FRIGHT NIGHT (15): On General Release Friday 2nd September
Horror/comedy is a difficult genre to get right. Skew it too far towards horror and you risk shell-shocking your audience out of any ability to laugh; aim for too funny and your scares won’t have the desired effect.
2010’s Drag Me To Hell is a perfect example of when everything goes exactly right – it’s unnerving and hilarious in equal amounts (providing the cinema you saw it in has good sound – there were decidedly mixed results from people that didn’t have its brutal score boring a hole in the backs of their skulls).
Fright Night is a remake of the 1985 horror comedy classic of the same name and successfully treads the thin horror/comedy line. The result, while fun doesn’t do anything that the original did better but even so makes for an enjoyable adventure.
Things appear to be looking up for Charley, a teenager who’s starting to outgrow his geeky roots and now has a smoking hot girlfriend (Imogen Poots). Unfortunately, this means he’s had to ditch his former best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who doesn’t take kindly to having Charley’s back turned on him.
But when a new neighbour moves in and kids are found missing at school, Ed comes to Charley with evidence that his new neighbour might be a vampire. Initially sceptical, Charley quickly becomes a believer and eventually Van Helsing Junior, recruiting occult Las Vegas showman Peter Vincent (David Tennant) to do battle with the menace next door before he devours the entire block. Read more
Scott Derickson (writer and director of The Exorcism Of Emily Rose) announced that he was working on a new version of the David vs. Goliath story in January, something which so far has yet to materialise. Well, now it looks like it’s got its biblical skates on as The Rock is currently in talks with producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen to star as the titular hulk.
Personally, I think it’s a great idea. The Rock’s a mountain of muscle anyway, so minimal CGI would be needed and watching him cock a giant eyebrow at a miniscule farmboy. Godfrey and Bowen were heavily involved in the Twilight Saga so it’s no surprise that they also have offer for Taylor Lautner to star as David. Boring casting then – wouldn’t Christopher Mintz-Plasse be better (albeit probably distracting from the tone they’re going for).
It might be a long time coming though as Derickson is currently working on Sinister with Ethan Hawke and The Rock is administering The People’s Elbow to folks in G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation.
Either way, expect more news on this, probably shot in ubiquitous shades of dusty brown, soon.
The script by I Am Legend‘s Mark Protosevich adapted from the 2004 screenplay by Park Chan Wook will see a man kidnapped while drunk one evening and then imprisoned for 15 years. Just as he’s about to escape, he’s mysteriously set free and he embarks on a mission to track down his captor and find the reason behind his imprisonment.
Weirdly enough the remake started off directed by Steven Spielberg with Will Smith in the lead role. Can you imagine? Between Spielberg’s desire to give every story a happy ending and Will Smith’s teeth-grindingly awful mugging and habitual wise-cracking, we’d be looking at one of the worst remakes ever (and I saw Sex & Zen 3D yesterday).
Brolin’s a much better choice for a lead but the idea of a Western remake is still quite puzzling. An offer’s also out to Christian Bale to play the antagonist but he’s yet to decide as he’s still busy clearing his throat repeatedly in The Dark Knight Rises.
Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a small town pizza delivery guy whose mundane life collides with the big plans of two wanna-be criminal masterminds (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) in 30 Minutes Or Less. The volatile duo kidnaps Nick and forces him to rob a bank. With mere hours to pull off the impossible task, Nick enlists the help of his ex-best friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari). As the clock ticks, the two must deal with the police, hired assassins, flamethrowers, and their own tumultuous relationship.
30 Minutes Or Less is in UK cinemas on Friday 16th September
In The Skin I Live In Pedro Almodóvar takes his first steps towards horror – a genre which he’s hitherto left unexplored. The result is a tightly controlled gem, a Hitchcockian thriller which touches on familiar themes of identity and gender but also embraces his fondness for melodrama and labyrinthine plots.
Antonio Banderas plays a brilliant Spanish surgeon Doctor Robert Ledgard. He’s handsome, rich and his home is furnished with a state of the art private operating theatre. He gives lectures and is well respected by the scientific community where he advances the case for a radical new type of skin, research into which has been forbidden.
Back in his sumptuously furnished home, he keeps a beautiful woman, Vera, prisoner. She has flawless skin but is covered from head to toe in a tan body stocking and is watched voyeuristically on large screen plasma TVs scattered throughout the house.
Through lengthy flashbacks we discover the relationship between the death of Ledgard’s wife in car crash, the rape and subsequent suicide of his teenage daughter at the hands of a carefree party-goer and how exactly Vera came to be Ledgard’s patient and captive. Read more
ONE DAY (12A): On General Release Friday 26th August
It’s hard to get on a train at the moment without seeing a commuter reading David Nicholls’ One Day. It’s become this year’s Da Vinci Code (while thankfully not being the equivalent of literary slurry). The adaptation directed by Lone Scherfig (An Education) is a perfectly competent romantic drama but doesn’t have the emotional impact of the novel and fails to distinguish itself above other movies of its kind.
One Day follows recent graduates Dexter (Jim Sturgess) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) after they share a failed one-night stand on St. Swithin’s Day – the 15th July – in 1988. They eventually become best friends and each year on the 15th we’re given a snapshot of the preceding year. Emma initially takes a dead-end job as a waitress in a scuzzy Mexican restaurant before eventually retraining as a teacher and becoming a successful novelist.
Dexter meanwhile becomes an obnoxious presenter for late night TV shows and has a string of glamorous but ultimately meaningless relationships before his life spirals into drug-fuelled abandon and his career nosedives. Read more
Jason Momoa has a lot to live up to because when it comes to action films, there are no bigger shoes to fill than Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s. There’s something about Arnie that’s so entertaining that it almost doesn’t matter what film he’s in, it’ll always be watchable. Sadly Momoa proves a poor substitute for the Austrian Oak in this forgettable reboot of 1982’s Conan The Barbarian.
Inexplicably narrated by Morgan Freeman, it starts well, with Conan’s birth on the battlefield – the first shot of a baby in the womb which is suddenly sliced open by a stray sword and lifted triumphantly aloft by his warrior chieftain father is gloriously over the top and raises expectations for the film to come. The following scenes with Conan as a boy, outstripping his rivals in a coming-of-age trial and subsequently defeating four invading marauders single-handed is exciting and sets the stage for a herculean adult barbarian.
It’s just a shame that when it gets going, it quickly descends into a sub-standard movie version of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Conan embarking on a long and boring quest to track down his father’s killer before he enslaves humanity. It’s almost impossible to describe a character without talking about their physical attributes and they’re so forgettable you’ll struggle to remember their names.
There’s Artus (Nonzo Anozie), a burly sidekick whose job is to captain Conan’s ship when he’s not aboard, laugh heartily and indulge in some manly arm-wrestling; a whiny thief with an eye-patch (whose name I have actually forgotten) who’s nothing but irritating and serves as a handy plot device an hour after we meet him. Then there’s the damsel in distress, Tamara (Rachel Nichols) who sounds like she’s just stepped off the set of Clueless. She’s a monk but is oddly proficient at stabbing people and has as much personality as a plastic spoon. Read more
Taken 2 will see original star Liam Neeson kicking ass but not bothering to ask names with the awesomely named Oliver Megaton behind the cameras. Megaton has previously directed Transporter 3 (also written by Besson) and the forthcoming Colombiana and will be stepping in for Taken director Pierre Morel.
He’s currently scouting some locations in LA but only part of the action is scheduled there, which leads us to think that Taken 2 could once again see Neeson beating the living daylights out of some dirty dirty foreigners.
As Christian Bale’s destined to hang up his throat lozenges for good after The Dark Knight Rises hits our screen next summer, the offers for the sooo-to-be-unemployed Caped Crusader have started to role in.
According to Variety, top of the list is the remake of Park Chan Wook’s excellent dark thriller Old Boy which Spike Lee is currently attached to direct. If Bale signs up, he’ll play the villain who abducts the protagonist and holds him hostage for 15 years. But that’s only phase one of a sinister plan. The original’s somewhat of a cult classic (and features one of the best fights ever committed to celluloid) – quite why this even needs to be remade isn’t really apparent. Oh yeah, money, that’s it.
Next up, Clint Eastwood’s apparently looking to cast Bale in A Star Is Born as the male lead, a role which would see the bizarre situation of him mentoring Beyonce before falling for her. “What don’t you fucking understand?” etc.
There’s slightly less known about the other projects but they include Michael Mann’s Gold which is being billed as a modern day Treasure Of Sierra Madre adventure.
Even less is known aobut Out of the Furnace (formerly titled The Low Dweller), a tale of a criminal name Slim avenging the murder of his brother. Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper will be behind the cameras for that one.
And finally, there’s Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, which would see the construction of the Biblical Ark. Bale for what, Moses? We’d like to see that.
Bale’s not committing to anything at the moment, preferring to concentrate on his Batman role until The Dark Knight Rises finishes shooting at the end of the year but it’s a solid bunch of movies to be thinking about.
Scarface comes to Blu-ray on the 5th September and stars of the movie including Al Pacino (dressed as what? Rambo? 80s-era Sting?), Steven Bauer, Robert Loggia and F. Murray Abraham were on the town for a special launch party to celebrate.
Weirdly Steven Bauer said, “I’ve had encounters with fans every day of my life…as most of the world identifies with Tony Montana.” Apparently most of the world identifies with coke-snorting, foul-mouthed, homicidal drug lords now. Things really are worse than we thought folks.
“It’s really beautiful (on Blu-ray) and the sound is amazing. It comes with a documentary that is a killer. It’s the ultimate for fans and people who love the movie.”
Well, in that he’s right as classic films in Blu-ray are definitely worth picking up especially for the bucket-loads of extra footage.
Check out some footage for the event: