Popping up all over the net today is the first trailer for the new Simon Pegg/Nick Frost movie Paul. Yes, Pegg & Frost have also headed stateside, independently of their once & future director Edgar Wright (whose Scott Pilgrim Vs The World ranks high on my films of the year); and whilst Shaun of the Dead brought zombies and Hot Fuzz brought gun-toting cops, this one brings a little sci-fi to the mix, as two British fanboys on their way to a US comic convention cross paths with a bona fide extra-terrestrial... called Paul.
The trailer doesn't give too much away, but given the pedigree of talent behind it (at the helm is Greg Mottola, director of Superbad) I don't think it's too unreasonable to anticipate comedy of the highest standard. And on the strength of what we see here, we might also expect a fair amount of shit going boom.
Roll on Spring 2011...
Monday, 18 October 2010
Friday, 15 October 2010
It's easy to forget what a left-field figure he started out as. Hollywood royalty as nephew to Francis Coppolla, he made his name through the likes of the Coens' Raising Arizona and David Lynch's Wild At Heart; movies with a decidedly less-than-mainstream bent. Sure, he'd do the occassional popcorn flick like Wings of the Apache (an oft-forgotten Top Gun with helicopters), but these were always balanced out with the edgier, weirder, more ununsual films. And yet, looking at his work from the past fifteen years or so, it becomes readily apparent that the balance has shifted. Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation et al. would seem to be the exception rather than the rule, with his main body of work being the blockbusting likes of The Rock, Con Air, Face/Off, Gone In 60 Seconds, the National Treasure movies, Ghost Rider, Kick-Ass...
And then there's the small matter of that Wicker Man remake... which I still haven't seen so can't comment on.
But is any of this necessarily a problem? I don't think so. While the aforementioned movies vary somewhat in quality (Gone In 60 Seconds and Ghost Rider are the only ones I really don't like; and I must confess that, in spite of its inherent crappiness, I love National Treasure), one thing is apparent: Nic Cage chose to do them for the fun of it. Clearly this is a man who enjoys what he does for a living, or surely he wouldn't do so much of it. I rather doubt he's in it just for the money; it's fair to assume he's long since made enough to never have to work again. I also rather doubt he's out for the kudos, because... well... look at some of the choices he's made.
What's inspiring about Cage is the sense that he really doesn't give a shit. If a project tickles his fancy, he takes it on. If it doesn't turn out great; well, soon enough he's taking on another. Done, done, onto the next one.
Does Drive Angry look ridiculous? You're darn tootin' it does. Cage is a scar-faced wiry haired condemned soul going AWOL from hell on a personal quest for revenge, with a crazy-arse gun and a muscle car. Sitting at his side is Amber Heard; improbably sexy, young enough to be his daughter. There's a great potential here for the world at large to laugh and shake its head at this sight, accuse Cage of acting out a textbook midlife crisis. But, once again - I strongly suspect he doesn't give a shit. Because he sure looks like he's having a good time.
And damned if Drive Angry doesn't look like it'll be a good time too. Demonic vengeance, fast driving, a hot chick - maybe this'll be the film Ghost Rider should have been...
Drive Angry 3D : bande annonce #1 VO
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Wednesday, 6 October 2010
For Grace Wong (Barbie Hsu), what starts out like an average ordinary weekday morning quickly turns into a waking nightmare. Shortly after dropping off her daughter at school, she finds herself rammed off the road, forcibly removed from her car and kidnapped by a bunch of unsavoury criminal types lead by a silver-haired snake in traffic cop shades, polo neck and beret. No explanation is given for the abduction other than that the bad guys want her brother, and are prepared to do the unspeakable to make him co-operate. But there's one thing the kidnappers didn't count on: Grace is an electronics whizz, and in the room in which she is incarcerated she is able to re-assemble the shattered remains of a telephone and get a signal out to a random telephone number. The number she happens to reach is the mobile phone of Bob (Louis Koo), a down-on-his-luck single dad with a tendency to screw things up. Naturally on hearing a total stranger beg for help he's inclined to dismiss it as a prank call, but once circumstances convince him otherwise, Bob realises it's time to put his screwing-up days behind him and, for once in his life, make good on a promise.
In case you're thinking any of this sounds at all familiar, you're right - this story has been told on film before, in David R Ellis' Cellular. But, in what the beer adverts of old would say makes a refreshing change, Connected is a rare instance of a Hollywood product being remade by Hong Kong filmmakers, as opposed to the more typical instance of Hollywood remaking every cult hit from overseas. With only a few minor alterations, Benny Chan's film follows the structure of Ellis' original pretty closely, and ultimately winds up every bit as entertaining a potboiler. In fact, all things considered, Chan's may be the stronger film.