Saturday, May 31, 2008

HBO's Recount - mini-review

I know, I know. You're sick of politics. You don't want to hear any more about the stolen election of 2000. That's the way I felt, too, and I was hesitant to watch HBO's Recount. I saw a rave review of it on Ebert & Roeper, so I thought I'd give it a try. Wow. This compelling film moves at a fast clip and even though you know the outcome, no one even at the time knew all the twists and turns the story takes. This film is chock-a-block FULL of stars doing amazing work. There are sure to be many Emmy nominations for this film, and Kevin Spacey and Laura Dern will be at the top of the list. The story is mostly told from the perspective of Gore's former chief of staff, played by Spacey, who headed up the recount fight in Florida. Laura Dern plays Katherine Harris in some of the film's funniest moments. This film does have plenty of humor, and according to the people who were in the middle of it at the time, captures the intensity and craziness of those fateful 36 days. The casting is spot on -- Tom Wilkinson as James Baker, John Hurt as Warren Christopher. Dennis Leary, Bob Balaban and Ed Begley, Jr. also are fantastic. What a cast! Jay Roach is known more for lighter films, and he really treated the subject with a deft touch. Trust me, this is a film worth watching if you have HBO -- and I'm sure it will be on DVD soon.

An Engineer's Guide to Cats

A little long but very amusing. Corporal cuddling! LOL!

Hat tip: List of the Day blog

Graphs of the day

From Graph Jam
song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

Fierce or Fugly?

Go Fug Yourself tells us:

Seriously, there is "fierce," there is "ferocious," and then there is, "This was shoved on me by a FIERCE salesgirl at Groom And Doom's Discount Tuxedo Emporium, FEROCIOUSLY marked down to $5." I am pretty sure this shirt falls into the latter category.

Sex and the City tops Indy in Box Office Friday

Sex and the City hasn't been a "must see" film for me this summer, but I likely will see it soon. It does please me to see a chick flick rake in the kind of box office normally reserved for teenage boy aimed films. Let's hear it for the girls! It's been getting good reviews, even 3 and a 1/2 stars from the Chicago Tribune.

Variety reports: Warner Bros. and New Line's feature adaptation of former HBO TV series "Sex and the City" grossed a whopping $26.9 million Friday from 3,285 theaters on the strength of women, by far the best opening day ever for a romantic comedy and the sort of gross usually reserved for male-driven tentpoles or family fare.

Friday's gross is the third highest ever for an R-rated pic, slotting behind previous Warner Bros. tentpoles such as 2003's "The Matrix Reloaded" ($42.5 million) and 2007's "300" ($28.1 million).

"Sex and the City" overpowered Memorial Day weekend holdover "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

James McAvoy prefers to do Washing Up

Okay, now he's almost too perfect. James McAvoy tells the Daily Record that he prefers washing up to the high life.

ACTOR James McAvoy is poised to become the latest movie action hero.

But the Scots star says his real life is more soap opera than thriller and he loves nothing more than getting stuck into the washing up.

In the comic book thriller Wanted, out this month, McAvoy, 28, plays an assassin who can shoot the wings off a fly.

But McAvoy, who stars alongside Angelina Jolie, says he is frightened of guns - and gets his kicks from cooking and doing the dishes.

He said: "People seem to be shocked when I tell them that I like to do my own washing-up. I mean doing the dishes.

"I think people assume because you do a couple of movies, you're living the high life.

"And I really don't. I have a fairly normal existence.

"I like to think that if I did earn millions and millions, I would hope I didn't hire a cook or bottle washer.

"It's an absolutely joy to cook. I eat out so much because of my job. When I'm at home and not working, I cook all the time. It's one of the things that we've all done since the beginning of time. I'd feel like I was distancing myself from the rest of humanity if I didn't cook."

Friday, May 30, 2008

Amazing Grace - mini-review

I took the recommendation of my friend Kai, and finally watched the film Amazing Grace
starring Ioan Gruffudd as abolitionist William Wilberforce. Kai was fortunate enough to meet Ioan and compliment him on this film, and she said he was so pleased she had mentioned it. He is right to be proud as this is one of his very best performances and a fine film. Ioan is probably most well known from the Fantastic Four movies, and this uplifting biopic movie must have felt like a clean shower after that schlock.

I never knew the story behind the song Amazing Grace and the long abolitionist struggle in England. We know about the Civil War and the struggles in this country with slavery, but much earlier William Wilberforce managed to stop the slave trade with a bill he fought for years to pass in parliament, and finally had success in 1807.

Ioan Gruffudd does well here avoiding portraying Wilberforce as a complete saint. I especially enjoyed all the supporting players which are English actors you've seen in so many other films. Ciaran Hinds plays Wilberforce's main opponent in parliament and the great Michael Gabon plays an important ally. Albert Finney is, as always, excellent playing John Newton, the slave trader turned minister who wrote the song Amazing Grace. Benedict Cumberbatch (Starter for 10) plays Prime Minister William Pitt, and as I've usually seen him playing a prissy or evil character in previous films, it was nice to see him have a robust part as Wilberforce's good friend. Rufus Sewell from Couplings was almost unrecognizable as Thomas Clarkson, a fellow abolitionst.

I can't recommend this excellent film enough. Three and a half stars. Last night I watched the mini-series Andromeda Strain and it was such a slow paced mess, surprising since it was produced by Ridley Scott and his brother Tony. What a contrast to how fine a movie Amazing Grace is. In looking up the film, I was pleased to see that Michael Apted, the director, is currently working on the next sequel in the Narnia movies due out in 2010. I'm sure he'll bring some quality and strong direction to that franchise! Here's the trailer for Amazing Grace:

Dare You To Move

My friend BluEyedDaizy has created another video masterpiece. This is a very hopeful video based on clips from PS I Love You.

THIS is Liev Shreiber?!

Holy Crap! Look at these pics of Liev Schreiber surfing in Australia. He plays Sabretooth in the upcoming Wolverine movie, which has just finished principle photography. He sure didn't look like that in Kate & Leopold!

Twisted - a documentary about balloon twisters!

This is a very cool trailer. The balloon creations are out of this world!

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Young Hillary Clinton

From the man who brought you that hilarious Tom Cruise Scientology parody: Jerry O'Connell.

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

James McAvoy to play The Hobbit?!

The internets are buzzing this morning with news from WENN! Can you think of anything more perfect? It hadn't occurred to me before I read it, but it is just the best news!

Scottish actor James McAvoy has been tipped to take the lead role in the new movie version of Lord Of The Rings prequel The Hobbit.

J.R.R. Tolkien's novel is set to be turned into a major blockbuster under the direction of Guillermo del Toro and filming is due to begin in New Zealand later this year.

Sir Ian McKellen will reprise his role as Gandalf and McAvoy is rumoured to be the favourite to take the lead role of hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

The character was played by Ian Holm in the previous films of the fantasy franchise, but he is due to be replaced by a high profile star for the new movie.

A source tells British newspaper the Daily Express, "A number of names have been doing the rounds, including Daniel Radcliffe and Jack Black, but James (McAvoy) is the one the film's bosses really want.

"They're expected to have talks soon so hopefully it could be confirmed in the not too distant future."

And director del Toro adds, "I can tell you it's down to a few names that we all agree upon. For our first choice, completely magically we all have the same name."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

First Look at The Road with Viggo Mortensen

The New York Times has a first look at the filming of Cormac McCarthy's The Road which is due out this November:

Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Road,” takes place in a world that, because of some unexplained catastrophe, has just about ended. The sky is gray, the rivers are black, and color is just a memory. The landscape is covered in ash, with soot falling perpetually from the air. The cities are blasted and abandoned. The roads are littered with corpses either charred or melted, their dreams, Mr. McCarthy writes, “ensepulchred within their crozzled hearts.”

“The Road” began filming in late February, mostly in and around Pittsburgh, with a later stop in New Orleans and a postproduction visit planned to Mount St. Helens. The producers chose Pennsylvania, one of them, Nick Wechsler, explained, because it’s one of the many states that give tax breaks and rebates to film companies and, not incidentally, because it offered such a pleasing array of post-apocalyptic scenery: deserted coalfields, run-down parts of Pittsburgh, windswept dunes. Chris Kennedy, the production designer, even discovered a burned-down amusement park in Lake Conneaut and an eight-mile stretch of abandoned freeway, complete with tunnel, ideal for filming the scene where the father and son who are the story’s main characters are stalked by a cannibalistic gang traveling by truck.

George is back on the market, ladies!

Attention, Darling Diva!
Playboy George Clooney has called it quits with model Sarah Larson after nearly a year of dating, reports In Touch.

According to a friend of Sarah’s, the Leatherheads star recently moved out of his L.A. home while the 29-year-old former Las Vegas cocktail waitress removed her belongings.

“George is relieved to be single again,” says an insider. “He thinks Sarah is sweet and that is why it was so hard to break up with her.”

George, 47, and Sarah had struggled to make their relationship work because of their different backgrounds.

“The truth is they had little in common and he just doesn’t want to be tied down,” explains the insider.

Got Milk?

Yum! I've got some Oreos over here, Batman!

MSNBC loses their mic

More audio fun from 23/6. I can't embed the video, unfortunately -- not safe audio for work as we hear the conrol room go nuts!

Stonehenge Goes to 11

The National Geographic channel has a new program called Stonehenge Decoded, and brilliantly, they are promoting it with interviews with Nigel of Spinal Tap. We all remember how important Stonehenge was to Spinal Tap!

The rest of the clips can be viewed here!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Star Trek - the Sexed Generation

OMG! This is hilarious!!

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

While waiting to be able to see Indy 4, I spent the weekend relaxing and mostly reading. I dove into The Host by Stephenie Meyer, best selling author of the Twilight series. It's a Sci-fi novel, and her first book aimed at adults. It's Sci-fi for people who don't like sci-fi, a story of what it means to be human. I adored this book!! I stayed up until three in the morning Saturday night reading, and reached for my glasses and the book the minute I woke up. I could not put it down! Thanks to Darling Diva for introducing me to this fantastic author. The Twilight series is great, and The Host was so satisfying. It's been awhile since I had a book like this that I could. not. stop. Reading!

Here's Amazon's description: Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.

Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves-Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring what may be the first love triangle involving only two bodies, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers of our time.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - My Review

Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull almost broke the alltime holdiay weekend gross record. It came in second to Pirates of the Carribean 3. Indy 4 played to sold out shows all weekend as parents took their children in droves. And we were there, taking our three kids yesterday. My youngest had a bad fever Saturday so we couldn't see the film till Monday, and it was killing me to wait!

So, was it worth the wait? The 19 years we waited? Unreservedly, YES! Our family has been watching the old movies to get our kids ready for Indy 4. We saw the first film a week ago, and nothing can match the first one. The introduction to Indy, the boulder, Marion -- it can't be topped. But we also saw the second film Sunday night, Temple of Doom. Kate Capshaw is like nails on a chalkboard and my son was yelling at the TV -- I can't STAND her! Yes, Spielberg got a wife out of that film, but she is definitely not my favorite either. So with all that fresh in our minds, I can view Indy 4 not just through the mists of my memories and nostalgia. Indy 4 could never be the equal of the first film, but it can stand at least as high as the second if not higher. Yeah, the plot doesn't make sense -- but they never did!

I loved Indy 4 and everything about it. There were things about this film that most of the audience may not have been chuckling about the way I was. Starting the film with a drag race -- that was pure George Lucas, and echoed our very first image of Harrison Ford as he was in the drag race in American Graffiti! Shia LeBeouf rides on screen on his motorcycle with the leather jacket and even the very hat that Marlon Brando wore in The Wild Ones. I actually burst out a "HA!" right when I saw him (I was the only one!), laughing at how perfect the homage was.

I loved the emotional payoff of this movie -- How Indy finds his son, and just all the great banter in the movie with Marion. As the Tribune reviewer said, the goofy look on Indy's face when he first sees Marion again is worth the price of admission. Shia did great, and I love how Spielberg and Lucas gave him his own thing -- he's dropped out of tons of boarding schools but he knows how to handle a knife and fence! The car chase sequence is sheer cinematic brilliance, and will be studied by film students for years to come. All the supporting players were great -- Cate Blanchett was a standout as the Russian villain. Just pitch perfect.

So, three and a half stars (out of 4) and a MUST see in the theaters. If you haven't seen it yet, what's wrong with you? Are you American or what?! Those FBI agents from the film may need to speak with you!

A great Sydney Pollack scene from Tootsie

I still can't get over Sydney Pollack's death. I don't know why it's effecting me the way it is. This man worked in the business my whole life. He was just always there. He did every genre -- thriller, romance, epic, comedy -- both as a director and an actor. Here is a classic scene from Tootsie, where he played Dustin Hoffman's agent and directed what is probably his best known film.

Obama-Optimus Prime '08!

Optimus Prime

- heroic
- beloved by millions of people
- doesn’t need his own Secret Service detail, as he is a giant battle robot
- can voice over his own ads and it will be awesome

- Energon needs may betray problematic views on energy policy
- although technically able to assume presidency on grounds that adoption of current big-rig transformed form counts as a “rebirth” and it happened on American soil, expect a court challenge to his viability
- predictable target of negative ads: “How Do We Know He Will Not Go Insane And Try To Exterminate Humanity?”
- likely Megatron endorsement of John McCain in response
Check out the other other creative choices for Obama for VP.
Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sydney Pollack dies of Cancer

This is so shocking. Sydney Pollack died at home today in Los Angeles of cancer. He was 73. I just wrote about his hilarious appearance in Made of Honor as Patrick Dempsey's father. This man was a GIANT of cinema. He was an amazing director and a good actor as well. I am so saddened by this news. I had no idea he was ill. I called out loud "Oh, NO!" when I saw his picture on the front of the NYTimes website. He made The Way We Were, Tootsie, and won two Oscars for Out of Africa!! Check the full obituary here at the NYT. And read his absolutely amazing filmography on IMDB.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Guys Backflip into Jeans

Thanks to Janene for passing this one along!

and the Glove remix! LOL!

Trailer for Brad Pitt's next movie - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

From Huffington Post: "A European version of a trailer for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" has found it's way onto YouTube. While Paramount has removed others for copyright infringement, the below, for now, still plays. The movie is the big screen adaptation of an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story by the same name and stars Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Spanning most of the 20th century, the story begins when Pitt, as the titular character, is born an old man and ages backwards. Blanchett plays his love interest Daisy. There is also supposedly a cameo by Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, but not in the trailer. The film opens in December."

This movie was filmed in New Orleans, and was the reason Brad and Angelina moved to the city for a time. Please God may it not be another train wreck like Meet Joe Black.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Russian trailer for Wanted!

Ain't it Cool points us to the Russian Wanted Trailer. Man, when you don't have the MPAA censoring you . . . This trailer kicks ASS!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Two YouTube videos in honor of Indy 4

Indiana Jones and the Song of Theme
Giant Lego Boulder

Bringing back the Tasmanian Tiger?

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

Robojew vs. Giant Nazi Woman of the SS

This is so bizarro that I love it! The power of six rabbis - combined! LOL!

Jake Gyllenhaal Prince in video game film

Hollywood Reporter: "Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton will star in "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films' adaptation of Ubisoft's popular video game. Mike Newell is directing.

In the fantasy adventure, Gyllenhaal will play Dastan, a young prince in 6th century Persia who must join forces with Tamina (Arterton), a feisty and exotic princess, to prevent a villainous nobleman from possessing the Sands of Time, a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world."

So, can Disney and Bruckheimer succeed were other video game to screen adaptations have failed?

Eagle Eye Teaser Trailer -- next film for Shia

Ain't It Cool pointed me to this new teaser trailer for Eagle Eye, Shia's next film with Billy Bob Thornton.

Watch the Eagle Eye trailer here!

So here's the Teaser Trailer from DJ Caruso - who has reunited with Shia from DISTURBIA to give us EAGLE EYE. I heard yesterday that Billy Bob loved working on this film and thinks it is going to be something really special. That said - the teaser does a very good job of setting up a scenario that... well teases. And damn, ain't that Shia cute?

Yes, Harry, he is! The film looks very interesting, and I loved Disturbia so I'm hopeful this one will be good.

Hunger with Michael Fassbender

In Cannes news, IFC Films aquired Hunger, which recounts the 1981 IRA hunger strike led by Bobby Sands, played by Michael Fassbender. Hopefully, now that it's been picked up by a distributer, we'll get a US release date for the film. 300 fans will remember Michael Fassbender as Stelios.

Variety recently reviewed the film, which premiered at the festival:

The last months in the life of Irish Republican Bobby Sands, who starved himself to death in 1981 as a protest against the British government's intransigence over recognizing convicted IRA members as political prisoners, is harrowingly recounted in "Hunger." Pic reps a powerful, pertinent but not entirely perfect debut for British visual-artist-turned-feature-helmer Steve McQueen, who demonstrates a painterly touch with composition and real cinematic flair, but who stumbles in film's last furlough with trite symbolism. Pic's slow pace and uncompromising physicality may choke off some auds, but "Hunger" should pull in arthouse auds in moderate numbers domestically and travel offshore.

Shadow of the Sword - mini-review

Well, gang, not every movie do I see because I think it will be Oscar worthy. Sometimes, my obsessions lead me to watch obscure films, and last night was one of them. I rented Shadow of the Sword because it seemed to be the only film that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau stars in that is not in Danish. Bring on the subtitles next time.

The premise of the movie is more obvious from the alternative Austrian title: The Headsman. It is an interesting twist -- our hero is the local executioner. That's the only job he can take after he falls in love with the executioner's daughter, marries her and thus becomes an "untouchable." The story takes place during the 16th century Spanish inquisition, and involves Nikolaj as Martin, and Georg. The two are orphans who take different paths, one a soldier and one as a cleric. The film deals with the very serious subject of religious persecution and the corrupt church of the time, but then kind of ruins that by showing the beheadings in gruesome detail. This is an R film, to be sure. Interesting note for Beowulf fans, the crazy Irish monk from that film plays Martin's rival for the job of executioner, and is quite the cunning troublemaker. I think he specializes in films with crazy hair, bad teeth and dressing in rags.

So two stars at best for this one, only for the Nikolaj obsessed. Nikolaj is good in it, both in the romantic and dramatic scenes. All I can tell you is that after watching this DVD I now know that Nikolaj is uncircumcised.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Harrison Ford discusses flying his beaver with Letterman

The double entendres were flying fast and furious last night on Letterman. The expression on Harrison Ford's face is priceless!

Check it out on Huffington Post.

There can be more than one -- Highlander remake in works

How 'bout Nikolaj Coster-Waldau to play the immortal Highlander? He's already played one immortal.

Hollywood Reporter:
Who says there can be only one?

Summit Entertainment is bringing back to the big screen the 1986 sci-fi cult hit "Highlander," with "Iron Man" co-writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway on board to write the script.

Christian Bale Terminates us Three times!

Not just one, but THREE new Terminator films are in the works. Perez and others are reporting that Christian Bale has signed up to play John Connor in all three of the sequels:

Christian has already begun filming the first film, Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins.

The film is set to debut on May 22, 2009.

Victor Kubicek of film company Halcyon, says Bale is "really an actor's actor, so we're very proud. Christian was our first choice and he's a big fan of The Terminator, so we're very lucky. But with Batman he's already done the whole franchise thing, so we weren't sure he'd respond."

Hey, as long as it pays big!

Apparently Bale fell so in love with the (money) script that he's already signed to make all three films.

James McAvoy's Starter for 10 - mini review

On my friend Kai's recommendation, I rented Starter for 10. It's a very sweet film - a coming of age story of a working class kid going to University and experiencing love for the first time. It's set in 1985, and is definitely a homage to all those John Hughes films I loved. Boy falls for the wrong girl till he finally sees the perfect one is right there all along. I adored the music in this film which took me right back to my college days. Lots of The Cure! I'm sure I'm missing some of the specific English culture references. (The title references a famous quiz TV show in England.) It was very amusing, but I didn't die laughing. James is adorable, and the girl who plays Alice makes us realize why James could fall for her, and also why she isn't the right one. She balances it well, and isn't just a blonde bimbo stereotype. I give the film three stars. Worth a rental!
This scene of James stoned is just a riot:

New Wanted Featurette!

Looks extremely cool! Love the letters from the keyboard when he quits his job!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Australia Trailer!!!

THIS is what I've been waiting for. Baz Luhrmann's epic film Australia with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman is said to be Australia's Gone With The Wind. I never realized until I visited Darwin, Australia in the North Territory that Australia had been bombed by the Japanese. This film takes place during that time. Hugh Jackman in the role he was born to play -- an outback cowboy who also looks smashing in a dinner jacket. Swoon! Can. Not. Wait. Till. November 14!! Quicktime HD trailer here!


Start smoking in the hospital, dudes. He's cured cancer now! LOL!

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

Flying Penis Invades Russian Political Scene

From Wonkette: Here is "grand chessmaster" Garry Kasparov, who moonlights as the leader of the Other Russia movement, "a loose coalition of activists opposing Vladamir Putin and the current Russian government." He gave a speech Saturday in Moscow when a FLYING HELICOPTER PENIS interrupted him, frightening the world, until some (gay?) dude swatted it down. Don't believe us? Watch. [Sharenator, Waxy]

Baby Fight

Monday, May 19, 2008

Worst Casting Decisions Ever

Since I'm not a regular (ahem) reader of Maxim, thanks to List of the Day Blog for this great list of cinematic casting disasters.

Kevin Costner - Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Charisma and an English accent is all Robin Hood has going for him. So when you strip those away, you get nothing but a shitty Renaissance Fair in movie form. Alan Rickman had to overact enough for six movies just to make this pile releasable in theaters.

Read the rest of the list here!

Bill O'Reilly's Producer (Unseeen Footage)

Bill O'Reilly's tantrum tape is the gift that keeps on giving!

Field trip to Dumbarton Castle

I think I saw this castle across the River Clyde when we were driving back from Greenock back towards Glasgow. I love listening to PeriUrban talk in his Scottish accent anyway.

Japanese version of The Office from SNL

McCain on SNL

Got to hand it to him for bringing the funny!

George Takei of Star Trek to Wed Long-time partner

Mazel Tov!
NY Post reports:

May 19, 2008 -- GEORGE Takei, the original Sulu from "Star Trek," is the latest Hollywood star to announce that he is taking advantage of California's new gay-marriage ruling.

Over the weekend, Takei announced on his Web site that he and long-time partner Brad Altman will get married this summer.

"Our California dream is reality," he wrote. "At long last, the barrier to full marriage rights for same-sex couples has been torn down."

Takei, who also had a reoccurring role on "Heroes" last year, first came out in 2005 in order to talk against a veto by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of a same-sex marriage law.

Ellen DeGeneres and girlfriend Portia de Rossi are also planning to wed now that the California Supreme Court has ruled same sex marriage is legal there.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Speed Racer - My review

Finally this weekend I took my kids to see Speed Racer. My husband had no interest whatsoever. When I first heard about the movie and who was making it, I was excited. I adored the cartoon as a child, and respect the Wachowski brothers for the creativity of the first Matrix film, if not for the last two. Then I started to read the reviews, which for the most part have not been positive.

So, where do I fall in the review spectrum? I didn't love the film, and I didn't hate it, but there are things about it I do love and admire, and things that aggravated me to the extreme. I don't agree with Rex Reed that it was fuschia vomit. I LOVED all the visuals and the wild colors and the effects. This is an anime cartoon come to life in feel and style. Some reviewers criticized that even people that were just talking "had to move", but that was an editing style that I really admired. For instance, a race announcer would move across the screen forming a "wipe transition" to the race footage. That was a technique used over and over, and was a unique style of the movie.

The casting was dead on perfect. When John Goodman did his slow burn -- perfect Pops! Even the kid playing Spritle was annoying == in the perfect Spritle way! Christina Ricci as Trixie will have fan boys swooning, too.

I think the filmmakers realized that this would be a family film, and aimed it squarely at 8 year old boys. Well, I've got an almost 8 year old boy, and he was asking me over and over what time it was and how much of the movie was left to sit through. A family film should aim at 90 minutes and 2 hours is pushing it. This film was two hours and 15 minutes! It's not like this was a novel adaptation like Harry Potter where you were going to be strung up for cutting key plot points! I could have cut 15 minutes of dead weight from this script without losing anything. For cripes sake, show us, don't tell us! There were endless monologues on the evils of corporate empires and certain sequences were just showing off their cool beans visual effects. The seduction of Speed by the big bad corporate empire took forever! Enough already, you're making the kids squirm in their seats. There are two editors listed in the credits -- but was it really the Wachowski brothers making too many of the decisions without some honest critiquing? Why did they have to take the time to show Speed's brother Rex getting the plastic surgery? Would the nine year old audience really not get the link that Racer X IS Rex? I got it in the cartoon and he never took off his mask!

So, it's a two and a half star movie for me. It's a spectacle that is interesting to see on the big screen, but not a can't miss film by any means. I like a lot of the things other reviewers complained about, especially the visuals, but I do agree that for a movie about racing, it sure dragged in parts. In our family, the film did have one huge fan -- my anime loving 15 year old son declared it simply awesome!

First Review of Indy 4!!

Variety reviews Indy 4 at its world premiere at Cannes!

One of the most eagerly and long-awaited series follow-ups in screen history delivers the goods -- not those of the still first-rate original, 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark," but those of its uneven two successors. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" begins with an actual big bang, then gradually slides toward a ho-hum midsection before literally taking off for an uplifting finish. Nineteen years after their last adventure, director Steven Spielberg and star Harrison Ford have no trouble getting back in the groove with a story and style very much in keeping with what has made the series so perennially popular. Few films have ever had such a high mass audience must-see factor, spelling giant May 22 openings worldwide and a rambunctious B.O. life all the way into the eventual "Indiana Jones" DVD four-pack. Read the rest of the review here!

For all the verbiage expended just to keep the story cranking forward, David Koepp's script accomplishes the two essentials: It keeps the structure on the straight and narrow, and is true to the character of Indiana Jones himself. Thanks to this and Ford's full-bodied performance, Indy comes through just as viewers remember him: crafty, capable, impatient, manly and red-blooded American. He looks great for his age, although it's never pretended he's younger than he is, and Mutt pays him the ultimate compliment when he says, "For an old man, you ain't bad in a fight."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

"Ghost" video by Sooth

My friend Sooth has made a gorgeous new video with clips from the movie P.S. I Love You. The ghost effect is not in the movie -- it's something she added which is just so perfect for the song and the sentiment of the movie. Exquisite!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Cool Stop Motion Graffiti art film

This is kind of long, but very cool. Filmed in Argentina. Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Shia in Indy 5?!

Perez reports:

George Lucas revealed that there's a VERY good chance that Indy 5 will happen.

Lucas says that he and director Steven Spielberg have left the door open for a sequel to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which is expected to open to huge numbers next week.

Lucas goes on to say, "I haven’t even told Steven or Harrison (Ford) this…But I have an idea to make Shia (LeBeouf) the lead character next time and have Harrison come back like Sean Connery did in the last movie. I can see it working out."

Whoo Hoo! I'm liking this idea!

Stephen Spielberg presents CNN's John King

OMG. If you have watched CNN's election coverage like I have this year, you MUST watch this HILARIOUS video montage of John King and his magic touch wall. I was on the floor laughing.

Meryl Streep stars as Julia Child

Just Jared posted this first pic of Meryl Streep as Julia Child from the upcoming film Julie & Julia.

Frustrated temp secretary Julie Powell (Amy Adams) embarks on a yearlong culinary quest to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She chronicles her trials and tribulations in a blog that catches on with the food crowd. The film also covers the years Julia Child and her husband Paul (Stanley Tucci) spent in Paris during the 1940s and ’50s, when Paul was a foreign diplomat who was eventually investigated by Sen. Joseph McCarthy for alleged communist ties.

Julie & Julia is currently filming and is slated to be released in 2009. The film is based on Julie Powell’s memoir Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen. Directing is Nora Ephron, whose film credits include Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail and Bewitched. Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters) and Mary Lynn Rajskub (24) also costar.

Daniel Day-Lewis in a Musical?!

Variety reports that Daniel Day-Lewis's next role may involve singing and dancing!

Daniel Day-Lewis is in talks to star in "Nine," the musical Rob Marshall is directing for the Weinstein Co.

Day-Lewis would play the role of Guido Contini, replacing Javier Bardem, who dropped out of a planned fall start, stating he was exhausted from work and awards season. The role is a famous film director who experiences personal and creative crisis while trying to balance all the women in his life.

Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman and Judi Dench will play the women.

The original stage musical was inspired by the Fellini film "8½"; Michael Tolkin adapted the screenplay, and Anthony Minghella turned in a rewrite before he died.

Made of Honor - Mini-Review

I am a sap for romantic comedies, as formulaic as they always are. They don't have to be Oscar-worthy. I just like to watch them and escape for a few hours and leave the picture with a little smile on my face. Made of Honor did that for me. I needed a mood boost last night, and on the spur of the moment went out to see Made of Honor. This is a film that is a trifle, a cotton candy confection. Patrick Dempsey knows his audience and his fan base, and he gives us what we want! Yes, this mirrors somewhat the plot of My Best Friend's Wedding -- but is that such a bad thing? I liked that movie! The best friends relationship of Patrick Dempsey's Tom and Michelle Monaghan's Hannah has a sweet setup, and it's believable that when she goes on an extended trip to Scotland that Tom would suddenly realize that she means more to him than just as a buddy.

The parts about Scotland in this movie just cracked me up. It's every woman's fantasy to meet "the guy" in Scotland and get married in a castle, and Tom feels overwhelmed at the competition, played by Kevin McKidd of HBO's Rome. I laughed when she was surrounded by shaggy Highland cows (pronouced Heeland coos!), and at the haggis hors d'oeuvres, and the Highland games.

Sidney Pollack plays Tom's many times married father, and they have a fun scene where he tells Tom to go to Scotland and woo Hannah. Tom quotes from an old movie, and Syndey says "Who wrote that crap?!" I was the only one in the theater cracking up, as Sydney was the director of The Way We Were!

The movie starts with a flashback from their college days, and I swear that they did digital effects on Patrick to make him look like he did back in Can't Buy Me Love -- but not quite as scrawny, thank God.

So, Made of Honor is worthy of seeing at a matinee, and will be worth a rental when it comes out on DVD. Three stars (for those that like sappy romantic comedies like me!) Hey, seeing Patrick Dempsey without a shirt is not a bad thing, and some hot kisses in this one!

The Savages - Mini-review

I rented The Savages from Netflix last week. I loved the film. Watching Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney act in the same film was like watching a virtuoso violin duet. This film is all about the excellent acting, and Linney certainly deserved her Oscar nod. It's not a comedy with a capital "C", but considering the subject matter has lots of very amusing moments. The writer/director was also Oscar nominated for the script. The film ends hopeful, as this once very distant brother and sister have formed a new bond. Very much worth a rental. I give it three and a half stars.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chris Matthews blasts Conservative Radio host

This video goes absolutely out of control about 4 minutes in.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Top Ten On Air Meltdowns

Check it out here!
Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

Ack! Colin Farrell loses tons of weight for role

Perez says:

Yes, that really is Colin Farrell!

The Irish actor embraced his inner manorexic for his latest role.

Colin has dropped the pounds to play a war photographer in the movie Triage.

Jack Black lets it slip -- it's twins for Angelina

CANNES, France --

It’s twins for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt!

In an interview that took place in Cannes on Wednesday with the “Today” show’s Natalie Morales, airing Wednesday night on Access Hollywood and in full on Thursday on “Today,” Angelina confirmed the baby news that has been rumored for months.

The twins will be the couple’s 5th & 6th children.

Angelina confirmed the news in a side-by-side interview with Jack Black — they are promoting their new Dreamworks animated film, “Kung Fu Panda.”

Jack was the first to let the news slip, and then Angelina followed up with her own confirmation.

“You’re gonna have as many as (the) ‘Brady Bunch’ when you have these,” Jack joked.

“It’s confirmed? Is it two?”, Natalie asked.

“Yeah, yeah, we’ve confirmed that already,” Angelina responded. “Well, Jack’s just confirmed it actually.”

“Is that true?”, Jack said jokingly.

“Yeah, you did,” Angelina replied.

“Sorry,” Jack concluded.

“So you’re having twins?”, Natalie asked, as Angelina nodded with a ‘yes.’

“Do you know the sexes of the babies”, Natalie asked. “Or, are you keeping that private?”

“We would like to keep that private,” Angelina said.

Also, Variety posted this bizarre video of Jack Black taking on 40 pandas at Cannes. Isn't this just what you always thought glamorous Cannes was like? LOL Check 9 minutes in.
Jack Black stormed the beach, ushered by 40 overheated performers in fat panda suits, to push Dreamworks' "Kung Fu Panda."

As the horde of press screamed "Jack! Jack!" he posed and fought every one within sight. We hoped his wobbling roundhouse kick would take out a camera crew or two, but alas he couldn't connect.

21 Jump Street - the MOVIE??!

Perez reports:

Remember 21 Jump Street, the 80's undercover cop TV show that introduced the world to the magnificence that is Johnny Depp?

Well…according to reports, Superbad star Jonah Hill is in negotiations to develop a movie adaptation of the show!

Jonah Hill????

Let's hope he doesn't (ruin) star in it!

Hill's going to write the screenplay and serve as an exec. producer, but it's not clear if he'll make an appearance in the movie.

Neal Moritz of I Am Legend and 21 Jump Street co-creator Stephen J. Cannell will produce.

Sadly, we're not expecting Johnny Depp to make an appearance. Do you?

Johnny's too um, seasoned, to re-visit his past this way, right?

And, this announcement proves once and for all that originality is officially dead in Hollywoodland!

Colbert imitates O'Reilly Meltdown

Hat Tip: Huffington Post

LOL Manuscripts

First LOL cats, now this!
Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

Are You a Good Wife?

A psychologist's test from the 1930's. Among my favorite of the list worthy of demerits:

Fails to sew on buttons or darn socks regularly
Wears Red nail polish
Puts her cold feet on her husband at night to warm them

Guess I'm a bad wife!

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Every Simpsons Couch Gag

Shia on GQ Cover

Looking good!

Just Jared reports on some of the interview highlights:

On working on the new Indiana Jones film: “I never worked so hard for anything in my life. I did four months of sword fighting and bike training. And I spent insane amounts of time on the switchblade.”

On the rumors that he dated Rihanna: “My friends were like, ‘Are you serious, bro? Why didn’t you tell me about that?’ I was like, ‘I really don’t know her like that.’ For weeks they were singing that ‘Umbrella’ song everywhere I walked. And those are my people!”

On being head-over-heels with all of his female costars: : “I’ve been in love with every woman I’ve ever worked with (Megan Fox, Sarah Roemer and Michelle Monaghan). [But] there’s the three-month attention span that actors have. I don’t know if it’s mutual, but I really don’t care. They have to kiss me when ‘action’ gets called, anyway, so I’ll get what I want.”

Shia on Letterman last night, hilariously describing his adventures in the Chicago Walgreens:

I laughed so hard I was crying!


This happened live last night on TV in New York. Nice!

You're Welcome

Botox Much?

Cool Body Art

Guido Daniele artist

Monday, May 12, 2008

Fraggle Rock Picture

The Weinstein Co. will turn the Jim Henson series "Fraggle Rock" into a live-action musical feature.

Cory Edwards, who directed the animated "Hoodwinked!" for TWC, will helm the picture and write the screenplay. The Jim Henson Co. will produce and TWC will distribute.

Just like the series, the film will be populated by a mix of human characters and Fraggle Rock puppets.

Graphs of the day


Sarah Jessica Parker at Sex and the City Premiere

Oh, yes she did.

Bill O'Reilly Goes Nuts

Spielberg to film Civil War pic

Variety reports on Spielberg's upcoming slate of films, including the long awaited pic with Liam Neeson as Lincoln, based on the book by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Sally Field is attached to play Mary Todd Lincoln.

Steven Spielberg will next focus on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.

The director, out promoting "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," has told the German weekly magazine FOCUS that he will return his attention to an epic project about the 16th president, for a DreamWorks film that could begin filming possibly by early next year.

Spielberg will first shoot "Tintin" in early fall.

The director had prepped the Aaron Sorkin-scripted "The Trial of the Chicago Seven," but that became sketchy after he could not get rewrites during the writer's strike. Spielberg had enlisted Sacha Baron Cohen and talked to other high profile thesps about starring in a drama about the trial of anti-Vietnam war protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. That film will have to wait.

The Lincoln project could be ready for an early 2009 shoot because of several variables: Spielberg has proved adept at shooting back-to-back films, which he did most memorably when he made "Jurassic Park" and the Oscar-winning "Schindler's List" in 1993. Also, his Lincoln project -- informed by the biography by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's "The Uniter: The Genius of Abraham Lincoln" -- has a strong script by "Angels in America" playwright Tony Kushner (who rewrote "Munich" for Spielberg).

Spielberg also has Liam Neeson --who played Oskar Schindler -- ready to play Lincoln. Neeson agreed more than three years ago to play the role for Spielberg, and has been waiting for a start date.