Monday, November 30, 2009

The Blindside - Mini Film Review

A neighbor wanted to see The Blindside, so I went along, and was very glad I did.  Sandra Bullock gave a performance of spitfire Leigh Anne Tuohy worthy of an Oscar nomination.  I'd seen the trailer, and the movie looked schmaltzy, and being a sports film wasn't on my must see list.  It was the perfect movie for Thanksgiving weekend.  The theater on Friday night when we went to see it was absolutely packed, and the audience were all ages.  This is a true family film, with a little something for everyone.

What's absolutely amazing is that this is based on a completely true story. The wealthy Tuohy family of Memphis did adopt a homeless African-American teen named Michael Oher.  With their help and a tutor (Miss Sue played by Kathy Bates), he made it to Ole Miss on a football scholarship, and now plays pro-football for the Baltimore Ravens.  He was just drafted earlier this year!  It all hits you when the photographs at the end of the film during the credits show the real Michael and his family.

This was a real feel good film, and Sandra Bullock was just excellent as the spitfire Southern Belle Leigh Anne Tuohy.  She deserves an Oscar nomination for this role, and she had one of the best performances I've ever seen her do.  Tim McGraw was also surprisingly good as her "Yes, Dear" husband.

The real find was gentle giant Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher.  That must have been a challenging casting search.  I also really enjoyed Jae Head as SJ, the wise cracking little brother.  Yes, this family is a bit too good to be true, but the essence of the story is, in fact, true.

It's a heart warming tale that I give three stars.  You could wait for a rental, but this is a great choice to see this holiday season in the theater with your whole family.

Sandra Bullock said she spent one day with the real Leigh Anne, and she was simply exhausted trying to keep up with her!

Good Morning, Daniel

Good morning, Daniel Radcliffe!  EW's latest issues has a few of the pictures from photographer Tim Hailand's new book, One Day in the Life of Daniel Radcliffe.  The book has 50 photographs of Daniel in New York last January when he was performing in Equus on Broadway.  Part of the proceeds go to charity, and this is the first in a series.  You can order the book here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Doing Anything to Get the Part...

T.J. Miller, an LA-based comedian (Cloverfield, Carpoolers) shot this video after two unsuccessful auditions for the Warner Bros' Yogi Bear movie. Studio boss Alan Horn and producer Donald De Line saw this footage and offered him a major part in the film. He's already in New Zealand shooting.

Yes, they're making a Yogi Bear film and Dan Akroyd is in it. What else can they grab from my childhood and make into a movie?! Oh, yeah, I forgot. Real Steel starring Hugh Jackman -- a futuristic take on Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots.

Fantastic Mr. Fox - Mini Film Review

This Thanksgiving weekend I saw the best animated film I've seen all year - Fantastic Mr. Fox.  Yes, that includes Up.  I liked the quirky Wes Anderson humor of Fantastic Mr. Fox better, and the stop motion animation you know is all hand-done, which makes it even more amazing.

This has been an interesting year with two unique directors of adult films, with Spike Jonze doing Where the Wild Things Are with live action puppets, and Wes Anderson's amazing tour de force here with Fox.  Anderson's off-beat style seems perfect for a Roald Dahl story.  This story was not one I'd read as a child, so I came in with no preconceived notions.  But the character of Mr. Fox, who schemes the perfect squab-nabbing job at the neighbor's farm is just dead-on perfect for George Clooney, almost reprising Danny Ocean of Ocean's Eleven.  I adored Clooney in this film with his trademark click and whistle.  Everyone is fantastic.  Meryl Streep doesn't have a lot to do as his wife, but of course she's great, as always.  Bill Murray is a lawyer badger, and the "Are you cussing with me?" scene in his office with Mr. Fox where they briefly turn into their wild animal selves just slayed me.

It's most of the regular cast of actors from other Wes Anderson films.  We've got Owen Wilson as a sports coach, but Jason Swartzman as Mr. Fox's son is so like every other offbeat character he's played.  The son who's just a little different, but doesn't know it, like Rushmore, my favorite Anderson film.  Really, Rushmore was the pinnacle for me of Wes Anderson films, and until Mr. Fox none of his other films have quite measured up to that greatness.  I enjoyed them, but not the wayI adore Rushmore and now Fantastic Mr. Fox.

The animation is just superb.  Listen to Wes Anderson's interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air to get some sense of the painstaking care that went into creating the fur-covered miniatures and stop motion animation.  The color palette is all browns and golds - autumnal colors - because Wes Anderson visited Dahl's writing hut in England at that season, and it's the setting for the book.  Wes Anderson said that animation like this, where he has control over absolutely every part of the look, including every sunset and cloud, is the closest a director can get to being God.  I loved the look of this film.  All that care was worth it.

The story is very fun, as Mr. Fox sort of has a mid-life crisis, going back to his youthful poultry stealing.  The chief mean farmer is voiced by Michael Gambon (Dumbledore), and it took me about half the film to realize that as he is so menacing sounding.  Willem Dafoe plays a Rat, one of Mr. Fox's nemesis.

Mr. Anderson, my hat's off to you. The movie was just a delight.  I give it 4 stars and an enthusiastic recommendation that you must run out and see it in a theater this holiday season.  It is a great film for the whole family.  Kids will love the basic story, and adults will love the subtle adult layers as well.  I adore the hand made feel of it, and I hope Wes Anderson does more family films.  His quirkiness works well in animation and children's stories, like Tim Burton works well for fantastical stories like Alice in Wonderland.

Here's a cool short featurette that shows some of what went into the film behind the scenes, including how they recorded the voices on location at a farm, instead of in a studio as is the case with most animated films:

Synchronized Robot Christmas Dance

The beginning part looks like a demented centipede!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

NZ Book Council - Going West

Extremely cool.

Man Vs. Toddler

This is the same guy from that Mothers Day video that was so big a few years ago.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Star Trek 2009 A-Team

Now that the Star Trek DVD is out, we should have a lot more fun videos like this!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Thanksgiving Grace to Remember from The Ice Storm

Dear Lord, thank you for this Thanksgiving holiday. And for all the material possessions we have and enjoy. And for letting us white people kill all the Indians and steal their tribal lands. And stuff ourselves like pigs, even though children in Asia are being napalmed.

No one does snarky like Christine Ricci.

The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody

While you're cooking your bird today, here's a few singing birds, and monsters, and a Swedish chef and... LOL!

My Favorite Thanksgiving Movies

To celebrate Thanksgiving, here are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving films.

Home for the Holidays, Jodie Foster's directorial debut, is underrated. It has Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, and Robert Downey Jr. as the hilarious gay brother. It's one of my favorite roles for Robert.  Just watch "The Turkey Scene" and try not to die laughing.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. The classic!  "Those aren't pillows!"  LOL

Pieces of April - a Katie Holmes film I actually like. This movie is very funny, and extremely touching.  Katie Holmes plays a girl trying to host her family for Thanksgiving for the first time.  Her apartment oven stops working, so she has to involve all her neighbors to help make the meal.  I think this is the first film where I saw Patricia Clarkson who plays the mother. She is amazing in this film. Oliver Platt is also excellent as the father.

Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters and The Ice Storm also revolve around Thanksgiving, but the above three are my favorites.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

James Franco on General Hospital - Smokin' Hot!

I was flipping channels last night, and came upon the replay of General Hospital on SoapNet. Whoooo Boy! James Franco was smokin' hot on this episode. Here's a small taste of his "Franco" character in action.

I'm not a regular GH watcher, I used to be an AMC girl, although I followed Luke & Laura in high school. I think that GH has earned a spot on my DVR for Franco's run. That way I can fast forward to the Franco bits like these!

"You're a very talented man. You know that?" LOL

Lego Matrix Bullet Time Scene

To see just how awesome this Lego recreation is, watch the side by side comparison:

Check out the LegoMatrix site for more cool behind the scenes video, pics and how they did it!

The Last Station Trailer

What a treat to have all these great actors in the same film. Can't wait.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Beatles 3000


Hat tip: Nerdcore

For Your Consideration -- The Hangover

I was a bit jolted when I read an article on Variety online and this ad came up.  Hey, there are 10 slots this year, so everybody's going for it.  For Your Consideration....In All Categories!

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Moon - A Skin Flick for the Gals

Monika Bartyzel of Cinematical has written a fantastic post on why men seem so disconcerted about the reaction of girls and women to New Moon.  It's because the guys are the ones objectified this time, and this is a skin flick for women.
Twilight isn't just a rampant fangirl phenomenon of pent up adolescent and homemaker lust. It's a female skin flick for the younger set, both in marketing and execution.

And no one seems to know how to react to that.

For the women-folk, it's old-hat. We've grown up with neverending waves of objectification.
As Monika points out, how many decades have women had to sit through the slow-mo boobs bouncing beach run scenes, or all those bikini babes in 80's music videos?  And just this summer, Megan Fox, anyone?
Skin... It was, and still is, everywhere. It's just always been of the smooth and feminine variety. We're used to seeing women de-robe, jump into the shower, and slowly rub themselves down, watching a film pause and linger on a woman's curves as they change, or seeing contrived plot points that require mass amounts of female flesh.

And now we've got the female version of skin flicks merged with a virulent fandom, which means a pervasive spreading of all things wolfy, vampy, and skin-laden. One sheet upon one sheet, clip upon clip get released of boys taking off their shirts and displaying their rippling muscles, whether they're carefully honed or painted-on washboards.
I've talked to many Twilight Moms since Friday, and we're all saying the same thing - OMG Jacob Black.  That scene where Jacob takes off his shirt when Bella falls off the motorcycle made all of us a bit hot and bothered.  How many guys have you ever seen rip off their t-shirt to mop up blood?  I heard many a mom say they gave an involuntary and audible, "Oh, my."  We're all trying not to think about the fact that Taylor Lautner won't be 18 till February 11.  Although, some of my friends proposed we have a party in his honor that night to celebrate!

Boy, has there been some backlash to all that gratuitous skin:
The Twilight-phobic are fed up with the skin everywhere, and it's led to a lot of hostility and animosity while revealing a rather amusing double standard.

Men are finally forced to face the fact that prudishness isn't the only reason why rampant skin on the big screen can be annoying. The Twilight Saga is forcing them to see lots of male skin and lots of hunky men tantalizing the womenfolk. In this cinematic franchise, the men are the commodity, the physical object of desire, and it's played up to the nth degree. It's the first real opportunity to see how annoying rampant fandom of skin fluff can be; how "perfect" embodiments of men on the big screen can taint real-life expectations. The tables have been turned.
And with record breaking box office for the opening day of New Moon, we women have flexed our financial muscles in appreciation of all those pecs on display.
The masses just have to realize that straight girls have finally found their slow-mo beach scene, and have the fiscal power to make it popular.
Amen, Sister.  Read the whole great article on Cinematical here.

Even Kristen Stewart commented on the turned tables in EW:
 "It's a trip to sit back and look at the sexual objectification of these dudes."

Dueling Banjos of the Third Kind

Close Encounters of the Redneck Kind from Marc Bullard on Vimeo.

Kevin Smith talks about Twilight

This was from Comic Con in San Diego last summer. Kevin makes similar points that Harry Knowles did about Twilight last year. Mock these screaming Twilight fans at your peril, because this is the genre entryway for these girls.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Joseph Gordon-Levitt on SNL

Here are my two favorite bits from Joseph Gordon-Levitt on SNL last night. First his wall climbing opening number doing Make 'Em Laugh from Singing in the Rain. He was very high energy, but, well, his huffing and puffing show how great Donald O'Connor was in the original. I was down in the dumps, and this number put a big smile on my face last night!

And this spoof of the iconic scene from Say Anything was the best sketch Joseph was in all night. Unfortunately, it was the final sketch. Most of the rest of the show was pretty meh, with the exception of Dave Matthews doing an impression of Ozzy Osborne!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Flash Mob On Bondi Beach

A little Australian sunshine for your day. This flash mob plus drag queen certainly brightened my day!

Boy sees Lobster for the first time

We are Fangirls, Hear us Roar!

Summit Entertainment’s “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” tore up the box office record for best opening day, grabbing the title away from Warner Bros. “The Dark Knight,” and earning a spectacular $72.7 million yesterday at 4,024 theaters.
The only question is if New Moon can break Dark Knight's three day opening weekend record of $158 million.  This is an amazing achievement for a movie aimed at girls and women.  Rowr!  We have the dollars, too, movie executives, and we come out for what we love!

I saw an early afternoon showing on Friday, and the theater was full of Twilight Moms like me since all the tweens were still in school.  I thought it was a good adaptation, but I don't know how it will play to people who have not ready the books. 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Twilight Cycles

Superman as Edward! LOL!

My favorite line, "And it glitters!"

Michael Fassbender in talks for Jane Eyre!

Variety is reporting that Michael Fassbender is in talks to do a new adaptation of Jane Eyre.  The fact that I can't see New Moon till tomorrow is now tempered with this fantastic news!  Cary Fukunaga, who directed  Sin Nombre is already attached to direct, and Mia Wasikowska, who stars as Alice in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland next spring is also in talks.  Filming is due to start next year.

Robert Pattinson- on Live With Regis and Kelly 11-19-09

Watching clueless Reege interview Robert is almost surreal. When Robert said he'd been all over the world doing press, Regis actually asked, “And do the young people there know you?”

"The Volutri, I don't like him," Reege went on. OMG.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Joseph Gordon-Levitt to host SNL this weekend

Can't wait! I think he's going to be great.

Percy Jackson And The Lighting Thief New Trailer

Oooh!!! Finally the sneak peak trailer of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief I've been waiting for. We get our first glimpse of Pierce Brosnan as Chiron, and Uma Thurman as Medusa.

This looks awesome! I'm so glad Chris Columbus who did the first two Harry Potter films is directing this. Coming out in February, and I can't wait!!

Robert Pattinson in Remember Me Trailer!

Remember Me in HD

Trailer Park | MySpace Video

Wow, I had no idea that Chris Cooper and Pierce Brosnan were also in this film. It looks like Robert Pattinson will actually be able to show some real acting chops in this film, as well as have a few (hopefully) sex scenes.

We don't have long to wait. Remember Me is due out in March of 2010.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Dago-Booyah! NSFW!

Better Together Toyota Ad

Cool ad!

Saatchi and Saatchi, Sydney (yeah, we spotted that Vegimite!)

Chris Pine is Breakout Star of the Year in December GQ

GQ has an assortment of several covers for December.  Chris Pine is the breakout star of the year, Barack Obama Leader of the Year, and the boys of Hangover are the Comedians of the Year:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crazy Heart Trailer

Four-time Academy Award® nominee Jeff Bridges stars as the richly comic, semi-tragic romantic anti-hero Bad Blake in the debut feature film Crazy Heart from writer-director Scott Cooper. Bad Blake is a broken-down, hard-living country music singer who’s had way too many marriages, far too many years on the road and one too many drinks way too many times. And yet, Bad can’t help but reach for salvation with the help of Jean (Golden Globe® nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal), a journalist who discovers the real man behind the musician. As he struggles down the road of redemption, Bad learns the hard way just how tough life can be on one man’s crazy heart.
 "Performance of a Lifetime,"  Is this finally Jeff Bridges' year at the Oscars?

Conan O'Brien on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis

"That's the sound of crickets riding tumbleweeds." ROFLMAO!!!

"Weird Al" Yankovic Helps Explain Auto Tune (Know Your Meme)

There's a whole series of these Know Your Meme videos. I appreciated having the what the heck three wolf moon meme explained to me, personally!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gerry Butler rocks a Kilt at Glasgow Premiere of Law Abiding Citizen

Gerard Butler put his own stamp on Scottish traditional dress at the Glasgow premiere of Law Abiding Citizen.  His mom looks fantastic, too!  Over 70 of his family and friends came out to support him.

Just Jared has a whole series of pics from the night.

Watch a video of the craziness in Glasgow here!

John Cusack Timeline

Buzzfeed has the entire John Cusack Aging Timeline, which is a must see as you head out to see 2012.  See the whole thing here, but here's a few of the snaps and years between 1984's Sixteen Candles and 2012.






Yeah, I feel old now, too.

2012 -- Mini-review

I saw 2012 yesterday afternoon in a packed theater.  I wasn't the only one.  2012 brought in $65 million in the US box office, and $225 million worldwide.  A good old-fashioned disaster flick was what everyone wanted to see, and we got our money's worth.

I hadn't seen a movie in a theater in a couple weeks, and finally here was one you really do want to see on the big screen, to enjoy all the movie effects.  Roland Emmerich is known for his big budget disaster films.  He helmed Independence Day, Godzilla, and The Day After Tomorrow.  He just ups the ante with each picture, and we have plate tectonic shifting mayhem aplenty here in 2012.  Ebert wrote in his review:
The tectonic plates shift so violently scientists can almost see them on Google Earth. This havoc requires stupendous special effects. Emmerich's budget was $250 million, and "2012" may contain more f/x in total running time than any other film. They're impressive. Not always convincing, because how can the flooding of the Himalayas be made convincing? And Emmerich gives us time to regard the effects and appreciate them, even savor them, unlike the ADD generation and its quick-cutting Bay-cams.
I adore John Cusack, and he certainly got to play a true hero in this film, saving the day in the final moments with a dramatic underwater fix-it job worthy of Poseidon.  The true fun in a disaster flick is all the supporting actors.  Oliver Platt was great as the White House official who turns out to have sold seats on the human species saving arks to only the very wealthy.  He's always great.  I loved Woody Harrelson as a kooky radio conspiracy theorist -- who turns out to be right.  Danny Glover played the president, although it's not so funny any more to say that you know it's a disaster film if the president is African American.  It was also fun spotting Jimi Mistry (from RocknRolla and also Benny the book in Ella Enchanted!) as an Indian scientist, Thandie Newton from RocknRolla as the president's daughter, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as the main scientist who I last saw as Mbeki in Endgame.

I'm not sure the film needed to be 2 and a half hours long, but I definitely enjoyed it and felt it was worth paying for a ticket in a theater.  You have to see a big movie like this on a big screen.  Why wasn't it released in IMAX, I wonder?  I give it three stars.  I totally agree with Ebert's conclusion about the film.  Is this the best film ever?  No.  It won't win an Oscar for screenplay, but formula pictures done well work for a reason.
The bottom line is: The movie gives you your money's worth. Is it a masterpiece? No. Is it one of the year's best? No. Does Emmerich hammer it together with his elbows from parts obtained from the Used Disaster Movie Store? Yes. But is it about as good as a movie in this genre can be? Yes.
Also, if the earth's core is heating rapidly, Yellowstone is NOT the place to head to.  We visited it this summer, and I can verify that!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Matthew Goode and Amy Adams in Leap Year Trailer

Anna, a girl who is always in trouble, is expecting to get an engagement ring from longtime boyfriend, Jeremy, during a romantic dinner. When their four-year anniversary passes without a marriage proposal, she decides to take matters into her own hands. She then follows Jeremy to Dublin to get down on her knee February 29, known as Leap Day, during when women are allowed to propose to men based on Irish tradition.

However, her plane lands on the other side of Ireland and she is forced to enlist the help of handsome and surly Declan to get her across the country. As the two travel across the Emerald Isle, they discover that the road to love can take them to very unexpected places.

I've been waiting anxiously for the trailer of this Rom Com ever since I heard they were filming it. Matthew Goode hasn't been forced to share a bedroom pretending to be a newlywed since Chasing Liberty, my first jaw-slacked introduction to him. This time he doesn't sleep on the floor, I'm gathering! God, he's just gorgeous.

Leap Year
comes out in early January.

Driving a Car with an iPhone

There's an app for that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Robert Pattinson on the cover of Vanity Fair

Not since Titanic unleashed Leo-mania has an actor sparked the overnight adulation that greeted Robert Pattinson’s 2008 debut as Edward Cullen in Twilight. As the vampire saga’s next installment arrives, the author explores the frenzy, isolation, and sheer embarrassment of Pattinson’s past year, his instant connection with co-star Kristen Stewart, and the life he wants when this $10 million gig is over. Plus: Exclusive outtakes from Bruce Weber’s cover shoot.
I just got my Vanity Fair magazine today.  Haven't had the chance to read the entire loooong article on Rob, but the pictures are just gorgeous.  Vanity Fair online is doing a FIVE part series of the outtakes from the Bruce Weber portrait session.  And OMG, what outtakes!

The Ugly Truth Gag Reel

The Ugly Truth came out on DVD this week!

Avatar TV Spot during Glee

This played during Glee on Fox this week, taking up an entire commercial break. At first, I couldn't think of the connection between a musical high school show and a sci-fi movie, and then the trailer began with the soldier in the wheelchair. The entire episode of Glee had been about the character, Artie, who is in a wheelchair and all the other characters were using wheelchairs to see what his life was like. Very clever marketing! There are a few new scenes that we had not previously scene in the trailers.

Happy 40th Gerard Butler!

Happy Birthday, Gerry, and watch out for those French trolls! LOL!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Date Night Trailer

Tina Fey and Steve Carell. That's enough to get me there, but this looks very funny. I especially laughed at Mark Wahlberg and James Franco in their supporting roles!

“Claire and Phil Foster are a suburban couple slogging through their daily lives and marriage. Even their ‘date nights’ of dinner and a movie have become routine. To reignite the marital spark, they visit a trendy Manhattan bistro, where a case of mistaken identity hurtles them through the city at breakneck speeds, into non-stop adventure. Remembering what made them so special together, Phil and Claire take on a couple of corrupt cops, a top-level mobster and a crazed cabbie as their date becomes a night they’ll never forget.”

Last Chance Harvey - Mini-review

Last night, I was just in the mood for somehting light, and I caught Last Chance Harvey on Netflix's Play it now feature.  This is a light-weight Rom Com, but it's just a delight to see Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman act opposite each other.  Emma Thompson has just been ignored on a blind date and has a very needy mother, but Dustin Hoffman's Harvey has her beat in the miserable department.  He's just been fired, and his daughter wanted her step-father to walk her down the aisle in stead of him.  Harvey's daughter's wedding is what has brought him to London, and he finds himself the odd man out at all the celebrations as his daughter has become much closer to her step-father.

You don't usually see a love story between two middle-aged people on screen like this, and you feel like they are much more cautious, but also recognize how rare and precious the connection they've found is.  The acting craft in the small moments between them is what was truly special, even if there were no surprises in the plot.  All I can tell you is that the movie made me smile for it's 90 minute length.  Definitely worth a rental and 3 stars.

Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford in Extraordinary Measures

I'm not sure that this is the serious movie I've been waiting for Brendan Fraser to finally make.  It looks kind of cheesy, but you've got Harrison Ford at his most crotchety going for it.

Stephenie Meyer on Oprah Nov. 13th!

Set your DVR's!  Stephenie Meyer is appearing on Oprah on Friday, Nov. 13th.  She announced it on her website:
“Since I’m only doing one interview, better make it big. Really big. So … I will be on The Oprah Winfrey Show on Friday, November 13th."