It's nice to see this one make the way from The Mist to The Crazies (and hey, they both begin with The), even if the final outcome doesn't have much to do with either movie. The fact that there's a certain laziness to the design not withstanding I do like the latest version of the The Crazies poster, it reminds me of another 80's favoured of mine: Rats - Notte di terrore.
Brilliant artwork! But let's face it: The Crazies will never be able to live up to the awesomeness of it's Korean poster.
Still, the trailer looks fairly promising if reminding me very little of the The Crazies I tend to remember having seen in my childhood. And let me just quickly add I loved it! It might, as in various places declared, not have been Romero's best work and not have the same brilliance as Night of the Living Dead, but I remember it to be a thoroughly entertaining work, far from being his worst (as such Martin or "Lost videotapes of the Dead" aka Diary come ready to mind). The trailer I keep seeing for the remake constantly reminds me of a different take on much the same story shot in '84: Impulse.
If you haven't had yet the misfortune to see this movie, then just take my word on it when I say that it is almost not worth it. The highlights of the movie can be quickly counted off on one hand: Young Meg Tilly Shot in the 80's Young Meg Tilly Reminds of The Crazies Young Meg Tilly
In short, the movie is every bit as boring as the poster makes it look. Talk about truth in advertising!
And while where at the topic and because I've already happened to mentioned the movie: The Thai poster for Martin, if only the movie had been half as exciting...
I'm always getting a nervous itch when an American director tries his hand at an established piece of European culture. So with the threat of Spielberg’s version of Tintin looming ahead, let’s cast a glance at how the French* fared in their own treatment of their comic-art heritage:
Blueberry is a highly successful Wild-West comic that comes in different cycles: Lt. Blueberry, Marshall Blueberry, Mr. Blueberry and Young Blueberry (for a timetable see here: Click). The movie Blueberry is a very loose adaptation of the comic, that after a promising start which reminds us that Europe once had a thriving Western movie industry, slowly succumbs to a convoluted new-age mystery plot. At the end there’s so few left of the original figure that one can only assume that all the makers were interested in was a popular name to tag on a otherwise completely mediocre story.
Working our way up from there we meet another French comic institution, Michel Vaillant. A surprisingly entertaining, more faithful movie than Blueberry. There are times when the makers sacrifice realism in order to give their character a bigger than life appearance but nothing that would seriously hurt the story flow. My only real gripe with the movie was the drastic changes made to the character of Julie Wood, a fairly prominent secondary figure from the comic strip.
Going up in time and quality we come to Largo Winch. A fine example of how action movies have to be constructed. We get a continuous build-up of suspense and a story that gains both speed and depth over its runtime, right up to the not completely surprising but logical conclusion. Largo Winch is a highly welcome deviation from the Bay school of movie making that doesn't simply rely on throwing money at something but actually builds on characterization.
To be counted as best comic to movie adaptation is most likely Les chevaliers du ciel, the movie by Taxi director Gérard Pirès is in all but name a mostly faithful take on the popular military adventure comic series Les aventures de Tanguy et Laverdure.
The fact that it doesn't say at any point that it is related, grants the movie a right to take liberties with its heroes that others can not claim. It is exactly this freedom that makes Les chavaliers shine where other comic to movie projects are most often bound to disappoint.
Finally we come to what looks already most promising to me, and by far outshining the mystery adventure comic title it was adapted from: Luc Besson’s Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec. The comic strips alwas looked to be a tad on bland side, but much the same can be said about Tintin's ligne claire style, and you simply have to love that poster. *Le sigh* Besides, with Luc Besson we have a director at the helm that I'm bound to put much more trust on than I do on either Spielberg or Jackson.
We have to see how Tintin will play out, but it is always daring to try to adapt European comics which other than their American brethren tend to follow a more strict characterization. It's not like in the Superhero market which sees a new version for each new decade, or much rather every year by now, complete with "earth shattering" changes that will only last to the next re-launch, if that long... European comic book characters evolve over time, they grow in character, they age, they ain't caught in an unfortunate, perpetual state of limbo that occasionally calls for plot twists which make Bobby Ewing's infamous return from the dead pale in comparison. Franco/Belgian comics are grown up entertainment for grown-ups and kids alike, without having to resort to sex and senseless violence in order to appear adult.
*I know, I know, Tintin is actually Belgian, but that’s much the same market, if not he same style.
Just to illustrate how deeply influenced my train of thoughts is by popular culture: The time I laid eyes on this poster for the Turkish movie Veda Atatürk I had to immediately think of Dr Zhivago, not hat there was that much of a similarity between the images.
"You here!?! And not in Hollywood?", I like the tagline Golden Gate used here to promote a prize drawing: First place a trip to Hollywood.
Even though the reign of the VHS tape was a short one when looking back at it, one would be hard pressed to date this ad if it wasn't for the fact that while Bond himself comes in a timeless, exchangeable sameness, you can always pinpoint the exact movie by the girl at his side or the gadget in his possession.
Poster "Fire Birds"; Picture taken from "Blue Thunder"
Actually Fire Birds answers the question where (some) movies do come from; as the poster already has us guessing, for this one somebody threw the scripts to Blue Thunder and Top Gun in a blender, unfortunately the project failed terribly and the outcome got neither the timeless perfection nor the easy entertainment from one or the other.
A late post in memory of a great director: Éric Rohmer. He died on January 11th, only a few months before his ninetieth birthday.
Rohmer was a master of depicting the triviality of life. Movies like his four seasons cycle, or Le rayon vert show life as it is; no Hollywood decorum or heavy handed drama, just real humans that go through life the same way we all do, one step at a time and never sure where the journey will take them. His movies are honest and insightful, never trying to lecture us about anything. He simply knew better than that.
A exceptional director, we say thank you for your movies, for giving them to us.
What happens when you reduce “adult Sci-Fi” to its core… oh wait, I already used that line before. Well now, anyways, it is absolutely true for Alien.
All those grand, overblown, sexual references throughout the movie, astronauts entering an alien spacecraft through a gigantic vaginal looking tube, standing mesmerized before the Spacejockey, the alien pilot who met his fate strapped down in a distinctly phallic looking device, a man getting attacked and impregnated by an alien creature that springs from an egg-like shell and not to forget the following iconic, shocking birth sequence of the Alien, all these events seem like a satirical nod to what was going on in 70’s Sci-Fi; it’s the ultimate comment on a decades cultural churn-out, you would only have needed to add buckets of blood, gratuitous gore and a misogynist intend and Alien would have been the final word on seventies horror, too.
By rights when you look at the singular parts it was made up from, at all those organic looking interiors the alien ship* was made from, the obvious innuendo of the whole story set-up, the movie should have audiences alternately shaking with laughter or snickering in delight, and yet it managed to scare us, back then and still today, more than thirty years later… but what exactly is it that keeps scaring us in Alien? Is it the reflected fear of personal sexuality that keeps resonating with the audience?
* Question aside if it is fear of sexuality that keeps scaring audiences, the fact that the movie is using sex organ like constructs to emphasize the alien nature of the ship and its inhabitants sure can be taken as a message, one that doesn’t cast a positive light on us or our culture.
Leaving on a lighter note, this picture taken from the classic Sci-Fi adventure movie Moontrap, starring Walter Koenig and Bruce Campbell, with it’s 30’s pulp magazine cover looks, perfectly sums up the movie’s easy, playful spirit. Popcorn cinema completely free of any importance or message, entertainment that allows the our mind to lounge on the couch, stretch-out its mental feet and relax.
It’s about time we give another site/forum dedicated to spoofing movie posters a closer look:
The weekly poster mash-up over at Empire Online features work that's not always as polished as with other sites, mostly people there just post “for the LOLz”, as the saying goes, but there's some well made stuff to be found and it’s always good for a laugh, if you don’t mind occasionally simple minded humour.
"When someone doesn't show up, the people who wait sometimes tell stories about what might have happened and come to half believe the desertion, the abduction, the accident. Worry is a way to pretend that you have knowledge or control over what you don't--and it surprises me, even in myself, how much we prefer ugly scenarios to the pure unknown. Perhaps fantasy is what you fill up maps with rather than saying that they too contain the unknown."— Rebecca Solnit