December 31, 2008

Have A Happy New Year!

From all of us at the site...have a fun night, but keep safe! 2008 was the year of Why So Serious? and Yes We Can!, so make sure you're around to find out what 2009 will be the year wishes from us!

Academy Idol: Top 9 (Box Office Week)

The Return of Scorsese; Paramount Pictures 2009 Preview

I know we have a few hours left in 2008, but it's never too early to take a glance at '09. Paramount released it's 2009 preview. The Lovely Bones and Shutter Island (or Ashecliffe) stand out as potential Oscar films.  The early release date for The Soloist will hurt it's Oscar potential, but it might be in the running, who knows? The premise for Up in the Air seems funny, and is written and directed by the same dudes that produced Thank You For Smoking. They have a few potential money makers in there too (Star Trek, GI Joe, and Transformers). Overall, the list is really balanced. I'm just glad Martin Scorsese is returning with DiCaprio. Deadly combination. 

Anything else excite you about 2009? 

December 30, 2008

2008 Goes Out With a Whimper, DVD-Wise

Yes, the year ends poorly for DVD's, though if it helps, next week is a pick up of sorts. Only two releases of any note, but one is of enough quality to warrant being named my PICK OF THE WEEK. It's Allan Ball's follow-up to American Beauty and his directorial debut. It's:
Acting lifts this film from being only fair to rather good. Summer Bishil and Aaron Eckhart stand out in this tale of sexual empowerment and growing up.
-The other release is David Zucker's conservative comedy An American Carol. I see where he was going with it, but he took a wrong turn somewhere and left us with a comedy lacking in much humor.
-My Vintage pick this week will be a multitude of titles, to make up for the dearth of new releases. For fans of TV sets, check out either Aqua Teen Hunger Force, a strange animated show that isn't for everyone, but is hilarious if it works for you, as well as Entourage, a show I've gotten into as of late and find very entertaining. On the film end I offer up Copland, a modern day western of sorts, Birds of America, a dysfunctional family dramedy with Matthew Perry, Ben Foster, and Ginnifer Goodwin all doing very nice work, and the documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, which is a must see for any fans of Donkey Kong.
-What will you guys and gals be watching to close out the year?

December 29, 2008

Eric Roth's Curious Court Case

Seems like he got scammed too in the Madoff scandal, as this report in the Daily News details:
The writer of a string of Hollywood hits - including "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" - sued his investment manager Friday for losing a bundle in Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme.
Screenwriter Eric Roth claims his "trusted investment manager," Stanley Chais, "simply handed off" his money to Madoff while collecting "enormous fees."
When he learned of his "heavy" losses last week: Roth exclaimed: "I'm the biggest sucker who ever walked the face of the Earth. The tragedy is the people who lost their life savings and their dreams."
Madoff is accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme on charities, Yeshivas and high-rollers around the world, including New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon.
In papers filed in Los Angeles, Roth - also authored the screen versions of "Forrest Gump" and "The Horse Whisperer" - claims he suffered "massive losses" at the hands of Chais.
Roth, listing himself as the trustee for Vanessa Productions Ltd. profit-sharing plan, charged Chais "funneled to Madoff the billions of dollars in investment capital that he needed to perpetuate his confessed Ponzi scheme."
Roth charges Chais ignored "red flags" from other investors and hedge fund managers, investment advisers and banks that had refused to invest with Madoff's firm, BMIS.
After a long slump, Roth just hit it big again as writer of "Benjamin Button," in which the lead character ages backward - from old age to youth.
He was nominated this week for a Golden Globe.
Chais failed to conduct "reasonable due diligence" of Madoff's investment practices and the failure to diversify investments constituted "gross negligence and an egregious breach of fiduciary duties," the suit says.
Roth is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
-Pretty rough Eric, perhaps the Academy will help cheer him up soon...

20th Century Fox Is Determined To Piss Off "Watchmen" Fans At Every Turn

Cheers to The Associated Press for reporting this update on the ongoing legal battle over Watchmen, which could make for a fairly tense movie on its own at this point:
The Associated Press is reporting that an attorney for 20th Century Fox says the studio will continue to seek an order delaying the release of the upcoming "Watchmen" movie.
US District Court Judge Gary Feess last week agreed with Fox that Warner Bros had infringed its copyright by developing and shooting the superhero film, scheduled for release on March 6th, 2009. Feess said that he plans to hold a trial on January 20th to decide remaining issues.
Fox claims it never fully relinquished story rights from its deal made in the late 1980s, and sued Warner Bros in February. Warner Bros contended Fox isn't entitled to distribution.
Warner Bros' attorney said Monday he didn't know if an appeal was coming, but thinks a trial is necessary and a settlement unlikely.
- I don't know about you lot, but I'm starting to get more than a little irritated by the fact that our viewing of this movie about 20 years in the making is in constant peril. To read the ranting of a similarly pissed Watchmen fan, check out's amusing article on the matter: "Watchmen" Fan Cordially Invites Fox To Eat Several Dicks.

Slumdog Declared "A Moment of Significance" by AFI!

Another accolade to add to its rather large collection, as Variety informs us:
Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire" added another kudo to its list of honors on Sunday as it was named one of the year's eight "Moments of Significance" by the AFI.
The pic "stands as a monument to the possibilities of cross-cultural storytelling," the American Film Institute said Sunday.
Tina Fey also picked up another laurel, with AFI dubbing her America's First Lady of Laughs for her appearances as GOP veep candidate Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live" and for her multi-tasking on her Peacock sitcom "30 Rock."
Other significant moments in 2008 included TV and new-media coverage that allowed a worldwide aud to fixate on the historic presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain and NBC's coverage of the Summer Olympics in Beijing.
The rapid changes in the TV distribution landscape were noted by AFI as being part of the "Age of Anxiety" for showbiz as traditional business models evolve. The org cited such examples as the growth of Internet website Hulu, DirecTV's funding of a third season of NBC's "Friday Night Lights" and the Peacock's decision to move Jay Leno into a Monday-Friday primetime berth.
Joss Whedon's online success with his made-for-Internet tuner "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" earned a separate nod.
On the film side, AFI noted the downturn for indie filmmakers, with specialty divisions such as Paramount Vantage, New Line, Warner Independent and Picturehouse disappearing. It also noted the loss of influence for film critics as many full-time positions were eliminated at Time, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, Village Voice and Newsday.
"AFI celebrates the global community of film lovers interacting online, but also encourages these conversations to honor and appreciate historical context in addition to personal opinion," the org said.
AFI's "Moments of Significance" were chosen by a 13-person jury comprising scholars, film artists, critics and AFI trustees. Two juries, one for film and another for TV, deliberated for two days in Los Angeles.
AFI will honor the creatives behind these selections on Jan. 9 at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.
-Cool stuff

December 28, 2008

Academy Idol: Top 10 Results

Some Quick Thoughts on Revolutionary Road and Slumdog Millionaire

Since I didn't review either, I figured I'd give everyone a short burst of my two cents on each film:
-I'll come out and say it...I think it's a bit overrated. At the same time, it's one of the few films that there's nothing really to complain about. It's well made, well acted, and the story captures you for the duration of the flick. The movie is essentially a small scale film that's on a dream ride (perhaps) to the promised land, and while I think there's better films out there this year that might deserve the award (or even the nomination) more, you won't hear me complain a bit about any accolades that come its way. I loved me some Slumdog, and it will definitely have a place on my top 10 list, but I don't think it's the best film of the year by any stretch, but again...that's just me.
Revolutionary Road
-This is the scariest film of the year, since now I am horrified of marriage. The arguements in the movie are incredibly intense, which is a testament to the acting. The story is only ok, nothing we haven't seen already in something like Little Children (and I prefer that film to this, I must confess), but the direction by Sam Mendes is very good, making the film never a chore to sit through. It's a movie you see for the acting, and Leo and Kate deliver in a big way. The supporting characters are fine, but none particularly set the world on fire in the flick (I enjoyed Michael Shannon's acting, but his character annoyed the hell out of me). Overall, it's one of the better films of the year, though it may end up letting some people down.
By the end of the week I will have seen the last of the films I need to see, so around New Year's expect my end of the year list...probably going to be the 30 best films of the year, but it will contain my top 10, which is all that really counts anyway....

Trailer for Paul Blart: Mall Cop

The first of two movies coming out about mall cops (the other is Seth Rogen's much edgier sounding "Observe and Report") has an underwhelming trailer:
-Doesn't look very good at all, but I like Kevin James, so I have some hope that this won't suck...

Initial Thoughts on 'Gomorra'

Two words: gritty realism (think 'The Wire'). It strips all of the glamour that you come to expect from a Gangsta film. The narration seems frantic and loose, which will turn some people off. However, its a hard hitting film that highlights the impact on a place controlled by the Camorra. I can't call it a masterpiece, but it's certainly among the best of this year. A more detailed review is coming.

Trailer for The Proposal

-Looks slightly better than it has any right to be...thoughts?

R.I.P. Eartha Kitt

A little late, I know, and my apologies, but here's the story from Variety:
Eartha Kitt, 81, a sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality, died of colon cancer today in Connecticut, family spokesman Andrew Freedman said.
A self-proclaimed "sex kitten" famous for her catlike purr, Ms. Kitt was one of America's most versatile performers, winning two Emmys and nabbing a third nomination. She also was nominated for several Tonys and two Grammys.
Her career spanned six decades, from her start as a dancer with the famed Katherine Dunham troupe to cabarets and acting and singing on stage, in movies, and on television.
She persevered through an unhappy childhood as a mixed-race daughter of the South and made headlines in the 1960s for denouncing the Vietnam War during a visit to the White House.
Through the years, Ms. Kitt remained a picture of vitality and attracted fans less than half her age even as she neared 80.
When her book Rejuvenate, a guide to staying fit, was published in 2001, she was featured on the cover in a long, curve-hugging black dress with a figure that some 20-year-old women would envy. Ms. Kitt also wrote three autobiographies.
Once dubbed the "most exciting woman in the world" by Orson Welles, she spent much of her life single, though brief romances with rich and famous men peppered her younger years.
After becoming a hit singing "Monotonous" in the Broadway revue New Faces of 1952, Ms. Kitt appeared in the show Mrs. Patterson in 1954-55. (Some references say she earned a Tony nomination for Mrs. Patterson, but only winners were publicly announced then.) She also appeared in Shinbone Alley and The Owl and the Pussycat.
Her first album, RCA Victor Presents Eartha Kitt, came out in 1954, featuring such songs as "I Want to Be Evil," "C'est Si Bon" and the saucy golddigger's theme song "Santa Baby," which is revived on radio each Christmas. The next year, the record company released a follow-up album, That Bad Eartha,
In 1996, Ms. Kitt was nominated for a Grammy for traditional pop vocal performance for her album Back in Business. Previously, she was nominated for a children's recording for Folk Tales of the Tribes of Africa (1969).
In movies, Ms. Kitt played the lead female role opposite Nat King Cole in St. Louis Blues in 1958 and more recently was in Boomerang and Harriet the Spy in the 1990s.
She was the sexy Catwoman on the popular Batman TV series in 1967-68, replacing Julie Newmar, who originated the role. A guest appearance on I Spy brought her an Emmy nomination in 1966.
Ms. Kitt was plainspoken about causes she believed in. Her antiwar comments at the White House came at a luncheon hosted by Lady Bird Johnson.
"You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed," she told the group of about 50 women. "They rebel in the street. They don't want to go to school because they're going to be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam."
For four years afterward, Ms. Kitt performed almost exclusively overseas. She was investigated by the FBI and CIA, which allegedly found her to be foul-mouthed and promiscuous.
"The thing that hurts, that became anger, was when I realized that if you tell the truth - in a country that says you're entitled to tell the truth - you get your face slapped and you get put out of work," she told Essence magazine two decades later.
In 1978, Ms. Kitt returned to Broadway in Timbuktu! - which brought her a Tony nomination - and was invited back to the White House by President Jimmy Carter. In 2000, she earned another Tony nod for The Wild Party.
As recently as October 2003, she was on Broadway after replacing Chita Rivera in a revival of Nine.
She was married for several years in the 1960s to developer Bill McDonald, with whom she had a daughter, Kitt. They later divorced. Ms. Kitt is survived by her daughter and two grandchildren.

Bride Wars Trailer

-Something about wedding themed romantic comedies I guess...

December 27, 2008

Think About This Next Time You Talk During A Movie...

From a newspaper in Philadelphia:
A South Philadelphia man enraged because a father and son were talking during a Christmas showing of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button took care of the situation when he pulled a .380-caliber gun and shot the father, police said.
James Joseph Cialella Jr., 29, of the 1900 block of Hollywood Street is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and weapons violations.
"It's truly frightening when you see something like this evolve into such violence," said police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore.
Police were called to the Riverview Theatre in the 1400 block of Columbus Boulevard about 9:30 p.m. where the gunshot victim, a Philadelphia man who was not identified, told police a man sitting near him told his family to be quiet and threw popcorn at his son.
After exchanging words, Vanore said Cialella allegedly got out of his seat to confront the family when the father got up to protect them. That's when the victim was shot once in the left arm, sending others in the theatre running to safety.
Cialella then sat down to watch the movie. Police arrived a short time later and arrested Cialella and confiscated his weapon, Vanore said.
-Think about that...

Gomorrah Gets a Trailer

-Hands down the frontrunner for Best Foreign Film?

No More Narnia?

At least not for Disney, as this piece in Variety says:
Disney has bailed out of co-financing the third movie in Walden Media's "Chronicles of Narnia" series, according to published reports.
The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that Disney had decided not to exercise its option to partner with Walden on "Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," which has Michael Apted attached to direct.
Disney's move comes on the heels of disappointing worldwide B. O.for the second "Narnia" pic, "Prince Caspian." "Caspian," released in May, grossed $419 million worldwide, compared to a haul of $745 million for the first "Narnia" pic, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," in 2005.
Disney like other studios is also looking to be selective about its big-budget bets amid the economic downturn.
Walden execs told the Times they were "disappointed" in Disney's decision but that they remain committed to the franchise.
-I'm not a fan of the series, but I know many are, so let's see where this goes from here...

December 26, 2008

A "Curious Case" Indeed...

Hey all, now that everyone has had a chance to (hopefully) see Benjamin Button I figured I'd finally break my silence on the flick. Benjamin Button is at turns a borderline masterpeice and also a majorly flawed film. Much of the success of the film is due to director David Fincher crafting a visually interesting film and Brad Pitt giving one of his best performances. The flaws mainly are in terms of the length (essentially it's a brilliant 2 hour movie that lasts almost 3), the script, which is like by the scribe of Forrest Gump and at times wants really hard to be that way, and the framing device involving Hurricane full review will be up soon, but suffice to say, it's far from a perfect film, but it's definitely in the talk for Best Picture.

Will We Even Be Able to Watch the Watchmen?

Perhaps's the latest on the legal trouble for the flick, curtesy of the New York Times:
In a surprise ruling, a federal judge in Los Angeles said he intended to grant 20th Century Fox’s claim that it owns a copyright interest in the “Watchmen,” a movie shot by Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures and set for release in March.
The decision was disclosed in a five-page written order issued on Wednesday. Gary A. Feess, a judge in the United States District Court for Central California, said he would provide a more detailed order soon.
Fox has been seeking to prevent Warner from releasing the film. The superhero adventure, based on the “Watchmen” graphic novel, is being directed by Zack Snyder (who also directed “300”) and has shaped up as one of most eagerly anticipated releases for next year.
A Warner spokesman, Scott Rowe, declined to comment on the ruling and the studio’s plans.
At an earlier hearing, the judge said he believed that issues in the case could be settled only at a trial, which was scheduled for late January. On Wednesday, however, Judge Feess said he had reconsidered and concluded that Fox should prevail on crucial issues.
“Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the ‘Watchmen’ motion picture,” the ruling said.
Fox acquired rights to the “Watchmen” graphic novel in the late 1980s for the producer Lawrence Gordon, but eventually dropped its own plan to make a movie from its story, about the underside of life for superbeings.
Mr. Gordon later pursued the project with Universal Pictures, and then with Paramount Pictures, before shooting it with Warner and Legendary under an arrangement that allows Paramount to distribute the film abroad.
In ruling on Wednesday, Judge Feess advised both Fox and Warner to look toward a settlement or an appeal.
“The parties may wish to turn their efforts from preparing for trial to negotiating a resolution of this dispute or positioning the case for review,” he said.
-This makes me nervous...hope it gets solved

R.I.P. Harold Pinter

Via Variety:
Harold Pinter, praised as the most influential British playwright of his generation and a longtime voice of political protest, has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 78.
Pinter, whose distinctive contribution to the stage was recognized with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, died on Wednesday, according to his second wife, Lady Antonia Fraser.
"Pinter restored theater to its basic elements: an enclosed space and unpredictable dialogue, where people are at the mercy of each other and pretense crumbles," the Nobel Academy said when it announced Pinter's award. "With a minimum of plot, drama emerges from the power struggle and hide-and-seek of interlocution."
The Nobel Prize gave Pinter a global platform which he seized enthusiastically to denounce U.S. President George W. Bush and then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law," Pinter said in his Nobel lecture, which he recorded rather than traveling to Stockholm.
"How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand?" he asked, in a hoarse voice.
Weakened by cancer and bandaged from a fall on a slippery pavement, Pinter seemed a vulnerable old man when he emerged from his London home to speak about the Nobel Award.
Though he had been looking forward to giving a Nobel lecture - "the longest speech I will ever have made" - he first canceled plans to attend the awards, then announced he would skip the lecture as well on his doctor's advice.
Pinter wrote 32 plays; one novel, "The Dwarfs," in 1990; and put his hand to 22 screenplays including "The Quiller Memorandum" (1965) and "The French Lieutenant's Woman" (1980). He admitted, and said he deeply regretted, voting for Margaret Thatcher in 1979 and Tony Blair in 1997.
Pinter fulminated against what he saw as the overweening arrogance of American power, and belittled Blair as seeming like a "deluded idiot" in support of Bush's war in Iraq.
In his Nobel lecture, Pinter accused the United States of supporting "every right-wing military dictatorship in the world" after World War II.
"The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them," he said.
The United States, he added, "also has its own bleating little lamb tagging behind it on a lead, the pathetic and supine Great Britain."
Most prolific between 1957 and 1965, Pinter relished the juxtaposition of brutality and the banal and turned the conversational pause into an emotional minefield.
His characters' internal fears and longings, their guilt and difficult sexual drives are set against the neat lives they have constructed in order to try to survive.
Usually enclosed in one room, they organize their lives as a sort of grim game and their actions often contradict their words. Gradually, the layers are peeled back to reveal the characters' nakedness.
The protection promised by the room usually disappears and the language begins to disintegrate.
Pinter once said of language, "The speech we hear is an indication of that which we don't hear. It is a necessary avoidance, a violent, sly, and anguished or mocking smoke screen which keeps the other in its true place. When true silence falls we are left with echo but are nearer nakedness. One way of looking at speech is to say that it is a constant stratagem to cover nakedness."
Pinter's influence was felt in the United States in the plays of Sam Shepard and David Mamet and throughout British literature.
"With his earliest work, he stood alone in British theater up against the bewilderment and incomprehension of critics, the audience and writers too," British playwright Tom Stoppard said when the Nobel Prize was announced.
"Not only has Harold Pinter written some of the outstanding plays of his time, he has also blown fresh air into the musty attic of conventional English literature, by insisting that everything he does has a public and political dimension," added British playwright David Hare, who also writes politically charged dramas.
The working-class milieu of plays like "The Birthday Party" and "The Homecoming" reflected Pinter's early life as the son of a Jewish tailor from London's East End. He began his career in the provinces as an actor.
In his first major play, "The Birthday Party" (1958), intruders enter the retreat of Stanley, a young man who is hiding from childhood guilt. He becomes violent, telling them, "You stink of sin, you contaminate womankind."
And in "The Caretaker," a manipulative old man threatens the fragile relationship of two brothers while "The Homecoming" explores the hidden rage and confused sexuality of an all-male household by inserting a woman.
In "Silence and Landscape," Pinter moved from exploring the dark underbelly of human life to showing the simultaneous levels of fantasy and reality that equally occupy the individual.
In the 1980s, Pinter's only stage plays were one-acts: "A Kind of Alaska" (1982), "One for the Road" (1984) and the 20-minute "Mountain Language" (1988).
During the late 1980s, his work became more overtly political; he said he had a responsibility to pursue his role as "a citizen of the world in which I live, (and) insist upon taking responsibility."
In March 2005 Pinter announced his retirement as a playwright to concentrate on politics. But he created a radio play, "Voices," that was broadcast on BBC radio to mark his 75th birthday.
"I have written 29 plays and I think that's really enough," Pinter said . "I think the world has had enough of my plays."
Pinter had a son, Daniel, from his marriage to actress Vivien Merchant, which ended in divorce in 1980. That year he married the writer Fraser.
"It was a privilege to live with him for over 33 years. He will never be forgotten," Fraser said.
-Rest in Peace...

A Wag of the Finger to Prestige Pics?

It seems like almost all of the "prestige" pics this year have been unable to gain unanimous support (Slumdog, The Wrestler, WALL-E, and The Dark Knight are the three with the least detractors it seems) with critics or audiences. Revolutionary Road, Gran Torino, Benjamin Button, Doubt, etc...all have had at least a few more negative words said about them than usual. I wonder if this will come into play at the end of the season and result in more surprise nominations than usual....what do you guys think?

Land of the Lost Poster

-I must admit, I don't hate the idea of this...

December 25, 2008

A Revolutionary Let Down

I just watched Revolutionary Road, and it was a tad bit disappointing. If you want to watch the tragic demise of a couple in suburbia, you are better off watching American Beauty. The Dark Knight is the front runner for that fifth slot. The only challengers are Doubt and Wall-E. It should go to the Wrestler, but that's another story.

Mickey Rourke on Letterman

Dude is cool. 

Airing of Grievances '08

In the spirit of Festivus, I feel its appropriate to list the top five things that disappointed me with this year's Oscar race. If you are not familiar with "Festivus", please refer to season 9 (eps 166) of Seinfeld. Here's the Oscar edition of my "Airing of Grievances":

5. The Political Relevance of 'Milk'

Simply stated; rights should be distributed equally. No person should be discriminated against because of race, religion, sexuality, etc. The fact that we are currently debating the issues that Harvey Milk fought over baffles me. If this is the land of freedom, then Gays should have the right to marry, period. 'Milk' shouldn't be a politically relevant film because these issues aren't supposed to be politically relevant.

4. The Dark Knight is better than Jesus?

I, like many others, anticipated the Dark Knight since the closing credits of Batman Begins. Needless to say, my expectations were as high as Josh Howard on a Saturday night. However, the fan boys (and gals) we're an inch away from ruining the film for me. I know that the opinions of others shouldn't influence me, but their fanatacism was taken to another level. Sometimes I felt threaten for my life when I argued that the Dark Knight was less than a 10 (out of 10). The fact that it's no. 4 all time on IMDB is evidence to the point that fanboys/girls really really really truly honestly love the Dark Knight. It's a great movie, but I don't think it's the best thing since slice bread, duct tape, Jesus Christ, or the Beatles.

3. No 'Road' in site

I geared up for "The Road" after watching Cormac McCarthy adapted book "No Country for Old Men". McCarthy knows how to tell a story, and after reading The Road, I was confident that McCarthy had produced another gem for all of us. I wrote about it a few times throughout the year, and placed it among my most anticipated. However, the powers that be felt it wasn't the right time to release the movie. I was saddened deeply. I even thought about throwing toilet paper all over the buildings of Dimension, but figured criminal charges wouldn't sit well with the NYC bar.

2. Death of Heath Ledger

I always thought he was a really talented actor. He was dedicated to his craft, and in his short time, gave us much to enjoy on screen. His turn as the "Joker" was brilliant and depressing to watch. He left with a bang, but we'll never be able to see him act again. I suppose we just have to take the good with the bad.

1. Laying the Smackdown on 'the Wrestler'

The Wrestler is the best movie of the year. It deserves to be mentioned alongside Slumdog and Milk, but the critics aren't given it must praise. At this point, its looking to get very limited love from the Academy. Of course, winning awards don't mean everything. But, we all want our favorite films to get some love. Rourke is getting well deserved love, but the film is equally great.

[By praise, I mean precursor wins]

Other than that, 2008 was great for film. Here's to 2009!

December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

From all of us at the site, no matter what you celebrate...have a happy and a healthy one!

State of Play Trailer

Check it out:
-It doesn't look bad...hope the full movie is better though...opinions?

Oklahoma Film Critics Chime In

Here they are:
Best Film of 2008: Slumdog Millionaire dir. Danny Boyle
Top Ten Films (listed alphabetically):
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Rachel Getting Married
Slumdog Millionaire
The Wrestler

Best Foreign Film: Let the Right One In, dir. Tomas Alfredso
Best First Feature: Synecdoche, New York, dir. Charlie Kaufman
Best Documentary: Man on Wire, dir. James Marsh
Best Animated Film: WALL-E dir. Andrew Stanton
Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Best Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Best Original Screenplay: Robert D. Siegel, The Wrestler
Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
Obviously Worst Film: The Love Guru
Not-So-Obviously Worst Film: Mamma Mia!
-Very nice selections overall...thoughts?

Academy Idol: Top 10 (SAG Nominations Week)

Who will get eliminated next? (Who do you think will be the Bottom 3?)

December 23, 2008

The 10 Best Films Nobody Saw This Year

Hopping on the list bandwagon with this one, though my official best of the year list is still about a week away. Instead, I'm making mention of the 10 best flicks this year that people mostly seemed to ignore, either in terms of a bad box office, small release, missing out on a wider audience in one way or another, or some combination of those.
Without further blabbering on my part, here they are, in descending order:
10. Diary of the Dead
9. The Hammer
8. Snow Angels
7. My Blueberry Nights
6. Stop Loss
5. Choke
4. The Wackness
3. Charlie Bartlett
2. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
1. The Go-Getter
-Feel free to comment...

A Holiday DVD Week

Yes, deck the halls and light the menora and such, it's holiday season, and on the site is no exception. The DVD releases this week aren't holiday themed, except in that they're for sale this holiday season. Quick note that some of the movies won't be out till the weekend, so take note of that. There's some decent selections, though nothing amazing. My PICK OF THE WEEK is the latest from the Brothers Coen. It's:
Burn After Reading
Essentially the comedy version of No Country for Old Men, it's got some nice performances from the ensemble and is generally pretty appealing.
-Also out we have Shia's mindless action flick Eagle Eye, which is ok if you turn your brain off, the even more mindless action film Death Race, the decent pseudo horror drama Baghead, the ok period piece starring (who else but?) Keira Knightley The Duchess, the flawed but entertaining documentary American Teen (my #2 pick this week), and the dueling comedies Hamlet 2 and Ghost Town, both of which are pretty entertaining.
-My Vintage pick, in honor of the season, is also one of my favorite movies to watch on a downer of a day. It's Love, Actually, and it's very hard not to be charmed by this. The holiday setting only adds to the flavor, and it's a great watch for the whole family (if they're not too uptight).
-What will you guys be watching this week?

December 22, 2008

Stalk a Critic!

Yes, now you can follow your friendly neighborhood film critic/blogger on twitter. I'm there, and welcome anyone who wants to keep in touch, chat about movies, or just shoot the breeze. My page is:
-Feel free to follow along!

Academy Idol: Top 11 Results

December 21, 2008

Push Poster

-Can't say I'm impressed, but it does seem moderately interesting...

News on the latest from Michael Moore

Seems like it's going to be one of a handful of films to deal with the financial crisis, as per this article in Variety:
Disgraced hedge fund manager Bernard Madoff is ripe for the Hollywood treatment, but the industry has long been mining tales of Wall Street greed and hubris.
Even before Madoff's stunning tale unfolded, 20th Century Fox had begun fast-tracking a "Wall Street" sequel. Penned by Allan Loeb ("21"), the script will pick up with Gordon Gekko, recently sprung from prison, who re-emerges into a financial world much more tumultuous and cutthroat than the one he once lorded over.
Greed is good for Michael Moore, too, who switched the focus of his next documentary from an examination of foreign policy to an expose of Wall Street crimes and misdemeanors. Moore, who is making his untitled doc in partnership with Overture and Paramount Vantage, couldn't have asked for a better villain than the Washington-connected Madoff, who is accused of bilking $50 billion from his clients, many of them charities, hospitals and trusts.
And Elevation Filmworks, the production company behind indie pics including "Sherrybaby," is developing a bigscreen adaptation of Stephen Amidon's novel "Human Capital." Published in 2004, the book, which looks at the human toll taken when a father invests all of his family's money in a mysterious hedge fund, has become eerily timely given the recent headlines. Noam Murro ("Smart People") is attached to direct.
Loeb, who is busy finishing up his latest "Wall Street 2" draft, says he has been riveted by the Madoff headlines.
"The thing that is so crazy about this story is that Ponzi schemes seem to be the simplest low-class scam," says Loeb, noting that the Madoff scandal will likely be referenced in "Wall Street 2." "But this was carried out in the highest-echelon of high-finance. You couldn't even get in to see this guy unless you had $2 million to invest."
Loeb says the Madoff case would make a great episode on "Crooked," a Fox TV show he is developing and producing that deals with white-collar crime. That is, if "Law & Order" doesn't beat him to the punch.
-Seems like a good subject for him....also, Wall Street 2 suddenly doesn't like such a bad idea, to me at least.

December 20, 2008

Two Lovers Poster

-Perhaps the poster should say "the best American drama of NEXT year", but still...

A Body Slam of a Movie

My full review will be up soon, but I feel compelled to write and state that without question, The Wrestler is the true masterpiece of the year. What Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, and Darren Aronofsky have done in this film is without peers this year. See it as it expands (it's currently only in NY and LA), because it deserves quite a few Oscar nominations (personally, Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Original Score, and Original Song are all categories that it should be recognized in). I can't stress this enough...The Wrestler is the best film of 2008. More to come, but feel free to state your favorite film of the year here!

African American Film Critics Association Hands Out Thier Awards

AAFCA 2008 Film Selections
First, their top 10

1. The Dark Knight
2. Slumdog Millionaire
3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
4. Tie) The Secret Life of Bees
4. Tie) Cadillac Records
6. Miracle at St. Anna
7. Milk
8. Seven Pounds
9. Doubt
10. Iron Man
Best Director: Danny Boyle
Best Lead Actor: Frank Langella
Best Lead Actress: Angelina Jolie
Best Sup. Actor: Heath Ledger
Best Sup. Actress: Viola Davis
Special Achievement Award: Melvin Van Pebbles
-Some notice for The Dark Knight, always a good thing

A "Usual Suspect" for Future Tom Cruise Projects?

Excuse the crappy pun, but it seems so, according to Variety:
"Valkyrie" co-writer and producer Christopher McQuarrie is fast becoming a go-to guy for Tom Cruise.
The scribe is now working on three post-"Valkyrie" projects designed as potential star vehicles for the actor.
New Regency has set McQuarrie and Mason Alley to write "Flying Tigers," based on the volunteer fighter squadron formed to help the Chinese fight the Japanese before the U.S. entered World War II.
Cruise isn't formally attached. The "Top Gun" star has long wanted to return to the skies, and several years ago was attached to "The Few," a Paramount project about the first American pilots to battle Germans in WWII, with director Michael Mann and scribe John Logan.
McQuarrie also is writing and producing with Guillermo del Toro the previously announced United Artists project "The Champions," penning the script with an eye toward hammering it into a Cruise vehicle. The British TV series transfer concerns a team of government agents rescued from a plane crash in the Himalayas by an advanced civilization and given superhuman abilities.
MGM brass has long felt that the project was UA's strongest chance for a big-ticket franchise vehicle that could star UA co-owner Cruise.
But the Cruise-McQuarrie collaboration with the most urgency is Spyglass espionage drama "The Tourist." McQuarrie is rewriting for Cruise to star with Charlize Theron in the Bharat Nalluri-directed remake of the 2005 French thriller "Anthony Zimmer." Julian Fellowes originally scripted the redo.
-I'm a fan of Cruise, so I like the prospects of him working steady again...thoughts?

Detroit Film Critics Awards

Best film
Slumdog Millionaire
Best director
Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire
Best actor
Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler
Best actress
Kate Winslet for Revolutionary Road
Best supporting actor
Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight
Best supporting actress
Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler
Best ensemble
Best newcomer
Martin McDonough, writer/director, In Bruges

December 19, 2008

Baz making The Great Gatsby?

Seems like it, according to Variety:
Baz Luhrmann may jump from pre-WWII Australia to America's Jazz Age.
The "Australia" helmer has purchased the rights to "The Great Gatsby," F. Scott Fitzgerald's tome of the Roaring Twenties. While a script does not yet exist, Luhrmann intends to focus on it after "Australia's" awards run. No studio is attached yet.
Fitzgerald's novel of American excess has spawned a Broadway play and multiple films, including Jack Clayton's 1974 pic starring Robert Redford and scripted by Francis Ford Coppola.
-And here I thought Scorsese beat him to it (on Entourage)....thoughts?

The Vegas Film Critics Dig Frost/Nixon

Picture: “Frost/Nixon”
Actor: Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Actress: Kate Winslet, “Revolutionary Road,” “The Reader”
Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”
Director: Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Screenplay (Original or Adapted): Peter Morgan, “Frost/Nixon”
Cinematography: Claudio Miranda, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Film Editing: Daniel P. Hanley and Mike Hill, “Frost/Nixon”
Score: James Newton Howard, “Defiance”
Song: “Another Way to Die,” “Quantum of Solace”
Family Film: “The Spiderwick Chronicles”
Documentary: “Man on Wire”
Animated Film: “Wall-E”
Foreign Film: “Mongol” (Russia)
Costume Design: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Art Direction: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Visual Effects: “Iron Man”
Youth in Film: David Kross, “The Reader”
-While I think they've gone a bit overboard for Frost/Nixon (see my review here: it's nice to see some different choices...

Utah's Film Critics Chime In

Some love for The Dark Knight:
2008 Utah Film Critics Association Winners

Best Picture
The Dark Knight(runner-up: Rachel Getting Married)
Best Achievement in Directing
Andrew Stanton, WALL-E(runner-up: Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight)
Best Lead Performance by an Actor
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler(runners-up: Richard Jenkins, The Visitor; Sean Penn, Milk)
Best Lead Performance by an Actress
Melissa Leo, Frozen River(runner-up: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married)
Best Supporting Performance by an Actor
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight(no runner-up)
Best Supporting Performance by an Actress
Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married(runners-up: Frances McDormand, Burn After Reading; Misty Upham, Frozen River; Evan Rachel Wood, The Wrestler)
Best Screenplay
Jenny Lumet, Rachel Getting Married(runner-up: Robert Siegel, The Wrestler)
Best Documentary Feature
Man on Wire(runners-up: Encounters at the End of the World; Waltz with Bashir)
Best Non-English Language Feature
Let the Right One In(runner-up: Waltz with Bashir)
Best Animated Feature
WALL-E(runner-up: Kung Fu Panda)

I Have Officially Seen The Best Film of the Year...

Details to come, but feel free to guess what film has captured this distinction for me...

December 18, 2008

London Critics' Circle Nominate their Best of the Year!

Nominations from across the pond:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Warner)
Frost/Nixon (Universal)
Milk (Momentum)
Wall-E (Disney)
The Wrestler (Optimum)
Happy-Go-Lucky (Momentum)
Hunger (Pathe)
In Bruges (Universal)
Man on Wire (Icon)
Slumdog Millionaire (Pathe)
Gomorrah (Optimum)
I’ve Loved You So Long (Lionsgate)
The Orphanage (Optimum)
Persepolis (Optimum)
Waltz With Bashir (Artificial Eye)
Darren Aronofsky - The Wrestler (Optimum)
Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire (Pathe)
Clint Eastwood - Changeling (Universal)
David Fincher - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Warner)
Gus Van Sant - Milk (Momentum)
Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire (Pathe)
Terence Davies - Of Time and the City (BFI)
Mike Leigh - Happy-Go-Lucky (Momentum)
Steve McQueen - Hunger (Pathe)
Christopher Nolan - The Dark Knight (Warner)
Josh Brolin - W. (Lionsgate)
Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon (Universal)
Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight (Warner)
Sean Penn - Milk (Momentum)
Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler (Optimum)
Penelope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Optimum)
Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married (Sony)
Angelina Jolie - Changeling (Universal)
Meryl Streep - Doubt (Miramax)
Kate Winslet - The Reader (Entertainment) and Revolutionary Road (Paramount)
Michael Fassbender - Hunger (Pathe)
Ralph Fiennes - The Duchess (Pathe)
Ben Kingsley - Elegy (Entertainment)
Dev Patel - Slumdog Millionaire (Pathe)
Michael Sheen - Frost/Nixon (Universal)
Rebecca Hall - Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Optimum)
Sally Hawkins - Happy-Go-Lucky (Momentum)
Kristin Scott Thomas - I’ve Loved You So Long (Lionsgate)
Tilda Swinton - Julia (Chelsea)
Kate Winslet - The Reader (Entertainment) and Revolutionary Road (Paramount)
Liam Cunningham - Hunger (Pathe)
Toby Jones - Frost/Nixon (Universal) and W. (Lionsgate)
Eddie Marsan - Happy-Go-Lucky (Momentum)
Peter O’Toole - Dean Spanley (Icon)
Mark Strong - Body of Lies (Warner)
Hayley Atwell - The Duchess (Pathe)
Kristin Scott Thomas - Easy Virtue (Pathe)
Tilda Swinton - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Warner)
Emma Thompson - Brideshead Revisited (Miramax)
Alexis Zegerman - Happy-Go-Lucky (Momentum)
Simon Beaufoy - Slumdog Millionaire (Pathe)
David Hare - The Reader (Entertainment)
Martin McDonagh - In Bruges (Universal)
Peter Morgan - Frost/Nixon (Universal)
Eric Roth - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Warner)
Asa Butterfield - The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Miramax)
Georgia Groome - Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (Paramount)
Bill Milner - Son of Rambow (Optimum)
Dev Patel - Slumdog Millionaire (Pathe)
Will Poulter - Son of Rambow (Optimum)
Thomas Turgoose - Somers Town (Optimum) and Eden Lake (Optimum)
Joanna Hogg - writer-director: Unrelated (New Wave)
Martin McDonagh - writer-director: In Bruges (Universal)
Steve McQueen - writer-director: Hunger (Pathe)
James Watkins - writer-director: Eden Lake (Optimum)
Rupert Wyatt - director: The Escapist (Vertigo)
Dame Judi Dench

Chicago Film Critics Award Winners


BEST DIRECTOR: Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire
BEST ACTOR: Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler
BEST ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Kate Winslet - The Reader
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: WALL-E (Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Slumdog Millionaire (Simon Beaufoy)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: The Dark Knight (Wally Pfister)
MOST PROMISING PERFORMER: Dev Patel - Slumdog Millionaire
MOST PROMISING DIRECTOR: Tomas Alfredson - Let the Right One In

SAG Nominations!


Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road

Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire

Amy Adams, Doubt
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Kate Winslet, The Reader

Slumdog Millionaire
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Here's the rest.

The Dark Knight is not looking so great. The only uncertainty is Doubt (fitting title). So, there is still hope for Revolutionary Road or the Dark Knight (maybe even Wall-E). Thoughts?

Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 (and Bottom 5)

Lisa Schwarzbaum and Owen Gleiberman give their 10 best and 5 worst:
Lisa Schwarzbaum’s 10 Best:
2. Milk
3. The Dark Knight
4. Waltz with Bashir
5. Gomorra
6. Wendy and Lucy
7. Trouble the Water
8. Happy-Go-Lucky
9. Man on Wire
10. Tropic Thunder
Owen Gleiberman’s 10 Best:
1. The Wrestler
2. The Dark Knight
3. Rachel Getting Married
5. Momma’s Man
6. The Edge of Heaven
7. Burn After Reading
8. The Class
9. Milk
10. Tell No One

Lisa’s 5 Worst:
1. The Women
2. Seven Pounds
3. 88 Minutes
4. Speed Racer
5. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Owen’s 5 Worst:
1. Speed Racer
2. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
3. Patti Smith: Dream of Life
4. Australia
5. Hounddog
-Very much agree with both #1's as being fantastic films....what do you guys think?

December 17, 2008

SAG Predictions

Screen Actors Guild Nominations are tomorrow. No article to follow, just simple predictions. Post yours!

Best Performance by a Cast Ensemble
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Rachel Getting Married

Alternate: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Richard Jenkins-The Visitor
Frank Langella-Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn-Milk
Brad Pitt-The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke-The Wrestler

Alternate: Clint Eastwood-Gran Torino

Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Anne Hathaway-Rachel Getting Married
Sally Hawkins-Happy Go Lucky
Meryl Streep-Doubt
Kristin Scott Thomas-I've Loved You So Long
Kate Winslet-Revolutionary Road

Alternate: Angelina Jolie-Changeling

Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Josh Brolin-Milk
Robert Downey, Jr.-Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman-Doubt
Heath Ledger-The Dark Knight
Dev Patel-Slumdog Millionaire

Alternate: James Franco-Milk

Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams-Doubt
Penelope Cruz-Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis-Doubt
Debra Winger-Rachel Getting Married
Kate Winslet-The Reader

Alternate: Rosemarie DeWitt-Rachel Getting Married

Laying the Smackdown on the Gurus of Gold

The Good: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button made a significant leap ahead of Milk. Its now 4 points behind Slumdog. Although Milk dropped, it's only 18 points below Slumdog, while Frost Nixon and Revolutionary Road round out the top 5. 

The Bad: The Dark Knight dropped out of the top 5. Its still in the thick of things, but the DK's star is fading (at least among the Gurus and Critics). Guild love will do the Dark Knight wonders. Also, Wall-E isn't in the top ten yet. Its enjoying basement space with the Visitor. I think both of these movies should be in the top ten (of the movies listed), but who am I? 

The Ugly: The Wrestler has yet to make strides with the Gurus of Gold. Australia and Doubt are ahead of it. The Wrestler is currently at 98 % (RT) and 82 % (MC). Yet, the Gurus have yet to show it any significantly love. Either they hate wrestling or haven't seen the movie yet. I'll go with the former, since I'm still confused on why I ever enjoyed watching dudes in tights 'rassle

I Love You, Man Trailer

-Good cast...looks funny enough...I'm bout you guys?

Women's Perspective

Women Film Critics Circle:



Frozen River

BEST STORYTELLER [Screenwriting Award]
Jennifer Lumet: Rachel Getting Married

Melissa Leo: Frozen River

Mickey Rourke: The Wrestler

Abigail Breslin: Kit Kittredge and Definitely Maybe

Sally Hawkins: Happy-Go-Lucky
Meryl Streep: Mamma Mia!

I've Loved You So Long

The Secret Life Of Bees

How The Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer

Nothing But The Truth

Cadillac Records



Meryl Streep

Natalie Portman

ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women:

JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: For best expressing the woman of color experience in America:

KAREN MORLEY AWARD: For best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity:
Battle In Seattle

Deidra Edwards in DisFigured: For redefining conventional standards of female physical beauty and pride on screen, and promoting positive images of big bodied women.


A Walk To Beautiful

Wings Of Defeat

Traces Of The Trade

Aaron Eckhart: Towelhead
Sam Rockwell: Choke,
Larry Bishop: Hell Ride
Paul Rudd, Sean William Scott: Role Models
Jason Mewes: Zack And Miri Make a Porno

Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired
House Of The Sleeping Beauties
The Women
The Life Before Her Eyes
The Hottie and the Nottie
Savage Grace
Made Of Honor
The Family That Preys
Zack And Miri Make A Porno

I'm glad Zack And Miri finally won something.