Scott Horowitz | March 30, 2005
The summer movie season is almost upon us. What movies are you guys most looking forward to see this season? I'm most excited for Star Wars and Batman. My "movie that looks good but will probably suck" vote is for Fantastic Four.

John E Gunter | March 31, 2005
Summer movies, I know the following list does not contain all blockbusters, but as long as I'm entertained at a movie, I feel I've gotten my money. These are not in any particular order...

Fantastic Four
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Island
Batman Begins
Star Wars
War of the Worlds
Constantine
Sin City
Chicken Little
Cars
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Those are the ones I want to see in the theater.

Films I want to see, but if I don't get to them in the theater, they're a rental.

Appleseed
Cursed
The Pink Panther
Hitch
Miss Congeniality 2

John

Mike Eberhart | March 31, 2005
There's only a couple of movies that I'm ready to go see this year, and those would be the next Star Wars episode, and the next Harry Potter movie. I want to see the Harry Potter movie more than Star Wars though. Chicken Little does look a little interesting, it might have to be a rental for me though.

Fantastic Four looks like it could be good, especially since it has Jessica Alba in it. Just worth going just to see her. I heard that Constantine was a horrible movie, so I will pass on that one for sure. That's pretty much movie selection for the year.

Jackie Mason | March 31, 2005
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Amy Austin | March 31, 2005
Isn't she in Sin City, as well? You gonna' see that one "just to see her", too, Mike??? ;D

Oh, no... "Speed 3"???

John E Gunter | March 31, 2005
I think Sin City will be visually stunning, so much so that I'm looking forward to it!

John

Mike Eberhart | March 31, 2005
I may, she supposed to play a stripper in Sin City. So it should be a good show... :)

E. M. | March 31, 2005
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Amy Austin | March 31, 2005
::rolling eyes:: Well, that's what Katy wanted us to go see on Sunday with her & Jason -- I guess you'll want to go then...

Dave Mitzman | April 1, 2005
Star Wars (needed a change of pants after watching that trailer), Harry Potter, Sin City, Fantastic Four, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and War of the Worlds

Scott Hardie | April 1, 2005
The movie reuniting Reeves and Bullock is "Il Mare." Weird premise: (link) I bet you anything Hollywood goes into plot overdrive on it, like she's the one in the past, and he goes to meet her in the present day and finds out she's been murdered, and he has to send her clues backwards in time to help her avoid her killer, who turns out to be his mean next-door neighbor or something.

The Keanu Reeves movie I'm most looking forward to is "A Scanner Darkly," which has a lousy title but a lot of potential. It's the Retroscoping animation of "Waking Life" matched to an intriguing science-fiction premise about identity. Yahoo has the trailer: (link)

Am the only one bored by the "Star Wars" trailers? I've never been a series fan (though I enjoyed all five), but all the hype over the drool-inducing preview turned out to be empty, or at least it did for me. I thought I had downloaded the wrong one, so I sought out the teaser, but no, that wasn't interesting either. Maybe you have to have hated the first two prequels? I dunno. I expect to see and like "Revenge of the Sith." What I wonder is how come each of the original films was commonly called by its title (like "Return of the Jedi"), but each of the prequels has been commonly called by its number (like "Episode III")? Is it because each one is widely discussed long before Lucas announces the title, and so the number gets stuck in the collective memory? Or is it because series fans have disliked the first two titles and preferred the Roman numerals instead? Just wondering. I'm trying to call the prequels by their titles.

Another highly anticipated film that looks kind of boring to me: "Batman Begins." Joel Schumacher isn't involved with this one, but he still gets to screw it, because the producers are so afraid of creating anything resembling his reviled last installment that they're going deep, deep, deep inside neurotic angst-ridden darkness to get away from him, much further than Tim Burton ever dreamed of going. Well, forgive me, but that sounds like taking something halfway exciting and making it really dull. Not to bring up "Star Trek" for the second time in recent weeks, but there's a reason why TNG was so much more popular than the three shows that came after it: Because the setting felt like a fun place to be (and the people felt like fun people to get to know), instead of a depressing shithole. That's where "Batman Begins" looks like it is firmly set.

Before anybody goes getting excited about "Fantastic Four," I'd like to point out that director Tim Story is the guy behind "Taxi," and I don't mean the sitcom. Check out The Onion A.V. Club's assessment of his director commentary if you want to get some idea what intelligence he'll bring to his first superhero movie: (link)

Anyway, I should be more positive. My must-see summer movies in chronological order:
"Kung Fu Hustle" (link)
"House of D" (David Duchovny's first feature as writer-director)
"Unleashed"
"Revenge of the Sith"
"Mindhunters" (probably terrible but I've been waiting for this Renny Harlin film for two years now)
"Mr. and Mrs. Smith"
"Howl's Moving Castle" (Hayao Miyazaki, nuff said)
"Undead" (John probably already bought his ticket)
"War of the Worlds" (I wish it was set in the FIN-friendly original 1903, but it'll probably be good anyway)
"November" (link) (another movie I've been waiting years to see)
"The Brothers Grimm"
"Doom" (film version of the game, though I'm worried they're trying to get a PG13 rating)
"3001" (link)
"Four Brothers"
"Dark Water"
"Everything is Illuminated" (based on the book)
"Romance and Cigarettes" (link)

Amy Austin | April 1, 2005
Interesting to me that you should bring up the Batman movie... E and I just recently watched a 4-hour! special on Encore that was a series of clips from Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes (Askew View Productions?) on the college Q&A lecture circuit. I guess Smith had originally been offered a script for a Superman movie (is it in the works? slated for release?? don't know how long ago this was, but Wild, Wild West was brought up in the story, so guess it was a no-go), and then Burton came into the picture somehow. His story -- which I had questioned the truthfulness of, but he swears it's all for real -- turned into this very weird anecdote about Burton that we found oddly amusing and somewhat scary. He had *very* strange stories about Prince, too. The guy's obviously *not* concerned about negative publicity and/or Hollywood politics, which is pretty refreshing in and of itself. Anyway... sidebar.

E. M. | April 2, 2005
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Jackie Mason | April 7, 2005
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Scott Hardie | April 7, 2005
Really? I was thinking the opposite, that every scene in the movie was about the plot. The movie built such a great atmosphere but never paused to soak in it, except in the introductory scene with Josh Hartnett. Everything else was forward-march with barely a moment to breathe. Then again, I consider action scenes to be plot as long as they have at least a tenuous connection to the story (plot is, by definition, things happening), so it's likely we're using two different standards.

John E Gunter | April 7, 2005
Don't forget, Sin City is a comic to the big screen, so the depth of the plot should be equally tied to the comic, if they did the comic justice. Now, I've never read Sin City, and have yet to see the movie, so I can't really state much about either as far as whether the film has plot or not.

But I can say, that by seeing comics to movies as they are called, that if the production crew is true to the original story, if the comic had a crappy plot, then the film should also have a crappy plot. But I am excited to see the movie because of the fact of the visuals!

John

Scott Hardie | April 7, 2005
Good points. Before I forget: You and John E should really see this movie, John. You guys will love it.

Anna Gregoline | April 7, 2005
Scott - I hated the first two prequels, but I was excited at the trailer for the third. I think it's the connection back to the original Star Wars (you know, those ones that eventually no one will have ever seen because Lucas destroyed them).

Kris Weberg | April 7, 2005
He's not destrying them, he's improving them. Why he improved the best scenes right out of them!

Michael Paul Cote | April 7, 2005
I for one am boycotting "Sahara". Any one familiar with Clive Cussler's works will be appalled at the casting (or lack thereof). The only character the appears to come close in the trailers is that of Admiral Sandecker portrayed by William Macy. If I were to see the film, I might give Matthew McConaughey a chance as Dirk Pitt but it would still be a stretch. The really tragic casting faux pas is casting Steve Zahn as Al Giordino. He is supposed to be a short stocky Italian with rugged good looks that does well with the ladies - not a bumbling, inept stooge put in for comic relief. I think directors and producers need to read books before adapting them to the screen.

Anna Gregoline | April 7, 2005
I would boycott Sahara simply because it looks god-awful.

Jackie Mason | April 7, 2005
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Scott Horowitz | April 7, 2005
I found Sin City to drag on, and even boring at times. I felt they spent too much time on Mickey Rourke's plot line, when the best plot line (Clive Owen's) stood out much more. I liked how they used Hartnett to connect the dots. And I felt that the Bruce Willis story was lacking something.

Aaron Shurtleff | April 8, 2005
Anyone excited to see "Serenity"?? September 30th? The movie based on the fabulous now-cancelled Joss Whedon space western series Firefly? Anybody?

Guess I might be the only one. :( It should be good, from what little I've heard. I know that there is some stuff out there, but I don't like to look into movies too deeply before I see them.

That's about all that's on my gotta see list. Hitchhiker's guide I will probably see. Star wars episode 3...I'll see it just to finish off having seen them all, but I'm not excited about it.

Is Dark Water based on the cartoon by the same name? :)

Scott Hardie | April 8, 2005
"Dark Water" might be better if it were based on the cartoon. :) I am willing to give it a chance because of a few things going for it, but the fact that the trailer tries to be creepy with a little girl singing a nursery rhyme – this being the 4,306th horror movie trailer to use that damn gimmick – I can't say my hopes are very high.

I haven't seen "Firefly," but I'll rent it in advance of the movie. I was interested in seeing it until Scott Kurtz devoted a whole week of PvP to it. (Let's just say that his tastes are diametrically opposed to mine, on several subjects, to the point where I couldn't read his strip any more.)

Scott, I'm amused by our difference of opinion. I thought Mickey Rourke's story was the most interesting, probably because I thought he was the most complicated of the three heroes. But I agree, there was something missing from the Willis tale. Suspense, maybe, since it doesn't have any major twists? I don't know.

Scott Horowitz | April 8, 2005
Aaron, I am a huge Joss Whedon fan. I wasn't a big fan of Firefly though, mostly because it had the Time Slot of Death and I would always miss it. But, I plan on seeing Firefly, just to support him.

As for Sin City, I think my biggest issue is that it wasn't a movie as much as a serial, similar in part to Pulp Fiction, which I didn't really care for. Though, ironically, I think my favorite part of the movie was the part directed by Quarantino.

Jackie Mason | April 8, 2005
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Kris Weberg | April 18, 2005
Actually, I'm not quite sure why I watched the whole thing despite the plot tying up.

Anna Gregoline | April 18, 2005
Oh man. I loved Pulp Fiction. That movie is frickin' hysterical.

Jackie Mason | April 18, 2005
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Kris Weberg | April 18, 2005
Yeah, but being funny doesn't make it a great movie in itself. It's entertaining, but not really about anything more than that.

Which is fine, but somehow it got the reputation of a masterpiece.

Anna Gregoline | April 18, 2005
I don't know about a masterpiece but it's goddamn entertaining to me, and that is good enough.

Anna Gregoline | April 18, 2005
And what makes a great movie definitely is dependent on what the viewer is looking for.

Kris Weberg | April 19, 2005
Good movies are solidly entertaining. Great movies change the way you think about movies.

Scott Hardie | April 19, 2005
Did "Pulp Fiction" not change the way that a lot of people thought about movies? It was easily one of the most influential films of the 90s, affecting or inspiring many dozens (possibly hundreds) of other pictures ever since. Just scroll up to parts of the above discussion: We can't fully evaluate today's "Sin City" without looking back at "Pulp Fiction" to help us understand it, or at the very least, to provide us with a common point of reference by which to discuss it. To me, "Pulp Fiction" seems to have changed the way that Scott, Jackie, and I think about movies.

Amy Austin | April 19, 2005
I think (and feel ;-D) it fair to say that "Pulp Fiction" qualifies as "great" by that definition, Kris -- after all, how many other movies can you think of before it that use inter-woven vignettes to tell several separate-but-related stories??? And yet, look at how many came afterward, borrowing from this parallel style (and I'm not insisting that there *aren't* any that pre-date it, but I can't think of any right off, and... I find that "tranche de vie" is usually a somewhat more serious format, to boot):

Magnolia
Short Cuts
2 Days in the Valley
Four Rooms (okay, so that was another Quarantino film, but who says one can't be inspired by one's own work?)
Twenty Bucks (okay, so that one was '93, but that's awfully close)

...just to name a few off the top of my head. And -- in my mind (as well as that of many other fans, only a sampling of whom have spoken here) -- not only did the comedic value *not* detract from, but it did in fact add to the "greatness" of the film.

Amy Austin | April 19, 2005
Damn, I *hate* when I find out that I'm re-stating something someone else was writing only moments earlier!

Anyway... YEAH... what Scott said! ;DDD

Anna Gregoline | April 19, 2005
It's definitely changed the face of the movie world, if only for the copycatters. It was a movie with a weirdo edge and a different way of telling a story that went mainstream big - paved the way for a lot of things that probably wouldn't have made it to large theatres.

I still maintain it's greatness is that it's fucking funny, but then again, I like dark humor.

And I think it's hysterical how much I'm swearing in a discussion about Pulp Fiction - it's like Tarentino is reaching out and working my tongue for me. =)

Kris Weberg | April 19, 2005
I said "change the way you think about movies." That's not the same thing as "changing the way otehr directors make movies."

Sunset Boulevard, Rashomon, and especially Citizen Kane did similar things with narrative organization about 40 years before Pulp Fiction.

Scott Hardie | April 19, 2005
Amy: I often worry about doing the same. My trick is that when I finish writing a comment that has taken me more than a few minutes, I highlight and copy the whole thing, then refresh the page to look for updates since I started writing. If there aren't any, I paste it back into the form and submit. If so, I paste and edit as needed. Might help you.

What "Pulp Fiction" did in a big way was style. Any boring film could have been made out of its same story elements, but Tarantino infused the movie with an ocean of pop-cultural awareness and an ironic detachment that desensitized the violence while making the movie as funny as Anna says. He married Scorsese-style intensity to a Generation X hipster mentality, continuing to influence filmmakers' style eleven years later. And though the ironic sense of humor will diminish as more time passes, the film itself might never seem dated, because it draws upon decades of cultural influences, defying anachronism. It's conceivable to imagine film students in twenty years studying it as a turning point in American cinema. We can like it or dislike it (personally I love it), but it has definitely attained the cultural significance and influence needed to be deemed "great." As for whether it's well-made, I believe that an impetuous sense of style was its primary objective, which it achieved with great success.

Anna Gregoline | April 19, 2005
I'd have to say it did change the way I think about movies, then, if we must nitpick.

Scott Hardie | April 20, 2005
It comes out in October, not summer, but also on my must-see-movies list is "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit." (link) I don't know how it's already rated G, unless Nick Park is contractually obligated to deliver a G rating.

Scott Hardie | April 28, 2005
In today's WENN (link) :

Hollywood mogul George Lucas struggled so much with writing the screenplay for final Star Wars installment Episode Iii - Revenge Of The Sith, he had to force himself to stick to a rigid working day as he sought inspiration. The hugely successful movie-maker, 60, took on the persona of a normal office worker as he sat at his desk for nine hours a day, five days a week - and he still only managed to produce five pages everyday. He says, "I am very diligent about writing. I go to work at 8.30am and leave at 6pm. I sit there with that page in front of me but I still can't write it. I do get it done, I actually write five pages a day. But I force myself - otherwise I would probably write a page a day."
Well, gee, George... Have you listened to your own characters? There's a reason they all sound so damn boring. How's about hiring somebody else to write for you, maybe somebody who, I don't know, doesn't hate writing? I mean, it's not like they can make it much worse.

Steve West | April 28, 2005
Do you know how expensive it is hiring a talented screenwriter?! It's not like Star Wars is making money hand over fist... wait a minute...ummm, never mind.

John E Gunter | April 28, 2005
But George won't be in TOTAL control! Sounds almost like he's been taken over by the Dark Side!

John

Michael Paul Cote | April 28, 2005
I don't know, there are plenty of screenwriters out there just waiting for a chance. Not to use a bad cliche, but it's like the Rocky movie says, you need the eye of the tiger. George just isn't that hungry any more.

Dave Stoppenhagen | April 28, 2005
Here is Kevin Smith's review of the movie. It is filled with spoilers if you don't want to know don't read it (link)

Scott Hardie | April 29, 2005
It won't be out until sometime next year (production started last week), but I'm also eager to see the film version of "Silent Hill." The writer-director is Christophe Gans, writer-director of "The Brotherhood of the Wolf." It won't take much to be better than the film versions of "Resident Evil," "Alone in the Dark," and probably "Doom" as well.

Jackie Mason | May 2, 2005
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