Friday, December 26, 2008

12 Days of Christmas: A Christmas Story


The final day for the 12 Days of Christmas and the last movie I picked is a classic that everyone knows, so I won't explain the plot - A Christmas Story.
It's on 24 hours this Christmas on TBS and if you haven't seen it, go sit down and catch a showing of it. It has stood the test of time and remains a lot of people's favorite Christmas movie.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

12 Days of Christmas: It's a Wonderful Life

It’s Christmas Eve and we’ve reached day eleven on the 12 Days of Christmas and today’s movie is the classic everyone knows – It’s a Wonderful Life.
The movie is set in the year 1946 and takes place on Christmas Eve. We meet George Bailey (James Stewart) a man who is suicidal and is on the verge of jumping off a bridge. As he prepares himself to actually do it, he’s stopped at the last minute by a man (who is an angel) named Clarence (Henry Travers).
The movie then takes us back to show us George’s past and how he got to the point of almost killing himself. We learn that George is married to a woman named Mary (Donna Reed) and he also has four children. We see him owning his own business, which he inherited by his father, all seems well, and then we start seeing what went wrong.
George’s Uncle Billy (Thomas Mitchell) loses the money that Bailey Building and Loan owes the bank. This throws George’s life upside down and to make matters worse, the bank is owned by Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) a man who is as cold hearted as Scrooge.
Is Clarence able to help George back onto the right path? Well, that’s something you’ll have to find out for yourself.
If you haven’t seen this movie, you are truly missing out. The movie is very similar to A Christmas Carol in a lot of ways and that’s not a bad thing.
Jimmy Stewart always pulls off great performances, but this performance is fantastic and the role I always think of when someone mentions his name.
The movie is a true classic that has stood the test of time and will remain a movie that hits the heart for generations to come.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

12 Days of Christmas: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

The 10th movie on the list is a film that follows the Griswold family as they entertain their relatives during the Christmas holiday. Today’s movie is Christmas Vacation.
Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to have the greatest Christmas he’s ever had. He then decides to host all of his relatives in the effort to capture and share the holiday spirit. This only leads to slap stick comedy and also my favorite Vacation movie.
I don’t want to give a lot of the plot away, because if you haven’t seen the movie I want you to watch and see all the funny parts and enjoy them without any idea of what’s going to happen.
Randy Quaid returns to the series bringing back to life his famous Cousin Eddie, he delivers some of my favorite scenes in the movie.
I strongly recommend this holiday film, like all the other movies on this list.

12 Days of Christmas: A Christmas Carol "Scrooge"

I know this one is a day late, but today instead of one movie you get two. This movie that was supposed to make its appearance yesterday is what I like to call the best Scrooge movie, not as magical as the Muppets version but better on the drama. Today's movie is A Christmas Carol "Scrooge".
This movie, originally released in 1951, stars Alastair Sim as the cold hearted Ebeneezer Scrooge. The movie sticks to the plot of the book so faithfully, that this is considered the most faithful adaptation of the Dickens’ novel.
After watching several movies based off of the novel, I would say that this one really delivers the spirit of the book. After seeing it you’ll feel like you just read the classic once again.
Another great thing about this movie is the performance Sim gives as Scrooge; he delivers the role like no one as ever and succeeds tremendously.
The film has aged well, but younger audiences might just pass this one by with out ever looking at it and I advise everyone to give it a shot.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

12 Days of Christmas: The Muppet Christmas Carol

With only four more days to Christmas I bring you a very well done re-telling of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” with Michael Caine as Scrooge and Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit in the 1992 film – The Muppet Christmas Carol.
The movie follows the story of the classic story, Ebenezer Scrooge is a heartless man who cares only about work and the money he’s making. On Christmas Eve he returns home to only be visited by three ghosts that show him Christmas’ of his past, present and yet to come. All told with Muppets playing key characters.
This is the yet another great holiday film with great music and also has this real magic to it – a unique magic that only the Muppets seem to be able to bring out in this classic story.
If you are looking for a good film based off of this material to watch with your kids or to just enjoy yourself I strongly recommend it. It’s a movie I watched when I was young and it’s still a movie I watch each year around Christmas time. I warn you though; the music will get stuck in your head.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

12 Days of Christmas: Die Hard

It’s day seven of the 12 Days of Christmas and I bring you a movie that I was really hesitant on adding, but Brad Carroll insisted that it should be on the list. Today’s movie is Die Hard.
Yes, the movie is considered a holiday film by many people, because the film itself is set around Christmas.
The movie stars Bruce Willis as John McClane, a New York City detective who is traveling to Los Angeles to try reconciliation with his wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia). When McClane meets up with his wife, she is attending a Christmas party thrown by her employer, Takagi, in Nakatomi Plaza (it’s a high rise building).
During this party a group of terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) take control of the building and of course hold all the party goers hostage. McClane, being resourceful, is able to sneak away into the building’s maintenance areas. We then learn that Gruber is after $640 million in bearer bonds, which are stored in the buildings vault.
The film offers a great pace, great action and most likely the best holiday classic action film. The greatest thing about this movie is the villain Hans; he’s a great villain and a worthy advisory to put up against the common man McClane.
The movie spawned three more sequels, but as the series went on McClane became less and less of the common man and more of a superhero. If you saw Live Free and Die Hard, you know what I'm talking about. So, the first is the only one in the series that I really liked.
Do yourself a favor and check out Die Hard if you haven’t already.

Friday, December 19, 2008

12 Days of Christmas: Home Alone

Day six of the 12 Days of Christmas and today I bring you the holiday classic that made Macaulay Culkin a household name – Home Alone.
The film opens up with the McCallister family rushing around the house and getting prepared for their family vacation to Europe.
Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is the youngest of his family, the one that gets made fun of and the one that gets the bad end of the deal all the time. The night before their big trip, Kevin gets into a fight with his older brother Buzz, causing his mother to send him to bed up in the attic. He believes that his family has gone to far, so he puts a wish in place for them all just to dissapear.
The next morning the family all over sleep and are soon in a rush to catch their flight. With all the comotion they forget to wake up Kevin, which lead them to leaving him behind.
Kevin wakes up after they have left and discover that he is home alone and his wish must of worked. Little does he know that two robbers played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are lurking the neighborhood and have their eyes on the McCallister house.
A holiday movie that everyone should know about and love. The movie did give us three more sequels and those sequels weren’t as good as the original, which usually is the case in franchises such as this.The movie is a family film that keeps itself going through its runtime with any dull moments. I know some people are split on this movie and I don’t think you should be, the film captures the season of Christmas beatifully and also captures the meaning of family in a very heart tugging way. It’s a great holiday classic that everyone should have the chance to see.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

12 Days of Christmas: The Bishop's Wife

It’s day five of the 12 Days of Christmas and today I bring you a movie that offers some great acting, a great story and a all around good holiday film. Today I bring you The Bishop’s Wife.
When Bishop Henry Brogham (David Niven) comes into trouble while building a new cathedral, he prays for guidance and his prayer is answered by an angel named Dudley (Cary Grant), who claims to be a clergyman.
We soon learn that Dudley’s true motives are not to help with the cathedral, but to guide Henry who has become obsessed with the new cathedral and his duties and marriage are suffering because of it.
We then meet Julia (Loretta Young), the wife of Henry, who becomes close to Dudley. He becomes very attracted to her and Henry becomes very jealous of the growing relationship.
I won’t give away what happens, but the movie has a very strong ending and one that makes you sit back and remember why you love the movies.
This film is another personal favorite of mine, like all the movies on this list, but this one is so well done, truly original and offers a great cast, Cary Grant and Loretta Young are more than outstanding in their roles and their true talents show.Many say that the movie only works because of the stellar cast and that’s not really true. I loved the cast, but another thing that makes this movie so great is how it’s a fantasy at heart, yet it feels more realistic and human then anything. So after you are done watching it, it feels like that could really happen, that when we are faced with hard time that Someone is constantly looking out for us and they’re going to make sure will find are way once again. Movies now a days just loose those solid messages and that’s why when Christmas time comes around these old classics are still the ones that truly hit the heart.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

12 Days of Christmas: The Santa Clause

Welcome to day four of the 12 Days of Christmas and today’s movie stars Tim Allen as an ordinary man transforming into the Christmas icon, Santa Claus, in the holiday movie everyone should enjoy – The Santa Clause.
The film is about Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) a man who is divorced from his wife and also a father to Charlie (Eric Lloyd), who has lost his belief in Santa Claus.
That is all changed on Christmas Eve, while Charlie is spending the night; they are both woken up by a noise on the roof. They head outside to see what all the commotion is about and discover Santa on the roof. Scott yells at him causing Santa Claus to fall and become lifeless on the ground and then he magically disappears, leaving only the Santa suit behind.
Scott quickly goes through his pockets to find some sort of identification and comes across a business card that clearly stats that if something should happen to him, someone should put on the suit, get into the sleigh and leave the rest to the reindeers.
Scott puts on the suit and begins to deliver toys from house to house and at the end of their long trip, the reindeer bring them back to the North Pole. There they meet Bernard (David Krumholtz), the head elf of the North Pole and the person who brings The “Santa Clause” to Scott’s attention.
The clause is written very small on the card Scott took out of the Santa suit and says that upon the death of the previous occupant, whoever wears the suit assumes the identity of Santa Claus and all the responsibilities that go with it.
Now if you haven’t seen the movie you’ll have to now to find out how this affects his life.
The Santa Clause is the first movie in a Santa Clause trilogy and is the best out of the three. Yet, it took about eight years for a sequel to this movie to be released and it never lived up to the hype that it received over the years and the third movie should just be forgotten about.
What I enjoy most about this movie and the reason I placed it on this list is because it takes a lot of its style from older holiday movies. Also, Tim Allen’s performance as Santa Claus is great and there is one scene, where he’s being integrated by the police that is just hilarious.
If you haven’t been able to catch this movie on TV during one of its many showings, then I would recommend picking it up to watch.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

12 Days of Christmas: Elf

Welcome to the third day of 12 Days of Christmas and today’s movie stars Will Ferrell as a human raised by Elves, who thinks he’s an Elf in a film called Elf.
It all begins in an orphanage on the night before Christmas. Santa (Edward Asner) has come down the chimney and as he’s placing presents under the tree, when an orphan baby is able to crawl out of his bed and into Santa’s sack. This causes Santa to take the baby all the way back to the North Pole, where he would be adopted by an older Elf named simply Papa Elf (Bob Newhart).
Fast forward the clock a few years and now that baby has grown into a full sized man named Buddy (Will Ferrell) and is unaware that he’s larger than all the other Elf’s that populate the world he lives in.
Soon Santa and Papa Elf decide it’s time for Buddy to go to New York City and find his real family. When Buddy arrives in New York he soon finds out that the life he led in the North Pole doesn’t apply to the real world.
After he has eaten gum off the street and twirled around in a rotating door, he decides it’s time to seek out his real father, Walter (James Caan), who is a publisher of children’s books that is addicted to his work.
Of course, Walter doesn’t think that this 6’3 elf is his son and takes him to get a blood test that proves that Buddy is who he says he is. This leads to Buddy meeting his step-mother, Emily (Mary Steenburgen) and his ten-year-old half-brother, Michael (Daniel Tay) who has no faith in the holiday and feels neglected by his father. Buddy then takes it upon himself to reintroduce the spirit of the holiday to everyone.
How can you not like this movie? It has Will Ferrell dressed up as an Elf in the role that made him into a movie star. There is just something really funny seeing a grown man running around New York as a Christmas Elf, if that's not enough to get you to watch the movie than I don't know if I can help you.
This would be my personal favorite Ferrell film, his stuff is starting to grow old; I mean Step Brothers was a total misfire and hopefully his upcoming movie Land of the Lost won’t suffer the same way.
Back to the movie, this is one of the best modern Christmas movies out there right now. Since 2003 I can name a few holiday movies that made me cringe (example: Christmas with the Kranks, Deck the Halls and Surviving Christmas) and also made me happy that we have movies like this.
If you are one of those people that haven’t seen this yet, I strongly advise you to watch it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

12 Days of Christmas: Scrooged

The second movie on my list is a movie that I’ve always considered to be a holiday classic. The movie puts Bill Murray into the role of a Scrooge like character and retells A Christmas Carol in Scrooged.
In the film Murray plays TV network president, Frank Cross, a man who has been turned from a nice guy to an evil executive that could care less about his family or employees. So because of his deeds he is visited by three ghost that bring the Charles Dickens Story A Christmas Carol into modern times and also create one my personal favorite Bill Murray movies.
I noticed three different things when I bring this movie up to people, they either love it, hate it or never seen it. I’ll be honest this movie might not be enjoyed by everyone; some of the material feels much uninspired. Yet, I think that’s all made up my Murray’s performance.
Besides Murray, another reason why I liked this movie is because of its sarcastic feel the movie carries, which makes for a very entertaining comedy.
All in all it’s an enjoyable holiday movie that everyone should check out.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

12 Days of Christmas: Christmas in Connecticut

In 12 Days of Christmas I will be covering 12 different holiday movies that are on my must see list. I didn’t include any holiday specials (Example: Rudolph, Charlie Brown, The Grinch), I only included feature length films.
The first movie on the list is a classic from 1945 that stars Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan in a great Christmas story – Christmas in Connecticut.
The film is about Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) a writer who writes a cooking column for a women’s magazine, there is only one problem she has no experience in the kitchen. She is only posing as a happy housewife who has a husband and a very nice house in the country.
Soon her publisher, who believes that all she writes is true, arranges for her to entertain Sailor Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan) over the Christmas holiday. This causes Lane to marry her boyfriend, find a house and prepare one of her wonderful meals that she always writes about. Things get even more complicated when Lane starts to fall in love with Jones.
The movie is a comedy and a very screwball type of comedy, that is all about mistaken identities and it’s actually done very well. Stanwyck performance is really the best reason to watch the movie; she is able to break out of what could have been a very linear performance and makes it a performance that overcomes its restrictions and boundaries.
If you don’t like older movies then you most likely will not like this movie. It’s a great comedy, but it also shows its age.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stamos and Dino Projects Are Dead

If you're like me, then you have been looking forward to the long promised Jurassic Park IV, but according to sources the project has met it's end. Producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy have stated that they have no interest in continuing the franchise.
I can honestly say that I'm not to heart broken about this news, for the simple fact that I think the Jurassic Park franchise has ran its course. Let's be honest with one another, Jurassic Park: The Lost World and Jurassic Park III really didn't reach the excitement of the original and always left me thinking they could of did that better.
In other news that struck me as interesting, John Stamos had been trying to get a new Full House series off the ground, but his efforts proved to be futile. According to what I've read, the series would have brought back the Tanners. Everyone would have revived their old characters, but it was unclear if the Olsen twins would of made a reappearance.
I honestly don't know if this show would of been a hit, it might of been. I know that the CW is having great success with their new 90210 and because of its success the network is planning on resurrecting Melrose Place. So, it seems that bringing back retro TV shows is all the rage.
My opinion is the only way you can make Full House work is if you either remake it with an entirely new cast (which would most likely cause it to flop) or have it be a spin-off focusing on only a few characters from the original. Yet, we don't have to worry about it since that couldn't close the deal.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Golden Globe Nominations Announced


It's that day once again, the day where they announce the nominations for the upcoming Golden Globe Awards. There is a few things that I think these nominations were lacking, First, why is True Blood nominated for Best Drama Series? I admit I wasn't faithful to this series but for the episodes I saw they weren't really anything that special.
The other thing why isn't Christopher Nolan nominated for Best Director for The Dark Knight? It was one of the best directed movies I've seen this year and not even a mention of him. The nominations are listed below.

Best Motion Picture - Drama
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
The Reader
Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie – Changeling
Meryl Streep – Doubt
Kristin Scott Thomas – I've Loved You So Long
Kate Winslet – Revolutionary Road

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Leonardo DiCaprio – Revolutionary Road
Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn – Milk
Brad Pitt – The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Best Motion Picture - Musical Or Comedy
Burn After Reading
Happy-Go-Lucky
In Bruges
Mamma Mia!
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Rebecca Hall – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Sally Hawkins – Happy-Go-Lucky
Frances McDormand – Burn After Reading
Meryl Streep – Mamma Mia!
Emma Thompson – Last Chance Harvey

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical Or Comedy
Javier Bardem – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Colin Farrell – In Bruges
James Franco – Pineapple Express
Brendan Gleeson – In Bruges
Dustin Hoffman – Last Chance Harvey

Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams – Doubt
PenĂ©lope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis – Doubt
Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler
Kate Winslet – The Reader

Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Tom Cruise – Tropic Thunder
Robert Downey Jr. – Tropic Thunder
Ralph Fiennes – The Duchess
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

Best Animated Feature Film
Bolt
Kung Fu Panda
Wall-E

Best Foreign Language Film
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany)
Everlasting Moments (Sweden, Denmark)
Gomorrah (Italy)
I've Loved You So Long (France)
Waltz With Bashir (Israel)

Best Director - Motion Picture
Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry – The Reader
David Fincher – The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard – Frost/Nixon
Sam Mendes – Revolutionary Road

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Written by Eric Roth
Doubt
Written by John Patrick Shanley
Frost/Nixon
Written by Peter Morgan
The Reader
Written by David Hare
Slumdog Millionaire
Written by Simon Beaufoy

Best Original Score - Motion Picture
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Composed by Alexandre Desplat
Changeling
Composed by Clint Eastwood
Defiance
Composed by James Newton Howard
Slumdog Millionaire
Composed by A. R. Rahman
Frost/Nixon
Composed by Hans Zimmer

Best Original Song - Motion Picture
"Down To Earth" – Wall-E
Music By: Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman
Lyrics By: Peter Gabriel
"Gran Torino" – Gran Torino
Music By: Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens, Clint Eastwood and Jamie Cullum
Lyrics By: Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens
"I Thought I Lost You" – Bolt
Music & Lyrics By: Miley Cyrus and Jeffrey Steele
"Once In A Lifetime" – Cadillac Records
Music & Lyrics By: Beyoncé Knowles, Amanda Ghost, Scott McFarmon, Ian Dench, James Dring and Jody Street
"The Wrestler" – The Wrestler
Music & Lyrics By: Bruce Springsteen

Best Television Series - Drama
Dexter (SHOWTIME)
House (FOX)
In Treatment (HBO)
Mad Men (AMC)
True Blood (HBO)

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Drama
Sally Field – Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
Mariska Hargitay – Law & Order
January Jones – Mad Men (AMC)
Anna Paquin – True Blood (HBO)
Kyra Sedgwick – The Closer (TNT)

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Drama
Gabriel Byrne – In Treatment (HBO)
Michael C. Hall – Dexter (SHOWTIME)
Jon Hamm – Mad Men (AMC)
Hugh Laurie – House (FOX)
Jonathan Rhys Meyers – The Tudors (SHOWTIME)

Best Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
30 Rock (NBC)
Californication (SHOWTIME)
Entourage (HBO)
The Office (NBC)
Weeds (SHOWTIME)

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
Christina Applegate – Samantha Who? (ABC)
America Ferrera – Ugly Betty (ABC)
Tina Fey – 30 Rock (NBC)
Debra Messing – The Starter Wife (USA)
Mary-Louise Parker – Weeds (SHOWTIME)

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock (NBC)
Steve Carell – The Office (NBC)
Kevin Connolly – Entourage (HBO)
David Duchovny – Californication (SHOWTIME)
Tony Shalhoub – Monk (USA)

Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television
A Raisin In The Sun (ABC)
Bernard And Doris (HBO)
Cranford (PBS)
John Adams (HBO)
Recount (HBO)

Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Judi Dench – Cranford (PBS)
Catherine Keener – An American Crime
Laura Linney – John Adams (HBO)
Shirley MacLaine – Coco Chanel
Susan Sarandon – Bernard And Doris (HBO)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Ralph Fiennes – Bernard And Doris (HBO)
Paul Giamatti – John Adams (HBO)
Kevin Spacey – Recount (HBO)
Kiefer Sutherland – 24 (FOX)
Tom Wilkinson – Recount (HBO)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Eileen Atkins – Cranford (PBS)
Laura Dern – Recount (HBO)
Melissa George – In Treatment (HBO)
Rachel Griffiths – Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
Dianne Wiest – In Treatment (HBO)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Neil Patrick Harris – How I Met Your Mother
Denis Leary – Recount (HBO)
Jeremy Piven – Entourage (HBO)
Blair Underwood – In Treatment (HBO)
Tom Wilkinson – John Adams (HBO)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ledger Receives Best Supporting Actor

The Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association announces its winners of the year. The full list of awards is listed below.
Best Film: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director: Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
Best Actress: Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Best Ensemble: Doubt
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Best Supporting Actress: Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married)
Best Breakthrough Performance: Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire)
Best Original Screenplay: Jenny Lumet (Rachel Getting Married)
Best Animated Feature: Wall-e
Best Foreign Language Film: Let The Right One In
Best Documentary: Man On Wire
Best Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Welcome Back To Crystal Lake

A new poster (that is on your left) and trailer have been released for the new Friday the 13th movie and both look interesting. Also, a synopsis has hit the internet and it’s listed below.
Searching for his missing sister, Clay heads up to the eerie woods of legendary Crystal Lake, where he stumbles on the creaky remains of rotting old cabins that lie in wait behind moss-covered trees. And that's not the only thing hiding under the brush. Against the advice of police and cautions from the locals, Clay pursues what few leads he has, with the help of a young woman he meets among a group of college kids up for an all-thrills weekend. But they are about to find much more than they bargained for. Little do they know, they've entered the domain of one of the most terrifying specters in American film history-the infamous killer who haunts Crystal Lake, armed with a razor-sharp machete - Jason Voorhees.
I’ve seen the new trailer and the story looks very similar to older Friday the 13th films. First, you have a group of teenagers at a cabin; partying and doing all the stuff we look forward to see in horror movies. Second, we have Clay, who is the main character, looking for his sister, he kind of reminds me of Tommy Jarvis (a character from the older Friday the 13th films).
Is it going to be good? Well, I don’t expect an Oscar worthy movie; Yet, I do expect it to be enjoyable and fun as the originals.
At the bottom of this post, I've posted the link to the new trailer. I wanted to post the whole thing right onto my blog but it won't let me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Phn-Ux2XJ4

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Dark Knight Returns

The Dark Knight is going to be re-released in U.S. cinemas in January.
The best Batman film to date, starring Christian Bale as The Dark Knight and the late Heath Ledger as the menacing Joker, was originally released in July and has grossed more than $996 million worldwide.
The studio bosses have decided to release the film back to U.S. theaters on January 23, which would be the day after this year’s Oscar nominations have been announced.
With this re-release I will say that the movie will surpass the $1 billion mark and Bale has stated that the success of the movie should earn or guarantee them Academy Awards. We won’t know this until the day of the announcements.
He also stated that Heath Ledger is a major Oscar contender and also that Christopher Nolan, the director, would also be a contender and he also thinks the film will be nominated for Best Picture.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The National Board of Review Announces Winners

Below is a full list of the awards given by the National Board of Review:
• Best Film: Slumdog Millionaire
• Best Director: David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
• Best Actor: Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
• Best Actress: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
• Best Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, Milk
• Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
• Best Foreign Foreign Language Film: Mongol
• Best Documentary: Man on Wire
• Best Animated Feature: WALL-E
• Best Ensemble Cast: Doubt
• Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
• Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: Viola Davis, Doubt
• Best Directorial Debut: Courtney Hunt, Frozen River
• Best Original Screenplay: Nick Schenk, Gran Torino
• Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire and Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
• Spotlight Award: Melissa Leo, Frozen River and Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
• The BVLGARI Award for NBR Freedom of Expression: Trumbo
• Top Ten Films: (In alphabetical order) BURN AFTER READING, CHANGELING, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, THE DARK KNIGHT, DEFIANCE, FROST/NIXON, GRAN TORINO, MILK, WALL-E, THE WRESTLER
• Top Five Foreign Language Films: (In alphabetical order) EDGE OF HEAVEN, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, ROMAN DE GUERRE, A SECRET, WALTZ WITH BASHIR
• Top Five Documentary Films (In alphabetical order) AMERICAN TEEN, THE BETRAYAL (NERAKHOON), DEAR ZACHARY, ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD, ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED

• William K. Everson Film History Award: Molly Haskell and Andrew Sarris

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Role Models is Hilarious, Fun and Solid

Here is a movie that’s actually a funny comedy, as I write this review I’m actually still laughing.
When we begin the movie we meet Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott) who are energy drink salesmen, their product is called Minotaur, which is a parody of Red Bull. They travel school to school and sell it to kids as a way to stay off drugs.
Wheeler, the man who dresses as the Minotaur, loves his job. Danny, his partner, has just celebrated his 10 year anniversary with Minotaur and he hate’s his job and feels he has wasted away years of his life.
Danny’s girlfriend Beth (Elizabeth Banks), who is a lawyer, dumps him because he thinks their relationship is getting close to marriage and this scares her, because he has such a negative outlook on life and she doesn’t want to be a part of that.
This send’s Danny into his own personal hell and when they are making a presentation at a local high school, they’re informed that their truck is being towed. To keep this from happening they both jump into the truck and try to drive away, in hopes that the truck will break loose from the tow truck. Yet, they end up crashing into a statue in front of the school.
They are then arrested for destruction of school property, assault of an officer and a host of other things. They are now faced with a choice, they can go to prison for 30 days or spend 150 hours with Sturdy Wings, which is a big brother type program.
Of course, they choose to join Sturdy Wings, which is led by recovering cocaine addict Gayle Sweeney (Jane Lynch).
Wheeler gets paired with Ronnie Shields (Bobb’e J. Thompson), the funniest and meanest little kid you’ll ever meet. Danny is paired up with Augie Farks (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, aka McLovin) who is shy kid who is obsessed with the live-action medieval game LAIRE (watch the movie to learn more about that).
Once they get paired with their “littles” as Gayle calls them, that’s where the movie really takes off and I found myself laughing through out the majority of this film.
The thing the movie really does well is what Superbad did so well, they have all this raunchy humor right up front and as the movie goes on you’re hit with its heart of gold. See that’s why these sorts of comedies work, because they don’t only have joke after joke with no story, they have a story and it turns out to be a really sweet one.
There is so much good this movie offers that I can’t really get into every single thing, but I’ll mention a few. First, Jane Lynch was funny in “The 40-year Old Virgin”, but she’s hilarious in this movie. Yes, she use to do coke and she doesn’t let you ever forget that, she’s very open about it and extremely open about almost everything else.
Paul Rudd was the perfect person to play a guy who hates life and makes fun of everything. He really does a great job in this role, even though he might be doing the same kind of acting he did in “Knocked Up”. Yet, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Now the other thing I really liked was Ronnie and Wheeler’s relationship, the scenes where it’s just them are priceless and I’m still laughing thinking about it. I can’t really say too much about it, due to some of the material they talk about, but trust me it’s hilarious.
Ok, so there are a few things that keep this movie from getting a perfect score. First, in some places the movie seems underwritten and it also has lack of original concepts, but that’s all made up by its characters and in the long run it's a solid product. So, if you can over look those minor flaws, then you'll really enjoy it.
All and all do yourself a favor and see this movie, it’s a comedy that’s funny, has likable characters and also has a heart of gold.

B+

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Twilight Is A Pale Comparison To Other Vampire Movies

Here it is the hit of the holiday, Twilight. Is it a good movie or is it designed just to suck all of the money out of your wallet?
The film is about a seventeen-year-old girl named Isabella “Bella” Swan, who moves from the bright Phoenix, Arizona, to the gloomy and dark Forks, Washington, to live with her father and chief of police, Charlie. Bella does this to allow her mother, Renee and her new husband, Phil Dwyer, who is a minor league baseball player, to travel.
When she arrives at her new school, she obtains instant attention and is quickly befriended by several students. Boys try to win the affection of Bella, but she is drawn to the mysterious Edward Cullen.
Edward to the boy who sits next to her in Biology class, and when they first come into contact, Edward seems repulsed by the sight of Bella. Edward even tries to switch classes to avoid her, leaving Bella feeling weird and also puzzled.
Bella’s curiosity soon grows and she gets one of her friends, Jacob Black (a Native American), to tell her the local tribe legend about the Cullen family. Bella soon comes to the conclusion that Edward is a vampire and a 108-year-old vampire that looks seventeen.
Edward then tells Bella that him and his family don’t drink human blood and drink animal blood instead. He also tells her that he avoided her because the scent of her blood was so tempting. So, yes he technically wants to eat her but doesn’t because he loves her.
Yes, Bella and Edward start up a relationship, things go well for awhile, and then another vampire coven finds their way into Forks. The leader of this coven is named, James, and he’s a tracker vampire (which means he hunts and eats humans). He soon decides that he wants to hunt Bella for sport and Edward and his family join together to protect her.
I won’t say what happens, but I think you can pretty much put it together.
This movie is not by any means the best vampire movie out there. I went into the movie with such low expectations, because the trailer and commercials really reminded me of a movie or show that should be on the CW. After I saw the movie I was kind of impressed.
The film itself is a very underwhelming love story but it’s high on camp and I love movies that have a lot of camp. The bad thing about this movie having a lot of camp is that it relies too much on it and looses its emotional insight.
The movie is obviously for fans of the book, but I even read the book and the movie in some places just seemed to be a spoof of the novel. Especially the scene where Edward demands Bella to say what he is, that scene just made me cringe. I listed the dialogue below; I mean that’s some corny stuff.

Cullen: Say it, say it out loud.
Isabella Swan: Vampire...

All right the next piece of dialogue I thought was bad was this …

Isabella Swan: Are you going to tell me how you stopped the van?
Edward Cullen: Yeah. Um... I had an adrenaline rush. It's very common. You can Google it.

Really? You had an adrenaline rush? That’s your excuse for stopping a van with your bare hands? Who the hell would believe that?
Ok, here’s the next piece of dialogue that just made me shake my head.

Edward Cullen: Are you afraid?
Isabella Swan: I'm only afraid of losing you.

*sigh* This would been all right if the movie wasn’t already campy, but when this line is uttered it just seems bad, not romantic, not beautiful, just bad.
Ok … with all that said the movie is entertaining and if you really want to see it, go see it. Yet, I doubt this movie is going to become a classic like the Harry Potter films, but we can always look back and watch it and laugh at things that are clearly not meant to be funny.
I will say this one more time, this would make a great series on the CW, I mean it - listen Hollywood you can make a killing off of it.

C+

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's A Bolt of Charm

Bolt, a computer animated Disney movie that did not come out of the PIXAR offices falls short of what PIXAR usually offers, but the movie proves to be one of the best animated Disney films in years.
The film is centered on a super-dog named Bolt (John Travolta). Everyday in Bolt’s life is filled with danger, adventure and excitement, but that is until the cameras stop rolling.
When the day of shooting the TV show “Bolt” is done they send Bolt the dog back into his trailer and cut him off from any contact from the outside world.
Due to his constant isolation, Bolt really thinks he’s a super-dog and when one of the episodes ends in a cliffhanger, Bolt escapes from his trailer and sets out to find his “person” Penny (Miley Cyrus).
He is soon accidentally shipped from his home in Hollywood to New York City, and there is where he begins his adventure, traveling cross-country, through the real world, to get back to his owner Penny.
He is equipped with only delusions that he has amazing super powers and also two companions – an abandoned house cat named Mittens (Susie Essman) and Bolt’s biggest fan, Rhino the hamster (Mark Walton).
Bolt is a great kid’s movie, but will not keep most adults entertained. A lot of the movie is humor that kids will react to and the only humor in the movie that really made me laugh is the hamster (That makes his first on screen appearance in the film after it’s an hour old).
I’m not going to go on to say that I hated Bolt, it was a cute movie, but we’ve seen it all before. The story feels very familiar, that’s because most of the story lines are taken right from other animated movies. If you don’t believe me, I will point out a few.
1. The character Mittens’ story about being abandon made me reminisce about Jessie, the Yodeling Cowgirl, from Toy Story 2. Their abandoning stories seem kind of familiar.
2. Bolt believing he’s actually a super-dog, but in the end finds out that he has no super power but can do amazing things anyway. This felt like the story for Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story. Buzz thought he was a Space Ranger, but in the end finds out he’s a toy, but that doesn’t mean he can’t due amazing things.
3. The scene where they are in the pound and Rhino rolls his ball into the kennels. All the dogs perk up their heads and start saying “Ball”, just like the seagulls in Finding Nemo but they said “Mine”.
With those points made you can start to see what I mean. The movie is not really as creative as it could have been and in some places the story just seemed to be lacking.
What really saved this movie are its characters, the three mains are great. I was a little mad about the hamster, being the character they advertised the most out of, just being in the movie when it was already an hour over.
Summing everything up, I will say that Rhino the hamster should have been brought in earlier, the opening was about 20 minutes and that could have been cut down to about 10 and the story could have used a little more polishing. Yet, in the end this is a great kids movie, which we see less and less of, and kids will love it.

B-

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sex Drive Fails To Reach Its Destination

I really do look forward to watching teen comedies, because in the past there has been a select few that really proven themselves.
I went into Sex Drive, looking or more expecting a decent teen movie that’s not great but something you can watch, enjoy and then just move on. What I got was a movie that I just felt was trying to hard, I will admit there are scenes in this movie that will make you laugh out loud, but the three main characters are such duds that I really could of cared less about them.
Before I get into ranting about the films short comings I will fill you in on the plot. The movie revolves around Ian (Josh Zuckerman), who is the 18-year-old awkward kid in high school that has a hard time figuring out girls and of course he’s a virgin. He is also riveted by his online girlfriend who calls herself Ms. Tasty (Katrina Bowden).
Of topic for a moment, I want to say that never set up meetings with people you meet online, especially if their name is Ms. Tasty.
Back on topic, we soon meet Ian’s best friend named Lance (Clarke Duke), who is chubby, has zits and gets any girl he wants by acting like a jerk to them. I hated this character, he was awful, and they seemed to be trying to copy Jonah Hill from Superbad but made him less lovable and funny. I found this kid to be my least favorite out of the three main characters.
So Ms. Tasty finally decides she wants to meet Ian in person and Ian wants to drive from Wisconsin to Tennessee to get guaranteed sex. Their other friend Felicia (Amanda Crew) joins them for the trip and we learn that she has a crush on Lance, like every other female in this movie.
Now how are they going to get down there you might ask, well that’s the best part of the movie. Ian has a brother named Rex (James Marsden) who has a fully restored 1969 GTO named “The Judge”. Rex is the saving grace of this movie, he is hilarious. All his dialogue is funny and the scene where he finds out his brother took his car is just priceless.
So, on their road trip to meet Ms. Tasty they pass through Amish country and it's the day of the annual Amish sex orgy, and Lance meets sexy Mary (Alice Greczyn), who he falls head over heels in love with. We also meet Ezekiel (Seth Green) who is the other funny part of this movie; they really should make a sequel just about Rex or Ezekiel.
They finally get to Tennessee with a lot of shenanigans on the way that range from some small laughs to very few big laughs.
Did I like this movie, not really, I can’t sit here and say that you need to go and see this movie right now! I suggest that if you want to watch the movie to either wait for DVD or TV.
I will say this, if they had a better person to play Lance it would have been a lot better. It’s not a movie that has so much bad that it makes it unwatchable, but it’s not a movie that has so much good that it makes it a good movie. I think Sex Drive sits on the fence of half bad and half good.
**out of Four
C-

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Zack and Miri Make A Good Movie

By JAMES DRZEWIECKI
Kevin Smith’s foul-mouthed, filthy and charming film about Zack and Miri making a porno proves to be more than just dirty jokes, its dirty jokes with a heart.
I’ll say this now, this movie is not for everyone, and a lot of people might be offended about what the movie talks about and shows. So, if you do decide to see it, remember they are making an adult film so expect a lot of raunchy things.
The movie starts with Zack (Seth Rogen) and his roommate and longtime friend, Miri (Elizabeth Banks). Due to lack of funds coming into the household, they have a large amount of bills that have driven them both deep into debt.
When they attend their 10-year high school reunion, Zack meets Brandon a man who does his own porn and distributes it himself pulling in over a 100 grand a year. This plants an idea in Zack’s head and when he and Miri are faced with eviction, Zack presents to her his idea about them making a porno.
Miri takes Zack up on his offer; and then they both realize that they have to be together on camera. This poses a problem, because they’ve always been just friends and Miri becomes concerned that one of them might get attached, Zack reassures her that what ever happens on camera is just to make them rich and it doesn’t mean anything.
Once they’ve come together, Zack and Miri start to look for their producer, cameraman and other people they can put in front of the camera. The ones that really stuck out for me were Jason Mewes (who usually plays Silent Bob’s friend Jay) plays Lester in this movie who has a talent that you have to find out for yourself, Jeff Anderson (who plays Randall in the Clerks movies) plays Deacon, a camera man who is involved in the movies most disgusting scene and Craig Robinson (who plays Darryl in one of my favorite shows “The Office”) plays Delaney, the films producer and Zack’s co-worker at a coffee shop proves to be hilarious in scenes where he tries to accomplish things he’s only has assumptions about.
Once they get their team together that start to get closer and closer to the scene between Zack and Miri and when the scene finally happens it throws both characters for a loop, because they both found out, what they should’ve known all along – they’re in love.
I think that’s enough plot for you and now you’re going have to see the movie in order to find out if Zack and Miri get together and what ever becomes of the movie they’re making.
I really did enjoy this movie and the reason I enjoyed it is because it’s not just a raunchy comedy, it’s a raunchy romantic comedy with a heart. Both Rogen and Banks have the chemistry that Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen lacked in Knocked Up. The chemistry between these two in the movie makes it more human and also makes you care for these characters.
The story/script was really well written for the most part (I had some issues with the ending). Smith always seems to have scenes that just offer raw discussions about sex (which made me reminisce about his movie Chasing Amy) and in this movie he takes it a step further and it works extremely well.
One thing I didn’t like about the movie is the ending, I can’t really get into this with out spoiling the whole story for you, but I thought some things went unanswered and it turned into a very generic feeling love story ending. I guess I was expecting just a little more from Smith, after a great well rounded movie.
I wouldn’t say this is Smith’s best film, but it’s a close second. I think he’s finally gotten over his Ben Affleck curse and I hope that he continues to do movies with Seth Rogen.

***out of Four
B+

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Strangers Falls Flat

Ever since The Strangers was released in May, I’ve been asked have I seen it and did I like it. So, to answer the questions once and for all – Yes, I’ve seen it and no, I did not like it and here is my reasons why.
The Strangers had tremendous promise, after seeing the trailer and the TV spots for this movie, it reminded me of a horror movie that should have been released in the 70’s. I was excited and ready for something great and what I got was a lackluster “horror” movie.
I will commend the movie on its incredible craft, but that’s all ruined by the constant cat and mouse game and the lack of an interesting story.
The movie begins with Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) and James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) coming home from a wedding and arriving at the Hoyt family isolated summer home. The first thing we are hit with is the obvious tension between Kristen and James and as the movie goes on we see that James had proposed to Kristen and she said no.
Right there, that really made me not like her character at all, she just seemed too much of cold person and in my opinion I didn’t really care if her character survived.
We then see the couple settle into the summer home and they begin to discuss their relationship, only to be interrupted by a knock on the front door. They answer the door and a woman stands there and asks if Tamara is home.
I guess this was supposed to be scary, but to be completely honest; there was nothing remotely freaky about this. Maybe it’s me and maybe it’s because I’ve seen tons of horror movies, that this moment in the movie just did not scare me one bit, not even a shiver.
After this event, James leaves the house to get Kristen a pack of cigarettes. This leaves Kristen alone and the woman returns, doing the exact same thing she did the first time. It didn’t scare me before, why the heck are they repeating the same kind of scare?
The people outside of the house then continue to terrorize Kristen, by knocking on the house from all different locations. I don’t want to give it all away, just in case you do want to watch the movie; I will say that the scares I just told you about are the same kind of scares you’ll get for the entire movie.
What I’m really disappointed about is that the director had a great concept and a great idea and was just not executed properly. The idea of people just invading your home to kill you “Because you were home” is a very unsettling and scary concept. These killers in this movie are not doing this act because they want revenge, they’re just doing it to do it and with the long dragged out cat and mouse game the movie looses that effect and also looses all of its tension.
Things I like about this movie is its intentions to do something creepy and also the mask the male killer wears, that’s a mask that could have gone down in horror history if the movie was done properly.
In 2010 we’ll be given another story in the world of The Strangers in The Strangers 2. In order for that movie to work it needs to have more happen and also have a story. I’ll say this now, please will someone write a decent script to go with this worthy idea of a horror movie.
I know a lot use the argument, oh, you like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, but you don’t like The Strangers? That’s a fact, the stories in the original Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street are actually good, solid stories and the sequels stories loss a lot of that and went into more camp, but the truth is those movies have stories and something to keep you entertained and The Strangers simply doesn’t have a story – it’s just a lot of screaming.
** Out of Four
C-

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Retro Review: Punch-Out!!

It has been 20 years since Punch-Out!! came to the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), but this year the game was re-released for the Nintendo Wii’s virtual console, bringing its main character Little Mac out of retirement and back into the ring. I took this classic game for another spin as I wanted to see if the game could stand the test of time and still be enjoyable for this generation of gamers.
When Punch-Out!! loads up, you’ll find out right away that it has a new title. Out is the original title of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! and in is the new title of Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream. Mike Tyson’s name will no longer be a part of the title because of a contract dispute back in the 90’s.
So, instead of fighting Tyson, you’re fighting Mr. Dream in the ultimate championship contest. Mr. Dream is the complete opposite of Tyson, and when I played against him, I still wish I was fighting Tyson he’s that good.
I was extremely young when I originally played the game, and it was harder for me to remember how to specifically to defeat each character.
Punch-Out!!, for those who don’t know, is a boxing game that follows the career of 17-year-old Little Mac. You take on the role of Mac and your ultimate desire is to become the next big boxing champion. To get to that point, you have to work your way through numerous characters that each have a specific way of punching them out. It’s called Punch-Out!! for a reason.
The other boxers you face start from easy to tough. You will start with a character named Glass Joe, who is a pushover, as he barely hits back and continue all the way to Mr. Dream who is far from a pushover.
The question here is if the game is still fun when playing it for the first time in years. The answer to that question is simple yes. The game holds up after all this time. The game design is solid, the characters are interesting, and the theme music will once again be stuck in your head. Which proves that Nintendo knows how to develop a game and develop it in a way where it can stand the test of time.
One thing I will admit is that the game’s soundtrack does not have a lot of variety, so get used to hear the same thing over and over.
The graphics are very impressive for its time. This is a game running on a system that supports very few bits, yet, you have wonderful, large and colorful character animation that holds up extremely well for the NES.
Diving back into the game, besides from just boxing, there is still some golden lines. Your boxing mentor, Doc, will give you hints on how to beat certain characters. The most annoying part about Punch-Out!! and Doc’s pointers, however, is when he decides to not give you any pointers, but to tell you to join the Nintendo Fun Club today.
Here I am getting beaten to a pulp and all he can say is to join a club that most likely doesn’t even exist anymore. It annoyed me years ago, and does the same today. Nintendo, please tell Doc to get new tips.
With the Nintendo Wii’s Virtual Console, younger gamers can now download this game and other gems from the 80’s and be frustrated with it, like we all were back in the day.
One thing that still remains in the game is its unforgivable game play. Newcomers will be bested by the game’s unforgiving challenges, and will have to get used to be sent back
down the ranks and start over.
Some may be turned off by the infamous challenge Punch-Out!! poses, but this is simply the best boxing game ever made, period. No graphic upgrades or slow motion punches can ever beat the feeling you receive when you load up Punch-Out!!
The controls are still tight and the game play is still hard and addictive, something so many games nowadays fall short of.
Even though it is several years since the game was released, and even with the removal of Mike Tyson, it is still the gold standard of boxing games.

9 OUT OF 10.

Dr. Jones is Back With Aliens

Since it was released on DVD, I dug up my old review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

By JAMES DRZEWIECKI
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the type of movie we all starve for. After summers filled with comedies that aren’t funny; horror movies that bring unwanted terror into our lives, mostly for how bad they are; and anything starring tweens in roles that are two much for them. Indiana Jones makes it all better by allowing all of us to be kids again and you’ll be jumping out of your seat as another adventure with Dr. Jones unfolds.
The movie is set in 1957, which will make it 19 years after The Last Crusade (1989). Henry Jones Jr., played by Harrison Ford, is still teaching at fictional Marshall College and is still going on adventures.
In this movie, we learn in the years that we have left him, he has become a master spy and American hero; this is good because Indy is going to need all that experience to compete against the communists, who are led by one of Stalin’s most respected scientists, Irina Spalko, played by Cate Blanchett.
Spalko is searching for the legendary artifact known as the Crystal Skull. The skull is said to have an immense power and riches to whoever returns it to its proper resting spot in a lost city in the middle of the Amazon.
Spalko comes to a dead end and realizes she needs Jones to lead her and her brigade of soldiers into the lost city. This is only after one of Jones old friends, Prof. Harold Oxely, played by John Hurt, may have found the skull and city, but Spalko can never put his riddled clues together and she hopes Jones can.
As the adventure begins, we see the FBI investigating Jones, causing him to lose his job, and the communists trailing him everywhere he goes. While this is all happening. Jones meets up with Mutt Williams, played by Shia LaBeouf, who brings a letter from someone in Indy’s past, who had been working closely with Professor Oxley. The letter is of course a riddle and once Jones cracks it, Jones and Mutt are off on another Indiana Jones adventure with whip in hand.
Stopping here without revealing anymore of the plot, just know that there are little surprises through the whole thing, so keep your eyes and ears open. Now let’s discuss where the movie stands in this very thrilling adventure series.
Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull does not stray at all from the style of the previous films, it’s a throwback to the 1930s serial movies and it does not forget that. This film never concerns itself with being serious and not like many movies today it allows itself to be just fun and non-realistic. If you go into this movie looking for a dark, older Indy then you don’t know what Indiana Jones is; if you just go in with keeping the older films on your mind you will see all the beauty the movie offers.
Steven Spielberg, of course, returns to the franchise as the director. Spielberg, who has not made a film like this in years, succeeds on numerous levels. He makes sure that he has the perfect amounts of humor, danger, action and, of course, camp. He also brings back true elements of the series that will always be remembered in this franchise such as when Indiana Jones travels we see it drawn out on a map as we see a plane move along its path in the background.
The other great element is the good, old-fashioned action with stuntmen and not computers.
This movie will settle for a fist fight rather than an overly complex computer generated scene. Don’t get me wrong this movie does have computer animation, but not much where it’s over the top.
In addition to the movie’s elements, we still get the same sense of mystery when we go with Indiana Jones to parts of the world that few have explored. A great thing about this movie is Indy is a character that does not use Google, Wikipedia or MapQuest to get to the places where he is going or to crack riddles he’s trying to solve. Indiana has studied for years upon years and has acquired all his knowledge himself. He has to be his own Internet and that’s what we should all respect him for.
The true fans of the series will love to see all the little details thrown into the movie, which act like a tribute to those who can’t be a part of this one. Another cool things I actually getting to hear tidbits about what Indy has been doing during his absence, such as being master spy and American hero. But he also has taken in part of some other things most notably aftermath of the Roswell crash. This is great because it makes Indy feel like a real person.
Harrison Ford is the man who makes this movie special, making us forget he is 65 years old. He never pretends to be young and we hear remarks made about his age, Ford still makes Indy fun, smart and fresh as he was in the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
The only negatives about this film is the villain, Spalko, never really takes off and she never becomes a fully rounded character; the editing in the film can be too quick and left me, a few times, wondering how we got here; and there is one scene in the movie that involves a character swinging from vines like Tarzan.
All and all, the movie is solid even though the ending may be too out there for some people and also for some Indy fans. Yet, this has been one of the best ways to introduce a beloved hero to a new generation.

B-

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jeff Bridges Returns to the World of Tron

Its official, Tron 2 is filming. Jeff Bridges returns to the big screen as computer hacker who in the original was sucked into a video game.
It's being reported that the film will be made within 24 months, which means we'll most likely see Tron 2 in theaters in the year 2010. I believe it will be a 2011 date, because I’ll count in if the movie ever gets delayed.
The movie will be shot in 3-D and Michael Wilkinson will be the costume designer, which I have high hopes for. If you don’t know who Wilkinson is he did the costume work for the upcoming film Watchman and the action-packed film 300.
Jeff Bridges feels pretty positive about the movie after seeing the script. He also feels that the technology is at the right place to make this movie not only about a man who gets sucked into a video game.
With that said I do believe that Tron 2 is going to have some challenges and here they are.
First, I don’t really know many people who still remember Tron, if you ask anyone that is under twenty they always seem to draw a blank. They can market this movie to death, but I do think when Tron 2 comes out people under 20 are still going to be asking “what is Tron?”
Second, the director, Joseph Kosinski, who is he? I looked him up on Internet Movie Data Base and found out that this will be his first movie in the directing chair. He’s also signed up to do the remake of Logan’s Run, so let’s all hope that he is up for the task not only for Tron’s sake but for Logan’s Run as well.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bond Breaks Records

Britain has reported that the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, has shattered the country's three-day launch record. The record was held by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. James Bond has gained $25.3 million.
It also set a single day record Friday, earning eight million in just one day.
I know on American standards that these numbers do not stand up, but for Britain these numbers are big. Will James Bond be big in the U.S.? I will say that it will make money, but I don't think it's going to do anything like summer movie, I predict it might pass 100 million here in the United States.
I won't be surprised if Bond breaks records stateside though.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Man of Steel Goes Dark?

After the disappointing Superman Returns, Warner Brothers is talking about either rebooting the Superman franchise or making a darker sequel – and it looks more and more likely that they may go into the direction of a dark story, since The Dark Knight did very well at the box office.
I have problems in making Superman a dark character, because he was never meant to be dark. I know Batman succeeded because of its tone, but that’s what Batman is supposed to be. Batman was a success because someone finally got it right.
Since the beginning Bruce Wayne and his alter ego were more of the edgier comic characters and Clark Kent and his alter ego were always the symbol of hope – why try to change a character after years of being one thing?
A lot of people say that Superman was darker in Frank Miller’s comic The Dark Knight Returns and I beg to differ, he wasn’t dark at all in my opinion. The scenes that Superman had in this comic book were extremely lighter toned and had more of an old patriotic feeling.
I feel like the producers are just looking at what The Dark Knight did and they just all want to cash in on darker storylines. This won’t work for Superman and cause the movie to be yet another disappointment.
Here is a great example, Spider-Man 3, that movie went dark and it missed the mark by a mile. Do you know why Spider-Man 3 missed the mark? Because there is a difference between dark and emo. Plus … the dancing scene, the strutting down the street scene and a total hack job of the character Venom made this movie even worse.
What I’m getting at is that not every comic book character can be dark and not every comic book character needs to be dark.
With all that said I do believe they should abandon the sequel idea and restart the franchise from scratch. Here are some things they should do to make the new Superman movie great.
1.) Enough with Lex Luther, he can be in it but just not as the main villain. I’m sick of seeing him as the main villain, and each time they use him they make him too campy.
2.) Superman does NOT become a gritty character that is held back because of his human restraints. He’s a god character and he should be fighting super villains that have equal power as him. I mean with all our advances in movie making and we still can’t get Superman fighting Brainiac?
3.) Superman is not Batman and they should go in their different directions. That said this movie should be about how Superman is a savior for Earth.
4.) No origin stories, we’ve seen Superman’s origin too many times and we should just start the next movie aware on who he is and where he came from.
5.) More action and less romance, but still enough to make an effective Lois and Clark storyline.

Friday, October 31, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Halloween


October 31, 2008: Halloween
In this 1978 classic we are taken into the world of Michael Myers and introduced to one of the best independent movies ever made – John Carpenter’s Halloween.
As a young boy, Michael Myers stabbed his seventeen year old sister to death. After this event, he is locked away for years in the Smith’s Grove: Warren County Sanitarium. He is put under the care of Dr. Sam Loomis, who had worked with Michael for years, before deciding that Myers needs to be tried as an adult and locked up forever.
The night they planned to escort Myers, he manages to escape, steal a car and return home to Haddonfield, Ill., just in time for Halloween.
We are then introduced to Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, in her first role) who has plans to stay in on Halloween night and watch one of the neighbors kid. Little does she know that Michael is coming home and is planning a killing spree.
The movie becomes a cat and mouse game between Strode and Myers, which would become the staple formula for slasher movies to come.
With out giving too much away, I want to say my favorite scene in this movie involves Strode, Myers, a closet and a wire hanger. If you seen the movie you know what I’m talking about and if you haven’t seen it, you’re in for a treat.
This movie is the standard in which all modern horror films are measured. Halloween deserves all the praise it can get, it’s because of this movie we have films such as Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Without this important film, I doubt slasher movies would have ever been proven to be a successful market.
The movie has spawned sequels that never lived up to the original and also there was a remake of this film in 2007, directed by Rob Zombie.
What I will say about the remake is that I appreciate how Zombie tried something different and new with the franchise, but seeing Myers’ childhood and back-story made the character less scary for me. The less I know about a psychotic killer the better.
I can’t really recommend the remake, I will say only watch it if you have seen the original and then you can form your own opinion on it.

Halloween Bonus: James’ Tips on Surviving a Horror Movie

If a psychotic is chasing you with a chainsaw through a dark forest, find a place to hide and don’t scream. By screaming you’re giving up your position and the person chasing you is as blind in the dark as you are.

When it seems you have killed the monster or killer, you didn’t, so make sure you defend yourself when they come back for their final scare.

If you find a book on how to summon demons, don’t read it.

Please, do not solve any strange puzzles.

If you’re a male and find yourself trapped in a horror movie situation, find the quickest way out, because only the females survive.

Never go camping at a place that has been dubbed “Camp Blood”.

If a huge home is being sold for cheap, please ask the realtor why before you commit to anything.

Never be arrogant, because they are usually picked off first.

Kids, do not let your parents send you to summer camp.

I suggest not to stay at any unchain motels or hotels stick with the franchises.

Angry mothers are more dangerous than I psycho with a chainsaw.

If your friend has a pale face and they’re moaning, they’re not sick they’re a zombie – get away from them.

If you start to hear the Halloween theme, don’t try to find the source, just run.

Do not go down dirt roads.

If you are in a horror situation and you need to split up, I recommend the buddy system. Just make sure your buddy doesn’t leave you to save him or herself instead.

If a killer is chasing you, do not run deeper into the woods. Please … for the sake of survival go somewhere where there is people.

If you your being chased, don’t constantly look back at the killer. I mean he’s not changing positions; he’s always going to be behind you.

Don’t investigate strange noises. If the strange noise comes from upstairs and you are alone, please leave the house.

If your power goes out and you see your neighbor still has power, do not try to fix the fuses. Again, please just leave the house.

Always keep your clothes on.

Do not go skinny-dipping.

Do not drink.

If you are able to get into a house and lock the door, don’t stand by the door and just wait for the killer to start banging on it. Use that time to increase your distances between him and you.

Never say, “Oh … It’s finally over,” because it’s not!

It’s Friday the 13th; do you know what I’m doing? Well, I can tell you that I’m not camping.

Hiding under the covers will not make the killer vanish.

If you are n the woods and you have to relief yourself, don’t wander miles away, because the killer is out there.

If girls are jump roping outside your house, singing about a guy named Freddy, please just move.

If you live on an Elm Street, relocate as fast as you can.

If you were suppose to meet someone at night in the woods and they haven’t shown and you hear someone approaching you. Do not say, “Is that you?” because its not, it’s the freaking killer.

If someone tells you a story about a boy who drowned in a lake and still roams the woods surrounding you, jump in the car and leave.

Don’t rent cabins in the woods for a weekend of partying.

Don’t rob the dead, because that only makes them mad.

Make sure you always have a full tank of gas.

If you do run out of gas, don’t go to the house that’s in the middle of nowhere to use the phone. Keep walking until you reach a neighborhood.

Never take a short cut the locals tell you about. Please always stick to your MapQuest directions.

If you come across a deserted town, don’t explore it; it’s that way for a reason.

Never visit the backwoods of the United States.

If you meet someone named Pumpkinhead, just run.

Avoid Sleepy Hollow and the Western Woods that surround the town.

If locals tell you a story about a legendary ghost, killer or monster – don’t say, “That’s impossible,” because it’s not and most likely you will run into them for just saying that.

Do not say the name Beetlejuice three times.

If you have a pet named gizmo, don’t feed him after midnight, don’t get him wet and please keep him out of the sunlight.

If you’re just a supporting character, there is a good chance you’re not going to survive, no there’s a great chance.

If a mysterious fog blankets your town, you’re pretty much in deep trouble.

If Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis are haunting your house, it’s not really a bad thing, it could be worse.

Don’t expect to be entertained by clowns who just arrived from outer space. In fact if you find yourself in this situation, just leave town.

If Freddy Krueger starts haunting your dreams, remember it’s just a dream and it’s your dream. So, when it’s your dream you can fight back and make out with any outcome you please.

If you’re traveling down a rural road and see a shady character dumping buddies down a pipe, just keep driving. And please don’t go back to investigate the pipe.

Jason Voorhees is NOT afraid of water! SO, if you run into him don’t try to use it against him.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Exorcist

October 30, 2008: The Exorcist
The Exorcist, the movie many consider the scariest movie ever made. The film was released to the public in 1973 and quickly became a nationwide success. People were actually fainting in theaters after seeing the horrific images the movie shows and religious groups constantly boycotted it. Yet, it had huge box office returns.
The film centers around a young girl named Regan (Linda Blair), a 12 year-old who has been recently possessed by the devil. Her mother, Chris (Ellen Burstyn), becomes aware of her daughters strange behavior and exhausts ever medical effort to find a cure. She soon discovers that her daughter’s condition can’t be solved medically but spiritually and recruits Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller) to perform an exorcism.
Karras is not only dealing with the supernatural in this film, he also has scarce faith and displaced quilt over his mother’s recent death.
During the exorcist he is joined by a strange Jesuit exorcist Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) and together they have to confront the evil that possesses young Reagan.
The great thing about this movie that I really admired about it is how it grounds itself in realism and has the everyday tone, and then it lets the terror come in slowly and then hits you hard with it.
Watching the movie now, it still holds up and remains a classic. If you had to choose a movie for Halloween that will really give you a scare I would go with The Exorcist.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Alien

October 29, 2008: Alien
When I first wrote the master list of what horror movies I was going to use, I received a lot of criticism on the inclusion of Ridley Scott’s Alien.
I added this movie, because it is a horror with sci-fi elements mix into one big science fiction horror, it really can be counted as a classic film for the horror genre and also the science fiction genre.
The movie stars Sigourney Weaver as the infamous warrant officer Ellen Ripley and focuses on the crew of the space cargo ship named, Nostromo.
During the course of the movie, the ship comes across a faint S.O.S and they decide to land on the strange planet Moribund. While there, they find the crashed ship and come across strange looking pods, which hatch out an insect-type creature that locks onto the face of Kane (John Hurt).
Ripley is alarmed by this event and urges Ash (Ian Holm) not to allow Kane access to the ship, but Ash refuses to take Ripley’s advice and lets him back aboard.
With Ash’s lack of concern, the ship would become the creature’s domain after one of the most infamous scenes in any movie and of course that’s the scene where the creature bursts out of the stomach of Kane and escapes within the walls.
After this, Dallas (Tom Skerritt), the ships’ captain, leads the others in search for the rapidly growing, acid-dripping alien before it can cut them down.
A breakthrough film for Ridley Scott that has beautiful art direction, set design and special effects that really gains the movie its atmosphere.
The original movie will always have that feeling of being new and exciting, but the sequel Aliens in my opinion surpasses the original and that’s hard to do. So, I will say watch Alien and Aliens, stay away from Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Dawn of the Dead

October 29, 2008: Dawn of the Dead
After securing an apartment building overcome with flesh-eating zombies, two Philadelphia area S.W.A.T team members, Peter (Ken Foree) and Roger (Scott Reiniger), flee to a television station, where they escape in the station's helicopter with Francine (Gaylen Ross) and Stephen (David Emge), two station employees. Seeking refuge from the zombies and the ensuing madness, they land on top of a Pittsburgh area shopping mall, despite the fact that the undead seem to be flocking there. What begins as a stop for supplies becomes a longer stay as the four become involved in a pointless war within the mall to remain alive and not a zombies’ supper.
The movie is a sequel to Night of the Living Dead, I don't really like giving sequels a spot on this list but this one really stands out as it's own movie.
This movie stands as one of the most riveting and fun zombie films that has ever been produced. The movie is able to throw together horror, gore and social commentary that work well together.
They remade this movie in 2004 and I'd have to say that it wasn't bad, it wasn't great, but it was enjoyable.

Monday, October 27, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Birds

October 27, 2008: The Birds
Alfred Hitchcock had just delivered us one of the best movies in cinematic history, Psycho and he followed it up with this thrilling and edge of your seat tale about killer birds in The Birds.
What I love about the birds is how Hitchcock puts together tones of painstaking morality and dark humor to have it all come together as a thriller that begins as a light hearted comedy and finds itself ending as an apocalyptic parable.
The movie stars the mother of Melanie Griffith, Tippi Hedren, in her first role in a film, which would lead her onto a career as a leading lady.
The story begins with Melanie Daniels (Hedren), who is a wealthy woman who has just given up her life as a party girl. She enjoys a brief flirtation with a lawyer by the name Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) in a San Francisco pet shop. She enjoyed his company so much that she decides to follow him to his Bodega Bay home. (I guess stalking wasn’t a big deal back then.)
The upside of her following a man she hardly knows is that she’s bringing his sister a birthday gift - she bought her two lovebirds.
Before any of the major events happen, we see Melanie getting attacked by a seagull. I mean it’s something small, but I always found it eerie and a kind of Hitchcock way of giving us a taste on what we can expect.
Melanie and Mitch quickly start up a romance, but Melanie has to contend with his possessive mother and boarding at his ex-girlfriend’s house.
Strange events soon start occur, during a birthday party for Mitch’s younger sister. We see a flock of birds attack the children, but no one seems to pay much attention. They really pass it off as something random.
Little do they know that this event was only the beginning of massive aerial assaults on the residents of the town. Flocks of birds start to wreck havoc in a serious of events that no one can explain.
I did some research on the Internet and found out that this movie was loosely based off of a Daphne du Maurier story and a Santa Monica newspaper account, “Seabird Invasion Hits Coastal Homes”.
The movie was originally released in 1963 and still holds up in my opinion. My favorite scenes in this movie, and without giving too much away, would be the scene where the children from the school house are being chased down the road by a flock of menacing birds, which are pecking them. The other scene is the very end, I won’t describe it, but I think it’s an epic shot of just endless terror.
If you haven’t seen The Birds, then I strongly suggest seeing it. I mean I strongly suggest seeing all the movies I put on 31 Days of Horror.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

31 Days of Horror: 28 Days Later

October 26, 2008: 28 Days Later
A deadly and powerful virus escapes out of a British research facility, which spreads through a single drop of blood. Once infected with the virus you’ll be in a permanent state of murderous rage.
It only takes 28 days for the country to be overwhelmed by the virus and it’s now up to the survivors to salvage a future in a big, empty, eerie world with zombie like creatures trying to eat you.
The movie is one of, if not, the best post-apocalyptic movies I’ve ever seen. The feeling you first watch this movie is epic. You actually feel for these characters and as the movie goes on you feel the loneliness they have to push through and you also feel the constant fear of something always hunting you.
The movie spawned a sequel, 28 Weeks Later, which is another good movie and I would recommend you watch both. But, please watch them in order to get the full effect of them.
The movie was directed beautifully my Danny Boyle, who brought us the lackluster movie “The Beach”, but he comes together for this one and proves to be one of his best pieces of work yet.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Omen

October 25, 2008: The Omen
Robert, a U.S. Ambassador to Italy (Gregory Peck) and Katherine Thorn (Lee Remick) are a happy married couple that has everything they both ever desired. They want nothing more in their life except for one thing – a child.
Yet, tragedy strikes the couple when the baby Katherine gives birth to is a stillborn; a priest at the hospital who suggests that he should take a healthy newborn, whose mother had died in childbirth, approaches Robert.
Robert agrees and without telling his wife and the couple relocate from Italy to London, when they arrive, eerie events occur and a warning from a priest leads Robert to believe that the child he took from the hospital in Italy is evil incarnate.
This movie introduced Damian to the world and till this day he continues to scare us and his story continues to fascinate us.
The movie is well worth any price if you haven’t seen it or if it shows up on TV, I strongly recommend you watch it.
Like so many other horror movies this one was also remade, which was release in 2006 and I suggest just not watch it and stick with the 1976 original. I mean Richard Donner, the guy who brought us Superman I and II and also one of my favorite movies – The Goonies, directed this original.Some might like this more then others and I warn there are some disturbing scenes in this movie.

Friday, October 24, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Fog

October 24, 2008: The Fog
On April 21st, 100 years ago, the wealthy leper Blake bought the vessel Elizabeth Dane and relocated himself and his family from leper colony to California and effort to build a town for them to live with less aggravation and more comfort.
Problems occur when the family is crossing Spivey Point in a very thick fog. The problems only worsen when they are misguided by a campfire onshore, causing the ship to come to close to land and crashing into rocks - Blake, his family and crew die.
We are then brought to present day, where they are preparing for the Celebration of the centenary at the fishing town of Antonio Bay. On this very day a strange, glowing fog appears, bringing the zombies of Blake and his crew back from the dead with the intentions of killing the residents of Antonio Bay.
The zombies want revenge for their deaths and as the movie goes on we see why.
A John Carpenter film, one with a lot of atmosphere, that makes one very eerie and memorable movie. And no I'm not talking about the 2005 remake, which was a total miss, I'm talking about the 1980 classic that should be the only one you watch.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Haunting

October 23, 2008: The Haunting
The movie is set in Hill House, a house that is known for its dark and evil history that includes accidents, suicide and human misjudgment.
A doctor by the name John Markway (Richard Johnson) a psychic researcher, assembles a group of people who have histories linked to paranormal activity.
One of the group members is a woman by the name, Eleanor (Julie Harris), who was the subject of unexplained poltergeist activities as a child. She also is feeling guilt over her mother’s death, but when she arrives at Hill House she slowly falls into obsession with the estate.
When the group gets together they explore Hill House, and their own insecurities. Little do they know that the estate holds darker horrors, as the souls from the house’s troubled past begin to make themselves known.
Released in 1963, this movie still holds all the scares and thrills it delivered so well all those years ago.
It’s based off of the Shirley Jackson novel, The Haunting of Hill House, and in my opinion is one of the best psychological horror films ever made. Because it doesn’t rely on blood, gore or monster to get its scares it plays with your mind.
The big reason everyone should watch this movie because it’s one of the very, very few movies that leaves its audience with an unsettling feel. It also leaves you with questions that you can answer for yourself.
I highly recommend this movie but please avoid the really awful 1999 remake that goes by the same name.