Director: Anthony Hemingway
Cast: David Oyelowo, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Nate Parker
There’s a thin line between dumb B-movie and completely unbearable cheese. Red Tails, George Lucas’ attempt to tackle the true story of the Tuskegee airmen in WWII, sets that line firmly in its sights and crashes planes all over it. The result is a fun, awkward, entertaining, dreadful, Sunday afternoon matinee of a movie. An inspiring tale of underdogs and racism with just enough brain cells to get off the ground. It’s The Help meets Hot Shots! Part Deux.
"I'm the best pilot in whole damn army," says David Oyelowo in the trailer for Red Tails. And you're inclined to believe him judging by some of the aerial stunts on display.
Yes, it's got George Lucas' name all over it, but don't worry: he didn't direct it. And they didn't let him near the script. Plus it has David Oyelowo in it.
All of which makes the "true story of World War II's first African American fighter squadron" look pretty ruddy promising indeed - at the very least, it looks way better than Battleship. After all, Battleship didn't have David Oyelowo in it.
Did I mention that David Oyelowo's in it?
Director: Andrew Stanton
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Mark Strong, Dominic West
“You think you know Mars… BUT YOU DO NOT KNOW MARS.” A booming voiceover begins Disney’s epic sci-fi romance. It’s ridiculous. It’s laughable. It sounds incredibly stupid. But from that daft opening narration, Andrew Stanton’s John Carter is properly charming stuff.
The tale of a confederate US soldier who travels through space, battles green men with shiny blue weapons and falls in love with a princess? It’s the kind of nonsense that could only be written by a barmy warlock in the early 20th Century. And it’s all the better for it. Edgar Rice Burroughs' story may be packed with state of the art mo-cap, but Disney’s latest is as dated as Clash of the Titans, as cheesy as Flash Gordon and as crazy as H.P. Lovecraft. In short, it’s what all old-school fantasy adventures should be: wonderfully bonkers.
Conclusion: They're exactly the same. But one's a lot more expensive.
There's nowt like getting up at 10 in the morning to go to a roundtable interview with the directors of the greatest Disney movie ever made. That's 10am US Pacific Time, by the way. So yes, I made a special effort and got out of bed at 6pm to make a long journey all the way to the interview. That's a virtual interview, by the way.
After getting up before 6pm, walking across the room to the computer and shouting a few things in South African in the Rafiki style, I was ready to go. All that because The Lion King is out in cinemas again today? I wouldn't have made all that effort for something stupid like Cars, you know.
So anyway, here's what Roger Allers and Bob Minkoff had to say (or type, whatever) about Hamlet, Elton John and post-converting the Disney classic into three dimension as we threw virtual questions at them through the circle of WiFi (ahem).
With the recent release of the trilogies on Blu-ray, it was inevitable that in between the Cambridge Film Festival and Raindance Film Festival, I would find the time to crawl back into my nostalgia hole and watch me some Star Wars. Not the DVD or the Blu-ray release, of course, but the lovely battered VHS I've had since I were a wee geek (or week, for short).
For reasons which I'm still not entirely sure about, Return of the Jedi used to be my favourite of the original trilogy. So I stuck in that for some quality Sunday afternoon viewage.
The end result? Proper childhood happiness.
Lots of people think that Return of the Jed is the weaker of the three original Star Wars films, but if it is, it's not by much. From the still-rather-stunning Princess Leia in a bikini to the epic lightsaber battle at the end, it's a great, over-the-top climax for George Lucas' franchise.
So this illustrated Indiana Jones map, detailing all 36 artefacts featured in the films (and novels, comic books, Young Indy TV shows and video games) as well as their locations around the world, was created by super-duper talented artist Matt Busch just in time for the 30th anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark. And it's a little bit awesome:
Sadly, there are only 255 of them and they've all sold out - a shame, because as you can tell from this nifty making of video, Busch has clearly put a lot of work into it. He even watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Bumhole.
A limited edition, Lucasfilm-endorsed, hand-drawn Indiana Jones map? All together now...
IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM
BlogalongaBond. One Bond film a month until Bond 23 turns up in November next year.
We all know Thunderball is a bit of underwater guff. Yes, the ocean fight sequences were groundbreaking and bad girl Fiona Vulpe (Luciana Paluzzi) is a steaming hot sex crumpet, but let's be honest: Terence Young’s third Bond movie is a load of watery cackwaffle.
So it’s no surprise that a remake came along in 1983. While Roger Moore was dipping his fingers into Octopussy, Kevin McClory was following through on his lawsuit against Ian Fleming/United Artists over the origins of the Thunderball screenplay. The result? Never Say Never Again.
The new take on the Thunderball story (SPECTRE steal nuclear weapons and hold the world to ransom) turned out to be a box office success, taking $160 million - better than Thunderball’s $141m. So just in case someone else comes along wanting to make a few bob by tampering with the official Bond canon, here’s what Never Say Never Again teaches us about how to remake a Bond film.
... and they're singing. Yes, George Lucas, who it has now been confirmed is away with the fairies, will soon be filming them. With computers. And they will be singing.
Little more is known about this animated musical, which has entered pre-production at LucasFilm (George's ill-named secret headquarters). Kevin Munroe, who's just finished his live-action debut, Dead of Night, will be at the helm of this CGI song-fest. He'll be bringing his animated experience from the return of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a few years back to work on Lucas's vision.
The screenplay has come from David Berenbaum, who wrote Elf and The Spiderwick Chronicles; not a bad back catalogue to carry about, especially if fairies are on the cards. But a musical? Really? The songs won't be original compositions - we all remember Life Day as sung by Carrie Fisher (read on for that) - but this is still something of a surprise. George better get on with practising his jazz hands.
Well, we all saw this coming. Avatar's phenomenal (and frankly quite terrifying) box office takings have got other studios interested in the money you can make from 3-D prices. It's costly to make a new 3-D film from scratch, but feeding a 2-D movie through a computer and out into the third dimension? That's pretty simple. It only takes 16 weeks - according to one company The Times spoke to.
So a spate of re-releases looks likely now, with action blockbusters at the front of the list. And who's heading up that list? Why, George Lucas of course. He's all set to throw more money at Star Wars and poke our eyes out with bits of Death Star and Ewok appendages. Then we'll get Lord of the Rings around 2012 (post-Hobbit), with films like The Matrix sure to follow.
There's already an old Disney film getting the dimensional treatment (Beauty and the Beast) and we're all looking forward to Saw VII in 3-D. But the ripples spread wider than that. Ridley Scott's even in on the game now, having asked Universal for an extra $8million to get Robin Hood to wow our retinas. If he touches Blade Runner I'll be forced to recycle my 3-D glasses up his arse.
So, after 3 weeks and $1.14 billion offered up by the blued up public, Avatar has already begun to revolutionise the industry. Thank you James Cameron. Thank you for showing us the future: a Hollywood of rehashes and expensive tickets. No wonder people are so keen to escape to Pandora. I bet the Magic Tree of Life would shit itself if the Na'vi started wearing those glasses.