Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Real Grindhouse, by Tarantino

Grindhouse movies invade the New Beverly Cinema and Quentin Tarantino leads the attack.

From March 4th - April 30th, 2007, Tarantino turns the New Beverly Cinema into a 70s “Grindhouse” wonderland with non-stop programming of double and triple features.

The Academy Award-winning filmmaker programs 58 titillating days of shocking “Grindhouse” Cinema, showcasing over 50 sexy and terrifying flicks to celebrate the opening of Dimension Films’ Grindhouse on April 6th In anticipation of the eagerly-awaited theatrical release of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s double feature Grindhouse on April 6th, the New Beverly Cinema will host Quentin Tarantino Presents the Los Angeles Grindhouse Festival 2007 from March 4th – April 30th, 2007, it was announced today by creator and curator Tarantino. The event will be a showcase for the risqué films exploiting sex, violence and extreme subject matter from the 1970s that inspired Grindhouse, with prints directly on loan from Tarantino’s private collection, many of which are unavailable on DVD and have not screened for the public in theatres in decades. With double and triple features of roughly seven different films in rotation per week, the ground-breaking fest will screen over 50 historic films throughout the eight-week run, all personally selected for audience re-discovery by the director.

“Grindhouse is a tribute to the movies I have loved for decades that have mostly been under-appreciated and forgotten,” states Tarantino. “I’m thrilled to have this chance to show the original works for a new generation to discover, and to give Los Angeles the rare opportunity to see these gems on the big screen.”

During the course of the festival, Tarantino has scheduled various theme nights including the "Euro Sex Comedies Triple Feature,” which will feature screenings of Sex with A Smile, Sex on the Run and The Oldest Profession; “Back-To-Back Kung Fu Superstar Angela Mao Double Feature,” presenting two of the actress’ greatest classics Return of the Tiger and Stoner; “Regional Double Feature,” with screenings of Hot Summer in Barefoot County and Redneck Miller; and the "All Blood Triple Feature," showcasing Blood Spattered Bride, Asylum of Blood and Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary.

Favorite filmmakers of Tarantino’s highlighted during the festival include famed cult director John Hayes with the double feature Grave of the Vampire, written by David (“The Sopranos”) Chase and Jailbait Babysitter; sexploitation filmmaker Roger Vadim, who will be represented by his Pretty Maids All in a Row; Al Adamson, whose Female Bunch will screen; Fernando Di Leo’s Wipeout and Cirio H. Santiago, director of the classic The Muthers.

This whirlwind festival features many uncensored and uncut, not to be missed cinematic experiences such as the sexploitation films The Girl From Starship Venus and The Legend of the Wolf Woman; the blaxploitation films Brotherhood of Death and The Mack; the teen summer comedies The Van, Pick-up Summer and Summer Camp; and the martial arts classics Fearless Fighters, Super Man Chu, Chinese Hercules and Black Dragon; as well as the ultra rare 35mm prints of Slithis, Shame Of The Jungle and Chinese Hercules, just to name a few.

In addition to showcasing the “Grindhouse” films from his own vault, the New Beverly Cinema will exhibit a number of original posters and lobby cards of the films from Tarantino’s personal collection as well throughout the run of the festival.

Michael Jackson in Vegas

Vegas isn't safe for kids anymore - Michael Jackson may be coming to Vegas. In all fairness, that last trial against him was probably a bunch of crap, but that doesn't make it any less entertaining to write about him. Anyway, according and his spokeswoman, Michael Jackson is considering offers to perform in Las Vegas, Nevada, his current home.
Having returned from self-exile only a couple months ago, rumors have been flying that he can't even get a job at a casino. Other rumors have had him becoming a guest star on American Idol. According to his spokeswoman, several casinos are making him offers, and it would be a surprise if he didn't take one.
I must admit, it'd be sort of cool to see Michael Jackson in Vegas. Considering I've never been to Vegas... Yeah.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Movie trailer review: Skinwalkers

Skinwalkers, another bad horror movie hitting theaters too, is a werewolf/vampire film that looks to be about as God-awful as God-damning films go (and I mean that in a completely non-religious way).
I watched this movie trailer only yesterday, but already can't remember much of the details, mainly because the trailer is so cluttered with quick MTV flashes of vampire violence... though the movie alludes to the fact that these creatures may not actually be vampires, but simply creatures that are exactly the same as vampires.
Anyway, the only redeeming part of the trailer is a quick shot of a sex scene, but even that won't draw me to this piece-of-crap. At the same time, you really can't blame the marketing department for this movie trailer, as the movie itself is probably such a mess that they needed to make it look overly-frenetic just to hide all the lousy graphics, acting and dialogue.
Movie trailer review: F
Watch the Skinwalkers movie trailer now.

Movie trailer review: Dead Silence Trailer

Dead Silence, the latest movie from master director James Wan (I say that with sarcasm), is a horror movie about dolls who kill people, or a ghost woman who kills people, etc. Wan is the director of the hugely popular Saw, though one of my biggest issues with that movie, aside from the acting, was the directing (and it's also the director's job to get good performances out of his actors).
The Dead Silence trailer is nothing to scream about, and it will be interesting to see how well this movie rides on the Saw name. I am a little skeptical, but then again, I never thought there would be a Saw franchise. The movie once again stars Donnie Wahlberg (Saw II) and some no-names as they stumble across a mystery that involves an evil woman who was murdered and who had her tongue cut out, and is mad enough as a ghost to cut out the tongues of people who get in her way.
The movie looks exactly like Darkness Falls, which was a horrible, horrible horror movie, as it has the exact same plot as dozens of other films. Even more so, the movie doesn't look like it will be the least bit scary, though I must admit dolls can be rather creepy.
I give the Dead Silence movie trailer a C-
Watch the Dead Silence movie trailer.

Amazing Race Recap: Rob and Amber are amazing

Rob and Amber are quite impressive. They have the reality TV competition gig down pat. These two are hated by many, but you have to respect them. In fact, I like them. I want them to win. I wanted them to win last time. I even wanted Rob to win on Survivor.
Here is a couple who has finished first or second place in two big reality TV shows. Rob crafted his way to the final two on Survivor, carrying romantic interest Amber on his tailcoats. Due to his backstabbing, the other loser Survivors failed to realize how good he was, and gave Amber the $1 million. Of course, Rob was smart enough to see this coming, so he proposed to Amber before the winner was announced (it may also help that she's beautiful and seemingly a good soul mate for him).
Then, having already won $1,000,000, plus whatever Rob won for second place, the two finish second on Amazing Race, losing by a hair to much-less exciting Uchenna and Joyce. Now, the two teams are back fighting against one another, and Rob and Amber are once again leading the pack. They came in first in the first episode, and this leads me to my discussion for today, which is hardly a recap of Amazing Race at all...
Rob and Amber seize the fastest flight, but end up screwed when their flight is delayed. Already more than 15 minutes behind, it looks like no first place is in store for them this week. But the combination of a task right up Rob's alley (construction equipment) and tricky navigation of the roads led the love-to-hate couple to the finish line first once again.
Props to Rob and Amber, and may they go all the way!

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Incredible Hulk takes on Toronto

Toronto has been chosen as a principal filming location for the upcoming Marvel movie, The Incredible Hulk.

The Incredible Hulk is to be directed by Louis Leterrier.

The Incredible Hulk is expected to begin shooting this summer for about four months. The cast has yet to be announced. Marvel Studios is a subsidiary of Marvel Entertainment Inc., which publishes characters including Spider Man, X-Men Captain America and Ghost Rider.

The announcement gives a boost to the local film industry which is still suffering the after-effects of a six-week strike by Canadian performers. A tentative deal between ACTRA and producers was reached Feb. 21.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Departed wins/Scorsese finally wins!

About frikkin' time! Martin Scorsese finally takes Oscar gold for The Departed, and, amazingly enough, The Departed won for Best Picture as well. It's pretty rare these days to have a movie take home Oscar gold for both Best Picture and Best Picture, but The Departed, a genre film, a thriller, a gangster film, pulled it off.
And the best part... when the Oscar was announced for Best Picture, we were told that Scorsese calls this "the first movie he's done with a plot."
Congratulations, Mr. Scorsese... Now, I start rooting for Leo.

Dreamgirls competes itself out of competition

Dreamgirls had three separate nominations for Best Original Song... and thus three songs to spread the wealth. Combined, Dreamgirls probably had the majority vote, but alas, Melissa Etheridge wins for the rather forgettable song "I Need To Wake Up" from An Inconvient Truth.
An Inconvenient Truth has fared well tonight - not only did it win Best Song, which I must imagine is pretty rare for a documentary, but it also won for Best Documentary Feature. On top of that, the Oscars and Leonardo DiCaprio played out a great gag where Al Gore began his speech to announce his candidacy for President of the United States of America, when the Oscar music started playing indicating he had spoke too long. Unfortunately, Gore never made his announcement, and thus we are stuck with a bunch of so-so Democratic candidates.
It's not to late, Al! It's not too late!

Depressing GM robot commercial

I'm watching the Oscars right now, and am happy to see that GM changed the ending to their God-awful suicidal robot commercial. The original, which aired during the Superbowl, depicted a robot who was laid off by GM after scratching a car (so GM has no tolerance for mistakes?), funnels through a bunch of thankless jobs, and eventually commits suicide by jumping off a bridge... even though it's all just a dream. I am one who often finds humor in the tasteless and dark, but even I thought the commercial was highly inappropriate, depressing and a bad marketing move in general.
While GM should have just scrapped the commercial, the Oscars shows a different version of the same commercial, cut the suicide scene at the end. At least GM is willing to change... now how about those cars with 60 mpg fuel efficiency?

Pixar fails to claim the Oscar!

While I am disappointed in the lack of support for Pan's Labyrinth to win Best Foreign Picture, I am very excited to see that Oscar voters did not go toward the convenient Oscar choice - Pixar's Cars - and instead chose another movie. While I am quite confident that Monster House was much better than Happy Feet (though I have not seen Happy Feet), I was going to be fine as long as Cars didn't win.
If you don't know, I found Cars to be one of the most boring, lame cartoons of the year, and that's coming from a guy who has loved all other Pixar movies.

What happened to Pan's Labyrinth???

Pan's Labyrinth was sweeping up the small awards left and right, which meant one of two things: it would sweep for the big prize, or get discounted as a result.
Sadly, Pan's Labyrinth failed to make the grade for Best Foreign Picture. Did people think that by giving it a bunch of smaller awards that would make up for losing out on the big prize?
Instead, The Lives of Others won, but that movie had met mixed reactions in the U.S., while Pan's Labyrinth had received some of the best reviews of the year. In fact, Pan's Labyrinth was my #2 pick of the year, and certainly better than all of the Best Picture nominations at this year's Oscars... even The Departed.
I am hugely disappointed in the Oscar voters...

Jessie falls in river

Watch my friend Jessica take a tumble in a freezing river... Click here. Apparently she had climbed on this dude's back to get across the river without getting her feet. This is what happens, Ms. Jessica, when you try to play it safe.

February 25th Weekend Box Office

The estimates for the February 23-25, 2007 weekend are in! Sadly, once again, Ghost Rider comes in at the top spot, but it plummets 57% from a weekend ago, so that's a good sign. The Number 23 comes in second, and really doesn't do as well as I expected (of course, reviews were not kind). Here's the full roll out:

1. Ghost Rider ($19.7)

2. The Number 23 ($15.1)

3. Bridge to Terabithia ($13.6)

4. Reno 911!: Miami ($10.4)

5. Norbit ($9.7)

6. Muisc and Lyrics ($8.0)

7. Breach ($6.2)

8. Daddy's Little Girls ($5.3)

9. The Astronaut Farmer ($4.5)

10. Amazing Grace ($4.3)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Meet the Parents 3: Little Fockers

Variety reports Universal Pictures is going to start developing the comedy, Little Fockers, the third installment of the Ben Stiller/Robert De Niro comedy series; Jay Roach is also set to direct this version. Ben Stiller, De Niro, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand are all hopefuls to return.

Larry Stuckey will write the script; no release date has been scheduled for Little Fockers. Those poor little children.

Clooney, Blanchett in The Fantastic Mr. Fox

According to The Hollywood Reporter, George Clooney and Cate Blanchett will voice the lead characters in Wes Anderson's stop-motion animated, The Fantastic Mr. Fox for 20th Century Fox.

The film is an adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic children's story,about a clever fox who must outwit three mean, dimwitted farmers who try their hardest to hurt Mr. Fox and his family. Clooney would voice Mr. Fox, while Blanchett would voice his wife.

Open Water 2 DVD Review

Normally I post movie reviews at my movie website,, but since Open Water 2: Adrift is a direct-to-DVD release and thus not deserving of a database entry, I'm posting my thoughts here instead:

Open Water 2: Adrift is a pretty stupid idea for a movie. After all, the first movie, which hardly deserved a theatrical release, was about two people who eventually die floating in the ocean. Sequel fodder, I think not. Nevertheless, the sequel is here, and while it certainly deserves its direct-to-DVD release, it shows that given a slightly better screenplay and a completely different title, it could have been something.

This time around, the movie focuses on a group of three couples and a baby who go yachting in Mexico. On one pleasant day they all decide to go swimming, but forget to do one simple thing: drop the ladder. With the hull of the boat too high to climb, the six find themselves stranded only ten feet from safety but unable to attain it. As tempers flare and the blame game beginnings, they struggle to stay afloat.

Open Water 2 has a few things going for it. The concept is pretty good and believable at that. The women are pretty nice to look at. The acting isn't as horrific as you'd expect, and some of the actors are recognizable. Stretches of the movie are well paced, and the ending is also quite exciting. Overall, Open Water 2 was much better than I expected, even if that isn't saying much.

On the other hand, the movie could have benefited from a slightly better script. While there are stretches that are perfectly fine, there are moments where the characters just do stupid stuff, or react in a way that isn't very believable, or get on topics that seem rather cheesy. There's a scene where a girl freaks out and starts screaming the Lord's prayer, which seemed rather out of character and rather sudden, and another where a man manages to get his cell phone off the deck of the boat, but frustrated that the signal is nearly non-existent, he throws it away. Who in their right, fucking mind would do that? In another scene, a man starts stabbing at the hull of the boat trying to create a foothold, but the boat's owner fights with him to stop and the end result is one of the characters getting stabbed to death. Come on.

Also, I don't understand why the three men didn't attempt to combine their force to throw one of the women toward the deck. Perhaps that would have been an easy-out to this dilemma, which would have caused the movie to end abruptly.

Open Water 2 is not the disaster you'd expect it to be, but it isn't anything special, either. Compared to the original, the movie does offer some more interesting dynamics as there are more characters to share the weight of the story, but also lacks the tension that made the first one halfway watch-able. If you have nothing better to do, you could do worse, but of course this is not one you'll be flying to the video store to see.

Academy Award Oscar Nominations and Predictions

For the few who actually read this blog, here are our predictions for the 2007 (or is it 2006?) Oscars. And the Academy Award (will go) to...
Best Picture: Letters from Iwo Jima
Best Director: Martin Scorsese
Best Actor: Forest Whitaker
Best Actress: Helen Mirren
Best Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson
Best Foreign Picture: Pan's Labyrinth
Best Animated Picture: Cars (even though it sucked big time)

However, our picks (a.k.a. movies that we want to win but won't necessarily win) are as follows:
Best Picture: The Departed
Best Director: Martin Scorsese
Best Actor: Will Smith
Best Actress: Meryl Streep (but we're fine with Helen Mirren, too)
Best Supporting Actor: Jackie Earle Haley
Best Supporting Actress: Adriana Barraza
Best Foreign Picture: Pan's Labyrinth
Best Animated Picture: Monster House (because this movie kicked ass)

For all nominations and the rest of my picks and predictions, please visit our Academy Award nominations page.

The Number 23 Movie Review

Jim Carrey stars as a man who becomes obsessed with the number 23, and that his life is tied to a book that predicts that he will eventually end up killing his wife. Unfortunately, Carrey sounds more like Ben Stiller in Zoolander than a serious character, and Schumacher fails to deliver anything original. Read more of our movie review.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What is Martin Scorsese's next movie?

According to Variety, Warner Bros. and Graham King's Initial Entertainment Group have acquired screen rights to bestselling Brian Selznick children's novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret - and who is going to direct? They're hoping Martin Scorsese will direct.

John Logan is writing the screenplay, which follows a 12-year-old orphan who lives in the walls of a Paris train station in 1930 and a mystery involving the boy, his late father and a robot, says Variety.

No word if The Invention of Hugo Cabret will be next up for a production schedule.

Borat and Antonio Banderas - How are they related?

They aren't! Borat has nothing to do whatsoever with Antonio Banderas, but we have a couple of links to clips featuring the so-called "hysterical" writers of Borat, Anthony Hines and Peter Baynham, and Antonio Banderas on his directorial work on the movie Summer Rain. So what's the connection?
They're both hosted on iklipz. Exciting, I know. Anyway, here they are:

Lunch With David Featuring Academy Nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay for Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan - Anthony Hines & Peter Baynham

Antonio Banderas on SUMMER RAIN

Before They Were Nominees

We have some neat (a.k.a. funny) clips of some of the actors who have been nominated for the Academy Awards. Check them out:
Leonardo DiCaprio

Mark (Marky Mark) Wahlberg

Jennifer Hudson

Helen Mirren

Forest Whitaker

Meryl Streep

Will Smith

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Zodiac Movie Review

Zodiac hits theaters March 2nd, and stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey, Jr., and more, and comes from David Fincher. Fincher also directed one of the best serial killer movies of all time - Seven - and guess what? Zodiac is also about a serial killer!
And guess what even more? We have a movie review already online for you to see if this lives up to expectations. Read our Zodiac movie review now.

Keanu Reeves is The Night Watchman

According to Variety, Fox Searchlight and New Regency will co-finance the drama, The Night Watchman starring Keanu Reeves.
The film is written by James Ellroy; David Ayer will direct and re-write the screenplay. Variety adds the script has evolved since Ellroy started on the LAPD tale right after the O.J. Simpson verdict and the L.A. riots. Reeves plays a cop who's always done what was needed to solve homicides and crack down on gang violence until he gets a wakeup call and decides he can no longer play the game that made him so effective.

John Rambo? That is not the movie title... is it?

Moviehole is reportingthat Sylvester Stallone is no longer referring to the next "Rambo" movie as Rambo IV: Pearl of the Cobra, or Rambio IV: In the Serpent's Eyes, but instead as simply John Rambo.
Stallone referred to the film as John Rambo on a recent news interview, and it seems as though he is trying to follow the success of Rocky Balboa. The only problem is, that was a drama, and this is an action movie. Just call it Rocky Returns! for all I care, but for God's sake don't call it John Rambo.
Regardless, all of those titles are stupid. Keep trying, Mr. Stallone. Keep trying.

Superman in the Top Ten?

Some people have commented (though unfortunately not on this blog) that they think Superman Returns deserves no place in my Top Ten Movies of 2006, if for the sole fact that it is a comic book movie about a man in red tights who flies around and saves people. To them, I say watch the frikkin' movie! If you're a comic book junkie, you've probably already seen it, and if not, you probably won't LOVE it, but maybe you'll actually like it. Give it a chance!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Top Ten Movies of 2006

1. Children of Men

Children of Men received a surprisingly mixed number of reviews, for what reason I do not know. The movie I saw engaged me from minute one and had me on the edge of my seat up until the end, even if the previews do show just about every part of the movie. Despite those marketing flaws, the movie still throws in a few twists you wouldn't have guessed from the previews, and still offers plenty of action and drama to make it number one.

Children of Men stars Clive Owen as a man who lives in a future Britain where the government has closed its borders, arrested all immigrants, and terrorism is rampant. Oh, and no child has been born in over 18 years, which means that humanity only has 50 more years to live.

The movie is bleak, depressing and wholly realistic, thanks to director Alfonso Cuarón. Cuarón's world wraps itself around the audience and makes you part of the experience, and so you feel everything the characters feel. While set in a hopeless world, the movie is about hope, even if it is just a glimmer. One scene near the end, where soldiers and terrorists (or freedom fighters?) cease fire to let Owen and co-star Claire-Hope Ashitey through, is nearly tear-jerking. I say "nearly" because I don't cry at movies.

Children of Men has it all, and that's why it's my favorite film of 2006. Read our movie review

2. Pan's Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth is from director Guillermo del Toro, who really hasn't done much in terms of delivering memorable films. With exception to Hellboy, most of his movies are pretty lame, but if Hellboy showed he could be imaginative, Pan's Labyrinth shows he is a force to be reckoned with.

Set in fascist Spain in 1944, the movie follows a little girl who has a vivid imagination and who is told by a creepy faun that she is the long list princess of the underworld, but to return to the underworld and her true parents, she has to complete three tasks. The movie is marketed as fantasy, but the film is more about a girl trying to separate herself from the horrors that surround her. Her mother is struggling to deliver a baby, her father is an evil, fascist soldier, and there is a rebellion in the woods that surround her home.

The movie is as creative as it is gory, and is certainly one of the most serious films of the year. Del Toro's vision exists in every facet of the movie, and the result is a vivid, shocking and emotional tale.

Pan's Labyrinth is in subtitles, but that shouldn't keep you from watching this amazing film. Read our movie review

3. The Departed

This has to be Scorsese's year. Right. Right? Who the hell knows, as we've said that in the past and repeatedly he gets snubbed. Compared to the other directors in the race, Clint Eastwood is perhaps his closest competition, but Eastwood has won before for better films than Letters from Iwo Jima and Flags of our Fathers.

Scorsese's latest is The Departed, a gangster-cop flick based on an Asian film called Infernal Affairs. Unlike Infernal Affairs, which was a great little film but more action-oriented than anything else, The Departed is a deep, moving character drama that still allows Scorsese to deliver his brutal gangster violence.

The movie also features spellbinding performances from Leonardo DiCaprio (who is better here than he is in Blood Diamond, for which he was nominated for), Matt Damon (as the bad guy) and Jack Nicholson (as the bad guy of bad guys). Read our movie review

4. Little Children

This movie was in theaters for nearly four months before I finally went and saw it, and it was well worth the wait. A dark, sometimes disturbing drama that at the same time has plenty of laughs, Little Children is about the dark secrets of suburbia, the pent-up tension and the restraints society places on us.

What makes Little Children great is that it is so different from any other movie that has come out this year. The film is narrated in a very witty, comical way, yet the subject matter is serious. The mixture of the two result in a very matter-of-fact, emotionally engaging film that slowly builds up to a terrific climax. Read our movie review

5. United 93

When United 93 came out in early 2006, most people dismissed this film as hitting too close to home too early after September 11th. I tended to agree, but went and saw it anyway, and was blown away from minute one. Director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy) presents an unbiased re-telling of that morning, and uses many of the real people involved in the air traffic coordination that day. The result is an emotionally-charged and fast-paced drama that has you on the edge of your seat, despite the fact you know exactly what is going to happen.

Unlike Oliver Stone's God-awful World Trade Center (which somehow made a lot more money), this movie doesn't have any emotional fluff or hammy A-list stars to clutter up the store. It just tells things as is, and lets the day's events do their work on you. Had this movie come out in November or December, it almost undoubtedly would be a front runner for Best Picture, and would probably be higher up on this list. Read our movie review

#6: An Inconvenient Truth

From a filmmaking perspective, An Inconvenient Truth is hardly groundbreaking and does not warrant a top ten listing. It is a PowerPoint presentation and not much more, and never tries to do anything technically challenging.

But that's okay.

An Inconvenient Truth, featuring Al Gore, takes a direct stab at global warming and presents in very clear terms just how serious and obvious this problem is. A water cooler subject for months, Gore's movie has finally (we hope) gotten the issue of global warming out of the environmentalists' hands and into mainstream discussion. As a result, Al Gore has received a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, and we had to give him an even more coveted spot in's Top Ten movie list. Read our movie review

#7: Letters from Iwo Jima

Clint Eastwood directed two movies in 2006, both about World War II, and both set on the island of Iwo Jima. His first movie, told from the American perspective, was somewhat of a cluttered mess, as it jumped around in time a lot and failed to develop its characters properly. His second, Letters from Iwo Jima, is told from the Japanese perspective and focuses on a few soldiers who fight to the very end with no chance of escape or survival.

Iwo Jima is not Eastwood's best movie, but unlike its predecessor, it is simple and powerful. Top notch acting from every actor involved, some good battle scenes and some horrifying moments make Letters from Iwo Jima one of the best movies of 2006, and one of the front runners for Best Picture. Read our movie review

#8: The Pursuit of Happyness

I saw The Pursuit of Happyness way back in March, nearly nine months before it was released to theaters, so I haven't seen the final cut and my memory is a bit hazy on certain aspects. All I remember is that this one was one of the most frustrating, depressing, emotional, kick-me-while-I'm-down movies I've seen in a long time, and that it ends happily.

The real highlight, though, is Will Smith, who turns in his best performance to date. His Oscar nomination is an understatement, as he transforms himself into a character he's never done before. To top it off, his real-life son co-stars with him, and the chemistry between the two works wonders. Read our movie review

#9: Superman Returns

Some may spite me for including Superman Returns in a Top Ten list, but it deserves to be there. After nearly two decades and the death of Christopher Reeves, Superman was noticeably absent from the big screen. The movie passed from director to director, screenwriter to screenwriter (some absolutely insane screenplays were tossed around), and eventually it wound up in the perfect hands: Bryan Singer, the man behind two of the best comic book movies ever, X-Men and X-Men 2.

Singer doesn't take the same approach to this DC franchise that he did to his mutants; Superman Returns is much more of a drama, and Singer makes obvious allusions to Jesus in his portrayal of Superman. The movie suffered heavily at the box office for its more serious approach, but the result is a high energy, dramatic and still action-packed adventure that features Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor.

While the movie unfortunately lacks a good guy vs. bad guy climax at the end, Superman Returns still offers some excellent action scenes. Love him or hate him, Brandon Routh did a better job than expected, and Kate Bosworth is the hottest Lois Lane to grace the silver screen. This is a high quality film and I look forward to the next one (hopefully it will have a lot more action, though). Read our movie review

#10: The Prestige

This spot was going to go to Babel, a rather poetic and symbolic look at the world, but that one just didn't live up to my expectations. By chance, I happened to watch both The Prestige and Babel for the second time this last weekend, on DVD, and whereas Babel remained consistently good but not great, The Prestige was much more impressive the second time around.

This tale of two rival magicians who develop such an obsession with one another that they are willing to do anything, including lose their humanity, to reign over the other is a wonderful, complex and well-acted film from director Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins). Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman turn in tremendous performances, and the movie offers a character study in a way that can appeal to mainstream audiences.

While not without its flaws, The Prestige is one of those films that is much better the second time around, and just scrapes into the Top Ten as a result. Read our movie review

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Friday Box Office Analysis - Good and bad

It is a weekend of cheers, and a weekend of shaking heads. On the positive side, American audiences finally figured out that Tyler Perry movies are God-awful pieces of crap as Daddy's Little Girls looks to make around $10.1 million dollars over the holiday weekend, according to Box Office Prophets.

Unfortunately, Ghost Rider made $15.8 million on Friday, which means it will make approximately $50 million over the four-day Presidents Day weekend. This movie looked like a loser from the first trailer, but American audiences went for the flaming skull anyway. Sad, sad, sad.

As for Breach, the best-reviewed film to open this week, it looks to make less than $10 million over the weekend. I wonder if there would have been a better weekend to release this film.

1 Ghost Rider

2 Bridge to Terebithia

3 Norbit

4 Music and Lyrics

5 Daddy's Little Girls

6 Breach

7 Because I Said So

8 Hannibal Rising

9 Night at the Museum

10 The Messengers

Shut Up and Sing DVD Review

I've posted Shut Up and Sing over at my movie review website and must say that after watching the film, I have a much greater respect for the Dixie Chicks. The movie chronicles the three years after their fall from grace following a statement made on tour by one of the band members, the deliciously honest, "I'm ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." They should be, so I don't know what the big deal was, but a bunch of right wing nut jobs decided it would be right to ban The Dixie Chicks from country radio.

Aaron Eckhart is Two Face

With The Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins, coming to theaters next year, the casting keeps rolling in. Heath Ledger is already the Joker, but Aaron Eckhart is in final negotiations to play Harvey Dent and Two Face. Two Face, as you might recall, is the ex-district attorney of Gotham who, after his face is scarred with acid (by the Joker?) , becomes a villain who does good or evil based on the flip of a coin.
Eckhart has been inconsistent over the years, but has shown signs of moving up in the world with projects like Thank You for Smoking. He could certainly play a good Two Face, and I'm looking forward to seeing Christopher Nolan's interpretation of the character. After Batman Forever massacred the character with cartoon delivery by Tommy Lee Jones and ridiculously cheesy makeup, Nolan's darker, more serious approach should finally do justice to the character.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith Dies

A perfect example of how a woman no one really liked still makes the top headlines for the day. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised when I heard Anna Nicole Smith died... certainly didn't see that one coming. As my roommate always says, famous people die in threes, so that means it should be an interesting weekend.

The Grudge 2 Movie Review

The Grudge 2 is now out on DVD, and how else can God make me suffer? If you read my Grudge 2 movie review, you will discover just how lame this franchise is.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Because I Said So Movie Review

Read our Because I Said So movie review! Mandy Moore, Diane Keaton, and Piper Perabo star in this romantic comedy movie. Because I Said So is now in theaters. Read the movie review now at
My little bro wrote this review as he fits his screening attendance in between school and his new internship at a film production company. Let's hear what he has to say... I haven't even read it yet.