Trailer: Earth to Echo

Synopsis: After a construction project begins digging in their neighborhood, best friends Tuck, Munch and Alex inexplicably begin to receive strange, encoded messages on their cell phones. Convinced something bigger is going on, they go to their parents and the authorities. When everyone around them refuses to take the messages seriously, the three embark on a secret adventure to crack the code and follow it to its source. But taking matters into their own hands gets the trio in way over their heads when they discover a mysterious being from another world who desperately needs their help. The epic, suspenseful and exciting journey that follows will change all of their lives forever.

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The Ultramarines are coming to Blu-Ray.

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In December 2011, we had a week where three movie trailers hit the web: The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit and Prometheus. They looked stunning: these were perfectly crafted marketing tools from films with slick visuals, a promising story, and an unheard of amount of hype around their production. 2012 was shaping up to be an incredible movie year. The Avengers looked quite good good, although it’s trailer was released at a different point in time.

The thing is, in my opinion, none of these movies really held up to the hype. I liked them okay: The Dark Knight Rises was good, but not as good as The Dark Knight (my all-time favorite comic book film), The Hobbit was quite good, but it lingered in almost every scene when it didn’t need to, and Prometheus, well. I liked Prometheus for all the wrong reasons: it’s execution was pretty bad, even as it looked wonderful. The Avengers was the best of the lot, even if it felt like every moment was designed by committee. I fell to the trap of the film’s marketing departments, who knew just what worked to draw audiences to the theaters.

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FILM REVIEW: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: Plodding, ponderous, and ultimately pretentious, Peter Jackson’s prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy never reaches its predecessor’s epic heights.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Gandalf the Gray and a gathering of Dwarves enlist Hobbit Bilbo Baggins into a quest to reclaim treasure stolen by the dragon Smaug.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Breathtaking realization of the riddle scene and the goblin kingdom beneath the Misty Mountains; impressive rendering of goblins, Gollum, and the brief glimpse of Smaug.
CONS: Lumberingly paced; script stretching the source material to excruciating lengths; Peter Jackson’s restless yet surprisingly murky direction; 48 frames-per-second resolution giving the entire movie a cheesy look.

They’ve made a mistake.  Several, actually.  Though clogged with too many songs and meals, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, or There and Back Again benefits from a deft touch and, despite occasional lapses, an elegance in its telling, even when the twee narrative spills into the annoyingly cute.  While it occasionally touches on big themes, it recounts the adventures of the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf the Grey, and a band of Dwarves out to reclaim familial treasure from the Dragon Smaug in a way that never bogs down.  Perhaps it lacks the epic sweep of The Lord of the Rings, but its relatively simple quest makes it more immediate and, in a way, more engaging.

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The Hobbit is upon us. The deluge of marketing was compounded by word that Peter Jackson managed to work out a third film, turning the Hobbit into the Lord of the Rings Prequel Trilogy. If there’s anything that I’ve learned this year, it’s that the SF movie world is turning me more cynical, especially when one is at the receiving end of marketing that really has a disconnect from the finished product.
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TRAILER: Epic

Epic is a 3D CG action-adventure comedy that reveals a hidden world unlike any other. From the creators of Ice Age and Rio, Epic tells the story of an ongoing battle deep in the forest between the forces of good who keep the natural world alive and the forces of evil who wish to destroy it. When a teen age girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she must band together with a rag-tag team of fun and whimsical characters in order to save their world..and ours.

Check out the latest trailer after the jump…
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Trailer: Marvel’s Iron Man 3

What? Who are you accusing of being late to the party?

Iron Man 3.  I can’t wait. Seriously, this looks great.  Extremis?  Pepper as Rescue?! (Maybe.)  The Mandarin?!  The Iron Patriot?  AGENT COULSON RIDING A UNICYCLE?!

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Dark Horse Comics and Geek and Sundry keep pumping out some pretty cool motion comics.  I like these more than the ones I’ve seen from Marvel in the past (Iron Man Extremis or SPIDER-WOMAN: Agent of S.W.O.R.D.) – I think the animation style is just better.

Today, we have Dinosaur Porn-er, I mean, Age of Reptiles: Tribal Warfare.

About Age of Reptiles: Tribal Warfare:

From Ricardo Delgado–a prolific development and storyboard artist who has worked on such hit films as Men in Black, The Incredibles, WALL-E, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and the Matrix series– an epic tale about the most unlikely cast of characters: dinosaurs. Since that first foray into the world of sequential art–which earned him an Eisner win for Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition–he has returned to his critically acclaimed Age of Reptiles again and again, each time crafting a captivating saga about his saurian subjects.

Check it out after the jump!

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TRAILER: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

A new trailer is out for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey!

“…far to the east, over ranges and rivers, lies a single, solitary peak…”

Check it out after the jump!

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Wow.

This is the most visually-stunning movie trailer I’ve seen in a while…

Check it out after the jump

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: Messy, way too long, and with far too many missteps and misguided elements, Nolan’s final chapter in the rebooted Batman franchise still remains watchable because of its outstanding cast and several breathtaking sequences.

MY REVIEW:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The Batman is called back into service eight years after taking blame for the death of District Attorney Harvey Dent to save Gotham City from the psychotic Bane, and enlists the help of the mysterious jewel thief Selena Kyle.

 

MY REVIEW:
PROS:
  Visually stunning, with outstanding performances by the leads and supporting cast; incredible action sequences.
CONS:
Underdeveloped ideas and story; overlong; intrusion of science fiction elements breaks the tone of the series.

Despite the incredible high-tech gadgets, powerful souped-up vehicles, and near-magical ability of his utility belt to rescue him from any nefarious jam (much like Doctor Who twisting the knobs of his sonic screwdriver to turn any series of unfortunate events, ultimately, to his benefit), Batman is not, and never has been, part of the science fiction universe.  Large though his shadow looms over the ever-growing corner of genre populated by four-color heroes of a far more fantastic bent (from orphaned alien Superman to Amazon Wonder Woman, from laboratory success Captain America to super-science accidents Hulk and Spider-Man, incredible and amazing or not), Bob Kane’s seminal creation shares far more in common with the crime fighters of The Strand or Black Mask, a Sherlock Holmes in cape and cowl, a Continental Op who goes down the noir mean streets in operatic fashion.

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“A movie needs three things,” my husband recently announced. “Horses, rocks and girls.”
“Not so!” I protested. “A movie needs butt-kicking martial arts. Also really over-the-top costumes.”

Our friend Scott shook his head sadly. “I hate to see you two arguing,” he intervened. “Especially since everybody knows what a movie really needs is a convoluted mystery.”

Not to worry. We made peace. We watched Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame.

What? You’ve never heard of it? But it won a dozen major Asian film awards! It was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 2010 Venice Film Festival, and was well received at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. It was directed by Hark Tsui, China’s number one big name director, and starred Andy Lau, a major Hong Kong leading man. It got glowing reviews in the Washington Post and 81% at Rotten Tomatoes. But, as you may have heard, Americans don’t like subtitles. In the US, it vanished like an ice cube dropped into the sun.
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MOVIE REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: Marc Webb’s updating of Spider-Man’s origin story looks good but feels flat and, ultimately, too familiar.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: High school student Peter Parker’s investigation into his parents’ disappearance bring him to Oscorp, where he is bitten by a genetically engineered spider and begins to take on its powers.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Exceptional special effects; great chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone; early scenes where Peter learns to use his powers.
CONS: Lack of necessity in retelling the origins of the title character; inappropriate tone undermines the character’s primary appeal; too little humanity in the villain.

Haven’t we been here before?  It seems like only yesterday when Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man opened to rave reviews and a huge opening weekend, with the pitch-perfect casting of its title character (Tobey Maguire), love interest (Kirsten Dunst, who went red to play Mary Jane Watson), and key villain (Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin),  to say nothing of scene-stealer J. K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, exceptional dialogue, and its…well, honestly, rather substandard effects, but those didn’t detract from the action and suspense.  Raimi followed it with a superior sequel (Spider-Man 2) written by Michael Chabon and a lifeless continuation (Spider-Man 3) crammed with too many villains.  Now Marc Webb, hot off the success of indie favorite (500) Days of Summer, takes the helm to continue… Read the rest of this entry

MOVIE REVIEW: Brave (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: Beautifully shot, as one would expect from Pixar, but only intermittently engaging and sputters badly as it moves toward its climax.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: When free-spirited princess and archer Merida learns that she must choose a suitor, she seeks the counsel of a witch to change her fate.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Beautiful renderings of the Scottish Highlands as well as exceptionally realized animated characters; good vocal casting; a vibrant score by Patrick Doyle; intriguing fairy tale and fantasy elements…
CONS: …that never really go anywhere; too much time spent in DunBroch Castle; uneven drama that runs out of steam as the movie approaches its conclusion; use of 3D largely unnecessary.
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VIDEO: 2012 Judge Dredd Trailer

Here’s the trailer for the new Judge Dredd movie that 2000 AD co-creator John Wagner praised on his Facebook page, saying, “Dredd as it should be done.”  As for Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby, Wagner had this to say, “Karl is a great Dredd and Olivia gets Anderson completely. This is Dredd as it should be done – true to character, visceral, unrelentingly violent (but not off-puttingly so).”

Visceral and violent?  Take a look at the trailer and let us know what you think in the comments…
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MOVIE REVIEW: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: Dull, drawn out adaptation never even manages the B-movie fun the title would suggest.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Abraham Lincoln loses his mother to vampires and vows to avenge her death as the newly-formed United States tears itself apart over slavery.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: The title elicited a smile.
CONS: Derivative direction, flat script, bored actors.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a one-note joke played for two hours by a bugler with asthma who lost his hearing during the opening cannon fire of the Battle of Gettysburg.  Its central conceit—that Honest Abe loses his mother not to milk sickness but through the bite of a vampire, thus transforming him into the Slayer-in-Chief—sounds like it might have made for one of the more diverting coked-out sketches Saturday Night Live used to toss out between commercials during the days when Lorne Michaels wasn’t afraid of the NBC censors.   Stretching it out to a full-length novel, as Seth Grahame-Smith did in 2010, in the wake of the massive success of his Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, always seemed like a far more dubious proposition.  Now Grahame-Smith has enlisted the directorial eye of Day Watch’s Timur Bekmambetov to adapt his mashup into a feature film, and the result makes Zack Snyder’s 300 look like a Kurosawan masterpiece and Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor a measured documentary. Read the rest of this entry

The latest teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises is up.  Only twenty-seven more teaser trailers until the movie is released in July…

VIDEO: DC Nation Shorts Presents: The New Teen Titans Turning Back the Clock

One of my favorite shows form the CartoonNetwork swath of DC inspired fare, was the Teen Titans.  It had a great mix of anime, humor and DC Comics to amuse.  Sadly, the show is gone, but those characters and the sense of whimsy the show displayed, lives on as part of the DC Nation Shorts on CartoonNetwork.

Here’s ‘Turning Back the Clock’, where we get to see the various incarnations of the Titans and their uniforms.

In episode 132 of the Hugo Nominated SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester asks our irregulars to weigh in on: Book Spoilers – How Long is Too Long?  Do some people take it too far?

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This DC Nation short features The New Teen Titans and, specifically Beast Boy, in an amusing little short.

Favorite line belongs to Raven: “Eat the stupid cookie.”

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