Action Rod Lott
After sitting out the 2009 prequel, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Kate Beckinsale and her skintight, black-leather outfit return for Underworld: Awakening,
the fourth and likely not-final entry in the mindless but massively
popular vampires-vs.-werewolves franchise. Also back? That omnipresent
blue tint. Not so lucky? Scott Speedman.
OKG7 things to do Gazette staff
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to The Phantom of the Opera has yet to hit Broadway, but no need to wait — only to hurry! The epic stage musical Love Never Dies screens
at 7:30 p.m. tonight only at Cinemark Tinseltown USA, 6001 N. Martin
Luther King, and Hollywood Spotlight 14, 1100 N. Interstate Drive in
Norman. Tickets are $12-$14. Leave your novelty masks at home. Visit
Talking with the mastermind behind ‘Monster Brawl,’ the movies’ ultimate fight of the living dead.
No apologies necessary if you don’t recognize the name of Jesse Thomas Cook. Just know that the Canadian filmmaker is to the new film Monster Brawl what Vince McMahon is to the WWE: its supreme leader. The wrestling analogy is apropos, given that the writer/director’s movie is, as the title promises, all about creatures battling it out in the ring.
R&R: From watching the movie, it's obvious you love wrestling and monsters, but what about comic books? Because I got a definite comic-book vibe from it.
Cook: Yeah, I mean there is that feel to it. I wasn't a huge comic book fan, but a lot of the people involved in the movie were, especially Jason Brown, who designed all of the monsters and the sets.
R&R: Being structured as a wrestling match, Monster Brawl is not traditional storytelling. And you’re catching flak for that from some reviewers. Did you expect that going in?
Cook: It exists outside of a traditional movie structure, for sure. It's more of a pay-per-view event and tournament-style movie. That's why we put in the backstories, that let us cut away here and there to get a glimpse of each monster.
R&R: Was DVD your ultimate goal from the start, or did you have visions of a huge theatrical release?
Cook: We knew going in this would be probably more of a VOD and DVD and Blu-ray. It's really hard to do theatrical nowadays as an indie film. No, we didn't have huge ambitions for that. We had a limited theatrical release in Canada and thought it would play well at midnight screenings, and it has.
R&R: I was surprised at how kid-friendly it actually is. Other than the character being named Witch Bitch and some minor gore, I could let my 7-year-old watch this. And believe me, he really wanted to, but since I hadn’t yet seen it, I couldn’t find any info online at how appropriate it was.
Cook: We wanted to make it accessible to everyone, even people who weren't huge fans of wrestling and monsters. We just wanted to make a fun movie.
R&R: And you may be too close to it to answer this, but are you pleased with it?
Cook: Absolutely, looking back a year or two after, we could've done things here and there, but with the money with had and such a small crew, I think we pulled off something really special. The budget wasn't much more than a documentary film would have. If there were ever a sequel, it'd be nice to have a bigger budget, but that's something down the road.
R&R: How possible is that?
Cook: I think it's very possible. There's been talks of a remake. We've had discussions about that with a few companies. If that weren't to happen, we'd definitely explore trying to do a sequel or turning it into some kind of franchise.
R&R: If you do have a sequel, what monsters might be in it? Or were they any you had to cut that you’d want to bring into another one?
Cook: We definitely wanted to do a yeti and a sasquatch as a tag team. We wanted to do a Royal Rumble with some zombies against some trolls. We had a list, but logistically and practically, some we could not afford to do with our special-effects budget, so the monsters we did select, we wanted to appease fans of the classic monsters and toss in a couple of ones that would kind of mimic wrestling archetypes.
Like, Swamp Gut is the essential obese wrestler, like King Kong Bundy. Witch Bitch, we wanted to have a couple of female wrestlers in there. We had a list of several mythological monsters, but Cyclops is the only one off that list we chose. But yeah, there's a long list of possibilities. And obviously, in a sequel, you could bring monsters back to life. —Rod Lott
Action Rod Lott
Love it or hate it, the Clash of the Titans remake accomplished
something the 1981 original could not manage: Birth a sequel. As much
cash as that 2010 upgrade made, the shoddy job of converting it to 3-D
after production left a lot of moviegoers feeling burned, which may
explain why Wrath of the Titans was unable to draw similar numbers.
Action Rod Lott
Robert Downey Jr. reprises his other franchise role — the Golden Globe-winning one — as popular culture's arguably most popular detective of all time in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
To shortcut things, whatever you thought of Downey's first go-round in
2009, you're likely to have the same feelings about this 2011 sequel.
Oslo can you go? To the depths of man’s darkest and deadliest desires, per this fun foreign crime thriller.
Thriller Rod Lott
Compared to the continent of Europe, the rate of death by guns in
America is six times higher. You wouldn’t know it based on the current
wave of crime films from that half of the globe. Arguably kicked off by
the worldwide success of Sweden’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattootrilogy, the movies generally are ballsier and bloodier and, therefore, better.
Action Rod Lott
In Maximum Conviction, Steve Austin forever speaks like there’s a pinch of Skoal eating through the corner of his bottom lip, but I have no idea
what’s going on with Steven Seagal’s accent attempt: Southern? Cajun?
Ebonics? An overly phlegmy head cold? Your guess is as good as mine, and
unfortunately, I’ve seen the movie.