17 Again, the Boat That Rocked, Dragonball Evolution, Mary & Max, and Good

Boat That Rocked

The Boat That Rocked

It’s school holiday season suckers and that means more movies released on a Thursday than 13-year-olds in a Supre store. Naturally most of these flicks are targeted at the easy to please kiddies let loose in movie theatres nation wide so here is brief guide to the first round of films released this school holiday Thursday, April 9.

Sigh. That’s the best word to describe every detail of this film which has a premise used more often than Chris Brown’s fists. 17 Again is about some lame father played by lame actor Matthew Perry who wishes he could do his youth over again and then BHAM! he’s somehow magically transported back in to the body of his 17-year-old self played by Zac Efron. Boredom ensues. The trailer looks flat with tired jokes and clich├ęd everything but no doubt tweens and horny housewives will flock along to catch a glimpse of Efron with his shirt off. If you’re not in the latter, avoid 17 Again at all costs.

This period musicial, romance, comedy about an illegal radio station in the North Sea in the 60's has had an advertising campaign more severe than Kevin07. If the promotional saturation hasn’t turned you off than this looks quite promising with a stellar cast featuring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh Nick Frost and everyone’s favourite Kiwi Rhys Darby (in another strong career move). I think The Boat That Rocked will have a massive opening at the box office as audiences will be keen to escape the economic doom and gloom with this uplifting comedy. Frankly, this looks well-deserving of your hard earned cash considering it comes from British comic legend Richard Curtis. You know you’re in good hands with Curtis who not only directed my personal fav Love Actually but also has writing and producing credits on such Brit classics as Bridget Jones’ Diary, Notting Hill, Four Weddings & A Funeral, Blackadder and The Vicar Of Dibley. Early word from critics has this shaping up to be the feel-good comedy of the year.

Yeah, so, remember that cartoon where a bunch of dudes with big hair growled at each other for half an hour and occasionally blew shit up? Well, in a completely unsurprising move Dragonball Z has been adapted in to a C-grade movie with a no-name cast and some semi-impressive special effects. James Wong is directing, the guy behind Final Destination 3 and a bunch of X-Files episodes. Consensus? This is strictly for hardcore fans of the cartoon series.

Easily the film I’m most excited about this Thursday and one I’ve have looking forward to all year. After his 2003 Oscar win for animated short film Harvie Krumpet, Aussie director Adam Elliot has put together his first feature film and it has been receiving no shortage of hype. It became the first animated movie to open the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and is a tale of friendship between two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York. With celebrated actors like Toni Collette, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Eric Bana lending their voices to the central characters and the beautiful (if not restricted) colour palette, I’m amped to see this. The animation is all stop-motion claymation, similar to Wallace & Gromit and it looks incredible. Combined with the intriguing story line this is set to be a shadowy, intriguing exploration of the human condition and a must see.

It’s always a pleasure to watch Viggo Mortensen on screen and the one-time king of Middle Earth stars in this World-War-II-era drama as a professor who is reluctant to join the Nazi party. As anti-Semitic feelings grow, he is forced to choose between his career and loyalties to a Jewish friend. Jason Isaacs and Jodie Whittaker round out an impressive supporting cast and with Austrian director Vicente Amorim, Good makes an enticing choice for those looking for a serious, historical drama as opposed to the lighter cinematic offerings mentioned above.

Keep your friends close, and your Public Enemies closer

Public Enemies

Public Enemies (directed by Michael Mann)

Oh. My. Gawd. Do you ever have those moments at work, on the train, or mid-conversation where you just float off day-dreaming and go to your happy place? I do. One such happy place is an orgy starring myself, Mark Wahlberg and James Franco. I now have confirmation there actually is a God as my happy place is becoming a reality! By reality, I mean the kind where I have a body like Beyonce, ride a Unicorn to work and am a writer at Empire Magazine. In translation Wahlberg and Franco have been attached to star in a comedy called Date Night by director Shawn Levy (of the Night At The Museum movies).

The flick revolves around a couple played by comedy heavy-weights Tina Fey and Steve Carell whose night on the town goes awry. Wahlberg stars as a buff securities expert and Franco is a dim-witted criminal. Seriously, could this cast get any more awesome? I think not! With a 2010 release date there’s still plenty of time for a few more names to be added to the line-up but right now my contentment is filled to the brim. Date Night marks Wahlberg’s second venture in to comedy after he was signed on to star with Will Ferrell in The B-Team (click here for more info). Comedy, action, drama... I couldn’t give a hoot what genre he stars in as long as I see some fresh Wahlberg movies soon! As a side-bar, Franco is ace and his comedy work in Pineapple Express earned him a Golden Globe nomination so this project should be stellar (Stellllaaaa!).

FYI if my enemy was Johnny Depp, I would be keeping him mighty close. I’ve been quite the inattentive blogging parent lately so I thought it was about time I gave some well deserved attention to a film that has been on my radar for a while. Public Enemies is a gangster flick, in essence, about the Feds as they try to take down notorious American gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd during a booming crime wave in the 1930s. Directed by Michael-I-can-do-no-cinematic-wrong-Mann, the Public Enemies trailer looks sensational (you can view here). Johnny Depp plays the leader of the gang, smooth talker John Dillinger and faces off against Christian Bale’s character Melvin Purvis, who is the federal agent in charge of bringing him down.

Two of our generations strongest leading men are supported by a great cast with Channing Tatum as Pretty Boy Floyd, Billy Crudup (aka Dr Manhattan from Watchmen) playing J. Edgar Hoover, Ediath Piaf reincarnate Marion Colliard as Dilinger’s love interest, along with David Wenham, Giovanni Ribisi and Aussie fav Emile De Ravin in another strong career move. Based on true events, Mann looks like he has captured the stylish 30s vibe perfectly and Depp and Bale look like they’re performances are ball clenching. Another element, which is sure to be a standout, is the complex script and engaging plot. Mann has proved time and time again with films he has produced, written and directed (such as Collateral, Ali and The Last Of The Mohicans) that his best results are when he has his finger in every pie. Public Enemies is out in Oz on July 2 and I’m pipping this one early as a 2010 all-round Oscar contender.

Collateral Damage, World Trade Centre, Disaster Movie, and Glitter

World Trade Centre

World Trade Centre

When it comes to movie-making, you would think luck wouldn’t have much to do with the success or failure of a film. After all, you make sure you have great subject material, a well-adapted script, plenty of money in the budget for marketing, sturdy actors and most importantly an awesome director and crew. If the film turns out like Gigli, odds are you fucked up on one of the principle elements along the way. However, there are a handful of films who, due to no fault of their own, have been released on the worst dates. Like the little girl crushed to death by a piano which has fallen of a two-storey building, some people (or films) are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Below is a list of films I’ve put together that have been released on the worst possible days.

Ahh yes, who could forget this oily, sweaty Arnie vehicle? Everyone apparently. And why is that you ask? The aptly title Collateral Damage had a September 11, 2001 release date. So you can imagine why audiences didn’t really feel like going to see a movie while arguably the largest terrorist attack of our time was occurring. If, by chance, they did want to go to the movies for a bit of escapism on said horrific day, I don’t think a film titled Collateral Damage would have been the pick. Then there’s the whole iffy plot issue about Arnie’s character who is trying to bring down international terrorists after they killed his family in a dramatic bombing scene. Several bombings of important government buildings ensue baring an errie resemblance to the actual events and trauma of 9/11. At the last minute studio execs managed to delay the release of the movie and pump it out a few weeks later accompanied by a press release preaching the anti-terrorism slogan of the film. Needless to say, Collateral Damage ddidn’t damage the box office, just the investors pockets.

Paramount studios had a splash of bad luck on the day they announced they would be making the first Hollywood dramatisation of 9/11. Ready and politically corrected as they were back in July 2005, unfortunately the day they announced World Trade Centre would be made starring Nicholas Cage, the London bombings occurred. Lets just say it didn’t exactly warm everyone to the idea.

Admittedly Hollywood spoof movies are never going to be a major critical or commercial success but the following situation didn’t help. Lionsgate copped a back lashing (or 12) when they announced Disaster Movie would be released on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Maybe they thought the coincidence/unfortunate timing would slip under the radar or maybe it was intentional and therefore like most of the jokes in the film – tasteless.

Okay, I know this is possibly the most hated movie of all time and my tireless efforts to defend it and Mariah Carey are futile BUT (and there is a but) did I mention Glitter was released on September 11, 2001? Oh no, unlike Collateral Damage Glitter didn’t get the chance to reschedule a release date thus giving it a chance to gain an actual audience and a warmer critical response. I’ll stop now.

My Favourite X-Man

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past six months and have missed the close to shameless advertising campaign, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is out tomorrow. Yes, I realise tomorrow is a Wednesday (April 29 to be precise) and new movies usually only ever come out on a Thursday. But Hugh and the team are trying to do The Dark Knight thing and get a bit of extra business by opening a day earlier. Don’t mistake me, The Dark Knight and X-Men Origins: Wolverine are both movies adapted from popular comic-book characters and I did mention them in the same sentence.

HOWEVER I’m not expecting the Wolverine movie to be anything close to the brilliance of The Dark Knight which, in my personal opinion, is one of the best movies ever made (send me angry letters later folks). I’m looking forward to X-Men Origins: Wolverine because I love the X-Men comics, I love the idea of starting at the origins of an iconic character and it looks like a frolicking good time at the movies.

Plus, unlike the X-Men movie franchise this film features my favourite X-Man: Gambit in a starring role (hooray!) For those of you, like myself, who are trotting on down to see the first of what is sure to be many X-Men Origins movies, I hope we get what the trailer promised: a fun, action-packed, adventure film with little to no depth. In times like these I think a bit of escapism is just what the pointy-clawed mutant called for. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is screening everywhere, literally everywhere, tomorrow.