Thursday, April 27, 2006

Random Thoughts: 2 Weeks of Watching...

Sadly, more dead than dead on. Great concept, dull execution. The three main caricatures - not characters: Bush, Simon and Kelly - are dull and not very interesting. The best storyline is that of Omar, the bumbling, showtune loving terrorist. Shohreh Aghdashloo, as his rich housewife aunt, seems to be having the most fun in the film with her own variation of a cliched role. Paul Weitz keeps MVP's Judy Greer and Jennifer Coolidge on the sidelines far too long. If you've seen the commercial where Coolidge urges the young Moore to "sing! sing!" you've seen her entire role almost. It is a pretty original, slightly daring satire and it deserves props for trying to be subversive. But, oh!, what Tina Fey and Mark Waters could have done with it!!

The Worst Movie I've Seen in Years. Seriously, we get that a studio spends $25 million for Adam Sandler and his buddies to throw a keg party and film what is little more than a home movie from a script probably written on toilet paper.

Probably my least favorite of Nicole's three films, which doesn't mean it's bad at all. In fact, it's really good. The four actresses are wonderful in their roles, particularly Frances McDormand who is better here than she was in her Oscar-nominated turn in North Country. When she called the guy who cut her off at the fruit market an asshole, I lost it. I love the honesty of the film portraying how we talk shit about our friends behind their backs almost as a way of just proving how much we know, care for and love them. The last line in the film is perfect. I can't wait for Holofcener's next film.

Ugh! What is the point of casting sexiest man alive Clive Owen in a role if you are only going to cover him up with a mask for about 75% of the movie. Spike Lee does what he can sometimes but is just seems lazy for most of the film. There's some great humor - such as the little boy's game and the bank manager's ringtone. The film is like some weird combo of Dog Day Afternoon, Crash and Ocean's 11. Denzel is Denzel. Jodie - a magnificent cunt. Seriously, I'd nominate her for this. The best part of the film. It runs about 30 minutes too long and really loses it's snazzy breeze of an attitude about 45 minutes into the film. Too bad. What a waste.

SCARY MOVIE 4 - 5/10
I'll probably laugh more during this film than I will during any of the other films this year. But the movie is so uneven it's hard to actually recommend it. The problem is that you can see the story spinning so much that all the parodies come at you with little surprise. I like it better when they make up their own plot and just throw spoof scenes in. This has never been this series' strong point. Craig Bierko is the perfect match for Anna Faris and it was nice to see the little girl parody of Dakota Fanning appropriately getting the shit beat out of her.

Anna Faris indie also starring a surprisingly good Justin Chambers (former Calvin Klein model and current Grey's Anatomy hottie). It's like a less clever Romy and Michelle about two girls dreaming of a better life in Atlanta. Some funny bits, but it's a little too quirky for its own good.

A satire - filtered. Haha. I'm so witty. A little too broad, with not enough bite. Great cast and good writing can save it from being middle of the road and unmemorable.

While it could've used some more work, this is a pretty brave American action film - you can tell its American made because the Brits say "Bollocks!" a lot. The ending is made a little too sentimental to be as nasty as it would like to be. Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving are good. I was surprised with all the homo-material running through it. But it was a hot lesbian, though? Ah well. Baby steps. I enjoyed the film though.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

First Look: Untitled Noah Baumbach Project

Even though I absolutely hated The Squid and the Whale (yes, I was the only one), I'm still looking forward to his newest film. It stars Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh as opposing sisters and will focus on a weekend shared at the one's home in New York. The currently untitled film is due this Christmas. Regarding Squid, it had a great screenplay and terrific acting. If I catch it some night on IFC 2 years from now, I'd probably love it. While watching it however, I wanted to kill everyone on screen. It just seemed to me to be one of those whiney, 'gee, aren't I hip and witty?' indies. Ugh. Loved Jeff and Laura, though.

The picture is Nicole and the actor who plays her son. Yes, that's a boy.

Box Office Predix: Apr. 28 - Apr. 30

1. RV - $22m / $22m / $80m
2. United 93 - $15m / $15m / $62m
3. Stick It - $13m / $13m / $35m
4. Silent Hill - $9m / $34.5m / $50m
5. The Sentinel - $8m / $26m / $42m
6. Ice Age 2 - $7.5m / $178.5m / $194m
7. Scary Movie 4 - $7.5m / $78m / $92m
8. Akeelah and the Bee - $7m / $7m / $30m
9. The Wild - $5m / $28.5m / $38m
10. The Benchwamers - $4m / $52m / $59m

Monday, April 24, 2006

MTV Movie Award Nominations!!!! - Best Movie nominees Rock, everything else SUCKS!

If you are a 13 year old girl who wants to text all your friends about who you voted for - since that is apparently their demographic now - here is where you can vote.

The 40 Year Old Virgin
Batman Begins
King Kong
Sin City
Wedding Crashers

Darren's Vote: Batman Begins

BEST PERFORMANCE: (apparently unisex is in!)
(I put them in alphabetical order because MTV has never heard of this)
Steve Carell - The 40 Year Old Virgin
Jake Gyllenhaal - Brokeback Mountain
Terrence Howard - Hustle and Flow
Rachel McAdams - Red Eye
Joaquin Phoenix - Walk the Line
Reese Witherspoon - Walk the Line

Darren's Vote: Jake

Steve Carell - The 40 Year Old Virgin
Tyler Perry - Made'a Family Reunion (obligatory black-man-in-drag nomination)
Adam Sandler - The Longest Yard
Vince Vaughn - Wedding Crashers
Owen Wilson - Wedding Crashers

Darren's Vote: Vince

Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Romany Malco - The 40 Year Old Virgin
Johnny Knoxville, Sean William Scott & Jessica Simpson - The Dukes of Hazzard
Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans & Michael Chiklis - Fantastic Four
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson & Rupert Grint - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Vince Vaughn & Owen Wilson - Wedding Crashers

Where the FUCK is the TRAVELING PANTS girls????
Darren's Vote: Wedding Crashers

Cillian Murphy - Batman Begins
Hayden Christensen - Star Wars: Ep. 3
Ralph Fiennes - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Tilda Swinton - Chronicles of Narnia
Tobin Bell - Saw 2

Darren's Vote: Cillian Murphy (but mostly for Red Eye)

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE (and this is really an embarassment!)
Andre "3000" Benjamin - Four Brothers
Isla Fisher - Wedding Crashers
Nelly - The Longest Yard
Jennifer Carpenter - The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Romany Malco - The 40 Year Old Virgin
Taraji P. Henson - Hustle and Flow

Darren's Vote: The best of those by a mile - Taraji.

Christian Bale - Batman Begins
Jessica Alba - Fantastic Four
Daniel Radcliffe - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Kate Beckinsale - Underworld: Evolution (oh god!)
Ewan McGregor - Star Wars: Ep. 3

Now, really! Best Hero would be great if you included Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener, David Strathairn in Good Night and Good Luck or Charlize Theron in North Country. At least one of those real hero types. But no. Can't do that.

Darren's Vote: Christian Bale.

Beyonce Knowles - The Pink Panther
Jessica Alba - Sin City
Jessica Simpson - The Dukes of Hazzard
Ziyi Zhang - Memoirs of a Geisha
Rob Schneider - Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo

Men are only sexy if they are in horrible movies and not good looking at all? This category is a joke even without Schneider.

Darren's Vote: Ziyi Zhang.

Jake Gyllenhaal & Heath Ledger - Brokeback Mountain
Taraji P. Henson & Terrence Howard - Hustle & Flow
Anna Faris & Chris Marquette - Just Friends
Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt - Mr & Mrs Smith
Rosario Dawson & Clive Owen - Sin City

Not bad.

Darren's Vote: Gylledger>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Brangelina.

Rachel Nichols - The Amityville Horror
Jennifer Carpenter - The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Derek Richardson - Hostel
Paris Hilton - House of Wax
Dakota Fanning - War of the Worlds

Go Rachel Nichols! Paris Hilton gave a performance? Change this to Best Death and Hilton should win. But I'll stick with my Rachel Nichols. Fuck that little Fanning chick.


* Joshua Caldwell (Fordham University) - A Beautiful Lie
* Sean Mullin (Columbia University) - Sadiq
* Stephen Reedy (Diablo Valley College) - Undercut
* Jarrett Slavin (University of Michigan) - The Spiral Project
* Landon Zakheim (Emerson College) - The Fabulous Felix McCabe


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Amy Acker with a rocket launcher....or how Alias returned

Not only did the 2 hour return of Alias after a 4 month hiatus see Jack Bristow in more than several moments that made Darren go "JACK BRISTOW!", Sydney giving birth in about the shortest birth sequence in television history, Irina going all crazy bad - but with good intentions, mind you? - and the return of Vaughn in Buhten of all places, but most importantly it had....

Amy Acker with a rocket launcher.

Amy Acker without a rocket launcher ------>

Yes, she blew up a helicopter that would've escorted Jack, Irina and Syd to a place that would allow her to give birth safely. Her peeps just randomly pulled it out and gave it to her and then she blew the fucking thing up.

Amy Acker with a rocket launcher.

Ah, how I love my Alias. Welcome back, baby.

Michael Vartan looked all scruffly which is just how I like him.

And next week Will and Anna Espinosa return. Yip yip. Maybe Mia Maestro will also return. LOL. They've pretty much disregarded her completely. Oh well. She's sailing the Poseidon!

First episode - "SOS" - Darren rating: 8/10

Second episode - "Maternal Instinct" - Darren rating: 9/10..


Amy Acker with a rocket launcher.

Then it just amped up to like 172/10.

Box Office Predictions: Apr. 21 - 23

1. Silent Hill - $18m / $18m / $46m
2. Scary Movie 4 - $16m / $67m / $88m
3. The Sentinel - $14m / $14m / $38m
4. Ice Age 2 - $13m / $168m / $195m
5. American Dreamz - $9m / $9m / $24m
6. The Wild - $6m / $20m / $32m
7. The Benchwamers - $5.5m / $45.5m / $56m
8. Friends With Money - $4m / $6m / $18m
9. Inside Man - $3.5m / $81m / $86m
Take the Lead - $3.5m / $29m / $34m
Thank You For Smoking - $3.5m / $16.5m / $25m

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Box Office Predictions: Apr. 14 - 16

1. Scary Movie 4 - $38m / $38m / $85m
2. Ice Age 2 - $18.5m / $144m / $185m
3. The Wild - $17m / $17m / $50m
4. The Benchwarmers - $10m / $35m / $55m
5. Take the Lead - $7m / $22m / $37m
6. Inside Man - $5.5m / $74m / $86m
7. Lucky Number Slevin - $4m / $13m / $20m
8. Thank You For Smoking - $4m / $11m / $24m
9. Failure to Launch - $2.5m / $83m / $87m
10. V For Vendetta - $2m / $65.m / $68m

Sunday, April 09, 2006

First Look: 'Becoming Jane' & 'Miss Potter'

Two biopics due this winter starring actresses I love playing authors of famous books I've never read. Ah yes! Anne Hathaway plays Jane Austen in Becoming Jane, costarring James McAvoy from Chronicles of Narnia as well as Maggie Smith and Julie Walters. The film will focus on Miss Austen and her first love: a young Irishman. Miss Potter is about the life of Beatrix Potter, the author of "The Tale of Peter Rabbit." It is from director Chris Noonan (Babe) and stars Renee Zellweger as the title character, as well as Ewan McGregor as her publisher/love interest. Emily Watson also appears. Some elements of the film will be animated. Coolness. Looking forward to both of these.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

WGA's 101 Greatest Screenplays

Here's the Writer's Guild of America's List of the 101 Greatest Screenplays. Obviously, as this is an American guild, the list is very American centered.

Now, I love Casablanca. But...greatest screenplay of all time??? I could have sworn that All About Eve is supposedly the best written film ever.

My personal preference would be Network. You have a brilliant and thought provoking idea, terrific dialogue, fully explored characters, an engaging story, sharp turns, etc. It's the full package. And, it was completely prophetic.

I question the inclusion of Star Wars. Star Wars? Does a great movie have a great screenplay? I considered A History of Violence one of the best films of the decade, but it does not have a great screenplay. It was all in the approach to the story courtesy mostly of the director. Also, semi to fully improvised films that would seem to have great screenplays are MIA on the list. Rightfully so? Maybe. I'm thinking Nashville or Lost In Translation. Then, there's witty approach to a screenplay: think Clueless or Scream - but they'd never make the list due to their young audience.

Regardless, here's the mentions I'm most happy for:

-Annie Hall
-Being John Malkovich
-Dog Day Afternoon
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
-Groundhog Day
-His Girl Friday
-Pulp Fiction
-The Graduate
-The Silence of the Lambs
-Thelma and Louise
-When Harry Met Sally...

Random Thoughts: SLITHER - you say disgusting like it's a bad thing?

Coming Soon to DKME: updated favorite actress, actor and director lists. And Darren's 100 Favorite Movies of All Time List. It might have a new #1, though it's not what you think. :-)

SLITHER - 8/10

Let's run down a list, shall we?

This movie has...

-slithery leechy monsters
-a fat, pinkish blob

(Really, why isn't your ass in the theatre after reading this?)

The monster hybrid of these aforementioned horror icons can also be bloated and deeply in love with Elizabeth Banks. Yes, I know what you're thinking. You're also bloated and deeply in love with Elizabeth Banks. She's Elizabeth Banks, after all. She looks like she could be Rachel McAdam's older sister or Parker Posey's younger sister. This is sexy. This is how she made Darren's 50 Most Beautiful People in Film list. Speaking of, Nathan Fillion - also a resident of my list - is in this movie as well. He is the new Bruce Campbell - very offbeat good looks and a strong genre resume. If you watch Gilmore Girls, you will recognize Mitchum Huntzburger (actually Gregg Henry) as the Mayor in the film. He gets some of the best lines and the first big laugh in the film.

But yeah, this movie has all that. And yet it doesn't do anything in theatres. No one is seeing it. They would rather see Stay Alive and When a Stranger Calls? These 13 year old horror fans that every movie nowadays is being marketed to need to die. I would like to see them die a gory, disgusting death in Slither 2. Granted, Slither (1) does take a good half an hour to get started, but once it does, you'll love every minute. I've heard some declare it "the new Evil Dead" which it could very well be. It's very similar to early Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi: hilarious, scary, disgusting, gory, quotable, low budget carnage candy. Oh, and it also has my favorite line from a film so far this year:

"That looks like something that fell off my dick during the war."

And my favorite sight gag: a small town woman singing "The Crying Game" at a kareoke bar.

Funny funny stuff.

Slither your ass into theatres. Now.

I also saw Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. Bleh. 4/10. Someone tell them the whole movie should have been Scrat.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Box Office Predictions: Apr. 7 - 9

1. Ice Age 2 - $35m / $110m / $205m
2. The Benchwarmers - $16m / $16m / $45m
3. Inside Man - $9.5m / $66m / $90m
4. Take the Lead - $9m / $9m / $27m
5. Lucky Number Slevin - $6m / $6m / $16m
6. ATL - $5m / $19m / $28m
7. Failure to Launch - $4m / $79m / $87m
8. Phat Girlz - $3.5m / $3.5m / $10m
9. V For Vendetta - $3m / $62m / $67m
10. She's the Man - $2.5m / $30m / $34m

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Random Thoughts: Brokeback Mountain DVD

Brokeback Mountain is now available on DVD. You can pick up this edition or wait another year for a Deluxe 3-disc Limited Collector's Edition featuring postcards, T-shirt, a can of beans and a film cell. Okay, so that hasn't been confirmed but you know it's coming.

The picture is pretty spectacular and retains almost all of its visual pinache on the small screen. The intimacy of the story isn't second to the epic nature of the project which is probably why it'll translate very well to your TV. You can even notice little details that you won't see on the big screen, such as the grass blowing in the background when Jack Twist arrives at Joe's trailer early on in the film.

There are 4 features, between them lasting about 45 minutes.

"On Being a Cowboy"
This goes through some of the training Heath, Jake and Anne went through to make it look believable that they could ride horses and for H&J herd sheep and be authentic ranch hands. Anne is really cute in her time and they show her double who is actually one of the best female riders in the world.

"Directing From the Heart: Ang Lee"
Listen to the cast and crew gush endlessly about Ang Lee. I believe this is the only time I've seen Anna Faris talk about the film or in any type of promotional footage of the film. (Oh, I timed it by the way. She appears in the film for 1 min and 45 seconds.) She seems very well spoken and doesn't seem to be the empty brained blonde she plays so well. Ang discusses the story and what it means to him, as well as how it relates to some of his other films. You'll also get to see Rodrigo Prieto - the film's DP - discuss the film, all the more odd when you consider he played the Mexican prostitute in the film.

"From Script to Screen: Interviews With Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana"
The award winning writers talk about adapting the acclaimed short story to a full length film shedding some light on some of their process. Diana likes to write the men and Larry is fond of crafting the women, interestingly enough. Some of the actors also discuss their characters and how perfect the script was to them.

"Sharing the Story: The Making of Brokeback Mountain"
This is the promotional show that aired on Logo during the film's release. It's the longest of the supplementary material and shows a lot of behind the scenes footage and has lots of interviews with the many people involved. I believe this shows Jake talking about working with sheep and how dumb they are. He said you can just go up to them and spread your arms out and they will freak out. It was cute.

For the next edition whenever it might arrive, let's get some interviews with Annie Proulx, footage from the film's various premieres and festivals, more footage of Oscar-winner Gustavo Santaolalla discussing the composing of the score and various songs used in the film, a travelogue of Calgary, maybe a few deleted scenes and commentary.

And as much as I love them, outtakes don't really seem appropriate here. Do I really need to see Heath get bit by a sheep or Anne hit in the head with a mic during her big moment? I think not.

You can order the Brokeback DVD from here.

Here is their editorial review of the film:

"A sad, melancholy ache pervades Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee's haunting, moving film that, like his other movies, explores societal constraints and the passions that lurk underneath. This time, however, instead of taking on ancient China, 19th-century England, or '70s suburbia, Lee uses the tableau of the American West in the early '60s to show how two lovers are bound by their expected roles, how they rebel against them, and the repercussions for each of doing so--but the romance here is between two men. Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) are two itinerant ranchers looking for work in Wyoming when they meet and embark on a summer sheepherding job in the shadow of titular Brokeback Mountain. The taciturn Ennis, uncommunicative in the extreme, finds himself opening up around the gregarious Jack, and the two form a bond that surprisingly catches fire one cold night out in the wilderness. Separating at the end of the summer, each goes on to marry and have children, but a reunion years later proves that, if anything, their passion for each other has grown significantly. And while Jack harbors dreams of a life together, the tight-lipped Ennis is unable to bring himself to even consider something so revolutionary.

Its open, unforced depiction of love between two men made Brokeback an instant cultural touchstone, for both good and bad, as it was tagged derisively as the "gay cowboy movie," but also heralded as a breakthrough for mainstream cinema. Amidst all the hoopla of various agendas, though, was a quiet, heartbreaking love story that was both of its time and universal--it was the quintessential tale of star-crossed lovers, but grounded in an ever-changing America that promised both hope and despair. Adapted by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana from Annie Proulx's short story, the movie echoes the sparse bleakness of McMurtry's The Last Picture Show with its fading of the once-glorious West; but with Lee at the helm, it also resembles The Ice Storm, as it showed the ripple effects of a singular event over a number of people. As always, Lee's work with actors is unparalleled, as he elicits graceful, nuanced performances from Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway as the wives affected overtly and subliminally by their husbands' affair, and Gyllenhaal brings surprising dimensions to a character that could have easily just been a puppy dog of a boy. It's Ledger, however, who's the breakthrough in the film, and his portrait of an emotionally repressed man both undone and liberated by his feelings is mesmerizing and devastating. Spare in style but rich with emotion, Brokeback Mountain earns its place as a classic modern love story."

If you haven't yet seen and enjoy the film when you do pick it up, I'd also recommend checking out the following films:

Boys Don't Cry
The Bridges of Madison County
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Days of Heaven
Far From Heaven
The Ice Storm
The Last Picture Show
Midnight Cowboy
My Own Private Idaho

Today is also Heath Ledger's 27th b-day. Happy Birthday, you crazy Aussie!