So there’s a new Conan movie in production, starring Jason Momoa from one of the Stargate TV shows I never watched. I’m a bit of a Conan fan, though I came at the character through comics rather than the novels and stories where author Robert E. Howard created the iconic barbarian, and the original 1981 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Conan the Barbarian is a total classic (though it deviates quite a bit from the source material, which means a lot of really hardcore Conan fans hate it. And the sequel, Conan the Destroyer, simply sucks), so needless to say I’ve been curious about this new cinematic Conan.
The first official picture of Momoa in character has been released, above, and I can say he certainly looks the part. Momoa, who had a big mop of dreadlocks on Stargate, also appeared to still be rocking that look when a grainy spy picture popped up a few months ago, which left many fans (myself included) more than a little disappointed. But it looks like the studio is eager to put those fears to rest with this new pic, as Momoa even appears to have Conan’s ice-blue eyes. Momoa, who I gather did a lot of running and jumping and swordfighting-type stuff on Stargate, can probably handle the physicality of the role, and I don’t think Conan the Barbarian is a role that requires incredible acting chops, so all Momoa has to do to nail it is not suck. Conan is directed by Marcus Nispel (the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th remakes, as well as the very Conan-influenced Vikings vs. Native Americans flick Pathfinder), and is slated to hit theaters in 2011.
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Sony’s finally released a trailer for The Green Hornet, starring Seth Rogen and Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou, and it looks alarmingly generic. A genuinely brilliant director (Frenchman Michel Gondry, who made Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) is behind the camera on this film, and aside from one brief shot in the trailer (the neat little camera trick after Chou’s Kato kicks someone), there’s nothing in this trailer – which, in fairness, is just that, and not always the best thing to judge a film on – that suggests there’s anything going on in The Green Hornet that we haven’t seen before. Even the dynamic where the ostensible sidekick is more capable than the hero feels rehashed. And the fact that I couldn't understand any of Chou’s lines in the trailer doesn’t bode well for his chemistry with Rogen, who, again, seems to be playing himself. Maybe Christoph Waltz, glimpsed only briefly, can save this one? Who knows.
Sony seems to not know what to do with The Green Hornet; they recently bumped the film from a high-profile Christmas release to the relative dumping ground of January 2011, but they’re also converting it to 3D (which, as I understand it, is not cheap). I can’t pretend I’m not curious, but at this point there hasn’t been much about The Green Hornet that hasn't left me confused at best. I guess I’ll find out what the deal is on January 14. In the meantime, have a look at the trailer for yourself.
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And finally, an item that I can, at this point at least, endorse wholeheartedly. It’s a teaser trailer for an upcoming action thriller (with much more of a comedic edge than I would have guessed) called Red, about a group of retired CIA badasses who find themselves targeted by their former agency. The cast is what makes this one look so compelling: Bruce Willis as the lead, with Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich as his former team.
Red is a movie close to my heart for a few reasons: it’s based on a very cool comic miniseries of the same name by writer Warren Ellis and artist Cully Hamner (though the movie has expanded and changed a lot, which is fine; the comic was really spare, and would barely have made a 20 minute short on its own), and it was also shot mostly around my office in Toronto. (Well, old office technically; we’ve moved since they filmed this.) Those two factors always had me curious about the movie, but having seen this teaser, which looks awesome and hilarious and fun, I’m now officially really excited. Red is set for release on October 15.