Spielberg Double Bill Part 2 – The Adventures of Tintin

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Toby Jones

Synopsis: Herge’s most famous creation is brought to animated life with the latest motion capture techniques.   In this adventure, the simple purchase of a model ship leads Tintin on a mystery for sunken treasure, an adventure which introduces him to long time friend Captain Haddock.   Based on the Tintin graphic novels “The Crab with the Golden Claws” and “The Secret of The Unicorn”.

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Flags of our Fathers – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Clint Eastwood

Cast: Ryan Phillipe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach, John Benjamin Hickey, John Slattery, Barry Pepper, Jamie Bell, Paul Walker, Robert Patrick, Neal McDonough, Chris Bauer

Synopsis: Six men became national heroes after a photographer took an image of them raising the American flag at Iwo Jima.   This is a film telling their stories, both before the event, and during the media circus that surrounded them afterwards.

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Upcoming Genre Films for 2011 Part Deux – A Preview by Film Nerd

First of all thanks to Urban Fantasist for that awesome post.   Consider my appetite whetted.   As you referred to yourself though, there are certain tastes of mine that were not catered to, so here is a preview of 2011 from the perspective of someone who collected comics in high school.

I will be using the same list as Urban Fantasist from io9, but I will extend from there a little bit from a post by blastr featuring the top 55 trailers for films coming out in 2011.   I will of course avoid overlap between these lists.

The Green Hornet (io9, blastr)     January 14

A remake of the series that first captured hearts on radio serials then on television, featuring a rich guy turned vigilante.   The character was created by the guy who brought us The Lone Ranger, and at one point in the radio series it was indicated that the Hornet is descendant of the Ranger.   Directed by Michael Gondry of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fame, it could prove interesting.

I Am Number Four (io9, blastr)     February 18

A group of nine aliens hiding out as teenagers on Earth are hunted down for extermination by the government.   With three down, this film follows the story of the fourth to be targeted.    Based on a novel of the same name.

The Adjustment Bureau (io9, blastr)     March 4

Matt Damon plays a congressman destined for big things, before he meets and falls for Emily Blunt’s ballerina.   He was supposed to never meet her again, but somehow does, and falls in love with her.   The mysterious agency of the title steps in to prevent the relationship, and put our heroes life back on the set path.   Escaping, running, and hiding ensues….

Battle: Los Angeles (io9, blastr)     March 11

Gritty war film with hand-held camera work with visceral closeups, etc.   Oh yeah, and humans are fighting aliens.   Sounds like a great big B-movie, but with a cast headlined by Aaron Eckhart, may prove a hidden gem.

Red Riding Hood (io9, blastr)     March 11

Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman star in this retelling of the classic tale, with the wolf recast as a werewolf connected the past of she with the hood.   Don’t know how Urban Fantasist missed that one, sounds like her cup of tea!!

Paul (io9, blastr)     March 18

Comedy starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, as two mates on an American road trip that meet foul mouth alien Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen.   Some of the gags on the trailer are foul, but delightfully so!!

Sucker Punch (io9, blastr)     March 25

A film by Zack Snyder, who previously brought us 300 and Watchmen.   He does have a talent for absolute visual splendour on-screen, and the trailers indicate this will be no different.   It is hard to get a grasp on what it is about, but seems to be the story of five girls attempting to escape the clutches of evil authority in a mental asylum…or is it a war zone???   Or a bordello??

Super (io9, blastr)     April 1

Okay, so the concept of this sounds very similar to Kick-Ass… average bloke dons a costume to fight crime.   So lacking in originality on that count perhaps.   Just watch the clip posted on blastr though and I dare you not to show some interest!!

Hanna (blastr only) April 8

Eric Bana’s ex-CIA agent trains daughter Saoirse Ronin to be the perfect assassin, with the goal to target Cate Blanchett.    A lot of talent there in that sentence, and a pretty cool concept to boot.    The trailer also kicks butt!!

Your Highness (io9, blastr) April 8

Danny McBride and James Franco reteam with the director of Pineapple Express to star as royal brothers on a rescue mission… a comedy that drags Natalie Portman and my favourite Zooey Deschanel along for the ride.   I am still giggling at the trailer… “What a coincidence, I was just about to finish thinking of you!!”   Hehe.

Thor (io9, blastr)     May 6

The Norse god is exiled to Earth, as reimagined by Marvel Comics.   Mjolnir was spotted after the credits to Iron Man 2, resulting in my second Nerdgasm for that film.   Those that don’t know that this is part of building towards Joss Whedon’s The Avengers should be stripped of their geek badge immediately!!

X-Men: First Class (io9 only)     June 3

The second Marvel movie for 2011.   With James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and January Jones on board, and Kick-Ass’ Michael Vaughn directing, can we put the travesty of X-Men: The Last Stand behind us???

Green Lantern (io9, bkastr)     June 17

A film based on a DC universe second tier hero.   Ryan Reynolds is good casting, but the CGI costume is still a little off-putting for me.   However, has the potential to be the next Iron Man, whom was one of Marvel’s second tier heroes.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two (io9, blastr)     July 15

You really want a synopsis for this one?

Captain America: The First Avenger (io9 only)     July 22

The source of my first Nerdgasm in Iron Man 2 was spotting Captain America’s shield partially constructed in Tony Stark’s work room.   Like Thor, this is building to Whedon’s The Avengers, and has Chris Evans donning the tights in what can only be called great casting!

Cowboys and Aliens (io9, blastr)     July 29

James Bond and Indiana Jones!!   The old west!!   Aliens!!    Daniel Craig waits from unconsciousness with a strange device on his arm.   Harrison Ford plays the villain of the piece, that teams with Craig when the bigger threat arrives.   Why didn’t they think of this earlier???

The Thing (io9 only)     October 14

Prequel to John Carpenter’s iconic original.   Stars Joel Edgerton, and personal favourite Mary Elizabeth Winstead, last seen in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Sherlock Holmes 2 (io9, blastr)     December 16

Downey Jr. and Law return to 221B Baker Street, this time to face the infamous Professor Moriarty.   Be warned, blastr screwed up, the trailer from the first film, not the first trailer for the second!!

The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (io9 only) December 23

Steven Spielberg directs his first fully motion capture film.   Peter Jackson produces.   They will be swapping roles for the sequel!!   Stars Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.   Some writing was even done by Doctor Who‘s Steven Moffatt!! Add that element of retro charm and I am sold!

Man, that is a lot of movies…. I hope Bride of Film Nerd doesn’t kill me when we need a second mortgage!!


Defiance (2008)

Director: Edward Zwick

Cast: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, Alexa Davalos, Mia Wasikowska

Synopsis: During World War II, Belarussian Jews are hunted down by German patrols.   A group of brothers, the Bielskis, hide in the forest, protecting a large band of their Jewish kin from 1941 until the war’s end.   This film depicts their true story.

A review by Film Nerd.

Upon the realisation that there are still untold stories like this from World War II, it almost seems ridiculous that fictional films are still being made about the period.   That is not to deny the power and impact of many of these fictional WWII films, however with true stories like this left in oblivion, it is a crime they are not being told.

What these men achieved is beyond belief.   Tuvia (Craig), Zus (Schreiber) and Asael Bielski (Bell) never set out to be heroes, their only goal was survival.   The fact that they managed to do so under the circumstances they were in is incredible enough.   Hidden in the forest, food scarce, and constantly being hunted, they somehow managed to remain ahead of their pursuers.   But they also were unwilling to see fellow Jews suffer, and so they led a band of 1200 Jewish men women and children.   They made camps, established defences, and survived.

Once again, the parallels with Glory, The Last Samurai, and Blood Diamond are obvious, tracking the fate of a marginalised people in a war-torn nation.   However, it remains different to all of these films.   Even though there is yet another scene depicting training in fire-arms, it remains fresh in comparison to those Zwick has directed before.   The general tone of the film is different too.   These people were not trained to fight, they were no soldiers, separating it from both Glory and Samurai.   It also lacks the darkness of Blood Diamond, the take home message being one of inspiration and hope as opposed to shame and despair.

The performances are each and every one of them brilliant.    Craig has alway been a true chameleon long before his association with 007, and that talent is once again on show here.   Schreiber I have rarely seen give anything less than a top performance, also being one of the better elements of X-men Origins: Wolverine, which was released the same year.   Jamie Bell in the past I have found hit and miss, but here he convincingly traverses a character arc from naiveté through to a silent but undeniable strength.

If the film does have a flaw, it is in pacing.    Sometimes scenes of building camp and debating the next course of action can get a little tedious.   Also, when some of these decisions are made, they do not sit comfortably with the viewer.   That said, it is entirely feasible that each of these moments would genuinely portray the hardships being experienced by these survivors.   So, though it may detract from the point of view of narrative at times, it does lend a realism to the setting.

This however is the type of film I keep returning to Zwick to see more of.   It had a limited release in Australia at cinemas, so it would not be surprising if much of the Australian public missed out on this one.   Hunt it down on DVD though, you will be glad you did.

4 stars (out of a possible 5)

Defiance on IMDB

Defiance on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYZ2oYDSKHA]