As i write this, it’s the 1st March, the sun is shining, and it feels like the movie year is starting to begin, after a slow first two months. It feels like a good time, then, to have a look at what the next ten months have in store, and the ten things i’m most looking forward to about them. If you have some things you think i’ve missed out, please feel free to shout about them in the comments section below.
10. Source Code Updates
When i saw Moon, i was spellbound. Both by the performance of Rockwell, and the incredible filmmaking on display from a first time feature director. So when the first concept drawing of Duncan Jones’ follow up Mute was released, i was pretty excited. Mute has now been postponed in favour of Source Code. I don’t think this is bad news for Mute by the way. If Jones makes a successful studio picture, it’ll increase his chances of getting the required budget. Moon was fantastic, but was overlooked, and its gross only just covered costs.
We know a little about Source Code, and the main casting has been announced. I’m looking forward to finding out more about the storyline, and hopefully seeing some set photos and footage in the coming months. Duncan Jones has shown the potential to be one of the true greats of British filmmaking, and Source Code will hopefully go far in answering the question of whether that will come to pass.
9. The Expendables Trailer
When i first heard about Sylvester Stallone’s plan to bring together a big group of Hollywood’s biggest action stars, i have to admit, i rolled my eyes. It sounded crazy, and most of the cast’s careers have been in the descendancy in recent years. But as more and more names were announced, and the surreal project became real, i started to rethink my first impressions. All movies don’t have to have complicated story-lines and worthy messages. Some movies can be action packed, adrenaline pumping, and just damn cool.
The plot of a team of unwanted, unloved war machines taking care of business allows for the most violent, bullet ridden scenes in cinema. On that basis, the trailer is going to be 150 seconds of pure, unadulterated carnage. There’s a huge showcase of action heroes to shoehorn into a two and a half minute promo, and it’s easy to imagine each one getting a cheer when they appear. Whatever your thoughts are on the movie, whether you think you’ll go see it or not, you know you’re going to be glued to the trailer. At least once.
8. Writing For HeyUGuys
Undoubtedly one of my highlights of 2009 was joining the great team here at HUG. I was fortuitous to come in at an opportune time. A lot of the hard work had been done, a great fanbase had been built up, and i was able to swan in and enjoy the fruits of their labour. I’m very lucky to have been given the opportunity to work for the UK’s biggest (and now award winning) movie blog. I’ve met some great people, who love film just as much i do. I intend to contribute as much as possible to the continuing success of the site, and i hope the quality of my work and writing is up to the high standards already set.
It’s a big year for the industry. Avatar has set new benchmarks, the Academy Award for best picture will be fought out by ten movies for the first time in a long time. Record theatre attendances were set last year, and technology is changing with 3D and digital media set for big things over the next 12 months. I’ll be a part of HeyUGuys’ attempts to be at the forefront of a continually growing industry.
7. The Academy Awards
The Oscars hold a strange place in the movie industry. The media and movie fans speculate over the course of the year about who might get nominated, who deserves to, who will win, or why someone won’t. Then the nominations are announced, and uproar is caused as we complain about undeserved nominations, and lament those that did deserve recognition and didn’t get it. Invariably, the best picture win is highly contentious, and history remembers that ‘the best film didn’t win that year’. We still follow them. And make no doubt, the nominees definitely covet them. It’s always nice to be recognised for good work, and the gold statue is the holy grail of the movie industry.
This year sees the added dimension of ten best picture nominations, which ensures we can all feel a personal attachment for one of the films in contention. Ten nominations also creates more potential for a big surprise, and this year’s big question is can a movie with hackneyed plot, poor dialogue and woefully thin characterisations really win the big prize? For my money, the answer is yes.
6. Sam Rockwell’s Career
Ever since his masterful mid-movie turn in Charlie’s Angels (i’m not being ironic), Sam Rockwell has been one of my favourite actors. He’s played some great parts, and put in some fantastic performances, but somehow has never garnered the big parts. Now, following his criminally unrewarded tour de force in Moon, and a main part in one of this year’s big blockbusters Iron Man, he finally looks poised to make the breakthrough.
I’m eager to see what he gets offered this year. I think if it doesn’t come together for him this year, he’ll be doomed to a career of interesting parts in intelligent films. Yeah, i know that actually sounds pretty good. I’d just like to see him in much bigger roles in much bigger movies, so his abilities can be appreciated by a much wider audience.
5. Crazy Superman Rumours
Just a few months ago, the Superman property was embroiled in a massive lawsuit. Following a, frankly, terrible attempt at reviving the franchise with Superman Returns, this didn’t bode well for the future of the Man of Steel, in big screen form at least. It was looking highly unlikely that we would be seeing another film, at lease for the time being. Ironically enough, the outcome of the legal proceedings has been Warner Bros rushing in to motion a project to get a new Superman movie into production before the end of the world, i.e. 2012.
This is great news, in some respects, bad news in others. The bad is the fact that we’ll get a rush job, a Superman movie made out of necessity rather than love. The good news is, a movie looks to be actually getting made. After the development hell preceding the production of Superman Returns, that alone is a miracle.
What it also means is wild rumours. We have a ‘Godfather’ in the shape of Christopher Nolan, a writer in the shape of David Goyer, and a director in the shape of Christopher’s brother Jonah Nolan. As best as i can work out, Goyer’s appointment is the only truly ‘official’ element so far. Any other information is based on sketchy detail at best. This means we can look forward to plenty of entertaining stories based around who will direct, who will star, and exactly what the movie will be all about. As a huge Superman fan, i can hardly wait.
4. The Return Of Gordon Gekko
Gordon Gekko is the stuff of legend. Ruthless corporate shark, with a strong personality, a war-like attitude towards business, and a very firmly eighties fashion sense.
Wall Street was a great movie, and firmly encompassed what the eighties mean to a large section of people. We marvelled at the film, amazed by the over the top storyline, and the purported goings on in and around the US’ financial capital. The people who really were involved in the industry under the microscope probably started to sweat, knowing that all that was up on screen was actually true to life.
To go back to the well for Wall Street 2 initially sounds like a cheap ploy to milk a great original movie. Certainly, the subtitle Money Never Sleeps makes the whole exercise sound tacky. The more we think about it, however, the more we realise the value of Oliver Stone revisiting his iconic character in a contemporary setting. The world has changed, the economy is in the toilet, and you never know, it might just take dinosaurs like Gordon Gekko to help pull us out of it. More than anyone, the man is definitely fluent in finance. The presence of Shia LaBeouf is a downside for me, but i accept that this will probably be the first time he has had truly great material to work with, so we may just see the best of him. Wall Street 2 was a project that caused me to snigger when it was first announced, now i can’t help thinking it may be one of the year’s most important movies.
3. The HeyUGuys IMDb250 Project
There are as many haters as there are lovers of IMDb’s top 250 list. I understand the reasons why. Some are valid, some aren’t. There’ will generally be a certain subset of people who vote regularly for movies on there, and other sets who will just give 10/10 for movies they love, and big fat zero for everything else. But if you look at the diverse selection of movies in the top 250, you can see that every genre, every period, every form of movie has been covered in some way by the list. The ratings are based on an average, meaning even if only 5000 people have seen an obscure indie movie from 1993, if it is good it has a chance at making the list.
Looking through the list i was surprised,and maybe even a little ashamed at how few of the movies i’d seen. Probably little more than half. The idea of the project is to see films i wouldn’t otherwise have seen, bring some of the lesser known ones to the attention of our readers, and to try and build up a bit more knowledge of what truly makes a great film.
So far I’ve watched just 20 movies out of the 125 I’m expected to watch. The two best I’ve seen have been films I’ve never seen before. I’ve been exposed to some of Hitchcock’s work, a fantastic filmmaker whose work i hadn’t seen much of for one reason or another. And this last week I’ve viewed several important films from the New Hollywood period, one from which i haven’t seen nearly enough works, despite the fact it saw some of the most interesting films in Hollywood’s history. I’m greatly looking forward to seeing more great work i haven’t experienced, and re-watching movies i maybe didn’t fully appreciate the first time around.
I’ve been waiting a long time for a superhero movie that tells the story of a normal, average human being, who decides to take justice into his own hands. A movie that explores the emotional, and physical effects such a life have on the human psyche. The anger, sadness and loneliness that is inherent in a life lived at night, fighting crime with no-one to confide in at the end of a punishing day. Based on the trailer, Kick-Ass probably isn’t it. The wait for that movie goes on.
Kick-Ass looks to be a much more rounded movie than that, mixing serious human drama with explosive action and a great deal of humour. The story of regular human beings out to save the world, with the difficulties, and injuries, they face will on this occasion be mixed with the style and flash of Hit-Girl, a true comic book hero capable of r-rated, extreme cartoon style violence. In a time of fairly po-faced, worthy superhero stories like the Spider-Man and Batman series, along with The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man adaptations, it’s refreshing to see a comic book movie that will show a bit of flair, tongue in cheek action sequences, and just really add a bit of fun to an overdone genre.
The buzz on Kick-Ass has been fantastic. It’ll possibly be the first highly anticipated release of the year, and whilst Iron Man will probably overshadow it at the box office, i think Kick-Ass will prove to be the more fun picture, and may just get the best critical reception. With a sequel apparently already in development, it looks like everyone involved is expectant of success, and i for one can’t wait to see it.
Christopher Nolan makes great movies. There is still a subset of haters, as there are with any successful filmmaker. There are still those that are fairly apathetic to his work, and that’s fine, the kind of twisty cerebral stories he tells aren’t for everyone. But the fact remains, with the (possibly overpraised) Dark Knight, Nolan hit a perfect blend of compelling story and thrilling action.
Inception looks to be more of the same. Nolan’s first pure science fiction movie, Inception lacks the brand recognition of the Batman series but with great actors involved like Leonardo Di Caprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and stunning CGI set pieces as displayed in the trailer, there’s no real reason why it can’t enjoy similar success. Remember, Inception is the talented filmmakers ‘one for me’ before his next ‘one for the studio’, Batman 3. For a small, personal project, there’s a whole lot of anticipation.
Nolan has managed to exceed expectations with each successive picture, and the danger here is that it will be his first film that falls short. It looks to be a very personal story, however, following several movies that have been adapted from a successful property or stories written by others. It’s for this reason that i think Inception will be great. Nolan has great ideas, and wouldn’t be making this movie if he didn’t think it would be up to the high standards he has already set. Inception is easily my most anticipated film of the year, and i think there are a lot of movie-goers that feel the same. Roll on June…
Bazmann – You can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/baz_mann