New Maleficent Trailer

I was not excited to hear that there would be a movie featuring Maleficent following the release of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.  While I enjoyed Burton’s artistry, I thought the story was weak and screenwriter Linda Woolverton had been tapped to write the script for the new picture with a first time director known only for his contributions to special effects.  To be fair, I already had a bias.  I dislike stories that attempt to tell a well known tale from a reverse angle.  Sometimes it’s interesting to see the tragedy of where someone goes wrong.  Harvey Dent is one example, Anakin Skywalker, is another, or virtually anyone from the series Heroes, depending on what part of which season.

At worst it would be a telling the villains side of the story, a gimmick that I never enjoyed.  Villains with worthwhile stories often have thim incorporated into the traditional narrative.  providing a counter argument for a melodrama is not something I am really interested in.  At best however, it could be something like the ironic and witty Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.  The addition of Paul Dini as a writer, certainly provides a glimmer of hope.  He has done great work with DC and Marvel.  His episodes of Batman the Animated Series are among my favorites.  his involvement could mean a very worthwhile story after all, especially considering his penchant for writing female villains.

While I appreciate his involvement there is one thing I always expected from Maleficent, given the visuals of Burton’s Wonderland, and the breathtaking imagery of Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful.  Surely, the appearance and feel of this new look at the world of Sleeping Beauty– already rich with unique visual appeal in Disney’s original animated version– would be moody and evocative and striking in it’s depiction of such fantastic scenery.  I expected this until I saw the teaser trailer, which seems to be the least inspired of Disney’s recent live action fairy tale adventures.  It also features Aurora (presumably) far more than is suitable in my opinion.  While it sheds little light on how these two characters will fit together in the narrative, the teaser shows much of the world the movie is set in and my initial interpretation is generic fantasy: light on personal artistic flair and heavy on the well worn territory of other fantasies like Snow White and the Huntsman and Jack the Giant Slayer.  The only exception being that possibly due to incomplete rendering, certain animated elements look very fake and will hopefully be made to fit in more with the rest of the picture.  On a positive note, I did dig the Disney title in the beginning of the trailer.  I will continue to keep an open mind as the release date draws near, but so far I don’t like what I see.

Marvel Secrecy: Ben Kingsley Has (almost) Nothing to Say

ben kingsley mandarin

Marvel is living up to it’s reputation for top secrecy of the worst kind. The kind that slips out a little information and lets you writhe in it with no hope of furtherillumination. Even as the speculation over what marvel properties will follow Ant Man on the big screen in the years to come, and what, if anything, will be done with Dare Devil and The Punisher, Sir Ben Kingsley has announced he is again working with Marvel.  The project is completely under wraps, but the Iron Man 3 star who played the bogus Mandarin is happy to be in the company of artists with such “enormous taste.”  Could there be more to the character he played or will we get to see him as something else?  The “project” could be part of any of the 60 episode bundle (four shows and a mini series) Marvel has been shopping around

This/Last Weekend

poster gi joe retaliationWho’s ready for some retaliation this weekend? Everybody’s gonna go see Dwayne and Bruce play with dolls, right? Wouldn’t it be funny if that was the movie. Just two action mega stars playing with G.I. Joe action figures in someone’s back yard? Who wouldn’t pay to go see that? No one. Unless you’re with Cobra, or you’re some kind of body snatching alien invader, which is a segue. The Host is a new Stephenie Meyer adaptation which appears to inject the nucleus of a Twilight type love story into the hollowed out egg of a mix between T2 and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And if those choices aren’t enough, you can also go see Tyler Perry dressed as a man in TemptationGet tickets.

Oz has Fallen, but still holds strong numbers, bringing in nearly $22 mil at third place. Not Surprisingly Olympus Has Fallen beat it out by about $9 mil. Also not surprisingly, Admission barely made the Dean’s List. Very surprising, at least to me, is how successfully The Croods opened with a revenue upwards of $43 million. I guess most of America must have seen a different trailer.

domestic cume:

5 Admission $6,154,984
4 The Call $31,105,056
3 Oz $21, 177,097,090
2 Olympus has Fallen $30,373,794
1 The Croods $43,639,736

Getting Back on Track

This week, my actor/globe-trotting Disneyland sound designer bff Shawn Brewer took some of his much deserved time off before another weekend shoot of his web series OFf and Running to visit Portland.  Over three days we drove both sides of the scenic Columbia River Gorge, Hiked Multnoma Falls, searched for Bigfoot, Explored the art museum, shopped in a manly fashion, tried many of the local beers and some distinguished cocktails at the Tear Drop Lounge. got lost in Powell’s, toured Tillamook, saw the ocean, tasted wine at a nearby vineyard, and topped it off with amazing burgers at Hillsborough’s Cruise in Diner.  We found time for Voodoo Doughnuts and Stumptown, but oddly enough, I didn’t see one movie, or even really think about them.

I have been so far removed from my script, or thinking about story, that I need to get warmed up again.  The motivation is there, but the creative part of my brain is all seized up.  If I don’t write something I could be in danger of really falling behind or worse, completely dropping the project.  It’s important to stay limber and keep using those writing muscles, so that’s what this is about.

I feel like when I took these days off,  I left something on at home, like an oven or an iron or something.  The story to script transitioning is very exciting, but it’s a lot of work, because you have a great deal of momentum at this point and the temptation to rush forward is very strong.  On the other hand there are undoubtedly holes to work through, details that you left out of your story synopsis.  You may have included a passive sentence that connects events without filling the space with substance.

My next screenwriting post will continue the story to script transition as I continue to define the sequences of my story and make preparations for the day where we commence writing our scripts.  I also have some reviews coming up.  I ended up turning off Another Earth after about twenty minutes of not-into it-ness.  But I have some great Disney bluRay’s that I am looking forward to.  In the mean time, I’ll be getting back into the groove.

My Reaction to the Aurora Killings

The first thing I heard from the outside world after waking up this morning was that a mass shooting had taken place at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora.  I’m still reeling from the news and all sorts of reactions are stirring inside of me.

How evil, How sad, how hopeless, how frightening…  How could this happen.  Will it happen more often.  Shootings happen all the time, and this isn’t the first time people have been attacked in a theater, but while this is always tragic and unacceptable, such an attack as the shooting spree that took place at that mall movie theater  in Aurora exceeds all levels of horror one can expect to endure in the real world.

To be a fan, or moviegoer out for a night of entertainment –completely trusting in security (not to mention humanity),  looking for some harmless fun, stripped of any defense– vulnerable to some monster who’s plotted to violently destroy lives, hopes, and any illusions of safety by shooting fish in a barrel, with no apparent motive is truly terrifying.  Tha fact that it could have been anyone anywhere– because this sort of thing doesn’t make any sense no matter how you dissect it– is a wake up call to us all.

I’m not talking about gun control, and I’m certainly not pointing out the relationship of the situation to  the Batman story and suggesting that someone in that theater obsessively train to become a real Dark Knight to combat the real evil that terrorizes the innocent.  This isn’t Kick-Ass, and it isn’t a game, or an open opportunity to spread anti second amendment sentiment.  Nothing about what has happened suggests that so-called “gun control” is the answer, and like it or not there is a reason for the right to bear arm and the logic against it comes from the same kind of sleepy docile, and dazed  mentality that we have fallen into as a society.

I don’t know what can be done.  Ore freedom, or concept of safety has been torn apart and ripped from our tenuous grip.  heightened security is surely not the answer, at least not the kind that results in long lines, cavity searches and absurd rules.  Those that run these kinds of tasks become just as complacent in the repetition of it all and forget to think critically, relying on policy and directives that try, but never can account for every possible scenario.  Maybe if the companies that own these malls could sack up and put the money into the kind of manpower it takes to secure the facility in question this sort of thing could be avoided.  No guard = opportunity to do harm.

Really, I think that is a big chunk of the problem.  Calculated risks like cutting costs on employment to maximize profits results in, at best, a downward spiral of standards and performance.  When you are dealing with security the stakes are much higher.  I can’t think of one mall I have ever been to that has guards posted strategically around the perimeter.  At the very least, locking the doors is a necessity.  Those who manage these public places must be responsible for what happens in their domain.  They need to control who has back door access and lock it down.  It’s not a question of making people feel safe.  It’s about making your establishment reasonably safe given the evidence.

I don’t think this mall in Aurora was unique in allowing back door access, but the asshole that went in there with guns and gas bombs exploited that ignorance.  Complacency cannot be tolerated.  These are just my thoughts as they occur to me and I’m about done.  If you would like to weigh in with something insightful, please comment.