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ASTRO BOY Takes Flight At New York Comic Con!

Beaks here...

Last week, Harry put out the call for reactions to the ASTRO BOY footage from the New York Comic Con. Today, Bodhisattva complied with that and more! The ASTRO BOY stuff is in the third paragraph. But you should also be interested in his take on Alex Proyas's KNOWING and Kathryn Bigelow's highly-acclaimed THE HURT LOCKER - which sounds like a triumphant return to action filmmaking for the skilled director behind NEAR DARK, POINT BREAK and STRANGE DAYS. I need to see this movie now.
You asked for us to send you a report on the Astro Boy footage, and since I haven't seen anything since I got back from from NYCC, here's Astro Boy and the other two flicks in the Summit panel... First up was Knowing. Alex Proyas introduced two clips from the film - two disaster sequences. The first clip was the full plane crash sequence that we've seen glimpses from in the trailer. It was a pretty harrowing scene - one of the most realistic and intense plane crashes ever on film. And it was all done in one take with the plane ripping through a gridlocked freeway and the camera follows Cage through the carnage as runs to help people amidst exploding sections, people burning. The second clip was a five minute scene that starts out with Cage trying to warn a cop in NY about clearing the streets. She dismisses him and someone suspicious catches his eye. It's a man in a hooded sweatshirt and Cage follows him down to a subway platform, where the guy notices Cage and books it. Cage pursues him onto a subway car thinking this man has a bomb or something, but it turns out that all he had was a bunch of bootlegged DVDs. Then the shit hits the fan when an oncoming subway train derails and heads toward Cage's subway train at full speed. The impact is violent as hell, with the two trains shredding each other and mowing down people. Like the plane crash, the subway collision was notable for its shocking brutality. I'm a pretty big fan of Proyas' earlier works -- Dark City and The Crow -- and while I didn't care for I, Robot as much, I don't think it was so much his fault for that film's shortcomings. I think Knowing looks very promising. Second was Astro Boy. This was mostly just a tease of new images and one scene - the images included shots of Astro Boy's weaponry (love the butt cannons), Metro City and Astro Boy's main nemesis, the Peacekeeper. The footage (mostly finished looking, with some rough shots) was Astro Boy's discovery of his flight capabilities - it starts off as he's falling from a huge building, with his rocket boots kicking in at the last minute, much to his surprise. Then the clip follows him around Metro City, zipping through the City's many skyscrapers, racing a bullet train and burrowing through the city's mountain -- it's very Superman meets Iron Man, power discovery kinda scene - a mix of fun and spectacle. I know absolutely nothing about Astro Boy as a character beyond some surface details, and as far as CG animated films go these days, nothing much outside of Pixar has really impressed me (from both a technical and story telling standpoint), but I'm definitely willing to give this a chance. I like the fact that it looks very action-oriented and not a bunch of anthropomorphic animals. And last, and most surprisingly was The Hurt Locker. I say surprising because I had never (nor had anyone I was with) heard a thing about this movie and it was probably my favorite of the bunch from this panel (close to a tie with Knowing). It has such a cool concept - a movie about a bomb disposal unit in Iraq - and the 15 minutes we saw was one of the most suspenseful scenes I've see in an action film in a long time. Jeremy Renner plays the risk-taking leader of this elite squad and clip shows him trying to defuse a bomb in a car big enough to level a city block while under fire. The scene makes you squirm uncomfortably in all the right ways. Kathryn Bigelow, I think will prove again that she is one of the most underrated and creative action directors out there. The scene ratchets up the tension in almost unbearable ways. Point Break ridiculousness aside, that movie gave us some of the most indelible action scenes from the 90s (that foot chase paved the way long before it became a fixture of every action film). Renner also came out for a Q&A. It doesn't have a release date yet (looks like summer maybe?), but the The Hurt Locker is a film you should keep a close eye on. If you use this, you can just call me bodhisattva.

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