Wednesday, December 23, 2009
In fact, Metacritic.com just named PAN'S LABYRINTH the overall top movie of the decade based on a score of theatrical reviews.
It also got a shout out in the NJ Star-Ledger. Metronews Canada called it "one of the decade's most amazing movies."
The best quote comes from Lucy Jones of the Telegraph, who said "I walked out of Pan's Labyrinth feeling like a piece of gum on a frozen pavement. Spat out by a serial killer." She ranks the scene with Ofelia in the Pale Man's lair as the #9 Scene of the Decade.
It is great to see that the film is sticking with people. This is evidence that it will remain as an all-time classic.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I cannot overemphasize that much of what the studio and filmmakers have said so far about dates is tentative. Until the two scripts are finished, the budget planned, and the greenlight given, no really firm dates can be devised. In the meantime, all announced dates are presumably targets, and they will change as the decision-makers gain more information.
So whether the principal photography begins in April or July or whenever, there is no real delay. It’s a delay only in relation to estimates, not a firm schedule. These procedures are normal in Hollywood. There is no need to imagine a crisis based on the Tolkien Trust lawsuit, MGM’s financial crisis, or some sort of creative disagreement between the scriptwriters and the studio.
Second, on the release dates of the finished films, the interviewer asks, “So you believe in December 2011 the first part is going to be in theaters. Peter replies, “At this stage, that is certainly the plan.”
Again, that’s tentative. Studios frequently change the release dates of films, especially if the release date was estimated very early on, before the scripting/greenlighting process was even begun. A delay would be disappointing, but it wouldn’t be indicative of some behind-the-scenes calamity.
Pay heed everyone - Kristin is a smart cookie.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Guillermo has made a few posts recently on their message boards and I thought I would share them with you:
On writing The Hobbit with Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens:
They are so absolutely indispensable... We have a precious collaboration and they are amazingly talented and fluent and brilliant in their writing. Now, you would be surprised- some of the funniest and most tender moments come from PJ or me also- and the ladies can be quite ruthless with the character's fates!! our collaboration is not quite gender / trait specific. What is very beautiful is that we make it a point to be together in the writing process as much as humanly possible.
It also appears GDT is immensely enjoying himself:
there are times in our lives when a gift is offered to us. This experience has been that. PJ, Fran and PB are blessings in my life. The partnership is superb but meeting people with such great hearts to go along with imagination and courage is a rare thing in this world.
Guillermo was also enamored with some fan art, created by the user grammaboodawg.
WHERE can I get my hands ona copy of that art??? ITS GORGEOUS and FUNNY!! I am strangely flattered by the portrayal!!
They are in my image folder now!! (along with images of Goblins, Smaug, Spiders etc- you must know) I am happy-
The inspiration came from a Tom Scott cartoon he did for a NZ paper in December 2003
Finally, Guillermo elaborated a bit on his cameo appearance as a creature in THE HOBBIT
I had a hand on the design of the creature and I will personally sculpt the appliances that will be applied on my face and hands. I used to sculpt the creatures for NECROPIA (my FX company) and I miss it a bit. I will have a line or two and die quickly.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
So I watched the SPLICE clip. I was hoping for one of three things from it:
1. Biological horror
2. Ethical dilemma
3. Scary science
I should probably clarify what I mean by "biological horror." By that I mean like freaky, gooey, scary, organic horror. The perfect example of biological horror is ALIEN. Facehuggers, impregnating parasites, acidic blood, etc.
Well, I really didn't get any of those things from the clip. The beginning starts promising, with a scientist locked in a chamber when suddenly something in there starts to move. A slight sense of claustrophobia, as the camera shoots from inside the mask. My heartbeat raced just a tad.
But then I SAW the little booger. Unfortunately, he was kind of cute. Like a two-legged puppy dog. Nothing like the "facehugger" that Ripley and Newt battle. And what was kind of funny was that Adrien Brody was banging on the window shouting that it was dangerous.
That thing? That little cutey-pie? Maybe it was going to go all Monty-Python-white-rabbit on everybody.
Anyway, my point is that the clip was lacking the three things I was hoping to see from the clip. And probably part of the problem was that the clip was just out of context. Brody probably had a good reason to be freaking out, but out of context it didn't make a lot of sense.
I'm still looking forward to the film. I think it does have quite a bit of the three qualities I mentioned above. If some "spy" out there gets to see the film on Saturday at the Sitges Film Festival, drop me a line and give me a review!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
GDT: But I went to school in Guadalajara, but it was a very small film school that we created. It became the film school of the university—but we created it. There was no film school in Guadalajara as a kid, so we said "let's make one" and eventually the university formalized it.So there you go - you're little GDT fun fact for the day.
Slant: Were you teaching there for a while?
GDT: The first year I was learning, the second year I was teaching.
Slant: Did you like being a professor?
GDT: Yeah, I'd actually love to teach again. I really enjoy that process.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The King in the Golden Mask, by Marcel Schwob
In a March 2002 interview with IGN.com, GDT mentioned this French writer's collection of short stories as his favorite book.
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
GDT: "As a kid, you have this notion that you are out of place and out of time. I think the character of Pip relates very intensely to Dickens and to me, too. The character of Mrs. Havisham is as close as Dickens gets to those Christopher Lee gothic horror films."
Source: New York Post
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
GDT: "If I had to choose one movie that I'd love to see survive a burning, I'd run into the woods with the can containing 'Frankenstein.' The book is incredibly important, too. When I read it as an adolescent, I identified with the Creature. As I became a lapsed Catholic, I identified with the Creature's plea, 'Why am I here, if I didn't choose to be born?'
Source: New York Post
Pet Sematary, by Stephen King
GDT: "I think Stephen King can play the boogey man better than anyone else. Seldom has any writer tapped into the primal fear of death, absolute darkness and lack of soul to the point that it provokes almost spiritual horror."
Source: New York Post
Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges
GDT: "Incredibly poetic fantasy, philosophical ruminations in the form of literature . . . In many of Borges' short stories, he asks, Can an imaginary world be as real as the actual one? This book has been a seminal one for me."
Source: New York Post
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCuller
Charlie Rose asked Guillermo in July of 2009 if he would ever film a love story. Guillermo replied, "I would love to do Carson McCuller’s The Heart is a Lonely Hunter…I loved the old movie with Alan Arkin and Sandra Locke, but I think the book is so much more full of possibilities."
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
1. THE HOBBIT(s) will be in stereoscopic 3D.
2. THE HOBBIT will be shot in THREE movies - two Del Toro movies covering the book itself and a third bridge movie.
3. Peter Jackson will direct the bridge movie.
4. Smaug and the characters in THE HOBBIT will be darker than in the book.
1. Maybe. I think GDT is hesitant because he doesn't want the spectacle to outweigh the story, which is so often the problem with 3D films. I do believe Jackson is in favor of it however.
2. I'm not buying it. For quite some time now, Guillermo has said there will be two movies that encompass the The Hobbit storyline. I don't find any reason for that to change, especially this late in the game. There will be some "supplemental content" - details on Gandalf's journey to find the Necromancer - but it will be interwoven into the Hobbit storyline. In other words, no bridge film.
3. Judging from interviews with PJ during the DISTRICT 9 publicity, I think he is prepared to step away from the lens and let Guillermo do his thing - and again, no bridge film.
4. Not really buying that either. GDT has always appreciated the "whimsy" of the book, and has vowed to keep that intact.
Monday, August 10, 2009
I'm excited that I will be picking up my brand spanking new laptop today. For a computer geek such as myself, this is a big event! I finally will be stepping away from my desktop and going fully mobile about the house! This should allow me to send the occassional tweet while I watch the kids. It has been really tough lately to find the time to even do that.
Some of you may be wondering what happened this weekend with the Wizard World Convention in Chicago. I was very excited to attend and meet up with some fellow DTF'ers and get to see Doug Jones and Luke Goss. Sadly, my cousin passed away last week unexpectedly and I had to cancel my trip to attend the funeral. So what was supposed to be a highlight of my year turned into a lowlight. My cousin was only 22 years old and died in his sleep. As I write this, we still don't know why. Very, very sad - I was heart broken for his parents and sisters.
I think it part of the grieving process to meditate on death and what it means to die. I thought about it quite a bit this week. I recommend to readers here to revisit some of Guillermo's thoughts on death - they are quite interesting.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Mata Mata is the place where HOBBITON is being constructed. I've been there and laid out a few new Hobbit holes but 99% we are just REPRODUCING what was there for the Trilogy. Its monitored every week from my office and then, as the work progresses Ill start travelling there.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Oh yeah, and it is scripted by Guillermo Del Toro and Matthew Robbins (the writing team last collaborated on MIMIC (1997) - also a Miramax film).
This will be the first true GDT horror film since MIMIC that involves monsters in dark places. So why the lack of buzz?
Is it because it is just getting started? The actors are in Melbourne shooting as we speak...
Is it because GDT isn't directing? (the task belongs to unknown talent Troy Nixey)
Is it because tabloid maven Katie Holmes is a turn-off for some?
I'm not sure of the answer, but I do know this is something to get excited about.
If anyone has seen the original 1973 TV movie, let us know what we can expect!
Monday, July 6, 2009
Also, here is a prototype for a Faun statuette that was on display at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con. Could we see this in 2009 as well?
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I always thought a stork left them under a cabbage leaf or something. A very dark, evil cabbage leaf.
Ok, I don't really believe that - a dark, evil cabbage leaf is actually where Barney the Dinosaur comes from. (Ever see DEATH TO SMOOCHY? That movie was highly underrated. Check it out.)
Anyway, I saw another great quote from Guillermo today care of Duane Dudek of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - check it out:
Q. Where does the vampire myth stem from us culturally?
A. Back when we were tribally nomadic, I believe we were cannibalistic. And as we became social and sedentary, our collective memory was, how do we deal with the fact that we drank the blood of our enemies or ate their hearts? And so we tried to deal with a mythological creature to explain this.
You can read the full interview here.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
"When mankind needed to eat and sleep as cavemen, we spent time making fire or finding water. We dealt with material things. But as soon as we wanted to figure out ourselves, we came up with angels and demons. We invented them to figure out ourselves. So I believe monsters are the key to understanding the universe. And I always try to write, and make movies where I play with that idea."
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Wired: You're describing a model that's more like a videogame. Is the merger of movies and games the first step?
del Toro: Unfortunately, I've found in my videogame experience that the big companies are just as conservative as the studios. I was disappointed with the first Hellboy game. I'm very impressed with the sandbox of Grand Theft Auto. You can get lost in that world. But we're using it just to shoot people and run over old ladies. We could be doing so much more.
Wired: But these nonlinear, hybrid storytelling forms involve gaming tech, which could trap them in a geek ghetto. What's going to bring down that wall?
del Toro: Go back a couple of decades to the birth of the graphic novel—I think we can pinpoint the big bang to Will Eisner's A Contract With God. Today, we have very worthy people doing literary comics. I think the same thing will happen on the Internet-gaming side. In the next 10 years, there will be an earthshaking Citizen Kane of games.
Wired: Are you going to create it?
del Toro: I'll be trying to make it. But I won't be trying until after The Hobbit.
Guillermo has talked about this sort of thing before - he has always had an interest in video games and melding them with film and/or TV to create a complete multimedia experience. If you want to read a fantastic interview with Guillermo about video games, check out this August 2008 Q&A with EDGE MAGAZINE.
It briefly mentions GDT's first attempt to develop a video game, a failed project called SUNDOWN with Terminal Reality, which we reported on here at DTF briefly in 2006.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Well, if you're idea of fun includes vampires, biological horror, scary folk tales, and the undead walking the earth, then I have a recommendation for you:
THE STRAIN - book one of the trilogy of novels from Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan.
If you're a big GDT fan (and I assume you are because you're reading this blog), then you are getting some classic, old school Guillermo here. This is his triumphant return to horror in a whole new medium.
The end result?
BLADE 2 meets CSI.
THE STRAIN is not a meditation like PAN'S LABYRINTH, or a metaphorical folk tale like THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE. It is an in-your-face horror thriller that is not for the squeamish.
Here is the set up:
A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.
In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . . So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city—a city that includes his wife and son—before it is too late.
Needless to say, I really enjoyed this book. It is very well written and honestly, I couldn't put it down. For my money, nothing holds my interest like a vampire plague, and this book has some cool new twists to the vampire mythology.
The premise of a vampire "infecting" its victims with a virus is not completely new: I've seen the idea before. What THE STRAIN does well is explore the infection of the unfortunate victim in great detail. The main character of THE STRAIN is Ephraim Goodweather, epidemiologist for the Center of Disease Control. His investigation as to the nature of this sudden and mysterious plague requires understanding the nature and effects of the virus itself.
In other words, the entire book is like playing in GDT's sandbox of the scientifically weird and grotesque. It is a medical journal for Guillermo's vision of the ultimate vampire.
Talk about Gross Anatomy.
But let's not forget Mr. Hogan's contributions. A master mystery writer (PRINCE OF THIEVES), Hogan's sense of pacing and suspense compliments Guillermo's sense of fantasy and horror perfectly - although from what Guillermo has said, it appears Chuck has a prolific eye for the macabre as well. He had never written a horror novel until now, but you would never know it.
In addition to Ephraim, there is a large cast of characters to this story, ranging from the heroic to the evil to the infected. Particularly ingenious is the character of Vasiliy Fet, a tough pest control expert that lends his expertise to Eph. It turns out that rats aren't all that different from vampires - and Fet uses that to his advantage.
Another strong character is the enigmatic Abraham Setrakian. A former professor, and current pawnbroker - his ties to the vampire threat not only go back to the WWII Holocaust Death Camps, but also to his childhood. He may be the best chance mankind has of surviving - too bad he's on heart medication.
I won't spoil anything about the vampires for you - that's the best part of the book - but I will say that they bare a striking similarity to the Reapers in BLADE 2. I know Guillermo said that he wasn't able to fully realize the Reapers the way he wanted to in that film, so perhaps this is finally his perfect vision of a vampire: grotesque, horrible, thirsty and a perfect evolutionary predator.
The wonderful part about THE STRAIN is that the novel is the perfect medium for bringing GDT's vampires to life. You understand them inside and out (literally), but also you'll get uncomfortable access to the thoughts and fears of those who are infected...or are being infected.
And that's stuff you'll never get from a movie, so consider it the ultimate bonus feature.
Friday, May 15, 2009
I realized today that with the marketing buzz for THE STRAIN finally starting to hit the general public - book tours, the official website, etc. - I'm actually getting excited AGAIN over the book. And I've already read it.
I was sitting on my couch last night, typing out some emails on my laptop, going over some of THE STRAIN news items you awesome fans out there forward to me, and I realized I needed to read it again - you know, to get all the little details I missed the first time.
I'll have to wait though - my wife snagged it. Maybe I should get her to post a review...
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Seriously, how cool is that? It almost feels like there is a new Guillermo Del Toro movie coming out, doesn't it?
Not just a GDT movie, but a GDT HORROR movie.
When's the last time we could say that? Answer: 2002 with BLADE 2. Seven years ago.
I've read the book, but I'm keeping my review in my back pocket for now. Let me just say this - reading a GDT story in a book is much different than watching a GDT movie on film.
First of all, there are things in this book that would never make it on film. The studios would never go for it. I have two specific moments in mind, but I won't spoil them for you. But think of this artform as GDT "unleashed."
Second, the advantage of reading a book is that it can literally put you inside a character's head. You can hear his thoughts and feel his emotions. Now imagine what those thoughts and feelings might be if the character is being violated by a vampire. This book puts you there, and it's not pleasant. The term"violated" is not strong enough to describe it.
For these two reasons alone, I love GDT's choice to put this story in a trilogy of books - I actually like it better than his original vision of a TV series.
He and Chuck Hogan will take you places that you could never go on film. And that's a good thing.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
(And you ARE crazy - don't try to deny it. I troll your message board sometimes.)
I'm happy to report that you won't be disappointed. JERRY is definitely what you had been hoping for: Doug Jones playing a romantic lead in a sweet independent comedy. And the film works. Doug hits just the right tone with his performance. He is melancholy, funny, likeable and most importantly - he creates a character that you want to root for. You want Jerry to get the girl. You pull for Jerry to get the new job. All of these things are integral to the movie succeeding, and Doug pulls it off well.
So, you ask, what is it about?
It is about a man that is lost, and his name is Jerry. Jerry has a mundane job as a salesman and a lonely home life. He is divorced. He is estranged from his daughter. He eats TV dinners at night and turns down invitations to socialize with his co-workers.
But one day, something sets off a spark inside him. Looking for a co-worker's party, Jerry mistakenly goes to the wrong address. Answering the door is Jordan (Katlyn Carlson). She's young and quirky and fun - everything that Jerry is not. As Jerry walks off the doorstep, a slight smile touches his face and the transformation begins.
Soon, he finds himself in a record store, learning about punk music, and making friends half his age. Is it a mid-life crisis? Not really - more like a mid-life awakening. He meets Jordan by chance at a bar where she works and a relationship begins - a relationship that is more of a mystery to Jerry than to Jordan.
The drama begins when Jerry's daughter returns to him after her mother's death. Soon we realize that the mistakes of his past are the biggest obstacle for him to build a new future. To Jerry, it's not only that he doubts his daughter will forgive him - he doubts if he can forgive himself.
Jerry and his daughter have a long overdue conversation
The cast was strong throughout, with Don Stark (That 70's Show) playing Doug's encouraging co-worker, Catherine Hicks (7th Heaven) as Jerry's forgiving boss, and Allison Scagliotti as Jerry's daughter. Especially good was Carlson as Jordan - her character reminds me of that really cute girl in high school that was always nice to me, but I was always too scared to ask her out. Her performance made me want to go back in time and try again.
I suppose the big question you are wondering is this: will this independent film find a distribution deal? I would say unlikely. The film is good, and director Morgan Mead and writer David Hamilton did an wonderful job of telling a story with a lot of heart, but it does fall a little short in some categories. I would have liked to have seen the film probe deeper into the punk rock scene. Also, some of the comedy falls flat at times, especially with Jerry's college-aged buddies. I feel like there was room for more laughs in the film overall. It slows down with the number of dramatic scenes. As it stands, the film is more drama than comedy. I think Mead missed an opportunity to make the film...well...more fun. Still, it is a good film and has some potential to have a cult following on DVD (particularly among the Fan Sapiens out there - you know who you are).
All in all, I would recommend MY NAME IS JERRY to my wife for a cozy night on the couch, and honestly that is a pretty good compliment for any film.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Morgan Mead at the premiere
Doug signing autographs...on the floor
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
The two quotes that I am most excited about are the following:
Del Toro: We've decided to have the Hobbit span the two movies, including the
White Council and the comings and goings of Gandalf to Dol Guldur.
Jackson: We're developing a lot more character and personality in the villain side of the story, too. We are having to deal with Sauron a little bit more specifically in this; how exactly he manifests himself and what form he's in, and how that is ultimately going to lead into what he becomes in the trilogy - and what he has been in the ancient past. That is something we are absolutely dealing with, much more so than what's in the book.
I'm glad that GDT and Jackson have confirmed that THE HOBBIT will include not only Bilbo's journey, but Gandalf's as well. For a good portion of the book, Gandalf is out of the picture, investigating disturbing events in Dol Guldor. This is Sauron's first attempt at manifesting himself as the Necromancer.
Sauron has a very complex backstory. Telling Sauron's history and exposing his intimate threat will be a great sideplot. The details of the backstory are familiar to die-hard Tolkien fans - they are spelled out in THE SILMARILLION.
I am more excited about this part of the story even moreso than the prospect of seeing Smaug onscreen for the first time - I think the theatrical potential is rich. The Middle Earth story elevates to a cosmic level when we start to learn about Sauron and the origin of the White Council.
Its not LOVECRAFT cosmic (that wouldn't be appropriate), but Sauron's story certainly is on the same level as the spiritual works by Milton or William Blake. I can only hope that GDT, Jackson and the rest of the writing team take the opportunity to tap into the celestial elements of Tolkien's mythology.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
You may have seen some articles around the internet proclaiming the MIMIC Criterion Director's Cut was coming soon. Unfortunately, this was an April Fool's Day gag from Twitch Film that got picked up by various sites.
The truth is that the much anticipated MIMIC Director's Cut DVD has been suspended. My source says that budget cuts at Disney/Miramax is the reason the project isn't happening at the moment.
But hold on to hope, GDT fans. You never know what might happen - a little boost in the economy and tidal wave of HOBBIT publicity might put the project back on the map.
In the meantime, why not read the ORIGINAL script by GDT and Matt Greenberg. Its very different from the movie, including this nice little surprise at the end (SPOILERS):
Monday, March 30, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The source of the debate is this statement from GDT:
I was never into heroic fantasy. At all. I don't like little guys and dragons, hairy feet, hobbits -- I've never been into that at all. I don't like sword and sorcery, I hate all that stuff.
Talk about painting yourself into a corner! GDT made these statements in Cannes to Salon in 2006 while promoting PAN'S LABYRINTH, and LOTR fans have had it in the back of their minds ever since.
Guillermo finally responded to this statement in May 2008 during an online chat with fans:
Guillermo del Toro: ...I stand by the general lines of my statement in 2006. When that statement was made- at different times during PANS LABYRINTH’s promotion, many a time I made the distinctive call to say that althought I had not read Tolkien outside THE HOBBIT I had been fascinated by the Trilogy films. A statement that I already had the chance to make in 2005 when PJ, Fran and I met about HALO.
So, no, generally I am NOT a “Sword and Sorcery” guy or a “Fantasy” guy- By the same token, I’m not a sci-fi guy but I would make a film based on Ellison in a second- or on Sturgeon or Bradbury or Matheson.
I’m not into Barbarians with swords but i would kill to tackle Fafhrd and Grey Mouse… and so on and so forth… I’m a believer but not a Dogmatic.
Allow me to put a final, finer point to our discussion. The aesthetics of HELLBOY II are completely Pop and color-saturated, much more comic book / modern than I would ever use in THE HOBBIT but- I spend two years creating a world of Fairies, Elves, Trolls, etc.
Two Years. A career / creative decision that precedes any inkling of THE HOBBIT. I wrote the script years before I met with PJ or Fran. In other words I dedicated the last 6 years of my career (between PL and HBII) to create Fantastical world inhabited by Fairies, Fauns, Ogres, Trolls, Elves, etc.
In that respect- I guess I am a Fantasy guy when the particular world appeals to me. Back in the Jurassic Period (1992 / 1993) when CRONOS won the Critic’s Week at Cannes I was referred to as an “art house guy”- I followed that with a giant cockroach movie that proved successful enough to spawn two sequels and allow me to co-finance THE DEVILS BACKBONE which send me back to being an “art house guy”.
Then I did BLADE II and people thought of me as an “Action guy”- PJ went through a similar mercurial career with HEAVENLY CREATURES, BAD TASTE, DEAD ALIVE, etc I squirm away from a tag and I hope I can avoid being just a “Fantasy guy” after PL, HBII and H…
I do the tales I love (regardless of what shelf Barnes & Noble classifies the book under) and I love the HOBBIT.
I love it enough to give it half a decade of my life and move half a world away to do it.
Guillermo's commitment to this project (a big chunk of his life and substantial relocation) says a lot. But let me underline his statements about why he loves this project - Guillermo LOVES fairy tales - and he considers THE HOBBIT as a Fairy Tale. Here is a statement from his introduction on the TORN message boards:
At the age of 11 I read THE HOBBIT and it enchanted me as only a classic Fairy Tale can- it had enough darkness and dread and emotion to make a profound impression that lasted me until now. Beorn, Mirkwood, the Wargs, Smaug, the Riddles in the Dark, they all have lived in me for many years... Nevertheless at that early age, the rest of Tolkien proved to contain Geography and Genealogy too complex for my prepubescent brain... I was never propelled into an aleatory addiction to sub-genres like Sword & Sorcery or indiscriminate fantasies about magical this or that- Like any other genre or subgenre there's a great abundance that makes it hard to discern when a new "trilogy" or "chronicle" comes from as genuine a place as Tolkien's...
GDT sees themes in THE HOBBIT that are very interesting to him, specifically, "the illusory nature of possession, the sins of hoarding and the banality of war". I believe Guillermo's attraction to these themes will lend considerable gravitas to this story, elevating it above a mere "fantasy adventure tale." Guillermo has done some of his best stuff when working in fantasy metaphors, specifically when relating to war, namely DEVIL'S BACKBONE and PAN'S LABYRINTH.
I believe for the reasons mentioned, Guillermo will bring the same love and passion to THE HOBBIT as those two deeply personal projects.
Friday, March 20, 2009
BEST WIDE-RELEASE FILM
HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
Leo Bill, THE LIVING AND THE DEAD
Kare Hedebrant, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
Trevor Matthews, JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER
Ron Perlman, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
Marc Senter, THE LOST
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
A.J. Bowen, THE SIGNAL
Robert Englund, JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER
Doug Jones, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
Vinnie Jones, THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN
Michael Pitt, FUNNY GAMES
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Beatrice Dalle, INSIDE
Lou Doillon, SISTERS
Jennifer Ellison, THE COTTAGE
Lauren Roy, THE CHAIR
Anna Walton, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
Guillermo del Toro, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
John Ainslie, Jon Knautz, JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER
John Ajvide Lindqvist, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
John Strysik, STUCK
Mitchell Lichtenstein, TEETH
BEST MAKEUP/CREATURE FX
Mike Elizalde, Cliff Wallace, David Martí, Montse Ribé, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
Jacques-Olivier Molon, INSIDE
David Scott, JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER
Robert Hall, QUARANTINE
Todd Tucker, Drac Studios, TRAILER PARK OF TERROR
Click on this link to get information on how to vote, and to view all nominees. Votes are due in by April 27!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Personally, I think the first several minutes of FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING might be the best movie opening of all time. At the very least Top 5.
Do you think that THE HOBBIT might open in a similar manner - perhaps a combination of flashback (history of Middle Earth before the Ring) and maybe even a flash forward (the destruction of the Ring)?
Personally, I would love to see this - it would set the epic scale of the film perfectly.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Guillermo wrote this screenplay between 1993 and 1998 with Kit Carson and Matthew Robbins. (Robbins co-wrote the MIMIC screenplay with Del Toro). It was originally entitled MONTECRISTO, and of course is based on the famed novel by Alexandre Dumas.
GDT wrote the story as a "Gothic-western". It was written during a time when GDT's father was kidnapped and held for ransom, and Guillermo has described this screenplay has having "a lot of rage." He has described the film as being technically challenging, most recently in a 2008 interview with Den of Geek:
I think that’s a movie that still bugs me a little bit. I mean, when you ask me if I’m scared of The Hobbit, I’m not, I’m more scared of Left Hand Of Darkness, because it’s a movie that I’m very, very proud of the screenplay, but it requires a set of tools that are a little daunting. It’s sort of like a David Lean, Sergio Leone epic western. Very much full of magic. And it’s the only movie without any creatures."
In 2002, Guillermo gave a French magazine some great details on the film (as reported by AintItCool News):
"It's a very gothic adaptation of the book. I've always thought that Dumas (the author of the book) wanted to evoke the spirit of the "1001 nights", his fascination for the Orient. Each adaptation was an adventure film or a classic movie without any invention, exoticism. So I wondered what would give this book adapted as a western(...). In the book, the Count is often mentioned as a "pirate", a "vampire", a "thief". He's very dark. And in my adaptation, the Count only goes out at nights. He's very close to a Dracula coming from a western, all dressed in black, red and gold. He has a mechanical arm that allows him to draw his gun faster than every one (...). Monte Cristo will be a very catholic movie (...)."
DARKNESS is considered by Guillermo to be one of his pet projects, along with AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS. And, like ATMOM, the timing just hasn't been quite right in getting it made. In 2002, Kevin Reynolds directed a film version starring Jim Caviezel. Now, with the epic HOBBIT going into production, and other commitments to Universal, the fate of this project is still unknown.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
This prospective project is based on the Dan Simmons novel DROOD. You can buy it now at the DTF Store. This book is getting pretty good buzz and has been mentioned as his possible next project after THE HOBBIT (of course, so has ATMOM).
You can buy this David Moody novel at the DTF Store here. This adaptation will be produced by GDT and directed by Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage).
Monday, February 2, 2009
For Americans, Super Bowl Sunday is becoming more and more a national holiday. I'm a sports nut and love American football, so I just love watching the game. For others (like my wife), its a chance to get together with friends, have a good time, watch some funny commercials, and chow down on unhealthy snack food.
One of my favorite parts of Super Sunday in particular is watching the new trailers for upcoming films, but I'll get to that in a second.
I'll spare you the details on the game - let's just say it was hard-hitting and exciting, with the Pittsburgh Steelers barely squeeking past the underdog Arizona Cardinals, 27-23. Also, you should know that The B0ss puts on a HELLUVA show - Flat. Out. Rocked. It was the best Super Bowl half-time show ever. I still can't get over watching Silvio from the Sopranos rocking out on guitar, either.
Okay, so the moment you've all been waitin' for - my Super Bowl trailer reviews:
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Not much was seen here except for explosions, a couple of familiar faces, and some partially-obscured big-ass robots. Definitely a teaser. I had a great time at the first Transformers flick. Will I see this one? Yep. Did the trailer help me get fired up? Nope. It didn't show me anything new - Shockwave maybe? Constructicons? Hell, I didn't even get a decent look at Megan Fox, dammit!
G.I. Joe: The Rise of COBRA
If there is a Transformers and a G.I. Joe movie coming out, Hot Wheels and Gobots better not be far behind. Just kidding. I didn't get much from this other than "G.I. Joe is coming out, and it will have cool special effects." Could we POSSIBLY tease some plot in one of these commercials? Oh, that's right. There isn't any. Just explosions. I'll still see it though.
Monsters vs. Aliens
This trailer was in 3D. I lucked into some free 3D glasses at the grocery story yesterday afternoon, so I was a stoked and ready to roll. Unfortunately it was the crappy dark lense/blue lense kind of 3D glasses, which makes the colors kind of goofy when you watch it. The 3D worked though, but there was only one cool effect - a guy bouncing a paddle ball at your face at the beginning. Still, I think the movie will be good - it looks funny in a kind of Monsters, Inc. sort of way. I hope the 3D is better in the theatrical version.
Angels & Demons
I read the book and barely got through it - it was a little boring. Hope the movie is better. Seeing Ewan McGregor in the trailer bumped my interest a notch, so I'll give it an above average grade. I was sufficiently teased.
This Jack Black/Michael Cera film showed potential. Seems like a "History of the World, Pt I" meets "Superbad." I can live with that. Plus it has stoning humor. Stoning is funny.
Land of the Lost
I can't believe I saw a damn Sleestak on television last night. I think I fainted.
The Fast & the Furious
Somebody tell Vin Diesel to stop making movies like this. Vin's a smart guy. He's like the new Sylvester Stallone - a guy who can write and direct smart movies, but continues to due mindless action films. Still, this trailer made the film look better than its earlier predecessors. And it has a Michelle Rodriguez in it. Oh, yeah.
What the hell was that? Apparently I've been effectively teased.
Race to Witch Mountain
I loved the old Disney Witch Mountain movies. Apparently these aren't like the old Witch Mountain movies. Why do these type of films always revolve around a blue collar guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ten bucks says The Rock says something like, "I should be home watching TV!" half-way through the movie. Booooo Disney! Oh, well - kids will probably love it. A ten year old should probably review this trailer. But since I don't have one with me:
Judge for yourself, you can watch all the trailers at Cinema Blend.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Sorry, folks. In my opinion, its not going to happen. If HELLBOY II couldn't rake in enough profit to go in the black domestically, what chance does B.P.R.D. have? Yes, HELLBOY II is in the black now, thanks to international box office and DVD.
The reality is, without the star of the show (Big Red), B.P.R.D. would be a risky theatrical investment.
Television, however, would be perfect.
The B.P.R.D. is fertile ground for a cable or network television series. Here's why:
1. It has a built-in audience for people familiar with the Hellboy films
2. Sci-Fi and Fantasy is very popular right now, with hit shows like Heroes and Battlestar Galactica on the airwaves.
3. Its unique. I can't think of any shows like it ever on television - every creature/makeup show I've ever seen has been alien science fiction (Star Trek, Farscape, Babylon 5). Its about time we ditch the aliens and get some Monster TV.
I think the biggest drawback to the show would be cost. I believe viewers today expect a high production value - and the makeup and special effects for Abe, Roger, and various baddies might be on the steep end.
And its not the first time a show with GDT ties made it to television. Remember the short-lived BLADE series on Spike TV?
I'm not sure where the property rights for B.P.R.D. rest, but if they are at Universal, it would be a beacon of hope. NBC-Universal produces the high-quality, SciFi Channel drama Battlestar Galactica - one of my all-time favorites. They also produce SciFi's Eureka. So Universal, at least, is open to fantasy programming.
The key to success is a high-powered brain to push the series. Guillermo obviously has the influence, although his attempt to bring THE STRAIN to Fox TV failed for unknown reasons. G could open some doors for a B.P.R.D. series, and he has gone on record as saying it would be a good idea, but unfortunately, I don't think he has any interest in developing it himself. Too busy. I think Mignola might be the same - my impression is that he is content to write the comics. So the ONLY way this could happen is if Mignola and GDT would endorse someone they trust to develop the series.
Who might that be?
The name that comes to mind is David S. Goyer.
Goyer was a screenwriter for BLADE II. He was also executive producer for such TV shows as BLADE: THE SERIES (the same as above), SLEEPWALKERS, and THRESHOLD. He has the added clout of co-writing the massively popular BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT films. In September 2007, Variety reported that Goyer had signed on to direct an adaptation of Mignola's graphic novel "Baltimore, or The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire" for New Regency. The business relationships are there to make it happen.
Could a B.P.R.D. series get made without Goyer? Certainly. To my knowledge, Goyer has never shown any public interest in the property.
But he might be its best chance.
Monday, January 26, 2009
LIKE THIS! Read on, faithful followers!
Haven't seen THE WRESTLER, but that is the one film that I want to see this year more than any other. It isn't up for best picture, although Rourke is nominated for Best Lead Actor. I would see WRESTLER over any film in the Best Picture category (and I haven't seen any of those either). Of the nominess for Best Picture, I would most likely take the time to see MILK or SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. BUTTON sounds like a bore-fest on wheels.
And no love for THE DARK KNIGHT, which I HAVE seen? Surely it is better than at least one of those films on this list. That is my biggest complaint with the Academy - an aversion to fantasy and sci-fi films. I still feel for Guillermo, who I'm convinced lost out for Best Foreign Film with PAN'S LABYRINTH because some old geezer voters didn't understand why their was a goat man in the film.
I only saw Ledger and Downey, Jr.'s performances in the Supporting Role category. Of the two, Ledger gets my vote - it was one of my favorite performances ever in fact. Downey Jr. was cool in TROPIC THUNDER, but THUNDER doesn't have the writing to deliver a win.
I didn't see Angelina's performance in THE CHANGELING, but I read about the real story on Wikipedia and it was fascinating. Comic book scribe J. Michael Straczynski wrote the screenplay.
Marisa Tomei deserves to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress just so the jokes will stop.
I didn't see BOLT, but regardless: GO WALL-E!!!
I can't wait to see MAN ON WIRE and ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD. They are in my Netflix queue as we speak.
I found a bad omen for HELLBOY 2 in the makeup category - if you go to the nominations section at this link, they don't even have a little HELLBOY icon next to the name like all the other movies. Just a generic "Oscars" icon. That's ok - I expect HELLBOY 2 to rake in the awards like Teddy KGB at the SATURN Awards this year.
Speaking of the SATURN awards - they need a "Best Fansite" category, don't you think?
And now, just so you'll take all my opinions with a grain of salt - here is the list of films I've seen this year that are nominated for an award:
THE DARK KNIGHT
HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY
KUNG FU PANDA
Wow - I should come up with my own end-of-year awards (The Parkers?). The winning films would most likely be the ones that are freshest in my memory.
And I'm warning you, given those parameters -THE HEARTBREAK KID might be a shoo-in for Best Picture. I'm STILL quoting that movie and I saw it a month ago.
Friday, January 23, 2009
I believe this site has grown far beyond a simple GDT fansite - it has taken on a life of its own with people engaging their similar interests, sharing their artwork, and taking part in discussions that go beyond just Guillermo's work. This has become a community of like-minded souls.
For those of you who are curious - this site started in 2004 with a simple email. I would read the official Sony Hellboy message boards daily, but I never posted. One day Guillermo posted his fan email address, and I shot him a quick email telling him how much I enjoyed HELLBOY. To my surprise (a month later), he wrote me back, thanking me for my support. I later sent him another email with an idea - to build DelToroFilms.com. I would often scour the internet for news on GDT, having become a fan since THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE and BLADE II, but I could never find good information in one place. A little bit here, a little bit there. I proposed to GDT a fansite that would have all the news in one place. He was kind enough to endorse my efforts, sight unseen.
The first version of DTF was a little clunky, but it has gotten better over the years. I yearn for the time to make it better - because frankly, you all deserve the best.
At the Hellebration in 2008, Guillermo was impressed with how "civilized" the message board was. For that, you can all pat yourself on the back. I told Guillermo that, simply, I think his work attracts good people. Mutual respect, intelligent debate, and good natured fun has made this site what it is today.
I thank you all for your continued support - it has been a pleasure for me to be your host.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Man, I have no idea where they are going with this, but I'm pretty sure there is some cyclical history of man and cylon nuking each other over and over again.
And who is Starbuck? What is Starbuck? Does Starbuck drink Starbuck's? One shot of Espresso or Two? I want the truth! (I'm afraid I can't handle the truth.)
And the last Cylon is Colonel Tigh's wife? Never would have guessed it. So where is she now? Did she download into my iPod? I gotta check....nope. Not there either. Dammit.
Red Mercury - where are you? I KNOW you have opinions. I thought you were going to blow a blood vessel talking BSG with Seth on a Beverly Hills streetcorner! You guys were discussing theories and I banished you to the other side of the street. Or I banished myself. Either way - were you right?
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I think it will get down to -7 this weekend. That's without windchill.
As I was walking in the dark to get my morning paper the other day (in my bathrobe and slippers) at 6 in the morning (the kid gets up at 5:30, so that means I get up at 5:30), it made me think how great the cold is for staging a good scary movie.
Dark. Desolate. Cold. The sting of the wind. Extreme cold is just a great storytelling device. I thought 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, although just being an above average movie/comic, used the setting brilliantly. Also THE THING ranks right up there (maybe even at the top) of great "horror movies in the snow".
I think horror fans are just waiting to see a GIANT horror film that takes us to the inescapable bitter cold.
That film should be AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS, don't you agree?
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
But my boy is a joy (that rhymed).
He likes dinosaurs, The Wiggles, dancing, climbing, and generally getting into mischief. Here is a voice mail I got today from my wife:
Did you ever see the movie "Parenthood" with Steve Martin? Remember the kid that likes to wear a bucket on his head and run into walls? Yeah, that's pretty much my son.
So anyway, I guess I should do the standard "Best of 2008" list, right? Okay, I'll give it a shot - and I'm just going to go off the top of my head because if you have to think about it your lying to yourself. Too many "Best Of" lists are academic. You should write down the first 10 movies you think of that you saw last year and BOOM - there's you're "Best Of" list.
Here we go!
1. Hellboy 2
2. The Dark Knight
3. Iron Man
4. The Incredible Hulk
5. The Orphanage
8. Yes Man
9. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
10. X-Files: I Want To Believe
Interesting list, isn't it? Not a lot of substance or drama. This, my friends, is what a "Best Of" list looks like when you are a parent to young children. In other words, I haven't seen much this year. Of the Top 150 Grossing Films of 2008, I've seen only 19. So this is the top 10 of that 19. So I'm not what you might call a "well-informed" expert. But these movies were good, so if you haven't seen'em, go see'em.
The one suprise might be Rambo. Admittedly, I am a sucker for 80's nostalgia. But this film played out much better than I expected. Interesting subject, good action. This was essentially an independent war film - if it was treated as such and didn't have the name "Rambo" in the title, it might have got more attention from people. Plus the DVD feature on the shooting of the film was interesting, since they chose to film it next to a war zone.
Anyway, that's my list - if I was smart, I would just do a review of all the movies I saw in 2008, not just the ones that were released.
Because when you can't get a babysitter, you watch a LOT of films on DVD...from the previous year.