Archive for December, 2008

31
Dec
08

January Movie Releases

inkheart

“Bride Wars” – Anna Hathaway and Katie Hudson are best friends who are planning on getting married on the same day. Hilarity and hijinks ensue, I’m guessing. Opens January 9th, 2009

“Che” – Benicio del Toro in the first part of a two-part film series by Steven Soderbergh about revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Opens January 9, 2009

“Not Easily Broken” – Drama about love and family starring Morris Chestnut, based on the book by author/pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes. Opens January 9, 2009

“Nothing But the Truth” – Kate Beckinsale plays a D.C. reporter who outs a CIA agent but refuses to reveal her source. Also stars Alan Alda, Matt Dillon, and Angela Bassett. Opens January 9, 2009

“The Reader” – Ralph Fiennes is a British guy trying to unravel the mystery of his past: a woman (Kate Winslet) who made him read to her who was tried for Nazi war crimes. Opens January 9, 2009

“The Unborn” – Odette Yustman has a family curse that dates back to Nazi Germany involving an evil that possesses someone and gets stronger with each possession. Also stars Gary Oldman. Opens January 9, 2009

“Hotel for Dogs” – Two teens transform a vacant house into a hotel for dogs. Stars Emma Roberts and Don Cheadle. Opens January 16, 2009

“My Bloody Valentine” – Remake of the slasher film, in 3-D! Opens January 16, 2009

“Notorious” – A biopic on the life of rapper Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. Opens January 16, 2009

“Paul Blart: Mall Cop” – Kevin James tries to be all that he can be: a mall security guard. Trouble arises when Santa’s helpers take the mall hostage, and Blart must become a real cop to save the day. Opens January 16, 2009

“Inkheart” – Following the same theme of “Bedtime Stories,” this one has Brendan “That’s FRAY-ZER, Not PHRASE-JOUR!” Fraser reading a book that comes to life. Opens January 23, 2009

“Possession” Sarah Michelle Gellar is a woman caught between her husband and his brother. When both are in a car accident the brother awakens and claims that he’s her husband. I wanna be that guy… Opens January 23, 2009

“Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans” – A prequel to the two previous films. Stars Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, and Rhona Mitra. Opens January 23, 2009

“New in Town” – Renee Zellweger is an ambitious company exec living in Miami who suddenly gets transferred to Minnesota. Hilarity and attraction to Harry Connick, Jr, ensue. Opens January 30, 2009

“Taken” – A former spy breaks out his skills to find his daughter before she’s forced into the slave trade. Stars Liam Neeson and Famke Janssen. Opens January 30, 2009

“The Uninvited” – A woman returns home to find her father engaged. When she’s visited by the ghost of her mother, she and her sister must convince their father that their stepmother-to-be is not who she pretends. Opens January 30, 2009

30
Dec
08

In Passing… Looking Back at 2008

rip

 

 

 

These are a few of the talented and influential artists that have passed away this year…

 

 

Forest J. Ackerman

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/12/12/in-passing-forest-j-ackerman-1916-2008/

 

Sam Bottoms

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/12/19/in-passing%e2%80%a6-sam-bottoms-1955-2008/

 

George Carlin

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/06/23/in-passing-george-carlin-1937-2008/

 

Michael Crichton

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/11/05/in-passing-michael-crichton-1942-2008/

 

Don S. Davis

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/in-passing-don-s-davis-1942-2008/

 

Estelle Getty

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/07/22/in-passing-estelle-getty-1923-2008/

 

Isaac Hayes

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/08/11/in-passing%e2%80%a6-isaac-hayes-1942-2008/

 

Van Johnson                                                            

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/in-passing-van-johnson-1916-2008/

 

Eartha Kitt

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/12/26/in-passing-eartha-kitt-1927-2008/

 

Harvey Korman

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/05/30/in-passing-harvey-korman-1927-2008/

 

Don LaFontaine

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/09/02/in-passing-don-lafontaine-1940-2008/

 

Bernie Mac

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/08/11/in-passing%e2%80%a6-bernie-mac-1957-2008/

 

Robert Mulligan

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/12/22/in-passing-robert-mulligan-1925-2008/

 

Paul Newman

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/in-passing-paul-newman-1925-2008/

Bettie Page

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/12/12/in-passing-bettie-page-1923-2008/

 

Sydney Pollack

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/in-passing%e2%80%a6-sydney-pollack-1934-2008/

 

Jerry Reed

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/09/02/in-passing-jerry-reed-1937-2008/

 

Majel Barrett Roddenberry

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/12/19/in-passing%e2%80%a6-majel-barrett-roddenberry-1932-2008/

 

Stan Winston

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/06/16/in-passing-stan-winston-1946-2008/

30
Dec
08

2008: Year in Movie Reviews

2008movies

 

 

The Bank Job

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/12/05/movies-on-dvd-review-the-bank-job/

 

Burn After Reading

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/10/01/movie-review-burn-after-reading/

 

Choke

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/10/27/movie-review-choke/

 

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/05/20/movie-review-the-chronicles-of-narnia-prince-caspian/

 

City of Ember

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/10/28/movie-review-city-of-ember/

 

The Dark Knight

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/07/21/movie-review-the-dark-knight/

 

Funny Games

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/movie-review-funny-games/

 

Get Smart

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/06/24/movie-review-get-smart/

 

Hamlet 2

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/09/10/movie-review-hamlet-2/

 

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/07/14/movie-review-hellboy-2-the-golden-army/

 

The Incredible Hulk

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/06/16/movie-review-the-incredible-hulk/

 

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/05/22/indiana-jones-and-the-kingdom-of-the-crystal-skull/

 

Iron Man

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/05/02/movie-review-iron-man/

 

Jumper

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/03/07/movie-review-jumper/

 

Leatherheads

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/04/07/movie-review-leatherheads/

 

Quantum of Solace

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/movie-review-quantum-of-solace/

 

Son of Rambow

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/06/13/movie-review-son-of-rambow/

 

Speed Racer

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/05/10/movie-review-speed-racer/

 

Transsiberian

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/09/12/movie-review-transsiberian/

 

Tropic Thunder

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/08/15/movie-review-tropic-thunder/

 

W

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/11/14/movie-review-w/

 

Wall*E

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/07/10/movie-review-walle/

 

Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/07/21/movie-review-where-in-the-world-is-osama-bin-laden/

 

X-Files: I Want to Believe

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/movie-review-x-files-i-want-to-believe/

 

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

https://chasness.wordpress.com/2008/12/24/movie-review-zack-and-miri-make-a-porno/

30
Dec
08

Remake Radar: Oldboy

oldboy

Welcome to the final Remake Radar for 2008.

“Oldboy” (2003)

Stars: Cho Min-sik, Yu Ji-tae, and Kang Hye-jeong.

Director:Park Chan-wook

Story: Dae-Su (Cho Min-sik) is abducted before his daughter’s birthday. He is taken to an unknown room and held there for 15 years. He’s released and given money, a cellphone, and expensive clothes. He falls for an attractive sushi chef (Kang Hye-jeong) on his path of vengeance, leading up to his captor Lee Woo-jin (Yu Ji-tae).

What do we know now?: Steven Spielberg and Will Smith are bringing it to a silver screen near you! Supposedly they are following the Manga series as opposed to the actual movie.

29
Dec
08

Is Kevin Smith Still Relevant?

kevin_smith

 

 

 

Writer, director, and comic book artist Kevin Smith came into the Entertainment Scene in 1994 releasing his first film, “Clerks,” about a Quick Stop convenience store employee who was dealing with relationship problems while having problems with customers. Using credit cards and money borrowed from his family, as well as shooting at the Quick Stop where Smith worked during nights and in-between customers, the movie was an epitome of the Independent Films of the Nineties and traveled the film festival circuit before being picked up by Miramax, which gave him money to shoot additional scenes as well as pay for music rights (which cost more than the film itself).

 

The next year Smith received a bigger budget and made “Mallrats,” a movie about comic book-loving slackers who are dumped by their girlfriends and seek refuge at the local mall. This film featured a few people from “Clerks,” most notably the duo Jay and Silent Bob (Jay Mewes and Kevin Smith). The film’s budget was $6 million and brought in $2.1 million; a nearly critical failure for Smith. The best thing to come from this movie was that it was Jason Lee’s debut, who went on to do more Kevin Smith movies as well as the film “Almost Famous” and the hit NBC series, “My Name is Earl.”

 

Smith redeemed himself with the follow-up, “Chasing Amy” (1997) Ben Affleck starred as Holden McNeil, a comic book artist who falls in love with a lesbian comic book artist played by Joey Lauren Adams. The movie was a critical hit for Smith, being better received than “Clerks” and especially “Mallrats.”

 

From that point Kevin Smith climbed the filmmaking ladder with follow-up hit, “Dogma.” Smith had gained more “star power” with casting Linda Fiorentino, Alan Rickman, Chris Rock, Salma Hayek, George Carlin, Janeane Garofalo, and Alanis Morissette. Made on a budget of $10 million, it earned most of it back within its first weekend ($8 mil). Controversy from the Catholic Church surrounded it, possibly driving more people to go and watch it.

 

With the characters Jay and Silent Bob, as well as the inter-weaving of stories through Smith’s “View Askew Universe,” it was only fitting that Smith’s next film was, “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” following the two convenient store misanthropes as they head to Hollywood to stop production of a Bluntman and Chronic movie. Smith has called it a “$15 million inside joke,” making it for the fans and to tie-up any loose-ends of the “View Askew Universe.”

 

And with the finalization of “Jay and Silent Bob…” Smith was closing a chapter on what made him famous: slacker characters and “dick and fart jokes.” As quoted by Ben Affleck: “Why in God’s name would I wanna keep writing about characters whose central preoccupations are weed and dick and fart jokes? I mean, ya gotta grow man. Don’t you ever want anything more for yourself?” Kevin Smith did, and walked away from the characters in View Askew.

 

Three years later Smith returned with “Jersey Girl.” Most the fanbase, reared on “Jay and Silent Bob” as well as Smith’s dialog (read: cussing and weed, dick, and fart jokes) turned away. The reasons differed, but most of the reasons stem from Ben Affleck’s relationship with Jennifer Lopez. To his credit, Smith made a good film. Not great, and not what he had built his career on, but it showed that Smith’s “Peter Pan” syndrome was well behind him.

 

Or so it seemed.

 

Sans any good ideas, Smith returned to his roots: “Clerks.” Cashing in on “sequel-itis,” “Clerks II” showed slackers Dante and Randall having to find jobs after the Quick Stop catches on fire. Here Smith returns to what made him popular: the View Askew Universe of characters. While the film did make its money, “Clerks II” was a far cry from Smith’s previous VA Universe ventures.

 

Which brings me to “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” Greenlit by the Weinsteins before Smith had even written the script, “Zack and Miri” follows as two lifelong friends, strapped for cash, make a porno. Reportedly, this was based on Smith’s experiences in making “Clerks.”

 

And it’s this stagnation that makes me question Kevin Smith as a filmmaker. Ever since Smith has “struck out on his own” from the View Askew-verse, his road has been worse than a flat tire forced across speedbumps. I will give him credit for “growing up” and making “Jersey Girl,” and accept why it wasn’t as popular as his previous entries. However, he has mined the “Clerks” shaft all the way to China. He made a “Clerks” animated series, released a special “Clerks X” DVD with commentaries, original version, etc., and made a sequel not even as good as the original (which, in the world of his characters, requires chastising). Harlan Ellison once said that, “Gene Roddenberry had only one good idea in his lifetime, and that was ‘Star Trek.’” It seems that “Clerks” may be Smith’s “one good idea.”

 

If I had one thing to say to Mr. Smith, it would be, “Yes, I know that you LOVE ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Indiana Jones.’ We GOT that. Can you please move on?” I don’t mind the occasional reference to the series, I love them myself, but how many references to Spielberg and Lucas do you need? For God’s sake man, we get it!” And you can only keep profane language, comic book references, weed, dick, and fart jokes going for so long.

 

So, I’m opening this up for discussion. Is Kevin Smith still relevant? Is he still a filmmaker to be admired, or are his fifteen minutes up? Give me your thoughts.

 

clerksmallratschasing_amydogma1jay_and_silent_bob_strike_backjersey_girlclerks_iizack_and_miri_make_a_porno1

 

26
Dec
08

In Passing… Eartha Kitt (1927-2008)

eartha-kitt

 

 

Singer, dancer, and actress Eartha Kitt passed away yesterday from colon cancer. Born to a half Cherokee/ half African-American mother and a German/ Dutch father in South Carolina she was raised by Anna Mae Riley, whom she believed to be her mother. After Riley’s death she was sent to New York to live with her biological mother, Mamie Kitt. By the age of 20 she was performing with the Katherine Dunham Company and made her film debut with them in “Casbah” (1948). In 1950 Orson Welles gave her the role of Helen of Troy in “Faustus.” They would have a love affair with Welles’ calling her, “the most exciting woman in the world.” Her sexiness would amp-up with her recording of “Santa Baby” in 1953. She would continue on with TV and film roles, notably subbing in for Julie Newmar on the last season of “Batman.” In the late Sixties she made anti-war statements which led to professional exile. A return to Broadway in 1978 in the show “Timbuktu!” earned her a Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. Since then she has alternated between TV, film, and the stage. She was 81 years of age.

Thoughts and prayers to her family and friends.

For more information, check out her IMDB page at:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0457755/

25
Dec
08

Movie News and Views Christmas Trailer Edition

push

A Christmas present for my readers. These are compliments of YouTube, and you can select to watch them fullscreen. Happy Holidays!
-Chas

“My Bloody Valentine” – Remake of the slasher film, in 3-D! Opens January 16, 2009.

“Push” – Psychic espionage movie (that’s a first) about altered people with extraordinary powers getting revenge on the agency that created them. Stars Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning. Opens February 6, 2009.

“Friday the 13th” – Remake of the classic 80’s movie. Opens February 13, 2009.

“I Love You, Man” – Paul Rudd is engaged to Rashida Jones, but has no male friends. So, he schedules “man-dates” in order to find a Best Man. Opens March 20, 2009.

“Knowing” – Nic Cage examines a letter from a time capsule with a code that predicts future events. Opens March 20, 2009.

“Dragonball Evolution” – Based on the video game. A young boy named Goku must find all seven dragonballs in order to prevent the Earth from being taken over. Opens April 8, 2009.

“State of Play” – Russell Crowe is a journalist researching the death of a woman tied to his best friend and Congressmen (Ben Affleck). Also stars Helen Mirren and Rachel McAdams. Opens April 17, 2009.

“Obsessed” – An office professional (Idris Elba) is married to Beyonce Knowles but is being cougar’d by Ali Larter. Think “Fatal Attraction.” Opens April 24, 2009.

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” – Hugh Jackman’s back in the role that put him on the map: Wolverine of the “X-Men.” Watch for Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth. Opens May 1, 2009

“Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian” – Ben Stiller is back, as is Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt and Owen Wilson as Jedidiah. New historical personalities include General Custer, Ivan the Terrible, Al Capone, The Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart, and Ulysses S. Grant. Opens May 22, 2009.

“The Proposal” – Sandra Bullock is Canadian and must marry her assistant Andrews (Ryan Reynolds) in order to avoid deportation. Eh? Opens June 12, 2009.

“9” – In a post-apocalyptic world a being with the name “9” wakes up. Upon looking around he finds others like him and that it’s up to him to save what’s left of the world from the Machines. Stars the voices of Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau and Christopher Plummer. Opens September 9, 2009.

“Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard” – Luc Besson presents the sequel to “Arthur and the Invisibles.” Coming soon!

“The Code” – Morgan Freeman is a retired thief while Antonio Banderas is an up-and-coming one. Together, they plot to steal 2 Faberge eggs. Coming soon!

“From Paris with Love” – John Travolta is a bald, American secret agent who crosses paths with John Rhys-Meyers while in Paris. Coming soon!

“I Love You Phillip Morris” – Not necessarily about the tobacco industry. Jim Carrey is a guy who has a wife and kids and winds up in an auto accident, waking up and proclaiming that he’s gay. He quickly turns to embezzlement and fraud, which has him thrown into the slammer. There he meets and falls in love with his cellmate Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). Coming soon!

“Powder Blue” – 4 troubled people who connect on Christmas Eve. One of the stories is about an ex-con (Ray Liotta) reaching out to his estranged daughter (Jessica Biel). Also stars Forest Whitaker, Patrick Swayze, and Kris Kristofferson. Coming Soon!

“Veronika Decides to Die” – Sarah Michelle Gellar plays the titular character, a 28-year-old woman who wants to die but finds reasons to live. Based on the bestselling book by Paulo Coelho. Coming soon!