Tag Archives: Steven Spielberg

Spielberg Planning ‘Gremlins’ Return…

From reading the title of this piece, I am going to take a guess that you have had two responses to this news. One must be a response of absolute joy, because there is a chance Gizmo and co will be back on our screens. The rest of you may be thinking “In what form?” Well it is a valid question and one that you might not like the answer to.

Vulture have reported that Warner Brothers Pictures and Amblin Entertainment (Steven Spielberg’s company) are trying to get a reboot of the franchise off the ground. Apparently Spielberg has had this in mind for a while, but his budget estimates were considered too costly for anyone to take a chance on. The film is certainly not something that is 100 percent confirmed right now, but Vulture’s sources say that there is a good chance this could get the ‘go ahead’ soon.

Gremlins Poster

Is this a good thing however? Most fans of the original movies are going to want to see Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates reprise their roles, as well as strictly puppet Gremlins with no CGI. However reboots do tend to like to ditch the original casts (aside from a little cameo here and there) and go with younger actors, so they can cater their story to a younger, youthful market that has never seen the movies. Also I have horrific visions of a CGI Gizmo leaping out of our screens in poorly put together 3D, but this could just be me. This is also yet another remake in a cinematic sea already full to the brim with retreads and re-imaginings. What is wrong with having a good old-fashioned sequel?

Gizmo

Positives though include the fact that Spielberg seems passionate about this, and if he is involved in a producer role again, then that gives us older fan boys and girls hope that he can infuse this with the same magic he and Joe Dante did with the original. Maybe there is a place for Zach and Phoebe t0o, as the parents of a child that gets a Mogwai perhaps? If CGI is needed then hopefully it will be as good as movies like Ted, where the CGI was seamless. Very little is known for sure, so watch this space for more information when we get it.

gremlins movie remake mogwai

GB’s VHS Vault: The Truth about the Jaws Sequels

Jaws is an amazing film. I think most people would be hard pressed to argue with that fact, and if nothing else Jaws made almost everyone afraid to go into the water.

The VHS and poster art is a work of genius, so simplistic and yet so powerful. It is also a great example of summing up an entire movie. People swim, Jaws eats them. Aside from how they beat the shark, that’s pretty much the movie in a nutshell. It is the Jaws sequels I want to cast my beady eye over this week and the slap dash approach they took with VHS marketing. Like a lot of series, this line of movies went from great to dire until they decided to knock the whole franchise on the nose and send it on its way (that’s how you distract a shark for a few minutes you see, by hitting its nose, so that comment is actually quite clever!).

Jaws 2 decides that Jaws was such a winning formula they should just copy and paste it into a new plot line. So not much has changed, it follows Sheriff Brody again, and people still will not listen to him about there been a pesky shark roaming about. The man paid his dues, surely they should cut him some slack. Anyway the cover is pretty standard; it has blonde looking happy, water skiing until old Bruce (the sharks nick name from Jaws) 2 pops up behind her. This is where I start to get a bit pedantic people, as it’s the same shark. Now I know this may come as a shock, but not all sharks look exactly the same, sure similar – but not identical. Does the shark from Jaws have a bloodline that covers the entire frikking ocean? I know it’s iconic and all, but come on.

In the first Jaws film the shark is coming from the bottom of the ocean to the top to get the woman. But here the shark is already behind the woman in question, and she is facing us directly, not swimming sideways. So the angle of the shark looks all wrong. He should be facing the front of the cover, so we see his eyes and teeth or at least his fin poking out. It just looks like the shark has torpedoed himself out the water like a missile, and it seems that the water-skier would have noticed that. Most of the shark attacks I have seen (well on TV at least) always have the sharks pop out the water at a slight angle, so it can get a better grip of its food. Not the case with this shark, he is a drama queen and must make an entrance. The funniest thing I found about this is, if he is coming in at that angle he will land down onto the water pretty quickly, creating the biggest shark belly flop known to man or beast.

Jaws 3, alas does not change the formula either. In its defense though, it does at least show two sharks (which is a big part of the movie one a baby, one its mum) on its VHS sleeve, and it does show the SeaWorld staff having a good time until the shark chases them. Maybe if they spent more time sorting out the SeaWorld pipes they would have noticed the damn sharks, but that’s beside the point. The shark is actually going in the right direction this time, with its fin just been visible. It makes it a lot more credible and to be honest a lot more scary. The artwork is pretty good here too, so it is a definite improvement. The SeaWorld resort is plainly seen in the background and it looks huge, which makes it a little bit more believable that two sharks would pop in for a visit. This was 3D in the cinemas and the Jaws 3 logo makes it look as such, which also adds just a little bit more originality to it. My VHS copy however does not have 3D capabilities, so it puts me in a foul mood to think I missed 3D Jaws. Overall in cover and plot at least they tried something different. What they did not do however, is get rid of that bleeding shark image! Even worse on this one – it’s not even in the water, it’s just hovering over the resort like some mega shark waiting to attack. In all fairness maybe they were going for a metaphor on how the shark is like a spectre of death hovering over the resort until it has its revenge, probably not though.

This brings us to Jaws 4The Revenge. Wait I thought the last film was about shark revenge. Well ignore that, as this film brings us right back to sheriff Brody’s family. He is dead now, shark induced heart attack (or maybe boredom as I would get sick of sharks popping up every two seconds). His wife thinks that a shark is stalking them. Is it? Who cares that’s not what I’m here for, I’m looking at the VHS cover. And boy this is a slap dash affair. There are two different covers for this. The US one which is the best, actually looks pretty good. It has a woman, alone on a ship, ready to fight a ticked off shark. It even breaks the trend of completely ignoring the human cast involved in the film, by having them on the bottom of the front cover.

Maybe they put them on so we knew who to blame when everyone who watched this thought it was a turd sandwich. The other cover, which is also the promo poster for the movie sucks. It is the exact same cover as Jaws 2 but it has removed the girl entirely. Even the people who make the VHS covers were sick of having teenagers on the cover! All they have done is add a few splashes around the shark mid rift to make its jump out of the water scarier. But it’s not, because the shark looks like an idiot. He is in the middle of the ocean (there is no land present anywhere on the sleeve) and there is no one there, he is actually chasing nothing so why the big entrance? A Shark Prima Donna yet again, making a big entrance but this time for no body. It actually just looks stupid. And no extra points for using the shark as the A in Jaws – The Return, it’s not clever and it reeks of desperation. The viewers thought so to, as this nose-dived at the box office and killed the series. So what have we learnt from this? Well Jaws 4 needed better VHS art (or a better plot I’m not sure).

Just for giggles I’m including the unofficial sequel Jaws 5 – Cruel Jaws. It was a TV movie shot by Bruno Mattei which focused on a tiger shark (so not the right shark then) kicking off and doing the usual shark things these movies do. The cover is hilarious though. It is the exact same cover as Jaws 4 only more crudely drawn and with an explosion in the background, because everyone loves sharks and explosions right? This may be my favourite cover actually! But all this bitching and moaning aside I should not complain. Without these films we would not have had some of the amazing rip offs (like the above mentioned film) which would warrant an article themselves. We would also not have had the CGI shark flicks of today. Hell some companies would go bust if it was not for the fact you can mix a shark up with pretty much anything (Two headed shark, Shark man, Dinoshark and Sharktopus been fine examples). I don’t know if I could live in a world that did not have these. So for that reason alone I salute the awful VHS covers of the Jaws franchise and thank them for kicking off a run of awful shark movies.

#14 – Countdown to Christmas: GREMLINS

Never expose it to bright light, never get water on it, and never, ever feed it after midnight. These were the three rules that Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) couldn’t follow after his father, Randall (Hoyt Axton) bought him a strange new pet called a Gremlin. The pet was a Christmas present that soon turned into a nightmare.

Gremlins is a classic 80s movie directed by legendary horror filmmaker, Joe Dante. The genius behind cult classics like the original 1978 Piranha movie paired up with producer Steven Spielberg to create what is still considered one of the best movies of all time. Marketed as a Christmas horror-comedy, Gremlins is that type of movie that everyone can enjoy and get a kick of after almost thirty years.


Gremlins
’ plot is simple. Boy gets pet, pet has rules, boy breaks rules, and hell breaks loose. A rather conventional plot that is twisted by two masters of cinema, the film transcends from a common cult flick to a box office phenomena. Grossing over $150 million dollars on an approximated $11 million dollar budget, Gremlins is a classic in every sense of the word.

The screenplay, which was penned by Chris Columbus, another 80s legend, is fast, funny, scary and satisfying, sometimes simultaneously. The characters are likeable, even the Gremlins themselves, who change from cute little house pets to malicious imps. The great part about them is their sense of humor. The evil incarnations of the Gremlins aren’t necessarily out for blood, but they do what they want, when they want it, usually with pretty hilarious results. From smoking cigars, to drinking copious amounts of alcohol, the Gremlins are just as bad as any common punk, except there are hundreds upon hundreds of them.

A sequel was spawned in 1990 entitled Gremlins 2: The New Batch. The film, which was also directed by Joe Dante, was entertaining enough, but failed to capture the magic and mayhem of the original by trying to be too much like the original, while also trying to convince itself that it was different.

There’s nothing like a classic, and a classic Gremlins is. It works as a Halloween movie as well, but deep down, you know exactly what Gremlins is all about, Christmas.

5/5 Bears Peanut’s Trees.

For more COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS – Click it Here! 

Also Check out our COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN…  

Oh, and Phoebe Cates was in it too. (This is not from GREMLINS)

Daniel Day-Lewis is Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln is an upcoming biographical drama directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

When I had first heard about this Liam Neeson was attached to play the lead, but that was years ago and I hadn’t heard anything else about the film until now. Apparently Neeson left the project after years of waiting for it to get the green light. According to Neeson, he felt he was too old to play the part. Personally, I felt Neeson was an excellent choice to play Lincoln. However, once I heard Daniel Day-Lewis got the role I just about creamed myself.

This will be the first time Spielberg and Day-Lewis have worked on a film together and I’m very excited because DDL has a habit of disappearing into his characters.

For his role as ‘Bill the Butcher’ in Gangs of New York he took lessons as an apprentice butcher, never left character between takes (including keeping the New York accent), and even caught pneumonia because he wouldn’t wear a warmer coat stating that it wasn’t in character to do so. This along with the picture below leads me to believe that Lincoln will be a movie worth paying ticket price to see.

Continue reading Daniel Day-Lewis is Abraham Lincoln

Did Ubisoft Kill Assassin’s Creed Movie?

Hollywood insiders are saying that the Assassin’s Creed film franchise is guaranteed to fail.

New York Magazine reported that Sony has recently signed a movie deal with Ubisoft to adapt Assassin’s Creed. However, in order to get this deal to happen, Sony just about had to give Ubisoft complete creative control over the project. It’s reported that Ubisoft has final say on budget, cast, script, and even the release date.

An insider is reported as saying, “As a director, even Steven Spielberg cannot get this kind of deal.”, and as a producer he was apparently one of the first to pass on the project because of the demands made by Ubisoft.

I’m a little unsure about Ubisoft’s goals. I can’t tell if they want to make sure that a movie never gets made or if they want to make sure it gets made right. Personally, I have hope that they will prove the naysayers wrong and make a kick ass movie. The cinematics that they produce for their games are almost good enough to be movies on their own.

Stephen King’s ‘Under the Dome’ Heading to Showtime

Stephen King and Steven Spielberg teamed up awhile back to bring King’s Under the Dome story to a TV network for a limited series. Now that story has found a home on Showtime, which is really for the best because now they can do anything they want without being constrained by the rules of network television. The story of Under The Dome may sound a little dumb because the same sort of thing happened in the Simpsons Movie, but I’m sure that King was writing his book before the Simpsons Movie was released… hopefully.

LATER SPRINGFIELD!

Basically there is a small town in Maine where a force field dome of unknown origin covers the town, sealing them off from the outside world. What happens next is a deterioration of relationships between the townsfolk as they break up into warring factions. I’d classify the story as an extended version of the King short story The Mist where townsfolk slowly begin to turn on one another, stuck inside a supermarket due to the horrible monsters lurking in the unnatural mists outside. The threat is a lot different in this book, but the concept is basically the same, showing how malicious ordinary people can be in dire circumstances when there is no order.

By the way, I would never want to live in Maine if all of King’s books were real, there is some jacked up $hit that happens in that state, especially in the small towns. To me, the ending reveal of exactly what is causing the dome was awesome. Some may find it foolish, but it all depends on what you like from a King book, whether it be supernatural, extra terrestrial or governmental. Either way I think the series will be excellent on Showtime and can’t wait to hear about casting when it starts.

Spielberg at Comic-Con: Jurassic Park 4 Is Happening

Jurassic Park 4 has to be one of the most talked about things that never ever seems to be happening. It’s like a missile defense shield or the war on drugs. Or kind of like that on again off again girlfriend or boyfriend that everyone out there is so fond of. And Stephen Spielberg would be that person in the relationship who always initiates it once again with promises of it’s going to work. I guess Sam Neill would be the one in the relationship not willing to give it another shot after a month of trying and tells you it would be stupid to make a sequel because the person who wrote the original books is dead. What were we talking about here?

Oh yes! JP 4. Anyways, Spielberg was making the rounds at Comic-Con this year to promote that retarded Tin-Tin garbage, but while doing so he did indeed confirm that Jurassic Park 4 is happening. Check out the excerpt from IGN below:

“We have a story,” Spielberg said. “A writer is currently working on the treatment for [that story]…and the hope is to see Jurassic Park 4 in the next 2 or 3 years.”

Spielberg did not share who the writer is or what the story is about, nor did we expect him to. What we do know is that this film will be the start of a new trilogy, one that is influenced by the history of the previous films, especially the first two.

It seems they (Hollywood) always assume something should automatically be a trilogy. I’d love to hear what the hell the story for Jurassic Park 4 is so they can justify a damned trilogy. But lord knows if there is another one Spielberg had better involve himself. And by that I mean as a director so it can at least be a decent movie. The whole thing makes you sit and wonder if they’ll have anyone from the first Jurassic Park or if they’re just going to start from scratch casting wise. If Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern don’t return then I definitely need to see Dodgson and his nice hat in there somewhere.

TNT’s Falling Skies: Episode 5 – “Silent Kill” Review

Let me start this out by first saying Congratulations. Congrats to the show for proving me wrong and earning a 10 episode second season, which is slated to air summer of 2012, and was ordered only 3 episodes in to the first season. The show has managed to retain 3.8 million of the 5.9 million premiere viewers. Way to go Falling Skies, way to say “IN YOUR FACE” to an opinionated idiot that writes for a certain website.  Anyways on to tonight’s episode…

So for anyone who looooooooooves character development, this episode was for you. While the episode is centered around the rescue of Tom’s son Ben, we delve a little bit deeper into what makes Anne, Margaret, and a little bit of Captain Weaver tick. The episode kicks off with Tom and Hal once again coming up with a plan to rescue their missing family member Ben, and getting the ok from Captain Weaver. In short, the plan is to sneak in the hospital at night while the guarding skidder is sleeping, kill him without making a noise, and avoid alerting the patrolling mech. Hence the title SILENT KILL!

 After the plan is decided, we cut to the good teacher and Tom’s younger son Matt playing with radios and listening to a classic record. Captain Weaver picks up in the music while staring at a drawing from a child and calmly walks into the classroom, confiscates the record, and informs the good teacher that he can play record he wants, except that one. It appears the stoic Captain has a soft side after all. More on this later. Next, we have the best of the entire episode. The death of Dr. Harris!! While playing a little too close to the skidder cage and to study new noises the alien is making, the skidder manages to choke the life out of the cowardly doctor. Kudos to the writers for killing him off so quickly.

After Dr. Harris’s death, we then see Hal talking to the previously rescued boy about his time being harnessed with the aliens. From what he learns, Hal decides to change the original rescue plan and where a harness to disguise himself to save Ben. A plan not quickly approved by his father. Quick side note, I think they should have made this conversation a bit longer and more detailed. It would have been great to get more insight into what the aliens where doing with the captured kids. Anyways, we now join Anne, Tom, and Hal where they are discussing how best to kill a skidder without making any noise. Anne informs them of a weak spot in the aliens mouth that could provide a way to kill them. After placing a saucer of water, Anne attacks and kills the captured alien by stabbing it with a scalpel inside the creatures mouth at the soft palette location they were discussing. After killing the creature, Anne storms off to the lost child board and confesses Tom how easy it was to kill the alien by picturing her family and how she has nothing to reminding her of her lost loved ones, only the blood from the alien on her hand. We now see why she has shut down when it comes to discussing her family.

Next, we finally get the what we have been building up to for the past 2 episodes, the rescue of Ben. Hal is able to successfully break in to the hospital where his brother is being held wearing a harness as a disguise. He slips in line with his brother and the other harnessed kids being led by a skidder. This is where it gets a little weird. The skidder leads them all in to a room where they all lay down in a circle, and the skidder hovers over them, caressing their heads as they all go to sleep. This looked a lot like a mother nesting over her babies, showing that there is something more to this enslavement by the alien invaders. As skidder falls asleep, Hal attacks and thrusts a pocket knife into the skidders mouth as Anne did back at the base, but during his attack the harnessed kids pull at Hal to try to stop the attack. To make things even more weird, after the skidder dies and the rescue team starts save the harness children, we see the kids placing their hands over the dead alien showing a sign of concern and sadness. What the F is going on here?

With the kids rescued and Dr. Harris dead, it’s now up to Anne to successfully remove the harnesses from all kids on her own. After removing all the harnesses, the final child (don’t worry, not Ben) died on the make shift operating table. Despite encouraging words from Tom on the number of kids she just saved, she is focused on the one that died. Someone should really explain to her she needs to be a glass is half full kind of person. A ‘Debbie Downer’ is no good for surviving alien invasion.

While waiting for Ben to recover we see a conversation between Hal and Margaret, who was instrumental in the rescue due to her extensive knowledge of the hospital, where we get to learn that Margaret is a cancer survivor who was given a 50/50 chance to live, and its that mind-set that allowed her to survive not only the invasion but her time spent with Pope’s crew.

The show comes to an end with Captain Weaver watching Tom and his reunited family, then going off to play the record he confiscated in the beginning, and Ben waking up to recognize his dad. All in all, I would say this week the show was OK at best. While I know character development is a must for any show in order to gain sympathy and create a connection between us and the characters, I feel they went about it a little half assed for Margaret and Captain Weaver. They probably should have taken a page from Lost and spend an entire episode focusing on them mindset of each character, that’s just my opinion.

I’ll be curious to see what adventure the writers have in store for us next since we have spent the first few episodes wanting to rescue Ben. Do we go back and rescue Hal’s girlfriend, or is she just to be forgotten about and Margaret will take her place?

2.5 out of 5 grizzlies!

Grizzly Review: Super 8 (With New Footage!)

The other day, Paramount released new footage from the film Super 8.  This scene found its way into the final cut of the film, but was pared down on the cutting room floor.  In this extended clip, we see the main cast in their local 7-11 talking about the zombie film Charles (Riley Griffiths) is attempting to make.  The clip really shows, at length, the stalker-type obsession Joe (Joel Courtney) has for Alice (Elle Fanning).  He even wants to know what book she was reading in the silent reading section of the library; no doubt so he could read it feverishly before they set out to film at the train station and just happen to strike up a conversation with her about it.  Ah, kids. Anyway, you can see the clip here.

Cool.  My first and only thought about this clip: who the hell cares, really?  I was hoping, when I heard of the unseen footage, that I would get something redeemable about this movie.  Something that would make me feel better about shelling out ten bucks to see it.  Something that would make me say, “Well, it was a good movie, they just cut out the wrong bits.”  Sorry, folks, that is not the case.

Here’s the thing with Super 8 – it had such good intentions.  Mystery.  Intrigue.  Steven Spielberg’s stamp of approval.  Even halfway into the movie, I liked it.  It had a cinematic feel reminiscent of old school Spielberg; kind of like a cross between Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Goonies.  And then the pilot took a hard nose dive which never corrected itself, and the story careened out of control until it finally burst into flames right before the end credits.  It was so bad, I wanted to go back in time after the movie to an hour prior, to tell the me that hadn’t finished the movie to leave, and go get some Dairy Queen to salvage the evening.

The problem with Super 8 is the problem that many movies have nowadays with advanced graphics and CGI – as soon as you see the monster, you’re done for.  Why was Jaws so brilliant?  Because you never saw the shark.  You knew it was there.  You saw the terror it left in its wake.  You heard the eerie music.  But you didn’t actually see the shark.  Years later, Spielberg admitted that he only did this because the shark didn’t look right.  Technology had not advanced far enough to satisfy him.  Little did he realize at the time, but because of his perfectionism and attention to detail, he created a cinematic feature that drove the film.  Audiences were terrified of what they could not see.

This begs a very scary question, though: If Jaws were made today, and the shark could look just right, would it have been another box office bomb?

I haven’t been this let down in years.  Remember the movie Signs?  Back when M. Night Shyamalan wasn’t Hollywood’s laughingstock?  He had just come off The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, two great films.  I went into Signs thinking history would repeat itself, and I would be treated to another twisting and weaving plot that would hook me at the end.  Instead, you know what I got?  Really dumb aliens.  And not just any aliens – aliens that were killed by water.  Never mind that they had been traipsing around a planet whose atmosphere is riddled with water vapor.  What if it had rained?  All that terror, all that paranoia, could have been wiped out by a cool spring shower.  Clever writing, that was.  It just goes to show, if you don’t have a strong ending, you don’t have a strong movie.

So, seeing the monster killed it for me.  But what really beat the dead horse (as in, it was already killed, yet they kept trying to kill it) was when they gave the alien feelings.  Of course.  A monster that has been killing maliciously for days can be talked down by a thirteen year old kid.  Makes total sense.

The Labyrinth was a more believable movie than this.  Maybe they should have cast David Bowie.  So, better late than never, I rate this film with 2 bears.  And the second bear isn’t even full-grown, it’s still just a little bear.

TNT’s ‘Falling Skies’ – Review: Series Premiere

TNT’s new original series Falling Skies kicked off last night with a two-hour premiere. The new sci-fi drama is executive produced by none other than Mr. Steven Spielberg, and stars Noah Wyle of ER fame. The show picks up 6 months in to a hostile alien invasion in Boston, and everything has already gone to hell in a hand basket. We learn from the opening children’s drawings that the invaders are killing off all adults, and capturing and enslaving the children they come across, referred to as ‘harnessing’. To underscore how bad things are truly going the show opens with the destruction of Boston and the retreating of all Massachusetts Resistance Forces and survivors.

Porter, the leader of the resistance fighters, decides to break up the remaining fighters and civilians into three separate groups, and send them into retreat in 3 separate directions to rendezvous later. It is here where we learn that our main man Tom Mason, a former history professor turned resistance fighter, (Wyle) is assigned to be second in command in the 2nd Massachusetts Resistance, led by Captain Weaver (Will Patton), and that his middle child Ben has been harnessed by the aliens.  We also learn from the meeting with Porter that while they are trying, there is no way to remove the harness from captured children without killing them. At the conclusion of the meeting, Tom is left with explicit instructions to do whatever it takes to protect the civilians assigned to them, which foreshadows the impending conflict he will inevitably have with Captain Weaver.

Continue reading TNT’s ‘Falling Skies’ – Review: Series Premiere