Troll Hunter

Godzilla Watanabe and Strathairn

The following is a discussion of where the Godzilla franchise could go now that a sequel has been announced. There are some minor spoilers for the reboot currently in theaters, so you might not want to read this until you’ve seen it.  It’s already been given the green light, and now it’s time to speculate what we’ll be seeing in a sequel to Godzilla. According to Deadline, the follow-up will be back at Warner Bros., the studio that put out this past weekend’s $93m-grossing blockbuster, even though now the film’s production company, Legendary Pictures, is working with Universal as its primary distributor. There’s also mention of an ongoing legal dispute, but that probably won’t be enough to keep Godzilla 2 from stomping into theaters in the summer of 2017. The first question on most people’s minds is who or what will the King of the Monsters fight next. Apparently, Legendary only has the rights to the title character, so there’s a possibility that we won’t be seeing any of the other giant creatures (or robots or, thankfully, offspring) from the Toho franchise. Of course, Legendary could dole out more money for use of Mothra if that’s the case, but is that really want we want, a rehash of stuff seen before?

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Beasts of the Southern Wild Fantasy

Jim Henson has been dead for almost 25 years. Hayao Miyazaki is retiring. And Carl Rinsch may have single-handedly killed all hope for anyone getting a lot of money from Hollywood for an original live-action fantasy film for a while. His 47 Ronin was only partly original, too, since it was based on a historical legend. Still, it was a fresh take on the true story with additions of magical and mythical creatures. The movie wasn’t just a flop; it broke the record for biggest box office bomb of all time (maybe even when accounting for inflation). So don’t expect to see any more epic entries into the genre unless they’re sure things with a built-in audience. Do we need original fantasy films, though? On TV, we have Game of Thrones, which has plenty of imagination in spite of being adapted from the novels of George R.R. Martin, and which is now back on HBO for its fourth season. And there are occasionally great movies sourced from previously written material, as well. For instance, out on home video today there’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of the Smaug, a highly entertaining installment of Peter Jackson’s second (and by most accounts lesser) Tolkien-based trilogy. Occasionally is key, however, as that was one of only three titles on my list of the best sci-fi and fantasy movies of 2013 that didn’t have sci-fi elements.

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trollhunter

Taking stock is perfectly natural this time of year. A fresh start always offers the best microscope through which to observe the goals we achieved or left incomplete (like the goal of making a list of goals (I’ll get to it soon, stop bugging me)), and one of the most fascinating ways I know to take stock is to look at what movie projects never made it to the finish line. I’ve looked at 16 recent abandoned movies so far, all of which remain unmade (including the Arrested Development movie whose inclusion in the first list commenters bitched about so vehemently), and there are plenty more where they came from. On the deeper level, it’s a reminder of the fragility of the seventh art, but as pure trivia, it’s an excellent exercise in What If. Great ideas unrealized and bad bullets dodged, here are 8 more non-movies to add to the collection:

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trollhunter

You know the drill by now—whenever a movie that wasn’t made in English happens to find a niche but enthusiastic audience in America, instead of spending some money to promote the original to the rest of the likely xenophobic and apparently illiterate country, Hollywood goes and does an English-language remake set in the US that can be easily digested by even the middlest of Middle Americans. Well, and probably bumpkins in other English-speaking countries as well. We here in the bread belt shouldn’t take all of the blame. Either way, Norwegian filmmaker André Øvredal’s delightful 2010 film Trollhunter has been one of the latest imports planned to get updated with a shiny, new English-language version, and now Deadline has a report that the Christopher Columbus-produced project has found itself a director. According to the trade, England’s own Neil Marshall is being brought on board not just as the guy behind the camera, but also as the guy who’s going to re-write Øvredal’s original script into the likely less Scandinavian mythology-referencing Troll Hunter.

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Boiling Point

Previously, on Boiling Point… I bitched about Hollywood not releasing enough horror movies in October. This week, I’m taking aim at them for not releasing any monster movies – pretty much ever. I’ve come to ask where all the monsters have gone. Monster movies have a special place in any horror fan’s heart. Whether you’re a fan of giant mutated ants, hybrid beasts, strange aliens, or any crazy old weird thing someone dreamed up that crawled out of a swamp and raped a cheerleader, monsters are awesome. The bigger, badder, and bloodier the better. It seemed for years that even if you weren’t looking for a monster, one would come out of the darkness and tear your face off. Nowadays, you’re hard pressed to get your shit packed in by a mythical beast even if you go defecating on Native American burial grounds.

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This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray we take a late look at some of the best releases from four days ago, and eleven days ago. Okay, so it’s been a boring fortnight in Blu-ray, so were combining two weeks worth of coverage into one shot of high definition adrenaline. In this long list, however, you will find plenty of stuff worth your time and money. This includes a definitive release for The Dude, an adventure with Trolls, some time spent with everyone’s favorite serial killer and a few under-the-radar, direct-to-DVD films that are worth watching at least once. The Big Lebowski For The Dude shall get the release he so deserves. That’s how I would assume it is written in the Book of Lebowski. And that’s what we have here: the Blu-ray release — for the most part — The Dude has deserved all along. Not only is the Coen Brothers’ most popular cult hit presented in crisp, dynamically transferred and near-perfect HD, it is also presented with a few new special features. The packaging isn’t as impressive as the DVD edition I have on my display shelf that comes inside a bowling ball, but I’m willing to look past that for this particular release. It’s a great movie and this is a very good Blu-ray release. There is some HD-exclusive content, including a picture-in-picture commentary track and an interactive pop-up trivia track. It also comes with Digital Copy, because you never know when you might want to bust out Lebowski and […]

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This Week in DVD

After some lackluster weeks in the DVD department today sees a pretty solid selection of titles. Even better for viewers is the fact that some of this week’s best releases are movies you probably missed in theaters… if they even hit theaters. Our pick of the week for example never had a theatrical run in the States, but it’s an absolutely brilliant film from actor/director Peter Mullan. The two other titles with Buy recommendations saw a limited release and deserve better than the small number of viewers they received. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. NEDS (Non Educated Delinquents) Peter Mullan directs this drama about growing up in the rough and tumble world of 1970s Glasgow Scotland. We first meet young John McGill around the age of thirteen, and while he’s the head of his class in smarts every other aspect of his life seems stacked against him. His father is an abusive drunk, his older brother is an infamous thug, and the choice between being bullied by a gang or joining one is really no choice at all. Mullan, who wrote and co-stars as well, has crafted a fantastic film highlighting one boy’s early life, and while these kinds of movies can often feel too bleak and oppressive he manages to accentuate the drama with heart, humor, and honest suspense. And the final shot is wild.

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The recent revelation that Chris Columbus will be producing a US-based, English-language remake of Troll Hunter was met with everything from mild irritation to outright derision. A typical report of the news included 1) a statement that the original is great/awesome 2) a question of whether this really needed a remake 3) a comment that Hollywood was craven and unoriginal and, for a select few pieces, 4) swear words. My own take was fairly neutral (much like my reaction to Andre Ovredal‘s film), which prompted at least half an email asking me why I was giving this one a pass after years of making up clever insults at the expense of anyone attempting a remake. After some soul-searching, it was clear that I had either made peace with the recent glut of remakes or been beaten into submission by it. Either way, I’m tired of complaining about remakes, and here’s why.

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In common fairytale parlance trolls are relatively unthreatening types, morose and ugly outcasts who wear human clothes and dwell below bridges. Norwegian filmmaker André Øvredal’s Trollhunter, a cross between The Blair Witch Project and a FX-adventure serial, reconsiders the archetype. The trolls tracked down by Hans (Otto Jespersen), a top member of the secretive Troll Security Service, are gargantuan, destructive beasts and a vital threat to the Norwegian ecosystem. The faux documentary, “shot” by a trio of teens who stumble upon Hans and see him as their ticket to fame, is a matter-of-fact chronicle of Hans’ nighttime tracking. Through ominous forests, across bleak frozen landscapes, the protagonist single-mindedly hunts his animalistic prey as the crewmembers question exactly what they’ve gotten into.

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Director Andre Ovredal has been fairly silent about his next project, only going as far as saying it’ll involve “American mythology,” but it looks like an English-language remake of his Troll Hunter will be going through in an attempt to frighten people who get scared at the sight of subtitles. According to Deadline Aust-Agder, Chris Columbus – no stranger to fantasy – will be taking on the remake as a producer. He notes the visuals as the main reason to mine the material for a remake, saying it “was a visceral, thrilling, cinematic rock and roller coaster ride of a movie. Visually, there are scenes in this film that American audiences have never seen. We want to introduce an international audience to this amazing moviegoing experience.” It seems obvious that an international audience can already enjoy the amazing moviegoing experience by going to see the movie, but it seems clear that Columbus is trying to get his version into more theaters and to sell it bigger overseas than the Norwegian original did through Magnolia. When I spoke with Ovredal about the possibility of a remake, he said, “I think that would be fun. I’d love to see that.” It’s unclear as to whether he’ll be involved in any capacity, but it looks like he’ll get his wish. Hopefully a big Hollywood version will spark even more interest in the original.

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The Reject Report

Imagine Brad Pitt standing on a desolate road holding a gun on director J.J. Abrams. Sitting in front of Abrams is the mystery box, that figurative enclosure in which Abrams stores the secrets of his latest project. Brad Pitt screams a phrase we haven’t heard him scream since 1995, and as Abrams reaches into the box to reveal what’s inside (hint: it’s not Gwyneth Paltrow’s head), a shot rings out. Abrams drops dead, but it isn’t Pitt’s gun that fired. It’s Judy Moody who is standing behind Pitt and who, as of now, is NOT having a bummer summer. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s a lame story with a stupid ending. You try writing these intros out every week. Let’s get to the number, okay?

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s like watching CNN or the New York Times, but funnier and without all of the big words. It covers movie news every night in a way that no other movie news column set to run at 11p CST can. It was also far more punctual than President Obama’s speech tonight. So it’s got that going for it. Earlier this evening it was announced that Osama Bin Laden was killed by American forces. Great job to our fighting men and women. That guy was a real douche. Perhaps just as interesting, as Badass Digest points out, was the fact that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was aware of the news before anyone else. This is what happens when you kick ass in Fast Five and open with an $83 million dollar weekend.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we talk with Troll Hunter writer/director Andre Ovredal, Prom screenwriter Katie Wech, and The Conspirator screenwriter James Solomon. Perhaps you’re starting to see a theme emerge. Plus, Dustin Rowles and Joanna Robinson from Pajiba enter the Movie News Pop Quiz ring, and both safely exit. Then, we talk about Doctor Who. Loosen up your tie and stay a while. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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So, a movie called Troll Hunter was playing at Fantastic Fest, and one sleepy morning, I woke up early to check out the press screening because someone needed to review it. I knew nothing of it, and soon trolls were filling the screen in all their awesome glory. Going into the movie blind (in regards to the look of the monsters) is the best way to go, but there’s a new trailer out for the curious. It puts more of an emphasis on the action, which is probably a good call since that’s the best part of the film, and it gives away the look of a lot of the trolls. Three students head out into the forest with a game manager to see if the myths about trolls are really true, and what they find smells terrible and seems angry.

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Deep in the heart of the Norwegian woods, there’s a giant menace standing tall against the landscape. That menace is power lines, and the people hate the power lines. However, they’re completely necessary to keep the trolls at bay. Troll Hunter is a found-footage style faux-doc that sees a crew of young teenagers (whose names matter about as much as their characters) heading out into the dangerous woods to track down the guy on the government dole who manages the troll population in secret. Hans reluctantly takes them into his world, and soon, they’re running for their lives and praying that the UV lamps on the top of his truck still have some battery life left in case they need to turn a 20-story baddie to stone.

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