Archive for the ‘Coming Soon’ Category

X-Games 3-D: It *is* coming to SA screens!

March 1, 2010

One of the movie's many heart-stopping moments.

It’s true and confirmed…

South African audiences will be able to see the movie after all…

Opening May 7th at 3-D screens around the country.


Alice in Wonderland 3-D: Too Much Burton; Too Little Carroll

February 28, 2010

An Active3D Movie Review

Rating (out of 5 stars): * * *

In the recent (Robert Zemeckis) version of  A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens’ writing was closely adhered to, and it paid dividends. (OK, so the motion capture animation was awful, but that’s another issue…) This version of a classic tale has taken a turn for the worse, however. Whilst he’s unmistakably a fine filmmaker, Tim Burton appears to have bought into all the hype about him, and has clearly decided that his revisionist take on the Lewis Carroll classic is superior to the original. I don’t believe that  it is.

There is little doubt in most literary minds that Dickens’ trippy story is darker than it has been envisioned in many movies (Disney’s original included), but this bleak vision, sans much of the dialogue that helped to make Carroll’s book a classic, goes one rabbit-hole too far.

Burton has also plumped for one of those visual gimmicks that far too many moviemakers are falling back upon these days, and that is the bleeding of most of the colour out of the images.   If you’ve seen those two recent (and unbearably dreary) post-apocalyptic flicks, ‘The Road’ and ‘Book of Eli’, you’ll know what I mean.

Mia Wasikowska, as Alice, is a dream to behold. A fine young actress, and one whose visage falls kindly upon the retina. Helena Bonham Carter delivers an amusingly villainous queen, and Johnny Depp; well, he’s doing his paint-by-numbers Quirky Routine.

As I had expected, the film puts some captivating visual effects on the menu, and these are supported by amusing voice performances from a ‘Best of the UK’ roundup, which includes Stephen Fry, Barbara “Carry On” Windsor, Alan Rickman, and Timothy Spall. Is it entertaining? Sure. Is it the “wow” experience to which I had looked forward – the ultimate visualisation of the Lewis Carroll classic? Nope. In fact, it couldn’t even be regarded as a Lewis Carroll story any longer. If he were around today, he would probably have sued Tat Wolfen

3-D Strides the Red Carpet into Legitimacy

October 28, 2009

Director Joe Dante on the red carpet at the Sala Grande, at the 66th Venice Film Festival on September 11th. The beloved filmmaker went home with the first Premio Persol 3-D Award for ‘The Hole’.

Many “serious” film critics have, for years, pooh-poohed 3-D as a “gimmick format”, and one not worthy of scholarly attention. Funny, then, that a 3-D movie (Disney/Pixar’s Up) opened the last Cannes film festival – *and* that the Venice Film Festival now has a special award category for 3-D films, sponsored by the Italian eyewear giant, Persol.

The nominees for the first Premio Persol 3-D award were Up, Coraline, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, The Hole and, depressingly, the godawful My Bloody Valentine. The latter nomination notwithstanding, this new category at the Venice fest indicates the seriousness with which the European movie industry now regards stereoscopic moviemaking. And the award went to… Joe Dante, for The Hole. The film has yet to be picked up by an American distributor, which probably explains why it hasn’t been scheduled for release in South Africa as yet. We’ll keep you posted, however – it’s only a matter of time!

One wonders whether those pompous old farts who’d written 3-D off are choking on their Perrier waters as I write this…

Ashes to Ashes, Mud to Mud

October 8, 2009
Swamp Thing TV series

Sadly, the man who made the role of The Swamp Thing his own, won't be around to grace the 3-D remake with his presence.

While Warner Brothers busies itself putting together a 3-D remake of Wes Craven’s 1982 The Swamp Thing (based upon the DC Comics character), fans of the original film have been dealing with the death, on September 17th 2009, of the actor who played the creature in two films and a television series.

Dick Durock, a 6ft5 former Marine, passed away aged 72, at his home in Oak Park, California, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. His stoical struggle against the disease reflected, in a tragically ironic way, the tough-guy persona that he had so frequently assumed on the big screen.

The towering actor donned the latex bodysuit to play the monster in the 1982 original as well as its 1989 sequel, which was (quite logically) named The Return of Swamp Thing. He also starred in a subsequent Swamp Thing TV series that ran for 71 episodes, from 1990 to 1993. Although he’ll undoubtedly go down in movie history as “the Swamp dude”, the actor also appeared in loads of TV series, including Star Trek, Knight Rider, The A-Team, Quincy M.E., Magnum P.I., Married With Children, Dynasty, Battlestar Galactica and The Incredible Hulk.

Not one to limit himself to either boggy marshes or TV series, Durock also appeared in theatrical features such as Stand By Me and Silverado – invariably in brief roles, and playing brutes (what else would a 6ft5 ex-Marine play?). He was a pro stuntman, and performed daring physical feats for exciting big-screen attractions such as Die Hard: With a Vengeance and Runaway Train.

After Sandra Locke, Big D has probably appeared in more Clint Eastwood movies than any other actor. He was a terro in The Enforcer, fought fist-to-fist with Eastwood in an early scene of Any Which Way You Can and performed stunts for Bronco Billy. While Locke may have had better legs, few would dare suggest that she was better thespian…

Durock participates in a 'Q & A' at Fangoria's 'Weekend of Horrors' at the Renaissance Austin Hotel, in January, 2008. [Thanks to Flickr's Infidelpoptart for the photie.]

Durock participates in a 'Q & A' session at Fangoria's 'Weekend of Horrors' at the Renaissance Austin Hotel in January 2008. (Thanks to Flickr's Infidelpoptart for the photie.)

Durock’s fans had hoped that he’d have a cameo role in the 3-D remake of The Swamp Thing, or at least be a part of the excitement around its release, but sadly, the beloved old giant was called to that Great Big Swamp In The Sky before he was able to participate in any of the new film’s activities.

There is still a hope that some kind of on-screen homage will be paid to the cult hero in the new film. Dick Durock will be missed by his legions of fans.

4th Reich in 3-D? 2 Much for 1?

September 12, 2009

The4thReichDirector Shaun Robert Smith is busy with a largely UK crew, shooting a 3-D movie in Poland and the Ukraine called The 4th Reich. I’ve seen the flash trailer and other publicity materials, and I’m entertaining serious doubts about the film. Presenting the Nazis as the focus of a sensationalistic, Tom-Savini-style horror flick strikes me as being in the worst possible taste. Surely this trivialises and exploits the suffering of soldiers and civilians who were victims of Hitler’s reign of terror? I suppose I’d have to allow myself to be exposed to the completed film in order to pass fair judgement. I am, however, not holding my breath…

Disney’s 3-D Slate

September 12, 2009
Jim Carrey in Disney's 'A Christmas Carol'

Jim Carrey in Disney's 'A Christmas Carol'

You wanted the most up-to-date listing of Disney’s coming 3-D releases, and we have ’em right here, on the blog for South Africa’s 3-D faithful.

First up is A Christmas Carol, which opens toward the end of the year. Although it’s in 3-D, it features four dimensions of Jim Carrey – i.e. he plays Ebenezer Scrooge in addition to the triad of Yuletide spooks.

Some will moan that this is overindulgence on the part of Carrey, but I would argue that the three Ghosts of Christmas are actually projections of the Scrooge character – or parallel-universe possibilities of the same man, to express it in another way. It therefore makes absolute sense that one actor should play Scrooge and all of the ghosts. (And, given the current economic climate, I daresay that the studio saved millions in additional star salaries…)

Then, early in 2010, the original Toy Story and its sequel are being released in 3-D reincarnations. That way, the studio gets to milk even more box office out of titles that have already been fat cash cows on both theatrical and DVD release. These stereoptifications will further serve as a teaser for Toy Story 3, which opens shortly thereafter – in 3-D, of course. Would I miss any of these screenings? Don’t be daft!

Due to open here early in April, Disney’s 2010 take on Lewis Carroll’s trippy classic, Alice in Wonderland: 3-D, directed by Tim Burton, stars Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Christopher Lee and Timothy Spall. If that doesn’t sound like cinematic Nirvana to you, I’m afraid you’ve probably been watching too many WWF reruns to recognise a good thing…

The splendid Beauty and the Beast (arguably one of the best Disney animated movies to be made after Uncle Walt’s passing), underwent an image format conversion for its IMAX release a few years ago, and is now also being revamped for Digital 3-D release. For that happy day, I’ll go out and buy a suit.

In case you’re concerned about the possibility of the hallowed art of Disney-style ‘cel animation’ perishing in this brave (yet counter-traditional) new digital age, fear no more. For the past few decades, Uncle Walt’s nephew (and Disney Vice Chairman) Roy Disney, has fought off the “modernisers” by insisting upon the preservation of his uncle’s style of animation. More recently, Pixar/Disney’s Big Guy John Lasseter has added his considerable muscle to this lobby.

The result of their campaigning can be witnessed in Disney’s new 2-D, “hand-animated” film, The Princess and the Frog, which releases in SA on January 29th 2010. (Yes, this is a blog for the 3-D geek, but I’m a Disney devotee, so I trust that you’ll pardon this small digression…)

Those who enjoyed the Pixar title Cars will have to wait until 2012 until they can clamp eyes on the sequel, which will be in 3-D, of course. And finally, fans of the sci-fi author Philip K Dick (whose novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? inspired Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner), are busting a spleen in anticipation of Disney’s King of the Elves. It will be a good two years-plus before they can sample the Disney Studio’s adaptation of this short story of Dick’s.

Disney 3-D Slate with Anticipated South African Release Dates:

A Christmas Carol 3-D – November 6th 2009

Toy Story: 3-D (The original, reworked into 3D) – January 1st to February 26th 2010 [Updated September 16th 2009]

Toy Story 2: 3-D (The original, reworked into 3D) – January 15th to March 12th 2010 [Updated September 16th 2009]

Alice in Wonderland3-D – March 5th to April 2nd 2010

Beauty and the Beast3-D – May 28th [* This release date has been put on hold by the Disney organisation.  I’m pretty sure that the movie will still be released – just no longer sure when, at this stage… *]

Toy Story 3: 3-D : 3-D– August 6th 2010 [Updated September 16th 2009]

Rapunzel: 3-D – November 26th 2010 [Updated September 16th 2009]

Tron: Legacy3-D – December 17th 2010 [This title added September 16th 2009]

Newt3-D – Winter 2011

The Bear and the Bow3-D – December 2011/January 2012

Cars 23-D – Winter 2012

King of Elves3-D – December 2012/January 2013

‘Yellow Submarine’ to Resurface in 3-D

September 5, 2009

Yellow SubmarineRobert “Back to the Future”  Zemeckis is currently engaging with the folks at Disney regarding a 3-D remake of The Beatles’ animated psychedelic fantasy, Yellow Submarine .

It doesn’t sound like the worst of ideas, given that the story’s trippy nature is ideally suited to the medium of 3-D. One can only hope, however, that the original’s Swingin’ Sixties graphic style is preserved. If they go for a completely different look-and-feel, then why not go for a different story and band altogether? (Were Tim Burton, for example, to make an animated musical featuring a British band’s music, it wouldn’t surprise us if he chose The Smiths…)

Zemeckis is one of the prominent poster-boys of the current 3-D revival, and this feature will be his fourth crack at 3-D; his first having been 2004’s The Polar Express, which we didn’t see locally in 3-D as the 3-D version was only released in a handful of IMAX 3-D venues around the world.

The popular director’s second 3-D movie was the dreadful Beowulf, which we had the dubious honour of catching at local 3-D theatres. Zemeckis’s third 3-D effort is the Jim Carrey vehicle, A Christmas Carol, which opens in 3-D (and 2-D, for those who care) on November 6th 2009 – in the US, UK and SA simultaneously.

The producers are hoping that their Yellow Submarine remake will be ready to open in time for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Don’t get me started on the projects (a rapid rail system in particular) that the South African government promised to have ready and in place in time for the 2010 World Soccer cup in South Africa. A Hollywood studio, however, I’m more likely to believe than a bunch of bloated politicos…