Category Archives: Movies

Man of Steal: Trailer for rising superhero uses ode to fallen wizard

“You… shall not… use my death music for yet another reboot of yet another superhero movie!”

We’ll talk more about “The Dark Knight Rises,” because that was an amazing movie. For one thing, it put cops in a really good light, but elaborating on that would be dancing with spoilers. Still, I wanted to call the cops during the trailers before that movie, for music theft.

It happened during the preview for “Man of Steel,” the Superman reboot coming from “Watchmen” director Zack Snyder. As you watch this trailer, listen to the music:

Sound familiar? Remind you of sad hobbits? It should:

“Man of Steel” used “The Bridge of Khazad-dûm,” an orchestral piece composed by Howard Shore for “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.” It plays as the fellowship escape a horde of orcs, dance across a crumbling bridge, dodge arrows and escape a balrog. Almost everyone: Gandalf clinging for his life off the side of a bridge thanks to an extremely lucky whipstroke, tells the rest of those fools to fly, then falls. Because the hobbits in the fellowship hadn’t seen “The Two Towers” yet, they didn’t know that Gandalf put a hurt on that huge hellbeast, so they were kind of depressed.

As if you couldn’t tell how sad everyone was, Shore composed arguably one of the most heartbreaking sequences of music ever composed. (Jump to about 4:42 for the good stuff.) The phrase is about 1:20 long and puts a sadness in you that two hours of Greg Edmonson couldn’t match. Director Peter Jackson brilliantly hit the mute button and kept Shore’s music running, smartly silencing the sound of sniveling, sniffling hobbits.

In a nutshell: It’s not like the “Man of Steel” trailer lifted a piece of classical music. It used a piece of music specifically made for one of literature’s most recognized scenes. Sure, the trailer makers probably had the rights. But it ain’t right.

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“Inception” lives up to all the hype

It’s not often that a movie lives up to the hype, but “Inception” does it. It’s been called the best movie of the summer, the summer’s only great adult movie, the next big thing in sci-fi, the next “Matrix” and more. It’s all true. Go see it. Now. Skip work if you have to.

Christopher Nolan has done an incredible job in creating Nebuchadnezzer’s nightmare — a journey into the layers of consciousness found inside our own heads when we dream. The action is great, the special effects are dizzying, but what makes this movie excellent is that the story drives each and every loud boom.

Everything you have seen in trailers and commercials — from the huge freight train plowing through a downtown intersection to gravity defying scenes featuring spinning hotel hallways — has a reason for being there that relates directly to the story.

As to what that story is: I don’t want to spoil anything for you. Just go see it. “Inception” is a true mindbender that will be remembered alongside the greatest sci-fi movies ever made.

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Downey nails acceptance speech at Globes

By now, you know the highlights of Sunday’s Golden Globes. Avatar won best director and dramatic movie. Some argue it was undeserving; my general feeling is “Meh.” You also know that host Ricky Gervais got in a beautiful dig at Mel Gibson. But I thought the best part of the night was the acceptance speech of Robert Downey Jr. after winning the award for best actor in a musical or comedy. My favorite line:

“I don’t have anybody to thank. These guys, they needed me! Avatar was gonna take us to the cleaners. If they didn’t have me they didn’t have a shot, buddy!”

His speech didn’t impress some as much as his beard did. Eric Eisenberg of Cinema Blend thinks his tight, Tony Stark grill means there’s some reshooting of Iron Man 2 going on. But We Are Movie Geeks said it’s for another project entirely.

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Stuck in my head: An ‘Up’-lifting song

I came across this video about a week ago on The music is composed entirely from sounds and music from “Up,” the recent Pixar movie. Words can’t describe it. Now it can be stuck in your head, too!

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‘Sherlock’ nothing like books, and that’s OK

I’m a Sherlock Holmes fan. I’ve read most of the stories at least twice, and completely agree with the sci-fi writer (I think it was William Gibson, but I could be wrong) who said that the stories demonstrate the value of being observant.

I’m not a purist, however. As much as movies can ruin books (Jurassic Park), they can improve them as well (Lord of the Rings). The latter happened with director Guy Ritchie’s vision of the legendary crime fighter, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

I was OK with the liberties he took with the legendary stories. Holmes and Irene Adler sharing an adventure? No problem. Holmes a brawling, stocky short guy with no deerstalker or legendary big pipe? Didn’t bother me. The biggest liberty was one of my favorites: Watson, played by Jude Law, was an assertive guy instead of the doddering groupie he plays in the written word. In this version, we didn’t read about Holmes explaining how he figured things out — we watch it actually happen.

The one thing that was true to the stories was Holmes photographic powers of observation and mastery of obscure facts. That resulted in what Globe reviewer Benji Tunnell described as an impossible mystery to figure out. He rated the movie highly, but wrote that part of the joy of a mystery is being able to solve it. That was never Doyle’s intent with Holmes — the writer didn’t want any of the readers to figure it out. He wanted readers to thrill at Holmes’ abilities.

Overall, great movie. Can’t wait for the sequel — which is obviously coming.

Disney sale approved by Marvel shareholders

Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four and all of Marvel’s other creations now reside at the House of Mouse.

According to the Associated Press, Marvel Entertainment’s shareholders have approved the company’s acquisition by Disney. The $4.3 billion sale is expected to be approved by the end of the day.

So why should any self-respecting geek be geeked out by the potential of a ruthless corporate overlord machine turning Marvel’s great characters into a merchandising slaughterhouse? Two words: Pixar, Muppets.

Pixar’s creative edge has not been tainted by Disney’s ownership in the least. The movies coming from Pixar have gotten better and better since Toy Story hit the silver screen. And the Muppets have enjoyed a resurgence of sorts on the Disney Channel — it’s nice to see Kermit, Piggy and others doing actual creative things instead of hocking for Long John Silver’s. For instance:

Sure, the Marvel purchase is a move to reach boys who just aren’t into the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana, and there are bound to be many more awful movies based on Marvel characters. But bad movies about Marvel characters has been the rule, lately. You saw Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, right? Marvel is still going to be in the comic-making business. This might free up the artists to try something other than superheroes, as Mark Bernadin of EW suggests.

Joe: Geeked out about his new blog

I’m enjoying the fresh digs around here.

For those of you who followed me on Show You State, my apologies. I was recently promoted to Features Editor, and my understanding editor agreed that I had my hand in too many cookie jars. So no more Show You State… expect it to be deleted soon.

This blog is going to stick pretty close to the features world. Updated once every whenever-I-feel-like-it, I’ll post all about pop culture, from the major Hollywood releases to the latest viral videos. Should be fun.