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A new thread for forward thinking.

THE POLAR EXPRESS

This is based on one of the wonderful children's picture books by Chris Van Allsburg, who also illustrated a fantastic fantasy series for kids by Mark Helprin called A City In Winter, which should ALSO be made into a film. The Polar Express marks the return of Robert Zemeckis to the screen. I'm not a big fan, but this project looks well-suited to this strengths. The animation in this project looks quite unique, as it seems to be modeled over real footage.

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet

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And now...

Hellboy.

J3S!!! Hellboy's been a favorite of mine since I got back into comics a couple years ago and I've been really excited to see how this movie will turn out. There's obviously not much content in this preview, but they hit the "look and feel" pretty well I'ld say.

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Much much better, cleaner, Quicktime Hellboy.

It's sounds weird, I know, but it's true: "From the director of The Devil's Backbone."

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\"From the director of The Devil's Backbone.\"

Oh, right on. I just got this from Netflix yesterday and gave it a quick preview. It looks like a great ghost story, but you know how a ghost story can look very cool and then become cheesy way too fast. I'll let you know tomorrow.

-s.

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You'll like it, Stef. It's a movie that has stayed with me since I first saw it. Haunting, well-acted... a story very well told.

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Just thought i'd quickly weigh in on Guillermo del Toro. The Devil's Backbone was a mediocre film (in other words, i didn't fall asleep right away, it took an hour or so). It was like a plot sandwich, with not enough meat to satisfy. Most of it was far-fetched and i was hardly touched by its mostly unsympathetic characters. Yes, there were children, but unlike a Ramsay or a Ponette or a To Be and To Have, i couldn't care less about them. Maybe it's because they weren't treated like characters, but instead were treated like archetypes to advance a plot. (Now that i think about it, i had the same reaction to The Missing, which i just brought up on another thread.)

A brief look at the films of del Toro on IMDB tells me that i don't really care too much for this director. And sadly, for all you Hellboy fans out there, i saw the trailer last weekend in Willmar, MN, and it looked to be one of the worst superhero movies i've ever seen. And that's in a genre full of bad films.

Remember folks. Don't kill the messenger. It's all good, even if the films stink.

-s.

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stef wrote:

: . . . i saw the trailer last weekend in Willmar, MN, and it looked to be one

: of the worst superhero movies i've ever seen.

And it doesn't bode well that the trailer apes the X-Men trailers, just like the trailer for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen did.

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Stef, while I agree with you that Del Toro's past work hasn't been fantastic, I thought the Hellboy trailer was hilarious. If it's done well it could be like a better, more interesting version of Men In Black (another comic book film btw), and if not, meh!

And seriously dude, you should have that narcolepsy looked into. You seem to fall asleep an awful lot during films. Even during films that ARE good (28 Days Later comes to mind). Though, I haven't seen The Missing and would probably agree with your assessment.

Try not to fall asleep while reading my post. tongue.gif

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The hardest thing to deal with in The Missing was that i wasn't falling asleep, hard as i tried.

-s.

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But what should I do with my eight bucks then? :?

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Oh, and PS. Men in Black and it's sequel which i never saw both qualify as films that fit into the "bad" part of that genre. I didn't need to see the sequel to know this, i'm born some kind of magical ability that keeps me away.

Actually that's a lie. The ability took years to master. I have a hard time staying away from films in the C to C-minus range, but i hardly ever make it out to an F. My spidey senses go off first.

-s.

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Speaking of trailers, what were everyone's initial reactions to the trailer for Troy?

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But what should I do with my eight bucks then?  :?

Heh, i thought i told you to contact me personally. I can't recommend these kinds of things in public.

-s.

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You and your quick responses have made this thread all whack.

-s.

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Oh, and PS. Men in Black and it's sequel which i never saw both qualify as films that fit into the \"bad\" part of that genre. I didn't need to see the sequel to know this, i'm born some kind of magical ability that keeps me away.

Hence, the magical reading abilities of Stef failed to note that I said "better and more interesting version of" said, Men In Black, insinuating that I too thought MIB fell into that category.

I understand what you're saying about avoiding F grade films entirely. Lately I've been giving most of the films I see a decent grade, because I'm just avoiding watching the crap I know I won't like. Though, working at a video store and getting free rentals does mean I don't feel as bad if I do.

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Anders wrote:

: Speaking of trailers, what were everyone's initial reactions to the trailer

: for Troy?

Haven't seen it yet, but any movie that reunites Orlando Bloom and Sean Bean, and any movie that features ancient Greek heroes (but what about the gods and goddesses?), is a must-see in my books. Oh, and it even brings Peter O'Toole back to the big screen. Gottaseeit.

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I understand what you're saying about avoiding F grade films entirely. Lately I've been giving most of the films I see a decent grade, because I'm just avoiding watching the crap I know I won't like. Though, working at a video store and getting free rentals does mean I don't feel as bad if I do.

That is the only advantage we every-day film buffs have over those who are paid to do what they love -- they have wade thru a lot of garbage in order to get to the gold. I figure that it took me 32 of my 33 years to really learn how to avoid the crapola that most encounter (except for my two or three weekends a year when i make trips to small-town Willmar and/or Spicer; those are the weekends when i am reminded of the fact that Yes, bad art does exist and it manifests itself daily.)

Oh, and a tip: Avoiding the heap starts by watching, oh, about 30 seconds of TV per week.

I figure that by the time i'm 40, i'll only be seeing A and B+ films, and i'll really feel sorry for the people who get paid to sit and scratch. Even though they'll still be starting threads on the cool films about three weeks in front of me, which has been a constant annoyance in my life.

-s.

PS Speaking of lows in film, anyone besides me notice that the Top 3 Films from the weekend were Cat in the Hat, Haunted MAnsion and Elf? Ugh. :roll:

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The trailer is underwhelming. It basically serves to say "Troy is coming and it's expensive!" The last shot, which draws back to reveal a massive fleet of boats, is one of those CG enhanced shots that is embarrassing because, well, stuff like that is so common and so easy now that it does nothing to impress us. How animation, when poorly used, can rob cinema of its power....

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How animation, when poorly used, can rob cinema of its power....

Thank God someone has the nerve to say this in such a clear and powerful way.

-s.

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stef wrote:

: Speaking of lows in film, anyone besides me notice that the Top 3 Films

: from the weekend were Cat in the Hat, Haunted MAnsion and Elf? Ugh.

Yep, and yep. And note that all three films star former SNL cast members.

Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

: The trailer is underwhelming. It basically serves to say "Troy is coming

: and it's expensive!" The last shot, which draws back to reveal a massive

: fleet of boats, is one of those CG enhanced shots that is embarrassing

: because, well, stuff like that is so common and so easy now that it does

: nothing to impress us.

If anything, the shot (which is actually one of the first shots in the online trailer) DOESN'T look expensive to me, because all it says is that they were able to copy-and-paste a bunch of computer-generated boats. Still, it's clear that they were going for that "hers was the face that launched a thousand ships" effect. I don't think I would have taken that clich

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All I know is that the trailer for Troy was the high point of the evening when I went to see Matrix Revolutions about a month ago.

And with a cast like that, and even the basic outline of the Illiad to work with, you know it's going to be better than Gladiator, at the very least.

As for preparing for the movie, I'm planning on reading Robert Fagles translation of the Illiad, as my dad says it's good. Any thoughts on that translation?

P.S. I think someone should start a thread on Troy if one has not already been started.

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Anders wrote:

: As for preparing for the movie, I'm planning on reading Robert Fagles

: translation of the Illiad, as my dad says it's good.

It is! I've read it twice now. If I may edit together some comments I made in a zine of mine back when I read it the first time, in 1993:

This tome could take a while for me to finish, but I like it so far.
Violent
stuff! Few poets can compete with Homer for blood and gore quotient. . . . Book II was almost impossible for me; most of it is a padded list of the soldiers' names, similar to the "begat" chapters in the Bible, but much more flowery. . . . I first took it out of the library on June 10 and, two renewals later, finally finished it on August 13. I like it, I do, but I can't read it casually, and finding time to give it my full attention for an hour or more has proven difficult.

Book XVIII is all about Hephaestus making a shield and armour for Achilles because Achilles' original set is in Hector's possession, and Achilles is desparate to join the battle but daren't go defenseless; in Book XXI someone actually draws Achilles' blood. Question: didn't Achilles' mother dip him in the Styx so he wouldn't have to worry about this sort of thing? All he's gotta do is wear a really thick boot to protect that heel of his ... Actually, Trent & I were discussing this, and I suggested that Achilles might have been an Immortal (for all you
Highlander
fans); i.e., only one kind of wound could kill Achilles, but that wouldn't stop all other wounds from hurting like hell. Of course, as Trent then pointed out, getting an arrow in your foot is a wimpy way to die compared to being beheaded. I could have countered that by saying an arrow in the heel is a unique way to die, given that so many other heads get lobbed off in
The Iliad
, and therefore it helped to further Achilles' distinctive fame, but that idea just occured to me now and it doesn't change the fact that a foot wound is still a pretty lame way to die. ... Er, um, no pun intended.

There's a funny scene in Book XXI where Achilles is slaughtering Trojans left and right in the middle of the Scamander River, and a scene that evokes
The Abyss
transpires:
... still more Paeonian men the runner would have killed

if the swirling river had not risen, crying out in fury,

taking a man's shape, its voice breaking out of a whirlpool:

"Stop, Achilles! Greater than any man on earth,

greater in outrage too --

for the gods themselves are always at your side!

But if Zeus allows you to kill off all the Trojans,

drive them out of my depths at least, I ask you,

out on the plain and do your butchery there.

All my lovely rapids are crammed with corpses now,

no channel in sight to sweep my currents out to sacred sea --

I'm choked with corpses and still you slaughter more,

you blot out more! Leave me alone, have done --

captain of armies, I am filled with horror!" (XXI.237-250)

The end result, of course, is that Achilles and the river get into a fight, with waves crashing down on him and everything, and Scamander even tries recruiting the other river's help! Finally, Hephaestus, the god of blacksmiths, comes to Achilles' rescue (fire vs. water, get it?).

This translation has an excellent 64-page introduction by Bernard Knox. I recently bought The Norton Book of Classical Literature just because Knox edited it, and his introduction to The Iliad had been soooo good. I'm on something of a classics kick right now. I may reread The Odyssey soon, and I'm itching to pick up The Aeneid. Perhaps Agamemnon too; then maybe I'll be sick to death of anything to do with the Trojan War. But I doubt it.One thing I forgot to mention in this summary is the hilarious section (in Book XIV, I think) in which Hera gives Zeus a love potion to distract him from the war, and Zeus begins to sing her praises ... by telling her how much sexier she is than all the other women he's had over the years -- and he names them one by one! That Zeus, he's such a romantic.

: P.S. I think someone should start a thread on Troy if one has not already

: been started.

I hereby invite the moderators to split these posts off into a separate thread ...

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I am now officially excited for Spider-man 2! :wink:

Thanks for the link Jeffrey.

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