The Cynical Optimist 14/03/08

In 2012, apparently, the shit will hit the fan.

While your casual moviegoer may not recognize the name Roland Emmerich, they would certainly remember the mindless spectacles he has brought to the screen in past years. Emmerich is one of the minds behind films such as “Independence Day,” the atrocious 1998 remake of “Godzilla” and of course “The Day After Tomorrow,” a global warming flick where Jake Gyllenhaal and Dennis Quad outrun frost and survive a new ice age.

Lately you’ve probably heard his name thrown around with “10,000 B.C.,” an epically-bad romp through the Pleistocene. The plot, if it can even be called that, is set in the days of early man. The heroes in this sprawling saga (which sucks) are a group of unnamed tribal people who all just so happen to have supermodel bodies and a love for the English language.

Anyway, I’m getting off topic before I can even get on topic. Emmerich’s next film is entitled, “2012,” which is a disaster film that takes place in the year for which it is titled. Not much is known about the film but rumor has the story revolving around the Mayan calendar and the end of the world.

Strange, I seem to recall another film about the same thing. Wasn’t Michael Bay doing a little flick by the name of “2012: War of Souls” with Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, the writing team from “Transformers?”

Seems like another “Armageddon” vs. “Deep Impact” kind of situation coming up – either way we lose. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the world will end before 2012.

Superman: Man of Still Happening?

Empire Online recently spoke with director Bryan Singer, who says that he has started working on “Superman: Man of Steel.”

“I’m just getting back with writers after the strike. We’re just in the development phase. I’m starting to develop a sequel…with the intention of directing it,” he told the mag.

About the negative reaction to the first film’s focus on the drama instead of the action, Singer added, “The first one was a romantic film and a nostalgic film… And now that the characters are established, there’s really an opportunity to up the threat levels.”

Well, I’m glad he’s not apologizing for the story-driven film he delivered with “Superman Returns” and it’s also promising that he’s sticking with it. Word on the street is he’s calling in Kurtzman and Orci (man, they’re getting all kinds of play in this column!) for the script.

That’s cool, although I wish Mike Dougherty were still attached to the project. Speaking of Mike – what the hell ever happened to “Trick ‘r’ Treat?”

Aliens Vs. Predator 3…

According to ShockTilYouDrop.com, Fox has given the go-ahead on a third “Alien Vs. Predator” film, even though the last one did considerably worse than the first film. Now, most of you know my thoughts and feelings on “Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem,” as it was the topic of my first column here at MovieHole, but if you missed it be sure to check the archives.

Anyway, is this necessary? I mean honestly – I would much rather see a Predator 3 or a James Cameron-driven Alien 5 than this tripe. Supposedly this one will take place in space, which is exactly where in the fuck the first one should have taken place! Instead of fuckin’ Antarctica and small-town Colorado, maybe the filmmakers should focus on keeping the film where it fucking belongs – IN SPACE. Jesus, it isn’t rocket science people!

Random Snippets

I am part of a film production company called (un)Heralded Films and we’ve just released a volume one DVD that combines the best of our past efforts. If you’re interested, please head over to http://unheralded.net to take a look at trailers, pictures, bios and our own special section of reviews!

Also, anyone see the new “Incredible Hulk” trailer? It looks pretty good, actually – although I feel as if I’ve seen the ending of the movie already. The only thing I’m not so sure of is the special effects, they feel a little too Xbox 360 for me, but then again anything’s got to be better than that last “Hulk” flick with Nick Nolte and those horrible mutated poodles…

Recommendations:

So, here’s the part of the column where I tell you what to watch, read, listen to or play:

1.) Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Nintendo Wii)
2.) Fables (graphic novel by Bill Willingham)
3.) The Dark Tower series (by Stephen King) – SEE BELOW!
4.) LOST Season 4
5.) Bioshock (Xbox 360)

There, that should completely engulf every facet of your craving for good stories and intense interaction.

The Gunslinger: A review

It took twelve years for Stephen King to finish The Gunslinger, the introductory novel to his seven-part magnum opus, The Dark Tower. The novel was inspired by the poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” by Robert Browning, which King read as a sophomore at the University of Maine. With his novel, King wanted to play with the idea of trying a long romantic novel embodying the feel, if not the exact sense, of the Browning poem he was so inspired by.

Being as this novel was published in 1982, two years before my own birth, you could say I’m little behind on my reading. Anyway, I recently picked up a dusty paperback at a used bookstore and decided to dive head first into yet another magnificent King universe.

As you might have guessed by the title, this novel tells the story of the gunslinger, a man named Roland, and his quest to catch the man in black, which will ultimately lead him to the Dark Tower, a nexus for alternate dimensions. We are introduced to a world that is recognizable as the Old West, but exists in an alternate time frame or parallel universe to our own; Roland exists in a place where “the world has moved on.”

The gunslinger’s world has a few things in common with our own, however, including memories of the song “Hey Jude” and references to the bible and even familiar children’s rhymes. There is also mention of a religious zealot who worships an AMOCO gas pump that somehow found its way into their world.

The gunslinger meets a kid named Jake, a boy from Earth who somehow crossed over into this world. Together they set out on a long journey to catch the man in black – a mysterious man who may be the devil himself, or even God in this alternate land. I don’t really want to spoil anything else – but this book is quite imaginative and is a darker, more surreal Lord of the Rings epic with a heavy foundation in sci-fi fantasy and horror.

I’ve already moved on to reading the second book in the series, The Drawing of the Three. King’s imagination, and the way he describes in horrid detail the trappings of his universe is something to behold, especially in his earlier works from the ’80s. If you haven’t picked up The Gunslinger, then it’s definitely something to check out…

I hear the boys from Lost, Damon Lindelof and J.J. Abrams, picked up the rights to all seven Dark Tower books and they’re currently penning a script for The Gunslinger as we speak. I really hope so – if done right, this could be a truly amazing series of films…