Sunday, November 28, 2010

Taking a Break

Well "readers" this past week and the upcoming one are the busiest of the year for me. I'm spending 14 hours a day working at my computer and don't have the time nor the energy to spend a few more hours working on the blog. I'm getting ready for a bigger launch for the Soap Box Office at the beginning of the year as it is. So with all that in mind, I'm taking a short breather. Hoping to be back next week and pick up the pace as we approach 2011. As an apology for my abandonment, please enjoy nicest-guy-in-the-NFL Andre Johnson absolutely WRECKING SHOP on dirtiest-player-in-the-NFL Cortland Finnegan. Love it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New DVD Tuesday

The Expendables (2010) - Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, et al
The most ridiculous, over the top action movie in the history of mankind revolves around a group of hardened mercenaries who take on a no-win mission to bring freedom to a city in Mexico. Like "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" I saw this right before I essentially put my arm in a chipper and wasn't able to write a review. Simply put, this is the stupidest movie I've ever thoroughly enjoyed. I think the entire movie can be summed up by my brother's statement regarding a particularly ridiculous moment in the film's final battle. As a river of gasoline that for some reason runs right through the middle of the enemy camp goes up in flames, my brother said, "Wait what in know what, I don't care." That's how I felt throughout. Nothing made the least bit of sense but I didn't care, it was too much fun. Totally worth a viewing.

Eat Pray Love (2010) - Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem
A middle aged woman (Roberts) goes on year long journey around the world to rediscover her zest for life. I have always loved Julia so I'm sure I'll check this out at some point. The subject matter, however, doesn't really interest me. Guess that proves that, at least for this guy, big name movie stars still have some appeal.

Flipped (2010) - Callan McAuliffe, Aidan Quinn
A boy (McAuliffe) and girl in the early 60s go through the ups and downs of first love. Totally uninterested if not for the fact that the director is Rob Reiner. What I like most about Reiner is his distinctiveness. If you flip to a movie on a Saturday afternoon, you will know immediately if it's a Reiner film just because of the dialogue. If this pops up on Instant View, I might give it a whirl.

I'm Still Here (2010) - Joaquin Phoenix
The pseudo-documentary by Casey Affleck that follows the life of Phoenix as he transitions from movie superstar to would-be underground rapper. Affleck let lose that this was in fact a bit and not an actual career change but still, the work Phoenix put into this role is remarkable. So looking forward to checking this out.

New to Blu Ray
Beauty and the Beast (1991) - Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson
The classic Disney film that really set the stage for "Toy Story 3," "Up," and the like as far as taking animated films seriously goes. I'm not in love with this movie by any means but there's absolutely no denying its legacy.

Deadwood: The Complete Series (2004) - Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Garrett Dillahunt, John Hawkes
A realistic look at life in a Frontier town of the Old West, "Deadwood" is one of the best TV series ever in my opinion. You could convince me that it's the best drama series ever. I'm not saying it is, but you could convince me. It's also one of the ROUGHEST shows around and is certainly not for everyone (really, it's not for about 95% of people). That said, you will very rarely see as strong a cast as "Deadwood" put together nor a better example of actors feeding off of each other. In its entire three year run, never once did the show miss the target and never once did a performance fail to inspire. Seriously outstanding piece of work.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

DVD Review - "Winter's Bone"

At age 17, Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) is the de facto head of her backwoods, Ozark mountains household. She hunts, cooks, and cares for her two younger siblings and her drugged out mother. Hard times get worse when Sheriff Baskin (Garrett Dillahunt) informs her that her meth head father has skipped bail for which he put up the family's house and property as collateral. If he doesn't show up for court, Ree and her family will be thrown out on the street. Being the provider that she is, Ree sets out across the county in search for her father, leading her down a dark, dangerous path.

"Winter's Bone" tore up the festival circuit earlier this year, garnering several award nominations and a few wins. It is hauntingly authentic and captures the desperate and sad reality of the the meth trade. Writer-director Debra Granik knows her subject matter and uses the harsh landscape to set her main character up beautifully. As Ree searches for her father, she uncovers layer after layer of secrecy and gets wrapped up in the unwritten rules of a drug society. Lawrence brings perfect balance to Ree. She is strengthened and prematurely hardened by her time as the bread winner and her determination is mixed with the hint of naivety that even the most world weary 17 year old would still exhibit. It is, for my money, the best female performance of the year. Her supporting actors all take on the attitudes, behaviors, and speech of an Ozark meth community with brilliance. Particular attention should be paid to John Hawkes ("Deadwood") whose turn as local enforcer Teardrop is magnificent. Hawkes (along with Dillahunt) is one of my very favorite character actors; a man who takes his craft extremely seriously and deeply invests himself in his character no matter how small the role. Teardrop would undoubtedly steal the show from Ree were Lawrence's performance not so strong. All in all this is a seriously depressing, dark film that is hard to watch. Still, however, it is exceedingly worthwhile and significant and should play a big part in Award Season this year.

Grade: A

Movie News Today

It's been almost 20 years since the last real JFK movie (which, by the way, is seriously underrated) so it's about time for Leonardo DiCaprio to jump on board to produce and star in a biopic.

In case you missed it, Spielberg has cast Daniel Day Lewis as the lead in his Abraham Lincoln biopic. Can we just go ahead and give DDL the Oscar for 2012 and be done with it? No chance that isn't a fantastic combination.

In superhero movie news of the day, "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises" will begin shooting in May (slated for a summer 2012 release) and "Superman" will begin in June despite not having a Clark Kent.

I've never been a big fan of the Judge Dredd graphic novels or the cheesy movie that came out of it in the 90s. If you are, however, here's a look at Karl Urban in the new re-envisioning of the franchise.

Marshall and the Movies reviews "Rabbit Hole," an indie movie that's getting a lot of attention which I most likely won't get to see for some time. Check it out.

Weekend Box Office Results
1. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" - $125.12 million
2. "Megamind" - $16.18 ($109.48 million total)
3. "Unstoppable" - $13.1 ($41.96)
4. "Due Date" - $9.15 ($72.67)
5. "The Next Three Days" - $6.75
6. "Morning Glory" - $5.23 ($19.86)
7. "Skyline" - $3.43 ($17.64)
8. "Red" - $2.47 ($83.57)
9. "For Colored Girls" - $2.4 ($34.54)
10. "Fair Game" - $1.47 ($3.74)

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Movie Friday

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1" - Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
The first portion of the epic finale is almost sure to be the highest grossing film of the year. Judging by the line I stood in last night, it might be the highest grossing film by the end of the week. I believe I've been quite open about my unabashed love for this series, both the books and the movies, so it should come as no shock that I've already basked in the glory of the penultimate film of the franchise. I'll post a full review in a few days because I want some time for it to sink in. But wow, this is probably the best of the bunch.

"The Next Three Days" - Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson
A loving husband and father (Crowe) executes a daring plan to break his innocent wife (Banks) out of prison. Based upon a French film of the same idea, this is the only mainstream film to dare challenge the behemoth that is "HP7" and I can't imagine very many people will even pay attention given the competition it'll have at the box office. That's too bad, too, as it seems to be getting pretty good reviews. Will probably make an appearance on my Netflix queue at some point.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tremendous Trailer Thursday

I haven't been actively blogging lately. My apologies. I'm super swamped at work and when your work mostly involves starring at a computer screen, like mine has of late, spending more time doing the same thing just isn't super appealing. I'll be back strong after Thanksgiving. But, since I haven't been doing Movie News much and I don't have a lot of time to look through my favorite blogs, I thought we might start a new, semi-sort-of-weekly post called "Tremendous Trailer Thursday." Super original, I know, but a number of big time movies have released trailers lately. So here we go.

First up, let's look at "The Green Lantern" which is extremely high on my "To See" list for 2011. Ryan Reynolds + Comic Book Super Hero = Success in my book. The trailer is a bit iffy but I'm hoping since it's the first one, we're just seeing a rough cut.

Next up, "Cowboys and Aliens." If I were to tell you Jon Favreau, Ron Howard, and Steven Spielberg got together to make a movie and cast Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford in the lead roles, would that do anything for you? BAM! It happened.

And since we're already mixing aliens with the Old West, why not try ninjas in the Old West, too? I present to you "The Warrior's Way."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New DVD Tuesday

You're just going to have to bear with it this week, dear readers. This is a rough crop of DVD releases. I apologize to you, the consumer, on behalf of Hollywood.

Avatar Super Special Ridiculous Take Even More Money From You Edition (2009) - Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana
The highest-earning movie in the history of film comes back with a special edition (just in time for the Holidays!) that is chock full of bonus features and will further change the face of the world. I've soured more than a bit on "Avatar" but can you really blame me (and everyone else I know)? By the time the Academy Awards rolled around last year I think everyone who is not related to James Cameron was tired of this thing and its endless marketing stream. It really is a good movie, it's just been oversold through the last year. This won't help.

The Last Airbender (2010) - Noah Ringer, Dev Patel
Based on the highly successful Nickelodeon animated series, "The Last Airbender" is a virtual lock for nomination as the worst movie of the year. M. Night Shyamalan continues to do his very best to erase the many fond memories I have of the man's pre-"Lady in the Water" work. Seriously, what the heck happened? Here's the thing about this atrocity. No one, NO ONE, has anything good to say about it. It apparently can't even qualify in the "it's so bad that you just have to love it" category. My brother, who likes some of the most God-awful movies that man has ever conceived, when asked about this movie just shook his head and looked at the ground as if to say, "I'll never see that money again and wasting it might be a top 10 worst mistake of my life." Where have you gone, M. Night?

A Christmas Carol - Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth
The overdone, over-budgeted, over-anticipated classic tale of Scrooge as told by Disney and Robert Zemeckis. This thing was set up for failure when the studio decided it would be a good idea to release a Christmas movie during the first week of November after its cost soared into the $200 million range. I'm sure I'll check this out at some point but I'm not running out to see it. While I'm on the subject: Hey, Robert Zemeckis! Remember when you made awesome live-action movies like "Back to the Future?" How 'bout we try that again, considering your last three movies have been over-hyped super-special animated films that have all tanked. People love "Back to the Future" almost as much as they hate "Beowulf." Just a thought.

The Kids Are All Right (2010) - Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo
The alternative-family drama centering around a pair of lesbians (Moore and Bening) whose children become curious and begin to investigate the identity of their biological father (Ruffalo). This movie is bound to see several nominations when award season gets here so it's on the queue even though none of these actors do anything for me.

Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (2010) - Chris O'donnell, Bette Midler
True story: I have seen the first "Cats and Dogs" movie. I ran a kid's summer camp one year in Searcy, Arkansas (see: absolute middle of nowhere) and every week the local theater (see: the shadiest place on earth) showed a different children's movie for free. One week brought "Cats and Dogs" into my life and let me tell you it was truly retched. I had to contemplate whether I would a.) quit my job and leave 35 kids stranded in the theater; b.) hang myself in the theater bathroom; or c.) try to summon the will to live and show these fragile minds that there are kid's movies worth seeing out there. I begrudgingly chose option C and we started doing our own movie days at the gym. It was a better summer after that. That's all I have to say about this movie.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Movie News Today

Darren Arnofsky has titled his Wolverine movie "The Wolverine" and delivers the strange/possibly distressing news that he will be treating it as an entity all its own. There's a rather substantial amount of mythos working within this project so there's cause for concern if he's going to shy away from it. But if he pulls it off...

It was pretty shocking when (SPOILER ALERT) "Dark Knight" writer/director Christopher Nolan killed off Maggie Gyllenhaal in "Dark Knight." That has led to quite a frenzy among some of Hollywood's elite leading ladies who have auditioned for the female lead in the third movie in the series.

So first Mel Gibson was going to cameo in "The Hangover 2." Then he was out. Then it was Liam Neeson who would be working the cameo angle. Then he also exited. Now it appears that none other than former President Bill Clinton may be making that cameo instead. Super weird.

Jean Claude Van Damme has signed on with producer Joel Silver to attempt a mainstream comeback. I have a love-hate relationship with JCVD. On the one hand, he's a TERRIBLE actor and all of his movies are awful. On the other, everything he's ever done is brilliantly tinted with unintentional comedy and they make for great late night fodder. So I'm rooting for you, JCVD.

My pal at Marshall and the Movies reviews "Morning Glory" and crushes my hopes by finding fault with the lovely Rachel McAdams. Sad day.

Saw "Due Date" over the weekend. Since I won't have time for a full on review for a while (work goes stinking crazy between here and Thanksgiving), my quick review: Funny. Not earth-shattering, genre-changing funny like director Todd Phillips' breakout "The Hangover" from last year. Too over the top, too outrageous. But funny. Zach Galifianakis is a superstar in the making. And as a long time fan of Zach going back to his appearances on Conan's Late Night: good for him. B.

Weekend Box Office Returns
Lots of movies trying to get their piece of the pie before "Harry Potter" regains control of the universe next week.
1. "Megamind" - $30.05 million ($89.76 million total)
2. "Unstoppable" - $23.5
3. "Due Date" - $15.53 ($59)
4. "Skyline" - $11.68
5. "Morning Glory" - $9.62
6. "For Colored Girls" - $6.75 ($30.92)
7. "Red" - $5.11 ($79.82)
8. "Paranormal Activity 2" - $3.05 ($82)
9. "Saw 3D" - $2.75 ($43.47)
10. "Jackass 3D" - $2.3 ($114.71)

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Movie Friday

"Unstoppable" - Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson
The based-on-a-true-story Tony Scott thriller about two train conductors (Washington and Pine) who try to stop a runaway train packed with explosives. Am I the only person who thinks this movie will royally suck? I feel like the trailers are just screaming "this movie is super boring so we're packing the trailer with all the cool action shots" and I'm the only one who sees it. Also, in the trailers, why is the military firing M-16s at the train? I don't understand that logic. There's no terrorist or group of goons to fire at. It's a freaking train. Don't get it. I love Washington (who doesn't?) and Pine is a rising star. But I just can't get excited about a project centered around an unmanned train.

"Morning Glory" - Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton
A young TV producer (McAdams) tries to reinvigorate a struggling morning show featuring hosts who hate each other. I really want this to succeed for three reasons: 1.) it looks like it could be a solid date movie which is something this world is completely devoid of these days; 2.) I love Rachel McAdams. She's my number one favorite Hollywood crush of all time; and 3.) I want Harrison Ford to matter again. It bugs me to no end that Han Freaking Solo hasn't been in a meaningful movie since 2000. A strong role as the secondary character could be the push his career needs. Really hoping this works out.

"Skyline" - Donald Faison, Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson
Alien spaceships settle in over Los Angeles in what looks like a wicked cross between "War of the Worlds" and "Independence Day." The immense success of last year's "District 9" sent studios scrambling for low-budget, high-quality special effects sci-fi pictures like this and the recent release "Monsters." As a complete sci-fi nerd it thrills me that the genre could be re-energized. At the same time, however, while this looks visually appealing, I have to wonder if the rest of the film can hold up. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Movie News Today

The "Spiderman" reboot continues to befuddle me as to whether or not I should be excited or not. If Zooey Deschanel joins the cast, I'm in.

The great Wes Anderson has a new film in the works and it looks like the cast will include Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, and of course Bill Murray. Most people either love or hate Anderson and I am fully entrenched in the "love" camp. This sounds AWESOME.

Cameron Crowe, another favorite director around here, has brought Patrick Fugit into the fold of his next movie, "We Bought a Zoo." Fugit isn't a big name but he did play the lead role in Crowe's biographical rock 'n roll drama "Almost Famous," which ranks high on my top 10 list. Crowe has a knack for getting the absolute most out of his actors to the point that many of them can never replicate the success with another person behind the camera so here's hoping we get some chemistry revisited.

IFC discusses the work of some self-important critic whose criticism of "Anchorman" illustrates why I have a general distrust for most mainstream critics.

Monday, November 8, 2010

HBO Special - "Ronin"

As the opening credits of this film reveal, a rogue or disgraced samurai in Japan is known as a "ronin" which is a polite term for "mercenary." That knowledge sort of sets the tone for "Ronin" and in a way tells you everything you need to know. Sam (Robert De Niro) is part of a team of mercenaries that works to track down a mysterious package that seems to be almost more trouble than it's worth. When the deal goes bad (over and over again), he forms a sort of partnership with Vincent (Jean Reno) and together the pair pursue agents from both Russia and Ireland on a mission that becomes more than just a job and begins to embody their respective efforts for redemption.

I've caught bits and pieces of "Ronin" a few times over the years but it never gripped me enough to track it down and finish the thing out. This is a well respected film among people that I generally trust when it comes to this sort of thing. For me, however, "Ronin" is more frustrating than anything else. Somewhere in here is a great movie. Not a good movie, a GREAT movie. I don't know that De Niro has given a better performance since this debuted in 1998 and watching him on screen when he's really invested is such a treat. Reno, meanwhile, provides an outstanding partner for De Niro and the two display excellent chemistry. Some of the action sequences, particularly those involving car chases (of which there are many), are reminiscent of vintage Hollywood action, a throwback to the days of Steve McQueen but with a touch of modern splash. And the story, while possibly excessively twisted, is entertaining and engrossing.

On the flip side, however...good gracious, what a horrific directorial effort by the late John Frankenheimer. While some of the action is powerful and exhilarating, other elements are horribly outdated and cheesy. The violence and fighting is often comical and plays out like a bad 80s action movie mixed with a touch of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." There are plot jumps left and right which seriously hinders the momentum of the storyline which could have been used to build tension but instead just left me wanting so, so much more. More bothersome to me is the complete lack of common sense by some of these so-called black ops mercenaries and their adversaries. Over and over again these hardened soldiers make dumb move after dumb move. They do things that I, having no military or counter intelligence knowledge other than the viewing of eight seasons of "24," would NEVER do! It's embarrassing, really, to the characters that deserve better and should be a bit offensive to the intelligence of the viewer. I've got no problem with these types of stupid plot holes show up in, say, "The A-Team" which is obviously intended to be entertainment and entertainment only. But when you're making a hardcore, serious action film with hardcore, serious characters (which is what "Ronin" is supposed to be), these issues are darn near inexcusable. And it's a real shame that this junk gets in the way of an incredible movie.

Grade: B

New DVD Tuesday

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) - Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
When Scott Pilgrim (Cera) falls for Ramona (Winstead), he discovers that to win her over he must first fight and defeat her seven evil exes. Video game-like shenanigans ensue. I saw this movie during my stint on the writing disabled list after breaking my arm so I never did get to post a review. This is one of the more original movies I've seen in the recent past and I highly enjoyed it. It drags on a little toward the end and runs a bit long (maybe six evil exes would have done the trick) but it's destined to be a cult favorite and worth a viewing.

Grown Ups (2010) - Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock
This monstrosity, however, was not nearly so much fun. A group of old friends get together for the funeral of their former coach and rediscover the joys of their youth. "Grown Ups" is has absolutely no flow or continuity and wallows in the juvenile. Worthless.

Ramona and Beezus (2010) - Selena Gomez, Joey King
I'm not really sure what this is about and I'm not interested enough to look it up. Apparently it's based on a well known children's book that came along after my time. Not for me.

Charlie St. Cloud (2010) - Zac Efron, Charlie Tahan, Kim Basinger
A teenage boy (Efron) has trouble to adapting to real life because he spends his afternoons talking and playing catch with his younger brother (Tahan), who happens to be dead. This got absolutely panned when it opened earlier this year and I'm not sure I know anyone who actually saw it. Not a good sign for a Zac Efron movie.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Movie News Today

Paul Haggis, who hasn't done much directing since his "Crash" won Best Picture in 2004, has added to his production schedule with a movie called "Third Person", which sounds basically like "Crash."

Director Timur Bekmambetov (no idea how that's pronounced) has been secretly filming a "Cloverfield"-esque alien movie centering around the cancelled Apollo 18 mission. I've heard nothing of this movie and now it's slated for a March 2011 release date. Interested.

I've never been a big fan of "Escape From New York." Too 80s for me. But, I am a big fan of superstar-in-the-making Jeremy Renner who has been rumored to replace Kurt Russell in the remake.

Empire gives us a list of the 50 greatest animated characters in film history.

Weekend Box Office Results
For the first time in what seems like eternity, there were actually two movies of interest released in the same week. Oh 2010, when will you finally end?!

1. "Megamind" - $47.65 million
2. "Due Date" - $33.5
3. "For Colored Girls" - $20.1
4. "Red" - $8.85 ($71.87 total)
5. "Saw 3D" - $8.2 ($38.81)
6. "Paranormal Activity 2" - $7.29 ($77.22)
7. "Jackass 3D" - $5.09 ($110.81)
8. "Hereafter" - $4.02 ($28.73)
9. "Secretariat" - $4 ($50.96)
10. "The Social Network" - $3.6 ($85.04)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Blu-Ray Review: "Jonah Hex"

Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) is a Civil War veteran turned bounty hunter with a link to the afterlife that allows him to speak with the dead. When the safety of the newly reunited United States is threatened by a former Confederate general (John Malkovich) who happens to be the same man who killed Hex's family, President Grant (Aidan Quinn) calls on Hex to stop the attack and exact some revenge for good measure. A lot of stuff blows up.

First and foremost, "Jonah Hex" is by no means what I would call a good movie. There are too many plot holes, wasted moments, and editing screw ups to ever confuse this with good. The pitifully short 81 minute run time jumps from place to place with no foundation to hold it together. Screenwriters Neveldine and Taylor (that's what they go by, sadly) reportedly feuded with director Jimmy Hayward and ended up distancing from the finished product before it even hit theaters. And then there's the much maligned Megan Fox who's complete lack of acting ability could single-handedly sink just about any movie. I almost feel bad for Ms. Fox. Because of her extreme level of attractiveness she will never be asked to learn her craft in order to get roles and yet at the same time will always be cast in the same one dimension roles. She's got absolutely nowhere to go in this business and I think "Hex" is the starting point for her rapid decline.

With all that said, however, this movie is not nearly as bad as the scathing reviews it received would make it out to be. "Hex" has been painted as the worst movie of the year and may very well win the infamous Razzie Award for Worst Picture at year's end. Maybe it's because my expectations were completely nonexistent going in but I darn near enjoyed about half of this thing. That enjoyment is due in large part to the work of Josh Brolin who seems to bring his A game no matter what's going on around him. This movie reeks of "give up," as if everyone realized midway through production that this thing was headed South in a hurry and mailed in their performances. But not Brolin. He seems hell bent on making Jonah Hex a viable franchise super hero and makes the most out of every limited opportunity his surrounding cast and crew give him to work with. As a result of Brolin's work (with a little help from Michael Fassbender who does an admirable job in his short screen time as a maniacal sidekick-baddie) you get about 35 minutes of a decent-enough comic book movie distributed through and overshadowed by the crap the rest of the film has to offer.

Grade: C+

New Movie Friday

I didn't even bother with New Movie Friday last week. Why? Because pretty much the only film that debuted was "Saw #WhoGivesaCrap" and I didn't feel that was important enough to make note of. Seriously, whether this is the last "Saw" or not, STOP WATCHING THESE MOVIES, America. Absolute rubbish, all of them. I digress. This week brings a much stronger field and thank the good Lord for that.

"Megamind" - Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt
A twist on the classic "Superman" story, "Megamind" pits a would-be super villain from another planet (Ferrell) against an alien superhero (Pitt) until the hero loses focus and retires from the crime fighting game. I expect this to be a bit more juvenile than the average Pixar film but I'm still genuinely excited to see this. Looks like it could be very funny.

"Due Date" - Robert Downey, Jr., Zach Galifianakis
When a businessman (RDJ) can't get home to his pregnant wife he hitches a ride with a lovable loser (Galifianakis). Basically "Planes Trains and Automobiles" from the perspective of director Todd Phillips ("The Hangover"). I've been quite interested in this for some time now but I'm starting to get nervous as it feels like all the funny parts might be in the trailers and I'm not sure how RDJ and Galifianakis will mesh. We'll see.

"127 Hours" - James Franco, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn
The true life story of Aron Rolston (Franco), a rock climber/outdoor enthusiast who got himself trapped in the desert and had to resort to desperate measures to save his life. This is getting GREAT buzz and more than one report I've seen has it pegged as a Best Picture contender (or maybe even front runner). "127" has a great pedigree, having been directed by the outstanding Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire") and has truly incredible source material. If you've never heard Rolston's story, I recommend checking it out. I'm not overly excited about this, though, perhaps because I know Rolston's tale of survival. Still, this will definitely warrant a viewing at some point.

"For Colored Girls" - Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg
From writer/director Tyler Perry comes the story of a group of women who meet at a 12 step program. I probably could have stopped at "Tyler Perry" because, like me, you probably tune out anytime you hear that guy's name. 'Nuff said.

"Fair Game" - Naomi Watts, Sean Penn
The story of Valerie Plame (Watts), a CIA agent/spy whose identity was released (allegedly) after her husband (Penn) published a government-bashing article. This is getting the reviews you expect to see for a movie that aspires to win awards but misses the mark. Regardless, I'm just not interested.

Movie News Today

I'm still not sure how I feel about this "Spiderman" revamp but Martin Sheen will be playing Uncle Ben so I guess you put that in the "pros" column.

And yet, right after I say that, I see that Mary Jane Watson will not be in the new "Spiderman." How can you make a "Spiderman" movie with Mary Jane, people? Bah.

MGM is finally getting its wheels back on with production rolling on "The Hobbit" and now it appears Daniel Craig and James Bond will be back on screen in 2012. Finally.

LIE reviews the Clint Eastwood-Matt Damon project "Hereafter." I probably won't get to see this until it gets to my neighborhood Family Video so have a look at his review.

In Genius Marketing news of the day, AMC Theaters will host "Harry Potter" marathons across the country as a lead up to the release of the newest installment. For one ticket price you can see "Harry Potter" 5, 6, and 7 all in a row. Smart, smart move for these folks.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Movie News Today

Looks like Michael Caine will be joining the cast of "HenryV", a mix of post-apocolyptic sci-fi and Shakespeare. Um, where does the line start?

Brad Pitt will try his hand at black comedy with "Cogan's Trade" in which he will play a mob enforcer. Pitt is a favorite here at the Soap Box and I think he'll excel in this role.

Matt Damon gives a brief thought on the script for "True Grit." Seriously cannot wait for this one.

The New York Times has a really cool article about NFL defensive end Trevor Pryce who has his eye set on Hollywood.

There is a serious lack of worthwhile news these days. I'll continue to pass it on when I can find it but we're in a down period right now for some reason.

Monday, November 1, 2010

New DVD Tuesday

"Toy Story 3" - Tom Hanks, Tim Allen
The final chapter in the best animated franchise the world has ever known arrives just in time for the Christmas rush. For all the awfulness that the movie calendar of 2010 has brought into my life, it is also responsible for three of the very best movies I've seen in some time, which includes this one (in addition to "Inception" and "Social Network"). I got my whole nerdy group together to take this in at midnight on opening night and we ended up bawling like babies, the lot of us. I love this movie and would be shocked if it wasn't up for Best Picture come award season.

"The Pacific" - Joseph Mazzello, James Badge Dale, Jon Seda
HBO's follow up to the fantastic "Band of Brothers" mini series isn't quite up to par with its predecessor. This is most certainly worth watching but just doesn't capture the essence of World War II the way "Brothers" did. I was a bit disappointed.

"V: Season 1" - Elizabeth Mitchell, Joel Gretsch, Morris Chestnut, Morena Baccarin
Part "Independence Day," part "District 9," alien visitors (or "V's") park their ships over earth and come bearing promises of a bright future. A group of rebels, however, knows the truth of their arrival and sets out to bring them down. Being the sci-fi nerd that I am, I quite liked "V" though I missed the final two or three episodes of last season. It isn't perfect by any means and there are some definite trips into sci-fi cliche, but Season 1 was a promising start. I'll be picking up the final few episodes here shortly.

New to Blu Ray
"The Goonies" - Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman
The ultimate 80s pre-adolescent adventure film about a set of misfits who undertake a search for pirate treasure in order to save their neighborhood from corporate destruction. I love "The Goonies." LOVE IT. I love it so much that, had finances been in order this summer, I would have made the trek to Astoria, Oregon for the 25th anniversary festival and reunion. I love it so much that this weekend, while at my church's giant garage sale, I bought two "Goonies" themed glasses that Pizza Hut made back in the day. I cannot wait to get my hands on this special edition and remind myself of why Sloth love Chunk. (In summary: I love "The Goonies.")

"The Sound of Music" - Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer
The beloved classic that has captured the hearts of several generations of men and women across the globe. Who doesn't love "The Sound of Music," right? Me, that's who. I don't hate it by any means and I certainly get its popularity. But as someone who dislikes both musicals and things that are overly popular, this just isn't for me.

"Highlander" - Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery
I would guess that in my life I have paid, whether in the theater or in my home, for a movie that I didn't finish less than five times. Once I start watching, I'm committed to seeing it through even if it's terrible. This is one of the five. I popped this in for the first time very recently with the understanding that it was miserable but unintentionally hilarious. Couldn't do it, guys. Just couldn't do it. This is EASILY one of the five worst movies of all time. Said it, standing by it. AWFUL.

Movie News Today

There has been virtually nothing worth commenting on the last few days and I've been caught up in the ever-increasingly depressing World Series. Forgive my lack of content.

Leonardo DiCaprio has purchased the rights for "Devil in the White City," the non-fiction account of a serial killer who stalked Chicago around the turn of the century.

Kid in the Front Row lets us in on his inner conflict which has stricken me more than a time or two: whether I should work or write.

Marshall at the Movies makes a compelling case for the importance of "Citizen Cane."

Yeah it's a day late. Sue me.

Weekend Box Office Results
1. "Saw 3D" - $22.53 million
2. "Paranormal Activity 2" - $16.51 ($65.66 million total)
3. "Red" - $10.73 ($58.82)
4. "Jackass 3D" - $8.5 ($101.66)
5. "Hereafter" - $6.42 ($22.26)
6. "Secretariat" - $5 ($44.7)
7. "The Social Network" - $4.52 ($79.52)
8. "Life As We Know It" - $4.05 ($43.53)
9. "The Town" - $1.97 ($87.62)
10. "Conviction" - $1.83 ($2.38)