Posts Tagged ‘2008

06
Jan
09

Ten Faves from ’08

I don’t know about you, but I was disappointed.

 

If the question is, “What did I expect from the films of 2008?” my answer would be, “A better film year than 2007.” Not to say that 2007 was bad; the tail-end of it made up for most of that year. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of 2008.

 

“Indiana Jones 4” (aka “Indy Gets an X-File”) was ludicrous if not insulting. And speaking of “X-Files” the return of Mulder and Scully to the screen was warranted, but the story wasn’t. “Speed Racer” could’ve been more fun, “Prince Caspian” could’ve used more characterization and plot. “Untraceable” was among those movies that couldn’t have been saved, period.

 

However, it wasn’t all bad. “Iron Man” and “The Dark Knight” proved that superheroes can rule the day, if not the box office (although “Hellboy 2” was underrated). Pixar pixel pixies made mechanics emotional with “Wall*E.” Robert Downey, Jr. didn’t just make “Iron Man,” he made “Tropic Thunder” as Kirk Lazarus, an Australian method-actor who undergoes pigmentation-surgery to portray a black Sergeant in Vietnam. And “City of Ember” was the best and most-overlooked kids’ movie.

 

In alphabetical order, here are my Ten Faves from ’08.

 

bank_job1“The Bank Job” – I caught this one on DVD. After I finished watching it, I kicked myself. This movie was interesting, fun, and a great throwback to the Seventies.

 

 

 

 

city_of_ember“City of Ember” – Thoughtful, well-made post-apocalyptic kids’ movie. I was surprised.

 

 

 

 

 

dark_knight“The Dark Knight” – This movie is entirely on a different plain of filmmaking. Kudos to Christopher Nolan on doing such a great job and to Heath Ledger, who gave one of his best performances ever (and his last).

 

 

 

 

hellboy_two“Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” – Fun fantasy film from Guillermo del Toro. I really enjoyed this one. “Hellboy” is beginning to grow on me.

 

 

 

 

iron_man“Iron Man” – A great popcorn blockbuster movie to begin the summer with. Robert Downey Jr. was nothing less than perfectly casted. Jeff Bridges had fun being the bad guy.

 

 

 

 

leatherheads“Leatherheads” – Another overlooked movie. George Clooney spent years trying to bring this one to light. It’s funny, quirky, zany, screwball… and made football interesting.

 

 

 

 

son_of_rambow“Son of Rambow” – British indie about kids who learn to make film, not war. Great fun and a tribute to filmmaking (moreso than “Zack and Miri”).

 

 

 

 

transsiberian“Transsiberian” – Emily Mortimer steals this movie from Woody Harrelson and Ben Kingsley. A great follow-up to “Session 9” and “The Machinist,” also directed by Brad Anderson.

 

 

 

 

tropic_thunder“Tropic Thunder” – I initially thought this was shallow at first, but repeated viewings on DVD make this one even better.”I’m the dude playin’ the dude, disguised as another dude!”

 

 

 

 

wall_e“Wall*E” – Wall*E is the story of the little robot that fell in love. Environmental and biological themes abound but don’t get too preachy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all, folks. See ya at the movies in 2009!

-Chas

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/

29
Aug
08

September Movie Releases

 

 

“Bangkok Dangerous” – One night in Bangkok and the world is Nicolas Cage’s oyster. Or maybe not. The Pang brothers remake their film about a hitman who falls for a local woman and has camaraderie with his errands boy. USA title: “Time to Kill.” Opens September 5, 2008

 

“Burn After Reading” – Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand work in a fitness club and stumble upon the memoirs of a CIA agent (John Malkovich). When they try to blackmail him, things get crazy. Opens September 12, 2008

 

“Phoebe in Wonderland” – Elle Fanning plays the titular character, a little girl who doesn’t want to deal with the rules of the grown-up world. Also stars Felicity Huffman and Bill Pullman. Opens September 12, 2008

 

“Righteous Kill” – Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino are two cops on the trail of a serial killer. Will there be one-liners involved? Opening September 12, 2008

 

“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.

 

“The Women” – Let me run down the cast list for ya: Meg Ryan, Annette Benning, Eva Mendes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, Candice Bergen, Bette Midler, Cloris Leachman, Carrie Fisher… it’s endless. Opens September 12, 2008

 

“Battle in Seattle” – The 5 days in 1999 when demonstrators protested against the World Trade Organization. Stars Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron, and Woody Harrelson. Opens September 19, 2008

 

“The Duchess” – Keira Knightley plays 18th aristocrat Georgiana Devonshire. Opens September 19, 2008

 

“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, 2008

 

“Igor” – CG film with John Cusack voicing the main character; a lab assistant who dreams for more. Also features the voices of John Cleese, Eddie Izzard, and Jay Leno. Opens September 19, 2008

 

“Lakeview Terrace” – Samuel L. Jackson is an LAPD officer with a problem: his next-door neighbors are an interracial couple. Solution: force them out. Opens September 19, 2008

 

“My Best Friend’s Girl” – Dane Cook is hired by his best friend (Jason Biggs) to take an ex-girlfriend (Kate Hudson) out on a date in order to win her back. What?!?! Opens September 19, 2008

 

“Blindness” – A plague hits the Earth, causing everyone to go blind. Stars Mark Ruffalo, Julianne Moore, Danny Glover, and Sandra Oh. Opens September 26, 2008

 

“Choke” – Sam Rockwell is a re-enactor who sleeps with every woman that he can and elicits money from sympathetic people when he chokes on food in restaurants. Based on the book by Chuck Palahniuk (“Fight Club”). Opens September 26, 2008

 

“Eagle Eye” – Shia LeBeouf is a slacker who is being hunted down by a government agency who must team up with Michelle Monaghan to get some answers. Also stars Rosario Dawson, Billy Bob Thornton, and Michael Chiklis. Opens September 26, 2008

 

“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

 

“Miracle at St. Anna” – Spike Lee movie about 4 black American soldiers in Word War II who are trapped in a Tuscan village. Opens September 26, 2008

 

“Nights in Rodanthe” – Richard Gere is a work-obsessed doctor whose wife left him. Diane Lane is a mother whose husband cheated on her with her hest friend and now he wants to come back. James Franco is Gere’s estranged son. Opens September 26, 2008

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

03
Jul
08

July 2008 Movie Releases

 

 

“Hancock” – Will Smith is the title superhero, an alcoholic washout whose career needs back on track. Also stars Justin Bateman and Charlize Theron. Opens July 2, 2008

 

“Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” – Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”) plays the title character (based on the American Girl stories) about a girl who wants to be a reporter during the Depression. When a murder is committed, she takes the job of investigating. Maybe she can get some help from Nancy Drew… Also stars Joan Cusack. Opens July 2, 2008

 

“The Wackness” – Ben Kingsley, Josh Peck, Mary Kate Olsen, Famke Janssen and Method Man in a coming-of-age story, circa 1994. Your guess is as good as mine, but I heard Kingsley gets it on with Janssen and Mary Kate. Opens July 3, 2008.

 

“Diminished Capacity” – Matthew Broderick takes a vacation to see his uncle (Alan Alda) has the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s but most importantly, a genuine mint baseball card. Along with Virginia Madsen they go up to Chicago to try and sell it. Opens July 4, 2008

 

“The Stone Angel” – Ellen Burstyn, Ellen Page, and Christine Horne in a movie based on a book by Margaret Laurence. Romantic stuff. Opens July 7, 2008

 

“Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” – Ron Perlman is back as the Red Avenger called Hellboy. This time around he’s fighting a ruthless leader who is pitting Earth against the invisible realm of creatures. Sounds like fun. Opens July 11, 2008

 

“Journey to the Center of the Earth” – Brendan Fraser heads up this latest incarnation of the Jules Verne tale. In digital 3-D! Opens July 11, 2008

 

“Mamma Mia!” – Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, and Colin Firth in a movie adaptation of the Broadway musical about a girl getting married who invites three men, one of whom is supposed to be her father. Next! Opens July 11, 2008

 

“Meet Dave” – Formerly “Starship Dave,” Eddie Murphy is a giant spaceship inhabited by miniature aliens, the commander of which is Eddie Murphy. Uh, yeah. Opening June 11, 2008

 

“Quid Pro Quo” – Nick Stahl is a guy who is paralyzed and is investigating a world where people get their kicks from becoming disabled. He’s led into this world by none other than Vera Farmiga. It could be worse… Opens June 13, 2008.

 

“The Dark Knight” – Heath Ledger as the Joker. Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent. Cillian Murphy returns as the Scarecrow. Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. Everyone else is back as well. Opens July 18, 2008

 

“Space Chimps” – Adam Samberg and Patrick Warburton are two of the voice-over cast for this CG tale of chimps “having the right stuff.” Opens July 18, 2008

 

“Step Brothers” – Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly become step brothers. Let the comedy ensue. Opens July 25, 2008

 

“The X-Files: I Want to Believe” – It’s been a few years, but Mulder and Scully are back on a case. Also stars Xzibit, Amanda Peet, and Billy Connelly. The Truth Is Out There… Opens July 25, 2008

18
Jun
08

A Tale of Two Hulks

 

 

2003: “Hulk”

2008: “The Incredible Hulk”

 

2003: Directed by Ang Lee

2008: Directed by Louis Leterrier

 

2003: Dr. Banner played by Eric Bana

2008: Dr. Banner played by Ed Norton

 

2003: Betsy Ross played by Jennifer Connelly

2008: Betsy Ross played by Liv Tyler

 

2003: General Ross played by Sam Elliott

2008: General Ross played by William Hurt

 

2003: Banner’s father made him “special” by altering his DNA.

2008: Banner is your standard nerdy scientist

 

2003: A lab accident happens and Banner survives, his altered DNA mixing with nanomeds.

2008: A lab accident happens and Banner miraculously survives Gamma radiation poisoning.

 

2003: Banner goes on the run because when he gets angry, he becomes the “Hulk,” and he likes it.

2008: Banner goes on the run because when he gets angry he becomes the “Hulk,” and he hates it.

 

2003: Banner returns home to get information, which isn’t much seeing as it was devastated by a bomb explosion.

2008: Banner returns home to Culver City Campus to get information, which isn’t much seeing as how General Ross removed it from the computer system.

 

2003: Banner becomes Hulk and saves Betsy’s life because his dad unleashed three mutant dogs on her.

2008: Banner becomes Hulk and saves Betsy’s life because she went to protect him and puts herself in the middle of Hulk being strafed by ammunition while her father watches.

 

2003: General Ross is slightly sympathetic, but believes Banner will follow in his father’s footsteps.

2008: General Ross lied to Banner about the work he was doing and sees him as military property to dissect.

 

2003: The experiment in the lab was about creating soldiers who could regenerate.

2008: The experiment in the lab was about creating “super soldiers.”

 

2003: Hulk DNA goes to Banner’s father, who wants to “understand” the transformation.

2008: Hulk DNA goes to Emil Blonsky so he can become a super soldier and bring Hulk down.

 

2003: Hulk DNA does not mix well and Banner’s dad becomes a giant electrical monster.

2008: Hulk DNA does not mix well and Blonsky becomes Abomination.

 

2003: Banner/Hulk must sacrifice himself and fight dad/giant electrical monster.

2008: Banner/Hulk must sacrifice himself and fight Abomination.

 

2003: The fight ends with the military dropping a giant Gamma bomb. Hulk and electrical monster are nowhere to be found.

2008: The fight ends with Hulk strangling Abomination with a chain. Hulk wins, and runs away.

 

2003: Banner/Hulk is hiding out in an Amazonian rainforest.

2008: Banner/Hulk is hiding out in the Canadian woods.

 

2003: Banner/Hulk was in San Francisco.

2008: Banner/Hulk was in New York City.

 

2003: Hulk no speak.

2008: Hulk speak: “Hulk smash!”

 

2003: Stan Lee had a cameo as a security guard.

2008: Stan Lee had a cameo as a senior citizen who drank juice with Hulk blood in it.

 

2003: Lou Ferrigno had a cameo as a security guard.

2008: Lou Ferrigno had a cameo as a security guard, and he does the voice for Hulk.