Nothing is as cool and hip and glorious as war, if trailers for The Avengers, John Carter, and Battleship (please scroll down) are to be perceived as reflections of reality – or at least of our cultural landscape. In The Avengers, Tom Hiddleston's Loki is the enemy (well, at least one of them); in John Carter, the enemies are mean, ugly sons-of-bitches Martians (I think); in the board-game-inspired Battleship, the enemies are robot-aliens suspiciously similar to the metallic creatures found in the Transformers movies.
In fact, the Battleship trailer shown during the Super Bowl has a building collapsing much like what takes place in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. But in case you're too trailered out to get the similarities between the new Peter Berg movie and the old Michael Bay franchise, Universal tells you in big, bold letters that Battleship comes courtesy of “Hasbro the company that brought you TRANSFORMERS.” Or perhaps it could be that Universal felt the need to hammer that message in because the studio was afraid prospective patrons might think that Battleship is a talkie remake of Sergei Eisenstein's political drama Battleship Potemkin. (Personally, The Artist or no, I don't believe they should have been too concerned about that, but that's just me.)
Taylor Kitsch, the heir apparent to Shia LaBeouf, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mel Gibson, will be busy this year, fighting Martians in John Carter and alien robots from who-the-hell-knows-where in Battleship. In addition to Kitsch, the latest bombastic spring/summer blockbuster-to-be hopeful features Liam Neeson, Brooklyn Dekker, Rihanna, Peter MacNicol, and Josh Pence. Battleship opens May 18.
Taylor Kitsch and Brooklyn Decker 'Battleship' clip: Dreaming of a white meat burrito
In the Battleship clip below, you get to see John Carter star Taylor Kitsch making a wish – it's his birthday, after all. One assumes Kitsch is wishing he'll get lucky with What to Expect When You're Expecting actress Brooklyn Decker, who has just ordered a chicken burrito at the local dive. Or perhaps his birthday wish is that Decker will give him her burrito; it's a bit unclear. The kitchen is closed. She herself may not get a burrito – at least not a fresh one.
But surely a $200 million action movie based on a Hasbro board game can't be about any burrito drama. Or about unwashed, long-haired men hitting on sparkling, meticulously coiffed women.
But then again, $200 million action movies can't just offer two hours of nonstop action, can they? There must be some “character development,” however marginal. Hence scenes such as the one below.
An ugly job or a beautiful girl? The U.S. Navy or (lowly) U.S. unemployment benefits?
Careful what you wish for.
Why bother with romance and burritos?
You'll see scenes such as the one above until the day some Hollywood studio genius realizes that $200 million action movies not only can, but actually should feature only action scenes, since people who go to these movies couldn't care less about cardboard characters. Or complex ones, for that matter.
So, why bother?
'Battleship' movie cast
Directed by Peter Berg, Battleship The Movie was written by Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber. Besides Brooklyn Decker and Taylor Kitsch, the cast includes:
Best Actor Oscar nominee Liam Neeson (Schindler's List, 1993). Rihanna. Alexander Skarsgård. Peter MacNicol. Josh Pence. John Bell. Jesse Plemons.
Battleship opens in the U.S. and Canada on May 18, '12. Unsurprisingly, the actioner is already doing solid business overseas.
As an aside, prior to her two 2012 releases, Brooklyn Decker was seen in only one movie: the Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston comedy Just Go with It, a sort of 10 variation with Decker in the old Bo Derek role.
Brooklyn Decker Battleship movie image: Universal Pictures.
Alexander Skarsgård, Battleship
Considering that Peter Berg's Battleship looks like nothing more than a big-screen videogame (scroll down for the Battleship clip), it's kinda surprising that it actually has an “official synopsis”:
In the Hawaiian Islands, an international naval fleet at Pearl Harbor engage in a dynamic and intense battle against an alien species known as “The Regents.” The aliens come to planet Earth on a mission to build a power source in the ocean. Upon their visit, they come in contact with the naval fleet. The film is also purported to show both sides of the story, from the aliens' perspective, as well as the humans' so the audience knows exactly where the opponent's ships are.
I'm not sure if that means we'll also know who the aliens and/or the humans are. Or whether or not we should care.
Well, don't expect Battleship to win any screenplay awards come awards-season time, but do expect it to be remembered when guilds and the Academy make their selections for achievements in technical categories such as Best Sound Mixing or Best Visual Effects.
Battleship was written by Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber. The actioner stars Taylor Kitsch (whose John Carter bombed in North America but performed quite well overseas), Kinsey / Wrath of the Titans' Liam Neeson, What to Expect When You're Expecting's Brooklyn Decker, True Blood's Alexander Skarsgård, American Idol's Rihanna, Dragonslayer / Sophie's Choice's Peter MacNicol, The Social Network / The Dark Knight Rises' Josh Pence, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey / The Hobbit: There and Back Again's John Bell, and Paul / The Master's Jesse Plemons.
Alexander Skarsgård / Battleship photo: Universal Pictures.
'Total Recall' 2012 Trailer: Colin Farrell Channels Arnold Schwarzenegger
“If I'm not me, then who the hell am I?” That sounds like a line from Alan Parker's Angel Heart, in which Mickey Rourke plays a guy possessed by Robert De Niro. Or perhaps something out of Carl Reiner's All of Me, in which Steve Martin gets (sort of) possessed by Lily Tomlin.
But no. Colin Farrell is the identity-challenged guy in this year's Total Recall remake, whose trailer (please scroll down) was released today. Are his memories his own or have they been implanted? If they're not his own, is he still himself or has he become someone else?
Now, don't expect to much philosophical questioning in Len Wiseman's remake of Paul Verhoeven's classic-ish sci-fi/thriller. At least if the trailer is any indication of what the movie will be like: a big-screen videogame featuring big weapons, hot women, nonstop action, and elaborate production design.
But will you have any memory of Total Recall five minutes after you've watched it?
To be released by Sony / Columbia on August 3, Total Recall is based on Philip K. Dick's short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.” In addition to Colin Farrell, Total Recall also features director Wiseman's wife Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy, Bokeem Woodbine, Ethan Hawke, Steve Byers, and John Cho.
Wiseman, who had previously directed Beckinsale in Underworld, returns behind the camera for the first movie since Live Free or Die Hard (2007). The film's screenplay is by Unstoppable / Deception's Mark Bomback, The Amazing Spider-Man / Zodiac's James Vanderbilt, and Salt / Law Abiding Citizen's Kurt Wimmer.
The original Total Recall featured Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, Ronny Cox, and Marshall Bell.
Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni
Catherine Deneuve & Chiara Mastroianni: Lincoln Center
Screen legend Catherine Deneuve was honored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center at a gala ceremony held this evening in New York City. Deneuve is the 39th recipient of the Film Society's Chaplin Award. In the above photo, she is seen with her daughter Chiara Mastroianni. (Needless to say, Marcello Mastroianni was the father.) [Full list of Chaplin Award Honorees.]
Catherine Deneuve's career spans more than five decades. Among her dozens of notable movies are Jacques Demy's Palme d'Or-winning musical Les Parapluies de Cherbourg / The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964); Roman Polanski's Repulsion (1965); Demy's Les Demoiselles de Rochefort / The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), in which Deneuve co-starred with her sister Françoise Dorleác, in addition to Danielle Darrieux, Gene Kelly, Jacques Perrin, and George Chakiris; Luis Buñuel's Belle de Jour (1967) and Tristana (1970); François Truffaut's Le Dernier Métro / The Last Metro (1980), with Gérard Depardieu; Tony Scott's The Hunger (1983), with Susan Sarandon and David Bowie; and Régis Wargnier's Indochine (1992), with Vincent Perez.
Previous winners of the Chaplin Award, first handed out in 1972 to Charles Chaplin himself, include Alfred Hitchcock, Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, Audrey Hepburn, Jane Fonda, Billy Wilder, Laurence Olivier, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Gregory Peck, Claudette Colbert, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, James Stewart, Robert Altman, George Cukor, Francis Ford Coppola, Barbara Stanwyck, Martin Scorsese, Diane Keaton, Michael Douglas, and Sidney Poitier.
Deneuve is only the fourth “non-Hollywood star” to receive the Chaplin Award. Her predecessors were Yves Montand (1988), Alec Guinness (1987), and Federico Fellini (1985).
Photo via Film Society of Lincoln Center Facebook page.
Emma Thompson Back As Gareth Peirce?
Two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson may once again play human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, according to Screen Daily. Nearly twenty years ago, Thompson played Peirce in Jim Sheridan's Academy Award-nominated In the Name of the Father (1993, right), in which she defended Daniel Day-Lewis and several others accused of being IRA terrorists. For her efforts – the accused are eventually released – Thompson earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nod.
Despite sharing several elements with Sheridan's movie, this new project is not called In the Name of the Father 2 (or In the Name of the Mother, for that matter). Described as a romantic thriller, The Secret Evidence tells the story of “a young British couple mistakenly caught up in the war on terror who turn to Thompson's character to get one of them out of prison. However, in fighting for her boyfriend's freedom, the film's young female lead finds herself and her family subject to attack from the UK Government's secret service.”
Nicholas Racz, whose sole feature film to his credit is the 2002 thriller The Burial Society, is attached to direct The Secret Evidence. Racz also co-wrote the film's screenplay with Cerie Bullivant, who based the script on his own story: he was held under house arrest for two years “for suspected involvement in terrorism, which was never proved.” Peirce was his attorney.
If funding for the $6-$8 million movie comes through, filming should commence sometime in the fall.
And when the inevitable Julian Assange movie gets made, here's wondering if Thompson will return as Peirce, who has represented Wikileaks' Assange during his tribulations with the law.