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Movie News, April 2012

Movies have a long and twisted legacy of poor choices, strange marketing, and occasionally wonderful results. For example, the absolutely horrible job done by Disney to promote John Carter. None of the advertisements explained what the property was, but made it out to be a wall-to-wall action film, which it wasn't. It created an expectation that couldn't possibly be fulfilled, so it tanked. Why am I bringing this up? Well I'm about to talk about current movie news, since it is all strange marketing, poor choices, and occasionally wonderful results. This is an experimental article that will try to follow in the footsteps of Doux News. I hope I'm adequate to the task.

The only new movie worth talking about this week was The Raven, and it's apparently horrible (it currently has only a 20% on Rotten Tomatoes). I haven't seen it, and after reading some of those scathing reviews, I don't think I ever will.

Scarlett Johansson will not be appearing in next year's Iron Man 3 because of scheduling conflicts. This is probably due to her being cast as Janet Leigh in the upcoming Hitchcock movie (a biopic of him, not a movie by him since he died 22 years ago). This might mean they won't make the same mistake as they made on Iron Man 2, as in using it as a spring board for another Avengers film instead of focusing on a story specific to Tony Stark/Iron Man.

In sorta related news, The Avengers has already raked in 178.4 million dollars. Wait, that doesn't make sense -- it hasn't even opened yet! Oh, that's how much it's made overseas since it opened in some countries on WEDNESDAY!!!!

A FOX Studio exec has stated that they will not mess with Prometheus (i.e. editing for content to reduce it to a more accessible PG-13) even if it comes down with an "R" rating. Which is a relief because cutting Ridley Scott's movies never turn out well (See Blade Runner, Kingdom of Heaven, etc). (Along with the recent Fringe announcement, I'm beginning to wonder if maybe someone sane came to power over there. Then again, maybe not.) A couple of weeks ago, two brilliant viral videos (David 8 and Ted 2023) were released, as well as an intriguing website launched for the movie. As a marketing campaign, these are great teasers reminiscent of The Dark Knight's viral marketing campaign.

Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter, Wrath/Clash of the Titans) will be in the new Bond movie Skyfall coming out later this year. The studio has also announced that from now on, new Bond movies will start coming out at regular intervals, with the next one premiering in 2014. After all the issues with MGM going bankrupt and Daniel Craig having conflicts with continuing in the role, I'm tentatively glad to see that we'll get more.

Peter Jackson has responded to criticism over his choice to film the new Hobbit movie at 48 fps (Frames Per Second) instead of the industry standard of 24 fps. This might seem like a non-issue, but using higher frames per second completely changes the way film looks, giving it a more realistic feel. His defense is that using this format will become standard in coming years and is part of the natural evolution of movie-making. While I agree that technology is moving forward and we should accept that, I hope that he considers that using this format might not be a good idea for a fantasy film.

Kick Ass 2 (and 3) might actually happen. Filming is supposed to begin this summer. I personally loved the first one, but this announcement was completely unexpected.

In the category of painful, inexplicable and pointless news, it was announced that there will be a sequel to Twins. It will be called Triplets and adds Eddie Murphy to the cast along with returning stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as their long lost third sibling. This is one of those announcements that has me scratching my head going, why? Why? And this isn't the only head scratcher. A few days ago, a trailer for a movie called This is 40? came out. This is actually a sequel/spin-off to the movie Knocked Up. Again I ask, WHY???

Final note - I understand that fans can be passionate, but there is such as thing as too passionate. Amy Nicholson was one of the first critics to post a review for The Avengers coming out next week. She was also the only one that posted a negative review, which in itself was contentious because she rated it with a 3 out of 5. This lone voice of descent has caused people to lash out at her with some unfairly harsh comments -- calling her names, belittling her skills as a writer, and generally being insufferable brats about someone having a different opinion. To be fair, she was pretty snarky in her review. But that's just it -- it was her review. It was her opinion. Isn't that the whole idea of being a critic? Critics have to be able to share their opinion, even if it isn't popular. Disagreeing with that opinion is fine, sharing that feeling with the writer is great. But raging at someone who is just doing their job is reprehensible, and makes our job impossible.

Thus ends the experiment! Please tell me what you think about any of these news items, or about the movie news article in general.
Samantha M. Quinn spends most of her time in front of a computer typing away at one thing or another; when she has free time, she enjoys pretty much anything science fiction or fantasy-related.


  1. Nice work J.D. !

    The 2 videos for (from) Prometheus is EXACTLY the kind of things that make me wanna go see the movie even more.....

    B) "why?" you ask. Simple, for one really good, memorable movie, Hollywood gives us also 9 (and even more) horror stories...and they're out of really GOOD ideas....

  2. Yes, nice work, J.D.! It's a good addendum to Doux News because I almost never write about movies. :)

  3. I really enjoyed this column, J.D. I don't really follow much movie news these days, so this was a nice little catch-me-up on some films in the genre I love.

    Can I just say that it makes me really sad to see Ralph Fiennes noted only for Harry Potter and the Clash of the Titans movies? The man was Oscar-nominated for his amazing turn in Schindler's List and for his work in The English Patient (both Best Picture winners), and has been absolutely compelling in countless indie and non-indie films over the years! I get that those films are probably less of note to our audience here, but still. He's such a wonderfully talented actor, and I guess I just like to see him credited for his non-over-the-top stuff. :)

    (To be honest, it actually crushes my soul a bit that both he and Liam Neeson are cheesing it up in those Titans flicks. I go on little rants whenever I see the ads. "These men were the stars of Schindler's List and now they are doing this? Are you kidding me?!")

    That said, I look forward to seeing him go toe-to-toe with Daniel Craig in a Bond flick!

  4. Honestly I don't connect Ralph Fiennes with those movies in particular either. For me he will always be Lenny from Strange Days. But you're absolutely right that his work in Schindler's List should be recognized, although I admit to have never seen The English Patient. Still he did give the role of Voldemort significance, and I do think that is a good association.

  5. Yes, Strange Days! I loved Ralph Fiennes as Lenny. I remember really wanting to see that movie in the first place because Ralph Fiennes was starring in it!

    And I honestly don't mind him as Voldemort. I remember being excited when he was originally cast in the part. I think it really is the Titans one that drives me nuts. But, hey, it isn't your fault two of his more recent films are such popcorn shlock! :)

  6. Thanks for the great article on movie news, J.D. Like Jess, I haven't been as up on movies as I used to be lately, so it is really nice to hear some of this news here.

  7. Great post, J.D. I, too, very seldom go to the movies so it was fun to read what it happening in that world.

    I especially liked your discussion about the reaction to criticism. This site aside, many of the sites I visit have at least one or two recurring characters who are virulent in their criticism -- often resorting to the kind of childishness you describe. My personal theory is that because it is done anonymously, it is easier to be rude and awful if you don't have to stand by what you say.

    I was reminded of one of my favourite quotes from Benjamin Franklin: "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do."

  8. J.D., I'm curious about your comment that 48fps may not be a good format for a fantasy film. Can you elaborate? Is it because the more realistic feel may interfere with the fantasy aspect?

    As for Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson slumming it in the Titans pics, I figure it's the most accurate part of the remake, with Neeson stepping into Laurence Olivier's shoes. Hopefully they're getting crates full of cash as Olivier supposedly did. (Money, dear boy.)

  9. Ok this is a little complicated and I don't understand it fully Patricia, but I'll give it a shot.

    24 Frames per second has been the standard for basically ever (it was standardized in the mid-1920's). It creates a specific look that is the hallmark of film, or the warm "cinematic feel" that can only be produced using this format. That's why things shot on home video cameras look different, because it doesn't record the image at that particular frame rate.

    Now 48 Frames Per Second runs at obviously double the speed. This means that it can compensate for faster motions on screen, with fewer blur artifacts (shadows, lines through the image, and a bunch of other things that a create and undesired quality to the image). This also lowers the volume of the actual film as it is projected, that familiar clackity clack noise. The problem is that the human eye interprets it as too real. So it breaks suspension of disbelief.

    The only way I can describe this is, if you've ever seen a soap opera, there is this almost heightened sense of realism and intimacy. This "Soap Opera Effect" has a simple explanation; originally they had to use cheaper cameras that shot at 30fps, this also helped with camera shaking and some motion blur. Sports also tend to use higher frame rates so that fan's watching their broadcasts don't get sick from the quick movements of the players.

    I hope that helps :D

  10. Oops... I forgot how that would relate to a fantasy film. So basically can you imagine watching Lord of the Rings, if it felt like you were watching a soap opera? That's the problem people were having with a recent screening of the Hobbit. I don't imagine it is exactly like that, since Soaps run at 30fps, and this was at 48fps. Still I'm not sure if it was a great idea to experiment with this format on a movie where suspension of disbelief is so important.

  11. Ah, okay, great explanation, thanks J.D.! I now share your concern -- we expect movies to look like movies, not like reality.

  12. Note on the slumming in Titans... Liam Neeson is also slumming it in Battleship! Which was a bit of a shocker for me (plus he doesn't get much to do other than loaning the prestige of his name). What is it with these guys?! *snif* I want to see more of their extraordinary acting abilities!

    I saw The Avengers a couple of days ago and loved it! Job well done! I barely remember ScarJo from Iron Man 2 (other than she annoyed me), but with the Joss Whedon treatment she has turned out a rather intriguing character! :o)

    Great work on this Movie News JD! I say keep it up! :o)

  13. I don't think Liam Neeson has gotten over his lovely wife's senseless freak death a few years back. His movie choices have been awful and his performances have been lackluster. I believe his heart may literally be broken.

  14. Ouch! I forgot about that Shadow... you may be right. :o(

  15. LOVE the article ... and the idea of gathering movie news. More please!!!

  16. I have hopes that Battleship may be worth watching, and I certainly intend to see it. Peter Berg isn't from the Michael Bay school of directing, he does some interesting, subtle, and occasionally off-the-wall character stuff. He created Friday Night Lights, after all, and he's using some of the same actors in Battleship (most notably Taylor Kitsch; I enjoyed John Carter and not just for the eye candy). Since Neeson and Kitsch can both act, and Berg can actually direct actors, it might be pretty good despite how it's being marketed.


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