parenthood), his Contact (Appollo 13, Always) - yes, I'm grouping by genre more than quality or other similarity - but despite winning the same Best Picture award, A Beautiful Mind comes nowhere near having the kind of audience impact that Gump did.

Dude's got no Gump. Nobody quotes, for better or worse, A Beautiful Mind or Appollo 13 in their day-to-day lives. Not to say Howard hasn't made better movies than Zemeckis in his day, he just hasn't yet made one that had that kind of affect on people.

And until he does, I'm with Crane - I don't think Howard will be remembered as a great, vital talent. And there's nothing wrong with that. He'll be consistent, sure, but that's kind of a moot point - the Coen bros. for the most part have been extremely consistent, and yet they have their Fargo. Does Howard?


JudgeHolden said...

Thank you, Shawn. No great movies. Like you say, there's no shame in that, it's just how it is.

blankfist said...

"his Roger Rabbit (Coccoon, Parenthood), his Contact (Appollo 13, Always)"

Seriously, you're gonna sit there and compare Roger Rabbit to Cocoon and Parenthood? Hell, Contact to Apollo 13? Wow. Why not just pull a hat trick and compare Star Wars to Ice Pirates.

And, listen to Crane chiming in with a sense of self-accomplishment because his friend Harwell spouted in his favor. Two very, very misguided, albeit gay, men.

Fried Pepperoni said...

Hease, Hease - did you miss the part where I said, and I quote: "yes, I'm grouping by genre more than quality or other similarity." The key word of that statement being QUALITY. See???

The thing they have in common is that they share a similar audience - most folks who saw Contact have probably seen Appollo 13. Same with the others I grouped, and in fact you proved my point by getting all irate. You've seen all those movies; you didn't think "Well, I liked Appollo 13, but I'll probably hate Contact." They have the same appeal, are all trying for similar slices of a similar pie.

That's all I meant. If you really believe Howard's made a or a few "GREAT" films, then back it up fool. You could even, say, write a review/analysis/essay for a once thriving and now dormant film blog I know of...