Thursday, September 30, 2004

SNL's Host List For the Start of Season 30

Saturday Night Live:

October 2 - Ben Affleck / musical guest: Nelly
October 9 - Queen Latifah / musical guest: Scissor Sisters
October 16 - Best of Jimmy Fallon
October 23 - Jude Law / musical guest: Ashlee Simpson
October 30 - ? / musical guest: Eminem
Coming in November - Joaquin Phoenix, Renee Zellweger

God damn! I hope the October 23rd episode owns it!

The lovely, imcomporable, hysterical, crazy, sexy, cool Tina Fey will host Weekend Update solo this year. Fallon is the only cast member from last season to not return. Just as long as Amy Poehler is back, I'm great. New this year is Rob Riggle who was a regular performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in NYC and was the "Culture Coach" on Comedy Central's "Straight Plan for the Gay Man." I'm hoping the election will inspire some great parodies! However, I'm guessing that right after Affleck does his monologue, the first sketch will be Debbie Downer. Don't know how I feel about that.


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

September Oscar Predictions

Prediction #1 of 5.
Best Picture:

The Aviator
Finding Neverland
A Very Long Engagement

Best Actor:

Javier Bardem - The Sea Inside
Jeff Bridges - The Door In the Floor
Jamie Foxx - Ray
Paul Giamatti - Sideways
Liam Neeson - Kinsey

Best Actress:

Annette Bening - Being Julia
Imelda Staunton - Vera Drake
Audrey Tatou - A Very Long Engagement
Uma Thurman - Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Kate Winslet - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Best Director:

Marc Forster - Finding Neverland
Jean-Pierre Jeunet - A Very Long Engagement
Mike Leigh - Vera Drake
Mike Nichols - Closer
Martin Scorsese - The Aviator

Best Supporting Actor:

David Carradine - Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Thomas Hayden Church - Sideways
Dustin Hoffman - Finding Neverland
Clive Owen - Closer
Peter Sarsgaard - Kinsey

Best Supporting Actress:

Cate Blanchett - The Aviator
Cloris Leachman - Spanglish
Laura Linney - Kinsey
Natalie Portman - Closer
Kate Winslet - Finding Neverland

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Finding Neverland
Spider-Man 2
A Very Long Engagement

Best Original Screenplay:

The Aviator
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Vera Drake

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Random Thoughts: Alias - Season 3

Perhaps the best way to describe Alias - no matter which season - is as follows: "..a spy-fi roller coaster of killer gadgets, double roundkicks, triples crosses, poignant confessionals, cliff-hangers, sliced-off fingers, conspiracies, outrageous outfits, exotic locales, flirtations, mythologies - and that's just before the first commercial break." -Entertainment Weekly


Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) is an agent for the CIA who was assigned to take down a corrupt group posing as the CIA named SD-6. SD-6 ordered Sydney's fiance Danny killed after she told him about her involvement. She worked with her father, Jack Bristow (Victor Garber), as a double agent to destroy that group and their leader Arvin Sloane (Ron Rifkin). Halfway through Season 2, they finally put an end to Sloane and his evil group. Once that occured, a new group known as The Covenant began showing up. At the end of Season 2, Sydney wakes up in Japan after having killed (or so she thought) an evil doppleganger of her friend Francie (Merrin Dungey). She meets up with her former "handler" (resist pun Darren! resist pun!) Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan) whom informs her that she was thought dead after the fight, he's now married, and that two years have passed. So begins Season 3.

(Spoilers herein)

Since this is basically a one thousand minute movie, it would be pretty hard to go into everything that happens. Much like The X-Files and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, instead of going on episode by episode storylines, this is pretty much one long storyarc and each episode is just a chapter. Many thought season 3 was significantly more hard to follow than the previous two seasons, but the advantage of watching them on DVD is that you can watch them all strung together. This allows you to not forget what happened in the minutes between viewing each episode, as oppose to a whole week. The other main reason why people had a problem with season 3 is Melissa George's Lauren Reed, Vaughn's wife. The Covenant isn't a single villain, but rather several evil baddies comprising the organization. Its not like the first two seasons where there is Sloane then several people under him. Lauren served as the most recognizable villain if not the top dog so to speak. However, she wasn't the season's official villain till about half way through the season.

The twists, the action, the costume changes all make the shows wonderful. The soundtrack pulsates making the action exhilirating and topping any action movie you've seen in years. It has rhythm and isn't just some Bruckheimerian in your face bullshit. A tinge of fantasy and the mythical being appearing towards the end of season 3, but it never comes across as ridiculous. It is slightly over the top, but in a fun way. The season finale is probably second only to the Super Bowl episode titled "Phase One" from season 2 as the series best episode. Garner looks so smoking hot at the beginning, marking the first time I actually liked that she had bangs. (There's actually a specific reason why she's so hot, and the twist involved made say aloud "Holy Shit!") The twist is later repeated with a different person and the crowd I was watching it with went nuts! (The people being me, myself and I.)

The show's cast is phenomenal. Do I even need to mention Jennifer Garner? Really? I'll just bypass her in favor of the other players. Victor Garber as Jack Bristow is perfection. Whenever Jack does something Jack-y, I like to put my fists in the air and go "JACK BRISTOW." Sadly, I'm not kidding. Lots of people had problems with Melissa George as I mentioned before, but I personally loved her. The accent is off a lot. Why exactly did she have to be British? They should have let George keep her Aussie brogue. When she's good (or so it would appear) in the beginning of the season, she's good. When she's bad, she's great. I love her look towards the finale: a classy, Hitchcock femme fatale. One of her moves in the finale made me raise my fists and yell "Lauren Reed!" Michael Vartan is probably the weakest actor on the show but I still enjoy him. Vaughn is a very closed off character due to past events and his constant affection for Syd and confusion over Lauren give Vartan a bit more to do this season. After these four, you have the great scene-stealer Kevin Weissman as Marshall Flinkman, the show's "Q." Armed with a weirdly funny face that makes his comedic timing seem even more better, its not surprise that Garner can't keep from smiling whenever they have a scene together. David Anders plays Sark, a baddie whose presence is growing larger. Like Buffy's Spike, Anders is the tortured "bad" British guy played by an American actor. Carl Lumbly plays Dixon, Syd's former SD-6 partner turned head of the CIA rotunda where Syd now works. Greg Grunberg is Weis, Vaughn's partner and is secretly in love with Sydney. Lumbly and Grunberg have the least to do on the show, but they handle what they get very well. The best performance by anyone from Season 3 is Rifkin as Sloane. He frequently goes from being bad to good and Rifkin is so skillful at these sometimes slight transitions that even when his actions lean one way, he's fully understandable. How Rifkin does not yet have an Emmy (or even an Emmy nom!) is beyond me. Season 3 of Alias also boasts an impressive queue of guest stars: David Cronenberg, Quentin Tarantino, Vivica A. Fox, David Carradine, Isabella Rosselini, Djimon Honsou, Ricky Gervais, Richard Roundtree, Justin Theroux, Peggy Lipton, Patrica Wettig, and more. I'm assuming Mia Maestro, who plays Syd's half sister, will be a series regular in season 4, so I'm looking forward to that.

Season 4 will also tone things down a bit and make things more episodic. Most of the fans rejoiced upon hearing that, but I'm slightly ambivalent. I think all the moves the show has done have been great, intriguing and surprising. With the lack of quality shows that try to do something different, Alias is a keeper.

Fun Alias Season 3 drinking game: Take a drink everytime someone says Covenant. Make sure paramedics can arrive five minutes later.

News and Stuff

+Julia Roberts will return to her trademark romcom with Seven Year Switch. The film will be directed by Mike Nichols who directed J.Ro in her next film, Closer.

+AICN is reporting that Mel Brooks is considering doing a sequel to Spaceballs which the classic comedy director hopes to get out near the release of the next Star Wars film. (That's May!!!)

+A sequel to last year's sleeper hit The Italian Job will begin filming in March 2005 for a targeted release of November 2005. Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Seth Green, Mos Def and Jason Statham will all return.

+Speaking of heist movie sequels, Peter Fonda will have a cameo in December's Ocean's Twelve. The veteran actor will play Matt Damon's character's father.

+Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, John Leguizamo and Simon Baker will be the zombie slayers for George Romero's hugely anticipated Land of the Living Dead, due in theatres in 2005.

+Pretty boy Jude Law will play a blue-collar laborer in director Gavin O'Connor's Dexterity. The long in development film will follow Law's character as he falls in love with a co-worker, and the repurcussions when the factory closes down and all but ruins the upstate New York town in which it resides.

+I Heart Huckabee's - Wide Release on October 22
+The Phantom of the Opera - Wide Release on December 23

Box Office Predictions - Oct 1 - 3

1. Shark Tale - $42M / $42M / $120M
2. Ladder 49 - $22M / $22M / $75M
3. The Forgotten - $11.5M / $38M / $60M
4. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - $4.5M / $32M / $40M
5. Mr. 3000 - $3.5M / $20M / $25M

jacinda tames joaquin's fire hose

Monday, September 27, 2004

New Trailer: Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie give Jennifer Garner and Michael Vartan a run for their money in the sexy spy couple arena in this dark comedy/action film from director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Go, Swingers.) Pitched as a The War of the Roses take on the standard assassin film, the film costars Angela Bassett and Vince Vaughn and will be in theatres next June. The trailer made its debut on the Man on Fire DVD, but has yet to be in theatres. Sadly, this isn't quicktime but it is most definately worth a peek because how often does Angelina ask Brad "Who's your daddy now?"

Trailer here.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Miramax Bumps Oscar Tentpoles to 2005

Ah, tentpoles. :-)

Confirmed via Variety, An Unfinished Life and Proof - two of Miramax's most anticpated awards titans - have been bumped to 2005. The move comes after several months of speculation and more layoffs at the studio. The studio has become second string to Focus Features as the big little studio that takes home the most gold in awards season as Miramax was shut out of Best Picture nomination last year for the first time in almost a decade. Big pushes for this year from Bob and Harvey's studio remain Finding Neverland and a coshare in Warner Bros. The Aviator. The news will most rattle the Best Actress race where it now seems Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow, if up to par of course, will have to wait another year for their accolades. That leaves the studio putting all its eggs in one basket named Uma Thurman for Kill Bill: Vol. 2.

Proof is an adaptation of the play starring Paltrow as the daughter of deceased mathematician (Anthony Hopkins) who begins investigating his life. Jake Gyllenhaal and Hope Davis co-star in the film directed by John Madden (Shakespeare In Love.)

An Unfinished Life stars Lopez as an on-the-run woman who hides out in the northwest with her estranged father (Robert Redford.) Directed by Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules, What's Eating Gilbert Grape) Life co-stars Morgan Freeman, Camryn Manheim and Josh Lucas.

after finishing her death list 5, uma goes after gwynnie and jenny

Saturday, September 25, 2004

meet me in montauk...

After bestowing the honors of DVD Of the Month on Dawn of the Dead and Mean Girls, why did I choose to not honor Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a film I consider the best film of this year - scratch that - this decade and one of the best films I've ever seen? It gets a very special honor come January, of course. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, an unequaled darkly funny science fiction fantasy romance, is available September 28th to own on DVD.

A brilliant essay from a brilliant filmmaker

Is 2004 a great year for movies so far? It would seem so. It might just be the accelerated Oscar shedule tricking us. But with so many more buzzed about films due in the next 3 months, it looks like a firecracker of a year. Alexander Payne's next film Sideways - starring Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen and Payne's wife Sandra Oh - has already been hailed as one of the best films of the year by Premiere, Entertainment Weekly and Roger Ebert. The talented filmmaker wrote an article appearing in Variety that I shall put here because Variety requires a membership:

"At a meeting of non-aligned nations during the Cold War, Fidel Castro made the dry observation, "In reality there are only two non-aligned nations: the United States and the Soviet Union." I often recall that quote when asked about American independent cinema, for I think on one level the only true independents are Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros., Universal and the rest of the major studios. Say what you want about their imprisonment by corporate edicts and market forces; only they can make whatever they choose, and only they enjoy assured distribution.
Of course, "independent cinema" has come to mean so many things. Endless conferences and publications attempting to get a handle on American independent cinema -- what it is, whether it exists, whether it's dying or thriving -- dance around what for me is the central issue: that the source of the financing is unimportant. Cinema is independent only to the degree that it reflects the voice of one person, the director (in conjunction with his or her hand-picked creative team). Martin Scorsese now makes studio films that cost $100 million, and no one questions his independent credentials. And at Sundance we see low-budget features whose only message is "Hire me."

I want two simple things of our cinema -- that it be comprised of a large percentage of films that reverberate the voices and hearts of the filmmakers, for that is how film is always at its best. Second, I want a cinema that is intelligent, uplifting and human, and that serves -- as good art should -- as a mirror, not as an impossible or fraudulent consumer-oriented projection. After all, what good is a story that does not somehow add another piece to the infinite jigsaw puzzle that is human experience? What good is a story that does not somehow connect people?

As a working American director -- a Hollywood director, no less -- I resent the cleft between what we consider studio movies and independent movies. I want and expect studios to finance personal, risky and political cinema -- as they did in the much-vaunted 1970s -- and I am overjoyed because I no longer think this a naive dream. I think it's starting to happen right now.

For some 25 years we've had American movies but not movies about Americans. For 25 years we've largely been making not films but rather glorified cartoons which can be as easily digested in Omaha as on a bus in Thailand; films whose principal message is, We need your money to keep our stock price up; films that exploit banality and violence as come-ons to the lowest angels of our nature; films based on formula so they can be consumed as readily and predictably as McDonald's hamburgers. We've turned away from the need and utility of art in favor of impersonal product to maximize profits and at the tremendous, tragic expense of our culture. There have been many wonderful exceptions, but I speak of trends.

But look at this great year for movies! We have "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Maria Full of Grace," "Before Sunset," "Fahrenheit 9/11" and the rest of the documentaries in theaters, "Spider-Man 2," "Shrek 2," Tarantino, Alfonso Cuaron doing "Harry Potter." This fall we have David O. Russell, Wes Anderson, Mike Nichols, Steven Soderbergh, Brad Bird's "The Incredibles," Brad Silberling's "Lemony Snicket." Fold in the American distribution of Almodovar, Walter Salles, Zhang Yimou, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. If they don't all turn out to be great films, at least we can discern a strong trend of cinema -- big and commercial as well as small and personal -- aspiring to be human, intelligent, respectful of the audience and director-driven. More big commercial films are being entrusted to stong and thoughtful directors, and more studios are planning their own versions of Fox Searchlight and Focus.

Why now? I see two obvious reasons -- the same that we saw decades ago. First, when the beast is dying, it seeks new blood. Maybe we can't point directly to a "Paint Your Wagon," but when studios offer up increasing numbers of big-budget dirigibles that tank, they look for solutions outside traditional decision-making boxes. And maybe we can't yet point to an "Easy Rider" or a "Midnight Cowboy" as a watershed film, but when "Fahrenheit 9/11" makes whatever it's going to make, or when "Lost in Translation" costs $4 million and makes almost $50 million, well, there are signs that, given creative control, directors -- many of them newer and younger -- might be in the best position to serve the contemporary audience.

Second, of course, the world is going to hell these days. As the saying goes, when small men cast long shadows, the sun is going down. Most likely things are going to get worse before they improve. When confused and troubled, people look to art in general and cinema in particular for context, for clues about who we are and where we've come from and where we might be going. Whether Bush and his corrupt gang are reelected or not -- and especially if they are -- these times ensure increased demand for films with human and political content.

Art is all we have to combat the fearsome, awful animal side of man that today controls events. To portray real people with real problems, real joys, real tears will serve as a positive political force, a force for comfort and possibly for change. With the inhumanity forced upon us by governments and terrorists and corporations, to make a purely human film is today a political act. To make a film about disenfranchised people is a political act. To make a film about love is a political act. To make a film about a single human emotion is today a political act. And bad things happen when good people fail to speak up.

Intelligence and humanity should not be "specialty" items. Imagination, artistry and risk-taking are as essential to big-budget commercial films as they are for the emerging filmmaker. Our studios may now wish to invest in a greater number of less expensive films and enjoy the profits of volume rather than always starving the small and medium films in order to feed the increasingly mercurial "tentpole" beast. And we filmmakers must be disciplined and keep our costs as low as possible in order to deserve the risks that define our finest filmmaking nature.

We have the potential for a new era where studios and filmmakers come together as they have not in a generation, and we have the chance to define a new age in a new century. I hope years from now my optimism will have been warranted, for I know that if our studios identify the signs and act, they have today the exceptional opportunity not merely to co-op "independent" filmmakers but to assume themselves the mantle of true "independents."

-Alexander Payne, director and co-writer of Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt and the upcoming Sideways.

reese witherspoon and payne

First Look: The Ring 2

Ubersexy Naomi Watts and ubercreepy David Dorfman return for more videotape fun in this sequel to the blockbuster. Joining this time are uberactress Sissy Spacek, uberaustralian Simon Baker and uberEverwood Emily Van Camp. The sequel hits theatres March 18, 2005.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Random Thoughts: The Forgotten

Introducing a new feature with random thoughts:

Crowd Report:
Trailers: Flight of the Phoenix (looks better than I expected); Alfie (the teaser, the trailer is better); Closer (very very sexy people being cruel to each other, I'm there); Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (looks more of the same, but I'll still see); Spanglish (Oscar nods on the way for Tea Leoni and Cloris Leachman)

about 10% full in a 331 seat theatre (pretty good considering it is on 2 screens); audience mostly senior citizens!!!!

I've noticed two things almost every review has against this film: first, naming your film "The Forgotten" probably wasn't such a good idea because it only sets up review headlines of "The Forgotten is forgettable" or whatever; second, the film's best gimmick of having people being randomly sucked up into the sky sets up another headline: "This movie sucks" or perhaps even "script should have been sucked with them." While The Forgotten probably won't be remembered for long and while the script probably should have been sucked up with it, it is not a complete waste. It is nice to see this type of movie where the youngest person is Dominic West who is in his mid 30's. There's no sex or violence either. It relies on creating an ominous mode that is held throughout the film even if it doesn't turn out much suspense. The score is great and probably the best part about the film, aside from the aforementioned "sucking." Let's just say I haven't seen sucking so inspired since that porno I watched the other day. Wait, that sounded wrong. "..that adult film I watched the other day." Actually, it was probably earlier today. The film's biggest drawback is its script, which leaves way too many plotholes and an ending that feels way too cheap. Julianne Moore, in full Scully/Clarice mode, has her best feature put prominently on display: her hair which has never looked better. Everyone else in the film is okay, but none except Dominic West really have anything to do. The film is probably too short and should have explained some stuff a little more. But, man, when it sucks, it really sucks. That's a good thing.


Thursday, September 23, 2004

First Look: The Amityville Horror

Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George prove a sexy duo for this remake of the horror classic due in theatres April 2005. While it is being produced by Satan himself, Michael Bay, the two leads as well as veteran supporting player Phillip Baker Hall will make me let that slide. There's a behind the scenes video over at Yahoo. In the meantime, here's a (rough) first image:

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Box Office Predictions: September 24

1. The Forgotten - $18M / $18M / $50M
2. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - $10M / $29M / $46M
3. First Daughter - $6M / $6M / $18M
4. Mr. 3000 - $5.5M / $16M / $24M
5. Cellular - $5M / $26M / $35M
6. Shaun of the Dead - $5M / $5M / $20M
7. Wimbledon - $4.5M / $13M / $19M
8. Resident Evil: Apocalypse - $4M / $43.5M / $48M
9. Without a Paddle - $2M / $53M / $56M
10. Napoleon Dynamite - $1.5M / $35.5M / $40M

joey and riley smile while reflecting on their WB shows

Alexander Bumped Back

sexy angelina and gay colin

Oliver Stone's $100M+ epic has been bumped from its November 5 release date to November 24, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Reasons for the delay are most likely it not being finished in time, though would 3 weeks really help that much? I don't know. The film once faced competition from The Incredibles and Birth will now go head to head with Christmas With the Kranks and Flight of the Phoenix. Alexander runs around 2hrs 45min and will debut in 2500+ theatres.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Random Thoughts: American Blondes With Brit Boys

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - 8/10
All the comparisons to Star Wars and Indiana Jones may work on a more superficial level, but this film is The Wizard of Oz at heart. (Loved the use of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow.") Groundbreaking in a way more geared toward that film than the formers, no movie in memory has looked this gorgeous and awe-inspiring. New York City isn't presented in a realistic way, rather the New York City of your dreams. The film itself is light, non-stop fun from start to finish, entertaining fluff for those who don't need self reflective irony in their films. My favorite aspect of this film is Gwyneth Paltrow as Polly Perkins. While its not great acting or a great part at all, its great in the way Jack Sparrow or Selina Kyle are. A highly memorable character is nailed by the perfect actress for the job. Of all the ethereal retro imagery, she is the most magnetic.

Wimbledon - 5/10
Its not good, but its far from bad. Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany make cute at each other, but yield little chemistry. It would seem like an inspired pairing, but the love story falls flat. The sports story then takes center focus and that doesn't lead to much excitement either. The most original bit in the film is the opening credits, with each name showed on opposite side of the scope picture much like players during a match. It is mediocrity the whole way through, no matter how hard the actors try and make it work.

Monday, September 20, 2004

September DVD #2 - MEAN GIRLS

Mean Girls is available on DVD September 21. The DVD contains commentary tracks, deleted scenes, featurettes and the always reliable blooper reel.

Watch carefully in Tina Fey's smart teen comedy Mean Girls and you can probably pinpoint the moment where Lindsay Lohan crosses over from sweet child actress to sexy, full blown bombshell. Fey and Lohan aren't afraid to take the character of Cady (pronounced Katie) to more darker places than the heroine of a typical teen movie. Director Mark S. Waters combines the breezy, yet memorable feel of his previous smash hit Freaky Friday with the more wicked tone of his 1997 Parker Posey - in full crazy Parker Posey mode - film The House of Yes. Joining in all this comedic talent is Rachel McAdams, the year's breakthrough leading lady, as the bitchy Regina ("Queen" in African.) The jungle-is-high school allegories are dead on, and the supporting cast sports a list of expert Saturday Night Live players. First and foremost though, it is Fey's victory. In a year of terribly weak comedic entries, I've wondered too often what Tina Fey could've done with the screenplays of the unfunny films. (I've apparenlty done this so many times that other blogs have taken notice. *wink wink*) Chances are you'll be quoting this film for months and finding yourself relating unexpectedly to the film's barrage of comedic zingers and characters. This really isn't a film for those in high school so much as for those who are out of it. The film's primary messages - the way we sabotage each other to redeem ourselves and the way those who destroy the powerful are destined to be just as corrupted as the ones who they destroyed - might be lost on a younger audience distracted by the cool music, tight skirts and wide variety of eye candy. As your reigning expert on teen movies, this is the best one since Clueless. Check it out and be fetch. You don't want to be an effing scheez now do you?

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Random Thoughts: The Emmy's!

Most definately random:

+I fucking HATE everyone in Everybody Loves Raymond except for Peter Boyle and I'm glad it lost everything. Patricia Heaton is the most annoying bitch EVER. What the fuck was she wearing? Jesus H. Christ. She always looks bad.
+Speaking of Lost, lots of promos for J.J.'s next endevour. I think I will be checking this out along with Desperate Housewives. Are these going to be the only two good shows of the fall???
+Aww..the cast of the OC played dress-up. Cute.
+Allison Janney??? I thought it was suppose to be Edie or Amber. Whatever. +Jennifer Garner was cute looking when they showed her ONCE(!!!!) throughout the night. They showed the biggest star on TV ONCE! (DON'T EVEN QUESTION THAT STATEMENT, FUCKER!) Ben Affleck was in the background somewhere. In case you haven't heard, they are dating. Ben can keep the title Bennifer.
+Both the Sex and the City gals were great. Great speechs. SJP is lovely. I can't believe how ugly Cynthia Nixon is with short hair vs. how great she looks now with long hair. Awww...Kirsten Davis started crying when SJP was talking.
+Go Angels In America. Guess I'll be renting or buying that soon.
+I loved Drea De Mateo's short but funny speech. I love her name too. Drea De Mateo. Drea De Mateo. Drea De Mateo. That will never get old.
+I think I saw Amy Poehler freaking out when Arrested Development won its first award. She was next to her real life husband, Will Arnet (Gob, on the series.)
+Mike Nichols looks like a robot.
+Meryl Streep has got to be the funniest serious actress. Nicole Kidman certainly was right about her.
+The bit with the regular people was cute. The only inspired bit if you ask me.
+Drea De Mateo.
+Zach Braff's crack about the bad joke him and Amber did was funny.
+Elaine Stritch=funny. Constant Elaine Stritch jokes=not funny.
+I don't particularly care for Garry Shandling. I would have loved Conan or Ellen hosting again.
+Daily Show won 2. Great...haha..that clip from Chapelle's Show is hilarious.
+I've never seen a single episode of The Sopranos, West Wing, CSI or Six Feet Under.
+Jeffrey Tambor is funny.
+AWESOME: Spader won. Finally, someone new. Great speech, too. Very funny. I bet Angie will be so happy.
+ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT!!!!!!! 3 EMMY'S: SERIES, WRITING, DIRECTING!....THE 3 MOST IMPORTANT A SERIES CAN WIN! But God Damn It! the deserved more than one acting nomination. Two words: Jessica Walter.

Arrested Development comes to DVD Oct. 19. Buy it. Learn it. Live it. Love it. OMG! THE CAST IS ON E! RIGHT NOW. They just asked if the cast is asking for raises, and David Cross responded, "Yes, we love raisins!" Just like the ep where Lindsay wants to makes beads and Gob keeps on talking about bees. God, I love them all.

Emmy's Best Dressed:
Portia De Rossi, Sharon Stone and Joelly Richardson - very classic blonde beauties
Amber Tamblyn, Debra Messing, Glenn Close, Mary Loiuse-Parker, Alia Shawkat, Cynthia Nixon, Drea De Mateo

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Random Thoughts: Cellular, Collateral, Ginger Snaps Back, Hero

Cellular - 5/10
Solid performances by an interesting cast can't save this standard thriller from being all too conventional. Kim Basinger does her best at looking scared and being highly fuckable. Chris Evans does his best at trying to save the day and being highly fuckable. The film does not run over 95 minutes, yet still feels loose for a thriller. A different director giving a tighter feel could've helped. William H. Macy is left to chew scenery in a role that while being perfect for him seems low when compared to his other work.

Collateral - 8/10
The city of L.A. comes alive in Collateral the way Lance Accord brought Tokyo alive in Lost In Translation. The film's look and feel is so good that the rest of it almost seems like a disappointment. Almost. Tom Cruise is interesting as the assassin, his movie star looks finally letting loose a lethal side. Jamie Foxx is really shaping up to be a great actor. This film provides a great foreshadowing of what he'll be like in Ray. I loved the opening with Jada Pinkett Smith and their chemistry together. I could've watched an entire film of just those two talking as they drive around LA to the fine cinematography.

Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning - 6/10
If you haven't seen any of the installments in this Canadian werewolf trilogy, you should. The first one used werewolvism (?) as a metaphor for a young girl becoming a woman. The second film was a werewolf movie crossed with Girl, Interrupted. Now comes the third: a prequel set in 1800's. You wouldn't know it considering the sisters oh-so-modern demeanor. The film isn't nearly as good or gripping as the previous installments, but it has its moments and some great gore.

Hero - 8/10
Running a short time like Celluar yet epic feeling, this martial arts saga combines human drama and romance into the mix much like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. That's almost too unfair a comparison, though. This one has a lot more action, and like Collateral is one of the most visually stunning films of the year. (Loved the fight between the two female characters.) The structure of the film could have easily made the film episodic, but its pulled off grandly and remains involving throughout.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Box Office Predictions: Sept 17-19

1. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - $25M / $25M / $100M
2. Mr. 3000 - $15M / $15M / $48M
3. Wimbledon - $12M / $12M / $38M
4. Resident Evil: Apocalypse - $9M / $38M / $46M
5. Cellular - $6.5M / $20M / $34M

oh, paul, its too bad jude doesn't know how to play tennis

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


(actually #1 by default)

On Friday, September 17, Paramount Pictures unveils the next evolution in film technology and special effects. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, originally pitched as a cross between Indiana Jones and Star Wars, creates a completely organic, yet very familiar, film world set in 1930's Manhattan. The $70 million film has been anticipated for the past couple of years by film fanatics, buzz ranking right up there with Kill Bill, The Matrix sequels and the next Star Wars. It is directed by newcomer Kerry Conran, who spent almost six years developing the film. The film stars Gwyneth Paltrow as intrepid reporter Polly Perkins who teams up with ace pilot Joseph Sullivan (Jude Law, who also produced) to find out the link between the disappearences of the world's greatest scientists and giant robots cause chaos all over the world. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was previously titled The World of Tomorrow, but the Sky Captain part was added due to a likely trilogy developing. The film costars Angelina Jolie, Bai Ling, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Gambon and Sir Laurence Olivier.

Production started in March 2003 with the actors performing all of their scenes in front of blue screen. Filming with the talent was completed just short of two months later, and thus began the year long post production process. The release date, once scheduled for May 2004 then eventually June 25, 2004 was pushed back to this Friday due to the massive special effects to be completed and to make sure the film got the media attention and audience it deserves.

The result: a geek 'gasm already earning raves from the likes of Roger Ebert, Good Morning America and The Hollywood Reporter, and a film guarenteed to seperate the movie watchers from the movie lovers.

The official site, containing several trailers and clips, is located here.

+Playing Sky Captain himself is the talented British actor Jude Law. Law is a double Oscar-nominee for the Anthony Minghella directed The Talented Mr. Ripley and Cold Mountain. You'll be seeing plenty of the charismatic Jude this fall, where he has almost half a dozen films coming out including I Heart Huckabee's and Alfie.

+Gwyneth Paltrow's classic screen beauty made her the top choice to play Polly. An Oscar-winner for Shakespeare In Love, Paltrow's resume also includes a wonderful performance in the whimsical Sliding Doors and her breakthrough performance as Brad Pitt's wife in Seven. Paltrow's next role is as Anthony Hopkins' daughter in Proof.

+Angelina Jolie is known for brassy performances, including her Oscar-winning performance in Girl, Interrupted. Jolie is ideally suited for the role of Franky Cook in Sky Captain given her previous action stint as Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider films. Jolie will next be heard in DreamWorks animated film Shark Tale, and be seen in the Doug Liman directed assassin dark comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith, co-starring Brad Pitt.

+Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow joins a long list of well received films that pay homage to an old genre, making what's old new again: Scream (1980's slasher films), Far From Heaven (1950's melodramas), Down With Love (1960's sex comedies) and Jackie Brown (1970's blaxploitation films.)

+For more stylish science fiction films, be sure to rent Gattaca which co-stars Jude Law (does this guy ever take a break?) and one of Sky Captain's obvious influences, Fritz Lang's Metropolis.

Kidman and Bewitched News.

Wow, Darren. More Nicole Kidman news? Big surprise.

Nicole Kidman will star in the next film from acclaimed director Wang Kar-Wai. The untitled film begins filming once production finishes on the currently shooting Bewitched.

Enterainment Weekly confirms that Stephen Colbert (The Daily Show) and Amy Sedaris (Strangers With Candy) have joined the cast of Bewitched. Production began earlier this month in Los Angeles. The film follows Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman) who leaves her warlock father and moves to Hollywood where she gets a role as Samantha Stephens in the big-screen version of Bewitched. Will Ferrell plays the washed-up actor who plays Darrin. Nora Ephron (You've Got Mail, Sleepless In Seattle) directs from a script she co-wrote with Adam McKay (Anchorman, Starsky and Hutch.)

Bewitched - costarring Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Steve Carrell, Jason Schwartzman, Kristen Chenoweth and Joan Plowright - opens July 8, 2005.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Cut Cursed Footage To Become.....

CURSED 2!??!?!??!?!

Yes, they're using the footage of discarded cast members - including Mandy Moore, Scott Foley and Omar Epps - to create a sequel. The ending to Cursed is being reshot now after the ending wound up on the internet moments after the film was screened in California to very positive results. Smooth move. A trailer was rumored to debut either in front of Mr. 3000 or Ladder 49, but now that's not gonna happen. It is all very confusing, and it looks like that February 25, 2005 release date is no longer solid. Meanwhile, there's a petition online (no, seriously!) demanding answers to the status of the film and its likely sequel. Go here. I assumed several hundred other people had signed it, but I was wrong. I was the very first (!!!) and you should be second! Help us find out answers so I can stop bitching about this movie, which I've been waiting for two and a half years to see.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Short Random Thoughts: Breathless, Duel, Highwaymen, Princess Diaries 2, Vanity Fair

Breathless - 9/10
Classic from Godard. LOVE Jean Seburg in this. What a beauty! Too bad she died. I loved the scenes with them in the room, very intimate and raw. GREAT ending. Loved it and one of the most famous uses of the "jump cut" method of editing.

Duel - 8/10
Steven Spielberg's made for TV movie. Works very well, and creates a tense dynamic between the terrorized family man and the truck. Doesn't bother with any details, just about the "road rage" and nothing more.

Highwaymen - 4/10
Dismal effort from Hitcher director, starring J.C. (Jim Caviezal/Jesus Christ) Obvious influenced by The Hitcher and Duel, but very much pales in comparison to both films. The villian, played by Chicago's Colm Feore, is very out of place and
campy. A great score and solid cinematography is wasted on a film that might as well have debuted on TNT.

Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement - 4/10
Dull sequel to Disney classic. Anne Hathaway is a great comedic actress and deserves better. Ella Enchanted is only slightly better (if only for some cheekiness and Hathaway's great singing voice,) but I hope Ang Lee gives her something great to do when she plays Jake Gyllenhaal's wife in Brokeback Mountain. More tepid, feel-good bullshit from Gary Marshall.

Vanity Fair - 7/10
Starts out absolutely great, but loses steam half way through and never quite regains itself. Beautiful costumes and first rate cast can't save eventual narrative problems. Everyone in the film is terrific, not a weak link among them. Reese Witherspoon, despite being quite obviously pregnant, gives a fantastic performance. Loved the Bollywood dance number. Other big problem: film takes place over the course of 20 years, but no one ages.

New Trailer: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Bridget is back, with much larger breasts.

Trailer here.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Nicole Kidman At the "Birth" Premiere; "Birth" Full Trailer

Has DKME turned into lately? Well, she's out and about. I just HAD to post these lovely pictures of the legend in the making and her gorgeous dress at the Venice premiere of her film Birth. The full trailer for the film is now available here.

Fall Is Here, Awards Buzz Kicks Into High Gear

Last week, I took down my list of the top five movies so far released this year. The beginning of September marks the arrival of fall movies, or the "quality" films. Yeah, so that first week of quality brought you Paparazzi and The Cookout and this week brings Resident Evil: Apocalypse. However, the Venice Film Festival is about to end and has already shone some light on several films that will be awarded some gold beginning in December and lasting to late February. The two most buzzed about at the moment are Finding Neverland and Kinsey, both biopics featuring outstanding actors. Variety posted its rave of Finding Neverland, and Ebert shared his love for Kinsey when he discussed the Telluride Festival. Finding Neverland, as of this writing, will most likely be next year's Best Picture winner. On the other hand, Ebert called Kinsey the best biopic since A Beautiful Mind, and the controversial topic looks pedestrian in comparison to this year's other controversial films (i.e. The Passion of the Christ and Fahrenheit 9/11.)

Buzz for my favorite category, Best Actress, has been accumulating for performances seen at the festivals: First off is Annette Benning in Being Julia, an All About Eve-esque dark comedy about a stage actress. Mike Leigh's abortion drama Vera Drake is giving actress Imelda Staunton early kudos and many are saying it is her's to lose. Finally, and my personal favorite, Birth may just help Nicole Kidman land her third Oscar nomination. The reincarnation drama is being described as Kubrick with a heart and little bit of Rosemary's Baby thrown in. So if those are three who are in, who will be the other two? Kate Winslet will be one, whether or not it is for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (most likely) or Finding Neverland (probably supporting, its Johnny's show). The other is a wild card: Uma Thurman for Kill Bill: Vol. 2? A genre film is a genre film but she's got a shot. Joan Allen in The Upside of Anger? She's having a solid year. Reese Witherspoon for Vanity Fair? Eh, probably out. Julia Roberts in Closer? Natalie will steal her thunder. Gwyneth Paltrow in Proof? Early word says it is pretty much a Lifetime TV movie. Tea Leoni in Spanglish? Normally only one comedic performance gets in, and Winslet has it locked. The one that everyone is abuzz about right now is Rachel McAdams for The Notebook. This could happen. BAFTA supposedly loved the film, and it would be a way for the older voters to award a film they loved. She's the hot young thing this year, and Paramount wants to push her along with Tina Fey's screenplay for Mean Girls. Current Best Actress Winner Prediction: One of the Brits - either Staunton or Winslet.

The first "FYC" ad was unveiled. For Your Consideration ads as you may or may not know are the ads studios design to be put in industry magazines (mainly Variety and Hollywood Reporter) to help garner attention to films they believe deserve to honored. Honors = money at the box office. The ad was for A Very Long Engagement, due in theatres in late November and co-starring Audrey Tatou and Jodie Foster. Last year, the first one was put out in mid-November. It was for Charlize Theron in Monster, and you know how that turned out.

Current Top Awards Contenders:

1. Finding Neverland
2. The Aviator
3. A Very Long Engagement
4. Closer
5. Kinsey
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
7. Alexander
8. The Motorcycle Diaries
9. Proof
10. Spanglish

Box Office Predictions: September 10 - 12

1. Resident Evil: Apocalypse - $18M / $18M / $38M
2. Cellular - $12M / $12M / $35M
3. Hero - $5.5M / $43M / $52M
4. Without a Paddle - $4.5M / $45.5M / $55M
5. Princess Diaries 2 - $4M / $90M / $100M
6. Anacondas - $3.5M / $28M / $32M
7. Paparazzi - $3.5M / $13M / $17M
8. Vanity Fair - $3.5M / $12M / $20M
9. Wicker Park - $3.5M / $11.5M / $16M
10. Collateral - $3M / $93M / $98M

darren resists obligatory 'can you hear me now?' joke

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

DVD Of September #1 - Dawn of the Dead Ultimate Edition

"When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth."

With the exception of a breathtaking opening sequence, a cool credit sequence effectively utilizing the Johnny Cash song "When the Man Comes Around", the action packed finale, and a very able Sigourney-esque Sarah Polley, 2004's remake of 1978's classic is only passable. However, it is still worth seeing. Before you check that out when it comes to DVD in late October, I give you my highest advisory to go back to the gory, satirical original.

Now available from Anchor Bay in a much deserved "Ultimate Edition," Dawn of the Dead can be viewed in three different versions for your choosing:

+The first is the U.S. Theatrical Version. It runs 127 minutes and is unrated.
+The second is the Extended Version. It is often called the director's cut, which is untrue. This version was created to play at Cannes and runs 139 minutes.
+The third is the European Version, which clocks in at 118 minutes. It skips several scenes seen in the previous versions and favors several scene extensions. It contains additional music from composer Goblin.
+In addition, the fourth disc features 2 feature length documentaries: The Dead Will Walk and Document of the Dead. The regular DVD supplements - including commentaries, marketing galleries, and minidocs - are also in abundance.

But let's not forget the reason why this film is so worth your time and money: the zombies, some of whom are blue. Actually, they all are. It is the film's only flaw. The satirical entry in George Romero's "Dead" series takes aim at consumerism as four survivors from a zombified world take refuge in a shopping mall. Outside them is everything to fear, inside is everything they could ever want. The movie addresses almost any question you may have about what it would be like to live like this and never allows holes to appear. The first film, Night of the Living Dead, is effective in its simplicity (hey, that's how horror films work best!) The third film, Day of the Dead, continues the more satirical nature explored in Dawn by poking fun at a military led team that will rid the world of the zombies. The fourth film - not called Eve of the Dead or Dusk of the Dead - is called Land of the Dead is gearing up to film in Pittsburg. Dawn remains the best of the three that have been released, both as a gruesome zombie film and a cultural allegory.

Fun fact: Gaylen Ross plays the main female character in the original. Sarah Polley shows a stunning resemblance to her in the new one, but the biggest homage in the modern day Dawn is that one of the stores in the mall is named Gaylen Ross. It actually sounds a lot like a department store you might visit.

(Yes, there are now two DVD's of the month: one a new release of a catelog film, one a release of a recent theatrical release. This month's other DVD recommendation will be announced in less than two weeks. And no! It is not a certain potential awards juggernaut, great romance with equal parts thriller, sci-fi, drama, comedy and fantasy thrown in.)

Monday, September 06, 2004

Am I Dreaming?

Steven Spielberg confirms that his next film after War of The Worlds will be The Rivals, a musical starring Nicole Kidman and Gwyneth Paltrow. Production begins second quarter 2005.

In the meantime, Kidman arrived at the Venice Film Festival where her latest film Birth is screening. The president of the festival has already stated that Kidman is a lock to take home Best Actress at the festival.

Ebert Gave ** To the Original Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

You can find that and more stuff at his newly available, filled with archived reviews and interviews from America's favorite film critic.


Your first look at Scream 4: Now With Werewolves...

Absolutely perfect. It makes me nostalgic for Scream.
Howabout this for a tagline on the final one-sheet:
On February 25th, a bad moon is on the rise.

Thursday, September 02, 2004


According to Variety, Wes Craven has nabbed the leads for his next film Red Eye which begins filming November 8: Cillian Murphy and Rachel McAdams. Yes, that is right! Those two were both on MY It List this past summer. Red Eye follows a woman who is held captive on an airplane by a man who will kill her father if she does not help him with the assassination of a businessman. Sounds a bit like the Johnny Depp thriller Nick of Time. 2005 is shaping up to be a gangbuster year with the now fixed Cursed being released on Feb. 25 and Red Eye should be ready for Summer. In case you don't remember, Murphy starred in three of the best films of 2003 (28 Days Later, Cold Mountain, Girl With a Pearl Earring) and McAdams starred in one of the best teen movies, like, ever: Mean Girls.

RNC got ya down?

"Pop culture is the politics of the 21st century." -Scream 3

I'm sick of people bashing celebrities for speaking their mind. I know what you're thinking: Wow! Darren, being the big celebrity whore that he is, is speaking up for celebs. Why should I? After all, they are ALL "spoiled, liberal Hollywood types." Then again, they are also artists, and it is the artist's responsiblity to use and reflect upon current events. Here's a list of those spoiled, rich bastards (read: better than you) who do not support tonight's big speaker at the RNC, and are actively pushing John Kerry to be president:

Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba, Alan Alda, Robert Altman, Gillian Anderson, Jennifer Aniston, Ed Asner, Lauren Bacall, Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, Drew Barrymore, Kim Basinger, The Beastie Boys, Maria Bello, Sandra Bernhard, Jack Black, Jon Bon Jovi, Kate Bosworth, Christie Brinkley, Matthew Broderick, Gabriel Byrne, Ellen Burstyn, George Carlin, Stockard Channing, Ben Chaplin, Chevy Chase, Don Cheadle, Cher, Margaret Cho, George Clooney, Glenn Close, Paula Cole, Sean Combs, Chris Cooper, Wes Craven, Sheryl Crow, Billy Crystal, Maculay Culkin, Joan Cusack, John Cusack, Tyne Daley, Carson Daly, Matt Damon, Rosario Dawson, Ellen Degeneres, Jonathan Demme, Robert De Niro, Johnny Depp, Danny DeVito, Neil Diamond, Leondardo DiCaprio, Ani Di'Franco, The Dixie Chicks, Michael Douglas, Richard Dreyfuss, David Duchovny, Charles S. Dutton, Roger Ebert, Cary Elwes, Mia Farrow, Tina Fey, Laurence Fishburne, Calista Flockhart, Jane Fonda, Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster, Al Franken, Janeane Garafolo, Melissa George, Richard Gere, Sara Gilbert, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Woody Harrelson, Ed Harris, Ethan Hawke, Marg Helgenberger, Lauryn Hill, Dustin Hoffman, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Kate Hudson, Helen Hunt, Anjelica Huston, Chrissie Hynde, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Spike Jonze, Casey Kasem, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Heath Ledger, Spike Lee, John Leguizamo, Tea Leoni, Barry Levinson, Doug Liman, Laura Linney, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kelly Lynch, Amy Madigan, Madonna, Bill Maher, Wendy Malick, Cameryn Manheim, Chris Martin, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Eva Mendes, Mike Meyers, Bette Midler, Moby, Gretchen Mol, Demi Moore, Julianne Moore, Mandy Moore, Michael Moore, Viggo Mortensen, Liam Neeson, Willie Nelson, Paul Newman, Edward Norton, Chris Noth, Rosie O'Donnell, Ed O'Neil, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Pearl Jam, Sean Penn, Rhea Perlman, Matthew Perry, Pink, Sarah Polley, Natalie Portman, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Redford, Christopher Reeve, Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner, REM, Christina Ricci, Julia Roberts, Chris Rock, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Sarsgaard, John Sayles, Liev Schreiber, Martin Scorsese, Chloe Sevigny, Tony Shaloub, Molly Shannon, Martin Sheen, Kevin Smith, Leelee Sobieski, Kevin Spacey, Steven Spielberg, Jerry Springer, Bruce Springsteen, Julia Stiles, Michael Stipe, Oliver Stone, Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand, Amber Tamblyn, Charlize Theron, Uma Thurman, Lily Tomlin, John Turturro, Gus Van Sant, Mark Wahlberg, Estella Warren, Harvey Weinstein, Robin Williams, Elijah name just a few.

Some of these people can't actually vote because they aren't US citizens, but it gives you an idea of who is making a statement. Don't worry! This is probably my sole political blog entry. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Summer 2004 Box-Office Rundown

we're #1! we're #1! we're #1

1. Shrek 2 - $438M
2. Spider-Man 2 - $375M
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - $248M
4. The Day After Tomorrow - $187M
5. The Bourne Supremacy - $170M
6. I, Robot - $144M
7. Troy - $134M
8. Van Helsing - $120M
9. Fahrenheit 9/11 - $119M
10. The Village - $115M
11. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story - $114M
12. Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement - $102M
13. Collateral - $100M
14. Anchorman: Legend of Ron Burgundy - $85M
15. Alien Vs. Predator - $82M
16. The Notebook - $80M
17. The Terminal - $78M
18. Garfield - $75M
19. White Chicks - $70M
20. The Manchurian Candidate - $64M
21. The Stepford Wives - $60M
22. The Chronicles of Riddick - $58M
23. King Arthur - $52M
24. A Cinderella Story - $51M
25. Hero - $50M

Most total grosses are projected finals.