panopticon-cuba

When is a panopticon not a panopticon? When it is the new movie from Immortals and Mirror Mirror director Tarsem Singh. The filmmaker has signed to direct a film called The Panopticon, called an “original action-thriller featuring sci-fi elements” and scripted by Craig Rosenberg (After the Sunset).  Read More »

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I don’t like to talk about movie marketing when reviewing a film. The trailer isn’t the movie. Each has completely different aims, and judging a movie based on a trailer is the wrong road to take. But in the case of Tarsem’s slightly modern, very kid-oriented Snow White story Mirror Mirror, the trailers are worth mentioning. They sold something like a Lifetime movie — a stilted, ungainly romance. Yet I was pleasantly surprised to see that the film proper is laced with the imaginative visuals that one expects from Tarsem, but also flashes of cleverness in action scenes and modern, media-aware dialogue that should be glaringly anachronistic, but works more often than not. Mirror Mirror is clearly a film for kids, but it aspires to please adults as well, and features just enough zing to do so, at least occasionally. Read More »

Tarsem Singh has made his name on lush, even indulgent visuals in films like The Cell, The Fall, and Immortals, as well as in music videos that preceded his feature work. His new film, the Snow White retelling Mirror Mirror, seems to be scaled back just a tiny bit from the all-out ‘feast of design’ approach seen in his previous films, but it will still likely be more ambitiously designed than most other films this year.

Tarsem has a few possible follow-up projects in the wings, but the one he really wants to do is a film that would help him break from the visually-dominated approach. Eye in the Sky is a sprawling modern war film with dozens of characters — think of the sort of project you’d expect to see Steven Soderbergh make — that had Olivier Hirschbiegel (Downfall) set to direct last year. Evidently there is some possible turnover in the director’s chair, and Tarsem wants the job. Read More »

The Great Snow White Race of 2011 resulted in two films: Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman, a Lord of the Rings-style action film starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth, and Relativity’s Mirror, Mirror, a lighter, more family-oriented comedy featuring Lily Collins, Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer.

Mirror, Mirror will be the first to theaters, with a March 16 release date. The first trailer for the film didn’t convince me that director Tarsem had made a movie I’m going to be excited to see, but Mirror, Mirror could still end up being a decent family movie.

Now we’ve got a look at some behind the scenes images from the film, showing how Tarsem’s all-stage built production came together. Check them out below. Read More »

For years we didn’t hear much at all about Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall). But his new film Immortals opened a week ago to generally negative opinion (I liked it more than most, though I’ll never argue that it is ‘good’) and the trailer for his family-oriented Snow White comedy Mirror, Mirror just hit this week.

Now we’ve got word on a possible next film from the visually obsessive director: the noirish fantasy thriller Killing on Carnival Row, penned by Pacific Rim writer Travis Beacham. Read More »

Immortals is a flagrantly artificial, insanely violent film. ‘Insanely’ violent because minutes at a time pass where the frame is filled with nothing but graphically split bodies and crushingly brutal combat, with no point beyond the arresting visual of digital viscera in slow motion. But the director of Immortals, Tarsem, who also made The Cell and The Fall, is talented at fooling us into thinking that looking cool is good enough, and so I drank in the gory violence like spring water at an oasis.

The movie is as dumb as it is gory and pretty. It is, on one hand, imaginative enough to present a creepy and ugly reworking of the myth of the Minotaur. But on the other it is so blind to all but the self-indulgence of beautiful design that all concerns are subverted to the cause of presenting weird and beautiful things. It sets up potentially provocative conflicts, like the virgin oracle who really wants to get laid, but will lose her powers if she does, and then abandons them.

Tarsem is a cinematic Prometheus, who steals ideas from others in order to make them available to everyone, but there’s no arguing that the guy knows what catches the eye, and he is adept at putting a certain sort of energy on screen. I might not want to make it a regular practice, but I had a good time watching his weird little Grand Guignol of the Titans. Read More »

Two Snow White films have been in production since summer, and we’ve already seen images from one, the action-oriented Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart as Snow White. Now here are the first images from the other, Relativity and Tarsem‘s currently untitled Snow White movie starring Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer and Lily Collins.

These pics show Collins as Snow White, surrounded by dwarfs; Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen; and Armie Hammer as the prince. They suggest a sort of family-friendly comedy. We knew the film would have a comedic tone, but this is more bright than I expected. Check out more images below. Read More »

‘Immortals’ Trailer #3

Here’s the third trailer for Tarsem‘s stylishly violent Immortals. (See the first and second ones if you haven’t already.)

I like this trailer a lot more than either of the previous ones; there’s a good voiceover that explains the background and early plot beats, and helps contextualize some of the pretty shots we’ve been seeing in previous trailers and clips. A few new shots offer additional eye-candy, too. While I remain unconvinced that this will really work as a piece of storytelling (it still looks a bit like a Dune/Clash of the Titans mashup) I can at least get a much better idea of what Tarsem is looking to accomplish. Check it out below. Read More »

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