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Ever since TWILIGHT unleashed itself upon the masses in 2008, movie fans have been quick to grab the pitchforks and torches damning it to hell. Yeah, they're pretty bad in any context, book or otherwise. Even the cast of the film loathes it, but you'll do some crazy shit for a paycheck. Now that the final installment, TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN PART 2 has been released, it's all over. No more swarms of teenage girls in tents waiting for Jacob, no more absurd plot summaries, and no more Stephenie Meyer--wait--she still has THE HOST. Sorry. The point is, that finally it's gone and another young adult novel series, THE HUNGER GAMES has taken its place.
THE HUNGER GAMES is everything TWILIGHT is not. It has a strong female lead, less barf worthy romance, and has what we like to call "a meaning". Hell, it may not be for everyone, but it beats the release of any TWILIGHT film ever. As a female, I'm just happy that young girls will have someone else to look up to aside from Bella Swan, whose only conviction in life is blowing an 80-year old vampire.
The future of risk in Hollywood is going to be, well, a risky business. To say the least in the most obvious language possible. WIth a worldwide box office of $65.6 million off of a budget that totaled $100 million, CLOUD ATLAS was hardly the risk-affirming success story it could (and arguably should on principle alone) have been. The Wachowski siblings will, in all likelyhood, receive a pass in the eyes of industry executives because their form-bending experiment was largely financed through independent sources, but combined with the equally dismal performance of DREDD 3D I imagine the future of risky stories in Hollywood is a shaky one.
But that doesn't mean it's all over. That doesn't mean the future of Hollywood will be filled with numbered sequels that stick to the known, to the expected, to the obvious entertainment tropes - it just means we as audiences will have to fight all the fiercer and speak up all the louder for what we want. Fight by picking up a camera and making the kind of movie you hope to see. Speak by spending your money in support of theatrical releases of the sorts of movies you hope to see more of. Hollywood may be the boat, and studio executives may have their hands on the rudder, but audiences are the current that truly guides the boat along. Let's do what we can to work together and take cinema to new places, unexpected places, exciting places, startling, wonderous, frightening places.
Because, after all, "our lives and our choices, each encounter, suggest a new potential direction." There are thousands of ways to go - all it takes is heart and commitment and the dream to enact change. However we want the future of Hollywood to be, 2012 has proved all the more so that it is up to us and us alone to realize that vision.
I think I speak for everyone when I say: f*ck everything about this. It's bad enough that a good majority of trailers are either misleading or poorly put together, but it's an entirely different thing when I have to sit through of a preview of a preview of something shitty to come. What I want to know is who thought this was a good idea? I think it might have something to do with the snippets that outlets like Access Hollywood throw at us the day before a trailer launch. "Here's a 2-second look at this Summer's soon to be biggest blockbuster!" So, as movie fans we're salivating at the mouth for a 2-second peek? What are we, animals? I think not. I'm sure the collective is like, "Feed the fanboy/fangirl, so they'll get off our ass." Yeah...that helped your cause.
In 2013, I'd like to see less of this and more skill when it comes to putting together a decent trailer. There are amateurs on YouTube coming out with better stuff than we have been seeing in the past couple of years. Get it together.
Taylor Kitsch probably had the toughest year of his life when it should have been one of the greatest. Starring in two big-budget tentpole films and a mainstream one from a renowned director, Kitsch should have been basking in stardom this year, but instead is left with three flops to his name. JOHN CARTER, BATTLESHIP, and SAVAGES all failed to make the kind of box office that solidified star power, even if at least two of them were pretty damn good. Is Kitsch to blame for this? Hardly. But, it sure stings anyway.
The former Friday Night Light’s star certainly has charisma, looks, and talent, but suffered what can only be considered bad luck. Kitsch aligned himself with projects that had to look like amazing opportunities on paper, but ultimately ended up being duds. It goes to show you that there are no guarantees in Hollywood. Hopefully, Kitsch will have a better year in 2013 with Peter Berg’s LONE SURVIVOR.
After a bumpy last entry, the newest James Bond film, SKYFALL, realigned the stars for the franchise and ended up being the most successful film of the series, which also celebrated its 50-year anniversary. The 23rd outing for Ian Fleming’s heroic British spy was directed with the masterful touch of Sam Mendes and flourished with an intense performance from Daniel Craig, who stands as the perfect Bond for the current era. Strong, smart, and brutal, he’s pitch perfect as 007, bringing a hefty amount of charm and intensity to the decades-old character.
With the worldwide gross of $950 million and counting, SKYFALL has lit the fuse on a franchise that had struggled to find it’s footing in the last decade. Adding to the success of SKYFALL is the sales for the BOND 50 blu-ray boxed set, which was the highest-grossing blu-ray boxed set in 2012, raking in an impressive $50 million and counting. That’s a billion-dollar year for the franchise! With both critical and commercial success like that, it’s safe to say that Bond is back with a vengeance (and with more on the way for 2014!).
We never thought after RISE OF COBRA that there would be excitement for a G.I. JOE sequel. But, the RETALIATION trailer gave us hope as it looked closer to the cartoon action series and less like a TRANSFORMERS wannabee. Hello, Dwayne Johnson and goodbye Marlon Wayans! But, it was not meant to be.
Weeks before it was to be released, G.I. JOE: RETALIATION was pushed almost a year to March 2013 for a conversion to 3D. Many also theorized that Channing Tatum's box office success with MAGIC MIKE, 21 JUMP STREET, and THE VOW had made the future Sexiest Man Alive a surefire way to increase box office. We were left wondering if the movie was just a mess that the studio was trying to salvage. If the recent trailer is any indication, maybe the delay was for the best as it looks better than it did in early 2012.
Tony Scott, one of the most influential action directors in the history of film took his own life on August 19, 2012. For me, it felt like a personal loss, as Scott is the filmmaker I credit for awakening my love and passion for film. The British-born brother of equally successful director Ridley Scott, Tony had a style that was unmatched and often copied. His in-your-face close ups, hazy backdrops, smash-cut editing, and filtered shots set a standard that is mirrored all throughout Hollywood today and very rarely credited to the filmmaker who started it all.
Scott leaves behind an epic repertoire of films, including TOP GUN, DAYS OF THUNDER, CRIMSON TIDE, TRUE ROMANCE, SPY GAME, THE LAST BOY SCOUT, and MAN ON FIRE, amongst others. His style, charisma, and passion will be sorely missed, but his legacy will live on in a body of work that has both entertained and inspired film aficionados from all walks of life. “You’re so cool, Tony.”
In July we saw the completion of Christopher Nolan's tenure with the world of Batman, and what a finale it was. Some felt it to be forced, others loved it most of all, and still more found it to be an impressive and effective (if not wholly successful) effort. But no matter what you thought of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and Nolan's time with the franchise as a whole, I think it's safe to say we agree that he certainly went out with a style all his own and in a way that kept the world alive and well while still concluding one of the most financially successful and pop-culture-relevant trilogies of our time.
The questions of course now become: where do we go from here? Where does Hollywood go from here? Where do DC and Warner Brothers go from here? We've heard plenty of rumors about JUSTICE LEAGUE and about seeing a new solo Batman adventure grace cinema screens as early as 2016 or 2017, one that would presumably take a more comic book-friendly tone to match the presence of more fantastical heroes like... the rest of DC's god-like pantheon. But no matter what track such a solo film might take, Nolan's influence cannot be denied and cannot be ignored. He has, in the words of what is perhaps his greatest collaborative creation, changed things. Forever.
Because three things are for certain, no matter what the posters claimed: the legend of Batman continues, as does that of Christopher Nolan. And we are better for it.
Who knew that THE AVENGERS would $1 billion dollars worldwide? Okay, maybe you got close, but there's no way you knew it would be that successful. Adaptations of comics to film started out as a pipedream. Much like what was happening to video game films, no matter how good a story was, the movie version always turned out laughable. Then one day, Christopher Nolan's BATMAN series came along and swept all that under the rug. DC had finally done it-- so where did that leave Marvel? Sure, they have a few decent stand alone comic films, but how would they reach the same success as Nolan? With THE AVENGERS.
Now that Marvel is hitting it out of the park, they have made it easy for other comic projects to get the greenlight. For example: JUSTICE LEAGUE. Did THE AVENGERS make it look easy? Hardly. Warner Bros. has been trying to get JUSTICE LEAGUE off the ground for sometime now. But now that an ensemble comic film has broken some serious ground, a movie like JUSTICE LEAGUE can get made with less fear.
In one of the most unexpected pieces of movie news of this or any year, Disney announced that they had purchased LucasFilm and all rights to future STAR WARS projects. But what really sent our heads spinning was the news that we would be getting a new trilogy starting with EPISODE VII in 2015! And then we would continue to get more STAR WARS every few years beyond that.
Apparently following the Marvel model, STAR WARS would finally become the epic series we always hoped that it would be. Now fanboy speculation will not end as we can look forward to years of stories that could range from adaptations of the beloved Thrawn novels to maybe even some tales of the Old Republic. All that we know is that it has only been months and we have already had dozens of articles about STAR WARS to whet our appetites for 2013 and beyond. May the Force be with us!