Thursday, April 5, 2012

More Celluloid Anticipation

In upcoming months several movies are on their way to theaters.  Given my financial state, it is most likely I'll be seeing most of these on DVD.  But here are some that I'm looking forward to.

Dark Shadows.  Surely this comes as no surprise!  Apart from the fact this is indeed a vampire movie, its basis remains a t.v. show from my childhood I recall with great fondness.  Plus I enjoy the vast majority of Tim Burton films, as well as feeling great admiration for the entire cast!  This poster shows Chloe Grace Moretz, whom I became a fan of after seeing first Kick-Ass and then Let Me In.  She portrays Carolyn Stoddard, one of my favorite characters from the original series.  Danny Elfman composed the music, and samples of it indicates a nice homage to the score from the show.  Colleen Atwood did the costumes, and that is always a good thing.  Much controversy surround this flick among die-hard fans, but here is my take:  Tim Burton always makes the sad, often tragic stories he tells more palatable with humor.  I expected as much and have no objection to same.

The Hobbit.  Again, no surprise!  Each of Peter Jackson's previous Tolkien films came out near enough to my birthday I decided to treat them as gifts!  And I've hopes this one--which seems to have a stellar cast--will lack the ever-so-slightly rushed quality I felt eroded the second and third films of the trilogy.  Not that I didn't think they were good!  Far from it!  But methinks none of them were quite as good as the first, and frankly the third fell short of the second.  Got terribly excited to see who was cast as Bilbo (huge Sherlock fan here) and my only real disappointment remains that the wonderful Guillermo del Toro ended up not directing.  How I would have loved to see his take on this world, this story!  Here's a little secret--the Rankin Bass animated version seemed to me to have worked in many ways.  It captured some of the emotional resonance of the tale.  Now Jackson's trailer seemed to do the same.

The Avengers.  Joss Whedon does superheroes!  Woo hoo!  Like many, I'm generally enjoying very much the films Marvel Comics decided to do of their own major characters.  Methinks there's something more realistic, more cinematic about their superheroes--which is one reason methinks their film adaptations tend to be a bit better, simply because they are easier to translate.  When it became clear this film loomed on the horizon (way back when the first Iron Man came out) I very much hoped a female hero would end up on the roster.  Honestly, the Wasp seemed difficult to realize.  The Scarlet Witch had this elaborate back story.  Yet they went with Black Widow!  Which excites me for among other reasons she's a hero in the same way Batman is--by skill and willpower rather than accident of raw power.  Besides, this is Joss Whedon folks!  JOSS WHEDON!  'Nuff said.

Styria.  You probably haven't heard of this one.  An independent film version of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's vampire classic Carmilla, it is currently in post-production.  I was honored to have interviewed one of the writer-directors for, which left me tremendously excited about this flick.  Set in Hungary in the late 1980s (still in the Cold War, before the internet took off, etc.) this is the first serious cinematic attempt to do Le Fanu's tale justice in over twenty years!  The images he showed me and some of the details he shared (some of which I remain not-at-liberty-to-reveal) excited me very much!  Frankly, I feel most versions err on the side of trying to make this story something it is not--a thriller akin to Bram Stoker's more famous vampire novel, instead of the almost surreal erotic nightmare of the book.  Not this time!

Snow White and the Huntsman.  We seem to live in the midst of a renaissance of our fairy stories!  We now have three (count'em!...THREE) versions of Snow White to check out, re-imagined along different lines.  Me, I love television's Once Upon A Time.  But this new film with Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart offers promise of being another fascinating interpretation.  Good to see these old folktales taken away from Disney and given more life!  Little Red Riding Hood didn't fare quite so well, but I look forward to seeing what happens next with this trend.  A live action, dreamy and even disturbing version of Beauty and the Beast is my hope (and there are some fascinating versions of that tale if you read the right sources).  In particular, I like the tendency by some to treat these stories as something much more than parables. 

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