Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cloverfield to be titled Overnight?

Empire Movies, whom I read quite frequently, is reporting that a law firm that J.J. Abrams does business with has trademarked the name Overnight, and some are speculating that the unofficially titled monster movie Cloverfield, apparently about a monster attack on New York City over a single night, may be getting such a name.

If that is a case, all I have to say: what a stupid name (hence agreeing with Brendan at Empire Movies). Maybe I've just grown used to Cloverfield (not saying that that would make a good final title, either), but Overnight sounds like some tweeny comedy destined for direct-to-DVD. Other names that have been tossed around by speculating blogiots such as Colossus, Monstrous, and Slusho all fall flat to me as well.

Personally, I would go with one of the original rumored names, The Parasite, or, preferrably, the simple title of 1-18-08 (or some variation). After all, if the movie does indeed take place on one night, why not give it an eerie "Remember that day" kind of name. Of course, if the movie takes place in the summer, then that might be a problem.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Disturbia DVD review

Disturbia, the hit teen thriller from the early spring starring now-household name Shia LaBeouf, is coming to DVD August 7th, and we got our hands on a copy...

As you probably know, Disturbia is a rip-off of Rear Window, with LaBeouf playing a teenager who is sentenced to house arrest. In his fidgeting state, he resorts to voyeurism, and takes particular interest his next door neighbor, the extremely hot Sarah Roemer, who likes to spend her time near the pool. But after the two meet and strike up a (romantic?) friendship, they begin to suspect that another neighbor, played by David Morse, is actually a serial killer.

The movie is pretty entertaining but could have been a lot better; a few too many teen moments and a rather abrupt ending hurt its chances from becoming anything more than standard thriller fare. Of course, you can read my full movie review here, as I will devote the rest of this time to the DVD...

The DVD includes commentary by the director and the two young leads, but I didn't listen to it because I can't bring myself to sit through a whole movie listening to people talk. I instead migrated to the deleted scenes, which are pretty basic and not at all interesting, and the outtakes, which were equally unimpressive. A "Making-Of" featurette is the best part of the DVD, as it has interviews with most of the cast members and provides some insight into the film beyond a promotional level. A photo gallery (does anyone look at the photo galleries on these DVDs? What a waste), a music video and a pop-up quiz are other rather forgettable features.

Overall, in terms of quantity, Disturbia has enough DVD features to suffice, and fans of the film won't be too disappointed. The bonus features are about average in quality, and hey, if there aren't good deleted scenes, then there aren't good deleted scenes.

Disturbia is a good enough film that I'd recommend it, but it could have been so much better. The DVD is decent, but nothing spectacular. If you're a guy, watch it for Roemer, and if not, watch LaBeouf in one of his first starring roles of what is to be a long and illustrious career.

Jimmy Fallon isn't funny

I don't know if this is true or not, but it comes from Studio Briefing so I'm assuming that it's fairly accurate. Trade publication Broadcasting & Cable reported that NBC and Jimmy Fallon were in talks to have him fill the shoes of Conan O'Brien once the funniest man on television takes over for Jay Leno on the Tonight Show in 2009.

No announcement will be made until early 2008, but the publication quoted NBC late-night chief Rick Ludwin: "I think he'd be terrific, and he is at the top of our short list." Fallon hasn't interviewed for the job, Ludwin said, "We know him from SNL and saw what he can do on-camera and off-camera, and I think he'd be terrific."

Yes, SNL. That's "Saturday Night Live." If anyone recalls, Fallon was a part of the group that has been unfunny for the last seven or so years. His only successful skit was the Weekly Update, where he spent most of the time laughing at Tina Fey's jokes, or his own. There is rarely a skit where he wasn't cracking up at himself; unfortunately, most of his skits weren't funny.

And, if anyone has paid attention, his movies have been downright stinkers. Fever Pitch was God-awful, and Taxi was one of the worst movies of the year. Shouldn't the host of Late Night have some sense of comedy?

Basically, Jimmy Fallon isn't funny, and I'm not laughing at the news that he may take over Conan O'Brien's spot. Those are huge shoes to fill anyway - and Fallon is just an ant.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Four new movie reviews: Simpsons, Ratatouille, Premonition and Slow Burn

We've got the good, the bad, and the ugly all in one place...

The Simpsons Movie came out this week, but I tried to do a little catching up and managed to make it an animation weekend with Ratatouille. My attempts to catch up even more failed, as I lost the motivation to devote my Sunday night to seeing Sicko, but I do still want to see that one along with Rescue Dawn (which looked crappy but got good reviews), Sunshine and Talk to Me.

In the mean time, I watched Slow Burn (Ray Liotta) and Premonition (Sandra Bullock), neither of which amount to much more than paychecks for thee actors.

The Simpsons Movie
After several long years of waiting and much hype and excitement, Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart and Maggie have finally made it to the big screen. The Simpsons Movie doesn't go bigger and better like South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut did, but instead delivers consistent "Simpsons" humor in a big screen format, and that is exactly what the audience was craving. Read the full review...

There are animated films, and then there are Pixar animated films, and Ratatouille returns the brand name to the excellence we expect. It is no secret that I hated Cars with a passion - I hated the concept, the previews and the movie - and thus the illustrious shine had come off the Pixar logo. But even the best of companies have their stumbles, and Ratatouille is one of their best movies to date. Read the full review...

Slow Burn
Slow Burn, starring Ray Liotta, LL Cool J, Mekhi Pfeiffer and Jolene Blalock, is a thriller that starts to fade as soon the opening credits roll, and by the big bang at the end, the flame has already gone out. Read the full review...

Sandra Bullock, what have you become? I remember when I was a teenager, growing up watching you in such films as The Net and Speed. You were at the top of your game, popular, in demand and hot as hell. Now, not all of that has changed, except that you continue to appear in crappy movie after crappy movie. Read the full review...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

New The Dark Knight photo, plus a teaser trailer

Thanks to Comic-Con (I really have to go next year, don't I?), all kinds of goodies are unleashing themselves, and the latest is some new stuff from The Dark Knight camp. The teaser trailer is nothing to scream about, but it does set the stage for what's to come. There's no footage involved... just a slowly emerging Batman logo with blue rays of light behind it. The highlight of the teaser, though, is the dialogue, which is quite impressive... and you get to hear Heath Ledger as The Joker, and he sounds surprisingly like Jack Nicholson, only creepier and more psychotic.

All in all, it's a good teaser, though it would have been cool to have a brief shot of The Joker in action. In the mean time, though, we get another picture, this time of The Joker taking on Rachel (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

Drillbit Taylor: Owen Wilson + comedy of Knocked Up = success

I just watched the movie trailer for Drillbit Taylor, the new Owen Wilson comedy where he plays a bodyguard who goes undercover at a school to protect three nerdy kids who have employed his services from a group of bullies. He, of course, falls in love with a hot female teacher, the kids have to learn how to fend for themselves, but nothing comes easy.

Owen Wilson is usually a pretty funny guy, even in God-awful movies, and so it's nice to see him in a film that has some potential. Better yet, the movie is from writers Kristofer Brown and Seth Rogen, the ones responsible for such items as Knocked Up and Undeclared, and you can definitely see their matter-of-fact, slightly crude brand of comedy injected into this otherwise pretty standard flick. The scene where the fat kid's mom pulls off his covers to find that he is sleeping naked (because he doesn't like how the elastic squeezes certain articles of the body) says it all.

Drillbit Taylor has enough laughs to warrant some hype, though the movie may need to show off a bit more to make it stand out from the crowd.

You can watch the trailer from my Drillbit Taylor details page.

Beowulf trailer review

OK, I just watched the trailer (or teaser trailer?) for Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf, and man, what a let down. The story has so much promise, so why bog it down with silly special effects? I've complained about his fascination with the live-action CGI capture technology he uses (The Polar Express was like a horror movie in disguise), but it has really got to stop.

The dialogue sounds great, and the marketing department has done a good job creating an effective trailer from what they have to work with. Everything about the trailer works, except, for the fact, that movie looks completely fake. Beowulf should be a gritty action-drama, not a colorful film full of CGI effect. The graphics take away the entire dramatic effect - I wonder if the screenwriter, when he was penning the script, knew that the movie was going to be whored to the computers like this.

You can watch the trailer by visiting my Beowfulf details page.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Cloverfield Poster

I know the rest of the world and our alien buddies have probably reported on this, but check out the cool new Comic Con poster for Cloverfield, a.k.a. 1-18-08. Pretty cool, though I must say it is almost too refined for what we've seen of the J.J. Abrams movie. After all, it's all handheld camera, right? So why does the poster look like some $150 million production?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No End in Sight movie review

The first great documentary of the year, No End in Sight covers the Iraq War from start to finish and takes a very critical look at the Bush administration. Writer/director Charles Ferguson doesn't put much effort into creating a dynamic and visually captivating documentary, but he doesn't need to: the film is to the point, brutal and absolutely necessary.

No End in Sight starts its journey in the 1980's and early 90's, as we see the complex relationships of the Bush administration, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and others in regards to Saddam Hussein. Jump forward to the current decade, and we are introduced to a new Bush administration looking to "finish the job" and use September 11th to wage war against a country that was never involved in the first place. Step by step, the movie dissects each mistake that has lead undeniably to the horrible situation that is going on today.

Supporters of the war, if there are still any, should watch this film to see just how royally Bush and his cronies messed up. Yes, of course the movie has a liberal slant, but the mistakes that Bush made are so big, so obvious and so easily avoidable that you have to wonder if he let Terry Schiavo command the war. What were they thinking when they let the country go to ruins immediately after taking over Iraq? Disbanding the army? Banning the Baath Party from public office? Stupid mother f**kers!

Seriously, though, No End in Sight is a depressing and sad movie. As you watch Iraq decay before your eyes, it is hard to comprehend the magnitude of pain we have caused these people. We gave them hope, and then took it away by being foolish and selfish. We let their museum and library, which contained thousands of years worth of artifacts and manuscripts, get destroyed. We didn't try to stop the looting. We have turned their country into a war zone. If you want to look at it from a selfish perspective, we ruined our foreign image and have made ourselves a mockery around the world. Oh, and we've stretched our army thin in the face of growing tensions with other countries such as Iran and North Korea.

No End in Sight is a top notch documentary that explores a very real and very relevant subject. Its presentation isn't the fanciest, but facts are still delivered in a very intriguing and compelling way.

Disney bans smoking in its movies

The Hollywood Reporter has said that The Walt Disney Co. will ban smoking from all future family films, and will place anti-smoking ads on its DVDs.

Universal Studios also adopted a similar policy in April, banning smoking from youth-related films that Universal or related studios produce. Other studios will no doubt follow suit, as between these two companies and the MPAA's scrutiny on the smoking issue, it would be bad PR not to follow suit. It sounds like politicians will be using Disney as an example to force other studios to do the same:

"Disney's decision to take a stand against smoking is groundbreaking, and I commend CEO Bob Iger for this important commitment," Rep. Markey, D-Mass. said. "Now it's time for other media companies to similarly kick the habit and follow Disney's lead."

Even in this day and age, about 90% of smokers begin smoking before age 21. American Legacy, a nonprofit created out of landmark litigation between the tobacco industry and states attorneys general, claims that 90% of all films depict smoking, and children with the highest exposure to smoking in movies were nearly three times more likely to start smoking. It contends that tobacco is featured in three quarters of G-, PG- and PG-13-rated movies and 90% of R-rated movies.

While these movies are most necessary, my question is this: how are kids so stupid? How do people get lured into smoking these days? Unlike when I was growing up, smoking is no longer cool. It doesn't look cool, it doesn't smell cool, and everyone knows it kills. How is the tobacco industry continuing to market effectively to these kids?

Oh, yeah. Movies.

Watchmen casting news: Is it good casting?

Zack Snyder's Watchmen now has its superheroes: Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley, Matthew Goode, Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Malin Akerman have been cast in the Warner Bros. movie, based on the highly acclaimed DC comic book.

Watchmen, set in an alternate America, follows costumed hero Rorschach, who is living a vigilante lifestyle because most masked heroes have retired or been outlawed. While investigating a murder, Rorschach learns that a former masked-hero colleague has been killed, prompting him to begin investigating a possible conspiracy.

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Haley (Little Children) will play Walter Kovacs, aka Rorschach, who ignores the ban on costumed vigilantes.

Crudup will play Dr. Manhattan, a superpowered being with godlike powers and temperament.

Akerman will play Laurie Juspeczyk/the Silk Spectre, who is involved with Dr. Manhattan -- but that relationship begins to fall apart as he becomes more disconnected from humanity.

Goode will play Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, a costume adventurer who retired voluntarily, disclosed his identity and built a large fortune. He hatches a plot to avert a global catastrophe he believes will be caused by Dr. Manhattan.

Wilson will play the Nite-Owl, a crime-figher who uses technical wizardry and has an owl-shaped flying vehicle.

Morgan will play the Comedian, a cigar-chomping, gun-toting vigilante-turned-paramilitary agent.

Watchmen, created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, is one of the most critically acclaimed series in the genre. The comic is credited for redefining the superhero genre and often is referred to as the "War and Peace" of comic books. It is a crime-conspiracy story that provided the first realistic look at the behind-the-heroics lives of superhero archetypes. Watchmen appeared as the only graphic novel on Time magazine's list of the 100 best novels since 1923. That says something, huh?

Of the names I recognize, I'm impressed with the casting. No huge names to distract, but quality talent to deliver a darker comic book tale.

Greg Grunberg joins Cloverfield

No real surprise here, but actor Greg Grunberg, best known for his role as a mind reader on the hit NBC show Heroes and two J.J. Abrams-created television shows, Alias and Lost (he was the pilot who got torn apart in the first episode), has been cast for an unspecified role in J.J. Abrams' upcoming monster movie Cloverfield, also known as 1/18/08, also known as Slusho.

The news comes from TV Guide, and Grunberg had this to say:

"It'll probably be something where no one will be able to tell it's me. As you know, J.J. calls me his good-luck charm, so he's got to put me in there somewhere. I actually went to the set the other night, and it was really exciting and cool. The budget is not astronomical. But they're doing incredible things."

New Saw IV Poster

Yet another Saw movie is coming to theaters this October, and once again, we're guaranteed a suck-fest. Lionsgate has released a new Saw IV movie poster, and, as one might expect, its rather gruesome. How does Jigsaw, the villain from the first three films, factor in, since he bit the bullet in the last film? Maybe the poster hints away...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Take a Republican to Sicko - Michael Moore will wash their laundry

LOL, got this in my email today, a new contest aimed to get Republicans to go see Michael Moore's new movie Sicko.

The winner of the contest, randomly chosen of course, will get to have Michael Moore come to his or her house and the man will do your dirty laundry. If you're a Republican, why not sacrifice a couple hours of your time, go see the movie, and then you can berate Moore as he washes your dirty underwear. I, not being a Republican (I would never embarrass myself like that), won't be joining, but if I actually have any Republican readers, now is your opportunity.

All you have to do is take a Republican friend to go see Sicko this weekend (Friday, July 27th to Sunday, July 29th) and mail in your ticket stub along with this entry form (PDF) to:

Take a Republican to 'SiCKO' Contest
888C 8th Avenue
Suite 443
New York, NY 10019

Visit www.MichaelMoore.com for full contest details

Monday, July 23, 2007

New Cloverfield Footage

Yes, I'm posting everything Cloverfield to get people to come to this blog (how come no one writes comments!), but YouTube has posted some "amateur video" of footage from the mysterious J.J. Abrams monster movie.

Personally, if the marketing campaign for this film is any indication thus far, I would be highly surprised if this amateur footage is really amateur footage, but instead an intentional release of the studio. If it stays up on YouTube, that'll probably tell you the answer right there.

Anyway, here's the Cloverfield footage:

10 Steps: How to make Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a good movie

For the record, I was not one of those crazy people waiting at midnight to buy the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. While I had preordered the novel and was waiting eagerly for it to arrive on Saturday, I didn't even have plans to finish it over the weekend. But, in the end, it took only 24 hours with plenty of sleep and breaks in between to read the fantastic finale from J.K. Rowling. With exception to the final chapter, which is a bit cheesy and silly, the book is gripping, dark, tragic, funny, emotional and exciting from beginning to end. I can't think of a better way for the series to go out.

That being said, it's not going to be a guaranteed winner of the film. Expectations are going to be at an all time high, and if the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is any indication, the franchise can falter.

1. Bring back Steve Kloves. He has written every Harry Potter except for Phoenix, has proven that he can deliver movies that both represent the book without "boring" us with every detail.

2. Fire David Yates. It's a shame he's coming back to direct The Half-Blood Prince, as that movie is a direct tie-in to Deathly Hallows. He really didn't do a very good job, and The Half-Blood Prince, which doesn't offer much explicit action, will need a qualified director to make the long dialogue scenes thrilling.

3. Fire Michael Goldenberg. It's unlikely he will return, but he showed just how good Steve Kloves is. The Order of the Phoenix took too much liberty with the story, so I've been heard, and everything felt rushed. He didn't even explain what The Order of the Phoenix was.

4. Bring back Mike Newell. Or Alfonso Cuarón. Cuarón's The Prisoner of Azkaban was the most visually appealing and creative of the films, but The Goblet of Fire showed what it takes to deliver an emotional, dramatic and action-packed story all at the same time. Don't trust the film with another new director.

5. Make the movie three hours long. Children have proven that they can sit through Harry Potter movies without going to the bathroom, and the final movie won't give them time anyway. Don't try to cut big chunks out for the sake of time - go big, go epic, just like the novel.

6. Cut out the last chapter from The Deathly Hallows. SPOILER ALERT: No one wants to see Harry, Ron and Hermione as grown ups with kids of their own. Besides, J.K. Rowling was so good at capturing how youth interact, so why did she make the mistake of indicating that everyone is going to live happily ever after and marry their high school sweethearts?

7. Give Snape his due. Don't cut him out like you did in The Order of the Phoenix. He deserves his screen time, even if he isn't in the book very much.

8. Bring back Ralph Fiennes. The guy's amazing and his makeup is perfect. The rest of the three leads are already attached to star, so I won't bother saying "Bring back the main cast."

9. Don't afraid to be dark. The book is dark, gruesome and troubling. Maybe don't go for a hard "R", but go for a hard "PG-13".

10. Don't let things not happen to characters. Bad things happen to good characters; the Harry Potter movies have been pretty good about this, but I could see in the attempt to cut out moments the decision being made to spare characters who die in the books. Bad idea!

And that's it. Simple, right?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Host DVD Review

The Host, the hugely popular critical success out of Korea, is coming to DVD on Tuesday. The movie, about a monster that kills bystanders along the Han River and causes a harsh reaction from the U.S. military, is a very entertaining and surprisingly "believable" monster movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat, and laughing, for most of the picture.

If you're a fan of the film, the 2-disc Collector's Edition is certainly something you should consider purchasing, as it is loaded with tons of great bonus features, most of which are interviews and featurettes about the making of the film. I didn't watch everything, but what I did see was quite interesting. There is an interview with the writers of the film, who provide some insight into what inspired them - this includes a real case about toxic chemicals being dumped into the Han River (the birth of the creature), the movie Signs (how the alien invasion was more about the family than the creatures) and one other movie I can't recall at this moment. Another focuses on the set design and shows how most locations in the movie, including the food stand, the bridges and even the creature's lair, all really exist.

Other featurettes include a look at the special effects, sound effects, creature design, creature animation and more, while there are also casting tapes, cast interviews, actor training, the Korean trailers, a director's commentary and, the only really disastrous part of the DVD, a blooper real that is about as funny as a dead relative.

All in all, a great movie packaged with a great DVD makes for an excellent purchase opportunity...

Read my Host movie review or learn more about The Host at: http://www.movie-source.com/movie_page.asp?movieID=2700

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry Review

Adam Sandler is at it again. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry has Sandler and "King of Queens" star Kevin James as two straight men playing the married gay couple life, but the results aren't nearly as funny as you'd expect.

James plays Larry, a firefighter who has come to the realization that if he dies, his pension will not go to his motherless children. To get around a flawed system where he cannot name them as a beneficiary, he legally "marries" his best friend Chuck (Sandler). The only problem - they are both completely straight. Actually, there are other problems, too. The pension committee has decided to investigate their marriage to determine they aren't being fraudulent, their lawyer is smoking hot Jessica Biel, and they must face discrimination from their buddies at the firehouse, religious nuts on the street and more.

Chuck and Larry is essentially what you'd expect from a Sandler movie in terms of plot - instead of a hockey player playing golf or an adult idiot forced to repeat grade school, it's about two straight guys posing as gay guys. The only problem is that it really isn't funny, or at least not in a good way. I have been a fan of Sandler movies in the past, so I'm not one of those anti-Sandler critics - Happy Gilmore is one of my all-time favorite comedies - butChuck and Larry just botches it. It's not that there aren't plenty of laughs; it's just that the movie is clearly scraping the bottom of the barrel to piece together a full movie. The movie does have some good gags, but it is so inconsistent, cheesy and ludicrous that it is hard to get into the film.

Chuck and Larry would have worked so much better had it tried to keep things simple and had not been written by three guys who apparently have never met a real gay guy, which is quite strange for a Hollywood production. It gets bogged down with a third act devoted to a courtroom trial, and whenever stupid comedies end up in a courtroom, you know you're in for some absolutely cheesy legal mumbo jumbo that would never happen in real life, and will usually conclude with some group standing up for the falsely accused (in this case, they should go to prison for fraud) to the point where the judicial system decides to turn its blind eye. That was a bit of a run-on sentence, but you get the point.

Even worse is the fact that Chuck and Larry are so bad at pretending to be gay that it makes a mockery of the other characters in the movie, and the audience. When these two guys are trying to prove that their gay, whether it's to a sleazy investigator (who really isn't that sleazy) played by Steve Buscemi or Ms. Biel, they do such a bad job that any sensible person could see right through their charade. Instead, for the convenience of the story, these seemingly intelligent people disregard all of the signs that they are being had. Worse, to us the audience, we have to accept the dumbest and most cliche stereotypes about gays to force ourselves through the movie. HadChuck and Larry done a little more homework and shifted the story from an impending trial to the two men researching how to be gay, we could have had even funnier moments in a more plausible environment. Basically, it was rather annoying that the movie didn't show a single non-flaming gay person. If I were gay, I'd be offended.

Also, it probably doesn't help that I don't find Kevin James very funny.

All that being said,Chuck and Larry does have enough laughs to pull you through its overly long 110 minute running time. The third act definitely begins to fall apart, but there are enough routines for the first 50 minutes that you can enjoy yourself somewhat. There are a fair amount of cameos that work, especially one near the end involving a certain gay singer. If you like other goofy Sandler movies, you'll findChuck and Larry okay, but this one is a big notch down from his best work. Unlike his other films, I would not want to watch this one again.

New Cloverfield Pic

Cloverfield photoA new photograph of people running in the streets has been posted on 1-18-08.com, the official site for the mysterious J.J. Abrams monster movie coming to theaters on that date. The picture really isn't very exciting, but to cash in on the hype for Cloverfield, I'm blogging about this movie.

So is it Godzilla? I don't think so, but it's still a possibility. Apparently, those rumors keep getting shot down, but there is so much mystery around this film that you can never be sure.

Regardless, whatever it is, J.J. Abrams (who is producing, not directing) is essentially making life harder for himself. The marketing approach for this movie is great so far, but as we saw with Snakes on a Plane, Internet hype isn't enough to make a movie bankable. More importantly, with the buzz so strong, he's going to have to deliver one kick-ass movie to meet expectations.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Wolverine has a director

Wow. Interesting pick for a director, but a good one... Wolverine, the highly anticipated spin-off of the X-Men franchise, now has a director, and it's the man behind the critically acclaimed (and very good) foreign language nominee (winner? I can't remember) Tsotsi, Gavin Hood.

Hugh Jackman will return to the role that made him a star, the mutant Logan/Wolverine, in a script written by David Benioff. The story will mix and match classic Wolverine folklore to give a fresh, original take on Logan's origin story. We'll finally get to see how he became endowed with those sharp adamantium claws.

Jackman stated, "I have long been a fan of Gavin's work and know he will make a masterful film with the character intensity and action beats the fans expect." The project will begin shooting in November for a 2008 release date.

A man farted on me yesterday

This has nothing to do with movies, entertainment, television, sports or politics. It is just a disturbing but rather funny little story that happened to me at work on Thursday.

So I go to the bathroom, number one or number two it doesn't matter, and then proceed to wash my hands. As I thoroughly scrubbed my hands clean of germs like any good boy would do, an old guy in scrubs walks in and goes to the urinal. Of course, the paper towels are directly behind the urinal, so when you're drying your hands you'll be standing right behind a dude taking a piss. Unfortunately for me, the man starts ripping farts non-stop as soon as I start drying my hands.

Now, I've never been one for farting in public bathrooms whenever I can help it, especially when I'm not hidden behind a stall. I sure as hell don't fart when someone is standing right next to my ass, like I was to this old guy. Oblivious? Doesn't care? Intentional? I don't know, but I could barely get out of the bathroom without cracking up.

And that's the highlight of my week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Hills Have Eyes 2 DVD Review

See this picture? Those two women are the only highlight of The Hills Have Eyes 2, the disaster from director Martin Weisz. Who is Weisz you ask? He's a nobody. Never heard of him, [hopefully] will never hear of him again. Anyway, here's my movie review for the film:

I've started writing this review before the movie has even finished, but it doesn't matter. The Hills Have Eyes 2 is a poorly acted, poorly written piece of crap, full of stereotypical and unbelievable characters, lame action sequences and cheesy villains. If my buddy in China had bought the film like I asked him to, it still would have been a waste of a dollar.

The first Hills Have Eyes, and by that I mean the movie that came out last year, was pretty decent. It wasn't great by any means, but it was one f**ked up movie and gory beyond belief. Where some movies try to be good by just throwing in some random gore, Alexandre Aja, the director of the 2006 version, embraced blood, guts and other disgusting things and actually took his film above and beyond because of said things. It was the goriest movie I had seen in years, even decades, and aside from that, it offered up some pretty creepy yet slightly believable mutated hillbillies.

Jump ahead to The Hills Have Eyes 2 and everything has changed. We have a different director in the form of Martin Weisz, who clearly has no idea what he's doing, different writers, albeit in the form of the original writer/director Wes Craven, and a whole new cast. Nothing goes right in the movie, however, as the movie has very little gore compared to the first one, the hillbillies have been turned more into "monsters", and the writing is all over the place. The movie is about as exciting as amateur curling, and I blame Weisz for not carrying through and delivering us some much-needed gore. Don't get me wrong - the film does have its moments - but there is nothing gritty or believable about the film in any way.

Still, the real problem is the screenplay, and it's sort of surprising that Wes Craven destroyed his creation in such a fashion. The movie follows a group of soldiers who enter the desert on a training mission and end up falling victim to the radioactive people that live in the hills. Unfortunately, this is the lamest, dumbest and most pathetic group of soldiers you will ever see, as each and every one ends up arguing, whining, complaining or what not throughout the course of the film. Where there are a few good-looking women, none of the characters are believable, likeable nor memorable, and you really won't even notice which ones get picked off throughout the film. The dialogue is sad - especially that of the sergeant in charge - and nothing the soldiers do is remotely intelligent. I could have killed more mutants with a spork than these guys can with automatic weapons.

Thank God, the movie just ended. What a waste of an hour and a half. The highlight of the film is a hillbilly rape scene, and rape scenes are never pleasant. The final shot of the movie is extremely stupid, too.

Martin Weisz should never be allowed to direct a movie again. And I've lost all faith in Wes Craven - his time has come and past.

John Leguizamo joins The Happening

M. Night Shyamalan has found another cast member, this time in the form of John Leguizamo! Leguizamo joins Mark Wahlberg in The Hapenning, Shyamalan's movie about Mother Nature fighting back against humans... or something like that.

Let's just hope the movie is more a return to The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable rather than The Village and most certainly Lady in the Water, which just sucked.

Cashback Review

Cashback is one of those weird movies that is getting released in limited theaters on Friday and to DVD on Tuesday. I've never understood this strategy and maybe never will, especially since Cashback is good enough to warrant a wide release. Here's my review...

From writer/director Sean Ellis comes Cashback, an entertaining and edgy romantic comedy-drama. An independent film that most of you will never hear of or see, Cashback stars Sean Biggerstaff as a young man who has just been dumped by his girlfriend and is seeking to find solace any way he can - and he does so by taking a dead-end, night shift job at a grocery store.

Biggerstaff, who is best known to young girls as Oliver Wood in the Harry Potter movies, turns in as a good performance as Ben, a man who knows he has a crappy job, has not completely given up on life, but still spends his days depressed and thinking about this ex-girlfriend. Insomnia leads him to a night shift job at a local store, where he quickly becomes friends with the other off beat employees (seems like there are quite a few employees for the night shift), including one named Sharon (Emilia Fox). As the two slowly develop a friendship, Ben realizes that he is starting to think less and less of his ex - which is a good thing - and more and more about Sharon - which is also a good thing. In the mean time, though, he spends his time day dreaming, usually about freezing time so he can paint and capture a person's beauty just the way he wants to see it. As time is frozen, he can look at someone from as far back or as close up as he wants - and undress them if he feels like painting them in the nude.

A bit weird? Yeah, just a tiny bit. In reality, Cashback is a pretty down-to-Earth indie comedy that has a few sparks of laugh-out-loud humor, an engaging, simple and sweet love story and some powerful dramatic moments that perhaps work better from a technical/film viewpoint than a storytelling one, but work nonetheless. Most of the movie is pretty basic, though Ellis does his best to make it sound deeper than it is by throwing in a bunch of poetic narration (which actually does work quite well), but things really shine when time is frozen, not only because we get to see lots of naked women, but because we also get some of the best lines of the film. Cashback is a perfect example of how you can take a simply story (man loses girl, man finds new girl, man gets over old girl) and take it one step further.

There are a few parts where it feels like Ellis is trying a little too hard to be deeper than your average flick; after all, how many guys really ponder life, actions and consequences the way Ben does in the movie? Still, for the most part, the writing is pretty top notch, as long as you don't mind narration.

Cashback balances itself out pretty well between a comedy and drama, and thanks to good acting and terrific directing, it is a very entertaining and likeable film. Recommended to those who like independent romantic comedies - a.k.a. romantic comedies that aren't just the same old fluff Hollywood pumps out.

Harry Potter survey: 75% of people think Dumbledore is still alive

According to a recent GMI Poll, 75% of people think Albus Dumbledore is NOT dead and will return in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last (maybe) Harry Potter book from J.K. Rowling.

The poll surveyed over 500 people from GlobalTestMarket (an online survey website) to see what people thought would happen in the new book. I'd have to agree with all of the people who suggested Dumbledore is not dead (personally, I think he is either dead or faking it, but regardless his "death" is an intentional move to get Voldemort to trust Snape.

On Snape, readers are torn... a whopping 48% still think that's he a good guy, while the other 52% follow the simplest solution that Snape has indeed turned back to the dark side.

As for the fate of Voldemort, 77% people think that he will indeed fall at the hands of Harry, but over 60% think that Harry will not survive the end of the book. Personally, I think Harry will survive (regardless of how dark the stories have gotten, Harry Potter is still a children's franchise, and I think the series can end just fine without killing off the main character), though I can't discount the possibility of him sacrificing himself to make Voldemort vulnerable - a possibility 52% of people think.

You can read more of these interesting statistics at: http://www.gmi-mr.com/gmipoll/release.php?p=20070717

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Harry Potter box office: The Order of the Phoenix makes $140 million

At first glance, the $77 million that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix would seem unimpressive for a franchise that expects much more, but, then again, this is the first Harry Potter movie that opened on a Wednesday. And since Wednesday, Harry Potter's 5-day total is a scorching $140 million, not too shabby for a franchise film that is easily the worst film of the series.

The reception of the film may hurt it a bit in the long run, but the first week is full of newbies who are willing to ignore reviews (and it's not that reviews were bad, just not as good) to see the latest Harry Potter movie. Even in the weeks to come, most Harry Potter fans will go see this movie again - I thought it sucked compared to the other movies, but still plan on catching it for a second time.

In other box office news, Transformers dropped a respectable 46% to $36 million, bringing its total to $222 million. Compared to other big blockbusters like Spider-Man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, this is a very good sign, but it's no surprise - Transformers was embraced by critics and fans alike much more than either of those other two films.

Captivity, the only movie brave enough (or stupid enough) to open against Harry Potter, opened in twelfth place with $1.5 million. No surprise here, really.

Please take the time to let me know what you thought of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: take this InstantSurvey now!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Take a Harry Potter survey!

Using InstantSurvey, I created an online survey for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which I'm using to gauge how much people liked the movie, especially in comparisons to the previous films. Personally, I thought the movie was the worst of the five, so am interested in seeing the results. I will publish the results of this Harry Potter survey in a few weeks once I have gathered enough data.

The Harry Potter survey should only take 2 minutes and is less than 10 questions long, so there's no reason not to take it. You won't be added to any mailings lists - it doesn't even ask for your email address.

The InstantSurvey is http://is-nri.com/take/?i=117493&h=uYQSqW4I9VYyUZyzS0Xmwg

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Harry potter review

I just got back from a 12:15 screening of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and have posted a movie review over at Movie-Source.com. This is what I get for waiting until 6:00pm the night of to buy a ticket for Harry Potter - not only do I have to stay up even later in the night, but I'm not even the first of the regular movie-going public to see the movie (of course, all the other time zones saw it before me). I know I should have mugged those two little kids when their parents went off to the bathroom..

Man, I am going to be tired on Wednesday. This isn't my day job people - I have a long day ahead of me, and probably will get in at 8am... okay, maybe 8:30 given my lack of sleep. I'm a man who needs his sleep, and I am not going to be a happy camper in a few hours.

Anyway, so I watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Simpsons in Springfield, Vermont

The mystery has been solved! The Simpsons are from Vermont.

Okay, actually, Vermont apparently had the best video according to online voters who were allowed to decide which Springfield would hold the premiere for the upcoming Simpsons movie. The town, with a population of 9,500, created a video with a Homer Simpson look-alike chasing a giant donut through town. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the town even features a nuclear power plant nearby.

Congrats to Springfield, Vermont!

Leonard Nimoy as Spock in new Star Trek movie? Really?

Well, even though the new Star Trek movie from director J.J. Abrams is a prequel and will not star William Shatner, the ex-Captain Kirk has confirmed that Leonard Nimoy is going to play Spock.

Personally, I highly doubt this is real, but worth noting anyway. I really doubt that they would make a prequel that stars one of the original cast members, and it is unlikely that Nimoy would actually take the role. Then again, money is money, and this new Star Trek movie perhaps has more buzz floating around it then most (thanks mainly to J.J. Abrams, who seems to be at the center of all kinds of buzz these days - see Cloverfield), and what better way to resurrect a struggling series than to get one of the most popular cast members back on?

Still, if Nimoy, now really quite old, ends up in the new Star Trek movie, I will be mightily surprised.

New movie trailers: 10,000 B.C., Get Smart

A bunch of new movie trailers have come up in the last day, conveniently just in time for the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. You may want to check them out, as some of them are pretty good (and some I haven't watched yet):

10,000 B.C.
Roland Emmerich's "epic" set a long time ago, the trailer premieres Wednesday but Warner Brothers smartly posted the first 30-seconds to get us to thirst for more. The first 30 seconds are pretty good, but you don't see much...

Get Smart
Steve Carell looks to rebound from his disastrous comedy Evan Almighty with Get Smart, a movie adaptation of the old television show. The teaser trailer that's online now is pretty funny, highlighted by Carell being stupid. He sure has range.

Bee Movie
I haven't watch the new trailer, but there is a second full movie trailer for the Jerry Seinfeld comedy about bees.

The 11th Hour
Leonardo DiCaprio narrates this documentary.

In the Valley of Elah
This one's about a war veteran searching for his son, who disappeared after returning from Iraq. It's written and directed by Paul Haggis, so you may want to pay attention to this one.

Haven't watched the movie trailer for this one, but the title is simple goodness.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Spiderwick Chronicles Theatrical Trailer

The theatrical movie trailer for The Spiderwick Chronicles is now online, and somehow I'm guessing we'll be seeing it playing at Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix later this week. You can watch The Spiderwick Chronicles teaser trailer here.

I've never read the book (books?) before, but this movie looks really cool. It starts off looking just like Bridge to Terabithia, and then turns into a much more serious affair. There are ogres and all kinds of monsters, and clearly a central villain who looks like something straight out of an R-rated horror movie. Little kids are going to being their pants at the sight of this trailer.

I love how the music fades near the end of the trailer to give us one final shot of Freddie Highmore hiding from something, and then a quick pan to the villain's face. Whoever put this marketing piece together has made a nearly perfect trailer - it starts off innocent, looking like a kid's movie (the Nickelodeon intro at the beginning probably will have adults groaning at first), and then progresses into a dark thrill ride. Perfect!

Cloverfield trailer online; Cloverfield pics from the trailer

The Cloverfield teaser trailer (also known as the 1-18-08 teaser trailer or the Untitled J.J. Abrams teaser trailer) is now online - watch the movie trailer now. It's just as cool the second time around as it was in Transformers. Still very little is known, but watching it online you can pick up a little more dialogue, like "I saw it. It's huge!"

Below are some pictures I've grabbed from the Cloverfield teaser trailer:

Cloverfield movie pictureSome hot, skanky girl dances away, thinking she is going to get some action. Oh, she's going to get some action all right, but it may be too big to handle.

Cloverfield movie pictureThis even hotter girl looks vaguely familiar, though she also looks like a younger, hotter version of Teri Hatcher. She speaks to the camera, also wanting a piece.

Cloverfield movie imageHere's the life of the party. Ben is his name, I think. Good looking guy, for a guy. How come in the movies guys like this only have good looking girls as friends, and more friends than I've ever had put together?

Cloverfield movie imageNow it gets good. What appeared to be a normal party suddenly goes awry as the lights go out and the Earth shakes.

Cloverfield movie stillEveryone races to the roof just in time to see the middle of New York go up in a giant fireball. Even from where they are, they aren't safe as hellfire rains down upon them.

Cloverfield movie stillThis good looking girl says, "Bring it on!" only not really. Hopefully she clears out fast enough to avoid the rolling head of death, a.k.a. the Statue of Liberty.

Cloverfield movie photoThose who don't like the French will be happy to see that the Statue gets decapitated and used as a device of destruction, mayhem and murder.

Will Harry Potter die?

With the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows quickly approaching, people continue to speculate about the demise of the title character - will Harry die?

To that, I have to say: Are you kidding me? Tony Soprano may have died in "The Sopranos" (maybe), Sherlock Holmes may have bitten the bullet (only to be later resurrected) and other title characters have died over the course of history, but do you really think J.K. Rowling will kill off Harry Potter, the most popular children's character ever?

I don't think so. First, she's always said "never say never" about an eighth novel, and in a story about good versus evil, I just can't imagine Harry will die. I have trouble even fathoming that Ron or Hermione will get turned into dust.

But we'll just have to wait and see...

Sunday, July 8, 2007

New Fred Claus movie posters

Fred Claus movie poster: funny, but funny enough?Warner Brothers has unleashed four new movie posters for the upcoming comedy Fred Claus, where Vince Vaughn plays the ignored younger brother of Santa Claus (played by Paul Giamatti). The first poster was rather creepy and regarded as such across the Internet (actually, I only base that off of my personal opinion and a comment I saw on one other movie site), as it showed Vaughn staring through a peep hole like some kind of serial killer stalker.

The new movie posters are funnier and eye grabbing, with emphasis on the eye grabbing. Each one features a bunch of little elves doing funny things, and since elves don't actually exist, they catch your attention. The posters almost have a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory feel to them.

The main movie poster just has Vaughn looking bored as a bunch of little elves jump on his head... slightly amusing, and better than the original, but not remarkable and doesn't necessarily exude the humor of the film.

There are also three teaser posters, one of which has two funny little elves looking up into the air and waving their hands in disapproval. The imagery is best, and the tagline is sort of funny in a cheesy kind of way: "Fred showed us how to be awesome." Another has a single elf yelling out at the audience, but the tagline sucks: "Fred rocks the toy shop." Who the hell cares? A final is the worst and says absolutely nothing about the movie, as it features three elves in black spy gear looking like they are trying out for a rap video, and the tagline says: "Fred better bring his 'A' game."

So, the posters range from good to decent to bad - the marketing department still has its work cut out for it. It seems like they are playing around with a bunch of different things and trying to see what sticks. Some experimentation is fine, but they better get into agreement soon and develop a real strategy.

Transformers: Nice box office strategy

Are NSA analysts really this hot?Transformers, after starting off the week great, delivered a 1-2 punch over the weekend, raking in an additional $67 million in the United States and skyrocketing its first week take to $152 million, according to box office estimates.

Even though other films have made more money quicker - namely Spider-Man 3 - the studio can now market Transformers as making $150 million in its first week of release, a claim few movies can do. The Monday night launch of the franchise (just because it's one film doesn't make it a franchise) was an odd one, but with July 4th on a Wednesday, it was a great strategy. You get the fan boy blitz on Monday night, another fan boy surge on Tuesday, and then a holiday the following day where you get a mix of those fans who didn't quite make it to the theater in time, and regular moviegoers looking for some action. After that, you're left with Thursday and Friday, days that many people across the country took off to form a five-day weekend.

Basically, Transformers played it risky and won big by capitalizing on mid-week days that played out more like weekends.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Lust, Caution movie trailer review

The movie trailer for the new Ang Lee movie Lust, Caution is now online (view the Lust, Caution movie trailer here), and here's what we think...

Looks damn good! Reminiscent of In the Mood for Love in both the setup of the trailer and the unnerving calmness of the time period (and that it stars Tony Leung, who was/is the main character in both films), Lust, Caution is less a romantic film as it is a thriller where a beautiful young woman seduces a man to fall in love with her, but her intentions are to not do anything pleasant to him in return. Eventually, I'm sure, it will turn into a character study as the woman begins questioning her motives, but, then again, she could end up just killing the guy.

Either way, the trailer for Lust, Caution is pretty good. The music is great, and the simple storytelling method the marketing department used (or whatever department makes movie trailers) captures the attention and tells the story without requiring much dialogue at all (I'm assuming the film will be in Chinese, since no one talks?).

Mr. Zemeckis: Stop using motion-capture technology!

Dear Mr. Robert Zemeckis,

Your motion-capture technology binge has got to stop. It's a novel concept, one that may work at some point if done right, or if used in a horror movie, but as is, it just doesn't work. Take one of your latest pictures, The Polar Express. The concept was interesting and the movie was not horrific by any stretch of the imagination, but the special effects were just creepy. It reminded me of House of Wax, where Vincent Price killed real people and put wax over them. The Polar Express was a kid's movie, and it was just plain scary thanks to your motion-capture techniques.

You have Beowulf coming up soon. A classic. A movie that could be great - if it were done with real actors, and not real actors painted over. There will come a time when this will work, but why destroy a classic with such gimmicks?

And now, I've heard, you've cast Jim Carrey (according to Empire Online) to star in A Christmas Carol, another family film that will end up looking more like a horror movie, especially with Carrey's stretchy face now completely unrestrained by the limits of the real world.

Stop now. Please. Before you hurt someone.

Erik Samdahl

Shoot 'Em Up movie marketing review - Clive Owen got bored waiting for Sin City 2

Sin City 2 is still in the works as far as I know, but every once in a while it gets pushed back just a little farther. Will it come out in 2007? Unlikely. 2008? Hopefully. Does anyone really know? Maybe Robert Rodriguez, but that's about it.

That being said, it appears that Clive Owen decided not to wait, so he joined the cast of Shoot 'Em Up, the poorly titled action movie from writer/director Michael Davis, who hasn't written or directed anything worth noting thus far. The movie does star the very good looking Monica Belluci (though she doesn't look as good here as she has in the past) and almost-no-longer-underrated actor Paul Giamatti, but even the cast doesn't have me squirming to go see this one.

Two pieces of marketing material have come out in recent weeks - three movie posters and a movie trailer. The posters are good enough. The Clive Owen one looks especially like something you would expect from Sin City, only not as creative. The Giamatti one is nothing to scream about, and the Belluci one tries to be sexy but really fails. Her pose isn't anything great, and what's that she's holding?

As for the movie trailer, Shoot 'Em Up looks like it could have potential as a mindless action film, but the trailer just isn't cohesive enough to get me excited. There's plenty of action, but the marketing department didn't a very good job of making the action look exciting or original. There's too much talking in the trailer, actually - since the movie's an action flick, focus on the frikkin' action!

All in all, I'm not holding my breath for Shoot 'Em Up, but with the cast alone it's worth paying attention to. The marketing department will need to up their game, though. You can check out the other Shoot 'Em Up movie posters and trailer here.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

1408 Movie Review

I just posted a movie review for 1408 over at Movie-Source.com - you may want to check it out. In the movie, John Cusack plays a man stuck in an evil hotel room. It's not really scary, but it's still a good horror movie. Usually I like to be scared in horror movies, but this Stephen King adaptation pulls it off, a nice psychological thriller rather than a bloody shock fest.

I remember reading an interview with Eli Roth, director of Hostel II, talking about how good he was and how much people were going to go crazy over his new torture flick. Isn't it ironic, Mr. Roth, that your movie flopped while an intelligent horror movie such as 1408 continues to do so well?

Just thought I'd point that out...

Sex and the City movie: Bad move

As you may or may not know, Sex and the City is being turned into a movie. The four main cast members, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis and Kim Cattrall, are all going to be in the movie, as pretty much would be the requirement for turning a popular HBO show into a movie.

Now, when I say the Sex and the City movie is going to be lame, it's not because I'm a hater of the show. In fact, I am a big fan of the television show and watched all but the first season or so. Ladies, I'm a straight, 25-year old man who thought Sex and the City was a great and hilarious TV show.

That being said, why make a movie? The show ended about as good as a popular show about four women looking for love and sex can end, so why blow it with a movie? worked great as both a half hour episode-by-episode tale and a season-long chronicle (and in reality a series-long chronicle), but when expanded to two hours with an expected concrete ending, is that the Sex and the City you really want to see? Basically, part of the show's appeal will be lost in a two-hour movie, and we'll be left with a whimsical but ultimately disappointing film.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Transformers makes $29.5 million on Tuesday

Transformers, which made $8.8 million on Monday, opened officially on Tuesday with a box office take of $29.5 million - not too bad at all for a 24 hour period in the middle of the week. That puts the film at $38 million+ for the first 28 hours of the movie's release.

By the way, is Megan Fox hot or what? As the co-star in Transformers, she is definitely the best of the visual effects in the movie, even though the robots look pretty damn cool. Starts off looking a bit trashy, but the dirtier she gets (and I mean literally), the sexier she gets.

Cloverfield movie trailer review

If you've seen Transformers, you may have seen the movie preview for Cloverfield, the new mysterious monster movie from producer J.J. Abrams (no, not directing). The preview starts off looking like a teen drama, as we see a party unfold through a handheld camera held by one of the party's participants. There are plenty of hot girls and good-looking guys.

Then an earthquake, or something. Everyone goes running to the roof of the building just in time to see the center of downtown New York go up in a huge fire ball. Fire starts raining down even where they are, and they go running back down the building and outside. The head of the Statue of Liberty goes rolling by.

Oh, and you hear monster sounds, but no monster is seen. Hell, the title of the movie isn't even shown. Either way, it had me pissing in my pants and as soon as I got home from the movie, I was looking it up. Cloverfield hits theaters in January 2008, and that's about all that is known about this picture.

Of course, plenty of mystery still revolves around the movie. Cloverfield, apparently, is not the final title of the movie. Some have speculated that it will be called The Parasite, while others think it is a new Godzilla movie. Since a lot of the Lost crew is involved, some have even thought that the movie is some kind of companion piece to the hit ABC television show (though I highly doubt that).

The Invasion movie poster - and why no marketing?

The Invasion, starring Nicole Kidman and James Bond... er, Daniel Craig... hits theaters in August, so why the hell has no one heard about it? I saw the movie trailer online and it was pretty good (though I'm still not decided on whether the movie will be effective or not), but I haven't once seen the previews at theaters. I've gone to nearly every movie this summer, and I haven't seen anything marketing this movie whatsoever. Is it lack of confidence from the studio, or did they just forget about The Invasion?

I went and watched Transformers last night, and aside from a preview for the J.J. Abrams-produced Cloverfield, the previews were full of stupid comedies and other movies you wouldn't expect to be previewed at an action film. Why not show The Invasion here? Seems like a perfect time to do so...

Anyway, the studio finally released the movie poster to the Internet (still no signs at theaters, though), and I can say that I'm extremely underwhelmed. Nicole Kidman looks like she's been pulled out of the 1950's version of The Bodysnatchers, and aside from the title, the movie looks like some old school thriller. Is this not about aliens, or zombies, or something of the like?

I think the marketing department is blowing it on this one...

Movie poster review: The Simpsons Movie

There have been plenty of The Simpsons movie posters over the last couple months, but this latest one (the final?) takes the cake. It is simple, to-the-point and still utterly funny, but only if you know Homer (and who the hell doesn't?)

We've seen the donut theme coming up quite a few times, but The Simpsons crew got it perfect on this one. How can you not want to see a movie where you have that big, fat yellow idiot chomping on the "O" in "MOVIE"?

I can't wait for this movie, even though the movie trailers have not been as hilarious as I was expecting them to be (but the pig belly scene in the bedroom is wonderful).

Transformers makes $8.8 million on Monday

Transformers, the movie some expect to be the biggest of the summer (my cards are still on the table for that one), is out in theaters, steamrolling with pretty good movie reviews all around and earned an impressive $8.8 million on Monday alone - and I believe it started showing at 8pm. I'm no box office expert, but this sounds like a pretty good take.

The real question will be how Transformers performs for the rest of the week. Tuesday's numbers should be coming in soon, and that number is expected to be much higher since that is its official start date, and of course Fourth of July (today) is another big day where no one works and everyone parties (or goes and sits inside on a beautiful day).

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Movie review: Cyn

I'll come right out and say it: I'm generally not a big fan of short movies. Unless they're created by someone I know personally (my brother, Nathan Samdahl, is in film school down in L.A.) or are some extremely funny little thing (I'm a fan of those Pixar shorts), short movies are just not my thing. The reason: I like really fleshed out stories, and short movies don't allow for such.

Cyn, directed by Alex Ferrari, is a five-minute short about a woman who finds herself in bad position: tied to a chair with two idiot henchmen standing guard over her, both with guns. Unfortunately for them, this woman isn't who she seems, and she quickly manipulates herself into a position of power.

The concept is intriguing, and clearly a setup for a bigger film to come at some point. The title character (is it Cyn?) is pretty and lethal, and could definitely be a good protagonist given a longer movie. As is, everything moves so fast that nothing seems overly real - before you know it, she's escaped and taken advantage of the two idiots. She plays mind games with them for a split second, but this satisfying moment doesn't last long enough. Of course, I'm not saying anything the director doesn't already know: obviously, in a longer version, we won't be introduced to three characters and have everything wrapped up nice and neat in a couple of minutes.

So, looking at this is a pitch piece for a more substantial picture, I see potential. The concept is definitely there, and the lead could be good enough to make the transfer to a bigger movie. One of the henchmen really isn't a very good actor (though the dialogue is so fast and forced at times it's hard to tell) and probably wouldn't make the cut, but the other one is pretty good. Technically speaking, Cyn looks pretty good, though I would like to see it even grittier and grainier, more like Grindhouse.

Overall, I liked it, didn't love it, but I see the potential. What was most appealing to me, strangely enough, is the end credits: they really look kick-ass. Also, the marketing material for the movie (the website and movie posters) are also very professional looking.

I look forward to seeing a longer version of Cyn at some point down the line.