Face smoosh!

So a bombastic, smashy, clingfilm-shiny new trailer has been released for Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, the third film in the robotics-scrap-til-we-cry-from-boredom franchise from Michael Bay. And while there really is a lot of robots and scrapping and smashy stuff, the thing that stood out for me was – face smooshing!

Poor Rosie Huntington-Whiteley appears to have signed on to replace Megan Fox in this threequel just so Shia LaBeouf can mould her face like it’s a head-sized hunk of clay. It’s like that bit in one of the Friday The 13th sequels where Jason crushes a gal’s head with his bare hands. Awesome!

Oh, there’s also a cool bit with a building-destroying Transformer, but the face smooshing scandal is far more interesting…

Edited to add this image from Friday The 13th Part 3D, in which poor Rick has his head squeezed so tight by Jason that his eye pops out – IN 3D!

He’s back…

Yes, he really is. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed on to make and star in a fifth Terminator movie – news that has pretty much split me straight through my solar plexus. The fanboy in my head can’t help but jump up and down with a “woo, yes!” while the concerned filmwatcher in me is sobbing: “Fools! Foooools!”

Let’s look at the facts. Arnie’s now 63 years old. He was 37 when he made the first Terminator back in 1984. He was already looking a little creaky in the third film Rise Of The Machines, released in 2003. That was damn near 10 years ago.

Putting aside any questions of this new sequel’s quality, are we really expected to believe that a killing machine has been designed in the future that resembles a 63-year-old man? Or will the filmmakers be giving Arnie a CGI facelift like they did with the more recent Terminator Salvation? For that film, a body double was used in order to recreate the circa ’84 Arnie for a smackdown with Christian Bale.

If Justin Lin (yes, the director of Fast Five, who’s also attached to helm this new Terminator) decides to go that CG-heavy route, surely that’s a lot of work just to have the franchise’s star return? Furthermore, will T5 be a continuation of McG’s box office flop Terminator Salvation? While that film has its haters, it did at least feature some stunning aesthetics – and McG had hinted a fifth film could involve Sarah Connor (and hence, yippee, a return for Linda Hamilton).

Of course, that’s all conjecture. Nothing is known whatsoever about the plot of T5, so it’s a bit early to start complaining about geriatric robots. That said, perhaps the entire film will centre around a new vision of the future where the war is over and robots are now filling up retirement homes and fighting over the remote…

Joss Whedon: "Tomorrow we start shooting The Avengers"

There’s pretty much nothing I can add to Joss Whedon’s announcement that shooting on comic mash-up The Avengers is kicking off within the next 24 hours, other than ohmygodgeekloveheslikesoamazing. That’s how a) excited I am that this movie is getting made and b) by demigod Whedon.

In a time when sanitised press releases about movies entering production read like really unfunny backward obituaries, the Buffy brainbox has shown why he does what he does with a breathlessly scattershot announcement shpiel that induces nervous hiccups and throaty guffaws in equal measure. I would follow this man off the edge of a cliff. Here’s what he had to say in all its glory…

Hi Pumpkins, joss here.

Tomorrow we start shooting (I THINK I’m legally permitted to say that). Day one. That’s right. We’ll be shooting the pivotal death/betrayal/product placement/setting up the sequel/coming out scene, at the following address:

[Marvel Lawyers rush in, take Joss’s keyboard, blowtorch a picture of his family like in “Stormy Monday”, drink his milkshake, leave the seat up, fluff his pillows, violently unfluff his pillows, leave]

Went too far. My bad. Anyhoo, it should be a fun day, followed by the eighty thousand other fun days it will take to finish this. I’ll be checking in from time to time, if there’s news or I crave attention (i.e. am awake) . None of it will be Avengers news — I have some very denty pillows to remind of that — but I may have tidbits. (They’re not about Firefly. I should say that up front, if only to protect Sis Mo from the HATORZ.)

Some of you may be saying, Joss! Why this link, here, now, why, huh, howcum? My friend Allyx turned me on to these guys, and I’ll tell you, they’ve gotten me through this intensely pressurized, preply time. I strongly recommend checking out their other vids — I’ve watched them many many times, and I have a very special place for “Teamwork” in my heart. These guys are the guys. And IS there a better movie title than “Eagles Are Turning People Into Horses”? I thought not.

So wish me luck. DO IT! LUCK! NOW! I’m off to finish some Buffy pages, and then figure out what the movie is about already. I’m pretty sure it’s about the Justice League [Marvel Lawyers re-enter, unspeakability occurs] or possibly something else. I’ll get it. I’ve been looking forward to this. For about 46 years.



Via Whedonesque

Scott in space

“It’s daring, visceral and, hopefully, the last thing anyone expects,” raves Lost and Cowboys & Aliens writer Damon Lindelof. And rave he should; he’s just inked the script for Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s inscrutable new film and the director’s first sci-fi expedition since 1982’s Blade Runner. Originally set up as a prequel to Scott’s own genre-defining ’79 Alien, Prometheus has now (xeno)morphed into its own standalone beast. “While Alien was the jumping off point,” confides Scott, “out of the creative process evolved a new, grand mythology. The ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative. I couldn’t be more pleased to finally return to this genre that’s so close to my heart.” Just what an Alien-inspired sci-fi has to do with the shamed Greek Titan Prometheus is anybody’s guess, though with original Swedish Girl With The Dragon Tattoo actress Noomi Rapace starring, we’re chomping at the bit to find out. Welcome back, Ridders.

Via Total Film

Girl with the funky new ‘do

Rooney Mara’s feeling rebellious. The former girl-next-door of horror redo A Nightmare On Elm Street and awards-attracter The Social Network has dyed her hair black, slashed it short, and peppered her body with tattoos. All in the name of art, of course, because this is Mara in full Lisbeth Salander regalia as the no-prisoners riot grrl of David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. “Before I read the book, I didn’t think I could do it,” Mara’s confessed. “I really wanted to be Lisbeth, but I thought I had no shot at it.” For Fincher, the 25-year-old Mara was the only one up to the task: “I wanted her from the beginning. She’s level-headed and hardworking; there was no way to dissuade her.” Word on the street is that Fincher’s adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s Swedish crime novel comes with its own brand new ending – Salander holidaying in Disneyland? Somehow we doubt it.

Via Total Film

From Kick-Ass to bad-ass

“Tony’s really the perfect superhero director in a lot of ways,” points out comic book author Mark Millar, “he basically invented the fast cut action that works so well in superhero movies.” That ‘Tony’ is Tony Scott. Fresh off last year’s runaway (train) hit Unstoppable, the Brit Top Gun director will soon tackle the movie adap of Millar’s newest creation Nemesis, which poses the tantalising question: ‘What if Batman was the Joker?’ Uprooting comic book tropes, Nemesis is the world’s first super-criminal, an intelligent, ghostly cop-killer swathed in a white cloak who’s bent on bloody destruction. With a script currently being written, Millar’s already mulling over possible casting: “In my head when I was writing I saw Nemesis as Johnny Depp, but after The Tourist I realised he might actually be too old for the part.” Either way, the comic guru “can’t wait to see Nemesis as a film”. Bring on the bad-ass!

Via Total Film

Super freaks

Nathan Fillion in a girly wig. Ellen Page being an idiot. Rainn Wilson. Three reasons right there to get your knickers in a twist over James Slither Gunn’s bloody, sly, genre-muddling Super. Scripted long before Kick-Ass but only now making it to screens, it’s of that same ‘bloke becomes superhero’ mould – but is by all accounts filthier. Yes, filthier than a 10-year-old muttering the C word.

Branded an “effed up, low-rent Watchmen” by Wilson, Super follows the comedy crusader’s everyguy Frank. When Frank’s wife (the smokin’ hot Liv Tyler) goes on a drug-slicked bender with Kevin Bacon, Frank transforms himself into superhero Crimson Bolt in an attempt to win her back. If only he was actually any good at rescuing people.

Okay, awesome check list… Page blowing a bloke up with a grenade? Check! Fillion feeling fey as the Holy Avenger? Check! Tyler actually being injected during a druggy re-enactment scene? Uhhh… check! Director-writer Gunn may have branded shooting the thing a “hellish experience” (tight budget purse-strings meant they rushed through a whopping 50 set-ups a day), but Super has ‘runaway cult hit’ status stamped all over it. And not just because it has Nathan Fillion in a girly wig.

Via Total Film

Seeing Red

A retired action man who spent much of his life cutting a bloody swathe through the corrupt heart of North America… Sound familiar? “There are things [in this] that I haven’t done for a long time,” admits Bruce Willis. “I get thrown through the air, smashed through windows, things like that.”

As the weathered lead in comic adap Red, directed by Flightplan’s Robert Schwentke, Sir Willis of the white vest is getting tooth-cracking mean for the first time since 2007’s Planet Terror. And by all accounts he’s loved every second of it. “It was like recess. People talk about it as if it’s just an action film, but I thought of it as a romantic comedy,” he deadpans.

Not that there isn’t the requisite window dressing on display. As Willis goes black ops to take down his former employers in an ‘it’s me or them’ final mission, he crosses paths with Weeds funnygirl Mary-Louise Parker and the ever-delightful Helen Mirren (milf or gilf? We can’t decide), the latter as a fellow assassin.

“The most difficult thing about shooting a gun on film is not to pull a silly face while the gun’s going off,” reveals Mirren. “Because it can be a bit of a shock.” Parker’s advice? “Just look like you constantly have to pee if you’re in danger.” Helpful. Meanwhile, John Malkovich pitches up as a demented Scotsman, and Morgan Freeman Frank’s assassin ally. But it’s Willis the crowds will turn out for. Yes, Brucie’s back – and he’s got two fists to bruise!

Via Total Film

Be very afraid

Guillermo Del Toro returns to his horror roots with a Disney-backed scare flick…

“What the fuck was that?!” hollers Guillermo Del Toro. “I wrecked my pants!” No, he’s not just seen a shot of Li-Lo leaving jail, but the first bone-chilling trailer for horror flick Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, which he produced with newbie director/ex-comic artist Troy Nixey.

Written in the late ‘90s by Del Toro and Matthew Robbins, it’s a remake of an obscure made-for-TV ‘70s scarer starring Kim Darby (True Grit). Yes, remake – but don’t let that alarm you, the Pan’s Labyrinth director hasn’t sold the farm.

“We are not fucking chickening out,” he colourfully stresses. “We wrote and originally shot the movie for PG-13, and could do that without compromising the scares… But we were given a badge of honour. The MPAA came back and gave it a non-negotiable R for ‘pervasive scariness’.”

Sounds grim. The eight minutes of the fairytale horrible that TF has seen – the flick’s prologue, in which a maid has a teeth-gnashing encounter in the shadowy basement of a sprawling mansion – certainly had us gripped. Such is Del Toro’s enthusiasm that we can even overlook the fact that his film, which has a young girl facing unimaginable terror when she moves in with her father and his girlfriend, stars Mrs. Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes.

“I wanted to re-invent the story, make it much more contemporary,” Del Toro elaborates. “It’s scary, it’s classical, and the ending hits you like a motherfucker. The movie is serious as a fucking attack of gonorrhoea.” And twice as scary.

Via Total Film

Conan the (rebooted) barbarian

“We’re not interested in doing an Arnold look-alike contest!” chuckles director Marcus Nispel. As enticing a prospect as that might be… Sadly, the Governator won’t be greasing up and slithering back into his loincloth for this revival of Conan the barbarian. Instead, Nispel’s mission to reboot beloved but tired movie properties (so far he’s hacked out slasher remakes Friday The 13th and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) sees him drafting in the leaner frame of virtual unknown Jason Momoa for the new sword-swishing brute.

Alright, he’s leaner, but is he meaner? A goliath at 6 ft 5, the ex-Stargate: Atlantis cast member certainly seems built for the barbarian role. But the Hawaii native admits he spent many of his school bound years being stuffed into lockers. We can’t imagine Arnie’s C-man putting up with that.

Does a new millennium mean a new Conan? “I did more research with the books [than the movies], to tell you the truth,” reveals Momoa, hinting that this barbaric brawl could be a little dirtier in tone than the Austrian Oak’s hammier interpretation – and more in keeping with author Robert E. Howard’s original creation.

“Conan is definitely a movie for adults,” echoes our leading man’s director, quelling fears of a gentler giant. “There is sex, violence and a lot of action. He is a barbarian and everything will be great fun.”

Look no further than Avatar bad boy Stephen Lang for proof of that – the burly New Yorker pitches up as Middle Eastern warlord Khalar Zym and kills Conan’s father in his hunt for a lost queen. “In spirit, the movie is lot more like Jason And The Argonauts or The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad,” Lang says. “It’s this huge adventure, these otherworldly things.”

Scared, Jason? “If that happened to my family, I’d do the same,” he growls. There might be some Conan in him yet.

Via Total Film