Archive for September, 2009

30
Sep
09

October Movie Releases

“Capitalism: A Love Story” – Greed. Avarice. Michael Moore. Documentary. Opens October 2, 2009

“The Invention of Lying” – Ricky Gervais movie about a world in which everyone tells the truth and his character ‘invents’ lying. Barring any fibbing, the movie opens on October 2, 2009

“A Serious Man” – Coen Bros. movie about a man trying to find clarity in the Sixties. Opens October 2, 2009.

“Whip It” – Ellen Page returns to the screen as a teen who finds her calling by joining a female roller derby team. This is also the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore. Opens October 2, 2009

“Zombieland” – As if we can’t get enough zombie movies, this one has Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg as two guys who must escort a band of survivors to safety. Also stars Abigail Breslin and Bill Murray. Opens October 2, 2009

“Couples Retreat” – Couples are on a tropical resort island to work out their marriages. Stars Kristen Bell, Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, and Jean Reno. Opens October 9, 2009

“Law Abiding Citizen” – Gerard Butler plays a man whose family is murdered. Jamie Foxx is a hotshot lawyer presiding over his case. Butler goes to jail and after 10 years begins plaguing the city by executing carefully-plotted assassination plans from his jail cell. Opens October 16, 2009

“The Stepfather” – A guy returns home from military school to find his mother with a new man. Is he everything he’s cracked up to be? Remake of the 80’s flick with Terry O’Quinn. Opens October 16, 2009

“Where the Wild Things Are” – Spike Jonze adaptation of the classic kids book. I’m there! Opens October 16, 2009

“Amelia” – A look at Amelia Earhart, the aviator who disappeared flying over the Pacific in 1937. Stars Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Virginia Madsen and Ewan McGregor. The film lands on October 23, 2009

“Saw VI” – Are you tired of playing games? Evidently they’re not. The mayhem ensues on October 23, 2009

“The Vampire’s Assistant: Cirque Du Freak” – A boy named Darren Shan meets a mysterious man who turns out to be a vampire, then takes him on the long road to becoming one. Stars Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Willem Dafoe, and Patrick Fugit. Opens October 23, 2009

“Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’” – The documentary on MJ’s last days. There ya go. Opens October 28, 2009

“The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” – Sequel to the 90’s cult classic about two brothers defending their neighborhood from Russians wanting to take over. This time around they’re in seclusion in Ireland when word of the death of a priest brings them out of hiding to solve the case. Stars Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, and Billy Connolly. Opens October 30, 2009

“Youth in Revolt” – Michael Cera is a teenager who falls for the girl of his dreams and develops a split personality who creates havoc. Wasn’t this “Fight Club?” Also stars Ray Liotta, Steve Buscemi, M. Emmet Walsh, Justin Long, and Fred Willard. Opens October 30, 2009

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29
Sep
09

Movie News and Views September 29, 2009 Trailer Edition

“Disney’s A Christmas Carol” – Jim Carrey voices Ebeneezer Scrooge in this CG take on the Dickens classic. Also stars the voices of Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Tom Hanks, Bob Hoskins, Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, Cary Elwes and Robin Wright Penn. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Opens November 6, 2009

“The Men Who Stare at Goats” – Ewan McGregor stars as a down-on-his-luck reporter who gets the inside scoop on a secret psychic military unit. Also stars George Clooney and Kevin Spacey. Based on the 2004 book of the same name. Opens November 6, 2009

“The Lovely Bones” – Peter Jackson directed movie based on the best-selling book about a girl who is murdered and continues to observe her family after death. Stars Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, and Susan Sarandon. Opens December 11, 2009

“Takers” – Bank robbing heist movie starring Zoe Saldana, Paul Walker, Hayden Christensen, Matt Dillon, Idris Elba, Chris Brown and T.I. Opens February 10, 2010

“Valentine’s Day” – Makeups and breakups in the L.A. basin starring Bradley Cooper, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Garner, Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba, Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Ashton Kutcher, Patrick Dempsey, Topher Grace, Queen Latifah, ad nauseuim… Opens February 12, 2010

28
Sep
09

Remake Radar: A Nightmare on Elm Street

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Just in time for Halloween…

Welcome 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:

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)

Stars: John Saxon, Amanda Wyss, Heather Langenkamp, Jsu Garcia, Johnny Depp, and Robert Englund

Director: Wes Craven

Story: Nancy (Langenkamp), Tina (Wyss), and their friends are having nightmares involving a man with burnt skin wearing a glove that has razor blades attached to it. They find that their parents, years before, killed a local janitor they believed to be a child murderer. His name was Freddy Krueger (Englund). Now, Freddy’s back to exact revenge on the parents by killing their own sons and daughters in the world of dreams.

Of note, this was Johnny Depp’s first movie.

What do we know now?: Music video director Samuel Bayer is helming this “re-imagining” of the franchise. Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach in “Watchmen”) is set to play Krueger (a part initially thought to be given to Billy Bob Thornton). Rooney Mara plays Nancy Thompson. Clancy Brown and Katie Cassidy also star.

The release date is set for April 30, 2010.

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21
Sep
09

Movie Review: 9

nine

 

Burlap sack guys vs. The Machine

Starring the voices of Elijah Wood, Christopher Plummer, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, and Martin Landau. Story and direction by Shane Acker

In this post-apocalyptic animated movie, “9” (Wood) wakes alone in a house. Without the ability to speak or understand who/what he is, he ventures out into a world that looks like it’s been to hell and back. As his curiosity leads him around he’s discovered by “2,” (Landau) another of his kind. After “2” is taken by a robot dog he makes it to a church which is the sanctuary for others of his kind: “5,” (Reilly) a tinkerer who was best friends with “2;” “1,” (Plummer) the leader of the group; and “8,” (Fred Tatasciore) a big, brawny “protector.”

“9” hatches a plan with “5,” to rescue “2.” In the process they run into “7,” (Connelly) a revolutionary heroine and “3 and 4,” twins who catalog and replay information they collect. When “9,” unknowingly awakes the Machine the situation becomes dire and now the group of creations must fight for the lives.

That’s as much as I’ll say about the movie. It’s difficult to love this type of movie because, let’s face it, the post-apocalyptic world isn’t easy to love. The idea that Man creates Machines that turn against him and inevitably destroy him isn’t exactly cheery. It may happen. Our vision of the future has changed from “Things to Come,” to “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” and we’ve all become complacent and are just waiting for it to happen.

But let me get back to the movie. Overall, I liked it. It didn’t feel so much “kid”-oriented as it was an animated movie for adults. That’s not to say that children couldn’t watch the movie but post-apocalyptic allegory is a bit much for anyone under the age of 10. I remember when “The Black Cauldron” was looked down upon because the main character had self-esteem issues.

What the movie does have going for it is a solid story. Sure, there are things that are overlooked (e.g. how a character learns to speak) but that doesn’t get into the way of a story about a scientist’s redemption for creating a Machine that became mis-used by the military and turned against mankind. It unravels as a mystery and when you finally understand what happened to society you see why this rag-tag group has to survive.

The message that comes from the film is this: intellect is no replacement for the human soul. Each of the nine creations is a part of the scientist’s soul. His intellect is the heart, and brain, of The Machine. In the end it’s cold calculation versus the want to survive.

Should you go see this? While I was impressed with some of the technology and it is a well-made story (with a few fantastical elements) I have to say this one may be a rental. Animated movies are generally kid-fare (save “American Pop,” “Heavy Metal” or the like) but I’m not sure I would make a kid under 10 watch this because they may get bored or upset with the beginning visuals of rusted and decayed vehicles and buildings or dead people. Just my thoughts.

My grade: A-

18
Sep
09

Movie News and Views September 18, 2009 Poster Edition

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And folks, I can’t make this stuff up…

 

– Writers have been hired to work on a sequel to “Hancock,” the Will Smith superhero movie. They’re running with the idea that “there’s another god out there.” Yay

– David Fincher’s Facebook movie has been greenlit and is being written by Aaron Sorkin.

– Jessica Biel’s name is the most-searched on the Internet with the links often going to adware/spyware/Trojan sites.

 

– Plot details on the new Christopher Nolan film, “Inception”:

 

“Inception” takes place in a world where people can enter other people’s dreams. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a CEO type, who illegally dives into dreams to extract information. He does this via a portable device, which is basically an injection into the bloodstream. In one scene, Cobb’s team enters a person’s dream while on an airplane.

The team who creates the dreams is comprised of Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Eames (Tom Hardy) and Ariadne (Ellen Page), a young college student who is considered the “architect.”

Fischer (Cillian Murphy) is a business-type who is soon to become the head of a company. Cobb’s team is attempting to insert an idea into his mind to compel him to split that company in two.

The only real villain in the story is Saito (Ken Watanabe), who blackmails Cobb, but Cobb’s wife (Marion Cotillard) also causes some trouble for the main character.

At one point, both Cobb and his wife are stuck in a dream and the wife tries to convince him to stay in that world, which she considers much better than real life. Cobb, however, wants to return to his children. Later on, the wife commits suicide in the dream in order to come back to the real world. When Cobb also comes back, he is charged with his wife’s murder and has to flee with his children.

 

– The WB, ever infinite in their wisdom, is developing a movie based on the TV show “Soul Train.”

– Ericson Core has been hired to direct “XxX 3: Return of Xander Cage.” Yeah, we’ve really been waiting for that one.

– Watch for “Heathers: The TV Series.”

– Friends of actress Shelley Duvall are worrying about her mental health, citing her claims that her property is a portal to an alien dimension and that she says she’s possessed by aliens.

– Rob Zombie is set to write and direct a remake to “The Blob.”

– Watch for “Swamp Thing” to be remade in 3-D.

– Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” has a release date of December 25, 2009. It’s noted that this is the movie Heath Ledger was working on when he died.

– More sequels being put into developmentt: “Rambo 5,” “Bad Boys 3,” “Halloween 3,” “Host 2,” “30 Days of Night,” “Big Momma’s House 3,”

– Jon Favreau and Robert Downey, Jr. will re-team for the comic property, “Cowboys and Aliens.”

– In unfortunate news, Filipino-Canadian film critic Alexis Tioseco and his partner Nina Bohinc,a freelance writer, were found shot dead in their home in Quezon City, Manila. (Sept. 2, 2009)

– “The Green Hornet,” has begun filming. It stars Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Edward James Olmos, David Harbour, and Tom Wilkinson. Directed by Michael Gondry.

– “Tron Legacy” will be released December 17, 2010.

 

– “Rambo 5” details: John Rambo could track anyone – or anything – on earth. Now the military desperately needs him for a mission that his ultrasensitive instincts tell him he should refuse. A beast is loose somewhere north of the Artic Circle. It has already decimated a secret research facility and annihilated a squad of elite military guards. And the raging creature is headed south toward civilization, ready to wreak bloody devastation.

It’s a job that Rambo and his 22-year-old hunting partner, Beau Brady, can’t turn down, but they and a team of highly-skilled special forces kill team discover that the prey is a terror beyond their wildest imagination – a half-human abomination created by a renegade agency through a series of outlawed genetic experiments. It has man’s cunning, a predator’s savageness, and a prehistoric power that has transcended the ages. And even if Rambo and Beau survive its unrelenting hunger for human blood, they’ll still have to confront the grim reality that it may have grown immortal.
– “Children of the Corn” to be remade.

– “Resident Evil 4: Afterlife” will star Milla Jovovich, be directed by Paul WS Anderson, shot in 3-D, and released on August 27, 2010.

– Viggo Mortensen has quit acting for the time being.

– The WB has created DC Entertainment to compete against Marvel.

– “It’s Alive” is being remade.

– Jeff Bridges will re-team with the Coen Bros. on their remake of “True Grit.”

– Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis have been confirmed to be in Stallone’s “The Expendables.”

– Peter Berg is set to direct “Battleship,” the movie based on the Hasbro board game. It has a release date of July 1, 2011.

– There’s now a Harry Potter theme park.

– Bus driver/film fan Andreas Jankov has officially changed his name to Julius Andreas Gimli Arn MacGyver Chewbacka Highlander Elessar-Jankov. There ya go.

 

Special thanks to WorstPreviews.com!

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15
Sep
09

In Passing… Patrick Swayze (1952-2009)

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Actor and dancer Patrick Swayze passed away on September 14, 2009 from pancreatic cancer. Swayze was born in Houston, TX and grew up pursuing athletic skills such as ice skating, ballet, and gymnastics, as well as acting skills. In 1972 he moved to New York City and appeared in a production of “Grease” before appearing as “Ace” in “Skatetown, U.S.A.” From there he went on to star in such movies as “The Outsiders,” and “Red Dawn,” and in the TV series, “North and South.” Stardom was officially achieved with the romantic hits “Dirty Dancing,” and “Ghost.” Showing that he’s a fighter as well as a lover, he starred in “Next of Kin,” “Roadhouse,” and “Point Break.” Following that he played a transvestite in “To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.” He then took roles in smaller films such as “Black Dog” and “Donnie Darko.” For the past year he has been fighting the cancer as well as starring in the A&E series, “The Beast.” Swayze was 57 years of age at passing.

 

Thoughts and prayers for his family and friends.

 

 

For more information, check out his IMDB page at:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000664/

14
Sep
09

Movie Review: Extract

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Mike Judge’s comedy flavor.

Starring Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, J.K. Simmons, David Koetchner and Ben Affleck. Directed by Mike Judge

This movie is to the small, mom-and-pop business as “Office Space” was to the office environment. It’s a small, fun, little comedy.

Jason Bateman stars as Joel Reynolds, the head of Reynolds Extract, a plant-extract company he personally created which offers flavors such as vanilla, root beer, and wintergreen. Joel is stressed-out and having problems: the business is full of dysfunctional people not the least of which is his assistant Brian (Simmons) who calls all the workers “dingus” because he refuses to learn their names. When word comes that General Mills may buy their plant and Joel and Brian may be in for some serious cash, things begin looking up.

As for the homefront he hasn’t had sex in a month and doesn’t get it unless he gets home before 8pm. Otherwise his wife Suzie (Wiig) walks around in a pair of sweatpants with the drawstring tied in a bow; a veritable “Gordon’s knot.” He spends late nights at a local bar where the bartender Dean(Affleck), a friend and former co-worker, offers pills and a suggestion: pay a guy to pretend to be a pool cleaner and seduce his wife. If the wife resists, then Joel can’t cheat and they have to work things out. If she does then Joel has the “moral clearance” to cheat on her.

Enter Cindy (Kunis), a new temp with ideas of her own. A criminal vagabond, she finds out about a mishap at the factory and applies as a temp to work there. She plays both sides against the middle: she gets into Joel’s “good graces” as well as dating the worker, “Step,” and getting him to use local big shot lawyer Lou Adler (Gene Simmons) to sue the company for more than it’s worth.

I enjoyed the movie. Small, unassuming, and not a bad way to kill 90 minutes on a weekend. Mike Judge uses his “lovable loser who gets in over his head” formula (see also “Office Space”) and it works well with Bateman. Mila Kunis is great as the femme fatale; the opening scene where she takes a guitar is laugh-out-loud funny. David Koechner is great as the neighbor who won’t go away no matter how much you want him to. Finally, Ben Affleck as a spiritual healer/friend/bartender is worth watching in and of itself.

If the movie had any faults, it’s that it didn’t strive to be great. Sometimes, striving for enjoyable is good enough and having went through a decade of “Scary Movie” gross-out humor, “Date/Epic/Not Remotely Funny” parody movies, bad Kevin Smith stuff, and whatever Judd Apatow script had been sitting on a shelf, it’s nice to have this comedy come around. It might not be “The Hangover,” “Tropic Thunder,” “Dodgeball,” or even Judge’s cult-favorite, “Office Space,” but I enjoyed it.

Should you go see it? I can’t say that it’s worth the full $10, but I would put it as a matinée, $1 movie/second-run, or even a rental.

My grade: satisfactory B