“A Samurai without a Master”: Matt Revisits THE WOLVERINE

by     Posted 102 days ago

the-wolverine-teaser-poster

[With X-Men: Days of Future Past opening on Friday, I'm taking a look back at the X-Men movie franchise.  These reviews contain spoilers.]

Personally, I like it when the X-Men work as a team.  When I first tuned in to watch the animated TV series as a kid, I didn’t know superheroes could work in more than a team of two (Batman and Robin were the limit).  And having a big team meant that I could be a part of the adventure as long as I liked one of the characters.  The X-Men were outsiders, but they were a group of outsiders, and together they could fight giant robots, talking pterodactyls, intergalactic civil war, and plenty of other problems that we all face on a daily basis.

Logan has always been the character in between two worlds—the loner who’s a valuable part of the team (and when I look across comic book covers today, he’s apparently on every team).  In his second shot at a spin-off he truly broke off from the team, and although the film was the furthest departure from the X-Men world so far, The Wolverine was still tethered to the franchise’s past; it also managed to serve as a comment on our blockbuster present.

THE RAILWAY MAN Review

by     Posted 142 days ago

the-railway-man-colin-firth

[This is a re-post of my The Railway Man review from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. The Railway Man opens today in limited release.]

War is an undeniable certainty.  For as long as there is civilization, there will be war.  With conflict comes tragedy, but it does not end when the war concludes; the effects a human being are long lasting and not easily forgotten.  We’ve see countless aspects of war explored onscreen in various films, some focusing on the battles at hand, some zeroing in on the psychological experience, and some chronicling the lasting effects years after the actual conflict.  The Railway Man tries to have it both ways by telling two stories: one of atrocities during World War II and one of the after effects on man’s psyche nearly half a decade later.  By splitting its focus in two, though, the film fails to wholly capture either story, resulting in a disappointing feature all together.  Hit the jump for my full review.

New Clip for THE RAILWAY MAN Starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman

by     Posted 233 days ago

the-railway-man-slice

A new clip has been released for the drama The Railway Man.  Based on a true story, the film takes place in 1980 England and stars Colin Firth as Eric Lomax, a former British officer and Prisoner of War who was interred by the Japanese in Singapore.  As he suffers from severe psychological trauma in the present, his wife (Nicole Kidman) attempts to find a way to relieve his suffering.  The domestic trailer was released yesterday, but I haven’t watched it since Adam says it gives away almost the entire film.  Instead, I just watched this new clip where Eric presumably confronts his torturer (Hiroyuki Sanada), and it looks fairly tense and intriguing.  But it’s a brief clip, and I’m far from sold, especially since in his review from TIFF, Adam said that the movie never really comes together.

Hit the jump to check out the clip.  The film also stars Jeremy Irvine and Stellan SkarsgardThe Railway Man opens later this year.

New Trailer for THE RAILWAY MAN Starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman

by     Posted 234 days ago

the-railway-man-slice

The Weinstein Company has released a new trailer for director Jonathan Teplitzsky’s drama The Railway Man, and it basically gives away the entire movie.  Based on a true story, the film takes place in 1980 England and stars Colin Firth as Eric Lomax, a former British officer and Prisoner of War who was interred by the Japanese in Singapore.  As he suffers from severe psychological trauma in the present, his wife (Nicole Kidman) attempts to find a way to relieve his suffering.  I caught the pic back in September at TIFF and, sadly, it doesn’t really come together.  The flashback sequences featuring Jeremy Irvine as a young Lomax during the war are excellent, but the rest of the film is pretty unremarkable and predictable.  That being said, if you have any desire to see the pic I would discourage you from watching this new domestic trailer, which sequentially runs through almost the entire film.

Hit the jump to watch the new The Railway Man trailer and click here to read my review.  The film also stars Stellan Skarsgard and Hiroyuki SandaThe Railway Man will open sometime later this year.

New Clip from 47 RONIN Starring Keanu Reeves

by     Posted 286 days ago

47-ronin-keanu-reeves-slice

Universal has released a new clip from the action film 47 Ronin.  The story stars Keanu Reeves and centers on a troupe of banished samurai who long to restore their honor and find vengeance against the treacherous Lord Kira (played by Tadanobu Asano) who was responsible for the death of their master.  The clip illustrates that the heroes will be fighting beasts rather than men, but the beasts are so hard to buy because the CGI looks so crummy.  I can understand needing CGI for big set pieces, but this is a mano-a-mano fight, and it looks like Reeves is fighting a cartoon character rather than a flesh-and-blood creature.

Hit the jump to watch the clip.  Click on the respective links for Steve’s set visit and interviews with Reeves, co-star Hiroyuki Sanada, costume designer Penny Rose, and director Carl Rinsch.  The film also stars Rinko Kikuchi, Kou Shibasaki, and Jin Akanishi47 Ronin opens in 3D on December 25th.

TOP 5: THOR: THE DARK WORLD, DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, Marvel Live-Action Series Coming to Netflix, 47 RONIN Set Visit, Blockbuster Video Is Dead

by     Posted 295 days ago

collider-top-5-slice

Although I hate to naysay, I’ve gone on record several times with my lack of excitement for the upcoming RoboCop remake (here’s one example although I’m sure there are more). This past week MGM and Sony released the new trailer for the film and while I think the cast has the potential to be great, in general the movie just keeps digging itself into a bigger hole with every bit of new footage that I see. Whereas Paul Verhoeven‘s original was laced with social critique that was often ahead of its time if not at least skillfully deployed, this latest trailer goes out of its way to show that it too has something to say about social issues with on the nose references to the idea of using American resources to promote peace abroad rather than at home and the invasive nature of corporate marketing/branding. You keep up with current affairs, we get it. Speaking of marketing, probably my biggest beef with this latest cut comes in its final seconds when it shows RoboCop making a grandiose landing that essentially says “You guys liked the Iron Man movies, right?! You should definitely check this out then because it has a guy in a futuristic suit too!”. Thanks but no thanks, MGM and Sony.

Now that I’ve levied more criticism on a 2:30 trailer than is likely fair, let’s move on to something more positive. This week’s Top 5 features Thor: The Dark World interviews with Tom Hiddleston and more, Dallas Buyers Club interviews with the likes of Jared Leto, the news that Marvel will bring live-action series to Netflix featuring Daredevil and others, a recap of Steve’s 47 Ronin set visit, and a farewell to the once massive video rental chain, Blockbuster Video. If I haven’t lost you yet, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.

First Trailer and Images for BATTLESTAR GALACTICA Producer Ron Moore’s New Syfy Series HELIX

by     Posted 299 days ago

helix-slice

It’s been a long time since the excellent sci-fi remake Battlestar Galactica came to a close, but executive producer Ronald D. Moore has now finally gotten not one but two new series to television.  He’s currently filming the first season of Starz’s Outlander book series adaptation, but before that hits the airwaves we’ll see Moore’s Syfy series Helix.  A new full-length trailer for the thriller has been released online, and it looks very much like a TV series adaptation of The Thing.  The story follows a team of scientists from the Centers for Disease control who travel to a high-tech research facility in the Arctic to investigate a possible disease outbreak.  As one can surmise, things do not go well.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer and to check out some new images from the show.  The series stars Billy Campbell, Hiroyuki Sanada, Kyra Zagorsky, Jordan Hayes, Catherine Lemieux, Neil Napier, Mark Ghanime, and Meegwun FairbrotherHelix debuts on Syfy January 10th at 10/9c.

Hiroyuki Sanada Talks Telling a Classic Japanese Samurai Story, Working with Keanu Reeves, the Fantasy Element, and More on the Set of 47 RONIN

by     Posted 300 days ago

47-ronin-hiroyuki-sanada-slice

During a group interview on the set of 47 Ronin, Hiroyuki Sanada explained why he wanted to be in the film:

“This is almost the most famous story – Samurai story – in Japan. But we have a lot of original stuff in the script so we changed a lot, taking it in a fantasy way. It’s a very special movie for me. Not only a Samurai thing. Not only a Hollywood fantasy. It has a very special mixture between Japanese traditional culture and Western culture for the costume, set, story. Everything. I believe it will be a very special film that no one has ever seen.”

He also talked about what the story of the 47 Ronin means to him, how making this film compares to The Last Samurai, what it’s been like filming in 3D, the choreography and action, the costumes, and much more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

New Trailer, Poster, and Images for 47 RONIN Starring Keanu Reeves

by     Posted 307 days ago

47-ronin-keanu-reeves-slice

Universal Pictures has released a new trailer, posters, and images for the action flick, 47 Ronin.  The story stars Keanu Reeves and centers on a troupe of banished samurai who long to restore their honor and find vengeance against the treacherous Lord Kira (played by Tadanobu Asano) who was responsible for the death of their master.  This new trailer does a better job of laying out the story as well as showing off more of the finished special effects, but it still doesn’t do anything for me.  The protagonist’s revenge seems miniscule compared to the special effects extravaganza surrounding him.  I want to hold out hope for this movie, but this new trailer isn’t giving me much to go on.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer, poster, and images.   The film also stars Rinko Kikuchi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Kou Shibasaki, and Jin Akanishi47 Ronin opens in 3D on December 25th.

First Trailer for THE RAILWAY MAN Starring Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, and Stellan Skarsgard

by     Posted 355 days ago

the-railway-man-slice

Lionsgate has released the first UK trailer for director Jonathan Teplitzky’s drama The Railway Man.  Based on a true story, the film takes place in 1980 England and stars Colin Firth as Eric Lomax, a former British officer and Prisoner of War who was interred by the Japanese in Singapore.  As he suffers from sever psychological trauma in the present, his wife (Nicole Kidman) attempts to find a way to relieve his suffering.  I caught the film at TIFF this past weekend and found it to be pretty disappointing.  In splitting the film up between the PTSD portion in the present and the war portion in the past, Teplitzky fails to tell either story effectively.  By far the best part of the film is a 40-minute flashback sequence featuring Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) as the young Lomax that chronicles his time at the POW camp, but that’s not enough to make up for the rest of the film.  Read my full review here.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer, but be warned that it verges on revealing the entire plot, so tread lightly if you’re especially looking forward to this one.  The film also stars Stellan Skarsgard and Hiroyuki Sanada and is currently awaiting a US release date.

TIFF 2013: THE RAILWAY MAN Review

by     Posted 358 days ago

the-railway-man-slice

War is an undeniable certainty.  For as long as there is civilization, there will be war.  With conflict comes tragedy, but it does not end when the war concludes; the effects a human being are long lasting and not easily forgotten.  We’ve see countless aspects of war explored onscreen in various films, some focusing on the battles at hand, some zeroing in on the psychological experience, and some chronicling the lasting effects years after the actual conflict.  The Railway Man tries to have it both ways by telling two stories: one of atrocities during World War II and one of the after effects on man’s psyche nearly half a decade later.  By splitting its focus in two, though, the film fails to wholly capture either story, resulting in a disappointing feature all together.  Hit the jump for my full review.

New International Trailer for 47 RONIN Starring Keanu Reeves

by     Posted 362 days ago

47-ronin-monster-slice

A new international trailer has been released for the upcoming action-adventure film, 47 Ronin.  The story stars Keanu Reeves and centers on a troupe of banished samurai who long to restore their honor and find vengeance against the treacherous Lord Kira (played by Tadanobu Asano) who was responsible for the death of their master.  It’s a classic tale, but blockbuster retelling throws in giant monsters, and they’re featured in this new trailer.  Sadly, I remain unconvinced.  They can flow and leave smoke/ribbon trails, but the design isn’t memorable and in the case of the gent above, the effects are underwhelming.  At least Rinko Kikuchi looks like she’s having a good time.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  The film also stars Hiroyuki Sanada, Kou Shibasaki, and Jin Aksanishi47 Ronin opens in 3D on December 25th.

New Japanese Trailer for 47 RONIN Starring Keanu Reeves and Hiroyuki Sanada

by     Posted 1 year, 3 days ago

47-ronin-keanu-reeves-slice

A new international trailer for Universal’s upcoming tentpole 47 Ronin has landed online.  The Carl Rinsch-directed film stars Keanu Reeves and centers on a troupe of banished samurai who long to restore their honor and find vengeance against the treacherous Lord Kira (played by Tadanobu Asano) who was responsible for the death of their master.  This Japanese trailer is considerably shorter than the domestic cut, but we do see a few bits of new footage and the focus is on Hiroyuki Sanada’s character rather than Reeves’.  I’m still not entirely convinced that this isn’t just a bloated samurai riff on 300, but at the very least the film’s near-$200 million budget looks to be all on the screen.

Hit the jump to watch the new trailer.  The film also stars Rinko Kikuchi, Kou Shibasaki, and Jin Aksanishi47 Ronin opens in 3D on December 25th.

Keanu Reeves Is Once Again the Chosen One in First Trailer for 47 RONIN

by     Posted 1 year, 38 days ago

47-ronin-posters-slice

Universal has released the first trailer for director Carl Rinsch’s upcoming fantasy-adventure 47 Ronin.  The film stars Keanu Reeves and centers on a troupe of banished samurai who long to restore their honor and find vengeance against the treacherous Lord Kira (played by Tadanobu Asano) who was responsible for the death of their master.  As you’ll see from the trailer, there’s a heavy supernatural element as well, and sadly, it doesn’t do much for me.  The classic historical tale of Chūshingura seems to be dwarfed by special effects, and not particularly imaginative ones at that (swooshing fabric turns into monsters).  I want to be convinced this could be a good movie, but trailers that try to turn kazoos into rock music are a bit of turn-off.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer, and click here for four character posters.  The film also stars Hiroyuki Sanada, Kô Shibasaki, and Rinko Kikuchi47 Ronin opens in 3D on December 25th.

6 Clips and 7 Minutes of Behind-the-Scenes Video from James Mangold’s THE WOLVERINE Starring Hugh Jackman, Rila Fukushima, Will Yun Lee & Tao Okamoto

by     Posted 1 year, 51 days ago

the-wolverine-hiroyuki-sanada-hugh-jackman-slice

In advance of James Mangold’s The Wolverine opening on July 26th, we have six clips and seven minutes of behind-the-scenes video to share with you today.  Starring Hugh Jackman in the title role, The Wolverine tracks Logan as he reunites with faces from his past while grappling with the consequences his near-immortality.  If you missed any of Steve’s set visit coverage, or Jackman’s wish to play Wolverine alongside The Avengers and Spider-Man, click the links.

Featuring a fantastic international cast, The Wolverine also stars Will Yun Lee, Hiroyuki Sanada, Brian Tee, Rila Fukushima, Svetlana Khodchenkova and Tao Okamoto.  Hit the jump to watch the clips and behind-the-scenes video.

Click Here