During this week’s episode of the Totally Rad Show, Alex Albrecht theorized that one of the many reasons Terminator Salvation didn’t work for him was because he believes that the concept of machines or technology rising up against humanity has been done so many times before, that it is no longer valid (I’ve included an excerpt from the show after the jump).
How can a story work on the same level of the first Terminator film, when the machines and technology are no longer scary. Even in the critically acclaimed Battlestar Galactica television series, the Cylons weren’t even scary (It should be noted that the show worked on many other dramatic levels, but it never tried to be a thriller).
Or could it be that we’ve reached a place where both the animatronic and computer generated machines no longer look real? And maybe the same could be said about technology. We now live in a technology-infused world, and the evil tech in films like Eagle Eye just ring false.
Terminator Salvation aside, lets have a discussion. In this post-Matrix world, is the story of humans having to defend themselves against scary machines and evil technology a thing of the past?
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In my weekly Blu-or-Not column, I made mention of the alternative ending which was included on the Eagle Eye DVD/Blu-ray. If you didn’t think the movie was already insanely convoluted and ridiculous, the ending is sure to push you over the edge. I can’t believe that they were actually ever considering showing this on the big screen in theaters. People would have been laughing in the isles I’m sure. The ending has shown up on YouTube and is available below. Thanks to David Chen for the tip.
This Week in DVD is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy, Circuit City, and Fry’s.
Please don’t take the commentary on the movies and TV shows too seriously, as they’re meant not to be reviews but rather previews that include the general thoughts and ramblings of a twice-committed DVD addict. The categories represent solely the author’s intentions towards the DVDs at hand, and are in no way meant to be a reflection on what he thinks other people should rent or buy. So if he ends up putting a movie you like in the “Skip it” section without having seen it, please keep in mind that the time you could spend leaving a spiteful but ultimately futile comment could instead be used for more pleasant things in life. Like buying DVDs.
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Each week in Blu-or-Not I take a look at the recent Blu-ray releases. This isn’t a review column. If you’re looking for movie reviews, look out for Adam’s This Week in DVD on Tuesdays. Blu-or-Not takes a look at the extra value content — the Blu-ray difference (and yes, this does include Picture and Sound). We decide is it worth buying the Blu-ray version or the plain old DVD.
Exclusive to Blu-ray: All the content is presented in High Definition, but none of it is exclusive to the Blu-Ray release.
DVD Features in HD: :
Deleted Scenes: Four and a half-minutes worth of four deleted scenes that had no reason to be in the film in the first place, including a laughable alternative ending with Rachel’s son Sam playing Rock Band (Jerry’s gift) with his friends when the television goes all “Matrixy” and begins to instruct him with a mission. If they had included that ending on the theatrical cut, people would have been laughing out loud.
Asymmetric Warfare: The Making of Eagle Eye: A 26-minute making of documentary which opens up with one of the screenwriters/producers talking about how Steven Spielberg came up with the idea for the story ten years ago, and that if the film had been made back then, it would have been “science fiction” and that it would have been “a movie that stretches all plausibility and credibility.” I would argue that the storyline still defies plausibility, but watching this documentary makes you want to like the film and the people involved, even though you know it’s a gigantic mess.
Shall We Play a Game?: The coolest featurette on the set, a 9-minute conversation between Eagle Eye director DJ Caruso and Wargames director John Badham. I’ve always loved conversations between filmmakers, and even while this is more self-promotional than most, its still cool.
Other features include: Is My Cell Phone Spying on Me?, A 9-minute featurette exploring the film’s tech-paranoia premise, Road Trip, a too short 3-minute featurette on the film’s many shooting locations, and a Gag Reel which mostly consists of Shia LaBeouf and Billy Bob Thornton flubbing their lines and Michelle Monaghan getting the giggles one too many times.
Video: 4 out of 5
Sound: 4.5 out of 5
Blu-Ray Exclusives: 0 out of 5
Extra Features: 3 out of 5
Price: $39.99 MSRP ($27 on Amazon)
Bottom Line: Might be worth a rental but definitely not worth a purchase. None of the extras attempt to explain the convoluted plot which makes less and less sense the more you think about it, even while you’re watching the film. I’m also disappointed with the lack of an advertised audio commentary from the filmmakers/screenwriters. NOT
Exclusive to Blu-ray:
Picture in Picture: Interviews with the cast and crew and behind the scenes footage are spread throughout the film, most of the time scene specific. This is probably the only worthwhile feature added to this edition.
Visual Commentary: This is the same commentary recorded for the collector’s edition, featuring Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion (Mal), Adam Baldin (Jayne), Summer Glau (River), and Ron Glass (Book). But this time around you can watch Joss and the crew sitting on a couch while the joke and share their experiences working on the film. It’s a fun commentary but nothing new.
Alliance Database: A series of menus that let you explore the planets, people and history of the Verse. I’ve never really believed that people actually use these type of features. No one I know likes reading long text segments on a television screen. Too bad it isn’t supplemented with computer animated videos and documentaries.
Mr. Universe’s Compendium: Basically a version of the Alliance Database which comes up with new textual information based on the scenes you’re watching. I found it pretty much useless.
DVD Features in HD:
Deleted Scenes: 13-minutes of 9 deleted 6-minutes of 4 extended scenes, available with or without commentary from Joss Whedon. The scenes are off of an AVID output, not correctly formatted for a 16:9 television, and have time-codes at the top and the bottom of the black letterbox.
Outtakes: 6-minutes of bloopers, presented in the same non-hd condition as the Deleted Scenes.
Featurettes: Future History (4:31), What’s in a Firefly (6:32), Re-Lighting the Firefly (9:40), A Filmmaker’s Journey (19:53), Joss Whedon Introduction (3:41), Take a Walk on Serenity (4:06), The Green Clan (3:07) are all off of the Serenity Collector’s Edition Set. None of the features have been remastered for high definition presentation, and most even contain a letterbox within a letterbox.
Video: 4.5 out of 5
Sound: 5 out of 5
Blu-Ray Exclusives: 2 out of 5
Extra Features: 4 out of 5
Price: $29.99 MSRP ($20 on Amazon)
Bottom Line: I wish that Universal would have spent the extra time cleaning up the extra features for High Definition presentation. The addition of the Visual Commentary and Picture in Picture features are cool, but can’t really be played at the same time. If you play the film with both activated, the player will push you back to the visual commentary when the Picture in Picture segments end, leaving it up to you to switch back over to PinP when another segment begins. Hey, I’m lazy. Truth is this is the type of movie that either you lvoe or hate, and if you love it and have a High Definition television, its a no-brainer. BLU
More after the jump.
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In this episode of the /Filmcast, Dave, Peter, Devindra, and Adam debate the interpersonal dynamics of The Office, question the wisdom of an I Am Legend prequel, and spend 40 minutes picking apart the finer plot intricacies of Eagle Eye.
Have any questions, comments, concerns, feedback, or praise? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993 . Join us next next week as we review Bill Maher’s Religulous.
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Posted on Saturday, September 27th, 2008 by David Chen
This weekend saw a boatload of new theatrical releases, including Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna, Clark Gregg’s Choke, and Nights in Rodanthe (from the mind of the same author that brought you the saccharine-filled The Notebook), among many others. It seemed as though there was something for everyone, from history buffs to Palahniuk fans to Christians who always wondered how firefighter Kirk Cameron deals with divorce.
But the major release this weekend is DJ Caruso’s Eagle Eye. Highly advertised and executive-produced by Steven Spielberg (who also provided the original story), this film had everything going for it: The unstoppable Shia Labeouf, the beautiful and talented Michelle Monaghan, a wise-cracking Billy Bob Thornton, taut direction by DJ Caruso, and a kickass trailer. Did it deliver on its promise?
[WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS LIE AFTER THIS POINT AND IN THE COMMENTS. DO NOT CONTINUE READING UNLESS YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END OF EAGLE EYE.]
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Posted on Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 by David Chen
The /Filmcast Interview is a series of conversations with actors, directors, and other key figures from the entertainment industry. In this episode, David speaks with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci about their new Fox series Fringe, the role of MacGuffins in their work, and the possibility of a third Transformers film. The DJ Caruso film Eagle Eye, which both Orci and Kurtzman produced, will be in theaters on Friday.
Have any questions, comments, or suggestions? Want to be interviewed on the /Filmcast? Feel free to e-mail us at email@example.com. You can also call and leave a voicemail at (781) 583-1993. Join us on Monday night at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST as we review Eagle Eye, live on the /Filmcast.
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Christopher Nolan’s use of the IMAX camera for The Dark Knight has caused filmmakers to reconsider how they will shoot the future of tentpole movies. First Jon Favreau said he would be interested in filming scenes from Iron Man 2 with IMAX cameras, and now DJ Caruso tells Collider that he has already thought about using the 70mm technology for sequences in the yet to be greenlit adaptation of Y: The Last Man. But for now, Caruso’s Eagle Eye is making history, as the first Hollywood film to be released in Digital IMAX in 15 locations.
Discuss: What upcoming films would you like to see scenes shot in IMAX? The Hobbit seems like the most obvious choice…
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Ole Bornedal’s Just Another Love Story is what I imagine While You Were Sleeping would’ve be like if Guillermo del Toro had remade the Sandra Bullock romantic comedy as a dark dramatic thriller. Anders W. Berthelsen stars as Jonas, a forensics photographer who is involved in a traffic accident that sends a young woman into a coma, but leaves Jonas and his family unscratched. Jonas decides to visit her in the hospital, and is somehow mistaken for the Woman’s boyfriend Sebastian. Her family doesn’t allow him to explain, and somehow Jonas finds himself going along with the charade.
Julia awakens from her coma, blind and with amnesia. Jonas eventually tries to free himself of the situation, but when he attempts to explain, her father just believes he’s trying to coward out of the difficult situation. He offers Jonas money to stay around until she gets better. But a series of deeply twisted turns sends this film into an intense thriller. I have no doubt this Danish gem will be gobbled up by Hollywood, and released as a American remake, which won’t be half as good. Catch the original if you can. 8/10
D.J. Caruso‘s Eagle Eye is based on an concept by Steven Spileberg, of man vs. technology. Which makes me wonder why Spielberg didn’t develop and direct the project himself, especially considering his trademark series of films which pits man versus sharks, dinosaurs, vehicles…etc. I have no doubt that a great movie could have been made with the core concept, but the completed film is full of plot holes and characters who only seem to be on screen to serve a quota.
I can’t really get into my problems with the film without discussing the film’s climax and the reveal of the villain, both of which are shrouded in mystery until late into the story. But truth be told, when you learn who or what is behind the other side of the cellphone, and the reasons why Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan‘s characters were “activated”, it doesn’t exactly make sense. The film entertains and thrills, but is unsatisfying overall, especially when assessed after the fact. 6.5/10
Posted on Thursday, September 18th, 2008 by David Chen
The /Filmcast Interview is a series of interviews with movie stars, directors, and other key figures from the film industry. In this episode, David speaks with Michelle Monaghan about her rise to stardom, working on Gone Baby Gone, and her role in the upcoming D.J. Caruso film, Eagle Eye. You can experience Eagle Eye in advance by going to EagleEyeFreeFall.
Have any questions, comments, or suggestions? Want to be interviewed on the /Filmcast? Feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call and leave a voicemail at (781) 583-1993.
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