To coincide with the release of Religulous, and with a dose of April Fool’s Day frivolity thrown in for good measure, here’s some of the greatest religious hoaxes of all time.
The most revered graphic novel, the greatest superhero story ever told and one of the most long-awaited adaptations in movie history ambles rather than strides onto the big screen as a blockbuster behemoth with hype and expectation which simply can’t be matched when lifted from the pages illustrated by Dave Gibbons and written by the celebrated Alan Moore. While this may well be the best representation of Moore’s work in cinematic form, it’s streamlined form belies much of the depth offered off-screen and comes across as far more trivial than an adaptation of Watchmen deserves to be.
First-time writer/director Gerald McMorrow gets off to an impressive start with his sci-fi style tale of revenge, but quickly goes down hill when he tries to relate his fantasy settings to real world situations in this disappointing debut feature. Starring a mostly-masked Ryan Phillippe, former Bond girl Eva Green and Control’s Sam Riley, Franklyn had the potential to be a rewarding and memorable movie spanning a fantasy world and our own. It winds up shooting itself in the foot by withdrawing the fantasy elements too soon, preventing the climax attaining its full potential.
Cult actor Bruce Campbell is still most famous for his role as Ash in the Evil Dead trilogy, but has been making off-the-wall movies and currently appears in US TV series Burn Notice. His new film, spoof horror-comedy My Name is Bruce, is produced, directed and stars Campbell as he takes on the challenge of the one role he was absolutely born to play… himself! He talked to zap! bang! about his most recent activities.
Continuing our series interviewing figures from the past, present, future and imaginary worlds and asking them why they want(ed) to take over the world (previous interviewees include Adolf Hitler, Brain from Pinky and the Brain, General Zod from Superman 2, Avian flu and a couple of Bond megalomaniacs), we talk to Adult Swim’s arch-villain Killface.
After his disastrous series of English films, Woody Allen finds himself back on track with the award-winning Vicky Cristina Barcelona. On the eve of her wedding, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) travels to Barcelona to research her masters in Catalan identity with best friend, the directionless Christina (Scarlett Johansson). Over several bottles of wine, suave painter Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) propositions the girls to join him for a weekend in the city of Oviedo. As they both fall for his charms, fiery ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz) appears, creating a schism in the fragile relationships being formed under the Mediterranean sun.
Franklyn is the debut feature film by writer/director Gerald McMorrow, split narrative set simultaneously in contemporary London and in a future metropolis ruled by religious fervor. Sound confusing? Well check out the trailer for a few clues to make sense of the dark dystopian fantasy film starring Ryan Phillippe, Eva Green, Bernhard Hill and Sam Riley.
A Coen brothers movie is always a quirky affair. Their characters are odd, their stories take sudden twists and they tend to end all of a sudden. Burn After Reading sees them all combine as a CD containing information becomes a catalyst for events to go very wrong in a lighter offering than last year’s Oscar winner No Country for Old Men
A multiple award winner at Cannes, Moscow, Begium tells the story of bored post-office worker Matty (Barbara Sarafian). Forty-one years old and supporting her three children, Matty lives in a small flat whilst her husband decides whether to divorce her or return to the family. An accident with twenty-one year old ‘Viking’ truck driver, Johnny (Jurgen Delnaet), leads to a tenuous relationship threatened by revelations about his past. I spoke to Delnaet and director, Christophe van Rompaey, about the film.
Mickey Rourke delivers both a sombre analysis of his own career and one of the finest performances in contemporary American cinema. His face beaten to shit, two divorces, and the best part of twenty years confined in Hollywood purgatory behind him, Rourke inhabits the role of ‘broken down piece of meat’ Randy “The Ram” Robinson, in the way few actors (not least of whom Nicolas Cage) could ever dream of. As much of a comback for director Darren Aronofsky after the failure of The Fountain, this fable of a former superstar’s last chance at greatness goes beyond mere career rehabilitation, to reach the highest level of cinematic artistry.
Most people do these lists in December or early January, but we’ve only got round to publishing ours now — and by this time we’ve already had very strong contenders for both best film and best album of the year 2009 lists, in the shape of Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler and Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. We even picked The Wrestler in our 2009 preview bits but hey.
Anyway, here’s what some of us here had to pick from the year that was 2008:
Once considered the funniest man in Hollywood, rubber-faced Jim Carrey always used to rely on his exuberance to deliver a combination of comic lines, faces and general outlandish behaviour. While his more dramatic roles in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Man on the Moon saw a serious side to his acting abilities, he has always had the biggest successes of his career in high concept offerings which are essentially one joke stretched out over an entire movie with varying results. Yes Man continues this trend based on Danny Wallace’s book of the same name which essentially provides a basis for a generic romantic comedy.
Horror film The Strangers is released on DVD from Boxing Day, once again proving that itis a cardinal rule of horror films that you mustn’t spend a night in a lonely, rural house. Yet year after year characters keep on doing it. We sum up 10 of the great isolated house chillers.
Whether or not Transporter 3 was given the greenlight just so next year a trilogy boxset could be released and producer Luc Besson can survive the credit crunch on its sales, it’s not going to do Jason Statham’s career any favours. After the first movie in 2002 proved he could bulk up as an action star and the second three years later was an uncomplicated sequel featuring more high speed chases, frenetic shoot outs and hard-hitting fight scenes, here Statham returns as beefcake delivery driver Frank Martin following a four year gap in the series.
Jet Li’s reputation was put under strain when he started focusing on Hollywood movies. Following the success of Lethal Weapon 4, the once renowned martial artist became increasingly mocked as each new English language feature seemed to utilise less and less of his martial arts skill and render his attempts at acting in a foreign language laughable. Romeo Must Die, The One and War were some of the forgettable movies he lent his name to until he returned to China for Hero in 2002 and delivered one of the performances of his career. Chinese battlefield epic The Warlords has won a string of awards in his home country, and is further proof of his abilities away from the fat paychecks available in the States.
Mark Wahlberg should have been around in Hollywood long enough to know movies based on videogames rarely give an actor’s reputation any kudos, yet here he is taking up the mantle of cop Max Payne from a games series long forgotten about. The game had a film noir style as Detective Payne blasted all the bad guys he came across in a bullet time slow motion a la The Matrix: it might be expected the transition to screen might be a painless one as at least it gives the basis for an enjoyable no brains action flick. Yet no, there’s hardly any action as the story falters and Wahlberg struggles to get a handle on the titular character.
The trend of lewd comedy offerings at the cinema will continue into next year when Sex Drive hits screens in January. Following Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno and My Best Friend’s Girl, it’s the classic tale of a teenager desperate to lose their virginity. Read on for more details and the trailer.
Once a famous 1960s icon with superpowers, Harvey Birdman has traded his cape and spandex for a 3 piece suit and the morally questionable law firm of Sebben & Sebben. As defender of toons in trouble he tries to keep Shaggy and Scooby out of jail for possession, represents Fred Flintstone over alleged Mafia connections in a Godfather parody and leads the trial of Yogi’s sidekick Boo Boo who is suspected eco-terrorist ‘The Unabooboo’. Throw in an empty personal life, a ball-busting boss, a psychotic legal assistant and a very persistent enemy from the old days and there’s only one man bird-cum-lawyer you’ll ever want to watch!
Thanks to our friends at Adult Swim and Revolver Entertainment we’ve got a couple of copies to give away to one lucky winner.
Daniel Craig’s triumphant debut as James Bond in Casino Royale (Martin Campbell, 2006) dragged the series out of a tired rut induced by run-of-the-mill glossy Pierce Brosnan excursions with grittier action and a more emotional 007. Expectations are high for this follow-up, the first sequel in the long-running franchise which starts almost immediately from where the last finished off. Bond is on the hunt for revenge as he seeks to find out why his one true love, Vesper Lynd, died. In doing so director Marc Forster, normally known for capturing drama for the big screen, delivers a surprisingly action-packed movie which brushes aside any gadgets, the dwelling on exotic locales or chatting to minor characters. It may not be the Bond we are used to, and verges on a Licence to Kill (John Glen, 1989) detachment from the super spy many might expect, yet provides another instalment where Craig continues his excellent form.
Tropic Thunder wants to be a satire on Hollywood action blockbusters that spiral out of control and the larger-than-life actors and money-grabbing producers whose egos fuel the cash-draining fires. For a while it works: the opening 25 minutes manages to hit the bullseye as the mega bucks production of a war film goes awry in spectacular fashion. Then, as attention turns to the characters involved, they are exposed as being little more than makeweights for a bright idea wasted in the wrong hands.
Hoodie horror hasn’t made it onto the film genre list just yet, but Eden Lake does a good job of suggesting loutish teens knifing unsuspecting victims could become a recurring image. Taking inspiration from Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972), a couple make their way to a small backwater town en route to a former national park that has been fenced off for new a new development in the hope of having a romantic getaway. Their peaceful break is soon shattered though as a group of youths do their utmost to make their lives a painfully miserable.
No, we know it’s not a film release, but us pranksters at _ zap! bang! Magazine _ do enjoy a bit of cold calling for hilarity sake — if only you’d heard us on the phone to Tom Cruise’s agent trying to wangle an exclusive interview the second Katie Holmes gave birth. Oh how we laughed as they hung up immediately! Anyway, to celebrate that particular occurance and the time we told the fire brigade an alien was trapped up a tree on April Fools’ Day, here’s the lowdown on Fonejacker series two featuring a host of new characters with video profiles.
Hellboy’s nonchalant approach to fighting the bad guys in a beleaguered and workman-like way while smoking a cigar is quite the opposite to Batman’s tortured soul searching for a meaning to his life. Yet the widespread acclaim heaped on The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan) this summer would be just as apt for this follow-up to an original which showed much promise even if it doesn’t take itself quite as seriously. Aided by the imaginings of Del Toro, the director of films featuring fantastical delights such as Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone, Hellboy II builds on the modestly-budgeted original with a dazzling display of creatures and worlds without losing any of its heart or sense of fun.
Anyone hiring Jet Li to star in a blockbuster movie would probably be considered a mug if they didn’t take advantage of his considerable martial arts skills. Rob Cohen wouldn’t care though: for this belated third Mummy outing he brings us Li to provide a menacing look without a kick or punch in sight. The rest of the cast put in about the same level off effort in what will surely kill off this franchise.
Who wanted another X Files movie? C’mon, own up! Hardly seen on television screens anymore, Lost and Heroes provide the all multi-faceted storylines we need to see these days and even manage to make more sense than the tiresome Files “mythology”. The latter was used to spearhead the 1998 movie Fight the Future, but for I Want to Believe creator Chris Carter has left that long and winding subject to the series finale and moves on to focus on how FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are getting on with life outside the bureau.