Archive for March, 2009


April Movie Releases




“Give ‘Em Hell Malone” – Thomas Jane. Ving Rhames. Elsa Pataky. A private eye fending off thugs from loot. All done Seventies-style. From the director of “Highlander” and “Resident Evil: Extinction.” Opens April 1, 2009





“The Fast and the Furious 4” – Vin Diesel. Paul Walker. Michelle Rodriguez. Jordana Brewster. Fast cars. Fourth movie. Opens April 3, 2009





“Gigantic” – Paul Dano is single, and a mattress salesman trying to adopt a baby from China. He falls for Zooey Deschanel and in the down time tries to keep from getting killed by a homeless guy. Comedy. Opens April 3, 2009





“The Ugly Truth” – Gerard Butler is a chauvinistic TV host and Katherine Heigl is his new producer. He tries to help her romantically with a “new guy,” but his work has unexpected results. Opens April 3, 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





“Hannah Montana: The Movie” – Fairly explanatory. Opens April 10, 2009





“Observe and Report” – Seth Rogen is a mall security guard who has to stop a streaker and requires help from surly detective Ray Liotta. Opens April 10, 2009





“17 Again” – Matthew Perry is a 37-year-old whose life hits rock bottom and wishes he was twenty years younger. He wakes up as 17-year-old Zac Effron, and is able to re-write his high school life. Hope he doesn’t wind up in a musical… Opens April 17, 2009





“Crank 2” – Jason Statham returns as Chev Chelios. This time around his heart has been replaced with an artificial one and as in the last, he has to keep his energy up (which includes using a car battery and jumper cables). Also stars Amy Smart, Bai Ling, Dwight Yoakum, and Corey Haim. Opens April 17, 2009





“Lymelife” – A story centering around two dysfunctional families, lyme disease, war, and divorce, set in the 70’s. Stars Alec Baldwin, Timothy Hutton. Cynthia Nixon, and Emma Roberts. Opens April 17, 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





“Earth” – From Disney’s Disneynature series. Narrated by James Earl Jones. Opens April 22, 2009





“Fighting” – Channing Tatum is living on the streets of New York City when a scam artists Terrance Howard inducts him into the world of streetfighting. Opens April 24, 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





“The Soloist” – Robert Downey, Jr. is a journalist who discovers a homeless man (Jamie Foxx) who happens to have been a former musical prodigy. Opens April 24, 2009




Movie News and Views March 27, 2009 Trailer Edition



“Gigantic” – Paul Dano is single, and a mattress salesman trying to adopt a baby from China. He falls for Zooey Deschanel and in the down time tries to keep from getting killed by a homeless guy. Comedy. Opens April 3, 2009





“The Merry Gentleman” – A woman moves to Chicago to start life over and meets a guy. Both are trying to escape their past lives and need to become more than they are. Stars Kelly MacDonald and Michael Keaton, who also directs. Opens May 1, 2009





“The Limits of Control” – Isaach De Bankole is a mysterious loner on a job, probing the depths of his soul. Also stars Gael Garcia Bernal, John Hurt, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton. Directed by Jim Jarmusch. Opens May 22, 2009





“Drag Me To Hell” – Sam Raimi (“Evil Dead,” “Spider-Man” trilogy) horror movie about a loan officer cursed by a mysterious woman who’s loan extension she denies. Stars Alison Lohman and Justin Long. Opens May 29, 2009





“Away We Go” – Parents-to-be John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph hit the road to find a place to set their roots. Opens June 5, 2009





“Hangover” – A guy and his three friends go to Vegas for a Bachelor-party blow-out. The three friends awake and have to retrace their steps to track down the groom. Opens June 5, 2009





“Public Enemies” – Michael Mann (“Heat,” “Collateral”) directed John Dillinger biopic. Stars Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and Marion Cotillard. Opens July 1, 2009





“500 Days of Summer” – Zooey Deschanel doesn’t believe in love, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt falls for her anyway. Opens July 17, 2009





“Taking Woodstock” – Ang Lee directed true story of Elliot Tiber, a man who was pivotal in making the 1969 Woodstock Festival happen. Also stars Emile Hirsch and Liev Schreiber. Opens August 14, 2009





“Pandorum” – Sci-fi movie with Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster about two men who crash-land on a planet and have no memory of who they were, how they got there, or why. Opens September 4, 2009





“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” – CG animated movie based on the children’s book about a scientist trying to cure world hunger when food starts falling from the sky. Featuring the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Cann, Bruce Campbell, and Mr. T. Opens September 18, 2009







“Where the Wild Things Are” – Movie based on the popular children’s book (I loved it at least). Directed by Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich”). Opens October 16, 2009





“Sorority Row” – Five sorority sisters murder a fellow sister in a prank gone wrong. After graduation, a killer goes after each one. Opens October 22, 2009





“Astro Boy” – A young robot with incredible powers takes a journey to discover what it means to be human. CG animated with the voices of Nic Cage and Freddie Highmore. Opens October 23, 2009





“In the Loop” – Comical look at what might go on behind the scenes between London and Washington, D.C. during a buildup to a not-so-fictional war. Stars Steve Coogan and James Gandolfini. Coming Soon!



Remake Radar: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

taking_of_pelham_one_two_three_1974Welcome to Remake Radar, where we take on Hollywood’s penchant for remaking films for better or worse (which is most of the time). This month’s movie:


“The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” (1974)


Stars: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Hector Elizondo, Earl Hindman, and Jerry Stiller.


Director: Joseph Sargent


Story: Four gunmen with color codenames hijack the Pelham 1-2-3 subway train. They demand $1 million in one hour for the train and the hostages they are holding. A veteran NY policeman handles negotiations and tries tracking down the identities of the gunmen. But with the tunnel surrounded by cops on both sides, how are the gunmen planning on getting away?


What do we know now?: In 1998 the movie was remade for TV starring Edward James Olmos, Vincent D’onofiro, Donnie Wahlberg, and Lorraine Bracco. And it’s being remade for the silver screen again, this time starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta, directed by Tony Scott (“Top Gun”,”Déjà vu”). It’s technically renamed “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.” It will be in theatres June 12, 2009.


Original Trailer:



Remake trailer:





Movies on DVD Review: The Italian Job (1969)



THE definition for “cliffhanger.”


Starring Michael Caine, Noel Coward, and Benny Hill. Directed by Peter Collinson.


Note: the original, not the remake.


Charlie Croker (Caine) has just been released from prison. He’s met by his girlfriend Lorna (Margaret Blye) who picks him up in a stolen car (“Charlie, I just wanted you to come out in style, baby.”) Later he finds that an old partner Roger (Frank Jarvis) left a film for him to watch. On the film is the greatest heist idea of all: stealing $4 million from Turin. Charlie thinks it over and decides to do it for the money, and for England. Breaking back into the prison he informs Mr. Bridger (Coward), a fellow prisoner who has attained a king-like hold over the prison (the guy goes to the bathroom escorted by two guards who provide him with the current newspaper). Croker then takes the initiative to assemble a crew; albeit of miscreants (“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”). The plan: stage a traffic jam in Turin during a sports event and get out of the city with $4 million. The obstacles: aside from getting out of the city with the gold, the Mafia know about the plan and threaten him and his team. Croker and company are forced to speed up their plans for the gold and most importantly for the glory of England.


Forty years since and “The Italian Job” is still a fun movie. Michael Caine is great as Charlie Croker, a swingin’ Sixties convict. Coward eats up being the King of the Penal Colony. Benny Hill does a great job at being Professor Simon Peach, the resident “computer expert” who is into “big women.”


The movie itself can be divided into two parts: the buildup to the heist, and the chase. The buildup to the heist is the main humor of the movie: Croker’s motley crew practicing with the mini-Coops, Bridger’s reactions, and Charlie himself.


The second half, the car chase, is one of the coolest ever on film. The minis drive on sidewalks, through buildings, and even top of a building (you have to see it to believe it).


Overall, a fun little movie. A great way to spend a weekend afternoon, or pop it in on a weeknight. You’ll find yourself singing, “The Self Preservation Society.”


Of note, the DVD contains the deleted scene of the mini-Coopers driving around to the tune of Strauss’s “The Blue Danube.”


My grade: B+




The WB Goes ‘On Demand’




As you browse through the DVD/Blu-ray aisle at the Best Buy, or Target, or wherever you buy movies, you may find yourself asking, “Where are all the catalog movies? The older Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Eva Marie Saint, or Lana Turner movies?” (It’s a hypothetical). Fear not, because the Warners have an answer!


The WB has begun to open their vaults to offer movies not previously released on DVD. For $20 a piece you can purchase online them online. Each DVD comes in a slipcase and every DVD will feature the trailer for said movie. For those not interested in a physical copy of a film, you can download the digital version for $15.


For more information, check out the site at:


Source: “Warner Bros. launches ‘on demand’ DVD sales’ by Thomas K. Arnold


In Passing… Natasha Richardson (1963-2009)



Broadway, theatre, TV, and film actress Natasha Richardson passed away on March 18, 2009. Richardson was the daughter of director Tony Richardson and actress Vanessa Redgrave, as well as wife to actor Liam Neeson and mother to their two sons Michael and Daniel. Natasha was a little girl when she was on extra in “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (1968). She had parts on TV in “Ellis Island” and “Oxbridge Blues” before having her film debut as Mary Shelley in “Gothic” (1986). She is more widely known for playing Patty Hearst in “Patty Hearst” (1988). During “Anna Christie” she met Liam Neeson. The two worked on “Nell” and were married after. While Richardson did TV and film roles, she primarily worked in theatre and has won a Tony award for Lead Actress in a Musical, a Drama Desk Award for Lead Actress in a Musical, and an Outer Critics Circle Award. She has won awards in TV and film as well. She dies from an epidural hematoma. She was 46.


Thoughts and prayers to her family and friends.


For more information check out her IMDB page at:


Movies on DVD Review: Unfaithful



Diane Lane. Naked.


Stars Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Olivier Martinez, and Erik Per Sullivan. Directed by Adrian Lyne.


Story: Richard Gere and Diane Lane are Ed and Connie Sumner. The live in a nice two-story house outside New York City. Connie is a housewife and Ed works in the city overlooking a machine shop (or something to that effect). On a blustery day Connie takes the train into the city to pick up birthday stuff for their kid, Charlie (Erik Per Sullivan of the TV show “Malcolm in the Middle”) As she’s fighting the wind she literally bumps into French book dealer Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez) and skins her knee. Inviting her up to his apartment, he lends her band aids and a book. She returns home but it isn’t too long before his mysterious French ways entice her back to his apartment… again and again and again and again. Ed begins to suspect that something is awry and starts looking into it…


Did I mention that Diane Lane gets naked? Just checking.


Director Adrian Lyne tries so hard to be Hitchcock that, at times, the movie almost works. Almost. For the first hour everything is pretty much what you would figure: woman trying to seem uninterested but allured to exotic art guy, husband dealing with B.S. at work, wife going back for more, wife trying to think husband doesn’t notice, etc. The movie pretty much writes itself. At the hour mark, complications arise and things get interesting. Husband finds out and confronts the guy, accidentally killing him. He then tries covering it up as best as possible. The best part of the movie is when the husband knows what his wife did but doesn’t bring it up, nor the fact the he killed her lover. She soon finds that he knows and is waiting for something to happen. This tension is the best part of the movie (aside from Diane Lane au naturale). After that the story slumps to a whimper and the end, probably meant to have gravitas, becomes a shrug.


Erik Per Sullivan is difficult to buy as their kid. Maybe it’s from watching too much “Malcolm in the Middle.” Look for Michelle Monaghan (“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” “Eagle Eye”) as one of Connie’s friends.


Again, a $5 rental. Richard Gere has probably done worse, and I know Diane Lane has done worse (“Untraceable”).


My grade: C+ (for Diane Lane)




In Passing… Ron Silver (1946-2009)



Film and television actor Ron Silver passed away on Sunday in New York City. Silver began acting in theatre in 1971. His first role was appearing on the “Mac Davis Show.” From there his TV career would include “Rhoda,” “The Rockford Files,” “Dear Detective,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Chicago Hope,” “Veronica’s Closet,” and “The West Wing.” His film appearances include “Timecop,” “The Arrival,” and “Ali. He died from esophageal cancer. He was 62.


Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.


For more information check out his IMDB page at:



Movie News and Views Friday the 13th Poster Edition



Happy Friday the 13th!


         “Iron Man 2” has confirmed Scarlett Johannson to play the Black Widow and Mickey Rourke to play the Russian villain Crimson Dynamo. And yes, Sam Jackson will play Nick Fury.

         Speaking of “Iron Man 2,” Marvel has released a new set of release dates for their movies. “Iron Man 2” will be May 7, 2010. “Thor” will be June 17, 2011. “Captain America” will be July 22, 2011. “The Avengers” will be May 4, 2012. “Spider-man 4” is slated for May 6, 2011.

         “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” will make its next stop in Sequel-ville.

         “Taken” has also taken its seat in Sequel-ville.

         Wes Craven is hurt by the fact that the new producers of “Nightmare on Elm Street” didn’t contact him in any way, or ask for his help. Guess he’s not going to the premiere, either.

         Ahnuld, the Governator, will make a cameo appearance in the new Stallone film, “The Expendables.”

         “X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes” is up for the remake block.

         George Miller (“Mad Max”) is still working on bringing together a Justice League movie.

         Vin Diesel mentioned a third “Riddick” film. What?

         George Lucas is bringing “Star Wars” to the small screen. The new TV series is supposed to take place between “Episode III” and the original trilogy and will deal with minor characters within the universe.

         Martin Lawrence set to star in a remake of “Death at a Funeral.” Also starring Chris Rock and Danny Glover.

         Setting a new standard, the studio behind the movie “One Week” skipped any commentary by critics and took comments from the trailer they posted on YouTube. Classy, guys.

         “Missing In Action,” is being remade. No word on whether Chuck Norris will be involved but if he isn’t, you’ll be able to hear the roundhouse kick simply standing on your front porch, wherever you live.

         “Marmaduke” will make the transition from comics to the silver screen.

         George Miller is looking to make “Mad Max 4” in 3-D.

         There’s going to be a “Point Break 2?”

         The band Daft Punk will be scoring “Tron 2.”

         There will be a “Harold and Kumar 3.”

         “Slumdog” director Danny Boyle is in talks to helm the next James Bond movie.

         Recent reports have claimed that organized crime is heavily into DVD piracy. No word on how much Blu-ray may be affected.

         In retaliation, the Studios are looking at adding a digital “watermark” to films that will enable them to tell from what seat the guy with the camcorder was sitting. This would only work if there was a record kept by each theatre of where every person sat.

         “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” has a release date of December 10, 2010.

         The ABC show “Life on Mars” has been canceled, but allowed to wrap up its 17-episode run. Dammit. I liked this show.

         “Total Recall” to be remade and “The Neverending Story” to be rebooted.





Movies on DVD Review: The Wicker Man

 wicker_manI won’t be looking for a missing girl anytime soon…

Stars Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Eckland, and Britt Ekland. Directed by Robin Hardy.

Note: this is on the original 1973 version, not the 2006 remake.

Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) is a conservative Christian cop from the mainland (England) He’s probably the most conservative Christian in all of Great Britain. When he arrives on Summerisle, a small Scottish island community known for apple exportation, he is searching for a little girl named Rowan Morrison. The isle’s residents are far from happy to help, citing that they have never heard of the girl (including the purported mother). With pagan rituals surrounding him, he gets more and more irritated as he finds there may be a link between the upcoming May Day Festival and the little girl’s disappearance. At the end he finds that what he was investigating wasn’t what was going on at all.

My two cents: this movie is on an entirely different plane of existence.

The cover of the DVD uses the quote, “The ‘Citizen Kane’ of horror films.” That might be stretching it a little, but “The Wicker Man” is a movie that holds its own. From the opening music and dance rituals, to Britt Ekland seducing Woodward in song, to Christopher Lee’s Lord Summerisle, to the end (you know it’s coming but the how and why you have to see for yourself) this movie delivers. Haunting, mesmerizing, fantastical, horrific, and suspenseful, this is a movie I recommend seeing at least once.

The version I watched clocked in at 95 minutes. Most cuts of the film are at 88. Supposedly there is a 102 minute version available on videocassette which includes scenes prior to Howie getting to Summerisle, as well as confrontations with the people.

This DVD version (by Anchor Bay Entertainment) contains “The Wicker Man Enigma,” a documentary about the making of the film with Robin Hardy, Christopher Lee, Edward Woodward, and Roger Corman. This is worth watching for the trials and tribulations of the film getting released. Also included are TV spots, trailers, and a DVD Easter Egg of a video interview Robin Hardy and Christopher Lee by a Southern film critic during the movie’s initial theatrical run.

Of note the movie “Hot Fuzz” pays homage to this movie, as well as featuring its star Edward Woodward.

My grade: B+