Archive for the 'Coming Soon' Category


HIFF 2010: The Preview Continued . . .

Now, where was I? Oh yes, continuing the HIFF 2010 preview. Continuing the list, here are eight more films that interest me at this year’s festival:

5) Fire of Conscience

"Don't look now, but this is gonna be an explosive movie."

HIFF Page // Trailer // Official Website

HIFF Description:

The investigation of a prostitute’s murder brings headstrong Detective Manfred in an unlikely collaboration with shady Inspector Kee from the Narcotics Bureau. When DNA of one of Manfred’s colleagues is found at the crime scene, Internal Affairs comes sniffing around. In the line of fire between high levels of corruption, Manfred must solve all the twists of the mystery, reluctantly with Kee. Together, the duo will wage a two-man war and uncover a conspiracy that will threaten to upend the entire police force, and paint the streets of Hong Kong with blood.

Why I Want to See It:

Yes, if you can’t tell by now, I’m easily entertained with Chinese actions flicks–especially those that involve crime stories. Again, there’s a lot of great action to be had in the trailer, but it seems like there’s going to be some added “drama” when we get the age old plotline of ‘when the good guys get mistaken for the bad guys.’ Should be fun.


6) Red Hill

"Get ready for a rough ride partner, this might be the start of a trilogy."

HIFF Page // Official Website & Trailer // Facebook

HIFF Description:

When a young police officer, Constable Shane Cooper, relocates to the small town of Red Hill with his pregnant wife, he does so in the hope of living a quiet and peaceful family life. But when news of a prison break in the city sends the local law enforcement officers – under veteran officer Old Bill – into a panic, Shane’s first day on duty quickly turns into a nightmare.

Why I Want to See It:

To be honest, I can’t quite put my finger on why I’m very intrigued by this film–and no, it’s not because the lead actor (Ryan Kwanten) is on HBO’s True Blood. If I had to say, I guess it’s probably the story and the need of needing to know what happens. Billed as a ‘modern day’ western, from viewing the trailer it could turn into a “new guy going against corrupt old guy” situation ala Training Day. Also, in what could make this film that much more interesting, director Patrick Hughes has expressed interest in making this film the first in a “revenge” “colors” trilogy.

7) Clash

A Vietnamese version of The Expendables? I'm Ron Burgundy?


HIFF Description:

CLASH is another reinvention of the Vietnamese action film. Ex-convicts Quan and Cang are part of a hit squad assembled by Trinh to steal a hard drive from French mobsters. Trinh works for an elusive criminal mastermind who seeks the hard drive to get control of Vietnam’s first and only satellite.

Why I Want to See It:

If you take some pretty cool martial arts fight scenes, cut them up and put them together with some intense music, and took out all the speaking and subtitles, I might tell you that you have a damn fine action flick on your hands. Well ok, you probably do anyway, but I really love how the trailer for this film was put together as it mimics Hollywood promo techniques.


#8 How I Ended This Summer

"Think you've had a rough day? Try being stuck in an oil drum for a few hours."


HIFF Description:

One place. One day. Two men. – The place is a polar station on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean. A day up here in the far north lasts weeks, since the sun never sets during the summer at this high latitude. This used to be an important research station but, Sergei, an experienced meteorologist and Pavel, a high school graduate, are now the only inhabitants. Soon a ship will arrive to pick up the two men. Sergei is anxious about returning to his wife and child on the mainland, while Pavel hopes that he might yet be able to experience the kind of real adventure he was dreaming of when he volunteered for an internship in this desolate region. And then one day when Sergei is out angling, Pavel picks up a radio message that he daren’t communicate to Sergei.

Why I Want to See It:

I’m going to admit, the description of this film alone intrigued me. Here you have two guys, all alone in a remote location . . . already this is a setup for all kinds of cabin fever tension. Then of course the young, happy-go-lucky younger guy who’s there looking for an adventure unexpectedly finds it. Chaos and conflict ensue between the two. I’m in!


9) Bill Cunningham New York

I guess the lights of New York really inspire this guy--he's been photographing people in NYC for years.

HIFF Page // Official Website // Facebook

HIFF Description:

BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK chronicles a man who is obsessively interested in only one thing – the pictures he takes that document the way people dress. Bill has lived in the same small studio above Carnegie Hall for fifty years, never eats in restaurants and gets around on a worn-out bicycle– his sole means of transportation. The contradiction of his monk-like existence and the extravagance of his photographic subject matter is one aspect of his private life revealed in the movie. He wants only his independence to be able to point his camera when beauty crosses his path. With this singular goal, he has managed to create a poignant and ongoing chronicle of the intersection of fashion and society in New York over fifty years — in effect, a portrait of New York City itself.

Why I Want to See It:

Here’s another example of me need to just read the film description to be sucked into a movie. Take a somewhat eccentric Manhattanite, bring to light some of those eccentricities, and throw in his uncanny artistic sense and what you have is the perfect mix for a documentary about an eccentric Manhattanite with an uncanny artistic sense. Seriously though, call it OCD, dedication, routine, what have you–I’m sure this guy is getting some great photos. Who wouldn’t want to take a view into this guy’s life?


10) Norman

What's a festival list without some kind of quirky indie drama?

HIFF Page // Official Website // Facebook

HIFF Description:

Norman is a good high school kid whose private burdens have made him a self-destructive loner. His mother has died, and now his father is succumbing to stomach cancer, a circumstance that is certain to leave him alone in the world. Norman’s confused method of dealing with such stress is to punish himself in small ways, one of which is to endure public humiliation by making a grotesque audition for the school’s theater program. Then one impulsive, thoughtless act—a lie—gets way out of hand and makes him the focus of school-wide attention.

Why I Want to See It:

Again my big ‘Hollywood’ sensibilities are kicking in. While it doesn’t have as much of a loaded cast as The Tempest does, it’s got my guy Richard Jenkins, as well as somewhat known actors in Adam Goldberg and Dan Byrd (of Cougar Town & Easy A fame) all propping up the film. It also has what sounds to me like a decently interesting storyline. And it’s also in English, so that’s a plus too right?


Other Notables at HIFF This Year

Some of these sound interesting while others I’m not really interested–but are getting a lot of buzz and could potentially be big this year:

  • Blue Valentine: Gala Presentation drama starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a couple whose marriage is disintegrating. Wide release currently slated for December 31, 2010.
  • Bodyguards & Assassins: Period piece giving us more Chinese/Hong Kong action cinema.
  • Conviction: Big Hollywood film starring Hilary Swank who puts herself through law school just so that she can free her brother, Sam Rockwell, from prison. Currently in limited release.
  • Get a Job: Local comedy starring a number of local entertainers/celebrities. Not my cup of tea, but it’s getting some buzz due to backing from the likes of Willie K, Augie T, Jake Shimabukuro, and more.
  • The Girl That Kicked the Hornet’s Nest: The Millenium Trilogy continues at HIFF. Limited release slated for October 29.
  • Housemaid: This actually could potentially be very interesting. A Korean take on a husband’s infidelity with his housemaid.
  • One Kine Day: Looks to be decent interpretation of local life in high school.
  • One Voice: Gala Presentation that takes you behind the scenes of the year leading up to the Kamehameha Schools’ Song Contest. From sheer backing alone by KS this movie should be big.
  • The Runaways: The Joan Jett/Cherie Curie biopic starring Kristen Stewart & Dakota Fanning gets a showing at HIFF as part of the Sound x Vision showcase.
  • Sound of Noise: All I have to say about this movie can be summed up in two words: musical terrorists. This movie has been getting a lot of buzz on the festival circuit and event took home one of the top honors at last month’s Fantastic Fest.

HIFF 2010: The Long Awaited Preview!

The 30th annual Hawaii International Film Festival gets underway today. Celebrating 30 years of moving pictures, the festival always seems to bring in a great mix films. Every year I peruse the exhaustive program schedule, looking it over to see what films I might be interested in. In actuality though, I will never be able to see all of the movies that I really would like to see. Usually the first hurdle is cost.

While general admission tickets to the festival are slightly higher than normal at $12 per ticket, general admission attendees have to stand in the worst of three lines. For each film, there are three separate lines for different classification of festival goers. Membership packages start at $35 and go up to $1500. Obviously the more you pay, the better the line you stand in. So, as a general admission attendee, while you have the flexibility of purchasing tickets for films on an ala carte basis, you are by nature potentially near the back of any line as the membership lines go in before you do.

The second hurdle for me is usually schedule–both the schedule of the festival itself, as well as my own schedule. I don’t exactly know what it is, but come October my schedule just seems to fill up with stuff. Obviously if UH football games fall on festival dates–those are out. Then there are the “hollywood” screenings during the week (if any) that we usually cover (which there is only one of this year)–those are out. So, couple that with only select times that certain films are shown, and you have a perfect storm of scheduling conflicts.

And now, on to what I’m interested/hoping to see at this year’s HIFF.

My Four Most Anticipated Films to See at HIFF:

1) The Tempest

That's right, headlined by Helen Mirren; Russel Brand, Alfred Molina, and Djimon Hounsou (the dude from Gladiator) all star in this interpretation of Shakepeare's classic.

Trailer // HIFF Page // Official Website // Facebook

HIFF Description:

Exiled on a remote island, Prospera (the extraordinary Helen Mirren in a gender bending role), the duchess of Milan, conjures up a storm to lure a swath of characters from her past to her island kingdom, revealing in the process a cross-section of human frailties, illusions, kindness and nobility. Ms. Mirren is aided by a dream cast, including Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn, Chris Cooper, Alan Cumming, and more. Shot primarily on the island of Lanai and the Big Island, THE TEMPEST maximizes the beauty and mystique of Hawaii’s scenery to paint an otherworldly realm.

Why I Want to See It:

Yes, I’m a mainstream Hollywood guy. I love me some movies with known actors, high quality production work, and films already backed by studios.Having said that, another thing that this film has going for it is that it was shot here in Hawaii. Support local products right? In all seriousness though, I’m definitely intrigued with what director Julie Taymor’s has in store for us with such a star studded cast after liking her last project well enough (2007’s Across the Universe, based on the music of The Beatles). If you can’t catch it at HIFF don’t worry. The film is getting a wide release on December 17.


2) The People vs George Lucas

What happens when fans turn to the Dark Side? They make a documentary about hating on the Star Wars creator himself.

HIFF Page // Official Website & Trailer // Facebook // Twitter

HIFF Description:

They gave him their love, their money and their online parodies. He gave them… the prequels. The passion the original Star Wars trilogy inspires in its fans is unparalleled; but when it comes to George Lucas himself, many have found their ardor has cooled into a complicated love-hate relationship. This hilarious, heartfelt documentary delves deep into Lucas’s cultural legacy, asking all the tough questions.

Why I Want to See It:

Come on now, what Star Wars fan wouldn’t want to see a documentary related in some way to the Star Wars saga and at the same time taking shots at Lucas himself? While making the statement that the prequels could have come out a little bit better is an understatement, I can definitely relate to some of the feelings fans have expressed against Lucas after the prequels came out. I think the movie description says it all when it asks the question . . . “who truly owns that galaxy far, far away—the man who created it, or the fans who worship it?”


3) Legend of the Fist

Looking for great fight choreography in your Hong Kong action flicks? You've come to the right place.

Trailer // HIFF Page // Official Website

HIFF Description:

Presumed dead after single-handedly defeating all the Japanese fighters at the Hongkou Dojo to avenge his master, Chen Zhen (Donnie Yen, IP MAN) joins the Labour Corps during the First World War. Deciding to return home to defend his country, he arrives in Shanghai disguised as a wealthy businessman named Qi. He quickly befriends the notorious mafia boss Mr. Liu, owner of the nightclub Casablanca, and Kiki (Shu Qi), the club’s star hostess. With the rapid expansion of Japanese influence in China, the military releases a death list, sending Shanghai into complete panic.

Why I Want to See It:

I was sold on this movie thirty seconds into the trailer. Bear with me now, I have very little to go on when it comes to foreign films. Most of my knowledge about these pictures is from the descriptions and info from the HIFF website. However, besides the great looking action sequences, the movie still has a lot going for it. The lead Donnie Yen has been in a number of great Hong Kong films and director Andrew Lau has a good number of credit to his name–most notably ‘Infernal Affairs,’ which was remade here in the US by Martin Scorsese under the title ‘The Departed.’ It has also been getting some buzz on the festival circuit and was a fantastic movie to see at Fantastic Fest.


4) To Live & Ride in LA

Intense, urban bike riding at it's finest.

HIFF Page // Official Website & Trailer // Facebook // Twitter

HIFF Description:

For fixed-gear cyclists, Los Angeles is a city that has it all. From the neon glow of Hollywood to the sun-drenched boardwalk of Venice Beach, fixed-gear has evolved into a vibrant street culture that is uniquely L.A. From director David Rowe comes a new documentary feature that explores a side of L.A. few outsiders have seen. From races through rush-hour traffic to midnight loft parties, TO LIVE & RIDE IN L.A. is a fast paced-trip through the busy streets and back-alleys of one of the world’s largest cities.

Why I Want to See It:

Ah, these big mainland cities with their quirky pockets of culture. From the trailer this film literally looks like a wild ride. What struck me was how intense, but also passionate, these bikers are about riding. Now let’s get one thing clear here, this is not BMX racing or trick riding like Matt Hoffman. These guys are urban bike riding cowboys who are not afraid of LA traffic. Definitely worth checking out I think.


I wanted to include so much more in this HIFF preview when I first started writing it on Sunday. Sadly, time got away from me (yet again) and I could only bang out previews on four films.  Stay tuned for another post taking a look at more films that I’m interested in checking out at this year’s Hawaii International Film Festival which runs October 14-24. In the meantime, hit the links throughout this post for more info on these movies as well as links to the HIFF website to find out about purchasing tickets. And here’s two more links from our local papers about the festival. Enjoy and see you at the movies!

Movies, movies, movies – by Gary C.W. Chun of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser gives background on this year’s festival.

HIFF Hooray – by Chad Pata of the MidWeek talks with festival director Chuck Boller about this year’s fest and it’s history.


Brisk Titan XC Ticket Sales for Midnight Showing of Eclipse

Long lines at Ward for the midnight showings of The Twilight Saga: New Moon. We will have a repeat next week?

Remember back in November when New Moon came out and a ton of fans turned out for midnight screenings? With only a week to go till the release of the The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Wednesday, June 30), it’s only a matter of time before Twilight mania re-enters the public consciousness. As curiosity got the best of me I kinda wanted to gauge local TwiHard fandom as well as the new ticket ordering for Consolidated’s Titan XC so I ventured online to Fandango to check it out.

Ticket Sales

I got about what I expected when I clicked on the link for the Tuesday night (aka midnight) screening for Eclipse (all images and information referenced are current as of 10AM Wednesday, June 23):

Theater map for the midnight showing of Eclipse in the Titan XC.

As you can see from the image, a little over half the theater is sold out for the midnight show. Keep in mind now that we are still a week away so there is still A LOT of time for people to fill up the theater. As I mentioned, I wasn’t too surprised by how full the theater is, but it does show that a select group of people are being smart about their Eclipse viewing and are taking advantage of the Titan XC’s reservation system. Truth be told there are still a number of good seats to be had in Ward’s theater 8.

Can’t make it to the midnight screening of Eclipse or just not that big of a fan, but you still want to see it on opening day? Don’t fret, the 7:45pm screening on Wednesday is still wide open (current as of 10AM, Wednesday, June 23):

Theater map for the Wednesday 7:45pm screening of Eclipse in the Titan XC.

Or if you’re a morning person, the first showing in the TItan on Wednesday morning at 11AM only has 22 out of it’s 450+ seats sold.

Reservation System

I have to say, reserving your seat in the Titan XC theater is pretty easy. Just log on to Fandango, search for theaters in Honolulu and click on Titan screening times at Ward and a map of the theater (like the ones pictured above) pops up prompting you to select your seat. It’s pretty similar to selecting your seats on airlines or for sporting events. As you can see, it shows you which seats are taken, and which ones aren’t. Just click on the ones you want that are still available and off you go. Luckily Eclipse is a non 3D movie so you pay the cheaper Titan XC ticket price of $14.25 for adults and $11.00 for children or seniors.

Are you seeing The Twilight Saga: Eclipse on opening day? You might want to get your tickets for the Titan XC soon or wait in line like everyone else.


Addtional Reading:

THR’s Risky Business BlogTotal ‘Eclipse’: Twi-hards take over the L.A. Live courtyard‘Eclipse’ Fans Camp Out For Days Before L.A. Premiere


Clash of the Titan XC

This week Friday (June 18, 2010) Consolidated Theatres will debut a new moviegoing experience with the opening of their new Titan XC (extreme cinema) screen at their Ward location. They have taken one screen (theater 8) and have renovated the entire theater and will feature (from Consolidated Theatre’s press release):

  • A wall-to-wall screen 66 feet wide and 35 feet tall
  • Pristine digital images with “the most advanced 3D”
    • a new “state-of-art,” NEC digital projection system
    • XpanD 3D system
  • Unsurpassed Sound
    • Dolby Surround, 7.1 audio channels
    • 75,000 watt digital sound system
    • 18 speakers on the walls, 14 in the ceiling, doubled the number of subwoofers
  • Leather Seating
  • Reserved Seating

While it all sounds nice and fancy, I’m going to hold judgement till after I take in Ward’s Titan XC myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for improving the moviegoing experience here in Hawaii and I’m a big fan of Ward Theaters, but let’s face it . . . Ward needed to do something to keep up with the IMAX theater at Regal Cinema’s Dole location.

Since opening last year, Dole’s IMAX has definitely been a money maker for them with a number of films coming out in IMAX (most notably James Cameron’s Avatar). With the only commercial IMAX theater on the island, and tickets for the theater being sold at $17 a pop (compared to a $4 3D surcharge on top of normal ticket prices) it’s easy to see that Ward has been losing out on a niche that only Dole has been capitalizing on.

There are several stumbling blocks that Ward will need to overcome for the Titan experience to be successful. Perhaps the biggest problem is that Titan XC is not something that moviegoers recognize. It’s not a name brand like how IMAX is. Everyone remembers when they were younger and we had a “real” IMAX in Waikiki or having gone to the mainland and seeing big IMAX screens there. We know what it is. IMAX is a name brand, and more importantly it’s a format that Hollywood is formatting their films for (select scenes in Transformers and The Dark Knight were shot in IMAX). Sadly the “Titan XC” brand is something that moviegoers are not familiar with and as far as I can tell, not a format of any sort. Hence the marketing campaign which has been going on for the past two weeks. In order for people to know about something, you have to tell them about it. And if you’re going to tell them about something, make sure you tell them it has all the newest bells and whistles.

The NEC NC3200S digital cinema projector. Is this the driving force behind Ward's new Titan XC?

The second problem I foresee is the technology itself. The digital projectors used in theaters currently conform to Digital Cinema Initiatives specifications as set forth by the Big 6 studios (Warner Bros, Sony, Disney, Universal, Paramount, Fox). Currently these standards seem to be below the resolution presented by digital IMAX. Simply put, unless this new NEC digital projector is indeed “state-of-the-art,” I don’t foresee the projection quality being better than it would be in IMAX (not sure which model Ward is installing, but the newest NEC projectors will be able to upgrade to a higher resolution standard than what is required–possibly at a later time). If this turns out to be the case, Ward could have a tough time selling moviegoers on this technology once word gets out. Again, I’ll need to reserve judgement until I can see the technology in action.

However, Ward’s new Titan experience does have two things going for it:

  1. Reserved Seating–Cavemen had the wheel, Edison had his light blub, Bell had the telephone, and now Hawaii finally has reserved seating for movies. How would you like to not have to hassle with waiting in line on opening night? Just show up 20 minutes before the show starts, buy your food and sit down without having to worry about finding a seat? Sounds so easy right? I mean really, sports and the airline industry have been doing it for decades, why not the theaters as well? This semi new feature (Ward previously did have a concierge service that allowed for reserved seating–as a subscription service) is a great selling point as it will take some antagonism out of the movie going experience. The downside–it’s only for one theater.
  2. Price–For about two weeks after Consolidated announced Titan XC I was very hesitant as no where did they announce the ticket prices for this new “experience.” However last week they finally set the ticket prices and I have to say that they’re really trying to do their best to compete with Dole. Take a look:
  • Adult – $14.25
  • Senior/Child – $11.00
  • 3D Adult – $16.25
  • 3D Senior/Child – $13.00

Compare these prices to Dole’s IMAX where ticket prices are $17 for adults, $14 for kids, and $13.50 for seniors (in either 2D or 3D) and Ward is definitely undercutting Dole. This will definitely turn the tide in Ward’s favor if the technology is as good or better than Dole’s IMAX. If not, you still have the consolation of paying about $4 more than a regular Ward ticket price for the amenity of reserving your seat–still, not a bad deal.

After it’s all said and done though, having more viewing options for moviegoers can never be a bad thing. I just hope that Consolidated hasn’t rushed blindly into competing with Dole by giving us window dressing in the form of Titan XC. Hopefully I can check out the new Titan XC experience this weekend. And if I do, expect a follow up post to hash everything out.


Additional Reading:

The Titan XC webpage on Consolidated’s website, with a link to their press release and ticket prices.

Rachel Gibson of Consolidated Theatres talking about Titan XC on Wake Up 2Day


It’s a Poster: Eat Pray Love

It’s a Poster is an infrequent feature discussing movie posters. Using my graphically designed background I’ll be taking a look at posters that I like or find interesting, talk about why I like them and what I think makes them interesting.

I’m not going to lie, more often than not I see far more uninteresting movie posters than I do interesting ones. However, every once and a while a few come down the pike that actually make me want to go out and buy them. Such is the case with the first movie poster for Eat Pray Love from Columbia Pictures and starring Julia Roberts.

Why do I like it? Well, first let’s start off with a few basics. 1) Movie posters should catch your attention. What will make you stop in the theater and get you take a second look at a poster? Maybe it’s a picture of a hot actress or maybe it’s the layout of the poster. Whatever it maybe, if a poster can hook you, then it’s already done it’s job. 2) A good movie poster will also tell you a story or a little bit about what the movie is about (without literally saying what it’s about from wording on the poster). Sometimes you can tell what a movie is about from looking at a poster and sometimes you may not. Now I’m not talking about looking at a Toy Story 3 poster and know that “oh, it’s an animated movie about toys!” No, I’m talking about what the actual plot of the movie might be.

With the poster for Eat Pray Love we seem to get both of these. First of all what hooked me was that it was a single photo of Julia Roberts really enjoying gelato or something in that cup. Being a single shot overlaid with the star’s name and title of the movie the poster really wants to you focus on this one moment. What’s so special about this moment that it’s the focus of the movie poster? It’s this intrigue that stops you. In fact this could very well be a scene from the movie. Which brings me to our second reason for this being a good movie poster . . .

Just from looking at the poster and asking a few basic questions, an idea of the movie starts to form in your head. What is she eating? Where is she eating it? It must be good if she has that look on her face. What is she looking at off to the side? This poster tells me that the movie is about good food. What makes me say this? The look on Julia Roberts face. It almost makes me want to have what she’s having. When you combine this image with two of the words in the title, “Eat” and “Love” it’s almost certain that this movie is going to be a culinary adventure. This poster also tells me that this movie might occur in Europe. Look at the background, it doesn’t seem like she’s in an American city (although she could be). From the iron fence in the background to the cobbled stones at her feet seem to hint at old European city tones.

I think what impresses me most about this poster is how uncommon a poster like this is. Usually movie posters like to clutter up the canvas with pictures of all the stars in the movie as a way to draw an audience. Not the case here. Granted Julia Roberts is the star of the movie, but this photo shows none of the other actors in the movie. An uncommon poster for an uncommon movie? We’ll have to wait and see.

Eat Pray Love hits theaters August 13.


Barbarian at the Gates

The movie poster for Princess Kaiulani on display at the Consolidated's Kahala & Ward Theaters in anticipation of it's May 14 release here in the islands.

It might not be Iron Man 2, but the local release of Princess Kaiulani next week Friday, May 14 is nearly upon us. Back in October there was a lot of attention being drawn towards the film, particularly because: 1) it was a depiction of a historical Hawaiian figure shot here in Hawaii, 2) it was going to get it’s first on screen, real audience appearance at the Hawaii International Film Festival, and 3) it’s former name, ‘Barbarian Princess,’ was not sitting well with many locals and those in the Hawaiian community. As such it debuted at HIFF to record crowds, so much so that additional screenings were added to fill the demand.

With such an enormous amount of hype and hoopla surrounding the film’s debut at HIFF, I’m actually kind of surprised there’s not more attention being drawn to the film now that distributor Roadside Attractions is going to give the film a limited release here in the islands and in select theaters across the country (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco, Phoenix, New York–with the possibility of wider expansion to follow).

At the time of HIFF in October, I was a little skeptical that anyone would be able to see this picture outside of the film festival circuit. To my knowledge no other feature film about Hawaiian history had ever been shown in theaters (Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor doesn’t count). I mean, what kind of market is out there for a movie like this? Obviously this is going to play to the indie film niche, but would people outside of Hawaii be interested in seeing this? Never the less, I’m still rather excited that this film is going to get an honest to God theatrical release. I wouldn’t be surprised if it even gets reviewed on At The Movies.

One noticeable difference between the film then and now is the obvious title change. As I mentioned earlier, during production and at HIFF the film went by it’s original title, ‘Barbarian Princess.” After being picked up by Roadside Attractions I guess they felt that the title needed to be changed. During HIFF I crafted this post which advocated for keeping the title as is because I believed (and still do) that the juxtaposition of the title with what is shown on screen will make people think and ultimately realize that she wasn’t wasn’t the title, or her critics during that time, labeled her as.

However, I’m fine with the name change now because I can see how the title would make it difficult to market the film to a large audience. I think the mentality is that by making the title more straightforward, it won’t confuse potential moviegoers. Say what you will, but I can see how Barbarian Princess might confuse some people into thinking that this is some kind of 10,000 BC sequel. In any case, check out the trailer for Princess Kaiulani below:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Biased or not, I think the trailer sells the movie. All that’s left is for everyone to go see it!


Alice, is that You?

If you were at the Honolulu advance screening of Alice in Wonderland you might have missed it, but there was a celebrity in the house tonight. Kanye West and his entourage joined moviegoes in the screening. The sometimes Hawaii resident, who shot his music video ‘Amazing’ here the islands, was let in along with his entourage only after the house lights dimmed and the previews rolled so as not to cause a commotion as well as out of respect for the rapper’s privacy.

Who says we don’t get big Hollywood premieres with famous attendees here in Hawaii?


VIII Trailers During Super Bowl XLIV

Last year, my second post for our blog was on the movie trailers that came out during the Super Bowl. I thought nothing of it at the time, it was just a fun and interesting exercise. In honor of my second post, I’m here again on Super Bowl Sunday doing another Super spots post.

Looking back on it now, many of the thoughts I had then, I still have now. Is it an effective use of studio’s money to run trailers during the Super Bowl? The more I think about this, the more I have to say, I don’t think so (but then again I’m not spending the money). An added difference is that for this year’s crop of trailers, many of them have already hit the web. To me this seems counter productive as why spend that much money if you’re going to post them before the game?

In any case it’s fun to take a look back at last year’s post to see how things turned out. The trailers that had me most excited were the ones for GI Joe, Star Trek, and Transformers 2 which I gave a four or five rating to. Well, at least one of those movies turned out good (Star Trek). The rest of the films that debuted a trailer at last year’s Super Bowl turned out to be a mixed bag. Many of them did good at the box office, but were critically bad and generally bad. While the rest bombed. Only time will tell how this year’s trailers will be and how well those films will do.

The Bounty Hunter – Pregame
Excitement Level – 1/5
The trailer showed off a lot of the comedic side to this movie. However it showed a lot of stuff I’ve already seen, so not really too much excitement generated here. To be honest, while there seem to be some very funny sequences I have a feeling this movie is not going to be that great.
The Last Airbender – Pregame
Excitement Level – 4/5
There was tons of new footage showing off the special effects in the movie. That alone got me excited. Didn’t get much sense of the story in thirty seconds, but sand stopping fire, ice and water flying about . . . this movie is going to be a feast for the eyes.
Robin Hood – 1st Quarter
Excitement Level – 3/5
Some great action scenes showing off the movie. I also like how they tried to give you some sense of the story from the trailer’s format where they mixed images with text outlining what you’re going to experience. Nothing overly awe-inspiring, but pretty good thirty seconds.
Wolfman – 1st Quarter
Excitement Level – 2/5
I’ve gotta say, I was a little mystified that Universal ran a Wolfman trailer during the Super Bowl. Wolfman trailers and spots have abounded in recent weeks since the movie comes out on Friday. Although I’ve seen lots of spots, I think there might actually have been some new footage in this spot. Nothing earth shattering though.
Shutter Island – 2nd Quarter
Excitement Level – 2/5
I guess it doesn’t matter if you movie comes out in a week or two as a second February movie debuted a trailer. This one I have to say was a good take as it played up the fact that Martin Scorsese was the director and cited his previous films as proof that this one was going to be great. Martin Scorsese + scary pic = good new movie.
Alice in Wonderland – 2nd Quarter
Excitement Level – 1/5
This trailer sort of reminded me of the Harry Potter trailers in the beginning with the wording of “You have a very important date.” After that though, it showed off Tim Burton’s distinctive dark take on Alice in Wonderland and finished it up with the pig bit. Again, not that much new stuff to see
The Back-Up Plan – Halftime
Excitement Level – 3/5
When I first saw this spot, I honestly thought it was a promo for a CBS show. Then I saw J Lo and did a double take. Great way to draw everyone in with J Lo showing her “backup” guy someone giving birth. Great attention getter with it ending with a comedic line.
Prince of Persia – 3rd Qtr
Excitement Level – 2/5
If there’s been one common theme with all of the spots I’ve seen for this film it’s been this . . . showing of the epic-ness and visual effects of the movie. This Super Bowl spot being no exception. While I liked that they tried to give some plot background with the voice over, the cacophony of scenes they showed give no real hint of what’s going on with all the action.

As a whole I thought that studios played it safe this year, with some even opting not to run trailers. Noticeably absent were trailers from high profile films such as Iron Man 2, Toy Story 3, and more. I think the thinking was that studios only wanted to spend money on bankable pictures and ones that people already know about. On an interesting note, the films they did spend money on five of the eight are coming out before the summer. Who says summer movies get all the love?


Related Reading:

LATimes Movies – Does fewer Super Bowl movie spots mean better Super Bowl movie spots?

Heat Vision from – How Hollywood Fumbled Its Super Bowl Ads

LATimes Movies – Will Hollywood Rethink Big Game Spending?


It’s a Poster . . . So What?

So as you may or may not have heard the first poster for Iron Man 2 was revealed yesterday and is currently spreading across the Internets like wildfire in geek circles. I have to say that I myself was just as excited when I saw director Jon Favreau’s tweet that it would be unveiled on Yahoo Movies in just a few minutes. Once I did get a chance to see the poster, it definitely got me excited for May, but I wasn’t blown away as some people were (mainly because I’ve seen Iron Man 2 footage already from Comic Con back in July).

From a graphic standpoint, here’s why I think it’s a good poster:

  • It shows both Iron Man & War Machine–Make no mistake this is a movie about Iron Man, which is why he is front and center in this poster and why War Machine is in the back, but at least we still get to see War Machine in the poster.
  • Asymmetrical balance–Ok, I know I’m getting technical on you, but just what is asymmetrical balance you might ask? Well if I remember my undergraduate courses correctly it means that irregular components in the poster balance each other out–in a good way. Take a look for yourself, what is the first thing that you see? Iron Man right? It’s because you see more of him and also because he has brighter colors. BUT, right after you see him, you are immediately drawn to War Machine. Why? Because he’s cool! This action, subliminal or otherwise is a good thing.
  • It doesn’t say “Iron Man” on the poster–Why say something when you don’t need to? Most people will be able to recognize Iron Man in the poster already without having to put his name on there. If they can’t, they can always find out what the movie is by going to it’s website.

Here’s why I think it’s not a great poster:

  • The cloudy, Photoshopy background–The sky background doesn’t really do anything for me and I don’t think it blends well with the two main elements of the poster.
  • It just doesn’t say anything to me–Yeah they look good and all, but this poster doesn’t tell me anything. It’s just a picture of our two heroes standing next to each other. Tell me, if they took out the Iron Man and War Machine suits and replaced them with Robert Downey Jr, and Don Cheadle would it have the same impact? Probably not. A good poster will not only look good, but it’ll tell you something about the movie as well.

In any case, look for more hype to build as speculation puts the first trailer to debut with Sherlock Holmes on Christmas Day.

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