WonderCon Wrap-Up: Peeks At "Brick," "Night Watch" and "Pathfinder"

Our WonderCon Wrap-Up continues, with a look at a few of the lesser-known flicks presented last weekend: "Brick," "Night Watch," and "Pathfinder."

Saturday's panels began sadly, with the news that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be a no-show to present his indie-teen-film noir, "Brick." The trailer screened anyway -- intriguing, mysterious -- but was no different than the trailer we've already seen. Happily, one additional scene played (the opening few moments of the film) which introduces the main character, Brendan (Gordon-Levitt) as he mournfully surveys the body of his ex-girlfriend (Emilie de Ravin), then flashes back two days prior to her terrified, cryptic phone call to him in suburban Southern California.

Thankfully, we won't have to wait long to see more of "Brick," as this Sundance 2005 favorite will be released March 24. Click here to see the "Brick" trailer and judge for yourself.

Next, a presentation of "Night Watch," the first of Russian good vs. evil trilogy set in modern day Moscow, kicked off the day with a treat: we would get to see the entire movie! That it was almost completely in super fast-forward hardly mattered; the dark, gritty urban epic wowed the crowd with eerie visuals and a few super cool real-time action moments. "Night Watch" opens in limited release in a few days, on February 17. Check out the "Night Watch" trailer, here -- or watch the entire film in fast forward, here!

Director Marcus Nispel (2003's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre") came out to talk about his new project, "Pathfinder." Not many people know much about "Pathfinder" yet, but Nispel's enthusiasm if not his resume comes across as a compelling reason to watch for it. Starring Karl Urban, Russell Means and Clancy Brown, "Pathfinder" tells the story of a Viking boy left behind in North America by his marauding people, who grows up among the native Indians and leads them in battle when the Vikings return to pillage again. There's action, there's romance, and there's loincloths.

Nispel's got a background in painting and graphic novels, and it shows; in the trailer as well as a set of impressive storyboards he showed at WonderCon, there is a visual richness to the composition of his scenes; whether he can pull it together from scene to scene will remain to be seen.

What was most interesting was Nispel's discussion of the sensitive nature of his film. Set around the year 900 A.D., his fictional telling of a Viking-Native American confrontation seems to have been lent historical weight with recent scientific revelations that the Viking peoples did reach areas of the Americas at a time when they very well could have encountered native peoples. Also adding some degree of credibility to his production is Native American actor Russell Means, whom Nispel says provided a supporting role onscreen as well as offscreen; Means is not only an actor, but a well-known face of Native American activism and often acted as a consultant on the project.

And lest I forget, Nispel treated the audience to another special "clip" -- a behind-the-scenes look at Nispel on set, directing, living out of a suitcase, and, yes, dropping trou to get a vitamin B shot in the backside. For this alone I will remember the name Nispel.

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