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Friday, Jul 22, 2011
Hollywood has defended (the practice of trailer spoilers), arguing that fans want to know the basics of their upcoming experience, and giving away "some" details allows them to make a more informed decision.

A few days ago, the trailer for Steven Soderbergh’s latest film, a thriller entitled Contagion, was released around the world, and immediately a certain amount of buzz began to build. It wasn’t over the storyline about a global pandemic quickly growing out of control, or the stellar cast that includes Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Laurence Fishburne. No, within a few short hours of its release, the web was working overtime to lambast the decision to reveal one of the movie’s major plot points. In case you haven’t heard, we will put up the traditional SPOILER warning, but since this fact is also the main focus of this piece, it seems rather moot. Toward the tail end of the preview,  as things are growing more and more desperate, Damon learns that his wife, played by Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow, has died from the disease.

Shock! Horror! A major star actually succumbs to the main plot point. While we don’t know the particulars, including when exactly this happens in the narrative and whether or not Damon is actually being told the truth (could be one of those ‘secreted away for experimentation’ ruses), many in Messageboard Nation couldn’t believe that a major motion picture selling itself on subject matter and star power would eighty-six one of its important leads in such a pre-release manner. After all, all the Gwyneth fans out there are probably fuming that their favorite is predestined to buy the farm - remember, at least from the trailer’s viewpoint - while others in the cast are going to live (again, supposedly).

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Friday, Jul 1, 2011
Transformers: Dark of the Moon is another exercise in the one-dimensional portrayal of women for Michael Bay.

The news surrounding Transformers: Dark of the Moon has focused as much on the dispute between former leading lady Megan Fox and director Michael Bay as it has on the actual film. Even though Fox’s expressions were less than eloquent, and the terms she decided to use were reprehensible,  Transformers 3 demonstrates that there is validity to her point about Bay portraying women in a negative light. While I wouldn’t go as far as to call him misogynistic, here are some observations on the film that outline his one-dimensional portrayal of women. (warning: this will obviously entail a few details on the plot, so don’t read on if you don’t want to be spoilered). 

The film starts off with a long tracking shot of Rosie Huntington-Whitely’s tanned and toned derriere walking up a flight of stairs. She is Sam’s new girlfriend—the only explanation for the complete absence of Fox’s Michaela is that Michaela “couldn’t deal with it” and left. The first scene also shows that Sam is annoyed that Carly has to provide for him, her “American boy-toy.” He is desperately looking for a job to cover his half of the rent, and the role-reversal is making him so grumpy that Carly readily offers to reward his job of keeping an eye on the house with non-monetary pleasures.

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Monday, May 23, 2011
The best preview of 2011, hands down...

Finally - a trailer that “gets” it.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Real Steel appears to be Michael Bay by way of Mattel, a console title waiting for IGN and Attack of the Show to sing its replay value praises.

Granted, it didn’t have a lot going for it at the time. That cinematic Antichrist himself, Shawn Date Night at the Museum for the Pink Panther Levy was set to direct, and while pleasant to look at, Hugh Jackman appeared to be spinning his superstar wheels in yet another grinding action effort. Then the teaser trailer arrived, and suddenly, Real Steel looked like it might actually be pretty good. The premise - a future world where robots fought to the mechanical death for the amusement of a jaded population - had promise (it was based on a short story by genre ace Richard Matheson and was actually made into a memorable episode of the old Twilight Zone) and with today’s ever polished CG, the F/X should/would blow us away. Without more of the plot, Real Steel felt like Stuart Gordon’s underappreciated Robot Jox, except with a splash of improved eye candy.

Then the latest preview hit the Web yesterday, and all genre goodwill just…died. To see what Levy had done to the idea, to see how the entire movie switched gears from a action packed punch-out to a warmed over Kazam was crushing. Who knew that this high tech tentpole for the Fall of 2011 was an interactive video game adaptation of The Champ, complete with a washed up pugilist (Jackman) looking for redemption, an equally out to pasture automaton that everyone pegs as an underdog, and a precious whiny weepy little brat (Dakota Boyo) making sure that everything that happens is a directly result of his desire to have the entire future shock world revolve around his pug nosed snottiness.  Oh course, he’s also the son of a distant and disaffected Jackman.

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Friday, May 6, 2011
If you’ve seen Charles Kaufman’s Mother’s Day, you know that loving mothers come in many forms. Now, Darren Lynn Bousman comes with a remake of the 1980 cult classic. A lot less scary, but still, not all moms will appreciate a ticket to the movie theater.

“You have made your mother very proud”—for those familiar with Charles Kaufman’s 1980 film Mother’s Day, that seemingly endearing sentence will never have the same innocent and touching quality anymore. It was the punch line that succeeded graphic scenes of rape and violence committed by Mother’s gruesome twosome, framed in what The New York Times called an “absurdist comedy” while the director himself referred to it as a satire.  Kaufman’s version will be released on Blu Ray soon, but that’s not the only thing that gives the film a current twist.

Darren Lynn Bousman (of Saw 2-5 infamy) directed a same-titled remake of the film, or better, a reinterpretation. While there’s no official U.S. wide release date yet, Bousman will attend the Midwestern premiere of the film in Chicago, on Saturday, 7 May at 11.59PM at the Music Box Theater, and the film has been released in countries such as the Netherlands just in time for the commercial holiday. But in this case, most mothers will be happier receiving the standard bouquet of flowers than a trip to the movie theater. For all of you brave people, an intro to both films.

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