CINELATION | Movie Reviews by Christopher Beaubien
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The MUMMY III Trailer Has Awakened…

Written by Christopher Beaubien • May 18, 2008 • Start the Discussion!

“The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” Trailer

Undead soldiers, dragons, Maria Bello, and a Yeti can be found in The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. The action is moved from Egypt to China where a resurrected emperor (Jet Li – Danny the Dog (Great Title!) aka Unleashed (Lousy Title.), 2005) vows revenge against a sorceress (the lovely Michelle Yeoh – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2000) Be afraid, the director is hack Rob Cohen (The Skulls, 2000 and Stealth, 2005) though he may be forgiven if his upcoming King of the Nudies (2009), a biopic of skin flick filmmaker Russ Meyers (Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, 1965), is accomplished.

Brandon Fraser (Gods and Monsters, 1998) has returned to the franchise as Rick O’Connell, the closest Fraser will ever get to this generation’s Raiders of the Lost Ark (1982). As much fun as the first Mummy (1999) was, comparison to the first Indy movie is a little sad.

mummyRachel Weisz (The Shape of Things, 2003) renounces her return in the threequel as the sexiest, klutziest, and boldest librarian ever, Evelyn Carnahan. Maria Bello will helm the role as the female sidekick which is inspired on part of casting director Ronna Kress (Moulin Rogue!, 2001).

One of the benefits of the franchise is that Rick and Evelyn stay together throughout their adventures. They get married (Yay!), but they have a kid (Boo!). Why oh WHY do action heroes HAVE to be saddled with a lame wise-cracking child in distress? It ruins the whole lovers-in-peril dynamic.

There should be a law that all male adventurers with romantic aspirations need to get a vasectomy.

Even Indy has to have a kid in the upcoming movie with the ridiculously long title (5 days left…)! And I wish that Marion Ravenwood, played by the incredibly hot Karen Allen (When Will I Be Loved, 2004), was the love interest in all three Indiana Jones movies. The previous Indy girls, Kate Capshaw (Spielberg’s wife) and Alison Doody, lacked charisma and spunk.

The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor opens August 1st, which now negates The Scorpion King (2002) like a bastard out of the trilogy.

Wall•E is going to Disneyland!

Written by Christopher Beaubien • May 18, 2008 • Start the Discussion!

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Vimeo has posted captured footage of an actual Wall•E robot that has been manufactured by the good people at Disney (aka Globotech Industries). The life-size replica was spotted in L.A. trying to sight Eve at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Along the way, he came across some curious bystanders on the street to study.

It’s Alive!

Many Wall-Es will be built (“They have the technology! Better! Stronger! Faster!”) to run amuck in Disneyland. They’ll entertain fun-lovin’ patrons and will sell them deep-fried, yet overpriced Ratagans-on-a-stick. The only concern scientists have is a repeat of the fiasco that took place with murderous robots at the Itchy and Scratchy Land fourteen years ago.

I want Wall•E for my birthday.

TOWELHEAD Trailer Is Unwrapped

Written by Christopher Beaubien • May 16, 2008 • Start the Discussion!

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Warner Independent Pictures is releasing Towelhead, the theatrical debut of filmmaker Alan Ball, the creator of Six Feet Under, the upcoming True Blood series and is also the Academy Award Winning writer of American Beauty (1999). The film premiered in the Toronto Film Festival with the title Nothing Is Private. It has been named back in the US to Towelhead, the same title of the Alicia Erian novel that Ball has based his written adaptation on.

“Towelhead” Trailer

Set during the first Gulf War, a teenage Arab-American girl named Jasira whose new found and confused sexual awareness results in drastic measures by her mother (Maria Bello, The Cooler, 2003). She is sent away from New York to a small town in Texas to live with her strict, disciplinary Lebanese father, Rifat (Peter Macdissi, Three Kings, 1999). While the Middle Eastern war spreads prejudice at home, they struggle to be recognized as a respected Americans. Jasira is played by newcomer Summer Bishil who is running as fast as she can from children’s television programming to dramatic material more mature and respectable, much like Anne Hathaway did with Havoc (2005).

Director Ball is still testing the water with another plot about the adult male leaching after the underage girl. A bigoted Army revisionist played by Aaron Eckhart (Your Friends and Neighbors, 1998) is torn between his racism and his attraction for the minor. Eckhart, who exudes sliminess as well as James Spader (Secretary, 2002), says to girl in private: “You know what you do. You know what you do to men.” Ewww…

Watching the Towelhead trailer, the tampon sequence brings to mind a scene from Tamara Jenkin’s Slums of Beverley Hills (1998) where a well-meaning father (Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine, 2006) takes his mortified daughter (Natasha Lyonne, But I’m A Cheerleader, 1999) out bra shopping. I’m also reminded of the menstrual-minded Canadian werewolf-horror film Ginger Snaps (2000).

towelhead2Towelhead also stars Toni Collette (Muriel’s Wedding, 1994 and Japanese Story, 2003) and Matt Letscher (Identity, 2003) as welcoming, sarcastic Liberal neighbors. Here’s hoping this daring American indie is sharp, poignant and uncompromising as Alan Ball’s previous efforts.

The release date is August 28th.

Columbia Pictures Gives Us GOOSEBUMPS!

Written by Christopher Beaubien • May 15, 2008 • Start the Discussion!

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Columbia Pictures and Neal Moritz, the producer of Cruel Intentions (1999) and I am Legend (2007), have secured the rights with Scholastic Media’s Deborah Forte to make the R.L. Stine penned Goosebumps franchise into a theatrical feature. It’s like Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone targeted to kids. Executive Producer Andrea Giannetti (Vantage Point, 2008) will oversee the production. The release date is set at 2010.

The popular Goosebumps book series, much of it written and sold throughout the 1990s, holds second place as the most financially successful in the young adults demographic. It was published in over 32 languages and has sold more than 300 million copies worldwide. It was beaten by another youth-oriented serial written by some Brit named J.K. Rowling who specialized in wizards or something (supposedly 5 out of 8 blockbuster films were also adapted).

goosebumps2My reservations on an adapted Goosebumps movie is that it will be based on a Horrorland revision (unread by me) that includes many characters from previous plots. Between evil ventriloquist dummies, a preordained picture-taking camera, possessed Halloween masks, plant zombies, mutating green blood, and a summer camp that enslaves children to wash down a blob with teeth; I hope the filmmakers don’t bloat the film with too many creatures.

Why the invested interest? As a kid, I had difficulty being engaged by less than compelling material outside of Beverley Cleary’s Ramona serial. Unless the characters were personable and a real sense of doom was preordained, my mind drifted to more haunted thoughts of my imagining that proved more enticing. At the age of 7, I was introduced to the Goosebumps series, the closest in horror literature I could obtain at the time, by an antique dealer who I never saw again. As an early reader, I am in debt to R.L. Stine. Throughout grades four and seven, I read front to back over seventy Goosebumps novels. My father used to bribe me with a new Goosebumps book ($5.50 each) every week I completed all of my homework.

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A Retrospect on Robert Altman

Written by Christopher Beaubien • May 14, 2008 • Start the Discussion!

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On November 2006, the world of cinema lost a giant. Director Robert Altman (1925 – 2006) was a maverick in Hollywood, a daring artist whose films captured the messiness and wonderment of human nature. Like John Sayles, a hero to independent film, Altman’s portrayals of community were personable, vast, and generous. Altman could juggle multiple story lines populated with dozens of characters and still make each one distinct and memorable.

Altman was popular in the 1970s, churning out great movies like M*A*S*H* (1970 – Altman hated the toothless TV show), McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), Nashville (1975) and Three Women (1977). After the success of Jaws (1975) and Star Wars (1977), the powers in Hollywood deemed that audiences — desire for worldly-conscious character studies had staled after being dazzled by pyrotechnical melodramas. Respectively, those blockbusters were just as compelling in their function in terms of character development than what we mostly get today. Suddenly studio heads wanted to make The Most Profitable Blockbuster™ instead of The Great American Movie. The revered Golden Age of Cinema came to a close. Enter the 1980s, the “Greed Is Good” decade, and Altman the Artist became an outcast in an industry that once embraced him for nearly a decade. Altman described his situation as being a shoemaker in a company that wanted him to make gloves.

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