May 28, 2008

American Gladiators: Brick was a Beast!


Last night on American Gladiators we had our first hearing-impaired contender, Brick. On the old show, there was a hearing-impaired Gladiator, the original Siren, and she was a beast. Her disability was not a disability for her on the show. I was hoping the same for him. He competed against Toby. On the women's side Tiffaney, an Air Force veteran, went against De, whose husband reminded me of a Marine Drill Sergeant.

Like Siren before him, Brick was a beast! He was friggin' awesome! He smoked the two fastest Gladiators, Rocket and Zen, in Vertigo and SkyTrack, respectively. He's the only contender to have scored 10 points on each of those events so far. And he made it look easy! Not only was he a fast little bugger, he was also able to pull Toa off of the platform on the new event, Tilt.

Let's talk about Tilt for a minute. Tilt is the Tug-of-War, taken to the next level. The Gladiator and the contender were each on a pivoting platform that looked none too steady. Of course, the platforms were high in the air over the pool. As your opponent gets a leg up on you, your platform tilts downward. I thought Hellga was perfect for this event, but she managed to disappoint me again. She was able to pull De off, but Tiffaney unseated Hellga in about seven seconds. On the men's side, Toby was pulled off by Toa in two seconds, but Brick made Toa take a dunk.

The women were only able to score in three of the six events. Crush was her dominating self in Joust, Pyramid, and SkyTrack. She's still undefeated in two seasons on the first two of those events. I'm looking forward to seeing her fight on the EliteXC show this coming Saturday night on CBS under her real name, Gina "Conviction" Carano. Anyway, the contenders were both able to score points against the new Gladiator, Steel, in Earthquake, against Jet and Venom in Rocketball, and De was able to score ten points against Hellga in Tilt.

In the Eliminator, both women did very well. De took a two-second head start into it, but that disappeared before she hit the cargo net. Tiffaney took the lead at the hand bike, when she was able to stay on, and De fell off. The Travelator almost decided another one, but Tiffaney was able to beat De to the top and finish in a time of 2:57. That's the best women's time so far. De wasn't that far behind her, either.

For the men, Brick took a 12.5-second head start into the Eliminator. It's not that Toby was that bad, Brick was just that good. On any other day, Toby would have been right in there. Brick had that lead, and he didn't give it up. This guy is a warrior. His shoulder popped out at the Pyramid and he nursed it. I honestly thought that was it, but no. He just kept going. He said that he popped it back in on the zip line. Ouch! Brick finished in 2:10 seconds for the second best time for the men. Just imagine his time had he not gotten injured!

Next week another four contenders compete for a spot in the semifinals. In two weeks, American Gladiators goes green: some kind of tie-in promotion with The Hulk has Titan turned green and the Gladiators with Hulk hands. We'll have to see how that goes. 'Til next time, catch y'all later.

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Ranking The Rambo Movies


John Rambo is one of those elite characters of the '80s that my friends and I would argue over as kids, shouting on the stoops in front of our apartments. Who would win in a fight? John McClane or Martin Riggs? John Rambo or John Matrix? Indiana Jones or Han Solo? Chuck Norris or Sly Stallone? Ah-Nuld or Michael Dudikoff (in American Ninja mode, of course)? Personally, I was always a McClane guy. In my mind a smart-ass quip can be more powerful than any vein in Sly's neck. But I digress.

Rambo returns to DVD this week. He remains a legendary cinematic figure and has four films to back it up. But how do they rank? Well let's take a look.

1. First Blood
Hands down the best film of the series and, in a way, one of the most violent. It doesn't have the body count of any of the sequels but it feels more violent than the second or third film (notice I didn't include the fourth). This film is also notable in that it took me fifteen years before I was fully able to understand what Stallone was saying in his final scene with Richard Crenna. I don't mean that metaphorically. I mean it literally. Rambo always sounded like he had mashed potatoes in his mouth, but that last scene was ridiculous.

2. Rambo: First Blood Part II
I don't think the sequels get enough credit for making Rambo what he is today in the hearts and minds of his fans. People like to lift their leg over them, but this is disingenuous I think. Yes, the first film is easily the best of the series and he was a great character in First Blood, but he be became a god of war after he went into Vietnam, where he fell in love, watched Co Bao die, wore that green stone around his neck, saved the POWs, killed Soviets, killed Vietcong, returned to base, knocked out the evil Cobra Kai Sensei, shoot up that sniveling snot Murdock's headquarters, gave this speech, and walked into the sunset.

3. Rambo
You can imagine my glee as I exited the theater earlier this year and found that the fourth entry in the Rambo series was a pretty darn good one. It's one of those rare time-capsule movies that really does transport you to another era of filmmaking, the kind of mindless action film that I used to eat up as a kid. It doesn't have lofty goals. It just wants to be a worthy Rambo movie and it is. It's also ridiculously simplistic and violent. In fact, this is by far the most violent film in the series. It doesn't have the nostalgia of the second film, but its story is just as timely and black-and-white. There are no grays here. Just black and white. Good and evil. And John Rambo's on the side of righteousness.

4. Rambo III
Rambo III is kind of like the sloth of the series. Not to mix my '80s love around, but the Fratellis were ashamed of Sloth and kept him chained in the basement. Maybe I have a little Fratelli in me because I haven't seen this one in a long time. Maybe there's something to love here. I doubt it. It's pretty deformed, but perhaps ignoring it isn't the answer. It makes me wonder, though, whether or not Rambo indirectly helped the Taliban and bin Laden by helping the Afghans defeat the Soviets. Charlie Wilson's war, my tookus.

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May 27, 2008

You Don't Mess with the Zohan


Genre: Comedy
Starring: Adam Sandler, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rob Schneider, Alex Luria, Sayed Badreya,
Director: Dennis Dugan
Producer: Adam Sandler, Judd Apatow
Distributor: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Release Date: June 6, 2008
Writer: Adam Sandler, Judd Apatow

In You Don't Mess with the Zohan, a comedy from screenwriters Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel (Triumph the Insult Comic Dog), and Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) Sandler stars as Zohan, an Israeli commando who fakes his own death in order to pursue his dream: becoming a hairstylist in New York.

see more photo and clips here

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Ben Affleck Almost Arrested


Ben Affleck was almost arrested while making ''Gone Baby Gone.''

The "Armageddon" star was making his directional debut on the film when police mistook him for a drug dealer in Boston.

He revealed: "The cops nearly arrested us a couple of times because they thought we were drug dealers."

"We were working in parts of town where there was a lot of drug dealing going on and a couple of times the cops swooped on us."

"One they talked to us because there was a human trafficking ring in a house nearby. It was wild."

Ben says that while making the film he wanted to "show people a world that they never normally get to see."

He added: "I grew up in a poor, tough part of Boston, like the neighborhoods in the film.

"I wanted to reveal what it's really like in one of those areas the audience would never have access to - bars they would never visit."

"Gone Baby Gone" is released in UK cinemas next month.

Source: BANG Showbiz

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The Unknown Woman, Mei 2008


Irena (Xenia Rappoport) is a young Russian woman who becomes the housekeeper of a rich Italian family. While getting as close to the Italians as possible, especially their frail daughter Tea (Clara Dossena), Irena intends to uncover a dark secret the family is hiding that will in turn shed light on Irena's own mysterious past.

ast Xenia Rappoport, Michele Placido, Claudia Gerini, Alessandro Haber, Margherita Buy

Director(s) Giuseppe Tornatore

Status Upcoming (limited)

Genre(s) Mystery/Thriller

Release Date May 30, 2008

Web Site Official Site for The Unknown Woman

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The Children of Huang Shi (2008)


In 1937, George Hogg (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) inexplicably finds himself leading a group of 60 orphan Chinese boys on a journey over the Liu Pan Shan mountains to the Mongolian desert to escape the Japanese invasion. Helping Hogg on his heroic rescue are Chen Hansheng (Chow Yun-Fat), the leader of a Chinese partisan group; Lee (Radha Mitchell), an Australian woman who lends medical help; and Madame Wang (Michelle Yeoh), an aristrocrat also fleeing for her life.

Cast Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Radha Mitchell, Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, David Wenham, Guang Li (more)

Director(s) Roger Spottiswoode

Writer(s) James MacManus, Jane Hawksley

Status In theaters (limited)

Genre(s) Drama

Release Date May 23, 2008

Running Time 114 minutes

MPAA Rating R - for some disturbing and violent content

Web Site Official Site for The Children of Huang Shi

Keywords Drama, Historical, Chinese, China

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The Edge of Heaven (2008)


Nejat (Baki Davrak) doesn't like the fact that his widowed father Ali (Tuncel Kurtiz) has a prostitute, Yeter (Nursel), as a girlfriend. But after Yeter dies in a car accident, Nejat travels to Turkey to find her daughter, Ayten (Nurgul Yesilcay) and give her the bad news. However, he finds Ayten stuck in a Turkish prison after having been deported from Germany for political reasons.

Cast: Baki Davrak, Nursel Kose, Hanna Schygulla, Tunçel Kurtiz, Nurgül Yesilçay, Patrycia Ziolkowska (more)

Director(s) Fatih Akin

Writer(s) Fatih Akin

Status In theaters (limited)

Genre(s) Foreign

Release Date May 21, 2008

Running Time 122 minutes

MPAA Rating Not Rated

Keywords Drama, Foreign (All), Germany, Prostitutes/Whores, Fathers And Sons

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Bigger, Stronger, Faster


This documentary examines the use of performance enhancing drugs in professional sports and entertainment. As a child, director Christopher Bell wanted to grow up to be like Hulk Hogan, Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger and ended up taking steroids to accomplish that goal. This documentary looks at Bell's own involvement in the steroid subculture and examines why our country demands its heroes to be so much bigger than life.

Director(s) Christopher Bell

Writer(s) Christopher Bell, Alexander Buono, Tamsin Rawady

Status Upcoming (limited)

Release Date May 30, 2008

MPAA Rating PG-13 - for thematic material involving drugs, language, some sexual content and violent images

Web Site Official Site for Bigger, Stronger, Faster

Keywords Sports, Documentary, Theatrical Release, Sports (General), Wrestlers, Baseball Players, America

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May 26, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Let’s face it: sequels have a bad reputation. For every one as brilliant as The Godfather Part II, there are a dozen as unnecessary as The Godfather Part III. With the long-awaited Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull now playing, here are the sequels that didn't disappoint.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Stills (48 photos)

"Indiana Jones" Cannes Premiere (40 photos)

Watch trailers and clips.

'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull': Trailers and Clips(4 videos)
'The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian': Trailers and Clips(7 videos)

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Italy hails rebirth of its cinema after Cannes


While France hailed the triumph of one of its own at the Cannes film festival, Italy was also celebrating the rebirth of its cinema after scooping two top prizes at the world's biggest film competition.

"Gomorrah," a hard-hitting film about the Naples' mafia, and "Il Divo" -- a satire on the life of former Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti -- won the second and third prizes respectively, earning critical acclaim both at home and abroad.

The awards were a welcome boost for Italian cinema, which has gone through a wave of soul-searching in recent years for lack of memorable titles -- and has often been described as being in a state of decline.

The prizes to the two domestic entries in the main competition made front-page headlines in Italy on Monday, all but eclipsing the winner of the Palme D'Or, "Entre Les Murs" (The Class) by French director Laurent Cantet.

"If there is a real winner of this edition, then it is Italian cinema," said Paolo Mereghetti, a veteran film critic for daily Corriere della Sera.

"It was important to convince the international public -- which is the strength of Cannes -- that our cinema is again flying high," he said.

The tone could not have been more different from last year, when Italian films were left out of the main contest in Cannes, and American director Quentin Tarantino called Italian cinema depressing.

"Recent films I've seen are all the same. They talk about boys growing up, or girls growing up, or couples having a crisis, or vacations of the mentally impaired," Tarantino said in an interview last June.

This time, critics said Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah and Paolo Sorrentino's Il Divo had convinced by taking a fresh and original look at topical themes -- mafia and political corruption -- prompting one commentator to quip that "Italy is washing its dirty linen on the Croisette."

"In an industry that seemed to be fading ... suddenly two directors who have yet to turn 40 have shown that a new generation of film-makers is born looking at our country's reality, its shadows and shames, without fear," wrote Natalia Aspesi, who covered the festival for La Repubblica newspaper.

Even Andreotti, who had criticized Sorrentino's film for portraying him in a bad light, put on a brave face when asked whether he was happy it had won a prize.

"If I could take a share of the profits I'd be even happier," said Andreotti, who has been part of Italy's political establishment since 1947.

Yahoo Movie News

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"Sex and the City" film poses "big" question


Do Carrie and Mr. Big marry or don't they? That is the question "Sex and the City" fans hope is answered when the long-awaited film about love and friendship in New York City hits theaters worldwide this week.

Writer Carrie's relationship with a financier known as Big, the love lives, and fashion choices, of her friends -- publicist Samantha, curator Charlotte and lawyer Miranda -- enthralled millions of television viewers during six seasons.

And now four years after the series ended they are back with fans desperate to know the fate of Carrie and Mr. Big.

"Those people who like the show will expect the joy and the good times and the whimsy and the clothes and the cocktails and the salty language," said actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays Carrie and also produced the movie and TV series.

"But what they might not expect is that the shank of the movie is pretty sad," she said.

Based on Candace Bushnell's autobiographical columns in The New York Observer newspaper, the TV series won eight Golden Globes and seven Emmys and made Manolo Blahnik shoes and the Cosmopolitan cocktail household names.

The movie picks up where the series ended -- Carrie and Big are together, Samantha is in Los Angeles with her boy toy, Charlotte and her husband are raising their adopted Chinese daughter and Miranda is in Brooklyn with her husband and son.

"I always knew the big story left untold was literally the 'Big' story -- would Carrie and Big get married? What would that be if they did or what wouldn't it be?" said Michael Patrick King, writer and director of the film.


King said the script focuses on the difference between 35 and 40 and the things you let go of as you evolve.

But fans should not be worried -- there is still a passion for fashion with the return of stylist Patricia Field, whose work on "Sex and the City" helped have it dubbed "the biggest thing in fashion since the invention of pants" by Elle magazine.

"They spawned an unstoppable machine of economic, cultural, and social trends that still very much matter today," the magazine said. "From nameplate necklaces to exposed bra straps, SATC (Sex and the City) had a hand in creating some of the biggest fashion statements of the past 10 years."

Parker said that she has archived all of her character's clothes "that were not borrowed," which proved useful when restocking Carrie's apartment closet for the film.


But despite the success of the TV series, Parker said it was still a struggle to get the movie made.

"To make a movie about four women over 40 is really not the way Hollywood likes to spend their money," she said, adding that the studio was swayed by the devotion of the show's fans.

But there was also the problem of signing up all the stars, especially Kim Cattrall, who plays Samantha and was initially unwilling to make a film -- but not because of a supposed rift with Parker, which both women laughed off.

"What a difference four years makes," said Cattrall, who blamed exhaustion, a divorce, the end of the series, and her father's diagnosis with dementia for her initial reluctance.

Kristin Davis, who plays Charlotte, and Cynthia Nixon, who plays Miranda, both said the movie was a dream come true. "We thought we were dead and we were resurrected," Nixon said.

And while early reviews of the film have been mixed, critics expect it to still be a hit. "One thing's for sure: fan's of the series will lap this film up," wrote Celia Warden in Britain's Daily Telegraph.

And if it's a hit, there may be a sequel.

"I don't think anyone could turn down more sex coming around the corner if it was good," said King, the movie's writer and director.

The studio behind the film is New Line Cinema, owned by TimeWarner Inc.

Yahoo Movie News

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May 24, 2008

Cinefondation helps new filmmakers


Nadine Labaki, the Lebanese helmer of 'Caramel', was a guest at Cinefoundation's Paris residence.

If the Cinefondation is the closest thing the Cannes festival has to a graduate school, then fest prexy Gilles Jacob makes a marvelous Mr. Chips.

Since founding the Cinefondation 10 years ago, Jacob has gladly welcomed back 27 foundation alumni to Cannes with feature-length films (not including this year's fest selection).

"I'm especially pleased because these films were all included in the official selection," says Jacob. "And 12 guests of the Cinefondation Residence in Paris have also won major festival prizes, like the Deauville Grand Prix, the NHK Award at Sundance and the Camera d'Or (at Cannes). Last year, (Nadine Labaki's) 'Caramel' was sold in more than 60 countries."

The first stone in the Cinefondation's edifice was laid when Jacob created the Selection, a competition designed to unearth the best student filmmaking talent from around the world. Every year the Cinefondation selects between 15 and 20 short- and medium-length films, with cash prizes of up to E15,000 ($24,000) going to the three best pics.

Then, in 2000, Jacob established the Residence: a program for young directors working on their first or second film. Each year, at least six filmmakers are invited to live in Paris for four months and receive expert advice in writing and producing their films.

"It's the quality of the films these directors have already made and not their age that counts," Jacob says. "If a new Orson Welles comes along aged 25 (the age Welles was when he made "Citizen Kane"), then we'll sign him up."

In 2005, Jacob added the final piece to the jigsaw by establishing the Atelier of the Cinefondation, designed to put young filmmakers in touch with industry professionals and sources of financing during the Cannes Film Festival. This year, the Atelier has selected 15 projects from 14 countries. Filmmakers range from first-timers to the Chinese cineaste Lou Ye, who is working on his sixth feature, "Bitch."

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Irish films on the rise


While keeping up with the changes in U.K. tax laws has become something of an annual sport for Brit film execs, their Irish counterparts are reaping the benefits of a bit of a fiscal stability.

In March this year, the British government announced it was further clamping down on tax loopholes, in this case the "sole trader" exemption for individual investors that offset predicted losses in film investments against other income.

In contrast, across the Irish sea, the Irish government's Section 481 tax incentive, supplemented by the Irish Film Board's international production fund, is helping to support a rise in both Irish productions and international co-productions.

Section 481, which can be applied for by an Irish production company only, offers producers up to 20% of a project's Irish budget -- with a maximum of e50 million ($78 million) -- and is available to both film and TV productions; it's in place until 2012.

Perhaps most importantly, the coin is paid out on the first day of principal photography. That means producers can receive up to $15 million on the first day of filming.

In addition to the government tax incentives, the Irish Film Board can invest $1.2 million in any given project in equity finance, with discretionary powers to raise that sum to $1.5 million on a case-by-case basis.

The result has been a number of announcements in recent months of high-profile projects being set up as Irish co-productions or coming to Ireland to shoot.

"That bottom-line figure producers receive from the tax incentive and the IFB is allowing us to compete internationally and with our closest rival, namely the U.K.," says Irish film commissioner Naoise Barry. "The IFB is a film sponsor, not a producer. It relies heavily on the quality of Irish production companies that are co-producing these film and TV shows."

Some of the projects already greenlit are dark drama "Triage," starring Colin Farrell as a photojournalist who returns from Kurdistan harboring a secret about the disappearance of his best friend. The pic's helmer is Danis Tanovic, whose "No Man's Land" won a foreign-language Oscar.

Also in the pipeline, thanks to IFB support, are supernatural thriller "Daisy Chain" by Aisling Walsh starring Samantha Morton; Ian Fitzgibbon's gangster caper "Perrier's Bounty" with James McAvoy; as well as the third season of Showtime's lusty period drama "The Tudors."

"Mary, Queen of Scots," which has suffered from a protracted development and financing process, finally should start lensing later this year. Pic, whose principal financier is U.K.-based sales company Capitol Films, stars Scarlett Johannson as the ill-fated monarch.

"Money from the IFB can make a difference, and helps to make Ireland competitive," says IFB topper Simon Perry. "In most cases the subsidies and incentives on offer in Ireland are worth more than in the U.K., because they're paid upfront; there are no intermediaries, no middle men and there is no waiting."

The incentives are helping local and debut filmmakers get their projects off the ground. Jordan Scott, daughter of helmer Ridley, has set up her feature directorial debut, "Cracks," a British boarding school-set period drama starring Eva Green, as an Irish co-production.

The IFB's multiple project development fund, essentially slate development coin offered to 10 Irish shingles, should assure the continuing rise in profile of new Irish cinema.

Animation shingle Cartoons Saloon, set up largely by animators trained at Don Bluth's now-defunct Sullivan Bluth Studios, received coin from the IFB for their debut, the full-length feature "Brendan & the Secret of Kells." The project, a co-production with France and Belgium, received 20% of its $10 million budget thanks to the IFB and Section 481 incentives. The pic sees a young orphan tasked with completing the famous illuminated manuscript against a backdrop of invading Vikings.

"It would never have gotten off the ground without the IFB and the incentives," says producer Paul Young. "Both the IFB and Section 481 are extremely important for producers here, particularly independent producers."

Cartoons Saloon is working on developing its animated TV skein "Skunk Fu," which sold to more than 100 countries worldwide, into a feature film.

"The incentives really helped us make the TV series, with both the pre- and post-production in Ireland," Young says. "We had a lot of people in Ireland working solidly for two years thanks to it."

Source: Variety

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Review: Kung Fu Panda


A Paramount release of a DreamWorks Animation SKG presentation. Produced by Melissa Cobb. Executive producer, Bill Damaschke. Co-producers, Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger.
Directed by John Stevenson, Mark Osborne. Screenplay, Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger; story, Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris.

Po - Jack Black
Master Shifu - Dustin Hoffman
Tigress Angelina Jolie
Tai Lung - Ian McShane
Mantis - Seth Rogen
Viper - Lucy Liu
Crane - David Cross
Oogway - Randall Duk Kim
Mr. Ping - James Hong
Zeng - Dan Fogler
Commander Vachir - Michael Clarke Duncan
Monkey - Jackie Chan

How many underdog kidpic characters have been told "You just need to believe" in recent years? Whatever the ample number, add one more to the list with "Kung Fu Panda," a nice looking but heavily formulaic DreamWorks animation entry. The tale of a bumbling, pot-bellied, black-and-white bear who has greatness thrust upon him when anointed to protect his community, the vocally star-laden effort features an abundance of broad, buffoonish slapstick that will play perfectly well with kids to desired B.O. effect. But overall mild impact will likely prevent this from joining the top commercial tier of animated attractions.

In keeping with the Chinese setting, first-time directors John Stevenson and Mark Osborne have gone out of their way to create some beautiful rural backgrounds for the simplistic foreground action, so there is always something to distract the eye (beginning with a clever Asian-style DreamWorks logo). But comic inspiration is distinctly lacking in Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger's script, which delays the dufus' metamorphosis into hero for a full hour and largely feels structured to accommodate the maximum amount of action, much of which is intended to be funnier than it is.

For no reason other than the fact that he accidentally turns up at the right place at the right time, roly-poly Po (voiced rambunctiously or obnoxiously, per individual taste, by Jack Black) is identified by the ancient, Yoda-like turtle sage Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) as the long-awaited new Dragon Warrior. Said designation had been expected to go to one of the area's prodigious Furious Five: Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Viper (Lucy Liu), Crane (David Cross) and Mantis (Seth Rogen), all martial arts virtuosos who trained under diminutive wolf Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman).

Whether or not Po is chosen because Oogway has become senile remains uncertain, but what does become clear is that Po, once he learns the Secret of the Dragon Scroll, will have to battle the fearsome Tai Lung (Ian McShane), a kung fu master so resourceful he's able to escape from a mountain prison manned by 1,000 guards. Even he, however, isn't so much a villain as a creature rejected by the inscrutable Oogway, who long ago passed him over when he seemed the natural choice to become Dragon Warrior.

Even by moppet-defined standards, the situations, characters and motivations here are extremely elementary and lack nuance; other than Po and his prescribed transformation, none of the other figures reveal dimensions not fully evident at their initial appearances. Scripters are similarly unforthcoming with any dramatic surprises, making for a film in which the inevitable climax feels unduly postponed, the brief running time notwithstanding.

Pic comes to semi-inspired comic life in just one sequence, in which Po, who thinks he's mastered his kung fu technique, duels Shifu with chopsticks over some dumplings.

More serious action scenes, notably one of the Furious Five battling Tai Lung on a long suspension bridge and the climactic mano a mano, are ramped up in conventional fashion and backed by a booming score by Hans Zimmer and John Powell.

Filmmakers draw upon Asian art and animation styles, as well as mountainous geographic settings inspired by the Li River Valley, to create some splendid and unusually detailed widescreen CG images. Color is used carefully to pop dramatically at key moments, helping make the visuals the most sophisticated aspect of the otherwise mild accomplishment.

Aside from Black's overbearing readings, voiceover work ranges from solid to tasty, with the latter including Hoffman's sly shadings for the master teacher, McShane's injection of unexpected feeling into his impersonation of a scorned would-be champion and Kim's over-the-hill intimations for the past-his-prime sage. Star names for the Furious Five have relatively few vocal opportunities to shine.

(Technicolor, widescreen); editor, Clare Knight; music, Hans Zimmer, John Powell; production designer, Raymond Zibach; art director, Tang K. Heng; visual effects supervisor, Markus Manninen; head of character animation, Dan Wagner; character TD supervisor, Nathan Loofbourrow; supervising animator-fight choreographer, Rodolphe Guenoden; supervising sound editors (Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS), Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl; associate producer, Kristen Reed; casting, Leslee Feldman. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (out of competition), May 15, 2008. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 91 MIN.

Source: Variety

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May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones is Movie Fans Favourite Hero


The whip cracking adventures of Indiana Jones have pushed the fearless archaeologist ahead of the pack with more than half (51%) of movie fans surveyed, selecting him as their favourite action hero, according to a new poll by Live Search.

More than 2,500 movie fans took part in the survey that explored the most popular action heroes of the past as well as possible future contenders for the title.

Almost 20 years since the nation’s favourite archaeologist graced our screens, Indiana Jones has beaten martini-loving agent James Bond (22%) and ‘Die Hard’ detective John McClane (11%) to the top spot.

Indy of the Future

When it comes to future Indiana Jones sequels, fans want Brad Pitt to step in when Harrison Ford hangs up his hat, with 29% voting him the best contender for the role.

Pitt fought off competition for the coveted title from Brokeback Mountain star, Jake Gyllenhaal (20%), Atonement sweetheart James McAvoy (16%) and Pirates of the Caribbean heart throb, Orlando Bloom (14%).

When asked which non Hollywood star should play Indiana, professional adventurer, Bear Grylls came out on top with 35% of the votes beating Prince Harry (20%) and bohemian media magnet, Russell Brand (16%).

Ultimate Action Hero

According to the Live Search poll, if you combine the brains of Indiana and Jason Bourne with the bodies of Bond and Rambo and top it off with John McClane’s catchphrase you’ll have the ultimate action hero:

· 32% believe Indy and Jason Bourne are the most intelligent action heroes, beating Bond (21%) and Mission Impossible’s Ethan Hunt (9%)

· James Bond and Rambo share the title of ‘best body’ with 27% of votes, muscling out Indiana (19%) and Jason Bourne (17%)

· 31% voted John McClane’s 'Yipee-ki-yay' as the best catch phrase of all time, with Crocodile Dundee’s 'That’s not a knife. This is a knife' in second place (30%), followed by Bond’s 'Shaken not stirred' (18%) and Indiana’s 'Don’t call me Junior' with (15%)%

Paul Stoddart, Live Search UK Senior Product Manager, says: 'With the new Indy flick, ‘Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ out this week, we wanted to give movie fans the chance to tell us who their favourite action hero is and it’s no surprise Indy tops the list.

'He is one of cinema’s everyman heroes and since the last time he rode off into the sunset in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," we’ve all been dying to see his return.


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Jude Law's green kiss


Jude Law was seen passionately kissing Kimberly Stewart in a stranger's garden.

The pair were said to be rolling around on the lawn like a pair of "loved-up teenagers" just hours after they were seen canoodling in a nightclub in Essex, South East England on Saturday (17.05.08).


An onlooker told Britain's The Sun newspaper: "They were lying on the grass, rolling around and kissing. Their hands were everywhere. They looked like a couple of loved-up teenagers."

The couple were on their way to Kimberly's dad Rod Stewart's house, which is close to the nightclub they had been partying at.

Rod has already given Jude his blessing, and enjoyed drinks with the actor, Kimberly and his wife Penny Lancaster before the new couple headed to One9Five Bar and Nightclub.

A source said: "They were all having a cosy drink. If he's meeting the parents it must be quite serious."

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Madonna's Tyson team


Madonna is joining forces with Mike Tyson for a charity campaign.

The pop superstar and the former boxing champion will fly to Malawi, Africa, together to promote awareness of children with HIV and AIDS after meeting at the Cannes Film Festival in France, where they are each promoting their documentary films.

A source told Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper: "Madonna thinks Mike is amazing and asked if she could have a private screening of his documentary 'Tyson' while she was in the Riviera.

"Mike agreed immediately and offered to do a favour in return. He has promised to fly with her to Malawi this summer to promote awareness of children with AIDS there."

Madonna, 49, produced and narrated the film 'I Am Because We Are', which highlights the plight of Malawi's one million orphans who suffer from the deadly disease.

Tyson's biographical feature 'Tyson' documents his colourful past including his drug-taking, the infamous moment when he bit off part of opponent Evander Holyfield's ear during a bout and his incarceration for the rape of a beauty queen, an allegation he has always denied.
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May 21, 2008

Win a copy of Saawariya on DVD


Femalefirst are giving you the chance to win a copy of Saawariya on DVD

Available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray 19th May 2008

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment proudly presents the epic romance Saawariya, available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray from 19th May 2008.

Based on a short story by FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY, Saawariya is directed by the acclaimed film maker SANJAY LEELA BHANSALI (BAFTA nominated in 2003 for Devdas) and boasts a cast of Indian Cinema’s most popular stars, including SALMAN KAHN, RANBIR KAPOOR and SONAM KAPOOR.

Combining tender romance and enchanting musical scenes, Saawariya centres around a chance encounter between two people and their obsession with each other over four successive nights. A must-see for fans of Bollywood, World Cinema and anyone who’s ever been in love.

Which of these actors is not in the film?

Closing Date: 2008-06-21

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Britney gets sun and rest in Costa Rica beach


A bikini-clad Britney Spears got her picture taken this weekend while relaxing and soaking up the sun on a Costan Rican beach where she was reportedly staying at actor Mel Gibson's property.

"She did it again," the La Nacion daily said Sunday in a play on Spears' 1999 chart-busting hit "Oops! ... I Did It Again."

"At five minutes to midday (Saturday), the artist appeared on scene on an ATV (all terrain vehicle) driving from the home of Mel Gibson, who invited her to spend a few days in Costa Rica" at his 163-hectare (402-acre) spread in the Pacific coast resort town of Samara, the daily said.

The story included several photos of the troubled pop star on Barrigona beach, in a bikini and sunglasses.

Spears was in the company of her father, Jamie Spears -- who apparently told the paparazzi they could shoot all they wanted as long as they kept at a 50-meter (yard) distance -- and a young couple, the daily said.

Gibson or his wife, Robyn Moore, were nowhere to be seen, it added.

Spears, 26, appears happier since a Los Angeles court on May 6 gave her more visitation time with her two children, who are in the custody of her ex-husband Kevin Federline since the couple split in 2006, amid her spiraling personal problems and fears for her mental health.

Spears shot to superstardom in late 1998 with her smash-hit debut album "Baby One More Time," which she followed with another chart-topping success the following year, "Oops! ... I Did It Again."

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Narnia Chronicles book box-office victory


The first Chronicles of Narnia sequel opened at the North American box-office rankings with three-day ticket sales of 56.6 million dollars. The movie is the second film adaptation from British novelist CS Lewis, after 2005's profitable, big-budget production of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

In the second instalment, four siblings return to the magical land of Narnia.

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Shania Twain separates after 14 years


Country pop diva Shania Twain is separating from her husband of 14 years, music producer Robert Lange, it was reported on Thursday.

A spokesman for the 42-year-old Canadian singer -- whose 1997 record "Come on Over" is the highest selling album of all-time by a female musician -- confirmed the split to People magazine.

"Shania Twain and her husband, music producer Robert 'Mutt' Lange, are separating after 14 years of marriage," spokesman Jason Owen was quoted by AFP as telling People.

"This is a private matter and there will be no further comment at this time."

Twain and Lange, 59, married in 1993, six months after meeting. The couple, who have homes in New Zealand and Switzerland, have a six-year-old son.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Twain is the only female artist to have three albums with sales of 10 million copies or more.

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May 20, 2008

Paris Hilton's Perfect Lover


Paris Hilton says Benji Madden is her ''perfect match.''

The hotel heiress - who has been dating the Good Charlotte rocker for three months - says she's never had such strong feelings for a man before and the couple have already thought about marriage.

She said: "He wants to get hitched and we've talked about it. I'd wear a beautiful white dress, probably Dolce and Gabbana."

"We are the perfect match. We don't like being apart, we like to stay with each other as much as we can."

Paris - whose best friend Nicole Richie recently had a baby with Benji's twin brother Joel - says her beau offers her constant support and is an all-round "great person."

She added: "Benji is very down to earth. He's worked very hard on his own. He really has a heart of gold."

"He'd never do anything to hurt me. He loves and supports me no matter what. He's a really great person."

Source: BANG Showbiz

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May 19, 2008

Latest 'Mummy' Trailer Emerges Online


The Mummy franchise returns this summer with the latest installment, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emporer, and Yahoo! Movies has the trailer. Taking over the reigns as director is Rob Cohen (xXx, Stealth) while franchise originator Stephen Sommers is producing. 2001's The Mummy Returns was able bring in $433 million worldwide.

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Review: "Disco Pigs"


Disco Pigs (2001)
Director: Kirsten Sheridan
Producers: Ed Guiney, Stephen Bradley
Starring: Elaine Cassidy, Cillian Murphy, Eleanor Methven, Geraldine O'Rawe, Brian O'Byrne, Darren Healy, Tara Lynne O'Neill, Michael Rawley, Eoghan Harris, Dawn Bradfield
Studio: Temple Film & TV Productions Ltd.
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 93m

Disco Pigs, two Irish kids (Pig and Runt), inseparable since birth, find their close relationship challenged by growing pains.

Pig and Runt were born on the same day at the same hospital and - almost - at the very same moment. Yet they had two different mothers. Magically drawn to one another, the babies stretch out their hands over the top of their cradles and touch. From this moment onwards it's them, and only them, that count. The years pass, Pig and Runt are now sixteen and live in a fragile, dangerous world of their own, speaking a language that only they can understand. But then, just before their seventeenth birthdays, the perfect balance begins to waver. Runt starts talking to Marky, her classmate. At the disco, Pig goes mad with jealousy because Marky tries to kiss Runt. As Pig and Runt run off together, Pig suddenly presses Runt against a wall and forces her to kiss him. Runt is horrified. Soon after Runt is sent away to a school in Donegal and Pig becomes distraught without her. Then when Pig shows up at her school on their birthday to save her, Runt's response is far from enthusiastic.

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The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian


Fans of 2005’s The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe can rest easy, as Disney and Walden Media ensure the successful continuation of the Narnia films with this crackerjack sequel that matches, and in some ways surpasses, its predecessor. In this edition, the story picks up 1,300 years later (in Narnian time, only one year for humans), when the four young Pevensie siblings are summoned back to help Prince Caspian defeat his evil uncle and assure his rightful place on the throne. With the first film grossing north of three-quarters of a billion worldwide, and a prime summertime release, exhibitors should be minting money.

The world of Narnia is now a much different place than the first time moviegoers visited. It’s 1,300 years later according to Narnian clocks, even though only a year has passed by human calculation. As the press notes say, “The lion hasn’t been heard from for 1,000 years, the witch is dead and the wardrobe is gone.” Now, as the kings and queens of Narnia, the Pevensie siblings are transported from a British World War II-era train station to discover the magical land just isn’t what it used to be. It has been taken over by an evil and aggressive band of humans called the Telmarines, led by the unforgiving Lord Miraz (Sergio Castellitto). The four Pevensies—Lucy (Georgie Henley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Peter (William Moseley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes)—find themselves summoned back to help Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), the dashing heir to the throne, defeat his hate-mongering uncle Miraz. Their mission to return Narnia to its former days of glory is aided by the usual assortment of Narnian creatures—talking animals, minotaurs, centaurs, etc.—highlighted by the emergence of some nifty new characters including the dwarves Trumkin (Peter Dinklage) and Nikabrik (Warwick Davis) and, best of all, a swashbuckling mouse named Reepicheep (voiced brilliantly by Eddie Izzard).

As with any would-be summer blockbuster, the members of the special effects team are the real stars, and they haven’t stinted in bringing this fantasy world to life. As in the first film, the creature and animal work is first rate, so good you might find yourself thinking you’re watching the real thing. Andrew Adamson’s extensive animation background (Shrek, Shrek 2) aids him in putting together the intricate visuals, but this time the director really excels in the ambitious Braveheart-like battle sequences, which are pulse pounding and epic and don’t seem to be relying on a lot of CGI trickery to make them realistic. Considering the hoops they must jump through, all the actors acquit themselves nicely, with valuable contributions coming from new cast members Dinklage, Barnes and Castellitto in particular. Voice work is exceptional including Izzard and Liam Neeson returning in a cameo as the godlike lion Aslan, the heart and soul of the Narnia adventures. Producers have even found a way to briefly bring back newly minted Oscar winner Tilda Swinton as the White Witch.

With box office success almost assured, it looks like Disney has finally found their Harry Potter and should be in the Narnia business for years to come.

Distributor: Disney
Cast: William Moseley, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley, Anna Popplewell, Ben Barnes, Sergio Castellitto, Peter Dinklage, Warwick Davis, Eddie Izzard and Liam Neeson
Director: Andrew Adamson
Screenwriters: Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Producers: Mark Johnson, Andrew Adamson and Philip Steuer
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Rating: PG for epic battle action and violence
Running time: 140 min.
Release date: May 16


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Movie Review: "Sex and the City"


City makes a successful transition to the big screen

Carrie Bradshaw and Company finally make their way to the big screen and fans of the HBO series will be relieved that the gang doesn’t stumble too much through the transition. This movie will give female audiences a jolt of excitement in the same way that seeing Indiana Jones back in action will thrill male audiences this summer. City’s obsessed fans will force their husbands and boyfriends to take them to see the flick before catching it another couple times in theatres with friends.

Working on the show for six seasons obviously forged a kind of unbreakable chemistry between the four main actresses: Sarah Jessica Parker (as Carrie), Kim Cattrall (as Samantha), Kristin Davis (as Charlotte) and Cynthia Nixon (as Miranda). They all seem very comfortable and at home in these roles and it’s obvious they had a lot of fun on and off camera.

It would be unfair to reveal the plot even though the trailer has gone a long way in doing just that. Needless to say, there is no shortage of drama surrounding the lives of these four women. Their friendships are tested, the men in their lives cause them grief and there are plenty of cocktails to go around.

Despite what male audiences may think, City is not a complete indictment of our kind. It’s refreshing to watch a film that is in tune with the way women think and feel without reducing its male characters to one-dimensional, Lifetime stereotypes.

Mr. Big, the on-again-off-again love interest of Carrie, and Miranda’s husband Steve play the most prominent male roles in the film. Yes, they are guilty of stupid actions but their mistakes come from a very human place rather than existing as contrivances designed to provide a reason for the girls to complain. Male audiences will notice the good and bad in themselves onscreen, which will give them something to ponder and despite their best efforts, they will be engaged.

Other than a bloated running time, the film suffers from the unnecessary presence of Jennifer Hudson. Hudson plays Louise, a go-getter from St. Louis (Get it? Maybe after the 1,678th reference you will…) who moved to New York to “fall in love” and ends up working as an assistant to Carrie. Hudson’s role doesn’t take off and both she and the story are ultimately to blame for this failure to launch. Hudson’s character is really more of a catalyst to Carrie than a flesh-and-blood creation and she injects a little too much giddiness into the performance.

Distributor: New Line
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, Candice Bergen, Jennifer Hudson, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Jason Lewis, Mario Cantone, Lynn Cohen, Willie Garson
Writer/Director: Michael Patrick King
Producers: Michael Patrick King, Sarah Jessica Parker, Darren Star, John Melfi
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Rating: R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language
Running time: 145 min.
Release date: May 30


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May 15, 2008

The Love Guru (2008)


Pitka (Mike Myers) is an American who was left at the gates of an ashram in India as a child and raised by gurus. He moves back to the U.S. to seek fame and fortune in the world of self-help and spirituality. His unorthodox methods are put to the test when he must settle a rift between Toronto Maple Leafs star hockey player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) and his estranged wife. After the split, Roanoke's wife starts dating L.A. Kings star Jacques Grande (Justin Timberlake) out of revenge, sending her husband into a major professional skid - to the horror of the teams' owner Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba) and Coach Cherkov (Verne Troyer). Pitka must return the couple to marital nirvana and get Roanoke back on his game so the team can break the 40-year-old "Bullard Curse" and win the Stanley Cup.

Also Known As:
Untitled (Mike Myers/Self-Help Comedy Project)
Production Status: In Production/Awaiting Release
Genres: Comedy
Release Date: June 20th, 2008 (wide)
Distributors: Paramount Pictures
Production Co.: Michael De Luca Productions, Gratitude International, Spyglass Entertainment Holdings, LLC, Nomoneyfun Films
Studios: Paramount Pictures
Filming Locations: Toronto, Canada
Produced in: United States

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It's indie movies vs. Indy's movie at Cannes fest


As the blitz of films, parties and industry schmoozing started Wednesday, the question was whether the independent movies beloved by Cannes critics could hold their own against "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," which plays this weekend.

Cannes' dual nature is apparent to anyone strolling the Croisette, the festival's main drag. On one side is Cannes' official poster: indie filmmaker David Lynch's arty photo of a mysterious blond bombshell. On the other, a hotel facade dressed up for "Indiana Jones" festivities to look something like a plastic temple of doom.

It opened with "Blindness," Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles' tale of an epidemic that causes people to lose their vision, starring Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Gael Garcia Bernal and Danny Glover, and based on a novel by Portuguese Nobel laureate Jose Saramago.

While critics pondered the symbolism of "Blindness" in a darkened cinema, paparazzi were hitting the beach to capture Jack Black pulling a publicity stunt for "Kung Fu Panda," DreamWorks' tale of a pudgy panda with a love of martial arts.

Black made a dramatic entrance by boat, then strolled down a pier among 40 people dressed in giant panda suits. Black, who voices the title character, showed off some kung fu moves as the pandas crowded behind him.

"Kung Fu Panda," which has its Cannes premiere Thursday, and "Indiana Jones" aren't competing for prizes. The jury, led by Sean Penn and including Alfonso Cuaron, Natalie Portman and comic book artist-director Marjane Satrapi ("Persepolis"), will hand out awards May 25.

"Blindness," which is up for the top prize, was a departure for Cannes, which usually opens with a movie that's more festive, glitzy or crowd-pleasing. Past openers include "The Da Vinci Code" and "Moulin Rouge."

"To be honest, I still don't think that this is the best film to open the festival," Meirelles joked. He said it was a "big honor" as well as a "big pressure" to launch Cannes.

One highlight of the films vying for the top prize, the Palme d'Or, is Clint Eastwood's "Changeling," a missing-child drama starring Angelina Jolie. Eastwood is a regular at Cannes. He led the jury in 1994 and has showed films including "Mystic River" but has never won the top prize.

Also competing for prizes are James Gray's "Two Lovers," a romantic drama starring Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow, and Steven Soderbergh's 4 1/2-hour marathon "Che," starring Benicio Del Toro as Argentine revolutionary Ernesto Guevara.

Dark themes abound as usual in the competition films. Palme d'Or laureates Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, who took top honors at the 1999 and 2005 festivals, are back with a gritty drama about an illegal immigrant and her sham marriage, "Le Silence de Lorna (Lorna's Silence)."

Israeli writer-director Ari Folman's "Waltz With Bashir" an animated film tackles the subject of war and repressed memories. And Italian film "Gomorra," by director Matteo Garrone, takes on the Naples-based Camorra mob.


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Top Ten Comedies of Summer 2008


These are the top ten comedies of summers 2008 as reported from

1.) Wall-E
I read an interview recently in (Ain't It Cool News, actually) where the primary difference between Pixar's work and the other animation houses was perfectly summed up: for the most part, Pixar is never worried about being hip or snarky. They care less about pop culture references or cynicism than they do character and story. And they almost always knock it out of the park. So yeah, this is numero uno on my list.

2.) Tropic Thunder
I tend to like Ben Stiller movies, especially when he takes things off the deep end the way he did as Derek Zoolander, his cameo in Happy Gilmore or his searing portrayal as White Goodman in Dodgeball. But the guy who looks to steal this movie and deliver in a big way is Robert Downey Jr. as a method actor who makes Daniel Day-Lewis look like an amateur.

3.) Pineapple Express
Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay disappointed me this year. It was just a sub-par stoner comedy, I'm sorry. So, I'm holding out hope that team Apatow can deliver again. If George Washington director David Gordon Green delivers the rougher edge the trailer seems to promise, I'm going to be flying high. See what I did there? Yeah, man.

4.) Step Brothers
I consider Will Ferrell one of the funniest people on the planet, but I'm no rollover. I'm not one of these people that love everything he touches. I wasn't a big Ricky Bobby fan. Or a Kicking and Screaming fan. Blades of Glory didn't do it for me. But I love when John C. Reilly and Ferrell get together because it's obvious they're having fun and it can be infectious. The bottom line is this movie looks funny and the fact that it's not "Will Ferrell doing [blank sport]" is probably a good thing.

5.) Hancock
I'm befuddled by some of the negative reaction this movie has caused online. There's rumors of Peter Berg and the studio trying to figure out how edgy a movie they're going to release. Right now, I'm withholding judgment and based on the trailers, I'm sold. I like that Will Smith is a superhero who is a complete A-hole. We need this to work at least a little. Let's cross our fingers together.

6.) The Love Guru
I need to see this to answer a very simple question: Does Mike Myers still have it? The latest trailer makes me think he might. If it's silly fun you're after, Mr. Myers, I shall play along. Just don't suck.

7.) Kung Fu Panda
Monkey. Crane. Mantis. Tiger. Viper. Panda. Kung Fu styles, all of them (at least now). Let it be known, Dreamworks, that I have my own ancient styles: Popcorn. Goobers. Soda. Oh, it's on.

8.) The Wackness
Any movie that puts Mary-Kate Olsen, Method Man and Ben Kingsley in the same movie has to at least be a little entertaining. This is one of those popular Sundance movies nobody will see so it needs all the support it can get.

9.) American Teen
Slight cheat here since this is a documentary but it does seem to have a nice dose of the comedy! The trailer even sells it like American Pie, minus the gross-out humor. Word is strong on this one. I'm on this love train.

10.) Swing Vote
This movie has an absolutely preposterous premise but hey, it's the reason we go to the movies. If I want reality, I'll turn on the five o'clock news. Oh, and I have this weird thing with Kevin Costner in that I don't consider him the plague. I dug the hell out of Mr. Brooks so let's see if he can keep this good movie thing going.

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Rubber stamp website


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Many people are satisfied getting stamp, ink stamp, and stamp accessories from this website. You can read their experience from using the product on the testimony page.

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May 14, 2008

The Best of the Summer Merchandise: Dark Knight, Indy Jones, Sex and the City, Iron Man, and More!


These days, there are movies and there are movies -- blockbusters, tent poles, whatever you want to call them, films that come with collector cups and product tie-ins, cereal boxes and bobbleheads and Happy Meals. They're market events, not just moving pictures up on a screen.

Not that this is new; the old singin' cowboy Roy Rogers had sheets and Daisy rifles when George Lucas was just an Ewok twinkling in his father's eye. And even The Passion of the Christ wasn't above fleecing -- I mean "teaching" -- the faithful with a whole line of pendants and lapel pins shaped like nails (I wish I was joking), not to mention bible covers. Oh, and mugs. But things have gone ridiculously high-end, and a blockbuster's hardly worthy of the name without some man-toy with a mammoth price tag.

Iron Man is already a serious hit, and has the merch to prove it. A 30-pound life-size bust runs $700, and there are three full-size wearable helmets: the Mark I for $375, or the Mark 2 or Mark 3 for $425. So, if you see someone next Halloween with an Iron Man costume that's just a little too good, you know for a fact that he is: a.) rich and b.) probably easily to swindle.

The Dark Knight, the latest in the Batman series, is eying fanboys' wallets, too. Along with the usual statuettes, a set of Batarangs is just $125, and a limited edition Grappling Launcher replica costs $195. Looking at the Hellboy II merch, you see a kind of disturbing trend -- really pricey dress-up toys for grown-ups. A copy of the Samaritan, Hellboy's gun, runs a whopping $400. And that probably wouldn't be complete without a belt and holster to hold it in (includes weathered horseshoe!), for just $200. A two-foot-tall statue of sidekick Abe Sapien is practically a bargain at $300.

Indiana Jones's comeback might just be the biggest movie of the summer, and the official shop backs up the hype. Along with the t-shirts and bobbleheads -- seriously, what's up with those things? -- true fans can drop $250 on a bronze-plated statue of Dr. Jones on a horse. According to the ad copy, it "will only grow more beautiful with age." Sorry kids, limit three per customer (and no shipping to Mexico -- take that, NAFTA!). If you need a set, another $200 gets you the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Indy-on-a-horse statue.

In unofficial, fake merchandise, you can also spend $350 dollars on a handmade replica of Indy's Grail notebook, which is kind of ... crazy. But the priciest trinket is here, a 24-inch high statue that costs TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS, and doesn't look a thing like Harrison Ford.

On the other hand, Speed Racer isn't even trying. Their helmet only costs $34, cheaper than the Speed Racer Ken and Barbie! But don't think it's all boy stuff. Brideshead Revisited probably won't be releasing a line of replica tea cozies, but the Sex and the City shop is selling this "Carrie Balconette Bra" for the low, low price of $94. Fine, you can make fun of guys for wanting to be Batman, but the ladies want to be Carrie Bradshaw. Tomato, tomahto.

Believe it or not, this isn't even a particularly big year for ridiculously priced movie tie-ins. The Lord of the Rings trilogy spawned an unbelievable pile of junk, from High Elven Swords ($300) and Bilbo pipes ($350, seriously!) to this, a 22-karat gold "one ring" -- oxymoron alert -- that can be yours for just $1,200. And just because the Star Wars franchise stopped at six doesn't mean it's not out there earning; a full Darth Vader costume costs $1,000, a Vader watch runs $1,400, and an R2-D2 projector TV with a Millennium Falcon remote control runs $2,995 -- plus, if you can believe it, $9.99 shipping. (Much more disturbing than the price of George Lucas's toys is this: a slave Princess Leia costume for your dog. Oh please click, the image is pure gold.)

But as it turns out, the big player in unnecessary overpriced movie swag? James Bond. A Casino Royale Omega watch runs $3,315, and a lighter inspired by his tuxedo costs $3,360. A set of two lighters, a pair of cuff links, two pens, and a cigar cutter will set you back $6,855. (Well, it does come in a handsome collector box.)

What can I say? Those kids on your block who kept their Star Wars figures attached to the card are all grown up. And apparently they have all kinds of extra cash on their hands.

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Sex And The City Preview Review: Season Three


"I'm getting married this year!" Charlotte York yelled to Manhattan from the deck of the Staten Island Ferry in the third season premiere of Sex and the City. It didn't matter that she wasn't even dating anyone at the moment. Charlotte had decided to get married. The rest of the details, like the husband, would surely fall into place. And thus kicked off the show's best (and most marriage-obsessed) season yet.

Charlotte wasn't the only character with wedding bells ringing in her ears at the start of season three. The Sunday Times soon brought news of Mr. Big's nuptials, which sent Carrie reeling. Luckily the one man Carrie could always count on, her gay pal Stanford Blatch, found the perfect pick-me-up when he invited Carrie to check out the gallery of the hot, single and straight furniture designer Aidan Shaw (John Corbett). After Aidan's dog Pete showed his appreciation for Carrie's leg, she left the gallery with a new leather chair and a date with the designer.

Aidan turned out to be everything Mr. Big wasn't -- mainly, emotionally available. Carrie freaked out over the ease with which Aidan rearranged his schedule for her, shared his feelings, and even invited her to meet his parents -- all things she had freaked out over Mr. Big's unwillingness to do! But just as she began to get used to the idea of a stable, drama-free relationship with Aidan, drama re-entered her life in the form of a drunk, desperate Mr. Big. He began leaving answering machine messages (remember those?) and showing up at her apartment, confessing he regretted marrying Natasha and couldn't get Carrie out of his head. Carrie pushed him away at first, but his words clearly had nestled in her neurotic little brain. Then one day, when forced to write her column in a hotel room while handy Aidan worked on her apartment, Carrie met Big for a final showdown in the hotel bar. She screamed at him to stay out of her life, but he followed her into the elevator and told her he loved her. It was too much for poor Carrie. She'd waited two years to hear those words from him, and even though they came at the worst possible time, when he was married and she was finally in a happy relationship with a man who could love her without the mind games, she was powerless against their effect. Moments later, she was in bed with Mr. Big, lighting up one of the cigarettes she'd sworn off to please Aidan.

Carrie and Big began meeting in hotels regularly, leaving Aidan, Natasha, and even Carrie's friends in the dark about their affair. Carrie's guilt began to take its toll on her relationship with Aidan, who had no clue why she was acting so strangely. Carrie knew what she was doing was wrong, but as with most affairs, it didn't end until someone got hurt. After a lunch-hour tryst in Big's apartment, Carrie was discovered by Natasha, who chased her out the door and halfway down the stairs. Natasha tripped and fell the rest of the way down, breaking a tooth and requiring stitches. Horrified, Carrie helped Natasha to the hospital and finally ended things with Big.

At first, Carrie was happy to go home to Aidan's loving arms, but the guilt of the affair soon caught up to her. She finally reached the point where she knew she had to come clean to him. Unfortunately, it meant breaking his heart, and being left sobbing in a Vera Wang bridesmaid's dress on Charlotte's wedding day.

That's right, folks! Charlotte made good on her promise (to herself) to get married. It was love at first sight for her and Trey MacDougal (Kyle MacLachlan), a handsome doctor from a wealthy family. But Charlotte wasn't content with love at first sight. She wanted marriage after the first date. After knowing each other for only two weeks, Charlotte, observing how easily manipulated Trey was by the touch of his mother's hand, tried the same trick and secured herself a fiancée. But wedded bliss didn't quite live up to Charlotte's lofty expectations. After years of arguing with Samantha over the importance of sex vs. love, she learned the hard way how necessary it is for the two to go together when Trey turned out to be impotent. Despite their best efforts to make things work, the only thing that seemed to turn Trey on was being separated from Charlotte. SATC's first married couple ended the season with their marital status completely up in the air.

One character who definitely didn't want to get married this season was Miranda. She quickly revived her season two romance with Steve, and for six episodes they seemed happy together. But it all came crashing down when Steve began to pressure Miranda into having a baby. Since she knew she wanted to be a mother someday, but was currently trying to make partner in her law firm, she comprised and got a puppy instead. But Steve's laidback approach to puppy parenting made her feel like she would always be the heavy in their relationship, and she broke up with him. It wasn't until Carrie called her out on her judgmental behavior in the season finale that Miranda realized it might be time to lighten up. Too bad Steve already had a new girlfriend by then.

And as for Samantha, there wasn't much new to report this season. She continued to sleep around with a variety of men, scoffing at the idea of committing to anything except a lavish new apartment in the trendy meatpacking district.

New Characters We Met: Although all four girls were on their own at the end of the season, Aidan and Trey weren't quite finished with Carrie and Charlotte yet.

Best Hookups: Before meeting Aidan, Carrie enjoyed flings with a shady politician (John Slattery), a bisexual younger man (Eddie Cahill), and even spent some time with Vince Vaughn in a Hollywood hot tub. Samantha also met her match when she dated an extremely short man with an attitude as big as hers.

Fashion Highlight: This was the year of the most polarizing accessory in SATC history: the big flowers.

Best Quote: Trey's catchphrase, and hilarious response to Charlotte's marriage proposal: "Alrighty."


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Frank Sinatra: The Golden Years


Want to see what Frank Sinatra's major star attraction was all about? The most prestigious of the four boxed sets getting a simultaneous release by Warner Brothers is Frank Sinatra: The Golden Years. The mix boasts two of Sinatra's better dramas and one of his best comedies, as well as one dated misfire and an odd war film that he directed himself. That gives us Ol' Blue Eyes both at the top of his form, and a decade later when he was an overbooked champion of recordings, movies, and live performances. All the films are new to DVD, if you count this fully authorized release of The Man with the Golden Arm.

The glossy romantic comedy The Tender Trap is a perfect fit for MGM of 1955, a quantum improvement on his (mostly) disposable musicals of a few years before. Adapted only slightly from Max Shulman and Robert Paul Smith's very funny play, the majority of the action takes place in one New York bachelor apartment. Sinatra proves himself a natural for the role of a Manhattan playboy brought to heel by a girl with marriage on her mind. The emphasis on the female imperative differentiates this farce from Sinatra's later Rat Pack pix: Sinatra's swinger is really a sentimentalist ripe for the picking.

Julius J. Epstein's screenplay gives theatrical agent Charlie Reader (Sinatra) more beautiful dames than he knows what to do with. They volunteer to clean his house and walk his dog, pretty much catering to his every whim. Charlie has a somewhat steady girl in Sylvia Crewes (Celeste Holm) but she's beginning to think that no power on earth can win her a proposal. Visiting college buddy Joe McCall (David Wayne) marvels at his host's luck with women and considers straying from his wife and three children back home. But the real catalyst is Julie Gillis (Debbie Reynolds), a young dramatic hopeful with an ironclad agenda to acquire a husband and three kids, all on a pre-planned timetable. Reynolds played a main role in Max Shulman's original film version of The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (note the name connection). The most forceful character in the later Dobie Gillis TV show was Zelda Gilroy, a boyfriend-hungry co-ed who is essentially Julie Gillis pushed to a further extreme.

The Tender Trap states the 1950s attitude on matrimony right up front. While Charlie and Sylvia listen in amazement, the determined Julie declares that a woman isn't a woman until she's married and has children. Julie refuses to sign a full-term theatrical contract because she plans to marry and retire in just four months ... even though there's no sign of a fiancée on her horizon. Charlie is strongly attracted, when he should be running for the exit. The female barracuda assumes she's engaged as soon as Charlie tries to get cozy (Julie: "That's not necking, that's nibbling!"). Sinatra revolts for one night but knows he's hooked, despite the fact that he's asked Sylvia to marry him in the interim. The script keeps four pleasant characters (well, three and one "sweet" barracuda) supplied with warm and witty dialogue. Once one accepts Julie's notion that marriage is the rightful goal of all noble human endeavor, The Tender Trap is very amusing. Debbie Reynolds has sharp teeth, David Wayne is pleasantly confused and Celeste Holm is both insightful and lovable, negating the handicap of the "thankless role."

As the playboy with four too many girlfriends, Sinatra is certainly up to snuff. It was a busy film year for him, considering that 1955 saw the release of this picture, Guys and Dolls and the next movie in this collection, The Man with the Golden Arm. The New York agent racket looks like good work, as Charlie spends most of his days getting up at noon and lounging on the sofa with a selection of hot numbers. Jarma Lewis, Lola Albright and a captivating Carolyn Jones are Charlie's to-die-for girlfriends. Sylvia meets Tom Helmore (Vertigo) in an elevator and a young James Drury has a bit as Charlie's assistant.

Turner's enhanced transfer of The Tender Trap has bright colors and the sharpness necessary to register facial expressions in the many wide master shots. The opening and closing renditions of Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen's hit title song appear to be filmed in front of the painted sky backdrop of MGM's water tank, used for ocean-going scenes and miniature shoots. Sinatra walks up and over the concrete weir that serves as an invisible ocean horizon when the tank is filled with water. The smooth featurette Frank in the Fifties covers Sinatra's transition from '40s musical sensation to self-assured superstar reasserting his own personality.

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American Gladiators Season Two Premiere


Forty new contenders, eight new Gladiators and seven new events! Last night was the season-two premiere of American Gladiators! Eight contenders went at it and we were introduced to three new Gladiators. Season one champions Monica and Evan made their triumphant returns as Jet and Rocket. There was a new arena with a lot more room for the events.

This was a two-hour show. In the first hour, Elena, a Chernobyl survivor and firefighter was up against Melissa, a martial arts instructor; Randee, a carpenter, went against Jay, a SWAT team officer.

This was a low scoring affair. The women only scored four points each in Assault, and Elena beat Jet up the Wall for ten more points. The guys fared a little better. They scored in three events, only being shut out on the Pyramid by Justice and Titan. They got to play a new event called Rocketball. It was a mix of Powerball and Slingshot in which they each scored two points.

They've revamped The Eliminator, and while I thought it was rough before, now it's brutal. They've lengthened the swim, put a rope swing and a tight rope after the cargo net, and then the competitors get to the hand bike portion. After that there was the spinning barrel, pyramid and zip-line, and then a teeter-totter right before the Travelator. Once they arrive at the top of that beast, there are more steps, a banner to break through and finally water to dive into. They must figure the contenders will be exhausted by the time they enter the water because they had frogmen in the pool waiting to help them out.

Randee won the first hour for the men with a time of 2:06, and Melissa won for the women in 9:46. That's right, it took her almost ten minutes to complete the course. The Travelator kicked both those ladies' behinds. They were making decent time until that point.

The second hour had one of the most inspirational contenders on the men's side. John, a Para-Olympian competed against Gerry, a special education teacher. I liked both guys, but John had so much heart. He competed with a prosthetic leg and in some events it definitely hampered him. For the women, Vanessa, an Air Force Major, went against Nikki K., a bartender. Nikki K. was injured in the first event, the Pyramid, though, and was replaced by another Nikki -- Nikki S.

Another new event was introduced: the women got to compete in Vertigo, which was a race on 30-foot tall poles. One of the new Gladiators, Phoenix, went against the women and dominated. She even paused and taunted them, and they couldn't score. Rocket got to play in the second hour, too. He and Wolf were the Gladiators for the Wall. He got up that wall as quickly as I remembered he could and they prevented any score from being made.

The scores were close going into the Eliminator. The Travelator once again determined the women's winner, with Vanessa winning in 3:24. On the men's side, Gerry won in 3:03, but unfortunately for him, he really was an afterthought. All eyes were on John. He had such a hard time on that cargo net. Everyone in the audience was on their feet cheering him on as he labored through the course. And he finished it. What an inspiration. Hulk was right there to help him out of the pool at the end.

Next week on American Gladiators, the four contenders will be police officers. And we'll either meet a new Gladiator or get to see a new event. Catch y'all then.


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Browse rubber stamp online


Do you need a quality rubber stamp? You can browse rubber stamp online at Rubber Stamp Champ website. Click on Shop for Products to see all our great rubber stamp products and rubber stamp prices and take a lot of benefits of: FREE SHIPPING on ALL rubber stamp orders over $10.00 when you select Free Freight from Shipping Options, Secure ordering (SSL), Rubber Stamp Coupon savings included with each rubber stamp order and many more.

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Can I track my package? Of course you can. If you chose Free Freight, the order will ship U.S. First Class Mail and does not have a tracking number. If you chose UPS Red, UPS Blue, or UPS Ground delivery, log in to your account, go to Shop For Products, then click on "Order Status/Reorders" in the top right corner. If your order has shipped, click on "View Order" and your tracking number will be noted next to the item(s) you ordered.

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Many people are satisfied getting stamp, ink stamp, and stamp accessories from this website. You can read their experience from using the product on the testimony page.

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Cannes braces for A-listers, art house, fans, fun


The world's biggest film festival kicks off in Cannes on Wednesday, bringing Hollywood A-listers, obscure art-house directors, international media and fans together for 12 party-packed days on the French Riviera.

Posters are up around the resort town in southern France, marquees line the seafront, yachts are gleaming despite unseasonal drizzle and hotels await their famous guests. It only remains for the red carpet to be rolled out.

In addition to movies in the official selection, hundreds more are screened in the bustling film market, a key feature that underlines Cannes' importance to the industry.

The main competition of 22 films begins with a star-studded premiere of Brazilian entry "Blindness," appropriate for a festival that is showcasing South American cinema.

The movie directed by Fernando Meirelles of "City of God" renown stars Julianne Moore and Gael Garcia Bernal in a story of a civilization crumbling as it is hit by an epidemic of blindness.

At the same time as the morning press screening, a few hundred yards (meters) along the palm-lined Croisette beachfront, the studio behind animation comedy "Kung Fu Panda" has organized a stunt to publicize the picture.

The combination of hard-hitting cinema and brazen blockbuster promotion, which some critics argue is a sellout to Hollywood, is typical of the festival, which ends on May 25 when the coveted Palme d'Or for best film is awarded.

Critics were wary of making early predictions.

"I don't anticipate because it doesn't do any good," said Hollywood Reporter critic Kirk Honeycutt.

"The guy whose film you really want to see is the one who disappoints you most, and someone you've never heard of is the one that just leaps off the screen at you."

Joining Meirelles in competition is another Brazilian entry "Line of Passage," by Walter Salles, and two Argentinian productions -- Pablo Trapero's prison drama "Leonera" and thriller "The Headless Woman" by Lucrecia Martel.

They are up against Clint Eastwood's "Changeling," starring Angelina Jolie, and Steven Soderbergh's "Che," a two-part, 4 1/2-hour hour epic about the Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, with Benicio del Toro in the title role.

The two other U.S. entries are James Gray's "Two Lovers," featuring Gwyneth Paltrow and Joaquin Phoenix, and Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York" with Philip Seymour Hoffman.


The biggest show in town this year is likely to be the latest installment of the Indiana Jones series, again starring Harrison Ford as the whip-wielding archaeologist in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" by Steven Spielberg.

Also out of competition, Woody Allen presents "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," starring Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem.

Italy has an unusually strong presence in Cannes, with two competition films reflecting the darker side of its recent past.

"Gamorra" is directed by Matteo Garrone and based on Roberto Saviano's book about how the Neapolitan mafia works and makes its money, while "Il Divo," by Paolo Sorrentino, tells the story of controversial former Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti.

Outside the main lineup comes "Sangue Pazzo," based on the story of two actors who run afoul of partisan rebels fighting fascism at the end of World War Two.

Previous winners of the Palme d'Or vying for the prize again in 2008 are Belgium's Dardenne brothers, Soderbergh and German director Wim Wenders.

Israeli director Ari Folman is contesting the main award with "Waltz With Bashir," an eagerly anticipated animated documentary about the 1982 Sabra and Shatila camp massacres by members of the Christian Israeli-backed Lebanese Forces militia.

Pop star Madonna, Argentinian soccer hero Diego Maradona and U.S. boxer Mike Tyson also are expected at the festival.


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Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem


In ALIENS VS. PREDATOR – REQUIEM (AVP-R), the iconic creatures from two of the scariest film franchises in movie history wage their most brutal battle ever -- in our own backyard.

The science fiction-action-thriller captures the magic of the “Alien vs. Predator” comics, novels and videogames that established the “AVP” brand – while paying homage to the hallmarks of the film series that preceded it: Ridley Scott’s seminal work of science fiction and horror, “Alien”; James Cameron’s masterpiece of intense action, “Aliens”; and John McTiernan’s thriller about an extra-terrestrial warrior wreaking havoc in the jungle, “Predator.” At the same time AVP-R, introduces an intriguing element new to the franchise, by having the Aliens and Predator wage war in a small American town.

related stories:
Aliens vs Predator scares off Coen brothers

"Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem" makes a dream debut at the UK Box Office

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Blog Advertising to help blogger earn extra income


Blogging is a cheap and simple way to earn money form the internet. There are many opportunity to make money online, the best and the simplest one is by blog advertising. This is very simple. You just have one or more blog, post any review, and you'll get paid.

To start making money with your blog, you can join Bloggerwave. This is very simple, you just post a review for only 50 words at your blog, and you'll be paid $10 or more.

Bloggerwave is aiming to be Europes biggest advertising media on blogs and you can help us grow so more and more jobs will come. This is not free, you will be paid for each review you post on your blog.

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May 13, 2008

Iron Man, Batman, Indiana Jones and More


That bullwhip Indiana Jones cracks looks like a limp noodle in the face of the summer's higher-tech hulks. Yet the smart money says that Harrison Ford's aging Indy will be king of the box office. I'm not so sure. Christian Bale's Dark Knight and Heath Ledger's Joker could give the old boy a run for it. Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man is killer good. And don't mess with Will Smith's Hancock, Pixar's animated Wall-E or the posters on my movie blog who so want to believe in the X-Files film follow-up. Between now and Labor Day, Hollywood will spend a billion in marketing dollars to convince us that summer '08 is more than tired-ass sequels and comic-book retreads. Here are a few of the movies that maybe, just maybe, can bust out of the pack.

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May 12, 2008

Rolling Stone Current Issue: Why MTV's 'The Hills' is the Show You Love to Hate


It's a chilly spring night in Los Angeles when I arrive at Don Antonio's Mexican restaurant to join the End of Western Civilization for nachos and chicken enchiladas. The EOWC, of course, is Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, a.k.a. Speidi, the fabulously toxic power couple of The Hills — the real-ish MTV reality drama about L.A. twentysomethings praised as "the most influential show we've ever had" by MTV president of entertainment Brian Graden — and watching the fair-haired lovers stroll through their beloved Don Antonio's feels like seeing Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe walk into the Stork Club back in the day. That is, if Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe were, instead of a sports hero and a legendary sex symbol, the irresistible villains of a maddeningly addictive TV show in which nothing ever really happens.

We take seats at a dimly lit corner booth, and you can almost hear the text messages being tapped underneath nearby tables — omfg spencer n heidi r here!!! Spencer, 24, who's wearing a black Don Antonio's polo and a wispy blond goatee, rattles off a grande order without consulting the menu. Heidi, a 21-year-old mane of blond highlights dressed in a blue sweater and white sweatpants, tucks her tiny head into his shoulder.

"I wish I got to see what you saw today," Spencer says.

He's referring to this afternoon's cover photo shoot attended by Heidi and her three Hills castmates: Audrina Patridge, 22, Whitney Port, 23, and the show's protagonist, Lauren Conrad, 22, with whom Heidi has been engaged in an ugly feud. Once best friends and roommates, the two women have spent the past year and a half bickering back and forth in celebrity weeklies — a rift that, depending on whom you talk to, stems from either a Lauren sex-tape story that Spencer and Heidi leaked to the press (Lauren's version; they deny it), or Lauren's jealousy of Spencer and Heidi (their version; Lauren denies it), or Spencer's overall control-freakiness, or a cabal of genius MTV executives secretly pulling ratings/goosing strings behind a curtain. Whatever the case, the shoot was the first time Heidi and Lauren had been photographed, and not Photoshopped (as MTV has been forced to do), together in more than a year.


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