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Senin, 18 Mei 2009

Paramount Pictures Sends Star Trek Copy to the ISS

Star Trek Poster MovieThe new blockbuster movie Star Trek, which recently hit the big screen, and has already cashed in millions of dollars worldwide, has also been sent to astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday. Paramount Pictures, the copyright owner for the new film, sent a copy of its work to the ISS Mission Control in Houston, which was then uplinked to orbit. NASA Astronaut Michael Barratt said that he planned to watch the movie on a laptop computer, inside the Unity module of the station.

“I remember watching the original ‘Star Trek’ series and, like many of my NASA coworkers, was inspired by the idea of people from all nations coming together to explore space. ‘Star Trek’ blended adventure, discovery, intelligence and story telling that assumes a positive future for humanity. The International Space Station is a real step in that direction, with many nations sharing in an adventure the world can be proud of,” the astronaut said of the movie copy Expedition 19 received.

Aside from the new film, there is an extensive collection of uplinked movies and DVDs aboard the ISS, either sent directly from the Mission Control, or carried to orbit by past shuttle mission crews. According to NASA, the library will remain aboard the station indefinitely, so that future expedition crews could enjoy it as well. Watching movies in the orbital lab is not a new activity, as former astronauts have literally seen hundreds of films, at some points as regular activities, on specific nights of the week.

In addition to movies, there are numerous other forms of entertainment aboard the ISS for astronauts to enjoy during their little spare time. A large collection of books and music CDs ensures that the psychological parameters of the ISS are taken care of. Experts say that the prolonged isolation in an unfamiliar environment, such as that of microgravity, can cause adverse mental health effects, and that making the astronauts feel a bit like home is essential for the success of their missions.

In addition to music and reading, there are a variety of fitness machines aboard the station, as well as board games, which make up pleasant ways of passing time together on the lab. Musical instruments are also used from time to time, when expedition members that can play them engage in short jam sessions, for their own amusement and that of colleagues down in Houston. At one point, Astronaut Greg Chamitoff played a game of chess with colleagues at the Mission Control, and the match was broadcast live, for the general public to see.

No ‘Trainspotting 2’ for Ewan McGregor

Trainspotting 2 - Ewan McGregorFans can now see actor Ewan McGregor in “Angels & Demons,” which opened in US theaters yesterday. Unfortunately, those who still had any hope of seeing him in a sequel to the highly successful – and equally controversial – 1996 junkie-themed “Trainspotting,” might as well forget about it, since the actor makes it very clear that he’s not even remotely considering being a part of such a project.

In a brand new interview with MovieHole, McGregor tackles such topics as a sequel to the famous “Trainspotting,” as well as to the musical “Moulin Rouge,” which, although failing to impress movie critics, did score remarkably well with the public. It’s not so much that he’s not the type to get involved in sequels, the actor explains, as it is that, at this point in time, follow-ups to these two projects would simply make no sense.

“I don’t think I would, for several reasons.” McGregor says of the much-rumored sequel. “The first one is that I didn’t think the book was very good. The novel of ‘Trainspotting’ was quite fantastic, it was beautiful, quite moving and disturbing writing, and then I find that the sequel… […] it didn’t move me as much … […] And I thought I don’t want to make the same story again. And, also, I think just the idea of getting the cast together again 10 to 15 years later isn’t good enough, you need more than that. I wouldn’t want to damage ‘Trainspotting’’s reputation, because it was an amazing film and a very important film of its time, a very important film for me and … a very important film for British cinema. I wouldn’t want to leave people remembering a poor sequel rather than leaving its reputation where it sits at the moment, which is kind of a phenomenal film.” the actor further explains.

As for the possibility of doing a sequel to “Moulin Rouge” (which has also generated plenty of media attention since release), that isn’t going to happen either – as neither is a crossover into the music industry. The idea is that, as Ewan puts it, he’s pretty good at what he does and trying to make a name for himself in music would be, at this point, rather pointless, as well as possibly unsuccessful.

“No… I think it’s quite tricky for actors to release albums. It’s difficult, because I’m an actor, you know, I’m not a musician. I love singing, but I don’t have a big repertoire of songs that I’ve written; I mean, I’ve got a few, but nothing that I could fill an album with, and I don’t want to do it just for the sake of it. I don’t know, we’ll see. I certainly would be very happy to do another musical; I loved it. It would just have to be the right thing.” McGregor concludes by saying.

For the full promotional interview, please see here.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Movie Review

X-Men Origins: Wolverine“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was meant to bring the story of the mutants full circle by returning to the one character who (arguably) made everyone stick together, and who was, at the same time, clearly one of the most beloved mutants ever created. The prequel should have explained how Wolverine controls his berserker rage, and how he grows into the dangerous X-Man with remarkable leader skills that we see in the successful trilogy. In all fairness, when Logan / Wolverine / Hugh Jackman lets rage take over him, the picture is not pretty – but that’s not to say the film itself manages to rise above the level of familiar competence, movie critics argue.

Understandably, X-Men and Wolverine fans will love this film, simply because it brings back on the big screen not one, but several beloved characters, including the all-powerful villain, now-silent but former-heartthrob Deadpool. Those who are not so easily sucked in by the mythology will notice from the first second that, if anything, “Wolverine” is just a mild attempt on Fox’s behalf to squeeze even the last drop of juice still remaining in the franchise – while also promising countless other sequels, spinoffs and whatnot. It’s a hurried movie that bits off more than it can chew, and the only things that hold it together are Hugh Jackman’s admirable efforts and performance.

Of course, that’s not to say that “Wolverine” is bad from start to finish, but it does imply that Fox should have thought twice before rushing into making such a film if it did not feel ready for it – just like fans were saying it would a while back. Comparisons with the leaked version are to be avoided when speaking of it, as hard as it may seem, but, even so, the film still appears like an unfinished version of a production we’ll never see. It’s either because the script tried to include more stories than it was feasible, or because director Gavin Hood fell a victim to his own well-learned vocabulary of special effects, but “Wolverine” comes short of that certain something, that je ne sais quoi that could have turned it into both a blockbuster at the box-office and a quality film, critics say.

Rewind to 1845. Logan is James, a sickly boy who accidentally murders his father, a man he did not even know that well, and who, this way, finds out about the existence of a half elder brother, Victor Creed aka Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber). The two run off together and, once their super-abilities are discovered and properly mastered, enlist their services with the army and fight other people’s battles. Even from the start, it becomes obvious that Logan, unlike Victor, is not the violent type: he may flex and howl and pack the meanest punch, but, deep down inside, all he wants to do is help others. Oppositely, Victor just wants to kill, cause bloodshed and basically beat to a pulp anyone weaker than him, which means just about everyone who crosses his path.

There is, of course, a devious army officer who schemes and plots, and orchestrates things to suit his agenda. Colonel Stryker (Danny Huston) deceives Logan into believing he’ll help him – but only after making him think he had taken something very precious from him –, and offers to make him indestructible. When the Frankenstein-like Wolverine emerges from the steaming bathtub, muscles ripped and dripping in the water necessary for the adamantium to be injected and cooled, he’s a man out for revenge. And revenge he’ll get, because he has to fight not one, but at least three villains – which is precisely why fans and critics alike were disappointed by the twisted, too complicated plotline.

The action scenes are, as expected, impressive but not because there really is some novelty to them or they carry any relevance to the main character, but rather because they’re used as dust in the eyes of the viewers, critics say. Since chances of Wolverine or Sabretooth being killed are slim to none, for instance, their confrontations become redundant since they lack finality and a specific sense of purpose, failing to show the evolution of the characters. The same goes for the other action sequences, which seem either too far-fetched – since the last “X-Men” movie, Wolverine has acquired a new ability, that of jumping really high in the air and tearing helicopter blades with his adamantium claws – or downright useless, with the mutants showing off their skills in a very blatant manner, when they could easily attack in “stealth” mode and be just as efficient.

Nevertheless, as noted above, none of this is the cast’s fault, all of the actors struggling to really make this heavy, unstructured material work. Jackman, as far as he’s concerned, seems to be the only thing keeping “Wolverine” from falling into the abyss where comic book-inspired movies go to die (where “Daredevil” is also to be found), as they say. Ryan Reynolds does his bit as well as Wade Wilson, a terribly charming and annoying skilled soldier who only lacks discipline.

Liev makes for a brilliant villain, having a certain sense of delightful menace about him that initially stuns his victims into not knowing whether they should run in fear or welcome him with open arms. Swift and insinuating, as well as extremely good-looking, Taylor Kitsch as Remy LeBeau aka Gambit also puts on a great show, as do the other mutants. Should anyone think Fox killed “Wolverine,” they should at least know for a fact that it wasn’t because it hadn’t wonderful actors to work with – and an equally awesome story to match.

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” runs 107 minutes, minus the Easter eggs at the end of the final credits. It opened in Argentina, Germany and France at the end of April, reached the US, Romania and Sweden on May 1, and will conclude its theatrical run in Japan, on August 22.

The Good

Fans of the comics should go to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” at least to see their favorite heroes and villains again, if not for the movie itself. Backed up by a strong and determined cast, as well as by certain fun and highly entertaining moments, “Wolverine” makes for a light way of passing almost two hours, but offers no guarantee as to it being a memorable experience as well.

The Bad

“Wolverine” falls short in many respects but the one that pains fans the most, critics argue, is the fact that it promised the world and delivered, well… nothing. Its complicated plotline, obvious use of special effects to mask shortcomings in the story, and the abundance of useless trivia make it one unsuccessful effort on behalf of Fox to continue cashing in on the mutant milk cow.

The Truth

The truth about “Wolverine,” it is being said, is that it should have not been made – or, at the very least, that it should have gone into more competent hands than those of director Hood and Fox high-ups. Without being downright painful to watch, “Wolverine” offers little to redeem itself in the eyes of the fans, with Jackman’s performance being among those few things. Fans will certainly see it, but whether they’ll also like it is a different matter altogether.

Senin, 04 Mei 2009

Swine Flu Forces Fox to Postpone ‘Wolverine’ Premiere

20th Century Fox has decided to play it safe under the given conditions and not expose anyone to unnecessary risks, by postponing the premiere of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” in New Mexico, People magazine confirms. Otherwise, the movie would have certainly taken a hit at the box-office, as Mexican officials have warned people to stay indoors and all the major theater chains have been closed down.

The much expected premiere was supposed to take place this Friday, but has been pushed back to a yet undisclosed date. Given that the swine flu is an issue more serious than any movie premiere, the movie studio took this initiative both as a sign of regard and to protect all those involved in the production, who would have had to travel there to attend the opening festivities, as is customary in such cases.

“We were not only concerned about Hugh [Jackman]’s welfare – and we would never send anyone into harm’s way – but we also have an enormous office filled with people we care about. There was no point in proceeding under the current conditions.” a spokesperson for 20th Century Fox says for the mag. Another release date has not yet been set, and will probably not be so for yet another while, until authorities get the crisis under control.

Either way, Variety says, should Fox have gone ahead with the premiere, the film would have taken a serious hit at the box-office given that Mexican authorities are warning people to stay indoors, and all the major theater chains are being progressively shut down. “Scores of screens owned by exhibitors Cinepolis, Cinemex, Cinemas Lumiere and Cinemark have gone dark, and the remaining chains and indies are expected to follow suit. Cinepolis is also shutting theaters in the states of Mexico and San Luis Potosi. Cinemark and Cinemas Lumiere sites are closed until further notice, while others hope to reopen later this week depending on the situation.” Variety says.

As far as fans know right now, the “Wolverine” premiere in the US will presumably go as scheduled, meaning the movie will open in theaters nationwide also on Friday, May 1. However, keep an eye on this space in case anything changes.