Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Box Office Predictions: September 3-5

1. Hero - $10.5M / $35M / $50M
2. Paparazzi - $10M / $10M / $24M
3. Wicker Park - $9M / $9M / $22M
4. Princess Diaries 2 - $8M / $86M / $100M
5. The Cookout - $7M / $7M / $18M
6. Without a Paddle - $7M / $38M / $46M
7. Anacondas - $5.5M / $22M / $30M
8. Collateral - $5M / $87M / $100M
9. The Bourne Supremacy - $4M / $163M / $170M
10. Vanity Fair - $4M / $5M / $18M

diane and rose fight over josh in a bad movie after fighting over brad in a bad movie

News and DVD Dates

+In case you haven't heard, Mission: Impossible 3 is off for next year and The War of the Worlds is on. Cruise has dropped M:I-3 for the Steven Spielberg helmed updating of the classic science fiction epic. It begins filming in November. Mr. Cruise has nabbed his leading lady today: Dakota Fanning. The young thespian-soon to be coke addict will play Cruise's daughter. Just as Tom grabbed Dakota for War, he lost all his co-stars for Mission. Carrie-Anne Moss, Kenneth Branaugh and Scarlett Johansson were all set to star in the action sequel, but because of the delay in production, none of them will now be involved. Quite an ensemble to lose, I must say. J.J Abrams (Alias) will direct M:I-3, which now won't begin filming till late 2005. Why don't they just call if off altogether?

+Rosario Dawson was arrested for protesting in NYC on the eve of the Republican National Convention...kind of. Reuters is reporting the actress was filming a scene from a movie and using the on-going protests as a backdrop. The curvy actress will next be seen in Oliver Stone's Alexander. Check out my blog later this week for more of celebrities and politics.

+Peter Jackson's $200 million King Kong remake begins lensing next month in New Zealand. The actors, led by Jack Black, Adrien Brody and Naomi Watts, have arrived on location to begin touring the sets and rehearsing. One of New Zealand's big newspaper's has a shot of the cast and director together as well as more information on filming.

+Upcoming DVD's That Will Be Worth Your Hard-Earned Money:
Sept. 7 - Alias: Season 3
Sept. 7 - Dawn of the Dead (1978) 4-disc special edition
Sept. 7 - Night of the Living Dead (1968) Colored Version
Sept.14 - Angels In America
Sept.21 - Mean Girls
Sept.28 - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Oct. 19 - Arrested Development: Season 1
Nov. 9 - Before Sunset
Nov. 9 - The Stepford Wives (2004)
Nov. 16 - Elf
Nov. 16 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 7
Nov. 23 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Nov. 30 - Spider-Man 2 Gift-Set
Dec. 7 - The Bourne Supremacy
Dec. 7 - Maria Full of Grace
Dec. 7 - Gilmore Girls: Season 2

+Another DVD that has peaked my interest is a movie called The Hole. (Resist pun!) The movie stars Thora Birch, Keira Knightley, Embeth Davidtz and Desmond Harrington. From Arrow of JoBlo infamy, Knightley shows off her breasts. It was released in the UK in 2001, but will be available to rent or own on October 19. The movie follows a group of teens who find an old bomb shelter and decide to use it to have a party. Hours later, only one of them (Birch) comes out alive. :-)

My Top 10 Favorite TV Shows

Honorable Mentions: (listed alphabetically)
Ally McBeal
Batman: The Animated Series
Dawson's Creek
Gilmore Girls
Models Inc
Saturday Night Live
Sex and the City
Strangers With Candy

Now, on to my favorites....

(1990-1998; Best Seasons: 2-8)
Favorite Episode: "The Soup Nazi" (airdate 11/2/95)

(1990-2000; Seasons Viewed: 1-Most of 4)
Favorite Episode: "Commencement" (5/19/93)

(2003- )
Favorite Episode: "Charity Drive" (11/30/03)

(2001- )
Favorite Episode: "Phase 1" (1/26/03)

(1997-2003; Seasons Viewed: 1-Most of 4)
Favorite Episode: "Hush" (12/14/99)

(1993-2002; Seasons Viewed: 1-7)
Favorite Episode: "Ice" (11/5/93)

(1988-1997; Best Seasons: 1-7)
Favorite Episode: "Darlene Fades to Black" (10/8/91)

(1997- )
Favorite Episode: "Last Ex To Brooklyn" (10/2/93)

(1989- ; Best Seasons: 3-8)
Favorite Episode: "Homer the Great" (1/8/95)

Favorite Episode: "The One With the Embryos" (1/15/98)

Friday, August 27, 2004

New Trailer: Closer

This one has been in theatres for about a month, but is finally available in glorious QuickTime. It is a Labute-ian tale of love, lust and revenge among a group of four people. Jude Law and Clive Owen try to out-suave each other while Natalie Portman has a pink wig and Julia Roberts does...something..that..is probably not as interesting as the other three. Super awesome Mike Nichols directs.

Look closer here.

Tina Fey's followup to Mean Girls will be....

From JoBlo.com:
Hottie SNL scribe Tina Fey has struck a deal with Paramount to write CURLY OXIDE AND VIC THRILL, a comedy based on the true story of an unlikely friendship between a Hasidic Jew and a rock musician. I know exactly what you're thinking - huh? As the story goes, Chaim, feeling trapped by the notoriously traditional Hasidic life, made his way to a bar in Brooklyn where he heard the rowdy performance of indie rocker Billy Campion (whose stage name is Vic Thrill). After expressing admiration for Campion's music, Campion invited Chaim to a recording studio to lay down a few tracks. Chaim took to music instantly, took on the stage name Curly Oxide and spent the next two years on tour with Campion, in the process becoming an underground hit. Fey originally heard the story on National Public Radio, after which she effectively campaigned for the rights to their story.

Random Thoughts: Dogville, Open Water

Dogville - 8/10

This is a hard film to process and it would be better if I had the opportunity to view it a second time to accurately put together my thoughts on it. I think it has moments of brilliance, bolstered by two amazing lead performances by Nicole Kidman and Paul Bettany. It is a stronger political allegory than The Village, but I don't think I was fully able to comprehend the message of the film. Is it an attack on the lower class? Society as a whole? America? Many say the latter but I see more of the middle question in it. It is a provocative study on the nature of goodness and the way those who might appear to be good can manipulate goodness and expose their true nature. Perhaps I should mention it is three hours long and shot entirely on a soundstage with minimal props and chalk outlines showing where buildings and Dogville's dog are. It gives it all a theatre feeling. (That's theatre with an RE, not ER.) I didn't find this at all distracting, and it gives the film some beautiful moments even without lush scenery to enhance it. The lighting of the stage is particularly stunning, especially towards the end. The end is quite shocking and may polarize those who thought there was any chance of a happy ending. In addition the great Kidman and Bettany, there is a talented supporting cast including Patricia Clarkson, Chloe Sevigny, Ben Gazarra, James Caan and Phillip Baker Hall. The actors all seem to be in a trance which adds to the feel of the film. I wish you all would see this so I could discuss it more, because that is what this film wants you to do. Dogville is the first of a planned trilogy. The second installment, Manderlay, began filming earlier this summer with The Village's Bryce Dallas Howard taking over for Nicole Kidman.

Open Water - 7/10

While it never quite acheives the level of terror as its obvious influences - Jaws and The Blair Witch Project - it succeeds in its own way of creating an intense sitation. Daniel Travis and Blanchard Ryan (Charlize Theron doppleganger) play the two stranded scuba divers left behind after some asshole confused the tour guide. (Quick moral to extract from the story: don't be an asshole or people will be left behind with sharks.) At first, they deal lightly with the situation, only slightly panicked. They banter like a couple and even play six degrees of seperation. The majority of their first hours in the water yield surprisingly effective humor that breaks the tension. Sharks begin showing their fins just yards away. After hours have passed, they panick and begin yelling at each other. The two actors are quite good in their parts and I think any couple could easily relate. It is not really a horror film, more of an intense drama with several thrilling scenes. One of those is the thunderstorm sequence, which takes full advantage of the film's digital video filming. The score at first seems very odd and inappropriate, but once the ending rolls around, I thought it added beautifully to the film's last shot. This film has a perfect ending. I can honestly say I would have done exactly the same thing. (I'm being vague to encourage you to not listen to what you heard about the film and go see it.) I've stated to several people that I find the synopsis for the film very terrifying, but I don't think the film does enough with the whole "left alone" theme. It seems very claustrophobic, which it shouldn't considering how huge the ocean is that they are lost in.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Countdown to Vanity Fair

witherspoon puts you under a spell to see her movie

My 9th most anticipated film of 2004 opens Wednesday, September 1. Vanity Fair, the new film from Focus Features, is a $25 million adaptation of the classic novel by William Makepeace Thackeray. It stars Reese Witherspoon as one of literature's greatest female characters Becky Sharp, whom is born into a life of poverty but uses schemes and her wit to ascend the London social ladder. Directed by acclaimed international filmmaker Mira Nair, it promises to be a hugely entertaining period piece. Infused with Nair's own gorgeous, Bollywood-influenced helming, Vanity Fair is already a front-runner in the technical categories for next year's Academy Awards. Visit the film's website to learn more and view the sumptuous trailer.

+Double Golden Globe nominee Reese Witherspoon returns to the more interesting films that filled out her early career. Up next is the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line and a thriller set in Antarctica called Whiteout. Visit a place where movies are rented or sold and find Freeway, Election and Legally Blonde. Rent them. Or buy them.

+Mira Nair is in negotions to direct the next Harry Potter film The Order of the Phoenix. It seems the director is on a roll. Back in 2002, Nair earned huge raves for two very diverse films: the first was Monsoon Wedding, a more personal film examining some of the traditions in her own heritage. After that was Hysterical Blindness, a film that earned Uma Thurman a Golden Globe and a SAG nomination. It is an amazing character study that shows Nair's acute ability with actors, most notably Thurman as well as the supporting cast that includes Juliette Lewis and Gena Rowlands.

+Screenwriter Jullian Fellows adapted Thackeray's classic novel for the big screen. He won an Oscar for his screenplay for Gosford Park.

+Vanity Fair features a diverse, international cast made up of a who's-who of classically trained actors and up-and-comers: Jim Broadbent (Iris), Eileen Atkins (The Hours, Cold Mountain), Geraldine McEwan (The Magdalene Sisters), Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (Bend It Like Beckham), James Purefoy (A Knight's Tale) and Kate Winslet-lookalike Romola Garai (Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights) as Becky's best friend, Amelia.

Fun fact: Witherspoon found out mere weeks before filming commenced that she was pregnant with her second child. The downside: early reviews say it is fairly obvious she is pregnant in certain scenes. The upside: Ample cleavage. And yes, the magazine took its name from the novel.

witherspoon and nair read the classic magazine instead of the book for pointers

Box Office Predictions: August 27

1. Anacondas: Hunt For the Blood Orchid - $15M / $15M / $34M
2. Exorcist: The Beginning - $8M / $33M / $44M
3. Hero - $8M / $8M / $30M
4. Princess Diaries 2 - $8M / $75M / $102M
5. Without a Paddle - $7.5M / $27M / $40M
6. Collateral - $7M / $80M / $100M
7. Open Water - $5.5M / $24M / $36M
8. Alien Vs. Predator - $5M / $73M / $80M
9. The Bourne Supremacy - $4.5M / $157M / $168M
10. Suspect Zero - $4M / $4M / $9M
****Garden State - $3M / $11M / $25M
****Super Babies: Baby Geniuses 2 - $2.5M / $2.5M / $6M

this is the last time we let the blonde choose the vacation

Monday, August 23, 2004

Cursed MPAA Rating & Early Review

From the MPAA's Website:

Cursed (2005 / Miramax) Rated R for horror violence and language.

Wow. Big surprise. I'm confused on this as the film is still in post production which means it is still being worked on, but I guess they will take stuff out more than leave it in. I thought the MPAA required the final cut to give the official rating. Nevertheless...

From Dark Horizons comes a test screening review. It was confirmed on the Cursed fanpage that screenings were held at the beginning of the month in LA. Here's the link to DH for you to check out what the reviewer thought of the film.

Cursed hits theatres February 25, 2005.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Random Thoughts: Alien Vs. Predator, Garden State, Ned Kelly, The Prince & Me

Alien Vs. Predator - 5/10
It is not so bad. It is paced rapidly and is over before you know it. It has some nifty slime and alien/predator gore. It is entirely forgettable once finished. Sadly, the classic creatures are most interesting characters on screen. Sanaa Lathan is pretty bad at the beginning but is fine as "standard action chick." The only two other recognizable faces in the cast are genre icon Lance Henrickson and Under the Tuscan Sun's Raol Bova. Everyone else is there purely for red herring purposes. Well, let's just call them off-screen red herrings thanks to the film's infamous PG-13 rating. In all honesty, it gets away with quite a bit of violence for a PG-13 film and more gore would only be for blood-and-guts horror fans. I liked one of the lines repeated in the film: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." That leads to Lathan teaming up with the predator to help kill the alien. I was expecting Lathan to go back to the predator's planet where she will be impregnated with a predator baby and live happily ever after. Well, it felt like that was where the film was going.

Garden State - 8/10
Scrubs' Zach Braff is a pretty talented guy. Writing, directing and starring (take that Shyamalan!) in this indie, which starts out kind of annoying but gets a lot better as it goes. Throw in some expected unexpected humor and Braff's endevour is a huge success. Natalie Portman, in her first great performance in nearly eight years, shines as the love interest, the kind of character that exists only in the movies. Check out Beautiful Girls if you haven't and if you're not retarded. Her character here is like a grown up though less mature version of her character in that one. Once she shows up, the film becomes alive much the way Sam makes Andy alive again. I liked the film's message of the way society is now being raised on prescription meds that they say will make you what you are suppose to be, but are only making matters worse. Numerous memorable scenes and the talents of the above mentioned people, as well as Peter Sarsgaard and Ian Holm in slightly underwritten roles, make the trip to Garden State a very worthy one. It was also nice to see a film that didn't rely on Jersey stereotypes.
SIDENOTE: Someone plese tell Peter Sarsgaard and girlfriend Maggie Gyllenhaal to drop some of the dual letters from their names before they have kids.

Ned Kelly - 3/10
I saw this about three weeks ago, but have held off writing anything about it. Resist being drawn in by the pretty cast - Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom and extended cameos by Naomi Watts and Rachel Griffiths - because there's nothing to learn about the title character. It provides a basic outline of the Australian/Irish outlaw's life, but never lets us see anything more. Ledger has almost no charisma here coming off very abhorrent, and no one else leaves an impression. The fact that the film has a great score and lush cinematography only makes the rest of it look even worse. After finishing it, I had no idea how it filled its 110 minute running time. All of it is very uninvolving.

The Prince and Me - 5/10
There's one really great scene in the latest "I'm a princess!" film: Julia Stiles and Luke Mably have just affirmed their affections and are using their hands to flirt quietly in a library. Though the two have chemistry throughout the film, it is at its pinacle in this scene and made me smile. The rest of it is a passable film. I think Stiles looks her very best here and I need to apologize for the previous "large forehead" comments. Turns out its not her forehead, but rather her entire head. It is very oddly shaped and detracts from a pretty smile and her devilish eyes. Normally able to play an understandable bitch with ease, it is a nice change to see her play the romantic lead. Mably or Malby or whatever is fine, but the role could have been played by an random young actor. Miranda Richardson (your aunt's a very lucky woman anjelica...) also stars as the prince's slightly caricatured mother. This is also one of those films where someone shows up at the end, says three sentences and the other person falls in love with them all over again and everything is okay. I'm sorry. I just ruined the ending. Actually, the rest of the film did a pretty good job of that, too.

This Just In: Julia Roberts and Natalie Portman are Cunts

Go here.

i love to look at the river while thinking what a cunt i am

i love to listen to music while thinking what a cunt i am

Thursday, August 19, 2004

New Trailer: Alfie

Jude Law.

Trailer here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

New Trailer: I Heart Huckabee's

Another all-star cast joins a quirky director for an original looking and sounding film this fall. Before Anderson's aquatic escapade hits theatres in December, check this one out in October.

Trailer here.

Sidenote: I had this trailer link up the other day, but decided to take it down to that it was not Quicktime. From now on, all trailer links will be for quicktime play ONLY. It is just THAT much better. :-)

New Trailer: The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

Check out the latest from Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore) featuring an all-star cast including Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Owen Wilson and Anjelica Huston.

Trailer here.

Random Thoughts: The Village


What do I push more for? M. Night Shyamalan to an Oscar? Or to a Razzie? His stupid, distracting cameo in this deserves the latter. Enough with the self-gratification already. You're not Hitchcock. You never will be. In a scene that is crucial to the story and involves people helping each other, we're not focusing on that because we're too busy staring at Mr. Shamalamadingdong. Rant over.

The so far wildy split reactions to this film are understandable. The negative has to do with people being misguided by marketing selling this gothic drama as a horror movie. It also has to do with two of the film's twists, neither of which are really twists at all. The film doesn't dwell on these as being twists and continues with the narrative, whereas usually a twist is revealed and then focused on. The writing is probably the worst thing about the film but makes sense in the context of the story. Right? Well, sort of. I couldn't help but feel left down not by the "twists" like everyone else but rather the lack to which the story is explored. Yes, I'm getting the whole "creatures of mass destruction" and fear being manipulated using colors (terror alerts!! the creatures are coming if there is red..hmm..sounds familiar.) Yes, the reason Angie could write so much about the themes of the film is that there are so many. Most of them are too briefly touched upon.

So, with all that, why did I give this movie a 7? I really liked it. It has a lot of problems, mostly related to the script, but it is well directed and an aesthetically pleasing film thanks to Deakins' near-great cinematography and James Newton Howard's beautiful/slightly eerie score. The feel the film radiates is one I really love. The acting is appropriate for the most part. It is stilted, which when you realize what is going on is appropriate. Actually, its not. (SPOILERS BELOW PICTURE) Bryce has beautiful eyes and holds the film well. I think the film is at its best when she is in the woods by itself. I also loved the designs of the creatures. Adrien Brody and Judy Greer are the only ones having any fun with their roles, while Joaqin Phoenix practically disappears before he, well, disappears. The film for the most part is a good first draft to a much better final version. While its not all it could be, it is what we are left with and is pretty solid on its own.


So, why exactly did they choose to make it 1897? See, this is why many people are pissed off. The fact that they live in old times while attempting make it seem like old times only sets up for how pissed off people will be with the twist. A better idea: It is 1897 in the village, but maybe early 1900's in the other parts. They see society advancing and decide to flee it, but not an illusion of 100 years difference. Now, if they put on the illusion of 1897, why do they have to talk like that? Wouldn't it make more sense just to talk naturally? Its not like the young people are going to call them on it. "Oh, even though I've been raised like this my whole life, I know that is not the way they actually talked in 1897. HA! Suck it Sigourney!" Ok, now onto the creatures. You can actually have creatures in the woods. They don't have to be just the town elders dressed up. Why not have society advanced a few years beyond it because these people were afraid to get out of the village? Yes, it kind of swerves from the point. But I think there are too many brought up to accurately fit into one storyline without people finding the whole thing bogus.

Box Office Predictions: July 20

1. Princess Diaries 2 - $14.5M / $63M / $100M
2. Open Water - $13M / $16M / $40M
3. Exorcist: The Beginning - $12M / $12M / $28M
4. Alien Vs. Predator - $11.5M / $63M / $85M
5. Collateral - $10M / $70M / $100M
6. Without a Paddle - $8M / $8M / $22M
7. The Bourne Supremacy - $5M / $148M / $162M
8. The Village - $3.5M / $106M / $112M
9. Garden State - $3M / $6M / $20M
Yu-Gi-Oh! - $3M / $16M / $22M

swimming with sharks is better than releasing a movie in august

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Nothing to Report and Other Randomness

I'm in the dog days of summer. Nothing seems to be happening. I've gone back to jogging after a three day respite. Yippee. I still need to get new headphones, but I have discovered that one of my older pair still works surprisingly well. I haven't seen any new movies lately. The last thing I watched was Napoleon Dynamite on Thursday. I'm behind on my Netflix. I still have Rules of the Game, Contempt and Bloody Sunday to watch. I have yet to put up my thoughts on Ned Kelly and Breathless, because I'm waiting to watch the other 3. My rental queue (or however it is spelled) is up to about 45 films. The two I really want that just arrived on DVD - The Bad Seed and Freaks - both have a "Very Long Wait." Who knows when I'll get those! Dogville comes to DVD next week, so that will keep me occupied. Also, we get Garden State on Friday, so I'll be making a trip there to catch that as well several others until that one.

This week also brings in Exorcist: The Beginning, Without a Paddle and Open Water. I am dying to see the last one as I find the concept of being stranded in the ocean with all that deep, nothingness below you a terrifying one. Great reviews, too. The other two are fairly disposable but I do plan on seeing both versions of E:TB when available. The next couple of weeks is nothing great, though if you tell me you have ZERO desire to see Anacondas: The Hunt For the Blood Orchid I wouldn't believe you for a second. It looks exactly to be the type of late summer cheesy/fun/bad movie we really need to rescue us from the cheesy/dull/bad other films. Somewhere in all that messiness is Vanity Fair, so far earning some mixed reviews. Premiere gave it 2 stars, but it seemed more a personal reaction than an actual review. AICN has has 2 very positive reviews, and several others popping up are 3-3.5 stars-ish. Nevertheless, it is the front-runner for Best Costume Design at the Oscars and Witherspoon will no doubt earn her third much deserved Golden Globe nomination.

Entertainment Weekly came out with its Fall Movie Preview. Perhaps the most exciting part of this issue was not anything about the fall releases but rather a TV review by "editor at large" Ken Tucker. He reviewed Nick at Nite's All In the Family and Roseanne, giving AITF an A- and Roseanne an A. YES! I love Roseanne so much it is not even funny. (My feelings, not the show!) I started watching this show at the beginning of last fall and have probably averaged about 7-8 episodes a week. I'm fairly certain I've seen them all at least once. It is not a hard task considering the show is 2 & 2:30PM on Fox 43, 11 & 11:30PM on Nick at Nite, 2&2:30AM on Nick at Nite and 1& 1:30PM on Oxygen. The taboo-busting show is a genuine original with its loving take on the struggles of the working class of middle America. The writing is razor sharp with quotable one liners. It is worth noting that Amy Sherman-Palodino (the creator of Gilmore Girls) and Joss Whedon (the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) were both writers for the show at one time. Everyone in the cast is top notch and casted to perfection. My favorite characters are Darlene and Aunt Jackie. Darlene is probably the greatest portrait of a teenager to ever hit television. Sara Gilbert is so dead on and you actually feel her hatred for her world. This isn't a case of pretty-girl-playing-frumpy-girl unbelievability. Snaps to Tucker for pointing out an early episode - writting by the aforementioned Whedon - where Darlene reads a very moving poem about her inability to fit in with the sports-loving boys or the makeup-loving girls. The episodes where her teenage depression really kick in are among the series' best. Laurie Metcalf is so great as the just as lost Aunt Jackie. Drifting from job to job, she remains a loving force more of a friend than family for the Connors' three guarenteed to be screwed over kids. I dare you not to laugh till you cry in an episode where Jackie and Roseanne's father passes away and Jackie has to call their aunt to tell them that their father has died. The call is the most hilarious thing I think I've seen in a sitcom, and proves how much Metcalf deserved her two Emmys. Tucker, in his review, also brought up the political relevance in both shows. All In the Family is a republican take on society, though a more critical one. Roseanne and her clan would most definately be rooting for John Kerry. I could go on and on about how truly great Roseanne is and how in a day when reality is what people watch and sitcoms are eroding, it is a wonderful reminder of the sitcom at its best. It is considered by many, including me, to be one of the best shows to ever air on television. As far as the rather odd last season, well, it was a big disappointment. Though I find the series last episode, which pulled out a huge shock at the end, to be superior to most of that season and the shock at the end in which we realize everything that actually happened to be unexpectedly moving.

(Speaking of Roseanne, coming soon will be a list of my all-time favorite TV Shows.)

Sunday, August 15, 2004

New Trailer: Birth

While this isn't the official American trailer for Jonathan Glazer's upcoming film, it is a pretty damn great trailer, featuring an ever gorgeous Nicole Kidman, Oscar-ready as always.

Trailer here.

New Trailer: Sideways

It is directed by Alexander Payne (Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt). Enough said.

Trailer here.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Random Thoughts: Harold, Black Book, Napoleon

Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle - 5/10

Several funny scenes and appealing leads can't hide this film from what it really is: a series of sometimes-funny/sometimes-not sketches strung together at a predictable pace and formula. The stuff dealing with the races of both lead characters is inspired in the way it utilizes stereotypes as a way of transcending them. Sadly, both actors Kal Penn and Jon Cho will probably never get to play leads like this again and will be typecast to the roles they've been confined to for most of their careers. The rest of the movie is standard buddies-night-out cliches and "look there's " cameos. (Yes, some of you have made the comment that I "don't get pothead humor," but I did laugh several times during this. I, however, believe that films should be funny whether or not you are on substances. If you require some kind of drug to enjoy a film, then something is obviously wrong with you or the film.)

Little Black Book - 5/10

75% of this film was very well written. There are moments of clever satire of the television business and Holly Hunter is given some great lines to work with. The interview with Lulu is very funny. Unfortunately, the studio decided to give it to a director who clearly had no idea what to make of the material. Some of the scenes change tone so dramatically that it gives it an unpredictable feeling and not in the good way. Brittany Murphy is fully able for the film, but is one of those actresses who make better scene-stealers than film carriers. As far as scene-stealers, this film has two priceless assets: the aforementioned Hunter and Kevin Sussman. As Murphy's work colleagues, they create a lively environment and know what to do with the material even when the director has not a clue. The film's final twist is out of character and that's where the other 25% of the film takes over. It is a predictable set-up, but it screws over the film's brightest spot.

Napoleon Dynamite - 4/10
He's out to prove he's got nothing to prove. That's the tagline for the film, and it might as well describe Napoleon's film instead of himself. It plays like a hybrid of a Wes Anderson and Todd Solondz film, only PG-rated and not good. The film I kept thinking of while watching it was Welcome to the Dollhouse. If you have not seen that, skip Dynamite and check that out. It is actually about something. ND runs less than an hour and a half, but it is about an hour too long. What should have been just a short film has been stretched out and makes the characters dull and annoying after 20 minutes. There's a great sight gag early on involving a farmer shooting a cow as Napoleon watches that is priceless. I was distracted several times during the film by how much the people in the theatre were laughing at stuff that really isn't that funny. Whether or not they are laughing at the film or with it is up in the air. It is like they are the character at the beginning who mocks and laughs at Napoleon while talking to him. Is this really what audiences want for a film's protagonist?

Sidenote regarding Napoleon Dynamite: After seeing Gaby Hoffman in You Can Count on Me, and now Tina Majorina is this, I'm still wondering what exactly happened to Mara Wilson? Where did all the early 90's child actresses disappear to? I guess they can't all be Kirsten Dunst.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

New Trailer: When Will I Be Loved

This movie wasn't even on my radar (the Darren radar, or Dadar) and it opens in less than a month. Neve Campbell has sex with lots of people in the trailer, including Fred Weller (The Business of Strangers). I like when he goes by Frederick Weller. James Toback directs, which could be a good thing or a bad thing.

Trailer here.

sidney and alter-ego julia face off in the mirror

Dan Evans Is Not A Gilmore Girl

Yeah, I watch Gilmore Girls. It just so happens to be one of the smartest written shows I've ever seen. The script for a standard episode has to be about twice as long as a typical hour long show. There is so much dialogue, and it is all said very fast. It is endless literary and pop culture references. I got my pal Dan Evans to watch it with me before and he had a problem with how fast everyone on the show talks. Well, tonight, Fox 43 runs the episodes at 1AM due to the fact that no local affiliates are WB. Dan and I watched it while chatting online. It was the episode where Rory (Alexis Blidel) and Paris (Liza Weil) take off for Spring Break. A very good episode that sparked controversy months back for a kiss between the two characters that was more of a peck in actuality. Here are some of Dan's comments while watching GG:

"I can't even think my own thoughts when this show is on."
"They can't even lay on a bed without spasming. They always have to be moving, walking, talking or spasming."
"If I watched this show, I would go insane."
"I'm too lazy a person for this show."
"See. Too much thought. I don't like preppy bitches so I don't like any of the Gilmore girls."
"She is hot for being a mom." (on lauren graham)
"See, now I have to mute it before my brain blows up."

So those crazy gals aren't everyone's cup of tea. It remains a mystery how Lauren Graham doesn't have an Emmy nom yet. TV Guide voted her the hottest MILF on tv. Check out Bad Santa for her rocking ass. As for Gilmore Girls, you should check it out if you haven't.

not dan evans

That Other Cursed Movie: The Exorcist Prequel

LA Weekly has a rather interesting article on the lengthy, hellish production of Exorcist: The Beginning. It is a classic case of a director with a vision different than the one a studio wanted, but luckily that director's version might still get a chance at a DVD release and cable airing. While nothing is official, William Peter Blattly is mentioned at the end as having seen Paul Schrader's version of the film and says it is quite good. No advance reviews have popped up yet for the Renny Harlin (Cliffhanger, Deep Blue Sea) version hitting theatres Aug. 20. Only 2 minutes of Schrader's film will make it into Harlin's. Schrader's version took about 4 months to film on a budget of $35 million. Harlin shot 11 weeks worth on an $8 million budget. Even with only $43 million total production budget, that seems rather difficult for the film to reach in its domestic run. Both versions on DVD will add a great deal of help, but it all may be a lost cause. However, snaps to the studio for at least giving us an R-rated film, as opposed to every other studio that seems to be copping out to reach those always-spending 13 year old boys.

Check out the article here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Sofia's Follow-Up To Lost In Translation Will Be....

From some source I couldn't find...

"Oscar®-winning screenwriter Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation), the first American woman to ever be nominated for Best Director, is set to direct Marie-Antoinette for Columbia Pictures, it was announced today by Amy Pascal, Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group. Kirsten Dunst is attached to the film in the title role and Jason Schwartzman will portray Louis XVI. Production is scheduled to commence in February in France.

Written by Coppola, the film will be a stylized telling of the legendary and enigmatic Queen of France. Coppola and two-time Oscar® nominee Ross Katz (Lost in Translation, In the Bedroom) will serve as producers through American Zoetrope. Fred Roos, Francis Ford Coppola, and Paul Rassam will serve as executive producers.

Sony will distribute the film worldwide with the exception of France and Japan, the rights to which Coppola has retained.

"Sofia has an unique and incredible vision for this film," said Pascal. "We have wanted to work with her for a long time, and couldn't be more thrilled about Marie-Antoinette."

"I've always loved the story of Marie-Antoinette and the decadence of Versailles on the brink of revolution," said Coppola, "and the fact she was just a teenager when circumstances forced her to play a significant role in history."

"The idea of seeing the world of Marie-Antoinette through Sofia's eyes is just about the coolest thing I can imagine," said Katz. "We are so happy to be partnering with Sony. Their passion for Sofia and this film is incomparable. This is a dream scenario for filmmakers."

Matt Tolmach, Co-President of Production for Columbia Pictures will oversee the title through production for the studio.

Coppola wrote and directed both Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides.

In addition to his Oscar® nominations, Katz received a Golden Globe for Lost In Translation and was also a nominee for In The Bedroom. Katz began his career at the independent production company Good Machine.

Dunst, who most recently starred in Columbia Pictures' blockbuster-hit Spider-Man® 2, previously worked with Coppola in The Virgin Suicides. She will soon be seen in the romantic drama Wimbledon and Cameron Crowe's drama Elizabethtown. Coincidentally, her first film appearance was an uncredited role in New York Stories.

She also starred in such films as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Mona Lisa Smile, Spider-Man®, Bring it On, Drop Dead Gorgeous, The Cat's Meow, Wag the Dog, Interview with the Vampire, Little Women and Jumanji.

Schwartzman, who made his film debut in Wes Anderson's Rushmore and is set to begin filming Columbia Pictures' Bewitched with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, will soon be seen in I Heart Huckabee's, opposite Dustin Hoffman, Jude Law and Mark Wahlberg, and Shopgirl, opposite Steve Martin. He and Coppola, both appeared in Roman Coppola's drama CQ."

New Trailer: Spanglish

Adam Sandler, Tea Leoni, Cloris Leachman and newcomer Paz Vega star in this potential Oscar-nominee from writer-director James L. Brooks.

Trailer here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Box Office Predictions: August 13

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

1. Alien Vs. Predator - $32M / $32M / $70M
2. The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement - $22M / $35M / $90M
3. Collateral - $14M / $50M / $84M
4. The Bourne Supremacy - $8M / $139M / $160M
5. The Village - $7M / $100M / $112M
6. Yu-Gi-Oh! - $6.5M / $6.5M / $14M
7. The Manchurian Candidate - $6M / $48M / $60M
8. I, Robot - $3.5M / $134M / $140M
9. Little Black Book - $3.5M / $15M / $22M
10. Spider-Man 2 - $3.5M / $360M / $375M

what's a girl to do when trying to pick between in the closet princes?

Griffin Won't "Graduate" To Big Leagues Yet....

From the Hollywood Reporter:

Rob Reiner is stepping in to replace Ted Griffin as director of Warner Bros. Pictures' update of "The Graduate."

After just one week of principal photography, Griffin, a screenwriter who was making his directorial debut on the project, is being replaced, with Reiner in negotiations to take over the reins on what has been called the untitled Ted Griffin project. The studio has shut down filming, which it plans to resume Aug. 18.

Griffin wrote the script for the romantic comedy, which centers on a young woman (Jennifer Aniston) who discovers that her grandmother (Shirley MacLaine) was the basis for the character of Mrs. Robinson in the 1967 film "The Graduate." The cast also includes Mark Ruffalo, Mena Suvari and Kevin Costner.

Griffin had been working with "Far From Heaven" cinematographer Ed Lachman. According to sources, Peter Deming, who recently completed "I Heart Huckabee's" is coming aboard to replace Lachman as director of photography, but the studio could not confirm that. Other department heads also might be replaced.

According to one source, Griffin came under criticism for spending too much time with his cinematographer on shots and not enough time with the cast. Another source said issues involving the lighting of the actresses was at the center of the decision to change directors. The studio declined comment.

Reiner most recently directed Franchise Pictures' "Alex and Emma," which was distributed by Warners. He has been a close associate of Warners Bros. president and chief operating officer Alan Horn, who, before taking over at the studio, was one of the co-founders of Castle Rock Entertainment along with Reiner.

Section 8's Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney are producing with Paula Weinstein. Jennifer Fox and Ben Cosgrove are the executive producers. Griffin's screenwriting credits include "Ocean's Eleven," "Ocean's Twelve," "Best Laid Plans" and "Matchstick Men." Both Griffin and Reiner are repped by WMA.

Monday, August 09, 2004

August DVD of the Month: Kill Bill: Volume 2

Kill Bill: Volume 2 - available August 10 on DVD and VHS

After the action-packed grindfest that was #1, Quentin Tarantino favors a quiet, more restrained film for #2. Turning its head away from the action toward something more deep (though there is still several thrilling sequences), Tarantino presents his most matured work to date. The tale of an unnamed woman scorned letting all hell loose on those who did her in segways into a deliriously gripping battle of the wits in the film's final sequence: when Bill (David Carradine) and Beatrix (Uma Thurman) go face to face. Bill ends up the most suave and surprisingly likable really, really bad guy to hit the screen in ages. His monologue on Superman/Clark Kent is a thoughtful example on the way Tarantino surprises us with hidden depth on both characters' parts. An Oscar-nomination for Carradine is in order. Thurman, proving her able range throughout the entire saga, is again excellent but the actress's nimble ability to go elegantly over the top was best put to use in Volume 1. In the first film, Tarantino gives us a warrior with amazing skill. In the second, he presents a bruised woman hanging on by a thread, but not giving up. The second one wins out.

The "Whole Bloody Affair"'s best sequence occurs in Volume 2: the chapter called "Elle and I." In this chapter, Beatrix matches wits with her assassin equivalent, Elle Driver. Having just dispatched Budd, Driver is ready to collect her money and get out. Back from the grave, Kiddo bursts in and begins a fast-paced, furiously funny fight scene that tops everything in the entire saga. A smart and simplistic ending to that fight may be the series most crowd pleasing moment. Hannah deserves some kind of award for her hysterical rendition of the line "I killed your master."

There are numerous other memorable scenes in the film, but chances are you already know what they are. (My second fave is Uma crawling out of Paula Schult's grave. Empowered music!) Volume 2 is ultimately a more satisfying chapter, and with rumors of a Volume 3 10 years down the line (Nikki Vs. Beatrix!), it is more than enough to keep this film fan satisfied for the next decade.

Then again, according to some people I'm just saying this all cause I want to jerk Tarantino off or some other bullshit excuse/whining cause they didn't like it and are sick of everyone else doing so. Too bad.

Coming Soon: The Horror Channel

So you got your sci-fi on cable, now coming soon you'll have a "Horror Channel." This has been long in development and is ready to premiere October 2004. The people at AICN have posted the link to the Horror Channel website, and you should check it out. Be sure to fill out the petition if you in anyway love horror whether it be Rosemary's Baby, Romero, Children of the Corn, Exorcist, Vincent Price, Hitchcock or whatever.

Website here.

First Look: Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash

Here's a behind the scenes look at Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash in the upcoming biopic Walk the Line. Joaquin Phoenix stars as the legendary Man In Black. Both Witherspoon and Phoenix will sing in the film, thanks to movie music magic man T. Bone Burnett (O, Brother! Where Art Thou?; Cold Mountain) The film, directed by James Mangold (Girl, Interrupted,) opens April 2005.

Special Thanks....

...to Angie for a fun Friday night and to Kevin for finally returning my DVDs on Saturday.

Friday, August 06, 2004

"The Aviator" Photospread

From People magazine:

For larger version, click here.

Cursed Is Cursed...is cursed is cursed is cursed...

Ugh. Being so excited for this movie has been one big UGH! The project was announced in the summer of 2002. It would begin filmming in the spring of 2003, and be released in late 2003. Then, production got bumped back to summer 2003, and the release date was scheduled for February 13, 2004. THEN...all sorts of chaos: Disagreements on the set between the FX team and the creators. Filming shuts down for nearly 2 months because the producers aren't happy with the film being made. MASSIVE rewrites ensue. Filming picks up leaving cast members wondering if they would make the final cut. More cast members were added to replace them. Christina Ricci, while promoting Monster in January 2004, states that only about 10% of the original film will make the final cut and many actors were very pissed off. Release date is now rescheduled for October 1, 2004. Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville) states that things are going smoothly and Wes Craven is very happy with everything. Judy Greer confirms while promoting 13 Going on 30 that the new film will play more like a gothic fairy tale then a typical werewolf film. (Sounds good.) Mandy Moore while promoting Saved! reveals has no clue to whether or not she is in the film but says she had a good time and Wes was a lot of fun. Greer confirms 3 months later while promoting The Village that filming is complete, but they have enough for almost 3 movies. Massive post-production work leads the release date to be bumped to February 25, 2005. This brings us up to date, as now a fan forum is up again to get buzz going for a movie with a far too appropriate title. What seems to have been my most anticipated movie for the past 2 years will no go on another year's list. I have faith that Wes can pull this off. Be sure to head over to Scre4m.com for more details and discussion regarding the film.

This Just In: Jennifer Garner is the cutest thing EVER!

My DVD of the month will be announced this weekend, but until then, 13 Going on 30 is now availabe to own on DVD. The extras prove my title point. Check out the bloopers to see the adorable Miss Garner giggle and smile and everything else she does so well. Then, check out the feature titled "I Was A Teenage Geek." It is clips of interviews from Garner, Judy Greer, Mark Ruffalo and Samuel Ball mixed with pictures of the actors during their teen years. Garner was a band geek and played the sax (hey, I did that!) Ruffalo and Ball were in a band, both involving boogers. Don't ask... As for Judy, she was the quintesential defintion of nerd. I mean, you've got to see the pics. Big hair, big glasses, braces, the whole nine yards. I'm really quite surprised these actors allowed these pictures to be out in the open, but I'm glad they shared them. So be sure to check this DVD out. I know you'll watch the "Thriller" scene on a loop.

garner and greer realize that milk did their bodies good

Random Thoughts: The Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) - 10/10
The Manchurian Candidate (2004) - 8/10

I don't even know where to begin on either of these. I could probably say a lot about either, but I'd rather keep it simple. You've probably already seen the original and know what a boldly nasty satire it is, with a nail-biting Hitchcockian climax. The new one takes almost the same outline of the original, throws in a few modern twists and some powerhouse actors in famous roles. Switching from communism themes to big business allows the remake to feel timely, not at all unnecessary. 2004's is a well crafted film that does what it does well. It, however, by making the Eleanor character a lead takes away from the development of the Raymond Shaw character. I loved, LOVED Laurence Harvey in the original. I'm a big Liev Schreiber fanatic, and it saddened me that Cotton Weary doesn't get enough of a juicy role like the kind Harvey had. He's second string to Denzel and Meryl (last names not required.) The Ben Marco character is made more disturbed in the new one, and much more of a loner. This makes sense as this type of behavior would lead to a straight jacked in today's society, instead of the "maybe he's right" attitude in the communist days. Jonathan Demme's film is proof that you CAN remake any film as long as you do it right and make it your own way without fucking up the other film. Nevertheless, it is nothing on the original.

For you movie buffs: Watch the scene in 1962's where Sinatra fights Harvey's butler. Then, watch Kill Bill: Vol. 1 where Uma Thurman fights Vivica A. Fox. Notice anything? :-) :-) :-)

Thursday, August 05, 2004

First Look: P.S.

From the studio that brought you Whale Rider, Monster, Memento and The Passion of the Christ....

"Confirming the extraordinary promise of his debut, Dylan Kidd’s P.S. is a film as disarmingly lovely and romantic as Roger Dodger was acerbic and cutting.
Louise Harrington (Laura Linney), a divorced, thirty-something admission’s office at Columbia University’s School of Fine Arts is intelligent, pretty, successful, and. . . unfulfilled. That is, until a graduate school application crosses her desk and she arranges to interview the young painter. When Scott Feinstadt (Topher Grace) appears, he bears an uncanny resemblance to Louise’s high school boyfriend and one true love, an artist who died in a car accident twenty years earlier. Within hours of the interview, Louise and Scott have embarked on a passionately uninhibited older woman/younger man affair. But is Scott just a reminder of Louise’s lost love? And is Scott just trying to wheedle his way into the Ivy League?
Adding to the romantic complications is competition from Louise’s best friend from high school, Missy (Marcia Gay Harden), who shows up to claim the affections of the boy; Louise's co-dependent ex-husband Peter (Gabriel Byrne); her cynical mother (Lois Smith) and fresh-out-of-rehab brother (Paul Rudd).
Torrid and tender, serious and sexy, P.S. features a career performance from Laura Linney (Mystic River, You Can Count On Me) and a breakthrough leading man turn for Topher Grace (Traffic, That 70’s Show).
P.S., based on Helen Schulman's novel of the same name, shot entirely in New York City, is a romantic fable about getting a second chance at first love."
P.S. arrives in limited release October 15.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Box Office Predictions: August 6 - 8

1. Collateral - $28M / $28M / $80M
Tom Cruise's last two R-rated ventures both opened to around $25M. Jamie Foxx might help broaden the audience, but Michael Mann is no box-office draw. Reviews have been most stellar with a few negative sprinkled here and there. No one word yet on Joe Moviegoer will react to the film. There are almost too many male oriented films in the marketplace for this to open north of $30M, so an opening in the high twenties seems apt.

2. The Village - $18M / $91M / $115M
Look for a 60% drop at least. If I, Robot and the better received The Bourne Supremacy drop around 55% their second weeks, there's no way this one is sticking around. Word of mouth is as bad as it comes and the film should be out of theatres by the end of the month.

3. The Manchurian Candidate - $14M / $42M / $80M
It will end up a nice sleeper for Paramount, if not a small blockbuster.

4. The Bourne Supremacy - $13M / $122M / $150M
5. Little Black Book - $11M / $11M / $45M
Sony moved this one up from October due to through the roof test screenings. A last minute bump to summer is generally a good sign, but it may have been too late. Marketing didn't really kick in till the middle of July. However, A Cinderella Story has been holding in there and The Notebook did great business, so audiences may be tiring of the teen boy dominated films.

6. I, Robot - $5M / $125M / $136M
7. Spider-Man 2 - $5M / $354M / $375M
8. Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle - $3.5M / $13M / $18M
9. A Cinderella Story - $2.5M / $46M / $52M
10. Catwoman - $2M / $35M / $40M

yeah, but does it get HBO?

Monday, August 02, 2004

DVD Announcement: The Stepford Wives

Paramount announced the DVD details for this summer box-office underperformer.

-Dolby Digital 5.1
-Widescreen 1.85:1
-Audio Commentary by director Frank Oz
-13 Deleted Scenes with intros by Frank Oz
-Gag Reel (AWESOME!!!!)
-Four Featurettes: Stepford: A Defintion; Stepford: The Architects; Stepford: The Builders; The Stepford Wives and The Stepford Husbands
-Two Theatrical Trailers

It will be available October 26th. That's my birthday. The day I turn 21. Who is up for a drunken screening of this campfest?

nicole already got the Stepford-Darren b-day bash started

New Trailer: A Dirty Shame

Bad taste king John Waters returns to the big screen after a near five year absence with this NC-17 rated comedy opening September 24. Check it out just for Selma Blair's chest and Johnny Knoxville's tongue.

Trailer here.