April 24, 2014

Tag Archives: Sucker Punch

Last word on Sucker Punch, as the director’s cut comes to Blu Ray

HollywoodNews.com: Zach Snyder made perhaps the ultimate thesis project on the wholesale objectification of women in popular culture, especially in modern geek culture, and how women feel the need to use those tools of objectification in order to achieve some semblance of would-be independence.
Sucker Punch smashed open the absurd notions that girls wearing short-shorts and arbitrarily doing violence is somehow empowering, when in fact those images are almost designed to be titillating to the male gaze. It was (and is even more so in the longer, more fluid director’s cut which restores the original Jon Hamm finale) a sad, mournful, borderline hopeless saga of five young girls who are imprisoned against their will, exploited for their sexuality, and then forced to use the tools of that exploitation in a feeble attempt to escape the clutches of male oppression. It is about exploitation and it is about titillation. Yet our nation’s critics and audience members couldn’t see past the very tools that Snyder was mocking (the mini-skirts, the pigtails, the larger-than-life CGI-infused action) to see what was a borderline art film.
Had the same film been made in France, it would have been hailed as a masterpiece. Here the American filmmaker, one who has never really indulged in the openly misogynistic practices of his cohorts, was somehow crowded king of the woman haters for making a movie that tried to deal with the taken-for-granted sexual objectification of the ‘fairer sex’ in culture.
It is a big budget studio picture filled with provocative and challenging ideas. It is a big budget studio film where the action is flawlessly choreographed and seamlessly edited, creating at least three all-time classic action set pieces. It is a big budget studio picture that not only stars women but is explicitly about women. It is everything we say we want from our mainstream entertainments.
Yet we critics couldn’t see past the surface level elements and called the film sexist, infantile, and misogynistic. Which is of course true, if you would also call Blazing Saddles racist and Borat anti-Semitic. If we can’t appreciate a flawed but fascinating film like Sucker Punch (which isn’t exactly subtle about its themes), then we don’t deserve any ideas at all in our pop entertainment. Sucker Punch: the most challenging studio film of 2011, with easily the best large-scale action [...]

Vanessa Hudgens seeks “Shelter” in indie-drama role

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Vanessa Hudgens continues to seek out roles that will challenge her as an actress and distance her from the “High School Musical” franchise that launched her career.
The latest, “Gimme Shelter,” is an indie drama that casts clean-cut Hudgens as a pregnant, homeless teenager who goes in search of her biological father. THR reports that Brendan Fraser is set to star as the father, who demands that Hudgens’ character abort the baby.
Heavy stuff from writer-director Ron Krauss. Can Hudgenss handle it? She recent;y took a big step co-starring in Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch,” an she has another action tentpole under her belt with “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” which opens in September.
But this will be her first shot at a pure drama. We’re eager to see how she handles tough material.
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Photo courtesy of PRPhotos.com.

Vanessa Hudgens talks about having self-esteem issues

HollywoodNews.com: Vanessa Hudgens may seem like a glamorous Hollywood star, but even she has self-esteem issues that have her feeling low.
The ‘Sucker Punch’ actress revealed that she sometimes stays in sweats for days because she feels down, states HollywoodLife.
“I can have an ugly week. I go through days upon days where I just will not want to put on make-up or do my hair and just be in sweats,” Hudgens said about not always wanting to be dolled up.
Do you think Vanessa Hudgens has many “ugly” weeks?
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Image by PR Photos

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” franchise wins with $24.4 million

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: In a somewhat surprising result, the heavily-advertised action-fantasy Sucker Punch (teaser/trailer) did not top the box office this weekend, losing a close race to the lower-profile but popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules was number one for the weekend, with $24.4 million. The second film in the series comes just over a year after 20th Century Fox released the premiere entry (titled simply Diary of a Wimpy Kid) took the number-two slot with $22 million. With no massive Alice in Wonderland standing it is way this time, the further adventures of Zachery Gordon promoted itself to the top slot. The original film cost $15 million and ended up with $65 million in domestic sales. The sequel cost just $21 million and will theoretically end up in the same $60-70 million ballpark. This is certainly not a strong overseas franchise (the original grossed just $11 million in foreign markets), but 20th Century Fox has no reason not to keep pumping out adaptations of the long-running (five books so far) kid-lit series as long as the price is right. So, coming March 2012: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw.
Coming in at second place was Zach Snyder’s ambitious action-fantasy Sucker Punch (review). The $85 million female-led adventure grossed just $19 million in its debut weekend. While Warner Bros. sold the film as a bubble-gum female empowerment epic, the film was actually a messy and dark examination of the sexualization of women in geek culture and the overall acceptance of institutional sexism. Stymied by the difficult-to-explain narrative and reviews that just couldn’t see past the fishnets and colorful visuals, the film is another example of geek excitement not translating into mainstream interest. By itself, a $19 million opening weekend isn’t all that troubling, the film had a mediocre 2.3x weekend multiplier, so legs are unlikely. The picture scored a mere B- from Cinemascore, meaning that audiences were as caught off-guard as critics. The one possible saving grace will be the overseas markets, which may well respond to the potent visuals and genuinely subversive undertones. This is a prime example of ‘why we can’t have nice things’. We all complain about mainstream entertainment lacking a point of view or challenging and imaginative material and when one comes along, the critics at large take a collective dump on it (it wasn’t SUPPOSED [...]

This Week In Movies By Pete Hammond – “Sucker Punch”

By Pete Hammond
If you disliked the film as much as I did (and three quarters of the nation’s “critics” agree with me according to Rotten Tomatoes) certainly the temptation is there to come up with every possible variation on Sucker Punch’s ill-conceived title. I felt “sucker-punched” after seeing it. It felt about as good as a “punch” in the gut. It “sucked” the life out of me. Or it just plain “sucked” (no Pun(ch) intended).
For a Zack Snyder flick, which can be expected to bring it at least a strong fanboy contingent on opening weekend, its relatively paltry second place finish with an estimated $19 million (which includes a fairly steep 17% Friday to Saturday drop) has to be a disappointment. But from the beginning Warner Bros just didn’t seem to know how to sell this film. The poster and billboard graphics are busy without being compelling and its trailer was oft-putting. I predict a nosedive next weekend as word-of-mouth sinks the reportedly $80 million dollar film’s boxoffice , domestically at least. It received a B- from Cinemascore which surveys audiences outside theatres on a film’s opening night. Since that is the night Sucker Punch would clearly draw its most ardent potential fans the rating is weak but actually better than I was expecting it to get.
This story of an institutionalized girl named BabyDoll who, while waiting to be lobotomized, battles (with the help of other scantily leather-clad inmates) monsters, samurai warriors and Nazis. But this only happens in fantasy sequences which are all set off by interpretative dance movements in her insane asylum’s talent shows. It just doesn’t make much sense but maybe that’s the point. Snyder , who came up with the original screenplay idea , seems only interested in plotting only until he can get to the visuals. But I remember interviewing the great Special Effects wizard , Five time Oscar winner Ken Ralston last year after his movie Alice In Wonderland came out and he said something wise that stuck with me. Special effects without content that aren’t in the service of the story have no place in movies. He says content always comes first, not flashy visuals calling attention to themselves. But in the world of Sucker Punch it’s the effects and numerous [...]

“Sucker Punch” posters latest from Alamo’s Mondo

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Mondo, the art boutique arm of the Alamo Drafthouse, has been busy catering to geek cinema fanatics who like to bring a piece of the movie-going experience home with them.
Recently, Mondo collaborated with Duncan Jones to commemorate his debut film, “Moon,” and his anticipated follow-up, “Source Code.”
Today, the boutique revealed two posters tied to Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch,” which opens in theaters Friday, March 25.
Artist Ken Taylor designed the new posters (below, courtesy of EW.com), and they have a retro feel that calls to mind the period setting of Snyder’s film as well as the art-deco design of the wildly popular “Bioshock” video games. The “Sucker Punch” posters are part of the Alamo’s “Director’s Series” line. EW.com reports that will go on sale tomorrow, Friday, when the movie opens.
In addition to “Sucker Punch,” Mondo says it will sell specially commissioned posters for Snyder’s previous films: “Dawn of the Dead,” “300,” “Watchmen,” and “Legend of the Guardians.”

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Superman secrets from director Zack Snyder

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Zack Snyder’s new film, “Sucker Punch,” opens in theaters next Friday. But with all apologies to the director, most of us are looking beyond “Punch” to the filmmaker’s next hard-hitting project … a reboot of the “Superman” franchise.
Understanding a need to feed the publicity machine, Snyder – who has helmed “300” and an effective “Dawn of the Dead” remake – talked to the L.A. Times about his plans for the Man of Steel … starting with the fact that his Superman movie likely will be titled “The Man of Steel.”
“In every aspect of design and of story,” Snyder said, “the whole thing is very much from that perspective of respect the canon but don’t be a slave to the [previous] movies.”
Snyder, who referenced the tone taken by Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins,” said he’s eager to get a photo of the Superman suit online to scoop any overeager Internet gossip sites. Look for it sooner rather than later.
And as for casting, while Snyder confirmed Henry Cavill and Diane Lane for major roles, he suggested that more names will be added, and than fans will be excited by who he has lined up.
“There’s more to come and I think it’s consistent in its … awesomeness,” he said.
Snyder’s Superman movie will be in theaters in 2012.
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Zack Snyder teases “Sucker Punch”

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Before Zack Snyder (“Watchmen,” “300”) can move on to the Superman franchise, he’s got to shepherd his latest picture into theaters.
That would be “Sucker Punch,” a film we’ve been hearing about since Snyder and his crew brought footage to ComicCon last summer. The writer-director has described the action-fantasy film as “Alice in Wonderland with machine guns.” It takes place in the imagination of a young girl (Emily Browning) who has been locked away in a mental institute but seeks a way to escape her physical and mental prisons.
Recently, Apple posted a behind-the-scenes look at “Sucker Punch,” with Snyder at the helm. If you’ve watched the Blu-ray editions of Snyder’s films, you’ll know that he’s incredibly open about his process. He’s one of the directors I could listen to for hours and still be captivated.
The ensemble includes Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino, Jon Hamm and Scott Glenn.
It will be in theaters on March 25, but this clip will give you a good idea of what to expect.
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This Week In Movies – “Megamind,” “Due Date,” “For Colored Girls”

By Pete Hammond
HollywoodNews.com: For the third time this year Dreamworks Animation has scored strongly at the boxoffice in their continuing challenge to Disney and Pixar to top the ‘toon parade. “Megamind,” a really funny twist on the superhero genre featuring the voices of Will Farrell, Tina Fey , Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill scored an estimated $47.7 million to lead all comers, following in the footsteps of DWA’s early 2010 hits, “How To Train Your Dragon” and “Shrek Forever After” which between them have earned over 1.2 billion dollars worldwide. One of the distinguishing secrets to the success of the Dreamworks formula, if there is one has been in the voice casting of their animated movies. Using comedians in key roles has provided those stars with film vehicles for some of their best work. It’s a conversation I had with DWA chief Jeffrey Katzenberg recently in which we both said it’s interesting that stars like Eddie Murphy, Jerry Seinfeld. Robin Williams, Mike Myers, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jack Black, Jim Carrey, Steve Carell and others have had some of their biggest box office and critical success going the ‘toon route. I told him I thought Will Farrell’s work as the inept villain-turned-hero, “Megamind” was the best thing I have ever seen him do in movies to date and Katzenberg agreed there is something about the animation process that frees these great comedy talents to really let loose and deliver. I caught up with Katzenberg at DWA’s DVD release party for “How To Train Your Dragon” where he also mentioned that the company is now beginning work on a sequel and has a sequel to “Kung Fu Panda” coming in 2011. A sequel to “Megamind” would also seem to be a no-brainer if it continues to perform at the boxoffice this holiday season and its A- Cinemascore rating bodes well for that happening even with intense upcoming competition from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1″ and Disney’s Thanksgiving ‘toon release, “Tangled.”

Sunday morning I also got the opportunity to moderate a Q&A at the DGA with Zack Snyder, the director of another of the Fall’s animated entries, “Legends Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’hoole,” a stirring beautifully made 3D adventure based on a series of well-known children’s books. Snyder who made his first foray into animation with the picture [...]

Jamie Chung will heat up ‘Hangover 2′

HollywoodNews.com: “The Hangover 2” is getting sexier.
Jamie Chung, hot off Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch,” is joining the cast of the Todd Phillips film. She will play the fiancé of Stu, Ed Helms’ nebbish character. Chung joins Bradley Cooper, Zack Galifianakis and Justin Bartha who are returning for the sequel.
Liam Neeson, in for Mel Gibson, will play a tattoo artist in Thailand.
Todd Phillips is also producing with Dan Goldberg. The screenplay is being written by Phillips, Scot Armstrong and Craig Mazin.
“Hangover 2” hits theaters on May 26.
Variety had the headlines.
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Photo credit: Warner Bros.
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