Thursday, May 21, 2009

“Terminator” is back; “Museum” doors swing open again, too

A rare early summer treat finds two big sequels opening on the same weekend, with “Terminator Salvation” and “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” going head to head for box office dollars.
Leading the former is Christian Bale, making his first appearance as "T" regular John Connor and likely hoping to invigorate the franchise the same way he helped energize the latest pair of "Batman" movies as Bruce Wayne.
"The first time I saw the first ("Terminator") movie, which would've been a number of years after it got released, was fun," Bale recently recalled. "It was not something that had strong impact, but when I was 17 and I'd just come out to the States I went to see 'T2' and that was very memorable.
"It was opening weekend. I couldn't hear a damn thing that was said on the movie because everyone was screaming so much throughout it. So, it was an introduction to American audiences, but also to a movie that just seemed to make everybody crazy in that way and I really enjoyed that.
"The idea of doing another one didn't seem to be smart to me," Bale said. "But, in the same way that --and there are no other similarities between the other movies, I don't really mean to compare. I don't like to compare -- it seemed that way with the initial idea of reviving the 'Batman' movies. Even though they're of very different sensibilities I came to believe that there were some potentially good stories here and that I enjoyed it enough that I'd like to see it revived."
Stiller, who of course enjoyed enormous success as the beleagured dad and watchman in "Night at the Museum" a few years ago, had some similar doubts about doing another.
"I really thought that it was important to have a way into the second movie that was different from the first one," Stiller explained at a Washington, D.C., press conference. "We'd already done the idea of everything coming to life and Larry being amazed by it and the guy who hadn't really done anything with his life and the night guard becoming the thing he's happy doing.
"So, to start the second movie, I felt like we needed to have a new idea. The idea of him being successful and then in some way that not making him happy -- the idea of what he thought would make him happy not making him happy -- just felt like a new idea to start with."
Certainly it helps to have the talented Amy Adams on hand as legendary pilot Amelia Earhart, too.
"We wanted the spirit of adventure and Amelia definitely had that," Adams said. "She's somebody who could hold her own in a man's world. So I did take that, but they wrote such a fun and spunky character and such a foil to Ben, so I definitely followed the script and followed history and put them together into what Amelia Earhart is in the movie."

While those really big movies take center stage, fans of nifty little horror films need to find the rare and funny "Pontypool," which starts nationwide "On-Demand" May 27 before a limited theatrical release. On the really small side from Canadian vet Bruce McDonald, it was one of the legitimate joys I discovered at last year's Toronto International Film Festival. In truth, movie perks such as the Valentine's Day-directed jolts and laughs found in an unknown gem like "Pontypool" are what keeps me going back to Toronto after every Labor Day weekend (now for about 17 straight years). Check it out if and when you can. By the way, the 34th annual TIFF begins this year on Sept. 10.

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