Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Big news for Braugher

Count the recent "Fantastic Four" movie as one that made me think I may be becoming too much of a movie, or at least comic-book, snob.

I avoided it completely in the theaters because it just looked way too silly for me. However, several people I trust told me it was worth checking out on DVD, so I did, and was pleasantly surprised. Not a great movie by any stretch, but quite a fun popcorn flick, and it's not a story I hold as dearly as, say, the "X-Men" saga, so it didn't immediately piss me off like "X3" did (more on that later).

Now, this morning comes word that one of my favorite actors has joined the upcoming sequel. "Homicide" vet Andre Braugher, desperately in need of a good movie after thoroughly embarrassing himself in "Poseidon," has joined the cast of Tim Story's "Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer." The titular four are all back, and Braugher joins the cast as a military man charged with capturing the Silver Surfer. Beau Garrett of TV's "Entourage" is also on board as Frankie Raye.

It's high time Andre had some fun, so I wish him all the best with this.

Bernal for 'Bourne'?

OK, here's one just for the ladies. Gael Garcia Bernal, who those of you living in actual cities can now see in "The Science of Sleep," has been offered the role of the big bad for "The Bourne Ultimatum," the third installment in the spy saga.

In what can't be a good sign, filming has already begun in Tangier, even without a proper villian. However, Paul Greengrass is back in the director's chair, and he's proven he knows a thing or two about making very good movies. Matt Damon, Joan Allen and Julia Stiles are all back, and David Strathairn (huzzah!) has joined the mix, most likely as some kind of handler, I'd imagine.

I've liked Mr. Bernal quite a bit ever since "Y Tu Mama Tambien," but I just can't see him playing the heavy here. I'm sure plenty of people will disagree with me, so please feel free to sound off.

Seeking more info

Here are two nuggets which, since I don't bother to pay for Variety, I only found out the slightest bit about this morning, but they caught my eye nonetheless.

Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki has started production on his latest as-yet-untitled animated film, according to Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli. The release is scheduled for summer 2008. Definitely keep your eyes on this one.

Amy Heckerling, who created easily the best high-school flick ever with "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," is flashing back to the '80s for a series on NBC. I seriously doubt lightning can strike twice, especially within the strictures of network TV, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.

If anyone knows any more about these two intriguing projects, please let me know.

Foreign Language Film nominees wrap-up

Monday was the final day for countries to submit their entries in this Oscar category, so here's a short list of some more that made the deadline, per Variety.

Emanuele Crialese's Ellis Island immigration drama "Golden Door" is Italy's candidate.

Fien Troch's "Someone Else's Happiness" will represent Belgium. The Dutch-language pic revolves around the hit-and-run killing of a child in a close-knit village outside Brussels.

Marcelo Gomes' "Cinema, aspirinas e urubus" (Movies, Aspirin and Vultures), is Brazil's entry. The road movie set in 1942 is based on the life story of Gomes' uncle.

Fyodor Bondarchuk's Afghan war drama "9th Company" has been selected as Russia's entry. Hungary's entry is Szabolcs Hajdu's "White Palms," which juxtaposes a gold-medal gymnast's training under a regime of brutal corporal punishment with his experiences in Canada.

India's submission is UTV Motion Pictures' "Rang de basanti" (Color It Orange), which revolves around a young British filmmaker who travels to India to make a film on the revolutionaries who influenced her grandfather.

Thailand has submitted Pen-ek Ratanaruang's arty gangster thriller "Invisible Waves," and Vietnam has chosen "Pao's Story," the debut feature from Ngo Quang Hai.

Finally (whew!) Luxembourg has chosen Franco de Pena's human-trafficking drama "Your Name Is Justine."

Good luck to all.

DVD picks

Because I've already gone on more than long enough today, here are my DVD picks for the week, rather than a full DVD shelf.

To buy or rent:

Thank You for Smoking (my pick of the week)
21 Grams: Collector's Edition
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels: Locked 'n Loaded Director's Cut - Unrated
Humphrey Bogart: The Signature Collection Vol. 2 (featuring The Maltese Falcon Three-Disc Special Edition, Across the Pacific, Action in the North Atlantic, All Through the Night and Passage to Marseille; The Maltese Falcon available seperately)
Scarface: Platinum Edition
Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Extraordinarily Deluxe Edition (runner-up for pick of the week)

And one to please avoid

Please, please do not rent or buy Ratboy's peurile "X-Men: The Last Stand," also out on DVD. Beyond how it abused key elements of the X-Men story, it's just a bad movie to boot.

Now that's definitely enough from me for today. Peace out.


Christina said...

I love Braugher and miss Homicide, but he can occasionally be guilty of overacting. So, I have my doubts about the Fantastic Four sequel. He needs to get cast in a nice juicy Sean Penn movie.

Reel Fanatic said...

He could definitely use some more serious roles, Christina, but I've liked him in just about everything up until Poseidon, in which he, like the rest of the movie, just made me nauseous

Sadie Lou said...

Ok. Was that first guy you mentioned, an angel in City of Angels? He looks familier.
Also, did you tell us about how much you hated X3 because you saw that I just added it to my Netflix que? Just curious.
And, I just LOVE the Bourne Identity movies. They are always entertaining and well done.

Reel Fanatic said...

Andre Braugher was indeed an angel in that movie, Sadie, but his best role by far was as detective Frank Pembleton on TV's "Homicide," which mined the unfortunately vast underbelly of Baltimore ... My hatred for X-3 runs deep, Sadie, so I mentioned it again as a general warning for all who might read this

marina said...

Excellent post. I was also pleasantly surprised by "Fantastic Four" and as shooting progresses and more news are revealed, I get a little more excites.

As for your picks of the week, I agree that "Thank you for Smoking" is the best bet this week and to avoid "X3". But you forgot the Disney vault opening today for the release of "The Little Mermaid", by far my favourite Disney movie. Ever.

Reel Fanatic said...

You're right, Marina ... Mermaid is a very entertaining little flick that should have made my short list

Annie in Austin said...

Gael Garcia Bernal as the Bourne villain?? I'll have to think about that, especially since I just saw him in the Science of Sleep.

Gael Garcia Bernal isn't physically imposing, has a very expressive face, and is usually very reactive in scenes with other cast members... all of which say maybe not, but... there is strength in his hands and his shoulders and he can make his eyes smoulder. If there's enough backstory on the villain, he could probably be amazing.

Annie, lucky to live in Austin

Reel Fanatic said...

I definitely have agree that you're lucky to live in Austin, Annie, not just for the great movies that open there (one of the only cities to get Idiocracy, for example), but just for the overall quality of life .. I visited there once for SXSW and had a wonderful time

Ian said...

I too enjoyed Fantastic Four. Not a great film, but nowhere near as execrable as most of the critics were telling us it was. I think they were just desperate for some sort of superhero backlash and timing meant this was the movie to get it.

I didn't think X-Men 3 was too bad, possibly because my expectations were so low going in. 90 minutes of eye candy and not much else, unfortunately, but the signs were all there before the film was released.

Craig Moorhead said...

As a friend of mine once said, I could watch Braugher watch a guy read the phone book. Even on his worst day, he's better than most.

Now give the guy a starring role, for crap's sake.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm definitely with you, Craig ... he was great in subpar material with FX's Thief, but he's absolutely due the lead role in a major Hollywood flick

Anonymous said...

nice work!

Lori said...

While I didn't love 'Fantastic Four,' I'd be willing to give them another chance. I did love seeing Michael Chiklis playing Thing. And having Andre Braugher in the sequel is a nice plus.

And I'm so glad to have found somebody else who was as disappointed in 'X3' as I was. As Ian mentioned, the signs were all there beforehand...but I was really hoping Ratner would be able to pull it out like he did with 'Red Dragon.' But NOOOOOOO. Clearly, that was a fluke.

Divinity said...

I had to go back to your original review of Xmen 3 to see what you wrote. It wasn't scathing by any means but some movies irk over time, I think. (The following probably belongs as a comment to that post, actually) I followed the animated series pretty closely as a teenager so the Phoenix storyline was a bit of a let down and Rogue's bit was a waste of celluloid. All in all, I found it a lot of fun - tons of eye-candy and high-action. Did you stay until after the credits? That was pretty sweet. Probably the best bit of acting in the whole movie, in my opinion, but I've always had a soft spot for Moira.

Reel Fanatic said...

I did stay until the end of the credits, Divinity, and I agree that that was the best part of the movie ... What they did with Jean Grey, however, was unforgivable

briliantdonkey said...

I just found you via a comment on my site. I love Braugher as an actor as well. Seeing Homicide go pissed me off to no end. You probably know already, but he is in a new show(or at least new to ME anyways) called 'Thief' on cable. I am not sure what channel, as my tivo recorded it for me as a suggestion. It looks okay from what I saw but its not Homicide by any stretch. Sounds like we have pretty much the same thoughts regarding the comic movies. I haven't found ANY of them to be anything better than 'mildly dissappointing'. Maybe I will check out the Fantastic four movie and actually like it since that is a comic book that I did NOT read as a kid.

briliantdonkey said...

I just went and read the other comments and see you obviously know about thief already,


Reel Fanatic said...

Hope I didn't mislead you with Fantastic Four, donkey .. if you don't go into it with too elevated expectations, I do think you'll enjoy it

Bill Arnold said...

The Bourne series is one of my favorites, especially because of John Powell's scores. I'm glad to see he'll be composing again for this one.

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