Star Wars: Time for a re-make?

December 30th, 2006

Star Wars is in desperate need of a re-make. I have not seen the original series for a number of years, but my memory of them is that of a bland trilogy of films that were groundbreaking in their time, but now just look very dated and somewhat cheap. George Lucus had the right idea in polishing up the series with added special effects. But this was only tinkering on the edge. A more radical approach is necessary to bring it up-to-date.

What better way then a re-make?

We keep the same story, but update it with better special effects. A re-make would also allow for a far superior set of actors to be caste for the films. Looking at the three movies (with the exception of Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, James Earl Jones and Ian McDiarmid-who were all perfectly caste) no one else really stands out. Alec Guinness is totally over-rated in the film. Lets be honest: the man may be a screen legend but his role could have been played by anyone. For the re-make I would recommend someone like Daniel Craig. I am not sure what character he would be caste as, but he would be a superb catch. Contender for one of the best Bonds, Craig could be developed as a villain. Clearly, the chief bad guy would remain Vader, but bearing in mind that he has an uncanny resemblance to Darth Maul (think about it) Craig could play a Sith Lord? Another actor I would champion is Andy Garcia. Again, not too sure who he would play. Clearly too old to play Luke Skywalker, but he would be a very good addition. Either way, Garcia and Craig would be two actors to start with.

Now I appreciate that the most recent series of films did not go down too well with many people. But this was more due to some very poor script and casting. Liam Neeson just could not pull off his role. Neither could Ewan McGregor or Hayden Christensen. And don’t even get me started on Jake Lloyd.

Along with a good caste, a re-make would also help solve one of the laughable aspects of the Star Wars films i.e. how life and technology in the prequels seems to be more advanced than life in Episode IV, V & VI!

The thought of a possible re-make will obviously have traditionalists up in arms. But like many neutral observers the world over, I am positively sick to death of these whinging people. They have to rank as the most annoying fans the film world has ever witnessed: never satisfied and constantly upset over something.

Overall, a re-make really ought to be given serious consideration. It would win over many new fans, bridge the technology gap and hopefully correct the mistakes made with the casting in the original and modern versions, thus finally bringing down the curtains on one of cinema’s greatest plays.

  

Craig: a Sith Lord?

Italian Americans

October 11th, 2006

Scorsese has just released Departed. A film that is getting rave reviews. I’m not so sure. If you’re going to make a film about organised crime, there can be no alternative but to base it on the Italian Mafia. The best organised crime films in movie history have been based on the Italian Mafia: Godfather, Goodfellas, Casino, Donnie Brasco and A Bronx Tale to name just a few. When you include the Italian-American community, it creates possibilities to cast excellent actors that can make the film great. Garcia was well cast in Godfather 3. Then you got the usual suspects, greats like De Niro, Pacino and Pesci. Presently, James Gandolfini is making a name for himself as an excellent Mafia man.

Of course, people may point to things like Millers Crossing and Road to Perdition as examples of good Irish mob films-but these are rare.

What is it about Italians that makes films about them so interesting? Its got to be the Mafia connection. Who is not interested in the exploits of the Mafia? The organied crime, the initiation rituals, the cool terms used: “friend of ours”, “forgedaboutit”. Take a look at the popularity of The Sopranos. Besides the great scripts and plot, it is fair to say that the Sopranos would not be so popular if it was based on the lives of an Irish-American crime family, for example.

So, if one is going to make a film based around organized crime, you cannot go wrong with Italians.

Capice, amici?

Final Destination & God

August 30th, 2006

Jesus Christ

Final Destination intrigues me. The premise is simple. We have good looking teenagers who cheat death. Death then goes on a killing spree to reclaim the lives which he believes rightly belong to him. Now, my problem is; once the teenagers work out that Death is after them, why don’t they simply seek protection from from a Priest or Rabi? These kids clearly aren’t the religious type: but the fact that they realise that a higher being exists and he is after them, should surely make them think that perhaps, just perhaps, God might exist as well? And that maybe a pray to God might help save their ass? Why not run to the nearest Church or Synagogue and prey for help/forgiveness? Surely, God would not allow Death to take take his children away in the gruesome manner that we witness in the three films? Would Death be permitted to enter a house of worship? These kids would have saved themselves a lot of trouble (not to mention their lives) if they stopped to think for a few seconds. Indeed, maybe a fourth Final Destination film could add this dimension to the film? It would be an interesting and bold path to take. We’ve had three films that have followed the same routine, so why not take this directon and add this aspect to the franchise? Worth a consideration, at least. 

Rooting for the Bad Guy!

August 16th, 2006

I’m writing this on the back of just having watched Underworld Evolution. A popcorn film with awesome CGI and a fit Kate Beckinsale. However, I do have one major gripe with Underworld and gripe with Hollywood blockbusters in general. That is: why do the villains have to always lose? Why can’t we end a film with the bad guy winning? Watching Evolution, I was rooting for our villain Marcus right from the start. There is a hint that there will be a third Underworld film (which is great), so knowing that, why didn’t the writers end it on a victory for Marcus and his werewolf brother, William? An opportunity missed.

Its not just Underworld that I’ve watched and found myself championing the bad guy. Collateral with Tom Cruise was another film crying out for a victory for the villain. Cruise is awesome and cool. The whole set up of the film was, in my opinion, made for a Cruise success. But, as with every Hollywood film, justice has to be seen as being served and the bad guy ends up defeated. I guess you could argue that the major studios would never allow it to end my way (particularly if a sequel is not planned) but in that case, an alternative ending catered for the DVD market would have been perfect. Would it not have been superb to have seen Cruise finish off Foxx and Smith and walk away with the job well done? A perfect ending for a great film. In Blade II, despite knowing full well it would never happen, I was cheering Nomak to kick Blade’s ass during the final confrontation between the two. I was bitterly disappointed with Blades victory. He didn’t deserve to win.

Of course, not all blockbusters end in victory for the good guys. One reason I like Jeepers Creepers (besides being a fun film) is that the Creeper ends up with a win in the first film. Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back is another one, but that doesn’t really count for me as I’m not a great Star Wars fan.

Should have won

Running Time Rant

August 13th, 2006

 

Am I the only one who finds how the running times on DVDs and cinemas are written annoying? Why is it written in minutes rather than hours? For example, the Aussie western “The Proposition” on DVD has a running time of 100 minutes. The question is: how long is that in hours and minutes? As it happens (and pointed out on the DVD Times website) that is 1 Hour and 40 Minutes. So the question is: why not simply state that right at the start? Why try to be fancy and write it in minutes? Is it because 100 minutes “looks” better written than 1 Hour & 40 minutes? This is also the case with films showing in the cinema. Miami Vice has a running time of 133 minutes. Superman Returns runs at 154 minutes.

Who wants to sit there working out how long 133 and 154 minutes are?

Someone ought to remind these people of the KISS principle: Keep it Simple and Straightforward.

 

 

It is said that everyone has his or her favourite James Bond. Unfortunately, I am not one of these people. I just cannot understand the appeal of the films. James Bond annoys me for one big reason: that is, the villains never seem to kill Bond when they have the chance. They are almost always more interested in entertaining a secret service agent (a man who has come to thwart their ingenious plan) then killing him straight away. We can point to a number of Bond films to highlight this stupidity.

In Octupussy, Bond is entertained by Kamal Khan.

In The Man With The Golden Gun, Bond is invited to Scarmanga’s Island home where he is treated to lunch. Madness.

In A View To A Kill, Bond is a guest of our villain Max Zorin.

In Goldfinger, Bond plays a round of golf with Gert Fröbe!

This pattern is almost uniform in every Bond movie. If your aim is to take over the world, why are you then entertaining a man who you know to be a Secret Service Agent? Why let him sleep with beautiful women and show him around your establishment? It’s akin to Hezbollah showing a Mossad agent around its base in South Beirut. It makes no sense and defies all logic. Laughable, really.

I would have also thought that Bond was more of a hindrance to the Secret Service. Bond is meant to be a secret service agent, yet his identity and reputation is widely known to those seeking to take over the world. This is a man who doesn’t seem to understand the clandestine nature of espionage.

Ho-Hum.

Halloween

July 17th, 2006

Halloween

Lets get the synopsis out of the way first.

Its Halloween 1963: a young Michael Myers stabs his older sister to death and gets sent to an asylum for the criminally insane. More then 10 years later, he escapes on the eve of Halloween and makes his way back to his home town to pick up where he left off.

Why is this movie insanely over-rated by people? My problem with Halloween is numrous: It is somewhat slow. The lightening is not that good and there is a remarkable absence of gore and blood. Added to all this is the fact that Halloween is not remotely scary. You can spot the bits where the viewer is meant to jump a mile away.

The plot also makes little sense. Why does Myers return to go on a killing spree? But most intriguing question of all is: since when does being locked up for most of your childhood and young life suddenly give you almost superhuman powers and strength?

Indeed if I had never heard of Halloween or known of its legendary “classic” film status, my immediate impression would have been: “is that it?” I would have then put the DVD back in its case and returned it to the rental store and never give it a seconds thought.

I will, however, give Halloween some credit for being the first of what went on to become known as the slasher genre-but so what? That still does not mean it should be revered as much as it is.

Overall: dull, over-rated and silly.

The Fog

July 15th, 2006

The Fog

A movie about vengeance and retribution: a dead crew of a ship returning a century later to seek vengeance on the residents of a town whose founding fathers were responsible for their death. Is Fog any good? No. Is it scary? No. I remember first watching The Fog when I was about nine. It was frightening. It scared me. But watching it again more than a decade later, it just does not stand up. Fog is an overblown nonsense. It is not frightening. It is not scary. It will not give you sleepless nights. Any horror film ought to do one or all of the above. Fog fails on all accounts.The special effects are very dated and laughable. The fog looks fake-you can tell it is generated by machine. It is way over-done in some scenes. The only good special effect came right at the end when the eyes of our villian light up. Wicked. I want my eyes to shine like that!  Fog is not a horror film, more a slasher and slasher flicks are never ever scary-and before anyone dare utter the H word-that includes Halloween.

Overall, a disappointment. I didn’t like it. It scared me when I was a child. It doesn’t anymore. In fact it’s boring. Dull. I couldn’t wait for it to end. I’ve seen Black and White horror films more frightening than this.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

July 15th, 2006

A Nightmare on Elm Street

What can one say about this film that hasn’t been already said? Well it no longer has the impact it did when it first hit the screen. In fact it looks very very dated. The effects are rubbish (just look at the last scene at the end of the film-where the mother is attacked by Krugger).

It was rightly praised when it first came out. It was original, Robert Englund is very menacing as Freddy, the effects were the best or good as they could achieve for its period. But I just didn’t feel anything when I revisisted it again.

I first viewed it in 1989 when in Primary School. It spooked me: those little dancing girls dressed all in white, singing the famous song and Freddy with his red and black jumper. I feared Freddy and only over came my fear when I reached the age of about 14-15. Indeed, I remember having my own Nightmare about Freddy. I dreamt that he was crawling about my estate looking through windows to see if children were awake. He came towards my window (on all fours like Spiderman). I saw him and quickly closed my eye, pretending I was asleep. He crawled away. I thought I had fooled him. However, he then came crashing through the window. [Un]fortunately, like most dreams, it was at this interesting bit that I woke up with a fright.

But Nightmare on Elm Street longer has the same impact. What is the point of a horror film if it cannot maintain its scare? Horror films are strange in that once you’ve viewed them, thats more or less it. Acting wise, none of the performances stand out. Freddy no longer scares me; in fact he annoys me. John Saxon has never starred in a decent film in his life (this is a man who starred in ‘Apocalipse Cannibal’ aka ‘Cannibal Apocalypse’). Heather Langenkamp has never gone further than Nightmare.

Overall: Rubbish and over-rated.

I’ve had enough of these so called established reviewers you come across on many DVD websites. 

Reviewers who just jump on the bandwagon and rate movies simply to fit in. Example of this include regarding the boring and over long Shawshank Redemption as one the greatest film ever made (yawn).

Well my friends I’ve decided to stand up to this collective nonsense and write reviews and express opinions as I (and I believe most of  you!) would like them reviewed and expressed.  Hence the birth of Dark Night of the Scarecrow Reviews.

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