Feb 28, 2007

The Movie Season Starts Now

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With the Oscar season over and January and February mercifully behind us, we can finally plot out the new year. Don't kid yourself, Hollywood doesn't count the first two months, which is why we're treated to a steady diet of films like Norbit, Ghost Rider, and The Number 23. Any cash the studios get from you in the first 60 days of any year is bonus and unintentional.

There is a bright side to this. The next ten months offer a couple films per month that will actually be watchable. There are four "film" seasons to the rest of the year, and they are as follows:

March-April: "The season of the toe dip." Films released in these two months are destined to be underappreciated because the studio doesn't really know what to do with them. Past examples include V for Vendetta and Cinderella Man.

May-August: Summer Blockbuster! This is when Hollywood really wants your money. This year no less than FIVE movies will be the third part of an established trilogy, and two more are even farther along than that in a series. Don't worry, well be getting to all of them shortly.

September-October: "Toe Dip Two" Studios are again confounded by what they've got on their hands. Is this Oscar season? Is this a holiday movie? No one knows as the industry gears down a notch before hitting hard again.

November-December: Oscar-Holiday time! Hollywood's second big foray into your wallet starts, only this time the movies are a little more artsy and award- hawkish.

Without further dilly-dallying, here are some sure things and interesting projects for each month of the new movie year.

MARCH:
Sure thing: 300
It looks cool. It feels cool. Ergo, it must be cool. Early buzz is positive for the first "must see" of 2007.
Possible thing: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I was a big turtle fan as a kid, but I wonder if the CGI version will hold up. I'm interested enough to give it a shot.

APRIL:
Sure thing: The Nanny Diaries
Okay, it's not a sure thing but it's got Scarlett Jo and Paul Giamatti, so someone must have been impressed by the script. It also looks fairly gender inclusive, something for the whole family. No, they're not paying me.
Possible thing: Grindhouse
The only truly compelling horror of the year from Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.

MAY:
Sure thing: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
I don't know where people started disliking this franchise, but I'm still a huge fan. This is a threat to make a billion dollars and that's not hyperbole in the slightest.
Possible thing: Spider-Man 3
This franchise, on the other hand, I am not sold on at all. They need to get less bubble-gum and quickly. The black-suited Spidey in the trailers looks promising, though.

JUNE:
Sure thing: Oceans 13
It is trilogy city around here. The boys get together for one last joyride in what has been a consistently fun series.
Possible thing: Live Free or Die Hard
This could go either way. They've maintained excellence so far, but Bruce is aging.

JULY:
Sure thing: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Number five and the fans haven't been disappointed yet. Or have they? Hard to say because I'm not a fan.
Possible thing: Transformers
Michael Bay directing this has the warning flag up, but it's another childhood favorite coming to the silver screen.

AUGUST:
Sure thing: The Bourne Ultimatum
This has replaced Mission Impossible and James Bond for me. I expect this to deliver in a big way.
Possible thing: Rush Hour 3
The seventh sequel I've listed for the summer is also the least interesting to me. However, the late summer release date means it may come out as a box-office winner.

SEPTEMBER:
Sure thing: The Kingdom
Based on the Oscarish cast (Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper) this looks to be an award contender. However, September is a smidge too early for Oscar watching, so maybe Universal isn't completely sold.
Possible thing: Balls of Fury
Chris Walken in a ping-pong movie. To me this sounds like a formula for greatness.

OCTOBER:
Sure thing: The Golden Age
Here is an Oscar contender for sure, and I wish I could slap myself for mentioning the award only days after the awards. Cate Blanchett, Clive Owen and Geoffrey Rush in an English period piece.
Possible thing: Heartbreak Kid
The Farrelly brothers directing Ben Stiller. You may recall a little movie called There's Something About Mary as a reason for hope.

NOVEMBER:
Sure thing: American Gangster
Denzel, Russel Crowe, and Cuba Gooding Jr. in a crime drama directed by Ridley Scott. Yes, please.
Possible thing: Fred Claus
I have legit concerns in what seems to be a largely sketch-comedy Giamatti-Vince Vaughn flick. The fact that they started advertising for it last Christmas has to be a decent sign, though.

DECEMBER:
Sure thing: Charlie Wilson's War
This film has an amazing pedigree. Oscar winners Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Phil Hoffman team up in political drama. It's directed by Mike Nichols (Closer) and adapted by Aaron Sorkin (West Wing). If you had to pick an early Best Picture favorite, you'd do well to start here.
Possible thing: Leatherheads
George Clooney puts his actor/director hat on again for a romantic drama set in the 1920s around the fledgling game of football. It's got Renee Zellweger and "it" guy John Krasinski (The Office).

Whew! That's twenty movies you are now officially obligated to see. That's okay, celebrate, have a glass of bubbly, the new year is finally upon us.

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Laremy Legel -- Mail Laremy

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Jennifer Hudson Hated Her Oscars Outfit, Too

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First off: bolero. That is apparently what we were supposed to call that metallic thing draped across Jennifer Hudson's shoulders at the Oscars. Instead, we called it a spacesuit, we called it horrendous, we called it nauseating, and we called it a mistake. So did Jennifer.

In a Today Show interview, she told Matt Lauer that the outfit was her only Oscars regret. A source at Page Six says that Vogue and its editor-at-large, Andre Leon Talley, was behind the mess. I should have known. That thing just smelled like Talley. "Jennifer was kind of sponsored by Talley and Vogue," says the source. "Andre insisted she wear that hideous Oscar de la Renta dress with the awful, awful gold python bolero. Jennifer really didn't want to, and so [noted celebrity stylist] Jessica Paster got her a beautiful gold Roberto Cavalli custom-made. But when Andre found out, he went ballistic. Moments before she left for the show, there was a power struggle and Jennifer ended up putting his outfit on."

Hey, Jen, a little tip: ditch Vogue. First they did that mucho unflattering cover shot and photo spread of you, and now this? Jennifer. Vogue hates you. I swear, this is all part of Anna Wintour's campaign to prove that anyone with a BMI over 17 cannot be attractive. Get away, Jennifer! Start up your jet packs and hit warp speed!



The Evil Beet
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New DVD Releases | 2/27/07

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Five major movie releases and a few televisions shows thrown in for good measure. It's Tuesday, it's DVD time, it's coming at you fast.

1. Alexander The Unrated Final Cut
Why do we keep going back to the well on Alexander? Because the studio refused Oliver Stone his vision two times in a row. The potential this film showed merits at least a rental of the "Final Cut."

2. Stranger than Fiction
There was something flawed here that I never quite put my finger on, but I try and support all things Will Ferrell. It might be our civic duty to buy this so he can continue working on whatever he pleases.

3. Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny
I love the D but this didn't rock anywhere near hard enough. One of the bigger letdowns of 2006, I wish they would have given us an unrated version here.

4. A Good Year
This was ushered out of theatres faster than you could say, "throwing a phone at your head." A very rare Ridley Scott misfire.

5. Seinfeld The Complete Seasons 1-7
People have claimed this isn't aging well, but I caught the "Not that there's anything wrong with that" episode last night and still had some laughs. These seven seasons will set you back $200 over on Amazon.com, but you can't put a price on four straight days of comedy (if you forgo sleep) plus the first two seasons being remastered in high definition.

6. Magnum P.I. The Complete Sixth Season
I don't know what happens in season six. You don't either. But I guarantee you it involves some Dobermans, a Detroit Tigers hat, and our buddy Higgins. Sigh. I miss Tom Selleck.

7. The Return
Nineteen percent on Rotten Tomatoes and $7m at the box office are not positive metrics. If you're a crazy cinephile this might be a late-night weekend beer special. For the rest of us it's a skip.

We'll always have Topeka. See you next Tuesday!

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Laremy Legel -- Mail Laremy

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Feb 27, 2007

DVD Review: Invincible Iron Man

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Directed by: Patrick Archibald and Frank Paur
Written by: Greg Johnson, based on the comic book and characters created by Stan Lee
Starring: Marc Worden, Gwendoline Yeo, Fred Tatasciore, Rodney Saulsberry, Elisa Gabrielli, and John McCook

Rated PG-13 (for action violence and some sensuality)
Originally Released: January 23, 2007
Available on DVD:
Running time: 83 min.


ONE time of my favorite superheroes in the mighty Marvel pantheon has always been Iron Man. I don't know if it was the technology, the awesome armor, or the fact that -- like a comic book James Bond -- he surrounded himself with beautiful women and cool gadgets. To my delight, Iron Man has become the first hero to be spotlighted in a Marvel animated feature in The Invincible Iron Man.
The Invincible Iron Man

Tweaking the origin story, The Invincible Iron Man retells the beginnings of a self-centered industrialist transformed into an armor-clad hero.

Industrial billionaire Tony Stark (Marc Worden) finds his project to raise an ancient buried Chinese city sabotaged by a local group called the Jade Dragons, who fear an ancient curse. The Jade Dragons attack -- killing the crew and capturing Stark's chief engineer Jim Rhodes (Rodney Saulsberry).

Stark flies to China to investigate and is captured in a sneak attack that leaves him with shrapnel stuck in his chest. To save his life, Stark and Rhodey (with the help of a fellow prisoner) fashion a device to keep his heart beating. Little do their captors realize, however, that they are also working on a suit of armor and a plan to escape.

Even if they do escape, Stark and Rhodey may be too late to stop the ancient curse as the four Elementals attempt to retrieve the rings of power and resurrect an evil emperor called The Mandarin.

The original Iron Man story in Marvel Comics has been updated to tell a modern story of capitalism without the overtones of war and politics. Instead of Vietnam during the war, it is set in modern day China. Stark, too, is remolded -- a pacifist rather than a profiteering defense contractor. Of course, the most interesting change is the addition of Rhodey into the origin story. This supporting character, who came much later in the comics, now aides Stark in building his first bulky Iron Man armor.

Despite these differences, The Invincible Iron Man tells an interesting story that pits modern Western technology against ancient Eastern mysticism. As the ancient prophecy unfurls, Stark's world collapses. His board of directors fires him from his own company, and he ends up a wanted man on the run. Instead of giving up, he fights back and uses his armor to stop the Elements from seizing the rings of power. It's a story of magic versus machine, of knights in armor against wizards.

For die-hard fans of Iron Man, The Invincible Iron Man is a nice appetizer. Despite being an origin story, it manages to give fans a glimpse of more than a single suit of armor. It's a start, but leaves the audience wanting more. With it's unexpected twist, the story even leaves open the possible return of The Mandarin.

The DVD features a number of bonus features including: an alternate opening sequence; "The Origin of Iron Man" featurette; "The Hall of Iron Man Armor;" a look at the upcoming Marvel animated feature, Doctor Strange; and more. The Invincible Iron Man will be available on DVD on January 23, 2007 for the suggested retail price of $19.98. [source]

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Bob Brown Addicted to Jail

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[ source ]
My version: How good is this intro:

CANTON, Mass. - For the second time in a year, Bobby Brown has been arrested while in town to watch his daughter at a cheerleading competition.

Lesson: Don't go to cheerleading competitions. Also:

Brown was cooperative outside the high school, and borrowed Loomis' cell phone to arrange to get out of jail, the constable said.

1) He was cooperative because this happens all the time.
2) The conversation went something like this:

"Hey, it's Bobby. Not much. Oh, yeah, one quick thing, I'm in jail again. Yup, child support. Ha! Well where's the fun in paying man? Anyway, can you rustle up some cash and come on down? No, no hurry, I'm catching up with some of my my buddies. Cool. See ya then."

I really wish the Bobby/Whit show would come back on. That was the best show ever, just ahead of Growing Pains.

"Show me that smile again (show me that smile) /
Don't waste another minute on your crying!"

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Melissa Etheridge

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Melissa Etheridge has, over the course of eight albums, transformed herself from an issues-oriented feminist folkie to a love-song-slinging blues rocker.

(Rollingstone.com)

On the heavily acoustic Melissa Etheridge, her songs are less about lust than loss, running the gamut from Why don't you want me? to You used to want me, why don't you want me now? (A deluxe 2003 reissue augments the original album with such fans-only fare as demos and live recordings.) With the overly ambitious Brave and Crazy, she leavens the spurned-lover stuff with attempts at poetry, resulting in such cringe-worthy choruses as "Shame, shame but I love your name/And the way you make the buffalo roam." Ouch. Never Enough toughens her sound slightly, but it's not until Yes I Am that Etheridge finds her formula. With the bluesy grind of "Come to My Window," Etheridge found not only a hard-rock approach suited to her big, bluesy voice, but also a subject -- sexual desire -- to which everyone could relate.

Your Little Secret expands on that breakthrough, bringing an almost Springsteenian majesty to some of the songs. Even better, she truly understands the allure of illicit desire, and through the likes of "Such an Unusual Kiss" and "I Want to Come Over" makes it very easy to see the good side of bad love. Breakdown tends to prefer heartbreak melodrama to lubricious longing, which isn't as much fun but is nearly as entertaining. "Angels Would Fall" may try to be the pop equivalent of The Thorn Birds as Etheridge's protagonist longs to lead a devout lover off the prayerful path, but it serves up its soapy saga with enough musical oomph to make the lyrical excesses forgivable.

The rough and rambunctious Skin is less ambitious and much more uneven, but when it works -- as on the rousing "I Want to Be in Love" -- it shows that Etheridge has lost none of her bite. A pity, then, that Lucky keeps coming up boxcars. While there's plenty of desire on display in the lyrics, the music itself seems neither hungry nor horny, while "Tuesday Morning," dedicated to gay 9/11 victim Mark Bingham, seems slightly gratuitous in comparison with songs such as Neil Young's "Let's Roll." (J.D. CONSIDINE)

From 2004's The New Rolling Stone Album Guide

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Oscar wins at last for Mirren and Scorsese

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Martin Scorsese accepts the best director Oscar for The Departed.
Photograph: Mark J Terrill / AP
Martin Scorsese accepts his best director Oscar. Photograph: Mark J Terrill / AP

The Gurdian

Martin Scorsese was finally honoured by the Hollywood establishment at last night's Oscars, ending a run of five failed nominations. Elsewhere the acting crowns went to Helen Mirren for The Queen and Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland.

Mirren, as predicted, was named best actress for her role as Elizabeth II, while Whitaker won best actor for his portayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. But in the ceremony's closing minutes Martin Scorsese swept all before him. It was the moment when Hollywood at last threw open its doors to the talented upstart from New York, a director who is widely regarded as the most influential film-maker of his generation.

For good measure, Scorsese's gangster epic The Departed also picked up the all-important best picture Oscar. The film finished the night with four awards in total, one ahead of the Spanish-language fantasy Pan's Labyrinth. Dreamgirls, Little Miss Sunshine and the documentary An Inconvenient Truth all came away with two awards apiece.

In a ceremony that stuck close to the bookies' predictions, there were few major surprises. Eddie Murphy entered the Kodak theatre as the slight favourite to win the best supporting actor Oscar for his turn in Dreamgirls. In the event he lost out to the veteran actor Alan Arkin, who won for his spry turn as a disreputable grandfather in the indie comedy Little Miss Sunshine.

Former American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson was named best supporting actress for Dreamgirls. "Look what God can do," she gushed on receiving her statuette.

Pan's Labyrinth was an early front-runner at last night's awards but conspicuously lost out to the German political thriller The Lives of Others in the hunt for the best foreign film Oscar. The acclaimed eco-film An Inconvenient Truth was named best documentary feature.

Prior to the ceremony there had been rumours that the film's star, Al Gore, would use the Oscars as a platform to declare his bid for the 2008 presidential elections. However, Gore opted to play his big moment for laughs, jokingly claiming that he was about to make a major announcement before allowing himself to be ushered off stage after overrunning his alloted time-slot.

"I was just drinking backstage with Jack Nicholson and Al Gore," George Clooney quipped a few minutes later. "I don't think he's running for president."

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Oscars 2007: what the blogosphere said

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It was a victory for feminism, foreigners and, well, good films, according to the bleary-eyed bloggers.

blogs.guardian.co.uk

What are the abiding lessons of this, the 79th Oscars ceremony? Believe it or not, they are many and manifold, and not just because most of the people drawing the lessons were half-drunk and about to go to bed after a night of obsessive gong-watching.

Tom O'Neil, who writes the Gold Derby blog for the LA Times drew the strongest line of all from last night's results: Helen Mirren's victory is a blow for feminism.

Tonight Helen Mirren put a stop to the young beauty pageant reigning in the actress' categories. Remember, over the past 15 years only one gal over age 50 won an Oscar for acting: Judi Dench (supporting actress, Shakespeare in Love).

But as I reported last week, she did it by brazenly reminding everyone how sexy a 61-year-old dish can be - and by acting quite naughty, too.

Remember the cleavage she flashed at the Golden Globes?

Also, let's recall how she appeared on the cover of Los Angeles magazine's February issue parting a white top to reveal a peekaboo black bra underneath.

Ok, so feminism might be stretching it. And the fact that a 61 year old can be sexy seems to have had no effect on those taking part in the "young beauty pageant". British actress Helen McCrory (Cherie Blair in The Queen), confessed as much on the red carpet to the NY Times's Carpetbagger:

"It is like a shark pit out here. You see all these beautiful women dressed as they are, but you can almost hear the hearts pumping. There is so much competition in a way. It's fluff and money and business all rolled into one."

So if the Oscars wasn't a triumph of sisterhood, could it have caused a coming together of nations instead? That's the theory expounded by Anne Thompson in the Hollywood Reporter. She cites the fact that the first three awards were won by foreigners and the triumph of the Mexicans as proof before reminding readers that Stephen Frears had hired as many non-Americans as he could in the making of the Queen.

Cue some excitement about the globalised biz:

Technology has made it much easier for movies to travel around the globe, with lighter camera equipment and computer editing. "You can work from Paris and send music in a blink to LA or London," [French composer of the Queen soundtrack, Alexandre] Desplat said.

Swiftly followed by fear that they might all come over here and take our jobs etc:

But is Hollywood still Hollywood? "I still think of the '30s and Norma Desmond and the Paramount gates," Desplat added. "It was created here and still is here. As long as talented directors and producers come here to create something, it will be Hollywood."

And as long as a Forest Whitaker can pull himself out of South Central Los Angeles or Jennifer Hudson and Michael Arndt can take the high dive into new careers, Hollywood remains the land of opportunity for people with the talent and determination to grab the spotlight.

Now over to Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood Daily. She also has a theory: that The Departed won best movie because it was a good film.

Despite what the Oscars pundits tell you, this isn't rocket science: all a motion picture needs to snag the award is for about 1,300 voters to feel passionately enough about it and mark their ballot accordingly. This year, the Oscars weren't sending a message, political or otherwise. They simply went with the best picture, which happened to be a gangster tale this year.

Over at In Contention, there's a similar view, albeit expressed in a different vernacular:

I am so, SO happy the Academy was this cool. That they were this smooth. That they were this... badass. You have to go back to The French Connection to find a film this hard boiled winning the big prize, and even THAT was a film that advanced the medium considerably. The Departed is just an unassuming genre picture, one that was a critical and box office champ, sure. But one that was unconventional for this group all the same. Bravo.

So that's your blog roundup. Final word goes to Larry David though, simply because it can. Collared on the red carpet by the carpetbagger (his wife, Laurie, was up for an Oscar as producer of An Inconvenient Truth), he revealed his plan for the ceremony:

"I have a pocket full of candy bars and I'm not sharing one of them. Not a bite. But I won't crinkle the wrappers when I open them."


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Photo Gallery: Oscar Winners

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Introduction

Poor old Peter O'Toole, we're really only interested in the winners. So here are the beaming beauties who took home a golden statuette.


It's that Scorsese factor: The Departed takes the 2007 Oscar for best picture, best screenplay, best editing and...
Photograph: Public domain

.. appropriately enough, Martin Scorsese wins best director. "Could someone double-check the envelope?" he asks nervously.

Helen Mirren juggles handbag and earring while claiming her - not entirely unexpected - Oscar for best actress.

More photo go to www.guardian.co.uk

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Upcoming Movie in March: Black Snake Moan (2007)

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Synopsis

There was a time when Lazarus played the blues; a time he got Bojo's Juke Joint shakin' back in the day. Bitter and broken from a cheating wife and a shattered marriage, Lazarus' soul is lost in spent dreams and betrayal's contempt…until Rae. He discovers her half naked and beaten unconscious on the side of the road where she was for dead. The God-fearing, middle-aged black man quickly learns that the young white woman he's nursing back to health is none other than the town tramp from the small Tennessee town where they live. Worse, she has a peculiar anxiety disorder. He realizes when the fever hits, Rae's affliction has more to do with love lost than any found. Abused as a child and abandoned by her mother, Rae is used by just about every man in the phone book. Refusing to know her in the biblical sense, Lazarus decides to cure Rae of her wicked ways. By unleashing Rae emotionally, Lazarus unchains his heart and frees himself.

Cast + crew
Starring : Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci,Justin Timberlake, S. Epatha Merkerson
John Cothran Jr.
Director : Craig Brewer
Producers : Stephanie Allain, John Singleton
Screenwriters : Craig Brewer
Release Date: February 23, 2007
Runtime: 116 minutes


Review by Rollingstone

As he proved in 2005 -- with his rap about how it's hard out here for a pimp in Hustle & Flow -- writer- director Craig Brewer doesn't just use music in film, he lets it breathe. It's raw Memphis blues, from Blind Lemon Jefferson to R.L. Burnside and Jessie Mae Hemphill, that informs Brewer's Black Snake Moan. But, oh lordy, when the music stops, this movie needs a respirator. Look, I'm not knocking Brewer -- the dude has a real talent for evoking atmosphere -- and the eye-filling sight of a mostly naked Christina Ricci, playing Tennessee white trash with her own spin on "she's gotta have it," is unassailable. But this time Brewer substitutes provocation for substance. And that dog won't hunt. No sooner has Rae (Ricci) sent her boyfriend, Ronnie (Justin Timberlake), off to the Army and Iraq, she's getting it on with her drug dealer, the football team and Ronnie's best friend -- he's the jerk who rapes her and leaves her for dead on a dirt road.

Rae's awakening comes courtesy of -- symbol alert -- Lazarus, played by a graybeard Samuel L. Jackson. Lazarus, a former blues musician (Jackson sings, effectively), takes in this wild child, chains her to his radiator and gets fired up to cure her of her sex sickness. Offensive on multiple levels -- if only the plot had any levels at all -- Black Snake Moan leaves no Tobacco Road cliche unsmoked. Ricci gives it her all, and then some, but even her body and Jackson's blues can't heal a movie that rockets plum off its nut.

Watch Black Snake Moan Trailer
Visit Black Snake Moan official site

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Upcoming Movie in March: Full of It (2007)

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Synopsis

A 17-year-old desperately tries to fit in at a new school by telling elaborate lies to impress the school's most popular kids. But, when the lies start turning to truths and the teen becomes the big man on campus, he suddenly finds himself facing a whole new set of problems that he never expected.

Cast + crew

Starring : Ryan Pinkston, Kate Mara, Joshua Close, Amanda Walsh, Carmen Electra
Director : Christian Charles
Producers : Steve Barnett, Mark Canton
Screenwriters : Jon Lucas, Scott Moore, Yoni Berkovits, Tony Dreannan, Tom Gammill, Max Pross
Release Date: March 2, 2007

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Open in March: Home of the Brave

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Synopsis

This powerful film tells the story of four American soldiers nearing the end of their tours of duty in Iraq. Shortly after learning their unit will soon return home, they are sent on one final humanitarian mission and the unit is ambushed. With many lives lost, the surviving troops suffer both physical and psychological injuries. Now, as they return to the United States, four soldiers must face memories of the past as they look towards the future and return to civilian life.

Cast + crew

Starring : Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel 50 Cent, Christina Ricci, Brian Presley
Director : Irwin Winkler
Producers : Irwin Winkler, Rob Cowan, George Furla, Avi Lerner
Screenwriters : Mark Friedman

Watch Home of the Brave Movie Trailer

Visit Home ofthe Brave Official Site

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Open in March: Two Weeks

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Synopsis

Four siblings rush home for what they think is a final goodbye to their dying mother. When the matriarch refuses to pass away the family members find themselves trapped together for two weeks and rediscover their mutual love.

Cast + crew
Starring : Sally Field, Ben Chaplin, Thomas Cavanagh, Julianne Nicholson, Glenn Howerton
Director : Steve Stockman
Producers : Paul Brian Anderson
Screenwriters : Steve Stockman
Release Date: December 1, 2006
Runtime : 102 minutes

Visit Official Site

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Upcoming Movie in March: Wild Hogs (2007)

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Synopsis

A group of middle-aged friends decide to rev up their routine suburban lives with a freewheeling motorcycle trip. Taking a long dreamed-of breather from their stressful jobs and family responsibilities, they can't wait to feel the freedom of the open road. When this mismatched foursome, who have grown far more used to the couch than the saddle, set out for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, they encounter a world that holds far more than they ever bargained for. The trip begins to challenge their wits and their luck, especially during a chance run-in with the Del Fuegos, a real-life biker gang who are less than amused with their novice approach. As they go looking for adventure, they soon find that they've embarked on a journey they will never forget.

Cast + crew


Starring : Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy, Marisa Tomei
Director : Walt Becker
Producers : Michael Tollin, Brian Robbins, Todd Lieberman
Screenwriters : Brad Copeland

Watch Wild Hogs - Trailer
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Upcoming Movie in March: Zodiac (2007)

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Synopsis

As a serial killer terrifies the San Francisco Bay Area and taunts police with his ciphers and letters, investigators in four jurisdictions search for the murderer. The case will become an obsession for four men as their lives and careers are built and destroyed by the endless trail of clues.

Cast + crew
Starring : Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Al Cacioppo
Director : David Fincher
Producers : Ceán Chaffin, Brad Fischer, Mike Medavoy, Arnold Messer, James Vanderbilt
Screenwriters : James Vanderbilt, Robert Graysmith

Watch Zodiac Trailer

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Zodiac
Zodiac - Nobody Else Will
Zodiac - Not Tracing Your Call
Zodiac - He's A Boy Scout
Zodiac - Murder At The Lake

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Available in DVD: Flushed Away (2006)

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Synopsis

In this new comedy set on and beneath the streets of London, Roddy St. James is a pampered pet mouse who thinks he's got it made. But when a sewer rat named Sid -- the definition of 'low life' -- comes spewing out of the sink and decides it's his turn to enjoy the lap of luxury, Roddy schemes to rid himself of the pest by luring him into the loo for a dip in the 'whirlpool.' Roddy's plan backfires when he inadvertently winds up being the one flushed away into the bustling world down below. Underground, Roddy discovers a vast metropolis, where he meets Rita, a street-wise rat who is on a mission of her own. If Roddy is going to get home, he and Rita will need to escape the clutches of the villainous Toad, who royally despises all rodents and has dispatched two hapless hench-rats, Spike and Whitey, as well as his cousin, a dreaded mercenary, Le Frog, to see that Roddy and Rita are iced... literally.


Cast + crew
Starring : Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Bill Nighy
Director : Sam Fell, Henry F Anderson III, David Bowers
Producers : Cecil Kramer, Peter Lord, David Sproxton
Screenwriters : Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais

Watch Flushed Away Trailer

More video
Flushed Away
Flushed Away
Flushed Away - Exclusive Clip - Meet The Slugs
Flushed Away - The Persuader
Flushed Away - Bonjour
Flushed Away - The Getaway
Flushed Away - Go, Go Purple Custard
Flushed Away - You Got A Deal
Flushed Away - Can't Swim
Flushed Away - Hang On Tight
Flushed Away - Featurette

Visit Official Site

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Latest Movie: Glastonbury (2007)

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Synopsis

In 1970 Michael Eavis opened his 150-acre farm to 1,500 people each paying one pound to watch a handful of pop and folk stars perform over the summer-solstice weekend. With that the Glastonbury Festival was born. It is now the longest running and most popular music and arts festival in history. Hundreds of thousands of people have enjoyed the Glastonbury festival and millions more around the world have watched it on television or listened to broadcasts on the radio. The Glastonbury film project began in 2002 when the future of the festival was in question. Michael Eavis wanted a record of the Festival's history in case it turned out to be the final year. With less than a month before the 2002 festival there was no time to lose. Long time festival worker Robert Richards took on the role as producer and he quickly enlisted the help of Somerset based director Julien Temple - The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, Absolute Beginners, Filth and the Fury. Within weeks 12 film crews were ready to record events.


cast + crew

Starring : Coldplay, Primal Scream Blur
director : Julian Temple
Producers Robert Richards
Release date : February 23, 2007
Run Time: 138 minutes

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Latest Movie: Astronaut Farmer (2007)

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Synopsis

Dismissed from NASA's space program, former astronaut-in-training Charles Farmer pursues his lifelong dream by building his own rocket. On the eve of his launch, he must battle foreclosure on his ranch, a small-town community of disbelievers, the FAA and FBI agents who want to shut him down in the name of Homeland Security--but he remains determined to reach his goal and instill in his children the courage to pursue their own dreams, no matter the odds.

Cast and Crew
Starring : Billy Bob Thornton, Virginia Madsen, Bruce Dern, Tim Blake Nelson
Director : Michael Polish
Producers : Len Amato, Mark Polish, Michael Polish
Screenwriters : Michael Polish, Michael Polish

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Astronaut Farmer
Astronaut Farmer
The Astronaut Farmer - You're My Crew
The Astronaut Farmer - Without The Rocket, We're Just A Dysfunctional Family
The Astronaut Farmer - It's Always Been My Dream
The Astronaut Farmer - She Tells Everyone About Her Daddy
The Astronaut Farmer - I'm Here For Throwing A Brick
Astronaut Farmer - If We Don't Have Our Dreams, We Have Nothing



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Latest Movie: Amazing Grace (2007)

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Synopsis

William Wilberforce led efforts as a member of Parliament in 18th-century England to end slavery and the slave trade in the British empire. Wilberforce was elected to the House of Commons at 21 and took on the issue of slavery, successfully assembling a diverse coalition that went up against the most powerful men of the time.

Starring : Richard Bailey, Alex Blake, Sean Bloc, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Nigel Davey
Director : Michael Apted
Producers : Jeanney Kim
Screenwriters : Steven Knight

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Latest Movie: The Abandoned (2007)

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Synopsis

An American woman searching for her birth parents learns she has inherited a house in the middle of a forest in a remote area of Russia. It is the house where she was born. Abandoned and uninhabited for 40 years, it stands in total disrepair and neglect. What she finds is more than an old house. She meets a mysterious man who claims to be her brother, a twin she never knew. Together they find the house holds secrets to a past they don't remember. Together they are forced to relive a series of horrifying events and shocking murders that occurred just after they were born, in the place they were supposed to die.

Starring : Jordanka Angelova, Kalin Arsov, Paraskeva Djukelova, Valentin Ganev, Valentin Goshev
Director : Nacho Cerda
Producers : Carlos Fernández, Julio Fernández
Screenwriters : Nacho Cerda, Karim Hussain

More info, visit this movie official site

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Movie Review: Ray of Shunsine

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Cloudy Plot and Performances Make Ray of Sunshine Hard to See

World premieres... we don't get a lot of them in Kansas. So it's difficult to watch the opening of a film that is so obviously a labor of love and find so much wrong with it. Although it is an independent production, Ray of Sunshine is hardly the work of amateurs. With veteran actors Nancy Kwan, Tim Considine, and Ross Hagen, the film has some talent behind it. What it's missing, however, is clarity.

Rachel (Cheyenne Rushing) leaves her home to find her estranged father in Ray of Sunshine. (Sunshine Productions, 2007)
Directed by: Norbert Meisel
Written by: Norbert Meisel and Rae Rodgers
Starring: Cheyenne Rushing, Curt Lowens, Nancy Kwan , Tim Considine, and Ross Hagen
Rated Not Rated
Running time: 90 min.



Relative newcomer Cheyenne Rushing plays Rachael, a young teen who leaves her troubled home to search for her father, a wayward musician named Jack Doyle. On the run, she disguises herself as a boy and heads to Los Angeles.

Rachael tracks her father to the last place where he worked, a rundown jazz club. She befriends an elderly piano player known as The Count (Curt Lowens). With music as a bridge between them, Rachael and The Count begin a friendship that may give her a family she never knew existed.

The film is filled with familiar faces. Kwan plays the club's owner, Lily. Hagen plays her bartender and lover. Considine (who may be best remembered as half of the old television team "Spin and Marty") plays a judge who is searching for Rachael.

Despite the talented cast and a nice story about finding family in unlikely places, the film is uneven at best. It offers moments that are both wonderful and touching, only to be contrasted in the next scene by something that is unbelievable or uninteresting.

The writing is seriously flawed. The plot hinges on people not recognizing Rachael's disguise, but she can't escape looking feminine. Director Norbert Meisel is partly to blame. In a Q&A session after the screening, he said that her poor effort to hide her identity is part of the story. He noted that the other characters could easily see through her disguise, but that was never really conveyed on screen.

The story contains numerous sub-plots that defy explanation. In one, a judge (Considine) tries to find Rachael after her mother's murder. In another, Rachael finds a love interest in a young man trying to get into culinary school. A third, regarding the jazz club's monetary problems, seemed to be added only to showcase Kwan and Hagen's talents on stage. A good editor could recut this film, remove the extraneous subplots, and create a solid short film.

The acting in some of the sub-plots is so sub-par that they appear to be the work of unpaid extras rather than professional actors. Every scene set in Rachael's past is hard to watch because it appears to be directed by someone with no film experience.

As noted, Ray of Sunshine is an independent production and a labor of love. Partially financed by Kwan and Meisel, it appears destined for art houses and small independent theaters. Nevertheless, a good independent production should have higher standards.

The saving grace in Ray of Sunshine is the connection between The Count and Rachael, as well as the music that they share. Music, everything from jazz to classical, plays an important part in the film. An original piece dubbed "Rachael's Waltz" (composed by newcomer Geoff Stradling) is wonderful and helps gloss over the rougher moments of the film. (Reviewed by www.filmguru.net)

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Movie Review: The Departed

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Synopsis

In South Boston, where the state police force is waging war on organized crime, young undercover cop Billy Costigan is assigned to infiltrate the mob syndicate run by gangland chief Costello. While Billy is quickly gaining Costello's confidence, Colin Sullivan, a hardened young criminal who has infiltrated the police department as an informer for the syndicate, is rising to a position of power in the Special Investigation Unit. Each man becomes deeply consumed by his double life, gathering information about the plans and counter-plans of the operations he has penetrated. But when it becomes clear to both the gangsters and the police that there's a mole in their midst, Billy and Colin are suddenly in danger of being caught and exposed to the enemy--and each must race to uncover the identity of the other man in time to save himself.

cast + crew
starring : Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen
director : Martin Scorsese
producers : Martin Scorsese, Brad Grey, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Graham King
screenwriters : William Monahan

Review by Rollingstone
Maybe you've heard the Internet buzz about The Departed being an old-school cop flick, unburdened by profundity. Maybe you'll think so too if you don't pay a lick of attention to what's onscreen. Or maybe you'll recognize The Departed for what it is: a new American crime classic from the legendary Martin Scorsese, whose talent shines here on its highest beams.

A title card sets the scene: boston. some years ago. And we're off, watching Leonardo DiCaprio as a cop pretending to be a hood and Matt Damon as his opposite. Both are trapped in circumstances where you can't tell the good from the bad.

All the actors bring their A games to this triumphant bruiser of a film, its darkly wanton wit the only defense against complete chaos. DiCaprio and Damon give explosive, emotionally complex performances, but it must be said that Jack Nicholson reaches undreamed-of heights of decadent devilment as Irish mob kingpin Frank Costello. Whether he's wielding a gun or a dildo, buying off cops, dissing Catholic priests as pederasts, seducing children into a life of crime, letting it snow cocaine on favored hookers or chatting while elbow-deep in blood, Nicholson is electrifying. Dispassionately executing a woman on a beach, Costello notes to his henchman Mr. French (a terrific Ray Winstone), "She fell funny." But Costello is no campy Joker. Channeling James Cagney in White Heat and Paul Muni in Scarface, Nicholson leeches out the glamour to create a landmark portrait of evil.

William Monahan's stinging script, a revelation after his murky meandering in last year's Kingdom of Heaven, transfers the plot of the terrific 2002 Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs to his native Boston so he can drill down to its depraved core. Those familiar with the gangs of Beantown will see Whitey Bulger -- the Irish thug still being pursued by the FBI -- in Nicholson's sick twist of a character. This is vital, visceral filmmaking, indebted to Michael Ballhaus' vibrant cinematography and Howard Shore's evocative score, boosted by Scorsese's typically astute soundtrack choices -- a unique uniting of the Stones, John Lennon, Nas, Van Morrison, the Beach Boys and Patsy Cline. And once again, Thelma Schoonmaker turns editing into an art form. She's the wizard at Scorsese's side, getting the action to jump off the screen while setting up psychological provocations that reverb hellishly in your head.

Ignore the irrelevant fan-boy questions: Will Scorsese finally win his Oscar? Is The Departed as brilliant as GoodFellas? Is it too gory to be a blockbuster? The Departed, flawed by a few underwritten characters and some overwrought imagery (the symbolic rat), pins you to your seat.

Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) and Colin Sullivan (Damon), unknown to each other, are both trainees at the Massachusetts State Police Academy. For Billy, it's a goodbye to the Southies, the South Boston criminal element that formed him. For Colin, it's a chance to play mole for Costello, who trained him since boyhood. The drama intensifies when Billy is told that he will never wear the Statie uniform. His father figure, Capt. Queenan (Martin Sheen), wants Billy to go undercover and infiltrate Costello's crew. Billy's identity will be known only by Queenan and his flinty enforcer, Sgt. Dignam (a locked-and-loaded Mark Wahlberg gives a supporting role major dimensions). Colin, who thinks the Statie uniform makes you look "dressed to invade Poland," joins the suits led by Capt. Ellerby (the reliably superb Alec Baldwin) in the Special Investigations Unit. And so two rookies, assigned to rat out the people they work with, begin to unravel from the strain of maintaining identities antithetical to their true natures.

As in Infernal Affairs, there's a heap of coincidence. You might want to revoke the film's dramatic license when Billy and Colin both fall for Madolyn (Vera Farmiga), the shrink who treats Billy and moves in with Colin. Luckily, Farmiga (Down to the Bone) is a glorious actress, a combustible mix of smarts and sex appeal, who reveals that Madolyn is as lost and off-the-rails as the two men.

The violence? Most of it is saved for the film's final act, where it's enough to give you whiplash. Scorsese correctly refuses to go wussy on the corruption that extends from Costello's nest of vipers to the State House, whose gold dome Colin sees from the window of his chic apartment on Beacon Hill. Damon, building on his no-bull turns in Syriana and the two Bourne films, brings a coiled-spring intensity to Colin, whose double life is taking its toll (for one thing, he's often impotent). Scorsese allows telling glimpses of the child in these men. Colin dreads betrayal by Costello, the thug who filled his scrawny twelve-year-old arms with groceries and made him his slave. Billy uses drugs to numb his fear but can't find anything -- family, friend, lover, church, government -- to trust. DiCaprio does himself proud in a risky role that stabs at the heart as Billy's bravado loses the battle to his jangling nerves. Though DiCaprio and Damon share only one big scene, their climactic rooftop face-off reflects the film's bleak view of a world where nothing is held sacred.

Scorsese doesn't need gore to make his points. A scene with Billy and a vibrating cell phone matches Hitchcock for suspense. Another, deftly borrowed from The Third Man, simply involves Madolyn walking past Colin at a funeral, her impassive gaze deadlier than a speeding bullet. Issues of sin, redemption, identity and loyalty resonate in Scorsese's films, including the atypical Kundun, Age of Innocence and The Aviator. Each new film absorbs the others, creating a body of work that can stand with the greatest. Scorsese tops the list of American directors because, even when he fails, he strives passionately to make movies that matter. The Departed, a defiantly uncompromised vision of a society rotting from the inside, is one of his best. Act accordingly.

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Know Your 2007 Oscar Nominees: Supporting Actor Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

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We’re counting down to the Oscars by introducing you to some of the best and sometimes overlooked performances of this year's Oscar contenders. Today’s Episode: Good Vibrations.

This is another of those rare success stories. Once upon a time there was a boy in an unknown boy band called The New Kids on the Block. Somewhere along the line, one of the members – the younger brother of the eldest of the group – decided to quit and find a different route to success. The New Kids on the Block took off big just weeks after he left. He was a joke. Someone who missed the bus to stardom. So he put out his own record, crafted his own image. And he caught on. For a while.

Then he tried his hand at acting, first as a student in three consecutive films, then as the psychotic boyfriend in a little thriller starring an unknown actress by the name of Reese Witherspoon. Then other directors came calling. The rest is history. Mark Wahlberg, younger brother of Donnie Wahlberg, the guy who missed the boat, instead caught a ride right to the top of the world.

Essential Filmography:

Boogie Nights. Everyone told him it was a mistake to play a porn star in a movie by a little-known director. Everyone was wrong. This movie changed him from Marky Mark to Mark Wahlberg in one killer, excellent performance.

The Perfect Storm. They let the kid from Boston play a kid from Boston, and he once again delivered a performance that further separated him from his garish, hip-hop image.

Invincible. Last year’s fantastic sports film won people over and brought in the green – even during a time when there were several other competing films about sports. A good old-fashioned true story that it’s hard not to like.

Why he probably shouldn’t get the gold: Oooooowooo! Oooooowooo! Oooooowooo! Can you feel it, baby? I can too. It’s such a good vibration. A sweeeeet sensation. It’s such a good vibration .…
C. Robert Cargill - - - Email Me
------------------------------------------
Austin-based Cargill, who not only loves but owns The Cutting Edge, writes on movies and DVD two times a week.

This is part of Film.com's coverage of the 2007 Academy Awards. For more Oscars articles, analysis, news, and red carpet photo galleries, visit our Oscars page.

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Feb 26, 2007

Movie Review: Night at The Museum

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History Comes Alive! Night at the Museum is Fun and Fantastic

We've all had the same daydream about toys or mannequins coming to life. Walking through a museum, one can't help but wonder what would happen if the statues and wax figures began to move around. In the new family comedy from director Shawn Levy, the New York Natural History Museum becomes the setting for a fantastic experience as an unsuspecting Ben Stiller takes a job as a watchman in Night at the Museum.
Night at the Museum

Larry Daley (Ben Stiller, left) and Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) explore the incredible events taking place all around them in a natural history museum. (20th Century Fox, 2006)
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Written by: Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon, based on the book by Milan Trenc
Starring: Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Jake Cherry, Ricky Gervais, and Robin Williams

Rated PG (for mild action, language and brief rude humor)
Running time: 108 min.


When Larry Daley (Stiller) finds himself on the verge of being evicted, his ex-wife convinces him to find a steady job for the sake of their son Nick (Jake Cherry). Daley, who has dreams of being great, finds himself reluctantly accepting a position as the new night guard at the local museum.

Larry does not anticipate the level of activity on his shift. The dinosaur skeleton comes to life, the animal figures roam the halls, and the miniatures from the diorama room battle with one another. All of the life in the museum is the side effect of an ancient golden tablet from the Egyptian pharaoh of Ahkmenrah. The tablet is magic and brings the dead to life from sundown to sunrise.

With some help from a wax figure of Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Larry manages to survive his first shift but doesn't know if he can make a living at it. He resigns, but for the sake of his son he asks for his job back.

Utilizing amazing special effects and makeup, Night at the Museum becomes an amazing adaptation of the picture book by Milan Trenc. Filled with humor and adventure, the film manages to capture the spirit of wonder in the same vein as films like Jumanji or The Polar Express.

Night at the Museum has a plethora of guest cameos, including Owen Wilson as the miniature cowboy Jedadiah, Steve Coogan as his miniature Roman rival Octavius, Ricky Gervais as the museum director Dr. McPhee, and Paul Rudd as Nick's new step-father, Don.

Adding a dash of old-time fun to the mix are veteran actors Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, and Bill Cobbs as the old night watchmen who are retiring. They give Larry a list of instructions to help, but don't bother to warn him about the unusual nature of the museum's night life. As it turns out, they have an agenda of their own. Seeing Van Dyke on the big screen is a treat and worth the price of admission.

To my surprise, the film was a delightful family picture. With Stiller in the lead, I expected a lower level of humor. Usually when you pair up Stiller and Wilson, you get more mature-natured jokes. While there were a couple of subtle nudges for the adults in the audience, there was nothing inappropriate in this film. It's a fantastic voyage into the world of history and make believe. (Reviewed by www.filmguru.net)

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Movie Review: Letters From Iwo Jima

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Starring: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Shido Nakamura, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase
Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Having just won the Best Picture prize from the National Board of Review, Clint Eastwood's intimate epic Letters From Iwo Jima enters the Oscar race with banners flying, which is a good thing. The director's Flags of Our Fathers had to suffer the alleged indignity of being a box-office underperformer, as if that says anything about quality.

And Letters is quality from first frame to last, a war film that is almost a tone poem in how it reveals the minds and secret hearts of the Japanese soldiers defending the volcanic island of Iwo Jima against American forces over forty days of battle in 1945.

Working from a screenplay by Iris Yamashita (her first), Eastwood's companion film to Flags burrows deeply into Japanese culture, starting with Lt. Gen. Tadamichi (the soulful Ken Watanabe), once an envoy to the U.S., who led the defense and came up with the controversial plan to tunnel the island (eighteen miles' worth) and dig caves to take on the American forces that far outnumbered them.

Eastwood's direction here is a thing of beauty, blending the ferocity of the classic films of Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai) with the delicacy and unblinking gaze of Yasujiro Ozu (Tokyo Story). Characters are drawn with striking nuance and tender feeling, be they Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya), the baker who dreams of seeing his wife and baby, or Baron Nishi (Tsuyoshi Ihara), an Olympic equestrian who brings his horse to the island.

The scenes of combat, shot in desaturated color on the beaches of Iceland by the gifted Tom Stern and edited with grit and grace by Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach, gain in terror and complexity from what we learn of these men. We watch in horror as soldiers bang their helmets with live grenades, preferring suicide to surrender. Eastwood's film burns into the memory by striving for authentic detail. The result is unique and unforgettable. (www.rollingstone.com)

Watch the trailer

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Know Your 2007 Oscar Nominees: Supporting Actress Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

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We’re counting down to the Oscars by introducing you to some of the best and sometimes overlooked performances of this year's Oscar contenders. Today’s Episode: The Dreamgirl Dreams Big.

Sometimes, just sometimes, in those rare moments in life – the gamble pays off. The dream comes true. You become America’s new darling. Every person reading this, hell every person writing this, has daydreamed while looking in a mirror or driving in their car or whenever … of giving the Oscar speech. And it’s not after having worked your ass off for decades and finally proving that you’ve earned it. Everyone dreams of getting the Oscar nomination the first time out. Yeah. That NEVER happens.

Unless your name is Jennifer Hudson. Hell, she didn’t even win on American Idol, the only other thing she’s ever been involved with professionally. But here she is, after one film role, playing with the big leagues and a favorite for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

And frankly, I’m doing cartwheels over it. She is our new sweetheart. She was incredible in Dreamgirls and deserved the nomination. Don’t ask me about her American Idol stint. I don’t watch it. I’ve got nothing against it really – just that I’m out most evenings at movies. So this is all I know her from. And I love her. I want more.

Why she probably shouldn’t get the gold: Well, it’s her first time acting, and you usually don’t get one the first time out. But Best Supporting Actress is anyone’s game. It’s a whole bunch of unknowns this year, along with one person who’s won recently. Truth be told, I’m pulling for the sweetheart.
C. Robert Cargill - - - Email Me
------------------------------------------
Austin-based Cargill, who not only loves but owns The Cutting Edge, writes on movies and DVD two times a week.

This is part of Film.com's coverage of the 2007 Academy Awards. For more Oscars articles, analysis, news, and red carpet photo galleries, visit our Oscars page.

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Know Your 2007 Oscar Nominees: Supporting Actor Eddie Murphy

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We’re counting down to the Oscars by introducing you to some of the best and sometimes overlooked performances of this year's Oscar contenders. Today’s Episode: Welcome Back, Eddie.

One of the biggest surprises this year was the return of one of our lost (or at least believed lost) comedy heroes. Trapped in a perpetual hell of bad comedies or family films, his origins as a cutting edge, raunchy comic were long behind him – and while he still enjoyed success, his critics were scathing. Of course, over time, many have begun to claim that Murphy was never talented. Here's the proof that they're wrong.

Essential Filmography:

48 Hrs. The buddy cop comedy that set the standard for buddy cop comedies. Eddie Murphy plays a convict who is teamed up with bitter, bad-boy cop Nick Nolte. One of the greats of its kind.

Trading Places. A comedy with a social conscience, trading places is an assault on the wanton consumerism and focus on business of the early '80s. When two aging businessmen bet that they can ruin one man’s career while simultaneously elevating a homeless man to his place, Dan Aykroyd and Murphy effectively trade places. But it is when these two discover the machinations of these aging methuselahs that they join together to get revenge.

Coming to America. Anyone who thinks Murphy never had a good film has slipped, bumped their head and completely blocked out this comedy masterpiece. A wealthy African prince comes to America to find a beautiful American wife, but decides to feign poverty so he can be loved for who he is, not what he’s worth.

Beverly Hills Cop. Come on, whistle the theme song. You know you want to. Axel F was a big hit in its day, as was this cop comedy – which spawned two sequels. One of them worth mentioning.

Why he probably shouldn’t get the gold: Well, if I had to pick one reason, it would be Norbit. If I had to pick two reasons, they would be Norbit and Daddy Day Care. If I had to pick three reasons, they would be Norbit, Daddy Day Care and Beverly Hills Cop III. If I had to pick four reasons .…

C. Robert Cargill - - - Email Me
------------------------------------------
Austin-based Cargill, who not only loves but owns The Cutting Edge, writes on movies and DVD two times a week.

This is part of Film.com's coverage of the 2007 Academy Awards. For more Oscars articles, analysis, news, and red carpet photo galleries, visit our Oscars page.

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