Wednesday, November 7, 2007

We have moved to http://blog.filmjabber.com/

I, Erik Samdahl, have finally decided to move from Blogger to a stand alone blog site. As of today, there will be no future posts to this blog. All new posts can be found at http://blog.filmjabber.com/

Recent blog posts you'll find on this new URL include:
Also, coming soon:
  • Results from our horror movie survey, including the winner of the six horror DVDs
  • Our most anticipated movies of the winter of 2007
  • Day Watch movie review
  • American Gangster movie review
So please, please, please update your bookmarks and RSS feeds (actually, if you use our Feedburner RSS feed then you don't need to change anything), and head on over to the new blog and let us know what you think!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Is Wanted (2008) the next Matrix?

I just watched the movie trailer for Wanted, the new action movie starring Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and James MacAvoy, and I must say it looks pretty impressive. Sure, it could end up being stupid, but it's certainly not hard to notice some similarities to The Matrix. The movie boasts some extraordinary action, some interesting visuals (while at first it doesn't seem sci-fi, there are some scenes near the end that suggest that there will be a sci-fi element to it) and a theme that isn't unlike The Matrix.

The movie is about a young man (MacAvoy) who is introduced to a world of assassins that are there to bring balance to the world - Neo? Morgan Freeman plays what looks like the leader of the good assassins - Morpheus? Angelina Jolie plays the fierce woman assassin - Trinity?

The special effects shown near the end, especially of a man smashing through glass and then flying across a skyline, also screams The Matrix.

If these similarities are intended, it's a risky path to take. There haven't been many good sci-fi action films like this in quite a while, but if you fail, the comparisons will be nasty.

View more information, the movie trailer and 20 images...

New Movie Updates for Sunday, November 4, 2007

I've added lots of movie photos, previews and reviews today. Here are the latest updates...

New Alien vs. Predator Movie Images

The first Alien vs. Predator sucked big time as it was one of the most laughable movies ever, but I must say I'm a little more intrigued by the sequel. It still won't be all that great, but at least Aliens vs. Predator Requiem is R-rated and looks to have quite a bit of gore, if the Internet trailer is any indication.

Here are some of the latest photos...




New Hitman Movie Images

Check out these new Hitman movie images that were just recently made available. You can view more Hitman photos at my other website.




Student Film Project: Coby's Day Out (2007)

As some of you may know, my little brother Nathan Samdahl is attending film school down at Chapman University in Orange, California. He and some of his friends have entered a short film into Apple's Insomnia Film Festival, and so I invite you to watch the movie, rate it (preferably "Excellent" regardless of what you think) and pass it onto your friends to do the same.

What is Coby's Day Out about? Strangely, it's about the adventures of a cell phone, but if you watch the movie (apparently Apple doesn't fully support Firefox as I can't figure out how to watch the movie in that browser) you'll see how it works...

Here's the link:

http://edcommunity.apple.com/insomnia_fall07/item.php?itemID=2123

DVD Review: Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box Edition

I'll come right out and say it: I haven't watched most of this DVD box set, as it is huge. The Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box Edition includes all 29 episodes from the show plus two different versions of the feature-length pilot, the domestic (U.S.) version and the international version, which wraps things up a little more.

"Wraps things up a little more" is all relative when it comes to David Lynch, however, as the international version ends just the way you'd expect from Lynch: with a confusing ending that makes absolutely no sense. Unlike in the regular pilot, which essentially just ends with a cliffhanger, the international version introduces us to a couple men who aren't quite men and then jumps ahead 25 years to where star Kyle Maclachlan is found sitting in a room with Michael J. Anderson (the short person most recently seen in HBO's Carnivale), who talks backwards in a strange alien-like voice, and the murdered Laura Palmer. The ending is intriguing, of course, but I have no clue what it means. Like most Lynch productions, I have stopped even trying to understand.

Amazingly, this pilot is the first time I've ever watched Twin Peaks. Yes, the show was a bit before my time, but I have lived in Washington State, the place where the show was filmed, since I was five. In fact, I even ate in the Twin Peaks Diner just yesterday (called Twede's) and drove past the Salish Lodge that is shown quite frequently in the show. So, I'm quite happy that Paramount sent me this DVD box set so I finally have no excuse not to watch this show.

Based on the preview, I am in love. The production values are incredible, and aside from some early 90's hair and clothing, the show stands up beautifully. The film has been remastered for this DVD box set, and looks as sharp as ever. The acting and writing are incredible, equivalent to anything that Hollywood offers today. One of my favorite scenes in the pilot is the one where the teacher is informed of Laura's death and even with no words spoken, a couple of the students, realizing Laura is not in the classroom, instantly know what happened. The unspoken moments are as important as the dialogue-driven ones, and this scene is pitch perfect.

I haven't watched most of the features on the DVD because I try not to watch these things before completely watch the actual episodes (these often include spoilers). Aside from the entire series in one set, the DVDs include deleted scenes, interviews with the cast and creator David Lynch, an interactive map that reveals where the show's locations are connected, both fictionally and in real life, a featurette about cast members and Twin Peaks fans coming together to go to a festival, the Kyle MacLachlan episode from SNL and so on and so forth.

Basically, everything about Twin Peaks is included in one box. Fans of the show should not hesitate to purchase this DVD box set.

DVD Review: Chinatown Special Collector's Edition (1974)

Paramount Pictures is releasing Chinatown: Special Collector's Edition DVD on November 6, 2007, and we managed to get an advanced copy to examine. The DVD of this Roman Polanski classic includes the theatrical trailer and four featurettes:
  • Chinatown: The Beginnng and the End!
  • Chinatown: Style
  • Acting Chinatown
  • Chinatown: The Classic
As you can judge from the titles of those featurettes, they're all about Chinatown. While the amount of special features isn't anything to get excited about, the quality of the featurettes are quite good. They go in-depth to how Chinatown was conceived by screenwriter Robert Towne, who, as it turns out, was good friends with Nicholson. According to him, he was tired of seeing his friend struggling to make a living, so he wrote this movie with Nicholson in mind. Since the character Jake is sharp-tongued and sarcastic the entire movie, that's really not that surprising.

Some of the featurettes even include interviews with Nicholson himself, which was a bit surprising. I was expecting him to be "a bit too big" to do interviews for DVDs these days.

All that being said, this special collector's edition isn't worth buying, unless you don't own Chinatown at all.

Of course, Chinatown is a classic. You can read my full Chinatown movie review here.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

DVD Review: Pixar Short Films Collection (2007)

It's the greatest idea no one had ever thought of until now. You know those little Pixar shorts that play before movies, including For the Birds and Lifted? Now you can watch almost all of the Pixar shorts on a single DVD, thanks to the new Pixar Short Films Collection, available on Tuesday.

Pixar Short Films Collection contains the following short films:

  • The Adventures of Andrew and Wally B.
    This is one of Pixar's oldest movies, from when they were still a part of Lucasfilm. Good animation for the time, though the movie itself is nothing spectacular compared to some of the others on the list.
  • Luxo Jr.
    Is this the living lamp one that the Pixar logo is based on? If so, this is one of the better early ones and really doesn't show its age.
  • Red's Dream
    This is the worst out of the group. It's basically about a unicycle that dreams that ugly, creepy clown that's riding it gets displaced and for once, it, the unicycle, steals the show. There's nothing spectacular here in terms of animation or story.
  • Tin Toy
    This one is pretty imaginative and well animated, though it falls a bit flat at times. The baby that serves as "the monster" is quite creepy looking, and not necessarily intentionally.
  • Knick Knack
    One of the best of the shorts, this one is about a snowman inside a snow globe who desperately tries to break free to get to a seductive bikini doll only a few feet away. His efforts, as you might imagine, don't go too well.
  • Geri's Game
    This one is okay, if not a little creepy. Geri's Game is about an old man who plays chess with himself and gets quite clever in the process; of course, when you think about it, it's sad and suggests mental illness.
  • For The Birds
    Probably one of the best known animated short ever, this is the one where a big, stupid bird tries to hang out with a bunch of tiny, smarter (but meaner) birds, and the results are hilariously disastrous.
  • Mike's New Car
    A short based on Monsters, Inc. has the two leads from that feature length movie getting in trouble with Mike's new car. The hijinks are funny at first, but eventually you realize there's not much cleverness to the routine.
  • Boundin'
    Boundin' is a clever little skit with a rhyming narration about a sheep that learns to be happy even when all of his wool is removed each year. Ultimately, the short isn't that funny, but I give it props for imagination.
  • Jack-Jack Attack
    I'm not a huge fan of these short films based on actual movies, but this one is definitely quite entertaining. Jack-Jack Attack is basically a deleted scenes from The Incredibles, and shows us what happens to the babysitter who is watching young Jack-Jack, who suddenly begins to show his powers. I like how Pixar made this as if they pulled it right out of the movie (which is one of my favorite Pixar movies).
  • One Man Band
    Another funny short, this has a poor little girl torn between two competing street musicians who are vying to get her golden coin. The twist at the end is great.
  • Mater and The Ghostlight
    Cars was the worst Pixar movie ever, and is just a boring movie overall. This short film based on the Cars characters is just as dull, although had they stretched the story of this one into a full-length movie, Cars still would have been better.
  • Lifted
    Another Pixar classic, Lifted is about a teenage alien who is going through "driving school" with an alien instructor, only this driving school is actually a test to abduct a human being. Basically, the teenager isn't very good, and the result is the human being bounced all over the place.
The Pixar Short Films Collection is a great idea and I'm happy Disney finally decided to put these together. Some of the shorts are better than others, but if you've always wanted to see them all, it will certainly make a good rental.

Why do cartoons waste money on big names?

I haven't seen Bee Movie, but with the constant promotion from Jerry Seinfeld, I wonder about the animated genre in general: how come the studios focus so much on the big name actors included in the cast? With Bee Movie it's not too surprising that Seinfeld has pushed this picture so much; he's still in demand, and the movie would be absolutely nothing special without him. Bee Movie is almost guaranteed to be the number one film at the box office as a result.

Still, using a big name actor to drive audiences is just a remedy for a bigger issue. Of course the studios have to use the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Will Smith and dozens of others, because without them, the movies would often be nothing. Again, I haven't seen Bee Movie, but it's not getting great reviews (not getting terrible reviews either), but I have seen a lot of other animated movies where the promotions for the big name actors have been huge.

Remember Shark's Tale? That one promoted the hell out of the people involved, from Will Smith to Robert De Niro. Madagascar: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and so on and so forth. And why? Because they were making up for something else.

With exception to most of the Pixar movies and a few scatterings of other animated films from other companies, most cartoons (it's safe to call these CGI films cartoons now, right, since there really isn't any traditional animated fare these days?) aren't of a high enough quality to rely on look and story alone. Sure, Pixar has used some big names (Tom Hanks and Tim Allen come to mind), but have you noticed that since Toy Story, they really use the actors as promotional devices for their pictures? The previews are almost always focused on the story and the visuals, and rarely mention who the voice talent is. Often times, the voice talent is incredible, but not someone we would know or care about in general.

Then you look at Dreamworks and some other shops, and they almost always have some zany cartoon where they spend half the movie trailer promoting who is in the movie, as if it matters whether Will Smith or Robert De Niro are involved. I'd rather half a pitch-perfect voice talent than an actor whom we're never going to see be involved.

The point of this rant is that if these studios invested just a little less money in its actors and focused perhaps $300,000 more to obtain a quality writer, we'd have a lot more well done cartoons on our hands rather than a bunch of loud and splintered entertainment pieces. Sure, cartoons are meant to entertain children, but if done right, they can also please adults just as much, and it's amazing that studios still haven't completely figured out that it's all about the writing.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hostel 2 is better than Hostel?

I hated Hostel with a passion. It's not that I didn't like the nude women or some of the gore, it's just that the whole movie was so ludicrous and stupid that I couldn't fully appreciate the "beauty" of the film. Some critics liked Hostel because it was a "smart satire of American culture" or what not, but I thought that was a load of B.S. Hostel was a cheesy horror movie trying to capitalize on the trend known as torture porn. Nothing more.

And in reality, the gore was a bit goofy at times (the eyeball hanging out of the girl's head looked extremely fake) and, more importantly, the plot was so bad it made most horror movies look like they had Award-winning stories.

So, Hostel: Part II (Hostel 2) is now out on DVD, and having watched it, I must say it's a lot better. That's not saying it's all that good, or that it's reason to make a third one, but the movie is a lot more coherent, features better, more believable characters and its gore is a lot more realistic. There are some pretty lame parts (the opening sequence and the final minute of the movie), but there are a few torture scenes that are quite elaborate and somewhat clever.

All in all, it wasn't too much of a struggle to watch Hostel 2, and that's saying a lot. You can read my full Hostel 2 movie review here.

Cage Boy with Banana Video

I filmed this a good ten years ago. I would try to describe it, but really, all I can say is it's a video of a cage boy with a banana. This is my first YouTube video ever, so please, feedback welcome, and, regardless of feedback, vote for it and pass it around to your friends! I want to see what the potential of YouTube can offer!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

DVD Review: Ratatouille (2007)

Ratatouille (2007), one of my 14 underrated movies of the year, is coming to DVD on November 6th. The movie was a bit of a box office disappointment in terms of Pixar standards, but is certainly going to be a hit on the small screen. It is an excellent movie and easily one of the best films of the year.

You can read my full Ratatouille movie review here.

The DVD is a bit of a disappointment, a precursor, I'm sure, to a two-disc special edition. The features are pretty slim, and somewhat misleading.

The only real highlight is Fine Food & Film, a featurette that looks at how the Pixar guys came about creating a movie about food. The featurette includes interviews with acclaimed chef Thomas Keller ("acclaimed" because it says so on the box), as well as the creators of the movie.

The animated short Your Friend The Rat is pretty lame; I tuned it out within a minute.

The deleted scenes are where I really have a problem. I absolutely hate DVDs that advertise deleted scenes, only when you try to watch them you realize they were deleted at the screenplay review stage. The deleted scenes here are not CGI, but instead rough hand drawn animations with voice overs. The commentary introducing each scene is slightly interesting, but a deleted scene shouldn't be a deleted scene until after it is "filmed" and then cut.

The DVD also includes the short film that ran before the film, titled Lifted, which is a pretty funny little animation about a teenage alien doing "driver's ed" by abducting a human.

Overall, the DVD looks like it was put together at the last moment and will not appeal to fans who really like DVD features. Oh, at least the DVD includes a $10 rebate if you also buy Ratatouille on Blu-Ray. Are you kidding me? Why would you buy the movie on two different formats?

19 Horror Movies to Watch This Halloween

From 1999 to present day (October 31, 2007), there haven't been that many stand out horror movies, but here's a list of some that either really good, good enough for horror or just plain gruesome. Looking to rent a horror movie for Halloween? Choose from the list below...
  1. Wolf Creek
    One of the best movies on this list, Wolf Creek is scary, gory, suspenseful and, worst of all, realistic. Based on a true story, this one will make you nervous to visit Australia. The film follows several young people as they fall victim to a psychopathic killer in the Outback.

  2. The Descent
    One of the best horror/monster movies ever, The Descent is about a group of women trapped a mile underground with a bunch of ferocious mutated creatures that like to eat flesh. Awesome film!

  3. A Tale of Two Sisters
    Hollywood is remaking this movie, unfortunately. The original, a Korean film I believe, is one of the best and scariest movies I have seen in a long time. Watch carefully, otherwise you'll be lost!

  4. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
    This is the film that rejuvenated the zombie genre for the modern age, and it definitely deserves the credit. Funny, exciting and gruesome all at the same time. The director went on to provide fans with 300.

  5. 28 Weeks Later
    This zombie film is actually very, very exciting, and a bit scary. While some people hated this film, it's actually better than its predecessor, 28 Days Later.

  6. Halloween (2007)
    This movie isn't out on DVD yet, but is a very respectable remake of the John Carpenter classic.

  7. Joy Ride
    Yes, it stars Paul Walker, but this is one of my favorite thrillers. It's non-stop action and features a crazy truck driver who stalks three innocent young people all over the place (and tears off one guy's jaw).

  8. Final Destination
    One of the more original horror movies of all time, the film is surprisingly exciting considering the killer is completely invisible. And if you like Ali Larter on "Heroes", check her out here.

  9. The Others
    This Nicole Kidman ghost story was a surprising box office and critical hit, and has a great twist ending. This one was creepy enough to feature a spoof in one of the Scary Movies, played by a fake Michael Jackson.

  10. The Ring/Ringu
    The American and Japanese versions are so similar that I list them both together. If you saw the American version first, like I did, you'll probably like The Ring better, but those who saw the Japanese one initially will think the opposite. Either way, they have a neat concept and scary results. Too bad they spawned a slew of crappy Japanese remakes - and The Ring Two.

  11. Signs
    This M. Night Shyalaman movie isn't as scary the second time around, but I remember being on the edge of my seat at theaters. This was the last movie where his twist ending was halfway decent.

  12. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
    Some people slam this film, but it features Jessica Biel looking super hot, tons of gore and an ultra creepy psychotic family. This was a great remake, yet doesn't take away from the original.

  13. Deep Blue Sea
    Sure, it's a cheesier version of Jaws, but this movie about genetically advanced sharks is surprisingly good. There are some scary moments, a few surprises (one big actor gets killed a lot earlier than expected) and... genetically advanced sharks!

  14. The Host
    This monster movie isn't very scary, but as far as monster movies go, it is one of the most well done flicks in years. It's funny and serious all at the same time.

  15. High Tension
    If you're looking for disturbing, look no further than this French film. The bad guy gives himself a blow job with a decapitated head at one point in the movie, and that's the soft part of the R-rating. Blood, blood and more blood is splattered on screen, and the movie even takes a very weird, controversial twist near the end.

  16. Jeepers Creepers
    Sure, it turns out that the killer is a flying creature from Hell, but up until that point, this hit horror film is amazingly suspenseful and disturbing. The sequel really, really sucked, though.

  17. The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
    This isn't a great film, and the original from Wes Craven is better overall, but this remake, from the director of High Tension no less, is one of the goriest, f**ked up movie ever. Nothing is sacred in this bloody picture.

  18. What Lies Beneath
    This Harrison Ford/Michelle Pfeiffer film wasn't perfect, but every time Pfeiffer would walk slowly into the bathroom, you knew a ghost was just waiting to grab her.

  19. The Blair Witch Project
    A classic in its own right, The Blair Witch Project put indie horror back on the map. If you watch it a second time it's just unbearably boring, but the first time was great. I actually watched this for a second time at Halloween with a bunch of people; it was definitely the lamest party I had ever hosted.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The X-Files 2 Begins in December

Yes, you've waited a long time, but it is finally coming. According to Comingsoon.net, a site I frequent quite... er, frequently... The X-Files cast and crew will wipe the dust off the cameras starting December 10th. It's been ten years since the last movie, and many people assumed that David Duchovny was full of crap as he kept suggesting The X-Files 2 would eventually come.

Both Duchovny and Anderson are expected to return (they wouldn't make a movie without both of them, would they?). Yes, I know that the show continued even after Duchovny left, but I think they learned their lesson, right? Series creator Chris Carter is directed a screenplay written by himself and Frank Spotnitz.

The movie has a shooting name of Done One. All I can say is that I'm really, really, really excited, and this gave me an excuse to put a picture of Gillian Anderson on my blog.

Battlestar Galactica Movie Coming Soon

As many of you Battlestar Galactica fans already know, a two-hour TV movie is hitting screens in November, will feature the now deceased Admiral Cain as she captains the Pegasus and is titled Razor. What fans don't know is that eight major cities will show the movie on the big screen. November 12th is the date, and you can watch it for free at select theaters in the following cities: in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas and Seattle (go Seattle!).

You have to be 17 or over to see the movie as it is rated TV-14.

The question is, will I go see it in theaters? I do live in Seattle, and it would only take a few minutes to get whereever it is going to be playing (I'm guessing Pacific Place), but I think I'll just watch it on TV. Why take the time to go out in the cold (and probably rain) when I can just sit on my couch, eat potato chips and watch on my HDTV?

New Online Paid Survey Blog

I try to keep movie work and "real" work separate, but I've just got to pitch this new blog my company, and, specifically my team (thanks Boyd!), just launched last week to help promote GlobalTestMarket, an online paid survey website. Basically, you take surveys to earn money, just by participating in online market research over the Internet.

Anyway, the online paid survey blog looks quite sharp (making me realize that I really need to revamp the look of this movie blog), so you should at least check it out to see our handy work. Beyond that, there are several new fun surveys you can take without becoming a member, and that's the main reason for this post:
  • Is Albus Dumbledore Gay, and what do you think about it?
  • Who Is Your Favorite NFL team, and who will win the Superbowl?
  • There's also a survey about who will win the World Series, but unfortunately the Boston Red Sox embarrassed the Colorado Rockies. What a lame World Series!

Movie Review: Surf's Up (2007)

I recently watched Surf's Up, which is yet another penguin movie. But, unlike Happy Feet, Surf's Up relies more on screenplay and less on cute looking critters dancing like they're on crystal meth. I found Happy Feet dreadfully dull after the first 20 minutes, but Surf's Up keeps on entertaining from start to finish.

It just has these three things going against it:
  • It's a penguin movie, and March of the Penguins, a documentary featuring the real thing, was more entertaining.
  • It's still not as good as the really good animated films, like those from Pixar
  • It won't appeal to little kids. The humor is dry and very dialogue-driven; little kids will find Happy Feet a bit more visually stimulating.
Still, for those of you who like animated films, Surf's Up is one of the better ones of the year. Read the full Surf's Up movie review here.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

14 Underrated Movies of 2007

It's only October, but 2007 is already full of tons of great or really good movies. It's pretty amazing, because I've gone years where I haven't seen a truly great movie until the final weeks of December and struggled to piece together a top ten list where the bottom three aren't on there simply for the sake of filling out the top ten.

2007, however, has had plenty of great films, some of which were complete surprises (28 Weeks Later), some were ones you were hoping to be good but weren't expecting them to be (Transformers) and others ones that received great critical reaction but not many box office dollars (Michael Clayton comes to mind). And so this list below takes a look at the movies released thus far that have failed to reach their box office potential for whatever reason...

Zodiac
It's no real surprise that this serial killer movie didn't make a ton of money as it is nearly three hours long and it's no action thriller along the vein of Seven, but Zodiac is a near masterpiece in its presentation of the long and arduous investigation that went into finding the Zodiac killer, a real person. Pulling off a movie like this is difficult, but David Fincher seemed to be on automatic as pieced together the complicated storyline.

28 Weeks Later
Yeah, it's a zombie movie. But it's a zombie movie that takes what was accomplished in the first film and makes things scarier and more exciting. This is definitely one of the best horror sequels ever, yet didn't perform too well in theaters and even got slammed by quite a few critics as being unoriginal. Seriously, I've read many reviews, some from professional critics and some from bloggers, that have mocked this movie, but I don't know what the hell they were watching. I consider myself to have pretty good taste in film, and 28 Weeks Later was certainly a pleasant surprise.

Gone Baby Gone
The full strength of this movie is yet to be seen, but it already appears to be skirting under the radar. The directorial debut of Ben Affleck, the movie stars his brother Casey as a private detective looking for a kidnapped girl. The film fires on all cylinders and is a dramatic yet exciting detective flick with heart.

The Kingdom
Sure, the script isn't all that great and overall the movie could have been more, but The Kingdom is an exciting, well-paced action thriller that was seemingly made to blow away the competition. Surprisingly, this one flopped massively, and I'm still scratching my head as to why.

The Last Mimzy
It's a kid's movie, but a very good kid's movie at that. In a year where Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was a bit disappointing, The Last Mimzy is a refreshing and unique adventure tale about a brother and sister who discover a toy that give them special powers. However, what is the true purpose of the alien toy? This one probably flopped because it's a more serious kid's movie, and the title sucks. Highly recommended, even to adults.

Michael Clayton
Some people predicted this would top the box office when it hit theaters, but of course a slow-moving legal thriller wouldn't do that. Still, the movie has shown disappointing returns even though it is one of the best reviewed movies of the year and features some of the best performances of the year, by Tom Wilkinson, George Clooney and Tilda Swinton most notably. This movie isn't for everyone, but those who are patient while find payoff in the film's climax.

Seraphim Falls
This Liam Neeson/Pierce Brosnan movie was never even released wide, but it is a non-stop action thrill ride set in the old west. With a simple story of one man trying to hunt down another man through snowy mountains and the desert, Seraphim Falls offers very little dialogue but haunting performances from the men involved nonetheless. More importantly, it is exciting from start to finish and features some great visuals.

Ratatouille
The Pixar movie still made a good amount of money at theaters this summer, but compared to other Pixar films, it was a box office disappointment. Some blamed it on the fact that the title is hard to pronounce or that it stars a rat, but I don't really know. All I know is that this film features absolutely stunning visuals, an entertaining storyline and witty screenplay. It is a pure treat, and one of the few animated films that I could see competing against live action movies as "best movie of the year". It isn't THAT good, but I hope you get my point.

Rescue Dawn
Christian Bale's movie about a man who crashes in Vietnam and forced to live in a prison camp in the middle of the jungle looked cheesy at first, but it is actually one of the finest made pictures of the year. Featuring great acting, beautiful scenery and exciting, fact-based story, Rescue Dawn is certainly one of the hidden gems of 2007.

Sunshine
This film about the death of the sun and human's last attempt to save the species is more pure sci-fi than most films we see these days, but it's a shame it wasn't marketed to general audiences more effectively. Featuring dazzling special effects, good performances and an exciting, chilling story, the movie could easily appeal to both sci-fi buffs and regular moviegoers alike. I blame the studio for not positioning this sci-fi classic better.

The Lookout
I can't remember how this one did at theaters, but regardless it probably didn't get the attention it deserved. Featuring a great performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a memorable story about a young man trying to overcome a disability, and a bank robbery, the movie is exciting, dramatic and "twisty" all at the same time. Those who like small-town crime thrillers should certainly check this out. It may not be Fargo, but it's still really good.

Vacancy
The last minute or two kind of suck, but Vacancy, starring Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale, is an edge-of-your-seat thriller about a bitter couple who get trapped in the hotel from Hell. There isn't a moment that passes when the tension eases up, and that's all that really needs to be said.

Grindhouse
Amazingly, the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double feature flopped at theaters, forcing The Weinstein Company to split the directors' two movies, Death Proof and Planet Terror, into two movies in Europe, and DVD. Had they released this around Halloween we might have seen better results, as while neither film are absolutely amazing, both are certainly better-than-average horror movies, if you can even call them that.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Casey Affleck hits this list for the second time, as he plays the second title character for this slow-moving western drama. He turns in an award-winning performance, as does Brad Pitt, who plays the famous outlaw. As with Michael Clayton, this movie isn't for everyone, but it has certainly gone under the radar without much box office impact.

The year is still young. I expect more quality films to make this list as we wind down to New Years...

Movie Review: The Assassination of Jesse James... (2007)

I just got back from watching the two-hour, forty-minute The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, a western that's quite a bit different than anything I've seen in recent memory. In a year of constant, pleasant surprises, Jesse James is just the latest in a number of surprises, though it certainly isn't for everyone.

It isn't an action movie, though it does have a fair amount of killings. It is dialogue driven and relies on its acting and screenplay to carry the audience through to the tragic ending (tragic in more ways than one). It can easily be described as a character study, a slow and methodically meandering character study. Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck both turn in career-best performances, and the movie itself is all but mesmerizing from beginning to end. It suffers from a few loose parts in the middle, but makes up for it with one of the most emotionally devastating endings I've witnessed on screen in a long time.

Read my full The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford movie review here.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Why, audiences, why? Saw IV wins the weekend.

Just when I think American audiences are getting smarter, they go ahead and feed the pockets of Lionsgate by shelling out over $14 million in ticket sales on Friday alone to see Saw IV. If this franchise is ever going to die, it's not going to be anytime soon, as Saw IV will make around $33 million for the weekend, the best opening of the Saw movies thus far.

I'm not surprised that Saw IV won the weekend. With only Dan in Real Life, an indie comedy-drama starring Steve Carrell, opening as competition, it was clear Saw IV would win handily. Still, I was hoping for a $25 million opening and a slow decline that would eventually force the Saw franchise onto a direct-to-DVD release pattern so that I would never have to write about it again.

Damn.

That's all I have to say.

First The Love Gury Pic - Jessica Alba and Mike Myers

Here's the first picture of Jessica Alba and Mike Myers from The Love Guru. Myers looks pretty funny, and Jessica looks good as usual.

Click on the picture to see a larger version.

The plot of the movie is this:

In the comedy, The Love Guru (Mike Myers), Pitka is an American who was left at the gates of an ashram in India as a child and raised by gurus. He moves back to the U.S. to seek fame and fortune in the world of self-help and spirituality, specializing in settling intimacy issues between couples. His unorthodox methods are put to the test when he must settle a rift between major league star hockey player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) and his estranged wife. After the split, Roanoke's wife starts dating the star member of a rival team, out of revenge, sending her husband into a major professional skid -- to the horror of the team's owner Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba) and Coach Cherkov (Verne Troyer). Pitka must return the couple to marital nirvana and get Roanoke back on his game so the team can break the 40-year-old "Bullard Curse" and win the championship.

DVD Review: The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, Volume One

It's always fun returning to your childhood, especially when that return includes a high quality television show (or, if you will, a series of television movies) based on one of the most popular trilogies ever to grace the silver screen: Indiana Jones.

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: The Complete Volume One is now out on DVD in a 12-disc collection that includes seven full-length television movies and tons - I mean tons - of special features. I've never seen a 12-disc box set that contains "only" seven movies/episodes - that is, until now.

I won't begin to claim that in the week or so I had to review this collection that I watched most of the special features, but I will say I'm impressed by the amount of stuff that has been offered to fans. Of course, in reality, I would have preferred to get all three volumes in one collection, so I'd have all the movies rather than a bunch of documentaries, but hey, Paramount and Lucasfilm will make a lot more money by selling three volumes instead of one.

Having watched the first couple movies, it's nice to see that the production values still hold up quite well. These first two pictures focus on Indiana Jones as a young boy, as he travels around Egypt and Africa with his parents. Amazingly, I remembered small parts of the movies from when I was a child, but for the most part they played like new. These Young Indiana Jones movies featuring Corey Carrier are a bit slow at times as they feature Indiana more in learning mode as he collects information on different cultures and just happens to stumble across adventures accidentally. The later movies, starring Sean Patrick Flanery, are a bit more action based if I recall.

Of course, these movies are actually re-edited versions of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, the series of 45-minute shows that featured an old Indiana Jones who flashbacked to his childhood and teenage years typically in the same episode. Apparently, Mr. Lucas decided to do what he liked to do - revise things he already created and "finished" and make 2-hour movies out of them, effectively removing the alternating storylines, flashbacks and old Indiana Jones (I don't remember particularly enjoying watching Indiana Jones as an old man anyway) to make a more chronological series of movies. The result is that the first several films focus entirely on Carrier's Indiana, which means that the adventures aren't quite as explosive. Still, it's a good way to go, although I'd rather view the episodes how they were originally intended - and how I remember them.

Fans of the show and fans of Indiana Jones should certainly take a look at the box set, as these movies, even if reconstructions based on the original series, are pretty well done and do a good job of extending the Indiana Jones storyline.

Is Teresa Palmer Wonder Woman?

I usually don't like to post rumors, but when the rumors give me an excuse to place a picture of a good looking woman like Teresa Palmer, I make any exception. Moviehole.net is suggesting that Palmer will play Wonder Woman in George Miller's Justice League of America, which begins to production shoots soon.

Teresa Palmer has a role in Daniel Radcliffe's new movie December Boys (I believe she plays the love interest) and has also been seen in The Grudge 2. I don't think she survived that one.

Warner Brothers has not officially announced anything, however.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Movie Trailer Review: Awake (2007)

The movie trailer for Awake is now online, and I must say I'm intrigued. The movie stars Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba (oh, and Terrence Howard), and is a psychological thriller about a guy who is put under anesthesia for a dangerous operation, but who doesn't quite fall asleep. While he is in his nearly comatose state, he hears the doctors, including one of his friends, plotting to just kill him to save themselves the trouble. What happens next appears to be a surreal adventure, as he isn't sure what is true and what isn't. All I know is that includes scenes of Jessica Alba about as nude as you've seen her.

The movie looks interesting, and the concept is a good one. Other than in Star Wars, I've liked Christensen quite a bit - he was great in Shattered Glass, and his performance in Life as a House was also top notch. This one looks a little more mainstream, but could be a good vehicle for him if done right.

Sadly, Awake is one of those films that could end up being lame, especially if the ending is pretty stupid (I give it a 50/50 chance). Still, I'll be heading to theaters, if not just to see Ms. Alba.

Watch the Awake movie trailer.

Crazy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Woman

Okay, so the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are pretty cool, but this woman has taken things a bit too far. Watch the video to find out what I mean:



The question is, is this for real? It's hard to believe it is, but it certainly could be.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Movie Review: Fido (2007)

Fido, a zombie movie that is quite different from most zombie movies, is now out on DVD, and I have a copy in my possession. As such, I have written a movie review for the film.

I was rather looking forward to this picture, as 1) zombie films are hard to mess up (though Resident Evil 3 certainly proved me wrong with that one, 2) zombie comedies are generally funny and 3) a movie about a boy and his pet zombie just sounds entertaining.

Unfortunately, the film fails to live up to its potential, as it just isn't funny enough. Read my full Fido movie review here.

Movie Review: Captivity (2007)

I just watched 30 Days to Night, which has a pretty bad ending, but it does not even compare to the God-awful ending that Captivity, starring hottie Elisha Cuthbert, offers. I mean, talk about out of left field, the bleachers, the street and the warehouse across the street out there.

Captivity is essentially a Saw rip-off (and I thought Saw sucked), only with less amounts of gore and less excitement. At the same time, it does offer one of the grossest scenes I've ever seen, which involves sticking a funnel down Elisha's throat and forcing her to swallow a blended concoction of noses, ears, guts and blood. Lovely.

Read my full Captivity movie review. The horror picture lands on DVD next week, and offers a making-of featurette, an on-the-set featurette and some deleted scenes, including alternate endings (although they aren't that alternate).

Movie Review: 30 Days of Night (2007)

I just wrote a movie review for 30 Days of Night, the new vampire flick starring Josh Hartnett. I had really high hopes for the movie, but unfortunately it failed to meet expectations. While 30 Days of Night has some things going for it, it lacks the proper direction and editing to make it anything more than a standard thriller. The ending is atrocious, too.

Josh Hartnett is surprisingly good, and I think given the right roles he could be a popular leading man. Melissa George is decent in a supporting role, but really doesn't get much to work with. Ben Foster is once again a creepy highlight, and he doesn't even play a vampire.

Read the full 30 Days of Night movie review.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Who will win the World Series? Take a survey!

Wow, so the Red Sox came back and won the series from the Cleveland Indians, and I can't say that I'm happy about it. Still, it should hopefully be a good World Series... with the Colorodo Rockies prevailing, of course. And no, I'm not a huge Colorodo Rockies fan, but I am now - and ever since the Sox won a few years back, I no longer have any interest in them.

Anyway, here's a quick InstantSurvey where you can say who you think will win and other opinions about baseball. Take the survey now!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

First Rambo movie poster online

Here's the new poster for the now-titled Rambo (also known as John Rambo), which continues to show that Sylvester Stallone still has a chance at making a comeback (at least for this one movie). The trailer footage this far has been top notch (bloody, that is) and now the movie poster itself looks pretty slick.

Learn more about the new Rambo movie here.

Win an autographed Ron Livingston poster!

I just started a new contest where you can win one of three autographed Music Within posters, which opens in select theaters on October 26th.

The autographed movie poster is signed by Ron Livingston, Melissa George, Michael Sheen, Yul Vazquez, Rebecca De Mornay and Steven Sawalich.

You can enter the contest here!

Bill Maher kicks out rowdy audience member

Watch this funny clip of Bill Maher yelling at a protester shouting about how 9-11 is a conspiracy and eventually "helping" security push the guy out the door. Of course, in reality, his security didn't need help, but it was funny to watch him run into the audience and participate in the removal.

Other protesters follow, and Maher repeatedly threatens to kick their ass. Good stuff.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Meet the Spartans Teaser Trailer

Watch the God-awful teaser trailer for the next spoof comedy Meet the Spartans, which, as one might guess, is a spoof of 300. Honestly, how and why do they keep making this pictures? They get horrible reviews, don't make much money and just plain suck. Why not spend $100,000 more on a better writer and make double the profit?

Anyway, here's the Meet the Spartans teaser trailer:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Movie Review: Sherrybaby (2006)

I just finished watching Sherrybaby, an indie drama where Maggie Gyllenhaal shows some nudity, and, more importantly, a very raw and powerful performance.

Gyllenhaal, who seems to always be overshadowed by her brother (though just barely), once again shows that she is an extremely talented actress. Here, she plays a young woman recently released from prison after a long stint for stealing and drug use. Looking to get her life back on track, she lands a decent job but discovers that her daughter has been "adopted" by her brother and his wife. As tensions increase within her family, she finds herself struggling to stay clean and avoid breaking parole.

Read the full Sherrybaby movie review here.

Movie Review: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007)

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, an HBO film, is of course based on the well known Dee Brown book about how American Indians were displaced as the U.S. expanded west, eventually ending in bloodshed. It is a tragic tale and a reminder that the United States has committed its fair share of injustice over the course of its history.

As one would expect from an HBO movie, Wounded Knee stars several recognizable actors, including Aidan Quinn ("The Book of Daniel"), Adam Beach (Flags of our Fathers), August Schellenberg (you may not know the name, but he plays just about every Indian American when a role is available), J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man), Colm Feore (Chicago), U.S. Presidential candidate Fred Thompson (coincidentally as President Grant) and Anna Paquin. All around, the acting is top notch, though Adam Beach, who was one of the real highlights in Flags of our Fathers (playing a frustrated American Indian living in a white world), steals the show here as a frustrated American Indian living in a white world. Unfortunately, Oscar-winning Paquin, who I still believe is a tour de force just waiting to be unleashed, appears to be here just to look pretty.

Overall, Wounded Knee is a well done, gritty and ultimately tragic tale, but it's hard not to compare this film to the HBO series "Deadwood", which was even grittier and darker than this. It's not that the subject matters of Wounded Knee and "Deadwood" are the same, but Wounded Knee is trying to look realistic and gritty, and it ends up looking second rate to a television show. The black-and-white flashbacks are what really killed for me, as they just don't look that professional.

Nevertheless, fans of the subject matter will find a strong drama in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. The movie is now available on DVD.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hellraiser remake confirmed!

To no real great surprise, the latest horror franchise to get reinvented is Hellraiser, which was originally conceived by writer/director Clive Barker in 1987 and, in my opinion, is one of the freakier and more disturbing pictures of the '80's.

Since other recent remakes have done quite well, most notably the remake of Halloween, Dimension has hired French filmmakers Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo to write and direct the movie. The two recently saw their supernatural film Inside acquired by the company.

The story comes from The Hollywood Reporter, which describes the original as this (because I'm too lazy to reword the synopsis myself): Released in 1987, "Hellraiser" told the story of an unfaithful wife who attempts to assist her dead lover in his escape from hell. The movie introduced viewers to a race of demons called Cenobites, most notably one nicknamed Pinhead -- who became one of the most enduring horror characters of the decade -- who was summoned using an antique puzzle box. As usual, I'm torn here. Hellraiser could definitely make for a cool remake, but, then again, the original still works quite well (I just watched it for the first time a couple years ago). Why remake a good thing other than money? Oh, wait, duh. For money!

In-theater advertising revenue increases - why not drop concession prices?

The Hollywood Reporter says, "in-cinema advertising grew into a $455.7 million business in the U.S. last year, 15% better than in 2005 and far outpacing boxoffice growth during the same frame."

This is not surprising, as we have definitely seen more ads and people have grown more accustomed to them. I must admit I'm past the point of complaining about all commercials in general, though I certainly appreciate going to theaters that still refuse to do any advertising (or at least blatant on-screen advertising). I used to complain about commercials before films every time I went to the theaters - now I just complain about how many there are, or how bad they are (the Forest Whitaker cell phone commercial is one of the worst commercials ever conceived by man).

We all know that theaters make only small margins off box office revenue, and a good chunk of their revenue comes from concession sales (note that $38.3 of that $455.7 million number is off-screen advertising, such as ads on popcorn bags, lobby stands, etc.). As non-movie advertising continues to grow and theaters start making more of a margin, perhaps it is time for them to experiment with lowering concession prices?

After all, they might have been scared about experimenting with concession prices in the past because one bad mistake could severely hurt their bottom line (though I'd say that's stretching it, too), but do they really make optimal profit by selling popcorn for $6 a bag? If they sold popcorn for $4 a bag, I would think a lot more people would buy the popcorn and overall revenue numbers would increase, with costs increasing not nearly so strongly. Of course, maybe the business guys have already calculated the cut even price for concessions, but I sure as hell would be inclined to toss a lot more money their way if they dropped concession prices just a bit.

Okay, so I went on a tangent here, but it's my movie blog!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

DVD Review: Transformers Two-Disc Special Edition


Transfomers, arguably the most popular movie of the summer, is now out on DVD (as of this Tuesday), and it's safe to assume that the DVD (one-disc, two-disc and HD DVD two-disc) will be topping the charts for the coming weeks.

So, is the two-disc special edition worth the extra dollars? I'd have to say... yes.

The two-disc special edition is not the most jam-packed DVD you'll find on the shelves, but it still has a good two hours of honest, legitimate special features (vs. those editions that include a bunch of useless and seemingly filler bonuses).

The special features are split into three segments, each of which vary in length from 45 minutes to over an hour:
  • Our World
    An in-depth look, broken into chapters, at the production, cast and stunts of Transformers. There's plenty of behind-the-scenes goodness here, including interviews with the cast (and not just promotional interviews where they're saying, "You'll see stuff here that's never been done before), on-set footage and more. The feature drills into several of the stunts of the movie, and it's surprising to see how many of them are not just special effects. Apparently, Michael Bay and his crew destroyed over 200 real cars in the movie...
  • Their War
    This featurette looks at the creation of the Autobots, Decepticons and military vehicles used in the movie. This one will appeal to Transformers fans a lot as it discusses how the creators went from the original toys and cartoons to the robots found in the movie, and why changes were made. The in-depth look at how the production worked with the military is also pretty interesting.
  • More Than Meets the Eye
    This one looks at the making of the desert attack sequence.
Other features include several of the film's trailers (which are quite cool) and conceptual art.

Overall, the Transfomers: Two-Disc Special Edition has a lot of honest, in-depth special features. There may not be a lot of features, but what lacks in quantity is made up for with quality. Fan boys should definitely invest the extra dollar or two into this more enhanced version. Also, you can read a Transformers movie review here.

Movie review: A Mighty Heart (2007)

A Mighty Heart was released to theaters in the middle of June, a surprising date considering its subject matter. Surrounded by super heroes and John McClanes, Paramount chose to counteract the offerings everyone wanted to see with a depressing drama about a woman's struggle to overcome the kidnapping of her journalist husband in Pakistan.

The movie, starring Angelina Jolie, is a pretty good one. Jolie turns in an excellent performance as Mariane Pearl, a strong-willed French-Cuban (I think) who suddenly finds herself in a nightmare. If A Mighty Heart had been released in November and December, we might be talking about award nominations for the beautiful actress, but as is all I can say is that this is one of her finest performances to date. She has transformed her mannerisms, accent, style of acting and even her appearance (no, not anything like Charlize Theron) to the point where you will forget you're watching Jolie, and that right there is an accomplishment in itself.

Aside from the acting, A Mighty Hearts drills into the tension and events that took place over a short time in 2002. Director Michael Winterbottom (The Road to Guantanamo) has made a pretty decent little drama-thriller here, based on the book by Mariane Pearl. The acting all around is good, the direction relatively gritty, and Winterbottom manages to evoke emotion in every scene.

There's only one problem... Read the full A Mighty Heart movie review to learn what that is.

The Hoax (2007) movie review: No Shattered Glass?

One of my favorite movies is a one most people haven't seen, the true life-based drama Shattered Glass, starring Anakin Skywalker - I mean Hayden Christensen - as journalist Stephen Glass, who famously made up a bunch of stories to make himself famous. With that in mind, I was drawn into seeing The Hoax, a Richard Gere-starring drama with a similar theme, even though it didn't look nearly as good.

The Hoax is a true story (how true, I don't know) about journalist and writer Clifford Irving, who managed to trick a major publishing house into paying him a million dollars for a groundbreaking biography based on personal interviews with billionaire recluse Howard Hughes, a man who hadn't been seen in public in years. The only problem is that Irving never actually spoke with Hughes to get his permission, and in fact his entire piece of work is based on fabrications.

The Hoax is one of those movies where it's hard to fathom them ever being true. How a man could think that he'd get away with writing a fake biography about someone still alive - especially with someone as many resources as Howard Hughes - is pretty unbelievable. And furthermore, to risk everything by running up a publishing company for a million dollars in the process? And yet, Clifford Irving did it. That alone makes The Hoax worth watching.

Read the full The Hoax movie review.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Just finished the season finale of Jericho: Season One...

Only two weeks after getting the DVD, I finished the first season of Jericho, the possibly defunct television show starring Skeet Ulrich about a town who faces isolation and other far more serious problems after most of the United States is nuked into oblivion.

While the first part of the series relies on mystery as the townspeople don't know what's going on, the second half reveals quite a lot - although, as we find out, you can't always trust the rumors going around. Certain frightening things are revealed, such as the fact that the United States has apparently fractured into six governments, and that the bombs were not a result of foreign attack by a home grown terrorist cell. More is revealed about Hawkins, the guy who at times appeared to be a villain. With his identity further revealed, he really is able to kick ass.

Other episodes I really liked (there aren't many I didn't) were:
  • Crossroads
    Several mercenaries threaten to invade Jericho, claiming they are working for the government.
  • Semper Fidelis
    U.S. marines finally show up and say that the country is getting back on track, but it soon becomes clear that these people are not actual soldiers.
  • A.K.A.
    The truth of Hawkins is further explained and Jake gets "in the know".
  • The last four episodes
    I loved serialized stories, and the last four episodes play out like one long episode (and end with a hair-tingling cliffhanger that leads into next season). This is a great end to the season, as the nearby town of New Bern plans out a very strategic attack, and things go from bad to worse in a hurry
That being said, there were a couple episodes I wasn't as crazy about:
  • One Man's Terrorist
    Realizing that the relationship between Jake and Emily could go nowhere with Roger around, the producers abruptly turn Roger into a hostage taker, effectively forcing him out of Jericho, both the show and the series (forever?). This didn't seem like a very believable turn of events.
  • Heart of Winter
    Jake is left at the brink of death for much of the episode. As he is the main character, there isn't much tension here as we know he'll be okay.
  • Red Flag
    People squabble over whether to trust food aid from China. The whole idea that China would try to kill off people by poisoning food seemed rather paranoid and unrealistic to me.
Overall, I can't wait for the next season of Jericho, even if it is only seven episodes long.

Movie review: Michael Clayton (2007)

Wow, what a year 2007 has been. And it's only October. Last year, we were scraping bottom well into late November before good movies started cropping up, but 2007 has been gifted with all kinds of really good movies, from comedies (Knocked Up, Hot Fuzz, Superbad) to action (300, The Bourne Ultimatum, Transformers) to dramas (Eastern Promises, Zodiac, Rescue Dawn), and that's only to name a few. Now, we have Michael Clayton, George Clooney's latest drama-thriller.

Written and directed by The Bourne Ultimatum writer Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton does for legal thrillers what the Bourne franchise did for spy flicks - take the genre to a whole new level. It's not that the legal thriller hasn't had its fair share of great successes - several John Grisham adaptations come to mind - but Gilroy's approach is certainly don't-bullshit-and-slowly-build-tension-until-it-bursts. There are some slow sections in Michael Clayton, and those expecting a fast-paced thriller might find themselves falling asleep in the first half, but those of you who have patience and know a good movie when you see it will certainly find something to campaign around. For much of the movie, you don't really know what the title character's job is, but then, when it reaches the amazing and surprisingly quick ending that it has, you realize he's been doing it all along. Michael Clayton is a movie with a few twists, or at least new directions, and a mounting sense that there will be only one winner.

Read the full Michael Clayton movie review.

Saw 5? When will the pain stop?

How many Saw movies will Lionsgate produce before they let the pain stop? Or, a better question, how many Saw movies will they make before they shift the franchise to direct-to-DVD and I can stop writing about them?

No, I'm not talking about Saw IV, which comes out this October. I'm talking about Saw V (Saw 5 for you Roman numeral illiterates) that is now scheduled to be released in October 2008. Saw IV production designer David Hackl has been tapped to direct the next installment based on a screenplay by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton.

None of the Saw movies have been especially good, and it's amazing they still get as much traction as they do. At what point in time will audiences give up on the Saw movies to abandon them in theaters altogether, forcing Lionsgate to turn to direct-to-DVD releases? I'm sure the theatrical releases are just a promotions for the DVD releases, but audiences are still giving Lionsgate its Saw budgets back in theaters on opening weekend.

Why do this to yourselves, people? The Saw franchise is one of the lamest long-running horror franchises to come along, so just stop going.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Rambo 4 back to John Rambo

Well, after I complained about the new title for Rambo 4 - Rambo to Hell and Back - Sylvestor Stallone's movie has been changed back to just John Rambo. I still think it needs a better name before it hits theaters. Hell, just use Rambo 4!

For John Rambo photos, trailers and information, click here.

Watch Jessica Alba in The Eye teaser trailer

The Eye, a new horror movie (or an old one if you consider that it is a remake) starring Jessica Alba, is coming to theaters in February 2008, and the teaser trailer for this long awaited project is now online.

The movie looks pretty good. Of course, since it's a teaser, there's not much plot revealed, but the marketing department has done a good job of piecing together a taught-looking thrill ride that doesn't include a single word of dialogue. Alba looks as good as ever, even when her eyes are grayed out, and the teaser builds tension incredibly well.

Watch the teaser trailer for The Eye.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A new Martin Lawrence movie: Oh no.

I have to admit it. I'm not a fan of Martin Lawrence. He's not that funny, especially when he's doing stand up. He's good in Bad Boys, but that's only because there are enough explosions and hot women to distract us. And without further ado, here's the trailer for his next movie, the grammatically incorrect Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins...

Christmas in Wonderland Movie Trailer

Here's the trailer for the new Patrick Swayze movie Christmas in Wonderland. Where the hell has he been?

Simon Pegg to play Scotty in Star Trek

Wow. The cast for the upcoming movie Star Trek just keeps on getting more and more interesting. With Zachary Quinto ("Heroes") already playing Spock and rumors flying about a relative unknown playing Kirk, the latest announcement is that Simon Pegg, who is most certainly at the peak of his career right now with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, has been cast as Scotty.

What do I think of all this? I think it could work. Pegg will be a good balance between seriousness and comic relief; I'd expect something sort of along the lines of what we saw of him in Mission: Impossible 3 - he warns of the worst but cracks jokes at the same time.

Will Trekkies be happy with this? I guess I need to Google it to find out...

New Rambo movie title not much better?

The title for the upcoming Sylvester Stallone movie Rambo 4, which was originally called John Rambo, has been changed Rambo to Hell and Back. A little cooler than the approach, which sounded a bit too much like Stallone's other comeback attempt Rocky Balboa, but still, it sounds a bit cheesy.

Stallone is still a bit of a laughing stock, and I'm sure Rambo 4 is not going to change that (even though it looks like bloody goodness). Naming your film Rambo to Hell and Back just sounds a bit... off. Why not Rambo 4, or Rambo Returns, or Rambo's Revenge (okay, that's cheesy too).

There has got to be a better title than Rambo to Hell and Back. What do you think?