Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Sin City Weekend Box Office Predictions

1. Sin City
Predicted 3-day: $26 million
Predicted Final Gross: $75 million

2. Beauty Shop - $14m / $18m / $40m
3. Guess Who - $12m / $41m / $70m
4. Miss Congeniality 2 - $7.5m / $31m / $44m
5. Robots - $7m / $101.5m / $120m
6. The Ring Two - $6m / $69m / $80m
7. The Pacifier - $5m / $95m / $105m
8. The Upside of Anger - $3.5m / $8m / $24m
9. Hitch - $3m / $171m / $178m
10. Hostage - $2.5m / $30m / $34m

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

MTV Movie Award Predictions

So I was really, REALLY bored at work the other night....

These are typically announced whenever in April. Its about the most random award show. They don't even stick to the same categories every year and occasionally introduce something new like "Best Trans-Atlantic Performance" or "Best Cameo" then forget it the next year. The actually show is just plain bad of late, but its fun to predict. Predicted Winners in Bold.

Best Movie:
Collateral - The Incredibles - Kill Bill: Vol.2 - Mean Girls - Spider-Man 2
Alt: The Bourne Supremacy

Best Male Performance:
Jim Carrey - Eternal Sunshine
Matt Damon - The Bourne Supremacy
Leonardo Dicaprio - The Aviator
Jamie Foxx - Ray
Will Smith - Hitch
Alt: Tom Cruise - Collateral

Best Female Performance:
Jennifer Garner - 13 Going on 30
Lindsay Lohan - Mean Girls
Hilary Swank - Million Dollar Baby
Uma Thurman - Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Kate Winslet - Eternal Sunshine
Alt: Natalie Portman - Closer

Breakthrough Male Performance:
Zach Braff - Garden State
Chris Evans - Cellular
Ryan Gosling - The Notebook
Topher Grace - In Good Company
John Heder - Napoleon Dynamite
Alt: Lucas Black - Friday Night Lights

Breakthrough Female Performance:
Elisha Cuthbert - The Girl Next Door
Bryce Dallas Howard - The Village
Diane Kruger - Troy
Rachel McAdams - The Notebook
Emmy Rossum - The Phantom of the Opera
Alt: Jacinda Barrett - Ladder 49

Best Villain:
David Carradine - Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Jim Carrey - Lemony Snicket
Tom Cruise - Collateral
Daryl Hannah - Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Alfred Molina - Spider-Man 2
Alt: George W. Bush - Fahrenheit 9/11

Best On-Screen Team:
Tom Cruise & Jamie Foxx - Collateral
Kal Penn and John Cho - Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle
Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas - Shrek 2
Jim Carrey & Kate Winslet - Eternal Sunshine
Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro - Meet the Fockers
Alt: Paul Giamatti & Thomas Haden Church - Sideways

Best Action Sequence:
The Aviator
The Bourne Supremacy
The Day After Tomorrow
Spider-Man 2
Alt: Sky Captain

Best Kiss:
Garden State
The Notebook
Spider-Man 2
Alternate: Sky Captain

Best Comedic Performance:
Jim Carrey - Lemony Snicket
Will Ferrell - Anchorman
Jennifer Garner - 13 Going on 30
Kevin James - Hitch
Ben Stiller - Random Shitty Movie
Alt: John Heder - Napoleon Dynamite

Best Fight Sequence:
Alien Vs. Predator
Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Million Dollar Baby
Napoleon Dynamite
Alt: The Bourne Supremacy

Best Musical Sequence:
13 Going on 30
Mean Girls
Napoleon Dynamite
Team America
Alt: Shall We Dance

New Trailer: Domino

Co-starring Sin City's Mickey Rourke, you'll most likely see this trailer attached to prints of that film this weekend. Keira Knightley stars as the title character, daugther of The Manchurian Candidate actor Laurence Harvey. This looks like wicked fun. Enjoy!

Trailer here.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Countdown to Sin City: Alexis Bledel Day!

The countdown to Sin City kicks off with Alexis Bledel day! Who is Alexis Bledel? Just some chick with a koolkat name?

"We hate her. We hate her more than the know-it-all daughter on the Gilmore Girls." -Will and Grace.

I can't agree with their viewpoint of the character of Rory on Gilmore Girls, but she certainly does know a lot. Bledel brings a cool and collected wit - though very bad taste in men: Logan, girl, really? - to the character of the series now in its 5th year. She perfectly collides with Lauren Graham's pop tarty Lorelai. Bledel has the role of Becky in Sin City, and early reviews say she meets a graphic demise. No matter how much I love Rory, I can't wait to see just how game Bledel is for Robert Rogriguez's shenanigans. Having already appeared in February's Bride and Prejudice, Bledel will costar with Real Women Have Curves' America Ferrera and Joan of Arcadia's Amber Tamblyn in Warner Bros.' very cute looking The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, due in June. I saw this trailer and it heightened my hopes for the film. I'll keep it in check because for the past three summers I've been burned by these girly adaptations (How to Deal, Princess Diaries, Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood.)

Pants Trailer here.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

TV Time!

I only watch a few current series. The rest of my TV time is syndication. Current "appointment tv" includes Alias, Arrested Development, Desperate Housewives, Saturday Night Live, Gilmore Girls and Will and Grace.

Anyways, in the past couple of days I've checked out two new series: The Office and Grey's Anatomy. I thought The Office was pretty funny and will continue to check it out. The majority of my friends are fans of the original British series and its star Ricky Gervais (a guest star on Alias last season.) I think it brilliantly captures the awkwardness of the workplace, something anyone can appreciate no matter what your workplace might be. A lot of the buzz regarding the show relates to star Steve Carell of The Daily Show. For my money, the series standout was the actress who plays the character Pam. She had that perfect dazed look of "what the fuck have I done with my life to deserve to work here?" The pilot episode that aired Thursday is supposed to be the weakest of the the batch of episodes that have been screened for the media. Many have stated the 2nd and 3rd episodes drift away heavily from the original series and the show becomes its own creation.

Grey's Anatomy was equally good. Think of it as E.R. minus the occasional over the top drama, then add the sweetness of Scrubs (subtract the wacky humor of that series, though.) Some of it was very cliched and predictable, mainly the story of the young doctor telling the family everything was going to be okay. My interest in this show began when I found out the interesting cast: Sandra Oh, Ellen Pompeo - an almost dead ringer for Renee Zellweger and even a s light hint of Meg Ryan, and Scream trilogy alumni Patrick Dempsay. Oh brought in her standard no bullshit character, the kind she plays wonderfully. Pompeo is the lead and is very sweet and relatable. The pilot saw the hectic first 48 hours in the lives of a group of a surgical interns at a Seattle (SEATTLE?!?! BONUS!) hospitol. The pacing of this show was a lot tighter than that of Desperate Housewives. To cap it all off, there were numerous musical montages, a standard of the hourlong and a personal favorite of mine. The final moment which brought in a slight twist for our perspective of the main character really tied everything together nicely.

For the first episodes of these series, I'll give them both B's. I'll continue to watch even if I remain slightly pessimistic about both's longevity. (Then again, I thought no one would watch Desperate Housewives.)

Craven Talks 'Cursed' & 'Red Eye'

From the New York Post:

Wes Craven, the genius behind teen cult horror classics such as "Scream" and "Nightmare on Elm Street," is giving away some scare tactics.
As executive producer of the third installation of "Project Greenlight," the critically acclaimed director exhibits his chilling craft to a starving filmmaker, who is given the opportunity to create his own movie, titled "Feast."

"I was a big fan of the show," Craven told The Post. "It's great drama and I thought it would be fun to do." While Craven was filming last month's depressingly unsuccessful werewolf movie "Cursed," Miramax's Bob Weinstein approached him about doing the TV show, which also stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as executive producers.

"They had moved it over into a genre film, the horror section, and that's my territory, and the request was made, and I said sure," Craven says. "I love what the show is ... giving someone a chance."

Q:When you directed your first film, "Last House on the Left," it was just luck, right?

A:I was working for Sean Cunningham, who eventually did "Friday the 13th." At that time, he was a guy in a little office in New York and I was just a guy who had just quit teaching and we were the same age, and we became friends. After that, the people who were financing him said, "We'd like something scary now." So Sean said, "Hey, you said you'd like to direct. Why don't you go write something scary and if they like it, you can direct it, too." We figured we could pocket $10,000 between us. As it turned out, they loved the script and they gave us another $40,000.

Q:You made people faint with that movie ...

A:It was scary. We kept hearing reports of people fainting and fistfights and people trying to get into projection booths to confiscate the print. And prints would come back in all sorts of pieces. Certain theater owners would get in there and rip out certain sections.

Q:Why would they do that?

A:I think it deeply upset people, and they thought it had gone too far. There is a reality that is quite shocking and it was quite subversive in that we intentionally went beyond where everyone thought we would stop. The theory is that that's the way real violence is. You don't get to look away.

Q:Then you created the same buzz with "Nightmare on Elm Street."

A:It's getting harder to do. The tone in the country is so much toward severe censorship and connecting blame to it that all the studios are running scared and asking for PG-13, which is a royal pain in the butt, frankly.

Q:Is that what happened with "Cursed?"

A:I'm very disappointed with "Cursed." The contract called for us to make an R-rated film. We did. It was a very difficult process. Then it was basically taken away from us and cut to PG-13 and ruined. It was two years of very difficult work and almost 100 days of shooting of various versions. Then at the very end, it was chopped up and the studio thought they could make more with a PG-13 movie, and trashed it. We were writing while we were shooting. It wasn't ready to film. We rewrote, recast and had two major reshoots. It went on and on and on.

Q:Maybe it was the name.

A:After a while, I regretted it was called "Cursed" because it was "Cursed." It was just chopped up, and it was awful. I thought it was completely disrespectful, and it hurt them (the studio) too, and it was like they shot themselves in the foot with a shotgun. Not a nice thing.

Q:Was the movie "Feast" in Project Greenlight difficult to pull off?

A:Incredibly. The original script was 21 speaking roles, 14 monsters and special effects, and compared with "Last House on the Left," which was like four people in the woods, it was very difficult. When we walked out of the room, someone said, "I think maybe we've all gotten our revenge on Bob Weinstein."

Q:How was the outcome?

A:It went along pretty smoothly. I think it's a good job. It's the thing the core audience really loves, which is a take-it-to-the-limit blood-and-guts film with a funny style.

Q:Would you have picked a different script than "Feast?"

A:I liked a script in the final running called "Wildcard," which I thought was much more sophisticated. It was one of the submissions, I bought the rights to it and I'm working with the author himself.

Q:You said the "Feast" script required a lot of work.

A:It was just all over the place. It had no real center. It was a series of random events, and the monsters weren't real. When it was the day to shoot any given sequence, the director would have to come up with very difficult solutions to how someone was going to fly around the room. I suppose writers write that way, and they don't have to worry about cost. But certainly [the director] was going to have his plate full.

Q:What was it like working with Ben and Matt?

A:They were a pleasure. They were very funny and extremely smart. Ben would be driving the bus and making jokes and he was up on everything. He did his homework and he was really good. He's an interesting and very gracious guy.

Q:How hands-on were you?

A:Not that. I was there for all the meetings and choosing. I had dinner with [the director], I spoke to him a few times. But I was in the middle of my own war on "Cursed."

Q:So you're still learning, even though you're such a huge icon.

A:It's counting for less and less, I must say. The icon thing doesn't guarantee you any sort of protection. Ultimately, the bottom line is so severe, that they will always go for the bottom line.

Q:Your next movie, "Red-Eye," is a psychological drama about a plane flight that goes awry. What intrigued you about it?

A:It's a script from a young writer named Carl Ellsworth. DreamWorks bought the script. After two years of trying to make a script work, this was a nice thing. It was doable.

Q::Can we expect another big blockbuster from Wes Craven?

A:We screened it two days ago, and everyone loved it. We had tears in our eyes. "Cursed" was so painful, and here was this film that delivered. The performances are great, and it moves along like a bat out of hell and just makes you laugh and cry and jump.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Cinderella Man & Bewitched Trailer

Personally, Bewitched looks fun. Lots of people thinks it looks awful. Kidman's nose twitching skills are questionable, but this very much looks to be Will's show. I do have a problem with the trailer not showing enough of the supporting cast (Shirley Maclaine, the 2 Daily Show guys, Amy Sedaris, and Kristen Chenoweth to name a few.)

I haven't yet watched the new Cinderella Man, but the first one had to be the most Oscar-baiting trailer since Seabiscuit.

Bewitched: Go here.

Cinderella Man: Go here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Box Office Predictions: Mar. 25 - 27

1. Guess Who - $22m / $22m / $72m
2. Miss Congeniality 2 - $17m / $20m / $52m
3. Robots - $14m / $86m / $124m
4. The Ring Two - $13.5m / $55m / $78m
5. The Pacifier - $7.5m / $83m / $105m
6. Hitch - $4.5m / $165.5m / $176m
7. Ice Princess - $4m / $12.5m / $18m
8. Hostage - $3.5m / $25m / $30m
9. Be Cool - $3m / $52m / $55m
10. Million Dollar Baby - $2.5m / $93.5m / $98m

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Spider-Man 3 Gets Church'd

Oscar nominee Thomas Haden Church has signed on to play the to be announced villain in the upcoming Spider-Man 3. Does this mean that whole Chloe Sevigny thing was just gossip or is there going to be two villains. I hope two! Church and Sevigny together would rock.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

"Thomas Haden Church, who was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor in Sideways, has been cast as Spidey's new archenemy in the next chapter of the Spider-Man franchise. Director Sam Raimi made the annoncement Monday along with producers Laura Ziskin and Marvel Studios' Avi Arad.

Spider-Man 3, which is scheduled for release May 4, 2007, will reunite the team that was responsible for the first two blockbuster films, which combined to gross more than $1.5 billion in worldwide ticket sales. The new film will again star Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and Kirsten Dunst is expected to reprise her role as Mary Jane Watson. Production on Spider-Man 3 is scheduled to begin early next year.

"In addition to the ongoing relationship between Peter Parker and M.J., these films are driven by the great actors who have brought our villains to life," Raimi said. "Thomas Haden Church will be a fantastic and challenging new nemesis, and we all look forward to working with him."

The filmmakers are not revealing the identity of the new villain."

No mention of Wings in the article. He's finally moved on. Good for him. Somewhere, Crystal Bernard is kicking herself.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Cammie D Returns To SNL!

Cameron Diaz will host Saturday Night Live on April 9th with musical guest Green Day. This promises to be the high point of the season. Both of Diaz's previous hosting stints - Sept. 98 & Apr. 02, respectively - were easily two of the best episodes of the past decade. The former showcased the Roxbury guys, an Oprah sketch, a Ladies' Man sketch, and my personal favorite: Jingleheimer Junction! The later had Diaz introducing her AC (Ass Coordinator) in the monologue and later featured a sketch where Cammie and Maya played sping breakers with some rather interesting dance moves. The episode, which was the first to follow the 2002 Oscars, had a hilarious parody of that event complete with odd Cirque De Sole dancers and Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer portraying Donald Sutherland and Glenn Close. Diaz was obviously planning to promote In Her Shoes when she agreed to host on this date, but that film was bumped back to October. So Diaz will just be there to enliven an increasingly dour season and be her fantabulous self, sweet ass and all. The actress is a natural comedienne if there ever was one and fits in perfectly.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Random Thoughts: Ring Two; Red Eye Trailer & Others; More Fog Casting!

The teaser (of sorts) trailer for Wes Craven's Red Eye is here. At first I thought this trailer was giving a lot away. As it turns out, it really doesn't give anything away and seems to be setting up a red herring. The plotline is very similar to Nick of Time, the 1995 Johnny Depp thriller. Cillian Murphy, looking scary and sexy, is not some kind of monster as the trailer seems to suggest. Rachel McAdams, looking sexy and sexier, is in the same plight as Depp's character in Time. (Brian Cox costars, which I did not know until seeing this.) Showing that Craven directed Scream and A Nightmare on Elm Street adds to the misdirection. Regardless, this is effective and well worth the download.

Trailer here.

Two more trailers you can catch with The Ring Two: The Island and War of the Worlds.
Both are new. The Island is a pretty decent trailer until you realized the movie its advertising is directed by super assclown Michael Bay. The trailer happily shows its from the director of Pearl Harbor and Armageddon. However, the cast - including Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Honsou, Sean Bean and Steve Buscemi - receive zero billing. Bad move. War of the Worlds is the extended super bowl spot and it is great. I guess they are keeping the aliens top secret. Will it be revealed in the end that the aliens are Jodie Foster's father, too? Only time will tell...


Is this some kind of horror movie for Dr. Freud? While the mother-son/adandomnent issues were enjoyed by myself, I'm not sure most of the audience would care. The film's biggest problem, however, is that it seems to go nowhere. Scenes work and produce effective chills, but there's a big sense of "so what?" The first film built and built to a satisfying climax, whereas this one just kind of drones along. Its given a great finish complete with the tough Miss Watts perfectly executing what can only be described as the ultimate great bad movie line.

The interesting thing this sequel does is abandon the entire videotape angle completely. Makes sense. Who watches VHS anymore anyway? There's no phone calls with that foreboding "seven days." I enjoyed the way the sequel kept the characters first. The movie begins similarly to the first with Samara upping the body count. (Everwood's Emily VanCamp is witness, replacing Joan of Arcadia's Amber Tamblyn from the first. Alexis Bledel, watch your back.)

I do have to say that whole deer scene was probably the freakiest scene any movie has produced since, well, the horse scene in The Ring. Elizabeth Perkins has a creepy cameo topped moments later by Sissy Spacek's as Samara's mother. Simon Baker doesn't fare as well as Martin Henderson from the first film, though let's hope the Aussie dude kicks ass in the upcoming Land of the Dead. I'll see this again, of course, but I doubt it will have as much endurance as its predecessor.

(Sidenote: I love Oregon. This is gorgeous. I want to live in the town in this movie.)

Speaking of....

Selma Blair has been cast in the Adrienne Barbeau role for The Fog remake. I love Selma, but I don't know how she'll work in this part. The whole aspect of the original Fog that I loved was the deejay overlooking the events. I hope its handled well in the remake. "Look out into the fog..."

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Ring Two week continues: Skeleton Key first look; Box Office Predictions

My review should be up late tomorrow night.

In the meantime, Naomi's Le Divorce costar Kate Hudson is getting her own chiller: The Skeleton Key. Set in gothic New Orleans, the film costars Peter Sarsgaard, Gena Rowlands and John Hurt and is from director Iain Softley (K-Pax, The Wings of the Dove.) Is it just me or has the marketing for horror movies become the best of any genre of film? Anywho, the movie's release date is now July 8th. I'm getting a summer sleeper vibe from it. I like when trailers give me vibes. *wink wink* Wait, that sounded dirty.

Trailer here.

Website here.

Here's my box-office predictions for the weekend:
1. The Ring Two - $45m / $45m / $125m
2. Robots - $24m / $69m / $130m
3. The Pacifier - $11.5m / $71m / $105m
4. Ice Princess - $8m / $8m / $25m
5. Hostage - $6m / $20m / $30m
6. Hitch - $5.5m / $158.5m / $175m
7. Be Cool - $5m / $46m / $54m
8. Million Dollar Baby - $3m / $89m / $98m
9. Diary of a Mad Black Woman - $2.5m / $48m / $52m
10. Constantine - $2m / $70m / $73m

where do former tv stars go? TO THE ICE!!!!

Superheroine News...

+Joss Whedon, creator of TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, will write and direct Warner Bros. upcoming Wonder Woman. The part has not yet been cast. I wonder who will play that woman. Get ready for weeks and weeks of speculation. Jennifer Connelly and Sandra Bullock were at one point rumored to be Warner's top choices but this project has been in development forever.

+According to, Oscar nominee, fashionista and Nicole Kidman galpal Chloe Sevigny is after a part in Spider-Man 3:

"The New York Daily News spoke to Chloë Sevigny (Melinda and Melinda, American Psycho) who says she's trying to land a role in Spider-Man 3.

"I'd love to be in Spider-Man 3!" Sevigny says. "There's a villain in it who's a blond, buxom girl, and I'm trying to get it!"

She adds, "That [may] surprise people, since actors are always thought of as their last film or who they were. I think I'll always be drawn to films more difficult to watch, but I don't want to be a snobby cinephile."

Could we see Spidey facing Black Cat in the third film? It's not confirmed, but this is definitely interesting."

Good for her. As long as she stays away from performing oral sex on Peter Parker, she'll do good. Look what Dawn of the Dead did for Sarah Polley! Well, not really much, but she was fun in the film.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

In honor of Ring Two's lovely leading lady: The Naomi Watts Drinking Game

I found this at the forums of RottenTomatoes. I know a certain someone who should get a kick out of this. My favorites are in bold.

The Naomi Watts Drinking Game:

Rent The Ring, Mulholland Drive, 21 Grams, I Heart Huckabee's, Le Divorce, Ned Kelly, or We Don't Live Here Anymore.

Take a drink everytime Naomi...

- looks worried
- looks uncomfortable
- looks concerned
- looks askance
- looks embarrassed
- looks puzzled
- looks perky
- looks cute
- looks blonde
- looks really blonde
- looks like Alfred Hitchcock would have had a field day with her
- looks like David Lynch had a field day with her
- shudders for no good reason
- shudders for a reasonably good reason
- shudders for a damn excellent reason
- blinks twice
- weeps inconsolably
- descends into a suicidal depression leading to paranoid delusions and psychotic hallucinations

- turns pink
- turns red
- turns purple
- turns green, complete with mould
- looks at another actor as if they just asked her if she'd like to swallow a goldfish
- looks like she just swallowed a goldfish

- engages her dimples
- engages her dimples, hard
- blinds other actors in the scene with her luminous, radioactive teeth
- throws herself at the nearest unsavoury, leathery guy
- looks like the last person you would hand a carving knife to
- exhibits good posture
- gets tastefully semi-naked
- makes you wonder if you really want to see her fully-naked
- has sex with a man
- has sex with a woman
- has sex with herself
- makes coffee
- drinks coffee
- drinks anything other than coffee
- seems to be eating without really actually eating
- reminds you of that pesky kid in 3rd grade who stole your crayons
- answers a telephone with foreboding
- approaches a door with foreboding
- opens a door with foreboding
- opens a letter with foreboding

- speaks with an Australian accent
- speaks with anything but an Australian accent
- breaks up with that younger Australian guy
- makes up with that younger Australian guy
- breaks up with that younger Australian guy, again

- sounds like Nicole Kidman's kid sister
- looks like Nicole Kidman's kid sister
- makes you wonder if she and Nicole Kidman ever, like, made out
- makes you wonder if she and Tom Cruise ever, like, made out
- makes you wonder if she and Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise ever, like, made out

-makes you wonder if Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise ever, like, made out
- makes you wonder if her mother and Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour ever made out
- looks like she needs a B12 injection
- does anything Oscar-baiting in a scene
- shoots herself in the head

Call paramedics five minutes into film.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Another reason to see The Ring Two on Friday...'ll get your first look at Wes Craven's thriller Red Eye. Starring Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy, the trailer will be attached to all prints of The Ring Two. Pitched as "terror at 30,000 feet," its one of two dueling projects this year about a woman in peril on a plane. The other, Flight Plan, stars Jodie Foster and Peter Sarsgaard and is due fourth quarter. Red Eye is due in theatres August 5.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Countdown to The Ring Two

THE RING TWO - In Theatres March 18th.

Academy Award® nominee Naomi Watts (21 Grams) reprises the role of investigative reporter Rachel Keller in The Ring Two, the sequel to the 2002 horror hit The Ring. Hideo Nakata, the director of the original Japanese blockbuster Ringu upon which The Ring was based, directed The Ring Two, which marks his American film debut.

The story picks up six months after the horrifying events that terrorized Rachel Keller and her son Aidan (David Dorfman) in Seattle. To escape her haunting memories, Rachel takes Aidan and moves to the small coastal community of Astoria, Oregon, to start fresh. However, Rachel’s resolve quickly turns to dread when evidence at a local crime scene—including an unmarked videotape—seems eerily familiar. Rachel realizes that the vengeful Samara is back and more determined than ever to continue her relentless cycle of terror and death.

The Ring Two is produced by Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, who also produced The Ring. Also returning from The Ring is screenwriter Ehren Kruger. The executive producers are Mike Macari, Roy Lee, Neil Machlis and Michele Weisler.

Joining Naomi Watts and David Dorfman in the cast are Simon Baker (TV’s The Guardian), Elizabeth Perkins (Speak) and Academy Award® winner Sissy Spacek (Coal Miner’s Daughter, Carrie). -- © DreamWorks Pictures

Read Production Notes on The Ring Two here.

View the film's official website here.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Box Office Predictions: Mar. 11 - 13

1. Robots - $44m / $44m / $165m
2. The Pacifier - $17m / $53m / $94m
3. Be Cool - $11m / $39m / $60m
4. Hostage - $10m / $10m / $30m
5. Hitch - $7.5m / $148.5m / $170m
6. Million Dollar Baby - $6m / $85m / $102m
7. Diary of a Mad Black Woman - $5.5m / $44.5m / $55m
8. The Passion Recut - $4.5m / $4.5m / $15m
9. Constantine - $3m / $65.5m / $72m
10. Because of Winn Dixie - $2m / $29.5m / $34m

'Brokeback' star Faris joins 'SM4'

Anna Faris, star of May, Lost In Translation and the upcoming Brokeback Mountain, has signed on to star in Scary Movie 4. Poor girl. She is so talented. She made me laugh hard in all three Scary Movies. But really: give it up. She is much better than this. Faris has several other movies coming out this year including the aforementioned Mountain where she plays a character named Jemima. Does she make pancakes or something? We just figured out who E.R.'s Linda Cardallini was playing, so I guess we'll have to wait. If you haven't seen May, I highly suggest it. Faris plays a bisexual vixen and looks damn smokin' in the film.

In the meantime, the MPAA has announced its rating for Brokeback Mountain and its quite interesting:

NC-17 for graphic depictions of dysfunctional relationships, a gruesome cow slaughtering and intense swearing and smoking.

No. That's a lie.

Rated R for sexuality, nudity, language and some violence.

The MPAA has seen the film. BASTARDS! We have to wait 9 months. Maybe I can score some Cannes tickets. Hmm...

Thursday, March 10, 2005

78th Oscars Predictions

Why year in advance predictions? Because its fun. It helps me keep my mind occupied during the doldrums of the post Oscar months. Actually, there are several films being released in the next few weeks I'm looking forward to seeing. Sin City and The Ring Two were on my top 10 most anticipated for the year making them top priority. In addition, I'm looking forward to Danny Boyle's Millions, Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda and The Upside of Anger which is currently garnering great reviews for Joan Allen. The Interpreter opens in late April, and despite mixed early word, I'm still anticipating it for obvious reasons. On to the predictions and commentary...

Last year, I didn't make any official predictions and I regreted it. I do remember however having rough drafts with following predictions turning out to be correct:
Picture - Aviator & Finding Neverland
Actor - Dicaprio & Depp
Actress - Winslet & Bening
Supp. Actor - Owen & Freeman (but for An Unfinished Life)
Supp. Actress - Blanchett & Portman
Director - Scorsese
Screenplay - Eternal Sunshine
Typically, you get about 1 per category correct.

I'm leaving off the Untitled Steven Spielberg-Munich Project/Vengeance film. This is scheduled to begin production within days of War of the Worlds release, and the release date is currently late December. I have a strong feeling it will be bumped to 2006. Also missing from the below predictions are the dueling Truman Capote projects: Capote and Every Word is True. Capote stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Capote and Catherine Keener as Harper Lee. I originally had them in predictions, but took both out. This seems to be the smaller of the two and could easily be out one minute and forgotten the next. Every Word Is True began filming in February and is penciled in for a November release. I think the chance of it making this year is 50-50. If either of these films is strong enough to play a part in this year's Oscar race, it will be EWIT. Have you seen the IMDB cast listing for this baby? Sandra Bullock (as Harper), Toby Jones (as Capote), Kevin Kline, Alan Cumming, Meg Ryan, Hope Davis, Anjelica Huston, Jeff Daniels, Isabella Rossellini, Daniel Craig, Ashley Judd and Sigourney Weaver. Yeah, I don't think that's all accurate. Gwyneth Paltrow will also appear in a small cameo - though she'll get paid more than almost everyone else in the cast - as singer Peggy Lee singing "This Thing Called Love." Directed by Douglas McGrath (Emma, Nicholas Nickleby), the cinematography is by the same guy who was the D.P. on Amelie and A Very Long Engagement. Even if the film sucks, it'll be visually stunning. I'm not jumping on it just yet.

Speaking of Miss Paltrow, I've left off Proof as well as Miramax's other potential contender An Unfinished Life. The studio will be finished by the time of next year's Oscars. Even if decent films, they won't get the push they probably deserve. Buzz on both, though, is mixed at best.

Next up: Untitled Niki Caro Project formerly known as Class Action. Charlize Theron stars in this fictionalized account of the first sexual harassment lawsuit, set in a small mining community in the midwest. Sissy Spacek, Frances McDormand, Sean Bean and Woody Harrelson. The film also has a two-time Oscar winning cinematographer. Production began a week before this year's Oscar ceremony and the film is scheduled for release October 7. I think it will make it. This film should join the ranks of film's like Silkwood, Norma Rae and Erin Brockovich and get several nominations, but due to tough competition and potential delays, I only have it on for one category.

I don't have many awards going to the two big epics of the year: Kingdom of Heaven and The New World. Both will be visually stunning, no doubt. But there's so many big films in competition that it will either be one or none. I've left them both out. Word on Kingdom of Heaven is great, so I'd give that the edge. But can another Scott epic get in so close to Gladiator? Perhaps...

There's typically one film that comes out of nowhere to become a Best Picture nominee: Lost In Translation, Sideways, The Full Monty. This explains why you can only really be confident in (at most) 4 of your 5 predictions. I'm not going to bother picking the surprise. The battle for the "light" studio Best Picture nomination is between Elizabethtown and In Her Shoes. Both are dramadies, should have box office clout, and have strong casts featuring never nominated up and comers as well as at least two Oscar veterans. Elizabethtown has a great script, while Shoes has great test screening reactions. Scroll down to see who I gave it to.

Rent Vs. The Producers? Neither. I don't see either of these factoring in, but there is buzz on Uma Thurman (as Ula in Producers) for a supporting actress nomination slash makeup award for that whole "sorry for no Kill Bill noms."

Finally, the two films that make this year's Oscar race exciting: Memoirs of a Geisha and Brokeback Mountain. These are originals as far as potential is concerned. With the ironic exception of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, there really hasn't been many eastern influenced films to be noticed. In fact, can you even name an Asian actor who has an Oscar? Brokeback Mountain could be the first gay love story to play against the big boys (in a nonsexual way, mind you) for Oscar glory. Oh, and how perfect is this: Memoirs is from a gay, white director, featuring actors playing Japanese characters, and hardly anyone associated with the film is Japanese. Brokeback is from a straight, Taiwanese director, featuring actors playing gay characters, and no one invovled is gay. This will affect Geisha more than Brokeback. Both films should be successful with their niche audiences.

This is all in fun. Enjoy!

Art Direction:
Ask the Dust
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Cinderella Man
Kong: The 8th World Wonder
Memoirs of a Geisha

Brokeback Mountain - Rodrigo Pietro
Jarhead - Roger Deakins
Kingdom of Heaven - John Mathieson
Memoirs of a Geisha - Dion Beebe
The New World - Emmanuel Lubezki

Costume Design:
The Brothers Grimm
The Chronicles of Narnia
Kong: The 8th World Wonder
Marie Antoinette
Memoirs of a Geisha

Cinderella Man - Daniel P. Hanley & Mike Hill
Jarhead - Walter Murch
Kingdom of Heaven - Dody Dorn
Memoirs of a Geisha - Pietro Scalia
Syriana - Tom Squyres

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Kong: The 8th World Wonder
Marie Antoinette

Brokeback Mountain - Gustavo Santaolalla
Cinderella Man - Thomas Newman
The Corpse Bride - Danny Elfman
Memoirs of a Geisha - John Williams
The New World - James Horner

Sound Mixing:
Batman Begins
Kingdom of Heaven
Kong: The 8th World Wonder
Star Wars: Episode 3
War of the Worlds

Sound Editing:
Batman Begins
Kong: The 8th World Wonder
War of the Worlds

Visual Effects:
Kong: The 8th World Wonder
Star Wars: Episode 3
War of the Worlds

Animated Feature:
The Corpse Bride
Wallace and Grommit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit

Predicted winners in bold. Yes, my balls are that big.

Original Screenplay:
Cinderella Man - Cliff Hollingsworth, C. Gaby Mitchell, Akiva Goldsman
Elizabethtown - Cameron Crowe
Melinda and Melinda - Woody Allen
Prime - Ben Younger
Walk the Line - Gill Dennis & James Mangold

Okay, there's almost no original screenplays for the major players. Expect this to be indie and foreign film dominated and full of surprises. I went with the safe ones for now.

Adapted Screenplay:
All the King's Men - Steven Zallian
Brokeback Mountain - Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana
Jarhead - William Broyles, Jr.
Memoirs of a Geisha - Ron Bass & Akiva Goldsman & Robin Swicord & Doug Wright
Syriana - Stephen Gaghan

Everything seems to be adapted this year. This is going to be one of the most competitive years for this category. Smaller adapted screenplays like Art School Confidential will probably get lost in the mix.

Orlando Bloom - Elizabethtown (or Kingdom of Heaven)
George Clooney - Syriana
Russell Crowe - Cinderella Man
Joaquin Phoenix - Walk the Line
Sean Penn - All the King's Men

Clooney gained 30lbs. Orlando Bloom - Oscar nominee? Well, Cameron and Kirsten say he's great. No reason not to believe them, not like they murdered your children or anything. He is professionally trained at some prestigious London school. The rest are past nominees. Alternate: Heath Ledger in Brokeback. This is really, REALLY great role. He drives the film and will have a great emotional moment at the end which is what could sell this film to the heterosexual audience. He has kind of a shakey resume, but the role is very similar to his work in Monster's Ball. I also think previous nominee Ralph (pronounce Rafe, don't ya know?) Fiennes could get in for The Constant Gardener. If he does, I'd expect Rachel Weisz to appear in the supporting actress category. I think we're looking at a second year where someone wins for playing a music legend. Johnny Cash wanted Joaquin for the part. True story. Plus, someone almost always wins for playing a real person.

Supporting Actor:
Michael Caine - The Weather Man
Paul Giamatti - Cinderella Man
Jake Gyllenhaal - Brokeback Mountain (or Jarhead or Proof)
Peter Sarsgaard - Jarhead
Ken Watanabe - Memoirs of a Geisha

I think Gyllenhaal is lead in Jarhead. He might be considered lead for Brokeback, but the story very much belongs to Heath Ledger's character. Its sort of a Murray-Johansson thing. Focus, like they did with her, will put Jake where he'll most likely score a nomination. With Proof seeming to be out, its here. Giamatti gets the "sorry we didn't nominated you twice before" nomination. Ditto for Sarsgaard. Who, oh who, will Maggie root for? One of the guys from All the King's Men (Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Mark Ruffalo) or Jarhead (Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Sam Rockwell) could sneak in as could Matt Damon from Syriana. So rudely snubbed for Mr. Ripley as his hilarious work in Ocean's Twelve.

Supporting Actress:
Patricia Clarkson - All the King's Men
Toni Collette - In Her Shoes
Gong Li - Memoirs of a Geisha
Frances McDormand - Untitled Niki Caro Project
Michelle Williams - Brokeback Mountain

Hey, an In Living Color cast member getting two nominations in one year? Lull from Wings? That B-movie bombshell from Candyman? Why not nom that slut from Dawson's Creek? Perfect. This year, it seems all the supporting actress nominees have to compete for a nom with their own costars. Williams has Anne Hathway, in a very similar role: the sweet wife who grows bitter upon knowing that she isn't her husband's true love. McDormand, playing Theron's best friend, goes up against Sissy Spacek, who plays Charlize's mother. As for Geisha, Michelle Yeoh could also sneak in her, but I'll lean towards Gong. Clarkson also has Kate Winslet - also a potential nominee for her sultry role in Romance and Cigarettes - in All to compete with, but Patty's role is said to be juicier. Collette could easily go lead, and her costar Shirley MacClaine (who also has Rumor Has It and Bewitched out this year) could get in. Shirley is this year's big comeback. Sandra Bullock is probably the alternate for both her respective roles: Crash and Every Word Is True. Sorry, Zellweger. I think they're sick of you. Dakota Fanning will take on her most challenging role to date: an actual child in War of the Worlds. Sounds like this year's deglam nomination! I'd love nothing more for Judy Greer to appear here for her work as Bloom's sister in E-Town. Maybe even Susan Sarandon, too. But not Jessica Biel. Or Jessica Alba. She isn't even in that film, but whatever....

Juliette Binoche - Bee Season
Cameron Diaz - In Her Shoes
Kirsten Dunst - Marie Antoinette (or Elizabethtown)
Reese Witherspoon - Walk the Line
Ziyi Zhang - Memoirs of a Geisha

Holy babefest! Really, one of these is getting knocked out for a respected veteran, possibly Helen Hunt for A Good Woman. You know you've got a problem when Hunt is considered the respected veteran of the lot. Its just many of this year's films seem to feature predominantly younger casts. What's the average age for this list? 27? 28? Guess what! No weight gain, no makeup, no bad wigs for these ladies. They are keeping it real! Dunst's role in E-town and Witherspoon could go supporting. I'm hoping Diaz is the lock here. She really, REALLY deserves an Oscar nomination. Everyone who works with her LOVES her and everyone who doesn't know her HATES her. What's with that? If you look at all the other awards she has been nominated for (BAFTA, SAG, Globe), it seems odd that an Oscar isn't included. Downright mysterious. I suspect there may be outside forces at work. This year feels like deja vu for Witherspoon. Last year she seemed to have a perfect role for Oscar in Vanity Fair. This year, she goes with what she knows. She's a sweet Southern gal playing just that. Plus, she, along with Joaquin, will sing. I have a feeling Walk the Line will be more What's Love Got To Do With It than Ray. Ziyi was very good in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and fantastic in House of Flying Daggers. This is a perfect role for her. As for Binoche, well, the role sounds like one you would have seen in Naked Gun 33 1/3. Remember the scene at the Oscars when they announced the Best Actress nominees? One was about a woman surviving anorexia after the death of her cat. Binoche plays a desperate housewife whose husband (Richard Gere) becomes obsessed with her daughter's chances in spelling bees. Rumor Has It Jennifer Aniston could be a contender, but Radha Mitchell (Melinda and Melinda) and Joan Allen (The Upside of Anger and June's Yes) will probably be forgotten, while Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep could be the Prime alternates here.

Steven Zallian - All the King's Men
Ang Lee - Brokeback Mountain
Cameron Crowe - Elizabethtown
Sam Mendes - Jarhead
Rob Marshall - Memoirs of a Geisha

Don't really know what to say here. This seems like a really boring batch. Perhaps Malick or Scott could make things interesting for their respective films. And why not give Sofia another go round if she makes Marie Antoinette something really special.

All the King's Men
Cinderella Man
Memoirs of a Geisha

No director nomination for Howard, I don't think they like him that much. I think Brokeback Mountain is probably going to get in, but I feel that would be too much wishful thinking. I started out thinking to myself: "Okay, self (cause that's what I call me), if the movie plays at Cannes, its a big contender." The movie will debut at Cannes. "Okay, self, if Focus bumps it back to December, its in." Focus bumped the release to December 9th. Now I don't know what to think. Alternates: any of the films nominated above.

Good god, that was a lot of work. But fun. Remember, being a good film only gets you about 65% of the way toward an Oscar. Have a great 2005, now that we have good movies opening.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

'Bewitched' and 'Brokeback' Bumped; Miramax cleans out its closet

New release dates for two of my most anticipated films of 2005:

Bewitched: From July 8 to June 24
Positioning it opposite Herbie: Fully Loaded and Dukes of Hazzard. I'd expect with this announcement Dukes will change its release date again.

Brokeback Mountain: From October 7 to December 9
Focus only assures us that this is the studio's prime Oscar contender with this latest move. The studio also announced the release date for the Keira Knightley starring Pride and Prejudice: Sept. 23.

Also, Miramax will release 22 movies over the next 6 months. Contractual obligations require these films receive a theatrical release. Included in that cluster is the long delayed The Brothers Grimm (currently scheduled for July 29) as well as two of last year's potential Oscar contenders Proof (starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anthony Hopkins) and Lasse Hallstrom's An Unfinished Life (starring Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez and Morgan Freeman.)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

New Old Movie: The Wicker Man

Great title for this! Kudos to me!

You know how much I hate it when movie news is announced and then, like, two years later it seems that everyone begins posting it. Yes, Nicolas Cage will star in a remake of The Wicker Man. This was reported a long time ago, but I guess he finally officially signed on. It was reported originally that Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder were in negotiations as well, but neither name has surfaced with this latest info. My guess was that Angelina Jolie would have been playing the Britt Elkland role and Winona would have been the missing woman.

The thing that gets me excited for this remake is that Neil LaBute is writing and directing it. LaBute's previous credits include In the Company of Men, Your Friends and Neighbors, Nurse Betty and The Shape of Things. I think he's perfect for it. He has that dark and cynical voice. This remake seems to be very timely considering the subject matter could offer a great parable for our current world.

The Wicker Man is about an investigator who comes to a small island community in search of a missing girl. What he finds is some rather odd behavior, nude dancing and singing by a very dubbed Sweedish woman and decapitated animal suits. Or as we'll just call it: Pagan rituals. Its an interesting film, downright bizarre at times. If they keep the ending and the Britt-nude-singing scene, this remake should be worthwhile. I think Jolie would be perfect in that role. She loves this weird stuff.

Marie Antoinette Begins Production..Ugh! I mean, YAH!

God, this fucks up my Best Actress predictions. Kirsten now almost jumps to the head of the class while the other potential nominees just sit there cake. Yes, this is going to be released in December. It sounds more Baz Luhrman than Merchant/Ivory. Good.

From Columbia Pictures:

Production begins this week on Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, about France's iconic eighteenth century Queen. The Columbia Pictures release is produced by two-time Academy Award® nominee Ross Katz, through American Zoetrope. In addition to serving as director, Coppola is also one of the film's producers and has written the screenplay, which is loosely adapted from Lady Antonia Fraser's noted historical account "Marie Antoinette - The Journey". Fred Roos, Francis Ford Coppola and Paul Rassam serve as executive producers.

Kirsten Dunst, who previously appeared in Coppola's drama The Virgin Suicides, portrays the young Austrian princess, who, as a teenager, becomes Queen of France. Jason Schwartzman portrays her indifferent husband Louis XVI.

Other members of the ensemble, portraying various members of the elitist court of Versailles include Rip Torn (in the role of King Louis XV), Judy Davis (as the Comtesse de Noailles), Steve Coogan (as Mercy), Asia Argento (playing the Comtesse du Barry), Marianne Faithful (Maria-Teresa), Aurore Clement (Duchesse de Chartres), Molly Shannon (Aunt Victoire) and Shirley Henderson (Aunt Sophie).

The director of photography for Marie Antoinette is Lance Acord, who previously collaborated with Coppola on Lost in Translation. Oscar® winner Milena Canonero (A Clockwork Orange, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou) is designing the costumes and KK Barrett (Lost in Translation, I Heart Huckabees, Being John Malkovich) is the production designer.

Marie Antoinette will be shot entirely in France, with much of the 11-week production schedule centered at the Palace of Versailles, which has granted the production unprecedented access.

Sony Pictures Entertainment will distribute throughout most of the world with Pricel and Tohokushinsha handling the territories of France and Japan, respectively.

Greer article in EW

This is from two weeks ago, and I didn't get around to posting it till now. I think this is one helluva talented girl, and its so great to see a comedic character actress who is, well, hot. Remember that girl who had the only (intentionally) funny moment in The Village....

From Entertainment Weekly:

Judy Greer has a smoking resume. The other day she was sitting in a production company waiting room, surrounded by framed movie posters. ''And I was in two of 'em!'' she says, clapping her hands together with a giggle. ''Adaptation and The Wedding Planner.'' After seven years in Hollywood, the 29-year-old actress, armed with the face of Anne Heche and the comedic chops of Joan Cusack, has made a career out of playing the best friend, the flight attendant, the waitress, and the assistant. Watch her sparkle and then too quickly fade so bigger stars can shine in 13 Going on 30, The Village, What Women Want, Three Kings, and now the Wes Craven werewolf thriller Cursed.

The Detroit native is used to the bit parts — ''Judy-sized'' roles, she calls them — that demand heavy lifting. ''Being a character actor, you do get the goofy roles, but a lot of times they're really underwritten and you're expected to breathe life into them,'' she says. ''People are like, 'Well, you're just so funny, if anyone can do something with this, it's you, Judy!' Well, what about the writer actually writing a decent role?''

Eager to book a steady starring gig, she's on the hunt for a TV series. Taking a two-hour break from the rigors of pilot season at a Hollywood coffeehouse, Greer is refreshingly frank about yesterday's crap audition. ''You can drive there and feel like a million bucks, but then you walk in a room and see this girl who you always lose roles to,'' she says, laughing, ''or there's no one there and you're like, 'Oh my God, I'm going to nail this!' and then you don't. Or worse, the room is full of 21-year-olds.''

When she does book a pilot, like the 2004 NBC sitcom Nearly Nirvana, about a white girl married to an Indian man and his large brood, they tend to peter out and die before ever making it to air. ''I am the pilot killer,'' she sighs. She has a routine ready for times of rejection. ''Taco Bell!'' Last night, ego bruised, Greer and her actor boyfriend, Nick, walked their beloved bulldog, Buckley, hit the drive-thru, and flopped on the couch for three back-to-back episodes of Law & Order.

She has had her share of lucky breaks, like when the folks at Arrested Development called her up and asked her to come on for a recurring guest-star role. ''My favorite job ever, and I didn't have to do anything!'' she gushes. ''They were like, 'It's this crazy secretary and you're sleeping with one guy. . .and your hair is really gross and your eyes go crossed. I'm like, 'F--- yeah! Sign me up!'''

This summer, Greer will edge closer toward the fame that continues to elude her. She'll play Orlando Bloom's sister in Cameron Crowe's coming-of-age drama Elizabethtown. ''Oh, man, she's amazing,'' says Crowe, who first fell for her after seeing Adaptation. ''Because she's used to playing a supporting character, she knows she may not have a lot of takes or time, so she'll just give you the whole rainbow right off the top.'' When she was offered the role, months after the audition, Greer burst into tears in her backyard. ''It was the only time I cried when I got a part,'' she says, tearing up again at the memory. ''Maybe I don't get offered stuff all the time, but there's something to be said for earning a role.''

Her dream is to one day ditch the sidekick status and star in a romantic comedy. Greer wants her Annie Hall. ''It shows this woman who's not a bombshell. She's weird and she's quirky and she's kind of nerdy, and you can't blink when you're watching the movie.''

Recently, a director called Crowe and said he was thinking about casting Greer in his movie. ''He said, 'Yeah, I'm looking at Judy and I know she's funny, but can she be dramatic?''' Crowe recalls. ''And I said, 'She's so good and effortless, do yourself a favor and work with her.' I feel lucky that I was able to get her to play a supporting part. The clock is ticking down to where those parts would never be big enough for Judy.''

-Karen Valby, Entertainment Weekly

Monday, March 07, 2005

A sad day in Haddonfield...

Producer Debra Hill has died. Check out her IMDB page to see all the contributions she helped make possible in the genre film world.

And Halloween came out in 78. Get your facts right, AP!

From the AP:
"Debra Hill, the "Halloween" writer-producer who rose through Hollywood's ranks to become one of the industry's pioneering woman producers, died Monday, according to family friend Barbara Ligeti. She was 54.

Hill had battled cancer for 13 months, Ligeti said, but was working on several projects, including a film about the last two men pulled from the rubble of the Twin Towers following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, until her last days.

"She changed the face of women in film. If you talk to people who are real players in this town, they will say Debra was one woman who would help other women ... with boundless generosity," Ligeti said. "And with all of that, she managed to be the best girlfriend a person would ever have."

Hill's big break came in horror films when she and director John Carpenter co-wrote the genre's modern classic, "Halloween."

The 1979 film, also directed by Carpenter and produced by Hill, starred a 20-year-old Jamie Lee Curtis as the baby sitter terrorized by a murderous psychopath. Made on a modest $300,000 budget, it went on to gross $60 million worldwide, a record for an independent movie at the time, and to launch a seemingly endless chain of sequels.

Carpenter said Monday that working with Hill was one of the "greatest experiences of my life."

"She had a passion for not just movies about women or women's ideas, but films for everybody - horror films, action films, comedies," Carpenter told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "The ground that she trailblazed in the beginning can now be followed by anyone. She was incredibly capable and incredibly talented. We're all going to miss her very much."

Hill, Carpenter and Curtis returned for the first one, "Halloween II," and Hill and Carpenter were involved in the writing of several of the others, including "Halloween: Resurrection," "Halloween 5" and "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers." A "Halloween 9," also written by Hill and Carpenter, is reported by the Internet Movie Database to be in production.

After her "Halloween" run, Hill joined her friend Lynda Obst in forming an independent production company in 1986 that made "Adventures in Babysitting" and "Heartbreak Hotel," both directed by Chris Columbus, and Terry Gilliam's "The Fisher King" with Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges.

In 1988 she entered a contract with Walt Disney Pictures under which she produced the feature "Gross Anatomy," short films for the Walt Disney theme park and an NBC special for Disneyland's 35th anniversary.

More prestigious films she produced included "The Dead Zone," 1983; "Head Office," 1985; and "Clue," 1986.

"Back when I started in 1974, there were very few women in the industry, and everybody called me 'Honey,'" she recalled in 2003. "I was assumed to be the makeup and hair person, or the script person. I was never assumed to be the writer or producer. I took a look around and realized there weren't many women, so I had to carve a niche for myself."

Carpenter praised her as "a real pioneer in this business."

"Unlike many producers, she came from the crew ranks. I think they're the most under-appreciated people, and they work the hardest," he said. "She had experienced the ins and the outs and had a thorough understanding of what it took to make a picture."

Hill had begun as a production assistant on adventure documentaries, working her way up to films as a script supervisor, a job that required sitting beside the director and keeping a record of each scene.

From there she landed jobs as assistant director and second-unit director and became associated with Carpenter, who was then a rising young director.

The two also collaborated on 1980's "The Fog" and 1981's "Escape From New York."

When she was honored by Women in Film in 2003, Hill said, "I hope some day there won't be a need for Women in Film. That it will be People in Film. That it will be equal pay, equal rights and equal job opportunities for everybody."

Born in Haddonfield, N.J., Hill grew up in Philadelphia.

Did you deduct 16lbs for your shoes?

I haven't posted much lately. I'll be back on Tuesday with my predictions for this year's Oscar season and on Wednesday actress analysis. The goal is to get the predix out before any contenders surface. Last year's task was impossible because The Passion of the Christ was released 2 days before the ceremony. This year, we have potential nominees Robots, The Upside of Anger, Melinda and Melinda, The Ballad of Jack and Rose and Sin City all due in the next month. Many of the prognosticators already have their predictions up and Cinderella Man, Brokeback Mountain and Walk the Line's two leads are on just about everyone's list.

I haven't reviewed anything in a while and have reached an epiphany. I'm not wasting time with most of the crap in the multiplexes now. Unless I want to see it right now, I'm not seeing it. The only other way is if it gets good reviews or people I trust say its decent. I will see Hitch, Bride and Prejudice, Constantine and The Jacket because I want to. Unless I hear good things about other films in release, I'm not going to bother. I've decided to stick with films on netflix queue for the time being since everything in theatres now looks so generic and haven't-I-seen-that-before?

Here's what I've watched since the beginning of the year and perhaps why I've made this life altering decision:

Boogeyman - 4/10
Hide and Seek - 4/10
The Wedding Date - 4/10

The Last Picture Show - 10/10
Norma Rae - 9/10
Silkwood - 9/10

See what I mean?

Anywho, the title of this discussion comes from a comedy that - get this! - is actually funny. Do you remember those? I was channel surfing and caught Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion about 15 minutes into the film. I've seen it about three or four times, but sat there after jogging this afternoon and watch the rest of the movie. This film is one of the rare comedies that stays as funny - and perhaps get funnier - with each viewing. Mira and Lisa are so perfect and there are so many great one liners. If you haven't seen it, do it. I guess it would be my DVD of the month, but I've given up on those. The movie also made me think about how if you were having a 10 year high school reunion now, the flashbacks wouldn't be so great. What? Everyone's watching Clueless and Seven, dancing like Uma and John, saying 'whatever!', wearing Seattle grunge attire? This would clearly not be as amusing or retro-cheeky as flashing back to 87 during 97. Romy and Michelle was released within weeks of Grosse Pointe Blank, another great high school reunion film. Rent them both!

Here's some quotes from Romy and Michelle to make your day a Romy and Michelle day:

"You look so good with blond hair and black roots its like not even funny."

"I was so lucky getting mono. That was like the best diet ever."

"You know, even though I had to wear that stupid back brace and you were kind of fat, we were still totally cutting edge."

"Why don't you go fuck a sheep, or your sister, of yourself?"

"Hey Romy, remember Mrs. Divitz's class, there was like always a word problem. Like, there's a guy in a rowboat going X miles, and the current is going like, you know, some other miles, and how long does it take him to get to town? It's like, 'Who cares? Who wants to go to town with a guy who drives a rowboat?"

Thursday, March 03, 2005

More New Trailers: Herbie & Dogtown

Lindsay Lohan is fully loaded in The Love Bug remake. Heath Ledger rides some skateboards before he rides Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain. Here's your look at Herbie: Fully Loaded and Lords of Dogtown, from Thirteen director Catherine Hardwicke.

Herbie here.

Dogtown here.

New Trailer: Fever Pitch

After seeing this trailer and reading those rave reviews over at AICN, I think this could be the fourth $100 million grosser of the year counting that Robots and The Ring Two will be #2 & #3, respectively. The trailer is pretty funny and has some great lines (the "20-10" one is quite good.) From the Farrelly Brothers, Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon and the author of About a Boy and High Fidelity comes Fever Pitch.

Trailer here.

Box Office Predictions: Mar. 4 - 6

1. The Pacifier - $24m / $24m / $90m
2. Be Cool - $20m / $20m / $52m
3. Diary of a Mad Black Woman - $12m / $39m / $65m
4. Hitch - $11m / $136m / $175m
5. Million Dollar Baby - $10m / $78m / $110m
6. The Jacket - $6m / $6m / $15m
7. Constantine - $5.5m / $60m / $72m
8. The Aviator - $4.5m / $100m / $108m
9. Because of Winn Dixie - $4.5m / $28m / $38m
10. Cursed - $4.5m / $16m / $22m