Friday, September 14, 2012

Dredd [ Movie Review ]

The Pitch

It was as simple as keeping the helmet on.

Sylvester Stallone had trouble keeping them on during the 1995 Judge Dredd movie. It's "understandable" that the filmmakers would not want to hide the face of their most bankable star but then again, it defiles the tradition of the Judge Dredd comics as Judge Dredd rarely removes his helmet.

The result was a critical and commercial flop. Judge Dredd creator John Wagner made his sentiment clear that the 1995 movie was not a proper Judge Dredd movie. The negative reaction was so bad that no one dares to touch it again for many years.

Fast forward to 2012 and the tough lawman is getting a reboot. Early indications would appeared that they got it right this time.

When the new Judge Dredd movie was announced, lead actor Karl Urban (Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy of 2009 Star Trek) reportedly said that he wouldn't have taken on this role if Judge Dredd was to remove his the helmet during the movie. As a long time fan of the Judge Dredd, Karl Urban understood the need for Judge Dredd to keep his helmet on in order to honor the comics roots. That for me was a sign that this reboot was heading towards the right way.

Another plus point for this Dredd reboot would be that Alex Garland is writing and producing this movie. His screenplay for Sunshine and 28 Days Later are both impressive entries to their respective genre. His short story "Sunrise" was my faveourite story in Batman Black and White Vol 3 comic. I am always interested to see what screenplay will he be writing next and to find out that he will be writing this Dredd movie was just another sweet incentive to catch this movie as soon as it comes out.

Last but not least, endorsement from Judge Dredd creator John Wagner and one of my faveourite Judge Dredd artist Simon Bisley. If these people who made Judge Dredd worked in it's comics form are supporting the movie, it's a really good sign for the movie.

Dredd Prologue Comics

Before heading to the movie, perhaps you might be interested to check out the origin story for the movie villain Ma-Ma. The origin comics can be found here and IGN has a motion comics over here.

Trailer for Dredd

Bulk of the trailer felt awfully similar to The Raid Redemption (shown in Singapore earlier this year). It would seemed that it was an unfortunate coincidence as the writing process for Dredd took place before The Raid Redemption started production and it's unlikely that both parties copied each other's premise for a movie. Other than that, awesome "Slo-Mo" special effects with it's dazzling color saturation and slow motion effect :)

MTV Exclusive 'Dredd 3D' Featurette

Contains some new footage that's not featured on the trailer or various TV spots. Karl Urban, John Wagner and Alex Garland contributing some insights to this Dredd movie. Highlight of this featurette would be definitely be John Wagner summarizing Judge Dredd as your greatest hero and biggest nightmare wrapped up in one. Nuff Said!

The Plot

The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One--a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called "Judges" who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge--a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of "Slo-Mo" experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.

Quick Review
An admirable adaption of Judge Dredd comic. Karl Urban did a fine job in reintroducing the beloved British comic character. the problem was that we just had the raid redemption earlier this year and there was too much repetitive gunfights that were no where as impressive as the raid. DREDD ultimately makes a good introduction arc but it would have been better if there more revelations Dredd and rookie Judge Anderson.

Rating *** 1/2

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ruby Sparks [Coming Soon]

The Pitch

It's not a new concept. When it comes to magically creating the dream girl, John Hughes did it with Weird Science back in 1985. A successful novelist with writer's block encountering his creation in real life and realizing that what he writes could have an effect on his creation? Marc Forster's Stranger than Fiction with Will Ferrell did a pretty good job back in 2006.

So what made Ruby Sparks stood out? I would say it's the Little Miss Sunshine factor.

The directorial film debut of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris was seriously good and unforgettable. The comedy drama road film Little Miss Sunshine was quirky, heartwarming, poignant and funny. The directors demonstrate that they could handle multiple characters well and make us love them all. It's hard to believe it's been six years since their debut and I been anticipating their follow up to their critically acclaimed road movie.

Little Miss Sunshine also brought my attention to Paul Dano. He continues to reaffirm his acting chops in There Will Be Blood. Lately he been doing forgettable supporting roles for the likes of Knight and Day and Cowboys and Aliens. I wonder if the trio of Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris and Paul Dano could bring back some of the Little Miss Sunshine magic.

Before I ends this pitch, it's interesting to note that Zoe Kazan who plays Ruby Sparks is currently dating Paul Dano. Let's see if any of the real sparks get rub off on the film reel.

The Plot

A sharp, modern take on the Pygmalion myth, RUBY SPARKS is the story of a novelist’s vision who inexplicably comes to life, only to prove far more complicated than even he could have imagined. With a light touch and a dash of magical realism, the first screenplay from actress and playwright Zoe Kazan attracted the attention of Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris, the married team who directed the run-away hit LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. The film takes an unpredictable route into fantasy, identity and the ways we invent love – and how love can re-invent us.

(Taken from Cathay Webpage )