Exciting news for Stephen King fans

For those of you out there who have never read Stephen King’s epic fantasy series ‘The Dark Tower’, I highly recommend that you pick it up.

The saga (and this a very, very loose synopsis) follows the journey of Roland Deschain, the last living member of a knight-esque group (they are supposedly descendants of King Arthur) known as gunslingers. Roland is attempting to make his way to “The Dark Tower” supposedly the center point of time itself. His reasons (and his past) are gradually revealed throughout the saga.

There has long been speculation about the future of the series as a film, or as a possible TV show, now it seems, we may get both.

Akiva Goldsman, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are the latest to take over the reigns of the saga, and whilst they may not seem like the perfect fit for the series, the plan they have unveiled will no doubt leave many a fan salivating.

The trio intend to turn the saga into a three feature films, with two television seasons linking them together. Howard is at this stage set to direct the first film, which will be followed by a television season, which will then lead into the second film, which will again be followed by a television season which will finally lead into the final chapter of the tale.

As far as I am aware, there is no precedent for a production of this scale, so the mere fact that they have managed to convince Universal commit to such a massive project is incredible.

I am very eager to see where this goes, it is a project that I intend to keep a very close watch on.

What do you think of the idea? Who would you like to see step in to the boots of Roland Deschain?

Black Swan trailer debut

After a long wait, the first teaser for Darren Arronofskys’ highly anticipated Black Swan has debuted online.

I’m not a massive fan of dance movies, but the tone of this psychological thriller gave me goosebumps, and I can’t wait to see it. Here is the official synopsis.

BLACK SWAN follows the story of Nina (Portman), a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her retired ballerina mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) who zealously supports her daughter’s professional ambition. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side with a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.

The film is set to debut at the Venice International Film Festival, which takes place next month.

What did you think of the teaser?

Late to the Inceptional party? Inception Review

Every so often a film is released with an obscene amount of hype. Such is the case with almost every Christopher Nolan film. Ever so slowly becoming a household name, Nolan has consistently delivered interesting and original material the likes of which Hollywood hasn’t seen for decades. With nary a bad film to date, has the young auteur finally bit off more than he can chew with Inception?

Dom Cobb (Leonardo Di Caprio) is by his own admission the world’s most skilled extractor. Capable of entering dreams, Cobb has the ability to steal well kept secrets and ideas from the mind of his assigned targets. Few are able to do the job as well as him, and for that, he is payed handsomely. Lately however, he has been haunted by the memories of his dead wife Mal (Marion Cotillard), who is sabotaging Cobb’s dreams far more frequently than usual. He is then hired by businessman Saito (Ken Watanabe) who wants Cobb to enter the mind of Robert Fischer Jr. (Cillian Murphy), a heir to a rival business empire, not to steal an idea, but plant one. For this job he assembles his best and brightest including his assistant Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), an impersonation specialist in Eames (played by Tom Hardy), scientist Yusuf (Dileep Rao), and talented young architect Ariadne (Ellen Page).

I don’t blame you if you think the synopsis is a lot to take in. The film is in overdrive from the beginning and if you aren’t going along for the ride within the first half-hour, prepare for a tough and tedious slog. For those relish the complexity though, you might find that Inception is the ultimate elixir. It will take repeat viewings to truly grasp everything that is at play here. The first half of the film is all about the setup. We learn the rules, we learn the people, we learn the disastrous consequences if they fail. It’s easily the weakest part of the film and contains some seriously lengthy exposition. It’s by no means bad, but even 10 minutes off the running time would have done it a world of good.



The second half of the film however, is the cinema experience at its most potent. With any other director, the ‘dream inside of a dream’ sequence could have been a horrible mishmash of scenes that made no sense whatsoever. With Nolan at the helm we get a feeling of full control. Tight editing, music, acting and tension make for a breathless final act that doesn’t let up until the final shot, and it’s a corker.

I’m not going to sugar-coat it, the movie’s initial impact is mind-blowing, but the thing that warrants multiple viewings is the emotional weight it carries. There is so much at stake for Cobb, and the ending gives the audience an array of emotions and feelings. I begun this article talking about the ridiculous amount of hype that Inception held. With that impending pressure the film could have buckled under its own weight, instead, it justifies every word of it. See it, discuss it, recommend it.

4/5

Review by Michael Kiossev

Welcome back to the show

Good morning readers.

First things first, yes, I have been absent from your computer screens for quite some time, but it with great jubilation that I announce not only my triumphant (I can hear the trumpets) return, but also the addition of a new member to the family. Without further ado, I present to you, Michael Kiossev.

Hello fellow Movie Hub readers! I’m afraid this is not Chris speaking, but a bright young stud on his way to becoming film criticism royalty. Of course, that’s a total lie, but I am a consumer of movies the likes of which few have seen. Did someone say introduction? No? Oh well, I’m giving one anyway.
The name I generally go by is Michael Kiossev. I’ve been good friends with Chris since high school and I’m now in my third year of studying Journalism at Curtin University. I would say the earliest age I remember getting into movies was 10 or 11. I didn’t know much at the time about movies or the making of movies, but I always pretended to. I just wanted to know more than the regular chump. The first movie I can recall being enamoured with was Enemy at the Gates. By no means a masterpiece, but to an 11 year old, it was pure cinematic bliss. It had violence, it had tension, it had nudity and it had a sniper duel. The damn thing ticked all the right boxes. It was like the best videogame I could never play. A state of immersion I had never experienced or thought possible in watching a movie.
From that it was a cascade of information that I needed to have. I needed to inform everyone I knew that this was the best movie I’d ever seen, and that they should seek it out immediately. I needed to watch the special features over and over to get a sense of how they made certain scenes. I needed to get onto the internet, namely IMDB.COM, and check out the trivia page for all the useless little tidbits that the film had (Did you know that it was the most expensive British film made up to that point? Yeah! I don’t care that much either!).
I don’t actually consider Enemy at the Gates to be one of my favourite movies anymore. Hell, I haven’t watch it in years and don’t really plan on revisiting it. It was however, a powerful indication of what I wanted to do, and what I really wanted to see. I was intoxicated by Cinema of all kinds, of all countries. I had to surround myself in as many movies as humanly possible. It’s disappointing to see in this day and age that few movie-goers are willing to experiment, or see something that really challenges them. With Chris giving me the chance to write for The Movie Hub, I hope to get those people that are curious about movies well and truly obsessed.

Cheers and Happy Reading!
Michael Kiossev

Michael will now be a regular blogger on this site.

Staring contest: Twilight: Eclipse review

I’m not ashamed to say I have read the Twilight books. Hell, I kinda liked them. They aren’t exactly great literature, but they are entertaining and easy to read, and the characters are far, far more likeable than the wooden cut outs we are offered in the latest film installment to the series.

For those that haven’t read the series, this was the one to watch. It has action, intensity, all the issues between Edward/Bella/Jacob finally come to a head. Unfortunately, director David Slade opted to go with 2 hours of teenagers staring moodily at one another while Bella bites her bottom lip.

The story this time centers around Bella and Edward staring at one another, whilst Jacob continues to wear no shirt and pine after Bella. Flame haired vampire Victoria is back for revenge, this time with new sidekick Riley and his vampire army at her command.

So what was wrong with the film? To be honest, I couldn’t find much that was right with it. The characters are so unlikeable, I found myself genuinely more interested in the villains, which is saying something. We wait nearly the entire movie to see the final showdown between the Cullen clan/werewolves and Victories army, and I can tell you now, it is not worth the wait. It reminds me of childhood experience of making a sparkler bomb. You watch the little fuse wind it’s way to the powder, and when it gets there… Nothing happens. You sit and wait, and keep watching anxiously for the fireworks, and they never come.

The wolves to me are a great disappointment. There just seems to be no weight behind them, they don’t seem to be great warriors like they are described in the book, but rather, more like giant Labradors.

I think I am agreeing with many people when I say I do not dislike Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattinson. I think they are both very capable actors, but both of them are let down in this film but a totally lifeless script. I don’t have the same high praise for Taylor Lautner, who once again does nothing in this film but wander around shirtless attempting to make tween girls sigh (judging by the box office scores, he is doing his job well at least).

One of the only highlights for me is the inclusion of Australian actor Xavier Samuel. Samuel plays new vampire Riley, and whilst he isn’t given to much room to grow, he at least relishes his role. He is evil, yet we can still sense the innocence of someone who has been drawn into this supernatural world unwillingly. He exudes a certain charisma that a certain other Australian star seems to be severely lacking (Sam Worthington, I’m looking at you). I sincerely hope that I get to see more of Samuels in the future, hopefully in something a little more interesting.

There is still one last chance for the series to redeem itself with the final installment, Breaking Dawn. Breaking Dawn lacks the conflict and action of Eclipse, but without wanting to spoil it for anyone, let’s just say that there are some interesting scenes that could make for a rather absurd film.

All in all I found Twilight: Eclipse to be bloated, boring, stiff and lifeless. I contemplated leaving well before the supposed climax, and did actually leave before the film finished (due to an unforeseen emergency). For some reason fans of the books seem to love the movie series also, which baffles me entirely, as the film betrays every good scene the book created, and leaves so much much wanting in terms of the characters.

Maybe they’re all just content to sigh at Jacobs abs?

1/5

Where do old toys go?: Toy Story 3 review

It’s been 11 long and lonely years since Woody and Buzz last graced the big screen. It’s been 15 since they first appeared. Believe me, I would know, I still remember sitting in that cinema as a 5 year old and falling in love with the toys from Andy’s room. I may also remember writing Andy on one of my shoes, but that’s beside the point.

So for me, there was no room for error on Toy Story 3. I needed Pixar to get this right, to ensure that there is still one series from my childhood that will remain in my mind as fantastic from beginning to end. So did I enjoy Toy Story 3? Unreservedly.

Toy Story 3 is yet another jewel in Pixars ever expanding crown. From the opening moments of Toy Story 3, I was hooked, just as I was all those years ago. The fantastic characters, the perfect score, the rich animation and colour ensured that I could not tear my eyes from the screen from opening credits till close. There were moments of pure elation and gut wrenching sadness. If you have loose tear ducts, I would suggest taking some tissues.

Toy Story 3 see’s Andy’s (John Morris) toys face one final adventure. Andy is headed for college, deciding to take childhood partner Woody (Tom Hanks) with him, whilst the Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the rest of the gang are headed for the attic.

Once again there is a mix-up (I’m looking at you Andy’s mum, get it together!) and the toy’s end up at Sunnyside Daycare, seemingly a utopia where there is never a shortage of children to play with them. Unfortunately, paradise it ain’t, with the daycare being run by the evil teddy Lotso, who lives the good life by ensuring new toys are in the firing line, whilst he and his cronies live the easy life in the butterfly room.

To be perfectly honest, there is very little to fault this movie on. The voice work is amazing, Pixar once again dazzled with their visual mastery, and the story is almost seamless.

Perhaps my only issue with this film is with one of the films most powerful scenes, towards the end. The scene is emotive, captivating, and actually quite frightening. I can’t help but think that this scene may be more than a little overwhelming for young children, I know that more than a few young children have been pretty scared by this scene.

I know that some people dislike the 3D aspects of modern films (Roger Ebert I’m looking at you), and many believe that the implementation of 3D dampens the colours of the films. This is certainly not an issue for Toy Story 3, with Pixar’s fantastic colour pallete once again wowing audiences.

Whether you are 10, 20 or 80, I have no qualms in recommending this film to anybody, because plain and simple, it’s fantastic.

5/5

Have you seen Toy Story 3? What did you think of the final chapter in this great trilogy?

So what have I missed?

Apologies for the lack of post’s readers, I have been away on holidays.

So in to make up for the lack of posts, enjoy this jumbo sized catch up session.

So what have we seen this past week?

There is a new trailer for The Social Network, and after just finishing the novel it is based on, I am pretty excited.

We have yet another new poster for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and it just as cool as those that came prior. This is another film I simply can’t wait to see.

The first reviews for the Christopher Nolan mystery-thriller Inception have started appearing, and it is looking like it will more than exceed expectations.

In other review news, I recently checked out Toy Story 3 and Twilight: Eclipse, and will be posting reviews soon. I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out which was the better film (I may have left the latter early due to an emergency situation/boredom).

I will also be releasing a new edition of The Countdown, this team I offer my choices for the 10 coolest characters to ever hit the big screen.

So that’s all for now readers, but stay tuned for more regular updates and reviews.

Happy viewing.