Monday, April 30, 2007

Lambert Wilson finds some work

Lambert Wilson (the French dude from The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions) has been cast in two new movies: Babylon A.D., starring Vin Diesel, and The Heaven Project. The news comes from Variety.

The sci-fi thriller Babylon A.D. is directed by Mathieu Kassovitz; The Heaven Project is written and directed by John Glenn.

In Babylon A.D., a veteran-turned-mercenary (Vin Diesel) agrees to escort a woman from Russia to Germany, not realizing that she's the host for an organism that a cult wants to harvest into a genetically-modified Messiah. The intriguing-sounding movie is based on the novel by Maurice G. Dantec.

Wilson will also be seen in the upcoming movie, Private Fears in Public Places and Flawless, with Demi Moore and Michael Caine.

Isla Fisher is The Cookie Queen

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting (who knew?) that Universal Pictures has picked up The Cookie Queen, a comedy starring hottie Isla Fisher (the psycho girl from The Wedding Crashers).

The story follows Claire "Cookie" Taylor (Fisher), who holds the record for all-time girl scout cookie sales. When she learns that a precocious fifth grader threatens to end her 20-year reign as cookie queen, she sets out to sabotage her. Nice!

I must say, while Isla was the most entertaining part of The Wedding Crashers (until it was revealed she was faking her psycho-bitch status), I never was blown away by her. But the more I see her, the more I like her... Although somehow I'm guessing The Cookie Queen isn't going to have much nudity.

The Cookie Queen comes from screenwriters Jeremy Hast and Ed Gonzalez.

Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe

Variety reports Russell Crowe is going to star as the Sheriff in Ridley Scott's new drama Nottingham. Produced by Brian Grazer, this unique take on the Robin Hood myth finds Crowe's noble and brave lawman working for a shady king. The upstanding enforcement officer will also engage himself in a love triangle between Maid Marion and Robin Hood.

Interesting... it's about time there's a new Robin Hood movie. Thinking of Robin Hood, what are people's thoughts on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (starring Kevin Costner)? Personally, I love the film despite the odd choice of Costner in the lead role - with an American accent - but plenty of people think otherwise.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Most anticipated movies of the summer

The official summer movie season starts Tuesday, May 1st, which means it starts Thursday at midnight with the release of Spider-Man 3. Here are my top ten most anticipated movies of the summer...

1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

One of the most consistent, entertaining and exciting franchises out there, the latest Harry Potter finds, once again, a new director and even a new screenwriter, which could make it the most questionable of the series. Still, the Harry Potter track record has been good, and as this is the darkest of the films thus far (the war begins!), it could be one of the best. I don't actually remember exactly what happens in the book, other than a major death, but I am certainly pumped to see this one on the big screen.

2. The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Supremacy is one of my favorite action movies, as director Paul Greengrass, despite some shaky camera moments, presented an intense, sophisticated thriller that was full of surprises. Greengrass is returning once again, and I am holding my breath that this movie may finally introduce Carlos the Jackal, the main villain of the Robert Ludlum trilogy who has been completely left out of the movies. I am currently in the process of reading The Bourne Ultimatum, though I am certain that the movie will be 100% different, as two key characters who are dead in the films are essential parts of the book, and, of course, there is no Carlos the Jackal back story. Nevertheless, I can't wait to see this latest film, and hopefully it won't be the last.

3. Spider-Man 3

The Sandman, I'm thinking, will be a pretty minor villain, as Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) is going to have his hands full with the new Green Goblin (or is it Hobgoblin, I'm not sure?), played by his vengeful friend James Franco. Of course, more importantly, the movie is about the black suit that eventually turns Eddie Brock into Venom, probably the most popular Spider-Man villain. The movie trailers have been fantastic, especially the most recent one where it starts out with Brock (Topher Grace) praying to God to kill Peter Parker for him. The movie is going to be noticeably darker than the previous two, and, with three villains, should provide plenty of action.

My only concern - will three villains stretch the story too thin? The Spider-Man franchise has always relied on developed characters and a balance of action and "drama" - could Raimi have pushed things too far?

4. Transformers

When I first heard about this Michael Bay film, I scoffed. A movie about robots fighting against one another just sounded ludicrous; what works as a cartoon will not work as a live-action summer blockbuster. But movie trailers and photos thus far have completely changed my mind; Transformers simply looks... awesome. The visuals look fantastic, and Michael Bay appears to have applied some grainy-ness to his typical glossy filming style. Of course, plot and dialogue are still up in the air, but we haven't had an alien invasion/destruction movie in a few years, and Transformers looks to blow the genre out of the water.

The only question mark is Michael Bay. While he is up to the task of making an incredible action movie, the parts in between tend to suffer. Will Bay overcome his negligence of non-action scenes, or will Transformers be another mindless action film (not like there's anything wrong with that).

5. The Simpsons Movie

Little needs to be said about this one. The Simpsons Movie is probably the most anticipated movie of the last 15 years - of course, that doesn't mean it's going to make the most money, but it's still going to make a lot. This one should appeal to the old and young equally (unlike South Park, for instance, which still made a ton of dough), and hopefully will be as funny as everyone is expecting it to be. The only problem here is that while The Simpsons are still going strong, they aren't quite as popular as they used to be. Has the time passed where we needed a Simpsons movie? Will expectations be too high? Time will tell...

6. Mr. Brooks

The only movie that is not an action film or comedy on this list is Mr. Brooks, a suspense thriller starring Kevin Costner as a seemingly nice man who just happens to murder people. When a voyeur (Dane Cook) happens to catch him in the act, the two make an unlikely alliance. Mr. Brooks definitely looks sophisticated, and movie trailers thus far have been top notch. Definitely a change of pace for Costner, this film could go the course of American Psycho; it may not make a lot of money, but, if done right, it could be a critical darling, something that Costner desperately needs.

7. Live Free or Die Hard

Another highly anticipated movie that has been talked about for years and years and years, the fourth Die Hard finally makes it to the big screen, with Bruce Willis returning to the role of John McClane. The movie has a different director and looks a lot glossier and shinier than its predecessors, but the trailers have been effective in presenting the film as a rather dark, action-packed movie with glimmers of the old Die Hard humor that one would expect. For some reason I have fears that this one is going to end up being a stinker, yet at the same time it is one I am dying to see. There's only one way to find out...

8. Ocean's 13

Ocean's 13 is, of course, the sequel to Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's 12, and thus has a 50/50 chance of being good. Ocean's Eleven was excellent, while Ocean's 12 all but sucked. Luckily, Ocean's 13 looks like it is returning to its roots (Las Vegas), keeping most of its stars (except for Julia Roberts, who really didn't add much to the sequel anyway), adding one really big cast member (Al Pacino, anyone?) and taking the stakes much higher. The plot appears to be that after one of the Ocean gang is betrayed by new casino owner Pacino, the rest of the crew decides to reap revenge by fixing every game in the casino, thus robbing Pacino of millions of dollars, destroying his credibility, so on and so forth. In addition, it appears that they team up with former enemy Andy Garcia to share in the destruction of this new casino, though I'm guessing there will be betrayal along the way. All in all, Ocean's 13 looks like everything Ocean's 12 wasn't - the question is, will audiences recognize that.


The movie no one can pronounce is coming to theaters in late June, and targeting the youngest crowd. The latest from Disney and Pixar, Ratatouille looks like a major step up from the God-awful Cars, which was Pixar's first misstep in a long series of successful and entertaining movies. Cars was just boring to me, but Ratatouille looks to be going more of the Toy Story route, and previews thus far have been pretty funny. I would be highly surprised if this isn't Best Animated Movie of the Year.

10. Shrek the Third

The first Shrek movie was extremely funny. The second Shrek movie was even funnier. Hence, the trend should continue into the third movie. The voice cast is all returning, and Justin Timberlake has been added as Prince Arthur. Still, Shrek the Third is on the fence for me, as I really haven't found the trailers to be all that funny. They seem rather chaotic and not nearly as effective as the masterful previews for Shrek 2. Are the bad trailers a result of poor marketing or a poor movie? My guess is the former, but again, there is only one way to find out.

Seattle Mariners: In second place?

Wow, after a six game losing streak, the Seattle Mariners are back in second place thanks to a great star by Cha Seung Baek and a lucky (and smart) call by an umpire. While Oakland lost, Baek took the Mariners into the 6th inning with a no-hitter, and left with a 1-1 no decision. Then Bloomquist struck out with two men on... wait, he didn't! He swung, foul-tipped it to the catcher, and the catcher caught it - but he didn't actually caught it. He trapped it, so it wasn't a clean catch, and thus the strikeout that was not to be a strikeout gave Willie one more chance to get his second hit of the season. And he hit a double, to seal the deal for the Mariners.

Needless to say, I will be surprised if Baek is sent back down to the minors next week when Felix returns... after all, the Mariners can't possibly allow Jeff Weaver to embarrass himself again, can he?

Anyway, I'm now 2-0 on the season for games I've gone to, and both games have had fabulous, sunny, T-shirt weather.

Is Hot Fuzz better than Shaun of the Dead?

So, what do you all think? Is Hot Fuzz, the new movie from Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg (and we'll add Nick Frost, too, as he is an integral part of the cast) better than the movie that made them stars, Shaun of the Dead?

Is Hot Fuzz an action classic? Is it better than American spoofs on the genre?

You can read my thoughts on Hot Fuzz here (and my comparisons to Shaun of the Dead), and my original movie review of Shaun of the Dead. Then return back here and post a comment. No one ever posts comments...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Friday Box Office Analysis - The Condemned is condemned

Based on Friday numbers alone, thanks to, Disturbia once again is leading the pack with $3.2 million, with The Invisible, a new release, close behind. Other new films include Next, which made only $2.3 million, and The Condemned, which tanked, thankfully, with $1.3 million.

Here are the results from Friday (estimates):

1. Disturbia ($3.2 million)
2. The Invisible ($3.0 million)
3. Next ($2.3 million)
4. Fracture ($2.0 million)
5. Blades of Glory ($1.6 million)
6. Hot Fuzz ($1.5 million)
7. Vacancy ($1.4 million)
8. The Condemned ($1.3 million)
9. Meet the Robinsons ($1.2 million)
10. In the Land of Women ($1.0 million)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wednesday's Casting News

I've got some casting news for y'all, starting off with the most amazing casting news of the century...

Variety reports Jenny McCarthy is joining Witless Protection, which stars Larry the Cable Guy. The movie, directed by Charles Carner, is about a small-town sheriff who must protect a federal witness. We all know this will be a winner, because Larry the Cable Guy is starring in the movie. Thanks Lionsgate.

Variety also says Dinosaurs Alive, an Imax movie appearing this summer in both 2D and 3d, will be narrated by Michael Douglas.

Queen Latifah will topline a remake of All of Me, the 1984 comedy that starred Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin, Variety reports. The original movie is about a dying heiress whose soul inhabits the body of a successful attorney, but in this new movie, a female Jesse Jackson-type finds herself stuck in the body of a political conservative. Uh-oh!

More news from Variety has Disney signing Robin Williams and Kelly Preston to star alongside John Travolta in the buddy comedy Old Dogs, directed by Walt Becker. Ella Travolta, the daughter of two of the three stars (guess which ones!) will also have a role.

News from The Hollywood Reporter, for a change, has Val Kilmer (Deja Vu, The Doors), Wilmer Valderrama (Fast Food Nation, Yo Momma), and Marg Helgenberger (Mr. Brooks, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) starring in Columbus Day, a crime drama about a thief who has just one morning to fix what has gone awry in the biggest heist of his life, all while attempting to repair his relationship with his ex-wife (Helgenberger). Valderrama will play a longtime associate who helps plan the crime despite grave concerns.

Back to Variety... Rainn Wilson will star in the comedy Girlfriend Experience, based on a screenplay by cousins Mark and Brian Gunn, which is about a lonely geek who, in an effort to make himself seem more desirable, hires a prostitute to pretend she's his girlfriend. Nice!

Focus Features is saying Academy Award-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen will write, produce, and direct their next two films for the company - A Serious Man and the dark spy comedy Burn After Reading. Burn After Reading will star Academy Award winners George Clooney and Frances McDormand; Brad Pitt has also joined the cast.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Alpha Dog movie review

I just watched Alpha Dog, and while the DVD sucks, the movie isn't a complete waste. After all, Alpha Dog offers nudity from Olivia Wilde and plenty of other females, and has an intriguing story. Still, despite all that, there isn't much repeat value here, as it fails to be a powerful crime story and instead turns out more like a teen romp with drugs, sex and violence.

Read my full Alpha Dog movie review.

Movie trailer review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The full Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie trailer is now online, and man, this movie is going to kick ass. The trailer starts off dark, then lightens up as it introduces some funny moments revolving around the new Dark Arts teacher, but then quickly uncoils to the beginning of a war. Harry and the rest join forces to train against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and things get even more intense from there. To cap things off, the final seconds of the trailer are chilling, to say the least.

I don't have much to say about the trailer. This is how movie trailers should be. It really doesn't show too much of the plot (for those who haven't read the book, or for those of us, like me, who can't remember every plot detail) and sets the expectation levels extremely high.

Good job, Warner Brothers marketing!

Watch the full Harry Potter movie trailer!

Dreamgirls Movie Review

Dreamgirls hits DVD on May 1st, and I managed to get my hands on an advanced copy. Dreamgirls was the one movie I wanted to see in theaters during award season, but never got a chance to, and so now, long after I have unleashed my Top Ten Movies of 2006 List, I have seen the final film that could have really made a dent.

But there's a reason why I never got around to watching Dreamgirls in theaters. It just didn't look that interesting. Dreamgirls looked like a blatant attempt to take advantage of recent films about famous musicians that have found success, either critically, financially or both (Ray and Walk the Line come to mind). And you know what? I was right. Dreamgirls, while not a bad movie by any means, is a film made solely to win the Golden Globes. I'm not surprised it won, as the Music and Comedy section is always partial to movies like this. I'm also not surprised it failed to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars because, frankly, it isn't nearly good enough.

With good acting all around, especially from newcomer Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls had a chance, but its lack of character development and too much glamour keep it from becoming anything monumental. Read my full Dreamgirls movie review.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Smokin' Aces Movie Review

I just watched Smokin' Aces on DVD - I thought it came out this week, not last week, hence the delay - and it was quite a wild ride. Director Joe Carnahan does a pretty good job of turning a very simple story (a bunch of people trying to kill or protect the same guy) into a psychotic onslaught of violence while avoiding the pitfalls this film could have easily attained by going overboard.

Surprisingly, the movie isn't quite as action-packed as I was expecting, but still has a fair amount of violence and mayhem. Over all, this is a movie that is great for a guy's night, as there is everything from nudity to bloodshed to some of the weirdest characters to have graced the silver screen in quite a while.

You can read my full Smokin' Aces movie review here.

Monday's Movie Casting News

There were a lot of random casting announcements today, mainly of people I haven't heard of for movies I don't care to know about. Still, here they are... (sources: Variety and The Hollywood Reporter)

Tony Curran joins the horror movie Midnight Meat Train, and writer/director John Glenn's The Heaven Project (which also stars Paul Walker).

Crispin Glover will play a vengeful ice cream vendor in the indie horror flick, The I Scream Man (which also stars Tom Sizemore, Judd Nelson and Haylie Duff). A cameo includes George A. Romero.

Patrick Ryan Anderson will play Anna Nicole Smith's son Daniel, age 15, in the Keoni Wazman-directed biopic, Anna Nicole. Are you freaking kidding me? Please tell me this is direct-to-cable.

Soren Fulton has a role in the drama, Winged Creatures. The cast includes Forest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson, and the movie is directed by Rowan Woods.

Jessica Stroup (pictured here) and Dana Davis will have roles in the slasher/horror remake Prom Night.

Eion Bailey will star in the indie drama, Canyon, to be directed by Richard Harrah. The movie is about two honeymooners who have to fend for themselves after they lose their guide in the Grand Canyon.

The worst season finale ever - The Apprentice?

I hate to say it - I'm a big fan of The Apprentice. Despite the fact that it's there mainly to promote products and boost Donald Trump's ego, The Apprentice is a fun challenge of wits that offers some good entertainment value and cutthroat business action. You may have to have an interest in business to like the show, but that's okay.

This season was about as good as any others, except there was no single player that I really was rooting for. In fact, none of them really stood out to me. But that's not what this rant is all about. This rant is about the fact The Apprentice: LA, perhaps due to suffering ratings, decided not to have a season finale. Yes, they did have one, but it sure as Hell didn't feel like one.

The horror began last weekend when, after what appeared to be a relatively easy and miniscule task, the Donald announced to his four remaining candidates that all four were going to the season finale, where three would be fired in front of a live audience. What the f**k? I was revved up for a kick ass final competition, where the remaining candidates would compete with some huge project, like the coordination of a giant event show or something along those lines. Instead, they're asked to make a 60-second movie? How does that relate to the real estate business again?

If the Donald had wanted to end things big (and when does he not want things big?), he would have four such events going on at the same time, with the four final candidates all sparring individually. Instead, he decided to leave out any big event altogether and end with this piece of crap. And so, last night, we are left with an hour of Trump annoyingly telling every candidate that "he thinks they're great" (is he really sincere?), the candidates sucking up to him, and a bunch of pointless little questions that hardly are menacing.

I still like The Apprentice, but the producers should be aware that the ending to the Los Angeles season sucked butt!

Sienna Miller replaces Lindsay Lohan

Sienna Miller is replacing Lindsay Lohan in The Best Time of Our Lives, the John Maybury-directed drama, reports Variety.

The movie stars Keira Knightley, Cillian Murphy and Matthew Rhys and was written by Knightley's playwright mother Sharman Macdonald, based on a rivalry between two women over the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (Rhys). Miller will play his wife, Caitlin MacNamara, and Knightley plays his childhood friend Vera Phillips.

The Best Time of Our Lives begins shooting in early May in Wales.

Death Race - oh no, another remake!

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jason Statham will star in the futuristic action remake, Death Race.

Paul W.S. Anderson is writing and directing the film based on Roger Corman's 1975 cult classic that starred David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone. The Hollywood Reporter notes the movie told of a dystopian future America in which the president presides over an ultraviolent road race from New York to Los Angeles. One of the ways that drivers score points is by mowing down innocent bystanders using their heavily armed cars.

Why remake films that were already bad in the first place?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Michael Apted to do The Chronicles of Narnia 3

Ain't It Cool News is saying Michael Apted will direct the third The Chronicles of Narnia movie. Apted, who has directed such films as Gorky Park, Coal Miner's Daughter, Gorillas in the Mist, Amazing Grace and the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, should be a bit of a step up from Andrew Adamson, who did a respectable but ultimately not great job on The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Adamson is currently producing the second film, Prince Caspian.

Deja Vu DVD Review

I caught an advanced copy of the Deja Vu DVD, and so here are my thoughts:

Déjà Vu explodes onto DVD this April with a couple of bonus features and, of course, the Tony Scott film starring Denzel Washington.Déjà Vugot a lot of critical smackdown when it was released in theaters in November, but I'm a fan of the film - other than dealing with time travel, which is almost always asking for plot holes and implausibilities that the professional critics love to look for, the movie is exciting and violent (don't let the PG-13 rating fool you), and has an interesting premise. Those who didn't catch it in theaters should peruse over to the video store or your Netflix queue and putDéjà Vutoward the top.

As far as DVDs go,Déjà Vuisn't overly exciting. It does feature several deleted and extended scenes with optional director commentary. These scenes are pretty good, but seen on their own there isn't too much of interest. The most notable extended scene is that of the torture scene where Jesus... er, Jim Caviezel... covers Paula Patton in gasoline, hits her, etc. Interestingly, despite everything else in the movie, Scott had to remove some of the long shots of the gasoline being poured over Pattons' body to keep a PG-13 movie.

Other special features are several behind-the-scenes moments planted throughout the film and accessible via "The Surveillance Window." It's a neat way to tie in the movie's concept, but I'm not a big fan of embedded material while watching the movie. Maybe this is some people's cup of tea, but if I'm watching the movie, I want to watch the freaking movie - not sidetrack into bonus features along the way.

Overall,Déjà Vuis certainly a quality rental, but fans of the movie may be a bit disappointed with these features. I could see a "Special Edition" coming out at some point.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Movie Review

I really don't know what to say, as this was one of the oddest and dumbest movies I've seen in a long, but I can't really call it a stupid movie and say I didn't like it. Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie for Theaters (yes, that's the title) is entertaining and consistently funny, even if it doesn't make any sense most of the time.

You can read my full Aqua Teen Hungerforce movie review here, and I'll just say a few things about the show real quick... I've never really watched it much before, except for when I catch a scene here or there when my roommate (who watches every episode) is watching. I laugh and find the scenes pretty funny, but nonetheless, what a waste of half an hour on a weekly basis! I mean this in the most positive way, but even if the show is funny, there has got to be better entertainment out there. I normally try to avoid saying "I could do something just as good" as really, with sports or movies or whatever, even the worst have or require talent, but if I were paid to make poorly animated scenes of random items of litter do random things, I think I could do something just as good.

Anyway, that's my two seconds on Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Thank you, and goodnight.

Disturbia Movie Review: Who cares when the girl is hot?

Disturbia made $23 million over the weekend, which surprised just about everyone, except me. The previews looked pretty slick, and a lot of people I knew were looking forward to seeing this one. And, apparently, a lot of other people wanted to see Disturbia, too.

While Disturbia is a rip-off of Rear Window, that's okay, because formulaic thriller done right can still be good, if not at least entertaining. Disturbia stars Shia LaBeouf on the verge of his major breakout, and also features super steamy Sarah Roemer, who helps get us through the slow parts.

The movie is good, but not as good as I was hoping. It falls into teeny bopper mode a few times, and even when it doesn't, the screenplay isn't quite sophisticated enough to take it to the next level. Still, overall, Disturbia is an effective and entertaining movie.

Read my full Disturbia movie review here.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Mariners clobber the Texas Rangers!

I just went to my first Seattle Mariners game of the year at wonderful Safeco Field, and in addition to beautiful, warm weather (for April), the Mariners made a laughing stock of the Rangers, going 14-6. The Rangers took an early 2-0 lead off Ramirez, who looked shaky in his first start (which didn't count due to snow) and looked shaky here. However, Ichiro hit a homer to lead off for the Mariners, and Vidro followed up with his first of two home runs of the day. Beltre rocketed a homer off the left field foul pole later in the day.

Ramirez escaped with only one earned run, but five runs were scored while he was on the mound. His command wasn't great, but he got the job done, I suppose. What really won it for the Mariners, other than some timely hitting, was the God-awful fielding and defense from the Rangers. The MLB is very lenient on handing out errors these days, so the Rangers only had three errors on the day, but there were three or four other misplays that ended up costing the team big. Some of the plays were harder than others, but at the pro level they should have made them, not botched them.

Anyway, I'm not complaining, but I almost - note, almost - felt sorry for the Rangers' defense. Their mamas must be so ashamed.

Freedom Writers Movie Review

I've posted a movie review for Freedom Writers over at - basically, the movie is surprisingly good, even if it is a re-hash as all other inner city teacher films such as Dangerous Minds, etc. Still, Hilary Swank is good and the movie is even better. Freedom Writers comes to DVD on Tuesday.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Friday Box Office Analysis - Disturbia Conquers

According to the Friday Box Office Analysis from BoxOfficeProphets, Disturbia took in much more than anticipated with $8.7 million on Friday, which should lead to around $24 million over the weekend, easily putting it in the top spot. Halle Berry and Bruce Willis star power will only drive Perfect Stranger to around $11 million, while films like Pathfinder and Redline thankfully flopped, Aqua Teen Hungerforce will be lucky to make the Top Ten, and other new releases/expansions such as The Hoax and Slow Burn decided to not show up to the fight in the first place.

Here are the estimates for the April 13th - April 15th, 2007 weekend, based on Friday numbers only:

1. Disturbia ($24.3 million)
2. Blades of Glory ($15.1 million)
3. Perfect Stranger ($11.4 million)
4. Meet the Robinsons ($11.1 million
5. Are We Done Yet? ($7.8 million)
6. Wild Hogs ($4.7 million)
7. The Reaping ($4.5 million)
8. Pathfinder ($4.3 million)
9. Redline ($4.0 million)
10. Aqua Teen Hunger Force ($3.5 million)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Lots of movie casting news

I have a few casting tidbits I thought I'd post today. I'm in the process of watching Dreamgirls right now, and will have a DVD review out next week (same with Freedom Writers, The Queen and Deja Vu). Anyway, onto the casting news...

From Variety, it sounds like Leelee Sobieski has signed on to star in the indie comedy, Walk All Over Me. She'll play Alberta, a small-town Canadian cashier who gets caught up in the misadventures involving gangsters, masochists and mistaken identities

Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four) will voice the lead role in the adventure toon, Agent Crush. He will join the voices of Neve Campbell, Brian Cox and Roger Moore. This news also comes from Variety.

And once again from Variety, Bill Smitrovich has been cast in Iron Man. Production begins later this month in Los Angeles.

Variety also says Toby Jones and Lena Headey have joined the cast of the comedy, St. Trinian's, where they'll both play staff members at the infamous girls' boarding school; Rupert Everett and Colin Firth are also in the movie.

Richard Dreyfuss, Henry Simmons and rapper/actor Romeo will star in the basketball drama, Sweetwater, says Variety. The film is based on Nat 'Sweetwater' Clifton, the first African-American basketball player to play for an NBA team. Simmons is going to play the title role, while Dreyfuss will portray Abe Saperstein, the owner and founder of the Harlem Globetrotters; Saperstein coached Clifton and sold his contract to the NBA's New York Knicks in 1950. Romeo will play the young Clifton.

Oh yeah, and Paramount confirmed what I had reported weeks ago, that Shia LaBeouf will indeed star in Indiana Jones 4.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Christina Ricci joins Speed Racer

Christina Ricci is joining Larry and Andy Wachowski's live-action adaptation of the 1960s cartoon Speed Racer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Emile Hirsch, Susan Sarandon and John Goodman already have boarded the high-octane project, which is based on the anime series created by Tatsuo Yoshida for Japanese audiences and later imported to the U.S. Speed Racer centers on a young race car driver, Speed (Hirsch), and his quest for glory in his thundering, gadget-laden vehicle Mach 5. Ricci will star as Speed's girlfriend Trixie, his formidable ally on and off the track. The show revolved around Speed's family. In the big-screen adaptation, Goodman will play Pops, a race car owner and builder. Sarandon is on board as Pops' wife, the backbone of the family as well as the Mach 5 Go Racing Team. Speed Racer hits theaters Summer 2008.

Angels and Demons: Tom Hanks and Ron Howard

The Hollywood Reporter is saying Tom Hanks and Ron Howard are in the final stages of joining the production of The Da Vinci Code prequel, Angels and Demons.

Hanks is about to receive one of the biggest paydays ever to reprise his role as Harvard professor Robert Langdon; Sony declined comment about the status of the highly anticipated project, which also derives from a Dan Brown best-seller.

An early January start date has been scheduled for production on Angels and Demons; another A-list cast is being hired in supporting roles. Personally, while I found Angels and Demons a little over the top at the end, the book overall was truly entertaining and just as exciting, if not more exciting, than The Da Vinci Code.

At the same time, I felt Ron Howard completely botched The Da Vinci Code, but hopefully bad reviews will allow him to learn from his mistakes. It would have been cool had Columbia sought a different, more dynamic director for this prequel, but who's to argue with $750 million in global box office receipts? (Of course, if The Da Vinci Code the movie had been good enough to warm over critics in the U.S., it probably would have made a lot more money than a piddling three-quarter billion)

Lindsay Lohan is a Hippy?

According to Entertainment Weekly, drunk hottie Lindsay Lohan has just finished filming director Chris Siverston's I Know Who Killed Me and apparently the actress wants to have a part in Silverston's next film, Hippy.

"I have so much faith in [Siverston], just as a person, and I just love working with him," Lohan told EW. "I love him [so much] as a person, that while we were on set, I was like, 'Let's make a deal right now.'"

The plot of Hippy hasn't been officially released, but Lohan described it as being about a group of kids taking a cross-country trip when one of them drops acid, goes crazy, ''and starts, like, killing people.'' Wow, now I know why she would want to be in it! Wait... no, I don't.

Marc Senter has been cast in Hippy, which if Lohan lands a role in the film, would reunite the duo, as they both appeared in Siverston's 2005 horror drama, The Lost.

The Host Movie Review

Read my review for The Host, the Korean monster movie now out in theaters in the U.S. The movie is a rather original take on the monster genre, as it is presented in a very serious and plausible way - there just happens to be a monster running loose through Seoul.

Funny, dramatic and at times exciting, The Host only suffers from being a little too long for its own good, but is still a highly recommended film for those who have lost faith in the genre.

Read my full The Host movie review here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Year of the Dog Movie Review

Several months ago, one of the people who writes movie reviews from time to time caught a screening of the Year of the Dog, a movie that is coming to theaters this Friday. Basically, he didn't like it. He found it unrealistic, un-fulfilling and not very funny.

The Year of the Dog movie review can be read here.

Grindhouse Movie Review

A few days late, but I finally found my way into Grindhouse, and I must say it wasn't quite what I was expected. Not bad by any means and actually quite good, but not that good, if you know what I am saying (since I'm writing it right here, you better know what I'm saying). I was expecting a little more action, sex and B-grade camp, and while the fake movie trailers are truly entertaining, Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror is certainly B-grade but not consistently captivating, while Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof is more captivating but not necessarily as entertaining.

All in all, Grindhouse is a concept that probably sounded cooler on paper than it actually is. You can read my full Grindhouse movie review here.

By the way, normally I would pick a cooler picture than the one to the right, but Rosario Dawson is hot in this movie, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead is even hotter (the cheerleader).

Felix Hernandez... Almost a no-hitter

After getting their asses kicked by the Boston Red Sox yesterday (am I the only one, but do you despise the Red Sox as much as I do now that they've won a World Series? The pity trip is over, and unless they're playing the Yankees, I do not want to see them win), the Seattle Mariners and Felix Hernandez decided to show the Sox hitting what true pitching really is...

Felix Hernandez pitched a no-hitter into the eighth inning, when finally his streak was snapped. Personally, I would trade Hernandez for blowing it like that. I mean, how can you have only a few more outs to go and blow it like that? This guy really doesn't have winning spirit.

Anyway, Felix thus far has pitched seventeen scoreless innings and has proven that he can be the ace of the Mariners. Too bad that the rest of the Mariners' pitching staff ranges from off-and-on (Washburn) to downright awful (everyone else), and our hitters aren't exactly blazing up a storm.

Still, props to Felix - at least we'll win one fifth of our games this year.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Green Arrow coming to the big screen?

Now here's an interest story. It is about the long talked about Green Arrow movie, but not like you'd expect...

Accordingly to The Hollywood Reporter, David Goyer, who said in February that he was no longer involved in Warner Bros. Pictures' upcoming The Flash, is jumping back into the DC Comics universe for Warners with a new project titled Super Max.

The film, which Goyer revealed Saturday on the site, will be built around the Green Arrow, who is tossed into a maximum security prison for super-villains when he is wrongly convicted of a crime.

The project is based on an original idea by Justin Marks, who is writing the screenplay.

Within 10 minutes of entering the prison, the Green Arrow will be stripped of his identity, Goyer told the site. "They shave his goatee and they take his costume and send him to prison for life, and he has to escape. It's like 'Alcatraz,' and he has to team up with, in some cases, some of the very same villains he is responsible for incarcerating in order to get out and clear his name. Of course, tons of people try to kill him while he's in there. We've populated the prison with all sorts of B and C villains from the DC Universe."

Goyer, who co-wrote Warners' Batman Begins, has directed The Invisible.

Olivia Thirlby is in Juno

Variety reports Olivia Thirlby has been cast in the drama-comedy Juno for Fox Searchlight Pictures.

The film is about a 16-year-old girl's unplanned pregnancy; Thirlby will play the girl's best friend.

Juno also stars Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman and Ellen Page, in the lead role; shooting is under way in Vancouver. Not a bad looking cast, if I must say so myself...

Thirlby had a role in United 93 and has six movies slated for a 2007 release. Looks like she found the right agent...

Monday, April 9, 2007

Movie trailer review: Halloween

Has anyone seen the new Halloween teaser trailer? I'm sure you have, and now I have, too (actually, I saw it last week, but everyone is announcing it again on Monday as if it is big news). Anyway, here's my take on the new Halloween: it has hope.

I have to admit that this is a series that has run its course more times than a whore turns tricks in a day, and Rob Zombie is still a big question mark. Sure, he can make some f**ked up shit (why I bleep out the f-word and not the s-word I don't know), but can he make an effective movie that isn't completely full of worthless beings? Halloween has to have a little more class to it, but I think Zombie could bring an edge to the flick that the franchise has been lacking for quite some time.

The Halloween teaser trailer itself is pretty good in setting the mood, though I think the setup could have been a little better. They could have waited a bit longer to show us Michael in his adult self, as this could have made for a cool "Ohhhhhh!!!!!" moment near the end if done right. Still, there are plenty of creepy moments, and the shot at the end of the girl running naked outside and then getting pulled back in a split second later screams of vintage slasher films, which is great.

All in all, this teaser trailer has me interested enough to go see Halloween, but I think it will still take some decent marketing dollars to pull in audiences that have long since abandoned the franchise.

Watch the Halloween teaser trailer.

Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta and Sean Penn are Crossing Over

Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta and Sean Penn will star in the immigration drama, Crossing Over, reports Variety. Cliff Curtis will also star, and Alicia Braga and Alice Eve are in final negotiations.

The film is written and directed by Wayne Kramer; Ford plays an enforcement agent who stages raids designed to corral illegal immigrants, while Liotta plays a a bureaucrat. More cast members will be added and shuttled in and out. Penn, for instance, has just a cameo in the film, spending three days shooting a small role as a border patrol agent.

No production schedule has been set for Crossing Over.

Leonardo DiCaprio has a Body of Lies

Leonardo DiCaprio is in early talks to star in the drama/thriller, Body of Lies for Warner Bros. Pictures, reports Variety. Remember the days when DiCaprio only showed up for a movie every couple of years? It seems every big casting story these days involves Leo!

The film is the adaptation of the new David Ignatius novel; Ridley Scott will direct and produce the project, which reunites DiCaprio with screenwriter William Monahan (The Departed). According to Variety, DiCaprio's deal has to be negotiated, but he already has worked the picture into his busy schedule. He'll make it this fall after first reteaming with Kate Winslet on Revolutionary Road, the Sam Mendes-directed DreamWorks drama that shoots in April.

Scott already is scouting venues in Morocco for Body of Lies that will shoot in Washington, D.C., Europe and the Middle East. DiCaprio will play an ex-journalist-turned CIA agent who's sent to Amman to work with Jordan's intelligence chief to track an Al Qaeda leader rumored to be planning attacks against America.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Blades of Glory Movie Review

Even more exciting than the fact that Blades of Glory skated to victory once again with an estimated $23 million Easter weekend take, crushing top pick Grindhouse, which wound up in fourth place, is that I finally got to see the movie and write a movie review on it.

Consistently funny though not Will Ferrell's best, Blades of Glory makes fun of the figure skating world quite well. It surprisingly lays off the homosexual jokes quite a bit, though does offer up some goodies, most notably a scene where Ferrell and Jon Heder are forced to put their hands on each others' genitals, and so on and so forth.

Overall, Blades of Glory is a fun and entertaining comedy with a great supporting cast - you can read my full Blades of Glory movie review here.

Payback: Director's Cut DVD Review

Apparently, the version of Mel Gibson's Payback that came out way back in 1999 was not the originally planned version as intended by director Brian Helgeland. Helgeland walked away from the project and up to 30% of the movie was re-shot. The whole third act was changed, and a new main villain was added (Kris Kristofferson).

Now, on April 10th, 2007, the version everyone has been dying to see is on DVD: The Straight Up Director's Cut. Okay, to be perfectly honest, who was waiting to see this? The movie wasn't that good to begin with, and director's cuts of mediocre movies generally aren't that much better.

And since it's been eight years since I last saw Payback, I really don't remember what's changed. All I remember is that I wasn't overly crazy about the original, and I'm not overly crazy about this new director's cut. It's still sort of boring and not nearly as action-packed or as funny (in a dark way) I was hoping it to be.

You can read my full Payback director's cut movie review here.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Turistas Movies Review

This came a couple days later than I was expecting, but I've finally reviewed Turistas, the horror-suspense movie that came out in December 2006 and that is now out on DVD. The movie stars a bunch of good looking men and women as they get slaughtered one-by-one to serve the body organ black market.

The movie looks pretty good and is well directed, except for the fact that John Stockwell forget to make Turistas entertaining. The movie is boring, at least compared to other similar films such as Hostel and Saw - and I didn't like either of those films. Still, at least Hostel and Saw featured some good death scenes, where as Stockwell stays away from anything too memorable.

Ultimately, Turistas has potential, but Stockwell tried to make too much of a screenplay with too little, and the result is a shock suspense film without the shock.

Read my full Turistas movie review.

Friday Box Office Analysis - Grindhouse doesn't grind

Grindhouse defied box office analysts this weekend and will earn a less than expected $13.0 million for the weekend, according to Friday box office numbers. It's a real shame, because Grindhouse looks amazing and looks to be more "original" than most stuff padding the top of the box office right now. Blades of Glory continues to shine, while Meet the Robinsons also performs strongly. Unfortunately, Are We Done Yet?, the lame sequel to Are We There Yet? (that was the title of that Ice Cube stinker, right>), made more than Grindhouse.

While box office analysts were not overly surprised, I was little started to see The Reaping way down in #5. Perhaps the shine has completely come off horror movies, but The Reaping, starring critical darling Hilary Swank, looked to at least be entertaining. Marketing was strong and all over the place - I expected this one to be a top contender.

The only good news of the weekend is that Firehouse Dog, the lame PG-rated dog movie, will make less than $5 million.

Estimates, based on Friday box office numbers from, are (in millions):

1. Blades of Glory ($26.1)
2. Meet the Robinsons ($22.8)
3. Are We Done Yet? ($16.4)
4. Grindhouse ($13.0
5. The Reaping ($10.1)
6. 300 ($9.2)
7. Wild Hogs ($7.2)
8. TMNT ($6.6)
9. Shooter ($6.1)
10. Firehouse Dog ($4.5)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Blood Trails Movie Review

I watched Blood Trails because I thought it was one of the eight After Dark Horrorfest films of 2006, mainly because it ended up in a stack of DVDs. I even wrote this movie review assuming it was a part of Horrorfest. It actually isn't, but this is what I said originally: "Blood Trails is by far the worst of the bunch that I've seen so far. Of course, I still have two movies remaining, including one from the director of The Grudge which I am not looking forward to, but if either of those are worse than Blood Trails, heaven help us."

Blood Trails has a decent concept, in that it is about a woman who is stranded in the woods after a ruthless killer murders her boyfriend. I always like these one-on-one suspense thrillers, but they need the right elements to work: most notably, a good director, screenwriter and actors. Since the movie essentially focuses on a single person for the entire movie, those involved have an especially difficult task presented to them: how do you make a movie out of a story that offers very little dialogue and even less character interaction?

Sadly, Blood Trails massacres itself.

The movie stars Rebecca Palmer as Anne, a woman who has recently cheated on her boyfriend with someone who claimed he was a cop. She takes her boyfriend up to a mountain retreat to do some mountain biking and present him with the truth, but instead the guy she slept with follows her, kills her man and then pursues her through the woods.

Blood Trails really makes no sense. The way her boyfriend is killed is quite ludicrous, and everything else that follows is so stupid it is hard to comprehend that anyone thought this would make a good final product. Palmer is God-awful in the lead role; in a normal movie, she might be fine, but here, with no one around to support her, her acting ability is pushed to the limits, and then some. She spends most of her time screaming or shouting or crying or acting like a crazy person, even when she finds people to help her. Her rants and ravings led me to believe that the movie would have a twist where it turns out she actually is crazy, but no, nothing of the sort. I wonder what she thought when she watched herself on film.

Writer/director Robert Krause drags things on by making his lead character do all kinds of stupid things. At one point, she gets into a car with a friendly man with a rifle, but she acts so crazy that he grows to not believe her (although, granted, she is covered with a ton of blood that isn't hers, which should be convincing enough). He gets killed. She is still in the truck, but as the killer waits for her to make her move, she just turns away and starts walking back up the hill with her mountain bike. Why not just run him over with the truck? At another point, she runs into two lumberjacks, but instead of explaining herself coherently, she yells at them and they eventually get killed, too. And in another scene, she gets up to the top of a mountain under a Christian cross (completely failing to see that her dead boyfriend is strung there two feet above her head), calls the police and then runs away, rather than waiting for them to triangulate her position (or she could just tell them she is on a mountain top with a cross).

Ben Price, who plays the killer, doesn't help matters. He really doesn't make for a very creepy killer, though much is to blame on the film, not him. He walks slowly like Michael Myers, but is usually wearing a mountain biking outfit from REI and looks otherwise quite normal. Every time he kills someone, he just watches as Anne runs away, which comes off as more cheesy than anything else.

Ultimately, the blame falls on the director, as this film is so absurd and takes itself too seriously. Blood Trails is so inconsistent in its delivery and not nearly as unique as Krause clearly thinks it is that it is just frustrating. Rather than allowing Anne to bike all over the damned mountain and then having her randomly run into the killer time and time again, he should have concentrated the action together and made it a consistently tense thriller. This way, the weight of the movie wouldn't have been placed on Palmer's shoulders as much, and would have made Blood Trails much more exciting than it actually is.

Blood Trails is a complete waste of time. Avoid this stinker at all costs.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Olivia Wilde is hot

I just watched Turistas (movie review for that to come Thursday night), and while the movie was nothing to scream about (which is sad for a horror movie), one highlight was Olivia Wilde, who was super hot on "The O.C." while she lasted, looks hot on "The Black Donnelly's" (which I haven't seen) and is hot in this film.

Okay, I really don't have anything more to say about her, but it's 10pm, I'm tired and lonely. Now off to watch "Lost" with my roommate... What an existence!

The Hulk finds Rhythm & Hues

Just when you thought The Hulk franchise was smashed to bits (well, not really, as it was announced months ago that there would be another film), Rhythm & Hues Studios has been named the visual effects house on "The Incredible Hulk" from Marvel Studios, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Production is expected to start in June in Toronto.
Rhythm & Hues was selected after several months of R&D that included the creation of a CG Hulk.

Louis Leterrier will direct from a script by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Zak Penn. Lee also will serve as an executive producer.

This project will give the Hulk a new look, as the Ang Lee-directed 2003 "Hulk" featured a CG character and lead visual effects from Industrial Light + Magic. The effects in the original were actually quite good, but director Ang Lee got carried away in the end. Most of the movie was enjoyable, but the final act was a disaster, both thematically and visually.

The company is well known for its character animation. For "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the studio's work included the film's well-received CG lion Aslan. Earlier character work included "Babe," which won an Academy Award for achievement in visual effects.

Pointing to the company's history with creating animals, Rhythm & Hues film division president Lee Berger sees "Hulk" as a great next project. "It's the first time Rhythm & Hues has been able to take a human-like character to its full exposition," he said. "There's great enthusiasm for this project (at the company)."

The casting of Bruce Banner/Hulk has not yet been announced. Eric Bana played the lead role in the 2003 film, though his star power has risen enough that it is highly unlikely for him to return. Although, if you've seen the previews for his new movie "Lucky You", maybe he does need a blockbuster...

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Movie trailer review: Live Free or Die Hard (Die Hard 4)

The full movie trailer for Live Free or Die Hard (also known as the long-awaited Die Hard 4) is now online (watch the movie trailer here), and while the trailer isn't the greatest, it isn't too shabby either. The movie trailer is basically a jumbled mess of action scenes, but the action looks so cool and intense it really doesn't matter. Not much more of the plot is revealed, other than that it appears like the crazy dude from The Girl Next Door is some kind of military fanatic who wants to help the country by hurting it. When he kidnaps John McClane's hot daughter (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), though, he is about to meet his match.

The movie trailer works in some ways and fails in others. It certainly establishes that there is lots of action, but at the same time the presentation feels very disjointed. It doesn't build the hype factor in the way I was hoping. After all, there hasn't been in a Die Hard movie in ten years, yet other than the mention of McClane's name once, there isn't much of a spectacle about the fact that this is a sequel. Maybe this is intentional, but I don't think the fact that this film is a sequel will hurt it much, if at all.

For a second movie trailer I would like to see something that flows a bit more, that has a bit more setup before jumping into the action. Perhaps start off with a sequence of McClane's daughter getting kidnapped, and then kick into high gear from there.

Read more about Live Free or Die Hard, or watch the Die Hard 4 movie trailer (same link!)

Monday, April 2, 2007

Seattle Mariners Undefeated!

The Seattle Mariners are undefeated! Who could believe it? Felix Hernandez does what only Pedro Martinez has done once and Randy Johnson has done twice: struck out 12 batters on opening day! Richie Sexson gets only one hit - but it's a hit that cost the A's three runs. The Seattle Mariners, projected to be a fourth place team, are in first place, and undefeated!

Okay, so the Mariners have only played one game this season, but I have to be excited! I mean, how can I not? How many more days will be the Mariners go undefeated? Go Mariners!

George W. Bush Assassinated: Death of a President Movie Review

Death of a President opened last year to mixed reviews and plenty of controversy. Is it appropriate to do a movie about the assassination of a real U.S. President who hasn't been assassinated, and who is still in office? Apparently yes, because the movie was filmed, marketed, released and now on DVD.

Death of a President takes a look at the events leading up to the murder of President George W. Bush and the events that follow, including war, conspiracy, paranoia and fear. It all plays out in documentary style, and is very believable - I'm sure one or two people who are really out of the loop could, and did, fall for it (of course those same stupid people would never be watching a political film of this nature anyway).

For anyone interested in politics, Death of a President is a vivid and surprisingly powerful documentary - little matter that the events didn't actually take place. Here's my full Death of a President movie review.

Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj Movie Review

Ah, what a great weekend this was. It felt longer than it actually was, I finally made it to the theater and saw two fun movies (The Lookout and Shooter), actually cleaned my apartment and caught another couple movies on DVD.

The first and least desirable of the two is National Lampoon's Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj, which stars Kal Penn in the sequel no one wanted made in the first place. The first Van Wilder wasn't that great to begin with, but it had its moments - this second movie has even less originality and none of the edge of its predecessor. It isn't a complete disaster by any means, at least until the ending, where it all but crumbles into a million fragmented pieces of poo.

You can read my full Rise of Taj movie review here. The bottom line is this: who thought this movie would make any money? It looked awful, it is a sequel that would normally go direct-to-video and offers little way in the form of sex or nudity. There is no value proposition here!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Shooter Movie Review

I'm a week late, but I've posted a review for the action movie Shooter, starring Mark Wahlberg, over at

Shooter is about an ex-military sniper who is pulled out of retirement to help the government plan a Presidential assassination - to catch a real assassin who is plotting to kill the President of the United States. Unfortunately for him, he is actually a fall guy, and is quickly blamed for the assassination after it takes place. He goes on the run, but eventually decided to turn the tables and go after those responsible.

Shooter isn't perfect - the plot isn't tied together well at the end, some of the dialogue sucks, etc. - but it still a relatively smart and exciting action movie that has plenty of shooting, explosions, car chases and so on and so forth. Wahlberg is fun in the lead and Mara looks beautiful as always (especially while holding a rifle!).

This has been a terrific March. I'm used to seeing very few good movies before November of each year, but three months in we have already seen several good to great releases. From Zodiac to 300 to Breach and now Shooter, I have been quite satisfied with the results so far. All one-word titles, too. Interesting...