Robert Rodriguez wants to make a live action “Fire and Ice”

Remember “Fire and Ice,” the 1983 animated fantasy film that combined the talents of animator Ralph “the animated 1977 ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie” Bakshi and Frank Frazetta, the most awesome artist of heroic fantasy and science fiction who ever lived?

Yay, Frank!
A poster for the 1983 film “Fire and Ice”

It’s cool if you don’t. Even with the Conan-mania it was playing off of, “Fire and Ice” tanked at the box office, grossing less than $1 million, and remains a cult film at best.

It had an interesting pedigree though, with a screenplay by former “Conan” comic book writers Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas. It also used a lot of rotoscoping (which involves tracing live-action performances onto animation cels and gave the film a very specific, surreally fluid look).

Robert Rodriguez has been interested in the property for years and has teamed up with Bold Films and Sony to keep developing a live-action version, deadline.com has reported. Rodriguez is a longtime friend and fan of the late Frazetta. If successful, it’s exactly the sort of film that could launch a new fantasy franchise.

In other Rodriguez news, the El Rey series “The Matador,” produced by University of Texas graduate Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, has been canceled after one season; “From Dusk Till Dawn” is working on its second; and “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” is now on Blu-ray and DVD after grossing a let’s-call-it-modest $39 million worldwide.

Check out the trailer for “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter”

The trailer for the really cool 2014 film from the Zellner brothers has hit the web. The movie, about a young Japanese woman who takes the movie “Fargo” very seriously indeed, is due in theaters March 2015, about a year after impressing folks at both Sundance and South By Southwest.

 

 

‘The Interview’ is an excellent adventure of sorts (Our grade: B)

James Franco and Seth Rogen star in “The Interview.”
James Franco and Seth Rogen star in “The Interview.”

By G. Allen Johnson | San Francisco Chronicle

”The Interview” might be the most famous movie in the world right now, thanks to the Sony hacking scandal — allegedly at the behest of angry North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un — and is sure to go down in history as the film that sparked a legitimate international incident.

But is it any good?

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com | Find showtimes for ‘The Interview’

‘The Gambler’ remake is all surface (Our grade: B-)

Mark Wahlberg is Jim Bennett in 'The Gambler,' Claire Folger/Paramount Pictures
Mark Wahlberg is Jim Bennett in ‘The Gambler,’ Claire Folger/Paramount Pictures

Directed with flash and sizzle but not much heart by Rupert “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” Wyatt and written by William “The Departed” Monahan, this is a remake of Karel Reisz’s 1974 movie starring James Caan and written by James Toback.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com | Find showtimes for ‘The Gambler’

 

No secret: Cumberbatch’s stellar performance is key to ‘Imitation Game’ (Our grade: B+)

Keira Knightley, from left, Matthew Beard, Matthew Goode, Benedict Cumberbatch, seated, and Allen Leech appear in a scene from "The Imitation Game." The Weinstein Company, Jack English
Keira Knightley, from left, Matthew Beard, Matthew Goode, Benedict Cumberbatch, seated, and Allen Leech appear in a scene from “The Imitation Game.” The Weinstein Company, Jack English

By Dale Roe

It must have been difficult to make Alan Turing’s story into a thriller, but, make no mistake, “The Imitation Game” is a rousing, only slightly qualified success.

Turing was a mathematician and cryptanalyst who was asked by British Intelligence to help crack Nazi Germany’s World War II Enigma code. Enigma was a machine used by the Nazis that generated a keyword, changed daily, used to encrypt sensitive communications on strategy and troop movements.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com | Find showtimes for ‘Imitation Games’

‘Big Eyes’: A bizarre but empty tale (Our grade: C)

Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) in "Big Eyes." Leah Gallo/The Weinstein Company
Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) in “Big Eyes.” Leah Gallo/The Weinstein Company

In theory, the story of Walter and Margaret Keane should be perfect for Tim Burton.

In practice, “Big Eyes” is a beautifully art-directed hunk of disappointment — unless, of course, the movie’s own kitschiness, melodrama and lack of subtlety is supposed to mirror that of the paintings themselves.

If that’s the case … well, it still doesn’t work too well.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com | Find showtimes for “Big Eyes”

It’s a bit too bright in Disney’s ‘Woods’ (Our grade: B-)

Anna Kendrick stars as Cinderella in "Into the Woods." Peter Mountain/Disney
Anna Kendrick stars as Cinderella in “Into the Woods.” Peter Mountain/Disney

By Dale Roe

“Into the Woods,” the film adaptation of the dark, Tony Award-winning Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical, is probably about as good as it could be under the auspices of Walt Disney Pictures.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com | Find showtimes for “Into the Woods”

 

‘Unbroken’ offers harrowing but uplifting tale for holidays (Our grade: B)

Jack O'Connell portrays Olympic runner Louis "Louie" Zamperini in the World War II drama 'Unbroken.' David James/Universal Pictures.
Jack O’Connell portrays Olympic runner Louis “Louie” Zamperini in the World War II drama ‘Unbroken.’ David James/Universal Pictures.

“Unbroken” is a thoroughly conventional war movie. It’s also a crowd-pleaser, just like Laura Hillenbrand’s book, which has been on best-seller lists since its publication in 2010.

» Read full review on MyStatesman.com | Find showtimes for “Unbroken”

‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’: Franchise closes with an enjoyable exhibition (Our grade: C+)

By Dale Roe

“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” is better than it had to be. To begin with, it didn’t have to be made. Nobody was begging for a sequel to the franchise’s previous two films. It rehashes old ideas, old gags and old characters. It’s no museum piece, by anybody’s standards.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
From left, Mizuo Peck, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, Rami Malek and Patrick Gallagher appear in a scene from “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.” (AP Photo/20th Century Fox, Kerry Brown)

 

It’s not really a good movie, and yet, it provides a surprisingly enjoyable ending for the series.

>> Read the full review at MyStatesman.com | Find showtimes for “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb”

‘Annie’: Wallis, Foxx bring ‘Annie’ back to life (Our grade: C+)

By Roger Moore

“Annie,” a musical that the decades have rendered into a punchline, is modernized, made more streetwise and brought back to life in a production backed by Jay Z and various members of the Will and Jada Pinkett Smith empire.

Quvenzhane Wallis and Jamie Foxx in Annie
Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) and Annie (Quvenzhane Wallis) in “Annie.” (Barry Wetcher/Sony Pictures/TNS)

Quvenzhane Wallis, that wonder of a child actress from “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” is no tap-dancing Broadway baby with a voice built to reach the balcony. But director Will Gluck and the producers tailor this production to her talents, and it pays dividends.

>> Read full review at MyStatesman.com | Find showtimes for “Annie”