1. Watch the trailer if you haven’t watched it yet.
2. There is no reason to watch the movie now. If you clicked the link or have already seen the trailer, you’ve seen the entire movie. I can’t imagine what else you’d get out of extending that to 2 hours.
3. Brian De Palma’s 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel is still good. I literally just watched it a few days ago on Netflix and it’s held up. His floating camera and use of slow-motion to build moments is mesmerizing. Spacek and Piper Laurie are incredible. It also has this awesomely dated student/teacher relationship with the gym teacher where Betty Buckley is allowed to smack a student in the face and get away with it. On top of all that, it’s horror in the 70’s, when horror was never better.
4. Carrie White as a character is so much of an outcast that even a teacher, upon hearing that a boy asked Carrie to the prom, thinks it’s a cruel joke. Carrie is so universally disliked that it’s more likely a student is being a super dick than someone might want to go to a dance with her. The idea that she might be prom queen is absurd. So casting an actress who looks like a prom queen is stupid. Chloe Moretz is a good young actor but can not play this part with that face and body. In the original, Sissy Spacek was pale, freckled, skinny, and had that nose that she had (I should say, Spacek looked pretty damn good at the right angle but the wrong angle was more unfriendly to her than most). Spacek is a great actor and her vulnerability in the role is part of what made it so memorable (that and the crazy eyes) but she was also believable as an outcast physically. Moretz, without a Charlize Theron-in-Monster kind of costume/performance combo can’t play it. Just can’t. It’s not her fault, but you don’t cast Paul Giamatti as Captain America, either.
5. As a movie-going public thoroughly inundated with remakes, reboots, and sequels, this film is taking the next step. Not only are they remaking a movie that doesn’t need to be remade but they’re marketing it to us as if to say, “You’ve seen this before and don’t worry, it’s exactly the same.” Like I said above, the trailer shows you the entire movie and even though it looks like some of the scenes might take place in different locations, it looks like the same exact movie, beat by beat. There doesn’t appear to be any attempt at bringing something new to the classic. The most good this movie can do in the world is to remind a few people (like me) about how good De Palm’s Carrie is and result in them rewatching or watching it for the first time.
6. The 70’s were just the best time for horror movies. They just were. Every horror remake drawing from that time period has been worse than the original. Every one. You’d think someone might get lucky and make a better one but they haven’t yet.
"Die Hard 5, which is now called A Good Day to Die Hard, will attempt to find the young man to play Bruce Willis’ son, with frontrunners Liam Hemsworth, Aaron Paul, and Ben Foster among those who will take part in chemistry reads with Willis, reprising his role of John McLane, on November 12 and 13. (We¹re hearing the part of Hemsworth’s to lose.)"
The Hollywood Reporter talking casting rumors. I don’t know Hemsworth, but at the ripe age of 21 he’s got no less than 7 movies in some stage of production according to IMDB right now. Someone, somewhere, has decided this kid is going to get a shake at being a movie star.
Aaron Paul is great on ‘Breaking Bad’ and Ben Foster is one of the most exciting up-and-coming actors looking for the one movie that will cement his legacy but they’re 32 and 31 respectively before filming even starts and both guys share another problem: Neither one is Bruce Willis’ son. Willis is as much John McClane as Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones and this mistake has already been made when Hollywood tried to sell us on Shia Labeauf being Harrison’s kid.
No one bought it.
A movie star can’t have a kid who doesn’t bring his own swag to the table. Both Paul and Foster are terrific actors - better actors than Bruce Willis for sure - but it won’t work if they’re just trailing behind Bruce Willis the whole movie and that doesn’t have anything to do with acting ability, that has to do with presence. With swag. Neither of these guys has a swag that can stand sharing a screen with Willis in a part designed to literally make him Young John McClane.
The title of this latest sequel in the franchise based on clever toys seems ironic well before the movie’s end, when it has become evident that nothing is transforming. Everything is staying the same. The characters are the same, the action is the same and the while the plot might pretend to be different, it’s so poorly manufactured and falls apart rather quickly. Not that I was paying much attention to the plot to begin with. There are more advanced storytelling techniques in Carona commercials. This, despite director Michael Bay using such advanced narrative techniques as foreshadowing. Of course, he has to use an episode of Star Trek and some stunt casting to do so.
‘Transformers 3’ seems less like a sequel in the way we always thought of sequels. It feels like the new model of the same car. It’s not even New Coke, it’s just old Coke in a different can. Unfortunately, this is the way movies are now. No longer as sequels made when there is more story to tell but instead what pass for sequels now are made as the new model of a product we already enjoy. Bay would seem to be the master of this, but ‘Transformers 3’ seems hollow even by his standards. The big budget and explosions weren’t enough to draw my attention away from the soullessness of it all this time (admittedly, I didn’t see it in 3D, but I feel that could have only hurt its chances). Did anyone else catch just how heartless the supposedly good Autobots were while the Decepticons were the only ones taking prisoners and making offers of truce?
The Hollywood system is thoroughly entrenched now. The products are being pumped out efficiently and and with a fine gloss. I’ve grown tired some time ago of the machine cranking out movies without heart or emotion and I imagine everyone else will as well. I can only hope that what we have in store for the next decade will be a repeat of the old studio system in the 60’s: When Hollywood realized it didn’t know how to make movies profitable anymore, they turned directors loose on the world and we were given the greatest era of American filmmaking: the 70’s. I feel a new 70’s approaching in the next decade. Mark this post as a hopeful one, but know that it only has to do with ‘Transformers 3’ in the most tangential way.
Hollywoodreporter.com has another article breaking down the controversial VOD (video on demand) system being proposed by studios to ring more money out of their releases. Theaters don’t like it because it closes the window they have to play movies, and theaters benefit a lot more than studios from movies with long runs. The whole plan has come about because studios are looking to combat companies like Netflix, which has brought movie renting right into people’s homes - first by mail and now through the internet - without big advantage for the studios. One change that Netflix has brought about, though, hasn’t been much discussed and that’s the ability to watch almost any movie ever made.
The new VOD system would charge - a pretty extravagant - $30 to watch a new movie in your home. The studios think people will pay because they won’t be able to rent these new releases anywhere else for weeks. It’s all about timing. We’ve all seen the ads declaring that you can get movies “before Netflix.” The issue of timelines is huge in movie-going. The opening weekend is the most important time for a studio and was a big part of a movie’s overall success, but that no longer translates.
When your choices were between “What’s playing at the theater?” and “What does the video store down the street have?” this mattered. Now that “the video store” is an online repository of hundreds of thousands of movies from the last 8 decades, it’s easier to not be concerned about seeing the new thing. Sure you’ll have to wait to see what a couple of your friends who went to the theater are talking about, but now that everyone has every movie at their fingertips at all times, the conversation relies less on “Have you seen the new thing” to “Have you seen the classic thing.” I’ve read interviews with Martin Scorsese in which he talks about the lengths he’d go through to see Michael Powell’s ‘Peeping Tom.’ Today you’d have to do nothing more than wait a day. Oh no, it’s on Instant Watch so you don’t have to do shit. Hardcore film geeks used to have to do work to see obscure movies and now you don’t even have to like movies much to watch ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc.’
An advantage older movies have over a new release is the familiarity. People hate to try something new and untested - its why sequels and remakes dominate the summer box office. Picking up something you already know is considered a classic makes the choice easier for some.
All in all, it’s not just the speed and ease that has led to the dominance of Netflix. Afterall, Blockbuster tried to re-create basically the same system and it didn’t take. Besides being there first (almost canceled out by the name recognition Blockbuster had) Netflix always had the advantage because it’s stock of movies was so much bigger. Now, the new thing can be whatever people happen to be buzzing about today and maybe that thing is really old. A previously undiscovered gem. The continued growth of online social networking allows people who love the same things to come together without regard for geographical location and just makes this easier. Why catch up with a real-life acquaintance about something you kind of enjoyed, when you can chat with an internet-life friend about something you loved?
It’s all moving in a direction studios are having trouble adapting to. The last time that happened, the system fell apart and we got the 70’s. This deafening roar of sequels and remakes certainly feels like the darkness before a dawn. New distribution technology along with the increasingly cheap production technologies means we might just see a new golden age for film. Maybe?