Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Movie News Today

I'm back from a short camping trip (no internet access is rough) and trying to play catch up. "Grown Ups" (blah) and "The French Connection" (meh) reviews are forthcoming.

Marvel has confirmed the list of actors up for the part of Peter Parker in the "Spider Man" reimagining. I love superhero/comic book nerdery but if this is who they're choosing from, I'm skeptical at best. Blerg.

Strongly competing for "Worst News of the Day" comes word that a movie based on the Facebook game Mafia Wars is in the works. Getting closer to moving back into the woods away from crap like this...

Spike Lee is in to direct "Nagasaki Deadline," a script that has been around a for a long, long time. He'll team with James Cameron as producer.

We're finally going to get a Lego movie and it will be directed by the guys who did "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" (which is next on my queue, by the way). Can't believe it took this long.

Andy Serkis has signed on to be part of the new "Planet of the Apes" reboot. Not surprising, as he seems to team with WETA on all their endeavors and has nothing to do until "The Hobbit" gets out of MGM purgatory.

Larry King is hanging up the suspenders in the Fall.

FlowingData asks the question, do sequels live up to the original? Quick answer: no.

And finally... I posted the teaser trailer for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" a few weeks ago. Today we get our first real look at the epic finale and yes, I am oh so close to freaking out. Looks great.

DVD Tuesday!

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010): Logan Lerman, Pierce Brosnan, Brandon T. Jackson
In the first movie based on the first book of the hit series, Percy Jackson discovers he's the son of the Greek god Poseidon and sets off on some crazy adventures. These books fall into the "meh" category of would-be "Harry Potter" fodder that so many Potter fans have turned to in the absence of new material. They're okay, but not must-read quality. This movie, on the other hand, is a heck of a lot closer to the low bar set by "Eragon" than anything else. It's the worst movie I've seen so far this year and I encourage anyone over the age of 12 to stay away.

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010): John Cusak, Craig Robinson, Rob Cordry
A group of middle-aged guys who regret how their lives have turned out end up at a Colorado lodge in a hot tub that, you guessed it, doubles as a time machine. They are transported back to 1986 where they attempt to re-do the screw ups of their pasts. This has been the biggest divider of the year; one of those movies that everyone either loves and raves about or hates and trashes, no in between. I love Cusak, I just wish he would take on a movie I could get behind.

Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage (2010), When You're Strange: A Film About the Doors (2010):
What a week for rock documentaries! Rush is one of the more influential rock bands of the last half century and seem to be making something of a comeback, or at least a resurgence. I've got a couple of buddies who are Rush enthusiasts and they are quick to point out the numerous pop culture references to the band that have become quite popular recently. I've never been a big fan of The Doors but they, too, have a cult following. This documentary is narrated by Johnny Depp and has received some great reviews.

New to Blu-Ray
Predator (1987): Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers
A cult classic that has spawned numerous (horrible) sequels, "Predator" is the classic example of a movie that was great in its day but hasn't held up so well. I was a bit obsessed with this movie as a teenager, as was just about any male anywhere near my age. I watched it recently, however, and was quite disappointed. Still, it has some value from both nostalgia and bad-awesome-action levels.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Box Office Monday!

I'm out of town and possibly unable to connect to the internet for a couple of days. So I won't be around for Box Office Monday. Here's my guess...

1. "Toy Story 3"
2. "Grown Ups"
3. "Knight and Day"
4. "The Karate Kid"
5. "The A-Team"
6. "Shrek Forever After"
7. "Get Him to the Greek"
8. "Iron Man 2"
9. "Prince of Persia"
10. "Jonah Hex"

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Movie News Today!

Peter Jackson is ever so close to directing "The Hobbit." This comes as no surprise but oh boy, is it not exactly what all "Hobbit" fans have been hoping for.

Movieline gives us five TGIF alums who deserve a comeback. As someone who rewatches "Boy Meets World" every day, I'm always a fan of getting the TGIF crew getting second chances but...really? These five?

Wayne Kramer has been brought on to direct a movie about Pretty Boy Floyd.

The New York Times takes a look at the action film genre as a whole.

The Independent makes a case for the end of multiplexes. A foolish argument in my book, but an interesting take nonetheless.

Friday, June 25, 2010

"Toy Story 3"

I’ve seen a lot of movies over the years. Some good, some bad, some memorable, some that I forgot the moment I left the theater or returned the DVD. There are some, though, that stay with you no matter how long it’s been since you first saw them. It is a small group of films that not only resonate with the viewer but also with the movie industry as a whole, changing the face of film. “Star Wars”, “Jaws”, “Jurassic Park”, and (for better or worse) “Avatar” come to mind for a younger movie fan like myself and I’m sure older movie goers could name a few that go further back than those. One that often gets lost in the mix, though, is “Toy Story.” Despite its great reputation and ranking on AFI’s Top 100 Movies (#99), I think “Toy Story” gets left out of the “changed the industry” conversation unfairly. Fifteen years later, however, we come to “Toy Story 3” and perhaps a little vindication for the former installment.

“Toy Story 3” picks up (fittingly) 11 years or so after “Toy Story 2” ended. Andy (the owner of the toys for those who have been off the grid for the last couple of decades) is getting ready to head to college. Through a crazy mix-up, the last remnants of Andy’s beloved toys (including Woody, Buzz, Jesse, the Potato Heads, Rex, and Hamm) are donated to a daycare instead of being placed in the attic where they were intended to go. While Woody wants to return to the house he was mistakenly cast out of, the rest of the his friends appreciate the lavish lifestyle of the Sunnyside Daycare, as described to them by resident head honcho Lotso, a giant purple bear. Quickly, however, the toys discover that they’ve been sold a lie and that they have been purposely placed with the younger, rougher toddlers to insure a longer life expectancy for the other toys. What follows is an outstanding series of adventures as Woody and the gang attempt to breakout of Sunnyside and reunite with their former owner.

I have been in love with the “Toy Story” universe from the very beginning. When the first movie debuted in 1995, I was 12 years old and starting to go through that inevitable phase of feeling too cool for “childish” things. “Toy Story” bounced me right back into the reality of the deep-down nerd I truly am and I will be forever grateful for that. Never in my life have I seen an animated film that matters the way “Toy Story” does. “Toy Story 2”, while nowhere near as good as its predecessor, is still a great movie that crushes your standard cartoon feature presentation. I’ve watched them both dozens of times and each time I find myself chuckling at the funny moments, taking in the more dramatic parts, and reflecting on just how special these movies are. To say that I was bursting with anticipation for volume three would be quite the understatement. Yet not even at my highest level of anticipation and expectation could I expect a result like what Pixar has given us.

“Toy Story 3” is…wait for it…a masterpiece. Please hear me when I say I do not throw that word around lightly. I’m a big fan of “amazing,” “great,” “incredible,” etc. but I almost never say “masterpiece.” “Masterpiece” is my one bugaboo, my one hold out for only the best of the best. But “Toy Story 3” is good enough for me to reach into that don’t-hold-anything-back part of my descriptive lexicon. From the opening credits, it took me about five minutes to adjust to, one, the 3-D nonsense that will undoubtedly torment me for the next few years, and two, the fact that I was actually, finally sitting in for a conclusion to a story I love so much. Everything that followed was pitch-perfect.

In all truthfulness, I can’t think of a single thing that is wrong or even slightly off about “Toy Story 3.” Visually it lives up to the unbeatable standards that Pixar is so known for and while the 3-D addition doesn’t really add anything to film, it certainly doesn’t detract or distract. Likewise, the voice talent that Pixar is able to assemble (when they want to) is legendary and “Toy Story 3” doesn’t disappoint. In addition to the veterans like Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Joan Cusak, a host of “names” like Ned Beatty, Michael Keaton, and Whoopi Goldberg seamlessly integrate themselves into the fabric of the franchise, exactly the way their characters do.

But the story is where it’s really at for “Toy Story 3.” The best screenwriters (or better yet, any kind of writer in history) in the industry can only dream of putting together the quality scripts that Pixar’s writers come up with for each and every endeavor. Truth be told, no one can tell an original story like Pixar can. It would be very easy for a third chapter of a story to be a bit tired, unoriginal, or burdensome. Instead, I’m going on record as saying this is the best story of the bunch. Each character, each scene, each line does nothing but further and deepen the story and thereby the enjoyment and the investment of the viewer. Simply put, nothing, not a single line, is wasted. The ability to make such ridiculous situations that Pixar is famous for seem so real is a true gift that cannot be understated. It’s difficult to imagine a world in which animated toys could provide some of the best, most authentic visions of what it means to be human, and yet that is exactly what “Toy Story 3” does. I would say it is impossible not to become emotionally invested in the lives of Woody, Buzz, and the rest as they essentially transition from mid-life crisis to empty nest syndrome. And the appeal which these characters have is masterfully crafted.

As much as I love the first “Toy Story,” I think “3” might be the best of the bunch. In a year that features very few highlights and following the road paved by last year’s “Up,” I’m left to ponder if this isn’t the time for an animated movie to win a Best Picture Oscar. While the final moments of the movie played out, I had a look around the room. The packed theater that had been so dreadfully loud in the beginning was now near silent, everyone’s eyes transfixed upon the screen. My entire group of 20 and 30-somethings sacrificing sleep, work, and common sense to be at a midnight showing we were way to old for all sat sniffling and red eyed, some choking back tears, other bawling like the big babies we are. And I was reminded of how significant a movie, a story, can be when it’s told the right way. Masterpiece.

Grade: A+

Take that every other 2010 movie,

New Movie Friday!

Only a couple of movies dare to challenge the impressiveness of "Toy Story 3." I'll be interested to see how they fare.

"Grown Ups" - Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade
A bunch of old friends reunite 20+ years after their high school graduation and relive some of the good old days. I've come to the realization that I'm just always going to be an Adam Sandler fan. He does some terrible movies ("You Don't Mess with the Zohan," for example) and his brand of humor is usually immature, but I still appreciate what he's done and what I think he can do with each absurd movie. If nothing else Sandler is just a cool dude, a good guy who happens to be famous. I may not be there on opening weekend but I'm definitely in for a little SNL reunion.

"Knight and Day" - Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz
A mild mannered woman (Diaz) is sucked into the life of a hot shot spy (Cruise) who saves both of their lives on what was supposed to be his final mission. Much like Sandler, I can't help but like Cruise. He's a total nutcase, I know, but he's given us some great moments in film and on some level I want him to be relevant. The marketing campaign for this has been relentless (though it doesn't look like it will help much) and I find myself quietly interested in what's being sold here, even if it is a tired formula (remember "Killers" a couple of weeks ago?).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Movie News Today

An excellent look at five actresses who always, always, always play the best friend in romantic comedies. Could have definitely guessed four of these without any problem.

A nice little look at one of the funnier men in Hollywood, Paul Rudd.

We're going to talk about this more in the near future, but here's a brief article concerning the immense, ridiculous, unequaled success of the Pixar movies as a whole.

Daniel Radcliffe is moving past "Harry Potter" by jumping into the remake of "All Quiet on the Western Front."

Matt Damon may be in for Cameron Crowe's new movie. What's this movie about, you ask? Don't care. If you were to tell me Damon and Crowe are teaming together for called "Toilet" about the life and times of a public toilet, I've got to tell you, I'm probably in. Crowe gets so much out of his actors that they often have nothing left for the rest of their careers. (See: Billy Crudup.) Combining him with Damon? In.

And in news of the even more exciting, it's possible (and I stress possible) that Daniel Day-Lewis may be considering the role of Moriarty in the next "Sherlock Holmes" installment. Please make this happen, Mr. Ritchie.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Movie News Today

Jim Carrey is in talks to join an interesting little film called "Mr. Popper's Penguins."

Bad news for most of you. Looks like Disney is about to cash in on a cash cow and re-release some of their bigger hits ("The Lion King" for instance) in, you guessed it, 3-D.

The Movie Muser discusses the epically awful "Dune" and its difficult transition to the screen.

The first reviews are in for "Knight and Day" and they seem to be pretty middle of the road.

And finally, uber-director Christopher Nolan apparently rides around the Warner Brothers lot in this:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

DVD Tuesday!

Green Zone (2010): Matt Damon, Brendan Gleeson, Greg Kinnear
A soldier in Iraq (Damon) gets fed up with the lack of proper intelligence concerning WMD and sets off on a quest for answers. Not a great movie by any means but decent enough and surprisingly unpreachy. Matt Damon is strong as always.

Remember Me (2010): Robert Pattinson, Emile de Ravin
Your typical boy-meets-girl romance with a twisted ending that strongly divided the critics. Honestly, I'm out anytime I see the words "Robert" and "Pattinson" pushed together. It's not his fault, really, he made a smart business decision to jump into the "Twilight" ridiculousness. But I'll never, ever be able to look past the insanity that follows him everywhere he goes. Don't care, out.

She's Out of My League (2010): Jay Baruchel
A super nerdy dude (Baruchel) somehow manages to attract the advances of an incredibly attractive model. His friends can't figure out how he's gotten so lucky and their effect begins to rub off on him. I really like Baruchel and wish him well, but this looked pretty mediocre.

The Last Station (2009): Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, James McAvoy
A look at the last days of Russian writer Tolstoy and the paparazzi that stalk he and his wife. Not personally interested but I've heard good things. And this movie brought Plummer, a seriously underrated actor, an Oscar nomination.

Movie News Today

The first photos for "The Green Hornet" are making the rounds. And boy, does this thing look incredibly bad.

Marvel is considering some Pixar-like shorts to precede some of their movies and Movieline has some suggestions for characters that would benefit from this. Totally disagree with half of these but that's just me.

M. Night Shyamalan is looking to sell a new film. I would kill for Shyamalan to be relevant again.

"Willy Wonka/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" hits the stage this week. Genius.

A very cool little interview with John Morris, the voice of Andy in the "Toy Story" movies.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"The A-Team"

A brief survey for my reader(s) before we get into “The A-Team”:

Have you, while watching a ridiculous action movie, ever uttered one of the following statements? :
A.) “He HAS to be out of bullets by now”;
B.) “No one could live through that”;
C.) “There’s no way in Heaven or earth that this could ever happen”:
D.) “It is not possible to fly a tank”.
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then please pay attention to what I’m about to write:

Do NOT, under ANY circumstances, watch “The A-Team.”

I want to save those of you that fall into this category from the time you will lose and the pain this movie will put you through. This is quite simply not the movie for you. If, on the other hand, you’re alright with a bit (okay, a LOT) of absurdity as long as it’s done correctly, then may I present to you the epic ludicrosity of “The A-Team.” (That’s right, it’s so ridiculous I had to make up a word.)

Part origin story, part retooling the “classic” TV series, “The A-Team” drops us into the corrupt back woods of Mexico, with Colonel Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) and Lieutenant Templeton “Face” Peck (Bradley Cooper) on a fool hardy mission. Hannibal enlists the aid of some muscle in the form of B.A. Baracus (Quinton “Rampage” Jackson) and a mentally unstable pilot, Murdock (Sharlto Copley), to rescue Face and race across the U.S. border, birthing the A-Team in the process. Eight years and numerous missions later, the team is asked to take out a group of baddies that have obtained printing plates for U.S. currency. The “plan comes together” (hahaha, I’m so funny) just right, until they are betrayed by a team of mercenaries who steal the plates and frame the A-Team for the crimes. A few months after being imprisoned, the guys break out and begin an all-out assault in an attempt to reclaim the plates and clear their names; all while staying one step ahead of an Army investigator (Jessica Biel) and one step behind a CIA spook (Patrick Wilson). And oh, the shenanigans that ensue!

I came into “The A-Team” with feelings that could only be classified as somewhere between magnificent doubt and brooding anger. I could smell the “Clash of the Titans”-like stink all over this thing and made no qualms about my expectations of complete and total failure. Even as the opening scene unfolded, I rolled my eyes numerous times and looked at my movie-going teammate with exaggerated expression to convey my “I freaking told you so” attitude. Within three minutes, however, my feelings of impending doom vanished, swallowed up by the immense amount of fun being had on screen and by proxy, myself and the rest of the audience. “The A-Team” is an enormously entertaining, action packed thrill ride chock full of exciting, kick-you-squarely-in-the-butt ridiculous action that only takes a break long enough to allow for some well placed, witty one-liners.

Top to bottom, “The A-Team” delivers on just about every level you can reasonably expect an action movie to have, and that all starts with the cast. Neeson continues his reinvention of the last few years and you can tell he’s quite enjoying his new-found action stardom. With shades of last year’s “Taken,” Neeson handles himself in with a cool, calm-in-the-face-of-incredibly-bad-odds swagger that makes you wonder if he’s not acting as much as he’s just playing himself as Hannibal Smith. Cooper brings the necessary charisma to Face, a role he might have been genetically engineered to play. As a CIA spook who jumps in and out of the A-Team’s adventures, Patrick Wilson delivers a strong performance, blending arrogance with debilitating incompetence. He is the perfect antagonist for the A-Team and personally had me wishing he would have been cast in Jason Patric’s place in “The Losers,” a film which struggled to find its rhythm due to the weakness of the villain. Even Biel and Jackson feel comfortable in their roles and have moments of strength. Copley, however, takes scene stealing to a whole new level. Murdock is a nutcase first, pilot second and Copley strikes that balance PERFECTLY, delivering the goods with every single line.

No one is ever going to confuse “The A-Team” with an award-caliber film. I completely understand the number of critics, not to mention my own “readers,” who are panning “The A-Team” or refusing to see it just on principle. The plot takes a serious backseat to the action and that occasionally creates a problem. Some of the “acting” is pretty bad, with “Rampage” Jackson especially bringing very little to the game. And really, the entire thing is one giant ball of insane absurdity.

But let me be quite frank with you, dear friends: none of those issues matter. “The A-Team” takes realism, throws it from a high altitude, and shoots it down with a heat seeking missile, sending it back to earth in tiny, scorching fragments. From minute one, director Brad Carnahan makes it clear that he’s not looking to make an authentic, important film that will be praised for its biting political commentary or that will be called the “Saving Private Ryan” of its genre. Neigh, Carnahan is after outstanding stunts, intense action sequences, and seriously well written dialogue that truly fits the story it helps to tell. There are a couple of weak points in which the movie tries to strike an emotional chord it just can’t hit. Truthfully, there’s no need for these scenes save to add length to the movie’s runtime and perhaps add a bit of humanity into the action. But these moments are short and few in number and don’t take away too much from the overall flow of the movie.

After all of the outspoken doubts I expressed over the last few months, darn it if “The A-Team” isn’t one of the best, most fun action movie experiences I’ve had in quite some time. It doesn’t quite stack up to, say, “Die Hard,” but then again, in the 22 years since “Die Hard” debuted, how many action movies do stack up to it? (None, that’s how many.) It is, however, a slap in the face to any Michael Bay movie and a big, “Check this out, SUCKA!!!” to Jerry Bruckheimer and all his cronies. Quite simply, “The A-Team” is just an absolute blast. I would say perhaps the most enjoyable watch of the first half of 2010 and one I would gladly take in again.

Grade: B+... No, you know what? Heck with it. A-.

Liam Neeson for President,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Box Office Monday!

If you didn't see "Toy Story 3" this weekend you were most certainly in the minority of movie-going Americans. After an 11 year hiatus, the original Pixar team surged back into theaters with a $100+ million opening weekend, the third biggest of 2010 ("Alice in Wonderland" and "Iron Man 2"). In all honesty, though, I'm a little surprised it didn't haul in more, though it likely has more staying power than any movie released so far this year. When it's all said and done, I expect it will battle "Harry Potter" for highest grossing movie of the year. On the flip side, the other newcomer "Jonah Hex" bombed in EPIC fashion and will likely be seen only at discount theaters within 3 weeks. Ouch. You deserve better, Josh Brolin.

1. "Toy Story 3" - $109 million
2. "The Karate Kid" - $29 mil ($106.5 mil total)
3. "The A-Team" - $13.8 mil ($49.8 mil)
4. "Get Him to the Greek" - $6.1 mil ($47.9 mil)
5. "Shrek Forever After" - $5.5 mil ($223 mil)
6. "Prince of Persia" - $5.3 mil ($80.5 mil)
7. "Killers" - $5.1 mil ($39.4 mil)
8. "Jonah Hex" - $5.1 mil
9. "Iron Man 2" - $2.7 mil ($304.8 mil)
10. "Marmaduke" - $2.7 mil ($27.9 mil)

Movie News Today

Movie revenue is down this year and Hollywood is finally coming around to the need for less sequels and more original material.

A look at some of the best unlikely pairs in the history of animation. Anytime Pinky and the Brain make a list, I'm in.

Neill Blomkamp is being discussed as the director of "The Hobbit." While "District 9" was an outstanding film, I confess I'm nervous about turning over this beloved story to a relative novice.

I have a tremendous, unabashed crush on Rachel McAdams. But even that crush might not be enough to get me to sit through another movie involving Channing Tatum.

Cinablend posts a reply letter a young fan received from Pixar guru and "Monsters, Inc." director Pete Docter. Incredible.

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Movie Friday!

Wide Release -
"Toy Story 3" - Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusak
I could give you a synopsis of the newest Pixar creation, but do you really care? "Toy Story" is one of the most beloved "children's movies" of all time and its appeal is universal to both old and young. I would bet good money that this ends up being the highest grossing movie of the year. Also, I've already seen it and it is AMAZING. Review forthcoming.

"Jonah Hex" - Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, John Malkovich
Based on a graphic novel, Jonah Hex is a bounty hunter who might have been brought back from the dead. I'm sketchy on the details and a bit lazy when looking up said details for movies that are bound to flop. Anyway, Hex is sent to bring down a terrorist played (in sure to be over-the-top grandiose fashion) by Malkovich. I really, really like Brolin and in the back of my mind, I'm ashamed to say I kind of want to see this despite knowing it will most likely be very bad.

Limited Release -
"Cyrus" - John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill
A man (Reilly) falls for a woman (Tomei) who still has a grown son (Hill) living at home. The boys hate each other, of course, and a full out war ensues. The early reviews have been extremely positive and this may be a total breakout for the Duplass brothers (directors).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Movie News Today

We now have some pictures of the "Hobbit" set. Now if only we could get a director.

Look, there's no way that a movie called "Guns, Girls, and Gambling" about an Elvis impersonation contest starring Christian Slater can be good. But the chances go up by approximately 78% due to the involvement of Gary Oldman.

Rob Reiner has a new film coming out in the near future. Here's a first look.

A very interesting read about the Chinese attempt to make a legitimate, Hollywood-quality movie.

A look at a new "Star Trek"/Trekkie documentary.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Movie News Today

I know you've all been anxiously awaiting for my "A Team" review. It's been a crazy week, hoping to have it up tomorrow. Spoiler: Love it.

A script has been written for "Ghost Rider 2." You know, because the first one was so well received.

As if Robert Downey, Jr. wasn't cool enough, now his production company is working on a lost Steve McQueen project.

Cinematical gives us a look at some of Johnny Depp's best scenes. Solid. 

I think Movieline is on the right path here: hand pick directors whose potential involvement with "The Hobbit" would force Peter Jackson to direct the films himself (which is what we all want, isn't it?).

A fellow blogger gives us his take on Liam Neeson (one of the absolute BEST) and his best/worst movies. Agreed, minus "Kingdom of Heaven," which I love.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New DVD Tuesday!

Book of Eli (2010): Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis
A lonely warrior wanders a post-apocolyptic earth carrying with him the only copy of the Bible. Gary Oldman wants this Bible and what Gary Oldman wants, Gary Oldman gets. The direction for this is questionable at best but the story is excellent. Much like "Shutter Island" last week, "Eli" has grown on me since my initial review and I highly recommend it.

When in Rome (2010): Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel
A woman throws a coin into a magic well (in Rome, of course) and wishes that men would fall in love with her. Lots of men then do, in fact, fall in love with her and shenanigans insue. I love Kristen Bell because she is a total nerd and proud of it. So while this looks to be quite cliche and miserable, I might get sucked in on an otherwise fruitless trip to Blockbuster.

Youth in Revolt (2010): Michael Cera, Zack Galifinakas
A dorky high schooler fed up with his boring, "nice-guy" life, creates an alter ego for himself that leads him down the path of destruction. Look, it's clear that Michael Cera is a one trick pony. But man I like that trick.

Movie News Today - 6/14

It's quite possible that David Yates, director of the last few "Harry Potter" films, could be the guy for "The Hobbit." While I'm quite fond of Yates' work on "Potter," he (and the screenwriters he works with) have been quite liberal with their adaptations of the books. "The Hobbit" is one book that needs and should receive no serious cuts or rewrites. Not sure how I feel about this.

Ridley Scott dropped by an LA nerdfest this week and dropped some details about the upcoming "Alien" prequels.

Sam Raimi has been tapped to direct a "Wizard of Oz" prequel. Fine. The real question on my mind is, will he bring Robert Downey, Jr. with him?

NPR gives us a look at some of the winners at the Golden Trailer Awards.

With the World Cup in mind, here we have a look at the best 11 soccer movies of all time. Thankfully, "Victory" makes the list.

Christopher Nolan is just like you: he hates 3D. His campaign for best director in the world just got stronger.

Liam Neeson will only do a "Taken" sequel if it's believable. Movieline questions Neeson's judgement on "believable."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Box Office Monday

Wow, I expected big things from "The Karate Kid" but not this big! The "Kid" wins the day with a great opening weekend that's already pushed it into the black. I'm not interested, but still, good for them! I did, however, see "The A Team" and HIGHLY enjoyed the ridiculousness. "Shrek" has now topped the $200 million mark, while "Iron Man" is on the verge of break the $300 million mark. "Marmaduke" has turned into a predictable failure and while "Prince of Persia" has pulled in a respectable total so far, consider that it cost $200 million to make. Yikes.

1. "The Karate Kid" - $56 million
2. "The A Team" - $26 mil
3. "Shrek Forever After" - $15.8 mil ($210 mil total)
4. "Get Him to the Greek" - $10.1 mil ($36.5 mil)
5. "Killers" - $8.2 mil ($30.7 mil)
6. "Prince of Persia" - $6.6 mil ($72.3 mil)
7. "Marmaduke" - $6 mil ($22.3 mil)
8. "Sex and the City 2" - $5.5 mil ($84.7 mil)
9. "Iron Man 2" - $4.5 mil ($299.3 mil)
10. "Splice" - $2.9 mil ($13.1 mil)

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Movie Friday!

Wide Release -
"The A-Team" - Bradley Cooper, Liam Neeson
I would recap the plot for this but really, is there any point? As with any ridiculous action movie, you're either going to see this or you're not and the "plot" doesn't really make any difference. I badly want to HATE what is sure to be a horrible movie but I find myself drifting more and more toward seeing it and seeing it soon. Granted, this is due more to 2010 being the Year of Blerg than anything else, but look, I'm a movie junkie and I'm tweaking pretty bad.

"The Karate Kid" - Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan
An American pre-teen moves with his mother to China, only to be picked on by the thugs who live in his neighborhood. Enter Jackie Chan, who teaches the kid karate, and takes him to some tournaments where he earns the respect of his bullies. Later he turns into a teen wolf and plays basketball. But seriously, I just don't have any interest in this. The original is such a classic to me, don't think I need to see a reboot.

Limited Release -
"Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" - Joan Rivers
A documentary that delves into the life of (you guessed it) Joan Rivers. Honestly, there is a part of me that thinks this could be a FASCINATING film...and then the other part of me reminds myself that Joan Rivers is one of the most annoying humans in the history of planet Earth and having her on screen for 90 minutes might be enough to drive me to drink Mr. Pibb. Probably out.

Movie News Today - 6/10

A fellow blogger asks which terrible movies you've seen just because of those jokers you call "friends."

"Transformers 3" will be in 3D, as if that's some sort of surprise.

The first reviews for "The A Team" are in and they are oh so dreadful.

An article covering some of the most unfilmable books and stories of all time and how they have been tackled.

A lost Charlie Chaplin film has been found in an antique sale.

Disney gives us a teaser for the Repunzel-inspired animated feaute, "Tangled."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Movie News Today - 6/9

Another writer makes reiterates my point about 2010 being the Year of Suck. 2011, please get here fast!

Incredible trailers for not-so-incredible movies. (Though I would say at least two of these movies are strong to quite strong.)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is up for the role of The Riddler in the third "Batman" film. I think this type of thing is what sets Christopher Nolan apart from other directors. Levitt is an excellent actor but way outside the box for this role. Yet, if he gets it, I'd bet good money he'll nail the part because Nolan just straight up knows what he's doing.

Jack White AND Coco? Yes please! Big things coming to Nashville on Conan's comedy tour.

Tony Gilroy ("Michael Clayton") will write the script for the fourth "Bourne" movie.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

DVD Review - "Star Wars: The Clone Wars"

"Star Wars: The Clone Wars" is an animated feature presentation that attempts to bridge part of the gap between episodes II and III of the "Star Wars" films. This is only part of the story, as there is a weekly cartoon that tells more of the happenings of the Clone Wars. What we have here is a universe at war and the Jedi at their thinnest, barely holding on to the worlds which they control. In the midst of this, Jabba the Hutt's son (who knew that guy could reproduce) is kidnapped and the Jedi send Anakin Skywalker and his new Padawan, Ahsoka, to find him. Chaos ensues.

Look, all cards on the table: I got the opportunity to watch this for free. Family Video, which has become my go to source for new releases as Blockbuster continues to crash and burn, has a deal where if you rent a new release on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, you get a recent release for free. After picking through the shelves for something I hadn't seen and wouldn't make me want to drown a puppy, I settled on "Clone Wars." So at least it was free...

...because that's about all it was. Sometimes I wonder if George Lucas secretly likes being hated. Since 1999 it's like all he's trying to do is rip my childhood memories away from me and set them on fire right in front of me while laughing like Hans Gruber. It's just not fair to be given the gift of "Star Wars" only to have all of its greatness tainted by Jar Jar Binks and (even worse) Hayden Christensen. I guess "Clone Wars" is supposed to be for kids so maybe we can forgive the childish dialogue and questionable voice talent. But how do I reconcile a story that seriously plays out like an episode of "Full House" with aliens? Just like everything else in the "Star Wars" universe post-1985, the entire thing comes across as only half plotted; the rest is just thrown together on the fly, like a middle-of-the-show SNL skit. We're now looking at two entire generations of kids who only have this type of crap with which to form an opinion of "Star Wars" upon. Curse you, George Lucas. Curse you.

Grade: C-

Movie News Today - 6/8

"Indiana Jones 5" is on the way and it's possibly about the Bermuda Triangle. When you've just finished tackling aliens and flesh eating ants, is anything off the table?

Michael Fessbender may be in as Magneto in next year's "X-men" movie. The guy was awesome in "Inglorious Basterds" so no complaining from me.

The new "Muppets" movie will open Christmas, 2011.

Take an inside look at "The Goonies" 25th anniversary reunion in Astoria. Oh that I could have been there! Look for the Blu-Ray release in November, though.

365 days of Stromtroopers. I think that speaks for itself. Although, I do feel the need to say: I'm a nerd, sure, but whoever is in charge of this project is neeeeeerrrrd. There is a difference.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Movie News Today

Directors Turned Dictators - Not sure how M. Night doesn't make the list.

Stanley Tucci in for "Captain America" - Not sure exactly what this role is as I'm not super familiar with the "CA" mythos, but the film gets a boost from Tucci's involvement.

Pixar's "Day and Night" - A look at the new Pixar short.

Oldman in for "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" - No idea what this is about but if it's good enough for Gary Oldman, it's good enough for me.

Renner up for "The Avengers" - The great Jeremy Renner will play Hawkeye.

The first look at "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1"

New DVD Tuesday!

Blogger was being contrary yesterday so there was no Box Office Monday. "Shrek Forever After" won the weekend again. Yeah.

New Releases -
Shutter Island (2010): Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo
Two US Marshals head to a psychiatric facility for the criminally insane, located on a remote island, to track down a missing inmate. Twists and turns abound. Brilliantly acted with a very strong storyline, the only real problem for me is the striving for significance rather than just telling a darn good story. It has grown on me, though, since my original review.

From Paris with Love (2010): John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
One spy or something like a spy is placed on a mission with another spy who does things a little more flamboyantly. Kill me. There is nothing, NOTHING, that could entice me to see Travolta struggle to hold on to that very last piece of "stardom." Give. It. Up.

New to Blu Ray -
Caddyshack (1980): Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray
The classic sports comedy that just about everyone over the age of 33 knows and loves. Personally, I've got to say, SERIOUSLY overrated. Murray is gold and Chevy has a few moments that make you understand why he was a major player in the comedy world for a while, but overall, "Caddyshack" is just not that good. I think it's one of those that you love if you saw it in 1980. I'm sure my kids won't get the brilliance of "Can't Hardly Wait."

The Illusionist (2006): Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, Paul Giamatti
A magician at the turn of the century (I think) tries to battle the class system to obtain the love of his childhood sweetheart while fighting against the Crown Prince. This little gym got swallowed up due to the absolute retardation of the studio's decision to release it right before the much more known and hyped magician movie "The Prestige." I really like "The Illusionist," though, and it's definitely worth a watch. Ed Norton brings it to a level that makes even Jessica Biel look good.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Shrek Forever After"

I've made no bones about my disdain for the summer movie schedule of 2010. The writer's strike of a couple years ago finally caught up to us my fellow movie freaks and me. 2009 was a banner year (hence The Summer of the Nerd) and both 2011 and 2012 look to be legendary and chock full of nerdy goodness. Sandwiched right there in the near middle, though, is 2010, the gay red headed stepson of a wealthy Republican family from the Northeast. It's absolutely embarrassing. So on the Friday before Memorial Day, the third biggest traditional movie weekend behind only Christmas and July 4th (which I'll have a HUGE rant on), I found myself wanting for movie options and sitting in for "Shrek Forever After," a show I wasn't all that excited about.

"Shrek" picks us up in the middle of the title characters mid-life crisis. Maybe crisis is the wrong word. Rather, the middle of his suburban rut. Every day it's the same thing and that is starting to wear on everyone's favorite surly ogre. After blowing up at his kid's birthday party, Shrek stumbles into the path of one Rumpelstiltskin who has an axe to grind with the Shrek. Stiltskin tricks Shrek into signing a magical contract that will give the ogre one day to be an ogre, complete with rampaging through the countryside and striking fear into the hearts of villagers. When Shrek nears the end of his day of fun, however, he discovers that the fine print of the contract has virtually stripped him of his existence. His wife, Fiona, and friends don't know who he is and Stiltskin is now the king of Far Far Away. At the end of the day Shrek will vanish forever unless he can again experience "love's first kiss" with Fiona.

“Shrek” has always been a bit of inconsistent for me. The first one was decent enough, though I think it's quite overrated. I very much enjoy the second installment and find it quite funny every time I watch. The third film, however, is awful. No laughs, no plot, no writing of any substance. The wit of the first two is completely absent from the third film and it soured me on the franchise as a whole. "Shrek Forever After," though, pleasantly surprised me. From the beginning, it is clear to the audience that everyone behind this film recognizes the failure of the third film and its lackluster departure from the style of its predecessors. The story, while far from original, is much livelier than the third “Shrek 3” ever was. (Though to be honest the third “Shrek” seemed like it was mapped out by an 8 year old with a hangover up against a deadline.) Laughter is again a part of the “Shrek” universe here while it was painfully absent before. Some of (okay, maybe most of) the laughs are predictable and easy, but not so easy as to make me feel dumb for laughing. Perhaps I was just happy to take what I could get on a weekend when the only other options involved Jake Gyllenhaal or four rich women complaining for 150 minutes.

For me the real difference between “Shrek 3” and “Forever After” is the voicing. For one thing, “3” was overfilled with cameo voices that swallowed up too much of the script. I’m a huge fan of the well placed cameo but when you pile them on one after the other, they begin to take away from the actual cast. “Forever After” doesn’t fall into that trap. There are still a lot of extra recognizable voices but they work with the main cast instead of fighting against them. More importantly, though, the headliners feel more invested this time around than they have before. In “Shrek 3” all of the voice talents sound bored and unconcerned. This time around Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and the rest are actually trying. Maybe that’s because they all hate “Shrek 3” like the rest of the world does or maybe it’s just that they have something to work with this time that they didn’t before. Or maybe it’s that they need this one to be good. Myers and Murphy in particular are in desperate need of a hit. Myers is bordering on dropping into Straight-to-DVD Hell after the disastrous turn his career has taken over the last few years and Murphy isn’t far behind. Even though it’s only voice work, you can sense a bit of urgency in both of their performances and “Forever After” is better for it.

“Forever After” is far from flawless. As I mentioned, it’s not so original, playing out a bit like “It’s a Wonderful Life with Ogres.” I wasn’t just overrun with the need to laugh out loud, either, which would have been a welcome distraction to the 3 year old sitting behind me, kicking my chair repeatedly. And if nothing else, I’m still not convinced that either of the movies that followed “Shrek 2” needed to be made or that there’s a story here that needs to be told. Still, this movie is a bit of summer fun in a year that DESPERATELY needs it and a solid final chapter to the franchise.

Grade: B

I can’t think of a closing line,

Friday, June 4, 2010

New Movie Friday!

The whipping of Summer 2010 continues. Blerg.

Wide Release
"Killers" - Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher
In a remake of the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie action movie "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," a happy marriage is upturned when it is discovered that Kutcher is a professional assassin who's being pursued by other assassins. Wait, this isn't a remake? Could have fooled me. I cannot stand Heigl, for one thing, and it looks completely cliche for another. Geez, even this poster looks awful. Out.
Rated: C3-PO

"Get Him to the Greek" - Jonah Hill, Russell Brand
A nerdy music assistant (Hill) is assigned the task of getting a legendary rock star (Brand) to LA in time for a concert. This is a spin off from 2008's "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." This also looks extremely cliche and the reviews have (mostly) been lackluster.
Rated: C3-PO

"Marmaduke" - Owen Wilson, Lee Pace, George Lopez
Based on the Sunday comic strip, a family with a huge dog (Wilson), moves to LA to start anew and shenanigans ensue. This looks like it was fast tracked to the screen and judging by the relative lack of advertisement, I imagine even the studio isn't all that impressed.
Rated: Gob Bluth

"Splice" - Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley
Two genetic scientists roll past the boundary of ethics in their attempt to make a breakthrough. In the process they create a human-hybrid creature that quickly becomes violent and unstable. I'm not into this genre of film but the reviews have been strong to quite strong. This could end up being a surprise hit as it had a pretty low production budget.
Rated: Wahlberg

Limited Release
"Ondine" - Colin Ferrell
A modern day fairy tale about a fisherman (Ferrell) who nets a woman who turns out to be a mythical creature of some sort. I admit I'd never heard of this movie until yesterday when a review popped up on Movieline. I find myself intrigued.
Rated: Wahlberg

Rating Definitions:
Bauer - So packed with awesome I'll probably be there opening day.
Ludacris - I'm excited to see it but also concerned about some red flags, like anytime a rapper is in the cast.
Vote for Pedro - I'll put off seeing it and hope I'll be pleasantly surprised.
Wahlberg - I'll pick up the DVD and for some reason enjoy it.
Gob Bluth - The phrase, "I've made a huge mistake" is likely to be uttered if and when I do see it.
C3-PO - The odds of me seeing it are similar to the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field.
Travolta - No way, no how will I willingly see this; similar to the odds John Travolta has of ever winning an Oscar.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Movie News Today - 6/3

Rue McClanahan Dies - Starting yet another Hollywood trifecta?

If "Jaws" Was Made Today - A comical look at the way the movie industry has changed.

15 Directors for "The Hobbit" - A list of pros and cons for various directors who could/should be up for the "The Hobbit."

The Story of "Dominion" - A look at one of the prequels to "The Exorcist" and the crazy path it took to the screen.

First "Thor" Shots - The first look at the costume for "Thor."

DVD Review - "The Wolfman"

Upon learning of his brother's disappearance, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) returns to the home he left many years before. When he arrives, he finds the house in shambles with his father, Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins), teetering on the edge of insanity. When his brother's body is discovered, Lawrence stays around, in part to comfort his brother's former fiance Gwen (Emily Blunt), and in part to determine how his brother died. The story around town is that the death was at the hands of the Wolfman, a local legend. Soon Lawrence is himself attacked by the creature, setting up a brutal showdown with the demons of his past.

At one point, "Wolfman" was so respected as to garner award anticipation. Quite quickly, however, this attention waned as the movie was shifted all over the calendar until it finally settled into the Movie Dead Zone that is February. I held out a small measure of hope if for no other reason than the actors involved. I think Del Toro is an excellent talent who usually delivers and while Hopkins hasn't done anything of value in years (and years and years), I still want to believe he's got something left in the tank.

Unfortunately, "Wolfman" is a train wreck. The story is mediocre at best and seriously choppy throughout. There is little to no character development and the special effects are of low rent video game quality. Del Toro holds up his end of the bargain but he is left completely and totally alone on the acting front lines. Emily Blunt, whom I have a giant crush on, just doesn't get much of a chance to do anything as her part is basically pointless. And then there's Hopkins. Oh, Anthony Hopkins, how I miss you. Hopkins gives one of the most mailed-in performances I have ever seen. He is completely uninspired and uninterested in his role, the movie, and maybe even breathing. I equate the last 10 years of Hopkins' career to that of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis in that both were GREAT in their day but now it's unclear if either is still alive. It's like Hopkins died years ago but his family, in need of some quick cash, has reanimated his body and run a scam on the whole of Hollywood, continuing to sign his name to awful movies. Del Toro and the occasional glimpse of inspired FX keep "Wolfman" from being a total loss but it's not far off.

Grade: D

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Movie News Today - 6/2

"Iron Man 3" Confirmed - Duh.

"Captain America" Concept Art - The first look at the suit for the upcoming "Captain America."

Zucker Out at NBC? - Jeff Zucker, the guy who ran NBC into the ground, is apparently about to get the axe. Finally.

Review for "Ondine" - The resurrgence of Colin Ferrell continues.

"Star Wars" Wedding Chapel - I'm just shocked that it took this long.

Movie News Today - 6/1

35 Years of ILM - A look at some of Industrial Light and Magic, the second best contribution to the world of film Lucas has made.

Josh Holloway in at Marvel? - Sawyer from "Lost" was in meetings with Marvel this week.

Peter Jackson to Direct "Hobbit"? - It probably won't happen but we can dream, can't we?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The End of "24," "Lost"

NOTE: This entire post is full of SPOILERS. If you haven't seen the end of "24" or "Lost" and ever intend to see either, I suggest you get busy watching instead of reading this dumb blog.

Last week marked the end of not one but two significant eras. (Three if you want to count Simon Cowell but let's pretend that "American Idol" isn't the big player in my life that it really is.) "24," my favorite hour long TV show ever, and "Lost," at one time my favorite show ever, both came to a conclusion within 24 hours of each other. This is quite a trying time for me, as you can imagine, so I would appreciate your leniency as I try to fight through this rough patch in my life. (Sympathies may be extended in the form of Whataburger gift cards.) These shows were big parts of my Entertainment Life over the last few years and it seemed only right to pen a goodbye just like about a billion other bloggers have done over the last 10 days.

First, "24." When it debuted in 2001, I think most people expected this show to fail. I mean, it was on Fox so the odds of making it out of the first month were pretty low to begin with. The idea of a plot that unfolds in real time was completely unheard of and required a great deal of slack from the network. These doubters came up against an unbeatable enemy, however, in the form of Jack Bauer. Jack is an absolute unstoppable force of a character that kicks every other TV action hero in the face. The ultimate flawed good guy, Jack Bauer does only what he thinks is right no matter what the consequence or what must be done to achieve that rightness. Break a bad guy out of prison, shoot a man's wife, or take a bullet himself, it doesn't matter as long as America is safe at the end of the day. And no one, and I genuinely believe this, could pull off Jack like Keifer Sutherland did. His gravel-voice combined with a menacing "I'm Not Afraid to Shoot Your Family if I Think it Will Make You Talk" look are perfectly suited to Jack's no nonsense style.

I came to the "24" party late and watched five seasons worth of episodes in about three weeks. I barely stayed awake at work because I would stay up until 3 a.m. watching hour after hour unable to turn the dang thing off. In the entire 8 year run there were hardly any breaks in the action as each hour was just as crazy and suspenseful as the one before. It was all ridiculous and out of control, of course, as we saw several presidential assassinations near completion, multiple nuclear bombs set off on US soil, and a litany of fantastic battle scenes that could never happen in real life. One of my main points of emphasis for a movie or TV show, however, is that the story stays within the boundaries of the reality it has created for itself and "24" does that. By the end of Day 8, you believe that Jack Bauer can do ANYTHING. If he'd started flying at the end of a day or shot Superman-like beams from his eyes, you'd believe it could happen! In my mind Jack's legal middle name is "Freaking" because that's how bad guys should have referred to him. "We have to surrender! That's Jack Freaking Bauer out there!"

Day 8 of "24" was by far my favorite. It was the most outlandish, I admit, but hey, if you've stuck with this craziness this far, why not send it off with a bang? This season Jack was completely free to do what he wanted. No CTU, FBI, or Secret Service rules to deal with, just get the job done at whatever cost. He was so single minded and determined as to be reckless and nothing was standing in his way. The dude was just off his leash and if bad guys ever wanted someone on his leash, it's Jack Freaking Bauer. The finale was completely fitting of the man and the show as a whole. Watching Jack run away into the sunset, alone and unattached, was the way "24" had to end. Regardless of any future movie installments, Jack had to be free, had to be on his own, and had to have a purpose (in this case, hiding from the government and Russians). There's no sitting on a porch, playing Bridge, drinking lemonade for Jack Bauer. Ever. He lives the way he did for 8 seasons of this show or he dies. There's no in between.

When the ads for "Lost" started popping up in 2004, I thought it looked terrible. The basic idea of the show seems like something that should have been made by Syfy, not ABC. I expected it to be cancelled before three episodes had been aired. For some reason, though, I found myself at home on a Saturday night with nothing to do (because I was too awesome to have plans) and happened to catch a second showing of the pilot. Few shows have gripped me as quickly as "Lost" did. In fact, no show has ever grabbed hold of my attention the way this one did. I was pretty well obsessed from that moment on and could hardly stand to wait a week (or Lord forbid, a summer) to find out what was going to happen next. The writing for "Lost's" early years is some of the best I have ever seen in a TV show. The characters struggling, bonding, and fighting together reflected humanity in a way that I personally find completely unique. Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, Hurley, Locke, etc. etc. were people that you could gravitate toward and latch on to. And the actors, to a man, brought their A-games to their roles.
For all its magnificence early on, however, "Lost" went through several rough patches. Season 3 started and finished well but in the middle you could feel the writers spinning their wheels, unsure of how to dig themselves out of the holes they wrote themselves into. With an end date in sight, Season 4 returned the show to its former glory and, in my opinion, made up for its mistakes. Season 5, though, nearly ruined the entire experience for me. The story arcs, the time travel, and the failure to answer any questions brought me close to the point of quiting entirely. If I hadn't already invested four years of my life, I would have been out.

The real problem, though, didn't really hit me until the middle of Season 6 (and maybe not entirely until the finale). At some point, the writers became obsessed with asking questions, with creating water cooler talk. In that, they lost the humanity of the show and of the characters therein. The actors themselves didn't seem to really care anymore. (Matthew Fox especially was in total mail-it-in mode for the better part of three years.) The last half of this season, and the finale in particular, brought all of that back. Jack and company were allowed to be the main focus of the show and again they shined. As the finale drew to an end and one by one the group reunited, I was reminded of why I loved this show in the first place. I was emotionally reconnected to those characters, those people, as I had been before all the time travel foolishness. I loved that the characters were brought back together to go into the Afterlife and personally I loved that Ben was on the outside looking in. Ben always needed the island and it made sense that he wouldn't be ready to let it go. While I certainly didn't get all the answers I wanted, I felt that, like "24," the wrap up was a fitting end. 

While there have already been attempts to recapture the magic of "24" or "Lost," (especially "Lost") all have fallen far short of the yard stick used to measure the impact of these champions. (Just look at "Flash Forward.") The truth is, both of these shows will never, ever, be duplicated (at least not with any success). They are the best, most unique shows the last decade had to offer and at least one writer will sorely miss their presence come January. A whole hearted "thanks" to the people behind both shows for the hours upon hours of entertainment, speculation, and even the frustration that you have provided over the years.

I'm naming my first kid Jack Bauer and my second one Hurley,

New DVD Tuesday!

New Releases -
Alice in Wonderland (2010): Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter, Mia Wasikowska - An visually imaginative retelling of the classic "Alice" story. As with Terry Gilliam who I wrote about last week, Tim Burton is weird visionary and you generally either really like him or really don't. His version of "Alice" is solid if a little underwhelming in the story department.

Burn Notice Season 3 (2009): Jeffrey Donovan, Bruce Campbell - A USA original series centering on a spy who gets deactivated and blacklisted. I keep hearing that this show is awesome but I've never watched an episode myself. With the summer season looking bleak, I may have to try to catch up for season 4.

Wolfman (2010): Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt - Though reviews were poor, I find myself nonetheless a bit interested. Without having seen it, this seems to be one of those movies that couldn't decide what it's identity was going to be and failed to really hit on anything. Still, that's a solid cast...

New to Blu-Ray -
War of the Worlds (2005): Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins - Another retelling of a classic. I haven't seen this since it debuted in theaters, may need to check it out again. Good film, but unlike most of Spielberg's work, it lacked flow and just felt roller coastery.

Bad Boys (1995): Will Smith, Martin Lawrence - Two LA cops with drastically different lifestyles team up to stop bad guys. Sort of "The Odd Couple" with explosions. I thought this was a fun throwaway movie for a long time but tried to watch it again recently and had to stop 20 minutes in. It's just so Michael Bay, can't hardly stand it.