Tag Archive: Hugh Jackman


Magic trick Now You See Me

It must be hard to portray the art of being a magician on the big screen.  The latest effort is The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk, and Clash of the Titans’ director Louis Leterrier’s Now You See Me previewed earlier at borg.com here.  It has much to offer by way of entertainment, the best reward being the cast, which manages to nail that very Las Vegas magic act schtick of “showmanship” that you only see in a good magic act.  But can you give a theatrical audience a convincing magic show–actually trick us and surprise us in the same way someone like David Copperfield can make the Statue of Liberty disappear right in front of you, or how Teller distracts as Penn causes the very thing you’re staring at to disappear right before you?

Apparently you can’t do that in the movies–or at least no one has dazzled us in that way yet.  But you can at least give us a good show letting us see different styles in which magicians practice their art.

Magic Act Now You See Me

Two recent contenders for the top of the “movies about magicians and magic” list are not at risk of leaving the top because of Now You See Me.  The Illusionist, starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel, Rufus Sewell, Eddie Marsan, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and The Prestige, starring Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, and Scarlett Johansson released opposite each other in 2006, take on the same themes.  But if you’re deciding between the two we think The Illusionist, from director Neil Burger (Limitless, Divergent) is the better film, over the very typically over-the-top effort by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Man of Steel, Inception) in The Prestige.  It’s the payoff of Now You See Me that doesn’t quite cut it, despite some fun theatrics along the way.

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Chappie police robot

First we saw CNN’s Anderson Cooper reporting in the Black Widow comic book series, now he’s leading up the latest trailer for Neill Blomkamp’s 2015 release Chappie.  Columbia Pictures has switched gears since the original trailer was released, from a quirky preview about a Pinocchio-esque robot trying to be real to a story that looks a lot like RoboCop.

It gets better–this trailer actually may bring in more moviegoers.  It reveals more action, the kind of action that Blomkamp showed us he could provide in his Academy Award-nominated geopolitical sci-fi thrill ride District 9.  And where the first trailer sidelined stars Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver, now they’re front and center.

RoboCop or Chappie

It still looks to be more light-hearted like Blomkamp’s District 9 and certainly less dark than his Elysium, but that might be a good thing, too.  Elysium sorely lacked any heart, and this may be an attempt to re-balance Blomkamp’s movies for a wider audience.

See for yourself–check out this new trailer for Chappie, after the break:

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Pan movie poster

With this past week’s release of trailers for both Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it is no wonder a handful of smaller films’ trailers were lost in the wake of news from those far more highly anticipated films.  Two films are foreign war productions that may appeal to war/action film genre fans, and the other is a fantasy you’ve likely seen many times before, but this time featuring a handful of fan favorite genre actors.

First the fantasy–it’s director Ed Wright’s retelling of Peter Pan, titled simply Pan.  J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is one of those classic tales that stands up there with the likes of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Middle-earth novels, and The Chronicles of Narnia.  Peter Pan has been done over and over, including the coming December 4 live-primetime production featuring Christopher Walken as Captain Hook.

Jackman as Blackbeard

Unlike most of the above novels, a definitive visual presentation of Peter Pan has yet to be made, although many would argue the success of the Disney animated version or possibly Steven Spielberg’s Hook.  This newest incarnation has some actors that may serve to entice fans to check it out.  It stars Wolverine Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, Veronica Mars’s Amanda Seyfried as Mary, Tron: Legacy’s Garrett Hedlund as Hook, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily.

Here’s the trailer for Pan:

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Chappie dog skyline

Writer/director Neill Blomkamp has a unique vision for his sci-fi films.  His first foray, District 9, resulted in a rare nomination for the genre for an Academy Award.  District 9 looked at the social upheaval caused by a future immigration of aliens from a doomed spaceship.  Last year, he turned Matt Damon into a cyborg making an escape to a Utopian world in Elysium.

Now Blomkamp again looks at human society and culture but this time in the context of a robot with artificial intelligence in Chappie.  Chappie is a fish-out-of-water story about a robot experiencing what it means to be alive.

This modern take on the 1980s robot movie Short Circuit and update to Steven Spielberg’s A.I.: Artificial intelligence stars Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel as an inventor who creates the robot that thinks and feels.  His creator role is like that of Geppetto from Pinocchio, and Chappie experiences his own growth like the puppet that wanted to be a real boy.

Chappie movie poster

As with Blomkamp’s prior sci-fi films, the special effects look to be superb.  The robot moves freely like a human, and it’s easy to predict that moviegoers will fall for this new creation.

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Evan Peters QuickSilver Time in a Bottle X-Men Days of Futue Past

Review by C.J. Bunce

BOULEVARD DRIVE-IN — It’s hard to believe it has only been six years since Jon Favreau surprised the world, taking a typically underwhelming character like Tony Stark, casting Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man, and making the best modern superhero movie.  Although fanboy director Favreau made the Christmas classic Elf before Iron Man, who knew he was going to change how we evaluate the modern superhero film?  So it shouldn’t be surprising that a proven genre director like Bryan Singer, with titles under his belt like The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X-Men 2, X-men Origins: Wolverine, Superman Returns, and Valkyrie, has set the new standard in the summer blockbuster sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero sphere with his latest X-title, X-Men: Days of Future Past.  You don’t even need to be an X-Men or Marvel fan to realize what a triumph Singer has achieved.

The movie is gigantic from the opening set-up.  The giant mechanical Sentinels of the comic books take over Earth in the distant future, weeding out once and for all the small bands of survivors, creating a very Terminator-influenced opening.  Now see if you can spot a theme here.  A band of what you might call Tier 3 X-Men, led by Kitty Pryde (played by Oscar nominee Ellen Page), find a way to send something back into the past to save themselves from Sentinel strikes.  Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Patrick Stewart’s Professor X, Oscar nominee Ian McKellen’s Magneto and Oscar nominee Hugh Jackman’s Logan aka Wolverine take Pryde’s method to come up with a time travel plan that results in dual casts trying to save their world, one in 1973, the other in the future.  Storm, played by returning Oscar winner Halle Berry, tries to fend off the Sentinels to allow the time travel trick to work.

Magneto Fassbender

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4 X-men of the futureFor Marvel Comics and X-Men fans, the next in the line of X-Men movies to hit the big screen looks to be an epic production, starring the stars of the first three X-Men and Wolverine movies and the younger stars of X-Men’s past in X-Men: First Class.  Not only does that mean Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Halle Berry, and Ellen Page are back, but we get to meet new characters, too, including Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask, Omar Sy as Bishop, Booboo Stewart as Warpath, Bingbing Fan as Blink, and Adan Canto as Sunspot.

 

Check out this first full-length trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past:

We have a long wait for this one.  X-Men: Days of Future Past is scheduled for release in theaters May 23, 2014.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

The Wolverine Japan theme poster

By Jason McClain (@JTorreyMcClain)

It’s strange to be reading December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the Worldby Craig Shirley and read all of the vitriol directed against Japanese people in the days after Pearl Harbor in the summations of newspaper accounts.  I know that not using derogative terms to talk about groups of people is a relatively new concept, but looking at the headlines and words used in newspapers still gave me pause.  (The more things change, the more they stay the same, as the chapter I just read mentioned Clark Griffith, owner of the Washington Redskins.)

I recently saw The Wolverine and it begins at the other side of the story of WWII, nearly four years after Pearl Harbor when the sovereign land of the Japanese was hit with atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the planes of the United States.  Logan is a prisoner of war in a special constructed cell that buries him in a hole well beneath the surface of the earth.  A bomber passes overhead. A Japanese officer rushes to release POWs from their jails.  He finally cuts the lock from Logan’s cage as well after a bit of deliberation and joins his fellow officers as they face the horizon in the position to commit seppuku before the bomb hits Nagasaki.

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47 Ronin movie poster

The legend of the 47 Ronin has been told and retold and numerous books and at least seven movies.  This includes a Dark Horse comic book titled 47 Ronin which just wrapped up its five-issue series last month.  The unrelated Universal Pictures movie 47 Ronin was originally scheduled for release November 21, 2013, then it got bumped to this February and now to December 25, 2013.  Usually that kind of movement signals a potential bomb.  The trailer for the film has some surprisingly good elements, however, despite some obvious quirks.

The first questionable element is star Keanu Reeves, who in past performances never seems to play anyone other than the same Keanu Reeves character we’ve seen over and over again.  Maybe beyond the goofy teen in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but not far off the characters he played in Parenthood, Point Break, Dracula, Much Ado About Nothing, Speed, The Devil’s Advocate, The Matrix Trilogy, Constantine, The Day the Earth Stood Still.  You could almost say he is like John Wayne or Arnold Schwarzenegger in this regard, but he’s not remotely as iconic and has yet to have a standout performance despite heading up some big films.

Keanu Reeves 47 Ronin

The trailer shares a lot in common with the preview we showed here at borg.com of The Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman, released just last week–both centering around a fish-out-of-water white man in Japan.  Was 47 Ronin pushed because the studio didn’t want it to compete with The Wolverine?  Reeves has his fan base, but his popularity wouldn’t seem to stack up against the multi-faceted Jackman.

The new film also seems to echo elements of Tom Cruise’s character and story in The Last Samurai.  The creators had to have contemplated audiences making this comparison.  Again, fish-out-of-water white guy in Japan with ancient cultural themes.  It begs the question of whether Hollywood only thinks American audiences can get sucked into Japanese warrior-themes films without an American or Australian (for Jackman) as designated film tour guide.  The long-term success with American audiences of Akira Kurosawa films such as Seven Samurai, which needs no Anglo character hook, should at some point lead us to create a big-budget picture without the hook.

Check out the trailer for 47 Ronin:

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The Wolverine poster

Basically ignoring the first standalone Wolverine film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the new film, simply titled The Wolverine, picks up after Logan/Wolverine’s life was shattered from the events of X-Men: The Last Stand.  Based in part on the Chris Claremont and Frank Miller run on the Wolverine comic book mini-series from back in 1982, we meet a girl from Japan named Yukio who takes Logan to Japan for her dying employer, who looks like he’d pass for one of those villains with strange medical maladies like Dr. No.  Logan evidently saved this man’s life and he wants to return the favor by helping to make Logan normal.  With a taste of mortality will Logan really give up his mutant powers?

Wolverine mini-series by Claremont and Miller

Marvel Studios has released two full-length trailers for The Wolverine, a better and longer international version and a shorter U.S. version that doesn’t give much of the story away.  Check out the international trailer for The Wolverine:

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Argo film about a film wins Best Motion Picture Golden Globe 2013

It probably makes sense that the Golden Globes allows for more genre win opportunities than the more drama-oriented Academy Awards.  Still, the Globes didn’t go as far as they could with the best of what is on TV and in movies.  Zooey Deschanel and Max Greenfield not winning in the comedy categories for New Girl is a big miss.  Kevin Costner is a great actor but I don’t see how anyone was a better actor on TV or film this year than Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock.  Fans of genre fave show The Big Bang Theory will be bummed to see that show slighted for best comedy series.  The BBC’s drama The Hour was the best of television for the past two years so there is another miss.

So here is what they got right:

Argo as Best Film.  Check.

Ben Affleck as Best Director for Argo.  Check.

Brave as Best Animated Film.  Check.

Adele for Best Original Song for Skyfall.  Check.

Quentin Tarantino for Best Screenplay for Django Unchained.  Check.

Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor for Django Unchained.  Check.

Brave wins Best Animated Film Golden Globe 2013

Although we’re having a hard time getting excited about Homeland‘s slow building second season after its great first season (but we plan to be caught up soon), it’s great to see Homeland lead the TV awards with best drama and acting nods for the always great acting of Daniel Lewis and Claire Danes.

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