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A “Sucker Punch” musical number, deleted no more

A “Sucker Punch” musical number, deleted no more (photo)

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An action kung fu sci-fi thriller musical? Zack Snyder‘s latest film, “Sucker Punch,” certainly sounded like an interesting stew of influences and interests. You don’t see too many movies with both samurai robots and show-stopping dance routines. It’s a unique combination.

But when “Sucker Punch” finally made it to theaters, the musical sequences were almost totally gone, removed as part of eighteen minutes of footage cut to bring the film down to the PG-13 rating demanded by the studio. But tomorrow, the Extended Cut of “Sucker Punch” comes out on Blu-ray, with all the excised footage back in place. And speaking of the excised footage, here is a look at an aforementioned musical number, back from the dead:

Here’s how the film’s producer Deborah Snyder described the scene to The Playlist back in March:

“The biggest thing we took out of the film, in the credit sequence we have the [musical montage] of [Roxy Music’s] ‘Love Is The Drug’ (sung by Carla Gugino and Oscar Issac) and that was actually conceived as a glimpse of what life was like in the every day brothel world and the shows they put on. It was actually at the beginning of the movie in its entirety, but we took it out because when we put it in the film it just looked like the place was too much fun and there wasn’t enough jeopardy. It was really elaborate and beautiful and in the next sequence Baby Doll [Emily Browning] is crying to get out and [it didn’t work tonally].”

There’s your reason to remove it from the film, now here’s your reason for wanting to see it: “Sucker Punch” was clearly a crazed kooky passion project for Snyder, consolidating all of his loves and obsessions into one messy, wild work. And if you’re gonna go the passion project route, you have to go all out. Don’t hold back when you’re making your deranged love letter to pop culture; give us the whole derangement. Who cares if it’s tonally wobbly, and all the narrative pieces don’t fit together? That’s the point of the passion project and the old kamikaze auteurism: throw yourself up there in all your complexity and confusion and let us sort through it. Dense is good, man.

That’s why I’ve been waiting to see “Sucker Punch” in this director’s cut. Now DVD stores can file the movie the way Zack Snyder always intended: in the “Samurai Robot Musicals” section.

Underworld

Under Your Spell

10 Otherworldly Romances That’ll Melt Your Heart

Spend Valentine's Day weekend with IFC's Underworld movie marathon.

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Photo Credit: Screen Gems/courtesy Everett Collection

Romance takes many forms, and that is especially true when you have a thirst for blood or laser beams coming out of your eyes.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a werewolf, a superhero, a clone, a time-traveler, or a vampire, love is the one thing that infects us all.  Read on to find out why Romeo and Juliet have nothing on these supernatural star-crossed lovers, and be sure to catch IFC’s Underworld movie marathon this Valentine’s Day weekend.

1. Cyclops/Jean Grey/Wolverine, X-Men series

The X-Men franchise is rife with romance, but the steamiest “ménage à mutant” may just be the one between Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Cyclops (James Marsden), and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Their triangle is a complicated one as Jean finds herself torn between the two very different men while also trying to control her darker side, the Phoenix. This leads to Jean killing Cyclops and eventually getting stabbed through her heart by Wolverine in X-Men: The Last Stand. Yikes!  Maybe they should change the name to Ex-Men instead?


2. Willow/Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon gave audiences some great romances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer — including the central triangle of Buffy, Angel, and Spike — but it was the love between witches Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) that broke new ground for its sensitive and nuanced portrayal of a LGBT relationship.

Willow is smart and confident and isn’t even sure of her sexuality when she first meets Tara at college in a Wiccan campus group. As the two begin experimenting with spells, they realize they’re also falling for one another and become the show’s most enduring, happy couple. At least until Tara’s death in season six, a moment that still brings on the feels.


3. Selene/Michael, Underworld series

The Twilight gang pales in comparison (both literally and metaphorically) to the Lycans and Vampires of the stylish Underworld franchise. If you’re looking for an epic vampire/werewolf romance set amidst an epic vampire/werewolf war, Underworld handily delivers in the form of leather catsuited Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and shaggy blonde hunk Michael (a post-Felicity Scott Speedman). As they work together to stop the Vampire/Lycan war, they give into their passions while also kicking butt in skintight leather. Love at first bite indeed.


4. Spider-man/Mary Jane Watson, Spider-man

After rushing to the aid of beautiful girl-next-door Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), the Amazing Spider-man is rewarded with an upside-down kiss that is still one of the most romantic moments in comic book movie history. For Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), the shy, lovable dork beneath the mask, his rain-soaked makeout session is the culmination of years of unrequited love and one very powerful spider bite. As the films progress, Peter tries pushing MJ away in an attempt to protect her from his enemies, but their web of love is just too powerful. And you know, with great power, comes great responsibility.


5. Molly/Sam, Ghost

When it comes to supernatural romance, you really can’t beat Molly and Sam from the 1990 hit film Ghost. Demi Moore goes crazy for Swayze like the rest of us, and the pair make pottery sexier than it’s ever been.

When Sam is murdered, he’s forced to communicate through con artist turned real psychic, Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg in her Academy Award-winning role) to warn Molly she is still in danger from his co-worker, Carl (a pre-Scandal Tony Goldwyn). Molly doesn’t believe Oda is telling the truth, so Sam proves it by sliding a penny up the wall and then possessing Oda so he and Molly can share one last romantic dance together (but not the dirty kind). We’d pay a penny for a dance with Patrick Swayze ANY day.


6. Cosima/Delphine, Orphan Black

It stands to reason there would be at least one complicated romance on a show about clones, and none more complicated than the one between clone Cosima (Tatiana Maslany) and Dr. Delphine Cormier (Evelyne Brochu) on BBC America’s hit drama Orphan Black.

Cosima is a PhD student focusing on evolutionary developmental biology at the University of Minnesota when she meets Delphine, a research associate from the nefarious Dyad Institute, posing as a fellow immunology student. The two fall in love, but their happiness is brief once Dyad and the other members of Clone Club get involved. Here’s hoping Cosima finds love in season four of Orphan Black. Girlfriend could use a break.


7. Aragorn/Arwen, Lord of the Rings

On a picturesque bridge in Rivendell amidst some stellar mood-lighting and dreamy Elvish language with English subtitles for us non-Middle Earthlings, Arwen (Liv Tyler) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) bind their souls to one another, pledging to love each other no matter what befalls them.

Their courtship is a matter of contention with Arwen’s father, Elrond (Hugo Weaving), who doesn’t wish to see his daughter suffer over Aragorn’s future death. The two marry after the conclusion of the War of the Ring, with Aragorn assuming his throne as King of Gondor, and Arwen forgoing her immortality to become his Queen. Is it too much to assume they asked Frodo to be their wedding ring-bearer?


8. Lafayette/Jesus, True Blood

True Blood quickly became the go-to show for supernatural sex scenes featuring future Magic Mike strippers (Joe Manganiello) and pale Nordic men with washboard abs (Hi Alexander Skarsgård!), but honestly, there was a little something for everyone, including fan favorite Bon Temps medium, Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis).

In season three, Lafayette met his mother’s nurse, Jesus, and the two began a relationship. As they spend more time together and start doing V (short for Vampire Blood), they learn Jesus is descended from a long line of witches and that Lafayette himself has magical abilities. However, supernatural love is anything but simple, and after the pair join a coven, Lafayette becomes possessed by the dead spirit of its former leader. This relationship certainly puts a whole new spin on possessive love.


9. Nymphadora Tonks/Remus Lupin, Harry Potter series

There are lots of sad characters in the Harry Potter series, but Remus Lupin ranks among the saddest. He was bitten by a werewolf as a child, his best friend was murdered and his other best friend was wrongly imprisoned in Azkaban for it, then THAT best friend was killed by a Death Eater at the Ministry of Magic as Remus looked on. So when Lupin unexpectedly found himself in love with badass Auror and Metamorphmagus Nymphadora Tonks (she prefers to be called by her surname ONLY, thank you very much), pretty much everyone, including Lupin himself, was both elated and cautiously hopeful about their romance and eventual marriage.

Sadly, the pair met a tragic ending when both were killed by Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts, leaving their son, Teddy, orphaned much like his godfather Harry Potter. Accio hankies!


10. The Doctor/Rose Tyler, Doctor Who

Speaking of wolves, Rose “Bad Wolf” Tyler (Billie Piper) captured the Doctor’s hearts from the moment he told her to “Run!” in the very first episode of the re-booted Doctor Who series. Their affection for one another grew steadily deeper during their travels in the TARDIS, whether they were stuck in 1950s London, facing down pure evil in the Satan Pit, or battling Cybermen.

But their relationship took a tragic turn during the season two finale episode, “Doomsday,” when the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose found themselves separated in parallel universes with no way of being reunited (lest two universes collapse as a result of a paradox). A sobbing Rose told a holographic transmission of the Doctor she loved him, but before he could reply, the transmission cut out, leaving our beloved Time Lord (and most of the audience) with a tear-stained face and two broken hearts all alone in the TARDIS.

The new “Spy Kids” sequel will literally stink

The new “Spy Kids” sequel will literally stink (photo)

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See I always thought the fourth dimension was this theoretical concept of space and time that existed outside our own. Apparently, it’s just smelliness.

Indie auteur Robert Rodriguez has a new “Spy Kids” coming out this summer, the fourth in the franchise, and it’s being released in what he’s calling “4D with Aromascope.” But just what is 4D with Aromascope? I will let the press release explain that part.

“This innovative and celebrated franchise will now be the first to introduce audiences to the new adventure of 4D where they will have 8 special opportunities throughout the movie to access the action interactively through smell. The introduction of scent in the movie going experience adds to the outrageous fun by enhancing the action, adventure and comedy to take you where no film has gone before.

With each individual admission ticket, kids and parents will also receive an Aromascope card that is free of charge with easy to read numbers outlined. As the numbers flash on the movie screen the audience will rub the corresponding number on their card. When each of the 8 aromas are unleashed you will get to experience a special moment in the film and be transported into scenes in the family adventure film. This fun added attraction takes the audience beyond sight and sound and into a symphony of scents as the movie is coming to life.”

In other words, 4D is razzle dazzle talk for scratch and sniff. The “take you where no film has gone before” part might be a little hyperbolic too. Though rare, smelly movies — as opposed to movies that just stink — have existed for decades. The infamous “Scent of Mystery” was released in “Smell-O-Vision” all the way back in 1960. That was way more complicated too. In Smell-O-Vision there were no cards; special theaters were outfitted with air filtration systems designed to blow 30 different scents at customers at specific points in the film. Unfortunately, according to this Wikipedia excerpt, Smell-O-Vision didn’t quite pass the smell test:

“The mechanism did not work properly. According to Variety, aromas were released with a distracting hissing noise and audience members in the balcony complained that the scents reached them several seconds after the action was shown on the screen. In other parts of the theater, the odors were too faint, causing audience members to sniff loudly in an attempt to catch the scent.”

John Waters famously released his 1981 film “Polyester” in the glory of “Odorama” — i.e., scratch and sniff cards. Of course, befitting Waters’ demented sense of humor, several of the smells on the Odorama card (ten in all compared with “Spy Kids”‘ eight) were awful, including one that reeked like shit. Waters even recreated the Odorama gimmick for the “Polyester” DVD, which includes a scratch and sniff card too. It’s a fabulously crazy movie; if you’ve never seen it, check it out.

But back to “Spy Kids.” The film marks the return of Robert Rodriguez’s most famous franchise after an eight year hiatus. The last “Spy Kids,” 2003’s “Game Over,” was one of the first entries in the latest wave of 3D movies. And Rodriguez has consistently proven himself an early adopter of new filmmaking technology. He was one of the first guys in the pool on 3D, HD cameras, and entirely green screened sets. His ability to predict cinematic trends is one of his greatest skills as a director. I am curious to see whether he’s ahead of a curve here, or whether he’s simply a curve unto himself designed to separate his film from a market glutted with 3D movies that audiences are starting to tire of.

We’ll see. I like Rodriguez and his work. I hope “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World” is a breath of fresh air in movie theaters on August 19.

Are you a fan of Odoroma, Aromascope, and the rest of their Smell-O-Vision ilk? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter!

One movie theater’s hilarious warning to customers about “The Tree Of Life”

One movie theater’s hilarious warning to customers about “The Tree Of Life” (photo)

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Via Jim Emerson, Editor of RogerEbert.com, and Toronto film critic Christopher Misch, comes this hilarious and depressing photograph of a posted sign from the Avon Theatre Film Center in Stamford, CT. It’s a warning to any customer who might be considering seeing Terrence Malick‘s “The Tree of Life:”

tree-of-life-warning-06242011.jpg

You can almost see the “Saturday Night Live” sketch right now (assuming “Saturday Night Live” decided for one week to get incredibly niche, and do a sketch about the reaction to a Terrence Malick movie):

INT. MOVIE THEATER – NIGHT.

A confused looking PATRON walks up to the theater’s ticket desk. A dead-behind-the-eyes CLERK waits motionless and emotionless as he approaches.

PATRON
Hi there.

No response.

PATRON
Yes, um, there’s a problem with “The Tree of Life.”

CLERK
What’s the matter?

PATRON
Um, yeah, it’s just…it’s just a little too visionary for me.

CLERK
Too visionary?

PATRON
Yeah. Too much vision. Also the dinosaurs in this are a lot different than the penguins in “Mr. Popper’s Penguins.”

Aaaaand scene. Look, people, I get it. I wasn’t a huge fan of “The Tree of Life” either. But we live in a society. And this is the social contract: you pay your money and you see the movie. You can think whatever you want about it, but you don’t get your money back just because you didn’t like it. When I used to work in a comic book store, every month or two without fail someone would buy a comic then return a few minutes later and say “I don’t like it, I want a refund.” To these people, I would carefully explain that that’s not how it works. “You already read the book,” I would say. “You paid for the experience, not the satisfaction.” And then I would call the police.

I do love that the Avon’s note explains that “Tree of LIfe” is a “uniquely visionary and deeply philosphical film from an auteur director,” as if for some people, reassuring them that it came from an “auteur” and not some hack from East Bumblesville will assuage their anger. If I lived closer to Stamford I would work up a disguise, get a hidden camera and go complain about the auteur theory. “This is not what Truffaut meant when he said there were no good and bad movies, just good and bad directors! I staunchly refuse to expand my horizons!” I can’t wait to see what the Avon says about “Uncle Boonmee.”

Do you think you deserve your money back after a bad movie? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter!

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