Friday, July 30, 2004

First Look: The New World

Having loved Terrence Malik's Badlands and Days of Heaven - and not yet having seen The Thin Red Line - I'm very excited for the elusive director's next film The New World. The first pic is online from Movie City News. Here is what they have to say regarding the film:

"Inspired by the legend of John Smith (Colin Farrell) and Pocahontas, acclaimed filmmaker Terrence Malick transforms this classic story into a sweeping exploration of love, loss and discovery, both a celebration and an elegy of the America that was...and the America that was yet to come. Against a historically accurate Virginia backdrop, Malick has set a dramatized tale of two strong-willed characters-a passionate and noble young native woman and an ambitious soldier of fortune-torn between the undeniable requirements of their civic duty and the inescapable demands of the human heart. The film features an accomplished cast that includes Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale, August Schellenberg, Wes Studi, David Thewlis, Yorick van Wageningen and newcomer Q'orianka Kilcher as Pocahontas. Behind the camera is an all-star production team that includes director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Sleepy Hollow), production designer Jack Fisk (Mulholland Drive, The Thin Red Line), costume designer Jacqueline West (Quills, Rising Sun) and film editor Richard Chew (Star Wars, Shanghai Noon)."

john smith: love child of mel gibson and russell crowe

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Random Thoughts: Catwoman, The Dreamers

Catwoman - 3/10
First, the good: The cinematography, particularly in the rooftop sequences, is gorgeous. The sound and score are top notch. I enjoyed the opening credits showing the cats place in history. The sequence where Patience is revived is undeniably cheesy, but it is well executed and has feline-esque movement to it. Now, the bad: Sharon Stone. Wow. Seriously, woman. Retire. Give it up. Casino was great, but you've been milking the Basic Instinct thing for too long. The (over)director. His name is Pitoq, I believe. I'm pretty sure that's something I've made in a toaster before. He seems to have talent, but its not suited for this. The editing, like that in King Arthur, makes scenes incomprehensible. I know they're going for a fast-paced approach, but that only works if you have a clue what is going on. Then there's the soundtrack which seems to be trying to make up for the fact that Halle Berry is only half black. The film's biggest culprit for failing is its screenplay. Let's just take arbitrary superhero movie moments and try to form our own. We call this the Daredevil school of thought. You start to feel sorry for everyone and the dialogue they deliver. In between the bad and the good is Halle Berry. At the opening she plays the downtrodden Patience Phillips who is made all the more laughable when you realize she's played by the unforgivably beautiful Berry. You begin to feel sorry for the actress being stuck in such a dud. Then, she becomes Catwoman. Halle's body looks great in the suit, which may have been the reason for choosing that god-awful creation. But she's given what has to be the most god-awful haircut in the history of the cinema. Berry will recover. Turn back to small dramas, where the actress has always been the most successful. Everyone else associated, take some time off.

The Dreamers - 5/10
Do you like France? Do you like movies? Do you like sexy, pretentious college kids who are bored and like to fuck a lot? But more importantly, do you like pubic hair? Well, here's your movie. I love the premise of the film: an American student in Paris during 1968 is obsessed with the cinemateque, befriends incestuous twins, and spends the next month ignoring the chaos on the streets of France to spend it all in a posh apartment having lots of sex and discussing films. Amazingly, you'd think there'd be more to the film than that, but that's about all the film does. Michael Pitt is becoming quite the experimental actor, and he's a talent to watch. Eva Green is the sexy French girl who spends half the movie naked and seducing just about everything. The actor who plays her brother is pretty forgettable. None of these actors play characters, just types. Once the credits start rolling, no matter how much sex and arguments you've just witnessed, you really have no idea who these people are other than the brief character descriptions you could write in a sentence. I had numerous other problems with this film, but I can understand the reasons for why they were. I only wish more would be addressed about the outside political turmoil, but I guess we're too ignore that based alone on the title of the movie. The Dreamers doesn't work more than it does, and only breifly hints at the film it could've been.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

New Trailer: Batman Begins

Trailer here.

Box Office Predictions: July 30 - August 1

#. Title - 3-day / Total So Far / Estimated Final

1. The Village - $50M / $50M / $165M
2. The Bourne Supremacy - $25M / $102M / $162M
3. The Manchurian Candidate - $24M / $24M / $100M
4. I, Robot - $12M / $117M / $146M
5. Spider-Man 2 - $9M / $344M / $375M
6. Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle - $7.5M / $7.5M / $25M
7. Catwoman - $7M / $30M / $42M
8. Thunderbirds - $6M / $6M / $15M
9. A Cinderella Story - $4.5M / $39M / $46M
10. Anchorman - $3.5M / $78M / $85M
Fahrenheit 9/11 - $3.5M / $109M / $116M
The Notebook - $3.5M / $69M / $75M

joaquin anxiously awaits the arrival of the village people

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Kidman Gives Birth In November

Nicole Kidman's latest film Birth will be released wide on November 5, 2004. The controversial drama had a semi-switch of distributors from Fine Line to New Line, suggesting that the studio felt it could capture a wider audience. Opening against the $23 million film are Alexander and The Incredibles which is some mighty strong competition.

New Movie: Nine Lives

After watching and thoroughly enjoying Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her at the 2002 Darren Keeny Film Festival, I am rather looking forward to this just announced follow-up: Nine Lives.

From Hollywood Reporter:
"Helmer Rodrigo Garcia has his hands full with a big-name cast for his latest effort, the indie drama "Nine Lives." The project, produced by Julie Lynn through her Mockingbird Pictures, is shooting in Los Angeles. The story is a series of vignettes, offering glimpses into the lives of nine women, played by Kathy Baker, Amy Brenneman, Elpidia Carrillo, Glenn Close, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Holly Hunter, Amanda Seyfriend, Sissy Spacek and Robin Wright Penn. Their stories are rounded out thanks to additional cast members including Stephen Dillane, Dakota Fanning, William Fichtner, Jason Isaacs, Joe Mantegna, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, Mary Kay Place, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Miguel Sandoval and Aidan Quinn."

Baker, Brenneman, Close, Hunter and Place all appeared in Things You Can Tell. It seems only Calista Flockhart and Cameron Diaz are not returning for Nine Lives. Interesting to note several new cast members: Robin Wright Penn and Sissy Spacek are both currently appearing in A Home at the End of the World and Amanda Seyfriend was the girl with the psychic boobs in Mean Girls. Things You Can Tell was a festival favorite that debuted on Showtime, but has had an enduring cable life, but hopefully Nine Lives gets the theatrical release it deserves. The new film is being co-produced by Alejandro González Iñaritu, the director of 21 Grams.

Monday, July 26, 2004

First Look: The Interpreter

Oscar Winners Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman co-star in Oscar-winning director Sydney Pollack's thriller about a U.N. interpreter who overhears an assassination attempt. Oscar-nominee Catherine Keener and Oscar-winner Tim Robbins costar. Oscar. Oscar. Oscar. The Interpreter opens February 18, 2005. Oscar


Random Thoughts: Drama Queen, Hills Have Eyes

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen - 4/10
Lindsay Lohan makes her first strike-out with this uneven teenybopper flick about a "drama queen" who moves to New Jersey and has a hard time fitting it. Well, that's only a little of the plot, as the movie is a combination of five or six teen movie storyline. Director Sara Sugarman goes for a second rate Disney Channel movie feel instilling energy that comes off as generic instead of making the film feel alive. The screenwriters seem to be struggling with too much material to fill a 90 minute movie. Lohan, nevertheless, shines and does what she can with the material almost making a forgettable film somewhat watchable. And I must say it: Lohan dressed as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn shows off the now 18-year-old's gorgeous curves. Joining her is Allison Pill (the younger sister of Katie Holmes in Pieces of April) who appears to be acting in an entirely different movie than everyone else: a much better one.

The Hills Have Eyes - 6/10
Wes Craven returns to similar territory as his early 70's "classic" The Last House on the Left. Trading a woods setting for the desert and sadistic serial killers for cannibals, I love Craven's examination of families push to the limit and their necessity to seek revenge. I'd say House is more disturbing than Hills, but the latter is the superior film. House came off too much as a snuff film. Hills, while not completely satisfying, raises some goosebumps and manages to at least entertain for its duration instead of just being sick. Craven's true masterstroke didn't come until 1984 with A Nigthmare on Elm Street, roughly seven years after this film. If you are a fan of the director, its definately worth checking out even if it doesn't follow the rules set up by Elm then shattered with a wink by Scream.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Damon is Da'man! "Supremacy" reigns supreme....

July 23 - 25 Weekend Estimates

1. The Bourne Supremacy - $54M
2. I, Robot - $22M
3. Catwoman - $17M
4. Spider-Man 2 - $15M
5. A Cinderella Story - $8M
6. Anchorman - $7M
7. Fahrenheit 9/11 - $5M
8. The Notebook - $4.5M
9. King Arthur - $3M
10. Shrek 2 - $2.5M

Debuting with double the opening weekend of the original, TBS continued the sequel streek of 2004. The weekend's other notable story is Catwoman, which took in $17M in its first 3-days. What's interesting to note about the film is that today the studio announced it was disappointed with the performance of the $80 million film. HOLD UP! All summer everyone was reporting the film cost well over $100 million. Sounds like damage control to me. Sony used the same tactic for Gigli last year when after its dismal opening decided to announce the budget as $54 million, when it had been reported it was spiraling way past $80 million mere months before. I know numbers can be tough to crunch, but $20 million on both counts seems a bit odd. Sidenote: Halle Berry was originally suppose to star in Gigli but backed out, and probably should have done the same with this year's disaster. Fahrenheit 9/11 crossed $100 million, and The Notebook had the smallest drop in the top 10 for the third straight week.

julia, now that we're #1 you can finally afford that forehead reduction like you always wanted

Friday, July 23, 2004

Random Thoughts: The Bourne Supremacy


The Bourne Identity was #8 on my Top 10 Films of 2002 list. Doug Liman crafted a retro, indie-cool espionage thriller for a post Cold War world. The film made $121M at the domestic box office, and became the #1 rented film of 2003 due almost completely to word of mouth. Considering it was inspired by (not really based off of) a popular series of books, a sequel seemed in order. And thus begins Jason Bourne's return to the big screen...

My 2nd favorite actor Matt Damon is so perfect for the role of the amnesiac title character, conveying all the right uncertainty and "found abilities" without making it look tough. With his all American boy good looks, he proves ideally suited to carry the role of an action star just by being the right actor. Returning with him for the second go round are Franka Potente, Julia Stiles, Brian Cox, Gabriel Mann and Chris Cooper whose character was killed at the end of the first, and is scenein flashbacks in Supremacy. Impressive supporting players make one dimensional roles memorable, even when the focus is mainly on the golden boy. New to the film are Joan Allen (who should really be billed second, not Potente) and Karl Urban. Allen is great, but when is she not? Her and Cox provide a great dynamic that thankfully never turns either side into caricature, smoothly setting up that the characters are enemies. Urban takes over for Clive Owen as another assassin/Bourne doppleganger, and provides a more menacing nemesis even with minimal dialogue. As for Stiles, I am happy to report she is a lot more to do in this film then the "there he is!" extended cameo from the first.

The plot concerns Bourne coming out of hiding with Marie (Potente) when fake Bourne sabotages a CIA secret deal. Allen leads the team to track him down. There are lots of surprises from there on in, so I won't spoil anything. Though I already spoiled the first big "surprise" that happens before the twenty minute mark to others, I guess I'll keep it a secret here. This twist pissed me off briefly, but at the same time it sets up an "anything goes" theme. Since few films can pull off surprises in the age of the internet movie spoiler and countless reviews, it was fucking great for a film to keep you on your toes.

Paul Greengrass keeps the film moving at an adequate pace, and makes the character aspects just as thrilling as the action sequences. I, in particular, loved the finish to the first big one: an underwater sequence that ends with the big twist I alluded to earlier. Greengrass also keeps the series' current trademake - a big car chase sequence - for its grand finale, and this one more than doubles the thrill of the first one. You can almost feel the whiplash and metal flying at you. As Variety might say: Tech credits are solid.

Word of advice: watch the first film again before seeing this. You may be lost at some parts if you have a vague recollection of the original. Luckily, I watched the original the night before and it was fresh in my memory. As a sequel, the film effectively continues the storyline without being a retread of the same material. I also loved Jason's reunion with a character from his past, as it provided a showcase of why Bourne just isn't another action hero. The final few minutes adequatly set up the storyline for The Bourne Ultimatum. Consider me psyched.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Casting News: Memoirs of a Geisha

Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) are the first announced cast members of director Rob Marshall's (Chicago) Steven Spielberg produced Memoirs of a Geisha. Filming begins in September.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

DVD News: Arrested Development & Eternal Sunshine

Arrested Development - Season 1:
Date: October 19, 2004 (Season 2 begins airing Nov. 7)
(Three Discs)

-Entire first season presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and English Dolby Surround tracks.
-Introduction by Ron Howard
-Creator's Cut Pilot Commentary with creator Mitchell Hurwitz, directors Joe Russo and Anthony Russo, and Jason Bateman
-Beef Consomme Commentary with Jason Bateman, Portia De Rossi, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor and David Cross.
-Let Them Eat Cake Commentary with Mitchell Hurwitz, Jason Bateman, Portia De Rossi, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor and David Cross
-Deleted and Extended Scenes
-29 Original Songs by David Schwartz
-Arrested Development: The Making of a Future Classic featurette
-TV Land Awards featurette
-Arrested Development Promo
-Hidden Outtakes
-Ron Howard Sneak Peak at Season 2

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind:
Date: September 28, 2004
Available in both Wide Screen (1.85:1) and Full Screen formats

-Engilsh Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, English DTS 5.1 Surround Tracks
-Audio commentary with director Michel Gondry and Writer Charlie Kauffman
-A Look Inside Eternal Sunshine.. featurette
-A Conversation with Jim Carrey and Director Michel Gondry
-Deleted Scenes
-"Light & Day" by Polyphonic Spree Music Video
-Lacuna Commerical

Box Office Predictions: July 23 - July 25

#. Title - 3-day / Total So Far / Predicted Final

1. The Bourne Supremacy - $46M / $46M / $148M
2. I, Robot - $26M / $102M / $158M
3. Catwoman - $16M / $16M / $35M
4. Spider-Man 2 - $13M / $326M / $365M
5. Anchorman - $7M / $71M / $85M
6. A Cinderella Story - $6.5M / $29M / $38M
7. Fahrenheit 9/11 - $4.5M / $102M / $115M
8. The Notebook - $4.5M / $62M / $74M
9. King Arthur - $3.5M / $45M / $52M
10. Shrek 2 - $2M / $429M / $435M

that razzie's mine, bitch!

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Get Bourne Again

My most anticipated sequel of the year opens on Friday:  The Bourne Supremacy.  Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday) takes over the reigns from Doug Liman (Go) in the $80 million dollar blockbuster-in-waiting.  Ebert and Roeper gave it Two Thumbs Up!  And several online reviews suggest this film outdoes the first in retro-coolness car chases.  The entire cast from the first film returns, with the exception of Clive Owen whose character was killed off.   As a way of getting yourself more excited for the sequel, I proudly present "Countdown to Bourne Week."  Yes, I will do these for only my most anticipated films.  I give to you a list of films I highly recommend featuring the creative team behind the project.  Here's what you do: 
+See Brian Cox in the compelling L.I.E.
+Check out Franka Potente pre-Marie in Run Lola Run. 
+Watch Julia Stiles at her bitchy best in The Business of Strangers.
+Enjoy Dolores Clairborne (different Bourne!) from screenwriter Tony Gilroy.
+Look for director Paul Greengrass's previous acclaimed film Bloody Sunday.  (I have yet to watch it as of this writing, but will very soon.)
+Watch The Bourne Identity again.  I have yet to see the new to DVD extended addition, but I hear it doesn't really add much.  
+On Friday, see The Bourne Supremacy of course.

we gotta motor if we're gonna make it to that gay bar

Friday, July 16, 2004

Random Thoughts:

Highway - 5/10
I love road movies.  I love Seattle.  I love Jake Gyllenhaal.  I love Selma Blair.  Didn't really love this movie, though.  It started out as some derivative, post-90's, hyper-edited, punk indie knockoff.  Once the plot evaporated and the characters took over, it started getting good.  I have to admit it finished a lot better than it started.  Gyllenhaal - in spastic Bubble Boy mode sadly - and Jared Leto play Vegas friends in 1994 who get in way over their heads when Leto's character fucks a criminal's wife.  The two leave for Seattle and on the way pick up prostitute Blair, who I must say has never looked lovelier.   On the way there, the news breaks that Kurt Cobain is dead and thousands flock to the rainy city to mourn.  The film works best when simply allowing the characters to breathe instead of the plot to grow, but it is just not enough.  It paints an interesting portrait of three wanderers.  Thrown in to the mix is Scrubs John C. McGinley, who you really have to see to believe.  The film is directed by James Cox (Wonderland)
In Cold Blood - 8/10
This hugely acclaimed classic from the 60's is another road movie, this time a killers-on-the-road one.  Based on a true story, Robert Blake and Scott Wilson play small time criminals who screw up a robbery leading to the murder of a family in Kansas.  They flee to Mexico, but have to return when money runs out.  Portions of the film didn't work for me, but when it works it is quite explosive.  The whole final act had me suckered in and I could barely take my eyes away.  Oscar-nominated cinematography is courtesy of Conrad Hall and I loved the scene of Blake standing in front of the window as it is raining and it looks like tears are running down his face when it is only the rain outside.  I also liked the editing, though found the score a little annoying.  Scott Wilson, whom I've never heard of, is great in the film and I'm surprised wasn't nominated for playing the suave, extroverted part of the duo.  (Turns out I have seen him before: he was the last "john" Charlize Theron murdered in Monster.)  Blake is good, particularly in the scene mentioned above. 
King Arthur - 3/10
I know nothing about history or legends and what not, so I'm not going to pretend that I knew what exactly was happening of the film.  Though I don't think many people could follow the battle sequences due to editing that makes third rate porn look stellar.  Most of the film is a big, dull bore.  Dashing Clive Owen looks embarassed to be in this.  Keira Knightley has brief moments of fun with her Sex Fiend Guinevere.  Any touches of personality come from these actors, not from the script's characters.  The rest of the cast is filled out with what seems to be an actor from every prominent country so that way the film will carry box office clout all over the world.   Arthur fails worse than Troy did, though Arthur has the best sequence of the two:  a fight sequence set on ice.  This is the only part of the movie with any inspiration.
The Notebook - 7/10
This was a 9 for about 70% of its 120 minute run time, but the thing that blew it was the constant interuption in the great part by the present scenes with Gena Rowlands and James Garner.  Rowlands and Garner are almost perfect, but something about this part completely spoils the beauty of the 1940's flashback scenes with supertalents Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.  All four talents are right at home on-screen.  And its one of those The Bridges of Madison County-esque perfect love movies.  Yes, it is sugar-soaked cliches, but the heart makes you forget that.  If only somehow when Sparks wrote the story for which the film is based off of he could've present a much more original way to have the present meet the past.  And I have no clue as to why the film keeps it a secret that the older couple is the younger couple sixty years later until midway through the film.  But I'll be damned if Young Noah and Young Allie don't get into your heart.  Its a series of wonderfully tender moments that are taken down by what surrounds them.  The opening sequence is absolutely gorgeous, making it one of the only few things in the present to stand out.  To all this I add that if Rachel McAdams isn't the biggest star in the planet in five years cutting $20M paydays, there is no justice in the world. 

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Box Office Predictions: July 16 - July 18

#. Title - 3-day Prediction/Total So Far/Estimated Final Gross

1. I, Robot - $38M / $38M / $115M
2. Spider-Man 2 - $26M / $304M / $370M
3. A Cinderella Story - $16M / $16M / $45M
4. Anchorman - $15M / $58M / $90M
5. King Arthur - $7.5M / $38M / $52M
6. Fahrenheit 9/11 - $7M / $94M / $115M
7. The Notebook - $5M / $52M / $68M
8. White Chicks - $3.5M / $62M / $70M
Dodgeball - $3.5M / $105M / $112M
10. Shrek 2 - $3M / $424M / $436M
The Terminal - $3M / $71M / $78M

Emmy Nominations!

I'll post my picks for the winners before the ceremony airs in mid-September. But before you check out ALL the nominees here, ponder this:

Good Job:
-Jennifer Garner.
-Kirsten Davis finally getting her much deserved Emmy nom.
-Angels In America
-Conan, SNL, Sex and the City, Arrested Development

Where is.....?
-Everyone else from Arrested Development? Congrats to Tambor, but noms for Jason Bateman and Jessica Walters seemed in order.
-Mira Sorvino's guest appearance on Will and Grace, which was one of the series' best episodes.
-I think Jennifer Aniston and Matt Le Blanc were the only 2 Friends in the past 2 seasons. Where is Lisa Kudrow?

Why Bother?
-I don't watch these shows, but I was under the impression that The Sopranos and The West Wing have really been falling short in comparison to their glory years. Why keep nominating things that aren' up to what they use to be on name value alone?
-And really, drop some of the Everybody Loves Raymond people in favor of new blood.

portia de rossi, walters and bateman react to their non-nominations

Sequel News: Land of the Dead


"George Romero is returning to familiar territory with another zombie flick, this time a follow-up to his successful OF-THE-DEAD series, LAND OF THE DEAD. The film will follow the events in NIGHT, DAWN and DAY OF THE DEAD, when zombies have all but taken over the world and the remaining humans are holed up in a walled-in city (with the wealthy living in fortified skyscrapers). Meanwhile anarchy reigns in all surrounding areas with our living dead evolving and getting faster and smarter. Romero will direct the film from his own script. Oddly, Romero had been trying for some time to get the film DIAMOND DEAD off the ground and despite the help of producers Tony and Ridley Scott, this project has leapfrogged ahead. While producers described the film as NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD meets THE ROAD WARRIORS, it does seem to have a little bit of 28 DAYS LATER mixed in there as well. The success of the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake earlier this year no doubt had a hand in getting another OF THE DEAD film greenlit. The project will have a budget between $10-20 million and will begin filming later this fall in Winnipeg and Pittsburgh."

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

New Trailer: We Don't Live Here Anymore

The story is courtesy of the writer of House of Sand and Fog. The cast is Mark Ruffalo, Peter Krause, Naomi Watts and Laura Dern. You can imagine there's some serious great acting and depressing issues with that alone. Check out the trailer, then imagine the cast in an orgy. (Nice to see Ruth Stoops at work again. I love that woman!) WDLHA opens August 13 in limited release.

Trailer here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

July DVD: The Human Stain

So, this is another new column for my blog: DVD of the month. I will recommend a movie for you to rent that I've already seen, you will rent, you will enjoy, you will thank Darren. I've chosen last fall's forgotten The Human Stain as my first DVD of the month selection. Why? Because July is pretty empty when it comes to new movies coming out and the film features great performances from just about everyone in it. And Nicole Kidman does a striptease. Here is what Entertainment Weekly said about The Human Stain:

"It's a movie about love and redemption. But more than that, really, it's a movie about death, depression, and every single horrible thing you can possibly imagine. Seemingly five minutes after each character in The Human Stain is introduced, they either croak, watch a spouse croak, or go into detail about their children who croaked. The ones who are lucky enough to avoid such a fate end up insane or so forlorn they hide out in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. The feel-good DVD of the summer this ain't.

Based on a book by Philip Roth, Stain tries hard to be a great movie -- really hard. How else to explain the casting of Anthony Hopkins as a black man? True, his character is one who has passed for white for 50 years, but Sir Anthony's accent doesn't exactly jibe with a person born and bred in East Orange, N.J. Nicole Kidman, once again dressed down to play a luckless lady who scrubs toilets, is fine, I suppose, but also seems to be constantly trying to conceal the fact that she's the famous and beautiful Nicole Kidman. (Where are the prosthetics when you need 'em?)

But the main problem with Stain is that what may have worked over 361 pages in Roth's book becomes one nonstop depress-orama when condensed into less than two hours on screen. After a while, you become numb to all the misery, even, sadly, when you stumble upon the DVD's pretty much lone extra, a video tribute to the film's cinematographer, Jean Yves Escoffier. Who died."

Since you are friends with Darren - or just some creep going through blogs by people you don't know - The Human Stain is probably your cup of tea. Ah, well, you were probably sold by the Nicole Kidman doing a striptease part. Check it out July 20.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Random Thoughts: .....

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy - 4/10
Though it acheives more laughs than this summer's Dodgeball, the film seems like such of a waste of potential. The cast does what they can with their "roles" but almost any laughs that come across are courtesy of the person, not the script. But the thing that really upsets me is the lack of genuine satire of the media and of news casters, in general. Sure, some are portrayed as walking egos, but this could really be applied to anything like it was in Dodgeball. Now, I have to admit that I laughed several times during the film, but none of it was really earth shatteringly funny. I find myself saying what I said several times already this year with other films: Imagine what Tina Fey could've done with it. Will Ferrell is funny, but Elf was a better showcase for him. Steve Carrell is probably the funniest character in the movie, but even he drew more laughs from his appearance in Bruce Almighty. And for your random babe, we have the lovely Christina Applegate. And get this!!! She was better utilized in The Sweetest Thing. While I feel that Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and either Wilson brother has talent, they really need to stop trying to emulate the Christopher Guest and his more talented group. One more thing: Let's stop with the outtakes at the end that are funnier than the entire movie that proceded it.

Fahrenheit 9/11 - 6/10
My thoughts pretty much align with what my pal Angie said on her blog except I can't say I enjoyed it as much. If you read this, you know me. I don't follow politics, but I do hate Bush. However, so much in this movie is just random facts thrown at you that it gets confusing. I guess a documentary should be like a paper, you need to explain your points clearly and have it flow and be cohesive. While Moore does the first pretty well, the second part just doesn't cut it. I do have to say that I love the opening and closing montage of Bush's cabinet applying makeup for the media. It says a lot. There is real power in portions of this film, but it gets really confusing. I'm reminded of what someone said on a forum about the TV show Alias when it gets hard to remember who is who and what is going on: bring Doris Roberts in and have her introduce everyone and what they do.

Garfield - 3/10
This is as manufactured as films can come. There is nothing new, nothing relevant and no other purpose than for the studio to make a quick dime. I miss the cartoon. One of the worst of the year so far.

Love Field - 5/10
Boys and girls, have you met my 6th favorite actress Michelle Pfeiffer. Love Field earned the actress her third, and sadly most recent, Oscar-nomination. Pfeiffer is charming as a talkative Dallas housewife obsessed with the Kennedys. When JFK is assassinated, she heads North to attend the funeral and pay her respects in hopes of possibly catching a glimpse of Jackie. From there, the movies interjects way too much story. It should simply be the characters. I love road movies, and where road movies usually go wrong is when they take the focus off of the characters and put it on the plot. Thelma and Louise somehow does both, and that's why it is probably the definitive road movie. Dennis Haysbert costars and pretty much plays the same character he did in Far From Heaven. Pfeiffer, as always, is great, but check out Batman Returns and The Fabulous Baker Boys before this.

Picnic at Hanging Rock - 8/10
I've been waiting patiently to see this movie and thanks to my new Netflix subscription, I finally did. My curiousity for this movie began when I read reviews of The Blair Witch Project saying this was similar. My curiousity skyrocketed when I heard PAHR described as The Virgin Suicides meets The Blair Witch Project. Yes, in a way it is. A group of Australian girls in 1900 disappear while on a picnic at a geological landmark called Hanging Rock. What follows is the fallout of thte private school to which they belonged and an obsession from boys who saw them before their disappearance. When it was released in 1975, it was advertised as a true story but that was later denied. You'll never find out what happens to the girls, though my hunch would be UFO's considering the hints we are given. But low and behold, according to other reviews I AM NOT SUPPOSE TO THINK THAT as this is a metaphorical film for sexual innocence. Don't ya hate that? I guess I'm stupid, though that metaphor most definately applies once you go over the evidence. Luckily, I told you this probably before you see the film and can examine it while watching it. PAHR is directed by Peter Weir, who I'm loving more and more with each film of his I see. The scene at Hanging Rock is just superb and is - to sound a bit like Marcia Brady - so dreamy. I will probably grow to love this film if I see it again.

New Trailer: The Forgotten

Julianne Moore trades in the depressing characters for....a depressing character but in a thriller/science fiction. Dominic West costars.

Trailer here.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

New Trailer: The Life and Death of Peter Sellers

Boasting an award-friendly cast, this biopic played at Cannes, and HBO is currently rethinking its original plan of airing it on TV instead of a theatrical release.

Trailer here.

Box Office Predictions: July 9 - 11

Will Anchorman have the top story come Monday? Will audiences be lined up to see Keira Knightley nearly nightly? Will Sleepover be the weekend's big snooze story? Find out....

1. Spider-Man 2 - $50M
2. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy - $36M
3. King Arthur - $22M (5-day: $35M)
4. Fahrenheit 9/11 - $9M
5. Sleepover - $7.5M
6. The Notebook - $5.5M
7. The Terminal - $5.5M
8. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story - $5M
9. White Chicks - $5M
10. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - $4.5M
11. Shrek 2 - $4.5M

Monday, July 05, 2004

Random Thoughts: The Fog


So, Darren, why exactly are you reviewing a 24-year-old John Carpenter film? Because I saw it, that's why. And I feel the need to tell you that if you haven't seen this semi-classic gem, you most definately should!

Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh star in this 1980 film, which plays more like a classic ghost story you'd hear around a campfire than any other film I'd seen. Like Carpenter's Halloween, the director relies on simplicity to raise the goosebumps: most notably, the fog itself. In similar fashion to the way Vadim Perelman used the weather as a secondary character in House of Sand and Fog, the Fog in this provies an eerie terror by just being white and spooky. It becomes the villain, even without what is inside it. And much like that 1978 boogeyman classic, Carpenter utilizes an elegant, ominous score and thankfully overlooked the typically intrusive horror movie score. The movie appropriately begins with an old man telling a ghost story around a fire, which from what I understand was filmed after the film was thought to be too short. At just 90 minutes, I couldn't help but feel that the movie felt it was only 20 minutes long. It is one of the most absorbing films I've seen in ages, even if the ending is sadly a little anticlimatic, but it moves fast and skillfully cuts between the characters. I particularly liked the radio d.j. being stuck in the lighthouse. It added a wonderfully tense dynamic. Oh, and the town it was filmed in is the ideal place I have wished to live my entire life. Something about a seaside town just appeals to me. It was filmed in Northern California. I'm there, dude.

Holiday Weekend Box Office Results

The following grosses are in for the four day weekend (Fri, Sat, Sun & Mon) due to the fact that July 4th grosses screw everything up:

1. Spider-Man 2 - $116M ($180M total so far! EXCELLENT!)
2. Fahrenheit 9/11 - $21M ($60M total)
3. White Chicks - $12M ($47M total)
4. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story - $10M ($87M total)
5. The Notebook - $10M ($32M total) might this be the sleeper hit of the summer????
6. The Terminal - $10M ($57M total)
7. Harry Potter - $8M ($225M total)
8. Shrek 2 - $8M ($410M total)
9. Two Brothers - $3.5M ($13M total)
10. Garfield - $3.5M ($64M total)

Casting Fun

-From Dark Horizons:
A while back it was announced that a feature film was in the works based on Comedy Central's "Strangers With Candy", a quirky cult TV comedy about a 46 year old junkie-whore who re-enters high school as a freshman to start her life all over again. Now Amy Sedaris, the show's lead has revealed on JerriBlank.Com not only some new names but more details on the roles of other characters:
"Matthew Broderick will be playing Dr. Beekman, a science teacher, while his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, will play Peggy Callis, a grief counselor. Other name stars include Dan Hedaya as Guy Blank (who was killed off during the show), Sir Ian Holm as Dr. Putney, Philip Seymour Hoffman as a Board of Education member, and "Six Feet Under" star Justin Theroux as a Driver's Education teacher.
"Everwood" star Chris Pratt makes his feature debut as a high school jock. Natasha Richardson may star as well. The producers have got "Third Rock From The Sun" star Kristen Johnston on board as Coach Muffy Diver. Filming began Monday, June 28th and is expected to wrap up the last week of July".

Awesome news! Can't wait for this. Strangers With Candy: The Movie is expected to hit theatres this winter.

-Fantastic Four Cast:
Michael Chiklis - Ben Grimm
Chris Evans - Johnny Storm
Ioan Gruffodd - Mr. Fantastic
Rachel McAdams - Sue Storm

X-Men 3:
Not in: Halle Berry as Storm. Christina Millian is the rumored replacement. My god, just keep the character out completely.

The Amityville Horror:
Cuties Melissa George and Ryan Reynolds will star in the second horror remake to be slaughtered by producer Michael Bay.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Happy Birthday, Lindsay Lohan!

Since I missed Nicole Kidman's birthday back on June 20th, I figured I would take the time to give a shout out to my favorite celebrity this year. After Mean Girls, a classic Saturday Night Live and dismal MTV Movie Awards (not her fault), it is hard not to get caught up in the media storm surrounding this girl and her enormous...talent. Anywho, tomorrow she turns 18....and the world rejoices. Hey, one of the Olsen twins is in rehab (originally for anorexia, now reportedly for cocaine addiction) and the other one should be joining her soon hopefully for sex addiction so forget them. You can go to this website and wish her a happy b-day yourself, the creep that you are. Be you male, female, gay or straight, there is something about this girl no one can resist. You can also win a Mean Girls prize pack and that's pretty damn fetch. Come on, do it. Don't be a scheez.

Random Thoughts: Spider-Man 2


What's this? A summer movie with characters you care about? Humor that is intentional without being cheesy or campy? Inside jokes that delight rather than distract? A talented cast nailing the characters without going over the top or chewing the scenery? An action movie where the character development is just as cared for as the special effects? Is this possible? Can Spider-Man 2 outtop the fun megablockbuster Spider-Man?

You bet your sweet ass it can.

After this, I got to say that Sam Raimi is the man. Spider-Man 2 is the best directed summer blockbuster in ages. I love how he stays true to his B-movie roots even when dealing with an A-level film like this. Check out the scene where Dr. Octavius comes to be and you'll get what I mean.

Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst are really great at making sad, puppy dog faces at each other. No. Just kidding. Both are great at this. Maguire is so down home on screen, even when the role requires no charisma. (I mean that as a compliment.) I don't think any actress can convey "smitten" better than Dunst. When her character is in love, you can feel the longing. Witness her work in ESOTSM when she talked to Tom Wilkinson or in this whenever she talks to Peter. Veteran character actor Alfred Molina is a great villain even though he's completely controlled and his character isn't the actual villain. The film picks up when the evil he has created takes over. From there on in, it is non-stop. God damn does this thing move, another sign of a great director: the pacing. This thing should be well-paced, and the character scenes move just well enough to provide a perfect balance. I think the train sequence is the best action scene this side of Terminator 3's road wrecking. James Franco is also good, even though you can see the direction of his character a mile away. Fantastic ending, a lot more inspiring than the first.

Kudos to everyone involved. you think Spidey wears a thong? And loved the scene of Tobey mocking the behind the scenes crisis over his back. Oh well..sorry, Jake! (and yes, kevin, bruce campbell is awesome...i loved his cameo..blah blah blah..he is funny..evil dead rules)

News and Notes:

Upcoming DVDs:
August 24 - Dogville
September 7 - Ginger Snaps Back
September 21 - Mean Girls (featuring commentary by Mark Waters & Tina Fey)
September 28 - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (special features not yet known)

-Kate Winslet has dropped out of Woody Allen's next film. She will be replaced by Scarlett Johansson. Johansson joins Brian Cox, Emily Mortimer and Johanthan Rhys-Meyers in the British comedy.
-Cameron Diaz will reprise her Charlie's Angels character Natalie Cook for a cameo in the Starsky and Hutch sequel. Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu had schedule conflicts.
-Bruce Willis will cameo in Ocean's Twelve.
-The title of the upcoming Rebecca Miller film Rose and the Snake has been changed to Ballad of Jack and Rose. The film stars Daniel Day Lewis, Catherine Keener and Jason Lee.
-Miss Congeniality 2 is now titled Miss Congeniality: Armed and Fabulous. The Sandra Bullock sequel, costarring Michael Caine, hits theatres Spring 2005.
-Shohreh Agdashloo, Paul Bettany, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Patricia Clarkson, Hope Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scarlett Johansson, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Penn, Audrey Tautou, Sofia Coppola, Nancy Juvonen, John Ottman and Miguel Arteta are among those invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This group is better known as the people who vote for the Oscars.