Next up were actors Ben Foster (recently of X-Men: The Last Stand) and Peter Fonda (if you don't know who Fonda is you have no business reading a movie site) to discuss a film I'm very excited to see: James Mangold's western 3:10 to Yuma. Sadly, Mangold was nowhere to be found, but at least Lionsgate showed some exclusive footage from the film to entice us. After watching the various clips, all I can say is "wow they really got me." The film looks great, sounds great and features some teriffic performances. The first clip showcased Foster's contribution to the film playing the evil Charlie Prince -- one of the gang who intends to prevent their buddy Ben Wade (played by Russell Crowe) from being taken to prison aboard the train known as the 3:10 to Yuma.
Some more exciting news coming out of Comic-Con yesterday. This time around I had the fortune to attend the special preview of upcoming Lionsgate releases and a panel convened for just such a purpose. Some of the films discussed during the panel include upcoming releases 3:10 to Yuma, Good Luck Chuck, Midnight Meat Train and the inevitable Saw IV. An interesting and eclectic mix of genres and talent represented at the panel to be sure. Ok, settle in because here's the scoop.
First up was the very amusing Dane Cook and the supremely attractive Jessica Alba -- looking fantastic in a tight black dress and her, as Dane Cook joked "C-3P0 shoes" -- discussing their upcoming film Good Luck Chuck. We've talked about this film before here at Cinematical, but this time around I got a chance to see some exclusive footage from it -- including a scene where Alba takes a bubble bath and tries to have phone sex with Cook's character.
Of course, that clip was met with huge approval by the entranced attendees. Sadly, as much as I like Dane Cook and Jessica Alba (who doesn't?), I had a hard time getting too excited about the film -- Alba and bubbles notwithstanding. The crowd, however, mostly reacted positively to the previews, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. Or, maybe I'm just jaded from seeing too many less-than-stellar movies? Either way, we'll know for sure if the film is good or not when it hits theaters on September 21st.
Naturally, some folks object (Christian Bale's Dan Evans for one) and would rather Crowe make that train and end up in jail. So, of course, plenty of exciting gunplay and action ensues. From what I saw of the film so far I think it has a real chance to take a place beside some of the other great Westerns of all time like High Noon. There's no way to know for sure, of course, but with the assembled cast under Mangold's direction, its certainly possible. As usual, that's something we'll find out for sure when the film is released on September 7th.
Next up from Lionsgate, the incredibly entertaining Clive Barker, the cast and director of Midnight Meat Train. To be honest, I didn't know too much about this film going in except that its based on a Clive Barker short story -- the title of which apparently came to the prolific hyphenate after eating several "special cookies" -- and the cast which includes Leslie Bibb, Bradley Cooper and the super-cool Vinnie Jones. Of course, as with the previous two films, there was also some footage from this film as well. First, a short teaser trailer to set the mood and then, an exclusive trailer cut specifically for the Comic-Con which revealed far more of the story about a photographer who discovers a terrible secret -- people are being kidnapped and taken on a train to be slaughtered.
According the the director of the film, Japanese native Ryuhei Kitamura, his desire was to make a film "at least as good as his two favorite Clive Barker films Hellraiser and Candyman." Well, judging from the trailer I think he may have gotten pretty darn close. The trailer looks great and if the film holds up and continues the trend, I think it may just end up being one I'm going to watch when it hits theaters. Also of note during Barker's interesting monologues were some tidbits about his future projects.
Starting later this year, Barker will begin production on a feature film based on his Books of Blood series. The first film will deal with the wrap-around story about ghosts who seek revenge by etching their tale of woe in the body of a fake fortune teller, that binds the series of books together. According to Barker "that film will start shooting in October in Scotland." Barker intends to film the entire series of books but is starting with this story as an introduction for those who haven't read the series. Following that, Barker also plans on filming Pig Blood Blues, a horror-thriller which concerns a "big, fat pig that devours children." If nothing else, Barker isn't boring.
Last but not least the director and producer of Saw IV, Darren Lynn Bousman and Mark Burg made an appearance to discuss the latest installment in the franchise, Jigsaw's return (yes, he's back) and some bits about their future projects. There was also some footage from the fourth Saw film, of course. But according to the director and producer, not the footage they really wanted to show. "Comic-Con rejected the stuff we wanted to show," remarked Berg. "We wanted to bring you the first five minutes of the movie but Comic-Con thought it was too intense. So, we've got this."
"This" turned out to be a pretty interesting sequence where a man with his mouth sewn shut is chained to a man who's eyes have had the same treatment. Naturally, as this is a Saw film, both men are chained to a machine that is slowly pulling them to their doom and are forced to either kill or be killed to survive. But in spite of the rather well-worn premise (after three previous films) the scene was actually very well done and inspired some genuine moments of "intensity" which, according to director, was exactly what the filmmakers were after.
There was also a surprise appearance by Jigsaw himself, actor Tobin Bell, who when he first appeared asked the assembled fans "Comic-Con, would you like to play a game?" I'll admit, hearing that was pretty creepy and made for a great intro for Bell -- a veteran actor with many roles to his credit. After taking the stage to thunderous applause, Bell then proceeded to relate a story about a group of skateboarders who came up to him and told him how much they liked him in the Saw films. "I was amazed," said Bell." They were talking to me about the deep themes of the film and not just about the violence. Which, of course, we have a lot of."
Some other bits of news to come out of the Saw portion of the panel included some info about Saw V -- there will be one for sure and franchise veteran production designer David Hackl will be directing it. In addition, Saw IV director Bousman has decided that his next film will not be a horror film. Instead, he will make a "rock opera" called Repo filled with "a lot more sex than the Saw films but just as crazy." Lastly, producer Burg let slip that after he completes the rock opera, Bousman will then direct a remake of David Cronenberg's classic horror/sci-fi film Scanners. So, it seems the director will be busy for quite some time.
With that, the lights came up and we were told to exit in an orderly fashion out to the left. So, I did and bid a fond farewell to the Lionsgate panel. That is, until next year.