Movie & TV Trailers

      Is this the second best Private Eye movie ever made?

      Liam Neeson as Philip Marlowe:

      What do you think?

   There’s a new Jack Reacher in town. Physically, he’s got Tom Cruise beat, hands down:


   This one flew under the radar and was generally perceived to be a box office flop. Adapted from the eponymous Jack London adventure novel, The Call of the Wild is equally part spectacle and part sentiment. The trailer does a fairly accurate job in conveying the general story. This is to be a tale about a dog, Buck, as he leaves the comforts of northern California and embarks on a new life in the Yukon. And as you can quickly ascertain, Buck is a CGI creation and not a “real dog.”

   But that doesn’t stop the movie from being emotionally resonant. The moments in the movie in which Harrison Ford’s character bonds with Buck are quite powerful. It’s nice to see Ford back in a major motion picture. The cinematography by Janusz Kamiński, a frequent collaborator with Steven Spielberg, is quite striking and shows how much investment, financial and otherwise, was put into this overall family friendly film.

   Unfortunately, despite the filmmakers’ best intentions, this cinematic adaptation of a classic work simply does not rise to the level of greatness to which it clearly aspired. There’s something flat about the whole affair, despite the moments in which it shines bright. I think that flatness is fairly well captured in the trailer as well.

   A reboot of the Chuck Norris epic series (1993-2001) and starring Jared Padalecki, who just finished up 15 years costarring in Supernatural, there are many fans of one or the other who are waiting for this one:


   I have to admit I was somewhat hesitant to watch this movie. First of all, I am a fan of the original 1968 film with Charlton Heston and must have seen it close to half dozen times. Second, I thought I would be put off by the CGI.

   I couldn’t have been more wrong. Using motion capture in a magical manner, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a thrilling and enjoyable origin story. The international trailer is relatively short, but it does a good job in explaining what the movie is all about and what issues it explores. Scientists in search of a cure for Alzheimer’s employ an experimental medical treatment that has unforeseen consequences for man and ape alike. And we all know where this ends up.

   While the movie has a strong cast, the characters themselves unfortunately aren’t particularly well developed beyond what is necessary to service the plot. With the exception of the ape Caesar (Andy Serkis) that is. This is his movie from beginning to end. You might think the movie looks a tad overwrought. Let me assure you: unlike the disappointment that was Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes (2001), this reboot is well worth a look.

   I saw this movie mentioned on the WesternPulps group. It might be best described as a current day neo-noir western, about an elderly couple (Kevin Costner & Diane Lane) trying to get their grandson back from their widowed daughter-in-law’s family. Now playing in theaters, wherever theaters are open.


   Truth be told, this is not a great movie. Far from it. The trailer definitely shows the highlights. The exciting parts. The chilling parts. But I have to confess, despite its low production values, I happened to enjoy this quirky late 1950s horror picture for what it was. First of all, the title alone is intriguing. The movie had been on my “to watch” list for years, but I only recently got around to watching it.

   Directed by Edward L. Cahn, whose Curse of the Faceless Man I reviewed here, the movie is rather talky at times, with numerous characters either sitting or standing around talking about ancient curses, Amazon tribes, and what not. But there are some good scenes, such as the ones in which the large and lanky witch doctor (clearly seen in the trailer) surreptitiously enters houses at night to do his dirty deeds.

   Speaking of dirty deeds, this one is – if you really think of it – pretty gruesome. I mean, the whole movie revolves around the concept of beheading the descendants of a man who purportedly mistreated a tribe. Neither groundbreaking nor a snoozer, The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake is a moderately entertaining low budget horror movie. Which likely explains why it aired so often on television in the 1960s.

   I read Frank Herbert’s original novel when it was serialized in Analog SF, thought it was OK, but I never read any of the sequels — and who knew there were going to be so many of them? I also passed on both David Lynch’s movie adaptation(1984) and the 2000 Sci-Fi Channel mini-series.

   Those of you who may be bigger fans of the book than I am, what do think of the new movie coming out in December, based on the trailer below?

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