Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
With only a week and change having passed since the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we no doubt feel the question living fresh in our minds: can we ever judge a remake without considering its predecessors? The conversation about the stark contrast in critical favor between Marc Webb's release and Sam Raimi's trilogy (the second installment of his franchise in particular) buzzed loudly, and we imagine the volume will keep in regards to Gareth Edwards' Godzilla. But it'll be a different sound altogether.
The original Godzilla, a Japanese film released in 1954, reinvented the identity of the monster movie, launched a 30-film legacy, and spoke legions about the political climate of its era. The most recent of these films — Roland Emmerich's 1998 American production — is universally bemoaned as a bigger disaster than anything to befall Tokyo at the hands of the giant reptile. With these two entries likely standing out as the most prominent in the minds of contemporary audiences, Edwards' Godzilla has some long shadows cast before it. And in approaching the new movie, one might not be able to avoid comparisons to either. It's fair — by taking on an existing property, a filmmaker knowingly takes on the connotations of that property. But the 2014 installment's great success is that it isn't much like any Godzilla movie we've seen before. In a great, great way.
This isn't 1954's Godzilla, a dire and occasionally dreary allegory that uses the supernatural to tell an important story about nuclear holocaust. A complete reversal, in fact, first and foremost Edwards' Godzilla is about its monsters. Any grand themes strewn throughout — the perseverence of nature, the follies of mankind, fatherhood, madness, faith — are all in service to the very simple mission to give us some cool, weighty, articulate sci-fi disaster. Elements of gravity are plotted all over the film's surface, with scientists, military men (kudos to Edwards for not going the typical "scientists = good/smart, military = bad/dumb" route in this film — everybody here is at least open to suggestion), doctors, police officers, and a compassionate bus driver all wrestling with options in the face of behemoth danger. The humanity is everpresent, but never especially intrusive. To reiterate, this isn't a film about any of these people, or what they do.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
The closest thing to a helping of thematic (or human) significance comes with Ken Watanabe's Dr. Serizawa, who spouts awe-stricken maxims about cryptozoology, the Earth, and the inevitable powerlessness of man. He might not be supplying anything more substantial than our central heroes (soft-hearted soldier Aaron Taylor-Johnson, dutiful medic and mom Elizabeth Olsen, right-all-along conspiracy theorist Bryan Cranston), but Watanabe's bonkers performance as the harried scientist is so bizarrely good that you might actually believe, for a scene or two, that it all does mean something.
Ultimately, the beauty of our latest taste of Godzilla lies not in the commitment to a message that made the original so important nor in the commitment to levity that made Emmerich's so pointless, but in its commitment to imagination. Edwards' creature design is dazzling, his deus ex machina are riveting, and the ultimate payoff to which he treats his audience is the sort of gangbusters crowd-pleaser that your average contemporary monster movie is too afraid to consider.
In fairness, this year's Godzilla might not be considered an adequate remake, not quite reciprocating the ideals, tone, or importance of the original. Sure, anyone looking for a 2014 answer to 1954's game-changing paragon will find sincere philosophy traded for pulsing adventure... but they'd have a hard time ignoring the emphatic charm of this new lens for the 60-year-old lizard, both a highly original composition and a tribute in its way to the very history of monster movies (a history that owes so much to the creature in question). So does Godzilla '14 successfully fill the shoes of Godzilla '54? No — it rips them apart and dons a totally new pair... though it still has a lot of nice things to say about the first kicks.
Oh, and the '98 Godzilla? Yeah, it's better than that.
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New mum Evan Rachel Wood is in talks to star in a spin-off to hit film 10 Things I Hate About You. The 1999 film's director Gil Junger is developing a new movie titled 10 Things I Hate About Life, and he's keen for Wood to join actor Thomas McDonell in the project, according to Vulture.com.
The film will centre on a depressed and desperate couple which shared suicidal thoughts.
Julia Stiles and the late Heath Ledger starred in 10 Things I Hate About You, but their characters are not expected to feature in the new movie.
And the Comic-Con news just keeps on coming!
Vampires, werewolves, geeks, serial killers, secret agents and more are set to dazzle fans at the 2013 Comic-Con in San Diego. Warner Bros. has just unveiled their lineup, and it's looking like 17 of their fan-favorite series will be in attendance. Take a look at the full lineup below to find out when stars from The Vampire Diaries, Arrow, The Big Bang Theory, and more will be taking the stage.
Wendesday, July 17:– Pilot screenings of Almost Human, The Tomorrow People, and The 100, as well as a special presentation of The Originals featuring never-before-seen footage.
Thursday, July 18:- MAD: Producers Kevin Shinick and Mark Marek.
Friday, July 19:- Almost Human: Stars Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, and executive producer J.H. Wyman. - The Big Bang Theory: Executive producers Steven Molaro and Bill Prady and the writers- Childrens Hospital: Creator/star Rob Corddry and executive producers David Wain and Jonathan Stern join cast members Lake Bell, Erinn Hayes, Ken Marino and Rob Huebel. - The Following: Kevin Bacon, Shawn Ashmore, and Valorie Curry join executive producers Kevin Williamson and Marcos Siega. - Nikita: Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca, Aaron Stanford, Melinda Clarke, Devon Sawa, and Noah Bean join executive producer Craig Silverstein. - The 100: Series stars Eliza Taylor, Thomas McDonell, Marie Avgeropoulos, and Henry Ian Cusick join executive producers Matthew Miller and Jason Rothenberg. - The Paranormal and Extraterrestrial Squad: Producers Milo Ventimiglia and Russ Cundiff and creators/stars John Dale and Michael Hobert.
Saturday, July 20:- Arrow: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards and Colton Haynes joining executive producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg. - The Originals: Joseph Morgan, Claire Holt, Phoebe Tonkin, and Charles Michael Davis join executive producer Julie Plec. - Person of Interest: Executive producers Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman join members of the cast for their third visit to Comic-Con. - Revolution: Series stars and creator/executive producer Eric Kripke. - The Tomorrow People: Series stars Robbie Amell, Mark Pellegrino, and Peyton List with executive producers Greg Berlanti, Phil Klemmer and Danny Cannon. - The Vampire Diaries: Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder, Kat Graham and Candice Accola join executive producers Julie Plec and Caroline Dries.
Sunday, July 21:- Supernatural: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, and Mark A. Sheppard with executive producers Jeremy Carver and Robert Singer. - Beware the Batman: Producers Glen Murakami and Mitch Watson. - Teen Titans Go!: Producer Aaron Horvath joins members of the voice cast, including Greg Cipes and Scott Menville.
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Fun Size may be the only production from kid-centric studio Nickelodeon to also feature underage drinking (complete with red solo cups) and boob groping. The murky demographic for the movie ends up hurting the well-intentioned Halloween flick — it's not quite suitable for the young ones nor is it funny or wild enough for the Gossip Girl crowd which director Josh Schwartz (creator of the show) knows well. Instead we get a floundering trick or treat adventure that reduces the colorful twisted holiday to a meandering situational comedy.
Nick TV grad Victoria Justice (Victorious) stars as Wren a high school "geek" who finds herself unable to bag the guy of her dreams (who adores her) but finds a glimmer of hope in the big cool kids' Halloween party. Ready for a night out with her best friend April (Jane Levy) Wren thinks life is finally going her way until her Mom (Chelsea Handler) sticks her with her troublemaking little brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll) for the night. If chaperoning Albert wasn't already the worst thing in the world Wren finds herself in an even bigger dilemma when her brother wanders off into his own night of mischievous debauchery.
The "one crazy night" formula fits perfectly with Halloween but Fun Size struggles to find interesting material for its eclectic ensemble. Unlike many of the young actresses who have previously collaborated with Schwartz Justice seems unable to crack his voice and comedic style. She's too hip to too aware to play someone struggling with high school. The material doesn't serve her or Levy either; off-color jokes and a bizarre sense of entitlement turn them into two people you don't want to see succeed. Luckily for the audience during their sweeping search for Albert Wren and April cross paths with two true nerd-looking boys: Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) and Peng (Osric Chau) who along with feeling like real teenagers actually land a joke or two.
Interwoven into this speedy adventure — Fun Size clocks in at a little over 75 minutes giving little time to flesh out our teenage heroes — is Albert's encounter with a convenience store clerk named Fuzzy. The adults of Fun Size see the ten-year-old Albert as a parter-in-crime rather than a lost little boy. Fuzzy recruits him for a raid on his ex-girlfriend's house; after running away he meets a lady who brings him to a nightclub. At one point a sleazebag kidnaps Albert and locks him in his bedroom. If Fun Size were madcap it may all make sense. Instead things just happen — and it's not hilarious scary or even deranged.
Nick's '90s sitcom Pete & Pete created an amazing sense of weirdness and heart in its exploits of two teenage brothers. Anyone could watch and enjoy it. Fun Size has a beautiful look (the colors of Halloween are mesmerizing) and Schwartz as always has impeccable soundtrack tastes but when it comes to telling a story that feels both relatable and wonderfully weird — what Pete & Pete did so well — the movie falls flat. It's stereotype humor (the movie packs many a fat and gay joke) doesn't cut it — when paired to Nick's best efforts the movie lives up to the title: a bite-size portion of a bigger better cinematic sweet.
This Friday, Disney’s Prom hits theaters in hopes of reminding us all of the magic of the big dance. While the film is about many different couples getting ready for the big dance, we find one, central couple who manages to deliver the one glaring, unrealistic teen romcom stereotype we can’t manage to shake (and for the most part, we don’t want to): the sensitive, brooding bad boy.
In Prom, the brooder is none other than Jesse (Thomas McDonell), a motorcycle riding, long-haired, ne’er-do-well sentenced to the Prom committee for missing class. Naturally, he butts heads with blonde-haired do-gooder, Nova (Aimee Teegarden), but it’s not long before the romantic sparks are flying. We girls – and a few boys here and there – are always suckers for the romantic bad boy type; we know it’s nothing new, but we still eat it up. But just how long has this fantasy man been a part of our onscreen vocabulary? A really, really long time. Here are the guys you can blame for today’s Jesses and other stubble-riddled, lovable bad boys.
Jim Stark from Rebel Without A Cause (1955)
Here we have the original bad boy played by the real life poster boy for Hollywood bad boys. James Dean’s Jim Stark is what you’d call a text book example: he’s got trouble at home, he gets in fights with the kids at school, he smokes cigarettes, he rides a motorcycle, he’s got the smolder. Plus, he’s got that whole heart of gold thing going on. It’s no wonder he spawned so many characters of his ilk.
Danny Zuko from Grease (1978)
At least when it comes to Grease, they attempt to tell us what Danny Zuko really is. Sure, “Summer Nights” is fun to sing and all, but you can’t ignore the stark contrast between Danny’s line “We made out under the dock” and Sandy’s version of the story, “We stayed out ‘till 10 o’clock.” Danny’s a dog, just like every other guy, but of course, somewhere deep down inside he really cares about Sandy and ends up wearing the lame varsity sweater. Now that’s love.
John Bender from The Breakfast Club (1985)
We could probably make our entire list from just John Hughes movies, but we’ll stick with the quintessential brooding young man, John Bender. He owes his entire existence to James Dean. He’s essentially the 1980s version; he’s got a bad home life, he’s a regular in detention, and he’s got a complete disregard for others until he wants to kiss Molly Ringwald.
Cry-Baby from Cry-Baby (1990)
Alright, so this John Waters character is really aiming to poke fun at the stereotypical bad boy, and boy does he hit the nail on the head. Greasy hair: check. Motorcycle: check. Secret talent: check. Leather jacket: check. Irresistible smolder: check. Plus, and here’s the clincher: he’s got that single, sensitive tear thing going on. Sensitive and dangerous? Sigh.
Patrick Verona from 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Well, in Patrick’s case, the tales of his bad boy lifestyle are greatly exaggerated, but he still counts. He’s just bad enough to keep up with Kat’s shrew-like tendencies (because the movie is based on The Taming of the Shrew), you know the typical underage drinker and occasional smoker who’s just corrupt enough to date a girl for money, but sweet enough to risk detention to serenade her once he falls in love with her.
Landon Carter from A Walk to Remember (2002)
This is a tough one because – spoiler – Mandy Moore’s character, Jamie, is terminally ill. But the part of the story we need to focus on is the fact that Landon, who spent most of his days wreaking havoc and getting drunk in the small North Carolina town where the story takes place, gets forced into performing in the school play with Jamie where he’s reformed through the power of the theater and falls madly in love with her. It’s a sweet, sad story, but it’s still an important part of the bad boy fabric.
Edward Cullen from Twilight (2008)
I didn’t want to include this sparkly vampire, but I have to admit he belongs on here. He’s bad because he’s a freaking vampire who can’t get too frisky because he might bite his lady love (hello, GIANT metaphor). He also rides a motorcycle. And he broods…a lot.