"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange." -Inception

Sunday, October 31, 2010

First Look: Chris Evans as Captain America!

Chris Evans and Hayley Atwell

Entertainment Weekly has the First Look at Captain America: The First Avenger with some exclusive photos.  Chris Evans is Steve Rogers aka Captain America and joining him in the cast will be Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter aka "the love interest", Hugo Weaving, Samuel L. Jackson, Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones, Dominic Cooper and recent dwarf leader from The Hobbit, Richard Armitage.  That's quite a cast of actors.  A quick little prelude to when the actual Avengers actually hits the screen.   Captain America will release on July 22, 2011.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

OMG NEWS: Batman 3 gets a title and more Avatar?

Yeah, that's right.  I'm leading with OMG news because it's official and technically from the horse's mouth in both cases and it qualifies.

Christopher Nolan spoke to the Hero Complex blog over at the LA Times and he confirmed a few facts.  First up, the title, The Dark Knight Rises, showing that it is indeed continuing where the last film left off.  And the article contains some big news, the Riddler won't be the villain in the feature as assumed by the entire Internet.  No reveal on who though.  Let's be patient on this, it'll be very hard to top Heath Ledger's Joker.  The movie will not be in 3D but will be shot in HD using IMAX cameras.  Great choice!

Moving on to features where 3D actually counts and is needed, James Cameron has said that his next two films will be Avatar 2 and Avatar 3.  There are release dates that come along this announcement.  The second sequel is scheduled for December 2014 and the third in the trilogy will be released a year after on December 2015.  Think of the gap between Titanic and Avatar, this is genuine progress!

Bonus Link of the Day:  Excellent interview on Michael Caine over at TIME who will, incidentally, be in the next Batman.  Love his succinct interpretation and take on Inception.

Daily News Roundup: Tom Hardy, Matthew Broderick and Zach G!

  • Tom Hardy has been offered a role in Snow White and the Huntsman, possibly opposite Angelina Jolie.  It's amazing how one role can change your life.
  • You simply can't resist the funnyman Zach G. next possible film role.  He might be taking on the Muppets!  Talk about your perfect casting.
  • The highly anticipated Sean Penn and Brad Pitt starrer Tree of Life has been pushed to May 27, 2011 putting it officially out of the running for this year's Oscar race.
  • I wasn't paying attention to the Tower Heist cast before but I sure am now.  Matthew Broderick, who has acted in two movies I love, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Godzilla, joins Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda, Gabourey Sidibe and Tea Leoni in the film.  This could be either do really well or end badly.
  • George Lucas might be thinking of adding the Indiana Jones trilogy for a 3D conversion a la Star Wars.  Don't do it, Mr. Lucas, please!
  • And finally, Geoffrey Rush says Richard Griffiths is part of the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and will be playing King George II.  The movie already stars Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane.  Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley will not be reprising their roles.

Link of the Day: Proof that Disney can be edgy too!  The Tron: Legacy music video debut from Daft Punk.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits: Life of Pi and Gravity news!

  • I'm really really pleased to announce some important news for Life of Pi, one of my very favorite books in recent years.  The project has started and stalled for years and at one point, M. Night Shyamalan was slated to direct.  Now it's in the hands of the very capable Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and there is concrete evidence that this is moving ahead.  Variety reports that young Suraj Sharma has been cast in the role of Piscine Patel aka "Pi". This will be Lee's first 3D feature and David Magee (Finding Neverland) will be writing the script based on Yann Martel's novel.  It will be filmed in Taiwan and India and has a release date of December 14, 2012.  Until then, pick up the book, you will not be disappointed.  
  • Tony Scott wants to direct Top Gun 2.  Question: Will Tom be back?  Hollywood these days is all about the sequels and remakes.  Is there no real room for original thought anymore?  We need more movies like Inception.
  • Is Robert Downey Jr. out of Gravity? That would be a shame because I was looking forward to the onscreen pairing with Sandra Bullock.  I like MTV movieblog's choice in Jon Hamm.   
  • Halle Berry's new film Frankie and Alice is set to release in December.  She plays a woman with multiple personality disorder.  Potential Oscar bait? Does Halle have another shot at Oscar? I sure hope so, we're all trying to forget Catwoman.  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Movie Watch: What You'll Be Watching in 2012

A big part of being a movie fan is the wait.  Sometimes, you have to wait years for your film or series to come out.  We fans are nothing but patient.   Harry Potter fans have waited an whole extra year for the Half-Blood Prince to come out when Warner Bros. pushed it off their calendar.  Heck, I'm clearing out December for next year as all the actors and directors I like are releasing their films.

So, as I'm making my list of movies I want to see next year, there are lot of movie deals being made now that hopefully will bring these movies out soon but my guess is early 2012.  Here are the ones that I am looking forward to already.

  • Another Muppet movie? Happytime Murders, directed by Brian Henson, son of Jim, is being developed by Lionsgate about a world where humans and puppets live together and yet the puppets are treated as inferior to humans.  However, when the cast of an old 80s show starts getting murdered one by one, it's up to an oddball duo of a puppet and human cops to solve the case.  I want to watch this already and I love that is labeling it as "the film noir puppet comedy aimed at adults".
  • It seems that Neil Patrick Harris can do everything.  Does playing Barney Stintson really have imbibed him with "legendary superpowers"?  Because now, Harris can add director to his long resume.  He will direct his first film, Aaron and Sarah, which follows the friendship of two teenagers through high school, one a geek and the other a popular girl.  Josh Hutcherson (The Kids are All Right) and Emma Roberts (Nancy Drew) are attached to star.
  • From Pixar pedigree comes two new movie deals in place.  Doug Sweetland, who directed Pixar's short Presto, is signed on to direct The Familiars with Sony Pictures Animation being produced by Sam Raimi.  The story revolves around three young wizard apprentices who are kidnapped by an evil queen and must rely on their companions, an alley, a blue jay and tree frog, to help them through it.
  • And over at Dreamworks, another Pixar alum, Rodrigo Blaas is turning his award-winning short Alma into a feature length movie.  This short is amazing, you can view it here.  Guillermo del Toro will be executive producer on this and Blaas will be joining him as co-director on Del Toro's next project, Trollhunters.  That's a whole lot of awesome.
  • And finally, any movie news that includes Meryl Streep is an automatic watch for me.  Word is, that Sandra Bullock and Oprah Winfrey, along with Meryl, are attached to Michael Patrick King's untitled comedy set in the world of home shopping networks.  This is win-win all around.  This even trumps Meryl's movie with Julia Roberts.  Sorry Julia!

2012 is looking great already!

USA Today's First Look: Dr. Seuss' Lorax

USA Today has the first look at the new offering from Dr. Seuss, The Lorax, who will be voiced by Danny DeVito.  Also part of the cast are Ed Helms and Rob Riggle as the villains while Zac Efron will voice Ted, a young boy from the 1971 book.  Betty White will voice his grandmother.  

Here's a summary of the original story from the book as seen on

The now remorseful Once-ler--our faceless, bodiless narrator--tells the story himself. Long ago this enterprising villain chances upon a place filled with wondrous Truffula Trees, Swomee-Swans, Brown Bar-ba- loots, and Humming-Fishes. Bewitched by the beauty of the Truffula Tree tufts, he greedily chops them down to produce and mass-market Thneeds. ("It's a shirt. It's a sock. It's a glove. It's a hat.") As the trees swiftly disappear and the denizens leave for greener pastures, the fuzzy yellow Lorax (who speaks for the trees "for the trees have no tongues") repeatedly warns the Once-ler, but his words of wisdom are for naught. Finally the Lorax extricates himself from the scorched earth (by the seat of his own furry pants), leaving only a rock engraved "UNLESS." Thus, with his own colorful version of a compelling morality play, Dr. Seuss teaches readers not to fool with Mother Nature. But as you might expect from Seuss, all hope is not lost--the Once-ler has saved a single Truffula Tree seed! Our fate now rests in the hands of a caring child, who becomes our last chance for a clean, green future. (Ages 4 to 8)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

December 2011: The busiest movie month?

Come next December 2011, I'm going to have to have start living on weekends at the movie theaters because it seems like every movie is releasing that very month.  At least the ones I want to see anyway.  Lets look at the evidence.

It's starts off with December 9th.  Martin Scorsese's Hugo Cabret is up first.  His first 3D venture is about a young boy, Hugo, who lives in a train station in 1930s Paris and has to solve a mystery surrounding his late father.  The cast includes Asa Butterfield as Hugo, Chole Moretz, Jude Law, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley and Christopher Lee.  I'm really looking forward to see how Scorsese tackles 3D.

It goes up against New Year's Eve, the followup to Valentine's Day.  It's just an excuse to see as many good-looking and famous actors in one film.  Gary Marshall will be back as director.

The weekend after that brings Mission Impossible 4 and Sherlock Holmes 2 on December 16th.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo comes out on December 21st.  Do you know how it's been since Daniel Craig has a release, I can't possibly wait that long?  December 23 belongs to Cameron Crowe's movie with Matt Damon, We Bought a Zoo, which sounds very promising and The Muppets are back on the screen on Christmas Day with Jason Segel and Amy Adams.

And finally, my very own dilemma on December 28th, which Steven Spielberg film to watch first?  Will it be War Horse, a WWI epic about a boy and his horse or The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.  Hate the title, though I can't wait to see the collaboration with Peter Jackson.  So long between releases and they both end up on the same day! How is that fair?

So there you have it.  This isn't counting the other films that have yet to decide their release dates but all I know is we'll be spoiled for choices unless the studios blink first and decide to change their release date.

News Update: The Hobbit, Green Lantern and Hangover 2

Around the World in Posters!

First Look: Green Hornet Poster and Sign!!!

More posters of Narnia, Morning Glory, Restless and Megamind after the jump!

Movie Review: Winter's Bone

Winter's Bone is this year's most critically reviewed independent film and hails Jennifer Lawrence, the film's young star as one of the actors to watch for.  And it's easy to see why.  Jennifer's performance holds the whole film together and one has to watch her face closely as the emotions threaten to take over.

Lawrence plays Ree Dolly, a 17 year-old with lots of responsibility bearing down on her.  She has to take care of a sick mother and younger siblings as well run the house and the land.  The Dollys live out in the Missouri Ozarks where the land is as bleak as their lives.  One day, the sheriff turns up at their house letting Ree know that her father has jumped bail and can't be found. Well, says Ree, she'll find him.  Therein begins Ree's journey and as yet another problem starts looming over her.  Her father has put up their house and land against the bail money and if he doesn't show up at the next court date, Ree and her family will have no place to call home.  Her desperate struggle to find out where father is takes her across all kinds of associates of her dad's and up against some scary family members.  Her uncle Teardrop eventually comes around to offer some kind of support but in the end, it's always Ree who has to take care of things.  

Debra Granik has directed a very straightforward film with a very strong heroine at the helm.  It's her sheer will that forces her to survive and to make sure her family doesn't split up.  Jennifer Lawrence has given a fine performance and the real reason why you can't look away for the story unfolding on the screen.  Some of the scenes are quite dark in nature and a lot of for a 17-year-old to handle but Jennifer as Ree takes it all unflinchingly because she got nowhere else to go.  This is a very good, well-directed film that deserves all the accolades it's getting.  

Directed by Debra Granik; Screenplay by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini (Based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell); Music by Dickon Hinchliffe; Cinematography by Michael McDonough; Editing by Affonso Goncalves

Also in the cast: John Hawkes, Kevin Breznahan, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Shelley Waggener; Lauren Sweetser


Poster Artwork in Focus: Black Swan

These posters from Black Swan deserve their own post simply because they're stunning and speak a lot about what kind of movie we can expect.  Psychological thriller, indeed.  Have a look!  Which one is your favorite?

Friday, October 22, 2010

News Roundup: The Great Gatsby and Worst Titles Ever

  • The Star Wars prequels can rest easy.  They no longer hold the title for Worst Movie Name.  No, that honor now goes to Transformers: Dark of the Moon.  What?  Yes, seriously, you couldn't make this up.  And never fear Transformers 3, you won't hold the title long, the Piranha sequel is coming up next, Piranha 3DD.  What is this world coming to?
  • He is.  He isn't.  No, not anymore.  But wait, yes, he is.  I'm going to be known as the blogger who cried wolf again.  Peter Jackson is on again to direct The Hobbit.  I think I'm going to hold off on any new Hobbit information unless it comes neatly tied up in a press release.
  • James Cameron is talking about some Avatar sequels.  Promising, but knowing the way he works be prepared for a long wait til you see the world of Pandora again.
  • Baz Luhrmann recently held a workshop for The Great Gatsby in New York.  Who were the actors who read the parts?  Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Rebecca Hall as Jay, Nick and Daisy respectively.  This casting may not stick until filming but I like it already and besides when is the last time the two friends Leo and Tobey have acted together? Not since the 90s, I think.  
  • Finally some hope, albeit a tiny sliver, for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  Because who doesn't want to see Elizabeth Bennett kick some zombie ass?  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pixar News Update!

Some good news and some bad news coming out from Pixar.  Let's lead with the bad news.  Brenda Chapman was supposed to be Pixar's first female director on a movie that featured a female lead.  But now, only Brave will have a female lead in Merida as Chapman has stepped aside and now Mark Andrews will take over.  I had hoped this wasn't true but there you go.  There are so few female directors out there and especially those in the animation industry.  I hope the movie doesn't suffer for it but it's highly unlikely.  Pixar has been in this spot before with Toy Story 2 and Ratatouille and the changes just made the movie that much better.  We'll see you in your next project, Ms. Chapman.

First the Cars 2 teaser trailer was just released and now some gorgeous concept artwork to confirm that the story indeed is taking place on the international circuit.  Empire Online has the first images.  They also report that the animated short preceding the film might have Toy Story characters.  Might we see Woody and Buzz Lightyear again?

London, England

Paris, France

Off the Italian coast

Through the hills of Japan

Thursday's Teaser Trailers

It's two for Thursday!! First up, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) are back together to bring you Paul, a road movie about two friends who befriend an alien and help him hide from the US government.  Paul, an CG alien will be voiced by Seth Green.  Also in the cast are Jane Lynch (Glee), Jason Bateman, and Kirsten Wiig.  Bring on the laughs!

Up next is Cars 2 releasing mid 2011. Not much info is released for this on but it seems like Lighting McQueen and Mater will be back and maybe even be spies. There's also been word that most of the action in this film takes place on the international circuit. I'm sure the next trailer will definitely have more details.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

8 New TV Spots for Deathly Hallows!

Not much to say here, but eight, yes, eight new TV spots released by Warner Brothers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.  This is like an early birthday present.  30 days to go!!!  Did I mention that I love WB!!! Best. Studio. Ever!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Movie Review: The Karate Kid (2010)

First of all, the title is a misnomer.  This movie is not about karate at all but instead it's kung fu.  A more appropriate title would have been The Kung Fu Kid,  and yes, the title that was used in China when the film released.  But since this is a  "remake" of the 1984 film of the same name, the title had to remain.  That major quibble aside, this is a decent attempt seeing as the first film is so iconic.  I generally dislike remakes unless it brings something new to the table.  Setting the story in Beijing, China and starring Jackie Chan as the wise master were two major plus points and the main reasons I was interested in watching this film.

Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) moves with his mother (Taraji P. Henson) to Beijing as she relocates for her job.  And from the first day in Beijing, Dre learns that he is completely out of his elements when he goes up against the school bullies.  Dre is interested in Mei (Wenwen Han) and Cheng, the main leader of the bullies, doesn't like Dre mingling with anyone.  One day, as the gang of bullies chase Dre through the tiny streets, Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) comes upon them beating up Dre.  From then onwards, Mr. Han takes up Xiao Dre as his pupil teaching him kung fu and how to avoid enemies.  

There is one memorable sequence where Mr. Han takes Dre to a temple atop a mountain and the scenery and the visuals are spectacular.  They comes across several people taking part in different forms of kung fu, especially memorable was a female martial artist balancing on one foot and trying to control a cobra.  This also reminded me somehow of Kung Fu Panda and the temple atop a mountain and the secrets of kung fu that Po the Panda was trying to learn.  

Unlike Po, Dre is a fast learner although he has to learn how to drop the attitude.  There is the obligatory montage sequence where they both train and Mr. Han tries to teach Dre everything he knows.  This is an extremely physical role and 12-year-old Jaden does a good job at it.  The fight scenes are intense especially with the bullies and it's hard to watch knowing the news contains some many new stories of bullying in schools.  It all comes to a head at a kung fu tournament where Dre goes up against his bullies and comes out alive at the other end.  It's not a spoiler, just movie law.  

This isn't the best movie made about kung fu.  Just go back and watch the Jackie Chan filmography.  He gives a subdued and understated performance here that comes across as very real.  Jaden Smith has a long ways to go to compare to his dad, Will Smith, but he's got the chops if he picks the right roles.  Overall, a solid film to watch home over the weekend especially for the setting.  You'll want to visit China after this too.  

Directed by Harald Zwart; Written by Christopher Murphey (screenplay) and Robert Mark Kamen (story); Cinematography by Roger Pratt; Music by James Horner


Thursday, October 14, 2010

This post contains a whole lotta news!

Onwards and let's begin!

  • The first Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides teaser trailer will debut alongside the Tron: Legacy movie.
  • Not only has the How To Train Your Dragon sequel been sanctioned, a TV series is also set to air on the Cartoon Network.
  • Tarsem Singh is going to direct a live-action feature on Snow White.  I'm really excited about this, his last film, The Fall, was completely underrated.  I wish more people had seen it, each frame was an astonishing visual and I was so moved by young Cantinca Untaru's performance in the film.  Please see it if you ever get a chance.
  • Ok, so I was all been that, seen that with the news that Men in Black 3 was announced.  But now they might bring on board Alec Baldwin, Sharlto Copley (District 9), Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia) to join Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.  Emma Thompson and Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) are already in the cast.  What am I to do?  Fine, I'm in. Please release it around the Fourth of July.  Doesn't Will Smith have it in his contract that he must release a movie on the Fourth of July?  
  • From Harry Potter to Spiderman, Rhys Ifans is will play the new villain in the new Spiderman prequel.  No official confirmation on the character though many are guessing the Lizard.  Whatever happened to Venom? And how about a title?  Let's work on that.  I can't keep typing Spiderman prequel each time.
  • Another superhero franchise is also abuzz with casting rumors.  Christopher Nolan is re-teaming with Tom Hardy (Eames the Forger from Inception) on the next Batman.  No word whatsoever on what role he'll play but that hasn't stopped the Internet from its wild speculations.  It's fun, no?
  • After Brad Bird and Pete Docter, John Lasseter will now use Michael Giacchino (Oscar winner for Best Score for last year's Up) for Cars 2.  Giacchino and Newman are both becoming the go-to music directors for Pixar and I wholly approve.   Their soundtracks always fits so perfectly and are sublime.
  • As I had suspected, Warner's Brothers isn't completely abandoning the idea of 3D for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.  Never fear, it'll be waiting for you when the Blu-Ray discs come out.

Finally, I'm going to end this long post with the link of the day!!!  Zach G poses in his swimsuit for Vanity Fair.  Warning: You will collapse with laughter and oh yeah, these are not safe for small kids and pets.  You have been warned!

Whew, that was exhausting.  I might take tomorrow off.

It's time to hit the links!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Deathly Hallows Posterpalooza Continues

More character posters released by Warner Bros. for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.  Are you trying to get us excited?  Because we already are.  39 more days to go!

The Other Bella with Lucius Malfoy

More posters of Harry, Ron and Hermione after the jump.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday's Mentions

  • Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement) has moved on from period films to teenage assassins.  He reunites with Saoirse Ronan who plays the titular role of Hanna about a teenage assassin trained by her father (Eric Bana) to find a CIA agent (Cate Blanchett).  The movie will release April 8, 2011.  But that's not all, he also developing a live-action version of The Little Mermaid, minus the singing crab and fish.  He says it will be more like the Hans Christian Andersen tale.  As a fan of the original, I'm curious to see how he would bring it accross to the screen.  
  • The blogosphere is in a uproar about the critically acclaimed film Blue Valentine,  when it premiered at Cannes seemed like a lock for acting nods for both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.  But the film has been handed a NC-17 rating by the MPAA.  While that certainly means its chances for Oscar are diminished, it means now we just want to see it precisely because of it's rating.  Way to go, MPAA.  
  • The Green Lantern trailer is set debut alongside Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 movie.
  • In news that will shock no one, the sequel to this year big animated hit, How to Train Your Dragon, has been all but set.  All the creative talent including the voice talents of Jay Baruchel, America Ferrara and Jonah Hill will all return for the movie.   The sequel will have a release date sometime in 2013.  This was one of favorite animated features of this year and I'm pleased to see we'll see more stories taking place in this universe.   
  • Martin Freeman (Love Actually, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) has confirmed that he dropped out of The Hobbit.  With the movie production in jeopardy and Peter Jackson announcing it's all not really official, will the film ever take off?  What do the fanboys have to do to make this a reality?  

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Casting Updates

  • Did Hollywood learn nothing from not one but two live action/CG Garfield movies? Warner Bros. is setting out to make a live action/CG hybrid, much like Garfield, out of Pepe Le Pew and will feature his beleaguered love, Penelope Pussycat. Mike Myers is said to voice the character of Pepe. WB wants to re-introduce its Looney Tunes characters to the new generation. How about some traditional 2D cartoons for yore, Bugs vs. Daffy, Porky, Marvin the Martian and more? I'd love to see those again. However, be glad Pepe will only limit itself to 3D, not 4D. 
  • More news coming out of the M:I 4 front. Brad Bird has added some international names to his cast and possibly these could be the villains, Tom Cruise and his posse could be up against. Lea Seydoux (Robin Hood) and Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire) have been added to play supporting roles in the film. Good for Anil Kapoor for getting noticed beyond Slumdog but I hope he doesn't get perennially typecast as the baddie. 
  • Bourne will be back but not Matt Damon. Tony Gilroy, who is directing this installment, has said that this is standalone project and won't feature Damon's character Jason Bourne but will still be a Bourne film. 
  • Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is putting together a British cast that reads that who's who's of British cinema. Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson and Dev Patel are all headed to India to film the story about a bunch of English retirees who decide that India will be the best place for them to spend their retired lives.

First Look: My Week with Marilyn

Here it is, first look at Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, Shutter Island) as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn.  The Weinstein Company has released a press statement and official image to announce that filming has begun.  That's quite an impressive cast list. 

Friday 8th October, London.  Trademark Films and The Weinstein Company have announced that principal photography has started on My Week with Marilyn for 7 weeks at Pinewood Studios and on location in and around London.  Michelle Williams plays the iconic Marilyn Monroe alongside a fantastic British cast including Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Dominic Cooper, Emma Watson and Julia Ormond.  The film chronicles a week in the life of Marilyn Monroe in which she escapes the shackles of her Hollywood career and embraces British life with Colin Clark.  Directed by Simon Curtis and produced by David Parfitt, the film is based on Colin Clark’s diaries and has been adapted for the screen by Adrian Hodges.
In the early summer of 1956, 23 year-old Colin Clark, just down from Oxford and determined to make his way in the film business, worked as a lowly assistant on the set of ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’, the film that famously united Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe, who was also on honeymoon with her new husband, the playwright Arthur Miller.
Nearly 40 years on, his diary account ‘The Prince, the Showgirl and Me’ was published, but one week was missing and this was published some years later as ‘My Week with Marilyn’ – this is the story of that week.  When Arthur Miller leaves England, the coast is clear for Colin to introduce Marilyn to some of the pleasures of British life; an idyllic week in which he escorted a Monroe desperate to get away from her retinue of Hollywood hangers-on and the pressures of work.

Movie Review: Eat Pray Love

Eat. Pray. Love.  If only life was as simple as the movies.  Julia Roberts plays Liz Gilbert, a recent divorcee who takes a year off to travel around the world to find herself.  The movie is based on Liz Gilbert's best-seller, Eat Pray Love, of which Roberts herself was a fan.  In fact, a blurb from Julia on the cover says, "It's what I'm giving all my girl friends".  Having said that I can't imagine anyone else but Julia inhabiting this role.  Who else would you want to go along with on a ride to find yourself around the world?

My only gripe with the film is that it loses Gilbert's voice from the book.  Yes, there is the obligatory voice over from Roberts thinking out loud, but the reason why the book struck a chord with so many who read it was Gilbert's honesty.  Her honesty in relationships, her failures and her need to better herself.  And we readers stuck through that.  It felt a bit flat in the movie, but yes, it looked gorgeous.  Anyone would look at the film and think, God, if only I could do the same.  Eat takes place in Italy where Liz goes to learn Italian and immerse herself in the foods of Italy.  I love that they kept the pizza scene in.  I really wanted some pizza at the end of movie, it was that convincing.  Pray moved itself to spiritual India where Liz goes to stay at an ashram only to learn that the guru she wants to see, has gone to New York, her hometown.  Yes, life is funny that way.  Finally, Love takes place in Bali, Indonesia where she meets up with a wise old medicine man who tells her the secrets of life.  This is also the act of the film where she meets a man, Felipe, who also changes the way she looks at life.  Liz learns more and more about herself through the experiences she has on the trips and the people and friends she makes along the way.

If you've never read the book, you'll enjoy the movie.  However, if you've read the book, you find yourself constantly comparing the two.  The role of her sister and family is non-existent.  Her ex-husband has a larger role in the film, she doesn't talk about him so much in the book, she is constantly wanting him to forgive her.  And Felipe, played by Javier Bardem, looks to be about the same age as Liz, when in the book he is clearly much older than her.  These are minor things probably necessary for the plot of the movie, it's better than to find yourself at an exotic locale and have Javier Bardem as the love interest.

My last and only gripe with the film and with Hollywood in general is this, yes, we get it, you're fascinated by India.  But enough with the arranged marriages and elephants.   Get rid of the cliches, I'm sick of them by now.  Lastly, it's important to note that Liz's journey takes her through Italy, India and Indonesia.  Countries all beginning with the letter I.  Coincidence, I think not!

Directed by Ryan Murphy; Written by Ryan Murphy and Jennifer Salt; (based on the novel of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert); Cinematography by Robert Richardson, Music by Dario Marionelli

Also in the cast: Richard Jenkins, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, James Franco


Saturday, October 9, 2010

No 3D release for Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Warner Brothers announced today that they won't be releasing Part 1 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 3D in a press statement and I got to say, I'm sort of relieved.  Don't get me wrong, I like and enjoy 3D but it's not always needed in live action.  Maybe it can be released later on in time for 3D.  I'm glad they are putting quality over money and especially not delaying release.  We fans have waited long enough!
Warner Bros Pictures has made the decision to release “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” in 2D, in both conventional and IMAX theaters, as we will not have a completed 3D version of the film within our release date window. Despite everyone’s best efforts, we were unable to convert the film in its entirety and meet the highest standards of quality. We do not want to disappoint fans who have long-anticipated the conclusion of this extraordinary journey, and to that end, we are releasing our film day-and-date on November 19, 2010 as planned. We, in alignment with our filmmakers, believe this is the best course to take in order to ensure that our audiences enjoy the consummate “Harry Potter” experience.

Producer David Heyman said, “For 10 years, we have worked alongside Alan Horn and the studio, whose priority has always been to preserve the integrity of Jo Rowling’s books as we have adapted them to the screen, and this decision reflects that commitment.”

Director David Yates continued, “This decision, which we completely support, underscores the fact that Warner Bros. has always put quality first.”

As scheduled, on July 15, 2011, we will deliver to conventional and IMAX theaters our final installment of the film franchise, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” in both 2D and 3D formats.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

News Roundup: No Regency Zombie Apocalypse

  • So, remember that DVD review of El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret in their Eyes) I posted a few days back?  I thought back to that film often these few days thinking wow, what a great film and amazing story.  Apparently, Hollywood thought so too and yet another foreign film falls down to the way of the remake.  Director Billy Ray (Shattered Glass) will also write/adapt the screenplay.  I, meanwhile, am not amused.
  • And the bad news continues.  Last month, I was delighted to discover that the comic novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, was going to be turned into a film.  Elizabeth Bennett, a martial arts experts, and Mr. Darcy, a zombie hunter.  I wanted more.  David O. Russell (Three Kings) was attached and Natalie Portman had been signed on as Elizabeth Bennett.  Things were looking promising but now both have dropped out of the project putting it in jeopardy of ever getting made.  Fitzwilliam Darcy, zombie killer, we hardly knew thee!
  • Natalie Portman, does she have a super-secret project no one knows about? Because she is also not in consideration for Alphonso Cuaron's Gravity anymore.  Sandra Bullock is now in talks for the role.  This would be a good comeback movie for her after her Oscar win.  Natalie's loss, Sandra's gain.  
  • Off to news that will cheer me up.  Sam Raimi is officially directing Oz: The Great and Powerful about, obviously, The Wizard of Oz.  They're hoping Robert Downey Jr will play the Wizard.  Yes, please!
  • Kathryn Bigelow, first female Best Director Oscar winner, has got a great followup feature, Sleeping Dogs, set in South America about the dangerous underworld of crime and drugs.  Both Tom Hanks and Johnny Depp are said to be interested in the projects.  
  • And finally, The Green Lantern website has been launched.  Have a look see to find out who the villain is!

More Deathly Hallows Character Posters - The Dark Collection

The really dark collection.  Lets call these the badasses vs the ones who are going to get their asses kicked, shall we?  It is so ON!!!

More posters of Ron, Hermione, Snape and Voldemort after the cut

Avatar Extended Collector's Edition deets!

November 16th, that's when James Cameron is rolling out the new Extended Collector's Edition of Avatar. I'm sure glad I didn't shell out money to buy the plain old standalone movie DVD.  Collector's Edition DVD, you were what I was waiting for.  But what's this about releasing more stuff for the Blu-Ray edition and not for the regular edition and the biggest omission is it's not in 3D folks.  Don't tell me that release is for next year.  For now, I will just be distracted by the 45 minutes of deleted footage that will be included on the DVD set.  

Here's some detailed info of what the discs will contain:

AVATAR Extended Collection's Edition: 3-Disc Collector's Edition Blu-ray:

Disc One

· Original Theatrical Version

· Special Edition Re-Release

· Collector's Extended Cut

o 16 more minutes and exclusive alternate opening

Family Audio Track (All Objectionable Language Removed)

· Original Theatrical Release

· Special Edition Re-release

Disc Two

· "Capturing Avatar" An in-depth feature length documentary with James Cameron, Jon Landau and cast and crew

· Deleted Scenes – including over 45 minutes of new never-before-seen deleted scenes

· Production Materials

Disc Three

· Open "Pandora's Box" and go deeper into the filmmaker process

· Interactive Scene Deconstruction: Explore the various stages of production through 3 different viewing modes

· Production Shorts: 17 featurettes covering performance capture, scoring the film, 3D fusion camera, stunts and much more

· Avatar Archives including original scriptment, 300 page screenplay and the extensive Pandorapedia

· BD-live Portal with additional bonus materials

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's Official!

  • Lord of the Rings fans rejoice! The Hobbit is back on.  And with Peter Jackson back at the helm as many of you may have wished.  Jackson will direct both the first and second films with release dates expected to be December 2012 and 2013.  Of course, the film will be shot in 3D.  The LotR 3D conversion isn't far behind by my estimate.
  • Emma Stone did, in fact, land the role of the love interest in the Spiderman prequel.  But it wasn't of Mary Jane as I had been expecting.  She's going to play Gwen Stacy opposite Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker.  

Profile On: The Social Network

It's #1 at the box-office and the easily the most talked about movie right now.  Here are a few reasons why:

  • What's it all about? Get a refresher course on the people and background to the film here.
  • Natalie Portman was a secret consultant into the life of Harvard student for Aaron Sorkin, the screenwriter.
  • You would think that a film like The Social Network would require no CG or VFX work.  It's a straightforward film about the guy who invented Facebook, right?  Well, yes, but that doesn't mean the filmmakers can't show off some nifty visual trickery.  It turns out those twins aren't really twins but two actors, Armie Hammer and Josh Pence, made to look identical.  You can read all about it here.  Actually, it's just David Fincher showing off after Benjamin Button.  He did put the bar up high.  
  • Finally, what do the guys working at Facebook think about the movie?  Well, they're curious.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Quick Update: Movie Deals in place

  • It's time to put the rumors to rest.  Zack Synder (300, Watchmen) has been selected, by Christopher Nolan no less, to direct the new Superman reboot.  Nolan will be producing the film and David S. Goyer is writing the script.  Yeah, they're doing this again, so soon after Superman Returns a mere 4 years ago.  Will our thirst for superhero movies never end?  So now that director has been selected, Who's Superman?  Brandon Routh, please do not be standing by the phone.  I like the idea of Jon Hamm as EW suggests but I think he'll be busy with Mad Men.  However, back when Brett Ratner was supposed to direct Superman Returns, his first choice was Matt Bomer (White Collar).  It could still work.  
  • Bourne will be back.  Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), who, incidentally, wrote the previous two scripts in the Bourne saga, is back to direct the fourth movie titled Bourne Legacy.  No word on whether Matt Damon will return as Bourne.  Could he be tempted back or will he be too busy with his current projects? (Side note: Just checked Gilroy's IMDB page and am shocked, shocked I say, to discover that he wrote and directed The Cutting Edge! How did I not know this?)
  • Right, where were we?  In the trend of books turned into movies, here's a new one.  These books haven't even been published yet but Summit Entertainment, looking ahead to life after the Twilight series, has grabbed the rights of Julie Cross' unpublished trilogy, Tempest, about a teenager who time-travels into the past, two years before his girlfriend is murdered.  

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday's Mentions

  • It's the mother of all casting news!!! No, they haven't announced who's going to play the mother on How I Met Your Mother.  But Meryl Streep will play Julia Roberts' mother in August: Osage County, a dark comedy based on a Broadway play.  John Wells will be directing and Harvey Weinstein will be producing.  This will be definitely worth watching.  
  • Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach G (that's what we'll call him as I can't keep typing his long last name all the time!) are back!!  And this time they're hitting up Bangkok on their Hangover 2.   That's what Todd Phillips has to say about the sequel on Empire Online.  He promises more tigers and more mayhem.   Oh, boy, there's so much trouble for the guys to get into in Bangkok.  I can't wait.
  • One of my favorite actresses, Amy Adams, has decisions, decisions to make.  She's considering three different roles.  She could be starring in the Muppets Movie opposite Jason Segel.  Or opposite Matt Damon in Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo.  The story is about a man who, well, buys a zoo.  The title is literal.  Finally she may be thinking about joining Chris Pine in Welcome to People, being directed by Alex Kurtzman about a man whose father dies of cancer and learns that he kept a secret family.  Adams would play the part of the half-sister.  
  • More Olivia Wilde casting news.  She'll play Justin Timberlake's mother in Andrew Niccols next project.  No, really.  The story takes place in a society where one stops aging at 25.  That should explain everything, right?  No, not really.  Well, along with Olivia and Justin, Amanda Seyfriend and Cillian Murphy are also part of the cast as a rich heiress and a corrupt lawman, respectively.  Maybe this was the mother of all casting news, no?
  • The Social Network wins the weekend box-office and so begin the start of the Facebook puns.  Just you wait, this is will last all the way until Oscar weekend.  Brace yourself.  

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Around the world in Posters!

When Johnny met Angelina

Inception: Ending Clue by Michael Claine?

Yeah, I'm the one who can't shut up about Inception.  But to be fair, Michael Caine did bring it up.  And it would be remiss of me not to mention it.

I'll keep his comments after the cut so for those of you who haven't seen it (seriously, why not?) can be spared of any spoilers.

DVD Review: El Secreto De Sus Ojos (The Secret in their Eyes)

El Secreto De Sus Ojos (The Secret in their Eyes) is a fascinating film, one that spans over 25 years, telling a story about murder, justice and unrequited love.  The film won the Oscar for the Best Foreign Film this year and rightfully so.  The rules for the Best Foreign Film Oscar are such that every voter must see the films they are voting on before making their decision.  Therefore most often than not, the best film ends up winning.  Very unlike the Best Picture of the year which sometimes becomes a competition in favoritism and populism.  This year, it beat out two other very fine films, Un Prophete and Das Weise Band and it's easy to see why.  El Secreto De Sus Ojos is about very good storytelling and as the title suggests, it all in the eyes.

In 1974 Buenos Aires, Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Davin) is a criminal investigator who is assigned to a case of rape and murder of recently married Liliana Colotto.  He and his partner Sandoval (Guillermo Francella) become obsessed with catching the killer as another corrupt rival tries to pin the murder on two innocent workers.  They finally pinpoint a suspect and spend a lot of time trying to track him down.  So does the husband of Liliana, Ricardo Morales, who becomes fixated with getting justice for his wife's murder.  Helping Esposito and Sandoval is the Irene Menendez Hastings (Soledad Villamil), an assistant to the judge and their superior; she is later instrumental in helping catch the killer.

But as everyone involved in the saga comes to know that things don't turn out the way you might have hoped.  Due the crooked politics of Argentina (at the time), the killer, Gomez, is out and free and does the dirty work for the government.  It comes as a slap in the face for everyone who worked so hard to bring justice about for Liliana.

Back to 2000 Buenos Aires, where Irene is now a judge and Benjamin is newly retired.  They meet after many years and he tells her of his plans to write a novel based on the Morales case.  He hasn't been able to forget it even after all these years.  They talk of the past and are skittish about discussing the future.  There is a lot of unspoken thoughts between the two of them and it's all in their eyes, their hurt, their regret and their longing.

I'm not even hinting at what the ending is but it definitely brought me closure and had me thinking about what exactly justice should be.  Should the punishment fit the crime?  The movie brings up some terrific questions.  El Secreto De Sus Ojos had me absorbed in from the beginning thanks to the fine acting of the leads.  The direction was perfect and executed so well across the decades it takes to tell Benjamin and Irene's story.

And there is this one shot that leaves me absolutely astounded, it's a long take for about 5 minutes that goes from aerial view of the stadium to tracking the football players on the ground, to the fans in the huge stadium and finally to the detective duo of Esposito and Sandoval high in the stands.  How did they do it?  You'll simply have watch to see it.

Directed and Edited by Juan Jose Campanella, Cinematography by Felix Monti, Written by Eduardo Sacheri and Juan Jose Campanella (Based on Sacheri's novel)


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