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Archive for July, 2009

From the artistic mind of Kirk Demarais, a cult-level-known, Los Angeles-based artist with a knack for painting family portraits of film-fams. His work is frequently shown at LA’s Gallery 1988. Here’s his take on the Plainviews, from There Will Be Blood (if you didn’t know that already just by looking at the below picture, take a long, hard look in the nearest mirror). And, as you can see, it’s amazing:

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For the rest of Demarais’s work, head over to: Kirk Demairas’s site

Originally spotted over at: /Film

After the jump, you’ll find some more of the man’s latest efforts…..all cooler than December air: (more…)

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…..I’m soon to be a lame-tabloid-publication-reading virgin no more. Unsurprisingly, I don’t mind the lack of Screech here. As a kid, I laughed at the comedic wizardry of one Dustin Diamond; now, when watching the reruns every morning, before work (salute, TBS), I want to stuff his irritating ass in a locker. The byproduct of maturity, and improved common sense. 

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It’s like staring into an unfamiliar mirror, in some foreign bedroom’s accompanying bathroom. The liquor still singing your judgment, treating your brain like a wet sponge that’s heavier than a bag of quarters. What the fuck am I doing here? Where is here, exactly? Why did I have that eighth shot of Henny? From the bedroom, you hear some girl’s voice, beckoning, “What’s taking you so long? Let’s do this damn thing already! I want you.” For a second, you’re feeling good, the mood striking and sicking the horny-bug into your loins. But then, as you step back into the room where your soon-to-be-fuck-buddy awaits, the pupils catch a steady glimpse at her, and a sensation similar to drinking curdled milk gives you the sickly chills. The sad part is, self, that I know I’m going to shamefully enjoy this. She’s not exactly the Elephant Woman, but she’s fugly enough to turn the impending one-night-stand into a grueling labor of only-to-get-my-rocks-off. And you know what? It’s a damn good time. So enjoyable, in fact, that you quietly look forward to the next time.

Even if he won’t admit it, every guy in the world has either been in that situation to that precise outcome or at least can agree that he’d do the exact same thing if ever in that mix. How does this relate to my humble little film blog, you may be asking yourself? Simplistic-ness, reader. Because next Friday, the movie equivalent to that fugly-yet-pleasure-giving woman hits theaters—-G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

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There’s not much in the way of analysis in regards to G.I. Joe. We all know the deal. Directed by Stephen Sommers, the often-called-a-“hack” chap responsible for desecrating the Universal horror canon with 2004’s vile Van Helsing, the one where Frankenstein cried like a little bitch and Kate Beckinsale made a horrible Transylvanian accent sound sexy. Sommers is like an even-more shallow Michael Bay, if such a description is possible. So you know that his G.I. Joe is going to be a lobotomized shell of a film. And the cast, made up of a hodge-podge of B-listers (Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Sienna Miller) alongside the gimme-the-loot-intentioned duo of Dennis Quaid and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, isn’t exactly Robert Altman-esque. Oh, and the producer is also the guy behind the Transformers movies. 

Quite the recipe for head-numbing. But, like the hideous gal that the guy bags just for the cheap thrill, G.I. Joe is an overachiever without pretension. And the truth of the matter is, I’m ready to drop coin on the film come opening night. Without guilt. It’s not even that I was such an avid Joe toy collector as a bed-wetter that I’m going with an undying allegiance to the property. I had a bag full of Joe action figures, sure, but was no more attached to them then the next kid. The reason why I’m so amped for G.I. Joe is that I’m a sucker at heart. As much as I sing the praises of envelope-pushing foreign films and Stanley Kubrick masterpieces, my whipping-boy side can’t resist the spectacle that will surely be G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. It’s relaxing to turn my brain off once in a while and snack on some eye-Snickers. The magnetism emitted from the junk is powerful. Just as, ladies, your nice-guy friend that gives you hope for the male species with every kind word and thoughtful action would quickly tap the sloppily-unattractive chick in the club, if given the green light. Does that make him a bad person? Nope, not at all. Human, yes.

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Does wanting badly to see G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra make me a candidate for impeachment out of the Film Lovers’ Society? Fuck outta here. Negativo. The intoxicant that I’ll be able to blame is the allure of expensive flashing lights and CGI action. My hangover will kick in once I get back home and see Synecdoche, New York poking out of my DVD collection, Philip Seymour Hoffman firing ice-grills in my direction. I’ll feel no shame, though. In fact, if G.I. Joe is every bit the fun ride I’m hoping it’ll be, I may partake in seeing it a second time. Who knows? 

Besides, I’ve had enough will power to not see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. That was the alcohol-sipping harlot that my other folks warned me about, persuading me to steer clear of her flirtation and open-legged stance. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, though, is the strobelite honey, and, yes, I’m Dres (Black Sheep, anyone?). And sometimes, will power suffers from the Samson-after-a-drastic-haircut syndrome. 

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To call Judd Apatow‘s third directed-film Funny People his most personal is overdone, half-baked, unimaginative. But, still, unavoidable, since the film opens with home video footage from the man’s own living room vaults. Back in the late ’80s, he and Adam Sandler (star of Funny People, playing fictional extension of himself, “George Simmons”) lived together in a grungy, closet-sized apartment in Los Angeles, both going through it as struggling stand-up comedians hoping to land on The Tonight Show or die trying. Just as you’d expect any juvenile funnymen to do for fun, they’d regularly make prank phone calls, Sandler on the horn and Apatow behind the handheld camera. Kicking Funny People off with 20-year-old home videos is Apatow’s ultimate beginning sentence for a love letter to both his career and longtime best-friendship with Happy Gilmore himself, Mr. Sandler. The footage itself isn’t all that hilarious; the humor comes from more of a meta place, watching a then-unknown Sandler take visible pride and joy in making others laugh. It’s what he knows best, and capturing that for audiences, whether nationwide or home-sofa-seated, is what gives Apatow the greatest of pleasure.

 

Judd Apatow

Judd Apatow

It’s important to understand just how close to home Funny People is for its writer-director Apatow, because, on a whole, the film isn’t “funny” in the same sense of his two previous crowd-ticklers, The 40-Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up. And going into the theater with that understanding feels crucial. While his other films still maintained the actual beating heart amidst rampant sophomoric brilliance and improv-powered dialogue, they were, and remain, at their core, meant to expose the duality of the “everyman”—-you, me, and the guy on line next to you at Starbucks are all skirt-chasers who’d hide in corners if we were still looking to cherry-pop at age 40, and who’d panic if unexpectedly presented with a lady friend’s pregnancy. But with Funny People, Apatow seems to have used the Hollywood-money-making muscle he’s built up in recent years to take some artistic chances through a film that feels like the one he’s dreamt of making all along. It’s as if Apatow could retire this Saturday, the day after Funny People opens, and live a happily fulfilled life. Of course he wants the film to reign successful, but if it’s only a fifth of the financial triumph that 40-Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up were, I’d imagine that he’d shed no tears, punch no walls, fire no lackeys. He’s made his true “passion project,” and now he can breathe easily. [Continued after the jump] (more…)

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Requiem for a Dream had already given Darren Aronofsky a thick level of acclaim in my eyes, but, after last year’s The Wrestler, the guy is now a filmmaker that I’ll forever watch with both anticipation and excitement. The Wrestler is such a remarkable product that following it up successfully seems like a task that could turn a man’s nerves into a mushy puddle of floppy gelatine. When the news hit that his next work would be a new take on the ’80s sci-fi classic Robocop, I felt a bit underwhelmed, honestly—I’ve sadly yet to see Robocop, though it’s waiting impatiently in my DVR taped-library. So I have zero attachment to that property. My initial reaction was, “Shit, I’d much rather see Aronofsky give horror a go.” The bleakness in Requiem for a Dream feels like the perfect precursor to an awesome horror film from the guy, if he ever felt so inclined.

Aronofksy (right), with Randy "The Ram"

Aronofksy (right), with Randy "The Ram"

The announcement a month or so back that his next project won’t be Robocop (his involvement with that remake seems a bit up in the air now) but instead an original project titled Black Swan, the smile perked up. Then its plot promised a bit of supernatural creeps, which was amazing, and that Natalie Portman would star, which was also positive. About a ballerina battling with a dancing nemesis who may in fact be a ghost, Black Swan‘s plot gave me feels-good visions of a psychologically-biting blend of Suspiria and Fight Club, obviously a brilliant mashup if handled properly. 

MilaKunis1Well, today came news that said potentially-an-evil-spirit ballerina villain will be played by Mila Kunis, the hotter-than-your-girl gal who’s in the midst of a red-hot career surge post-Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Which, of course, gives me a reason to post the picture that you see to the right for the I-don’t-even-know-how-many-at-this-point time. Having never seen (for good reason) her straight-to-DVD cinematic belly-flop American Psycho 2, I can’t call it as to how well Kunis can play the bad-girl role, but I’m more than willing to give her a chance. Besides, my juvenile side realizes that she’ll most likely be wearing tight leotards the entire time. 

Black Swan can’t come soon enough now…. Here’s another Mila Kunis look, just because I’m generous like that:

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News first spotted over at: Empire Online

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The fact that I’m actually considering the notion of seeing this one again has me both concerned and pleased. Who would’ve thought, that after seeing that ho-hum trailer full of generic ideas and cheap jump-moments, and then sitting through the lame commercials complete with “Our ending is so shocking” desperation, that I’d end up digging Orphan enough to hit the cinema twice? It’s one of those films that I enjoy against better judgment, the cinematic equivalents to “Kiss Me Thru the Phone” or Full House (at least I’m man enough to admit that I’m pro-family-Tanner) 

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The truth is, Orphan is one of the more entertaining films that I’ve seen this year, definitely due to how ridiculous the story becomes at such a rapid pace. I’ll save my entire opinion-kicking for the write-up I did for Critics Notebook, which I’ve linked below. Full disclosure: I expected the task of writing about Orphan to be a tad painful, laborious. A dreadful effort to whip up penmanship-verve for a forgettable piece of unoriginal horror. But I was game for the challenge. So imagine my shock when the words poured out of my fingertips and onto the laptop’s keyboard with the quick stream of those blood-pissing doors in The Shining‘s Overlook Hotel. 

Here’s my opinion, in written form [below]:

Critics Notebook: ORPHAN review

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Right off the heels of yesterday’s poster debut, here’s the first extended teaser trailer for the Hughes Brothers‘ foray into apocalyptic action The Book of Eli, and, I must say, it looks pretty damn cool. Much slicker, much grittier than expected. And, your boy Denzel Washington appears to be getting into some Oldboy-style body-dropping and other degrees of physicality. I can’t recall the last time that Denzel looked this badass; a welcome change from what he’s been doing as of late. Of course, this is simply a trailer, so I won’t start singing the comeback praises for the brothers Hughes (Allen and Albert) just yet, but you have to admit: nobody thought they had something this Road Warrior-looking in them. Well, I sure as hell didn’t.

Give it a look, and let your Denzel love and anticipation kick into overdrive. Or, somewhat-accelerated cruise control, until January 2010. Trailer after the jump: (more…)

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The Book of Eli, the comeback project for the Hughes Brothers (Menace II Society, Dead Presidents), won’t be out until January, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t kickstart the anticipation machine over here. I’ll discuss the film’s potential more in the near future, but, for now, here’s the first one-sheet just released out at Comic-Con. Looks pretty cool….Denzel fans should appreciate the refreshing grit. Not much, but it’s still something:

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…….though, still not as good as that original “Who is Patient 67?” one.

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Just in time for this week’s Comic-Con extravaganza. It’s reliable-sicko Jackie Earle Haley as the infamous dreamworld serial killer, sans the black humor for next year’s (April 16, 2010) Warner Bros./New Line-backed remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. After months of anticipation, all we’re given is a “teaser” shot that could’ve been ripped right out of the old films; looks exactly like Robert Englund-emobodied Freddy did, which is a good thing if you’re a rabid fan hoping for franchise preservation (not to mention, the longer blade-claws), underwhelming if you’re indifferent on most-if-not-all accounts. There’s no doubt in my mind that Haley will totally assassinate this role, just go watch his Rorschach in Watchmen and then his pedophile-looking-to-move-ahead in Little Children back-to-back, since Freddy Krueger could be seen as a nightmarish hybrid of the two Haley characters. 

Here you go, not exactly a big reveal……
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True story: I was all about the Taco Bell dog back in the day. Loved those commercials, actually purchased a plush doll that voiced the iconic “Yo quiero Taco Bell” catchphrase upon cord-pulling request. He was the first spokesdog to capture my heart in the wake of Spuds Mckenzie, and he was awesome. Even when I learned that “he” was in fact a “she,” named Gidget, I didn’t bat an eye. She was the sole reason why I nearly went on an annoying rampage to convince my ‘rents that the house needed a chihuahua, with haste. 

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Today, if I were made of softer stuff, I’d shed a tear. And, no, this isn’t a joke, or sarcasm. I’m serious—–long live the Taco Bell dog. It’s been one hell of a summer for celebrities on their way out. 

The words of People

Taco Bell Chihuahua Dies

She charmed millions without ever saying a word, and managed to make fast food tacos adorable. Gidget, the Chihuahua best known for her Taco Bell ad campaign, died from a stroke on Tuesday night at age 15. 

“She made so many people happy,” says Gidget’s trainer, Sue Chipperton. PEOPLE met both Gidget and Sue at a Hollywood animals photo shoot in February, where the pup was a consummate pro and delighted the crew with her playful nature. 

The mostly retired actor lived out her days laying in the sun – “I like to joke that it’s like looking after a plant,” says Chipperton – and entertaining at shoots when her trainer brought her along. “Gidget,” says Chipperton, “always knew where the camera was.” 

tb_changesrAFTER THE JUMP, SOME OF GIDGET’S GREATEST HITS: (more…)

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……the biggest reason to rush out and see Funny People next weekend is her:

 

Last night's Los Angeles-held FUNNY PEOPLE red carpet premiere

Last night's Los Angeles-held FUNNY PEOPLE red carpet premiere

Aubrey Plaza….I can’t help it, this girl’s got me. Wish there was more of her on Parks and Recreation, delighted that she’ll be a part of Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim flick, curious to see this quirky indie comedy Mystery Team only for her presence. 

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All about her, folks. She seems accessible, cool, unassuming. All perceptions, possibly unfounded and moronic, slightly puff-piece-level. Who cares, though? I’m growing tired of longing for Olivia Thirlby; riding her fan-train is like boarding that passenger car from The Twilight Zone episode “Stopover in a Quiet Town,” going in circles with no new destination in sight. Thirlby seems forever locked into the subterranean pits; Plaza, however, feels ready to explode through the manhole, set to land smack dab under the streetlights. 

Every guy needs his quiet, lefty crush. You’ve just met mine.

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It’s announcements such as this one that make me wish this was 2019 and I was already an established screenwriter, hot in demand out in Hollywood and the go-to guy for weird genre projects (dreaming a little wishful dream here, so work with me). Because, if so, I’d be the guy tapped to handle this by Leonardo Dicaprio and his Appian Way production team, signing on the line to almost single-handedly revive the greatest genre name ever, the most influential and brilliant bastion of storytelling that yours truly has ever seen and adored: Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone (1959-1964). But, alas, I’m still in the early rungs of the career, figuring my pen/voice out and mapping through the steps necessary to one day get “there.” Today, I’m “here,” and reading that Dicaprio’s company has hired screenwriter Rand Ravich to write the script of a new Twilight Zone film, backed by Warner Bros., which seems to be envisioned as a modern-day take on the anthology film approach used by John Landis and Steven Spielberg back in 1983. 

leonardo-dicaprioLate last year, there was reports that Dicaprio was intending to produce a full-length flick for a single T-Zone episode, “Death Ship,” not a film featuring three or four stories wrapped into one cinematic gift. This anthology approach is much better, if you ask me….brings it back to the Creepshow/Vault of Horror days, the days I love and the type of film that I one day hope to scribe myself (I already have the film’s name, which I won’t say here….now, I just need the actual included-stories to flesh themselves out). 

Whether Dicaprio himself will star in this is undetermined, but I’m hoping he does….as the trailer for Marty Scorcese’s Shutter Island shows, Dicaprio looks right at home in some 1950s Gothic creeplands. I’d imagine this Twilight Zone will take place in our years, though, but still. Any chance to connect my excitement for Shutter Island to anything else is never passed up. 

I’ll be keeping magnifying-spec-close eyes on this one, for further news, casting, details, the works. If you know anything more than just surface-level-shit about me, you know how hugely-meaningful The Twilight Zone is to me; I could sit here and list the episodes that I’d love to see this film update, if they go that route, but this would turn into a novel-length post, and I got work to day, dammit. I’ll just say this, for now…..”Five Characters in Search of an Exit,” starring Michael Shannon as the Hobo. Just feels right.

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News spotted over at: Empire Online

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There’s a part of me that wishes films such as Deadgirl could somehow open big in every AMC/Loews nationwide, to see what the general audience response would be; get all 26 people who paid to see I Love You, Beth Cooper to weigh on what is essentially the anti-Hayden Pennettierre. A strange horror/teen-drama hybrid that centers itself firmly on the notions of zombie-dom and necrophilia, playing it straight down the cold bad-taste line. The reality is, of course, that films the likes of Deadgirl will remain stricken to the minor downtown Manhattan venues, catering to the handfuls of folks that click on Twitch Film and/or Cinematical multiple times a day. And that’s some frustrating, unfixable bullshit.

Deadgirl wouldn’t blow the tops off of the Beth Cooper crowd, though, by any means. Disgust and anger them, possibly. It’s not a great film, just a provocative and quietly-intelligent one that is worth a look, if only to prove to one-self that teenage-horror can still go to those despicable places.

Deadgirl

I’ve given the film, which opens in limited release next Friday, July 24, a longer thought-spin over at Critics Notebook, link here:

Critics Notebook — Deadgirl review

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I’ll just let the picture tell the story here, since there’s hardly any tale to tell in the first place. Not the clearest of shots, just enough to show that Scarlett Johansson may not look all that much like herself in next year’s Iron Man 2, as “Black Widow.” It’s not a Daniel Day-Lewis/Christian Bale level of character immersion, but still somewhat fascinating. Try something here—-take a quick glimpse at Miss Scarlett in this image, and then ask yourself, “Would I instantly recognize that as Scarlett Johansson if I didn’t know otherwise?” 

At the least, this should partially calm down the legions of comic book worshippers who’ve been sending SARS-filled letters to Stan Lee’s house from the second she was announced as Emily Blunt’s replacement. Or ready to bumrush any Iron-Man-2-worker unfortunate enough to be at next week’s Comic-Con, armed with Marvel-produced action figures and set to pounce. That is, until the movie comes out and her performance sucks, which is highly probable.

Picture from Entertainment Weekly, obviously:

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One of the better independent horror films of recent years is/was The Signal, a shoestring-budgeted, three-act breathe of fresh air shot entirely in Atlanta by a trio of first-time filmmakers. The premise, a transmission sent through all electronic devices (television sets, cell phones, etc.) that causes all those in its mental captivity to go apeshit crazy, killing at will. The first section is a taut, explosive outbreak of homicide, the middle portion all black humor and Grand Guignol weirdness, and the third act heavier on drama and emotion.

cell_stephenkingThe first time I saw it, I couldn’t believe how innovative and fearless the film was, especially considering the lack of finances behind it. But then I got around to reading Stephen King‘s beloved epic novel Cell (2006), and I realized that The Signal‘s concept isn’t all that creative. Not saying that the film’s makers directly jacked King; just that, the similarities, at least to Cell‘s first half, are pretty uncanny (the infection in Cell, in fact, is called “The Pulse”). And since I love The Signal, it made sense that I enjoyed Cell as much as I did, even though it wasn’t as smooth a read as other books I breezed through at the time (The Road, Shutter Island, The Lost). Overlong by a good 100 pages, Cell could’ve benefitted from downsizing, streamlining the book’s latter events into something more concise, less dragging. Without spoiling things, let’s just say that Cell goes into wildly-unexpected places as the pages turn, leaving The Signal-comparison-highway and turning left into a traditional good-versus-evil battle of wits.

A couple years back, Eli Roth (fella behind the Hostel films) was attached to direct a Cell film adaptation, but the project gestated due to creative differences, and Roth eventually backed off. King’s book is rather cinematic, as is all of his work, really, so the prospect of a Cell on screen was exciting, so today’s news that Cell is being revived as an in-development, four-hour TV mini-series is cause for applause. The screenwriter involved, John Harrison, worked with King on the good-stuff anthology films Creepshow and Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, so this mini-series is already on the right track.

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This is news that I couldn’t sprinkle with my own two sense/cents, regardless of how inconsequential my opinion(s) may be. Oh well, screw it, right? This should be fun. After the jump, allow me to offer my thoughts on Cell casting. Obviously premature, but fun nonetheless. Of course, this won’t mean diddy-dick to those who haven’t read the book. But, again….screw it, right?: [Casting choices for the Cell mini-series, after the jump] (more…)

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Since I’ve written all that needs to be written (of my opinion) about the film in my Critic’s Notebook review, posted below, there’s really no reason for me to type blabberish here. Just know that, Marc Webb’s (500) Days of Summer is highly recommended by yours truly, and that should say something. Yesterday, I started reading a book called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, pretty much the only way I’d ever grapple with Jane Austen’s literary classic voluntary. And now here I am, telling you to spend money next weekend on a rom-com.

So you know it’s good.

Link:  Critics Notebook: (500) Days of Summer review

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I know that, just the other day, I said that I’m nearing my Megan-Fox-overload point, but something about this new still from Jennifer’s Body is doing it for me. Not saying that I’d jump at the chance to slob her down here…. Frankly, I don’t even know why this is attractive. It just is. I’m sure I’d get all knobby-kneed around Medusa, at this point……

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From Fangoria, obviously.

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La fin.

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District 9, from first-time feature film director Neill Blomkamp, is a wonderful-looking science fiction (potential) game-changer that opens on August 14, and I’ve been hyping it up on this here blog-site for months now. Showing a new poster here, posting Blomkamp’s original short film, Alive in Joberg, there. All worthy, yet probably unnoticed. For fuck’s sake. Wake up, people…….this could very well be the biggest chin-checker of 2009.

There have been a couple effective teasers thus far, but this morning brought the film’s first official full-length, and boy is it something. If there’s still any doubt that Blomkamp would completely firebomb the game if given the chance to make his Halo film, this should give those questions a nice dirt-nap. Wait ’til you get a load of this:

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Every other classic-to-semi-classic television show is being developed into a feature film (including T.J. Hooker, seriously), so it should come as no surprise that Baywatch is next on the block. Frankly, I can’t believe this hasn’t been done already. Alas, Jeremy Garelick, the screenwriter responsible for the marginally-amusing The Break-Up, has officially signed on to both write and direct a Baywatch rebirth, one that he reportedly plans to resuscitate as an action comedy ensemble piece, something in the vein of the old Police Academy films. In fact, dude admits to having never even watched Baywatch (he’s that one guy, apparently). Which is a very good thing, because—-not that this is a shocking statement—Baywatch was a real piece of ish, quality wise. Other than the body-hotties, the show sucked. Terrible storylines, mediocre acting. Took itself far too seriously at times.

So Garelick’s idea could result in a franchise full of good times and bikini-clad beauties—–bring that on, Hollywood. This has me thinking, though…. Who should Garelick try to cast as his modern-day “CJ” (Pamela Anderson), or whatever the other girls’ characters names were (Traci Bingham was my personal favorite). To keep things all the way real, the odds of any A-list names attaching themselves to a Baywatch film seems about as realistic as The Real World. With that in mind, my nominees have all been handpicked from the “B-list or lower” pool, where bikinis come in handy, naturally. The intention, to give this dream cast a multi-cultural feel, more than simply hot blondes and fake-chested brunettes.

**Pardon me while I get a bit chauvinistic/misogynistic for a moment** May I present to you, Theater of Mine‘s top choices for the in-development Baywatch film’s young lady cast members [See the choices, after the jump]:

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There’s hardly been any doubt, but now it’s really official: France has become the most consistent output of great-looking, extreme, kicks-Hollywood’s-ass horror. Two years ago, we were blessed with the Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo masterwork Inside, and 2008 brought Pascal Laugier’s tough-to-watch exercise in intelligent bleakness Martyrs. This new wave was kickstarted back in 2003 by Alexandre Aja’s slasher-flick-on-overload High Tension, and those sick French bastards have yet to fall back.

hordepic1Looks like 2009’s installment of the French Horror Assault is upon us: directing duo Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher‘s zombies-vs-mobsters adrenaline fix The Horde, France’s first notable zombie offering (what took them so long?). The plot is basically John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 by way of the Dawn of the Dead remake, only with way more gore: a bunch of crooked cops and even-shadier mobsters are trapped in a building that’s besieged by what seems like a million-heads-sized army of fast, starving flesheaters. 

The Horde‘s first teaser trailer is out, and it’s exactly what you’d expect from a French zombie film—-bigger, faster, stronger, grosser. A “teaser” in the truest sense, this trailer shows little, and, honestly, doesn’t set itself apart from the dozens of other zombie flicks in recent years. It’s nothing all that special on the surface, in other words. Regardless, good things can be sensed from it, particularly in the ferocity of the undead shown. 

Closing statement: I’m pretty damn excited. [Check the teaser, after the jump]: (more…)

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megan-fox-jennifers-bodyIf you plan on seeing Bruno this weekend, as I’m sure most of us are, there’s a high probability that you’ll catch the first official trailer for Jennifer’s Body, Megan Fox‘s first leading-woman flick scripted by Juno award-winner Diablo Cody. I’ve posted some early stills from the film here, so it should come as no mystery that I’m anticipating this one. Let’s make it clear right here, right now, though—–I’m not looking forward to this in the Shutter Island sense. Nope. More in that age-old “hard not to watch trainwreck” way. As hot as Fox is, she’s a pretty horrendous actress, so there’s strike one, and then there’s the fact that every Jennifer’s Body script review that I’ve read first or second hand has been negative, some even downright scathing.

And, I may become a pariah amongst all men, but I’m also growing a bit tired of Miss Fox. Beautiful is still beautiful, but Megan Fox overkill is setting in, folks. Too many magazine covers and red carpet photos in too short a time span. Besides, I subscribe to the belief that her Jennifer’s Body co-star Amanda Seyfried (Mean Girls, Mamma Mia!) is much finer—-and I’m not even into blondes like that.

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To be fair, Shock Til You Drop posted the exclusive red band (R-rated) trailer this morning, since the one you’ll see in theaters before Bruno will be the lame, PG-13 green band; director Karyn Kusama, Cody, and producer Jason Reitman (director of Juno) prefer this red band version, so this is the one to pay attention to. Problem is, though, that it’s not very good. Entertaining, yes, and promises a film that I’ll totally drop coin on, but the thing feels like a mess. It’s definitely a horror-comedy, that’s banking on Fox’s sex appeal over anything else. The scenes shot in the dark, in that grungy pool and around those candles, all look nice and macabre. But, again, I can’t shake this feeling of impending suck. 

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glory-DVDcoverThis morning was the first time I’d watched Edward Zwick’s amazing Glory in at least 10 years, yet I remembered every single line of dialogue. Recalled how each scene would transpire, smirked as the faintest shot details popped back into my mind right before they’d commence on the tube.

Perfect signs that the movie in question is something special, just as powerful now as it was when I first watched it in 1994, as a fourth-grader, a kid in love with all things Civil War. My father, though he’s not an actual history teacher by profession, could go fact-for-date with any historian worth his/her rep in Civil War trivia, and he loved the fact that I was so intrigued by the North-vs-South combat of the 1860s. We took family trips to Gettysburg, Bull Run, and Harper’s Ferry, all major Civil War sites. My mother and older brother were miserably bored the entire time(s), of course, but my pops and I didn’t give a shit. Those were our vacations.

glory_2I can’t exactly recall what made me watch Glory at first, but, whatever the reason(s), that initial viewing became the catalyst for a solid year’s worth of daily watching. I’d come home from school, toss my bookbag on the floor, and, with Catholic school uniform still adorned, put in my dubbed-VHS copy of Glory and rewatch. If not the entire movie in one clip, then I’d at least jump around to the three stellar battle scenes: the opening at Antietam, the 54th of Massachusetts’ first battle at James Island, South Carolina, and the massive, tragic closing fight in Fort Wagner. Sitting with these scenes again this morning, it felt as if I was 10 years old again, peepers glued to the screen, heart pounding, eyes flirting with possible tears but ultimately giving the socket-liquid the old cold shoulder.

Last year, Spike Lee valiantly tried to give Black soldiers a new, vital voice with his WWII epic Miracle at St. Anna; only the film was extremely overzealous and messy. Lee should’ve alotted a day for a 24-hour Glory marathon. Would’ve made his St. Anna all the more effective, undoubtedly.

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Glory still ranks in my top 10 all-time favorite films, the following two battle scenes (the second being Spoiler Heavy) huge pieces of the  explanatory puzzle. If you’ve never seen Glory, go rent the damn thing immediately. Still watch these Scenes of Mine, though…..they’re so flippin’ good, that they work like crackerjacks both in and out of context [Scenes of Mine, after the jump]: (more…)

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……Brad Pitt is really just a co-star, a component of one of the film’s plotlines. Sure, he’s the biggest name in the picture, the one Quentin Tarantino had to work a little bit harder to persuade, but his “Lt. Aldo Raine” isn’t the true star of the film. At least not from its script, and from what the early reviews are stating, thankfully. Pitt is the man, but here are the film’s two real leads, international head-turners Melanie Laurent (“Shosanna Dreyfus”) and Christoph Waltz (“Col. Landa, the ‘Jew Hunter'”):

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Larger-sized posters, as well as one of another non-Pitt Basterd standout, Diane Kruger, after the jump: (more…)

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