Archive for July, 2008

31
Jul
08

Movies on DVD Review: Grizzly Man

 

 

Not quite as grizzled as I had hoped.

 

Directed by Werner Herzog.

 

I probably won’t be the last to say that Timothy Treadwell was a complete nutjob.

 

For those not in “the know,” Timothy Treadwell was a guy who spent 13 summers in the Alaskan wilderness with bears. In September of 2003 him and his girlfriend were attacked, killed, and partially eaten by a wild bear. In this documentary famed filmmaker Werner Herzog examines the life and death of Timothy Treadwell.

 

I had problems with watching this documentary. It’s difficult not to watch this film and make a judgment on the guy; his presence really does ask for it. In one moment Treadwell is enthusiastic and talking about how being around bears is dangerous; that they’ll decapitate you, eat you, etc. The next moment he’s trying to hang out with them and you have the feeling in the back of your head that at any time he could break out a guitar and sing, “Kumbayah.”

 

But Herzog thanfully never lets the film get to that point. With 100+ hours of footage to use Herzog shows a man, a guy, who borders on megalomania in the field of bears. In Treadwell’s world he’s right and everyone else is wrong. He strives to become a bear and leave the trappings of human existence.

 

And who is Timothy Treadwell? In the beginning a bright, young kid named Timothy Dexter who was a star athlete and received a swimming scholarship. Once in college he got into drug abuse and dropped out, moving back home. He then moved out to San Diego and changed his last name to Treadwell, auditioning for roles and supposedly coming in second to Woody Harrelson for a role on “Cheers.” Following that he fell into alcoholism until he saw a bear and realized that, in order to understand the bear, he had to shed his limitations.

 

The documentary tries to even-out the scales by interviewing others who met, or knew of, Timothy Treadwell. The pilot who flew him in and out was quiet but showed Herzog to the places Treadwell camped at. A former girlfriend of three years explained how she met him and was given the watch taken from what was left of his arm after the bear ate him. Another friend spoke of how she would see him each summer and keep his stuff over the winter. The coroner who examined his remains described what was on the final moments of audio taken when Treadwell and his girlfriend were attacked. And finally, there was a helicopter pilot who said that the bears probably left him alone for the most part because they “probably thought he was retarded or something.”

 

My minor gripe on the interviews is that they seemed “staged.” It’s as if Herzog told them “you are playing the character of you. I have a camera. Now, react.” Maybe others like and/or appreciate this style, but I found the coroner “acting” out what happened to Treadwell and his girlfriend unintentionally funny. Whether or not this is what Herzog was going for, you be the guess.

 

What Herzog leaves the audience to do is to make up their own minds about Treadwell. Doing this review it’s hard for me to hold back how much I disagreed with how Treadwell went about doing what he did: staying among the bears. I cite the late Steve Irwin (“The Crocodile Hunter”). Irwin may have been crazy, but for every ounce of crazy he was intelligent. Irwin had friends and comrades within the ecological community who knew him. Not everyone approved of everything he did, but he was applauded for bringing attention to the public about the dangers of wildlife. Irwin may have been a TV personality, but he had the years of experience and background.

 

And that’s the failure of Timothy Treadwell; the belief in image. The W’s and H questions can and probably will continue as to his reasoning for wanting to become a bear. Was he on a suicide mission? Trying to do the impossible? Did he not care about other people? Much like any other person who has taken a personal journey I’m inclined to believe that in the end, Timothy Treadwell found exactly what he was looking for, and in the darkest part of his mind, expected to find.

 

My grade: B-

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30
Jul
08

Remake Radar: Death Race

 

 

 

Welcome to the July edition of Remake Radar, where we tackle Hollywood’s penchant for remaking previous films (for better or worse). Ripping down the highway of recent “remakes” is none other than “Death Race 2000.”

 

“Death Race 2000” (1975)

 

Stars: David Carradine, Sylvester Stallone

 

Director: Roger Corman

 

Story: It’s the future and David Carradine is Frankenstein, a government racer in a three-part transcontinental auto race where you earn points by killing people and surviving against the other drivers. Frankenstein has been continuously rebuilt and is as much machine as man. He is the government’s champion.

Second stringer is “Machine Gun” Joe Viterbo (Stallone) plans on taking Frankenstein out of the picture; he’s tired of always coming in as #2. Added to that is Annie (Simone Griffeth) who is against the government and slips into being Frankenstein’s co-driver.

 

What do we know now? It’s coming out in August! Although Roger Corman was against it, the makers of the film showed him designs and clips from the film, and now he’s apparently on board (in a manner of speaking). Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (“Resident Evil,” “Mortal Kombat,” “Event Horizon”) it’s due for release on August 22. 2008 and will be called “Death Race.” Purportedly this film is a “prequel” to “DR2000.”

 

Cast

 

Jason Statham              Frankenstein

Tyrese Gibson              Machine-Gun Joe

Joan Allen

Ian McShane                Coach

 

29
Jul
08

Movie News and Views July 29, 2008 Trailer Edition

 

 

 

“Fly Me To The Moon 3-D” – Three insects plan to hitch a ride to the moon on the Apollo 11 mission. Animated/CG. Featuring the voices of Christopher Lloyd, Kelly Ripa, Nicollette Sheridan, and Tim Curry. Opens August 15, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.moviefone.com/movie/fly-me-to-the-moon-3-d/31337/trailer?trailerId=2175044

 

“Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys” – Love, career, wealth, relationships, affairs… all between two families struggling to work together. Stars Jennifer Hudson, Kathy Bates, Cole Houser, Robin Givens, and Tyler Perry. Opens September 12, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=1166&item=0

 

“The Duchess” – Keira Knightley plays 18th aristocrat Georgiana Devonshire. Opens September 19, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=813&item=2

 

“The Lucky Ones” – Tim Robbins, Rachel McAdams, and Micael Pena are all U.S. soldiers who return from Iraq to find life has gone on without them. Opens September 26, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=1239&item=0

 

“How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” – Based on the magazine article, Simon Pegg is a British journalist who is hired by a New York magazine. Also stars Jeff Bridges, Megan Fox, and Kirtsen Dunst. Opens October 3, 2008 View the trailer at:

http://www.moviefone.com/movie/how-to-lose-friends-and-alienate-people/27150/trailer?trailerId=2164233

 

“Body of Lies” – Russell Crowe and Leo DiCaprio in a movie about trying to trap a dangerous Al Qaeda operative. Opens October 10, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=1008&item=0

 

“W” – Oliver Stone presents a story of a man who knows how to party, how to gamble, how to have a good time. This man has some lows; notably, bad management over a sports team and oil company. However, he triumphs and becomes President of the United States. This piece of Americana opens October 17, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/review.php?id=1237

 

“The Brothers Bloom” – Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo are brothers pulling a con job on a wealthy woman (Rachel Weisz). Also stars Robbie Coltrane. Opens October 24, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=779&item=0

 

“Saw V” – More horror and carnage from the franchise that, like Jason, refuses to die. Opens October 24, 2008 View the teaser at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=1128&item=0

 

“RocknRolla” – London. Underground. Gangsters. Guy Ritchie. What more do you need? Also stars Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton, Ludacris, Jeremy Piven, and Tom Wilkinson. Opens October 31, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=972&item=3

 

“Quantum of Solace” – Bond is back! Opens November 7, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.moviefone.com/movie/quantum-of-solace/26922/trailer?trailerId=2150289

 

“Yes Man” – “Yes is the new ‘no’” as Jim Carrey is a guy who begins saying “yes” to everything, and eventually winds up with Zooey Deschanel. Opens December 19, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=1076&item=0

 

“Watchmen” – Based on the graphic novel/comic book series, this follows an alternate 1985 where a superhero is killed and the investigation into his murder reveals a plot to discredit all superheroes. Opens March 6, 2009. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=590&item=0

 

“Terminator: Salvation” – Christian Bale takes the role of John Connor, lone savior of our future against the giant Cyberdine/Skynet cyborgs. Opens May 22, 2009. View the teaser at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=333&item=0

 

“Ghost Town” – “Office” and “Extras” creator Ricky Gervais is a jerk dentist who, after being dead for 7 minutes, is able to see ghosts. He’s imposed upon by Greg Kinnear to stop his former wife (Tea Leoni) from getting married to the wrong guy. Opens September 19, 2009. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=933&item=0

 

“Surfer, Dude” – Matthew McConaughey is a surfer with a problem: there’s a drought in the wave department. His manager (Woody Harrelson) gets him to try to endorse a “3-D” surfing game. Dude. Also stars Willie Nelson. Coming Soon! View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=1139&item=0

 

 “Up” – Quoting the Official Plot Summary: Carl Fredricksen spent his entire life dreaming of exploring the globe and experiencing life to its fullest. But at age 78, life seems to have passed him by, until a twist of fate (and a persistent 8-year old Wilderness Explorer named Russell) gives him a new lease on life. “Up” takes audiences on a thrilling journey where the unlikely pair encounter wild terrain, unexpected villains and jungle creatures. Coming Soon! View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/headline.php?id=9519&count=0

 

And, stuff from Comic Con:

 

 “Origins: Wolverine” – Here’s the bootleg of the new “Wolverine” movie; basically, a “prequel” of sorts. View the footage at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=143&item=0

 

“Tron 2” – More bootleg stuff from Comic Con. Disney Pictures has given the “go ahead” for “Tron 2” (or “2.0”) and it looks like Jeff Bridges is back as well. View the footage at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/headline.php?id=9511&count=25

 

“Untitled Friday the 13th Sequel” – Let’s get this straight: you already know that a hockey-mask wearing psychopath named Jason Vorhees is out to kill teen/twenty-something campers as they’re about to have sex. You may proceed… View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=158&item=0

28
Jul
08

August 2008 Movie Releases

 

 

 

“The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” – Brendan Fraser returns and Maria Bello replaces Rachel Weisz as another adventure takes them to China where Fraser’s son unearths the tomb of the Dragon Emperor and his army of 10,000. Also starring Jet Li. Opens August 1, 2008

 

“Swing Vote” – Kevin Costner is the “average Joe-loser” who finds that the election comes down to his vote. Opens August 1, 2008

 

“Pineapple Express” – Seth Rogen and James Franco are the pothead and dealer who are on the run after witnessing a cop commit a murder. Opens August 6, 2008

 

“Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2” – Four lifelong friends parting ways but keeping in contact through a single pair of pants. Star America Ferrera. Opens August 6, 2008

 

“Tropic Thunder” – Take an action star (Ben Stiller), a comedian (Jack Black), and an award-winning Australian actor who undergoes surgery to appear “black” (Robert Downey, Jr.) and have them make a war movie by dropping them in the middle of a REAL war. The trailer is hilarious. Opens August 13, 2008

 

“Henry Poole is Here” – Luke Wilson is Henry Poole, a man who has given up on life until his neighbor finds the face of Jesus in his stucco. Also stars Radha Mitchell, George Lopez, and Cheryl Hines. Opens August 15, 2008

 

“Mirrors” – Val Kilmer (where’s he been?) plays a security guard whose life is turned inside out when mirrors in the place he’s guarding have supernatural demons. Opens August 15, 2008

 

“Star Wars: Clone Wars” – George Lucas milks the Star Wars cash cow again but this time through the Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. Anakin and Obi Wan have a new adventure, this time during the infamous Clone Wars. Opens August 15, 2008

 

“Vicky Christina Barcelona” – Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Christina (Scarlett Johansson) are sisters who go to Barcelona, where they meet an artist (Javier Bardem). Bardem seduces them and when his ex-wife (Penelope Cruz) shows up, things really get out-of-hand. Opens August 15, 2008

 

“The Rocker” – “Office” star Rainn Wilson is a former rock drummer-be who fills in for a high school kid after he’s suspended. Alrighty then. Opens August 20, 2008

 

“Death Race” – Briton action star Jason Statham is a NASCAR driver who is framed for the death of his wife. Punishment: he’s sent to a prison where the female warden cuts him a deal. If he can survive a no-holds-barred souped-up muscle car race, then he’s free to go. But will the warden let him survive? Also stars Ian McShane. Opens August 22, 2008

 

“Hamlet 2” – Where do I start? Steve Coogan is a failed actor turned high school drama teacher. When the school threatens to cut the drama program, he creates the play “Hamlet 2” (there’s a time machine involved). What follows is zany madness, complete with a your usual hijinks and a musical number called, “Rock Me Sexy Jesus.” Also stars Catherine Keener, Amy Poehler, David Arquette, and Elisabeth Shue. Opens August 22, 2008

“House Bunny” – Formerly titled “I Know What Boys Like,” Anna Farris is a playmate kicked outta Hef’s place and winds up in a sorority. And that would happen because…? Opens August 22, 2008

 

“Traitor” – Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce in a tale of mystery, intrigue, and espionage. Opens August 27, 2008

 

“Babylon A.D.” – Vin Diesel and Michelle Yeoh in a sci-fi movie where he has to escort her because her body contains an organism that a cult believes will create the new Messiah. Ov vey. Opens August 29, 2008

“College” – Three best friends in high school check out a college. Been there, seen that. Opens August 29, 2008

 

“Disaster Movie” – Those guys who brought you “Epic Movie” and the like are at it again. Please stop them. Opens August 29, 2008

28
Jul
08

Movie Review: X-Files: I Want to Believe

 

 

 

I tried to believe…

 

Starring David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Billy Connelly, Amanda Peet, and Alvin ‘Xzibit’ Joiner. Directed by Chris Carter

 

It hurts me to write this review.

 

Can I say how much I really, really wanted this movie to be worth the 10 bucks? Can I say how big of an “X-Files” fan I am? Would any of it matter?

 

I digress.

 

It’s been 6 years since “The X-Files” left FOX network. The movie picks up in the present. Scully (Anderson) is currently working at a Catholic Hospital, fighting to cure a child who has a practically incurable disease. Mulder lives with her in a house off the beaten path. With a giant beard and making newsclippings to post on the walls, he comes off more as the bad guys he hunted down on “X-Files” episodes than as a former “Mr. FBI.” When Scully is approached by Agent Mosley Drummy (Xzibit) she is told to pass the info onto Fox: an FBI agent is missing and all “transgressions” will be forgiven if he’ll help out on this case.

 

Why do they need him? ASAC Dakota Whitney (Peet) is consulting an ex-communicated priest (37 counts of child molestation) named Father Joe Crissman (Connelly). He’s “drawn” to the victims, helping to find the occasional lost limb packed under ice. Whitney wants Mulder to debunk the guy; prove he’s a fraud. Mulder instead finds instances where Father Joe really could be psychic, much to the dismay of Scully, Whitney, and Drummy.

 

What kills me about the movie is I liked it to a POINT. After that point, the rest of the film was inconsequential. If you know even a little bit about movies you know that most scenes are not shot in order. This is overly apparent because after the “twist” of the story occurs, I was entirely waiting for Mulder to look at Scully and say, “You know what, Scully? This was entirely f’d up.”

 

Gillan Anderson and David Duchovny do work well together; that’s never been a problem. They’ve created one of the greatest couples in television history. The only snag between them in this movie is that they don’t work TOGETHER. Yes, they are both out of the FBI and Mulder pleads with Scully to help him out, but it never fully happens. That was part of what worked in the TV series. That aside, there was nothing in regards to acting that ANYBODY did wrong. ‘Twas the story that killed the Beast.

 

And what else can I tell you about the story that turned me off from it? The “twist” of it all involves organ transplants, kidnapping, homosexuality, “Frankenstein,” and all the rest of the above. I was enjoying the movie up until that PART. If you choose to watch this, you’ll know what I mean.

 

Some other reviewers have said this is a “long” version of the TV show. I’ve watched several movies in my life and can’t say that this did or didn’t feel like an overly long episode. I can say that if it had been an episode, it would’ve been a forgettable one.

 

I can’t recommend going to see this in a theatre. It’s not that I wish I hadn’t, it’s more along the lines of I wouldn’t pay to see it again. If you are an X-Phile (you know who you are) and you want to see it, go for it. It’s probably the last chance to see Mulder and Scully on the silver screen. BTW, watch for a cameo appearance by another fave character.

 

My grade: C

25
Jul
08

Scully, looks like an X-Phile: Top Fifteen X-Files Episodes (5-1)

Another fun day here at Chasfilm/ Film Guys Online Office of Television Research and Observance. In honor of the upcoming ‘X-Files’ movie, “I Want to Believe,” I present to you our

 

Top Fifteen X-Files Episodes

 

Part Three

 

5. “Agua Mala” (Air date: February 21, 1999 ) – X-Files “founder” Arthur Dales (Darren McGavin) calls the agents down to a trailer park in Florida where a family has disappeared. With an impending hurricane closing in, the agents become trapped in with residents and find out that something is in the water.

Trivia: Darren McGavin starred in a TV show called, “Kolchak: The Night Stalker,” which Chris Carter cited as an influence on “The X-Files.”

 

4. “Pilot” (Air date: September 10, 1993 ) – In the episode that started it all, Special Agent Dana Scully is sent to report on the findings of one Agent Fox ‘Spooky’ Mulder, a leading FBI psychologist who has taken on a “pet project” of going through the agencies “unknown cause” files, hence, the “X-Files.” They immediately fly up to Oregon to investigate the deaths of high school students, which Mulder believes is related to alien abuction.

Trivia: Scully had a boyfriend named Ethan Minette. His scenes were cut before broadcast.

 

 

 

3. “The Host” (Air date: September 23, 1994 ) – Assistant Director Skinner gives a “grunt work” assignment to Mulder as “punishment”: go down to Newark and investigate a body washed up in the New Jersey sewer. Mulder and Scully investigate, finding the “Flukeman.”

Trivia: The “Flukeman” was played by Darin Morgan, who would later become a writer on the show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. “Darkness Falls” (Air date: April 15, 1994 ) – A group of loggers disappearing in Washington State National Forest reminds Mulder of a similar case 50 years prior, and both agents go to investigate. They soon find themselves trapped in a cabin trying to ward off ancient flesh-eating insects that only come out at night.

Trivia: This episode was honored at the Environmental Media Awards.

 

 

 

 

 

1. “Home” (Air date: October 11, 1996 ) – A baby is found in shallow ground and the agents travel to Home, Pennsylvania to investigate and meet a sheriff named Andy Taylor (Tucker Smallwood), his deputy Barney Paster (Sebastian Spence), and a family that has been inbreeding for generations.

Trivia: This is the only episode of the “X-Files” to be banned from airplay. It would take another 5 years for FOX Network to show it again.

 

24
Jul
08

Scully, looks like an X-Phile: Top Fifteen X-Files Episodes (10-6)

Another fun day here at Chasfilm/ Film Guys Online Office of Television Research and Observance. In honor of the upcoming ‘X-Files’ movie, “I Want to Believe,” I present to you our

 

Top Fifteen X-Files Episodes

 

Part Two

 

10. “Hell Money” (Air date: March 29, 1996) – A string of Chinese immigrants are found dead, with various internal organs missing. Scully and Mulder team-up with Detective Paul Wong (Wiry Man) and find that the investigation leads to “hell money;” Chinese immigrants selling their organs for a chance at a jackpot of money.

Trivia: James Hong and Lucy Liu appear in this episode.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. “Pusher” (Air date: February 23, 1996 ) – Robert Patrick Modell (Robert Wisden) has the ability to manipulate minds. He finds a worthy adversary in Agent Mulder, taking him into a dangerous battle of mind over matter.

Trivia: Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters member David Grohl and his wife, Jennifer Youngblood-Grohl, can be seen in the background as Modell enters the foyer of the FBI building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. “Syzygy” (Air date: January 26, 1996 ) – Mulder and Scully investigate a series of deaths of high school kids, thought to be committed by a Satanic cult. When people begin changing and their internal personalities come to the forefront (Mulder drinks, Scully smokes) the agents find that the “changes” are brought about due to a rare astrological occurrence and two girls who were born at the exact same moment in time.

Trivia: The name of the episode, “Syzygy”, is an astronomical term for an alignment of three bodies of the solar system along a straight or nearly straight line.

 

 

 

7. “Clyde Buckman’s Final Repose” (Air date: October 13, 1995) – A killer is offing fortune tellers and it’s up to Mulder and Scully to stop him. His latest target is Clyde Bruckman (Peter Boyle) who can see how people are going to die.

Trivia: Peter Boyle won an Emmy for this episode.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’” (Air date: April 12, 1996) – Author Jose Chung (Charles Nelson Reilly) is researching a book on alien abduction and enlists the help of Agent Scully, who admits to loving the author’s work. As the story progresses everyone has a different “take” on what really happened, even the “alien abductors” themselves.

Trivia: Wrestler Jesse Ventura and game show host Alex Trebek played “Men in Black.”

 

Tomorrow: 5-1!