pinocchio1

Contribution by Terrance Kirby.

There are many movies that are far ahead of the curve, but none more so than Pinocchio. This classic tale of a boy made of wood is really about the oncoming development of cyborgs, and whether these robots are truly human or just replicas that will never know what it is like to feel. The protagonist of the story is just such a monstrosity, a boy not born of god and nature but of wood and nails, then given a functioning cyber-brain by a fairy who lives in a far off sun.

Pinocchio makes every one of us ask ourselves if a child made from steampunk machines is truly a real boy. The answer I came up with is a resounding no. If Disney wanted us to believe that Pinocchio was a real boy simply based on his character and emotion, they would have left him as a creature of wood. Truly what Disney is saying to us here is that in the future androids will be ostracized by the public, forced into hiding and shame until they can find a reputable dealer or magic fairy who will grant them what humans define as realness. As they fight for civil rights, many will point to Pinocchio as a portentous piece of filmmaking which is why it is my favorite animated movie to watch on Best Choice TV.

Posted on October 22nd, 2010 by admin | Leave a Comment (1)
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Top Gun

The need for speed is back. After twenty four years and a lot of rumors, Top Gun 2 is apparently one step closer to a reality. The latest news is that the head honchos at Paramount have made an offer to producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Tony Scott and star Tom Cruise to make a sequel to what is arguably the film that made their careers and defined a generation. An offer has also been made to The Usual Suspects and Valkyrie screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie to pen the film which would have Cruises character Maverick in a smaller role.

Now lets rewind back twenty four years. Don Simpson and his producing partner Bruckheimer hot off their success with Fame were looking for a new project and Bruckheimer read an article in 1983 in California Magazine called “Top Guns”. His immediate thoughts were that this could be Star Wars on earth and set about purchasing the article. Simpson and Bruckheimer then hired newbie director Tony Scott to helm the film because he had actually worked with and filmed a jet for a commercial for the Saab car company. The three were all agreed on the one most crucial detail of them all: This film could not be done without the full co-operation of the U.S. Navy.

At the time relations between the Hollywood community and the U.S. Navy were not good. The Navy were very hesitant at getting involved in Top Gun as their last film collaboration on An Officer and A Gentlemen did not go very well to say the least. It was Bruckheimer and Simpson who personally met with Naval officers and officials that persuaded them to make it happen and they did. They set real life Top Gun Flight Instructor Pete Pettigrew to work with Jim Cash and Jack Epps on the screenplay and act as technical adviser on the production. That’s where the film started to become the hit it was.

Pettigrew made significant changes to the screenplay. The opening was changed to a Night “trap” which is known to be a pilot’s worst nightmare, but I doubt any pilot would admit that. Maverick’s love interest was changed from a fellow pilot to a civilian because relations between male and female officers are not allowed. The Top Gun trophy was invented for the film. The film took on its more real aspects under this trio’s writing. The decision to cast Cruise, a relative unknown at the time, was viewed by many skeptics as a risk, but the Producer and Director fought for it and won.

In fact most of the casting done at the time included a lot of up and comers. Val Kilmer and Tim Robbins are two that have made their careers a success, but there was the casting of a pivotal but small role in the film that stood out more than the others. That was the young Meg Ryan as Goose’s wife. In her limited screen time she showed why she deserved to make it to the big time.

Top Gun was released in theaters on May 16th , 1986 and took in a worldwide box office of $353,816,701. It was generally viewed among moviegoers as a film where you couldn’t help but like it. The quote “I feel the need….The need for speed” quickly became a hit. It was backed a hit soundtrack as well which included an academy award for best song with Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” and provided another hit for Kenny Loggins of Footloose fame with “Danger Zone”, but the most impressive thing that it did was still to come.

When Top Gun was released in theaters the Navy and Air Force reported they had received a significant boost in its recruitment numbers so much so that the Navy set up recruitment booths in some theaters to capitalize on it’s success. Something that had never happened before. I think Top Gun was one of best films that came out of the 80’s. It was pure Americana. It made stars of its lead actors and redefined the action/war films.

If a sequel is to happen I would love to see Cruise’s character in a more mentor role to whoever they cast as the new lead. Top Gun 2 if handled right could be another great hit for cinema, but to me one thing they have to keep is the authenticity. No CGI. A film like this has to feel real and they should do everything in their power to keep it that way. Maybe Top Gun 2 could help the Navy and Air Force’s recruitment again especially in this date and time when they are needed. Only one thing is certain if this happens, the Summer of 2012 or 2013 will be one hell of a ride.

Rhys Ifans is the Lizard in Spiderman 4

Okay, I’ve been waiting since Rhys Ifans was announced as being the big bad in the new Spiderman flick to comment on it until his character was confirmed or at least leaked. Well, it looks like that time is here and Rhys Ifans will be portraying Dr. Curt Connors, aka the Lizard!

When they originally announced Spiderman 4 with Raimi and Maguire, I thought that the Lizard was going to face Spidy next. Then when things got all messy and Raimi left the project followed by Sony changing into a prequel/reboot with Marc Webb taking the helm I wasn’t sure. I was afraid they’d go the Green Goblin route again, or as rumors indicated, we’d see Venom again. Ugh. But now it seems that Webb is still moving forward with fresh stories by ignoring used villains and bringing the Lizard into the fold.

So, we have Andrew Garfield who just impressed me with his performance in The Social Network as Peter Parker. He is a good choice, but I’m still not sure if the 6 foot tall and mature looking actor can portray “puny” Parker in high school. Also leaving me unsure is why Emma Stone, who would make a picture perfect Mary Jane is actually portraying Gwen Stacy. I hate that Sony just feels like the characters are interchangeable when they are actually very different. I’m waiting on pins and needles as to who will take on the MJ, Harry, and Flash roles.

The Lizard vs Spiderman

Lets take a look at Curt Connors/Lizard. One of my favorite things about him is that he is actually a good guy. Connors is a surgeon who goes off to war to save the lives of wounded GIs. While there, he gets injured in a blast and loses his arm. Upon returning to the states he becomes obsessed with reptiles and how they can regrow their limbs. Studying them he is able to develop an experimental serum from reptilian DNA that he uses to try and regrow his arm. It works, but there is a side effect, Connors becomes a reptilian humanoid monster, The Lizard, and it puts his family’s lives in danger and everyone around him. The Lizard is usually portrayed as a mindless savage, but in different mediums he has had different levels of intellect. In Spiderman: The Animated Series the Lizard was just as smart as Connors and attempted to make a race of Lizard people, while in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series he was portrayed as being purely animalistic.

Having the Lizard being mindless animal poses a problem for the film. It would mean no master plan or witty banter between Spiderman and the main villain. Having a monster that acts on instincts could lead to some amazing fights, but that could also create a story that really goes nowhere. What the Lizard needs is a cool counter part, someone like…

Kraven the Hunter is one of spiderman's most deadly villains

Kraven the Hunter

If we care about Curt Connors, we should want Spiderman to save and cure him rather than kill him. What we need is someone like Kraven the Hunter whose sole purpose is hunting down the lizard and making him part of his trophy room. Think of the three way fight over Manhattan and in the sewer systems. Could be epic. What do you think? Do you want to see someone like Kraven the Hunter added into the mix? Or how about someone else? Could the Kingpin try to harness the Lizard as a hitman? Or would JJJ try to use the Lizard to take out the Spider-menace? There are a lot of possibilities and I can’t wait to see what Webb comes up with.

Casper MovieI appreciate the guest post, Graig Brooks.

It just wouldn’t be Halloween without watching the film Casper. The first time I watched Casper was the first time I truly believed there could be friendly ghosts out there. It was a little sad to think that children passed away before their time and that they remain with unfinished business. It’s a great film but when you think about the story behind it, it can really be sad. I really enjoy watching Casper on the Satellite tv Clawson near Halloween. Casper also stars Bill Pullman who happens to be one of my favorite actors. He is more known for his role in movies such as Independence Day and Lake Placid, but he shows some serious range in Casper as well.

There are actually a couple different Casper movies. My second favorite would have to be when Casper Meets Wendy. This film stars Hilary Duff and America’s favorite friendly ghost. It’s all about acceptance and being who you are. Just because you look like a monster doesn’t mean you have to act like one. Casper is a teenage boy who tragically lost his life and wishes more than ever he could be alive and be with Kat.

Posted on October 13th, 2010 by admin | Leave a Comment
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Finally, thanks to the release of the 25th Anniversary Back to the Future Trilogy Blu-Ray we get to see actual footage of Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly. While Michael J. Fox was the producers original choice for McFly, conflicts with his sit-com Family Ties stopped him from being part of the production, so the producers went with Stoltz in the role. Watch this video from the Hollywood Reporter for more details…

Back to the Future is easily one of my favorite films and the trilogy really stand up to the test of time. Stoltz, while a good actor, was a terrible choice for Marty McFly and I’m so glad the producers not only saw that, but had the balls to replace him 5 weeks in (which is crazy and nowhere near the norm). Michael J Fox is Marty McFly and I think that casting was key to making the series work.

Last week saw the releases of Iron Man 2, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, and Get Him to the Greek, but this week we don’t have many “new” movies. Regardless, we have a lot of new Blu-Rays to sink our teeth in.

The Karate Kid

I just finally saw this remake starring the little Smith and Jackie Chan. I gotta say, I actually really dug it. Very well done, and while keeping the spirit of the original, it wasn’t a direct rip off. They made it feel fresh. My only gripe was the bizarre and unneeded “dark side” of Chan’s character. It came out of nowhere and was forgotten just as fast.

Baseball: The Tenth Inning
Also new this week is the PBS documentary from directors Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that takes a look at baseball between 1992 and 2009. “As the tumultuous twentieth century is drawing to a close, and a new millennium begins, baseball continues to reflect the complicated country that created it.” I haven’t seen this one, but the reviews have been pretty positive. If you are a fan of baseball, you’ll likely dig it.

Bones: The Complete Fifth Season
I’ve been a big fan of David Boreanaz since his Buffy/Angel days, but I just haven’t been able to get into this series. Boreanaz is a special agent, who teams up with Dr. Temperance Brennan, portrayed by Emily Deschanel, to solve murders based on bones that are discovered. With over 100 episodes under their belt, there are fans of this series, but I doubt you’ll be getting this unless you are already a fan.

In addition to our new movies and TV, we have some firsts to Blu-Ray, including:

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • The Last of the Mohicans: Director’s Definitive Cut
  • The Maltese Falcon

And new to DVD:

  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete Seventh Season

What will you be picking up?

A new poster featuring Daniel Radcliffe as the boy wizard Harry Potter has been released. “Nowhere is Safe” indeed. Since the third Harry Potter film, Warner Brothers have really been hitting their marks with this franchise. I love the posters and the visual style of the series. These posters are no exception.

Harry Potter 7 Part 1 Movie Poster

Check out the other Harry Potter 7 character posters over on Yahoo Movies. HP7, or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 will hit theaters on November 19th, 2010.

Posted on September 30th, 2010 by ThePit | Leave a Comment
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